Jax Build Guide by shcboomer
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.
I have been playing League of Legends for some time now and I have finally decided to write a guide. One of my favorite champions and also one of my first bought champion was Jax. What attracted me to him was his kit which involved dodge if people still remember the good old days. Even without runes, I enjoyed playing a character that had a chance to just completely prevent auto-attacks, this was back in the days of AD carries middle btw. Either way, one things I learned was that Jax just stomped most of the AD carries because of his ability to completely prevent damage from auto-attacks. Although times have changed and so has Jax's overall kit, the idea of dodging attacks are still there. It may not be in the same form but it could be argued his new dodge ability is better than the old random chance of dodging.
Regardless, I still find Jax a fun character overall and still play him from time to time. He is also a decent jungler after the jungle rework and is still a solid top laner. One of the problems with Jax is that he fits a sort of niche role on a team and can be shut down by specific champions. With the past few changes though, Jax does a surprisingly good job of both jungling and taking on top solo. The latest revision of his ultimate also makes better at keeping up with other meta-golems and junglers.
This is my first guide, please leave any comments, concerns, or feedback so I can improve this guide.
April 17, 2012- Changed up the items section & added ward location picture, also adding a video of sample gameplay.
Top lane guide coming soon
You can also contact me or watch me play some games at my TwitchTV channel.
Why Build Meta-Golem and Other Common Questions
One of the things that people ask me when I play Jax is why I usually decide to build meta-golem? Isn't it easier to just run glass cannon and kill a couple people and be done with it? Well to answer this question, I will answer some of the common questions I get asked and respond to them first and answer this question last.
Question One: Why play Jax? There are so many better top laners/junglers.
This may be true, but there is a unique aspect to Jax that I argue no one else really fulfills. What I am talking about here is the Counter Strike ability, it can be a life saver and is an overall good aggressive skill. With this skill Jax can do an admirable job top vs. many top solo laners and can also use the skill to gank as well.
Question Two: When should I pick Jax?
Jax is really a niche pick in most cases and usually tends to either do very well in a game or very poorly. This is due to his kit most of the time and situations he is put in. I usually pick Jax when the other team is AD heavy, relies heavily on auto-attacks, or when our team needs someone tanky but can also deal out both AD and AP damage.
Question Three: When should I not pick Jax?
Of course this question depends on the role you wish to fulfill. If you are going top solo, if the opposing team picks someone that does not rely on auto-attacks, has range that can not be dealt with, or someone that you can't trade with. It is probably a good idea not to select Jax. Some classic examples of people that are hard to lane against top includes: Teemo, Vladimir, and Olaf. When it comes to jungling, check your team and look at theirs and see how mobile they are, there will be times you will need to select a jungler with more ganking potential. If the other team has a fast jungler or someone that can counter jungle very well that you can't trade with, it is probably best to pick someone else.
Question Four: Why build meta-golem
Out of all these questions this is one I am probably asked the most. I do know there are a whole bunch of other possible builds, however I personally feel this is the best build that suits my playstyle. My justification is that ever since they changed his passive from giving health based on AD and AP, he is normally squishy and does not last long in teamfights or even 1v1 battles. One advantage of this build is his utility to the team, he can act as an off-tank and bruiser as well as being able to provide a good mix for both physical and magic damage to the team. One thing I really feel strongly for, even though they changed his ultimate Grandmaster's Might to giving defensive stats, that having Jax beating on people over time and staying alive is more effective than having him jump in kill someone and die as focus switches over to him. This build makes him a harder target to choose as a focal point, but leaving him unchecked can also be a bad thing. Forcing the other team to focus you, or not focus you can possibly sway the game in your favor.
Recommended Jungling Runes
Greater Quintessence of Life Steal
Greater Mark of Attack Damage
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
- Greater Quintessence of Life Steal: These work really well for sustain in the jungle and scales well into late game. We can also delay building major lifesteal after Wriggle's Lantern, since that will be a total of 21% lifesteal.
- Greater Mark of Attack Damage: These are good for Jax's early game and also helps him output more damage.
- Greater Seal of Armor: Standard runes for jungling and makes him tanky enough early game to gank without risk of getting out damaged.
- Greater Glyph of Magic Resist: Good for overall defence against all types of magic damage. Espeically useful when ganking middle early in the game.
If you don't have these runes, don't fret there are some other possible runes as well.
Alternative Jungling Runes
- Greater Quintessence of Attack Speed: Can give Jax some attack speed, stacks pretty well with passive.
- Greater Quintessence of Desolation: Gives Jax some early armor penetration which can be just as good as attack damage if not better in some cases.
- Greater Quintessence of Health: Can provide extra health earlier in the game making it easier to survive while ganking.
- Greater Quintessence of Vigor: Give some form of sustain even while in the jungle, passive health regen isn't bad early game but tails off late.
