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Zilean Build Guide by Zilbro

Support Time to Gain Elo with the Busted Time Man

Support Time to Gain Elo with the Busted Time Man

Updated on July 29, 2016
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10,100 Views 0 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author Zilbro Zilean Build Guide By Zilbro Updated on July 29, 2016
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LoL Summoner Spell: Exhaust


LoL Summoner Spell: Flash


Threats & Synergies

Threats Synergies
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Extreme Threats
Ideal Synergies
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Quick Guide

Honestly if you hate reading and just want to look at an overall summary here ya go!

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Introduction: Why the Clock Man?

I'm Zilbro, your friendly neighborhood Zilean main. I'm here to preach the words of the great clock man himself to all league players looking for a secret BUSTED champion to main. I started playing League in season 2 and ironically Zilean was the first champion I purchased. For some reason I was drawn to his non-meta status and he's been my best bud ever since. I was silver season 3 and climbed to gold in season 4. After deciding to main Zilean, I climbed to my current position of Diamond 3 on NA and exclusively play Zilean.As of 7/28/16 Im ranked 23rd for Zilean on NA and have close to 600 games with him this season alone. ALL HAIL THE CLOCK KING!

Zilean is definetly underrated even though he's had a consistently high winrate and is known to make insane plays during laning and teamfights. Despite the current meta being so early game focused, Zilean continues to scale well into the lategame as a support while still being effective at all stages of the game.

His gameplay is quite risky however as when he falls behind, it becomes harder to catch back up than some other supports. Despite this, you will always have the ability to change the game with the legendary PHAT STUN (stunning 3 or more people with your Time Bomb in a team fight) or the Chronoshift that will have your enemies pulling their hair out.

His kit is extremely versatile for most team comps and can carry very easily. He brings a revive in the form of Chronoshift, damage from Time Bomb as well as an extremely good AoE stun ,and his powerful slow Time Warp. Overall an extremely good pick for people looking to carry games from support. It's never too late to convert to the one true time god, Zilean.
Check out some PHAT stuns below
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Pros & Cons

When do I pick Zilean?

Now chances are you fall into one of two categories. Either you're on the hunt for a busted champion to main and get insane elo gains, or you're looking at more supports to expand your champion pool. Whatever category you believe you fit into, read the corresponding section for more information on when to pick Zilean, or read both if you're just a big nerd!



Congratulations! You've just made perhaps the best decision in your League of Legends career! Playing Zilean only is an extremely rewarding choice as you ruin every enemy laner's day! Now the road is long and hard to becoming an efficient bomber, but with the help of this guide and some practice, anyone can become a master at the old senile clock man! You don't need to know when to pick Zilean because the answer is ALWAYS. Well that was easy wasn't it!


Yeah...I'll play Zilean occasionally....

Zilean's cool.....yeah it's cool you want to diversify your champion pool.'s great....everything's great.......nice job....! Zilean works well against juggernauts and kite-able champions such as Darius Garen or Mordekaiser ,but also against immobile carries such as Jinx Twitch or even Annie. Really anytime the enemy doesnt have an overwhelming number of gap closers and you have a faceroll all-in champ like Master Yi Zilean will be a good pick.

Well, wether you've decided to follow the first option and be a winner or the second option and be a loser, It's helpful to know what exactly Zilean's strengths and weaknesses are so you can play to those.


+ Impactful play as a support
+ Can carry dumpster teams
+ Hardest snowballing support
+ Amazing laugh
+ Awesome damage
+ Creates 6v5s
+ Scales excellent into lategame
Zilean is the epitome of a "I don't care, I'm gonna press R" champion. Your very existence will cause your enemies to want to stick their hands in a deep fryer. Zilean is all about dancing circles around your enemies and outplaying them while spamming both your laugh and your mastery emote. These are both important when playing Zilean. You must remain constantly staying within your safety zone while lobbing Time Bomb from the fringe of fights in order to be successful.


- Weak when behind
- Fragile nature
- Vulnerable to gap closers
- High skill cap
- Need quick reactions
- Requires good prediction skills
- Senile old man
Zilean's weaknesses can be summarized in one word," GLASS" because that's what he's made of. Locket of the Iron Solari does bring a little bit of tankiness but overall you don't want to get hit because you'll shatter into about a million little pieces. That's why the hardest part about playing Zilean is both positioning in teamfights and keeping yourself in safe positions during engages or skirmishes. .
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Summoner Spells

There are really only 2 viable sets of summoner spells to take with support Zilean. Below I dicuss the pros and cons of each set.


