Zilean Build Guide by MrMurphey
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.
AP Mid Opponent
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 Mr. Murphey and Fail Inc.'s guide to Zilean. This guide currently includes three builds for everyone's favorite time wizard including "Survival Zilean" my own personal design made for survival as Solo Mid, "Nuke Zilean" The AP and magic penetration focused guide that was made to burst down your competition to nothing and finally "Save me Zilean" the support Zilean made to keep your AD Carry fed and alive. Zilean is a highly mobile, highly versatile support/AP Carry whose spammable abilities and unique ultimate make him a force to be reckoned with in any lane or team fight.
The Fail Inc. Warning:
This guide is intended for experienced Zilean and League of Legends players, this is not a begginers guide. Zilean's moves and items require a certain degree of skill and timing to perform correctly. If you are playing this champ for the first time we at fail inc recommend at least one Bot match before playing PvP, and one PVP match before playing ranked. GLHF!
Pros / Cons
Time Bomb (Q) is an AOE (Area of Effect) damage move that is Zilean's only damage move. This move is a simple damage move that places a bomb on the opponent which explodes after four seconds. This move is usually used together with Zilean's Rewind in order to use two bombs in quick succession. This move relies heavily on AP and is dangerous with magic penetration due to the AOE damage.
Rewind (W) is one of Zilean's most unique moves. This move decreases the cooldown time of all of Zilean's other moves by ten seconds, which makes Zilean one of the most spammable characters in the game. This move is the reason Zilean builds CDR (Cool Down Reduction), because it allows him to access all of his moves more quickly Time Bomb
Chronoshift (R) is one of the most powerful ultimates in the game. This move allows you to bring back a fallen comrade by shifting them through time. This move brings back the champion with health that is based on your AP so it's important to remember that Zilean needs AP even as a support to bring people back with good health. People will be asking for more R's than a Karthus trust me.
While the ruin and mastery page may change between builds, Zileans skill sequence is pretty much the same in all of his incarnations. As you can see we maximize Time Bomb first to enable Zilean's damage and harass whether he's a support of an AP carry. We follow this up with an even distribution between Rewind and Time Warp, prioritizing Rewind while putting a point in Chronoshift at levels 6, 11 and 13.
Masteries, Runes & Summoner Spells
Here is where I'm supposed to explain all of my mastery choices, but I'm not gonna do that. I'm going to explain the important ones that matter for each build and save us all some time.
While the CDR masteries make perfect sense, the three items I'd like to discuss in this section are Biscuiteer , Awareness , and Explorer . These three items are usually reserved for supports but are useful to"Survival Zilean" because it includes increased experience gain from Awareness that stacks with his passive Heightened Learning, a health consumable from Biscuiteer , and a ward from Explorer to watch out for junglers or to use in early game counter jungling.
The masteries for"Nuke Zilean" are much more focused on the offense tree and as a result he literally drops bombs on people.
This is a fairly standard AP Mid build and the only choices I'd like to discuss are Butcher and Destruction . I recommend these two for almost all AP Mid's because Butcher helps you get just a little more out of your farm while Destruction allows AP Mids to do significant damage to towers despite their generally weak auto attacks.
"Save me Zilean"
"Save me Zilean" is designed to save your AD Carry for waves to come and his masteries help him do this.
This build is heavy utility focused, even for a support, and the most important choices for Zilean include Sorcery , Awareness and of course Greed . Greed along with the other seven deadly sins is fun, especially because of the increase in Gold per 10 that it allows. Sorcery is used for CDR and Awareness is chosen for the same reason we chose it for "Survival Zilean".
While you would think this section is super important and should require tedious descriptions and explanations as to why they are beneficial, I'm not gonna do any of that. My runes we're chosen because no matter what form he takes Zilean always needs Magic Penetration, CDR, Ability power, and Magic resist. These runes allow Zilean's Time Bomb to do damage, protect Zilean from enemy AP Carries, gives his ultimate enough AP to be viable and of course give him enough CDR to be a bad-***. Considering that, and the fact that flat runes allow for early game dominance and leveling, (except the CDR Glyphs, because scaling gives more overall CDR than flat.) I chose these ruins for Zilean in all of his forms.
Greater Quintessence of Ability Power
Greater Glyph of Scaling Cooldown Reduction
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
Greater Seal of Magic Resist
For the sake of being a good guy I'l also mention that Greater Quintessence of Gold, and Greater Seal of Gold also work well with"Save me Zilean".
