Zilean Build Guide

I got a zilean problems, but carryin' ain't one.

Uploader Exc3ssion
Updated 5 years ago
  • 9
    Greater Mark of Magic Penetration (+0.87 magic penetration)
  • 9
    Greater Seal of Scaling Mana Regeneration (+0.065 mana regen / 5 sec. per level (+1.17 at champion level 18))
  • 9
    Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power (+0.17 ability power per level (+3.06 at champion level 18))
  • 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

Zilean is a very unique AP carry and a rather underused one who also provides his team with a global exp buff. Early game he has incredibly poke and damage that carries into mid game where he becomes almost un-killable while doing massive damage. Late game his [imgsmall=skills/zilean/r.png] is still incredibly useful for both his teammates as well as himself, while he still does large chunks of damage and provides high speed buffs on his team or high slows on their team through the constant use of [imgsmall=skills/zilean/e.png]. His ultimate also serves as a very good counter to the champions that can crush most other AP carries upon reaching level 6

My runes are my normal AP carry page of Mpen reds, M/regen per level yellows, AP/lvl blues and Flat AP quints. The mpen reds are an obvious choice and are normally the overall best choice for marks. For both seals and glphs I prefer the per level runes because they catch up to their flat counterparts at just over level 6 and then only go higher. I do take flat AP quints though because having that bonus 15 ap at level is basically the AP equivalent of having a [imgsmall=items/dorans-ring.png].

Your [imgsmall=skills/zilean/q.png] spell is your only damaging spell, it's also AMAZING harrass with a good range on it. You max this first for the extra damage to either kill your lane, to push when you need to be, or to consistently harass your opponent down. Your [imgsmall=skills/zilean/w.png] gains a reduced cooldown as you rank it up, allowing you to double bomb repeatedly and get your ult up faster, you will grab this at level 2 and max it second. Your [imgsmall=skills/zilean/e.png] is an amazing speed buff or slow BUT does not gain any extra % as you level it up. The (de)buff will be the same speed at rank 1 as rank 5 this is why you will max it last because the only thing that changes is the duration. While in lane a rank 1 E will get you basically 3/4 of the way between both tier 1 towers which is why you will take it at level 4 and max it last. This will really help with getting away from ganks. Your [imgsmall=skills/zilean/r.png] is obviously amazing and should be grabbed whenever possible.

