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Xin Zhao Build Guide by Sir Wellington

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Sir Wellington

[6.21] BE A MAN™ - In-depth Xin Zhao Guide for Top Lane.

Sir Wellington Last updated on June 1, 2016
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Team 1

Ability Sequence

1
4
5
7
9
Ability Key Q
3
8
10
12
13
Ability Key W
2
14
15
17
18
Ability Key E
6
11
16
Ability Key R





Not Updated For Current Season

The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.



Masteries

5/
Fury
 
 
Sorcery
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
5/
Vampirism
 
 
Natural Talent
 
 
 
 
 
Bounty Hunter
1/
Oppressor
 
 
 
 
 
5/
Battering Blows
 
 
Piercing Thoughts
 
 
 
 

Ferocity: 18

5/
Wanderer
 
 
Savagery
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
5/
Merciless
 
 
Meditation
 
 
 
 
 
Bandit
1/
Dangerous Game
 
 
 
 
 
Precision
 
 
Intelligence
 
 
 
 

Cunning: 12

Recovery
 
 
Unyielding
 
 
 
 
 
Explorer
Tough Skin
 
 
 
 
 
Runic Armor
 
 
Veteran's Scars
 
 
 
 
 
Insight
Perseverance
 
 
 
 
 
Swiftness
 
 
Legendary Guardian
 
 
 
 

Resolve: 0


Guide Top

Introduction



"What am I reading?"

Welcome to the most thorough Xin Zhao guide on MOBAfire. It contains everything you need to know about how to play, carry, and win games with Xin Zhao. This guide is primarily aimed at everyone from level 1 to Silver I, but higher ranked players can still benefit from the more advanced stuff. Most people don't spend a lot of time reading a guide on MOBAfire, which is why most of the detailed information is tucked away in spoilers or listed off to the side. If you want a concise overview, just read the "Quick and Dirty" summary at the top of each chapter.

"Who wrote this guide?"

My name is Sir Wellington. My brother got me hooked on League of Legends way back at the beginning of Season 2. I reached Gold III rank in Season 4, and have 300+ overall ranked Xin Zhao games at a 57% win rate (and 800+ normals at a much higher win rate). I'm not the best player in the world, but I know a lot about Xin and want to share what I know so you can play him more effectively.

"Ok, but who is Xin Zhao?"

Xin Zhao (technically pronounced "Shin Jow") is the MANLIEST champion in League of Legends! Some would argue that newcomers like Braum stole that title, but Xin is the veteran who taught everyone how to be a man in the first place. He has a manly playstyle, manly lore, manly skins, a manly spear, and most of all, the manliest theme song ever:



In terms of actual gameplay, Xin can be an assassin, tank, or anything in between because of his flexibility. Xin is one of the few champions that benefits absurdly well from cooldown reduction because the %reduction from items synergizes with the flat reduction from Three Talon Strike.

The primary role I cover in this guide is a fighter role - someone who has plenty of damage to be a high threat, but enough defense to comfortably take a few hits in a teamfight. I will teach you a highly aggressive, opportunistic playstyle that is highly effective for the target audience of this guide: anyone between level 1 and Silver I.


Guide Top

Pros / Cons



Powerful Pros

+ Very high damage early on

+ Crazy snowball potential

+ Top tier duelist

+ Versatile builds/roles

+ Multiple CC abilites

+ Immense sustain

+ Knocks down towers like a BOSS
Critical Cons

- AD scaling is unimpressive

- Damage falls off if he gets behind

- Limited escape options

- Zero poke/sieging ability

- Struggles against disengage supports

- No innate tankiness without his ult

- Poor waveclear without Hydra



Guide Top

Runes

Runes

Greater Mark of Attack Speed
9

Greater Seal of Armor
9

Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
9

Greater Quintessence of Attack Speed
3


Armor Pen, Flat AD, and Attack Speed are all great marks. Armor pen counters any early armor your opponent gets, while Flat AD makes your farming easier, and Attack Speed increases your sustain, your DPS, and makes your knockup more reliable. I recommend Attack Speed marks because after Patch 6.3, Xin relies on AS more than ever.
greater mark of armor penetration

I take scaling health seals because they're generally the strongest seals in the game in terms of raw stats. I used to take armor seals because most of the damage you receive in lane phase is usually physical, so they make a good alternative if you wish.

I always get scaling MR instead of flat, since Xin wrecks AP top laners like Rumble, Kennen and Ryze. Scaling runes become more effective than flat runes at level 9.

These quints give you a Dagger's worth of attack speed at level 1. Very nice. AS Quints are probably the best, but AD, armor pen, lifesteal, and movement speed are good alternatives.


Guide Top

Masteries

Quick and Dirty:

18/12 setup. Take Fervor of Battle for your keystone.

For most of these masteries, I focus on getting as much damage as possible because I play a snowball-heavy hard carry playstyle and need all the damage I can get. While each damage increase is small and usually situational ( Assassin only gives 2% while target is alone), their total damage increase when combined is quite significant (15%).

Note: My mastery setup and recommendations are based on my ability to snowball often, because that's the playstyle you'll eventually learn if you read this guide. If you're having trouble snowballing or you want to play it safe at first, don't be afraid to use Feast and Oppression instead of Double Edged Sword and Bounty Hunter for more consistent results.


Ferocity:
  • Fury 's attack speed is more valuable than Sorcery 's damage increase since most of your damage is autoattack-based.
  • Feast is always safe and reliable, so I recommend this for newer players. Double Edged Sword is riskier (but better), so take it if you're confident you can snowball.
  • Vampirism and Natural Talent are both pretty weak. 2% lifesteal is way better than 0.55 AD per level, but then the spellvamp is completely wasted and extra AP never hurts...I went with the lifesteal because my build doesn't provide much from items.
  • Oppression is (again) the safer and more reliable choice, but provided you can snowball, Bounty Hunter eventually outshines it. After you kill just 3 different champions it surpasses Oppression's damage.
  • Battering Blows because you deal physical damage.
  • Fervor of Battle offers absurd amounts of on-hit damage (up to 112). While Warlord's Bloodlust can be better in certain situations where you need to outlast (not outdamage) your enemy, Fervor is generally the best option.


Cunning:
  • If you struggle with last hitting, take Savagery . Otherwise, take Wanderer .
  • Runic Affinity is best left for junglers. Secret Stash makes your health pots much more effective, which is nice, but Assassin gives you extra damage, which is what we want.
  • More damage from Merciless is obviously better than mana regen, which Xin doesn't need.
  • Bandit is cool, but Dangerous Game saves you from dying in so many close 1v1s (how many times after winning a duel have you died to that last tick of ignite, or those last few caster minions?).


Guide Top

Summoner Spells

Quick and Dirty:

Always take Flash. Take Ignite for kills, or take Teleport for strategic advantage.




Flash is the best summoner spell in the game. For all but 3 or 4 champions, it is mandatory in every game you play because no other spell gives you this kind of utility and playmaking ability. It extends the range of Audacious Charge by 425. It lets you counter-Flash enemy Flashes. It lets you pull off sick jukes. It provides you with a much-needed reliable escape. It lets you blink over walls. It does everything. You get the idea.



Ignite is the official "I want to get fed and carry hard" spell. It gives you a fighting edge in tough matchups and lets you stomp easy ones even harder. I use it all the time to start snowballing as early as possible and keep the momentum going from there. Once you get a little ahead, you can usually 1v2 the enemy top laner and jungler if you have Ignite and your ultimate. Ignite also reduces healing by 50%, which is very useful against champions like Dr. Mundo, Fiora, Volibear, Aatrox, etc.




