Xin Zhao Build Guide by BelialKnight
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Asian Warrior build
Xin Zhao Build
My name is BelialKnight - a.k.a the Gondolindrim - and this is my very first guide. Here I will talk about Xin Zhao (pronounced "zin zao" or "zin txao"), the Seneschal of Demacia.
Why did I write this guide, in the first place? Well, there are many excellent guides on Xin - for instance, rayqzah's and BlasiuS' are great. But by reading their guides, I feel like I have a very different opinion about the champion (for example, I feel like Xin's 1v1 potential is immense in early game), and I also wanted to contribute to the MOBAFire community myself.
In this guide I will talk mainly about 3 approaches:
All three of them are deadly, but each has its own particularities and tricks. I will also write a little discussion about the hybrid build, with which I have achieved good results but not as good as those other 3 aforementioned. So yes, this is going to be a huge guide.
Since this is supposed to be a complete guide, I will also point stuff that matters to the general player, not only when playing Xin. If your objective here is to learn solely about the champion, feel free to just jump over these parts - there are resumed paragraphs so you can have a quick learning.
Paraphrasing H4xDefender, I don't claim to be the best player around, I don't know everything about this game: so you are welcome to give feedback (it's very much appreciated). Knowledge is not constructed by oneself, after all; it's OK if you want to criticize my guide or my experience, and I am totally fine with it - as long as you are not a complete jerk.
Also, much time and effort was given in this guide, so it would be really kind and supportive to upvote it; please do if it was helpful to you in any way.
My story with videogames is long (just so you can picture the idea: I did play a recently-released ATARI and a recently-released NES). I have played the precursor of League of Legends, the legendary DoTA mod since its first release on Warcraft III: Frozen Throne.
As for LoL, I have been playing it since version 1.0.(something), dating to 2010. I have witnessed the whole League competitive scene rise and transform into what it is today - and man it was beautiful. I saw the releases of champions like Lux, Irelia, Alkali, even Xin Zhao himself, their reworks, their ups and downs. Good ol' days, son xD
Nevertheless, I am not a high-ELO player; I am a brazilian Electronics Engineering student (finishing graduation at the moment) and teacher, and as such I can't afford to play full-time. I have, for example, lost League Points many times due to being inactive. So you may ask: why the heck should I not imagine you are just another HUEHUEHUEBRBR making a cr*ppy guide? Well... All I can do is ask for you to trust that I am an experienced (and more-than-averagely skilled) player, and that I want to help you with my experience.
Nowadays I'm a silver II player in the brazilian server (tier I achieved in a weekend playing non-stop). Being such low-ELO, I know can't claim this to be the best or the ultimate guide on Xin or in any champ I may ever write a guide on.
Xin Zhao is a great champion overall. He has sustain, high early and late-game damage output, and his natural tankiness allows him to soak up lots of damage while destroying the enemy carry. What I personally like about him is his versatility: being able to build three ways, combined with a non-linear, flexible gameplay can make for some sick plays and lots of fun. And that versatility makes him an almost non-counterable champion.
Sure, there are champions whose set of skills (also known as "skill set" or just "kit") makes them easier to play against our asian warrior (like Jax and Udyr). But let's make one thing clear: "counters" are just a scary word; the only true counter is skill. A skilled player counters a not-so-skilled player, period. Each champion has pros and cons; a skilled player knows how to make good use of his champion's advantages (and mitigate his cons) while exploiting his opponent's disadvantages (and making his advantages irrelevant).
Also have in mind that this is a team-based game: a huge advantage is to be gained from team work. If you are feeling a little overpressured, have your jungler pay you a visit, or even the mid laner. If you feel like giving a hand, gank their lanes or help them take a tower down - especially because Xin absolutely destroys towers when activating Three Talon Strike and Battle Cry. Also, teamwork - as in combining skills and character abilities - is the heart of modern gaming. Be helpful and friendly. It enhances your experience, as well as others'.