- Greater Mark of Desolation: As with the quint, it can help Jax's early to mid game with extra armor penetration.
- Greater Mark of Attack Speed: As with the quint, can help jungle speed with the additional attack speed.
- Greater Seal of Health: Can provide additional health for general purpose, good early game.
- Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist: Good for overall defence against all types of magic damage. Scales well into late game.
Recommended Jungling Masteries
I won't go too in depth here but I will provide an outline of why I chose to go 15/15/0. This may seem a little weird, and it is, but from my personal experience it is a very good choice for masteries. By placing 15 points into offense, we are able to get most of the bonus AD benefits as well as Weapon Expertise , which adds makes getting armor penetration early a smaller factor. However, the most important part to me in this tree is getting the three points in Vampirism , that 3% lifesteal is very useful combined with our runes giving us 9% lifesteal level 1 with no items. This means we don't necessarily have to build for lifesteal save for Wriggle's Lantern, usually this is more than enough for one full game.
Defense wise, one things I wanted to make sure to have is Summoner's Resolve for the 10 bonus gold for smite. We also really want to gave Bladed Armor as it increases our early jungle clear time. We also place 3 points in both Resistance and Hardiness since this fits in with our meta-golem build well. Durability and Veteran's Scars also aid in our ideals for a meta-golem and provide the tankiness we need to survive early ganks and possible counter jungling.
Recommended Jungling Summoner Spells
The two spells that I find best for jungling is Smite and Flash.
Smite: I don't even know if I really need to write about this one, but this really is the basis for jungling. Without this summoner, it is near impossible to contest for any major objectives in Baron and Dragon.
Flash: I just choose this summoner over Ghost because most of the time, the other team will be stacked with it. It is really hard to chase someone without this summoner as it provides more flexibility when you don't have vision. It can also get you over walls without the need of ward jumping.
Recommended Jungling Skill Sequence
Our order for maxing out abilities is R > W > Q > E. However, since we are jungling we will put one level into Counter Strike level one and leave it there for a long time.
This section can be changed to suit your playstyle, however I find this works the best for me. The one reason I like to max Empower is the extra damage as well as the attack animation reset on a lower cooldown. At max level, it only takes 3 seconds to come back up again. Not to mention the mana costs stays at a flat 30 mana.
Let me provide justification for why to max out other skill first. When it comes to Leap Strike, if we max that first we will be able to jump to things more often. Be it used to escape or engage, it can give us that extra mobility all around. This can be maxed first for players that like to be more aggressive or even cautious. This also stays at a constant cost of 65 mana.
Maxing Counter Strike allows for more utility in terms of your unique ability as Jax. The duration is still 2 seconds regardless and still only stuns for 1 second. However the cooldown ranges from 18 second down to 10 which can make all the difference while ganking or in a team fight. Mana costs increase by 5 starting at 70 and goes all the way up to 90.
Recommended Jungling Items
Core Items: Items you must get for this build to work well, get these items first.
Boots of Speed & Wriggle's Lantern
This is probably one of the most important parts to my style of Jax play. As with most junglers, we rush Boots of Speed and Wriggle's Lantern. These are items that we want as early as possible as this will provide us with the tools to gank, clear the jungle, and countergank.
Heart of Gold
Where this build gets interesting is my inclusion of Heart of Gold, I don't see this item often on other jungle Jax often. However, I feel it is core because when you aren't ganking well or when you just don't have jungle left to clear, you still make money. Although the gold generation is a part of it, the 250 health it gives is nothing to balk at either. It makes a good intermediate item and works really well for our meta-golem idea.
Mercury's Treads or Ninja Tabi
Boot choice really depends on the other team composition. If they are AD heavy, it may be better to go with the Ninja Tabi, but if they have a fair amount of CC or a lot of magic damage, it is probably wiser to go with Mercury's Treads
Since we are going meta-golem, this makes a whole lot of sense. Gives you stats that you want at a decent price and can be built into items that are core to meta-golems. Not to mention there is always that chance of slowing your enemy as well.
This is probably one of the best items in the game. It gives you attack damage based on your health, and since you are building meta-golem, this is the pefect item for us. In addition it also gives 18% critical chance and 45 armor. What is not to love about this item?
Transitional Items: Items you can get early to mid game to help against the other team. May not necessarily have a late game counterpart to it.
Another situational item, it is good against teams with either low to medium magic damage. This is also a very good transitional items into late game as it provides attack speed, magic damage, and magic resist.
Another situational item, it is good against teams with either low to medium magic damage. Can be built into a late game item, gives some magic resist, attack damage, and a magic damage shield.
Stacks well with his passive attack speed bonus, gives both attack damage and ability power. Increases his damage output significantly for a small price.
Can be built from the Heart of Gold, provides armor, health, and health regen. Also gives 5% CDR, 20% chance of applying a 35% movement and attack speed debuff on getting auto attacked, and finally an active to reduce movement and attack speed of surrounding enemies by 35% for 2 or more seconds.
