Zoe has been a standard mid lane pick throughout the season 11, with multiple builds being viable all around. The game’s state is such that nearly all champions do an extreme amount of damage, while the defensive stats aren’t sufficient enough to stop it. And that is what precisely favors Zoe! She can fully take over games, and with proper build and execution – she is an actual one-shotting machine!
In the pro scene, Zoe is really unstoppable! Names like ShowMaker, Clozer, Caps, and Nisqy have shown us what this champion can do, with Clozer having an incredible 100% win rate on Zoe during the LCK Summer Split, while ShowMaker 80%.
When it comes to solo queue, Zoe blooms there too! Many mid laners have climbed the ladder this year playing only Zoe, prioritizing her over the other choices. That’s because Zoe is one of the most powerful champions in the game, and there isn’t much that’s stopping her from getting a victory! So, let’s dive deeper and see why Zoe is so good at the moment.
Ever since Zoe arrived on the Summoner’s Rift, she has been famous mostly for one thing – one shot! Her high burst, long-range damage is an invaluable tool that not many other champions possess. If played correctly, she can assassinate players before even a fight breaks out, securing her team’s ace.
With season 11 being focused around the Dragon Soul, Zoe has been present a lot in the meta. She is great at controlling objectives and securing dragons, and she also benefits hugely from every elemental buff.
Zoe favors the poke style teammates, but because she is such a flexible champion, she can fit in every other comp too! She stays strong throughout the game, with multiple power spikes that overpower the enemy. Her damage is more than enough to solo carry a game, and being one of the most fun champions, there is no reason not to play her! But, how do you play and build her for ultimate results?
As Zoe, you should always start with Corrupting Potion. This is because you’ll be running Time Warp Tonic, so you will get a burst of healing and movement speed each time you use Corruption Potion. This is great when trading or trying to kill the enemy mid laner, and with the burning passive, you will almost always turn out as the winner.
During the laning phase, Zoe can continuously poke the opponent with Paddle Star. The longer distance the Q travels, the more damage it deals. But, since people can see the redirecting animation, try to twist the spell in an unexpected way. For example, you can throw it behind your enemy and then hitting him in the back. This will do less damage, but it is much easier to hit.
A lot of the early game’s power of Zoe comes from her W Spell Thief. If you get a lucky Spell Shard from a minion, like an Ignite or Exhaust, you should always try to make a kill. An extra Summoner Spell is always an extreme advantage which not many champions have that early. The same goes for the active items, so often getting a Hextech Protobelt-01 can mean a free kill. It will deal a massive amount of damage because it isn’t meant for champions to possess it on levels 3, 4, or 5.
As soon as you hit level 6 and come to lane from your first buy, you should start working the whole map. Zoe is a great ganker, and she can easily set up kills on both lanes. The long-range of her E allows her to remain unseen in the river. A lot of times, it won’t be even necessary to do anything else but hit Sleepy Trouble Bubble. And while the enemy champion is asleep, your team can execute him before you can reach the fight.
The same goes for the jungle skirmishes. Zoe has one of the quickest wave clears in the game, leaving many mages and assassins to deal with her minions under their turret. Because of that, she is able to shove the lane with two Qs, and then roam together with the jungler to secure the dragon or the scuttle crab.
When it comes to sieging, Zoe is number one! No matter if attacking or defending a turret, Zoe can hide behind walls and repeatedly throw Paddle Star and Sleepy Trouble Bubble. Her poke can’t be survived more than two or three times, so unless your enemy retreats or dives on your turret, they will undoubtedly lose. This way, Zoe can decide which objectives will be taken and which not, including the inhibitors and the Baron.
In the later stages of the game, Zoe should stick with the team. Although she can be good in a solo lane, Zoe can’t win a fight with Irelia, Tryndamere, Kassadin, or some other super strong split pusher. Instead, she is much better in a group where she can safely throw Es until she lands one and turns the fight into 5v4.
On the other hand, a scattered team fight can also benefit Zoe since she can pick up all of the used Summoner’s Spells and items. This allows her to chase enemies with multiple Flashes, do a crazy amount of damage with Ignites and heal allies with Redemptions or Heals.
The most important of all is for Zoe to take advantage of her long range. She is a very safe champion when it comes to dealing damage. If played right, she can win the game without even taking severe damage. Abuse the walls and the spots you’re not expected to hit from, and you will be a successful Zoe player!
Electrocute is simply the best keystone for Zoe. It is a straight-up damage buff that procs when you hit an enemy champion three times within three seconds. What makes it so good on Zoe is that she has so many different ways of triggering that effect.
For example, she can do so with the standard combo of Sleepy Trouble Bubble, then Paddle Star, then a basic attack. Also, with enough attack speed, she can activate it with three auto attacks in a row. But the real power of Zoe and Electrocute comes from her W – Spell Thief. Whenever you activate the Spell Thief, Zoe will summon three stars to damage her most recent target, and each of them counts as an attack. So by simply clicking the spell, you get a free proc of Electrocute every time! Plus, the active effects from the items like Hextech Protobelt-01 or Hextech GLP-800 also contribute to Electrocute, so it’s really easy to make the most use out of it.
Another viable option from Domination is Dark Harvest. It has an even easier proc, but it requires enemies to be low on HP already. Some players utilize this rune to astounding results on Zoe, but Electrocute will be useful in many more situations than Dark Harvest.
Taste of Blood
Honestly, in this row, you can go with anything! Cheap Shot is a good choice, but since Zoe already has a tremendous amount of damage, she doesn’t need it as much. Sudden Impact is also great for the additional magic penetration each time she uses Portal Jump, but she also doesn’t need it that much because she builds towards magic penetration anyway. And her E allows her to do true damage.
