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Zilean Build Guide by Swuft

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Swuft

Ye Olde Zilean Mid

Swuft Last updated on July 19, 2016
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Ability Sequence

1
3
5
7
9
Ability Key Q
2
10
12
13
17
Ability Key W
4
8
14
15
18
Ability Key E
6
11
16
Ability Key R





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.



Masteries

Fury
 
 
5/
Sorcery
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Vampirism
 
 
5/
Natural Talent
 
 
 
 
 
Bounty Hunter
1/
Oppressor
 
 
 
 
 
Battering Blows
 
 
Piercing Thoughts
 
 
 
 

Ferocity: 12

5/
Wanderer
 
 
Savagery
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Bandit
1/
Dangerous Game
 
 
 
 
 
5/
Precision
 
 
Intelligence
 
 
 
 

Cunning: 18

Recovery
 
 
Unyielding
 
 
 
 
 
Explorer
Tough Skin
 
 
 
 
 
Runic Armor
 
 
Veteran's Scars
 
 
 
 
 
Insight
Perseverance
 
 
 
 
 
Swiftness
 
 
Legendary Guardian
 
 
 
 

Resolve: 0



Threats to Zilean with this build

Threat
Low
High
Show all
Threat Champion Notes
2
Anivia You outrange the bird with your bombs. Pop ignite early to get her egg, because after that she is a free kill on ganks because of your CC. Dodge her Q and you win. Late game she will almost instakill you with an empowered E.
2
Karthus You simply beat him. He has no mobility and is extremely weak early, so pressure for early kills. Your ult counters his. Ganks from your jungler are free gold.
2
Kayle You outrange Kayle, even when she has ranged AA's. She will push, so bomb the minion wave in a way that lets you farm under turret easier. If she slows you slow her, and she won'tbe able to catch you. Landing bombs is easy because she stands still a lot.
2
Veigar You can speed out of his stun and you outrange him. When you see him ult just ult yourself. This should be easy.
2
Vel'Koz If you learn to dodge his Q he won't be able to hurt you. It is pretty easy to land bombs on him, and you can use your speedup to dodge his knockback if you see it coming. Your ult denies his kills later.
Guide Top

An Introduction



So, you play Zilean, do you? Well, let me welcome you to this guide! My name is Swuft and I am a Platinum 4 player with over 100 ranked games on the ChronoKeeper in S5 & S6 alone. Although I profess to having only a 55% winrate in those games, during my time playing I have become very familiar with many of the ins and outs of the ol' bomber man. I now wish to pass some of this information to you, dear reader. If you wish to carry games and have fun doing so, then keep reading!


Zilean is a mid-to-late game mage who is extremely versatile and excels in teamfights. Great waveclear combined with ridiculously spammable CC helps Zilean bombard the enemy into submission all game long. Although many people will tell you that he belongs in the support role, I firmly believe that Zilean should only be played in the mid lane. With great pushing power, ganking potential, and an ultimate that denies kills, Zilean can not only starve out enemy assassins but also get fed in the process. Most importantly, he is a fun champion to play and can help you carry games. What else can you ask for?


Guide Top

Playing Zilean: The Pros and Cons

Pros

+ Massive utility
+ Spammable skills
+ Ultimate denies kills
+ Large AOE stun
+ Easy farming and waveclear
Although Zilean has very few easy laning matchups, his utility and damage in teamfights and skirmishes makes him one of the most valuable champions in the game to have on your team. Ganks to his lane often result in kills, and he can punish opponents who gank him under turret. Finally, his ultimate Chronoshift, is arguably one of the best abilities in the game allowing a teammate to return from death.

Cons

- Weak early laning phase
- Heavily reliant on skill shots
- One damaging spell
- Squishy until mid-game
- Reliant on team to win games
Zilean provides lots of utility, but has a relatively high skillcap between cooldown management and decision making when it comes to his speed/slow/ultimate targets. Additionally, Zilean struggles sometimes solo-carrying games and does best when your team can group and fight together.


Guide Top

Masteries



Masteries for Zilean are pretty straight forward, but here's some short detail on why I chose the ones I did.


FEROCITY TREE

space

Tier 1: Take 5 points in Sorcery to increase your Time Bomb damage. This is pretty straight forward.

