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Zilean Build Guide by Peetoi
The Path of Godzilean (How to Climb Low Elo with Zilean)By Peetoi | Updated on May 5, 2017
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Threats & Synergies
Nami is a sort of counter to Zilean. Early game, she negates his poke damage, allowing for her lane to be sustained. Also, I believe her Q (the bubble) out-ranges Zilean's bombs.
Since this is a guide focusing on Zilean bot-lane, you won't see her in your lane most of the time. However, she does roam, and her flash-like movements make her very difficult to impair/stun. Save your ADC by sacrificing yourself if she roams.
Another mid-lane champ. She will roam, and if she is good get fed. She can completely evade your bombs, and does not care about your E.
Blitz is Blitz. Don't get pulled, and don't let your ADC get pulled. You win.
This is honestly a skill match up of sorts. Bard is one of the strongest level one supports, while Zilean is one of the strongest level two all-in supports. His ult will cancel yours, and he has sustain in lane.
Taric doesn't have the range to poke you. Just get gold from poking him, and watch out for his ult for when they all-in you.
Caitlyn is the ultimate ADC counter for Zilean. She outranges him, and can place snares underneath champions who Zilean revives, making his ult relatively worthless. I'd advise against choosing Zilean in this matchup.
Poke damage from her is annoying, as she has a range advantage. Her shield negates your bombs early on, but later scales off. Make sure you ult anyone caught in her laser.
Annie's ult is really all you need to worry about. If she ults your ADC, just ult them, and then bomb-stun Tibbers, Annie, or their ADC. Then "E" your ADC to safety.
Just build Armor Penetration, and watch out for her constant all in's.
A good Lucian will dash away from your bombs. Beware this matchup.
I know Draven is typically seen as a scary ADC, but as Zilean, all you have to do is throw bombs at the places he catches his throwing-swords. Poke him down, and win early game. If you win your lane early, your adc will probably win the game.
Vayne is squishy. If she uses her roll to get a minion, slow her and then double bomb her. Abuse her, and she will fall off.
A good Ezreal will outplay Zilean with pokes, so stay behind minion. If he uses his Arcane Shift to engage, then stun him and let your ADC kill him.
As you may know, you can't kill an enemy ADC when they are paired with Soraka. Therefore, kill Soraka first. This lane may be boring, but I think it's fairly easy.
Quinn jungle is Zilean's worst nightmare. Her speed makes bombing her difficult, and "E" doesn't have a long enough range to prevent her from comboing you to death. Hug turret and ward like crazy. And pray.
Alistar used to be God-Tier, but in current meta is sorta crappy. Just poke him and stay out of range.
Shaco is actually pretty easy to hurt with Zilean. Just ward up, and watch for ganks. If he pops his ult, double-bomb him, and it will stun him and his clone, making for an easy kill.
Morgana's shield blocks your stun, so don't waste your mana on her if she uses it. Don't get rooted by her (Use your "E" if you must to avoid it). If she ults, speed up yourself and stun her.
Veigar support is not meta, but I've seen it done. Just speed yourself up to avoid his circle of death. Ult anybody that he ults.
Nocturne is Zilean's worst nightmare. He has a cleanse that completely gets rid of your first bomb.... so... just avoid playing against him if possible.
Hecarim's speed is nuts (Sort of like Quinn), which makes stunning him difficult. Hecarim typically relies on sneak attacks, so ward heavily to avoid quick ganks.
A good Thresh player will use his lantern effectively. Watch out for unseen enemies grabbing the lantern to change team fights.
Kalista is weird. Her damage output is nuts late game, but early game she is pretty weak. Just throw single bombs and try to whittle her down.
Darius is so fun to kill. You outrange him, so if he ever comes bot lane, just make him tilt with your better game mechanics.
Varus likes to use his long range arrow to deal massive damage. Just avoid it. Also, if he roots your with his ult, double bomb the heck out of him.
Support has always been a position that has intrigued me. In season 5, I tried to main Thresh, but could never understand what my ADC was thinking. I never made it past Bronze 2. Thus, I ended up believing that summoners who solely played support could only effectively climb by duo-ing with another summoner.
I started to main ADC (Ezreal ftw!!!), and began winning games and climbing elo (Made it to Silver 2, while being a full-time student). But I realized that low elo supports were stressing me out, and began to hate playing ADC. At the end of season 6, I got auto-filled into support position, and decided to pick the one support who was free-to-play that week --> Zilean! I immediately got flak from my teammates (people think he is a troll champ...), but in one game I fell in love with how effective Zilean is in controlling the pace of the game. I lost that first game, but I continued to enjoy Zilean in unranked mode for a couple weeks. Then, I decided to take him to Ranked.
In S7, I've played over 150 rounds with Zilean, and maintained a win rate of 65% (While I was in Bronze, it was in the 70-75% range). I firmly believe that Zilean is one of the best support champions, and that he works extremely well in solo Q. If you are interested in Zilean, I would highly recommend trying him out.
I hope you enjoy my guide, and please leave feedback if you have any thoughts!
Marks: Magic Penetration x7 & Attack Damage x2.
Seals: Flat Armor x9
Glyphs: Flat Magic Resist x9. (Recently, I've been doing Scaling Magic Resist, and it helps with late game).
Quintessences: Armor x2 & Ability Power x1.
I'd advise messing around with these, and finding something that feels really good for your own game-play.
