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Zilean Build Guide by iidibitizi

Support So you want to Main Zilean! patch 10.4

Support So you want to Main Zilean! patch 10.4

Updated on March 2, 2020
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League of Legends Build Guide Author iidibitizi Build Guide By iidibitizi 116 21 622,689 Views 32 Comments
116 21 622,689 Views 32 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author iidibitizi Zilean Build Guide By iidibitizi Updated on March 2, 2020
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Choose Champion Build:

  • LoL Champion: Zilean
    Support zil
  • LoL Champion: Zilean
    Mid zil


Summon Aery
Manaflow Band
Gathering Storm

Presence of Mind
Coup de Grace

+8 Ability Haste
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+6 Armor


LoL Summoner Spell: Flash


LoL Summoner Spell: Ignite


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 way is always the same

The ways is always the same means that the way to build zilean has been the same since the start and it hasnt changed even with zileans rework (long ago...). Actulally, he is more op then before... (if you land all of the skillshots of course)

Zilean is one of the oldest champions in the game (in both ways) .and before,in season 1 to 3, there was no support items. so this is why you need to go ap items and not support items.

This Guide is on Moba for a long time.
season 7 and 8 update: in the olddays, therewasnt a lot of cd reduction items for supports like now. the only thing importnat when building zilean is getting 40% cd before lvl 13 and you can do it now with support items .(see 2 rules)
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Make Haste

ive actually met a zilean top main and he was saying he was better then me.
i looked up his stats.
His KDA is 1.7
Mine is 4.2Now i dont say this to brag, its for a reason that i have 3.8 KDA. As a support your point is to get as many assists as possible so u get money! therfore, u must speed anyone doing anything regarding a kill to get an assist.

Ive played zilean top and zilean mid many times, but in the end, in the teamfights, you end up being a support even if you are top or mid. AKa getting more assists and therefore more money.
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2 Rules

1-always upgrade W second
2-Must have 40Cd reduction before lvl 13.

Therefore, any guide thats upgrades e before w, is a bad guide and u should not consider it at all!!!
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level 13

ok ,i am putting a chapter here about something that is obvious for me because i play zilean so much, but maybe not obvious to you.

at level 13, when you max w and you have 45% cd reduction, you can: ALT+e, w, Alt+e, w, Alt+e, w, aLt+e.
always W right after E (like: 0.1 sec after-like: RIGHT away!) . and wait for the speed to end to speed again (dont overlap the speeds).
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Zilean's scaling

Zilean is super late game. I consider him the second best support, in lategame scaling. If i had to place the supports inorder of scaling i would put


alistar is in a triangle with janna and zilean. zilean counters janna, janna counters alistar and alistar counters zil.

Tresh and Blitz are excluded because in late game one hook/grab can be a vgood tresh can surprise,but lets suppose the other support has same skill level as you, you would beat him as zil.

janna players think they have the best scaling support, but they dont see zileans frequently and they dont know on how he scales... so just play passive, pass early game without dying and outscale that janna!

Zilean is not like other mage supports like zyra, vel, brand, annie...these champions are a bit like a dice roll, you might get a super game, but you might a supe ****ty one where you are useless. Zilean is a super safe pick for the lategame and almost garantees a minimal usefullness even from behind.
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how to combo

2 options:
50% of times: q,w,q,alt+e to escape
30% of times: alt+e, q,w,q, alt+e to escape.
20% of times: slow enemy with e,q,w,q, e(you or him)
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heres a few tips:

1- when laning try to bomb a lot at level 3 and 5 because this is wehn the dmg is optimal for the mana usage. Try to regen ur mana in levels 2 and 4 . This dosnt mean not to bomb tho!

2-I think using the ALT key is essential with zilean. when u reach level 13. practice this:
Alt+e,w right away, then alt+ e again (when speed is over...dont double speed youself!!)
and of course alt+R to ult yourself... (iv played so much zil that i have this reflex alt+R so i always have time to react)

3-thinking zilean is strong in the early game is the wrong mindset. You want to Survive until level 6!

