Zed has been absent from pro play for a hot second here and Akali...probably doesn't even know what pro play is anymore. They are both got some pretty nice changes in the preseason patch, enough to get them back in the meta? (Spoilers: Yes for Zed, MAYBE for Akali).
W no longer grants bonus AD (who knew it even did that)
R now has a new mechanic called Shadow Reaping. Whenever Death Mark kills a target, Zed will receive a permanent buff to his overall AD, based on a percentage of the AD of his victim. Shadow Reaping can only be replaced or increased if Zed kills a target that would reap him a larger bonus than his current bonus. This is a snapshot buff, meaning that if Zed kills a Talon with 100 AD with a rank 1 Death Mark, he would reap +10 AD. If the same Talon then buys more AD, Zed would have to Death Mark Talon again to receive that benefit.
This is the most Zed ability Riot could have ever added. From a Zed perspective, you should always be hunting for the highest enemy AD target to copy their power. This does make you a little more predictable though. Bad news for ADCs, great news for all the AP mid laners out there. Other than the Shadow Reaper change, Zed feels very much like Zed still. (TIP: Maybe don’t pick a AD mid laner into Zed if you can help it. Reduce his targets by picking AP and protect your ADC).
THE GOAL: Use Q, W, and E to poke out the enemy. Once they are low, use R to dash onto them. Do your best now not to kill them with your basic attacks or abilities. Do your damage and let the Death Mark pop. You will reap some of their AD, and look super cool doing it.
Passive now applies to two basic attacks. The first attack will heal Akali and the second will deal bonus damage.
W now teleports Akali a short distance, allowing her to travel over walls. It also increases her movement speed while she is inside of the shroud and she can no longer be revealed by pink wards (although Lee Sin is still her mortal enemy).
E now gets a large percentage of its cooldown refunded if it kills an enemy, making it ideal for farming.
R now deals way less damage
With Riot taking power away from Akali’s ultimate, it is now far more of an engage/sticking tool than a damage tool. Power has instead been moved to her basic attacks. This opens up some interesting new builds for Akali and a possibility of seeing her succeed in the jungle. Making her W actually useful now also adds a lot to Akali’s bag of tricks. Is this update enough to make her pro viable? Almost certainly not. Is it enough of an update to make her more interesting/less frustrating in Solo Queue? Yeah, probably.
THE GOAL: Throw Q onto your target. Use R to dash to them and then basic attack twice. Use E to deal additional damage. Repeat until target is dead. Use W to be tricksy.