Zac Build Guide by YayaFTW
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If they are AD Heavy
If they are AP Heavy
If Jungler/Supp didn't take it.
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.
> Who is Zac ?
> Pros and Cons of Zac ?
> When to pick Zac ?
> Masteries & Runes
> Summoner Spells
> Ability Sequence
> Core Items
> Situational Items
> What about these Items?
> Explanations & Combos
> Laning Phase
> Easy match-ups
> Medium match-ups
> Hard match-ups
> Special Thanks
Hello! My name is YayaFTW, and this is my 3rd guide here on MOBAFire. You can check my other guides by clicking on my profile, but for now, I present to you my Top Lane Zac guide!
This guide is made for new Zac players aswell as experienced ones, and contains key information to understanding Zac's potential and Top Lane/Teamfight mechanics, and therefore allowing you to stomp your enemy during both lane and teamfights.
I tried to keep it short and easy to read, because I know how lazy you guys are :P Anywho, Let us begin!
> Zac is an AP Bruiser Melee
> Zac is viable in both Top Lane and Jungle, aswell as mid lane if some conditions are met.
> Zac's kit makes of him one of the strongest top laners in the actual meta because of his high sustain potential and high base damage and low cooldown abilities. (This means he can build tanky and still dish insane amount of damage).
|> Insane sustain mechanism.
> High base damage abilities.
> Tanky by nature.
> High trading potential.
> Strong waveclear.
> Great passive.
> No ressource pool.
> Has both soft and hard CC.
> OP laugh, Spam it 24/7.
|> Not reliable DPS.
> Chunks of health can be destroyed.
> Poor AP ratios.
> Damage falls off late game.
As you can see, Zac's advantages overwhelms his inconvenients, which implies that chances of possible counterplay are little to none. (In other words, he will be probably nerfed soon :/ )
> Does my team need a strong initiator? - - - - - -s Pick Zac.
> Am I forced to first pick top? - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Pick Zac.
> Does my team need disrupts and CC? - - - - - - - Pick Zac.
On a more serious note, the only case I wouldn't pick Zac for is if my team needs a DPS bruiser such as Irelia, an assassin such as Zed or if we're running a poke comp such as Jayce. Other than that, just pick Zac, since there's no hard counterplay for him yet.
In this chapter, we will be focusing on the masteries, runes, summoner spells, and the ability sequence that suits best for Top Lane Zac. Keep in mind that these setups are the ones I use, and that they are by mo mean mandatory. It means that there are many alternatives to it.
Tier 1 - 4 points in Durability for more tankiness late game.
Tier 2 - I put only 2 points in each of Hardiness and Resistance because that extra 1.5 armor/mr isn't worth it compared to other tiers.
Tier 3 - 2 points into Relentless in order to make Zac able to stick to people during teamfights, and 1 point into Veteran's Scars for early tankiness and 2 points in Unyielding , it synergizes with Block
Tier 4 - Max points in Juggernaut and Tenacious since they are the most important stats from the defense tree imo and 1 point in Block which helps against AA harass.
Tier 6 - 1 point for Honor Guard , the reason we sometimes survive with 5 hp.
Tier 1 - 3 points in Sorcery for increased CDR that complements Spirit Visage, and 1 point in Summoner's Wrath if you're running Ignite or Exhaust.
Tier 2 - 4 points in Blast . It helps eve if the AP ratios are poor, but we need to get Tier 3 somehow.
Tier 3 - 1 point in Arcane Knowledge which greatly helps with the damage output.
N.B: Before you ask about alternative masteries, know that I believe that there are no other mastery setups as efficient as 9/21, and I wouldn't risk talking about theory stuff fearing that I mislead the readers.
- Greater Quintessence of Magic Penetration: These are the most efficient quints in my opinion, since Zac's poor AP ratios prevent him from fully benefitting from Flat AP quints, plus, they significantly boost your damage output.
- Greater Mark of Magic Penetration: Casual AP Bruiser runes, helps a lot with the early damage output. I don't see any alternatives to this.
- Greater Glyph of Magic Resist: Mandatory if you're against an AP top laner. Mitigates a lot of their damage.
- Greater Seal of Armor: Pretty mandatory. Mitigates physical damage aswell as AA harass. I never skip these, they're most of the time a must for top lane.
Flash: A must have summoner spell. Great for chasing, escaping and juking. Can be cast in the middle of Let's bounce for surprise knock-ups.
