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Zed Build Guide by Lethal Burrito

Middle diamond

Prømëtheus In-Depth Zed Guide [Detailed Matchups WIP]

By Lethal Burrito | Updated on August 26, 2020
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Taste of Blood
Eyeball Collection
Ultimate Hunter

Nullifying Orb

+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+8 Magic Resist


LoL Summoner Spell: Flash


LoL Summoner Spell: Ignite


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Middle Lane
Ranked #29 in
Middle Lane
Win 52%
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Champion Build Guide

Prømëtheus In-Depth Zed Guide [Detailed Matchups WIP]

By Lethal Burrito
Who doesn't love Zed? I mean, being able to 100 to 0 practically any champion in the entire game and then proceed to recall over their dead body is what we think of him, but that assassin is much more than an infamous executioner. That aside, our shadowy ninja has been my main for over two years now. Having some great success in diamond/master Elo, I thought that sharing my experience with you guys would greatly benefit the ones that feel like Zed is the right one to main.
Pros / Cons Back to Top

+ Outplay potential
+ High mobility
+ Great splitpusher
+ Insane snowball
+ Last hitting
+ Resetting tower aggro
Zed is a great pick in solo queue if in good hands. While he doesn't have the greatest laning phase and he lacks any form of hard CC, his outplay potential and instant burst makes him a great splitpusher since backing out as Zed is quite easy.


- Hard to master
- High skill cap
- Susceptible to CC
- Lack of CC and sustain
- Falls off late game
- Does not do well if behind
- Itemization against Zed

It's not a secret that our shadowy fellow isn't the most versatile champion out there. Being difficult to master and having an extremely high skill cap, he is also highly susceptible to CC - in fact the most vulnerable moment is when he uses his ultimate. It will virtually annihilate him, having himself no CC and no sustain. He also falls off late game since items such as will be built. Exhaust is also quite the bother.
Runes Back to Top
Electrocute is a pretty obvious choice :/ You can go for Predator in low elo for more roaming efficiency, other than that as good as it may sound Dark Harvest is pretty troll and Hail of Blades isn't great on Zed, unless the enemy laner is melee OR a ranged champion without CC.

Domination & Sorcery

Due to this season being harsh to Zed with the exception of lethality items being buffed, this rune is a better choice since it offers more survivability. The extra damage from might be nice but it becomes irrelevant pretty quickly.

The other alternatives in this branch are pretty bad, so the bonus AD is the best option.

Further reducing your Death Mark CD is very important for Zed, allowing him to be even more deadly, and him not killing his target won't be as impactful as before.

Now that has been reworked, it no longer suits Zed's need to survive laning phase without falling behind. This rune is better since the meta revolves more around AP heavy midlaner nowadays. It also scales decently well in the mid to late game.

If you aren't going for a Black Cleaver, this rune will grant you the necessary CDR in order for Zed to be relevant.

Domination & Resolve

Since you're already playing safe by going Resolve, this rune allows you to survive laning phase and safely sustain from a distance.

The other alternatives in this branch are pretty bad, so the bonus AD is the best option.

Further reducing your Death Mark CD is very important for Zed, allowing him to be even more deadly, and him not killing his target won't be as impactful as before.

Good rune to splitpush and also helpful when trying to get plates. Especially powerful if you're going the bruiser build.

This rune makes it harder for you to die during trades or just the laning phase in general. Great against champions like Talon, LeBlanc, etc.

Domination & Precision

Due to this season being harsh to Zed with the exception of lethality items being buffed, this rune is a better choice since it offers more survivability. The extra damage from might be nice but it becomes irrelevant pretty quickly.

The other alternatives in this branch are pretty bad, so the bonus AD is the best option.

Further reducing your Death Mark CD is very important for Zed, allowing him to be even more deadly, and him not killing his target won't be as impactful as before.

Even though Triumph is a useful rune for insuring a gold lead and extra health during a teamfight, the additional energy you get after each takedown and the amount restored you get helps you stay impactful during prolonged teamfights.

