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Zed Build Guide by Yeager

Middle diamond

Yeager's Master Zed Guide

By Yeager | Updated on October 28, 2020
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Yeager's Featured Video


1 2
Sudden Impact
Eyeball Collection
Ultimate Hunter

Presence of Mind
Coup de Grace

+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+6 Armor


LoL Summoner Spell: Flash


LoL Summoner Spell: Ignite


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Middle Lane
Ranked #29 in
Middle Lane
Win 52%
Get More Stats


Welcome to my in depth Twisted Fate guide! I'm Yeager, a high elo midlaner in league of legends, consistently reaching at least master tier on EUW since season 5. I spend some of my free time creating high quality educational content to help you improve and become a better player.

Why should you play Zed? If you want to pick up a powerful assassin with flashy mechanics and high outplay potential, then Zed might be the right champion for you. As Zed, your goal is to find the carries in the backline and assassinate them before they a chance to retaliate. Zed is a high risk high reward champion but be prepared to invest a lot of time into him because of his steep learning curve.

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Pros and Cons


+ Strong laning
+ High outplay potential
+ High mobility
+ Strong splitpusher
+ Easy to farm

Zed has super high outplay potential with his ability to instantly swap positions with his shadows. His high mobility and strong 1v1 kit allows him to splitpush and pressure from the sidelanes. Farming and lasthitting with Zed is also quite easy due to his passive.

- High skillcap
- Weak when behind
- Very weak against heavy CC
- Not very good in teamfights

Since Zed has a high skillcap, you shouldn't expect to master his kit in just 20 games. He is an assassin so if he does fall behind he's going to be rather weak. He is very squishy melee champion so if he get's caught by CC he will often die immediately.
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Flash Is the BEST summoner spell in the game. It enables assassins like Zed and allows him to go for huge outplays and get out alive. It's easily the most versatile summoner spell in the game since you can use it both defensively, and offensively.

Ignite The go-to summoner for having kill pressure in lane. When you pick an assassin, your goal is to get kills and snowball the game. The extra damage it provides will give you a lot more kill potential on the enemy midlaner during the laning phase and can help get you snowballing.
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  • Electrocute: Additional burst that has great synergy on assassins like Zed who can proc it easily with his combos. In terms of reliability, this is by far the best keystone for him.

Tier 1

Tier 2
  • Eyeball Collection: This is the best option among the tier 3 runes for Zed as it gives bonus AD on champion takedowns. (Yes, assists also count)

Tier 3
  • Ultimate Hunter: I take this to get lower cooldown on Death Mark. Having his key ability on lower cooldown means he can go for plays more often.

Tier 1
  • Transcendence: Overcapping on CDR is no longer that bad since we will get a adaptive bonus. Even if we don't overcap on CDR, getting to 40% will lower the cooldown of our ultimate by a lot.

Tier 2
  • Scorch: For champions that absolutely needs to win the laning phase - this is a solid option. By constantly poking the enemy midlaner when this ability is off cooldown, it will eventually put them within your kill-range and help you snowball. If you want better lategame scaling, then Gathering Storm is a good alternative.
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Contempt for the weak (Passive): Zed's basic attacks against targets below 50% Health deal 6-10% of the target's maximum Health as bonus Magic Damage. This effect can only occur once every 10 seconds on the same target.

Razor Shuriken (Q): Zed and his shadows throw their shurikens, each dealing 80/115/150/185/220 (+90% bonus Attack Damage) physical damage to the first enemy they pass through, and 48/69/90/110/132 (+54% bonus Attack Damage) physical damage to each additional enemy.

Living Shadow (W): Zed's shadow dashes forward, remaining in place for 5 seconds. Reactivating Living Shadow will cause Zed to switch positions with this shadow.

Passive: Zed gains energy whenever he and his shadows strike an enemy with the same ability. Energy can only be gained once per cast ability.