Teleport gives you global presence and lets you set up big plays if you use it correctly. It takes a lot of global awareness and understanding of the game to use it most effectively, so I wouldn't recommend this if you don't have those skills. At the very least, you can simply use it to get back to your tower instantly early on. At best, you can pull off a sick Homeguard-boosted gank in bot lane that nets your team a double kill. It can also make splitpushing much more effective (more on that later). You can Teleport to almost any object in the game: minions, wards, Teemo shrooms, J4 standards, Rek'sai tunnels, even Zac blobs and Thresh lanterns. Note: whatever object you teleport to becomes invincible during the teleport channel (towers are an exception).


Guide Top

Manly Abilities

Quick and Dirty:

There's an icon and brief description of each ability on the left side.
Long and Nerdy:

More detailed information and tips and tricks are on the right side.


Challenge (passive)



...............................


Challenge is a strong passive that your whole team benefits from. It stacks with other sources of armor reduction/penetration, and it has really cool synergy with his ultimate (more on that below).
  • Xin's targets are usually squishy damage dealers liks AD carries, which don't build much armor, but that doesn't make it useless against them. A target with 80 armor at level 18, for instance, would have 12 armor reduced.
  • If you Challenge a tank, 15% armor reduction then becomes MASSIVE.
  • Xin synergizes very well with other AD champions because Challenge + Black Cleaver reduces 40.5% of his target's armor, which is pretty scary.

Three Talon Strike (Q)


...............................



Three Talon Strike (TTS) is Xin's primary source of damage and hard CC. It has the shortest cooldown and lowest mana cost, so you'll use it often.
  • This ability is an autoattack reset. This means if you cast it just after you autoattack, TTS will reset Xin's autoattack animation and attack again, so you can double-tap your target. Practice this method often so you can get the timing down perfectly.
  • When you have TTS active, your three autos will have a noticeably faster attack animation.
  • This ability gives you more damage at level 1 than almost any other top laner, because of the high raw damage, autoattack reset mechanic, and knockup (which gives you a free auto while your target is CCed).
  • Since it scales off total AD, you can build tanky items and still benefit from the scaling.

Battle Cry (W)


...............................



Xin gains attack speed by yelling at his opponents. What a man. This ability is awesome because it gives so many passive stats (healing and guaranteed crits!). The active costs more mana that TTS and should be generally used for destroying towers, extended duels, and teamfights. Note that the crits are weaker than normal crits (125-175% vs. 200% damage).
  • The passive crits make for some crazy item combinations. When you get Essence Reaver, you'll receive 3% of your max mana every 3rd hit. That's not even taking into account your regular crit chance on your other attacks.
  • The hit count doesn't have a cooldown like Jax's ultimate does. You can hit something twice and wait 3 minutes, but you will always heal on the 3rd hit.
  • You don't have to deliberately press W after Q. You can press both keys simultaneously and still get the cooldown reduction from the first Q hit. It makes playing Xin a bit simpler.
  • Use it sparingly in the early levels, otherwise you might run out of mana.

Audacious Charge (E)


...............................



Audacious Charge is an extremely reliable gapcloser that gives Xin fantastic sticking power and decent CC. This ability has double the mana cost of TTS and a considerable cooldown, so use it sparingly and try to save it for when you need it.
  • The AOE slow/damage doesn't diminish on the edges like Ravenous Hydra or Grand Skyfall. Everyone gets slowed and damaged for the full value.
  • Try to save your dash for when an enemy tries to escape via Flash, Arcane Shift, etc. It's usually not possible to do, but sometimes you can pull it off by simply running up to someone, hiding in an unwarded brush, or flanking them.
  • One of the reasons CDR is so good for Xin is that it lowers the cooldown of this ability to 7.2 seconds, which is then further reduced by TTS to 4.2 seconds. That's what makes Xin hypermobile lategame.

Crescent Sweep (R)


...............................



Xin Zhao whips his long spear around in a circle like a boss, sending everyone around him flying backwards, and then stuns them after the knockback, like Alistar's Headbutt. A Challenged target won't be knocked back, so Xin can immediately start stabbing its face in.
  • Dashing to a clumped enemy team and ulting them is one of the most disruptive actions in the game. They are knocked everywhere like bowling pins, stunned, and if you caught more than one in the dash aoe, they're slowed too.
  • Don't be afraid to use it as an escape. If you're being chased by bloodthirsty idiots, simply press R when they get in range. It doesn't have a terribly long cooldown because your Q will shorten it.
  • Since it deals %current health damage, it's best used at the start of a fight for maximum hurt (usually).
  • Always try to use the knockback + stun part of it to your advantage (you can do this many different ways). Being able to fully utilize it is what separates typical Xin players from dedicated mains, and every once it a while it really shows.


Guide Top

Skill Sequence

Quick and Dirty:

Max Q first for damage. Max W second for more damage. Upgrade R at levels 6/11/16.



































I've read many different opinions on Xin's skill order, but after Patch 6.3, I've settled on maxing R > Q > W > E. A lot of junglers used to max Audacious Charge before Three Talon Strike, but for top lane maxing Q first is the best way to go. Here's why:
  • Three Talon Strike is your most-used ability. Maxing it first lowers the cooldown to 4 seconds, letting you use it even more often.
  • TTS lowers the cooldowns of all your other abilities, so by lowering its cooldown (and thus using it more often) you essentially decrease ALL of your cooldowns.
  • The total damage also increases by 45 with each rank, which is quite a lot. Contrary to some beliefs, maxing Q is better than maxing E in terms of damage because the single target damage (to your lane opponent, for instance) is higher AND it benefits from your passive and armor penetration, while E does not. (Maxing E does give more AOE damage, which is good for jungling)

Next up is Battle Cry. For a long time I maxed Audacious Charge second, but maxing W second over E is ultimately better. Here's why:
  • Battle Cry now has so many more stats that scale better with levels compared to Audacious Charge: crit damage, healing, attack speed, and cooldown.
  • Before Patch 6.3, I always maxed E second for the decreased cooldown. The slow increase was nice, but 5% per level is a very small amount. The damage increase was also unimportant. After the patch, however, E's cooldown is flattened so there is no incentive to max it over W.

Obviously, you want to upgrade your ult when possible. Always put points in it at levels 6, 11, and 16.



































Guide Top

Ability Combos

Quick and Dirty:

Glance at the ability icons to see which ones to use. (AA means autoattack)
Long and Nerdy:

A detailed description is on the left and an example video is on the right.



> AA >

This is your basic trading combo in lane phase. Dash to an enemy, autoattack, reset with Q, then hit 3 times. Make sure to weave forward movement in between your attacks so you keep up with your retreating enemy laner. Unless you're going for the kill, it's best to back off after you knock up your target. Sometimes you'll want to back off after the first Q hit (like if the enemy dashes away or Vladimir uses his pool).

> AA > +

This is your all-in combo pre-6. Use this combo when you need to land your 3 Q hits quickly or when you know the other enemy champ will stand and fight back for more than a couple seconds. Again, keep moving with your opponent if he retreats back to his turret.

> > AA > +

This is your all-in combo after level 6. Keep in mind this combo will usually scare the pants off your enemies, so be prepared to chase them down if they run away. Sometimes I use this combo when I get back into lane after level 6. By immediately jumping on the enemy laner and dumping all my skills on him, I leave him at well below half HP while remaining relatively unscathed, and thus assert lane dominance.
This is also your teamfight initiating combo. Dash to someone in the middle of the enemy team, ult everyone, and maul your Challenged target while the enemy team is scattered. You don't always have to Challenge the AD carry either; sometimes displacing the rest of the enemy team is better than simply isolating the carry. You can also use it to peel for your own team if the enemy team has an all-in comp like Malphite and Yasuo.


