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Zed Build Guide by Rushan

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Rushan

From the Shadows (Zed Top, Mid, or Jungle) UPDATED

Rushan Last updated on August 23, 2013
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Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

Not Updated For Current Season

The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.



Offense: 9

Honor Guard

Defense: 21


Utility: 0

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Hi guys, this is my first guide so tell me what you think! ^_^

Zed is an AD assassin whose main role is to run around looking like the Shredder from Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles. In game he appears from the shadows... guts a carry, and then vanishes as if he were just a ghost. The shadows that his kit creates allows for some very awesome plays and some of the most trickiest jukes it the game!

When playing Zed I like to remember what Ra'as al Ghul from the Batman movies: "If someone stands in the way of true justice, you simply walk up behind them, and stab them in the heart."

For those of you who pulled this guide up after locking in as Zed and need some quick pointers, I suggest briefly glancing over:
-Skill Combos
-Jungle/Mid lane/Top lane (depending on where you are going)
-The match ups for that lane
-Team fights

This guide is still a work in progress.
I am still working on:


The rest of this probably won't get done until Season 4 comes out. Sorry!
-The match ups for each lane, I need more experience as a Zed player to properly judge the difficulty of these match ups
-Twisted Treeline
-Will also try to add more pics

Please try several games with this guide before you vote!
If you down vote please leave a comment to tell me what you think I did wrong so I can improve the guide! Thank you! :D

P.S. Kudos to you if you caught the joke in the title.

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Champion Spotlight


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Zed is a strong champion, but like many champions he has his own strengths and weaknesses. Knowing these and playing to his strong points will allow you to win games.

-High burst damage output
-His sustained damage is strong
-Fast, safe jungle clears after the first one
-High mobility
-He's a flippin' ninja

-Energy hungry
-No sustain
-No hard CC
-Difficult to play

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I've listed several different mastery setups here and told you why you want each different setup. It is up to you to pick the mastery setup goes best with your own play style.


I believe that 9/21/0 masteries is the best setup for jungle Zed because they lend him the survivability that he needs for the jungle while providing him with some very useful stats.
I go with Summoner's Resolve for obvious reasons, this will improve your smite and while the gold bonus is very small it will add up in time. 4 points in Durability to get to Veteran's Scars and so that Zed will remain semi tanky through the early game. Tough Skin and Bladed Armor makes the early jungle a little bit less rough on Zed. Unyielding and Block are really good masteries that reduced the overall amount of damage that you take during ganks. 3 points in Tenacious so that when you're ganking you won't get stunned/CC'd for so long that the laner escapes. Defender is not very useful until you get into team fights where this mastery really begins to shine. Reinforced Armor is another late game mastery. This will become very helpful when you begin diving enemy adcs in the late game and they try to stop you by auto attacking. Honor Guard is really good at all times. It will reduce the amount of damage you take from jungle buffs at early levels and then in the late game it will help prevent teams from nuking you down.

I put 9 points in Offense. Most of these are pretty self explanatory. Summoner's Wrath to make Exhaust reduce your targets armor and MR for an easier kill, Fury increases your attack speed to making clearing creeps an ease, Deadliness gives you more AD so that you can do more damage, and Weapon's Expertise gives you some Armor Pen so that you can delay armor pen in your build until later.

You can also use 21/9/0 masteries if you really want. But I find that defensive jungle masteries are usually better. Here's an example of a 21/9/0 jungle set up that you could use.


For top lane Zed I run 21/9/0 masteries picking up Summoner's Wrath for improved ignite, Sorcery for the 4% cdr, and Butcher to make farming much easier. Deadliness for the bonus AD. and Havoc to make my burst stronger. Then I pick up Weapon Expertise for the free armor pen and I get Brute Force for the bonus attack damage. Sunder provids more armor pen, and Executioner synergizes really well with Contempt for the Weak and Death Mark.

In Defense I get 4 points in Durability for bonus hp and survivability, 3 points in Hardiness for the bonus armor because top laners are usually physical damage oriented and then 1 point in Resistance to make you tankier against any magic damage you face. Veteran's Scars makes you more bulky early game and can definitely save you life!

If you're more defensive minded, you can run these 9/21/0 masteries:

Mid Lane
For mid lane I essentially run the same masteries as the top lane's 21/9/0 masteries except I take 3 points in Resistance and 1 point in Hardiness to reflect the magic damage normally found in this lane. I also take 2 points in Fury instead of getting 2 points in Butcher because the lane is much more aggressive than the top lane where you spend a lot of time farming.

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I run Greater Mark of Attack Damage for faster jungle clears and because Zed is an AD caster so he doesn't benefit from the bonus attack speed given by Greater Mark of Attack Speed. I like running these marks on Zed pretty much always with very few exceptions. These runes also make your last hitting at early levels MUCH easier.

Greater Mark of Armor penetration
For lane Zed bonus armor penetration will make your combo hurt like crazy especially on the low armor casters that you fight in mid lane. Doesn't do as much in the jungle, but still strong.


Greater Seal of Armor is a must on jungle Zed. Decreases the damage you take from jungle creeps and any other physical damage that you take.


For seals use either Greater Glyph of Magic Resist or Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist with your Greater Seal of Armor. If you opted to run energy per five runes for your seals you should run Greater Glyph of Armor to remain at decent health throughout your first clear.

It's really good to have just 1 of these Greater Glyph of Attack Damage and the rest of your glyphs be MR. By running this setup you will have 1 bonus ad that you otherwise wouldn't have gotten.


For quintessences run Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage for the bonus attack damage and faster jungle clears it will give you. The other option is to run Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed to increase how quickly you go from camp to camp. In general Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage is a much stronger pick.

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Summoner Spells


Exhaust is a must have on jungle Zed because he has very minimal natural crowd control (only the slow on his shadow's Shadow Slash). By taking Exhaust you will be able to set up kills much more easily when you gank especially in cohesion with Blessing of the Lizard Elder and Phage. Exhaust will be good late game to shut down the damage output on the enemy carry as you assassinate them.

