Jax Build Guide by Menacol

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.

League of Legends Build Guide Author Menacol

Jax: Duel or Die WIP

Menacol Last updated on June 1, 2013
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Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
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.



Offense: 21

Honor Guard

Defense: 9


Utility: 0

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Hey readers, I'm Menacol a standard player and I'm here to share with you my Jax guide. This is a Jax build for solo top I commonly use when I'm just practising him or in competitive play although some items are more situational then. Don't always the build precisely! It is a guideline. This build is focused around giving Jax a very comfortable ride to his late game power. I plan on updating this guide to involve jungle Jax and various other roles and playstyles seeing as Jax is very versatile.

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Who is he?
To me, Jax is a hybrid assassin. He can dive deep into the enemy team and with high burst damage kill a carry and still survive. Towards late game he gets borderline stupid in terms of how strong he is. Jax needs good farm in laning phase to get the items for his late game seeing as they are all quite expensive.

Why a hybrid?:
Building Jax as a hybrid allows you to fully benefit from his ultimate towards the end of the game and also stops them from stacking armor or MR against you.

Against a full AD comp you could possibly just run full attack damage items like The Black Cleaver even so when you pop Grandmaster's Might you get a huge amount of armor. This works with AP comps as well although I haven't played against a full AP composition items like Nashor's Tooth and Maw of Malmortius could be good pick ups.

Why should you play Jax?:
I first saw Jax being played when I was a low level spectating my level 30's friend 1v1. He played Jax and completely destroyed the other champ with 2 doran's blades and had won without dying once. He told me Jax was the best duelist in the game and so I tried him out myself. I fell in love almost instantly. There have been situations where I've been able to double kill the top laner and the jungler and then force the mid laner to back off. Jax is amazing if you love big plays and catching out people 1v1. You can juke with Leap Strike or suddenly pop out a lot more damage than should be allowed from a top laner. Also the ultimate on Grandmaster's Might is really undervalued. To be able to build damage to be tanky? That's ridiculously strong. If you don't love Jax you're doing it wrong.

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Pros / Cons


+ Strong base damage
+ One of the best late game bruisers
+ Snowballs hard
+ Best duelist in the game
+ Great mobility with leap
+ Scales amazingly with all stats.

Pretty much he does it all. He's strong all around and scales very well into late game. You won't lose an all in on top lane and once you're fed you can just assassinate people. Also if Jax is fed are you going to build MR or Armor???

- You feel like a noob because he's so OP.
- Doesn't use a real weapon.
- Very difficult to get back with if behind.
- Can be counter picked.
- Too manly to handle
- Enemies will flame you with things like "OMG HAX SO MUCH BURST"

Jax comes up quite well against most top lane matchups. He's also incredibly manly behind his mask and he sounds like Draven (same voice actor). Also if you don't mind your lane opponent dcing from rage at being 0/8 by 10 minutes playing Jax shouldn't be an issue.

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Greater Seal of Armor

Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist

Greater Glyph of Attack Damage

Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage

Greater Mark of Attack Damage

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Jax gains some good early damage from these masteries, again more orientated around the AD side of it but with a bit of beefiness so he isn't squished quickly early until he can get some items to beef up. This is just brief but I don't feel I need to be too in-depth with masteries.

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Summoner Spells

Summoner Spells

Flash: Core on almost any champion. Escape/chase/engage/disengage etc. very versatile.

Ignite: Helpful for securing kills in lane to snowball yourself or to use against huge regen champs e.g Volibear.

Teleport: Splitpushing machine Jax? Since he's the best duelist in the game they'll have to send more than one person back to stop you. This should give your team an edge to push objectives. Leaves you a bit weaker in lane but a lot more useful late game.

Other possibly viable summoners:
Exhaust: Suddenly they're doing no damage and slowed? Could work quite well. Not a bad alternative.

Barrier: It's not too bad for baiting an enemy into losing a fight where you suddenly can take 200 or so more damage than they expect.

Ghost: Not the worst spell but you should have strong MS from items anyway for chasing.
Clairvoyance: Are you a S2 Support? No.
Clarity: Are your mana costs high? No. Would this be useful even if they were? No.
Cleanse: Not the worst choice but just not ideal on a bruiser/assassin.
Heal: Maybe if you were level 1.
Revive: You are not planning on dying and you are not Karthus.
Smite: For Jungle Jax sure.

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Item Sequence

Elixir of Fortitude

Health Potion

Pretty basic buy on most top lanes. Cheap tenacity. If you're having a difficult time against someone like Renekton pick up Ninja Tabi.

Core item on Jax pretty much worth buying every time. Good chasing with the slow on the active and I buy this first as the Spell Vamp + Life Steal will give you pretty much infinite sustain.

Jax benefits from EVERY stat on this thing really well. With Tri-Force and Hextech Jax can solo the dragon without losing any hp. The slow on it from Phage works well in chasing. The spellblade passive from Sheen synergises very well with Empower.

Super strong item right now. The active gives you a sudden rise in health and movement speed and the passive is very strong in taking people down quickly. You could consider getting this first against tanky teams.

This gives Jax all the health he needs. You don't really need to buy resistances on Jax as stacking damage will still make you a tank from the Active on Grandmaster's Might.

This item is really nice on Jax and just gives you a bit more to complete your damage. You may want to swap this out for a Guardian Angel if you feel you are doing enough damage. This is a more situational damage item.

Situational Items:
Guardian Angel: This is a solid buy on Jax instead of Guinsoo's to help give Jax some more survivability.
Hexdrinker: If an AP top is really ruining your day top this could be a good buy.
Randuin's Omen: This is a really good replacement to the Warmog's especially against the enemy ADC.
Zephyr: If you didn't get Mercury's Treads consider these as a good buy. The stats all benefit Jax well.

