Zilean Build Guide by Awesome Pwnage1
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.
Without a doubt, this is the only support champion that I play. The only one. I love Zilean. He doesn't try to be anything but what he is, and I find that admirable. I really like to play Zilean as support because let's face it, he wasn't designed to get kills. I play him as a support because that's how the big leagues actually recognize a good Zilean. I really like to play Zilean because he is totally underestimated by the average player, and first time confrontations with him is usually pretty humorous. I will give my insight on how I play support and how I play Zilean. This is a support build, but I find that I get a decent amount of kills early game and It actually gives you all the assists and a tad bit of kills without dying quite as fast due to the CDR on you ult. So here is Zilean- Supernatural Santa
Pros / Cons
When I make builds, I always find it to be a necessity when telling the readers why the build works the way it does and what it is good and not so good at. I will fulfill these requirements in the said paragraphs ahead. I will explain the pros first.
1. 40% CDR
2. A lot of regeneration
3. Not many mana issues
4. Great Support
1. Not the best farming abilities
2. Usually gets targeted first
3. Needs prior knowledge to accel beyond
Team Work and How I Play Zilean
Before we start the necessary explanations, I would like to provide a little information and a little insight on how I use my build.
1. The way I play Zilean is relatively simple. I get as many assist as I can get and I try to get kills at the same time. Zilean is so fun to play because he annoys the hell out of your opponents. Once you hit level 9, your Time Bomb hits for a pretty decent amount. I use this mainly to harass in my lane and get a kill or two if I can. My main objective early game is to use my spells sparingly;even though your mana regen is pretty good for early game. You continue to stack this particular stat throughout the game so there really isn't any reason to fret. Make sure to take place in as many team fights as possible. This is where I find Zilean to really shine. I like to stand back and constantly cast and to crank out damage and to get my cooldowns up ASAP. The other thing that is really crucial in these team confrontations is to slow your enemies whenever possible to say to your team "Yooo hooo, you should target this fool!" That will tell them to really focus all their damage on that one person which really strikes fear into the other team when they see how fast their Kassadin just got dropped. I continue to cast Rewind to further help your team really rack up some kills on your opposition.
2. Zilean's Ultimate, Chronoshift, is the most strategical move in Zilean's whole move set-up in my opinion. This is what really makes or breaks Zilean in my opinion. It's not a Skill Shot like or , but it all comes down to who you should cast it on. Even with your 40% CDR, it is still impossible to cast it on all of your teammates. You really have to have some selection skills on who to cast it on. I think what really constitutes a Chronoshift is a noble with few factors
A. They Don't Already Have a Guardian Angel
B. Never cast it on yourself if your team needs it
C. Cast it on your main DPS or Damage Output(Carry)
These simple things really help me in game and really make for an effective usage of your ultimate.
The reason that I say never to cast it on yourself if your Team needs it is constituted by a few reasons.
A. It's better that it was you instead of someone with a high-gold bounty
B. You're not an insane damage dealer
C. People like you more
Every single person that you talk to will say that a good Zilean is never one that uses his Ult in a selfish manor. People will thank you more and some of your ults may surprise the team and you might be able to score an ace. I Try to land these ults effectively and unexpectedly. Greed surrounds the world of League of Legends; so I use that greed to my advantage. One of the best examples of this was a game where I was Zilean and I was hiding in the grass. Our Akali was being chased by an Alistar with the Boots of Mobility . So naturally, I wanted to save our Akali and be a good support. I beckoned Akali to come to me in the foliage. I casted my Ultimate right as Akali got hit by Alistar's Headbutt. This was the third rank of so Akali came back with nearly full health and she absolutely massacred this Alistar . I also got the assist so woooo hooooo. I hope that this paragraph or two has explained to you when to use your ult and who to use it on. Zilean will definitely pay off, trust me.
Let's dive in(but make sure to bring a towel) into the Runes!!! I really like the runes I have because I can't play Zilean
without CDR. This entire build is literally centered around the fact of CDR. The less time it takes for you ult to get up, the more effective you'll be. I like to Focus on CDR all over the place. One of the most important places for this, is you pre-game build. Here are my runes.
