Build Guide by tinolas

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League of Legends Build Guide Author tinolas

Xin Zhao, Tough DPS

tinolas Last updated on January 11, 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: 0

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 15

Expanded Mind
Blink of an Eye
Mystical Vision
Presence of the Master

Utility: 15

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Guide for Xin Zhao - The Seneschal of Demacia
Please comment and try the build and strategies before voting. Thank you.
Last Updated: 07.01.2011

Xin Zhao is a tough DPS champion because Xin Zhao's natural damage output and survivability are high. He has quite some burst damage as well as constant DPS. If you want to play him as a DPS carry, this is not the right build (and imho the right champion) for you.

Abbreviated Terms
AA = Auto-attack (Basic Attacks)
CC = Crowd Control (Stun, fear, slow, snare, etc)
FB = First Blood
AP = Ability Power
AD = Attack Damage
MD = Magic Damage
AS = Attack Speed
MS = Movement Speed
MR = Magic Resistance
ArPen = Armor Penetration
MPen = Magic Penetration
LS = Life Steal
SV = Spell Vamp
DPS = Strong Auto-attacker
MDPS = Strong spells; casters
CDR = Cooldown Reduction
OOM = Out of Mana
MP = Mana
HP = Health
MP Regen = Mana Regeneration per 5 seconds
HP Regen = Health Regeneration per 5 seconds

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Welcome to my guide of Xin Zhao, The Seneschal of Demacia! Xin Zhao is a great champion and a great asset to any team. His strong early game, ganking possibilities and survivability makes him a pain in the *** for the enemy squishies. Late game he's unstoppable 1v1 and a great teamfighter.

  • damage output
  • bulky late game
  • good chaser
  • has quite some CC
  • tanks towers easily

  • needs to get and stay in melee range
  • no reliable escape mechanism
  • weak against CC

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Skill Explanations

Challenge - A nice passive. It gives you a little bit of health back every third attack. It gives you health back when attacking anything, including turrets, and neutral minions. Don't make the mistake to auto-attack too much. Just keep last-hitting minions.

Three Talon Strike - It strengthens your next 3 attacks, and causes the third one to knock the opponent in the air. This spell even knocks an enemy airborne when you're blinded. Use this to farm early game 'cause it resets you attack timer and to knock the opponent you're trying to kill.

Battle Cry - It grants passive attack speed and has an active effect. When activated, you double the attack speed boost, and any time you hit something with an autoattack, your cooldowns on every skill are reduced by 1 second. Use it to reduce the cooldown of Challenge, Audacious Charge and Crescent Sweep and to destroy turrets.

Audacious Charge - You dash to a target, and deal AoE damage, as well as giving an AoE slow. Use it to get in melee range fast, you should be able to towerdive.

Crescent Sweep - It deals damage to those around you in a circle based on the target's current health, so use it right after Audacious Charge. It also increases your armor and MR by 30/40/50. Allows you to survive some dangerous teamfights, but don't save it up, use it right away since the cooldown is short.

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Summoner Spell Explanations

Ghost: Remember that you fight your opponents in melee range. But what if you want to escape out of trouble, Ghost allows you to. It will also make it easier to catch up to fleeing opponents.

Exhaust: Use it to slow down your opponents (offensively and defensively) and to kill the opponent DPS carry.

Considerable Summoner Spells

Smite: If you really want to jungle with Xin Zhao, replace Exhaust with this spell. Don't get too excited though, there are a lot better junglers than Xin Zhao.

Cleanse: Use it to counter heavy CC setups or if you have problems with CC every game. Just remember you can't cleanse Ignite, Infinite Duress, Nether Grasp and Children of the Grave.

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Rune Explanations

Greater Mark of Desolation

Greater Mark of Desolation provides Xin Zhao with increased ArPen to increase your damage output by a lot. You won't get that much damage items so these runes are pretty important.

Greater Seal of Scaling Mana Regeneration provides Xin Zhao with MP Regen. It'll solve all your MP problems. You won't ever need a MP regen item and you'll be able to lasthit with your spells. If you don't like those, get Greater Seal of Evasion.

Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist provides Xin Zhao with MR to make Xin stronger against casters. Sometimes you won't even need more than these, Mercury's Treads and Aegis of the Legion against MDPS.

