Zed Guide by Tafikayy

Hi, my name is Eli “Tafikayy” Bonny, a streamer for Sector One and at the moment a Master tier soloqueue player, I used to be a jungle main but after focusing on just improving my gameplay, I started playing more champions and other lanes. By the end of Season 5, I was a jungler in a Challenger 5v5 team. Hopefully this guide will help you guys improve and overall become a better League of Legends player.

Zed is an attack damage assassin that is mostly played in the middle lane. He requires a great amount of skill to play correctly, has a great kit and lots of outplaying potential.

Zed has been a really popular pick in solo queue mainly because of the recent buffs given to him. His Living Shadow cast range has been increased and his ultimate got a significant early game buff. His kit allows him to have a strong laning phase and split push / assassinate potential.

Summoner Spells:

Flash

Flash gives you more mobility and much more outplaying potential. Zed is all about outplaying your enemies and being one step ahead of the game. I can’t stress this enough, you’re able to make the craziest plays and make everyone go: WOW. Flash is crucial in this.

Ignite

Since Zed is an assassin, the ignite helps to secure kills and bully your opponents.

Exhaust

Even though that it is very unlikely that you would take exhaust, it is possible against other assassins such as Talon, Fizz, Yasuo, etc. But my personal preference would be to take ignite over exhaust.

Runes & Masteries:

I run 2 runes pages on Zed, 1 against AP champions and 1 against AD champions.

Zed versus AP champions

Marks: 3x Attack Damage (+0.95 AD) and 6x Armor Penetration (+1.28 Armor Pen.)
Seals: 9x Health Per Level (+1.33 Health Per Level (+24 At level 18))
Glyphs: 9x Magic Resist (+1.34 MR)
Quintessences: 3x Attack Damage (+2.25 AD)

Total: +12 Magic Resist, +216 Health at Level 18, +9.6 Physical Damage, +7.7 Armor Penetration

Zed Guide Runes 1

Zed versus AD champions

Marks: 3x Attack Damage (+0.95 AD) and 6x Armor Penetration (+1.28 Armor Pen.)
Seals: 9x Armor (+1 Armor)
Glyphs: 9x Cooldown Reduction (+0.87% Cooldown Reduction)
Quintessences: 3x Attack Damage (+2.25 AD)

Total: +9.6 Physical Damage, +9 Armor, +7.50% Cooldown Reduction, +7.7 Armor Penetration

Zed Guide Runes 2

The masteries on Zed are very standard, allowing you to get the most damage out of the mastery page.

Zed Guide Masteries1

Spells Breakdown

shadowninja_P

“Zed’s basic attacks against targets below 50% health deal 6-10% of the target’s maximum Health as bonus Magic Damage. This effect can only occur once every 10 seconds on the same target”

The passive is self-explanatory. Once your enemy is below 50%, you deal an extra 6-10% of the target’s maximum Health, which is a ton and can really help with your creep farming, especially under the tower.

shadowninja_Q

Razor Shruiken: “Zed and his shadow both throw their spinning blades forward, dealing damage to any targets they pass through.”

Cost: 75/70/65/60/55 Energy

This ability is a ranged skill shot (Range: 900). Zed and his shadow will throw a shuriken towards your cursor. It is also your main damage source and poking ability. It will deal a lot of damage to the first target hit, but less as they pass through the first enemy.

The most important thing is that the ability will also be cast from your shadow (W). This will allow you to do tons of damage or poke from a further range. The trick is to hit as many shurikens and preferably as the first target hit. This will allow you to burst or poke someone really hard.

shadowninja_w

Living Shadow: “Zed’s shadow dashes forward, remaining in place for 4 seconds, and mimicking his spell casts. Zed can reactivate to swap places with the shadow. Zed’s Attack Damage is passively increased.”

Cost: 40/35/30/25/20 Energy

This ability will put a shadow to the direction of your cursor (range: 650).

It is important to use this ability very carefully as it can help you a lot with your poke. But it is also your escape ability. Only poke with this ability if you know that you’re safe or to go all in / gap close into your ultimate. The moment that you use this ability, your enemy will know that they have an engage / trade window.

shadowninja_E

Shadow Slash: “Zed and his shadow spin their blades, creating a burst of shadow energy. The shadow’s spin slows.”

Cost: 50 Energy

This ability deals AoE damage around you (range 290).

