Xin Zhao Build Guide by

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

Xin Zhao Ranked Jungler Ganker

Last updated on October 31, 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.


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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This is more of a guide for your ganking game, than a guide for a static item build or skill sequence.

This guide includes my personal preferences when playing Xin, but there are many parts of it which you should customize to your own needs and habits, and you should also build in response to the current situations during the matches. The runes I use and the masteries I roll with are also customizable to a certain degree, so feel free to roll your own preferences.

I mostly wrote this guide to help you gank effectively and learn to control your team's earlygame. There are a few key aspects in this guide which you actually have to follow to the letter if you intend to successfully land kills and destroy enemies early on. If you don't like bulls#\t, skip to the part where i explain the jungling and the ganking.

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Creeping / Jungling / Team work

I will start the guide with this, because this part contains the trick to successfully gaining advantage of this guide.

If you do nothing, but jungle - here is the simple sequence: golems, wolves, wraiths, b, Long Sword, golems, wolves, wraiths, b, Razor, ?, Red, (you really should have ganked by now, but whatever) gank something, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, nexus, gg. If you like it in-depth, and trust me; the devil is in the details - then read on!

Start with your cloth and HP pot, and go to guard your wraiths. If you have a champ that can leash the daddy wraith from mid, or a Maokai on any lane, make them drop some love and clear the pack at 1:40. If not, start with mini golems.

Mini golems at lvl1:

Abuse your doublehit with Q, land 4 hits on 1 of the golems, then smite it. Finish the other. You just leveled up, so take W.

Move on to the wolves. This pattern keeps you safe and keeps you moving. If your blue is stolen, so what? You don't need it that much. Arrange a guard if you expect a blue invasion at 1:55. Communicate! With moving across you have the advantage of being less predictable, then moving on a straight pattern, and the point of this guide is to make you a successful ganker. Start with daddy wolf and finish them off with double Q's and your W. Move to the wraiths. Start hitting the small ones and when your smite comes up, hit the daddy wraith with it!

When you see that both your skills are gonna be on cooldown for more than a few seconds, take your time to assess the gankability of your lanes. Hover your mouse over enemy champs on your minimap to check their and also your teammates' HP and mana. When you finish your wraiths, grab your E, and choose from the two paths you can take from here:

1: go back and grab your Long Sword, then keep jungling until there is something to gank.

2: gank a lane now and take manes.

If you chose to gank, make sure that the trip is worth it. Your are not a pwnengine at lvl3, but you have the ability to murder any champion that has lost a reasonable amount of hp due to zoning against your teammates. CALL YOUR GANK IN THE CHAT WINDOW, and ping like mad until your teammates get the idea.

Here is where the magic happens. A gank is usually a pretty unexpected thing when everyone is only level 3. The lower elo you play in the more this holds true. High tier players usually keep their fingers on their flash when they are extending out to farm with a decreased HP bar, but hey... LoL community is full of surprises, and there are a lot of idiots in all elo tiers.

So you walk up to your gank-access bush. You ping on the desired target, so your teammates will hopefully engage in a fight, which will keep the enemy interested and lose focus on the incoming gank. You position yourself to do the following: your primary aim is to attack the enemy from behind, so he will be surrounded by your team's champions [(Teammate - Enemy - You) on mid and top, and (Teammate x 2 - Enemy - You), or preferably (Teammate - Enemy x 2 - Teammate + You) on bot]. You don't flash yet, and you try to keep your E as long as possible. So the enemy sees you, and starts to make a run for it. This is where you use your E skill, and facehug them with your double Q and W right after.

They are now slowed. The worst thing that can happen to you now, is them getting away by using a flash/exhaust combo. In that case you can continue your jungle routine and feel content about making them use up all their spells, in case you don't get the kill. However - this is what usually happens: you move in with E, Q, W, and then they simply flash away while your E's slow is still screwing up their movement. This is where you use your flash, and (with the extra MS provided by the prescribed Quints - close the distance, and) usually poke them with your spear the 3rd time - knocking them up - and giving your teammates time to close in on the target and finish the kill. Steal the kill if you can, but primarily focus on finishing it for good, even if you don't lasthit the target.