> AA > +

This is a great combo for knocking a target where you want him to be (like under your turret) and then dumping QW on him. Once again, save E for any escapes. Ganking lanes with this combo almost always results in a kill because you knock your target away from his turret and closer to your ally, while still having your gapcloser up.

>

When you combine Flash with Audacious Charge, you basically have a gapcloser with 1025 range. It ALWAYS catches enemies off guard and sets up a sweet combo for you and usually a kill. Just make sure to cast both spells very quickly (almost simultaneously), and make sure your opponent is actually within range. Flashing and not dashing is the worst because you look like an idiot who just burned his summoner ;)

>

This combo's a lot of fun, but very difficult to do perfectly. If you time it right, you can actually press R a millisecond before you flash, which reduces the cast time a little bit. Practice this in a custom game until you get the hang of it (once again, press both buttons almost simultaneously).

> > >

This is the hardest combo to pull off, but it's the most rewarding: run up to your target (boosted with Youmuu's), flash behind him, press R to knock him forward and E to catch up to him. What a man.


Guide Top

Manly Items

Quick and Dirty:

Get these items and you're set:

Xin Zhao is the opposite of champions like Talon or most AD carries (before the preseason 6 update), who have/had strict build paths and buy almost the same items every game. Because Xin benefits from so many stats and can fill so many roles, there's only a handful of items in the whole game that are truly bad for him. Always analyze the enemy team (and your own) to determine which items are best for a particular game and adjust your build path accordingly.


Manly Stats

═► Cooldown Reduction

═► Movement Speed

═► Attack Speed

═► Attack Damage

═► Health

═► Armor / Magic Resist

═► Critical Chance

═► Lifesteal

═► Armor Penetration


These are the stats you need most, with the first four being most important. CDR and movement speed increase your mobility, so you can stick to your target more effectively (movement speed isn't just a simple boots upgrade; you also need something like a Youmuu's Ghostblade active or the Phage passive, or both). Attack damage is pretty obvious, and attack speed procs Q faster and W more often.

Defensive stats are necessary to survive teamfights. Health is the most important because it complements the resistances from your ultimate (using a mix of health/resistances is always better than stacking one or the other). Lifesteal amplifies your sustain and helps you survive long duels.

Assuming you have enough AD and AS, crit chance and flat armor pen boost your DPS by a ridiculous amount. Increased crit damage (via Infinity Edge) will boost your W crits as well as normal ones. Percent armor pen/armor shred is best suited for situations where a high priority target that NEEDS to die is stacking armor.

The only stats that you should avoid are AP, magic penetration and excessive amounts of mana. Audacious Charge deals magic damage, but it's not used often enough to justify magic pen. While AP/AS builds are still kinda viable, Xin's AP ratio on his W got nerfed so it's not as effective as it used to be. Mana is a decent stat until you get 500+ from items; it then becomes redundant because Xin's mana costs are low. Plus, if you get Essence Reaver, then mana becomes completely irrelevant.



Boots of Mobility offer an absurd amount of movement speed out of combat. These let you roam all around the map setting up ambushes and ganks, which amplifies Xin's early/midgame power window and complements Bounty Hunter extremely well. These boots also help make up for the lack of Teleport.



Trinity Force provides 5 of the 8 stats Xin needs most, and it provides them in bucketfuls. Yes please. The powerspike you get when you finish this item is second to none.



Dead Man's Plate is a fantastic armor item for Xin. It's like Riot decided to put the roaming power of Boots of Mobility on an item with Randuin's Omen's stats, because why not. It also comes with a little extra damage and a slow, because....why not. I get this item when there isn't much of a crit chance threat on the enemy team (Kalista/Ezreal/Corki or any underfed/non-threat marksman).



Youmuu's Ghostblade is an excellent play-making item. It offers a whopping 20 armor pen, on top of 65 AD and one of the best actives in the game. Not only does the active give you tons of stats for 6 seconds, it has a 45 second cooldown, which is HALF the cooldown of many other item actives (Zhonya's, Randuin's, BotRK, Merc Scimitar, etc).



Spirit Visage provides lots of magic resist and health, which is great. It also provides 10% CDR and a 25% increase in healing to yourself, which is awesome!



Sterak's Gage works well with Trinity Force because the increase in base AD increases the damage from the Spellblade passive. The shield passive is also great for teamfights because it makes it hard to burst you down and punishes the enemy for trying.

How do I know when to buy certain items?


Assess the weaknesses and damage output of the enemy team and what your team needs out of you, then choose accordingly. If you want to know the best situations to build a particular item, just open up the sections below for more details (Items listed in no particular order).


Stab things harder...


Stab things faster...


Ladies like armor plating...


Join the Resistance...


A health item per day keeps the Death Timer away...


Fill your boots, man...


Items to avoid

There are a small number of items that are simply a waste of gold or better alternatives. Unless you have some crazy build you want to try out (not in ranked, please), never buy these items. NOTE: this is a guide for AD Xin Zhao. Obviously any AP/AS builds are going to use AP items, so if you're going that route then of course these are viable.
  • Basically any item that gives you more than 30 ability power is off limits, with the rare and situational exception of Abyssal Scepter. AP Xin is a whole different beast that requires a full AP/AS build, so tossing a random Rabadon's Deathcap into an AD fighter build is a bad idea because you are't amplifying your other AP-related stats.
  • Manamune is a bad item because Xin wants damage NOW, not later, he has pretty much no mana problems, and he doesn't spam spells all the time like Ezreal or Jayce.
  • Iceborn Gauntlet offers good stats, but unfortunately the slow is redundant because you already have a stronger AOE slow (they don't stack). In almost every case, Frozen Heart is a better item. If you're stacking armor against a full AD comp, then Iceborn Gauntlet would be worth buying because the slow radius would be massive.
  • Last Whisper was a great general damage increase last season, but now it and its upgrades are exclusively designed for tankbusting, which is NOT Xin Zhao's primary job. Xin excels at deleting squishies and dueling other fighters/bruisers. He can fight tanks comfortably enough, but he shouldn't even be fighting them in the first place. I would only recommend getting a Last Whisper-based item if a high priority target that NEEDS to die is stacking armor.
  • Support items are off limits because they're support items, not top lane items.


Guide Top

Example Builds

Quick and Dirty:

Read the build name on the left and look at the item icons on the right.


Build Name
Description
Items


Balanced
This is a general-purpose build that works with basically anything. You've got good damage and good survivability.


Heavy Armor
Use this build if the enemy team has 3-4 AD champions. Consider swapping Sunfire Cape for Thornmail if most of their damage comes from autoattacks.


Heavy Magic Resist
Use this build if the enemy team has 3-4 AP champions (only include the support if it's someone like Annie, Morgana, or Brand with an AP item or two).


MASSIVE CRITS
Do you want to blow people up before they can react? If you're snowballing hard, get these items and proceed to WRECK the enemy team! I would only recommend using this build once you've gotten a lot of experience with Xin and have a hyperaggressive playstyle, since you're very squishy.


Full Tank
Use this build if your teammates are carrying hard and need a front line. Start with a Doran's Blade so you'll have some sort of damage early on. You won't deal much damage, so you don't have much dueling power. Stick with your carries and either peel for them or initiate teamfights for them, depending on what works best.


Tower Demolition
This build gives you enough waveclear to reach towers quickly and enough damage to drop them in a few short seconds (like 3-4). Assuming you're fed, you should be able to 1v1 or maybe 1v2 any enemies if they try to stop you. If you aren't fed...you shouldn't be splitpushing to begin with, and should use a different build.


Boomtown
This build is designed for clumped up teamfights. Usually you have to target the backline, but sometimes it's just an all-out slugfest if most of the enemy damage comes from their fighters and juggernauts. Your AOE damage output here is pretty ridiculous.


SPEEEEEED
If you're a fan of Racecar Yi, well...have fun.


