Zilean Build Guide

Time Flies Like An Arrow, Fruit Flies Like A Banana: A guide to support Zilean

Uploader xbombr
Updated 3 years ago
  • 9
    Greater Mark of Attack Damage (+0.95 attack damage)
  • 9
    Greater Seal of Armor (+1 armor)
  • 9
    Greater Glyph of Mana Regeneration (+0.33 mana regen / 5 sec.)
  • 3
    Greater Quintessence of Gold (+1 gold / 10 sec.)
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

According to lolking, Zilean is in the bottom 3 least picked champions in the game. Zilean used to be fairly popular, but due to continuous nerfs and losing a lot of zoning power in lane and some of his late game power with nerfs to his ultimate, he fell out of favor. Despite the low popularity and the nerfs taking away a lot of his power, his ult and his control over allied and enemy movement speed still make him an incredibly effective pick for support.

There are 10 main pros to picking Zilean or having one on your team, in my opinion. - Amazing and game changing ultimate, especially in solo queue if executed appropriately. Your ultimate saves people's lives, you can actually get the glory for playing a support by using your ultimate effectively. This is the one hero I have been actually raged at AND thanked 10 seconds later for playing. Use your ultimate effectively and you will be recognized for it. - Permaslow and haste with enough CDR and levels. This makes a huge difference because you can actually slow an enemy and haste an ally at the same time. Or you can haste multiple allies or slow multiple enemies. - Targeted harassment that requires no skill to use. This makes him easy to pick up and play. No skillshots required. Smartcasting is helpful on him, but not required if you are uncomfortable it. - Effective wave clear with little or no ap if needed. This means you can push back large waves of minions if your teammates need you to. - Incredibly effective late game if played properly. Being able to use slows/hastes every 3.5 seconds and your ult every 45ish seconds is amazing. You can make your teammates really annoying and nearly invincible with good play on your part and theirs. - Godly ap ratio on his ult means that even small amounts of AP can make a huge difference in how effective his ult is. - Strong in solo queue where coordination is low and decision making is often sketchy. You can easily bait players who aren't thinking or communicating with their teammates into stupid engages, tower dives, or forcing bad plays. - Very spammable skills and a practically spammable ultimate once you have CDR. This makes his play style fast and fun. For a champion with nothing but targeted skills and a low skill requirement to play, the skill cap can be fairly high and playing him well can be very rewarding. - Nice base damage on Q. You can actually do some light trading with certain lanes. Trading with Sona or sticking your neck out at Blitz or Thresh will likely lead to death or being pushed out of lane, but these lanes can be harassed decently if you play well. Some lanes are actually vulnerable to being zoned by a Zilean if he gets ahead. - Global Exp passive makes him a great pick for either blue or purple side. Being on purple will help his team catch up to the early blue side double golems and being on blue will increase the advantage of doing blue side golems. Additionally, your jungle and solos will naturally out-level your opponents in a game where both teams acquire the same amount of exp.

I sum this up into 4 main cons which I will go into depth explaining. - Very match up dependent in lane. Lane comps with aggressive all-in supports and strong, long range, and often skill shot based harassment can make early game difficult. Good play and jungle pressure can make up for a lot of this. Additionally, many lane match ups shift toward even or your favor at 6 as long as your AD didn't fall too far behind early on. I am not going to create this guide and place you under the pretense that Zilean is the answer to Thresh-Draven bottom lane. Zilean is a great pick against some lane match ups, but some of the incredibly dominant lanes right now will often destroy Zilean worse than they would another lane. I am still working on making my own early game better and trying to figure out ways to deal with certain lane match ups. Zilean can be a versatile champion in terms of how he deals with different lanes, but he can certainly be weak against some lanes. Zilean excels against passive supports that tend to create "Farm-off lanes" like Soraka and low sustain lanes (unconventional supports like Elise for example). He also does well against poor AD play (although you probably cannot pick him under the pretense that their AD is going to be bad). He is threatening in an Ashe-like sense in that once he gets hold of you, even though his damage is not ridiculous early on, it is very difficult to get away without some damage piling up. - No hard CC. Janna, Taric, Leona, Blitz, Thresh. All of the top supports these days have hard CC to stop aggressors in their tracks or even to initiate or disengage. Zilean has no hard CC and that is certainly a negative, but his slows and hastes are spammable and strong to make up for it. If your team is in need of hard CC, Zilean is probably not a good pick. Zilean is best played in a team with a good amount of hard cc because the support is often one of the ones that the AD relies on for a hard CC peel on certain assassin heroes. - Trolls. Lots of people don't think Zilean is a viable pick and will hate you for choosing him until late game when you cast a life-saving ult on them despite the fact that they raged at you for nearly half an hour because they got camped by the jungler top lane and have somehow decided that it was your fault. - Delayed damage and Incidental kill steals. This is mainly a problem because your damage is delayed when you bomb someone. If you double bomb a hero to do some burst damage and you have no idea what their health is going to be at a 4 seconds later when the second bomb goes off. This is a problem especially if your AD is rolling ignite and depending on it for a kill after the enemy runs away. I've accidentally stolen some kills from my AD because I was trying to deal burst damage with my double bomb so we could win an all-in fight and my bomb blows up as the last autoattack is flying at the enemy champion. Another problem with delayed damage is that your enemy has what I call a "grace period" where they can still do damage to you or your partner even though their death is imminent. I've seen this lead to both sides of a skirmish dying in exchanges when the lanes are evenly matched just because that extra few seconds was all it took to die in the exchange.