1. I start out grabbing my Greater Mark of Insight. I find this to be on of the most helpful runes simply because we aren't stacking AP in this build really all that much. I just like having a little more Ka-Pow in my Time Bombs once I hit level 9 and max it out. It's just a really good AP rune and It really is good to have at least one offensive rune in the mix.
2. This next rune is one that really helps with your early game CDR. This is probably the rune that I would recommend the most. With your items, you get 35% CDR, but the max is 40. So to almost lower you CD by half, we have to go into the pre-game build. I get these to really finish your CDR and to make it certain that you will get some CDR throughout the game if it's duration isn't that long. It is extremely important to use in combo with your ult. If you get no other runes at all, get this one at least. I highly recommend it to enable you to reach max CDR.
3. I really like these runes. You would know that if already if any of you have read any of my other builds. I always try to get mana regen into my pre-game build in some way. I believe that the stacking of it on top of your other items is really potent and can improve your utility in massive amounts. When you get the 2 Faerie Charms at the beginning of the game, you are probably already set. I like to cast my Time Bomb like crazy to harass in lane. So, I need runes that will support my demand. I find these to be really good runes to have in your pre-game, and it helps improve the rest of the game as well.
4. What a surprise! AwesomePwnage1 is going with the Flat-Health Quints. From the start of the game, these are always what I have used on every champion. The amount of early-game durability that they grant is absolutely endless. It really can make your game a lot better. 60 health can mean life or death. These are the only Quints that I own because they work well and they haven't failed my yet, however, there is some alternatives that I will post below if you want to use those instead. I highly recommend these Quints, but I'm not begging you too.
1. I take one of these in combo with the Greater Quintessence of ReplenishmentGreater Quintessence of Replenishment to just grant Zilean more mana regen and resource management. It really can help and like I said, If I owned these then I would use them ha ha. These runes are pretty useful and I recommend them to anyone who is having mana problems.
2. -These runes are ones that you want to get if you need more damage. The only time that I would recommend these is on 3v3's. A 3v3 match is not as intricate as a 5v5 match and hence, you don't need some things. Your team isn't really looking for a good support, they're looking for someone with a good rez who can do some Ok damage. These runes are really helpful for that purpose alone. I highly recommend the others for 5v5's though.
My skill sequence is relatively standard and it should be the same on most Zilean builds. Here is the description on why I chose what though.
1. I chose to max this spell for a few reasons that are pretty self-explanatory. They really are practiced in most Zilean builds.
1. It is your ONLY damage spell
2. It is needed for early farming and farming in general
3. It is a great support weapon also if you put it on an ally
These reasons are really good in my opinion. This is absolutely necessary in my build. It is the only way to minion farm effectively. The sooner that you get this skill to level 9, the better.
2. I chose to max this second. I really do like this spell and maxing it second allows you to do a few more things effectively. I think that these things are helpful and they need to be mentioned.
1. It allows you to cast 2 time bombs in succession
2. It helps your CDR if you don't already have all of your items
3. It helps your Ultimate substantially since it is the longest of your cooldowns
I find this move to really be important if you just spam it in coercive effect with Time Bomb. It is extremely important to max this second to really get that early game CDR that you don't attain fully till later.
3. Time Warp is the reason that I don't get Ghost . It has a faster CD and it does just about the same thing. The reason I max this last is because it is really the same thing every time. The only difference is that the duration of the speed boost is a little bit shorter. The difference is really not all that drastic. I usually don't find too many people running for their lives anyway. If you're really concerned about a .5 second difference, then by all means- max it first. I'm really suggesting that you don't because its uses are really limited early game and should be conserved.
4. This is Zilean's most important skill. It really makes me sad that they're going to make Yorick the Gravedigger have nearly the same ability and he's going to be a decent damage-dealer. Zilean doesn't have that luxury and this is the skill that makes him unique. I find that it is unavoidable to max this at levels 6,11, and 16. This is just a skill that makes Zilean who he is, and it is just a great addition to any team. Add a Guardian Angel , and this ship is a' rockin'. We've already covered when to max this skill, so I don't think its importance needs that much more explanation.
