Ever since her release, Zoe has been pretty majorly over-tuned. After a few rounds of nerfs have proven insufficient in bringing her power levels back down to earth, Riot has started to test some fundamental changes ahead of Patch 8.4.
As with all Bradford “CertainlyT” Wenban’s champions, Zoe has a lot of extra stuff in her kit, such as one ability interacting with a passive in a way that might sounds small but makes a world of difference. In this case, that’s almost exactly the issue that Riot saw with Zoe’s Q, Paddle-Star, which was applying damage from her passive, More Sparkles, to all targets in an area. This was giving her a massive advantage in pushing waves in a way no other mid laner could keep up with. Now, the passive’s extra damage will only apply to the first target hit, that way it remains useful but not quite so overbearing in lane.
While AD Carries and mages are sure to bemoan her burst damage, the truth is that’s not really what her biggest issues were. The bigger problem is that things were simply too often stacked in Zoe’s favor. Things like her W, Spell Thief, being able to drop Teleport — removed — the inability to QSS, Cleanse, or Mikael’s Crucible her Sleepy Trouble Bubble — removed — or even the fact that her Sleepy Trouble Bubble had its cooldown reduced when a champion went to sleep — removed — all added up to a champion that was not only difficult, but down right infuriating to play against.
As for the Zoe players, this means the champion is going to require a little more work now, and that’s probably a good thing. With some of these changes, Zoe is going to be more focused on her pattern of sleeping a target then hitting them with a high damage Paddle Star, the difference is she’ll have to make real decision about which target you sleep, because the ability won’t be off cooldown every three and a half seconds — no really, that’s what you can get it to on live ... right now.
While it’s still a little too early to tell, these changes should put Zoe in a much better place, and give her a real home as a burst mage. More importantly, they should make her a whole lot less frustrating to play against and force her to require a little more skill to truly impact games.