Zilean Build Guide
Zilean: Know The Way of The Cult of Carpal Tunnelwritten by FriedPsitalon
Table of Contents
|The Non-Issue of Zilean's Summoner Spells||3|
|Masteries + Runes||4|
|Headhunter Zilean vs. Team Support Zilean||6|
|Build Experimentation and General Guidelines||7|
|Gameplay Section 1: Zilean During the Laning Phase (Pre-6)||8|
|Gameplay Section 2: The Midgame (pre Archangel's Staff) - Zilean in Small Ganks and Roaming Groups||9|
|Gameplay Section 3: The Late Game, Teamfights, and Life After the Archangel||10|
|Knowing the Antithesis of the Chronokeeper: Champions to Avoid Whenever Possible||11|
I don't claim by any means to be the greatest Zilean that ever played the game, but I've definitely noticed that he can be played much better than he is, on average. The point of this guide, then, is to show you the extreme flexibility inherent in the character, and offer up some possibilities for your own play. This guide will offer two main modes for playing Zilean, but what's important about him is less the build, and more the play - and that's what we'll focus on. This is not a short guide, but the further you get, the more advanced and fine-tuned the excellence of Chronokeeper play will be. Take the time to know Time, and Time will be with you when time is running out. (Maybe that was a little too dramatic. Read the whole thing anyhow, chump.)
Heightened Learning Zilean's passive by itself is not a huge advantage. What it is, however, is assurance that between equal forces, your side will get that critical level first. Your Ashe will get the arrow before the enemy Ashe, all things being equal. Your Malphite and Annie will get Unstoppable Force and Tibbers before the opposition, all things being equal. There is where the power of this passive comes into play - the sudden, shocking gank of the opposing lanes if your teammates are prepared to make it happen. You'll hear this a lot in this guide: Zilean doesn't win fights, he makes it possible for your teammates to do so. Time Bomb Zilean's only damage skill, but potent enough to make up for it. With decent skill scaling and a great AP ratio - how many other champions have a primary damage AOE ratio of .9? - this is one of the most underrated weapons in the game. What's important to know, though, is that it does a single point of damage each second while the bomb is ticking before detonation... which draws tower and minion fire. Careful! We'll spend a lot more time on the best use of Time Bomb later in the article. Rewind You will wear your W key out playing Zilean. Ten seconds off all other cooldowns - always enough to open another Time Bomb, and with a little cooldown, enough to always open Time Warp. It also chops time off your ult's cooldown, as well. Time Warp One of the hundred reasons Zilean is Mr.Versatile. Speed yourself up to run away! Speed a teammate who's going to initiate as they get into position. Speed your assassin as they chase a wounded enemy. Slow a charging enemy for the team to attack. Slow a fleeing enemy! Speed a teammate running for their life. Lategame, you should be almost constantly using this ability on yourself. Combined with Rewind, you can literally have this running permanently. Chrono Shift The signature Zilean move. If a teammate "dies" they drop down, wait two seconds, and get back up - and have more health depending on how much AP you have in the wallet.
The Non-Issue of Zilean's Summoner Spells
The best Summoner spells for Zilean require one to carefully consider what Zilean is good for. I primarily run: Clarity and Flash. Here's why I don't run any of the others:
Exhaust- You can already do this. If your enemy is charging you, speed yourself up and leave, or do the same for the endangered teammate. If the enemy is fleeing you, your slow is more effective than Exhaust. You're not worried about them doing damage anyhow. If you need to kite someone, Time Warp is still more effective.
Ghost- Again, yours is faster, and you can perma-run it quite easily. There's just no need for this outside of the first ten minutes of the game, where Flash is more sufficient anyhow. Zilean should never be in the thick of the fighting - always the fringes - so avoiding object collisions shouldn't be an issue. So much for Ghost's fringe bennie.
Heal- Technically, your ult does this, but does it with style. If you need to use Heal on yourself, something very strange is occurring: Zilean survives by evasion, not tanking, and any steady damage source will kill you, and any burst source has either already killed you, or can't.
