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Zed Build Guide by Anonymous Shadow

This build has been archived and is for historical display only.

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Not Updated For Current Season

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Anonymous Shadow


Anonymous Shadow Last updated on November 29, 2015
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Team 1


Team 2

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
Twisted Fate This my friends is what you call torture, for TF of course. Dodge Gold Card Stun with Death Mark and GG win lane ez.
Veigar Match-up is easy if you wait for your moment and dodge E. Once his E is on cooldown go ham. A hexdrinker nullifies his ultimate and since he's an immobile mage, this lane is very easy to win.
Karthus Free lane anybody? Go ham, go aggressive!
Vel'Koz A simple lane because you're mobile and he is literally a sitting duck, or whatever he is. Vel-Koz is all skillshots making him a hard champion to master. This lane will be determined by how well you can dodge and how your ultimate is used. Honestly though, if you dodge his knock-up you will be golden in the skirmish.
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Hey there!!

I frequently play zed and I am Gold V, feel free to add me on League of Legends, I play in Euw and my name lol name is "Alphawolf1312". This is my first build so be free to give me feedback and comments! :)

"The unseen blade is the deadliest...

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Introduction to the Guide

When I started out on Zed, I saw too many Zed guides that don't really explain or elaborate the reason behind item purchases, runes, combos or general tactics. I wanted to make a guide that is super in-depth. I hope all of you guys, regardless of experience/elo, all learn something new from my guide. Let's begin with the summoner spells.

Notes: If you're unfamiliar with every champion's ability, you may need to learn them because I refer to them using their respective keys (QWER) in the matchup portion of this guide.

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+ Best ninja in the game
+ Energy User
+ Easy farming champion because of Contempt for the Weak
+ Huge Burst
+ Decent wave clear for an assassin
+ One of the best splitpusher's
+ One of the most fun and rewarding champs Zed is an amazing champion with tons of reasons to play him. He has a plethora of tricks and skills at his disposal coupled with an enjoyable kit. One of the most rewarding champions to play who is not that hard to pick up (It was a Zed free week a couple of years ago, and I decided to play him, in that astounding game I went something like 28/7 .


-First times will not be perfect
-Easy to miss spells
-Lack luster damage without Death Mark
- Death Mark damage countered by Quicksilver Sash
-Consumes energy fairly quickly if spells are spammed
- Razor Shurikenis easy to miss
-Dynamic abilities like Living Shadow make him hard to play Not everything is luscious and green on the other side, this includes Zed! This ninja has drawbacks as well such as not being easy to play at first. However, the Pros outweigh the Cons and if you can get past these pesky problems you will enjoy success on Zed!

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Pros / Cons


+ Best ninja in the game
+ Energy User
+ Easy farming champion because of Contempt for the Weak
+ Huge Burst
+ Decent wave clear for an assassin
+ One of the best splitpusher's
+ One of the most fun and rewarding champs Zed is an amazing champion with tons of reasons to play him. He has a plethora of tricks and skills at his disposal coupled with an enjoyable kit. One of the most rewarding champions to play who is not that hard to pick up (It was a Zed free week a couple of years ago, and I decided to play him, in that astounding game I went something like 28/7 .


-First times will not be perfect
-Easy to miss spells
-Lack luster damage without Death Mark
- Death Mark damage countered by Quicksilver Sash
-Consumes energy fairly quickly if spells are spammed
- Razor Shurikenis easy to miss
-Dynamic abilities like Living Shadow make him hard to play Not everything is luscious and green on the other side, this includes Zed! This ninja has drawbacks as well such as not being easy to play at first. However, the Pros outweigh the Cons and if you can get past these pesky problems you will enjoy success on Zed!

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Summoner Spells

Flash is almost mandatory on Zed. It helps you juke enemies and gives you insane mobility. Pairing this with your W and R gives you 4 movement spells in total (Flash, W, R dash, R cast). Ignite is also amazing on Zed. Gives a lot of kill pressure, and it can easily help you finish off enemies a lot in lanes.

However, I wanted to add TP and exhaust as considerable spells. While it is certainly lacking compared to flash or ignite, TP is great for splitting, and exhaust helps you kill champions such as Riven and Fiora, leaving little to no room for counterplay. Cleanse is lovely against champions like Annie, Malzahar, or Lissandra, to remove the cc and kill them.

