Zed Build Guide by Yuki H.
Your votes and comments encourage our guide authors to continue
creating helpful guides for the League of Legends community.
Choose Champion Build:
Faith in Zed
Runes: Absolute focus (read notes)
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+15-90 HP (lvls 1-18)
Ability Order Ranged matchups
Threats & Synergies
Early levels can be a struggle if enemy jungle pressure is greater than yours. If Ahri hits 6 before Zed, be careful as she can burst Zed down pretty quickly if not full health. On the other hand, if Zed hits 6 first, there is a chance for a free kill if charm is dodged.
Used to be a fairly difficult matchup for Zed, but she is just not a champion anymore. Q no longer heals, still takes half her energy bar, and her shroud no longer stealths her under towers and lasts less.
Though it seems to be a difficult lane, Zed can actually start q'ing Heimer's turrets while he's setting them up before minions spawn in lane. (2q's per turret)
Not a tough matchup per se, but be wary of shadow (W) usage when in lane. If Zed's W is played improperly, the Anivia may punish with a stun+ult+wall combo depending on Anivia's level. Overall, do not become too greedy in lane and watch for ganks, as Anivia can set up extremely well given her kit. Otherwise, she should basically be a sitting duck.
Ranged poke, cc, damage reduction... basically an anti-Zed machine who can possibly shut you out of lane early game. Pre-6 you're basically screwed and post-6 can still be a difficult phase in the game. Rush hexdrinker if behind, and never forget to buy control wards for incoming ganks. It is a tough matchup but could be worse.
Spinning stars 24/7 make it near impossible to approach without an all-in. A level 6 all-in is Zed's best friend and possibly the best tactic against an Aurelion Sol. Avoid extended trades and using W too aggressively, as Sol can punish Zed hard. Wave management is also key against shove heavy champions like Sol, so make sure the wave is properly managed or else Zed will either miss too much cs or drain energy on cs.
Another hard matchup for Zed. Just like Sol, make sure to avoid extended trades and go for all-ins or quick trades. Azir excels at roaming and team fighting from afar, so make sure to burst him down before the fight is lost.
Heavily dependent on how well you can dodge Brand's skillshots. After his entire spell rotation, you can look for a quick trade with W, and can even W in if, and only if, the enemy team will NOT come to reinforce Brand.
Once again a skillshot reliant matchup where victory sways towards the one who is able to dodge most. Cassiopeia's E damage is minimal when the target is not affected by her poison. Therefore, avoid trades after being hit by her Q or W unless you have confidence. Additionally, note her W renders your W and R useless while standing on top of it since it "grounds" you. Prioritize purchasing a hexdrinker, or qss if hexdrinker is not bought. Two MR items may be a bit redundant especially if Merc Treads are bought as well.
Early game shouldn't be too much of a problem. Since he is melee as well, farming isn't too difficult in this case. Just watch for his E which can poke you down slowly. He starts winning trades if he lands his knock-up or silence in lane. Overall an annoying matchup since he dishes out damage while being tanky. Look for roams.
Reliant on how well both you and the Corki play. If his Qs are dodged, you shouldn't have too much of a problem. Start Doran's Shield if not confident, but otherwise, you can go for long sword + refill/3 pots. Short trades are in your favor, while extended ones could be troublesome to deal with. Always remember his auto attacks are now 80% magic damage and only 20% physical damage.
Pre-6 is indisputably in your favor, so take advantage of it. Any melee matchups are easier to deal with, especially assassins who spikes at level 6. Zed does too, which allows him to create tempo for mid lane over Diana. Try to see if they have a hard time CSing under tower; if they do, you can keep shoving the lane in while poking with Q. Conversely, if they seem to be knowledgeable enough to CS under tower well, slow push the wave or freeze immediately. If shoving, always make sure to have your W up for escapes or possibly turning a 1v2.
Ekko's passive allows for his "hit and run" style of play, but Zed doesn't necessarily encounter that problem since he himself has a lot of mobility as well. Stand behind minions to force Ekko to Q the minion wave early so the wave shoves to you. Until he has a decent amount of AP and points in Q, it will not be enough for him to clear the wave just with one Q, putting him in an awkward position where the minions are low. You can take advantage of this and punish him every time he tries to cs. Try to build a cs lead over him.
