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Xerath Build Guide by CasterMaster

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League of Legends Build Guide Author CasterMaster

Enigmatic Annihilation ~ A Comprehensive Xerath Guide

CasterMaster Last updated on October 29, 2013
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Ability Sequence

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Ability Key Q
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Ability Key W
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Ability Key E
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Ability Key R





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.



Masteries

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1/
Executioner
 
 

Offense: 21

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Honor Guard
 
 

Defense: 0

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Pickpocket
Intelligence
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Nimble
 
 

Utility: 9


Guide Top

Introduction ~ An In-Depth Guide


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Hello people of Mobafire! CasterMaster here with my first official competitive guide here on Xerath!. I hope that you all enjoy reading my guide, and let me know in the comments section what I can improve on, some suggestions, some errors (yes I'm human) that you may have spotted. I would love to listen to them and refix those errors or take your suggestions! This is my "first" guide here on MobaFire and I hope you guys enjoy it!

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Xerath is a ranged AP standard carry. Wait did I say ranged? YES HE HAS ONE OF THE HIGHEST BASE RANGE WITH locus of power! Arcanopulse and Arcane Barrage both go to a total of 1300 range with locus of power, making Xerath one powerful mortar of annihilation. His damage capabilities are quite high as well, not to mention his cool-down on his ultimate Arcane Barrage is quite short. I was able to use this ultimate 3 times at level 6 with blue buff before it ran out. It's an amazing poking tool and can be used to harass (inb4 killing someone). Quite a bit like a long-ranged Brand or a hyper-carry version of Lux.

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Nothing related, but good music goes well with a good guide!
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(Credits to TubeMastah for this video, song by Two Steps from Hell, song called "Invincible")


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Why Play Xerath and When?


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Here's probably a really important chapter you may want to read. This section here will provide reasoning for why you would want to play Xerath and when to play him as well. Let's start off with WHY you would want to play Xerath:

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WHY PLAY HIM?
  • Runs on AP and has decent auto-attack range
  • Short cool-down on ultimate
  • Powerful nuking potentials mid~late game
  • Beast-looking skins
  • Arcanopulse great harass/damaging tool in lane
  • Always powerful throughout the game
  • Naturally physically resistant
  • Mortar mode: On
  • Very fun to play at times
  • He just looks so BADASS!

Those are some reasons on why you would want to play Xerath. I myself play him on a regular basis and he doesn't get too boring. You can play him whenever you want, but if you're in ranked, it's probably good to counter-pick with him. He's extremely powerful against champions like Brand, Annie and even Cassiopeia with his range. Also he wouldn't do extremely well against champions such as Ahri (which is probably his biggest counter), Veigar and Talon. However, let's move on to see when you should play him:



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WHEN TO PLAY
  • Having a lot of tanks/walls on your team, you need a ranged champion
  • Mid lane champion required (or carry)
  • You have a champion on the enemy team you want to counter
  • Low CC on the enemy team (stuns, silences, suppresses, knock-up) and gap-closers

Yeah, I'm sure there are more reasons, but you can say that yourself. Xerath makes an extremely good assassin as well, able to push the lane then gank another lane without being seen, so there are just so many reasons why you would play him.


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How I Play Xerath



There are indeed many ways one can play Xerath. However, there's probably only ONE way you play Xerath, maybe a few. Example: Phreak would play Xerath as a jungler. So what am I saying? I'm saying exactly how I play Xerath. Well. a few straights words I guess.


I play Xerath as a tank. No not these kind of tanks...





THIS kind of tank:





I likes to blow up a whole bunch of people from a very far range. I may as well have said Mortar but then it wouldn't have been a funny joke (if you know what I mean). Honestly this section is just for fun and for you to get started on how you'll ACTUALLY destroy people with Xerath. Read this section for your own caution (like how I put this at the end?)


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Xerath Videos


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Here are some interesting Xerath videos I have for you to watch. You don't need to watch them but they do give quite a bit if useful information. If you are a complete beginner and don't know how to play Xerath, it would be a good idea to watch them. Otherwise, you can go ahead and skip on ahead.

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The Xerath Champion Spotlight. It's good to learn some basics, not much else.

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More in-depth information on Xerath and his skills. Lots of useful tips as well!


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Statistics


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At Level 1

  • Health: 380 (+80 per level)
  • Mana: 250 (+45 per level)
  • AD: 51.66 (+3 per level)
  • MS: 315 (365 tier 1, 385 tier 2)
  • Armor: 12 (+3.5 per level)
  • MRes: 30

These stats aren't bad at all. Certainly not as squishy as let's say Anivia and Karthus. His AD is a bit poor, but it's enough to last hit minions. whoever, at the turret, it's a different story. You may want to consider taking Brute Force instead of Havoc to gain a bit of an advantage. It'll also help your auto-attack poke against your lane opponent. They hurt early on. His armor is standard, but remember ascended form will end up giving you more than a Thornmail would at the end of the game. If you feel you need more magic resistance, consider Mercury's Treads or Banshee's Veil instead of Morello's Evil Tome.



At Level 18

  • Health: 1820
  • Mana: 1060
  • AD: 105.66
  • MS: 315 (365 tier 1, 385 tier 2)
  • Armor: 75
  • MRes: 30


Not much to say here. His mana however is quite good, meaning you don't really need extra mana items to boost it. He'll be fine without any mana regeneration or increased mana, trust me on this one. Just don't over-spam your skills and always hit your target. 75 armor at level 18 is really something, and that's without his passive. Magic resistance will always stay at 30, so just be aware that if it's not increasing, it's because it doesn't gain per level. His health is also fairly standard, and combined with Rylai's Crystal Scepter and greater seal of vitalitys, you should be just fine.

