Thoughts on Zoe and her recent changes.

Hey everyone. So, Zoe, definitely OP, right? {{item:3070}} **Well.... not so much honestly.** I get it, her damage from EQ is scary. And yes it can 100-0 with no counter play if you get hit by her E. At least in 1v1 scenarios. And early on where you don't have banshee's or QSS. Which is where the "Zoe is OP" came from. I get it. **BUT.** Play her against a team that actually knows how her kit works (cause many people honestly still don't - too many people break her sleep when they shouldn't and others can't dodge her spells even though they're 100% predictable) and you'll quickly see there's absolutely nothing OP about her. She's squishy enough to easily get burst down by almost anyone in the game (except for most supports) and as soon as she misses her E she has absolutely no way of surviving other than flash. Or you know, killing you. **Here's how you counter her.** You ward well, you are aware of where she is. Someone in your team maybe picks up {{item:3363}} to make sure she won't get that E of hers on you from the fog of war. And you pick someone who counters her. That is most mobile assassins, anyone with a good 100-0 combo (or a decent one - again, she's squishy), anyone with good lockup (Yes, lux may have a hard time vs her in lane but her Q is so solid that she can 100-0 zoe every time zoe ults as long as she's in range), thresh can save people with his W as they can get so far away she can't reach them with anything even after her E hits, and you generally just dive her. The closer you are to her the less damage her Q deals. And if she tries to R away and Q after that to get the sudden Q on you, just know that it'll be coming from a straight line (or almost a straight line, as she may cast it sideways to make it harder for you to dodge) where she cast R. This is how easy it is to counter play her. In lane, do many trades with her. Chose the moments when she has just used her Q or preferably her E. Hit her a few times then back off before her E comes back on cd. If she doesn't waste them and safely keeps them, it's going to be a farm lane. Freeze your waves as she won't be pushing if she's not casting spells and wait for your jungler to come by. If they have a gapcloser it can usually mean a kill or a flash burn. If you think she's using spells on creeps, don't just let her do that. She's trying to push you in so she can roam. Instead, push the hell out of your waves. You will keep her pinned in mid and she won't be able to use her E vs your bot which is where she shines. **Example team combination that counters her 100%** Malphite top, GP mid, Vi jungle, Sivir adc, Thresh support. And this is just one of the combinations that make her absolutely and utterly useless in a game. She will be unable to do ANYTHING at all. Or *at least her chances of doing well will be diminished*. **After all of these weaknesses that most midlaners don't have these days, let's see how her recent nerf affects her.** *DELAY BEFORE TRAP IS CREATED 0.6s ⇒ 0.8s * It punishes a bit further in chances where her E doesn't make a direct hit. This is good as it gives players a chance to dodge her E slightly more easily. The spell effect has been correctly slowed down so all good here. * DELAY BEFORE EXIT PORTAL APPEARS 0.1s ⇒ 0s * This is also good as the slight delay gave more chances for zoe to suddenly appear along with her Q and deal her burst damage. A larger time frame where people can react to her is good. *Minions can no longer drop shards for Hextech Gunblade* I can see where this is coming from. This could potentially mean a very very secure kill for her. But removing this chance for her is bad because the whole point is for her to be rewarded when she picks up spells that drop off minions. Remove even a tiny bit of that from her and it feels like she's suddenly getting punished for chasing the spells when in fact people should just harass the hell out of her when she tries that. Everyone has a way to deal some damage to her when she goes for spells anyway so why remove that small chance of having some lane pressure (if her enemy allows her to get it) from her? I don't like this. *Now does not register Zoe's new position (for purposes of Q range) until she has fully emerged from R - Portal Jump* This is the third change that gives people a larger time frame to dodge Zoe's spells. But that's not all it does. Before this change, her damage could be maximized by casting Q backwards, then walking up towards your enemy, recast Q towards the place you thought they'd be at in like a second, keep walking, then R to maximize the range and damage. This took a planning of totally 3 seconds or something (or at least that's how long it felt). With this change, Zoe is forced to cast R sooner than she could cast it before, otherwise her damage will not even be applied. This makes her Q even more predictable as the line it travels through is shorter. It reduces her damage. It punishes you for trying to maximize your damage. The only way to know exactly when to cast it to get the maximum damage is to practice the combo way too much just to get the feel of it. But even then, in real-game scenarios, as the game progresses everything feels faster so it's impossible to keep the same feel of this throughout a whole game. This punishes her very very hard for a miscalculation on her actual kit. In most cases, you will be punished for making a poor decision concerning your enemies' decisions. Affecting a champion in a way that makes you feel punished without anything having to do with your enemies is a very poor decision in my opinion. Also, it feels very off to cast R and not instantly get additional range as the player. I believe it's bad design because it's counter intuitive. Instantly setting her new range is the way to go. **What I think could change on Zoe to keep her in check** *Make her Q deal 90% damage to minions.* Right now she can clear waves by casting Q twice as long as she builds towards a morellonomicon. This gives her too much safety in lane that she can abuse versus some champions that sort of counter her but can't engage on her. If she's forced to buy a pure AP item like Luden's to have this sort of clear (kind of like Lux does) she will lose the safety to trade it with better clear. *Increase the mana cost of her Q by 5-10* This may sound like too small of a change but right now she can cast it almost all the time with small punishment. This will make her stay in for autos a bit more often. *Increase the radius of her Q explosion by a tiny amount* She's a single-target-picker, that's for sure. But when the enemy team starts building MR you start to quickly fall behind simply because there's someone blocking your Q. Being able to bock the spell is obviously good but when someone stands right in front of the person you want to hit, they should both get hit by Q. Adding somewhere between 15-30 range to its radius would increase her team fight damage potential and will give her a more fulfilling reward for managing to go up close and deal her damage with Q. It will also make it a tiny bit harder for people to block her Q and will punish enemies on mid lane for staying too close to their own minions. *E: reduce its base damage by 10, add a flat 20 true damage to its proc* This will remove some of the reward for throwing a "random" E somewhere but will add more reward to actually going in after hitting it. *Revert the R position check on her Q damage and range calculation* Pretty self explanatory, I have gone through the reasons above. **TL;DR** Zoe's recent changes made her feel wonky and less rewarding for actually making good plays. I have proposed some tweaks above. PS: I don't see why she's almost always banned when there's so much outplay against her. That said, she's a very nicely designed champion and frankly I think she's one of the best when it comes to being fun to play. And definitely not because of her damage.
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