Zoe Build Guide by Vicksay
[11.10] Vicksy's Updated Master Zoe Guide for Season 11By Vicksay | Updated on May 12, 2021
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Runes: Highest damage Zoe runes
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+8 Magic Resist
Ability Order Spell leveling order
Threats & Synergies
A decently good Ahri, when fed, can swing this quite hard in her favour because of her mobility and one-shot potential, but you definitely have the upper hand early game with your push potential, she uses a lot more mana than you early on. If she takes Cleanse her kill pressure on you will be greatly reduced as she doesn't have much damage unless she snowballs. Remember that without her ult she is the same as any other squishy immobile mage, she can be burst down really easily. Definitely DO NOT Portal Jump in front of her because it guarantees her Charm, and more than likely a free kill on you.
Pretty sure I'd dodge this match-up. Her weakest point is pre-6, after that whenever her R is up you're dead meat if you miss your E, she can 1v1 you with ease with her shroud, immense damage and INSANE mobility, and if she's not the best she has 3 "get out of jail free" cards in her W, E and R.
A first time Anivia? Free kills. Anything above that? Extremely difficult. Early game she is quite weak but without picking up some decent summoner drops with your W she can just survive your early all in with her Egg, and TP back to lane if she ever gets low from your harass. Once she gets 6 it's a very stalemate match-up, she puts her R on the floor to wave-clear then walks away, easily ignoring you. Bird bitch has a great kit and when utilized correctly one wrong mistake and you're dead, similar to Cassiopeia. Do not Portal Jump in front of her for a guaranteed Q > E > ult in the face, you're sure to die. Her immense pressure of abusing bad positioning combined with her surprising damage makes it a real toughie.
Even though this little girl bursts hard, she's very one dimensional because of her kit and just building Merc Treads vs. her with Barrier makes it a lot harder to kill you. Skill dependent again, the more confident the Annie is the harder it is for you, she can engage with Tibbers and also use Tibbers as a shield to block all of your damage.
Very depends on the Aurelion Sol player. A new/inexperienced one you'll crush with no problem, one that knows their roaming timings as he can outpush you once he has a few levels in his W, and takes Merc Treads + Legend: Tenacity will be really hard for you to deal with. He's an absolute terror when paired with a competent jungler.
Bird man is not a very strong champion til he has some items, and he also needs to be piloted /extremely/ well to even be slightly useful. You can easily push him in early game and his mana costs are atrocious for early game poking. Once you get 6 if you know where the jungler is you can freely R in his face to try to land an E. If he doesn't take Cleanse enjoy the free gold.
Scary snake lady punishes mistakes really hard, if you miss an E while in range of her Q or make a mistake with your R you're pretty much done for without Flash. If she takes Cleanse she can also pummel you even if you do hit the E. Great at level 2, scales like a monster and hard to punish if she's good at her champ. However not 100% unwinnable, as she is still immobile and can be shut down by roams.
While weak pre-6, most Diana's can ignore this stage of the game just by taking Teleport and ignoring a lot of your damage with her W while also pushing at the same time. Her burst damage is insane even if she doesn't have one item completed, a Q on you is a very high chance of death. Extremely high damage combined with a shield that makes her hard to kill, you pretty much have to play at max range farming with Q's and making sure she doesn't roam. Not much of a problem in team fights if you have a team that peels her and you also have a Banshee's, but oh man is she annoying to lane against.
Waveclear? Check. Mobility? Check. One shot potential? Check. Ability to avoid your combo? Check. Ekko in the hands of a good player is an almost impossible match-up, if he mains Ekko he will know how easily he can make your life a living hell with constant tower diving and unmatched roaming. Very important match-up to not feed early game as once he gets a small lead on you it's easy pickings for him.
One of the most boring match-ups you'll face, you can do well early game and harass him out but it'll take you a bit of work with his W shield, and he will most likely take Teleport combined with Aftershock. Galio got buffed quite a bit recently, he can freely jump on you and take you to 30% health with little repercussion from you. A team fight monster and a great roamer, it's very hard to match a decent Galio. Do not R into him as it's a free taunt. He doesn't need to kill you to be useful.
She can demolish you even from level 1 with a fully stacked passive, there is a reason why this champion has had many people cry for nerfs. Mobility, damage and damage reduction to prevent you from killing her,
Absolute. Nightmare. Winning lane vs. Kassadin is about 80% the junglers job and 20% yours because of how weak he is to ganks, and in solo queue you can't rely on that. He trades with you very respectably even pre-6 because of his passive and disgustingly high magic damage shield on Q. Post-6 he demolishes you if he's not terrible and he just scales like a monster after there, he is my #1 permaban.
