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Zoe Build Guide by Vapora Dark


Vapora Dark In-Depth Mid Zoe Guide 9.20 Season 9

By Vapora Dark | Updated on October 9, 2019
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Taste of Blood
Eyeball Collection
Ravenous Hunter

Biscuit Delivery
Time Warp Tonic

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


LoL Summoner Spell: Flash


LoL Summoner Spell: Ignite


LeagueSpy Logo
Middle Lane
Ranked #51 in
Middle Lane
Win 50%
Get More Stats

-Table of Contents-

Hi, I'm Vapora Dark, a veteran player that's been playing since season 1. During that time I've hit Master tier as a mid lane main in season 5, as an ADC main in season 7, again as a jungle main in season 8, and once more in season 9 playing a mix of all those roles including mid and Fizz. I can play every role to a very high level and have a very good understanding of the general aspects of the game on top of that.

I've been writing guides on MOBAFire since 2011, among which my achievements include winning the MOBAFire guide contest multiple times, achieving the highest score on the site multiple times with multiple guides, achieving the most comments on a single guide of all time by a very large amount which hasn't come even close to being surpassed in the 3 years that it's been archived, and having the most collective guide views on the site by a very hefty amount. I've also written some champion guides for Riot Games on the Lolesports site.

Domination & Inspiration

Electrocute: Zoe is designed from the ground up to one shot people. Electrocute is the most consistent rune at helping her do that.

Taste Of Blood
Taste of Blood: Extra sustain in incredibly powerful on any champion and Zoe can be a decent lane bully. Together with the rest of the runes she becomes almost un-pokeable.

Eyeball Collection
Eyeball Collection: The most consistent option in this tier. Whilst the other runes might be situationally more useful, Eyeball Collection will always reliably be good.

Ravenous Hunter
Ravenous Hunter: The large portion of the damage Zoe deals is single target. This makes the healing from Ravenous Hunter second to none and is always a must have.


Time Warp Tonic

Biscuit Delivery
Time Warp Tonic: Paired with Corrupting Potion and Biscuit Delivery this rune becomes incredibly strong. Being able to gain a large amount of healing on demand and extra movement speed for the duration is useful for every laning phase.

Biscuit Delivery: This is just to give you some nice additional sustain in lane, and it also increases your max mana by 160. An all purpose rune that will never be bad, especially because even if you don't need the sustain you can sell the biscuits for gold but keep the mana increase.

9 Adaptive Force
9 Adaptive Force
8 Magic Resistance

FLASH This is the best summoner spell in the game, almost every champion takes it and it's completely irreplaceable. It's the best defensive summoner and the best offensive summoner all at once. The fact that you see all 10 players take this in 99% of games just goes to show how strong it is. Zoe is of course no exception to this.

IGNITE This is the second best summoner spell for Zoe, in my opinion. It'll add even more kill potential to her combo and help her snowball by helping her get kills.

HEAL The next best alternative to Ignite. This gives you a way to escape some ganks without having to burn Flash and helps you survive in tough matchups. You can even use it offensively by using the movement speed boost to catch up to enemies, and the fact that it can heal an ally as well as yourself makes it better than Barrier in most cases.

BARRIER This is an alternative to Heal, mainly used in tough matchups where you need the extra survivability to survive and you know your opponent is probably taking Ignite, such as when vs Zed or Talon. It's worse than Heal against enemies that don't take Ignite since while it protects you from slightly more damage, its in the form of a shield rather than a heal, and you don't get the speed boost or the effect on an ally.

CLEANSE You'll need to take this summoner spell against enemies with high CC, especially early-game CC (whether from the mid laner or the jungler) and especially if its targeted CC. Excellent examples of champions you need to take this against are Twisted Fate, Elise and Sejuani, and champions you should strongly consider it against are Ryze, LeBlanc, Ahri, Veigar, and even Ashe and Varus. Whether you take it or not vs these champions depends on how much more CC their team has overall, and partially personal preference.

-Skill Order-

> >
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Passive: More Sparkles!

More Sparkles!: This spell basically acts like Lich Bane but with no cooldown, which is pretty neat for someone who can spam her spells as much as Zoe can, adding both DPS and burst. Something that's important to note is that you can activate this twice with one Paddle Star; you get one stack when you shoot it out, and if you auto-attack before the second activation you'll get another More Sparkles! when you redirect it.
Q: Paddle Star

Paddle Star: Zoe shoots a star that gains more damage the bigger the distance it travels. The first hit can only travel a very short distance, but if it doesn't hit anything it'll stay suspended for 1 second and you can then redirect it to a much larger range, gaining more damage this way.

