Jax Build Guide by BluAnimal
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Not Updated For Current Season
This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.
Not Updated For Current Season
The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.
8/18/2011 - Added Lich Bane to items due to suggestion from Marisi. Thanks for your contribution!
3/24/2012 - Just started playing League again after a hiatus. Noticed Jax has been majorly updated. I'll be sure to update this guide within the next week or so.
Redid whole guide:
New Mastery Trees
New Rune Page
New Pictures! (Ooh!)
Updated to fit the new Jax
Added Hall of Fame
Moved Change log to the bottom. No one likes walls of texts.
Added counters section
Added some coding.
Added Trinity Force to items.
Changed commentary on select items.
Added Harassing section (Under Construction).
Cleaned up information on previous Jax.
Reworked Summoner Spells.
Updated Hall of Fame.
Expanded counters section immensely.
Hello and welcome to my Mobafire build for Jax! Jax was my second champion I ever bought (after Mordekaiser) and it took me a few months to get the hang of him. It takes time and practice to get to "OP" status with Jax, but it's well worth the /all hate you're going to receive. I tried numerous builds on Mobafire and other sites and none suited my playing style, so I've decided to make this guide. I hope you enjoy it, be sure to provide feedback as you see necessary.
Since Jax's nerf and the removal of dodge runes the new idea of Jax is to get in defense (in this case, armor, for top lane) and damage. In my opinion, Jax is now best to be set-up tanky (21 in the defense mastery tree) and defensive runes, but built with damage, i.e. Hextech Gunblade, Trinity Force, and Sheen.
Seal of Resilience *9 - These seals give you 13 armor starting at level 1, which is going to help with the initial gank in bottom lane bush and as well as the AD top lane champ you will most likely encounter. ( Riven, Fiora, Tryndamere, Jax, Xin Zhao)
greater mark of desolationMark of Desolation *9 - Armor Pen. marks will make your early game harassing and farming easier. It's also nicer to be able to cut through any off-tank champ you may have top lane. The reason I pick armor pen. marks over magic pen. marks is because ability power is added to the build later in the game (besides the early Sheen, which again, is for AD). It all boils down to your preference.
Glyph of Warding *9 - These glyphs add 1.34 magic resist per rune adding up to 12 magic resist at level 1, not including your mastery tree. You can use Greater Glyph of Ability Power if you want more Ability Power early game, but it will leave you squishier in the lane.
I used to go 3 flat dodge quintessences before they were removed. Now it's up to your personal preference. (Magic Pen., Attack Damage, Ability Power, Armor Pen.) I prefer:
Quintessence of Fortitude *3
These give you 26 health per quintessence, giving you 78 bonus health if you go all 3. It's fine to mix and match to your preference.
Quintessence of Potency *3
Give you 5 Ability power each, giving you 15 ability power total. Again it's fine to mix and match, depending on if you want more early damage, or sustain.
Quintessence of Vampirism *3
I've recently discovered that lifesteal quints are not bad on Jax, especially early game when paired with either a Doran's Blade and/or your Bilgewater Cutlass.
For your mastery trees you're going to, again, go for tankiness. You also want to go down the Offense tree to pick up the cool down reduction, 3 flat ability power, Ignite mastery giving you another 5 AP and 5 AD when on coooldown, and magic penetration.
Offensive Tree -
3/4 Sorcery (Again, cool down is something you want with Jax)
1/1 Summoner's Wrath (Free 5 AD and AP whenever your Ignite is off cooldown... Which it should be.)
1/1 Arcane Knowledge (Free magic penetration to go with your rune map!)
Defensive Tree -
3/3 Vigor (Health regen. works wonders in the laning phase)
1/1 Veteran Scars (Of course!)
3/3 Initiator (Movement speed for chasing/fleeing)
3/3 Honor Guard
A great item if they have a Riven, Tryndamere, Fiora or other AD carry. It also provides 40 more health than the other Doran's items, and gives the health regen. needed for sustaining.
Doran's ring gives you 80 health, some nice mana regen. and ability power. I'd only take this item if I was going bottom lane with another champion or my top lane champion is easy to bully.
