Zoe Overview Infographic
We put together a Zoe overview infographic that has the best builds, runes, strengths, weaknesses, combos, skill orders, counters, synergies and anything else that you need to quickly learn the basics of Zoe. Make sure to share with your friends and check back here to get the latest updates. We will be updating this infographic as changes happen so check back often!
Who is Detention
Detention is well known for playing Zoe in the mid lane, where he uses Zoe to her full potential to destroy his enemies. The information in this guide will show you his plays, stats, and rules to take Zoe to the next level.
Bentley is 22 years old and currently plays on the North American server under the summoner names Detention, Time for Tea, nurses office, and unclarified. He has over 1.1 million mastery points on Zoe and has peaked at 932 LP in Challenger. At the time of writing this guide, he has an account with a 90% win rate and 9.10 KDA on Zoe in mid Diamond elo. Bentley’s first foray into mobas started with Heroes of Newerth, which he played at a semi-professional level. He managed to get a key for the League of Legends beta all the way back in 2010, and has stuck with the game ever since.
Table of Contents
Why Play Zoe
Before we start on the Ultimate Guide to Zoe we first want to tell you why you should play her. Her overall strengths and weaknesses are as follows:
- One of the best poke mages in the game
- Great at making picks
- One of the best champions in the game when played perfectly
- Fun to play and make plays with
- Ability to creatively use multiple summoner spells and item actives in a single fight
- Gets countered by tenacity
- Moves in a fixed, predictable direction to hit spells
- Easy to catch
- Hard to play at all stages of the game
These champions give Zoe a hard time in-game due to having a kit that can stop Zoe from doing what she wants to do. Here are some of the biggest counters and how you can try to overcome the challenges they bring.
Cassiopeia is considered a counter because she is obnoxious to deal with in and out of lane. Cassiopeia’s W, Miasma, holds Zoe in place and prevents her from escaping with Flash or from using her ultimate to blink around. Cassiopeia can also line up an easy stun on Zoe with her ultimate whenever Zoe uses her ultimate towards her, which Cassiopeia can then follow up with Miasma to punish Zoe and potentially kill her. When dealing with Cassiopeia, use the Phase Rush rune page so you have the movement speed to escape her. Also, purchase boots as fast as possible to dodge Cassiopeia’s Q.
Fizz is considered a counter because he is able to dodge your abilities and one shot you if you are not careful. Whenever Fizz dashes in on you with his Q, use your Paddle Star to try to get him to use his E. Look to use your Sleepy Trouble Bubble when Fizz’s E is down, as otherwise he will just dodge it. Use the Electrocute rune page to have more sustain in lane and keep your HP topped off to avoid dropping into Fizz’s lethal range. Rush Mercury’s Treads for more magic resistance and movespeed to survive and get away from his burst, and Stopwatch for the stasis to completely nullify an all in from Fizz.
Syndra is considered a counter because she can freely harass you with her Dark Spheres in lane. Zoe’s predictable movement makes it easy for Syndra to line up her abilities on you, and. Syndra has the potential to kill Zoe right from the start of the game. If you are having trouble dealing with her, use the Electrocute rune page and take Precision secondary with Legend: Tenacity and Presence of Mind. Mercury’s Treads are a great purchase in this matchup. The movespeed gives you more ability to dodge her spheres, the magic resistance helps you survive her burst, and the tenacity helps against her stun and slow.
These champions work well with Zoe and should be considered being picked alongside her if possible. Here are some of the best synergies and how you can abuse them.
Nami works well with Zoe because her kit enables Zoe’s, and vice versa. Tidecaller’s Blessing slows down opponents and speeds up allies, making it easier for Zoe to chase down her enemies and land her abilities. When Zoe and Nami are near each other, Nami landing a bubble can hold opponents in place to set up Zoe to easily follow up. Nami can also land easy Q’s on targets that Zoe sleeps. Timing up and comboing their abilities well together makes this duo lethal.
Senna works well with Zoe because they both focus on poking and harassing opponents from far away. Senna’s Q, Piercing Darkness, does great damage from a long range while also healing allies, complementing Zoe’s playstyle and allowing your team to outlast the enemy in a siege situation. Senna’s W, Last Embrace, can hold targets in place for Zoe to follow up on for massive damage combos.
