Hello, Agigas here! I am a Master player since beta with several #4 peaks and tournament wins. I love sharing my knowledge about the game and I have been a regular writer at RuneterraCCG. I write in-depth deck guides, articles for tournament players, and curate our constantly updated Meta Tier List.
This particular guide you’re reading is part of our on-going series of guides on meta decks. You can find all the other guides and a matchup table on this page.
This guide is dedicated to Zoe/Lee Sin combo deck – a rising force in the current meta that many players are still trying to figure out in terms of its optimal builds and the power ceiling it can reach.
Zoe/Lee is the most recent reincarnation of the infamous Lee Sin combo deck. Your goal is to stall until you level-up Lee Sin, then through buffing him up and giving him Overwhelm you get the ability to OTK the opponent.
What makes this combo possible and quite consistent is that Lee Sin is an incredibly resilient threat. First of all, he has a lot of survivability by himself thanks to his innate Barrier and high health. To make things even harder for the opponent, the deck packs a lot of protection tools to help Lee Sin survive, like Deny and Bastion
In the past, Lee Sin decks were always a bit undecided when it comes to their second champion slot. Zed, Diana, Karma, no second champion at all – there were many options that felt decent but none that was really great. With the addition of Zoe, the deck has finally found the second champion that complements its gameplan greatly.
Being a very cheap unit, Zoe doesn’t require much investment so you can still focus on defense and progress toward the Lee Sin win condition. She also helps with that plan herself quite a lot, being a great spell-generating engine. Additionally, Zoe offers you a lot of flexibility and allows you to find the exact answers needed against the opponent’s deck.
Last but not least, Lee Sin decks have always had a weakness against aggro. But now, with the addition of Sparklefly to serve alongside Eye of the Dragon – and with the high amounts of healing these two followers are providing – the deck can fight back against aggro much better.
- Constantly keep track of your lethal potential with Lee Sin. With Zenith Blade, Gems and Pale Cascade you can often find a lethal with Lee Sin seemingly out of nowhere. However, always be mindful of the answers your opponent could have, and don’t take unnecessary risks.
- Make use of your spell synergies. Eye of the Dragon and Deep Meditation will both be underwhelming if you don’t do the work to activate them at the right time. This means that you should plan turns ahead to make sure you can activate them when you need to.
- Don’t be afraid to cast your Zenith Blades outside of your Lee Sin combo. When you have mana to spare don’t be reluctant to cast a Zenith Blade, even if you don’t have Lee Sin. Resolving it with Daybreak will give you another copy. It will not only buff one of your units, but will also help you progress toward Lee Sin’s level-up, cycle through your deck, and activate your spell synergies.
- Think about your Gem buffs and plan them ahead. Because you can’t cast Gems in combat or in response to other actions, you can easily find yourself in situations where you wish you planned your Gems distribution better. Poor Gem management will sometimes deny you a good block or Lee Sin’s Barrier activation – all just because you didn’t pre-emptively played a Gem.
- Be mindful of your hand-size. Between Zoe, Mountain Goat, Mentor of the Stones, and all of your draw spells, it is very easy to overdraw. The last thing you want is to mill a Lee Sin, or that crucial Deny you needed to protect him.
- Kick the unit with the highest health. When you go for lethal with Lee Sin, the opponent could try to remove his own unit to make the kick fizzle. Because of that, you should generally choose to kick the unit that is the least susceptible one to removal.
General mulligan tips:
- You want to have some units in your starting hand to defend yourself. Mountain Goat and Zoe are very high-priority units in mulligan. Eye of the Dragon and Sparklefly can also be very helpful against aggressive matchups. Mentor of the Stones can also be very strong alongside Sparklefly.
- Lee Sin allows you to put a lot of pressure on your opponent pretty quickly and is your best “removal” for their key unit. In most matchups, he is a card you want to keep, to make sure you have him when needed.
Be aware that these are just the general guidelines to help you understand the deck’s gameplan. Mulligans are very matchup-dependant – please refer to the matchup section below for more specific advice on mulligans against different meta decks.
Click on the box to read detailed info about a matchup of choice:
Mulligan for: Zoe, Mountain Goat, Spell Thief, Nopeify, Concussive Palm.
- In the early game, they can put you under pressure and accelerate it in the mid-game with Arachnoid Sentry. You want to fight against their tempo with your own units and protect your Nexus health.
- While Zoe isn’t likely to stay on board for long in this matchup, she is still a very potent early threat. The Celestial units are helpful when setting up an early board presence.