I have just given you a "strategy-101".
Now, to the champion's pros and cons.
--> Xin has amazing sustain, due to Battle Cry's passive. That means a more secure laning phase (in top or mid lanes) and a almost-full health jungle clearing, giving him an astounding early-gank possibility. This is a huge pro about Xin, as many strong top laners (such as Riven or Mordekaiser) have little to no sustain at all, making them weak in the long run. Also many junglers (like Rengar) don't have early-gank capabilities - some of them (like Master Yi) can only gank effectively after having enabled his or her ultimate, around levels 6 or 7;
--> Xin's passive, Challenge, greatly reduces the armor of your opponent (by 15% for three seconds). This is ludicrously effective against tanks - they will be your laning opponents in most cases. This passive also contributes to transforming you in a top-notch assassin, and not only that: the armor reduction is valid for your whole team as well, making squishy targets an easy prey and making tanks innefective;
--> High-output damage dealer all throughout the game. This is important since a lot of champions (like Darius) loose their effectiveness in the mid to late game. There are also those champions that shine in the late game, but can be easily punished in the early game (like Nasus). Although Xin does not have a excellent early or late game, he is really decent through the whole game;
--> Innate tankiness, making him bulky enough to soak up surprisingly high amounts of damage;
--> He can concentrate damage in a fairly little instant of time, skyrocketing his Damage per Second* (most commonly denoted as DPS). That makes him a skilled assassin who can easily shut squishy priority targets down (such as the AD Carry*);
--> Being versatile and able to take many approaches, he is flexible to the point he sinergizes well with virtually any team composition. That is mainly due to his group Crowd Control* (also known as CC) given in Audacious Charge. Then we have his ultimate, Crescent Sweep, which can easily isolate carries and turn teamfights; it can also pull an insec-like* move towards a tower and surprise the enemy team. So not is he only a good solo-queue pick, but he also brings a lot of team-wise utility .
Imagine this is me screaming inside your head: "WARD, WARD, WARD!"
--> Xin's tankiness is not so proeminent in early game, making you a easy kill for lane bullies like Renekton and Fiora. I will talk about how to deal with these guys in the matchups below. For now, you should know that, if you are laning against one of them, retreat a little bit, play safe and wait until you are a little tankier and stronger (or until the jungler comes to gank your lane) to get aggressive;
--> Being a melee AA-based champion, Xin is greatly punished by ranged champions (take, for instance, Teemo, widely known to be the Son of Satan). The secret to deal with those guys lies in your gap-closer ( Audacious Charge). You can't just go all guns blazing on them, though - there is a specific timing on when to charge, like in a gank or when they use their main spell to farm. Beware that bad timing may cost you a death or two. Please read the matchups below for details on how to deal with them;
--> Also consequence of him being melee AA-based is the fact that Xin is also terribly shut down by CC. So the conclusion is: he has a "go in or die" gameplay style (that's manly as hell, I'll give you that xD). His charges and his DPS make him deadly, but timing is essential - as said before, you can't just go full Rambo (or full Jackie Chan, if you prefer) - on your opponent, as you will probably be killed. And, if you do go, be very aware that you can't easily come back;
--> Although having a charge, Xin does not have a escape mecanism per se, making him highly vulnerable to ganks and traps. There are certain situations when Audacious Charge can be used as a dash-like mechanism (pretty much like Graves' or Lucian's dashes), but there needs to be a targetable enemy (be it a neutral monster or enemy minion), and that is not something we can rely on to be there 100% of the time. What you can do is ward, so you can clearly see the eventual smart-a*s trying to gank you. I can't stress this enough.
Warding is a very important strategy and can save games if done correctly. Having map vision is essential to launch preemptive moves as well as predicting the enemy's.