Tier 2: Although you might be tempted to take Double-Edged Sword here, Feast gives you a little bit of sustain in lane, which will help you survive harass until you get Catalyst of Aeons.

Tier 3: 5 points in Natural Talent here, as Zilean will never do enough sustained damage to benefit from the increased spell-vamp Vampirism gives.

Tier 4: Although Bounty Hunter is very tempting, Oppressor is the much stronger mastery for Zilean. With your long slows and AOE stun, you will benefit greatly from the 2.5% increased damage as your enemy will nearly always be movement-impaired.

CUNNING TREE
space

Tier 1: Take 5 points in Wanderer here so that you can roam and return to lane quicker. If you are having trouble farming, however, consider taking Savagery instead.

Tier 2: Secret Stash is very important for Zilean, as his laning phase before Catalyst of Aeons is pretty weak and he needs all the sustain he can get. Do not take Assassin as the majority of your kills and fights will be around your teammates, making it a wasted mastery point for you.

Tier 3: This tier is up to personal preference. I know most people take 5 points in Merciless as it is a very strong mastery, but I've found the mana regen from Meditation can be very helpful early-mid game. Thus I take 3 points in Merciless and 2 points in Meditation .

Tier 4: Dangerous Game is the single best mastery in the game. Always take it.

Tier 5: Take 5 points in Precision here, as you will reach 40% CDR with your build normally. The extra 5% gained from Intelligence is barely noticeable, as Rewind will constantly be resetting your cooldowns.

Tier 6: Thunderlord's Decree is the best. Proc it in lane as often as possible, and don't forget you must AA the enemy after you double-bomb to proc it!


Guide Top

Rune Pages: Which to Use



There are 3 main sets of runes that I use when playing Zilean, the first of which is at the top of this guide. All 3 are important to have, as they can make the difference between life or death in the early laning phase. I will list them all below, along with the situations in which you should use them. I do not ever recommend taking CDR in runes, since now almost every mage item you will build has CDR as a stat.


RUNE SET #1: ONE-ZILEAN DOLLARS

Greater Mark
of Magic Pen


x9

+7.8 Magic Pen
space
Greater Seal
of Scaling Health

x9

+216 HP @ 18
space
Greater Glyph
of Ability Power

x9

+11 Ability Power
space
Greater Quintessence
of Ability Power

x3

+15 Ability Power
TAKE THESE WHEN: Your lane matchup is easy, or you think you can get kills and snowball.

This is personally my favorite rune set, but I would not recommend using it until you've become familiar with the weaknesses of Zilean's laning phase. Because Time Bomb scales with 90% of your AP, the flat AP these runes give helps increase your early damage significantly. All of your defensive stats will be really low, however, as these runes replace MR with flat AP. The Greater Seal of Scaling Health helps you to survive burst mid/late game.


RUNE SET #2: STOP THE BURST

Greater Mark
of Magic Pen


x9

+7.8 Magic Pen
space
Greater Seal
of Scaling Health

x9

+216 HP @ 18
space
Greater Glyph
of Magic Resist

x9

+12 Magic Resist
space
Greater Quintessence
of Ability Power

x3

+15 Ability Power
TAKE THESE WHEN: You are against heavy AP burst, need to survive the early laning phase to outscale your opponent in the mid/late game, or are facing a heavy harass champion ( Lux, Xerath etc...).

I recommend running these runes if you are just learning how to play Zilean, or find yourself having trouble staying alive in the early laning phase of games against AP opponents. These runes give you some nice early MR and late HP, but sacrifices the burst the Rune Set #1 provides. With this setup you will most likely need a gank to get a kill unless the enemy really messes up.


RUNE SET #3: AP & ARMOR

Greater Mark
of Magic Pen


x9

+7.8 Magic Pen
space
Greater Seal
of Armor

x9

+9 Armor
space
Greater Glyph
of Ability Power

x9

+11 Ability Power
space
Greater Quintessence
of Ability Power

x3

+15 Ability Power
TAKE THESE WHEN: You are against a bursty AD laner, such as Talon or Zed, or against an AD laner you are not comfortable facing. I generally run these against Yasuo as well.

