Xin: Asian Devastation!
Xin Zhao is one of the most capable melee characters in the game. Early game, few characters are as capable of setting up ganks and dealing quick damage. Late game, Xin can carry your whole team on his broad, Asian shoulders. In between, you'll be having all sorts of fun bringing devastation to your enemies. Any fed character can completely dominate, but Xin (especially with this build) makes it quite easy to be fed if you keep your wits about you and start munching on the noobs.
Pros / Cons
Unstoppable when fed
Lanes well with stunner
Picked on by ranged
A bit slow without items
Vulnerable to cc
No escape mechanism (except speed)
My number one choices for Xin's spells are definitely ghost and exhaust. You can argue the benefits of almost any spell, but these two are standouts for the style of play that this build suggests. I'm talking about getting your *** moving, while slowing down the enemy as much as possible.
Exhaust is key to this build. Your number one difficulty as Xin will be keeping your enemies from running so that you can unload on them. You already have a slow and a knock up, but exhaust is the icing on the cake. A lot of kills will come from chasing down enemies as they are running away. The speed you get Trinity Force, Phantom Dancer, and ghost help, but exhaust is what will make your enemy's escape downright impossible. Exhaust is also great for one on one fights with another powerful melee character. The reduced damage from the enemy can often times tip the scale in your favor. With the mastery points set as they are, you will also be reducing armor and magic resist for that extra little pow.
Ghost is another must-have. The vast majority of your kills early game will come from chasing enemies in your lane who you've already weakened. Late game, although you won't have a problem catching people because of your items, ghost let's you get to the other side of the map in a hurry, or chase down other people using ghost. Using this build, I have literally chased down slower enemies using ghost that have also exhausted me. That's the crazy speed we are talking here. Like I said, this build is all about getting to enemies quickly, slowing them down, and unloading your damage.
Another important thing to remember is that Xin has no real escape mechanism besides his speed. That being said, you can sometimes avoid ganks by using ghost and exhaust defensively. Don't be afraid to avoid your death by popping exhaust on the nearby carry and ghosting out of there.
Flash is a decent substitute for ghost. It can get you to a spot fast and save your *** from huge ganks. I still think ghost compliments this build more consistently, but feel free to make that swap.
Ignite can also be put in for those early kills, but in my experience the ghost/exhaust combo has allowed me to finish off most opponents. If you see the enemy team has a Dr. Mundo or Vladimir, then this spell becomes much more valuable. Don't underestimate the healing reduction it gives.
Teleport can be extremely useful on 5v5 for getting around, so you may need to make that change for ghost. Hopefully a tank has teleport instead, and you don't have to sacrifice that killing power.
Cleanse is never a bad idea on any champion, but your focus here should really be bringing the pain to the enemy. It can be extremely useful to diminish your vulnerability to CC if you are facing a Lux or a team with a lot of slows and stuns. Use your judgment based on the other teams champions.
I'm just going to suggest staying away from these spells for Xin. They definitely have their uses, but the spells I suggest above have more consistent benefits for this build.
Masteries focus primarily on offense. Your primary role is to be a carry, so you need to be getting the kills for your team. Points are placed in the masteries relating to ghost and exhaust, so swap those out if you aren't using these spells. Also, you have a point in Utility Mastery for a reason... Grab buffs as often as possible!!
Xin Zhao's skills make him a huge asset to ganks. The ability to close distance and slow with Audacious Charge and then knock in the air with Three Talon Strike means your allies will have plenty of time to come in and clean up the scraps (if you haven't already finished the enemy off).
Your passive heals you every 3 hits. This is a HUGE advantage in early game. It means you can lane for long periods of time without wasting money on lifesteal. Even mid and late game you will be healing rather quickly with all the attack speed you will be getting. Keep in mind that if you want to keep laning but are scared of the enemy, jungling for a bit is a viable option to get your health back up.
This is the skill you will level up first, and it will be your bread and butter throughout the game. Not only do you get in 3 quick hits with bonus damage, but you knock up your opponent on the third hit. This allows your teammates to help you out, or slows down the enemy enough to get that kill shot in. Spam this skill as much as you can. It works great in combo with the active of Battle Cry, because your 3 hits will get in faster and the cooldown on TTS will be extremely short.
This skill is great in itself as a passive ability. It boosts your attack speed up to 35%. That's like two daggers for free! You'll want to level this skill early because attack speed benefits Xin like no other champion. Faster attack speed with Tireless Warrior means faster healing. It makes your Three Talon knockup hit sooner. It makes your cooldowns reduce more quickly with Battle Cry's active. Moral of the story? You want attack speed.
