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Xin Zhao Build Guide by Golemin

Middle Xin Zhao-The midlane terror

Middle Xin Zhao-The midlane terror

Updated on March 23, 2013
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League of Legends Build Guide Author Golemin Build Guide By Golemin 5 1 42,037 Views 13 Comments
5 1 42,037 Views 13 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author Golemin Xin Zhao Build Guide By Golemin Updated on March 23, 2013
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Introduction-Why Xin mid?

Hi everyone! My name is golemin and this is my first guide here in MobaFire. It is about my favourite champion in the league, Xin Zhao. After playing many games in the top lane, I felt that Xin was not so viable for the top lane anymore, because he lacked natural tankiness ( Garen, Singed) and natural escape mechanisms ( Jarvan IV, Garen, Jax, Jayce, Renekton etc). For this reason, he could not take the advantage of his early game, because the enemy jungler camped the lane. So, I experimented playing him in the mid lane and I discovered he can melt almost every single AP caster.
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Pros / Cons

As all champions in the league, Xin Zhao has his strenghts and weaknesses.


+ Very powerful early game
+ Great gap-closing potential with Audacious Charge
+ Most mid-lanes do not know the word "Armor"
+ Decent MR and Armor stats at start
+ Crescent Sweep makes him unkillable in teamfights
+ Fast turrent destruction with Three Talon Strike & Battle Cry


- No natural escape
- An AP top or AP jungle is required (especially in higher elo) or you will lose the game just with a Thornmail
- Crescent Sweep requires positioning
- Vulnerable to CC
- Clever players will poke you and deny your farm
- Difficult to comeback after a bad early game

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We will run 21/9/0, because in mid, we prefer snowballing over tankiness. Most options are self-explanatory, only in the "Defence Tree" something has to be pointed out. Resistance if you lane against an AP caster mid (most cases) and Hardiness if you lane against an AD mid ( Talon, Kha'Zix). Furthermore, I do not put any points at Butcher , because we cannot rely too much at last-hitting.
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Generally, I prefer the flat runes, because they boost the good early game of Xin Zhao and help him pick some early kills. However, there are many other alternatives, which I will mention here.

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Flash: A must in ranked games. It is your only escape mechanism and can save you from gangs, if you overpushed your lane. People with no flash in ranked games are immediately focused by the enemy jungler and have a really bad time. Believe me!

Ignite: Your finisher spell! Most of the times, your combo will not finish off your enemy and you will need some extra damage to get your first kill in the lane. Moreover, if you see something like Volibear, Dr. Mundo, Swain, Master Yi pick it without second thought.

Ghost: It may seem more useful than Flash, but with Ghost you cannot jump over walls and your speed boost can be denied by stuns/slows. But, if you think you will need full mobility, do not hesitate to replace it with Ignite.
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Challenge: This is an amazing passive which has a perfect syngergy with Black Cleaver. It reduces the armor of the target by 15% for three seconds, which means that your Three Talon Strike will do even more damage.

Three Talon Strike: This is the signature move of Xin Zhao, his bread and butter skill. The next three basic attacks will do extra damage to the target, while the third will knock it airbone, guaranteeing another free hit.

Tips and Tricks
  • Try to finish your Three Talon Strike, so that you benefit from the CDR.
  • Always activate your Three Talon Strike when attacking turrents.
  • Do not use it to farm, otherwise you will see your mana bar disappearing
  • You have to max this ability first at Level 9

Battle Cry: An excellent passive, which works as a life steal and early on you can stay in lane forever thanks to Doran's Blade and this skill. Active will increase your attack speed by an incredible 40% at Level 1 and help you clear some enemies early on.
Tips and Tricks
  • Always activate Battle Cry when fighting
  • Activate it right before Three Talon Strike, so that it lands quicker.
  • Hit minions as much as you can, in order to benefit from the passive
  • However, the 40% is enough for the early game, so max it second at Level 13

Audacious Charge: This is the reason why Xin Zhao mid is viable. A very riable gap closer, combined with a slow, teleports you right to your enemy location, allowing you to start landing your skills.
Tips and Tricks
  • Use it to close the gap between you and your AP caster, and then continue with Crescent Sweep, Battle Cry and Three Talon Strike for a full nuke
  • This ability can cross over small walls, as the ones at top/bot in blue/purple side.
  • As a gap closing ability, it has to be maxed last.

