Xin Zhao has never been the most popular champion in League of Legends. But once upon a time, AP Xin Zhao rose and ruled Summoner’s Rift for a couple of patches.

And in season 13, AP Xin Zhao is still a bombastic playstyle that allows you to carry games while having tons of fun!

AP Xin Zhao is an extremely durable bruiser build. It takes advantage of Xin’s high AP ratios and allows you to deal massive damage while healing yourself all day long.

A few items and runes make this a super-strong build in season 13, so you should definitely give it a chance.

This post will be a dedicated guide on how AP Xin Zhao works in LoL and how you should play him. I’ll also explain to you which items you’ll need to buy as well as which runes you’ll need to take.

So, if you’re ready to give AP Xin a chance, let’s dive deep and learn everything there is to know!

Is Xhin Zhao AP or AD in LoL?

Xin Zhao's W - Wind Becomes Lightning

Xin Zhao is primarily an AD melee champion in League of Legends. Most of his abilities deal physical damage and have AD ratios, so most players build Xin Zhao with AD fighter items.

However, Xin also has high AP ratios on his passive, W, E, and R, allowing him to have an off-meta AP build.

Additionally, Xin’s E – Audacious Charge is actually a magic damage type of spell. This means that it benefits from all magic effects such as magic penetration. However, that’s the only one!

So, even if you build Xin Zhao with full AP, don’t purchase magic penetration items like Void Staff. Physical damage spells don’t benefit from magic effects such as magic penetration, so don’t waste your gold.

You’re better off with raw AP or AD items.

Normally, most Xin Zhaos in solo queue are AD bruisers with items like Goredrinker, Death’s Dance, Maw of Malmortius, or Sterak’s Gage.

These items allow Xin to have a lot of damage and durability throughout the game, especially in team fights.

Attack damage is a great stat for Xin because it helps him during the early game too. Building more AD means that Xin will be able clear jungle camps much quicker, so it’s a good deal overall.

But the AP Xin Zhao build also offers durability and damage while keeping Xin’s jungle power on a decent level. 

With on-hit magic damage items like Nashor’s Tooth, you still have enough attack speed and auto-attack damage to take jungle camps relatively quickly and duel nearly all champions in League of Legends.

So, remember that Xin Zhao is an AD champion that also has AP ratios and can either be played with an AD or an AP build.

Read Also: Volibear Full AP Build Guide

How Do You Play AP Xin Zhao?

Xin Zhao’s Abilities Explained

AP Xin Zhao fighting Kog'Maw

Xin’s passive – Determination is a simple effect that makes every third auto-attack deal bonus physical damage based on level and heal Xin Zhao based on 10% of his AD and 55% AP.

In other words, every third auto-attack you do with AP Xin Zhao will give you a lot of health back. 55% AP is a huge ratio, especially for a passive ability that doesn’t have any cooldown.

Thanks to Xin’s passive, you can actually solo Baron when you have only two items. The healing is actually insane!

The Q – Three Talon Strike allows you to quickly perform three attacks and the third attack knocks up your target.

This ability deals physical damage and only has an AD ratio, so it’s the least important for this build.

Xin Zhao’s W – Wind Becomes Lightning is a long-ranged poke that damages the first enemy hit. It’s a physical damage spell but it has a 65% AP ratio and it’s central to AP Xin’s playstyle.

This is because Xin’s W marks the target so you can use the dash on his E from a greater range.

Xin’s E – Audacious Charge is the only magic damage ability in his kit and has a 60% AP ratio. It’s a point-click dash that synergizes with Xin Zhao’s W, so make sure to cast them one after the other.

How does Xin Zhao’s ult work?

And Xin’s R – Crescent Guard is one of the best abilities for melee champions in League of Legends. When activated, it pushes all champions away from Xin Zhao, dealing a lot of physical damage in the process.

Xin’s ultimate has a freaking 110% AP ratio and you can use it to assassinate someone with this AP Xin Zhao build.

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Tips for Paying AP Xin Zhao

AP Xin Zhao fighting the Dragon in LoL

Play to your strengths.

I know this tip sounds very generic, but it’s very important in the case of AP Xin Zhao. You can’t be as ruthless with this build as with AD Xin Zhao and you must be more careful.