Battle Cry's active is also amazing. It doubles the bonus of the passive for 7 seconds. An extra 70% attack speed? Yes, please! Also, during those 7 seconds all cooldowns are reduced by 1 second. This is a HUGE benefit for three talon strike. Don't forget, this also reduces the cooldown of your ult, making it nearly spammable. Word of caution: your passive attack speed bonus goes away while this active is on cooldown. That shouldn't stop you from spamming this skill (extremely low mana cost) to farm and get your ult off of cooldown.
This is a great skill for initiating fights. It's a distance closer, but also slows all enemies around the target. Typically after using this skill, you want to immediately use your ultimate for maximum damage. One point in this skill early is useful for closing distance, but we're going to hold off on more points till late game. The increased slowing is really nice, but we already have many tools for slowing the enemy, as well as a high movement speed to chase the baddies down.
Oh no! That tank has so much health! Nope. It doesn't. You just reduced it by 20%. Welcome to crescent sweep.
This great skill deals some flat damage, as well as a nice 20% of the current enemies health. What does that mean for you, almighty enemy pwner? Use this skill first when you are going for a kill, while their health is still high. A typical skill sequence is Battle Cry, Audacious Charge, Crescent Sweep, Three Talon Strike, and repeat the TTS and AC as much as possible. Not even tanks will last very long.
Greater Quintessence of DesolationGreater Mark of Desolation
Staying true to the offensive nature of this build, all of your runes are going to be going towards more killing power. Armor penetration is most important, as has been proven all over the place. You want more damage, get more armor penetration. Seals are dedicated to attack speed, because Xin benefits from it more than anyone else. Just trust me, you want it. Glyphs go to cooldown reduction to help spam TTS and AC even more.
These are some other choices if you don't have the money to buy new runes. Armor penetration is by far the best for quintessences and marks, so please use those if you can get them.
If you need alternative quints, the best choices are movement speed, health, or attack speed. The health will give you just a tad more survivability, especially early game. Attack and movement speeds are a bit of a theme in this guide, so that should be self explanatory. The same goes for attack speed marks. Mana regen seals are a very close second to attack speed seals. The bonus for attack speed is not that great on seals. I would probably go ahead and grab the mana regen seals for a game of 5's, because you are much farther from the base. In 3's you can just port home and have much better mana regeneration then runes can ever give you! :D Glyphs are mostly useless offensively besides cooldown reduction. I threw in alternative magic resist runes, just for some extra survivability.
Question: Why not dodge runes?
Dodge runes are going to primarily help you against other melee champs. With the strategies outlined in this guide, you will be able to either kill or run from almost all other melee champs. Plus, dodge runes will not help you offensively, which is the primary focus of this build. If you are being attacked and hit enough times for your dodge runes to really be helping, you are probably being focused in a group fight and you're probably dead either way.
The items on any champion are very important... But Xin Zhao in particular really benefits from getting the items in the order listed below.
Many people prefer to start with a Doran's item. Although I don't recommend it personally, feel free to buy Doran's Blade as your first item. This particular build of items is rather expensive as it is, so I prefer to start buying items that can build into stronger items immdiately. Xin has decent base health, as well as some natural healing from his passive, so most of the normal pluses of a Doran's Blade are lessened here.
Every pair of boots has its benefits, but attack speed is Xin's mojo. You want lots of it. Starting off with a dagger helps you heal faster with your passive and get your three talon strike in quickly for early ganks.
If you think you need more attack speed before saving up for a BF sword, consider getting a zeal here. This will late build into your Phantom Dancer or Trinity Force, and it also gives you some nice early movement speed boosts. I recommend continuing straight to the Black Cleaver, however.
Any melee wants a nice damage increase... But what about Xin's attack speed? The solution is to go for Black Cleaver. The armor reduction is really helpful in increasing your damage, plus it has a B.F. Sword. Need I say more? This is a better choice with the recent patch than the Bloodthirster, because you are getting more early attack speed and you already have some natural healing occurring with your passive.
If you feel you have to return to your base too frequently to heal up, and that your passive just isn't enough, consider purchasing a Vampiric Scepter here. This will later build into your Bloodthirster, but gives you some early lifesteal. I rarely feel that I need this item, but with the damage you will be dealing at this point, you'll be healed nicely from just the sceptre alone.
This is a great item for any physcial dps champion. However, in this build it is ESSENTIAL. I used to get this item immediately after boots, but its just not quite as effective without having some damage behind it. The biggest benefit to this item is the increased movement speed... The best increase in the game! You are going to be flying in and out of the jungle, all over the place, and you want the movement speed to match. Plus, it gives critical strike increases as well as (you guessed it) attack speed! Need I say more?