90% of the time this sequence of actions leads to FB in my team's favor. This is the reason i play with Xin, and call "jungle Xin here" in the picking phase ASAP whenever i see that there isn't a DC on either team. The mechanics of this sort of ganking proved to be so rewarding, that i even go as far as asking my teammates to pick me my Xin in return for their champs.

There are a few questions that you have to be able to answer on a routine basis after your summarize the situation which you try to turn to your advantage:

Keep in mind that this kind of ganking can be detected by early warding, paranoid Ashe hawks, annoying CV spammers, and so on. The key here is awareness. Even tho you play the role of the killer, you need to be more aware and paranoid of your surroundings than your victims. You don't want to lose farm due to a wasted trip, just to get made by a ward. Spot their items when they show up on your minimap first. Could they've afforded a green ward? Did they buy potions in addition to that Sapphire Crystal? Do they have a clockwork CV-er - and if they do, can you outplay his anticipations? Do your targets have flash skills, like Kat, or Ezreal? What do their movement patterns and lasthits tell you about their gaming skills and overall focus?

Remember: always go for the derpy ones. They are your food! Your next item. Your chance to raise your elo. Did your favorite victim finally bring himself to sacrifice 75g's for warding your gank-access bush? Ward it back; pink it! For the least, this action will scare the **** out of them, and they will start farming about 50% less. They will not place another ward there for a while, and probably not call for a countergank. Its a check situation. All that for 125 gold.

Also the itembuild will make you pretty damn squishy against harder nukes, so you will have to get used to dancing in and out of the middle of the fights or you will be taken out in seconds. Join or re-join the brawl, when the enemy focus is committed to another teammate tho, and you will clear up in seconds.

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Pros / Cons


- Do a lot of damage, kill stuff, be the boss
- Gank at lvl3 with a ridiculously high probability of success
- You autoattack animation is a ridiculous poke with a spear. With a ridiculously long range.
- Control early game
- Jump your enemies and ministun them to hell!
- Make squishies you b#&ches
- Makes enemy team rage like a boss


- If you can't make it work with your early ganks, you will need a plan B and you will have to execute that plan B perfectly
- Seemingly stupid build
- Only works if you're clutch with your map awareness
- Involves rewarding high-risk moves which you need to get familiar with. This is your main weapon early on, there is no safety on this, so you must be aware of enemy stun/nuke cd's.
- Needs communication in solo queue, and there are better alternatives for 5v5 jungle strategies
- Doesn't have bacon
- You will be called noob autoattack brainless noob bad lucky fed noob IhateyouXin! Get used to it.

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I roll those runes because I roll those runes (and i'm saving IP for other things). Most likely you roll yours for the same reasons. For the jungling part my setup is probably pretty inefficient, and for the ganking part it's also probably far from the best, so do your own Math of Legends if you want 100% efficiency.

The only, really important part in my runes is the quints for my movement speed. Quints of Swiftness contributes a lot to successful ganks. If you trade those for anything else, I don't guarantee that you will ever come to see the advantages of this relatively flexible guide.

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They are masteries. I use these and get lots of kills and probably my masteries help me with that. Take the phys offensive tree! It hurts stuff! Take the Exp % skill, take all 4 points. Put a point into buff duration. That about sums it up.

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This part requires a wall of text, and it's also important. If you don't see why i buy in this sequence, jump to the Jungling part.

I get the cloth armor and 1 HP pot when i start. The pot is for emergencies and I use it to charge up and finish my jungle routes if i get jumped at my wraiths or wherever, or to charge up for a gank after the jungle monsters did a number on me, but there's a good gank opportunity.

Why not Vamp Scepter?

The cloth is more useful for a safe jungling, than a Vampiric Scepter IMHO, because if you get jumped in the jungle by an earlyruned counterjungler, or half an enemy team, you won't be able to make much use of your additional lifesteal when they FLASHGHOSTEXHAUSTIGNITE in your face and you run for your life. In that scenario you flash through anything you can and run for your life praising the extra armor that keeps your at 30 HP, so you can go "/all ,,l,, loln00bzorx :))" when you manage to miraculously survive something like that. I'm a safety 1st guy, so pick the Vamp Scepter if you like that more, it's your call entirely.

I follow with long sword after i b pill the 1st time. This is damage i need to clear my 2nd jungle route faster.

