Zilean Build Guide

[4.13] Back In Time

Updated 2 years ago
  • 9
    Greater Mark of Hybrid Penetration (+0.9 Armor Penetration / +0.62 Magic Penetration)
  • 9
    Greater Seal of Health (+8 health)
  • 9
    Greater Glyph of Magic Resist (+1.34 magic resist)
  • 3
    Greater Quintessence of Ability Power (+4.95 ability power)
Skill Order
Time Bomb
Time Warp
1 1 1 1
2 2 2 2
3 3 3 3
4 4 4 4
5 5 5 5
6 6 6 6
7 7 7 7
8 8 8 8
9 9 9 9
10 10 10 10
11 11 11 11
12 12 12 12
13 13 13 13
14 14 14 14
15 15 15 15
16 16 16 16
17 17 17 17
18 18 18 18

Hi there. My name is supermarth64 and this is my guide on AP Zilean. I've been playing LoL since around when Vayne and Orianna came out and have enjoyed it since, watching many streams and keeping up to date with most of the tournaments. Although my skill level may not show in my Elo, my knowledge of this game far precedes that. I started writing competitive articles back when I played competitive Pokemon over at Smogon University under the same name. I've always found it enjoyable to spread the knowledge that I hold in order to help out other people. Hopefully by writing this guide with that goal in mind, that will be achieved.

Hi there. My name is supermarth64 and this is my guide on AP Zilean. I've been playing LoL since around when Vayne and Orianna came out and have enjoyed it since, watching many streams and keeping up to date with most of the tournaments. Although my skill level may not show in my Elo, my knowledge of this game far precedes that. I started writing competitive articles back when I played competitive Pokemon over at Smogon University under the same name. I've always found it enjoyable to spread the knowledge that I hold in order to help out other people. Hopefully by writing this guide with that goal in mind, that will be achieved.

In terms of Zilean, he is one of the least popular champions because he doesn't have as high burst potential and can't easily carry a team by himself. He's an underpicked champion which is weird because he's never really been nerfed hard enough for it to matter. Zilean used to be picked and banned in many tournament matches back in season 1. He did receive some usage at the end of season 2 but was often overlooked for champions like Diana, Anivia, Orianna, and Evelynn: champions that exhibit hard CC (death is a CC), have more DPS, or have a stronger late game than Zilean (usually more than 2 of the 3 previously mentioned characteristics). However, that doesn't necessarily mean that Zilean's bad though, it just means that he's not picked. Utility AP champions like Orianna and Kayle are still picked, so Zilean can very well be picked also. Zilean's ultimate is still one of the strongest in the game because no other one has the reviving capability like it does (except Yorick but we're talking about mid lane). Sometimes you'll see Zilean be played as support, which can work, but it leaves his two abilities that scale off of AP to be sadly left in the dust. Furthermore, this guide is not about support Zilean, but rather AP mid Zilean. Mainly, you play Zilean because you hate seeing your teammates die. He has powerful poking capability and great movement for both yourself and your team. However, he falls off late game damage wise due to only having one damaging ability. He fulfills more of a utility based role and more of an \"ult bot\", so make sure that you take advantage of his powerful midgame along with your teammates. Pros: [.]One of the strongest ultimates in the game: a revive [.]High base damage and scaling means good waveclearing and poke [.]Capable of slowing down enemies or speeding up allies [.]Farms exceptionally well with some AP [.]Roams like a monster due to self-speed boost [.]Safe in lane and from ganks due to speed boost and revive [.]High, undodgable harass with blue buff [.]Diving towers is easy due to revive preventing tower kills [.]600 AA range enables for easy last hitting from a distance [.]No skillshots, only targetable abilities which means you're less likely to mess up Cons: [.]Extremely blue buff dependent [.]Weak pre-6 due to lack of damage and high mana costs [.]Falls off late game because only one damaging ability [.]Poor auto attack damage and animation makes CSing difficult sometimes [.]Can't take blue buff for himself efficiently, often times has to have someone else damage it for him [.]Relies on team due to the nature of his ultimate

3/21/2013: Season 3 has settled down a bit so an update is here. Various item changes have been made and this guide is there to reflect that. Some items that build into largers ones have been given their own section in order to give further depth. More champions have been added to the matchup section. 1/9/2013: With a new year comes a new update for this guide. Season 3 brought about some huge changes, including a slew of item reworks and mechanics changes which caused the mid metagame to change. This guide has been changed accordingly. Also included is an update I overlooked: the change that Zilean's Q now stops recalls. 11/15/2012: Got lazy mainly but still updating this. Added Athene's first route, moved DFG into unviable items due to the nerf (with explanation), added little notes here and there. Added example endgame builds and also posted videos from MLG Dallas where the teams played Zilean to show he is competitively viable. 10/10/2012: So I lost some stuff on my computer due to my computer messing up which is why updates have been slow. Added Evelynn and Syndra to champions, changed up partners for Zilean a slight bit. 8/30/2012: Changed Abyssal Scepter description to reflect the nerf that it received in Patch The nerf was: Aura range reduced to 600 from 1000. Also changed wording slightly in Void Staff section to reflect Abyssal Scepter changes. 8/16/2012: Minor wording changes. Changed Katarina matchup description due to Katarina's ability changes in Patch 8/15/2012: Initial guide published.

[imgext=http://i.imgur.com/VW90F.png] Most Zilean pages look similar and for good reason: most AP mids use similar pages. [highlight]Magic Penetration Marks: [/highlight] The standard for all AP casters and Zilean is no different. It makes your bombs do more damage in general and along with Sorc Shoes, lets Zilean deal great damage midgame. [.]Alternatives: If you're made of money, [highlight]Hybrid Penetration Marks[/highlight] are a viable choice. They provide slightly less magic pen in exchange for armor pen, and while Zilean's base AD might not be great, his range makes it so that he can easily harass the enemy mid laner. Useful if the enemy is melee, such as Gragas, Kassadin, or Kha'Zix. [highlight]Flat Mana Regen Seals: [/highlight] Zilean is a very mana hungry champion so these are there in order to help mitigate some of his mana costs. It helps with early harass and also times when you don't have blue buff. [.]Alternatives: [highlight]Mana Regen per Level Seals[/highlight] are the alternate mana regen runes, which outscale flat mana regen at level 7 and above. At that point though, you should have a decently sized mana pool. [highlight]Flat Armor Seals[/highlight] are also useful to help combat the recent rise in AD casters mid lane, like Pantheon, Talon, and Kha'Zix. It can also help mitigate damage from junglers which may allow you to survive a gank. It helps counteract Zilean's base armor, which is among the lowest in the game and lets you take less damage from minion aggro when you auto attack the enemy champion. [highlight]Flat Magic Resist Glyphs[/highlight] You will undoubtedly be taking harass in the laning phase and especially midgame. Flat MR lets you take less damage from harass and trading and might save your life in a ganking attempt. Additionally, good players will want to trade with Zilean while his abilities are down, so this will let you win the trade more easily. [.]Alternatives: [highlight]AP per level Glyphs[/highlight] gives you more damage mid-late game and lets you revive allies with more HP. Since runes are mainly for the early game, I personally forego these for Flat MR blues, but if you have a more offensive playstyle, you can choose to use these instead. You can also use these if they have an AD caster mid, as Magic Resist won't be helping you that much outside of skirmishes with the jungler or in the jungle. [highlight]Flat AP Quints: [/highlight] These give Zilean's bombs some initial oomph and give his bombs the ability to clear the back wave more easily instead of leaving each minion with one auto attack left. [.]Alternatives: [highlight]Flat Magic Resist Quints[/highlight], [highlight]Flat Armor Quints[/highlight] or [highlight]Flat HP Quints[/highlight] in case you really want to be safe or are unconfident in your abilities. However, Flat AP really enables you to push waves well with Zilean. [highlight]Q: What about scaling HP seals?[/highlight] A: Scaling HP seals are used to get some additional bulk mid-late game. They are mainly used on manaless champions that don't need mana regen. Zilean is incredibly reliant on mana so scaling HP seals are inferior to flat/scaling mana regen yellows. Additionally, Zilean already builds RoA for his health needs and has a revive if he's getting bursted down, so HP/level yellows aren't as attractive. [imgext=http://i.imgur.com/RfKFB.png] This is the rune page you should run if you're against a physical laner or if you're playing blind pick because it's safer and you don't know who you're laning against.

