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Xin Zhao Build Guide by Gasparde

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Gasparde

Jungle Zhao - In Depth Pubstomping

Gasparde Last updated on October 21, 2012
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Jungle Role
Ranked #22 in
Jungle Role
Win 51%
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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.



Offense: 21

Honor Guard

Defense: 0

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 9

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Welcome to my Xin Zhao Guide, Jungle Edition.

I decided to write down my experience with Xin Zhao due to the massive... massive storm of hardcore failling Xin Zhaos out there.
Xin Zhao can be played in different ways, one less effective, the other more effective.
In this guide I will show you the, in my opinion, "best" and most reasonable way to use dat freakin op dude from china.

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I will try not to use that much of insider short cuts, but sometimes it will just happen.
Therefor, this should explain 'em all.

"MR"=magic resist
"AA"=auto attack
"AP"=ability power
"AD"=attack damage
"AS"=attack speed
"CC"=crowd control
"CDR"=cooldown reduction

"TTS"=Three Talon Strike
"BC"=Battle Cry
"AC"=Audacious Charge
"CS"=Crescent Sweep

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Passive: Challenge

Xin Zhao challenges his target with his basic attacks and Audacious Charge, reducing their Armor by 15% for 3 seconds. Only one target can be challenged at a time.

Xins new passive is incredibly strong. A free 15% armor penetration passive will allow Xin to do well all from early to late game.

Q: Three Talon Strike
Xin Zhao's next 3 basic attacks deal 15/30/45/60/75 (+1.2 per AD) physical damage and reduce his other abilities' cooldowns by 1 second. The final strike also knocks the target into the air.

Finally armed with a strong AD scaling. TTS will now simply improve your auto attacks damage by 20% + up to 75 dmg per hit.
A sneaky trick: Activate Q, strike a minion twice and instantly knock up your victim. Sometimes it's just one hit missing to get that knock up off, with this trick this won't be the case.

W: Battle Cry
Passive: Xin Zhao heals himself for 26/32/38/44/50 (+0.7 per AP) every third basic attack.

Active: Xin Zhao unleashes a battle cry, increasing his attack speed by 40/50/60/70/80% for 5 seconds.

Xins new one point wonder. Allows you to jungle well due to its health regen nature, and gives you a great 40% AS buff already at rank 1. But dont overestimate this, every new rank is only worth 1/4 of the first rank and the passive part becomes kinda obsolete.

E: Audacious Charge
Xin Zhao charges and challenges an enemy. The charge deals 70/115/160/205/250 (+0.6 per AP) magic damage to all nearby enemies and slows them by 25/30/35/40/45% for 2 seconds.

This makes Xin a pain in the ***. Use it wisely. Used on a single target, keep in mind that if your enemy flashs away, you have no chance to get to him anymore. Sometimes just running up to an enemy and jumping after he blinked is SO MUCH win.
What about some sneaky trick? You don't acutally have to jump onto your enemy to slow him. Jump on a minion near him and he gets slowed too.

R: Crescent Sweep
XXin Zhao unleashes a sweep around him that deals 125/225/325 (+1 per bonus AD) plus 15% of target's current health in physical damage and knocks enemies back. Xin Zhao gains 15/20/25 Armor and Magic Resistance for 6 seconds for each champion hit.

Challenge: If a challenged target is hit by the sweep, it is unaffected by the knockback.

Correctly used, this spell turns you into a god. Used on a single champ... it's good. Used on the entire enemy team this will increase your resistance by 125 each. Use you R as early as possible since it does dmg relying on the ACTUAL health. This ability is **** if used against a 600 HP Champ, this ability will rape if it hits 3 3000 Health champions (nearly 750 dmage to each!). With its new knockback mechanism many ways of effectively using this ability have evolved:
Jump on a carry and isolate him from his team.
Jump behind a carry and knock him into your team.
Combine this with your teammates abilities to totally mess up your enemy teams positioning.