I finish Madred's Razor asap, so i can grab my buffs more efficiently.

Right after Razor i go for boots and i get the boot component 1st, because i need the MS by then to chase my kills down.

I usually finish with the Merc boots, because there is always a nuker on the other team, and xin's playstyle requires MR. If i don't go with Mercs, then i go with Berserker's Greaves, but this rarely happens.

Wriggle's Lantern's completion depends on when i need it. Sometimes i rush BF sword if my farm lets me, and only complete Wriggle's afterwards. Also i only do this, if i managed to weaken the high-threat lanes enough to prevent possible ganks on them.

After that i usually finish Infinity, then i move on to zeal for the extra speed which i need by the time i complete it. Right after i move on to Phanton Dancer for the extra crit and MS. With both components, my purchase strategy is the following: i get the Dagger component always, because Xin heals with every 3rd hit.

After Phantom Dancer I usually start building a Yomumu's but i rarely manage to finish it before the enemy team surrenders.

Grab a Cleaver if they stack armor. Grab a Banshees if they stun/nuke too hard. Work your brain about what you want to and what you need to build. Makes all the difference.

About additional items:

UPGRADE YOUR BRAIN, SO IT WILL BE ABLE TO SUCCESSFULLY ANALYZE THE CURRENT STATUS OF THE GAME AND RESPOND WITH YOUR BUILD ACCORDINGLY! Analyze if they have a Mejai's stacker, analyze if they have a fed AD carry. Counter them. Check your team - if your Rammus decided to go for attackspeed instead of armor, you can turn into a decent initiator/tank martyr and help your dumb team still win despite their wildly moronic builds.

The best part in LoL compared to DoTA is this: you have a metric f#&kton of possibilities with the same champions. Of course some champs are meant to carry, and some are meant to tank and so on... still more than once did i manage to troll my enemies with a hard tank Eve, or a jungle Singed effectively - out of fun, and sometimes out of necessity - which is more than what i can tell about DoTA and the static builds, which the heroes in that game require.

When theres a Karthus against me, i almost always grab at least a Negatron Cloak somewhere during building something, and i do it at a point where i can feel his ult take more from my HP than what i deem acceptable.

All in all learn to build as smart as you can, but stick to the principles as long as you can afford to do so.

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Skill Sequence

Your skill sequence should be strict in your first 3 levels. After that its a matter of personal preference, but I'll tell you mine anyway.

Q at level 1. Your first skill should be Q. You have to master your Q if you play Xin, and you have to master it from your slowest to your fastest attack speed. What to master on a Q you would ask. You have to learn to maximize your animation canceling. At level 1, when you duke it out with the baby golems, you have to push q in the exact moment, when your 1st autoattack animation starts. If you are precise enough, you will see Xin doublepoke the golem like he had about 4x the attackspeed which his stats represent. When you push Q, a new animation starts. Learn to abuse this in every scenario and you will have yourself and extra punch to work with.

W at level 2! This is a nice cooldown reducer and also an attackspeed buff. Use it always after you use your Q, because it give your Q precious cooldown for a little extra pwnage. When you finally nuke them baby golems, you grab yourself a nice ctrl-W. Learn your hotkeys, it can cost your kills and getaways if you dont. Burn it into your muscle memory. Srsly! Pros don't even use the mouse. Pros feed their 3 wives and 8 kids from playing LoL. Without using mouse. Or keyboard.

E at level 3!!! This is important! What does E do other than making Xin jump his target from a ridiculous range? It slows your target down and also the target's surroundings with a small AOE. This skill is key to have at level 3. The reasons i don't take this at level 2, is because at level 2 (statistically) good ganking opportunities rarely rise, and i only have an armor and an insufficient amount of damage to successfully utilize the rewards of taking this skill. I usually finish my first round in the jungle and only gank afterwards - either after buying a Long Sword or just simply going in for the kill right after I'm done with the wraiths.

After this I prioritize taking Q for increasingly frequent knock-ups, then W for the increased Attack Speed buff, and E last, simply because all the other skills contribute more to me and my team in teamfights IMHO than this one. I prioritize knockups, over that even faster knockups, and only then do i give a damn about the benefits of E, even tho E is my key skill for ganking.

