Lux Build Guide by overmage
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.
Lux has a very unique playstyle. She is one of the very few champions in the game that should never try to enter a teamfight unless absolutely necessary. The reason for this is attributed to the extreme range of all 4 of her spells, meaning that her effectiveness 1000 distance from a teamfight is the same as within melee distance of it. Therefore, Lux does not purchase defensive items in general, except against certain team compositions (e.g. Evelynn).
Many people have severe misconceptions as to how Lux is supposed to be played. I have had games with her where my teammates rail on me for hanging far away from the teamfight and not "helping". This is a dangerous attitude to take towards how Lux should be played. This guide will attempt to explain what Lux should do, both in-lane and in a teamfight.
This guide will not explain how to hit moving enemies with skillshots. This comes only with lots of practice.
First and foremostly, Lux is an AP carry, and then a support, in that order. She's not a prime candidate to get tons of wards for, as she needs AP to be effective. Lux is no Janna - a defensively built Lux is next to worthless. Janna's spells are on a short enough base cooldown that she can keep someone nearly permanently slowed and knock up an entire enemy team, so AP is not vital for her. This is unlike Lux, who can slow about half the time and root one or two people every so often - not quite good enough if you are doing negligible damage.
A decent passive, useful from early to lategame. Its uses are threefold: lane harassment, lane pushing/defending, and increasing the damage of your ultimate. From midgame onwards, a single Lucent Singularity followed by an auto attack will kill ranged creeps in one hit. By positioning a Lucent correctly, you can get it to hit all the creeps in a wave, and then all your auto attacks are automatically last hits on ranged creeps. Late game, this applies to melee creeps as well. It also provides a nice harassment tactic in combination with either Light Binding or Lucent Singularity (discussed in detail below). Finally, it cannot be overlooked that Finales Funkeln both consumes as well as re-applies the Illumination debuff. How many times have you let an opponent get away with 30 health? The extra damage can make all the difference when you're firing your laser.
Q: Light Binding
Like Morgana's Dark Binding, but easier to aim, traps two targets, and traps the primary target for a shorter duration. It's easier to aim because it can hit two units, something *many* summoners tend to overlook. A one second bind can be deadly in the right situation. The great range on this spell (1000) means that you can attempt to initiate teamfights with one from a safe distance: fire the spell, and if it hits, let your teammates pounce. This spell passes through only 1 enemy creep.
W: Prismatic Barrier
The shielding on this is modest at best early game, but how many times have you survived with 10 hp? Any shield is better than no shield at all, especially when you or a team-mate have been afflicted with Ignite. Note that this spell can hit twice, thus, position yourself so the shield passes through as many teammates as possible twice. The barrier does not stack, but will refresh its own duration and strength.
E: Lucent Singularity
Lux's bread and butter, and what makes her unique in my opinion. This spell has an extreme range - although nominally 1100, the AoE of the spell means that this spell can hit units more than 1100 distance away. It passes through creeps, so it's a relatively easy spell to aim as far as skillshots go. Due to its AoE slowing properties, it also makes it easy to set up ganks with this spell, as well as to guarantee a hit when triggering (as the slowed enemy will be less able to flee the zone before it triggers). Finally, it provides vision in where it lands, allowing you to use it as a poor man's Clairvoyance on brushes which seem suspicious. You will find yourself using this spell a lot, in lane harassment, farming, defending, scouting and teamfights.
R: Finales Funkeln
Lux's signature spell. It has extreme (3000!) range. This is longer than the distance between the two mid-lane towers! The damage and AP ratios are decent - what makes this spell shine, apart from the great range, is the short cooldown. At level 3 and max CDR, this spell has a measly cooldown of 24 seconds (!). However, it is not the easiest of spells to aim with on moving targets. While it has a long range, it has a relatively narrow beam path (much thinner than the gigantic arrow that you see when aiming it). As such, if you are not confident with your prediction abilities, you want to fire this on enemies trapped with Light Binding or Lucent Singularity, or into a teamfight where opponents are unlikely to have the time or luxury to dodge. Bear in mind that this spell triggers the Illumination debuff, if it is already applied. At lategame with max CDR, do not be afraid to use this spell to clear waves - with a 24 second cooldown, you do not need to worry about the spell not being up in time for teamfights. Early game though, save this spell for when you are either porting back or teamfights, as its cooldown is less impressive.
