Jax Build Guide by Maho0o
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.
This guide is aimed at Low ELO
Hi I'm Maho0o and this is my first guide. I'm a low ELO player (bronze II) so consider this a disclaimer: first I post this guide to get critiscism as much as to try to share the idea behind it, this will help ME upgrade it and perhaps get out of bronze quicker, secondly this guide is built around some ideas that I know are true at low ELO and as a result might not be of any help at a higher level of play.
Might as well say that English isn't my native language right now, so it's done.
Regardless of the rating you leave me I would appreciate comments as one goal for this build is to improve myself too.
WTF is this guide?
Well as I just mentioned earlier I'm a bronze II player and probably deserve to be here. But sometimes I feel like the guy who stole a car and was put in the same jail cell as a serial rapist. Being bad at a game is normal, some will prevail and others won't, this is a core notion of everything competitive, I often have bad games, I believe everyone does. But then there are those people who won't even acknowledge they're doing something wrong.
This Guide is meant to build Jax into mechanical monster that will clean after all their mistakes (and yours... because if you are like me, you need it as much as they do), prevent stupid face-checks, prevent ganks, dive towers before your carry who is trying to finish Tryndamere and so on... You are a selfless janitor fighting the good fight, and your allies will probably not notice, but deep down you know... you know that you are doing the right thing (or are you...?).
Why build like this? Why Jax?
I will discuss the Items in chapter 7, but as for the general direction of the build (quite tanky) here are a few simple reasons.
1. You will die less:
Quite obvious, but quite important too I belive. The logic is low ELO players make a lot of mistakes (at least I know I do), building survivability will help not die after making such mistakes.
2. You can't depend on your teammates to get a tank:
Again simple, this is the "Yolo queue" as I learned it was called quite quickly. People will go for whatever champ and build they like (and who are you to blame them). It's quite rare to have no AP caster and even rarer to not get any ADC (both happen from time to time though), what I see commonly is a team with no tank, get a Kha'Zix Jungle and Teemo top? Soraka Supp and then you know this is going to be a hard game.
3. This build is cheap:
I believe cheap builds fit junglers as well as low ELO players who are still learning to farm, granted you might find yourself at a disadventage if the game drags on (which tends to be bad at lower ELO, the game becomes way unpredictable and in seconds you might lose a game you were sure to win), if this is the case you might want to sell one of your items (two if jungling).
The second point of this chapter is the answer to "Why Jax". The biggest reason to this pick is because Jax is a champion that will allow you to make more mistakes in my opinion, and God knows I make a lot of those.
Three out of your four skills make this true.
Leap Strike (your jump) can be used to escape or to attack, the important part here is ESCAPE. It is a powerful jump that will enable you to jump to friendly/hostile (yes you will need to jump on enemy champs to escape others at times, deal with it) champions, minions (neutral creeps included) and wards (this is not the main reason I get Sightstone for, but it's a nice plus). You can of course jump above walls, the range is quite nice too and the CD is pretty short. You DO need a target to jump on, but I rarely get cought without a ward. Finaly, for offensive reasons it's not a skillshot like Lee Sin's, so you CAN'T miss it.
Counter Strike (your stun) is much much more than just a stun. Sure it IS your stun, a very nice CC that will stun all nearby enemies for 1 sec (regardless of rank), but that is just the effect AFTER most of the skill has finished. This skill, while active (2 sec) will reduce AoE done to you by 25% and negate ALL AUTO ATTACKS targeting you. So not only will you stun the enemy at the end of it, but your enemies will waste all of their AA for two secs (and you will do damage based on it), this skill is the second thing that will help you not die (careful as there is no effect on single target spells).
Grandmaster's Might is your ultimate. It gives your a very nice passive that will help you deal damage (synergises nicely with your Relentless Assault passive) and farm creep. It's active though will buff you for a very nice (especialy at rank 3) ammount of both Armour and MR. This is your third life saver as well as the first button you must press when ever going for a tower dive or tank it.
This kit which makes Jax very hard to kill is the main reason for me choosing him. The second, lesser reason is that he is one of those champs that can still deal a decent ammount of damage even if built tanky.
When laning, in some cases you will find yourself in a bad spot, facing an enemy that counters you or that you aren't comfortable against (it's often the case for me if laning against a ranged champ). It might be the result of the enemy deciding to go for Kennen top Kha'Zix mid, or other reasons. If you think you'll do better agaisnt the current enemy mid laner don't hesitate asking for a lane swap, tell you'd like to swap lanes as soon as your mid gets his first back.
