Zac Build Guide by MechanicLoL
Not Updated For Current Season
Top Lane Zac
Full Tank vs AD
Full Tank vs AP
Not Updated For Current Season
Hi I'm Mechanic and I play in the top lane. This will be my first guide and I'll be focusing on Zac; one of the best cc tanks you can play in the top lane. He is valuable in any team composition and is a great champ for climbing the solo queue ladder. I suggest trying your luck with him and I'm sure you won't be disappointed.
Pros / Cons
Zac is a very strong champion in ranked solo queue and competitive play but he does have weaknesses; below are the benefits and downfalls to playing the green machine in the top lane.
Pros - Why you're playing Zac
|+ Potent CC tank
+ Great sustain
+ GA passive with Cell Division
+ Incredible base damage
+ Fits into almost any composition
Zac is a great pick into the top lane in solo queue or in team play. The amount of disrupt he can provide in team fights is immense if you can land your Elastic Slingshot on several enemies and follow up with your let's bounce. Zac's ultimate provides him with movement speed and a lot of disruption (but no longer provides tenacity). You can disrupt the enemy adc while doing considerable damage as well because of your high base damage. Your passive is also a great tool allowing for you to be in the front and forcing the enemy team's focus while allowing your team time to take out priority targets while they waste time taking out your blobs. In lane you have a lot of sustain available to you if you are able to pick up blobs making you very hard to push out of lane.
Cons - Where he falls short
+ Not the best choice if your team needs more of a carry top laner.
+ The opposing laner can step on blobs to deny some sustain.
+ If you don't have back up or aren't under tower it can be easy to kill off your Cell Division blobs
+ Champions like Vayne and items like Blade of the Ruined King can be detrimental to health stacking because of %health and current health
When your team is in need of damage Zac can dish out a good deal of it but he should not be your first choice. The blobs dropped by your abilities can be used by the other laner to force trades. They can either step on the blob to deny your sustain or even camp the blob and try to force an all in if you go to pick it up. Your passive can be underwhelming at times; for instance if you die in lane and you're not directly under tower there is nothing to really stop your opponent from killing your Cell Division blobs. Vayne's Silver Bolts is probably one of the toughest abilities for Zac to deal with along with the current %health items Liandry's Torment and Blade of the Ruined King.
You want to pick up 9x magic penetration reds and magic penetration quintessences because this will make all of your abilities stronger. Penetration is always more efficient than flat ap because his base damage is high but his scaling is rather lackluster. Flat armor runes are standard, the flat magic resist runes are there if magic damage is an immediate threat but these can be replaced by 9x Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist if you aren't facing any ability power based threats in lane.
Summoner's Wrath is standard for any laner with Ignite; burning it early can give you an advantage with the additional 5 ad and ap you can use in trades but with Zac, ignite should mostly be used to secure kills.
I only take one point in Sorcery but 2 points in Butcher because I find last hitting on Zac a little tough without this mastery. If you find last hitting easy without the mastery then putting those two points towards cdr is perfectly fine.
Block is a valuable mastery which when combined with a Doran's Shield start can negate a lot of aa harass.
Tenacious is a must have, you want be locked up for as little time as possible. Especially with the recent changes to his ult.
A single point in Juggernaut helps your health scale up and any more points in it would excessive as the first point gives you 1.5% additional health while each additional point only gives 1.25%.
Defender is a great skill to have especially if you aren't sure of where the enemy jungler is. If you pay attention to your defensive stats you can sometimes notice the +1 increase and know to back off knowing the jungler is in your lane. This is especially important if your ward just timed out or if your ward was cleared.
This is my standard start against most laners. The shield gives you flat health and regen while also reducing the damage taken from auto attacks. Most early trades involve trading auto's so this combined with Block makes laning that much easier. This start is most important when laning against the likes of Shen, Kennen, and Jayce.
The Cloth Armor start is an alternative to the doran's start if you expect to take heavy attack damage early. Although I still prefer the shield most of the time, cloth 5 is important in match-ups against ad casters who usually have very strong level 2 or 3 all ins. Examples of this are Lee Sin, Rengar, and Kha'Zix.
This Rejuvenation Bead start is helpful against ability power champions when you need a ward. It can be used against ad champions if you absolutely need vision to avoid an early gank from the junglers like Xin Zhao or Evelynn who tend to visit lanes early on. The optional vision ward start is there in case you need the vision against Evelynn or if you want to clear the enemy's ward and set up an early gank.
These should be your core items in the mid game. Go for the Haunting Guise as fast as possible, it gives you some well needed health and magic pen which once completed should help you take control of most lanes. The same goes for the Sorcerer's Shoes. Once you have both of these items grab the giants belt first against ap while opting for the chain vest against ad champions. Either way make sure to finish that Sunfire Cape third which will give you some much needed tankiness and an offensive aura which works with the magic pen you picked up.
