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Zoe Build Guide by NebuIa

Middle grandmaster

In-Depth Challenger Zoe Main Guide

By NebuIa | Updated on March 12, 2020
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Runes: Electrocute

1 2 3 4 5 6
Domination
Electrocute
Sudden Impact
Eyeball Collection
Ravenous Hunter

Sorcery
Nimbus Cloak
Transcendence
Bonus:

+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+8 Magic Resist

Spells:

1 2 3 4 5
Ignite
LoL Summoner Spell: Flash

Flash

LoL Summoner Spell: Ignite

Ignite

LeagueSpy Logo
Middle Lane
Ranked #51 in
Middle Lane
Win 49%
Get More Stats

Threats & Synergies

Threats Synergies
Extreme Major Even Minor Tiny
Show All
None Low Ok Strong Ideal
Extreme Threats
Ideal Synergies

Champion Build Guide

In-Depth Challenger Zoe Main Guide

By NebuIa
Disclaimer
Disclaimer: Many Zoe mains do not do what I do. I will do my best to represent every viable playstyle Zoe has. For example,in the "threats" area, I said that I take aery in every match up. However, I believe electrocute is viable in every matchup as well. When seeing my guide, keep in mind I am trying to portray everything I see viable on Zoe. With that out of the way, lets get into it!

Disclaimer 2: you may notice, but I'm not the most skillful user of mobafire. I will be using things that are not the flashiest, but I do hope to portray a lot of information at the cost of presentation. I also accidentally put a LOT of information in the "notes" section. Check that out of you didn't, but there's a lot of information that I will be repeating that I put in the "notes" section above in "build options".
Introduction; Who am I? Back to Top
Hello! I'm NE├čULA, and as of patch 9.18, I hit Challenger 700 LP maining only Zoe in NA, and I consistently stay high Grandmaster. As a sort of celebration, and also just out of passion of wanting to help people, I think this is a great milestone to create a Zoe guide. As a note, I will use the term "preference" a LOT in this guide. That is because there are so many good options on Zoe that is a preference, like rune choices between Electrocute vs Summon Aery vs Phase Rush. Some matchups I think one is optimal, but for most of them I think it is a preference between keystones. Same with some items. So, keep in mind when I talk about one choice, you can always feel free to experiment with all of them and find which playstyle you like best!
Strengths and Weaknesses of Zoe Back to Top

Strengths & Weaknesses


Zoe is in a fantastic state right now. She is an extremely threatening, high-range burst mage. While she isn't overpowered like she used to, she is still easily a tier 2 or more champion, in my opinion. A good Zoe is almost unstoppable with her range and damage. She can get picks very easily with her Sleepy Trouble Bubble or random chunks with her Paddle Star, easily winning a teamfight before it even starts. However, some downsides are that she is kind of weak when behind. It just feels like you're throwing water balloons at them. She also is quite immobile, meaning that she can just die if she's caught out or hit by any CC. Other than that, she is pretty solid.
Summoner Spells Back to Top

What Summoner Spells to Take?




Flash


Not much to go over. Flash is such a vital spell. Take it every game.


Ignite


Ignite is the default for a lot of Zoe players. If you're starting out playing her I recommend starting out with Ignite. It can allow you to get early kills, be more confident in her damage, etc. Taking Ignite is a spell that many Zoe players cannot play without.


Barrier


I used to take Barrier most games, but I don't anymore. I think it gets outshined by Ignite most games. I only every really take it anymore against very hard matchups. If you need to take it against something like Zed, go ahead. Only take it if you think they WILL take Ignite, as Heal is much better when they don't.


Cleanse


Cleanse is an amazing option into any champions with crowd control, such as Lissandra, junglers such as Sejuani, or even bot laners like Ashe or Leona. However, you can also cleanse ignites to take the enemy ignite. Cleanse sways some matchups. Ahri, for example, usually will her Charm and Ignite around the same time. Save your Cleanse for when she Ignites, Take her Ignite and usually you will win the all in.


