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Xin Zhao Build Guide by Phil Collins

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Phil Collins

Xin Zhao: Swift as a Coursing River (Top/Jungle/Bot)

Phil Collins Last updated on April 17, 2012
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Team 1

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

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Xin Zhao is a Melee Tanky DPS who is often overlooked by many people. He brings many things to the team when chosen and can even carry entire teams if fed enough. In this guide I will show you how I play Xin Zhao, the Seneshcal of Demacia. I play Xin Zhao in Top lane and Jungle.

To play Xin Zhao, you must watch this:

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Pros / Cons


Good early game
CC is easily applied
Great Ganker
Tanky DPS with an Assassin's kit
Good teamfight presence


No Escape (I solve this by taking Flash)
Not the best Late Game
Exhaust counters Xin hard
Easily ganked

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I take Greater Mark of Attack Speed because Xin Zhao scales well with attack speed, and you won't be getting much attack speed in a Tanky DPS build.
Greater Seal of Armor for the durability so you can survive fights.
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist same reason as above.
greater quintessence of desolation so you can deal more damage.

For a glass cannon setup:

greater mark of desolation because you will be building lots of attack speed and damage, armor penetration helps make that better.
Greater Seal of Attack Speed because Xin Zhao scales well with attack speed.
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist late game when mages focus you, you will die. This will help reduce the damage.
greater quintessence of desolation same reason as the marks.

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21/9/0. Xin has a great early game and we go down the offense tree to make sure it is maximized. The 9 points in the defense tree is all you need for defense.

NOTE: Do not take that Mastery setup in every single match. Sometimes you would need 9/21/0 if they have a lot of damage, or 21/0/9 if you're running a glass cannon build or they are a team of 5 squishies/you are confident you can win without the extra durability.

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A decent passive to sustain yourself in lane or the jungle. Late game it doesn't do much however.

This is one of Xin Zhao's greatest abilities in his kit. This is maxed first in lane. The damage will give Xin Zhao very high burst damage and the knockup is a sweet bonus. The reason why Xin scales with attack speed is because of this.

This skill helps you immensely, it reduces your need of items by a noticable amount. It synergizes a lot with your passive and Three Talon Strike. The Cooldown reduction on each hit is also a very good bonus, allowing you to land knockups more often and chain-cc'ing them with Audacious Charge. I max this last because the passive is already a free berserker's greaves without the movement speed. (They call that a one-point wonder) If you would opt for more damage though, you can max this second instead.

This skill is what makes Xin Zhao a deadly assassin. You can instantly apply a slow and close the gap with this skill. I max this second. However, with great power comes great responsibility. Charging in at the wrong time can get you killed, I advise you to think before you charge.

A powerful ultimate that can assist yourself and your team greatly. The damage is very good, considering the fact that it deals a percentage of the targets health. Essentially, you would want to find the right moment to hit all 5 of the enemy team. The Armor/MR bonus is also a very good aspect of this ultimate, thanks to it you can focus the carries without taking too much damage. This ultimate also has a low cooldown, so feel free to damage dragon/baron with it if you need to kill them quickly.

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Items are very interesting for Xin Zhao. He has many build paths that can adapt to the situation he is in. Keep in mind that most items are situational. For example, you don't build a Last Whisper if they are not stacking armor, etc.

The first build is a well-balanced build with decent damage and survivability. Recommended for beginners.

NOTE: Do not follow the building sequence completely. Build according to the situation. (For example if you need health get an early Giant's Belt.

Starting with Cloth Armor + 5 potions will help you be durable against most Top Lane bruisers.

Alternative starting items:
Start with these if there is an AP top.
For squishy top lanes or a horrible laner.


This is essential to Tanky DPS Xin Zhao, it gives him many of the stats he needs for a cheap price. It gives you AD to rape your lane harder, more armor for durability, and lifesteal for sustain. The free ward is the cherry on top, use it to ward brushes to ensure safety from ganks.


These boots are also essential to Tanky DPS Xin Zhao. You are a Melee DPS, and thus is weak to CC and burst damage from mages. This solves all those problems. However, don't rush this unless you really need it early.

Only get these boots if you are struggling in lane against an AD Top, or their team is a team of 5 AD champs. I don't build this often, but feel free to if you feel that you need it.


This item will provide you with all the damage you need throughout the game until late game. However, I usually only get The Brutalizer and leave it until I need the damage boost. By the time you finish building The Brutalizer, you will need to start building some defense items anyway.


