Sunday, May 29, 2011

You were killed by an Asian

In League of Legends, my first encounter with Xin Zhao (or Bob as he is reffered to on occasion) was a scary experience. I believe it was my 3rd week of playing, roughly level 10, and I had just picked up Mordekaiser (hue) not 3 days prior. This was back in the day when I was commonly posted to mid which, while I usually dominated with the man of metal, I can happily say I don't miss one bit. Having never encountered a Xin before, I was immediately rather cautious of the fellow. That spear looked painful and that ridiculous ponytail impractical in every sense of the word. It was clear he possessed some sort of sorcerous black arts for it to be attached to his head and for him to not to have some sort of hernia.

pull my finger

I think I died at level three. A charge, a knockup, a corpse. I don't think I realised what had actually happened until I noticed I wasn't moving and my screen was grey. As you may have expected, my response was a typical "WTF!!?". This was strange. Dying on Mord at that level (pre-changes) usually was. I think it took me a few more attempts, usually resulting in a death, to get a basic understanding of Mr Zhao, that being this: he will kill you 1v1.

Today, that more or less still holds true, but to a much less degree. After receiving nerfs both to him and tanky dps in general, Xin is not the monster he used to be. He is very killable if you know what you are doing. Comparitively there are better champions at doing some of the specific things he can do, but still not really any that do all of them together which is why I think I decided to pick him up. To be honest, I hated the bastard after that game. Powered of the over kind my opinion was. I didn't pick him up so much as to play him but more to counter him as much as I could on any character I played. It was not till I started playing him in serious matches that I learnt of his glaring play style issues, some that I guess should have been obvious, but probably weren't on the receiving end of his ... spear. Ahem.

Anyways, Xin is a beast in a melee. It is of my opinion that he is essentially designed to be an offtank/initiator/assassin. I say this because in a teamfight with Xin, when you go in, you either stay in or you die. This is because he has nothing outside of summoner spells to get himself out of hairy situations. To an extent you can use his slow and knockup to save yourself, but when retreating from multiple opponents, charging back into the fray and autoattacking 3 times is not the healthiest decision. On a character like Tyrndamere (-_-) you could sucessfully pull something like this off, spin back through the enemy team, aoe slow while they are still facing the other way (without even being near them) and spin off into the horizon. Or you could just press R.

My point is, with Xin, I was finally playing a character where positioning and choosing your battles wisely is very important. With Mord, it isn't a problem. You stroll in and out of combat like you are the guy at the party no one wants to talk to. With Shen it's even less of one, dashing and porting out of harms way with relative ease. With Xin you must choose your fights appropriately, often exchanging places with the tank to either mop up or 'Xinitiate' for your team. After that ... you faceroll. Seriously. Buttons. Push all of them. Now. Your summoner spell/s (ghost) and item activateables (Sword of the Divine, Ghostblade, Omen) too. Get in there and kill everything. That is your mission. His Ultimate speaks volumes of "initiate with this spell", giving you up to 90 free MR and Armor for 6 seconds, depending on how many people you hit with it and chopping off up to 30% of their current HP (before mitigation). If the enemy has any sense, which most of them do, they will look at you and try to kill you. I mean, he is an asian afterall. Racist pricks.


This is usually the point where you die. In my months of playing and fighting Xin I have seen this occur all too frequently. Fight starts, Xin (or I) goes in, everyones bars turn red, ponytailed man falls on ground or seen running for the hills. The truth of the matter is unless you are completely dominating the enemy, you cannot afford to just build offensive items and expect to do well. Sure, you may gib a guy every teamfight, but is that really worth you dying straight away? The answer should be no. Your abilities, while somewhat useless for saving your own hide, are excellent for peeling enemies, keeping them in place and slowing them almost indefinetly. They also do decent damage even without full dps gear. In a nutshell, you are more threatening and useful if you are HARDER to kill, not because you won't be doing as much damage but because you will survive longer TO DO MORE. You don't do any damage when you are dead.

Which brings me to my final component of my Xin Zhao ... review ... thing. Whatever this is. His items. Out of all the characters that I have mucked around with in LoL, he has gone under the most revisions by far. The problem derives from the fact that he is so good at killing another person 1v1 because his spells are designed for shutting them down and melting them. This makes his ability to farm creeps abysmal, especially when laning against anything ranged. Autoattack in melee becomes your worst enemy, and your creep kills suffers massively if you don't get the advantage quickly. So unless you go out of your way to gank the shit out of the enemy your income will suck donkey balls. Getting the most out of the limited gold he earns is the key here, which means that having a standard build for fighting every team is non-sensical. As much as you should never have a standard build for any character, Xin is the only character that I play where I consider the enemy as a team, individually (laning) and item wise (i.e. theirs) constantly throughout the game. What you buy on him for the current situation is key to winning the next fight and consequently the game. The following is something I mixed up as an example of possible builds I would use, but centred around a longer game buying items that give me gold. The buying of these items are in relative order of importance at the time, but could be rotated depending on the situation. Should the game be under different circumstances (e.g. fighting a Tyrndamere, stacking massive armor, all tanky dps etc) I would be buying different items altogether.

It is probably safe to say, however, that these sort of build decisions are common amongst all LoL players.

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