Nov 14, 2022
Updates have been made to our Zed buying guide to be more reflective of the current environment.
Welcome to the world of ZED Horse Racing! This guide is intended to help people new to ZED better understand what makes good racehorses and what to look for when buying your first horse.
In this guide you will learn:
- There are many types of purchases you can make in ZED. What type of horse you buy depends on why you are buying.
- How to use the various Hawku filters and sorts to get a horse that is right for you.
- We continually add filters and make improvements to the platform as data becomes relevant, or as we get great suggestions from the community. You can view a list of our new filtering features implemented in October 2022 at https://blog.hawku.com/hawku-v2-new-features/. Many of these would be considered more advanced filters (c1 filter, ETH earned, ROI, etc.)!
- There is no easy money way to win. You’ll need to do the work to make money. While there have been some “wins”, those windows close fast (sometimes within minutes) as everyone jumps on and you constantly need to update your strategies.
What is ZED.run?
- ZED.run is a NFT-based horse racing game. Players can purchase horses through the Hawku marketplace at https://www.hawku.com
- As a horse owner you can race your horses in free or paid races (from $0.50 per race up to $500!).
- There are many different types of payout structures within Zed, make sure you know what type you’re entering!
- All horses in ZED are different. Horses are NFTs and each have their own unique abilities ranging from a base ability (the baseline speed of the horse ), a variability ability (some horses are more likely to be really fast one race and then really slow the next), and distance preference (Some horses race better in sprints, others in marathons).
- The horse’s traits are all unique and variable. Some have huge distance preferences (they do great in marathons and terrible in sprints), and some have small distance preferences.
- All horse’s abilities are hidden and unknown to the public. The only way to figure out a horse’s ability is to infer it from its race data (does it do well in long distance races? Does it normally finish either 1st or 12th?). You can also sometimes infer some horse information from its breed-type or z-value.
Quick buy guide: You want to buy a ZED horse, so what do you do?
It really depends on why you’re wanting to buy! Are you looking to make a long-term passive investment? Scratch off a lottery ticket with the hopes of a great win? The type of horse you buy (and amount you spend) will vary greatly depending on what you are trying to get from your investment.
Below are a bunch of reasons to buy along with example searches to get you started.
I want easy money!
Haha. Pretty much everyone wants easy money. Unfortunately, long term easy money plans don’t exist (at least not in ZED). The problem is that since everyone wants easy money, most opportunities to make a profit go away quickly as everyone enters the space. Sniping and trying to flip horses can work - until the market declines and you are left holding the bag and selling at a loss. Having a great way to find monster horses works until 100 other people figure out the same strategy.
Your best bet is to do the time and research to figure out your strategies to win in ZED. You’ll find a way to be profitable and have fun in the process.
A very basic search would include paid win rate over 10% with a decent amount of races (say 50), sorted by cost low-high. While it’s important to then dig into the horse, and likely filter by paid racing to see where/when they were raced, this will give a very basic perspective of some decent horses that are for sale.
I want a passive investment
Are you someone who wants to make a long-term investment in ZED? Someone who would like to treat it as a passive asset? Most people wanting to make a long-term investment in ZED have invested primarily in Genesis horses (as they are the only ones that do not suffer from breeding decay). In general, the lower the Z-value (i.e. go from Z6 to Z4) the more valuable the horse is as its abilities go up and total quantity goes down. While 10,000 Z10 Genesis horses have been created, only 1000 Z1’s were created. By investing in Genesis horses, you are basically betting on the long-term growth of ZED.
- Genesis Z1-Z2 horses (Only 2000 of these will exist - these are the most rare and desirable) Genesis Z1-Z2 horses search
- Genesis Z3-Z4 horses (Only 2000 of these will exist - these are also rare) Genesis Z3-Z4 horses search
- Genesis Z5-Z7 horses (More common than Z1-Z4, these may be a more affordable option) Genesis Z5-Z7 horses search
- Unraced Genesis horses (These horses become more rare over time, as there is a limited number of genesis and it will only decrease as more of them are raced) Unraced Genesis horses search
- Keep in mind the value of these horses can change drastically depending on how ZED changes its algorithms. Recent changes in racing and breeding have diminished the value of genesis, but that may revert back.
