Build Guide by Seppuku
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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.
Zilean is an interesting character that can fit well into any team lacking a support slot. Other support classes tend to have specific buffs for the team that are good for only a portion of the team, or good against a portion of the enemies team (such as Janna's bubble, Tarics armor aura, Sorakas astral blessing/starfall) Zilean has abilities that are fairly universal.
I took a fairly standard rune configuration. Here's why...
The Magic Pen Runes will grant you a little extra early game oomph for harrassing.
The Mana Regen Runes allow you to stay in the lane indefinitely, especially coupled with clarity early.
The CDR runes are critical. They provide 6.5% CDR at 30.
A standard 9/0/21.
The benefits of this spec for Zilean are:
5% XP boost
15% Magic Pen
10.8 AP @ 18
I take the clarity mastery for my teammates. So many times I have filled up my carries mana bar so we could reinitiate and kill more of the team that this has always been worth it, even late game.
The clairyvoyance mastery gives you a free ward every 30s, great for counter jungling and gank prevention.
Here we go, this is where the good stuff comes in.
Start with a Meiki's pendant so you can essentially spam bombs whenever you have the opportunity.
Build to a Tear of the Goddess first. This will make mana issues disappear for you. It will also allow you to start stacking the mana earlier in the game. Here's the math:
4 max mana every 3s with a max of 1000
80 max mana/minute
12.5 minutes to max 1000 mana.
So now you are on your way to maxing out your max mana passive. Time to buy some boots. I chose sorc shoes for a reason. They will help negate much of your enemies MR mid-game. The CDR boots are worthless for Zilean by end game. Here's why.
9% CDR from Mastery
+ 5.85% CDR from Runes
14.85% CDR from Runes/Masteries
+ 25% Glacial Shroud
My item build after this varies based on how the game is going.
If I am farming well because my laning partner doesn't need gold and we are harrassing the **** out of them, I'll rush Rod of Ages. This item is great for a few reasons. The health it provides gives you a little extra survivability, it has good AP, and as a bonus it provides a big chunk of mana.
Essentially 20m after the purchase you are rocking:
27.75 Bonus AP (From ArchAngels Staff)
If we aren't doing well, I'll rush glacial shroud for the CDR.
20% CDR will get you to 35% total at this point in the game.
425 Mana = 12.75 Bonus AP with ArchAngels
Finally we can finish out our Archangels staff. By the time you buy this puppy if you followed the rest of the item build you can expect your AP to rocket a bit.
27.75 AP from Maxed rod of ages
12.75 AP from Glacial Shroud
42 AP from maxed Archangels
11.25 AP from Banshee's veil
93.75 Bonus AP. Thats better than a free Very Large Rod @ 1600G!
Granted that means you finished the whole item build and the game lasted long enough :)
Finish the build out with a Banshee's veil, it will give you some much needed magic protection, along with more health and mana.
Item cost w/o Banshee's:
Total (I Find games end before this, generally I'll buy the negatron cloak but not finish the veil)
So at the end of the day we have great utility, enough AP to contribute, and some survivability to boot!
CDR is god on Zilean. His key ability is rewind.
Let's do some quick math.
A very large rod costs 1600g. Glacial shroud costs 1675g. Let's say you have the opprotunity to cast at least 3 bombs in a team fight.
Very Large Rod
TimeBomb Dmg = 330 + .9*80 = 402
Rewind Time = 6s
DPS = 402*3 / 6 = 201
TimeBomb Dmg = 330
Rewind Time = 6s - 20%(1.2s) = 4.8s
DPS = 330*3 / 4.8 = 206.25
WAIT a second! Those are almost the same! Yup they are. Also you are more likely to land 3 bombs with a shorter rewind time. PLUS glacial shroud gave you armor AND mana AND a tiny bit more DPS! Sweet huh?
Now let's look at his ult.
If you spam rewind every CD, and you didn't build CDR you are looking at
Chronoshift has a 140s CD
180s - 0% CDR (0s) = 180s
180 * 6(rewind)/16(rewind + 10s it removes) = 67.5 Seconds before you can have your ult ready
With 40% CDR you get this:
Rewind = 6s - 40% (2.4s) = 3.6s (Oh that is beautiful...remember archangels staff? If you spam this ability every time it's up you'll be maxing it in no time.)
180s - 40% CDR (72s) = `08s
108 * 3.6s(rewind)/13.6s(rewind+10s) = 28.58s
That is almost usable twice every team fight. Well worth it.
Clarity is mainly useful very early game for yourself, it lets you harrass as much as you desire. After that it is a purely selfless spell. If you have a carry that uses mana, or a tank like Rammus/Alistar, popping this thing around your team is just a beautiful sight. Everyone gets enough mana to do whatever they please to the bad guys.
Clairvoyance just has fantastic uses, it can scare the **** out of their jungler, watch the river behind while you push a tower, check bushes, etc...
I always pick a double lane for Zilean. It really doesn't take that much money to get enough utility for your team to swing some team battles. He also does a great job of denying the other two champs last hits with clever bomb use, and allowing your lane partner to farm to their hearts desire.
Here is a chart to roughly base your gold gain vs items.
Essentially the gap between the bottom red line and the green line is the difference between awesome and worst player ever. The blue line assumes you are laning with someone and getting on average 3 last hits per wave. That might be high if you are farming with a carry you want to feed. Based on this you can finish your item build after an hour game. At 30 minutes you should have enough to buy everything up to and including the Rod of Ages. Meaning that will max out at 50m. If you miss this mark, or the game is not looking like it will last long, skip the rod of ages and go straight through the rest of the item build.
*Note: The chart also doesn't account for being in proximity of the dragon +25g more per kill, getting assists = 245g, kills = 350 (base, these scale up for enemies on killing streaks..the assist also divides by how many people assisted), towers = 150g.
Another nice bonus is his passive 8% XP gain. Trust me, your jungler will love you.
Heading into team battles the main things to keep in mind are:
qew! or eqw! Basically spam a bomb and haste, rewind, and do it again. Keep your carry hasted, the enemy slowed, and bombs on their face.
With a 22s CD on your ult, and the fact it last 10s, you can reasonably frontload a ultimate on your carry, and depending on how the fight goes, have another one ready before the fight is over. Or essentially have a 12 second gap where your ultimate is not on someone.
Well I hope you enjoyed the guide. If you spot any math errors, or disagree with anything let me know in the comments! This is my first guide, so I'll be polishing it up as I play more/learn more/become motivated by people desiring more info.