Jax Build Guide by Kambiz
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.
It is seldom the case where a champion is defined by his actions after joining the League of Legends rather than before. Such is the case with Jax, for whom the argument could be made that he is the most prolific tournament fighter currently at the Institute of War. Before joining the League, Jax was an unremarkable soldier-for-hire. For reasons known only to the former leader of the League, High Councilor Reginald Ashram, Jax was put on the top of the list of candidates to receive a League Judgment - the interview process that either accepts or rejects a prospective champion. His Judgment was the quickest in League history, where the Doors of Acceptance glowed and slowly swung open as soon as it began. Jax faced no recorded Observation or Reflection during his Judgment.
Jax proved himself to be an immediate terror in the Fields of Justice. The self-proclaimed ''Armsmaster of the League'' rattled off a streak of consecutive wins that to this day has not been matched. A number of summoners in the League grew concerned that the perceived objectivity of the League of Legends would be questioned by the presence of an unknown fighter who was unbeatable. For this reason, the new leader of the League (following Reginald Ashram's disappearance), High Councilor Heyward Relivash, created special restrictions for Jax to fight under. This was something the League had never done before, and something that has never been done since. The burly fighter responded by imposing his own special conditions; as a means of protest, he permitted himself to fight using only a brass lamppost. Neither the League's sanctions nor his own has affected his winning ways. The League has since rescinded its sanctions, but Jax has not; he fights and fights well with his trusty brass lamppost.
"Be advised - there has been an outbreak of lamppost-shaped bruises in the League of Legends." - Gragas
Runes are not absolutely necessary on any champion!
These runes will cost you over 20k IP for just one set, and I'm recommending two sets. Don't worry too much about the runes.
First of all, the runes I am recommending for Twisted Treeline are as follows:
Greater Mark of Strength,
Greater Seal of Evasion,
Greater Glyph of Potency,
Greater Quintessence of Swiftness.
These runes are specifically for Twisted Treeline for a variety of reasons.
is for about 30 early game health and much better early game killing and harassment power. Jax's skills scale greatly with attack damage. You'd be surprised with how effective these are. It's like starting with a free Long Sword.
will give you about 7% dodge, which is pretty sizable in comparison to the 20-ish you'll have with your Ninja Tabi and Counter Strike. The three combined will almost guarantee you a Counter Strike every time it comes off cooldown and a constant Nimbleness while in battle.
will help you deal with early game harassment and fight back. You'll get health and damage early game, which Jax needs badly. Jax doesn't need cooldowns at all, and the extra magic resist is kind of unnecessary on TT because most of the damage there is physical. I prefer the extra burst, and I do feel that it is the best option in any case, but magic resist glyphs are fine too.
is the best rune you can get for Jax. The extra movespeed is great. Playing Jax with these and Nimbleness is incredible. People will have such amazing difficulty running from you or chasing you.
Runes for Summoner's Rift will be slightly different, retaining movespeed and dodge.
Greater Mark of Alacrity
Greater Seal of Evasion
Greater Glyph of Warding
Greater Quintessence of Swiftness
will help your jungling more than attack damage runes will. They will also help you shift focus in the bigger team fights that occur on Summoner's Rift.
Seals stay the same for the same reasons they are used on Twisted Treeline.
will help you against the slew of mages you will inevitably find on Summoner's Rift. Those AoE casters dominate this map and you'll need all the magic resist you can get.
Quints stay the same for the same reasons they are used on Twisted Treeline.
AD Jax Runes: Greater Mark of Strength Greater Seal of Strength OR Greater Seal of Evasion Greater Glyph of Strength OR Greater Glyph of Warding Greater Quintessence of Strength OR Greater Quintessence of Swiftness
Yes, really. That over-the-top 22 starting attack damage is scary, to say the least. Don't take my word for it, though. Try it for yourself. Build as much flat AD as you can, it works nicely.
[0/14/16] (or [0/9/21] if you prefer) is the new page I use for Jax.
The most important things are Nimbleness(of course), and to block physical/minion damage in Defense, and to get the movespeed bonus in Utility. I know it's unusual for Jax, but the Utility tree is honestly probably the best way to go for almost any champion now.
[21/9/0]My OLD typical Jax masteries:
Key points in the offense tree here are AP per level, attack speed, magic penetration, bonus AP from ignite, flat AD, and Havoc. In the defense tree, Jax needs some MR, and what's really important is the 10% movespeed buff every time someone misses you.
