How to Play Zeri in League of Legends
Zeri, The Spark of Zaun, is the newest champion added to League of Legends. She is a unique Marksman with a very different playstyle from most other picks in the role. With proper navigation, Zeri can be one of the most fun Marksman champions on the Rift. In this guide, we’ll break down the ins and outs of her kit and teach you how to play Zeri.
- Zeri generates 1 charge for every 40 units she travels by any means and 10 charge every time she casts Burst Fire Burst Fire, up to a maximum of 100 charge. Her basic attacks consume charge to deal modified damage. Zeri gains maximum charge when the game starts and upon respawning.
- Basic Attack: Zeri zaps her target, becoming Projectile.png non-projectile and applying spell effects as Annie Disintegrate.png spell damage. Zeri’s basic attacks cannot Critical strike icon.png critically strike nor trigger On-hit icon.png on-hit and Lulu Pix, Faerie Companion.png on-attack effects.
- While not at full charge, Zeri’s attacks consume 10 charge to deal 15 − 40 (based on level) (+ 4% AP) magic damage. Against enemies below 35% health, this is increased「 by 300%. 」She may still use an uncharged attack even while below 10 charge.
- At full charge, Zeri’s next attack will consume all charge to deal 90 − 200 (based on level) (+ 80% AP) (+ 3% − 20% (based on level) of target’s maximum health) magic damage and Slow icon.png slow the target by 20 / 25 / 30 / 35 / 40% (based on Zeri Burst Fire.png Burst Fire’s rank) for 1.5 seconds. The damage based on the target’s health ratio is capped at 300 against Monster icon.png monsters.
Zeri’s auto attacks do not function like a standard ADC’s. They cannot apply any normal on-hit effects or crits like every other auto attack in the game. Think of them as an ability on their own. Zeri gets charge for moving and casting her Q, Burst Fire. She will end up starting most engagements with a fully charged auto attack available, meaning that she will open with a slow to help her kite. Afterwards, Zeri can take advantage of the non-charged attacks to get bonus execute damage on low targets.
- Innate: Zeri absorbs the energy of shields she damages, shielding herself equal to 60% of the post-mitigation damage dealt to the shield. Each instance of shield gained by Living Battery lasts for 3 seconds.
- Innate: Whenever Zeri receives a shield, she gains 10% bonus movement speed for 3 seconds.
Zeri’s actual passive is a very simple one. Any damage she deals to shields returns to her as a portion of shielding for herself. Receiving a shield in this way grants Zeri extra movement speed, as does receiving one from an ally. This makes Zeri a much better pick against lots of shielding and with shielders on her team.
- Passive: Zeri’s slow application from a charged basic attack has its strength increased (20 / 25 / 30 / 35 / 40%)
- Active: Zeri fires a burst of 7 rounds in the target direction that each deal (10 / 15 / 20 / 25 / 30 (+ 110% AD) physical damage to the first enemy hit.
- Burst Fire’s effects are treated as a basic attack; it hits any enemy unit a typical basic attack can, deals basic damage, can critically strike for (82.5% + 38.5% 38.5%) AD bonus damage and applies on-hit and on-attack effects at 100% effectiveness once on each target struck.
- Burst Fire’s cooldown and cast time scale down with attack speed, with the maximum of 1.5 attacks per second. 50% of attack speed in excess of the cap is converted into bonus attack damage.
Zeri’s Q, Burst Fire, is the bread and butter of her kit. This ability starts as a one second cooldown and gets reduced with Zeri’s attack speed, making Q her primary form of dealing damage. This is reminiscent of a champion like Ezreal in the Marksman more. Like Ezreal, Zeri’s Q is a skill shot. Since this damage can miss, there is a very big gap in effectiveness between someone comfortable with Zeri and a new player trying her out.
- Active: Zeri fires an electric pulse in the target direction that deals (40 / 75 / 110 / 145 / 180 (+ 100% AD) (+ 60% AP)) magic damage to the first enemy hit and slows (50 / 55 / 60 / 65 / 70%) them for a duration (1 / 1.25 / 1.5 / 1.75 / 2).
- If the pulse collides with terrain, it transforms into a laser in a line from the point of impact that grants sight of the area for 1.75 seconds and fires after 0.75 seconds, applying the same effects to all enemies caught within.