Revive- Again, your ult does this, but with a lot more style. It also has a much faster cooldown,to boot, and keeps the dying person in the fight, instead of respawning at the fountain.
Smite - Zilean does not jungle. Ever. Smack yourself if you considered it. Now do it again. You deserved the second one, too.
Teleport - if I were taking mid solo (which is not the best use of Z, but not horrid) I might consider this. The rest of the time, rely on map awareness, notice where situations are going to be evolving shortly, and utilize Time Warp to get yourself there. This probably is the closest thing to a third option for Zilean, though.
Cleanse - Not enough situations in which you'll need this. Not a horrible choice, but between Time Warp and Chrono Shift, it's tough to think of other situations where you need to clear yourself that can't be resolved by speeding yourself up (or back up) and "dying" for a moment to come back to life. (The best and most humorous counter to an Ignite ever, by the way.)
[spell=Fortify] - Nothing wrong with the spell, used properly, but not Zilean's forte, because the spell really only shines at Improved, and he'll never have that.
Ignite - Zilean isn't a headhunter, and this is a headhunter's spell. Besides, you already have something ominous to hang over the enemy's head and kill them long after you've left sight, right? ;)
[spell=Rally] - Err..no. For lots of reasons.
Clairvoyance - Like Teleport, not an inherently bad choice, but just not as useful as Clarity and Flash. Perhaps if your lanemate had Improved Clarity, you could grab this, but it might be better for them to grab the Clairvoyance and let you have control over the Clarity.
But then why Clarity and Flash?
Flash - even without projectile popping - gives Zilean the important edge he needs: space. Once you get out ahead of the enemy far enough not to be caught by a stun or a slow, you're home free. No one in the game can maintain the kind of runspeed you can forever; Yi may outrace you temporarily, but he can't keep the pace forever.
Clarity - two reasons for this. I'll be first to admit that Zilean is not the laning support powerhouse that is Taric or Janna or Sona. Clarity gives him a little more assistance to his laning buddy. It also allows you to be much more aggressive with your early bomb placement, and potentially get a kill or a force-off in the early game. Otherwise, Zilean has to be very careful about mana drain before he gets his first critical item.
Masteries + Runes
There's pretty much one correct answer to the mastery question: 9/0/21, aiming for Cooldown first and foremost. Magic penetration should be your last point in offensive, and you definitely want to pick up improved Flash. Whether you want improved Clarity depends on your lanemate. I'd suggest maxing mana regen and movement speed, but many of the other choices are up to you. Some Zileans like a larger mana pool to go with their Archangel Staff; I find the difference too minute to matter.
As far as your Marks go:
Greater Mark of Insight is pretty much the only way to go. Magic penetration to make the bombs sting.
For Seals, you could go:
Greater Seal of Clarity - this obviously maximizes your ability to spamcast, something Zilean can and SHOULD do. Under no circumstances should you take the yellow flat mana regen seals.
Greater Seal of Focus - this, combined with your blue CDR glyphs, your masteries and your one CDR item you'll buy will put you at just barely over 40% CDR, which is a happy thing. On the other hand, nine of these seals really only adds 2.61% CDR, and you may not want that last nudge of CDR quite so much.
...And there are those who pick up Greater Seal of Defense, Greater Seal of Resilience, or even Greater Seal of Fortitude to help them survive the ticklish early stages of Zilean's game. Personally, I suggest one of the first two choices. If you find yourself getting repeatedly pasted during the laning phase, you might be doing it wrong, but if you want to keep at it, those are options.
Glyphs definitely have only one answer:
Greater Glyph of Focus - this is the only way to go. While Sona may be Queen of the Faceroll, Zilean is King Pecker. Keyboard pecking, you pervert. You'll be smacking W so often it'll amaze you, and since it's the only spell you have that you actually need to wait out the Cooldown on, you need to get it as low as possible.
