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Zilean Build Guide by iSparklez

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League of Legends Build Guide Author iSparklez

The Chronokeeper : A Zilean Bible

iSparklez Last updated on June 24, 2013
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Team 1

LeagueSpy Logo
Middle Lane
Ranked #20 in
Middle Lane
Win 54%
Get More Stats

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.



Offense: 21

Honor Guard

Defense: 0


Utility: 9

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Hey everyone it's iSparklez here again bringing you a new League of Legends guide this time featuring a very underplayed and underrated champion, this guide is all about Zilean an amazing Ability Power champion to be played in the Middle Lane thanks to his Time Bomb and also a very powerful Support, thanks to his Time Warp and Chronoshift abilities. I've worked very hard on this guide to make it your best resource when playing Zilean in either one of these two positions and I would appreciate all the feedback the MOBAFire community could give me about this guide and this champion if you feel like you have a better strategy to use on him.

Please try to play Zilean following this build at least once before you choose to downvote my guide, I'm almost 100% sure you'll fall in love with Zilean once you manage to do something like this :

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Pros / Cons


> Time Warp is the longest Crowd Control in the League.
> Surprising amounts of Damage through Time Bomb.
> Chronoshift is a stronger version of Guardian Angel.
> Time Bomb has a fairly big explosion Radius.
> Amazing at chasing or escaping with the use of Time Warp.
> Built in cooldown reduction with Rewind.

> Does not possess any form of Hard Crowd Control.
> Hard Champion to Master due to the constant need of timings.
> Very Squishy Champion that can be killed almost instantly.
> His abilities all have high Mana Costs.
> Somewhat difficult laning phase until Mana regeneration is purchased.
> A Very Small number of Skins... :'(

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When playing Zilean following my guide it is recommended that you take the following Masteries to allow Zilean to reach his Maximum Potential, 21/0/9 Masteries are chosen to ensure a decent amount of Damage output by taking all the Ability Power granting Masteries a long with Cooldown Reduction and Damage Increase with Havoc and Executioner . The Utility Tree is quite nice to take on Zilean and thus is my choice granting you additional Mana regeneration followed by the Cooldown Reduction on your Summoner Spells and finally the increased Jungle Buff Mastery since Zilean will become extremely spammable with Blue Buff and this will aid in increasing his Damage output.

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Support Masteries


Zilean can also be played in the form of a deadly support who can be "constantly" saving his Carry from Death and allowing him to hunt down for kills. In order to prepare for this playstyle you should consider using the following Masteries or something in a similar fashion. 0/9/21 in my opinion is the best choice to make on Zilean when supporting it allows the player to acquire the defensive Masteries ( Hardiness and Resistance ) and acquiring Health from Durability and Veteran's Scars . Going down the Utility Tree allows the player to obtain Mana Regeneration and Cooldown reduction on the Summoner Spells and Items, something extremely important when playing Support, acquiring the Explorer's Ward and Total Biscuit of Rejuvenation and also of course taking the extra gold Masteries to aid you in acquiring extra income since you won't be farming.

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Greater Mark of Magic Penetration

Greater Seal of Armor

Greater Glyph of Magic Resist

Greater Quintessence of Ability Power

Greater Mark of Magic Penetration is the best choice of Marks for Zilean because you're an Ability Power Caster so you do Magic Damage, this combined with the already amazing base damage that Time Bomb does will result on a lot of damage against our opponents early game. If you're playing Support Zilean these marks will allow you to poke your opponents with your Time Bomb for quite a large amount of damage, but be careful with your mana.

Greater Seal of Armor is my favorite choice of Seals to use on Zilean to compensate for his low base Armor, these will help a lot if you get matched against an Attack Damage Middle Lane like Talon or Kha'Zix something that has been happening lately. On Support Zilean these Seals are helpful in order to endure the pokes you may be taking from the enemy Carry (Especially if it's an Ezreal or a Caitlyn)

Greater Glyph of Magic Resist are by default the best in my opinion to take on Zilean for the Middle Lane or even for Support Zilean because you'll most likely be facing an Ability Power Middle Lane so it will aid you in resisting their attacks. On Support Zilean these Glyphs will allow you to take a bit of poke from the enemy support. (Amazing against supports like Lulu that have a good poking ability)

Greater Quintessence of Ability Power is the best Quintessence to take on Zilean because you'll be building full Ability Power, these Quintessences give 4.95 flat Ability Power, which will represent a good boost in the early game.