So let's say: worst-case scenario is your lane is pushed and the enemy mid laner is missing in action (long for "MIA"), probably coming for you; and not only that, you are below 50% health. Then don't even think about tower diving you opponent. In fact, if your river bush is not warded, retreat a little bit. Before pushing your lane or making some risky moves, be sure that you are fully aware of the enemy team positioning - and that there is space enough for you to do said moves.
Best-case scenario: you are laning against a squishy Riven that is below 10% health and you are almost full HP; also, the enemy jungler just left bot lane and the enemy mid laner just went back to his base or is actually in his lane. You know, I know, everybody knows that Riven can pull some pretty sick plays under tower and beautifully outplay you - and again, you know that - but you want that kill gold, not to mention the lane dominance you are going to get from it. Or you can be like meh, you wanna do it COZ YOLO, you wanna do it FOR THE LULZ. Then go ahead. And please, if you die, don't blame it on the lag :P
--> Abuse your sustain. Often between trades you will want to auto attack minions to regain lots of health back;
--> Playing Xin is a matter of timing and strategy. Since you are a little bit squishy early game, but can still deploy high amounts of damage, wait for the perfect opportunity to crush your opponent. Be patient. Patience is a virtue of the strong (this quote is actually Sun Tzu's);
--> Know your opponent, and where he is. A huge part of playing this game is based on knowing the enemy's capabilities and flaws, - in one hand, mitigating their advantages, and, on the other, tearing their disdvantages apart. Also you should develop some experience on right positioning and opportunity-seeking. As we will see in his skill-set, Xin Zhao is a great teamfight initiator, and to properly do that, we need to analyse and exploit opportunities;
--> Ward. BUY WARDS. NEVER AGAIN SAY THEY ARE A WASTE OF GOLD. I DARE YOU, MOTHERF*CKER. I DOUBLE DARE YOU. A well-placed ward can do miracles for you. Also remember to upgrade your trinkets as soon as you get level 9;
--> Develop map awareness. Start by constantly looking at the minimap and taking a little look at the other lanes, how are they doing, if they are losing or winning their respective lanes. For instance, let's say your bot lane is comprised of an Ashe and a Braum, and the enemy bot lane is composed of a Vayne and a Thresh. Not surprisingly, your lane is losing and Vayne is fed - since Vayne and Thresh are immensely powerful together. Then start building armor and health to counter Vayne when she becomes a late game monster - and she is going to. Also pay attention the the enemy jungler's moves: if he just left mid lane and got out by the top side, ward your river bush and keep your eyes open.
--> Help your teammates and be friendly. Cooperation is a great way to turn the table at your favor, be it in a 2v2 gank or a full 5v5 teamfight.
Now, let's analyse Xin's abilities, one by one.
Xin Zhao's passive is a great one. Dealing damage to a champion will challenge him, reducing his armor by a percentage for 3 seconds. This is a great debuff in both 1v1 dueling and teamfight, since it reduces your opponent's armor so your whole team deals amplified damage to him. No special mechanics to talk about here, only that you can challenge only one target at a given moment.
Does this passive make a huge difference? Please see the spoiler below for the detailed math.
Xin Zhao's passive damage quantified
This ability adds a fixed amount of damage, plus a ratio of your Attack Damage, to the three AA's subsequent to the activation. Plus, at the third one, the enemy goes airborne. And that's just not it: every one of the enhanced AA's reduce the Cooldown ("CD") on every other ability you have by one second. Not only is this a nice addition to your damage output, it CC's the enemy in a chase, for example; and it greatly diminishes the CD of your ultimate if you spam it.
A BIG consideration to make about this one is: try to never start your combos with it, as by doing so you will take full advantage of the Cooldown Reduction (aka "CDR"). Also, if you feel like you need your ultimate back faster, spam it on minions or monsters to reduce that CD.
A HUGE consideration to make about this ability is: Yasuo's ultimate can be activated when you knock a target up with Three Talon Strike. So if your mid laner Yasuo is coming to gank your lane, be sure he knows this combo, as it can probably secure a kill.
