Xin Zhao Build Guide by almeidaalajoel
Not Updated For Current Season
Xin Zhao Build
General Build (please read item explanation)
VS Heavy AD
VS Heavy AP
Not Updated For Current Season
Hi guys, my name's Joel. I'm a jungle main who's currently in Platinum. Xin Zhao was one of my favorite junglers last season. He saw a bit more play after the new feral flare. He's not as crazy strong now that it got nerfed so much but he is still a great champion who excels in jumping on and disrupting the enemy carries in team fights. His ganks early game are also very strong, and can easily snowball lanes. This guide will show Xin Zhao players specific strategies, tips, and builds in order to help them play him to his maximum potential. So, without further ado, let's get into it!
Pros / Cons
Why play Xin Zhao (and why not)?
|+ Excellent ganks
+ Great jungle sustain
+ Good CC in team fights
+ Naturally tanky
+ Naturally high damage
+ Good counter jungler/duelist
+ Can lock down enemy carries in team fights
|+ Unreliable escape
+ Bad ults can be detrimental to team fights
+ Doesn't do much if behind
Greater Mark of Attack Speed
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
Greater Quintessence of Attack Speed
These runes are my usual setup for Xin Zhao. For marks, you want attack speed to get faster jungle clear in addition to being able to get your 3 Q procs off quickly when ganking. Armor is for early survival in the jungle and vs enemies. Magic resist helps you gank APs without taking as much damage early on. Attack speed quints are important for the same reason as the marks. Other possibilities: Greater Mark of Attack Damage if you just want more damage on your ganks, Greater Seal of Health if you like health more than armor, Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist if you don't expect early magic damage (i.e your personal jungle route won't gank against enemy magic dmg till after lvl 6 or they only have late game magic dmg) and Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed if you plan on being gank heavy and moving around the map a lot.
This page gets you a ton of damage for those early game ganks. The %pen also helps later game for taking out those tanks.
Flash is probably the best spell on xin because flash ults can take a team by surprise and win a team fight very well. Also great for getting that last proc of talon strike or getting away over a wall if you're being chased. Try not to waste it unless a kill is guaranteed or you need to get away.
I sometimes like to take ghost because it has significantly shorter cooldown than flash, allowing more use for early ganks and escapes. Another reason I take it over flash is that you are tanky enough to just run with ghost while getting whaled on from the enemies, while squishies need to get out right away with flash. Ghost takes you further in the long run. However, flash ults are an important part of Xin Zhao, so I usually take flash.
- Challenge (Passive): This passive reduces the armor of opponents Xin Zhao attacks making Xin Zhao an excellent fighter and helping his team deal more damage to people he focuses. This also synergizes quite well with The Black Cleaver. It can only be applied to 1 person at a time.
- Three Talon Strike (Q): This ability causes Xin Zhao's next 3 basic attacks to deal bonus damage and knock his opponent up on the last attack. It also reduces the cooldown of all his other spells by 1 second for each auto attack affected by three talon strike. Therefore, most of your abilities are on very low cooldown. This skill is basically where you get most of your damage and is great CC. Max it second after your slow.
- Battle Cry (W): This spell increases your attack speed when used and heals you on every third attack passively. When comboing, always use this spell before Three Talon Strike because this way it will have its cooldown reduced more. Max this last.
- Audacious Charge (E): This spell is a targeted gapcloser+slow. It also applies challenge to the target. When ganking, if possible, use it after the enemy uses Flash or their get away spell, so that you can still get to them. On the other hand, it can be used as a get away/juke spell if you are being chased. You can jump to enemy minions or jungle creep if you have vision of them. Max this first for the enhanced slow during ganks.
- Crescent Sweep (R): Xin Zhao's ult is somewhat complicated. It does damage in a sweep around Xin Zhao and knocks enemies back. However, it doesn't knock back anyone who has Challenge applied to them. It also gives armor+magic resist for each champion hit by the sweep for a few seconds. What's great about this is in team fights, you can jump to the enemy ADC with Audacious Charge and knock back their entire team, while the ADC is still getting hit by you. Now, their team is far away from the ADC and cannot protect him/her, and you've got loads of resistances to stop you from getting killed instantly. Before team fights, it is good for just damage in ganks. Remember to use it early when ganking because it does %current health. Don't be afraid to use this as the cooldown is quite low when you use your Q. Put a point in this whenever you can.
