How to Counter Zed – League of Legends

How to Counter Zed

The Master of Shadows

Cost: 6300 LP or 975 RP



Health 440 (+0/level) Attack Damage 49 (+3.4/level)
Health Regen. 6.0 (+0.65/level) Attack Speed 0.658 (+3.1%/level)
Energy 200 Armor 17 (+3.5/level)
Energy Regen. 50 Magic Resist 30 (+1.25/level)
Range 125 (Melee) Move Speed 345



Contempt for the Weak


Passive: When Zed attacks a target below 50% health, his attacks do an additional 6/8/10% of the target’s maximum health as magic damage (only happens once every 10 seconds per target).

Razor Shuriken


Range: 900Cooldown: 6Cost (energy): 75/70/65/60/55 Active: Zed throws a blade forward, dealing physical damage to the first enemy it hits and 60% damage to every enemy afterwards.Living Shadow: The shadow will throw a shuriken in the same direction as the target. Additional hits on the same enemy deal 50% and restore energy. Physical Damage: 75/115/155/195/235 (+100% bonus AD)

Living Shadow


Range: 550Cooldown: 18/17/16/15/14Cost (energy): 40/35/30/25/20 Passive: Zed gains bonus attack damage.Active: Zed projects a a shadow of himself forward, lasting for 4 seconds. Reactivating will cause Zed to jump to the shadow.Living Shadow: The shadow mimics basic abilities. If an enemy is struck twice by a mimicked ability, Zed restores some energy. Bonus Attack Damage: 5/10/15/20/25% Bonus ADEnergy Restored: 20/25/30/35/40

Shadow Slash


Range: 290Cooldown: 4Cost(energy): 50 Active: Zed slashes around him, dealing physical damage. Each enemy his reduces the cooldown by 2 seconds.Living Shadow: The shadow also slashes, slowing enemies for 1.5 seconds. Enemies hit by the shadow and real slash are slowed more, but do not take extra damage. Physical Damage: 60/90/120/150/180 (+80% bonus AD)Slow: 20/25/30/35/40%Overlapping Slow: 30 37.5/45/52.5/60%

Death Mark


Range: 625Cooldown: 120/100/80Cost: No Cost Active: Zed dashes to the target, becoming untargetable for .75 seconds. He marks the target and creates a shadow at the enemy location. Reactivating this ability will make Zed jump back to this shadow.After 3 seconds, the mark will explode, dealing damage to the enemy based on how much damage was dealt while marked. Physical Damage: 100% AD + 20/35/50% of damage dealt




  • Easy lane clear
  • High burst
  • Can close gaps, dodge skills with ultimate
  • Good escapes with Living Shadow
  • No mana
  • Ranged poke
  • Squishy
  • All-in champion
  • Long CD on Living Shadow
  • Item-dependent
  • Low early damage
  • Skillshot reliant

One of the most highly banned champions during season 3, Zed is an unstoppable force if played correctly. Fortunately for those hoping to counter him, he has a pretty high skill cap, and a pretty easy way to shut him down. As in most counters, the best way to beat a champion is to realize where he or she excels, and figure out how to beat that.

Zed’s strengths lie in his ability to farm at a distance and his huge burst potential with his ultimate. Zed is great at mind games, making you hesitant to get close in the fear that he will all-in kill you with his full combo. He is also very difficult to gank, as his Living Shadow ability acts as a blink to get him out of danger easily. However, if you want become tanky or negate his ultimate, you should be able to farm and not let him zone you out of lane.

Picking against a Zed

While Zed is extremely dangerous with his high burst and damage output combo, there are a few champion qualities that will allow you to escape from his grasps without dying. Zed’s weakest points can be exploited with sustain, tankiness, abilities that make you untargetable, and hard cc.

Sustain and Tankiness: In lane, Zed can bully you from a distance by using his living shadow to cast his spells from the safety of behind his own minions. If he whittles you down low enough, he can then all-in dive you with his ultimate, bursting down a lot of your health and killing you in a split second. Of course, the natural counter to this type of playstyle is to first have sustain, so he never gets to the point where he feels comfortable diving you. His combo’s weakness is that if he dives and doesn’t kill you, he is left vulnerable, out of place, squishy, and without any damage or escape. If you have enough sustain so he never feels comfortable going all-in for fear that he cannot kill you, then you can farm safely without worrying about getting too close to his range. On that same note, picking a tanky champion will also ensure that Zed is unable to kill you instant, keeping him from diving you, and possibly giving you the opportunity to zone him rather than the other way around.

Untargetable Abilities: This one is pretty self-explanatory. Zed is an all-in instant-kill champion, which means that not only will his combo be rendered useless if his target becomes untargetable, but he will also be insanely out of position and incredibly easy to focus down.

Hard CC: Part of the nature of Zed’s ult is that although it is a showstopper and will completely destroy you if he gets it off, it’s extremely predictable. The animation makes it extremely clear who he is targeting, and you know for a fact that once the gap close animation is complete, he will end up right on top of his target. This means that any sort of hard cc, such as a taunt or stun can be directed at his landing point, making him easy to focus once he lands on his target.