Zeri’s W, Ultrashock Laser, is a simple line skill shot that is very similar to Jinx’s W. However, Ultrashock Laser has the added benefit of extending when used through walls. When this happens, its length and width increase on the other end and it grants vision, making the ability fantastic for fighting around terrain.
- Active: Zeri dashes in the target direction. Afterwards, she energizes her next 3 casts of Burst Fire within 6 seconds, causing them to pierce through enemies, though dealing (80 / 85 / 90 / 95 / 100%) reduced damage after the first and not applying attack effects to secondary targets. This damage is affected by critical strike modifiers.
- Zeri will dash farther across terrain if Spark Surge was cast within 50 units of any, gaining unobstructed vision of the surrounding 800 units and revealing herself while there are enemy champions within 800 units of her.
- Spark Surge’s cooldown is reduced by 1.5 seconds for every champion Zeri hits with charged basic attacks or abilities.
- Spark Surge resets Zeri’s basic attack timer and Burst Fire’s Burst Fire’s cooldown. Zeri can cast Ultrashock Laser and Lightning Crash while dashing.
Spark Surge is Zeri’s E. This ability also has two modes based on whether it’s used near terrain or not. When cast in the open, Zeri will dash a short distance and reset her auto attack timers, much like Lucian’s dash.
When cast next to a wall, Spark Surge functions like a personal Bard Portal. Zeri is able to glide over the entire length of terrain so long as she is unobstructed and untouched. This ability gives Zeri much needed in-combat mobility, as well as cross-map travel options.
- Active: Zeri discharges a nova of electricity around her, dealing (150 / 250 / 350 (+ 80% bonus AD) (+ 80% AP)) magic damage to all nearby enemies.
- If Lightning Crash hits at least one enemy champion, Zeri becomes Overcharged for 6 seconds, and gains 3 stacks of Overcharge per champion hit. Each stack grants her 2% bonus movement speed. She gains a stack of Overcharge each time she hits an enemy champion with a charged basic attack or ability, refreshing the duration of Overcharge by 2 seconds in the process.
- While Overcharged, Zeri gains (30 / 35 / 40%) bonus attack speed and deals (10 / 20 / 30 (+ 15% AP)) bonus magic damage on-hit, and empowers Burst Fire to instead fire 3 rounds over a 20% shorter cast time that are electrified and travelling with increased speed. These rounds deal the bonus magic damage to the target struck and the closest visible enemy, chaining up to 4 subsequent targets. Secondary targets are dealt 25% AD physical damage, which can critically strike for (43.75% + 18.375% 18.375%) AD physical damage.
Zeri’s ultimate is Lightning Crash. Using this ability opens with a large area-of-effect burst of magic damage around her. If Zeri hits an enemy champion, she becomes Overcharged. Overcharge is a stacking buff that increases with targets hit with the initial AOE, and with every charged auto attack and ability that hits an enemy champion, refreshing the status’s duration with every stack.
While Overcharged, Zeri turns into a real monster. The ramping movement speed makes her incredibly hard to pin down. Additionally, the extra attack speed, added on-hit damage, and bonus mini-Statikk Shiv procs allow her to shred through opponents if the skills keep hitting. Zeri’s team fighting effectiveness will be determined by how well she is able to keep Overcharge up.
Zeri has many diverse options in how she can build a Rune page and itemize. While she does primarily go into the Precision tree as her main route, the Keystone she chooses can vary.
Lethal Tempo is a safe option that gives Zeri more attack speed and therefore a lower Q cooldown. Since Burst Fire counts as an auto attack, every hit of Q will stack Lethal Tempo.
Conqueror is also very easy for Zeri to get stacking and provides her extra damage and some nice healing that lets her brawl a bit more reliably.
Press the Attack is a much less reliable choice for Zeri, but can bring an impactful three-hit burst that make her powerful in short trade patterns.
The most common runes below her Keystone are Presence of Mind, Legend: Bloodline, and either Cut Down or Coup de Grace. PoM helps Zeri out quite a bit in fights, as she can struggle with mana costs when spamming her W and E. Bloodline gives Zeri a reliable source of life steal to help her sustain in fights. Lastly, Coup and Cut Down give her an extra bit of damage. As always, take Cut Down against bulky teams and Coup against Squishy teams.