Note: Solomid's information is incorrect in some areas, the corrected information has been acquired from the LoL wiki. [title][img=skills/zilean/p.png] Passive: Heightened Learning[/title] [number]Increases experience gain of all allied champions by 8%.[/number] [title]Comments:[/title] A very simple passive. Despite its appearance, it is one of the most powerful passives in the game. This enables your team to hit level 6 earlier while the opponents are still level 5, giving your team an advantage. For example, your Ashe gets a powerful global initiation skill and paired up with a Janna for example, can easily set up a gank with your fellow jungler, like Nocturne who just got his Paranoia or Nautilus who just got his Depth Charge. In top lane, your Riven could get her ultimate earlier and tower dive the enemy top laner with help from your jungle Shen's Stand United. As for Zilean, level 6 in lane isn't a large difference however it does make sure that you hit 6 before the enemy mid laner so they can't all-in you because you have your revive. [title][img=skills/zilean/q.png] Q: Time Bomb[/title] [number]Zilean places a time-delayed bomb on a target. After 4 seconds this bomb will detonate, dealing 90 / 145 / 200 / 260 / 320 (+0.9 per ability power) magic damage to all surrounding enemies. Cooldown: 10 seconds Cost: 70 / 85 / 100 / 115 / 130 mana Range: 700 Explosion Radius: 330 (estimated)[/number] [imgext=http://i.imgur.com/Hpr6B.jpg] [title]Comments:[/title] A great skill overall and it has to be because it is Zilean's only damaging ability. Upon activation, a bomb will appear on top of the target, ticking down from 4 until 1 and will then explode, causing AOE damage. With its high base damage and scaling, it makes pushing the wave very easy and provides high amounts of harass on the enemy champion. Coupled with your W, this provides for the commonly known \"double bomb\" technique. There are two main uses to this: 1) Q the melee minions, W to get your Q cooldown back up, and then Q the ranged minions. This is extremely efficient wave clear because it enables Zilean to roam the map while still farming mid and gets a few seconds head start on roaming other lanes. 2) Q the enemy champion, W to get your Q cooldown back up, and Q the enemy champion again. This can easily chunk the enemy mid laner for 30-40% of their health and doesn't require much skill because your Q is a target skill, not a skill shot. The disadvantage of this is the enemy mid laner can run into his minion wave and push it, leaving Zilean more open to ganks. However, because of Zilean's E and R, it makes ganking him a hard task, but not an impossible one. Also keep in mind that you can place this on allied champions. Placing a bomb on your friendly Malphite or Amumu can cause lots of AOE damage, while placing a bomb on your friendly Shen can provide long ranged assists. If you place a bomb on a stealthed champion, it won't reveal them. Although the opportunity is rare, this may help with characters that have stealth such as Shaco and Rengar. If you're going to leave lane and are afraid to stay along longer because the enemy may kill you, you can bomb your minions and have the bombs explode when the minions reach the enemy minions. This will enable you to get CS while you're backing and will cause you to not lose as much CS as you normally would. Note that if you place a bomb on an enemy champion and they die before the bomb goes off without you having done any other damage to them, you won't get an assist. Because of this, you should slow them first because your E and Q have the same range. Also note that Zilean's Q now cancels recalls, so you don't have to worry about the enemy regening in fountain. It does unfortunately prevent killing other champions in fountain now, but it does secure you a kill if they're low enough while you bomb them. It is recommended to smartcast this skill because it makes doing the QWQ combo much better. It's on a similar vein to Ryze's QWQ or QEQ combo, where you want to get off the damage as fast as possible and escape from retaliation. [title][img=skills/zilean/w.png] W: Rewind[/title] [number]Reduces all of Zilean's other spell cooldowns by 10 seconds. Cooldown: 18 / 15 / 12 / 9 / 6 seconds Cost: 50 mana Range: Self[/number] [title]Comments:[/title] Other champions would kill to have this skill because of how useful CDR is. It enables Zilean to be extremely versatile to the situation and has great synergy with his other abilities. [.] Q: Allows for the double bombing technique, providing for quick harass and efficient wave clearing. [.] E: Cuts its cooldown by a good amount, allowing for efficient roaming. With 22.5% CDR (blue buff + offense masteries), it lets Zilean's level 5 E have 100% upkeep in conjunction with his W. With 32% CDR (blue buff + CDR item), lets Zilean's level 5 E to have 100% upkeep against an enemy champion with a tenacity item in conjunction with his W. With 35% CDR (blue buff + CDR item), it lets Zilean's level 5 E have 100% upkeep against an enemy champion with a tenacity item and the tenacity mastery in the defensive tree in conjunction with his W. This is assuming 1 use of W during E's cooldown. [.] R: It normally has a 3 minute cooldown but with W use, it reduces that to oftentimes 1.5-2 minutes. You'll find yourself using it, going back to base, coming back to lane and it'll be down about a minute already. The question that I sometimes find myself facing is after I double bomb and my W comes back off cooldown but my Q is still on cooldown, what do I do? Well, it depends. if using your W lets you get off a clutch speed boost or slow, then use it. If your W will help you clear a wave because you only need 1 bomb to clear the minion wave, then use it. However, if you can afford to wait the few seconds for your skills to come off cooldown, then wait. Having all your skills up instead of only a few makes you that much more adaptive to what can happen instead of limiting yourself. [title][img=skills/zilean/e.png] E: Time Warp[/title] [number]Zilean slows an enemy champion's movement speed or increases an allied champion's movement speed by 55% for 2.5 / 3.25 / 4 / 4.75 / 5.5 seconds. Cooldown: 20 seconds Cost: 80 mana Range: 700[/number] [imgext=http://i.imgur.com/Mqb0d.jpg] [title]Comments:[/title] One of Zilean's supporting skills, Time Warp enables Zilean to roam very effectively due to the high percentage speed boost and gank other lanes. Once there, he can use his E to speed up his ally or slow down the enemy from escaping. Time Warp can also be used in order to get back into lane faster once you base so hopefully you won't miss too many minions. It's also useful for escaping ganks from the enemy jungler because they might not reach you in time. In teamfights, you generally want to speed up your initiator or slow down an enemy that's out of place. Because of how long the slow lasts (longest slow in the game at level 5), you can easily burn an enemy Flash. It can be used to speed up your AD carry so he can position better or slow down the champion that's focusing him so your AD carry can kite better. This will also speed up stealthed targets without revealing them, which is most helpful when partnered with Rengar. [title][img=skills/zilean/r.png] R: Chrono Shift[/title] [number]Marks the target with a protective time rune for 7 seconds. If the target would take lethal damage, they are instead transported back in time regaining 600 / 850 / 1100 (+2.0 per ability power) of their health. Cooldown: 180 seconds Cost: 125 / 150 / 175 mana Range: 780 (estimated)[/number] [imgext=http://i.imgur.com/HCpRH.jpg] [title]Comments:[/title] This is THE reason you pick Zilean. Plenty of other champions have high damaging poke (Lux, Xerath), plenty of champions have CC (Morgana, Anivia). However, only Zilean has the ability to bring a champion back to life. With its great base numbers and insane AP ratio, Many champions will come back with over 75% of their health back. You do have to have some good reflexes while using this skill because if you don't, your AD carry could be bursted down already. Use it to help your ally escape from a gank. Use it when Baroning in case one of your allies gets low. Use it in lane when you decide to all-in the enemy champion and come back with more HP than they expected. What happens in teamfights usually is once the enemy sees the buff on the champion, they'll stop attacking because they know that he'll just be revived. Imagine your Vayne or Tristana with 7 more seconds of DPS. Generally, because of those 7 seconds, the enemy underestimates how long it lasts and kills the champion too early, letting them come back with more HP. Alternatively, they accidentally clip them with some AOE and then they have to deal with an AD carry with even more HP. That's the strength of Zilean's ultimate. The other way to use it is to have your tanky DPS dive onto the enemy AD carry and just use it on them and hope the enemy AD carry dies. Irelia, Jax, and Nocturne work wonderfully with this strategy. Keep in mind that Chrono Shift activates before Guardian Angel so don't feel pressured to not use it on your GA'd Irelia or Tristana. It just means they'll have to deal with that champion 3 times. You can click on the champion portraits on the left side to ult a character if multiple champs are overlapped in a teamfight/skirmish. Alternatively, F1-F5 do the same thing, F1 being yourself, F2 being the first person on the left side, and F5 being the last person on the left side.

[imgext=http://i.imgur.com/9M6hh.png] There's not much in AP Zilean's skill build to change. You generally want to max out your [imgsmall=skills/zilean/q.png] (Q) first in order to clear waves efficiently and have high harass. From there, your [imgsmall=skills/zilean/w.png] (W) comes next. The lower cooldown helps with the amount of times you can double bomb and enables you to have your ultimate more often due to the greater number of times you can decrease your cooldowns. Finally, you want to max out your [imgsmall=skills/zilean/e.png] (E). The reason we leave this for last is because the percentage movement speed modifier doesn't increase, only the duration. Obviously, level up your ultimate [imgsmall=skills/zilean/r.png] (R) every time you can because of the increase in revive HP. You can take one point in E at level 1 or 2 if you expect an early gank from an aggressive champion like Lee Sin or Shaco. Taking it at level 1 isn't a bad idea because your Q level 1 does pitiful damage for its mana cost in relation to your mana pool while taking it at level 2 is also an option because your level 1 Q double bomb requires way too much mana for the damage it does. Just make sure that by level 4, you have 2 points in your Q and 1 point in both your W and E. You can also take a point of E at level 2 if your jungler is doing a level 2 or 3 gank. The slow will enable your jungler to move into position more easily and will oftentimes burn a Flash. However, be wary because you don't have your W yet so you can't double bomb the opponent unless you get one level in each skill by level 3.