An alternative for Exhaust would be to get Flash for increased mobility. However Zed already has an ability which he can use to jump over walls Living Shadow, so he doesn't really need Flash, and Exhaust just provides more overall benefits for you. However if you get Flash you can pull off some very impressive baron steals and your overall play will be safer.

Smite. Take it.
It helps when trying to steal objectives (such as enemy red buff, enemy blue buff, dragon, or baron. It helps make sure that you don't have these objectives stolen from you. It makes clearing your jungle a LOT easier and safer. There really is no option, if you are playing jungle Zed you must take Smite.


You flash.
They flash.
Everyone flash.
Seriously this is one of the most broken summoner spells in the game.
It's your "Get out of jail free" card.
You can use it to get into range for your ultimate.
Just get it.

Good for finishing off that opponent who has two hp left. Also good for shutting down heavy sustain champions like Sion or Dr. Mundo. Excellent pick because it allows you to do more damage and finish people off faster.

Other Viable Picks:
Well, this summoner spell is ok. I generally don't get it though because I just find flash to be more useful. Take it over Flash if you want to get it.

Exhaust (in lane)
If your jungler doesn't have it, or has low CC get this to help him out when he ganks! Still better to have ignite

Teleport (for lane)
This is a pretty good summoner spell which can be used to help gank other lanes and allow you to not miss creep kills. Very good against hard lanes such as Darius.

Heal (for lane)
Another good pick for laning, normally I take it over Flash, Heal can be used to bait opponents into diving you at turret or fighting you when you are low. Just remember to use Heal before they use Ignite! Not so good since it got nerved, probably better to take barrier.

Barrier (for lane)
This is actually a really good summoner spell. I don't get it often as I prefer having Flash and Ignite. But if you get it you can run Ignite Barrier and have some really aggressive and awesome plays. Flash Barrier is almost just as good and will really help if you have to play a super defensive lane or are afraid of burst.

Don't get this unless you are trolling.

Don't get it. There are better summoner's. And if you really need the effect, get Quicksilver Sash.

Zed uses energy. You Troll Bro?

First of all, its a support spell. Second of all, it was nerfed to hell and now sucks. Don't get it.

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Champion Abilities

Whenever Zed autoattacks an enemy below 50% health, he deals an additional 6 / 8 / 10% of their maximum health as bonus magic damage. This effect cannot occur on the same target more than once every 10 seconds.

This passive will give you some extra magic damage when your opponents are at low health and is more useful in lane than in the jungle. Very good for harassing in lane as it bypasses any armor they're building and scales off %MAX HP. Also allows for easier last hitting in lane.

Abuse his passive in lane, whenever you get your opponent low, use his passive to do increased damage while harassing.

ACTIVE: Zed and his shadows throw their shurikens, each dealing physical damage to the first enemy they pass through and 60% damage to enemies thereafter.

DAMAGE TO FIRST TARGET: 75 / 115 / 155 / 195 / 235 (+ 100% bonus AD)
DAMAGE TO SECONDARY TARGETS: 45 / 69 / 93 / 117 / 141 (+ 60% bonus AD)
LIVING SHADOW: Additional shurikens striking the same enemy deal 50% damage and restore energy based on the level of Living Shadow.

MIMICKED SHURIKENS: 37.5 / 57.5 / 77.5 / 97.5 / 117.5 (+ 50% bonus AD)

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

A good long ranged spell, once again, more useful for lane than the jungle. It can be used as harass, for safe last hitting, and for finishing off targets. Just remember the cost on the shuriken is ridiculous (75 energy) until you level it, so be wise in using it or your opponent may jump you while you are low on energy.

Razor Shuriken has a very high cost, so remember to be conservative in its use.

PASSIVE: Zed's bonus attack damage is increased by a percentage.

ACTIVE: Zed's shadow dashes forward, remaining in place for 4 seconds. Reactivating this ability will cause Zed to switch positions with this shadow.

BONUS ATTACK DAMAGE: 5 / 10 / 15 / 20 / 25% bonus AD
Zed's shadow will mimic his basic abilities. If both strike the same target Zed regains some energy. Energy can only be restored once per mimicked ability.

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

RANGE: 550
COOLDOWN: 18 / 17 / 16 / 15 / 14
COST: 40 / 35 / 30 / 25 / 20 ENERGY

This is one of two moves that Zed has which creates a shadow, the signature part of his game play. Living Shadow is an excellent spell, both in the jungle and outside of it. Use this spell to check bushes as opposed to face checking, jump over walls, escape, chase, and to zone your opponents. The bonus AD you get from this is excellent as well.

The cooldown on Living Shadow is pretty high, keep this in mind, if you use it to do more damage you won't have it to run away if situations turn nasty!
See more helpful tips in the Living Shadow section of this guide!

ACTIVE: Zed and his shadows create a burst of shadow, dealing physical damage to nearby enemies.

Zed's slash reduces the cooldown of Living Shadow by 2 seconds for each enemy champion struck. His shadow's mimicked slash slows enemies for 1.5 seconds.

PHYSICAL DAMAGE: 60 / 90 / 120 / 150 / 180 (+ 80% bonus AD)
SLOW: 20 / 25 / 30 / 35 / 40%
LIVING SHADOW: Overlapping Shadow Slashes striking the same enemy deal no additional damage but will apply a stronger slow and restore energy based on the level of Living Shadow.

OVERLAPPING SLOW: 30 / 37.5 / 45 / 52.5 / 60%

RANGE: 290

This is your main damage source. Much more spammable than Razor Shuriken and also much easier to hit. This will make your jungle clears faster, slow when you gank, and will reduce the cool down on your Living Shadow giving you more mobility.

Only your shadow slows enemies so when ganking, try to put a shadow in front of the target and use Shadow Slash once before you use Living Shadow again to teleport to your shadow.

ACTIVE: Zed becomes untargetable and dashes to target enemy champion. Upon arrival, he marks the target for death and spawns a living shadow behind the target. This shadow lasts 4 seconds and mimics Zed's abilities. Reactivating Death Mark will cause Zed to switch positions with this shadow.

After 3 seconds, the mark will detonate, dealing physical damage equal to 100% of Zed's attack damage plus a percentage of all magic and physical damage dealt to the target by Zed and his shadows while the mark was active.

