Zed General Guide by TheQuietlyLoud
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.
Zed is a powerful glass cannon that most people typically write off as having low damage potential. If played right this is most definitely not the case as you will have tanks shot down in a matter of seconds. In this guide I will cover play style, build, and more so that you can be the dark assassin Zed was made to be.
Abilities (Their Potential and How to Use Them)
Contempt for the Weak: This is your greatest farming tool because 4/5 times it will secure the kill for you. Unfortunately you will not see a huge effect on champions until about level 14.
Razor Shuriken: This is your primary damage output until you get your Ravenous Hydra and even then it is about equal with your basic attack. A lone shuriken wont do very much damage but 2 or 3 will. The moment you get Living Shadow you need to be using it to try landing two shurikens at once. The Shurikens become an outrageously powerful weapon when using Death Mark because you can use 3 and a portion of that damage will hit again once it detonates. ***If you are not good at landing these than you will not be an effective Zed player***
Living Shadow: This is great for 5 purposes.
1) To land more than one Razor Shuriken at once to do more damage.
2) To apply a slow to enemies as the shadow uses Shadow Slash (which also makes it easier to land more shurikens).
3) To nearly double your poking range.
4) To grant you mobility as you are now able to double activate it to catch up to an enemy, run away, or get past walls.
5) To grant you amazing amounts of bonus AD as it eventually scales to 25% bonus AD
Shadow Slash This is a great low cool down, AOE ability that can also reduce all abilities cool downs and apply a slow if landed with Living Shadow. Spam away on this ability in everything you do.
Death Mark This ultimate requires you to act fast as soon as activated. Upon impact you have 3 seconds to apply as much damage as possible so that the detonation is devastating. This means spamming abilities and basic attacking as much as possible. Upon activation you have to immediately use Shadow Slash to add an intense slow that will make it easy to land everything else. Next focus on landing all 3 shurikens as you activate Razor Shuriken because this will be you largest damage output in those 3 seconds and if you miss them your ultimate was practically wasted. At first the detonation wont seem like much but once it is maxed and you have good AD its power is fantastic.
The skill sequence is priority based as it first gives you good poke, AD, and finally AOE.
Zed is very squishy and you need to be able to do damage but not take much and the best way to do this is at range. Razor Shuriken is an amazing ranged poke and often will scare people off of you when leveled. This needs to be maxed first because if no it will not you will have to rely on basic attack. Also at level 6 when you get Death Mark It wont do anything until they are maxed.
Living Shadow will supply you with the bonus AD needed to do amazing damage mid game. If maxed second it will make you a bigger and bigger threat as the game progresses. On top of that the reduction on its cool down is very nice.
Lastly Shadow Slash is maxed purely because it is not as important as the other abilities. I could have given you some BS technical reason but when it comes down to it that is the real reason.
How to Effectively Use Zed
Now that you know more about his abilities work, you need to learn how to use them effectively.
During the laneing phase your focus is on doing 2 things. First is to use Contempt for the Weak to harvest minion feed as fast as possible. Second is poking the enemies from range using your abilities, but how do you do that?
There are 3 common scenarios that you need to be prepared for...
1) The enemy is out of melee range of your Living Shadow-- This means that if you want to do damage to them, you need to place Living Shadow at its maximum range between you and the enemy then throw your Razor Shuriken with the intention of hitting them with the one your shadow threw.
2) The enemy is in melee range of your Living Shadow-- This gives you options but one stands out among the rest. Place the Living Shadow on the enemy and immediately use Shadow Slash. Now that the slow is applied, throw Razor Shuriken with the intention of landing both shurikens. If the enemy or minions are still around your shadow, go ahead and use Shadow Slash once more before the shadow disappears.
3) Your enemy is within your melee range- Basic attacking is good and all but if you want great damage you have to treat this scenario like a use of your ulti. Place that Living Shadow on the other side of the target, Shadow Slash for the slow, and use Razor Shuriken do do the real damage. If Razor Shuriken is maxed you can expect good damage.
Finally how to use Death Mark ***this is an exact copy from the abilities chapter***
This ultimate requires you to act fast as soon as activated. Upon impact you have 3 seconds to apply as much damage as possible so that the detonation is devastating. This means spamming abilities and basic attacking as much as possible. Upon activation you have to immediately use Shadow Slash to add an intense slow that will make it easy to land everything else. Next focus on landing all 3 shurikens as you activate Razor Shuriken because this will be you largest damage output in those 3 seconds and if you miss them your ultimate was practically wasted. At first the detonation wont seem like much but once it is maxed and you have good AD its power is fantastic.
*****One last important note*****
Always look for 1v1 situations because this is where Zed excels. The jungle is you best friend although I would not recommend actually jungleing.
My logic as to why I picked these items:
-=- Berserker's Greaves- Being the melee assassin Zed is you need the bonus attack speed. This will help you get feed faster and once you have the Ravenous Hydra it will help you life steal at an unbelievable rate.
-=- The Brutalizer- This supplies you with great early game burst damage and it works great unless doing a 1v1 in which case i would substitute it for a Doran's Blade.
-=- The Bloodthirster- This item was chosen partially for its life steal but mainly for its damage. Overall it is a great item to keep your sustain and damage output up.
-=- Ravenous Hydra- Commonly this is seen as a late game item due to its active but I find the use of it at this point as being very effective. Once this item is in your possession you can start to visually see the impact your basic attack has. On top of that the life steal at this point is unmatched. 6-9 basic attacks and you have fully restored your health and this supplies you with amazing sustain.
-=- Infinity Edge- One you have this you can tear down anybody. Tanks, assassins, support, ADC, you name it, they will all fall to your burst.
-=- Phantom Dancer- Your basic attack will now be just as effective as almost all of your abilities. If you find someone alone they will be dead in a heart beat.
-=- The Black Cleaver- By this time you excel at 1v1's, maybe even 2v1's but are challenged in team fights because of low health. This wont give too much but it defiantly helps and you don't have to sell anything to get it.
Not going to bore you with a long in depth explanation as to why I picked these runes when I could just say this... It makes you glass cannon with great burst... Is that good? Does that work for you?.. Okay good! Moving on...
Oh geez here we go again... *sigh* yeah you already know this but I'm going to go ahead and repeat this one more time... It makes you glass cannon with great burst. Sorry I know you must be tired of hearing it.
-=- Heal- Is absolutely need because you are going to be squishy and this WILL save your life!
-=- Flash- Zed is already hard to escape or catch up to but with flash you will be giving them no chance. Its overkill but its good.
Pros / Cons
-=- Has fantastic burst damage
-=- Great mobility
-=- Extremely squishy
-=- If you can't land Razor Shuriken he is nearly imposable to use.
-=- Death Mark may take much practicing before you can even begin to do damage with it.