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Pros / Cons and Description


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Before we can simply learn and understand Xerath, we need to know his strengths and weaknesses. All champions have strengths and weaknesses. Some have more than others, while some have hardly any weaknesses its unnoticeable. However, let us not get off-track. Here are some of Xerath's powerful pros and deathly cons:


  • Long-Ranged: Xerath is at his strongest when he's so far from the enemy they can't get to him. That's what makes Xerath extremely dangerous.
  • Huge bursts and constant DPS: Arcanopulse and Arcane Barrage are massive bursts than are AoE. This means you can destroy multiple targets at once! Get some cool-down reduction and Arcanopulse will go to about 3 seconds on cool-down.
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  • Strong throughout the game: His early game is powerful with farming and poking, his mid game allows him to control dragon, and his late game allows him to dominate team fights!
  • Stun and Tank: Xerath's mage chains can go really low on cool-down, which means stunning enemies is easy. ascended form allows champions like Talon. Riven and AD carries have a harder time to burst you down!

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Ascended Formlocus of powermage chains

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  • Squishy: Being a carry, you'll be a bit squishy. You have some natural tankiness from AD champions but not so much from AP. Stay out of the caster's range and consider Banshee's Veil instead of Morello's Evil Tome.
  • Requires tons of aim: If you play FPS games, this shouldn't be too much of a problem. You need to aim your skills at the best possible locations and don't miss! Rylai's Crystal Scepter will help greatly.
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  • locus of power is hard to master: You'll need to learn when to use locus of power and when to turn it off. Make sure you don't stay on for too long!
  • Item dependent: Xerath completely changes depending on how you build him. Make sure you know why you are building certain items on him!

I can teach you a lot about Xerath, but most of the stuff you have to apply yourself. This is what makes up a strong Xerath player. It revolves around these key terms: ACCURACY, POSITIONING, AND TEAMWORK. If you have these three traits (or maybe 2), then you'll become a pro Xerath player simply by reading. Otherwise, you may need to practice a bit. Remember, practice doesn't make perfect, practice makes permanent!


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Runes


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Here is my rune page set-up for AP carries and I use it for Xerath as well. Let me explain:


Greater Mark of MPen
Pretty self explanatory here. The ONLY perfectly viable runes for casters. They're primary and give a great boost to your damage throughout the game. It may seem unnoticeable, but it'll give you a great deal of increased magic damage.
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Greater Seal of Scaling Health
At level 18, it's a free Ruby Crystal that doesn't take up inventory space. Very useful and helps you take some additional hits and raise your effective health. It's important because it helps you take a bit more hits later in the game when you're fragile. I also consider Greater Seal of Scaling Mana Regeneration, it's good for regenerating mana for more skill spamming (which isn't the best idea).


Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power
A primary rune for more damage as you level. They surpass Greater Glyph of Ability Power at level 6 which makes these runes superior. I find these to be just powerful, especially when you get your Rabadon's Deathcap, it'll make even the slightest difference and allows you to become stronger.
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Greater Quintessence of Ability Power
Gives an amazing boost to your early game damage. It's like getting the Doran's Ring as a starting item for damage output. Just very useful, and I find it to be fantastic for harassment They will also scale with Rabadon's Deathcap, making them slightly more useful later on as well.



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First off, if you aren't even level 20, do not consider buying runes. It's just a waste of your Influence Points and they can be used for more important things. Those who already have a decent caster rune page can use that. There are tons of different combinations you can use but this is the best set-up that I've found. It provides a good balance between early and late game which is something you really need.


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Masteries


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Here is my masteries for Xerath. As there are many ways you can run masteries for him, it's usually standard to run the new 21/0/9 (especially with the Season 3 masteries). I'll quickly explain them here:



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TIER 2 ~ I take Blast for scaling AP, which will continually make me stronger in lane as the skills are continued to be leveled up.
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TIER 3 ~ After tier 2 I take Arcane Knowledge and Havoc . I take them for slightly increased damage to enemies and to advance the tier.
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TIER 4 ~ I take Mental Force for a stroner early game. Spellsword is very useful after casting a skill, allows you to deal significantly more damage on your next basic attack. Don't underestimate it.
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TIER 5 and 6 ~ Now I take Archmage for obvious reasons. Increased AP the more I get is quite worth spending 4 points into. I finish with Executioner for massive increased damage to lower health targets as a finisher.



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TIER 1 ~ Choice is extremely preferable in this tier. If you have Flash, then take Summoner's Insight to decrease the cool-down on it. I also take a point in Improved Recall , as 1 second difference for every recall could make a difference (especially if it's after a fight and you really need to get out of there). Meditation is good for increased mana regeneration in lane, but you could take Wanderer instead if you don't plan on spending a lot of time in lane.
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TIER 2~3 ~ Most of the masteries here aren't very helpful. The ones that ARE helpful are the ones we're taking. Mastermind will greatly help if you've burned a Flash or Ignite early and continue to be useful later into the game. You don't really need the small amount of lifesteal or spellvamp from Vampirism , so we get Runic Affinity for increased duration of blue-buff. You could also take Biscuiteer if you want, but that's optional.
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Summoner Spells


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Flash
Your get-out-of-jail card. One of my favorite summoner spells of all time, I would take this on almost ANY champion except for some special circumstances. Anyway, here are the main purposes of Flash include to escape the clutches of enemies and to avoid death, to set yourself up at a safe (if not safer) location away from enemies and start skill spamming or to chase enemies... I mean I probably don't need to go over this skill anyways. You should know how to use it, and if you don't, read the above. It's mostly common sense. Whatever you do, DON'T THROW YOURSELF INTO A TEAM FIGHT WITH THIS SKILL. YOU WILL BE DEMOLISHED!

