Zed Build Guide by Ss95
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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.
Hello and welcome to my guide. Since Zed was released he has been my main and I have managed to maintain an almost 80% win ratio in ranked. A few days ago I was bored and felt nostalgic and I returned to mobafire which helped me a lot when I started playing league. So I looked through some guides and I couldn't help but wonder: Why doesn't any of the guides really explain anything in-depth. Maybe I just looked at the wrong guides, but I felt like you guys deserved better. So I decided to take my time and try to create something which could help you understand both Zed as a champion but also more about how top lane works. This is a really in-depth guide where I try to write down all my knowledge. So if you want to just check out a build fast then this is not the guide for you. This is for learning a lot about the game both for new league players but also for more experienced players. I will keep updating the guide, keep improving it and I aim to make it "our" guide instead of "my" guide. So if you find anything missing or lacking simply tell me and I will work on it. I hate that I am forced say this because of all the grammar nazis but: I am not from an english speaking country so instead of mocking my spelling how about you help me improve..? :)
Zed has been one of the most picked and banned champions in the EU LCS so he is regarded as a really strong champion right now. What i choose to build with him is a very standard build which has been used in many tournaments, so if you're gonna downvote me then downvote me for something I deserve to get downvoted for and not my build.
If you like my guide make sure to comment and upvote. If you dislike my guide then comment and tell me why and let me explain before you downvote. Maybe I can make you understand why I do as I do. Remember that just because you disagree with what I do, doesn't mean that my guide is bad and that I deserve a downvote. But I welcome critic so please tell me everything I can improve! And if I forgot to credit someone please tell me.
The highest rated Zed guide on Mobafire!
Thanks a lot for your comments and votes! I really appreciate it! I will continue to work and update my guide and keep trying to make it perfect!
I think you'll still level your abilities the same way but I'll need to test it. I also need to take another look at my level 1 build. Please comment on these changes and give me your thoughts!
Pros and Cons
TONS OF DAMAGE
Is a badass ninja
Can 100-0 even tanks
Is a master at juking
Hard to learn and master
Will get focused
Requires a good game sense
Needs a lot of farm
My favorite items:
The Bloodthirster is a very powerful item but the build path is very expensive. A
B. F. Sword costs 1550 which is a lot of gold to get. In lane you want to recall every time possible to stay ahead of your enemy so to farm up 1550 gold will set you behind a bit. But a very powerful item for Zed
Blade of the Ruined King is one of my favorite items on Zed. The build path is very cheap (400 for a Long Sword) and the stats are very powerful. The active synergizes perfectly with Death Mark. A very strong item. I often get this ASAP.
The Black Cleaver is a very powerful item on Zed and the build path is pretty good. It gives everything Zed needs. HP for survivability, CDR for more ability spam and more ARP + AD for dealing more damage.
Last Whisper is often a "must have" item on Zed. It makes you hit through 35% of the enemy's armor, so the more armor your enemies have the more effective this item becomes. It also gives 40 AD which is really really good.
Warmog's Armor is the way to go when you need a health boost. It gives a lot of raw HP which is good against both AP and AD champs and it gives HP regen which will help you sustain yourself. This is a very good item because you'll often find yourself getting focused when you try to dive in for their ADC. Should always be considered when you're looking for a defensive item.
Ionian Boots of Lucidity are very good because they allow a lot of ability spam while your abilities only costs energy. I buy these when I am ahead or don't need any early resistances.
Items to be considered:
Boots of Swiftness are decent. Although I rarely find myself using them they could be effective against Nasus. They negates some of Withers slow and you'll be able to easily navigate in and out of fights.
Mercury's Treads are really good if you need early MR and tenacity. They counter champions with CC like Amumu and Taric and MR is good if you're laning against an AP bruiser.
Ninja Tabi is very good if you need armor in lane. It gives 25 armor + blocks 10% of their basic attack damage which actually is quite a lot.
Randuin's Omen gives a lot of armor and HP and the passive is very good against all champions who relies on auto-attacks. Often you'll find yourself diving in for the enemy ADC in which case this item will help a lot. This item should always be considered. I take this when the enemy has more than 2 who relies on attack damage AND if the enemy mid isn't fed. The active also slows when activated which is very good when you dive in.
Guardian Angel is not bought a lot in yoloqueue anymore for some reason. It is still very good and gives you the ability to go on a suicide run for the enemy ADC and still come out of the fight alive. You should consider this when they have a lot of burst on their team and if you're having trouble staying alive and more HP won't help. It is also a good item when you're learning how to position as Zed because it is very forgiving.