[title]Starting Items[/title] [item=boots-of-speed][item=health-potion3] [highlight]Boots of Speed and 3 Health Potions:[/highlight] With the increase of base move speed and the decrease of boots speed, boots and 3 health potions are no longer mandatory on every champion in order to increase their effectiveness. However, it's still a viable choice mid lane for dodging skillshots and generally outplaying the opposing laner. You'll find people blindly taking Crystalline Flask and potions when it's entirely possible to outplay the enemy champion and win lane through boots. Boots furthermore enables you to get away from ganks moreso than spamming health potions would because of your additional speed. It enables you to save several hundred gold on consumables by getting you one of your main items right away but you have to consider if the extra consumables will let you stay in lane and make up for that deficit. [item=crystalline-flask][item=health-potion3] [highlight]Crystalline Flask and 3 Health Potions:[/highlight] Crystalline Flask has gotten nerfed so you can't start mass pots or mass pots + a ward now, which was an extremely safe start and led to passivity. With Crystalline Flask costing 345 gold now, you're forced to only get 3 potions with it. That being said, it's still an effective start against champions that you can't dodge their harass well with boots such as Ryze. It's also still extremely cost efficient, paying for itself in 8 charges, which easily doable in a game. It's also a good starting choice if you're not confident in your skillshot dodging abilities against champions like Lux and Ahri. [item=crystalline-flask][item=health-potion][item=sight-ward] [highlight]Crystalline Flask, 1 Health Potion, and 1 Sight Ward:[/highlight] A viable start if you want to be safe from an early ganking jungler, such as Shaco or Jarvan IV. It also provides comparable lane sustain to the boots and 3 health potions start and still pays for itself in the efficiency.You can also use this start if you feel like you need the mana for Zilean in lane as compared to the boots start. [item=cloth-armor][item=health-potion5] [highlight]Cloth Armor and 5 Health Potions[/highlight] With the creation of Seeker's Armguard, it is now more viable to start Cloth Armor, especailly against physical champions. The extra armor combined with 5 health potions provides a lot of effective HP, especially against the damage that they deal. Useful against AD casters mid such as Kha'Zix and Talon. You don't have to get Seeker's Armguard right away, Catalyst + Cloth Armor is a lot of effective bulk. Furthermore, the reason why Cloth Armor was a bad start before was it didn't build into anything substantial, but now you actually have a mid-tier item that you can build if you need it. Note that if you do go 9/0/21, it's highly likely that you'll have a Biscuit and an Explorer Ward. If you do, those items will be in your inventory also at the beginning of the game. Crystalline Flask doesn't stack with health or mana potions when you use them, but Biscuit will stack with either one, so use both the Biscuit and Flask/potions if you need some fast regen. The Explorer Ward can be used to prevent early invades or help relieve jungle pressure a bit. One thing to keep in mind is that you have to use them or else one of the main benefits of going down the utility tree is wasted. [title]Early Game[/title] [item=crystalline-flask] [highlight]Crystalline Flask[/highlight] Crystalline Flask got more expensive so it's not as great of a starting item but it's still a good early-game pickup if you need a lot of consumables in lane. If you get forced out of lane with like 350 gold, you can pick this up if you still have wards on the field already. You still have to pick it up early enough to matter. I find that if you have 2 parts of your RoA complete already, it's already too late to get it. If you've built your Catalyst, only pick it up if you feel like laning phase will continue on for a while longer, otherwise you might find it more worthwhile to pick up a few wards with that money instead. [item=dorans-ring] [highlight]Doran's Ring[/highlight] All the Doran's items were changed in season 3 to boost early game power to varying degrees. For Doran's Ring, you receive less mana regen innately but you get a Swain-like passive: 5 mana per unit kill. If you can CS well in lane, you'll actually find yourself having more mana than you would with the old Doran's Ring. It's still a viable pick up but I don't get it as much due to the existence of Crystalline Flask, which does wonders for HP and mana sustain, and that Catalyst is slightly cheaper so it can put you back on that. It's still a useful item because of the stats that it gives though, so feel free to get one if you're behind or if you want to extend your lead. [item=catalyst-the-protector] [highlight]Catalyst the Protector[/highlight] Catalyst was buffed yet nerfed at the same time. It now gives less HP and less HP upon leveling up but it does cost 125 less (down from 1325 to 1200). As Zilean is a relatively safe laner, he doesn't mind the extra decrease in durability, especially since RoA still gives the same amount of HP when fully stacked. The gold decrease is actually quite important because it makes it much easier to build (325 combine cost instead of 450) and therefore gives you bulk and good sustain when combined with a Crystalline Flask. [item=sight-ward] [highlight]Sight Ward[/highlight] Vision is an extremely important part of the game. Being able to see where the enemy jungler is so important to your success because it lets you keep yourself out of danger. Additionally, warding for yourself helps other lanes because if the enemy mid disappears, having a ward might help tell which direction they went. You might think they went back to buy but if you had warded, you would've seen them running towards the other lanes to gank. [title]Mid-Tier Items[/title] [item=seekers-armguard] [highlight]Seeker's Armguard[/highlight] The item that replaced Chain Vest in the Zhonya's Hourglass item build, Seeker's Armguard is a great item and provides a very nice stepping stone if you started Cloth Armor and 5 health potions. It's super easy to build and is extremely cost efficient, especially because you get free stats just for getting CS. This item in combination with your Catalyst/RoA means that you'll have a fair amount of physical bulk to deal against AD champions in lane. Additionally, in comparison to a Chain Vest, you still get some AP to make use of Zilean's high AP ratios so you no longer have to feel guilty about buying something that previously wouldn't have benefited you. [item=chalice-of-harmony] [highlight]Chalice of Harmony[/highlight] I was always a fan of Chalice even before it got the upgrade into Athene's Unholy Grail. It was an extremely cheap way of getting mana regen and provided some MR to help against what was mainly mages in the mid lane. Chalice got a huge popularity boost when the super strong Athene's Unholy Grail got released and rightfully so, it's one of the best items for a champion like Zilean who has really high mana costs. You generally want to pick this up early in conjunction with your Catalyst/RoA if you're having difficulty laning against aggressive magic-based champions like Leblanc and Kassadin, as it's cheap and builds into one of your core items: Athene's Unholy Grail. Alternatively, feel free to pick it up if you have enough gold and have already finished your RoA but find yourself running low on mana. [item=haunting-guise] [highlight]Haunting Guise[/highlight] Haunting Guise was never really appreciated until the Koreans started running it mid-season 2. It builds easily because of its cheap components and oftentimes the extra magic pen that comes with it will outdamage the additional AP that you might get from say, a Needlessly Large Rod. Furthermore, it provides some bit of bulk. This pick is really an optional pick but it works well due to Zilean's high base damages. I personally don't like to get it as much because while it does synergize well with Zilean's power curve, I prefer either boosting my AP greatly (Deathcap) or getting more utility oriented items (Athene's). Get this if you are planning on getting Liandry's Torment, which synergizes well with Zilean, or if you want a power spike that's easy to build, otherwise skip it. [title]Core Items[/title] [item=rod-of-ages] [highlight]Rod of Ages[/highlight] With the Athene's Unholy Grail AP nerf, personally I believe that the Athene's first route is unviable as it doesn't give enough power anymore (an unstacked RoA gives the same AP as Athene's now). With that in mind, your Catalyst builds smoothly into Rod of Ages. It gives him general survability in lane and during teamfights and skrimishes, which is helpful no matter who your laning opponent is. It provides bulk for him to get off his ultimate on one of your teammates during a fight and also gives him the mana pool to consistently harass and waveclear. It also gives him a nice chunk of AP to make his bombs do damage and to utilize the high AP ratio on his ultimate. The best part is that it's even cheaper now as some of the mana was removed from the item which makes it easier to get. [item=rabadons-deathcap] [highlight]Rabadon's Deathcap[/highlight] Rabadon's received a slight nerf overall because it provides less AP but costs less now. It still provides the most AP by itself (156 AP) and multiplies your AP by 1.3, making it a good pickup at any point in the game. Zilean's high ratios mean that pure AP is worthwhile on him instead of more utility-based AP items so Deathcap is a great buy for him. Because of Zilean's 0.9*2 AP ratio from his double bombs, you definitely want some AP behind that in order to make sure that you continue to do damage. Furthermore, with your 2.0 AP ratio on your ultimate, you want to make sure that when you revive someone, they don't come back with a measly amount of HP, they come back with enough to make it so it look like they revived and teleported in. [item=athenes-unholy-grail] [highlight]Athene's Unholy Grail[/highlight] Riot buffed Athene's to 20% CDR, meaning that with blue buff, you hit the CDR cap of 40%. It really centralizes on what the item is created for: mana regen and CDR. Both of these points are stats that Zilean desperately needs and synergizes well with. Because he's a utility AP, he scales off CDR well, so Athene's is a great item for him. I personally like picking it up after Deathcap because I like my damage, but you can certainly pick it up before your Deathcap if you're more utility oriented. It's still relatively easy to build, as all the components and upgrades except for the last one are under 500 gold. If you're having difficulty in lane, you can even get an early Chalice of Harmony to help protect against magic damage (generally after your Catalyst.) [title]Boots[/title] [item=sorcerers-shoes] [highlight]Sorcerer's Shoes[/highlight] Even though Sorcs have gotten their magic pen amount reduced, they're still the best shoes for Zilean. Because he only has one damaging ability, you want to make it count, and the way to do that is to penetrate through the opposing champion's defenses. You can get these when you feel like it'll help you, though a general point is some time after your RoA, which is before the enemies start to get large amounts of MR. [item=mercurys-treads] [highlight]Mercury's Treads[/highlight] Mercs are useful against high magical burst champions or against high CC teams. They're also useful against double AP comps because the majority of their damage will be magically based. Because of the penetration changes in season 3, if you swap your Sorcs out after getting your Void Staff, you'll lose out on a decent chunk of damage, so it's unadvised to do that unless it's very late game in which case Zilean fills a more utility based role. [item=ninja-tabi] [highlight]Ninja Tabi[/highlight] With the introduction of Seeker's Armguard, Zilean along with other AP mid laners now have something to build their cloth armor into. That being said, sometimes even that's not enough to deal with the AD that the enemy team has, like if their team is composed of a Jarvan IV and Taric combination. It can help against all that armor shred and can help against other AD casters mid if you're having difficulty against them. You can also get these if the opposing team lacks a high magical damage champion. It also helps you late game from being taken down quickly from AD carries, bruisers, and assassins due to its 10% basic attack reduction. [item=ionian-boots-of-lucidity] [highlight]Ionian Boots of Lucidity[/highlight] Because of the penetration changes (percentage before flat), it's not as viable to get these anymore. That being said, the main time you'll want to get these is if you get an early Athene's Unholy Grail after your RoA, which will enable that you have capped or near capped CDR all the time, which will help you if you continuously have skrimishes. The bad part about this is you gain less from taking blue buff because you can't utilize its CDR, so Sorcs are the recommended boots upgrade the majority of the time. [title]Boot Enchantments[/title] [item=enchantment-homeguard] [highlight]Homeguard Enchantment[/highlight] New to season 3, boot enchantments are introduced to give players more of a choice into how they want to itemize their champions. There are 5 in total, and the most fun of them is the Homeguard enchantment. By standing in the inner-most circle of fountain, you instantly regen all your health and mana and gain a 200% decaying speed boost that lasts 8 seconds, which will save travel time. That, combined with Zilean's E, means that you'll unlikely miss any action. In fact, if you double bomb your melee minions as they hit the opponent's melee minions and recall immediately, you can make it back to lane with your next creep wave, meaning you'll have missed 3 ranged minion's worth of experience and gold. To get the most mileage out of these, you should rush them right after getting tier 2 boots if you don't have enough for a big ticket item. Alternatively, these are a quick pickup for when you're trying to defend your base from a siege. [item=enchantment-alacrity] [highlight]Alacrity Enchantment[/highlight] The other main boots enchantment for Zilean in my eyes and a more overall one in mind. +15 move speed isn't much, but +25 was the difference between everyone starting boots in season 2 and very few champions starting it. +15 MS will get you to places faster that aren't your base and will still contribute towards getting back to lane if you pick it up early. Unlike Homeguard enchantment, you don't have to get these early, so you can get it after you have your Deathcap and Athene's for example. [title]Offensive Items[/title] [item=zhonyas-hourglass] [highlight]Zhonya's Hourglass[/highlight] Seeker's Armguard makes Zhonya's much more appealing as a rush item if you need additional armor that you can't acquire from Rabadon's Deathcap. It's mainly gotten for the active but the 120 AP that comes from the item surely doesn't hurt. Zhonya's works well on Zilean because it gives him AP to keep on dealing damage while the active makes him lose aggro, meaning he can ult someone more important during a teamfight. You'll generally want to use it only after you've used your ulti on someone as they can be bursted down in the time that you're in stasis, but feel free to use it if you're being focused. The extra armor will help against poke and general physical damage that you've taken in a teamfight. [item=abyssal-scepter] [highlight]Abyssal Scepter[/highlight] Abyssal got some MR nerfs but had its range increased to 700 from 600. That being said, Zilean still has to be around the enemies for the aura to affect them, which will happen with a less than max range Q cast. However, because it only provides 5 more MR than Athene's, which is one of the key reasons for getting this, Athene's is a much more favorable item for Zilean because it synergizes with him better. It's still good against double AP comps and is a viable choice for upgrading a Negatron Cloak into but I'd much rather get a Chalice of Harmony which will help me more in lane. Feel free to get it though if you're a team player because it is magic resist reduction, not penetration, which means it'll help out everyone on your team. [item=void-staff] [highlight]Void Staff[/highlight] The percentage before flat penetration change means that it's no longer looked down upon to rush a Void Staff after stacking flat Magic Pen items. However, Zilean is not that type of champion to stack magic pen and thus relies on Void Staff to get past the majority of the enemy's MR. You'll generally want to pick up a Void Staff if the enemies have multiple Negatron Cloaks or have lots of Null Magic Mantles along with an Aegis or a Bulwark. Furthermore, because Rabadon’s and Athene's are fairly important to Zilean's success, you probably won't be getting Void Staff until your 4rd item at the earliest, usually 5th item, at that time the enemies should be getting some MR. Void Staff is what you need to continue dealing damage to them. [title]Defensive Items[/title] [item=frozen-heart] [highlight]Frozen Heart[/highlight] An item that synergizes well with Zilean because he gets mana, armor, and CDR from it. You'll want to get this along with a Zhonya's if the enemy team has a lot of physical damage. It's dependent on how the game goes as for which item you'll replace in your six item build for it. With this along with Athene's Unholy Grail most likely in your item build, you'll be at 40% CDR all the time. This can also substitute Athene's as your source of CDR, as if you're building it, the enemy team probably doesn't have enough magic damage to merit an Athene's as much. Furthermore, the attack speed debuff aura means that if a champion does come near you or an AD carry, it'll affect him, provided you position yourself properly near your AD carry. [item=banshees-veil] [highlight]Banshee's Veil[/highlight] I dislike Banshee's in season 3 because it got nerfed from 45 second CD to 25 seconds if you don't take champ damage, which means that if it's popped, it's unlikely you'll get it back up. Minions spawn every 30 seconds but people don't stop poking once the wave's gone so in long sieges, you probably won't get it back up. It still exists as a choice because it does give more HP for overall bulk but if you wanted MR, you would've gotten an Athene's and if you wanted even more MR, I recommend an Abyssal Scepter instead. [item=quicksilver-sash] [highlight]Quicksilver Sash[/highlight] If the enemy team has a suppress on their team (Urgot, Skarner, Warwick, Malzahar) or has large amounts of CC, you can get a QSS to escape from it. Breaking even for a moment from that CC means that you can get your ultimate on your AD carry. Additionally, if they do use a suppress or other hard CC on you, that means they didn't use it on the AD carry, which is better for your team overall. The upgrade, [imgsmall=items/mercurial-scimitar.png] Mercurial Scimitar, is mostly worthless because it only provides AD for Zilean. Get it if you have nothing else to get and want to look fancy. [item=guardian-angel] [highlight]Guardian Angel[/highlight] GA got nerfed because it doesn't provide as many raw defensive stats. The percentage HP and mana change means that Zilean will come back with more HP and mana but it's not a big deal. It's a viable choice because it allows you to not have to use your ultimate on yourself and instead can use it on a more important member on your team. Unfortunately, Zilean doesn't do as much DPS as other AP champions, but by using your ultimate on your AD carry instead of yourself, you can do more DPS in that way. [title]Playstyle Dependent Items[/title] [item=liandrys-torment] [highlight]Liandry's Torment[/highlight] The change to Liandry's Torment made it so that it doesn't matter what type of spell damage it is (single target, AOE, DOT), it'll deal 6% over three seconds and will deal double that amount if their movement is hindered in some way. This change makes it so that Liandry's is good at chunking multiple members of the team at once, but it requires that they be clumped up, something that's unlikely to happen when they see a ticking bomb on their head. The other thing with Zilean is that his E will only last long enough to have 1 bomb apply the double damage until later levels. It's really a playstyle thing, as Zilean prefers the extra AP from the NLR/Deathcap and the extra CDR and mana regen from Athene's, but feel free to get it if you're playing more of the \"poke someone down and then force an objective\" role. It also synergizes well if you have someone else that inhibits movement, such as Volibear or Singed. [item=seraphs-embrace] [highlight]Seraph's Embrace[/highlight] After looking at Seraph's a bit longer, the biggest thing that I skipped about it is the cost in comparison to Catalyst. Tear of the Goddess only costs 700 gold in comparison to Catalyst's 1200, and if you start Faerie Charm (which you should if you go the Tear route), it only costs 520 gold, which means by the time the Catalyst user gets their Ruby Crystal and a potion, you're already charging your Tear. However, I still dislike this item in comparison to RoA because it provides no bulk when you're charging it and only give you bulk if you actually activate it. You might lose out on a bit of damage in comparison to Seraph's, but surviving in a teamfight is much more important than dealing a bit more damage. Furthermore, mana-cost heavy champions only need 2 of the 3 of RoA/Seraph's/Athene's, and the other two are much more preferable IMO. You can still get it if you're opting for a more mid-late game damage and survivability role. [item=twin-shadows] [highlight]Twin Shadows[/highlight] Twin Shadows is actually a really cool item and should mainly be built if your team is playing a \"catch someone out\" kind of composition. With the ghouls being able to seek out the nearest opponent, Zilean can speed himself or a teammate up in order to catch up to them and then slow them down once the enemy's closer to your team. It basically enables Zilean to get off another slow to hopefully get closer to someone. Additionally, it can be used to disengage if the enemy's running to you, as you can slow them down and speed yourself or a teammate up at the same time. It's really more of a team-oriented item on Zilean, so I don't recommend buying it in solo queue. [item=shurelyas-reverie] [highlight]Shurelya's Reverie[/highlight] Even though Shurelya's got nerfed in terms of regen and CDR, it's still a useful item for him. It's better to get this later rather than sooner because you're still relevant early and play more of a supportive role late game. Although Zilean's E does speed up someone, remember that Shurelya's affects all the champions nearby instead of just one. Alternatively, you can speed up your entire team to catch someone out of position with your E instead. Additionally, with all the new toys that supports have gotten, they've neglected Shurelya's, so it's always useful to have at least one on your team because the power to engage or disengage is powerful. [item=enchantment-distortion] [highlight]Enchantment: Distortion[/highlight] The choice of Ignite vs TP or some other item is really a personal choice, so the Distortion enchantment fits well in this category. One of the main things in a TP Homeguard gank is the speed at which you come in, which is really made possible by the Homeguard enchantment's speed. However, with a built in speed boost in Zilean's Time Warp, the Homeguard enchantment is less necessary to perform a TP gank, meaning that the Distortion enchantment enables Zilean to have more global threat and apply more pressure because he'll be able to do it more often. It's not recommended to keep these into the lategame, as Homeguard will more than likely be more important to get to map objectives or defend your base. [title]Suboptimal items[/title] [item=banner-of-command] [highlight]Banner of Command[/highlight] Banner of Command is really for someone that can splitpush a lane while having presence in a different lane. Because of Zilean's poor tower taking capabilities due to his low base AD and attack speed, he doesn't take towers down fast. He can push minion waves perfectly fine with a double bomb so he doesn't need the minions themselves to push the lane. It's really more of a support oriented item. [item=deathfire-grasp] [highlight]Deathfire Grasp[/highlight] DFG got its CDR back but it doesn't really synergize well for Zilean. Zilean's role in terms of damage is to not burst someone down so he can't utilize the extra boost in damage well. He's not like Leblanc or Veigar whose role is to chunk down someone to death or near death but to try to deal damage to as manmy people as possible with his bombs. While it does provide CDR, Athene's does a better job at providing CDR for Zilean's kit and in terms of damage, Void Staff would probably provide more damage at that point in the game. [item=lich-bane] [highlight]Lich Bane[/highlight] Lich Bane got changed season 3 to not have MR and for the proc to be magically based. This makes it more viable to rush early game. Unfortunately, Zilean has too many items that he wants already to really merit room for Lich Bane. He is capable of proccing it easily because of his Rewind combined with commonly getting CDR on him but it's really not useful for its cost. You can get it if you just want to push with Zilean, but there are generally better champions that you would pick if you wanted to push a lane with an AP carry. [item=mikaels-crucible] [highlight]Mikael's Crucible[/highlight] Mikael's Crucible can be thought of as a targetable QSS with some heal along with it, but it can't be used while the user's CC'd. That being said, this is really more of a support oriented item because Zilean would much rather build an Athene's out of the Chalice that he will likely build. The reason it's still included in the suboptimal items is that Zilean is more utility oriented once you hit the point in the game when you would get this kind of an item, so with his speed boost, revive, and a portable QSS, it's really easy to keep your AD carry safe. You won't be dealing any additional damage with this because you'll be giving up one of your item slots for an item with no AP. [item=morellonomicon] [highlight]Morellonomicon[/highlight] Formerly known as Morello's Evil Tome, while it does provide more AP in comparison to Athene's now, the mana regen from Athene's is more important than a bit of extra damage and the grevious wounds debuff from Morellonomicon. Kage's Lucky Pick does provide some GP5 which does make it cheaper but it's really not that big of a deal for someone who farms as easily as Zilean. You can get it as a replacement for Athene's if you're against a team with a lot of healing, such as Volibear, Dr. Mundo, Singed, or Soraka, but I'd stick to Athene's most of the time. [item=rylais-crystal-scepter] [highlight]Rylai's Crystal Scepter[/highlight] Rylai's isn't a great item on Zilean because it only has 1 way of proccing on Zilean and that way is AOE which means that it'll proc the reduced 15% slow from it. While double bombing someone means you can potentially slow down multiple members and get off more damage on more people, it's not completely reliable because the opponents can just position themselves so less people will get hit by the second blast. Furthermore, Zilean can slow down people with his E already and the cost of Rylai's just isn't worth it for the slow. Additionally, one of the main reasons that AP champions pick up Rylai's is for the extra HP, but since RoA already provides a large chunk of HP, it's not as appealing to get it. [item=shard-of-true-ice] [highlight]Shard of True Ice[/highlight] Shard of True Ice is like a Lulu ultimate except for the knockup. You place it on a target and it slows down the surrounding area for a few seconds. That being said, Zilean already has an effective slow in his E which means that if you can probably reach the slow target and slow them down with your E instead. It's really not worth the item slot, especially since it doesn't give enough AP for the item slot that it takes up. Because it gives gold even after you upgrade it, it's generally more of a support item. [item=will-of-the-ancients] [highlight]Will of the Ancients[/highlight] Zilean only has one damaging ability in his Q, which is an AOE ability that's not really on demand (aka the damage isn't instant). Because of this, WotA provides reduced spell vamp and can't be used as a clutch save on yourself like Ryze or Cassiopeia with WotA would. Although it provides spell vamp for your team, if you wanted to play someone top lane who synergizes with double WotA, Zilean is not the choice for that. [item=enchantment-captain] [highlight]Enchantment: Captain[/highlight] Captain boots makes your teammates run faster if they're running towards you. Zilean should not be at the front so it'll only work when your teammates are retreating. That makes it so it's more of a support role because they should be at the back of the team trying to not get hit unless they're supposed to be in the middle, in which case it'll help your teammates engage. Either way, it helps your teammates more if your support gets it and you get Homeguard boots to get back to lane faster. It's also not mandatory for your team to get it because it's not a huge difference. [title]Don't even think about these[/title] [item=frozen-fist] [highlight]Iceborn Gauntlet[/highlight] Iceborn Gauntlet is a cool item because it's like Sheen and Phage in an item. However, it's based off of Zilean's base AD, which is terrible. The slow field that it creates is kind of cool but the problem is that Zilean's auto attack animation is so long that by the time it hits them, you probably could've just slowed them with your E instead. While the AP, mana, armor, and CDR is useful, if you do build Glacial Shroud, it's more beneficial to upgrade into Frozen Heart because of the additional armor that it gives which is one of the main reasons you're building Glacial Shroud in the first place. If you really want an AOE slow, then build Rylai's, which is a bad item on Zilean already but better than Iceborn Gauntlet. [item=guinsoos-rageblade] [highlight]Guinsoo's Rageblade[/highlight] Rageblade got a buff which I like to call \"super Rageblade\", which activates if you're below 50%. That being said, Zilean is primarily not an auto attack which means that it's hard to utilize the extra attack speed and life steal. Furthermore, with Q only proccing 1/3 spell vamp, he doesn't gain the full amount from that, which means it's a bad item. [item=hextech-gunblade] [highlight]Hextech Gunblade[/highlight] If you wanted spell vamp, why not just get WotA? You don't auto attack enough for merit the AD or lifesteal. Furthermore, the active slow is overshadowed by your E, and the nuke damage is minimal. [item=malady] [highlight]Malady[/highlight] Zilean is not an auto attacker and it still requires several attacks to get the MR shred on the enemies which means it takes longer than normal to get maximum effectiveness onto the enemies. [item=nashors-tooth] [highlight]Nashor's Tooth[/highlight] Attack speed on Zilean? Wrong item, go get Athene's or even Morellonomicon if you want CDR. [item=enchantment-furor] [highlight]Enchantment: Furor[/highlight] This item procs on single target damaging attacks and spells. When your only damaging ability is AOE, this means that it only works on your auto attack. To only have one way of proccing this means that it is incredibly inefficient. If you wanted to move faster, just get the Alacrity enchantment.