PHYSICAL DAMAGE: 100% AD + 20 / 35 / 50% of damage dealt

ANGE: 625
COOLDOWN: 120 / 100 / 80

This is your other abiliy that creates a shadow that will imitate Zed's spell casts. This ability will dash you to your target and put a mark on them which does damage based on how much damage you do on the target while the mark is active. You can also reactivate the ability to teleport to the shadow that was placed behind your target.

You should save your energy so that you can burst cast all your spells after using this for maximum damage. And remember your ult also spawns a shadow so you can save Living Shadow to escape or chase!
Activating your Bilgewater Cutlass or Blade of the Ruined King while Death Mark is effective will maximize your damage and make your burst much stronger.

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Skill Combos

The Ranged Harass Combo:
Throw your Living Shadow in their direction then hit Shadow Slash once to slow them. Now use your Razor Shuriken on an easy to hit slowed target.

Contempt for the Weak combo:
Same combo as before, except this time, hit your Living Shadow again after using Shadow Slash and hitting them with an auto attack to proc your Contempt for the Weak passive and chunking them for godly amounts of damage. Retreat away after casting your [[Razor Shuriken] in their face.

Try to keep a good idea on how much damage you do... Once they get low enough to be killed, pull one of these.

Kill Combo(Pre-6):
Get close to your opponent and then throw out your Living Shadow behind them and then activate your shadow slash to proc the increased slow from overlapping Shadow Slashes. Use your Razor Shuriken now, it should be impossible to miss (your at point blank range come on!). After that begin auto attacking and using Shadow Slash to get as much damage as possible onto them. If they're low enough Ignite them as they escape to their tower so that you can get the kill.

Note: Ignite can be used early if you are fighting someone with tons of sustain ie: Vladimir or Warwick who might try to heal while fleeing.

Kill Combo (Post-6):
Lead with Death Mark then hit Shadow Slash for the increased slow. Follow up with Razor Shuriken for more damage and then use Shadow Slash again. This is also a good time to nuke them with Ravenous Hydra or Blade of the Ruined King if you've bought either of these items. Your Death Mark should deposit it's damage now and if that wasn't enough continue to auto attack and Shadow Slash them until they're dead. Ignite can be used in the same ways as the Pre-6 combo.

Why I Razor Shuriken after Living Shadow/or Death Mark in my combo:
If you point blank Razor Shuriken them there are no minions in the way. Voila! Free bonus damage!

When ganking its pretty much the same thing as either one of the kill combos except you'll want to Exhaust as soon as you're Shadow Slash slow ends (that gives them time to use Flash so you don't waste your Exhaust).

Once you get your Ravenous Hydra you want to activate it right after you throw your shurikens to ensure that they're still in your damage radius.

Running away Combo #1 aka. Vanilla style:

Running away Combo #2:
Start running and when your pursuer is with range of a Shadow Slash...
Living Shadow away and then hit Shadow Slash to slow your pursuer.

Running away Combo #3:
Living Shadow near the enemy and slow them with Shadow Slash, keep running then juke away with Living Shadow. Or run away if you can get away safely...

Running away Combo #4:
Death Mark to them, then double tap Living Shadow to get away. Risky but it will work if they're standing between you and escape. You can always cast Death Mark again to juke them really hard. :)

Running away Combo #5:
So there's this spell you got... it's called Flash. I wonder what it does? Maybe you should use it.

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These are my favored boots at the moment for mid lane Zed. While they don't give you anything but movement speed, they give you a LOT of movement speed. This lets you get back to lane faster as well as roam to other lanes and get to skirmishes much faster than before. These boots are also really good for running away as long as they don't hit you.

These are really good when the enemy team composition has either lots of CC or lots of magic damage. I don't buy this too often, but I get it a lot when I'm getting out harassed in lane by an ap caster.

These are really, really good in top lane against champions like Riven who only deal physical daamge. The physical damage reduction is very strong and I tend to get these boots a lot.

Nice boots to have if you're stomping lane and don't feel like roaming, or if skirmishes generally aren't happening any where even remotely close to you. I don't buy these too often.


I feel like these are the best enchantment to have as Zed, mainly because you don't benefit from any of the others. This enchantment helps you get to where you need to be much faster and that will provide an overall increase in your impact on the game. Basically... The less time you spend in base, the more time you're doing fun stuff like killing people.

These are ok... I guess. Not really worth getting as you don't really need any more help sticking to targets as Zed. This enchantment is for people who are auto attack reliant, such as Tryndamere or Master Yi.

Ehhhh.... Really not worth getting. Like at all. 15 movement speed isn't that big of a deal.

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Item Explanations

This is the best item in the game for Zed. While the attack speed it offers may not synergies too well with the rest of Zed's kit, and the attack damage it offers may be lower than that of a The Bloodthirster, the active makes all of this okay.

Unique: Drains target champion, dealing 15% of the champion's maximum Health in physical damage and healing you for the damage dealt. Additionally you steal 30% of their movement speed for 3 seconds - 60 second cooldown. (500 range)

This active is RIDICULOUSLY strong. 15% of a champions max health is no small matter, especially once your consider that Death Mark at rank 3 will do 50% of the damage you dealt in the duration. Basically, if you use Blade of the Ruined King while Death Mark is active, you will do a bonus 7.5% of their max hp. So basically what I'm saying is that this item will do 22.5% of a target's MAX hp when used during Death Mark. 1/5 of their hp for 1 item slot? Yes, please!

Plus the movement speed that you steal helps you run them down if they try to flee.

This item is the other item that is just really really awesome on Zed. The Bloodthirster gives you the most AD in the game, and flat AD is exactly what Zed needs! The life steal that you get from this is an added bonus and lets you heal off creeps if you're low but down't want to/can't go b.

This item is simply awesome and I usually get it before completing The Black Cleaver because honestly, this item is just so much better. While it does give you less damage than a The Black Cleaver would, and it doesn't give health or cdr it DOES give the best armor penetration stats in the game, and even better, these stats don't have to be built up! That means that you can go ahead and combo and you benefit fully from the armor penetration.

