Zed’s a beloved Champion of the Rift, often picked for his badass looks alone, which usually doesn’t end well, you know? That’s mainly because people, like myself, often ego-challenge other players and hope that our self-esteem matches our skill level, which it rarely does. However, it goes to show how appearances can lead to people selecting one Champion over another, which isn’t really surprising. When you consider that heavyweights like Esben Lash Rasmussen and Alex Flores are among the artists, it makes perfect sense. While you may not recognize these names, you’ve most definitely seen their splash arts in-game, often the catalyst to a purchase. So, with that being said, and Wukong‘s list in the books, it’s time we continue the momentum and rank the 5 best Zed splash arts!
*I only considered and ranked the currently official splash arts.
5. SKT T1 Zed
The Shockblade and Death Sworn skins are superb, but those Zed splash arts are far from it. While I’d never doubt the efforts of the artists, not knowing their given timeframe, there is something visually pleasing about the 2014 SKT T1 illustration by Bo Lu. I believe it’s the utilization of diagonal lines and angles to create symmetry. This is particularly obvious with the positioning of the legs and weapons, with even the background noticeably at an angle. However, Bo Lu’s taken a less-is-more approach, focusing primarily on the cohesiveness of the artwork, rather than detail. In turn, Zed’s model looks too simplistic, yet it could have something to do with the skin it represents as well. Nevertheless, the other Champions on the illustration improve it overall, making it the 5th best Zed splash art.
4. Original Zed
Like fine wine, isn’t it? Crafted masterfully by Pan Chengwei, this 2012 illustration is among the very best original/default splash arts in League of Legends. Given, that’s a lot of praise. However, considering that it’s 8 years old, the craftmanship and solid composition becomes far more noteworthy. But, it wouldn’t matter if the color palette wasn’t this particular. It’s the sheer decision to have a monotone background and a high contrast model that draws our attention to Zed. While that’s the point, it’s achieved without losing detail, with the Zed shadow and structure behind the assassing behind beautifully drawn. However, it struggles to compete against modern, somewhat more complex, splash arts of present day. It’s not about the artistry, yet the advancements in artwork technique through new and improved programs. In turn, it lands on the 4th spot, as the competition is stiff.
3. Galaxy Slayer Zed
Mr. Rasmussen’s artwork is absolutely beautiful, with the Galaxy Slayer Zed showcasing it nicely. While that’s not saying a lot, let say the following: his artwork is usually clean, with great angles and solid utilization of created light sources. It’s something we clearly see in this illustration, with the detail and attention to shading, elevating the splash art to another level. In turn, the simplistic approach works, doing just enough but not venturing over-the-top, focusing on the distinct features of the skin. However, while some may like that their eyes get drawn to the hand, other’s might find that it overshadows the head. I happen to agree with the latter, with the lack of detail in the background among the reasons behind it’s spot on the list. Nevertheless, it’s still stunning overall, thematically fitting the skin it depicts and showcasing the best past.
2. PROJECT: Zed
I’m sure many rank this splash art as Zed’s best, and quite frankly, I can fully understand. I mean, what’s not to love about it? It’s an action-packed and colorful splash art, with great detail and shading – it’s pure eye-candy! While it’s difficult to order these illustrations, I’m gonna keep firm on my ranking. However, it shouldn’t take away from Jason Chan’s splash. If anything, it should lead to a discussion about these brilliant artists and their phenomenal capabilities. Nevertheless, this illustration deserves praise and recognition, as it’s so vibrant and energetic, as if Zed’s about to leap off the splash art. In addition, it looks like a freeze-frame, with Zed in the midst of battle, making it a challenging composition overall. While it’s over-the-top, it’s also masterfully crafted and likely lead to numerous skin purchases!
1. Championship Zed
Honestly, Alex Flores has some cojones, creating an artwork that’s nearly devoid of color, mainly brought to life with excellent shading. Together with a few subdued light sources, subtletly becomes the key ingredient. It’s the grey color-scheme that draws our eyes to the highlights of the Champion. Therefore, it’s the creativity and decision making that sells this illustration, willing to commit to a challenging angle and a risky color palette. However, it still manages to tell a story, making Zed look both badass and majestic in this illustration. In turn, it feels like Zed’s getting ready for battle, born anew, only to wreak havoc on the Rift, stopped only by his will alone. In the view of this, I feel comfortable in saying that this piece is among the very best in the entirety of League of Legends!