Take your ultimate whenever you can or want to. Don't forget that your ultimate gives you a temporary dose of survivability in addition to the damage it deals, so whenever you find yourself in trouble and running is a viable option, consider using it despite it's ridiculously slow animation.

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Summoner Spells

#1 flash: Take it. Get kills, jump walls, kite like a boss. This is your number 1 killing tool when you do your first gank! For more info check the jungling part.

#2 smite: Because it feels good to unleash the wrath of the almighty on helpless, static little monsters, which creatures exist solely to feed you their short and miserable lives, their deaths yielding benefits to your combat efficiency to destroy even more lives, and while you're at it - make your innkeeper yield you limited credit in his greed-driven business, so you can improve your arsenal of destruction. Fun spell, i like it. Or take revive and follow the path of righteousness and ultimate failure :)

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This guide is for an aggressive gamestyle, and it only works well if you know what you are doing. It only works in your hands if you practice it enough (people with common sense and a solid MOBA routine can get it down in 2-5 games), so that you could pass it on yourself. This is not a free-win guide. Mastering this technique tho will definitely give you a sense of control over your games. When you can do this to the letter, and you are able to pass it on to a friend - that is the point where you will have mastered it. The item build is more like a build for Tryndamere, than a solid build for xin, and you have to be clutch with your anticipation about the damage you will deal and be dealt when you flash-dive a turret for a high-risk kill. I do a lot of that if my targets are not complete noobs and it usually comes out great, but it only works with practice. No free lunch, sorry.

What i won't describe in this guide tho is this: what to do when your team sucks too hard? In short: minimize your losses. Buy defensive items as needed and wait for the enemy to get overzealous and walk into an AOE or get raped by the combination of your turrets and their own stupidity. Anticipate their greed and ward places that make sense. Work your common sense and pray that your teammates grow a brain as a result of the ***-kicking they are getting. Juke and run. I can't go into any more detail here, because this would become a real massive wall of text if i did. All in all there are some idiots that can't be helped and there is nothing you can do about their dumb moves. If he wants to facecheck, let them. Alt-tab it, and start recording their fails with Fraps. Gather some raw for your next YouTube LoL fail compilation. Read a book while you autoattack low-risk minionwaves. If it can't be helped, start not giving a damn.

A few good overall advices for jungling:

when it comes to babysitting/relieving a failing lane for a short time, make sure it is worth it in terms of gold and exp. Keeping your turrets is important, but keeping your curves is also crucial. If mid failed to keep up with the pokes, don't worry about being an *** and farm those lasthits until it measures up to what you left out from the jungle. Don't let baddies pull your Xin down. Your aim is to gank for them anyway, so you will come back with your farmed gold and give some back with an assist or a kill after a good gank.

COMMUNICATE. Tell your team... literally... hmm you could actually copy-paste this, cuz this is about what i usually do:

- guys I'm ganking at level 3. set your lanes up for a gank. keep them interested! Keep your HP and level your stuns, we're killing some noobs soon
- if you push like a moron i won't gank
- leash at 1:40 please
- ty
- GANKING BOT /pingpingpingpingpingping
- woohoo they died like in 1 sec roflolopwnz0rh4xorn00bs gj!

According to what the enemy team and what your team has, you might want to rally your team to invade their blue. Your team needs stuns, exhausts and flashes to be efficient in an invasion. So gather your info, predict the outcome of a possible 5v5 and if you deem it doable, go for it! How to rally you team? Use your chat window. Type like a boss; type fast, type little, and say a lot with it. Don't overcomplicate things like i do in this guide. Communicate efficiently! Tell them to wait in your wraiths bush until 1:50, and then make a move on their blue! Tell them to move on the same pixel and move on your ping. Tell them its 1:50! By the time you get there in your airtight formation, the enemy jungler will be knees deep in the blue kill, so you have a good chance of getting that FB. Spam "v" pings to your team once you're done, and try to leave a small minion, so their blue doesn't respawn. Careful with Maokai saplings, or Caitlyn traps. If you play in low elo games, like under 1300, you can rally your team in a bush closer to their blue. This however requires communicating your plan during the picking phase, because in low elo people tend to afk when the game starts, and you will want to prevent this. Getting FB on a late facecheck Annie like this will give you good laughs.