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Zilean General Guide by Feanor Noletari

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Feanor Noletari

Zilean the Groovy Support [Zilean Support Guide]

Feanor Noletari Last updated on February 22, 2013
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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: 0

Honor Guard

Defense: 9


Utility: 21

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"Time Flies Like an Arrow... Fruit Flies Like a Banana"

Zilean, is to my humble oppinion one of the most underrated champions in the league. While he might not look as valid as a Sona or Leona with a lot of potential early game, Zilean flourishes late game and is possible to sway team fights rather easily. Often when a player picks Zilean, he goes mid and is bursted down by one of the many champions with a higher burst damage before level 6. In my view Zilean can fulfill the role of support best, as he is mobile and has a unique way of securing the carry in a hectic teamfight. In this guide (my first), I will try to give an overview on how I think Zilean works best. I never claim that my way is the only possible way, but I have had good results with this build in the past, and I have tested multiple alternatives that will also be discussed in this guide.

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Pros / Cons

+ His ultimate makes for rediculous plays
+ Good poke early game with the Time Bomb
+ Great mobility to ward the map quickly
+ Passive helps an ult-dependent team a lot
+ Hilarious Laugh
+ Cool Skin (Groovy Zilean)
- No sustain early game
- Very squishy early game
- Impossible to hold a tower on your own
- Zero damage output late game
- In need of good communication with ADC

I would like to elaborate on the abovementioned Pros and Cons a little. The main reason to play Zilean is because he has one of the most incredible ultimates in the game. Chronoshift has the possibility to turn a teamfight into a 6v5. Many people do not know exactly what this ult does and this is both a Pro and a Con of playing Zilean. (See my part on Ranked Play) If you do not have good communication with your team it is possible that you waste your ultimate on someone who runs of, not knowing he or she should in fact engage on low health. It requires knowledge of your skill and not all players online know what Zilean does. This brings me to one of the major Cons of playing Zilean. Zilean cannot hold a tower in his support position. His poke: Time Bomb does not scale to well if you don't build much Ability Power next to it (And costs quite a bit of mana) and in the end it does close to nothing. You have difficulty farming a wave of creeps as you will see. It is important that your team knows this so that your jungler can cover lane. In the end it all boils down to good communication!

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For the runes there are three possibilities I could defend playing. The first option is the one I use myself as it gives the best results with my playing style. The other ones seem valid to me, but have given me worse results as they fit less to my personal playing style. Remember again here, I do not claim my vision is the best, but I do know my build works miracles from time to time, so I am sure that what I do works.


Greater Mark of Magic Penetration

Greater Seal of Gold

Greater Glyph of Ability Power

Greater Quintessence of Gold

The first set of runes is the one I use. I chose for magic penetration and ability power as it helps improving the power of my poke early game. It is important to deal some damage or you will have a hard time versus supports with a lot of ways to support their carry. I chose the gold runes as they help me get to the items I need quickly, and as my build is rather gold hungry, they are needed to be able to impact the game quickly.


Greater Mark of Magic Penetration

Greater Seal of Armor

Greater Glyph of Ability Power

Greater Quintessence of Gold

The only adaption here is that some of the gold runes have been replaced with armor. This is usefull if you have general difficulty staying alive vs early game damaging champions such as Caitlyn. I would personally prefer the additional gold trickle, but it is a matter of taste. The gold trickle might seem minimal, but it helps you get that precious Aegis of the Legion more quickly, and that aura saves more lives than that little bit of armor on a squishy support.


Greater Mark of Magic Penetration

Greater Quintessence of Gold

Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction

Greater Seal of Armor

A last possible suggestion is that you could use some cooldown reduction (either scaling or flat) on Zilean. I personally prefer getting that from items if needed, and with my Rewind I also do not really see the point, but if you want it, it works. It does reduce the damage of your pokes which is a somewhat dangerous thing to do, as your Time Bomb deals barely enough damage as it is to scare enemy champions away from your tower.

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Defense Tree

Summoner's Resolve I chose to go for a 0/9/21 setting rather than a 9/0/21 setting as one of the major cons that has already been adressed is the fact that Zilean is Squishy. I chose to put his damage output in his runes, so it is important that he has some defense versus a support with a lot of sustain. The Heal I have on Zilean solves this problem as it gives him some form of sustain and with it through this mastery also some additional beef. It is important that Zilean does not die before level 6 if possible, for only then he will grant your team the advantage of getting to their ultimate abilities more quickly through his passive.

Hardiness Ever laned against a Caitlyn with a squishy support? If you have, and you like your gold runes as much as I do it is important to pick Hardiness. It simply makes sure those pesky auto-attack deal just a little less damage than they otherwise would.

