Paladins is such a dynamic team-based shooter. In the past, I haven’t reviewed/touched on flankers before, because I’m so [so so] bad with them. However, the latest character for Paladins, Zhin the Tyrant fulfills the things I need to be successful. There are a few very important steps that I need to be a flanker. Step 1: I need a bit of range. Being too close means I’m probably going to die. Step 2: I need an out/escape. The whirlwind does pretty good damage, but it really stands out as an escape. Between that, and using the Q [Billow], he’s certainly safe in the getaway. That leads me to Step 3: Healing! I’m pretty damn reckless while using a Flanker/Jungler. While normally it doesn’t heal, but the Smolder Legendary Card fixes that. 60% of your health while using Billow gets you out, puts you in a position to do damage and get a kill, and can certainly put you into an amazing spot for your team. I expected Zhin to be melee, and I’m ashamed to admit that I went in without knowing a single thing, so I tried to melee people down. Don’t worry, my team set me straight with a few pointed barbs.
People were talking about how Zhin is “hurr durr dat ninja Genji from Overwatch!!!oneoneone“. That’s almost word for word what I saw, without hyperbole. He’s got a sword, swings it at people, and has a counter. He must be the exact same. There’s always going to be some manner of overlap in team-based games. Though Zhin’s not the same at all. He doesn’t fire every projectile back at him for five seconds back to the shooter no matter how far away they are. It hits very hard, but only in melee range. It can, however, counter any hit to the front of Zhin, no matter what it is. As long as it comes at the front of him it can be parried. It’s a beautiful sight to see and can stop even the most annoying ultimate in its tracks. He’s got an incredibly fun kit, the damage a flanker needs to get the job of murdering people done, and is mobile without being able to do those ridiculous double/triple jumps in the air that some other flankers can do, not that I’m bitter or salty in the least. He’s fun. I do think some changes could be in order, and I don’t think he’s OP by any means. But he’s fun.
- Damage: He’s certainly not lacking in the damage dept. Even if one of his swings comes with a vertical arc instead of all horizontals, it makes sense. Learning that aim is the difference between being good and being great. And if you’re close to a character and use your counter after they’ve already pulled the trigger, you can obliterate them with that free 700 damage. Not to mention his ult, if you land it, hits for 2000.
- Escapes-a-plenty: Now, you might want to use Whirl as an engage, since it does deal AOE damage, it can also be used as a get-out, if you hold onto it. Billow is also a great escape, and if you’re really in a pinch? His ult is a dash. Sure, you want to use it for damage, but what if it’s no longer time for damage, but time to win? Maybe that’s not the attitude of a flanker, but three of his moves, in a dire situation can be used to keep you alive to fight another fight.
- Alpha Counter: Again, his counter. It can literally stop anything that fires at you. From what I understand, it even stops Torvald and Drogoz’ annoying, stupid, stupid ultimates. Well, only stupid if they’re aimed at me. It’s up for two seconds so you have plenty of time to get into position and be prepared to stop it. You can also use it to save teammates, but that’s not the selfless attitude you need! Save yourself with it and get the kill! Nobody will blame you!
- Mobile, But: He has no upwards mobility. Whirl only goes forward, he has no double jump, no wall scale, and has to go up stairs instead of being truly agile. Sure, most of the flankers have some way around this, he’s not one of them. It can be a serious detriment to not be able to chase easily, and he can’t do it at all. If it’s a straight line, he’s good, but if it’s a 3D environment? You better know where they’ll be.
- Morale Boost? Why? His ult is underwhelming, to say the least. However, it hits incredibly hard, but once you activate it, you get a second or two to move, and unless you get them from behind, and they don’t move? Swing and a bloody miss. I feel like it needs something to make it worthwhile, even if you can move while it’s active, and hit it again/melee swing to activate it. But it doesn’t feel like it’s worth using, because of how it’s designed. Can it shred a tank in one ult? Sure! Is it as good as Drogoz with all the flying and aiming? Eh.
- This Fire Burns: He’s supposed to hit hard, and when circumstances are optimal, he does. That vertical slash can slow that down, as can the underwhelming damage of Whirl. It’s also pretty hard to land, as is the rest of his kit. Sure, it’s a skill-based game, but I do feel like I have to work harder overall to be competitive with Zhin, unlike some of the other flankers.
I feel like all of his Legendaries are terrific. One makes his tankbuster ult also a near full-heal in Guillotine. Retaliation lets your counter-stance stay up even longer, and while the wording on it is weird, being able to counter more than one ability during that time can be terrific and can really save your bacon, or the bacon of someone you love. However … his best card beyond a shadow of a doubt is Smolder. What’s the bane of being a flanker? Not having a heal when you desperately need one. Need to get around a corner, get some health back and beat someone down? Drop Smolder and heal 60% of your max HP using that card. But Smolder definitely has a drawback. Well, Billow does in general. You can’t cancel the ability. Once you’re in it, if you get surrounded, you just have to accept that you can’t fight back. I’d enjoy being able to Billow around a corner, cancel it, and get counter ready. That would make him a lot more interesting. There are tiny things that bother me though. That split second after your counter hits, you can’t really do much. It makes me quite cross for someone to get away with a few hundred hp because they shot me in that time.
- Cross Counter Build [Master Stance]: Master Stance [IV], Blade Dance [II], Up in Smoke [II], Hideout [II], Fuel for the Fire [II]: The idea behind this is to use the counter card, Retaliation. This one also requires you to be pretty damn mobile. But with the length on your counter increased, and remaining in counter stance can be incredibly frustrating to deal with. Then you get out with Whirl or use it to get to someone else.
- Fire Nation Build [Wild Fire/Hideout]: Wild Fire [IV], Hideout [IV], Heartless [II], Fan the Flames [I], Up in Smoke [I]: Reducing the cooldown of Whirl per enemy hit and Increasing the duration of Billow makes the heal better, and makes it far easier to drop Whirl anytime you need it. It’s even better if you go in with Chrono [though I imagine you’ll want Master Riding]. This entire build is for the power, the speed of your Billow, and when you get the kill, the increased movement speed will get you into position for the next build.
- Reloading’s for Chumps Build[Malice]: Malice [IV], Dragon Oil [III], Fan the Flames [II], Hideout [II], Blood Dance [I]: One of the major weaknesses of Zhin I have not covered yet, is his loadout doesn’t have a lot of swings with that fire sword. So, with the increased reload speed with Malice IV, this means you won’t need the item for it. Dragon Oil gives you more ammo, and you make Billow even better by adding CDR and duration, and the tiny bit of increase on Whirl… this is complemented well by Smolder to get out of a dangerous spot or to prepare for the next assault.
Items are pretty varied on him, but Master Riding, Cauterize, Life Rip, Haven are the go-to for me. Of course, you can opt to break down shields instead of Cauterize, but I think Cauterize III goes a lot farther. Let the damage dealers worry about breaking down Torvald’s shield. Instead, you need to be next to their Viktor, making him regret pulling that trigger. Though I don’t play Flank position very often, Zhin’s definitely a good start into the role. There are people that do the job better than him, but those characters certainly require a lot more experience/skill, using their dashes, jumps and scaling abilities. This one feels more like a damage dealer instead of a flanker. He’s fun, needs some tuning up perhaps, but this in no way changes that he’s a blast to play, and I can make all kinds of crazy Avatar: the Last Airbender/Fire Nation gags while I’m at it. And in the end, isn’t that what matters?