Jax Build Guide by HoboBoboBob
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Not Updated For Current Season
Top Lane Jax
Mid Game Core
I doubt I will be doing many guides in the future, but I use Jax so much that I had to make a guide for him to share my success. This build may be a bit squishy when Grandmaster's Might is on CD, but it deals a ****-load of damage. When Grandmaster's Might is active, Jax becomes very hard to duel, let alone kill. I know this isn't the meta right now, but give it a try: you'll be surprised.
Doran's Blade is a good choice for starting items with Jax. It gives him good sustain combined with the Quintessence of Life Steal, plus some early attack damage and health. That combined with a Health Potion and Warding Totem usually gives Jax a solid start. Alternatively, against early game bullies like Darius or Renekton (I would not take Jax against these guys, but that’s my opinion) take a Cloth Armor and 5 Health Potions for early game survival.
Jax has two core items: Trinity Force and Blade of the Ruined King. Jax uses pretty much every stat on Trinity Force, particularly the Spellblade passive. It provides even more magic damage on top of Empower and Grandmaster's Might’s passive. The Rage passive also makes Jax incredibly bursty. Blade of the Ruined King not only provides AS, AD, and LS, three very important stats on Jax, but its passive, combined with the additional stats it provides, allows Jax to 1v1 most health tanks, win, and survive the fight. Furthermore, the active is great for chases, allowing Jax to catch up to his target and perform his E-Q-W combo, as well as escapes, slowing the enemy, transferring health, and granting Jax movement speed.
Boots are entirely based on the situation: if you are against a team with lots of AP or CC, go with Mercury's Treads. If against a team with lots of AD or champions that rely on AAs to deal damage, go with Ninja Tabi. If you are really fed, you have the option of getting even more AS and getting Berserker's Greaves, but I would not recommend this option. I’ve tried it, it didn’t work very well.
The offensive follow-up is a “glass cannon” build, relying on Jax’s Grandmaster's Might and its AD/AP scaling as well as a lot of sustain. I love it: with just Hextech Gunblade and Guinsoo's Rageblade, it took 4 champions and a turret to bring me down. After realizing the effectiveness of the Enchantment: Devourer on Jax, I did a search on similar items, and came up with Wit's End. I tested it and loved it: Wit's End provides a whole lot of AS and even a bit of MR, while dealing magic damage per hit and reducing the MR of an enemy. Hextech Gunblade is a perfect item for hybrid Jax: it provides LS, spell vamp, AD, AP, and a second slowing active that may be a bit redundant, but helpful when Blade of the Ruined King is on CD. Guinsoo's Rageblade increases Jax’s dueling ability: while it doesn’t give a lot of AP or AD to begin with, the passives give even more AD and AP, along with AS, LS, and spellvamp if he falls below 50% health, increasing Jax’s survivability and sustain in a duel.
The defensive build is more standard within AD bruisers: Randuin's Omen provides health, armor, and a passive and active that allow for effective dueling and better escapes; Banshee's Veil provides MR, health, health regen, and a passive that allows for better survivability when jumped by bursty mages, and Guardian Angel gives MR, armor, and a second chance to survive (and it never hurt anyone to buy one).
I've learned that on Jax's jungle build, you want a lot of attack speed. Stalker's Blade with Enchantment: Devourer not only gives that AS, but on-hit magic damage that stacks with Empower and Grandmaster's Might's passive. The two Daggers later build into Blade of the Ruined King, but they are optional at this stage. The rest of the build is pretty much the same, except for the absence of Wit's End, because Enchantment: Devourer is pretty much the same thing.
Of course, if a situation demands a different item (i.e. Master Yi is fed and you need a Thornmail), then go right ahead. This build is very adaptable.
Some Helpful Tips
DO NOT INITIATE TEAM FIGHTS! You will quickly get shredded.
When the enemy champion sees you activate your Counter Strike, they will most likely use abilities to hit you, which are not dodged. Be careful when using it.
Use Counter Strike when an enemy with an ability that makes him untargetable (i.e. Vladimir's Sanguine Pool or Fizz's Playful / Trickster) is on CD.
Use Empower right before an AA, particularly on every third attack once Grandmaster's Might is unlocked.
Leap Strike can be used to travel to friendly units, making it an effective escape mechanism.
Anyway, that's my guide. Feel free to leave feedback. I promise to keep this guide up to date with the ever-changing stats and such!