Passive: Zed gains 30/35/40/45/50 energy whenever he and his shadows strike an enemy with the same ability. Energy can only be gained once per cast ability.

Shadow Slash (E): Zed and his shadows slash, dealing damage to nearby enemies. Each enemy champion hit by Zed's slash reduces Living Shadow's cooldown by 2 seconds. Enemies hit by a Shadow's slash are slowed by 20/25/30/35/40% for 1.5 seconds.

Death Mark (R): Zed becomes untargetable and dashes to an enemy champion, marking them. After 3 seconds the mark triggers, repeating a portion of all the damage Zed dealt to the target while they were marked.

Zed becomes untargetable and dashes to an enemy champion, marking them. After 3 seconds, the mark triggers, dealing physical damage equal to 100% Attack Damage + 25/40/55% of all damage dealt to the target by Zed while the mark was active.The dash leaves a shadow behind for 6 seconds. Reactivating Death Mark causes Zed to switch positions with this shadow.
Reaper of Shadows: Zed reaps the shadow of the strongest foe slain under Death Mark, gaining 0 attack damage. ([object Object] + 5/10/15% of the victim's attack damage.)

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Razor Shuriken is maxed first because it's our main tool for farming and damaging. It also scales really well off AD so there's no reason to not max it first.

Shadow Slash is maxed second. It has good AOE damage and a slow that increases in percentage as we put points into this ability.

Death Mark is maxed third. We put a point in this ability whenever possible because the detonation damage gets increased by A LOT. You also get more AD from the victim you kill with Death Mark. 15% at max rank might not sound like a lot, but when you kill a ADC like jhin who naturally gets an insane amount of AD, you will feel the difference it can make.

Living Shadow is maxed fourth and last. It's main use is to gap close or mimick your spells, so putting extra point into that won't buff your damage output.
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Long Sword
  • Long Sword: Starting with a long sword allows us to have 3 Health Potions to sustain through the first few levels where Zed is quite weak. It also builds into his core items, so we can get them faster.

Doran's shield
  • Doran's Shield: If you are forced to play defensive against heavy poke matchups. The passive will give back some HP after you take damage from champions. The flat HP is also quite useful for the early game.

Control Ward
  • Control Ward: Make sure you always have a Control Ward on the map after first base. Vision is one of the most important things, and it can save you and your teammates from dying to potential ganks. Zed is a splitpusher so he spends a lot of the time on the sidelanes. Having proper vision lets you know when you can apply pressure and when you should fall back.

Core items
Youmuu's Ghostblade: This is the first core item since it offers a lot of damage but also a very useful active that helps us getting within range of the enemy.
Duskblade Of Draktharr: Basically a HUGE spike to your damage output.
The Black Cleaver: This is very often built as the 3rd item. It offers a bit of everything we need, including AD, HP, CDR and armorpen.

  • Mercurial Scimitar: This item is bought mainly for it's active that lets you cancel any CC, but the offensive/defensive stats it gives shouldn't be ignored. I always buy this when facing a Malzahar, Skarner and sometimes vs Warwick. When you feel like Mercury's Treads aren't enough, and you need another item that cancels CC like Suppression, this is the item you want.
  • Maw of Malmortius: You get a big magic shield and some temporary stats when you take magic damage that would put you below 30% HP. This is a must-buy into burst AP champions like Katarina, Fizz, LeBlanc, Akali, Syndra and so on. You should also consider buying this if the enemy team has multiple AP champions(even if they are not burst-type champions).
  • Edge of Night: If you are playing against a very squishy team. This can also be good against champions that are forced to use their main abilities just to get rid of the shield, for example Twisted Fate.
  • Guardian Angel: Makes you a lot harder to kill with the passive and bonus armor but also gives a solid 40 AD.
  • Death's Dance: Makes you tankier and harder to kill with its passive. We will overcap with the extra CDR but it's alright since it will be converted to bonus adaptive AD with Transcendence.
  • Ravenous Hydra: If you need more burst this is a solid buy with its flat stats and active.
  • Blade of the Ruined King: It's no longer a core item on Zed due to changes that doesn't benefit his kit as much anymore. The passive is still good against tanks and the active let's you chase down targets or run away from enemies.
  • Mercury's Treads: Offers magic resist and 30% tenacity. If you are playing against hard CC, these boots are a must-buy. Here are some examples of when you should buy Mercury's Treads. When you face Twisted Fate + Sejuani or Syndra + Elise or LeBlanc + Skarner. Basically you want mercs, when you are up against any combination of mid+jgl, that has some form of hard CC.
  • Ninja Tabi: Always buy this against heavy AD teams. It can also be bought if you are having a difficult time against an AD opponent.
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I will cover some basic techniques here that i think you should learn and master to become a good Zed player.

