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Xin Zhao Build Guide by HAMMERSLAYER

Jungle 12.14 Gold Efficient Best Xin Zhao Builds and Guide [OnHold]

Jungle 12.14 Gold Efficient Best Xin Zhao Builds and Guide [OnHold]

Updated on August 2, 2022
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League of Legends Build Guide Author HAMMERSLAYER Build Guide By HAMMERSLAYER 2793 124 11,375,355 Views 256 Comments
2793 124 11,375,355 Views 256 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author HAMMERSLAYER Xin Zhao Build Guide By HAMMERSLAYER Updated on August 2, 2022
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Choose Champion Build:

  • LoL Champion: Xin Zhao
    Standard Bruiser
  • LoL Champion: Xin Zhao
    Phaseburst AKA Run and Gun Builds (Legacy Builds, Old)
  • LoL Champion: Xin Zhao
    Utility Builds (Legacy Builds, Old)
  • LoL Champion: Xin Zhao
    Situational/Gimmicky DPS Builds (Legacy Builds, Old)
  • LoL Champion: Xin Zhao
    Tank/Cinderhulk Conqueror Builds (Legacy Builds, Old)
  • LoL Champion: Xin Zhao

Runes: Standard Carry Runes

Legend: Alacrity
Coup de Grace

Bone Plating

+10% Attack Speed
+6 Armor
+6 Armor


LoL Summoner Spell: Flash


LoL Summoner Spell: Smite



I still won't play the game competitively like I used to (I can't be bothered to reach Diamond+ again after all these years) but felt a small update to the guide might help some people!
Standard Starting Items
Old Builds and Items from years past... See this as more of a history lesson.

Threats & Synergies

Threats Synergies
Extreme Major Even Minor Tiny
Show All
None Low Ok Strong Ideal
Extreme Threats
Ideal Synergies
Ideal Strong Ok Low None

A quick introduction of myself.

Many things in the guide have been written long ago and not updated. I will still leave them in for the information that they provide.

After a lot of games and experimenting i must say that this is the most optimal and gold efficient build you can actually get for Xin,those particular items help you to snowball the early game and carry in the late game.I am a Xin Zhao main and it actually took me hundreds if not thousands of hours to perfect the build, test it, and be able to also perfect every jungle path and strategy with Xin Zhao in order to have reached the Top 8 Xin Zhao in all servers/#1 EUNE and Diamond 2 peak, i have reached 1 million Mastery on him and have 3000+ games under my belt (both before and after the Mastery system across all my accounts). The builds will be updated when needed and some will be retested with each new patch. Even though i will try to expand this "Guide" do not expect any fancy BBcoding and such, I am here you help you learn the champion not to show you my "Amazing" (awfull) coding skills so expect walls of text and notes, occasionally I will post untested builds for future patches that I create from reading future patch notes but I will mention it by putting the number of the said patch in front of their name. If you have any Questions feel free to comment and i will answer them..
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General Game Strategies (Still Relevant)

When you play as Xin Zhao at some points in the game you are faced with certain game changing decisions, some of them being the following:

1) Start of the game, "Should i counterjungle?", the answer in most cases is NO, that is because even though Xin has a good jungle clear he is still clearing relativly slowly, if you want to harass the enemy jungler your best choice is to predict his ganks and try and countergank him, in that case if everything goes smoothly your team will almost certainly get 1-2 kills and you will walk out unscathed.
However, here is a small example of when proper counterjungling can dominate the game:
[It's kind of bugged so i can't embed the video)

2) 7-9 minutes of the game, "Should i take solo Dragon ?", that is dependant first on how fast the enemy jungler is with his camps, if he is very fast like Shyvana i would not recommend it as you will probably fall behind in levels and gold, instead you should just ward the dragon so you can stop her from taking it. Secondly, does your team need any help with ganks? if your team is in a bad spot and your lanes are pushed try to help them instead of taking dragon, if you relief some of their stress and put them on the lead then they themself will help you take a dragon together in more safety. Third and not so vital is if the dragon is worth taking at that stage of the game, is it an Inferal Drake? that is in most cases a very big deal and can help a lot in the future, is it an Earth Drake? it can certainly be of use for faster jungle farm and in turn ganks and also maybe to attemp and get Herald later, is it an Ocean Drake? this dragon could help your support and topper regen some health overtime while they are pushed in the lane undertower or if they wait for their fallen opponent to return to their lane while they avoid going B and they gain some extra EXP and Gold, is it a Cloud Drake? it might help a tad for people to go back to their lanes faster but in most cases the benefits don't show until late game or 2nd and 3rd Cloud Drake.