Champion matchups have a lot to do with player skill. Although there are some matchups that lean towards one side, a good player can still outperform a poor player. That's why I don't have numbers/difficulty levels for these matchups. Instead, these are general guidelines for playing against these champs with Zilean. [imgsmall=champ/ahri.png] [highlight]Ahri: [/highlight] You have to dodge her Q's while CSing. If she tries to poke you with her W, double bomb her for some quick harass back because your Q has similar range. Due to your base damage, you'll win the poke war. Don't get hit by her E when you're below half HP or else she'll go all in on you, forcing you to use your ultimate. Fortunately, she can't all in you due to your ultimate. Her roaming potential rivals yours due to her ultimate, so make sure to call out for MIAs. [imgsmall=champ/akali.png] [highlight]Akali: [/highlight] Pre-6 you have high harass with your ranged auto attacks and bombs while she's left in melee range. If she shrouds to try to pick up CS, either bomb her when she appears after auto attacking or bomb the minion that she's going to CS, damaging her both times. Post-6, she can all-in you but you'll have your revive. The problem is her R stacks stack faster than your ult comes off cooldown and her ult counteracts your E through gap closing, so try to push your lane and go gank other lanes. It'll force Akali to stay back and CS or lose CS and go roam herself. Be careful on the way back as if you used your ult when roaming, she can easily kill you. When ganking an Akali, it's useful to have a pink ward in your inventory to drop when she uses her Shroud. Alternatively, you can just drop it in the middle of laner to throw off most of the lane presence she has. [imgsmall=champ/anivia.png] [highlight]Anivia: [/highlight] Pre-6, Anivia is trying to CS as well as possible. Use this opportunity to harass her with your bombs. Combined with her low base HP, the bombs will do a decent amount. Just watch out for retaliation Q's when you run in to bomb her. Post-6, she actually has an easier time clearing the wave than you because she doesn't have to worry about her damage output, she just leaves her R on. If she can hit you with her E, you can hit her with your Q, so be sure to trade with her if she tries to harass you. A frozen bird doesn't move very fast though, so use your increased mobility to roam the map. Many Anivia will try to counteract her frailness with either Catalyst or Chalice, so keep in mind that when you harass as well as her egg. [imgsmall=champ/annie.png] [highlight]Annie: [/highlight] Extremely hard for her to burst you down because of your revive, though be careful for Flash Tibbers if you're low enough. Good Annies will run at you when you go in to double bomb her, so try to speed yourself up before trading. It's more beneficial to trade with her when she doesn't have her stun up so she may not hit you with her W because you might be too far away. Keep your HP up, double bomb her when she doesn't have her stun up, and don't be afraid to preemptively ult yourself. Scary in conjunction with a good jungler, so keep your lane warded. [imgsmall=champ/blitzcrank.png] [highlight]Blitzcrank: [/highlight] In the rare occasion that you do see an AP Blitzcrank mid, the matchup isn't that hard to play. Stay within your minions so his Q can't hit you, throw out bombs when he goes in for CS. If he turns on his W to run at you with his E up, E yourself and be careful for the grab when you run away from your minions. Additionally, watch out for the R-Q combo when he's under his tower or if the jungler's nearby. He shouldn't have enough burst to kill you while you can easily harass him and roam well. [imgsmall=champ/brand.png] [highlight]Brand: [/highlight] Good Brands will throw down a W while you're CSing, and because of Zilean's AA animation, he has a hard time moving out. Play in a similar way: when he's CSing, go in for a bomb. However, be careful that he doesn't just throw down his pillar when you go in for a bomb. Your ult will counter the burst that he has because Brand has fairly long cooldowns and will get around his passive + Ignite combo that many Brands rely on. If he runs up and E's you, speed yourself up to dodge his stun and retaliate because his E has shorter range than your Q. Get some early MR if you feel uncomfortable with the damage that he does or just CS with your bombs instead. [imgsmall=champ/cassiopeia.png] [highlight]Cassiopeia: [/highlight] Her Q range is longer than yours so she has an easier time harassing you. That makes it easy to harass you when you try to go in to both last hit and harass. Try to move unpredictably so she can't land her Q on you otherwise just quickly speed yourself away so she can't hit you with her E's. When you both have blue buff, just go for CS because the number of opportunities for her harassing you is higher than for you harassing her due to her Q's cooldown and longer range. Call for ganks and don't be afraid to tower dive her even though she can stun you as you have your ultimate. [imgsmall=champ/chogath.png] [highlight]Cho'Gath: [/highlight] AP Cho has a surprising amount of burst due to his high AP ratios. He has two skills that can prevent you from using your ult, meaning he's quite dangerous if combined with a gank. He also has large sustain due to her passive, which will mitigate a lot of your bomb damage. His Q also can prevent ganks from occurring if he knocks up your jungler and silences you with his W. Your best choice is to just passively farm and try to juke his Q's as best as possible. Self casting E on yourself can help avoid those because if you get caught, you'll take a good chunk of damage. Try not to cast your E too often though because it does cost a decent amount of mana. [imgsmall=champ/diana.png] [highlight]Diana: [/highlight] Diana has high poke and waveclear in her Q and has a shield to partially mitigate some of your Q damage. Additionally, her E counteracts your E by pulling you back to her. She has high burst on a low cooldown which makes laning against her post-6 difficult because your revive won't do anything to stop her burst potential. Fortunately she has little escape mechanisms so ask your jungler (preferably one with hard CC) to gank your lane, hopefully as she engages on you. Expect to be pushed to your tower because her Q pushes the wave and pokes at the same time. Get some early MR and play safely. [imgsmall=champ/elise.png] [highlight]Elise: [/highlight] It's uncommon that you'll see Elise mid, as she's much stronger top lane, jungle, and support. However, if you do see her mid, the trick is to push her to her tower. Her Q will hurt a fair amount but she can't push for her life because her W will be leveled second, otherwise her Q is ignorable. Push the lane, feel free to harass under her tower, and go roam. Watch out for her Cacoon in conjunction with jungle ganks and also keep in mind that her Rappel can dodge your bomb's damage. [imgsmall=champ/evelynn.png] [highlight]Evelynn: [/highlight] Early game, you'll want to harass a lot with auto attacks and bombs in order to have your strength shine in lane. Make it so that she has to play safe to get CS or else she'll take harass. It's hard to gank her without hard CC because her W active can remove your E slow, so consider using it after she's already used her W. Her ult has a longer cooldown than your ult so it's unlikely that she'll kill you and you can always speed yourself away in order to counteract the slow part. The biggest part about Eve is her roaming potential, so let your other lanes know when she's level 6 and potentially follow her to prevent her from bursting someone down. You can drop a pink in the middle of lane to give you more vision of where she's heading if she does leave mid lane from beyond your vision. [imgsmall=champ/ezreal.png] [highlight]Ezreal: [/highlight] AP Ezreal has high poke through his W (which goes through minions) but unfortunately can't push back well. If he ever tries to E and get the E on you, you should be able to double bomb him well. He can ult other lanes in order to support them but past a certain point, it's luck. He has no hard CC so he won't be able to stop you from ulting yourself in case he does burst you down. [imgsmall=champ/fiddlesticks.png] [highlight]Fiddlesticks: [/highlight] The only way that he should be hitting you is with his E, as his Q and W have too short of a range to really hit you except when you're CSing. Fortunately, he can't clear waves well, so just push your wave and then go gank other lanes. Roaming is also the better choice because his W will sustain him in lane and you have no hard CC to stop his Drain. Fiddlesticks is vulnerable to ganks because of his lack of escapes so focus on that. Be careful of his damage output in combination with his Q and E which will prevent you from ulting yourself. [imgsmall=champ/fiora.png] [highlight]Fiora: [/highlight] Fiora is picked as an anti-mage laner because of her high damage output through her steroids and can close the gap easily with her double gap closer. She does well against opposing mages because she's physically based, so take armor runes when laning against her. If she ever does engage on you, speed yourself away and retaliate with a double bomb. Even though her E gives her move speed if she hits a target, your E is still faster so you can get away from her. Fioras tend to try to go all in with her ultimate + Ignite combo, but she can't kill Zilean because of his ultimate, so try to position yourself under your tower for when her ult finishes so she'll take tower damage. [imgsmall=champ/fizz.png] [highlight]Fizz: [/highlight] An extremely annoying character because his E will oftentimes dodge one of your two bombs, cutting your damage in half. However, that costs a lot of mana so he won't do it all the time. A good Fizz will engage on you when you're CSing and if he WQ's you a few times, you'll take a good chunk of damage. Just make sure to keep up the harass when you have blue buff because without it, your mana costs are much higher than his so he has more opportunities to harass. Also annoying to catch with a jungler because of his E. Fortunately, he can't burst you down because of your R counteracting the burst from his R, so just try to CS and not get low. Back away quickly if you harass him because he'll try to force a trade. [imgsmall=champ/galio.png] [highlight]Galio: [/highlight] Your bombs won't do much damage to Galio and even if they do, he'll just heal it up with his W. Try to avoid his Q's because they have high base damage like your Q's, except he has more MR so he'll win the war of attrition. His abilities outrange yours also which also sways the matchup towards his way. Farm your lane, push when you want to roam. He can't really kill you unless he flash ults you when you're super low, you can't really kill him, so it comes down to teamfights. Both champions have good support when in ganks, but you need a physical-based jungler like Lee Sin or Nocturne when ganking him. [imgsmall=champ/gragas.png] [highlight]Gragas: [/highlight] Like Zilean, Gragas relies on his Q to farm the lane and also needs some AP to do that. His W reduces your bomb damage but his melee range means that he'll be forced to eat some double bombs when he's CSing. Watch out for retaliation Q's when you go in to double bomb him, as the barrel roll animation is deceiving and longer than your Q range. Pushing against him isn't easy because his Q with enough AP can one shot caster minions and leave melee minions with low HP. Watch out for his ultimate in conjunction with a jungler and be ready to ult yourself when that comes. In terms of ganking, his E acts as a mini flash so your E won't be as effective on him. [imgsmall=champ/heimerdinger.png] [highlight]Heimerdinger: [/highlight] He naturally pushes the wave due to his turrets so you're forced to autoattack the wave in order to make sure you don't lose too much CS to the tower. Bombing his turrets lets you take them down faster but that's only viable if you have blue buff otherwise you'll run out of mana too quickly. When you run up to double bomb him, he'll probably throw out his rockets so try to do that if there are 3 allied minions between you guys. He has no real way of killing you because he's all poke. He also has no escapes except a difficult stun in his E so he's vulnerable to ganks. [imgsmall=champ/janna.png] [highlight]Janna: [/highlight] Her Q outranges yours but is slow moving so it's unlikely that you'll get hit by it. She'll mainly use it to push the wave. Your Q outranges her W but her shield will mitigate some of the damage and will still get decently big because of its 0.9 AP ratio but AP Janna maxes that last so harass her before she gets levels in that. Her W naturally gives her a movement speed boost so she can roam as well as you. If you're going to roam, do it quickly because AP Janna pushes fast. [imgsmall=champ/jarvaniv.png] [highlight]Jarvan IV: [/highlight] A dangerous champion to play against midlane his spells all synergize well with each other. He's most threatening level 2 and 3 when he gets his EQ combo and if he goes for his EQW combo, letting him get off more attacks as you walk away. The trick is to make sure not to let him get off free damage on you, so make sure to auto attack and bomb him back when he's walking away. You might need to get your jungler to help you out a bit but fortunately, it's easy to get him once he EQs in because he has no escape outside of that. He has no way of stopping your ultimate because his only means of stopping it is fairly obvious. Start Cloth 5, get an early Seeker's Armguard if necessary and work your way to a Catalyst. [imgsmall=champ/jayce.png] [highlight]Jayce: [/highlight] Jayce is picked mid lane akin to a physical Nidalee: someone with high poke that functions well with blue buff. With that in mind, you should watch out for EQ combos from the fog of war so you don't take too much damage. He should never be able to hit you in melee form without retaliation so most of the time he'll be in ranged form. If you see him go melee, it's likely the jungler's nearby or you're low enough for him to kill, so speed yourself away to get some distance. He has no hard CC to stop your ultimate besides his E so you're safe in lane. When sieging, try not to take too much damage from him because you might be forced to prematurely use your ult to prevent a death. [imgsmall=champ/karma.png] [highlight]Karma: [/highlight] A rare character, Karma is a support carry like Zilean or Lulu. Karmas usually max out their shield first, meaning they can mitigate a lot of your bomb damage. She also has sustain in her Mantra'd Q. Her shield can also target minions, which can mess up your CSing. Both her E and Q also push exceptionally well, so autoattack the wave to keep it in a favorable position. Don't try to harass her that much without blue buff and generally just try to CS. She has no hard CC so she can't prevent your ult but has a lot of burst shield/heal so don't get too cocky when trying to kill her. [imgsmall=champ/karthus.png] [highlight]Karthus: [/highlight] Karthus wants to farm and farm and get to late game quickly. Fortunately, this means that he's weak early and midgame. Harass him with double bombs, speed up yourself if he ever catches you with his W or just walk around it, and ult whoever's low before his Requiem hits (which may be yourself). Make sure to keep enough mana for your ultimate. Karthus's advantage is he can stay in lane if he has to assist another lane while you're forced to roam. [imgsmall=champ/kassadin.png] [highlight]Kassadin: [/highlight] Pre-6, harass as much as you can with autoattacks and your double bomb past level 3. Post-6, Kassadin's roaming potential is greater than yours and he's also better in lane because of his passive and his mobility. Past level 6, if you're close enough to hit him with your Q, he'll be close enough to ult and be right on top of you and will end up winning the trade. He can also ult to get closer to you and then Q you to prevent you from trading with him. Furthermore, his ult combats any gank attempts and also counteracts your E. Be careful of how long his silence can last which prevent you from ulting yourself. Take MR blues and if you're still having a hard time, go Merc Treads and Chalice and that should cut his harass by a good amount. [imgsmall=champ/katarina.png] [highlight]Katarina: [/highlight] At early levels, you'll want to harass her and display your dominance. Once she gets her Revolver, she starts winning the lane. Her Q can bounce to you from minions but if it does, it'll likely be reduced damage because Zilean can CS from a distance. If she does Shunpo to you, you can double bomb her in retaliation. Because of her E change, she'll always take reduced damage from the first bomb if you double bomb her so feel free to only single bomb her if you want. If she ults you, speed yourself up to get out of it and ult yourself if necessary. Her ult cooldown is shorter than yours so don't eat too much harass. Unfortunately Zilean has no way to stop her ult so you have to rely on your team on that. It's also difficult to gank her without hard CC because she has Shunpo and Flash, which can clear a lot of distance in a small time. In teamfights, she relies on getting the reset from her passive, so ult someone to prevent that chain from occurring. [imgsmall=champ/kayle.png] [highlight]Kayle: [/highlight] Kayle is tricky to play against. To beat Kayle, you have to be able to trade with her, which is hard because of her shred and additional damage here and there. Alternatively, you could play safe and just speed yourself up every time she tags you with her Q, but that route is fairly mana heavy. It's hard to push her out of lane also because of her heal and her E counterpushes you fairly easily. The safest way to play against her is to let her push to your tower and hope that your jungler has presense to threaten her from CSing near your tower. From there, try to build up a CS lead. The alternate but riskier way is to just trade with her every moment you can, which is harder to do because her mana costs are much more forgiving than yours. It's hard for either person to kill the other because she can easily ult your Q damage while she has no hard CC for your ult, but it's easy for her to push you out of lane if you misplay it. The best defensive itemization is to actually get a Catalyst, Seeker's, and Chalice to cover all her damage. You'll be fairly behind in the damage compartment but you can live the lane. From there, after your RoA, replace the Deathcap in your core with a Zhonya's because of your early Seeker's Armguard. [imgsmall=champ/kennen.png] [highlight]Kennen: [/highlight] Stay behind your minion wave so he can't hit you with his Q. When you go up to harass him, try to juke his Q's on the way there. If he goes up to you to hit you with a W'd AA, quickly double bomb him and move back. If he gets you low enough so that he uses his ult, the time it takes for you to revive is long enough to wait out most of the duration of his ult so it's unlikely that the ult itself will stun you twice (his other abilities can still do so). Additionally, try to slow him when he's using his Lightning Rush or speed up yourself if he's trying to run away from you placing a bomb on him. Be careful of flash ults in conjunction with jungle ganks, so keep your lane warded. [imgsmall=champ/khazix.png] [highlight]Kha'Zix: [/highlight] Kha'Zix was always a strong pick, it's just itemization hurt him. With the new AD caster items as well as penetration changes, Kha'Zix got a lot stronger. Fortunately for you, he's still melee, which means it's easy to harass him. His ranged harass is weak until level 6 when he evolves his W, so don't eat too many of those (especially if he runs into the fog of war to reset his passive). One key against him is that his E gets the reset like Tristana's jump (if he evolves it), so if you prevent the kill then he won't be able to chain jump in a teamfight or skirmish. Other than that, if he jumps in you in lane double bomb him back and speed yourself away to prevent eating too many auto attacks and Q's (juke the W he'll shoot out also). Take armor runes against him due to his damage being physical. [imgsmall=champ/kogmaw.png] [highlight]Kog'maw: [/highlight] You're going to want to poke him early because he's decently weak before level 6. Ask for jungle ganks in order to snowball your lane because Kog’maw has no escapes and he can poke you down if you're on even footing in lane. Your E will counteract some of the Rylai's effect that most AP Kogs get but it's still hard. Both of you are blue reliant so keep track of each other's buffs. Some AP Kogs will take Cleanse, so keep that in mind when going in for a gank. [imgsmall=champ/leblanc.png] [highlight]Leblanc: [/highlight] A difficult lane if your reflexes aren't good. Focus mainly on pushing your lane because Leblanc can't roam effectively if she's stuck at her tower CSing. This enables you to roam and help your other lanes. If she leaves, she loses all the CS to tower and if she doesn't, she won't be there to help out her team from your gank. Usually post-6, she'll QR you once to get ready for the next rotation. Keep track of how much damage she did and make sure your HP is above that at all times. She won't go all-in unless she burned your ultimate already. Take MR blues and if you find yourself taking an uncomfortable amount of damage, get Mercs and Chalice. Difficult to gank because she has her W, her R'd W, and Flash, so rely on ganking other lanes. [imgsmall=champ/leesin.png] [highlight]Lee Sin: [/highlight] Lee Sin's an interesting midlaner because it revolves around hitting his Q and juking enemy skill shots with his W. Fortunately, you're all targeted so you have no issues with his W. In order for Lee Sin to be effective mid, he has to max out his Q and go for offensive items, which means his W shield won't be too effective and he won't have enough defense to stop the base damage and scaling of your bombs. He has no form of ranged harass besides the first part of his Q, so try to juke those as best as possible. If he does engage on you, your E cancels out his E slow so you'll be free to escape, and you have your ult as safety. [imgsmall=champ/lulu.png] [highlight]Lulu: [/highlight] Less commonly seen now because her Q was nerfed repeatedly from 0.7 AP to 0.5 AP ratio. However, in the off chance that you do see her, keep in mind of her EQ combo. She has decently high mana costs as well but shouldn't really be able to hit you without expending a lot of her mana because her Q won't hit you most of the time if you're CSing with bombs. Just be careful when you're AAing. Remember that her W prevents you from ulting yourself, so if you think she's going to all-in you, ult yourself early. Don't underestimate the amount of shield she has, as even at level 6 she'll have close to 500 HP in shields from her E and R. [imgsmall=champ/lux.png] [highlight]Lux: [/highlight] Skillshot reliant but catching a slippery Zilean can be difficult. Good Lux players will throw out an E while you're CSing, so just double bomb her while that's on cooldown and juke the snare when you're moving in. Stand with your minions so her Q won't catch you and watch out for long range ults because if you blink, you'll miss them. Her abilities outrange yours so she has better harass than you and she can also throw out her Q from the fog of war so be prepared to ult yourself if you're low and you get hit by a snare. She can also throw out her shield to prevent some damage from your bombs but that costs a decent amount of mana. If she stands near her ranged minions trying to harass you with her E, double bomb the ranged minions so she takes retaliation back. [imgsmall=champ/malphite.png] [highlight]Malphite: [/highlight] Malphite mid is interesting because of his passive giving him a shield and high burst from his ultimate. You'll want to autoattack him so his shield doesn't regenerate because if it does, your Q's won't do as much damage. He'll often retaliate with Q's, which can counteract your E if he uses it afterwards. Likely to rush Abyssal Scepter to decrease some harass damage. Both helpful in ganks and difficult to gank because of his ult, so keep your lane warded. [imgsmall=champ/malzahar.png] [highlight]Malzahar: [/highlight] Pushes really easily because of his E which causes him to be open to ganks and his lack of escapes means your E is super powerful. Other than that, you should have no problem counterpushing when you have blue buff. When you don't, it's a lot harder because of how easily he pushes so just auto attack the wave to counteract the E pushing. Make sure you don't stand near your minions if they have E on and his pet's up, as the pet will change aggro to you if the E jumps to you. Post-6, watch out for Flash combos. Ult yourself the moment you see him Flash and then call for a gank. You can also cast your Q on his pets if he's trying to retreat and has a pet out. The pet will follow him and potentially kill him. You might need to get an early Chalice depending on how much mana you're using to control the minion wave. [imgsmall=champ/maokai.png] [highlight]Maokai: [/highlight] Maokai's actually really strong in mid because of his built in sustain and high base damage and scaling. His E's do a lot of damage if both parts connect and his W and Q make him very helpful in ganks. Because Zilean's standard harass combo is QWQ, that's 3 spells that go towards Maokai's passive. It's unlikely that you'll kill him because of his passive and natural tankiness so focus on pushing the lane and roaming into other lanes. [imgsmall=champ/masteryi.png] [highlight]Master Yi: [/highlight] He pokes and pushes like a mofo (so like you) except he can just Meditate through all the damage that your bombs do because you have no hard CC. He doesn't have hard CC either so he can't stop your ult. His Q is good poke and he'll rely on using minions to bounce it on you, so keep several potions to heal off the poke. It's unlikely that you two will get anywhere in terms of lane pushing so just double bomb and go hurry and roam. [imgsmall=champ/mordekaiser.png] [highlight]Mordekaiser: [/highlight] Huehuehue push all day. His shield counteracts your Time Bomb harass and once he gets Revolver, you can forget about trying to damage him. Fortunately, he has no escapes and even if he turns around and fights, your ult counteracts his ult, causing a ghost to not appear. Have your jungler camp his lane and mainly just try to farm minions. Zilean has difficulty against him because of his poor pushing capability, so autoattack the wave to prevent losing too many minions to the tower. Don't get hit by his E when he freely pushes the wave or else you'll get harassed out of lane easily. [imgsmall=champ/morgana.png] [highlight]Morgana: [/highlight] Pushes really well like you except her W is a damage over time which can mess up with last hitting but overall does more damage to creeps because of the MR reduction. Her black shield blocks your slow and some of your time bomb damage. Your bombs can do enough damage to get through her shield but she has spell vamp and the ability to farm from a distance. Watch out for retaliation Q's when you run in to double bomb her. Fortunately, she should never be able to kill you unless you run into her snares and then die after her R, which you should be able to run out of the slow from anyway or ult if you need to. [imgsmall=champ/nidalee.png] [highlight]Nidalee: [/highlight] If you see Nidalee mid, it's because it's easier to get blue buff on her and she can harass/sustain a lot easier. Her built in sustain along with good scaling on it means that bomb damage will be hard to stick, and she can always transform into cougar form to get some more MR. Her Q range is deceptively large in terms of width, which can make it tricky to dodge. It's also difficult to gank her because mid lane is shorter and she has her Pounce to get away. Just try to farm and help out your team, it's unlikely you'll be able to do enough damage to kill her. [imgsmall=champ/nunu.png] [highlight]Nunu: [/highlight] AP Nunu has high poke and sustain from his Q. It's unlikely you'll be able to poke him down, so just farm the lane and go roam because he has to rely on auto attacks and single target spells to push the wave. Don't underestimate the power of his ultimate, speed yourself up and be prepared to ult yourself if necessary. [imgsmall=champ/orianna.png] [highlight]Orianna: [/highlight] Orianna's scariest aspect is her ball range because her Q outranges your Q. You'll want to trade if you outdamage her, which fortunately most Orianna only take only a point in her E for the utility, so that won't mitigate too much damage. Combined that with her natural squishiness and she'll take a lot of damage from your bombs. She's very poke based because of her low numbers and AP ratios, though be careful of her ult which can throw you back and will prevent you from using your ult while you're midair. She clears the wave fairly well once she has blue buff and has a speed boost like you do, so call out MIAs. [imgsmall=champ/pantheon.png] [highlight]Pantheon: [/highlight] Take flat armor seals against Pantheon and watch out for Q harass. Fortunately, if he jumps you, speed yourself away and double bomb him back. His passive mitigates auto attack harass so don't bother too much with that. Unfortunately, you can't stop him from roaming if he's committed, so if he does ult into another lane try to countergank or push his tower as much as you can. If you're having difficulty, get a Seeker's Armguard and stack up on the potions to make sure he can't kill you. Don't eat too many spears, make it so he has to waste his mana and CDs in order to CS. [imgsmall=champ/riven.png] [highlight]Riven: [/highlight] Riven mid is effective because of her high base numbers as well as being resourceless, which means she can attrition champions out of lane. However, it's not too effective against Zilean. She has to use multiple gap closers in order to get close to him, and that's not considering that he can just speed himself away. Additionally, her E doesn't last long enough to stop the Q from damaging her after it ticks, so you'll want to wait patiently for her shield to go down first if you want to double bomb her or you can just single bomb for damage. Her execute is useless against you because you have a revive, so unless you misplay or the jungler camps you, it's unlikely that you'll die to her. Take armor runes to be safe because. One thing to note is that your E won't be too effective against her because her Q and E are unaffected by move speed, so it'll be difficult to gank her. [imgsmall=champ/rumble.png] [highlight]Rumble: [/highlight] More commonly seen top lane however not fully gone midlane. There should be little reason for him to hit you with his Flamespitter as he should've ate a double bomb before he can do that. His shield will mitigate some of the damage and doesn't cost mana but your base damage will steal deal a good chunk to him. Be careful of the range that his ultimate has and be ready to ult yourself (if you somehow manage to get that low). [imgsmall=champ/ryze.png] [highlight]Ryze: [/highlight] Ryze's main weakness is that he can't push well, which is something that Zilean excels in. Furthermore, your Q has a longer range than all his abilities so it's unlikely that he'll be able to harass you. Take advantage of that and harass him as much as possible. Unfortunately, Merc Treads is a common item most Ryze's builds, so your Q damage will be decreased and your E debuff won't last as long. Be careful for Flash W ganks from Ryze in conjunction with a jungler, so keep warding. [imgsmall=champ/sion.png] [highlight]Sion: [/highlight] Both laners have great pushing potential and damage in only two spells. Normally, Sion will outpush Zilean because of the attack damage increase in his E. Sion will eventually win the war of attrition because double bombing costs 310 mana for Zilean and a shield only costs 110 mana for Sion. Additionally, you have to double bomb Sion in order to break his shield due to its high base numbers and scaling. Furthermore, because of Sion's E, he gets bulkier every time he kills a unit, so it's unlikely Zilean will be doing much to Sion. [imgsmall=champ/soraka.png] [highlight]Soraka: [/highlight] Pushes more easily than you because her Q costs less mana, so you'll be forced to autoattack the wave in order to prevent the tower from eating a lot of the CS. AP Soraka has little killing power, especially against Zilean. She's played mainly to just push the wave and deny CS while also poking at the enemy laner. Ask your jungler for ganks if she's pushed up a lot. Fortunately, Zilean has his E to get back into lane faster if you are pushed out of lane. Has varying degrees of sustain depending on whether she maxes W or E after Q, so keep note of that. [imgsmall=champ/swain.png] [highlight]Swain: [/highlight] Pre-6, Swain has an easier time than you because his passive gives him mana while your spells don't do enough damage to get past his HP. Post-6, your bombs will chunk him, but he'll just heal up with his ultimate. Additionally, every time you go in to bomb him, he'll just retaliate with an EQ combo and with the sustain from his ult, he'll win every trade. He shouldn't be able to kill you post-6, but watch out for his snare before then. Only trade if you have blue buff or else you'll use too much mana. Fortunately, he has limited mobility, so ask for a gank and try to roam other lanes. [imgsmall=champ/syndra.png] [highlight]Syndra: [/highlight] You'll want to auto attack and bomb early before her damage starts to ramp up. When you have the mana to do so and you want to harass, make sure to speed yourself up so it makes it more difficult for her W to hit you. If you see her use her W, E yourself if you can because the speed boost combined with the flight time should make it so it doesn't hit you Be careful of her stun to E combination, although you should generally be unstunned by that time. If not, get Mercury Treads. Zilean is weak against Syndra under his tower because of her long poke, so try not to end up there. [imgsmall=champ/talon.png] [highlight]Talon: [/highlight] Similar to Pantheon, take flat armor seals against Talon. Note that his E is a silence so it will prevent you from ulting yourself. Try to harass him with auto attacks and bombs because he's melee range but be careful of his burst potential. Talon sometimes takes Boots of Mobility so his roaming power will be similar to yours. It's just a matter of who's more successful with it. Talon's number one counter is armor, so a Seeker's Armguard will shut down most of the damage that he does. [imgsmall=champ/teemo.png] [highlight]Teemo: [/highlight] Teemo is extremely annoying and it's unlikely that you'll trade with auto attacks that much due to his blind. With that in mind, you'll generally want to harass him with your Q's instead. Your E will be effective because it counteracts his W which is the main way he gets away from ganks. Past level 6, don't ask your jungler to gank for you because he'll probably just hit a shroom instead. Just try to punish Teemo with your Q's because he should have little way of retaliation you besides his Q. [imgsmall=champ/tristana.png] [highlight]Tristana: [/highlight] Tristana has one of the highest AP ratios in the game but the problem for her is she's all burst damage, which Zilean does well in excelling against. She can't jump onto Zilean to harass without eating a double bomb in return and Zilean can always speed himself up to counteract the slow from the jump. She's a bit hard to gank because she has her W to jump away and her ult to push people away, so you'll need some hard CC. [imgsmall=champ/twistedfate.png] [highlight]Twisted Fate: [/highlight] Dodging his Q isn't hard but it's better for pushing due to its lower mana cost and easier positioning (a line). His reliance on auto attacks lets you move in easily to bomb him but don't harass him if he has a gold card locked or is cycling through his cards. His main strength however is his ultimate so move preemptively or try to throw a bomb or slow when he does end up porting. Alternatively, countergank his lanes by going to them as fast as possible or gank the other lane. It'll most likely be a farming lane with lots of roaming involved. [imgsmall=champ/veigar.png] [highlight]Veigar: [/highlight] Early game, Veigar can't push well because he wants to farm with his Q and his W doesn't have enough damage to one shot minion waves. Once he hits 6, watch out for his burst potential. Catalyst/RoA should give you give some bulk and Mercury's Treads/Chalice of Harmony should give you the MR you need to survive his rotation. Ult early if you find yourself stuck in the middle of his stun circle or if you manage to get out quickly. [imgsmall=champ/viktor.png] [highlight]Viktor: [/highlight] Viktor's main issue is that he's mana reliant, so he'll need blue buff to trade/push well. His W will rarely affect you because your E can speed you through it, while his Q won't provide enough of a shield to mitigate a lot of bomb damage. It's also shorter range and, if you both use Q at the same time, the shield won't last long enough for when the bomb explodes. If he maxes out his Q first, he won't be able to waveclear as well because his E won't have levels. In that case, farm the lane, trade with him if he pokes you with his Q, and gank other lanes because Viktor isn't a mobile character. Even though his ult is only a 0.5 second silence, it has a lot of burst, and 0.5 seconds may be all he needs to kill you, so stay healthy. [imgsmall=champ/vladimir.png] [highlight]Vladimir: [/highlight] Difficult lane in that his Q sustain along with Revolver/WotA will nullify most of the poke that your bombs will do. Once you have blue, you can continuously harass him and push the wave. You can roam afterwards but make sure to be quick about it because he can push well with his E stacked up. When you don't have blue, it's harder so just try to keep as much of the wave from reaching your tower as possible. Furthermore, his W counteracts your bomb, so don't try to flash Q him if his pool's up. He shouldn't be able to flat out kill you because he has no hard CC to prevent your ult from going off but will force you out of lane due to his sustain. If your jungler does come to gank your lane, make sure to slow him before he pools so he'll move less distance in his pool. [imgsmall=champ/wukong.png] [highlight]Wukong: [/highlight] Wukong mid is played because of his good damage output and W can be tricky against laners. It's important that you don't bomb the clone because you'll waste both cooldowns and mana and probably not deal damage. Adapt to his playstyle (most Wukongs EQ in so you can damage them at that point), or just double bomb him when his W's down. His ultimate has a decent knockup time and can do a lot of damage to your team with a Black Cleaver so try to ult the most important member of your team. He has no CC outside of that so go nuts because he's melee. Take armor runes against him. [imgsmall=champ/xerath.png] [highlight]Xerath: [/highlight] His Q has quite the long range so try not to move too predictably against him. It's much easier once you have blue buff because you can speed yourself and make it harder to hit you due to your increased speed. Try to double bomb him if he's in his siege mode and watch out for his burst potential. Unless you're really low, he won't be able to kill you during his E's stun time because it doesn't last long enough to prevent you from ulting yourself. If you think he's going to try to burst you down, E yourself so he has a harder time hitting you with his E -> R combo. [imgsmall=champ/zed.png] [highlight]Zed: [/highlight] Zed's a fun champion if you ever play him. One thing to note is to not stand with your minions because one of Zed's strengths is that 2 E's with a W will clear the minion wave so you'll be stuck fighting the minion wave instead of him. Try to get him when he's last hitting and if he uses his abilities to last hit, that likely means he's going to miss out on a lot. If he ever does engage on you, it can be hard to tell how much damage his ult is going to do so just ult yourself to be safe. Ganking a Zed is kind of difficult because his W combined with the short range of mid lane means he can get under his tower quickly so if you're going to gank him, do it post-6 when you have your ultimate for easy tower dives. Take armor runes against him because all his damage except his passive is physical. [imgsmall=champ/ziggs.png] [highlight]Ziggs: [/highlight] His Q is deceptive in its range and in the way that it bounces. If you ever find yourself low, make sure you pay attention to the ground for his ultimate and R yourself if necessary. Double bomb him when you can and try to dodge his bombs. All his abilities have a longer range than yours, have a decent explosion radius, and deal good poke damage but Ziggs himself is relatively squishy so your bombs will do a good number back and are targeted so they're easier to hit. If you see him throw a bomb at you, dodge sideways because the bombs can bounce in a straight line. [imgsmall=champ/zilean.png] [highlight]Zilean: [/highlight] May the best Zilean win! [imgsmall=champ/zyra.png] [highlight]Zyra: [/highlight] Her Q outranges yours by a large amount and her low mana costs means that she doesn't have many mana issues. Fortunately she's squishy so your bombs will do a large chunk of her health. Move unpredictably because her Q is easy to hit and speed yourself up if she launches her E so she can't catch you in her snare. If she uses her ult on you, try to speed yourself up to escape the knockup. If you can't, ult yourself beforehand because it has a delay before the knockup. Don't forget about her passive when you kill her so speed yourself up to dodge it or ult yourself if you're not confident. The main issue is the amount of harass that she has and her mana efficiency compared to yours, so feel free to ask your jungler for help if you're struggling.