Quintessences could go one of three ways:
Greater Quintessence of Swiftness is one very valid option. Zilean is a very mobility-based character who should never be holding still. These combine well with your Time Warp to keep you alive.
Greater Quintessence of Fortitude is the traditional answer. If your Zilean is getting beaned a lot, again, you can check this route out. The question, though, is how on Earth, after reading this guide, are you getting beaned a lot as Zilean? It's an option, though, because Zilean is admittedly squishy.
Greater Quintessence of Wisdom is another possibility. You're already getting accelerated experience with Zilean. Magnify that further and your offensive capability in the early and midgame actually becomes dangerously potent as you stretch out a level advantage with force-offs and kills.
Note that Quintessence CDRs are probably not worth it; there are too many unique bonuses available in Quintessences that we can't utilize elsewhere.
No great magic here. Order of priority:
R - Chrono Shift whenever it's available
Q - One damage source means we always upgrade it
W - The ability to Rewind your cooldowns is paramount
E - While still a great spell, the difference between 2.5 and 5 seconds isn't that big a deal when you can just Rewind and Recast the spell again as needed.
Worth noting that you should probably take one rank of E at level 5, rather than forsake it altogether until later in the game. The ability to accelerate yourself away from an awkward situation is important. People have a funny habit of wanting to use their newfound ultimate skills when they get them at level six...it's so much less embarrassing all around if you're just not there when Tibbers lands.
Headhunter Zilean vs. Team Support Zilean
There are two ways that you can reasonably build Zilean; what I refer to as "Headhunter" Zilean - more appropo for solo queues or teams that are not tremendously reliable - and Support Zilean, the one who emphasizes propping up teams and keeping everyone running (in some cases literally.)
Regardless of which route you go, the first steps are the same:
[item=Meki Pendant].. because mana regen is key to Zilean, built into Tear of the Goddess to start your "mana bank" running. After that, which type of boots you go for is entirely up to you, but get the Tear first. It's critical to get that thing storing up mana for you as early as possible.
Why Not The Rod of Ages- I get asked this a lot. The reasons are simple:
1) The Rod of Ages begins maturing once purchased. Archangels begins maturing as soon as you buy the Tear of the Goddess.
2) The HP from the Rod of Ages will very rarely save you. Zilean is a mobility hero, not a survivability one. If you get caught, that extra health won't save you in the game's ultra-stun-rich environment. If you don't get caught, you'll be glad you had the mana and mana regen to spare.
3) NO MANA REGENERATION. On other heroes, this might not be a big deal, but on Zilean, who, if properly played, is burning mana at a jaw-dropping rate, having your primary item not giving you mana regen is an unforgivable sin.
No CDR and no mana regen? Those are the only two survivability tools Zilean needs. RoA is for traditional casters - for Zilean, it ain't.
Now let's return to the two builds and see where they differentiate themselves.
This is a more traditional, aggressive Zilean build. You've got some armor there with your 37% cooldown. Archangels is an absolute no-brainer on Zilean, giving you huge mana regen, mana expansion, and AP. This item alone can fuel your constant spamcasting, and everything after that is just adding to the pain. If you have the money (Zilean often gets ridiculous amounts of cash in long games as a result of his creep-decimating bomb doubletaps) the next item is a Void Staff, but in most games you don't see that kind of cash.
The more team-friendly Zilean, on the other hand, looks like this:
Team Support Zilean
The Archangels is, once again, the key to the whole thing and should come as early as possible, building the Tear first. Here, we actually DO see some HP-additives for survivability, but that's not why the items are present; they're nifty side benefits. The key here is what I referred to above - Zilean doesn't win fights. He makes very sure his teammates do. With the above items you've still got most of your cooldown (32%, you've lost 5) and some of your damage. In exchange, though, you're picking up the ability to greatly accelerate your team once every minute (Shurelya's) and the ability to slow the opposing team (Rylai's.) When the chase scene starts, this can be huge: put a bomb on your fastest character, punch Shurelya's and then Time Warp the bombed character, and suddenly they're carrying a 15% AOE slow to the enemy on a timer, while your own team is rapidly closing the gap as well.
