Xin Zhao received slight buffs at the end of Season 10 which did not change his play rate. Now in League of Legends patch 11.6, Riot went all out to buff AD and AP Xin Zhao, and opened up a new hybrid build path as well.

In his traditional AD brawler role, Riot is “is giving him tools to extend combos and initiate duels”.

AD Xin Zhao

Warring Kingdoms Xin Zhao
Credit: Riot Games

Passive – Determination

  • Heal reduced from 10-112 (levels 1-18) to 7-92 (levels 1-18)

Q – Three Talon Strike

  • Bonus base damage reduced from 20/28/36/44/52 to 16/25/34/43/52

W – Wind Becomes Lightning

  • Cooldown decreased from 12/11/10/9/8 to 12/10.5/9/7.5/6 seconds
  • Cost decreased from 45 mana to 60 mana
  • Reduced damage to minions adjusted from 50% to 50%-0% (levels 1-16)
  • Slash cast time adjusted from 0.5-0.4 seconds (based on attack speed) to 0.5 seconds
  • (New) Thrust damage modifier: Thrust’s damage now increases by up to 33% based on critical strike chance
  • Thrust range decreased from 900 to 1000
  • Thrust missile speed increased from 5000 to 6250
  • (New) A new challenger approaches: Thrust now Challenges enemy champions and monsters and reveals them for 3 seconds

E – Audacious Charge

  • (New) Not much of a challenge: Audacious Charge’s cast range increases to 1100 on Challenged enemies

By reducing the healing from his passive and base damage from Q, Riot shifted the power of AD Xin Zhao to his W, Wind Becomes Lightning. Key changes include a significant reduction of mana cost, and the addition of a new Thrust mechanic.

The fact that Thrust’s damage increases with critical strike chance is massive. Most attack speed AD items include critical strike chance, and Xin Zhao will now be getting more value from them. Not to mention, its missile speed went up by 1250, and reveals (potentially invisible) targets for three seconds.

AP Xin Zhao

Secret Agent Xin Zhao
Credit: Riot Games

Passive – Determination

  • Heal AP ratio increased from 40% to 55% AP

W – Wind Becomes Lightning

  • (New) Thrust damage ratio: 50% AP

R – Crescent Guard

  • (New) Damage ratio adjusted from 100% AD to 100% AD, 110% AP

With these changes, Riot wants to bring AP Xin back into the foreground. Once a cheese build, the fact that W now has an AP ratio attached, and his heal from Determination went up by 15%, does make his AP build path more attractive.

Hybrid Xin Zhao

Marauder Xin Zhao
Credit: Riot Games

Putting the AD and AP changes together, hybrid Xin may outweigh and out damage the first two builds. More testing will be required.

Similar to Kayle, Nahsor’s Tooth is a likely core, alongside Riftmaker. Other viable items include Guinsoo’s Rageblade, Triforce, and Lichbane. Most of these items also grant bonus movement speed, which tremendously helps Xin Zhao close the gap with his foes.

Read the full patch 11.6 patch notes here.

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