Now that Zed's base attack speed has been increased, combined with this rune his early game is now significantly better and his late game pushing power is now also safer, because W is no longer necessary to quickly shove lanes.
Summoner Spells Back to Top


Flash: Is a great Get Out of Jail free card. Why would you not pick this? Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.

Ignite: The best summoner spell for Zed. Brings even more lane pressure and kill potential to the table pre-6 and post-6. A kill a day makes the elo rain.

Teleport: A pretty rare pick. If you don't think you'll be able to abuse your enemy laner and get a snowball going, this can come in quite handy. Also useful when you'll have to split a lot (Going bot for superior Baron control).

Exhaust: Unusual pick on Zed, gotta agree. I usually pick this when the enemy laner either has insane burst like Talon or Jayce, or when he is a big bully. Safe choice but don't expect to snowball early.

Cleanse: Truly odd, to be honest. It's only useful when they have an early jungle bully such as Elise that has some form of CC AND a midlaner along the lines of Cassiopeia. Smart choice but not optimal on Zed.
Abilities Back to Top
Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

If you're being pushed in under tower and you have difficulty csing OR when it's a melee matchup, go for Shadow Slash most of the time. Else pick Living Shadow second, as it is a safer choice.

Max Razor Shuriken as it is your main source of damage in lane and during the game overall. It also reduces the energy cost and the cooldown.

Then max Shadow Slash for the reduced cooldown, and the increased damage and slow.

Lastly, Living Shadow should be the last spell you max since it doesn't directly grant Zed more damage. However putting a second point in it before maxing Shadow Slash slightly reduces the cost and the cooldown by 2, which is significant. I rarely do that though.
Combos Back to Top


Honestly Zed has an insane amount of outplay potential, which makes his combos purely situational. Don't compare him to Yasuo for example with his cancer keyblade. This video of mine should help you guys a little! Shameless plug ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)


Shadow Slash

Zed's most basic combo. Since Shadow Slash doesn't require any form of channel, auto attacking and using this spell might require some practice to getting the perfect timing. Combined with Duskblade of Draktharr, it can actually deal a ridiculous amount of damage for close to no effort.

[0:32] Combo: E -> AA

Swift Strike

This combo let's you quickly burst squishies without burning Living Shadow, Zed's core basic spell. Use Razor Shuriken then combine it with the first combo. This will also proc Electrocute.

[0:45] Combo: Q -> E -> AA

Bread And Butter

This is the harass combo that you'll undoubtedly spam during laning phase. If you want to use your W offensively, throw Living Shadow on top of your enemy then proceed to apply your Shadow Slash slow to secure your double Razor Shuriken to then proc Electrocute. If you time well your combo, you can apply another Shadow Slash on the enemy right before your shadow disappears. Another way to use this combo more passively is to walk up to the enemy and send your Living Shadow towards your tower, then trade with your opponent. I don't really encourage this since they can heavily harass you while you walk up to them.

[0:57] Combo: W -> E -> Q/E -> W -> Q

In For The Kill

This combo is basically an all in pre-6. If the enemy is around 50 to 70% of their maximum health it'll usually result in a well-earned kill. start by executing Zed's third combo, then wait some time so they won't suspect an all in from you. If possible apply Shadow Slash's slow again for a greater chance of getting the kill, then immediately switch back to your Living Shadow, AA and Ignite him and voilà! You got yourself a kill. I recommend using this combo only when the enemy laner burned his spells beforehand since Zed will become insanely vulnerable, having no energy and cooldowns whatsoever.

[1:15] Combo: W -> E -> Q -> W -> E -> AA

Mark of Demise

Both the most generic and simple ultimate combo, it is undemanding to execute yet deadly. This will usually kill their carry if they do not receive any heals or shields. You can always throw in an Ignite just to make sure they die.