Frozen Mallet is a decent item. I almost never get this but it has its uses. If you're having trouble sticking to the enemy (like if the enemy ADC is Vayne) this is alright. I am not a huge fan of it but I guess it could be considered.
Hexdrinker is good against any AP top or if the enemy AP carry gets fed/can burst you. It provides a shield + some AD. Overall a decent item. You actually don't have to upgrade it to Maw of Malmortius. You can just keep the Hexdrinker untill late game.
Sword of the Divine was actually used a lot by some high elo players when people first started playing Zed. It gives him a huge burst with Death Mark. You can try it out but personally I think there are much better items for Zed. It is an option though.
Ravenous Hydra is alright on Zed. I am not a big fan of it though. The stats are pretty good and it s very cost efficient but I really prefer the +25 AD and +6% life steal over the extra wave clear and the extra health regen. I don't really like health regeneration on Zed because he is more an all-in champ (it is ok in lane) + we already have enough wave clear. But try it out.
If I forgot anything or should add anything please tell me in the comments!
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Mark of Attack Damage
Greater Quintessence of Lethality
So for Marks you have two options. You can go:
Greater Mark of Attack Damage vs greater mark of armor penetration
So here you have several options.
You can go:
- Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
- Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
- Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction
- Greater Glyph of Scaling Cooldown Reduction
Here you have several possibilities again.
You can go:
You can go:
- greater Quintessence of armor penetration
- Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage
- Greater Quintessence of Health
- Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed
The rune page I am running right now:
- Greater mark of armor penetration
- Greater Seal of Armor
- Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
- Greater Quintessence of Health
You can go AD marks though for more early last hitting but with a few points into Razor Shuriken last hitting in bad matchups should be fine.
If I had more pages I would do something like this:
- ARP marks and quints vs winning matchups.
- ARP marks + Health quints vs losing matchups.
So my 2 standard pages looks like this:
I use this vs. a good matchup:
And this vs. a tough matchup:
Never tunnel on the same mastery page though. Look at the enemy team and your lane opponent. How hard will the matchup be and what stats will you need?
Name: Contempt for the Weak
This is actually a lot of damage. It makes last hitting much easier and 10% of maximum HP combined with Death Mark is very powerful.
Name: Razor Shuriken
Damage to first target: 75/115/155/195/235
Damage to secondary targets: 60/92/124/156/188
Damage with shadow shuriken: 37.5/57.5/77.5/97.5/117.5
Scaling on first target: 100% AD
Scaling on secondary targets: 80% AD
Energy cost: 75/70/65/60/55
Razor Shuriken is a very powerful ability. It has a very short cooldown so it is very good at last hitting and poking. With your Living Shadow and your Death Mark you can hit up to 3 shurikens at the same time. If you manage to hit them all you'll deal a lot of damage. I max this first to reduce the energy cost and to deal more damage with my poke. It is also a very forgiving spell to miss because the CD is so short.
Name: Living Shadow
Passive bonus AD: 5/10/15/20/25%
Energy restoration: 20/25/30/35/40
Energy cost: 40/35/30/25/20
This ability is what makes Zed unique. You can use this ability in a lot of different ways. You can use it to engage, to disengage, to escape over walls and to dodge skill shots. This is key and the hardest part of Zeds kit to master. I would recommend smart-casting it for faster reaction time but that is up to you. When you use your Living Shadow it will use the same abilities as you do and if your Living Shadow hits your enemies with your abilities then you'll restore energy. Practice using this a lot and you'll get better at it. It is one of the best abilities in the game for outplaying your enemies. I max this last because it doesn't bring that much to your burst.
Name: Shadow Slash
Scaling: 80% AD
Overlapping slow: 30/37.5/45/52.5/60%
Energy cost: 50
This ability can deal a lot of damage and you'll be able to use it twice within the duration of Death Mark so it is very powerful. If you are chasing someone then try to double proc it for the slow. Not much to explain here because it is pretty straight forward. I max this second because the damage can't be double proc'ed so a double or triple proc'd Razor Shuriken is more effective + it doesn't become more energy efficient. Still you can choose to max this first if you prefer.
Name: Death Mark
Damage: 100% AD + 20/35/50% of total damage dealt within 4 seconds.