Crescent Sweep: Definitely not the best ultimate in game, but it can be very useful especially on teamfights, as it will award you by up to 125 Armor and MR at maximum level.
Tips and Tricks
  • Wait for your tank to engage and then rush in the teamfight with Audacious Charge and then immediately activate your ulti to get the maximum of it.
  • Find the right positioning, in order to bring their carries next to your team.
  • You have to max your ultimate ability whenever available (6,11 and 16)
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Item Sequence

Berserker's Greaves 1100
Black Cleaver 3000
Ravenous Hydra 3300
Apart from the core items listed above, you will need three more items to end your build. Below there are listed offensive and defensive choices. I usually prefer to buy 1 offensive and 2 defencive items, but it generally depends on the situation.


A good offensive choice when the enemy team is too tanky and you need to take them down faster.

Take this item if you are a lot ahead and you are not threatened by the enemy casters at all.

If you do not die and you can maintain the stacks, then this is a good option for you.Remember that it is a risk, because you can get focused by the enemy team.

Not the perfect item for Xin Zhao but still a good option if the teamfights last short , due to the active.

Again I think Xin Zhao does not have so much to benefit from the AS, but if you are a lot of ahead, why not seeing them dying faster?


My favourite defensive item for Xin Zhao,as it gives not only very much HP, but also a small AD boost and a passive, which has a perfect syngergy with Xin's kit.

Another viable item for the late-game. If you see you are focused in teamfights, feel free to purchase that item, as it will help your other teammates to take them down easier. Use the active after you have cast Crescent Sweep, in order to take the maximum of it.

I do not like this item at all, because it only gives HP and does not give any damage to Xin Zhao. However, if you are behind and you need to be longer alive in teamfights, then go for it.

This item can completely change a teamfight and the entire game. It gives you a second life after death, enabling you to clear what has remained from the teamfight and/or to push for the victory.

Fed AP carry? Very rare cause you will lane against it. But, if 1/100000000000000000000 it is the case, then rush this item to shut it down.
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Skill combos and overall attitude in the lane

Against most of the AP casters, you have to play aggresive early on, in order to pick some early kills. See the match-ups below and decide when to start being aggresive. You can start either at Level 2 with Audacious Charge and Three Talon Strike, but be careful as not to take minion aggro, or you will misteriously die and then look Death Recap to see: "Blue/Purple Mage Minion:350 damage". So be careful with this issue. Alternatively, you can start at Level 3 with your full combo Audacious Charge and then immediately Battle Cry and Three Talon Strike. Past 6 you have to be more careful, as the ultimates of the AP casters are very strong. However, if you are ahead, you can do the following combo: Audacious Charge to close the gap and then immediately Crescent Sweep, Battle Cry and Three Talon Strike.
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In teamfights, you have to wait for your tank/bruiser to engage and then immediately engage with Audacious Charge in the middle of the enemy team and cast Crescent Sweep, in order to hit as many enemies as you can. Then activate Battle Cry and Three Talon Strike to hit either the AD or the AP carry. If they have positioned themselves correct, then do your Three Talon Strike to any enemy, in order to reduce the CD of Audacious Charge and catch them with it.
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Mid lane matchups (A-E)

Difficulty 1-3: These lanes can be easily won, you can get fed by many kills and carry your team to the vitory.
Difficulty 4-7: If you play smartly, you will win these lanes easy or hard. The key is to remain patient and do not get greedy.
Difficulty 8-10: These match-ups are either equal or they have an advantage over you. Ask for your junglers help early on and pick one or two kills

Difficulty: 5/10
Ahri is not a big deal, as her Fox-Fire is not maxed first and does not do much harm to you. Wait until she lands her Orb of Deception to the minion wave and then rush to her with Audacious Charge and your combo. Past 6 you will not take kills so easily, as she will escape with her Spirit Rush. However, the CD is pretty high, so you can repeat your combo when her ulti is on CD. If she catches you with her Charm do not run away and start your combo with Battle Cry and Three Talon Strike, in order to save your Audacious Charge for the time when she escapes.

