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Zed Build Guide by CaramelFappe

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League of Legends Build Guide Author CaramelFappe

Season 6 (Patch 6.3) Detailed Zed Guide

CaramelFappe Last updated on April 9, 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 Your kit counters everything in Karthus's kit. You have a gap close, he has no escape. Pre-6, easy kill. Post-6, free kill.
Ziggs Pre-6 Ziggs might have an advantage, with his insane Q poke and range on you. However you can farm with Q+W, and as soon as you hit 6, you can all in him, and kill him/waste his SS.
Akali If you see someone pick Akali into your Zed, you're either about to meet a smurf or someone who hasn't learned what Akali versus Zed is like. You dominate her at all stages of the game. Your early game is so brutal you can make her go through 4 health pots before the first back. W+E+Q combos on her, and if she gets low enough, all in her. The only thing she can do is Shroud or flash. Pick up a pink for Shroud, but remember, that circle is only so big. If you're fast enough, you can throw your abilities at her right as she goes invisible, and it will still hit her.
Xerath Just W to him and stab him.
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Introduction to Zed

Welcome! This is my first guide on Mobafire. I am a Zed main on the NA server. I remember watching a Zed montage and thinking, wow that looks pretty cool. After I bought him and had some of the worst games of my life, I thought that maybe he wasn't so fun and took a 2 month break from him. Now he is my highest mastery champion (and one of my top five favorites) so I figured I would try to share my opinions on how to play him. The videos shown here are all from games I have played on one of my accounts. Enjoy!

***Still in progress. Am working as fast as possible to finish. Thank you all and if you wish, leave some feedback!***

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Pros / Cons


+ Great early game
+ Easy to farm with
+ Spammable harass
+ Great gap closer/escape
+ High outplay capabilities
+ Satisfying and fun to play
Zed is one of the most powerful and exciting anti-carry carries in the game. His early game is great, as he is a great pre-6 duelist and can farm well from both long range or under tower. His Living Shadow allows him to escape ganks easily and traverse terrain that other champions might have to burn SS for. His shadow abilities allow him for great outplay potential, juking enemies left and right all while dealing damage. His kit is hard to master, but it is very satisfying when you can play him confidently.

+Weak to CC
+ Requires a lot of game knowledge to understand fully
+ Weak against tanky teams
+ Can run out of energy at crucial times if not managed efficiently
+ Zhonyas and QSS negate ult damage
+ Good positioning needed in teamfights
+ Hard to master
While Zed is a blast, he comes with a price. He is very weak to CC and Zhonyas/QSS will stop his ult. Learning to manage Zed's energy is key otherwise you will find yourself unable to use abilities at the worst times. The recent League of Tanks has not been kind to Zed as he is a burst-reliant champion. In teamfights Zed needs to be in a good position to take out carries suddenly and unexpectedly. His kit is fairly simple to use, however being a true master of Zed requires a lot of time and practice.

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Standard 18 down Cunning and 12 on Ferocity. I choose over because there's absolutely no need to have 5 extra last hitting power on Zed. The extra 3% movement speed on Zed is not very much, but it will help a bit towards roaming.

is, in my opinion the best choice here as is only 2%. Riot just buffed this mastery from 1.5% which was abysmal, but I'm not sure that the .5% buff really helped. Quick example: Let's say Zed deals 2000 damage to a champion in 2 seconds without this mastery. 2% of 2000 is 40. So with the mastery he deals 2040 damage. Of course we are not factoring in other variables, but 40 extra damage feels incredibly underwhelming. is also a decent choice, however this is all dependent on your jungler cooperating with you early game and giving you buffs. Later in the game it can be useful as you take buffs from enemies.

The last one I'll quickly mention is This is up to you. gives you extra magic pen./armor pen., but I really do like that 45% CDR Zed!

Thunderlords is amazing on Zed. Pre-6, this will proc with your basic combos beautifully to deal extra damage. Let us say you ++ against the enemy laner. If you land both shurikens, Thunderlords will pop for an extra 30% of your bonus AD! It is also great for trading aa's. +AA+ will add an extra bit of damage. As you reach mid game, this keystone will really start to shine, as it can even proc off your ult detonation!

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You'll see these same runes used in a lot of other guides.

You'll want flat AD quints for you core damage.

Armor Pen. Marks to pack a bigger punch against the enemy laner's armor.

Armor seals are great, as they'll give you defense versus basic attacks and even enemy ganks.

Since many mid laners are AP, you'll want MR glyphs to defend against them and/or their AP jungler, if they have one. You may also want to trade out Seals for Scaling Health, although this is purely situational and up to your preferences.