Now that the mid game is coming to a close you've probably started grouping with your teammates. Now you have to look at the enemy composition and decide whether or not you'll be picking up a Randuin's Omen or a Spirit Visage. In double or triple ap the optimal choice is always the visage. If they have a strong carry you should definitely consider getting a randuin's as soon as possible. If you dive into their team and can't soak damage then you're not doing your job as an initiator and a tank. Finish your Liandry's Torment after you finish either of these defensive items, but if your team is in desperate need of a stronger front line, then don't be afraid to pick up both defensive items before finishing that off. I included the Guardian Angel as your sixth item because it will only increase your effectiveness as a tank. They will have to kill you three times in fights and that can buy your team a lot of time to focus priority targets.
Warmog's is definitely useful as sixth item and can be incorporated even earlier in your build. It is strong against a lot of ap compositions which don't incorporate Liandry's Torment into their builds, but even then it still works very well with Zac. Thornmail is a great buy after Randuin's if the enemy team is heavy with ad champions and it works especially well against auto attack champions like Tryndamere, Aatrox, and obviously their ad carry. Abyssal Scepter is a very nice pickup into heavy ap compositions that also gives you an offensive aura that reduces magic resist. I do suggest building some health before picking up the scepter.
If you are up against a strong ap laner like Elise, then you are going to NEED magic resist as soon as possible. I suggest rushing a Spirit Visage and Mercury's Treads as soon as possible. While we're on the topic, pick up these boots whenever an enemy composition consists of heavy crowd control, it will be much more valuable than the magic penetration from Sorcerer's Shoes. After you have both of those items you should transition into a Sunfire Cape and continue with your core afterwards. If you need to be the tank then you can pass up on the Haunting Guise in favor of purely defensive items. You could work in an Abyssal Scepter instead to get additional magic resist and some magic penetration to make up for not buying the guise.
Against a strong ad laner and/or composition I would suggest going for a Sunfire Cape rush into Ninja Tabi. Get your Randuin's Omen then build into a Thornmail. Essentially just follow the tank build versus heavy AD listed at the top of this guide and you should do well.
Skill Sequence/Skill Explanations
The skill sequence for top lane Zac is a bit different than most jungle Zac skill sequences.
For lane you will be maxing Stretching Strike first. Maxing this ability allows you to strike at your enemy from a small distance for considerable damage. The most efficient way to use this ability is to try and grab last hits with it while lining up the last hit with your opposing laner. The ability applies a slow as well so if you can land this on the other top laner as your jungler is coming in, it will make it even easier to secure the kill.
Next up is the Elastic Slingshot which is an incredible gap closer and escape tool. I like to grab slingshot at level 2 just in case the opposing jungler tries to swing by for an early gank. Remember that your slingshot can be interrupted by hard crowd control abilities like knock-backs and stuns. I max this second to get as much distance on the jump as possible. This allows you to initiate fights from fog of war in the mid game.
You level Unstable Matter last. It is a bit hard to use effectively in lane; with some finesse you can grab tricky last hits you might not otherwise get with the spell and it is on a pretty short cooldown. It does %health damage and is very effective at harassing other tanks in lane. It is the only ability you can use while using your Let's Bounce. This spell probably benefits the most from your magic penetration in the late game since you'll be doing a lot of health shredding to the enemy front line.
Your ultimate is Let's Bounce and you should put a point into it at every chance you get. It works wonders in team fights and is a good tool for finishing off enemies in lane. It can be partnered with your Elastic Slingshot to keep the other top laner locked up long enough for your jungler to get to your lane or secure the kill. It can even be used as an escape tool because of the additional movement speed (but it no longer gives you tenacity as of patch 3.10a!). For instance if the opposing jungler sneaks through lane and jumps on you, your ultimate will knock up both the jungler and the other top laner and hopefully give you enough time to escape without blowing your passive.
Your passive Cell Division is a great tool that can be used several different ways. It can be used to bait tower dives if you can work with your jungler to set up a countergank for your lane. You can use it offensively in jungle invades because if you're the person walking at the front of your team, if they turn on you they not only have to kill you but your blobs too. This could provide enough time for your team to score first blood.
You're probably sick of it by now but I keep talking about Zac as an initiator and a cc tank. I'll explain how you should accomplish this (Trust me it's very simple). Come mid game you'll probably have 3 or 4 core items depending on how you did in lane. This is usually the time to start grouping and pushing for objectives. The enemy team is sure to do this too. In team fights you should use your Elastic Slingshot to initiate on as many people as you can. If you can manage to land on 3 or more people then proceed to pop your let's bounce to knock up the enemy team a second time. If done correctly you can keep them in the air for about 1.5 seconds. This is where your decision making comes into play. If your ad carry is stronger and one or more champions are trying to dive the carry, then you should peel back while bouncing in your ultimate to knock them up and keep them from getting to the carry at all costs. Don't forget to use Stretching Strike as the slow will allow your carry to kite more effectively. Spam your Unstable Matter at all times and pick up blobs when you can, but don't go too out of the way to pick up your blobs! Every second counts in a team fight and you should always be ready to peel back for your carries. Only dive the enemy carries if you are sure that you can secure the kill and/or that your carry is well protected.
I hope you all found my Zac guide helpful! Zac in my personal opinion is one of the strongest top laners right now and he is definitely a great pick for anyone. His skill set has a lot of versatility and in the right hand he can turn the tides of games.
I'm Mechanic and thank you again for checking out my guide and feel free to leave comments, I'll make sure to read them all!