I personally am not a fan of Doran's Blade, but if you have the Greater Quintessence of Life Steal mentioned early in the guide, these, paired with your Doran's Blade will give you a whopping 9% lifesteal at level 1! You can even go for 12% lifesteal if you go down the offensive tree instead.
This is another option if they are AD heavy and you'd like to get a jump start on your Ninja Tabi. Take 5 health potions with it.
I find myself taking boots of speed the majority of the time, along with 3 Health Potions.
Ninja Tabi are still viable with dodge removed. The new passive reduces all incoming auto-attacks by 10%. Again, another great item against Tryndamere, Wukong or Olaf top.
Mercury treads are good if they have 1 or no auto attackers, they are CC heavy or you just need extra magic resist early on. You can swap your boots out accordingly. (I take Mercury Treads 90% of the time.)
Bilgewater cutlass should be your first item, unless you are extremely zoned. I always start with the vampiric sceptre and then the pickaxe because the lifesteal helps when laning. After you have the item built (Around level 5 or 6) you should be using the active whenever possible. 150 Magic damage and a slow is quite useful, whether you're chasing, killing, or escaping. Always build this before your hextech revolver.
A great item for giving your Empower-Leap strike damage, as well as giving you the needed mana for harassing. You'll want to save this for your Trinity Force. I normally build this item exactly after my Bilgewater Cutlass and boots of choice.
Another addition to your soon-to-be Trinity Force. The health and passive from it are both needed for a chaser such as Jax.
The Bilgewater's missing half. Two amplifying tomes and 330 gold, or 1200 gold altogether. Unfortunately this doesn't have an active, which is why we build the Bilgewater first. But the spell vamp and ability power is much appreciated when attacking.
Finally, what you've been working on. Your Hextech Gunblade. I always set this to item slot 1 because I find it easiest to hotkey in the middle of a fight. It now has a larger range as well as 300 magic damage and a more powerful slow. After you have your cutlass and revolver it costs only 600 gold to build. This is the only item I find absolutely mandatory for Jax, as well as your Trinity Force. All items afterwards are situational.
Jax's other main damage item. You'll combine your Sheen and Phage into this, as well as a Zeal giving you attack speed, critical chance, health, attack damage, ability power, mana, two sick unique passives and movement speed. This is usually my only other damage item after Hextech Gunblade unless I decide to build Atma's Impaler.
All items here after are to counter the enemy team, or to boost your damage output, depending on what is more reasonable at the time.
Thornmail is recommended if they are all 3 auto attack champions. For the hits you aren't dodging, you'll be taking less damage while returning it. It's also a very cheap item to build.
This is the item I find myself building most after my Hextech Gunblade. The only time I will not build it is if I am not the target in team fights, or if the other team's damage output is just too low. I would then move onto a Rageblade. This item bulks Jax up with some health, mana, more magic resist and a very nice passive.
Atma's Impaler is a great item that synergizes very well with Jax's passive. Because of his passive it'll give you some attack damage, and some health. Critical chance and armor is also appreciated as Jax.
Frozen Mallet is a great item for chasing enemies, as well as bulking Jax up even more. It also adds some more attack damage which means more health for Jax.
Do not build this if you have built a trinity force.
Guinsoo's Rageblade works incredibly well with Jax's passive, and is also cheap for the ability power and attack damage it gives you, which also means more health for Jax. I don't build this until either very late game, or if I'm completely dominating the enemy team.
I only build Force of Nature if the enemy team has a Singed (that damn poison trail) or a Mordekaiser. Force of Nature's MR does a great job at canceling out both their attacks, as well as lowering that Damage over Time of Singed's poison or Mordekaiser's ultimate. The health regen. and move speed are also both appreciated as a Jax player.
A hit or miss. I personally am not a fan of Lich Bane, but it will make a noticeable difference in your damage late game. Just be sure not to rush it as an early item, or you'll see a significant drop in your damage and farming. The move speed and magic resist is nice, along with the ability power.
