Early Game Options
Zac is a very strong champion to have in a team composition in the current meta. He excels as a Jungler and as a Solo Top champion. He benefits greatly from inexpensive itemization, has an exceptionally strong initiation, is hard to take down, and can solo enemy carries. He was a very popular pick in competitive play in previous patches but has fallen out of favor recently. He is still really strong if picked into the right team comp. He has trouble fighting some of the top tier Junglers 1 on 1 early game but if you can avoid them or path your jungle route safely to apply counter pressure rather than trying to be at the same place as them then you can do fine. Zac also has really good synergy with Yasuo and Lulu who are both popular picks right now.
I was Platinum in Season 3 in Solo Queue and I was placed in Platinum this season after winning 7 of my 10 placement matches (4 wins of which were with Zac). I also have over 2600 Normal Wins and have played since LoL was in beta.
I'm the Head of Coaching for the DWAI Gaming Community and am the captain for team Auxiliary.
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AP = Ability Power
AD = Attack Damage
HP = Health
CD = Cooldown
CDR = Cooldown Reduction
AoE = Area of Effect
AA = Auto Attack / Basic Attack
Q = Stretching Strike
W = Unstable Matter
E = Elastic Slingshot
R = Let's Bounce
Ult = Ultimate ( Let's Bounce / R)
CS = Creep Score / Creeps Slain A.K.A farm
CC = Crowd Control (stuns, snares, silences, immobilizes, taunts, suppresses, knock-ups, etc.)
ADC = AD Carry / Marksman
Pen = Penetration
M.Pen / Magic Pen = Magic Penetration
Armor Pen = Armor Penetration
DMG / dmg = Damage
Pros / Cons
- Strong initiation via Elastic Slingshot
- Percentage health damage on Unstable Matter
- 2 AoE Knock-ups w/ Elastic Slingshot and Let's Bounce
- AoE Slow on Stretching Strike
- All 4 abilities deal AoE damage
- Great health sustain from Cell Division
- Passive revive mechanic on Cell Division
- Benefits from building health items due to healing for a percentage of max health when picking up blobs
- Abilities cost health instead of Mana so he is not limited by a restricting resource
- Good damage to Dragon / Baron early via Unstable Matter
- Free Tenacity during Let's Bounce
- Sunfire Cape damage still ticks from your blobs when you get split into 4 chunks from fatal damage and you can kill low health enemies trying to finish you off >:)
- Sustain as Solo Top can be weak if the enemy denies you the ability to pick up blobs
- OK at pushing minion waves but has weak damage to towers / structures
- If you use Elastic Slingshot to initiate you have no escape so make sure your team is all on the same page before going in
- Elastic Slingshot can be interrupted (example: Janna's Howling Gale)
- Picking up blobs may be inconvenient when chasing / team fighting
Ability Explanations / Skill Sequencing
Cell Division is your passive. It has 2 important features.
The 1st is that every time you cast an ability and that ability hits an enemy, a blob comes off of your character that can be picked up to heal you for 4% of your max HP. This is helpful because it scales off total HP while the cost of your abilities remains 4% of current HP. This means that using an ability and picking up a blob will leave you at more health than you started with. It basically means your abilities cost nothing AND heal you. OP right?
The 2nd component is that upon taking fatal damage, Zac splits into 4 chunks that slowly inch back towards the center. If any of these blobs make it back to the center alive, you're revived. Your allies can also Teleport to one of these chunks in order to make it invulnerable (huehuehue).
Stretching Strike is your Q. It is an AoE slow that fires in a straight line for a short distance. Its CD decreases with each rank and it has good base damage. We max this 1st in Top Lane for strong early game harass and we max it 2nd in the Jungle for a stronger slow when ganking.
Unstable Matter is your W. It adds % HP damage to your kit which is extremely helpful in the jungle, when taking down Dragon / Baron, and late game as an anti-tank tool. It has the same CD at all ranks and doesn't shine until late game so we max it last.
Elastic Slingshot is your E. It is your escape, initiation, gap closer, map traversing tool, and an AoE knock-up. It's CD decrease with each rank and its range increases with each rank so we max it 1st as a Jungler in order to increase the range from which we can gank and to bring it off CD faster. We max it 2nd in Top Lane to improve its base damage, increase the range at which you can help your Jungler initiate a gank, and to lower the CD of your escape ability.
Let's Bounce is your R. Rank it whenever it is available. It knocks-up and slows enemies, grants you tenacity, increases your mobility, deals AoE damage, and allows you to continue casting [[Unstable Matter] while bouncing. This ability grants you the power to cause immense disruption in the enemy lines during a team fight while dealing very good damage.
These are really the only Summoner Spells you should be using as Zac.
Flash is a must have in every scenario.
