Build Guide by Anowrath
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.
Xin Zhao Build
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.
Xin Zhao is probably one of the best early-game nukers in LoL. He can do massive quick damage to an enemy and knock him out in less than 5 seconds after level 6. His passive will let you stay in a lane longer than you normally would without potions, not to mention that if well played, you can even jungle with him in mid-game. At late-game, Xin Zhao can be the high damage carry in your team even with 3 core items only! Finally, I've never seen a champion being so easily fed as Xin. If he gets a killing spree in early game, it's almost a certain legendary in mid-game, especially in Twisted Treeline where he can easily handle a 1vs3 battle and stay alive with a double kill!
Pros / Cons
Group Slow - great chaser
Game winner if fed
High dmg and speed even without gear
Easily targeted and killed by late game nukers
No escaping abilities
Hard time against ranged carry
Those are my top choices for Xin Zhao. I see a lot of people using ghost to turretdive and get the kill, risking their life and often ending up dead. Since Xin can slow the enemies either with exhaust or with audacious charge, if he is fast enough (with the items I suggest later) he doesnt really need ghost. So I decided to take a safer and stronger spell instead.
I personally believe exhaust should be a MUST in your summoner spells, since, combined with Audacious Charge, it can nearly stun an opponent, reducing his armor at the same time, which eventually will result in certain kills. It's also an effective defencive techique if ganged, or even an excellent trap for noobish turret divers who get greedy in killing you while you got low hp.
My second Summoner Spell used to be ghost or flash to escape fights or chase easy kills. Then I decided to try something else, which proved to be even more effective! Ignite is exactly what an early game nuker needs! It's the ultimate killing blow you can use, instead of turret diving, then sit back, and after 3-5 seconds gladly hear that you got first blood. And since Xin Zhao's great advantage lies on early kills, I believe that you will find ignite very usefull. Of course, some people use it in late game to get some killsteals which is irritating but it's still a way to get kills...
Ghost can be used to chase enemies or to escape fights pretty easily. However, as I said before, in late game it is almost useless. Your Audacious Charge can most certantly cover the distance rather than just running behind them.
Flash is the kind of spell EVERYONE would like to have, no matter what champion they are playing. It is the most effective way to escape large teamfights, chases, stuns and trappers like Jarvan's ultimate. It can also be used offencively the same way, by flashing out of nowhere, then charging with Xin Zhao's combo and killing the enemy before he even screams "WTF?".
Teleport is very usefull for Xin Zhao and it used to be one of my favourite spells. Especially if you have a Teemo in your team, or anyone who knows how to place clever Sight/Vision wards, you can use teleport to get safely behind enemy lines and surround them for gangs. It also saves you time when going back to get items by teleporting right on time to defend your turret.
Heal is not one of my favourite spells, but especially in 3vs3 it proves itself more than worthy. It helps you survive longer and if used cleverly, you can become a bait for the enemy team and while on the run, suddently turn around, heal and gang them again. Again I wouldn't reccomend this.
DONT USE THESE
Any of these spells might seem worthy (smite if you want to try jungling or Fortify to save your turrets) but they are ABSOLUTELY USELESS in midgame and lategame when playing Xin Zhao.
Masteries are mostly offence for critical chance and damage, attack speed and physical damage. As Xin Zhao, your team will be expecting you to clean the way from enemies and be able to push turrets solo. One point goes to Exhaust, for reduced armor, and 3 on mana/hp regeneration to stay in lanes longer. I also put a point in earning a slightly bit more gold and more experience. As soon as you get your ultimate, you can start switching lanes and ganging, so the soonest the better. This will get easier after your 3rd core item, and then will become a piece of cake after your 4th or even 5th. By the time youre done you will be unstoppable.
Xin Zhao's abilities make him the ultimate ganger but also let him offtank and hardly jungle. You can even become the carry of your team and lead them to teamfights or win a whole game by yourself in the Twisted Treeline(trust me its easier than it sounds).
Your passive makes it extremelly easy for you to stay double-time in a lane and make it until you get your ultimate. If your runes are good, it's possible for you to jungle in early game thanks to the small heal amount you get every 3 hits, even though it's better to get fed by players instead of buffs and mobs. Jungling is a very good way for you to regain health after battles by using your passive in mid and late game.
Is there really a better attack than this? Some Katarina gangs you and uses her ultimate, after 1.5 seconds she is disabled and dead, a WW launches his ultimate against one of your teammates, then he is shot in the air with half life left, and many other situations in which this ability will save your team. In early game, it helps you get a nuke from level 2-3 if all 3 attacks are stacked. This is some really heavy damage-dealer attack.
This ability has 3 great uses:
1) The passive it provides can get you to hit 35% faster, which is exactly what you need to combo it with your real passive and Three Talon Strike.