*Note** Something that everyone probably knows or has an opinion on, but I always take flat over scaling. You want as big of an advantage in the early game as possible, and scaling is not going to give you that "oomph" in the first 15 minutes.

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Passive: Contempt for the Weak

Zed's basic attacks against targets below 50% of their maximum health deal 6 / 8 / 10% of their maximum health as bonus magic damage.
This effect can only occur on the same target once every few seconds.

Personally, this is one of my favorite passives in the game. Farming under tower is a breeze, as this works on any target, be it minions, monsters or champions. In the early game, you don't have to worry about last hitting caster minions, as your passive will finish them off after the tower hits them once.
In a fight, Contempt for the Weak is a lifesaver. After Zed ults an enemy and sets his passive off on them, the magic damage from it will also proc on ult.

Razor Shuriken

ACTIVE: Zed throws his spinning blades forward, dealing physical damage to the first enemy they pass through and 60% damage to enemies thereafter. 「 PHYSICAL DAMAGE: 75 / 115 / 155 / 195 / 235 (+ 100% Bonus AD) 」

ACTIVE:LIVING SHADOW: Active shadows also throw a shuriken in the direction of the target point. Additional shuriken striking the same enemy deal 50% damage and restore energy. 「 ADDITIONAL DAMAGE: 37.5 / 57.5 / 77.5 / 97.5 / 117.5 (+ 50% Bonus AD) 」

This ability allows Zed to farm safely from a distance. Since he is an energy based champion, he can spam this safely. Use it wisely however, as it has a 6 second cooldown. Is it better to harrass the enemy, or save it to last hit a minion?

Living Shadow

PASSIVE: Zed's bonus attack damage is increased.BONUS AD INCREASE: 5 / 10 / 15 / 20 / 25% bonus AD

Living Shadow: Zed's shadows mimic his basic abilities. If a mimicked ability strikes a target affected by its primary effect, Zed restores energy.ENERGY RESTORED: 20 / 25 / 30 / 35 / 40 energy

ACTIVE: Zed's shadow dashes forward, remaining in place for 4 seconds. Reactivating Living Shadow causes Zed to blink to its location, swapping places with it.

You'll usually get this at level 2. You can then use your W+Q to farm from a great distance, harass, gap close, escape, etc. If both your main and mimicked ability hit a enemy, Zed restores energy. This ability seems simple at first, but there are many mechanics involved with Living Shadow that we will get into later.

Shadow Slash

ACTIVE: Zed spins his blades, dealing physical damage to nearby enemies and reducing Living Shadow's cooldown by 2 seconds for every enemy champion hit.PHYSICAL DAMAGE: 60 / 90 / 120 / 150 / 180 (+ 80% Bonus AD)

LIVING SHADOW: Active shadows also slash, dealing physical damage to nearby enemies and slowing them for 1.5 seconds. Mimicked slashes that hit targets affected by the primary slash enhance the slow by 50% and restore energy, but deal no additional damage.「 SLOW: 20 / 25 / 30 / 35 / 40% 」

This is usually leveled up at 3, and maxed second. Another great tool for farming. Using this ability will cancel autos,making it great for last hitting, dueling, and so forth.
A very important thing to know is that for every enemy champion hit by your primary slash, Living Shadow's cooldown is reduced by 2 seconds. Remember this for when you are getting ganked, need to catch up to someone, etc.

Death Mark

ACTIVE: Zed becomes untargetable for 0.75 seconds and dashes behind the target enemy champion. Upon arrival, he marks them for death, Ghost ghosts for 3 seconds, and spawns a shadow at the cast location that lasts for 6 seconds. After 0.5 seconds, Death Mark can be Death Mark 2 reactivated to make Zed swap places with this shadow.
At the end of its duration, Death Mark triggers, dealing physical damage plus a percentage of all physical and magic damage Zed dealt to the target while they were marked.PHYSICAL DAMAGE: 100% AD + 30 / 40 / 50% of damage dealt

This is your ultimate ability. There is nothing more frightening then seeing this assassin coming at you and marking you for death. It deals your base attack damage, plus 30-50% of all magic/physical damage that Zed dealt to the target while the mark was active. Much more on this ability later on in the guide.

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Skill Sequence

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

As usual, max ult first, levels 6,11,16

Razor Shuriken
Just a brief overview of sequence leveling. is your main source of damage. You'll want to level this second.

Shadow Slash
Is a great way to stack damage on. It does an incredible amount of damage and can cancel your AA but be warned: spamming will drain energy. Max third.