4-33 cooldown of ult at level 16 means thats you can use it twice before going back ! try to use this to win.

5-GA note: always try to ult over GA. YOur ult with proc first, and GA will stay!

6- Kayle, Lulu, Kindred, trynd are champs that can **** you up!(am i missing some??) even if u tell them not to use thier ult over yours, they will still do it! therefore, u give them ONE chance. and if they ult, next fight you let them ult first, then you ult them.

7-bomb ignite is a kill. bomb exaust is nothing

8-vayne players get excited when they see a zilean but it is a bad idea, because the early game of both champs is super weak and getting through laning phase is really hard
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Support playstyle

Zilean is very squishy and u must never forget this. You are not allowed to get caught during laning phase.
Try to bomb the adc. Dont double bomb unless you are level 3 or 5 (cuz ur q is at its strongest- and to keep mana)
If enemy support is a healer, never domble bomb; unless you see an opening for a kill. ( so u would just q- no W)

If enemy s half health i would q-w-q-ignite

When in late game, i usually start with my ult: i keep using e-w-e to speed my adc, but when allies start to be low, i stop bombing and speeding to focus on the ult! when u land the ult, you start bombing around anduse e to speed the dead person or yourself!
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bombing efficiently lategame

When i am in late game (past level 13) , i always throw my bombs in pairs.
Now i dont use autocast on zil. To double bomb, i press q, then i click with the mouse then u press Q+W (at same time)2 times and u click for each bomb of course. this dosnt take long to catch.

I liek to use MINIONS to hit champions with the stun. If you can doublebomb a dying creep with an enemy champion nearby, both bombs will detonate and and there will be a stun in the area , evryone taking double bomb damage.

When in late game, i clear waves with my bombs, if you see the enemy walking in a pack, throw 2 bombs on the ground on the creep pathway to stun the creeps and clear a bit. yes that means i farm a bit even if i am support.
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Speed or slow?

If there is one enemy and plenty of you. you should slow the only enemy.
If there is one or two of you and plenty of them, you should speed yourself or the ally.

Now there are some champions that zilean counters with his slow so the enemy cant do anything : Nasus , Trynd, Singed. Very important to perma slow them if they are your enemy.

Now with Aery, i will mostly perma speed (e-w-e-w-e-w-e) an ally that really benefits from ardent censer, if not such ally exist then refer to the top explanation.
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Carry yourself from gold to diamond??

I have had really a lot of trouble winnning playing zilean support in silver. Mainly because zilean is a support that does not permit the adc to make many mistakes prior to 6.
And in silver, well, the adcs a really bad, making many mistakes.
If the adc dies, you die, its pretty hard to win. in silver my zilean winrate is 50%.

i got to gold playing karthus mid and ww jungle...once gold, time to play my main(support).
from gold 5 to gold 1 the climb was easy playing any support. (note that i am a very experienced player and i dont make many mistakes). Once gold 1, i realized that at this point, you can only play the champs you REALLY know! i played only zilean support and i did it to plat. now i will continue to see until where i can reach.
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Why dont i win with zilean ?

this is for support zil. check next section for mid zil.

a)you die too much early game?- dont fight before level 6. always tell your adc this. dont trust your adc specially if you are silver or bronze or low gold. you dont care about him. all you want is to scale to late game. so you play passive ,and wait for lvl 16.

b) i always throw my bombs perfectly one over the other after lvl 13, even if i miss them.. so if the enemy missplaces and touches the border of them, they will get stunned. importance of maxing w so you only wait for Qs cd.

c)you dont speed enough ppl to get free assists.

d)you dont revive the right target. revive the one carrying... not the vlad who is 0-6, unless he is the only one dying for sure.

e)i always prioritize myself for the ult. if i am in danger i will ult myself idc. no matter what your allies will say. your ult cd is 33 sec dying is 60 seconds...

f)you didnt read my guide and build like i said to.

g)i alt+e to escape after animation of q,w,q sometimes even without realizing i did it. this got me out of trouble plenty of times.