This is the standard support set I usually take, the only exception being if the enemy lane has a Soraka in which case you should take Ignite instead of Exhaust. Exhaust is an immensely powerful offensive and even defensive summoner that will allow you to cut an assassins burst in half, decisively win 2v2s with your ADC, or give that slight slow to prevent the enemy from getting away.


On the other hand we have Ignite,another powerful summmoner. Many Zilean's will prefer it over Exhaust for the extra all in damage and ability to cut the effectiveness of Heal (which every adc will take) by 40%. Helpful if you're going to play an aggressive lane and go for kills. RECOMMENDED TO TAKE AGAINST Soraka!
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Zilean has very flexible runes setups like most supports. However to maximize poking potential and early game hardiness, I take the following rune page setup.

X 8
These provide ample penetration for laning phase as even the measly 8 marks helps you dish out extra damage. Really no alternatives to these marks.

X 1
"WAIT WTF TROLL BUILD WTFBBQ!!!" No no no wait hear me out. You could build 9 Greater Mark of Magic Penetration but by replacing 1 with Greater Mark of Critical Chance you raise both your potential damage and will absolutely get the biggest kick out of critting the enemy laner with your auto poke! You won't crit often, but when you do, it's just about the greatest thing ever!

X 9
Armor seals are too good to pass up so always take these on Zilean. The extra 9 armor goes a long way as Zilean has garbage base armor.

X 9
Some prefer the Greater Glyph of Magic Resist to the scaling variant, but much of the magic damage Zilean will take over the course of the game will be stray damage in teamfights, so I prefer to run Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist so that by lategame, I'll have more overall.

X 3
A fabulous quintessence on Zilean. Starting with 15 bonus ability power is great as Time Bomb has a 90% scaling with AP. Definetly take 3 of these. Better poking, better bombs, PAPA Zilean!


Yes yes there are many viable rune sets on Zilean! As you get a feel for the Zil, feel free to experiment with different rune sets and find the one you feel most comfortable with!

Alternatives to the above runepage include:

Raw health is always great on squishies and scaling health allows more forgiving lategame play

For the safer Zilean build, a bonus 12 armor goes a long way in the early game!

Great for a higher early game magic resist, especially if you're against a magic damage heavy poker like Sona or Lulu or Karma

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On support Zilean the only mastery trees you have to really decide between are a more offensive 18/12/0 setup or a more utility focused 12/18/0

12/18/0 Setup

Ferocity tree:
5/5 Sorcery standard AP champ pick
1/1 Expose Weakness to benefit lane partner/team
5/5 Natural Talent won't be dealing damage to benefit from Vampirism
1/1 Oppressor because your damage will be applied during slows ( Time Warp)

Cunning tree:
5/5 Wanderer for movement speed
1/1 Secret Stash biscuits are extremely good early game
5/5 Meditation the mana regen is much more valuable than the bonus damage
1/1 Bandit to make the most of this mastery you must auto attack often
5/5 Intelligence the whole reason we take 18 in cunning, extremely valuable CD reduc.
1/1 Thunderlord's Decree your keystone pick for this setup

Thunderlord's decree is the best keystone on support Zilean for the cunning tree. It's insanely hard to proc Stormraider's Surge as a support unless insanely fed, and Windspeaker's Blessing is barely beneficial (works with Chronoshift). The extra poke Thunderlord's Decree provides in lane is superior to both alternatives. The easiest way to activate the keystone is to

Time Bomb > Rewind > Time Bomb > Auto attack

By timing your auto in between Time Bomb you can ensure the damage is in quick enough succession to proc Thunderlord's Decree

18/12/0 Setup

Ferocity tree:
5/5 Sorcery standard AP champ pick
1/1 Expose Weakness to benefit lane partner/team
5/5 Natural Talent won't be dealing damage to benefit from Vampirism
1/1 Oppressor because your damage will be applied during slows ( Time Warp)
5/5 Piercing Thoughts PLEASE DON'T TAKE Battering Blows
1/1 Deathfire Touch your keystone pick for this setup

Deathfire Touch is the only really viable keystone for the ferocity tree as we don't want Warlord's Bloodlust for obvious reasons, but Fervor of Battle won't benefit us enough to consider picking. Even though Deathfire Touch will be somewhat weaker due to Time Bomb being AoE, it still adds an extra poke of damage lategame to all enemies hit, which could be the difference between a kill and an enemy escaping with 5 HP.