Greater Quintessence of Health are the Quintessences I take on Zilean when supporting in order to enable him to better handle being poked, Zilean has naturally low health so these Quintessences will aid you.

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Summoner Spells

Flash is always your "Trump Card", it allows you to make many different plays, you can use it to escape from a bad situation, you can use it for an unexpected move against your opponent.

Ignite is a very nice and powerful Summoner Spell, sometimes your Bombs won't be enough to pick up a kill on a running opponent that is where Ignite comes in to secure the kill.

Exhaust is a must have Summoner Spell when you're playing Support Zilean, it's amazing for shutting down the AD Carry in both Early and Late Game.

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Ability Explanation

Heightened Learning(Passive): This ability will often go unnoticed but it's bonus is amazing, it will grant 8% increased experience to every ally in Zilean's team allowing your team to out level the opponent quite fast.

Time Bomb(Q): Zilean will place a small Bomb over the target Enemy/Creep/Ally, upon being placed on the Target the bomb will begin a countdown during 4 seconds, when the timer reaches 0 the Bomb will detonate dealing damage in an area around the Target.

Rewind(W): This ability is the core of managing Zilean and his abilities properly, upon activation this ability will reduce the cooldown of your other abilities by 10 Seconds, at maximum rank (5) this ability will have a lower cooldown (6 Seconds) then the cooldown it provides on the skills making it easily spammable to execute combos with Time Bomb and Time Warp.

Time Warp(E): This ability is the Longest Crowd Control spell in the game (5.5 Seconds of Slow if cast on an enemy), Zilean can cast this ability on either an enemy slowing down their movement speed by 55% or he can choose to cast it on an ally increasing their Movement speed by 55%.

Chrono Shift(R): This is your Ultimate ability, quite a powerful one at that, this ability is what allows Zilean to be such a strong Support post level 6. When cast Zilean will place a rune on Target Ally or himself for 7 seconds if the target on which the rune as been placed dies before the Rune expires the Target will be brought back to life with Health corresponding to the Level of the Ultimate and a percentage of Zilean's ability Power.

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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

> > >

You'll want to start by maxing your Time Bomb due to the fact that it is Zilean's only damaging ability. After Time Bomb we'll start leveling up Rewind I choose to max this skill second because of it's ability to reduce cooldowns when used and the fact that when you rank up this ability it's cooldown becomes shorter and shorter eventually allowing you to combo it almost constantly with Time Bomb. Finally comes Time Warp this is the last ability I max due to the fact that the Slow/Speed Boost it provides is a flat 55% and the only thing that increases is it's duration, I prefer to take this ability last and keep the combo potential. You'll be wanting to take points in your Ultimate Chronoshift whenever it is possible, at levels 6, 11 and 16.

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Item Sequence

Sorcerer's Shoes

Rabadon's Deathcap

Athene's Unholy Grail

Rylai's Crystal Scepter

Like I've mentioned before Zilean is a champion that is really all about his cooldowns and his timings and what better to aid in those departments then Ionian Boots of Lucidity that lower your cooldowns by 15%.

Since we're playing Zilean with Ability Power these boots are also a good choice if you want to pump out more burst damage since they give you 15 Magic Penetration and most Mid champions won't have much resist. In the end it really comes down to you on what boots you want to take.

This item is a must have on any champion that requires Ability Power to pump out his damage (Maybe with the exception of Galio) so Zilean is no different, you'll want to get this item early in the game right after your Chalice of Harmony and maybe Boots of Speed this item will raise your damage to huge levels.

Zilean is quite a mana hungry champion so this is probably one of the best items in the League to buy for him, it gives Ability Power for your abilities, 20% Cooldown reduction which works well with the Ionian Boots of Lucidity or makes up for them if you take the Sorcerer's Shoes, 40 Magic Resistance which will be incredible since you'll probably be playing against other Ability Power champions and 15 Mana Regeneration combined with it's Mana Regeneration passive will give you the ability to spam Time Bomb for days.

