Zoe, the Aspect of Twilight, is one of the most unique mid-laners in League of Legends. Even though her 46.77% win rate and 14.77% play rate doesn’t look impressive, she’s a champion with a very high skill cap that can put on a clinic in the right hands. Not only that but her ability to one-shot squishy champions with basic abilities means she’s incredibly deadly in Solo Queue. Let’s see how you can use Zoe to carry your games!
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Passive: More Sparkles!
Every time Zoe uses a spell, her next auto attack or bubble [W] deals bonus magic damage.
How to use: This is a very straightforward passive. It’s essentially a free Lichbane, which is very handy since most of your abilities are on a short cooldown. You always want to weave in auto attacks into your spell rotations, whether you’re trading in lane or in teamfights. Keep in mind that both casts of Paddle Star [Q] proc your passive, so you can strike your target with two empowered auto attacks every time you use your Q.
Q: Paddle Star
Zoe conjures a bolt of energy that flies in the target direction, dealing damage in a small area around the first enemy hit. The damage is increased based on distance traveled. If Paddle Star doesn’t find a target, it lingers at max range for 1 second.
While the projectile is in the air, Zoe can reactivate the ability to send the star to a new location near her. As long as Zoe moves with the Paddle Star, it will keep flying until it’s more than 800 units away from her.
How to Use: Paddle is a very versatile skill shot. On its own, it does decent damage and throws in some wave clear on top of that. But the fact that you can redirect it opens up some sweet trick shot opportunities.
The more Paddle Star travels in a straight line, the more damage it does, so the highest damage output is achieved by casting you Q backward and redirecting it at the enemy in front of you. That being said, most players will dodge such a telegraphed shot. Only go for it when you’re in the fog of war or you’ve landed a Sleepy Trouble Bubble [E].
In all other cases, it’s better to shoot it at an angle to keep your opponents on their toes. Also, don’t be shy to throw it out point-blank if you need some extra damage.
W: Spell Thief
When enemy champions use summoner spells or item actives, they drop Spell Shards that contain said spells. Zoe can then pick these shards up and use the spells inside them by activating her W within 60 seconds. Spell Shards dropped by champions last for 40 seconds. Enemy creeps can also carry random spell shards that will remain on the ground for 20 seconds as long as Zoe’s the one to last-hit these minions.
When Zoe casts Spell Thief or one of her own summoner spells, she gains a brief movement speed buff and gets surrounded by bubbles. The bubbles orbit Zoe for 10 seconds, launching themselves at the nearest enemy and dealing magic damage.
How to use: Spell Thief’s opportunities are endless. The most straightforward way of using this is by picking up another Flash the moment an enemy flashes away from you. Then, you have a 1-minute window where you have two Flashes at your disposal. Of course, you can also pick up Barrier, Ignite, or even Teleport, so feel free to get creative with different summoner choices.
Keep in mind that minions drop Spell Shards as well. If you get lucky, you can even get something like Hextech Gunblade or Redemption for your next trade. As for the bubbles, these are similar to Ahri’s Fox-Fire [W], and you just have to get close to the enemy champion to connect them.
E: Sleepy Trouble Bubble
Zoe sends a ball in the target direction that bursts upon hitting an enemy, dealing magical damage and applying drowsy for 2.2 seconds. Drowsy slows Zoe’s target and makes it fall asleep for 2 seconds. If the ball doesn’t find a target, it forms a trap at the maximum range for 4 seconds with the same effects as the original skill shot. The ball can travel through terrain indefinitely.
When a champion is asleep, they receive bonus true damage next time they’re affected by an offensive spell or an auto attack. If Sleepy Trouble Bubble puts someone asleep, a part of its cooldown is refunded.
How to use: Sleepy Trouble Bubble is a very powerful crowd control spell. Its range is limited, but the fact that it goes through walls like Bard’s Magical Journey [E] makes it easy to catch enemies off guard. Once your target is asleep, go for a max-range Q > Q > R > AA combo, and you will deal a huge chunk of damage.
Sleepy Trouble Bubble works great as zone control. Simply cast it into a choke point and force your enemies to choose between getting CC’ed, waiting out the trap, or taking a different route.
R: Portal Jump
Zoe teleports to the target location and lingers there for 1 second before blinking back to her initial position. During this time, she can auto attack, cast abilities, and see over walls, but she can’t move.
