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Talon Build Guide by Lucorian5
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Riot Games Champion Spotlight
Watching this quickly will give you a general idea of how to play Talon, and introduce some of the concepts further discussed in this guide. So do take the time to watch it before reading.
Hello and welcome to my newest guide, done on one of my strongest champions, and one who I have owned for a long, long time. Talon is a burst damage assassin who is incredibly fun to play and cabable of a lot of neat tricks that will be taught in this guide! This guide will help you to better understand Talon and teach you how to play him, be it ranked or normal, beginner or advanced.
- Extremely high burst damage, takes down carries in one combo
- Is as good of an antimage as Kassadin, except he also counters Kassadin
- Low cooldown multi-purpose ultimate
- Lots of possible ability combos for different situations
- Squishy, will get focused
- Combos take practice to use properly
- Somewhat mana-hungry early game
- Oftentimes, when going mid, the enemy AP carry won't bother going mid, and will send a tanky solo-top champion to mid against you instead.
- Counter most champions that you will face
- Will get lots of gold from minion kills to buy your items
- Can effectively roam to gank top or bottom without being too far from your own lane
- CAN be succesfull, but tankier opponents will be more common, and you will have trouble fighting them.
- Will get a good amount of gold
- Not as many enemies that are easy for Talon
- Can't roam to gank bottom, because will leave lane exposed and can't return fast enough
- Squishy off the start, bad trait for a jungler
- Mana hungry early on, another bad trait for a jungler to have
- Clear speed is slow, and will likely fall slightly behind
- Will become more of a liability than a threat most often when trying to gank if you are behind in levels and/or items
In short, your best bet by far is to take mid lane and totally shut down the enemy AP Carry. This will almost-always work, and is a consistent position for Talon to take. Solo top is okay I guess, but its really hit and miss. The basic breakdown of it is: if your up against a tankier opponent (ie. Wukong or Olaf) then you will have a tough time; especially if its someone like Riven who doesn't use mana, they will destroy you. However, that being said, you may do okay against the squishier opponents like Nidalee and Caitlyn that may occasionally be against you. And finally, the jungle is really not a place for Talon to be, so just do your team and ELO a favour and stay away from it.
My runes are a pretty typical setup for a melee attack damage champion. With defensive Seals and Glyphs, and offensive Marks and Quintessences.
I take nine of the greater mark of armor penetration over the flat attack damage from the Greater Mark of Attack Damage for two reasons. The first being that early game, all the armor penetration from these and the Sunder and Weapon Expertise masteries will give you around 31 + 10% armor penetration, and the second being that most of your items build attack damage anyway, so its good to have both. A typical AP or AD Carry might have about 30-35 armor in total at level 1, meaning your attacks will be dealing TRUE DAMAGE, or close to it off the start. The flat attack damage is also very viable, offering a bonus 15 attack damage off the start with your quintessences. Both options are good, I find a slight early damage increase with armor penetration, but you can see what you like better.
For seals, I take 9 of the Greater Seal of Armor for a very welcome 13 point armor boost at level one. This will help you out against physical damage dealing opponents, and although typically you will be laning against an AP Carry, these are good to have against the enemy jungler or whoever the scared AP Carry sends mid.
These are your most important runes to take when going mid lane against an AP Carry. They will give you a very significant 12 Magic Resist at the start of the game, which will be a huge help against any damage their AP Carry manages to deal you. One alternative, and something a lot of people do is to take the Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist which gives 0.15 Magic Resist per level; this gives you a boost in the late game as opposed to early game from the flat Magic Resist Glyphs. Either one of these work and you can pick which one you prefer.
I take more armor penetration here, as its generally a good idea to have quintessences that build off of the stats of your Marks. Again this just helps with your damage output early game, causing for your attacks to deal true damage to the squishier carries. As with marks, you can switch these out for the Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage for flat attack damage instead, in which case get the attack damage marks as well to match.
For masteries, I take the standard 21 Points of the physical damage side of the offense tree. However, unlike a lot of people, I also take all four points in Sorcery as well. I do this because Talon does have fairly high cooldowns on his three main abilities. I ignore the defense tree, as its not needed at all for Talon really and five points won't really get you too far in it anyways. I spend my last five points in the utility tree, taking all three points of Meditation to deal with how mana-hungry Talon can be early game. I take one point in Summoner's Insight for the sole purpose of unlocking the next tier, and then put my very last point in Expanded Mind for a bit of extra mana per level.