Living Shadow
This is your mobility/harass tool. You will max it last as the only core damage it does is raise your AD by a small percentage.

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Item Overview


Duskblade of Draktharr

6.3's new item for assassins! This item is overpowered. I previously stated to rush this item if possible. However, with some further time to use this item, I've come to the conclusion that this item is not best as a first item. The utility from Youmuu's is too great to ignore as a great first item. Duskblade is a great item to buy mid game, as by now you will have enough damage for the passive to proc for massive damage. I recommend this item 2-3rd item, depending on what your game is like and what you feel comfortable doing.

Youmuu's Ghostblade

Core item on Zed. You usually rush this item.

Blade of the Ruined King

Despite Riot nerfs to this item, I still find it amazing on Zed. It gives you lifesteal, percentage health damage, and a sweet active that can be used to either catch an enemy or get away from one. Good luck with Zed in ranked, however. 100% ban rate incoming.

Mercury's Treads

These boots are my personal staples of Zed. With the tenacity and MR, I couldn't ask for more. The only time I trade these out would be against an all AD team. However, other players buy different boots, such as Ninja Tabi, Boots of Swiftness, or even Mobi Boots. It is all up to you.

The Black Cleaver

This item is a must have on most of my Zed builds. With Phage's passive, the armor shred, and a bit of health and damage, this item synergizes amazingly with Zed. The 20% cdr it gives is also amazing, especially on a 45% CDR Zed.

Maw of Malmortius

This is a lifesaver against AP. Usually, if you are having trouble vs AP, you would rush a hex drinker then finish the item a little bit later, but the double passives on Maw are incredible. With 55 MR and AD, and the lifeline/lifegrab passives, you are set. The shield will save you from a lot of bursty AP champions that try to 100-0 before you can react.

Mercurial Scimitar

A good item on Zed, but more situational. Grab if the enemy has such things as Warwick ults, Malzahar Ults, other Zeds, or if their team has an ungodly amount of CC that can stun you for days (stuns, taunts, etc). It gives you 10% percent lifesteal, as well as a bit of MR and AD to go along.

Infinity Edge

This is a fun little item to have on Zed. Well, it's not little. It's the most expensive AD item. Zed usually isn't built with tons of crit so this is a strange choice. You can build a crit Zed that is pretty fun but for the most part people tend to shy away from this item due to its cost.


Gives you 20% lifesteal as well as a slowly decaying shield from excess lifesteal. It has 75 AD and is pretty much an awesome item! This will give you a good amount of damage, as well as a better chance to survive in fights.

Lord Dominik's Regards

Use this item only if their team is full of tanks. Personally I think the new Last Whisper items aren't as good and you'll get a lot of the Armor Pen. you need from Black Cleaver. Most of the time you will be fighting their carries and won't need this.

Ravenous Hydra

Some people really like this weapon on Zed. I don't. Hydra does give more flat AD and some sweet split-pushing, but let's be honest. Zed doesn't need a Hydra to split-push any better. Hydra's unique doesn't cancel his autos and I don't think it really flows well with Zed's overall kit. While BTORK might not be as powerful in terms of raw AD, its utility and passive make it more practical then Hydra.


Banshee's Veil

Good for countering those pesky LeBlancs that keep trying to jump out at you and scare you. Or Annie. Or pretty much anyone. Even Rengar. It gives you extra health and MR, and has a shield that blocks the first ability used on you. Buy against assassins or burst mages.

Dead Man's Plate

The base stats give you a ton of armor and health, and its unique, Dreadnought, gives you speed to roam across the map quickly and efficiently. However you will want to wait until you get your Yoummu's and a BOTRK before starting this item.

Randuin's Omen

I have not seen this item on Zed in a long time, but it is probably still viable. Good against teams with attack speed. Has a active slow that can be used for quick getaways.

Guardian Angel

This item is so expensive now its pretty much, I think, only good for those 50 minute games where one lost teamfight means you get to watch the enemy belly flop around your base for a minute, just to destroy the nexus as you respawn.

Death's Dance

Ok. To be honest I have never, ever bought this item. But I hear it is good on assassins. You be the judge.

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Quick Combo Guide

The above video is a very simple version of the Zed ult. The sequence for that ult was:
+++ + ++AA+

Another simple Zed combo:

+++ +AA++AA+

Zed ults the enemy champion. As soon as you mark them, throw your shadow out in front of them. This guarantees that if they flash or dash away, you can follow them with Living Shadow. Shadow Slash them, AA, BTORK active, AA, Razor Shuriken, AA. At any time you can hit W and switch places with your shadow in front of them.