h) you dont use enough mana. IF you dont run out of mana consistently on zilean, it mean you are not doing enough. not enough roaming around the max perma speeding yourself, not enough bombing.
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the essential difference between support and mid

why dont i win when i play mid? i know why. its because when you are mid you absolutely have to land both bombs to succeed with zil. otherwise, you dont deal enough damage. the mid lane is the pillar of the game without a strong scary midlaner you cant win.

i mean yeah, you can win if your team is great or if you have one fed teamate. but if youre the only one with kills and all relies on u, you have to land both bombs all the time.

so, support tosses 2 bombs on top of the other and mid toses 2 bombs on one target. voila
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positionning with zilean

Sometimes, the carry of the game is too deep and ultying him means going through all thier team. you cant necessarely ult him. try to position yourself using E and doing a huge detour around a wall. so basically u can miss R cuz you are not in the right place. dont go through thier team. UNLESS you really think ultying the carry who is deep means you will live and ace enemy, then flash in if necessary to land ult. walk through their team. this comes with experience tho.
Falshing over walls to ult is good too.
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I use autocast on all my abilities except Q.

Whats Autocast? autocast is basically KArthus' Q. when u press a key, you dont see the ability pattern, but it cast automatically. Using this on e and R is a game changer. Yes you will need to adapt a bit at start, but give it 20 games and ull be fine.
I Use it on ignite and items too.

Press Esc in game and you will see an arrow under QWER press the arrow to put autocast.
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zilean and me/build evoulution

I am one of the oldest players in this game, ive been playing since beta, before season 1, and ive been maining support ever since.. except i was teemo support :D!!

I started playing zilean in season 3. It actually was my ARAM phase and i was only buying champions that seemed fun for me / that i woulndt get pissed if i randomed them and zilean was one of them. i was pretty noob back then, i was silver! my ap build that i used for evry ap champ back then was :

ROA, chalice, cooldown boots and deathcap. and my runes were all mpen xcept for armor seals.

SO u can see that i always got 40% cooldown, probably cuz i main support, and thats a suppport thing... As a fine noob i would get cooldown first and not ap.. like i would probably now (for other new champions i would try).

So aram zil was really fun i maxed q, then e, then w. i played lots of zil until i realized that at lvl 18 (bcuz thats when u got w maxed) u could be in prerma speed (alt e, w, alt+e) you could even overlap the speeds and you would still never stop. THIS is what i miss from zilean now.
NOw e is shorter time and is longer cd then w , so u always have like 1 sec between the speeds. so basiacally i learned to max w second, not e.

Now i kept this zilean build and took it to Summoners Rift .

Ok so when i tried my zil build in SR, i realized that the mpen runes are really strong in the early laning ,and that zilean really has a big problem of mana. I knew i could perma speed at lvl 13with 40% cd. so i alwys went for 40% cd. just really had a tough time getting all these items as support before 13! and i would always run oom compared to HA. so i tried different things to fix the mana issue and my zilean build became this:

chalice, tear, cd boots, deathcap.

At some point they changed the mana system in season 4. even if you got chalice you would always run oom on zil. so i changed evrything!

Mpen reds, armor yellows, ap blues and quints
Mpen boots, chalice, tear, morello, deathcap

this was wayyyyyyy too expensive, but by far the best way to build zil. This is what i would build on zil MID now!!
expensive, no early power, cd takes too long ,
so is not a good way for a support.
changed build again

so i replaced chalice by morello in my initail build bcuz its the same mana regen and u get more ap. TEAR, CD BOOTS (15%), MORELLO, DEATHCAP. VOILA!

i mained zilean in season 4: 137-96 (58.8%)
in season 5 they changed the point click of q and it became a skillshot that had to land in the center of the champion. Zil just didnt work for me in season 5.
In the end of season 5 , q now latched to enemy on thier side!! OHOHOHOHOOH ZIl is GOOD AGAIN. e has less mana q cost lest mana e cost less mana. MANA ISSUE GONE!!!

patch 6.8: just before 6.9, i hit my highest point ever in league: i went to gold 1, 98 points. I even got there palying only zilean.

