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Zilean Build Guide by JunSupport

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League of Legends Build Guide Author JunSupport

Zilean - Support Mage ( Not a 0-CS centric Build )

JunSupport Last updated on December 26, 2011
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Support Role
Ranked #17 in
Support Role
Win 50%
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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: 9

Honor Guard

Defense: 0

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 21

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Before you read all this...

Welcome to my guide to Zilean, the Chronoskeeper

Please keep in mind to never rate a guide before trying it out first, unless you've already tried it.

Please don't rate at all if you don't understand the role of a Support-Utility champion. Zilean is an ap-dependent caster, but he is also fundamentally a support champion. Because he is a hybrid of both, he must itemize for both.

In this guide, I will show the distinction between Zilean early game and late game that separate him from both typical Casters and typical Supports, and hopefully, an efficient way to itemize for him.

Remember to comment and be open with your thoughts!

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Zilean Updates:

  • Mar. 14, 2011 - Zilean takes another hit from the nerf-bat.
    Overall, this was a buff to Support Zilean, but a nerf to Zilean as a whole.
    • Time bomb. Damage reduced, Mana cost up. Nothing too serious.
    • Chrono Shift - Base AP ratio gone from 3 to 2, but the base Revive is higher.
    • Chrono Shift - Duration reduced to 7 seconds. OUCH. Everyone's going to feel this one.
  • Mar. 18, 2011 - Banshee's Veil was nerfed, so it's been removed as a viable item.
  • Jan. 18, 2011 - Chrono Shift's duration was reduced again, now from 13 to 10 seconds!
    A very hard hit for the old man, now we must be much more decisive with our Ult-casting.

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  • Nov. 18, 2011 - Removed the note about Flash's potential removal. Riot appears to be unlikely to remove it but rather pursue finding a way to make it balanced.
  • Nov. 18, 2011 - Swapped Glyphs of Focus for 'Force'
  • Nov. 18, 2011 - Placed the Item chapters "under construction" - Very sorry, but I didn't have the luxury of finishing the descriptions when I was doing all this overhauling. This is a very old guide. >_>
  • Nov. 18, 2011 - Updated Masteries - Untested.
    • Changed the item build significantly. A change long overdue. (This HAS been tested, very much so since before the mastery changes)
    • Updated various descriptions influenced by the change in masteries.
  • Sept. 17, 2011 - Did a routine description sweep. No real changes... yet. I've been lazy </3
  • July 8, 2011 - Updated description for the Rabadon's Deathcap nerf. (155 AP down to 140 AP)
  • May 25, 2011 - Changed the title, to officially acknowledge how inflexible this item build is.
  • Apr. 23, 2011 - Placed Clairvoyance as an optimal Spell choice to Clarity, but keeping Clarity on the description.
  • Apr. 21, 2011 - Switched to Seals of "Replenishment" for better earl game.
  • Apr. 21, 2011 - Rewind is now raised to rank 2 a little earlier for more fluency.
  • Apr. 21, 2011 - Removed Doran's Ring, replaced with Mana Manipulator.
  • Apr. 21, 2011 - Added Rabadon's Deathcap and Guardian Angel to the Item Sequence, since I never get anything else.
  • Apr. 15, 2011 - Moved Teleport up in Alternative Spells.

For those interested, head to the bottom chapter for "Old Updates." I only keep the most recent relevant updates here, to prevent a long list of spam.

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Zilean Strengths and Weaknesses:


  • Ultimate lets you deny the enemy kills.
  • Powerful slow and effective Haste.
  • Delightful damage-mechanic.
  • Unique Cool-Down related ability that helps in farming, fights, and support.

  • Only one damage ability? (As a support, is this necessarily a bad thing?)
  • Very mana-hungry early game.
  • Ultimate demands excellent intuition and reflexes for each team-fight.
  • Passive plateaus during mid-game.

When I first came to this site, I noticed that the majority of high-rated guides here on MobaFire focus on making Zilean a death machine with Mejai, ArchAngels, etc..
However, that contradicts his design, since he only has 1 attack-skill.

I prefer to play to Zilean's Strengths.
He is not a serious burst caster or dedicated champion killer. He has excellent harass, a cool-down killer, with a Res to boot.

This build is tailored for his squishyness, AP-scaling and extreme CDR Utility from the perspective of a Support character. Focusing on letting you spam Q and E more, and deny the enemy kills more with R.

