League of Legends

Xin Zhao could use some moderate buffs

LeagueofLegends13 - Xin Zhao could use some moderate buffs

Over the past few months there have been a number of posts here on how Xin feels weak and bad. How he's a forgotten champ. According to most data sites he has around a 2% pickrate and a 48% winrate at all elos (even at lower elos where he's supposed to dominate as a 'braindead' champ). And it's been like this ever since the end of Season 9.

This post is a list of potential buffs I've theorized to hopefully smooth out his gameplay and make him slightly more in tune with his fantasy as a damage dealing spear wielding duelist who stands against the odds.

I peaked gold so I'm in no way trying to pass off my ideas as objectively correct, but statistically most Xin players seem to be in silver and gold so hopefully my suggestions resonate with his playerbase. Keep in mind that this is a list of individual buffs- as in I'll be very happy if Riot decides to do just one of these, but definitely not all at once. That would be release Xin all over again.


1. Revert the passive nerf

For those unaware, Xin was a really strong jungler during Seasons 8-9, also known as the scuttle meta. This was when scuttle timers were really early and strong level 2 junglers dominated. This was also when Runes Reforged came out, the current rune system. Midway through this meta Riot nerfed Xin's passive damage (at lvl 16) from 80% AD to 45%AD with
Patch 8 - Xin Zhao could use some moderate buffs

zero compensation. Their justification was Xin Zhao absuing the at the time new PtA, a rune Xin Zhao almost never takes now.
  • This gutted his late game power, limited as it was. Reverting this would be a big buff to Xin Zhao's dueling and splitting past 20 minutes. It's probably the biggest buff on this list, numbers wise.

2. Change the W

His new W with his mini rework was pointed out as quite similar to Rengar's reworked Q, a slash and stab that felt terrible to use on Rengar. No surprise, it feels just as bad on Xin. As an AA based duelist, an ability that self roots is incredibly clunky. Rather than numbers buff to the W which was Xin's most recent buff in patch 10.18, I would remove the first part of the W, the slash, and keep only the stab.

  • This will cut the cast time, while still keeping the spear thematic in Xin's kit while making the ability overall more fluid and better at both kiting and chasing. This will hurt Xin's clear, since his W currently applies stacks of his passive, and lets him do multicamps, but this is easily fixed by lowering the cooldown of this new W, increasing the base damage, or having it give two passive stacks on the stab.

3. Buff the base stats

These are simple, easily implemented, and probably what Riot will most likely do if they actually buff Xin in the future.

  • Buffing his MR by 2 would make him better midlane as an existing counterpick

  • Alternatively buffing his base MS by 5 would be an incredible buff all around, for any position, but it would likely have the most impact for jungle and mid.

  • Alternatively buffing his base armor and his base health would probably have the most impact toplane, where Xin Zhao has historically gone other than jungle (Though it would be very nice for jungle too).

4. Buff the range on his Q

Don't get me wrong- I think Xin's Q is fine as it is. It's the one ability that has defined his strength as an early game jungler- not many champions can get access to a knockup as early as level 1, and it's early base damage is functionally an insane AD steroid for 3 autos.

  • However, unlike most auto attack enhancers, Xin's Q does not give increased range. This is likely because Xin Zhao is already on the upper end when it comes to auto range as a melee champ. Still, giving the ability 25 range would be a nice QoL buff while not being completely busted. It would make Xin slightly better at kiting camps, trading in lane, etc, as well as make it slightly easier to land all three autos for the knockup.

5. Up the base damage on E/ Change E's scaling to AD instead of AP

  • Riot already killed AP Xin, so might as well remove this useless AP scaling. Other divers with similar abilities (Wukong and Camille namely) have either higher base damage on their dashes or higher attackspeed scaling.

6. Give back the innate armor pen passive

  • Xin used to have 15 percent armor pen on whoever he was autoattacking. They removed this with his mini rework, but considering Xin's sad state right now I don't think it would be out of line to give it back. Pantheon was buffed for less.

7. Increase the ultimate damage

Thematically Xin's ulti is great. I wouldn't mind better particles on it (rather than the transparent circle it is now) but immunity to damage outside a radius is uniquely Xin. However it's almost useless in a 1v1 nine out of ten times. It's base damage is pretty low and 15% current hp is garbage. Xin's ult is best used situationally to block specific abilities or as a finisher when chasing someone down since it's range is longer than Xin's auto range, and in both scenarios 15% current hp is the opposite kind of scaling you want.

  • Changing the 15% current to 15% missing would make it a better dueling tool, whereas making it 5-8% max would make it a good engage tool.

8. Increase the utility of the ult

  • Lower the range of the ult radius by 25 or 50. With how big the circle is currently, Xin can get kited by an Adc standing inside his own ult, just on the edge.

  • Alternatively, remove the 0.35s cast time on the invulnerability. Play enough Xin and you'll realize you get killed during the sweeping animation of Xin's ult more often than not. This is because Xin's invulnerability only comes after the knockback animation. Lowering or detaching invulnerability from this cast time would make his ulti more reliable as a defense tool on a diver with very limited defense tools compared to other divers.

  • Another way to buff ult would be to add a small slow- say 20% – to enemy champions re-entering the circle for a second. It would make the ability feel and look more satisfying to use as it would drastically slow down the pace of a teamfight for a brief second. Thematically, Xin's immune to all ranged damage in his ult because he's either knocking away projectiles directly, or with the wind from swinging his spear so dang hard (
    As seen in his splash art ). His ult already has some wind particles so adding a tiny slow feels appropriate, as if the wind from Xin's spear was pushing back the enemy.


And that's it. All these suggestions are largely aimed at making Xin's power curve slightly less exponentially negative while maintaining his existing identity as an aggressive early game diver who does fall off.

I don't expect any of these requests to come to fruition, but hopefully this post along with the others recently will bring some much needed attention to this spear wielding badass raised by three nations, who decided to spend his retirement simping for Jarvan IV while Jarvan simps for Shyvana (though be honest, who wouldn't?).

Peace, and good luck in your climb!

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