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All Guides Zed Guides [Season 7 Updated] The unseen blade is the deadliest
2 months ago

Zed Statistics for Hexadecimal

Author's performance with Zed compared to the ranked average.

Games Played
Win %
KA:D Ratio
Gold Earned
Creep Score
  • Author Champion Statistics
  • Guide Details

Summoner Spells Back to Top

4.png Flash

Standard on most mid laners. It helps you escape, gap close, jump walls, re-position - it's simply too good to pass up. There's no other spell that's as versatile as Flash. The fact that you can use it to escape, dodge spells, or go aggressive is what makes it such a strong spell.

14.png Ignite

Ignite is taken to increase your overall damage and acts as an additional spell. This extra damage will give you a lot more kill potential on the enemy throughout the laning phase. Zed is an assassin that looks to snowball and to do that he needs kills - Ignite helps us in this playstyle.

One tip is to remember that Ignite applies Grievous Wounds - reducing all healing by 40%. For this reason you always want to try to Ignite at the start of your all-in engages. This is due to the fact that it's common for players to consume a health pot at the start of a fight to increase their health regeneration throughout the engagement. 

Additionally, Ignite will give you sight on enemy champions it's applied to - this does not reveal stealth champions. However, this can be important when fighting around brushes as enemies can use brushes to hide, juke you, and overall increase their chances of getting away.

Runes Back to Top

  • 9x
    +1.60 lethality Greater Mark of Lethality
  • 9x
    +1.34 magic resist Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
  • 9x
    +1.33 health per level Greater Seal of Scaling Health
  • 3x
    +2.25 attack damage Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage

Flat Attack Damage vs Flat Armor Penetration

For you to understand Zed's optimal runes you have to understand the different benefits of flat attack damage runes compared to flat armor penetration runes.  There's a lot of mathematical ideas and calculations in regards to this debate, but I will try to my best to simplify it and summarize what the data has proven. 

You have to think of flat armor penetration runes as a way of increasing your damage by a percentage - meaning, the more physical damage you output the more effective armor penetration is going to be. Flat attack damage on the other hand is a way to increase your damage by a flat amount.

For these reasons, flat attack damage is going to be more effective in the early game when you're outputting less damage - specifically before you've recalled and purchased items. Whereas, flat armor penetration is going to be more effective after your first recall.

The Gold Value of Runes

Another concept you should be aware of and understand is that every rune has a gold value associated with them. For example, if you have 12 Magic Resistance in your rune page, how much is that actually worth in gold? The answer is 217.08. People have created spreadsheets calculating the gold value of every rune - you can find one here.

You don't need to be a mathematical genius or know exactly how any of this works. Instead, what's important is that you understand that it's these gold values that often dictate why high level players are taking certain runes. Ever wonder why every high level player's rune page typically have the same runes? Why do players take ability power in glyphs and not seals? It's because ability power gives more stats as a glyph than a seal - meaning it gives more gold. This is what people refer to as cost efficiency or gold efficiency. It's this cost efficiency that typically makes the backbone of all rune pages.

QUINT AP.png Quints

Flat Attack Damage

Flat attack damage is stronger in the early game. We take flat attack damage quints to increase our damage when all-ining levels 1-6 and increasing our chances of getting an early kill. Flat attack damage also helps with last hitting since flat armor penetration doesn't actually increase damage to minions since they already have 0 armor.

It's important to note that the way flat attack damage increases your early game damage is mainly through your auto-attacks. Meaning, the true benefits of taking flat attack damage quints will be all-ining an opponent in the early game and weaving in auto-attacks. This is typically done at levels 3-5 by swapping to your shadow after landing your spells to get within auto-attack range and all-in them.


Flat Armor Pen

We take flat armor penetration as its a very gold efficient mark. At the same time, we're already taking flat attack damage quints that will sufficiently bolster our early game. Flat armor penetration marks will give us the biggest power spike in damage after the early game once we start purchasing items.

It also synergizes with the armor penetration build we will be using. Essentially, armor penetration increases its effectiveness the more you have of it. There's mathematics behind this and it's due to how armor's damage reduction is calculated. The main idea is that as your opponent's armor gets closer to 0 the bigger the increase in damage you'll have. That's the main goal of armor penetration builds: reduce the opponent's armor as close to 0 as possible. These runes will help you accomplish this goal.


Flat Magic Resist

You want to take Magic Resist glyphs since the vast majority of the time you will be facing Ability Power champions that do magic damage in the middle lane. This will help reduce the amount of damage that they do thereby helping you win trades and all-ins.