Virtually unwinnable if the Malzahar has hands. His passive can easily block your spells as you have no way to poke it off other than ult > autoing, but then you're a guaranteed R target. Out pushes you after around level 7 making you unable to harass him or contest roams. Being a juicy immobile mage makes you a prime target for free ganks from his jungler whenever his Flash is up, and to top it all off when he does finally get hit with an E from you, he has his crabs to block an upcoming Q from you, or just to block your E altogether in a close range trade.
Honestly not much to worry about, you are the better burster, better wave-clearer and you scale a lot harder than her. As long as you don't let her get an E-Q combo on your early game you're good. Your R can be used to avoid her R.
Every time I play Zoe I always beg for this match up, it's very free and I don't think I have lost this match up yet. He's piss weak early game and can only Q a single target level 1 and it allows you to get a free push, he'll always be at your mercy however you have to take care that you don't go OOM because that's the only time he can win. If you land your E on him it's a 100% guaranteed follow up Q because his W doesn't help him at all unless he uses it before your E hits, which most Vlad's don't realize. He's definitely scary once he gets items, but Zoe has the power to keep him down. Consider taking Ignite in this match-up or getting a Morellonomicon second.
Oof, a personally really frustrating match-up for me. A good Xerath player will poke you down with ease and will never allow you to get kill opportunities by playing so safe and taking Cleanse, but bad Xerath players will let you walk all over them. You have to make sure you're always healthy in lane, dodge as much poke as possible, always have potions at your side and even get early boots if you're struggling. Late game if you don't have any MR it's /REALLY/ easy for him to kill you and take over the game if he has good positioning and a decent frontline, he'll always be able to reach you but you'll never reach him.
Another extreme hard counter, but it's also based on the Yasuo's skill. This weeb machine has all the tools to deal with Zoe - his Windwall is painful to deal with and the only thing that can contest his Windwall is your passive auto. You have to always respect him in a minion wave as he can dash onto you at any time and because your Sleepy Trouble Bubble has a cast time he can 100% always block it if he's good enough. A massive nightmare in teamfights because his wall just makes you useless for 4 seconds, and his ultimate is absolutely devastating in lane with a guaranteed knock-up like Lee Sin and devastating in teamfights when combined with AoE monsters like Alistar or Malphite.
It's really difficult playing vs. a good Tahm Kench. He'll be following you around making sure to eat anyone that you land an E on, and also his ultimate is really punishing vs. immobile champions, ganking you from screens away while also bringing a friend. Even if you do catch him with an E instead, he'll ignore your damage, and it's also common for him to take Spellbook, meaning he can just run Cleanse himself to make sure he can always save his team.
GLHF playing into this jungler, once she turns 6 there is virtually nothing you can do to stop her once she gets rolling, she forces you to take Cleanse but if she's fed enough she'll pop you without even needing to get her Charm off, but if you take Barrier she'll abuse her CC combined with her laners and CC later on in the game from her is a sure death to the rest of her team. Really really frustrating jungler to play vs, Banshee's doesn't even help vs. her, because if she marks you and then hits you it takes the Banshee bubble off of you but doesn't consume the mark, meaning she'll just stun you directly after it disappears. Be glad more people don't play this champ!
Really really frustrating to vs. as both mid lane and support. *** MID LANE** Mid lane Morgana's tend to have no idea how to play the game and will only pick this to AFK in lane to shove and prevent your Sleepy Trouble Bubble with Black Shield, but realistically that's all she needs to do. You have to play INSANELY well to be able to break her, it's really really hard to kill her, and if you're slightly over aggressive one binding into a jungle gank is your sure death. You should just focus on farming, help your team as much as possible with roams, capitalize on the fact that Morgana in early laning is really shit other than pushing the lane and being super defensive. Morgana is going to be the same usefulness whether she gets fed or not - all her team needs is the CC she provides and the defensive capabilities of her Black Shield. ** SUPPORT ** Really really difficult for you to deal with, same as mid lane except you can't gank bot lane opening with E because of her Black Shield, and because she's support she'll be pumping 45% CDR to make sure she has that as up as possible, and great Morgana players will also take a Mikael's Crucible, making your life a living hell trying to pick off their team mates - and to top it all off they'll most likely get a Zhonya's themselves to deny you.
If this Blitzcrank is the best hooker in the world and he perma roams to your lane good luck, you have to play super super scared whenever you don't see him on the map because most likely he'll be in your lane trying to punch that loli ass.
Massive frontline for a squishy and guaranteed lockdown for a high burst mage? Yes please!
Really strong level 2 ganker with decently easy to hit CC, allowing for a free follow up Sleepy Trouble Bubble. She does insane amounts of damage and can often solo laners by herself with a bit of set up. Her ultimate locks people in place for you to get easy skillshots.
