Fresh off of the League of Legends Season 2 World Championships, Riot Games is quickly ramping content output back up to expectations. Following the rather large Shadow Isles and Halloween patches, which saw the release of Spider Queen Elise, Riot is gearing up for their latest champion -- Zed, the Master of Shadows. As you can tell from his name, Zed's a ninja, and an evil ninja who killed Shen's father at that.
Designed for mid-lane or jungling, Zed is a versatile adversary built around high mobility and bursts of both attack and magical damage. In other words, he's going to fit right in with the current meta. Here's a list of Zed's skills, which are part of the energy resource system found in Kennen, Shen and Akali:
- Contempt for the Weak (Passive): Whenever Zed attacks an enemy below 50% Health, he deals an additional 8% of their maximum Health as magic damage. This effect has a short cooldown.
- Razor Shuriken: Zed and his shadow both throw their shurikens, dealing physical damage to any target they pass through. Each Shuriken deals less damage to targets beyond the first.
- Living Shadow: Zed’s shadow dashes forward, remaining in place for a short duration. Zed’s shadow will duplicate his spells. Activating Living Shadow again while his shadow is active will cause Zed to switch positions with his shadow. If both Zed and his shadow strike the same target with Razor Shurikens or Shadow Slash, Zed regains some energy and the target suffers an additional effect: Razor Shurikens deal additional bonus damage and the slow from Shadow Slash is dramatically increased.
- Shadow Slash: Zed and his shadow both create a burst of shadow, dealing physical damage to nearby enemies. Zed’s Shadow Slash slightly reduces the cooldown of Living Shadow by for each unit struck. The shadow’s Shadow Slash briefly slows enemies.
- Death Mark: Zed sinks into the shadows and dashes to his target, dealing physical damage. He also spawns a Living Shadow beyond the target, which duplicates his spells and marks the target. After 3 seconds, the mark will detonate, dealing physical damage based on the damage dealt to the target by Zed and his shadow while the mark was active. Zed can reactivate this ability to switch positions with this shadow.
As is clear from his skill kit, Zed is highly reliant on his "Shadow Clones" both for damage output and mobility. The trick for high level play, however, will likely be dependent on resource management. Any player can certainly spam skills and maximize damage output, but a true powerful Zed player will have to manage timing and positioning in order to minimize risk and maximize damage potential. How exactly Zed will look in motion is something I look forward to excitedly, he seems to have a high skill ceiling.
Zed's lore, on the other hand, seems a bit hackneyed. Coming from the same ninja order as Shen, Zed has been banished for studying dark arts. Of course, he returns later with an army and kills the ninja order's master -- who also happens to be Shen's father. Of course, they'd always been rivals, but now -- it's personal. Despite his background, Zed certainly has a unique look to him, and if anything his background helps create a style to him that will differentiate him from similar champions like Shen and Talon.
Look forward to more information on League of Legends' latest champion Zed, the Master of Shadows, going into next week. If Riot Games has settled back into their typical schedule, we can look forward to his release as soon as the middle of next week. Don't be surprised if there's a delay, of course.