I usually build this after The Brutalizer/ Youmuu's Ghostblade. However, sometimes if the enemy mage is really fed, I build this before any of my items. This item is a great item, it gives both defense and offense. An alternative to this would be Hexdrinker. Only build Hexdrinker if you are planning to turn it into a Maw of Malmortius.


It would be smart to build this now, since AD's hurt late game and you will need the defense. Do not upgrade this until you have built Frozen Mallet. This is because you will upgrade it into either Atma's Impaler or Guardian Angel.

This item functions like Wit's End, it helps you in both defense and offense. Health is always a nice thing to have. However, the most important part is the passive of this item. Late Game when you focus the squishies you want to make sure they do not escape you, so this item will solve that problem.


This is the ultimate item that will make Xin Zhao very powerful. Build this when you are confident that you are tanky enough and you can use the extra damage.

If the game is 45 minutes in, you are losing, and you need more durability, Guardian Angel will help you in this situation. Your damage items will already give you enough damage, so building Guardian Angel will make you very tanky.

If the game still isn't over, sell Wriggle's for The Bloodthirster or whatever item you did not get (If you bought Atma's, sell wriggles for Guardian Angel, etc.)

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Items (continued)

So, you are bored and looking for some fun in pubstomping solo queue? Well look no further to these items! Building these items will make a man out of you and you will kill anybody who messes with you.

This build is not recommended for beginners and should only be attempted if you are doing it for fun or you are a veteran Xin Zhao player.

Sell for late game.

Start with this so you can get fed easily early on, so that you can build your items sooner as your items will be very expensive.

This will boost your damage output early on. Mandatory on Glass Cannon Xin Zhao.

The BEST item for Glass Cannon Xin Zhao. Rush this, because your damage will skyrocket with this item. The reason is because Xin Zhao scales with attack speed, but attack speed is nothing without some damage behind it. This just helps us a lot mid game along with the armor reduction passive.

Refer to previous chapter for details.

Also madatory on Glass Cannon Xin Zhao. Your attack speed will reach 1.8-9 after this item. The critical strikes and movement speed all help Xin Zhao greatly in bursting down his prey.

After doubleswords you have to build this. It's getting late in the game, and Xin Zhao will need the lifesteal to keep up his health. Build an early Vampiric Scepter if you need the sustain.

Nothing much to say about this item. When you buy it, things melt. Basically it is the game-breaker on Glass Cannon Xin Zhao.

In case you're wondering, max Three Talon Strike first, followed by Battle Cry, and Audacious Charge last (Only for Glass cannon Xin)

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Other Items

Only take this item if they are stacking armor past 150.

Do NOT buy this item. It is too expensive for what it gives you, and Wit's End is a much cheaper item that does pretty much the same thing.

This item is not a good item because it does not scale well into late game. If you need the tenacity buy Mercury's Treads.

I replace Youmuu's Ghostblade with this item if the enemy team is braindead. Trinity Force makes Xin's damage rise like an erection because it offers so much stats. I just don't get this item much because it delays my defense by a lot and I will be melting fast if I build this item. Feel free to build this though, if you are getting extremely fed.

You can replace Wit's End with this item if you need the health over the magic resist. This item is pretty meh. You can get it if you want, but there are better choices.

If your team lacks a support, or you want to run double Aegis, get this item. It helps you by a huge amount for such a low price. You can even initiate fights with this item mid-game.

If the enemy AD carry is extremely fed, build one of those two items. Take Frozen Heart if you are not being focused, and get Randuin's Omen if they like hitting you. If you are planning to build Randuins get an early Heart of Gold.

Acceptable when you lack money and need to be tanky fast. Otherwise don't get it.

Only get this when they have fed autoattackers ( Tryndamere, Master Yi) It makes them kill themselves.

If you want to be tankier than usual, build this instead of Frozen Mallet.

This item is overrated on melee champs. Don't get this, your bubble will be popped once you charge inside.

Great item for pure magic resist, build this straight after Frozen Mallet, only if you really need it.

If they have a deadly CC/ult, like , get this item.

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Summoner Spells

I take Flash and Exhaust.

Flash is a must on Xin Zhao. Xin Zhao's big weakness is that he has no escape; and thus, you will need flash. You can also use it offensively ( Flash + Audacious Charge)

Exhaust is also a great summoner spell for Xin Zhao. A lot of times you will be dueling opponents and dealing with junglers when towerdiving. This helps you get kills and helps you kill the carry easier.

So you want choices? Here are some good choices.