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Ignite
It's your finisher spell. I usually take this spell on almost ALL casters, and why not on Xerath?. The main problem however is you probably won't be in range to use this skill. In team fights, you should be very far off so it'll be hard to use this skill. However, it can help you get early kills and if they DO get close to you, you have some extra damage you can deal.

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Teleport
If you aren't taking Ignite and you love traveling across locations, you could also take this skill. It's very good for ganking the side lanes or finishing up enemies from a disastrous team fight. Getting this skill also encourages buying sight wards / Vision Wards. An excellent skill itself and also good against heavy-harass champions like LeBlanc.

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Cleanse
It's Quicksilver Sash as an item, but this spell also reduces the effects of the next incoming CC by a portion. If the enemy has tons of CC that prevents you from using your skills, you could take this skill (or just buy Quicksilver Sash). It's especially important on Xerath because if you get stunned, you need to get out of it immediately or you'll be turned into a crisp pile of ruins. Late game this is stronger then Ignite because remember this spell removes summoner spells and crowd-controls as well, so I use it in succession with Ignite. Depends all on enemy team.

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Exhaust
This skill is just devastating. It can really completely disable a single target. Since that's your role and your job, you just want to finish your enemy off. It's an alright spell though I don't think you should be the one to take it (and because you can't use it efficiently without getting in range).

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Ghost
If you hate Flash because you either don't like it or you've had enough with Wall Flashing, then you could also take this spell over Flash. Personally, Flash DOES take a higher skill level to perfect, but sometimes you just want to move really fast. Of course, always an option, and I'm not limiting you or anything. Flash is just a more "instant" get-away if you ask me. Ghost takes time and also you may be u unsure when to use it.

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Barrier
This spell has gotten extremely popular lately. I myself just LOVE this spell, but taking it in mid lane against a champion who will most likely be an AP carry with Ignite isn't the best choice. Because you should be far from your own team as well, it's not the BEST option and I can say don't take it if possible.


Guide Top

Skills Summary


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Ascended Form
Ascended Form
Xerath feeds on arcane power, making him increasingly resilient to physical harm. He converts 15% of his Ability Power into Armor.

You may say he's a good caster for a DPS team, and I have to say if stacking AP is fine with you, then you really can be. This passive is overlooked upon by a lot of people. Sure it sucks in mid lane as your opponent is most likely going to be AP. Even if they were to be AD, early game it really is quite pathetic. However, converting 15% of your AP to armor is actually quite deadly. Let's say you have somewhere around 600 AP (by near full-build, you'll either have around here or more), 15% of that is 90. Wow, 600 Ability power will make ascended form give 90 armor? Just a bit more AP and your passive is a free Thornmail! Don't misjudge it. If enemies have a lot of hard-hitting AD champions, focus yourself on ability power.


Arcanopulse
Fires a long-range beam of energy, dealing 75/115/155/195/235 (+0.6) magic damage to all targets hit.
Cost: 65/70/75/80/85 Mana
Range: 900
Cool-Down: 7/6.5/6/5.5/5 seconds


Your bread and butter skill. An AoE beam of energy hits all targets on its path IMMEDIATELY. It deals a relatively large amount of damage once you built a lot of AP, and it's cool-down can go quite low as well. Take time to aim this skill and you should be fine. If using this skill to proc the stun of mage chains, make sure they're walking in a straight line. Otherwise, analyze before firing. Hitting as many champions with this skill in a team fight is deadly, especially since you can hit the entire enemy team with this skill. This requires precision and positioning, so be weary of that. Once you got Rylai's Crystal Scepter, this beam of energy will slow your opponents as well. The cool-down also matches very well with locus of power, allowing you to use locus of power followed up instantly with Arcanopulse. I should warn you that if the enemy is at the further range possible, you are in locus of power and you throw mage chains onto an enemy followed quickly by Arcanopulse, it will not stun them because Arcanopulse will actually hit them first!


Even without locus of power, Arcanopulse has a pretty decent range. Now let's just add 400 to that (about the size of the screen)...


Got my Needlessly Large Rod, and now I can use Arcanopulse to one-shot the caster minions!


Locus of Power
Locus of Power
Xerath immobilizes himself near a source of magical power, increasing the range of all his spells and granting him 16/22/28/34/40% Magic Penetration. Lasts 8 seconds or until toggled off. When the effect ends, Xerath's Movement Speed is increased by 35% for 2 seconds.
Cost: None (Yippee!)
Range: +400 to all skills
Cool-Down: 20/16/12/8/4 seconds


A tough skill to monitor, make sure you always know when this skill is toggled on or off. You can't move if it's toggled on! Just always be weary of your surroundings, this skill will only be toggled off by your command. It'll increase the range of all your skills by an incredible 400! This will make both Arcanopulse and Arcane Barrage hit an incredible 1300 maximum range! Unfortunately mage chains just goes just go a maximum of 1000. This means sometimes in team fights, you will not be able to use mage chains. That's alright though, with Rylai's Crystal Scepter it'll make up that fact. Save it for when they do get close to you! Using this skill to poke at your lane opponent is incredible, especially if you are in their fog-of-war. They won't see it coming, but they can predict it.

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That range...will make your enemies cry. Trololo

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Blowing up minion wave after minion wave. Even killing minion waves I can still harass my opponent while doing so!

