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Xin Zhao Build Guide by iNSPO

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League of Legends Build Guide Author iNSPO

Xin, the Ultimate Warrior

iNSPO Last updated on July 5, 2011
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Jungle Role
Ranked #2 in
Jungle Role
Win 53%
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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: 22

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 0

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

Utility: 8

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About this guide

Hello there and welcome to my Xin Zhao Tanky DPS guide.

This is my first guide and the reason I'm making yet another Xin Zhao guide might be beyond some of you. It just so happens although some guides posted here are very complete and possess tons of useless (or just irrelevant) information, which makes it kinda hard to read them.

In this guide I'll try to summarize in each section what I believe is important to know about playing Xin "the right way".
"What do you mean, the right way?" Well, most of the guides set up Xin to be an all out DPS, when in fact, from personal experience, he should be played as a Tanky DPS.

And although some guides do cover that, I thought I'd contribute with my personal experience and opinions regarding this awesome champion.

About Xin Zhao

Why is Xin Zhao a great champion and what makes me spend my time making a guide for him?
Xin is not only a great champion early game and awesome to pair up with in lane, but also, if well played, an extreme hard to kill killing machine.

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Pros / Cons

So, what makes Xin a great champion? And what are his flaws?


+ Very consistent early/mid/end game
+ Destructive combos
+ Passive that helps regenerate HP
+ Can initiate fights (but shouldn't necessarily do so)
+ Great ganker
+ Can jungle very effectively (including dragon)
+ Lanes well with pretty much anything
+ Has high speed/atk speed
+ Has an important role on the outcome of the match
+ A lot of fun to play with


- Can die easily if greedy, especially early game (but can't they all?)
- Not a great harasser
- No escape mechanism (but that's why we have Flash)
- Doesn't have any unique kickass skin :(

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Summoner Spells


My first choice. Since Xin doesn't have any escape mechanism, sometimes Mercury's Treads aren't enough to prevent your death. Use Flash as a last resort to either escape or combined with Audacious Charge to gank an enemy that believes he is safe near his teammates or turret.

I'm a Teleport lover. I just enjoy porting back and forth to assist my team, protect/destroy turrets, gank enemies, you name it. If not this, then I definitely recommend...

Ghost is one of the skills that will be very helpful for the duration of the match (but then again, so will Flash and Teleport


A good option for early game, I guess. However, it becomes really useless late game as you can imagine.

Ignite can really land you some kills early game if used properly after comboing your skills. This might be the key to some early feeding so feel free to take this one.

This isn't bad, but again it loses its purpose later on when you recover your HP to full in very few seconds from wiping a creep group.

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[Passive] Tireless Warrior
This passive of yours allows you to regen HP every 3 hits, which is very good, especially early game when you still don't have any Life Steal equipment.

[Q] Three Talon Strike
After triggering this, the next 3 attacks deal more damage and the last one knocks the enemy up in the air.
This is the skill you should work on first since the damage boost really is significant and is a great way of preventing your enemies' escapes.

[W] Battle Cry
Passive: Increases Atk Speed
Active: Increases Atk Speed even more for a few seconds (and every hit you deal while with Battle Cry decreases 1 second in each ability cooldown, including R)

[E] Audacious Charge
Great skill that allows you to jump towards an enemy dealing damage and slowing nearby enemies. This is what you'll initiate fights with.

[R] Crescent Sweep
Deals damage to all enemies within a certain range and increases your Armor and Magic Resistance for 6 seconds. What more could we want? :)

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Skill Sequence

Q > E > Q > W > Q > R > Q > W > Q > W > R > W > W > E > E > R > E > E

To summarize the skill sequence presented above, as you see, I go for [Q] Tireless Warrior first, which is your main source of damage. Especially at the start.

I prioritize [Q] Tireless Warrior, then [W] Battle Cry, and only then I level up [E] Audacious Charge.

Reason why I don't level up [E] Audacious Charge early on is because it doesn't deal much damage at all, and while low level, the skill won't prevent enemies from running back to their turrets, making it impossible for you to tower dive and kill them... yet.
With [Q] Tireless Warrior, on the other hand, not only you deal more damage, but you knock them up as well, causing them to panic and be vulnerable to, not only you, but also your team mate.