Simply put, you must have all of these items to unleash your maximum damage potential. The Bloodthirster has always been amazing for Talon, and with Season 3, its even a bit better. A 70 base attack damage instead of 60, and now only takes 30 stacks to max out as opposed to 40. The Black Cleaver of Season 3 is an amazing item, and makes use of your early The Brutalizer; all of the stats it offers are really helpful, as well as the passive that can render your enemy's armor near-useless when used correctly. And finally, Ravenous Hydra is an amazing item, granting you some huge damage into your burst and an AoE effect on your auto attacks, not to mention the lifesteal. The active is also a nice addition to your team in a fight, just remember to use it!
For me, you have only two viable choice for boots on Talon. I used to ALWAYS get the Ionian Boots of Lucidity but in the last couple months I've realized how beneficial Mercury's Treads can be. They are both very good options for Talon; so I'll just say that if your going mid against an AP Carry, or if your playing against a very AP heavy team with lots of CC (slows, stuns, traps etc.) then take Mercury's Treads. And if your NOT going mid (bad idea) or if your mid lane opponent doesn't have any disables, then I would recommend Ionian Boots of Lucidity.
I really like finishing my build with Mercurial Scimitar + Guardian Angel. The Scimitar is just an awesome item in my opinion (and many others). It hard counters any champions that really on CC, and can save your life quite often if you get focused in a team fight. And the final Guardian Angel offers some survivability and resistance against both AD and AP attacks, as well as the passive that will offer you a second chance at life if you decide to die.
My favourite start at the moment is Long Sword and two Health Potions. This is mainly due to the fact that since you have armor penetration runes, you will be slightly lacking in attack damage at the start of the game. Long Sword fixes that, and also the extra AD makes farming easier. Not to mention it reduces the cost of The Brutalizer on your first recall; definitaly the optimal choice to start the game with. If you think your going to have a tougher lane, or your opponent has skill shots that need to be dodged, then you can consider starting Boots of Speed and three Health Potions.
- Consider taking this if you or someone else gives the enemy AP Carry some early kills and they end up getting very fed. Enough so that they absolutely devastate your entire team in a teamfight. This item will provide health and mana, which are both great for Talon, and most importantly, the 50 Magic Resist and spell shield will greatly improve your chances in a fight against a fed enemy AP Carry...unless its LeBlanc who got fed, in which case not even having the Baron Nashor himself as a bodyguard would save you.
- This is a pretty decent item, and although its certainly not the best choice for highest possible burst damage, it grants some pretty good utility, and the Sheen passive is certainly nice. I don't really ever take this myself anymore, but it can be okay if you have plenty of damage and think you can spend the extra gold.
I said this in my Garen guide and I'll say it again; I really do not like this item much. The stats are pretty good obviously, but your other items give you the same stats except a lot better. And the best part about this item is the active, and I dont know about you guys, but I forget to use actives on my items about..95% of the time. Especially in a chaotic teamfight or intense down-to-the-wire 1v1, which is kind of when you need it most.
I see a lot of Talon players get this item, and it actually makes me sad. I don't like this item in general, as I find it to be much too expensive for what it offers; however it CAN be decent for some off-tank champions. But for Talon its an awful buy. If you need magic resist, get Banshee's Veil, it also has a shield and offers mana and health as opposed to a decent amount of attack damage. I would not recommend this item ever no matter what the situation, its just not a viable option.
I really wish I didn't have to include this, but I HAVE actually seen Talon players buy this, and I believe I've seen it on a MOBAfire guide somewhere for Talon. No...just, NO. DO NOT EVER BUY THIS ITEM IT IS TERRIBLE FOR Talon! I really don't even have to explain, it just does not fit him at all; so suffice it to say that if you buy this item, kittens will lose their homes and the terrorists will win.
With the total re-haul of the Twisted Treeline map and 3v3 game mode in general, I find it worthwhile to include a separate 3v3 build into this guide. This is mainly because there are some items you can no longer get, and also some unique new possibilities made available only on the new map. Only your items should change, and as shown on the cheat sheet, your runes, masteries, ability sequence and the like will all remain the exact same as on Summoner's Rift.
