Nov 152012
Zed, the Master of Shadows
Zed, the Master of Shadows

Zed, the Master of Shadows arrived at the League of Legends to finally offer the ways of a true ninja. Hardly conventional, his shadows are based on deceit so he retains the familiar furtive flavour of the classic ninja. Conversely, his release skin takes a different angle that contrasts his armoured look and shadow games. Your enemies may not see you marking them for death but you can still look good in the shadows with Zed’s skins’ review.

Shockblade Zed
Shockblade Zed Splash Art Shockblade Zed Model
Category: Regular
Price: 975 RP
Concept: Zed as a white-clad ninja with electric powers.
Model: New model for Zed, his shadow and shurikens.
Particles: New whirlwinds and lightning particles for Zed and his shadow. New lightning particles for his abilities, auto-attack and recall plus new blue cross for Death Mark. New lighting for his blades and shurikens when idle.
Animations: New death animation.
Sounds: New electric sounds for his abilities and the electric arc between blades and shurikens when idle. New sound for his disappearing shadow during his joke and taunt.
Splash Art: A lightning storm as a background is a simple but striking frame for a ninja. Except for the clouds and lightning there’s a lot of empty space but the intention is clear: Zed wields the power of nature itself. Moving on to him, the portrayal is quite good due to a dynamic stance and complex shading. Intricate folds on his clothes, multiple reflections and eye-catching light effects make the piece rather stunning to look at. However, the perspective of his right leg seems unconvincing and the rather empty setting makes him float in nothingness. All things considered, it’s a great looking spotlight of Zed but the background looks like it didn’t reach the level of quality that the portrayal did.
Rating: Star clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZeroStar clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZeroStar clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZeroStar clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZero
Conclusion: Shockblade Zed takes off the classic armour and instead turns Zed into a conventional white ninja. The appearance is interesting and retains remarkable facets like the dual blades and oversized shurikens. However, in general the look feels rather plain and uninspired. The particles add some flare to the skin with tame lightning effects but they never appear as impactful as lightning should. In fact, they seem to compete with and diminish the relevance of the shadow theme. Furthermore, the new sounds don’t help that matter as they are subtle and almost inconspicuous. Overall, it’s a traditional look for Zed that feels novel and appealing yet isn’t as stunning as one would expect.

SKT T1 Zed
SKT T1 Zed Splash Art SKT T1 Zed Model
Category: Legacy
Price: 750 RP
Concept: Zed as a sleek, modern street ninja.
Model: New model for Zed, his shadow and shurikens.
Particles: No new particles.
Animations: No new animations.
Sounds: No new sounds.
Splash Art: Following on the footsteps laid before, the splash art is content with depicting the team of champions at an arena among bright lights and confetti. As dynamic as the portrayal is it also feels like it’s treading the same ground. It also doesn’t help matters that the background is so diffuse and that the setting seems empty.
That considered the champions do look good. Each depiction speaks about them though not always in the right way. Specifically, Jax appears agile and ready for a fight, Lee Sin concentrated and physically apt while Zed seems sneaky and lethal. The ladies though don’t shine as much: Zyra simply lashes forward with her classic tendrils and Vayne looks unexpectedly light-hearted and enticing.
In a way, it seems that the splash art followed the traditional path: powerful guys flanked by sexy girls. To be fair, the portrayals are nice with vibrant shading and great variety of colour. Besides, for better or for worse, all the champions look attractive in some way. Therefore, we can say that it’s a piece with a disappointing background and a good portrayal that doesn’t always display the best that each champion can offer.
Rating: Star clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZeroStar clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZeroStar clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZeroStar clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZero
Conclusion: Thanks to the comfortable and practical clothes and lean, new design for his blades and shurikens SKT T1 Zed manages to appear as a modern-day street ninja. The brightly coloured weapons clash with the stealthy approach typical of the profession and the option of fingerless gloves seem suboptimal. Regardless, the result is appealing and appears feasible in the realm of fiction. It’s also quite nice that some of his abilities are also modified as they use assets from his base model: Razor Shuriken, Living Shadow and Death Mark; in particular. On the whole, it’s a decidedly fictionalized but eye-catching and enjoyable contemporary look for Zed.