Gluey
Nobody will ever escape you. Ever. You can use this to completely shut down a kite-heavy team comp, or to just piss people off because they can't go anywhere :)


Debuff Machine
Use this build if you're a tanky frontliner and your team has a good balance of physical and magic damage. When you initiate and start stabbing enemies, you'll shred resistances, allowing your team to deal more damage. Consider taking Expose Weakness and Exhaust for additional misery.


Guide Top

Lane Phase Breakdown

Quick and Dirty:

Harass with Q and autos at level 1 if possible, reach level 2 first, try to get first blood the instant you hit level 2, snowball from there, roam enemy jungle if fed. Make sure to ward.


Early game is where Xin shines. You can outdamage, outsustain, and out-CC almost everyone, so take advantage of that by fighting often. Keep in mind, however, at level 6 your opponent might have a bigger power spike than you (like Riven). Any jungler who respects Xin's early game threat will probably gank top lane at least once or twice, so expect them and don't be caught by surprise.

Objectives:
  • Reach level 2 first. When the first minion waves pile together, there's two different scenarios that can happen.

    Is your opponent melee?


    Is your opponent ranged?

  • Get first blood. Once you reach level 2, INSTANTLY jump on your opponent and go crazy! (btw, it's much faster to press ctrl+E than clicking the button to level up E). Make sure to use your AA reset, and make sure to walk with your opponent by moving forward in between each attack. Use Ignite and/or Flash if necessary - this kill is very important.

    My opponent flashed away :(

  • Put your trinket out and watch the minimap closely. If you're on purple side, ward the river bush. If you're on blue side, ward the tribrush. Put your ward down after you killed your opponent, or around 3:00-3:30. Most junglers will see you sitting in lane at 30-40% health and try to gank you (try to reach level 3 before you get ganked). At this point, most junglers are also level 3 (or even 2) and around 50-70% health.

    If you're level 3 and you have more than 30%ish health...


    If you aren't level 3 yet and/or you have very low health...

  • Achieve lane dominance. Lane dominance means you can freely move around without fear of the other laner, farm every minion, and push the other laner out of farming range. It means you can do whatever you want because the other laner must stay at a respectful distance or die. At level 1, you'll have zero lane dominance vs. a ranged champ because you don't have E yet. But after level 2, it's possible to take lane dominance back from almost everyone.

  • Disrupt the enemy jungler. The easiest way to do this is to steal his buffs. Watch the minimap carefully and keep an eye out for when they respawn (the first respawn is usually around 7:15-8:00, or a couple minutes later if the jungler started on the bottom half of the jungle).

    If you're on Blue side...


    If you're on Red side...

  • If you're snowballing, pitch a tent in the enemy jungle. You can only do this if you already have a few kills and can comfortably 1v1 their jungler, top, and mid. Buy green wards, pink wards, and/or upgrade your trinket so you can ward up the enemy jungle and punish the enemy jungler for venturing into his YOUR jungle. Keep your lane shoved if possible and look for opportunities to kill enemy champs. Just make sure to always play smart - if you see the enemy midlaner and top laner missing from their lanes, they're probably converging on you, so get out. Also, don't be afraid to rotate to mid lane - knocking down the mid lane turret early on is very nice.

  • If the opportunity arises, gank bot lane and/or pick up an early dragon. This is the best way to snowball your bot lane. A double kill + dragon is absolutely devastating and creates a large advantage for your whole team. You can always gank early too, as long as you have a significant lead over your opponent. Sometimes I recall at level 6 or 7 and head to bot lane, because their bot lane will almost never expect it (When they demand why top lane didn't ping mia, he'll likely say "Well Xin recalled, so I thought..."). Note that this is very opportunistic; there's several things that have to align in order to pull it off. You don't want to let a Nasus free farm top even if he's 0/3, and you don't want to gank a Tristana/ Thresh bot lane that can just laugh at you and jump away.

  • If the opportunity arises, kill the Rift Herald. This guy is a new objective added in Pre-season 6, so there isn't a very concrete strategy yet. It's on the same scale as the Dragon - a neutral boss that generally shouldn't be taken alone. It deals TONS of single-target damage, and periodically opens up a weak spot on its back that a teammate can hit for big damage. You have to assess the current state of the game to determine the best time to try killing it. Where is your jungler? Where is the enemy jungler? Are you winning your lane? What about mid lane? If you can answer most or all of these questions, and feel like you can take it safely, then take it. It gives a Baron-like buff to the killer, which is awesome for shoving down your top turret so you can roam.

  • "I'm losing lane :(" The most important thing to do in this situation is to stop dying. Deny your opponent any kills. If you give up one or two early on it'll sting, but it's nothing like giving up 6 kills within the first 10 minutes. Give your opponent some respectful distance, and ask your jungler for a gank ONLY IF you can gain a kill or lane dominance from it. Did you give up first blood to Darius? He's an ideal target because he has no escapes. Did you waste everything trying to kill Gragas? Not a good target to gank because he has an escape, CC, and he'll be hard to kill. Do not automatically beg your jungler for ganks simply because you're behind. It will piss him off and likely result in him NOT helping you :P

    Try to farm under turret as well as you can, and look for opportunities to gank other lanes. I've turned around many games where I started out 0/2 but went into midgame 5/3 because I roamed.


Guide Top

Midgame Skirmishes

Quick and Dirty:

Kills are still important, but roaming and taking objectives are equally important now. Kill/contest dragon when possible, and try to knock down towers. Warding is very important.


Midgame is where Xin's damage and snowball potential peaks. If you've farmed a decent number of minions (say 100+ by the 15 minute mark) or gotten a few kills then you'll probably have Trinity Force and be started on Essence Reaver.

Objectives:
  • Control the upper half of the map. Assuming you've won your lane early game, you can do this by continuing to shove top lane, which leaves the enemy team to either send their jungler top (away from dragon), or else risk letting you dive their top laner and knock down yet another tower. Ward the upper half of the enemy jungle well, and try to anticipate enemy movement. Always keep track of the enemy red/blue buff, and take it as soon as it respawns.

    Why is controlling such a huge part of the map important/necessary?

  • Contest dragon. Killing the Dragon (and destroying the mid lane outer turret) are the two most important midgame objectives. Ideally, you would also have the first top lane turret knocked down if you dominated that lane earlier. Make sure to kill the scuttle crab for the zone control by dragon - it makes teamfights there much easier. Also keep track of the respawn timer - the last place you want to be when it respawns and your team starts fighting over it is blissfully farming top lane (if you have Teleport, then it's ok and even recommended).

  • Create an overall gold advantage for your team. You'll hear the shoutcasters in pro League games talk about gold leads/gold advantages often, because it's genuinely important. When you create a several thousand gold lead over your opponents, it really pays off by lategame when your team has more completed items and thus more stats.

    How do I create this gold advantage?

  • Get tanky. After you've finished your first two offensive items, it's very important to buy defensive items as soon as possible because Xin needs them to survive more than a few seconds in teamfights. This is the point where your team is beginning to group up and fight the enemy team, so fights and skirmishes will happen frequently.

    If youre SUPER fed and the enemy team doesnt have much hard CC...


Guide Top

Lategame Teamfights and Objectives

Quick and Dirty:

Objectives are key (Dragon, Baron, towers, inhibitors). Don't get baited by a low health enemy or squishy target. Work with your team, and keep warding.


Now you have reached the point in the game where you really need a tanky item or two (or three) to survive more than a couple seconds in teamfights, especially if you're part of the front line. You should also have at least 20-30% CDR by this point so you can use your EQ combo more often. The enemy team is most likely grouped up, so if you see a lonely squishy target it's most likely a trap. It's so easy to take the bait since you've been doing nothing but jumping on squishy targets all game, but you have to resist the urge and first make SURE that you genuinely did catch someone off guard before you engage.