Ignite: Great for securing kills, and optimizing your damage output. Mandatory for all-ins against top laners with low cooldown healing mechanism such as Vladimir.
|Before I start explaining the reason of my choice, let me assure you I played several times with different spells maxed first. While maxing E offers the most burst and strongest waveclear, it's huge cooldown prevents you from constantly trading, and it's makes you vulnerable to all kinds of retaliations. Maxing W first is decent, but is totally inefficient against top laners that doesn't stack HP. It offers a decent waveclear though. Maxing Q is the most rewarding strategy for top lane because of the short cooldown, range cast, decent waveclear, slow getting stronger every rank, and safe harass aswell. I follow up with maxing W second for it's reliable damage output, then I max E last.|
In this section, I'll be talking about the Core Items you shouldn't skip, the Situational Items you should buy depending on the enemy team, how ahead you are in lane, and how is the game going. I will also explain why I do not get certain Items on Zac, even if they appear to be viable.
|Sunfire Cape is core on Top Lane Zac simply because it provides him key stats, since it gives him HP and Armor aswell as boosts his damage output during trades and all-ins with the passive.|
|Spirit Visage synergizes so well with Zac's kit it scares the sh*t out of me sometimes. Not only it gives him HP, MR and CDR, but it also boosts the healing he gets from the chunks of health he picks up, which, when combined with Sunfire Cape makes me him a moving brick wall that sh*tstomps anything on it's way.|
|Warmog's Armor on Zac is like a tank with a reactive armor. Not only he grows in size and starts making people run to their mothers, but he also starts reaching it's power peek, because when Zac gets his 3 core items + boots, you're king of the game.|
|Mercury's Treads are my go-to boots on Zac simply because a decent enemy teamcomp will have CC, and you'll need the tenacity to mitigate those stuns ans silences. There are other options of course, but these boots are the "universal ones".|
|Liandry's Torment on Zac is quite decent, you can get this if your team lacks damage, or if you feel like you need to do more than just disrupt the enemy team. It gives HP and MPen, and the passive is quite strong when you pair it with Unstable Matter and Sunfire Cape during extended skirmiches.|
|Void Staff on Zac should be bought only when you're about to hit the late game, when the enemy starts building survivability Items and when you're done completing your core Items. The MPen and AP combined with the Elastic Slingshot + let's bounce engage combo makes people sh*t bricks 24/7.|
|Randuin's Omen becomes a must when the enemy AD Carry is fed beyond the point of no return. It's also viable when the enemy team runs a Dual AD teamcomp. Fairly decent Item.|
|Abyssal Scepter is only viable under way too specific conditions: If you're ahead and if the enemy team runs a dual AP Teamcomp. Since It doesn't give HP, It slightly hinders your tankiness for extra MR and a huge boost in damage output. I rarely get this Item since Spirit Visage is more than enough.|
|Locket of the Iron Solari is a supportive item by nature. It is by no means bad on Zac, but there's no reason for you to get one unless your support and jungler aren't planning on buying it.|
|Rylai's Crystal Scepter is a strong pick on Zac mainly because it brings so much extra utility to his engage combo. With this Item, a good Elastic Slingshot + Unstable Matter + Let's bounce will keep the enemy team slowed and locked down for a whole ~3 sec, which makes your team's follow-up easier to land. Other than that, It gives a decent amount of HP and AP. Not bad, not bad at all.|
|Zhonya's Hourglass is an Item I get when I'm fairly ahead and being primarly focused. Although the stats It gives are quite awesome, the active is just pure "gold" (hehe I make puns Phreak would die for)|
|Guardian Angel is good when you're far ahead and you just want to make your enemies cry when they realize you have 3 f*cking lives.|
||You need more damage when the enemy team doesn't have much CC? Get Sorcerer's Shoes! That Top Lane Tryndamere rustles your jimmies? Send him back to his mother with Ninja Tabi! You'so so far ahead you want to completey "stomp" your enemies? (
|DO NOT BUY THIS !!1!1 It just sets your build behind, and the spell vamp is something you really don't need compared to other key stats such as HP. It's a noob trap, dont buy this!|
|DO NOT BUY THIS !!1!1 You have sh*t a$$ cr*p AP ratios. There's no point into buying this item unless you play in the brazilian server.|
In this section, we will be explaining each of Zac's abilites, combos, and the necessary mechanics you need to be aware of in order to
- Cell Division: This passive is simply great. From level 1 to 4, you simply can never be dived unless the enemy team wishes to give you free kills. It loses its efficiency in 1v1's later in the game. But it's still fun when people try to trade kills with you then they forget you had passive on.
Tips and Tricks
- Stretching Strike (Q): This is the most rewarding ability for Top Lane Zac I know Unstable Matter provides more damage output, but the slow utility and range harrass from Stretching Strike is just too good, especially on the top lane.
