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Zilean Build Guide by TheDisconnectEUW

Middle Challenger Zilean Mid/Top Guide by TheDisconnect - 1200+ LP

Middle Challenger Zilean Mid/Top Guide by TheDisconnect - 1200+ LP

Updated on June 5, 2024
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League of Legends Build Guide Author TheDisconnectEUW Build Guide By TheDisconnectEUW 185 11 492,715 Views 26 Comments
185 11 492,715 Views 26 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author TheDisconnectEUW Zilean Build Guide By TheDisconnectEUW Updated on June 5, 2024
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Summon Aery
Manaflow Band

Triple Tonic
Cash Back

+10% Attack Speed
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+65 Base Health


1 2
Aery Build
LoL Summoner Spell: Flash


LoL Summoner Spell: Teleport


Ability Order Q > E > W Max Order

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

Challenger Zilean Mid/Top Guide by TheDisconnect - 1200+ LP

By TheDisconnectEUW
All Zilean Interactions
Good ways to use Zileans Kit!:

- If you time W well enough (and have enough AH) you can stun someone like... 10 times in a row late game with maxed Q+W.

- Zilean Bomb application procs aery, which can remove bone plating/malz passive/etc before the bomb actually explodes. Zilean bomb also cancels some channels without even dealing damage, like Recalling/Taliya ult/MF W passive for example.

- You can cancel spell shields during a double bomb by just pressing E as the bomb is about to land. This is borderline unoutplayable if timed well.

- Some abilities are heavily impacted by movement speed decreases. Using Zilean E on Kalista slows her attackspeed for example. Or WW/Rammus can barely ult anywhere if they are slowed.

- Putting a bomb/speed on someone teleporting will make the buffs come with them, giving you assists/actually helping in a play.

Flash Double Bomb Play

Q them (they flash it)

Pick up your bomb they flashed away from

W to reset Q

Q them again and flash onto them before your bomb lands

Enemy is stunned with no flash and you are standing ontop of them with a bomb!

How Zilean Bomb actually works

Zilean bomb has larger 'latch' range than it looks. If you throw a bomb at someone who is outside of the range, the bomb will 'latch' onto them. However is is not as simple as it sounds. Here is how this works exactly.

Zilean bomb always prioritises other bombs > enemies > allies > enemy minions > allied minions. This priority system has no synergy with the 'latch' part of how Zilean bomb works. Scenario goes as follows

I throw a bomb directly at Fiora who is standing in a minion wave. The bomb will always hit Fiora as the priority system would suggest it should

I throw a bomb at Fiora, it latches onto her at max range. This is reasonable.

I throw a bomb at Fiora, she is standing at max range, in a minion wave. The bomb may connect to a minion, not Fiora, even though the bomb prioritises champions, the latch part of the bomb does not.

This is quite annoying to play around but it's important to understand if you want to minmax your bombs as much as possible!

Interactions with Zilean's Passive

- Zilean passive generates EXP over time based on your level (not your exp gained)

- If you can level a teammate, it will give them the difference required to level them (AND give you an equal amount to)

- Zilean passive practically has infinite range after you start the tether... but i'm not sure what the range actually is. If you recall while being levelled up it will cancel it... sometimes? This is a bizarre one and I cannot find much consistency with this, but I do think it's impossible to actually run away from Zilean passive once he has used it, bar doing something weird.

- Zilean passive goes on a 2 second cooldown if you attack a tower. Zilean passive goes on a 10 second cooldown if you go in combat/bomb an ally(sometimes?). Zilean passive sometimes goes on an invisible undefined number of seconds cd cooldown when the ally goes untargetable on your passive.

- Zilean passive sometimes just doesn't work for no reason. They are yellow, you have the EXP, the game does not let you use it. Why this happens I have no idea.

Interactions with Zilean's Q

- Zilean bomb has an interesting interaction with Fiora W. Essentially if timed correctly, you can create an invisible bomb on an enemy Fiora which will still explode and deal damage like normal.

