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Zed Build Guide by quibble42

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League of Legends Build Guide Author quibble42

Zed: Piltover's... Wait, no, I screwed that up. In-Depth How

quibble42 Last updated on June 24, 2013
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Middle Lane
Ranked #20 in
Middle Lane
Win 49%
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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: 9


Utility: 0

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This "note" is an edit from June 24th, 2013.
This is a notice to the members of the League of Legend community that some of the information provided by this guide is outdated, thanks to a debuff in Zed's characteristics, primarily his Q damage and scaling.
Please feel free to use this guide as a basis on how to play with Zed, however.
Thank you, and please use Kha-zix in the future.

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Prequel: a short Explanation of this guide

  • This guide is primarily introducing a new type of play style for Zed, and therefore the runes happen to be pretty shoddily put together. Please take note, however, that you should have at least 20% attack speed increase and a good amount of CD reduction in your runes, and then follow the common track for AD characters with AD runes or armor pen. or whatever.
  • The Build put above is the one I use, and it works extremely well with the following guide. I recommend using it with this guide to learn all the guide has to offer, and then dropping it for something with a little more armor penetration or tankiness, to your preference.
  • If you need a more detailed explanation of this build, view chapter 4. The runes and masteries are rather skimmed over for two reasons. The first being they are dependent on this guide to work properly, and the second being that they become self-explanatory after reading the build.

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  • Can 1v1 most if not all champs in the game
  • Extremely High Mobility
  • Extremely High Cooldown Reductions
  • Same attack damage as the adc
  • Counters enemy AP mids
  • Low survivability
  • Takes the place of an AP mid for AD assassin
  • Requires jukes to play correctly
  • You have to know your enemy

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Before we start, let it be known that I'm unfamiliar with the guide build system and therefore the build and general format of this thing may be a bit off. I'll be sure to make note of all or most discrepancies somewhere in the writing. Also note that this build guide contains a how-to for every common situation that Zed encounters- which may have added a bit of length, but it's worth it.

Okay, so you've bought Zed, and now you're trying to get your 6300 IP worth on the Rift. To start, you have to know what kind of champion Zed is. Zed is a mid-range health (2k-3k with this build), but can do damage quickly and can 1v1 most champions late game with his ultimate. To play him well, you must be familiar with jukes, or be willing to learn how (Don't worry! I'll teach you!).

This build focuses on dealing burst AD, while allowing Zed to have the attack speed he needs to backdoor, or take out tough late game champions like Master Yi. The Masteries build AD while a small amount of defense keeps Zed alive in a pinch. The summoner spells- The Flash is required. You're going to want that for that quadrillionth juke. You can never have too much. The Heal...i only recommend using Heal after you've gotten used to Zed. I will explain later as the problems arise. The Runes focus Attack Speed and CD reduction, which help later on when you don't feel like buying Berserker's Greaves or 10 more brutalizers.

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A short paragraph relating to laning with Zed (Read after chapter 3)

(Note: When i say "Zed is..." I mean Zed utilizing this build or a similar one)

  • Zed is best mid. He counters most ap champs because of their squishiness and mana requirements. He can be outranged easily, but a W+Q combo will fix that, and enable him to poke until the enemy is either recalled or dead. Be careful of ganks from jungle.
  • Zed is second best top. He counters a good amount of top champions, however, it is very easy for early players of zed to push top lane too far and get ganked/killed as a result. Also take into account Zed needs to be solotop to get fed beyond his opponents. Zed is very susceptible to duo-top opponents when they make a decent combo. (For example, Tank+Ranged).
  • Zed can jungle pretty efficiently if you are familiar with how to jungle. However, I personally don't like to jungle with Zed because the Spirit of the Elder Lizard takes place of a late game Mercurial Scimitar or Frozen Mallet or the like.***EDIT: THE SPIRIT OF LIZARD NOW IS A 10% CD REDUCTION ITEM AND IS NOW A VIABLE GAMEPEICE, EXCHANGEABLE IN PLACE OF YOUMUU'S***
  • The last decent lane for Zed is support. The build here is not good for support whatsoever. Experimenting with Zed and an experienced support summoner often makes a good support bot and a late game wild card, but a horribly unfed master of shadows.
  • I don't adc with Zed. In the rare case where you've locked in and the lanes are all full, hope you get an apc/support ( Captain Teemo!) to help you out down there. A squishy enemy support+adc combo might turn out in your favor.
  • The last possible lane is to camp nexus. This will allow you to be virtually invincible. However, this requires too much skill and I wouldn't recommend it for anyone.