His E cooldown and mana cost are fairly high early game, so if he uses it too much he will be vulnerable to ganks and all ins. His Q can also be dodged if timed correctly (using W), which negates a good chunk of damage in trades. Overall, he doesn't have any ranged abilities except his ult, so take advantage of his mana costs and cooldowns.
Gets fairly tanky late, but once again his dueling potential isn't as great against any AD champs due to his magic damage shield. From early on, try to stay with the caster minions to force his Q out to shove the wave into you. Your passive and Q allows for very easy last hits under tower from level 1. Make sure to poke him a good amount with abilities, and possibly all in him at level 5 or 6 (before he gets too tanky). If he takes aftershock, make sure to dodge his knock up and taunt.
Very annoying Q poke from GP but it aggros minions so it isn't too bad. You will always have kill pressure on him as long as you have R.
AD marksmen are all a tough matchup, since their AA pokes hurt much more than AP ranged champions. His hammer form gives him good mana sustain, allowing him to use mana fairly freely. Additionally, he gains armor and mr when he is in his hammer form, which makes trading harder. He has insane burst and all in potential as well as disengage with his knockback and acceleration gate.
A very versatile champion that can adapt to any play style. She can play very passively or aggressively, which means unless the karma does not know what they're doing it is hard to get behind on this champion. She may build semi support-like if she is not snowballing, but can also build full AP which makes short trades really hard. Play around her cooldowns; just remember she has a snare and a shield which speeds her up. Also note her ult snare heals her for missing hp, making laning phase tougher than it should.
Really depends on your ability to dodge Karthus' Qs. Nothing much to comment on here. You can dodge his ult with your ult as well.
High poke damage with Q, but this aggros minions. His passive is pretty much useless against any AD champions, but will have very good sustain in lane with fleet footwork. Make sure to not use too much energy by committing to poke.
At the most fundamental level, she is melee, and she will definitely use some abilities on minions. Just make sure to not get hit by free poke which isn't even aimed at you. Punish her cooldowns and you have the upper hand while in an auto attack combat.
The only thing preventing Kayle from having the highest threat level is her early game. Her ranged auto cooldown is pretty long and she has some time remaining melee. Post 6 you will be constantly harassed by her aoe autos and her ult will block Death Mark. Look to roam, and make sure to abuse her early game as much as you can, but never overextend since junglers exist.
A lane bully who dictates the early game is never fun to play against. I personally don't have much of a problem in this match up, but she supposedly does well against Zed. Her W makes it hard to hit skill shots which might explain one aspect, but her mark passive also makes it hard to come up to cs. Start Doran's Shield for safety and rush Hexdrinker for an even safer lane if needed. I personally think a Doran's Shield and Merc Treads are enough to handle lb.
Skill shot reliant AP champions are not the worst early game, though at level 6 she does have an advantage. With her mobility and cc, she can easily set up ganks as well so watch out for those. Additionally, she builds quite tanky with RoA or Protobelt, making it a difficult matchup.
Early game becomes quite a struggle against any marksman. Start Doran's Shield and play smart- not taking any unnecessary damage. Request for ganks since Lucian has no CC and is prone to overextending.
Though she isn't seen mid anymore, there's always a possibility. Her constant poke becomes extremely annoying especially when she starts ramping up AP. Her entire kit is capable of countering Zed's in some way, so make sure to keep tabs on her cooldowns. Don't get baited in for an all in when she has everything up.
Squishy champion with annoying poke, but can be easily killed if she misses her snare. Just make sure to not take too much damage that disables you from an all in.
Really rare to see a Malphite in the mid lane, but it happens. If you're against a Malphite just know Zed has kill pressure only during the early game. Take advantage of the fact that Zed is an energy user while Malphite uses mana. Manage minion waves well and all should be ok, at least until he starts stacking armor.
Early game Zed doesn't actually struggle that much against Malzahar since a Q from Zed clears his voidlings and Malz's E is often put onto minions. The only thing that makes him difficult to deal with is his ult, which allows him to lock Zed down for a potential gank. Make sure to have awareness of the enemy jungler and don't take any unnecessary risks post 6.