No one will be getting away today.
If you manage to pick up more gold then 9k as a Team Support Zilean, you can go any way you like - pick up some more damage with Zhonya or Void, or continue enhancing the team's strengths, perhaps with something like an Aegis or a Frozen Heart. Remember: Team Support Zilean isn't looking to do the most damage - he's looking to make sure his team wins. Do what's best with that goal in mind. While Zilean's AOE damage is a great softener in teamfights, you won't be picking up a Pentakill with it. If you can buy something which ensures someone else on the team DOES pick up the Penta, that's the better buy.
Build Experimentation and General Guidelines
There are a dozen different ways to build Zilean, according to your tastes, all of them quite sound. In terms of your priorities, though, here's a general guideline:
Top priority: Always CDR. The theoretical maximum is a Rewind that cools so quickly you can lob your ult every 26 seconds. That's also a lot of bomb and accelerant opportunities. Never miss a chance for CDR.
Second priority: Mana regen. You are, after all, burning mana at a fantastic rate with that cooldown.
Third priority: AP. Damage is never a bad thing, and more AP also equals a better ult - but CDR is more important, because you can get a lot more worth from your cash with more bombs and more ults.
Fourth priority: Maximum mana. Although Zilean's steady "Time Warp/Rewind" mana drain is more or less constant, you do need to have a large enough mana pool to ensure your "panic time" mana drain doesn't burn out your reserves.
Fifth priority: Survivability. Zilean, as I've said before, is a mobility hero. Although there's nothing WRONG with Armor, Magic Resistance, and HP, it's a rare day when Zilean packs enough tank that durability, and not zoomability, get him out of trouble.
Gameplay Section 1: Zilean During the Laning Phase (Pre-6)
The early phases of the game are where Zilean can be the most dangerous, but also is the most vulnerable. Until you grab your first rank in Time Warp, you just kind of float along with a mediocre movement speed and no way to control attackers. At the same time, though, you can't just grab Time Warp right away - this is one of your best chances to do damage. There are three ways to handle the laning phase, depending on what both you and your lanemate (if any) possess and are facing.
Technique 1: "Gifts from The Heavens"
This is the most appropriate technique for a lane where you're facing two foes who don't have a particularly ugly ranged threat, and don't have a healing/absorption ability. Once the two creep waves meet, step into the middle of your creep wave, and put a bomb on the weaker player on the enemy side. There's two reasons that I was specific about where to bomb from: first, your sphere of influence as you move in (especially after the first bomb goes off) will tend to push the opposing champion back. Once the bomb lands on their head, smart opponents will get clear of their creeps and their fellow champion... and that can, on occasion, even result in missed experience. If you're working with a competent lanemate, you can even turn that into a full-fledged chance to force the enemy off the experience altogether by now pushing past both creep waves. If they're dumb and don't get clear, bonus - you hurt the enemy creep wave, maybe both champions, and are doing "mad deeps." The second reason for positioning yourself in the creep waves is collision factor: all those little guys makes it a bit harder for someone to reach you for some payback.
It's important, if possible to stick to bombing the same enemy. Your damage in the early game is actually quite alarming to opponents, and you can often achieve a push-off, or better yet, a gank. If someone's starting to get low, do a little single-bomb harassment, rather than doubletap. That way, they won't be as likely to realize the full damage potential until it's too late.
Technique 2: "Mr.Postman"
Also known as the "Pizza Delivery" method, this is a more appropriate technique for 2v1 lanes, or situations where you and your partner are being sorely pressed, nearly to the point of missing the experience altogether, and gold is a serious concern. Here, you take advantage of a nifty fact about Zilean: if his bombs kill a creep, it doesn't matter how far away he is: he still gets experience and gold. If you're being zoned off the experience, wait for the next creep wave that's coming along, and just as it leaves the far edge of the area you can safely work in, put a bomb on the lead two creeps in the wave. This will have two interesting effects:
- It will almost certainly result in you killing and last-hitting the first three minions of the enemy wave, as well as possibly cleaning up any remaining creeps from the last wave.