Example 1 (normal example)

Zilean bombs Fiora (she uses W to parry it)

Zilean then bombs Fiora again (she parries it again)

Nothing happens, she does not get her stun proc and it deals no damage.

Example 2 (bugged example)

Zilean bombs Fiora (bomb connects)

Zilean then bombs Fiora again (she uses W to parry it)

The Zilean bomb will explode in aoe (dealing no damage to her, but stuns everything around her)

The Zilean bomb on her already will go invisible to everyone in the game, then explode like normal with almost no animation

- If Zilean bombs are ontop of someone in stasis (bard ult/zhonyas/elise E) something like this, then often times they can just walk out and not get hit/use a dash instantly. Flash works 100% of the time. Zilean bombs have a delay on attaching so if you are fast enough you just don't get attached.

- Zilean stun actually stuns the animation of who it hits too. Meaning enemies can hide cast animations (like a Thresh hook) inside the stun, meaning you can fully confuse yourself, teammates and enemies by stunning such animations.

- Almost nothing in the game removes Zilean bombs. Fizz E/Vlad W don't do anything for example. Gwen W/Kalista R doesn't even remove it.

- Enemies which despawn/transform instead of dying do not proc Zilean bombs, they just fizzle completely. Things like Zac blobs/Wukong clone/Illaoi image or Anivia Egg are examples of this.

- Braum shield doesn't destroy Zilean bombs, it just magnets them onto him for a guaranteed stun. The opposite is true for Yasuo Windwall. The bombs get deleted from across the screen. You cannot press Zilean Q with a Windwall anywhere near your cursor.

- Yuumi takes the damage from the bomb, and gives it to the person she is attached too. Same goes with tahm. If you eat someone with a bomb on them, you will both take the damage.

- If Irelia Q's through 2 bombs on the floor she just gets stunned and does no damage. Same goes with a lot of champions like Camille and Kaisa. 2 bombs on the floor is just an instant stun as they both apply at the same time.

- If you bomb a target, the bomb will ALWAYS reset back to a 3 second delay. However, if you bomb the floor, it will go to the timer of the most recent bomb picked up. So if you put 2 bombs on the floor, pick up them both, they will both explode very quickly together.

- Zilean bomb has a 0.25 second cast time. Meaning that for 0.25 seconds you cannot R yourself. If you double bomb you actually CC yourself for a tiny period of time in which using R is not a possibility.

- Zilean bomb can attach to anything, even something like Yorick ghouls or Jarvan's Flag.

Zilean QQW buffer

- The Zilean QQW buffer is very simply done. Just press QQ, then W, doesn't really matter when you press it you do not need to do it fast. Zilean will bomb once on your cursor, and then no matter where you move your cursor, Zilean will perfectly bomb onto where your first bomb went. However, if you move or press E it will cancel this aimbot.

- Even if you move your cursor (or die/ult) you will still bomb (sometimes). This is... a bizarre mechanic. It's practical purpose is really difficult to understand and I barely understand how it works. Essentially there's a chance you can cast your Q while cc'd or reviving without even pressing Q because it's buffered in.

- I do not actually think QQW is better than using QWQ, it's almost always worse. But QQW can very situationally be superior.

Interactions with Zilean's E

- Zilean E has a bigger range than the tooltip, as the size of the enemy champion directly effects if you can E them or not as Zilean. Zilean E is based on the EDGE of the champion, where as Pantheon W is based on the CENTRE of the champion. For example, Pantheon W has 600 range, and Zilean E has 550 range. But if Pantheon and Zilean press W+E on each other at the same time, Zilean's will ALWAYS go off first, and he can walk away without being W'd by Pantheon.

- Zilean E procs electrocute, but practically nothing else offensive, yet procs almost all defensive things, like aery and guardian.

- If you Zilean E Seju passive it doesn't even give you manaflowband, it literally just does nothing. Unlike if you E Kayn E, where he is not slowed initially, but when the Kayn E wears off, he gets slowed.

Interactions with Zilean's R

- Banshees fully resets it's cooldown if you use Zilean R meaning you always revive with the shield (EDIT: This got removed! Sad times)

- Zilean R proccing does not count as a death, thus prevents things like Katarina Passive or Darius Ult. Huge counter to these style of abilities.