There are ways of dealing with both counters/ranged and a lot of other problems, but it's not always easy and it's better to play it safe as even if you manage to not feed your opponnent top he will probably have more farm or even get an early tower due to your defensive playstyle (remember, I'm talking from my low ELO perspective).
The reason I get Flash is for the combo Flash--> Leap Strike--> Counter Strike, also for the obvious escape potential.
Teleport is very useful as top laner, if low on health it will enable you to quickly back and come back before your tower is damaged. You can use it for ward-gank on bottom or to quickly roam to mid when you have pushed your lane, try a gank and Teleport back in time on top.
First I almost always start with with Cloth Armor and 5 Health Potion. I believe better players can start with more offensive items, but I'm not good enough and this guide isn't really aimed at such persons (I can still use your advices though, so you skilled guys stick around). This starter will give you a very nice survivability so that even if facing those damn crazy persons who like to go HAM on you even if missing all their first CS for some reason (quite common, usualy after first wave they get their second skill and start disregarding CS for some harassing, while this is very poor play it might put you in a defensive spot where you wont be able to freely CS until your first back) you won't have to back early or stay with low health. The lack of a ward should not scare you too much, if you feel the enemy's jungler might come for you early go for the Leap Strike at level 2, but even if you don't the worst that can happen to you is to burn your Flash early. Easy ways to prevent this would consist of judging where the enemy jungler is depending on where he started (red buff/blue buff) or where he ganked last, I'm sure there are plenty of good guides for this.
If I know I'm going against an AP character I'll go for the second set of starting items, as the Cloth Armor is quite useless. this set of item will help you sustain best against a character that might harass you with ease (as a lot of AP champs are ranged or have ranged abilities).
When jungling I start with typical Hunter's Machete + 5 Health Potion, not a lot to say here.
As both top and jungler buy the Boots of Speed on your fist back. As jungler this is really vital because you can't gank without speed, as top you want the extra mobility to NOT DIE from ganks and also because your enemy top probably got them or is getting them too (the speed difference would make it easy for him to chase you, and hard for you to chase him).
The next Item your aiming at as top is the Locket of the Iron Solari if facing AD (which is the case most of the time), this choice was inspired by watching TheOddOne, but it's not why I get it. The Locket is a cheap and awesome item, gives you health, health regen, armour, CDR and an active that will help you and your team survive (The shield is not huge but the CD is short).
If facing AP top you will want to go for an early Hexdrinker (build it into a Maw of Malmortius later) and might want to consider giving up on the Locket entirely, as the second and third items are more important here.
I usualy complete my boots 2 ( Ninja Tabi most of the time) while I build the Locket, after you get that Ruby Crystal is a nice time.
Now if you are top you have Ninja Tabi and the Locket (again, might be a bit different, but it's the case in most games), if you are Jungling you have the Tabis and Madred's Razors. If you are doing well top (1 kill) get the Vampiric Scepter if doing very well (2 kills or more) get the Bilgewater Cutlass.
But unless your opponnent made a mistake or you got a good gank, this wont be the case. The next Item you want to build is the MOST IMPORTANT item of this build, this item is the holy fire that will cast Light upon the Darkness of low ELO (and the map), it's the Sightstone!
I can already see the doubt in your eyes, and a lot of you must think I'm crazy. Well first let me show you this vid which will just say everything there is to say about warding: /league-of-legends/item/sightstone-164 SEE THAT? THAT'S BAD!
How many times have you had teammates that would just stop warding once laning phase is over? And once you complain about it they tell you that it's the "support job" and your support isn't doing it either because she wants to go "full AP Lux" (which is totaly awesome, but that doesn't stop her from warding)? And this is not situational! EVEN IF your support gets a Sightstone too you'll still want to get yours. Why? Notice how in higher ELO and pro games the support usualy gets a Sightstone (or constantly buys wards) and then all the other players (maybe exept ADC sometimes) STILL buy wards? That's why! Even if your support actualy wards like he should be doing, chances are all the rest of your team wont be (they might even say they don't have to because the support is already doing it!), so you know what you have to do. You have to be that other guy, or that only guy that wards, for the Greater Good.
As a jungler you want the Sightstone earlier as you are already roaming all around the map so you can put the ward down as you roam and get vision of objectives and bushes, as a top laner it's a good bet to get it a bit later but before mid game (when the roaming starts) because you'll save money since you have to ward top river anyway so you don't get ganked.
Another nice advantage of having a Sightstone as Jax is that you can use your Leap Strike to jump to wards, so you can use them as an escape if you don't have any other target nearby (like Lee Sin does).
Oh and it does give you health, health is good (especialy since we are aiming at a tanky Jax).
Believe me, if you use your Sightstone well your team has much higher chances of winning.