3) 10 minutes in the game, "Should i take Rift Herald ?", after the 2017 mid-season changes the answer is a definitive YES, first you must try and make a successful gank on Top or Mid and then ask your Midder and/or Topper to help you take Herald (after the waves are pushed so your laners don't lose farm in the meanwhile), whoever takes the Herald can fast recall to base if needed so preferably the one with the lowest Health/Mana and then after choosing the lane you want to push you can run it down that lane with Herald's help and sieging potential, be aware that the lane that is going to get pushed will lose some farm and most likely will be more prone to ganks,so in the end you must either provide help or ward for that laner or that laner must start roaming the rest of the map while you also press the advantage you already have with the extra push and not let the enemy laners have much time to respond or farm so you can further snowball the game.

4) 20 minuted in the game, "Should i attempt a 20 minute Baron with my teamates?", now this is a tricky one, even though i have done it countless times and it works in a lot of them i would not entierly suggest it, first of all in order for it to work you need to be sure that the enemy team has not spotted you and on top of that you really want only 3 people of your team to come (including you) as the other 2 push in order to not raise suspicion, you need to be swift, have at least 1 tank with you and be mindfull that if you fail and the Baron gets stolen or you all 3 die to enemies then you will be in a very tough spot, because of a failed call like that i have lost games and in turn if the call suceeds i have won games so be very mindfull when you make such a call.

5) 30 minutes in the game, "Should i split as Xin Zhao?", that is also entirely dependant on how the game has played you but in most games at that point of the game i either help team set fights or i just farm in my jungle and some pushed lanes as i don't want to get ganked by the enemy team or give them a chance to engage my team while i am away, try to skirmish for gold and push as much as you can without it being too risky or without vision.

6) 35+ minutes in the game, "Should i get Elder Dragon ?", that objective should and will never go uncontested, you need to carefully place wards and play back and forth with the enemy team until you can snatch the chance after a teamfight to take him and in some cases even Baron too.
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Jungle Pathing (Still Relevant)

Pathing for Xin Zhao has changed drasticaly over the recent patches, from countrjungling, to contesting crab, to now trying not to fall behind and not get ganked by laners. First of all you must consider, which laner will face problems and get shoved by the enemy and then start away from him, that allows you to get your buff and head towards him in order to assist him the moment he gets pushed.

Basically, if you botlanes will need more help, then you start topside, take the Red Brambleback , get camps, reach level 3 after taking the Blue Sentinel and then gank lane (if possible), if that's not possible then observe the map and farm your remaining camps. It's good to try and get Crabs but attemp to get the Rift Scuttler that will possibly go uncontested, often your laners might not follow you and you will end up trapped by 2-3 champions without help, dying just to contest a Crab. Xin must not fall behind so he must play safe.

One way to gank fast if you start Blue Sentinel side, is take the Buff, take Gromp , go to Rift Scuttler if you feel the enemy jungler won't attemp to take it, then either gank ot go take your Murk Wolf (if you want an uberfast level 3 then just take the 2 small wolves) and then go to the other side of your jungle or gank a shoved enemy lane.

If you start Red botside then take the Red Brambleback , go to Rift Scuttler (if you feel that the enemy jungler won't contest it), if you feel that Rift Scuttler will be contested then take your Raptors , go to the topside of the river fast and take that crab, take Blue Sentinel , then if you feel top or mid is gankable then try to help those lanes, if you can't gank then proceed to take Murk Wolf and Gromp .

