Build Guide by AtomicStryker
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.
Hello and welcome to my first build for this great site, with my favorite char, JAX!
I've noticed most builds available here focus on Jax as he used to be (before the big nerf, and before the ability rework after that), and also that none actually told you HOW TO PLAY. I intend on fixing this :)
Lets get to the preparations:
The obvious Choice. Jax is the only Dodge centered champion in this game.
Greater Mark of Desolation
More of a personal preference. You can also go Alacrity or Magical Penetration, but i feel those 2 are covered in a lot of items and also, this will probably help you most in the rough early game as well as anytime later on.
Jax has a huge survivability issue when not under the effect of his ultimate shield. And the way you have to build him - Tank Jax is not really viable - you will either get no Magic Resist or very LATE Magic Resist. The only other option i see would be Ability Power Glyphs, which due to Jax Ultimate would also result in 18 addition health.
Hands down, the best Quint there is, for pretty much all heroes. Raises your initial health by over 10%.
Note Jax benefits specifically from the Dodge Runes (which are very expensive, 820 IP). The other Runes are not that important, they only squeeze the last bit of power out of any build.
Note i differ from most old school Jax Builds by not going pure offensive, but rather just getting the Magic Penetration from Offence and then maxing Defence. This idea i got from the 'No Luck Jax' build, i tried it, and it turned out really good.
Think about it. Does Jax have problems dishing out damage? No. Does he have problems staying alive? Oh yes. But really, i'd say Archaic Knowledge and Nimbleness are the two must haves, everything else you can do as you please.
Also note i took the enhanced Exhaust Mastery .. just because its probably the most useful of all Summoner Spells. If you wanna try Jungling Jax just swap the point with the enhanced Smite right next to it.
Most physical melee Champions take this, and i highly recommend it aswell. Exhaust is double useful in gaining Kills and preventing meelee death - you can torture Yi, Olaf, Trynd to no end with it.
Ghost also has double use, you can hunt an enemy down with it or run like hell yourself.
Let me explain a little why i didnt pick some other Spells
Many Jax builds advise this. I ask: Why pick a Summoner Spell that does the same one of your Champion Abilities does. Okay maybe it needs a target to work ... so if you insist on skipping walls put a ward next to it and youre good to go. Yes you can Leap Strike on your Wards.
Youre Jax. You dont need more Damage.
Useful for clearing Ashe's Arrow Stun or other effects off you, but just like Heal, it's uses are just too limited. If you actually got hit by a major Stun, chances are their entire team is onto you anyway and this wont save you. In Short: DONT GET INTO SITUATIONS WHERE YOU WOULD NEED THIS.
It can be useful to prevent that fatal last strike from killing you, but if you have to give up Mobility or Versatility for a Spell that's basically pointless in most situations, i'd rather not.
Your passive provides you with a nice little health boost for each point of Attack Damage and Ability Power gained by Items, and also by Runes and Masteries(!!).
However this boost is so small you never should buy Items just for it.
Note the item database is wrong, current values are 3 health for 1 AD and 2 for 1 AP.
You Jump toward any targetable entity (even over walls), and if its an enemy, it gets a Lamp Smack. Damage Stacks with Empower, however it scales pretty badly with AD and AP both. Things to note:
The damage is dealt delayed, so
Unlike in the past, using this on an enemy champ WILL cause minions and towers to attack
Damage is fairly low and scales fairly weak with levels, however the barbaric 15 seconds cooldown from lvl 1 are cut down to 5 at level 5
My first Skill pick, and also the first i max. Its cheap, spammable, awesome. Note since the rework it only targets ONE and has no Splash anymore, but that actually benefits us. Being able to burst major pain is key:
Last hitting minions - level 1 directly adds 75 to your standard attack, you can last hit very efficiently
Killing Stuff - to get anything dead a lot quicker, obviously
Stacking this with a Leap Strike to kill a weak target at once (although generally i advise against this - see tactics as to why)
Jax's trademark move and probably the reason many players hate him. After dodging an attack, you can stun and damage everything around you. I pick only one point of this early and max it last - in my opinion it's too situational to base an entire build on, it's little to no use in hunting down someone (and smart people WILL run), and the 10% dodge the first point provides plus your Ninja Tabi and Runes is enough you need for a looooong time. Things to note:
It costs 60 mana and is spammable. Be careful not to drain all mana prior to an upcoming sticky sitation
Counter Strike remains available 7 seconds after this moment
It takes a fraction of a second to cast, however you have to stand still for that moment
You can Dodge while stunned, however you cant Counter Strike
Oh Lordy. This is likely ... no, this actually is the single best Ability in the entire game. Not only does it provide you with rising Attack Speed as you dish out carnage, every third attack on a biological target will DEVASTATE it for massive magical damage. Better still, you can activate it to get high Magic Resistance for 6 seconds. And to top it off, your Passive does not get lost during the Cooldown. This is the reason Jax is awesome, the reason i play him, the reason you can take down anything late game.
