"I Was Made For This... Literally": A Zac Guide
Tue 7th Mar 2017 - 9:26am
Zac is a reliable tank and initiator when it comes to general teamfighting. Whether he's initiating a teamfight or catching laners by surprise, Zac is a champion that is more focused on teamwork than he is an assassin. He can be used for a meaty frontline, great source of crowd control, or as a tanky peeler for the carries. Low or high elo can utilize him well in the jungle and he is not hard to master mechanically. The power that comes with Zac is his decision making on when and where to initiate. This guide is aimed to give you some insight on our Zaun Amorphous Combatant.
As mentioned, Zac is not an assassin. He needs his team in order to succeed. Naturally, Zac is not a strong one-v-one champion, but that doesn't mean he can't duel. It's just not his forte. Zac requires awareness in which fights he takes because if he ganks a losing lane, he could very well lose the 2v1. In order to really carry as Zac, take the best features of your team and snowball them.
- Great late and early game tank
- Crowd Control
- Easy to gank with
- Great sustain
- Struggles early if counter jungled
- Champions who are great against tanks
- Easily interrupted
Flash is a must for almost all of the champions. Zac can use his E as an escape, but Flash provides more options that E can't. If Zac misses, Flash can be a good way to really stick to your opponent. E and Flash is a very safe escape as well.
Smite is essential for jungling. You can't jungle without Smite, period. Therefore, there's not much to say about taking this summoner spell other than it'll help you clear jungle and get the jungle benefits off your jungle item and monsters.
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration x9 This is great on Zac because he has decent base AP and overall great for jungle farming and teamfighting.
Greater Seal of Scaling Health x9 This grants health per level. It's a safe and good choice for a tank in the jungle. It just makes sense to get more health especially if you're planning on building tank with the Colossus Keystone.
Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction x9 This is important because if you have too much CDR in your rune page, then taking certain items won't make sense. I take this glyph so I don't feel like I have to get Ionian Boots. I'd much rather have Mercury's or Sorcerer's.
Quintessence of Ability Power x3 In addition to your marks of Magic Pen, having additional AP never hurt. AP Quints can be switched out, it's all about preference. I prefer having extra the AP so I can maximize the effectiveness of my W during teamfights.
Greater Mark of Attack Speed x9 If you want to smack those jungle monsters faster this is the way to go. I find this limiting because I expect myself to be farming most of the time and Zac isn't really a farming guy. I do like how fast you clear with Zac's E and additional attack speed so... the playstyle is up to you.
Greater Seal of Armor x9 or x3 You can swap or mix these seals with the scaling health. Scaling health and armor all contribute to your tankiness so I would swap these depending on my matchup.
Greater Glyph of Ability Power x9 This could be part of the generic page, but I find having both AP Glyph and Quints are not helpful without that extra CDR. All of your CDR will come from items and I wanted runes to help me with that. But if you want as much AP as you can, then by all means, go for it.
Quintessence of Cooldown Reduction x3 The CDR and AP can all be swapped or mixed it really depends on who the match up is and how you prefer to play Zac. You can be a semi-tank with AP or just straight tank. These are good if you want more CDR.
Tier 1: Sorcery Better than attack speed. Additional AP is always good.
Tier 2: Expose Weakness Since you're the initiator it's good to debuff the enemies while your team piles on additional damage. It's a small thing, but it'll pay off in later teamfights.
Tier 3: Natural Talent Take this over Vampirism. Vamp is just not good on Zac because he has no life steal. Additional AP is always good.
Tier 3: Battle Trance The 5% increase in damage is good for initial combat. If you don't like this mastery you can take Double Edge Sword because Zac is tanky enough to utilize the mastery. Double Edge Sword lets you have 5% more from all sources whereas Battle Trance requires you to be in combat with an enemy. The choice is yours.
Tier 1: Unyielding Bonus armor and magic resist is much better than health regen. Zac has blobs that give him HP back anyways.
Tier 2: Tough Skin You take less damage from monster's and champion basic attacks. Overall safe pick for jungle. If you don't like this mastery you can pick Explorer which grants movement speed in river or brush. Explorer is good if you wanna get fast ganks and you're a seasoned jungler going where you need to go.
Tier 3: Runic Armor Usually, extra HP from Veteran Scars is great, but Runic Armor gives stronger shields and health restoration. Getting the Colossus Keystone and your health blobs makes this mastery worthwhile.
Tier 4: Insight Zac has no mana so make the most of CDR in your runes and masteries. This gives Zac 15% CDR. That's basically an item's CDR.
Tier 5: Swiftness Extra tenacity and slow resist makes you a better front line.
