Zeus is a ranged hero with massive nukes mid-game and who can still be reliable in the end game with his passive (E). He is a hero which is somewhat easy to jump into, but requires skill to master (especially when it comes to stealing everyone's kills).
The main goal of Zeus is to make sure your carry gets zero kills by spamming your ultimate. This is also the wrongest statement I have ever written. Although you will routinely get called a killstealer, it comes with the job. Just make sure you don't do it on purpose, and make sure to master the use of your ultimate (more on that later).
Seriously though, Zeus is the OG (that means "original ganker") and can successfully out-DPS almost any other hero. He can burst an enemy carry such as Tinker down in a matter of seconds. Once Zeus starts to get kills and gets farm, he can start getting his core items, dealing massive amounts of damage in a few seconds.
Now, alot of you will probably be wondering as to why there are so few medium-priced items in this guide. This is due to the fact that Zeus depends mostly on his Lightning Bolt to deal the most of his damage, thus negating most of the bonuses that items such as Bracer or Null Talisman. I only included the building of one Talisman because you already had the Mantle which you bought at the start, so you might as well just finish it off.
For starting items, I always get the same formula for items. One stack of tangoes, a healing salve, and five (count 'em) five clarities. Although this started for me as a joke, I have since found that the five clarities are actually fairly useful, as it enables you to basically spam your arc lightning off the bat, and enemies are rarely ready for that; furhtermore, while you are spamming your Q, it causes your enemies to waste their regen items for when you get your nuke up higher levels. The use of your Q is also extremely helpful when it comes to last hitting, since Zeus' attack animation isn't the easiest to master quickly.
When it comes to getting items, it is vitally important that you make sure to get your Arcane Boots and Bottle ASAP. The boots enable you to have literally just enough mana for your W, or in case youre low and you need to use your ultimate to get a fleeing enemy. These boots are useful all the way through the endgame, until your mana pool is so large it really wont make a difference. However, that doesn't mean you should sell them, they're still useful for when you burn through your mana in an intense team fight. I would suggest, however, getting the bottle before the boots, since bottle can also be used to store runes and give you a bit of health as well as mana.
After you get those first two items, its really a matter of choice. You can either go for an Aghanim's Scepter or a Refresher Orb. Which one you want is really whichever one you feel more comfortable with. Refresher Orb allows you to ult twice in a row, dealing devastating damage to an enemy team if you are the only survivor from a teamfight, or you can reveal that pesky Riki and then make him regret being anything other than a God. Aghanim's Scepter is also a solid choice since it gives a massive increase for your ultimate's damage (from 210/335/460 to 400/500/600). Your goal should be to get both of these items, since it will make you an insane weapon for your team.
I also listed a couple items under the tab for escape mechanisms. Since Zeus has no way of escaping other than his two little legs, it is sometimes necessary to buy a Force Staff or a Shadow Blade in order to get out of sticky situations. I personally only buy these items if I find that the enemy team decides to focus me in every single fight, which is rare. I would pick up a Force Staff over a Shadow Blade because it has endless possibilities. One could force themselves over a cliff in a spot where the enemy could not go quickly, and escape easily.
Ahh Skills. Zeus' bread and butter. Once you master the use of yor skills, you will be an unstoppable force of nature.
Arc Lightning Q
N/A Enemy units
Hurls a bolt of lightning that leaps through nearby enemy units.
Cast Range: 700
Bounce Distance: 500
Number Of Bounces: 5/7/9/15
Arc Lightning is Zeus' favorite spell to use against puny mortals.
Zeus' Q ability, use this as a way to fill in time between your Lightning Bolts since they also proc off your Static Field. Although the damage is fairly low, the fact that you can take out 11% of your enemy's hp every 2 seconds is extremely useful in the endgame when foes have larger health pools.
Lightning Bolt W
N/A Enemy units
Summons a bolt of lightning to strike an enemy unit, causing damage and a ministun. Lightning Bolt also provides truesight around the target in a radius of 900.
Cast Range: 700
A shocking punishment for rebellious heathen.
This spell is what makes Zeus so devastating in the mid game. With a 6 second cooldown and 350 damage (+11% max health with Static Field), this spell is insane. This spell should be used every chance you get, except as an opener. Strange right? But the thing is, you want to deal a bit of damage at the start with your Q, whittling the enemy's health away, then hitting them for half their health out of nowhere.
Static Field E
N/A Enemy units
Zeus shocks all nearby enemy units whenever he casts a spell, causing damage proportional to their current health.
Percentage Of Current HP Dealt As Damage: 5%/7%/9%/11%
The air crackles with static when the Thundergod walks the world.
This move is simple. All foes within 1000 range get 11% of their health knocked away every time you cast a spell. Make sure to put this passive to good use, by spamming your Q as much as possible.
NOTE: This ability also deals 11% hp damage to creeps nearby! While at first this may look like a bad thing, this could actually be used to your advantage! I have actually played games where Roshan has saved my life from blocking the enemy team from getting to me after a poorly executed team fight. This is, however something you should take into consideration when fighting.
N/A Enemy heroes
Strikes all enemy heroes with a bolt of lightning, no matter where they may be. Thundergod's Wrath also provides truesight around each hero struck in a radius of 900. If an enemy hero is invisible, it takes no damage, but the True Sight is still created at that hero's location.
SCEPTER UPGRADABLE: Increases damage.
Damage: 210 (400*)/335 (500*)/ 460 (600*)
The Lord of Heaven smites all who oppose him, near or far.
Zeus' ultimate, and one of the best in game. Deals a GLOBAL 460 non-upgraded damage burst. This is often used ineffectively, and I have seen it happen many times (especially when I do it to piss off pubs :P). Although I cannot tell you whether or not to use it 100% of the time, follow these general guidelines:
Spam your Arc Lightning to your heart's content. This will not only knock out the creeps' health around you, but also jump quite a bit to the enemy heroes. This is done almost solely in order to proc your Static Field ability to take out chunks of almost the entire enemy teams' health, since the range is so large. This is key to the start of the fight.
Next, look for the person with the fewest little green bars over their head. They are the squishiest hero and should thus be taken out first. While they (most often the support) is out trying to focus on keeping everyone else alive, you will come from nowhere and blow them up before they can react. Use that huge nuke from Lightning Bolt to shock them (literally) to death. After they are dead, then move on to the remainders.
After knocking out their support, the last couple people should die fairly quickly. While these people (usually the tankiest of their team) have lots of health, your Lightning Bolt should make quick work of them. If they decide that running is the best option, make sure to change their mind with a Thundergod's Wrath if your chasers somehow let them get away. This last sentence is key however, because you really should ONLY use your ult to clear them if they escape, or if your teammates need sight on the enemy to stun them out of a TP, etc.
In conclusion, Zeus is one of the most fun heroes in the game. Once you learn how to get down his abilities, you will be able to dominate in a game. One thing to keep in mind: you are squishy. Make sure that you aren't in your regular attack range, because that probably means you're too close. Zeus depends almost solely on his abilities, so the best way to maximize your help to the team is to stand to the side or rear and smite your foes from afar.
For you guys who want a quick rundown of Zeus' ability chain, look no furher!
Kinda hard to see, but it is a game a while back (note the old UI) of me being awesome. I went 32/5/16 and carried the team.
I take them! Send me a message to my DOTAFire profile or simply comment on this post and I will get back to you ASAP!