Read this post. There's no tl;dr. If you didn't read simply get out. The purpose of this analysis is to let people know the quality of Zed. Looking for a shortcut teaches you nothing, read it or beat it.
Alright, after about what is now, a dozen custom games testing builds, and about a half dozen in game pub plays, here's my honest, genuine review of Zed.
I'm sick of reading "OMG ZED SO UP BUFF PLX".
1) Season 3 isn't even here yet, enough with the whining, therefore items that are oriented towards AD casters are not here yet, meaning items that could be optimized on Zed aren't here yet, so once again stop whining.
2) This is exactly how Syndra was when she came out, she wasn't living up to her potential, and thus came some quality of life changes, and voila she's somewhat more viable and a farm monster to boot.
Zed's skill kit.
Zed's skill kit is almost identical to Lee Sin's, with a few twists thrown in to make him unique amongst our 100-plus champions. This is a major note, so remember, all his moves in his kit hits for physical damage with the exception of his 'execute' style passive. So armor heavily counters him.
His passive is basically a pre-nerf/change J4 passive, knocking off a % of their health in magic damage except this only happens below a certain threshold. Fantastic at allowing Zed to last hit in lane and in the jungle.
His Q(1.0 AD Ratio), is similar to Lee Sin's Q, in terms of range and slightly thinner width, relatively similar projectile speed. Very high energy costs at lower levels, so it makes for prioritizing skills.
His W, is essentially Lb's W, except with a reverse function, set a position, swap on command. This move is what makes Zed unique. If anything, it's kinda like quickdraw on Graves, except it gives vision of your shadow, so I think of it similar to safeguard because you can go to it without much issue. Can be used to go through some walls, the shadow falls short so prepare to be disappointed when try to make dire escapes. The passive on this W is if anything one of the best passive's I've seen yet, and may even be game breaking, end game.
His E(0.8 AD Ratio), once again, similar to Lee Sin's E, and if the shadow hits it even slows! But I personally think the slow on this is very weak since it lasts 1.5 seconds. Can be fixed with a phage in a build.
Finally we come to his Ultimate, it's a wild combination of Fizz's playful, with a god-like gap-closer, and a Vlad ult damage explosion thrown in. Once again, this is what makes Zed unique. This move late game can be a game breaker if underestimated. It has a 100% TOTAL AD ratio + 50% of the damage done by both YOU and your SHADOW. (Essentially and potentially 100% AD + 50% + 25% Shadow can't AA, and has reduced damage), the only down side is that it has no initially damage built in.
This is important.
His ultimate says ALL damage magic and physical done by Zed and his shadow. This should include(Though some items obviously not recommended), DFG, Gunblade, Blade of Ruined King, Madred's Bloodrazor on-hits, etc etc. Hopefully when we see some S3 items, we'll see more of the like, and hopefully some oriented towards Zed.
Zed's Jungling potential
By far, one of the fastest clearing jungle champions to date. Last night I had a mid having a hissy-fit and refused to leash me because I chose Zed when he wanted to mid with him. So I ended up solo'ing red, and blue, and still did it under the 3:50 mark.(Somewhere around there, I was level 4 while some lanes were just getting into level 3). Counter-jungling Zed can be very scary since when at level 4 he gets his shadow providing some very nice early game damage burst. Don't underestimate him in the jungles as others have.
Earlier I tried comparing his laning to Katarina who is renowned for having a nightmarish time. Zed actually is very strong in lane if played correctly, shadow should not be spammed in lane as it's CD is exceptionally long, and could essentially cost you your life. Use your shadow to engage, but never to poke, and only do so when you KNOW you're going to win the engage harass, after your enemy laner backs out, get some free hits off E to reduce the CD, it's not the most effective method yet, but it works. Use your ult accordingly. When using your ult be sure to watch % to make sure you can burst them to death. If you're build the way I listed later you should be able to kill priority targets at~
60% ~ Level 1 Ult
65% ~ Level 2 Ult
75% ~ Level 3 Ult.
Late game, with items such as BT & Black Cleaver(LW isn't bad either, I prefer flat Arm Pen on this champion) with a Brut/Youmuu's in hand, most priority targets should die rather quickly.
Zed's role in a team fight
Team fight just broke out, you're there in person, or there waiting for the ADC to get within shadow range. You don't ult in because that means you're vulnerable the moment it's over, you throw your shadow in, hit E, land a solid double hitting or multi-team member hitting Q, and then, just as they're about to switch to target you, you hit that ult button as fast as you can, on the adc, slam that E, Q, and get that auto attack passive to proc, and wham. ADC is a pile of dust, whether you lived or died.
