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Zed Build Guide by SimonRJ

Middle Carnifex Zed Guide

Middle Carnifex Zed Guide

Updated on May 29, 2017
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League of Legends Build Guide Author SimonRJ Build Guide By SimonRJ 78 3 3,914,258 Views 61 Comments
78 3 3,914,258 Views 61 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author SimonRJ Zed Build Guide By SimonRJ Updated on May 29, 2017
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Choose Champion Build:

  • LoL Champion: Zed
    Zed, Zedd 'n Zeddy
  • LoL Champion: Zed
    Zed Leppelin


LoL Summoner Spell: Ignite


LoL Summoner Spell: Flash


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

Hey everyone, I'm SKAUGKILLAH4LYFE and I'm playing on the EUNE server. I worked hard to make this guide the best I could, and I would appreciate any and all feedback that you guys may provide. I'm a Zed main and have always loved Zed's playstyle and look. He is very advanced, but the more time you spend on him, the better you will become as his skillcap is very high. He is by far the most fun champion in the game, because of the high outplay potential he has, its very rewarding.

I play Zed as much as I can, primarily in the midlane, as I feel he is the strongest in mid. Not long ago Zed got a buff which increased his damage and shadow distance, which is amazing and he is really strong at the moment.

Zed - the Master of Shadows
Ranged, Melee, DPS(ish), Assassin, Midlaner, Toplaner, Jungler

Damage: Extremely High

Outplay Potential: Extremely High

Speciality: Assassinations

Summary: Zed in his current state as a mid laner is very powerful. He can 1v1 anyone, which makes him a great split pusher and perfect for the midlane. He can easily destroy ADC's/Midlaners, but also tanks, as he has a good mix of attack speed, high damage and low cooldowns.


Strong laning phase
Great 1v1
Awesome splitpusher
High Outplay potential
High mobility
Fun to play
Easy to CS with because of passive

Zed has some amazing Pros, and they make him who he is. His strong laning phase is needed, as he is melee, but it mostly comes from his passive and longe range Razor Shuriken. Against melee champions, he has a huge advantage for CS'ing, as he both has range but also an autoattack enhancing passive. In the lategame, he can easily splitpush with his high waveclear and can kill anyone who the enemy team might send. His high mobility makes for great outplay potential and juking/kiting from shadows. Overall his Pros are fantastic and really shines bright.

Vulnerable to crowd control
QSS and Cleanse can be hard to use
Not the best teamfighting
Isn't as useful if behind
Takes a long time to master
Item counters such as QSS / Zhonyas
Lame Skins

With great powers, comes great counter-play. Zed has many hard countering flaws, especially in higher elo where people build against you or build team composition against you. Mercurial Scimitar is a very good ADC item, and the QSS active easily screws you over. Many AP mages build Zhonyas, which also counters your completely. Those are the biggest flaws of Zed, as mastering him is all about hard work. His vulnerability to CC is also not a hard con, as you can take Cleanse and build QSS to negate any hard CC in fights. Overall his cons are hard to deal with, but his Pros outshine them.

My mastery set up is fairly simple and looks a lot like others. However I do choose to run 6/18/6 instead of 12/18/0. Both versions are viable, I just prefer the sustain. The health regeneration also helps to go for Assassin instead of Secret Stash against ranged opponent. You can also run 0/18/12 for more flat health and 15% reduced summoner cooldowns.


Tier 1 // With my build Zed has high amount of AS, so going Fury would be wasted, while Sorcery makes his abilities much stronger. Hence why I go Sorcery.

Tier 2 // Double Edged Sword is pretty risky, altough it gives great boost in early damage. I prefer Feast for the sustain in laning phase, but it really depends on the player.

Tier 3 // Vampirism is my go to mastery vs Natural Talent . 2% life steal may not seam as much, but against +10 AD at level 18 is much better. Gives better sustain in laning and in trading, which is far more useful than the very small boost in AD at level 18. Natural Talent gives the same stats as Long Sword at level 18.

Tier 4 // This is another tricky one. Bounty Hunter is more snowball focused. To get 5% increased damage, you will need to kill each of the enemy team members. Which can be difficult if they have a tanky team composition or you're behind. Oppressor is the safer way to go, your team often has some form of CC, and so do you, so Oppressor will often give more damage in laning phase to get first kill on your opponent and snowball from there.

Tier 1 // Wanderer for a little faster roams and Savagery for farming under tower lvl 1 or just a little more damage. Depends on the your playstyle.

Tier 2 // Runic Affinity is a waste on Zed, you'll never get buffs early game, and as of now, the game is very snowbally. Secret Stash is very good for sustain, but waste the mana given. Assassin is nice for better damage early as you are always alone, and also good for splitpushing. Preference between Secret Stash and Assassin . Although I'll later give my thoughts on why Assassin is better.

Tier 3 // This is straight forward, Merciless is a buff to your passive. While Meditation is mana regen, and you use energy so its useless.

Tier 4 // Bandit can be nice if you want extra gold, but it's very little and the 10 gold for hitting a champion isn't really good, as you are often against ranged opponents. I just find it much better to get some health back when I'm finishing off a target and I'm low. Saves you from sticky situations like ignite.