Zilean is known for being incredibly Squishy and easy to kill that is why I think this item is a MUST HAVE on Zilean it gives you Health, Ability Power and it's passive works pretty well with Zilean because you won't have to be spending mana on Time Warp to chase an enemy for the Time Bomb combo.

Optional Items

This is where your decisions and the enemy team composition start coming into play on your build, the Items above I find to be pretty mandatory on Zilean but the next 4 are for you to pick 2 based on your needs.

I take Void Staff if the enemy team is building some sort of hard Magic resistance (I don't think Mercury's Treads are reason enough to take this Item), it gives you 70 Ability Power which is a nice amount combined with the 35% Magic Penetration makes this a very strong Item versus teams stacking Magic Resistance to counter you.

This item is the other option if you don't want to take Void Staff, this Item was introduced in Season 3 and it's a pretty nice item to have on Zilean it grants you 50 Ability power and 300 health which works well to counter your lack of health and defenses, it also grants you a small amount of Magic Penetration (+15, nothing much compared to Void Staff) it's passive effect causes your damaging spells to burn the enemy for 5% of their CURRENT HEALTH, or 10% if the enemy is slowed (Which works great on you because of Time Warp) many people think this effect is lame because it wont do much on enemies with low Health, but I find it to still be a nice item for the Ability Power, Health, Magic Penetration and it's effect combined with Zilean and besides eventually you'll be hitting Tanks or carries building some Health for survivability (Many Carries in Season 3 like to take a Warmog's Armor in the late game for the Health).

You should take this Item when the Enemy Team is mostly focused on Magic Damage since it gives you 45 Magic Resistance, and 70 Ability power which is always good to have on Zilean increasing the power of your Chronoshift.

This item is just amazing, it gives you 120 Ability power (Which is just amazing combined with the rest of its effects) and 50 Armor. It's active ability is just amazing, it makes you go into Stasis for 2.5 Seconds (Making you Untargatable and Invulnerable but also stops you from taking any action during this time). I usually take Zhonya's Hourglass if the enemy team is dealing a good amount of Physical Damage or I'm getting focused a lot by my enemies and my Chronoshift alone wont be enough to save me.

Solving Mana Problems

It's possible you'll find yourself facing Mana Problems when playing Zilean due to his ability to spam Time Bomb in order to "Counter" this I've listed below a few items you should consider taking on him to address that situation.

This is a pretty mandatory item for many Ability Power Mid-Lane Champions and you can see why, if acquired early this Item will become better and better over the next 10 Minutes increasing the Health, Mana and Ability Power initially provided, I'd choose to take this Item if you're also suffering from Health problems, however if you feel Health isn't being a problem during your game you should consider the next Item instead.

If you feel like Health isn't as necessary during your game due to lack of Teamfights, proper positioning or the enemy not posing a big enough threat I'd recommend taking this item over Rod of Ages, this Item will increase your maximum Mana by 4 (With a 3 Second Cooldown) every time you cast an ability or use your Mana, this bonus caps at +750 Mana. If you choose to acquire this Item you must get it early in the game or else you won't max it until very late in the game. Tear of the Goddess builds into the Archangel's Staff and when maxed out at +750 Mana will turn into Seraph's Embrace a God-Like Item on Zilean providing you with a powerful Shield, good amounts of Ability Power and incredible quantities of Mana.

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Support Items

Item Sequence

Talisman of Ascension

Frost Queen's Claim

Runic Bulwark

Mikael's Crucible

Ionian Boots of Lucidity

Sorcerer's Shoes

This item is the Mother of all Support Items that appeared in Season 3 and it's a must have on any Support no matter who it is, this item will allow you get 5 Sight Ward's every time you go back to base but you can only have 3 of them placed at any given moment, if you attempt to place another one the oldest Sight Ward you had placed by this item will disappear. Please remember, buying this Item is no excuse for not buying regular Sight Ward's and Vision Ward's you should always be purchasing those when you can, it's your job!