A Sleepy Trouble Bubble into a long ranged Javelin Toss mid-game is sure death vs. anyone that isn't tanky. Nidalee has insane damage and just needs a laner to CC someone. Also a great sieger like yourself, and can keep you topped up with Primal Surge.
Can stun people to allow for easy skillshots and can eat you during Portal Jump and you won't return to your original position, great for clutch saves. Set to a 4 because it's very dependant on how good the Tahm Kench player is.
A weaker version of Camille, but still gets the job done with the great ultimate lock down and damage with early ganking tools.
A breath-taking support to play with, she can make sure that you're safe vs. anyone, and is especially good vs. assassins which make Zoe's life a misery usually. Only downside to having Janna is you want a tankier jungler or a top laner, Zoe thrives with having a strong frontline.
Hello everyone! My name is Vicksy, I'm a high Diamond/Master tier mid laner. I've been playing since the start of Season 3 on the EUW server, and I've been a full on mid main since Season 4. I have achieved at least Diamond 1 every single season since Season 4, hitting Masters in multiple seasons using champions such as Zoe, Aurelion Sol, Viktor and Ahri, with my peak being 224 LP. I am a partnered Twitch streamer and a partnered YouTuber, and I like to stream every single day! Feel free to come check me out and ask me any questions you may have, whether it be on stream or on my other socials below!
My Zoe win-rate on my smurf account in Diamond 4, TRICKSY VICKSY this season
Season 9 main account winrate
Zoe quickly became one of my favourite champions once I picked her up, I've racked up over a million Mastery points on her, and got level 7 on her 3 days after her release. She's a fun, unique champion that has features of both an artillery mage and a burst mage, and she can carry games solo due to how much damage she can dish out. She does have a lot of weaknesses however, her damage can be blocked by other targets (minions/tanky champions) and she has no mobility, so she's really weak to divers/assassins. This guide will show you step by step how to maximize your Zoe game play and climb the ranks!
I have just released an Aurelion Sol guide as well as I have played him loads, please feel free to check it out if you want some tips for him!
Here are some clips of me playing Zoe, versus PowerOfEvil (a well known professional mid laner)
+ Extremely high damage
+ Great carry potential
+ Decent, safe waveclear
+ Huge range on her CC
+ Great at creating picks
+ Relevant all game
+ Free summoner spells and items
Zoe is a very fun, strong and unique champion, every game is different with her through Spell Thief. She has some of the highest damage output of any mage, even if enemies have a bit of MR you can generally oneshot them if you get a good combo off. Your damage is also comes from a very safe range, through Portal Jump and using Sleepy Trouble Bubble through walls. Because of this, her carry potential is some of the highest from mid lane if you can play her well, and her ability to be able to pick off someone before a team fight starts is very high. She is quite good early, mid and late game - being able to always be relevant is super strong.
- Super high skill cap
- No raw mobility
- Squish squish
- Enemies with mobility destroys her
- Highly reliant on hitting skill-shots
- Damage can be easily blocked
- Many counters to Sleepy Trouble Bubble
Because of Zoe having a super high skill-cap, there will ALWAYS be times in the game where you position badly with Portal Jump, or just straight up miss your spells, so you have to practice her a lot and be focused - and the fact that she is super squishy as well makes this a lot harder. Because her main damage sources are skill-shots, enemies that have extreme mobility can outplay Zoe really hard and leave you feeling like a sitting duck if you get countered - even more so with Sleepy Trouble Bubble, as there are many ways to stop it from being useful, through Cleanse, Quicksilver Sash, tank team mates blocking for others, and many more.
|This is a really good summoner for helping you get that extra gold towards your first few items to completely take over the game, and great for roaming to kill bot lane as they will always have a Heal. While Zoe already has huge amounts of damage, this rune makes you a dangerous threat really early in the game too, allowing you to start snowballing and killing people as early as level 2.|
|This rune is the best selfish choice to keep yourself safe. It's a whole MINUTE cooldown shorter than Heal, it protects you against more damage, and it is better vs. Ignite as it doesn't cut half the shielding power - you definitely want to be running this vs. assassin lanes such as Zed or Talon, or in an overall game where so much burst exists on their team.|
|Take this when the enemy team has very devastating CC that you need to stay safe from, especially from junglers like Elise. Rammus and Sejuani, mid laners such as Twisted Fate and Veigar, supports like Morgana or Braum, tanks such as Shen or Maokai, or marksmen such as Varus or Ashe. Keep in mind you do not have to take Cleanse versus only one champion that has CC, but if it's the enemy jungler or mid laner that has it along with it being unavoidable or easy to land, I highly recommend getting used to Cleanse and taking it.|
These are in my opinion the best runes by far for Zoe, and they fit my play-style very well. I will cover why they are good individually below, and also there is a section underneath these runes talking about other keystones and basic runes.