Objectives:
  • Secure map objectives. Individual kills simply don't compare to the value of a Dragon stack, a Baron buff, or an inhibitor turret, though if your team picks someone off it makes getting objectives MUCH easier. If you haven't already done so, shift your focus away from hunting people and instead push your team towards objective control.

  • If a teamfight breaks out, fight the enemy team in a fashion that best helps your own team. You have to communicate with your team and be aware of what the main source of damage is (is it your 2/5 vayne or your 8/3 ziggs with 200 farm? Is it YOU since you're fed, or is it your 4-item Kog'Maw because you had a tough lane phase?).

    What to do if you're the tank and initiator


    What to do if youre playing Assassins Creed: League


    What to do if you have a hypercarry ADC

  • Once you destroy an inhibitor, pressure other lanes. This is a very common mistake in Bronze/Silver: You destroy an inhibitor and then continue to blindly push the lane forward until the enemy team respawns and pounces on you with Homeguard. Don't do this! You gotta believe in the power of winions and pursue a different objective.

  • If you see a good opportunity to backdoor, take it. What makes a good opportunity? When you already have a large minion wave building up; when the enemy team is pushing down mid lane but your team can withstand a siege for a few minutes, or when you're extremely fed and could kill any single champion they send to stop you (which means they'd have to send 2 or 3).

    What makes a poor opportunity? When you have an inhibitor down and the enemy team is marching into your base; when Baron or Dragon are about to be contested, or if the enemy team has a fed champion who could kill you in a straight-up fight.


Guide Top

Warding

Quick and Dirty:

Ward as much as possible. Put a pink ward out early and always keep one active. Ward as much as possible.


Vision control might seem like the least exciting and obvious aspect of League, but trust me: it's crucial. The vast majority of players below Gold don't know how to ward properly, so this section will teach you how.

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Stealth wards are invisible to the enemy and give your team normal vision for 3 minutes. Your Warding Totem carries up to 2 wards and regenerates them slowly. Placing these wards in the right spots gives you tons of information about the enemy jungler or roaming laners, which gives you the upper hand. Once you reach level 9, you have the option of changing your totem to a Farsight Alteration. I haven't found it to be more useful than the standard totem, so I rarely change it.

These two wards easily spot incoming ganks early game.


Killing the scuttle crab grants vision and a speed boost.

This ward reveals the enemy jungler's raptor camp.
This ward reveals the enemy red buff.

These two wards provide great vision for both you and your midlaner. Sharing is caring.




Drop a pink ward here after your first or second back.


This is also a good spot for pink wards.
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Placing wards is just half of vision control - denying enemy vision is just as important. Vision Wards reveal enemy wards and other stealthed things like Teemo shrooms. On the other hand, Sweeping Lens is great for destroying wards around objectives to more easily secure Dragon or Baron, and its upgrade, Oracle Alteration, can reveal stealthed champions (like Talon or Rengar) instantly. Usually the support and/or jungler gets this, but if nobody on your team has one you should get it. One final note: if your pink ward keeps getting found and destroyed, pick another spot to place it.


This provides great vision of the enemy blue side jungle.

Put one here to clear enemy vision around Baron/Dragon.


Guide Top

Advanced Techniques/Random Tips

Quick and Dirty:

Just a bag of tricks that improve your skills.


Combat
Since Three Talon Strike's attack animation is so quick, you can consistently interrupt a LOT of abilities with cast times, provided you can anticipate them. This lets you win a lot of trades. It also lets you hit people immediately after they dash or blink away. As long as you land one autoattack before they blink away and you reset your animation with Q, that first Q will always hit. You can also hit targets who go into stealth this way, like Akali or Shaco.
Try to save Audacious Charge for when your target tries to escape. You can do this by hiding in bushes, using the fog of war, or simply running up to them if you're fast enough.
When you're trading with your opponents in lane, be aware of their ability cooldowns and work around them. If it's an autoattack modifier like Empower or Drunken Rage, make your opponent waste it on a minion.
If you're trying to kill a squishy with an escape, save R in case you burst him 90% down and then end up chasing him just outside AA range, with E on cooldown. If you can't catch up to him, swat him off the map with R.
Utility
A good farming techique mid-late game is to use Audacious Charge on the caster minions, then use one Three Talon Strike for each of them to finish them off. It's quick and efficient.
You can (sort of) ward jump in the jungle. If you're across the wall from a monster camp, you can toss a ward on the camp, then dash to one of the monsters to jump over the wall. Handy for escaping.
Just for fun
If you spam your joke (ctrl + 2) about 2 times every second Xin will look like he's repeatedly kicking the air. It's a good way to taunt someone.
If you right-click to move somewhere, then dance (ctrl + 3) for about 1 second, then continue moving, Xin does this cool flourish with his spear. You can also achieve a similar effect by pressing the laugh button instead (ctrl + 4). This is kinda buggy/inconsistent and needs a little practice to get down perfectly.


Guide Top

Matchups

Quick and Dirty:

Read the ability icons if you don't know a certain champion. Difficulty = how hard it is to play against them. Threat = how dangerous they are.


- For each matchup there's a strategy/explanation, list of abilities, and difficulty/threat scales. Difficulty level means how skilled and focused you have to be to beat them. Threat level means how dangerous that opponent is, especially when fed. A fed Maokai can't really kill you, but a fed Rengar is a nightmare.

- Most of the things I point out in certain matchups are things you should be doing in every game, like asserting lane dominance, monitoring enemy ability cooldowns, harassing melee-range champs with Q at level 1, trying to dodge poke and harass from enemy champs, etc.

- Finally, remember that it takes several games facing each champion before you begin to feel comfortable playing against them. Don't lose confidence or feel bad if you lost a matchup you should've won - you'll get better with experience and make mistakes less often.


Aatrox



Aatrox has less damage and less sustain when above 50% health, and below 50% health you can burst him down too quickly for his healing to really pay off. Try to pop his passive early, and zone him from farming range to deny his sustain. If he misses his Q knockup, you will always win trades. Otherwise you'll go about even. Be wary of jungler ganks though - Aatrox has a strong knockup and slow, so you can get locked down easily. ______________
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Difficulty level: 4/10


Threat level: 6/10

Akali



Akali is weak early, but she's tricky because of her shroud. If she gets in melee range, tap her a couple times with Q to show her who's boss. After level 6, you can knock her out of her shroud for a second or two by standing in it and ulting (make sure she's not Challenged). DO NOT feed her. ______________
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Difficulty level: 4/10


Threat level: 8/10

Cho'Gath



His skill at landing Rupture will determine how much or how little he feeds you, because if he doesn't land it he's a free kill. If he's good, he'll save Rupture for when you jump on him and target the ground he's standing on so you get knocked up. To dodge this, jump on him and immediately keep moving forward or up/down. His on-hit damage is weaker than TTS so don't be afraid to duke it out right at level 1. Be wary of his ultimate; even when building full tank it does a scary amount of true damage. ______________
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Difficulty level: 3/10


Threat level: 5/10

Darius



Darius likes to keep you at arm's length to hit you with his Q blade. If you can dodge it, you take half damage, no Hemorrhage stack, and you deny his heal. Avoiding that blade is 70% of winning this matchup. After he gets 5 stacks on you he becomes a LOT stronger, so short bursts are better than very long duels. If you lose lane dominance, you will get zoned and lose cs. If this happens, make sure to ask your jungler for ganks because Darius has no escapes. ______________
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Difficulty level: 4/10


