Since Zac has sneaked back in the meta thanks to some minor buffs over the last couple patches, I’d like to write a bit about my favourite champion . Although traditionally considered a jungle pick, Zac top was once in vogue way back in Season 3. Boasting a good mix of resilience, damage and silliness, he has always had a place in my heart.
A bit about me: http://na.op.gg/summoner/userName=serrated
I was a support main who barely squeezed into Silver in S3. I tried Zac out and I played him throughout S4, rocketing through the ranks until I peaked at my promos to Gold IV and quit the game until the preseason. When I came back, I had the bright idea of picking up a pubstomper champion (Riven) mastering her. Things didn’t work out, and after my initial provisional matches, I was stuck at Silver V 0 LP and pretty much hit rock bottom. I tried playing Zac again and things have been working out pretty well – I’m back at Silver II with a 65% winrate and a 5.6 KDA ratio on The Secret Weapon after 50 games.
A bit about Zac:
Zac is a tanky initiator that can also pack a punch. He’s great for initiating and peeling, and his passive can bait out a LOT of good fights for your team.
- Tanky as hell.
- Lots of CC.
- Great poke.
- Really hard to feed with: Your passive provides an insane amount of sustain and a nice safety net, and you can usually escape most ganks.
- Surprise factor: no one expects Zac top. If your jungle is a flex pick, your opponent will likely prep for the wrong matchup. Likewise, no one (in Silver ELO) really bothers to pick blobs up.
- Great emotes.
- Gets poked easily and can’t answer back unless you get into Q range.
- Movement is very predictable because you’re forced to pick up blobs.
- No burst.
- Can’t take towers for his life.
- Below average split pushing.
- Clumsy AA animation.
- Shitty skin.
Passive: – Sustain: While you lose 4% of your current HP with each skill, you gain 4% of your max HP every time you pick up a blob. This is deceptively powerful, and can often sustain you at 30~50% HP for a LONG time. Don’t be afraid to use QWE on a single minion if there’s no threat on the horizon. – Revive: When you die, you split into 4 blobs that scale off of your max HP. This has a static 300 second CD (same amount of time as flash). Use this to bait tower dives or skirmishes, and you’ll often come out ahead.
Q: Stretch your arms instantaneously and damage/slow everything in a line. This skill has a huge hitbox and is super easy to land. I prefer keeping this one on dumbcast because you don’t require quick combos and knowing your range is crucial to doing damage to opponents. This skill does more damage than you would think, especially with a bit of MPen, and allows you to CS from a distance.
W: Do damage in a small area around you. This skill’s CD gets lower by 1 second for each blob you pick up. The area of effect is pretty small, so you’re most likely using this to trade in melee range. This really helps CSing with your shitty AAs, too. I like to spam this whenever I can for the extra blobs, although that leads to you autopushing your lane. It doesn’t interrupt your movement either, so don’t hesitate to use it while turning away from your enemies.
E: AOE knockup/gapcloser. Charge it for more distance. This skill is really versatile: you can use it to escape, initiate, interrupt, or simply clear a wave. Watch out for its super high cooldown at early levels, though. I tend to save it for escapes in lane unless my flash is up or they have no kill potential. When initiating onto an enemy, you always have to be good at predicting where they go. You obviously wanna go for the knockup, but sometimes it’s also nice to jump behind them for a guaranteed R into your team.
R: AOE knockback that hits 4 times, but can only knock back champs once. It also gives you a gradual speed boost. This is your main form of burst in lane, as landing all 4 bounces can hurt (this has gotten pretty hard since the increase in knockback range, though). When fighting a lane opponent, this skill is great for its disruption, damage, and sustain. Always remember to pick up your blobs when ulting, especially when you’re low. Fighting in the enemy minion wave gives you 4 guaranteed blobs, and picking them up is often the edge that allows you to win a fight. In teamfights, this can be used as either to peel (ulting between your enemies and your allies), to engage (ulting behind their backline) or to disrupt (ulting in the middle of their team). Also, don’t be afraid to use it as an escape – the knockback range is huge, and the speed buff allows it to be useful for running away even if you’re not hitting anything.