Once I have that awesome item, if I'm top I'll get the Bilgewater Cutlass if I haven't built it already, if I'm jungling I'll either upgrade to Ruby Sightstone (as you already can use this item to its fullest as a jungler, when top might not have as many opportunities to use it yet if not roaming) or indeed get the Bilgewater Cutlass, depending on the situation (if you actualy have teammates that ward, Hurray! You can get yourself that Cutlass).
The Bilgewater Cutlass is an awesome Item for obvious reasons, lifesteal and damage are very nice, in some games this might be the only damage item I'll get. One other reason the Cutlass is great is its active, the damage isn't much but the speed debuff will help you chase enemies who have made it through your stun.
Once I have all those four items from my core build I usualy start building a Randuin's Omen, only exeption I can think of is that if they're team is very ap heavy, or if their APC is very fed while their ADs aren't doing well. IF they have a heavy AP team build the Aegis of the Legion (later into a Runic Bulwark) if no one else is already doing so, if your team already has one or if it's only one APC causing you trouble go for the Hexdrinker into the Maw of Malmortius.
Now when you build that Randuin's Omen you want to think about what part to get first, it's quite easy, if their team is quite balanced then go for Giant's Belt, if their ADs are doing well, or if their ADC is fed get the Warden's Mail first.
Randuin's Omen is an awesome item, I find it to be the best tanky/armour item and it was confirmed by this Armor Items article I found on LoLReddit recently. As the article says the armor, health, passive and active are just awesome as a whole. Don't forget to pop that active when jumping in the center of enemy team or when chasing/being chased!
The last two Items I haven't spoke of yet in this build are both offensive items (well the Iceborn Gauntlet is defensive too, but I still think of it as an offensive choice) so I get one OR the other as I aim at a tanky Jax. The only exeption would be if the game drags on, you'll probably want to sell the locket at some point (only if you have built all the other items are have money to replace it right away) and get another, more expensive item instead (only scenario you'll want to part with your Ruby Sightstone is if you have a team that really actively wards, but be careful as they might be running out of item slots to get wards!).
The first one is the Iceborn Gauntlet which is usualy fills my 6th item slot if I haven't gone for a situational choice (The Bulwark or MoM). It gives more armor, a bit of AP that Jax can use nicely, more CDR which is very nice, some mana and the famous passive that you see so often after EZ uses it.
I go for the The Black Cleaver if 3 enemy champs or more are stacking armour, or if an enemy tank is fed. You'll shred their armour very fast and help the rest of the team kill them. It's a very nice AD item overall but very situational regarding this guide.
Notice: When jungling I do not upgrade Madred's Razors, though the Madrer's is a great item to get faster jungling I see little benefict in getting the lantern if going for the Bilgewater Cutlass anyway.
Your role: the Janitor
So by now you know, you know that you are not Jax the carry, Jax the Grandmaster, but you are Jax the Janitor, the one that cleans/prevents your team's (and your own) mistakes. You place wards so your teammates won't die to a face-check or a gank, you peel for your carries by jumping on the enemy chasing them and using your stun, you always towerdive first because your ultimate combined with your build make you able to do it. This is what this build is aiming for, other things you can/should do are:
-solo dragon if you have the sufficient level/items and your team doesn't want to go for it when they should (make the call at your own risk, a pretty safe way to do it though is to put a ward behind the dragonpit so you can just jump out of it anytime)
-check dragon/baron when the enemy team is nowhere to be seen, you have that Sightstone USE IT!
-split pushing, if you have Grandmaster's Might and Flash up and are confident in your escaping skills you can go pretty deep even without knowing where the enemies are, once they come upon you don't panic, use your Counter Strike first, once it's down use Grandmaster's Might and the Locket of the Iron Solari, look for the nearest wall, jump above it using a ward and your Leap Strike or Flash if you don't have the time to put down the ward, keep runing and repeat the jump part if need be. (Remember the Bilgewater Cutlass and Randuin's Omen can be used to slow enemies in escape too)
-zoning carries in teamfights. If you are in a teamfight, see an enemy carry that has not joined the fight yet and think your team can manage the enemies they're engaged on, jump to that carry, usualy one teammate will come to help him. It doesn't matter if you die as long as you keep them out of the fight for long enough, if you do your team has high chances of getting an ACE.
Remember though, with this build you will still do a decent amount of damage, you WILL get kills. Granted you won't get a huge amount of them, but if you don't make too many bad calls and escape well from the bad ones you should still manage a positive/neutral K/D ratio. Just do not be scared of dying, if you can bring down a tower by dying that's a good trade, same goes for dragon (as long as you're the only one to die).