How to use: Portal Jump might seem a bit underwhelming for an ultimate, but it has amazing synergy with Zoe’s basic abilities. The fact that you can relocate in a blink of an eye makes landing Paddle Stars [Q] and Sleepy Trouble Bubbles [E] a much more manageable task. Also, you can cast an ability and an auto attack during the Portal Jump animation, so make sure to harass your opponents.
Portal Jump is an essential part of your Q > Q > R combo, and you should use it to increase the travel distance of your Paddle Stars. Remember that this spell provides ‘fake’ mobility because you’ll always teleport back to your starting position, making it easy for enemies to connect their spells. Of course, you can still dodge a fair share of skill shots if you time it right.
R > Q > E > W
Paddle Star [Q] is your main offensive ability, and you should always max it first. Next, invest skill points into Sleepy Trouble Bubble [E] to use it more often in the mid game teamfights. Save Spell Thief [W] for last since it isn’t as reliable as your other abilities. And don’t forget to level up Portal Jump [R] when you can.
Zoe is a powerful spell caster, so it makes sense to pick Sorcery as her primary rune tree. Grab the Arcane Comet keystone to get more burst and pick Manaflow Band to gain enough mana to spam your spells in the laning phase. Next, make a choice between Celerity and Transcendence. The former is better for roaming, but the latter provides more damage and scaling. In a similar fashion, Scorch offers a stronger lane presence while Gathering Storm turns you into a late game monster.
Your second rune choice is more versatile. Domination provides a lot burst with Sudden Impact, and you can even get some utility with Zombie Ward or Ravenous Hunter. That being said, Inspiration can be just as impactful thanks to Cosmic Insight, Biscuit Delivery, and Perfect Timing.
Zoe Summoner Spells
Even though Zoe can work with many different summoner spells, you always want to run Flash. Not only is it your only reliable escape but it’s also great for increasing Paddle Star’s [Q] travel distance. Next, you can pick Heal or Barrier to survive in tough matchups. The former is better against mages, and the latter will definitely come in handy versus assassins. Grabbing Cleanse is also a good idea if you’re facing a duo like Elise/Twisted Fate. Finally, don’t forget about Teleport for the cross-map presence.
1.) Morellonomicon > Sorcerer’s Shoes > Lich Bane > Void Staff > Rabadon’s Deathcap > Luden’s Echo
Zoe’s core build is quite conventional. Morellonomicon is the clear-cut best item to rush for its mix of AP, CDR, and mana regeneration. Sorcerer’s Shoes are also great for increasing your damage output, and Lich Bane has amazing synergy with your passive and other abilities.
Void Staff is perfect for shredding magic resistance, but don’t hesitate to swap it for Luden’s Echo if the opposing team doesn’t have much protection. As for Rabadon’s Deathcap, it’s the cherry on top of every AP build that pushes your damage output to the next level. And if you didn’t get Luden’s Echo sooner, you can still build it last.
Zoe Situational Items
Zoe has a few situational items to consider. Even though Sorcerer’s Shoes are amazing on her, don’t hesitate to swap them for Ninja Tabi (vs fed assassins) or Mercury’s Treads (vs Malzahar). In this case, you’ll also want to get a defensive item like Zhonya’s Hourglass or Banshee’s Veil. Keep in mind that you can use Zhonya’s active during a Portal Jump. Finally, Liandry’s Torment presents a viable alternative to Luden’s Echo that’s great for putting a dent in tanks.
When to pick Zoe?
Zoe excels at punishing short-ranged champions and immobile carries. Her kit makes her incredibly good at sieging turrets and finding picks, and Sleepy Trouble Bubble provides some much-needed zone control. Since Zoe often wants to roam, try to avoid picking her into someone with strong wave clear.
Zoe Matchups and Counters
Zoe has a hard time against champions that can keep up with (or completely counter) her Portal Jumps [R]. Picks like Kassadin, Malzahar, and Diana will have an easy time against Zoe. Meanwhile, Fizz, Morgana, and Galio will shrug off Zoe’s poke and return a ton of damage to her. Finally, long-ranged mages will simply poke her from afar, forcing the Aspect of Twilight to recall and lose her turret.
As you can see, most matchups present a challenge. That being said, there’re always windows to outplay your opponents, especially if you’ve mastered Zoe’s versatile kit.
