Zilean Build Guide


Uploader Originz
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 heavily underrated in Europe, whilst the North American players consider him to be strong. The top Zilean players are from NA, such as unR Pobelter and Reginald, however in EU there are no top competitive Zilean players. This is a guide to help people understand Zilean. Zilean, although labelled as a support by Riot, is most effective as an AP carry. In the current metagame set by Europeans the support will lane with the AD carry at bot lane. However, if you try Zilean in these sort of lanes, you will be heavily outclassed by other support-AD carry combos because Zilean does not have any sustain nor hard cc. Now he is used in mid lane as an AP carry. He is most effective in teams with bruisers where your [imgsmall=skills/zilean/r.png] can cause far more problems. A bruiser, such as Jax, with the ability to revive will cause havoc among the enemy team. Also, the [imgsmall=skills/zilean/e.png] is more beneficial to bruisers due to their short range. He has incredible harass with [imgsmall=skills/zilean/q.png] and is an aggressive laner. He is very strong in the early game, and he weakens in the late game. However, his [imgsmall=skills/zilean/q.png] damage along with his revival ultimate are powerful skills early game.

The runes are also common for AP carries. The Magic Penetration marks are the best marks available for AP carries and should always be used. I run mana regen / level seals because of the fact my item build rushes an early [imgsmall=items/rabadons-deathcap.png] rather than going the [imgsmall=items/rod-of-ages.png] route. This means that I am fairly low on mana however the [imgsmall=items/dorans-ring.png] stacking and these seals help this problem. I prefer / level because the point where / level gives more benefit over flat mana regen is level 5, a rather low level so I prefer / level. AP / level glyphs are used as they quickly overtake flat AP glyphs, at level 6. Although flat AP would help dominate earlygame, you will be doing most of the harassment after gaining level 3 [imgsmall=skills/zilean/q.png].

[title][img=skills/zilean/p.png] Passive: Heightened Learning[/title] [number]Increases experience gain of all allied champions by 8%.[/number] [title]Explanation:[/title] A little bonus to your entire team. The difference does eventually become noticeable in teamfights where your team will have slightly higher levels. With this, you should be able to level faster than your opponent so make use that to your advantage. [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 (+90% of ability power) magic damage to all surrounding enemies. Cooldown 10 seconds Cost 70 / 85 / 100 / 115 / 130 mana Range 700 [/number] [title]Explanation:[/title] This is Zilean's damaging skill, thus should be maxed first as we are going down an AP carry route. It does great damage at the start of the game and is a great harassment skill. The range on it is also huge and you can easily just [imgsmall=skills/zilean/e.png] yourself and throw a [imgsmall=skills/zilean/q.png] on the enemy. It also has a high AP ratio and so the damage does remain into late game. However, this is Zilean's only damaging spell, so he falls off lategame as you cannot match the damage output of other AP carries who will have more damaging spells than Zilean's. You want to harass as much as possible with this in lane, and during midgame you want to try poke with this, but try not to get too agressive and don't get caught. [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 / 6seconds Cost 50mana Range 600[/number] [title]Explanation:[/title] This spell is maxed out second. It keeps up your damage output throughout midgame. Don't spam this spell too much early, so you will run out of mana during the laning phase. You should only use this skill in the laning phase if you can definitely land your second [imgsmall=skills/zilean/q.png]. Later in the game, try to spam this as much as possible to refresh the cooldown on [imgsmall=skills/zilean/r.png]. [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 20seconds Cost 100mana Range 700[/number] [title]Explanation:[/title] This skill should be maxed out last. Early game, the short duration allows you to run up to the enemy and harass them with bombs. Again I feel that this skill synergizes with bruisers more as they are melee attackers and this spell gives them an easier time approaching the enemy. For example, if you have a Singed on your team, you should [imgsmall=skills/zilean/e.png] them for an easy fling. [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 (+200% of ability power) of their health. Cooldown 180 / 160 / 140 seconds Cost 200 mana Range 900 [/number] [title]Explanation:[/title] Finally, here comes the Ultimate. You should put a point into this whenever possible. This is a great ability during early-mid game. Try to use this ability on the ally that is first to die, with the exception of supports. Don't hold this skill for a carry if they are dying last, because after you lose your tank, and your ranged carry dies, the ranged carry will be revived but will just melt straight after due to lack of protection that the tank provides. Do not use this skill too early in a fight, as the duration is quite low and the enemy team can easily avoid the champion set to revive. In early game you can bait kills with this, but keep in mind the high mana cost.