This item is a bit more controversial to use on Xin Zhao... But I whole heartedly believe it is the best item for this spot. It gives you a little bit of everything... but I'll pull out some highlights. First of all, it grants you MORE movement speed. Your items are going to play a key role in you chasing down and destroying enemies. It also gives you attack speed, critical chance, and attack damage. These are the vital stats for any physical champion. Not to mention this gives you health and mana. Health is always a good thing, and Xin is a bit short on mana. This will allow you to stay out longer without having to type the dreaded "oom".
A lot of people play Xin with a frozen mallet. This item effectively does the same thing. It has a 25% chance to slow the enemy, but when you have an attack speed in excess of 2.100 you will be hitting so fast that it may as well be 100%. Frozen mallet offers more health, but with all the offensive stats listed above PLUS hitting for 150% when you use an ability puts Trinity well above the mallet in my list of items.
If you're still having doubts about Trinity Force... just skip it. You'll be able to deal a lot more damage if you go straight to Bloodthirster, but I think you'll be missing the slow and bonus damage of Trinity. There are much better items for survivability than Frozen Mallet, which will be discussed in the soon to come item alternatives.
By this time, you will have a ton of movement speed and all the tools in place to destroy your enemies. Now its time to start stacking the damage. Bloodthirster can wait until this late in the game because you have some natural life game with your passive. With all your attack speed, that will heal you faster than you might expect. Still, lifesteal is always a great thing and this item is essential to being that nasty physical carrier that you will end up being.
At this point, you are ready for the icing on the cake. The 250% critical strikes are nice, plus the pure damage will make you unstoppable. With all your items you can run everywhere with ease, chasing down the enemy and bending them to your will.
As you utilize this guide in your playing, much of the time you will find that everything goes to plan. You start out strong, you take it to 'em, and you carry your team to an outstanding victory. However, sometimes you will have a bit more trouble. Particularly in the more competitive levels of ranked play, you won't be able to feed as easily.
This is where situational items can come in handy! These items can be thrown into the mix to help you adapt to both team compositions to give you a little bit of an edge on your opponents. LoL is sort of like a giant game of rock, paper, scissors. Know your opponent's weaknesses and exploit them by making the right choices in items. I will try to outline some items that will be useful in doing this, but this is by no means a complete guide. Consider this just a few ideas for fine tuning your build.
Your defensive items are the MOST situational items in the game. Period. No one defensive item is uber awesome in every single game. Not even on a tank. If you pick out an item from this section, make sure it applies to the enemies you are fighting. Be aware of whether your opponents require magic resist or armor, and choose items accordingly.
This is one of the best defensive items in the game. Xin suffers a weakness to crowd control, so this item is a dream come true. It completely cancels one ability used on you every 30 seconds. This is great for stopping stuns, taunts, snares, and all those other abilities people use to initiate that you hate. Plus, it gives health and mana. More health is never a bad thing, and the extra mana will let you stay away from your base longer. Spamming your abilities can eat away at your mana quickly, so this is a good thing.
If you aren't sure what item to get, Banshee's Veil is a safe choice. It gives 50 magic resist, which is great in its own right, but there are better pure magic resist items. That being said, it is still one of the best items because of its ability negating. This can help you versus any team.
Force of Nature is one of my favorite defensive items for Xin. It gives the most magic resistance of any item in the game. It also gives you GREAT health regeneration. You already have lifesteal, so this doesn't impact you as much as a tank. That doesn't mean it doesn't help. =] The thing that makes this item stand out so much as a top choice, is that it gives increased movement speed. Movement speed is what makes this build work well, so if you are taking out a trinity force or phantom dancer for a defensive item, I would highly suggest grabbing this.
Frozen Heart can be a game changing item. It gives 99 armor, which is one below the most in the game. If you are trying to stay offensive with this build (as you should be), then you only want to give up one, maybe two items for situational items. Picking items like frozen heart that give a lot of armor or magic resist is important to utilizing those one or two item slots. Frozen heart also gives mana, which is again a good thing.
One reason a lot of people buy frozen heart is for the cooldown reduction. While CDR is great on a lot of champs, it is mostly negligible on Xin. Cooldown reduction helps you a ton early game, as it lets you pop that three talon strike like a mad man. However, by the time you have half of your items it fails to be useful. Your battle cry makes every hit reduce all cooldowns, and with the attack speed you'll achieve with this build you will have no problem getting off your abilities.