Combo 1 - Basic

This is your go-to combo without ultimate. Hitting both shurikens will proc Electrocute and put the enemy laner at half hp most of the time. The opponent often underestimate the amount of damage you can dish out with this combo so you can often net in some kills before level 6 with Ignite.

Combo 2 - Ultimate

This is your basic ultimate combo where you keep Living Shadow just in case they use Flash to get away. Saving Living Shadow gives you the option to secure the kill evne if they Flash, or just to get away from incoming threats after you execute someone with ult. Most of the time this combo is enough to oneshot squishies because of our lethality build.

Combo 3 - Triple shuriken

This is a max DPS combo that you should only execute when you are certain there won't be other enemies around to kill you. We use Living Shadow for additional damage, so there won't be any escape tools available for a while.

This is also called the triangle combo. You place the Living Shadow above or below your opponent, hit them with the slow from Shadow Slash so you can get a almost guaranteed hit with triple shurikens, and then you use a basic attack to proc Contempt for the Weak right before your ult detonates.

Combo 4 - Low hp

With this combo you cast Living Shadow backwards so you can switch position with it right after ulting, and then burst down the target while being out of his range. Right before your Death Mark detonates, you recast your ult to get within melee range, and throw in a basic attack to proc your passive, Contempt for the Weak. This combo is used to avoid all damage from the enemy because you're at low HP, or he's super fed etc.

Combo 5 - Finisher

This is rarely used, but it can be good if you know the exact damage output of your champion. It's executed so fast that people won't have time to react.
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At level 1 you just want to play really passive and last-hit creeps with your shurikens. Bonus points if you can hit the enemy champion too while lasthitting. Zed is quite weak early game so our main focus should be to farm safely from a distance until we get level 4. Let the opponent push the wave towards your side of the lane so we will be completely safe from any ganks. Zed is really good at farming under tower because Contempt for the Weak lets him lasthit the caster creeps without having to prepepare them with an additional basic attack.
When you hit level 4 you should start pressuring your opponent with the combo Living Shadow + Shadow Slash + Razor Shuriken to proc the Electrocute. An easy way of hitting the entire combo, is to use it the moment your opponent is standing still to basic attack a creep. Sometimes you will be able to get a kill before level 6, if you succefully land a few combos, and flash in for the kill but against most good opponents it won't happen until you have Death Mark. You should constantly harrass the opponent after level 4 and set them up for a kill when your ultimate is ready. If you can't find any kills in lane, you should at least force your opponent to base. Then you can shove the wave and make them lose EXP + CS while you roam and look for plays on other lanes. As an assassin it's super important that you establish a lead and use it to snowball the game, because you fall off lategame.