In other words, you have to approach playing AP Xin Zhao a bit slower and become more tactful. You’ll want to think ahead and play the scenario in your head before you jump in. 

And if you simply go in all the time, you’ll find that AP Xin Zhao is very underwhelming.

However, if you’re being smart about it and you only jump in on the right targets at the right moment, you’ll see that AP Xin is one of the best builds in the game!

Don’t forget to auto-attack. 

Even though this is an AP build, Xin’s damage still comes mostly through his auto-attacks. And the reason why you’ll build Nashor’s Tooth first item is to continue auto-attacking even while building other AP items.

Xin Zhao’s kit is designed around auto-attacking and this is evident from his Q. So, it’s important for AP Xin Zhao to build on-hit magic item and auto-attack as often as possible!

Be mindful of how you use your dash (E).

As I already explained above, Xin’s E is the only magic damage spell in his kit. And the more AP you build the more obvious it is that Audacious Strike is the hardest-hitting ability you’ve got.

So, it’s super important to only use Xin’s E on the right target and at the right time!

You don’t want to go in and spend your only mobility spell on a tanky enemy such as Ornn. Because if you do, you’ll often find yourself amongst 5 enemy champions with no way of getting out except by using Flash.

Read Also: Full AP Nocturne Build Guide

AP Xin Zhao Build – Runes for Season 13

AP Xin Zhao rune page
  • Phase Rush
  • Nimbus Cloak
  • Absolute Focus
  • Waterwalking
  • Triumph
  • Legend: Alacrity

Phase Rush

Phase Rush is the keystone you’ll be using on AP Xin Zhao. It has the biggest win ratio and it synergizes very well with this playstyle.

What Phase Rush does is that it gives you a burst of movement speed when you strike an enemy champion 3 times (autos or abilities). This MS is crucial for kiting, running away, or chasing targets, so it’s super-useful in each fight.

So, definitely pick that up!

Nimbus Cloak

Nimbus Cloak is a rune you probably don’t use too often. However, it’s a helpful rune for AP Xin Zhao because it’s another source of movement speed.

When you use a Summoner’s Spell, Nimbus Cloak gives you bonus movement speed. And it activates with Smite too which has a relatively short cooldown compared to the other Summoner’s Spells in the game.

As I mentioned above, Xin doesn’t have any other mobility effect other than his E. And once you spend his dash, you rely on movement speed to move around the battlefield.

Absolute  Focus

Absolute Focus is another rune that performs well on Xin Zhao but not so much on other champions in LoL. 

The reason for this is that Absolute Focus gives you bonus AP or AD when your health is above 70%. But Xin  Zhao, thanks to his ultimate and passive, can keep his HP up for a long time and benefit from this rune.

So, make sure you have it!

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Waterwalking is a jungle-specific rune that can give you a lot of value in certain games.

Basically, Waterwalking increases your movement speed as well as AP or AD (adaptive damage) while you’re moving in the river.

It can be very helpful for skirmishes in the river and for quickly securing objectives such as Dragon and Rift Herald.


Triumph is one of the best fighting runes in the game and you’ll definitely need it on Xin Zhao.

When you slay an enemy, Triumph restores a bit of your health and mana, allowing you to survive and continue fighting.

So, it’s great!

Legend: Alacrity

Legend: Alacrity is the last rune you’ll need to pick up for AP Xin Zhao. 

Basically, it increases your attack speed based on your Legend stacks which you get by taking down champions, monsters, jungle camps, and minions. You know, the easy stuff.


And for bonuses, the best combination is Attack Speed, Adaptive Damage, and Armor.

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AP Xin Zhao Build – Items for Season 13

AP Xin Zhao items
  • Plated Steelcaps
  • Nashor’s Tooth
  • Everfrost
  • Lich Bane
  • Demonic Embrace
  • Rabadon’s Deathcap

Plated Steelcaps

Plated Steelcaps are simply the best boots for Xin Zhao. They cost 1100 gold and give you armor as well block a bit of damage from the enemy’s auto-attacks.

You get a lot of value when you build Plated Steelcaps on any melee fighter, including AP Xin Zhao.

Nashor’s Tooth

Nashor’s Tooth is the core item in this build and you’ll need to complete it before anything else. Sometimes even before you upgrade your boots!