My play style generally revolves around being very aggressive early game, because Zilean's damage falls off lategame and I plan to maximize his early game strength. I usually start off with a [imgsmall=items/dorans-ring.png]. This gives you enough mana regen to harass effectively. Also, the extra health that the [imgsmall=items/dorans-ring.png] provides can give a psychological advantage over the enemy as they will see you with more health. Other starts can include [imgsmall=items/sapphire-crystal.png] and [imgsmall=items/boots-of-speed.png]. However, [imgsmall=items/sapphire-crystal.png] is a very defensive build and if you do run that, you should rush the [imgsmall=items/rod-of-ages.png] first, but I feel [imgsmall=items/rod-of-ages.png] is very counter-intuitive to Zilean as it gains power over time which does not follow Zilean's early game strength. If you leave it as a [imgsmall=items/catalyst-the-protector.png], you again lose out on early AP that [imgsmall=items/dorans-ring.png] stacking would give. [imgsmall=items/boots-of-speed.png] on the other hand, I do not feel as useful as your [imgsmall=skills/zilean/e.png] can provide movement speed if you need it and [imgsmall=items/boots-of-speed.png] makes Zilean very squishy. Overall, I feel [imgsmall=items/dorans-ring.png] is the best start for Zilean, but feel free to experiment. On my first base I usually buy [imgsmall=items/dorans-ring.png] and [imgsmall=items/boots-of-speed.png]. This gives you more AP and more HP, and the boots are to keep up with your enemy as they will have most likely also have invested in boots. However, if you and your opponent have entered a farm fest or you get fed, get a [imgsmall=items/needlessly-large-rod.png] and [imgsmall=items/boots-of-speed.png]. On your first base, boots are imperative. Your first buy should be [imgsmall=items/boots-of-speed.png] + [imgsmall=items/dorans-ring.png]/[imgsmall=items/blasting-wand.png](I prefer 2 [imgsmall=items/dorans-ring.png] over [imgsmall=items/blasting-wand.png])/[imgsmall=items/needlessly-large-rod.png]. After this, your goals should be [imgsmall=items/sorcerers-shoes.png] and [imgsmall=items/rabadons-deathcap.png]. The early [imgsmall=items/rabadons-deathcap.png] gives a large boost to your damage and after you get this you should be aggressive as this is a large jump in power for you. For example, those who rushed [imgsmall=items/rod-of-ages.png] would most likely have about 150-200 AP then. However, with the early [imgsmall=items/rabadons-deathcap.png] you will have about 200-250 AP. After this, the other AP item you should get is [imgsmall=items/void-staff.png]. There aren't many good AP items for Zilean. I explained earlier why [imgsmall=items/rod-of-ages.png] is not very good on Zilean and the later you get it the worse it will be. [imgsmall=items/archangels-staff.png] requires you to get it early to stack the mana and Zilean does not need a massive mana pool. [imgsmall=items/abyssal-scepter.png] can be okay if you need the magic resist and the enemy team does not get any magic resist. [imgsmall=items/deathfire-grasp.png] is okay, but I would prefer [imgsmall=items/morellos-evil-tome.png] due to the higher cooldown reduction. However, a problem with these items is that they do not benefit as much lategame - [imgsmall=items/morellos-evil-tome.png] is a cheap item and could be better replaced with something else. [imgsmall=items/will-of-the-ancients.png] should not be really used as Zilean does not benefit much from the spell vamp. However if there are two AP carries, then feel free to buy it as it will benefit both of you. In the lategame, defenses are essential to every champion. In my opinion the best defensive items for Zilean are [imgsmall=items/zhonyas-hourglass.png] and [imgsmall=items/banshees-veil.png]. [imgsmall=items/zhonyas-hourglass.png] gives extra AP, which can be helpful as a lot of AP items are not as useful. The active can be used to shift focus off you if the enemy team decides to focus you to force your ultimate. I usually go [imgsmall=items/banshees-veil.png] first however as it is essential in blocking those teamfight changing CC's. It also helps provide a bigger mana pool which is a nice bonus. If you need more magic resist, you can buy an [imgsmall=items/abyssal-scepter.png] as it gives AP and magic resist. If you need more armor, go with [imgsmall=items/frozen-heart.png] instead. It again gives a larger mana pool along with cooldown reduction which is useful, but keep in mind it's price. If the enemy team is heavily reliant on CC, you can also buy a [imgsmall=items/quicksilver-sash.png].