I always say that Summoner Spells are a matter of personal taste, but I'm still going to do a section on it so oh well.
When playing Zilean I (like many others) find myself having mana problems. Well instead of feeling bad for myself I usually pick up a Clarity. I would also suggest picking up either Exhaust to supplement your Time Warp or Teleport if you are going Mid (This allows you to leave lane without losing farm or a tower and gives you better mobility throughout the game). Aside from these Spells Zilean can also benefit from Flash because he doesn't have an escape or if you want to be a jerk you can pick up Revive so that even when he dies he doesn't die for long.
Okay here we go with core items, now pay attention because I'm only going to do this once.
The core items that make this build unique are Athene's Unholy Grail, Iceborn Gauntlet, and Liandry's Torment.
Athene's Unholy Grail is an item I reccomend for any AP caster, especially those looking for CDR and mana regen. This item gives amazing CDR and mana regen, with a little AP and magic resist added for fun.
The next item on our list make seem a little wierd for Zilean but hear me out when i tell you that the BroFist AKA Iceborn Guantlet works well with Zilean. This item gives Zilean more Mana, Armor, AP more of that sweet nectar of the God's Zilean so loves CDR and an additional AOE slow activated by auto attacks. The reason we pick up this item is to help us against pesky AD Carries and to slow down anybody we want to bomb. This item is new to Season 3 and builds from Sheen and Glacial Shroud.
The final item that brings this build together is Liandry's Torment which gives us AP, health, magic penetration and a percentage health burning affect that activates when the enemy is slowed. This combined with Time Warp and Iceborn Guantlet lets us deal as much percentage health burning as we can. This item is new to Season 3 and builds from Amplifying Tome and Haunting Guise.
"Nuke Zilean"'s build is fairly standard; however, I'll explain two of the items seraph's Emrace and Zhonya's Hourglass. We choose Seraph's Emrace for two reasons, the first is Mana and the second is stacking ability power relative to your mana pool. This item is a very good item for characters who spam their moves because it allows the champion to stack mana and AP, as well as providing a shield proportionate to your mana pool as an active. This item is new to Season 3 and builds from Archangel's Staff. The second item is an old favorite Zhonya's Hourglss. While this item gives both AP and armor it's real ability is it's active which allows you to place your champion into statis for 2 seconds where they can't be damaged, move or use their abilities. This item is great for Mids who are often squishy and defenseless.
"Save me Zilean"
"Save me Zilean" is a pretty general Zilean support and only has one item that i feel needs to be explained Shard of True Ice. Most supports in PVP and ranked go with boots or low cost mana items that build quickly into Gold per ten items like Philosopher's Stone, however because of it's active i believe Shard of True Ice is a better choice, even if it takes a little longer to get. This item is new to Season 3 and builds from Kage's Lucky Pick and Mana Manipulator.
While I like playing with these items I know that not everyone will, so feel free to experiment and let me know what you find out so i can periodically improve and update the guide.
While there are a multitude of items that could benefit Zilean in any situation, I'm going to stick with two.
The first item on our list is my favorite by far and is actually built into "Save me Zilean" because of how useful it is when your getting wailed on, and because it has a new item in Season 3 Shard of True Ice. This item offers early AP and is a great gold per ten item for when you're in a pinch or when you're getting dominated.
The second item that I didn't include in all of the guides which can be useful on zilean is of course Seraph's Embrace, which is good for any AP who uses mana and spams their ability. This item is also described in the Core Items section for "Nuke Zilean", and is an excellent addition if you like stacking items.
Zilean is a difficult champion to master, whether it's because he only has one damage ability or because his ultimate is so hard to use correctly in the heat and lag of team fights, one thing is for sure; Zilean is not the easiest character to play.
Zilean can be played as a AP Mid or as a support depending on your style, but either way his basic gameplay is pretty much standard. Because he only has one damage move it is smartest to play Zilean as a hit and run kind of champion who also has the ability to effectively zone his enemy due to the AOE damage from his Time Bomb.
It is also smart to remember that you are more of an AP caster than a support when it comes to lain sustain. Since, Zilean is so squishy and has no heal it's smart not to get into the middle of a battle, or go head to head with a champion who has hard CC (Crowd Control) abilities like Leona or a silence like Cho' Gath because Zilean can't use his ultimate with hard CC or silence. Zilean's passive Heightened Learning coms into play during game because it allows him quicker leveling, this Passive allows you to pull ahead more quickly when winning, or to hang on in mid when you're getting hammered by a tough enemy. Zilean can fall off late game as an AP because of his one damage move; however, he is still very viable late game with good AP and his Chronoshift. Finally be careful where you are positioned in late game team fights, if given the chance and enemy team will focus you to make you use your ultimate on yourself, which isn't a good thing late game. Make sure your Tank or another beefy champion is in between you and the enemy so you can save that ultimate until you really need it.