I really, really, really, like this item. It's like an extra spell and it helps make your combo even more bursty and amazing. The auto attack enhancer makes pushing super easy even without using spells. The lifesteal it gives is nice and the best thing is that it gives a large amount of AD!

A couple patches previous, Guardian Angel got buffed so that it was actually an item I considered getting again. While the build cost did increase, so did the MR on it. Basically with a Guardian Angel you can dive into an enemy team and pick off the enemy carry before dying. Then while you're reviving, your team can go in and finish off the enemy team and you'll still be okay! However you shouldn't get too aggressive with this, if you go into a 1v5 and your team can't back you up then you'll just end up wasting the passive.
Side note: If you're sitting on a **** ton of gold and your passive on this goes down, you may want to consider selling it for a different defensive item and then buying it again after 5 minutes. However this is super expensive, so be careful!

Yes, yes, I know. Everyone is like, what about The Black Cleaver? Why don't you build that? Personally I feel that it contributes less to Zed than any of the other items that I have placed in this guide. Last Whisper is usually all the armor penetration you need, and you don't even benefit from The Black Cleaver because it takes time to build up the stacks of armor shred.
However if you REALLY, REALLY, REALLLLY want to buy a The Black Cleaver purchase it instead of getting a Ravenous Hydra and leave The Brutalizer in your inventory.
I will admit however, that The Black Cleaver is useful in some situations and I have built it relatively often. Usually you want to build a The Black Cleaver if the enemy team has a stupid pure tank who just builds a ton of armor and sits on your face.
ie: Shen, Nautilus,

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Defensive Item? What do I get?

This item is for when the enemy ADC is fed, or if the enemy team comp just involves a lot of auto attackers. ie: Vayne, Tryndamere & Master Yi. This item solid pick, and I get it quite often. It's a direct counter to Blade of the Ruined King.

Really good as long as they don't have too many Blade of the Ruined Kings on the enemy team. Best for when the enemy team comp has heavy magic damage and an ADC that doesn't buy Blade of the Ruined King.

Good resistances make this item a fabulous one for Zed. The passive on it is AMAZING, this can get your *** out of most trouble that you find yourself in, however because you can't control when the passive is popped, you have to be careful about where you die. (i.e.: if in the middle of the enemy team... the passive won't do you any good).

Great for when they have some magic damage, but not so much that you would buy a Guardian Angel or a Warmog's Armor. The bonus AD that this item gives is great, however a lot of the times I find myself selling it for a [[Mercurial Scimitar] later. It really depends on the enemy team's composition.

This item is for dealing with a team that has troublesome CCs, ESPECIALLY suppresses like Warwick, Skarner and Malzahar's ultimates. The extra MR is nice, and the bonus AD is a really great benefit. This item can make up for getting caught and CC'd by the enemy team.

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Further Itemization

This is a super strong item for all junglers. It's very helpful for your team and will provide you with a lot of tankiness. If you're going to get it, try to get it early, usually after a Blade of the Ruined King. Not an item I build that often on Zed though.

This is a pretty good item that you can use... it's just a little troll. You shouldn't be auto-attacking too much as Zed so the crit doesn't do much for you, on the other hand you can use the super cheese Sword of the Divine Infinity Edge build if you want to mess around.

100% crit on the next 3 autos. It's a pretty good item for burst damage, but really you shouldn't pick this item up. If you do, try to get an Infinity Edge as they synergize really well together.

The new trinity force is an ok buy for Zed. However there are much better items out there for him. If you get it, remember to auto attack in between spells for the Sheen proc, and remember that if you kill something, you get 60 bonus movement speed for 2 seconds. For example if you're juggling, you can smite kill a minion to move faster to either chase or flee.

Basically you grab this item if you didn't buy Mercury's Treads and you need tenacity because you're being CC'd to death.

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Skilling Order

Level 1: Shadow Slash
Level 2: Living Shadow
Level 3: Shadow Slash
Level 4: Razor Shuriken
Level 5: Shadow Slash
Level 6: Death Mark
Level 7: Shadow Slash
Level 8: Living Shadow
Level 9: Shadow Slash
Level 10: Living Shadow
Level 11: Death Mark
Level 12: Living Shadow
Level 13: Living Shadow
Level 14: Razor Shuriken
Level 15: Razor Shuriken
Level 16: Death Mark
Level 17: Razor Shuriken
Level 18: Razor Shuriken

This is the only skilling order I use on jungle Zed. I max Shadow Slash first because it improves your jungle clear time and improves your ganks by increasing the slow on your shadow. I max Living Shadow second because it gives me increased mobility, allowing me to jump over jungle walls and increase my clear time, as well as allowing me to use my shadow more in longer ganks and fights. The additional AD granted by this makes you even stronger all around. Leveling Living Shadow Second also gives you the option of using it to run, even if you used it in a fight that turned badly. I choose not to max Razor Shuriken because while it does give you more damage, I do not believe that its damage output is worth more than the utility given by maxing Living Shadow.


Level 1: Shadow Slash
Level 2: Living Shadow
Level 3: Razor Shuriken
Level 4: Shadow Slash
Level 5: Shadow Slash
Level 6: Death Mark
Level 7: Shadow Slash
Level 8: Living Shadow
Level 9: Shadow Slash
Level 10: Living Shadow
Level 11: Death Mark
Level 12: Living Shadow
Level 13: Living Shadow
Level 14: Razor Shuriken
Level 15: Razor Shuriken
Level 16: Death Mark
Level 17: Razor Shuriken
Level 18: Razor Shuriken

Generally, I will max Shadow Slash first and Living Shadow second, even in the laning phase. This ends up providing you with A LOT more damage than Razor Shuriken and also makes wave clearing really easy. I don't find it neccessary to level Razor Shuriken because it's basically a ranged poke that's hard to aim and doesn't do anything for you if it goes through minions first. Shadow Slash is just so much better. I max Living Shadow second because it provides me with more mobility, which I really like on my champions however... if you want to you can follow this skilling order instead:

Level 1: Shadow Slash
Level 2: Living Shadow
Level 3: Razor Shuriken
Level 4: Shadow Slash
Level 5: Shadow Slash
Level 6: Death Mark
Level 7: Shadow Slash
Level 8: Razor Shuriken
Level 9: Shadow Slash
Level 10: Razor Shuriken
Level 11: Death Mark
Level 12: Razor Shuriken
Level 13: Razor Shuriken
Level 14: Living Shadow
Level 15: Living Shadow
Level 16: Death Mark
Level 17: Living Shadow
Level 18: Living Shadow

This will maximize your damage output and make your bursts very, very powerful. However you won't have as much mobility as before.