Cunning tree:
5/5 Wanderer for movement speed
1/1 Secret Stash biscuits are extremely good early game
5/5 Meditation the mana regen is much more valuable than the bonus damage
1/1 Bandit to make the most of this mastery you must auto attack often

In conclusion

While Zilean can run either setup as a support, I find the most benefit from and recommend the 12/18/0 setup solely for the cooldown reduction from Intelligence . Cooldown reduction is the most valuable stat on Zilean and alone makes it worth investing more points into the cunning tree.
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Item Explanations

Like most champions, Zilean has a standard core build but will need to make different purchases and weigh different options depending on what obstacles the match provides for him. That being said, there are MANDATORY purchases you need to be making as a support. Below I'll discuss each item in the core build.



Now either of these are viable on support Zilean, it really comes down to your own personal preference. I prefer to take Eye of the Watchers over Frost Queen's Claim. While claim allows scouting and slowing with the active. Watcher's saves a slot by combining both Sightstone and Frostfang into one item slot. Lategame that slot may come in handy for perhaps a Vision Ward or another damage item like Rabadon's Deathcap. If you think you can benefit from the extra AP and slow Frost Queen's Claim gives, feel free to pick it up over Eye of the Watchers.


These boots are absolutely mandatory on support Zilean. Cooldown reduction is the most valuable stat to rush on him and these boots not only provide 10% cooldown reduction, but also 10% cooldown reduction on SUMMONER SPELLS, which is amazing to have Exhaust or Ignite up almost every fight. And to top it all off they're CHEAP. An awesome buy for Zilean.


> >

Since Zilean is an absolute powerhouse from mid to lategame, an item like Tear of the Goddess transitions incredibly well into later in the game. An early Tear of the Goddess purchase can easily be stacked and transformed into a Seraph's Embrace by the 25-30 minute mark due to how often Zilean will be casting abilities. The bonus active from Seraph's Embrace just sweetens the deal with a 500 health pocket shield for emergencies. Tear of the Goddess also solves Zilean's insatiable lust for mana early game. Tear of the Goddess should be purchased after you finish Ionian Boots of Lucidity and Eye of the Watchers.


Perhaps the most controversial item in this build. Locket of the Iron Solari should NOT be underestimated. It is easily one of, if not, the best support items in the game right now. The extra tank stats on Zilean help you stay in battle longer and is more forgiving than a pure glass cannon build. Unless the enemy team has an AD top,mid and jungler, you should be buying this item. The 10% cooldown reduction provided is a godsend on Zilean and the bonus aura magic resist can provide up to 75 FREE MAGIC RESIST FOR YOUR TEAM. not to mention the excellent active for teamfights. Underrated on Zilean but an amazing buy.


Everything about this item is a beast on Zilean. The 400 mana allows more ability spam for longer, the 20% COOLDOWN REDUCTION is insanely good at finishing an early 45% CD reduction build, and the grievous wounds applied on magic damage works great against healers like Swain or Soraka. This is a more risky purchase than Locket of the Iron Solari but provides a massive 100 AP and additional cooldown reduction. The time to build this over Locket is when youre A.Ahead and doing well in lane or B.Trying to avoid a drawn out game (if the enemy team has a Vayne or Nasus).If the enemy team is mostly AD damage you'll want to build this instead too!



Depending on what you decided to build for your 4th item will decide what to build for your 5th. If you purchased Morellonomicon, continue with Void Staff to really push your AP damage over the edge and synergize with the 100 flat AP from Morellonomicon.

If you purchased Locket of the Iron Solari, buy Zeke's Harbinger to not only finish out your cooldown reduction at 45% (40% if running 18/12/0), but also give you a good chunk of armor to synergize with the 400 health on locket. Zeke's Harbinger has a very strong active if utilized well. Use the active on your ADC or other fed champ that will benefit from crit and when it activates it will not only grant you an additional 20% AP but your ally a 50% crit chance bonus. Especially helpful for shredding baron nashor and elder dragon.