Additional Item Strategy: A Quicksilver Sash or a Mercurial Scimitar can prevent the additional damage dealt by Zed’s mark exploding if activated within 3 seconds before the mark explodes. Keep in mind that cleanse will not remove the mark. Zhonya’s Hourglass will also help mitigate some of the bonus damage, but not allowing Zed to damage you while the mark on his ultimate is active.

Some Champions that are Good Vs Zed in Lane: Kayle, Lissandra, Diana, Vlad, Fizz, Swain, Ahri

Some Champions that are Good Vs Zed in Fights: Janna, Annie, Malzahar, Shen, All Champions Above


During the laning phase, a good Zed will stay passive at early levels, harassing you from behind his minions and zoning you with his shadow. You will want to stay away from his shadow, as he can cast any ability to have his shadow mimic it. Although he is a melee champion, his range is deceptively long when you combine his shadow with his other abilities, especially Razor Shuriken. Additionally, although he probably can’t kill you too early, he can trade pretty evenly if you decide to try and harass him. Spend the early laning phase keeping up in CS and trying to deny him farm if possible. Make sure your jungler is aware of Zed’s position, and the cooldown on his W, as you can take advantage of the long cooldown to gank him and burn his flash or maybe even get a kill at this point.

Additionally, it is important to remember that his Razor Shuriken deteriorates in damage after it hits its first target, so you may be able to optimize your trades with Zed by hiding behind your own minions while you harass him.

If at any point you become low health during the laning phase, it is important to recall and have your jungler cover your lane, since Zed’s passive makes it a lot easier for him to pick off weak targets, especially when combined with his ultimate, W gap closer, and massive burst potential.

If you chose a champion with any of the attributes above, you can win the laning phase simply by farming and not allowing Zed to kill you while you get help from your jungler if he decides to ult. Sustaining your health at a reasonable level while harassing from behind your minions and farming on your own will help you scale better than Zed into mid game. While Zed has great wave clear, he is incredibly item dependent, and if he does not get any kills, it will be hard for him to do too well during mid-game (he will still be a threat late game if he farms decently). If you sustain yourself, Zed will be hesitant to dive in, and if he does, you will likely survive his ambush, opening up opportunity to counterstrike, since he will be right up on you. If you would like to bait Zed into an attack, call your jungler over and make sure you time your untargetable ability right so you avoid some of his burst damage. The same goes if you are tanky enough to withstand his combo – bait out his W or ultimate and then make him pay when he doesn’t finish you off.

If you are not able to sustain yourself or get a tanky pick, your only option is to use hard CC and getting your jungler to gank him. Never do this unless you know for sure that his W is on cooldown, as his W is a reliable means of escape and a reliable way to waste your jungler’s time. If he cannot escape with W, a flash stun or whatever other hard CC you own may be just the thing to let your jungler appear and have the two of you finish him off. Zed excels from scaring you off and getting burst damage kills, and if you can keep him off of your back by sustaining yourself or surviving his combo in lane, you will be all set.



Assuming you were able to shut Zed down early game, the only thing you will have to worry a lot about during mid-game is his split-push ability, as it will not only cost you towers, but it will also let him farm and enable him to catch up if he didn’t get kills. The way to stop a Zed from split-pushing is simply to send someone to take care of him who can 1v1. While mid game Zed will be able to 1v1 most squishy champions, he will not risk going all in on a tanky champion, like your jungler or your mid (if you chose tanky). Mid-game Zed is not too scary if you did your job during the laning phase. However, he will still have the ability to burst down your squishy carry if a team fight were to break out, so you really need to protect your carry when this happens. It will be obvious when he ults your carry, and anything you can do to protect him (shields, heals, armor buffs, invincibility) will do the trick. If Zed was weakened from early game, he will be a one-trick pony, and if you spoil that trick when he tried to jump your carry, he will be easy to deal with.

If you did not do so well early game against Zed, you are simply going to have to spend a lot of energy containing him during mid-game split-pushing. He will probably be able to solo anyone on your team in a duel if you fed him during the laning phase, so you need to send two or more champions in his direction if you find him split-pushing. This might mean you lose control over another area of the map, and he might get away because of his sticky nature, but make sure if you invest 2 resources to take care of him that you at least make away with a tower, buff, or dragon, since the attention you gave to him will likely cost you an objective as well. There is no real good way to take care of a fed Zed at this point other than going after him and an objective, or giving up a tower in order to 5v4 their team, which can still be risky. Just remember it is a game of objectives, and if Zed is fed, you don’t want to send one person to deal with him and you want the encounter to end in an objective being secured for your team.

If Zed is fed and in team fights mid-game, the same methodology of protecting whoever he ults goes. His damage will be tremendously higher if he did well early though, so more attention will have to be paid to his assassination attempt if you want to keep your carry alive to clean up the rest of his team. Hard CC when he jumps to your carry, as well as any other protection you can give your carry is much appreciated here. The name of the game is peel.

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