League of Legends players who have been hopeful for Zoe nerfs can finally look forward to changes that are likely to ship in Patch 8.4, nerfs that target some of the champion's most frustrating abilities.
After getting blasted from a full screen's length by one of Zoe's Paddle Stars (Q), it's understandable that some players would be calling for Zoe nerfs. The most recent patch did little to solve the issues with only a slight nerf being included for Zoe's Paddle Star that reduced the cooldown across all ranks, but the new nerfs being tested are much more substantial.
Check out all of the Zoe nerfs being tested below as well as Riot's thoughts on the champion and how the nerfs may have been needed earlier than the upcoming patch.
Listed here are all the "likely changes for 8.4" that'll affect Zoe as seen in one of Riot Meddler's Gameplay Thoughts posts:
- Q: Only applies her passive damage on primary target hit. That reduces her wave clear, particularly ability to kill caster minions with one Q, reducing her power from gold and ability to shove/roam as easily. It also makes it harder for her to harass through a wave and makes it easier for allies to block Qs intended for sleeping allies.
- W: Is no longer able to drop teleport. Teleport creates some cool plays, and is the only real out of combat drop to be had. At the same time though its power is generally significantly higher than the options and it doesn't present opponents with good ways to play around it either (which is particularly important with randomly picked effects).
- E: Drowsy can now be cleansed, preventing the sleep from happening. That makes Cleanse, QSS, Mikael's noticeably better responses to her. We originally thought that the appropriate degree of cleanse countering Zoe E was to have the player choose between being able to reposition faster before falling asleep (cleansing the slow) or breaking the sleep once it hit. Having seen Zoe get a lot of play since her release though it's clear at this point cleanse effects ought to be a stronger counter, rather than a partial one.
- E: CD increased, giving more windows where she can't threaten lethal as well and/or can be engaged on.
- R: Bug fix, but one that's potentially power impacting: Was granting the ability to move through units for the entire game after the first cast, rather than just for a very brief period when she returned to the cast point.
Hindsight on Zoe
Like the Ardent Censer epidemic during the last competitive season, Riot Meddler added that Zoe's nerfs likely should've come a bit sooner, something that many who argued against Zoe will likely agree with. Referencing the slight nerfs over time that targeted different parts of Zoe's kit, Riot Meddler says that the previous changes didn't make enough of a difference.
"To state the obvious, Zoe's been a controversial champion. She creates some really fun moments and does some really unique and interesting stuff. She's has also been a source of a lot of player frustration and remains too powerful. We've been chipping power off her in various ways, overall though they haven't made enough of a difference. We'll be nerfing her quite a bit harder in 8.4 (next patch) as a result. In retrospect this is a situation where we should have made larger changes earlier and we need to get better at figuring out when to go from smaller tuning to larger changes in cases like this. We should also have been talking more about our thoughts on her as well, even if that sometimes wasn't more conclusive than exposing a lot of the debate going on amongst us here."prevnext
More Nerfs for Paddle Star
During the discussions about the changes for Zoe, there were some questions about whether these nerfs would appropriately change the champion in a way that would leave her still playable while reducing some of that frustration that her opponent's face. The Sleepy Trouble Bubble is one of the most frustrating abilities to be hit with, especially given its extended range when fired through walls, so it's hard for many Zoe naysayers to argue that that nerf was needed. However, the changes to Zoe's Paddle Star that weaken her waveclear, may not be the end of the changes to that ability.
"It's likely, though not guaranteed, that all of these changes ship," said Riot Meddler. "It's also possible that we will have to nerf the Q still. We're making these changes because we believe that, even if the Q also needs nerfs, these are all appropriate changes. If she ends up too weak we wouldn't revert these nerfs but would instead give her power in healthier ways."prevnext
Could This Nerf Zoe too Far?
But even though Zoe's opponents may be relieved to see the nerfs – and even most Zoe players probably agreed that they were needed – there was still a question of whether or not these nerfs were too much for the champion.
One commenter brought up the unfortunate situation that some champions fall victim too where a trickle of nerfs leads to a few meaningful changes, all of which culminate in a champion that becomes unviable. As for Zoe, Riot Meddler compared the champion to Camille when discussing the method that the champ has received nerfs.
"It's possible this hits her too hard," said Riot Meddler. "I feel a good potential parallel here is Camille. We nerfed her in small ways repeatedly early last year, which didn't solve her problems. After we finally hit her fairly hard we got a much better understanding of how she should/shouldn't be powerful while she was a bit weak. That let us then put some power back into her in appropriate ways and she's an effective pick without being the balance challenge she was on release at this point."prev