The last few months I main Zed. I believe that I'm good with him when it comes to mechanics but when it comes to the build I use, I just a find one on solomid, or mobafire and run this. So I would like to take understand a bit more the runes and masteries I'm using for him. For now I'm wondering which runes are better to run on Zed? Armor penetration or Attack damage?

  • Related gaming.stackexchange.com/q/61129/18146
    – Brian
    May 14, 2014 at 19:32
  • @Brian I wouldn't consider that related. That one is talking about items. His question is about masteries.
    – dphil
    May 14, 2014 at 20:03
  • This is a tricky comparison. Flat AD is normally to do more damage early game, and to help last hit when you need to. Armor Pen is more useful for getting kills mid to late game when you have already built items for damage.
    – dphil
    May 14, 2014 at 20:07
  • Another related: gaming.stackexchange.com/q/58476/18146 and also gaming.stackexchange.com/q/59513/18146 @dphil you can think of runes in terms of gold value :)
    – Brian
    May 14, 2014 at 20:35
  • I would consider the one that asks specifically about them, but not the other 2. I have a hard time thinking about them with gold value because you can't just go and buy flat armor pen, but you can just go buy AD.
    – dphil
    May 14, 2014 at 21:04

5 Answers 5


Usually your choice is Attack damage since it makes lasthitting a lot easier and you also get some other benefits from it because your abilities scale off AD.

Armor penetration can of course also be used but it's not as good as flat AD in most situations. It's a good thing though to always have 2 runepages. Armor pen is better in general when you're playing top vs bruiser like champions but most of the time you're mid you won't be facing off tanky guy.

Personally I run:

  • Reds - Flat AD
  • Yellows - Flat Armor
  • Blues - Flat MR
  • Quints - 1 Flat AD 2 Lifestal

This makes Lasthitting easy while giving you a lot of sustain in lane. You can of course also replace the LS Quints with flat AD. This is just a personal preference.

  • The reason I'm asking this question because I saw a build of Bjergsen on solomid that is running Armor penetration so I'm just thinking, why he would do that?
    – zETO
    May 15, 2014 at 9:33

For Zed, you can last hit VERY easily with your passive. You don't need a full AD rune set. You get maximum killing potential at level 6 which is when you start building items, and this is also the time when armor pen runes start becoming effective. Therefore you should use some armor pen runes. Example setups:

9 Armor pen marks, 3 AD quints

9 AD marks, 3 Armor pen quints

I would not recommend running a FULL armor pen setup because you don't want to be too weak in the early game.


I would refer you to this answer as to why you should prefer Armor penetration in runes and masteries.

Attack damage is easier to get with items and usually, items you are going to run in most Zed's build will have attack damage and few or no armor penetration. Unless you run more than 1 or 2 items with armor penetration in your build, favor armor penetration in your runes and masteries.

Related links :

Armor penetration returns, what it does explained

Armor/Magic Penetration to get an enemy into the negative explained

Example of Armor penetration runes vs AD runes

Wish those links help you better understand the difference.

  • The answer you refer me is similar but sadly it's not what I'm looking for since it compares Armor penetration and Attack speed. The interesting thing that I saw is that the dude says "Armor Penetration gives you a constant %damage bonus, regardless of how much armor the enemy has". Does this mean that my damage is increased from the armor penetration I have even thought my enemy might have not taken any item that provides him armor?
    – zETO
    May 14, 2014 at 20:25
  • Yes, you can actually reduce your opponent armor below zero. the reference was more about armor penetration being harder to get on items vs attack damage. There's other links in the answer that provide informations as why you should prefer armor penetration. May 14, 2014 at 20:30
  • Since I'm new to this site I would appreciate if you could show me those links. But since my question is not duplicated I don't believe that I will find the answer I seek on another post. Even though I think that Jutschge covered me enough.
    – zETO
    May 14, 2014 at 20:38
  • @zETO added some links for you. May 15, 2014 at 11:54

Attack Damage is better in the current meta. Attack Speed Quints are really popular right now among the high level players. Lifesteal quints got nerfed and aren't as useful. So definitely AD out of the two.


I personally like to run: Armor pen quints, Flat AD Marks, Armor and/or Health seals and mr blues :) been working for me

  • Why do you run these? Adding that information would turn this into a good answer.
    – Frank
    Oct 4, 2014 at 21:01

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