PROJECT: Zed Splash Art PROJECT: Zed Model
Category: Regular
Price: 1350 RP
Concept: Zed as a hi-tech ninja.
Model: New model for Zed, his shadow and shurikens plus new surrounding particles as well as for his blades and shadows.
Particles: New particles for his abilities and auto-attack.
Animations: New recall animation.
Sounds: New sounds for his abilities, auto-attack and recall plus processed voice-over.
Splash Art: The city glows with an unnatural hue as the skyscrapers raise with artificial might. Yet, the rain is the only witness to the androids that are being slashed by a cybernetic ninja. For the most part, the setting is clear and there’s some context to the piece despite the diffuse display. Regardless, the area on the bottom right is a messy chaos of diffuse smoke that barely reveals one of Zed’s shadows; which is more clearly shown over his arm. From the beams being fired one could guess that it’s Lucian shooting his guns and establish a connection to his splash art but it’s too blurry for anything concrete.
Thankfully, Zed doesn’t face such problems. The sliced robot spreads sparks that illuminate his armour and the raindrops believably fall on the metal. Whether it’s the outline, colour, shading or lighting Zed looks excellent. His left arm appears a bit sketchy but it’s something minor that doesn’t detract from the piece; though it’s noticeable. The blades and Zed’s shadows have a pleasing transparency that makes them appear solid enough to be deadly: a precise stroke of the brush. Zed’s leaning forward stance doesn’t reveal as much of his body as one would prefer but in the context of the action is understandable.
In conclusion, we find ourselves in front of a great splash art that suffers from a surprising lack of attention in a whole area; the bottom right one. If that area were clearer and the possible Lucian reference plainly stated we would certainly have one of League of Legends’ best splash arts.
Rating: Star clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZeroStar clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZeroStar clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZero
Conclusion: With an impressive new model PROJECT: Zed stands at the threshold between machine and human. His body appears to be fully integrated with technology whether wearing it or implanted with cybernetics. The simple but efficient design for his blades and shurikens reinforce the use of effective schematics to maximize results; though one can wonder what those canisters on his thighs are for. Nonetheless the cybernetic style is clear and also realized with a pleasingly dark yet colourful aesthetic.
The red particles follow in that path with square designs that, after a while, start to feel too alike each other. The trails left for either shurikens or shadows are too similar and so the particles have to rely on other elements to make the abilities seem different. Even Shadow Slash’s eye-catching flurry doesn’t escape from that trend despite looking too conspicuous for a ninja. Where the particles work well is in the shadows which look like holographic copies with satisfying distortions. The animated cross by Death Mark is also another nice addition even though the rest of the ultimate is clearly familiar ground. The sounds support the abilities well and though there’s nothing groundbreaking they fulfil their objective. The theme restricts the variety and so the sounds are somewhat similar but they work; there could be some extra variety still. The recall is a showy addition that merely furthers the spectacle just as the processed voice-over simply gives the final brushstroke.
In the end, PROJECT: Zed is an attractive skin with a distinct style that is emphasized by the particle’s colours; though not always by their designs. The result is certainly good but there’s little that goes beyond 975 RP territory. At 1350 RP, despite the interesting features the skin lacks significant additions to justify the extra expense. Therefore, if you’d like to join the Master of Cybernetics in his adventures a sale would be the best opportunity for that.


Zed is a ninja with an imposing armoured look deeply rooted on the use of shadows. Therefore, Shockblade Zed’s style is paradoxical as it lightens his aspect and also his shadows. It’s still a good skin that retains his classic style while adding a bit of light to his appearance. Hence, if you can stand the competition between lightning and shadows then Shockblade Zed isn’t a bad option.