- Mountain Goat is very annoying for their 4/3 units. They can remove it with Mystic Shot, but it would mean they have one less source of spell damage when it comes to dealing with your champions.
- Try to stay at a healthy amount of Nexus life. They have a lot of burn damage in the later stages with Ezreal and Farron. Eye of the Dragon can help out with stalling in the mid-to-late game a lot.
- If you have a choice, avoid playing Lee Sin out early. The earlier you play him the easier it is for them to remove him because of the density of their removal. You also don’t really want to attack/block with Lee Sin before he levels up because it also makes him easier to remove.
- Try to keep your Deny up for their stacked Tri-Beam Improbulator.
- Hush doesn’t have many good targets but can be a great way to stall out against Ezreal or Farron. It also lets you block Ezreal.
- Once you advance later into the game, Lee Sin becomes harder and harder for them to remove, and they will struggle to beat your gameplan.
- Ravenous Flock and Noxian Guillotine are their best Lee Sin removals. Keep Lee Sin at full health and use Gems and Guiding Touch to prevent them from using those spells that rely on your champ to be damaged.
- If you don’t open-attack with your leveled Lee Sin, they can try to stun him with Arachnoid Sentry.
- They don’t have ways to remove a big full-health unit at Fast speed. If your Lee Sin is at full health there is no risk in buffing him up during the attack where you intend to strike for lethal. In these spots, you can tap under Deny mana.
- They can try to kill their own unit to prevent the kick.
Mulligan for: Zoe, Lee Sin, Mountain Goat; keep Mentor of the Stones, Deny, Bastion if you have a good hand; keep Pale Cascade if you have Zoe.
- Lee Zoe tends to be favored against the Frejlord SI control package, thanks to your numerous protection spells. However, Lissandra SI doesn’t play many huge spells like Feel the Rush, Harrowing or Ruination, and can finish relatively quickly with the Watcher combo without being vulnerable to a Deny. Hence this matchup is very close.
- Zoe and Mountain Goat can pose them some troubles early, especially when backed-up by protection spells. Try to pressure them and start lowering their nexus health, it will make the Lee Sin finish a lot easier.
- Avoid trading your Mountain Goat into their Avarosan Sentry. If you can let their Avarosan Sentry alive it will often die from their own board wipes, and they are not going to kill you with Nexus damage most of the time so you can afford to let the Sentry hit your nexus.
- It is hard for them to remove Lee Sin, Vengeance is their best option.
- When you go for lethal with Lee Sin, consider using a pre-emptive Bastion on him so they can’t use a freeze.
- They need Lissandra on board and 4 board spaces to combo on turn 8 with Pillar + Fading Memories + Matron.
- You do have a few ways to try stalling their Watcher combo for a turn (Hush, Concussive Palm, Equinox, Crescent Strike, champion’s spells). Be aware they can often play several Watchers over a turn (Spectral Matron, Fading Memories).
Mulligan for: Zoe, Lee Sin, Mountain Goat, Sparklefly; Mentor of the Stones if you have Sparklefly.
- Use Zoe to find Crescent Strike – this one of the best spells against them, forcing them to always open attack or to be slowed down a lot.
- If you get another celestial card, consider keeping it in hand to make them play around Crescent Strike.
- Their only way to remove units is through combat. They can give vulnerable to units (Exhaust, Ruthless Predator, Sejuani, Rock Hopper).
- They don’t have a way to block an elusive unit, so you can safely attack with your Zoe and Sparklefly.
- They can’t remove Lee’s barrier, so you can safely use Lee to attack and block to get control of the board. Because they have no removal either, you can play your Lee Sin as soon as turn 5 and enjoy his barrier + challenger to pick favorable trades.
- If you managed to stall them in the early game, their best way to steal away the victory is to buff an Overwhelm unit with Battlefury during the attack. Hush is a very good answer to that.
- Hush won’t work if they cast Battlefury on a Ruin Runner with Spellshield up. Remove Ruin Runner’s Spellshield pre-emptively if you want to Hush it during combat.
Mulligan for: Zoe, Mountain Goat, Eye of the Dragon, Sparklefly, Spacey Sketcher; Mentor of the Stones if you have Sparklefly; Lee Sin, Guiding Touch if you have a good hand.
- They have a very explosive deck, capable of dealing a lot of damage through board pressure and convert that pressure into a win with burn damage.
- Be very conservative with your nexus health.
