Xin Zhao: The Warrior's Spirit Never Dies

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Insanious

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09-14-2010

Table of Contents:

I. Introduction
II. Runes
III. Masteries
IV. Summoner Spells
V. Skills
VI. Core Items
VII. vs. Physical team
VIII. vs. Magic team
IX. vs. Balanced tean
X. Elixers
XI. Tactics
XII. Conclusion
- - - - -
I. Introduction

Currently Xin Zhao is one of those champions that someone else sees owning and then copies their build with a few changes. People always seem to have Last Whisper and Frozen Mallet in their build because someone else had those items so they much be good on him. To me this just doesn't work, those items are decent on Xin Zhao yes, but they are not the best items that this champion could be wielding.

Xin Zhao has amazing base stats, two CC's, an Ult that gives a TONNE of armor and MR while also doing a lot of damage, and an ability that decreases cooldowns so he can use his CCs more often and allows him to open and end a teamfight with his ultimate. Xin Zhao needs very few items to do A LOT of damage especially in a teamfight, and needs few items to become very tanky and nigh unkillable.

This guide is going to outline by build for Xin Zhao which capitalizes on his monstrous early game damage and then transitions into a more survivability oriented build to allow for that amazing ultimate to go off over and over while keeping the enemy carry locked down with slows and popups.

This is my Tanky DPS Xin Zhao built.
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II. Runes

Xin Zhao's Rune page is very open to interpretation, there are very few things that Xin Zhao needs, but a lot of things that Xin Zhao could use. As such, I will break down Runes into Reds, Yellows, Blues, and Quints.

Reds: Xin Zhao's Reds need to be Armor Penetration. It doesn't matter how amazing they are now, or how nerfed they will be in the future, Armor Penetration is a statistic that is AMAZING on this champion. Armor Penetration increases the damage of his Q, Auto attacks, and Ultimate.

Increasing the damage of Xin Zhao's ultimate is the real reason to take Armor penetration Marks. For the most part, champions will have between 60 - 70 base armor at level 18. More tanky champs may have more, and less tanky may have less. This will mitigate a large portion of your ultimate if left unchecked (41% to be exact) and that heavily reduces the damage that Xin Zhao can do. With Armor Pen marks alone, Xin will gain 18 armor penetration, brining most players base armor down to the 40-50 range or only a 33% decrease, 8% more damage, very few things can give you an 8% damage increase and these marks are one of them.

Yellows: Here, Xin has A LOT of choices to pick from. The best choice would either be Dodge seals in order to mitigate damage done by other champions, or MR/lvl seals in order to increase a much more difficult to increase defensive statistic. These two types of runes mitigate damage done by very different champions, personally I run dodge to synergize with my masteries (will get to that soon), as well it allows me to dodge slows that I otherwise normally would not be able to (Frozen mallet, ashe's frozen arrow, lizard buff, etc..) Which can mean the difference between charging someone or them running to safety behind their tower.

Blues: Here again you have a choice, I run CDR blues in order to get my ult off more and to get off my slow and pop up as much as possible in a teamfight, but MR/lvl glyphs are also a great choice. Running both MR/lvl seals and glyphs alone with Xin's natural MR progression as well as his ultimate will allow for a player to mostly ignore MR for the rest of the game in favour of damage and/or defense. CDR allows for more CC its really a choice that you can make. MR/lvl or CDR up to you.

Quints: Now once again, we run into our second Rune that is a must, again it is APen Quints. These are required for the same reason the Marks are, even if nerfed they will again be necessary to increase your damage output. With a fullset of APen marks and Quints you get 30Apen, This till reduce most champions down to 0Armor at the start of the game, as well as give you a significant Damage increase comming into the late game. Once gain lowering defense down to 30 - 40 armor, nearing 12% damage reduction only... APen marks and Quints can increase your damage (and especially your ultimate damage) by around 28% that is HUGE.

Again I reiterate:

Reds: APen
Yellows: Dodge or MR/lvl
Blues: CDR or MR/lvl
Quints: APen
- - - - -
III. Masteries

http://img820.imageshack.us/i/masteries.png/

Here is where I really run a different mastery build, I run 11/11/8 on my Xin Zhao. Yes I know we don't go really High in any tree, but I find these to be the best bonuses on Xin Zhao.