Tier 5 // Up to preference, with this build you will have 40% CDR and you have the chance to get 45%. But the armor pen mastery got buffed and is a key thing on assassins such as Zed with full AD. I prefer Armor Penetration over CDR, as 45% is a lot and you need to be able to use your energy wisely.

Tier 6 // For Key Mastery, Thunderlord's Decree is no doubt. Got buffed and extremely broken at the moment.


Tier 1 // As you are not building much armor, the health regeneration is awesome in lane. Easier to freeze lane and also helps to go for Assassin instead of the sustain choice Secret Stash .

Tier 2 // I recommend taking Explorer over Tough Skin in most match-ups. As you do not get the Wanderer you will need the Explorer for roaming. I do take Tough Skin if I'm against a though AD opponent/team comp.

Tier 3 // Veteran's Scars are preferred as it is simply flat health, which is nice in the early game.

Tier 4 // Insight is an amazing and very underrated Mastery, as it will help with the long cooldown on flash and ignite/cleanse. Perseverance gives a good sustain in lane, however most midlaners have a high burst and will often not let you survive with >25% HP. The Insight is stronger generally.

This is my primary Rune set, however it depends on the matchup. And I will discuss the different runes in this section

Greater Mark of Attack Damage: I usually take attack damage marks, for the early extra AD, and to sacrifice the 1 AD quint. You take attack damage whenever you build Youmuus, Maw/LW and Black Cleaver as you already have enough armor penetration from this. You also get armor penetration from masteries.

greater mark of armor penetration: In my opinion these are not as good as the raw attack damage. If you are against a very tanky team composition, these can be really good as the enemies will stack armor against you.

Greater Seal of Armor: Armor Seals are super effective against AD opponent, as they protect better than flat health alone. Take these against any midlaner who scales off of AD, such as Yasuo, Riven and Renekton.

Greater Seal of Scaling Health: Scaling Health seals are more beneficial against AP opponent, they outscale flat health seals at level 6, which is perfect as most AP midlaners need items to be strong. Taking scaling health is therefore better than flat health.

Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist: This can vary from build to build, but these are great for some magic resist for mid and lategame. Useless against full ad team composition.

Greater Glyph of Attack Speed: Most of the offensive glyphs gives very low stats, so I recommend going 3 attack speed glyphs and 6 scaling cooldown reduction if you are going against a full ad team composition. This will give you a little over 5.5% attack speed at level 1, which is nice for greater trades and smoother cs'ing.

Greater Glyph of Scaling Cooldown Reduction: You can take 6 of these and 3 MR, for 40% CDR at lvl 18. This is great if you are confident against your matchup and also lets you choose another boot upgrade than Ionian.

Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage: These are a must on Zed, it gives a good AD boost and helps with burst and farming.

Greater Quintessence of Attack Speed: These are really nice on Zed, however only take 1, as 4.5% is fine. This will help with smoother auto attacks, and a even better raptor cheese strat start, which I will talk about later. So a 2 Quintessences of Attack Damage and 1 Attack Speed is the recommended.


Flash is a must. Flash is always a good "u fkd up" card. The amount of usages it has are too many compared to other Summoner Spells. You can reposition, dodge abilities, escape, and even use it as a gapcloser.

I most of the time recommend Ignite, unless you are higher Elo, know the enemy has tons of CC or suspect Exhaust. It simply gives early kill pressure, and can help killing anyone who did not die to your Death Mark.

Cleanse is a very good spell against CC/ Exhaust. Cleanse is a very hard to use spell, so you need to know your enemies well and have good reaction. Cleanse separates the good players from the pros.

Skill Sequence

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
0 Q E Q W Q R Q E Q E R E E W W R W W

We want to max out Razor Shuriken because it is Zeds main damage dealer and only ranged ability. Afterwards we will max E, as it will make the burst faster. We max W last as its more of a utility ability rather than damage.

Contempt for the Weak (P)

RANGE: AA Range, 125

BONUS MAGIC DAMAGE: 6 / 8 / 10% of their maximum health

Zed's basic attacks against targets below 50% of their maximum health deal additional magic damage on hit.

This effect can only occur on the same target once every few seconds.

Contempt for the Weak is one of the strongest passives in the game, assassination wise. It has no sustain or utility, only raw damage. However this is nothing bad, as Zed is an assassin and the faster you burst, the faster you can get away.

Not only does this passive help Zed become deadly to even tanks, but it also helps him farm, which is really helpful for a good laning phase and for a melee champion. In the early game, this passive is insane on creeps. You do not have to wait for them to become really low, you can hit them way earlier and still kill them. I suggest knowing the damage, as not killing a <50% HP minion isn't optimal. You will learn this over experience.

Zed is the easiest champion in the game to farm under tower with, even early game. You can let the tower hit the melee minion twice and use your enhanced auto attack to slay the minion, a caster minion only needs 1 tower shot and 1 enhanced auto attack. Cannon minions are different though, but they have more health which equals to more damage. So whenever you see they become decently low, hit one with your enhanced auto attack and hope it kills the minion. This is something that you will learn over time and experience, as it really isn't that hard.

Final thing to note is that Zed's passive is the only ability where he damages with magic damage, as Zed is otherwise full AD.