"The Hero's Sacrafice"
The final thing that I'd like to mention when playing Zilean is that it is you're job to save other people, and while your ultimate helps you avoid death early game, late game Zilean isn't always the star of the team. Often times you will need to use your ultimate to save someone else at the price of your own life!
This is where you and your team should Sight Ward using the new Sightstone jaja shameless plug in for season 3.
Yellow: Vital to protect the jungler on your team
Blue: For protection depending on which lane you're on
Red: To guard Dragon and Baron
Orange: In order to Counter-Jungle
Tip's, Tricks and Fun Facts
Here I'll be posting all sorts of Tricks, Tips and Fun Facts involving Zilean, as well as some guide's for how to use his abilities to their fullest potential. Speaking of this I think I'll start this section of with a little thing I like to call Zilean's Wish List.
Zilean's Wish List:.
This list is a short guide instructing you on who to use your ultimate on in a team fight. Listed below is the Character's positiong and the reason we are using our precious, precious ultimate on them.
1. AD Carry / Most fed player
If you really want to piss of the enemy and help your team bring back the AD Carry. As long as your not outnumbered too badly (E.G. 2 v 5) you should be able to walk out of that encounter with a kill or two. Remember just because your AD Carry doesn't die right away that doesn't mean you should just go down this list and use it on the next schmoe who dies. This move is great for team fights and should be conserved as long as possible before use. In the scenario where your AD Carry isn't doing so well you should use it on the most fed character, or the one with the most damage, whether that's a support or a minion you gotta drop that ultimate on them!
2. AP Carry
Whether this is you or someone else the AP Carry is the next most important person to keep alive, because they should have enough burst to make it worth it. The AP Carry is very important in the team fight focusing down champions with low magic resist and helping to burst down the enemies AD Carry.
Assuming you're not the AP Carry the next person in line who should be saved in the team fight is you! This is because Zilean's Ultimate makes him one of the most dangerous people to have in a team fight, with the ability to bring back anyone he wants with a little timing and elbow grease he can turn any game into a 5 v 6.
While there are more characters on a team besides these three, these three will be the ones on your wish list most often. Finally, remember that your number one priority is to keep your most fed Carry alive, whether that's you or not! Zilean is a great team player and if you pay attention the people you play with will be saying "I Love Zilean" in no time flat.
The Double Bomb!
The Double Bomb is a trick used by Zilean to make his bomb's explode before their time goes off by placing two bombs on the same target before the first bomb's timer expires. This move is extremely useful for surprise detonations and can be used in a variety of interesting ways (Tell me some good ones if you know any). This trick is the easiest to understand and you would have figured it out even if i hadn't told you here, so why put it in? Because i have a video of course!
The Spear of Destiny
One of the least known Zilean facts is that you can actually place your time bomb on Jarvan IV's Demacian Standard. While this may not have too many practical uses it is fun to do.
In summary Zilean is pretty much a bad-*** wherever you go with him. With full cool down and great AP provided to you by your items you can resurrect champion every forty-five seconds or so at 2k+ health or more depending on your AP. I garuntee you will be asked for more R's than a Karthus if you're a good Zilean. While he's weak to CC, his slows and his AOE damage are the fear of all his enemies. Depending on how you build him he's qualified to do so much more than be a simple support; give him a try and if you don't like him that's fine, but don't go out of your way to ignore The Immortal Zilean if you don't know what he's capable of. I hope to get feedback and constructive criticism on this page, hopefully decipherable amid the trolls and goblins and other such riff raff, and I hope you find this guide informative if not helpful.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Do I have to build CDR on Zilean?
Answer: No. While I recommend CDR items and Masteries on Zilean it isn't totally neccesary to build it, especially if you're playing as a support. The reason most Zilean guides encourage building CDR is because it enables him to use his only damage move Time Bomb more quickly and stacks with the effects of his Rewind to allow him to spam his moves.
If you have any questions or comments feel free to comment on the page, PM me or send us an email at Failinc@3dproductionsinc.com. Also if you have any tips or tricks of your own for Zilean feel free to let me know so I can put them up!
12/30/12 -Added pictures, fixed some minor spelling & formatting errors, added JhoiJhoi Citation.