Xin Zhao Build Guide by freestyle118

Not Updated For Current Season

This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.

League of Legends Build Guide Author freestyle118

Instant Xin Zhao Carry (5v5)

freestyle118 Last updated on December 24, 2011
Like Build on Facebook Tweet This Build Share This Build on Reddit

Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
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.



Offense: 21

Honor Guard

Defense: 9

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 0

Guide Top


Thanks to Searz for the awesome guide format! You can find it here.

I've been playing Xin ever since I have bought him at level 12. Over the games I have played I learned that he is a very versatile and quick character that can move around the map, giving you the ability to roam well. In this guide I will go over how this roaming can impact your gameplay and how you can successfully build your strength up ingame and win.

The main key to playing well with Xin is moving around. You can not stay in the same lane the whole game, you will miss out on several opportunities that could potentially change the game. This will also mean that you have to be constantly aware of your surroundings. Use the brush to your advantage, the walls, and the entire zones.

This build is a little different that the others because you will be taking most of the damage in your lane and also putting out the most damage while your friend/ally will stand back behind you and help out. It is best advised to do this with a ranged DPS in your lane but it is also possible with a tank + melee.

Guide Top


Xin Zhao has several unique abilities that really make him different from other champions and a lot of these abilities are amazing counters to most champions out there.

Tireless Warrior

Throughout the game, this passive will give you the opportunity to replenish your health and especially early game, this passive will allow you to stay in lane longer. The longer you farm the better. Since this ability procs on every 3rd hit, it fits well with last hitting. Just distribute your hits and watch your surrounding, this way you can slowly regain enough health so you aren't in danger in your lane.

Three Talon Strike]

This ability is a very good CC, as it will knock up the target on the third hit. Use this ability to your advantage, remember that 3rd hit CCs so if you just need the 3rd hit, use 2 on minions + and you have the enemy CCd, to buy enough time for your allies to take them down or to get away. This can be a very offensive ability but also a very defensive ability, determined by how you use it.

Audacious Charge

This ability is probably the best of Xins abilities. This will be your only gap closer (other than or ) that will allow you to easily reach your enemy or to get out of your enemies reach. Offensively, this ability will allow you to charge your enemy through walls, through forest, etc. This is very useful because you can flank the enemy and catch them off-guard. Use your together with this ability to burst down the enemy.

Crescent Sweep

This is a very good ability in teamfights. Together with you can easily get in the middle of the enemy clump and unleash this massive damage dealing ability and easily reduce the enemy to scraps. Great opener and great burst damage in 1v1 scenario.

Guide Top


Main Rune Set-up

Greater Mark of Strength

Simply increases damage output early game, this allows you to harass the enemy quite early on. In my opinion this is the best rune for Xin early on due to his gap closer and then just auto-attack. Easy rinse and repeat early on allows you to keep your enemy from farming, the added AD from the runes makes this more effective. You could if you want replace these runes with ArP runes, however I have tested it and the most viable right now is about 10 ArP from Quint + the 10% from the tree.

Greater Seal of Strength

More AD for added harass in early game. The most important time for Xin is early game because this will determine whether you will have a good or bad late game. By farming well and keeping the enemy from creeping, this allows you to gain an advantage. The added AD early game is a benefit since it gives you that added strength to keep harassing your enemy until you purchase your first AD item.
Greater Glyph of Warding

Very good defensive Glyph for that extra MR for early game. Will give you a nice advantage over casters + AP in the early stages of the game. Purely a defensive rune, in my opinion the best glyph for Xin atm. Why not CD reduction? Because of proc which reduces CD per hit + most of the time you will be running around with blue + red buff. CD are your least of worries if you have a proper rotation when initiating a fight.

Greater Quintessence of Desolation Greater Quintessence of Desolation

Standard rune for Xin, ArP is key to taking down most Melee characters + supports and tanks. The 10 ArP allows for optimized damage output early game which is quite self-explanatory.

Guide Top

Skill Sequence

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Simple Sequence for abilities.

should be maxed out last. This ability doesn't scale as
much through the levels and therefore it is strategically better to take maxed out first, then and lastly this. This is your CC but since it doesn't scale well, it is good at level 1 for until late game.

maxed out as soon as possible will allow for high damage dealing ability since it scales well and is maxed at about 200 magic damage. This will be your standard opener.

should be maxed at level 17, will provide your attack speed, good to get 1 level before level 6 and that should sustain you until you get a few speed items later on.

should be maxed at the standard 6,11,16. This is your teamfight opener together with .

