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Zed Build Guide by GreenReapers

Middle In depth Zed Guide [14.13]

Middle In depth Zed Guide [14.13]

Updated on July 8, 2024
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League of Legends Build Guide Author GreenReapers Build Guide By GreenReapers 12 0 8,781 Views 0 Comments
12 0 8,781 Views 0 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author GreenReapers Zed Build Guide By GreenReapers Updated on July 8, 2024
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Runes: Standard Burst

1 2 3 4 5
Taste of Blood
Eyeball Collection
Ultimate Hunter

Legend: Haste
Cut Down

+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+10-180 Bonus Health


1 2 3 4
LoL Summoner Spell: Flash


LoL Summoner Spell: Ignite



Not much poke; Low sustain
Kill pressure with heavy trades
Heavy Poke/Hard Matchup
First Backs (Refillable/pots as needed)
When going Eclipse and can't buy pickaxe
650 + longsword start and no eclipse needed
fancy pants rich mcgee over here
Standard 875+ longsword if possible
First Items
Snowballing or VS immobile mage
VS tanks/fighters/assassins
just dont

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
The guide

So YOU want to learn how to DOMINATE your games with Zed?

Or are you just looking for way more information on and around Zed than you'll ever need?

You've come to the right place!

About me

I go by GreenReapers. I started playing League in mid S7 and started playing Zed around S8 (god i'm old). I'm currently sitting in Emerald 2 and at 1.2 Million Mastery Points.
I wanted to write this guide to help others getting into Zed to have an easier time than I did starting out and seeing as i've played him for a while, to share some of my amassed knowledge. Maybe even some of you other Zed mains learn something from this. This is supposed to be an in depth guide, so there will be a lot of information.
I wil try to respond to comments/questions as I see them.
HF and shoot me a message if you need something :D

Guide Changelog

Table of Contents

Summoners Learn about when which summoners are good!
Runes Detailed descriptions on runes. Mix and match Primary and Secondary trees!
Builds When to buy what and why it's good
How to actually play Fundementals and typical game overview
Combos bread and butter- aswell as fancy combos


Flash Ignite

Flash and Ignite is a setup you wanna take, when you can kill in the early game. Flash also let's you do some fast combos to surprise the enemy, like WQWF-AA. The antiheal additionally helps against the likes of Sylas and Vladimir.

Flash Teleport

-Important Info-
In my experiece, most people under plat aren't that good at spacing or make much more mistakes in lane, which makes
Ignite the superior choice. However, if you feel like you keep getting poked out of lane I encourage you to take Teleport.

Teleport is necessary against strong poke champs, who can whittle you down easily, while you don't have much kill pressure. Hwei and Orianna are perfect examples of this, as they have high kill pressure on you and can space/survive your poke with their shield- and Movement Speed abilities.

Flash Cleanse

Cleanse is very useful against High CC comps, which deter you from killing their backline. Cleanse can be taken to counter Lissandra's Ult/CC aswell as Zoes bubble. I definetly recommend it for the Lissandra and Zoe matchup.

Teleport Ignite

This setup aims to give you the most amount of uptime in lane with Teleport, while not sacrificing Ignite's kill pressure and antiheal. This comes at the cost of loosing Flash, rendering Flash combos unusable. You will have to rely on your W Living Shadow and R Death Mark and pure sidestepping skills to dodge key abilities, consequently making this setup harder to use for newer players, but rewards good plays with massive kill and cross-map pressure.



I higly encourage you to mix and match runes and if you think the situation calls for it, maybe go Inspiration or
Domination, which I didn't list here as secondary. This section is supposed to give you a framework to explore runes and what works for you! I've listed example rune builds that I personally use ingame at the beginning of the guide, aswell as my reasoning here, if you want to stick to my opinion of the best runes.

I have compiled all the rune details into the tabs under the 'Main Pages' and 'Secondaries' sections of the rune section. You will find additional information on why and when the runes are taken, aswell as options to switch to.