|It works so well on Zoe because when she tends to proc Electrocute she goes all out and lands a Sleepy Trouble Bubble followed by an auto and a long range Paddle Star, which usually brings people down to below 50% health anyway, granting a free Dark Harvest stack. However, Dark Harvest can proc from a SINGLE ABILITY alone, remember all of those times you Paddle Star'd someone for 95% of their HP and they got away? Dark Harvest will kill them. It's slightly worse for early laning, but that has never been one of Zoe's strong suits anyway, and this outscales Electrocute massively later, as it also RESETS in team fights!|
|This rune is an AMAZING choice for Zoe. With her ultimate Portal Jump being an extremely low cooldown blink, and an essential piece to her combo to get maximum damage, you can almost keep this rune up permanently. Because you use this rune so much, the damage you can get from this can be larger than Keystone runes such as Electrocute and Arcane Comet, which is completely nuts for a non-keystone rune.|
|Quite a straightforward rune, just offers you extra AP upon killing wards and champions. I've actually also been switching between this and Ghost Poro recently, great for when you're vs. passive lanes and you won't be getting many kills, and placing the poros allow you to have more vision up, which is quite important for an immobile squishy like Zoe. You can comfortably choose between the 2 here, whatever is your personal favourite.|
|**TESTING CHANGES** This is a complete game changer - I have played Zoe with and without this rune, and it feels so wrong not using it. Zoe has no in-built sustain into her kit apart from picking up Heal and Redemption through Spell Thief, so she's quite susceptible to being poked out. You can heal large amounts of health just by landing high damage Paddle Stars later on in the game, you heal fully from champions, minions AND monsters. This rune allows you to stay out longer in fights when you otherwise shouldn't, and being such a large damage/CC threat you should try staying alive as long as possible.|
|This got quite a few changes! It now offers 5% ability haste at level 5, and again at level 8 for a total of 10%, but at level 11 on champion takedown, it reduces the remaining cooldown of basic abilities by 20%, which can come in really handy to get another extra ability out which saves you!|
|With the changes to Nimbus Cloak nerfing it further, we've got back to the traditional Manaflow Band. Nimbus Cloak just got nerfed too hard for my liking, and having a good mana pool is always useful, especially nowadays when junglers don't give away blue buff.|
The bonuses towards your runes are pretty clear cut here, you can opt for 9 adaptive twice for a total of 18 AP and choose between the MR or armour for the final choice, as the HP one isn't very good. If you're in difficult match-ups you can just double dip in the defenses, taking +16 MR or +12 armour, allowing you to get through lane a lot easier.
|This is Zoe's 2nd best rune to take. It's very consistent as it always as high base damage throughout the game, so if you're in a counter lane where you won't get many Dark Harvest stacks it's a lot better. It's harder to proc than Dark Harvest but if you have a summoner or an item on Spell Thief then you're good to go.|
|This is another rune popular among Zoe players. Straight up, this rune is NOT WORTH IT IN SOLO QUEUE! A LOT of people will argue against me saying Summon Aery is her best rune without researching. Pro players will take Summon Aery because they will not gather Dark Harvest stacks as there will be very few kills, and laning phase is extremely important. They will also tactically pick Zoe into good match-ups where they can proc Summon Aery efficiently. You have to be super on point always using this rune off cooldown if you want to make the most of it - other options will out-scale this rune after first base, and with the damage being so subpar now and they buffs its shielding I would go against taking it altogether.|
More Sparkles! is Zoe's passive. After casting an ability, Zoe's next basic attack within the next 5 seconds deals bonus magic damage.
This is actually one of my favourite abilities on Zoe. It's pretty much a mini Lich Bane BUT this ability has NO COOLDOWN, as long as you have abilities to proc it you can keep it up. Two important things to note here, one being that both casts of Paddle Star apply your passive, and that your passive works on towers. Both of these functions together give you a lot of potent point and click damage early game, and it allows you take towers deceptively fast. Combined with Spell Thief you can really surprise enemies with large amounts of unavoidable damage.
Paddle Star is Zoe's bread and butter ability. For the first cast of the ability, Zoe hurts a star in the target direction that collides with the first enemy hit, dealing magic damage in a small area, reduced to 80% to enemies hit beyond the first. The total damage is increased by 0-150% based on distance traveled.
While the star is out, Zoe can reactivate Paddle Star to redirect it to a new location near her, resetting its damage modifier on cast. If Zoe moves with the redirected star, it will keep moving along with her until it reaches Paddle Star's max range. If the star does not hit an enemy, it lingers at maximum range for 1 second on both casts.
Even though you want to be hitting the longest range Paddle Stars as much as possible for maximum damage, sometimes it's not always the best way to use it. If you see an easy opportunity to quickly harass your opponent, it's better most of the time just to do a short range hit. Don't forget that it also does a small area of AoE from the first target it hits, so it's your primary way of waveclearing, and you can also easily harass your enemy if they're standing slightly behind creeps this way.
