STOP - HAMMERTIME
This is my first in-depth guide published on Mobafire. Constructive criticism is greatly welcome; please don't downvote this guide simply because you disagree with the item builds or level-up order. However, feel free to leave your opinion on what you think might work better or if you think something about this guide should be changed.
Keep in mind this guide is still open to change - give me feedback on how these builds work for you! I'll be adding more pictures, content, and snazziness as time goes on.
"But I don't want to read through the whole guide..." TL;DR
Want a few key points in playing Jayce in general, but starting a game and don't have time to read this guide?
>>Your main strength is doing a lot of damage in a short time (burst). Prioritize burst (i.e. items with damage) over sustain (i.e. items with attack speed), at least until lategame.
You'll do far better with the straight damage early/mid/early lategame.
>>Always be careful of keeping in mind what form you're in and what your build is - if you go straight glass cannon, be wary of diving into the fray.
>>Need to harass in ranged form? Set up Acceleration Gate (ranged E) and fire Shock Blasts (ranged Q) through it. They're nearly undodgeable and the damage is amazing.
>>Need to harass in melee form? Just use your melee E (Thundering Blow) and knock them away from you. It'll do a solid chunk of burst damage and prevent them from retaliating. Your melee E is also a great combo finisher.
>>Always remember that you get extra defense and magic resist in melee form, so a quick switch can save you a lot of incoming damage.
>>Ulting every 6 seconds makes for a great escape or gap closer - it's free, gets rid of unit collision, and gives you extra movement speed.
>>Your autoattack range is low for an AD carry (if you're going AD bot. Your range is 500, compared to Graves's 525, Vayne's 550, Ashe's 600, or Caitlyn's 650.) Keep this in mind and try to poke with your Q, not your autoattacks (if you can avoid it.)
>>You have no health sustain. Always keep an eye on your bar.
Incredible versatility - can be played nearly anywhere
One of the best ranged pokes in the game - powerful and hard to dodge
A million escapes - free mini-ghost every 6 seconds, knockback, AOE movement speed buff, and his Q to jump to neutral or enemy minions if you are so inclined
Provides his own CC when laning bot, so you can go sustained supports
Outranges many tops with poke
Amazing burst from melee E - 20% of health at rank 5
One of the coolest skins in the game - Full Metal Jayce
Has a giant hammer
Doesn't have the same lategame shredding ability as Kog or Vayne
Autoattack range is one of the shortest for AD carries - 500, compared to Graves's 525, Vayne's 550, Ashe's 600
Has to rely on poke for most of damage while laning; his only massive burst combo is a finisher
Only source of mixed damage comes from his W and E in melee form; everything else is physical.
Visual cue for form he is in isn't as definite as say, Nidalee
No health sustain, only mana sustain
Greater Mark of Desolation
Greater Seal of Resilience
Greater Glyph of Shielding
Greater Quintessence of Desolation
These runes are fairly standard metagame AD carry runes - armor penetration reds and quints for lategame effectiveness, flat defense yellows, and scaling magic resist blues. These runes provide good all-around coverage and work for most AD carries.
When running tanky, however, you have the option of running three_ Greater Quintessence of Fortitudes instead. 76 health is nothing to laugh at early game, and even lategame it can still make the difference between life and death.
Tanky Danky ;)
For tanky Jayce, 9/21/0 tends to work a little bit better. You're going to want the survivability given by the defensive tree more than the damage from the offensive tree; your job is going to be to peel for the AD carry - in other words, jump in with the melee form of To the Skies! / Shock Blast, knock around people targeting your carry with Thundering Blow / Acceleration Gate, and do AOE damage with Lightning Field / Hyper Charge. You can also help your team close the gap or escape with your Acceleration Gate or poke with your Q before the fight starts.
AD JAYCE BOT
Heal is my personal favorite on AD Jayce bot. Why, you may ask, when supposedly Heal got nerfed and many professional players take Cleanse instead? Two reasons. One, because there is an item that can give you a free Cleanse ( Quicksilver Sash) that is on a MUCH shorter cooldown, while there is no item that gives you a free Heal. The second reason, and more important reason, is because playing Jayce, you're not going to use just your ranged, but also your melee forms to fight. This matters the most early game, when you might shift to melee form to finish a kill, but the enemy team keeps dealing damage in the meantime; Heal will give you the survivability you need to go glass cannon melee.
