IntroductionFirst off, turn on this music.
Welcome to my second version of guide to Xin Zhao, the manliest champion in the game. Because English is my second language, there may be minor grammar mistakes and odd writting style.
Xin Zhao is a tanky DPS assassin who excels at chasing down single target while being able to soak up a lot of damage. Due to W which allows him to lower the cooldowns on other abilities, he is a devastating 1v1 fighter and can chain-CC single target if not interrupted. That being said, if given enough farm (and hopefully unskilled enemy team with no brains to counter-CC him), he can carry a game by himself.
Here are my credits :
He was considered a bad pick in high ELO even back then, but I managed to climb up to 2300 ELO by locking in Xin everyday. I once was 22th ranked in NA solo queue ladder.
I don't play him as much as I used to after nerf but this should be enough to confirm that I still perform decently in high ELO as Xin. Sorry but I couldn't help but to instalock Udyr for free ELO :(
Pros & Cons
One of the strongest pre-Lv 6 gankers
Decent sustainability from passive
Flexible jungle route
Strong team fight presence
No effective way to stop the enemy from chasing you(you’re gonna E at enemy chasing you to take 2~3 more hits and possibly get CC’d while slowing them by like 30%? I won’t)
Bad scailing with items due to having no ratios
Outshadowed in almost every area(maybe except for his exceptional early game gank) by other tanky DPS junglers
The biggest problem of his skillset is that it is EXTREMELY hard to play him 'safely', which is essential in high level play. That's why you never see Xin in competitive plays. You are the worst runner in game(pretty much every champion has at least one CC or escape that can be used for escape while Xin has nothing) with no effective way to bushcheck or gain a sight etc, meaning that even making the smallest mistake can kill you while other champions are provided with at least one ‘get out of the fail’ card to avoid unnecessary death.
He used to have stronger upright fighting potential and an ability to snowball out of control to compensate his cons. However, after multiple unjustified nerfs, I feel he is a bit too weak to compete against other junglers with much better consistency throughout the whole game or special niche that makes them the best choice in certain situations.
Due to above reasons, I recommend you to play him not for winning games, but for fun or whatever other reasons. He is still fun to play and crushes unorganized teams like a boss. It's just that there are other choices who do his job better.
After mastery changes, I concentrate on offense tree because IMO Xin does not benefit as much as other champions from defense tree. 21/9/0 setup will allow you to jungle faster and perform even MORE deadly ganks while giving you proper amount of defensive stats.
The reason why I get 18 arpen is because with mastery you can deal pretty much true damage to buff minions. 25 arpen setting is good too, but then you will have trouble sustaining yourself in early game which is crucial for Xin to be succesful in early game.
Arpen for Mark : You may swap some with Aspd if you find yourself unable to jungle or don’t have Aspd quint.
Flat armor for Seal : self-explanatory.
MR/Lvl for Glyph : With this Glyph, Mercury’s Tread and base MR your MR should be over 100. Damn sweet.
2 Aspd and 1 Arpen for Quints : 2 Aspd for speed and sustainability in jungle, 1 Arpen for having total 24 Arpen. As mentioned in Mark, you may swap Aspd with Arpen if you don’t have Aspd quint.
Basically I'm trying to get as much as arpen possible while grabbing some tankiness and attack speed to keep myself sustained in jungle.
Passive: Tireless Warrior
Xin Zhao is healed for 30 points for every 3 attacks that he lands. This amount increases by 5 every 2 levels.
Yay free health every third attacks! This helps you sustain yourself in both lane and jungle. Also, it works on turrets.
Q: Three Talon Strike
Xin Zhao prepares to unleash a fearsome combo, causing his next 3 standard attacks to deal his attack damage + 15 / 30 / 45 / 60 / 75 to enemy targets, with the final attack knocking his opponent into the air.
Your bread and butter. This resets autoattack timer so use it right after AAing your opponent. Having Knockup is always appreciated and extra damage helps too.
W: Battle Cry
Passive: Increases Xin Zhao's attack speed by 20/25/30/35/40%.
Active: Xin Zhao unleashes a battle cry, increasing his attack speed by double the passive amount for 5 seconds, and causing his standard attacks to reduce all other ability cooldowns by 1 second.
Cooldown 24/22/20/18/16 seconds
Cost 35 mana
Combined with passive it significantly boosts your sustainability and camp clearing speed in jungle. Keep in mind that the active on-hit cooldown reduction doesn’t affect your Q if its damage modifier effect is still remaining. It’s smart to use active right after knockup.
E: Audacious Charge
Xin Zhao charges an enemy unit, dealing 70 / 110 / 150 / 190 / 230 (+40% of ability power) damage to all nearby enemies and slowing them by 20 / 25 / 30 / 35 / 40% for 1.7 seconds.