1. The Bloodthirster is not available on the new Twisted Treeline, and should be replaced with Sanguine Blade, an item identical in all but the passives, which is still as useful as The Bloodthirster's, just in a different way.
2. I would recommend a change in boots. Games on this map are significantly faster paced, and so the 15% cooldown reduction given by the Ionian Boots of Lucidity will help your abilities be ready to use more often. If the enemy team has two AP champions and one or more of them gets fed, then you could just take Mercury's Treads to help defend against them if you want. Again its up to you.
3. On this map you start with more gold, exactly enough for both Boots of Speed and a Doran's Blade. So make sure you use this to your advantage and always take both off of the start to give you the mobility thats even more important on the Twisted Treeline, and the very helpful early AD and Health from Doran's Blade.
Talon deals 10% bonus damage to any target that is slowed, stunned, immobolized, or suppressed.
- A really nice passive, especially when you use Rake to take full advantage of it, 10% bonus damage is fairly significant through all stages of the game.
Talon's next basic attack deals an additonal physical damage. If the target is a champion, they will bleed, taking additional physical damage over a period of time and revealing their location for the duration.
- This is your main melee ability, and will give you some SERIOUS damage in a 1v1 situation. It is best used right after an auto attack, as it will instantly activate, dealing two attacks in the time of one.
Talon Sends out a volley of daggers that then return back to him, dealing physical damage each time it passes through an enemy. Additionally the enemy is slowed for a short duration.
- An incredibly useful ability for an assassin like Talon, deals some very nice damage while also slowing your enemy, which will allow you to catch up or escape depending on the situation, it is also a very useful way to trigger your mercy passive. Make sure to always hit your target with the blades on the way out and back, as this will greatly increase your damage.
Talon instantly appears behind his target, silencing them and amplifying his damage against that target.
- This ability is a large part of all of your possible combos, and is bread and butter with your ultimate Shadow Assault, as you can activate this right after you go into stealth with your ultimate, which will teleport you to the enemy and make the blades around you focus specifically on that target. One of Talon's coolest and most devastating tricks.
Talon disperses a ring of blades and becomes invisible while gaining additional movement speed. When Talon emerges from invisibility, the blades converge on his location. Every time a blade passes through an enemy, they receive physical damage.
- A really cool ultimate, and best of all, it has a very short cooldown compared to almost all other ultimates. It is great for escaping, chasing, and can deal very large damage, there are some neat tricks you can pull off when paired with your cutthroat blinking ability.
A basic early game combo, blink to them with your E, then Q them for some nice damage, then W for more damage and the slow as they try to run.
Same idea here, but if your chasing down a retreating low-health enemy, your going to want to start by slowing them, allowing you to catch up and finish them.
This combo is your bread and butter, it is your highest damaging and most devastating combo, once your a ways into your build, it should take down squishy targets in one go no problem. This is what you want to use as much as possible, as it will almost guarantee you a kill against the right target.
This combo is used to dive into the midst of a group of enemy champions, take down a low health enemy or squishy carry, then escape using your ultimate, another great combo thats ALMOST as good as the above one, and will still do some great damage.
This combo is used as a gap closer or to turret dive. It is demonstrated by Phreak in the Champion Spotlight at the beginning of the guide. It is about equal in damge to your signature combo, however it can be quite tricky to pull off and is easily ruined by Flash or abilities like it. It is also quite risky, if you don't kill them, or if you take too long, the turret will get you before you can escape. This combo is fun to try, and is very strong, however it will take quite a bit of practice to perfect.
When you activate Shadow Assault and the blades shoot outwards, DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT activate Noxian Diplomacy as it will automatically cause the blades to come back in before you reach your target. Wasting your ultimate like this will take huge damage away from your combo and may cause you to not do enough damage to kill, or die due to your escape tool being cut short, or both. This is a mistake I have made countless times in the past and will still occasionally do if I'm not paying attention, so just remember, hit Noxian Diplomacy AND THEN go into Shadow Assault to effectively use both.
The skill sequence I use for Talon goes outside the box a little, as it doesn't involve maxing one skill right away, then another after, and one last. Although maxing Rake right away by level 9 is very common, and although it does work to some extent, I STRONGLY think that Talon is much more effective if you alternate in a W-Q-W-Q pattern, with one point in cutthroat at level 3, and stopping to unlock and upgrade your ultimate at levels 6,11, and 16.