Guide Top


Displayed above.


Classic DPS tree, the 10% ArP + The 10% Crit bonus as well as the 1.5% dmg increase from Havoc.
Made so tankier earlier on in the game with the added MR and Armor from the Defensive tree + the health regen.

Guide Top


Starting items

Works well with the passive, in early game, build into boots.
The 15% attack speed is my preferred option in opening a game, since the small boost allows for more hits when harassing the enemy and easier farming.

Health Potion
Open with 1 potion, will do most of the healing early on but
better to be safe than sorry! Good to have a backup plan because ganks now are very hard hitting since jungle got nerfed early on in the game.

Boots of Speed
If you want that extra mobility early on, boots are the best option.

Health Potion
Boots and 3 potions, makes up for with dagger and is better with the mobility. Both set-ups build into the boots you need which is good early game..


Build items of Choice

The Black Cleaver
The stacking ArP Debuff + the 30% speed is very beneficial to Xin early on. This will allow you to get in more hits + the stacking debuff will allow you to do more dps over time to the target. Hit 2 birds with one stone.

The Bloodthirster
Good secondary item. When well farmed, this item is one of the strongest melee weapons out there for classic. The Lifesteal will also provide more survivability for the endgame as the enemy players will most likely be focusing you since you will be doing most of the damage. This will let you survive a bit longer + replenish health on minion waves faster than .

Phantom Dancer
It is always good for Xin to get some Crit and Attack speed in the game. This will allow you to crit more when you get your and the extra movement speed from the item will allow you to roam more effectively. Always get 1 good attack speed item for Xin and it will be enough together with the passive , masteries and and you will end up somewhere around 1.7-1.9.

Infinity Edge
This will be a very late-game item, providing that bonus crit damage and allowing you to nuke down enemy players more effectively. Combined with the attack speed you've achieved (1.8ish) and the crit you should have (around 50%) this item will serve as the combiner, taking all your stats and creating a powerful beast out of Xin. Rarely will you get to a phase in the game (very lategame) where you will buy this weapon but when you do it is very effective.

Other viable options for items

Frozen Mallet
If the enemy has a lot of mobility and you find that and are not enough to close the gap, then get a Mallet for the slow. This will easily provide the necessary slow that will allow you to reach your target.

Enemy is dealing tons of damage? No problem, get a thornmail. Very effective lategame since most enemies will be focusing down you (as the main damage dealer). The damage returned could turn the game back in your favor if you are down. Always a good defensive option.

Wriggle's Lantern
Very nice item if you like the extra lifesteal and free wards. Although I am not a fan of this, it is very useful in terms of roaming quite lategame. I only suggest taking this item when you are jungling (standard).

Atma's Impaler
Very effective when paired with Warmogs, *ATMOGS* used to be quite good on Xin in terms of survivablity and damage output. However I prefer not to do this since it is a rather shady build and can be only done in certain circumstances. It is viable with the nice 18% crit bonus + the armor, but there are items out there that outmatch the usefulness of this tanky item.

Guide Top

Summoner Spells

These are the most viable summoner spells for Xin Zhao at the moment. They provide the gap closing and mobility for him as addition to his and his CC.

Gap closer + good defensive spell. Allows you to get away from situations when it gets sticky and allows you to capitalize when a opponent is out of place.

My favorite combination when an opponent is out of place (1v1 situation) is

> > > > > and if they are still alive after that, no worries is off CD.

Very nice spell now given it scales by level. Use it during those situations when the opponent just gets away with fraction of HP, happens many times if Flash + are on CD, therefore this is viable in finishing the opponent. The bonus AD and AP from the CD are also very nice early on in the game.

Very nice to move around the map quickly, works well if you have brushes warded and allows you to catch your opponents offguard. This is a very OP spell and I am rather confused why no one uses it well. IF you ward well and use this, you can set up very nice ganks. Also allows you to reach certain areas quickly if need be. One of my favorite set-ups when working with a team.

Probably my least favorite summoner spell for Xin due to the fact that it is not quite as good a gap closer. The debuffs are very nice but it doesn't last long enough to get away in certain situations. It is a good slow + gap closer but probably the last I would choose.

Guide Top


Laning set-up:

    Works well with Ranged AD + AP champs

    Better to work in pair rather than Solo since CC + Gapclosing abilities

    Farming is important more lategame but it is good to lasthit + keep the minion
    wave in the middle and not to overextend yourself.

