Xin Zhao Build Guide

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X to the Z, Ghostblade Tank Build 1.1

written by skywizardjesus

Xin Zhao Build

Table of Contents

  • Edits

    6.22.11 v1.1 - Added some color, an Edit, and TL:DR section per comment request.

  • Introduction

    Hello, my Summoner name is SkyWizardJesus and I'm going to give you sage advice on how to probe your enemies weak points with X to the Z. This is my first guide, so if it blows I apologize in advance. I've played about 2,000 games in LoL, I'm somewhat bored at the moment so I figured why not make a guide as it might help somebody out or perhaps entice someone into trying something out. Hopefully it has value for some of you and you'll see how potent and gamebreaking a solid Xin player can be.

    Xin is, in my opinion, the best designed champion in LoL. All of his abilities are fun, balanced, good risk/reward, synergetic, and valuable. He's neither OP or UP, he's right in the middle and either does well or poorly depending on you. I play Xin tanky, as I feel it brings the most value to the team. If you want a glass cannon dpser pick someone else. Xin's moveset is designed around being tanky and staying throughout the duration of team fights to cause as much disruption as possible while doing sustained damage.

    A theme in this guide should be that there is no cookie cutter way to play Xin. This holds true with most champions, as most of the responsibility of success relies on you the player. Xin has a core set of items, runes, masteries that I use but that doesn't mean it's the only way. I've had success utilizing many different builds with Xin but I'll keep the scope of this guide to one solid, well-rounded built that is generally consistent ownage. That build is the Ghostblade Tank build. Enjoy the guide!

  • Abilities

    [spell=Tireless Warrior]
    Xin Zhao is healed for 30-70 hit points for every 3 attacks that he lands. This amount increases by 5 every 2 levels.

    Solid passive. Nothing gamebreaking but it will keep you going longer and deeper in every aspect of the game. Works very well with Xin's theme and is built around to a degree.

    Three Talon Strike
    10 second cooldown
    Xin Zhao prepares to unleash a fearsome combo, causing his next 3 standard attacks to do his attack damage + 15/30/45/60/75 to enemy targets, with the final attack knocking his opponent into the air.

    Great ability that's very useful not for it's damage, but for the knock-up utility. I only put one point into this early as the extra damage isn't as valuable as the extra slow from Audacious Charge.

    In team fights this plays a large role as it interrupts channels from Malz, WW, Nunu, and Kat while also keeping a threat in control while your team destroys them.

    Battle Cry
    Cooldown: 24 22 20 18 16
    Passive: Increases Xin Zhao's attack speed by 15/20/25/30/35%

    Active: Xin Zhao unleashes a battle cry, increasing his attack speed by double the passive amount by 5 seconds, and causing his standard attacks to reduce all other ability cooldowns by 1 second.

    Activating this ability removes the passive bonus until this ability refreshes.

    Bread and butter of Xin Zhao. This ability isn't flashy, but the CDR generated by this active is what makes Xin such a beast in team fights. With a few CDR items you'll ideally get multiple AC and TTS uses. The AS boost will also cap you out with the Youmuu's Ghostblade use effect.

    Audacious Charge
    Cooldown: 16 15 14 13 12
    Xin Zhao charges an enemy unit, dealing 70/110/150/190/230 (+40% ability power) damage to all nearby enemies and slowing them 20/25/30/35/40% for 1.7 seconds.

    Amazing ability. This is what I prioritize behind Crescent Sweep. AC will get you kills, period. Many think that TTS is the killer, but in fact it's the increased slow that AC brings, which in turn guarantees the knock-up from TTS, and allows for more hits while in range.

    Crescent Sweep
    75 second cooldown
    Xin Zhao unleashes a fierce spear sweep on targets around him, dealing 125/250/375 + 20% of their current health in physical damage. For 6 seconds, his Magic Resistance and Armor are increased by 25 plus 7/10/13 for each champion hit.

    Amazing ultimate. Instant, percentage based damage spell that is the perfect initiator to a fight. Once successfully cast, Xin becomes a one man wrecking crew that about as beefy as they come.

  • Summoner Abilities

    What I use:
    Self explanatory pick here as I support jungling Xin.
    Ghost makes his ganking ridiculous, gets him to every skirmish, and helps close on stragglers.

    If not jungling:
    Probably what I would take if I were laning. I love Exhaust, and it has loads of synergy with Xin.
    Flash is fine, it's the best Summoner Spell in the game. I don't select it on Xin but it's fine.
    Another solid spell that I don't choose for Xin. He doesn't really need it to be honest.

    Everyting else that doesn't compare to the above:
    [spell_icon=Fortify] No
    [spell_icon=Rally] No

  • Runes

    3x Greater Quintessence of Alacrity
    9x Greater Mark of Alacrity
    9x Greater Seal of Resilience
    9x Greater Glyph of Warding

    I repeat Xin can be built in various ways. Many prefer Armor Pen reds, more health, more AS, more CDR, etc. Whatever. Basically the AS runes help jungle, gank, farm, and proc the passive and I chose defensive yellows and blues because I play tanky. A dead Xin is a worthless Xin.

