Stay Woke: How to Survive Against Zoe



Mon 12th Feb 2018 - 9:03pm

Zoe is Riot’s newest burst mage that has been terrorizing both solo queue and competitive play since her release. At this point, we’ve all been blown up by Zoe’s incredible burst damage, so I’d like to take some time and offer several different methods for surviving when playing against Zoe.

1) Don’t get hit.

1.1) Okay I know this seems obvious, but not putting yourself in a position to get hit by Zoe’s shenanigans is by far the most effective way to play against Zoe. Zoe relies heavily on her E+Q combo in order to get kills and to snowball into a galaxy-sized terror of a mage. Dodging Zoe’s E is vital because it applies bonus true damage to the sleeping champion on the next ability that hits them. This means that if you manage to dodge Zoe’s E, she probably can’t kill you in a single Q.

1.2) Dodge - Most champions in League can sidestep Zoe’s Q or E if they see it coming from a distance. If you’re a champion with a movement ability like Zed, Lucian, or Ezreal, then dodging either of Zoe’s abilities becomes significantly easier, and you’ll likely be able to dodge them on reaction. Always position yourself far enough away from Zoe so that you can react to either of her abilities. Be careful to not let Zoe tag you with her E at point-blank range, if that happens, it’ll probably be lights out for you.

1.3) Ward - Dodging Zoe’s abilities is no easy task if they come out of the fog of war. Warding, and being able to locate Zoe before she has a chance to surprise you with her abilities, should give you sufficient time to recognize the situation and dodge out of the way before any of her abilities can hit you. You can treat her positioning similar to a Fiddlesticks waiting in the fog of war for that perfect opportunity to pick you off.

1.4) Stand behind minions - If you stand behind minions when playing against Zoe, her potential to pick you off decreases significantly. Her E can only hit one target, so if you know where Zoe is, you can simply stand behind minions to avoid being put to sleep. Her Q does do splash damage and will hit you if you are standing too close to the minions that are guarding you, so be careful and position yourself properly.

2) Items

Obviously it’s impossible to dodge Zoe’s abilities all of the time, so let’s look at some other ways you can survive against Zoe without needing to be light on your feet. There are several items that you can buy in order to survive Zoe’s onslaught.

2.1) Stopwatch/Zhonya’s - If you’re a mage, buying a Zhonya’s can give you another chance at life if you’re struck by Zoe’s E during a critical moment in a game. If you do buy a Zhonya’s, remember to pop it right after you get hit by Zoe’s E, before you actually fall asleep. If you wait too long, then you’re in for a nightmare.

2.2) Banshee’s Veil - Similar to a Zhonya’s, a Banshee’s Veil may give you another chance at life by absorbing one of Zoe’s abilities.

2.3) Guardian Angel - If you’re a marksman that doesn’t want to push outside of your fountain in fear of a star sacking you in the face for 100% health, buying a Guardian Angel will give you another chance at life.

2.4) QSS/Cleanse - Although one of these isn’t technically an item, they both work the same way. Using either will wake you up after being hit by Zoe’s E, giving you time to dodge the follow-up Paddle Star.

3) Protection

3.1) Block! - If you’re playing a beefy top/jungle/support champion, chances are that you can eat a few Paddle Stars before going down. If this is the case, don’t be afraid to block Zoe’s abilities for your squishy teammates. You protect them and they’ll provide the damage you need to win the game.

3.2) Shield - Additionally, if you are a champion with shields, definitely use them to keep yourself and your teammates alive.

4) Kill or be killed

4.1) Zoe deals more damage the further away she is, so if you pick a champion that can cling onto her, lock her down, and/or deal damage her before she can set up her E or Q, you’re in good shape to kill her before she can blow up you or one your teammates.

5) Keep track of her stolen actives and Summoner Spells

5.1) If Zoe steals an active item like a Hextech Protobelt, keep that in mind, as her burst damage increases with certain active items. Also keep track of her stolen Summoner Spells. If Zoe steals a Flash or an Ignite, her potential to pick off champion increases significantly. I recommend being patient and waiting for her to use these, then going back to your normal game plan. 

Zoe is one tough cookie to deal with. Hopefully with some of these tips you’ll be able to vanquish, or at least survive, any Zoe that you play against. Good luck, have fun, and stay safe out on the rift.

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