- Zilean can be Soraka ulted while reviving. He can also be healed by redemption too.

- Zilean R completely grounds you when it procs. If you die to the impact of an Azir R you will just stay exactly where he killed you, the CC will not have any effect.

- Some champions have unique weird interactions with Zilean R. Like Riven can auto attack during reviving sometimes. Kayn gets teleported randomly to a side of the wall if you ult him inside of a wall.

- Zilean R stops Karthus Passive, be careful when ulting Karthus as sometimes he wants to die to be able to deal damage.

- Zilean R applies first before GA, so you can ult to protect your ADC GA in the lategame as Zilean R is much less cooldown.

- Zilean ult is a heal. So it procs things like chemtech/ardent.

- Damage takes priority over healing effects during Zhonyas. So if your ally uses Zhonyas on 10% hp, if the enemy times it right it is completely impossible to ult to save them.

Thanks for reading guys! I love Zilean and I hope you maybe learned something about him! ^__^ If there is anything I missed feel free to tell me, would love to hear it :D (also I stream at if you wanna see some banging Zilean gameplay)
Zilean Matchups Explained
It's time, for the matchups discussion. So while I do have the threats part, this is a much more in-depth and more accurate explanation of the matchups. Quite a lot of information here so feel free to just read the part which relates to the champion wanna know about!

I get asked all the time how is X matchup, why is Y matchup hard etc. I wanna make a comprehensive list of ALL the matchups you will face in S11 (bar really niche stuff). Inspired by the post by DaelinZeppeli I wanted to use the tier list graphs to show the matchups of Zilean in Challenger elo.

-- BUILDS --
All of these matchups are taking into consideration the fact I run this page below and I am playing against Challengers. If you run a different page, let's say domination/precision secondary, you will lack the mana and hp sustain to survive some earlymatchups. Example of matchups which become impossible (in my opinion) are Sylas, Lucian, Gangplank, Jax, Camille, Talon, Katarina, Yasuo. Without the correct runes these lanes (and many others) become significantly harder.

Celerity is useless in my opinion. Waterwalking is a very good rune, feel free to take it in easier matchups, but I personally find it greedy. In a lot of these lanes you can barely scrape by as it is. I find I need scorch to be able to push them low enough to be lethal to ganks/dives etc.

I tend to go Everfrost into ONE of Cosmic Drive/Banshees/Zhonyas/Frozen Heart/Morello everygame, then I start buying the other ones. I think Ludens is totally playable but I find it not very good in mega high elo, it's good in lower elo still.

Frozen Heart is a sexy item, try it vs ad comps. You can even go it first item if you feeling crazy.

Zilean Midlane -(Toplane Matchups are in the tier list below)

TL;DR I cry, I int, I wish I dodged.

Trist, Qiyana and Zed all have the same problem. They outroam you, they outlane you and even late into the game are seriously problematic for you. If you lose lane to these guys generally the game is over due to snowballing issues of them ganking bot/no mid pressure. All 3 of these are my bans for midlane and if you win the matchup it's because you got ganks or some other craziness happened which allowed you to survive early, or get a lead.

Buy loads of armour and hope that their team lacks magic damage.

Ban Tristana, Qiyana or Zed, I have no idea what else you are banning honestly. If you are banning something else, ban Tristana, Qiyana and Zed instead. Ask your team to ban all three and you can lane in peace.

TL;DR "If I just live to level 6 I might be able to comeback"

Due to the small lane, champions like Irelia, Yasuo and Lucian are much less oppressive than they could be in Toplane. They are still nightmare champions but generally will lack the ability to straight kill you on repeat, more just force you out of lane or outroam you constantly. You actually do great lategame vs Irelia and Lucian, not so much Yasuo. If you manage to live to level 6, you are in a great spot and can impact the map as much as they can, but it's very difficult to get there.