Razor Shuriken (Q)

RANGE: 900
COST: 75 / 70 / 65 / 60 / 55 energy

PHYSICAL DAMAGE: 75 / 115 / 155 / 195 / 235(+100% Bonus AD)

SHADOW DAMAGE 37.5 / 57.5 / 77.5 / 97.5 / 117.5(+50% Bonus AD)

ACTIVE: Zed throws his spinning blades forward, dealing physical damage to the first enemy they pass through and 60% damage to enemies thereafter.

Living Shadow: Active shadows also throw a shuriken in the direction of the target point. Additional shuriken striking the same enemy deal 50% damage and restore energy.

Razor Shuriken is Zed's main ability for waveclear, poke and damage. It's basically a linear skillshot, like most others. It's pretty easy to poke with early game, as it has a very large range. Whenever you use Zed's shadow combined with Razor Shuriken, be sure to hit both as it gives energy back and deals a lot of damage.

Learn to farm with Razor Shuriken, as it helps a lot when behind or against ranged champion. As Zed you can easily hit minions from afar, so be sure to practice the range. It's cast time is very short, which makes it good for hitting all minions. I recommend autoattacking the melee minions and taking 2-3 of the caster minions with Razor Shuriken, but only if against ranged or poke champion, otherwise you waste your main poke ability.

Razor Shuriken synergises extremely well with both Living Shadow but also Shadow Slash. As a Living Shadow Shadow Slash gives a nice slow, it will be easier to hit both, or atleast one shuriken.

The final note about Razor Shuriken is that you can pull of some stunning plays, as the range is extreme coupled with Living Shadow. You can easily be afar from a low HP enemy, but with an perfectly lined up Shadow, a Razor Shuriken can be enough to defeat the foe.
Amazing outplay by Azoh with Razor Shuriken

Living Shadow (W)

RANGE: 700
COST: 40 / 35 / 30 / 25 / 20 energy
COOLDOWN: 18 / 17 / 16 / 15 / 14

BONUS AD INCREASE: 5 / 10 / 15 / 20 / 25% Bonus AD

ENERGY RESTORED: 20 / 25 / 30 / 35 / 40 energy

PASSIVE: Zed's bonus attack damage is increased.

Active: Zed's shadow dashes forward, remaining in place for 4 seconds and in this time mimics his basic abilities. If a mimicked ability hits a target also hit by the primary effect, Zed restores energy.

Reactivating Living Shadow: Zed swaps places with his shadow instantly.

Living Shadow has more than one function. It creates a zone around it, which enemies are often scared of, it's his primary juking ability and his only escape/dash/gap close ability. Living Shadow is what connects all of his basic abilities to synergise so well with eachother, as it mimics his abilities and creates a slow for an easier Razor Shuriken.

Living Shadow can be used both offensively and defensively, diving in or out of a fight and it makes Zed a very good duelist as it creates amazing outplay potential. Living Shadow is what makes Zed so hard to gank, as he can instantly swap with the shadow. Be careful when it's on cooldown, because the early game cooldown is very high, and this is the time for the enemy jungler to strike.

The energy cost of Living Shadow is very low, which is awesome for an escape ability. You can easily spam your W, and maybe even get some E's in too for the slow. Be sure to take full advantage over the E slow when running away, as it also does damage.

In a burst you can either save the shadow to escape, or you can use it offensively and try to hit a triple shuriken. This deals tons of damage, however it can be difficult to hit in teamfights. But if you see your enemy jungler top, and no one is roaming, you can easily use the triple shuriken in a 1v1 against your enemy laner.

The last thing to mention about Living Shadow is the ability to getting over terrain. Living Shadow has an extremely long range, so getting over the longest walls are even possible with Living Shadow. However don't blindly jump over a wall, unless escaping, as it's quite awkward finding a 5 man team on the opposing side with no escape! I have marked all the spots where you can jump over on Summoners Rift.

Wall Jumps

Shadow Slash (E)

RANGE: 290
COST: 50 energy

PHYSICAL DAMAGE: 60 / 90 / 120 / 150 / 180(+80% Bonus AD)

SLOW: 20 / 25 / 30 / 35 / 40%

ACTIVE: Zed spins his blades, dealing physical damage to nearby enemies and reducing Living Shadow's cooldown by 2 seconds for every enemy champion hit.

Living Shadow: Active shadows also slash, dealing physical damage to nearby enemies and slowing them for 1.5 seconds.

Shadow Slash is a great ability for AOE damage and slow, and also for farming as it does have higher range than basic attacks and low cooldown. It is Zed's only CC in his kit, and it's a very soft CC, but it does help with escaping and AOE slow + damage. Late-Game Shadow Slash does a lot of damage on a very low cooldown, which helps waveclearing combined with Q, but also poking.

A nice trick is to use your Shadow Slash instantly as your Living Shadow comes out, as the cooldown is exactly the same as the duration of the shadow, so you can fit 2 Shadow Slashes into that window. It synergises very well with your escape Living Shadow as it provides the slow for even easier escapes.

You can easily wave clear in the mid/late-game by letting the minions group up in the 3-3 formation, and use your Living Shadow on the caster minions, pressing E so it the shadow hits the caster minions and you hit the melee minions. In lategame this will most likely kill the caster minions. If you need extra damage, you can also Razor Shuriken inbetween the two rows of minions, which makes your Razor Shuriken hit both rows twice (from the shadows shuriken and yours.)