Scaling Cooldown Reduction

If you're against a Physical Damage mid laner you can run cooldown reduction per level glyphs instead. Since you're against a physical damage mid laner you won't need the magic resistance. Scaling cooldown reduction will put your abitilies on a lower cooldown, but it's mainly to reduce your ultimate and your W(Living Shadow) which has a very high cooldown for a non-ultimate spell. Reducing your ultimate will give you more kill opportunities and reducing your W will help you chase down opponents and escape situations you otherwise wouldn't.


Health Per Level

Health Per Level seals are very strong in terms of gold efficiency. They will synergyze with your magic resistance glyphs increasing what theorycrafters refer to as "effective health" - this is just another way of saying you will be tankier and the opponent will have to do more damage to kill you. The combination of health and magic resist in your seals and glyphs will help you survive the magic damage casters' burst that you're facing in the mid lane.

Flat Armor

I would take flat armor seals if I was against a physical damage mid laner instead of health per level as this will help me in the laning phase since I need armor against them. This is especially true with the current popularity of flat armor penetration builds people will run.

Masteries Back to Top



Damage is the name of the game when it comes to Zed - your Masteries will aim to maximize it.

Ferocity - 12 points

  • Sorcery increases your overall damage
  • Fresh Blood is taken for the increase in damage. Feast can be a viable alternative in heavy harass lanes.
  • Natural Talent is taken to increase your damage. 1 point in Vampirism is taken as it gives us a form of healing we otherwise wouldn't have in our build.
  • Battle Trance is the safe choice to increase your damage
  • Take Double Edged Sword into easier matchups where you aren't under threat of being killed
  • Bounty Hunter doesn't give us any bonuses early on when we need them the most - for that reason I don't recommend it

Cunning - 18 points

  • Savagery is taken to make last hitting easier as well as increase the speed of doing jungle camps between minion waves.
  • Assassin is taken as both Runic Affinity and Secret Stash are weaker on Zed as he doesn't use mana and often doesn't get blue buffs (even though blue buff is actually quite good on him).
  • Merciless is taken because it increases your damage and the alternative, Meditation, gives mana regeneration, which Zed doesn't need.
  • Dangerous Game is amazing on an all-in assassin like Zed and will end up saving your life plenty of times.
  • Precision is taken as it increases your damage and synergizes with your armor penetration build, which is more important than the 5% cooldown reduction of Intelligence.
  • Thunderlord's Decree is taken as it increases your burst as well as harass in lane since it activates off your standard harass combo (W+E+Q).

Abilities Back to Top


Skill Order

Death_Mark.jpg > Razor_Shuriken.jpg > Shadow_Slash.jpg > Living_Shadow.jpg

You max Q first as this gives you great poke in lane as well as gives you the most potential burst damage. In the past people have maxed E for more guaranteed damage in certain melee matchups. However, mathematically if you land both your Qs when you ult the opponent it does more damage than if you maxed E. For this reason I simply max Q first in every matchup.

Contempt_for_the_Weak.jpg Contempt for the Weak

  • Helps increase your burst as well as damage when trading
  • Makes last hitting relatively easy

Razor_Shuriken.jpg Razor Shuriken

  • You want to max this first to increase your burst potential with your ultimate
  • Makes you hard to shut down in lane since you can farm consistently from a distance with it
  • Also a great harassing tool

Living_Shadow.jpg Living Shadow

  • A great gap close and escape mechanism
  • You often want to ult first and save this to follow up when the enemy tries to flash away
  • The passive is very strong late game

Shadow_Slash.jpg Shadow Slash

  • You can use your W and your E to hit both melee and caster minions followed by your Q to clear extremely fast
  • Provides soft crowd control if you hit the enemy with your shadow's E
  • You want to use W+E+Q when harassing the opponent. The slow will make it easier to land your Q.

Death_Mark.jpg Death Mark

  • Your ultimate is what makes you so strong in 1v1 scenarios
  • It's important to land all your abilities when you ult to maximize the amount of damage
  • You can also dodge a lot of skill shots by using your ultimate on an enemy champion such as saving it dodge an Ahri charm or Lux bind

Items Back to Top

Starting Items

    Standard Start
    Easy Lane

Core Items

    Standard Early Game
    Early Game vs Magic
    Mid Game
    End Game Build Example

Situational Items

Start With

Standard Start


This is a very safe start on Zed and is currently the standard build. It provides you with some additional damage while also providing you with a lot of health regeneration in the form of health pots. It also lets you rush your  extremely fast. The combination of both damage and health regeneration makes it versatile and safe into any matchup.

