- Introduction: why pick Zz'Rot?
- Zz'Rot Portal vs. Guardian Angel
- The overt strategies: pushing down towers
- General strategy
- Forcing your enemy into a lose-lose situation
- Split pushing
- Sieging as a team
- The sneaky strategies: wave control
- The guaranteed pushing lane
- The Riskless Proxy
- The Super Minion Disruptor
- The Tower Supplement
- Synergy with other items/buffs
- Special Bonus: Cheese
- Portable terrain
- The Trail of Breadcrumbs gambit
- TL;DR (summary of important points)
Introduction: Why pick Zz'Rot?
However, that's because you don't have the same amount of experience with the Zz'Rot Portal, partly because it's new and partly because hardly anyone buys it, so you haven't seen firsthand the significant effect it can have on a game. So before we get into all of the neat little intricacies of how to use the Zz'Rot Portal, I'd like to spend a moment comparing it to Guardian Angel (the most likely item that you'd choose instead of Zz'Rot Portal), so that you know why you'd bother having this item in the first place.
If you're tanky enough that aren't going to die anyway, you're just spending 1200 gold for 10 armor and 5 magic resist with Guardian Angel. On the other hand, if you grab a Zz'Rot Portal instead, you get an active that you know you can make use of (and which I will teach you how to use more effectively), as well as the added perks of health regen and the Point Runner passive, which aren't exactly deal-breakers, but they're better than nothing. The Zz'Rot portal is almost 100% gold efficient even without its active and passive: in order for the Zz'Rot portal to be gold efficient, its active and passive need to be worth at least 40 gold. By contrast, Guardian Angel's passive needs to be worth at least 800 gold for it to be an efficient item.
Even if you are likely to die, Zz'Rot Portal might still be the better choice for you, depending on the enemy team's strategy. If you have a good team-fighting composition, but the enemy team plays around it by disengaging from fights out in the open and turtling in base with waveclear and poke, the Zz'Rot Portal is the perfect tool to help knock down that pesky first inhibitor tower.
Lastly, and this is a much less common scenario, but if you get to super-late game and you have enough money to swap out your Guardian Angel while it's on cooldown, Zz'Rot Portal is one of the many options that will be available to you, and one that gives you similar stats to GA.
The Overt Strategies: pushing down Towers
First, I'd like to take a moment to discuss what makes this strategy effective. By putting down a Void Gate near an enemy tower, you are forcing your enemy into a lose-lose situation. Normally, when you want to push down a tower, you have to get up close and personal with it, putting yourself in harm's way. The Zz'Rot Portal allows you or your team to keep better distance while still having a consistent source of damage to the tower. If your enemy wants to stop the Voidspawn from coming, they have to leave their tower to kill the Void Gate, where you can fight them more easily. So you are forcing them to decide between having their towers slowly whittled away by Voidspawn and venturing away from the safety of the tower in order to save it. When you put down a Void Gate, you lower the necessity of attempting a risky tower dive. These strategies are particularly effective against weaker teams that can turtle and waveclear well and when you have difficulty engaging under their turret.
Your timing of when you put down the Void Gate is important. The first and every fourth Voidspawn are more powerful than the rest, and you want to make sure that the strong Voidspawn both survive and attack the tower rather than minions. If you can, wait one wave before putting down the Void Gate and try to see how long it takes for both teams' minions to die. You want the strong Voidspawn to join the fight under the tower when most but not all of the minions are dead. If there are no allied minions, the tower and enemy minions will target the Voidspawn, and it may be killed before reaching its destination. If there are too many enemy minions, the Voidspawn will attack them instead of the tower. The first Voidspawn will spawn 1 second after you put down the Void Gate, and will move quickly toward the nearest tower. Since every fourth Voidspawn after that will be strong, a strong Voidspawn will spawn every 16 seconds. Waves come at approximately every 30 seconds, so your strong Voidspawn will appear at almost the same place for every wave. If you don't time your placement properly, your strongest Voidspawn may only appear between waves, which would dramatically reduce the effectiveness of the Portal.
The placement of your Void Gate is equally as important. Make sure that your Void Gate is far enough away that the enemy can't easily destroy it and retreat back to their tower. It's tempting to put the void gate between two inhibitor towers so that it can attack the other after one has been destroyed, but doing so is a huge risk - placing the Void Gate near the enemy's base gates makes it very easy to destroy.