In the offense tree you grab crit chance, attack speed, and armor penetration (36 armor penetration is A LOT).

In defense We grab Armor, MR, and Dodge.

In Utility we grab Improved Ghost, HP5/MR5 increase, and increased XP.

For Xin Zhao there are very few masteries he needs, his skills are very low mana cost so running out of mana is very rare I find with Xin before he gets his ultimate, and a few levels after. Levels 6 - 8 when I spam my ult in a teamfight his mana can be rough but once he gains a few hundred more mana from leveling up then you can go back to spamming like there is no tomorrow.

I like the defensive tree for that little bit of extra armor and dodge in the early game, if you do not take dodge runes then you could always use the mastery points in the defensive tree to take something similar to 11/0/19 You can get CDR and increased move speed this way by giving up some defense.

He has a built in CDR reduction, which synergises well enough with CDR masteries but is it worth going so high in utility to gain just a little bit more CDR? Look at what you would have to give up to me it isn't worth it.

Its really up to you how you build your masteries, 11/11/8 works best for me but you might like someone else better.

Again I reiterate:

11/11/8 - Apen, more defense, and the extra XP mastery
11/0/19 - Increased move speed, more MP/5, and 6% more CDR.

Now if you go 11/0/19 I would recommend moving your points from alacrity into sorcery, this + Flat CDR runes in your Glyphs will give you 15% CDR at start of game, to me the extra CDR along with the other mastery and runes is more benefitial than 4% IAS.
- - - - -
IV. Summoner Spells

Here, you have A LOT of options:

Required:

Ghost: Xin needs to get in to battles and needs to chase A LOT, Ghost accomplishes this while also giving him an escape mechanism.

Optional:

Ignite: Very strong summoner spell, gives you that little bit of extra damage that can kill someone. Also, very useful vs champions such as olaf, vladamir, mord, mundo or any champion that heals.

Exhaust: Gives you a few bonuses, Improved exhaust gives you more Apen (well gives Armor reduction) which later in the game can be very useful for killing champions such as Garen or Amumu. Has a HUGE slow which coupled with charge and Three Talon Strike gives Xin even more CC options. Although the biggest benefit from exhaust I see is the blind portion. Drop that on the enemy carry and your team gets a LONG time in a teamfight without the enemy Kog / trist / Ashe doing their insane DPS.

Flash: Coupled with ghost this summoner spell will give you the best chance of catching anyone with audatious charge, will give you more escape options and can let you position yourself for the perfect ult + charge AoE damage and slow possible.

Teleport: Quickly teleport to a tower to save one, to an enemy tower to push it, to a ward for a gank, to an ally to help save them from a gank. Wonderful summoner spell, a little less powerful than the three others mentioned but good none the less.
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V. Skills

Your skilling order is very important and for me it changes depending on the situation.
I will always go:

Q - Three Talon
E -Charge
W - Battle Cry
Q - Three Talon
W - Battle Cry
R - Three Crescent

This is my early game, I level up like this for a few reasons. Q gives you a nice damage boost ( +15dmg at lvl 1) Coupled with your Apen you will do the full 67 damage each hit. The full 3 hits will pop up the enemy give you 2 free other hits. This combo is 305damage at level 1. Drop on exhaust right after you pop them up and keep hitting, you will be able to get a second Three Talon in for first blood at level 1 in a solo lane or aided by an ally. (Yes, if the enemy is cautious which they should be this wont happen, but if you happen to get into melee range at level 1...) Not to mention Three Talon works through a blind so if they exhaust you, you can keep hitting for 201 damage and popping them up in the end to keep them next to you for when exhaust wears off

The rest of the skills are more charge to get into melee range for Three Talon and to apply a slow, and W to give you IAS.

Now after 6, you have to look to see how the game is going. Are you laneing still and dominating your lane? Then get another level of Battle Cry (w) to help with pushing that tower down. Or do you need just a little more OOMPH to kill a champion, get another level of Three Talon (Q) for the increased damage and decreased cooldown.

