Xin Zhao Build Guide by mazhk

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 mazhk

Xin - Devastation/Jungle/Onhit (RANKED)

mazhk Last updated on November 29, 2011
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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: 28

Honor Guard

Defense: 2

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 0

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Xin Zhao WILL carry your team to a win, and leave the other team crying. This is a tried and tested guide, it has been fine tuned to carry you to a pretty ranking.

Most people have walked away from Xin after the nerfs or just play Xin for fun. In most games, My main is Xin, be it in pubs or ranked. I will always carry my team to a win with positive double digit scores.

It is saddening to see Xin being overlook and under played by a majority of players. So I want to share the build as well as the mentality behind a successful Xin Zhao.

If you find this guide helpful, please vote for it.


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Simply put runes do not make that much of an impact during end game.
HOWEVER... during early & mid game the right runes will either make or break you.

Now with the understanding that runes are crucial to early and mid game....


Greater Quintessence of Cooldown Reduction

Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction

Greater Seal of Attack Speed

Greater Mark of Armor Penetration

Greater Quintessence of Cooldown Reduction & Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction
CDR is extremely important, and is always overlooked. E.g. Being able to cast Three Talon Strike twice to get first blood.BTW, CDR cap is at 40%.

Greater Seal of Attack Speed
Attack Speed is amazing on Xin Zhao It feels like these runes were especially designed for us. Oh, did I mention that it stacks better for Xin Zhao's skills?
BTW, Attack Speed Cap is at 2.5

Greater Mark of Desolation
Armor Pen. is a must for any AD carry character. If you think differently, please stop reading now.
BTW, Armor pen. has no cap.

Other players have had success including dodge, and crit runes. Both are viable options, however the consistency of the procs is large factor for me.

Personally, I love seeing a crit pop up to score me that first blood, but it happens far too rarely, even with runes. Hence I have left out those runes.

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Summoner Spells

Only 5 summoner spells are suitable for Xin Zhao.

Speed is very important for any AD melee. Gets you out of sticky situations, gets you to the battle faster and most importantly helps Xin Zhao chase down everyone.

Great little spell, helps you and your team survive and catch opponents. Great way to slow down opposing carries late game. Depending on your team, if it's a pre-made or ranked, Exhaust is the way to go.

Extra true damage during fights and for those pesky heroes that have too many exit combat abilities. Also the healing reduction will allow you to kill heal/hp regen heavy characters (E.g. Dr. Mundo). Also great little additional damage when on CD with mastery point.

Great way to exit combat especially for a melee. Also it always confuses players when I flash into a bush to escape. However the distance for flash is relatively short.

Does anyone need to know what this spell is for? I assume it's pretty self explanatory, but if you didn't know... well it's for that special Jungle Xin Zhao

Other summoner spells aren't suitable for Xin Zhao like Promote.
Some of you may ask about Surge, reason I left this out is because it provides you with something you can get from the store. Summoner spells are suppose to bring something new to your character, not save you gold.

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There is no preset item build, however the current items will work for most players and games.
You do not need to follow the exact order but these are the items that will make the most impact for Xin Zhao while providing for survivability late game.

*NOTE* Xin Zhao nerfs has reduced the scaling of his skill ranks. Unlike Brand where each level makes a sizable difference in damage output. Xin is dependent on buying expensive items to make up for the nerfs.

Attack speed is king for Xin Zhao. It benefits Xin more than any other player in LOL.
Hence the reason why your 1st item is The Black Cleaver.

Normal Build (suitable for new players to Xin)

This is a typical glass cannon build for Xin Zhao, Survivability comes from constantly hitting something to regain life and Crescent Sweep buff.
End game you can go with warmog or Force of Nature depending on your match up/situation. Quicksilver Sash if your opposition is CC heavy.

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Jungle Item Build

Jungle Build (suitable for ranked games)

As you will have Wriggle's Lantern be sure to ward every 3 minute.
This item build will allow for an increase in survivability during team fights thereby increasing your total damage output. Sheen will allow you to do decent damage but it not possible to keep the buff up constantly with Xin. Once you have a warmog that's when the fun starts. With Crescent Sweep you will be able to initiate fights and survive while the rest of your team piles in.