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Living Shadow

Living Shadow is Zed's escape move, his initiate serves to enhance all of his other abilities. In this section I will teach you some sweet tricks with this move which will help you become a better player.

Move Faster!
You can use Living Shadow for a slight boost in how quickly you get to a location. Just remember not to use it if you need it for fighting soon!

Using your shadow as a ward while counter jungling:
The shadow created by Living Shadow grants vision so you can use it to make sure that no one is coming to kill you as you steal the enemies jungle.
Counter jungling blue buff:

As you can see, I've placed my shadow to give me an early warning if the enemy jungler pops up. You should only attempt this if you know the position of both bot laners and the mid laner. Most risky buff to counter jungle because of all the lanes that could catch you and that you might be seen entering the jungle by a ward from bot lane.
Counter jungling red buff:

Once again I have placed my shadow to make sure the jungler can't sneak up on me. Notice that I am standing in the other bush so I will see the jungler if he comes that way. If the jungler comes from wraiths he will be spotted long before he can get to me. As with blue buff have vision on the adjacent lanes before you go for a steal.
Counter jungling wraiths:

I've placed my shadow in the bush to cover me as I grab the wraiths. Notice that I have very little vision to my left. If the mid laner would be to come then I would be caught off guard. Try to have vision on the mid laner before you steal these.

Going over walls!
Living Shadow can be used to go over walls to escape or chase!

So... apparently you can go through some of these walls. Going to have to test this again.
Ty GrandmasterD for pointing this out

Living Shadow can go through most walls but I'll list some walls that it seems like you could go through but can't.

Lead your enemy with Living Shadow and then hit Shadow Slash as soon as they get in range. Use Living Shadow again and then do as much damage as possible!

Use it to set up an escape route as you combo
The Escape Shadow is my Living Shadow and the Offensive Shadow is the shadow from Death Mark.

Other Tips:
Remember that the cool down on Living Shadow goes down if you hit enemies with Shadow Slash. When running or chasing use Shadow Slash to get your Living Shadow up faster!

Remember if you can land both your shadow's and your own ability than you will get 20 energy back!

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A note on match ups...

Before you go look at the match ups... let me tell you something.
Just because your in a bad match up or got counter picked does not mean you can't win. It just means that you'll have a harder time doing it.
So when you go into a match up against a Darius or a Riven don't go into it thinking that you'll lose. If you do then you most certainly will.

If you're in a tougher match up, play more cautiously and look for mistakes that they make which give you an opportunity to strike! Also remember to try to enlist your jungler's aid when dealing with some hard lanes. Sometimes all you need is a little edge to steamroll them.

On the other hand... don't get too cocky if I said the matchup is easy. This can end up with you losing the lane heavily because you played it too aggressive and took too many risks.

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Start with and five , because you can't really do much without it. On your first back, buy Madred's Razors and Boots of Speed if you have the money. Try to pick up a Doran's Blade or two for the early power but remember to keep enough money for several Health Potion (I usually get 3-5) and a Sight Ward.

Core Items for jungle:
or or
Don't get Ionian Boots of Lucidity on Jungle Zed, they generally aren't worth it. Get Mercury's Treads if they have a lot of stuns or magic damage and are using them on you (generally I don't get this because it is WAY too expensive), get Ninja Tabi for safer clears, get Boots of Mobility if there are lots of small skirmishes breaking out across the map.

Madred's Razor
This gives you much stronger early jungle clears and will make your jungle speed even FASTER! I don't upgrade these to Wriggle's Lantern because I think that Wriggle's Lantern is rather gold inefficient and takes up an item slot to provide very little stats. You usually sell these once you don't have any items slots left in your inventory and need to start on a new item.

Gives you a stronger early game, lets you clear the camps faster, have more health after clearing them, and do more damage in ganks. The life steal is nice as well. You can use these to help make ganking easy and snowball you into late game.

This item is builds into the super OP Blade of the Ruined King. You get this item no matter what as Zed. The active will slow and damage anybody that you bank and it synergizes really well with Death Mark to make your combo do more damage. The lifesteal and bonus AD make jungling a breeze.

Currently the most broken item in the game. The active is super insanely OP because it deals %Max HP as damage. It also makes you auto attacks really strong because of the on hit effect. This will make your ganking VERY effective because it slows down your target and increases your own movement speed. The item synergizes really well with Zed's Death Mark to provide tons of burst damage to any character in the game, be they squishy or otherwise.

Jungle Routes
Zed is a very versatile jungler capable of doing either the blue route or the red route while maintaining decent health.

Blue Route:
Blue -> Gank(if there's an opportunity) -> Wolves -> Wraiths -> Wolves -> Red -> Gank or go back and buy(Depends on if there's a gankable lane and how much health you have remaining.

I will add an image showing the rout later.

Always try to get a Smiteless leash on blue if you can, as it will make getting red buff much easier. However if you can't (because the laners refuse to) it's still ok, you will just end up on lower health and may not be able to gank. After this, look for a gank. If there are none, continue on to wolves. After finishing off the wolves, head off over to the wraiths and clear those. Remember to get the most out of your Health Potions and use them as much as you can. Now, go and do the double golems because your smite is not up for red yet. Once you are done with them, head to the Red buff and get that too. At this point, you have three options. You can look for a gank if you still have plenty of hp and there's a lane that's pushed, you can go farm the jungle some more and continue getting gold and exp, or you can back and buy.

Red Route:
Red buff -> look for gank -> Wraiths -> look for gank -> Wolves -> Blue Buff (give to mid, or take yourself) -> go back and buy

Will post a picture showing this route as well

Take this route if you are looking for an early gank. Always try to get a Smiteless leash if you do the red route because then you will have much higher hp for when you actually gank.

