Build Guide by secret keeper 77
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Xin Zhao Build
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.
Hello, I'm Secret Keeper 77. I've been playing about 7 months now on the US servers. This is my first guide for my favorite character Xin Zhao. When Xin Zhao was released, I never played him because I didn't like the idea of abusing an OP character and a tanky dps carry was not really my cup of tea at the time. Few months later, after a few nerfs, I decided to give him another try and loved him. This is just my insight and build for what I consider a very strong Xin Zhao.
The runes are fairly standard for a character who dives straight into teamfights. Grab Desolation Reds and Quints to start off with a whopping 31 Armor Pen. At level 1, you will be dealing true damage to most squishy characters and a very substantial amount to tanks, amazing for early harassment.
I grab HP yellows because they help Xin Zhao survive. His ultimate already gives him a good amount of Resistances, so giving him some more HP to back it up helps tremendously. I've survived countless times after charging headfirst into a full team and living simply because I had that extra 175 hp. Other people seem to like getting MP5 runes, but I do not think it is worth it, Xin Zhao should either kill his enemies before he runs out, and even then, his skill are not that demanding on having a large pool of mana.
Magic Resist per lvl. Blues scale very well with Xin Zhao. He generally should be targeting squishy carries, starting with casters. Obviously, they will focus him when he's up in their face, so the extra magic resist is invaluable.
The skill sequence is fairly standard. A few levels in both TTS and AC create a versatile early game fighter. A 25% slow and a knock up generally gives enough time to kill anybody. You get an early point in BC just for the sake of reducing your cooldowns. Since this build gets attack speed items first, you generally do not need the assistance of BC for attack speed.
I find starting with a Doran's Shield first yields the best results. It allows Xin Zhao to get in some last hits while taking a bit of abuse. His passive heals him fairly well in co-operation, so if you're really careful and manage how much damage you take vs. how much harassment you put out, you should be able to both dominate the lane and get in plenty of last hits.
Then go for Berserker Greaves and a Sword of the Divine. TTS gives you the damage you need to nuke people down in early game, so it's best to get some attack speed items. As Xin Zhao, you should request if you can get your Red Buff or steal it from your enemy. With this extra attack speed, it will not matter if they flash away or slow you down for a bit, with Lizard and all that attack speed, Xin Zhao can easily and permanently keep someone slowed.
The last item in your core is the Ghostblade. After this item, Xin Zhao achieves 2.0 attack speed with an upwards of 81 ARpen with his ghostblade and SotD actives. The earlier you get your Ghostblade and SotD the better, the combo works good in Late game and is just straight OP in early game. With 81 Arpen at midgame, you can easily Ult 25% of anyone's hp away with one skill and then nuke down the rest with your godly attack speed.
After the two Core dps items, it's best to start building some defense, hence the Banshee's Veil. By the time you get your Ghostblade, your enemies will start realizing it's a good idea to focus you down first. BV makes away with the first attempt to CC you and the extra HP and MAgicRes help you survive the rest of the beating.
Most games end before getting a BV is possible, but in those long games, after you get a BV, it is best to try and scale your damage into a better late game. The Black Cleaver helps you achieve that. Ripping away a good 120ish armor neutralizes a Zhonya's Hourglass and the extra 55 damage and attack speed is just icing on the cake. By this time, Xin Zhao can kill just about anybody short of a full Armor Tank in a few seconds or less.
I have read many guides on Xin Zhao and many of them recommend Ghost and Exhaust. I would prefer Ghost and Flash. Ghost is a no brainer for that versatile speed boost. The controversy comes with Flash. Flash is just equally as versatile and I think outdoes what Exhaust can do. Flash can get you out of a bad situation by flashing over a wall, or is great for surprising a team by flashing in then Charging and taking out their carry. Also, in the laning phase, it's incredible. It helps you get out of ganks and it helps you catch up to that enemy who just barely managed to CC you before you get your last hit on them. Sure, you could exhaust them, but they could still get away since it's obvious that you're going to charge straight for them. But with flash, you can just flash right next to them and finally get in that last hit, landing you the kill. It has worked many times for me and it can help you just as well.
Xin Zhao's job in a team is to initiate and kill carries. If there are other initiators on his team, his best option is to hide and then come out of nowhere, nuke the entire team and clean up the running survivors. With the items in this guide,all you have to do is activate your SotD and Ghostblade, Charge their carry, Ult, TTS and autoattack them to death. It will barely take 3 seconds and even then, you have a full 5 seconds left of both item actives to kill other enemies. Xin Zhao's job is that and simply that. He is designed to kill other champions, very effectively I might add.
Anyways, that is all i have time to write, i will update this guide more depending on whether or not people actually try this build out and leave helpful comments. Try it out, Own some nubs and enjoy the free wins :]