Bulletpoints: Mainpages

Take Electrocute for:
+ high burst - bad extended fights
+ good against squishies and for single target elimination - bad against tankier and/or multiple opponents
+ enables easier snowball - falls off harder if you don't snowball
Take First Strike for:
+ gold generation for scaling - worse early damage than Electrocute
+ decent against squishies aswell as tanks - if it get's proc'd before you enter a fight, you essentially loose out on damage
+ even bad matchups with lost cs become playable - relies on your skill to get it off without it proccing first. can be detrimental in lane.
Take Conqueror for:
+ good extended trades, aswell as decent burst when stacked - really low burst, when not stacked
+ incredible staying power in teamfights against tanks and squishies - worse for fast single target elimination than Electrocute or First Strike
+ enables bruiser Zed - forces you to play around conqueror stacks (this is more of a neutral point)

How to choose your Keystone

When choosing your keystone, you not only have to think about your matchup, but also the enemy team in general.

First, decide for your matchup, which rune you'd want against that champion in particular.
After that look at the team.
When fighting against more tanky/fighter opponents First Strike and Conqueror are better choices.
When fighting against more squishy opponents Electrocute and First Strike are better.

After that you can think about the individual strengths of the runes and choose based on that.

There is a exception to this rule! Running Electrocute into a tanky team can be good when some criteria are met!
1. Your team has enough anti tank damage, so you won't need to worry.
2. The enemy has a squishy, high priority target that you can take out.
3. Your lane permits taking Electrocute.

Main Pages


Electrocute details

First Strike

First Strike details


Conqueror details


Precision details

Resolve details

Sorcery details

Minor rune details


This guide chapter will explain your standard itemization, aswell as situational items. Zed is not as heavily reliant on building the correct items, as you'll still find oppotunities to look for assassinations, especially in chaotic teamfights. Choosing the correct items however, can be a tremendous help and will make your success more consistent.

First item options

Voltaic Cyclosword gives 3 stats Zed wants. Attack Damage, Lethality and Ability Haste, making it a good first item already. The real benefit this item provides comes from it's passive, dealing 100 physical damage and applying a 99% Slow on auto attacking while being fully energized. This slow makes it incredibly easy to hit your combos, while also providing additional burst.
This is best bought first against squishy teams, the less mobility abilities they have, the more of an impact your slow will make, as they can't use something like Distortion or Spirit Rush to dodge your Razor Shuriken.

Eclipse is a very safe option. You easily get value from it's passive, damaging the enemy for 6% of their maximum health on hitting them 2 times within 1.5 seconds, aswell as granting you a shield. Playing around the cooldown of it is key when wanting to utilize Eclipse to it's full potential, letting you mitigate damage while dishing out more yourself.
This Item is especially good against champions with high burst potential, such as other assassins, melee champions and tankier targets. You can also pivot to building it in other matchups when you feel you are getting bursted rather easily, providing you with more survivability, if you wish to trade that for Lethality that is, as Eclipse gives Attack damage and Ability Haste only.
Also this is your goto when playing bruiser Zed.

First buy Serrated Dirk options

Youmuu's Ghostblade is an option to go, when you feel like you either need the extra Movement Speed to catch up to your opponent or for roaming. Especially when you're on a tight schedule it helps for the latter.
The passive Movement Speed can also help in dodging skillshots and spacing against, while the active ability can grant you the same abilities while in combat or on the run.

Opportunity is a solid option aswell. In my opinion it's a very underrated item. The movement speed on kill is not what makes it good, it is it's passive ability preparation, granting you 5-10 extra Lethality for 3 seconds after damaging an enemy champion, after being out of combat for 8 seconds. Since it scales with level, and the passive stat only starts to increase after level 8, it's much better suited for a second item slot, however it can still be very powerful choice, if you need more damage, as Zed is very good at keeping his distance and making use of the passive for trades.

Hubris has the advantage of giving you Ability Haste, which the other 2 do not, however you'll only get real value from it's passive if you're quite fed. Otherwise Youmuu's Ghostblade and
Opportunity are more reliable options. If you choose this Item, you will have to keep killing the enemies, to consistently get it's passive to proc.

Situationals and Itemization



How to actually play

General Overview

Zed plays a lot less like traditional Assassins like Qiyana or Talon, in that he has less burst, while his playstyle is more like a control mage.
The best description I've seen yet was in a comment section, unfortunately I don't remember by who:

"Zed is a control mage, and his brand of control is murder."
- some random commenter

You want to play methodically, picking at the enemy and waiting for your opportunity to strike. That's true for laning aswell as teamfighting. When starting out, I encourage you to go for riskier plays. It helps you find your limits and let's you get a sense of what you can and can't do!
When you think you've got a good grasp on that, don't worry about your team pinging you and saying "just go in!", when you feel it won't be worth it. That's a misconception that many players have. Trust your instincts, as following calls like that usually gets you killed! I'm also guilty for falling for this rather often, haha.