Morgana is just annoying with her permapush soil that melts minions. She isn't too difficult to deal with; just don't get hit by her binds in lane. Do NOT waste W or ult if Morgana has ult up as well.
As with any ranged champion, Orianna is quite difficult to deal with. She wins any extended trades, so try to poke without being poked too much yourself. An all in will most likely kill her if she is below half health (if you don't miss everything). Remember to stay in creep waves so when she uses her abilities she shoves the wave in as well.
Pantheon mid is fairly uncommon but could be picked as a counter-pick. His harass is extremely annoying, but at least minions will take aggro from his Q. Try to use your range to your advantage, and make sure to ult his stun when he all-ins.
Ryze wave clear is certainly annoying, with his Spell Flux spreading through minions and onto you. Try not to take too much harass from him just trying to clear minion waves, and if anything make him waste his mana on you and not the wave until you are able to duel him.
She isn't a difficult matchup if you're able to dodge her abilities, but it's obviously easier said than done. If you can, though, it's a really easy lane- just watch out for junglers. You can dodge her ult and/or stun with your ult, making it easy to win duels at level 6.
Taliyah can't really hit you through the minion wave with Q, but she definitely will try to combo you with her E->W combo. Try to bait her into doing so, and use your W to dodge the ability and waste her mana (you can all in her from here too).
Assassin lanes are the best, and facing Talon is a test of skill. He wins all ins if he gets his 3 stacks off which make you bleed for a lot if proc'd with an auto. Remember, if you dodge his W, you have an almost 100% chance of winning the trade. Also, make sure to let him ult before you ult, unless you're certain of his whereabouts. This champion LOVES to roam- after all one of his abilities is made solely for this reason.
Teemo mid is rarely seen, if not ever. He is very obnoxious to play against due to his range and E passive which grants him damage over time. However, Duskblade can clear his shrooms and Hexdrinker can go a long way, so take it easy early game. Doran's shield start is preferred.
Really depends on the level of the TF player, but then again the same could be said for every matchup. A good TF player can manipulate the wave accordingly which can give you a really rough time. Make sure to actually dodge his gold card with your ult- a trick that TF players could use is while having a gold card, they could throw out their Q to fake throwing the card to bait your ult. Make sure to ward and ping mia's when he is post 6.
Laning itself is not a very difficult task- especially because your W can dodge his stun cage. Make sure to play safe when your W is on cooldown since their jungler could gank you pretty easily paired with Veigar's cc. You can dodge every single one of his abilities with your ult, which makes it easier to outplay him in a 1v1 situation. Also, don't let him free farm too much with his Q (grants him AP when Q last hits or abilities hit champions). Don't greed for trades and let it happen naturally. For example, let him use his Q on the wave, then poke with W, E, Q, or just throwing out a Q. He is very immobile so try to freeze the wave on your side and ask for frequent ganks to completely shut him out.
Difficult lane due to his range and W, which can go through minions. He isn't much of a threat unless you are hit 3 times with his abilities which proc his passive (bonus true damage). As long as his passive doesn't proc, you can pretty much out trade him every time. Once again, your ult and W can dodge any of his abilities so use them wisely. He is also an immobile champion so ask for frequent ganks (junglers love ganking immobile lanes). This is, of course, if you aren't pushed into his tower.
Viktor is a very tough match up, especially in the early game with his Q, which gives him a shield and an enhanced auto attack, as well as his E which can hurt quite a bit after 2 or 3 hits. However, this does burn through his mana quickly, so take advantage of your energy pool. Just make sure to bait out his gravity field because he can stun you after your ult if you do not have a W ready.
Wow, so much fun. Champion with no mana pool, sustain, and a cheap power spike? Fantastic. He also has an ability which makes him invulnerable for a few seconds which sucks to hear as a Zed. Just avoid his empowered Q's and try to bait out his pool before asking for a gank.
This can go either way. Either he absolutely dumps on you nonstop, or you make him int and regret picking Xerath against you. If it turns out to be the latter, well, good for you! However, most of the time, he's able to poke consistently with all of his abilities since his passive allows him to constantly regain mana (his auto attacks restore mana every few seconds, and it is increased against champions). His W slows you, which makes it easy for him to hit his Q. If hit by his stun, rip laning phase. It is very possible to stomp him by punishing his misplaced skillshots, and jungle ganks are very essential to shutting down a Xerath.