Courage of the Colossus: This grants a shield for initiators and on Zac, who already has a ton of health, it is incredibly useful. Zac's playstyle is all about being the initiator so this keystone will help you survive a bit more. The shield is 3-54 (based on level) + 5% of your max health per enemy. The more people in your crowd control the better. It used to be broken, but it's still decent.
Cell Division (Passive)
- Static Cooldown: 300
- Range: 50
Every time Zac hits an enemy with an ability or an attack after his E, he releases chunks of himself that are visible and last for 6 seconds. Enemies walking over them will destroy them, but if Zac picks the chunks up, he gains 4% his maximum health back. If Zac takes a fatal blow, he splits into 4 blobs that slowly try to reconstruct. Enemies can kill these moving blobs, but for each blob that successfully reconstructs, Zac comes back to life with 10-50% of his max health. It's important that Zac is played as a tank because this passive scales off his maximum health. Tip: Your allies can teleport to your blobs when you are trying to reconstruct. This buys a bit more time and is an overall annoyance.
Stretching Strike (Q)
- Cooldown: 9 / 8.5 / 8 / 7.5 / 7
- Cost: 4% current health
- Range: 550
Your Q is a basic ability that hits the target for magic damage and slows them for 2 seconds. This won't be too important to Zac since he gets more damage off his W, so you'll want to max this last.
Unstable Matter (W)
- Cooldown: 5
- Cost: 4% of current health
- Range: 350
Zac does an area of effect damage and gets a ghosted effect after hitting monsters. Every time Zac picks up a blob this ability's cooldown is reduced by one. This has a shorter cooldown than Q and is spammable which is why you want to max this second. There's no cast time so you can cast this while ulting. Zac's power doesn't come from auto attacks. Just making sure that the enemy is within your W's range is enough damage.
Elastic Slingshot (E)
- Cooldown: 24 / 21 / 18 / 15 / 12
- Cost: 4% current health
- Range: 1200 / 1350 / 1500 / 1650 / 1800 / 300
This is Zac's signature move and his playmaker. At first cast, Zac channels his E, planting him to the floor. The longer the channel, the further you'll go! If you cancel this channel, the cooldown is refunded by 50%. On its second cast, Zac flings himself to an area and damages everyone where he lands while also knocking them up for 1 second. Your combo will be to hit whoever you're ganking with E first, then position yourself behind the enemy ult. That way, you can bounce them towards your team and away from their escape. Use your E to give lane pressure even if you're not going to hit anyone with it. Be careful to be at an ideal position before doing so. E can also be a great escape. E can be used to farm in between camps as well. This gives Zac a very fast jungle clear.
Let's Bounce! (R)
- Cooldown: 130 / 115 / 100
- Range: 300 / 400
Zac bounces a total for 4 times and each time he hits an enemy with his bounce he does damage, applies a slow, and knocks them back for 1 second. While in this form, Zac can't use Q or E, so spam your W as much as you can. You also get movement speed, but be careful where you are pushing your enemy because you just might be pushing them to safety. The best combo is mentioned above. E in, then position behind the enemy, and finally ult them. Zac's ult does not go over walls, so be mindful in how you're bouncing in the jungle!
Your skill order is going to be E>W>Q. At level 1, put a point in W, then Q, and finally E. After level 3, start maxing out your E. The range is still small for a gank so level 4 is safe to gank with E. W is important to max second because it's spammable and does more damage than your auto-attack. Q is the last to be maxed out. Put a point in ult at 6, 11, 16 always.
Hunter's Talisman is a must to start your jungle item.
x3 Health Potions or Refillable It's up to you. You get a bit more survivability with three pots but, again, it's up to you.
Stalker's Blade - Cinderhulk goes great with Zac's Keystone mastery. Adding a bit more tankiness never hurt Zac. Blue Smite is also easier to play with and all around great for Zac because the slow and damage helps keep targets from escaping.
Randuin's Omen is core in almost every build. It's just a good supplier of HP, armor, and crit reduction. Passive and active are also very useful.
Like Randuin's Omen, Spirit Visage is a core in almost any play style you want to go for. Magic resist is a state that goes great with either Merc's or Sorc's. Extra health is never a bad idea on Zac. Spirit Visage gets to be the core item because it also gives additional cooldown reduction on top of the tank.
Liandry's Torment is a core flex pick because it can be in any build. Generally good against tanks, but it is not 100% needed.
Mercury's Treads is a safe pick. Extra magic resist and tenacity goes well with the tank build.
Sorcerer's Shoes is a more of a gutsy pick. Really, you'd want to get this if you wanted to build more AP or if your team is ahead.