Laning Phase

Level 1-2

The first 2 levels are very similar in most matchups.
When playing against ranged characters, you have to respect their early pressure, as they can wear you down with their autoattacks easily.
Let yourself get pushed, while trying to get as many cs for as little health lost as possible. You can do this by lasthitting with your Q Razor Shuriken and of course walking up and taking the cs with autoattacks.
"But GreenReapers, you just said to respect their autoattacks!?"
Yes, and that's why you walk up, when they need to choose between hitting you and last hitting a minion. So keep their aswell as your minions health in check.
If one of them walks up far enough out of their champions range you can of course take it.

When playing against melees you can look for short trades, but most melee champs will be stronger than you if you overextend. Respect their trading power but don't be afraid to trade and lasthit, unless they clearly outmatch you.

Playing around your Keystones for early trades is essential, as they can make or brake a trade, aswell as influence your trading behaiviour. You're much more likely to win a extended trade using Conqueror, but will reliably win more short trades with Electrocute and First Strike.

If you get pushed under tower at level 2 or you're actively fighting a melee champion taking E Shadow Slash second is recommended.
Otherwise, when you can take W Living Shadow at level 2 you should look for heavy trade opportunities, against targets with a weak early game.
Otherwise farm up!

Level 3-5

At level 3 you can actually start playing the game a bit! You've got your main combo WEQ unlocked. WEQ is great as it hits exactly 3 times, granting you the ability to proc Electrocute from range.
Generally you can start playing more aggressively around these levels, chunking the enemies with your combos but note, that your W Living Shadow has a rather long cooldown. You will have to play arond it, as your enemies will do so too, actively trading into you after it's down!

Level 6+

With your lvl 6 you have finally unlocked your strongest ability, R Death Mark. It not only creates another Living Shadow to swap to by recasting it, it also let's you blink to your target, becoming untargetable in the process, and put's the Death Mark on them, dealing a flat amount + a %of the damage dealt while was acive on expiring.
This gives you a huge powerspike. You should be looking to kill even more proactively now, as you're starting to reliably be able to punish overextends with a kill and a lvl 6 advantage, commiting right when you get your level up while your enemy is still lvl 5 can oftentimes lead to an easy kill, if you're in a position to do so.
The additional pressure also makes it easier for you to commit to all ins, jungle skirmishes or roams. In some scenarios it's also worth it to commit your R Death Mark to force an enemy out of lane, to free you to move around the map or make them loose a big wave and lane priority.

Trading Patterns

There's a classic mistake people make against Zed, which is stepping up after you've thrown your combo while far away from their own tower. Say, you throw a WEQ into a mage when they're in your half of the lane. You hit maybe one of the Q's and they think:
"hey, he's thrown his abilities, let's go for a return trade while they're down"
Wrong! As soon as they step forward and your W Living Shadow is behind them, you can swap to it and run them down with autoattacks and your abilities.
This works especially well level 2-5, even without your E and can even lead to easy kills after lvl 6, as your R Death Mark makes you even stronger.

Your standard trade is throwing WEQ at the enemy, chunking them and either backing off or using your shadow to pressure the enemy into staying farther away from the wave, while farming it, les't they get chunked by you as in the mistake explained before. After your W Living Shadow expires you'll usually want to back off regardless, as they'll have an edge over you, when you don't have a Living Shadow ready. Commiting with your R Death Mark is nonetheless encouraged even if your W Living Shadow is down, if you can find an opportunity to kill.

Mid Game

Your midgame plays like any other Assassin.

If you're ahead you want to actively pressure sidelanes, as the enemy either has to send a relatively strong tank or more than one person to rival you on the sidelane.
Note that picking Conqueror makes your sidelaning stronger due to a longer lane, leading to longer trades.

If you're behind, you want to catch sidewaves when it's safe and try not to overextend, as you'll get picked off rather easily.

