I'm just using this format, and I'm lazy to edit it to perfection, so while all sections are filled out, some of them won't have what you want.
Table of Contents
3. Strengths And Weaknesses
4. The Stats
5. Epic Skills
6. Skill Build
8. Play Style
9. The Friends And The Foes And The Counters
10. Solo Mid Matchups
12. Final Words
Click to go to the respective sections.
Xin has often been compared to being Storm, Jugg and Roof all in one. He's like some kind of ridiculous panda that wrecks everything due to his ability to pretty much fly around the map, lock people down and rape them. It pretty much allows him to look for fragile, lone heroes and take them out.
Admittedly, Xin is kind of braindead to play at the moment. He's dangerous as a ganker, pretty strong as a carry, and can even work out well as a tank. Yet, if a Xin player needs anything, it would probably be a good sense of the game. Knowing when to jump towards a remnant, leave a remnant behind, use Sleight of Fist to protect your last 19 HP and killing the guy chasing you and many more is important if you want to roll harder with Xin (he already stomps pretty damn hard even if the player is a scrub).
If there's only one thing I hate about Xin right now, it is that if a skilled player on the other team is playing him, because he's just so retarded and difficult to deal with.
I'm writing this guide based on 10+ or so games with Xin, so don't expect this to be some epic pro guide that is true 100% of the time. I'm going to write this guide as a reference to how to play Xin for scrubs instead of for better players.
Okay, as of 6.73c, he got a pretty solid nerf to his ganking, so he's not as retarded as before. Plus this means his rune control is a little less potent than before. He might need a couple more mana items to work out now, but overall he should be about the same as last time.
-Strengths And Weaknesses-
+Great most of the game
+Best rune controller in the game
+Above average move speed
+Can farm really fast
+Pretty much unkillable early game unless you get caught
-Killed rather quickly by silence and physical DPS
-Terrible stat growth
-Ending base damage is quite low
-Runs out of mana pretty quickly
-Useless against stronger opponents
The Normal Stats
Strength: 21 + 2
Agility: 22 + 1.8
Intelligence: 20 + 1.8
The Advanced Stats
Attack range: Melee
Attack animation: 0.4/0.3
Casting animation: 0/0.51
Base attack time: 1.7
Missile speed: Instant
Sight range: 1800/800
1. Searing Chains
2. Flame Guard
3. Flame Guard
4-5. Searing Chains
6. Fire Remnant
7. Searing Chains
8-9. Flame Guard
10-13. Sleight of Fist
24-25. Fire Remnant
Searing Chains maxed out first is a no brainer. Actually, you might just want to leave it at level 3, because the last level merely adds 60 damage and Flame Guard might be more useful with that skill point. You might want to have 3 Searing Chains, 4 Flame Guard and a point in Fire Remnant at level 8. However, since I like damage and screw survivability, I just max it out first. After all, I never know when an additional 60 damage would come in handy. Max it out at level 9, since in addition to adding 60 damage, it reduces the cooldown by 2.
The optimal skill build for Xin is this:
1. Searing Chains
2. Flame Guard
3. Flame Guard
4-5. Searing Chains
6. Fire Remnant
7-8. Flame Guard
9. Searing Chains
10-13. Sleight of Fist
24-25. Fire Remnant
I should probably learn to start playing this build but whatever.
No matter which build you go for, first skill point either goes to Searing Chains or Flame Guard. Add the skill point when you get to lane, depending on whether you want to try to get an early FB or whether you think you are going to get ganked. Personally, I just throw it into Searing Chains because I'm close to my tower if they want to gank me anyway, and throwing Searing Chains in such situations is more frightening than Flame Guard.
Fire Remnant scales terribly. If you thought you saw the end when IceFrog put Demonic Purge to scale by 100 damage every level, then here's the new contender a skill that you should not add skill points for. I still throw in skill points into it at 11 and 16 just because I'm used to it adding my ulti at those levels, but it is infinitely better to put those points in stats, since +2 to all attributes can help anywhere.