2) If you have just used all your abilities and the enemy is still going to leave, it helps you get rid of a few cooldown seconds from Audacious Charge to make sure he doesn't make it. Same use when you need your ultimate right away. Just activate it and go kill some minions.
3) The ultimate pushing technique: a turret vs you and your battle cry. You will make sure it's down in less than 10 seconds in late game.
Just because you're a melee player, doesn't mean that you will have a hard time killing a ranged champion. Your Audacious Charge will help you not only get to them before they even hit you but also slow them. Combine it with your ultimate and Three talon strike for maximum effectiveness. 3rd and 1st attack combo is a sure nuke at level 2-3, not to mention that if that doesnt work you always have exhaust and ignite to finish the job.
Now here is the reason that makes even tanks fear the mighty Demacian, the reason that makes squishy carries tremble as they surround him in a gang. Say hello to your Ultimate! Xin Zhao does a magnificent sweep around him doing massive damage to all units close to him. Is there a tank with 4k life? No problem, there goes 20% of it plus the additional damage! Are there 2 squishies attacking you? no problem, you got a nice shield increasing your armor and magic resist by 50, meaning you can tank them for 8 seconds. In other words good Riot Games has given you the chance to be a high dps-tank at the same time with just one ability!
The combo I mostly use is AC->TTL->CS->BC or AC->CS->TTL->BC if there is multiple targets in the area. Use it fast and no enemy, dps or tank, will stand in your way for long.
The reason for so much attack speed is simple: passive. if you manage to get over 2 attacks per second, your passive will end up healing you as much as warwick's passive! Also, with so much attack speed, it's almost certain that your TTL will work and not stay up to 2 attacks and go wasted because the enemy had time to escape.
Greater Mark of Desolation Greater Quintessence of Desolation
If you have some more money to spare on some better and a bit more expensive runes, these are the ones I recommend. Of course, that doesn't mean you should fill your runepage with these instead of attack speed. Balance is everything. Some armor Penetration and critical damage would be nicely combined with your core runes.
Generally, Xin Zhao is an offencive champion, who can easily protect himself while attacking one or two enemies at a time, so I don't think any defensive runes like dodge or armor or magic resist would help much. Other runes like physical damage or health or utility (expirience, movement speed and others...) would be cheaper than the ones I propose and would do an okay work, like hard attack damage early in the game and more survivability in a lane with higher HP, but in late game you will find them a bit useless.
Xin Zhao may not be depending on items as other champions but he benefits greatly from them and his abilities grow extremelly strong after his gear is on the 3rd or 4th core item.
Very cheap item but very usefull as well. You can afford it before you even get to level 4 and it gives you the great benefit of 25% more attack speed, which will result in more selfhealing for your champion to stay in the lane.
This is a hard-to-get item so better start building it with a Phantom Dancer at the same time. It provides you hp which will dramatically increase your survivability as well as a bit of damage. Although, it's greatest help for you is the slow. Using Audacious Charge with it will nearly stop the target from walking and will keep slowing him down until he is dead, since your attack speed will be giving him too many slowing hits to handle.
If there is ONE item Xin Zhao really really needs, it's the Phantom Dancers. This item isn't great just because it gives u that precious Attack Speed you need or that awsome 30% Critical Strike Chance you want so badly, but because of the 10% movement speed. I always get 2 of those, which makes me too fast for any enemy to catch or to escape from me. Getting 2 also allows me to sell Berserker's Greaves in really late game if I'm full of items and I need some more damage or health. Finally, since they are both pretty expensive, you can start with 2 zeals and then keep building them along with Frozen Mallet, so that you still benefit from them even without enough money.
I wouldn't let that item last in my shopping list. The reason being, it associates with the Phantom Dancers Greatly. Having the runes and the items I've recommended till now will end you up with about 95% critical chance, meaning that 9+ out of 10 hits will be critical strikes! What's better for them to hit 250% damage instead of pure 200%? Not to mention how much you need the 75 additional damage for your TTL to become even deadlier.
Last but not least, comes one of my favourite weapons in the game: the stacker high damage and lifesteal-giving sword. I would leave this last only because Infinity Edge is more important. But that doesn't mean you don't start to build it from mid-game. My advice is that you buy a Vampiric Scepter early in the game, so that you manage to survive longer. After you've stacked the Bloodthirster in late-game you will be undefeatable and easily able to kill 2 targets with full health just by yourself.
Here's what I managed to do in Ranked 5vs5 with my core build:
Of course, in a game nothing goes as we expect it to be, meaning that the build I have provided doesn't necessarily work 100% all the time. For that, I decided to give some more items you can use in some cases.