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On-hit build

Poor Man's Build (if you did not start so great)

This build is for someone who underperformed in early game. You have 3 or 4 deaths before level 8 and are lagging behind in itemization.
Don't Panic!

It's not over yet! You can still do decent damage and maintain a threatening presence while contributing to team fights. This largely due to 2 items Wit's End and Sheen which both have quite a bang for their buck.

Not only do these items do a substantial amount of damage, they also do the damage in magic. Hence if your opposing team built [thornmail] and armor items instead of magic resist you will have a the upper hand again.

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Skills & Skill Sequence


1v1 Encounters

you start by charging up your Three Talon Strike then Audacious Charge in. After you knock em up in the air activate Battle Cry. Now depending on who you are fighting; if it is a high damage opponent like Master Yi or Jax then use your ult ASAP! If it's a squishy or a stealth character like Shaco or Akali save your ult for when they try to make a break for it by going invisible.


Team Fights

try not to charge in before your tank. Watch that any beginning cc's from the opposing team has been cast like Cho'Gath Rupture before you Audacious Charge in followed by Crescent Sweep then Three Talon Strike and finally Battle Cry.
  • Your goal in team fight is to damage, not to help off-tank. Hence wait before going in.
  • Yes, in ranked games Xin is often a priority target. Hence wait before going in.

A self heal! Accompanied with the new Vampirism Xin Zhao can lane for exceedingly long periods. Also the reason why Xin is a candidate for jungling.

Three Talon Strike
This is the skill that you will love. It is your "bread and butter." With + Attack Speed, this skill will take off half someones life in less then 2 seconds. As an added bonus it even tosses them up in the air! Great for interrupts if you can time the 3rd strike.

Battle Cry
Like I said, attack speed is king on Xin Zhao. Always use this skill with Three Talon Strike for quick interrupts. Or turn on Battle Cry after everything is on cooldown as this skill will also reduce your timers. Late game you will find that this skill makes your ult feel like it's spammable. It is purely because of this skill that Xin Zhao is able to take down anyone and will carry any team.

Audacious Charge
Who doesn't like charge? You are able to slow AND damage surrounding units! WOW! Use this skill to initiate fights, to chase someone down, or just to farm creeps.

Crescent Sweep
Your ult provides you with a buff allowing for survivability which is ESSENTIAL FOR TEAMFIGHTS. The damage is a percentage of the enemies health, hence always use your ult at the beginning of a team fight, to do the most damage.

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Understanding Xin Zhao - Early game is key.

Our poor little Asian warrior Xin Zhao is commonly misunderstood.

Most players see a Xin Zhao decimating their team, then look at what items that Xin has and say "Hey! I can do that too!" Which leads to two outcomes;
1. They do moderately well but never constantly carrying games.
2. They get owned and never touch him again.

What are they missing? An understanding of Xin Zhao.

Xin has the capability to tear almost any hero (other than tanks) from full to zero HP right off the bat. Early game is time for him to shine.
Xin's preferred items are quite expensive, especially his first item. Hence Xin cannot afford to fall behind. He can't be like a Sivir who can afford to under performs in the beginning yet still ends up dealing huge amounts of damage late game.

Xin Zhao players needs to understand a few things;
1. Early game is IMPORTANT to me. Why is this important? If not, late game I will suck.
2. I need gold. - Why is this important? Refer to point 1.
3. DO NOT DIE. Why is this important? Refer to point 1.

Hopefully, you got the point. For those that did not, early game is key.

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Play Style of Xin Zhao

Now that you understand Xin Zhao's reliance on his early and mid game performance, your play style must match accordingly.

Xin Zhao's preferred first item is a B. F. Sword. Which comes at a hefty price.
To do this you must achieve the following;

  • If possible try to get first blood. (KS if you have to, this sounds wrong but having early game kill gold going to a tank rather than a carry is just wrong)
  • Staying in lane and get exp.
  • Constantly last hitting, even if you have to use Audacious Charge.
  • Pressuring your opponents, with Audacious Charge.
  • Getting 1 or 2 kills. (KS if you have to)
  • Not dying, I know this is common sense but some people play too aggressive with Xin.
All this before level 6. Because at level 6, you are going to start looking for chances to gank so you get more gold.