[imgext=http://i.imgur.com/yXMYjlO.jpg] These are simply what I use because I feel like they fit my style. Quints: Gold per 10. The obvious choice of supports since you won't be CSing. These quints allow you to build up your gold. As a support you will be letting your AD carry take all of the creeps in the lane unless they aren't present and you happen to be able to last hit some. These quints give you ample gold gain to buy your core items and wards. Gold per second is the basis of the 0 CS support meta and this is probably the best way to get it. Reds: I use attack damage because I like to take pick pocket and use my autoattacks, but Armor is another great option. I also favor attack damage over magic penetration or AP because Zilean's spells have a fairly long cooldown early game and your autoattacks will add up to more damage in trades than some extra AP or magic pen on your bombs will. Yellows: I use armor here because I don't use armor reds and I think that armor is the most important stat to have once you have gold gain somewhere. Most of the damage you'll take bottom lane is going to be physical once you hit a certain threshold. Another option is gold per second yellows. I would take gold per second if you are using armor reds. The trade off of this set up is slightly lower damage for higher gold gain and a bit more survivability. Blues: I'm using mana regen because it allows me to harass effectively before chalice. MR is certainly another option. I just don't use it because I build a chalice early on. Increasing mana regeneration also increases the effectiveness of chalice. Mana regeneration increases your damage in lane by allowing you to use more spells before you run dry and you have to wait less time to recover your mana to cast spells once it is depleted. This means you will have to go to base less often and you will be able to out damage the enemy's sustain if they are not packing enough mana regeneration to keep up with you. I would advise experimenting with different rune set ups and making changes to the masteries based upon your style of play. If you don't like autoattacking, I would go for armor reds, gold per yellows, and dropping pick pocket for CDR or exp gain in utility or some more defense in your masteries. This is simply my current set up and I certainly like to mess around with it regularly.