So, Taste of Blood will be your go-to. The healing it provides goes exceptionally well with Ravenous Hunter, and it allows Zoe to heal up while she deals damage.
Eyeball Collection is the best option simply because it is the only damage buff for Zoe. You stack it with every kill, and it is a permanent stat for you until the end of the game. The other runes can be picked too, but they are rarely better than this one.
Apart from Redemption’s random drop, Zoe doesn’t have any healing, so Ravenous Hunter will always be the most useful rune on the last row. Despite the long-range, many champions will try to dive and kill you as Zoe, so the healing is essential for surviving those situations.
Also, Zoe can’t get much use from the rest of the choices:
- Ingenious Hunter isn’t good because Zoe rarely builds an active item (since she gets them from minions and enemy champions);
- Relentless Hunter because she already has a speed buff whenever she activates her W
- Ultimate Hunter because her ulti is already on such a low cooldown. So, Ravenous Hunter will be the go-to here.
Biscuit Delivery is great for staying longer in the lane. And unless your opponent picks it too, you will have more potions to heal and continue trading. Note that you can go with Perfect Timing here when you’re against something like Zed or Fizz to survive the all-ins.
Time Warp Tonic
Time Warp Tonic synergizes well with Biscuit Delivery. It uses 50% of the potion immediately, and it also gives you a bit of movement speed to catch up, dodge, or escape your enemy. If you go for Perfect Timing, you should switch up for Cosmic Insight here, just because you won’t get that much use out it without the additional potions.
You should always go for the adaptive damage buffs in the first two rows, and then magic resist or armor based on what you face in the lane.
Now, Zoe is such a versatile champion that you can play her with several different keystones. This season we’ve seen a lot of pros go for Summon Aery on Zoe. It is great during the laning phase because you can poke a lot more, especially against a melee champion. But as the game goes longer, it loses its value by a lot too.
Another popular choice has been the Unsealed Spellbook keystone. It is used together with Teleport, but the pros mostly play it to join team fights a lot quicker and assist their teams. And unless you’re going for the same style, you should stick with Electrocute.
Straight-up, Luden’s Echo is the most important item on Zoe! No matter what you face or how the game is going, you should always rush Luden’s Echo. It gives you everything you need: cooldown reduction, mana, and ability power! Plus, the buff from the unique passive helps your damage output a lot in the earlier stages of the game, so it vital for you to get it as soon as possible.
Morellonomicon is the second essential item on Zoe. The only situation where you should prioritize something like Zhonya’s Hourglass or Banshee’s Veil is when the enemy is so fed up that you can’t survive their combo. In that case, we suggest buying Oblivion Orb first, then going for your item of choice, and then completing Morellonomicon. Other than that, Morellonomicon should be in your arsenal as early as possible too. Because, as Zoe, you will be poking a lot, and reducing their healing gives them no chance to recover from it.
Rabadon’s Deathcap is the perfect item for every mage, and the raw ability power that it provides is super valuable for Zoe. If you do get it as a third item, there is a 99% chance that you can one-shot the enemy AD carry or any squishy champion. Zoe’s most vital point is hitting that one good Q and eliminating a player, and Rabadon’s Deathcap makes sure you do succeed in that. Sometimes, if you need something defensive first, you can go for it as a fourth big purchase, but since it is a core item, you need to get it after Morellonomicon.
Adding a Void Stuff to your Sorcerer’s Shoes and Morellonomicon makes you a Death machine! Even if there is only one tank in the enemy team, it’s still a good idea to buy Void Stuff, just to secure the massive damage output of Zoe. Combined with the true damage of her Sleepy Trouble Bubble, you will notice that not many champions can survive your full combo.
Void Stuff is a good option before Rabadon’s Deathcap, especially if multiple enemies are building magic resist. Getting it early means that no matter which defensive items your enemies buy after your Void Stuff, you will still be dealing tons of damage to them. This will make their purchases useless, so make sure you buy Void Stuff every game.
Zoe doesn’t have any defensive spells, and she is, in truth, a very squishy champion. And because her ultimate Portal Jump always returns her to the initial position, she is an easy target for many assassins and bruisers. Banshee’s Veil provides a super useful shield that will block an incoming stun or slow, letting her escape or distance herself to keep fighting. Without it, she is much more vulnerable, and she dies more frequently.
Banshee’s Veil can be exchanged for Horizon Focus if you’re confident in your skills..
Lich Bane can be an interesting choice, especially when they have a heavy engage comp, and you fight in close range. Zoe already has an empowered basic attack from her passive More Sparkles and combined with Lich Bane; it can do a crazy amount of damage to champions and turrets. It is a non-standard item just because her spells do more damage than her auto-attack, so you will be wiser investing there more.
Liandry’s Torment is a great item overall, and it could be bought regularly against tanks. It’s just that Zoe gets a lot more value from the other items listed above, so Liandry’s is picked less.
Mejai’s Soulstealer can be a massive damage boost for Zoe in the early game, but it is a tricky purchase. You will have to play exceptionally well and stay alive in order to stack it and use its full power. It is definitely interesting to play around with it.
Summoner’s Spells And Skins
As for Summoner’s Spells, Zoe should always use Flash and Ignite. There is no substitute for Flash, but Ignite can be replaced by Barrier, Exhaust, or Teleport, depending on who you face. However, you will find out that Ignite is the best choice in 99% of the situations.
And for skins, we really suggest Star Guardian Zoe. The other skins are pretty cool too, but this one has very clean visuals, which helps a lot. The spells are bigger, brighter, and more vibrant, making it very easy to hit your skillshots!