A modern ninja look is offered by SKT T1 Zed. The skin only offers model changes but as the shurikens and shadows have to be modified it manages to offer a bit more than the usual re-model. The fact that the appearance is attractive help make the skin a worthwhile choice if you prefer your ninjas more contemporary.

Cybernetics is fully embraced by PROJECT: Zed and that is clearly visible in his aspect. The dark style of his particles helps define a unique aesthetic that feels virtually unstoppable. The lack of any special features prevents the skin from reaching excellence; which are to be expected due to its price. Fans of cyborg ninjas will find much to like in the skin except the price; wait for a sale if possible.

  59 Responses to “League of Legends: Zed Skins’ Review”

  1. Hi Zero, you can make the Shen skin review, plz…

  2. Hey, just a dumb question, but if you were to rate zed’s classic splash art what would you think of it? Just wondering because it has to be one of the most detailed (although sort of cluttered) splash arts for new champions.

    • Not a dumb question at all. The splash art is great as a portrayal with a complex background; the shadow in it is a nice touch. Regardless, the setting could be less diffuse as the mist of secrecy seems a poor way to avoid details and reduce the multitude of elements displayed; which compete with Zed for attention. The buildings look interesting but it seems that there’s untapped potential.

      As far as Zed is concerned, the depiction is superb: abounding in details and with a sharp quality that should be the norm for all splash arts. Even the pose is well done without obstructing much the view of his look.

      On the whole, an impressive portrayal with a bit disappointing background; still, a very good splash art.

  3. zed needs a new skin with maybe a new shadow(ability) color

  4. Hi Zero do you think Zed’s skin will be on sale soon?

    • It should be on sale in the foreseeable future as it’s the oldest skin not to have been discounted. Maybe we simply need a bit more of patience. With all the end of Season agitation and incoming Championship Thresh, as well as Victorious Elise, there seems to be a lot going on.

  5. Something I think is worth mentioning: When Shockblade Zed doesn’t move for a few seconds, he’ll play with a lightning between his hands.

  6. Zero . can you give me shockblade zed Code ? Please !

    • Sorry but we don’t have any codes for any skins. You’ll have to rely on purchasing RP to unlock it or find a giveaway of skins around the web. Still, be careful about where you submit information and remember never to reveal any passwords or specific personal details; no website should ask you for them.

  7. Will you do SKT T1 Zed skin when it comes out?

  8. Hey Zero.
    Firstly, thanks a lot for the trouble you do here. Never buy a skin without taking a review into consideration ^^

    Secondly, Zed’s Ultimate, Death Mark, has recently received a new aesthetic element. There is now a large cross on the target of Death Mark upon cast time. This is a red cross for his classic and SKT skins, but Shockblade’s is a shade of blue, in order to be more fitting to the theme. Thought you might want to mention that.

    Kind regards,


    • No problem, we are glad to be of help.

      We didn’t notice the change of colour though the giant cross seemed new; kind of: this wasn’t here before. We’ll give it a look and update the review, thanks for the information.

  9. I’ve found that shockblade zed has new lightning storm sounds for his abilities its a subtle difference to the classic skin so yeah 🙂 just wanted to point that out.

  10. Has shockblade zed been on sale yet?

    • He was on sale between the 11th and 14th of October, 2013. Hopefully the skin will return before a full year passes but with the rate of sales nowadays anything is possible.

  11. Hello Zero, I would like to hear your opinion. Which skin do you prefer? Shockblade Zed or High Noon Yasuo?

    • We think that Shockblade Zed is a better option because the concept is more fitting and the execution is well done. High Noon Yasuo is also reasonably implemented but the idea behind it is more fanatstic and a bit of a stretch.

      It can be a matter of personal preference as Shockblade Zed is more conservative, another flavour of ninja, while High Noon changes the setting but keeps the core. Still, both are good skins.

      It could be said that if you like Zed there isn’t much reason not to like Shockblade but the same can’t be applied to Yasuo and High Noon. The skilled fugitive idea remains but the fantasy it’s based on is quite different.