If you went through most of the champions in the previous section, you'll notice a common trend of how Zilean should play against various champions, most of which involve double bombing. However, like all champions, Zilean has weaknesses. If you've ever had problems laning against Zilean or want to know what the opponent is thinking, this section will help. [.] Pick a good pusher, such as Morgana or Mordekaiser. Zilean has difficulties CSing under his own tower due to his low AD and poor attack animation. [.] Pick someone with higher range than Zilean, such as Cassiopeia, Xerath, or Ziggs. Zilean won't be able to harass you without retaliation and you can freely harass him due to your greater range. [.] If Zilean goes in to double bomb you, don't just take it. Retaliate by chasing him if he doesn't have his speed boost. [.] Get a Chalice if you find yourself expending a lot of mana to keep your wave in a favorable position. It will also soften some damage from his bombs. [.] If your champion builds Abyssal Scepter (such as Ahri, Kennen, Galio), get the Negatron Cloak early to soften a lot of the damage that he'll do. [.] Merc Treads will give you MR to help from his bombs and reduce the slow duration from his E. [.] Alternatively, grab Boots of Swiftness if you have CC to stop Zilean because it reduces the effectiveness of his E. [.] Don't tower dive a Zilean, assume he has his ult up unless you saw that he used it within the last minute. [.] Try to burst down one champion fast enough so Zilean can't ult them or CC Zilean while you're killing the other champion. [.] Pick aggressive junglers (Xin Zhao, Jarvan IV, and Vi for example) and laners that can help in jungle invades. Stealing Zilean's blue puts a hamper in his harassing and farming capabilities. [.] Junglers with hard CC are preferred against Zilean because they counteract his speed boost such as Xin Zhao, Maokai, and Jarvan IV. [.] Ward your lane so your other laners can see if Zilean roams. This will give your lanes enough time to retreat to their tower. [.] Draw the game out until lategame and wait for Zilean's damage to fall off. [.] Shut down the other lanes. That means that Zilean won't have a good target to ult because the other lanes will be too far behind. [.] Get Zilean's blue buff. Zilean not having blue buff removes a lot of the harass that he can put out and also makes it hard for him to harass and farm at the same time.