Elise works well with Zoe because of her early to mid game strength that can get Zoe snowballing by ganking her lane. Upon reaching level 3, she can combo the enemy mid laner and stun them, giving Zoe a perfect opportunity to follow up and secure an advantage or even kills in lane, which she can use to snowball and win the game.
Zoe Summoner Spells
Zoe’s recommended Summoner Spells are Ignite and Flash. These are the only spells you’ll ever need to run with this champion. She needs these spells for the damage early game as well as the ability to get grevious wounds on targets late game to make her poke stick.
Zoe Runes and Keystones
Zoe has four different rune pages that she switches between depending on the matchup she’s facing. These pages are what Detention uses and recommends for Zoe players who aim to get better at her.
This page uses Electrocute, Sudden Impact, Eyeball Collection, and Ravenous Hunter on the Domination tree with Nimbus Cloak and Transcendence on Sorcery as your secondary tree.
This is the most recommended, basic rune page for Zoe. Take this against even matchups and you’ll have no trouble laning. Transcendence will give you extra cooldown reduction at level 10 and allow you to build cooldown reduction beyond the 40% cap, which will turn into more AP for you. Nimbus cloak works great with Zoe’s kit, giving her a nice movespeed bonus upon using her own summoner spells in addition to her W movespeed. It even procs whenever she uses summoner spells on her W, making this rune a must-have when going Sorcery on Zoe.
This page uses Phase Rush, Nimbus Cloak, Celerity, and Gathering Storm on the Sorcery tree with Biscuit Delivery and Time Warp Tonic on the Inspiration tree.
These runes are recommended into hard matchups that have the ability to dive on you. Focus on maxing your W second instead of E with this setup into these matchups, as you will have many chances to steal spells and active items when dealing with these kinds of matchups. Celerity makes your phase rush procs stronger and gives you more movespeed overall. This page brings more movement speed and agility to Zoe allowing you to be more versatile and adjust to every situation.
This page uses Electrocute, Taste of Blood, Eyeball Collection, and Ravenous Hunter on the Domination tree with Biscuit Delivery and Time Warp Tonic on Inspiration as secondary.
These runes are recommended when you will be trading a lot in lane. Switching Sudden Impact for Taste of Blood and taking Inspiration secondary unlocks a lot more sustain for you, especially during the lane phase. This is especially useful when playing against hard matchups like Fizz and Syndra.
This page uses Summon Aery, Nimbus Cloak, Transcendence, and Gathering Storm on the Sorcery tree with Sudden Impact and Ultimate Hunter on Domination as your secondary tree.
This page is recommended when you are dealing with melee matchups. Abuse Summon Aery to do a bit more damage by constantly harassing your enemy with abilities and auto attacks. You can abuse enemies like Sylas, Katarina, Akali, and many more with this rune build. Ultimate Hunter is useful in these matchups too to give you more opportunities to blink in and harass your enemy.
Every rune page uses 2x Adaptive Force and either armor or magic resistance for your defense stat, depending on your lane opponent.
Zoe’s recommended items change depending on the situation. However, the following items will give you a good idea of what to build in different situations.
Doran’s Ring + 2 HP potions are solid starting items for Zoe, like for most mages. The HP, mana regen, and ability power from Doran’s Ring give Zoe the most power possible for a starting item.
Start Corrupting Potion when you need more sustain in lane before your first recall. Overall the item will give you more mana and HP than other starting items when you use all three charges. Also start Corrupting Pot when you go Time Warp Tonic in your rune page as the rune procs every time you use a charge.
Luden’s Echo is core on Zoe for the AP and 20% CDR. It also builds out of Lost Chapter, which is a very strong item in lane on its own and gives her tons of mana sustain for the laning phase. The proc from Luden’s gives her more waveclear and a bit of extra damage.
Hextech Protobelt-01 is core on Zoe. It gives AP, cooldown reduction, and a bit of health. Upon activation, it gives a short range dash that does damage in a cone in front of you. The dash is very useful to Zoe, as it can give her a bit of extra range to hit Q’s and E’s that she otherwise wouldn’t be able to land.
Sorcerer’s Shoes are the go-to boots on Zoe for the 18 flat magic penetration. This gives her a nice spike of damage against targets with low magic resistance, especially in the early game.
Use Mercury's Treads when you are facing difficult AP matchups like Syndra and Fizz that can burst you down quickly for the extra magic resistance and tenacity.
