Xin Zhao Build Guide by Constantare

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 Constantare

The Indestructible Xin Zhao

Constantare Last updated on August 9, 2011
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Jungle Xin Zhao

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.


Brute Force
Improved Rally

Offense: 21

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 0

Expanded Mind
Blink of an Eye
Mystical Vision
Presence of the Master

Utility: 9

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Xin Zhao is one of the best champions to run out of the jungle. He is amazing at early ganking, and he is very easy to jungle with because of his passive. The biggest difference between this build and the way I usually seen Xin Zhao played is the defensive oriented off-tank mentality.

Xin Zhao is often built offensively, but I find this build to be much more effective and team oriented. You deal enough damage that you are threatening, and with your abilities you are impossible to ignore.

This champion is one of the best initiators in the game, and this build lets you get in there and disrupt their entire team without blowing up like a starving Tristana. Meanwhile, your carries are sitting on the other teams face and doing all kinds of unpleasantness.

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Summoner Spells

Smite is invaluable to your early jungle game. This will allow you to get buffs early enough to run around ganking lanes and causing all kinds of mayhem.

Ghost fills a lot of roles in this build. You can chase down fleeing enemies and, perhaps more importantly, escape with your life if you get into a situation that you can't handle. Xin Zhao has no real escape mechanism (because his charge doesn't target friendly minons, for whatever reason) and ghost really helps you stay alive when you're in a tight spot.

Other Options
Flash Ignite Cleanse Teleport

I almost never vary from the spells i mentioned before, but these are all viable options in place of ghost.

Some people prefer to flash out of danger than ghost, but I find that ghost is more dynamic. This is really a matter of preference.

Ignite is something that I don't really think fits into this build since you are not really trying to get kills. You want to be causing damage, yes, but you are more there to draw attention to yourself and disrupt the enemy. Ignite can be very nice when ganking early though, so I understand getting it if you are looking for a little more offense early.

Cleanse is one of those spells that is really annoying to the other team. If they are trying to tie you up with cc you can just cleanse and laugh as you walk away. I don't usually run cleanse because I simply don't miss it too much when it is not there.

Teleport can be useful if you find yourself out of position when your team is in trouble. Again, I don't run this because I try to simply not be out of position.

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I go with offensive masteries, because you are still trying to lay out as much damage as possible, and your items will do plenty to keep you alive. You should almost always be buffed early, so I keep the points in utility for that reason.

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Armor Pen = Victory.

Let's be honest, is there anything better than a bunch of armor pen? I don't think so. With your offensive masteries and armor pen marks and quints you are going to be dealing out some pretty solid damage throughout the entire game.

I like having the attack speed seals because it helps you in the jungle. Faster attacks = more times that your passive will heal you. In addition attack speed will make your cooldowns disappear when you activate Battle Cry.

The CDR Glyphs let your spam your abilities in team fights, and this is what you need to be doing with this build. The more often you can activate your Three Talon Strike the better. First of all, it greatly increases your damage output, and secondly you'll be knocking people in the air left and right, greatly disrupting their team play.

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Skill Sequence

This passive is amazing in the jungle. Every three hits you are getting healed. This makes you insane out of the jungle, because you can just roll through the jungle and come out the other side ganking. Your passive is still noticeable later in the game when you are low after team fights. Unlike many characters, you don't have to go back to heal every time. If you win a team fight, you can push their tower and still feel relatively safe.

This is one of those abilities that defines a character: it lends you very solid damage and knocks up the enemy, interrupting channels, etc. This knock up makes you extremely annoying in team fights and gives you enough damage that you can build defensive items and still deal out very solid damage.

This ability is great. It makes you attack faster which makes you heal faster, which makes jungling with Xin Zhao very easy. In addition, when you activate this ability, it lowers the cooldown on all of your other abilities. This is what makes Xin Zhao so viable in team fights: your defensive items are keeping you alive, and your CDR lets you spam Three Talon Strike at everyone on the enemy team.

This ability is part of what makes Xin such a great initiator. You can jump in on their squishy, and start rolling face. This is also part of what makes Xin Zhao so great out of the jungle. You can pop up out of a bush and charge to someone, slowing them until you can pop them up. After that they should be pretty close to dead already.

This is, hands down, what makes Xin Zhao an amazing initiator. Picture this: you jump into the enemy team, and they instantly target you. All of a sudden, you Crescent Sweep and chunk them all for more than 20% of their health. And to top it all off, you are even tankier than you were when you first jumped on them!