Durability Similar to the above, this mastery has been chosen to reduce the chance of Zilean sleeping with the fishes. In my build your team will win each teamfight as long as you stay alive for you can ult the first member of your team that goes down and (SPOILER) as you will see in my items, you are a walking buff for your team.

Veteran's Scars Together with Durability and the use of Heal as summoner spell this results in. 90 + 108 + 30 = 228 bonus health on level 18 (11/level + 30) which might not seem as a lot, but is just the difference between redicilously squishy and actually able to take a hit. (especially since quite some of your items give you some health in exchange.)

Utility Tree

Wanderer In my Zilean build there is a large emphasis on mobility as it is one of the factors that make Zilean a strong champion. Enhancing his mobility in your masteries (since you are not able to do this in you rune section because you need the gold) is therefore not a bad choice. Zilean needs to be everywhere, ward everywhere and save teammates from dieing at all kind of inconvenient locations. Mobility is then a must.

Meditation Some of Zilean's abilities are quite mana hungry, to solve this a small trickle of mana is early game very much needed (since you most likely won't get your hands on a blue buff anytime soon)

Expanded Mind This additional mana can save the day. Nothing is more frustrating than seeing a teammate die in combat because you lack just a bit of mana for your 'Save-The-Day- Chronoshift'

Greed I like gold, and for my build you need quite a lot of it. I chose not to pick Pickpocket as Zilean is ranged and does not deal any damage with his auto-attacks. You often have to come in range of the ADC to earn a meagre 3gp. Better for tankier champions like Leona or Blitzcrank or a Sona with a Power Chord. Not for Zilean

Biscuiteer Early game sustain as has been emphasized a few times now already, is one of the challenges for Zilean as he does not have any heal or protection pre level 6. 'The cookie' as it is also known, helps a lot with that.

Wealth Money, it's all they say.... Moneeeeeeeeh. Ahum.... well and you can buy fancy Sight Wards with it too. Not completely unimportant.

Explorer This is one that I first never picked on my supports, for I thought it took a slot that was better spent elsewhere. I stand corrected now as it actually is one of the best masteries one can pick on any support. It allows you to 'face-check' the enemy brush and still have a ward for the jungler. 'Cookie Wards Save The Day'

Intelligence I chose this over Awareness as Zilean already has his passive to increase his XP considerably. I like the additional cooldown on my ultimate and on the Rewind, but this is a slot you could also use differently. It is the only part of my masteries page that is open for debate as far as I am concerned.

Nimble Brilliant choice on Zilean. If you build my build, soon you will feel like singing 'Can't Touch This' every time you simply outrun your enemies. Speed saves your life!

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Here we come to a chapter that is slightly more difficult than the previous ones. As a Zilean it is your task to run around (superquick) and buf your team where needed. Zilean does not really have main items, but all your items depend on your team. There is a core (but that is similar for most supports), but then most items are situational. The items shown above are the ones I build most. I'll try to explain why I chose these items.

Starting Items

Faerie Charm + Rejuvenation Bead + Sight Ward + Health Potion

I always start on Zilean with the two items that will result in my Philosopher's Stone. Other than that it is of great importance to survive the first six levels as that is when you are least effective (esspecially versus an agressive sustain lane e.g. Sona) Therefore ALWAYS buy a Sight Ward. If the jungler gets across a successfull gank early game, you might not be able to recover from that. The health potion is for the additional sustain.

Core Items

Philosopher's Stone + Kage's Lucky Pick + Avarice Blade + Boots of Mobility + Ruby Sightstone

Pretty straightforward support items. It is important to also get the Avarice Blade (often forgotten) since it now gives more gold, and gold is something you will need a lot as it will be your task to ward the map, while still having to build fancy items. The sightstone also reduces you squishy feel. As soon as you have this done and you have not died yet, you know you are up for a good game.

Situational/ Late Game Items

Now it becomes more tricky, as the items you build are very much dependent on your team. Items I would consider on Zilean are listed below, but of course they do depend greatly on your team buildup. I have also added my personal notes on when to build the items. (in which situation)

Runic Bulwark
Best item for supports currently availiable, gives your team a huge buff and also saves you from being killed. I usually get this item first as it usually makes sure your team is not wiped out easily and gives you then more time (time = money) to build other items.

Will of the Ancients + Zeke's Herald
These items are more situational as they depend on which side of your team is dealing most damage. If you have an AP caster that is dominating the game, the 'WotA' might be your best option. If you feel your carry is being outdamaged bigtime Zeke's Herald would be your pick.

Banner of Command + Enchantment: Captain
If your team lacks some serious pushing ability this combination is an easy way to split push as a support. The trick is to make sure you use the banner on a siege minion and then use the speed bonus to let that wave catch up with the previous one. Then you have two waves with a fat minion. This wave can then easily bring down a turret when left unchecked. A good way to force opponents out of a teamfight to save a tower.