Death Mark (R)

RANGE: 625
COST: 0 energy
COOLDOWN: 120 / 100 / 80

PHYSICAL DAMAGE: 100% AD + 30 / 40 / 50% of damage dealt


ACTIVE: Zed becomes untargetable for 0.75 seconds and dashes behind the target enemy champion. Upon arrival, he marks them for death, ghosts for 3 seconds, and spawns a shadow at the cast location that lasts for 6 seconds. After 0.5 seconds, Death Mark can be reactivated to make Zed swap places with this shadow.
At the end of its duration, Death Mark triggers, dealing physical damage plus a percentage of all physical and magic damage Zed dealt to the target while they were marked.

Death Mark is one of the coolest ultimates in the game, and it is what makes Zed who he is, an extremely cool looking, fun to play assassin with tons of outplay potential. Death Mark is Zed's signature ability, it allows him to dodge abilities, close gaps and outplaying anyone who tries to kill him. The shadow that is cast during his ultimate is extremely overpowered, it gives him tons of in and out diving and can also be used to dodge skillshots. Death Mark synergises with his every ability. Lets you come close to benefit from your enhanced autoattacks or to place a Living Shadow and get triple Razor Shuriken.

Death Mark is usually used to burst a squishy target down, but can also help juking with the active. When Lee Sin comes in ganking on you, and you know you can't escape only with Living Shadow, you can ult your enemy laner, flash if needed (if you are low against melee/skillshot champion) and let them follow you, then whenever Lee tries to Q you, dodge that son of a gun with a ultimate swap. Proceed to use your Living Shadow to get near your turret again and in safety.

Zed Juking

Death Marks cooldown can be decently high/average at lvl 6, however you should be able to have Caulfield's Warhammer close to that timing or a little later, which gives 10% CDR. Whenever your ultimate is up, you can pretty much go for a kill or roam and get kills. As Zed is both a good roamer, but a even better 1v1'er. The cooldown becomes very low at lvl 18 with 40%(or 45% with masteries) CDR with a cooldown around 50 seconds.

However, your ultimate is not the only damaging item, so don't be afraid to play aggressive without it. A quick W+E+Q+Thunderlords Proc does incredible damage, at a distance, and if you see your target low, you can always swap to shadow and AA+Ignite for easy kill. This can also be used if ult is up, then just switch place and then R+AA+Ignite. As Zed's ultimate isn't his primary escape ability, you can still juke and escape only with Living Shadow, especially since it's range got buffed to 900 and flash if needed. I recommend having Death Mark up when roaming, as a support can peel/disengage a ton for their carry, and without a Death Mark ADC's can be hard to catch.

Death Mark is also an amazing ability to tower dive with. A neat trick if you have flash up is to push to their tower, use W-E-Q combo, switch place with shadow, AA+Ignite+BotRK and R whenever the turret shot is about to hit you. This will prevent the tower damage and get yourself and easy kill, and you can easily escape using R again and then flash or just simply run away from tower aggro, depending on your health bar of course.

I want to point out that there isn't any specific purchase order, as all games are different and very situational. You have to choose wisely to get the optimized build. I will try to go in depth with the different items and when you should buy them.

This is the standard start for most of Zed's match-ups. The Long Sword provides a great amount of AD to make CSing easier and your pokes hit harder. I recommend this start against most match-ups. I do however take Cloth Armor and 1 Health Potion against someone like Irelia, and then buying a Refillable Potion at your first back. The best thing about starting Long Sword is the faster early build core, you will reach it way faster as Long Sword both goes into Serrated Dirk and Caulfield's Warhammer.

Refillable Potion is in my opinion the best starting potion, as it is very cost efficient and you also get decent sustain with it. It was introduced in the preseason, however I feel many has forgotten it or simply deny to use it. It holds up to 2 charges, but you can't buy any other potion type, when you have it in the inventory. It costs 150g which is just enough with the Long Sword start. I recommend using it when you are more experienced with Zed, or expect less poke than a Viktor can bring. I was scouting probuilds and Faker started with Refillable Potion and Bjergsen did not. Faker saved a total of 350 gold, which is enough for a Long Sword. It may not seem as much, but it really is as you will get a great gold advantage over your enemy laner. It's worth noting that Fakers game went for 24 minutes longer than Bjergsens, so he potentially could have saved even more.

Corrupting Potion is the reworked Flask start. It's a refillable potion with 3 charges, which heals 150 Health and 50 mana over 12 seconds. However on top of the heal, you also get a damage related buff. Touch of Corruption which is a buff that gives your single target spells and attacks burn champions for 15-30 magic damage over 3 seconds. This is nice for some extra damage, especially as it's magic damage.

It's a great starting choice for match-ups where you will get poked a lot early game, it is also great for champions that are aggressive early game and only has a "engage" ability and no escape other than Flash. This is because you will be able to pop a flask, be aggressive and try to force them away from you. These are match-ups like Talon who only has his Cutthroat to engage, but no escape. Or Diana who only has her ultimate as a engage, and need minions to get away. Yasuo could also be a good match-up to start Corrupting Potion, as he is very poke heavy in the early game, and has no escape.

It is very cost efficient, as you will get your potions back for free every time you return to your fountain. This is equally good to Refillable Potion, however this holds 3 charges and has the burning effect. The damage over time is also nice, as it scales with level, so it won't become useless later in the game. Really nice starting item on Zed, however it won't work against every match-up.

