Build Guide by Countic
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
So this unique build is designed to get you maximum usage of your abilities, total map control with constantly being able to move fast, and even jungling while waiting on your lane to push back. Your job, as support, is to play "quarterback" for your team by manipulating the outcome of all your major battles mid to late game. You will run screens, hail mary's, offensive blitz's, fumble recoveries, and create zone coverage on demand. You will be the most hated, and most focused player of the enemy team. This is why we run with HP items, armor, and magic resist. You will bait the other team, cause them to overextend, and *most of the time* live through it.
Screen: In football, the screen is a play with the goal of getting the enemy team to lose track of where the football is going, often causing the linebackers to run in directions opposite of where you actually intend to move your football. In LoL, this concept applies to the enemy team in a format of causing them to focus on someone other than who they would normally focus on (you, instead of your carry). Having a tough time getting them to engage with your tank out front? Run up to your tank, harass with bombs, and as soon as one of them attempts to jump "squishy noob zilean", high tail it out to the back of your pack with your E skill. Be aware of stunners, don't let them catch you. You can probably survive one stun, but you honestly don't want to be caught. They will have extended, committed, and be stuck with your tank on them...and the rest of the team focusing them. If the enemy was a stunner...he is likely a squishy carry.
Hail Mary: Having a problem with runners getting away behind turrets with less than 10% health? No problem! Send someone in to finish the job with your E skill, and if he is semi low health himself....stick your ulti on before you do so! Its a hail mary...without the risk! Be map-aware of the location of other enemies. Do not attempt if they are nearby because wide receivers have a hard time catching balls when they are being covered by two or more defenders. (Works best when you have just won a fight that killed most of the team but somebody fled early).
Offensive Blitz: Having a problem getting the enemy team to commit to a fight because your tank is constantly the one in front? And are they not taking you for bait? Then E skill your tank and send him off, with everyone following him, to initiate. Its a blitz because your entire team moves forward all together at the same time.
Fumble Recovery: Did a carry overextend, or is a person dropping in battle? E skill them the heck out of that hole! Or ulti them back to life before they die! Run a screen when you do so! Put yourself into position that will make them want to attack you, buying your fallen comrade just enough time to get out! Then get out yourself.
Zone Coverage: Having a problem with Yi, TF, Tristana, or any other physical carry trying to backdoor you? Run a solid zone coverage by being the one who can run across a map killing their push. Infact, you can lay two bombs, run further up the lane, lay two more, run further up the lane, lay two more, and run back as fast as possible (before the previous minions have even been killed). You can decimate an entire lane of push from your base to the enemy base in under 20 seconds, and be out before the enemy has time to react. The key is: Do NOT sit and melee the enemy creeps, nor wait for them to die. You are 18 by this point, and don't need the money anyways.
Early game I buy the regrowth pendant for survivability and then upgrade it to the phil stone within the first 5 minutes. This gives you huge regen of health and mana to be able to farm and harass.
Now the next item....I came across by mistake. One day I accidentally bought a second phil stone instead of my next item. I fell in love with it. It makes your regen so crazy that the opponents cannot harass you effectively, and the gold is just bonus bonus bonus. You will get it around 9 minutes into the game, with ease. Why two stones, you ask? Because the survivability and ability to spam is crucial to rack up huge gold and keep your enemy from being able to farm. You literally can sit at their tower (be tank taunt safe, of course) and force them to be unable to last hit most of your minions, or you can jungle. Whichever is easiest. Then, once you start entering late game, you sell them off to build your last items, netting you a huge bonus ahead of the other team in comparison. There is no item better for Zilean, so why not get two?
Next, I get the boots. *note* I have sorc boots listed, as they generally perform better against teams that have some tanks and not too many AP casters. However, if you happen to come across a team that has few tanks, more AP casters, and none of your opponents building magic resist....then you may want to opt for merc treads instead of sorc boots to give yourself the extra MR because you already have enough spell pen to break through base magic resists from your runes.
Then, rod of ages asap so that you get its full benefits around 25 mins into the game. After that, you should be about 24-25 minutes into the game, entering mid game where team fights start to occur. You will want to pick up your glacial shroud which synergizes better for zilean than any other character. Additionally, now that you have the shroud and nearly maxed out cdr...you should be focusing on keeping every lane pushed and the jungle jungled, while always in range for team fights if they should occur. You have the mana, you have the foot speed, so maximize the use of them. Its a lot of clicking. We will not upgrade the shroud until its the very last item on the list.