Late Game: Items you want to consider going into late game, these items all add to your damage output and utility to the team.
Frozen Mallet and/or Trinity Force
The choice here is one for you to decide, usually I pick and choose according to how we are doing as a team, how tanky our team is, and how mobile the other team is. If we have a decent amount of health and have another tank that can take the brunt of the damage, it may be wise to get a Trinity Force, as it really does give us everything. Frozen Mallet is for when you need more health and/or really need that constant slow on the enemy. Getting both provides flexibility and gives you a high health pool as well as a high amount of damage.
This is a major damage item to consider going into late game, when you are tanky and can deal out massive amounts of damage, let's just say you will become hard to ignore for too long.
This is another major damage item to consider going into late game, usually this can be bought after selling the early game Wriggle's Lantern.
Situational Items: These are mostly defensive items that help you stay alive based on the composition of the opposing team. These are also utility items to switch focus or provide a debuff for the opposing team.
Banshee's Veil or Force of Nature
Again this choice is dependent on the other team, sometimes it may be totally unnecessary as well. Banshee's Veil gives us a spell shield, increases our health pool for Atma's Impaler and additional mana as well in addition to the magic resist. Force of Nature on the other hand, adds to our mobility and gives more magic resist while providing health regeneration as well.
A good choice if the other team has a lot of hard CC. Especially good against Malzahar and Warwick, although most times they will probably choose not to focus you.
Maw of Malmortius
Usually I build this if I built a Hexdrinker earlier or if the other team has a ton of burst magic damage. The added benefit of having more attack damage while being low on health can turn the tide of a fight. The spell shield is also very good for baiting some casters.
Frozen Heart or Thornmail
Another item that is situational, and is only useful against teams with high attack speed or high attack damage. Frozen Heart is usually the better choice since it reduces nearby enemies attack speed by 20%, gives 500 mana, 99 armor, and also 20% CDR as well. Thornmail is cheap and gives 100 armor for 2000 gold, and also returns 30% of damage taken from auto attacks as magic damage. The later is effective against attack speed stacking champions with either low MR or little to no lifesteal. Remember though when using Counter Strike, Thornmail does not return damage.
If you get into late game and you find yourself getting focused or if you keep dying before you get that last hit on someone. Well this is your item, gives you defensive stats and also a second chance at life.
When we get down to it the most important aspect to jungling is being able to control the map. One of the main roles of the jungler which is often neglected is their ability to control the map. Being able to clear the jungle isn't exactly difficult in most cases, ganking is slightly harder, but the hardest part of all is working with your support and all your other lanes to have good control over the map. I will provide some general tips for jungling as Jax as follows:
One thing that is very important when jungling is the ability to communicate with the rest of the team. Junglers are in charge of a wide variety of tasks from clearing their jungle, ganking, warding, to organizing the team in certain areas of the map for major objectives. This works a lot better when you are able to communicate well with the rest of the team. Be it something as simple as pinging the map all the way to typing out commands or timing the jungle.
Another aspect to jungling of course is ganking and this can solely determine the outcome of a game. When a jungler ganks well, they can turn the whole tide of a lane or even the game. See someone overextended? Maybe try to gank them if you feel you will be able to pop their summoner or even get a kill or assist. One important thing to remember is to only gank when you feel you can do something there. If a lane rushs you to gank and you feel that you will only get killed or bait your team members, tell them that you need more time. When you are forced to gank by your team, things can sometimes go wrong.
One other major factor to jungling is providing wards for the team. This can be as simple as placing it in the river to watch for their ganks, or something riskier as placing it in their buff area. Having map vision really helps the team and makes ganking and counter ganking more successful. Having an oracle is also good too for clearing their wards and making sure they can't control the map as well as you can.
Here is an example of where you should consider placing wards:
Timing the Jungle
Timing your own buffs is a good way to keep yourself on the top of your game and makes it easier on you and your team to obtain your own buffs. Remember to also time the enemy buffs as well if possible as that can provide chance to obtain their buffs as well. Objective times are very important since Dragon provides global gold while Baron can straight up win you a game. So keep that in mind.
Now for some general tips for Jax jungling:
- You can start almost anywhere in the jungle although red and blue are preferred
- With the recommended runes and masteries you have 9% lifesteal which gives a good amount of sustain
- If you gank, sometimes starting off by using Counter Strike before going for the Leap Strike can mean a definite stun on the opponent
- Remeber to activate Grandmaster's Might before running into a team fight when possible
- Having people focus you is not necessarily a bad thing, just be sure to keep your AD and AP carry alive
- Remember that you can initiate since you are building meta-golem and can survive the initial burst
Here is a some sample gameplay of jungle Jax:
Thanks for taking the time to read my guide, remember if you have any questions, comments or concerns feel free to leave them in the comments section. I will be updating this build with more information as things roll along.