- Units with lifesteal have a lot of value to stay out of their burn damage range. A buffed Sparklefly can quickly change the course of the game, as well as having an Eye of the Dragon’s Dragonling every turn.
- Noxian Fervor is their only 3 mana cost spell. If they play Zap Sprayfin, you know they have at least one in hand (note: some version play a copy of Brother’s Bond).
- They can level-up Gangplank rapidly. Ideally, you want to prevent them from spreading Nexus damage dealt to you. To do so, you can for example force their Noxian Fervor or kill their Legion Grenadier on a turn you already took Nexus damage.
- If you can survive their pressure, they don’t have a lot of ways to prevent your combo.
- Noxian Fervor is their only counter to Lee Sin’s kick. It is also your only Nopeify target, but if you don’t have a Nopeify in hand you can also challenge a big unit to prevent Noxian Fervor from killing their unit.
Mulligan for: Zoe, Lee, Eye of the Dragon. Keep Sparklefly, Hush, Concussice Palm if you have a good hand. Keep Mentor of the Stones if you have Sparklefly.
- Thresh Nasus is a midrange deck leveraging sacrifice synergies to get a strong early game, a lot of value, and level up Thresh and Nasus quickly. Their late game comes usually too late to race your Lee Sin kill, but their early game can be a problem.
- Blighted Caretaker is their most powerful offensive unit, and helps them push a lot of damage while taking control over the board. Avoid giving them a too good Caretaker (e.g. that’s the reason why we don’t keep Mountain Goat), and heal back with your Dragonlings.
- While Zoe is a very good card, be aware she is unlikely to carry this matchup. They can remove her through protections and counter with Blighted Caretaker and Baccai Sandspinner.
- Their Thresh can level up very quickly, especially if you have Dragonlings. Be very careful about it – his level up would give them a massive amount of tempo and can make their Nasus win condition fast enough to race Lee Sin.
- Once their Nasus is bigger than your nexus health, be careful to play around Atrocity.
- They don’t have a very good way to remove Lee Sin. If you can stall their game plan, you’ll eventually win with your Lee Sin OTK.
- If you’re not careful or forced to play into it, they do have a few ways to punish you and kill Lee Sin. Baccai Sandspinner has great stats to challenge a level 1 Lee Sin with barrier down, Vile Feast removes the Barrier, and they can also finish Lee Sin with a Black Spear.
- Be aware they can try to delay your OTK by using Glimpse, Atrocity, or Black Spear on the challenged unit, or Rite of Negation.
Mulligan for: Lee Sin, Zoe; Hush, Mountain Goat, Mentor of the Stones – if you already have Lee Sin.
- Neither of you has access to removal in a strict sense. This makes Lee Sin into even a stronger threat than usual. He is extremely hard to deal with for both players, and if one player finds Lee Sin while the other doesn’t, the game is pretty much decided. The earlier you play Lee Sin, the easier it is to control and win the game.
- Level 1 Lee Sin can die during combat to Hush that removes the Barrier, combined with Pale Cascade on a blocker.
- If both of you do find Lee Sin, then the game is all about getting the upper hand with your Lee Sin.
- The player who attacks first with a leveled Lee Sin has an advantage because he forces the opponent to be the first to use an answer (Deny, Hush, Bastion…). Having to commit spells and mana to protect Lee puts the opponent at a disadvantage.
- Once Lee Sin is leveled-up, you want to open-attack with him with a Burst spell. You want to put the kick on the stack before the opponent gets to use Hush.
- Hush is a key spell to win the Lee Sin duel thanks to its ability to remove Barrier. Lee Sin is pretty much invulnerable otherwise as long as they have spells left to trigger the barrier. The best you can do without Hush is to just bounce him.
- You can pre-emptively Bastion your Lee Sin to prevent the opponent from using Hush on him.
Mulligan for: Zoe, Mountain Goat, Eye of the Dragon, Sparklefly, Concussive Palm. Mentor of the Stones if you have Sparklefly.
- Spider Aggro is not only able to push a lot of damage early, but can also use the fearsome keyword to continue pushing damage through your board.
- The Charger in the celestial pool is very valuable.
- Pale Cascade goes very nicely on your Dragonling to enable it to block a fearsome unit unless they debuff it with Frenzied Skitterer.
- Elise can quickly level up with their numerous spiders, and you don’t have a lot of ways to remove her early.
