Build Guide by Snowmountain
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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 The Seneschal of Demacia
Xin Zhao, The Seneschal of Demacia? Yes, please. He is an extremely potent Assassin-Type champion with killing power as early as level 3. With a solid lane partner hiding in the brushes, you can even easily get first blood at level 1 if an enemy foolishly decides to face-check the brushes.
Xin Zhao really shines early to mid game, where equipped with your E R Q W combo, you can make short work of enemy champions. Depending on how dominating you are, end game can be non-existent. I hope that this guide will properly illustrate the potential awesomeness of Xin Zhao,and make you very excited to try him out.
There are really only two Summoner Spells I would get for Xin Zhao. Ghost and Exhaust .
I like Ghost because it enables me to get in and out of combat quickly, and helps me chase to land my Three Talon Strike.
I take Exhaust since it has so many uses, and goes so well with Xin. You can use it to chase, escape, disable, get first blood. Just great.
You could make a case for taking different summoner spells, but in all likelihood it won't convince me. Ghost and Exhaust are really the only two summoner spells you should be getting. If something else works great for you, awesome. These two spells however, work great for me. Since I'm writing the guide, and not you... These are the two spells I'm going to recommend you take.
9xGreater Mark of Desolation
3xGreater Quintessence of Desolation
I like to go with 9 Greater Mark of Desolation, 9 Greater Seal of Alacrity, 9 Greater Glyph of Alacrity and 3 Greater Quintessence of Desolation
The Marks and Quintessence gives you armor penetration to start dishing out damage as early as possible, while providing a good bonus late game.
The Seals and Glyphs give you a great attack speed boost to both get your Three Talon Strike knock-up sooner, and to restore your life in lane with Tireless Warrior
Runes are really a personal preference. I however, find these to runes to be most suitable for my personal purposes. If you have any other good runes you'd like to use, feel free to do so. I sometimes forget to change my Rune page and still end up dominating with my 9 Marks of Magic Penetration.
Masteries are somewhat of a personal preference, but I really like taking the 21/8/1 build. I take 21 in Offense to get Havoc (Since Xin Zhao is really a damage dealer), and I take 1 in Haste for the improved Ghost bonus.
In defence, I take 2 of each Physical, and Magical resitance to give a bit more survivability, and I like to take Evasion and Nimbleness.
I would not recommend straying away from Havoc in Offensive, but the remaining 9 points are really up to you to decide what best suits your needs.
This is Xin's passive ability. You gain a bit of health for every 3 attacks, and the amount increases as you level. This is a great passive for staying in lane in the beginning. Whenever you need to heal up, just start auto attacking minions to regain your health back. Great for after you kill an enemy Summoner and need to heal, but don't want to go back to fountain yet.
Three Talon Strike
This is a great ability. You activate it to get a bit of bonus damage every hit, and the third hit knocks the enemy up into the air. The knock up is useful in so many ways. It disrupts channeling, stuns for a bit when the enemy is in the air, and allows your teammates to catch up if you're chasing someone. It's also a great scare factor. People get scared when they can't control their summoner and when people are scared, they make mistakes.
O God. The things one could say about this ability. The passive gives Xin a good amount of attack speed, which is key, and the active is amazing. The active doubles whatever bonus Battle Cry gives AND for every attack Xin Zhao makes it lowers the cool-down of his other abilities by 1 second. Use this after you use your skills to have them quickly refresh.
This is Xin's chaser, initiator, and escape. You charge an enemy and it deals area damage and area slow in a decent sized area. Use this to get close to your enemy, hit them a couple times until they flee, and then finish them off with another charge! Later when you have a decent attack speed, this skill recharges extremely fast when combined with Battle Cry making this combination possible.
On a side note, if you can't quite reach an enemy, but can reach the creep next to it, charge away! It slows and damages in an area around the target you charge. Great for that extra reach.
A very solid ultimate that deals a good chunk of damage PLUS 20% of their current health. The key here is current health, which means you should use Crescent Sweep immediately after Audacious Charge for best results. Consider an enemy carry at around 2k life. This ultimate does 325 + 400 damage. That's almost half their life in one sweep, not to mention it hits other nearby Summoners as well! As icing on top, it also increases your Physical and Magical Resistance by 25 per enemy Champion hit. Clearly designed to be a fearsome initiator. For best results, wait for your team's tank to engage, and when enemy champions cluster in, Audacious Charge and Crescent Sweep for amazing AOE damage.
Skill Sequence Reasoning
I choose to max Audacious Charge over Three Talon Strike for a number of reasons. Firstly, although Three Talon Strike is a formidable ability, it does not scale nearly as well as Audacious Charge. Leveling Three Talon Strike merely increases the damage it adds per attack. Leveling Audacious Charge reduces the cool down, increases damage done, and increases the slow.
Secondly, the damage increase from leveling Three Talon Strike only applies if you get all of your hit's off. Audacious charge on the other hand, instantly applies the damage AND it's area damage, meaning you can hit both heroes! A much better skill to level up.