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A more detailed explanation of build

Okay.... so if you look above I pretty much just threw the items all on there. Of course, with different games and enemy champion setup, different items must be taken according to different team compositions.
To make this easier, I made a simple build, for beginners of Zed or just people new to this build, so that they could learn to use him for use with the final build and final build variations. It goes as follows- Boots of Speed, hp pot x3, The Brutalizer, homeguard, Youmuu's Ghostblade, The Black Cleaver, Stinger, lifesteal scepter, Zephyr, The Bloodthirster, then either Mercurial Scimitar or a Frozen Mallet. I know some of this isn't quite in the common order, but it's well experimented and used. Basically, it might not look it, but it works. How to play Zed with this is in the following chapters.
To go into further detail, after you've gotten used to the 'simple build' you have certain options for fine tuning Zed to demolish his opponents.
The first, and probably one of the easier choices is the boots. The choice between magic resist and armor generally depends on your lane. HOWEVER, if you are Zed laning mid against an ap, make sure there's at least 1 more ap/hybrid character on their team before spending the extra 200 gold for magic resist boots. In ranked, consider the support as an ap character, because they're actually decent and can deal quite a pretty penny in damage to you. Also take into consideration the tenacity, based on the enemy team's crowd control. I generally go for the Ninja Tabi- the 10% reduced basic attack damage will help you kill the adc, a prime target for assassin characters like Zed. The Tenacity can always be made up for in the mercurial scimtar/ Quicksilver Sash's active ability- or the Zephyr, which has tenacity in it.
The hp pots/speed boots is pretty obvious. Energy based characters, especially Zed, have to know how to poke frequently to get their target low enough to kill- and don't need mana to do it.
Homeguard helps by letting you out of mid/top lane recall first and getting that small amount of extra feed. Be careful not to feed too much, as the lane will be pushed and the jungler will have a free kill. Homeguard is useful late game for saving your entire team from losing inhibitors when you've been aced.
Youmuu's Ghostblade: The backup ulti. This item will save your life and kill an entire enemy team before it lets you die. The movement speed itself would be a must-have- Zed needs the ability to dash in and out of team fights to get that adc kill, and running away would help with that (even though he has his W shadow to teleport to). However, the attack speed can overpower an unsuspecting opponent, and is amazing for getting turrets/sneaking an inhib. (see further chapters for tips on sneaking an inhib)
The Black Cleaver: Like, comon. you need this. Armor pen=more dmg, attk dmg=more dmg, CD reduction=more dmg per second, +250 health= more time to do damage. It's like a win-win-win-win.

Now, here's where it gets tricky. The first three items will always have the same build order, but after this it's all based on enemy team composition. Things to look at include their cc, ap/ad/hybrid concentration, fed champions, and tankiness. The following is in order of importance.

  • For extremely high cc, i recommend Quicksilver Sash, and then upgrading to Mercurial Scimitar at the very end. After the sash, look at other factors for following build.
  • If their team is extremely tanky, (such as having Volibear, Malphite, and Vi on one team) get a stinger and a phage (in either order, up to your personal taste). Then get Vampiric Scepter and upgrade to a The Bloodthirster, then fill out for Zephyr first then Frozen Mallet last. The tricky part will be getting the money for the build items all at once, because after the Vampiric Scepter (for its utility/lifesteal) you'll have to buy everything together, instead of piece by piece. In certain cases, the The Bloodthirster can be exchanged for a 'blade of the ruined king'. That option depends on how much 1v1 time you think you can get. The more 1v1's you are in, the more lifesteal you'll want.
  • If their team is tanky and has enemies who can still do damage, then consider the items in the second build order instead of your last item.
  • For high ap concentration, buy a B.F. sword or Vampiric Scepter, for easier bursts/getaways where you actually live. Then decide from there between Frozen Mallet and Mercurial Scimitar based on other factors.
  • For high ad concentration, buy a Stinger, then a Vampiric Scepter, then upgrade the Stinger to Zephyr for taking out those hard to kill adc's. I then recommend a Frozen Mallet so you can survive a little bit more. Of course, always consider Quicksilver Sash for champions like Darius, who will rake, slow, and ulti before you can attack. Just hit quicksilver/mercurial scimitar and RUN.
  • Finally, with evenly based teams, look to see if there are any champions that are fed. These champions will guide your build based on the previously stated factors.

