Jax Build Guide by JAX4life
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.
JAX THE GRANDMASTER AT ARMS
Pros / Cons
One of the best duelist in the game
Several escape mechanisms and gap closers
Damage drops if he loses stacks
Steep learning curve (hard to master)
Can be squishy late game
Relentless Assault is Jax's passive. With every autoattack you land, your attack speed gets increased by % value. This value increases every 3 levels and stacks 6 times.
Leap Strike is Jax's Q. It is your close gap spell. Use this spell to catch enemies or to run from them. Unique part about this spell is you can even target friendly units. That means little Shacos, Teemo mushrooms, wards, minions, champions, etc.. Use this spell for faster movement over battlefield. You can even jump over walls or trees with this spell.
Empower is Jax's W. When you press your W button you have 6 seconds to use it. This spell charges your weapon with power, that is released with following autoattack. It resets your autoattack timer, so you can make combos like this: AA - W - AA. This will land two autoattacks (one empowered) in very short time. Additionally, if you have Sheen the damage dealt will be devastating.
Counter Strike is Jax's E. It is the spell that sets Jax apart from all other champions. This spell needs a lot of practice to know when to use it. If you press your E button, you will dodge all incoming attacks and reduce AoE spell damage by 25%. The dodging mechanism takes 2 seconds, then you deal some damage and stun every enemy around Jax for 1 second. After 1 second of dodging you can press E again to end dodging and stun instantly, but you lose that AoE damage reduction.
Grandmaster's Might is Jax's R. This spell is Jax's ultimate and has a passive as well as an active.
Passive: Every third following autoattack deals bonus magic damage. If this effect is ready to use you will see a small icon above your HUD (fist with eye). You have to land this attack within 2 seconds after your previous autoattack or the effect is lost. If you manage to land an autoattack + Empower + Sheen damage proc + Grandmaster's Might passive, you deal a ridiculous amount of damage.
Active: This active part of Jax's ultimate boosts survivability. By activating it you receive bonus armor and magic resistance. The received value is base value (25/35/45) plus % of your current bonus attack damage and total ability power! The bonus lasts 8 seconds.
This section explains the thought process behind the runes chosen for this build.
The traditional setup for Jax's rune build hasn't changed much. However, the runes are not binding, they are subject to change according to your individual play style.
Pre 30: Lesser Mark of Magic Penetration and Mark of Magic Penetration
Reason: At early levels in classic gameplay you want as much magic penetration as possible so your Leap Strike and Empower ignore as much of the enemy champions magic resistance as possible. Because you don't have all 9 rune slots yet you're going to want to stack as much of it as possible until you can afford to add armor penetration as well as magic penetration.
At 30: Greater Mark of Hybrid Penetration
Reason: Now that you have 9 rune slots you can effectively begin adding armor penetration so your auto attacks ignore enemy champions armor. This will add significant damage in early gameplay.
Pre 30: Lesser Seal of Defense and Seal of Defense
Reason: This adds significant armor in early gameplay. Runes are primarily for low levels because the bonus stats are insignificant at higher levels. This will give you a tremendous amount of survivability.
At 30: Greater Seal of Defense
Reason: Your seals won't change once you reach 30 like your marks did. Just buy the more expensive ones when you have enough IP.
Pre 30: Lesser Glyph of Magic Resist and Glyph of Magic Resist
Reason: The armor from your seals will help you with physical attack, however, you will be needing protection from those pesky ranged magic damage champions. This will help you with early game survivability.
At 30: Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
Reason: Similar to your seals, your glyphs won't change once you reach 30, just buy the more expensive ones when you have enough IP.
Pre 30: Lesser Quintessence of Hybrid Penetration and Quintessence of Hybrid Penetration
Reason: This will dramatically boost your armor penetration and magic penetration in early game fights. These are a must. Try and purchase the highest tier quintessence you can.
At 30: Greater Quintessence of Hybrid Penetration
Reason: Similar to the reason above, purchase these when you have enough IP.
This is where a lot of dispute happens over Jax. The masteries I have chosen are in my opinion, the best. I have tried several different make ups but this one always maximizes my damage output, while minimizing my time spent dead.
MASTERY LEVELING ORDER
Below is the order you should assign your mastery points.
Level 1: Summoner's Wrath
Level 2: Brute Force
Level 3: Mental Force
Level 4: Mental Force
Level 5: Sorcery
Level 6: Sorcery
Level 7: Sorcery
Level 8: Sorcery
Level 9: Arcane Knowledge
Level 10: Alacrity
Level 11: Alacrity
Level 12: Alacrity
Level 13: Alacrity
Level 14: Weapon Expertise
Level 15: Havoc
Level 16: Havoc
Level 17: Havoc
Level 18: Vampirism
Level 19: Vampirism
Level 20: Vampirism
Level 21: Executioner
Level 22: Sunder
Level 23: Sunder
Level 24: Sunder
Level 25: Archmage
Level 26: Archmage
Level 27: Archmage
Level 28: Archmage
Level 29: Blast
Level 30: Blast
Probably the second most disputed over thing when it comes to Jax is item purchase order. I don't think there is a "set" order; I think it is more of a science. It's going to change according to what kind of champions are on the enemy team. I will try to explain the thought process behind why I chose the items I did, and what items you can replace them with depending on the type of team you are facing.
Start off each game purchasing Boots of Speed, followed by 3 Health Potion's. This is universal. Some argue that Vampiric Scepter or Doran's Ring is better, but I have found that I get off to better starts using Boots of Speed and 3 Health Potion's.
