Xin Zhao rework confirmed for 2021: ability changes, new combo, and more

Ali Ahmed Akib
By Ali Ahmed Akib
5 Min Read
Image: Riot Games

Riot confirms Xin Zhao is getting a mini rework in 2021 with a new W->E combo, ability changes, and more. Here’s everything you need to know about the update.

After the 2021 preseason changes, where Riot introduced the new items in League of Legends, a lot of “unpopular” champions came back into the meta. Even though the early preseason was all about tank champions, later on, most of them were nerfed, and currently, bruiser champions are in a great spot.

However, Xin Zhao is still failing to shine in the Summoner’s Rift for a couple of seasons now, even with the new Mythic items and different build paths.

Xin Zhao first received his major rework back in patch 7.19, where Riot pretty much changed all of his abilities. He was later considered a meta jungler because of his fast jungle clear and early pressure. But, later, he was nerfed multiple times, and many believe that the balance update in patch 8.4 took away most of Xin Zhao’s strength. Riot, however, did buff him in season 10, but that had no impact whatsoever.

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Xin Zhao had around a 1-2% pick rate for most of season 10 while also having just a 1.2% pick rate in season 11 as well.

Now, after the Rammus rework announcement, League of Legends Gameplay Design Director Mark Yetter has confirmed that Game Designer TheTruexy is currently working on Xin Zhao’s rework or balance update that will be released in 2021.

“Xin Zhao has been struggling a bit both from a power and satisfaction standpoint,” Mark Yetter said. “One of our SR designers, @TheTruexy, has been working on a nice little upgrade for him. Best part is the new W->E combo (in bold).”

Xin Zhao Rework Goals

  • Highlight the unique ranged gameplay with his W2. Help this fit better into his combos rather than have it conflict with an AA-heavy pattern
  • Open up/reinvigorate new off-builds for Xin with meaningfully different gameplay outputs
  • Overall target a ~2% buff for Xin Zhao Jungle

Xin Zhao Rework Ability Changes


  • Heal Amount: 10-112 (+10% AD) (+40% AP) >>> 7-92 (+10% AD) (+55% AP)

QThree Talon Strike:

  • Bonus Physical Damage: 20/28/36/44/52 >>> 15/24/33/42/51

WWind Becomes Lightning:

  • Various QoL/hitbox clarity adjustments
  • Thrust Damage increases by up to 33% based on Critical Strike Chance
  • No longer applies Lifesteal at 33% effectiveness
  • Cast time now a static 0.5s, instead of scaling with AS
  • Mana cost: 45 >>> 60
  • W2 Range: 900 >>> 1000
  • W2 Damage: 40/75/110/145/180 (+80% tAD) >>> 30/65/100/135/170 (+75% tAD) (+50% AP)
  • Cooldown: 12-8 >>> 12-6s
  • W2 now Challenges Champions/Monsters and provides vision of the target for 3 seconds

EAudacious Charge

  • Cast range is increased to 1100 on Challenged targets
  • Cooldown: 12 >>> 11s
  • Dash Speed: 3000 >>> 2500

RCrescent Guard

  • New Ability Power Ratio: 0% >>> 110%
  • Duration: 3 >>> 5s
  • No longer extended by basic attacks and spells

Additional Information

Riot TheTruexy, who is currently working on this Xin Zhao rework, shared some more information:

Reinvigorate Crit/AP Xin: These were builds that players enjoyed playing in the past that have fallen off pretty hard or were nerfed. We’re bringing them back up as nice off-builds but don’t plan on them being a main, competitive build for Xin (like AP Shyvana or AP Twitch).

Separate from AP/Crit Xin: we’re also working on changes to buff AD Fighter Xin. We are still fine-tuning the numbers to make sure these changes feel like buffs to Xin, so don’t take these as final just yet. The changelist aims to add more value/interest around creative uses of Xin’s W (instead of just always waiting for Q3). We’ve also improved his target access as the game continues. Combined with the W CD buff and R duration (which both carry a ton of weight), we’ve found that Xin has a lot more ways to function in teamfights as opposed to just E-ing in and hoping.

Just like the Rammus rework, there is still no official confirmation on when the new Xin Zhao update is going to be released in League of Legends. But we can expect to see it soon.

ali ahmed akib
By Ali Ahmed Akib Editor-in-chief
Ali Ahmed Akib is the Co-Founder and Editor-in-chief of GameRiv. Akib grew up playing MOBA titles, especially League of Legends and is currently managing the editorial team of GameRiv.