Xerath Build Guide by EatMyChidorii
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Not Updated For Current Season
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Hello, welcome to a build for one of my favourite characters, Xerath, The Magus Ascendant. In all honesty, I love using Xerath so will anyone who's a pro at making skill shots in the game. When Xerath first came out, I found him a bit over-powered which only brought me more and more killstreaks and victories so after reading this guide, I hope you can achieve some good scores just like I did. This champion is a difficult one to master, but I hope you can get it quickly with the help of this great build!
This build is mostly for mid solo lane, but it works either way. It's just more effective 1v1 mid lane.
Q - Arcanopulse
W - Locus of Power
E - Mage Chains
R - Arcane Barrage
Arcanopulse is a very great skill, especially for harassment. It sends a lightning bolt of damage in a straight line across the battlefield. Although I find this skill very strong against squishy, non magic-resistant champions and champion builds, it is easily a con in most situations. Arcanopulse is, in fact, a skill shot, so you need good hand-eye coordination and perception to use this skill effectively. However, if you can build your items correctly, and have enough gold, this skill will become life-threatening later on in mid-game. Oh and quick note: After setting your Arcanopulse, it'll take around 1 second for Xerath to actually blast it, so judge your timing wisely!
Locus of Power is a great skill if used correctly. It's basically a skill that increases the range on all of your other skills. Use this when stretching past the turret for a last-hit kill without taking any damage, or when the enemy is getting away. It's good for those escape times because of two reasons. One, the range of all your skills is increased by a large amount and two, it boosts your movement speed for extra chasing speed or extra escaping speed. Use this skill when the enemy is getting away, or you need some more range for a last-hit on an enemy champion for the kill.
Mage Chains is a ball of lightning that does significant damage. Once you strike an enemy with one of these, they are marked with a mark of lightning. While that mark is up, you can use another skill to stun them. As soon as someone with a mark comes into contact with a skill from Xerath, they are stunned for a brief amount of time. Use this skill to your advantage and stun the enemy when they rush you.
Arcane Barrage is very handy. It brings down chaos in the form of three lightning surges. Lightning rains down upon your enemies. If you miss with your arcanopulse for the stun with mage chains, just use this while you wait on the cooldown. It also stuns with the effect of mage chains and you can use it up to three times for damage for when groups of enemies are together. You can use this skill wisely to damage a lot at the same time, or to stun for the kill. Don't be afraid to use this skill, because the cooldown is not long. Arcane Barrage is a mighty ultimate that does a fairly large amount of damage. Just build a lot of AP and you're good.
ANYWAYS, here's the sequence:
Locus of Power> Mage Chains > > > DE-ACTIVATE Locus of Power > > (WHEN STUN RUNS OUT) > > Mage Chains > CONTINUE SPAMMING SKILLS
Repeat this order in rapid succession and you're set. You don't always have to start with Locus of Power. That's just for when you're at a set range. While waiting on cooldowns, do all the damage you can.
NOTE: Stay at a distance and a range where you can hit them and they can't hit you. Xerath has the advantage on ranged spells. Use exhaust, flash in for the basic attack and easy kill. Easy way to get kills as a harasser against a squishy character at mid or solo lane.
Skill Shot: Quick Practice Tips
Arcanopulse shoots in a straight line and is fairly easy to dodge, but if you hit this move dead on, it can do massive damage.
Since skill shots aren't always the easiest, here are some tips:
1. If they're stationary, shoot on them if it looks like they aren't gonna move, or shoot to the right or left, whichever one looks harder for them to evade.
2. If you do have a clear shot, just shoot where you think they're headed but keep it in line with some enemy minions, so that you can farm a little, even if you miss the champion.
3. Don't waste your time or mana continually blasting this spell. If you keep missing, you'll run out of mana and recall early, leaving you with a bad start.
4. If they're moving, obviously shoot where they are going to be. Not where they are.
5. You don't have to hit every time, maybe you should just shoot a line, causing them to evade into another attack, possibly Blitzcrank's arm extender, etc.
6. It takes Xerath about 1 second after the activation of Arcanopulse to actually charge up enough lightning to blast it, so also count in timing for your calculations.
7. Position yourself nicely for great angles in skill shots.
Speaking of spells, there are some that are quite useful to Xerath that are used very basically. My recommended choice was Exhaust and Flash. These skills come in handy for solo lane. Just keep up with your harassment and when they're at low or critical health, Exhaust them and then Flash in and attack with basic attack for the easy kill. Keep getting and kills and stay more farmed than your opponent and you'll do just fine.
There's also the alternative of getting Ignite, if you always miss the last shot. But it's not very useful for Xerath, since you can just use Locus of Power to extend your range for the final blow.
Another choice of a summoner spell is Clarity. I forgot to mention, Xerath is a high mana consumer. He might need blue buff every now and then and mana potions at times. When I use him anyways. All his skills are good but take up fair amounts of your mana. If it depletes quickly, get clarity.
For the way I use Xerath, I only have one suggested build that I would seriously recommend for you to to build.
This is a good starting item for Xerath. You can use the extra mana regen and ability power for extra harassment for the start of the game. Xerath has great range, so extra ability power at the beginning would assist you in easy damage on enemy opponents at the start of the game without being directly countered.