Difficulty: 4/10
Many people believe that Akali is a counter to Xin Zhao. I have played against many Akali in the mid lane and my experience has shown me that you simply outdamage her early, mid and late on. All you have to do is to go for the kill at Level 2 if she has no Twilight Shroud, else go at Level 3. Remember that her Twilight Shroud has 20sec CD, while your Audacious Charge 14sec (which can be lowered by the Three Talon Strike, so start second nuke once you have your E available again. Take an early kill or even two, so that you do not have problems past 6.

This is a hard lane and you have to play smart, in order not to feed her. Start aggresive at Level 2/3 with your combo and ask for your junglers help, in order to take a kill and destroy the egg. Once she reaches 6 and gets Glacial Storm you have to play the definition of the passive lane, cause any aggresion will result to your death.

No I don't want to play with you idiot girl!!! Again a hard lane, which requires patience and jungler's help. Pyromania and Molten Shield will make you have a bad time against her. However, I have beated most of the Annie in lane. The key is to be patient and farm passively, while her Pyromania is ready. When she uses a spell, then punish her and start immediately your combo. If she stays at 5 stacks forever, then you should not panic, as her farm is going to be awful. Ask your jungler's help early on and be careful of Summon: Tibbers.

Difficulty: 5/10
Brand is not a big deal, when you can avoid his Pillar of Flame. Wait patiently till he lands it and then start your combo. If you find it difficult to avoid it, then skip the Doran's Blade and immediately buy your Tier 2 boots. As Brand hits 6, be more careful, as his combo can do unexpected damage.

Avoid this match-up at any cost. If you got counterpicked by a Cassiopeia prepare yourself for much pain! Her Miasma will slow you, denying your autoattacks and she will poke you with her Noxious Blast till tomorrow. Do not get close enough post 6, because you will send yourself straight to your base.

A medium match-up, but you beat her overall. Just wait her to land Crescent Strike, avoid it and start immediately your combo at Level 3. Continue harassing her until she reaches level 6. After she reaches 6, then you have to be more careful and think more when you engage to an 1v1 teamfight.

Awaiting your feedback, cause I have met Elise very little times in the mid lane.

Not a big deal, you simply outdamage her at every game phase. Try to harass her forever, because she will try to run away every single time with her Dark Frenzy. After your first return in base place a Vision Ward in the middle of the lane while she is away and cannot notice it.

AP Ezreal
Not commonly seen, but there are still some people who play Ezreal as an AP caster on mid. The first time you will do your combo, he will do some serious damage to you by flashing away with Arcane Shift and hitting you with Essence Flux and Mystic Shot. However, once you have your Audacious Charge available again, you can immediately start your combo again. Careful when you have low health and you go B, because his Trueshot Barrage can kill you.
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Mid lane matchups (F-K)

Not so viable in the mid lane anymore, but he is not a big threat to Xin Zhao. Pre 6 you have to harass him, activating all your skills before reaching him, because he will silence you with Reap. His Terrify only lasts 1 second at Level 1, so you will not have major problems. If he tries to outheal your damage by using Bountiful Harvest pop Ignite on him and continue with your combo. Past 6 play more passive, as his ulti can do monsterous damage and try to escape it either by Crescent Sweep knockback or if you have Challenge him, with Flash. Ghost could be a better choice in this matchup over Flash due to its lower CD. (210 over 300, ulti Fiddlesticks 150/140/130)

A lane which needs clear mind and patience. Fizz is a meele AP, which means that he will need to go close to you, in order to last hit. Every time he approaches, hit him with your autoattacks. If he goes aggresively with his Playful / Trickster go back for a while to ensure there is not going to be a gang and then start your combo and destroy him. If he goes back with his Playful / Trickster dont chase. We have managed to zone him out of his farm. Post 6 you will need to pay more attention, as his combo does much more damage. However, if you have picked 1 kill or 2, he is not a big deal even at this phase.

This is an easy match-up. Galio is consiedered to be a hard match-up for the AP casters, due to his Runic Skin. But guess what! Xin Zhao is not an AP caster! Keep harassing him constantly until Level 6. Then be more careful, as his Idol of Durand is the signal that the enemy jungler comes.

Difficulty: 4/10
This fat guy is considered to be not so viable for the whole League anymore, because of the fact that his Barrel Roll is can get easily dodged by the enemy AP caster. However, with Xin Zhao you have to wait him to use his Barrel Roll before engaging with Audacious Charge and full combo, otherwise your AS is going to be reduced and you will need a second pull to kill him. His Explosive Cask is not a big problem, it will make you lose position for a while, but then you can continue with your combo.