If you start Red topside then take Red Brambleback , take Raptors , take Rift Scuttler , if your midlaner is push or in trouble attemp to gank mid (by that time the enemy jungle will be heading top so you are usually safe), then head towards Blue Sentinel and first take bottom Rift Scuttler if it's not taken, now at this point, if botlane is pushed then gank them, if it's not pushed then proceed to take your Gromp and Murk Wolf and then go B for items and head towards Top side in order to gank or take Krug and then gank Top or Mid.

Generally try to play safe and not fall behind, also always be mindfull of the enemy jungler, if you feel that you might counterjungled by him or and enemy laner then fall back, you will have a chance to catch up later in the game. It's generally a race of who can gank more effcitvely (that doesn't mean gank more) while also getting the most farm and not dying.
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Champion Gameplay (Still Relevant)

Xin Zhao as a champion is quite immobile, even though he has a skill in order to engage [E] and potentialy one to disengage [R] (in most cases just to save his team and not himself), he has no spells in order to escape, because of such nature, Xin Zhao even though he is considered a "low skill" champion by many, in reality he needs a great deal of decision making and most of all positioning and timing of the engage. In a lot of games you win see Xin Zhaos to have multiple deaths as a result of bad decision making and engaging the enemy team at wrong instances or wrong order. If you want to properly play Xin Zhao in high elo and carry your way through at low elo then you need to be mindfull of the nature of the champion and not be misled by his simplistic nature. Ps. In most cases if you get cought or engage the enemy with your team or alone then DO NOT try to run, as a Xin Zhao you will never escape, you best and only chance is try to out-sustain them and kill them all or hold them until your team arrives, so just stay and fight like a man until your last dying breath. As a Xin Zhao in the jungle you need to farm as much as possible while also ganking when ever you see a good chance, don't try to just harass people with ganks but rather try to have a good timing and go for the sure kill, afterwards just go back to farming until the next opportunity arises, with Xin Zhao you need to have as many items as possible in a short period of time as he truly shines in the mid and late game.
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Tips for Beginners (Still Very Relevant)

1) Don't get swayed and follow trends that seem questionable and work only as placebo on the players (yes, i am looking at you Phase Rush and "I level up E as a second spell" diamond and above players that use this useless set up because you copied an idiot or a pro that doesn't know much about the champion, who use it) using untested and underpowered builds just because is trendy, will only work a placebo effect and won't help you win your games.

2) Use builds that deal enough damage but don't make you squishy, being squishy and diving into a fight head-first can throw you the game, for squisier builds you need better positioning and shotcalling.

3) Play safe in the jungle and don't try risky ganks and counterjungling, being left behind by the enemy jungler can prove very bad then you are not sure how to make a comeback on Xin.

4) Try ganking only the winning lanes to snowball,gank the losing lanes only when then enemy overextends and you are sure they don't have vision and you can pick up some easy kills. Otherwise, ganking the losing lanes can cause a failed gank and put you behind, thus making you unable to help the winning lanes and losing you the game.

5) Player very safe when attemping to get objectives alone and always keep in mind that in solo queue NONE and i repeat NONE will help you out or follow your calls (even if in the end they do follow and help you, just keep in mind that that's rare and you shouldn't count on it).

6) If you play on lower Elo meaning D3 and below then keep in mind that people usually don't ward properly, shove very often and don't look at the map, use that as an advantage to gank enemy laners without escape means.

7) Always consider which lane has the most synergy or most potential to win the game and focus on that lane (but don't obsess over it).

8) Don't stay over and over, babysitting a lane that has no problem laning and lose farm because of it, you can always re attemp a gank, but you can't stop camp timers from flowing, you have to fill your time with farming as much as you can without ignoring the lanes.

9) Avoid tower diving and wasting summoner spells, yes i do that a lot as well, i sometimes can't help it and towerdive like an idiot, or i flash for someone that i know he will escape, it happens to all of us, try to keep those urges low and don't waste your time on stuff like that.

10) If you see an enemy laner acting weird when you approach or they disappear when you go in your jungle then be very mindful that they have vision of you and you will either waste your time, ot get counterjungled by the enemy laner and jungle and die a miserable and frustrating death, it's not worth contesting a buff (even if it's your buff) when you see that you are outnumbered and none of the laners come to assist you.

