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Xin Zhao Build Guide by CaptCrit

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League of Legends Build Guide Author CaptCrit

Xin Zhao - Death Is Inevitable

CaptCrit Last updated on March 9, 2012
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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: 9

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 0

Chapter 1

Guide for Xin Zhao - The Seneschal of Demacia
Please comment and try the build and strategies before voting. Thank you.

Last Updated: 3/9/2012

Whenever Jarvan III, the king of Demacia, delivers one of his rallying speeches from the glinting marble balcony atop the Royal Palace, Xin Zhao is at his side. Coined the Seneschal of Demacia, Xin Zhao is the personal steward of the Lightshield Dynasty. His enigmatic, silent vigil has led to an abundance of conjecture concerning his “secret life” and origins. Whether it’s "Zaun double-agent" tendered at the dinner table or "indebted rune mage" mused in the editorials of the Demacian Constant, Xin Zhao betrays no hints to sate the curiosity of the masses…for good reason.

Prior to the formation of the League, Noxus was renowned for a spectacle called The Fleshing. It was a gladiatorial event with a cruel twist: as a fighter won matches, his number of opponents (generally prisoners of war) fought simultaneously would increase. This meant eventual death for every contender, but with unparalleled glory. Xin Zhao, known then as Viscero, was slated to face 300 soldiers, nearly six times the previous record. This was clearly meant to be his final match. Jarvan II, hearing of this unprecedented feat, infiltrated the arena to offer him an alternative: serve Demacia and punish those who ultimately sentenced him to death in exchange for his freedom. Xin Zhao accepted, astonished that a king would risk his own life on his behalf. Under the cover of a prearranged Demacian assault on Noxus, Jarvan liberated Xin Zhao and his 300 opponents. During their retreat, Xin Zhao took a poisoned dart meant for Jarvan. This act of loyalty, from a man who vowed no allegiance, earned Xin Zhao a spot at his side until the day the king died. Now in the service of his son, Jarvan III, Xin Zhao is stepping into a new ring – the Fields of Justice – to fight for his adopted country and to honor the legacy of the man who gave purpose to his life.

"Death is inevitable; one can only avoid defeat." - Demacian Manual of Arms

Table of Contents
I. Preface
II. Introduction
III. Skill Explanations
IV. Summoner Spell Explanations
-- Considerable Summoner Spells
V. Rune Explanations
VI. Mastery Explanations
VII. Core Item Build Sequence
-- Items to Consider
VIII. Play Style
IX. Patch History
X. Closing

Xin Zhao is a tanky damage dealer that excels in disrupting targets and dealing a huge amount of damage. He is an exceptional duelist and assassin, jumping into the back of the fight to destroy the enemy team's carry. He is fairly versatile, as he can jungle or solo top pretty effectively. This guide focuses on a solo top build to show Xin Zhao's true strength as a duelist. I hope you enjoy my guide. Let's go!

II. Introduction
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Xin Zhao's kit was built to be a duelist. The knockup from Three Talon Strike combined with the attack speed and cooldown reduction from Battle Cry makes a very scary combination, locking down your target with constant damage and frequent CC. His early game damage is high when everyone else's armor is low and Challenge is a great way to sustain in the laning phase. If played smartly and correctly, you will secure yourself kills and carry into late game as one of the most feared fighters in the game!

- High damage
- Frequent CC
- Attack speed buff and cooldown reduction
- Natural sustain with passive
- He's a man
- As swift as a coursing river
- Contains the force of a great typhoon
- His strength is greater than that of a raging fire
- Mysterious as the dark side of the moon...

- Easily kited
- Susceptible to CC
- No escape

III. Skill Explanations
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Tireless Warrior

(Passive): Xin Zhao restores 30 health for every 3 attacks that he lands. This amount increases by 5 every 2 levels.

What a great passive. Sustain in lane works well with Xin Zhao, because if you don't kill your target the first time, you can heal up and go for the kill again. At level 18, your passive heals for 70 every three auto-attacks. Not a bad amount for free, huh? TIP: This passive also works while hitting towers. If you're concerned about being low health while attacking a tower, know that you have a bit of a cushion thanks to this passive.

Three Talon Strike

(Active): Xin Zhao's next 3 standard attacks deal increased damage, with the third attack knocking an opponent into the air.

