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Zed Build Guide by Expgunner

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Expgunner

High Elo Season 6 Zed Guide (In-Depth)

Expgunner Last updated on June 24, 2016
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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.


Natural Talent
Bounty Hunter
Battering Blows
Piercing Thoughts

Ferocity: 12

Dangerous Game

Cunning: 18

Tough Skin
Runic Armor
Veteran's Scars
Legendary Guardian

Resolve: 0

Threats to Zed with this build

Show all
Threat Champion Notes
Karthus This lane is very simple for Zed. No mobility and low damage early. This lane is very easy to play out as you can kill him over and over.
Kog'Maw Kog'maw is an amazing match up for Zed. Just like Karthus he has no mobility and even less damage than Karthus. Most of his damage is avoidable as well, therefore making this lane super easy.
Aurelion Sol Sol is close to the easiest match up for Zed. When playing against him do not be afraid to swap to W, and start auto attacking him rapidly. A all in at level three is a strong play from the Zed player, and will most likely result in a kill. Stay as close as you can to him to avoid taking damage from his W.
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Hi I'm Expgunner and I am a Diamond 5 Zed main on the NA server. This is my first guide so all the criticism and feedback is really appreciated. If you have any questions or ideas please let me know in the discussion down below. I love to help people in League so if you need any personal help PM me. Would love to see all of you on my stream if you could tune in.

Zed is a attack damage assassin that is played mostly in middle lane. Zed requires a great amount of skill to play, but has seen less and less play in pro play. Zed can win even the worst match ups if played correctly. Zed has a lot in his kit, so outplaying is essential to his play style.

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Pros / Cons

[*] Great farming under tower with Contempt for the Weak
[*] Good split pushing
[*] Mobile
[*] Safe laning with Razor Shuriken
[*] Great all-in with Death Mark
[*] Good wave clear with Razor Shuriken, Shadow Slash
[*] Scales well
[*] Uses energy
[*] CC shuts him down
[*] Has some very hard match ups
[*] Zhonya's Hourglass counters you
[*] Melee
[*] Hard to master

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Summoner Spells

There is never a reason to not take flash on Zed, it allows for more mobility and outplaying potential.

Ignite is also a go to choice on Zed because he is an assassin, and this helps him secure kills.

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The runes that you run on Zed are mostly based on preference and playstyle. The page I use is very standard for most AD assassins, but if you have something that you like more use it. The main change to make is if you are going up against an AD match up to swap the Health Seals with Armor Seals and the MR Glyphs with CDR Glyphs.


Greater Glyph of Magic Resist

Greater Mark of Lethality

Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage

Greater Seal of Scaling Health

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The masteries on Zed are very standard, allowing Zed to get the most damage out of the page. These same masteries are used on most AD assassins. You can consider putting 5 in Fury or Sorcery if you are going to be split pushing more than usual.


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Skill Sequence

This is the best skill sequence on Zed and is usually never changed. The only change you can make is swapping W for E level 2 if you are in a melee match up.

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

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Unique Skills

Razor Shuriken is Zeds main source of poke and is at a low cooldown. Razor Shuriken can cancel auto attacks allowing you to deal more damage faster.

Living Shadow is Zeds escape and gap closer and can be used to finish the Razor Shuriken animation if you W a second time.

Shadow Slash's slow is doubled if the target gets hit by two of them, but DOES NOT increase the damage. Shadow Slash also doesn't not cancel auto attacks so you can use it with your auto attacks whenever.

There are many ways to outplay an opponent with Death Mark. You can learn more about how to outplay with this ability in the combo section.

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Itemization is a core part of climbing in League of Legends. Building the right thing at right times can make you win games. This section goes more in depth on why you should build the items stated above.

What you want in a build.

In a Zed build you want to look for 40% CDR, Survivability, Damage, and Armor penetration. Not all of these are possible, but some of these are more effective in the right situations. In most assassin builds you want 4 offensive items, 1 defensive item, and boots.

Starting Items

(Starting Items) is the standard start for Zed.
(Safe start) is against auto attacking champions so you don't get bullied out of lane. This applies to Orianna, Annie, and Irelia.

First Back Options

This is one of the most important choices in Zed's early game. The choices offered are for very different situations.

Hexdrinker(Against an AP opponent)is good if you haven't solo killed your laner yet and they have the damage to beat you in a all-in. Hexdrinker is good against laners like LeBlanc, Annie, Syndra, and Diana.

Serrated Dirk is the most normal pick up on Zed. Serrated Dirk is great if your opponent got cloth armor first or on a back because of the armor penetration it provides.

Caulfield's Warhammer is great if you know your opponent doesn't have cloth armor in the match up. The CDR is really nice to have on Caulfield's Warhammer.