Threat level: 9/10

Dr. Mundo



Dr. Mundo is a tough opponent in lane because he packs a LOT of damage alongside an ever-growing health bar. To beat him, you have to avoid his cleavers and play around his ultimate carefully. Sit in your own minion waves as much as possible so you have meatshield between you and his cleavers. Keep in mind that he has steroids of his own, so he might straight up outdamage you in a fight if he consistently lands his cleavers. When he pops his ult, think: "Can I kill him within the next two seconds?" If not, let him go and try some other time. If so, make SURE to kill him as fast as possible before he regenerates out of control. ______________
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Difficulty level: 6/10


Threat level: 5/10

Fiora



Play this one carefully. Watch out for Fiora's passive - she'll try to maneuver around you to hit your weak spot. If she's bad, she'll just spam W when you start fighting, in which case you can simply use a regular AA to break it. If she's good, she'll block your knockup and stun you in return. If it looks like she's going to get all 4 parts of her ult, save ignite for when her healing zone appears to reduce its effectiveness. ______________
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Difficulty level: 3/10-9/10


Threat level: 8/10

Fizz



Play this one carefully. He can outdamage you early game with his stupid on-hit W. If you dash to him, he can press E to delay a second while you take minion aggro, and then Q you at point-blank range to escape. He's very annoying and very dangerous, so play safely and look carefully for opportunities to strike.
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Difficulty level: 7/10


Threat level: 9/10

Gangplank



Gangplank is a tactical pokey farmer siege type. That means his all-in is terrible, especially pre-6, so don't be afraid to get up in his face. Force him to choose between consuming his passive on you and using it to farm (much like Caitlyn's passive). Try to contest his barrels, too: your AA-Q reset can knock off two points faster than he might react to. At level 6, don't stand in his ultimate for the entire duration because you'll take a LOT of damage if you do. Pop ignite early to anticipate his heal. ______________
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Difficulty level: 3/10


Threat level: 5/10

Garen



All you have to do to beat Garen early is to pay attention to his ability cooldowns. If he uses Q or E to farm, jump on him immediately. His W can turn trades in his favor, but only good Garens will time it properly and it has a huge cooldown (24 seconds). Try to keep his passive down by trading often, because your sustain comes from fighting and his comes from staying out of the fight. ______________
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Difficulty level: 3/10-6/10


Threat level: 5/10

Gnar



Mini Gnar is annoying, but very squishy. Mega Gnar has more CC and tankyness than you, but less mobility. Try to dodge his Q at early levels, and jump on him at level 2. He'll probably hop away, but not before you can get an E-AA-Q combo off. The best time to engage is right before he turns back to Mini Gnar. ______________
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Difficulty level: 4/10


Threat level: 6/10

Gragas



Gragas is tanky, so he's hard to kill. He also has a lot of poke and trading power. In other words, he's a hard lane opponent. If you use your EQ combo on him, he'll likely dash away with Body Slam, so try to play around that. He can also knock you into his tower with his ult, so watch out for that if your lane is pushed. ______________
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Difficulty level: 7/10


Threat level: 5/10

Heimerdinger



I hate Heimerdinger. You can blow him up easily, but he can also blow YOU up easily and completely zone you out. Once he gets Zhonya's Hourglass you can't really attack him without a magic resist item like Spirit Visage. Don't ask for ganks after level 6 if your jungler is below 60% health or squishy because Heimerdinger will probably get at least 1 kill. ______________
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Difficulty level: 8/10


Threat level: 5/10

Irelia



Play this one carefully. Irelia is tough, but beatable. She has slightly less damage than you, but has similar sustain and tankyness. In order to win you have to take the small things into account like minion aggro, summoner/ult cooldown timers, and whether you have more or less HP than her when you engage. Harass her with Q at levels 1-2 to assert lane dominance. ______________
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Difficulty level: 6/10


Threat level: 5/10

Jarvan IV



Play this one carefully. Jarvan is like Darius; he can outpoke you at level 1 and assert lane dominance, which he can maintain throughout lane phase. He can almost go even with you in trades, but he doesn't have sustain so if you can zone him from the melee minions you can heal back a little health. If you can dodge his EQ combo you'll win the trade. You can also dash to a nearby enemy minion if available to escape Cataclysm. ______________
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Difficulty level: 6/10


Threat level: 6/10

Jax



Jax is supposedly the perfect counter to Xin Zhao. Heh. Jax is designed for extended lategame duels, but Xin excels at short, early brawls.

- Short trades are better than long trades. You can AA + Q (once) while he's last-hitting a minion before he can react with Counterstrike, then back off.

- If he's farming your minions, just start autoattacking him (without Q). If he Counterstrikes, retreat and pull the fight towards your minions. Once he stuns you, proceed to destroy him with QW (save E for escape attempts).

- Counterstrike has a long 16 second cooldown.

- After level 6, start autoattacking him, wait for him to use Counterstrike, then hit a minion and ult him away from you to dodge the stun. Then jump on him with your combo.
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Difficulty level: 4/10-9/10


Threat level: 8/10

Jayce



Jayce is squishy. Try to take as little harass as possible at level 1, then jump on him at level 2 like usual. If he's not a complete idiot, he'll stay in cannon form until you jump on him, then switch to hammer form and knock you away. Depending on his reaction time, you can get 1-2 or maybe even all 3 Q hits off before you get knocked back. Just rinse and repeat this process while dodging his Shock Blast and you'll win the lane. ______________
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Difficulty level: 4/10


Threat level: 5/10

Kayle



To stay on top of Kayle and get all three Q hits off, you must move with her in between your attacks. Of course you should do this with anyone who'll retreat when you jump on them, but it's crucial with Kayle because she'll kite you to death if you don't knock her up. Stay away from your own minions when she's farming them with E to avoid the splash damage. The best time to engage on her is when she has 1-2 seconds left on E (you can click on her and see how much time is left on it on her status bar in the upper left corner). ______________
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Difficulty level: 4/10


Threat level: 5/10

Illaoi



I haven't actually faced Illaoi top yet, but I know how she works. Illaoi is a juggernaut version of Heimerdinger. Do not get close to her tentacles, respect her zone, and don't get baited into doing something foolish. If she misses Test of Spirit, that's a cue to engage on her. Even if she lands it, still engage on her because she'll be damaging you either way and you force her to choose a target (you or the spirit). If possible/convenient, kill any tentacles you see. ______________
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Difficulty level: 8/10


Threat level: 9/10

Lee Sin



Every Lee Sin player I've encountered is almost always cocky and aggressive (kind of like me, heh). The key point is that Xin outdamages Lee Sin at every stage of the game, so fight him whenever he gives you the opportunity. He can Safeguard to a nearby minion, so watch the minion waves to make sure he can't escape that way. Don't get knocked into his tower if he jumps behind you with an Insec move. ______________
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Difficulty level: 3/10


Threat level: 8/10

Lissandra



She'll use W when you dash to her, but as long as you don't take too much Q harass from her you'll win trades with E-AA-Q. Watch out for her burst when she reaches level 6, especially if you're being ganked. If you see her using E to escape, you can ult her or knock her up to cancel it. ______________
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Difficulty level: 4/10


Threat level: 6/10

Malphite



Malphite is another hard counter because of his attack speed slow from Ground Slam. However, it has a pretty short range so he might miss it if you aren't right next to him. He is also NOT tanky early on - the only thing he really has is his passive shield. Consider taking Crystalline Flask, because to win lane you need to repeat short trades over and over. ______________
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Difficulty level: 3/10-9/10


Threat level: 5/10

Maokai



Maokai actually has a decent amount of damage and sustain if played correctly, so don't play recklessly thinking you'll auto-win. It's hard to dodge his sapling explosions, but at least dodge the damage from the initial toss. Other than that, it's the usual: tap him with Q if he gets in AA range, jump on him if he's not sitting in a pile of minions, and assert lane dominance early. ______________
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Difficulty level: 5/10