Easy Lane


You can start this when you're in a matchup that you won't take a lot of harass in. This is more cost efficient in the long run than starting with health pots, but the trade off is that you have a bit less healing to start. I wouldn't recommend this unless you're very experienced with Zed.


Early Game

  • This your core build every game that you aren't struggling vs a magic damage mid laner
  • Get a 3134.png first to increase your burst at level 6 as well as damage in lane as well increase your harass.
  • Then you want to buy a 3142.png for the flat armor penetration, cooldown reduction, and active.

Early Game vs Magic

  • Hexdrinker is a very strong item against AP mid laners. If you aren't struggling in lane then it's fine to get a 3142.png instead.
  • This item alone will often be enough to completely shut down AP mids. If you're even slightly behind or struggling against an AP mid laner you should purchase this item.
  • You don't have to upgrade it into a 3156.png immediately. Instead, you can that late game if you need to or simply sell the Hexdrinker and replace it with something else.

Mid Game

  • These are your core items you will want to build towards every game.
  • 3142.png will give you sticking power through its active as well as escapability.
  • 3147.png will give you a massive damage spike as well as flat armor penetration, which will synergize with both the 3142.png and your runes.
  • At the same time, it gives you a lot of escapability with both of the actives.
  • If you built a 3156.png then after purchase in the following order 3142.png -> 3147.png.

End Game Build Example

  • This is an end game build example.
  • It gives you a tremendous amount of armor penetration
  • It also gives you a decent amount of survivability with the health from Black Cleaver, the shield passive from Maw, and the mobility provided by Ghostblade.


Pick these as your final items

3153.png - This item can be a great item on Zed if you need more sticking power. For example, if you're facing someone who's able to kite you and run away then this can be the item you need in order to stick to them long enough to get the necessary damage in when you ult.

3026.png - Guardian Angel is a good purchase when the enemy team is focusing you and burst you down in team fights. By purchasing a Guardian Angel you can kill an enemy carry, absorb the enemy's damage and cooldowns, then revive and turn the fight into a 5v4 in your favor.

3139.png - Mercurial Scimitar is a good purchase when the enemy doesn't have a lot burst, but instead is relying on crowd control to shut you down. This could something like a Warwick ultimate or Lissandra ultimate. Another thing to consider is exhaust. If the enemy is constantly relying on exhaust to shut you down this item can remove the debuff so you do your full amount of damage. It's fine to just purchase a 3140.png and wait until the end of the game to upgrade it.

3071.png - Black Cleaver is a good pick up when you need to be tankier while also giving you damage, which helps to keep you a threat. The passive also helps in reducing armor further as well as giving you movement speed to stick to targets and escape after kills/assist.

3036.png - You want to purchase this item only when the opponent's are stacking armor. If you find the opponent is armor heavy than this item is a must buy. However, if only one tank is buying armor then purchase something else as you shouldn't be focusing their tank anyways. Purchase the other version of this item 3033.png if you're facing enemies that are relying on healing to survive against you.

Matchups Back to Top

Click on a champion below to see the author's notes on that particular matchup.

  • Ahri
  • Akali
  • Anivia
  • Annie
  • Azir
  • Brand
  • Cassiopeia
  • Cho'Gath
  • Diana
  • Ekko
  • Fizz
  • Gragas
  • Karma
  • Karthus
  • Kassadin
  • Katarina
  • Kayle
  • Kennen
  • Kha'Zix
  • LeBlanc
  • Lee Sin
  • Lissandra
  • Lulu
  • Lux
  • Malzahar
  • Mordekaiser
  • Morgana
  • Orianna
  • Ryze
  • Swain
  • Syndra
  • Talon
  • Twisted Fate
  • Viktor
  • Xerath
  • Yasuo
  • Ziggs



This matchup can be difficult for Zed since Ahri can just use her charm and ultimate to disengage every time Zed tries to use his ult. However, Ahri is restricted by her mana pool whereas Zed uses energy. This means as long as you can dodge her Q you can use your W+E+Q combo to harass her down. Instead of trying to all-in her just use your W+E+Q combo to harass her down while also shoving the wave. Then you can either roam or do wraiths/wolves in between waves or all-in her if you harassed her down low enough.




