Zeri is the hot new champ in town right now, but her spell-based auto and her spammable on-hit Q ability have turned her into an interesting puzzle for players trying to find her best item builds. There are plenty of incredibly strong items for the unique champion, but also several traps to avoid.
Below, we have compiled a list of damage-per-second (DPS) numbers in a closed environment (the practice tool) for Zeri’s highest damage crit build. There, players will see what to buy and what not to buy from Mr. Boris, the sneaky shopkeeper.
How to optimize Zeri’s crit build
Do note, that running full-crit on Zeri won’t always be the best option. Sometimes, it’s better to buy utility and defense items, but if all players care about is having the biggest numbers, they came to the right guide. Zeri’s highest (single-target) DPS build is maxing out crit chance. Players essentially build her like a standard marksman, with a few small tweaks.
is there a Zeri build that actually does damage? or are we just fated to be 𝒇𝒂𝒔𝒕
— Jackson Pavone (@Pabu22) January 23, 2022
There are 17 different crit items in League of Legends, but a couple are must-haves for Zeri. Essence Reaver and Navori Quickblades are each going to be in her main core, along with any mythic of choice.
Players will usually want a Kraken Slayer, but if they need Galeforce or Immortal Shieldbow they can of course grab one of those for slightly lower DPS. But, if players don’t need the mobility or life steal, Kraken is probably their best bet.
Her last item is somewhat situational, but in general, players will want Lord Dominik’s Regards to round out Zeri’s crit build. If there aren’t any tanks on the enemy team, though, they could switch it out for something with more utility, like a Ruunan’s Hurricane, a Bloodthirster or some other item listed below.
Below are the single-target DPS numbers for her best four core items (those above, plus Infinity Edge) with each possible fifth item listed in the chart. All tests were conducted with Berserker’s Greaves.
The first number listed is her DPS without her ult, the second number in parenthesis is with her ult active.
Note: The numbers listed are for DPS on Zeri’s primary target. She will deal additional damage beyond this from her passthrough damage and ult passive. Each test was conducted with other dummies in the nearby vicinity for occasional additional cooldown reduction on her Spark Surge to simulate a real teamfight.
Stats for the categories are:
Base Dummy: 0 Armor/Magic Resist (MR), 1000 Health | Squishy Carry: 50 Armor/MR, 2000 Health | Bruiser: 150 Armor/MR, 3000 Health | Tank: 250 Armor/MR, 4000 Health
|Final Item||Base Dummy||Squishy Carry||Bruiser||Tank|
|Bloodthirster||2175 (2400)||1425 (1725)||900 (1075)||700 (875)|
|Lord Dominik’s Regards||2025 (2375)||1550 (1700)||1100 (1250)||950 (1050)|
|Runaan’s Hurricane||1900 (2500)||1350 (1725)||875 (1125)||650 (825)|
|Mercurial Scimitar||1900 (2275)||1400 (1625)||875 (1025)||700 (800)|
|Stormrazor||1900 (2300)||1400 (1675)||925 (1050)||700 (825)|
|Rapidfire Cannon||1950 (2150)||1375 (1600)||850 (1025)||675 (775)|
|Black Cleaver||1825 (2150)||1375 (1600)||950 (1075)||775 (875)|
|Mortal Reminder||1950 (2300)||1375 (1700)||825 (1000)||700 (800)|
Final note: Notice Hurricane’s extra damage boost on her ult. Hurricane applies multiple stacks of her ultimate’s chain lightning passive. If the enemy team is often grouped up and you’re looking for more teamfight damage specifically, you should purchase a Runaan’s Hurricane.
Alternative final items
Other items that seem like they could make sense, like The Collector, Nashor’s Tooth or Serylda’s Grudge vastly underperformed compared to those listed in the chart above. So players shouldn’t fall into those trap items if they’re looking to maximize damage.
And if players are thinking of switching out that Infinity Edge for it’s brother, Guinsoo’s Rageblade, think again. Players will lose around 300 DPS no matter if they’re hitting a squishy target or a tank, not to mention losing all of the utility and mana that Navori and ER provide, since players will set their crit chance to zero.
Obviously, there are some ways players can transition if they really need to. They could throw in a Wits End if they really need the magic resist, or a Zhonya’s if players need a repeatable stasis from a fed assassin, like Zed or Talon.
But if all players need to do is be a marksman, Kraken Slayer, Essence Reaver, Navori Quickblades, Infinity Edge and Lord Dominik’s Regards are their best friends.
Building Zeri for the strongest four-item spike
If there’s no way players will get to full build, but they’re dead-set on going Zeri’s crit build, here are her damage numbers when they skip an item from her core. The chart assumes players are building towards Essence Reaver, Navori Quickblades, Infinity Edge, Kraken and LDR, and the named item in the chart is skipped in their build.
Essentially, this tells players the best four-core (paired with Berserker’s Greaves). Note that reading this chart is the opposite of the first chart. The higher the value here, the easier it is to skip that item and still deal damage.
|Skipped Item||Squishy Carry||Tank|
|LDR||1100 (1375)||575 (650)|
|Kraken Slayer||900 (1200)||575 (650)|
|Infinity Edge||1050 (1225)||600 (700)|
|Navori Quickblades||1025 (1200)||600 (700)|
|Essence Reaver||1150 (1350)||675 (850)|
However, this chart is a bit deceiving. For instance, at first glance, Essence Reaver is clearly the best item to skip based on DPS, but this chart discounts the power Essence Reaver provides in small trading patterns, the bonus mana regained while out on the map and the ability haste on the item.
Like Essence Reaver, skipping Navori seems fine DPS-wise at first, but Navori keeps Zeri’s E on an incredibly short cooldown and also provides artificial attack speed, since Navori’s passive reduces Zeri’s Q cooldown when you hit something with it.
Navori’s value is far beyond just dealing damage, she also helps players kite enemies, use her ult more often and dash with Spark Surge to reposition to get more area-of-effect damage. (Navori is her highest win-rate item at time of publishing, albeit only being picked in ~1% of her games).
All of these tests were done in an absolute optimal setting. But League is never optimal. So players will need to check which champs they’re allowed to hit and if they need mobility. Since most of the tank values are rather close, it’s likely usually best to skip LDR in the build, but if players are hitting almost exclusively tanks, it’s probably best to skip Infinity Edge.
As far as what to build first, that’s up to each individual player, just make sure Infinity Edge is at least third or later in the build.