A bait combo


This sounds strange, but what you are doing is baiting out any stuns/snares/ults they might have. As soon as you mark them, throw your Living Shadow next to them. Press R to return to your original shadow. Around this time is when they will be reacting, trying to stun you or whatever, but you have juked them and now their ability is on cooldown, allowing you to press W and move back to your Living Shadow, and combo them.

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Laning-Phase 1 (Jungle Help)

You're going to want to start off with a and 3X . This is the go to start for Zed. The 3 health potions will give you enough sustain in lane that you do not need a for sustain. On your first back you will turn that long sword into one of your core items.
It is best to wait in a bush watching whichever buff your jungler is not starting at. Around 1:30 you want to ward this buff, so your jungler (and you) can have a warning and be prepared if the enemy jungler comes to steal or invade him. You do not want to ward inside the buff pit as this will not provide adequate vison. You want to place the ward in a place where it will cover entrance and exit points to your jungle.

(Sorry for the small dots. Blue represents top wards/red represents bot wards. Obviously you will only have 1 ward at the beginning of a game; I personally feel like these are just some good spots to ward against invasion)

If your jungler gets invaded, it is time to help him! Let us say you are Zed mid versus a Brand. Your jungler is Rengar and their jungler is Lee Sin. Your Rengar gets leashed on krugs and does his red, then is taking scuttler in the river when Lee comes. Map awareness is key for early game. (It is always key but you would not believe the amount of times when I died as a jungler at my buff or in the river because my mid laner was oblivious to pings and did not look at his map). Chances are, especially the lower the elo you go, that your enemy laner will not notice either. As soon as you see, on the minimap, or a ping, don't hesitate to kill that last minion, or move your screen to see what is going. Immediately click to move there, then look over and assess the situation. Can I get there in time? If Rengar dies can I kill Lee before Brand comes? Is their top laner in the fog of war or is he coming down to join? You cannot stay in lane and think about this, you have to move immediately. You won't get there for another 4 or 5 seconds most likely, so once you are already on your way you can decide what the next course of action is.

Adversely, since Zed is an amazing pre-6 duelist, you can kill the enemy jungle at his second camp quite easily. Let us say someone easy like Master Yi is their jungle. Get your E level 2, watch your jungler. Around the time your jungle completes his first buff, their jungle will be finishing his/hers. This is your time to get into position.

Follow same routes on both sides

You want to go behind your side. This way your laner is not suspicious. It is strange when you see some enemy all of a sudden run into the river in the direction of your jungle. Once you get there, be ready to fight. If they have already started on their buff, chances are they are low. The new jungle is pretty brutal and by your second buff you're usually down to your last potion, if not already out. They will most likely have smite, so move quickly. If it is red buff this can be dangerous as they will get health back. If it is blue buff then you should be good. If you invade a champ like Kha'Zix, who does not have a decent first clear, you will most likely kill him. Even a Master Yi or a Lee Sin you can kill this way.

Examples of champions not to invade:

Volibear-He might have already used his passive, or it might still be up. If it is you are pretty screwed.
Udyr-50/50, depending on what he has leveled up and how he sustained through his first clear.
Nunu-He will probably have more health then you because Nunu doesn't die in the jungle.
Warwick-Waste of time.

***In general, it is best not to invade tanky junglers***

It is best to coordinate with your own jungler for these types of invades. If not, they can be very risky. You must be very confident with your own ability to kill them quickly and get back to lane, otherwise you will set yourself behind for a long time.

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Laning-Phase 2 (Trading)

You will always start out with . During level 1, you don't necessarily want to push the lane. This depends on who you are fighting of course, but you will mostly want to last hit. You will want to last hit the melee minions with your AA, and kill the caster minions with your. Always move around, staying behind your line of minions. Come up to last hit, go back to safety. A good trick to harass enemies is to last hit a minion, and as soon as you do, throw your at them. It will catch them off guard as they are not expecting you to do this.

At level 2, get your . This is where you can start to harass, however in my opinion it is not worth at this time. I tend to use my W+Q at level 2 to snipe minions in the back that I couldn't get with a regular Q or AA. If you spend all your time trying to harass the enemy, you will probably end up missing a lot of creeps.

Level 3 is when you get your full combo of ++. This is when you can start doing things. Unfortunately, Rito in all their wisdom decided that his W+Q animation cancel was a bug and so aiming his second Q is harder now. It is best to throw out your W first and slow them with E, then try to land your Q. You can hit E as you throw W and your Living Shadow will automatically slash as soon as it appears.

