Build Guide by TSTC
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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.
First off, this is obviously a damage dealing build for Xin Zhao, the newest hero to League of Legends. This is also not a jungle build. In time I might post my tank/initiator build and my jungle builds, but for now this is the build that I think is most accessible to the player base. I've seen a lot of Xin Zhaos in game so far, and there's only been one that beat me. And that was pretty early on in my Xin Zhao playfest, so I'll admit I probably made some bad mistakes. Either way, I'm putting this out there so that people can get a good baseline of what they should be doing. Unless you are extremely confident in your ability to get early game (I'm talking about pre 5 minutes) kills, don't try to jungle. Its extremely unforgiving and can leave you with absolutely no items at the 5 minute mark if you don't get any kills. If you have any suggestions, I'm welcome to hear them but the one thing I will not amend is that I do not feel like he needs more attack speed. This will get you extremely close to the attack speed cap and any more is just wasted gold.
Three Talon Strike- This is your bread and butter. When you activate this, you add damage to your next three strikes and the third strike will knock the opponent into the air. This is an excellent disable for ganking since cleanse cannot be used to escape it.
Battle Cry- This skill passively increases your attack speed and can be used to double this bonus. While it is active, all of your attacks will shorten the cooldown on all your other moves. Save this until after you blow all your other moves so that you can get TTS and Charge back in a few seconds.
Audacious Charge- This move charges in, deals a bit of damage in an AoE and applies a slow. This slow is also AoE. This is important because if your target is out of range but a minion or other hero is in range, you can catch your target with the AoE slow and finish them off. Try to save this move for when someone is running rather than as an initiation.
Crescent Sweep- Your ultimate. It does 25% of the enemies CURRENT HP plus a base amount. Since it is based off current HP, that means it does less damage as you whittle down the hero. Since it also hits in an AoE, this is best used at the start of any fight with 2 or more people grouped together. If you drop a 5 man team to 66% each within the first second they will most likely attempt to run and allow your team to mop up some easy kills. Its also on a short cooldown, especially since Battle Cry will refresh it, so don't be afraid to use it for a 1v1 gank, but only if that's the only way you could have killed them.
Start off the game by buying regular boots and 2-3 health pots. You can afford 3 and I generally get all 3, but if you think you can squeeze by with only 2 then save the gold. Try to pair yourself up with someone who has a nice early game disable. Shen is an amazing parter since he can taunt enemies and give you those extra few seconds to land first blood. Grab Three Talon Strike first so that you can pop someone up as soon as the first opportunity comes around. In lane you need to assess who you are going against. If there is some heavy ranged harassment, you might need to play it safe. Ideally you want to lane against fellow melee champions or very squishy champs. A tank won't completely ruin you early game, but a healer will. Try to grab the first blood with your lane parter but be realistic about how far you can chase. If you are harassing really well, you can take Audacious Charge second to try and finish off that kill. Other than that, stay in lane and get some last hits in. You need all the gold you can muster.
Ok, so you've been staying in lane and farming up those minion kills. Ideally you'll have a few kills or assists by now as well and above all else, no deaths. This is where the item build starts kicking in. If you can get away with it (meaning they don't have a heavy CC team) get the boots of swiftness. This extra run speed pretty much makes you impossible to get away from when combined with Audacious Charge and Three Talon Strike. If they are heavy on CC, grab Merc treds. That's your first decision to make. I generally wait to finish my boots until after I add some AD and AS, but you have to make that judgement call. If you find your enemies escaping, get the boots first. If you have no problem keeping up with people through base boots and charge/flash, then get the damage items first. If you're going against a tank or high HP classes, grab the Bloodrazor first. This will give you some nice attack speed early on (which is extremely good on Xin, it lets your Three Talon finish faster and allows you to get more hits in with Battle Cry to refresh your ult faster) and the passive on it will allow you to farm and grab both buffs easily. The other midgame item you want to aim for is a Last Whisperer. This is going to finish out your attack speed and let you focus for the rest of the game on hitting as hard as possible or in the rare cases building up some survivability. If for some reason you are going against loads of casters and no high armor heroes, you can get a Wit's End instead. Same attack speed but a much better passive for eating casters alive.
During this phase, you are going to be doing a lot of ganking. Try to at least have lizard buff to apply a slow to your victim, but if all buffs are down then you're not crippled, just a bit shy of godly. Communicate with your team and try to constantly be attacking the weakest links in your enemies. As far as your spell order goes, you want to try to get in without using flash or Audacious Charge. So run in and activate Three Talon Strike and pop your target into the air. If there are multiple enemies in range, pop your ultimate now. It does damage based off of the target's CURRENT HP, not their max. So if you pop it early on, you will cause everyone to take a lot more damage than if you try to save it for a killing blow. By now, someone will try to escape the gank. This is why you saved Audacious Charge. Charge in which not only closes the gap but slows them as well. Then Activate Battle Cry. This will give you a huge AS boost and will cause each hit to refresh the cooldowns on your moves by 1 second. This will bring up Three Talon Strike quickly and allow you to knock them up in the air one last time. Your target should be dead by now, but if not you can chase with a well timed flash and maybe even get in another charge. Just be careful not to over extend. Once you blow flash you basically have no escape mechanism.