  • Masteries

    Sorry for not embedding a picture, I didn't feel like using a image hosting site to have it disappear later.

    This mastery set-up is for jungling, which in my opinion you should be doing with Xin as his ganking potential is as good as it gets. Standard AS and CDR talents taken with a bit of DPS, nothing special here. Xin isn't the top jungler in the game so be wary of a WW, Nunu, Mumu, Shaco, Eve, etc. hunting you and be ready to pop Ghost if needed.

  • Skill Order

    Skill Order:

    I prioritize Audacious Charge over Three Talon Strike because of it's ability to seal kills. Sure you'll get a bit more damage from TTS but it's pointless if you can't keep them slowed long enough to kill them. Leveling AC keeps them closer longer, which means more hits, a guaranteed knock-up, and a likely kill. In the jungle I don't notice much of a differnce. TTS hit big targets harder, but AC does great AoE damage to packs. Apples and Oranges in the jungle really.

    You can prioritize TTS for the extra burst if maybe you're laning with another cc champion. If not though, I feel that rank 1 Audacious Charge slow won't be adequate to keep your target in range to seal the kill.

  • Items Building (Core and Situational)


    Randuin's really is Xin's core all by itself. The item is insane and provides everything Xin wants. Every item you build from here is based off of the enemy team. That being said I recommend not deviating from anything listed below. The below items are all Xin ever needs, period. Going outside of the items listed in this section below is inefficient and not ideal.

    Core for 90% of games:

    This is the standard build against most teams. Solid on all fronts. Good damage, good survivability, good CDR, team Armor debuff in BC, AoE slow use with Randuin's, and finisher use with Ghostblade.

    You won't get all four of these items in most games but it's your goal, grab pieces here and there and complete them when you can. Typically you complete two of these items (Randuin's and a DPS) and the game will end while you're halfway complete with the other two. If you do however get to this point Xin will be a monster in team fights and should be able to carry your team to victory. The only caveat that is acceptable here is if your team is owning early, you're getting super fed, and the enemy lacks the AP burst switching out a Banshee's for a Guardian Angel wins.

    [item_icon=Stark's Fervor][item_icon=Force of Nature]

    Pretty self explanatory here. These are counter/support items that are solid and demand presence when the time is right.

    Building Your Items:
    I wanted to take a moment and discuss the process of building your items on Xin, and many other champions for that matter. Xin is very flexible and is to be built according to the current situation. He's not very item dependant, but can shine with the right items. You don't have to per say 'rush' any particular item. I often spend my first 3k gold or so on 4-5 different items. Don't feel that you need to pay the premium to complete a Ghostblade, Banshee's, or Randuin's early when you feel lacking in other areas. This is a big mistake that I think people hurt themselves with often.

    Here's a list of all the cheap starter items that can be further built upon in Xin's normal bullpen of items for 90% of games, notice that eight of them are less than 500 gold:

    So, from this list don't be afraid to grab a little bit of everything before saving up for a big ticket item.

    I'm not a fan of saving up for xxx gold then going back to buy exactly that item. League of Legends is such a fluid, dynamic game that it's difficult to save for a certain gold point and go back every game, this is especially true if you're roaming/jungling. I play with whatever the game gives me. If a gank presents itself I go for it, if not I farm. I don't tend to go back much at all early unless we just finished a gank and I'm either low or full of gold and can get a quick jump on my enemy. Regardless, from the list above it's not hard to fill up your items pretty quickly with whatever best suits you against your enemy.

  • To Wriggle's or Not ?

    Builds from Cloth Armor, perfect for jungler champions, free Sight Ward, all good things.

    So why not buy one?

    I, personally, don't prefer it on Xin. Yes I get it on WW, Udyr, Yi and most every other AD jungler I play. That being said I just don't think it's necessary and that the gold could be better spent building your core. It can be sold later sure, but it's not like Xin sits in a lane and farms all game. The majority of my gold often comes from kills/assists. And when trying one out I've never felt that big of a difference to push me over the edge into buying it every game. I'm already building a Randuin's Omen, so I feel the synergy between this and Wriggle's isn't very efficient when I could be supplementing other aspects of my build.

    The benefits that Wriggle's brings are Armor, Lifesteal, free wards, and insta-kill creep procs. Randuin's covers the Armor, Randuin's brings Hp5 which is enough to keep me topped off always, and honestly I don't feel Xin needs the proc. His damage isn't so bad that he needs help killing creeps and I try to gather a group for dragon. Probably the best benefit of Wriggle's is the free ward. I don't enjoy giving up free wards but I'm so used to just buying them on every champion anyway that I don't feel too horrible about it here. Everytime you go to shop you should be picking up a ward or two regardless of who you're playing. I think this habit alone has helped get me off the juice that is free Wriggle's wards.

    It's your game so you can get it if you'd like. Call me crazy if you wamt. I do value Wriggle's very much in this game, just not with this build. I don't recommend it with this particular guide, perhaps in a more DPS-oriented build you'll enjoy it very much.

  • Early Game

    Early Game
    Here you're just jungling. Take whatever path you'd like. This guide isn't about how to jungle, as I'm sure you all know what you're doing. Ideally I'll start at Blue Buff but if it's heavy or they're trying to gank I'll start at Golems or Wraiths. Whatever you're comfortable with.