Offensive Situational Items
If you want to increase the damage of your auto-attacks, you can build Lich Bane. This item works well against melee matchups like Fizz, Yasuo, Qiyana, and Kassadin. Build this item after Luden’s Echo to add some more damage.
If you want to focus on getting as much AP as possible, you can build Rabadon’s Deathcap. If you are ahead and can pick it up early, this item will snowball really hard and deal more damage than your opponent can deal with early. You can build this item after Luden’s Echo instead of Hextech Protobelt - 01 if you want to take this route.
Void Staff adds more damage to your abilities, particularly against targets that have built magic resistance with its 40% total magic penetration, and is an excellent pickup on almost any champion.
Defensive Situational Items
If you need to protect yourself against powerful abilities and need magic resistance, you can build Banshee’s Veil. The spell shield is very valuable to block single abilities that can pick and kill you, like a Syndra stun or Morgana bind.
If you need to survive against AD heavy compositions, you can build Zhonya’s Hourglass. It gives you AP, CDR, and armor. The active on the item gives you stasis for 2.5 seconds, making you unable to act but also invulnerable and untargetable for the duration. This can save you countless times and from burst combos, even from AP champions like Fizz.
Full Build Example
An example full build for Zoe can consist of:
- Sorcerer’s Shoes
- Luden’s Echo
- Hextech Protobelt-01
- Rabadon’s Deathcap
- Void Staff
- Banshee’s Veil/Zhonya’s Hourglass
This is the most recommended build path for Zoe as you want to always focus on items that give you more AP. Movement is important on Zoe to extend the range of your abilities, so boots and Protobelt help in this regard. Rabadon’s Deathcap and Void Staff will make your abilities pack quite the punch, and Void Staff gives more penetration to help your damage keep up with the enemy team when they start building magic resistance. Your sixth item is flexible but is usually a defensive item like Banshee’s Veil or Zhonya’s Hourglass, depending on the enemy team.
Passive - More Sparkles!
Zoe’s passive increases the damage of her next basic attack after casting an ability. The damage scales off of her AP and level. Whenever you cast an ability, you can harass the target with an auto-attack. This synergizes well with Lich Bane to stack up even more damage on auto attacks. Look to weave in auto attacks during lane phase on the enemy to land some nice harass. Remember that both casts of your Q proc your passive, so try to get the most out of both autos.
Q - Paddle Star
Zoe’s Q is her bread and butter ability for poke and waveclear. On the first cast, she throws out a star in the targeted direction which will explode and deal AoE damage upon hitting any enemy. This ability can be cast one more time while the star is out to redirect it to a new location. Paddle Star does more damage the farther it travels, so use the two casts mechanic to initially throw it behind you, and then towards the enemy so that it will travel farther and do more damage.
W - Spell Thief
This ability is what lets Zoe pop off with creative and tricky plays. Whenever an enemy uses a summoner spell or active item, Zoe can pick it up at the location it was casted and use it herself by activating her W. Occasionally, minions will also drop random active items and summoner spells that you can pick up and use as well, but only when you kill the minion. These minions are denoted by a small bubble attached to them. On activation, Zoe uses the stored summoner spell / active item and gains a burst of movement speed and spawns three orbs that will automatically attack the nearest enemy in range. These orbs and movement speed also spawn when you use your own summoner spells. This ability is extremely powerful and has no cooldown, meaning you can pick up many active items and summoner spells and use them all in rapid succession in chaotic teamfights to pop off. If you have a shard that you don’t really want and there is a better one available, use it to get rid of it and pick up the better one. The activation will still be useful as it provides movement speed and damage.
E - Sleepy Trouble Bubble
Zoe kicks a bubble and throws it in a direction. Enemies hit by the bubble will feel drowsy and then fall asleep for 2.2 seconds. The next damage the slept target takes will deal bonus true damage. The range of the bubble extends all the way through terrain. Look for long range bubbles through terrain to surprise unsuspecting victims. If the bubble doesn’t hit a target, it will drop on the ground and make a trap for a short duration, applying its effects to any enemy that walks over it. This can make your E a great zoning tool. Look to land your E from long range through walls or by using your R, to then follow up and hit slept enemies with your Q for massive, boosted damage.