Now, then, on to the main two tower-pushing strategies, Split Pushing and Sieging as a Team:
Split pushing with the Zz'Rot Portal is pretty straightforward - just split push like you normally would, and put down the Zz'Rot portal when you see an opportunity to take the tower.
-If there aren't any defenders and you're in a base race situation, it might be worth putting down the Void Gate when you reach the inhibitor turret, rather than using it on the inner turret, because it will also help you push down the inhibitor.
-If there is only one defender, sent to prevent you from taking the tower, use the Zz'Rot portal by the tower that your enemy is trying to defend. Your lone defender will have to choose between destroying the Voidspawn before they hit the tower, or harassing you as you hit the tower yourself. The defender will also have to decide whether or not to attack the Void Gate away from the tower as you harass him.
-If there is more than one defender, hold off on putting down your Void Gate. It's a fairly significant cooldown, and they'll be able to easily bully you out of the way and destroy it. Stay safe, wait for your opportunity, and hope that your team makes use of the numbers advantage that you're creating for them.
Sieging as a Team
The Zz'Rot portal is also useful when sieging a tower with your team, but you need to make a little bit more effort to strategize around the portal than when you're alone, since the enemy team will be more easily able to clear the Voidspawn and destroy the Void Gate with all five of them present. Here are some things to remember:
-Wait for your entire team to get there before you put down your Void Gate. You don't want your enemy to use their brief numbers advantage to destroy it before you even get the chance to use it.
-Engage if the enemy team comes out of base to destroy the Void Gate. Remember when I told you about putting your enemy into a lose-lose situation? Here's where you take advantage of it. Your enemy will have to overextend to attempt to destroy the Void Gate, and that's your best chance to get a fair fight away from the turrets. Don't let that chance pass you by.
-Sometimes, your enemy won't know to get rid of the Voidspawn as quickly as possible, but if the enemy team is waveclearing and killing the Voidspawn before they can hit the tower, have the front line (probably you, if you've built Zz'Rot Portal) cover the Voidspawn. By this I mean either scare your enemy wave-clearers off temporarily with the threat of an engage, or literally walk on top of the Voidspawn so that your enemies click on you instead of them. Keep your wits about you when you do this, though; their best chance to engage on you is while you're under their turret.
The Sneaky Strategies: Wave Control
The first Zz'Rot tactic involves creating a guaranteed pushing lane. By putting down a Void Gate next to or in a lane that does not have enemy super minions in it, you can guarantee that that lane will always be pushing in your favor. First, I'd like to spend a moment talking about the logistics of this tactic, then go on to discuss the ways that you can strategize around it.
- The first thing that you should know is that when you put down a Void Gate, you are choosing the spot that the enemy minion wave will not be able to push past without the assistance of super minions. That means that the closer to your enemy's base that you put down the Void Gate, the more pressure it will create. If you put the Void Gate relatively close to your base, you're only stopping enemy minions from attacking your turrets, but if you put the Void Gate relatively close to your enemy's base, your allied minions will cascade against their towers, either slowly chipping away at the towers or forcing an enemy champion to farm the wave.
- The Void Gate will always push the lane past its location, even if it's placed behind the minion wave. If there's a large wave pushing against you, and you're placing the Void Gate behind that wave, the Void Gate will eventually cause the wave to turn in your team's favor by limiting enemy minion reinforcements. It does this in a few ways:
- It kills minions by itself. You get the gold for any minions that your Voidspawn kill. Yay!
- It stalls the enemy reinforcements, giving your allied minions the temporary advantage they need to turn the tides.
- It separates enemy reinforcements through what I like to call The Straggler Effect - some enemy minions will be distracted by the Voidspawn, while others continue down the lane alone. Your allied minions will be able to more easily kill the sparser enemy minion wave while taking less damage. The separation of the enemy minions will also temporarily stall your allied minion wave, allowing the wave behind it to join, creating a super wave. Thus, you'll have a bigger allied minion wave with less damage. The Straggler Effect is important for other strategies, so try to remember it.
- When the Void Gate is fighting alongside your minions, enemy minions will often attack your Voidspawn instead of your allied minions. This leads to a healthier allied minion wave.