Zoe Laning Phase
Buy Doran’s Ring, put a point into Paddle Star [Q] and walk to your lane. As soon as the creep waves come, you want to push while harassing your lane opponent. Wait for him to walk up for CS because then he’ll have to choose between scoring last-hits and returning damage. Try to fire Paddle Star past enemy minions to find more poking opportunities.
Keep in mind that even though it’s tempting to shoot your Q backward and attempt to land it on the enemy mid laner, you should only do this to push the minion wave. After all, anyone that’s even remotely paying attention will dodge such a telegraphed ability. Remember, though, that each Paddle Star cast procs your passive, so try to poke the enemy laner with auto attacks too.
At level 2, unlock Sleepy Trouble Bubble [E]. It might seem like you get a lot kill pressure from this, but unless you’ve beaten the enemy mid laner in the experience race, that’s not the case. The main reason for this is that your E is quite hard to land, so don’t try to force an all-in with it. Instead, hold on to it until your opponent makes a misstep or the enemy jungler shows up.
Next, put a point into Spell Thief [W]. Even though this spell is prone to RUNG, it’s still worth unlocking to start collecting Spell Shards sooner. If you get a few offensive summoners or item actives, you’re practically guaranteed to win your lane.
As you invest points in Paddle Star it will start dealing serious damage. Hell, you can even go for the Q > Q > Flash > AA combo if you land a Sleepy Trouble Bubble on a wounded target or spot an opportunity to go for the kill. But it’s only at level 6 that you can really break open the mid lane. Portal Jump [R] has insane synergy with Paddle Star, and you should always go for the E > Q > Q > R combo.
Of course, smart mid laners will cover behind their minions to avoid your poke. Don’t fret, though, because you can still push the wave and roam. The most convenient spot to go to is the top lane since it tends to have fewer wards, but the bottom lane is much easier to snowball since you get 2 kills instead of 1. Keep that in mind when deciding where to go on the map.
Zoe Mid Game
Zoe’s mid game revolves around finding picks. Sleepy Trouble Bubble [E] goes through all the walls in the game, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to blindside your opponents. The same interaction can be exploited in fights by casting Portal Jump [R] over a wall and firing your E from the other side. Once your target falls asleep, finish it off with the Q > Q > R combo. Remember to mix in an auto attack to proc Lich Bane and your passive. Of course, it will be much harder to connect your CC if you’re in the enemy vision, so make sure to carry a few Control Wards.
In general, Zoe wants to stay next to her teammates. This is mainly because the Aspect of Twilight isn’t that strong in 1v1s, so she needs some protection to do her job. But if you’ve got a few allies next to you, you can start pushing minion waves and poking enemies under their turrets.
The max-range Paddle Stars [Q] are ideal for this because even the most talented players will struggle to avoid all of them. After all, you only need to connect one spell to tip the scales in your favor. Also, remember to look for stuns with Sleepy Trouble Bubbles. Even if you completely whiff them, the lingering trap is bound to discourage your enemies from defending their turret.
Most of the time, you’ll need to use Portal Jump to actually land your abilities, so keep track of enemy cooldowns. Crowd control doesn’t stop your ultimate, but you become an easy target once you return to your initial position, which means a well-timed Thresh hook will lead to your death. So always think about the ways your Portal Jumps might backfire.
Zoe Late Game
LoL Champion Zoe becomes a potent artillery mage in the late game. Suppress the enemy team with an endless barrage of Paddle Stars [Q] and Sleepy Trouble Bubbles [E]. Once a teamfight breaks out and players start using summoner spells, track various Spell Shards [W] and pick up the most useful ones with Portal Jump [R].
Your combo becomes much less reliable because of items like Zhonya’s Hourglass, Quicksilver Sash, and Mikael’s Crucible. Hell, most tanks will be able to cover their drowsy allies with their own bodies. So pay attention to enemy itemization and positioning.
Even though Zoe doesn’t do a lot of damage to Baron or Elder Dragon, she can absolutely annihilate the enemy team if they’re stuck in the pit. And if you’re the one trying to rush the objectives, cast Sleepy Trouble Bubble in a choke point and poke with Paddle Stars to buy your jungler more time.
Zoe has way too many tools in her kit. Every single ability of hers is insanely versatile, and you’re only limited by your imagination and mechanical prowess. But provided you master every aspect of Zoe’s unique kit, you’ll find it easier than ever to carry your Solo Queue games.