Zoe/Lee Sin Deck Guide & Matchups
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 articles. Click on the spoiler box below to learn more:
We intend to publish a total of 10 deck guides for the most popular archetypes of the Cosmic Creation meta that are aimed to help both ladder and tournament players.
The main focus of these guides will be on exploring the featured decks’ matchups. I will be evaluating how decks stand against each other and assign percentages to determine how favorable/unfavorable particular matchups are. Additionally, I will be providing in-depth advice on how to play out those matchups, how to mulligan, and will be laying out the tech options that exist.
While playing on the Ranked ladder, you can use this advice to strengthen your knowledge and boost your confidence piloting against popular meta decks. If you are a tournament player, the matchup tables provided in these articles will help you build optimal line-ups.
After this series is released, we also plan to tie everything together with the comprehensive matchups spreadsheet of Cosmic Creation meta based on the info provided in the articles.
Going forward, I intend to continue writing new guides for other archetypes that were not featured yet and adding them to the series, while also keeping previously published guides updated as much as possible. Over time, the purpose of this series is to include a competitive-oriented guide for every prominent deck in the meta, backed up by in-depth matchup info.
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.
Please be welcome to also check out our other guides of the series: Fiora/Shen guide, Ezreal/Draven guide, Scouts guide, and Discard Aggro guide. In the coming weeks, you can also expect to get similar guides for these archetypes: Kench/Soraka, Targon Plaza, Ashe Noxus, FTR Control.
Note: as soon as these guides are published the links to them will be also added above.
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, including the 3-of Deny.
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, but 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 situations, he is a card you want to keep despite his cost, 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: Lee Sin, Deny, Zoe, Mountain Goat.
- Try not to overextend in the early/mid game with your small units into an Avalanche.
- Zoe can be annoying for them to deal with, especially if you protect her from ping-effects with buffs. Among the Celestial cards she provides, Equinox is useful to silence their Wyrding Stones, and with Moonsilver you can discount Deny to 3 mana and have access to a key counterspell off of spell mana alone.
- Because of your protection spells, they can struggle to remove Lee Sin, and it’s difficult for them to race him. You don’t have to play Lee Sin out early, wait so you have enough spells to back him up.
- They have some Frostbites (Flash Freeze, Harsh Winds), consider using a pre-emptive Bastion on Lee Sin to play around those.
- Deny is the key card in the matchup as it will protect your Lee Sin from their big removals – Vengeance, The Ruination. It also helps again Feel the Rush and prevents Atrocity lethal. Unless it is 100% game-ending, you should never use Deny on anything other than these four spells.
- Use Hush in the late game against Tryndamere or Trundle to remove their Overwhelm keyword and delay their lethal.
How to tech:
Solari Priestess, Concussive Palm
Spell Thief, Sparklefly, Eye of the Dragon
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.
- Spell Thief is a good card in the matchup. You can copy their Thermogenic Beam to use it against Draven, or cast their Rummage discarding your Gems.
- 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.
How to tech:
Nopeify, Spell Thief, Concussive Palm
Bastion, Hush, Deny
*There exist numerous versions of Targon Plaza decks, the main two variations currently being Garen/Asol and Leona/Asol. The advice in this section is mainly intended for use when facing the Garen/Asol version. Be sure to make adjustments when playing against another version like Leona/Asol.
Mulligan for: Zoe, Concussive Palm, Lee Sin.
- This matchup is about how fast you can set up Lee Sin to kill them. If you take too long they will play and level-up Aurelion Sol, winning the game on the spot.
- Despite the threat of Plaza, Zoe is very useful in the matchup. She will usually generate a number of spells before dying. Moreover, if you play her out on turn 1, she will get 2 hits in before Plaza is even there to help them. You can also protect her from Plaza for a turn with Sleepy Trouble Bubble, Crescent Strike, or Equinox (only against followers).
- Don’t play around Hush with Zoe. If they use Hush on her, you’re completely happy to not see it used later on Lee Sin. Try to keep 2 mana up for Nopeify to prevent Single Combat.
- Hush is their best tool against you. They can Hush Lee Sin to remove the barrier and kill him in combat when he is on defense or attacks without a kick. They can also use it to delay your lethal even if you’ve already put the kick on the stack, as it will remove all buffs on Lee Sin.
- Avoid getting Lee Sin involved in combat against a big unit without his kick.
- You can pre-emptively use Bastion on Lee Sin so they can’t Hush him. Moonglow from the Celestial pool works too.
- You can try to bait out their Hush in combat and use Concussive Palm to save your Lee Sin in response. You can also sacrifice a Lee Sin to their Hush early so it clears the way for another Lee Sin you have.
How to tech:
Bastion, Concussive Palm
Mulligan for: Mountain Goat, Lee Sin, Zoe, Hush, Pale Cascade, Concussive Palm.
- Their Challenger units Fiora and Rivershaper line up favorably for them against your early key units (Zoe, Eye of the Dragon, Sparklefly).
- Avoid playing Eye of the Dragon or Sparklefly too early if you can’t protect them from Fiora.
- Mountain Goat is your best unit in the early turns because it can hold the ground against Fiora or Rivershaper by itself.