I realized that there was somthing wrong with my zilean build and i fixed it just before the new patch :

the build now is more late game and less early.
i used to take 17 mpen in runes and 9 armor and 5 mr. and used to get 10cd boots.

now, cooldown scaling glyphs give you the 10% cd of boots, so you can buy the mpen boots instead. so now: 23 mpen, 25 ap 9 armor 0 mr.

patch 6.9: chalice would be a good item, but the healing/shield part is useless on zilean.
You must get eye of the watchers absolutely, or you dont have enough mana regen.
This item with the mana provided from tear and morello is enough.
the new zilean build gives 50 extra ap ( and i dont count the deathcap factor) from morello and the mana morello gives.

patch 6.10: theres really a lack of power by tking the ap quints so its way better to go mpen quints. ive actually realized this cuz i lost so many game with ap quints. now new runes got me to plat! and i made it playing zilean only.
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zilean build evolution (part 2)

patch 6.16: ever since patch 6.15, ive been getting coin and faerie at start instead of spellthief and pots, i think you get more mana regen that way and good enough health regen and you have to wait 625 gold instead of 750 to get tear. plus you get 11%cd red at level 1,and spellthief item is only 25 ap (who craes!)for all these reasons i go coin now.

ptch 6.23. now i take 2 scaling ap in runes instead of 2 cd per lvl. you get 10 cd at level 14-15 instead of level 12. the diffrence is very slight .

in season 6 i ended Plat II , 154-128 (54%)win

i have changed the runes . new runes are optimal zilean runes.

patch7.9. spell thief would give zil movement after the bomb detonates. you want the move speed just after you toss the bomb so u can escape. so id rather choose the coin way. specialy that zilean is level/skill dependent.

7.17. zilean has been lost for a while. ive been testing builds. try this new one. redemption and locket both apply censer and zileans r too. if you slow an enemy, allies that attack him will get censor cuz of stoneborn mastery.

If you have questions ask me. for me, evrything i wrote there is obvious, but sometimes ppl dont undertand. so jsut ask ,i always keep this guide up to date.
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Build evolution (part 3)

7.22 Runes have disapeared. WE used to take 10Cd reduction in runes-transcedence-, so we must find that, and since cd is so important, we should find the 5% extra cd too-cosmic insight-. WE cannot take armor and mr so we buy a locket to compensate.
so basically we have to take inspiration and sorcery. the -ultimate hat- is something super good on zilean. lower ult cd means more ults. i use -magical footwear- bcuz i think its the best one remaining in this category. and i really think -gathering storm- is really op for now, so lets go the sorcery path. -Aery- is awesome on zilean , it lets his e be a shield too.

ivetried 2 other build with zilean, arcane comet and guardian. i think aery is best.
and ive really tried evrything to not build tear, but i walwyas run oom late game. so tear is necessary.

ok maybe i found a way without tear(curent build), im still trying the build and if i find tthat mana is an issue, ill modify it. i used to take -transcendence-, but this build has already 40% cd reduction and to be efficient compared to the other runes in this group you need to have 20 etra cd (=40 ap), so you would go cd boots instead of mpen boots. i thinnk mpen is necessary. so i take -absolute focus-instead of transendence, cuz you are mainly at higher then 70% health, and when u exit ult you aer full health.

Now this build give ardent censer in almost evryway to your allies. this is because of the -front of life -rune . your stun and your e on enemy heal your allies, nad therefore gives them ardent censer. and -revitalize- makes all your heals and shields better.
Athenes holy grail is such a good item atm (it gives you 100 ap), and heals for so much when you e your ally (aery power)!! this buils iis awesome, hopefully i dont get to fight ayone who builds that way.
8.3: runes and mini adjustement to items: only changing overgrowth to font of life. and i am starting coin instead of faerie because this build is rather expensive and coin gives more money. and btw, this build/items is precisely how i build my other ardent supports right now (minus tear) -janna, nami, kayle, lulu.
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