One thing I have to say about this is that a lot of people focus way too hard on trying to maximize the damage by shooting Paddle Star backwards then forwards for long-distance snipes while harassing rather than just taking advantage of the fact that it's so easy to hit from closer range, abusing the fact that you can shoot it in 2 different directions to hit enemies through minions for example. You should really only be trying to maximize Paddle Star's damage by shooting it backwards then forwards when your target is asleep from Sleepy Trouble Bubble, in almost any other situation, if you're harassing you'll want to shoot it at an angle where it's easy to hit your target, and then towards your target, and if you're in a fight then you'll want to do the same but while weaving in auto-attacks between Paddle Star casts to maximize your More Sparkles! damage.
W: Spell Thief

Spell Thief: Whenever an enemy uses a summoner spell or an item active they drop it onto the ground as a spell shard, which Zoe can pick up and then use herself. So for example if you're chasing an enemy and they Flash away, they'll drop a Flash shard which she can then pick up and use by pressing W, without putting her own Flash on cooldown.

Random summoner spells and item actives will also drop from certain minions if Zoe last hits them. There's obviously a lot of cool things you can do with this depending on what item you pick up, so be creative and try to make the best use of whatever you pick up; and if you get something like Barrier but get the chance to replace it with better summoner/item active, remember you can just press W to waste your spell to pick up the better shard.

Casting Spell Thief, whether a summoner spell or an item active, will also grant Zoe extra movement speed and summon 3 bubbles that orbit around her and attack the nearest enemy (prioritizing enemies she's already attacking), in a similar fashion to Fox-Fire but taking around twice as long to finish.
E: sleepy trouble bubble

Sleepy Trouble Bubble: Zoe kicks a ball that lingers on the ground for up to 4 seconds if it doesn't hit anything, which after a brief delay puts the target to sleep (basically stunned) for up to 2 seconds, or until they take damage. The range is also potentially massively extended when it goes through walls.

Sleepy Trouble Bubble allows Zoe plenty of time to perfectly set up a super long range Paddle Star since even a stunned enemy can't dodge anything, not even a Paddle Star that takes up to a second or more to finally reach its target.

Sleepy Trouble Bubble's massive range when shot through walls also makes it an amazing spell for making picks, since you can be a mile away completely out of sight and out of mind from the enemy team, and suddenly their carry gets hit by a bubble out of nowhere and gets engaged on by your team, or hit with a super long range Paddle Star that chunks them for 80% of their HP or just straight up 1-shots them. Stocking up on Control Wards is a great idea on Zoe so you can ensure the enemy team can't have vision of you when you get into position to look for picks with Sleepy Trouble Bubble.
R: Portal Jump

Portal Jump: This is a spell that's hard to understand at first and may seem useless at first glance, but it's actually a perfect fit with the rest of Zoe's kit once you learn the champion. You can use it to get longer range Paddle Stars onto sleeping targets, you can use it to get round minions to harass with Paddle Star easier, you can use it to more quickly reach a wall to shoot Sleepy Trouble Bubble at a fleeing enemy, you can use it do dodge skillshots, you can use it to pick up a Spell Thief shard mid-fight... The possibilities are endless, so be creative!

Corrupting Potion

Corrupting Potion: The best starting item for Zoe. Together with Time Warp Tonic your laning phase will be incredibly powerful. Aggressivley making trades with the extra damage this offers and the fact it refils every time you recall makes it super cost effective. I'd avoid selling this for as long as possible to make the most use out of time warp and the extra damage/sustain.
Luden's Echo

Luden's Echo: A strong item for any mage. Helping with burst and wave clear, Luden's Echo is a must have rush item for Zoe in every match. You can pick up Stopwatch or Seeker's Armguard against champions like Zed but you should still finish this item fully first.
Sorcerer's Shoes

Sorcerer's Shoes: The best boots for Zoe as they increase her spells' damage. None of the other boots benefit you as much as this in the average game, since magic pen synergizes greatly with Zoe's damage. However, you may also sometimes want to build Mercury's Treads to deal with high CC, or Ninja Tabi when facing full AD comps and laning against a high damage assassin like Zed or Talon.

Morellonomicon: As a burst mage who excels in one-shotting squishy targets. Morellonomicon offers the best stats for that job. Not only is the flat pen perfect for squishy targets but the healing reduction is fantastic as the way most squishy champions survive is through lifesteal/ Heal/their support healing them. The counters both of them once finished.

Rabadon's Deathcap

Rabadon's Deathcap: The amount of ability power this item offers is unparalleled thanks to the multiplier it has. Never get it sooner than you third item because of this but if you're even somewhat ahead then I would suggest getting it third. Sometimes even second after just an Oblivion Orb if you're snowballing hard enough.
Zhonya's Hourglass

Zhonya's Hourglass: In many games you'll want this even if you don't need the armor simply because it's so amazing at helping you survive against divers. If you're playing against an AD mid laner like Zed you'll even want to rush it second to avoid most of his damage.
Void Staff

Void Staff: In most games, you'll need to max out on penetration with percent and flat. This item becomes better as the game progresses because people buy magic resistance later than armour usually. Rabadon's Deathcap will offer a lot more damage against squishy targets but if they have something like a Hexdrinker or are just generally high on MR items then you should buy this.
Lich Bane