Spell Thief has both a passive and an active effect. Passively. whenever an enemy champion casts a summoner spell or an item active, they drop on the ground as a Spell Shard, which grants sight in a small area. Spell Shards last for 40 seconds. Enemy minions can randomly spawn with Spell Shards that drop to the ground for 20 seconds if killed by Zoe.
Collecting a Spell Shard allows Zoe to activate Spell Thief within the next 60 seconds. She can replace her current Spell Thief active by move clicking directly on another Spell Shard. Activating a spell shard grants Zoe movement speed and three bubbles that orbit around her for the next 10 seconds. The bubbles attack the nearest enemy in range, prioritizing Zoe's most recent target, and dealing magic damage.
After the recent buffs, this spell actually does an insane amount of damage, with a +75% AP ratio, you should definitely be trying to apply this as much as possible. This ability also does damage to towers, making you a serious tower pushing threat alongside a Lich Bane while proccing More Sparkles!. Don't forget to always use Spell Thief if you have a shard picked up if you can, as obvious as it seems you can easily click on another shard even though you can use your current one to get movement speed and damage - also when coming back to lane and your Spell Thief shard is going to time out just use it for the extra movement speed.
Sleepy Trouble Bubble - Zoe kicks a bubble in the target direction that bursts on the first enemy hit dealing magic damage, rendering the target drowsy for 2.2 secconds, and then they fall asleep for 2 seconds. The next instance of champion damage taken by the sleeping target deals bonus true damage, equal to the post-mitigation damage dealt, capped at Sleepy Trouble Bubble's damage.
The bubble gains distance when thrown at a wall, traveling through it indefinitely. However, it cannot go through 2 sets of walls, so it falls short abruptly if it would enter terrain again. If Sleepy Trouble Bubble hits nothing it forms a trap at maximum range that arms after 0.8 seconds for 4 seconds.
Landing Sleepy Trouble Bubble consistently is going to be the key to winning games. Since it has massive range when traveling through walls, you can catch a lot of people out if they don't have vision on you, and generally sets up either a huge chunk of their health or a kill because of the extra true damage. It is vital that you have vision control when playing Zoe, buying Control Wards will help you set up a lot of bubbles. Also just using Sleepy Trouble Bubble to cover important walk-ways when doing objectives like Baron Nashor is a great way to use it.
With the whole "post-mitigation" true damage, it means that if the first part of Sleepy Trouble Bubble does around 100 damage after resistances, the second part can do up to 100 damage too.
Portal Jump is Zoe's ultimate. Zoe targets a location then dives into a portal that she opens beneath her, blinking to the target location. After 1 second, she blinks back to her initial cast location.
A perfect ultimate to tie her kit together! Unlike other ultimate's, Portal Jump has a pretty low cooldown. During Portal Jump, Zoe becomes self-rooted and cannot move, but she can attack and cast abilities, and also see over walls. This means that whatever happens to her, whether she gets hooked by Blitzcrank at the intial blink or uses Zhonya's Hourglass, she'll always return to her starting cast location. The only exceptions to this rule is Camille's ultimate Hextech Ultimatum and being Devoured by Tahm Kench.
You can use this ability to dodge in-coming skill shots, you can use it to pick up a stray Spell Shard from Spell Thief during a team fight, you can use it next to a wall, to get closer to your enemy or jump over minions to get an easier hit with Sleepy Trouble Bubble, though one of the biggest things you will use this for is to gain extra range on Paddle Star, which increases your damage. This ability is so versatile!
You always take Paddle Star level 1 unless you are invading and combining Sleepy Trouble Bubble with other CC.
You take Sleepy Trouble Bubble 2nd to look for kill potential, help potential jungle invades, etc.
You then take Spell Thief at level 3. Leveling another level of Paddle Star doesn't make that much different early on, and being able to pick up a random summoner spell or item active to help you you during laning is INSANE. Also, don't forget you can't pick up other people's summoners until you level up Spell Thief, imagine fighting at level 3 and not being able to take the enemies Flashes and losing out on kills! It's a complete game changer.
Pretty much you want always want to be maxing Paddle Star > Sleepy Trouble Bubble > Spell Thief, while putting a point whenever you can into Portal Jump at 6, 11 and 16. A lot of people ask me if it's okay to ignore Portal Jump and level your other abilities, because it doesn't do damage, but the lower cooldown is crucial to your Zoe play later on in the game.