Skill based matchup, but the early game is in our favor (post level 4). Melee vs melee isn't too bad of a matchup in general, especially when the opponent has no real ranged poke. His only way of damaging you is by his tornado which can be dodged, or E + Qing through minions, which can be punished very heavily. Make sure to pop his shield first before fighting, since it does make quite a difference after a few trades. Remember, you can dodge his tornado with your ult, but the Yasuo will most likely try to bait it out by windwalling to make it look like he is using his tornado.
If you're playing normals, then it's possible to go up against another Zed. There isn't really much to talk about other than trying to dodge his Q, W + E + Q combo, and anything that comes after his ult. Try to bait out his W before going for an all in since it will 9 times out of 10 come out in your favor.
Very annoying to deal with, mainly because he is an AOE control mage. Ziggs primarily seeks to farm with his empowered autos and Q, all the while building mana items like Archangel's Staff or Luden's. He will probably purchase Zhonya's some time, so make sure to not get baited too hard, and check his item slots to make sure he does not have a Stopwatch or Zhonya's. It's fine to be pushed in against a Ziggs since it makes it easier for junglers to gank. Just try to avoid getting hit by his Qs when he is only trying to farm. Also, make sure to dodge his Satchel Charge (W) with your pre-positioned shadow so you can swap with it right after you ult. Otherwise, while you are displaced he will have enough time to jump and flash out.
Very difficult matchup. He is almost like another support with his movement impairing or boosting abilities which can assist incoming ganks. Watch out for his bombs- if you are hit with 2, you will be stunned. Do not ever overextend without vision of the enemy jungler, or you will be punished very heavily. You win all-ins quite easily, even post 6. Just remember this is not only about 1v1s and is more about the team. Zilean roams can be more annoying than you think, so ping MIAs whenever he is gone from mid.
Dodge Q win lane. Even if you are struck with her sleep bubble, just W into minions or walk behind minions to leave her with only an auto attack. Though it will do a bit of damage, she has no cc and is very vulnerable to an all in or a gank. It's always worth flashing her sleep bubble if you see an incoming gank. Remember, summoner spells are useless if you don't use them.
Her plants make it extremely annoying to lane against, especially when your abilities can't one shot plants. However, you do win all-ins if she does not have her Grasping Roots (E). Respect her CC and abuse her squishiness when she is roaming without vision. A W + E + Q combo and an auto should usually 100 to 0 her if all abilities are hit, and if not you can always ult her when she reactively spams her abilities. The only problem is the laning phase where her plants will keep punishing you for overstepping.
A very niche pick that you could encounter, and luckily not a very difficult one. Take note of the fancy combos Gragas can pull off post 6 with his body slam -> ulting and dunking you into the pre-placed barrel. Aside from the YouTube clips, just make sure to avoid walking into places with no vision since Gragas can be just sitting there, which wastes his time if you do not give him the kill. Laning is fairly simple. He has a barrel, and that's pretty much it, unless he plans on an all-in which consists of his body slam which can be dodged with decent positioning.
She is a very difficult champion to play against, given that she naturally builds tanky and her base damage is pretty whack. Try to take advantage of her Qs to last hit minions. When she does this, she is exposed in front of her minions, allowing your Qs to do max damage. Don't overextend trades by dumping your entire combo on her when she does this though, since she can Q right to you and potentially kill you. If you are hit with her stun or ult, her Q cooldown is refunded, which allows her to Q out to minions for a short trade. Do NOT trade with her if she has 4 stacks from Qing minions. Dodging her stun or her ult with R or W will give you a huge edge in a 1v1 situation.
Her kit allows her to stall some much needed time during your combos early game, her w makes her invisible for half a second, which can screw you over if you unload your combo on her clone. Also, her root lasts a very long time if you're hit last, so make sure to dodge it. Her main damaging ability aside from her ult is her Q, which like Syndra's Q is fairly spammable in lane.
