Zoe has since her release been one of the most problematic and one of the most hated champions in the game. Although she received a few nerfs in the past, none were substantial enough to effectively remove her from the game. Now that Riot has released patch 8.16 she has received quite a substantial nerf again, hopefully enough to permanently take her out of the meta.
Her new nerf lowers the base damage on her passive on every single level. This nerf is meant to give her less damage when she doesn’t hit her skillshots since her passive would still hit people really hard anyway. Her W has also been nerfed to achieve this, by giving the abilities passive lower AP scaling.
While all the little bits help, this nerf will be unlikely to hit her very hard. Although it’s absurd that Zoe can still land high damage when missing all of her skillshots, that is not even the worst stuff in her kit. Her E is also a skillshot that has a really strong single-target crowd control in the form of a sleep. However, if you miss this skillshot, it explodes into a “sleepy field” instead and any players the first player that walks through it is put to sleep. This means that you can throw the skill shot in the general direction of the enemies because if it misses it will just create a large zoning area.
Furthermore, her W is way too random to be in a game like League of Legends, that relies a lot on players reading the game correctly and gather information in order to make proper decisions while playing. Zoe’s W counteracts this by giving her extra active items or summoner spells on occasion that are completely random and can be way too powerful.
A great example of this is of how Shiphtur recently lost lane against an enemy Zoe simply because she got a random redemption drop from a minion. Since everyone was still really early in the game, this meant that Zoe could one-shot the entire wave with the redemption. Players should never be able to get that item at such an early level as it’s damage is clearly way too high at that point in the game. This randomness of Zoe’s W allows her to get ahead in situations where it really shouldn’t be possible which can be extremely unsatisfying.
Although the nerfs are appreciated, it would be great to see Zoe get some more substantial nerfs that truly target the broken parts of her kit. Many professional players, as well as casual players, have commented on how aggravating it is to play against Zoe and that the champion probably shouldn’t be in the game. Although the champion is extremely new, Riot shouldn’t rule out a small rework to her abilities when the majority of the player base has such a hatred towards the champion.