Energy cost: None
This is the key part of your burst. In every fight you'll want to use this first before you attack a target. Then try to land all your abilities within 4 seconds. Make sure to Ignite for the ultimate burst. This ultimate will even kill tanks late game. Remember not to use it when you're low on energy. Remember to reactivate the Death Mark (by pressing R) when you fight. When you use Death Mark it'll spawn a shadow behind the enemy. When you then reactivate it you'll switch place with in. This is perfect for dodging skill shots and just buying 1 more second in a fight because the enemy will be forced to turn around which gives you 1-2 free auto-attacks.
Things to focus on when you use Death Mark:
So both are very powerful and both are very reliable. So lets look on some pros and cons for both.
Can be double or triple proc'd
Not that great at waveclearing on lane
Not a skillshot
Good for melee trading
The damage can't be double proc'd
Requires Living Shadow to poke
So you'll always want to start the fight with Death Mark. In rank 3 Death Mark will burst for an extra 50% of the damage you've managed to deal over 4 seconds. That is a lot late game. But even early game it is very powerful. After Death Mark you should immediately use Shadow Slash. Shadow Slashes CD is 3 seconds. That means that you'll be able to use it twice within Death Marks duration if you're fast. Then you can use Living Shadow into a triple proc'd Razor Shuriken. That's a lot of damage but that means you blow your only escape tool. If you manage to land everything you'll be able to kill almost anything late game.
But it is very important to learn your limits. Know exactly how much damage you can take and deal so you don't start a fight you can't win. This is not something I can teach you in this guide. To learn this you'll have to play a lot.
Flash is good for escaping or engaging. A powerful summoner which almost everyone uses. You can flash over walls to escape or flash through their front line and engage on the enemy ADC.
This is a very good but predictable summoner. It basicly makes you run faster and you'll pass through minions. It also has a shorter CD than flash. Combined with Living Shadow you'll be able to escape most things. But it is also very predictable because you can only run from A to B so you'll be unable to juke the enemy.
I ALWAYS take this as my offensive summoner. It will help sure kills and start your snowball. A must have on Zed in my opinion.
This is an option though I am not a huge fan of it on Zed. It could work I guess especially vs. a Shen so you can follow him when he ults away.
This section of the guide will constantly be worked on to keep it up to date. So be patient. I will rate every matchup from 1-10 and tell you what to watch out for and how to play it. If you have any questions or want me to explain anything more in-depth then feel free to ask. But remember: this is only a general guide. There are a lot of factors on a lane which can determine the outcome and when you have played a lot of Zed you should be able to play each matchup.
Top lane matchups
Counters to Zed outside of top lane
So if the enemy team has picked certain champions I wouldn't advice picking Zed:
So Zed doesn't fit in every team comp. After all he is an assassin and not every team wants that. So (atleast in yoloqueue] you should look at your team before just instant picking. Take a moment to think about your teams generel synergy. Think about:
- Do we lack damage?
- Do we lack survivability?
- Who am I against?
- Could I lane swap with my bot lane to counter their top?
- Do we need a split pusher?
- Do my team wants me to pick anything?
In level 1 you have a few things to decide. First of all you'll have to decide if you want to lane swap or not. If you want to do it ask your team if it would be possible. If they say no just go top lane and proceed as normal. Then you have to buy items. Here you have a few possibilities:
- Health Potion x 9, sight ward x 2
- Doran's Blade
- Long Sword, Health Potion x 2
- Elixir of Fortitude, Health Potion x 4, sight ward x 1
- Health Potion x 7, sight ward x 1, Vision Ward x 1
Health Potion x 9, sight ward x 2:
This level 1 gives a lot of sustain. Pick this if you're against a tough matchup or if you lane swap. A very safe early game. Use this to outsustain the enemy in a poke battle or simply just survive till level 6.
In my opinion this level 1 is bad. You'll win most trades but they'll have sustain and you won't. This means that any damage they give to you will stick. This is a very ballsy level 1 and requires you to play very very aggresive and try to all-in your enemy early. I guess it could be used if you planned on shoving the enemy fast into his tower and then go back. Also rememeber that this level 1 doesn't bring a ward. Which means the enemy jungler will want to gank you. Plus if the enemy lane swaps you'll get destroyed. I don't recommend starting this way.