Ignite is good for Solo Top if you believe you have kill potential during laning phase versus your opponent.
Teleport is good for Solo Top if you think you will not be able to kill your lane opponent or when you plan on staying Top but want to be able to still be a presence threat when your team goes for Dragon, Bot Tower, etc.
Smite is a must for when you are the Jungler.
Health Regeneration + Magic Penetration
- 3x Greater Quintessence of Health Regeneration
- 9x Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
- 9x Greater Seal of Armor
- 9x Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
This should almost always be your rune page if you are playing Zac Solo Top. Of course, you can slightly alter your Seals / Glyphs between flat and scaling depending on your specific lane match up if you can afford to have 2 rune pages set aside for him. Health Regen + Magic Pen can also be a good rune page for Dr. Mundo, Singed, or modernized Gragas if you are looking to have rune pages that can be used for more than just one champ.
- 3x Greater Quintessence of Armor
- 9x Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
- 9x Greater Seal of Scaling Armor
- 9x Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
Sorcerer's Shoes give you much needed Magic Pen as Solo Top Zac.
Ninja Tabi is great for helping to reduce the damage taken from enemy AD Carries. The enemy ADC is who you will most likely be on in team fights and they will certainly be attacking you, so reducing the damage you take from them is crucial in successfully killing / zoning them. You already get tenacity from Spirit of the Ancient Golem when jungling which creates incentive for you to lean more towards Ninja Tabi than Mercury's Treads.
Mercury's Treads grant tenacity and MR which can be very useful stats situationally.
Boots of Mobility is usually pretty standard on Jungle champions but Zac has really high mobility due to Elastic Slingshot so you get more benefit from buying Ninja Tabi or Sorcerer's Shoes as a Jungler. You don't need Mercury's Treads as a Jungler because you get Tenacity from Spirit of the Ancient Golem.
These two items are core on Zac. You should always buy them. Rush whichever one has the more relevant defenses for your lane match up or against their team in general.
These items are particularly strong on champions like Zac. They grant you good magic damage without having to stack expensive Ability Power. Tanks generally have good AoE spells and high base damage on their abilities so Magic Pen + Tank items really shine on them.
Sunfire Cape has base AoE magic damage which scales off Magic Pen and MR Reduction. Worth mentioning as it contributes a surprising amount to your damage.
Abyssal Scepter gives you a bit of AP while granting you AoE MR Reduction which really makes your high base damages shine. It also gives you a good chunk of MR and AP in order to increase your durability and damage simultaneously.
Liandry's Torment grants you more % HP damage on top of Unstable Matter, more Magic Pen, and a decent chunk of AP. It also grants you a little HP boost. It's easy to proc the double damage component on this item due to your knock-ups and slows from abilities.
These 3 items increase your durability AND give you enough damage to completely exterminate most enemy back lines.
Jungle Zac should always buy Spirit of the Ancient Golem. He scales better off of HP than AP and the healing component that used to be only on Spirit of the Spectral Wraith is now on all of the Spirit Stone upgrades.
As Jungle Zac, I usually buy Ninja Tabi or Sorcerer's Shoes. There is no need to buy Mercury's Treads because you don't want to stack Tenacity items and if you really need MR buying a Negatron Cloak is cheaper than upgrading to Mercury's Treads and it gives you more MR anyway. Spirit Visage, Locket of the Iron Solari, Banshee's Veil, and Abyssal Scepter should provide plenty of MR options.
Mercury's Treads can be a really good buy on Solo Top Zac though so don't discount them completely.
Spirit Visage has good synergy with Cell Division and grants very important tank stats via HP, MR, Health Regen, and CDR. This item is always core on Zac unless you are against a full AD team.
Banshee's Veil grants good tank stats but the main reason you would look to buy this item is if you are playing a siege game or need the spell shield to nullify an enemy when you engage. Some champions like Alistar and Janna can hard counter Zac in team fights because they can interrupt his Elastic Slingshot or they can push him out of the fight as soon as he tries to pop his knock-up chain. Banshee's Veil can prevent these things from happening and keep your team fighting strengths intact.
Spectre's Cowl is a great early game purchase and can be turned into either of the above mentioned items. It's probably a little more beneficial for Solo Top Zac considering he'll be getting hit by enemy champions more often and will be utilizing the passive on the item more often because of it.
Randuin's Omen is a great item on Zac for several reasons. Building HP is a must on Zac, the high amount of Armor improves your ability to initiate under an enemy Tower or tank objectives like Dragon / Baron, the AS Debuff is great for team fights when you dive an enemy ADC, and it gives you another on-demand AoE Slow. Somewhat expensive but definitely worth the item slot if you need the stats on it.
Warmog's Armor is good on Zac for obvious reasons. Huge HP boost and Health Regen steroid. Very useful for facing or running poke comps or if the enemy team has a lot of True Damage that you can't mitigate via Armor / MR. It also has amazing synergy with Spirit Visage.