With a stronger CDR then your average Zilean, your Time-Bomb output will substantially rise and often match the garden-variety AP-stacking player in end-game Damage Dealt.

Add in the more frequent Time Warping and more Chrono Shifts to deny the enemy kills they feel they so righteously deserve, this build offers a simple and effective build for those who just want to be a good support ally.

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Regarding the abomination that is the "0-CS Support" playstle

This chapter is under-construction"

To briefly summarize, the currentl 2011 metagame demands that typical supports rely on solely on gold-generating items and be the main source of wards for the team, while allowing their lane-partner the Ranged DPS carry to take most, if not all, the last-hits to quicken the rate at which they acquire their items.

I hate this playstyle, Riot shares my feelings in their design philosophy, and this guide will not be bending this guide into that sort of nature. Note: This guide's item build is VERY expensive.

This guide is meant for newer players to learn and understand Zilean, and he's not a traditional support champion.

I will elaborate on each of these topics further as this chapter is constructed.

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Summoner Spells - Clair or Clar?

Clairvoyance, V.S. Clarity.

These two are the two spells I waver between when choosing to play Zilean.
While Clairvoyance is truly the superior support spell, Clarity has its own benefits that make it viable.

The Big-Brother Staff:
Clairvoyance is my personal favorite summoner spell.

It's a very advanced support skill that can ruin enemy ganks, check on jungle camps, and track enemy movement in general.
Tough to master, but totally worth it once you do.

It is also very useful for helping allies target large ranged spells such as Finales Funkeln Finales Funkeln, Paranoia , and ECA .

Note: CV becomes 4x better with another ally using one too! As the reveals become twice as frequently, the information gained exponentially rises!! (so long as you know how to do process-of-elimination)
@Enemy: "Big brother's watching you..." ;)

Your Mana Battery:
Zilean is very mana-hungry early game. Clarity is good for keeping him fueled up.
Late game, you'll want to be spamming Rewind like crazy. Why? To get Chrono Shift up. Clarity will let you do this without having to Recall.

  • It's a Team Spell: Clarity's viability rises with the number of mana-users on your team. With 4~5 mana-users, It will also allow you to become the team's mana-battery mid-game, keeping them in battle just enough to maybe push down that last tower or break that final inhibitor.
  • So remember, you're never taking this just for yourself. Clarity is for supporting your team.

Your standard escape mech., if you can't escape someone while using Time Warp, you unlikely to be escaping them if you had Ghost. Flash let's you do clutch responses like blinking behind walls.

Try to reframe from using this offensively, or you may be dead the next chance an enemy stuns you.
Time Warp should be all you need to trap an enemy, and you should always work at reducing the ratio of using Chrono Shift on yourself over your allies.

Alternative Spells:
Here's a listing of spells I wouldn't be against. They're not my top picks, but they're good spells that you're free to use if it suits you.

This is totally viable, and a very easy spell to use. Early game, it's a free trip back to your fountain for mana.
It becomes useful for jumping across the map later, for team fights, defending lanes, etc., it's also perfect for jumping to a lane to Chrono Shift someone.

An ideal skill for fleeing and controlling your position in a team-fight with superior speed.
If you're more comfortable with it, then be my guest.

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Runes and Masteries

Early Caster Build

Magic Penetration Marks, standard.

Greater Seal of Replenishment Seals Mana Regen Seals, because the seals of clarity were nerfed so much that they're no longer the go-to rune.
Replenishment is a strong pick for early game mana-sustain.

Flat CoolDown Reduction Gylphs, giving you just enough CDR to hit the cap later on.

Flat HP Quintessences, any Magic user's early-game crutch for staying alive longer.

Note: These masteries are not tested. They were picked with theoretical reasoning and without proper testing. When I have the time, I will be sure to give this section the attention it needs.
But, don't let that discourage you from using these masteries. Use your own discretion about what seems good.

Some points to make note of:

Mental Force - You need nothing else in Tier 1 of the Offensive tree. Proceed to spec to the %Magic-Pen.

Expanded Mind & Meditation - Zilean is a very mana-hungry champion.

Runic Affinity - If you're offered Blue buff early game, you want that to last as long as possible. It means easy farming and harass with an infinite supply of bombs.

Wealth - Note how I can buy Doran's Ring with a Health Potion like back before the Doran's items nerf. This is a big deal in terms of laning potential.