Only hits count - misses do not add stacks or keep it up
You get stacks from attacking towers, however not from attacking inhibitors or the base
Leap Strike does not add Stacks
Empower (as normal attack) does
Gameplay and Tactics
Finally, i get to tell everyone h2p *g*
Common misconceptions are that Jax is Tanky, that you need Atmas Impaler due to his passive, that you need Phantom Dancers.... all incorrect.
Jax is not a Tank. While you have a bit more health than the average caster, it's still horribly low to take any sort of abuse. Like any other meelee DPS you focus on replenishing your health faster than they can drain it, and for that follow this key rule:
NEVER EVER EVER JUMP IN FIRST IN A TEAM FIGHT
The urge is there to Leap in and start dishing out, i understand, but this will have you killed under all circumstances. Even with your Ultimate on you can be Nuked to Instant Death, Dodge doesnt save you from an entire team banging you, and being Chainstunned is just about the worst thing that could possibly happen to you.
Let your team Tank (or the eventual other idiot) run in first and sustain all the hate. The perfect situation is if he gets low health and reaches your mid, their team hot on his heels. They will be desparate to finish him off, leaving the perfect opening for you to start messing them up big time.
For the same reason you work very well with Disablers. You have a massive Damage Output, especially with ongoing attack, and keeping the enemy in Lamp Post Range will ensure their death.
I dont get why most Jax builds recommend this and its a recommended item. I really dont. 2% health to Attack Damage is pathetic for your health pool, including the passive, and the +45 armor would only really get useful while tower diving. You have way better items to buy for so much money.
Now dont get me wrong this is a cool Item for Jax to have, for anyone to have, but you have to look on the price tag. Unless youre fed like mad you'll be building this thing forever and ever, and with your Ultimate and a Rage Blade you'll already max out your Attack Speed. Also you have little use for Critical Strikes.
*** EARLY GAME ***
There is 2 ways to start. Either boots and 3 health potions or armor and 5 health potions (i know you could get 3 health and 1 mana ..). The important decision is: Armor or Speed. I'd say unless youre jungling always go for speed. It will make last hitting easier, and being harassed a lot harder. You might even score a lucky kill with it.
If laning with someone, go with someone ranged or otherwise very harass capable (eg Morde), because you cant harass whatsoever. Sure you could Leap Strike them, but then you'd be in their face, without quick retreat Skill, all their Minions turned to attack you. Avoid. Expect BEING harassed by the more capable players, while the lesser skilled will probably be afraid to some degree. They likely never played Jax, dont know his Abilities, only remember being owned horribly in some past game.
Let the enemy push if you must, get your last hits under the Tower, play defensively. DONT BE A FEEDER. While you are an item ***** and money is awesome, dying to the other guys really screws up things, so you should focus on staying alive.
Last hitting is really easy with Empower, use it whenever possible. Don't use Leap Strike or Counter Strike if you dont have to, they drain your Mana too quick. Remember you can use Leap Strike on your own Minions and Allies to get away faster.
VERY IMPORTANT HINT
Using Empower cuts short the attack animation. So if you push W directly after you damaged someone, Jax will immediatly strike again for a full attack damage + Empower Bonus. ALSO NOTE: This follow-up strike will still hit if the target turned and ran, and has made a small distance.
MOREOSO: By 'damaged someone' i really mean it. You can do this immediatly after Leap and Counter Strike for a lightning fast attack. With Leap Strike make sure you dealt the damage before you press W, else it will be interrupted (WTF).