During first few fights (before you can complete your Targon's Brace):
  • If at anytime during your fights where are less then 40% HP. BACK OUT of the fight. Backing out DOES NOT mean run back to base, it means step back, stop taking damage and reassess.
  • Do not try to be a Martyr and save your support or etc.
  • Do not try to get an extra kill by chasing before you have your Zeal
Reasons being;
1. Your early game performance has a big impact on your late game outcome and chances of you winning the game.
2. Dying will lose you time which = precious gold.
3. You are a carry, support is suppose to baby you. And yes, if need be, die for you.

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Lane Partners

Who to lane with?

Basically ANYONE with a stun.

I find Alistar is the best partner to lane with as there is free heals and 2 stuns. Rammus is great too.

Who not to lane with?

Basically ANYONE who is without a stun and has high damage.

I find getting stuck with Teemo is infinitely aggravating.

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When should Xin Zhao Jungle?

Why you should jungle?

  • Xin Zhao is one of the fastest Junglers out there due to Three Talon Strike.
  • If your team has weak players or weak teamwork.
  • If your team is composed mainly of carries.
  • If your team has no off tank.

Why you should reconsider jungling?

Xin Zhao loses 5 points in mastery's and 1 summoner spell for the ability to jungle successfully. Thereby decreasing his damage output.

BUYER BEWARE! Jungle build for Xin is different. Most importantly his item build. Xin should come out of the jungle as an "damage off tank" instead of a "hard carry."

2 reasons why Jungle Xin should off tank instead of carry:
  1. Because Xin will not have enough gold for his 1st item, The Black Cleaver.
  2. Xin lose survivability in early team fights, hence will effect his late game performance.

In the games where Xin is able to carry, it is because he managed to get a The Black Cleaver before finishing his Boots of Swiftness. Usually before level 6 too and with 1-2 kills.

Hence being in jungle puts you behind opposing team, damage itemization wise.

In team fights Xin is always targeted because of the threat he presents, and because he's one of the more squishy melees. Xin survives in these fights by having high damage along with attack speed and a little life steal.

Hence if Xin is unable to buy a high damage items fast, forget about life steal. Therefore successful Xin junglers usually build towards a warmog.

This is why smart Xin Zhaos comes out of jungle as an off tank instead of trying to chase DPS build.

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Jungle Domination with Xin Zhao

Jungling is pretty simple with Xin Zhao. A general rule of thumb is that you should be same level as your duo lane. If you are not, you are doing something wrong.

  1. Buy a Vampiric Scepter.
  2. Level up Three Talon Strike go to 2 golems take them out. (You should be able to use Three Talon Strike twice. DO NOT USE SMITE!
  3. You should be level 2, Level up Battle Cry.
  4. Go over to RED BUFF and focus on the big lizard. Start with Three Talon Strike. After you knock up the lizard activate Battle Cry and which will lower the CD on Three Talon Strike After the second Three Talon Strike you can Smite kill him and finish the little lizards.
  5. Move over to Wraiths. Start with the blue wraith first using Three Talon Strike then Battle Cry after pop up. You should level in mid fight.
  6. You should be level 3. Level up Battle Cry again.
  7. Move to wolves. Start with the big wolf. Use Three Talon Strike once, do not use Battle Cry.
  8. Move to BLUE BUFF. Repeat what you did at red. Smite should activate near end of the fight, smite the golem.
  9. You should be level 4. Level up Audacious Charge.
  10. Go gank.

RULES for jungling:
  • Jungling allows for minimal mistakes, hence you need to be runed correctly, have the right masteries and build the right items.
  • Always watch the map to see which allies need assistance or which opposing heroes are over extending.
  • You do not need to gank if you do not feel like you will win. Even if your team mate is constantly pinging.
  • If mid lane goes back to shop, DO go and cover.
  • Ward, Ward, Ward, and ward.

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As later on in the game with [phantom dancer] you will be moving quite fast.
Hence you will be doing plenty of running around during your ganking.

Be sure to ward. Warding will make less skilled players less likely to feed. It will make ganking and avoiding ganks easier. Leading you to win.