If you are encountering a heavy armored tank like Rammus you will need some more armor penetration, but you will still want to keep your Attack Speed. So there comes The weapon which has both. It might not be as helpfull as a Phantom Dancer but in this case, it should replace one of the 2. It will provide you more attack speed than you had and some armor penetrating stacks to kick that tank's butt in less than 5 seconds.
If you are playing against players with single super-strong abilities like Karthus' ultimate and dont want to be surprised to death, this is what you need. It provides you with some additional health, mana and magic resist, but also gives you a shield that will block one negative spell every 30 seconds, which you will find pretty usefull in late game.
Due to Xin Zhao's EPIC damage, most teams will be trying to focus you as soon as they see you. In that case say hello to the Omen. It will help you slow all enemies if ganged, giving you some time to survive and get to safety. Also, the health and armor it gives are great Pros if you try to offtank. Finally, no words need to be said about its active. Just count the slows: Frozen mallet, Audacious Charge and this. If the target is still moving, try exhaust as well and he will stay right there!
If you are playing ranked, this should be a MUST for any champion. It provides you enough armor and magic resist to pull a whole team for a few seconds and save a teamfight, and its passive will save you too many times in a match. Thanks to your high damage and lifesteal, after youre dead in a teamfight and noone is looking at you, you will find it extremelly easy to backdoor and fight the remaining enemies to an amazing ace, giving your team an incredible advantage.
If you are playing 3vs3 and your team is squishy carries and your enemies are all physical damagedealers, this item will save you. You will probably love the +100 armor as well as the cheaty passive of the 30% returned damage. Generally, I never use this item, because I never try to tank teams by myself, but sometimes it's very helpful.
This is a slightly changed build I had to use against an overpowered Karthus ultimate:
Start with Boots of speed and 2 health potions or with Doran's Shield. If you are playing 3vs3 ask your teammates to solo top lane, if not, prefer a stunner or a supporter for partner. Dont puch until you are level 2-3 and you have Audacious Charge and TTL. Then, if your partner has any ranged damage ask him to harass the most fragile enemy and push far enough to be able to hide in the bushes. Then let them push forward right into your ambush, pop out of the bush with AC on the easy champ, then immediately TTL and gladly listen to the game voice saying you just got FB. If he manages to escape, no problem. Use Exhaust and Ignite and he won't last long. Keep up the pushing and ambushing until you are level 6. Then go B to your spawn and say hello to midgame.
After you are level 6 or more and you are back, you should probably be able to buy your regular boots and start building Frozen mallet or Zeal. Always keep some cash left for a couple of potions until you are level 10. Get your gear and move towards another lane through the jungle. Try to sneak past the enemies and start ganging. Combos are easy: TTL-AC-CS-BC-AC. No enemy should be able to get away alive... In case the enemy team has reported you as an SS/MIA you should waste your time waiting. Quickly switch lane and get back to yours. They should have pushed to your turret by then so it will be easy for you to trap at least one of them into a gang and get one or two kills. Keep up trying to switch lanes until you are over level 13, trying to prepare yourself for the Late Game.
After you have got your first Phantom Dancer and Frozen Mallet you will be ready to start gangs or even teamfights. Xin Zhao can be easily fed if he is on a killing spree in early game so try not to die a lot, even if that means you leaving another champion to die. If you are encountering a heavy armored tank (Rammus or a cleverly-geared Shen for example) you should try to build Black Cleaver. Now that B.F. Sword is 200g cheaper than it used to be, you will find that building Infinity Edge is much easier than it seems. Try to combine as much damage, attack speed and critical strike, as you can until you are level 16 and your ultimate has reached Top Rank.
A clever idea would be to be the bait with your tank and start teamfights by pulling everyone on you and the tank, so that the heavy damage dealers in your team can score the ace for you. Try AC on them then run back until its' cd is refreshed then AC-TTL-CS-BC-AC again and most certantly your team will prevail. If you are encountering too heavy damage dealers than you can handle, then just let the tank charge and surround them. One at a time, start hitting the really heavy damage dealers and disabling them (TTL is Katarina's worst enemy for instance) so that you actually ruin the enemy team's damage levels. Your teammates may not like you much since AC works perfecty as a killstealing ability, but you will be the one leading the game.
If you find yourself into very hard positions,(if the enemy team starts to focus you and your teammates don't do as much damage as they should), then try to backdoor and push by killing as many minions in or out of the jungle. Eventually, when you have over 4 core items, you'll be ready to score a nicely done triple kill and scare the opponents to death.
This is my first guide and I would love to get some feedback, negative or positive about it. I intend to make a video commentary as well, so please leave comments if I should. Thank you for your time reading my guide and I honestly hope it helps you.
Notice: This build has been tested in Ranked games and works fine. That doesn't mean you won't end up with a few fail scores before you start to play well, so if the first results aren't as you expect, please do not vote negatively, just be patient.