Greater Quintessence of Health provides Xin Zhao with HP to makes Xin even more bulky. If you have those, get Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed.

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Mastery Explanations

For Xin Zhao's mastery tree, I go a 0/15/15 build. The defense tree makes Xin Zhao tanky early game with only a few defensive items. The utility tree instead makes you able to move faster and to increases neutral monsters buff duration. If you want to use other summoner spells, change up the masteries respectively.

Defense (Sections divided by Tier Rows):

Tier 1 masteries provide you with armor and MR, 6 MR from Resistance (3/3) and 6 armor from Hardiness (3/3). This will increase your early survivability.

Tier 2 masteries increase your dodge chance, 2% from Evasion (4/4). This will increase your survivability against DPS champions.

Tier 3 masteries block damage and increase your MS after dodging an attack, 1 damage from creeps from Defensive Mastery (1/2), 2 physical damage from Harden Skin (3/3) and 10% for 5 seconds from Nimbleness (1/1). This will increase your survivability against physical damage.

Utility (Sections divided by Tier Rows):

Tier 1 masteries have the basics of Utility, Haste (1/1) boosts Ghost in duration and speed and Perseverance (3/3) increases your HP and MP regen.

Tier 2 masteries help early game leveling, 5% more experience gain from Awareness (4/4). This sure is nice, I almost always take it with any champion.

Tier 3 masteries provide you with MP regen, .66 per second from Meditation (2/3) and increased neutral monsters buff duration, 30% from Utility Mastery (2/2). This one is really important 'cause you will try to get those buffs whenever possible.

Tier 4 masteries increase your MS, 3% from Quickness (3/3). This one is really important as well 'cause remember, you want to get and stay in melee range.

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Core Item Build Sequence

Start off with a Doran's Shield and a Health Potion. When you port back to base, you should have roughly 1350 gold. Buy Boots of Speed and Heart of Gold.

Get Sight Wards if you feel that you can afford them.

Doran's Shield
This item is very important to Xin Zhao because we want to have the best early game possible. In other words, you want to lasthit as much as you want. This item, Challenge, your defensive masteries and runes should make laning a breeze. You will be able to stay in every lane if you play it smart.

Heart of Gold
It provides you with a very nice amount of armor and a fair amount of health. Keep in mind it also gives you money. Once you've got this item you've increased your survivability by a lot. Especially in the early game phase health is really valuable.

Mercury's Treads
Xin Zhao is a melee DPS. He needs to jump right in the middle of the action, that's why the CC reduction is very helpful. You want to be able to do what you have to and when you want to. It also increases your survivability against casters a lot.

The Brutalizer
It gives you AD, ArPen and 10% CDR. It's just too great not to get. You will be able to deal a lot more damage than without it and remember we don't want to play Xin Zhao as a tank, we want to play him as a tough DPS.

Youmuu's Ghostblade
It's even better than The Brutalizer and also has an active. When active, you'll move and attack faster. It can be used as a mini-ghost for escaping/chasing.

Aegis of the Legion
Cheap and great item. The aura may seem weak, but it isn't because you should stay in the middle of the fight. In fact the less resistances your team has, the more effective this item will get. It will increase your overall survivability and your damage.

Situational Items - Defensive

Randuin's Omen
It gives Xin Zhao an amazing defense against physical damage and it's build out of Heart of Gold. The best part however is the active. It'll make it very hard to run from you. Get it if you struggle against physical damage.

Banshee's Veil
It is a great item to counter casters and to block CC/initiation spells. Remember you should and want to be right in the middle of the action. Get it if you have problems with casters or CC.

Sunfire Cape
This item gives Xin Zhao a magic damage AoE, a lot of HP and quite some armor. If you struggle against physical damage, get it if you already got Randuin's Omen.

Force of Nature
This item gives the most MR of any one item in the game. If you struggle against magical damage, get it if you already got Banshee's Veil.

Situational Items - Offensive

Trinity Force
This is one of the best items because Xin Zhao is kind of a burst damage champion. Xin Zhao profits from all of the ingredients. I prefer this over Frozen Mallet although it's even more expensive. Get it, if you feel confident enough to and want to improve Xin Zhao's offensive capabilities by a lot.