Digging deeper into this. If you’re able to identify a horse as a great breeder (male or female) by investigating its offspring and their success. If it's a male horse, the ability to have a proven breeder can be lucrative by putting it in the stud barn and getting paid to use it as a stud.
I want a lottery ticket
Do you want the feeling of opening a new pack of cards or scratching off a lottery ticket? - If you like the thrill of opening a pack of cards or scripting off a lottery ticket, you may want to buy a “lottery ticket” horse. These are unnamed horses where previously no one really knew their ability. Since the March 17, 2022 Breeding Algorithm change, you can get an idea of a horse's possible performance by researching the abilities of the parents (and grandparents). While no official note has been given by ZED regarding breeding traits passed on, data has shown distance preference is very strongly passed from parent to child and variability (or “stability”) of children is also strongly correlated to the parents.
The breeding change has resulted in two different strategies. Some players prefer to pick horses bred after the breeding update and base their purchases on the distance preferences of parents. Others prefer foals before March 17 where the odds of randomly getting a monster horse were higher.
Hawku lets you search in great detail, for specifics you want in a parent. It’s generally accepted that looking for horses strong at the same distance/funnel will result in offspring who run best at that funnel. Some examples:
- Search for unraced horses with marathoner parents after the breeding update (horse likely to be a marathoner)
- Search for unraced horses before the breeding update with parents who may have a good base ability
On average, less than 3% of horses become profitable so just set your expectations that your success rate on a lottery ticket will be 1/33 or less.
The lower the Z value and the higher the level of its breed type, the more likely it is to succeed. Also, for foals created after March 17, the parents do matter so the stronger distance preference a horse has or the more successful a racehorse the parent was, the more likely the child will be a good racer as well. But obviously there is still a lot of randomness involved.
I want a winning horse for paid races
Want a horse that likes to win? You can search for that on Hawku by setting a minimum average paid win rate. This will limit horses to only those that win in paid races (which are the races that return winnings). Keep in mind since these are rare, you will likely pay a premium for them (sometimes such a large premium that the return on investment may take months or years).
Also note that not all the horses in these searches will continue to be winners. Make sure to look at the recent races to see if they continue to perform well.
Also keep in mind that not all winning horses are the same. Some horses can only win consistently in small fee races in lower classes (like Class 4 and 5), while others can dominate in higher paid races or in higher classes.
Some examples of winning horses:
- A base example: 17%+ Paid Race Win Rate and 30+ races with at least 25% fire
- Higher level winners. 17%+ Paid Win Rate and 100+ races with at least 25% fire and average race fees of 5 or more
- Budget Winning Horse: 12% Paid Win Rate horse with at least 30 races and fire. These will end up breaking even or losing a smidgen over time but should be fun enough to race if you find the right one. Sorting by Price (Low-High) can help find some potentially good runners listed at a low price.
- If you are not worried about making money and just want to play for fun you can also just search for a win percentage across all races. Note: Even though these have solid total win rates, they usually are not profitable in paid races...but you might find one! 15% Total Win Rate horse with at least 30 races and fire.
Other people will be looking at this Buying guide, so remember to make your own tweaks. For example, it's easy to change any of the parameters by clicking on the “filter” button. Here is the same query with a minimum fire average of 75...
I want a horse to run in daily tournaments.
Free daily tournaments remain a big part of Zed, especially for a budget player coming into the game. Horses can qualify by racing 5 races in a distance funnel (sprint distance ,mid distance, marathon distance) and then race in Quarter Finals, Semi Finals and Finals. There are varying payout structures and tournament types and you can view them all here. Running the free daily tournaments with a chance to win money is a way to grind out profit. So, how do you find them?