Threat level: 3/10

Nasus



If you don't kill him at least 1-2 times before he gets his first complete item, Nasus has officially won the lane :/ . He's SO frustrating because you can't just take lane dominance or zone him under his turret, you actually have to force him to recall multiple times via poking (impossible with Xin) or get multiple kills during lane phase to truly shut him down. If you don't, you won't be fed coming out of lane phase and it'll be much harder to snowball midgame, and everyone knows about Nasus's lategame. Wither has a 15 second cooldown at level 1, so try to force him to use it on you w/o using your full combo, then jump on him right as it finishes its duration. ______________
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Difficulty level: 3/10-9/10


Threat level: 4/10

Nidalee



If you can dodge her spears and don't step on her traps, she will NEVER outdamage you unless you do something like engage with less than 25% health (don't do that). She can jump away when you dash to her, but her jump range is short and she'll be slowed so you can usually get another hit or two on her before she jumps a second time. Try not to take too much AA harass at level 1, and you'll be fine. ______________
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Difficulty level: 4/10


Threat level: 7/10

Olaf



Olaf is one of the very few true counters to Xin Zhao. I've played against him several times (after his nerf) and he outdamages, outsustains, outharasses, and outduels Xin Zhao at every stage of the game. PLUS he still outdamages Xin when both of us build tanky because of his passive and true damage. If you're facing an Olaf, try to win a level 1 trade with TTS (don't all-in him, just trade) and try to reach level 2 first. If that doesn't work, play at a respectful distance and hope your jungler is kind enough to gank. ______________
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Difficulty level: 10/10


Threat level: 7/10

Pantheon



Pantheon is another one of Xin's counters. His passive lets him win trades, and he can viciously poke you at level 1 with Spear Shot. This lets him assert lane dominance right from the beginning, so the only way you can get the upper hand is if he makes a big mistake (like getting W or E at level 1, or simply not poking with Q) or if your jungler ganks and nets you a kill. DO NOT feed him. ______________
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Difficulty level: 9/10


Threat level: 9/10

Poppy



Poppy is weak early game and loses every trade and every all-in before level 6. After 6, she has a giant touch-me-not ability which kinda sucks. Try to avoid getting shoved into a wall with Heroic Charge, and don't let her harass you with Staggering Blow without giving her 1-2 taps with Q as well. ______________
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Difficulty level: 3/10


Threat level: 6/10

Quinn



Quinn is really annoying. She has a blind, she has a get out of jail free card (ultimate), and she has a "don't touch me" ability she uses the instant you dash to her. If her blind is on cooldown, use your E-AA-Q combo to damage her a bit before she jumps away. Rinse and repeat. After level 6, you'll have to burst her down FAST before she flies away with her ult. Make sure to explicitly signal that she's missing from lane after 6 because her ult gives her fantastic roaming potential. ______________
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Difficulty level: 7/10


Threat level: 6/10

Renekton



Just like Garen and Lee Sin, watch his abilities and engage after he uses one of them. You can win trades during levels 1-2 so don't be afraid to fight, but from levels 3 and up you have to be wary of his rage bar and only engage when it's low or when he just used an ability. Don't forget his ult is an instant heal, so don't dive him under his turret, etc. ______________
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Difficulty level: 7/10


Threat level: 4/10

Rengar



Rengar has almost the same level of damage and almost the same level of sustain/tankiness, so he almost has a chance to go even with you, but he doesn't. Most Rengars will do silly things like jumping from the brush every chance they get, even to farm minions, so take control of the brush yourself (warding it helps a lot) and zone him out. Your level 1 damage is superior, as is your level 2, and your level 3. After level 6, be careful if he ults to escape, because if you're at 25-30% health he can come back and burst you down quickly. Even if you lose hard and he gets super fed, you can STILL win the game if he goes full AD because with just a little coordination your team can burst him down instantly when he tries to kill someone. ______________
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Difficulty level: 4/10


Threat level: 10/10

Riven



Play this carefully. In order to win this matchup you have to take advantage of every mistake and make none yourself. Focus hard and play smart, and you'll win every time assuming she's not a diamond smurf. Level 1: try to not let her hit you with Broken Wings all three times. You can knock her up during her 3rd cast (while she's in mid-air about to knock you back), which completely cancels it. This is hard to do but definitely possible, and it'll totally win you the trade and make you feel like a boss. Level 2: If she gets her stun second, don't just jump to her because she'll stun you and dash away with Q. If she gets her shield first, then jump to her and stay with her as long as you can, then back off. By this time you'll have complete lane dominance and you can zone her from farming. DO NOT feed her. ______________
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Difficulty level: 3/10-8/10


Threat level: 10/10

Rumble



Rumble is tough if you let him harass you with E and Q, but if you force hard engages often, you'll win lane because you have a better all-in. It's very important to pay attention to his ability cooldowns and hit heat levels. After level 6, watch out for The Equalizer because it deals massive damage if you stay in it. ______________
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Difficulty level: 3/10


Threat level: 5/10

Ryze



Stay behind your minions at first to deny Q poke. Like Kayle, it's important to keep moving between autoattacks forward the instant you dash to him so you can still reach him after he roots you with Rune Prison. Watch the count on his passive, because you don't want to engage right before it pops (he gets a shield and his abilities turn into URF mode). ______________
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Difficulty level: 2/10


Threat level: 6/10

Shen



Shen is a nightmare because he's tanky enough to mitigate your damage enough to win trades. You can still win this though, provided he makes a few mistakes. Shadow Dash has a 16 second cooldown and costs a whopping 100 energy, so if his energy is less than half full engage on him immediately. Don't let him harass you with Ki Strike; force him to use it on minions instead. Don't get close to his turret for any reason if he's hugging it because he can taunt you into it. After 6, try to knock him away or up with R or Q to interrupt his ult channel. If you can't do that, push top like a madman to get a tower or even two. If you're a little ahead, you can also roam the enemy jungle after you knock down the first turret to see if you can assassinate anyone trying to cover top lane. ______________
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Difficulty level: 9/10


Threat level: 4/10

Shyvana



She has a lot of damage and some tankyness, but no sustain or CC so you'll win trades. Just tap her with Q if she gets in melee range and dash to her whenever you please after you reach level 2. ______________
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Difficulty level: 3/10


Threat level: 5/10

Singed



Like Nasus, if you don't kill him early he'll be way too tanky to kill by midgame. Try to avoid his poison as much as possible, do NOT chase him, and if you really want to fight him, save your dash for after he flings you, then jump on him and wail away. It helps to get level 1 boots and Phage early so you can jump to him, then run in front and to his side, so you miss his poison trail. Don't let him Fling you into his tower, and the #1 rule of League of Legends is do NOT under ANY circumstances chase Singed!!! (but of course you already knew that ;) ______________
_________
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Difficulty level: 6/10


Threat level: 4/10

Sion



Sion is so much fun to lane against because you outdamage him in a straight up fight (you can pop his shield instantly), and he's big and slow with no escape pre-6. Do your best to dodge his E and Q, get up in his face, and if he uses his ult to run away, let him go. Keep his passive in mind if you're low on health after killing him. ______________
_________
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Difficulty level: 3/10


Threat level: 5/10

Talon



If you ever see a Talon silly enough to venture into top lane where the big boys duke it out, make sure to remind him that he belongs in mid lane with the other squishy casters. There is no possible way Talon can win this lane unless you somehow make a huge mistake, because he has zero sustain, zero tankiness, a poor all-in, and his poke is weak early and has the same range as Audacious Charge. Turn this guy into swiss cheese every chance you get, because after level 6 he'll run away with his ulti every time you jump on him. If you're really kill-hungry, you can upgrade your trinket to a pink ward for 250g at level 9 to make kills possible, but whether you kill him or not, he won't be deleting anybody until very very lategame where he finally has 4 or 5 items. Keep in mind, though, that if he somehow does get fed, he will TERRORIZE your carries (and you). A fed Talon is one of the worst things to face in the game because he can easily kill someone in less than half a second. ______________
_________ mercy cutthroat
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Difficulty level: lol/10