I always start out with Battle Cry. With this and your Elixir of Fortitude you can get Blue buff with relative ease. If you have someone leash the big golem for you, jungling will be a cake walk from then on out.

I usually wait until level four to get Audacious Charge, but if you are feeling really confident in your jungling and want to start ganking at level three get it then. After that you want to be maxing out Battle Cry and Three Talon Strike as soon as possible. I have the skill sequence set up to give you maxed out Battle Cry first, but if you want a little more damage mid game you can get another point in Three Talon Strike at level 10 instead.

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I always start out with an Elixir of Fortitude and six Health Potion. This is plenty for you to run through the jungle and come out the other side with enough health for an early gank.

The first thing you want to go back for is Madred's Razors. This item is invaluable to any jungler because of its passive, but the armor and attack damage are nice as well. Boots of Speed come next, then rush Wriggle's Lantern. This is one of the best items for Xin Zhao because it gives you everything you need to be a threat out of the jungle. In addition, it gives you a free ward every three minutes. With this item, you can solo dragon, ward it, and come back and get it again as soon as it is back up. I can't tell you how many times I have turned around a game because of dominating control of dragon.

I almost always go with Berserker's for boots because the attack speed helps with both my cooldowns and my life steal. This is a great item for Xin Zhao. If you feel like the other team is CCing you to death, you can always get Mercury Treads but I think Greaves are the way to go most of the time.

Once you get a Giant's Belt you are a lot more durable. This is when you can start changing your play style from ganking and assassinating to being more of a team fight initiator. You can withstand a few hits from pretty much anyone, and it'll keep you alive long enough to get off your combo.

Zeal is great for its movement and attack speed. Both of these stats are great for Xin Zhao.

At this point you want to upgrade your Giant's Belt to get Warmog's Armor. This is the first truly tanky item you are going to get, and it gives you massive survivability.

Movement speed, massive MR and health regen? What's not to like? Once you get this item you are going to be very, very hard to kill. AP champs will have to waste entire combos on you, and then your squishy carries will blow them up. Be aware of what the other team is doing though. If the only AP champion they have on the other team is an 0/7 Annie switch this up for one of the alternate items.

You've got that Zeal sitting in your inventory, and you should probably upgrade that. You will be almost impossible to outrun at this point, and you will be attacking fast enough that your abilities will be extremely spammable.

You are now sufficiently tanky, and its time to start dealing out some major damage. I like The Black Cleaver because its cheaper than any of the other B.F. Sword items, and the armor pen is amazing and will stack with your runes.

Alternate Items

You have to remember that some of these items are situational, especially the Force of Nature. If you find you are facing a team without good AP and they are being carried by a champion like Tryndamere, you can switch that out for Randuin's Omen. This is still one of my favorite items in the game because of its unique passive and active abilities. This will go a long way to keeping you alive, and will really annoy champs that rely on attack speed.

If it is a really long game and you need more damage, I like to trade in my Wriggle's Lantern for The Bloodthirster. This weapon gives you amazing damage and life steal, and since you are extremely tanky at this point, you can keep the stacks up with relative ease.

While I follow this build 90% of the time, you never want to follow one build for every team you are facing, especially when you are trying to build tanky. Look at the other team! Who is carrying them? Build accordingly.

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Alternate Starting Items

Another similar way that I go through the jungle is using a green potion instead of a red one. I sometimes prefer this method because it lets you level up Three Talon Strike first instead of leveling up Battle Cry.

The green potion lends you all the attack speed you need early, so you can level up Three Talon Strike for that extra damage. I have played both of these builds, and it seems to me that red potion is a little bit safer, while green potion lends you a little more power when you go for a gank.

After that I go with the same build that I talked about above, starting with Wriggle's Lantern and going more defensively from there.

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Early Game Jungling

Someone asked that I detail my jungling route, so I will do so now.

I almost always start at Blue Golem. I know that a lot of people find it safer to start jungling at the small golems because of their proximity to the tower, but I think that the CDR from the Blue Buff gives you too much to pass up early.

If you are feeling vulnerable, have your team protect you: that's what they're there for! Check the bushes around Blue Golem, and make sure the other team is not waiting for an early gank. If they are, and your team does not want to engage, simply abandon your Blue Golem and go steal theirs! Very few enemy teams expect this kind of bold move, and you will almost always get their Blue without encountering the enemy team. After that, just continue with your usual Jungling route (which I will detail below).