Locket of the Iron Solari is good against heavy AP teams as it grants your team additional MR. You will likely be the main tank
Guardian Angel combined with Cell Division can really discourage an enemy team from focusing you. If they do decide to focus you, it's going to take them quite a long time to kill you. The Armor + MR is a nice boost and it might allow you to freely exterminate an enemy carry if they choose to focus easier to drop targets.
Thornmail usually isn't as good as Randuin's Omen on Zac but it is cheaper and might be a necessary buy to stop an extremely fed Tryndamere, Master Yi, Fiora, Aatrox, etc. I normally wouldn't recommend this item as a core feature in your standard build but there are situations that might call for it.
Strategy / Advice
As a Jungler, Zac can start at whatever camp most benefits his team. Remember that which camp you start at will affect your overall Jungle route and where you will be over the course of the early game. I tend to prefer to start in my bottom Jungle regardless of which team I am so that I can work my way towards the top half of the map at Level 3. This allows me to better gank between Top / Mid. The best time to gank Top is early on because any time in the game past 6 or so minutes, the enemy Jungler is likely to coordinate getting Dragon with his team while they have vision of you Top. Early on, they can't use this counter strategy to equalize pressure.
Zac does not rely on Mana and can start at Red easily. This is a good advantage when facing someone who has to start Blue. If I know the enemy is starting at their Blue when I play Zac I almost always invade their Red at Level 1. If you invade one of their Buffs at Level 1, you should go get your matching Buff immediately after. If you get their Red, go straight to your Red afterwards. If you get their Blue, go straight to your Blue afterwards. It forces them to put a lot more effort into equaling out the playing field by returning the invade. If you get their Red and then go to your Blue, you are pretty much handing them your Red uncontested and you won't have gotten really any benefit from the move.
Level 2 ganks for Bot and Top can be rewarding but are extremely risky. This is because if you show up in the lane by the Buff you got at Level 1, it puts you extremely far away from your 2nd Buff and the other Jungler will see this opportunity to invade it. Because of this, I tend to only gank after I have secured the early buffs on the map. If you can get 3 out of 4 of the initial Buff spawns, leaving the enemy Jungler with only XP from 1, then you have gotten a large advantage early.
Elastic Slingshot is an amazing ganking tool. You can gank from the fog of war and get around wards very easily. It can get you out of sticky situations and works wonderfully as an initiation ability. Even when I play Solo Top I will occasionally roam down to Mid just so I can use Elastic Slingshot to gank an easy kill.
For Solo Top, be sure to be picking up your Blobs but don't get baited into dying just to pick up one. Cell Division gives you very good sustain and Stretching Strike gives you very annoying harass. Abuse Elastic Slingshot to escape ganks or to initiate them when your ally shows up. Build early items to counter your lane opponent and keep wards up.
Late game, Elastic Slingshot will get you into the enemy back line in team fights. Once there, you can pop off a quick Stretching Strike to slow your target and begin Let's Bounce. Remember to be spamming Unstable Matter every time it is off CD (you can still cast it while you are bouncing in your ultimate). Between your base damages and your power from items you should be able to take out an enemy ADC or at least remove them from the fight.
Don't be afraid to peel for your team instead of diving their back line if that is what your team composition is focused on. Zac has 2 knock-ups, a slow, and % max HP damage which allow him to CC anyone diving his carries while dealing good damage to even the most tank-like targets.
Zac and Yasuo are incredibly good together at the moment. Knock-up team compositions are always strong because it's the only CC not reduced by Tenacity.
Lulu is also good with Zac because her ult can give him a 3rd knock-up as well as slow all enemies around him which is great since he normally gets in the middle of the enemy team.
Thresh is great with Zac because it allows you to attempt engages and get out clean via Dark Passage if you don't land Elastic Slingshot and the target you wanted or if your team isn't in position to follow you up. It also puts the enemy team on edge seeing you jump in and lantern out over and over. It telegraphs that you are looking to pick a fight and they are likely to give up objectives for free. If you do get a good engage Thresh can save Dark Passage for if an assassin gets on your ADC to instantly bring you back to help peel. He can also just use it as a shield in general inside a fight.
I hope this guide has helped you gain knowledge about Zac and his play style, itemization, optimal setup, etc. I'm open to criticism so I would love for anyone to leave comments / opinions about the guide. If there is anything you think I can do to improve the guide let me know and I'll try my best to satisfy!
If you enjoyed this guide make sure to check out my other guides. :)
If you want my opinion, want to theory craft with me, or want to talk about a topic unrelated to this specific guide feel free to just inbox me on here. I try to respond quickly and I keep an eye on the comments section of all of my guides.