Zilean is a special mage because he has only one offensive spell, for three utility spells. To compensate for this, Q - Time Bomb inflicts heavy area damage and, if a target is hit by two bombs at the same time, it's stunned for a short time. In Mid, it's important to buy items to increase your AP to be able to bring damage to your team. Zilean uses his spells a lot, so items that grant mana are preferable in the first levels.
The Boots of Lucidity are adapted to Zilean which bases its impact in part on the CDR. However, you may prefer Sorcerer's Shoes to increase your damage.
- Hextech GLP-800 allows you to slow down your enemies. Combined with E - Time Warp, you can slow down your enemies over a very long period of time.
- The Twin Shadows will allow you to catch up and reveal enemies out of range.
- Morellonomicon brings you AP, magical penetration and prevents your enemies from healing themselves properly.
- Against sturdy targets, Void Staff will allow you to break through the magical resistance.
- If you want more power, Rabadon's Deathcap will be a good choice. Mejai's Soulstealer also if the enemies can't kill you.
- If you fear for your life and W - Rewind is not enough for you, turn to an Zhonya's Hourglass against the assassins and a Banshee's Veil if an enemy spell is repeatedly bothering you.
How to play Zilean
Zilean shines by his versatility, so his game plan is different depending on the composition of his team, and whether he is ahead or behind in the game. You will often be confronted with two cases:
You're early: you have to constantly poke your opponent, use Q - Time Bomb as often as possible but don't always try to put a double bomb to apply your stun, it would cost you a lot of mana and can be risky. Once your opponents have few hit points, favor an area control or quietly take the closest target (Turret, dragon etc.).
You are late or your team is more feed than you: You must therefore adapt to the situation, and get closer to a supporting gameplay. Get further behind your team, use E -Time Warp to give speed to an ally so that he can reward enemies with his DPS, or run away. Always be within range of the target you want to keep alive so you can reanimate it with R - Chronoshift, and finally use your bombs to zone-in or stun opponents who are getting too close.
In the lane phase:
- Level 1: Use Q - Time Bomb to inflict damage on your opponent.
- Level 2: W - Rewind allows you to reset the recovery time of Q - Time Bomb. Don't try to put a double bomb early in the game due to its high mana cost; only use it to try to kill, prepare a gank or to clean up your wave of minions before returning to base.
- Continue retrieving your minions and poke your opponent during the first few levels, and when you've got enough gold coins, make a back to retrieve your Tear of the Goddess and start scaling for the rest of the game.
- Level 8: pass E - Time Warp level 2 so you can apply a more powerful slowdown and drop your bombs more easily.
- Level 9: If you are unable to drop your double bombs increase E - Time Warp again, if you are well in your game continue to improve Q - Time Bomb.
While in teamfight
Determine your objectives before starting the fight to get the most out of Zilean's abilities. Several choices are available to you;
- You are ahead: play selfishly, and use your kit to help you only, take advantage of the movement speed or the slowing down provided by E - Time Warp to survive or to lay your bombs more easily. Use E - Time Warp on you first, if you are safe try to save an ally anyway.
- You are late and an ally is well in his part: transform you in support and follow this ally of everywhere be ready to help him with E - Time Warp so that he can maneuver more easily his character around the teamfight, and use imperatively R - Chronoshift on him if he's going to die. He will be your spear and you will be his shield for the rest of the game.
- The whole of your team isn't ahead of the game: you must constantly look for an area stunner with your double Q - Time Bomb in order to hopefully find an initiation for your team, and drop bombs on the waves of minions to repel them. Just buy some time for your team to get back up.
Tips & Tricks
- If a unit targeted by Q - Time Bomb dies, the bomb explodes immediately. Use a double bomb (Q-W-Q) on a dying minion to surprise and inflict damage and stun an opponent standing too close to his wave of minions.
With enough reduction in recovery time, you can chain E - Time Warp ( E-W-E-W ...) to move consistently faster.
With 45% cooldown reduction you can make a triple bomb combo that allows you to stun your target twice in a row, without it being able to escape (unless it has Mercury's Treads, Quicksilver Sash or the Tenacity rune or other spells that allow you to get out of control sooner). The combo is as follows: use W - Rewind immediately after casting Q - Time Bomb, wait as long as possible and send a double bomb either : Q-W-pause-Q-W-Q.
Note that this combo works at 40% CDR but the enemy will have a fraction of a second to react before the third bomb arrives.
Use R - Chronoshift at the last moment to prevent your enemies from delaying the time your ultimate spell disappears to kill your ally. There is only one case in which it is preferable to use your ultimate spell as soon as possible: when diving under a turret, the turn tanker doesn't have to worry about surviving the damage, allowing your team to dive more aggressively.