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Starting Items

Long sword is definitely the best start for Zed. Although Doran's Blade with a health pot isn't that bad of a choice against some champions, you should start with the long sword against most mid laners, because they will poke you when you try to go for CS. Unless you're super confident that you'll destroy the opponent mid laner, go with the long sword. With season 6, Cull has been introduced, and some players build it on Zed. I tried it out, but Zed is an early lane champion that needs to snowball with kills, not farms. It would be useful in a lane where you can't kill them often, such as Malzahar or Lissandra, but with some help from your jungler, you should be able to kill your laner and then roam. I guess boots are also nice if you get harassed by skillshot champions early, but most of the time I do well with my 3 pots and I find the 10 AD a lot more useful once I have my W. Feel free to go boots + 4 pots if you want a safer lane.

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Core Items

Some Zed players like to get the warhammer/dirk before getting the cutlass/tiamat, but I personally like getting the tiamat before warhammer/dirk, then finishing the tiamat into hydra. Getting the hydra gives you a lot of dueling potential, as it gives you extra dmg for your ult. If you go for a tiamat, then you can push better into their tower, and start roaming. Getting warhammer/dirk is good when you know you can snowball hard. Because warhammer/dirk gives you a lot of damage on your spells, it would be good to oppress the enemy mid laner. It is a lot more risky though, so I recommend building tiamat or cutlass first most of the time. If you play Zed correctly, you should win lane against most laners (except counters such as Malzahar, Lissandra, etc), which means you should be roaming to snowball even further. For that, you will need the mobi boots. If you're losing lane, ninja tabi or merc's treads would be cool too.

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Final Build

BORK is self-explanatory: It deals extra dmg and slows them from getting away. It is especially good in the tank meta against tanks that stack HP. However, with the introduction of season 6, I almost never build BORK. Now I mostly replace this with Hydra. We will get to this later, but if you're a beginner, I recommend BORK for the slow. If you're an expert, I recommend Hydra, because you can use combos and you will split much better. Youmuu's allows you to get a speed boost for chasing carries down. The crit chance is extremely useful in late game. The lucidity boots are mostly better late game, as Zed will need CD more than speed. (Unless you're splitting, in which case stay with the mobis.) With the new item, Mortal Reminder, you can now kill a lot of sustain champs quickly such as fiddles, vladimir, or ADCs with heal. GA is just generally an amazing item for any assassins that risk their lives for enemy carries. Infinity Edge is extremely good late game, which is why it is the last item you should buy. Once you buy IE, you no longer need to hit your shurikens when you ult. All you have to do is catch up to enemies using Youmuu's, then proceed to ult, E, auto them once or twice, and if they are a squishy, they should be dead. Elixir is also self-explanatory.

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Situational Items

Situational Items

This list is all of the situational items that Zed could build. Bloodthirster isn't bad, but should only be built if you need the sustain in fights (which isn't really good because Zed is an assassin, but if you're fed, and you want to live longer to destroy them, feel free to build it). Most of the time, however, the BF sword should build into IE. Scimitar is very useful against champs that lock you down before you can assassinate the carries (Malzahar, Lissandra, Warwick, etc). Maw and Banshee's is super good against AP champs (Nidalee, Ryze, etc). Randuin's is a good replacement for GA when it's down. Merc's Treads are good if their team is AP, and/or heavily CC reliant. Berserker's Greaves isn't bad for splitting, because you can take down towers fast with Youmuu's, but generally I don't recommended it for serious play.

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Zed's passive is extremely useful for farming, and late game, it helps put insane dmg onto your ultimate. Obviously, Zed's shuriken deals the most damage in his kit, so max it first. At level 2, you can choose to level W for the early poke, escapes, and the passive AD that will help you CS, or level E, which will give you more dmg and wavepushing ability. I usually get W against mages such as Syndra, Veigar, or hard engage champs like Riven. I level E at level 2 if I'm against someone weak but melee, such as Akali, or Yasuo. R should be leveled whenever possible (Obviously). Now remember that Zed's ult makes him untargetable, not invulnerable. That means that you can't dodge damage over time abilities like ignite. Zed's ult is definitely the funnest ability of Zed. If you're experienced, you can use your combo first then jump to your shadow. The enemy will panic and use their CC, but you still have R to dodge their CCs. W, while it provides good passive AD and escape/chase, it should be maxed last. There are some Zed players who max E. While this is somewhat viable against melee mid laners, I would say it is definitely weaker than the normal Zed, but I will talk about that later in the guide.