Awareness - Because you already have an exp-boosting passive, Heightened Learning, I chose this mastery to sacrifice points from in word to properly fill the 'Runic Affinity' and 'Wealth' masteries, mentioned above.
Even with two points less, you will be receiving grand total of 10.5% bonus exp; something to relish and abuse.

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Skills and Skill Sequence

Time Bomb:

This is why people play Zilean. The delight of delayed damage is just too sweet to resist.

Everyone knows what to do here, max it first.
When fighting against another Zilean, Time-Bombing your own allies will disable their bombs.


Cool-Down Reduction on drugs.
With this guide, you will normally achieve a 40% CDR. By spamming Rewind late-game you will be able to bring Chrono Shift off its cooldown within 40 seconds!! (Of course, that's if you're managing your mana well.)

Being patient:
Just because this is the most broken CDR skill ever doesn't mean it's what you need most.
I keep this at rank 1 until after Time Warp is rank 3 because early game is all about wittling down your opponent. Your mana is precious and you can afford to spam anything yet, EVEN if you're packing clarity.

Time Warp:

Excellent gank or flee ability.
When ganking, always slow the enemy. Hasting your ally means the rest will fall behind, making a more difficult chase.

I rank this up in tandem with Rewind until it's hit rank 3, because at rank 3 it lasts a good 4 seconds; 4 Seconds is enough for any gank to pull off without a hitch.

Chrono Shift:

"You've been... Clock-Blocked!"
There's no better way to describe this skill.
Deny that Karthus, Mordekaiser, or typical random ganker the kill they worked so hard for.

It can be a huge table-turning skill. Bringing a dead champion back to fight.
With Deathcap, Chrono Shift will ressurect for over 1710 Health at rank 3!!

Note: Sadly, this skill's been getting nerfed over and over despite being a perfectly balanced skill. The most troublesome combatants for Zilean to counter-Chrono Shift against are stuns AND nukes together.
Often, you can think everyone's fine, then suddenly, their nuke drops your ally or your own HP from 90% to 10% and then you're stunned before you can Chrono Shift.

This makes it fairly difficult to resolve the dissonance between not wasting Chrono Shift too early, and being able to use it at all.

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Item Chapters Under Re-Construction

Let me start by offering my apologies for not having this section ready for you, dear reader.

There is not much else to say, but that I have yet to find the time to fully flesh out my thoughts of the item build. All I can offer is the point-form summary below~

Note: This build HAS been tested, unlike the new mastery build. It is still a work-in-progress, but good nonetheless.

Early game:
Mid game:
Late game:
  • Guardian Angel - Unless you're feeding, buy this so that your Chronoshift is always available for others.
  • Purchase Aegis of the Legion instead of GA if you're dying too much to keep the passive intact for a worthwhile amount of time.
  • Shurelya's Reverie - Finish your Philo stone, it's been long enough more or less. Remember to make use of the speed boost, it's so easy to forget.

End Game - Auras:
    Auras win games. Pick one to make your team super strong. Many choices here.
  • Will of the Ancients - A common favorite on caster-heavy teams.
  • Zeke's Harbinger - Very strong for AD-heavy teams.
  • Abyssal Mask - A good choice if nukes are your bane. Helps out your team's magic damage too.
  • Frozen Heart - Do not buy this. Your tank should have it; if he/she doesn't and the enemy is high in DPS, ask him/her to buy it.

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Items I do not get and Why~

Mejai's Soulstealer is a real gamble of a purchase.
Keeping the stacks is a price in itself.

This item is generally the sole reason any AP build has superior AP. It's also fair to say the acquisition of 20 Mejai inconsistent and rare for well-matched games. So, when you factor in your cooldowns, you're not doing any less damage, and you'll be using your Ultimate more often.

So, any Mejai benefits are smoothly compensated.
A support champion need not rely on such an item since their role does not hinge on them having AP.

A very solid choice for most champions.
However, in this guide, I want to focus on CDR.

All this means is you have to be fair more vigilante of enemy CC users, and always stay behind your allies.
Using your Double-Bomb combos on your allies to hit with AoEs if necessary. Which isn't all that hard.

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Review and Tips

Any guide knows that Zilean gets kills with Time Bomb and saves people with Chrono Shift.
However, the key to a successful Zilean is Rewind abuse.

It lowers all your skill cool-downs by 10 seconds.

With the 40% cooldown reduction, you can use Rewind once every 4 seconds.
Now, what would be the point to spamming it so often?