[title][img=skills/zilean/p.png] Passive: Heightened Learning[/title] [title]Explanation:[/title] This is a great passive that doesn't get enough recognition. This can make the Zilean pick worth it in the early game because you'll have an advantage by getting to the next level faster. This is especially important because the first team to reach 6 first can all in with their ultimates and try to win the lane before the other team has their ults. Level 6 Zil is strong due to his ult giving his carry 2 lives. Note: This is also effective and mitigating the advantage blue side botlane has by doing golems before going to lane if Zilean is on purple side. It also enlarges the gap created by doing golems on blue side if Zil is on the blue team. [title][img=skills/zilean/q.png] Q: Time Bomb[/title] [title]Explanation:[/title] Your only damage spell and main harass. Has high base damage and a good ratio. A shadow of it's former self, this ability still makes Zilean and decent zoning hero. Many of the aggressive supports in the meta and the stronger AD carries will out-trade you despite the good base damage. Note the damage on this ability is delayed by ~4 seconds under normal circumstances. This creates a "grace period" where the enemy can attack before taking damage from the ability. Additionally, the ticks of the time bomb will draw turret aggro even though the bomb has not dealt damage in turret range. It used to work where the bombs wouldn't draw turret aggro until they exploded, but it was changed to where they bombs draw aggro during the countdown. This ability can be used twice in rapid succession if used in conjunction with W. The first bomb will explode instantly if a second bomb is cast on the same target. Additionally, these bombs will explode if the unit they are placed on dies. You can harass people standing in minions by putting this bomb on a minion standing next to them as it is dying. Say Graves is standing next to a minion with 50 hp and Varus goes for a last hit on that minion, if you put a bomb on it as Varus's auto attack reaches the minion, the bomb will explode and instantly deal damage to Graves. [title][img=skills/zilean/w.png] W: Rewind[/title] [title]Explanation:[/title] Awesome ability. Allows Zil to double up his skills and spam his abilities. With 40% CDR and max rank, this ability has something like a 3.5 second cooldown. This means that your Q and E essentially have a 3.5 second cooldown. If Zilean casts 2 bombs on the same target using a Q - W - Q combo, the first bomb will explode instantly and the second bomb will tick. Notice also that his E at max rank has a 5.5 second duration. This means that you can either perma-slow/haste a target or you can haste/slow 2 targets on an extremely regular basis. Additionally, this should be spammed whenever your ult is on cooldown. The reason I recommend a chalice/athene's is because this skill needs to be used A LOT. Although the mana cost isn't ridiculously high, the mana cost will add up especially with how rapidly other abilities will be cast. This ability will lower the cooldown of your ult by 10 seconds. Although your ult appears to have a really high cooldown even at max CDR, spamming this ability will make your ult available every 45-ish seconds. What this means is that it is feasible that in a very drawn out fight or a chasing type situation, you may be able to get off two ults. For instance, your team wins a fight where you ulted and you rush down midlane to take inhibitors and nexus turrets, your ult will be back up before anyone on the enemy team respawns if the respawn timers are up to 45 seconds or more. I recommend maxing this second because it turns you into a spell machine gun late game. This ability is also a major reason I recommend CDR, because this doubles the effectiveness of your CDR because reducing the cooldown of this ability also reduces the reduced cooldown of your other abilities. tl;dr: Yo dawg, we heard you like cooldown reduction, so we gave you cooldown reduction for your cooldown reduction so you can be reducing your cooldowns while you be reducing your cooldowns [title][img=skills/zilean/e.png] E: Time Warp[/title] [title]Explanation:[/title] Slows if cast on an enemy, hastes if cast on an ally. This ability can be used to apply a brutal permaslow to an enemy champion with enough CDR and the use of W. When casting on, make sure you pay attention to duration of it because once you have max CDR, W, and this ability, you can actually overapply this buff and waste mana unnecessarily because the CD on W is 3.5 seconds while this will last for 5.5 seconds. A situational use of this downtime is to cast it on a different target before reapplying to the original. You'll have about 1.5 seconds of no speed modification, but you'll be affecting 2 targets instead. This ability can be used for escaping, catching up to people, trapping enemy champions, helping your tank initiate, increasing Hecarim's damage, getting back to lane faster, getting your allies somewhere faster, positioning yourself more quickly for an ultimate. As you can see, it's incredibly versatile because it has the ability to be cast on yourself, an ally, or an enemy. As effective as it is, it is best left until last to max because it can perma-slow with 3 ranks and is incredibly effective even with 1 rank. You'll want to have more bomb damage for laning and more CDR first. [title][img=skills/zilean/r.png] R: Chrono Shift[/title] [title]Explanation:[/title] This right here is pretty much THE reason for Zilean to be on a team. As mentioned above it is incredibly powerful in solo queue because you can give the difference maker on the team two lives and you can make the guy who just got focused down by 5 ultimates come back to life. The ap ratio on this is extremely high which is why I have recommended building Athene's before stacking up CDR support items like Locket and Shurelya's. Even 100 AP will lead to your target having 200 extra life. If you think about the typical AD carry who runs around with about 2k hp, that means your just healed him for an additional 10% of his life. Or if you happen to use it on a bruiser with lots of armor or mr, the mitigation will make that extra 200 health even more effective. If you build athene's you can easily have an ult that heals for 1300 health rather than 1100 health. You never know when that could be the difference. Consider that Janna's shield is only 240 health on it's own, so you can essentially give your carry the survivability that a Janna shield would give them just by having ~100 ap. I will have a section later just on ulting, so I will keep this portion of the guide brief.

