Zoe Asol is a deck that features almost everything overpowered that could be found in the Cosmic Creation expansion release. It has the best landmark – The Grand Plaza; the best early game card generation engine – Zoe, and the best late-game threat – Aurelion Sol.
This deck is considered to be a more flexible variant of the existing Targon/Demacia archetype featuring Leona or Garen paired with Asol. The addition of Zoe meant that the deck shed the whole Solari package and opted for a more diverse build. It can feel weaker when looking at the minions’ stat-lines, but it leads to less predictable play patterns, and it provides much more possibilities for a good pilot.
Although the metagame is constantly evolving, this archetype looks like it has pretty much solidified. The new Targon champion Aphelios might see some experimentation here when he gets released on February 3 – but until then, Zoe/Asol appears to be the superior champion combination for Demacia and Targon.
Although the deck isn’t so difficult to grasp, the constant choices the pilot has to deal with – from picking Celestial cards to controlling your nexus health – can make this deck a bit of a puzzle at first. I hope this guide can answer some of those questions and help you get started on the Zoe/Asol archetype!
The Zoe/Asol deck is a very flexible one, and a lot of the ‘scare cards’ you have are not actually even in your starting 40!
The deck presents a gameplan that relies on controlling the board, trading efficiently thanks to The Grand Plaza, and using various combat tricks to answer your opponent’s aggression while maintaining a high health count. The key threat of this deck comes from its ability to leverage the power of Celestial cards as both your champions will help you access them.
The great balance between the two champions – Zoe and Asol – and their capacity to dig deep into the Celestial cards pool greatly rewards players who can control the pace of a game.
Zoe is the early game stabilizer. She gives you a flurry of options, and her occasional level-up is often game-winning. She is great at forcing out answers from your opponent – all the while providing you with useful tools so you can transition to the midgame safely.
The Grand Plaza and your solid units with Lifesteal are great tools to survive the mid-game. Solari Sunforger and Radiant Guardian, combined with Single Combat, usually allow us to stay safe during that transitional stage.
Asol is the late-game enforcer – he ends games where you’re ahead and helps to skew the balance in your favor in the close matches. Although playing this 10-drop champion almost always means you won’t get to do much else with your turn, Asol sticking means you will outvalue pretty much any opponent in the current metagame.
- Think about tempo first and foremost
Although it is tempting to settle into the ‘value war’ mindset because you have so much Invoke, this deck actually ends up winning through board pressure. Being ahead on tempo means you can have those turns later to safely invest a lot of mana into a big game-ending threat.
Consider also that the list above does not run healing spells, but instead needs to develop a Solari Sunforger or a Radiant Guardian in order to get some health back. Again, being in charge of tempo means you actually get to abuse the Lifesteal keyword on these threats.
- Don’t go out of your way to protect your units at the cost of tempo
Sometimes, investing mana to protect a unit means that you can’t develop your board that turn. Meanwhile, your deck wants to develop a strong board first and foremost.
Carefully consider if it’s worth investing a lot of resources to protect a unit your opponent has threatened. It is okay to let it go, and instead, develop another one in its place? Know which units are dispensable, and which ones are very important to keep safe. Remember, you will have many more threats to develop once you reach the late-game and get access to your Celestial high-costed units that can close out the game. Knowing that sometimes it is okay to lose a mid-game threat.
Zoe is a great example of this, as for just one-mana investment, she will always net you positive tempo as your opponent will usually have to use more than her price in mana in order to take her out. So, even if it hurts, instead of protecting her at all costs, it is sometimes better to just let her go in order to build a bigger threat later.
- Be smart about your cheap spells
As said before, most of your mana will be invested in developing your units. This is actually the reason why Strafing Strike is played alongside Single Combat in the deck: it is cheap enough to be played with only spell mana, making it usable on turns where we tap out for the big threat (ex. Aurelion Sol or Eclipse Dragon).
Your cheap spells can have a huge impact in the right setup as they can net a great tempo swing for a low mana investment. Try to think ahead on which turns you will have to invest a lot of mana so you can keep that cheap option as support in case something unexpected happens.
Zoe and The Grand Plaza are your two best friends in the early game, you can keep them against pretty much any opponent and they will serve as the foundation to your early gameplan. The rest of the mulligan is very matchup dependent, but there are three basic mulligan plans that exist for you: early tempo, healing, mid-game tempo.