Very important for Xin Zaho in general is the well timed usage of his abilities.
User your Three Talon Strike immediately after your auto hit - Q resets your auto hit timer. This gives you a sneaky little burst peak.
Same goes with your Battle Cry. Use is directly after an AA to speed the following one up.
Your Audacious Charge is no exception. Use it after an auto hit to get another spark of burst.
And of course, your Crescent Sweep is used the same way.

Try to use all of your abilities instanteously after your auto attacks. Activating your R just a blink before your auto attack would have gone off delays your swing timer and costs you the dmg of one auto hit.

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Summoner Spells

Smite, you need Smite. You can jungle without Smite, but you cant jungle without Smite.

Theres a HUGE difference between a JUNGLER and a GUY RUNNING AROUND IN THE JUNGLE.
Smite speeds up your jungling time, Smite safes buffs, Smite safes Dragons and Smite safes Barons. Not to mention that you can totally RAPE your opponent jungler with good Smite skills if he uses his Smite poorly.
Smite to finish off creeps, dont engage with Smite - imagine: You're doin' Lizard, you don't have Smite, the Lizard is at 400 health. SUDDENLY a wild Shaco appears through the brush, he smites your Lizard and vanishs. And you're like... FUUUUU?!?!?1 Replace Lizard with Baron or Dragon and you know the importance of Smite.

The second summoner is really personal preference, I would really suggest Flash.
I used to run with Ghost for a long time. You are a melee champ. With Ghost you are able to stick at your enemy. You stay in melee range and he's just not able to flee.
The pooblem with Ghost is... Xin has no escape skill. If you get caught in a kinda bad situation... without Flash, you're wrecked.
I finally changed my mind and replaced Ghost with Flash to get a viable escape skill and be able to do those crazy things like WALL FLASHING!

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There are several mastery setups working for Xin.

I prefer the 21/0/9 style.

The new masteries offer a much smoother possibility to specc Xin.
21 points in offense greatly increase Xin's jungler performance. AD increases clearing time, AS benefits his passive, ArP improves ganking viability and overall... you're doing more damage.
9 points in utility... give Xin some nice utility =3

Feel free to go for a 21/9/0 or 14/15/1 route
21/9/0 gives you the smoothest possible jungle - you'll have more HP for your first gank, but therefor you give up some nice movement speed and buff duration.
14/15/1 is the midway of tankiness and dmg. Taking a little less dmg while jungling, beeing a little bit faster while above 70% HP, but not as deadly as with 21 in offense.

Choose what ever you prefer, Xin can even jungle with a 0/15/15 page. It's really personal preference.

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Your rune choice as Xin is quite limited.
For AD junglers, there are like 3 options:

Attack Speed, Attack Damage and Armor Penetration.

Attack Speed: AS has become a good choice on Xin, since you lack a lot of AS from your W now. Get some AS runes to speed up your early jungle, to help you sustain better due to your W and to get your Q off faster.

Attack Damage:
AD runes are ok on Xin. But since you actually cant get enough AD off of runes, I wouldnt recommend taking AD runes so far.

Armor Penetration: Every jungler should get at least 12 ArP by runes, since the small creep camps have only 12 Armor or less. With 12 ArP Xin deals true dmg to those. More affects buff-creeps and of course enemies. Great choice for Xin.

Seal spots are usually filled up with Armor seals.
Armor seals are kinda mandatory for nearly all junglers. They decrease the damage you'll take in the jungle and they give you a little bit more tankiness for free.

Glyphs are really awfull for every AD champion out there. You won't get effective dmg runes for these spots, so the best option is to take defensive runes here. Magic Resistance runes are best here, decide wether to take scaling or flat ones.

This Rune Setup grants you:
14% Attack Speed
12 Armor Penetration
12 Armor
24 Magic Res. at lvl 18

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Skill Sequence

Skill sequence is a matter of your jungle route.
From lvl 6 on, Xin's sequence is kinda fix. Before that point it's dependant on the route you choose to start with.

Go for Q->E if you plan to do a lvl 2 gank with start at Lizard.
Go for W->Q->E if you want to clear your jungle and start ganking at 4.
Go for Q->W->E if you plan to be fast in jungle and be able to gank early on.

