How To Play Zed In League Of Legends

Do you like playing assassins? What if I told you could play as a shadow ninja in League of Legends? In this guide, we’ll show you everything you need to know to play Zed, the Master of Shadows.


Zed is one of the most mechanically complicated champions in the game. He belongs in the same tier of high skill cap champions who are hard to use like Vayne, Lee Sin, Yasuo, and Riven. Despite this, he is a very popular champion with a lot of people choosing to be Zed mains. This is probably because of Faker, SKT T1’s mid laner who popularized the champion thanks to his amazing outplays at the Korean OGN finals back in 2013. Ever since then, there’s been a lot of interest in players trying to use Zed to dominate their matches.

Champion Abilities

Like most assassins, Zed’s kit is geared towards dealing a lot of damage in a split second. He also has a ton of mobility making him one of the slipperiest champions in the game. 

Passive – Contempt for the Weak

Zed’s basic attack against low health targets deals bonus magic damage. This effect can only occur once every few seconds against the same enemy champion.

Not the most consistent damaging passive, but it definitely helps Zed finish off his targets.

Q – Razor Shuriken

Zed and his Shadows throw their shurikens, each dealing physical damage to the first enemy they pass through and less physical damage to each additional enemy. 

This is Zed’s main source of damage. It has a low cooldown and a decent range. Use it often and try to hit as many targets as you can. When combined with your W, it’s a great way to poke down your enemy’s health. You should max this ability first.

W – Living Shadow

Zed passively gains energy whenever he and his shadows strike an enemy with the same ability. Additionally, you can activate this skill to have Zed’s shadow dash forward, remaining in place for 5 seconds. Recasting this ability will cause Zed to switch positions with his shadow.

One of Zed’s mobility tools. Use this to poke down your enemies or to surprise them by using it through a wall or ledge. Lead with Living Shadow whenever you’re starting to fight so that your enemies will receive double damage from your abilities.

E – Shadow Slash

Zed and his shadows slash, dealing physical damage to nearby enemies. Each enemy champion hit by Zed’s slash reduces Living Shadow’s cooldown by 2 seconds. Enemies hit by a shadow’s slash are slowed for 1.5 seconds.

The only ability in Zed’s kit that has CC. Great for slowing down enemies during ganks or when escaping. When combined with your Q, it’s a great source of instant burst damage.

R – Death Mark

Zed becomes untargetable and dashes to an enemy champion, marking them. After 3 seconds, the mark triggers, dealing 100% of your Attack Damage as physical damage and repeating all damage dealt to the target by Zed while the mark was active. The dash leaves a shadow behind for 6 seconds. Zed can recast this ability to switch positions with this shadow.

This ability is the main reason why Zed can easily one shot opponents. If you cast it close enough to your target, you’ll have three shadows who will mimic all the skills you cast, essentially dealing triple damage and once Death Mark is over, all that damage will be dealt again to the target. 

Runes and Item Builds

When playing Zed, your focus is to build a lot of damage and lethality. Lethality helps your attacks and damaging abilities to ignore your target’s armor. So the more lethality, the more damage you deal. 

Starting Items

When playing as Zed, you should be aggressive early on in the game. So for your starter items, take a Long Sword and a couple of Health Potions. Since you’ll be playing Mid, you’ll most likely be matching up against a squishy mage. The additional damage Long Sword provides can make each of your damaging abilities pre level 6 to hurt a lot. 

Mythic Items

You can actually go for each of the lethality Mythic Items, but the best choice has to be Duskblade of Draktharr. It’s the best go to Mythic for Zed and can be useful in every situation. However, if you feel like you need a bit more sustain, you can go with an Eclipse instead. Its shield and bonus omnivamp can help you against certain champions that have a longer range than you. If you feel like you need more mobility to stick to your targets, then Prowler’s Claw is a better option. Its active dash can help you get closer to the enemy team’s backline.

Full Build

The first item you should rush on Zed isn’t a Mythic Item. Instead, you should focus on getting Youmuu’s Ghostblade as soon as you can. It’s a very low cost item that gives Zed everything he needs in the early game. For your boots, take Ionian Boots of Lucidity for the cooldown reductions. Next, build your choice of Mythic Item. At this point, Zed is strong enough to snowball the entire game. Build The Collector next to further help you execute targets. Serylda’s Grudge is up next to increase your armor penetration plus it adds a slow to all your damaging abilities. Lastly, cap it off with an Edge of Night for more lethality, damage, and a passive spell shield. If the enemy team doesn’t have a mage, you can swap out Edge of Night with a Guardian Angel. So your full build should look a little something like this:


For runes, you’ll be running the same setup for most of your games. First, take Electrocute from the Dominion path as your keystone. This will greatly help with the burst damage from your combos. Next take Taste of Blood and Eyeball Collection for additional heal and damage. Lastly, take Ultimate Hunter so that your ultimate will have a permanently reduced cooldown whenever you take down an opponent. For secondaries, go with Transcendence and Scorch from the Sorcery path. Transcendence helps reduce your cooldowns and Scorch adds a little bit more of damage that can help you execute targets. For rune shards, take double adaptive runes for more damage and take magic resist or armor depending on your matchup as your defensive rune. 

Useful Tips

  1. Remember to place a Living Shadow right before you cast Death Mark so that you’ll have three shadows who’ll mimic every ability you cast.
  2. Living Shadow has a very long cooldown so make sure you use it wisely. You can be very vulnerable without it as it is your only form of mobility in your kit. 
  3. Zed doesn’t have any weak matchups in the mid lane and is very strong against squishy targets. Sometimes, you’ll run into bruisers like Irelia and Riven in the mid lane. These champions can counter you hard since you won’t be able to one shot them quickly. Make sure to ban these champions before the match begins.

So there you have it! That’s everything you need to know to get you started playing Zed in League of Legends. Be sure to check back with us again for more guides on your favorite games. Have fun and we’ll see you on the Rift!