In this section I'll be breaking down Zoe's item builds. DISCLAIMER: These items are new and I've only had limited testing on PBE, so my opinions may not be entirely correct. From looking at all of them and playing them a little, I've created a list of the items that I think Zoe will use the most. As time goes by and more builds emerge I will refine this section, and I hope you guys enjoy the pre-season fiesta!
|Doran's Ring is back! It's received some healthy buffs, reverting its mana regen passive to a previous state: giving you 6 mana for minion kills instead which I prefer a lot more, as it punishes people that miss CS! It also grants you health if you're max mana, which is pretty awesome.|
|Corrupting Potion is another starting item we can go. I personally enjoy running it vs. really heavy harassing lanes so I can sustain through the early game and have a good first buy.|
|Stealth Ward will be the only trinket you will be taking at level 1, and will be the main choice of trinket for most of your games. Because Zoe tends to push a lot, she needs to keep up vision so she doesn't get ganked, as she has no mobility.|
|With your early gold, you'll be building towards Luden's Tempest as soon as possible in every game, and you start building into it by getting a Lost Chapter. With 10% CDR and 20% of max mana refunded once you level up, the earlier you complete this the better - it'll be very rare for you to be able to base with the full 1300 gold, so you should be buying as many Amplifying Tomes as you can get.|
|If you don't have enough gold to buy Amplifying Tomes, you'll be looking at these two instead. You'll go for Boots if you're vs. a very skill-shot intensive match-up, like Xerath or Lux. Getting an early Dark Seal whenever you have 350 gold is always my preference though, it's an amazing item. It is already gold efficient (123%) without any stacks, the +25% healing from potions has been removed and so has the mana, in favour of HP and also more AP from stacks. At max stacks, you can get a whopping total of 65 AP!! That's 1520 gold worth of stacks on a 350 gold item.. THIS IS INSANE!! It becomes 434% gold efficient, more than ANY other item in the game!|
|A Refillable Potion is great, if you have enough gold to buy this early after buying components, get it as soon as possible! Potions that refill every base makes for insane value, so much so that if you have a single Health Potion in your inventory, selling that just to buy this is super worth it. Don't buy this past laning phase however.|
|Control Wards win games - I cannot stress enough how important it is to make sure you get these on the map early, they stay placed indefinitely, and if you're strong enough to protect them you can an insane amount of vision the entire game through it. You shouldn't be only getting these on your early bases - every time have 75 gold on a base pick one of these up and place it around mid, in conjunction with your Stealth Ward you can get a serious amount of vision around mid, which I think Zoe needs to succeed as she is a champion that naturally wants to push the lane while also being immobile.|
|Sorcerer's Shoes will be your main boot of choice in over 90% of your games. Zoe has huge amounts of damage, and these only amplify it even further. Combined with these boots, Sudden Impact and Luden's Tempest if you decide to purchase it, you can get up to 54 flat magic penetration in a full build, and that does true damage to squishies that don't buy any magic resist.|
|Mercury's Treads will be your only other choice of boots. These become necessary when you're vs. high CC and high burst magic damage. if I have to run these I'll generally go Nullifying Orb in my runes and Barrier as well, with also possibly buying a Banshee's Veil if their burst is really high and unavoidable, like LeBlanc or Evelynn.|
|Luden's Tempest and Liandry's Anguish are two new mythic items! I'll run you guys down with a brief explanation on how they work: you can only buy one of these in a game, and once you've purchased it you're locked into it, meaning you can't sell it and buy another Mythic item later down the line. It also gives special bonuses to legendary items that you purchase (boots don't count). This makes this first purchase really important, and you should take care and weigh up the options to help you decide which one to pick - and I believe these 2 will both be viable picks on Zoe. Luden's Tempest is the higher damage item vs. squishies as it has flat magic penetration, and it gives even more to other legendary items that you buy and gives you a create chunk of movement speed after hitting an ability, which can be used after landing a Sleepy Trouble Bubble then almost always guaranteeing the following Paddle Star even if they use mobility to get away, while Liandry's Anguish is an overall great tank busting item if you so happen to get countered by a lot of tanks, as it grants % health damage AND a huge chunk of magic penetration. It also grants you a lot more ability haste!|
|Rabadon's Deathcap received quite a few nerfs, losing 5% total AP and also increasing its cost by 200 - but it's still a really strong item, and you'll probably be building this every single game. This item definitely should be purchased before Void Staff unless the enemy team has HUGE amounts magic resist on almost every member. Zoe has extremely high AP ratio's, so this item is a great way to massively increase your overall damage.|
