Zed Build Guide by Shinneko
Not Updated For Current Season
This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.
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.
Welcome to my guide, come on, take a look!
Ladies and gentlemans, i would like to present you Zed and the way i'm playing him. Zed is a melee assassin champion, his abilities are based on attack damage, and consume energy instead of mana. He has got many ways to poison enemies with fear and chaos due to his abilities, which gives us a lot of possibilities. He can easily kite, escape, or close gaps to enemies. I am building him on an assassin bruiser.
It's my first guide, but i have watched and read dozens of tutorials, so don't be harsh, and try to give me some good critique. Im making this guide to let you know how you can play Zed in jungle, this is how i like him the best. Maybe if my guide will be liked enough, i will make mid and solo top section also. I hope it will help you, and you will find your best own way thanks to my guide.
If you will like it, please, let me know about that and leave comment or support. <3
Before giving me down votes, please tell me what's wrong with this guide. Thanks from above.
Lore and Spotlight
Zed is the first ninja in 200 years to unlock the ancient, forbidden ways. He defied his clan and master, casting off the balance and discipline that had shackled him all his life. Zed now offers power to those who embrace knowledge of the shadows, and slays those who cling to ignorance.
An orphan, Zed was taken in and trained by a great ninja master. Only one other student appeared to be Zed’s equal – the master’s son, Shen. It seemed Zed could never win the favor of the master, as every match between the rivals ended in a draw. Frustrated and jealous, he sought an advantage. The young ninja ventured into a sealed part of the clan’s temple, where he found an ornate, foreboding box. Sensing the dark knowledge within, Zed knew he should not open it, but he peered inside nonetheless. In an instant, shadows touched his mind, revealing techniques that had long been hidden. Now armed with a secret edge, he challenged Shen, and this time he defeated the master’s son. He expected praise and recognition in his moment of victory, but somehow the master knew Zed had used forbidden ways, and banished him.
Humiliated, the young ninja wandered for years. His bitterness turned to ambition, and he began to train others in the style of the shadows. As his power grew, so did his circle of followers, but he knew that without the box, his technique would never be perfect. One day, Zed looked at his followers and saw that his students were now an army. He led them back to the temple to claim his prize. At the gates, he was surprised to find the old master waiting, receiving Zed and his disciples as if they were welcome guests. The old man laid his sword at Zed’s feet, declaring that he had failed Zed as his master. By banishing his former student, the master had doomed Zed to the shadows, instead of leading him to the balanced path. The old man implored Zed to enter the temple, destroy the box, and lead his followers to balance. The dark ninja followed the master inside. Moments later, the assembled ninjas heard Zed cry out in pain. Mysteriously, he emerged unscathed, and threw the severed head of the master at Shen’s feet. Screaming in rage, Zed commanded his followers to slaughter the master’s students and seize the box.
That day, the old ninja order fell. Though many students died, some escaped thanks to Shen’s heroic efforts. Now the temple is a dark training ground for the Order of the Shadow. Zed rules as the Order’s master, and his edict is simple: perfect one’s technique, and kill all ninjas who refuse to embrace the shadows.
”Balance is a lie – we are the true ninjas.” -Zed
Why Zed? Pros/Cons
greater mark of desolationgreater mark of desolationgreater mark of desolation
6x greater mark of desolation - Armor penetration runes is something i find much more usable than full flat ad dmg runes, when you will calculate dmg output - it's higher, not even mentioning Zed's Living Shadow ability, which gives him percentage amount of AD boost.
3x Greater Mark of Attack Damage - This is something that all AD champs need to feel enemy crumble at your feets. This small amount bonus AD will help you at early game, and will save you trouble, when enemies would get out with 10 HP.
3x Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage - The same as mark of strenght, AD boost is always good, especially when you are assassin, and all your abilities are AD based.
9x Greater Seal of Armor - This is something you will definitely need in jungle, to help you clear it without problems, and make your sustain better, even at late games.
9x Greater Glyph of Magic Resist - Not as good as armor seals, but you will make better use of it at ganking mid, than reduced armor from glyphs.
In this section, i will explain why i did chose masteries like that I didn't go with 21/0/9 because his survivability at early game is very low, he might even not be able to make safe clear jungle, not even mentioning, that ganks might occur in his death. I didn't go with 21/9/0, because he needs this extra energy, to be able to make full combo and deal extra dmg, also, he needs longer durations of buffs as a jungler. That's why i came up with 9/12/9. That setup gives you very good attack damage, that comes right with better sustain, and increased energy bar. If you feel save in jungle, you might wanna jange masteries to 21/0/9.
Brute Force - gives you nice starting additional damage, and is needed to get another masteries.
Butcher - You need to give somewhere 1 point, to get to next masteries, and you don't use ignite, neither you are AP champ, so other masteries are useless.