Vision is one of the many keys to succeed in League of Legends, in this chapter I will explain my trinket choices and why you should use these.

Simply put, it's the best starting trinket. You can use to ward aggressively early game in their jungle, or passively to watch for invades early game in your jungle. Usually placed at 1:30. In lane you can use it to ward the two side bushes, to spot the jungler when ganking.

Swap out your totem for this trinket as soon as you hit level 9, it's free and much better. It has many usages, such as spotting ahead when chasing, to ward bushes without face checking and check monster camps, especially baron and dragon. If you have a good team, the enemy jungle will often be lighted up, if you need to splitpush and their jungle is dark, you can stay in top/bot and ward the jungle, so you won't get flanked.

This is the other version of the free upgrade. This is usually better in high elo, as people tend to ward more and use the vision, and you can then deny them the information. Usually best when other allies are warding and bought Farsight Alteration.


Serrated Dirk is by far the best recall item to buy when facing an AD mid. You want to rush Youmuu's Ghostblade and Serrated Dirk is not only very cheap combined with Long Sword start, but also very good for overall damage. In the early game, armor won't be a big problem for you and therefore the Serrated Dirk should be your goto item. If you go back early with very little gold, I recommend buying either 1 or 2 more long swords, as it will have huge raw damage and should lead to a kill.

Youmuu's Ghostblade is decently cheap, considering your amazing farming and snowballing potential early game. And when it's done you will get +65 Attack Damage, 10% Cooldown, +20 Armor Penetration and of course the amazing active. The active makes assassinations much faster and smoother. This build path is almost "static", as even if you are behind, it will simply be the best. Even behind you should still be able to get their ADC for the trade in teamfights.

Against AP midlaners, your preferred first back is a hexdrinker, atleast 95% of the time. It's an amazing mini item, which build into an even more amazing item; the Maw of Malmortius. Hexdrinker is a low priced life saver against most AP burst champions, although it is also good against more utility mages too. It gives a good amount of attack damage, great early game MR and an amazing passive. It basically gains you a shield which absorbs 100 (+10 x level) magic damage for 5 seconds whenever you are beneath 30% maximum health.

Maw of Malmortius is the hexdrinker upgrade, however in most situations, unless you are getting really behind in lane, you should finish Youmuu's Ghostblade before finishing Maw of Malmortius. Maw is not only a defensive item as you might think, it gives 10 armor penetration which helps when you remove arm pen marks, 55 AD (only 10 less than Youmuus), 50 MR and the a shield which is even stronger than Hexdrinkers.

Youmuu's Ghostblade is the best first item on Zed at the moment. It gives you a large amount of AD, good CDR, armor penetration and a fantastic active.

Boots of Swiftness are the best boots on Zed, as it helps him roam and teamfighting becomes easier and less dangerous for him with them.

other viable first item

other viable boots

There is a broad selection of items to choose from for your last items, but in most cases you can't go wrong with the example build at the top. It has a good mix of everything, and should almost always be bought. However all games aren't the same, so here goes the last choices to make in the build.

Last Whisper upgrade
If you do not need the Maw of Malmortius against AP threat, you can also pick up one of the Last Whispers. Buy Last Whisper after you finish your Youmuus + BotRK and finish the upgrade whenever enemy is stacking armor or after your 3th item excluding last whisper and boots.

Get Mortal Reminder almost always, but be sure to check your opponent, chech their items(lifesteal? spellvamp?), look at their summoner spells(heal?) and also check their abilities( Aria of Perseverance). If they have a lot of healing, mortal reminder is the goto upgrade.

Second Last Whisper upgrade. Building Lord Dominik's Regards helps against a very tanky team, or an ADC going health. However this is a rare scenario and most of the time, the enemy team won't have 3-5 members with 2500-3000+ hp.(for optimal usage of passive)

Life Steal
Mercurial Scimitar is the best life steal choice, as it not only gives life steal, but also huge AD, some magic resistance and great active. Combined with cleanse and in the right hands can be deadly! Almost always useful, especially in teamfights. Can deny any CC.

How to QSS

The Black Cleaver
The Black Cleaver is an amazing item on Zed, simply the stats that it provides all benefit Zed. It has a decent AD boost, together with 20% CDR(!) and 300 Health to help take some more damage. The passives both benefit Zed, the armor penetration is amazing, especially with BotRK's attack speed to get the stacks faster. Rage is also nice to both dodge abilities, reposition and flee. Black Cleaver should be built inbetween the upgrades of Last Whisper to Mortal Reminder/Lord Dominik's Regard and QSS to Mercurial Scimitar or if you went Maw you should buy QSS depending on the situation then build Black Cleaver and finish build with the (QSS, unless you bought it before) Mercurial Scimitar.

Sterak's Gage is a good defensive option, as it gives a lot of health, some attack damage, and an awesome survivability passive. Purchase when getting bursted too fast. Sterak's Gage is also good against a lot of burst AD assassins.

Banshee's Veil can both be purchased early against burst AP or lategame. However I prefer Maw of Malmortius early game, as it also gives offensive stats. Can be very helpful against a fed(ish) Leblanc. The passive is nice against CC too.

Dead Man's Plate brings movement speed and little boost in AD. But the health and armor is fantastic together. You can even purchase one of the components "early" game against a though/losing lane against AD opponent such as Yasuo.