Next, abyssal scepter. You will be about 33 minutes into the game at this point. At this point, I have put into the build order sight wards. You are support, and map coverage and the enemy team is likely huddled together moving as a pack. Your team needs to see where they go, so designate yourself as the sight ward person at least until you get your 6th and final item, where someone else can probably pick up warding.
Rabal's is your 5th item and will put you at 400ap. Now upgrade your shroud into frozen heart. Final and 6th item is warmog's. Why warmog's you ask? I mean, its the end of the game and you get very little return for its passive ability, right? Yes, this is true but...perspective is key. You are 50 minutes into the game. If you die, your death is a LONG wait. You already have sufficient armor and MR, and your AP is already 400 (you really don't need more as support). So whats left? Health. You need more health to stay alive late game. Your build is technically complete, and your gold is relatively useless anyways. Warmog's gives you the most health in the game and its really the only thing you could use at this point. Plus, this means you keep your health regen (mogs is = to two phil stones that you sold off). You lose the mana regen, but then again, you have clarity. The build is synergized to perfection. If the game should last long enough to complete this whole set, it will take you approximately 50 minutes. Its very doable, and not nearly as expensive as you might think due to the phil stones and farming capability. Your enemy also gets starved.
1) Huge health and mana regen, along with clarity, maximizes your farming as well as starving your opponent.
2) This build is designed giving you large armor and magic resist bonuses from the heart and scepter, as well as great health bonus from rod and warmog's. Thus, it makes you very much less squishy. If the other team focuses you, they will pay for it.
3) (Edited out)
4) With just one cdr item, cdr glyphs, and cdr masteries....your cdr will be nearly maxed. Additionally, the cdr item is picked up relatively early in the game, "just at the right moment" when you find yourself starting to have a large mana pool to burn.
5) Most people don't realize this, but with Zilean your bombs hurt more by casting more of them more frequently rather than by stacking AP early on. With his rewind, cooldown reduction and the mana to use it = greater damage than early AP.
6) Spamming rewind after using your ulti, when you have max cdr, can make it useable again significantly under a minute. Many times team fights can last upwards of a minute, and you may find yourself using your ulti TWICE in the same fight.
1) Your total AP will be slightly lower than a normal mage-type class, but still high for being support. You will have around 400 to 500AP in the end game. I cannot really think of any other cons with this build, but am open ears. If there are any, I am not sure if there is room to fix them.
2) This revised new guide has relatively small mana regen. Its a con compared to the old version, but you still have clarity. It really gives clarity more end-game use for you. I consider it a minor con since your mana pool is much larger late game.
Other notes: Though the marks and glyphs are absolutely necessary to have, I am not entirely sure what is best to use for seals. With the new version of this guide, the mana regen seals definitely seem to be the best fit now.
Strategy: In team fights, this is the strategy that I use that seems to work extremely well: First off, I am always aware of my surroundings and attempt to keep distance between me and any champion, esp those that can stun. So stay at the back of your pack. You aren't super squishy with this build, but its meant to survive, not to tank. When the team engages, the first thing i do is double bomb, preferably a squishy, and preferably in the middle of them all, but never overextending by running too far forward. By the time you plant those bombs, one of your allies will have been focused and near death. Ulti them, esp late game it doesn't really matter who because they all come back near full health to re-enter the fight (though, don't ulti trynd or someone with GA until after their own abilities have prevented their deaths). The very next thing you will do is look for the new focused ally who is dying and speed buff them (they will likely be running away if possible) OR if the enemy team is losing, you de-speed the one running. By that time, you are ready to double bomb again. This is all in a matter of about 5 seconds. After that, situations change too much.
Conclusion: This build has worked really well for me, and comments are welcomed incase I am not thinking of something that could be missing.
On top of all the above, I have also changed my skill progression from "saving time warp for last and skilling up rewind before time warp" into "skilling up time warp an extra point or two earlier." The main reason for this is that I have found skilling rewind to its max too early is relatively pointless. In the early game, you only have enough mana to double bomb "so often" in which using rewind more than once isn't necessary (thus a long cooldown is ok). Additionally, in the mid and late game you only need rewind to cooldown as fast as time bomb, not faster. When it is maxed, it is faster. So, once you reach 3 to 4 points in rewind its all you need in the game. It is better to spend points earlier in time warp for the huge extention in duration for your allies to catch enemies or to keep them slowed. Having your second point in time warp also benefits you the ability to escape "FB ganks" when the enemy team doubles up and uses their summs on you. So get that as your second point. You really don't need to double bomb until its at least rank 3 bomb anyways.