Bilgewater Cutlass is the best against laners that like to purchase Rod of Ages and laners that get free HP scaling like Cho'Gath. The finished item, Blade of the Ruined King is also great for split pushing.

Tiamat is best used against laners that have really good early wave clear IE Lux and Viktor. Tiamat is great if you need to to deal damage to a lot of squishes.

Sweeping Lens is one of the most important things to get on your first back. Clearing wards is one of the best ways to gain an advantage over the enemy team. Since you will be roaming a lot on Zed you can clear the wards where needed.

Defensive items

These items help Zed's survivability. If you are dying before you are doing any damage then it is right to buy one of these items early if you dying to quickly.

Banshee's Veil is great against laners that have really good scaling and can kill you without you being able to dodge or react IE Annie, Veigar, and Syndra.

Guardian Angel is best used when the enemy team comp is mostly comprised of tanks because you can revive if you die to AoE. This is also a good item against AD burst such as Rengar and Kha'Zix.

Randuin's Omen is a great pick up if your ADC is having issues getting peel. Randuin's Omen is also great for when the enemies ADC is far ahead or you are in the late game.

Maw of Malmortius is a very strong item on Zed because of the stats. It gives you the damage that you need plus survivability. If you are ever confused on what item to build Maw of Malmortius is almost always a good item to get unless you are against a full AD team.

Dead Man's Plate is a very situational item on Zed. Dead Man's Plate gives you some good stats and the passive is very helpful when attempting to dive on a priority target.

Mercurial Scimitar is essential against teams that have a lot of CC. Mercurial Scimitar is at its best when used against CC that is undodgeable like Shield of Daybreak and Aegis of Zeonia. Mercurial Scimitar is also important in the Malzahar lane to nullify Nether Grasp.


Mercury's Treads are by far the best purchase on Zed. The MR and, more importantly, the tenacity makes this a great purchase. Being stuck in any CC for one to two seconds longer can result in a death. If you are unsure what to buy Mercury's Treads are mostly never wrong.

Boots of Mobility are used if you want to roam a lot. You build Boots of Mobility when you are in a tough match up and you can't dual them.

Ionian Boots of Lucidity are best used if you want to snowball the lane early. More Death Marks means more kills. Keep in mind when using Ionian Boots of Lucidity make sure the enemy team doesn't have a lot of CC even if you are ahead.

Ninja Tabi are best used against full AD teams or AD match ups. Ninja Tabi always pay for themselves against laners like Yasuoor Talon.

Boots of Swiftness are the most situational boots that you can buy. There team has to be made up of people that can't lock you down, but only slow you. Boots of Swiftness can also help you get to the backline of teams.

All Offensive Options

Zed is a attack damage assassin who needs the damage provided from items to help him scale into the late game. Every purchase that you make should be geared to an enemy champion in the game.

Blade of the Ruined King is an item that used to be essential on Zed before season 6. Blade of the Ruined King is still a great item, but is now more situational. Blade of the Ruined King is best used against laners that buy Rod of Ages as stated above. More importantly Blade of the Ruined King is a great buy against ciderhulk junglers or tanks in general. Blade of the Ruined King is also great for split pushing.

Death's Dance is a new item that has been added since season 6 and has been growing in popularity. Death's Dance's stats are really cost efficient giving, CDR, survivability, and reliable lifesteal. The passive on Death's Dance makes you able to last in fights for a longer amount of time. Death's Dance is best bought after your first item.

Infinity Edge isn't the most reliable purchase you can make, but can still be effective. Infinity Edge costs a lot of gold so you are better off buying other items. Infinity Edge is great for when your snowballing very hard and the tanks are getting more items. If you are going to purchase Infinity Edge, purchase it 4th or 5th item.

Lord Dominik's Regards is a great purchase on Zed when the enemy tanks are getting ahead. The passive Giant Slayer is great at taking down tanks. Lord Dominik's Regards in conjunction with Blade of the Ruined King take down high health targets fast.

Maw of Malmortius is a core item on Zed. Maw of Malmortius gives you armor penetration and survivability. Maw of Malmortius is great against AoE and Burst. More information about Maw of Malmortius in the Defensive items.

Mercurial Scimitar is geared more towards survivability than damage, but has received a slight buff to apply lifesteal to the item. There is more information on Mercurial Scimitar in the defensive item section.

Mortal Reminder is the most situational item that you can purchase. In lane Mortal Reminder is best used against the Swain and Vladimir match ups and sometimes even the Cho'Gath match up. Mortal Reminder can be used outside of lane against high sustain opponents, but it is recommended that you build this item 4th or 5th, due to it not being too effective.

Ravenous Hydra is a great item on Zed because it gives you great sustain and AoE. Ravenous Hydra also has a very useful active that can be used as an auto attack reset to make all your damage happen quicker. An early Tiamat purchase is very strong against laners that can wave clear very easily early IE Lux and Viktor. Ravenous Hydra is also a great snowballing item.