This build is pretty expensive to complete (around 17.5k+, depending), so be sure to utilize Zed's high cs potential, and get that creep score as high as possible. This is an important factor pregame in choosing lanes.

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Tricks, Tips, and how to use your QWER

Now, before we get into this, Zed is (from my experience) more heavily juke/skill based than many other champions. For example, a good Malphite can just ulti in and walk away and be fine. Zed doesn't have that luxury. As such, innovations have to be made! Some of these innovations were installed by Riot Games and are paired with Zed but are somewhat unknown. Others are invented by yours truly. But, to whet your appetite, I started this chapter with an in-depth description of abilities and how to use them. You're Welcome.

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
  • Zed's Passive - Contempt for the Weak
    This passive deals 6-10% (depending on level) of the enemy target's health when they're below 50% hp, and is added to whatever basic attack damage you already do. It can only be used every 10 seconds, but with multiple enemies it will work on all of them. The best part? It's magic damage. What that means is that the Malphite that stacked armor because you kept killing him is now only a few basic attacks from death. If you build tanky with zed, you can plant your W, get a few hits in with your passive, and teleport away to let your adc clean up the kills. Also, an ulti from zed, while perhaps not killing and enemy, will make them at about 25% health. Zed will automatically basic attack, making them at about 10%, and basic attack once more for the kill out of sheer AD.
  • Zed's Q - Razor Shuriken
    Shurikens. Upgrade these first, they do the most damage. I always like to poke unsuspecting mid-laners from the side before the game starts. They have a pretty good range as far as skill shots go. Remember to look out for people that will get in the way of ur shurikens late game as the damage reduced after the first hit becomes greater the better the shurikens get. A tip with shurikens (before minions come out) is to lead the player into attacking you by getting rather close with the first shuriken you throw. Then go back, and throw the shuriken while they're out of range so when they go to attack you, they get hit, and you're already gone. Do this a couple times, they'll be furious. Nothing like anger to throw off someone's game. Late game these shurikens are 50% if not more of your damage after using your ulti, so get some practice in landing them. If not, use your "E" from your shadow to slow them down, and then aim carefully. You're going to want 2 if not 3 shurikens to hit your enemy.
  • Zed's W - Living Shadow
    Now this little handy-dandy teleport buddy is probably one of the better abilities in the game. To use it, simply press W, aim in a direction, click, and viola. a shadow buddy. So basically with the shadow buddy you're going to want to aim it at enemies in lane and then press "e" to slow them down with the AOE twirl. That will let you land a shuriken from your shadow and if they're close enough, one from your real self. Your W gets pretty annoying for your enemy after a while, so use it to move them into certain locations, or to get them off your back.
  • Zed's E - Shadow Slash
    Use it to slow enemies that are running down before switching with your shadow for the kill. It's 3 second cooldown is useful for enemies that are closely following you, or just killing minions. Remember that hitting an enemy with 2 shadow slashes does not double damage or even increase it past the first one. That's why Q is upgraded first and E next. There's not much with E that you can do besides look cool and kill people anyway.
  • Zed's R - Death Mark
    A common mistake with death mark is using it too early in the game. Another would be that people save it for some amazing moment when ulti's are perfectly used and amazing and spectacular and.... no. Death Mark happens to be one of the ulti's with a shorter cooldown, and just so conveniently appears whenever you're 1v1-ing, so dont be afraid to use it late game as much as you want. The death mark only does about 75 dmg plus 20% of what you do in 3 seconds at the beginning of the game. mid lane, before level 11, i generally reserve it for that last bit of 200-300 hp and just use it to get close and get my passive a hit. Later game, it deals about 300-400 dmg plus 50% of whatever you hurt within 3 seconds. It's key for taking out the non squishy champs.