If the above situation happens and the enemy team has a jungler: keep your wits about you! Did you see the enemy jungler by with his team by your blue? If so, you are safe to go and steal theirs. If you did not see him, he is probably already in his jungle so be careful! Sneak around the back of his blue golem and see if you can either smite steal the buff, or kill him when he is low from getting golem.

Above is the route that I suggest for jungling with Xin Zhao.

You want to start at Blue Golem. Hopefully your team helps you out here and you can get a good leash (someone who hits the golem first gaining aggro and then runs away) and hopefully someone to check the bushes for a possible early gank by the enemy team.

Next you want to move directly down to the wolf camp, using a health pot if necessary. CLearing the wolves, you should be level two. Get either Three Talon Strike or Battle Cry depending on which you started with.

Next, move to the Wraith Camp. Kill the big blue one first using Three Talon Strike then finish off the other three. You should now be level three.

Your next task is to get the Red Buff. This is Xin Zhao's buff. With the slow from your dash and the added slow from Red Buff the enemy will have no where to run. I usually hide in the bushes just below and to the left of the 4 on the map and use another health potion to get me back up to about three quarters health. Depending on how the fight goes, I'll use one more while fighting the red Lizard to make sure I am not too low (you need to constantly be aware of ganks when you are in the jungle). Smite the Lizard when he is low enough to kill him. You always want to save your smite for when you know it is going to get you the buff. You don't want someone stealing your buff from you!

Next I usually kill the small golems to get the extra exp and gold, but if you see that bot lane has someone really low, go in for the kill. If not, you should go ahead and kill the golems. This will put you in perfect position to get some early kills. You now have your Audacious Charge, your Three Talon Strike, and your Battle Cry. If you did alright in the jungle, your Red or Green potion should still be up as well.

Pick your gank carefully! You don't want to show your hand too soon and let the enemy get away. Your potion will be going away soon, and you will have to go back for more items. If you get a kill off, you will have enough to buy Madred's Razors right off the bat. After that, jungling is simple!

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Mid Game and Dragon

You want to stay in the jungle as long as you can, covering lanes when necessary, and ganking whenever you see the opportunity. As soon as you get Wriggle's Lantern you can kill dragon by yourself with relative ease.

Dragon gives everyone on your team gold, so it is invaluable throughout the game. Don't forget to use the active ability on Wriggle's Lantern. I usually drop my ward just outside of dragon. This will let you see if the enemy team is going for dragon and helps bottom lane watch for ganks from mid lane.

The timer on your ward from Wriggle's Lantern is three minutes, so you can have a pretty accurate idea of when Dragon will be back up. If you drop a ward the first time you kill dragon, and one more when that ward disappears, then dragon should be back up right at the end of your second wards duration. Get Dragon whenever possible! This can be a game changer.

Mid Game
You are primarily going to be an assassin until you get your Giant's Belt. Once you do, you become much harder to kill. Between the health it gives you and the buff from your ultimate, you are going to be very hard to dispose of easily. This is when you want to start initiating fights and causing trouble for the other team.

You want to keep an eye on the buffs throughout your jungle, because you have Smite and Wriggle's Lantern. Try to give blue buff to your AP carry as often as possible and keep yourself buffed with Red Buff.

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Late Game

You are now the Indestructible Xin Zhao. You cannot be stopped. Carries will waste their entire combo on you and watch in horror as you laugh at their best efforts.

Make sure you keep an eye on who on the enemy team is causing the most trouble. Build your items accordingly.

In team fights: you want to jump on whoever you want your team to blow up. Use Audacious Charge, Crescent Sweep and Three Talon Strike to keep them from going anywhere. This combo should chunk enough of their health to make them target you and waste their abilities on the Indestructible Xin Zhao while your team makes them disappear.

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I can summarize this build in one word: survivability!

I run across Xin Zhao builds that are completely offensive, and they can work out great. In my opinion, however, there are other melee champions that are better options for a carry because of their escape options. Xin Zhao doesn't have an OH**** button like Tryndamere, so I think he is much more viable with a more defensive oriented build.

Xin Zhao is an extremely fun champion to play, so give this build a try! If your team is competent at all, this build done right will give you a great chance at Victory.

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Conclusion: Xin Zhao? More like Win Now.

This is my first build, so be gentle!

I would greatly appreciate feedback, especially on formatting, etc.

If you want to comment about the build itself, please give it a try first and let me know what you think.