- When Elise did level up and they use her ability to attack with units that wouldn’t normally have fearsome, you can Hush Elise to remove the anthem ability for the turn.
- They have a lot of burn damage in the late game. Once you stabilized with Dragonlings and Sparklefly, keep enough mana to Deny their Decimate. Nopeify is also very valuable against their Noxian Fervor.
Mulligan for: Zoe, Eye of the Dragon, Sparklefly, Spacey Sketcher; Mentor of the Stones if you have Sparklefly; Lee Sin, Mountain Goat, Concussive Palm – if you have a good hand.
- While their end game (Jinx, Augmented Experimenter) tends to be a bit slow against Lee Sin, they can severely out-pace you in the early turns thanks to discard synergies. With a good draw, they will attempt to kill you rapidly – be prepared to face their aggression.
- Eye of the Dragon is extremely good in this matchup. Dragonlings it generates are the perfect blockers to slow Discard Aggro down, and Eye of the Dragon’s stat line is nicely tailored for blocking without dying in the first turns. Plan out your turns and spell synergies so you always have a Dragonling on their attack turn.
- Zoe is also very powerful. Her spell generation helps you to keep consistently activating your Eye of the Dragon. She also gives you access to lucrative tempo plays and an insane counter to Crowd Favorite in the form of Equinox.
- If you survive the first few turns, they can’t do much against Lee Sin – it should be pretty easy to finish them off from there.
- You can also kill them with your early units when you don’t find Lee Sin. However, it is a slower win-condition and can give them time to level Jinx. It’s hard to remove her without Lee Sin.
Mulligan for: Zoe, Lee Sin, Mountain Goat, Pale Cascade, Eye of the Dragon, Concussive Palm.
- In the early/mid-game they will try to set up good trades with freezes. Use Pale Cascade to upset those trades. You can also hush your own frozen unit to give it back its attack. Concussive Palm is also a great spell to prevent a bad trade.
- Keep mana up for Nopeify to protect against their Culling Strike.
- In the early game, try to not fall too far behind while setting up your Lee Sin.
- Avoid playing Lee Sin when it leaves him open to Culling Strike or Reckoning without you having enough mana for a response. You have more protection spells than they have removals, so all you need to do is to prep up your Lee Sin play properly.
- Although they do struggle to remove Lee Sin, one thing they excel at is stalling him. Their freezes (Flash Freeze, Three Sisters, Ashe’s Flash Freeze, Harsh Winds, and Icevale Archer – if you don’t open-attack) can buy them precious turns to kill you with their strong board.
- You can pre-emptively use Bastion on Lee Sin to prevent them from freezing him. They can remove the SpellShield with Troll Chant but they tend to use up those spells earlier in the game as combat tricks.
- If they go for the leveled-up Ashe lethal, you have quite a few tricks against it. You can use attack buffs (Lee Sin’s Sonic Wave, Pale Cascade, Bastion). Hush on Ashe enables your units to block.
Mulligan for: Zoe, Lee Sin, Spacey Sketcher, Eye of the Dragon, Mountain Goat, Concussive Palm. Keep Sparklefly and Mentor if you have both. Keep Pale Cascade if you have Eye of the Dragon.
- Nightfall Aggro is a very tempo-oriented archetype, able to push a lot of damage very quickly thanks to Nightfall effects. You want to have a very solid early game with units to be able to contain them.
- While Nightfall Aggro is aggressive, it is also able to generate a lot of value and continues to put a lot of pressure for a long time. Grinding them out is rarely a good option – you want to kill them quickly with Lee Sin. They don’t have any counters to your Lee OTK, so if you get there you should win the game.
- Note: some versions play a 1-of Atrocity that can be used to kill their own unit. If you challenge a 1-health unit it can be killed by Unspeakable Horror.
- Pale Cascade is a valuable card in the matchup. You can use it early on your Eye of the dragon to block a Mountain Goat very effectively – unless they have a Pale Cascade of their own. It can also be used on a Dragonling to enable it to block Nocturne or Stygian Onlooker – this is extremely important when Nocturne levels up and make their whole board fearsome.
- Deny and Bastion are very weak in the matchup. Most versions play no slow/fast spells, so the best things to counter are Doombeast’s Torment and Nocturne’s Unspeakable Horror. Nopeify is even worse.
Mulligan for: Zoe, Mountain Goat, Lee Sin, Concussive Palm; Sparklefly + Mentor of the Stones as a combo.