Threat level: 10/10

Teemo



Every melee top laner hates Teemo with a burning passion, and Xin Zhao is no exception. When fighting, jump to him, auto him once, wait out the blind, then unload all your pent-up hatred on him. Bring lots of red pots to lane so you won't get poked to oblivion, and kindly ask your jungler for ganks when possible. Rush Mercury's Treads and Phage. If you're behind or feel like you're outmatched, you can either try to farm under turret or buy Mobi boots and roam (I usually do the latter). You eventually outscale Teemo, and once you finish Youmuu's Ghostblade you can crush him at any point after lane phase. He wins 1-6 or even 1-9, but you win after that. ______________
_________ camouflage
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Difficulty level: 7/10


Threat level: 5/10

Trundle



I've only faced one top lane Trundle ever, and he was difficult. Trundle has a lot of sustain and his stat-stealing nature lets him win a lot of duels. Only engage on him when his Frozen Domain has just disappeared - you'll have a 7 second window. I've found the best way to deal with him is to build Blade of the Ruined King and Frozen Heart, spam your full E-AA-QW combo, then back off after you knock him up. Rinse and repeat when all your abilities are up again. This way, your burst outdamages Trundle's sustained damage and you have enough CDR and mana to spam it faster than he can regenerate health. ______________
_________
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Difficulty level: 8/10


Threat level: 4/10

Tryndamere



You have to show him who's boss right from the beginning. If he got E at level 1 you'll win a straight up fight, and if he went Q it depends on if he gets a lucky crit or not. Keep minion aggro in mind when you fight him, because you'll be fighting each other often during lane phase. You should be able to win most trades though, and once you get Youmuu's you can burst him down with the active and your ult, which will allow you to tank his damage until he's forced to use his own ult and run away. Just follow him and jump on him with E (use Flash if necessary). If you think he's about to use W, make sure you're facing him so you don't get slowed (try to predict it). Your build is very important here. After your first damage item, build Frozen Heart and Randuin's Omen, because to beat him after level 6 you have to outlast his ultimate, which means building tanky. ______________
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Difficulty level: 4/10


Threat level: 7/10

Vladimir



There's a few champions who just totally shut Vladimir down in lane phase, and Xin is one of them. After you suffer through whatever level 1 harass he sends your way, jump on him and start attacking. When he uses Sanguine Pool do your best to stick with him and keep Q active (hit a minion if necessary) so you can knock him up after he comes back up. Lategame he'll outscale you and be quite tanky, so you won't be able to walk all over him then. Get Phage first. ______________
_________
______________



Difficulty level: lol/10


Threat level: 4/10

Volibear



Volibear is really tough. Most of them start with W at level 1, which gives him good dueling power. Trade blows at level 1, but back off once you knock him up. Once you reach level 2 you have two options: if you have slightly less health you can get W second and pop his passive (back off after you knock him up) so that he's at ~40% health or so. Kill him with ignite and flash if necessary when Q comes back up, or just wait for level 3. If on the other hand you're feeling confident and you know you can survive, get E at level 2 and go ham. Ignite him as he reaches 30% health to mitigate his healing, and blow everything you have if necessary to secure the kill. ______________
_________
______________



Difficulty level: 8/10


Threat level: 5/10

Warwick



Warwick top is easy. He outsustains you a little, but you outdamage him by a wide margin so you'll win trades. Just jump on him at level 2 and wail away. He'll have to use Q to heal up, which is mana intensive, or else recall constantly, or simply die. Don't tower dive him after level 6 if his ult is up, and make sure to keep wards out when his ult is up because it's a perfect setup for a gank. ______________
_________
______________



Difficulty level: 2/10


Threat level: 6/10

Wukong



Wukong relies on deception to survive. Play smart and don't be fooled, and you'll win. He has a great EQW combo that's supposed to deny retaliation, but you know better. If he jumps on you, attack him till you see him "freeze", then walk forwards and jump on the real monkey once he leaves stealth (it only lasts 1.5 seconds). If he plays passively, do basically the same thing. Jump on him and he'll use Decoy, but he'll be slowed so he can't get far. Decoy also has an 18 second cooldown, so it's not always available. ______________
_________
______________



Difficulty level: 4/10


Threat level: 6/10

Xin Zhao



I hate mirror matchups. Try to be the first one to start the fight at level 1, because if you land your knockup first you can walk away and he has no way to catch up to you (yet). You MUST get level 2 first. If you want to go ham, get E at level 2 and do your thing. If you want to play with your food, get W at level 2 and beg him to jump on you with Q and E (you'll win). If you're ahead, you can wipe the floor with him because Xin doesn't really have an escape, but if you get behind you have to play super passively, which sucks. ______________
_________
______________



Difficulty level: ??/10


Threat level: ??/10

Yasuo



Yasuo is like Talon - he needs to put his big boy pants on before he can survive top lane. Everything in your kit counters everything in his kit, because you aren't a squishy mage who's countered by Wind Wall or mobility, you have sustain, and you can completely wreck his face whenever he comes within dash range. Just don't take 3-4 unanswered pokes from his Q during level 1 and you'll be fine. ______________
_________
______________



Difficulty level: lol/10


Threat level: 7/10

Yorick



Yorick is annoying to play against, but you have just enough damage, sustain, and tankyness to survive a duel. Try to take as little damage as possible from his ghouls during level 1 and 2, and once you reach 2 then jump on him and wail away. Make sure to engage on him when one of his ghouls is about to die, since you'll have a 5 second window before he can use it again. ______________
_________
______________



Difficulty level: 2/10


Threat level: 4/10

Zac



I've never won a lane against Zac, but it's probably just because I played poorly each time. He's really hard to kill, but if you want to try, then make sure to contest each blob to deny his sustain. Don't get baited into diving under his turret because his passive will revive him. If you don't want to kill him early, then just get a Bilgewater Cutlass, Spectre's Cowl, and Boots of Mobility. Trade blows with him when appropriate, but otherwise just farm up and roam for kills when possible. ______________
_________
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Difficulty level: 7/10


Threat level: 3/10

Zed



Zed should be a squishy assassin caster like Talon and Yasuo, but the big difference is that he actually DID put his big boy pants on. You still outdamage/outsustain him in straight up fights, but his advantage lies in his Q poke and kiting with W. As long as you don't make poor trades and take too much harass you'll win. Build at least one attack speed item in addition to Youmuu's Ghostblade so that you can quickly burst him down whenever he ults someone. ______________
_________
______________



Difficulty level: 5/10


Threat level: 8/10


Guide Top

Credits/Changelog

Thanks for reading my guide! Feel free to leave any feedback or comments in the discussion below. If this guide was useful or helpful, I'd really appreciate an upvote or a +rep!

Big thanks to jhoijhoi for her Making a Guide guide.

Thanks to Kevin Crosby (oooStoneooo) for patiently helping me with one of the combo videos (and putting up with me taking all the kills when we play together ;).

Thanks to Emikadon and utopus for their insightful reviews.

I will always be updating this guide and adding more content periodically.

10/20/15: 100,000 views! When I first published this guide I was hoping for 10k. Wow.

4/1/16: 1,000,000 views! (Actually not a joke, despite the date.) This is absurd O_o

Up next: Massive summer update. Expect some artwork, custom headers/TOC, lots of in-game pictures, GIFs, videos, and pretty much every section to be revamped to some degree.