Once you hit 8 I prioritize R - > Q - > W -> E

So usually my skill order will be:
Q
E
W
Q
W
R
Q
Q
W
Q
R
W
W
E
E
R
E
E
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VI. Core Items

For this build I start out with Dorans Shield and a Health pot. This lets you lane the longest, giving you even more armor (34 (20+8+6)), health regen (which coupled with your passive keeps you in lane for ever), and health (nothing wrong with more health, ever...).

In a few rare cases, if I know I will dominate my lane I will get a dorans blade. This usually happens when I am in a 1v1 lane (both teams have a jungler) or a 2v2 lane where the enemies are both melee champions. I know that the extra armor will mean nothing to their armor pen (34armor vs 36 armor pen...) Where the extra damage, life steal, and IAS that a dorans blade will give will help A LOT more.


Another option to start the game is Red pot + potions, this can keep you in lane for a while, but you better dominate early because after 4 minutes you are no items vs a dorans item which wont end well.


Now, the only "Core" Item in this build is actually a choice for personal preference between two items, Starks and Ghostblade. The pros and cons for each are very apparent and will result in a VERY different end game.

Both items give increased attack speed and Apen. Your runes + masteries + Either of these items = 56 Apen which is A LOT and will give your ultimate the boost it needs to take 50% of everyone's life away in one go.

Now, I build Ghostblade and you might wonder why I prioritize this is over Starks, for a few reasons I do this. Starting, I have built in life steal with my passive, meaning that the 20% life steal on starks is not as needed on Xin as it is on other champions, I will regain life regardless.

Now the reason I get Ghost blade is that It gives me damage, Xin has a nice amount of base damage, but the extra 30AD I get from Ghost blade is very powerful due to the amount of Apen I have on Xin coupled with my attacks peed. 30AD goes a long way when attacking at 2attacks per second and the enemy has 0 armor.

As well, Ghost blade gives me another initiation / chase / fleeing mechanism. I find that Xin thrives on positioning. Audatious charging at the right time to ult correctly to allow your carry and easier time to ace the enemy team. Xin also excels at chasing when in range of the opponent due to a spamable slow and popup. Ghost blade can give you those few extra pixels needed to charge that enemy that your base move speed cannot give you.

Being on a 1minute timer means it is almost always up when you need it and being a melee champion it lasts the full duration of the timer.

The extra 10% IAS on Ghost blades active coupled with Battle Cry can easily result in 2 attacks per second or a reduction of 14 seconds off your ultimates cooldown. This is a HUGE amount of CDR packed into a single item.

The added bonus being Ghost blade gives 15% CDR, which allows for an even more spamable popup and slow.

I prioritize ghost blade simply because it gets me more CC, more popups (every 4s on average), and more charges (every 5s), starks cannot give you this.

Now, starks on the other hand gives you and your allies a nice little buff, IAS, Armor pen, health regen and Lifesteal. This item will give Xin more survivability and will help your team out in the form of a buff. I get starks when I have a lot of auto attack champions.

For me, if there are A LOT (like 4 champions) that will benefit from starks then I usually get that, but if we have fewer AD champions then I get ghost blade to get more CC down on the enemies. I trade giving starks to my carry with popping up the enemy carry every 3 - 4s and slowing them so they cannot reposition themselves.
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VII. vs. Physical Team

Now when you get into game and the enemy team is MF / Garen / Olaf / Xin / GP. They are all physical champions. Their damage is mitigated by your armor and as such your build order will reflect a way to survive their monstrous auto attacks and physical skills in order to popup MF and get your ult off tearing through the defenses of Garen / Olaf /Xin.