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Ability Sequence Order

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Ability Explanation

  • Relentless Assault: Increases his attack speed with every auto-attack. Makes him a very strong duelist and can turn sustained fights into his favor.
  • Leap Strike (Q): This is a really strong engage/disengage ability. Although mainly utility it does deal decent damage. Note that you can jump to friendly champions/minions and wards.
  • Empower (W): This is the source of most of your burst up to around the mid game. It makes your next basic attack deal extra magic damage
  • Counter Strike (E): Jax's signature skill. Allows him to block all basic attacks and take reduced damage from AOE spells. When ended it stuns enemies in his proximity. It can be used to wave clear or even freeze a lane. Be aware that with some champions you want to end the stun early so they can't get away but with some you want to let it run as long as possible to deal more damage from the blocked AAs and to reduce damage.
  • Grandmaster's Might (R): This ultimate essentially allows Jax to build damage and still have the tankiness of any other bruiser when his ultimate is up. The passive from this also adds to your already insane DPS.

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Laning Phase/Early Game

If you're not leashing, try to get your mid laner to help you take an early jungle camp so you can hit level 2 before your opponent if possible. THIS IS VERY HELPFUL.

Don't forget to ward. Use Elixir of Fortitude if you need the small burst of health to survive a gank or Ignite or use it offensively if you think you can push the upper hand on your opponent to secure a kill. Once Jax hits level 3 your basic form of harass (which will be quite heavy on mana early) is Counter Strike into Leap Strike and then Empower while the stun from Counter Strike goes off. Once you hit level 6, don't be afraid to use Grandmaster's Might if you think a battle is more than just a bit of harass as the cooldown is relatively short. Although Jax is not best early game his damage is still very strong and he will have quite a comfortable time. If you're ahead you can be a total bully but remember always buy wards.
If your ward has run out try not to Leap Strike offensively as you can use it to escape.

A neat trick for Jax once he gets Grandmaster's Might is to get 2 basic attacks off on minions readying the passive and then Leap Strike+ Empower for 250 easy burst damage.

Try to push advantage at level 2 and 3.

If the opponent comes close AA and draw the aggro of the opponent's minion wave to get the double damage on Counter Strike for some good early burst.

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Mid Game

By now, a couple of towers should be down. When yours is down consider applying pressure on the enemy mid lane by roaming and try to keep your lane pushed out to keep your tower up if it isn't already down. Help your team press objectives like the dragon. JUST MAKE SURE YOU ARE DOING SOMETHING. If you can't help with objectives try to clear some jungle camps for extra gold income. You can initiate small skirmishes with Counter Strike into Leap Strike setting up some possible kills for your carries and gaining gold for yourself through assists. Just try to keep up your farm to work towards that late game Jax stage.

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Late Game/Teamfights

This is what you've been waiting for. Everything you've done in your life has led up to you playing late game Jax. Now before you rush into attempting that pentakill, you have to know what you're supposed to do first. In a teamfight after your team engages, you have to dive the enemy AD Carry. Zone them out of the fight so you team can handle the rest of them. Even better kill them and then help your team clean up. Note that if you engage with Counter Strike and Leap Strike you will die very quickly. Wait for a hard engage like Crescendo or Unstoppable Force. Make sure you're with your team so you don't throw the game. Pay attention to your lanes and try your best to have them pushed. With the build I reccomended you will be able to drop baron pretty quickly and your Counter Strike can actually dodge the baron's attacks.

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Lane Matchups A-Z

Difficulty: Easy
Vision Ward allow you to get relatively easy kills on her by denying her Twilight Shroud as she is really, really squishy. You can bully her levels 1-5 and deny her being able to consume Mark of the Assassin with Counter Strike. After your level 6 if she jumps in just make sure you stick on her as she can't do quite as much sustained damage as you.

Difficulty: Medium
This guy has crazy sustain from Carnivore. If you can keep him away from the creeps this actually denies him a lot of that sustain and his early mana costs are crazy. Be careful to watch your health though because if he lands enough of those Rupture then he will Feast and Grandmaster's Might will help. If you haven't kept him down before 6 and he has Feast stacks, he's now probably far too tanky for you to kill. Pre-6 you will destroy him in a sustained fight.

Difficulty: Medium
Darius needs a bit of a different approach as you can't do a sustained fight against him because if he gets that passive up to 5 stacks he's going to dunk you. Seriously. At level 6 if he uses Apprehend you have a small window with Counter Strike where you can bash his brains out and then Leap Strike out. If you win this lane pre-6 snowball it as this guy has absolutely no escapes.

Difficulty: Hard
She is just going to harass and harass with Neurotoxin. If you Counter Strike she'll either Cocoon or Rappel. I wouldn't recommend playing aggressively in this lane and just try to farm it or take advantage of her if she runs out of mana. Keep track of her cooldowns as there could be a window for you to engage if Cocoon or Rappel are down. Otherwise I would recommend playing passively and possibly buying Hexdrinker.

Difficulty: Easy
This is a win for Jax. Riposte can block your AD damage but not your Empower and since all her damage comes from her auto-attack steroids Counter Strike counters her hard. The final part to this is that Counter Strike dodges Blade Waltz. Her ultimate will actually do 0 damage to you. Then she'll pop down in front of you to take the stun. You can bully her whenever Counter Strike is up.

Difficulty: Easy
Counter Strike blocks Parrrley which just destroys his damage output to you. He actually cannot damage you when Counter Strike is up apart from with Cannon Barrage which is AP scaling and not all that reliable. Just remember his Remove Scurvy will get rid of your stun.