R - Portal Jump
Zoe’s ultimate makes her blink a short distance towards a targeted location, only to teleport back to her original location after one second. Zoe’s Portal Jump has a short cooldown and is designed to synergize with her Q and E, allowing her to blink in and land Sleepy Trouble Bubbles on enemies, or to blink in while her Q is traveling to extend the range for massive damage. You can also use this ability to quickly and safely check over walls for opponents. When she casts her R, her movement speed is decreased to 0. If she was rooted then she wouldn’t be able to use flash, protobelt and other spells like that during her ult. She can not move when using her ultimate, and will always return to her initial location. Only Tahm Kench’s Devour and Camille’s Hextech Ultimatum can stop you from returning to your cast location. Use it to dodge skill shots, pick up far away spell shards for your W, or cast close range Sleepy Trouble Bubbles.
Ability Skill Order
The skill order for Zoe is R > Q > E > W. The reason for this is that Paddle Star is your bread and butter ability, and the one that you get the most out of by putting points into after your ultimate. Take Spell Thief at level 2 to get shards to start spawning on enemy minions. Then, level up your E at level 3, and max this ability second after your Q. Level up your ultimate whenever possible at levels 6,11, and 16.
If you go with the Phase Rush rune page, open with the same skills at level three, but prioritize maxing your W after Q instead of E.
A power spike is a time when a champion reaches a level or builds an item that makes them a lot stronger than other champions in the game at that time. Zoe power spikes when she reaches level 9, with her Q maxed out and at level 13 with her E, or W depending on rune page, maxed out. She also has two points in her ultimate by the time that she reaches level 13 which allows her to combo more often. Zoe also becomes very strong with Transcendence when she reaches level 10+ and has built Luden’s Echo and Protobelt, which gives her 40% CDR total that she can use to throw out spells relentlessly.
Q + E + Q Combo
This combo is used to hit both Paddle Star and Sleepy Trouble Bubble at the same time. Start by casting your Q behind you, then immediately cast your E to hide the animation of your E, and cast the Paddle Star back towards the enemy.
Q + R + E + Q Combo
This combo is similar to the one above but adds in your R. It focuses on hitting both the Paddle Star and Sleepy Trouble Bubble almost at the same time.
Q + Protobelt + AA Combo
This combo is a way to quickly get three hits on the enemy to proc electrocute as fast as possible.
Q + R + Protobelt + Q + AA + E Combo
This combo adds more damage in one go. You have to press E after your auto-attack or it will not work. This extends the range of her Sleepy Trouble Bubble because the game thinks you cast a bubble at the location that you Portal jumped to, catching the enemy off guard because of the delay.
Q + R + Flash + Protobelt + AA + AA Combo
This combo is used when your target is far away and you need to close the gap. Using Portal Jump, Flash and Protobelt allow you to extend your reach very far for your Q while also dealing with damage with Spell Thief and auto attacks.
How to Play Zoe
When playing Zoe, you want to start by pushing the lane. Deal damage with your long-range Paddle Stars and auto-attacks to the minions. You can Q + AA + Q + AA as much as you can to poke their mid laner. Try to look for opportunities where you can hit the enemy mid laner and the minions at the same time. This will give you lane priority, allowing you to move first to assist your jungler when they go for scuttle crab or even invades. Look for spell shard drops from minions and use them against your opponent. If the lane looks rough, take Sleepy Trouble Bubble level 2. Once you reach level 3, start attempting to hit your Sleepy Trouble Bubble. Zoe is fairly weak before level 3 so make sure you harass with Q to get your opponent low. All in with E when you have the chance. Keep doing the same combo and try to hit your bubble on your lane opponent. This will give you lane priority and the chance to roam when you reach level 6 and get your Portal Jump.
As the game progresses, you want to start roaming around the map. Sleepy Trouble bubble is great for Zoe to roam and catch targets off guard. Look for picks with your bubble and get an Oracle’s Lens (red trinket) to make sure you aren’t spotted when roaming to prevent you from getting counter ganked. Use angles in the walls in their jungle and clear vision so they can’t find you. You spike in power in the mid game when you get Hextech Protobelt-01, Luden’s Echo and your Transcendence 10% CDR comes online.