Start 1 point in Q if you’re dealing with a ranged champ or someone with long-range poke. Otherwise, start W for more damage and sustain, since the Q slow isn’t that relevant until you need to land E. Take the other skill at level 2.
Then, always max R->Q->E->W. Q because of its CD and damage, then E for its CD and range.
- Flash – self-explanatory.
- Teleport – Great spell. Free back in any losing lanes, and can set up really good mid-game TP ganks. Always TP to tower in lane due to the reduced cooldown.
- AP Quints
- MPen Reds
- Armor Yellows
- MR/level Blues
You could potentially swap the yellows for flat HP or the blues for CDR depending on your match-up, too.
For masteries, I usually go 5/25/0, picking up the 4% CDR and the deal-more-damage-take-more-damage masteries in the offensive tree, while opting to take most of the defensive tree. I’m really unsure if this is optimal, though. I used to even run 0/30/0 back in S4, but I think that was even worse.Itemization:
- Ruby + 2: The most versatile of starts. This provides you with a pretty big effective HP pool and increases the potency of your passive. Ruby Crystal builds into your first core items (Sunfire/SV).
- Cloth + 5: Best start against AD champs with a lot of burst or early damage. Cloth helps you build your chain vest and the 5 potions are crucial to keeping your HP levels in the green.
- Sunfire Cape: Gives you tankiness and AOE damage. This is what I would rush against most AD lane opponents. Note that you automatically draw tower aggro with this item.
- Spirit Visage: Gives you added sustain on both parts of your passive, as well as a fair amount of tankiness. I rush this against AP matches.
These two items should be your first two in most situations. Build one after building the other.
- Boots: Sorcerer’s for when you’re ahead or your team needs early damage. Mercs for when you need MR/Tenacity.
- Trinket: Build enhanced yellow at level 9. It’s Sightstone’s cheaper cousin and helps you A LOT with vision.
- Randuin’s Omen: Great item against heavy AA teams. Rush this instead of a Sunfire if their jungle AND top are reliant on their attack speed. Otherwise, build it sometime later in the game.
- Banshee’s Veil: Build if the enemy team is really reliant on engage and is heavy on AP. A SV is usually enough, though.
- Haunting Guise: Build this when you’re ahead and your team might need more damage.
- Zz’Rot Portal: Gives great resists and helps you split push. There was a great post on here detailing its pros and cons.
- Thornmail: Build against heavy auto attacks. This works even better when you have MPen.
- Warmog’s: Build this when you have enough resists. Great item when combined with Spirit Visage.
Laning: As Zac top, your goal is to hit people with Q and to hit something with W every time that they’re up. Your early-game poke is amazing, especially if your lane opponent has low MR. Always pick up your blobs. Watch for opportunities to gank bot with TP when your ult is up – you can often snag kills/tower/dragon if you manage to come in behind their bot lane and throw them into your team. If you can’t win lane, focus on being a rock and not feeding the enemy.
Mid/Late game: Focus on peeling for your carries or diving them if you already have enough peel or damage. Bait with your passive. If you’ve done your job and are low with no passive, run the hell away and recall.
You basically struggle against three things in lane:
- CC: prevents you from escaping
- Burst: forces you to keep your HP high
- Constant long-range harass: you get wrecked every time you go to pick up blobs.
Your hardest counter is probably Riven. She has two interrupts (can’t jump away), high damage (hard to trade), and an execute (forces you to stay above 50% hp post-6).
Other match-ups are usually just hard to kill because you lack burst (Garen/Mundo), can burst you down once you misplay (Fiora), or just harass you until you’re forced to wait under tower (Teemo/Quinn).
TL;DR: ZAC TOP IS A VIABLE TOP LANER WHO IS HARD TO GET STOMPED WITH AND PROVIDES A LOT OF CC FOR UR TEAM.
Hope this helps! Don’t hesitate to comment if something I do is wrong or if you have questions!