"WARD! WARD! WARD!"
W: Battle Cry
What an amazing ability to have, ladies and gentlemen.
It's active is insane: it's an Attack Speed steroid that, at the fisrt level, gives you 40% AS, and at the last one, gives you 80% (yeah, that's right, it almost doubles your Attack Speed).
It's passive is even more insane: at every three Autoattacks you deliver, it heals you by a fixed amout, plus half your Ability Power. See why the AP Xin Build is so nice? Say you have 100 AP. So it heals you for 100 health every three AA's. It's just absurd.
Please note that the passive healing does not depend on the target's nature - meaning you get healed even if you attack towers. That's why AP Xin Zhao is called "Tower Destroyer", as he can tank tons of tower damage while destroying it.
In lane, abuse this passive by autoattacking a lot of minions; in a duel or teamfight, activating it's active is a no-brainer. Also, in most cases, this is going to be your first ability.
Again, no special mechanics involved. Activate it to boost damage. Autoattack a lot.
Behold the asian version of Scorpion's "GET OVER HERE!"
Another great ability. It's basically a gap closer, and it's going to be the initiator to most ganks or teamfights you will have. It also slows the target by a really decent amout for two seconds.
Also, it delivers some damage that is pretty meh at early levels, but is considerable if maxed. It also scales with AP (60% of it), making it a GREAT explosion of damage in the AP build.
If you are jungling, putting some early points to it can make ganks easier, since Cooldown is reduced, also the damage it does and the slow it applies increase significantly. If you are top lane, you will usually take it at level 2 or 3 but level it again after 6. If you are AP, this is going to be your main source of damage, so it's going to be your main spell. If you are chasing someone, use Audacious Charge to stick longer to them.
I know it is tempting, but try not to start teamfights or ganks with this dash. Why? Because the enemy laner being ganked is probably going to use his escape mechanism, like a dash, or a Move Speed steroid, or even Flash - and that's when you strike. This way you lower the possibilites of him leaving alive.
Nevertheless, if you are ganking a ranged champion and feel like there is no other way to get to him, then use it to close that gap.
Also, please note that this ability's mana cost is pretty high, so try not to spam it, since doing so will make you a little mana hungry.
Can this be used as a escape? Yes. And no. Probably no.
You see, for this ability to work, there needs to be a targeteable enemy. There are some walls you can trespass with it, if said targeteable enemy is close to said walls. For instance, if you have a ward and happen to be passing down through the top lane, and also Gromp happens to be alive, you ward his place through the wall and Audacious Charge him, passing through that wall. That can be done with Blue and Red buffs too.
If you have your top lane pushed and get ganked, and there are enemy minions behind you, you can charge on any of them to try and escape.
Also, if you want to surprise the enemy, you can Audacious Charge them through some walls - but they need to be really close to it.
Is this mechanism a reliable escape? Absolutely not. So if you happen to need a through-wall dash, ward Blue or Gromp and pray he is there. But don`t count on it.
Below is a video of Xin Zhao insec-ing the blue and going through a wall. Beautiful play.
I call this ability "The Ex-Girlfriend", because everytime I use it I can hear the words "GET AWAY FROM ME!"
I hope you can see the beauty this is just like I do. It has so many uses.
I get a raging b*ner everytime I use it.
When you activate it, all non- Challenged enemies get knocked back and stunned by 0.75 seconds, dealing 15% of their current health (please note the word "current"). Also, for every stroke enemy, Xin gets a fixed amount of Magic Resistance and Armor. Challenged enemies also get the damage, but don't get knocked back.
It basically turns you into a monster (at the last level, if you strike the whole enemy team, you get 125 MR and AR), while dealing really decent damage and isolating a partiular target, by knocking back non-Challenged enemies.
This is a great teamfight initiator. Oh, do you want to finish off that squishy ADC? No problem. Dive into the enemy team by using Audacious Charge on their ADC, use your ultimate - isolating said ADC - then activate Battle Cry and Three Talon Strike.
