A-Zac of The Killer Blob!
By Jason Harper (Hhean), OnRPG League Reporter
Zac is a magic damage dealing bruiser who uses his own health to fuel his abilities. His ambush tactics and strong initiation are offset by his low damage output and suicidal resource mechanic. He could be put in either top or the jungle, but he’s likely going to see more play as a jungler than a laner. Given his kit isn’t too unusual for a bruiser, any player familiar with that archetype won’t find him hard to play. Anyone who enjoys the strong ambush play of Fiddlesticks in the jungle may also take a liking to his jungling style. They both will make you think “Now I’ll just wait in this brush until….. SURPRISE!”. Insert your own mad cackling where appropriate.
Can be an absolute menace in team fights
Two gap closers, one of which has a very long range
One of his gap closers reaches into forever
His base health regen is so high it laughs in the face of Garen’s passive
Can chunk down his own health bar quickly
Can’t move while charging his gap closer
His sustain can be easily stopped by both friend and foe
Very little hard crowd control
Much like Fiddlesticks, he needs to catch an enemy unawares to be effective
The 20% healing reduction on Dominion kills him dead
Cell Division [Passive]: When Zac dies, he leaves four blobs behind. If any of them reach the spot where he died, he regains a portion of his health equal to the number of blobs that make it. Think of Anivia’s egg, but a good deal worse. AoE attacks mean Zac doesn’t stand a chance of ever making use of this ability, making it utterly useless in team fights, which are what the rest of his kit is built around. It does make him very hard to tower dive though, as few enemies are going to want to stick around under the newly buffed towers to finish him off.
When Zac hits an enemy with one of his abilities, Zac will drop a blob that will restore a percentage of his maximum health if he walks over it. These blobs will always fly out of a target at the opposite angle from the target hit, with a bit of randomised scatter. Think about them like Draven’s axes, but in reverse. If any other champion walks over the blob, be they friend or foe, it will be destroyed.
All of Zac’s abilities cost a percentage of his current health, so unlike other health cost characters like Vlad or Mundo, he cannot simply get a large health pool to make his costs negligible. Due to the difference between his current and maximum health though, he can slowly restore his health pool by spamming his abilities on a minion wave or jungle creep camp then collecting his blobs.
Due to the way his blobs always are hurled towards his opponent though, it very tough for Zac to regain his health in the lane, as an alert opponent will walk over his blobs if they don’t feel under threat. This unfortunately means that if Zac isn’t already in a dominant position in the lane, able to bully his enemy away from his health giving goop, he has only his natural health regeneration to fall back on. Even worse, given the nature of his health costs, an enemy is essentially dealing damage to Zac every time they prevent him from recovering his blobs, as the cost of his abilities are not recouped.
Stretching Strike [Q]: Short range skillshot that slows and damages the enemy. His best harassment tool in the lane. Its low cooldown means he can keep hammering an enemy every time he gets close, though they will frequently get his passive blobs before you due to its reach, so its costs are rarely recoverable.
Unstable Matter [W]: AoE nuke that centres on Zac with a short cooldown. Deals flat damage plus a portion of an enemy’s max health. Great for spamming during melee exchanges, and for clearing out jungle camps.
Elastic Slingshot [E]: Charged gap closer that deals AoE damage and applies a short knockback around where Zac lands. The longer Zac charges the ability, the further it can fire, but he cannot move while charging, and can only launch himself in a cone in front of himself. Cancelling the ability knocks off a portion of the cooldown and doesn’t cost him health. Unusually, levelling this ability increases its range, allowing Zac to gank enemies from extremely unusual spots. Due to the obvious nature of the ability, its best off being used in the brush or fog of war.
There are rare times when using Elastic Slingshot in the open can be a great idea though. One such use is when you’re on the chase. When your desired victim is trying to leg it, you have the option of charging up a leap while pursuing them. The charge will set you back a bit, but the ground you cover will be greater than simply running after them, plus you get a little bit of damage and that added knockback. If necessary, dropping an uncharged Elastic Slingshot on someone at point blank range can act as a quick interrupt.
As an escape, this is even more unreliable than Vi’s charged dash. While you only need to charge a very short while to get over a wall to safety, he becomes an easy target for any form of crowd control the enemy have to hand. While Zac is a burly guy who can handle a fair bit of punishment while he charges, he’s just as susceptible to a stun as everyone else.
Let’s Bounce [R]: Zac leaps into the air, then bounces four times. Each time Zac leaves the ground he deals damage, slows and knocks airborne all enemies around him. The knock up can only affect any enemy it hits once, in the same manner as Wukong’s ultimate. While airborne, Zac gains a movement speed boost, but cannot pass through walls and remains targetable, unlike other abilities that send a character into the air. He will gain a significant amount of crowd control reduction, and bonus resistances, making him a poor target during any teamfight he’s hopping into. During Let’s Bounce, Zac can still use Unstable Matter, but his other abilities are disabled. So spam Unstable Matter as much as possible while you’re bouncing about to be even more annoying! Spam! Spam! Slam those buttons like a hyperactive Ryze player on Red Bull.
It feels like Zac was built from the ground up to use this ultimate. A designer said “Hey, I’ve got this cool idea for an ultimate where a guy bounces all over the place, but I have no idea what sort of character would use it”. Someone replied “Goo guy,” and Zac was born.
Combos & Shenanigans
In the lane, Zac will spend most of his time using Stretching Strike to harass his opponent, while also making use of Unstable Matter to farm. His main concern isn’t really about careful positioning or even working out advantageous trades, it’s simply to make sure he always grabs a blob after using an ability. If he can keep his blob farm up, he can be an immovable object in the lane, but if an enemy can keep him away from his own blobs, he’s forced to be very cautious with his ability usage.
In the jungle, Zac simply moves from camp to camp spamming his Unstable Matter. While his health will be low, it will remain consistently low throughout his jungling and never actually go down due to the sustain from his passive. When he needs to gank, leap at the enemy with Elastic Slingshot, preferably from a hidden position. After dropping next to them, use Lets Bounce to stop them from running off while also mitigating any incoming damage. Keep spamming Unstable Matter every time it’s off cooldown. When you return to a human shape, snipe your victim with Stretching Strike as a parting blow.
A fun gimmick on Zac is that when he fully levels his Elastic Slingshot he can fly over the baron or dragon pit without landing in them. This can be used to scout, or to perform an incredibly stylish flying smite steal.
Despite being an unusual looking character, his kit is surprisingly mundane. A ranged harass, a farming tool, a gap closer and an AoE crowd control ultimate for team fights. It’s not exactly the most inspiring set of abilities. He makes up for this though by being a fairly solid character, unlike Quinn (Who may have an unusual niche as a Twisted Treeline pick), whose goofball kit pretty much prevents her from acting in her intended role.
For a visual perspective I also feel like Riot could have done more with the ‘goo guy’ archetype. While his size being dependant on his current health is a nice touch, his character doesn’t change much over the course of a match. Perhaps I’m simply a bit disappointed that he doesn’t match the character they teased, which is always an unfair comparison. I came to Zac expecting a slowly growing monstrosity, akin to Dota’s Tiny, and what I got instead was the result of Majin Buu’s sordid night at a flubber factory.
He’s middle of the road. There are a number of bruisers that are better at locking people down than him, but his jumps give him some unique options. Get him only if you really like his aesthetic design, or are fed up of Malphite being banned in every game.
To discuss Zac yourselves, post in the massive League of Legends thread in the free to play MMOs section, or post in the comments section below. If you haven’t tried League of Legends yet, you’re missing out.