Zeke's Harbinger
This item is cheap although the AS and LS aura helps you to stay alive in team fights. The armor reduction is a nice bonus to your team's physical damage output. Get it, if your team hasn't got it yet and you have no survivability problems.

Sword of the Divine
30 ArPen when active and 60% more AS is great. Just never forget to use the active. This item is even cheaper than Zeke's Harbinger. Get it, if your team has already got Zeke's Harbinger and you have no survivability problems.

The Bloodthirster
This item is really good if you're fed. You'll get a lot AD and LS to punish your opponents and to keep your HP up. Get it only if you're fed.

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Laning & Play Style

Xin Zhao is already a strong champion with his ability to quickly dash forward with Audacious Charge and to knock his opponents in the air right after with Three Talon Strike. If you play well, you should be able to get kills. However it's much more important to farm gold early. Don't overextend. Play it safe and watch the map.

Early Game Phase

Just sit back and lasthit if possible. Don't overextend, you're tough but not immortal. Try to stay behind your minions and watch the map.

Once you've got Audacious Charge continue to lasthit minions but do use opportunities to kill or harass your opponent. Use the brush to your advantage, hide in it etc.

Once you've got Crescent Sweep. Nothing really changes although you can try to get a kill now if you haven't got one before but keep cool and play it safe.

The most important thing in the early game phase is to play it safe and careful. Try to farm some gold. Port back if you need to. Know what you're able to do and what not. A good early game phase is essential for having a good late game phase.

Mid Game Phase

Now you'll have to decide what items you want to get with Xin Zhao. Do you have problems with magical or physical damage? Do you need more damage (if you have no problems to survive at all)?

Ward the map with your team. You shouldn't have to be the one to buy all the wards. Just make sure to keep at least dragon, baron and the most common teamfights areas warded.

Grab the lizard buff if possible unless there's someone who needs it even more than you do. If you've got it, try to gank a lane. Lizard buff is really strong on Xin Zhao because it helps him to stay in melee range. Your opponents won't be able to get away from you that easily anymore.

Try not to initiate teamfights unless you have to do it. If there's no other tank on your team, well you'll be forced to. While Xin Zhao is tanky, he's just not a main tank like Shen or Rammus and just not that good at initiating teamfights. If you've been force to, try to disable their carries and/or casters with Audacious Charge, followed by Crescent Sweep, followed by Three Talon Strike, followed by Youmuu's Ghostblade's (+ maybe Randuin's Omen's and/or Sword of the Divine's) active and finished by Battle Cry. If not, try the same thing after your tank initiated on them.

Late Game Phase

You should play just like in the mid game phase except there are even more teamfights.

Push whenever the time is right but don't overdo it. You don't want to fight their team at their turret if you're at a disadvantage. Just don't force yourself into bad spots.

Remember you're a tough DPS champion so try to be a threat to the squishie opponents. Stay together with your team and wait for the opponents to make a mistake.

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Tricks & Strategies

Last-hitting with Xin Zhao is pretty easy. Three Talon Strike resets you auto-attack-timer and Audacious Charge deals AoE-damage, so farming should be a breeze.

Don't be too scared of their turrets. You can tank quite a few shots.

Remember to use Youmuu's Ghostblade's , Randuin's Omen's and Sword of the Divine's active. You can set any keys you want to activate them in the settings but 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 are default.

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Xin Zhao is a tough DPS champion and should be played as one. His itemless damageoutput is great as well as his defensive capabilities. If people underestimate you, make them pay for it. Xin Zhao can take quite a beating with this build and still do a considerable amount of damage.

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Q. Do you deal enough damage with only Youmuu's Ghostblade?

A. Remember that Xin Zhao has quite a lot damage even without items. Sometimes it's enough and sometimes it's not. Just decide it after the core build.

[b)Q. [/b]What is more important, survivability or damage?
A. Remember that Xin Zhao is a tough DPS champion and he needs both damage and survivability. Just don't play him as a carry and as a main tank, try to balance it out.

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Special Thanks to SixSonatas

I want to really thank SixSonatas for this great template a lot.

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Change Log


- Guide created
- Layout changed