11) A lot of people say "/mute all and you will have an easy game", no, don't do that, i agree muting those 1-2 people that keep trashtaking and don't contribute anything, but overall don't mute everyone, in case sometime you don't look at the map but someone else does and starts telling you or pinging you in rodfer to notify you and you have them muted then you will miss that information and either make a very bad call or die.

12) Avoid riksy team calls such as not sure Baron or Elder Dragon, or an inhibitor fight, these calls can lose you the game since once Xin goes into a fight, he can't really get out of it, he will either survive until the end of the fight or just die along with the team.

13) Be mindful of your positioning and know when you have to engage or when you just have to wait for an opportunity to dive the backline or peel for your own backline.

14) Don't be afraid to use your ulti, it cooldowns fairly fast and your Q can help with that even more, if you feel that your ulti will help you get a kill or escape then go ahead and use it, just be careful with that in late game since you will need your ulti in late game fights, in order to not get bursted down first.
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Champion Skills and Advice (Still Relevant)

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Determination (Passive): is pretty much his old W passive, it provides very good sustain in jungle and some extra DPS.

Three Talon Strike (Q): A medium burst ability that also lowers your other skills cooldowns and knocks up the enemy, overall a great skill and with a 40% CDR build you can use it every 3 seconds and consantly lower the CD of your other skills.

Wind Becomes Lightning (w): A good damage, high utility skill that can be spammed with a 40% CDR build and a full leveled Q, it provides enough slow and range to catch people and also improves clearing speed greatly and thus is leveled up first.

Audacious Charge (E): This skill in the past was maxed first instead of 3rd but after the changes its advised to be maxed last. A lot people had the misconception that this skill was maxed first because of the "Burst" it gave to Xin Zhao during the engage but that is not true, the reason this skill in the past was maxed first is because the higher its level was the cooldown dropped, enabling Xin to catch his enemies in an easier fashion, after the changes the cooldown became "12 second at all levels" so its not worth maxing anymore, even the extra Attack Speed doesn't justify leveling it first or second.

Crescent Guard (R): This particular skill has a variety of uses in comparison to how simplistic it is, it can be used rarely as a final blow, some other times as a tool to save your team from an enemy engage, stun the enemy during a gank and knock him towards your team in order to guarantee a kill, knock a Rengar/Jax/Renekton/Lee Sin/Shyvana etc. that attempts you kill you or someone of your team, and lastly the most famous use of them all, to flank the enemy team and engage their carry or midder while using your ulti to knock everyone back while you burst their squishy down in seconds while they pray to somehow save him and not die to your team. This skill can be very crucial on whether you will survive a teamfight or not since it provides a fairly long time of (mediocre) invincibility.
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Cooldowns and Mana Needs (Still Relevant)

Generally Xin Zhao has relativly low cooldowns on all his spells and with the help of his "Q" Three Talon Strike they get reduced even more, in a normal build its not something to be to wary of but just keep in mind the cooldown of your ulti and mostly your "E" Audacious Charge as it is your main gap-closer. In a 30%-40% CDR Build however as those listed above you should keep in mind that if played and kept in track properly then plently of combos can be made, the skill's low CD and the "Q" Three Talon Strike can assist you in spamming your "W" Wind Becomes Lightning

Mana Needs:
Xin Zhao has moderate mana needs with his most expensive skill being his Ultimate Crescent Guard with 100 mana, his "E" Audacious Charge with 60 mana and his "W" Wind Becomes Lightning with 45 manam along with his "Q" Three Talon Strike that enables him to constantly spam those abilities over and over, the main mana problems appear very early in the game but almost vanish later in the game by the time you get your jungle item that greatly boosts your mana regen, that's mainly because Xin Zhao stays in the map for extensive periods of time without the need to Recall , usually making the most out of all his mana and health.
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Itemization (New)

With the Mythic items update there was a huge shift on On-Hit effects and Hypercarry builds as there are no more items that provide both ATK DMG and AP POWER, this changed the landscape for Xin Zhao as well since he used to rely heavily on On-Hit effects with his old Skillset, after these changes and his past rework, his gameplay got shifted to an Auto-Attack + Abilities approach, which takes come from both worlds of carries and bruisers.