Here your build order will be:

1) Dorans Shiled + Health pot
2) Boots
3) Ghost blade
4) Boots -> Ninja Tabis (Or if they are a physical team with a lot of CC, get Merc treads thing AD Sion, Xin, etc..)
5) Randuin's Omen
6) GA
7) Sunfire
8) Vamp Scepter
9) Vamp -> BT

This will give you, if you got exhaust 3 HUGE slows, and a popup. The enemy team will have 0 mobility, and Randuin's + Exhaust + your popup will DESTROY a carry... no attack speed, blinded, and poped up that MF is doing NOTHING. The GA will be there to bring you back for a second ult if you happened to die, if you jump in, pop Battle cry and Ghost blade, once you die and revive your ult should be up again especially if it took you a while to die thanks to omen.
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VIII. vs. Magic Team

In the Scenario you get into a game and you notice the enemy team is magic heavy Vlad / Morgana / Amumu / Annie / Nunu. They cast a lot of spells but do A TONNE of damage doing so. Stacking 300+ Armor is not going to work vs this team unless you want to be shreaded like paper. Your popup's will disrupt people nunu's ult and your slow will keep these champions in place, but you will need a different build to survive their burst.

In this case, i would build:

1) Doran's Shield + Health Pot
2) Boots
3) Ghost blade
4) Boots -> Merc treads
5) Banshees Veild
6) Frozen Mallet
7) GA
8) Vamp Scepter
9) Vamp -> BT

This build will keep you alive vs any caster. You have a HUGE amount of MR thanks to Merc treads / GA / Natural MR / Ult (at lvl 3 its +50MR!). Now withoug Omen, you will need an item to slow your enemies with, here I choose Frozen Mallet to give you even more life.

Now, you will have close to 200MR (Base MR + Ult + Merc treads + GA) This will reduce any casters damage down to close to nothing, even Nunu's ult with Vlads ult. You will not die to a caster team even before you get GA.
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IX. vs. Balanced Team

Now the most common experience when getting into a game is running into a balanced team. You know has physical and magic damage Garen / MF / Vlad /Morg / Amumu. You know, that team that wont let you stack a single armor type in order to completely negate their damage? Well with Xin you have some very powerful tools to keeping you a live vs this type of team.

The build order looks something like this:

1) Doran's Shield + Heath Pot
2) Boots
3) Ghost blade
4) Boots -> Merc treads (Its easier to get armor than MR)
5) Randuin's Omen (You need a slow and this gives CDR, Health and armor)
6) Banshees Veild (MR and Life)
7) GA (Armor and MR and a second life)
8) Vamp Scepter
9) Vamp scepter -> BT

Now this is the most difficult team to deal with. They have a spread of damage so stacking one armor type will not make you invincible, luckily for us with a few item changes you will get a HUGE amount of armor / mr / life.

The biggest boon for Xin though vs a balanced team is that he gains both armor and MR naturally and his ultimate gives him +50 armor and MR at rank 3. This means that without any items Xin is naturally tanky. Giving you a TONNE of eHP without a single item.

A few items on Xin and some extra health and this champion dies very very slowly.
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X. Elixers

Now, Xin has a very special relationship with Elixers. These items can mean the different between an amazing Xin Zhao and one that is only mediocre. For 300g Xin can become an unstopable force if you pick the right elixer at the right time. A lot of champions pick a single elixer and that's all they need (ex. fiddle and blue pot, or gang plank and green pot). Xin Zhao uses all Elixers at different times for different things.

Red Pot: This potion gives Xin Damage and Health. This Elixer is most useful vs. a mage team. Xin Zhao's anti mage items give less HP than his anti Physical items. This leaves Xin at times with low survivability vs burst casters something you never want.

Right after getting your Ghostblade, you might want to get a red pot for the next team fight. The extra health it gives coupled with the MR granted from merc treads + base + Ult can keep you alive when you normally would of died. A couple hundred extra HP coupled with over 100MR can give you close to an extra 1000eHP incredibly useful for tanking spells during their most powerful period of the game, mid game.

As well, casters have low amounts of armor and due to your Apen you will be doing full damage to them, an extra 20+ damage can result in hundreds of extra damage when used in conjunction with Ghostblade and Battle Cry.

Green Pot: This potion gives Xin crit Chance and attack speed. Xin's skills and passive scales with attack speed, even this build partially focusing on Apen scales well with attack speed so this stat is not wasted on Xin Zhao. As well, due to his incredible attack speed, Xin can get A LOT of crit in a short period of time with a low crit chance just due to sheer number of attacks.