Your Skill Priority
9/0/21-I take standard caster masteries on Zilean
. I take these on Zilean because they are the only ones that you really should take unless,of course, you're building some kind of weird-Hybrid Zilean. Which in that case, you can do what you want. For this build, I really suggest that you go with the masteries that I have chosen because they really are the ones that work the best.
In my offensive tree, I really don't get very original. I take the same thing that most casters take. I take 3 points in increased Ability Power for the purpose of dealing a little more damage with my Time bombs. It really is a good talent to grab on almost any AP-Mage tree. It just gives you a little boost in just in case you didn't stack it in your Runes. I then take 1 point in Crit-Chance. This is just because you have to do so to get to the other masteries, and we're not using Exhaust so that is pretty useless. I then take some points in CDR :) It is what we've been stacking this whole time, so it really is a good choice to get that talent to further accel what we've already been working on. I really like that Talent because it is really necessary on Zilean early-game because Zilean's prime killing-time is early game. So I try to really boost that time to satisfy all of the Zilean-Players who like to kill fools as much as I do. I then take the revered point in magic pen. That is really a good talent to enhance the effect of once again. I think that it really is a good talent and I use it every time I play Zilean .
In the area known as Utility, I start out relatively simply. A lot of people don't like to take points in reduced resurrection time. I take points in this on Zilean because It can save you in some cases. If you die and no one is there to support, then you want someone there to support ASAP. So I take points in that because it is really useful and you spawn incredibly fast if you do die, but my build works pretty hard to prevent those circumstances. I then take some points in mana and health regen. This is just an extremely good utility trait to get. It improves all parts of the game for you and the best part of all, it stacks into you're Philosopher's StonePhilosopher's Stone. I think that these talents really help you in all parts of the game and can really save your tail on a squishy like Zilean . Here is where we go haywire. Zilean's Passive,Heightened Learning is a really good support passive to give to your team. It increases all experience gained by your allys and yourself by 8%. So we attempt to stack onto that in the next talent giving you a total of 13%. That's huge on Zilean because is farming isn't the best at some points of the game. I would highly recommend getting this talent because it already increases your XP. without actually having to buy items. Next, we go for a little greed and get gold gain. Zilean is not the best killer in the game so, he really needs more gold than a lot of champions. The only way to do that is to stack some items, but I find those items be too expensive and odd to buy. So, I just go into the talent for it. I did only take 2 points in mana regen though. I know that that seems odd, but trust me, you really need the gold. So there it is you have a stacked mana regen status which helps early game. It only means more resource management which is not a bad thing. Then I take some movement capabilities by getting points in Flash and Movement speed. I find these to be very important on Zilean considering that I don't really like to level first. So that is how I like to take care of that problem. It really is a good decision to go for that talent because Zilean is so reliant on speeding people up and slowing others down. It's just a good talent to get as far as your escaping and moving goes. Next I go for some more CDR on my Summoner Spells and which is just a real big help in the whole big picture known as the game. It just stacks up and up and up like Legos. That's an analogy that I've been waiting to use for quite sometime. I like getting the CDR in general because it just stacks sooooo much. Zilean is 90% water and 10% CD reliant, so I try to boost that as much as possible.
In items, I really tend to commemorate the standard on one particular stat while also improving the others. I like to max CDR with my items while still having a pretty good amount pre-game. So without further a-do, here are my items and why.
1. I start out in lane with these items- X2 and Sight Ward. I get the essential mana regen to eventually build into , but for now; I just stick with the mana regen. I'll talk about Ward placement in another section, but the main thing is that you start with these items. They give you mana regen that you sometimes don't get in other builds. I almost have to start out with these or to really accel in lane and harass as much as I can with . These will prove to do you really good things in the future of the game. I start out in a lane and work on minion farming primarily.