|Void Staff, along with Rabadon's Deathcap, should be built almost every game. It lost 5 AP in pre-season, but its job is still the same - shredding any MR that get in your way, and this is made a lot easier with the introduction of Blighting Jewel, which is a component that grants 15% magic resist, which is a super great addition to the new items, allowing you to pick up some % magic penetration earlier on while waiting for the full Void Staff buy. You need to keep track of what items the enemy champs are buying, and also take note on what champs they are and their usual builds to determine whether you need this item eventually in the game or not. Don't be afraid on skipping out on this altogether if the enemy team literally has ZERO magic resist, but that will be a very rare occurrence.|
|Horizon Focus is the item we've all been waiting for! This item rocks 100 AP, this looks like Zoe's new favourite item, however the passive is the true star of the show. You'll almost always be triggering its passive, as it triggers with a successful Sleepy Trouble Bubble hit always AND Zoe always does damage at over 750 range. While Paddle Star is 750 range around her, the range for the passive counts WHERE you casted the spell, and as Zoe you'll use Portal Jump, Flash or even just movement speed to increase the range, making this really easy to proc. I have high hopes for this item, that after I test some more, I believe it could easily be a core item. Watch this space!|
|Cosmic Drive seems like quite a decent pick on Zoe - it gives her a lot more movement speed upon hitting an ability, which synergizes quite well with Luden's Tempest, and it's the item that gives the most Ability Haste, which will help you a lot as it's quite hard to come by now.|
|Demonic Embrace is another brand new item, and I think it fits quite nicely into Zoe's items - extra % health damage on top of your poke is always nice, and Zoe gets countered by tanks, so buying this is the perfect remedy. Combined with Liandry's Anguish, you'll have 2 items with % max health damage which is pretty nasty, alongside some health and it also grants a small MR/armour buff, which can be quite useful in dire situations! A great item that helps AND rewards you to stay in longer fights.|
|Mejai's Soulstealer is a nice pick up for Season 11, even though it's still a snowball item. With the buffs to Dark Seal, you'll be buying that a lot more often, so upgrading it will naturally be a lot more common. The cost has been increased by 200 gold and has had a slight stat change - replacing mana with health, which is overall a lot better, the counter to Mejai's is being killed, but the extra HP will help you to stay alive. This item, while only costing 1,6000 gold is considered a Legendary item, which means when you buy this when you're massively ahead, you'll also be gaining the passive for a standard Legendary item that you get from whichever Mythic item you choose. Combine this with Zhonya's Hourglass and you can preserve your stacks really easily!|
|Morellonomicon is a really overrated item. With the nerfs it's received over the past year, it's not worth to build it AT ALL unless there are enemies that have a huge amount of healing for it's Grevious Wounds passive, we're talking Sylas or Dr. Mundo terrority. You should buy Oblivion Orb and sit on it as long as possible, only upgrade to Morellonomicon last item if you still need the healing reduction. BUY THIS ITEM ONLY WHEN YOU 100% NEED IT!|
|Zhonya's Hourglass is a great defensive item. You don't necessarily have to build this vs. only AD threats, it is a great counter to many AP mid laners because dodging damage is a lot better than just soaking slightly less damage. It completely negates abilities such as Syndra's Unleashed Power, Veigar's Primordial Burst and even Karthus' Requiem. I don't recommend getting this early on instead of your core items unless it's absolutely necessary (vs. Zed, Vi and others) as it doesn't offer much damage. Buying it late game however is a great idea, as you already dish out tons of damage with a 4+ item build, and you just need something to keep you alive - a Zhonya's Hourglass can never go wrong.|
|Banshee's Veil is another great defensive item, I especially love combining this with Nullifying Orb or Mercury's Treads. Pick this up if you're afraid of an AP mid bursting you down constantly (like Fizz or LeBlanc), not only does this item have magic resistance but it has a spell-shield that blocks a single ability, helping to disrupt champions that need to hit all of their spells too correctly kill someone. It's also REALLY good vs. champions that really rely on hitting their crowd control straight up even if they aren't in your lane, such as Sejuani, Elise, Blitzcrank, Lux, heck this item is even really great vs. Zoe herself!|
|Lich Bane received quite a lot of nerfs, and probably won't be seen as a normal item on Zoe anymore, but I will leave it here while I do more testing. It lost CDR, mana AND they increased the cooldown of the proc from 1.5 seconds to 2.5, while only barely increasing the damage. I use this item on a lot of champions I play, and I love how it just makes your burst damage, push potential and objective taking a lot stronger. I honestly believe it's the best third item to go, Zoe weaves in a lot of autos because of her passive More Sparkles!, and these stack making you a scary auto attacker. With Spell Thief, Luden's Tempest, when combined with Lich Bane you have a scary amount of point and click damage. A really strong pick up when you already have Rabadon's Deathcap, and should NOT be built before it.|
**NOT UPDATED WHILE WE TEST OUT PRE-SEASON ITEMS**
Here's a handy item set to help you out with the items listed in my guide, and more! I will look to update this whenever new changes occur.
Don't know how to add an item set? Follow the steps below.
Step 1: Copy the code in the spoiler box below.