The Black Cleaver is one of, if not the best, item on Zed. Zed benefits from all of The Black Cleaver's stats making it a very strong item. The Black Cleaver gives you the following: CDR, Survivability, Penetration, and a very helpful movement speed passive. The Black Cleaver is never a bad purchase on Zed, but is most strong against tanks.

The Bloodthirster is a situational purchase, but can really help Zed snowball. The Bloodthirster gives some very good stats including: sustain, survivability(with the shield), and high damage. The Bloodthirster is best bought when you can't avoid a decent chunk of the damage being done in teamfights IE all ADCs and AoE.

Trinity Force isn't a too bad buy on Zed, but Zed doesn't benefit from all the stats is provides. Trinity Force is most used when you are against 4 or more melees on the enemy team. Although Zed doesn't benefit from all the stats it gives, it is still very cost efficient giving a lot of extra damage. Trinity Force is very expensive compared to other items you can buy, so I recommend you use this item only for the reason above.

Youmuu's Ghostblade is the best item on Zed with The Black Cleaver being right behind it. Youmuu's Ghostblade is a great item to buy first in most cases. Youmuu's Ghostblade's active is really nice to have and synergizes with Zed's kit. Youmuu's Ghostblade gives you the following: CDR, survivability, and penetration. Youmuu's Ghostblade is also a very cheap item making it an amazing purchase on Zed.

Duskblade of Draktharr is a very strong item on Zed that gives some great stats and a very useful passive. Duskblade of Draktharr is an item that is never really bad to get since the passive is another Death Mark. This item is core, so that means it works in most situations. I would not recommend buying this item first on him since you will be missing out survivability with Youmuu's Ghostblade.

Understanding what item to buy in a situation can make you come out on top. It is imperative that you build to Zed's strengths throughout the game, whether it be fast snowballing or surviving fights.

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Farming under tower as Zed is very simple using Contempt for the Weak and Shadow Slash in conjunction with each other. Zed also has good wave clear the later the game goes on with Living Shadow> Shadow Slash> Razor Shuriken. Zed's split pushing becomes very strong mid to late game, due to his wave clear and mobility.

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Combos are very essential to Zed's kit. They can mean life or death for the Zed player.


Zed does not have the best poke in the game, but it is above average. Your main source of poking will be Razor Shuriken. Your Razor Shuriken does a lot of damage if it does not pass through a minion. When you hit level 3 you power spike because you are able to do your full poke combo as seen below. This is Zed's most damaging combo before 6. It is important that you learn the combo shown over WQE because of the nerf it received in a recent patch.
Full Combo Zed has a very strong all-in using all of his abilities and cooldowns effectively. The full combo is done as shown (using active items or whatever you bought in its place).
These combos very simple and what you will most use, however there are many more combos to Zed. You use the combo that best suits the situation that you are in. There are so many ways to outplay using his kit, making it hard to understand what you need to do in situations. Describing the more advanced outplay techniques are very hard to explain unless you see them done. Azoh, a very good Zed player, has made a series called "Zed School" that shows you how to outplay an oppenent. Not all the videos on the playlist are important anymore due to the changes that Zed has gone through, but you can always learn things from this series. Watching other Zed players will make you better understand the champion as a whole. (Links to Zed mains)Azoh,Redmercy,and Vermilion are all amazing Zed players to learn from.(Note: I have nothing to do with these videos production. All rights go to the respective users.)

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Positioning on an assassin is very different compared to others. When playing Zed you want to wait until you see CC cooldowns or just important cooldowns blown on other players. You need to stay out of the fight until these are blown, during this time use your combo to poke and zone. You will be using your W to poke so look to swap as soon as you see important cooldowns used, then Death Mark a priority target. As an assassin it is important that you don't stay in fights for too long or you die because you are so squishy. You can use your Death Mark and Living Shadow to quickly get in and out of fights.

As an assassin if at all possible avoid teamfights. This does not mean splitpush and avoid grouping, it means that you need to single out targets as best as you can. There are a few ways to do this: flanking, picks, and catching out of position targets. Flanking as an assassin can help avoid a lot of CC and focus. Make sure when you are flanking to use a Sweeping Lens so that the enemy team knows you aren't coming. Picks are also very important to playing assassins. Waiting for an opponent to take a buff or clear a wave is one of the easiest ways to get picks. In games the enemy makes many positioning mistakes that can be punished if you go in on them. If a priority target is even slightly separated from their team it can result in a won team fight.
(Note: I had nothing to do with this video in terms of production.}

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Team Comps Zed Synergizes With

Zed is an all-in assassin and works in almost all all-in comps. Since Zed is an AD assassin there is a need for AP on the team, so make sure that you have some AP on your team. Example of a good all-in comp with Zed=