Nashor’s Tooth gives you a lot of AP but the reason you need is the bonus attack speed. On top of that, this item makes your auto-attacks deal bonus on-hit magic damage.

This effect improves your jungle clear as well as damage against champions. So, you definitely need it!

Read Also: Full AP Rammus Build Guide


Everfrost is the most recommended mythic item on AP Xin Zhao. It doesn’t have game-breaking stats but it’s an overall useful item.

Besides ability power, ability haste, and mana, Everfrost has an active that lets you freeze enemies in place or at least slow them down.

This active has a very short cooldown and it’s pretty easy to use on Xin Zhao since he is a melee champion.

The way you can synergize Evefrost with Xin’s abilities is by rooting your target before you cast W so it’s a sure hit. But you can also root your target and go behind it before casting R to push them towards your team.

Lich Bane

Lich Bane is the third item you’ll go for when you play AP Xin Zhao. It’s not the best item in LoL but it fits very well with the whole idea of an on-hit magic damage playstyle.

Lich Bane empowers your auto-attack to deal bonus magic damage after you use an ability. And this means that every time you go in with your dash, your initial burst will do more damage!

Demonic Embrace

Demonic Embrace is one of the strongest AP items in League of Legends. Not only does it give you more AP but it also gives you a lot of bonus health.

On top of that, Demonic Embrace burns your target when you deal damage with your abilities. Its damage scales with the target’s maximum health, so it’s a great item against tanky opponents. 

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Rabadon’s Deathcap

And Rabadon’s Deathcap is the last item you’ll need to spend your money on here. It’s the ideal AP item for the late game since it gives you over a hundred AP and increases your overall AP too.

Again, Xin doesn’t benefit from magic penetration so building more raw AP is always a better option.

Optional and Situational Items for AP Xin Zhao

When it comes to optional items, you have a few that can really help you out.

First of all, Laundry’s Anguish can be a super-useful mythic item against tanks or champions that scale well in the late game.

But Cosmic Drive is one of the best items for AP Xin Zhao if you want to sacrifice Lich Bane. It gives you all the stats that you need plus another way to get more movement speed while fighting.

On the other hand, defensive items like Zhonya’s Hourglass and Banshee’s Veil are must-haves in certain games, especially against assassins and burst mages.

So, make sure to build according to the situation at hand!

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Skill Order and Summoner’s Spells

AP Xin Zhao has a regular way of maxing out his abilities. You start off by putting most of your points into your W and then your E.

However, here’s the whole skill order path for AP Xin Zhao, level by level.


For Summoner’s Spells, you’ll want to stick to Flash + Smite. Xin isn’t a champion that benefits too much from Ghost and the build above already includes a lot of movement speed bonuses.

However, if you aren’t going to play AP Xin in the jungle, you’ll want to switch the Smite for Ignite or Teleport, depending on if you’re mid or top.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Xin Zhao (FAQ)

Is Xin Zhao a good champion in League?

Xin Zhao is an excellent champion that can carry games alone. He’s a powerful jungle pick that can quickly clear waves and fight any enemy in a 1v1 battle.

Xin’s a bruiser and can last a long time in a fight which makes him a very useful champion for his team.

Is Xin Zhao a good top laner?

Xin Zhao can be a great off-meta top laner in LoL. With the right runes and items, Xin can be a counter to many top lane champions such as Mundo, Tryndamere, and Aatrox.

Xin is an excellent fighter and split-pusher and that’s why he fits the top lane role so well.

Can Xin Zhao go mid?

Xin Zhao can also counter many mid lane champions in League of Legends. Basically, he’s extremely good against champions like Zed and Katerina, but he can also counter ranged mages like Syndra and Orianna due to his defensiveness and durability.


Playing AP Xin Zhao in LoL can be a lot of fun, especially once you get used to the different playstyle. I love the way AP Xin works and I really enjoy it.

So, I recommend you give this build a shot.

If you want to learn more about how AP Xin Zhao performs, I’d recommend you to watch this YouTube video. It’s not a new video, but it’s a very helpful take on how AP Xin Zhao works and how you should approach the playstyle.

That said, good luck and have fun!

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Last Update: March 2, 2024