For tanky DPS/tank Jayce top, Ignite or Exhaust might be better choices for you. For one, you're going to be building your survivability through items, unlike ranged AD Jayce bot. Ignite will let you get early game kills that can allow you to snowball, and of all the lanes, top lane tends to snowball the fastest. Exhaust tends to be a more supportive spell that you might take if you are running straight tank Jayce; it doesn't have the same early game power as Ignite but has great late and midgame power and is of great assistance to the jungler when they come to gank.
I take Flash over Ghost for multiple reasons. First, Flash gives you immediate repositioning during a fight, which is something Jayce does not possess, unlike Graves or Vayne. Second, Jayce has a good deal of built in mini-ghosts - he has a free 1.5 second ghost on a 6 second cooldown, or a low mana-cost AOE movement speed buff (Acceleration Gate) that gives him an even better ghost when it's off cooldown. Flash also allows him to maneuver over walls; he can still achieve this with his own abilities by getting sight on his enemy with a ranged To the Skies! / Shock Blast and then jumping with a melee To the Skies! / Shock Blast, but this is highly situational and doesn't allow for escapes.
Mercery Hammer Versus Mercery Cannon
So now you have this amazing brand new carry but don't know how to play him. You've heard that he's like Nidalee 2.0 - but no, he's far more. Let's go over a few of the differences between Hammer and Cannon stances.
The Mercury Hammer brings Jayce into his melee form, with each of his abilities taking on their first effect - in this case, his Q is To the Skies!, his W is Lightning Field, and his E is Thundering Blow. When he switches to Hammer stance, his first autoattack with the hammer will deal 20 / 60 / 100 / 140 damage, based on what rank you have his ultimate at. He will also gain 5 / 15 / 25 / 35 armor and magic resist as long as he stays in Hammer stance.
The Mercury Cannon brings Jayce into his ranged form, with each of his abilites taking on their second effect - in this case, his Q is Shock Blast, his W is Hyper Charge, and his E is Acceleration Gate. When he first switches to Cannon stance, his first autoattack with the cannon will shred the opponent's armor and magic resist by 10 / 15 / 20 / 25% for 5 seconds - quite a hefty amount, not to mention that it stacks with item debuffs.
Abilities - What do they do and why do I have two for one?
It's easy, silly. Because you have two forms.
All abilities (for example: To the Skies! / Shock Blast have two ability names tacked on to them. The first ability is his melee version, while the second is his ranged version. I'll give you a rundown on how they work and how to use them during laning.
TO THE SKIES/SHOCK BLAST
His melee Q,
To the Skies!
is a ranged gap closer jump, in the manner of Irelia's or Jax's, with the restrictions on it being that he can only use it to jump to enemy or neutral units. It imparts a slow that scales by level (30 / 35 / 40 / 45 / 50% of the enemy's movement speed) and deals AOE damage around the landing area. It's one of his most efficient abilities for clearing out minion waves, along with his melee W and ranged Q when sent through an Acceleration Gate. Its mana cost increases over time, but is negligible due to his mana sustain (40 / 45 / 50 / 55 / 60 mana per level.) Its cooldown steadily goes down as it is leveled up (16 / 14 / 12 / 10 / 8 seconds), and its physical damage goes up as it is leveled (20 / 65 / 110 / 155 / 200 (+1.0 per bonus attack damage)).
His ranged Q,
is possibly one of the best pokes in the game - but not on its own. On its own it deals decent damage - 60 / 115 / 170 / 225 / 280 (+1.2 per bonus attack damage). Its mana cost is 55 / 60 / 65 / 70 / 75 mana depending on level - not too bad - and its cooldown is always a solid 8 seconds, regardless of level. However, its true power is unlocked when fired through an Acceleration Gate - its AD scaling moves from +1.2 per bonus AD to +1.68 per bonus AD, and it gets increased range comparable to Xerath's maximum range on his Q, not to mention speed that makes it nearly undodgeable. The fact that it deals AOE damage where it bursts is merely an added bonus; it's one of the best poke, sniping, and harass tools in the game. During laning, every time Acceleration Gate is off cooldown, set it up and quickly throw a ranged Q through it; it'll do huge amounts of burst faster than the enemy will anticipate it.