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

The above mentioned skill sequence uses the third case.
Start with Three Talon Strike, go for Battle Cry and then take Audacious Charge. This makes you able to gank at level 3.

From that point: R>Q>E>W

R is obvious.
Max your Q asap. The dmg it does early on is insane. On top of this, getting the CD really low greatly affects all your other abilities aswell.
Max E then. The improved slow and lowered CD are pretty strong, but Q is just too strong now to pass.
Max W last. Though 80% seem really strong, the first point already gives 40%, while every additional point only grants 10% (the healing part becomes obsolete at some point).

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Items... items... the point where nearly every Xin seems to fail SO hard.
Let me explain why:

So... probably you know that Xin Zhao is a melee Champ. Melee champs run around right in the center of a team fight. You are just 2 steps away from that Annie, able to one shot you with one comp. 2 steps away from that Vayne... 2 steps away from everyone able to do any harm to you.
This circumstance forces EVERY SINGLE MELEE to build tanky. Melees not built tanky die instantly. You jump in, get one auto hit off, you die. This is what happens to most Xins out there. SO, stop building up your 7th Phantom Dancer and start actually becoming BULKY LIKE ****.

So now as that's clear, here is what you were lookin for.

Start off with Wriggle's Lantern. This is a must-have for nearly every jungler. It grants Armor, Damage, Lifesteal, a free Ward every 3 minutes and it speeds up your jungle a lot due to it's 500 dmg procc.


Go on with your boots. NEVER, NEVER EVER, NO WAY, get Berserker's Greaves. Remeber, you want to be tanky. So decide which boots to take. Take Mercury's Treads if your enemies are CC or AP heavy. Take Ninja Tabi if your enemies are AD heavy.


So what's happening? Your victims somehow seem to survive with like 50 HP everytime you gank them? Go for a quick Phage. The boost in HP gets you a little beefier and the slow + AD part greatly improves your ganking capabilities.


Your dmg is fine, but the double AP enemy team gives you a hard time? You want to survive them and deal a bit more dmg? Grab a Wit's End, get loads of MRes, Attack Speed and a nice on hit dmg effect.


Your fine with that Cassiopeia in mid? Your ganks usually turn out quite well? But that bot lane Varus, this jungle Lee Sin and that top lane Riven still seem to become more dangerous? No problem, get your Warden's Mail and consider a quick upgrade into Randuin's Omen - I promise you, they won't like it.

So those are the decisions to make up early on. Do you need damage or tankiness, and if you need tankiness, tankiness against what type of damage.


After your first real item... more decisions are needed.
If you straight rushed your Phage you will definitely need some tankiness now. If you're not significantly ahead, don't even consider grabbing another dmg item. Rush your Wit's End if you play vs a dangerous AP or quickly get to your Randuin's Omen if AD people start making trouble.
If you straight rushed Wit's End theres prolly no need to get another MRes item that soonish. Focus now either on getting a bit more resilient to AD dmg or if AD is no problem, get bulkier by setting up your Frozen Mallet.
If you straight rushed Randuin's Omen... well, then you're definitely in trouble now. With nothing but Randuin you hit like a wet noodle. So keep the ball rolling and either rush Frozen Mallet or go Wit's End if a scary AP appears.

Now that your first few items are finished... it's all up to you. With the above mentioned setup you have great stats for every scenario: Lots of MRes, lots of armor and a good amount of damage. So now, start thinking! Those enemy APs still scary? Get more MRes. Force of Nature or Banshee's Veil are great items therefor. That enemy Graves getting more and more farm? Add some Armor. A Guardian's Angel brings tons of armor and great utility. Or are you already tanking 5 people single-handedly and they still can't tickle you? Hell yea, get dmg then. a The Black Cleaver vs medium-armor targets, a Last Whisper vs high armor targets or a Phantom Dancer to become more dangerous in general... all great items in that case.


Many guides have a fix item section. I don't. You have to learn to build items according to your enemies. Build MRes Items if they're AP heavy. Build Armor if they are AD heavy. Learn to balance your build if they balance their source of damage (early Chain Vest + Negatron Cloak brings so much more than trying to build up a Force of Nature, while their Vayne is exactly as dangerous as their Annie). Learn the items. You have to know 'em. You have to get a feeling what to build when. This guide only gives you an idea of what to build in potential situations.

