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Zed Build Guide by Ignix0

Middle [10.12] Master of the shadows

Middle [10.12] Master of the shadows

Updated on June 12, 2020
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League of Legends Build Guide Author Ignix0 Build Guide By Ignix0 13,178 Views 0 Comments
13,178 Views 0 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author Ignix0 Zed Build Guide By Ignix0 Updated on June 12, 2020
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Runes: Standard

1 2 3
Taste of Blood
Eyeball Collection
Ultimate Hunter

Presence of Mind
Coup de Grace

+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+15-140 HP (lvls 1-18)


1 2
LoL Summoner Spell: Flash


LoL Summoner Spell: Ignite


Threats & Synergies

Threats Synergies
Extreme Major Even Minor Tiny
Show All
None Low Ok Strong Ideal
Extreme Threats
Ideal Synergies
Ideal Strong Ok Low None

Champion Build Guide

[10.12] Master of the shadows

By Ignix0
Hi, Im ignix.

Im a Zed/ Talon player and reguraly stream at My twitch channel.
I make this guide to inform newer players about how to zed but also to expand my knowledge about him. I have been playing zed for a while now and have managed to get 220K points on him. I can confidentally say that I know the champion inside and out. The main reason I started playing zed is because he has a high skill ceiling and a very skill expressive fun kit.
Amazing splitpusher
High mobility
Fun to play
1 shot potential
Strong in low elo
High skill expression
Lots of counterplay
Weak in high elo
Weak laning phase
High skill floor
Falls off late game
weak against tanks
So, when should you pick Zed?
There are a couple of scenario's in which picking him can greatly increase your chances of winning:

In a heavy ap comp

Let's say my team picks:
- Maokai top
- Karthus jungle
- Veigar bot
- Alistar support
Zed would be ideal into this comp because you'll build full lethality --> people will build either mr/armor. If they build mr you can 1 shot everyone, if the enemy team opts to build armor your team will be able to pop off.

A good matchup

Even though I said zed has a weak laning phase, don't get me wrong he's not talon in early game. He can still solo kill the opponent but this will mostly be if the enemy screws up/you have an easy matchup. If you get a good matchup on zed you can farm the enemy over and over and over.
That's just how the champion works, if you're 5/0/3 you can easily dive the 0/3/1 Veigar.

You're playing in low elo

Zed's biggest weakness is the fact that he has so much counterplay. The only reason zed works in low elo is because people make a lot of mistakes zed can capitilize on. For example, if you play in bronze hardly anyone will rush Seeker's Armguard and Ninja Tabi. That's a huge mistake you can exploit (by 1 shotting them). Once you reach high(er) elo's you'll start to see more armor against zed which greatly reduces your strengh.

The enemy team has a lot of squishy's

Zed is strongest against squishy's, this is because of the nature of lethality as a stat. It negates a flat amount of armor, this means if someone has 40 armor and you're level 18 with 15 lethality he'll only have 25 armor for you, thereby increasing your damage significantly. If he has 400 armor, he'll have 385 armor, you'll do like 5 extra damage. So lethality items are best into squishy's so zed is also best into squishy's.

When to not pick Zed

Too much ad in your team

This might seem insignificant and obvious because you always want a good ap/ad ratio right? Well yes ofcourse but even more so with lethality champions. To really know when to pick zed you gotta understand lethality.
Lethality cuts off a certain amount of armor based on level. For example: Duskblade of Draktharr has 21 lethality, this means you negate 21 armor at level 18. This is very effective into a lot of squishy's because if an opponent has 40 armor, you cut off 21 and he only has 19 left. Boom all of his armor gone, but when you're in an (almost) all ad team people are gonna build armor, a lot of it. So -21 armor is gonna look like this: 400 --> 379 armor, very ineffective.

Too many tanks in enemy

This is similar to: "you're in an (almost) ad comp", people are gonna build armor, lethality is gonna be ineffective and you aren't gonna deal damage.