Maxing Sleight of Fist first:
After looking at other guides and stuff, I seem to encounter many builds advocating maxing Sleight of Fist first. At first glance, it looks awesome because the mana cost to damage ratio is just retarded for harassing the hell out of your opponent. 50 mana for about probably at most 200 damage at level 7? Sounds pretty perfect doesn't it? So why don't I think it's good?
It completely reduces your ganking potential to 0. I believe that one of Xin's strong points during early game is to create fear in all the lanes by being able to be present at all times. The ability to gank the sidelanes is just as important as surviving mid lane. Maxing Sleight of Fist lets you control your lane, but it doesn't let you gank at all, and even if you add a point into Searing Chains only for the disable, much less efficiently. The 300 damage from Searing Chains is infinitely more useful than a Sleight of Fist. Just try hitting the guy with Searing Chains maxed and normal attacks compared to Searing Chains at level 1 combined with a maxed Sleight of Fist. If you still say that Sleight of Fist does more early game, I'll be pretty damn surprised.
Furthermore, Sleight of Fist only allows you to harass your opponent out of lane. Searing Chains gives you an opportunity to kill. So being the kill minded dicks that most DotA players are, I don't see any reason why you should max Sleight of Fist over Searing Chains first.
As of 6.73c, it would seem more viable than before, since Xin's ganking is nerfed and controlling the lane might be more important. However, Xin is still largely unchanged, and hence for reasons stated above it is still better to go for Searing Chains first. It is more viable than before, but still not the best option in my opinion.
Items to Go For
It's always good to have.
It's good for any melee AGI hero, and Xin kind of needs the damage block to survive the lane more effectively
He is the best rune controller in the game, so Bottle is naturally obvious. Plus, he needs it to stay out and gank.
While Xin burns through mana pretty quickly, he doesn't need to invest in some item that grants a large amount of mana or mana regeneration. This ball suffices. Later on, upgrading it is my personal choice, but whatever floats your boat.
Don't get anything else. Phase complements Xin so well with the ability to chase with Flame Guard on, as well as adding that 24 damage for Sleight of Fist to abuse. You could change to Boots of Travel late game if it gets that far I suppose.
And let me explain why you should not get anything else.
Arcane Boots is kind of overkill for solving Xin's mana problems. While solving his mana problems, doesn't give him the necessary parts required to chase and damage. I could see it working in a build that revolves around using Fire Remnant and chasing with Searing Chains, but really later in the game you will find out that if you manage your mana well, Xin doesn't really need the amount of mana that Arcane Boots provides.
Power Treads is subpar on Xin because he isn't going to be hitting things with his normal attack anyway, plus the move speed bonus is horrendous for chasing. He can use the extra stats, but Phase is just way better in terms of synergy.
Tranquil Boots is retarded, period. If your shoes break halfway in the middle of a kill, it gets a lot harder trying to kill. Also, it heals a mere 150 HP, something that a Bottle can probably do much better.
In short, these boots all work well on Xin (except Tranquil Boots), but it is just that Phase is way too godlike on him.
The only one you should ever get. Anything else is just subpar in the face of Mjolnir, which synergizes with Xin almost as well as Phase. The orb effect has a chance to activate on every single hit of Sleight of Fist, and considering how fast he attacks it is almost guaranteed that a chain lightning will come out. The active later on makes him even more scary in teamfights. Plus, the number of bounces increased.
So, if this thing synergizes as well as Phase does, if you read above you should already know that it is not because other orbs suck on Xin, but because Mjolnir is way too godlike for what it can do on him. Even if you won't be using the attack speed that this thing provides, the lightning alone is already good enough of a reason to get it.
A friend of mine, as well as various forumers, recommended this as a good item for Xin. I suppose slowing an opponent by 12% when chasing helps a lot, though I see this item's true potential being later, when you can apply a 12% move speed debuff on everyone in a teamfight. In most cases, chasing with Fire Remnant and Searing Chains would suffice, but this thing only costs 350 gold which is almost free, and kind of sick for its rewards.
It lets Xin farm really really quickly. Damage comes in handy for Sleight of Fist as well.
You will never need that much mana regeneration I suppose, but it does make him harder to kill. Plus, you can probably mash more skills if you get it.