Here are my thoughts and justifications on the masteries I choose (In order):
1.) If you tend to roam/are playing with an ADC who is comfortable with you roaming, Wanderer works. If not, Savagery can help with securing dragons, barons, or clearing minion waves.
2.) Secret Stash is the way to go, unless you intend to play Zilean mid. If so, consider taking Runic Affinity.
3.) Meditation is preferred over Merciless, as it provides the ability to spam bombs earlier in the game. Merciless may be taken if you want to deal more damage (at the cost of sacrificing mana).
4.) Bandit provides you with a bit of extra gold throughout the game (Especially if you are poking a ton). Dangerous Game can also work, but kills and assists are not always abundant in each game, so I'd take Bandit.
5.) You want a 35-45% Cooldown Reduction late game, so Intelligence is a must. Precision will only help if the enemy team is extremely tanky.
6.) Thunderlord's gives you a bit of bonus damage, and can help secure a kill occasionally. StormRaider's Surge sometimes works on Zilean, but I haven't tried it very much. Zilean has the potential to burst through 70-90% of an ADC's max health late game, so it could save your butt in some instances. Give it a shot if you'd like, but I'd recommend starting with Thunderlord's.
7.) If you follow my item build, Recovery is the better choice, as it gives a bit of Health regeneration. If you need to build armor/magic resist (i.e. if it's a hard match-up), Unyielding will help in damage reduction.
8.) Explorer, Tough Skin, and Siegemaster are all valid options with Zilean. If you like to roam mid (like me), take Explorer. Tough skin will help if you are facing a bot-lane who is range-heavy. I'd only recommend Siegemaster if you think the enemy is going for a kill lane.
9.) Ignore Runic Armor. It's useless on Zilean. Veteran's Scars makes you slightly tankier.
10.) Insight will allow for you to use Flash and Exhaust more, which, as a support is important. Exhaust is a lane-changer, so take Insight. Perseverance and Fearless don't work very well with Zilean.
Some people prefer to go 12/18/0, but I have found that building Zilean for Utility works better for Support.
At first back, I'd highly recommend purchasing the Tear of the Goddess. Investing in this early will allow for you to expend mana freely later in the game. If you have enough gold, I'd also recommend buying boots, or a ruby crystal. Buy the crystal if you are planning on rushing a Sightstone; get boots if the Sightstone can wait.
On second back, you have options. You can get a Sightstone, upgrade Frostqueen's into Frostfang, or finish the Ionion Boots of Lucidity. I'd prioritize in this order: Sightstone,FrostFang, and then Boots last.
3rd back: Eye of the Watchers (Gives CDR, extra ward, and helps with gold income) or finish Ionian Boots (Gives CDR, spell CDR, and speed).
4th back: At this point, you start building based off of what is happening in the game. I normally go Morellonomican for the 45% CDR, which is hugely advantageous; however, if the enemy is building tanky/MR, I'd recommend Void Staff or Abyssal Scepter.
Late Game: Upgrade the Tear of the Goddess into Archangel's Staff (Its Active gives you a massive shield, at the cost of mana). Luden's Echo is nice for wave clear and extra magic damage. Also the 10% movement speed is really nice. Only the fastest of opponents can catch you, so you have plenty of kiting ability. Rabadon's Deathcap is an item that will make you be able to nuke enemy ADC's, so it's an option. Optional items should all be listed under the "Items" part in the earlier part of the guide.
As always, the more you play, the more you will understand what items work with Zilean's kit, and which are not as helpful. Experiment and find out what works for you.
The only time I would max E first is if you are facing a team of highly mobile champs, or if you can't land stuns effectively. Additionally, if you are supporting a champion who relies heavily on skill-shots (Think Varus or Ezreal), E could be highly useful.
Quick note: Time Warp is an ability than can be used on allies or enemies. On allies, it gives a massive speed boost late game, while on enemies it basically completely stops them. Use it to speed up allies to secure kills, save allies from enemies who are chasing, or engage enemies who stray too close.
So, how can you use Zilean's bombs to engage even the toughest of enemies? Below, I'll provide a short list of combos that are useful in disabling opponents:
Q --> Throw a sticky bomb onto enemy. Damage them.
E --> Slow down enemy, speed up ally.
W --> Reduces the cooldown of Q and E by 10 seconds.
E,W,E --> Speed up yourself twice, back to back. Very useful for returning to lane after recalling, or running away from pursuers. Make sure you spread it out over a couple seconds, as the speed boost doesn't stack.
Q,W,Q --> If you land two bombs on any single unit, the first bomb will instantly explode, simultaneously dealing damage and stunning any units in the blast range.
Q,E(on a tank)--> Using the bomb on an allied tank who is charging at the enemy can provide that extra bit of damage to ensure the kill (Garen, Darius, and Maokai are my favorite bomb-carriers). Just toss a bomb on them, and then speed them up. Easy.
E(on enemy),Q,W,Q,AA,E(on yourself, ally, or enemy) --> If an enemy is solo lane, or just overextending, punish them. When they are within range of your E, use it, and then throw a bomb on their slowed body. Rewind, and throw another bomb. Auto Attack once to proc Thunderlord's, and then E on yourself (or ally) to run away. The final E can also be used to slow the enemy once more after their stun, which can be useful if your ADC is nearby (To prevent the enemy from fleeing). Easy kill, just takes some practice.