LIGHTNING FIELD/HYPER CHARGE
Jayce's melee W,
is nothing special, but still a great part of his kit, allowing him to deal magic damage per second while sticking to people (25 / 42.5 / 60 / 77.5 / 95 (+0.25 per ability power) damage per second based on level, or, if you wanted total damage dealt over the 4-second timespan, 100 / 170 / 240 / 310 / 380 (+1.0 per ability power)), and allows him to clear minions and the jungle faster. Generally, you should activate this right before or as you jump to someone with To the Skies!, and it'll continue dealing damage to them as they are slowed. Its passive, however, gives Jayce mana per hit back (6 / 8 / 10 / 12 / 14 based on level), giving him great mana sustain and allowing him to poke forever.
Jayce's ranged W,
is one of the things that makes him special as a ranged carry. Hyper Charge fires three autoattacks at maximum attack speed (2.5 attacks/second), doing a good deal of burst damage and applying on-hit effects with each shot. The shots start out doing less but finish doing more damage per auto than his normal attacks (70 / 85 / 100 / 115 / 130% of his AD is dealt for each shot, based on level.) The mana cost is always a flat 40 mana, and the cooldown decreases per level: 14 / 12 / 10 / 8 / 6 seconds. Each one of these shots can stack up the armor-shredding effect on The Black Cleaver, so it's a popular item to buy on Jayce.
THUNDERING BLOW/ACCELERATION GATE
Jayce's melee E,
is one of his most powerful moves. During laning, you'll be using it to disrupt enemy combos, get them off of you, or finish them with its amazing burst. This applies especially if you're laning top - every time an enemy gets close to you, just smack them with this move once. It's great harass, knocks them back so they can't retaliate, and gets them out of last-hitting range. Its cooldown decreases over time - 14 / 13 / 12 / 11 / 10 seconds, and the magic damage it deals is equivalent to a base amount plus an amount based on your AD plus a percentage of their health - 40 / 70 / 100 / 130 / 160 (+1.0 per bonus attack damage) PLUS 8 / 11 / 14 / 17 / 20 % of their health. Its mana cost is low, too - it's always a flat 40 mana. Some people choose to max his E before his W for the burst early game; it's really up to your preference - if you stay in melee most of the time, this might be better for you.
Jayce's ranged E,
is an AOE wall-based movement speed buff that lasts for 4 seconds. Think of it like the opposite of Karthus's Wall of Pain, with the additional effect that Shock Blast shots fired through it gain ridiculous speed, damage, and range. Use it as a gap closer or an escape - it's great when the jungler comes to gank because it's like a free Shurelya's Reverie. Its cooldown decreases per level from 14 / 13 / 12 / 11 / 10 seconds, and the movement speed buff increases per level - 30 / 35 / 40 / 45 / 50% of yours and allies' movement speed for thrime.in mind that the buff decreases over the three seconds.
Ability Sequence + Explanation
I have a different ability sequence for ranged bot, melee top, and jungle Jayce. Why?
RANGED AD BOT
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
When going AD bot with Jayce, you're going to want to take a point in Q first (for poke), E second (for melee CC and to enhance your poke), and W third. However, your skill prioritizing should be R > Q > W > E. Why? Since you're going to be primarily in ranged form, you're going to be doing a lot more poking with your E + Q combo, for which you only need one rank in E in. The rest of your burst when dueling will come from the three autos fired by your W; ranking it up makes them do increased damage.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
When going top with Jayce, you're going to start with the same skill order (Q, E, W) but you're going to rank in a different priority: R > E > Q > W. What suddenly makes E that much more important? Well, in melee, E does a solid chunk of burst damage based on a percentage of the enemy's HP (as physical, so it is subject to reduction by armor.) At rank 5, this does 20% of your opponent's health in damage; the best part is, (unless they're ranged) they usually can't retaliate because they've been knocked back. Be careful when using it as a finishing move, however; if you're off by even the slightest amount of health, you give them a free escape (unless, of course, you're fast enough to snipe them with a ranged Q or close the gap with a melee Q.) It does a fixed amount of damage to creeps, also based on a percentage of their health (maxed at 600), so it can also substitute for a smite on Baron or Dragon.