The reason I do this is so that you get a ton of damage from both your Noxian Diplomacy and Rake, as opposed to relying almost completely on Rake for damage. And the reason I take one point in cutthroat and then max it last is because it is almost totally for the silence and blink, and upgrading it doesn't benefit the damage increase a whole lot.
I take these two spells with just about every single champion I play, in my opinion the two best spells in the game BY FAR. Flash is VERY helpful for getting over walls, escaping, and chasing, while Ignite can finish off enemies for otherwise unobtainable kills.
Other somewhat viable options:
Heal is used by a lot of low leveled people, but is also favoured by some more experienced people also, I used to use it until I hit about summoner level 13 and realized that Flash is just better. But if you really like it, then go right ahead as it is okay for Talon.
Some people like this over Flash, but I personally prefer Flash as it can get you over terrain as oppossed to just making you move faster. Its good for chasing people down, but I would take Flash instead for sure.
Only MAYBE take this if your going mid, or if you plan on doing a lot of backdooring. I never use this, but it is pretty good and can help you turn the tide in team fights and save turrets, its good to have one person on your team at least with a Teleport, but it really doesn't have to be you.
Quite a long list. Now you may think I just got lazy when I did this, but really, there is absolutely NO point in typing out a miniature essay for each one when its the same for all of them. First off, they mostly have fairly similar characteristics being AP carries, and second, your gameplay against them is quite simple: you HARD counter all of them, and there should be NO POSSIBLE WAY for them to win the lane against you. Some of them are slightly more difficult than others, but none of them higher than 3/10 for the most part. So just use your combos, harass like crazy, and you should definitaly get a couple kills on them and win the lane.
This is tough, she is an assassin quite similar to you, except her damage is AP and she uses energy; meaning she has a significant advantage over you due to you needing mana. Pre level 6 its your show, so make sure she knows it. Your damage is quite a bit better than hers when neither of you has your ultimate, so at this stage play very aggresively and possibly call for a jungler gank if needed. Try your best to get at least one kill on her, as you will need it in times to come. After level 6, the tide turns quite violently. Her spammable-still-high-damage ultimate is a real pain, and will probably make your life quite difficult. Just always silence her when going in for a combo, and try to get out as fast as possible to avoid her counter-attack. If she has any decent chance of killing you, turret hug. Seriously, if you feed her its gonna be a LOONG game.
Two decent passives, but they're not the part of either champion that makes them strong. Its pretty tough to call, as 10% damage increase from mercy is good but not amazing, and the bonus stats from Twin Disciplines is the same; helpful, but not overly strong. This isn't an overly important category, so I don't know if I want to give an edge to either of them in this case.
As assassins, Talon and Akali both rely on their ability combos mainly for kills. And so both of them have very high damage combos. However, most of Akali's burst comes from her ultimate, and her Twilight Shroud is for defense. Therefore Talon, with three offensive abilities, gets the edge here.
Two ultimates perfect for burst-damage assassins. Shadow Assault is an incredibly useful ability with a really short cooldown compared to most ultimates. While Shadow Dance is great for damage, chasing, and is completely spammable. Damage-wise they're about equal, and Talon's is slightly more versatile, but in the end Akali gets the thumbs up here due to how hers requires no mana and can be used multiple times in a few seconds.
Both Akali and Talon are decent farmers, Rake can be good for clearing out minion waves quickly, and Mark of the Assassin and Crescent Slash are good also. No real advantage to either of them in this category.
The final category; Talon's main fault is that he is quite mana-hungry early on. While Akali uses energy, which is a LOT more efficient than mana. Talon however is great at roaming the map and ganking, and his Shadow Assault ultimate can be used as an amazing gap closer and escape. Overall, despite the no-mana advantage Akali has, Talon is slightly better for utility in the end.
Doesn't typically go mid lane, but on some rare occasions she does, and the chances of this are increased when her AP Carry wimps out and goes bottom, sending poor Caitlyn to face Talon's wrath instead. Anyways, Caitlyn isn't overly tough, however she has some things to watch out for. Avoid her Piltover Peacemaker skill shot as much as possible; but the most important thing to look out for: her Yordle Snap Trap. This will really screw your combo up if you walk into it while in Shadow Assault, as it will not only freeze you in place and waste it, but also reveal you from your stealth. Other then that just do your thing and she shouldn't be too difficult.