Shurelya's Reverie

This Item is just so damn amazing, it grants you good amounts of Health and Mana Regeneration so you can use more abilities and stay in lane longer to gain more experience, it's active ability is awesome to use during Ganks (if you're still in Lane when you acquire this item or when your team needs to take objectives fast) when activated nearby Allies within 600 units will receive a 40% increased movement speed buff for 3 seconds, this is the item into which your Philosopher's Stone will turn into so get it early!

Shard of True Ice

Another amazing item brought to you by Season 3! Shard of True Ice is the new upgrade for Kage's Lucky Pick, it brings a Mana Regeneration Aura from one of it's components the Mana Manipulator and brings the 4 gold per 10 Seconds effect, the active ability places a slowing field around one of your Allied champions that moves along with the Champion.

This item is pretty damn cool, it's an item you should have to bulk yourself up a bit so you don't melt instantly during a Team fight and it also aids your Team because of it's Aura which gives your teammates 10 Armor 25 Magic Resistance and 10 Health Regeneration. Usually the team Tank will be building this item but if he doesn't you should grab it, talk to your tank at the start of the game to decide who is going to be building it.

Here is another Season 3 Item this one however I don't really see around much, not really sure why because it's just amazing! It gives you 40 Magic Resistance which is an amazing boost, 300 Mana and a good amount of Mana Regeneration, in my opinion this Item holds one of the best Active effects of any Item in the game, it's activate ability is a targetable Quicksilver Sash you can remove stuns, roots etc from your allies probably saving their life in a Team Fight and if that wasn't enough of an amazing effect it also heals the target!


Well this choice is really dependent on your playstyle, I usually prefer taking the Ionian Boots of Lucidity when playing support Zilean because he is all about the cooldowns, so being able to have the 15 that these boots offer combined with your Rewind will allow you to chain your Time Warp ability for some nice moves and chases in the Bottom Lane. Sorcerer's Shoes are the boots you should take if you wish to play Zilean with some damage instead of just all out support, these boots will make your Time Bomb hurt like hell!!

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Laning with Zilean

In this chapter I will be explaining what you should be doing during the Laning Phase with Zilean to make sure you acquire an advantage and win the game. This chapter will address both Ability Power Zilean and Support Zilean.

Laning with Ability Power Zilean

When playing Ability Power Zilean you'll most likely be going in the Middle Lane, your opponent won't really matter because the Laning Phase with Ability Power Zilean will be similar most of the time.
You'll want to be focusing on farming, Zilean is extremely Item dependent to increase his Time Bomb damage and the Health amount that you'll receive when revived from Chronoshift, to obtain an early lead you'll want to focus on farming about 95% of the time, the 5% of the time that you're in lane and not farming is when you should approach your opponent and place Time Bomb on him, the range on the Bomb is big enough that you'll most likely not take any damage back unless your opponent is someone like Ziggs who can hit you with the skill shot.
In order to win your lane just keep focusing on farming and dropping an occasional Time Bomb on your opponent or on a minion close to the enemy champion so that he will always take the damage, after repeating the Time Bomb harassment a few times your opponent will be forced to recall due to the damage he is taking and being unable to strike you back, this will buy you the advantage in lane because you're forcing your opponent to loose experience.

Laning with Support Zilean

Laning with Support Zilean will be really different from Ability Power Zilean for starters you won't be in a Solo Lane like Middle (Or Top if Lane Swap), and for second you'll be protecting your AD Carry and letting Him/Her take all the farm while you protect said person from the Enemy Carry and Support with the use of your abilities.
Laning with Support Zilean won't be that interesting before you hit level 6, because that is when Zilean obtains his true Support power through his Ultimate Chronoshift granting your AD Carry a Guardian Angel at level 6. You should never place this ability on yourself over your carry he is way more important then you!
Before reaching level 6 you should focus on keeping your lane safe through the use of Sight Ward's and Vision Ward's to make sure the Enemy Jungler doesn't gank your lane, besides that you should attempt to hide in the Side Bushes and use Time Bomb once in a while against the enemy Carry and Support to weaken them a bit for when your Jungler comes to gank or your own AD Carry attempts to secure a kill.

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Your Role in TeamFights!