As I mentioned before, leveling this first usually means easy kills early on.
But don't be greedy. When charging your enemies while low level will make you vulnerable as well if you don't have enough HP to back out of there.
Remember, as soon as you charge one, you'll have the other champion plus a certain amount of minions hitting you constantly. So make sure your HP is high enough before risking killing one of your enemies soon in the game.

Don't forget to level up [R] Crescent Sweep as soon as possible also, so you can cause some pain with it to nearby enemies while increasing your defensive stats.

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As you can see, I take a pretty straightforward offensive route.
22 Points in Offense, 8 in Utility.

Note: Don't forget to change my Utility point to increase Ghost's speed and duration if you decide to go with it instead of Teleport or Flash.

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This rune set is actually the same as the one in HIACliff's guide and similar to VAIReetaws's as well.

Greater Mark of Desolation Greater Mark of Desolation
These combined with Greater Quintessence of Desolation Greater Quintessence of Desolation will allow you to have +25 Armor Penetration from the start which will allow you to annihilate squishy targets very early on.
They add up to +25 Armor Penetration in total.

Greater Seal of Alacrity
This will help increase your attack speed especially if you go with like I suggested. These runes plus the attack speed items we'll be getting will allow you to dispose of large ammounts of minions or even buff monsters very quickly.
They add up to 6.84% attack speed in total.
Greater Glyph of Celerity
Cooldown reduction for Xin is a must. Your Battle Cry already helps you reduce the cooldown of your abilities, but since Xin is melee, sometimes you'll not be able to get so close to enemy minions, so having these will help you with that even if you're not in combat.
These result in -8.62% cooldown at level 18.

Greater Quintessence of Desolation Greater Quintessence of Desolation
As I mentioned earlier already, these combined with Greater Mark of Desolation will grant you kills very early on and of course also contribute to squashing enemies late game.
They add up to +25 Armor Penetration in total.

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Evaluate your enemy team

As a Xin Zhao, we'll be tanking a little bit, so it'll be wise for us to evaluate the enemy champions before we decide which build we'll choose for our asian warrior.

Many players stick to a fixed set up but that is a mistake.
Certain enemies will shred you into pieces if they know how to counter you.
So what do you do? The exactly same thing.

That is why Xin shouldn't be played as an all out DPS but as a Tanky DPS. It'd be a waste for such a fine warrior to go all out tank when he can do so much damage and still tank pretty decently. So that's what we're gonna do.

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Starting Items

Some players decide to start with Doran's Blade or Doran's Shield but I believe that is a waste because you can't upgrade any Doran's item and you're stuck with it until you decide to sell it for something else (thus, losing some gold).

Boots of Speed
They'll help you as a starting item because at level 2 you should have already [Q] Three Talon Strike and [E] Audacious Charge. By comboing E + Q, you'll charge towards your target (causing damage and slowing him), which will make it easier for you to 3 hit him with your Q (since he's slow and you have Boots for extra speed).

3 Health Potions
These will grant you longer time in your lane, which is most important at the start of a match.

Offensive (Core)

These are my personal favorites when playing Xin Zhao and items I usually keep for the duration of the match but can of course be replaced by 1 or 2 different ones depending on your playstyle.

Mercury's Treads
Is your enemy team heavy on AP? Do they have a lot of CC? These boots will ensure your survivability in some cases. If not, by all means, feel free to go for Berserker's Greaves for extra attack speed.

Stark's Fervor
Low-cost underrated item that will boost your attack speed, lifesteal, and lower your enemies' armor. A must for team fights.

The Black Cleaver
Preferable than Infinity Edge because it's cheap and gets the job done. Ensures your target is shred into pieces in seconds.

Phantom Dancer
Needs no presentation. Without a doubt one of the best items in this game. Attack speed, critical chance, and speed all in one item.

Regardless of which kind of enemy champions you have, this is a pretty consistent offensive setup that will tear up most enemies in a few seconds.


Depending on whether you followed my advice, you should have 2 slots left.
Now you need to ask yourself:
1) Are they mainly AP or AD?
2) Who is your biggest threat?

Usually, if teams are diverse enough we'll have both AP and AD enemies, meaning I usually go for 1 item that increases Armor, and 1 that increases Magic Resistance.


Randuin's Omen
This is usually my first choice if enemies are mostly AD. Gives you +350 Health, +75 Armor, and has very useful both Passive and Active skills.