Some players prefer to get Jayce's E up before his W for the melee burst; some prefer to get his W up before his E for the ranged burst. It really depends on your playstyle - remember, this is just a guide.
Top vs. Bot - Why and Why Not? Tanky DPS vs AD
Upon his release, most people saw Jayce simply as a solotop character; the current metagame for solotop involves building tanky DPS (i.e. tank items with damage items that synergize, as opposed to straight damage items. Examples of tanky DPS builds include Frozen Mallet or Warmog's Armor plus Atma's Impaler, along with items such as Maw of Malmortius.)
However, Jayce benefits incredibly well from building straight AD, as opposed to most other melee characters. Why is this? And in fact, why do we build most of our ranged carries as straight damage but most of our melee characters as tanky DPS (with a few exceptions, such as Tryndamere, Master Yi, Talon, etc?)
Straight damage builds are most beneficial on characters who can deal damage without taking damage. Just about every ranged carry fits this description; they can hit melee characters from a distance, doing damage to them, while being out of range of their autoattacks. A few melee characters, such as Tryndamere (who has an ultimate that renders him more or less invincible for five seconds, not to mention a dash to get away), Talon (has a blink, a slow, and an ultimate that stealths him for a few seconds, rendering him more or less untargetable), Fiora (has a parry that reflects damage and an ultimate that renders her untargetable), and Master Yi (Alpha Strike renders him untargetable, and Highlander is one of the best escapes in the game) are (generally) built glass cannon because they can deal damage without taking it.
Jayce, although being ranged half the time and melee the other half, fits this description perfectly - he has range that most characters do not, and can deal damage without taking it. The fact that he has a melee form is merely a side issue; it doesn't prevent him from being able to deal damage without taking it.
Jayce top can outrange most tops, simply by virtue of the fact that he has range; however, this range is too short to give you complete confidence in being able to deal damage and not receive damage. Jayce is no Urgot or Kennen; he doesn't quite have the range to stay out of range of most enemy gap closers (dashes or jumps). Going top, it is up to you whether you want to build glass cannon, tanky DPS, or tank.
Jayce bot is outranged by most other ranged AD carries. However, this doesn't equate to much, as Jayce also has much more mobility than most other ranged AD carries, and can easily bounce in and out of range or close the gap with To the Skies! / Shock Blast, gaining additional tankiness in Hammer stance that makes up for this. However, as AD carry bot, your team is going to rely on you as their source of damage; leave the tanky DPS to top or your jungler.
Jayce is an incredibly flexible champion and doesn't always need to conform to one build. Here's a few good items that work well on him in different situations.
Youmuu's is a great all-around item on Jayce. It helps him as an AD caster with the CDR (explained below); it also gives him a lot of burst when you use the passive on it. It's great in both ranged and melee stances; whether you build it or not is up to you - if you're used to it/good at remembering to use the passive/etc.
If you get a Frozen Mallet, don't get a Trinity Force. If you get a Triforce, don't get a Frozen Mallet. Simple as that. Unless you want to go really tanky Jayce, I wouldn't recommend this - he has his built-in slow from his Q, and the Phage slow from Trinity Force should provide the rest. He's better off with more AD-oriented items.
Thornmail is a highly situational item and almost only ever built on tank Jayce. If the enemy team is all 5 AD, (maybe they have a Talon mid or something?) or if their only damage is coming from an AD source(s), build a Thornmail. Otherwise, I wouldn't bother with it - if you've got a Frozen Heart, it gives you more or less the same amount of armor.
FORCE OF NATURE
FON is one of those really weird situational items I'd only ever recommend if they have a lot of AP damage or their main source(s) of damage are AP casters. I've always viewed it as the magic equivalent of Thornmail - in most games, where you have a lot of mixed damage (usually along the lines of 3 AD/2 AP or 3 AP/2 AD, depending on jungler, top, mid, and if anyone deals hybrid damage like Teemo, Kayle, Jax, or Skarner), you're not going to need it - Warmog's covers it with sheer bulk.