[imgsmall=skills/zilean/r.png]>[imgsmall=skills/zilean/q.png]>[imgsmall=skills/zilean/w.png]>[imgsmall=skills/zilean/e.png] Skill order is a simple: R>Q>W>E This differs a bit from mid lane Zilean because only 1 rank in his ult is taken early due to the fact that all it does is scale up the HP. Support Zilean will lack the gold needed to get the necessary AP to make taking addtional ranks in R before E worth it. [imgsmall=skills/zilean/q.png] is maxed first because it is useful in lane and necessary for you to put out good damage in exchanges. The base damage scales very well and each rank in this skill essentially counts as leveling two damage spells when you combine it with W. This spell allows Zilean to zone and harass many lanes effectively. Learning when your Q is more fearsome at harassing than your lane opponents harassment is important. This makes or breaks match ups in lane. Zilean does very well against low damage supports like Soraka and Janna for this reason and does very bad against strong laners like Draven and Caitlyn. If you notice that the enemy has taken Janna or another support that does either low damage or has no real sustain, then Zilean can be an incredibly effective pick. [imgsmall=skills/zilean/w.png] is maxed second because the CDR is amazing. Your CD reduction skill gets a lower cooldown with each rank. This increases the damage you do, the number of ults you can do in a set amount of time, and the amount of targets you can slow and for how long. [imgsmall=skills/zilean/e.png] is an amazing skill, but maxed last because it does not increase the intensity of the slow, but only the duration. By maxing this skill anything but last you either give up much needed early damage or incredible utility of your W. I recommend 1 point at level 4 to give you some usefulness in assisting ganks and trapping heroes who are ripe to be killed in lane. [imgsmall=skills/zilean/r.png] is taken whenever possible as discussed above. Additional ranks only increase the amount of healing done by the spell when it revives, but since you won't have AP to take advantage of the insane ratio until late in the game, I recommend ranking it up to be more effective.

Start: [item=sight-ward4][item=faerie-charm][item=health-potion] This may be slightly outdated, but this is how I learned to support back in season 2 and I like having the faerie charm because it builds into chalice. 4 wards allows you to use them in the jungle at the start of the game or save them for laning in a prolonged situation so that you don't have to go back several times for wards early on. Fairly vulnerable to pink warding early on, so you can reconfigure the start so that you can buy a pink at the start if needed. This is just what I am comfortable with and have had practice with. Everyone has a different preference and style for early game. Lane Phase Core: [item=boots-of-speed][item=chalice-of-harmony][item=sightstone] You'll want these items ASAP. Zil needs some movespeed early on, so I like to have boots because it makes dodging skill shots and getting bombs on people easier. Chalice is a must for Zilean or you'll run out of mana stupidly fast if you're spamming rewind. I don't even bother with [imgsmall=items/philosophers-stone.png] on Zil because I feel like the mana regen from [imgsmall=items/chalice-of-harmony.png] is almost needed to be successful. Another reason you'll want this item is because it builds into [imgsmall=items/athenes-unholy-grail.png] which will provide you with much needed CDR. [imgsmall=items/sightstone.png] is a great buy on supports and is especially important to this build because you won't be getting a philo to provide you with ward money. [imgsmall=items/sightstone.png] also gives you some much needed health. Group Phase Core: [item=ionian-boots-of-lucidity] [item=athenes-unholy-grail] [item=ruby-sightstone] [imgsmall=items/ruby-sightstone.png] is the first upgrade I usually make. The difference between 2 wards and 3 wards is pretty big and it also beefs you up a little more so you don't die instantly if someone goes on you. If you have to ult yourself that's essentially a death or if, god forbid, you die before you can ult, that's essentially two deaths because you can't save anyone. CDR boots and Athene's give a total of 35% CDR. This is very noticeable because you will go from using your spells often to round the clock casting and having a 45 second ult cooldown. I would consider these items core on Zilean. I chose these items over traditional support items because I feel like they make him more useful to his team that stacking up auras. One criticism of this build is the lack of an early [imgsmall=items/runic-bulwark.png]. Right now I am of the impression that many junglers and even top laners are building bulwark as a core item. I'm also of the opinion that it is going to work better on a hero that is in the thick of things than a support that's staying in the back peeling for the carry. I do think that Zilean can build a bulwark, but it is more useful to get the CDR first because CDR is how Zilean scales into late game. Make sure to coordinate your item build with the jungle and/or top lane so that there is at least a bulwark built by someone because it is a ridiculously good item. Late game items: Situational Auras: [item=will-of-the-ancients] [item=zekes-herald] [item=runic-bulwark] I have discussed [imgsmall=items/runic-bulwark.png] above, if your team does not have one by the time you've build up your CDR, definitely get one. You might even bump this into the core phase if your team is being especially disagreeable and won't build it. If your team already has one, go ahead and get [imgsmall=items/locket-of-the-iron-solari.png] or [imgsmall=items/zekes-herald.png] (depending on your team comp: AD heavy teams (I.E. 2 ranged carries or an AD based champion in both top and mid) Zeke's is a good choice. Locket is another great choice if you're in a traditional set up. Both of these items will max out your cdr. [imgsmall=items/will-of-the-ancients.png] is a great item for double AP teams (which are slightly uncommon these days) and teams that benefit heavily from additional spell vamp. This also increases your AP, making your ult more effective. Other supporty items: [item=locket-of-the-iron-solari] [item=mikaels-crucible][item=shurelyas-reverie] [imgsmall=items/mikaels-crucible.png] is a viable choice now that it has been buffed if you're facing a team with a lot of CC. The cooldown is pretty long, but the item can be effective if used properly. [imgsmall=items/shurelyas-reverie.png] is a bit unnecessary, imo, but if your team absolutely needs to all be sped up at once for whatever reason, it can be a good buy. It also increases your CDR and survivability a bit. Damage and better ult healing if you can afford it: [item=rabadons-deathcap] [imgsmall=items/rabadons-deathcap.png] is a great item if you've got an exorbitant amount of gold, your team needs more damage, and you want fat heals on your ult. Huge luxury item here, but worth it if you can pull it off without sacrificing your utility to build it.