Zilean has a very strong early game. For the first few levels however, you want to sit back. You have to practice the auto attack animation for last hitting as despite Zilean's large range it does take long for the projectile to travel and do damage. Keep in mind that you can harass with the auto attack due to its range. After level 3, you should be able to trade hits if needed to. However, don't do double bombs yet as it costs a lot of mana and the damage isn't that high yet - single bombs will suffice. At level 5 with level 3 [imgsmall=skills/zilean/q.png], you do a truckload of damage. You should start to do heavy harassment at this stage to prepare for level 6. Use double bombs if you can, but don't waste mana on [imgsmall=skills/zilean/w.png] if you cannot land the second bomb. When you get your ultimate, you basically have a safety in the revive. You should also abuse your range on [imgsmall=skills/zilean/q.png] - it is higher than other caster's spells. The spells which are close to the range of [imgsmall=skills/zilean/q.png] are skillshots, which you if you are harassing with your [imgsmall=skills/zilean/e.png] should be easy to dodge.

Generally you want to start pushing your lane and try to destroy the enemy tower. You can easily push minion waves with your [imgsmall=skills/zilean/q.png]. Although be wary of ganks from the enemy jungle. I recommend you buy a [imgsmall=items/sight-ward.png] each time you go base, and ward one side of your river. You are also a major strength now in teamfights - and you have a lot of power in controlling dragon because of [imgsmall=skills/zilean/r.png] which provides an extra life for an ally, basically giving an extra man in the mid game where numbers have a big impact. You can also have a large impact when it comes to ganking with [imgsmall=skills/zilean/e.png] to start and then double bombs, which do good damage. In this part of the game you should try to be as aggressive as possible as this is the peak of your strength. You want blue buff here as well to help spam your [imgsmall=skills/zilean/q.png]. However, in the case that your lane did not go so well, I recommend you just farm. You can try push the tower if you feel it will give you the advantage as it makes the opponent lose minions to their tower. If this is the case though, I recommend you try to push and gank other lanes as your base damage on [imgsmall=skills/zilean/q.png] is really high and can benefit other lanes.

Now you have reached the late game, your power generally starts to fall. However, people may still underestimate your damage. Remember your [imgsmall=skills/zilean/q.png] deals AoE damage, meaning if the squishies are grouped up together your damage output will be higher than expected, but mainly here you will be used for your utility through [imgsmall=skills/zilean/e.png], when needed, and [imgsmall=skills/zilean/r.png]. Your positioning is very important to team fights and you shouldn't be focusing on trying to nuke the enemy carries anymore, but rather support your team and lay the odd [imgsmall=skills/zilean/q.png] and slowing down the enemy team.

I LOVE PLAYING ZILEAN! The best feeling is when you know they are low health with a bomb above their head. This is the first guide that I wrote to try raise awareness of the power of AP carry Zilean. I hope people will stop thinking he is a support champ as he cannot babysit well as he lacks hard CC or sustain. He is much better in the AP carry role in my opinion. Thank you for reading and leave comments.

Comments coming soon!
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