Zoe, the Aspect of Twilight, is League’s newest champion. She is an adorable burst mage capable of some awesome plays. She is also just ... genuinely fun to play. It’s been a long time since a champion like this came out and she feels wholly unique in everything she does.
Zoe is a breath of fresh air. Everything from her personality to her look to her gameplay is unique and fun. She’s the kind of champion that will require hours and hours of play to appear even mildly competent on, but that time will be rewarded with sick plays that let you style on your enemies.
So let’s take a look at what she can do.
Passive - More Sparkles!
What does it do:
Zoe’s next basic attack is empowered after she uses a spell.
More Sparkles is a pretty simple passive to use but can be wasted if you aren’t careful. Instead of simply spamming abilities over and over again, try weaving an auto in between each cast. Think of it like playing Lucian-lite and you will rack up the damage.
That’s it. That’s the whole passive.
Q - Paddle Star! (Max first)
What does it do:
Zoe fires a star in a target direction. Recasting Paddle Star mid-air will redirect it to a new target location. The farther Paddle Star travels in one direction, the more damage it does.
This is Zoe’s bread and butter spell. In fact, this is Zoe’s only spell that does direct damage, but that’s OK, because it’s very difficult to use. The goal here is to fire Paddle Star away from you and then fire it back to your target. If you can get it right, Zoe is capable of tremendous burst damage.
There are tricks with this ability when paired with Zoe’s ultimate, but we’ll get there in a second. For now, all you really need to know is that Paddle Star has technically unlimited range. Basically, the star can be redirected only a certain amount of units in front of Zoe. However, it doesn’t matter how far away the star is from Zoe when it’s recast, it will always find it’s way back to her.
Since Paddle Star gains more damage the farther it travels, shoot Paddle Star behind you and then flash or run as far away from it as possible before recasting it at your enemy.
W - Spell Thief (Max second)
What does it do:
Whenever Zoe casts a Summoner Spell or spends a spell shard, she’ll gain movement speed and gain three auto-firing missiles that follow her around. When an enemy champion uses a Summoner Spell or active item, they will drop a shard of the same ability. If Zoe picks up this shard, her W will be replaced with a single use of that spell. Minions can also carry little balloons with them that will house a random shard.
If this ability sounds complicated, it isn’t. It may look scary at first but it’s very intuitive once you get the chance to play around with it. Basically, Zoe is impossible to run away from and she is very unpredictable. As Zoe you’ll be flashing, ghosting and igniting all the time. The Summoner Spells you take with you at the start of the game are just the ones you want to use on a more regular basis.
The missiles that casting these abilities causes is something not entirely in your control. Think of them as Ahri’s Fox-Fire. Get close to something and they will fire off. Since they can also proc More Sparkles, you should try and auto as much as possible when these are around you. The speed boost also makes you impossibly quick so just chase everyone and flash all the time.
E - Sleepy Trouble Bubble (Max third)
What does it do:
Zoe kicks a big old bubble in a targeted direction. If it hits anyone, it’ll put them to sleep after a brief period of time. If a sleeping champion is damaged they will take extra damage but wake up. If Sleepy Trouble Bubble doesn’t hit anyone, it’ll drop a trap on the ground for a few seconds. If Sleepy Trouble Bubble travels through a wall it’ll gain speed and land on the other side.
Sleepy Trouble Bubble is a CC spell and a unique one at that. The stun effect here isn’t immediate, but it’ll make an enemy champion go down for a good amount of time. The bonus damage is also great here as well. The real conflict with this ability comes in how you want to use it. Is it more important to burst the target or leave them out of the fight?
If it’s an enemy Nasus walking into a fight, maybe leaving them sleepy is the best choice. But if you hit a Fizz, take them out ASAP. The hardest part of learning Sleepy Trouble Bubble is going to be the missile speed and figuring out how it moves. It’s a strange skillshot and the way it travels through walls is unlike anything else, so hop into the Practice Tool and test it out.
R - Portal Jump (Max when available)
What does it do:
Zoe pops forward out of a portal before briefly popping back to her original cast spot. Zoe can cast abilities and auto attacks when popping out of her portal. However, Zoe will always return to her portal, regardless of the actions she takes.
Portal Jump is a low cooldown combo ability. There are two major ways to use it.
The first is to dodge skillshots. The cooldown of Portal Jump is so damn low that you can just hop out of the way of pretty much everything. Lee Sin coming in for a gank? Yoink, no Q for you. Lux Q? Morgana binding? Ziggs bomb? Nope.
If you just keep an eye out as Zoe, you’ll never get hit again. However, the big problem here is that it shows where you will return. Zoe isn’t Lissandra, where you can fake someone out on if you’re going to your claw. Zoe will always return to that portal, so a patient jungler will just wait to CC you until you hop back. Be careful and don’t get baited.
The second use for Portal Jump is to gain range on your abilities. You can pop out of a portal and throw a Sleepy Trouble Bubble or just pick up a spell shard for Spell Thief. But, the best use of all is for Paddle Star. If you shoot a star behind you, run forward and then Portal Jump toward an enemy, you can recast the star in mid air. This will send the start flying from forever away, increasing it’s range by ... a lot. If that star hits, it can easily deal over half your opponents health. Get good with Portal Jumping and Paddle Staring and Zoe will deal more damage than anyone is expecting.
Keystone: Arcane Comet
Adds some extra burst to your skills and forces your enemies to keep moving.
Let’s you dive in to finish off an enemy without getting blown up.
CDR is nice for shaving off a few extra seconds off of your abilities and Transcendence let’s you keep your build flexible.
Since Jump Portal can potentially send you back before you finish off a kill, Scorch will help ensure that damage finishes off your enemy.
Secondary Tree: Domination
Domination provides some extra penetration and movement speed.
Portal Jumping before your hit your spells is common, so Sudden Impact is a perfect choice here.
Roaming speed is key for a mid laner and it works out very nicely for Zoe.
- Doran’s Ring
- Sorcerer's Shoes
- Luden’s Echo
- Zhonya’s Hourglass
- Lich Bane
- Void Staff
Zoe is just ...
... a good champion.
Over the past year, Riot has done some really nice work designing champions. Last year, when Camille came out, it became clear that Riot was trying to build a new, fresh bruiser that felt fun and relatively simple. Zoe lands in a similar boat for burst mages. While she is far from simple, she fits into her role perfectly and seems almost like she’s always been here.
Zoe is capable of extraordinary plays. She really only has one damaging ability, but it can twist and evolve in so many ways that it never feels the same. Last year, Camille felt like a brilliant return to form, a champion that just feels great to play. It’s funny that Zoe is coming out in the same slot a year later because she brings about the same feelings.
It doesn’t matter how popular Zoe turns out to be or how powerful she is. Riot has created a champion that is fun to listen to, look at and, most importantly, play.