How to best play new champion Zeri, the Spark of Zaun

Nicholas James • January 21, 2022 7:39 pm

The latest addition to League of Legends’ roster has some players struggling and wondering how best to play Zeri.

Zeri, The Spark of Zaun has debuted to one of the worst win rates in a long time for a new champion. What are the best runes for Zeri, what’s the best build for her, and how are the game’s best players playing her?

What is Zeri’s best role?

Zeri is a marksman unlike any other, replacing the role that traditional auto-attacks fill with a skill shot ability. She is typically played in the bot lane. Her strange twist in design has meant that her debut win rate has been abysmally low. Whether this has more to do with Zeri’s stats than her unusual playstyle has yet to be seen, but the Zaunite vigilante is struggling nonetheless. Zeri’s innate synergy with shields and lack of crowd control means that she’s much better in the bot lane than anywhere else.

Tank supports that can lock down Zeri’s target to make it easier for her to land her key skill shot, Burst Fire, while enchanter supports speed her up thanks to her passive. Overall, there’s much more benefit to having Zeri in the duo lane rather than in a solo lane either mid or top.

Best Zeri runes

Zeri’s best rune setup has yet to be perfectly optimized, but professional players have already begun to find the best ways to play her. The vast majority of players take the Precision tree as their primary rune tree, with Lethal Tempo as the most common choice of keystone. Conqueror and Press The Attack also show up, but Lethal Tempo gives Zeri the most straightforward reward for playing the way her kit encourages.

From there, most are taking Presence of Mind, Legend: Bloodline, and Cut Down to finish out Precision, with Domination secondary for Taste of Blood and Ravenous Hunter. This loadout tries to lean into increasing her sustain while giving her scaling a serious boost.

Best Zeri Items

Zeri’s normal right-clicks scale off of AP, so it’s theoretically possible to dip into mage itemization to give her some spicy builds. Most high-level players seem to have decided that it’s better to build Zeri as a traditional critical strike-focused marksman. Most games see her building an Immortal Shieldbow or a Kraken Slayer, followed by Essence Reaver and Infinity Edge.

Her blasts of damage from Burst Fire that target multiple sources scale ridiculously well with critical strike, so rushing into a 60% critical strike chance Infinity Edge build makes sense. From there, the finishing items seem undecided. Bloodthirster can grant her a shield and increase her movement speed drastically, the same synergy that makes Immortal Shieldbow so tempting.

Overall, Zeri seems focused on scaling from a relatively weak laning phase compared to bully AD carries like Tristana or Lucian.

Is Zeri underpowered?

Zeri’s initial win rate has been very bad, but there may be a couple reasons for that besides Zeri being underpowered.

Firstly, the muscle memory for many AD carry players of right-clicking, A-clicking, or otherwise trading with auto-attacks is gone with Zeri. Now you’re pressing Q every time you want to lash out, and you can even miss auto -attacks. Zeri, like Graves, can’t strike at a minion through the wave and instead has to get into a position where she has an uninterrupted line to her target.

This mechanic alone is enough to alienate many casual League of Legends players and result in awkward laning phases where players are still adjusting to Zeri’s kit. With no crowd control, a single dash, and short-range attacks, she can be punished by kill lanes and engage supports like Pantheon or Pyke with ease. This has led to her opening up her first day with a win rate in the mid-30s and a lot of very humbled marskman players.

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