Zilean Build Guide

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Zilean, Providing Some Groovy Support

written by BuryTheLiving

Zilean Build



Table of Contents

  • Introduction

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    Zilean is hands down one of the best support champions (if not THE best... maybe Janna) in League of Legends. While he starts off with a mild early game, he quickly progresses into a fantastic pusher, and can make or break a team fights. During mid-levels, his double-bomb is a strong nuke, and his slows are often the bane of someone's existence. While he lacks any skill-shots, the double-bomb tactic does take a bit of practice and accurate clicking. Nothing feels worse than missing out on a kill because you put your second bomb on a minion that was in the way.

    For Zilean, CDR, M-PEN., and AP are your best friends. Late-game AP won't prove nearly as important as it does early and mid-game, and CDR will start to shine. With enough CDR, you can actually get off more than one Chrono Shift in a team fight- assuming it lasts longer than 30 seconds.

    While these three stats are core to Zilean's success, defense is equally important, especially if your team is losing during the early-game phase. However, there are plenty of items that contribute to both his offense and defense, and they will be discussed later in this guide.

  • TL;DR

    9/0/21

    Sapphire Crystal + Health Potion x2
    or
    Doran's Ring

    First Trip Back- Catalyst the Protector + Boots of Speed
    Second Trip Back- Rod of Ages
    Third Trip Back- Mercury's Treads or Sorcerer's Shoes or Ionian Boots of Lucidity

    Then get: Frozen Heart and Rabadon's Deathcap



    [builder=Zilean/403203d414937c79f0c0464f6c6058cd]

  • Abilities

    Heightened Learning
    Increases experience gain of all allied champions by 8%.

    While this passive is worthless late game, it helps your entire team's early game a great deal, especially if you have a jungler. Not the best passive, but far from useless.


    Time Bomb
    Places a bomb on any unit, allied or enemy, which detonates after 4 seconds, dealing area of effect damage.

    Damage Dealt: 100|155|210|270|330
    CD: 10 Seconds
    Mana Cost: 60|75|90|105|120
    Range: 650

    The only damage-dealing spell Zilean has. It combines great with Rewind to make an effective nuke, that will often last-hit an escaping champion. There is a 3 second delay before the bomb actually explodes, with the exception of the double-bombing tactic. If you Time Bomb --> Rewind --> Time Bomb, the first bomb will explode immediately after the second one is applied, and the second one will proceed to explode after a 3 second wait. If the target holding a bomb dies, the bomb explodes. This is useful when combined with last-hitting minions.


    Rewind
    Reduces all of Zilean's other spell cooldowns by 10 seconds.

    CD: 18|15|12|9|6
    Mana Cost: 50

    A self-explanatory spell that makes double-bombing possible as well as back to back slows or speed boosts through the use of Time Warp.


    Time Warp
    Zilean slows an enemy champion's movement speed or increases an allied champion's movement speed by 55%.

    Spell Duration: 2.5|3.25|4|4.75|5.5
    CD: 20 Seconds
    Mana Cost: 100
    Range: 650

    Works as both a speed boost and a slow. A great skill to have when you need to usher your tank to be first in line in a team fight, or boost a unlucky DPS out of one. It also minimizes runners.


    Chrono Shift
    Marks an allied champion; if the champion would take lethal damage, they are instead brought back to life.

    Spell Duration: 10 Seconds
    Health Regenerated: 500|750|1000
    CD: 180 Seconds
    Mana Cost: 200
    Range: 900

    Essentially, a free Guardian Angel. With enough CDR, you can use this spell roughly every 30 seconds. It can make or break a team fight, save you from a gank, and make other players rage-quit. However, get used to seeing the person revive only to die again. It happens.


  • Masteries + Runes

    As with most support champions, 9/0/21 is the way to go.
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    Archaic Knowledge is a must. Everything in utility is exactly what a support champion wants and needs. Personally, I use Clairvoyance and Clarity as I find that it works best for me. It gives you immense staying power in the lane, and reduces ganks, which is great since Zilean is squishy, and it's a shame to have to waste Chrono Shift on yourself.

    Note: This 9/0/21 is not set in stone. For example, if you're taking Flash, or get blue buff a lot, then clearly you would want to spec into a longer duration on buffs, and Flash in place of Clairvoyance or Clarity. Use what works best for you.

    For runes, I have found a great deal of success with the following:

    3x Greater Quintessence of Insight
    9x Greater Mark of Insight
    9x Greater Seal of Clarity
    9x Greater Glyph of Celerity

    This is simply the build that I have been using and found success with. There are plenty of other options for any one of these slots, and what you use is up to you. Some people recommend Greater Quintessence of Fortitude but I feel getting more HP can be done better through the use of items. For example, Rod of Ages.

    If you replace the aforementioned runes with any other kind, it should most likely be for CDR. CDR is a huge deal on Zilean, and reaching the cap (40%) as soon as possible is always a good idea.