- It may cause the enemy champions to scatter and move back, or isolate themselves from each other (one retreats, one doesn't, for example) which may allow you to suddenly hammer the more vulnerable one.
The "Postman" technique is excellent for 2v1 lanes as well. While Zilean does reasonably well at last hitting with his bombs even under towers, a smart enemy will start trying to mess with the creep waves to push Zilean off. A few bombs carried in by your minions often ruins that strategy or at least disrupts their ability to keep it going for long.
Technique 3: "I Come Bearing Gifts!"
One of the challenges of laning with a Zilean is that he does tend to be rather good at overpushing and clearing out entire creep waves with little effort. This becomes twice as bad if you're laning with a tank. Ever see Amumu try to last hit with Zilean around? Not pretty. There is a solution to this, however, with all kinds of interesting side effects. Tanks, even in the early game, tend to be a bit sturdier than most. Instead of bombing an enemy creep or a friendly one, bomb your lanemate. Mr.Mummy (or the like) then rushes towards the enemy champions, arms wide. If he reaches them, that's suddenly a big chunk of damage they get to take, and the tank can then administer his own punishment. (It's rare that both enemy champions will actually square up, take the damage, and attack the tank right away.) Many times, this will also result in the decimation of the back wave of enemy creeps, which the tank can then turn around and clean up for nice, easy last-hitting, while you doubletap the front wave. Gold for everyone!
If possible, you'll want to wait until a bit later in the creep wave cycle (when most of the minions are a bit beat up) before doing this, though, to avoid massive overpushing - always a problem with Zilean in the lane.
Gameplay Section 2: The Midgame (pre Archangel's Staff) - Zilean in Small Ganks and Roaming Groups
Once you have your ult, all kinds of interesting possibilities emerge.
Important Note: In order to self-cast, hold down the ALT key while pressing one of the buttons. This can be absolutely vital to getting an ult or a Time Warp on yourself in a hurry.
Suicidal Tower Diving!: Enemy champion under the tower at low life, but you or your teammate can't reliably finish them off and escape? Slap an ult on yourself or that teammate, and off you go. As long as you can kill them before the tower kills you, it doesn't matter if the tower knocks you out. Zilean's ult will give you enough life to get back out from under the tower and back to safer places. Take care not to be greedy, though - if you can't finish the champion before the tower knocks you down and the ult fires, get out of trouble when you get up! No one looks dumber than the guy who "dies" twice under the tower.
Tasty Chronokeeper Bait!: People just can't resist a champion at three or less bars of health - even if it's a chronokeeper. You'd be amazed at how often people will run you down when you're sitting right by a bush at three bars of health....with your ult ready to go... and two teammates sitting in the bush. By the time you "die" and the ult finishes cycling, you'll get back up and they'll be dead! This is one of the more satisfying tricks to play, and quite frustrating to opponents.
Warwick! Sic' em!: Many times the difference between getting a gank or not during the midgame is a matter of seconds. Be ready to Time Warp your stun/slow/grab character as you emerge from brush. Even if the "stopper" isn't your damage dealer, stopping them long enough for your damage to arrive is all that matters. After all, you're Zilean - if your "stopper" is about to die, you can fix that, too!
