Xin Zhao Build Guide by DigitalGaulte

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Not Updated For Current Season

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League of Legends Build Guide Author DigitalGaulte

Xin Zhao - Unranked Solo Queue slayer

DigitalGaulte Last updated on November 14, 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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I want to thank you for taking the time to spend some time with my guide. This is my first guide and I hope to make more in the future. If you have any AD champions you'd like me to take a look at, please let me know and I will try and spend some time working on it.

Also, I want to let everyone know that as of writing this I am NOT participating in the ranked draft yet. I realize this is a large hole in my knowledge base but I am not pretending that this build will work in ranked draft, though I have high hopes that it will allow me to climb the ladder quickly once I move into that arena.

I decided to create this guide because, as it turns out, I build this champ in a completely unique way compared to ALL of the builds I have been able to find on MOBAFIRE.
If you do not agree with anything I have to say in this guide, please feel free to comment but I would like to ask you not to give a down-vote OR an up-vote unless you have actually tried this build out.
Thanks for your attention and time!
"To the arena"! - Xin Zhao

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Why do I rune this way?

Why Greater Mark of Desolation x9 and Greater Quintessence of Desolation x3?
I chose these runes because, when it comes right down to it, you do more physical damage with these runes than with ANY other Marks or Quintessences.
Why not Attack Speed marks?
I learned the hard way, and at great IP cost, that Greater Mark of Attack Speed might be flashy and fun but will cause a severe lacking in your early game damage output and limit your harassing capabilities DRASTICALLY!

Why Greater Seal of Attack Damage x9?
The 1.0 scaling ratio of Three Talon Strike. If you land all 3 hits makes these marks 3 times as effective!
Side Note: If you get the knock-up from Three Talon Strike, you ALSO get a basic attack RIGHT after - so think of a successful Three Talon Strike as 4 attacks!)
This means that a successful Three Talon Strike grants 3.8 damage x 4 at 2nd level! That is HUGE! 15.2 EXTRA damage HUGE!

Why Greater Glyph of Attack Speed x9?
Because Xin Zhao is an attack speed champion and we want him to swing just THAT much faster at the start of the match. This will start to become VERY apparent with each level you gain.
Another option you might consider would be Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction x9, but due to scaling and the timer reduction you receive from Battle Cry, I believe that Attack Speed is much more beneficial.

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This section will have to be completed once I have spent some time in the new season 2 masteries being released in the upcoming patch.

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This is the EXACT order I plan to buy every item from start to finish.

Elixir of Fortitude +140 health and +10 AD (if you hit an enemy 4 times ( Three Talon Strike +1) this equals 40 EXTRA DAMAGE!

Health Potion x5 You can stay in lane until it's time to leave and BUY NEW ITEMS! ;)

Mana Potion x1 In case you over-extend your mana usage in the laning phase.

Boots of Mobility In my opinion, it is more important to be with your team in a team fight than having 25% more Attack speed or ANYTHING else you don't get to use because you were too slow to get somewhere.

Dagger Get this to build into The Black Cleaver

B. F. Sword Builds into The Black Cleaver

The Black Cleaver Your first core item. Understand that it's passive is rarely used by you because your Three Talon Strike ability (all three attacks) count as spells not basic attacks. It IS useful in helping you in solo fights though.

Vampiric Scepter Builds into The Bloodthirster

B. F. Sword Builds into The Bloodthirster

The Bloodthirster Your second core item. The damage and Life-steal here are far more important than adding critical chance into the mix yet in my opinion.

Zeal Building Phantom Dancer

Phantom Dancer This is your third core item. It will enhance everything you have been building and add the critical chance you have all been waiting for!

Giant's Belt Health! We love Health!

Phage more health and slowing!

Frozen Mallet Last core item! Health, attack damage, slow on hit! What more could we ask for?!

Infinity Edge Oh yes! We could ask for THIS! If you have gotten this far... Then it's unlikely that you need to build it. Just wait until you can buy it outright.

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Skill Sequence

Why this sequence?

Why did I choose to rank up Three Talon Strike last?

In my opinion the most useful thing that Three Talon Strike does, is knock-up your opponent. This happens regardless of ability rank. Also, I build this champion around the idea that Three Talon Strike + knock-up + the extra basic attack after knock-up is how you destroy your opponent.

So, why don't I rank it up faster?
It is more effective to use items to increase your Three Talon Strike damage, and use ranks to increase your Audacious Charge damage.
Three Talon Strike scales with 1.0 AD. This means that AD ITEMS like The Black Cleaver will increase the damage that your Three Talon Strike does by 1 point for every Attack Damage point you have.
Audacious Charge Scales with .4 AP. This means that AP like Needlessly Large Rod will increase the damage that your Audacious Charge does by .4 points for ever Ability Power point that you have.