Taste of Blood
Eyeball Collection
Ultimate Hunter
Presence of Mind
Coup de Grace
9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
15-140 HP (lvls 1-18)


We take this rune standard because not only does it work perfectly with your weq combo but the domination tree is also really good for Zed. This really is a must for your laning phase, I myself have experimented with zed runes a lot and I have noticed that you just lack a lot of laning power without Electrocute. Definitely a must!

Taste of Blood

Some people opt for Sudden Impact but you just don't get too much out of it. Taste of blood however you definitely notice, a really good rune to 1v9 with.

Eyeball Collection

This rune makes you snowball harder, it's not the best rune for zed but it still is very nice. Definitely the weakest rune in your kit, if you want to switch it out you can change it into Zombie Ward

Ultimate Hunter

This is extremely strong, a no brainer. Death Mark is definitely the strongest part of your kit and having a lower cooldown on it allows you to roam more, make more solo kills, better teamfights and etc. The rune is just incredibly good overall.

Presence of Mind

This is by far the best rune on Zed you could ever take, whenever I see another zed player on the enemy and he isn't running this rune I legitimately get mad because they're just grieving their game. You thought energy management was hard in the early game? Well get excited for teamfights in which you can only use 3 abilities unless you have the amazing rune. It's my favorite rune you could ever take on zed and anyone who doesn't standard run this doesn't understand this champion.

Coup de Grace

Gives you more kill pressure in lane, really good for diving and those Death Mark's which barely kill.

Flash as with every champion is just really powerful, you can escape death, secure a kill, chase further. There are even some fun combo's you can do with flash, one of my favorites being f-w-e-q. It's just weq but with flash. When both you and your opponent are low (in laning phase) he won't see this on coming :D.

Ignite Is a really powerful tool especially into good matchups, it just adds a bit of a better laning phase. It works as a really good tool to secure kills (especially tower dives with your r). It's a summoner which really increases Zed's lack luster early game, providing him with kill pressure.

Cleanse Is something you can consider into heavy cc teams so you wont have to build Quicksilver Sash. It's very strong but just situational, keep in mind that if you get cc'd in teamfight you're ****ed. I'd recommend this into stuff like Sejuani + Lux or something similar. Be sure to not do this into winning matchups tho. If you go Cleanse you might lose some kill pressure you would have with Ignite, if you take this rune you're playing to not die.

Contempt for the Weak

Zed's basic attacks against targets with less than 50% hp deal bonus Magic Damage. This effect can only occur once every few seconds on the same target.

This ability is really good for extended trades and all ins, it does a lot of damage since your enemy is probably building armor and it deals ap damage.

Razor Shuriken

Zed and his shadows throw their shurikens. Each shuriken deals damage to every enemy hit.

This ability is your bread and butter, 90% of your damage comes from this ability. It's good harrass in the laning phase when your Living Shadow(w) is of cooldown. When you're fighting make sure to have as many shadows as possible before using Razor Shuriken(q)

Living Shadow

Passive: Zed gains energy whenever he and his shadows strike an enemy with the same ability. Energy can only be gained once per cast ability.
Active: Zed's shadow dashes forward, remaining in place for a few seconds. Reactivating Living Shadow will cause Zed to switch positions with this shadow.

This ability is used to gap close, land 2 Razor Shuriken's (q) and slow with your e. It's the big cooldown you'll be playing around. When this ability isn't up you can't trade in lane. If it's up try to land your weq combo (see combo section)

Shadow Slash

Zed and his shadows, deal damage to nearby enemies. If zed's shadow hit an enemy champion it will slow them, if both zed and his shadow hit an enemy champion it'll slow even more.

This does relatively low damage compared to Razor Shuriken(q) but is still an essential part to his kit. Its main use is slowing and dealing a bit of damage while you're at it. In your weq combo if you hit both shurikens it will also proc electrocute making this ability ALWAYS necessary when you trade.

Death Mark

Zed becomes untargetable and dashes to an enemy champion, marking them. After 3 seconds the mark triggers, repeating a portion of all the damage Zed dealt to the target while they were marked.