Now that you've got a basic idea of the logistics that govern the way that your Void Gate will affect the flow of the minion waves, let's talk about the ways that you can use this to your advantage. The crux of it is that by using the Zz'Rot Portal to keep one lane pushing, you can have guaranteed pressure in two lanes, even if you're grouped as five. Just as with the other sieging strategies, this forces your enemy into a lose-lose decision:
- If your enemy does not deal with the waves pushing against them, then their turrets will take damage and they will lose out on farm.
- If your enemy sends someone to clear the waves without destroying the Void Gate, you have a lot of small 5v4 advantages, which are especially useful if your enemy only has one strong waveclearer. You can either use this advantage to dive or to chip away at the enemy turret, depending on factors like the fifth member's proximity and the ability of the enemy to zone your ADC without the fifth member.
- If your enemy sends someone to destroy the Void Gate, you have an extended 5v4 advantage. You can use this time to tower dive, kill the turret, or collapse on and pick off the enemy that was sent out to destroy the Void Gate. Generally, the first two options will be more feasible, especially if the enemy sends one of their tankier members to get rid of the Void Gate.
Now, let's talk a little bit about Void Gate positioning in this multi-lane strategy. Take a look at this image:
Position 1 is the placement with the highest risk and the highest reward, and should only be used if your team is ready and able to quickly and decisively tower dive. Placing your Void Gate here will allow your Voidspawn to attack the bottom turret if left unanswered (which is great, if they let it happen), but it will also attract more attention from the enemy team. The enemy team will almost definitely send someone to destroy the Void Gate if you place it at position 1, and since it's close to the enemy's base, they will be able to do that more quickly than they would if the Void Gate were placed farther away. Your team needs to be able to capitalize on the brief 5v4, or you'll have wasted your Void Gate. Position 1 is probably the best location for highly coordinated teams, but the worst location for uncoordinated teams.
Positions 2 and 3 are less likely to be noticed, but the Voidspawn won't reach the tower. Instead, they will make sure that the wave is always pushed against the enemy inhibitor turret, forcing one of your enemies to constantly have to return to clear the wave. You can use your brief 5v4 advantages to whittle away at the enemy tower or quickly engage if you have enough time to win the fight before the enemy fifth member returns. If the enemy team sends a member to destroy the Void Gate, that member will be gone for a significant amount of time, and you should engage on your enemy during that window.
Position 4 is like Positions 2 and 3 in terms of strategy, but is far less likely to draw an enemy to destroy it. It will also take slightly longer for it to push back the enemy wave, and will cause less pressure. In most cases, it's better to put your Void Gate at Position 2 or 3 than at Position 4. The primary appeals of Position 4 are that your Void Gate will almost definitely not be destroyed, and that if your enemy does send someone to destroy it, you will have a much bigger window within which to take advantage of your 5v4.
Next, I'd like to talk about some defensive wave control strategies. Although the Zz'Rot Portal is primarily an offensive item, it is also worth using defensively if you aren't going to have an opportunity to push down your enemy's towers any time in the near future. There are three ways in which you can use the Zz'Rot Portal defensively: the Riskless Proxy, the Super Minion Disruptor, and the Tower Supplement.
The first strategy, the Riskless Proxy, involves setting up your Void Gate so that your Voidspawn kill the enemy minions behind the enemy team. Normally, proxy farming leaves your team 4v5 and vulnerable to getting engaged upon by the enemy team, but using your Zz'Rot Portal to proxy farm lets you be there for a 5v5 teamfight while also stopping an enemy minion line if you time it properly. As far as placement goes, you want the Void Gate on the enemy's side of the map, preferably in a bush. The Void Gate is more noticeable than the Voidspawn on the enemy minimap, so your Void Gate is more likely to go unnoticed if it's hidden in brush. The timing is the hardest part of this strategy to pull off. If you set up the Void Gate while the enemy is on their side of the map, they will be able to clear it much more easily and in less time, but if you leave to set it up while they are already sieging, you will leave your team 4v5 for too long. The best way to set up your Void Gate is to wait in an part of the enemy side of the map that they have not warded, and then place your Void Gate once you see the enemy team reach your team's side of the map, and immediately recall to join the coming fight.
