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Xin Zhao Build Guide by EMPtime

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League of Legends Build Guide Author EMPtime

Xin Zhao, Win NAO! (New and improved!)

EMPtime Last updated on September 7, 2011
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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.


Brute Force
Improved Rally

Offense: 21

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 0

Expanded Mind
Blink of an Eye
Mystical Vision
Presence of the Master

Utility: 9

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So a while back, I made a guide for Xin Zhao, and it didn't get the best reviews. Based on the feedback I got from my friends, and a little more playing experience, I decided to make a new and improved guide for Xin Zhao! He's in my opinion, one of the best champs in the game in terms of dealing the most damage, and one of the few champs that can truly strike fear into the enemy.

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Pros / Cons


    Able to deal insane DPS
    Very good at ganking
    Great jungler
    Very good at harassing
    Can wipe out entire teams
    Unstoppable when properly farmed/fed

    Very vulnerable to CC (crowd control) early game
    Has no means of escape other than summoner spells
    Item dependent
    Needs farm

The reason I say Xin is item dependent is because without any damage dealing/crit items, his damage on his Three-Talon Strike does an insignificant amount of damage late game, which is really his main ability.

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My first guide was unclear on what kind of runes to get, as runes are still a little new to me. But my experience has gotten me farther along with my understanding on how to build certain champs.
Greater Mark of Desolation - Kind of obvious, flat armor penetration reds. Armor pen is ESSENTIAL for any DPS champ as the opposition will almost certainly build some sort of armor against you. Really helps for those early game ganks.
- This is more of a personal preference, flat attack speed or crit chance is perfectly viable here. I just like the extra damage in the early game to get a leg up on the early game kills, because they set the tone for the rest of the match.
- I think it can be easily seen that Xin is a bit squishy in the early game, and the extra health will DEFINITELY come in handy when the opponent decides to pop an Ignite on you and you're desperately running away hoping you won't die on your way to the fountain.
Greater Quintessence of Desolation - Can't go wrong with more armor pen, right? The more armor pen you have, the closer you'll get to dealing true damage. Especially since armor pen is hard to come by until the late game, these will help you get an extra kill or two.

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As you can see, I did a standard 21/0/9 split, as any DPS champ would want. I must mention on the utility tree that I decided to put max points into as well as . My reason for this is that Xin NEEDS farm. And that extra 5% experience and 10% less death time can be the difference in out-leveling your laneing opponent or being behind.

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Summoner Spells

I choose these two mainly because gives me both an offensive and defensive tool that I can use for banking, getting that last hit on an enemy running away, or flashing through walls to make a quick getaway. I cannot tell you how many times Flash has saved my life. As for , this helps SO much, because like Flash, it can be used both defensively and offensively. Great for those ganks before the minions spawn, and also great for ganking.

Some other viable options:
- Ghost is also a great spell to use. For those of you not really into Flash, and feel more comfortable using this, by all means use it.
- Adds to your DPS capabilities, and allows you to finish off an enemy champ trying to get away. Not my favorite spell, but nonetheless a solid one.
- I feel that this spell is extremely underrated. Like I said earlier, Xin Zhao is susceptible to CC and is usually focused first in team fights, so you can never go wrong with this.

Forget everything else.

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This is your passive, and a really handy one at that. Every 3 auto attacks, you regain some life. Kind of a natural life steal. Early game it allows you to stay in the lane much longer than the average champ. If you're low on HP, I advise auto attacking minions instead of just going for last hits, just until you get enough HP back. This is what makes you such a great jungler as well!

Your main skill, really great burst damage. Three charged hits with a 1:1 attack damage ratio, with the third hit knocking the enemy in the air. Great for ganking as the knock up will allow a trailing ally catch up. I feel that you MUST max this out first.

The passive gives you permanent attack speed, which is nice, but the active is what really grabs my attention and love. Double the passive bonus for five seconds, then for every auto attack, you LOSE a second on all your ability cooldowns. It's downright amazing. This is what makes your abilities so spammable. Great for taking down towers too! Get a level of this at level 4, then max it last. The active and passive will get you through the early to mid game just fine.

Your main ganking/initiating skill. The damage isn't stellar, but what we like is the slow it adds. Whenever attacking the enemy, ALWAYS start off with this. It immediately gives you the advantage due to the damage it deals, as well as the slow. This being your second main damage dealing ability, max this out second.

A truly DEVASTATING ultimate, only when used correctly! You must take note that the additional damage it deals is a percentage of the opponents CURRENT health. So to optimize its damage output, you MUST use this right after your . The added magic resist and armor is great too, especially when attacking casters.

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Starting item
- Kind of obvious here. The shield gives you added health and health regen, which will allow you to stay in the lane longer. I've seen some players grab a and some health pots, but I feel that this will actually save your life more.

- Also kind of obvious. The added movement speed is nice, but what you really want is the attack speed bonus. End of discussion.
- Everything that you could want. Crit chance, attack speed, and movement speed. I feel that you really don't need a until later in the game. These stats boost will get the job done.
- This is your first damage item, and I feel that you NEED this on Xin Zhao. I mean not only the attack damage and speed boosts, but the unique passive as well. This will allow you to not only tear through minion waves by yourself, but also tear through enemy champs. I cannot express how much of a necessity this is.

From here on out, depending on what your opponent is getting, feel free to get what you need.
- Such a great item on Xin. The added damage, crit chance, and CDR all work for Xin. But what is really great is the unique active on this baby. Just read for yourself. This active completely SHREDS tanks and opposing teams in a matter of seconds.
- Want to see your damage skyrocket to 800 crit? Then grab one of these bad boys. I feel the need to get this only when I'm fed and am certain that I'll win.
- This is a great late-game item if you want more damage as well as sustainability in team fights. The life steal is nothing to sneeze at, as it saved my life many a team fight.
- Great late game item for some intense armor pen. Coupled with a , it's the perfect counter to . Not a huge fan of it mid-game though.
- I usually grab an FoN whenever I play Xin, because there's always an enemy champ that deals magic damage, and FoN has the most magic resist for an item. Plus the added health regen and move speed is also great. An overall solid defensive item.
- Also a great item, however I would get this only when there's a nuker on the other team that needs combos of spells (i.e. Brand, Ryze, Malzahar). Replace the FoN with this.
- I absolutely LOVE this item. A very cheap option for magic resist, AND it gives you a good amount of attack speed. PLUS it deals magic damage for every auto attack. Get this if the other team is going on you. Thornmail deals magic damage, so by getting a Wit's end, that magic damage is in turn negated. Great, huh?
- Even though that this gives damage, I'm listing this as a defensive item because of its awesome passive. It provides a shield when you reach a certain HP percentage, and it's saved my life so many times. It's also a cheap form of magic resist, while still giving you some good damage. If your'e getting harassed early game, I would grab this before the

I haven't listed ALL the possible items that would do well, but feel free to slap on a & combo if you want to go tanky. Madred's Bloodrazer is also a viable option, if you need to take out a tank on the other team.

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All in all, Xin Zhao is one of my favorite champs ever. His damage capabilities give me nerd chills, and he is truly someone to be feared on Summoner's Rift as well as Twisted Treeline. (He's actually ridiculous on 3v3) Hope this new and improved version helped you guys out!