Since AD mid-laners are few and far between these days (heh), this runepage is a must have for when you end up facing one. Since most AD opponents are looking for early kills to snowball off of, the extra armor in these rune will help you stay alive and starve them of kills. In some cases, however, you may decide to run Rune Set #1 instead if you feel you can kill the enemy early.


Guide Top

Summoner Spells



There are only a few summoner spells that Zilean can take full advantage of. I have included the 3 best ones below. Teleport is not included, although it can be run in certain situations if you deem it necessary.



Flash is a must have spell for every champion, and Zilean is no different. This spell allows for both quick getaways as well as surprise attacks, and should be taken every game.

In most lanes, Ignite is the second spell of choice. This spell allows you to secure kills that you otherwise would have missed, and can help you start to snowball.

Cleanse is the best substitute for Ignite on Zilean. If your opponent has a stun that could disrupt you from ulting yourself, take this spell since it will let you remove the stun.


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Description of Abilities





Below are in depth descriptions of Zilean's abilities. You should always max your Q, Time Bomb, first. After that, you can decide to level your W Rewind or your E Time Warp. I would suggest getting your W second if you are fed and getting your E second if you are behind (because Time Warp brings more utility to your team).

TIME IN A BOTTLE



Description: Zilean stores experience every second, the sum of which is displayed above his abilities on the hotbar. When near an ally with enough experience to level them up once, right click them to channel for a second and deliver both them and you bonus XP. An ally that can be granted XP will have a yellow ring around them.

Use: Time in a Bottle can be used on your jungler to grant yourself and them bonus experience. Often there won't be an opportunity to do this, however, and you'll just have to wait for someone on your team to be nearby to use it. If possible use this on an ally, as it helps you both gain a level advantage in lane.

TIME BOMB



Description: Zilean launches a bomb at a target location, latching on to any units in the inner radius area prioritizing champions. After 3 seconds the bomb explodes, dealing 75/115/165/230/300 (+90% AP) damage to all units in the radius. If two bombs land on the same target, the first bomb explodes early and all enemies in the radius are stunned for 1.5 seconds.

Use: This skill is where practice will help greatly. Learning to predict an enemy's movement so that you can land a bomb takes a little bit to learn, but once you've figured it out it becomes easy. Double Bombing is a very important skill that you must use the entire game. Although it is Zilean's only damaging skill, the 90% AP scaling and double casting makes it a huge AOE nuke.

Tips and Tricks
  • Use to clear minion waves
  • Double bombing any target (even allies!) stuns all enemies in the radius
  • If a unit dies with a bomb still on it, the bomb detonates
  • Use to zone enemies away from an area
  • If an enemy walks over a bomb on the ground, it will attach to them

REWIND



Description: Reduces the cooldown of Time Bomb and Time Warp by 10 seconds. You cannot learn this skill at Level 1.

Use: Using this skill will always bring your Time Bomb (Q) off cooldown. Use this immediately after casting Q to cast it again quickly and land a Double Bomb. This skill's cooldown dictates how often you are able to hard engage on people.

Tips and Tricks
  • Use to chain slows or speed boosts on enemies and allies respectively
  • Use to land Double Bombs on enemies
  • Always be aware of this skill's current cooldown timer

TIME WARP



Description: Slow an enemy or speed an ally for 2.5 by 40/55/70/85/99%. At max level, this slows as much as a Thresh ultimate.

Use: This ability is critical to Zilean's safety during the laning phase, as it allows him to escape or foil ganks easily. The slow or speed has the exact same duration as Exhaust, so casting it on the enemy midlaner during a gank almost always results in them flashing or dying. Can be cast on yourself.

Tips and Tricks
  • Cast on an enemy to make it easier to land your Time Bomb
  • Speed your tanks/bruisers before fights so they can get to the enemy backline
  • Slow enemy carries during fights so they can't kite away
  • Cast on enemy taking turret aggro if they dive you to pick up an easy kill
  • Catch people out by casting once on yourself, using Rewind and then casting on an enemy

CHRONOSHIFT


Description: Zilean marks himself or an ally for 5 seconds. If they die during that time, they enter a stasis for 2 seconds then are revived with 600/850/1100 (+200% AP) health.