If you're going tanky or straight tank Jayce and you really want that bulk (and you either have a Triforce or just want more HP with your Mallet), Warmog's gives you a comically large amount of health, giving you a lot more indestructability. However, it is pretty expensive; it's a must-have on most tanks, however.
There's a BIG debate on whether or not Jayce should be the type of carry to get a Phantom Dancer. I personally think it's a nice item, but definitely not one you should rush - if your team is in dire need of more sustained damage late game, get it. However, you have attack speed from your Trinity Force and your The Black Cleaver, and as I will discuss below, Jayce is a burst carry - play him to his strengths. His only autoattack speed modifier gives him max attack speed regardless; Phantom Dancer has no synchronicity with that (except for the crit.) In other words: Don't rush it, but get it lategame if you need it.
Say you want to play straight AD Jayce but are getting focused down too fast. Solution? Guardian Angel. It gives you what you need - extra tankiness for his melee form - and the great added passive of a free revive every 5 minutes. It's a great all-around item for any melee/ranged carry in need of some extra survivability.
Going tanky DPS Jayce and find yourself in need of some extra magic resist? Wit's End might do the trick for you. However, I find items like Hexdrinker/ Maw of Malmortius to be better items on Jayce, as they are more damage-oriented as opposed to attack speed oriented; straight damage tends to work better on Jayce. I wouldn't suggest getting this if you're going straight AD; I don't really feel like it has much use. (The passive stacking with his ranged W? Nah, it's better to get a Black Cleaver if you want an attack speed item with a shred passive.)
Are they stacking armor?
But really, your The Black Cleaver should be doing a good chunk of the armor shredding for you. I've heard as a general rule of thumb; don't get a Last Whisper unless they have above around ~125 armor or higher - lower than that, a Black Cleaver should do fine. I'm not quite sure who did that math on that, but I will sometime.
Here's a little fun story - I once turned a game where I was 1/7/1 early (I was solo bot against a Blitzcrank/Ashe because, being solo queue, two people decided to fight over top and both chose top characters and went top; I was left soloing bot which was more or less impossible - they would push to the tower and grab me when there were no minions left) around into a game where I carried by roaming (I left the lane to one of the tops who had been arguing) with Boots of Mobility, Heart of Gold, Hexdrinker, Glacial Shroud, and getting enough cash to turn it into a tanky AD build - Berserker's Greaves, Infinity Edge, Randuin's Omen, and a Sheen, ending the game with a score of 9/8/11.
The moral of this story? You can build whatever the hell you want on Jayce and it'll probably still work.
Burst AD vs. Sustained Damage
Jayce is, at heart, a burst-oriented AD carry/caster. His kit is designed to put out a lot of damage in a short amount of time; his ranged Q has the most amazing burst poke in the game, his melee E does 20% of their health as magic damage at rank 5 (that's a LOT), and his ranged W does a good deal of autoattack burst - three autos in nearly no time, which syncs really well with Black Cleaver and gets the stacks up (discussed below.)
I personally thing you should play Jayce to his strengths and build bursty; if you wanted to play a sustained damage carry, go Tristana or Vayne or Kog'Maw. If you want to play an all-around fun burst carry with a great kit, play Jayce. This argument pertains most to whether or not to get early Phantom Dancers on Jayce - I personally believe no; you can get them later if you really need them but what you should be building early, mid, and early late game is AD for burst.
"What's the point of Tanky AD?"
Why on earth would you get that on an AD carry? That's a support item, isn't it?
The same reason you might choose to get Frozen Heart, actually.
Although Jayce may be a hybrid ranged/melee carry, one must always remember that the chances of you playing a game without switching from one to the other at some point is slim to none - and if you do only play a game with Jayce in a single form, then just switch to a solid AD carry or bruiser; there's no need for you to play him.
Building glass cannon Jayce is wonderful - it's amazing to see the raw power you have at your hands, and the ability to burst an opponent down to nothing with a few quick combos. However, as the AD carry, going into melee form is going to put you in danger a good chunk of the time - and that's where items like Randuin's Omen and Frozen Heart come in.