When you are laning it is important that you must pay attention to your surroundings. Use the brush to your advantage and use the walls and obstacles on the map. Remember that Xin is a very mobile champion and does well with planned ganks with his built in CCs + Gap closers.

Coordinating a gank can easily lead to clear advantages over the enemies since through the proper use of Teleport with Wards, etc (Shaco Boxes) you can catch your opponents out of position.

Use your allies as your clear ability. Communicate frequently, observe the playstyle of your opponent and then make your move. If you are laning it is important that you sometimes work your way up and gank mid. Since Mid will be your AP Carry, it is important that they get as much as gold as possible. Your main purpose will be to coordinate the team and roam frequently, picking off those who are out of position.

Guide Top


This is where your role will be very important.

In teamfights it is important that you open with your most damage dealing ability.


With this combo, you will be able to do a short burst of damage to the enemy and take about
20-30% of their health down in the mean time. By initiating the fight, this allows your team to follow and pick off those who are offguard and are not aware of what is happening. Xins ultimate is a very unique and useful one, make sure you use it in teamfights.

2v2 Scenario.

In a 2v2 scenario it is important to coordinate with your ally who you are going to focus and who you will CC. CC may include, knock up with or to throw an on them. Always pick the champion with least mobility yet whichever one is also the most squishy.

For example. Vayne + Katarina VS Xin Zhao and Ezrael.

In this scenario you would open on Katarina, CC Vayne and focus Kata and then Vayne. Why?

Vayne has a lot of mobility and evasive abilities and therefore could easily get away should you focus her. Katarina on the otherhand only has one and it requires a allied target to blink away (could be enemy too). Therefore if you watch the minion wave and initiate with the enemy minion wave far away, Katarina can't get away and you have yourself 2 easy kills.

There is a lot of concentration involved regarding watching the minion waves and who to CC but over the time it becomes easier and you can make decisions fast. The faster you can process information in a shorter amount of time, the better you will do in your games.

2v1 Scenario.

If you are solo laning or just on your own for the moment, play defensive but don't turtle. Turtling will only result in the enemy slowly breaking you down and eventually they will tower dive you so it is not advised. What you should do in such a situation is keep the minion wave where it is, last hit the enemy minions and make sure you are ahead of it. If you get behind and they start coming to your turret, this gives your enemy the opportunity to dive you.

3v2 Scenario.

Same as above, play defensive and keep the minions back. Make sure you don't go out of position or the enemy will catch you offguard. Keep together and just wait for an opportunity to initiate and retreat. Hit and Run tactic works very well here, harassing the enemy and breaking them down. The main idea here is to look for the flaw in the enemy set-up and to take advantage of it. Be patient, it won't come instantly, sometimes you have to wait for what you want but when the opportunity is clear, take it and capitalize on it.

Other Scenarios.

Most of the time just look at the situation and use common sense. If you are outnumbered, 5 to 2, then it would be wise to back out. Never ever go alone in late game. This is where most teams crumble as the enemy will just pick you off one by one. Working together as a team you combine your forces and are able to do more damage. Don't think you can solo 5 enemies unless you have over 1000 AD, (never going to happen unless you have some support). I have never ever seen it done, 1 Xin vs 5 enemies and I congratulate whoever has done it but for the most part, work as a team.

Guide Top

Summary (Overview)

As Xin Zhao your role will be to move around and to take down those enemies who are vulnarable. Capitalize on the mistakes of your enemies and you will for sure benefit from them. Be aware of the environment you are in, what champions you are facing, use your surroundings too, be aware of any ganks and capitalize on the effectiveness of wards. They might be underrated but they prevent ganks and can create ganks to when used effectively with .

Your role as initiator in team fights and damage dealer will allow you to control your team. Do it more effectively and you will succeed faster. Catch your enemies offguard!

To conclude, here are some quotes from one of my favorite generals + author of "The Art of War"

Be extremely subtle, even to the point of formlessness. Be extremely mysterious, even to the point of soundlessness. Thereby you can be the director of the opponent's fate. - SUN TZU

He who is prudent and lies in wait for an enemy who is not, will be victorious - SUN TZU

Guide Top


12/24/2011 - edited Glyphs description (MR)
12/24/2011 - Changed Glyphs to MR
12/24/2011 - Made minor change to items (Wriggle Lantern's Name)