How do you play against Zilean support, especially when he has Ignite?

He just seems to zone you and you feel powerless as he deals more damage to you than you can actually do back.

When he is with an ADC with a strong early game, like Lucian or Caitlyn, I really don't know what to do.

  • I think a support with a shield (Janna, Karma, ...) could be great to negate the Time Bomb damage. Zilean has huge cooldowns early. The best thing would be to harass him as soon as he threw one or multiple bombs. Because by then his spells are on cooldown. Commented Jul 2, 2014 at 10:18

6 Answers 6


To know how to play against a Zilean you have to know what his strenghts and weaknesses are.

Zilean does exceptionally well in poking The enemy ADC. He has a huge range (600 on autoattacks, 700 on Q) and incredible base damage on his Q. So basically if you are a ADC with average range (550) you will lose poke trades. He can also get in and out fast thanks to his movementspeed buff which will also make hitting skillshots harder.

But there are three things about him which make him easy to counter.

  • He has no real gapcloser. Sure he's got that annoying 55% Movementspeed buff but it will be hard to get away from someone with Hard CC for him.
  • He Is incredibly squishy. As far as I know He's among the top 5 lowest base HP champions. Also his base armor isn't too great.
  • He is really mana hungry. A zilean will do good amounts of damage of course but it will also cost him a lot of mana. Unless he's running mana(reg) runes he will have trouble harrassing too often. And if he does include them in his runepage he will be even squishier due to the lack of armor/health.

Now how to play against him? You should definitely take a Supporter with hard CC (Leona/Thresh/Blitzcrank). Also a really important thing is to hit level two before him. If you are level two and he is level 1 you will have a guaranteed kill. Also if you are ahead once you will be ahead the whole game since Zilean really relies on early snowball and he will even drop off lategame regardless of how many kills he got in early/midgame.

So you could say the main key to victory against a Zilean is a successful aggressive all-in playstyle.

  • 1
    You hit the metaphorical nail on the metaphoric head with a metaphoric hammer. lawl
    – Paralytic
    Commented Mar 24, 2014 at 15:04
  • 1
    It's good advice but I wouldn't count on hitting 2 before Zilean since he and his ADC have the 8% experience bonus. It should mean they reach 2 one minion sooner if they're killing as quickly as you and your ADC.
    – Michael
    Commented Mar 24, 2014 at 16:18
  • @Michael Hopkins With an all in strategy you should still beat them in levels. clearing the waves and pushing to their tower is ideal, faster.
    – Paralytic
    Commented Mar 24, 2014 at 20:51

Zilean is really squishy so your ADC or you can poke him and do some damage to him so that he won't play so aggressively. If you go all in in a fight on bot the enemy will most probably lose that fight. Also, he doesn't have hard CC and he doesn't have heal as well. Considering those cons of his, I believe that you can play better against him now.

  • Early game I highly doubt that the adc does more damage than his.. Commented Mar 24, 2014 at 11:00
  • Then you can simply play more passively pre level 6 and then all in him with your ADC when you can, if you are the support.
    – zETO
    Commented Mar 24, 2014 at 11:03

I also agree with Jutschge's answer, with Leona/Thresh/Blitzcrank as a counter support to Zilean, but don't forget the shielders.

I just want to add this info since I usually play as Zilean.

The common Zilean moves are: (from a less active to a very agro type)
1. Wait on a lane and do nothing. (could be DC)
2. Get into range and Q the ADR (+ or - AutoAttack), then run back.
3. Expend more mana, using E to get into a closer range, Q to the ADR, W, then Q to the ADR(+ or - AutoAttack) and then run back.

On which the answer to 2 and 3 are shielder support, since Zilean's Q has a huge delay. (the enemy shielder can even count three seconds before actually shielding the ADR or the support, or whoever needs it)

I get really upset if the enemy support use shield, because everytime I cast the bomb, most of the time, there would be a shield that will somehow soak up the damage, and less damage means I need more mana to expend so that my damage would really get through the shield. And since mana is Zilean's problem then it really is problematic.

So, try teaming up with Janna/Lulu/Lux against a lane with Zilean support if you usually play passively/bait. And Leona/Thresh/Blitzcrank if you play actively.

Sorry I can't comment yet but I just want to share one of Zilean's weakness.


Going all in with hard CC is a very good strategy here, as some of the other answers mention. But, what they don't mention is that Zilean is a very weak trader as long as you trade back, especially early.

Zilean starts with 48.6 attack damage and gets three per level. This means his auto attacks are fairly worthless without the correct runes and/or items. In my experience with Nami, (who has similar attack damage), enemy champions can basically ignore my auto attacks by level 3/4. His bomb does 90 base damage when he is level 1, 180 when he is level 2 (with 'W') and almost 300 at level three.

The difference with Zilean is that he has virtually no crowd control. After he casts his bomb (twice because of W) he is very vulnerable for 10 seconds. During this time, you can try for an engage or just play aggressively in the lane. Since Zilean is squishy, he will have to play passively during this time, and you may be able to zone him and his attack damage carry. (This is why AP Zilean mid is weak as well). If you can hard engauge or extended trade with him, you will win out.

If you push early, and attempt to draw out fights, you should be able to punish the opposing lane, or make Zilean run out of mana - which would force him to back. It may be a good idea to bring HP potions to lane as well.


An important point to laning against a Zilean support is that you can use his bombs against him in some cases. When possible, you can let the bomb detonate inside of your creep wave either damaging or outright killing the minions.

This achieves two goals: If he kills the minions, the gold only goes to him, and it starves the enemy ADC of gold somewhat, especially early on. If they're only weakened, it can still interrupt farming patterns.

Having the damage on your wave from his bombs will also push your lane towards your tower, and you can use this opportunity to call for a gank, or even attempt to jump him if he tries to harass you under tower.

Additionally, you can treat his ult past level 6 like a Soraka heal. After he uses the ability on one person, switch to the other until it wears off to make it useless. There is almost no point to hitting a Zilean-ulted target with another champ in range to kill in a fight.


Zilean main here. If you want to counter ultimate switch targets on low hp champions or disengage for the 5 seconds. If Zilean popped his ult and doesn't have ridiculious cdr then a good Zilean won't risk more than longer range artillery clock bombs. His slow is a short distance but if you are stupid enough to go in that range you will probably die unless he is all alone. Abuse bushes, and move irratically to force out his clock bombs. If you don't want to die you better have magic resist boots. Also if you don't see someone ulted or zilean ulted ASSUME he is saving it for your precious screw up. There's nothing worse than having to kill a hero twice.

  • This doesn't seem to address the question which was specifically about Zillean support.
    – JMac
    Commented Apr 5, 2018 at 18:36

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