[1:38] Combo: R -> E -> AA -> AA -> Q -> R

Restless Pursuit

[2:00] Combo: W -> W -> R -> E -> AA -> Q -> R

Instant Execution

[2:20] Combo: W -> R -> E -> AA -> W -> Q -> R

Unseen Shadow

[2:42] Combo: R -> E -> AA -> W -> Q -> R -> W -> Flash -> E -> AA

Shuriken Spear - The Line

[3:07] Combo: R -> E -> AA -> W -> Q -> R

Sudden Obliteration

[3:29] Combo: W -> R -> E -> AA -> Flash -> Q -> R -> W -> E -> AA

Misery From Afar

[3:44] Combo: W -> R -> E -> AA -> Q -> W -> R -> Flash -> E -> AA -> Q

Concealed Darkness

[4:18] Combo: W -> R -> E -> AA -> W -> Q -> R -> Flash -> E -> AA

ll Stylish Special

[X:XX] Combo: Flash -> R -> E -> AA -> W -> Q -> R -> W


  • Zed's Shadow Slash does not require any form of channel. This gives him the chance to decrease his Living Shadow cooldown while swiftly running away.
  • If you use Death Mark on a target but he dies before you even appear, the cooldown will be set to 5 seconds.
  • When you W -> E -> Q a wave, you will regain energy since your Razor Shuriken will both hit the minions, making usage of Living Shadow's passive.
  • After casting Death Mark, you have to wait at least 0.5 seconds to switch back to that shadow.
  • While ulting Zed becomes untargetable for 0.75 seconds, thus avoiding damage from Requiem, Chum the Waters, etc.
Items Back to Top
Starting Items

Long Sword
Combined with Refillable Potion, this lets you get started on your core item while also giving you some sustain in lane. Refillable Potion being very cost efficient, you won't spend much on potions thus getting your items sooner.

Doran's Shield
Combined with a Health Potion, this alternative starts gives you much more sustain in lane, offering a much safer start. You generally take this in hard matchups or when you're not confident enough in your laning phase. Doran's Shield is highly effective when facing champions with some sort of DoT, for instance Malzahar, Fizz, or enemies that poke a lot.

Core Items

Duskblade of Draktharr
You'll generally want to rush this due to the massive damage increase it offers Zed. Be sure to proc it in lane for even more effectiveness.

Youmuu's Ghostblade
This is the next core item for Zed since it offers a lot of damage and overall stats that are great for you. More importantly, the active will help you get in range of enemies for you to assassinate. The mobility offered lets you be mobile, navigate swiftly during fights and easily escape.

The Black Cleaver
Black Cleaver is generally the third item a Zed should build, as it's a good mix of damage, armor shred, cooldown reduction which synergies extremely well with him, and some health to survive after having assassinated one of their carries.

Maw of Malmortius
This can be a pretty good pick against high magic damage teams or burst. You'd generally start off with a Hexdrinker which is also a pretty good item in lane when in a tough matchup, since it offers more survivability.

Lord Dominik's Regards
With Ardent Censer supports receiving a huge nerf and tanks rising yet again from their graves, the bonus damage that Lord Dominik's Regards grants against armor stacking enemies like Ornn or even Maokai usually comes in quite handy when they have a comp centered on their ADC. Buying Black Cleaver will however most certainly reduce the effectiveness of the bonus damage granted, but this solely depends on their team. I though think Mortal Reminder gives Zed a bigger impact in teamfights.

Mortal Reminder
Even if their carry did not build any form of armor against you, Mortal Reminder is still often a good idea when you have to reduce their healing from Heal, Blade of the Ruined King, Bloodthirster, so on and so forth, because the reduced healing can change whether you will successfully pop them or not, which can change teamfights. The 25% armor penetration can come in quite handy against tanks even if they're not usually Zed's targets, and even if it only grants 45 AD which is relatively low compared to other damaging items, a well executed spell rotation should always end up with a dead carry on their team.

Guardian Angel
At this stage of the game it's generally a good idea to pick up a defensive item like Guardian Angel since going full glass cannon can easily throw the game, and at this point a full proper spell rotation ends up with a dead carry. The armor can come in quite handy and the passive offered is extremely useful especially on Zed.

Situational Items

Mercurial Scimitar
A good pick against heavy CC like Cassiopeia and such, this item gives Zed some sustain while splitting and also grants him some magic resist, increasing his survivability overall. The movement speed is also useful when trying to catch one their carries or to just swiftly run away. If however they have more magic burst, Maw of Malmortius should be optimal in that situation.