Xin Zhao prepares to unleash a fearsome combo, causing his next 3 standard attacks to deal 15/30/45/60/75 (+1.0) physical damage, with the final attack knocking his opponent into the air.

This spell is your baby, your everything on Xin Zhao. Think of it as an autoattack that gets an AD steroid and knocks up the target after a few hits. It's great early game as it deals much more damage than the enemy believes and awesome late game because it gives a 75 AD steroid (basically a free Infinity Edge) for three auto-attacks every few seconds. TIP: Activating this ability will reset Xin Zhao's attack timer. To deal a maximum amount of damage to a target, auto-attack and then activate Three Talon Strike directly after to get in two quick attacks.

I max this first because it is the most effective way to increase Xin Zhao's damage naturally.

Battle Cry

Xin Zhao passively increases his attack speed and can activate this ability to further increase attack speed and lower his ability cooldowns with each attack.

(Passive): Increases Xin Zhao's attack speed by 20/25/30/35/40%.

(Active): Xin Zhao unleashes a battle cry, doubling the passive bonus for 5 seconds, and causing his standard attacks to reduce all other ability cooldowns by 1 second.

Whoah baby, that's a big attack speed buff! The passive attack speed is nice and all, but we're looking at the active portion of this spell. At max level, an 80% attack speed buff is HUGE. And to add on to that, you get free cooldown reduction while the spell is active. This, combined with Three Talon Strike is what makes you such a great duelist. Using the two spells in conjunction will allow you to deal a lot of damage and knock up the target multiple times in a single fight. TIP: If your ultimate is on cooldown, using this spell frequently and auto-attacking minions can bring it off cooldown rather quickly.

I max this second because it works so well with Three Talon Strike and increased attack speed = more damage.

Audacious Charge

(Active): Xin Zhao charges an enemy, dealing damage and slowing it and all other enemies in the area.

Xin Zhao charges an enemy unit, dealing 70/110/150/190/230 (+0.4) magic damage to all nearby enemies and slowing them by 20/25/30/35/40% for 1.5 seconds.

Dash, damage, slow. Not bad. This ability allows you to initiate fights, dive to the back of the enemy team to pick off their carry, or just chase. TIP: Remember that this ability slows in an AOE. When chasing an enemy that you can't quite reach, dash to a minion that is nearby the enemy to slow them and get you in range for your usual combo.

I grab a point early in this spell (but max it last) to start harassing the enemy and also to start fights when I know I can kill the target.

Crescent Sweep

(Active): Xin Zhao fiercely sweeps his spear around him, dealing damage to nearby enemies based on their current health.

Xin Zhao unleashes a fierce spear sweep on targets around him, dealing 125/225/325 plus 15% of their current health in physical damage. For 6 seconds, his Magic Resistance and Armor are increased by 25 plus 7/10/13 for each champion hit.

Xin Zhao's ultimate. It deals a huge amount of damage with a flat amount and a percentage of the enemy's current health stacked on top of that. Also, it gives free tankiness with a flat 25 armor and magic resistance increase and added tankiness for every enemy that you hit with the spell. At max level in a teamfight, this spell has the potential to deal huge AOE damage to the entire enemy team and also give you a cool +90 armor and magic resistance. That's essentially two free top-tier tank items. You read that right. Now roll your tongue back up into your mouth and wipe the drool off the floor, we have more of the guide to go through.

IV. Summoner Spell Explanations
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Good old Flash. What would we do without it? Flash can be used offensively or defensively, jumping in to surprise your enemy, or flashing over a wall to save you in a tight situation. Grab it and exploit its versatility.


Exhaust slows movement speed by 40% and reduces auto/basic attack damage by 70% and ability/item damage by 35% for 2.5 seconds. The mastery Summoner's Wrath improves Exhaust by also reducing the target's armor and magic resistance by 10. This ability works so well early game with the damage from Three Talon Strike that it isn't even funny. Okay, maybe it is a little funny when you completely demolish your enemy without them having time to react, but you get the point. Not only is it good early game, but late game it can shut down a carry or just reduce damage from whoever seems the scariest. Grab it and have fun.

Considerable Summoner Spells
Back to Table of Contents


Ghost allows you to chase more effectively and possibly give you more sustained damage than Flash could. I find Flash to be more useful than Ghost for versatility's sake, but I can see why Ghost would be used.