Make sure the lane you're in is warded first and foremost. My starting build gives you enough wards to last for a while or to assist warding up the jungle. Pink wards are effective and should be bought if you notice that your opponent is warding up heavily and you need a gank. If you do buy a pink ward, never place it unless it is to destroy another ward. Just placing a pink ward is very bad because your opponent will pink ward it and you lose 125 gold as opposed to either 75 gold or nothing if you have a sightstone. Size up your opponents in the champ select screen. Take note of strong laners like Caitlyn and Draven. They have the ability to crush you early on and outdamage your harassment effectively. Ideally, you won't pick Zilean against this kind of team comp, but it cannot always be avoided. Additionally, you may want Zilean if you have champions he works well with like Hecarim. Also take note of weak lanes in champ select. Passive farm lanes is where Zilean is going to excel because he is a mid-tier harasser, can make plays happen, and scales very well into late game with this build unlike the enemy supports probably will. Soraka, for example, loses a lot of effectiveness as the game goes on, but Zilean actually has a better late game than he does an early game. Get a feel for Zilean in lane mechanically as well, Zilean can perform well against aggressive lanes like a Blitzcrank lane if the enemy is poor mechanically in comparison to you. Zilean does not autolose many lanes just because certain heroes are there. Your opponent may be playing a strong hero, but if you outperform him mechanically early and have a better late game just by being Zilean, then you come out ahead. Pre-4 is the most vulnerable time for a Zilean lane. Make sure you've warded well and pay attention to where the enemy jungle is at. Without your E until level 4, you won't be able to get away from much without flashing unless you think ahead and pay attention to the game. This ability to get away from ganks at 4 is much easier, but you can still only affect 1 person with your E, so make sure you keep that in mind when playing aggressively. Post-6 makes ganks incredibly hard to succumb to if you play well. You can actually bait the enemy team into stupid dives and ganks with your ultimate. Many people underestimate how quickly Zilean can get his ult up because he isn't played much, let alone in a support role. I've been able to bait players into towerdiving me just because either myself or my lane partner had 100 health. If you have your ult and your E up, you can punish towerdivers incredibly hard. Once you have completed chalice, your mana costs become almost a non-factor unless you're going nuts and spamming really hard. Use your bombs whenever possible. Most supports don't build enough mana regen to keep up with what you're doing so you can outdamage their sustain by spamming. When double bombing in lane, you have 2 options: You can double bomb one hero for burst damage or you can bomb both heroes you're up against. The first is the situation most people are familiar with and makes the most sense because you'll generally want to focus down a hero in lane. The second option is also incredibly effective and I have found it to work against high sustain lanes. By placing a bomb, for instance, on both Janna and Draven, you force Janna into deciding who to shield. 99% of Janna players will pick shielding the Draven. This seems logical and maybe even bad for you because Janna does not deal damage. But if you manage to poke Janna down to a certain point because she has repeatedly picked shielding Draven over herself even though Draven likely has more sustain due to lifesteal, you can coordinate killing the Janna with your ADC. This leaves the Draven by his lonesome and allows you to bully him 2v1. This is also effective against Soraka and even more so because her heal has a long cooldown. My experiences against Sona tell me that it's better to focus one person down because she's able to heal her and her partner with 1 spell. Splitting the damage against her leads to her just healing it all up whereas focusing on bursting one target will force her into spamming herself out of mana trying to heal them up. Early game check list: - Ward your lane - Size up your opponents and figure out whether or not you can harass and trade with them effectively. If you're against a really strong lane that can punish you hard, the best you'll be able to do is punish bad positioning with bombs. - Be careful in lane pre-6 and especially pre-4 because this is when you're most vulnerable to ganks - Use E for a slow when using it offensively unless you cannot get in range of an opponent - Bomb on cooldown once you have your chalice unless being in bomb range means taking too much damage