Finally, if you're still not convinced, the 40% slow Audacious charge applies will enable you to easily get another hit off. That extra hit in itself is more damage then the bonus you would receive from leveling Three Talon Strike.
Having said that, you still want to get one point of Three Talon Strike to begin with. The knockup is extremely useful, so you definitely want to start with that. However, max Audacious Charge and Battle Cry afterwards.
Mmmmhmmm Now we finally get to the Good Stuff. Xin Zhao's Item Build. I have tested many different builds for Xin Zhao, and have finally settled on the aforementioned list as my favorite series of items to get with Xin Zhao. I find that this set of items gives Xin the punch he needs early and mid game to be dominating, while providing a healthy amount of survivability for late game.
This is pretty self-explanatory. Xin Zhao really needs that attack speed to get his attacks going. Berserker's Greaves is really the only choice for boots.
Ok, this is by far my favorite 2nd item to get with Xin. This is a relatively inexpensive item that gives Xin alot of kick. For only 2150, you get 40% attack speed, a bit of magic resistance, and a whole lot of damage. 42 Magical Damage every hit. Since champions start off with less magic resistance then physical armor, this will actually almost give you more damage per hit then a B.F. Sword. The mana drain is nice, but you rarely notice the effects, as most Champions will just melt from your combo after acquiring Wit's End. Furthermore, this also greatly improves your last-hitting ability for farming. For only 2150, this is a must-have starting item.
Edit: With the new change to Wit's End, losing the mana burn and gaining Magic Resistance, this item is even better for Xin Zhao. This guide was always lacking a bit of Magic Resistance. Now you have it!
Before, when I was testing Xin, I use to stack a lot of these for awesome attack speed, movespeed, and Critical Chance. I liked PD alot because it's parts are relatively inexpensive, and pretty much every trip to the fountain you can buy another piece that builds towards your PD. Everything about this item is good for Xin. Attack speed is the bomb for any damage dealing Xin, and the increased Critical Chance effectively gives you more damage per hit. The movespeed PD grants will allow you to roam the map in a relatively short time, so you can set up ganks, or chase enemy champions with your Audacious Charge. Definitely a must have.
On a side note, once you acquire your Phantom Dancer, you can solo dragon with about 60$ of your life left. Great for getting that bonus gold for your team.
This is the final damage dealing item that you need to really rip apart any carry hero. Armed with Wit's End, Phantom Dancer, and the Black Cleaver, you get insane attack speed coupled with a huge burst. Few if any carry champions will survive your E R Q W attack. Coincidently, once you get your Black Cleaver, you can effectively land 3 of your attacks before the slow ends on Audacious Charge (Without using Battle Cry). Obtaining the Black Cleaver almost guarantees the knock-up and more often then not nets you the kill.
Now that you have the damage to kill any carry, you need to survive the team fight after blowing your combo. This is where Warmog's comes in. It gives you a alot of life to make you more durable, and it also sets up your damage for your final item.
I choose Atma's more often then not as my final item. It gives you a nice bit of a critical chance, a whole lot of damage, and a decent sized chunk of armor to give you that extra tankiness feel. Going Atma's pretty much guarantees you'l kill any carry late game with your E R Q W Combo along with 3 hits. The armor Atma's gives, along with the life from Warmog's will allow you to solo enemy towers from full life without any minions.
Alternatively, if you find that you have no trouble killing enemy carries you can opt for a instead. This will give you that extra bit of survivability in case you're frequently targeted. You lose a good bit of punch, but gain a lot of defense. This will depend on how your game is going.
Now, you'l notice that you already have 6 items, yet I have Trinity Force in my item build. This is for games that go so long that you can afford everything, have a constant supply of elixirs, and still have 3k left over. At this point in time, I sell my Wit's End and take up Trinity Force. Although Wit's End is great early game, it loses a lot of it's power as the game progresses. Take up Trinity Force to attack super fast, deal super damage, and run like the wind. Honestly, no enemy champion is gonna get away from you without a flash. Chase them down, and beat them up.
Team Work and Laning
I like to take one of the side lanes with Xin, coupled with a potent harasser. You COULD mid with Xin, but I feel that he has a much easier job farming enemy champions from the side lane.
It is extremely important for you to do well with Xin early game. Being under-leveled, and outfarmed will severely hinder you're ability to wtfpwn enemy champions. Especially if you're laning against the enemy carry. If you beat him down early, you'l have a much easier time farming him later on.
Having said that, you absolutely need a strong harasser as your lane partner. Xin Zhao can easily take an enemy champion from half life to dead at level 3. Audacious charge in, activate your Three Talon Strikes and start hitting. Therefore, it is nice if your lane partner can take enemy champions down to half life. Take for example. With Veigar's nice burst, you'd assume that he'd make a really great lane partner for Xin. This is incorrect. Most Veigars spend alot of time trying to last hit minions with his nuke to up his AP. This is mana that should have been used to harass enemy champions to get him down to half life. Unfortunately, since Veigar benefits alot from last hitting minions, he does not make a great lane companion for Xin Zhao.