Early tempo plan. Against decks that are aiming to beat you through an early board advantage, find units (Mountain Goat and Spacey Sketcher are great) and cheap combat tricks to stabilize early. Going even though that stage of the game is usually enough to take over in the mid-game.
Healing plan. Against damage- and burn-based decks, we need a Solari Sunforger or a Radiant Guardian and as many ways to abuse them as possible. Of course, any of your early units are valuable, but these 2 are game-winning once they are able to attack and when you draw a Single Combat or Strafing Strike.
Mid-game tempo plan. There are also decks that you can meet that have a similar gameplay pattern as yours, aiming to curve-out the early game and explode around turns 4 to 6. Against them we do not necessarily need early pressure, even though it can force them into being reactive. We are rather actively looking for Plaza – to be in charge of trades – plus something to play out early so our opponent can’t get some free damage in. Zoe is of course still our best option, but Solari Priestess can provide good mid-game units as well. The main goal is to put yourself in a position when we can curve Eclipse Dragon into Aurelion Sol as safely as possible.
Click on the box to read detailed info about a matchup of choice:
The one that gets Plaza out is obviously very favored in the matchup. But overall, unless you’ve failed to find Plaza while your opponent did get it, you should be in good shape.
Scouts is a board-centric deck and gets an edge when it repeatedly can secure favorable trades to set up a good board to abuse. So our only goal is to deny them this kind of scenario.
As such, our mulligan should be focused on looking for Plaza and early units to answer a possible explosive start from our opponent. The Celestial cards from Zoe and Spacey Sketcher are great in this matchup, as they help us keep up with the pace. Stunning two units for 3 mana with Crescent Strike to deny a Scout attack or some unfavorable trades can be life-saving.
Our deck is much slower than Scouts, but there is no way that our opponent would be able to deal with Asol. You have the inevitability, so don’t be greedy with your resources, you should win a one-for-one trading battle almost every time. Play for the board, stay safe from a Relentless Pursuit and do not let Miss fortune or Quinn get out of control.
Tech cards: Judgement; Garen/Lux over an Asol; Sharpsight; Brightsteel Protector; Divergent Paths.
This matchup relies heavily on tempo, as both decks are looking to control the board.
We want to limit the damage output through their board flow and only worry about direct damage from their hand. This will give us a lot of space when the time comes to invest most of our mana into big units to push for heavy damage in the late-game.
Plaza is of course a great way to achieve that, but be careful about a huge tempo swing with Scorched Earth.
The opponent will inevitably remove some of our units, but consider that Ez/Draven is a deck that runs a single-target removal, so don’t fear going wide. Having lots of small blockers will slow down your opponent significantly. Radiant Guardian is the important midgame piece that puts you in a great position, as Lifesteal and Tough are great keywords to have in this matchup. Have some units prepped to sacrifice in order to trigger Radiant Guardian.
The combat tricks are very important in this matchup – you need them to remove their important units (Ezreal, Draven) but also to take advantage of Lifesteal of Sunforger and Guardian if needed.
If you reach the late-game, look to grab Celestial units with the SpellShield, they will dominate the board and prevent any removal from your opponent.
Tech cards: Starshaping; Sharpsight; Guiding Touch.
The mirror match can be won using two points of leverage: high tempo in the mid-game or high value in the late-game.
Once again, the one that gets Plaza is obviously favored, but the true king in the mirror match is Aurelion Sol. His SpellShield protects him from a possible Concerted Strike and his huge stat-line allows him to face off in combat against pretty much anything.
The longer Aurelion Sol will stay on the board the more value he will generate, and leveling him up is almost an instant game-winner.
Big celestial units will help you completely dominate the board in the late-game and it is usually how the game will end. The only exception to this is when a player tries to apply a lot of pressure in the mid-game, usually abusing Zoe and cheap units to create a large board and deal a lot of damage early.
Once a player starts falling behind because of this early pressure, playing out the larger units can become much riskier. This is a way to beat an Asol on the opposing side if you can’t find him yourself.
Evaluating tempo is very important in the mirror match, as this is true for every midrange board-centric matchups overall. While there is a clear goal to get to – in this case, being able to develop Aurelion Sol, – keep in mind that you are still a midrange deck and that transitioning to the late-game safely is still very important.
Tech cards: Judgement; Egghead Researcher; Dragon’s Clutch.