I recommend these boots over any other for the magic penetration. Tanky DPS opponents will be hard for you because of their melee attack speed and extra defensse and magic resistance items. The magic penetration comes in handy.
Start with this item for your first core item. Immediately get the deathcap for extra damage mid-game. If you're fed, I strongly suggest you buy this item. It gives a nice boost to your ability power early for extra kills so that you can keep gaining kills and gold.
Rylai's Crystal Scepter
This is an essential item when using Xerath. Once you have this item, every one of your spells will slow the enemy on contact for a short, fixed amount of time. Using this effect with mage chains is extremely critical. When you have this item, you can strike someone with a mage chains, thus, slowing them and making it very difficult to dodge another spell, such as arcanopulse, and the stun.
Morello's Evil Tome
This is mainly for some more AP, whilist also adding some cooldown reduction for faster spellcasting after wasting half of your spells on the stun. This also adds more mana regeneration for your troubles of mana loss. Get this before or after Will of the Ancients depending on how much mana you use, or if you find constantly getting blue buff annoying.
Will of the Ancients
Near late game, this will come in handy. Certain melee champions should have more health and defense by now so getting this item will help, since Xerath isn't very tanky or has much health. Constantly hitting your spells correctly will help you stay alive with the help of this item's spell vamp. Spell vamp acts as life steal for magic attacks.
This item is just basically here for more magic penetration. Those tanky champions will be hard to beat with all their magic resistance. This magic penetration will counter their tanky build and help you do even more damage. This is just here to replace Doran's Ring later on near end game for more damage.
With the complete revamp of the masteries, things have really changed. For the masteries, I added 21 points in offense mainly for the ability power. I added some points for extra effects on exhaust and flash, and also a couple for bonus damage on minions so that you can have a good farm (especially in middle solo lane). The 21 points in offense is mainly for your spells. Extra ability power, magic penetration, and cooldown reduction. I put the rest of the points obviously in the utility section for bonus mana regen and mana per level. I also put one point in extra buff duration. The new version of the jungle made it somewhat easier. Extra buff time is good, since buffs appear to last shorter. Use these masteries as well as you can towards your advantage. This is the average layout for mage types.
The greater marks are generally for magic penetration. Those tanky types are a real bad disadvantage against Xerath. Magic penetration is very good in building Xerath. Keep that in mind, because Xerath is a mage and if you can't penetrate their magic resist, than your attacks won't deal a whole lot of damage.
The greater seals are for cooldown reduction. You need to be able to activate Locus of Power as much as possible, especially during early game, when it has a high cooldown timer. Arcanopulse's cooldown is not bad but Mage Chains definitely needs a shorter cooldown if you want to stun constantly for a higher chance of getting more kills.
The greater glyphs are for ability power. Just extra power for your troubles.
YOU CAN DEFINITELY BUY WHATEVER RUNES YOU DESIRE. THESE RUNES AREN'T NECESSARILY THE BEST CHOICES. THESE ARE JUST THE ONES I TRIED AND THEY WORK FINE.
To farm efficiently with Xerath, go ahead of your minion wave (but not too far) and wait for the enemy minions. You should see that they travel in single file. Wait until they're close enough, then use Locus of Power and Arcanopulse to damage them all in one blow. After that, move back to your minions so that they tank the hits while you take all the last hits. Do this all game for good gold and get blue buff occasionally, Xerath is a high mana consumer.
Pros / Cons
1. Xerath is mainly an OP character, IF you can use him well.
2. 1 v 1 against other mages are somewhat easy as you have stuns and shocking damage.
3. The incredible range you have comes in handy with tricky harassment without taking counter-harassment. The range also helps with last hits and stuns from afar so that you can move up quickly while they're stunned.
4. Long-range fights are your domain.
5. One of the strongest of the mages.
6. Ultimate is great in team fights.
1. Silences are very effective on you, as your skills are your main weapons.
2. Magic Resists/Tanks are also very effective. You won't do much damage on them.
3. Melee types that are kind of focused on DPS will do lots of damage on you. Your attacks are slow and your cooldowns are somewhat long at times of fast-paced battles.
4. Not great or even good at close range battles and basic attacks.
5. Skill shots are difficult to master.
6. Your skills are sometimes easy to dodge.
I wouldn't really use Xerath as support, but hey, whatever's clever.
When you have a teammate or teammate(s) waiting for a gank (or a team fight), you can always initiate the fight with Mage Chains and a quick Arcanopulse. That'll stun the target, leaving them defenseless and frozen. Continue in to help out your team mates for some good easy kills. Starting with a stun is a great initiation of a fight, just make sure to target the one you surely want dead.
Xerath is also very useful in ganking. Move into a bush in the river or the bush closest to the target and prepare for your team's arrival. Start with Locus of Power and either Mage Chains or Arcanopulse to follow. If you start with Mage Chains, then follow up with an Arcanopulse to stun.
However, if you see a group of champions, you can start with Arcanopulse for initial damage, and stun them with Mage Chains and Arcane Barrage.
These methods will help with some easy ganks as long as you hit the stuns and skill shots.
To conclude, I say that you should try Xerath if you like strong magic AP builds and don't fuss if you don't get him the first time. If you start with bad scores, that's alright. Xerath takes skill to use and even more skill and determination to master. He's got some skill shots that are easily dodged so don't give up and I wish you all the best in playing this powerful mage.