If you skipped reading through the abilities for this, go back and read them. Jerk.
  1. The W+Ulti Combo: A very important trick with using death mark in lanes is to move back a little. That's right. Get out of range. They will know after the first time you use it what the range is, and they'll stay out. Heck, they probably wont even know your ulti is up already. Anyway, the trick is to start out with your W. You have to be SURE of this kill, though (you wont be able to use your W as a getaway). Make sure they are well below 50% health and the 10 seconds for your passive to be up again has passed. You can switch with your W, and then use R immediately- they will be barely in range if you do this fast enough. Eliminate them with E, Q, and a basic attack or two after switching with your ulti shadow. If they get out of range you can always use youmuu's if you feel like they are far away enough from the turret for you to catch up. The trick and kill should all be within 4-5 seconds, so practice it until you can do it with your eyes closed. I know I can.
  2. Planting your W
    Throw your W at like your mid lane turret or behind you somewhere and bum rush in to the mid lane ap if they have skill shots or delayed attacks. Such as Swain's snare, Brand, Ahri..... The list goes on and on. once they use their attack, swap with your shadow. They will have wasted mana, and you can use your Q if they're in range. This works with top lane too, but be careful of lock-on attacks like vi. When you're doing this top lane, plant your W in a bush (preferably before you get within sight range of them) and then swap after dealing a little damage. Wasting their mana is great for having a chance to get fed or recall and buy things. I recommend getting them to recall, pushing the lane to their turret, and directly after running away (to prevent gank kills) and then recalling yourself to buy items. The lane should be back to normal push when you get there.
  3. You can teleport through walls with your shadow. So do that a bunch. Place your shadow through a wall before the team attacks you (such at dragon) then run down or up around the left side of dragon(or wall) into a bush, press W again to swap, and then hit the road. when they get there there will just be a shadow.
    A big part of Zed is to psych out the opponent
    • The first is to place your shadow in the direction you're running away and run in the opposite direction a few times, then switch, and run towards your turret (or the original direction). After they get used to this, place your shadow somewhere to the side, run in the opposite direction (either sideways along the lane or towards your turret) they will go to your shadow when you switch, but you wont switch, and they'll be sitting there like ducks. You can use this when you are low health and running away, and get them to go near a shadow thats near bushes, where your jungler awaits for a free kill.
    • W in bush, ulti them, deal damage, swap with shadow in bush, and now they have to recall. Just kidding. Your jungle will be waiting carefully for the gank. Do this at low health, and they will ignore running away from your ulti and instead target you. If they ignite you at low health, you're gonna want that heal spell as you run back at your turret.
    • Bait them into the turret when you are not on CD. Have about 200-400hp at LEAST (depending on how late in the laning phase) You should wait until you both are about directly sideways on lane with the turret (perpendicular to the lane direction), but run relatively close. When you are near the turret put your shadow away but on the same parallel line (90 degrees from the lane direction) and swap with it. Then ulti them as they come towards you.Swap with your shadow, move around behind the turret after using E, use all 3 shurikens, and hit em with a basic attack. This works especially well with enemies such as Volibear or Master Yi, who have to get close, and will often rush. Watch out for cc, however. you have to perform this maneuver relatively quickly, so plan it out in your head beforehand.
  5. A little bit tricky
    This one is like 2, but a little more risky. However, the poke/dmg rewards are much higher and as you get used to it, like a magician's tricks, you'll get better and better. This one is for champions mentioned in two, but i have early-game Xerath in mind for this. This will work with most if not all champions. Go to the side of the champ, not too close, but within range of their abilities. More importantly, within range of your W. once they use their abilities on you, put out W right next to them,swap before the dmg hits you, and when all they can do is run or do a couple basic attacks, hit you E, W, and a basic attack or two before walking away unscathed. Like a boss. This might not work more than a few times, if the enemy is smarter than a log. However, you could always mix it up a bit.