Death's Dance
High risk high reward item, this gives Zed the possibility to go even more ham during teamfights thanks to it's passive, turning 30% of the damage received into bleed over 5 seconds, allowing himself to survive if he's able to sustain off of something or by getting heals or shields. Death's Dance granting average AD but solid resistances, this item calls for a more agressive play style. The 10% CDR is also pleasant.

Blade of the Ruined King
Is this season 5?!? (That build is long forgotten) Jokes aside, BoTrK can come in quite handy when you are facing 3+ tanks in a game. The sustain is quite nice, the bonus attack speed lets you place more autos on the enemy you just ulted and the active helps Zed chase his targets and run away in sticky situations. You need to cast ultimate then use the active for the damage to stack (since it deals magic damage). However, getting this item reduces Zed's burst by quite a lot. I rarely ever get it.

Edge of Night
This could be a potential replacement to one of the last items one would usually get on Zed, useful against teams where a spell shield is very useful, for instance a Twisted Fate Yellow Card, a Karthus Requiem, so on and so forth. With that said, I don't like it as much as before due to the changes and rarely ever build it anymore.

Sanguine Blade
This item is literally a double-edged blade. It offers a fairly low amount of AD compared to the plethora of items Zed can utilize, 10% lifesteal, low lethality and decent attack speed ONLY when dueling. This renders the item completely useless in teamfights since you'll only have the base stats the item has to offer, which are pretty bad by themselves. It also forces you to commit to perma splitting, which also beats the purpose since you'll inevitably be two or three manned, which will disable the only thing this item has going for it, being the attack speed. I guess combined with , it offers Zed the chance to efficiently split, do jungle camps on the way and sustain without having to base.

Umbral Glaive
This item is more of an early to mid game pick since it isn't the best stats wise, however by itself is decent. Being only 2600, it offers 50 AD, 10% CDR, more lethality than , and a passive that gives good vision control around the map. Nonetheless, this item becomes less valuable reaching late game.

Unconventional Items

Titanic Hydra
The good old times when Ravenous was pretty good on Zed... Now, it's not really the best of choices since many items have been added to the game. However, Titanic is viable. Why you ask? It gives a decent amount of AD, some health which will help you survive deadly situations, good waveclear which is highly effective on Zed since he tends to split a lot, and last but not least an AA reset. Combined with Duskblade of Draktharr, it offers an insane amount of burst without having to burn the ultimate, and only has a 20 second CD. Overall Titanic Hydra is purely situational, and I personally grab it when my team has no frontline or tanks.

Sterak's Gage
It's like a Maw of Malmortius but against high physical burst, like a Talon or a Jayce. The build path can be kind of awkward sometimes when you can only grab a Ruby Crystal, but in the end this item offers some welcomed tankiness and damage, and some Tenacity which is great on Zed since CC destroys him. Combined with Titanic Hydra, the shield offered can be quite sustainable, however going that way leads to more of a bruiser build.

Dead Man's Plate
Dead Man's can be quite useful when facing full AD comps since it offers a lot of armor and some health which can be quite useful. The movement speed offered is actually really significant, building up to a 100! This lets Zed apply way more pressure on the map since he will be able to rotate much faster. The damage it offers combined with Duskblade of Draktharr when you AA is also quite valuable.

Phantom Dancer
ll Stylish does take some odd decisions; doesn't mean he's wrong, right? With PD, you gain some ADC stats that increase your burst if you get the chance to AA, get increased movement speed which helps Zed roam more effectively, and a unique passive which makes dueling with Zed a lot safer. Grab it only if you split a lot and are really ahead since it is purely situational.

Statikk Shiv
Like the Phantom Dancer, you generally build this item when you have a sustainable lead in the game. It offers decent movement speed which helps Zed roam, good burst that can work with the Duskblade proc, and some ADC stats that helps you dish out more damage during short trades or when after having ultied a target. Practical and useful, however don't take it every game because it's purely situational.