Tips and Tricks
- Unstable Matter (W): This ability is simply awesome. It shreds tanks, because not only it has low CD flat damage, but it also deals %max hp damage. It's aoe, strong waveclear, and synergizes very well with Sunfire Cape in extended skirmishes.
Tips and Tricks
- Elastic Slingshot (E): This is one of the most broken spells in the game. Although it doesn't come in very handy in the early laning phase levels, the utility it brings is just way too OP. Gap closing and mini knock-back and very high base damage makes of this ability a must dodge. The way this spell is used makes or breaks Zac.
Tips and Tricks
- Let's bounce Let's Bounce (R): I personally adore this spell. Knock up, movespeed, tenacity, damage, 4 bounces, slow, and you can still use Unstable Matter while bouncing. The best part, is that it's on a relatively low cooldown compared to ults of that impact in general. A good timing on positioning with this ulti separates a good Zac from a bad one.
Tips and Tricks
N.B: During all of these combos, don't forget to pick up the chunks of health when possible, and put in some AA's when you can.
If you're initiating the trade: From bush when possible E > W > Q.
- Few people can react in time for a slingshot from bush, so this is best for initiating trades.
If you're retaliating in a trade: Double Tap E > W > Q
- The Elastic Slingshot double tap breaks their trading with the small knock-back and allows you to chain with your own abilities.
Q: Your safest harass tool.
W > Q > Walk away or Double Tap E to the back if necessary: Stronger harass but less safe.
Going all in:
E > W > R > Q > W
- You might wanna use Elastic Slingshot first or save it for last depending on whether the enemy has Flash/gap closing spell up or not.
- I use Unstable Matter before let's bounce so I can have it up again at the end of the combo.
N.B: All screenshots are taken from Crs Voyboy's stream. Not mine :P
- Buy your starting items according to your opponent in lane. If you're unsure, go Rejuvenation Bead + 5x Health Potion + sight ward.
- Avoid any kind of trades at lvl 1. Zac's lvl 1 is pretty pathetic compared to the actual meta's top laners.
- As always focus on CS and trade using the combo shown above when appropriate.
- Pay attention when you harass with Stretching Strike. Try to land a clean hit (it means try to not hit many minions on the way), or you'll push your lane and give him the chance to freeze lane and have his jungler punish you when you'll go for cs.
- Try to constantly pick the chunks of health that drop when needed. This is essential to winning your lane. Pay attention to not put yourself into risk while doing so though.
- XJ9 says: "Make sure to move in between spell casts. Your damage comes from your abilities, not your auto attacks. I have had plenty of times when I started playing Zac that the enemy lived because I wasn't in range for a W, Q, or even a E. It is good though to auto as it adds a bit of extra damage."
- If you're below max HP, try to spam your abilities on creep first then pick up the chunks of health as you'll always heal more than the spell cost.
- Keep in mind when you have passive up and when you don't. Good harrasing and trading aswell at good timing concerning when to go all in and when not to will win you almost every top lane.
- Sometimes you'll have to stick to their carries and make their life a living hell, but sometimes you'll need to peel for your own carries if the enemy team has an assassin like Akali. Being able to know what to do is what makes or breaks a good Zac player.
- The engage combo is quite simple for you, but take into consideration whether your team will be able to follow up or not, before you catapult yourself in the middle of the enemy team.
- In teamfights, make sure you soak up as much damage as possible for the team (ie: eat those Mystic Shots for your ad carry, eat that Death Sentence for your mid laner etc)
- Try to put as much chaos in the enemy team as possible before deciding whether to stick to the enemy carries or peel for your own.
In this section, I will try to talk about the common match-ups for Zac in the top lane, and briefly explain them, as I believe that match-up understanding requires practice more than words. (That's just me making an excuse for how lazy I am :P Just kidding, you actually need to play those match-ups in order to understand them.)