Now, your starting items will depend on who you are facing in lane. If you are going against someone who doesn't harass at all or plays like a pansy from your experiance then [imgsmall=items/dorans-ring.png] is a solid choice. If you are trying to rush an early [imgsmall=items/catalyst-the-protector.png] or just don't like my starting items then start with [imgsmall=items/sapphire-crystal.png] and pots. My preferred start is [imgsmall=items/boots-of-speed.png] and pots as it gives you the most pots if you are being harassed, it lets you dodge skillshots better, it lets you harass better, and it can help you get away from a gank on you. From there you should try and get your [imgsmall=items/boots-of-speed.png] and two [imgsmall=items/dorans-ring.png]. If you started with [imgsmall=items/sapphire-crystal.png] then go for your [imgsmall=items/catalyst-the-protector.png] which can either be used in the next step or saved. I prefer the [imgsmall=items/dorans-ring.png] route over the catalyst as it's cheaper and gets me AP as well as HP and mana regen. REMEMBER! Buy both [imgsmall=items/sight-ward.png]'s to avoid ganks and [imgsmall=items/health-potion.png]'s to stay in lane! Now would be the time to turn your [imgsmall=items/catalyst-the-protector.png] into a [imgsmall=items/rod-of-ages.png] or you can save it. After that, or if you went with the doran's root then you can go ahead and try and get both your [imgsmall=items/sorcerers-shoes.png] (or [imgsmall=items/mercurys-treads.png]'s if they have a lot of CC) and your [imgsmall=items/rabadons-deathcap.png]. Now you have a good amount of damage with some mpen and you have 3 choices. If they have all begun to stack zilean's of MR then you should try and grab a [imgsmall=items/void-staff.png]. If they haven't or you are being focused to hard to do any damage, evaluate your death recap. Is most of the damage physical or magical? If physical try and work on getting a [imgsmall=items/zhonyas-hourglass.png]. If it's primarily magic damage then work on getting a [imgsmall=items/banshees-veil.png] (you can either used the [imgsmall=items/catalyst-the-protector.png] you had before, or if you never got it/used it for [imgsmall=items/rod-of-ages.png] then build it from scratch starting with the [imgsmall=items/negatron-cloak.png]. Finally you should get whichever defensive item you did not get in the previous step to round out your defenses and then you have your last item. Your last item is really up to you. My top choices are [imgsmall=items/will-of-the-ancients.png] OR [imgsmall=items/guardian-angel.png]. They both give a tiny boost to def (either from the vamp or actual defense + revive). I say [imgsmall=items/guardian-angel.png] because it gives you a buffer for your ultimate. If they blow you up to kingdom's come and then you GA procs, they probably already used their major burst and thus you have less of a chance of dropping w/o being able to ult when you revive OR your team could have killed off some of them and thus the danger is lessened. [imgsmall=items/will-of-the-ancients.png] is also a solid item as it increases both your AP and gives you a bit of defense through your vamp. It also provides a crucial buff to any AP on your team. While this build is solid, and will cover all your bases you can have some circumstances where you might wish to swap out some items. These situational items are listed below with chances when you might require them. [imgsmall=items/frozen-heart.png] - This would fill your your armor defense slot (where zhonya's is) and would be taken if you were not getting blue's for some reason or if their team is high on AD that aren't really focusing you. Or if they have vayne. Fuck vayne. [imgsmall=items/abyssal-scepter.png] - This would fill your MR item slot (where veil is) and can be taken if they really lack much CC at all or if you somehow find yourself in the middle of team fights often (damn sleepwalking) [imgsmall=items/quicksilver-sash.png] - On the other hand, if they have incredible amounts of CC and your were a noob that didn't take cleanse in response, this item will save your ass or at least let you get off an ult on someone (which could be yourself) through all the CC. [imgsmall=items/force-of-nature.png] - This would take the place of veil and should really only be gotten if they are incredibly heavy on AP champions or don't have much CC. Or both! It'll give you some passive regen that can help between fights, and also gives large amounts of MR. [imgsmall=items/thornmail.png] - This is the Armor version of Force of Nature. This will make that fight against their fed AD champion much easier, as the high armor can severely limit him and also the return damage can sometimes make the difference between win and lose. [imgsmall=items/moonflair-spellblade.png] - This is actually another really solid last item as it can basically replicate the tenacity of merc treads without giving up the extra damage. While I would suggest you just build merc treads if you see a large amount of cc if you needed the sorc shoes, or they didn't focus you early on in fights this can help curb the new overdose of stun. [imgsmall=items/shurelyas-reverie.png] - This is actually a solid item and with the huge speed buff from E can make you a flying god of destruction and madness. The health, health regen, and mana regen are all very helpful as well. (Note: Some supports will grab this item, this item though has no negative effects of carrying several. Just watch out to make sure you guy's don't pop them both at the same time. You can even be super cool and coordinate one to use for chasing and one to use for escaping each fight.)

I'm just going to use this area as a place to put both Zilean tips/tricks/warnings that I wish I knew when I started playing Zilean back when I was level 9. 1. The major Zilean thing, double bombs. when you place a bomb on top of another, the first explodes allowing you to actually to instant damage + having the ticking bomb on their head. 2. One major thing to know is that Zilean's [imgsmall=skills/zilean/q.png]'s do damage in the AoE based on the amount of MR the target they are on has. This means that when in lane if your opponent tries to build MR early on to counter you, you can sometimes get around it by double bombing a minion right next to them. If this kills the minion it will do the damage of both bombs instantly to the champion who might not expect that kind of burst. 3. Mentioned above, bombs explode when their target dies not only when their timer runs out. This means that if you double bomb anything that then dies from the first bomb or another source it will do the damage of both bombs instantly in the surrounding AoE. 4. When either intiating, chasing, or running who you slow or speed up is crucial. Speeding up a [imgsmall=champ/singed.png] will help much more to get a fight started whereas speeding [imgsmall=champ/graves.png] or [imgsmall=champ/sona.png] might be better when you have [imgsmall=champ/amumu.png] so they can get into position and [imgsmall=champ/amumu.png] does not really need the speed as his Q already normally gives him a good position. 5. If you are laning against a very aggresive jungler such as [imgsmall=champ/shaco.png] or [imgsmall=champ/rammus.png] then you can get your [imgsmall=skills/zilean/e.png] at level 2. This will let you get away if you get caught off guard much easier. 6. If you bomb an invisible unit then the bomb will be invisible and thus can be used to stealth attack enemies. 7. Your ult has ~30 sec cd at max rank, with full cdr, and if you spam W on cooldown. If you can keep up with the mana usage, always spam W. It will make it so that you can ult every single team fight. 8. You are very mana hungry, try and avoid double bombing in lane as you will run out of mana very very fast.

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