Alacrity - Gives you a little speed buff to help you faster clear jungle.
Weapon Expertise - works very well with your AD, armor penetration runes and Living Shadow skill.
Summoner's Resolve - You have to take it for additional gold from smite. 10g every minute is pretty usefull, especially in early i must say.
Resistance - Because you have to put this points somewhere, and magic resist is always good to jump on mid and enemies without fear.
Hardiness - The same as upper one, but this also helps you jungle safer, you will need to be more tanky late game, cause you will be in the middle of the fights all the time.
Durability - This extra health might be usefull, will go well with your Atma's Impaler in late game.
Veteran's Scars - Increased health is always good, especially when you are squishy in early like Zed. This will boost your sustain.
Summoner's Insight - Reduced cooldown on flash, must have as flash is one of the most usefull spells in game. This will help you escape, or secure kills if needed.
Expanded Mind - This is what you definitely should take on Zed. Its just 10 additional energy, but in game, there is no more usefull mastery than this. This one will save your *** hundred times.
Swiftness - Move speed for faster jungle and better ganks. You should have this as a jungler.
Runic Affinity - Increased buff duration, do i need to explain? As a jungler you need to have your buffs early 24/7, so every gank will be successfull.
You propably whonder why i have chosen items like you can see in my build, when everybody else suggest other ones. No worry, i will explain all, this is in my opinion the best Zed build, its universable, and let you do many things. Of course i tried other builds, but none of them worked as good as this one.
Take cloth armor as your first item and 5 pots to let you jungle safer. You will make [[wriggle's lantern it lantern later. Zed isn't strong at early, so you have to take this.
Must-have item if you don't want to spend 2 nights in jungle. Gives you armor, attack damage and passive that helps you make your jungle even faster.
Every champion needs boots. I suggest you to take first tier boots right after razors to increase even more jungle clear time, and help you with ganks and escaping enemies.
This is very good item, increase basic stats of razors, give you extra dmg from passive, and has active that lets you put ward every 3 minutes, for free of course! Also, you get lifesteal, so you can make jungle without loss any hp.
This choice depends on your enemy team picks, and the case what you prefer. If you think you are pretty strong, you didnt died yet, and have some kills or assist, i suggest you taking Boots of Mobility. If you aren't so sure that your sustain is so good that you can gank like crazy, take Ninja Tabi or mercury's thread, depending if the enemy team is based on AD and basic attacks, or AP and got hard CC.
Start from Phage, it will give you nice additional survi and dmg output, not even mentioning the passive slow buffThen, go for Sheen, actually you my wonder why, when you dont have mana, and your abilities don't get stronger from ap. The answer is - passive. This passive will be your great source of damage, as you are champ who spam his skills endlessly, you will see how much this item means. Next make Zeal, it will boost your attack and movement speed, and will give you some crit chance for later game. Then you are only 300g away from making Trinity Force. It will boost stats and passives from upper items.
As you can propably see your damage output is very high right now, you can easily jump on your enemies face and nuke them down with help of laner. You think more survi now, as teamfight phase should start. Warmog gives you high amount of health, and even more from passive. Health regen is usefull also.
Your damage starts to blend out, that's why you should make atma's. It gives you additional armor, and crit chance, which works well with trinity force, and then, here comes reason why you should buy it. It passive gives you dmg based on your max health, you should get about 50-60 AD by now.
If games still continues, you are walking nightmare, enemies are scared just by looking at you, when they see your shadow, they are peeing in their pants. Why not to be more powerfull? This is what we want, huge amount of AD, increased crit rate and dmg, you should definitely have it.
You like surprises, don't you? I think your enemies love them too. Imagine enemy team trying hard to kill you, and after that, you just revive, killing them all or escape using your shadows, baiting them to your team. Perfect scenario. Other option is Last Whisper which will bust your dmg even more, and let you penetrate armor of your enemies, like knife goes into hot butter. The choice is up to you.
This are Zed skills:
Contempt for the Weak [PASSIVE]
This the reason why you can be called a kill stealer. When enemy is on low hp, you can one shot him with basic attack, also, it's good for jungle, cause it works on monsters too. Due to this strong passive, you should open ganks with your abilities, to get your opponent down to less than 50% hp, and then auto attack him, and spam skills.
Razor Shuriken [Q]
Many of Zed guides and players tells to max it first, i personally, max it second. Why? Because as a jungler, you dont need to harass your enemies, you need to jump on their face, apply CC, and rape them to death. That's why. You won't make pretty good use out of it till late game, when you will have decent AD.
Living Shadow [W]
This skill is reason why we love Zed. It have so many uses, that you may surprise yourself. Zed cast shadow in direction he wants, and then he can do many things, for example, using it as an escape mechanism, using it as a close gap skill, using it to deal dmg with other skills, or juke enemy. Shadows are essence of Zed gameplay, and you should use them well.