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Mage Chains
Mage Chains
Deals 70/120/170/220/270 (+0.7) magic damage to an enemy and marks them with Unstable Magic. Unstable Magic: The next spell Xerath strikes this enemy with stuns them for 1.5 seconds.
Cost: 70/75/80/85/90 Mana
Range: 600
Cool-Down: 12/11/10/9/8 seconds


Your one and only crowd control spell (until Rylai's Crystal Scepter). Some people max this skill over locus of power and I sometimes do too. However, if you're maxing this skill second, you aren't taking full advantage of your locus of power range which you can use more often. The cool-down drops significantly as well. If you're going to max mage chains second, you might as well play Brand or Annie because Xerath is at his best when utilizing his massive range. If you aren't utilizing it, then there isn't much point. 20 seconds on locus of power is just too much if you mess it up. However, against some champions, you will need to max mage chains first. These are times when you know you won't be in locus of power as much as you need to (no need to utilize your powerful range basically). With Rylai's Crystal Scepter, this skill will also slow, setting up for Arcanopulse/ Arcane Barrage much easier.

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Arcane Barrage
Calls down a blast of arcane energy, dealing 125/200/275 (+0.6) magic damage to all enemies in an area. May be cast up to three times within 12 seconds before going on cooldown.
Cost: 150/180/210 Mana
Range: 900
Cool-Down: 80/70/60 seconds


When you get your ultimate, it's about time you also got your blue buff. You'll be able to at least use Arcane Barrage 3 times before blue buff runs out! So don't be afraid to use it. Use it to harass! Farm minions! LOL! Well, back to the point, this ultimate is on a relatively low cool-down, so don't be afraid to use it. It's easier to stun with Arcane Barrage than Arcanopulse. Early levels however, a single shot from Arcane Barrage will not deal as much damage as Arcanopulse, so prioritize Arcanopulse over Arcane Barrage before rank 2 on your ultimate. If your lane opponent dies before you have finished using this skill, save it. You may need it later (like when their jungler comes to get you even if your lane opponent is dead, quick stun needed!) The gap is 12 seconds, so just wait it out, and don't use it if you don't need to. Sometimes it's better to get it over with or not use it.


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Skill Sequence and Skill Combos


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Maxing Arcanopulse first is obvious. It's your main damage source and deals the most damage of all your skills (not including your ultimate). We want locus of power maxed second so that you can constantly poke at your opponent without being anywhere close to range. If you want you could take mage chains over locus of power depending on your opponent, then instead max locus of power last. Take Arcane Barrage whenever possible.

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Combos for Xerath are quite easily figured out. For a long ranged slow, simply locus of power and use Arcane Barrage (this requires Rylai's Crystal Scepter. Early on, it's more important to get Arcanopulse on the enemy because it deals more damage than a single Arcane Barrage. When attempting to burst down your enemy, you should usually start with activating locus of power (sometimes you won't need to activate it). You can then follow up with Arcanopulse and quickly with mage chains and Arcane Barrage. You can probably get 2 Arcane Barrages out followed by another Arcanopulse once it's off cool-down. Then finish them with your last Arcane Barrage.


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Items


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Well, I have to say, if you survived that much of the guide, then congratulations! Hope you actually READ the whole thing as it provides a good lot of information. The exciting part just starts now! As Xerath is a caster (and if you're familiar with casters you should already know how to build him) there are a few ways you can build him. Each have their own style and can lead a game to victory. Before we get into builds, I need to tell you some items! Just stick around a bit longer:

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Boots and Pots
Pretty self explanatory here. There's really no point in explaining this because it's just the standard go. Boots of Speed to dodge skill shots/escape ganks and Health Potions to help you sustain your lane. They'll also help you get to your lane faster if you need to go back. Viable at least I can say.
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ManaRegen + Potions
You can grab a ward or two while you're at it here. For mages, it helps some get the Chalice of Harmony that builds into Athene's Unholy Grail. Xerath likes this item a lot, so why not? It's a very optimal start if you don't plan on going kill lane. Fortify yourself well.


Doran's Ring + 2x HP Pot
Doran's Ring is cheaper now, so you can afford to grab Health Potions along with it, making it an extremely viable start if you want to push for aggression and dominate your lane. Next to the best, this is one of them. Start with it and you won't be upset. Just make sure you don't miss your skill shots, and last hitting is important to grab more mana back on Xerath.
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Mana and Pots
I dislike getting this item. You literally can't build this item into anything starting with Sapphire Crystal as there are no items you can buy. Oh wait, yes there is! catalyst the protector requires this item, which will greatly improve your lane sustainability. Not a bad choice, as it'll help you get catalyst the protector very fast (which will become a Banshee's Veil later on). You can probably get a catalyst the protector first, then leave it around while you start building up a lot of AP. ~CM

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Tier 2 Boots
Not usually an item I would get so early in the game, but it does have its usefulness. It'll make you faster, allowing you to get back to your lane, move around the map, dodge skill shots easier and escape ganks.
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Double Dorans
After getting some farm, you can pick up a few Doran's Rings. They'll add to your damage, mana regeneration and effective health. You should also pick up some Health Potions too, they don't bite. You'll start dealing a bit more damage once you get this. Always a good early game start.


The Health Buckle
A good item to get. This will help your tankiness and survive massive burst champions like Malzahar, Veigar or LeBlanc. It's definitely a very safe item to get, and encourages earlier Rylai's Crystal Scepter. Definitely not a bad choice even if you're doing well in lane (otherwise it's probably better just to stick with damage).
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Needlessly Large Rod
Probably the best item. If you can get this on your first/second back, you'll become a killing machine. Just eye your damage, it'll be extremely dangerous for your lane opponent and you can easily burst down the minions. I usually get this item after my double Doran's Rings, but that's your choice.