  • Summoner Abilities

    There are several decent choices for Summoner Spells on Zilean, my favorite two being Clarity and Clairvoyance. As I said before, it gives you amazing staying power in the lane, and minimizes ganks.

    Other viable choices include:

    Teleport:
    Another spell that allows you to be dominant in your lane, and even save an unwatched tower. Paired with a Sight Ward you can pop into an unexpected team fight if need be.

    Flash:
    An all around great spell that can save your ass time and time again, or give you that extra tiny bit of distance you need to land a bomb on a nearly dead champion. While Time Warp will save you plenty, it can't make you poof to the other side of a wall into a bush.

    Cleanse:
    I personally don't find this to be the strongest choice for Zilean, as I prefer Flash. However, a smart team will often focus fire you in an attempt you make you Chrono Shift yourself, in which case Cleanse can prove extremely useful for distancing yourself. A solid choice, but not my favorite.

    Ghost:
    If you're an absolute speed-freak, as I am when I play Poppy, then I can see why you might take this. However, given the alternative choices, and the fact that Zilean already essentially has Ghost as one of his abilities, I think you should pass.

    Heal:
    More support is never a bad thing, and I have seen this paired nicely with Chrono Shift. That is, as soon as the person revives, you heal them. One of the stronger choices for Zilean in my opinion, but again, I would argue it's not the best.

    As for...
    Exhaust, Ignite, Smite, [spell=Rally], [spell=Fortify], Revive

    I think all of these abilities are better suited for other champions on your team. You don't need to be worried about securing kills, which is the point of Exhaust and Ignite. You don't jungle well, which is the point of Smite. Rally does offer support, but not for you, so it's a little too selfless. Fortify works best with tanks who are specced into it. And finally everyone's favorite: Revive.

    Revive is not an inherently bad spell. With champions like Twisted Fate and Pantheon, they can be used extremely effectively. Or, with a team where EVERYONE takes Revive and Fortify, you can be extremely difficult to beat. However, as a stand alone spell for Zilean, it's a no-go.

  • Skilling Order

    1. Time Bomb
    2. Rewind
    3. Time Warp
    4. Time Bomb
    5. Time Bomb
    6. Chrono Shift

    While some would argue that taking Time Warp at 3 will reduce your early damage, it can also save your life. Unless you are kicking ass and have no worries what so ever about dying, I usually choose Time Warp first before putting a second point into Time Bomb.

    After level six, my priority is as follows:

    Chrono Shift --> Time Bomb --> Time Warp --> Rewind

    Feel free to level Rewind before Time Warp if you would prefer the CDR before the improved slow/haste.

  • Starting Items

    I usually start with a Sapphire Crystal + x2 Health Potion and build it into a Catalyst the Protector as soon as possible. After Catalyst, I get Boots of Speed, and then move onto completing Rod of Ages. I like to rush RoA because of the time it takes for it to maximize, but if you're being stunned a lot feel free to get your Mercury's Treads before your Blasting Wand.

    If you want a little more damage and CC on the other team isn't a problem, go for Sorcerer's Shoes

    If you want a little more CDR and CC on the other team isn't a problem, go for Ionian Boots of Lucidity

    If you can't afford runes yet or are worried about having low health early on, feel free to take Doran's Ring. Just know that it will slow down your build, and I would argue that it actually reduces your survivability, because I prefer the two Health Potion.

  • Items Continued

    Usually, if the other team has at least two attack damage champions, I go for a Frozen Heart after my RoA.

    If they have a ton of ability power, I go for a Banshee's Veil or a Abyssal Scepter, or both.

    If you feel you are lacking mana, build a Archangel's Staff.
    If you want more damage, go for a Rabadon's Deathcap.
    If they have magic resist, get yourself a Void Staff and a Haunting Guise.
    If you are being focused, grab a Zhonya's Hourglass.
    If you have the need for speed, steal a Shurelya's Reverie.
    If your team is mana hungry, feed them with a [item=Soul Shroud].
    If you have gold to burn and really want to annoy the other team, get a Guardian Angel

  • Zone Control + Zilean in Action

    One thing Zilean excels at it keeping his team in the lane, and the other team out. This video can help you excel at doing exactly that.



    Here is a recently uploaded video of Zilean wrecking bitches. Note: He is using ignite and flash very effectively. You need to find what works best for YOU and use it.

    There are four parts to this video.

  • To Conclude

    Zilean is a support champion, and while he can somewhat nuke, he should not be played primarily as one. There are other champions out there who fulfill that role much better. If you want to play a nuke, I would suggest Annie. If you're doing your job, your team should be speeding in and out of fights, your main DPS should essentially have two lives, and runners should hate you.

    Thanks for reading and please comment. This is my first and only guide and I look forward to improving it.

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