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Ability Combos

Now, this is a very controversial subject between Zed players. Do you use your combo then R+autoattack to kill someone? Or do you R first then use your combo. In my opinion, it all depends. There is certain situations that you should use your combo first then R.
1. If your opponent has CC.
Your R can be used to dodge CC. TF W, for example. In this case, I like to use my combo then get into their face, making them panic and using their CC to run. I predict the incoming CC and use my R to dodge it. If you R first, the enemy can expect where you would appear, and can use their CC on where you would appear. In addition, using R can dodge point and click CC, but W can't.
2. If your opponent has mobility spells.
Your R can follow your opponent during mobility spells, if timed correctly. For example, on LeBlanc or Kassadin, I use my combo first, prompting them to use their mobility spells, and I R at the right time and follow them to their destination to kill them.
3. If you are being pressured by ganks.
Using your combo first gives you something that using R first can't: A choice.
If you want some kills but think that there are enemies nearby, use your combo first. The good thing about using your combo first is that you have a choice to recast W to jump on your enemy, or give up if it is too risky. If you R first, they will know for sure you are going in, and they will be prepared for you. If you combo first, you have a full 4 seconds of time to decide if you should go in, and it can catch your enemy out unaware.
4. If they are squishy
Many people complain that using combo then R+autoing deals less damage then its alternative. If it is a squishy carry, however, and you're not behind, then it honestly does not matter: They will die regardless.
5. If they're running exhaust
The thing about being exhausted is that it will lower all the damage dealt. If you use your R first, your opponent will expect you to all-in them and immediately exhaust you, making your combo null. To mitigate this, using your poke combo will either make them a)waste exhaust in fear of you going in, in which case just hang back until you have W again in order to full combo them then
or b)not exhausting until it is too late. If this happens, they will become way too low to survive much longer, make sure to go in and make them back the easier way.

However, there are some times when R then combo is better then the alternative.
1. If they are tanky
If they are tanky, using R will allow your combo to stack up more damage for the detonation of Death Mark. Using your combo first then R+autoing may not do the trick as the Death Mark will have severely less damage.
2. If they can kill you pretty easily
If they can kill you before you are able to kill them, you might want to consider using your R first so that it can finish them off after you've died. For example, if they have no skillshots but are fed and can kill me quickly, I like to use my R first to have higher chance of Death Mark finishing them off.

Most of the time, I prefer to use my combos then R+autos, but in the rare occasion I fight a tank/high threat champions, I like to use my R first then follow up with combo for higher detonation damage on my R.

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For season 6, I don't know a lot about the masteries as well as previous seasons. I do have the feeling of going 18/12/0, but I also think that 18/0/12 isn't bad against counter champions such as Malzahar or Lissandra for the defensive stats. I'm experimenting at the moment, and I will update the masteries to what I feel like is the best on Zed for season 6. Some people may go 18/12/0 for either fervor/deathfire, but I like the extra damage on my 3rd spells/autos. With thunderlord's, you can deal a lot of damage once you go in. If you are going for really assassin-y and focus and burst Zed, I recommend thunderlord's decree. It allows you to deal magic damage, which is very useful against armor champions. However, if you like to play constant damage/auto-attack Zed, I would recommend to go fervor for the extra auto attack damages.

Use thunderlord's if:
1. You want to assassinate carries quickly/efficiently and get out.
2. If they have lots of armor stacking champions, the magic AOE damage helps a lot.
3. If you are going for kills early. The damage on thunderlord's brings surprising damage to unsuspecting enemies.
4. If you are going against a champion with lots of mobility spells, in which case only having 3 spells/autos will still deal a lot of damage before they can run.

Use fervor if:
1. You want to play Zed that fights, deals lots of constant damage with autos, and 1v1s duelist champions.
2. You are against a champion without mobility spells, in which case you can stick onto them in order to autoattack, utilizing the fervor mastery very well.

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The one you saw in the beginning is my Zed VS AD champs runes. The attack dmg quints are obvious. Some people take more flat AD marks, but I like to have some armorpen for the tanks, and armorpen is also effective against squishies. The crit chance mark is there for some lucky plays, although you can remove it for another armorpen if you don't want to rely on RNG. Since this is a rune page set up to play against AD champs, 9 flat armor seals are very useful. If you're against AP champs, take seals of scaling HP. Finally, I take 5 flat CD and 4 scaling CD, and at level 18, I get about 10% from the glyphs. If you're against AP, switch these for scaling MR glyphs.