Pros / Cons
+ High damage that scales well into the endgame
+ Good lane control
+ Lucent Singularity can scout Brush
+ Long range
+ Good team synergies with Light Binding and Lucent Singularity
+ Can initiate safely with Light Binding
+ Good zone control in teamfights
+ Clears creep waves quickly lategame
+ Finales Funkeln has a very short cooldown for an ultimate
- Purely AP, and therefore weak against MR stacking teams
- Her long range can work against her when facing a team with a good assassin, as she is usually standing too far from the main fight to be helped (same problem as Dwarven Sniper in DotA)
- No inherent escape
- Poor mobility
- Needs farm to be effective late-game
- Needs AP to be effective, thus cannot effectively itemize for defence
- Reliance on blue buff lategame
- Mana hungry
- All 4 spells are skillshots
- Fairly long cooldowns on her 3 primary spells mean that she may experience short periods of worthlessness during teamfights
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration x 9
Greater Quintessence of Magic Penetration x 3
I take these runes because the extra penetration helps greatly towards increasing the damage on all three of Lux's spells from earlygame to endgame. Lux does not need health if you are playing her correctly, so HP quints are non-optimal.
Greater Seal of Scaling Mana Regeneration x 9
Lux, generally speaking, has rather poor mana sustainability issues. These will go a long way towards lane sustainability. The scaling runes are taken here because they equal the flat runes at about level 6-7. Unless one is playing at a high Elo, the laning phase is still relevant during this period.
Greater Glyph of Scaling Cooldown Reduction x 9
Because you will not be taking Ionian Boots of Lucidity with this build, Lux will rely on these runes for cooldown reduction lategame. Ordinarily, flat CDR runes outperform scaling CDR runes due to how late the scaling CDR runes equal the flat ones. However, Lux does not have a naturally low cooldown on her spells, especially early game. She will rarely be able to fire off her combo more than once in an early teamfight. Hence, the focus earlygame is on increasing her damage (hence the magic penetration), rather than on cooldown reduction. Lategame, the increased cooldown reduction will allow her to cast her AoE spells more often to push or defend lanes more effectively.
TL;DR Lux doesn't need CDR early, so scaling runes work better on her.
Standard 9/0/21. If you have at least 2 other teammates with mana issues, pick Insight instead of Greed . Utility Mastery is gotten because Lux should have second priority for Golem buff (after the team's jungler).
There's nothing much to say about this. Enemy fleeing out of range? Flash+ Light Binding. Enemy coming after you? Light Binding + Flash + Lucent Singularity. This spell has too many uses to list for Lux. I usually prefer this over Ghost as from experience, Ghost rarely saves your life as Lux.
This may be surprising to some, but from experience, Lux has great mana issues. All of her spells cost a lot of mana, and more importantly, Lux is useless without mana. Even her passive runs off mana indirectly! (you need to hit someone with a spell to apply it) Clarity's purpose is twofold. Firstly, it allows for greater harassment and lane control, as you don't have to be afraid of spamming your spells into brushes to counter brush-juking. Secondly, it allows you regain the critical mana needed to fire off one more spell. Often, I find myself out of mana in crucial situations, like when an enemy is escaping or I am nearly dying. At that instant, a quick Clarity and a Light Binding or Finales Funkeln (or even both) saves the day. Lux's spells are all quite mana-hungry, so she needs this ability more than most champions.
What? No Clairvoyance?
This guide probably needs a teammate to pick Clairvoyance for best effect. I've found that if you don't pick Clarity, you have to play a lot more conservatively in-lane and in fact, one of Lux's 'Pros' (Strong laning phase) becomes an outright Con (Weak laning phase). Lux's mana consumption is one of the highest in the League, and being mana-starved early on cuts off most of her effectiveness. An auto-attacking Lux is outlaned by almost everybody. While it's possible to run Clarity-Clairvoyance, having no Flash just makes me nervous. Of course, if you have a teammate who already picked Clarity, then feel free to take Clairvoyance instead.
These spells have far too short of a range to be safe to pick on Lux. If you're in range to Exhaust or Ignite, you're in range to be killed.
Buy more or less health potions depending on the opposing team's lineup and how comfortable you are with laning in general. A ward is always helpful if the opposing team has a jungler. When the opposing team's solo is about level 5, drop it in the brush leading to your lane. You get Faerie Charm for the mana regen early game to cast your spells a bit more.