The main reason to use this ability is to slow your enemies. Note: hitting this skill with both the shadow and Zed does not increase the damage, but however doubles the slowing effect.

shadowninja_R

Death Mark: “Zed leaves a shadow behind and dashes to target Champion, marking them for death. After 3 seconds, the mark will trigger, dealing a percentage of the damage Zed has dealt while the mark was active.”

Cost: No Cost

This is a point and click ability (Range: 625). You will dash towards your opponent becoming untargetable for a short time, marking them for death. After 3 second, your mark will trigger dealing 100% Attack damage plus 30/40/50% of all Magic and Physical Damage dealt to the target by Zed.

This is the ability that makes Zed such a great assassin, the ability to burst someone insanely fast (preferably carries). But how do you use the ability? Well, there are multiple ways to do this, it can even save your life if you’re getting ganked.

During laning phase: you will want to poke your enemy a few times with your shurikens (Q). Once that you poked your opponent pretty hard, you will want to ult your enemy and deal as much damage as possible which means, hit as many shurikens as you can. Make sure you use your E to slow and keep on auto attacking your enemy. A shuriken above your opponents head means that your enemy will die when it triggers (this does not include heals, shields, defensive summoner spells, …)

Keep in mind that it takes 3 seconds for this mark to trigger. Which means that your enemies also have a 3 seconds opening to burst you down. Always try to secure your kill before the mark triggers (also important for unexpected heals, shields, …). If you can’t do this, back off.

Skill Order

Zed Guide Skill Order

This is the best skill sequence on Zed and people usually never change from this. The only change you can make is swapping W for E level 2 if you are in a melee match up.

Tips & Tricks

Since your shadow mimics your abilities, you will have few combo’s that you can use which will make it easier for you to outtrade your opponent.

Combo’s:

W – Q:  Just a poke combo, try to hit 2 shurikens if possible. Also remember that your shuriken will deal the most damage to the first target hit.

W – E – Q: Shadow dash (W) forward so you’re close enough to hit your enemy with your Shadow Slash (E). The important thing is to do this really fast then (if possible) try to hit your double Q (your Shadow + youself). If not, try to hit at least one. At this point you got a few possibilities; can you kill your enemy? Press your Living Shadow (W) again to move closer to your opponent to auto attack him (remember, if your enemy is below 50% health, you will deal extra damage from your passive).

Ultimate combo’s: It is really hard to have a specific combo for your ultimate. All that I can say is, try to get as much damage done as possible. Keep good track where which shadow is so you don’t confuse your R with your W shadow (cause if this happens, you’ll most likely get killed).

Zed Combo Video’s

W E Q combo

Let me start by saying that this Annie made a huge mistake. Zed is really strong against Annie at this point and really, she was just way in over her head. She had her stun ready which was decent of her, but she went in way too deep which made her tank the minions. At this moment I knew that this was my window to engage. I hit my E and double Q which activates my Thunderlord mastery. Knowing that Annie has pretty high cooldowns at level 3 I swapped positions with my shadow (W). From that point, it was pretty easy. All I had to do was use my ignite, auto attack her and use my E when ready. At the end she makes another huge mistake by flashing away from her tower, even though that she dodged my Q, I can still flash on her and kill her.

Zed Outplaying Potential

So as I have explained in this guide, Zed has so much outplaying potential. I had nowhere to run and I got flanked by Kindred, Sona and Fizz. At a moment like this you have to act really fast. First i wanted to ult Kindred before the Fizz ult would go off, but unfortunately that failed.

So what was my only option? Ult kindred and hope that she would ult which could mean my survival and luckily that was exactly what happened. I waited for the ult to heal me and moved over the wall. The kindred tried to save herself which resulted in me getting 2 kills and my team killing Sona.

And this is what I want to stress so hard, always keep in mind where your shadows are. They thought that I would just want to escape but I saw my window to engage and got some kills.

Playstyle

Playstyles on assassins are very different from other champions. You’ll have to keep an eye out for mistakes or bad resource management (cooldowns, mana, etc) of your opponent and find openings. That way, you can try to trade or go all in for the kill! Usually heavy CC champions will be the main problem (keep in mind that there’s a ton of those), let them waste their abilities and engage after they’ve done so.

Normally you’ll want to avoid straight 5 vs 5 team fights. Only if you’re really strong and see a good opening. So what are you options?

Split pushing: If you are pretty sure that you can outplay your enemies (at least 1 vs 1). You can start split pushing but make sure to communicate with your team to have pressure in other lanes.