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+10 Adaptive (6 AD or 10 AP)
+15-90 HP (lvls 1-18)
Mages are usually reliant on mana for waveclear. Depending on the matchup, some will have an easier time waveclearing early game(TF/Ziggs), whereas others will scale into the late game (Anivia/Veigar). Against these champions, take advantage of your energy pool as opposed to a mana pool which can be depleted from either csing or trading. There are exceptions such as Vladimir and Kennen, but those details are in the champion matchups. This section will generalize and oversimplify the game plan but will be adequate in depth. Going into a game against a champion with a mana pool, there are two subcategories within the mage category which distinguishes playstyles in order to favor Zed.
- Burst Damage
- Sustained Damage
Burst damage champions are those like Ahri, Annie, Brand, Veigar, etc. This category does not mean they will always kill you in one rotation, rather, it means they have the advantage when it comes to short trades. For example, Twisted Fate is capable of out trading Zed if he gold cards into Q and auto. There isn't much counterplay there, though it does burn through mana quickly. Cooldowns exist obviously, and Zed is more of a "burst damage" champion, which means you are capable of quick trades which pulls in advantages. Level 6 is the biggest early game power spike for Zed, allowing you to dodge any incoming cc or burst while bursting them yourself. Of course your playstyle should vary mostly every matchup, but generally, you have an easier time against these champions than champions that deal sustained damage.
Champions with sustained damage are champions like Aurelion Sol, Azir, Cassiopeia, Karthus, etc.
For these matchups, do not just let them poke you for free; your bursts hit harder than theirs in the same time frame. Given the opportunity, look for all-ins or short trades which favor Zed. This mostly occurs at level 6, but it can be done pre-6, though it is significantly harder. Coordinate with your jungler since they will most likely be pushed up. Overall, these matchups are generally harder than champions that deal burst damage.
Laning should be split into two subcategories:
Passive lanes generally mean you have a Doran's Shield from the first buy, and you are not planning on overextending whatsoever. Farming is generally more important than trading in these matchups, and your opponent will look to harass every time you try to last hit. Passive and control matchups are much harder for Zed, for example, Syndra and Orianna are both champions capable of zoning Zed off CS with their abilities. In a strict 1v1, they aren't the worst matchups. Zed's level 1 and 2 are pretty garbage against ranged champions unless they've been eating your Qs, so make sure to play safe and give up CS if it means staying healthy. In the early game, CS doesn't mean much as compared to experience. This is a very important notion which lower elo players tend to have a hard time grasping. You do NOT need to last hit CS in order to get exp. Therefore, you can sit back in exp range and last hit with Qs basically until level 3 or 4, where Zed starts spiking. However, most of the time you want to stay safe until level 6 if you have no jungle assistance, but even with a jungler, you would rather stay back to farm gold and xp (more in-depth in the "Ganks and Roaming" section). Early game, when both mid laners have one item, levels are the only difference between them. This means whoever misses more experience will end up hitting level 6 later. Level 6 power spike on Zed is the most important early game spike. You can mostly 1v1 anyone as long as you have a decent amount of health and everything off cooldown.
Aggressive lanes are for matchups that favor Zed. Even if this means Zed loses some early trades/duels, as long as the matchups aren't sustained, extended trades, Zed should be completely fine. Zed has great poke due to a relatively low cooldown on his Q, as well as being able to spam abilities due to having energy instead of mana. All Zed needs is to play "safe" until he gets one very favorable trade procing Electrocute. Once this happens, you are able to pressure the enemy mid laner with your never-ending Qs and a possible all in at 6. What matters most in the early stages of the game is experience, not gold. This point is never emphasized enough in any guides I've read, so I felt compelled to write about this. NEVER ever try to overextend just because you are in an aggressive lane. Remember, the jungler exists for a reason. Only use your W once you know you will not be punished; an assassin who is behind is as useless as a nipple on a man. How to deal with jungle pressure will be in the "Ganks and Roaming" section.
Against poke champions and harder matchups, it's viable to take Taste of Blood over Sudden Impact in the Domination tree. Additionally, the Resolve tree can be taken as the Secondary tree(Bone plating + Chrysalis).
Even after the adjustments to Electrocute and nerfs to many other options in the domination tree, Electrocute is still the best overall rune to take on Zed. This adjustment hit junglers hard since they cannot proc it as often. Scorch has gotten adjusted as well (cd half, dmg half). This isn't a problem for Zed since he often pokes with Q and Scorch is easy to proc.