Zed Build Guide by Destinite
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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.
Zed is one of my favourite champions. Zed is just a really fun assassin from the different arrange of skills in his kit. I have played over 70 games with him in S4 right now and I think I know his kit pretty well. I play zed as a all in burst kind of champion because of his skill set.
I usually start with a long sword after the doran shield changes because of the ad it gives and also because of the 3 hp pots you can fit in.
I tend to rush brutalizer because of the armor penetration and the cdr(cooldown reduction) it provides. I would recommend getting boots next because of the extra mobility it provides zed. Botrk(Blade of the ruined king) is a must-have with zed because of its passive and ad, attack spped, and life steal it provides. Combined with zed's ultimate, it makes it really easy to burst down high priority enemies. (Try to use botrk before you use any of zed's abilities because of the extra mobility it provides)Last Whisper is an amazing item over all because of the armor pen. it provides. Merc Treads are usually a must-have because the enemy team will be trying to cc you to stop the damage on your ultimate. Black Cleaver is a good item with zed because of its passive and the armor shred stacks is amazing. GA's passive is extremely useful in team fights because of the 2nd life it gives and the time it takes for Zed to respawn because zed's cooldowns will usually be up at that time(sometimes other defensive items will replace GA depending on the situation. Look into situation items). Hydra works well with Zed's ultimate because of the active. A lot of Zed players will be looking to stack activatable items when they ult because of how much damage it does.
I go 21/9 masteries with Zed taking the Ad, CDR, Armor Pen., extra spell damage, and executioning masteries on offensive side, and taking the bonus health regen, flat hp, and damage reduction points in defence.
For runes, I take Life steal Quints, Armor Pen Marks, Armor Seals, and Magic Resistant Glyphs. In lane I depend on my life steal and pots to keep me at high hp. Sometimes, I would take both armor pen quints and marks, with the usual seals and glyphs. I would take these in lane against someone without strong sustain and it provides more kill potential.
In lane, I always start and max my Q first. Zed's Q is a really nice ability for both farming and harassing. Because the shuriken can pass through multiple enemies. Try to position yourself so the shurikens can pass through multiple enemies to get to the initial target and also other enemies for extra damage.
I usually take Zed's W at level two if I'm against a ranged champion because it provides an easy way to reach minions that normally your Q wouldn't reach. The W,Q combo is really good for harassing. It puts Zed in a reasonably safe position to farm/harass. If I'm up against a melee opponent, I would take E second because of the ability to put some extra damage in if they try to lvl 2 trade. I still max W last because of the potential of Zed's other abilities.
I take E at lvl 2/3 depending on the lane match up. I think the W cooldown decrease is really important. But the living shadow E slow is really good for harassing because the enemies are slowed so it would be pretty ease to hit Q. I max E second in all match ups.
Zed's Ult is a must-have. Taking a point in it at 6/11/16 is crucial for damage output(always take ult whenever you can for all champs).
Zed's passive is really good. In lane it provides an easy way of ensuring CS and the execute damage in fights. Although it doesn't apply on his abilities, it makes his auto attacks much stronger.
Zed's Q is a really good farming ability in lane where you can just spam it if you can't risk getting in auto attacking range. I tend to max it in lane because of the safety it provides. It is also a strong poke if you hit it directly.
Zed's W is a core skill in his kit. He depends on his shadows to amplify his damage with its active and passive. I tend to get it at lvl 2 because of its escape and poke ability with his Q. I max it last because of Zed's other abilities potential.
At lvl 3, he can really start to harass really well with his W,E,Q combo. I tend to send out my W, Use my e for the slow, then send out the Q because of the slow its easy to hit. Also, the passive for his e is really strong in fights. I tend to max it second.
Zed's ult is a really strong ability, but that it depends on his other abilities to max out its damage. The escape it provides is really useful when you're in a bad situation. Also, the shadow it spawns can further amplify Zed's damage. A simple escape with Zed's ult is to go in the other direction where you want to go, then go back to your ult's original location.
Zed is a strong champion, but blindly picking Zed with no idea about the other mid laner is extremely risky and sometimes not worth it. Zed has a lot of counters that are currently in the meta so try not to first pick Zed. If you know who the opposing mid laner is, picking Zed into a counter is again, not a smart decision. Most counters to Zed can interrupt his ult damage or they can cc Zed long enough to make Zed back off. Sometimes you can blindly pick if you feel that your Zed abilities are strong enough.
Zed has pretty decent wave clear and farming potential. His Q and E do decent AOE(area of effect) damage and his W also mimics the spells. Zed's passive also makes last hitting way easier as well. Zed is a really easy person to farm with. In early levels, note that Q doesn't do as much damage if it passes through other units so be careful with Q-last hitting. Wait until its very low(below 50) when you Q. You can also push your lane hard then go take your jungler's wraiths.
Creeping / Jungling
I'm only going to talk about Zed in mid lane so don't expect any jungling guides. After you push your lane, W over the wraith wall, E swap shadows and Q. Try to hit Q on as many monsters as you can. I wouldn't recommending taking wolves because 1. Jungler may be pissed at you 2. Takes too long to get back into lane 3. Too much damage you may take.
Try to wait until major cooldowns have been wasted. CC is Zed's main enemy. Try to burst down important targets in the back-line. It will place you in a good position to reach the squishy enemy carries. Zed has great 1v1 abilities singling out enemies so he can burst them down. If Zed gets ahead, he's a real pain to go up against because of his snowball ability. Blue buff with Zed will help him enormously with the energy regen and cooldown reduction. He becomes even more mobile with blue.
Pros / Cons
Pros: High mobility. Can move around very easily with his shadows. Uses Energy not Mana Has good sustain so he doesn't need to back when he runs out of mana. Strong split pusher. When he gets botrk his split push is very with his attack speed and ad. Also has great escapes incase he gets caught split pushing. High burst damage with ultimate. He can escape easily after he assassinates his target with his ult. His abilities and passive does amazing damage. Great duelist. Has good duelling ability with his abilities.
Cons: Very difficult champion His damage relies on his abilities heavily. Very easy to mess up with misuse of his shadows. Using Shadows correctly takes time He needs his shadows to amplify his damage and to juke his enemies. Lacks hard CC Zed's only CC ability is with his mimicked E and even then the slow isn't strong enough to make a huge impact unlike a silence, stun, or snare.
Zed is a very fun champion to play that takes time and skill to use correctly. He is a high mobility assassin that relies on his shadows and his ability to kill and kite/juke his enemies. He certainly is a strong champion that can be seen in any elo. I hope you learned something new reading this guide and please leave your comments and suggestions below.