Use: This is quite possibly the best ability in the entire game. It is basically a targetable Guardian Angel which is up every 120/90/60 seconds, and is the main reason why Zilean can excel against assassins. Even if you don't get really fed, you are able to revive a teammate to (basically) full health when they die. With 40% CDR, this ultimate has around a 30 second cooldown, which is why CDR is so important to have in your build.

Tips and Tricks
  • Cast on yourself if you think you are going to die. If the enemy attacks you will regain health upon death, which gives you time to run away
  • Cast on a fed teammate, forcing the enemy to kill them twice
  • Cannot be cast if you are stunned/suppressed
  • Try to cast right before the fatal damage reaches you, as if you ult too early it will go to waste
  • Type "Can't killean the Zilean!" in chat when you escape the enemy after using it


Guide Top

Combos



Long Sword stands for an auto-attack.


Basic Harass

-> x2


This is your most basic combo, which should be used on your enemy laner whenever you think you can land a bomb. It is important to land the two AA's after the bomb to proc Thunderlord's Decree , but if you think you will take damage while doing this just bomb and retreat. Time Bomb has a deceptively long range, and is pretty hard to dodge if you cast it well and unpredictably.


The Double Bomb

-> -> -> x2


This is the most important combo in your kit. By landing a Double Bomb on an enemy champion, the first Time Bomb detonates early and stuns everyone in the radius for 1.5 seconds. In order to pull off the combo well, you have to Rewind and cast the second Time Bomb very quickly after the first. While they are stunned, hit them with an AA or two to proc Thunderlord's Decree .


Slow n' Stun

-> -> -> -> x2


This is combo is a variation of The Double Bomb, with the added component of first slowing your enemy. The slow allows you to more easily land your double Time Bomb (at later levels it will be impossible to miss), with the added bonus of being able to slow them once again after the stun wears off. This is the combo you want to use when your jungler ganks your lane.


One very important skill that every Zilean player must have is the ability to hotkey self-cast an ability on yourself. This is accomplished by pressing the "alt" key before your ability key, and is invaluable skill to have. In the heat of combat, it is too slow and risky to place your mouse over your character and hit your Time Warp or Chronoshift key; there is also the possibility you could miss-cast the ability on an unintended target. Using the "alt-(ability key)" combination prevents these unfortunate circumstances from ever occurring. Just do it.



Guide Top

How to Build



General Item Info & Explanation


As Zilean mid you have four stat priorities when getting items: AP, CDR, HP, Mana. Any item you purchase, except in extreme situations, should have at least one of these statistics. Obviously, the more of these an item has, the better it is for Zilean. Here the items I listed at the very top of the guide, along with explanations on why I chose them.


Starting Item


Doran's Ring gives you everything you need early: mana regen, health,and of course ability power. Always get this to start, but never ever buy more than one of them during the course of the game.

Core Items


This is THE core item of your build. By rushing this you allow it to start passively stacking early, granting you more AP/Mana/HP as it does. ALWAYS buy Catalyst of Aeons first item, followed by whole item on preferably your second back. If necessary, sell your Doran's Ring to complete this item, as it is better to get it early then waste another trip going back to base. Zilean is an innately squishy champion, so he needs the health this item gives to survive trades.

These are your first choice of boots. Buy them AFTER you finish Rod of Ages. They allow you to spam your skills even more by giving you some cheap flat CDR, which is better for Zilean than the Magic Pen of Sorcerer's Shoes. Late game, if you find yourself building 40% CDR purely through other items, sell these and get Sorcerer's Shoes instead.

Due to the godlike amount of AP this item grants, I usually buy this after my boots. With 90% scaling on your Time Bomb, Rabadon's Deathcap will make you do ridiculous amounts of damage. However, if you are behind get Morellonomicon before this because of its CDR.

The new Morellonomicon is one of the best AP items in the game, granting lots of AP and CDR, as well as a decent amount of Mana. With boots and this you will have 30% CDR, which is really important. Normally buy this as your 3rd main item, but get it before Rabadon's Deathcap if you are behind.

One of Zilean's main weaknesses in the late game is that high enemy MR really hurts his damage output. Thankfully, Void Staff's 35% Magic Pen shreds through all but the heaviest enemy tanks, making it a must buy late game. If you find yourself dying quickly in fights, buy Zhonya's Hourglass before this because staying alive is more important than shredding enemy tanks.