[img=champ/vayne.png][img=champ/kogmaw.png][img=champ/twitch.png][img=champ/tristana.png] All AD carries synergize well with Zilean because for most teams, if their AD carry goes down, that takes out a large portion of their DPS. However, Zilean's revive enables them to effectively have 2 AD carries if he uses his ult on that character. Zilean synergizes well with the listed champions because these champions have massive steroids in order to help boost their carrying potential. Additionally, the first three lack efficient escape mechanisms, so Zilean's E can help peel for them or provide a speed boost in order to make sure to that they get away. As for Tristana, her range, attack speed boost, and safety in her W and R make it so she's the most dangerous AD carry late game. [img=champ/irelia.png][img=champ/jax.png][img=champ/vi.png][img=champ/xinzhao.png][img=champ/jarvaniv.png][img=champ/olaf.png] The first five of these champions have gap closers to get to the AD carry while Olaf doesn't care about CC due to his ultimate. All of them appreciate the extra movement speed in order to quickly corner down the AD carry and have some sort of CC to prevent them from getting away, whether that be a stun, knockup, or slow. The reason these are good teammates for Zilean is that because they go straight for the AD carry, they have to put themselves in danger and often draw a lot of aggro from the enemy team. Zilean's revive makes it so that they will succeed in their goal of bursting down the enemy carries. Mid to lategame Olaf and Jax are two of the strongest champions in the game, so having to deal with a second one is even more fearsome. [img=champ/alistar.png][img=champ/malphite.png][img=champ/blitzcrank.png][img=champ/nautilus.png][img=champ/singed.png][img=champ/volibear.png] In comparison to the previous champions, these champions are more tanky, whether that's how they're built or if they have defensive functions built into their kit. All six of these champions have some sort of non-Cleansable or non-QSSable ability, whether that is a knockup or a repositioning ability. Zilean's E enables them to reach their target even faster to CC them, allowing your teammates to catch up and quickly focus down that target. All of them but Singed Volibear have knockups, while all of them but Malphite have some dispositioning ability. Malphite, Nautilus, and Volibear all also have slows in their kit to further prevent the enemy from escaping. It is a bit ironic that Volibear works well with Zilean, but having a giant armored bear running towards you that's even faster than normal is a scary sight.