Early on you want to stay out of melee range when her Q is up or she uses it on you as she will out damage you. Instead use your abilities to harass her from a distance. Once she hits level 6 it's very important for you to purchase a pink ward on your first back. This way when you fight her she can't use her shroud to hide from you. She can also rush a Zhonyas that will counter you very hard. The only way you'll be able to win 1v1s is if you have a pink ward to put down when she shrouds or else you will just ult and she'll go invisible preventing you from landing damage. If she rushes a Zhonyas you probably won't be able to win 1v1s anymore.




Early on she will auto attack harass you with her long range. Use your W+E+Q combo to harass in lane. Once you're level 6 you can try to all-in her if she's far away from her tower, but make sure you save your W to dodge her stun. So a standard all-in combo vs Anivia would be R+DoubleTapW+E+Q this way you dodge her stun she will likely throw out the second you come out of your ultimate. In general, I would recommend roaming instead of trying to kill her though.




Early on can be difficult because of her auto attack harass and damage from her long range abilities. Always play around her stun. Early on just try to harass using W+E+Q. Once level 6 you can all-in her if she wastes her stun on a minion - otherwise don't try her burst and stun will allow her to win. Try rushing a Hexdrinker if you struggle with this matchup as it will help you survive her burst.




Look to harass him with your W+E+Q combo to set up an all-in. Time your engage when his abilities are on cooldown. Use your ult and W to dodge his abilities.

Be careful of engaging close to his tower as he can ult you into it. You can also use your W to engage and then time your ultimate to dodge his.




Brand has very strong early game harass. You can look to harass him with W+E+Q then jump to your shadow when he goes to W you. The most important thing is not to be harassed down early so play safe in the early levels. Once level 6 you can all-in him since he has no escapes. However, after you ult always jump to your W behind him otherwise he will land a point blank stun and win the all-in.




Cass has an extremely strong early game. Avoid fighting her or taking harass. You can try to harass her with W+E+Q when you see a chance too, but it can be difficult to do so. Once she's level 6 you can all-in her, but always place a shadow behind her and jump to it immediately after you come out of your ultimate. This way you can dodge her ultimate and some of her abilities.




Cho mid is actually quite annoying. He ends up being tanky and having a ton of sustain in lane. Your best bet is to just play a passive farm lane and look to gank side lanes rather than try to kill him 1v1.



Early game use your ranged harass with W+E+Q to harass her down and zone her from minions. Once you're both level 6 it's important to dodge her Q in order to win trades. Use your W+E+Q to harass her down and then when she uses her Q you can use your ultimate or swap to your W shadow to dodge it. She can be difficult to burst down because of her shield and if she gets ahead it will snowball heavily into her favor. 




Ekko's ultimate and W both counter you. His ultimate can dodge your ultimate's damage. His W can stun you and give him a massive shield.

Look to harass him with W+E+Q to set up an all-in. It's important to snowball before level 6 or he will take control of the lane. Play around cooldowns and avoid fighting in his W.




This is a skill-based matchup. This is because Fizz can dodge a lot of your Ultimate's damage by using his E and you can dodge Fizz's ultimate with your ultimate. Early on you want to harass Fizz with your W+E+Q combo. It's very important you dodge his E with your W as that's a big portion of his damage. Always pay attention to when he uses his W and when it's on cooldown as that is also a big portion of his damage. Your best bet is to use your skills to harass him from distance and only use your ultimate as a tool to dodge his ultimate or use it when he uses his E.




This is a very difficult lane because of Gragas' sustain and tankiness. Your best bet is to focus on farming and look to roam the map instead of fighting him. If you do fight him make sure you use your W to dodge his Q or ultimate as that is vital to winning the fight. A common tactic is to use your ultimate on Gragas, then W behind him, then when Gragas ults you away you swap back to your W to keep doing damage to him.




Karma is a very safe laner so it will be extremely hard for you to kill her. You should instead focus on farming and look for opportunities to gank other lanes. You can also take wraiths/wolves between waves to gain a farm advantage. If you were to try to all-in her she would just shield herself, W you, and run away and create distance. If she uses her ultimate and W she can also heal herself. For these reasons it's nearly impossible to actually kill her in the laning phase.



His lack of crowd control and escapes makes him very easy to all-in. Dodge his Qs in lane and look to land harass of your own through your W+E+Q combo. Once you're level 6 you can look to all-in him. Try to have your cutlass when you all-in so you can apply the slow and lock him down so you can auto him.




Early on you will take a lot of harass from his Q and E. Look to harass him with your abilities as well. In this matchup it's very difficult to kill Kassadin because once you're both level 6 he can use his ultimate to jump away from your ultimate. Instead, your better off shoving him into the tower level 6+ then taking wraiths/wolves or ganking a lane.