On your downtime, when you can't push a sidelane or you notice a teamfight is starting to brew on the map you want to do something called shadowing.
This simply means that you try to stay out of the enemies vision while being close enough to your team to look for assassinations or help out in teamfights.
Even if you don't get anything while shadowing your team, if you've done it in your downtime you have used your time effectively. Look to get back to a sidelane if there isn't a fight thats about to happen, when you can either farm again or if you have to catch a wave thats about to crash into your tower. The latter scenario is a more urgent case than the former, as you'll lose way more expierience and gold.

When objectives are up, you have to decide, wether you should put pressure on a sidelane to force someone to contest you or help your team at the objective fight. I generally recommend helping out your team, but if you don't think you can win the fight anyways, pushing a sidelane will probably get your team more value. Teleport makes cross map pressure easier, as you can pressure a sidelane and instantly travel to the teamfight when your help is needed!

Taking the Krug camp or Gromp while your jungler is busy on the map and you don't see an opportunity to shadow your team aswell as you not being able to push your sidelane is recommende to keep up your cs.

Late Game

Your late game plays very much alike to your mid game. You'll still be on sidelane duty while shadowing your team at given opportunities, however the shadowing plays a much larger part at this stage of the game, as with ever increasing deathtimers, one teamfight can decide the outcome of a whole game.
Before doing something, taking a look at the map and your team can help you make the decision, wether you should group up or push a sidelane.
Catching side waves is s till important, so if you get the opportunity, you should still look to farm them.


I've already touched on the subject of Zed playing more like a control mage, than a typical Assassin.
As such you generally don't want to be the one engaging a fight. If you're fed enough to do so, great, get 'em, but if you aren't you don't want to do that.

If your tank gets a good engage and you can find an opportunity to kill the carry, that's good.
If people that should peel for the carry are kept busy elsewhere that's also a big plus.
And if you can find a carry who's currently being crowd controlled you are sure to hit your combo.

Another scenario that happens quite often is you, throwing your combo into a group of enemies to get damage off, but not being ready to commit. Let your team fight for a few seconds, while you assess the situation from a few feet away and wait for the moment you can safely shut down a key player of their team.

When playing Conqueror you have a lot more freedom to actively go in when playing teamfights, as you aren't quite as vulnerable when staying in combat. Don't be afraid to commit to more but keep in mind, that you're still Zed and playing a bit more methodical helps you stay on top of the game!

Mid Lane fundementals

Mid lane fundementals are not the center point of this guide, but I will quickly go over them, and explain some of the most important things about them

Wave Control

Wave control is the process of manipulating the minion wave in such a way, that it gets you the most amount of expierience and gold, while giving as little to your opponent.
There are 3 basic concepts:
slow push, fast push and freeze/hold

When slow pushing you aim to push your minion wave slowly towards the enemy tower. You achieve this by stacking a waves, meaning you last hit and kill a minion once in a while, as you're pressuring your opponent away from the wave. This leads to your minions slowly gaining a numbers advantage over those of your opponent.
Slow pushing is generally used to generate lane priority. This means your opponent is now forced to stay under his tower and last hit the minions, otherwise he loses a ton of expierience and gold, while you are free to do something other than concentrate on your lane.
This might be roaming, warding, backing or being the first to move for jungle skirmishes. It can also be used to pressure a tower more easily or setting up a dive.
However, while in the process of slow pushing, you'll be longer farther away from your turret than when using other methods of pushing, resulting in you being vulnerable to ganks.
You can use this fact to your advantage by baiting the gank when you're confident you can escape or 2v1. However, turning this concept around you can force your opponents wave to slow push towards you, by pushing slightly slower than them.
This in turn forces them to step farther away from their tower, making them vulnerable to ganks aswell as extended engages by you!