Example Final Build 1/Tank
Dead Man's Plate is generally a safe pick, but it isn't a core item because it can be easily replaced. Tank is usually the route you take if you want to help your team rather than do damage.
Example Final Build 2/AP
Stalker's Blade - Runic Echoes is a good jungle item if you plan on being more of a damage threat.
You have your core items here. Rylai's Crystal Scepter contributes to your health, but it is also a bursty item. It also gives you more ways to slow enemies.
Abyssal Scepter is great against AP champions, and Abyssal just gives you more damage. However, I'd only take this if the enemy has 2 or more AP champions.
Start bot buff for the best leash and just do a standard clear. Careful when ganking early because your E doesn't have a great range yet. When ganking, keep in mind who is on your team because some champions will be easy to gank for, especially when they have crowd control, but some lanes are not easy for you to set up. Early pathing is buff > gromp > wolves > point in E > raptors > next buff > krugs > scuttle crab > gank, preferably at level 4 when you have 2 points in E.
You can't still be farming as Zac at this point. If you haven't ganked, please do so now. Avoid lanes where Zac could lose a 2v1 and start snowballing lanes that are doing fine. Once you get one or two picks, get your team to go to objectives with you. If you can, sneak an objective or two. These are all general jungle things, but Zac is heavily dependent on how his team does. If the game is going downhill early, you need to be tanky in order for a comeback to occur. Start putting pressure near your allies and save them if you can, then the comebacks will occur. If your team is ahead, start teamfights that are favorable to you.
Zac loses some effectiveness late game, but his CC is still strong. At this point, if you've been picking bad teamfights, don't initiate anymore. Build tank and peel for your carries. If you've been winning, keep catching people out, initiate teamfights, and get objectives.
Zac is a hard counter to Katarina just because of his CC. Generally, anyone with CC can stop Katarina. If you see a Kat in one of your lanes, it's a field day of ganks for you and your mid laner.
Malphite is another tank initiator, but Zac has the upper hand on him because Zac does a much better job of peeling than Malphite does. Wait for him to initiate then you can initiate on his team, making it a wash. In teamfights, Zac wins over Malphite because he has better sustain.
Maokai is another tank initiator. If the Maokai is in the jungle, his clear is slow so you can rest easy and jungle. Maokai's ganks are very good, however. Make sure you don't let him snare you while you are channeling E. If Maokai is the laner, you can easily gank and outsustain him.
These champions are a toss up and the matchup is completely dependent on the player's skill on that champion. Jax can destroy your team if you are not aware, but it is very easy to deal with him as Zac. Hecarim can be stopped with your E, but in the jungle you guys are about even. Gragas versus Zac is a pure skill matchup. Either one can take the other down.
Fizz is hard to gank. He's very slippery and he can melt you if he's fed. Be very careful when you're ganking him and try not to get caught in a 1v1.
Poppy out CCs you in every way and even blocks your abilities. E is your strongest and most reliable skill, but Poppy shuts you down with a W. Even if you wait for her W to go down, she still has a stun and an ult. Avoid this matchup!
Vayne's already a tank destroyer, but she makes it hard to gank with her Tumble. If you do gank and you miss, she has an opportunity to stun you. Generally a dangerous lane to gank. I would avoid feeding the Vayne if you had the choice to help mid or top.
When you're playing Zac, you actually have immense power over the course of the game. You can decide when to start teamfights and when not to start teamfights. Of course, Zac can disengage but he is not as effective. It'll take time for you to learn what decisions are best and gain an overall awareness of not only your team but your enemies as well. When playing Zac, make sure you are the initiator for your team and that they are ready for you to go in. Catching your own team off guard is never a good thing. The decision on who to surprise can be an indicator of a good or bad decision. Will it surprise your enemy or your team?
If you want to feel really flashy, your E can extend across Dragon or Baron and you can Smite mid-air. This is a safer way to steal instead of jumping into the pit and putting yourself in danger.
Zac's Elastic Slingshot is one of the most fun mechanics in game. As a tank initiator, you want to pick and choose what fights you want to take and when to peel. Zac executes safe and surprising ganks with his E and provides great CC into a teamfight. Although teammate reliant, Zac can still turn a fight around. Though he isn't one to brawl by himself, his sustain makes it safe to duel. Overall, our Z.A.C. is a safe pick for jungle and makes for a great teammate.
Danish Pro Bjergsen playing Zac vs. Vi
American Pro Meteos playing Zac vs. Lee Sin
American Pro Nightblue3 playing Zac vs. Vi
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