AD scaling and Three Talon Strike - The BIG picture
When you buy The Black Cleaver, you get 55 damage, right? WRONG!
If you are a successful Xin Zhao, then you are landing Three Talon Strike +1 basic attack. So you are really adding 220 damage! Yep you read that right. 220 damage!
The Bloodthirster +60 damage right? WRONG! It's +240 damage! Three Talon Strike +1 FTW!

So I use items to improve Three Talon Strike, and skill ranks to improve Audacious Charge and it's measly .4 ability power scaling ratio.

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How to Harass with Xin Zhao

Level 1 ability selection doesn't really matter. NEVER use your abilities until you are level 2. Just farm. Yes I said it. JUST farm!

In an emergency, Audacious Charge will help you survive more than Three Talon Strike will due to the slow, and Area damage.

Once you hit 2nd level things change...
1. Get Three Talon Strike right away. Every second counts!
2. Drink your Elixir of Fortitude
3. Exhaust your opponent.
4. Three Talon Strike + Audacious Charge your solo lane opponent. Stay for the knockup + fourth hit, if you can without taking turret damage.

DO NOT CHASE for kills this early. If you get the kill that's fine. Just don't press for it.

After that, just follow the sequence and recommended harass pattern.

Here is a video I made of me laning against a Nasus. I am aware that I have still got some work to do whaen it comes to getting my last hits on creeps so please don't be to harsh. The REAL reason I chose this example was so you could see first-hand what I mean about waiting until you hit 2nd level to start your harassing.
Thanks for watching!!!

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Summoner Spells

With the Cripple mastery, this summoner spell will add 10 damage per attack. Remember that a full Three Talon Strike + 1 basic attack, will make this mastery equal to 40 more damage if you use it BEFORE you initiate instead of AFTER. This is GREAT for early game harassing. It might even be the difference in a kill.

This spell is what I use to get OUT of a team fight so that I can get right back in. I cover this concept in the teamwork chapter.

Viable Summoner spells

Most experienced players will tell you that you need Teleport if you are planning on laning solo top. This is a very good point. Your Boots of Mobility should get you back to your tower in time to avoid disaster if you happen to die during your laning phase. Also, "Xin Zhao" is a champion that relies on surprise to eliminate his enemies. The Boots of Mobility will allow you to cruise around the map and gain position on your enemies much easier. Combining these boots with Exhaust and Flash is extremely deadly.

With the new patch coming out, I am expecting Rally the be a replacement for either of these spells, but I will likely replace Exhaust instead of Flash.

If you have any question about my opinion of the other summoner spells and how they fit with Xin Zhao please comment and I will address your interest.

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Ranked Play

I have not tested this build in ranked play. If you decide to give it a try in a ranked game or two, I invite you to give feedback about how it turns out.

I will soon be using this build in ranked games and will update this guide accordingly.

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Pros / Cons

Great harasser against a melee solo lane if you do it right
A squishy champions nightmare
Can, and SHOULD, solo top
Strikes fear into the enemy team

Gets focused a lot (Use this to your advantage and this becomes a pro)

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Team Work

I've read some guides that tell you NOT to initiate fights with Xin Zhao. I disagree with this. I recommend that if you are going to initiate a fight, then make sure you have Flash available.

Here is your initiation sequence
QE, R - stay for knockup, Exhaust DIFFERENT TARGET, Flash OUT!

Choosing your target
Pick a squishy target that will get you in the middle of at least 2, (preferably three), of the enemy team's champions.

Initiation sequence
Three Talon Strike - Audacious Charge - Activate these as close together as possible so your enemy doesn't hear the sound of your Q and run away from you. Crescent Sweep RIGHT when your charge lands. Stay for your knock-up from Three Talon Strike. Dump Exhaust on a DIFFERENT target. Flash OUT!

Repeat without your Crescent Sweep until the other team is dead or you're dead, or it's time to run away.

After you have done this, one of three things will be happening.
1. You will be alive - OUT of the enemy focus range - and ready for another QE target. Pick the one with the LEAST health.
2. You will be dead and your team will kill ALL of the rest of the living enemies. You get assist gold from EVERY kill you landed your Crescent Sweep on. Yay gold!
3. Your entire team dies but likely takes a lot of the other team with them.

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Remember that nice Elixir of Fortitude we bought at the beginning? The extra 10 Attack Damage will make it a LOT easier to last hit creeps. If you have more CS (Creep Score) than your enemy... Guess who's winning! ;)

Wait until you are level 2 to drink it. Then drink it IMMEDIATELY. EVERY second counts here. Seriously. If you wait long enough for 4 of your creeps to die within your opponents EXP range... Then you've lost your level advantage.

Refer to the Skill Sequence chapter for further farming and harassing specifics.