The green pot is most useful when you need to have more CC NOW. When the other team has MF / Nunu and their ults NEED to be stopped. Pop on a green pop and go crazy with your popup. If you need CC this is the item to get, more pop ups, more slows, and more CDR thanks to battle cry.

Green pot is a clutch pot, it can give you the pop ups you need to keep your team alive just long enough to win a team fight, and it can give you the CDR needed (thanks to battle cry) to get that ult off a second time just early enough to save teammates.

Blue Pot: This pot is the most situational pot for Xin Zhao, and has a few obvious effects. More CDR = more popups, more slows, more IAS (more battle cry), more ults (more CDR).

Now Blue pot thanks to its CDR can actually give you MORE IAS than a green pot when used AT THE RIGHT TIME. Used before you get a Randuin's Omen, blue pot will give you enough CDR that you can use Battle Cry enough to out IAS a green pot (if Battle Cry is level 3.)

This means that if used early enough, blue pot = green pot - the crits. Amazing I know.

Now the other benefit of blue pot is something that most people would not think of, but it increases the damage of Xin's Charge. Now why is this important? Well there are times when someone like malphite will stack 400+ Armor because your whole team is physical damage. Increasing the damage on Xin's Charge coupled with the increased attacks peed of blue pot can give you enough damage to kill someone stacking armor.

Since Charge is magic damage, someone with 30MR but 400armor will take close to 230 damage a charge, with enough attack speed you can be charging every 4 - 5s. While it will take a while as long as you are tanky vs their damage type you should win the battle.

Doesn't happen often, and is very situational, but if you need more magic damage look at the blue pot, it really can help in a clutch.
- - - - -
XI. Tactics

Now, Xin has a few interesting mechanics that I can talk about while using his skills that really can make you shine. I will list a few here at the end of the guide to get you thinking about what Xin can do.

Now, Xin's Q and E Combo is very powerful, a knock up and a slow. But sometimes in a dual lane the opponents partner can mess up your gank. Some champions such as morgana can get you killed with a bindings.

Now, how to stay alive during this situation while someone with a stun / snare is just waiting for it to come off CD to save their ally?

Pop your Three Talon strike (Q) and hit the player you want to kill twice, this will give them as much damage as possible, then turn and hit the third strike down on the player with the stun knocking them up. Right as you hit that third strike, Audacious Charge (E) into the gankee. They will be slowed and easy for being picked off as they took two his from your powered up auto attacks (Q's extra damage) and a full audacious charge. The Morg (or w/e) will be in the air and unable to save their ally.

As an added bonus, Knock ups mess up skill shots and when they land they might be shooting their skill shot in a completely wrong direction wasting their one chance to save their ally as they land.
- - - - -
XII. Conclusion

Xin Zhao has EMENSE damage even when built tanky. His Ultimate does a % of enemies life + damage, and with Apen (56) you are doing full or close to damage with that ult. Throw in your beefed up auto attacks (Q damage) and spammy CC (spammy CC and Slows) Xin makes an amazing tank (initiate with Q + R), anti carry (Three tallon that carry as much as possible), and pusher (Pop that rage blade + W and watch that tower fall).

This is my Tanky DPS Xin build, you can use it if you want, use part of it or just use some tactics that i've found such as blue pot, or switching targets for the pop up. Have fun owning it up... Hope to see you guys out there on the field of justice!

Insanious.


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Insanious

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09-14-2010

Reserved for when I get around to adding the jungling section


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Nightdancer ND

Senior Member

09-14-2010

Xin is VERY bad without attack speed. And the Ghostblade gives you only a short burst of attack speed.
You don't need lifesteal, because you heal yourself during attacks.

Berserkers
Sword of Divine
Phantom Dancer
Frozen Mallet


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Insanious

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09-14-2010

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nightdancer ND View Post
Xin is VERY bad without attack speed. And the Ghostblade gives you only a short burst of attack speed.
You don't need lifesteal, because you heal yourself during attacks.