Long Sword, Health Potion x 2:
This is also a very risky level 1 but a bit more forgiving than Doran's Blade. This will give you an advantage in items if you can survive early game, because if the enemy has stacked pots that means that he'll have spend all of his gold on early game. So if you just farm evenly then you'll, in theory, be 400 gold ahead because of Long Sword.
Elixir of Fortitude, Health Potion x 4, sight ward x 1:
This is a very good early game start, and I use this in a lot of matchups because I trust my ability to outplay the opponent. Elixir of Fortitude gives you an instant health boost when popped + a damage boost, so it can be used to either bait or all-in engage. This also gives some sustain and vision. It is a pretty good, all around level 1 build and can save your life if you get ganked or just misplays a bit.
Health Potion x 7, sight ward x 1, Vision Ward x 1:
I actually have started running this early game because it adds a lot of pressure. Most top laners comes to lane with only 1 sight ward. That means if I remove that, they'll be blind. If they're blind they'll be careful and won't be looking for a fight. So if I can manage to freeze the lane while removing their sight ward I'll get ahead. It is also very forgiving with a lot of potions. I recommend this build.
Top lane control
I know this is a lot of text but if you're new to top lane, try to read it anyways. It will help you :). To understand minions watch this:
Introduction to top lane
Control of jungler
Enemy top laner
Let it push to your side
You have 2 jobs in a team fight which depends a lot on the situation.
Your first job is to destroy the enemy carries. Be patient, wait for one of them to get slightly out of position and then combo them.
Your second job is to protect your own carries. That means sometimes to use Death Mark for the bruisers who dives in for your own carries. It all really depends on how fed your own carries are and how well protected the enemy's carries are. I might make a video from different team fights in the future where I show how and why I do as I do.
Zoning is a really important aspect of league of legends. What zoning means is that you force your enemy out of XP zone/make him unable to last hit. If you get ahead in xp you'll get a huge advantage. You can do this several ways. If you're ahead just walk close to the minions and engage the moment he walks too close/poke him. That will make him afraid and retreat. This is the most brutal way but there are many more subtle and more effective ways. One way is to simply hiding in a brush. He knows where you are but he also knows that if he walks too close to the brush you'll be able to deal a lot of free damage to him. Another way is to pink his ward (or just make sure he doesn't have a ward) and then "freeze" the minions just outside of your towers range. This will make him scared to walk up to you and farm and if he keeps doing it anyways you can scare him by suddenly attacking him. But don't try to zone this way if he has a ward because you might just end up being shoved into your tower which often isn't really what you want. It's all about the mind games.
I can really recommend watching this guide by Shurelia. It is a little outdated but the basics are still the same
So lane swapping is a thing which pro teams started doing 24/7 in tournaments. To lane swap as Zed you have to focus on 3 things. Don't take too much free poke, get as much farm as possible and (this might actually be the most important one) get XP. Level your abilities as usual and try to last hit and poke as much as possible. But last hits>poke. You want to try and stay ahead of their 1v2 lane. But the reason why XP is so important is that you're not sharing the XP with anyone. That means you'll end up level 6 before them. A level 6 Zed can kill or atleast force either the support or adc out of lane. Try to clear waves as fast as possible too because the goal of lane swap is to catch your opponent off guard and get his tower as fast as possible. Zed is really good at lane swapping so you should try it!
So why do you want to lane swap?
- You bot lane have better poke and pushing power
- Their top laners wave clear is bad
Attack damage carries:
Do not lane swap: Kog'Maw and Vayne
Hard lane swap: Caitlyn
You can lane swap: Varus, Miss Fortune, Twitch, Corki, Sivir, Tristana, Ezreal and Graves.
You SHOULD lane swap: Draven
Supports will be rated a bit different from easy to hard to play against in a lane swap.
The concept of split pushing is easy. You tell your team to group somewhere and apply pressure. Then you go to another lane and start pushing. For this to work you'll have to be able to 1v1 anyone on their team. Then you keep on pushing. When they send one against you, you fight him off and keep pressuring. If they send more than one after you, try to escape and delay them as much as possible while your team pushes with an advantage somewhere else. Zed can 100 - 0 anyone late game so he is a really really good split pusher.
There are 6 main objectives in league of legends
Turret: When you destroy a turret you give 150 gold to all members of your team. You also give a lot of map control, because you now can roam the enemy jungle and escape much more easily. So try to take down turrets whenever possible mid game. It gives a lot of control. A tower won't respawn. Remember to lane ward when you take down turrets so you can see when and where they enter their jungle. Information is power!