    I must say that it's not at all a bad idea to go for a level 2 gank early. Xin's E->Q is more than enough to set-up a solid gank. Add Ghost to the mix and we're really talking. With everything popped I'd say we get a first blood successful gank off probably 50% of the time. If it works awesome! If not you at least got them to pop a Flash or other Summoner Spell, and hopefully they have to go back as well.

    Keep farming it up and grab whatever you need according to your enemy, and start warding. Dragon is #1 warding priority early.

  • Mid Game

    Mid Game
    Once you're level six you should be doing some heavy ganking while maintaining buff control and dragon. It takes a minute to solo dragon so don't try unless you're feeling really safe and have at least blue buff or are incredibly fed. Ideally in any game dragon is a team effort so just keep it warded as well as inlets to your jungle to protect your team from enemy ganks.

    Xin really shines mid-game, so take advantage of it. Be sure to punish any players that overextend or try and set-up a gank with a teammate that synergizes with you well. Ashe, Sion, Blitz, Vayne, Ryze, Malzahar, Jarvan, or any champ with some sort of cc is typical a gimmie. Do it hard, do it often.

    Also, this is when you can help push. Xin is great at taking down turrets with his W, so look to push the lane after a nice gank.

    Keep warding.

  • Late Game

    Late Game
    Xin must be at every team fight, period. You're not exactly Tryndamere, but with this tanky build you're very capable of carrying your team.

    Feel free to take control of the team and lead them through jungle looking for ganks. Get your team together and make sure your lanes are all pushed as far as safety permits, control all the jungle buffs, Dragon, and look to take Baron. If you make it to late game Baron buff is gamebreaking, so make sure it's warded well and make it a priority to grab it if the opportunity arises.

    In team fights you're going to get focused, you want this as it's better you than your Mage or AD Carry, so make sure you get a pro Ult off or you're probably going to last all of 2 seconds. Be sure to pop Randuin's and start knocking up any channeled ults and/or threats on the enemy team. Burning the Ghostblade use effect is always a discretionary decision. Sometimes it's great early if you know your team has a solid advantage and you can grab some quick kills, otherwise it's maybe best in a long fight with much kiting, then of course it's always pro and chasing down and getting in range of stragglers to pull of an AC combo and seal the Ace.

    Late Game, assuming your team didn't feed, really comes down to execution. A team could be owning all game and then lose that one Ace at the end resulting in a round defeat. You cannot get caught out of position, and your team must not overextend. If you do your job by soaking up some damage and get after their carries all should go well. Xin is an intimidating champion so make sure to play like it. If your team plays scared you probably will lose. You have to own the mental space in this game as well.

  • Pros / Cons

    Superior Ganking Ability
    Awesome 1v1 Champion
    Great Early Game, Great Mid Game, Solid Late Game

    No Escape Ability
    Bad Against Hard CC
    Takes a Lot of Damage

  • Wards / Oracles

    Ward Ward Ward!!!

    [item_icon=Oracle's Elixir]

    You're jungling, so guess what? You're warding too. Granted everyone should ward, but 99% of LoL players don't as they're too busy building their glass cannon items so this unfortunately falls to you. What I've found with wards is that as frustrating as it is, even if you're the only one warded you're going to win more than if you don't. So just do it, okay? Who knows, maybe your good habit will trickle down to others.

    Ward Dragon, ward jungle inlets, ward Baron, ward Ward WARD!

    Seriously, just do it.

    As for Oracle's Elixir, I wouldn't recommend Xin to get it as if anyone dies it'll likely be you. That being said you still might have neckbearded, glass cannon teammates that refuse so you might as well once you get tanky enough. Also, if your jungle gets warded to hell and back you're going to have to just so you can farm.

  • TL:DR

    I've played a lot of LoL so this guide isn't from a baddie. It's tanky and flexible.

    X to the Z:
    Xin is possibly the best designed champ in the game with highly synergetic abilities.

    Summoner Spells:
    Smite/Ghost if jungling
    Exhuast OR Ignite OR Flash/Ghost if laning

    AS and Tanky

    21/0/9 DPS

    Skilling Order:
    REWQ Priority

    Item Builds:
    Randuin's is the heart of Xin, other than that it's very flexible.

    Wriggle's or Not?:
    I don't, you can if you'd like.

    Early Game:
    Gank early with Ghost, ward dragon.

    Mid Game:
    Gank a lot, keep warded, control buffs/dragon.

    Late Game:
    Lead your team, control the map, get baron.


  • Summary

    So there you have it, my Ghostblade Tank 1.0 Xin guide. I hope you've enjoyed it. Please keep in mind again that Xin Zhao can be successful utilizing a number of different builds. The Ghostblade Tank build is very well-rounded and very consistent in it's performance. Maybe I'll do other Xin guide that focus more on AS or complete tank builds. If you have any thoughts feel free to comment and I'll try to get back to you when I can. I'd like to keep up with this guide and edit it as needed, so we'll see.

    Thanks for your time, happy hunting summoner.

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