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Ice Staff
An absolute must for Xerath. Boosts your health by an incredible 500, making you much harder to kill. 80 ability power is also going to hurt. Now, all your damaging skills will slow your enemies as well! This will set up easier for mage chains and ensure you hit your skills.
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AP Infinity Edge
May your AP be a blessing to victory. Seriously if you do not get this item you are a fail carry =( this item just boosts your damage to the maximum! I really don't think I need to explain this item because its just common sense. Rabadon's Deathcap gives you too much damage to even explain about it. Definitely a strong choice. It's like getting Infinity Edge on the AD carry. This item should probably be gotten first to take your damage to the next level.



Mage Power Penetration
Xerath likes to kill magic resistance, and what way better to do so with Void Staff? Let your skills hurt more and bye-bye to that magic resistance you can see! It's also quite cheap so it'll help you greatly! If you took Sorcerer's Shoes, you could take Morello's Evil Tome instead for the CDR. I like this set-up better.
Damaging Invincibility
A perfect defense item and gives a LARGE amount of AP and some decent armor. Mainly the passive is just DEVASTATING and can really save your life. With +100 AP, you'll already be getting an additional 15 armor (not including the Rabadon's Deathcaps passive), giving you at LEAST 65 armor. I think it's Xerath's last resort in defense, and just a good choice overall for when your enemies do get to you.
A Cup of Mana
A small amount of magic resistance, good amount of AP, cool-down reduction which Xerath desperately needs and a continuous amount of mana that'll fortitude you in team fights. Since Abyssal Scepter, Deathfire Grasp, Morello's Evil Tome and Banshee's Veil all have some issues for not getting them, Athene's Unholy Grail makes a great entrance here! A well item, and works great on Xerath.

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Banshee's Veil
Best defensive item for carries. However, it does not offer any source of damage. If you really need to survive and take a few crowd controls or dangerous shots like Enchanted Crystal Arrow or even Charm, then by all means take Banshee's Veil. I'd use it to replace Athene's Unholy Grail.

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Deathfire Grasp
The only time I ever get this item is if most of the opposing team gets Banshee's Veil. Then you can use a Arcanopulse to get rid of their Banshee's Veil and use the active on Deathfire Grasp to make up the lost of damage. This item is also good against champions with high health. However, due to the extremely short range of the active (and being beaten by Morello's Evil Tome in all stats), it's what makes this item very situational for me. However, it's not a bad item (don't get me wrong), and take it when you know you need it!

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Guardian Angel
I only get this item if I'm, perhaps, the number one champion on the hit-list. It gives a good amount of both armor AND magic resistance, plus the angel that brings you to life once again. If you feel threatened or have thanatophobia (the fear of death), then you can buy this item. Hopefully, you won't need to as your team should be protecting you (had countless times when they ditched me to chase tanks). With that put, you can also buy this item IF YOUR TEAM IS COMPLETELY INSANE IN THE MEMBRANE.

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Mejai's Soulstealer
If you can get around 3 kills before 10 minutes, your lane opponent is constantly dieing because you're too strong or your jungler is amazing, then you can get this item. It's possible to just snowball your way to victory (this won't work in high-level games. It just puts an X over your head meaning everyone will want you dead, thus losing your stacks). Just putting it out there, you can get it if you feel like you will do well through the rest of the game, or the game will be quite short and you can just finish it at ease. Personally I would never touch this within 100 kills.

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Archangel's Staff/Seraph's Embrace
If you get a Tear of the Goddess early on, then you can eventually build it into this. On Xerath I don't really mind building this item, though I always have the hate for glass cannon without ultimate strength. Still, it has a new active that helps you shield incoming damage. I suggest the best time to get this item is when your lane opponent has little harass and your opposing team has little gap closers to strike you. Then you can build this with ease.

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Quicksilver Sash
It's Cleanse as an item, enough said. Get this if you're constantly getting hit by powerful crowd controls (ex. if the opposing team have a Morgana and/or Amumu just trying to hit you with their CC). If it's not a lot of CC, you can just get Banshee's Veil, but just another option. Not recommended, but if you must.

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Liandry's Torment
Make yourself a Fire/Lightning hybrid (or pure fire mage if you're using Scorched Earth Xerath) and take this item to the test. With 70 AP and 200 health and 15 magic penetration, it helps you hurt a lot harder especially with its new passive that burns like a ranged Ignite. Nothing wrong with this item, and makes a great replacement for Athene's Unholy Grail or other items if you want more damage and DoT into your kit.[/b]

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Will of the Ancients
If you have more then half of your team that uses AP and nobody else gets this item, then it's open for you to take it. Carry it around you and spread it's aura to your allies. They'll be happy. One thing I have to mention though is because you're usually far from the team fight, most of your allies might not be getting the aura effect. Best leave this to your support/tank or someone else that will fight with your team. Otherwise, this item isn't a bad choice.

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Rod of Ages
I feel this item needs special mention. I used to use Rod of Ages on EVERY caster champion. The fact is, it wasn't actually made for that purpose. When I found out rushing Rabadon's Deathcap was much more effective (you are a carry, carries need a lot of damage), and even then Rylai's Crystal Scepter offers slow, it just goes to show that it wasn't meant for a champion like Xerath. He already has enough mana, and if you don't, you could always buy mana potions or ask for blue buff. Ask yourself why this item is on the recommended list for Cho'Gath and Singed? The intention was that it was bought more for the AP tanks, not for casters. Although I can't stop you, if you TRULY love spamming skills and staying in your lane forever because of catalyst the protector, then you can take this item (though I'd turn it into a Banshee's Veil). Overall an alright option if you're losing your lane.