Thats why is very important for his items to contain both ATK SPD and Ability Haste.

However, the most important part is that due to his low base health, his build must include items that contain both ATK DMG (for DPS) and Health (for Sustain), with the old Trinity Force that was lacking and also had common passives with Black Cleaver but still very much needed, that was a slight problem, with the new iteration however a lot of things got fixed, thus making Xin Zhao a lot more viable as a Jungler and as a balanced Early + Mid + Late game bruiser option. That coupled with the fact that Trinity Force , Black Cleaver and Blade of the Ruined King provide MS on Hit, also help greatly to stick to the target and improve the DPS coming from Autoing a lot more.
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Itemization (Old) (Legacy/Not Relevant) See this as mostly a history lesson on the champion.

After the 7.19 changes though Xin Zhao had a shift in gameplay and with his new "W" Wind Becomes Lightning the raw stats of Trinity Force are just too good to pass up on Xin Zhao making it a go-to item in most cases since his "W" benefits from both the attack speed the CDR and the attack damage.

Spirit Visage Is another item that is use almost always as it benefits Xin Zhao greatly by providing not only Health + Magic Resist and 10% CDR for a very low price but also 25% (30% with patch 7.9) buff to all heals, making is an outstanding combo with Blade of the Ruined King and Guinsoo's Rageblade or Death's Dance (which again will see a lot of play with patch 7.9 as it receives a fair bit of buffs).

Skirmisher's Sabre - Bloodrazor is reccomended since after the changes in his "W" he has enough slows to catch up to target and thus that extra dps and survivability + vision gives bigger of an advantage.

The boots that i was picking in most cases were Mercury's Treads as they provided me with a good amount of Tenacity ,which is a stat very important for Xin Zhao (normaly), as a stunned Xin Zhao is a dead Xin Zhao (most of the time), BUT because if they can't damage you, you can't die anyway i choose Ninja Tabi as they have currently too much value to pass up, you get 30 Armor and 10% less damage from all basic attacks plus the Movespeed (obviously) for only 1100 gold so unless they get nerfed or Mages and AP Champions take the spotlight i would suggest buying Ninja Tabi in 90% of the games. So Ninja Tabi in combination with Spirit Visage is in most cases everything you need to completly brush off any attacks from AD and AP champions, they are the 2 more hated deffensive items in the game ATM (justifiably I must say) and with the healing and DPS of Xin Zhao you will make people rage to oblivion while they hit their keyboards crying on how "OP" your champion is (Yes it has happened in a lot of cases with a lot of people raging and calling me an abuser with a noob "Right-Click Only" champ [even in D3+], but i ain't even mad, it feels great).

Also a very popular item that appearsis a lot of my builds is Black Cleaver for the reason thats its value and pricetag are out of this world, even after the 7.9 nerfs its still an outstanding item, not only do you get Damage,Health, 20% freaking CDR and Penetration but you can also easily stick to your targets with it with the Movespeed that it provides, which is very important as i mentioned before thats Xin's main disadvantage is that he can't stick to his targets and thats why such items are very important. Black Cleaver is an expensive item that works greatly on Xin Zhao but only during late game, during earlygame, you don't need the Health provided much as you are ganking every now and then but mostly making a lead on farm, because it has relatively low damage your clear will be slower, the 20% CDR is indeed fantastic but again mainly for the late game, early in the game your skills have moderate Cooldowns anyway and you don't spam them often so its not something you care much about anyway, the On-Hit Movementspeed gain effect again its not so usefull early because you just run around the map and the only things you hit are jungle mobs that you are farming, in ganks that movespeed won't be a tremendous bonus in the start as people die relativly easily anyway so they have no ability to try and escape, the reason you need that buff is for late game fights to stick on your targets, and lastly the (%)[Percent] Armor Penetration it provides early in the game is borderline useless because none
actually has high enough Armor for it to benefit from. (%)[Percent] Armor Penetration is a totally different thing from Lethality and for it to be good/usefull the enemy has to have a moderate or high amount of Armor, making (%)[Percent] Armor Penetration extremly weak early in the game and in the starting stages of the midgame.