If you are facing an AD lane, you should buy this item directly after Rod of Ages. Otherwise, get it as soon as you start getting focused in teamfights. Normally buy it after Void Staff, but you can swap their purchase order if you feel it necessary.

Situational Items


Now that the AP of Athene's Unholy Grail has been nerfed greatly, buy this if you need extra MR in lane against somebody like a LeBlanc. Keep in mind it now grants 10% CDR, meaning later you can swap out your Ionian Boots of Lucidity for Sorcerer's Shoes.

Never include this item in your normal build. Firstly, Zilean has only two spells that can trigger the slow effect of this item, and bother are delayed. Secondly, Zilean already has a huge slow from his Time Warp and has no problem keeping enemies pinned down. Only get this if you need the extra HP to survive bursty enemies.

Swap this item for Morellonomicon if you need CDR and MR really fast. I usually build this if I am super behind and chose to go full utility mage instead of Zilean's natural burst mage item route. If it's just MR you want, buy Abyssal Scepter first.

Buy this item if you are confident in winning a game, or if you need to maximize the amount of AP you have in your build for whatever reason. If you don't need Magic Pen, buy this instead of Void Staff. This item will allow you to 1-shot the enemy ADC late game if you land a Double Bomb combo.



I decided to put a brief note about this since I see a lot of Zilean players buying Tear of the Goddess on Mid Zilean (you must have one or the other), and it genuinely gives me a headache.
ZILEAN. NEEDS. HEALTH. Tear of the Goddess GIVES NO HEALTH.
Zilean has the 3rd lowest total health at level 18 out of all champions, clocking in at a grand total of 1706 HP. Having already determined that Rylai's Crystal Scepter is absolutely horrid on Zilean, the only other health option for AP mages is, you guessed it, Rod of Ages, which just so happens to also give MANA. If you don't get health, you will live for about two seconds in teamfights before being brutally killed by the enemy assassin. Zilean needs to stay alive for as long as possible in fights, because his low cooldowns allow him to spam his skills and paralyze opposing team with CC.

"But I can just buy Rylai's Crystal Scepter if I get Tear of the Goddess" you say. No. For 500g less, Rod of Ages will end up giving you +100hp and the exact same AP as Rylai's Crystal Scepter, AS WELL AS saving you the 3100g you would have spent on Archangel's Staff.

TL;DR: Rod of Ages gives you all the mana, health and AP you need, while saving you 3,600g (assuming you buy Tear of the Goddess and Rylai's Crystal Scepter in the other build path).


Guide Top

The Five Commandments of Mid Zilean



Now that we have covered the basics, it is time to get into the finer details. The following are strict rules that must be followed when playing Mid Zilean to ensure success. Deviation from these laws is not tolerated.


FIRST COMMANDMENT
Can't killean the Zilean

As the AP middle lane mage, you are naturally the most important player on your team. Naturally. Thus, it follows that in fights YOU are the primary target for your ult Chronoshift. Did your ADC get caught out in the beginning of the fight and is about to die? Did your support dive their team 1v5 under the enemy turret? Did your jungler attempt to make a play and instead got stunned? Too bad. Mid to late game, your cooldown on Time Bomb will be exceedingly low, meaning the longer you are alive the greater chance you have to win the fight due to your long-*** AOE stun. This does not mean never Chronoshift your teammates. This is just a warning that generally speaking it is better to save it for yourself because Zilean can greatly effect teamfights.



SECOND COMMANDMENT
One is none, two is one

Zilean is one of the only champions in League of Legends with just one damaging spell in their kit. To make things even more difficult, the only damaging skill Zilean has is a skill-shot. This means that you must land every skill shot no matter what, otherwise you will do no damage and lose the game. More specifically, you must land both Time Bombs on the same target. EVERY. TIME. By doing so, you not only stun the target (and whoever else is nearby, i.e. the whole enemy team) but also explode one bomb immediately. Otherwise, the bomb will explode in 3 seconds upon hitting giving the enemy plenty of time to thwart your damage. The stun is basically the best offensive part of Zilean's kit anyways, so if you can't activate it....