If you already built Morellonomicon and Void Staff, you'll want to snag Rabadon's Deathcap to give you an INSANE lategame burst from Time Bomb and a full health revive from Chronoshift. A Rabadon's will finish an AP build and make you the ultimate glass cannon Zilean.


Zhonya's is a more situational buy at this stage in the game. If you find yourself being focused and jumped on by heavy hitting abilities such as Death Mark or Chum the Waters a Zhonya's Hourglass purchase may be in order. The only downside is the 10% cooldown reduction will be a wasted stat at this point but the stasis active can be more than worth it.


If you find yourself being absolutely BUTTBLASTED by the enemy team jumping on you first, or if the game reaches the 60 minutes mark and even one death can decide the game with the lengthy death times, a Guardian Angel purchase can go a long way. Buy if the game goes exceedingly long or youre getting focused extremely hard. NOW THEY HAVE TO KILL YOU 3 TIMES!


Buy if the enemy has a heavy AP composition. Will benefit you and other magic damage dealers while also increasing defences against annoying mages like LeBlanc or Annie. Also provides 10% cooldown reduction! I'd usually buy this after Morellonomicon or Locket of the Iron Solari.

An alternative buy to Locket of the Iron Solari if you're in favor of more AP damage or you like the active to more aggressively push the enemy base. Provides cooldown reduction and a sizable chunk of AP as well as some magic resist. A good buy when you're ahead enough to buy AP but also want some defensive stats.

Can be an awkward item to use on Zilean but no doubt has its uses. Provides cooldown reduction, which is always important on Zilean, and AP for additional damage. You're really buying this item for the active however. The active functions like an additional ability to boost Zilean's only damage source Time Bomb. Is great at wave clearing as well.


Zilean is a champion you want to build according to the game. Is your Karthus being a feed lord and you need a real APC to step up to the challenge? Then you should play risky and build some AP. Is your Lucian absolutely tearing it up after you got him fed? Then grab a Zeke's Harbinger to enable him to carry. Is their LeBlanc 25/0 by 20 minutes? Then you might want to grab a Locket of the Iron Solari. Depending on the situation ask yourself whether you want to focus on defense and utility or pure damage and build accordingly.
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Ability Explanation

Time in a Bottle
Grants stored up experienced to nearby allies.
Probably the most lackluster part of Zilean's kit. Over time Zilean will store XP and once he has enough to finish an ally champion's level, he can right click them and channel to grant them the stored up XP he has. Static 120 second cooldown. Not game changing but nice to have to hit level 2 and 3 first in lane. Prioritize getting an ally from level 10-11 and 15-16 as they will be able to level up their ultimate. Also known to be buggy...

Time Bomb
Throw an AoE bomb that sticks to units and explodes after 3 seconds.
Your main skill you will be using to torture your enemies. A versatile skill that can be used in many clever ways. Stick to a minion to create a suicide minion. Stick to an ally that's about to jump into their team. Or just stick it to an enemy and watch them cry (unless it's Sivir or Nocturne). Provides vision in AoE of bomb, so check bushes with it. Always max this after Chronoshift.

Reduces Zilean's other ability cooldown by 10 seconds
A simple ability. Use it to reset cooldown on Time Bomb and Time Warp. Does not affect Chronoshift. Once you max Rewind, you can always have Time Warp up to speed or slow other champions. Allows Zilean to use his famous double Time Bomb combo.

Time Warp
Imbue an ally with the power of Sonic the Hedgehog for 2.5 seconds
When used on an ally, speeds them for 2.5 seconds. When used on an enemy, slows them for 2.5 seconds. Another versatile skill that can be used in different ways depending on the situation. Max last for INSANE movement speed buffs to your ally champions.

Marks a target ally for 5 seconds. If they die during the time, they're instead revived with a flat amount of their health.
An amazing ult that creates a 6v5. Amount of health an ally is revived with scales with level and AP. Try not to have to use this on yourself.
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Laning Phase


So lots of things can either go right or wrong in the first 3 levels of the game. how you play them will affect the rest of laning phase. As soon as you spawn you're going to want to pick up Spellthief's Edge, 3x Health Potion, and Stealth Ward.

