Build Guide by Seledoz
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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 by far one of the most annoying champions to lane against because of his extremely far basic attack and of corse his time bombs. Any well played zilean I think can be one of the best 2 vs 1 champions and can easily exp starve your opponent.
For my summoner spells I chose Clarity and Ghost, since I love to harass people I am constantly burning up my mana by time bombing and speeding up/slowing down everyone. Ghost I would say can be used for every champion, with ghost and his time warp ability you will be able to get away or catch up to anyone. Only problem is after around level 9 I find that I hardly ever use my Clarity for my own mana and instead for my allies, so it has potential to be useless late game.
For my runes I focused on maximizing the best spell casters items for each type, the reason why I never took any cool down is because between my Meji's, the blue buff, and the blue ability power potion, I already get the cap limit on cool down so there is no need for any more. At level 1 with a Dorans Ring I get 27 ability power enough for my level 1 bombs to hit around 30% harder and the rest I get over levels, also the mana regen from that item and my runes/masteries is more then enough to tide me over until I get my Archangels staff.
After a long time of going 21/0/9 or 9/0/21 I found this to be the most usefull and best overall. So for my masteries I go 9/7/14, I do this for the 15% magic pen in offense, the health regen/magic resistance in the defence and rest in utility. The strength of spirit mastery in defence is one of the most under estimated mastery from what I have seen. Lets say you start a game with 500 mana, that means your gaining 1.5 hp every second which is 7.5 hp every 5 seconds, thats still half of a regrowth pendant at level 1 and getting stronger as you go along. Now lets look at late end game, if you expend the 1000 mana from your tear and your staff + the mana from your staff and the mana you would of had without them you end up with around 3000-5000 mana or more. Now if you look at that mastery your getting 40 hp every 5 seconds to 75 hp every 5 seconds, which is a pretty fast hp regen considering you did next to nothing to get it. I have had people say to me on several occasions that I was a noob for having hp regen runes on Zilean, but I just laugh at them.
This is not always what item I build I do, but what I do most of the time. Depending on the situation lets say if the enemy has a insane amount of stuns buy merc treads instead of the sorcerer boots, or if they are building massive magic resistance get a void staff. The thing is unlike armor, your magic resistance does not increase per level, so the 10 magic pen you get from your runes and the 20 from your boots pretty much accounts for the complete magic resistance of your enemy unless they build more. Also during my item builds I buy the blue elixir for the ability power and cool down if I have spare change.
So I know what your thinking that I have 0 hp items so I am gunna die super fast and easy, well that is true but to counter it you have an insane amount of speed so all you need to do is hit and run. During a team battle you will be in the back putting up time bombs, speeding people up/slowing people down and resing the first person to die(or your carry which is much more important). If you do get targetted for the amount of the time lets say for that person to kill you since you will be running around, then you res, throw on your Zhonya's ring, and possibly die again, thats a good what at least 10 seconds of survivability and if your team hasent cleaned up the rest of them or helped you, then its your teams fault, and thats assuming your enemy can some how survive 4-8 time bombs in that amount of time before you die. As I said above about the cool down, at level 18 with the cool down cap you time warp lasts 5.5 seconds which is enough time for you to keep 2 people purely sped up with your ability. Your Chrono Shift (since time warp takes off 10 seconds) will be simply about a 15-20 second cool down if not less and you will be able to constantly bring out time bombs faster then they would explode on their own.
Now if your at end game and you have all the items I would sell off your Meji unless you have a insane amount of stacks and buy another archangels staff, or sell your boots and buy another staff. Since its a passive that 3% of your max mana turns into ability power and lets say you have 3-5 of them you would have around 3000-5000 mana or more depending if you got the full 1000 mana extra from each thats a extra 450-750 ability power + the extra 80 ap from each of the staffs and the 120 from your zhonyas ring + the 25% extra from its unqie passive, also your runes and masteries.... you will be pushing easy around 1000-1500+ ability power.
Final Notes & Ideas
One thing I have never tried is getting exp Quintessences, if you think about it you get 8% from his passive, 5% from the masteries and another 6% from the Quintessences, which in total gives you a 19% exp bonus haha.
Tower diving enemys can be a good idea to get the 2 bombs on them but remember, your time bomb hits a few dots of 1 damage when you place them just so when you get in tower range with a bomb on your enemys head the tower will change to you right away.
Also playing this build of Zilean requires fast internet and a extremely good sense of your surroundings, you have to always be watching your allies hp to see when to use your chrono shift, know when and who to speed up or slow down in order to catch your enemy(don't be greedy and only use your chrono shift and time warp on yourself) and also watch for the missing enemys and aspecially invisible, Shaco will be one of your worst enemys if played right.
I have a few other tips and tricks/possible bugs with Zilean that I know about, but I will not currently disclose them in this build. Just remember the golem buff is your best friend and keep owning.
This image is from the first 5 ranked games I played with this build, since I have bad internet most of the time I try to keep away from playing ranked games and mostly play normal.