Inhibitors: Inhibitors only gives 50 gold when destroyed but you will spawn super minions which will push in a lane and all your other minions will also become stronger. This makes splitpushing much easier, because they will be forced to defend all their lanes with super minions. Inhibitors repsawn after 5 min. The bot inhibitor is often the best inhibitor to get if you can because it is far away from baron which means the enemy team needs 1 to def that lane. That will make any baron attempt you do a 5v4.
Blue buff gives a mana/energy regen buff and a CDR buff. Very strong to have and when possible you should try to steal the enemy blue buff. If you kill an enemy having this buff, you'll get the buff for its full duration. The duration of the buff is 2:30. The spawn time of the buff is 5 min.
Red buff gives a buff which slows and deals damage. This buff should also be stolen whenever possible and you'll recieve it yourself if you kill an enemy who has this buff. The spawn time is 5 min and the duration is 2:30.
Dragon gives 190 gold for your entire team. You should keep dragon warded at all times, and when your team is ready you should tell your top laner to push in the wave and then come down to dragon. This will give you a 5v4 advantage. The team who last hits the dragon gets the gold.
Baron Nashor gives the strongest buff in the game. You get a lot of regeneration and 40 AD and 40 AP. The first spawn time is 15 min and after that it spawns each 7 min. Each member of your team gets 300 gold if you kill baron. The duration for the buff is 4 min but if you kill an enemy with this buff you won't get the buff yourself. The team who last hits baron gets the gold. With this buff you should look for sieging a lot. The huge regen buff makes you able to continue spamming your abilities and ignoring the enemy poke while you keep poking them.
THIS SECTION IS NOT COMPLETE AND IS STILL BEING WORKED ON. I NEED TO LOOK UP A FEW THINGS BEFORE I END THIS CHAPTER.
If you have to trade objectives:
In theory baron is worth the same as 1 inhibitor because both gives pushing power. Of course it depends on your situation but generally it's worth the same. You just have to remember that baron gives a lot of gold too so it's not always worth trading baron for inhibitor. Just don't try to team fight a team with baron. Instead just try to clear waves and let the super minions give pressure.
If you manage to get either Baron or Inhibitor you should often be able to get the other one because of the strength it gives you. If you get Baron just use your sieging power to try and get an inhibitor. If you managed to take an enemy inhibitor then you should let that lane push while baiting baron. At some point the enemy team will HAVE to defend the lane where their inhib is down. Then you can often get Baron for free.
In my opinion blue buff is worth slightly more than red buff because of the huge cooldown reduction and the huge mana regeneration it gives which open up the possibility for more poke and faster push.
Dragon is worth slightly more than turrets. Turrets gives only 150 gold to each player and dragon gives 190 gold to each player. But turrets gives much more map control. So it is not always worth it to trade a dragon for a turret.
This is a very decent video showing where and why to ward. If you're not very interrested in why you should ward in these specific locations this picture shows it very well:
To learn more about top lane watch pro league of legend top laners on stream. The one i learned the most from is Wickd who is an amazing Zed player.
You can also go watch Xpeke who is also playing quite a lot of Zed. This is in mid lane though. Xpeke's stream
Thanks for reading my guide! Please vote and comment and make sure to tell me what I can improve. Lets make this guide perfect together! And remember: This is just a game. Don't be toxic, work with your team AND HAVE FUN!
Thank you for reading my guide and making it this far!
Thanks to Riot for keep making league of legends such an amazing game!
Thanks to jhoijhoi about How to make a guide
Thanks to Shurelias (from Riot I believe?) for her zoning tutorial guide. It is really good.
Thanks to Ask Mr. Robots zed guide and for the pictures it provides! Check it out!
Thanks to Honeybucket on solomid.net for his guide about lane swapping.
Thanks to jhoijhoi for her BBCoding guide!
Thanks to DiffTheEnder on CLGaming.net for analyzing "Are ArPen Runes better than AD runes? Redux"
Thanks to Wickd from CLG.EU for teaching me the top lane mechanics. Here is his stream
Thanks to TeamLolgasm for their Warding guide. All credit should go to TeamLoLgasm and should be directed to them and not me.
Thanks to IceCreamy for her guide how to make columns
Thanks to TasteMyUMP from team-dignitas.org for his The essence of split pushing.
Thanks to Vapora Dark for his constructive feedback. He made me think a lot and made me change a few things. Check out his Talon guide!