|Garen is easy to handle. Avoid unnecessary trades when his spells are off CD. Other than that, poke with Q, rush a Sunfire Cape, sustain from the chunks of health, avoid bush facechecks and you're fine.|
|Singed isn't that much of a threat to you in lane. If he walks up to you for a fling, just Stretching Strike him to the face and walk away. Maxing Unstable Matter first could help in this lane. Rush Spirit Visage and you'll be able to outsustain his poison. You outsustain and outdamage him.|
|Wukong is known for his super strong level 2 with red pot. Avoid getting all-in by him during lvl 1-4 and you should be fine fore the rest of the lane. Double Tap E + W + Q everytime he Q + E and pick up the most chunks of health as possible. He has no sustain, and you do. You should be fine post lvl 6.|
|Shen can't do much to you. You both have sustain, but yours in stronger, plus your Q is stronger than his. You have the advantage of dealing %max hp aswell. Try to poke him out of lane, don't be scared of trades. Keep an eye on him when he tries to ult, you can interrupt it with your own ult or E.|
|Jax may seem hard to lane against at first, but once you get the hang of it you'll be fine.Poke with Q. Keep picking those chunks of health. Double tap E + W + Q and walk away when he jumps in for a stun. Consider getting a Randuin's Omen first if he's getting out of control. Avoid extended skirmishes and you'll end up overwhelming him.|
|Darius looks scary, but it's a fairly easy lane. You have sustain, he doesn't. Poke with Q. Avoid all-ins until he's low enough for you to kill him with a full ult combo. If he pulls you early, double tap E, W + Q and run away. Keep picking up those health blobs.|
|Fiora is that sexy french that rarely gets picked nowadays. Still, if you happen to face her, she won't be a problem. Poke with Q. If she Q's in, double tap E, W + Q and walk away. Avoid extended brawls, she's a strong duelist. She has a decent sustain but yours is still better. Go for the kill if you're sure you'll get her. Be careful of her baits.|
|Zed can be tricky. If he's a good Zed, he'll be tough to beat. If you're more skilled mechanically, you'll win the lane. Keep picking the chunks of health and dodge the shurikens. Trade carefully, if he can easily take you down if you're below 50% hp. Try to outsustain him and poke him down. His lvl 2 with red pot is the same as Wukong's.|
|Yorick is a pain in the ***, but he can be handled if played carefully. It's hard to poke him down. Kite his ghouls with Q and pick the chunks of health from them. His E and W deals magic damage so go for a Spirit Visage. Trade with him when he's almost oom and keep yourself sustained. Call for jungler when necessary.|
|You won't be able to kill a good Nidalee, but she won't be able to kill you either hopefully. If she's AD, you might wanna get an early Ninja Tabi and rush Sunfire Cape into a Spirit Visage. Post 6 she will push you and you won't be able to kill her so either hope for a great jungle gank or try to make plays elsewhere.|
|Riven is a monster at all-ins. If you don't poke her low enough before you go on her, she will eat you alive. Her shield helps her with the poke so take advantage of that whenever it's on cooldown. Keep your distances with her. If you get caught by her post 6 while her cooldown were off, you're a dead blob. Poke her with Q and keep your distances.|
|This is a farm lane, and Nasus ADORES farm lanes. Once he gets Spirit Visage you won't be able to deal any kind of damage. His sustain is as good as yours, and his poke is stronger. Take teleport, Try to roam and make plays elsewhere and hope your team can end this before late game.|
|Teemo is a b*tch. His harass is a pain in the a$$. Try to keep yourself sustained and pink river, clear shrooms, and get your jungler to gank him. He has no escape spell, so go all-in on him with jungler. Once you get your core items you can crush him.|
|Rumble is a scary laner, but he naturally pushes the lane. You'll need jungle pressure for this. His outdamages you but you outsustain him. His HP pool is pretty weak so after Spirit Visage you can start spamming trades with him. Be careful though, a good Rumble knows what he's doing. Just get your jungler to help and you'll get him.|
|Elise is hard. This match up is reaal hard. It's be a great thing if you come out even in lane. Her %current hp and %max Q damage will make your lane a living hell. Sure you can sustain her poke with Q, but once you get stunned and she goes all-in on you, you're doomed. Rush a Spirit Visage and dodge her stuns, then you'll be fine.|
|Kennen if good will be trouble. He will always keep his distances from your Q, and land that 5th charged AA into W + Q everytime it's up. Try and sustain his AA harass and damage, wait for jungle ganks, and don't make any risky plays. Avoid getting stunned and you should be fine.|
|Renekton's early damage output is insane. Avoid any early trades, sustain and farm up, rush Sunfire Cape and get tanky. Once you get to mid-game you can just farm up at his face. But the problem is the good transition from early to mid game. Ward a lot and try to make it to Sunfire Cape safe and sound.|
|Vladimir is the only potential counterplay for Zac. You can't do sh*t against Vladimir. He'll outpoke you, outsustain you, pool your ult and laugh at your damage once he gets Spirit Visage. The problem is that he's a monster in teamfights with his Hemoplague. You need to outskill him, and make better plays as a team in order to win the game.|
Well this is it. Thanks a lot for reading this guide, and I hope it helped you get a better grasp of Zac's potential and mechanics aswell as make you want to play him more. I will be looking forward to all kinds of feedback and advices, make sure you drop em' in the comment section. This is YayaFTW, and I'm out, peace :D
Make sure to check Crs Voyboy's VODs for deeper insight on Zac's mechanics.
- jhoijhoi as always for her templates.
- Crs Voyboy for the VODs and screenshots.
- You, dear reader.
29/07/2013: Guide Published.