Gameplay Section 3: The Late Game, Teamfights, and Life After the Archangel
As the game progresses, Zilean will shift into what I refer as "spamcast" mode. Simply put, your mana regeneration once you have an Archangels is very powerful. Anywhere you need to go, you should be doing it under the effects of a Time Warp. With even a little CDR, Rewind will come up often enough to refresh Time Warp every time it's about to go down. E-W-E-W-E will be your life. You will wear down those keys with frightening speed - and you should. There are many, many things Zilean needs to be doing in the lategame:
- Defensive Creep Clears:You know how with all the scrambling and fighting in the lategame, there can get to be big globs of creeps showing around towers? No one kills the big blobs faster than Zilean - not even Sivir! (That's mostly because Sivir plows straight-lines of creeps and Zilean's better at messy blobs, but anyhow.) Generally, with a decently charged Archangel Staff, you can double-tap a creep blob pounding on a tower and clear 90-100% of them immediately. Because of Zilean's inherent speed advantage, odds are very good that no one else will reach a far-side of the map creep wave as quickly, either. Be attentive and you can save towers while picking up a boatload of gold, as well. Nothing's better than knocking out ten creeps in the span of a moment while doing a strategic good deed!
- "Postman" Pushing: Many times as a team is rushing across the map mid and late game (perhaps for a tower save, a dragon or Baron attempt, etc) you'll pass waves of creep resolutely marching to their death. Since you're in a rush, it's not like the team can afford to follow them for a push. For you, excellent Zilean, this is not the case! Drop a pair of bombs on the lead creeps as you go by. If you get lucky, the enemy creeps will reach yours soon enough for you to pick up some gold, experience, and best of all, help push your creeps further along without even being present. A more observant enemy might even notice your bombs on the creep wave as it approaches - and thereby wrongly assume your whereabouts! The duration of a bomb tick doesn't make this likely to happen often, but there is a certain hilarity on watching enemy champions descend on a creep wave, assuming you're there or behind it somewhere close...while you and your team achieve an important objective, well away from the "ambush."
- Teamfights, the Zilean Ult, and the Greater Good: Here's a simple truth about Zilean and lategame teamfights: If the enemy team really wants you to die, you probably need to accept that. That doesn't mean "roll over and take it." It means that you should recognize the value of every champion in a teamfight, and react accordingly. Remember, as Zilean, you don't win fights: you make sure your team does. If you're the only focus of the enemy team, by all means ult yourself. If you're being harassed by one enemy hero who's chipping you down while the other four champions pound on your carry, guess what: you're going to die, and those tasty golden cups are going to appear around your carry. The person who will do the most damage to the enemy is the one who needs to stay alive, not the old guy who's so crazy he has a clock strapped to his back. The only sin for Zilean in a teamfight is dying with his ult unused. Even if you do burn it on yourself and then are killed again, that's a lot of time the enemy focused you and not the carry. Damage soak isn't a glorious job, but it works.
- Float Like A Butterfly, Sting Like A Bee: Muhammad Ali may not have been referring to Zilean, but it works. In teamfights, the golden rule of Zilean is simple: never autoattack. If you're holding still that long with zilean, you're doing it wrong. Fight starting? Bomb the tank as he initiates. You've just ensured AOE damage. Watch where the enemy's key players are going. Time Warp yourself and immediately rewind. Dart in under acceleration, drop a bomb on the enemy's key player (who's probably stunned right now, making a tasty target), punch acceleration again, and GET OUT OF RANGE. You've just done a doubletap of at least 2-3 members of the enemy team, in most cases. Your autoattack is a joke - you'd have to hit someone 5-6 times in order to duplicate what one bomb does, and you're only doing single target damage. What the hell are you doing? GET OUT OF THERE! If you're feeling bold, throw a slow on an enemy so your team can get a better grip on them and move out at normal speed, but do NOT hang around a teamfight. You are Zilean - frail, infirm, and crotchety. What are you going to do, punch Sion in the nose? Once you've pulled out, if your CDR is where it should be, four or five seconds later, you're ready to start the sequence again:
Time Warp yourself. Dive in, drop a bomb. Rewind. Drop another bomb. Time Warp back out (or slow an enemy if the fight is now degrading.) Ult a teammate if they need it. (The noob.)