Are you more of an Ignite person rather than an Exhaust person? That's fine, Ignite is one hell of a spell. The healing reduction works really well against champions like Swain, Dr. Mundo, Gangplank, etc. who solo top and rely heavily on healing at the correct moment. On a side note, a well timed Ignite on a Tryndamere who is using Endless Rage can secure a kill.


Teleport helps solo top in a lot of different ways. It allows you to get back to your tower extremely fast if need be or you can Teleport to a ward when the enemy team is contesting your team for control over dragon. It has many uses, pick it up if you think you need it.

V. Rune Explanations
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Greater Mark of Desolation Greater Quintessence of Desolation

Greater Mark of Desolation: Whoever you solo top against is going to have armor. These runes allow you to hit through that armor. The less armor they have, the more damage you do to them.

Greater Seal of Armor: Tankiness. You want it. Early game is where AD champions are going to hurt you the most and you're most likely going to be going against a bruiser up top. These will reduce damage taken from harass and help you in early game fights.

Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist: More tankiness. Why not? You already have armor, so these runes give you scaling magic resist to help you through mid-game where mages will hurt you the most.

Greater Quintessence of Desolation: These, combined with your Greater Mark of Desolation runes and masteries, give you 31 + 10% armor penetration at level 1. To put that into perspective, Rammus has a base armor value of 21. You would be hitting true damage on a tank who is known for high armor values. Yeah...

VI. Mastery Explanations
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A 21/9/0 build that focuses on high damage output with some early game tankiness.


A Summary of What You're Getting
  • +10% Armor Penetration
  • +10% Critical Strike Damage
  • +30 Health
  • +6% Damage to targets below 40% health
  • Improved Exhaust, Ignite, Surge, Ghost
  • +3 AD
  • +6 Armor
  • +6 Armor Penetration
  • +6% Attack Speed
  • +0.5 Attack Damage per level (9 at level 18)
  • +6 Health per Level (108 at level 18)
  • +3% Life Steal
  • +2 Magic Resist

VII. Core Item Build Sequence
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Your core item build is:

This particular build sequence gives you takniness, damage, and attack speed, all of which are fairly standard on solo top tanky DPS champions. Mercury's Treads help the issue of Xin Zhao being susceptible to CC. Wriggle's Lantern and Atma's Impaler add a decent amount of damage and armor while Phage adds health and utility to make you into a more beefy fighter. Wit's End comes in next to add some much needed attack speed and that magic resistance that you want oh so badly.

If the game isn't already over, you transition into your late game build which adds tankiness, damage, and a little more utility.

Late Game Build

After your core build, you want to start working on The Black Cleaver. This item works exceptionally well on Xin Zhao because each successive attack from Three Talon Strike will shred armor and therefore hit harder. All that's left then is to finish your Frozen Mallet for some extra health (and damage thanks to Atma's Impaler) and the ability to lock down a champion with the constant applied slow.

You have damage. You have tankiness. You have... uh... a spear. Get work done!

Items to Consider
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Trinity Force: I've used this item from time to time on Xin Zhao. Maybe you wanna turn that Phage into something else other than a Frozen Mallet? That's ok, Trinity Force is here for you. The Sheen proc adds extra damage to Three Talon Strike and the added attack speed/move speed/critical strike chance from Zeal is always useful on melee fighters. I don't grab this very often unless I'm getting fed and have the gold to buy such an expensive item.

Randuin's Omen: Oh what a beautiful item. Pretty much everything you could ever want on a champion like Xin Zhao. If the game goes on long enough for you to sell Wriggle's Lantern, then I would suggest doing so and buying Randuin's Omen.

Hexdrinker: Facing a Mordekaiser or Swain up top? Maybe there is Karthus mid? Hexdrinker can save your life in low health situations. The added damage is a plus, of course.

Youmuu's Ghostblade: Damage, critical strike chance, armor pen, cooldown reduction, and an attack speed and move speed active. Wow, that's a lot of things that sound useful on Xin Zhao, right? They are, but they don't quite fit into my build. If you want to buy this, I suggest replacing it for The Black Cleaver.

Last Whisper: Damage and 40% armor penetration. Wow, that's a lot! Build this against tanky teams that are building a lot of armor. Replace this for The Black Cleaver, losing some attack speed but more overall damage in the long run.