First trip back
With a Philosopher's stone, your sustain problems should be settled for most of the game. Also, getting this early means the increased GP10 pays off faster. Getting a Mejai's Soulstealer early is also important. For most champions, in a serious game, snowball items are only a good idea if you are already winning. However, properly played, Lux should have the lowest number of deaths on the team, as well as having the highest assists. This is due to her not being near teamfights as well as having no less than four spells at 1000 range which can produce assists (the fourth having 3000 range!). Thus, Mejai's will typically hover around 12+ stacks, a good enough payoff for this item.
After a few fights
Sorcerer's Shoes. Why not Ionian Boots of Lucidity? Lux should always have second prio for Golem Buff. Together with the CDR runes and masteries, one should be capping at 40% CDR with an Elixir of Brilliance up endgame. Additionally, at the time when one gets their boots upgraded, the game is still in its relatively early stages, where CDR matters less than maximum combo damage output. Remember that Lux's spells have a relatively long cooldown.
Rabadon's Deathcap is standard issue. Lux needs the AP. Void Staff should always be gotten unless for some strange reason, none of your opponents choose to buy any MR items.
At this stage, which item you get depends on the circumstances. These are just suggested items and you should observe the situation before deciding what to get. For instance, Lich Bane requires you to get into auto-attack range for maximum effectiveness, so make sure you can do so without immediately being gibbed if you are to purchase it. Similarly, Zhonya's is good if your opponents have a habit of going for you in a teamfight (Zhonya's and then Flash away). Many other items work in here as well, hence why this subsection is titled 'Luxury items'. Sell your Philosopher's stone to make room for wards or a sixth item at this stage.
Don't get this
Lux's spells don't have good cooldowns early on. She won't be able to make good use of the passive from Archangel's Staff.
Lux, properly played, should not be taking damage in teamfights. She shouldn't itemize for defence. Furthermore, Rod of Ages is expensive for the relatively low AP it provides, and in order to be effective, Lux needs high AP as fast as possible.
What? No defensive items?
Properly played, Lux shouldn't be taking damage in a teamfight. Being 1000 distance away, you can and should be able to flee any fight that turns unexpectedly sour, and you can even do this while attempting to save a teammate, as your spells have a long reach. If you're not at most the second-lowest deaths on the team, you're doing it wrong.
Caveat: Occasionally, when facing certain team compositions, you may be forced to pick a BV. This is rare, however, and you really shouldn't be picking Lux against these lineups in the first place.
Why not rush a Sheen -> Lich Bane?
Lux isn't supposed to go into auto-attack range unless it is safe. Rushing a Sheen->Lich Bane means that a large part of your damage output is going to come from autoattacking between spells. This isn't going to work against a large number of lineups. It will also build the dangerous mentality of constantly staying within auto-attack range during teamfights (and consequently, within spell range of opponents).
Priority is in the following order:
If you are going to do a gank at level 1, get Light Binding, as a 2 second bind is generally superior to a 20% slow. Otherwise, Lucent Singularity is preferable at level 1. It is difficult to reliably hit an enemy with Light Binding in the laning phase, hence, if you wish to keep up the pressure on an enemy right off the bat, it's easier to use Lucent Singularity.
Get one level of Prismatic Barrier at level 5. You never know when it might save someone from an Ignite.
Laning / Ganking
With Clarity, Lux plays aggressively. Lux is a capable mid solo, but she generally has more effectiveness when taking a duo lane and supporting a teammate. As such, try not to take mid unless you have no better choice.
Lucent Singularity is your friend - harass liberally with it against opponents who are unable to effectively counter-harass. With Clarity, you can and should be keeping any melee opponents below half health up to level 6, at which time Finales Funkeln can punish an overconfident opponent. Fire it into bushes if you suspect someone is lying in wait.
Remember the ward you bought at the start? Drop it in the brush leading to your lane when mid is level 5 if they have a jungler, and when mid is level 6 if they don't.
Lux should roam around to gather stacks on Mejai's Soulstealer. Don't be afraid to fire your laser if you see a gank occuring within 3000 distance to nab an assist. Those stacks will benefit your team in the long run. Always keep behind your tank before engaging, but be wary of back attacks - Clairvoyance is your friend (as this build doesn't pick that as a summoner spell, ask a teammate to do it). Nab Golem's buff if your jungler already has it. Try to have an Elixir of Brilliance up at all times.