Spamming Rewind means:

  • You can add a 3rd bomb onto your double bomb combo by the time the 2nd bomb explodes.
  • Time Warp is perpetually available, allowing you to maintain Ghost-spell like speed.
  • As mentioned before, Chrono Shift can be up within 40 seconds after use!

Rewind is the lighter to all your Zilean-based rushes. It's what makes him so intense!
So, go ahead, make your W-key cry!! >:3

Don't deny yourself the pleasure of Clock-Blocking the enemy. A well-Rewind-addicted Zilean is always looking for his next Clock-Block buzz.

Time Warp.
This is like an anti-Ghost for enemies, and a free Ghost for allies.

The one thing I cannot stress enough is: Slow the enemy!
In a team fight, slowing the enemy is always 100% better then hasting your ally. A slowed enemy is an enemy that cannot run; whether it's to attack your low-hp ally or to retreat.

Time Warp is your opener. Slow them down, then Double-Bomb them away.
When this is Lvl3, your opponents will dread this as much as Nunu's Ice Blast. We've all been hit by that, right? *shivers*

With Rewind abuse, you should be Time Warping your allies like crazy when moving around.
Always haste your allies first, otherwise you won't be able to reach them with the 2nd warp. Also because you want them to be the first in battle, why would you go first? XD

Chrono Shift.
With a godly 3:1 AP ratio, late game, it can bring back allies with over 1.5k HP, clearly beating Guardian Angel.

Never hesitate to Chrono Shift an ally with Guardian Angel.
Rewinding will return yours within 1 minute at leisure. Theirs will return after 5 minutes, best saved for emergencies; the AP-scaling gives them more HP to survive in a pinch too.

What people don't immediately perceive is that Chrono Shift can be used to push a turret!

After any even team fight, the enemies will usually recall. Often, Chrono Shift will already to ready again since that fight due to extraneous poking/kiting after a fight.

That stall for time will be their undoing, as Zilean's allies will be allowed to stay; Chrono-Shift the tank and have him/her rush the turret.
With the turret occupied, allies can safely break it down, then run like hell from the recovered enemy champs.
Enemies will be bewildered, the tank will live, the turret will fall, and your victory is further assured!

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-Casting Rotation Basics-

Here, I have compiled the most basic of Zilean combos for easy review.

~Please Note, these are all done with 30%+ CDR, and mid-game skills in mind.

The > sign means you should be able to go immediately to casting the next skill.
Each consecutive >> stack means an extra 1~2 seconds will have to be waited through before the next skill is available.

Double Bomb:
> >
Early game, try to save this for enemies. It can't clear minion waves yet, and trying will drain your mana.

(ally) > >>> (self) > Repeat.
This is good for speeding your allies back onto the field when both at the Fountain.

When idling and Chrono Shift is on cooldown:
> > >
Just in case you're not sure. :D

Triple Bomb:
> > >> > .
Late-game, Rewind will cool faster then Time Bomb can explode. Triple bombing doesn't happen often, but you should do it when possible. >:)

Kill Combo:
(enemy) > > > > profit?
Always have a trusted ally to help. You're a nuke, if the enemy isn't dead after this, you're stuck auto-hitting for 2~4 seconds and sometimes that's all it takes for the enemy to wipe you out. You're also a support, if you're not coordinating with your team and working together to get kills (and maxing the gold passed around with assists), then you're a burden to the team.

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Tips for the Jungle

It's always good to enter a nearby camp between ganks and pushing for free gold. Be wary of MIA enemies, and never pick a jungle camp over an enemy creep wave with no allies or enemies near by.

  • Double Bomb will wipe out basic minion camps instantly mid-game.
  • Get into the Wraith camp's group before starting, as the difference between Elder and Lesser Wraiths will make your bombs miss.
  • Golem: Early-game it is good to grab this if allies are will to help.
  • Lizard: 100% of the time, someone else can make use of this more then you.
  • Dragon: Always good to get Dragon. However, your DPS isn't that impressive. Have the team help out.
    Solo'ing can lead to your demise, smart enemies ward dragon, smart Zileans bring back up.
  • Baron Nashor: Time Bombs won't do anything due to Baron's immunity to debuffs!
    Instead, set your bombs over your melee allies, the AoE damage will be able to strike Baron via proximity.