  12. Your Shockblade Zed review was very helpful in my decision of buying it. My friend would always tell me not to buy it and just wait for SKT T1. But after 30 wins with him i just had to see what others thought, that’s how i stumbled upon your site. Your review was so detailed and amazing that i practically knew i would like the skin once i bought it a few days after reading.
    I don’t know why my friend said it was such a bad product. Well now that I think about it he is a mid main and he hates laning against Zed xP

    Anyways thanks so much for your review, im really enjoying the skin.

    Sincerely, Ward Mid Please.

    • We are glad you found the review useful and that you made a satisfactory purchase. We’ll keep working hard to make the most helpful reviews possible. Enjoy the skin.

  13. Zed could really use a new skin D:

  14. Hi Zero,
    There is going to be a PROJECT: Zed Skin and its in preview.
    What are your first expression on the new Zed skin?

    • and how many stars will you give it?

    • Looks good but we are talking about an expensive skins so a good model and particles isn’t enough to make it great. As it is, it look rather good but we don’t have enough information to settle on a rating yet. We’ll need to check the final product to reach a conclusion; let’s hope for the best.

  15. Can you do the review for the new project skins please

  16. Hey Zero I really appreciate your reviews and was wondering if you were still active and would review the new PROJECT skins once they come out on September 8. Especially Zed.

    • We are up to date with all released skins and you can find the reviews at each champion’s page. We are preparing everything for the PROJECT release and will have a review soon after they are available; including the shadowy Zed.

      For a while we missed clearing the page cache so it seemed like the site wasn’t being updated but we haven’t abandoned reviews at all. We’re trying to be more careful about that. If something seems amiss we’ll be grateful you drop us a line so that we can fix it as soon as possible; we don’t have cyborg precision, yet.

  17. Just bought PROJECT: Zed for 975 RP and the skin is actually quite impressive, His recall animation is just brilliant, and his ultimate’s countdown timer is also stands out, although i feel like it was awkward giving him a robotic voice over when he already has his masked voice.

    • The skin has quite nice particles and we agree that it’s a satisfying skin to use. The problem is that, aside from the voice-over, there really isn’t something that explains the 1350 RP price. Being on sale, the skin certainly becomes a better prospect.

      We understand the robotic process of the voice-over. The PROJECT theme is all about cyborgs that almost lose their humanity. The problem is that they all seem to keep their personality intact, except for Yi, as their quotes and overall personality remain unchanged. The difference in tone between the robotic and masked voice makes sense but, as with many other skins, the concept could’ve been futher developed.

      • I think it offers a lot and has some nice sounds, but the voice-over kind of makes me cringe. It is annoying to me, that’s why I got shock blade. Love the ability particles and sounds and doing his full combo is really satisfying on the eye.

        My 2 Sense.

        • PROJECT is a nice skin but we find that there’s potential to develop the theme further within the confines of the skin’s price. The particles are attractive but lack variety and the sounds only fulfil their objective. The processing on the voice-over can feel too familiar as the mask produces a similar effect.

          Shockblade is more modest but that may also work to its advantage. That way it doesn’t overload the skin with details. It keeps the base plainly on sight but adds a measured layer on top that defines a new style. Overall, we agree that the barrage of lightning ends up being quite nice.

          • Also, what is your opinion on Popstar Ahri vs. Foxfire Ahri?

            I have friend with 400k pts with her and he doesn’t have a skin for her, thought I would gift him one for his birthday. Thoughts?

          • Both are quite good. Foxfire fits the fantasy better and the flames are quite attractive. Popstar is more recent and has some new sounds and a recall which Foxfire lacks. Overall, both are great skins for Ahri and it’s a matter of taste which one you like the most.

            The theme and a few features are the main differences. Neither skin should disappoint but it depends on what each person likes to appreciate what each skin has to offer.

  18. Is it better to get shockblade zed or project: zed?

    • It depends if you prefer a more classic style or a futuristic one. Shockblade keeps the ninja idea but changes his costume to white and adds electric powers on top of the shadows. PROJECT: Zed goes deeper by changing the whole style including the very shadows. The price is higher as well but it does offer a bit more; though the skin should do a bit more.