Below is a video showing the power of Zed. Many people do not realize how strong he actually is before 6. (video is a little choppy at the beginning

As you can see Zed's full combo does an incredible amount of damage. The Thunderlord proc was enough for the ignite to secure the kill. Akali underestimated the damage and got a little too cocky. Zed also does an incredible amount of burst damage with his autos. So early game, every time you use an ability, try to auto in between every skill.

This is a boring clip of how to CS under tower. It is not perfect as Zed in this clip missed a few. But it shows the basics, as well as signaling MIA's and responding to your laner missing.

As the wave is pushed to tower, it targets the nearest minion, which is low enough for Zed to take. Ahri is probably expecting him to walk up and try to take the creep. He knows that Ahri has her charm and Q, and since he has no minion wave, he will take creep aggro just for walking into the wave. A melee minion is worth around 23 gold. A health potion is 50. So rather then chance taking 200 damage and having to pop 1-2 health potions he walks back and lets tower take the creep. Ahri biffs her Q+E and Zed gets to clear most of the wave. He is pushed under tower but is still even with Ahri in CS, even a little bit ahead. This is something to remember. It is always better to sacrifice CS rather then chance a trade that you'll lose massively. You don't need perfect CS at 10 minutes, just stay ahead of your opponent.

Ahri leaves lane and Zed is sure she is going top to counter gank. He could have followed her, but decides to push lane and try to get ahead in levels. He pings several MIAs and warnings top, but Yi and Jax decide to stay. If you look at Jax's health in the top right you will see how low he is. He should have run behind tower and recalled, but ends up dying to Ahri. Yi is also in trouble at this point.

Zed pushes lane to tower. By the time she comes back to lane she will have lost out on roughly 2 1/2 to 3 waves, or around 300ish gold. She has made this up in part with a kill top lane but she has given Zed an opportunity to free farm and catch up.

Zed starts to head up river after he pushes the wave, but sees on the minimap that Ahri is heading back down the river. Ahri will most likely take the quickest route back to her tower so he sits in a bush. She has wasted all of her SS top lane and is oom. A quick ambush comes as she walks into him and there is nothing that she can do. Zed kills her and goes back to lane to push the wave. He knows he is safe because she is dead, Garen is top and Zed's health is too high for Udyr to do anything. Ahri ends up missing out on almost 30 minions because of this roam, which sets her way behind. So when you roam, think objectively. It is a great feeling to kill an enemy, but it may not be the best choice at the time. Ask yourself if you can make it back safely, and in time to not fall too far behind in CS.

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This is where your job as Zed might win or lose the game for your team. It is your primary goal to take out their carries. As both teams are gearing up for a fight, try to disappear. You want the enemy team worrying where you are. Stay in bushes, on the flanks in the jungle. When the fight breaks out, you do not want to run in blindly. Be patient and look for an opening. Wait for the enemy team to start blowing their cooldowns and CC on your frontline. Find their ADC or mid laner and try to take them out. In fact, you don't even have to kill them. For instance, let's say their ADC is behind them a bit, covered by the front line and is doing massive damage to your team. But his frontline is preoccupied with keeping your front line away from him. You come in from the side, ult him, he flashes/dashes/heals runs away. His front line is going to falter a little bit. They will try to decide in a split second whether to help him or to keep fighting. If they help him, chances are they will get split up and your team will start to win. If they stay, their main source of damage dies or has to base, while you come in from behind.

This video just shows a basic example of how to position your shadows so that the enemy is confused. Zed ults from a bush, into another one, kills his target and then disappears.

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Bonus Round

Shadow Bait

*Edit: I was listening to music at the time I was recording these, and didn't think about it recording onto the video. I will re-record these when I can. In the meantime, sorry.

Zed Shadow Bait

This is a fairly simple and common Zed trick. The idea is to throw your and attempt to land+ then back off. A lot of times, the enemy will think that you are finished and they can come back to the minion wave. When they get close enough to your shadow, switch and Death. It will catch them completely off guard and likely secure you a kill.

Zed's damage is often underestimated by enemies. His burst will catch opponents off guard and unprepared.

Not every play you make or every fight you are in will look good. Mistakes were made in this video, but the concept of getting to the carries or squishies holds. Zed throws into the fight, then backs off briefly and waits for the enemy to advance. Once Sion charges in, Zed has a opening to sneak into the backline and start taking out enemies. Also, prime example of people panicking when they get Zed ulted. *check: Ezreal before Zed's has finished, dragging Zed with the teleport.