Gap closer with slow. Use it to chase down opponent or farm minion group. Sometimes you can use it as an escape by charging onto a minion on your escape route, but don’t count on it as chances are very low.
R: Crescent Sweep
Xin Zhao unleashes a fierce spear sweep on targets around him, dealing 125 / 225 / 325 + 15% of their current health in physical damage. His magic resistance and armor are increased by 25 (+5/8/11 Armor and Magic Resist for each champion hit) for the next 6 seconds.
Cooldown 75 seconds
Cost 100 mana
Nice AoE burst damage with armor/MR increase. It’s GENERALLLY better to use this fast as its damage is based on the enemy’s current health. The ability to use this skill correctly seperates good Xin from mediocre one. Try to hit as many enemies as possible because the more enemies you hit, the tankier you become. Hit all 5 of ‘em and you will feel like a Rammus with W on.
Skill OrderIf level 1 team fight happens or you are going to level 2 gank, grab Q first. Otherwise, get W. There is not much speed difference, but you will proc passive more often with W. Make sure you have all abilities up until level 3.
R > E > W > Q after then. You can give few points into W before maxing E if you like(that's what I do occasionally).
Item BuildsMy item build concentrates on having relevant arpen(especially for strong ultimate burst), attack speed and little bit of AD to be a threat to enemy while maintaining some tankiness to withstand enemy focus. Theoretically it's better for Xin to prioritize health over armor or MR since his ultimate grants him enough of them when used right, making Warmog much more viable. However if you are not fed enough you would be stuck doing nothing for entire game while building up Atmog.
Triforce is viable choice, but without shittons of farm in solo lane or triple kill in early game you would be not tanky enough by the time your triforce is made and be crushed into dust even before using your hardly-made triforce. Not to mention your ulti will be very weak as you have no arpen.
Early GameXin is decent Level 1 fighter as his base stats are one of the better ones and AA combined with TTS is really huge pain to enemy. If you must, you can have E as well but it will make your jungle significantly slower.
The routes I normally take are :
- Wolves -> Blue(smite) -> Small Wolves -> Wraiths -> Red(smite) -> (gank) -> Golems -> (gank)
- Wraiths(ask allies to hit them few times) -> Red(smite) -> (gank) -> Golems -> Wraiths -> (gank) -> Wolves -> (gank) -> Blue(smite) -> (gank)
Xin is versatile when it comes to setting jungle route with different rune setups so make your own with your own style. If you like to play safe(which I don't recommend in solo queue) AFK farm in jungle for Level 5 or 6.
Xin SUCKS at counterjungling. He has zero mobility and you are guaranteed to die as soon as you're caught. Don't do it unless in some specific cases.
Ganks are not prerequisite, but do it if you see an opportunity. Xin can severely punish enemy aggresive laner.
As jungle Xin, you should focus on ganking as your pre-Lv 6 gank is unrivaled. Delayed knockup + Gap closer + Slow = free kill if enemy extends just a little bit. Enemy used Flash? You use Flash too and laugh at them as they are launched into the air and donate you +400 gold. Remember, you are not Nocturne, Warwick or Amumu who tend to fall off pre-lvl 6 but become true terror with ultimate past lvl 6. Xin’s true power lies in his amazing early game gank and you can potentially snowball from there to be unstoppable afterwards. Failed to get any kills? Doesn’t matter. You must’ve ripped off summoner spells at least, giving huge advantage to your team’s solos.
Mid GameAs early game ends you should buy few wards to control dragon. Bringing a vision ward helps lot.
You may grab an Oracle if you want. But since Xin’s chance of dying is very high, only do it if you are sure it will be worth it.
In team fight, there are not much tricks you can use as Xin. You just have to pick the right time to charge in with E followed by RQW. Pretty straight forward. You may wait until tank initiates or you can initiate the fight, but don’t do it unless you can hit more than 4 of them with ulti else you will instamelt for nothing.
Your primary target should be AD or AP carry. Killing them is the best scenario, but you would normally end up just making them retreat. That’s fine enough. Zone enemy damage dealers out of fight and when there’s a chance go for kill.
Once you leeroy into the fight you would likely die unless you flash out. Try to do as much damage as possible before you die.
Late GameAt this point you should be focused on controlling Baron. Let supports have an Oracle(as mentioned, your chance of dying is HIGH.), and get yourself a few sight wards. At this stage of the game, the presence of AD carries can win or lose you a fight as they are the biggest powerhouse by then. Your job is still the same as explained in mid game, but prioritize AD carry.
Final CommentsEven though he is currently considered one of the weakest picks, he is still very fun and ideal for beginners who want to learn jungling as his kits are very straight forward and allow you to stay very healthy unless you screw something up really badly.
Also, you must watch this video 3 times every day to master Xin Zhao.
(WARNING : Contains ZERKER GREAVES and PHANTOM DANCER. DONT TRY THIS IN HOME KIDS!)