This section features some locations that I believe are good warding locations. Instead of a general map for warding, pictures and information are provided for each warding location. Note that each of these wards are capable of being placed from where Zilean is standing. Some of the wards that are placed across walls are because if the ward is placed more than halfway through the wall, it will appear on the other side. These wards are mainly from the blue side, although purple side has similar warding locations, just flipped. [imgext=http://i.imgur.com/tWhDq.jpg] An easy ward to place but one that provides a lot of vision. It lets you know if the jungler is sitting there in that brush as well as if the enemy mid laner will run up top lane once they've pushed to your tower. It also gives you a sense of jungler presence if they want to run around the long way because you can see them passing from that way if they run from their wraiths. [imgext=http://i.imgur.com/ujaez.jpg] The right side version of the previous ward, this lets you see if the jungler's waiting there after doing his blue buff or wolves or running up from mid lane. It's not necessary to have both this and the previous ward because you can just play closer to the side that you warded because you know you're safe on that side. It also lets bot lane know if the opposing champion is running through that brush to gank bot lane or not. [imgext=http://i.imgur.com/DJ9Pk.jpg] This ward also lets you see the jungler if they're running from wraiths. However, in comparison to the first ward, it's a more offensive ward that should be placed if you're closer to the opposing turret. That's because it gives you more vision of where the jungler can gank from if he does decide to gank you, which gives you time to speed yourself away. [imgext=http://i.imgur.com/cKmkz.jpg] An offensive ward if you like to take the jungler's wraiths. You generally do this if you push to the enemy's tower a lot and like to offensively counterjungle. Zilean's great at clearing the little monsters but takes some time to clear the big one because of his low auto attack damage, so only do this if you have a general idea or good sense of where the jungler can be. [imgext=http://i.imgur.com/yQ0Xw.jpg] This is a ward for slightly better vision of the jungler from blue buff because it also lets you get vision of them if they want to run the long way to gank you from the bottom side. It can also grant vision of the enemy mid laner if he wants to gank from the dragon route when heading down bot lane. It also provides useful vision as you can potentially see the enemy sitting there before a dragon fight.