- Split Pushing – Never side lane with Zoe. She is not efficient in either top or bot lane, where she has limited spots to catch enemies with E through terrain and is very easy to gank. Focus on pushing mid and roaming. Additionally, if the enemy team has a split pusher, never match them as it is not safe for you to do so and try to communicate with your team to get one of your allies to go match them. In the mid game, you always want to be hanging out in the mid lane.
- Objective Control – When you shove out mid, use the extra time you’ve earned to set up good vision control in the enemy jungle with your jungler. Do this on repeat – keep your lane shoved under the enemy tower then leave to look for roams, vision, or fights with your team while the enemy mid is stuck under tower farming.
Late game is where Zoe plays differently from most other mages, because she is not great at teamfighting. You have to focus on taking skirmishes and getting ambushes or picks on the enemy team. Sleepy Trouble Bubble + Paddle Star is hard to hit when the enemy is grouped, because most likely whenever you sleep an enemy someone else will step in front of them to block your Q. But your play is always the same. Relentlessly look for picks by constantly throwing out Sleepy Trouble Bubbles at the enemy team. If you hit a target and take a chunk of their HP or even outright kill them, it gives your team time to siege towers, take objectives, or engage a fight when the enemy team is down a player. Don’t use your Portal Jump in open areas when it is not safe, because the enemy can catch you and take you out easily. The jungle and areas around objectives are the best positions for Zoe to maximize her damage to the enemy, where you can land sneaky Sleepy Trouble Bubbles in spots that the enemy doesn’t have vision of you. Focus on staying alive and out of range of the enemy. As long as you are alive the enemy team has to respect and fear your potential to make a pick on them.
Zoe Tips and Tricks
- Always try to have 1100 gold on your first recall to get your Sorcerer’s Shoes.
- See what champions are fighting to determine what abilities they have up before using your Portal Jump towards them.
- Using quick cast on Zoe is essential to get your combos off fast enough, but you can make a separate keybind to normal cast your E to check its range through the terrain.
- Don’t be afraid to Portal Jump and miss Sleepy Trouble Bubble as the cooldown is very short. Just keep pressuring.
- Hitting targets out of sight do not reveal them, but you can still see a particle effect where they are when your Sleepy Trouble Bubble sleeps them out of vision.
- Make sure to get Oracle’s Lens and control wards as soon as possible
These below videos are great game play examples for how to play Zoe. Coming Soon!
Frequent Mistakes/Noob Traps
These are things most Zoe players do that shouldn’t be done at a high level ELO.
Mistake # 1 – Shoving the wave by level 1. With Zoe you should in most cases never do this look to hedge them! This will open up an opportunity for potential enemy junglers to gank you as you have overextended your lane. You are fairly weak before level 3 so harassing is the way to win this phase.
Mistake #2 – Going Morellonomicon 2nd item. This is a huuuuuge noob trap for low elo players. Morellonomicon can not add mobility to your kit and will only ruin you. Go Luden’s Echo, Rabadon’s Deathcap or Hextech Protobelt 01. These items are much better as it boosts your ability to harass your targets.
Mistake #3 – Getting baited for a spell shard you can’t pick up. When an enemy team sess you trying so hard to get that spell hard on an enemy minion or from an area where it drop, they will look to catch you if you go for it! Avoid this easy to predict mistakes as your ultimate, Portal Jump can not save your mistake.
Similar Champions to Zoe
Listed below are some champions you can use to replace Zoe as a long range poke mage in the mid lane when she isn’t available. This will give you a variety to choose from, safeguarding your LP and keeping your games awesome.
Good AoE damage, Long-range ultimate and High burst capabilities. Lux is a long-range caster from Demacia. Her abilities focus on rooting targets and blasting them off with a beam of light. She fights from a safe distance, enabling both aggressive and defensive tactics to her team, and can make great picks with her long range root.
High damage output, Long-range abilities and Burst damage. Xerath excels at casting abilities from afar. Arcanopulse harasses his targets practically from a screen away. His abilities focus on dealing damage without being seen or targeted. He is able to stun, slow and hunt enemies with his Rite of the Arcane. Fun to play and mess with the enemy team.
Big AoE damage, Good AP scaling and Stuns multiple enemies. Syndra harasses her opponents with multiple spheres on the ground. She carries, throws, and pushes them with Force of Will and Scatter the Weak. This stuns enemies and opens them up to being instantly bursted by her ultimate. If you love poking enemies this way, this is the champ for you.
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