** Your ulti is a juke and can be utilized for mobility instead of actually dealing dmg. dont be afraid to combine it with trick #5 as a sort of poke, to get them to recall or back off. I recommend saving your W after doing this for those risky occasions. **

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Getting Overfed/Killing Minions to push/BACKDOORING

Most decent games I play with Zed, I end up being level 18 extremely early, when the second highest is 16(the solotop) and the lowest around 13(support). The better Defense your team plays, the higher you can get fed. How does this work? Glad you asked. In non-ranked games, Zed has a funny tendency to completely ignore his team (by zed, i mean me) and go backdoor and push lanes like top and bot. In RANKED games, this amount he can do this is usually decreased. But during team fights, The enemy team will be completely occupied with the exception of the only one on their team capable of pushing back lanes. Their ADC. Isn't it funny how Zed targets adc's? Yeah. Strategy. It's awesome. So basically you're going to want to pick a lane that's pushing towards your nexus, and have a team fight already initiated at mid lane or the opposite lane turret (i.e. if you're top you want them all bot). The following paragraph is on killing minions to push lanes.
This method is tested and is currently the most efficient for killing minions with Zed (in my experience).

Killing Minions:
The initial set of minions will most likely be in a ring surrounding your minions if your lane is negatively pushed. set a minion to one side of the ring, E, and then Q- aiming your shuriken from your shadow at the other side of the ring. Move forward onto the ring and E, and the minions should be dead.
The following waves of minions come in straight lines, which you can use to your advantage. right before the first enemy minion is about to come in contact with you, send out your W shadow, E to weaken and slow them, then use your Q to take them all out. Switch with your W and then basic attack the cannon minion once and then there will be no more minions if you hit them all with your shurikens. However, if your shurikens dont do an excessively high amount of damage, you'll be stuck basic attacking the magic minion and the cannon minion while your minions take out the melee minions left. At level 18 this should take about 2-3 seconds (basically instantly or as fast as you can perform the maneuver). At level 14-17 this should be about 3-4 seconds, with the extra basic attacks needed. At around levels 10-13 this is about 5-7 seconds. Before that you should still be laning and not have to worry about this. This will also develop a nasty trigger finger for switching with your shadow you might have to worry about in tight situations, or when playing non-zed champions.

Save youmuu's until you get to the turret, or until someone tries to gank you. You can decide to kill them if they're alone or just W and run away. When you get close to a turret, dont use your W for the last wave of minions. Use your shuriken and two E's instead, so you have your W for the late enemy gank. The extra time it takes you will allow the enemy to gank you BEFORE you use youmuu's on the turret. That way you can use youmuu's as you are running away.... or killing that son of a gun for trying to stop your bloodthirsty rage.

I always wait until I know where at least 3 of them are if i'm fed beyond their highest teammate. Towards later games, know where at least 4 of them are, because they will able to 2v1 you and you might not be able to get away. The enemy death timers are also important to watch as they will tell you where those champions are as well as when enemy defense will be showing up at your (back)doorstep. Haha. Get it?

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A whole chapter on blue buff.
(TL;DR: Blue buff makes you a walking death machine, and will ensure your win in 100% of 1v1s.)
So basically the blue buff is good because it affects CD reduction and give you near unlimited energy. Now, I don't know about you, but I can't really click/aim instantly, but if you can... The blue buff will let you spam all your abilities as much as you want, and ensure as many kills as you can handle.
Normally, at level 18, after putting out your shadow, you can get a E, an aimed Q, and another E before the 4-second shadow goes away. If you can instantly aim, you might be able to get the 3.8second CD shuriken (Q) twice within that time frame. BUT, with blue buff, you can get off two Q's and three E's within a 4 second period. And you're thinking "Wow, that's cool, i guess." Well stop guessing. I'm about to drop some knowledge. First of all, your shuriken at level 18, just hitting one, is 500 damage before armor. Hitting two makes that 750. each E you pull off is another 400. So, normally, without little friendly blue buff, that's a pretty decent amount. Altogether it makes 1550 damage within 4 seconds. Plus your ulti at level 18 (remember, ~350 dmg+ 50% of dmg dealt) That equals 1150 within 3 seconds, plus 350 from ult, plus 575 dmg from ulti's utility, plus whatever Zed's passive does, then the last E which is another 400. Before armor affects that's 2475 dmg + the passive. That's enough to kill pretty much any adc.

So great, you can do 2475 damage. Now you're stuck looking like a fool when the tanky guy you accidentally ulted on is basic attacking you to death, and you're out of energy. Run away.