So when you first start the game, buy your items and position yourself accordingly to help your jungle, whether that be an invade or to prevent one. Zilean's level 1 fight isn't amazing but it's not terrible. Unfortunately, your Q [imgsmall=skills/zilean/q.png] isn't instant damage, which is a big deal in level 1 fights. It does help when someone gets away with low HP and have a bomb ticking on them. However, be prepared to skill your E [imgsmall=skills/zilean/e.png] in case one of your teammates or the enemy gets caught out of position. Either way, 1:38 should come, and mainly if you choose not to invade, have your jungler attack wolves first if they're doing the blue route or wraiths if they're doing the red route. You want to attack the little minions and back off when they get low so your jungler can get the last hit. When 1:54 comes, I like to auto attack the buff and then place a bomb on top and then go back into lane. Even though it doesn't leash anymore, damaging it will still help the jungler out in the first clear. Alternatively, place a bomb on your jungler at the 1:51 mark (which may not be possible if they're slow at wolves/wraiths). Walk into lane and concentrate on last hitting at the initial levels. Your bombs won't be able to do enough damage to clear creep waves that well yet, so just concentrate on using your autoattacks to last hit. With your 600 range, it shouldn't be too hard to last hit them. If there's a creep in the back wave that's getting low and you can't get the CS safely (basically if you'll take retaliation), then place a bomb on a nearby minion or try to time the bomb so that it'll get that low minion. If you're against a melee champion, such as Gragas, Kassadin, or Fizz, try to place a bomb on a minion that they're going to CS so they'll take some damage when they get that minion. Alternatively, you can double bomb one of your low HP minions when they're going in for a last hit which means they'll take a double bomb's worth of damage. If your wave is pushed and you have a few hundred gold, you want to go back to base and start picking up items that will build towards your core items. Doran's [imgsmall=items/dorans-ring.png] and Catalyst [imgsmall=items/catalyst-the-protector.png] are your main goals. Always keep 2-3 health pots or a Crystalline Flask [imgsmall=items/crystalline-flask.png] on you during laning phase so you don't get too low and get a Sight Ward or two to watch out for the jungler. If you haven't left lane and you're already level 6 or the second blue (often around the 7:20 mark if your jungler got blue buff first), then you definitely want to go back or else you're a lot weaker in lane and jungle invades because it's likely that the enemy mid will already have backed by then. Zilean is pretty bad under his own tower because his base AD is fairly low and he has no immediate forms of damage. This means that if you're pushed, you'll miss more CS on average than other AP mids. In order to keep this from happening, feel free to autoattack the opposing minions a few times in order to sway the push. Fortunately, if the wave is pushed towards the opposing tower, Zilean has his E [imgsmall=skills/zilean/e.png] and his R [imgsmall=skills/zilean/r.png] to help escape ganks. It's not as useful as champions that have blinks such as Kassadin or Leblanc but it's still more useful than those that have no escapes, such as Kog’maw or Karthus. If you're facing an aggressive jungler, such as Shaco or Lee Sin, I wouldn't go past midway of the river at level 2 unless you started out with a ward. Past that point is extremely dangerous and you will mostly likely blow a Flash or give up first blood. Just stay close enough to get the experience, don't risk trying to CS. One good thing about Zilean is that he can still get CS from a distance by placing a bomb on your minions. However, this pushes the wave, so it is a tradeoff and can leave you more vulnerable to ganks. Once you have proper warding, you can judge when you can get CS or not.

Midgame is different between every game, but I usually judge midgame has begun when I have got my Catalyst/RoA or if there are towers/objectives having been acquired. At this point in the game, you should have blue buff passed to you by your jungler and will therefore have the mana to continuously throw out bombs, raising your harassment level exceptionally. Once you get RoA [imgsmall=items/rod-of-ages.png] and Sorcs [imgsmall=items/sorcerers-shoes.png] in a reasonable time frame, that's Zilean's strongest time. With blue buff, you can also freely and more easily take the enemy's wraiths along with your own if your jungler is off doing something else. Unfortunately for Zilean, he has no non-targetable skills, so he has to walk all the way around until he gets vision of the Wraiths to target them. To quickly take wraiths, double bomb the little one so it'll die and the wraith camp will immediately take 2 bomb's worth of damage. You can then attack the large one to finish off the camp. To get blue buff easily without waiting for the bomb to tick, double bomb the little monster that's next to blue buff so blue will immediately take double bomb damage. With blue buff, your ability to harass is increased a lot. The basic harassment combination is to speed yourself up, QWQ the opponent (smartcasting makes this faster), and then quickly run out while your E's [imgsmall=skills/zilean/e.png] duration is still up. The whole combo should take around 1.5-2 seconds if done well. Another way of harassing the opponent is if he's standing near his ranged minions, quickly double bomb a ranged minion and he'll take the damage from double bombs immediately. This will only work if the first bomb causes the minion to die immediately though. If you haven't already, now's the time you should be starting to roam. Starting at level 9 is when you should be able to clear the ranged minions with one Q and the melee ones with a few auto attacks followed up by a Q. E yourself and start walking to another lane, keeping in mind of potential enemy warding spots that can spot your movement. Once there, you generally want to slow down the enemy first and quickly QWQ and Ignite them. Alternatively, you can speed up your ally if he has hard CC and damage. Diving with Zilean is also super easy because his ultimate [imgsmall=skills/zilean/r.png] prevents tower kills and also loses tower aggro when you're being revived. However, if you do use your ultimate, be careful when going back to lane because many mid laners have the ability to 1v1 Zilean very easily so you may choose to take a safer route back. If you see the enemy mid going to roam, you have three choices. If they do go roam, it's likely that they pushed up the wave closer to your tower. You can sit there and continue to farm, push your wave, farm the enemy jungle, and go back. By doing this, it makes you stronger the next time you see them so you can harass them more. You can choose to countergank the lane that the enemy mid is going to gank, potentially even stopping the gank due to your ultimate. However, if the enemy jungler is there also and your jungler isn't, it's up to how the gank goes that determines whether or not you should go in. The third choice is to gank the other lane. Because you know the opposing mid is heading the opposite direction, there's less of a chance that you'll be counterganked if you yourself choose to gank another lane. In terms of towers, Zilean isn't the strongest at taking them down. He can push waves well but his damage against towers is mediocre. As for dragon, Zilean is dependent on his teammates (most likely the jungler and AD carry) to take down the dragon effectively. Your revive [imgsmall=skills/zilean/r.png] makes dragoning easier because that person doesn't have to run back to unleash dragon and potentially cause dragon to reset as a whole. Remember that even a 4v4 at dragon is swayed towards your side because of the revive that your team holds. Your E [imgsmall=skills/zilean/e.png] can catch someone out of position trying to run away from the dragon pit while your Q [imgsmall=skills/zilean/q.png] provides powerful poke.

Unfortunately for Zilean, he falls off late game damage-wise due to his lack of more than one damaging ability. IMO, he starts falling off once he maxes out his W, which is level 13. This is because his damage capability is maxed out from his abilities so he can only get more damage from items. His Q still clears minion waves easily but starts to do less damage to champions. This is because the enemy tanks and tanky dps characters will usually have some sort of big HP item along with a decent amount of MR, making it hard for Zilean to do damage. The champions your bombs would do the most damage to would be the enemy AD carry and support, but to target them with it would likely put Zilean out of position. When pushing or defending tower pushes, remember that you can bomb your melee minions so when they come in contact with the enemy minions, the bombs will blow up and you'll get that CS. Your main goal lategame is to speed up your teammates, slow down out of position enemies, and just ult whoever's going to carry you the most (most likely the AD carry). Zilean late game is delegated to more of a support role so make your midgame count. During the commonly held Baron dance, make sure your team is warding the brushes nearby. Because of the closeness of all the champions, your Q will hit several people at once, especially if you throw it on top of an initiator such as Malphite or Amumu. Also remember that you can use your ultimate when trying to secure Baron in case they try to instagib your jungler or whoever's doing the dps to take it down.

In teamfights, you have one main goal: ult whoever will carry your team. The majority of the time, it will be your AD carry. However, if your AD carry is massively behind but you have a really good diver that can take out the enemy AD carry, then by all means ult that champion. You'll want to throw bombs that can hit as many people as possible, whether that is on your ally who's in the middle of the enemy team or on the people that are rushing your AD carry. Your secondary goals are to help your teammates position well and get to where they need to be. If there's only one person going for your AD carry and he has no gap closer, then I personally like to slow down that character to make it harder to reach your AD carry because he should be able to kite well by himself to some extent. If the enemy champion has a gap closer, you'll want to slow him down after he uses it so your AD carry can kite well. If there are two people going for your AD carry, you can double slow them with a combination of your W and E. If there are several champions going for your AD carry, then you might choose to speed your AD carry instead. It's all dependent of how the teamfight goes. If you find yourself being focused but your AD carry is still safe but he'll die within 7 seconds, then ult your AD carry before you go down. However, if he's positioning well enough against the enemy team, then ult yourself. It's better to have used your ult and saved yourself than to not have used it at all. With your ultimate down, you want to be spamming your W as much as possible in order to try to get it back up again. Use your E to keep your team out of danger and continue throwing out Q's.

Because I'm lazy, here are VODs from MLG Dallas of teams using Zilean. Even though this is season 2, the general idea of what to do as Zilean is the same. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9QqGOrf8t-o[/youtube] This is Azubu Blaze against Najin Sword, with Blaze using Zilean. The key parts of this team are Zilean, Jax, and Lulu. Jax and Lulu have great synergy because Jax can jump into the middle of the opposing team with his Counterstrike up, be Lulu ulted, and just wreak general havoc on the opposing team. If he ever gets low, Zilean can ult him and then the opposing team has to deal with a second Jax. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKF_eFaHKd4[/youtube] At the same event, this is Najin Sword using Zilean against Azubu Blaze. Like the previous VOD, they also have the Zilean Jax combination, which in and of itself is very deadly. However, they also have the Zilean Rengar combination. With Rengar, he can ulti in and Zilean can plant a bomb on him, which won't be revealed because Rengar is stealthed. Rengar then proceeds to jump on the enemy champion and deal a lot of damage, easily catching up to the opposing champion if he's sped up by Zilean. With Zilean's ultimate, it's extremely easy to tower dive the opposing champions, helping to get Rengar fed and therefore easy to take down opposing AD champions.

Thanks for reading my guide on Zilean. It's my first guide so hopefully people enjoy it. Feel free to leave any comments or questions in the comment box below. I'd like to thank: -Solomid.net for hosting this website and enabling me to post my guide -Smogon University for providing me with the opportunity to write and increasing my passion towards helping others -Riot Games for making such an amazing game -The pros for streaming and playing in tournaments to keep my own and other people's attention span towards LoL -My friends and the community for being so supportive of me As Zilean says it best, \"Time is wasting.\" So get to it, go play Zilean!

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