Outside of the laning phase you have a few options. You can either group with your team OR splitpush in a sidelane. In teamfights your goal is to assassinate their carry/carries and quickly dissappear by swapping positions with your shadows, until your basic abilities are ready again. You almost never want to be the one engaging, because you want your team to do that and bait out important crowd control abilities from your opponents. You should always try to flank from a side to catch people off guard. Darkness is your friend - It's really important that you have Oracle Lens along with Duskblade of Draktharr so you can clear out wards and keep your position hidden. "The unseen blade is the deadliest" The element of surprise is your best way of wiping enemy threats off the map, so use it to your advantage. Keep looking for opportunities to flank and get to the carry. Assassins are super vulnerable to point and click CC like Nether Grasp because they will die almost instant if caught. The key to being succefull with assassins like Zed, is being patient and knowing when to go in for the kill. Learning and playing assassins requires a different mindset compared to other champions, which is also why they are so hard to master.

Splitpushing is a very important tool for all Zed players. The core idea behind splitpushing is the fact that it allows you to put a lot of pressure on the map as your team is playing around objectives. Splitpushing is a strategy you can make us of when your team is underperforming in teamfights, or when you're strong enough to 1v1 anyone on the enemy team, or even 1v2. Your goal here is to force one or multiple opponents to defend vs you while your team is taking important objectives like baron, dragons, towers and so on. If the enemy team only sends 1 to defend vs you, you can easily kill him/dive him under the tower and keep pushing. If they send 2 or more people to defend against you, you should ping spam your team to take objectives since they will have a number advantage. If there is noone to defend against you, you can instantly push the waves with your AOE spells and destroy towers super fast with high attack damage.

It's super important to have proper vision when splitpushing so you will know when multiple opponents are coming to defend against you. Therefore you should always have a pink ward on the map. Splitpushing is one of the hardest strategies to use in a solo queue game because it requires the entire team to cooperate, but if you do manage to pull it off, you will win so many games because the opponents don't know how to deal with it.
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Wave Control

What does it mean to freeze and how do i do it?

Freezing is a advanced technique that lets you deny your opponent exp and cs if done correctly. Freezing a lane means that you kite/tank the minions without letting your tower hit the creeps. You need to make sure the enemy minions always beat yours. After the enemy killed your entire wave, you let 2-3 of the enemy creeps live, and kite them until the next wave is here. When the next wave arrives, the wave will freeze right outside of your turret range.

By doing this, you are safe from jungle ganks, while your opponent takes a big risk everytime he overextends for a cs.

When to freeze the wave

You can Freeze the wave when you and the enemy are even or ahead, and it can be used to help you win back the lane after you screwed up and died. You can attempt to freeze the wave already from level 1, leaving your opponent vulnerable to jungle ganks or be within your kill range, if you are able to kill them. When you get a lead, and you can solokill an overextended enemy laner, that is exactly when you want to freeze the wave. You force the enemy midlaner to either be in your kill range, or miss a ton of cs and exp, putting them further behind.

Freezing a wave is a great way to snowball a lead, if you have no objectives to fight for, such as dragon, herald or towers.

Here is a youtube video that explains wave management very well. I recommend watching the entire video. All credits for this video goes to Blitz Esports LoL

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Tips & Tricks

- Turn on "show spell costs" in the settings as it allows you to see how much energy each of your ability costs. This is very useful so you know exactly when you have enough energy for your next move.

- Your Razor Shuriken deals less damage to targets after the first. Make sure there are no enemy units between you and the enemy champion when going for all-ins, as it will lower your damage output. Unless you still have enough damage to kill the target of course.

- Living Shadow provides vision so you can use it to check for potential threats if you have no vision.

- Each enemy champion hit by Shadow Slash will reduce the cooldown of Living Shadow.

- Your ultimate, Death Mark gives a short untargetable state. Use it to dodge crucial abilities like Chum the Waters, Requiem and so on.

- Have a keybinding for "smartcast with indicator" and another one for "smartcast". Sometimes you will need to see the range and direction of the shurikens so indicator can be helpful. Other times you need to use your combo fast, that's where smartcast comes in. I use both.
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Thank you for reading my guide, I hope you learn something. If you still have any questions, feel free to leave a comment and i will get back to you ASAP!
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