Diana is a tanky mage, and therefore is more difficult for Talon to take down. She is very hard to escape from, so be wary of this if you try a foolish or ill-timed tower dive. If you effectively dodge her Crescent Strike, it will greatly decrease her harassment power and run her out of mana a lot quicker.
I have yet to face an Elise mid as Talon, so I'm just going to have to base this off of what I have seen of her. So far I would say she is pretty strong, and could potentially be a tough lane opponent. However as I said I still don't know too much so I will just say to dodge her Cocoon / Rappel stun as much as possible so she has a harder time getting her combo off. And the spider form of that ability is a ridiculously good escape tool, so plan your turret-dives carefully if you think you should go for one.
Ezreal is usually an AD Carry, but he will sometimes go AP and possibly take mid lane. He shouldn't be very hard to play against at all; but is SLIGHTLY more difficult than the normal AP Carries due to his extreme mobility from Arcane Shift. Just make sure you use your silence wisely or he will just use it and/or Flash to escape you.
He's really not any harder than any of the AP Carries, you should still shut him down quite well. The ONLY reason he is listed separately is because of the incredibly annoying ability Playful / Trickster. It deals a lot of damage, is great for escaping, and, most annoying of all, makes him COMPLETELY untargetable. This means he can dodge any of your abilities, which can potentially screw up your combo quite badly and cost you a kill. So to counter this, you HAVE to get your combo off quickly while he's silenced by cutthroat or he will escape EVERY time unless its on cooldown.
Gragas can be annoying due to his tankiness and superiour range. But if you can keep dodging his Barrel Roll then things will be significantly easier. The only thing he has a HUGE advantage over you in is sustain. His Drunken Rage grants him quite a lot of sustain, while you have some mana issues early game. Chances are, until the late game your combo won't kill him in one try, so call for frequent jungler ganks to help finish him when you can.
The ultimate anti-mage...until you came along. Kassadin can effectively shut down every single AP Carry in the game with only a couple possible exceptions. His biggest weakness, is you. You, like him, can destroy any AP Carry, except you also counter him. I listed this as a 4.5 difficulty for two reasons. The first being that he can silence you from a distance AND deal damage with Null Sphere; and the second is the fact that he is virtually un-gankable due to his Riftwalk ultimate. Which has a terribly long cooldown of six seconds. Play VERY aggresively pre-level six as Kassadin is nigh on useless during this stage. After six, if you got some kills on him then really pour on the pressure, and if you didn't, be slightly more careful but still harass him whenever you can.
Can potentially be quite a challenge. She has good burst damage similar to you and can really be a problem if she is given a bunch of kills early on. At level 1, you have the advantage, as a point in Rake is significantly better than a point in Bouncing Blades, especially if you don't let her trigger the mark. The biggest difficulty in this matchup for YOU is that she doesn't use mana. This could really be a problem, especially if you over-use your abilities and don't kill her. So watch your mana carefully, and consider an early Sapphire Crystal if things get really bad.
By all means, you SHOULD counter her like the rest, but, well....she's LeBlanc. You really gotta play smart, because if you feed her, its gonna be a LOOOONG 20 minutes until you can surrender. HOWEVER, you still counter her, and so it shouldn't be TOO difficult. You both have huge burst combos, and while hers does more damage by a little bit, yours is much easier to pull off and requires less mana. This will literally just be a race to see who can silence the other first, keep in mind her sigil of silence is a ranged ability quite similar to Null Sphere in its effects, and above all, run back as fast as possible when she uses it on you, because if you move in she will use Distortion, triggering the mark and dealing devastating damage.
I hate Mordekaiser with a passion. He is a HARD counter to a burst damage assassin like Talon due to being able to absorb absolutely ludicrous amounts of damage when he has his Iron Man BS passive shield fully charged. I would recommend not picking Talon if you know theres a Mordekaiser on the enemy team, or at least switching lanes if he comes mid. There's really not much you can do I'm sorry to say, his passive will allow him to absorb all of your combo without coming even close to dying, and his sustain is A LOT better than yours as he doesn't use any mana. Your going to need a good jungler to get through this lane unfortunately.