Frozen Heart is a good all-around aura item that not only gives you a ton of armor and mana (not that Jayce has mana problems). The aura and the armor give him the survivability he needs to avoid getting burst down in teamfights. Randuin's Omen has a similar effect, except the attack speed/movement speed slows only apply once you are hit. However, it also has an amazing active that reduces the damage output of the entire enemy team in a teamfight, along with allowing him to duel and win one-on-one vs. enemy carries who might outclass him in other aspects (mixed damage, longer range, CC, etc.)
Going bot - Why different AD builds? Black Cleaver vs. Infinity Edge
Many Jayce players debate whether to rush a Black Cleaver or to rush an Infinity Edge. Both have merits and drawbacks and are equally viable. I personally prefer to rush an Infinity Edge - the IE gives a good deal of burst that synchronizes well with his abilities in general, and is a standard AD carry item regardless. However, what makes The Black Cleaver so special on Jayce, and why do people love it so much?
___________________________________PROS AND CONS
The Black Cleaver
// Gives much needed attack speed. Jayce's base attack speed is nothing special.
// Synchronizes well with transforming into Mercury Cannon - the armor shred stacks.
// Synchronizes INCREDIBLY well with Jayce's ranged W - the Black Cleaver can stack up to three times, and Jayce's ranged W puts out three autoattacks at maximum speed, stacking it up fast.
// Gives less overall damage with his other abilities and his autoattacks in general.
SPACE Infinity Edge
// Standard AD carry item - one of the most damage-efficient items in the game.
// Gives him a good chunk of all-around damage - synchronizes especially well with the poke from his Q (simply off the basis of raw AD.)
// Is not as efficient with the damage from his ranged W
// No attack speed, which Jayce has a huge lack of
Who Is ur Phreaking Support? :O
The great thing about Jayce is that he can provide his own CC; this means that you can take a sustained or poke support such as Soraka or Nidalee. However, I feel that Jayce works best laning with supports with hard CC, simply because early game kills are incredibly beneficial on him, as Jayce has a very good early game.
Blitzcrank, Taric, and Alistar are my favorites (you can knock somebody back a good distance in lane with an Alistar, or be hammer bros with a Taric. Blitzcrank's hooks are almost always guaranteed kills - between his grab and your slow/knockback, there's little escape.) Alternative "supports" such as support Singed or Volibear, who are usually played as tops, also have good utility with their flings.
However, if you are a more cautious player, go with a Soraka for sustain or a Nunu or Janna for pokes. The support you choose ultimately depends on your playstyle; I just feel that hard CC supports work the best with him, as they complement his great early game.
Burst Combo... *
Someone comes up to smack you? Hit him with a Thundering Blow/Acceleration Gate. Not only does it do a good chunk of burst, it'll break them out of whatever combo they might have tried and send them clear out of range from you.
Want to do a quick burst combo? Start ranged. If you want, get off a quick W for the three autos; then drop an Acceleration Gate and pop a Shock Blast through it. Now that all three of your ranged abilities are on cooldown, switch to melee rapidly, run through the Acceleration Gate, and close the gap with To the Skies!, activating Lightning Field to do damage to them while they're slowed. Finish with a Thundering Blow and they won't be able to retaliate.
While Thundering Blow is great for securing kills, you can always combo differently - for example, use Thundering Blow to knock the enemy back, then jump to them with To the Skies! while activating Lightning Field. However, this combo leaves you vulnerable to damage taken at the end, as your opponent is generally left in range to do damage (unless they start running away, at which point you should pursue them if safe to deal more damage.)
Take a lot of advantage of your Shock Blast poke - it scales 1.68:1 with bonus AD when fired through an Acceleration Gate and is so fast that it is nearly undodgeable. Don't bother wasting Q's without an Acceleration Gate unless you have good cause to (i.e. securing a kill.)
And that's it for now. Keep in mind that this guide will continually be updated with pictures, text, and more content to snazz it up; I'm only just getting started. Many thanks to jhoijhoi for her great guide on how to create guides.
Now go on out there and teach everyone the meaning of hammertime!
(Unless you wanna be Poppy or Taric. That works, too.)