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).