To give you a good idea of how to proceed with your items, this is a common, and pretty standard "build order":
Item Sequence

Wriggle's Lantern

Mercury's Treads


Wit's End

Frozen Mallet

Randuin's Omen

Last Whisper

This is just an idea of an item sequence. Remember the things you learned so far. You won't need armor vs a 5 AP team, and you won't need MRes vs one single AP champ with 0/12/0 and 30 cs by 40 minutes in the game. Be clever, build properly.

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Wriggle Warding!

"Sadly" your first item is only half as usefull if you don't use it's active whenever possible!
Wirggle gives you a FREE Ward per 3 minutes. So use it, and use it wisely!

Red Circles: Having a ward there is crucial. You always want to know if your enemy goes for Dragon / Baron so you can prepare to fight or try to steal it with Smite.
Green Circles: Having a ward there is up to you. If you ward your buffs you'll see if anyone tries to steal them, giving you the chance to interrupt and secure your buff.
Blue Circles: Wards used if you want to counter jungle. You can place wards to see when Buffs respawn or when your enemy is about to do them.
Yellow Stars: Though those places should be warded by your mates, of course you can ward there yourself. Those make it easier for your laners to react to potential ganks.

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General Jungling

As mentioned earlier, there is a HUGE gap between an actual jungler and a guy able to level up in jungle.

A new lvl 30 summoner is able to jungle with Annie if he got the right runes and follows the right route. Even though that guy might be able to land several successfull ganks, still, he's far from being a real jungler.

Jungling is actually one of the hardest, if not the hardest, jobs in game. Good junglers are often carrying games. Good junglers have to keep track of spawn timers. Junglers have to have the highest map awareness. Good junglers know when to gank where.
Bad junglers... can do those things too, but rarely they can do all at once.

So let's start with the more or less easy part:

Jungle Timers
  • Small creep camps (Wolves, Wraiths, Double Golems), spawn at 1:40 and respawn after 1 minute.
  • Buff creeps (Blue & Red), spawn at 1:55 and respawn after 5 minutes.
  • Dragon, spawns at 2:30 and respawns after 6 minutes.
  • Baron Nashor, spawns at 15:00 and respawns after 7 minutes.

Watch for these. You don't need to write down every respawn of your wraiths. But type down a simple "dragon 23:00" if you killed dragon at minute 17. If you know your enemy started at blue, his blue died at the ~2:10 mark - you know it will respawn around minute 7... so gor for it and try to steal it. Tracking these timers is crucial due to their strategic importance. Stealing your enemies blue all day long will totally rape their jungle Amumu or Karthus in mid, especially when you give your blue to your midlaner everytime.
Taking every dragon results in a boost of

1000g for your team per dragon kill.

Even Nashor povides you with

1500 teamgold and... this minor usefull buff ;D

Another important part:

Know your enemy
So you see that Nocturne starting at blue, why not go for his Wraiths and Double Golems? Simply steal a little bit of his jungle, go back to yours and go on with your route.
The information where your enemy starts is also important for your team. Enemy Xin Zhao starting at Double Golems on purple side? Call your bot lane to be carefull. Seeing a Shaco starting at Red Buff on purple side? Call your top lane to be prepared.
You have to make conclusions about the information you get of your enemy jungler. Seeing a Warwick means your team is prolly safe till minute 7, cuz Warwick ganks pre 6 suck. Seeing an Lee Sin? This guy is freakin unpredictable. He can start everywhere and gank whenever he pleases. Know your enemies, know their habits, prepare yourself and your team therefor.

