Zed Build Guide by Tacet
Not Updated For Current Season
This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.
Not Updated For Current Season
The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.
My name is xTacet Jack, a humble LoL player, and this is my first attempt at creating a champion guide. I decided on trying Zed since he is a character that has become a personal favorite of mine, and stylistically he is one of the coolest champs ever. Bear in mind, Zed has a very high skill cap, but, with practice, he can be one of the most rewarding champs in the game. Though I consider myself a top laner, I decided to focus on his jungle, since it is the most challenging of all of his roles. Master the jungle, and the lane will be your own, personal stomping ground. So, lets get started shall we?
Pros / Cons
Let's talk about the stuff about Zed stuff
W is essentially a blink, which is all kinds of good
R basically makes one person disappear
Passive makes last hitting anything (champ's, boss monsters, creeps) a breeze.
Ult can countered by shield's and sudden bursts of health (Lulu, Orianna, Renekton, etc.)
Not much natural tankiness
Really high energy costs. Manage the yellow bar well.
Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction
Greater Mark of Lethality
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed
Glyph of Cooldown Reduction
I bet you saw this thing and balked, so please hear me out. First of all, the amount of CDR provided has increased, which makes these glyphs quite useful indeed. Secondly, I designed this build with the intention of clearing the jungle as fast as I could, which allows me to gank frequently without fear of falling behind. CDR on Shadow Slash is godly. You get an AOE hit on all camp members every 2.5 seconds right off the bat, which will increase as you progress the build. Also, you will get repeated slows on the gank victims, increasing your chance of success. E + Red Buff = "An Enemy has been slain."
Quintessence of Movement Speed
I think this is a must for most every jungler. This bugger gets you through the trees the fastest, especially once you get boots. You'll be able to close distance much more effectively.
Mark of Armor Penetration
I recommend this over Mark of Attack Damage simply because armor pen gives you a stronger late-game, and since you're ganking, the armor pen really helps your ADC or AD top laner, if he/she is such, as you are reducing their armor and making the auto-attacks count. Also has great synergy with the Glyph of Cooldown Reduction.
Seal of Armor
These give you durability in the jungle, survivability in ganks, and keep you alive during tower dives. my personal favorite seal for a jungler.
Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
Good choice for someone new to Zed, gives you more overall survivability and spares you the necessity of building MR.
Quintessence of Attack Damage
If you want to hurt someone, take this instead. Just know that between Zed's base damage and his passive, you really don't need these in jungle. Definite must for laning.
Mark of Attack Damage
Armor pen vs attack damage. I choose armor pen. You are your own person.
Seal of Health
If you feel like you want to scare people with the size of your green bar, here's a good way to do it. Again, its all in the preference.
Well............you're jungling, yeah?
I once asked a friend of mine why he ran flash on Ezreal. He said,"Cuz you get two flashes." Same can be said of Zed. Flash gives you excellent versatility in terms of distance closing, escaping, and re-positioning. Since I like having many options, I run Flash.
It is what it is. Definitely covers more ground than Flash, and it can help you keep pace with some of the faster characters.
If you're confident in your Living Shadow, this spell is a good option as well. Really good for securing kills, particularly a first blood.
For the masteries, I go 15/15, which might seem a little bit odd. I'll explain my reasoning behind the setup, so again, please hear me out before you attempt to bash.
If you combine this with your CDR Glyphs, you'll start the game out with about 12 CDR, which really speeds up the clear time.
Deadliness Havoc Brute Force
Damage supplements. Just giving you a little back-up AD.
8% armor pen buff. Gives your Mark of Desolation some extra utility, as well as the eventual armor pen you'l get from The Black Cleaver.
1 point in this unless you really like ghost or exhaust, in which case I recommend Summoner's Wrath
Durability Veteran's Scars
138 extra health at level 18, probably the best deal you can get without putting all your points in the defense tree.
Tough Skin Bladed Armor
Help's keep your health high in the early game, also speeds up clear time.
Since I list Mercurial Scimitar as a situational item, and since I'm not using Mercury's Treads, this is a good way to reduce those pesky disables and continue your rampage. I get the most utility out of Tenacious in this particular setup.
This is my most universal mastery setup. However, if you're more comfortable with 21/9 or 9/21, go right ahead. I use what I use cause it works for me.
So let's talk about the kit. First I'll introduce and discuss each componet of the kit, and just how much utility you'll get out of it.
Zed's poking skill. The only time I'll max this is if I'm playing mid. Otherwise, I get more use out of maxing Shadow Slash first. One thing that you need to know about this skill is that maxing it reduces it's energy cost. This is valuable to know because Zed FEASTS on energy. If you're scared that keeping Q at 1 for awhile is gonna screw you over, go ahead and max it first.
Absolutely LOVE this skill. Not only does it get you place you should not be able to go, it also lets close distances, jukes the bajeebers out of your opponent, and at max rank, passively increases your attack by 25%! This is the skill that will take the most practice to perfect, and it really separates the good Zed players from the bad. As a jungler, you will be using Living Shadow primarily to close ganks. One last word of advice: be aware of where your shadow is at ALL TIMES!
This is the skill I max first as a jungler and a top laner. This skill is what makes your jungle possible. It's easy to hit, does AOE, and slows, which is the only form of CC Zed gets outside of Red Buff or an item. Also, it's energy cost remains constant at 50 energy a cast, so it's very spammable. Again, make sure you manage your energy.