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Effective use of Shadows

Now, Zed's ability to assassinate revolves heavily around the player's usage and the placement of his shadows. There are different situations that requires you to use your shadows in a certain way to maximize your damage and efficiency.

Situation 1: You are playing offensively and trying to go for a quick kill.
In this case, try bunching up your shadows in a single area. This will allow you to hit multiple shurikens easily, allowing an insane amount of damage on your Death Mark. If you know that your target is isolated, make sure to put your shadows close together, so that you can inflinct as much damage as possible to your target.

Situation 2: You are getting ganked / low on health.
In such cases, you will need to first evaluate if the situation is good enough to try fighting. If you have decided that you can take them on, spread your shadows further apart. Your shadows spaced from each other will allow you to make some fancy jukes and take less damage from AOE abilities. This will also bait your opponents into going one way, then swap back to your remaining shadow. This will allow more time for you to damage them instead of getting locked down and bursted. This type of shadow usage is also effective against melee bruiser like Riven, Irelia or Renekton.

Situation 3: You want to assassinate a carry in a teamfight.
This situation is a little bit tougher. Because the carries usually get protection, you have high risk of dying after killing their carries or worse, you dying for nothing. In these cases, save your W as much as possible. Try getting in R range without getting poked. If you successfully R onto the carry and burst them, get out with your R and your W that you saved.

Obviously, you need to maximize the effectiveness of your shadows. Some other nifty tricks that you can try is putting a shadow behind a wall. This will easily let you confuse your opponents by getting out of vision, then suddenly appearing out of nowhere and killing them. Remember, the placements of your shadows are the key to effective assassinations.

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Outplay Combos

Zed obviously has insane outplay potential with his multiple shadows. There are lots of different ways to make fancy plays on Zed. Two of the most basic ones are to use W R W R or R W R W with your Q, E and autos in between.

What W R W R does:
Basically, this combo lets you stay far away from your enemy. Whenever they come towards you, move to one of your shadows while damaging them with abilities. This is great when you are low, or against someone that either locks you down or needs to be in close range to damage you i.e. (Yasuo, Irelia, Lee Sin, etc). Make sure to land your auto if it is safe to do so. To do this combo, place your W somewhere and R to an enemy. Once they try to attack you, W back to safety. They will attempt to follow you or shoot skillshots at you, in which case go back to your R to finish them off.

Another outplay combo that you can pull of Zed is the R W R W
What R W R W does:
This combo is mainly used during laning, when you're going all-in for a kill. This skill is useful against champions like Orianna, Brand, or Ahri. What these champions will do when you R into them, is that they will use their CC near themselves. If you pull this off correctly,you should be able to dodge their CC, then go back to finish them off. To do this combo, R onto them. Place a W behind them, R back to dodge whatever CC they will throw at you, then once you've dodged their CC, jump back to your W shadow to add more damage to your Death Mark.

Downsides of W R W R and R W R W:
Once you use either of these combos, you will be out of mobility (except flash). This makes the combo extremely dangerous under towers, because you can't escape afterwards. This is why these combos should almost never be used in teamfights, because you can't escape them after. These combos will not allow you to have the "easy way out" with your R shadow. These combos will exhaust all of your shadows in a single area, which is dangerous if you need to escape. Instead, use these combos in a 1v1 or 1v2 at the most. With more enemies than that, you should just seek to save your R to leave one way open to escape, or back off to find a more appropriate time to go in.

Using flash with your combos:
In higher elos, the players can often predict where Zed will appear after his R animation. They will attempt to exploit the fact that you appear behind them by throwing skillshots at the right time. If they time it perfectly, there is almost zero chance of dodging it using your W. This is the case that you should try to flash out, because your W has a cast time while your flash is instant. However, try to save it as much as possible. Your flash is valuable, and it is better to use flash as a last resort.

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Farming is super easy with Zed. In lane, your passive helps you tremendously on farming. Even if you're against a pokey champion, you can still farm safely with Q. Late game, his energy means that he can spam skill to clear waves, which is why he is very potent as a splitpusher.

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Zed certainly lacks things to bring in fights compared to other mid champions. He has no hard CC, nor does he have a lot of AOE dmg. Therefore, I recommend either becoming a super cautious assassin, or a splitpusher.