Shadow Slash [E]
This is, and will be your main source of damage. You max this as soon as possible, with it you will clear jungle in seconds, your slow will almost stop all enemies in effect area, you will pierce their bodies with dmg coming out of spamming this, due to it's short cooldown. You use it to jungle, and initiate ganks with slow out of it.
Death Mark [R]
Your ultimate skill biggest feature is that you are untargetable during casting, so use it, when you are focused, when enemies dive you, or when you just want to jump on opponents face. Interesting about it is also that, that you have another jump to use, as shadow spawns behind enemy back, the possibilities of using this shadow, can be even combined with your Living Shadow. Last feature is detonation mark. Upon dealt damage while death mark last, target will explode. It's nice to take off smile of your enemies faces when they think they ran away.
As a Zed - Jungler, you dont have many options of choosing summoner spells. I will show you which is the best setup, and alternative spells.
This is your must-have spell. It's impossible to go jungle Zed without it, due to your low sustain at early game, you would propably die at blue buff, or red buff. Also gold from it, and possibility to steal dragon or baron are very good reason to take it. MUST-HAVE.
From now on, you have various option of changing flash spell for something else.
Flash is great option, it can help you in offensive or defensive way, escaping, flashing throught walls or closing gap to last hit enemies. You can make impossible combos with flash and jumping to shadow from Living Shadow or Death Mark. I recommend you to take it.
Zed don't rely on flash spell as much as other junglers. He can close gap to his enemy, by using Living Shadow, but let's dont lie, double jumps are always better, and when it comes to slow the target, you have your Shadow Slash. You can take it, but i preffer to choose flash.
If you want to play very offensive, this spell might to be the best spell for you. Jumping on your enemy face, slowing him, nuking him out to 40% health, auto attacking him with passive, ignite him, and then watch him die burning.
I dont find other spells as much usefull on Zed as this top ones.
Zed is one of the faster junglers in game, he is energy based so he doesn't need blue buff so much as amumu for example. Even if he doesn't have mana, i do blue buff first anyway, because it's faster and gives you higher energy regen, not even mentioning cooldowns reduction so you can spam your skills.
Take Cloth Armor and 5 health potions, go for wolves and ask someone to help you damage them (make sure he won steal you exp and gold), and then pull blue. Wolves respawn at 1:40, as soon as they will appear, start spamming Shadow Slash, and kill them with help of mid laner and top laner. You won't even need to use pots. Then move to blue buff, and as soon as it will be pulled, keep attacking him with basic attacks and Shadow Slash skill, then smite him, and move to wraiths. Take Razor Shuriken as your second skill, so you can clear jungle faster. Try to catch as many wraiths with shuriken, and keep spammin Shadow Slash combined with basic attacks. Then move again to wolves, they should respawn around 2:50, kill them the same way, and then its time to move for red buff. Your smite should be on, so make sure you wont get counter jungled, and smite it first, so you can make use of your passive, then spam Q, and E, to kill it. Take Living Shadow, and look if some lane needs your help. If yes - gank, if no - kill wraiths, wolves and go to the base for items. Your main priority for now is taking blue buff or giving it to the mid laner if he needs that, taking red buff and then moving to ganks. If you can't gank anywhere, take wraiths and wolves, and then look for gank anyway. Make sure you dont kill golems, you dont need them at all. If there are no wraiths and you cant gank lane, you can force a gank, or try to counter-jungle.
Wolves > Blue buff > Wraiths > Wolves > Red buff > Gank/wraiths > Gank/wolves > Base
Blue buff > Red buff > Ganks > Wraiths > Wolfes > more ganks > even more ganks > Base
Zed plays vital role in teamfight, your main target is their source of damage output - ap carry and ad carry. You should first throw a shadow on them with Living Shadow, then activate Shadow Slash to slow them down, activate again Living Shadow to swap places with your shadow, and try to hunt down theri ap/ad carry. If you get focused, or your skills are on cd, and target is running away, use your Death Mark ultimate, following up again with Shadow Slash and Razor Shuriken. Your target should be dead by now, and you should switch your focus on another biggest damage output, or help your mates. REMEMBER, dont leave your team in back, don suicide, and try to slow as much enemies as you can, this will result in a win. You should also juke your enemies and make chaos in their team, by jumping with shadows, they will have no idea what's going on and how to react. It's a matter of time when you will hear "Victory".
Zed is very powerfull assassin bruiser that makes chaos, and confuses his enemy. His shadows are great tool of spreading fear in his enemies minds, and can be used in different ways. He is hard to master champion, his combos, and tactics need skillfull player with fast reactions, but when you will master that, you will carry all games, you will be undefeatable and strong. I dont suggest new players to take him, he is hard to play, and also easy to counter in early. But in late... tell enemies to be aware of shadows, and they will sleep with their lights on.