Ok, so now that you have gotten your AS as high as it needs to go, build damage. Personally, I try for a Bloodthirster but I've never actually had a game last long enough to get it finished. As far as the rest of the items go, its really a judgement call at that point. Are you completely owning the whole team? If so, just go end the game. Do you need more damage? If so, get either another Bloodthirster or an Infinity Edge . Are they being smart and focusing you? Grab a guardian angel if you are dying or a Banshee's Veil if you need some magic damage protection. Basically at this point, you are probably either winning or losing. If you are winning, keep it up. Remember to pop your ult at the start of team fights for maximum damage and use your Three Talon Strike to disable people to either kill them or knock them out of a nasty ultimate. And always remember to pop Battle Cry after you've used your moves so that you are refreshing them. If you are losing, you need to try to be catching people off guard. You are build to gank, so try taking another disable buddy and catching any solo pushers/junglers/idiots.
Summary of fighting tips
- Try to initiate without using Audacious Charge. This allows you to save it to snare the first person who runs away with low HP. Alternatively, if your team is losing this snare might be what saves a running team mate from death. Just don't be reckless with it or you will die.
- Use your ultimate whenever you start a fight with more than one person. It will knock off 25% of their current life plus a base value, so you can knock off around 1/3 of the average hero's life within the first second of the fight.
- Pop Battle Cry after you've used all your other moves. This allows your attacks to refresh these core moves and allow you to disable or charge again. The only time when you should pop this and still have moves on CD is when you are attacking a tower and need to burst it down faster.
- Remember that flash can be extremely useful in catching a low HP runner with another TTS or charge. However, it can also be used to escape AoE ultimates (like Panth, Gangplank, Nunu) or to flash over walls to escape a would be ganker.
This is my baseline build for a non-jungling DPS Xin Zhao. The attack speed isn't capped, but you will be dang close to it. In return for not attacking AS, you gain a TON of damage with bloodthirster as well as some life steal to really make Xin Zhao a potent foe. For those of you trying Xin for the first time, I definitely recommend this over a jungle build since it is much more forgiving if you don't get kills. That being said, doing damage as Xin does require a bit of item farming so make sure to always be clearing creep waves and jungle spawns. If you aren't good at farming, either try building Xin as a tank who just initiates for his team or a different hero. Also, unlike other builds I won't make any promises as to how you will do with this. I've been using it for my past 10 games or so and I've done extremely well, but he definitely isn't the easiest hero in LoL to pick up. Just keep practicing and always make your number one goal to not die.
Q: Why don't you grab more attack speed items like Stark's Fervor or Phantom Dancer?
A: Because he already gains 35% from his Battle Cry passively and I have additional AS in the runes. This will get you extremely close to the AS cap and any more AS is going to be wasted. Yes, Starks is a wonderful item for your team but it will be somewhat wasted on you. In addition, the dodge and movespeed is good from the Phantom Dancer, but the attack speed is largely wasted. If you really need the dodge or the movespeed, then get this instead of a Bloodthirster but it doesn't work nearly as well.
Q: Why don't you get more than 1 rank of Audacious Charge until level 14?
A: Good question. And this is probably the largest area of flexibility in my build. I prefer to pick up one rank of it for the charge and slow component and focus on dealing damage through Three Talon Strike and my auto attack. The added damage on Audacious Charge isn't nearly as good (to me) as the bonus attack speed on Battle Cry or the bonus damage on Three Talon Strike. However, if you find yourself needing more burst I welcome you to go for it, just be warned that I'm not responsible for any unfavorable results :P
Q: Why do you think this build is better for the average game/player than a jungle build?
A: Because the basic jungle build on Xin Zhao forces you to buy an Elixir of Agility and 5 health potions first. This enables you to get both buffs by 3:30. However, then you must be in a position to gank a lane. If you do not get kills, either because they escaped or because a lanemate gets the killing blow, then you are stuck with little gold and no items once Elixir runs out. This puts a lot of pressure on early game and punishes you severely for any mistakes. However, if you prefer to jungle then I would make the following changes to my build: Grab Smite instead of ignite and of course grab the jungle items first. Then after you gank, resume building my build and rush for the Madred's so that you can continue to jungle with ease.
Q: Why did you go down the defensive mastery tree and use defensive runes for everything but marks?
A: Personal preference is the best answer. But here's a more detailed one. Xin requires you to get into sticky situations a lot, and early game you need all the boosted survivability you can get. This means either picking up tank items or going into a defense spec. The added health and damage reduction will help immensely in the beginning when you take minion damage from diving in. Additionally, neither of the other two trees offer much to Xin. Xin already has enough offense to take down heroes and going 21 in offense won't get you much. Additionally, Xin does not have too much trouble with mana or cooldowns so the utility tree is also largely wasted. Basically, staying alive is always my primary concern so I take defensive runes and masteries to help out with this, especially during early game when Xin is very vulnerable.