And another part:

Know when to gank and when not to gank
Countless times I see my jungling mates come out of jungle with 50% hp to assist a lane with 10% hp. They try to kill this sneaky 100% health Udyr... and they fail... cuz, well, it's Udyr. You can't gank someone like Annie with half of your hp, she would just one shot you. So even if your laners ping for ganks like crazy, YOU, and only YOU, decide when to gank where. YOU decide if you can gank now and YOU decide if a target is gankable. Ignore those million pings if you know the position of wards, ignore 'em if you know you and maybe your mate could die, ignore them all if you simply feel something will go terribly wrong. BUT, that doesn't mean that you are the boss. If your mid lane pings for you to hold the lane, you need to get there asap. Even if your mid has to back each 2 minutes... you have to keep that lane, cuz he will die otherwise. If you can't gank due to this, it's not your fault.

And the prolly most important part:

Map awareness
You don't have to watch your Xin Zhao as he Auto Hits those wolves to death without any problems. Always watch your lanes as much as possible. Make the best out of every CV thrown by your supporter.

See their jungler pop up at bot? -> Take his upper jungle.
See their jungler top? -> best chance to do Dragon.
See your enemy pushs bot like crazy? -> Set up a gank there.
Your top lane pushed hard by your Warwick? -> Hide in the side brushes at top, let your Warwick fall back and do the gank time.

Read your enemies, inform your team and punish them for mistakes.

That's what makes a jungler. Maybe your supporter is called "babysitter", but you should be the babysitter of your whole team. A good jungler can easily lead his team to win, and a bad jungler can easily destroy a game by totally failling his job. Your job is jungling, so stay in your jungle. A jungler needs farm, too. Even though ganking 24/7 seems really cool, at some point you will have less and less success while ganking, effectively leaving you behind in level and farm. Clear your jungle, watch the map, use opportunities. Some junglers like Udyr can easily farm like any lane. Some are a little bit worse at farming, but there is no point to be at a 50 creepscore as Xin Zhao, while your Caitlyn in Bot has 220.

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Early Game - Jungling Route

Xin's jungle is very flexible, making him a very unpredictable jungler.

Xin doesn't have to start at blue.
Xin can start at Wolves.
Xin can start at Red.
Xin can start at Double Golems.

Adapt your routes to your team and to your enemies.

Route 1:

Starting Item: Vampiric Scepter
Start at wolves. Just Auto Hit them to death and Q as much as possible. Get your mates to hit the wolves a little (they should hit all of them once or twice and run out of exp range as theyre about to die, thats enough). Then, head to blue. Get a leash and some dmg again and just auto + Q it to death, Smite at ~450 HP to secure the buff. Skill W, kill wraiths then double golems. Skill E then and kill the red lizard with Smite at ~550 HP. Do the wraiths once more, get another point in E and gank.

Route 2:

Starting Item: Boots of Speed +
Put one point in Q and head to the wraiths. Auto Hit + Q them and get some help of your laners again. After wraiths head to the red lizard. Get a leash there, ask for some nice dmg and Smite at around 450 HP. Skill E and gank with lvl 2 as most lanes are still lvl 1 - this will most likely at least blow a Flash.
It's crucial to get some dmg of your laners here, because you would drop quite hard otherwise due to no bonus armor nor lifesteal.

Route 3:

Starting Item: Vampiric Scepter
Start at double Golems. Skill W first and kill them with Smite used for the large one. Go to wraiths, skill Q afterwards. Go on with wolves and then with the blue golem. Smite the blue golem at ~500 HP. Skill E at lvl 3, watch out for ganking opportunities. Kill wraiths and double golems again and afterwards the red lizard with Smite. Basically, you can stay in the jungle as long as you want since you won't die with Vampiric Scepter.

So... when to start where?

  • Route 1: This is the most standart route. You can gank at level 3 or 4 there with all of your abilities and double buffs at roughly ~3:40-4:00 in game time.
  • Route 2: This route is the most aggressive route. Pick this route if you have some sort of nice cc in your lanes as this could easily result in a very early kill.
  • Route 3: This route is counter productive for Xin as you want to gank as much as possible. But sometimes lanes as Janna/ Ezreal, Riven and LeBlanc are just ungankable without tons of cc. If that's the case, decied if farming in the jungle is more valuable.

Your laners leashs should looke somewhat like this:
(Credit goes to stonewall008, it's his video ;D)

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Mid Game

The most important thing now: Jungling is most likely to end soon.
A lane is possibly already fallen, some teamfights may already have been fought, so for the love of god, focus on what you are there for: Be your teams tank.