- Their gameplan heavily relies on combat. Zoe’s Sleepy Trouble Bubble and Crescent Strike spell from the Celestial pool can set them back significantly when they don’t open-attack.
- Because it is hard to execute your other plans, this matchup is very Lee Sin-centered. They can struggle to remove him because of their hard combat-reliance, and the innate Barrier is really great in this situation.
- Their best answer to Lee Sin is Concerted Strike. This is your best target for Deny.
- Be careful about Single Combat, especially if they already got your innate Barrier down.
- Hush is a great answer to their combat tricks and Barriers. It absolutely shines in spots where they use a trick on a Rivershaper, denying both the buff and the draw at the same time.
- Your deck doesn’t have many targets for their Deny. With these unused Deny’s they would mainly look to counter your own Deny.
- Use Gems to deny them good trades with their Challenger units. Gems could also be used to create anti-Fearsome blockers against Cithria the Bold. Remember that you need to cast Gems before they attack.
- Spell Thief has quite a lot of good targets: their Barrier spells, Deny, and Nopeify.
How to tech:
Tasty Faefolk, Hush, Spell Thief
Sparklefly, Guiding Touch
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.
How to tech:
Hush, Spell Thief, Bastion
Eye of the Dragon, Sparklefly, Sunblessed Vigor
Mulligan for: Zoe, Lee Sin, Mountain Goat, Pale Cascade, Bastion, 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, 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.
How to tech:
Bastion, Concussive Palm
Sunblessed Vigor, Deny
Mulligan for: Zoe, Mountain Goat, Sparklefly; Mentor of the Stones if you have Sparklefly.
- Their early aggression is very hard for you to deal with and all your focus should be on surviving.
- They have no removal so you can gain from Zoe a ton of resources. From the Celestial pool, The Charger is extremely useful in this matchup, and The Serpent can put in a lot of work on offense (but also on defense with a Gem buff).
- Buffing a Sparklefly can cause them a lot of trouble. In this matchup, you want to be able to block Fearsomes with it as well as attack with it. However, when you do block you open up opportunities for them to kill it with their buffs (Mark of the Isles and Pale Cascade). Grow your Sparklefly as much as possible so their buffs aren’t enough anymore to beat it in combat. You can also rely on Hush to save your Sparklefly when they do use a buff.
- Use Gems to create anti-Fearsome blockers (buffing up Mentor of the Stones, Sparklefly, Eye of the Dragon), or when they play a Frenzied Skitterer.
- Use your health buffs (Zenith Blade, Sunblessed Vigor, Pale Cascade) to make an anti-Fearsome blocker survive combat so it can keep blocking their Fearsome units later.
- They can have board-space issues – consider letting their 1/1 Spiderling from Elise live.
- If you manage to survive the first few turns, they can’t do anything against Lee Sin outside of trying to delay him with Glimpse or Atrocity. Your board can also sometimes be enough to finish them off even without Lee Sin.
- Their big finishers in the late game are Harrowing and Atrocity, which are both very soft to Deny.
How to tech:
Tasty Faefolk, Concussive Palm, Sunblessed Vigor
Spell Thief, Nopeify, Deep Meditation, Bastion
Mulligan for: Eye of the Dragon, Zoe, Nopeify, Lee Sin, Mountain Goat; Pale Cascade – if you already have a good hand.
- They can put you under a lot of pressure in the early game. Their deck is filled with cheap units and draw, so it can be tough to deal with their constant board flood.
- Mountain Goat or Eye of the Dragon with Pale Cascade are good answers to Elise.
- Sparklefly and Eye of the Dragon help in sustaining your Nexus health.
- It’s tough to deal with Twisted Fate, and they can level hip up very quickly. The Serpent from Zoe’s Supercool Starchart can help – but only if you can protect it from Go Hard. Lee Sin is your other way to deal with TF, but it can be too slow.
- You can also use Hush to slow down TF.
- Nopeify can slow down their Go Hard plan significantly – that is if you didn’t let them resolve and shuffle any early copies. Between Nopeify and Deny, it is even possible to completely starve them off of their Go Hard strategy.
- If you’ve managed to get to a point where you can play out leveled Lee Sin with some backup – you’re in a good spot. They do have some removals for Lee Sin, but they are all very expensive (Vengeance, The Ruination, sometimes also Crumble), easily stopped by Deny or Bastion.
- They can try to use Glimpse Beyond on the unit you’re kicking to stall out the lethal.
How to tech:
Nopeify, Sonic Wave
Hush, Concussive Palm
Mulligan for: Zoe, Eye of the Dragon; Sparklefly + Mentor of the Stones as a combo; 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.
- Spell Thief can steal Mega Death Rocket. Doesn’t come up very often but it’s useful to know. Rummage, Get Excited, Juri-Rig and Poro Cannon are all pretty good targets as well.
How to tech:
Concussive Palm, Spell Thief, Sparklefly
Deep Meditation, Deny, Bastion
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 and have even more value if they have Plaza. 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.
How to tech:
Concussive Palm, Tasty Faefolk
Deny, Bastion, Deep Mediation
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.
How to tech:
Sparklefly, Bastion, Nopeify
Deny, Sunblessed Vigor
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!
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