When to teamfight:
Teamfight with your team ONLY if most of these requirements are met
1. If your enemy's base is already pushed.
If they back to defend, you should be able to assassinate with less danger.
2. If your team CANNOT hold a fight.
If your team can't counter-seige, don't waste precious time on trying to split. Just help your team pick some kills off and push together. The worst thing that can happen while you're splitting is all of your team dying.
3. If you have good engage.
If your team has some hard wombos, you may want to stick around to clean up kills after the fight.
4. If your team is having trouble securing objectives.
If your team needs you to secure the Baron or Dragon, DON'T leave them to 4v5.

When to splitpush:
1. If your team is holding their own.
If your team is pushing waves just fine, you can try to splitpush and put pressure onto the map.
2. If your team is holding advantage near Baron.
If your team is near Baron, and you're splitting bot, the enemy must make a quick choice. Either engage hard, or give up Baron. Unless your team loses the fight, this is a win-win. If they come for you, then your team can secure Baron. If they engage near Baron, and your team doesn't die, then you can get their inhibs or even nexus towers. Especially in solo que, teams have trouble decisionmaking. If you can make them hesitate for a second, it may give you the victory.
3. If you're behind.
If you're ahead of everyone on their team, you are the main carry and you should be in all the fights. If you're a bit behind and your team has another carry, you should look to split. Not only will this give you the solo gold and experience in order to catch up, it will put pressure on the map.

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Thoughts on W Q E or W E Q

With season 6, Zed mains like me have become sad over the "bug fix" of Riot. Basically, it removed Zed's ability to W Q E effectively. Therefore, all Zed poke combos are now W E Q. You could still technically do W Q E, but the shadow will throw out his shuriken way more delayed, and it would be harder to hit it the double shurikens. Now all the choices we have is to W E Q fast or slow. If you fire your shurikens slower, you can have more time to predict their movements. However, the downside of this is that your opponents will also have more time to juke out your shurikens. On the other hand, if you W E Q fast, you may end up missing your shuriken due to little time to aim, but if you are good at using skillshots, your opponent will have little to no time to concentrate on dodging. I recommend the faster version for experienced Zed players, and the slow version for beginners.

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Thoughts on Maxing E

There are some Zed players that max E. I tried it many times and honestly I think it is viable. However, it definitely lacks the damage of a normal Zed. I can see how it could be useful for beginners, that cannot hit their Q often. I consider it to be viable, but don't try this in ranked please.

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Why is Zed not preferred top lane?

top is okay in general however, he just isn't as optimal there as he is mid. Taking Zed into mid lane means he probably has a squishy to kill there. The lusciousness of the grass fades when going into top lane facing most likely a rugged hybrid beast mixed with damage and tank stats. The standard top laners I see in this meta the most are Riven, Irelia, Malphite and Gnar. Zed struggles against almost all of them mainly because they all have that mix of survive-ability and damage to kill Zed in the laning phase before you can kill them.

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Another Weakness in Zed top

Another glaring weakness in Zed top, is that taking him there deprives your team of a tanky member. Honestly, junglers just do not receive enough gold, or as much as the solo laners do to carry the game unless they afk farm or get the majority of the kills. I'll tell you one thing, that Lee Sin you see every 3 games, at least 2 of them will not get rolling thus, being deleted like how a fly swatter swats flies. This means that now you have possibly 5 eggs waiting to hatch but no basket to in-case them in.

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I find Zed as a very uneffective jungler that cant gank untill lvl 6 has very hard time clearing and after 2-3 camps you already have to go back...

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Crush of be Crushed

There is so much pressure for top lane Zed to go off. And when I say "go off" i mean like explode in the laning phase. Many top lane champions like Maokai and Singed scale into the late-game really well by being indestructible beings with stacks from Rod of Ages. If you're content with just 'laning' with them, you have lost the laning phase. It's already bad enough that your team doesn't have a sturdy, durable team member, but also that your rival laner will just scale into the cliffs of Everest.

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More tips for Zed and other champions!!

-Punish when enemy goes to cs
-Remember to farm
-Remember what jungler you are against
-Blow ignite early to make a strong trade
-Counter item builds
-Try to get lvl 6 before your opponent
-Have map awarness
-Try your best

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Zed Montages
Hope you liked the montages, if you want your own to be featured just P.M. me and I'll be more then happy! ^^