Heal


Heal is the 2nd best summoner spell for Zoe in my opinion. The movement speed you get from Heal is amazing with Nimbus Cloak and Spell Thief. It is great to help survive, run, or chase down. For example, in the Orianna matchup, I would either take Ignite or Heal. She almost never takes Ignite, so heal is used to its full effect. However, you can also just take Ignite in a lot of matchups. It's up to you.
Zoe's Abilities Back to Top

Abilities


Zoe's skill order is relatively simple and outlined above. You want to max Paddle Star first, then Sleepy Trouble Bubble, then Paddle Star, while ranking Portal Jump whenever you can. Nothing special.

What do you get level 2?



This is a frequent question I get. What I end up doing usually is considering if I will hit a Sleepy Trouble Bubble by level 2 or not. For example, if I am against an Orianna, the odds are she will not step out behind her minions, thus not hitting my Sleepy Trouble Bubble. This happens in most ranged matchups, but if some characters like Syndra are playing very aggressive, you can consider Sleepy Trouble Bubble. However, in most ranged matchups, I find it more worth it to just gamble with your Spell Thief for early balloons. However, in most melee matchups, I will take Sleepy Trouble Bubble level 2, as they are MUCH more prone to getting hit by it early.

General Tips

    If you're melee range, you can
Portal Jump away and use Paddle Star to get maximum distance.
Some people don't know but if you use your q2 and continue walking it'll increase the distance. Use that to your maximum effect, wait as long as possible until using Portal Jump.
If you think your Paddle Star is going to be blocked by enemies or something like a windwall, try to use it to the side first and come from an angle that they don't expect.

Most Zoe mechanics are just surface level. Zoe doesn't have that many in depth mechanics. It's all about things like aiming/accuracy, taking opportunities to the fullest, seeing your moment, etc. It can only be learned through practice.
Rune Pages Back to Top

Rune choices



There are a TON of choices that you can go in runes. I outlined a few different sample rune paths with notes on what else you can take. I recommend reading that if you didn't. Now, I'll get into every rune I think is worth taking in every tree- not specific paths, just a general outline of every rune.

Sorcery


You can take two amazing keystones in this; Summon Aery and Phase Rush. Summon Aery's overall poke in lane is very good, and if you are going for short Paddle Stars in lane, which is overall what you are poking with in early lane, it is effective and procs many times. It also synergizes with Manaflow Band in that way, as you get stacks of that quickly too. Phase Rush is insanely good in scarier matchups you need to run from. Nimbus Cloak is REALLY REALLY good and I take it every game. It synergizes with Spell Thief really well, as you get the movement speed bonus from summoner spells used with it. Transcendence is my go-to option in this tree, as its CDR is very good, or the AP if you overcap, which happens. However, Absolute Focus is also a decent option. I do recommend the former, though. Lastly, Scorch is a great laning phase poking option, while Gathering Storm is fantastic for scaling, which Zoe does need help in, as she falls off a little bit late game. Scorch and Gathering Storm are preference as to which you want.

Synergies with main tree sorcery


The two trees I recommend taking with sorcery are domination and inspiration.

Domination


There are 2 viable keystones for Zoe in domination, that being Electrocute and Dark Harvest. Electrocute is what I recommend. It is the highest burst option that Zoe can go, with slightly less sustain than Summon Aery. While I personally find Electrocute awkward to proc, it is more popular than Summon Aery. A fix to that problem is taking Hextech Protobelt-01 to help proc it much easier! It's also a viable build. I highly recommend trying out at least Electrocute and Summon Aery. Dark Harvest is also a decent rune to try out. I think it is worse than the other two, but still try it! It gets rid of the "awkward to proc" problem of Electrocute, and if you like it then go for it. Always go Eyeball Collection, and then everything else in that tree is preference. I always go Sudden Impact over Cheap Shot, and Taste of Blood is good too. All 4 of the hunters are good and preference, with Ingenious Hunter being the most niche.

Synergies with main tree domination


Synergies with domination can include sorcery, inspiration, and resolve trees. As to which ones, it is preference. Find what you like the best.