Fantastic item if you are carrying, but getting focused too hard. Gives a good mix of both armor and magic resistance, and recently got buffed. Great (very)lategame item. I suggest selling it for another defensive item after the first passive proc.

These are two examples of how your typical build path would look like. Everything is situational, so don't copy blindly. I do sometimes buy Blade of the Ruined King in the lategame, as it's not a very snowbally item in lane, with low damage. Better for teamfighting with the AS and split pushing to 1v1 anyone.

The Last Whisper example path

> > > > > > > > > > >

The Maw of Malmortius example path

> > > > > > > > > > >

This section will cover the basic mechanics that you will need throughout the game. I will also explain a few tips and tricks, that can make you win the game easier. I will go as in depth as I can, because I feel gameplay is one of the most important parts of winning and playing Zed correctly, as well as other champions of course.


When the game starts, buy the Long Sword, 3 Health Potion, and Stealth Ward from the shop. Don't walk straight into lane, if your team is invading, be sure to follow them and level up your Razor Shuriken. Otherwise you should be standing at either side of the lane in the jungle bushes, like in the picture below, mirror it for blue side. These spots will keep you in safety, but also give information about the enemy team. It will help countering a possible invade. Minions spawn at 1:15 so be sure to get back to lane.

This next thing is a cheese strat, as I would call it. I have never seen anyone do it, but I was experimenting with it, and it actually works. So as Zed you stand near the wraiths before the 1:40 mark, when they spawn you throw Q at the small one nearest to you and hit with 2 AA's and kill it. Walk to lane, you will get back at perfect time to last hit/Q the minions. Then try to take all the minions and you get lvl 2 after only 6 minions (first wave) instead of 2 minions (2 waves). You wont take much damage from the raptors, so imo its a really good strat for getting level 2 quicker than your opponent.


Level 1-2 vs Melee Champions

This is often in your favor, as Zed has a long ranged spell to harass with, compared to someone like Yasuo, whose is a fair bit shorter. At level 1 Razor Shuriken does not do a ton of damage, but it's decent. But once you hit level 2, your damage will become a lot stronger if you Living Shadow + hit both Razor Shurikens and then reactivate Living Shadow to get 1 AA. By using that combo, you will ensure the enemy laner to be under 50% HP, as it procs the Thunderlord's Decree .

Although you still need to last-hit and prioritize farm over anything else, there is room for aggressive playstyle. You are not in a disadvantage as you are vs ranged champions, and it should be decently easy acquiring lane control at level 1-2 vs melee champions.

Remember to harass them with a Razor Shuriken or a full Living Shadow + 2 Razor Shurikens every time they go for CS.

Level 1-2 vs Ranged Champions

Zed's level 1 is very weak against ranged champions. You are melee and they can easily AA you when you go for minions. Razor Shuriken alone does very little damage, however as you are energy user you can spam it freely at level 1. You want to farm as much as you can, try to AA the melee minions and use your Razor Shuriken on the caster minions. This way you will take minimum damage and if the enemy laner tries to poke you when going for melee minions, he will take minion aggro.

Zed's level 2 is improved as you can easily poke down the enemy from afar with a Living Shadow + Razor Shuriken combo. At level 2 it is also possible to stay farming with your Razor Shuriken, or you can just poke them away and try to AA creeps.

Level 3 vs Melee Champions

At level 3 vs a melee champion is basically the same, however you should have a greater health lead than your opponent. You can either solo kill the opposing laner if they are >50% HP or you can ask for a gank if they are pushed to your tower.

If the opportunity does not arrive, just stay calm and harass the enemy and keep on last-hitting the creeps.

Level 3 vs Ranged Champions

This is most likely the biggest early game powerspike Zed has. You will have a point in each of your abilities, and can now get a Thunderlord's Decree proc from a distance. Aslong as you hit both of your Razor Shurikens. You can also use the full Living Shadow + Shadow Slash + 2 Razor Shurikens and quickly reactive Living Shadow if they are low HP and have few minions left, this will most of the time grant you a kill with some AA and Ignite.

At level 3 is also a perfect moment to get a gank from your jungler, as Shadow Slash gives a slow which can help jungler gank. A level 3 gank is awesome, as it often leads to a kill if you poked heavily at level 1-2. If you do not get a kill, your enemy laner most likely will be so low that they need to back, which is very early and gives a great lead.

If the opposing laner is not very low health and has lane dominance, try to farm under tower and wait for your jungler to come.

Level 4-5 vs All

At level 4-5 there is not much different happening, but try to poke and last hit. Your Razor Shuriken Does a lot of damage at this point in the game, so be sure to take advantage over it.

If you are winning lane at level 5, be sure to rush level 6 by shoving the wave and consider getting the small raptors by Living Shadow + Shadow Slash and 2 Razor Shurikens over the wall. You want to hit level 6 before your enemy as this will lead to a easy kill.

However if you are losing lane and your opponent are shoving the wave and has more health, stay under tower and ask for a gank. Be sure to stay very passive if your enemy laner hit level 6 first as you don't want them to get a lead.

Level 6 vs All

If you hit level 6 before your enemy and they are decently low health, you have a gigantic lead. Your full combo R W E Q R will kill pretty much anyone who is in your way. However if you fail your triple shuriken, or their jungler comes and you escape but the enemy laner survives, you should at least have forced them out of lane. Hard shove the wave and recall to get your some more damage.