People proclaim how lousy it is and stuff, but I think it is still worth it to soak a spell up from your opponent.
He can use the armour since he already has some partial immunity to spell damage. Makes him more of a primary target as well should you want to tank.
And tank till the world ends.
If you feel like going the tank build, I suppose you can skip Perseverance and go straight for this. Killing a Xin with Vanguard is extremely difficult. However, he will run into a mana shortage if he goes for this build though.
Stacking AOE DoT? And 60 damage for Sleight of Fist? Perfect item.
Still viable if you are having difficulty against physical DPS. Gives some good damage as well.
After a few thoughts, he could actually use this to counter his biggest weakness, which is physical DPS.
I could actually see this being useful for Xin. It gives him about enough mana to do his job early game. Plus, cyclone helps a lot for either chasing a guy and waiting for your spells to cooldown, or offering de-aggro as you throw a remnant and flying away as soon as you drop down. Not to mention the extra move speed that really helps.
Stacking damage. And I am serious when I say that he can hold a Rapier. He can just kite using Sleight of Fist with it and never run into trouble. Provided that you aren't caught with silence first.
Okay, so after all the godliness that is Xin's item choices, I believe that you should start with this build.
Lets you go either way early on, whether you want to go for a more tank oriented build with Vanguard and Radiance or a more DPS oriented build with Poor Man's Shield and Perseverance.
Just make sure your team has a chick to send you your Bottle later on.
Putting this down here because some idiot is eventually going to buy it and then suddenly realise that Xin doesn't need lifesteal at all because he never actually hits people directly. For most of the time anyway.
Choosing your lane
Mid solo. Truthfully speaking, he isn't actually that strong to solo with at mid. Searing Chains is a terrible nuke before Xin hits level 5. Flame Guard can help mitigate damage but a clever laner will just wait for it to drop before nuking your face. However, he needs the levels early on in order to start raping face. Plus, he can abuse runes with Bottle, so why not?
-The Friends And The Foes And The Counters-
Shoutouts to more AOE DPS.
Her brilliance aura helps so damn much with mana problems early game. And Xin needs mana, more so than others anyway.
Anything and everything that buffs your damage.
Drow combines silence together with high physical DPS and a slow. She's probably the worst kind of enemy that Xin could ever fight. Luckily, she's pretty damn fragile early game, so take the opportunity to then to repeatedly kill her before she starts beating you up.
Unlike other silences, this guy can silence you even before the fight starts, leaving you helpless for a bit. Last Word is also annoying as hell when you are mashing your skills.
Silences you and leaves you unable to run away. Plus, Puck can probably dodge Sleight of Fist with Phase Shift.
He can be an annoying guy if he sends you back after you use one of your remnants.
Same with this guy, except that it is if you are escaping.
The guys who are scary as hell one on one. It's hard to kill them because the ideal hero kill scenario is if the guy is running away, not fighting you. And these guys have enough power to tear you apart. Plus, Ensnare doesn't stop them from doing their thing. I kinda like to see Xin and SB race around the map one day though.
Basically, anyone who cannot fight back at close range as well as spell heavy heroes. Disables don't really matter, since Xin can catch up with them using Fire Remnant.
-Solo Mid Matchups-
Xin will probably lose to any good mid solo hero out there, so instead of hero matchups, try to improve your own game instead. Soloing mid with Xin will be made a lot easier should you learn to anticipate nukes and react to them with a well timed Flame Guard. You might even consider levelling Sleight of Fist once early game to dodge projectiles, though I feel that Searing Chains and Flame Guard have infinitely more priority. It can save your life in some situations though.
You can probably live without a replay, since as I mentioned, Xin is pretty braindead.
If not the best, definitely one of the best pubstomping heroes to ever be introduced to DotA. While he's good at pubstomping, I believe that his skillset is so good that he might even be in competitive play should he be released. I would like to see what a really skilled player can do with him.
Of course, that is if before he gets nerfed to oblivion.
11/1/12 - Oh look, he got nerfed and I'm updating the guide. Well, what a surprise. At least IceFrog had the sense to fix his broken head. Updated to 6.73c.