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~ ~ Final Comments ~ ~

I wanted to show the most cost-effective way for Zilean to be viable in competitive play.
In a game where Mejai's Soulstealer stacks just don't fall into your lap, you'll need to rely on base stats and the quality of your item build.
Rewind is the only addiction Zilean has, don't let Mejai hold you back!

This build is never truly finished. That makes it viable for the late game.
But, for just under 7000 gold, you can acquire a solid source of regeneration, health, mana, cooldown reduction, and the gargantuan source of AP you need to win most games.

Lastly, remember that with your superior cooldowns, you can Time Bomb more frequently making your damage output as good as any AP build. Low cooldowns makes Zilean thrive as a whole, while high AP forces him into imbalance.
As a Rewinder, your team will appreciate that you're no garden-variety glass-cannon nuker.

I hope this guide was helpful. If you see anything wrong with it, leave a comment and I will try my best to justify myself or fix it.

Good luck and have fun, Summoners!

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Old Updates

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

  • Apr. 1, 2011 - Math dawned on me. Putting back Vote-Requirement until the guide's 50+ votes.
  • Mar. 31, 2011 - Removed to "Comment to vote" requirement, as I am confident in this build and guide's appeal to everyone.
  • Mar. 20, 2011 - Converted "Situational Items" to "Items I do not get and Why~" and removed "Banshee's Veil"
  • Mar. 20, 2011 - Removed the "other aura items" in the Late Game Items.
  • Mar. 20, 2011 - After a little testing, I've found a slight blind spot in my build. I am now implementing "Soul Shroud" over Glacial Shroud and bringing back the "Greater Gylph of Focus"
  • Mar. 19, 2011 - Removed Mercury Treads in Core items description. Build hinges on CDR, so leaving Ionian boots out would change everything.
  • Mar. 19, 2011 - Updated the guide to use MobaFire's user-friendly quick chapters! :)
  • Mar. 18, 2011 - Updated Descriptions! :)
  • Mar. 18, 2011 - Replaced Gylphs of Focus with Glyphs of Shielding
  • Mar. 18, 2011 - Moved Ionian Boots before RoA on Item-Sequence
  • Mar. 18, 2011 - Placed Abyssal Scepter before Deathcap on the Item-Sequence
  • Mar. 18, 2011 - Implemented "Ionian Boots of Lucidity"
  • Mar. 18, 2011 - Removed Elixir of Brilliance, it's no longer needed.
  • Mar. 18, 2011 - Removed "Revive" - I don't know how to use it anyway.
  • Mar. 18, 2011 - Changes the title from "Rewind and CDR (Patient Support Specialization) to "Support Build {CDR Specialization)"
  • Mar. 18, 2011 - Removed Banshee's Veil from situation items due to its nerf.
  • Feb. 26, 2011 - Due to the nerfs to Cooldown items, I'll be archiving this build until I have time to check update this guide properly. :)
  • Feb. 20, 2011 - Added Banshee's Veil as a situational item, and updated Mejai's Soulstealer notes.
  • Feb. 20, 2011 - Removed Spirit Visage and Elixir of Brilliance due to both being nerfed and rendered less effective.
  • Feb. 20, 2011 - Removed "Why not Ionian Boots" discussion. Placed it under testing, due to Glacial Shroud's CDR nerf.
  • Feb. 19, 2011 - Renamed Basic Combos into "Casting Rotation Basics" and cleaned up the section a little.
  • Feb. 19, 2011 - Made some minor updates.
  • Jan. 19, 2011 - Updated "Chrono Shift" description a little bit.
  • Jan. 13, 2011 - Discussed the question of "Ionian Boots of Lucidity" in the Core Items description. Why not to take it.
  • Jan. 5, 2011 - Replaced "Zhonya's Ring" with "Rabadon's (Banksy's) Deathcap."
  • Jan. 5, 2011 - Updated some notes on Mejai's Soulstealer.
  • Dec. 23, 2010 - Changed the title wording from "Conservative" to "Patient" - Was bored.
  • Dec. 23, 2010 - Removed Innervating Locket from the build's aura options.
  • Dec. 8, 2010 - Removed the late-game items from the item-purchase. Only core items now. :)
    Should be reading the description for full-details anyway.
  • Nov. 10, 2010 - Updated "Summoner Spells"
  • Nov. 10, 2010 - Added "Other Aura Items" below "End Game items"
  • Nov. 3, 2010 - Added "Jungling" for referencing.
  • Nov. 3, 2010 - Proof-read and adjusted descriptions.