Basically in mid game you will be continuing a lot of the behaviors from early game, but applying them to a larger area of the map. Keep dragon warded and use pinks whenever beneficial. Keep an eye on objectives. Learning when and where to ward is something that comes with practice and observation of fellow players and players of a higher skill level. It develops with game sense and is an important part of your role as a support. Refer to my ulting in teamfights section for more information on how your ult should be used once your team begins grouping. Make sure you apply your E on cooldown during fights because it is up often and is incredibly effective. It can help with initiating, escaping, and trapping. It's too good not to use. Find a good person to use it on and spam it. Bombing begins to fall off mid game without AP, so make sure that you're not wasting time bombing when you could be using other skills. Mid Game check list: - Make liberal use of your sightstone. Keep key areas of the jungle warded such as entrances, dragon, key buffs, etc. Make sure to use pink wards on major objectives and to counter enemy vision in key areas. - Make sure you're spamming rewind when your ult is down. - Identify the key players on your team and focus on ulting them. In solo queue this may or may not be the AD carry. Generally, the AD is a good ult target if they are getting focused down, but sometimes there are more effective heroes on your team in this part of the game. This is especially true if you had a bad lane match up bottom lane and your carry didn't farm well. - Speed up your initiators to help them get in the action. - Slow aggressors of your carries. - Bomb when you can, but do not focus on bombing because your Q begins to become lackluster mid game unless you have a decent amount of AP. If you could be casting E or your ult instead, you should not be bombing. Bomb when E is on CD and no one needs your ult.

The most important stat for you by late game is your CDR stat. By this point you should have been able to save up the gold for your core team fighting items. Whenever your ult is down spam your W. Use your speed buff liberally to help you and your team move around the map. Often the more mobile team has the advantage because they can make quick plays and react more efficiently to certain events in the game such as Baron attempts or catching people out of position. Continue to ward up the map and give your team vision. Also make sure you're ulting your most effective allies. Refer to my ulting section for more details. By this point in the game, bombs are barely effective at dealing damage to targets. They should be used, but make sure that your other skills are being prioritized. Stick to the back as well. Even underfarmed enemies can deal enough damage to kill you late game unless you have gotten fairly tanky You'll want to make sure that you are alive to ult someone, use your E, and provide any auras you have built to your team. Focus on using your E and ult to peel for your carry. Late game check list: - Make sure you have at least 35% cdr, if not max, by this point. Support Zilean scales into late game with CDR much harder than other supports due to his W. - You'll probably want to focus on your AD as your main ult target now unless the enemy team is unable to focus them or chooses not to. If you have another difference maker on your team that needs your ult and you don't foresee the AD needing it, go ahead and ult them. Just make sure your AD is adequately protected by your hastes and slows. - Make sure you have cleared key locations of enemy wards, especially around baron. - Ward up the jungle and enemy territory whenever convenient without endangering yourself or your team - Stick to the back. If you get stunned, silenced, or blown up instantly, you won't be able to help your teammates. Bombing is usually limited to just throwing one on someone trying to go after your carries after you've slowed them down.