Empower attacks are standard attacks and as such stack up your Ultimate. So ... land 2 hits on a minion, Leap Strike an Enemy, quick-Empower and Devastate for over 500 damage, use the likely immediatly fired up Counter Strike (because his minions target you, see Counter Strike notes), keep bashing.
*** MID GAME ***
Your early game progresses until you reach level 6 and unlock your potential of Awesome. You now need about 975 gold before you recall - do not recall with less or you're kind of boned. You want your Ninja Tabi now (downside being Jax is youre really FORCED to buy these as opposed to Mercuries or whatnot) and also a Vampiric Scepter.
Now GO JUNGLE. Jax level 6+ is one of the best junglers there is. Grab the Golem Buff if you can for mana regen, then clear the woods. [On Treeline go top first, clear the Enemy side first, unless they have a jungler theyll never know youre there] You can even solo the dragon immediatly, but only do so with full health and if youre absolutely sure no one will surprise you. (That would mean your immediate demise)
The reason you're jungling is that while in theory you also are wickedly awesome at laning, you are very very prone to harassment, ganks, and generally are a no1 target.
By Jungling you allow your Lane Partner and you to get more gold and XP and farm till your Money Belts pop.
That should by no means stop you to get a kill if you see the opportunity. Ghost and Exhaust should be enough to hunt down a squishy target that overextented itself. Lizard buff proves very useful, too. Dont run into a Trap though, always be aware where an enemy was seen last and where he logically would be now.
*** LATE GAME ***
Ideally, you'll have your peace now until some more levels, the Rage Blade (start with the Pickaxe) and the Bilgewater Cutlass. Now that will equip you with some REAL stopping power. The Cutlass has a 3 second slowing active like exhaust which should allow you now to really become deadly. If your target is tanky fire Exhaust and the Cutlass one after another so you can bang him longer, if its squishy feel free to nuke both at it to basically root him on the spot.
Remember the Item Slots are hotkeyed to 1 through 6, so if your Cutlass is in the upper left slot it's "1".
Spam Empower and Counter Strike as much you can. Avoid using Leap Strike in melee combat - just attacking deals more damage faster.
While your Ultimate Stacks diminish too fast to keep them up from battle to battle, your Rageblade stacks cool off a lot slower. Fire Empower just as your 8 Stacks were about to get lost to keep them for a moment longer. Leap Strike and Counter Strike likewise. Those stacks help a lot in getting your Ult stacked up fast again.
If while you are jungling a Yi, Udyr or Tryndamere run into you, dont panic. If you have 10 Stacks on Relentless Assault they are in for some major pain. Try and jungle from a bush so nobody can sneak up on you. Keep an eye for misses, if their entire team is missing, be very afraid. If Yi is actually alone and wont get support in the next 10 seconds, bash his face in. Unless you have to, dont fire Counter Strike, wait until hes beat up, realizes he cant defeat you, and tries to run. THATS when you stun him and finish him off.
Exception: One exception is pesky Olaf. Unless his User is a noob Olaf actually out-damages you, has more lifesteal, and cannot be stunned during his Ultimate. But thats when Exhaust comes into play ;)
Your Ultimate is what allows you to smash Mages. HOWEVER you cannot fire it when stunned. So by all means have it activated before the first stun could hit you. If you dont, chances are youll never get out of the stun alive.
The Cooldown is very low, less than a minute, so, really, use it. If it's wasted, well, no worries, just wait until you have it again. If they dont attack you you might not even need it.
Always go for the enemy DPS/Nuke first. Im talking Twitch, Teemo, Annie, Anivia ... If they aim for you while you clobber a tank very bad things will happen.
There is one thing to note: Dodge does _NOT_ save you from Turrets, and it does _NOT_ save you from physical splash abilities like Pantheons Heartseeker or Twitchs Spray and Pray (i hate you, rat). Teemos poison is very nasty too.
Dont forget to mix this drug in for extra party!
Keep adding to the Cutlass until you have the Gunblade, and at this point the enemy team might gg because they cant stop you anymore. If however they also have a good carry here's some ideas on what to do next:
With lvl 16 and the Gunblade, you can almost solo Baron Nashtor. Ask one tanky team member to come with you, and beat up that snake.
Next items i would consider are:
For Health and further slow. Late game you should beef up.
Magic Resistance to survive pumped Veigars and the likes
What, you still havent won yet?
If you must