You can use the filters on Hawku to look for horses who’ve qualified for several tournaments, perhaps even won some money in them. These types of horses can often be found way undervalued, especially for what they can make in tournaments. It is important to note for results after November 1, 2022 as that is when Zed changed to having a concurrent paid and free tournament every day.
One strategy to succeed at tournament races is to look for horses with very strong distance preferences (ie sprinters and marathoners). It will give your horse a chance to win in its distance funnel and also all give the racer a chance to drop down in classes by racing in its non-preferred distance. This allows it to have a better chance of qualifying in future tournaments by facing lesser competition. This currently is more applicable in paid racing tournaments, as horses run paid races in their class funnel. With the current tournament seeding structure, most races are won by Z3 or less horses (Z1, Z2, Z3 genesis and Z1,Z2,Z3 legendary), and especially by horses in c1. If you plan to win with the game in its current structure, it is likely you will need a strong distance preference horse that is also a low Z-value. Of course, since most players know this, these horses tend to be very expensive.
Some example queries (although remember there are likely even better queries than these once you dig in more):
Depending if you’re trying to find a free, or paid tournament horse, it’s important to use the free race toggle in the filters to get an idea of a horse's performance in paid v free races, and find some diamonds in the rough.
*There are numerous different tournaments on 3rd party sites or run by 3rd parties that Zed cooperates with. You can set your filters to search for horses for those as well, but Hawku does not show any winnings or filters for those tournaments*
I am a rarity collector.
These people buy ZED horses not for their performance metrics but for their color or skin rarity. Search by color type to see the latest available such as super-rare color horses. Keep in mind that unlike collectibles, most players do not give much value to color as it does not have any impact on performance. The rarities collected at this stage include Genesis horses (again, the lower the Z the more valuable), as well as unraced/unbred Genesis horses. Some collectors believe holding them long-term will only increase their value as their rarity increases daily.
I want an inexpensive diamond in the rough
Maybe you want to be the person who finds that amazing horse that everyone has overlooked? Join the crowd! This is the most popular ZED horse hunter as everyone wants to find a great racing horse for a great price. The people who have been successful doing this soak in a lot of ZED data from Discords, YouTube streams and Twitch Streams like Arbitrage Run, CryptoSonar, Avon, Chateux and LuckyJack and more. They then spend hours a day on Hawku searching and researching horses using the advanced filters. It can be done but it does take work. Note - even for the best hunters, more often than not the horse you think is a diamond may just be a piece of glass (aka not so great), but the search is still one of the most fun parts of the game.
Some examples of current theories:
Quality Horses that people gave up on too quickly.
Players often breed a new horse and race it a few times and give up on it. Great horses can have poor streaks so often a good “Diamond searcher” can find great horses that were neglected when their racing career did not start as well as possible. Some things to look for: horses run at only a certain distance funnel, or horses raced only in high buy-in races , Examples:
- Horses with a low number of races that have high fire rates (indicating they should finish in the top 3) but low win rates. Few Races, High Fire Rate and Low Win Rate
- Horses with very few races that have high fire rates (indicating they should finish in the top 3) and high 7th-12th rates (indicating they may have good variance). The best are many 11th or 12th place finishes with fire which usually indicates the horse has good variance. Few Races, All Fire, All 8th-12th
- Horses that have done well in free races and no paid races. Here you are betting the horse is actually good at paid races but the previous owner had just not tested it. Note: Your hit rate here will likely be really low but you might be able to find something.
18% Total Win Rate horse with fire, and a small amount of paid races.
(Obviously these particular searches have been used by others now so please tweak and make your own!)
Finding an overlooked distance preference horse.
Sometimes people sell horses without realizing their horse is a monster in certain distances. Horse searchers can use Hawku to try to identify horses that were raced poorly or where the owner did not see the horse’s potential.