Since champions like Jax are most effective when built hybrid, crit chance and crit damage are just ineffective. The point of critical champions like Tryndamere or Ashe is trying to get the entirety of your damage doubled(or more), because these champions are heavily reliant on basic attacks, but on champions like Jax, this just doesn't work, he has too much magic and is too reliant on skills. Building Jax with critical is beyond unnecessary, it gives him less damage output, limited item options, and no survivability. This is why we skip Lethality and Deadliness.
[9/21/0]Tank Jax masteries:
Okay, so we spec 21 in defense to get Tenacity, of course. Make sure to get Ardor on the way, as it works very well with your ult and item builds. It helps keep your damage up, even though you're tanking. Get Nimbleness, of course. No problems there. I personally can't pass up that AP per level mastery, and the 15% spell penetration is really nice. You could try to spec the 9 in utility instead of offense, if you want. It would help you level a bit faster and you could get Haste, too.
[21/9/0]AD JaxExternal Image
"Critical!? What the hell is wrong with you, Pyro!?"
It's okay, I deserved that. But really, Jax is quite good built strictly as an AD carry. Unlike other AD carries, Jax gets free survivability from his damage items, so we have a free pass to build only BF sword items, right? RIGHT! And one of those will definitely be an Infinity Edge. The late game damage from that IE will be scary, to say the least, so it makes sense to get the extra crit chance and damage with your masteries.
Jax is a beautiful champion for people who like to experiment with builds, because just about any item that gives either attack damage or AP is complementary to all of his skills, including his passive. Attack speed also stacks up exponentially with your ult. What you build for Jax is not all too important, and as long as you have the right general idea on what to build, it shouldn't change Jax's effectiveness or strategy much at all. Although, it is pretty universal that a good Jax should generally steer clear from items that give critical chance and unnecessary health that you could be getting from the AD or AP on a better item. You should know that critical is viable on AD carry Jax, but more on that later. Also, it's best not to get TOO much attack speed. Getting between 40-80% from items is optimal.
With the nerf to Gunblade, I felt it would be necessary make a new section for AD Jax items(as that will probably be how I play him for now.) I will keep it separate from the old Hybrid items, but that's not to say hybrid Jax is bad now. He's just not as strong without his gun!
Upon starting, you can get either Boots of Speed and three Health Potions, or a Doran's Blade. Doran's Blade will give you a good amount of early health and damage, but you will miss out on 3 potions for sustain. Doran's Ring is also a viable starting option, but I think the blade is better. Personally, out of the three, I'm partial to boots as a starting item, so I don't have to worry about early ganks. I also find that the three potions you can get with boots as opposed to Doran's item help very much with early game laning. Boots help you dodge skill shots, too, to relieve more of the early game harassment. Either way, health potions are almost always necessary to get through the painful first few stages of the laning phase where you get harassed constantly. Jax is prone to this.
There is no good reason to get any boots other than Ninja Tabi. They complement your Nimbleness and Counter Strike, give armor, give magic resist with Relentless Assault's active, and are very affordable. The cheapest boots of all, and no boots work better for Jax. You won't need Boots of Swiftness, considering you have Nimbleness. The MR from Mercury's Treads is a bit low for the cost, and you get it with your Tabi/Ultimate active anyways. If you're dead-set on getting Merc's Treads in a game with a lot of stuns, or a Rammus, or something, it can be acceptable. Make sure you have dodge runes if you're going to get Treads, though. Berserker's Greaves are unnecessary, since you have plenty of other attack speed items to buy, but not a single other item for dodge. Since we won't be needing to waste any gold on magic or armor penetration, Sorcerer's Shoes are unnecessary. You have a lot worse options, but just don't get these. Boots of Mobility are, once again, unnecessary and bad. Your speed should be coming from being in combat and getting your Nimbleness, not from leaving combat and doing nothing.
To sum it up,
Ninja Tabi> Mercury's Treads>Everything else. More often than not, however, if a Summoner's Rift game goes on for longer than 30 minutes, I will sell my boots for Mercs, but seeing as the other tenacity items are now just as good as Mercs, you could probably buy a Moonflair Spellblade instead.
The nerfs to Hextech Gunblade made me cringe. They were a little too much, if you ask me, but I DO think that it is still a viable item. You probably won't see me buy it, but rather stick with the Bilgewater Cutlass, since it gives good AD, good lifesteal, and the same slow effect that the Gunblade does.
If the enemy team is caster-heavy, there is no better option than a Hexdrinker. It's cheap, gives you 35 AD(105 HP), magic resist, and a pretty substantial shield, especially early/mid game. The shield also applies damage mitigation, so with its own magic resist, and your ultimate's active, it will be very effective. If the enemy team has two casters(in a TT game), I suggest building this as a first item. I see a Hexdrinker as a must have in any game, unless the enemy team is Yi, Ashe, and Tristana. And even so, one of them will most likely build a Bloodrazor, so I'd say get a Hexdrinker anyways.