Red or Blue -> The other buff -> GANK -> go back and farm or gank some more

will post an image of this route later

You MUST get a Smiteless leash to do this route as you will need Smite to solo your second buff.
This route achieves two major things. The first, is that it gives you buff security. If the enemy team has a Shaco, Olaf, or Shyvana this route prevents them from stealing it without your knowledge unless they started there. (But that's why your team mates are guarding your buffs right?)
The second thing it achieves is that it gives you a VERY FAST level 3. By the time you hit level 3, most the lanes should still be level 1 or 2. What this means is that you will have a hefty advantage in levels as well as double buff, when you gank a lane. This route is very good for getting first blood.

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Counter Jungling

This is an ADVANCED tactic and requires intimate knowledge of the game as well as other junglers and their routes. If you screw up you will end up giving the enemy a free first blood. I will teach you the basics to counter jungling here.
First of all, know where they start. You can do a level one invade and steal one of their buffs early if you have a well coordinated team. To do this, know where the enemy jungler starts, then go to their other buff. For the buff you can choose to lose a small creep or not. If you do then you won't know when the camp respawns however if you do, remember that buffs respawn every 5 minutes so you can steal it again next time it spawns.

The next step to counter jungling is after level one. If you see the enemy jungler ganking a lane, GO STEAL THEIR CAMPS if you are on the other side of the map. IE: if jungler ganks bot lane and you are near top, go steal their camps there. Remember to leave one small minion so that the camp doesn't respawn when they finally get there.

The third thing you want to do is WARD!
Sight Ward is the most important thing about counter jungling. You want to ward their jungler so you know where they are at all times, and whether or not they are doing a buff. Then you can either go steal their camps when you know its safe, or you can go to a buff and steal it from them with Smite!

If you are counter jungling blind, remember to use your shadow as a ward while you take out a camp!

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Jungle Matchups

Forced to start blue, you can take his red as long as no one is guarding it. Extremely slow jungler counter jungle him whenever he tries to gank a lane, just make sure to not get caught by him because he has incredible CC and will lock you up until his laners get there to finish the job.

Like Alistar he is forced to start at blue and you can take his red with impunity. Slow jungler at early levels however he gets much faster post level 4 or so. Abuse his weak early game and try to steal as many creeps from him as possible. As with Alistar don't get caught as his CC is really strong.

Can start at both red or blue buff. It is unadvisable to go steal any buffs at level 1. He can out fight you at any level so I suggest staying in your own jungle for the most part.

Another extremely blue buff reliant jungler, stealing the red buff is an easy task. However Diana is a very fast and high health jungler so don't counter jungle unless you know for sure that you're safe. If you get caught, you're probably dead.

Dr. Mundo
Crazy fast jungler. Weak at level 1 but so are you so you can't really take advantage of it.
Will almost definitely invade and can outfight especially after he gets his ult. Ward the entrances to your jungle and get your team to kill him when he invades.

She's very blue buff reliant at early levels so it's safe to steal her red in most cases. However, you want to be careful and don't try to 1v1 her unless you are VERY fed because Elise is very strong in 1v1 scenarios.

Another blue buff reliant jungler. Go ahead and steal her red. If you try to fight her, you should burst and then back away until your cooldowns come up because she has much stronger sustained damage than you with Hate Spike.

Go take his red buff. He's a slow, high health jungler but you can probably kill him if you catch him right after he uses his spells on creeps. Be careful though, the fear is extremely annoying and Drain will make him super hard to kill.

Starts at blue buff so you can steal his red. Fast jungler post level 4 or so however doesn't really have much in the sustain department. You can probably kill him while he tries to do a buff. However my suggestion is to take his red, and then stay in your own jungle.

Jarvan IV
He can start at either buff but usually at blue. It's very risky to counterjungle him if you have no idea where he is, however if you know he has blue, go ahead. Don't try to 1v1 him as he'll usually win.

This guy usually starts blue and its ok to steal his red. 1v1ing him is a big no-no because he's Jax!

Will almost always start blue, so taking his red is no big deal. Don't try to 1v1 him until you have ult and a Bilgewater Cutlass at least or you will probably lose.

Lee Sin
Almost always starts at red buff. You can probably take his blue. DON'T FIGHT HIM 1v1! HE WILL KILL YOU. (unless you're already pretty fed).

Starts at blue, steal red.
Stay out of his jungle once he hits 6 (unless you can see him on the map) or else he will knock you up.

Yet another blue buff reliant jungler. Be careful though, some Maokai's start at Wraiths before going to Blue buff. Has strong CC so you don't want to get caught.

Master Yi
His jungling is VERY fast, but he usually starts blue and stealing his red is alright. However you should just run, if he catches you because you do NOT want a fed, reworked Master Yi on your hands.

He starts blue so steal his red. Don't 1v1 him he's really annoying because of Wither.

Usually starts blue. VERY slow. You can steal his red easily. You can also 1v1 him pretty well, however if his team mates come to help, you're screwed.

Starts at blue buff so you can jack his red. Don't fight him 1v1 though because his fear and spell shield combined will probably screw you over.

He starts at blue buff and you can take his red. But after that you really can't steal any buffs from him cause Nunu's Consume + Smite combo will do more damage to a creep than you can. He'll probably try to counter jungle you.

He starts at blue and you can take his red. He is a very fast jungler and will probably start counter jungling you as early as leve 2. Be careful and try to get your laners to put wards covering the jungle enterances, that way when Olaf tries to steal some of your jungle, you can go kill him.

Starts at blue buff so you can steal her red. Slow jungler until level 4 and has low sustain. Take her jungle and if you see her you can probably kill her. Run away if she has decent health though or once she's level 6 because her ult is OP.

This clown makes me rage sometimes. Be careful of the wraith bush if you start blue, some Shaco's camp that bush with a thousand jack in the boxes. Use Living Shadow to check the brush. In general Shaco will be an annoying **** to deal with early game but won't be to important late game. Save your smite and be careful when doing buffs because there might be an invisible Shaco just waiting to Smite steal it and kill you...

He can start at either buff so no level 1 steals for you. He's a slow jungler though so you can take steal much of his stuff. However don't even try to fight him in a 1v1 unless he has ~200 health because he is super tanky and will not die. His taunt may also cause you to become easy prey to one of the adjacent lanes.