This ability is what zed is known, loved and hated for. When you make an all in/dive with this ability be sure to have your w up for maximum dps. A mistake I often see with new zed players is they just use r --> e --> q. This is really wrong! Always have 2 shadows available when you use q (in an all in)

Ability sequence

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Into melee
Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Into ranged

We take Razor Shuriken(q) level 1, level 2 depends on the matchup, into ranged you take Living Shadow(w) into melee you take Shadow Slash(e). Then level 3 you take whatever you haven't leveled yet. Max q first cause it does the most damage, then max e cause then w. We max e over w cause the lower on cooldown on w is just not worth more than the extra damage that e provides.


This is your main form of poke in the laning phase. This is the combo you'll use most while playing Zed so get used to it. The optimal way to place your Living Shadow(w) is shown on the video, you should place it to the side of the enemy. This leaves them little room to dodge your deadly combo. A common problem I see with new Zed players is that they place the shadow right in front of someone making the combo easy to dodge. This combo is also why we take Electrocute since if you hit both q's and your e then it will proc.
What you should try to maximise dps is not have any minions between you and your enemy, if your q goes through a minion it will deal less damage to the enemy.


This is basically the same combo as W-E-Q but it just does way less damage and is harder to hit. You should only use this combo if you're level 2 and you upgraded w (against ranged). It's practially the same as W-E-Q but, cause you don't get the slow from e it'll be harder to land. Something a lot of players do against this combo is they walk through it cause they have no slow. This makes you miss most W-Q combo's. To compensate for that I always place my shadow a bit further away from them than I do in a W-E-Q combo. The reason this is so much worse than W-E-Q is as I said, it's not only hard to land but it also doesn't proc Electrocute.


Simple enough, just W-E-Q but with Flash added. This is really good to catch an opponent off guard when they're low. I like to place my shadow in front of them in this one because usually they don't really react since it's so subtle. Placing your shadow that way maximises your range.

W-E-Q-AA- Ignite

This combo is for when W-E-Q is not enough to kill them but a little extra is. Ofcourse Ignite is optional but it works really well. Keep in mind you'll proc passive with your aa if the enemy is <50% hp.


This is your standard all in combo, it maximises your dps. You should place your w right after you appear out of your r. Place it next to the enemy so that your e from both your w shadow and yourself hit the enemy. This will slow them extra (see e passive) and make your q's easy to hit.


This is what I like to do when I dive an enemy, it's optimal when there's a wave under the tower so you dont take tower damage. Keep in mind that you avoid tower shots with r. If you need the gap close, you can also use flash to come in r range. Then the combo becomes: W(behind)- Flash-R-E-Q-AA-W. Feel free to throw in an ignite into that and you're gonna have the time of your life.


This combo is for when you need to use your w for the gap close but still have enough dps to kill the target with just R-E-Q. If you want to make it even more special throw in a Flash, then you can W-W-F-R-E-Q. That will really tilt the **** out of anyone who gets caught.

Early Game

For Zed's early game, we'll begin with the items you can start with.

take this when you have a losing poke matchup. A small exception = zoe, she doesn't proc the doran's shield passive a lot.
You go Long Sword 60% of your games, you take it into melee matchups and preferable range matchups. To see if your matchup is preferabble check the "counters" section of the guide.
Now the question is, you have Long Sword, but are you gonna buy Refillable Potion or 3 Health Potion's? I usually go Refillable Potion into farm matchups where you outscale, it just saves so much gold (~300). If this is not the case/you're new to zed just go 3 Health Potion's

So, you probably already know this but I'll say it anyway, lvl 1 you upgrade Razor Shuriken(q), level 2 you take either Living Shadow(w) or Shadow Slash(e), against ranged you go w and into melee champions you go e. Level 3 you just upgrade the ability youre still missing. Then go r-q-e-w max.
Zed has a very weak lvl 1/2, during this time you wanna just get poked the least amount possible and farm with q. Level 2 you either do the same thing as level 2 (melee matchup) or you go for a wq combo trying to hit both shurikens.
Only do this combo once otherwise you can't use weq on lvl 3.
During the first 3 levels you don't wanna get pushed in if possible q the whole wave if enemy is pushing.
Level 3 is when you start to become a champion, Zed's deadly weqcombo comes in play a lot here. Whenever you have enough energy (around the 170 mark) and your w is up use weq! Check the combo's section to know how to effectively use/land this combo.
Into some (easier) matchups you get kill pressure level 3 when you start chipping away their hp (with weq and q's). When the enemy is low enough you can do this combo: w-e-q-w-aa-ignite. Once again, check the combos section.