I would like to take this moment to say that Wit's End is one of my absolute favorite items on Jax. You will be hard pressed to find a game where I played Jax and didn't build this item. Why? 40% attack speed, 50 magic resist, 42 bonus magic damage per attack. There's nothing about this item that doesn't synergize with Jax perfectly, and I find that the bonus magic damage normalizes his auto-attacks between ult procs.
After the preceding items(Tabi>Gunblade>Hexdrinker>Wit's End), I will typically build purely tank, as attack speed will scale all the way to endgame, and the attack speed from Wit's End and your ultimate will bring you up to 2.1 or so. Tank items are more situational, and you'll have to closely analyze who's doing well on the enemy team to decide what to get. I'll write a section here for tank items, since I think they should be together.
It is my personal opinion that Warden's Mail is grossly underestimated, and if there is even one auto-attacker doing well on the enemy team, that is enough reason to build a Warden's mail. 50 armor and that absurdly good passive for only 1350 gold is something I find very hard to pass up. I usually will not build this into a full Randuin's Omen until all my other items are built, because it is a lot of money for not all too much more usage. Oftentimes the enemy team will be full of burst/AoE mages that you'll need to be able to resist and block. Yep, you guessed it, Banshee's Veil is a great tank item that works well for Jax as well. Blocking a spell every 30 seconds, having more health and 50 magic resist, yeah this item's got it all. It's pretty easy to build, too. Overused though Banshee's Veil may be, I still prefer the Force of Nature to it. Aside from the fact that it's cheaper and gives more magic resist, the passive synergizes well with Jax's passive, as he will typically have a lot of health to scale with that regeneration, and of course it gives some very welcome movespeed. Next, against squishy auto-attackers like Yi, I like to build a Thornmail. Pretty self-explanatory. 100 armor, 30% damage reflection, 2000 gold. What's not to like? I suppose that's all for tank items, I was considering mentioning Frozen Heart, but you should know better than to waste all your money on that. As with all other "Pure tank items", Guardian Angel is a great choice for Jax. Though it won't provide health, and the passive will only be useful if you have a bulky team to survive and keep the teamfight going. This item is very situational to me, but I think you should build it in games with a lot of tanky fighters on your team.
Rabadon's Deathcap is without a doubt the best caster item in the game, and with all of Jax's AP ratios, it's certainly not a bad choice. BUT, I have recently turned away from this item because of two things: it has been nerfed slowly over time, making it less efficient, as well as the fact that my build now tends to shy away from flat AP for a tad more attack speed and a lot of resistances. Nonetheless, if you build more than just a Gunblade for AP, you could benefit a lot from this item.
A Guinsoo's Rageblade is often considered the best item on Jax, and not without good reason. It is extremely cost-effective, and if you can keep its stacks up with your Relentless Assault at the same time, it gives even more AP. The attack speed is very helpful too. To be honest, I don't often build this item anymore. Not that it isn't a good item, but just because it works similarly to his ult doesn't mean it should be a core item. Nonetheless, it's a fine item. Get it if you want, but I think there are always better items to get.
For carrying, it really helps if a character has a good amount of crowd control, so if you're not happy with your Cutlass/Gunblade/Lizard Buff/Counter Strike, you can get either a Frozen Mallet or a Rylai's Crystal Scepter. These two sometimes hurt your overall damage output, but if you have enough as it is, they are a great asset to give you more survivability, and help you chase people down well. Not really a must, but I would recommend them for a game that is already going smoothly. As with the Rageblade, I've evolved beyond these items in most cases. I don't quite find the need for the extra slow anymore, and I find that the burst I get with other more powerful items is enough to kill with just a Gunblade slow or a Counter Strike. As with the Rageblade, also, they are still good items, and you shouldn't disregard them. Find out which items work best for your own play style.
Trinity Force is a viable item for Jax, and I used to see enemy Jaxes build it a lot. I used to like it for the movespeed and Phage effect, as well as the fact that it's easy to build, but it's just too expensive for too small amounts of AD, AP, and attack speed. It DOES give your burst much more damage when you Empower/Leap Strike into an auto-attack, but I don't find it as useful as I once did.