The new kids on the block are Elusive decks, and they might start changing the metagame if they remain as good as they currently feel. These very aggressive decks based on the Elusive tag can be a huge problem for us, as only Zoe can block them, and she isn’t really in the deck for that purpose.
The Plaza is great to be able to challenge the Elusive unit and reduce the pressure. So are the Single Combat and Strafing Strike, but be mindful of the PnZ damage spells when using those, as they can kill off the unit. Hush is another key card in the matchup, usually letting you block a buffed Elusive minion. As a desperate measure, Hush can also prevent Twisted Fate from leveling up during a single turn.
Otherwise, it will be up to Zoe and the Spacey Sketcher to help with the matchup. The Serpent, Equinox, and the Trickster are all really good at slowing down our opponent and combatting that precious Elusive tag.
Once in the mid-game, you have to start developing your own plan. Look to get the opposing Nexus to 0 as soon as possible, as these decks are very hard to starve off of resources. If you have a chance at dropping Asol, you could try to control the board thanks to Celestial cards like Supernova or Cosmic Rays or by getting some big Elusive units of your own.
This is a very board-centric match up, so it should be something the deck likes to face. However, the Elusive tag and the many card generation tools from our opponent can catch us off guard. Make sure to play safe when in doubt and no not give an opportunity to your opponent to surprise you with buffs.
Tech cards: Judgment; Starshaping; Sharpsight; Sparklefly; Purify.
Note: The matchup advice here is generally applicable to the Gangplank/Miss Fortune Pirate Aggro matchup as well.
This matchup is mostly about being able to sustain the early aggression and finding our Lifesteal units to stabilize.
This could be one of the few scenarios where the Plaza can be considered too slow and isn’t an auto-keep. Instead, look for the early units and the Lifesteal units to get out of trouble.
Our deck has a lot of dead cards for this matchup – those six dragons at the top of the curve can pollute our hand the whole match. Depending on how good our hand is, we can decide how much risk we want to take. The more units and healing we have access to, the slower and more methodical we can play. If that’s the case, we can efficiently play on-curve, trying to set up answers for Draven, Jinx or a Crowd’s Favorite.
If you happen to have a hand with some dead cards, then you will have to take a much riskier approach and hope the opponent doesn’t have a good enough hand to punish you.
In theory, Celestial cards outside of those from Zoe and Spacey Sketcher are too expensive. But the Solari Priestess can be a lifesaver if you can find The Golden Sister or Meteor Shower to kill a champion and a small unit.
Assessing risk is the most important part of this matchup, and they can feel very uncomfortable at first as the usual ‘develop your board’ approach isn’t that good here. Instead, you will have to assume the role of the defender, trying to slow down the opponent first over trying to build for yourself.
Tech cards: Guiding touch; Starshaping; Lux or Garren over Aurelion Sol; Starry Scamp.
This matchup will rely mostly on your capacity to develop pressure while staying safe from Lee Sin.
You have all the cards needed to kill him in your deck – we are already packing 3 copies of Hush and 3 copies of Concerted Strike. We can also pick up a Falling Comet from the Solari Priestess.
The problem for us is that when we develop minions, as we are investing a large portion of our mana, which means the opponent can develop safely afterwards. You will have to go for big minions eventually, as you have to kill your opponent through the board to win, and Aurelion Sol is the best way to achieve that.
There isn’t really a way to win this match up outside of getting Plaza out and building a gigantic board, this card should be your main priority in the mulligan.
Tech cards: Solari Priestess; Challenger minions (in case you wouldn’t find Plaza, but not recommending it); Starry Scamp for additional pressure; Sunburst for extra removal.
Zoe/Plaza is an archetype that was built using the best cards that the current expansion had to offer. The combination of The Grand Plaza, Celestial cards, and all the tools of the Targon region makes this deck a real contender for now. However, the metagame is already changing and trying to adapt to it, so it is hard to say if the deck will keep dominating.
The deck is fun, as it can have different gameplay patterns, switching from a midrange high tempo approach to a late-game deck. It is also highly viable competitively – the deck is now being rated as a top-3 contender in the current metagame.
The list is very flexible, and the one provided above focuses mostly on tempo, good trades and eventually setting up for Asol. You can look for other ideas online, I recommend BBG’s decklists on the archetype, as he usually has interesting ideas about the deck.