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Abyssal Scepter
In Season 3, it's a rather poor item that is replaced with Athene's Unholy Grail. This is because the passive that it has is hard for you to be able to use when you're launching Arcane Barrages from a far distance. Overall, not a great item choice but is crucial for countering melee AP champions such as Kassadin and Katarina, both which are quite often picked. Otherwise, it's better to choose Athene's Unholy Grail or Banshee's Veil.


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Damage(AP): , , , , , , , , , , ,

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Cool-down Reduction: , ,

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Health: , , ,

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Armor: ,

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Magic Resistance: , ( ), , , ,

There are also some other options that COULD be useful but I find not strong. Notice how little armor works well on Xerath but remember that his passive is always there for you. If you want to suggest an item to be on here then leave your suggestions in the comment section (or be hardcore and PM me =P)


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Build Explanation


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CDR Boots
Greatly decreases your cool-down throughout the game. If you ever needed Magic Penetration, you could grab a Liandry's Torment but I find the 1/3 maximum CDR removed is much more useful, especially when you rely greatly on your low-cooldown Arcanopulses and Arcane Barrages so you can use them again the next time you walk into your lane. Same thing goes with late game. I also recommend Mercury's Treads. It gives a hefty amount of magic resistance and the tenacity you need to reduce the stuns and snares that are flying around you. For Tier 3s it doesn't really matter, but grab the one that fits your situation the most.

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Rabadon's Deathcap
Along with Rylai's Crystal Scepter, this is pretty much core to your build. The ultimate damage item, it'll upgrade your damage by a HUGE amount, and even adding an additional 1.35x amount of your current AP to your total AP. It just makes this the ultimate carry item for casters, and is your best friend. If you can get this item quickly, you can kill your lane opponent with a single combo! If they come back to lane, do it again! It's fun, but watch out because you will be squishier.
Other Options: None (this is core)

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Rylai's Crystal Scepter
Personally I think this item should be core on Xerath. With all your skills at high range, you can really help your team chase down enemies by slowing them. It gives you a lot of effective health to survive ganks and skirmishes (maybe even team fights), and a good amount of AP as well. It's not just for your own benefit, it's for your team. Some people prefer Rod of Ages over this item, but I think getting CC is more important than mana. After all, controlling your mana means you won't need additional mana or mana regeneration to aid you (also your team will love you).
Other Options: None (this is core)

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Void Staff
More magic penetration for your AoE skills to hurt more! Magic resistance isn't a threat to you at this rate. You'll be scaling high with AP and magic penetration that the only thing that can stop you is probably health. Well, I'd say this isn't a problem to begin with. Definitely a strong item and should be gotten.

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Zhonya's Hourglass
Gives you 120 AP (which will literally give you a lot of damage) and a fair amount of armor. It's also good to save yourself because just cause you're a ranged hyper-carry doesn't mean you'll always be out of trouble. When the enemies eventually get to you, you have some defenses to last resort yourself. Since most assassins are AD, this will also make you more beefy. 120 AP is the most amount of AP you can get from an item (not including passives) next to Rabadon's Deathcap and Deathfire Grasp, so it makes this item really powerful.

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Athene's Unholy Grail
What's not to love about this item (other then a low amount of AP given)? Abyssal Scepter doesn't let you remove their magic resistance because you're too far away, Deathfire Grasp has a really low range so you won't be able to use it, and Banshee's Veil is too situational for a champion far out of war. Morello's Evil Tome is pretty much a support item now, and even then you can't use its active very effectively, while Quicksilver Sash usually doesn't need to be taken unless you get suppressed by Warwick or Malzahar or someone. That's why we take Athene's Unholy Grail. It gives a standard 80 AP, a small amount of magic resistance, cool-down reduction and overfilling mana pool! With no increments in mana for items, this item will be a good way to keep that continually replenished.


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Sample Builds


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There are many ways to build Xerath. Yes I've tried MANY builds with Xerath but I'm just going to stick to your average caster builds.

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Standard Build #1
Standard Build #2
Tankier Build
Supportive Carry

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Build 1: My standard build. Gives a good amount of resistances and damage output. Used very often.
Build 2: A different approach to the first build. Quite similar overall, but just a different set-up. Used often.
Build 3: A much more defensive solution, especially good against high damage enemies and gap-closers. Used occasionally.
Build 4: A more "team-supportive" build. Rarely used.

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For a more comprehensive reading, sample builds here only contain builds that are possible to use. I do not have all the possible items as there are so many combination's you can use as there are tons of items to choose from. There is no super serious build that will serve you the best every game, but there are good choices in items that can lead you there. For elixirs, get them in this order from best to worst:

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MORELLONOMICON BUILD
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Item Sequence











Rylai's Crystal Scepter
2600

Sorcerer's Shoes
1100

Morello's Evil Tome
2200

Zhonya's Hourglass
2900

Banshee's Veil
2450
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This build excels at pretty much everything. You have a good amount of unfair damage to their carries, a good survival ratio and a fair consistent damage output. I like this build for those reasons and because I can play aggressively and defensively as I please. In other words, you can become like Dr. Mundo. So long as you're doing well for your team, it shouldn't be a problem. For late game you can eventually use Ionian Boots of Lucidity instead and replace Morellonomicon with Void Staff. That's how you come with build #2.

