A dev corner post by Riot Games champion designer Justin “Riot Xenogenic” Hason detailed the upcoming mini rework to Xin Zhao.
First discussed in July, the goal of the small-scale rework is to give Xin Zhao a better place in the current meta while keeping his unique identity in the game. To that end, Xenogenic said Xin Zhao’s Q and E will be left alone, as those abilities are central to his role. But there was also the issue of Xin Zhao not really standing out despite his characteristic as the only spear-wielding duelist.
“Xin Zhao’s fantasy of being a master spear fighter and duelist wasn’t conveyed very well in his mechanics, so he didn’t feel like a champion that stood out enough in our roster,” he wrote. “We decided to address this by giving him a new ability that provides a spear attack with considerable range, as well as modifying his ultimate to help him create the fantasy of engaging in a 1v1 duel, even during teamfights.”
His new passive is just the passive for his old W, which healed Xin Zhao every third hit, meaning that he has built-in sustain from Level 1. His E received the active portion of the previous W, which increased his attack speed. Instead of having to cycle skills after he dashes into someone with his E, the attack speed steroid will happen as soon as the dash goes off.
His new W — Wind Becomes Lightning — is a two-part attack that first slashes in a cone-shaped area in front of him, followed by a ranged thrust. While the slash simple does damage, the thrust will deal more damage and slows the target for 1.5 seconds. This will give him more of a chance to either give him a ganking ability as the jungler or set up a gank as the top lane bruiser.
His ultimate — now called Crescent Guard — was also tweaked. Xin Zhao will still keep the original effect of his ultimate, which pushed all enemy units other than the priority target. The new effect will now create a zone around Xin Zhao for three seconds after using his ultimate, which will block damage dealt to him from sources outside of that zone. When he attacks an enemy champion, the duration of the zone is extended when he attacks an enemy champion.
Xin Zhao’s revamped kit looks like it will be focused on keeping his utility as a backline diver of priority targets while allowing him to peel non-priority enemy champions and keeping himself alive. Especially with the new protective zone with his ultimate will allow him to survive for longer periods of time as he’s dealing with squishy champions while simultaneously negating all damage outside of the zone, meaning the enemy will have to position closer to Xin Zhao, which is his playground.
The update to Xin Zhao will come with “new animations, sound effects, visual effects, and even icons,” according to Xenogenic. The release of the reworked Xin Zhao will likely be Patch 7.19, based on a dev corner update from Andrei “Meddler” van Roon earlier this month.
Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games