Odds are you've done around 1800-2000 unmodified damage, or 1200-1500, maybe as low as 1000-1200 after MR, and the majority of the fight you spent safely out of reach, or kiting away an angry enemy champion who tried to chase you off, only to give up and see you following them back into the fight. You might have slowed a key member of the opposition's escape attempt. You probably saved your carry.
But you don't contribute enough damage and effect to a lategame fight. Right. ;)
Knowing the Antithesis of the Chronokeeper: Champions to Avoid Whenever Possible
Zilean is, as I've said before, a mobility-based character. Generally, it's impossible to outrange the "Postman" strategy, but there are champions who can make Zilean deeply unhappy, mostly because they violate his range-dictation methodology:
1- Katarina. Oh dear god, keep the Chronokeeper away from "Miss Blink and Bounce." Shunpo that lands on Zilean frequently results in a trip back to the fountain. It's very hard to stop a hero that teleports into you; you can't slow her before she gets in damage range, and short of staying well clear of your creeps, you can't reliably avoid the bouncing blade. You're fragile enough that random bounces can be genuinely annoying - especially if a particularly unlikely series of bounces is followed by a Shunpo.
2- Twitch. At least until you have a proper ward midlane, or pick up an Oracle's, Twitch can be a serious hassle. He may not teleport towards you, but you can't see him coming, so you can't slow him or bomb him to drive him off. His range is also annoying long. The good news, though, is at level 6, you can often turn the tables quickly. Double-bomb as he begins Spray-and-Pray, ult yourself as he pounds you down, and double-bomb again when you get up. Chances are decent he'll drop before you do again.
3- Mordekaiser/Udyr. These two aren't tremendously dangerous to you, but you'll do nothing to them, either. Bombs are a burst strategy, and they have burst-shielding. This tends to generate a "passive" lane, and you're likely to relax a bit and let the range between you gradually trim down. You might even want to start autoattacking them to chip on that shield. Don't make this mistake! Keep your range advantage and keep clear/ready to slow. Both of these heroes have claimed more than one Zilean because they were patient and the Chronokeeper got lazy.
4- Shaco. Not that you'll see him in the lane much, but it's bad if you do. Teleport like Katarina, cloak like Twitch, and a crit on appearing? Oh dear lord, the pain. This is a "Postman" lane unless you've got some potent healing and/or a stun. Shaco is the destroyer of time. Count on it. If you're determined to play with fire, just make sure to stay out of the immediate teleport range of Deceive, and as soon as the puff of smoke occurs, Time Warp yourself away. When he stabs you anyhow and then throws some Shiv Poison your way, don't say you didn't know better.
5- Xin Zhao/Jax. The instant-rush+damage combo on these two is very problematic. Unlike Tristana or Corki, who take a moment to process (and thus you can slow them or accelerate away, even if it's exciting when it happens) Xin Zhao and Jax disable you after their rush. That's enough to assure a very hard time for the Chronokeeper, if not an outright death. This is a Postman lane - or at the very least, your tank delivers the damage.
Those are pretty much the "bad laning combinations" for Zilean to face. There are other heroes that require careful adjustment - Miss Fortune's Double (stay two creeps away), Sion/Taric's stuns (Time Warp as soon as they start casting, and they'll barely reach you when the stun drops, giving you a chance to Rewind and Warp away) and of course, like anyone else, Blitzcrank - but as long as you keep in mind the golden rules of range dictation, bomb delivery, and never autoattacking, you should come out fine.
The strength of Zilean, most of all, is that he has no specific strength. He can be a damage dealer, he can be an enabler of friends, a crippler of foes, a savior, or the bait in the jaws of death. Unlike many champions, Zilean is more limited by the creativity of the player than the abilities of the champion. Any situation that requires finesse or speed can be improved by the arrival of a Zilean. Silly shields and whirlwinds? Songs on a harp? Little turrets and wrenches? Falling STARS? That's not support.
If you're playing support and it's not Zilean - you're doing it wrong.
Submitted by FriedPsitalon
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