Like Dr. Mundo she is a very fast jungler. She can start at both buffs and will most likely invade. Ward your jungle entrances and kill her when she does.

Take his red buff. After that... Skarner is a really quick jungler and Impale stops you from 1v1ing effectively. Don't steal his stuff.

You might be able to steal red... but I would stay in my own jungle. Trundle's bite is too annoying and makes you lose 1v1s to him.

Yet another blue buff reliant jungler. You can steal his red buff. Don't engage him in a 1v1 because he is uber tanky and has a ******ed stun and lots of damage. As with Olaf get the laners to ward your jungle entrances so that you can catch him if he tries to counter jungle.

Stay in your own jungle, she can start at either buff and is pretty good in a 1v1 unless you catch her low.

Starts blue most the time and you can steal his red. 1v1ing him not advised because you don't have ignite and he has his passive super health regen thing.

Godlike amounts of sustain in the jungle and can start at either buff. His suppression at ultimate makes him a terror to 1v1. Keep to your own jungle is my suggestion for this match up.

Xin Zhao
Very strong in 1v1s. Decent jungle speed. I wouldn't suggest stealing his jungle unless you have a clear advantage or you see him on the other side of the map.

Usually starts blue, an early red steal is okay but afterwards you should stick to your own jungle as Zac + any team mates will CC you to death.

He can start at either buff and has really fast clear times, just like you! i wonder why... :P

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Lead with Living Shadow and Shadow Slash to slow. Then use Living Shadow again to appear next to target. Shadow Shuriken the target for more damage, then proceed to Shadow Slash spam and auto attack (for Phage proc) until target is dead. Exhaust situationally if you can get the kill but they are running away. If they Flash and are very low, kill them with Death Mark and more abilities/auto attacks.

In the next couple diagrams red line represent ganking routes and green dots are possible wards.

Ganking top lane:

Notice two of the paths involve jumping over a wall with Living Shadow to give the enemy less warning before your attack. Works best if you have Death Mark. I've found the baron pit route excellent for avoiding detection as few people ward in the tribush.

Ganking Mid Lane:

Zed has all of the standard routes available to him and he is able to jump over the wraith wall to gank as well.

Ganking Bot Lane:

Just like in top lane two of the paths involve jumping over a wall with Living Shadow to give the enemy less warning before your attack. Works best if you have Death Mark. I've found the dragon pit route excellent for avoiding detection as few people ward in the tribush. However its not as effective as it would be in top lane.
Another alternative is to go through the lane and hide in the brush for a gank. This technique is also usable in top lane and is very good because few people ward the side bushes.

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Top Lane


Start with either and four , and five or and 3 .
If you're going to be up against a hard lane with lots of physical damagew its advised to take the Cloth Armor and then build it into a Ninja Tabi later.
Boots of Speed are best to get when the enemy top laner is heavily reliant on skill shots or if they're an magic based champion.
Pick up Elixir of Fortitude ONLY if you're going to be playing a hyper aggressive lane. If you start with Elixir of Fortitude you MUST get a kill or deny A LOT of cs because the gold spent on Elixir of Fortitude is essentially wasted when the buff goes away if you did not get a significant advantage in your lane.

On your first buy you want to pick up Boots of Speed if you haven't gotten it yet. A Sight Ward is MANDATORY on this first back, because one ward will save your life. After this, either buy 1-2 Doran's Blade if you're fighting a tough lane or you can buy a Long Sword and work towards a Vampiric Scepter. Spend at least some money on Health Potions because the will give you a lot of very awesome sustain in lane.


In the top lane as Zed you want to play safe and farm early game. Use Shadow Slash to harass your opponent if he tries to get close to you, and keep CSing. Because most top laners are tanky, it's hard for Zed to kill them without getting a jungler's assistance or finishing Blade of the Ruined King. Your goal as top lane Zed is to safely farm without dying until you can get the Blade of the Ruined King at which point, you will EXPLODE. However, this doesn't mean that you shouldn't take advantage of the stupidity of your opponent. If you can, its always better to get kills because it denies CS and experience.

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Top Lane Matchups

Cloth Armor 5x Health Potion
This guy is really annoying and is basically unkillable by you alone because he has a stupid amount of insane and his passive is like a free Guardian Angel. Get lots of ganks and farm well. Sustain is important.

Boots of Speed 4x Health Potion
This lane... sucks. You win at early level engages, so try to force those and put her at a disadvantage. Plenty of jungler ganks will also help with keeping her down. Buy some Doran's Blades, a Hexdrinker and maybe an early Giant's Belt as well because she is going to hurt.

Boots of Speed 4x Health Potion
Pretty easy lane. Hold your Living Shadow for his Rupture and you should win trades. Rush a Blade of the Ruined King and be careful about being caught at low health because Cho'Gath's Feast will nuke you hard.

Cloth Armor 5x Health Potion
ow.. ow.. ow.. ow..
Play super defensive here. Darius hurts so much. Safely farm under turret and beg for jungle ganks. Don't get pulled by Apprehension if you do, Living Shadow away.

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Mid Lane

Zed can be a very strong mid laner who is played much like Talon or Lee Sin. Your main objective by picking Zed as mid is to make the enemy mid laner have a VERY bad time. Mid lane solves [{Zed]]'s main problem in the top lane. Namely his lack of sustain. In the mid lane there are more champions who have no sustain (just like Zed!) and you will be able to out burst them because you are an amazing assassin!

Start with either and four or and three Health
Boots of Speed are my standard purchase. They're good because you get more hp pots for more lane sustain, you can outrun the mages who didn't get boots and more movement speed makes dodging skill shots easier.
Pick up Elixir of Fortitude ONLY if you're going to be playing a hyper aggressive lane. If you start with Elixir of Fortitude you MUST get a kill or deny A LOT of cs because the gold spent on Elixir of Fortitude is essentially wasted when the buff goes away if you did not get a significant advantage in your lane.