When fast pushing you want your wave to get as fast as possible under the turret of your enemy, to deny them minions when they are not there or force them to make the choice between sacrificing minions to back and staying in lane.
This is mostly used as a alternative to a slow push, when you have had no time to set one up, but still have to move for a fight, as a fast push also creates lane priority, although not one as strong as a slow push.
Another use case is as already said, forcing an opponent to stay in lane. This can be useful for stopping them from spending their gold or when you want to constantly put pressure on them, preventing them from moving themselves.´

Holding and freezing a wave are 2 very similar, yet different concepts.
Holding a wave usually takes place right before a freeze.
When you hold a wave you sacrifice your own health by walking into a minion wave, preferably a small one of 3 or 4, to prevent them from crashing into your own turret. This leads to a slow push - like scenario on the opponents side, as they'll have to either step forward to pressure you under your turret, preventing the hold, or accept it and try to push the next wave under your tower, if they aren't in a position to pressure you enough. Alternatively they can also back, but will have to sacrifice a lot of minions for that.
Freezing starts if you manage to hold0 preferably 3 minions in front of your tower, while not letting your opponent push you, and as a result the 3 minions under your turret. When the next wave comes, by simply last hitting and in the best scenario pressuring your opponent away from the wave, you can hold it outside your tower.
This has multiple effects:
  1. If your enemy wishes to push the wave, they will have to walk far away from their tower, putting them at risk of being all inned by you or ganked by your jungler.
  2. By keeping them away from the wave, if yu have enough pressure to do so, you deny them exp and gold, putting them behind.
  3. If you're good at this you can keep it up indefinetly, until your enemy finally manages to pressure you away, or the enemy jungler helps them push the wave.
To quickly explain why you want to optimally have 3 or more minions, 2 are usually not enough for your wave to keep getting killed over and over before the next enemy wave approaches. The numbers advantage does not matter at this point, since you'll be last hitting minions, essentially creating a very slight push.
At 3, if no other possibility 4, minions you should be able to hold the freeze, for as long as possible.
If there are more than that you should clear them down to around 3, when you're looking to freeze the wave.


Roaming is at it's core the act of walking around the map to put pressure elsewhere on the enemy team. Sounds rather simple, right?
However, when roaming, be that to gank botlane, help your jungler invade or moving for a skirmish, you will always want to look at your wave state.
This is called roam timing. When you have lane priority you have to possibility to roam without losing too many minions, while getting gold and exp elsewhere and helping your team.
When doing this, you always want to try to get at least a bit more value than your lane opponent. If you don't, but your team gets good value, that's also fine, but be a bit more careful when fighting, considering the gold balance between you and your enemy laner.
Not getting any value from a roam is possibly the worst scenario, especially if you've sacrificed one or two waves to do so.
Yes, if you spot a very good roam, it can be worth it to miss out on waves for it! But it becomes very risky. If it doesn't work out you give your opponent a huge lead!


Warding is a very useful skill to have. It allows you and your team to gather information on the enemies positions to keep you safe.
The picture to the left shows some popular warding spots.
Generally speaking this is how these wards are used:
  • Wards inside your own jungle or at the river border of your jungle are considered defensive wards. They protect your jungler from getting counterjungled and spot the enemy when they try to wrap around through your jungle to gank a lane. Additionally they provide some vision along the river, while being rather unlikely to be cleared themselves, however they ususally take at least some time to get set up.
  • Wards at your lane brushes in comparison don't take much time to set up, but only protect you from being ganked. There is a exception to this, when going for a ward infront of the enemy turret. This prevents your opponent from leaving lane without you having info on which direction he went. Great when you're freezing the wave or the enemy likes to roam a lot.
  • Wards inside the enemy jungle or at the river border to their jungle are considered agressive wards. These give you a lot of information on the enemies jungler and rotations, but due to the positioning in enemy territory they are more likely to be cleared when possible.

Ward timing is another rather important aspect to your lane. The enemy jungler will have full cleared around 2:30, so placing a ward around that time or having one ready is considered very good.
After that you should aim to place a stealth ward every 90 seconds on the side you think the enemy jungler is most likely to be at that time. Be that because of jungle tracking, having spotted them or simply intuition. Note, that when following this strategy you always try to keep a ward in reserve, so you can use it as needed, while using your other ward for active vision.
If you feel you need more wards control wards can be a good option, as you always look to place control wards around the map to deny vision.



I will update this as soon as I find the time, this should be in the next few days.

For a comprehensive overview of combos I recommend
Unfortunately some of the links to combo clips in the aforementioned guide are no longer working.

The combos are my favourite part about this Champion. The absolute variety you can choose from is insane. And as such, choosing the optimal-, or at least a good combo, for every situation is key to mastering Zed.









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