Just after the start of the 2022 League of Legends ranked season, Riot Games released its 158th champion, The Spark of Zaun, Zeri. Zeri is a mixed-damage dealing marksman that flips one of League’s most basic rules upside down — she doesn’t have a real auto attack.
If you’re eager to learn the sarcastic sharpshooter, there’s a lot you’ll need to change about your regular play to fully utilize her kit.
Zeri’s passive is simple: she steals her enemies’ shields. Any time she damages a shield, Zeri shields herself for a portion of it. And, any time Zeri gains a shield, she gains 10% movement speed for three seconds. But it gets really complicated from there.
Unlike the other League champs, Zeri’s auto attack is actually on her Q ability, Burst Fire. Burst Fire is essentially an Ezreal Q, but it has a bit wider and shorter range, with seven mini-projectiles rather than one. Anything that modifies basic attacks will modify Zeri’s Burst Fire. For instance, its cooldown is reduced with additional attack speed, similar to Yasuo and Yone’s Q abilities.
Her right click “basic attack” is actually coded as a spell, which deals magic damage and applies spell effects, such as Manaflow Band and Comet. The attack itself usually does very little damage, but Zeri can charge it up by moving and using Burst Fire. When it is fully charged, it applies a huge burst of damage and slows the target.
Zeri’s W is called Ultrashock Laser, which shoots a small projectile in front of you to slow and damage the first enemy, much like Jinx’s W. However, unlike Jinx, Zeri’s ability has a twist. If she hits terrain with it, a laser opens up on the other side to deal damage in the area behind the terrain. It’s similar in appearance to a Lux ultimate but with much less range and damage. Phew.
Her third ability is Spark Surge. Zeri dashes a short distance and amplifies her next three Burst Fire casts, allowing them to pass through units. If Zeri is close to a wall or other terrain, she will jump over the wall and ride to the other side, like a combination of Zoe’s bubble and Talon’s parkour ability. Every time you hit a champion, you reduce a bit of Spark Surge’s cooldown.
To finalize her kit, Zeri has an explosive ult akin to Blitzcrank’s, but it does so much more. The ability, Lightning Crash, causes a giant, electric explosion around her and “Overcharges” Zeri if she hits at least one enemy. This grants her movement speed, attack speed, some free on-hit damage and a Statikk Shiv-like passive on her Q.
That’s a lot to take in. She has a medium-range minigun attack that you can fire around once per second. She dashes and jumps through walls, sometimes creating lasers, stealing shields and she barely has an auto attack. But, sometimes, she can have a huge auto attack … whew. Riot just won’t quit releasing champs that need novels to explain their abilities.
Utilizing Zeri’s kit
Zeri is complicated, but there are several simple ways to get the most out of her unique set of abilities. First, it can be confusing to use a skill shot every second instead of basic attacking. But, once you get the hang of it, you’ll want to start weaving in actual right-click-autos, too. Using her auto is still essential, as is the timing of her Burst Fire and regular right click.
But there’s an extra complication. Using the basic attack when not at full charge consumes a small portion of the charge buildup. Using it at full charge sets the counter back to zero, requiring you to move and use Burst Fire to get it back up. It’s important to monitor her charge bar to make sure you get a fully charged attack in your trades.
Every time you are within auto attack range (which is 325 units shorter than Burst Fire), you should right click. If you time it well, you can overlap some of the animations to get a free extra small chunk of damage. You can also cancel part of your basic attack animation with the Q animation. However, this doesn’t allow for quite as much mobility, so try to Q then auto when you can.
Obviously, getting a fully charged basic attack is important, but you should still weave in the uncharged ones whenever you have the opportunity. Only hold your right clicks if you’re really close to getting fully charged and you can guarantee getting that attack off. If you can’t keep your trade pattern going long enough to force a charged attack, you better right click your enemy!
Also, casting Burst Fire will not stop previous movement commands. This means you can right click and then just aim your mouse and press Q to more smoothly move after attacking. Save your wrists, you won’t always need to orb walk quite as much as you might think.
Zeri is often somewhat dependent on her E for fights, so try not to fight when it’s on cooldown. Using Spark Surge allows Zeri to damage more than one enemy at a time and gives her a way to reposition to avoid incoming damage. But it has a really long cooldown in the early to mid game, so use it wisely.
Spark surge also resets her Burst Fire cooldown, so try to always use Q before E if someone is in range for a free attack. Additionally, you can use Zeri’s W and ultimate abilities while dashing through a wall, so you can laser people while wall riding if you’d like a fancy entrance. You can also flash out of the wall mid-ride if you get yourself in a sticky situation.
Otherwise, practice canceling animations with her other abilities and her basic attack. You can weave in Q, W, Q into a basic attack quickly for a big burst. There are plenty of ways to optimize her damage in short windows where enemies are close enough.
The sparks of Zaun is striking again… in style 💎⚡
Check out Withered Rose Zeri Chromas 👇 pic.twitter.com/RytbowKqZi
— League of Legends (@LeagueOfLegends) January 20, 2022
Finally, you’ll want to make sure you build properly. Though she does a lot of magic damage, most of her abilities don’t scale too well with a bunch of AP, and you lose out on a lot of Burst Fire damage if you go into magic damage items.
Zeri does great with on-hit items, crit items and Guinsoo’s Rageblade. She also utilizes Sheen’s passive well (just like Ezreal), so try to fit a sheen into your build early! And, because she loves on-hit so much, Manamune is great on her too. Look out for a more in-depth item build guide soon.