2. Some choose to start out with this because of its Aura. It passively gives mana to those around you. I would only sacrifice mySight Ward if I was put into lane with one of the following who are really mana dependant.
In Need of Vending Machines- , , Those are the main ones that I have helped in the past. If anyone has anything to add, then please leave a comment. Take into account that the Taric did not have and asked my personally and I reluctantly agreed. I also don't know why you would have and in a lane together. Makes no sense now that I've hit 30.
3. The Merc. Treads are my favorite boots in the game. I always want to use these babies on squishies like Zilean. Whenever I see champs like and in lane, I always auto-buy these. You're a support, so I don't recommend getting Sorcerer's Boots, It's just weird and I've never seen it work as well as these. The Tenacity it gives you is awesome and I really like it all in all.
Philosopher's Stone4. This is one of the best items in the game (in my opinion) this is like Regen Central and a safe-Haven for nearly all mana users I find as the years go by. It gives you a ton of mana and health regen. Building it into aShurelya's Reverie is almost a must. The mana and the HP regen are so important on Zilean and they all build into CDR items eventually. I like to put these items on alot of champions, buy none as much as Zilean. Some Zilean Builds stack these. I can't imagine why not? It really does work and you get almost an auto-heal if you just sit there. AFKing has never been so good :), but in all seriousness, this is a must-have item and I highly recommend it.
Shurelya's Reverie, 5. These are the items that we have been really meaining to get. This is where the build begins to take its course down CDR Avenue and take a left turn on Pwnage Street. These two items alone give Zilean a lot of useful stats. The most valuable is CDR. Which combined, they give you 25% CDR. That is a huge amount in comparison to just flat rune CDR. Your moves are pretty much all below 2 minutes at least. Your ultimate is really what we are aiming to get you to lower. Aside from CDR, you do get some Health which is so important on a squishy like Zilean. I highly recommend these items if you're using my build.
6. This next item is one that should not be over-looked. It is extremely useful in the Support area of Zilean. I like to get this item because its Aura is just amazing."Slows the attack speed of nearby enemies by 20%." I just love that because it just keeps everyone on your team more safe. It helps agains DPS carries like and . It also increases your mana and armor dramatically. It is definitely a really good item that is often over-looked by the common player. The best part about it is, you guessed it, more CDR. If I'm going over-kill on the CDR then tell me in the comments that I'm an idiot and have more than 40% in the comments, but trust me, I should have a tad more than I need just for Early-Game purposes. This item is as awesome as the invention of the fork. And yes, I'm that eccentric about it.
7. Oh yeah, the next item is what make people hate Zilean. It just makes them groan when they think "Aw man, We gots to kill this dude 3 times over" , but they don't have to fear much. The reason I grab this item is too negate the reason of you using your Ultimate on yourself. The best Zilean is not a egotistical one. Remember those words and you'll be a good one. Your allies will be indebted to you. It's a great feeling and it helps you win the game. So I just say, why not? It stacks magic resist and armor which gives Zil a little more durability and is just an all-around great little item to have. I definitely recommend this item because it will make you a really annoying Zilean and it helps in immense amounts into the Supporting Role.
As with many other builds, there are situational items that would do you wonders in game. Here are some of those items.
1. - this is the first one that I thought of. I DO NOT recommend this item that much. It just isn't for my build it gives you mana regen, but you have so much anyway that it shouldn't even matter. Not the best choice, but it's up here for the critics.
2. - If you're going against a magic-Heavy team, then look no further than the Banshee's Veil. Aside from blocking an unfriendly impending attack, it gives Zilean a ton of mana and health as well as its attraction, magic resist. This is just a really good situational item in some cases.
3. - If you at some point find that the Merc. Treads aren't enough, then this might solve your tenacity problem. It builds off of Philosopher's Stone so it does still have all of the schwang without the bang. If that makes any sense at all. I get this if an annoying keeps turret-diving before level 6 and kills all of top lane. I hate that and I would try to prevent it as much as possible. This is the proper item to do that and make a proper escapade.