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MORE-COOL-DOWN-REDUCTION BUILD
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Item Sequence











Rylai's Crystal Scepter
2600

Ionian Boots of Lucidity
900

Deathfire Grasp
3100

Zhonya's Hourglass
2900

Will of the Ancients
2300

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A typical CDR build. I usually rarely (if ever) build like this but its not bad. It makes your cool-downs go quite low indeed. However, it makes getting CDR from things like blue buff and Elixir of Brilliance quite useless as you'll pass the 40% maximum cool-down reduction.


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Gameplay


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In this section I will cover Laning, Team Fighting, and Ganking. This'll help you against your lane opponent with neat tricks, taking easy steps to dominate your lane, succeed and perfect ganking, and focusing down the right target in a team fight. Whatever it is, it'll help you become better at Xerath's gameplay and style. If you feel like I left something out, tell me and I may put it in the guide!

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Your early game should consist of a few things. The most important thing you need to do in your early game is GRABBING THE CS! For Xerath, this isn't very hard. Just be careful when trading damage with your opponent. It's usually best to wait for your opponent to launch their attacks first so that you can see it coming and counter-attack. If you have trouble last-hitting, maybe grab Brute Force over Mental Force / Havoc . Try not to spam your skills. Doing this will push your lane and deplete your mana. WE DON'T WANT THIS! Pushing your lane will allow the enemy's jungler have an opportunity to gank you. Depleting your mana means you'll proabbly have to go back. Limit your use of mana, so that when your jungler ganks you have more than enough for a full combo. Make sure you get some sight wards/ Vision Wards so that you can't be ganked. Try to get blue buff if possible.

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This is the area where you want to fight your minions. Near the proximity of the turret, making it very safe for you and the enemy jungler unable to gank you without tower diving.

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Once you get Arcane Barrage, you can now zone your opponent. Zoning means to force your opponent to hug their turret and lose EXP and CS because they're too scared to fight you. Although your full combo will usually not be able to kill them, since this is the time you usually get your first blue buff, don't be afraid to use Arcane Barrage (even if it's just to harass your lane opponent). It's on a fairly low cool-down and will get off cool-down by the time your lane opponent comes back (assuming they went back). It deals a fairly large chunk of damage too. This is also the point where you decide whether to max locus of power or mage chains. Choose wisely!

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Always take advantage of your range. I mean, it's there for a reason!

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At this point, laning hardly matters (it still does). The main focus turns to dragon and baron. Keep these areas warded. Try to pick off lone enemies with your team (or if you're fed, yourself). Make sure you have Flash just in case you need to do a quick getaway. Xerath excels at stealing Dragon with his massive range and Arcanopulse nuke. Always keep in mind that you can really dish out a lot of damage once you get Rabadon's Deathcap. Otherwise, play like you would early and late game (don't be afraid to play aggressively, force their minions back so you can gank a lane!)

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Make sure Dragon and Baron are warded. They give you a huge advantage.

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There are different ways to gank with Xerath. Sometimes you'll find yourself hiding in a busy and sniping them down. Other times you will need to reveal yourself and quickly stun them (you could even try stunning from the bush). mage chains is on a maximum of 1000 range, which isn't so bad but you want to keep out of trouble. Also, DON'T FACE CHECK THE BUSH EVEN IF YOU THINK YOU HAVE AN ADVANTAGE! Because you know, something like this could happen (which can turn into a really big mess for your team):

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I have to say, poorly played by Ocelote here (and just SK in general, should have focused Ashe)

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Team fights? What are team fights? You shouldn't be in them! No but seriously, you should be so far away from the team fight that the opponents will have a hard time getting to you (while you use all your skills to completely annihilate them). Stay behind your tanks always and don't get caught off-guard. If you do, you have Flash, Banshee's Veil and Zhonya's Hourglass for last resort defense. Make the enemy think it's a 4v5 (technically it is, since they can't get to you and you can easily blow them up). Always be aware of your position. Never be too near to your opponents because they can just turn around and sweep you out of the way. In short terms, keep your distance, hit as many champions as you can (preferably the enemy carries/support), stay out of trouble and don't die!

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Some key things you should keep in mind while playing Xerath. Here are some of them:
  • POSITIONING: You need to have a very good positioning in order to be successful. You should be out of enemy range but you should be in range to hit them. If you have strong CCers on your team, they will be your best friend. Stick behind them, and watch out for flanks. You don't want them going around just to get to you.
  • CARRY: Although you have massive range, you are still a carry, and people will attempt to destroy you. Your team should help protect you, and if they don't, then you probably have a bad team. You are a carry, and the support should be helping you out as well. They do their roles, you do yours.
  • ACCURACY:By the time you get Rylai's Crystal Scepter, you shouldn't be missing unless they flash or use an escape skill (ex. Arcane Shift or Riftwalk). However, you want to make sure you're hitting the carries with your spells. Make sure you know who you are aiming for before you cast your spells.

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Should a team fight/skirmish break out, this is an example of good positioning.

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Most images came from this game.


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Warding


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sight ward

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75g for a sight ward and 125g for a Vision Ward. For a simple ward you pay very little for a chance to raise your own awareness of the map AND makes ganking a lot harder. sight wards won't prevent ganks, but they'll make you aware that one may be happening. Getting Vision Wards will allow you to kill the enemy sight wards/ Vision Wards. They'll also help you detect enemy invisible champions like Twitch, Evelynn and the oh so deadly Shaco. GET THEM!. They're your best defensive tool out there.

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These are some locations where you would ward in the middle lane:

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Here are some wards you can place down. The top bush and purple team's tri-path are covered here.