Zed has the advantage in this lane. Early on she will harass you with her Q so make sure to start with long sword+3 potions. Once you're level 6 though you can dodge a lot of her ultimate's damage with your own ultimate. At the same time you do more damage than her in a 1v1 if neither of you use your ultimates. Just be cautious of losing trades by missing your Q or of being harassed down by her Q.




This is arguably Zed's hardest counter. She's stronger than you at every point in the game and can use her ultimate to block yours. You can ask for jungle ganks before level 6 to help shut Kayle down. However, after level 6 you likely just want to passively farm in the lane and instead look to gank side lanes or take your wraiths/wolves in between waves.




Kennen has a safe early game with good harass. Once he's level 6 if you try to all-in him he will just chain CC you. This is another lane where you'll want to passively farm and try to gank side lanes or take wraiths/wolves in between waves.




Kha'Zix can be a tough lane since he out damages you early and can use his ultimate to block a big portion of your damage. You'll need a pink ward to put down if you plan on all-ining him in lane after level 6. Try to harass him down from a distance with your W+E+Q combo and only all-in him once he's lower than you.




This is a skill based matchup that's in Zed's favor. You want to save your ultimate and use it when LeBlanc uses her ultimate on you or uses her W on you. Never use your ultimate on her first when she has her abilities up, instead use it reactively. Otherwise, use your W+E+Q to harass her and push the lane. LeBlanc has weak wave clear so pushing her under tower can be an effective strategy.


Lee Sin


This can be a tough matchup because Lee Sin is a very good dueler. I would give the advantage to Lee Sin because he has a lot of innate sustain and good base damages. Also, Lee Sin can kick you back when you ult him and then safe guard away. It would probably be best if you didn't try to fight him 1v1 and instead looked to impact side lanes or take jungle camps between waves.




Lissandra has a lot of harass in the early levels. Once you both hit level 6 she can use her ult to counter yours. Use your W+E+Q combo to harass her in the early levels, but be cautious of jungle ganks since she can easily lock you down. I wouldn't try killing her and instead look to gank side lanes and take wraiths/wolves in between waves.




Lulu's shield and ultimate make her too difficult for you to burst down. Simultaneously she can harass you from a distance slowly pushing you out of lane or getting a kill on you.

Harass her down with W+E+Q early on and to set up a kill. Once she's level 6 unless you're fed she won't be able to kill 1v1. Avoid taking harass by positioning outside of her E range and dodging/predicting her Q. Use your W to swap to dodge Q damage and time your aggression around her spell cooldowns when possible.




Lux has annoying harass early on so be cautious of being poked down. Once you hit level 6 you can outplay her and kill her if you dodge her bind. Make sure to use your W after you ult so you can dodge her bind and swap to a shadow behind her. Lux can be very safe though in lane so if she's playing really safe then just look to gank side lanes or take jungle camps between waves.




Malzahar has a really annoying early game because of his harass. He will also just keep pushing the wave into tower and staying far back. However, you can try to harass him down early on before level 6 with a W+E+Q combo to set up potential all-ins. Malzahar is very weak in terms of defenses and has no escapes. Since he often just pushes the lane ask for a jungle gank to help shut him down. If you try to ult him he will just use his ultimate on you and likely 100-0 you. I would avoid fighting him unless his ultimate was on cooldown.




He will just harass you and shove the lane. However, he has no escape so this means you want to ask for a jungle gank early on when he's pushing you. Never fight him in minions since he will gain too much shield from them. At the same time, just stay away from your minions or he will E you and the minions at the same time. It will be hard to burst him down once you're level 6 because of his shield and spells unless you snowballed early on. 




Go aggressive whenever she misses her Q in the early levels. Morgana is a very safe, but passive laner. As long as you don't get binded you should have completely control over the lane. If you use your ultimate always use your W behind her to dodge her Q and swap to it. However, a good Morgana will just farm safely from a distance. In that situation just gank side lanes and take wraiths/wolves between waves.




This is a skill based matchup. Both of you have potential to outplay the other one. Orianna is a very safe laner though so trying to go aggressive on her might not be the best idea. Her shield helps survive your burst as well. Try to harass her down with your W+E+Q combo before all-ining her and make sure to dodge her harass.




Stay out of his harass range and instead use your W+E+Q to harass him from a distance as well as your Q to last hit. You have a power spike over Ryze at level 6 since he needs items to become strong. Make sure you have your ignite when you all-in though since his ultimate will give him spell vamp. Eventually he will outscale you though so it's important to take advantage of his weak early to mid game.