OR, you could have gotten blue buff. Blue buff gives you the 3 E's plus 2 shurikens within 4 seconds. So imagine you ulti. That's the 1150+400 for the extra E within 3 seconds, making your ulti do ~350+ 775 damage. Add the extra 750 from the 2nd shuriken and the 400 from the extra E and bam, you got 3825 points of damage before armor. Your passive will take care of another 10% of their health. Now activate your youmuu's on that Malphite and GO TO TOWN. Heck, you probably will walk out with full health with that tiny bit of lifesteal you pocketed earlier. And that extra energy regen will mean even if all that doesnt kill 'em, another shuriken and shadow slash to the face will.

Addl. Notes:
  • ****Just keep in mind that your shurikens will be severely reduced in damage if you let them pass through other opponents before hitting your target, and will severely affect your damage output.****
  • Blue buff is great to steal from their side, perhaps your buddy with wriggle's lantern can ward it for you, because they're cool like that.


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Fleeing is an important part in staying alive and ensuring victory. Sorry, i mean, "Tactical Withdrawals" are an important part in keeping your base from being utterly destroyed. Keep in mind, no matter how much you are fed, if you are completely carrying your team you will need to stay alive. A well-fed Master of Shadows can take up to 3 enemies at a turret before he is overwhelmed.

This is because he can near instantly take out enemy minions. The 3 enemies then must include 1 tank, who will sit at the turret, one adc, who will attack the turret, and one master yi or teemo or whatever who will rush straight at the turret's primary defense (you). The tank and adc will be stuck there in a symbiotic state to get the turret. Basically, even at low health, zed can ulti the rusher and can then W the adc and kill both while the tank kills him. The tank will then run away. This is why Zed is invaluable and must sometimes run.

The initial phase of running happens while you are hightailing it and have your W up. It was mentioned before. You run into a bush with your shadow somewhere nearby and you swap once they get to you and run out of there.
However, you can't always get so lucky. Most of the time you'll be stuck in the middle of a team fight and you've just realized you're about to lose. Heck, sometimes it'll be more efficient to take out everyone that isnt a tank if you can't get out. But, if you can't do that....
Here's what you're going to do.
  1. You need to keep an eye on that W. I would recommend SAVING it and intiating with your ulti instead, if you think you should be cautious. If not, hey, all the more firepower, am I right?
  2. If you can tell you're about to lose the team fight, but haven't quite gotten there yet, remember your W+E combo is a slow and can save friendlies in a pinch. Also an adc/apc teammate can be easily saved, if you throw a W+E+W combo in to get them slowed, and put yourself inbetween them and the guy you're saving. Then, ulti someone far away, swap with your shadow, activate youmuu's, and run. By the time they hit you with enough cc to get to you, your W should be up again and you can teleport behind a wall and run away.
  3. For laning, a couple more in depth methods and jukes must be taken into consideration.
    • For lanes with multiple bushes that are somewhat separated, go into the middle of the bush closest to your turret while running towards it. A fast opponent will meet you on the other side. So, go the other way, towards their turret and the other bush. Shuriken them if you don't like them, then as they are coming into your bush leave and go into the other bush, and wait on the edge closest to your friendly turret. While they are in between bushes and just coming out of the first one, throw your shadow into the edge of the first bush. Be careful, they can see the movement (like when you place a ward). Then run towards their turret, and when they get into the second bush, press W to switch. This method can also be good for getting that extra few seconds for your W to cooldown. Note that enemies that see your shadow move will often stand between you and your turret, right where your shadow is. Run into the jungle and they will be stuck there chasing you.
    • Use you W to slow if you are far enough away, and they are a ranged/leap opponent. This can give you the speed advantage you need to run. This can also make them flash onto you, or use some other teleport to get close (leaps included). Right before they hit you with all that annoying cc, swap shadows and hightail it out of there, preferably towards the nearest teammate or turret.
  4. One more trick includes running up into their jungle instead of running back into theirs. you can either just run after you lose sight of them (upon entering a bush or something) or you can run and place a dummy shadow that made it look like you switched with it to go to your jungle. You can run around in their jungle, have some tea, and recall before they even know it. However, sometimes doing this, even at low health, can make Zed in a delightful position to backdoor a turret in a pushed lane. They will have assumed you've recalled and are at your own base, away from them. (Do remember to make sure that they are occupied with someone else before attacking a turret. Attacking a turret too early will make their team surround you and eat your poor self alive)

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Champions that Counter and are Countered by Zed- How to win

Champions Zed Counters
  • Ahri- Save your W to dodge all of her skill shots. Her range is small enough where you can run up to her to shuriken while she is on CD and basic attacking minions. You can ulti when she has plenty of health, but I recommend dodging her Charm with a forward-based W first.
  • Xerath/ Malzahar- Save your W to dodge, use the W+ulti combo to make up for range after using ur shuriken from afar to poke.

