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How to Play Zoe: A Guide to Runes, Combos, Strategies, and Counters

Welcome to our Zoe guide! Check out the video for combos, runes, and tips/tricks. If you’d like to learn about her strengths, weaknesses, and how to counter her, read on below. We also recommend checking out our P!CKLEPANT’s (one of our awesome Discord mods) Zoe guide on LoLKing.


  • Laning
    • Kill pressure
      • Zoe excels at playing aggressively in lane due to her high potential and pretty easy set up with her E, Sleepy Bubble Trouble.
      • Her Spell Thief also leaves the possibility of additional burst depending on the Summoner Spell or item active dropped, so she can catch her enemies off-guard if they aren’t ready to react.
    • Gank assist
      • Sleepy Bubble Trouble lasts for 2 seconds when landed and can be shot from sneaky angles (see the video above starting at 1:38). If Zoe’s Jungler is in a good position, they have a high chance of converting a kill set up by the Bubble.
    • Skirmishes
      • Zoe excels at sustained skirmishes – she can poke down her foes with her Q and out-damage them or harass with bubble burst rotations.
  • Mid / late game
    • Setting up picks
      • As lane phase ends, she excels at creating opportunities to set up kills in the jungle or in side lanes.
    • Split pushing
      • Zoe has pretty decent waveclear and can create pressure to force her enemy team to respond. Her solo play is good enough to be able to out-duel a good amount of the champion roster.
    • Sieging
      • Zoe is great in siege comps, especially when she has allies with good waveclear. She has incredibly powerful long range burst that can open up windows to push down turrets or create low-health dives.
    • Kiting
      • Her kit also makes her an effective kiter – she can be incredibly hard to lock down due to her powerful single target CC and she can deter potential divers with just one or two Q’s.


  • Laning
    • Weak waveclear
      • Zoe is incredibly reliant on her Q since it is basically her only consistent damage ability. This puts her in situations where she has to choose between either farming or poking.
    • Her Ultimate is good for getting in, not getting out
      • Zoe’s Portal Jump is a great offensive tool but it’s basically useless as an escape since she always goes back to where she casted. Her opponents can use this to their advantage by just waiting until she ports back.
    • Reliant on E to defend herself
      • Zoe’s Bubble is single target and has a long cooldown so she has windows where she’s vulnerable from attacks from multiple angles or while her Bubble is unavailable.
  • Mid / Late game
    • Easily picked off
      • Her lack of self-peel, escapes, and mobility options can leave her open to getting picked or focused.
    • Unreliable team fighting
      • In straight 5v5’s (not a kite/poke situation), she has a tough time landing her Q on optimal targets – it has a good chance of being absorbed by a tanky frontliner.
    • Has a tough time when she falls behind.
      • Has almost no utility and only offers single target burst, if she falls behind she does nothing.

How to counter

In general, Zoe struggles against champs that can out-shove her, have mobility/gap-closing options, hard crowd control, and beefy front-liners, here are a few examples:

Use mobile assassins

Living Shadow

Zed’s Living Shadow can be used to avoid Zoe’s poke and bubble set up, and is an effective gap closer to kill her.

  • This includes champions like Zed, Katarina, and Kassadin.
  • Their mobility options make it incredibly hard on Zoe to set up her bubble – if she can’t land it, her Q damage becomes much less consistent.
  • Her lack of escapes and self-peel also make it easy for these sort of champs to dive, all-in her and get out.

Use hard crowd control that’s easy to land

Nether Grasp

Malzahar makes a great counter due to his spellshield passive and his powerful point and click ultimate

  • This includes champs like Malzahar, Annie, and Nautilus.
  • A crafty Zoe player may be hard to catch due to her Portal Jumps and creative uses of Summoner Spells like Flash/Ghost if she picks them up. Having simple point and click crowd control nullifies these options and forces the Zoe to play more carefully.

Use tanky frontliners that can soak her poke


A well-positioned Braum nullifies Zoe’s burst in team fights by protecting his squishier allies

  • This includes champions like Braum, Alistar, and Leona.
  • As we mentioned earlier, Zoe can have trouble in organized 5v5 team fights. If she can’t land her Q on juicy targets and instead hits champs that have been stacking health/MR, she has much less impact on fights.

Thanks for reading! For more discussion about Zoe and tips on how to play her from our coaches and community, we welcome you to join our Discord.