From my understanding, Xin is the ‘original’ stereotypical tanky DPS champion. Except not quite tanky. He’s got an auto-attack reset/enhancer, a gap closer, and a bit of crowd control. He’s also got a fair amount of sustain, provided he can get his attacks off. It makes for a pretty fast-paced champion, similar to Talon or Akali.
Let’s talk about his abilities real quick. Everything is nice and simple. No skillshots, no delayed AoEs, nothing like that. What Xin lacks in mechanical complexity, he makes up for with the fact that good, quick decisions are absolutely needed. I’d be willing to say it’s true for him moreso than any other assassin. I mean, let’s compare him with Lee Sin, Nocturne, and Ahri. All three have some form of escape mechanism. Lee can jump to minions, monsters, or wards. Ahri has her ultimate and taunt/slow. Nocturne has his Dusk Trail. Nocturne and Lee? They also have shields and hard crowd-control if they really botch up.
Xin doesn’t have any of that, not to the extent of the others. He has Audacious Charge, which has a pretty sizable cooldown and can only be used on enemy minions (unlike Lee’s Safeguard). Yeah, it gives a slow, but by the time it’s off cooldown, someone is dead. Hopefully them. I cannot tell you how many stupid deaths happened because I got restless or decided to dive into a teamfight early. Xin punishes bad positioning like crazy and is actually pretty good in teaching good decision-making.
To my understanding, but not my practice, he’s also a pretty okay jungler. If nothing else, I’d say that he’s reasonably safe to learn with. Sustain, auto-attack reset, passive/active attack speed boost and all that good stuff. Ganking also doesn’t seem too hard for him (I can speak from experience as lane Xin that it isn’t), since Audacious Charge slows.
I’ve tried a number of builds with Xin and it seems like the most consistently-working one is a lot of AD with some attack speed (most likely a Phantom Dancer or Madred’s Bloodrazor) thrown in early on. He doesn’t need a huge amount of attack speed, what with Battle Cry giving him some passively. I also don’t recommend building him too terribly tanky, just because you won’t end up doing any damage. Or not much damage, anyway.
I’ve also tried a few different skill orders and playstyles. You’ll definitely want Three Talon Strike at level one and maxed as soon as possible. The AD ratios on it are great at a solid 1.0. Audacious Charge has worked out nicely for me as a second priority. The slow scales with rank (from 20 to 40%), too. I’ve tried maxing Battle Cry second, but… The buff duration remains the same (5 seconds), only reducing the cooldown. I figured it would be worth it because, hey, more free attack speed. I was wrong. Definitely go Q then E.
Now about those playstyles. Xin seems to work best as solotop (or in a kill lane, preferably with someone who can slow or stun pretty early on). The passive gives him nice sustain and, like I said earlier, Three Talon Strike hits like a truck. A truck made of spears and hate. It also helps him secure ganks and eke out a bit more damage than he normally would. I don’t personally recommend going toe-to-toe with anyone until you’ve got a few levels and some damage built. You’ll probably win a poke war, but unless they’re stupid or slow (or ganked), you probably won’t get a kill. When you do go in for the kill, I recommend poking a bit first. If they try to run, then Audacious Charge into Three Talon Strike. If they don’t die, they’ll more than likely have to go back. Also, practice last-hitting with him. His animation and timing seems a bit wonky to me.
Again, all of that stuff in the last paragraph is situational. I’d say it depends more on your opponent than anything. Just don’t get too risky and you’ll be pretty fine. For teamfights, my advice is to play him like you would Akali (says the man who is an awful Akali). Jump in, beat up the squishiest guy there. If they run, switch to the next squishiest. Back out when needed (like during heavy amounts of AoE), then run back in. Repeat as needed.
Anyhoo, hope you fine folks enjoyed that. I wouldn’t consider this a guide by any means, for those of you reading my stuff for the first time. I’m not good enough to write a guide and this is really intended to be more of a ‘here’s what you can expect, here’s how I personally use him’ kind of thing. Anyway, if you like what you see here, feel free to let others know or hit that lil’ subscribe button on the side there. Every reader counts! As always, thanks for reading and have a good’un.