Berserkers
Sword of Divine
Phantom Dancer
Frozen Mallet
W + Ghost blade + base = 2 attacks per second, what more do you need?

Not to mention you get a green elixer 90% of the time. Xin has a huge amoutn of Aspeed built in (W + high base + green elixer) using the W skill and your ghost blade put you WAY over the top for attack speed, you dont need any more.

Survivability = more attacks in a team fight, might not be as soon but over all more attacks

Not to mention, I would much rather have merc treads or tabis over zerkers just due to getting dodge or cd reduction

Phantom Dancer is very expensive for gaining no damage. You get some crit and attacks peed but i can get a similar buff through the green pot for 300g

Frozen Mallet is a situational item IMHO, you don't need it vs non mobile enemies. Get a Randuin's Omen or even just nothing depending on your attack speed and CDR...

Yes, your build is better 1v1 out in the open shure, but when does that ever happen? Mine is for a burst or death during a team fight. 2x ults, a tonne of popups and slows during the team fight so you can ace them.

You don't need to have your ult up all the time 1v1, it helps shure, but landing that ult on 3 - 5 champs is a tonne better than just 1 and thats what the speed boost from ghost blade + cdr + attack speed buff + omens debuff is for.

IMHO.


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Stillhart

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Senior Member

09-14-2010

Nice guide, thanks. Looking forward to trying some of this!


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Lorifel

Senior Member

09-15-2010

What do you think about Aegis? Personaly I find it a cheap (Randuin's + Banshee's)/2 solution. I prefer to see heavy tanky items on our main tank and an Aegis on off-tank (Xin). Not having Aegis buff on your team is a waste IMO.


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Lightwrks

Senior Member

09-15-2010

Very well written, and put together well. I'd suggest leveling E - W - Q though. E gains so much more than Q when you level it up. AoE slow is nothing to ignore. Just a thought. Super easy to last hit several creeps with too.


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Insanious

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09-15-2010

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lorifel View Post
What do you think about Aegis? Personaly I find it a cheap (Randuin's + Banshee's)/2 solution. I prefer to see heavy tanky items on our main tank and an Aegis on off-tank (Xin). Not having Aegis buff on your team is a waste IMO.
I like getting aegis as well, been experimenting with it. During a balanced enemy team situation where I go:

- Shield
- Ghost blade
- lvl 2 boots
- Aegis
- GA

for armor and MR, seems to be working very well, will play some more games first and see how i like it vs what i was doing before.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Lightwrks View Post
Very well written, and put together well. I'd suggest leveling E - W - Q though. E gains so much more than Q when you level it up. AoE slow is nothing to ignore. Just a thought. Super easy to last hit several creeps with too.
Like getting Q over E for a few reasons:

1) Leveling Q gives you more damage (+75) a hit at lvl 5 (thats +225 Dmg btw, 5 less than full level E and Q gets your base AD as well, so its close to 750dmg over all but i dont really count the AD), and gives you a hard CC (a knock up, interrupts spells, keeps people in place)

2) The mana cost doesn't go up, so you can spam it A LOT more than E, it can be constantly on

3) It has a lower cool down than E, so it can be spammed more and as such more DPS, and more CC

4) Q hits even if blinded. So leveling Q = Base damage + 225 and a popup, vs just 230damage when blinded. A lot stronger.

Q Is Xin's most powerful ability don't think other wise. Charge is nice for mobility, but that's all it is, to get you to a target and slow them so you can land Q.


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Quantized

Member

09-23-2010

I think it's worth considering leveling E hard in some games, especially if you're getting a lot of lane time.

Max E > Creep wave. And Q provides the same hard disable at level 1 as it does at 5.

Not to take away from Q, I love it.

However I feel skills are very situation dependant, most games I max Q and E after 1-2 levels of W and make attack speed items. (Consider Starks if your team is melee heavy, even though you don't really need LS till late game)


Also good guide Nice to see people thinking about items other than IE/Pdancer etc.


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Carados

Senior Member

09-23-2010

Why the hell are you leveling the E last, and the Q first?


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