At this point, you should be using Finales Funkeln whenever possible, except just before a teamfight, as it will, together with Lucent Singularity, clear creep waves. With 40% CDR from Golem's buff and Elixir of Brilliance + runes and masteries, you should be able to use this just about every other wave at the minimum. Otherwise, the strategy remains the same as per mid-game: follow your team around, and nab assists at every opportunity.
Team Work, Lux Style
Lux's role in teamfights is unique. She does not go into auto-attack range unless it is safe. Lux is frail, and a prime target for ganks. Ideally, you should always be standing to the rear of your team when engaging in teamfights.
All four of Lux's spells have at least 1000 range. There is a reason for this - abuse it. By stepping into 550 range (auto-attack), you are sacrificing this huge advantage. Triggering Illumination is not always more important than keeping yourself alive. 95% of your effectiveness is retained from 1000 range as compared to 550 range, so do not sacrifice your life for that 5% from Illumination.
Ignore your teammates if they complain that you don't participate in teamfights. You do not need to run in like a berserker/monkey just because your teammates don't think you're participating! Standing a good distance away, and firing spellcombos off everytime they're off cooldown is the right way to play a Lux. If your spells are all on cooldown in a teamfight (quite possible considering how long the cooldowns are), what good will you do rushing in to auto-attack? It will get you killed and you will have done maybe 50 additional damage to one enemy, congratulations for nothing. If your spells are on cooldown, be patient. Wait far from the frontlines until your spells' cooldowns reset, then throw them in again.
Your spells have 1000+ range - do not throw that advantage away! And also, when your spells are on cooldown, you are useless - don't try to 'help'!
Of course, this doesn't mean you religiously avoid going near the teamfight. Obviously, if it is safe to do so, you go in to auto-attack to trigger Illumination. But if you're not sure that you can escape after getting into range, it's better to be safe than sorry.
Tips and Tricks
Q: Light Binding
A common trick is to fire Q when there is only one creep between you and your enemy. Some people think they are safe from a Q as long as there is at least one creep between you and them, and for those people, the binding will follow through and hit the champion for half the damage and duration, allowing you to either throw an auto-attack for Illumination damage (which is not halved), or for your team-mates to jump in and wail on him/her/it.
E: Lucent Singularity
Lux's auto-attack flies relatively slowly. You can take advantage of this fact to harass a bit more safely. Fire a Lucent Singularity towards your opponent, fire one auto attack, and at the exact instance when your auto attack leaves your wand, detonate the spell and back off. If done correctly, the spell will detonate a split-second before your auto-attack hits, triggering the Illumination debuff and instantly consuming it.
This is of particular use because the 0.5-1 seconds of time saved in comparison to attacking after detonation is 0.5-1 second less time for your opponent to react. This gives your harassment a higher chance to land, and less chance that your opponent can retaliate with a ranged spell of their own. This can be tricky to time, but with practice you can get the hang of it.
R: Finales Funkeln
Killsteal Baron/Dragon/Golem/etc with it (from opponents, of course, not your teammates). Or at least attempt to. Also, sometimes, firing it blindly into the jungle when you know an enemy has escaped into it but your team's Clairvoyance is on cooldown doesn't hurt. I have occasionally nabbed kills with this. With the short cooldown on this lategame, it seldom hurts to try.
I make no claims on being an expert in LoL. However, in my opinion, Lux can be viable in Ranked, but she doesn't fare too well against certain lineups (lineups which are mostly tanky, or lineups which focus on isolating team members). Her greatest weakness to me is her vulnerability to being backstabbed by a roamer / stealthed opponent from behind (Evelynn comes to mind). Be very wary of picking Lux if your opponent is known to have a competent Evelynn/Shaco/Twitch. Oracle's is not very likely to be useful if you are caught alone away from the teamfight.
Lux is a great champion. She's not top-tier, but she's a decent champion. However, she takes some getting used to, especially with her unique playstyle that focuses on being as far from the action as possible. This, coupled with the fact that for maximum effectiveness Lux gets practically no defensive items, means that one needs to be very wary of taking damage as Lux. With the upcoming buffs to Light Binding, we should see her viability increase even further in the near future.
Lux still could do with some improvements, but at levels that aren't the highest levels, she'll do fine.
I don't want to say stuff like "I'm a pro and I owned with this so you will too". To me, these are common sense (which is sadly pretty rare) tips to playing Lux.
I hope you've enjoyed my guide, and don't forget to vote / comment. :)