Do not build this if you have built a trinity force.
For Jax you want to max out your Empower first (W) as it will be your main harassing move. Next you want to max out Leap Strike (Q), but also make sure you have at least 1 point in your Counter Strike (E). I usually take my stun first, for the level 1 bush gank in bottom lane as it helps stun/reduce damage taken.
Flash is a must on most champions. I do not care which role you pick, always take flash. In most cases you can flash over a wall and escape a death. It's also useful for flashing then leap-striking an enemy who thought they escaped your wrath. A great summoner spell for Jax, who's only escape mechanism is hoping there is a nearby ward/target to jump to.
Cleanse is a good choice on Jax, especially if going top lane against someone with a massive debuff. It can also save your life if you're exhausted/stunned/slowed. I only take this when I see an extremely heavy CC team with champions such as Leona, Nautilus, Veigar, or Udyr.
Exhaust is another good option on Jax. You can use it to extremely nerf the damage of an enemy champion top lane when going toe to toe with them. You can also use it to guarantee a kill on an escaping champion when used in combination with your Hextech Gunblade. Lastly, it can be used to escape an enemy champion or exhaust them under the tower when dived.
Ignite is a good spell to carry if your team does not already have one. It can also be used exclusively in your lane for an early kill (level 1-6). It's true damage over time can do massive damage to a regen. tank such as Dr. Mundo or Garen late game. This is my summoner spell of choice, mainly for the killing in lanes and it's reduction to lifesteal champions such as Olaf or Warwick.
I am personally not a fan of ghost as Jax has some intense crowd control with his Counter Strike and Hextech Gunblade for chasing down enemies. If you need to escape you have Flash and Leap Strike.
Another auto attacking champion, rarely seen top lane though. Your Counter Strike will ignore all damage from his Three Talon Strike, but you will still be knocked up on the third hit. Use your Leap Strike if ganked, as Xin Zhao has great crowd control.
Riven will give you a tough time for the first 6 or 7 levels, but once you go back and buy your Bilgewater Cutlass she should be fair game. Remember to ward the river and constantly harass her with your Leap Strike + Empower combo. If she decides to retaliate activate Counter Strike and Grandmaster's Might.
Fiora is pretty much Tryndamere with tits. Expect her to come swinging, usually with an ungodly amount of lifesteal. Activate Counter Strike and Grandmaster's Might to negate any auto attack damage or her ultimate. Your Hextech Gunblade should provide you with enough lifesteal and spellvamp to win the fight.
Olaf will use Reckless Swing like there's no tomorrow if he knows what he is doing. Unfortunately you can't dodge his true damage. Use Ignite when he tries to regain his life with Vicious Strikes and stun when possible. Be wary of Ragnarok before you apply any of your crowd control. If he runs use your Leap Strike Empower combo and use Hextech Gunblade if needed to finish him off.
I very rarely see Sion top lane, but thankfully this guide has all the tools you need to shut him down. When he uses Cannibalism to heal back his health, throw on Ignite and stun him when possible. Be wary of his Cryptic Gaze if/when you're low on health. Use Grandmaster's Might if you feel the need for the extra armor and magic resistance.
You're Countered By:
A tanky AP champion like Rumble. He will use his passive Iron Man to negate any damage, as well as Creeping Death to punish you for poking. Careful for Siphon of Destruction and avoid standing near your minions when he goes to use it. Mordekaiser is a champion you don't want to engage top lane unless your jungler is waiting in the bush ready to gank.
In my opinion, the second most annoying top lane, next to Shen. Granite Shield will be up almost always, reducing a large majority of your poking damage as well as making him a very strong tower diver. Seismic Shard does serious damage and can set you up for a gank. Unstoppable Force is another Crowd control Malphite carries, just to be an ***. Farm safely and ward your lane, only engage if he is gankable from your jungler as well.
Pantheon is not such a heavy auto attacker as other champions, and will use Spear Shot to zone you. Be careful for his Aegis of Zeonia stun and possibly Heartseeker Strike. You might need to build Ninja Tabi to reduce some of his damage.