Ninja Tabi: These boots are extremely useful against AD heavy teams. They give you armor and a sweet 10% reduced damage from non-turret based auto-attacks.

VIII. Play Style
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Solo top champions focus on farming early and killing later. Early game you want to last hit minions, possibly using Three Talon Strike to make sure you get the last hit. Harassing the enemy champion can be useful, forcing them to base while you continue to farm. Challenge will keep you in lane to outfarm the enemy champion, but don't push your luck.

When your jungler is ganking, initiate with Audacious Charge and help lock the enemy down with Three Talon Strike for a successful gank.

Late game, you want to teamfight with your allies by either initiating with Audacious Charge and Crescent Sweep for massive damage, or waiting for your tank to initiate so you can dive in on their carries and destroy them.

Played correctly, Xin Zhao can absolutely dominate, carrying his team on his big, broad, Asian shoulders

IX. Patch History

Xin Zhao's Crescent Sweep Armor and Magic Resist increase per Champion hit on increased to 7/10/13 from 5/8/11

Xin Zhao's tooltips properly display numbers in their passive as they update.

Three Talon Strike: knock up duration slightly reduced.
Audacious Charge: slow duration reduced to 1.5 seconds from 1.75.

Crescent Sweep:
Enemies' current health percentage to damage ratio reduced to 15% from 20%.
Bonus armor and magic resistance per champion hit reduced to 5/8/11 from 7/10/13.

Base attack damage increased to 56 from 49.
Attack damage per level decreased to 3.1 from 3.3.
Fixed a bug where Three Talon Strike could be activated while it was still active.

Battle Cry:
Passive attack speed increased to 20/25/30/35/40% from 15/20/25/30/35%.
Passive attack speed is no longer removed while the ability is on cooldown.

Crescent Sweep:
Base armor and magic resistance bonus reduced to 25 at all ranks from 30/40/50.
It gives 7/10/13 extra armor and magic resist for each champion hit.

Battle Cry: duration reduced to 5 seconds from 7.

Crescent Sweep: armor and magic resistance bonus duration reduced to 6 seconds from 8.
Audacious Charge: cooldown changed to 16/15/14/13/12 from 18/16/14/12/10.

Three Talon Strike cooldown changed to 10 from 12/11/10/9/8.
Crescent Sweep base damage reduced to 125/225/325 from 125/250/375.

Audacious Charge no longer deals damage and slows if Xin Zhao's dash is interrupted by another movement effect.

Fixed a bug where Xin Zhao was considered to be a ranged Champion for the purpose of items like Frozen Mallet, etc.

Audacious Charge can no longer be cast while rooted.

Base attack speed reduced to 0.658 from 0.679.
Attack speed per level reduced to 2.6% from 2.8%.

Audacious Charge:
Slow reduced to 20/25/30/35/40% from 40% at all ranks.
Slow duration reduced to 1.7 seconds from 2 seconds.
Area of effect radius reduced to 225 from 350.
Fixed a bug where Xin Zhao could appear to slow down during his charge if he attempted to move too much.

Crescent Sweep:
Base damage reduced to 125/250/375 from 150/275/400.
Percentage of current health damage reduced to 20% from 25% at all ranks.

V1.0.0.96: Added (Original Stats)
Three Talon Strike: Xin Zhao's next 3 standard attacks deal increased damage, with the third attack knocking an opponent into the air.

Battle Cry: Xin Zhao passively increases his attack speed and can activate this ability to further increase attack speed and lower his ability cooldowns with each attack.

Audacious Charge: Xin Zhao charges an enemy, dealing damage and slowing it and all other enemies in the area. Audacious Charge increases Xin Zhao's armor temporarily and lowers the cooldowns of all of his abilities.

Crescent Sweep (Ultimate): Xin Zhao fiercely sweeps his spear around him, dealing damage to nearby enemies based on their current health.

Tireless Warrior (Innate): Xin Zhao is healed for every 3 attacks that he lands. This amount increases every 2 levels.

Well there it is! My guide to Xin Zhao. I hope you enjoyed the read, and if you didn't... well here's a funny video to make up for it.

Thanks to SixSonatas for the build format. Format can be found at SixSonatas: The Revolutionary Build Format of Sophisticated Guides