Swain is a very annoying laner because of his harass early on. Eventually once he hits level 6 his ultimate will give him a lot of healing and damage. His build will also give him a decent amount of health. Because of these reasons it can be very difficult for Zed to burst down a Swain. Only ever try to 1v1 him post level 6 when you have ignite up or he will be able to heal through your damage. I would avoid fighting him and instead focus on ganking side lanes or taking wraiths/wolves between waves.




Time your W with her Q to dodge the damage and help win fights. Harass her down with W+E+Q to set up all-ins. Avoid taking too much harass or that will lose you the lane. Do this by positioning far away and predicing/dodging her harass.

Once you're both level 6 you can use your W to engage when she tries to Q to dodge the damage and then use your ultimate to dodge her E knock back/stun. If executed properly it's almost guaranteed to kill her. You can also use your ultimate to dodge a good portion of her ultimate when she uses it.

Timing is key in this matchup.




This matchup can snowball very easily into either champion's favor. Always keep this in the back of your mind that a single kill can often give someone a big enough advantage to keep a lead for the remainder of the laning phase.

Early Game

Early game you should out damage Talon in a straight up fight assuming minions are even. You should look to harass him when he goes to last hit with a Q+E+Auto attack. Between levels 3-5 Talon can jump to you to dodge your Q. Talon's jump has 700 range so if you're throwing out your W+E+Q combo you should try to be outside of 700 range or he will just use his jump to dodge your damage and win the trade.

Middle Game

Middle Game Talon becomes stronger and his W harass starts to hurt a lot more especially if he has a blue buff. Talon can just use his ultimate to dodge your ultimate unless you invest in a pink ward, which is expensive and doesn't guarantee you a kill. Also, Talon's ultimate is 45 seconds shorter than yours at level 6. This means trading ultimates is a losing trade for you since he will have his up much sooner than you. For these reasons it's often best to just look wave clear and then roam or take jungle camps between waves rather than try to fight him 1v1 during this phase of the game.

Late Game

The only important thing to note for the Late Game is that you need to purchase an Oracle's Lens. This will allow you to see Talon when he uses his ultimate and will usually result in your being able to win 1v1s. This will be the key difference if you're attempting to split push, but will also help shut him down in team fights.


Twisted Fate


This is a very easy lane for Zed because of Twisted Fate's lack of mobility and innate squishiness. Early on just focus on farming and harassing him with your W+E+Q. Twisted Fate has good harass early on so don't take free damage from him in lane. Once you're level 6 it's important to take control of the lane and pin Twisted Fate down at his tower so he can't use his ultimate to gank side lanes. 




Viktor can be difficult due to his strong laning and his W stunning you when you go to engage. Time your aggression around his cooldowns and make sure to dodge his E as that's his main source of damage. Don't take too much harass early on by staying a safe distance away. Setting up a jungle gank can be effective due to Viktor lacking mobility.




Xerath is a safe champion because of the long range on his abilities. However, he is immobile and so if you catch him out of position you can burst him down once you have your ultimate. However, if he plays safe then you will unable to play aggressive. Instead, look to gank side lanes and take jungle camps between waves. If you do use your ultimate make sure to use your W immediately to jump behind him in order to dodge Xerath's stun.




In high elo play traditionally Zed is considered a counter to Yasuo. However, due to the snowbally nature of the matchup and the mechanical intensity I've rated him medium for lower elo players.

The reason why Zed does well against Yasuo is that his Q, E, and passive out damages Yasuo's Q+E in the early game. Once level 6 Zed's ultimate provides him with even more damage than Yasuo. Yasuo has to activate his 3rd proc on his Q ability to knock you up and activate his ultimate. You can also use your ultimate to dodge his Q, 3rd stack Q, and thus his ultimate.

You want to be cautious of taking free Q harass from Yasuo. Force him to use Q to last hit minions while you time your Q with his last hits.

Pay attention to Yasuo's passive timer and try to activate it with a Q long range then disengage until it wears off.

Careful of Yasuo hitting level 2 first and hitting a power spike on you. If Yasuo out shoves you level 1 then play back, last hit with Q, and wait to hit the same level as him and the minions to even out.

Look to land some standard W+E+Q harass combos on him when you can. Make sure to cast it fast or he could react and windwall it.

Play around your cooldowns and his cooldowns. Always make sure to be aware of when he has his 3rd Q stack and to play around it.