Vladimir will spam Transfusion all day in the lane, and will use Sanguine Pool to escape any ganks or pokes you attempt. Ignite helps you combat his insane spellvamp but he will have you zoned until you pick up a Bilgewater Cutlass, Wriggle's Lantern, or Hextech Gunblade for sustain.
Teemo can be a hit or miss. His Blinding Dart can prevent you from last hitting, as well as being a painful poke. You'll have a slight upperhand at early levels, so take advantage and be sure to Leap Strike, Empower and Counter Strike him all at once, applying ignite if he is low enough. At level 6 Teemo will get his Noxious Trap making him a hard target to gank, as well as giving him control of your top two lane bushes.
Shen can personally burn in hell. Most of the time he is banned but the times he isn't, I always see him played. He will poke with Vorpal Blade and have incredible sustain from it's effects. Feint will block your burst and Shadow Dash will pull you back to him for either his jungler to gank, or his tower to attack. Lane extremely passively, ward the river near baron and take advantage of his absence when he uses Stand United on an ally.
As long as you harass safely, jungle when it's possible, and attend team fights you should come out the victor. Just remember the MIA's, remember to place wards strategically for those jumps, and you will be a one man army late game. Jax is, in my opinion, one of the most rewarding champions to play. I've spent the past year and a half to master him, and it is well worth the games you'll be seeing.
I hope you've enjoyed reading my guide and find it helpful. Remember to try it out and leave a comment or rating, suggestions and criticism are appreciated, and if you' like I will add your feedback into the guide. Thanks!
The Hall Of Fame!
Submit your best Jax games here!
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Patches Concerning Jax (AKA Wall of Text)
V126.96.36.199 : 8/24/11 : Leap-Strike and Empower's base damage reduced by 15 points each. Less early-game killing potential. Empower now shuts down Banshee's Veil, Nocturne's Shroud of Darkness and Sivir's Spell Shield.
V188.8.131.52 : 1/17/2012 : The patch that has changed Jax incredibly, and removed dodge.
Buffed his per level scaling slightly to make up for his lack of tankiness.
New Innate: Relentless Assault
Every time Jax uses an autoattack, he gains 4 / 6 / 8 / 10 / 12 / 14 % attack speed. This buff lasts for 2.5 seconds and stacks up to 6 times.
Cooldown changed to 10/9/8/7/6 seconds from 13/11/9/7/5.
Damage changed to 70/110/150/190/230 (+1.0 bonus attack damage) (0.6 ability power) from 20/45/70/95/120 (+1.0 total attack damage) (0.7 ability power).
Counter Strike: (Remade)
Active: Jax dodges all incoming basic attacks for 1.5 seconds. At the end of the effect, Jax deals 40/70/100/130/160 (+0.8 bonus attack damage) physical damage and stuns nearby enemies for 1 second. This spell deals an additional 10/15/20/25/30 damage for each attack dodged.
Old Passive: Permanently increses Jax's dodge chance by 10/12/14/16/18%.
Old Active: Jax stuns surrounding enemies for 1 second and deals 80/110/140/170/200 (+0.6 per ability power) magic damage to them. Usable only within 7 seconds of dodging an attack.
New Ultimate: Grandmaster's Might:
Passive: Every third consecutive attack deals an additional 100/160/220 (+0.7 ability power) magic damage.
Active: Jax gains ability power equal to 25/45/65 (+ 20% of his ability power) and attack damage equal to 25/45/65 (+20% of his bonus attack damage) for 6 seconds. 100/90/80 seconds cooldown. 75 mana cost.
Commentary: Nerfs to Jax's early levels of empower have reduced his early-game killing ability. Leap-Strike has been buffed and the CD shortened to make it more user-friendly. Jax's stun has been completely reworked. Passive has been completely reworked, killing his health. Ultimate has been reworked slightly, breaking the attack speed buff into his new Passive. Jax has become more viable for roles such as jungler and top lane. His new dodge/stun has made him more of a bruiser, getting more use for staying in combat (along with his new passive.)