There are some general rules for team fights. First of all, stick to the back. Being up front is asking to be bursted down. Enemy teams will kill you if you're out of position because they know that if you die, you won't be able to revive someone important. You're also not as slippery under CC as someone like Janna who can just ult the enemy team away or pop them up. Second, make sure you're using your bombs, but not over other skills that are more effective. Your E and your ult are both better team fighting spells. Third, use your E to slow enemy aggressors and to speed up allied aggressors. Prioritize slowing enemies because it is often more effective. Your E is mostly used to chase when used as a haste. Speeding up escaping allies works as well when multiple enemies are targeting them. You will get a better feel for when to use your E as a slow and when to use it as a haste with experience. There is some gray area where using it both ways is equally effective. Finally, make sure someone gets your ult in a team fight. This is your main job. Refer to the section below for more information.

Step 1: Picking a difference maker: In solo queue there will often be a difference maker in the game. This might be your AD carry, but often times at least one lane or the jungler will be stronger than the rest of your team. They might not be fed, but this person is probably your best chance of winning the game. This may be due to the hero they're playing, their skill, or just the sheer amount of gold they've acquired. Any aspiring Zilean player should become adept at identifying these players. This person should be the main target of your ultimate in team fights because they will make the most impact on the game with your ultimate. For example, you have an Irelia that played top lane and dominated early game. You AD did average farming and had 1 kill. Irelia is 4/0 with 200 CS at 25 minutes and can decimate the enemy team's back line while taking minimal damage. If Irelia is focused in the fight, she is likely a better target for your ult than your AD who is playing just average. Additionally, Irelia is a fairly tanky champion, who will make the 1000 health from your ult go way further than your Caitlyn who built no survivability. Step 2: Figuring out when to ult other people: Your difference maker may not always need your ult, but some other hero might need it. Using the fed Irelia example, the enemy team may have decided that she is far too tanky to focus and cc'ing her is useless due to her passive. Instead of focusing the Irelia who is blowing up their carries, they decide to gimp your team's damage by going for your back line. Since Irelia is having a field day with them, your job is basically to make sure that they don't get anything out of the exchange that leads to Irelia being less effective (I.E. multiple kills against her teammates). This example happens in most solo queue games. The enemy team will decide that some squishy hero is a problem and try to dive on them despite the fact that any of your team's bruisers can easily run through their squishies just as fast, if not faster. In this case, you ult whoever ends up getting focused if you think it will win you the team fight. This is often a split second decision. One thing that can annoy the living hell out of the enemy team and make your team love you is when you essentially negate the burst, cc, and ultimates of the enemy team by ulting the person they focused down while someone on your team is destroying them in the meantime. Additionally, pay attention to who has exhausted their abilities. If two heroes need saving and one of them is a Kennen who hasn't used his ultimate yet, you save the Kennen over the jungler who iniated the fight with their ultimate and burned their flash. Ensuring that your team gets their full damage in each fight can also be an effective strategy for using your ultimate. Again, this kind of split second decision making comes with experience and game knowledge. Being able to adjust your play based on the situation is key to playing any hero and is part of the reason that Zilean has a high skill cap despite using nothing but targeted spells. Step 3: Ult timing Zilean's ultimate was once used as a way to help someone initiate because it had a very long duration. You could place it on someone to deter attacks and give them two lives if they were focused down as they initiated. Zilean's ult was nerfed to last only a few seconds and it lost that amount of utility. Basically, you want to time the ult for split second saves now. Immediately place your ultimate on a target if they are being heavily focused by burst abilities. If they are the target of slower or more constant damage, place it on them when they reach about 20% health or the next ability used on them will kill them. One major counter to Zilean's ult is if it is used too early, the enemy team will peck the target down to about 100 health and then kill them when the ult expires a few seconds later. This could also just simply force the person to leave the fight where they would have been able to fight if they were revived instead. Ult timing is the key to effective Zilean play, especially late game. Planning to do split second saves also gives you more time to decide who to ult. If you ult someone before they are in trouble, you cannot adjust who gets revived. Save it for when it's needed and don't use it sooner. Flash for ults if you have to. Using it effectively is that important.

Although Zilean has an extremely low pick rate, he can be a good niche pick for support with certain team comps. He is built slightly unconventionally in comparison to other supports because you build more offensively than other supports who stack auras, but I have found that this is the most effective way to play him, even in a support role. I don't claim that this guide is a definitive support Zilean guide as I am still learning myself, but I do hope that this guide raises awareness of Zilean in the support role. I will attempt to expand this guide to include lane match-ups as I gain more experience playing against certain heroes and lane comps. Please leave any comments or suggestions below. I am very open to feedback on this guide. :)

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