THIRD COMMANDMENT
Be kind, rewind

Zilean's E, Time Warp, is one of the strongest targetable slows in the entire game. At max level, it will slow for 99% for 2.5 seconds. Additionally, a well timed Rewind will increase this slow to 5.0 seconds of 99% slowed movement on a single enemy champion. In teamfights, it is critical for you to use this on the enemy mage or ADC TWO TIMES, as it will make them a sitting duck for the rest of your team the entire fight (good luck kiting with a 99% slow on you). It is more important to slow the enemy carry than sped your teammates when the fight has broken out, as you cannot rely on them using the speed effectively. Of course, you can also use the slow to catch an enemy out, but that is another story.



FOURTH COMMANDMENT
Me, Myself and I

Zilean as a champion relies somewhat heavily on his team to excel in the mid/late game. To get to a point where you can help carry a game, you will need ganks. These should already come because the middle lane is the easiest lane to gank, but in the event your jungler doesn't appear to be coming demand that they gank. Zilean's slow combined with his stun make ganks a guaranteed kill if the enemy doesn't have Flash, and after they use it you won't even need a gank to kill them.



FIFTH COMMANDMENT
My rod is ageless

Look, it's no secret that Zilean uses a lot of mana; it is absolutely necessary to have a mana item or two in his build every game. Most people, however, believe and suggest that Tear of the Goddess is the best item for Zilean. No. It's not, and never build it, ever. Rod of Ages is your core mana item, and it should be rushed every game no matter what. Due to his constant proximity to bombs, Zilean is in constant danger of being blown up. By the enemy team, that is, because he has one of the lowest base health values in the game. Rod of Ages solves both the health and mana problems Zilean has, and sets you up perfectly for the mid game where he shines.


Guide Top

Laning Phase



To truly do well with Zilean, you must embrace him fully, crooked beard and all. You must become the crotchity old man telling those pesky kids to get off your damn lawn, and if they don't listen you must beat some sense into them. Or rather, blow some sense into them. With bombs.

Remember, nobody expects a Mid Zilean to do well or carry the game. You're like that one old man in a pickup basketball game: nobody expects you to do much, then you sink two shots from half-court and everyone dies, because you play with bombs not basketballs.

Always hit your Double Bombs.


MINDSET: having a positive mindset going into games is pretty important, but not as important as having the mindset of "You can't killean the Zilean". Essentially, your goal is not to die. Ever. This means that until level 6 when you get Chronoshift, you play the farm game. Poke and harass, sure, but never put yourself in a position where you could get behind. It's just not worth the risk, as if your Rod of Ages is delayed at all your whole build can go off track. Also remember that all minions in your lane belong to you. When your team comes, Double Bomb the minion wave so you get all the gold and they get none. Business is business.

ZONING: Learning how to zone your enemy away from their creeps is an important part to dominating any lane, and mid lane is no different. Zilean's Time Bomb is one of the best skills in the game at this, as the delayed explosion force the enemy away from an area for a full 3 seconds unless they want to take damage. Learn to use minions as your mini-bomb buddies. Toss a bomb on a creep of yours that is about to die; if the enemy kills it, the bomb will explode and hurt them, so they have to stay away from it. If the wave is advancing towards an enemy, toss a bomb on it and let your minions take it directly to them. You can also cut off entire passages through the river by throwing your bombs on the ground, which can be used to dissuade an enemy jungler from ganking.

FARMING: Farming in the midlane is critical, as any level advantage can spell either victory or defeat for you. Remember that the first creep of the second wave will always give you level 2; during the first wave, you should be constantly AA'ing the wave to push it. When you get a second point into your Time Bomb, a Double Bomb will kill the enemy caster minions. Use your bombs to manage the minion wave, stalling it from hitting your tower by stunning it if necessary. Focus on last hitting, and only harass when there isn't a minion that needs to be killed. So it's simple: kill the creeps when they're low, poke the enemy champion when they're not. This is the biggest thing that will help you get better.

WARDING: Warding in the middle lane is very important, as junglers love to gank due to the many unpredictable paths they can take to get to their target. Because of this, it is necessary to buy some Vision Wards and place it in one of the spots shown below. Try to find out which side of the map the enemy jungler started on, as many will gank mid immediately after getting Red Buff. If they make a full jungle clear this will be somewhere around 3 minutes. After a gank, remember where the enemy jungler came from so you can place a ward in that area. Often, they will come the same way next time and your vision will catch them. If you see the enemy jungler in another lane, that is your queue to go aggressive and harass the hell out of your opponent since you know they won't be getting any help. After level 9, get Farsight Alteration since it lets you ward brush without leaving lane. It will save you some missed CS!