Is this suicidal, even getting a whole lot tankier? Yes it is.
Are you probably going to get killed for being a kamikaze? Yes you probably are.
But I can't count how many teamfights I had my team win by using that tactic.
Always try to start your combo with this, because it deals damage based on the target's current health - so low HP targets will receive less damage. It's kind of the opposite of a finishing move.
It can also be used to disengage. Imagine you are being chased by an rampant angry Darius craving to crush you with his monstruous ultimate. Wait until he flashes on to you and ult him, proceeding to run away. This can be really frustrating. (I am not responsible for any reports, bans or flaming you eventually get :P).
OK, so now you have two uses for this Ultimate - teamfight initiating and disengaging. But there is another way to use it. A beautiful, rich and clean way to.
So it knocks opponents back, huh... There is another hability that does this! It's Lee Sin's Dragon's Rage, aka "Insec", named after the professional korean player. That hability kicks a enemy target away, and can be used to force him to an unfavorable position - like right under a tower, or right in the middle your whole team. And Xin's Crescent Sweep can do the same trick. Who needs Lee Sin anyway?
Lee Sin's combo is: he shoots you with Sonic Wave, Flashes right behind you (or uses a ward plus his W) and insecs you under his tower, for example. Reactivating his Q will make him jump on to you so he can unleash the rest of his combo. That's exactly what Xin does.
You Flash right behind your opponent, Crescent Sweep him (putting him, for instance, under your tower), then Audacious Charge him; activate Battle Cry and Three Talon Strike, and, if you took Ignite, then freaking ignite the sumovab*tch. Believe me, this combo is jawdropping, and, if done properly, will make you feel like you own the place, screaming "OOOOH THE PLAAAAYS" at the top of your lungs. You will also become a Jedi Master and every girl on the planet will want to be with you (100% legit).
Right below is an example of this combo being done. The player charges to a minion right behind Renekton and ults, putting the opponent in range for Xin and Hecarim attack him, eventually securing the kill. This move probably made it possible for Zhao to attack the tower - or maybe even destroy it.
Building Xin Zhao
This chapter is intended just so you get the big picture about the three build paths on Xin. The subsequent chapters are the full explanations.
So anyways, what makes Xin Zhao a good pick?
At the end of the day, what makes the Seneschal of Demacia special is his sustain (given by Battle Cry's passive). All three ways to build Xin are meant to work around that, leading to basically building lots and lots of Attack Speed, in any of the options.
Also, since this guide is based on my experience, my gameplay style is a dominant factor on the build. Since I main top-lane bruisers, I have a rather aggressive and strategic style. Please note that much thinking was put into the builds. Also I will write down the actual math (for the math freaks like myself) so we can quantify exactly the damage input Xin can take and output Xin can deliver. Therefore, all three builds are meant to have an offensive style. I will point defensive gameplay throughout the guide, but my intention here is to play aggressively.
"Xin Zhao carrying the game? IMPOSSIBRU!"
Ladies and gentlemen, this is officially the best face swap I have ever seen.
Here I will put all the guys who contributed to this guide. Most of them don't even know about it, but it will always be nice to give credit to who deserves it.
H4xDefender - this guy taught me on how to write guides. He has great guides on many champions - I specially like the one about Darius.
jhoijhoi - for his awesome BBCode guide and guide on writing guides. He also has many amazingly succesfull guides, specially Ashes to Ashe's.
LeFreaks - for his hilarious League of Impossibru (link: here) on Deviantart.
Modi Km - for his amazing video on the Xin Zhao's "insec"-move.
PussyCat - for his beautiful video on Xin Zhao insec-ing blue and going through the wall.
I am adding this just for the sake of completeness, nothing special.
12/08/15 - Guide was incompletely published. Also lots of bad words were substituted by a "*****". I can't say bad words in my guide and Graves can't have a cigar (sigh)...