Side Note: Try to recall only when you have enough money for the next item on the list. Recalling means no experience, no gold from minion kills and or champion kills, and enemy champions in your lane may be pushing your tower. Know when to Recall. The rule of thumb is if you are out of Health Potion's and your health is below a safe level, you should recall.
Early game leveling is your priority. League of Legends is very similar to the "bowling ball effect". By getting off to a good start you set yourself up for being a higher level then most of the enemy champions, which sets you up for easy kills, which sets you up for more gold farming, which means you can obtain more items at an early level. This means more kills for you in the end.
When I have reached around 1800 gold I usually recall and buy Mercury's Treads or Ninja Tabi depending on the enemy teams make-up. If the enemy team has hard hitting magic champions like Ryze or Veigar I always pick up Mercury's Treads. If the enemy team is made up of mostly melee champions such as Garen and Master Yi I usually go with Ninja Tabi. Most of the time however I chose Mercury's Treads because of the + tenacity. This helps reduce the effect of snares on me, which means crowd control isn't as deadly. I also purchase a Vampiric Scepter at this time so I no longer need to buy Health Potion.
The first core item I pick up is Wriggle's Lantern. This has gotten me out of sticky situations countless times. For its price it is one of the most valuable items Jax has in his arsenal, and not for the stats. The active on Wriggle's Lantern allows Jax to place a Sight Ward every three minutes in a designated area. Jax has the ability to jump to wards with Leap Strike, getting him out of inevitable deaths sometimes. I will link a video about "ward jumping" later in the guide.
Next I choose to complete Bilgewater Cutlass of the Hextech Gunblade first. This gives Jax a damaging slow early in the game, helping you score kills and ganks. Complete the Hextech Gunblade next.
Probably the most overlooked but greatest weapon in Jax's arsenal is Guinsoo's Rageblade. The + attack damage and ability power is nice, but what makes this weapon so special is its passive, giving you + attack speed on top of your passive attack speed from Relentless Assault makes Jax the best duelist in the game. Any champion who chooses to go toe to toe with you will surely meet their maker.
To increase Jax's survivability we pick up Rylai's Crystal Scepter next. This adds 500 health and a permanent slow when using any of Jax's abilities. This is another core item that not only can save you in a fight, but also help score a kill when chasing a pesky champion fleeing from a fight. Pick this weapon up next.
Finally the creme de le creme. If your game lasts this long and you are able to purchase Lich Bane it won't last much longer. This weapon alone almost doubles Jax's damage output at end game; allowing you to solo turrets, score multi-kills, and end games. This weapon coupled with your already massive arsenal will make the enemy team cower in fear and avoid you at all costs.
OTHER VIABLE OPTIONS
Now I realize that the item sequence didn't add a lot of survivability, but with that much damage output coupled with life steal you shouldn't need it. However, if you find yourself dying to much, you may want to swap some items out for more survivability oriented items.
If the enemy team is primarily AP champions, swap out Guinsoo's Rageblade for Abyssal Scepter
If the enemy team is primarily AD champions, swap out Lich Bane for Randuin's Omen or Thornmail.
Being that this guide was designed to explain the "Solo-top/Bottom Lane" Jax, the skill sequence reflects that. If you plan on jungling with Jax, the sequence will be completely different, and I would recommend looking at guides catered to that build.
First pick up Leap Strike followed by Empower. This allows you to put some offensive pressure on enemy champions in your lane, while also increasing your survivability. Remember that you can Leap Strike to wards and friendly minions, so that when taking heavy damage you can Leap Strike away and save yourself a death.
At level 3 pick up Counter Strike. This is a great spell that can stun enemy champions or minion waves while dishing out some damage as well. If timed correctly you can precast it before Leap Strikeing at an enemy, thus landing and stunning him giving you ample enough time to auto attack a few times. More experienced players will not only do this, but also run ahead of the enemy champions path a little, auto attacking while they do this. By doing this you buy yourself time for a few more attacks, possibly scoring yourself a kill.
Empower is your greatest source of damage because of its short cooldown, so max it out by level 9.
Leap Strike is your second most important source of damage. Max this spell out by level 13.
Counter Strike's damage doesn't change much, so you can max this out last.
Summoner spells are primarily up to the player. I choose to run with Exhaust and Ghost so catching up to enemies with low health is easier. There is a lot of synergy between Ghost and Leap Strike allowing you to sometimes close the gap between an enemy champion just enough to be able to use Leap Strike.
Sometimes when I'm feeling extra "ganky" I will use Teleport and Flash, allowing me to lessen the time I spend buying items after a recall, and sometimes teleporting to a tower or minion by an enemy champion.
SUMMONER SPELLS THAT YOU SHOULDN'T USE
Garrison: This spell should really be saved for Dominion and not Classic.
Revive: Could potentially save a game from sure defeat if the enemy team scores an ace and they are destroying towers in your base.. although.. if the game is at that point you probably are going to lose anyway.
Smite: Should only be used if you plan on jungling.
Surge: You already have so much attack speed as it is, that an extra 35% won't really help much, especially not at it's cooldown.
Clarity: You're not a support, leave this for the healers and support classes.
Promote: Does anyone really use this anymore?
Clairvoyance: Sometimes can be useful, most of the time not. I would much rather use Exhaust or Ghost to help get me out of a sticky situation.
WHEN IN TEAM FIGHTS