Ghost is a nice summoner spell that is used similar to flash. If you somehow hate flash with an undying rag- I mean passion, take ghost. Ghost is much better at closing gaps anyway, so it isn't as bad as most people think.

Ignite is if you want to snowball early on, or if they have a healer like Mundo or Volibear.

I would only take Teleport if I am against an annoying harasser at top lane, or if I know the enemy is a gank heavy team. Teleport can help you buy some items early on/heal up and return to your lane without missing much CS or experience. Sometimes you can use it to teleport to bot/mid lane to help out if they are being ganked.

Smite if you're jungling. Some people have told me that you can jungle without smite, and therefore you don't need it. It can be true in some aspects, but if you do that you allow yourself to get your buffs stolen, not to mention Baron/Dragon.

A good jungler will always take smite.

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Early Game

Early game is Xin Zhao's strongest point. You burst down targets easily and you have unrivaled dueling skills. Try to balance out farming and harassing. That way you can be ahead of the opponent in experience and gold. Remember to watch out for ganks, as Xin does not have an escape. To harass, use Three Talon Strike when they go in for a last hit. If you want to be more agressive, Audacious Charge + Three Talon Strike should force them to back off. Try to hit at least 130 CS by 20 minutes.

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Mid game

By now you should have your Wriggle's Lantern, Boots of Speed and a Long Sword/ The Brutalizer. During this time, you should roam and help your teammates who are in trouble. Gank lanes for a bit, steal the enemy buffs, etc. Remember to always protect your AD carry in fights, as the enemy AP carry (they shine the most mid game)can easily burst your AD carry.

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Late game

During late-game, objectives are the most important thing. Always ward baron and stay near your team. If you get caught, you will throw the game for your team. Just remember as Xin Zhao, late game you should always assist your team, and never do things solo. Doing so would benefit your team and you can outsmart the enemy team for a win.

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Team Work

During team fights, you should be behind your tank/initiator. Once they initiate, charge in with Audacious Charge, use Crescent Sweep, go for the squishies with Three Talon Strike, and use Battle Cry on them afterwards. If you are being focused, don't try to run! (unless you have flash) Xin Zhao has no escape anyway. You have lifesteal and a lot of durability, so you will be living very long before you actually run low.

In another situation where you are losing, do not charge in. Instead, you and your tank should stay near your carry and protect them from the enemy divers. If your carry dies, you die. Remember, you are the Tanky DPS, not the carry.

Different situations call for different actions. Take what you can get.

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Jungling Section

(Read the second build on the top of the guide for the jungle build).

Xin Zhao can also be played as a jungler. He ganks very well and has decent sustain, which makes him a very nice jungler.


Good clearing time 3:45
Gibs camps easily
Not dependant on red for ganking
Good dueling if enemy jungler shows up

Below average counterjungling (If you get caught, you have no way of escaping)
Requires the spamming of skills to jungle, and will run OOM without first blue
Falls behind if you aren't snowballing/died early

The Runes and Masteries are the same.

I usually follow this path for jungling:
Wraiths -> Red -> Wolves/Golems -> Wraiths -> Blue

Make sure to gank in between clears if needed.

For the skill level-up, max Audacious Charge for increased CC in ganks, while maxing Three Talon Strike second for more burst damage in ganks. Take one point in Battle Cry and leave it there. Take Crescent Sweep whenever possible.

In the mindset of a jungle Xin, it is quite different from laning Xin. As a jungle Xin, always try to gank/hold lanes and ward for your team. As a jungler, you must always have good map awareness and you must be very cautious. Ganking or counterjungling at the wrong time can get you killed and will cripple your team. Always stay focused and assist your team whenever possible.

For the jungling build, you will need to build super tanky, because as a jungler, you will be getting less farm, assisting your team whenever possible, and sometimes even dying for your teammates. I usually build Xin Zhao like this when jungling:


This build will make you very tanky and you can sometimes initiate fights with this build. Granted that you will lose some damage output, your teammates will make up for it, if you've been a good jungler and you've assisted your team as much as possible.

However, if you are snowballing hard, turn the phage into a Trinity Force after Aegis of the Legion if you can use the damage to snowball even harder.

Remember, as a jungler you would want to assist your team.

If you still want more information, refer to Stonewall008's Xin Zhao jungle video. It helped me greatly.

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Thank you for reading my Xin Zhao guide. Please give me constructive feedback and suggestions, as this is my first guide and I would like improvements on it. Thank you!

Soon to come:
Lane match ups