After that, throw your first point in Q, float off to lane ,and be sure to help your jungler with a leash if they're starting bot side. Once minions and you arrive to lane, begin to scout out your opponent (this should be done in loading screen as well). If you enemy support is a tank, your goal is to whittle down their health bar with auto attacks as best you can. Don't be afraid to throw a Time Bomb or two but be sure to atleast keep mana above 50-60%. Most tanks don't become dangerous until level 2 or 3, so you want to start poking them down right away.



For the supports that out trade you, your main goal is to be sneaky with your Time Bomb and try to land it on them when their shields are down or when they can't trade back.

We take a second point in Time Bomb before putting one in Time Warp as the damage increase is very noticeable and the slow isn't necessary yet.


Despite Zilean being relatively weak early game, once he hits level 4 he can start being a serious threat to the enemy team. At 4 he gains availability to a powerful combo.

> > >

Using Time Warp on an enemy champion before dropping your QWQ combo can largely increase reliability of landing both bombs and getting that DELICIOUS AoE stun.

Level 4-6 are what I like to call THE CHEESE ZONE because while you're looking for a sneaky QWQ combo to pull off and kill an enemy laner, you really sould avoid direct confrontation until you get Chronoshift. If you're laning with someone who brings their own CC such as Jinx Jhin Caitlyn Ashe you can chain your CC for a dangerously cheesy kill usually.

Unless you get initiated on hard and can't fight back at all Chronoshift will almost always win you a 2v2 at level 6.

IMPORTANT: Avoid all-ins unless you know their jungler is not nearby!!


Either once you take the enemies turret or they take yours, begin to rotate to mid lane as they will either need your help defending or pushing their lane. At this stage in the game your job as a support is to make sure you have constant vision on Baron and Dragon.

For the rest of the game your objective is largely the same. Aid your teamates while setting up opportunities for them to kill enemies. As Zilean you need to constantly be on the lookout for enemies straying too far from their team, which is where you come in to EQWQ combo them for your team to kill.

Depending on when laning phase ends for you, you should definitely have Sightstone Ionian Boots of Lucidity and atleast Tear of the Goddess so you can start stacking towards your Seraph's Embrace
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Mid/Late Game


You made it through the hardest part of the game for Zilean (early game)!

Your main jobs now are as follow:
+Keep vision around key points of the map(mid bushes,baron,dragon)
+Push down remaining outer turrets for more vision/gold
+Be on the constant lookout for allies who might be getting themselves into sticky situations
+Win teamfights with your team

Now these are all easier said than done of course but you're going to want to do your best to win the teamfights that will take place at baron and dragon pit fighting over the objectives.


Zilean is NOT a frontliner, do NOT be the one running into their team to initiate, you will be either forced to Chronoshift yourself or die. Neither of these are good scenarios....

Instead wait for someone else to go in and Zilean can act as the "Co-initiator". As your tank (for example Zac or Sejuani or Darius) runs in, be ready to toss out a quick QWQ combo onto the enemies the tank is fighting to lock down their frontline.

You job is to be as disruptful as possible. That means using Time Warp on their frontliners so they can't make it to your squishies, using Chronoshift on your most fed carry to guarentee they can get the bulk of their damage out, and make sure to Exhaust or CC any threatening channels or glass cannon assassins.


Anybody with hard CC or "clumping" abilities like Command: Shockwave or Apprehend make for great Zilean allies.
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Conclusion and Acknowledgments

Zilean is both a fun and powerful champ to play in the current meta. He avoids the bad reputation other "damage supports" like Annie or Brand get because he actually brings support type abilities to benefit is team, but can also evolve into an APC throughout the course of the game. Hopefully I've been able to convince you to atleast pick up and try the timelord himself. Below are some resources and great communities to help you on your Zilean journey!

Reddit for Zilean Mains (love these guys!):

My League account for questions or tips for this guide (NA): "Time is Wasted"

My friend and high ranked Zilean only streamer (high level Zilean mid and support gameplay):

This is my first Mobafire guide so any feedback is appreciated! Good luck on the fields of justice fellow Zillionaires!
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