Step 2: While logged in on the LoL client, go to Collection > Items and click import item set
Step 3: Paste the code into the bar
Step 4: Profit! Enjoy!
Zoe's laning phase in my opinion is the weakest part of the game for her, even though it's not that bad. Since minions block pretty must most of her damage, you always want to have your lane pushing. I highly recommend not picking Zoe into match-ups where you can't push the wave (like Yasuo) or match-ups where they out-shove you along with poking you very hard (like Xerath).
You can play her one of two ways: either hard shoving your opponent in constantly because you don't want to deal with laning vs. them and look to roam, or you can try to poke them out. After being buffed again, Zoe can almost 2 shot the backline of creeps at level 1 again. She has very very good waveclear and you can abuse this vs. a lot of mid laners to force them to farm under tower.
A standard lane combo you should be using early on is Paddle Star (1st cast) > auto with More Sparkles! > second cast of Paddle Star > auto with More Sparkles! again. This is the most efficient way to get early damage out, and you can half health people if you hit a decently ranged Paddle Star with both autos. Throwing constant Sleepy Trouble Bubble's are not recommended before your first base as you don't have the mana pool early on to do that - after getting Lost Chapter it's a lot easier to catch the enemy mid laner out with your barrage of bubbles. Do not forget to add in Corrupting Potion to your combo for that extra bit of damage.
The spell shards you pick up through Spell Thief during laning phase can turn the tides of games. Pick up an Exhaust, Flash or a Chilling Smite to slow your laner or get in range to hit an easier Sleepy Trouble Bubble, Hextech Rocketbelt the ranged creeps to instantly clear them to look for another Sleepy Trouble Bubble, the possibilities are ENDLESS - it'll take a while for you to get used to using the Spell Shards correctly in most scenarios. As Kha'Zix wisely says, "consume and adapt".
Even though Zoe has great wave clear and poke, she is very susceptible to being repeatedly ganked over and over as she has no true form of escape. Taking the correct summoner spell and making sure to buy Control Wards early on and use your trinket efficiently is the way to safe laning. Keeping the wave constantly shoved allows you to assist your jungler better than the enemy mid laner, Zoe loves jungle fights because of Sleepy Trouble Bubble gaining range through walls.
If you manage to push your laner out or even kill them and you're healthy enough to not base and/or you know where the enemy jungler is, you can do a lot of damage to the enemy mid's tower to get first blood tower gold. Zoe's passive More Sparkles! AND Spell Thief do damage to towers, and it makes her a tower threat, combined with Sheen and Lich Bane later on in the game, you can almost 3-4 shot towers.
You pretty much want to be constantly grouping with your team outside of laning phase. Even though Zoe is not great in team fights, she is very good at poking and sieging in the moments leading up towards a fight. You pretty much want to stay with your team, get as much vision as possible with your Stealth Ward and buy Control Wards to make your life easier. Denying vision is so important with Zoe, that you should even look to sell your Doran's Ring late game to have a slot to purchase Control Wards. Concealing where you are will make it a lot harder for enemies to dodge your Sleepy Trouble Bubble, and poking one person low or outright killing them can lead to an easy won fight before it even begins.
You want to be poking with Paddle Star by using the first part of the spell backwards, then Portal Jumping forward while casting the second part to look for poke. If someone on your team is strong, you should look to prioritize hitting anyone that's trying to kill them with your Sleepy Trouble Bubble and trying to burst them out rather than try to go for any fancy back-line plays.
One thing to remember is how much damage your Spell Thief, passive More Sparkles! combined with Lich Bane does in team fights. TAKE NOTE of what spell shards drop to the floor via Spell Thief, picking up a casual Exhaust to stop an assassin or a Redemption can win you fights, and it's really hard for people to play around that. Sometimes just picking up Spell Thief shards off the ground and instantly casting them to get the damage procs is a good way to team-fight if there are so many on the ground.
The reason Zoe is better outside of team-fights is because she needs a while to set up and look for a Sleepy Trouble Bubble on a priority target like a carry, missing a crucial one can mean a lost fight and it's hard to one-shot a carry with a front-line running at you. She loves scrappy fights where she can land an easy bubble and one-shot someone quickly before a fight starts. You also have to be very careful with your positioning in team-fights as you don't have any mobility, and one wrong misstep with Portal Jump can lead to your instant death.
And that wraps up my Zoe guide! I will probably add match-ups in the future. I hope you found this guide helpful, and if you did please give it an upvote to make it more visible, and please post any questions you may have and I'll get back to them ASAP!
Special thanks to Jovy for the gorgeous banners, and for helping me with spots of coding. :3
If you'd like to see my Zoe gameplay, you can follow my Twitch channel - I play her very frequently, and if I'm not just ask in chat! I stream every single day from 6-7 PM until midnight to 1 AM GMT.