Guinsoo's Rageblade is an optional item which provides a lot of stats and value for a hefty price but when utilized right it can provide you with those crazy 1v3 and 1v4 fights in which Xin Zhao shines, it can provide with a lot of Sustain and Damage but if needed it can alweays be replaces by various other items, some being Hextech Gunblade for more healing, Titanic Hydra for more sustain and damage-on-hit, Death's Dance for a considerable amount of extra burst and sustain + a lot of healing, Dead Man's Plate / Randuin's Omen for extra armor and health if needed, or even Mercurial Scimitar for when the enemy team has a crazy amount of CC or similar effects which you want to avoid in order to not get popped or stunlocked in a fight or before a fight.

Here is a usefull Chart i found that helps me to balance out most of the builds i create:
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Runes (Old) (See Current Runes Above)

Since the rework Xin Zhao became very Ability Damage oriented and less Basic Attack reliant,yet even though his builds now are focused more towards the Enchantment: Warrior build path he still needs some sttack speed that he lacks. With the recent Rune changes that is fixed.

For that reason i suggest this alternative Precision/Domination rune settup in order to boost your Attackspeed greately:

Lethal Tempo: After a short time you can greatly boost your Attack Speed and has a very short cooldown.
Legend: Alacrity: As long as you farm/gank properly it gives a substantial boost of 18% extra Attack Speed.
Coup de Grace: Gives a little boost in order to burst the carries much like the old masteries.
Cheap Shot: Works perfectly as long as you can land your (W) Wind Becomes Lightning or (E) Audacious Charge or if you've built Blade of the Ruined King, providing stable extra True Damage.
Relentless Hunter: Provides utility in order to travel faster saving time between ganks and jungle camps.
Triumph: On a team fight, a gank with multiple participants and 1v2/3/4/5 can provide substantial sustain, but even in the case of normal early game ganks it can replenish some HP in order for you to not need to go B and proceed instead to clear the rest of the camps.

A good alternative is the Pecision/Domination path that provides some extra True Damage and some CD for your Ultimate:

Cheap Shot: An extra helping hand that can give you the edge on an early game duel or gank.
Ultimate Hunter: A more midgame oriented approach that along with your Q Three Talon Strike helps your Ulti CD faster in order to give you an advantage in a game full of teamfights.

A casual approach to the Precision/Sorcery path that fits an average playstyle:

Waterwalking: A way to be more confident in the river duels since Rift Scuttler is a very important objective in the recent patches and can attract a lot of attention.
Celerity: A mild way to help you reach the lanes faster and spend less time walk around in the jungle.

Another Precision/Sorcery path but this time more oriented towards a more healing/squishy approach that focuses on dealing a lot of damage through auto attacks during fights and costnatly healing up.

Nimbus Cloak: Mostly a rune that helps you disengage after using your Ulti instead of fighting, a good rune for a comp that requires fights with high mobility that go back and forth.
Celerity: A mild way to help you reach the lanes faster and spend less time walk around in the jungle.

An other option is the Precision/Resolve path in order to use a more tanky and team oriented build:

Press the Attack: The debuff it gives on the target can proc with all sources of damage and thus it is a substantial advantage for a team oriented playstyle.
Font of Life: Through this during a fight as long as you land your (W) Wind Becomes Lightning and partially your (E) Audacious Charge or if built Blade of the Ruined King you can apply another debuff to heal you and your allies during a fight.
Second Wind: It's a usefull option that provides some more survivability in order to help you tank a fight or go back to clearing camps after a gank.

A build focuses on steamrolling the game by providing you with some extra gold to jump ahead of the others in order to do that.

Magical Footwear: It saves you 300 gold while also providing you with 10 extra Movement Speed.
Future's Market: A nice addition for early game that helps you get crucial items faster, like Tiamat, Trinity Force, Skirmisher's Sabre or simply your Skirmisher's Sabre - Warrior. It becomes negligible by late game but by then it has done it's job.

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Fun Clips of Mine :D

The sound in most videos is meh or there is YT stock music but oh well, enjoy.
(If you guys like it i could post whole games in the future).

You can find more stuff on my YouTube channel, not too many but still, i upload some things every now and then :).
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