The other half of frozen heart's passive is that all enemies nearby have their attack speed reduced by 20%. This is VERY useful for Xin. As a melee champion, you will always be right next to an enemy that you are attacking. This makes it harder for them to fight back. If the enemy team has a couple physical melee champions (Master Yi, Poppy, etc.) then this is can really disrupt their game plan. Note that this item loses effectiveness against ranged physical players such as Tristana, because they can attack from afar without feeling the effects of your passive.
I like this item because it gives both magic resist and armor. Most items either specialize in one or the other. If you are only going to get one defensive item, probably 80% of the time it will be this. It gives a very good armor bonus, and substantial magic resistance to help you against a balanced team. Of course, the great benefit to this item is that it revives you once every 5 minutes. This can be a huge lifesaver, especially for deterring the enemy from focusing you.
My opinion: THE most underestimated item in the game. This gives the second most magic resist of any item. It's passive...is...AWESOME. It removes any debuffs from your hero. It's like cleanse on steroids, because it really means ANY debuff. You can remove ignite, as well as stop other champion ultimates. This includes Malzahar, Mordekaiser, Warwick, and others! If you are facing a champion with a killer ultimate like above, definitely consider grabbing this item.
I have not particularly used this item very much, but while reviewing the defensive items of the game I can't believe that I haven't. This seems like a great fit for Xin when facing a physical team. It gives you very high armor, as well as health. Good so far, right? The passive means when you are getting heckled, it can slow the enemy's movement speed and attack speed. This could help you run away, but it could also be a huge advantage in a 1 v 1 fight against another physical carry.
The active of this item makes my mouth water for a game on Twisted Treeline... It slows all movement and attack speed of nearby enemies by 35%. This, in combination with your audacious charge, can DESTROY a team. Charge into a group of enemies, pop your ult. If your team is any good whatsoever, you should be able to pick everyone off as they try to scurry away and can't attack quickly at all. I will definitely be testing this item the next time I find myself needing armor, and I'll update this to reflect my thoughts.
The crowd control reduction of these boots is what makes them the most popular boots in the game. This really helps with one of Xin's vulnerabilities, but it will also make him weaker early game. If you decide to grab these boots, I would suggest getting the dagger portion of the Black Cleaver before the BF Sword. Also, if you complete the entire build late game and you had Berserker's Greaves, switching to these may be more beneficial in the end.
Still to come:
Items NOT to get
Example Situational Builds
In this section, I will post screenshots and descriptions of games I have played where an item change was necessary for success. I am no longer including scrollable pictures in this section (unless you guys want them, just comment). If you'd like to see what an item does, just look for the picture in the section directly above. Please be patient if not many games are added. Most of the time I am successful using the basic offensive build. :D
In this game, I was playing ranked 3's against a Malphite, Malzahar, and Teemo. Malphite was not fed early, so he was of little threat as an offensive power. Malzahar and Teemo however were both potentially dangerous... especially Malzahar's suppression ultimate. To counter this, I bought the following items.
I started out 4-0. Malzahar killed me twice with his ultimate in a team fight before I was able to finish the Quicksilver Sash, and a couple of mistakes by my teammates left me vulnerable for my other couple deaths. However, this build gave me great survivability against the mostly AP team with some good CC, and allowed us to win what could have been a difficult game.
This is only my second build posted here, so please give me feedback! Positive and negative is appreciated, as long as it is constructive.
Full-length situational items.
Please give this build a try, and let me know how you do!
...THE ASIAN INVASION BEGINS.
1/6/12: New masteries added.
11/16/11: This sentence was added to take it out of expired.
3/6/11: Added description for Mercury's Treads.
3/4/11: Added a placeholder for Mercury's Treads. In a rush, sorry.
3/3/11: The first section of situational items is up! Defensive items are included. If you feel that I have missed an item, post a comment and I'll explain. I also created a separate section for example situational builds, because the situational item section will end up being rather long.
2/22/11: Editing, mostly aesthetic changes. Changed the size of some icons, as well as added icons for off limit spells. Spring break starts in less than a week, so expect many of the promised big changes.
2/10/11: Minor editing, and included the last of inputs from reader comments. If there is something you'd like added or explained that I missed, please leave a comment. Added 3 "optional" items, which are really just purchasing items in a slightly different order. Next up will be situational items... Coming soon, I promise!
2/8/11: Added a temporary situational items section outlining a single example game where the items of this build were changed for survivability.
2/6/11: Did some major editing based on reader comments. Went a little more in depth about why I made some of the choices I did. Added an alternative runes section, clarified some sentences, and made other editing changes. More changes in response to reader comments to come.
1/28/11: Added icons for the full sequence of items at the top of the item section.
1/24/11: Added my most recent history with Xin Zhao. I'm no professional, and I have my bad games as well. :D