Mercury's Treads
These are definitely the boots you'll most often want on Zed. Not particularly synergizing with any boots, the increased tenacity granted and the reduced magic damage makes Mercury's Treads often the best choice on him.

Ninja Tabi
This pair of boots is a solid choice when laning versus an AD laner, especially against high AD comps.

Boots of Swiftness
If the enemy team has neither enough physical damage for you to buy Ninja Tabi nor CC and/or magic damage that would make Mercury's Treads optimal, the extra mobility from these boots would be quite handy. A rare buy though.

Ionian Boots of Lucidity
Yea we get it. Nobody likes over-capping on CDR because they feel like they're wasting stats. But the boots of lucidity can sometimes come in handy in some games. If you need to get cooldown reduction quickly during the laning phase, buying a Duskblade of Draktharr then some Ionian Boots of Lucidity followed by a Caulfield's Warhammer can grant up to 30% CDR before 16 minutes in. Hell, if you add Transcendence on top of everything you can achieve 40% CDR pretty early, which is very valuable for Zed. The reduced cooldown on the Summoner spells is also quite pleasant.
Early Game Back to Top
If the lane is easy and your other lanes are winning.

Continue to abuse your laner. If you intend to roam in order to destroy other turrets, have more pressure on the map, catch the jungler in their jungle or get objectives like blue/reds, rift herald or Drake, get Youmuu's Ghostblade first, as it'll allow you to roam more efficiently.

If you however intend to get even more fed and strong, ask your jungler to come dive mid (when the turret is fairly low) IF possible in order get the final plates, the first blood turret and to open up the map. Also, grab a Duskblade of Draktharr instead of a Youmuu's in order to have even more kill potential and overall damage.

If the lane is easy and your other lanes are losing.

Just roam. Grab yourself Youmuu's Ghostblade and Boots of Mobility in order to roam faster and more effectively in order to help out your team come back into the game. Sacrificing a little your lead by missing out on xp/cs IS worth it if it means winning the game.

If the lane is hard and your other lanes are winning.

If you are able to shove lanes without being punished too hard or even killed, roam around the map to get some free kills in order to get back into the game and be relevant. Objectives and kills will give you more freedom to dominate the game. If you aren't able to shove the lane, then wait for a gank so you can kill the laner, push the wave after and if you're healthy enough to make a play, go with your teammate.

If the lane is hard and your other lanes are losing.

Not much to say other than buckle up, because if you die too much or your laner gets ahead to a point where you can't stop him, you become completely irrelevant. Safely farm, make smart plays and place deep wards in the enemy jungle. Never force something because dying when already behind as Zed may be the worst thing to happen.
Out of Lane Back to Top
Mid game:

At this point of the game you need to split a side lane, because mid lane just isn't made for Zed. Farm as much solo xp and gold as you can, and join teamfights only if you know that you will come out on top OR if you are your team's only way of getting on their damage dealer. Try to assassinate their carries as much as possible in order to shut them down and contest objectives, but never die for them unless it is game changing.

Late game:

Continue to split for baron and/or drake pressure. At this point of the game Zed is an extremely good duelist in most cases, so if you get a kill don't forget to push because of long death timers. If however you cannot kill the enemy splitter, try to get a pick and group with your team to get a game winning objective. Also, if they have a better late game comp than your team, it is better to group with your team instead of splitting in order to not throw the game.
Conclusion Back to Top
If some stuff feels rushed (Combos and the 2 last chapters), it's because I felt like I had to finish it even if I had no interest in doing so.

However, I hope you guys learnt crucial stuff regarding Zed. If you have any questions regarding this guide or anything in general feel free to contact me.

As of Season 10, Zed is in a really bad spot, having a poor winrate compared to many other champions. If you want to climb efficiently, I recommend staying far away from him. Until they buff him that is.

As always, good luck in solo queue and have a wonderful day.

- Totally not Gbay99

My Youtube channel if any of you guys are interested:

IGN: Prømëtheus
League of Legends Build Guide Author Lethal Burrito
Lethal Burrito Zed Guide
Prømëtheus In-Depth Zed Guide [Detailed Matchups WIP]
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