If you're losing the lane, you should keep harassing them from a distance, as you don't want them to jump on you with more damage than you have. However in certain match-ups, being behind isn't as bad as you would think. Example, Yasuo is winning lane and threating to all-in you. You are both level 6 and he has his Tornado up, he comes close to you and fires it at you. To dodge his tornado, you simply press R on him before it hits you, as you are untargetable when in the Death Mark dash. This will negate all the damage from his ultimate and his Q will be on cooldown. So use your full combo on him, and you should be able to kill him.


Mid-game is around the time when your team starts grouping, usually midlane, and when you go for objectives together. Most of the time, mid game is when you have taken the outer turret on bot or top-lane. You should have at least a Youmuu's Ghostblade, Boots of Swiftness and a Maw of Malmortius / Blade of the Ruined King.

Dragon Fights

Zed is decently strong in dragon fights. The pit is very tiny and perfect for your AOE damage, however the River is your best place to fight. It is very narrow, and most ADC are easy to reach/catch out of position in the River. You can easily burst them down and try to escape or dish out some more damage and let your team clean up.

Teamfights around dragon can sometimes be very long, and Zed's decently short cooldowns and long range is perfect for zoning or poking the enemy team. I usually try to do the triple shuriken combo as it gives a lot of AOE burst, however you need to aim your shuriken correctly, so the enemy ADC doesn't escape alive. The burst is as follows: R onto ADC, W away from the enemy team (most of the time your own team too, as the ADC is oftenly in the backline, reactivate W, E for the slow, triple Q to huge amount of AOE damage, and then reactivate R to get back to your team.

The Line combo


Roaming to either top or bottom is very easy and effective. I recommend roaming to botlane, as they are often more squishy and less escapes and also more rewarding. However you can't just roam at any given time. Here I'll ask some questions, which you can ask yourself ingame. These should help you deciding if you should roam or not.

Questions for Yourself

Answers and Explanation

Q: Which lane should I roam to? // Look at the minimap and decide which lane would be the easiest to roam to. The factors will of which lane to roam to is the next few questions.

Q: Can your laners help? // If your ally(ies) are too low, and you are not overly fed, it's most of the time better staying mid as fighting as most of the time it could go wrong.

Q: Do you need Jungler help? // Sometimes you can pull off a gank, by having your jungler there too. If your ally is low and baits the enemy to try to fight him, you and your jungler can flank and get the kill this way.

Q: Do you need Jungler help? // Sometimes you can pull off a gank, by having your jungler there too. If your ally is low and baits the enemy to try to fight him, you and your jungler can flank and get the kill this way.

Q: Does the enemy have many escapes? // Something like Thresh lantern or Kalista ultimate can screw over a roam. You will burn their important spells, and maybe even flash, but it would be better to roam to a lane with few escapes, or atleast flash on cooldown. So communicate with your team, and be sure to keep track of cooldowns and enemy escape abilities.

Timing based Questions

MissMaw is awesome

Q: Is the enemy lane pushing? // This is key to perfecting your roams. It's impossible to roam to an enemy laner which is under tower, unless you are fed and can towerdive, otherwise you will simply waste your timing running away from mid. If you see the enemy lane is pushing, be sure to take the opportunity!

Q: Have you shoved your lane hard? // You shove your lane with a W-E-Q combo on all 6 minions and AA'ing any surviving minions. This will push your minions under their tower super quickly and they are forced to stay back and farm, while you can roam and get fed from other lanes.

Perfect, now it's time for roaming. Its essential to pick the best route to the enemy lane. As you do not want to be spotted or caught out, which will lead to a death or a ton of wasted time. Here are some tips on the different routes:

In lower elo the river isn't as scary as it is in higher elo and also less warded. You should be able to just run down botlane whenver the enemy ADC is pushing. In higher elo your botlane should have a pinkward in the river bush near botlane, so you are sure the enemy botlane can't see you roam. To roam completely unnoticed, these are the best paths. This works even better when you know where the enemy jungler is, as you can safely go into the river/enemy jungle without being caught.

Now when you reached the lane you want to gank, pop your Youmuu's Ghostblade, R the ADC, burst the ADC with a quick combo and move on to your next target, the support. AA the support and use your abilities when they are off cooldown. You may or may not manage to get the kill, but you have a free tower as the support is simply not strong enough to defend or waveclear. This is also a great time to do dragon with your botlane and jungler.


Late game as Zed is super strong, maybe even his strongest stage, as his damage is extremely high and can burst any carry down. At this point of the game he has a decent amount of AS too, so he can stand in the fight and dish out some AA on the low health enemies.


In teamfights your main role is of course to focus the backline. There are many ways to get to the backline, either having a really good engage team with Amumu / Thresh / Malphite who can take the focus from the enemy team, while you sneak up on the ADC and use whatever burst you think is suitable. You should however not use the triple Q combo as there is no escape afterwards without your Living Shadow and your damage should be high enough at this stage of the game.

You can also flank as Zed, where you basically hide somewhere out of sight and try to sneak up from behind and let your team engage on them. This can be really good in both lanes and in river, as most people don't look back but forward at your team. However you are putting yourself at a very great risk if you go too early and your team doesn't follow up. The enemy team can easily just focus you, so I recommend not using the triple Q combo in this scenario neither, as you simple want the Living Shadow escape.