Inspiration


Inspiration you will mainly be taking secondary. Many good options await you here, and they are almost all good if you want to try them out. Magical Footwear is great because it allows you to not have to purchase boots, and the extra movement speed is valuable. Perfect Timing is also amazing, because it's literally a free Zhonya's Hourglass. Minion Dematerializer is decent, I don't personally like it but you can try it out for yourself to get balloons very quickly in lane as a surprise, or shove out cannon waves much easier. Future's Market is great to help Zoe hit powerspikes slightly faster in mid game, her strongest point in the game. Cosmic Insight is great, because Zoe loves CDR in general, and lastly, if you take one you take both; Time Warp Tonic and Biscuit Delivery. If you like corrupting potion start, then I recommend this, but it's not 100% necessary. If you like the sustain, or need it in some matchups like Azir or Xerath, then they are also good.

Niche keystones in inspiration


There are 2 keystones in inspiration you can take, but I think that they are 4th and 5th best choices (behind the 3 mentioned previously. They are Unsealed Spellbook and Glacial Augment. Unsealed Spellbook is just taking Unsealed Spellbook, no new build. I think it's okay and take it if you really like it. However, if you take Chilling Smite (which is mainly a for fun build), then Unsealed Spellbook shoots up as one of your best options to cover for your lack of summoner spells. Glacial Augment is a good option if you want to be a CC bot. I personally take it into Malzahar because I assume I will be shut down in lane, and so I just want to help my team rather than myself. Make sure to build Hextech GLP-800 and Twin Shadows.

Synergies with main tree inspiration


Do either basic things in sorcery or domination. (If you are Glacial Augment, try Ingenious Hunter!)


Rune stats


Rune stats are important for every matchup.Always go at least 1 adaptive force, and most matchups I would go both. Take the magic resist or armor. If you are very scared, you can take 2 armors or magic resists. It's pretty straight forward.
Build Paths Back to Top

Build paths



Check in the notes section above for most info



When I go Electrocute I always build Hextech Protobelt-01 and Luden's Echo, but you don't have to. You can do whatever. Then you can go into a few things. Rabadon's Deathcap, Void Staff, or a defensive item like Zhonya's Hourglass. You can also go Oblivion Orb, but do NOT upgrade it!!! It is not efficient. You can also go Lich Bane, and I only do that with Summon Aery, but again, it's preference. Liandry's Torment is very good at tank busting, when they have a lot of health. With Phase Rush, I don't recommend going Lich Bane or Hextech Protobelt-01, but rather the other items- and, Spellbinder is also really good with this!
Matchups Back to Top

Matchups


As far as I know, I went through every mid lane matchup in the 'matchups' tab, so I won't go through it here. I may have missed a few, and if so, my bad! However, I think I got almost all of them with a brief summary of my thoughts about the matchup.
How to play mid-game? Back to Top
Typically, Zoe wants to always be on the lookout for Paddle Stars and Sleepy Trouble Bubbles from long range. Always be trying to pick people out. Play mid game like that. Be sure to go to side lanes to pick up farm that would just be lost to the tower or your own minions. Make sure to buy many Control Wards. The more vision you have and the less vision they have, the more picks you get.

Teamfights?


In teamfights, try to hit the highest value target that you can, typically. For example, if something like a Renekton is in front of you, and you can't hit anything else, just go for him. But, if you can sneak in a Paddle Star on the enemy Xayah, go for it. Just try not to tunnel on squishy targets and hit whatever you can. Try to abuse the fact that some ADC's will tunnel during fights and likely move in straight lines while chasing/kiting.
Summary + Extra Back to Top
If you've made it this far, thanks for reading it all. I appreciate it. I did put a lot of thought into all my Zoe related opinions, I think through everything. Share this guide with everyone who is curious about what is best on Zoe! I tried to go through everything and every option. I genuinely believe many things on Zoe are preference, so sorry for not having a solid view point, but I want to encourage different playstyles and help people find what they enjoy on her.

If you're looking for some high elo Zoe content, I recommend checking these channels out. I try to stream around 3 times a week, and you might be able to catch me at https://www.twitch.tv/INFNebula. Also, even if you don't check the others, please watch Detention! He is the best Zoe in North America, and maybe even in the entire west. He is a genuinely sweet guy. Check him out below!
Detention: https://www.twitch.tv/DetentionLoL
Erick Dota: https://www.twitch.tv/erick_dota
Vicksy: https://www.twitch.tv/vicksy
Angelic Buster: https://www.twitch.tv/angelicbuster
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