Champions That Counter Zed
  • Volibear/Other Tank with Slow- You might think it's easy to hit your W in lane and walk away from his throw/Slow. But the hard part is killing him when his health regen is over your attack dmg per second, and you're nowhere near either turret. To beat him, do as much burst damage as you can (blue buff will generally burst kill him) without blue buff . Then you'll need youmuu's to lifesteal off him and finish off the kill. I would recommend soloing him out before initiating. You might need a bit of time. If you think you'd rather run, wait until he throws or fears or slows you and quicksilver/youmuu's it out of there. I also recommend if against a fed volibear/tank to have a bit of extra armor penetration, even though it does not fit in this build well.
  • Vayne- Good luck. With her ulti up she's untargetable, and after she pins you to a wall you're 3 shots away from death, while stunned. You have 3 options. 1.) Attack First. Kill her when her ulti isnt up. Remember that she WILL ROLL away from your shurikens after ulti, so make sure to aim first. 2.) Quick fingers will press quicksilver sash as she is pinning you to the wall and ulti, and barely live. 3.) Even faster fingers will watch for her roll while ulti'd, (she will most likely do that first) and ulti on her as her heavy crossbow bolt is flying at you. It's effects will be countered and your burst damage should be greater than hers.
  • Morgana- Her spell shield blocks your death mark from activating. I always preferred using my ulti to poke, anyway. You can learn a lot from a bad top lane Nautilus. Anyway, stay behind minions until she uses her AOE, then move to the side, place your W in front of the AOE attack, swap with it to avoid her snare, then go in for the kill. Letting her push the lane will let your jungler gank, make her use her spell shield, and then let you ulti and walk away. A jungler with a type of slow/impassable object that can ignore her shield will help with this. (I always like to think of Anivia's Crystallize, but then again Anivia isn't really a prime choice for jungle.....) ( Trundle's Pillar of Filth would work wonders, however)

Other Champions Worth Noting
  • Syndra- Mid laning against this champ is difficult because a good syndra will do a LOT of damage early game. The easiest way around this is to save your W, and use it to the SIDE as her Dark Sphere is activating, dodge away, and be sure to not let her stun you with the spheres. Use a shuriken if she's in range from your shadow, and when she's low enough health use a W+ulti combo.
  • Vi- This champion can be a real pain in the Summoner's Rift, if you know what I mean. This one needs all the jukes in the book. Perhaps even switching the order of items bought between youmuu's and black cleaver(For the armor pen.). The most important thing to remember with Vi is to remember that she does have CD's, no range, and her ulti does NOT do that much damage (while laning). If you're fast, W before her ulti and run away before she can break your armor. If you've poked her enough you can ulti instead of running- right through her abliities (she will most likely burst them).
  • Heimerdinger- Heimer turret's will let him recall and gain that mana that he so desperately needs. He's terribly difficult to poke, because you'll need to save that energy for later, when you ulti him. Stay behind at least 3 minions, because of his Hextech Micro-Rockets. He will often push the lane but stay back near his turret. Bide your time carefully, and keep as much health as possible. The first recall should be after you both are level 6. I recommend buying homeguard before brutalizer so you can overpower his turrets before he gets there and still have time to regain energy. That will push the lane in his direction, and he will have to place extra turrets at his turret to get the creeps off. Ganks are a must with heimer, as they will draw mini-turret fire away and let you ulti him. Make sure to watch for that CH-1 Concussion Grenade as it can be a doozy. After you kill him once, chances are you can overtake the lane turret before he is back in lane, and then come from behind after he has pushed your lane back a few times.

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Iceborn Gauntlet

There will be a game when you will become bloodthirsty with Zed. It happens in videogames such as LoL and will most likely happen to you. This usually only happens when you are fed. What I mean by this is that LoL will actually make you have a rush of adrenaline from so much carnage with this Zed build that you will constantly search for more kills, even at low health. You will completely ignore all odds and continue to demolish the other team with reactions that breach superhuman.
When this happens, ignore whatever last item you had planned and instead purchase an
Iceborn Gauntlet.