Stay away from your minions so that Ziggs can't both harass you and push the wave at the same time. Land your W+E+Q combo to harass him down to set up a kill. If Zigg's is playing extremely safe and far back look to push and then roam.

Early Game Back to Top

Zed has a very safe early game since he doesn't use mana and can just last hit with his Q. At level 1 you want to look for opportunities to land your Q on the opponent - try to time it when the opponent goes to last hit a minion. Once you have a point in all three of your abilities you can begin to use your W+E+Q combo to harass the opponent. Keep track of the opponent's health. Typically if the opponent is sitting around 60% health you can kill him with a W+E+Q combo into Ignite and autoattacks.

Once you have your ultimate you have a big power spike. Now is when you can look to go more aggressive in some matchups and try to kill the opponent. How you play the early game effects what you can do in the mid game - remember that. It's important that you don't die early as this will negatively effect what you can do as you transition into the mid game.

Middle Game Back to Top

During the middle game you now have more items and more levels. You essentially have three options: kill the opponent, gank a side lane, or take raptors/wolves. A big part of becoming a great Zed player is being able to make the correct decision when it comes to those three options. When roaming always do your best to push the wave first. This will pin the enemy mid laner at his tower and the enemy will also lose vision of you. This will also allow you to gank a lane without losing any farm since you just cleared the whole wave.

If you find yourself unable to gank a lane or to kill your opponent then you can take raptors or wolves. To do this first clear the wave mid as fast as you can then rotate to the jungle camp. The idea is to kill the jungle camp and get back to your lane before the next minion wave arrives. This will allow you to accumulate a large amount of gold so that you can get ahead in items. It's even better if you're able to control the enemies Raptor camp and steal it. This is because the enemy jungler relies on this camp to get the smite buff that helps him clear wards. Additionally, it lets you ward the brush next to Raptors without him being able to clear it, which is a very powerful ward in helping you keep track of the enemy jungler.

Late Game Back to Top

Late game your main goal is to assassinate their carries. However, this is much easier said than actually done. In most cases the enemy carries will be very well protected. A tactic you want to utilize is making picks. What this means is that instead of team fighting 5v5 you look to catch one of the opponents by himself. A common situation is when one of the enemies goes to farm a side lane. Here they are alone and you can quickly assassinate them and then take an objective off of it.

To make picks you need a lot of vision on the map so you can see where the enemy is going. Try to ask your teammates to ward and purchase some wards of your own. It's also important that you clear out the enemy's vision so they can't see where you're going - this is where vision wards and the sweeping lens trinket comes in. You can also split push, however this is a very risky strategy in solo queue since it requires coordination. I would only ever split push as a last resort if my team was losing so that I can avoid being forced to take losing team fights.

Team Fighting Back to Top

In team fights you want to assassinate the enemy carries. You don't want to be the initiator - that's the job of the tank. Instead, you wait patiently like a ninja. Be observant and pay attention to what spells the enemies use. You want to wait until they use their crowd control abilities so they can't lock you down. 

Once the enemy team has used their main crowd control abilities you can use your ultimate on one of the carries that's out of position. Be ready to swap back to your shadow at a moments notice. A lot of the time you're not doing very much at the start of a team fight - that's okay. You're simply waiting for people to get low on health and to use their abilities. That's when you go in and clean up the fight. Be patient and keep track of what spells are being used.

When the enemy has a Quicksilver or Zhonya's Back to Top

Both 3140_32.png and  3157_32.png can be the key items that result in you not being able to kill an enemy. There are essentially two outcomes when an enemy has built one of these items:

1) You simply can no longer kill them as long as they have this item off cooldown no matter how hard you outplay them

2) You are able to engage on them and win without using your ultimate forcing them to use one of the items preemptively

Naturally, since Zed is so reliant on his ultimate, often when someone gets one of these items you will not be able to kill them. However, there are a few things you want to look for when determining whether you can still kill someone even if they have one of these items.

1) How fed you are
2) How fed they are
3) How many escapes/crowd control they have

Since you aren't able to use your ultimate to kill them you essentially have to be able to kill them in a straight up fight where both of you are using your maximum amount of damage. How fed you have to be in order to win a 1v1 without your ultimate is highly dependent on what champion you're facing. The other thing you have to look for is how much crowd control/escapes they have. Since you're essentially relying on ghostblade, blade of the ruined king, your W, and flash to stick to opponents if they have enough escapes/crowd control you will just get kited and killed. The vast majority of your damage is coming from your auto attacks if you're not able to use your ultimates damage so you need to be able to stick to opponents.