If there's a fed AD fighter that deals a lot of damage very quickly, no item will help you more than this. Reflects 30% of damage taken as Magic Damage. Take that.

Frozen Heart
I very rarely take this, since it boosts
your MP instead of your HP (like )
but +99 Armor is still pretty good.

Magic Resist

Force of Nature
This beauty will definitely lower the damage you get from magic. +78 Magic Resistance and a good passive to make sure you outdamage mages.

Banshee's Veil
Very decent HP/MP boost, Magic Resistance, and on top of that, you get a passive that blocks a negative spell every 45 seconds.


Youmuu's Ghostblade
Another great item (especially if you make good use of its active skill) that has Armor Penetration.

The Bloodthirster
Good substitute for Stark's Fervor but in my opinion should only be bought late game after you've already built your whole set. Why? Because it's a lot more expensive, for one, and the Stark's will help you farm gold just as much.

Guardian Angel
Needless to say, Guardian Angel is a good addition to your set up if you're not happy with the items suggested above. I find it a bit overrated but it's definitely good to have.

Frozen Mallet
Not only you get +700 HP from this beauty but also you have a very good chance of slowing your enemies down to prevent them from escaping your deadly attacks. A great item but doesn't boost your Defense or Magic Resistance.

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Possible builds

This is basically to summarize the previous chapter about Items.
A few build suggestions for Xin Zhao:

A pretty consistent build strong in both Defense
and Magic Resist. Probably the one I use the most.

This one goes a little bit against my suggestion (of picking two defensive items)
but is still a very solid build and definitely more aggressive build.

Is your enemy team full AD? This will make you pretty much unstoppable.

Works like a charm against AP enemies. It even works well against some very annoying enemies' skills
like Ashe's Enchanted Crystal Arrow or Karthus's Requiem.

I could keep on making different combinations of items and explain who they're good against or why, but I guess you get the picture.

Main thing to bear in mind is to not go full DPS or you might get a bit squishy and easily defeated later on.

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At around level 9 or so, if you managed to get a kill or two, your set up should consist in something like this:

Whichever your setup is, if you have Boots (whether Mercury's Treads or Berserker's Greaves), Zeal for attack speed, and some item that gives you Lifesteal (such as Emblem of Valour or Vampiric Scepter), you are ready to go and farm jungle without any Health Potions popping or anything like that.

This, of course, assuming you and your teammate already took care of your enemy's tower in your lane.

What I usually do is start jungling as much as I can and help teammates with ganks wherever I can.

Killing the blue buff monster is a very good addition to Xin's buffs as it recovers MP and reduces ability cooldowns, basically meaning you can spam your skills on monsters, creeps, enemies, and still it'll be unlikely for you to run out of MP.

This will certainly give you an edge towards most champions since, with the blue buff, you can wipe out large groups of creeps without much problem, leveling up the fastest on your team (and maybe the enemy's as well).

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Playstyle & Tips

Like I already mentioned countless times, I play Xin Zhao as tanky DPS and that's what this guide is about.
Considering you are mid-late game and have one of the builds suggested above, here are a few tips about playing Xin:

1) You're not Superman. Don't think you'll be an unkillable god with any of these builds (unless you're playing vs newbies).

2) Try to get a Black Cleaver as soon as possible, since this is the origin of most of your damage.

3) Be aggressive but learn when to back out of a fight. If you engage in a team fight, be cautious of your HP and be a good judge on whether you'll survive or not. Feel free to back out and let your team do something.

4) Hiding in bushes is a great way to engage with your Audacious Charge, since you can not only jump to your enemies but also slow them.

5) Perform combos with your skills to deal massive damage very quickly.

6) Always try to have the blue and/or red buffs, as they're both very useful for farming and ganking.

7) Stick to this strategy even if you have a tank on your team. A tank (even a good one) can't protect you all the time.

8) Make note of which enemy is a bigger threat to you and choose items accordingly to counter him.

9) Have fun. :)

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End of this guide

Being this my first guide I'm sure there is room for improvement.
Feel free to submit your opinions below.
I'll keep on trying different strategies with Xin so I'll be updating this guide in the future if I find necessary.

I'd like to thank:
Mobafire for hosting this guide and for providing gamers with this great community to share opinions and knowledge about this game.
Searz for his very informative post with a guide template on the forum.