Ryze, Zoe, Ekko and Viktor all are very difficult to lane against. They generally just outshove/outperform you in lane. They can have kill pressure with junglers and lane prio with superior pushing power. Viktor E spam is very oppressive, Ryze waveclear is hard to play against. All 3 of these champions outscale you in damage massively, which in many games makes the enemy lategame superior.

Fizz and Leblanc have a lot of kill pressure. It's as simple as that. This is hard because if you die once your lane is done forever. Don't die and it's pretty chill, but that is not always easy.

TF just teleports away and you cannot kill him. 2 second stun is pretty rough to play against for Zilean. Not super easy to kill 1v1 meaning his scaling is problematic for you

TL;DR Please respect my pings, please understand 'insert champion' is roaming bot, please

A lot of the champions here many people might be "What?! How is this not higher". That is the point in this tier. These champions are super difficult to play against, unless you understand the matchup properly.

Akali, Aurelion Sol, Katarina, Talon and Sylas are all very scary, but generally in a 1v1 scenario pose little threat to Zilean pre 6. With Jungle pressure it can be very hard but in a normal lane you should not die to these guys. Sylas lacks the HP/Sustain/Range to trade properly against you. Katarina and Talon are straight up Melee champions, they will have to engage with Flash, in which case you just Flash away. A Flashless Katarina/Talon are often just instantly dead to a gank. However, if you mess up, it's gonna be very difficult. Also sometimes they just roam and get a quadrakill botlane and the game is over.

Syndra, Orianna and Azir all fit into the same catagory of long range CC and poke. Not great for Zilean to lane against. You just need to bring your A game here there is no special counter to this. Play the lane well, CS best you can and try to out pressure them. Azir poke is a nightmare for Zilean. Buying Mercs is not terrible vs Syndra, sometimes you just need it.

TL;DR An actually playable lane for once, awesome

Most of these champions fit into the catagory of it's a balanced lane, they don't just automatically win vs you or they lack one thing which puts them over the edge. Ziggs and Xerath have the poke problem, but lack CC. Cassio has the damage and CC but lacks the range. Lee Sin, Viego and Renekton just lack the reach to get to and stick on Zilean due to the short lane of midlane. Only weird ones here are Gragas and Galio. Galio and Gragas are just large and in the way, don't get CC'd and you good, get CC'd and you die. Yone is a little scary at times, but given proper respect of the champion should be totally playable.

TL;DR Why did they pick this into me, lmao

Kassadin is super easy with a good jungler. With any competent Jungler/Support Kassadin and Kayle should never hit level 6.

You really shouldn't have issues with these matchups. It doesn't make them literally auto wins, there is no such thing in League as who knows what happens during the game. But on average, you should be totally happy with these champions and most of them have really limited tools, or no tools at all to deal with your champion. Low ranged like Vlad, Annie and Sett or useless earlygame like Kassadin, Kayle and Veigar. Not much to talk about here, smack them around in lane, gank them to death and roam about!

Zilean Toplane -

(Midlane Matchups are in the tier list above)

TL;DR Dodge or you are just flipping coins, maybe my botlane gets fed and carries

Irelia, Yasuo both have insane power within a long lane against a ranged champion. You cannot hit your Q on them, you cannot out damage them, you cannot survive a dive vs them. You cannot break a freeze against them. Hopefully you just get a million ganks.

Urgot my highest banned champion this season in toplane. A straight up fully unplayable matchup in all senses of the meaning. He oneshots you level 1 under your tower. You cannot get EXP. If you walk up to the wave, you die. Enjoy being 10 cs and down 2 levels when he has 100 cs. Not even joking it's that bad. Jayce and Tristana have the same issues. You cannot really walk up to the wave you just die instantly. Trist presses W, Jayce presses Q. Buy a cloth armour and 4 pots and hope they are bad.

Tryndamere is impossible. Unkillable, scales really well, dives you with no issues and generally has kill pressure all the time if he has a freeze. Not much you can do. You are pretty good vs him lategame but you will probably be down 2 items when you get to that point as he straight free farms in this lane.

Wukong idk go next. Nothing to do here at all. Point and click dash, no skillshots to dodge, heavy burst with aoe. Buy a frozen heart first item and still get oneshot no gameplay here.