Mikael's Crucible
If your team lacks sustain, and you feel you have mana trouble, Mikael is your friend. It allows you to heal your carry if he is focussed well and also gives you your ultimate more often. I call this item situational as I usually prefer the aura's over the additional mana.

Shurelya's Reverie
If your team is plain stupid in engaging, or your enemies run away on low health all the time, it can be satisfying to buy a Shurelya's. The item is not one of my favorites but it sometimes does save the day by allowing your team to run from a failed baron attempt or run to an enemy trying to escape.

Locket of the Iron Solari
This item belongs to Leona, but can be used decently on Zilean. If you know how to use it right, be my guest though my experience is that after the Aegis of the Legion your team will have enough buff so you can focus on more damaging aura's.

Abyssal Mask
Very situational, if your APmid has the feeling he can't deal any damage and it is needed for you to actually deal some damage. with a scepter and a WotA actually those Time Bombs can shut someone down. Especially if you place two in a row with a Rewind in the middle.

Frozen Heart
I would use this if you have trouble shutting down a fed Fiora or an ADC. I usually don't get this item but I have found it usefull when you have trouble feeding your carry kills in early game.

End Game

I would like to make a small calculation here to show why I pick my items and masteries, for I build Zilean this way to make him indestructible as a living buff. He is not worth focussing, and if he is focussed he runs away.

Aura's Given End Game
+ 8% Movement for Allies running towards you
+ 8% Experience gain
+ 10 Armor Allies around you
+ 30 Magic Resist Allies around you
+ 20 Hp/5 Allies around you
+ 20 AD Allies around you
+ 10% Lifesteal allies around you
+ 30 AP Allies around you
+ 20% Spellvamp allies around you

Own Buffs (Defensive Only)
+ 360 + 400 + 250 + 228(masteries) = + 1238 HP
+ 20 + 10 + 30 + 5 (masteries) = + 65 AR
+ 30 + 30 = + 60 MR

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Skill Sequence

My section about Skill Sequence will be short. The ultimate is your main focus (like with many champions) so pick it when able. Don't make the mistake to think 'I'm a support so I should start with Time Warp for my carry to slow the enemy! The Time Bomb is more important, because if you do not pick it and your carry has to recall you cannot hold the tower for a second!

After testing a lot I consider the abovestated sequence the best possible for a support Zilean.

Chronoshift > Time Bomb > Time Warp > Rewind

Take note that at a certain point, you will want some points in Rewind but that is not before lvl 8

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Flash Best summoner spell currently availiable, I would not trade it for anything else as it helps with escapes during all kind of ganks. Flash saves lives. Period.

Heal I chose it for the additional sustain it gives (as Zilean does not have any way to heal his carry, or save it before level 5). Furthermore it builds up some additional beef that can just make the difference. I like my supports a bit tanky, and since with Zilean is has to come a long way, it is wise to pick Heal. Furthermore you don't need an Exhaust as you already have that in your Time Warp (rediculous slow).

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Unique Skills (Skill Tricks)

Zilean does not have many fancy tricks, like some other champions with specific combos do. Zilean has one thing that should be mentioned for the sake of completeness. He can 'double bomb'. Double bombing is the therm used for placing two bombs on the same target rapidly one after another to let the first bomb detonate.

Time Bomb + Rewind + Time Bomb

It is however rather mana consuming and as Support Zilean your damage output will be low either way. You might use it to clear a wave that threatens to destroy your tower. Better to leave the farm to someone else when possible though.

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Ranked Play

I play Zilean quite a bit ranked and he brings about some problems. I would advice not to play him in solo queue in low divisions. The chances of your ADC not knowing your abilities is rather high and when your ADC runs away when you try to give him a double kill.... things get ugly. Duoqueue with a friend who plays a good ADC seems better to me, someone who knows your abilities is always nice. 5v5 should also bring no problems as you probably know your team. ;-)

Communication saves lives: Make sure your team knows what your doing!

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Team Building

Which ADC's are strong with Zilean? Champions with a good damage output early game and a decent escape mechanism as Zilean won't be able to be much of a help in the first 6 lvls.

Which other champions are strong with Zilean? Champions with a powerfull ultimate profit most from Zilean's global passive Heightened Learning.

Which champions pose trouble to Zilean in lane? Sona is the worst you can get for she is very agressive early game and through heal can keep her carry alive. Take care when laning versus champions with high sustain and an agressive early game.

Coolest possible lane partner with Zilean: Monarch Kog'Maw, The giant ugly butterfly with the groovy hippie forms the most fun botlane I have recently played. It is not very strong but it simply results in hilarious games.


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