Note that split pushing is really dangerous if not done correctly. You’ll need to have some wards up, your team will have to pressure and make sure you don’t get 5 man ganked. Splitting is really great in solo queue in my opinion since enemies usually don’t know what to do against it.  

Flanking: Just wait for your team to engage before you jump into the teamfight. When you see an opening just straight up burst somebody.

Catching people out of position: Great warding and picking off enemies one by one is really huge since this will give your team the opportunity to force objectives (towers, inhibitors, baron, …). Try to spot carries out of position and burst them down.

Itemization

Starting items:

Long_Sword_itemHealth_PotionHealth_PotionHealth_PotionWarding_Totem_item

Core items against AD champion:

Youmuu's_Ghostblade_itemBlade_of_the_Ruined_KingDominik

Core items against AP champion:

Hexdrinker_itemMaw_of_MalmortiusYoumuu's_Ghostblade_itemDominik

From this point you can finish your build with the items that you prefer. A Mercurial Scimitar comes in really handy and bloodthirster is really great for the lifesteal and the shield. Also don’t forget to finish your Last Whisper. You should always go Lord Dominik’s Regards, unless your opponents have heavy healing spells (or champions such as: Soraka, Mundo, ….) then you should go Mortal Reminder. Also a Death’s Dance is great if you got the feeling that you are getting bursted all the time and need something defensive.

Laning Phase

Level 1

You got some good poke and good 1 vs 1 potential. But remember, you’re melee. If you get too close your enemy will just start auto attacking until you have to back off and eventually you might lose the trade.

Level 2

This depends, Most of the time you will level your W, which gives you more poking potential. If you get zoned, try to farm with your Q from a safe distance and keep your W if you need an escape. And remember it is better to lose some CS than to die.

Even though you’re feelings comfortable and not getting pushed in, you can always try to trade with your opponent. The best way to do this is to hit your double Q press W again and auto hit him, together with your Thunderlord’s Decree this will result in a huge burst. Note that this is a high risk, high reward trade. This can result in you killing your opponent at level 2 or getting yourself killed in level 2. The best you can do is wait until you hit level 3 since it gets a lot safer from that moment.

Level 3

This is your early power spike in lane. This is usually the “make or break” your lane moment. Try to poke your enemy with a full W – E – Q combo.

Of course this is also very high risk high reward play, if you are getting pushed into your tower or don’t feel comfortable doing, just play it a little safer and farm with your Q.

Level 4 / 5

Keep up with your CS. In the meanwhile try to poke your enemy as hard as you can since you’re getting closer to your level 6 burst with your ultimate.

Level 6

Try to hit level 6 before your enemy does. If possible, try to surprise your enemy with controlling your wave and do an instant all in when you hit level 6 with your ultimate. Always keep the enemy’s summoner spell in mind, if they have exhaust this probably won’t work.

From this point it is up to you really, there’s a lot of different things you can do. You either snowball your own lane or you could roam and help other lanes.

If you’re behind at any point, keep in mind that you’re Zed. Try to farm with your Q and keep a safe distance and wait for your enemy to make a mistake.

Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Good split pusher
  • Mobile
  • Great all-in
  • Has gap-closer / escape
  • Great Poke
  • Good under tower farming
  • Doesn’t use mana (but energy)

Cons:

  • Weak burst when behind
  • Countered by Zhonya’s / QSS
  • CC shuts him down
  • Hard to master

If you’ve gotten this far into the guide, good! If you’ve learned something great. If you’re planning on using this knowledge on the fields of justice, awesome! Make sure to leave a comment below and let me know what you thought of the guide.

Hi, my name is Eli “Tafikayy” Bonny, a streamer for Sector One and at the moment a Master tier soloqueue player, I used to be a jungle main but after focusing on just improving my gameplay, I started playing more champions and other lanes. By the end of Season 5, I was a jungler in a Challenger 5v5 team. Hopefully this guide will help you guys improve and overall become a better League of Legends player.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Well, I think more of it as a personal preference. The BotRK comes in really handy if you have the feelings that you’re getting kited. But it’s not a 100% Core item anymore indeed. Hydra is also really good but I haven’t really tried that because there are other items that come in really handy.

  2. My build generally goes yomouus, maw, hydra, then my last 2 items depends on how fed i am. Maybe black clever and deaths dance or ie and bt aha. What would you say is core on zed? I’m in High plat elo.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.