Ability Sequence Order
|Obviously, max your ult first for more damage, better cooldown, and more armor/mr given. Next, max E for better ganks (the slow % is increased with each level) and more damage. Q is next for more damage in ganks, and finally W. I start with my Q usually for clear speed and skirmish/counterjungling capability. After that, usually go W for jungle clear but if you think you might level 2 gank then take E instead.|
|Merc's are usually your best bet nowadays. Most teams have enough CC to warrant tenacity as an excellent option, and the magic resist is nice against those pesky mid laners. Boots of Mobility used to be better but they got nerfed and aren't really worth it anymore, in combat you're slow AF with them now. If they dont have a lot of reducable CC then get Ninja Tabi instead.|
|This item gives great sustain early game with the %damage regen and extra AD, synergizing with itself. It also gives a lot of damage early on for your ganks. 10% CDR doesn't hurt either. All in all, a solid item for a high early damage jungler. However, it doesn't compare to the new Wriggle's Lantern, and I highly reccomend wriggle's over it.|
|So, after it was released this thing was like crazy OP strong. Then it got nerfed. Then it got nerfed again. Now it's pretty mediocre. Elder Lizard gives more damage and more sustain, so I'd go with that again now.|
|Used to be great with Feral Flare. With % health damage and magic damage plus all that attack speed, you could shred tanks and squishies alike. Now I don't get this item anymore because Feral got nerfed so much and I don't think it's worth it anymore. However, it's not a bad item. The active is great for 1v1s and chasing down more mobile champions. Use it on them to slow them down before they get too far away. Or, if you're trying to focus one person but they're too far away and someone's in between you, you can pop the active on them for the burst of speed and catch up. But overall now that Xin has shifted more to tank from carry, I don't like this as much.|
|This is a great item which synergizes really well with Battle Cry. Gives tons of health, magic resist, CDR, health regen, and the passive. Really good against sustained magic damage. However, against more bursty champions that will do very little without one of their abilities, take Banshee's Veil|
|Loads of damage from armor shred and AD, plus synergizes with your passive to remove like all of your enemies armor. Great item if you're ahead. Helps both your team and you. I don't take this in my main build anymore though because I think that Youmuu's Ghostblade is a better pickup for extra burst and mobility.|
|This is a good item vs really autoattack dependent enemy teams. I don't usually run it in my main build but if it's 4 AD then I almost always would take it.|
|Frozen mallet has its place, but its kiinda eh. Gives a laarge chunk of health, a bit of AD, and some stickiness, but it's very expensive. The sort of situation I could see it in is if they have AD casters who don't auto that much (so you don't really want thornmail so much) and also have AP damage (health provides defense against both obv), and people keep getting away from you because they're just too darned mobile. Against something like, Miss Fortune ADC, Ahri mid, Shyvana top (she does magic damage and physical :( so hard to build against) and Pantheon jungle. They wouldn't be able to run away so easily even with their jumps and you'd have a lot of health to protect against all that hybrid damage.|
|Great item against burstier AP champions like LeBlanc. Get Hexdrinker early and don't upgrade till it's your last item. The change from hexdrinker to maw isn't really worth the expense, the most important part is the burst of shield and you don't get a ton more from Maw so get your other items first. It's a great item though, very good if their mid is getting fed but so are you.|
|This item got buffed, it's pretty good now. Get it against CC heavy teams if you think you can manage the active effect well.|
|This item is really strong as it helps you reach people to Audacious Charge to and gives you a huge burst of damage. The CDR and armorpen is really nice too. If you wanted to go more on the damage side, I'd say get rid of thornmail and go for this or The Black Cleaver. Black Cleaver helps more if they're reallly stacking armor, but if you're getting to their squishies then Youmuu's helps you blow them up fast.|
|This item is not really my favorite even after the new buffs. As Xin you really need damage to snowball the early game so getting tank early on just isn't super helpful. I would almost always go Elder Lizard instead.|
|This item is good against really bursty enemies who rely on a really big spell. I usually like Spirit Visage for the increased heal and/or Hexdrinker for the hybrid defense/offense, but this can be a good item too.|
When/Where to ward
Blue: For protection depending on which lane you're on
Red: To guard Dragon and Baron
Orange: In order to Counter-Jungle
(this map was taken from Jhoijhoi's great guide making guide)
A good place for pink wards is shown here:
Jungle Start Route
I remember first starting playing LoL and I had no idea where to go when jungling. So here's the most common/easy jungling path that I usually do, shown for each side.
Where and how to gank
TG= Tri Gank
River ganks are pretty self explanatory: walk in through the river and start attacking the enemy if they're pushed up. However, often the river is warded or the enemy is not pushed up. In this case, you may want to perform a lane gank. A lane gank is when your laner pushes up so the enemy doesn't have vision of the brush closest to your turret. The jungler then comes into that bush, waits till the enemies push too far or are in a bad spot (particularly helped out by a bait from the laners), and jumps out. Follow the arrows, but make sure the laners are pushed far enough up so there's no vision of you when you move between bushes. Communicate with your laners before you attempt this, because sometimes these bushes are warded. Another way to gank without being detected is coming through the tri bush. In bot on blue side and top on purple side ganking from their tri bush (TG(b)) will involve turret diving. Have your laners push the minions to the turrets so they will tank the turret while you get into position. However, as soon as you attack the enemies, the turret will turn on you, so be careful. You usually only want to dive if the enemy is already somewhat low. You cannot be low leveled for these types of gank or you will most likely die without superb mechanics. You can also gank from your tri bush (TG(a)) if the enemy is pushed up too far. You can often get behind the enemies more quickly than they can run to their turret. Mid ganks are pretty self explanatory from the arrows.
What to do in team fights
You have several simple goals in team fights. Number one is to get the enemy ADC dead/isolated/so low that they have to leave. If you do any of these, the fight is essentially won and you can take an objective or force a bad fight for the enemy. Your secondary goal is to peel for your own ADC, i.e protecting him/her from the enemies. What you can do to get to their adc is pretty simple: E to them, pop the active on Randuin's Omen, ult the rest of the enemy team away, and W+Q autoattack for the knockup. If your team goes in with you, this means their ADC is dead for sure. If they initiate into you before you can jump on them, you may need to peel for your ADC if noone else on your team can. In order to do this, stay near your ADC and if someone jumps on them, ult them away. From there, if anyone else is still able to get to your ADC, try to slow them with E or Randuin's and knock them up with Q. However, usually the support will have some form of CC to peel for the ADC ( Taric, Janna, Lulu, Nami, etc.) and you can go on the offensive.
Xin Zhao is a great jungler with devestating ganks and a great kit. By following this guide, you can improve your play and hopefully do better. Thanks for reading. Please leave a thumbs up if it helped you out. Big thank you to JhoiJhoi for her guide on making a guide, without which I wouldn't have been able to make this. Check it out here.