For example, if I was more fed than a Jinx and she had a Quicksilver I would be able to 1v1 her since she lacks escapes and I can use my items/W/Flash to stick to her and dodge her crowd control. However, if I was against Vayne her invisibility, knockback, and tumble would be too much for me to be able to kill her if she had Quicksilver.

So to conclude you essentially have two choices when someone builds one of these items:

1) You are able to kill them without your ultimate's damage so you engage
2) You can no longer kill them and so you should choose another target that doesn't have one of these items or engage once one of these items is on cooldown (unlikely since they will probably just save the items for you).

Tip: Both Zhonya's and Quicksilver have a 90 second cooldown. Late game your ultimate will be on a minimum 70 second cooldown (lower if you have blue buff). This means if you time their item's cooldown when they use it you will have a 20 second window where you can engage on them and likely kill them with your ultimate.

Pros and Cons Back to Top


  • Very safe laning and hard to shut down
  • A high amount of burst
  • Easy last hitting because of your passive
  • Great wave clear and harass


  • You lack consistent/hard crowd control
  • Weak AOE damage in team fights
  • Requires good decision making and quick thinking
  • Is very weak against exhaust and hard crowd control

Warding Locations Back to Top

Warding Locations

Ward Locations.jpg
Note: This is from the perspective of Blue Side - meaning your Nexus is South. The exact same ward spots apply if you were Red Side - meaning your Nexus is North, except that the ward spots are simply rotated 180 degrees/mirrored.

1 - This is where you want to place your 2055.png as gaining vision control of the lane brush is very important. This is because the lane brush offers the most quickest and convenient location to place 3340.png for the enemy. By placing a 2055.png it denies the enemy this convenience. At the same time, it clears the most common area we'll be moving through when we roam. Lastly, it keeps our 2055.png close to us, which makes it easier to defend and harder for the enemy to get rid of.

2 - This is the optimal location for a 3340.png as it covers all the choke points for that side of the river. Additionally, it is hidden from 2055.png that are placed in the lane brushes. Keep in mind, this is just the most optimal, that doesn't mean it's always practical. It's okay to place your 3340.png in location 1 or somewhere between location 1 and 2 if you're unable to move any further due to safety or potential missed minions.

3 - This is the aggressive version of the 2nd ward location and should only be used when you have lane control and the enemy laner is forced to playing passive. It allows you to see when the enemy mid laner rotates to take blue buffs, jungle camps, roam, or react to one of your roams. At the same time, it spots junglers that are coming from raptors/wolves.

4 - This is a very powerful ward that can easily be placed after you push the mid laner into his tower. This gives you vision on the enemy's raptor camp. This can give you a wide range of information. For example, if you place this ward early on it tells you whether the enemy jungler is invading/ganking the side he started on or if he's doing a standard clear. When you spot the enemy jungler doing his raptors it relieves pressure off of everyone else as you know exactly where the enemy jungler it is. At the same time, that opens your own jungler to adjust his play accordingly. On top of that, just knowing that the jungler ISN'T doing his raptors can give you information on where he might possibly be.

5 - This is simply a better version of the 4th warding location. However, it's more time consuming, riskier, and overall more difficult to get a ward here. The reason why it's better than the 4th warding location is that you can see if the enemy's jungler is skipping raptors and which direction he's moving towards. I like to ward here when I have a big lead and I do it after I push a wave to pin the enemy mid laner at his tower.

6 - This is known as the lane ward and you might have seen it before. This is best used against champions that are looking to roam and is typically used when you've lost lane and are behind. It's especially strong against Twisted Fate due to the manner in which he ganks. Essentially, this ward will let you see which direction the enemy mid laner moves to after he kills the minion wave. In a way this gives you the benefits of warding both sides of your lane with only one ward: you get to see if he's ganking either side lane. However, you also get to see if the enemy is recalling or just standing at his tower. Keep in mind the main downside of this ward is that it doesn't protect you against other enemies ganking your lane.

Ask Me Questions, Streaming, Coaching, and more! Back to Top

My IGN is Hexadecimal and I play on the North American server. I've been challenger tier every season since its release. I can play all roles, but I main middle lane.


Want to ask me questions? I answer all questions I receive on my Twitter.

Want to learn how to improve, climb the ladder, and watch me play? Follow me on Twitch and get notified when I go live.


I also offer coaching for $25 an hour. I will teach you how to become a better player, how to climb the ladder, and much more. If you're interested you can contact me via e-mail:

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