Teamfights will be happening constantly in the Later part of the game when you and your team are attempting to acquire objectives (Towers, Dragon, Baron) and after you and your enemies have acquired most of your full build, in Teamfights the enemies will all be closer together and with you being the Team Caster finding yourself out of position during this fight will usually result in you being called since you'll be one of the Main Targets. I will be addressing in this chapter your role in Teamfights by being both Support Zilean and Ability Power Zilean.

Ability Power Zilean

Playing Ability Power Zilean will make you a damage Machine during these Teamfights, your Time Bomb + Rewind Combo will be devastating during Teamfights. Now there are a few things you need to know about the Teamfight strategies. You'll want to ignore Tanks as much as possible, they exist only to soak your damage to prevent their carries from dying, you also have a tank to do this job. Although with Zilean attacking the Tanks isn't as bad as it would be with another caster since your Time Bomb deals damage in Area you'll most likely be hitting the carries anyways. With Zilean you need to focus the AD Carry and the AP Carry the most you can with your bombs but you also need to shift your attention to your own AD Carries health bar in order to protect him with your ultimate Chronoshift giving your AD Carry a 2nd life giving your team a huge lead in the Teamfight!

Support Zilean

When playing Support Zilean Teamfights will be happening in a somewhat different manner, you'll mostly be staying in the back protecting your carry the best way you can, but at the same time you'll want to be close enough to your other Team Mates that are in the front lines to buff them with the Auras from the items you've been purchasing throughout the game, your main goal is to protect your AD Carry with your Chronoshift so you'll want to stay as close as possible to him, but of course you should also drop some bombs on your enemies to aid your team with the damage you can produce, if you see an important target belonging to the enemy team trying to escape the Teamfight your job is to drop Time Warp on him making his escape useless and granting your team an extra kill.

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Ganking with Zilean (Ability Power only!)

Ganking with Zilean what sort of drugs are you on sir?! Haha, I'm not on any drugs my friend! It's true Zilean can be a deadly ganker due to his Time Warp being an amazing slowing ability and speeding one has well.
To successively gank with Zilean there are a few things you must do : The first is forcing your opponent out of lane which wont be hard for Zilean since your Time Bomb pretty much allows you to hit them without taking any hits back because of it's range, then if you have a decent amount of health (Like around 50% or more) you'll want to check which lanes are getting pushed and check if the lanes are warded, go into the river and use your Time Warp on yourself to reach the lane faster, by the time you reach the lane Time Warp will probably be ready in around 10 seconds or a bit more just use your Rewind to reduce it by 10 seconds and go into lane, start by putting a Time Bomb on your target, the target will most likely ignore you because your team is chasing them and try to run past you, but wait not so fast, place your refreshed Time Warp on the target and slow him for an amazing amount which will allow your allies to catch up and help you with the kill.

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Change Log and Notifications

April 22nd - 2013 - The Chronokeeper is now the highest ranking Zilean guide on Mobafire, I'd like to thank the community for the support you gave to my Guide and I'll keep working hard on it to provide you with the best information for Zilean.

April 24th - 2013 - Added 2 new possible purchases if you're finding yourself having Mana Problems with Zilean, these 2 choices being Rod of Ages and Tear of the Goddess.

May 4th - 2013 - Reformatted the "Pros / Cons", "Mastery", "Summoner Spells", "Ability Explanation", "Skill Sequence", "Items", "Support Items" and "Your Role in Teamfights" due to feedback from a few users. Added a Chapter named "Laning with Zilean" explaining Zilean's Laning Phase and what he should do.

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In Summary Zilean is currently a very underplayed and very underrated Champion who possesses an amazing and surprising damage output with his Time Bomb, a long with the incredible damage output that Zilean brings he can also bring great utility to a team through his Time Warp (The Longest Crowd Control in League of Legends) applying a 5.5 second slow on enemies or a 5.5 movement speed increase on allies, his ultimate Chronoshift is a huge force to be reckoned with and can strike you when you least expect it, it will revive an allied target with almost full Health if the Zilean player builds Ability Power.

I would love to hear whatever feedback the community could give me about my guide in order for me to keep it constantly updated and always giving you the best information about playing Zilean.