Difficulty: 6/10
This lane can be either easy or really hard, depending on your patience and intelligence. If you go straight 1v1 him, you will find yourself blinded, stunned by CH-1 concussion grenade, suffering serious damage by H-28G Evolution Turret and finished off with a Hextech Micro-Rockets. So do not engage in a fight, unless there are no turrets in the place you will attack him with Audacious Charge. The key is to ask for your jungler's help as early as possible, because his turrets will push the lane very much and he will be vulnerable to gangs.

Easy match-up. Be free to start aggresive even at Level 2 with Audacious Charge & Three Talon Strike. When you cannot close the gap avoid the Lay Waste. His Defile is not a threat to you, cause your AA deal three or four times the damage it does early on. Be sure to shut him down in the lane phase, cause Karthus power scales as the game goes on and he is a very big threat in teamfights.

A dream come true! You lane vs Kassadin! Start aggresive even at Level 2 if you are self-confident, so that he wastes his Flash and continue at Level 3 with your full combo for the First Blood. If you are not sure about yourself and you think you may take minion aggro, then start at Level 3. Activate all of your abilities before you reach him, so that his Null Sphere silence does not affect you. Post 6 you will not get kills so easily, because he will just run away with Riftwalk. But, do not make worries, cause I usually pick 3 or even 4 kills before he levels to 6! The problem will be his gangs, as he will try to make the comeback. If it is the case, warn your allies and advice them to play passive. In the meanwhile, push the mid-lane, punishing him for abandoning it.

Once again an easy lane! You simply outdamage her in the laning phase. If she goes aggresive with Shunpo and Sinister Steel, punish her by launching Battle Cry and Three Talon Strike and saving your Audacious Charge for the time she runs away. Remember that your Three Talon Strike can interrupt the Death Lotus, so if you predict the time she will activate it, you can waste it.

Not so dangerous after the nerf, you can start at Level 3 with your combo, which is stronger that her overall. Her Righteous Fury pushes the lane very much, so jungler's help is welcomed in this match-up. If she uses Righteous Fury to farm, wait until the buff ends and then engage immediately with your full combo. ( Righteous Fury CD is 15sec, while the buff lasts 10sec, so you have 5 whole seconds to finish her off).

The key here is not to get stunned by him, as you do your combo. In order to achieve it, wait until Kennen wastes one of his abilities to farm. Then, immediately engage with Audacious Charge and continue with your full combo. Most of the times, he will avoid your harass by using his Lightning Rush. If it is the case, try to farm and poke him when you have your Audacious Charge off cooldown. Post 6 he may have the advantage in 1v1, due to his Slicing Maelstrom. If he tries to engage with it, try not to Challenge him and knock him back with your Crescent Sweep. Flash and counterattack with Audacious Charge and full combo is a good option too.

This match-up is equal. You are both designed to melt the AP carries. However, I strongly believe that you can take an advantage over him, if you start harassing at Level 3 with your full combo, while remaining close to your minions. In this match-up, you have to be patient and wait till Kha'Zix lands his Void Spike. Avoid it and then counter-attack with your full combo. Post 6 the spike is going to become spikes and you will have some trouble, if you have not picked an early kill and the enemy jungler is roaming a lot.
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Mid lane matchups (L-S)

Not a hard lane. You can go for a kill at Level 2/3, while she has only one point at Sigil of Silence and the damage is not high. Once again, activate everything before reaching her with Audacious Charge or the silence is going to deny your kill. Do not engage when she has used Distortion, or you will waste your time and mana. Before engaging, make sure you check the maximum hp of her, because the Mirror Image has a smaller hp pool. So, same max. hp pool= you attack LeBlanc, lower max. hp pool= you attack the image.

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Mid lane matchups (T-Z)

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To sum up, I believe that Xin Zhao is a very fun to play champion who can be a good pick for the mid lane. I hope that you liked the guide and I am awaiting for your opinion towards it! Feel free to comment on what you think it is wrong or is missing! A feedback about my English mistakes would be also veeery helpful :P

Special thanks to jhoijhoi for the amazing template on Making a guide. The guide would not exist if it weren't she!
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23.03.2013 Added mid lane match-ups (F-K) section!
18.03.2013 Guide published!
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