Zed is a strong all around choice but he has 2 fatal flaws and the first is the same as Darius/Jayce. He has zero sustain abilities, and relies strictly on vamp, (Hopefully in AD items in S3) and spell vamp. The second flaw is what Jayce/Darius has that he doesn't. Dependable crowd-control. Zed has very poor movement speed, and his slow frankly is extremely weak, lasting a meager 1.5 seconds.
His chasing ability, not the best.
Energy issues. The first Energy champion I've seen with this issue.
Kennen has energy refund on his lightning run(40), and upon breaking 3 storm marks(25).
Lee Sin is refunded energy upon auto attacks(15x2, 15x2) after skill use with a huge AS steroid.
Akali is refunded energy upon detonating a mark.(40)
Shen is refunded energy when landing his dash(40xC), and on Ki Strikes(30).
Not because I'm spamming skills in lane, it's because nothing refunds energy well on this champ. The only move that does refunds a miniscule amount and in addition can only be done once every time his W comes off CD.
SQUISHY SQUISHY SQUISHY. Build him a Frozen Mallet, basically it fixes his little chasing impotency, and gives him more bulk for his bite.
Because he has weak CC, this affects his jungling. If the lane he is ganking has no cc, they are either all in for the kill, or going to have to burn a summoner's or two. If I had to choose between a Nunu, Shyvana, or Zed gank, I'd probably go with the first two.
If you get silenced during your ult, your bazooka to the face turns into a punch in the shoulder.
I've tested out several builds for Zed, and frankly armor pen is the way to go with this Assassin.
I've done the following builds, and ranking them top to bottom, best-to-not-too-bad.
3 Flat AD Reds
6 Flat Arm Pen Reds
9 Flat Arm Yellow
9 MR Scaling Blues
3 AD Quints/3 Arm Pen Quints
In my honest opinion, I believe Zed NEEDS CDR. His ult is a deal breaker when it comes to damage, and being able to spam his E in team fights with his shadow can help a-lot in terms of damage. Depending on the itemization, Randuin's is not a bad item if you want a HoG(Please don't go, I love you.) for GP10, just build Randuin's after your BT and Frozen Mallet. As for Magic resist items, I know of none besides hexdrinker, merc treads, and FoN(which will be leaving us shortly..)
Boots+3, Doran's Blade(1-2), Brutalizer, CDR Boots, Phage, BT/Black Cleaver(S3 Cleaver will be a MUST), Frozen Mallet, GA.
Boots+3, HoG(Don't leave me baby!), Avarice Blade, Brutalizer, CDR Boots, BT/BC, Youmuu's, Randuin's, GA
You want Assassin? I'll give you assassin!
Here's a build that will undoubtedly let you attack an enemy champion, and literally leave him at 50% to watch him explode from Zed's mark.
Berserker Grieves, Madred's Blood Razor, Wit's End, Black Cleaver.
Performed this on a Shen Bot with 200 armor, and 120 MR. It was fun watching him explode. 4-item build is 9735 gold.
Now, the reason I build Youmuu's is not for crit, it's the CDR and it's one of the only AD items that provide such a stat. If you're playing Zed right, you'll be getting a fair number of AA's, so BT/BC aren't bad choices.
S3 Black Cleaver will be a must, because all his spells hit for physical damage, and you should easily be able to proc 6 stacks with little to no issue.
At first when I made this thread I believed he was a mildly weak choice because he has some issues, but to be honest he's a pretty balanced champion. I personally believe he'll be slightly OP, because of his W late game. 25% Free Passive AD, no charge. But for now I think he's pretty good, despite all the players that have no clue what they're doing experimenting and whatnot -- and complaining, let's not forget complaining--.
But as of now, from what I see, he has poor chasing potential, excellent dueling ability, decent zoning in lane, and fairly safe laning phase, but lacking a sustain. I think he's pretty balanced, could use a TINY tweak here and there for maintenance issues.
What do you guys think of Zed so far? Thumbs up or Thumbs down?
Edited for hilarious typo removed, and small updates in Skill kit, and build area.
Edited again for my horrible English, and auto-correct is a nightmare.
Interesting notes made about Zed;
make the damage at the end become true damage instead of physical(would make it an actual scary thing to be marked).
if you toss out your W ahead of you and reproc it to get a gap, you have already made half the distance to the shadow since it's seemingly cast-able while moving. Therefore you don't make much space between you and any champ with a gapcloser, and you're forced to sit there and get beaten down as you wish for those 15 seconds of shadow downtime to tick by faster.
Since you fully rely on your clone to regenerate energy, and the CD is massive early, you'll find that not pacing your shurikens or actually missing the occasional one here and there (additionally, the AOE for his E is relatively small and it's easy to fluke it) or even not having a clone to dish out E's and Q's alongside you in a fight leads to OoE when it matters most. It seems a bit counter-intuitive to an assassin.