Core Items for mid lane
or or
Get Mercury's Treads because your opponent will be doing mainly magic damage and/or have some heavy crowd control (aka stuns).
If destroying your lane, get Ionian Boots of Lucidity for more cool down reduction and faster stomping.
Boots of Mobility are really good for roaming. These are the boots that I get most of the time and then I roam top for easy kills.

Gives you a stronger early game, more health, more attack damage and gives you a small amount of lifesteal for sustain in lane. Overall a very strong pick to make you a lot stronger in lane. Can be skipped if your doing well in lane.

Grab a Hexdrinker early if you feel like the AP Mid your fighting is really starting to hurt. This will help lower the amount of damage you take and the shield can be life saving.

This item is a pretty good item to pick up on Zed however I think that it delays the rest of your build too much and isn't really necessary.

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Mid Lane Matchups

Coming Soon

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Zed's one and only job in a team fight is to isolate a squishy/low health enemy carry and KILL THEM. Once they are dead it doesn't really matter whether or not you die. HOWEVER, if none of the squishy carries are doing especially well then it isn't worth suicide diving one of them as it won't really change the team fight.
So what if you killed their 0/11/0 Ashe? They have a 50/0/0 Darius who will carry their team to victory.
To play Zed correctly in team fights you must prioritize your targets carefully.

Generally you want to be killing their squishy mage or ad carry, but remember to focus the guy who is doing the most damage!

In the early stages of the team fight use Razor Shuriken to harass. After a tank has initiated wait a few seconds for the heavy crowd control to get blown before you jump on their carries. If done correctly you should make it out alive and in one piece. If not... well that's why you have Guardian Angel!

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Twisted Treeline

Coming Soon

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Summoner Spells:

Good for juking, running chasing, and getting to points faster. Overall a strong pick.

Excellent Summoner overall, good for finishing people off even as you cap their objective.

Another good summoner to lock down your target and prevent them from escaping. Can be taken instead of Ignite or over Ghost.

still a very strong summoner spell but it loses importance in dominion because defending and taking vulnerable points is easier with Ghost.

Skilling Order:
Max Shadow Slash first, Living Shadow second, Razor Shuriken last.
At the beginning get a point in each spell.

+ + 2x
Best way to start any dominion game if you are a melee ad.
This will allow you to get to the windmill faster and still do tons of damage because of your Prospector's Blade. Use your Health Potion to regain a free 200 hp while fighting at the windmill.

Get this ASAP as it lets you do more damage and kill more people. Also gives you increased mobility.

and maybe
Vampiric Scepter will build right into the Sanguine Blade that you want to rush on this map. Hexdrinker can be bought if they have lots of magic damage.

These boots are great for Zed on this map. They allow him to get where the fighting is and either help capture or protect objectives.

Basically The Bloodthirster except for dominion. The greatest problem with this item is it requires you to auto attack to gain maximum benefit. It's still a great item though so I get it over the alternatives.

Say your defending a point from 4 people and you are hopelessly outgunned. You do your best to stall them so your team can get to the point, however you die. This item will allow you to protect points for an even LONGER time as well as making fights in general much safer.

Provides lots of armor penetration and is good for killing all of the bruisers that usually run amok on this map.


Quite honestly the game isn't going to get here. Ever. But here you go.

Self Explanatory. Sell your The Brutalizer here.

The shield is nice. The bonus ad and MR is nice. Another Sanguine Blade or Infinity Edge can work as well.

Quick Tip:
-Use Living Shadow as you step off the summoner pool for the first time for a slight boost in how quickly you get to the windmill. It will come off cooldown by the time you get there.
-Poke people to prevent capture with either Razor Shuriken alone, or Living Shadow + Shadow Slash.

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Coming Soon

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Zed is a very strong assassin champion who can be played effectively in the mid lane, top lane or jungle. He excels at his role of bursting down squishy carries and escaping afterwards. He really takes on the role of a master ninja with his shadow mechanics and I hope you have as much fun playing him as I do!

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11/1/2012 Zed released on PBE
11/2/2012 Guide Created
11/3/2012 Slight changes to tool tip on Zed's ultimate, does not effect gameplay
11/6/2012 Changes to tool tips on Zed's Razor Shuriken, Shadow Slash and Death Mark
11/6/2012 Razor Shuriken now does less damage as it hits more targets.
11/6/2012 Shadow Slash range decreased slightly, slow increased. 11/6/2012
11/7/2012 Razor Shuriken does more damage initially, scales less well with levels.
11/7/2012 Living Shadow passively grants a % of your AD as bonus AD
11/7/2012 Slow lowered on Shadow Slash
11/7/2012 Damage on ultimate is all moved to after the mark is consumed
11/13/2012 Zed is released!
11/18/2012 Dominion chapter added. New chapter on why I level Shadow Slash First
11/18/2012 Thank you Thundresso for your suggestion on the Skilling Orders part of the guide
11/18/2012 Deleted Lore section. Decided it was making my guide unnecessarily long.
11/19/2012 #1 Guide on Mobafire as of now. Thanks guys!
11/20/2012 New Living Shadow section!
11/20/2012 Updated the ganking section to include pictures!
11/20/2012 Added a bunch of match ups to the jungle match ups section.
11/21/2012 Added a bit to clear up some confusion about skill order. Thanks Kazewarashi!
11/21/2012 Added a section on match ups
11/21/2012 Masteries are changed. Thanks again Kazewarashi!
11/21/2012 Skill Combos Section added
11/22/2012 Changed Skill Order. Thanks Pwnedmuch!
12/8/2012 Season 3 Updates. Sorry for not updating earlier!
12/10/2012 Marked a lot of sections as outdated.
12/10/2012 Added more items to the Further Itemization section
11/10/2012 Added an Item Explanation section
8/21/2013 Came back and made a huge update to the build. A lot of things are still out of date.
8/22/2013 MORE UPDATES! ^_^
8/22/2013 "Which boots do I get" section
8/23/2012 Updated the Jungle section completely. Everything there is now up to date.
8/23/2013 Added a Defensive Items Section
8/23/2013 Top lane section of the guide updated.
8/23/2013 Updated Mid lane section
8/23/2013 Updated Dominion part of the guide
8/23/2013 Added names to each matchup for convenience while searching
8/23/2013 Started working on match ups for the top lane