The Riskless Proxy is particularly useful against teams that have just gotten Baron. Usually, teams will recall after killing Baron to heal and buy, and you can use that opportunity to sneak into the enemy jungle to set up your Void Gate. As I mentioned before, wait until the enemy has moved past your location and are setting up to siege a turret before putting down your Void Gate, and then recall to join the defense. The enemy will be unable to use the Baron buff to push down the turret in the lane that you're proxy farming. If they send someone back to destroy the Void Gate, that will waste a significant amount of the time on their Baron buff, especially if the member who destroys the Void Gate leaves the minions that had been attacking the Voidspawn, because minions that have been upgraded by the Baron buff once cannot be upgraded again if they revert to their un-buffed state.
The next defensive strategy, the Super Minion Disruptor, is very similar in form to the Riskless Proxy. Basically, it's what happens when you try the Riskless Proxy in a lane that has enemy super minions. Ordinarily, the Void Gate will push whatever lane it's placed in, but the Voidspawn will be unable to kill the super minions, and that lane will still push in favor of your enemy. However, the Voidspawn will be able to help you defend against super minions by slowing down and separating the wave, giving you more time or manpower to defend the lane that the enemy is pushing. The enemy team is unlikely to destroy your Void Gate, because it will take time to get to, and it's in a lane that they shouldn't be pushing anyway (teams that know what they're doing will push the other lanes while the super minion lane pushes itself - if you're in Bronze or Silver there's a chance that your Void Gate will be destroyed, but that's okay because it means that the enemy is out of position).
When the Void Gate is placed in a wave with enemy super minions, the Voidspawn will separate the wave due to the Straggler Effect. This is particularly good in this instance, because Super Minions have an aura that buffs up nearby minions, and fewer enemy minions will receive that buff once the wave is separated. It's also good because your Nexus turrets will have less difficulty killing the separated minions and will take less damage from them, so you have more freedom to defend your other turrets if you need to.
The last defensive strategy, the Tower Supplement, is more of a desperation move than the other two, and should only be used if there isn't an opportunity to set up a Void Gate on the other side of the map. This strategy involves setting up your Void Gate slightly behind an allied turret in order to help clear the enemy wave, making it harder for the enemy team to tower dive you. The Voidspawn will draw the aggro of the enemy minions, saving your tower from some minion attacks.
Synergy With other items/buffs
Baron and Banner of Command - Both of these buffs have great synergy with the Zz'Rot portal - Baron or Banner-buffed minions and Voidspawn are already difficult to deal with on their own, and it's nearly impossible to protect your towers from both at the same time.
Super Minions - If you're using the Zz'Rot Portal in conjunction with super minions, then that means that you're using it to attack their Nexus turrets. Clearing supers is often a full-time job for a defender, and if you put down a Void Gate near their Nexus turrets, you place your enemy in another lose-lose situation: kill the Voidspawn or the supers? Both will damage the turret if left alone, and it won't be possible for one person to completely take care of both. They'll also have to decide between killing the super minions and spending the time necessary to destroy your Void Gate, so make sure you put your Void Gate as far away from their Nexus turrets as possible while still being in Voidspawn range of both of them. If you're threatening their Nexus turrets alone while the rest of your team pushes for another inhibitor or inhibitor turret, your enemy will be forced to temporarily send more than one person to deal with the pressure that you're creating, which will open up an opportunity for your team. If they don't send more than one person to deal with you, then you get to destroy their Nexus turrets or Nexus.
Health and Shields - This one isn't pushing-related, and might go without saying for a lot of you, but Zz'Rot Portal's 60 armor and magic resistance make it a great item to pair with champions that have a lot of health and/or shields like Cho'Gath or Sion. Armor and magic resistance scale multiplicatively with health (shields are basically temporary health), so the more health you have, the more effective your armor and magic resistance are. For more information about this, please refer to this useful explanation.
Dragon Buff and Elixir of Ruin - Unfortunately, neither Dragon Slayer nor Elixir of Ruin will increase your Voidspawn's damage to turrets, but they will increase the pressure that you and your teammates create, so that your enemies may focus less on the Voidspawn and more on you. Conversely, if your enemies are focused on the Voidspawn and the Void Gate, you will do more damage to turrets while they're occupied.