Of course you will still farm your jungle, but at level 10 with some items this is an act of 30 seconds.

Your blue goes ALWAYS to your AP carry now. Even if he already has one... you don't need it. Offer your blue to someone else needing the mana and CDR more than you do.
Same goes with your Red Buff. Red Buff goes to your AD Carry now. You have your slow with 40% via E now and besides this you prolly have Trinity Force, Frozen Mallet or just Phage.

This is SO important for junglers. You only NEED the first blue. The second and every following Blue Buff goes to your mid laner. A mid lane with Blue will rape every mid without Blue, and since you focus on AA, you don't need it anymore. Same goes with your Red Buff, as soon as ganking phase ends, Red Buff goes to your AD ranged.

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Late Game

With the recent remake of Xin Zhao, you will most likely shine in this phase of the game.
Run around with your team, force objectives (such as Dragon, Baron or Turrets) and still... BE YOUR TEAMS TANK!

Your R is your best friend at this point, use it as wisely as possible. Like mentioned before, use it to isolate the enemy carry. Or use it to spread chaos in your enemies team. Use it inmidst of 5 people to become that immortal guy people fear you for.

Punish enemies standing off-guard by charging them with your E, followed by a quick isolation with your R. And since youre hitting like a truck with your permaslow from Phage or Frozen Mallet + your 80% AS steroid, no one will escape you.

Peel enemies from your carries with your low CD slow and knockup or pin enemy carries down. Be a teamplayer here and carry your team to victory.

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Summoner's Rift offers many opportunities to gank, marked with a star in the following picture.

Let's start at top lane with POINT 1:
You have 3 ways to engage there. Wait for your top laner to push minions towards the enemy tower. As soon as they're pushed far enough enter the side brushes - MAKE SURE YOUR ENEMY CAN'T SEE YOU! As soon as you positioned yourself inside the 2nd side brush, order your laner to fall back a little. Now wait for your enemy to overextend a little and punish him.
Another way is to simply wait in the river brush, till your enemy pushs too far. The same with the Tri-Brush beneath the enemy tower - but this ganking method needs good CC since it's very close to your enemies turret.

Going on with POINT 2 in mid lane:
Obviously, the easiest ways of engaging are the 2 river bushes. Place yourself in there, wait for an overextending enemy, go in, make a kill. Another option is the entrance near the enemy turret. This needs again good CC due to the close turret range.

Last but not least, POINT 3:
Like at top lane, decide to enter the lane via the river brush. Wait there till your enemy pushed far enough and strike. The side brush method works of course too. Let your laners push a little, enter the side brushs unseen from behind and let your lane fall back.

In general you want to catch your gank victims without using your E skill.
Let your laner blow a CC, run upon them and open with QW and if it's necessary R. If an enemy uses Flash it's the time to activate E. His Flash is wasted and you're still sitcking at him. Of course you can engage with E and counter a Flash with a follow-up Flash by yourself, but that's more... meh. And of course you can engage with E just to force the enemy to burn Flash. This seems not relevant, but come back again in like 30 seconds later and you will face an enemy without summoner spell. And even if there's no opportunity to gank again before his Flash is up again, you forced him to play defensive for that duration, creating breathing room for your laners.

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El gran final

That's it. That's the way Xin Zhao should be played imo.
A glass cannon build with Infinity Edge, Phantom Dancer and Bloodthirster just doesn't work cuz you are insta focus in teamfights.
So, go aggressive early on. Xins early lvl ganks are devastating. Get fed, rush your items, become immortal and carry your team to win.

Feel free to comment,
so far,
Gasparde =3

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Change Log

10-7-2011 Guide created
10-8-2011 Visual updates =3
11-16-2011 Masteries updated
01-19-2012 Jungling section updated
27-02-2012 Masteries updated, typos removed ;D
24-05-2012 Item section completely overhauled and updated!
20-07-2012 Updated for Xin Zhao rework!
27-07-2012 Cosmetic updates ;)
21-10-2012 Still up2date =3