These are the best spots to ward near the midlane. Red and Blue Arrows indicate the most common gank paths enemy junglers take when on each respective side.

Purple Squares show good warding spots for both sides, while Red and Blue Squares show good warding spots for each respective side. Green Squares show spots where your jungler/support can ward. Don't forget having wards on Dragon and Baron can be helpful in the mid/late game.


Guide Top

Level Breakdowns and Strategies



->


The goal of this guide is to make the above transformation possible for you. Note that reading the entirety of this guide is not sufficient; you must play a lot of Zilean, too, in order to learn the ins and outs of the champion. Here are some level-by-level tips detailing how I play in the early game (the most important part of League, truth be told), which should help you navigate the treacherous waters of Zilean's Levels 1-5.

Level Breakdown

  • Level 1: With one point, Time Bomb costs 60 Mana per cast. Zilean's starting mana pool is a cool 361 meaning you could potentially cast your Q around 6-7 times before depleting all your mana. Try and save it. If you have an easy lane, establish dominance early by landing a bomb and AAing them off the creep wave.

    At Level 1, your focus should be completely on farming. Constantly auto-attack the wave, making sure to last hit all the creeps. The first person to kill a creep from the second minion wave will hit Level 2 first, so be aware some opponents will hard engage directly after this.

  • Level 2: If you are facing a melee enemy who wants to engage at Level 2 ( Fizz, Yasuo), take a point in Time Warp here to halt their possible engage. If not, pick up Rewind and look for a chance to hit a Double Bomb (be aware this combo will quickly dry up your mana at Level 2, so make sure not to miss). Continue to farm and generally play passively, landing a single Time Bomb every once in a while.

  • Level 3: Right when you hit level 3, call for a gank. If your jungler comes, take a point in Time Warp and use your Slow n' Stun combo to do tons of damage to your enemy. If your jungler doesn't come, take another point in Time Bomb which increases its damage by a whole 40 points. Be aware of how many Health Potions your opponent has versus how many you have. Ideally you'll still have all of yours, which should allow you to farm enough to buy Catalyst of Aeons on your first back (1100g).

  • Level 4-5: These are the levels where you will begin to do a LOT of damage. You will now have a point in all your abilities, and at Level 5 your Time Bomb will do an incredible flat 165 damage (increased to around 200 with the AP scaling). This means your Double Bomb combo will do over 500 damage with Thunderlord's Decree . Land two of these combos and your enemy will be forced to back or chug Health Potions. If necessary, you can now Double Bomb the creep wave to easily farm.

  • Level 6: Level 6 is your safety net. Now, you can begin to take more risks because if you are about to die you can just pop Chronoshift. Around this time, look for an opportunity to go back to base and pick up Catalyst of Aeons and maybe even a Blasting Wand. Continue to ask for ganks, as they almost always result in something beneficial for your team due to Zilean's insane CC.

  • Level 7-11: If you have your opponent beat, continue grinding them into the dust here by starving them from getting farm/kills. Think about trying to take their tower if you can, as it gives a nice global gold boost to your team. Regardless of how fed you are, use your Time Warp mobility to gank other lanes and help your teammates get ahead too. Your Time Bomb is absolutely deadly in the Dragon or Nashor pits, because the radius is so large, so try and force objectives if possible.

Now that the Rift Herald has been added, support your Mid/Top laners if they decide to try and take it. DO NOT give it to your jungler if possible, as the power it grants will pretty much go to waste.



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What Are Those!... Objectives?



Learning when and how to take objectives can be a difference maker over the course of a game. If you think about it, League is just a jumble of decisions made over the course of ~30minutes that decides a winning team and a losing team. Here's some advice on how never to be the losing team.

RIFT HERALD
Spawn: 6:00
Despawn: 19:45

The new and improved Rift Herald now gives a 20 minute buff that remains even if you die with it. The buff, Glimpse of the Void, grants 5% damage reduction when you are away from allies, and also gives a charging damage buff (think single target Statikk Shiv). As soon as it spawns, coordinate with your jungler to ensure the enemy doesn't get it. Ideally, take the buff when a maximum of 1 enemy can contest. Because Rift Herald hits like a truck and resets quickly, you don't want to be fighting the enemy at the same time you are taking it. As Zilean you can annihilate the enemy if they are grouped in the pit, so look to contest if you see the opposing team taking it.