My personal favoritist thing about Zed hands down. Basically, press R, click on the enemy ADC, E, Q auto, maybe E again if possible, then walk away. Few seconds later, they explode. Poof. The ult by itself will do damage equal to 100% of your attack. Upon detonation, it will also do damage equal to 20/30/50% of the damage you dealt to the target. But ONLY YOU. Nobody else. This is not an invincible weapon. As mentioned before, it can be countered. Kayle, Renekton, Lulu, etc. are all champs to watch out for. More often that not, your ult will be used to bait one of their ults. Overall, a great tool for securing kills. One last thing: this ability spawns a shadow behind the opponent. If you need to cover some quick distance, activate R again and you'll switcheroo with that clone. Again, be aware of where your shadow is at ALL TIMES!
Jeez this is a lot of work...
Alright, now on to my item choices. In addition to the core build, I also include some viable options, as well as some situational picks. Make sure your aware of the game state while you're shopping. The progress of the game should always dictate what you buy.
This is how most any jungler starts these days. Fast clearing, lots of pots to keep you healthy, pretty standard and predictable.
The Iron Core of...Zed
Cooldown reduction? Attack damage? Armor pen? HEALTH???? So yeah, if you play any AD champ, barring ADC, and don't get this item, I question your sanity. Fact is, It's TOO GOOD. Anyways, this is usually my the last core item I finish, unless I'm doing really good. However, I try to at least have two [Longsword]s, if not a [Brutalizer], by the 7-8 minute mark. Bottom line: get the dang item.
Good pick for the AD jungler. [Spirit of the Lizard Elder] is also a viable pick, but I like the free ward and extra armor that Wriggle's gives. On average, your first trip back to the hub should net you a [Madred's Razor] and [Boots of Speed]. This is usually the first core item to emerge during my usual matches.
Them supah fast boots, makin' you run like Sonic. Great item for getting around the map, especially in conjunction with your [Quintessence of Movement]. As far as enchantments go, I do [Homeguard] or [Alacrity]. These are my top choice of footwear for any jungler.
Season 3 spat this thing out of nowhere it seems. however, upon using it, I gotta say it's a really cost effective item that gives you a lot of benefits. The passive can save someone from [Ignite] or give your team an extra bit of health in a team fight. Plus, you get CDR, health, health regen, and armor. I'm a fan.
As the game goes on...
I don't always get to finish my builds, but when I do, here's how I do it.
Such an amazing item. Gives you some MR, adding to your tankiness, passively increases your tank while your health goes down, and gives you a little purple shield in troubled times. A great item that scales well into the late game.
I'm still not sure who exactly Warmog is, but I like his armor. So does everybody in season 3. I think I've seen at least 3 'mogs on every team in each competitive circuit I've watched this season. But it's a pretty logical choice. I mean, if you don't wanna die, get more health. Depending on what the enemy team comp is, I may rush this item alongside my [Locket of the Iron Solari] just so I can stay in on long team fights.
Here's a few items that can be subbed in for something else if you feel the need.
Nice choice for AD offtanks. Consistently procs a slow, gives a good bit of health. Wish it gave more than 25 attack, but such is life.
If the enemy team has a lot of CC, get it. You get your money's worth I promise. Extra MR, 65 AD, extra tenacity, and a lovely active. Definitely a good sub-in for [Maw of Malmortius] if needed.
If you lane Zed, get this without question. It's a ridiculously strong item. I just don't like building it as a jungler because I feel like less of an assasin and more like an off-tank in jungle. Maybe replace [Wriggle's Lantern} with it later in the game.
You wanna really hurt the enemy carries? Here's a good way to do it. If you find that you're opponents are building a little too much armor, get this and shred like Shredder. Not too expensive, this will usually replace [Wriggle's Lantern} if the game goes turns into one of those hour long struggles.
In de Jungle, de Mightee Jungle
Okay, so now that you have a basic design for Zed, let's talk about how we go about doing things. You'll have to pardon me for this one, it's gonna be a lot of words and not many pictures, but I think America needs to read more anyways, so here I am making my personal dream come true. What a run-on sentence that was...
The route you take in jungle depends largely on the respective team comps. If you have a killer bot lane, like maybe [Thresh] and [Caitlyn], you should go for red buff first and gank bot immediately after. If a lane is capable of feeding you, eat the dang food. Everyone involved benefits from a successful gank. With the CDR and the [Hunter's Machete], you can clear Wraiths and the Lizard Camp really friggin fast, specially with a good leash. Then just mosey on down bot and get your (hopefully) free kill. Basically, if either mid or top has a snare, stun or suppress that they can get early, gank for them as soon as possible.
Now, if you are in situation where everyone is gonna take their own sweet time, start blue. The energy regen and CDR from the buff drastically speed up your clear time, which makes it possible for you to have lane presence without worrying about getting behind in levels and CS. If you are starting blue I recommend this route:
Also, try to be conscious of the map at all times. If you notice the enemy jungler heading bot to gank, follow him for the counter gank. Junglers can save lives and lanes. Just remember: the jungler's job is NOT to help some selfish wannabe carry win their lane. You are to provide global presence and assistance, and to capitalize on the mistakes of the enemy.
When you initiate your gank, begin by throw out a [Living Shadow] to the target, followed by a quick [Shadow Slash] and a switcheroo with your shadow buddy. The slow from the E will usually allow you to get an auto-attack off, which procs red, which slows more, by then you have E up again...usually ends with a kill. Zed is a character that requires fast fingers and precise casting, which makes him more difficult than your average champ. However, with practice, he becomes an unstoppable ganking machine. Ah yes: never forget your minion tax. I don't care if the ADC cries. A successful gank = FARM FOR DE NICE JUNGLER.
Well folks, I really hope this helped. I'm always open for CONSTRUCTIVE criticism, after all this is my first guide and all. Anyways, good luck with your ninja mastery. I'll see you on the Rift. Peace.