- Miss Fortune is their key unit and their tool to beat you down. They can level her up very quickly, and her ability removes Lee Sin’s Barrier, making him a lot worse on defense.
- Your easiest way to remove MF is by challenging her with Lee Sin. They can try to save her with buffs (Sharpsight, Ranger’s Resolve, Riposte; Brightsteel Protector – if you didn’t open-attack). Hush can be very valuable in that case.
- Even without Miss Fortune, their board can grow very fast – be wary of your Nexus health dropping low. Scout can help them push a lot of damage and their aggression should not be underestimated.
- Stuns are a great way to slow them down. You have access to stuns with Concussive Palm, but also Zoe’s champion spell Sleepy Trouble Bubble, as well as Crescent Strike from the Celestial pool.
- They have no removals, their only way to interact is through Challengers. You want to play Lee Sin and abuse his innate Barrier as much as possible – and as soon as possible. He is your win condition, but he is also the way to stabilize the board – if you’re not too much behind already. He loses some of his value on defense if they have Miss Fortune, but you need him to remove her anyway, so play Lee ASAP.
- Don’t forget that they usually run 2-3 copies of Relentless Pursuit – it can easily close out the game if you’re not careful. Keep 2 mana up to Nopeify it.
Mulligan for: Zoe, Mountain Goat, Sparklefly, Lee Sin; Mentor of the Stones – if you have a Sparklefly.
- You can’t really defend against their units because blocking them would only enable their healing synergies. You also can’t interact with their Star Spring win condition.
- Your gameplan is to build up a strong Elusive unit in the early game (often Sparklefly) to force a Hush out of them. They might have to resort to it as they don’t have Elusive blockers. Once you do this, it makes the Lee Sin plan easier.
- Tahm Kench is a very big problem for your deck – he will eat all your units one-by-one, all the while enabling their healing synergies. You can try to remove him by using buffs on the unit he tries to eat. Otherwise, your only other out is to set up for Lee Sin backed up with a counterspell.
- Lee Sin is an effective win condition and they have a lot of trouble removing him. Their only removal for Lee Sin is Tahm Kench’s An Acquired Taste, and with Nopeify and Deny you can protect him from it. However, it can be hard to kill them even when you have Lee Sin because they can stall the game with Hush or Bastion.
- You can pre-emptively use Bastion to prevent them from using Hush on Lee Sin. Their only burst counter to that is Shakedown.
- Concussive Palm and Hush are your ways to remove a Bastion. Concussive Palm is the best one because it’s at Fast speed, so they can’t re-apply another copy of Bastion before Lee’s kick.
Mulligan for: Zoe, Mountain Goat, Sparklefly, Mentor of the Stones, Lee Sin; Nopeify, Sunblessed Vigor if you have a good hand.
- Puffcap Peddler can be hard to remove and put a lot of shrooms in your deck.
- When you get access to the celestial pool, Equinox is a priority pick to get rid of his ability.
- Try to punish their loss of tempo for playing Hexcore Foundry by playing your solid early units. If you can deal enough cheap damage to them through the game, you might be able to find a lethal through their freezes.
- Once Lee Sin levels up, the game enters into a stage where you threaten lethal every attack and they freeze your Lee Sin.
- A pre-emptive Bastion might prevent them from freezing Lee Sin. However, be aware that they can break the Spellshield with Troll Chant.
- Give attack buffs to your Lee Sin after they froze him. Even if it isn’t enough to kill them, lowering their nexus health is still very valuable because they have no healing. When they consistently freeze your Lee Sin, dealing small damage with other units and buffs is your way to still find the win.
- They can deal a lot of damage at burst speed with a leveled-up Ezreal. Pre-emptively using Hush can buy you a turn.
- Avoid drawing cards, especially once they have Hexcore Foundry and a lot of shrooms in your deck.
- Deep Meditation is often a dead card. Consider removing some number of it from your build if you want to improve this matchup.
It is interesting that when we’ve initially planned out this series, Zoe/Lee Sin wasn’t intended to be in the ‘starting lineup of decks’ I was writing the guides for. It wasn’t popular at that time, but since the deck got so much popularity and success that it was hard to ignore the elephant in the room!
Like I said earlier, this guide is part of a series where I’ll go over all the top decks in the meta so you have all the resources needed to learn the deck you want and improve as a player. This series is my most ambitious project so far, I hope it will be helpful!
If you want to share feedback, have a question, or want to discuss this guide, I’ll be happy to answer you on this dedicated Reddit post! 😉
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Thanks for reading!