An in-depth analysis of Zed
I'm seeing a lot of discussion about Zed in the forums, along with a few posts debating his power relative to similar champions, Talon in particular. Let's go into the maths behind these two champions in a vacuum first, then go on to address their roles and the reality behind the two champions.
Let's start with Zed.
I'm seeing people complain about his low burst, quoting number such as his "pathetic 2.9 bonus ad scaling." Let's slow down and actually do the math here. Stick with me on this (or skip to the totals if you'd like.)
Full burst in a vacuum (two shadows up, uninterrupted and unmitigated damage), not including auto attacks:
Q: 430(+2.0) <-Two shadows, each dealing 50%,+normal from you
R: 305(+1.45) <-50% of above damage
Taking into account his 25% increased overall scaling from W, this becomes
Total with passive: 915(+5.4375) +(15%hp) <-5% more due to ult proc
Total with passive and one auto attack: 1079.7(+7.3125)+(15%hp)
*Zed's auto attacks during the ult scale. Hard. His base (109.8) times 1.5 gives 164.7 base, and each point of extra damage he buys is actually 1.25 points of damage, increased by 50%, meaning his autos do damage of 164.7(+1.875) during the ult*
Wow. A far cry from the 610(+2.9) that I've seen in many threads. But let's keep going
Talon's damage becomes this:
Q: Burst increased by 15%, half of the dot (3s) increased by 15%
(150(+.3) + 45(+.6))*1.15 + 45(+.6)= 269.25(+1.635)
W: 260(+1.2)*1.15= 299(+1.38)
R: 520(+1.8)*1.15= 598(+2.07)
Total including passive: 1282.875(+5.5935)
Total including passive and one auto-attack: 1399.255(+6.6935)
So, it would seem Zed actually scales better than Talon, having both an advantage in bonus ad (+.619 in Zed's favor), and scaling with the enemy's total hp.
So, at what point does Zed outburst a Talon? Well, let's see.
We get the equation for their break even point
in which "x" is bonus ad on Talon or Zed and "y" is the enemy's total hp
If we solve this for y, we get
What does this mean? Well, for any given bonus ad that talon and Zed have, it gives the amount of enemy hp required for Zed to outburst Talon. Let's figure out what this implies:
Lowest base HP in the game: Sona at 1600HP
Highest base HP in the game: Nunu at 2381HP
Think about this for a moment. The more health a champion buys, the better Zed scales. And for the absolute lowest amount of hp you can have (in which case, Zed's base damage kills you anyway), Zed outbursts talon when they each have at least 128.52 AD.
So enough complaining about Zed's burst. You remember that time when you stupidly forgot that armor exists in this game and talon killed you, then pentakilled your team? Yeah, Zed can kill you better. Except wait...Talon does mostly AOE damage, and Zed does mainly single target. Talon will clearly do more damage in an area than Zed can ever dream of, so that pentakill may not be happening for Zed.
So, because Talon is rarely played and Zed is worse than Talon, Zed must be broken under powered and is a troll pick, right? Hold on, we still have a while to go. Follow me on this journey into my next post. (So that people can respond to what is here so far).
That was a nice refreshing amount of maths that helps put some things into perspective. But we all know this game doesn't exist in a vacuum, and raw numbers aren't all that matter (see: Veigar, LeBlanc).
Let's take a step back and look at these two champions with game elements in the picture now.
First, let's talk early game.
Q: Long range poke/last hitting.
W: Good escape/juking tool, can be used for good harass in combination with Q/E.
E: Damage is fairly weak, slow isn't bad, but we'll take what we can get.
-Energy based. Spam all you want.
-Relatively safe lane for being melee
-Decent utility with slow/dash
-Damage is low without ult
-Somewhat more demanding to play
Q: Good for finishing up that harassment combo, can be used to reset attack timer and farm if absolutely necessary.
W: The harass on this ability is absolutely insane. Anytime the enemy wants farm, throw this out and threaten the E. Then again, your mana bar is slowly dwindling.
E: Makes him the perfect AP counter. Jump in, silence, burst, get out with that incredible movement speed.
-Great harassment tools
-Lot's of utility between silence and slow
-Decent burst even without ult
-Mana hungry (this is dealt with through standard start of 1-2 mana pots and/or regen runes on talon)
-No reliable escape without ult
The biggest thing I wanted to mention here is the Zed's kit BEGS for him to use a trinity force, but he's energy based. Talon, on the other hand, is free to build it.
I know from the numbers that Zed's auto attacks hit WAY harder than talon's, between the effects on the passive and the W, but he also has to use his main escape tool to get into the fight and actually hit someone (though talon doesn't even have a good escape tool anyway). Also worthy of mentioning is that Zed's cooldowns outside of the ultimate are shorter than talon's. However, considering that Zed is the more ult reliant of the two outside of long-range poke, this may not be enough to give him an edge.
Soon to come for me at least. I'd like to see some input from those of you who already have experience on Zed.
Do I personally think Zed is going to be a top tier champ in the future? Not really, but the great thing about league is viability doesn't only include the top tier. Unlike some games, diversity is good and sometimes beating your opponent can simply be a matter of playing a champion they're not used to facing.
I might expand on this thread later when I have more experience, but I'll probably at least keep it bumped, because I think Zed is a pretty cool idea for a champ and wonder what people think of him given these details.
-waits patiently, I like where this thread is going-
+1 for the effort. Good read
Taking a break from writing for a little bit. Might do some in depth fight analysis and maths, such as attacks against armored vs mr'ed, as zed's passive isn't physical, etc, or go more into tricks to playing each champ such as engage timings and more in depth builds, but for now, leaving it as is. Maybe the community will be able to pick it up from here and get a good discussion going about how each is played.
I find maxing E before Q gives more damage during ult, since you'll get to hit it twice with some CDR (4 seconds), whereas you can never hit more than one Q+shadow Q. And also when trading you can just mash E all day since it's on such a Low CD. The damage ends up equalizing with Q.
I think another pro to Talon is he is straightforward. Zed? Not so much. I have never seen so many people fail at a new champion has I have seen today. I played him in a custom game and I had to sit there and read what the heck his ult even does. He's got an incredibly high skill cap while Talon can be played much easier mid lane if you are experienced with melee mids (Diana or Akali is a good transition into Talon mid. I was able to pick up Diana easily with my experience playing Talon).
Unless you can master Zed, I'd stick with Talon mid lane. Don't screw over your team. He has a high skill cap, maybe the highest in the game. (More than Xerath, who people claim is the hardest champion.)
I've only played him for three games, so take everything I say with a huge grain of salt. I managed to dominate with him for those three games. By late game, I was able to confidently kill anyone on the enemy team that wasn't a tank or bruiser. In that regard, he does is job extremely well. I'm usually never able to confidently burst down someone late game with talon, but maybe that's just me. I feel like the bonus ad he gets from his w passive is crazy strong. Zed can also pretty much never be ganked successfully because of the shadows from his Ult and w. He can also farm extremely well because of his shrunken and shadow slash and the fact that he uses energy.
I know this is 100% anecdotal, but he felt extremely strong when I was playing him. Maybe it was just because he's new and nobody knows how to play against him yet.
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