Very easy decision here. Sure getting a 10% damage boost to disabled enemies is very nice, but that shield Mordekaiser gets with Iron Man is just insane. I've seen good ones tank entire teams by themselves for long periods of time with it, and so this category is heavily in the Kaiser's favour I'm afraid.
This category is where Talon is quite a bit stronger. Mordekaiser is tough not because of how much damage he dishes out (although he is cabable of some pretty good damage) but because of the INSANE amount he can take in. Talon's burst combo will out-damage Mordekaiser's three abilities pretty much all the time. Unless of course you use it on him when he has is passive charged.
A tough call here. Shadow Assault is a very versatile ability with a fairly low cooldown. It can be used effectively for damage or to escape. On the other hand, Children of the Grave can potentially turn your own team against you. Its very close here, but I have to give the nod to Shadow Assault due to its many different uses and synergy with the rest of Talon's abilities.
Mordekaiser is an extremely strong lane pusher. All three of his core abilities are partially made for clearing out minion waves quickly. And although Talon's Rake is a great way to earn him last hits, Mordekaiser is the stronger of the two in this category for sure.
This last category is a bit of a split. Mordekaiser has much better early game utility due to not needing mana; but at the same time Talon is much better at roaming through the map in the mid and late game. Its pretty hard to pick which one of these two benefits is overall stronger, and so I think its too close to call.
Morgana isn't TOO difficult; however, she can be frustrating for two reasons. The first being how tanky she is, and the second is the incredibly frustrating ability Dark Binding. This skill-shot trap is the bane of all assassins, as it will stop them in their tracks in the middle of their combo; and Talon is no exception. Do your absolute very best to dodge this as much as possible, because she needs it to unleash her full combo properly. She doesn't have any escapes, but she does have a shield, so be very careful if your trying to turret dive her.
Nidalee is not seen in mid lane quite as much as she is solo top; however, she can be a very viable pick in the middle, and a formidable opponent. Her Javelin Toss / Takedown in human form will do EXTREME damage once she puts a couple points in it. So you HAVE to dodge it, the most effective way to do this is to take full advantage of your minions, always keeping a wave between you and her. Also keep an eye out for her bushwack / pounce trap that she lays in human form. Its very similar to Caitlyn's Yordle Snap Trap, and can seriously interfere with your combo.
The most annoying yordle in the League. This cute loveable little furball is actually the cause of 70% of all recorded ragequits. He may look adorable and innocent, but this little tike will have you screaming in rage while he giggles like a five year old if you let him. You will almost always be facing an AP Teemo in mid lane, which is the strongest form. After level six, you must avoid all bushes as much as possible, as he drops nuclear bombs disguised as mushrooms with Noxious Trap that will slow you and take down half your health. His biggest weakness is his squishiness, so engage him whenever possible. HOWEVER, do be wary of his Blinding Dart, as in the past I've had Teemo's within one auto attack of death with everything on cooldown...and he just simply uses this so I can't hit him and ends up killing me while I stare open-mouthed at my screen with no words to describe my fury. Don't let him get in your head, because once he's in, he will never, ever leave you alone.
Vladimir could potentially be an annoyance, but hes mostly not too hard to deal with. He has two traits that make him a bit of a pain; the first is the fact that he doesn't use mana of any kind. Which is obviously an ideal trait for a mage, and it grants him a huge sustain bonus over you. The second thing, is his Sanguine Pool which makes him un-targetable and immune to damage for a very short span. Be prepared to possibly lose out on a deserved kill or two because of him using this ability in the middle of your combo and escaping. I wouldn't recommend spamming your abilities a lot, just when you see a good oppurtunity, because like I said, he has no mana and has a sustain advantage over you early on.
He's basically the exact same as you...except he doesn't use mana. Again, REALLY annoying attribute to have to lane against, especially with your early mana-hunger. So basically, he is going to be freely spamming his abilities while you have to sparingly use yours. From what I've seen, Zed is quite tanky without defense items, so this also makes it difficult. Basically its going to be a tough laning phase, so call for jungler help and just do your best to farm as much as possible. However, as soon as the mid game hits, unless he got heavily fed, then you will do more damage than he does and should be able to kill him fairly easily.