Some examples of how to do this:
- Horse’d with strong fire in Marathon but not Sprint. These horses often are expected to do well in longer distances but not sprints which mean they tend to have a distance preference. Strong at Marathons but not Sprints
- Horse’s with strong fire in Sprints but not Marathons. These horses often are expected to do well in sprints but not longer distances. Strong at Sprints but not Marathons
When you consider one of these horses, make sure to click on the horse detail page and look at the placement graph for a particular distance. https://www.hawku.com/horse/53973?distance=%5B1%5D
Here is an example of a distance horse when looking at it only in Marathon distance races:
And here is the same horse graph looking only at sprints:
You can see it almost always finishes last in sprints and usually in the top in marathons. This is a pretty good horse to manage and race profitably. Especially as it pertains to daily tournaments. The ability to declass in free races is a key feature to look for when looking at horses in the current market.
Other things you can look for are flames at a certain funnel, but only a limited number of races. Did a horse flame the only few times it was run at a distance, but finish 11th or 12th? This could indicate a U shape distance that just needs to be run more to fully discover its ability at those distances. Flames are an important tool to look for in sparsely raced horses you can find at a value.
There are obviously dozens of other strategies for finding diamonds in the rough horses. To truly be an expert will take time and effort.
I want to breed and flip the offspring for a profit.
Back in July and August of 2021 when breeding was just getting started it was pretty easy to breed low Z-value horses (like Z1-6) and then sell the offspring at a 2-5x profit. Unfortunately, there are now so many bred horses that this opportunity no longer is nearly as lucrative. The best way people are finding to breed and sell offspring at a profit is to:
- Own both the female and male and put them into different stables. Doing so gives the breeder up to a 56% discount on breeding fees. You can then (sometimes) sell a horse for a 20-30% profit after factoring in your internal breeding fees (44% of cost if done to maximize profit) Since you can only breed a female once a month this is not life-changing income but it can be profitable, and scalable as you grow your stable.
- Sell offspring of some racers. The recent breeding algorithm change has made it so you can get a very good idea of what type of offspring will be created. If you have good racers, this can lead to a premium when selling the offspring.
- Sell rare coats. If you breed two horses that are rare coats, you may be able to breed a horse with a super-rare coat. This can sell at a premium (although that premium has gone down as more of these become available) especially if there are more supercoat only events and perks.
- Breed and race a horse and sell after it wins. Sometimes you can catch lightning in a bottle and breed a good horse, get a win in its first race and be able to sell it for a profit. While there’s always risk for both the buyer and seller, this is a way for people to spot horses who at least show success right out of the gate!
I want to breed and create great horses
Before you can figure out what to breed, a quick primer on horse attributes and breeding. Horses have 3 attributes - a base ability, a variance ability (known as U-shape for its tendency to make horses that finish 1st or 12th) and a distance preference. In a race, a horse starts with a base ability and then has bonuses for its variations and distance preferences.
To date the variation ability and distance preference are the dominant factors that determine whether a horse is a great racer. While base ability matters (especially as you move up classes), a horse without a strong variation ability or distance preference will not win races.
There are many different breeding theories out there, but what we’ve seen since the breeding algorithm change in March 2022 is much more consistent as it pertains to passing down variation, distance preference and base ability. Breeding two horses with the same distance preference almost always results in a child with an average of the parents. Breeding parents with high variance is much more likely to produce children with higher than normal variance. Breeding is a constantly changing part of Zed, and it’s important to stay up to date with the different theories out there to tweak your breeding strategy (and buying of unraced offspring) to fit the style you want to play.
Hopefully this guide gives you an overview of the different types of horses to buy along with some example strategies to find them. Hawku filters and the Hawku Marketplace are your biggest friends when it comes to finding the perfect horse for how you want to play Zed. If you have any praise or suggestions, please feel free to contact @hawku_com on twitter or email firstname.lastname@example.org