For Zeri’s secondary tree, Domination is popular due to Taste of Blood and Ravenous Hunter granting her even more in-built healing. Lifestealing through team fights is very powerful for Zeri, since her Q damage is constantly being output.
For alternative choices, Zeri can go Resolve for things like Second Wind, Bone Plating, Overgrowth, or Unflinching. The Inspiration tree can also provide value due to Magical Footwear, Cosmic Insight, and Biscuit Delivery helping her scale into the mid-game.
Always go an attack speed Rune, an adaptive force rune, and an armor or magic resistance rune depending on the match up on Zeri.
Zeri has two main builds at the moment. One is focused on crit items, similar to traditional ADC champions. This build can start with any of the Marksman Mythic items. Galeforce provides Zeri with even more mobility and an extra burst of execute damage. Kraken Slayer is fantastic if Zeri can consistently free hit against frontline heavy teams. Immortal Shieldbow can help Zeri immensely against assassin champions and backline divers, especially since it synergizes with her passive.
Essence Reaver is her most common second item with this build, as the Sheen proc will be constantly running for her Burst Fire. The rest of the build can be done on feeling per game. Infinity Edge is a powerful option for a big spike in damage. Lord Dominik’s Regards is amazing against tanks. Phantom Dancer and Runaan’s Hurricane provide attack speed and decent passives for Zeri.
The second build gaining popularity on Zeri is a bulkier on-hit focused build. The Mythic for this build is Trinity Force, as it provides a much-wanted Sheen proc and other bonuses that Zeri loves. She then goes into Black Cleaver for the extra HP, ability haste, and armor shred that can be easily stacked up.
The rest of the build frequently consists of a Hydra item, Ravenous for more poke and life steal, Titanic for even more tankiness. Wit’s End is a reliable option against heavy AP teams. Grievous Wounds or Quicksilver Sash items can also be completed for more utility.
Zeri’s strength as a champion comes with her mid-game power spikes. She’s not too strong in the laning phase. Champions like Caitlyn, Jinx, and Jhin will be able to push her in and get a lead on her fairly easily. Her all-in potential with melee supports is mediocre at best, so Zeri should really focus on farming for items.
When Zeri does hit her one and two item power spikes, that’s when she can start to pop-off. Zeri thrives in situations where she can kite around team fights, constantly outputting DPS with her Burst Fires and stacking up Overcharge.
Even though her Q has a max range of 825 units, Zeri will most often finding herself playing around 500 to 600 range so she can land her basic attacks and ensure her Burst Fires land. This makes her similar to ADC champions like Samira, Vayne, or Kai’Sa who don’t just sit back and auto attack. These picks are at their best when they can brawl in closer ranges.
Downsides of Zeri
For Zeri, this means that her biggest threats are champions who can quickly jump her and lock her down. Try to time your Spark Surge, Flash, and potentially Galeforce dash to dodge enemy skill shots and bait them into bad positions. Quick reactions will be key to staying alive as Zeri.
Zeri can also struggle against champions with poke and large range. Mages like Xerath, Viktor, and Ziggs will simply stay out of Zeri’s effective DPS while throwing damage her way. She needs to rely on teammates to help her close the gap on these targets. Enchanters with speed boosts and shielding, as well as a diving frontline help Zeri accomplish what she wants in fights.
Zeri runs into issues in the late game. When champions like Jinx and Aphelios have three plus items, Zeri will find it difficult to match them in effective range and DPS. On top of that, Zeri brings no utility aside from her W slow. Picks like Varus, Jhin, and Ashe still have options to be useful if they can’t reliably output damage. Zeri does not have this luxury, forcing her to bank on mid-game pop-offs to find victories.
Zeri is a very unique Marksman. Her Burst Fire playstyle and active kit make her one of the most fun champions to play when she can do what she wants. However, Zeri has some very obvious shortcomings in the current game that can make her difficult to pull off. If she doesn’t survive to take advantage of her mid-game power spikes, Zeri can find herself outmatched going into the late game when other ADC’s thrive. If you want to play Zeri, try to learn how to recognize your opportunities. Taking over a fight as Zeri is one of the best feelings an ADC can have.