Lane with someone who will use their mana for harassing, you'l find that you net alot more kills, and have a much smoother transition into mid game.
Alternatively, you can also lane with another assassin-type hero. As long as you coordinate your bursts, you can take an enemy champion from full to 0. Pantheon for example, lanes great with Xin Zhao. At level 3, both of you pack so much damage that you can easily take an enemy champion down. He does Aegis , you Audacious Charge , he does Heartseeker , you autoattack with Three Talon Strike . Spear Shot to finish. Great Synergy.
In summary, avoid farmers, lane with harassers or assassins.
In this section, I will try to best explain how to pull off a successful game with Xin Zhao.
Early game (1-Wit's End)
Start by hiding in the bush with your lane partner near the enemy tower. Patiently wait for someone to face check the bushes, or to come close enough. Throw on Exhaust, activate Three Talon Strike , autoattack till he dies or flashes away. If he dies... SUCCESS! If he doesn't die, he'l start camping his tower or use a health potion. Both great. Keep up the pressure. Have your lane partner harass while you farm. Farm is very important for Xin Zhao. If the enemy champion gets low, Audacious Charge , Three Talon Strike , Ghost if you can net the kill.
If you find yourself getting low on hp, hang back and let your Doran's Shield heal you up. When enemy creeps come close to your tower, auto attack to regain life with Tireless Warrior . Repeat aggressive behavior when your life has recovered.
It is extremely important to stay in lane for as long as possible. You want to be higher level, and preferably with more gold. I really only return to base under 3 circumstances.
1) I die.
2) I find myself extremely low on hp, too dangerous to hang back.
3) I can afford Berserker's Greaves, and Wit's End. (About 3k~ gold).
More often then not it's either case 2, or case 3. If you do find yourself going home before you can get those 2 items, buy your Greaves first and then Recurve Bow. If you can't afford Recurve Bow, buy a dagger. Return to lane until you can afford Wit's End.
Mid Game, (Wit's End -> The Black Cleaver)
Once I hit level 6, and am armed with my Wit's End, this is where I go enemy Champion hunting. Your combo is going to be E R Q W. Charge in , ult , three talon strike and auto attack, battle cry to refresh cooldowns and increase attack speed. If you net the kill, great. If you don't, chances are the enemy has run home, or is sitting at tower dangerously low. If they run home, farm until your ult is up. Then resume hunting procedure. If they're dangerously low, wait for Audacious Charge to refresh, charge in and Three Talon Strike for kill. Resume farming until your ult is up.
With Tireless Warrior , you can actually stay in lane for an extremely long time. Whenever you need to heal, start autoattacking. Whenever your ult is up, start hunting.
Always participate in team fights. Walk over, wait for people to get hurt, Audacious Charge and Crescent Sweep. Go for dragon when you acquire Phantom Dancer and when there is a break in combat.
Return home only when you really have to, or when you can afford another item. I usually head home to get Zeal , and then later B.F. Sword just to increase my killing power.
Late Game [Warmog's Armor, and Atma's Impaler]
By now, hopefully you've net yourself a couple kills, have farmed a couple items and teams are starting to push or travel as one. This is where you need to be semi careful. Although Xin Zhao can take most enemy champions (tanks excluded) 1v1, even if the enemy is higher level, and has better items, Xin will die very quickly when focused without Warmogs and Atmas. Do not go in there being all "I'm God". You're not, you'l die. Instead, always hang back during team fights. Wait until you can get a clear charge and sweep in at the enemy damage dealer. The more people you can charge and sweep, the more you're doing for your team. Kill the enemy carry, and proceed to the next easiest target. If you die, no biggy you've already killed their carry, and hit most their team with your Crescent Sweep. If you don't die, Great! proceed to take towers with your team, or chase down enemy Champions.
Since Xin Zhao is a very strong AD hero, he can take down enemy towers very quickly. Use Battle Cry and bring it down. More gold for the team, less places for enemy champions to hide. I almost always prefer to take down a tower, then to chase an enemy tank who got away. Let your team chase him, you take down towers.
They key in late game is to not die before you do your job. Your job is to assassinate the enemy carry, and to hit as many people as possible with your crescent sweep. Focus on your job. Do not charge in on a tank. That is not your job. Your job is to charge in on their carry. Wait until the appropriate time to do your job. If you need to, ghost to circle around to accomplish your job easier.
In team fights, I usually go for the AP champion, and then throw Exhaust on the AD champion. Usually you'l find these two sitting close together. Charge in, Crescent Sweep, Three Talon Strike and Battle Cry down the AP, while throwing exhaust on the AD after Crescent Sweep. Move on to the AD if you down the AP. Die with honor, be praised by teammates.
I hope you've enjoyed my Xin Zhao guide. If you have any comments or suggestions for me to improve this build, feel free to let me know in the comments section, I will review your suggestions, maybe test it out, and update my guide accordingly. Now go forth, and Spear Your Way to Victory!