If anyone has any other suggestions, please leave a comment.
The Importance of Warding
, I find his support to be one of the finest in the game. So, here is my take on warding, how I do it, and so insight on what it means to ward as Zilean.
Warding is like eyes on the inside. Although their duration is not long, it is important to place them at important times. There are two types of wards and they each do somethings differently and some things the same.
Sight Wards1. I use sight wards among other things for a very important purpose. I place sights at different points on the map. I refer to these points as "Hot Spots." These "Hot Spots" change in meaning and importance throughout the course of the game and you mush keep a watchful eye on the map.
Vision Wards2. Vision wards are technically the same thing. They are sight wards, only that they can see stealthed champions. Some people get Oracle's Elixer ,but the only downside is that the most common times when you'll use these are when is on the map with . This is not an uncommon occurance so it is best to prepare for ganks from these stealthy champions listed below.
Disappearing Act- , ,
These are the main ones that you want to combat with . I suggest placing these at places where ganks are likely. I place mine on the River that borders mid lane near Dragon and Baron Nashor. These are the two places that I usally place them and I won't go much deeper than that.
With Sight Wards, I find it best to place these in places where buffs are given and where ganks are likely to occur. I usually star out with Sight Ward, and if there is a jungler, I place my ward right at blue to draw first blood. Most commonly that is where a jungler first goes, but not every time. Some will start at the Golem Camp and will work their way up from there. When Baron Spawns at 15:00 in. I find it useful to ward there so that the other team can't take a gank from both your team and a deadly minion at the same time. This can often change the outcome of the game and you could score a worthy ace.
I don't want to go that much deeper and sorry I don't have a map to indicate exactly where I'm talking about. Someone can PM me so that I can improbe this, but other than that, I think that I have provided at least a basic understanding of how I use wards on Zilean.
Finally, we reach the Summmoner Spells. These may be subject to change in the future, but I think them to be quite alright as of now. So here are my summoner spells and other alternatives.
My summoner spells are- and . I will now give the reasons why I use these summoner spells.
- A lot of people out there think that Heal is just for noobs who turret-dive and feed a ton. I have to disagree with that notion and here's why. Zilean is a support champion. He does have a pretty decent damage output, but other than that he's all Support. So what I try to do, is I try to expand his role to make him the best that he can be. I grab Heal so that I can give my other team and myself a boost when in a tough situation. Zilean is squishy, there is no doubt in my mind about that. I think that it improves Zilean's survivability and your team's. It is just a really good support spell to have. It can get you out of a tough situation which might be hard for Zilean to escape from.
- This is not as controversial as the other spell, but I really do like Flash. I choose this over Ghost because you already have an auto-sprint with a cd that is 3 times as fast as Ghost's. I also grab Flash because it is just a really good Summoner Spell to get in the way of chasing and escaping abilities. It really can help you nab that slow or run away.
These are A'ight
1. -This is basically a good replacement for Flash , but you already have the same effect from
2. -This is a really good spell that acts as a super ward, but I invest in other purposes and just buy Wards instead
3. -This is a really good spell that can save a turret if used effectively. Your job is to support and I you are certainly doing that with this spell
4. - This is a really good one to give you better map control and a ton more assists and turret saves.
5. - It could be useful, but your Tenacity already helps you an immense amount.
Not Feelin' It
1. -Fail Zilean
2. -I'd like to see you argue this one
3. - Greed!!!
4. - Pre-game Masteries FTW
Summary and Ending
Well, that's about all the information that I have on this particular champion. I really like Zilean and I really hope to play more of him in the future. He is by far one of my favorite Support champions and I really felt obligated to share this with the Mobafire Community. Make sure to read every nook and cranny. Just kidding, but make sure to read it and give me some good feedback in the comments. Also, make sure to vote it up! I worked really hard on this build, and here is the fruit of my effort. Thank you viewers young and old! Thank you Moabfire and I'll see you all next time.
"What?, I don't need an alarm clock!"-Zilean, The Chronokeeper