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The bottom bush and blue team's tri-path are covered here.

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You can also ward outside the blue buff location. This will work for both blue and purple team and will help you notice incoming ganks from the back. This is extremely common for champions like Fiddlesticks and Trundle, but as well as many other junglers as well. Be on the look out, and constantly analyze the map to see where the enemy jungler is. For example, it's a good idea to fight your lane opponent if you notice the enemy jungler is at bottom lane.

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Note I didn't take extra pictures for warding and used the same section as my Kassadin guide because, in general, people who go mid lane will ward the same locations.


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Conclusion


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I spent very few days on this guide, but that's because I probably spent about 5 hours a day (and going off-task as well). However, I REALLY hope you enjoyed reading that and take these skills to the future. They'll definitely make you a better Xerath player no doubt. And that's my word. For your word, I would love to have you comment on guide. Tell me what you liked, what you didn't like. If you're going to down-vote, at least give a good reason why, and try out the guide first. I'M WILLING TO TAKE ALL INFORMATION INTO ACCOUNT. This is a guide that I want everyone to appreciate, so do please leave comment, feedback, errors and places I need to update. Your ideas, insights and opinions are greatly helpful because I want this to be the guide that people can go to and learn the most out of it. That's all a guide is for, to learn, improve, and to be the best player you can be! But that's all I have to say. Hope you have fun playing Xerath!

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jhoijhoi, for the "Making a Guide" guide
Moonedge, for support and encouragement
Searzocom, for support and inviting me to join the Mobafire community
Neoreborn, for helping me out with some pictures
Albableat, for the epic outro banner


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FAQs and More Facts


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Optional section that contains a lot of useful information that may not have been gone through. Questions asked frequently will be placed here. Before you leave a question on my guide, maybe check and see if your question is already answered here. This saves more time and I've already given the full explanation. No need to waste time! Questions that may involve helping out my guide a bit can be left in the comment section, so you can feel free by reading here!

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Havoc vs Brute Force

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Bah, why do these masteries make such a deal to gameplay anyways? Unfortunately they do, and here we have come to a rather disgusting topic. So what's the choice: Havoc or Brute Force ? The answer is really your preferable choice. However, since Xerath utilizes a higher base-AD at early levels than most champions, he can effectively poke your lane opponent with just auto-attacks alone! To boost that damage we take Brute Force to help him become stronger in his early game phase. Remember that taking Brute Force will also help you last hit minions better (though I myself have no trouble doing this). Taking Havoc increase your overall damage output by 1.5%. This means if it's possible to deal 1000 damage, you'll be dealing an additional 15 damage. At that point, if it's even POSSIBLE to deal 1000 damage at any point of the game, 15 damage won't be a lot. In fact, it's extremely unnoticeable while Brute Force is actually quite noticeable. Helping your early game will eventually help your late game as well, meaning that I'd prefer to take Brute Force over Havoc . If you are a passive player, then Havoc might do you better for late game, but again, it's just personal preference. I really don't think it makes that much of a difference anyways, otherwise you might as well remove 3 points from Mental Force to Havoc instead.

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When to max mage chains second?
locus of powermage chains

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Usually the main reason you want to play Xerath is his range. To take control of this, you want to max locus of power second; to optimize your range against the enemy champion you are countering! However, let's say if you're in a normal game, then things change. There will indeed be times when you will max mage chains before locus of power simply because it serves a better purpose. It'll give more damage and goes on shorter cool-down. Let's say you do not need to utilize your all=mighty range. Champions like Ahri, Kassadin and Katarina are examples of champions you would want to max mage chains second. The answer is this: If your lane opponent has high mobility, good gap-closing skill(s) or can just fight you head on, take mage chains over locus of power. Opposite results in maxing locus of power over mage chains. Champions include Brand, Annie, Cassiopeia and Mordekaiser. These champions do not have excessive gap-closing skills ( Flash does NOT count), do not have high mobility and will probably end up in you losing to a fight head-on. This case we would want to max locus of power instead. We need the increased range so that Pillar of Flame and Siphon of Destruction will not be able to hit us while we can safely poke them to their deaths.


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Guide History


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Heh, well with this new guide, I hope I can re-teach everyone who has read my OLD Xerath guide or make them learn something even I haven't realized it. Also, this guide looks so much more pro =D

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東方[Touhou] ~Xi- On~ Scarlet Chain

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Day 1 after release; not bad, not bad at all

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Just some of my first comments in this guide!

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Thanks for everyone who helped and supported me and my guides!

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LAST UPDATE: OCTOBER 29, 2013


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Hall of Fame


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Put your awesome match history records right here!

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My Games

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Old3r's Games(note he isn't even level 30 yet =O)

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Tag_Dog's Games

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BlazeTemplar's Games

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Cadii's Game

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Snowflaxe's Games

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LOG


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April 4, 2012 / The Xerath Guide is published!
April 5, 2012 / Added the "Xerath Videos" section and fuddled around with the guide
April 6, 2012 / Added some extra "non-important" stuff to guide
April 7~8, 2012 / Fixed some grammar and coding errors along with last update available
April 16, 2012 / Added some FAQs and facts and changed up the guide a bit
April 25, 2012 / Changed main build
June 9, 2012 / Continuing with updates
June 11, 2012 / Added "How I play Xerath" section because why not?
June 15, 2012 / Added more games to "Hall of Fame" section
September 22, 2012 / Updated
October 15, 2012 / Changed some stuff (meh)
January 6, 2013 / Season 3 Update
July 12, 2013 / Item Update