Lich Bane: Zoe is a highly auto-attack based champion when you play her right, and her spells end up being quite spammable, so you should be able to make great use of Lich Bane procs, both to increase your burst and your DPS. Combined with More Sparkles! your auto-attacks will pack a hell of a punch. Other items are usually more useful but if you're fed or don't need something like a Void Staff then this is a great luxury item.
Banshee's Veil

Banshee's Veil: This is a situational item for when facing high magic damage comps. You can also rush it second to survive matchups where you're likely to get burst down, such as vs LeBlanc.
Mejai's Soulstealer

Mejai's Soulstealer: Getting an early Dark Seal is fantastic and if you get 10 stacks early on then it's a safe bet to upgrade it fully into a mejai's. The AP for the price this item offers is insane, however you must make sure to not die with it as if you ever drop below 10 stacks the value of the item falls into basically nothing. I would only ever get this if I think I won't be dying pretty much ever in the match early on and need to close the game out as fast as possible.

Early Game

At level 1 you'll be taking Paddle Star to begin shoving in your enemy and bullying them as they go for CS. The best time to cast this is when your enemy is going for a last-hit, as they'll have to stand still as they do it and will have to choose between getting the CS or dodging the skill. You'll usually want to shoot Paddle Star past the enemy minions and then you should have an easy shot onto your lane opponent.

At level 2 you'll take Sleepy Trouble Bubble. It's pretty hard to land if your opponent doesn't just walk right up to you since it has such a low range when not going through walls, so don't try and force it too hard. Just keep laning like you were at level 1 and only go for free Sleepy Trouble Bubbles.

At level 3 you'll want to put another point in Paddle Star since Spell Thief isn't too useful at this stage, and just keep up the same laning pattern. Even once you take Spell Thief not much will change.

After level 6 it becomes so much easier to land Sleepy Trouble Bubble since you can pop behind the enemy's minion cover and shoot it at them from there. If you miss the consequences shouldn't be that big in most matchups since it just makes you pop back to safety anyway, but if it hits it's a great setup to chunk your lane opponent with Paddle Star -> AA, with the potential for a kill if the enemy is low HP.

As you begin to have a lot of points in Paddle Star you'll have a lot of pushing power (from as early as level 5 it will one-shot the enemy caster minions if you cast it from far back enough), so it'll become easy to shove the wave and look for roams if you think a lane looks gankable. The most common lane you'll want to gank is bot lane, since both enemy bot laners will be 1-2 levels below you at all times, making them easy pray. However, never discard top lane if the enemy top laner is over-extended and a champion that isn't too hard to kill; top lane tends to have far less wards than bot lane since it doesn't have a support with Sightstone to light up the top side of the map.

Out of Lane

Outside of laning phase, you'll just simply want to group with your team. As Zoe you're most effective when you're sieging with your team, and you'll want to constantly try and create picks with Sleepy Trouble Bubble through walls. It's important on Zoe more than any other mid laner to stock up on Control Wards to deny the enemy team vision of you while you look for picks, so they can't be aware of your exact position or when you're casting Sleepy Trouble Bubble. Literally hold 3 Control Wards in your inventory at all time, sell your Doran's Ring for them if you have to. It's really important for Zoe.

You'll also want to hold onto your Warding Totem all game rather than upgrading it to anything, since you'll need it to ward spots where you might be flanked from your position where you're isolated trying to create picks yourself.
When you manage to hit an enemy with Sleepy Trouble Bubble, you'll want to use Paddle Star backwards, Portal Jump forwards towards the sleeping enemy, cast Paddle Star onto them and hit them up with a Lich Bane + More Sparkles! empowered auto-attack right before you pop back, which can either single-handedly chunk a squishy for 80% of their HP, or even straight up 1-shot them if you're fed enough.

If you ever manage to catch a carry with a point blank Sleepy Trouble Bubble rather than a long range one, your combo changes to using Portal Jump backwards rather than forwards, then also using Paddle Star backwards, then when you pop forwards back in front of the enemy that should now be asleep, you redirect Paddle Star towards them which should hit from a massive range, and follow up with an auto-attack to finish them off.

You'll want to avoid straight up fighting the enemy in regular team-fights since Zoe excels in situations where she can easily target the enemy backline, and not when she has to get through a tanky enemy frontline. You have some DPS to deal with them, especially when you space out your spells to make the most use out of More Sparkles! and Lich Bane, but it's not the ideal circumstance to be playing Zoe in unless you're just really fed and can easily crush the enemy frontline.

Hopper is Bae

That's it for my Zoe guide. I hope you found this helpful and learn to play Zoe as well as you want to.

Special thanks to Hopper for banners and coding.(Go check her shop out!)

If you ever want to see me play, make sure to follow me on Twitch. I'm currently streaming every day between 3-10 PM GMT.