The awesomeness will increase exponentially.

Your basic attacks will now do twice your attack damage.

Your critical hits will do over 1000 damage.

Zed has never looked cooler.

Just do it.

You're Welcome.

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When Playing Against Zed

  • If you can poke harder than Zed, then try to do it. Playing as long range champions like Xerath can easily poke a Zed with Arcanopulse after that Zed has used his Living Shadow. If you know or think Zed is about to switch with his shadow, it might be worth attacking him with a non-skill shot and then aiming the skill shot at his shadow location.
  • CC is very useful in coralling Zed into a useful position, or getting him as far away from you as possible. The list from most useful to least useful go as follows: Pop-ups, stuns, immobilizations ( Amumu's Curse of the Sad Mummy, Ahri's Charm), polymorph, snares ( Zed cannot swap shadows to get out of a snare), fear, Silences/taunts, knockbacks, and finally, slows.
  • Non-skillshot based attacks are very useful if you can get close enough to use them. Swain's Torment and Decrepify are some examples. I would recommend making Zed use his Living Shadow with a skill shot, and then using your non-skillshot attacks as you attempt to dodge his shurikens.
  • Keep in mind that Zed can be hurt while he is untargetable. Damage over time effects, especially Ignite, can make a weak Zed waste an ulti trying to save himself, if you time it properly.
  • Zed will be expecting you to move a certain way in order to land his Razor Shurikens if you are not slowed. Try to move differently every time to keep Zed guessing.
  • Zed is very weak without his energy, and is susceptible to pokes. If he uses his Shadow Slash, Living Shadow, and Razor Shuriken, all at once, it will take away 50+40+(75 to 55) energy, respectively. Early game that is about 160 points in energy, and leaves Zed only able to do another Shadow Slash before he must wait to recover.
  • Zed may try to basic attack you while you are on cooldown, so that he can land his passive, Contempt for the Weak. Saving your stun till last might be crucial in preventing his assault and getting some damage done on him.
  • Zed's Living Shadow has about a 20 second cooldown early game. Remember to stay far away from him until he uses it, because if you rush him, he can swap, slow you, and land both Razor Shurikens as he is calmly walking away.
  • Very early in the game, it will be surprisingly easy to overtake the lane and push Zed back to his turret. I very highly do NOT recommend doing this. The opposite should be done. Take only last hits on minions, and let him push your turret. As he increases in level, he will try to keep the minions at bay more and probably waste a lot of energy doing so. Get a high CC jungle to come and gank as you land all your skillshots and an ignite. The Ignite should kill him if he is out of hp pots and running back to his base. Use his recall/death to recall yourself and buy items. Zed comes back more resilient after a first death, so be sure to make the proper build choices to counter.

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Additional Notes

  • Zed can take apart a turret rather quickly while the ap enemy is recalled. Be careful of ganks, and after pushing the lane and having minions there save your W for a quick escape, while using shurikens and your E to take out minions.
  • Upgrading E first before Q can work wonders with poking short range champs, and can increase the slow so melee champions cannot get you. This works well when you are having problems aiming or they are camping behind their minions, or in a bush. Personally, I like the higher damage output of shurikens and even though they are skill shots they are crucial in killing opponents with your ulti.
  • Watch out for enemies with Zhonya's Hourglass or Guardian Angel as they will nullify your Death Mark.
  • SmartCasting with Zed is extremely helpful in those close encounters when you are slow at clicking and you keep tapping "Q" and whether or not your shurikens go off is whether or not you win a team fight.
  • SMARTCASTING "W" WILL SLIGHTLY DECREASE THE MAXIMUM RANGE but will make it easier and more efficient to dodge easy ap champs.
  • This is yet uncomfirmed, but I have strong evidence to support that as Zed switches with his Living Shadow, he performs a basic attack to a single enemy champion/minion in the path of his teleport. Many times I have switched shadows and have gotten kills without doing any other action, and without seeing a basic attack being made.

Thank you for reading this Zed Build and How-To Guide.
Best Wishes and Good Luck.