Other Zz'Rot Portals - I haven't yet experimented with or developed any multi-Portal strategies, but the potential is definitely there - two portals in the same place would be a bigger threat, take twice as long to destroy, and do twice as much damage in the meantime. Two portals in different parts of the map would mean that the enemy team would have to spread their resources even thinner to deal with the potential threat. I highly recommend experimenting with this if you have multiple people on your team that can viably incorporate Zz'Rot Portal into their builds.
Special Bonus: Cheese
Portable Terrain - The very center of the Void Gate counts as terrain for the purposes of spells that can pin you against walls. This means that you could use Vayne's Condemn, Gnar's ult, or Poppy's Heroic Charge against it if need be. The hitbox for the Void Gate is very small, though, so this would be hard to pull off, in addition to the fact that many of the champions with these kinds of moves wouldn't be able to viably incorporate a Zz'Rot Portal into their builds.
Trail of Breadcrumbs - Need to make a pick and have a particularly gullible enemy? Have your team hide in a bush and place your Void Gate nearby. Your enemy might follow the Voidspawn to kill the Void Gate, but wind up in an ambush instead! Most enemies will not fall for this, since a Void Gate right next to a bush in the middle of the jungle is very conspicuous.
- Zz'Rot Portal is almost 100% gold efficient and the single highest MR item in Summoner's Rift.
- Almost whenever you use the Zz'Rot Portal's active, Void Gate, you force your enemy into a lose-lose situation, and it's up to you to take advantage of the decision that they make.
- When sieging, place your Void Portal as the minion wave passes so that the strong Voidspawn will appear with the minion wave.
- When sieging, be ready to engage on your enemy when they venture out of the safety of their tower to destroy your Void Gate.
- When sieging, wait for your entire team to arrive before setting up your Void Gate so that it isn't destroyed before you have the chance to defend it.
- If you're split pushing and more than one defender is sent to deal with you, hold off on using your Void Gate - you won't be able to defend it and it will be destroyed quickly. Rely on your team to take advantage of their numbers advantage.
- You can use the Void Gate to guarantee that a wave will always be pushing in your favor, creating pressure in another lane.
- You should put the Void Gate in the same lane that your team is in if you're having trouble engaging, because it will force the enemy to come out to try to destroy it. You should put the Void Gate in a different lane than your team is in if you are confident in your engage and ability to tower dive, because it will force your enemy into a 5v4 when someone goes to deal with the pressure that your Void Gate is creating
- Void Gate can be used defensively, and is most effective in that regard if you are able to plan ahead.
- The best way to use the Void Gate defensively is to place it near a lane on the enemy's side of the map while your enemies are beginning to set up on your side of the map. Make sure you have enough time to recall and join the defense.
- Void Gate can be used to separate waves and stall super minions.
- Void Gate can also be used as a last-ditch wave clear tool at your tower.
- Zz'Rot Portal has good synergy with Hand of Baron (Baron buff) and Banner of Command
- You can create a lot of pressure by setting up a Void Gate to attack Nexus Turrets with super minions.
Zz'Rot Portal is finally starting to see some competitive play, so my guide is getting some attention again. It's been a while since I wrote the guide though, and although it's still a good resource for learning what Zz'Rot Portal can bring to the table, parts of it are out of date. So, to remedy that, here's a list of small notes and changes to keep in mind while using my guide:
- Zz'Rot Portal is no longer the highest MR item in the game
- Zz'Rot Portal's health regen was increased from +100% to +125%
- Zz'Rot Portal's cost was reduced from 2800 to 2700
- Zz'Rot Portal now has a minimap indicator, which shows its max range
- (Full health Voidspawn will not be killed by towers before attacking them)
- Voidspawn distance traveled now scales with health, and large voidspawns' increased damage now scales with health instead of resistances
- Voidspawn now slowly decrease in health after a few seconds instead of disappearing after a certain period of time. This adds some more variables to your decision of how close you'd like to place your Void Gate. Deficio had some good analysis on the matter in the recent Fnatic vs. Elements game. I timestamped that commentary in the link, but I recommend watching the whole game if you're looking for some nice Zz'Rot strategy and analysis. Here's a link without the timestamp if you haven't seen the game and are worried about spoilers.
- Baron buff can now be used by the same person on the same wave multiple times
- A good strategy that I didn't mention - you can use the Void Gate in bot lane to create pressure while you fight around Baron.