Aight, let's say you just hit level 6, this is around the time you want to have your Serrated Dirk ready for extreme kill pressure. This is when Zed really starts to become a threat. If you know you deal enough damage you can look to all-in/dive the enemy. My favorite combo for this is: w(behind)-r-e-q-(ignite/aa?)-w. Again, check combo section but what this does is place your w out of tower range and you can just walk up, r and e/q if that's not enough throw in ignite/aa keep in mind your passive does a lot of damage. When you know r will kill just w back and you'll be safe.

Something I haven't covered yet is roaming. Zed is a very strong roam champion, I'd recommend primarily ganking bot lane because: most bot laners include at least 1 squishy (lethality good into squishy's) and botlane is always down 1/2 levels compared to you, this makes ganking when you get 6 very effective, just get 6. Push in the wave and roam to bot with your ultimate advantage. I wouldn't really roam pre 6, if you're gonna roam a lot be sure to buy Mobility Boots.
How much you roam depends on how ahead you are, if you are behind you shouldn't roam often since your lane opponent can just follow you and win the teamfight. If you're ahead a kill or 2, GO ROAM. Use your small lead to establish lane prio/crash into tower (preferabbly a slowpush into cannon wave crash). Then see what's gankable, if you can't gank to any lanes. No problem! You now have enough time to reset or get some deep wards. If you're ahead even more (4+) kills don't even bother slow pushing, just PUSH PUSH PUSH and constantly roam with your Mobility Boots.

Mid game

Split pushing

In the mid game as Zed you're constantly looking to split push. This is why I love building Sanguine Blade. When you splitpush you put pressure on the side you're pushing, in order to stop you from taking tower the enemies are gonna send 1/2 people to stop you and/or catch the wave. If you draw 2 people to you your team can just 4v3 teamfight and win. If only 1 comes you can try to dive him if he's squishy. Try to group with your team when an enemy is busy catching the wave you pushed. This creates favorable 5v4 fights. So always keep in mind your goal is not (always) to get towers while splitting, it's to create favorable trade.

Now I hear you asking, Ignix what do I do if the enemies don't rotate? Well it's simple, you ping your team not to fight and just take the tower.


In teamfights as Zed you're trying to assasinate the dps dealer. This isusually the adc. Cause of the nature of lethality these dps dealers will be really easy to deal with if you're not 0/7. Just w-w to a squishy dps dealer/healer and then r-e-q-aa and they should be dead. Then you can r back and you'll be all good ready to assasinate the next target.
When your r is of cooldown you're looking to hit weq combos, favorably to multiple squishy targets. If both your r and w are off cooldown, back down or just poke with q (unless you're really fed)

Late Game

Zed doesn't fall off as hard late game as people make him out to. You can still secure a lot of objectives (mostly inhibs). Cause of your amazing splitpush power you can just take inhibs. If there are any open and the enemies are mid I usually vroom my way to the inhib, take it and then regroup with my team.

The same rules for teamfighting applies to the late game. You might wanna change your build around in the late game for maximum dps. You ALWAYS wanna have either Lord Dominik's Regards or Mortal Reminder in this phase of the game. Even if they build 0 tank items the base armor champions have around this time is so high it's still cost effective.
Thank you so much for coming to my Zed guide!
I really enjoyed making this guide and I feel like I greatly increased my knowledge about Zed when I did research for this guide and created a deeper undestanding of the champion for me.

If you want to thank me for this guide, the best way to do that is to check out my social media, click one of the pictures to go there.

My main platform is twitch, I stream daily for ~5 hours usually starting 1 pm CEST - 6 PM CEST

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[10.12] Master of the shadows

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