Here's a picture showing why Zilean is so good in the Rift Herald pit. As you can see, his Time Bomb radius easily covers the entire entrance to the pit.



DRAKES
Normal Spawn: 2:30
Elder Spawn: 35:00

There are four new drakes at spawn before 35 minutes, and each grants a different type of buff. Similar to the last objective entry, Zilean also does very well when targeting enemies in the Dragon pit (image included below). If your team is attempting to a drake and the enemy appears to be contesting it, don't be afraid to leave your lane and go help them. Chronoshift can be a game changer in such fights, and often your presence leads to successfully taking the objective. Be aware, however, that if you go help do the drake your enemy laner may also come down, so if your team can't win a 3v3 or 4v4 fight, it may be better to stay mid. As a note, if you see an enemy trying to Teleport somewhere, you can cancel it with a quick Double Bomb.


Here's another picture showing the coverage of the Dragon pit with Time Bomb.



BARON NASHOR
Spawn: 20:00
Respawn: 7:00

This is objective becomes increasingly important as the game progresses. Due to the disturbingly long death timers that have been implemented in S6, a single Baron Nashor powered push can end the game from ~30 minutes onward. You must coordinate with your team to take this. There are many circumstances that enable you to take Baron Nashor, but a few common ones include: 3 or more of enemy dead, 2 or more enemies in the botlane, all enemy inhibitors destroyed, all enemies at Drake, and enemy has no wards around the pit. The most important thing to know for this is that you don't always have to get it. Often, this just represents a way for the enemy to make a comeback if they somehow steal it. If even or slightly behind the enemy team in gold/kills, you don't need to contest it: just defend. Remember that Zilean does lots of damage to enemies in the pit; throwing a couple of Time Bombs on the enemies can lead to a won fight or even a stolen objective.

TURRETS
Armor/Magic Resist: 40-70
Health: 3,300

Zilean is a subpar turret taker, and relies greatly on minion damage to push his lane. As the game progresses and you get more AP, you will be able to Double Bomb a minion wave and completely kill it. This allows your minions to push to the enemy turret and deal damage to it, while also (usually) making it harder for your opponent to farm.Mountain Drake can help with your turret pushing, but generally speaking you will have to wait for your team to group mid to push even the first turret. If your enemy laner likes to roam, however, and you have good ward coverage around your lane, start chipping away at the tower and punish your opponent for leaving. Late game when you have a lot of AP, you will actually take turrets really fast making you a decent splitpusher due to your Time Warp's escape capabilities, but this is never your first choice of action.

Another thing to note is that enemy jungle camps now display a timer a minute before they respawn. If you pay attention to the minimap you can predict when an enemy jungler will visit their blue buff (or even red buff, it is actually really good on Zilean), you could potentially steal their buff and gain a large advantage in lane.



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Changelog



Read this if you've been away for a few patches!

[6/28/16]
-Guide published!
-Plans for adding "Objectives" and "Tips and Tricks" sections soon
-Plan for adding more images and more Zilean BM
-Plans for adding more detail about when/where to use Chronoshift

[6/29/16]
-Added more sections


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In Conclusion

Once you get the hang of him, Zilean is both a good and fun champion to play. Nothing beats the feeling of landing a bomb on a low-health enemy, walking away then 3 seconds later hearing "An enemy has been slain!". Combine skill and practice with Zilean's kit, and you can have a huge influence on every game you play as him. Trust me, the more you play, the more you'll love the ol' Mad Bomber. Now get out on the Rift and blow some sh*t up! Good luck!

Thanks for reading the guide! If you have questions or comments, feel free to stop by the comment section and drop a note (or two)! If you found the guide helpful, beautiful or entertaining in any way, drop a +1. It helps a lot!


Also make sure to watch this video. No Zilean player is complete without watching this several hundred times. Hehe. What would life be without Crazy Boris Productions.



~Thanks to jhoijhoi for the awesome guide on how to make guides!