TL;DR Ohhhhhhhhhhhh boy what a mess these lanes will be.

You will be ATMOST half their CS (except for Akali, who causes the lane to be really problematic post 6).

Lee Sin, Renekton, Pantheon and Fiora make approaching the wave extremely dangerous and difficult. They lack the range to straight up force you out of lane but it's gonna be a struggle. Given a gank or two, or a TP bot this matchup can start looking good. Fiora is eventually gonna just ignore you and hit towers unfortunately.

Lucian, Gnar and Quinn are ranged characters with a dash. They are 1% off being in unplayable except for the fact that they struggle to freeze properly against Zilean without dying to ganks. If they spam shove they can die to ganks, if they freeze you can just walk mid. Atleast you have some options here as they cannot really dive you. If you misstep even once you lost 80% of your hp. Given perfect play... it's still bad and you will be down 100cs at 20 minutes.

-- Complicated but Playable --
TL;DR I really hope they don't start Dorans Shield so I can kill them

Camille is my personal favourite matchup to play against. It's so exciting, interesting and fun! Very high skilled matchup and you can seriously punish her for mistakes. If she goes Dorans blade you can just kill her with auto attacks. But you MUST respect her E, one bad E on you and you explode. If you fall behind you are kinda screwed though, and she outscales you hardcore on the split. Jax is very similar to Camille in this matchup.

Gangplank keeps shooting you. If you get shot too much you die. If you play around his ranges you don't die. It's that simple. Not much else to say here, don't get shot.

Darius can ghost at you and instantly kill you. You can't "just E him lol" because he really is just too fast with ghost. He goes first item swiftness boots and staying alive is really hard. Your R does nothing because he insta kills you after. HOWEVER you outscale him so hard if it's an even lane so generally I am happy with this matchup.

Yorick and Sion hit towers. You need towers.

Rengar hits you. Your team needs you. In all seriousness this matchup is can be incredibly difficult based on a lot of factors. Just rush armour and stay away from bushes. Zilean is a complete nightmare champion for Rengar lategame (if hes not 20/0 and in that case then goodluck using R in 0.01 seconds on someone).

-- Playable --
TL;DR Wow, a good matchup in Toplane, unbelievable.

Isn't Riven impossible? You may be thinking. I think this lane is fine, you can definitely int a Riven but in general if you place safe and respect her CC then you both will farm and ignore each other. You scale pretty well against Riven. Rumble, Viego, Aatrox, Yone and Sylas all fit into the same catagory here. Champions which just do not really excel vs Zilean, but still put up a decent fight. All killable solo, all very gankable, and all pretty good to play against lategame.

The other guys are just annoying. Good gank assist like Maokai or Ornn or scary tower dive potential like Volibear and Malphite. 1v1s against these guys are fine, with Jungle pressure it can be challenging.

(Kennen has been buffed since this, he is incredibly difficult to lane vs now. You can play into him but if he is good you will really struggle to lane pre6)

-- Fairly Easy / Usually Free --
TL;DR Why would they pick this into Zilean, what are they doing

None of these champions are good at interacting with Zilean, maybe Gragas can be annoying but in general just lacks the range to get to you.

Illaoi, Garen, Vlad, Singed, Mundo Morde, Nocturne, Tahm, Sett, Gwen and Nasus all get the 99% slow treatment. Low range or zero mobility is not good against Zilean at all. Naturally some of them scale well like Gwen and Vlad, but Zilean scales great too, so it's generally not a huge issue.

I love Zilean, if you wanna come watch me play some Zilean, even if it is just out of spite because you hate me and want to see me fail, feel free to check out my Twitch or my Youtube. Hope you guys enjoyed and I will probably transfer a lot of this to Mobafire to keep it relevant. Top/Mid Zilean is legit as hell, stop playing support you NOOBS, jk (not jk ur all noobs, play toplane).
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League of Legends Build Guide Author TheDisconnectEUW
TheDisconnectEUW Zilean Guide
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Challenger Zilean Mid/Top Guide by TheDisconnect - 1200+ LP

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