If you are underfed/decently doing your goal is to kill the ADC and die in the process, or survive if you can of course. The ADC for midlane trade is fantastic in your favor, as the ADC have may more impact on the teamfights compared to an underfed assassin.

However if you are fed, you should be able to kill the ADC with just Death Mark and a Shadow Slash and some AA's and then keep going on the rest of the team. If you are getting focused a lot in teamfights and carrying your team, I recommend buying a Guardians Angel as it will basically give you another life coupled with some armor/magic resist.

Azoh's Zed School: Teamfights

I have a little example of a teamfight, not in the late game, but the same concepts should be used late game. Now, to break it down. Faker noticed that the Ezreal was pretty far forward, and he knew that he could easily burst him down. He sees the Lee Sin come in, and I'm pretty sure he was expecting Lee Sin to go behind him on the ward or flash, and try to Insec him, but it all still went well. But after he saw the Ezreal overstepping, and know he had Soraka silence and heal close to Zed, he knew he could go in. He went in with his ultimate, while Soraka silenced Lee Sin, so he couldn't damage Faker, while Faker quickly throws out the Living Shadow and swaps, where he dodges the Ezreal Q. He then proceeds to hit a triple shuriken, and knowing that nothing could save the Ezreal, as Varus has no healings, nor heal up, he swaps back to his Ultimate shadow so no chain CC from Varus ult or Lee Sin ult could hit him. Now as he comes back, the Leona ultimate is right on him, so he is in need to flash, otherwise a Leona ultimate stun and Shyvana drake would be deadly to anyone as squishy as Zed. After the safe swap back and flash, he stays behind his team, knowing his limits and also to blow some enemy stuns. Under this whole, stay back period, he gains energy and lowers his cooldowns. He stays back and pokes with Razor Shuriken, while his team is engaging. Now when the enemy team becomes low, it's time for the clean up, and he goes for Lee Sin with an easy W-E-AA.

Faker was fed, and the Ezreal overstepped, which made it easy to engage while still being able to swap back to safety and wait for his cooldowns. As we saw, the Sivir only joined the fight very late, but with Fakers great engage and fast pick on Ezreal, they were able to win the teamfight.

Split pushing

Splitpushing Section is on its way!

Warding the map is key to easier win, as long as you take advantage of your vision. With wards you can spot out the enemy jungler which prevents dying to ganks. You can also give the information to your allies, by pinging the enemy in the jungle, good for catching people roaming. Vision also helps your jungler, as it will help him counter jungling.

These are some key ward places in the laning phase. If your jungler starts at red side, the 1:30(place at that time) trinket helps with invade/cheese strat from enemy jungler. These wards are all good for spotting out the enemy team when roaming and when they are in the river. This is blue side, but its mostly the same on red side. The pinkward in their jungle near the wolves is a very good aggresive ward, it gives huge amount of vision and if you are lvl 9 and have bought the Farsight Alteration its no problem placing there. The more towers you get, the easier and further you can ward in their jungle. If your midlane turret got taken early, be sure to ward in the river and in your own jungle too, as it will help spotting out the enemy midlaner when roaming.




I hope this guide helped you learn to play Zed. I tried to make it as in depth and give you all my thoughts, which I have gathered through my experience with him. This is the first guide I have ever made, which is why I made it for Zed. He will always be my first and best champion.

It has taken a lot of trial and error to make this guide, as I'm completely new to coding. I have also spent a lot of time making this guide as best as I could because I wanted to make sure that I included every single little detail about Zed. My English isn't very good, so I would appreciate any corrections to make it better :) And if you have any questions or corrections, be sure to ask: I'm always up for some chatting!

I thank you for taking the time to read this long and most likely boring guide, however I enjoy every minute I spend on making this guide better.

Thanks to:

My best friend Euroshopper1 for helping me with the guide, and checking it mulitple times!

jhoijhoi's Making a Guide guide!

OwenTheAwesomer for making the awesome dividers!

Thanks to MissMaw for the amazing help with my guide, and helping me making it my own and unique guide also for being an awesome friend. Also for making the ability icons and overly sick animated headers <3

Thanks to Emikadon for the rune setup and giving me good feedback!

I would also like to thank Elusive Ferret for being a really nice person, who I got a lot of inspiration from and who let me use his coding format in Abilities.

Azoh's amazing youtube videos, who I got the permission to use in my guide. Be sure to check his channel, as he has even more content than I have here. His Zed School is what got me into Zed, so be sure to leave him some love!

2/2/2016 Guide Updated
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1/20/2016 Guide Updated
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  • Reworked Item section
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1/16/2016 Guide Updated
  • Added Conclusion, build paths and lore
  • New rune setup and added Boots of Swiftness
  • Updated Skill Sequence and Who is Zed

1/15/2016 Guide Overhaul
  • Complete design rework, new headers and new table of contents!
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1/12/2016 Guide Updated
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1/11/2016 Guide Updated
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  • Thanks to @abboz for feedback and very first comment. :)

1/9/2016 Guide Updated
  • Added more matchups, Runes, Gameplay, Warding, General Counters and Summary.
  • Updated Introduction, Masteries and Abilities.

1/8/2016 Guide Created
  • Added introduction, pros / cons, Summoner Spells, Farming, Masteries, and Abilities.

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