      PROJECT is quite good but aside from the attractive particles there isn’t anything that truly stands out and the amount of changes fits at 975 RP. If possible we would advise to get it on sale; the same for Shockblade actually.

      A sale reduces the price difference and so you can concentrate on which concept you like the most. Both are good skins but either of them could offer more to be really great.

  19. Thanks zero for your awesome review…. Always checking out ur site before buying

  20. Zero, kinda have a dilemma. Zed and his Shockblade skin are on sale here in the PH server, and I’m not sure if I want to get his skin. Zed’s design as a darkness, shadow-wielding ninja is already excellent, but his Shockblade’s concept is cool as well(because it makes me think that this is how Zed looked like before).

    Headcanon and official lore skins are something I can enjoy role-playing as for a very long time(like GP’s Captain skin, Kass’ Pre-Void, or Udyr’s Primal), but his default design is already so good, why bother buying a skin(champions I personally prefer as defaults include Yasuo, Malzahar, and Graves)? Mind if I ask on your opinion about this?

    • Skins, when well done, offer different views of champions. Classic Zed is all about darkness while Shockblade adds lightning and a lighter style over what’s already established. The core of Zed isn’t affected by Shockblade, instead it’s a superficial reinterpretation that intends to give him a different yet also recognizable ninja style. It succeeds at that but doesn’t replace Classic by any means, it’s an alternative.

      The point of getting a skin is to use it so if you don’t see yourself playing with Shockblade there’s no point in getting or worrying about it. If you have some interest then the question is if its worth it for the price it asks for. Would it played enough to justify the expense?

      A skin should make a champion more interesting to use by presenting altenrative versions. If what’s offered isn’t appealing then don’t worry. If you do find the skin attractive then try a sale, like now, and enjoy the skin as much as you can. That doesn’t mean that you won’t ever play Classic Zed again but Shockblade Zed shouldn’t be ultimately forgotten because it’s not as good as Classic. It depends on how much value and interest you place in the skin.

  21. Will shockblade be going on sale on NA server anytime soon?

    • It should as it was last discounted on May, 2015. It’s not included in the January sales schedule but shouldn’t take too long to appear; in theory.

  22. Thanks for the awesome reviews.
    Do you happen to know when Project: Zed and Project: Fiora will go on discount? They are the main skins I’m eyeing right now. Thanks!

    • The PROJECT skins were released on September 2015 so it’s reasonable to think that they will go on sale this year. It may be closer to the middle of the year than the beginning as they are newly released skins but it’s only a conjecture. They shouldn’t go for over a year without a sale but that’s hoping only.

    • Hey WIll! If you are still interested PROJECT: Zed will be going on sale this March. It will go for 975 I think.

      • So it seems, at an early sale, but regular sales are prefered though. With so many skins money spent goes up very quickly. Of course, if it’s a personal favourite that will be used a lot it can be understood. The point is making a purchase that gives back at least as much as it asks for; more if possible.

  23. He also have some electric sounds in his emotes (particularly when his shadow disappears). It’s like a thunder sound. You might check it out.

    • If you refer to Shockblade Zed there are, indeed, a few new sounds and details we didn’t list. Thanks for bringing it to our attention. Hopefully the review will be more useful with the addendums.

  24. What should I buy? SKT T1 zed or project zed?

    • It largely depends on what you expect from the skin: the concept, the features and the price. As a concept, PROJECT is more interesting thanks to its cyberpunk style. SKT T1 is roughly a modern take on a ninja with evident stylization but appealing. It only has model changes though which is another area where PROJECT triumphs because of the interesting even if a bit monotonous partiicles. Finally, there’s the difference in price. In both cases we’d recommend to get them on sale but especially PROJECT.

      Both are good skins but they are very different in their concept and execution. If you are a fan of Zed neither would be a bad option but depending on your preferences one can be more attractive than the other.

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