An AP-heavy version of the Trinity Force is a Lich Bane. I am much more partial to this item than the Trinity Force. It gives almost as much movespeed with potentially more burst damage output. It also provides that extra magic resist, which is always good. The only downside to a Lich Bane as opposed to a Trinity Force is that the Lich Bane doesn't give that Phage effect on auto-attacks. If you're not happy without the slow, you could get also get the Frozen Mallet or Rylai's. Note that I wouldn't recommend this item until you build a Deathcap. That is, if you choose to build that much AP.
If the enemy team has much physical damage, Atma's Impaler is a great choice. It works great with Jax's passive, too. Although the critical is far from necessary, it's very welcome. This item is particularly useful later, after you get a lot of health from your other items especially if you do decide to get a Frozen Mallet or a Rylai's.
The Bloodthirster is neither a fantastic nor a bad item for Jax. It's perfectly fine if you want to be more physically oriented. It doesn't really deserve any special mention. Get it if you want.
Barring all I said about critical, armor pen, and cooldown reduction, Youmuu's Ghostblade is a decent choice for Jax. The aforementioned stats are always welcome, and definitely helpful, as well as the attack damage. Of course, the most important thing about it is the active. The extra burst of movespeed and attack speed is very nice. I never personally build it as I feel there are many better items to build, but this is a good item, and it's easy to build.
If you find it necessary to get tenacity, you should definitely get the Moonflair Spellblade. It's cheap, gives 50 ability power, and 35 tenacity. Perfect, right? I thought so too.
The way I typically build Jax nowadays utilizes attack speed much more than before, and I think that one of the very best choices for attack speed is a Malady. Malady is easy to build, gives good amounts of AP and attack speed, and has a fantastic passive that goes very well with the loads of magic damage that Jax deals. I also feel that the bonus damage from the passive is often neglected, but with Jax's tremendous attack speed, it's very useful.
Mostly as a late game damage item Madred's Bloodrazor is great. The 4% damage is huge when considering Jax's innate attack speed. It's more of a late game item, though, because it doesn't give much in the way of flat attack damage, and thus doesn't give much survivability nor damage for your abilities.
The Black Cleaver is quite an interesting addition for Jax. Seeing as it has attack speed and damage, I think it's definitely a good item. Build it if you want, it wouldn't be a bad idea.
Focusing Leap Strike is optimal to get the cooldown as low as possible. Leap Strike also has the most impressive damage. Counter Strike is a must. The stun is vital. The damage on Counter Strike is also more noticeable than on Empower, and it is an AoE. It helps you jungle when your lane is pushed, and helps immensely in team fights. The single point into Empower gives you all the use you need from it. It still has the same AD/AP coefficients at level 1, so it still adds a great deal of damage to your Leap Strike.
I feel Ghost is a must for any physical character aside from Master Yi. Coupled with nimbleness, it's especially effective for Jax.
Ignite is almost invariable to me as it can be used after an Empower/Leap Strike combo to ensure a kill. 10 AP while it's on cooldown never hurts, either.
Flash is completely unnecessary and not very useful. Leap Strike provides the same utility with a five second cooldown. You have some worse options, but even more better ones. Don't get flash, please.
Exhaust is a fine spell, but not nearly as useful as Ignite or Ghost. The new updated version is much more useful than before, and it is a good slow/damage reducer. Altogether, I still wouldn't get it over Ghost or Ignite, but it is a viable option.
Teleport is only good on Summoner's Rift, and even so, it's not all too good for someone as innately fast as Jax who can get around well anyways.
Clairvoyance is the support's job. Speed and damage are more important than this for you. Buy a ward. You can jump over walls to them when you get ganked.
Fortify is a bad spell. The cooldown is way too long, and it never does its job right, especially if you're not going to spec far enough into the defense tree for the improved Fortify.
Don't even think about getting Revive. It also has a gargantuan nine minute cooldown. I'd have to say, though, I personally feel it has more uses than Flash for Jax, especially if you put the point into improved Revive in the defense tree.
Take Smite if you're jungling, preferably replacing Ignite. The utility you get from Ghost is far more useful and reliable than a quick few hundred damage. Smite/Ignite is fine, but you'll probably find yourself missing that speed boost. It's all about preference.
You don't need Heal. You should get lifesteal or spell vamp from something. If you do, it'll be fine.
Clarity isn't good for Jax. He's not very mana-hungry. Go back to base for once, and maybe buy a Mana Potion.
Way back in the day, Rally used to have a great little glitch where you could throw it down and heal with your passive by moving in and out of range. This no longer exists, and probably wasn't ever that great anyways. Don't get it, Rally isn't very good.
Cleanse is not necessary for Jax. He has great mobility and deals with the slows on Twisted Treeline very well. However, on Summoner's Rift, the large amount of stuns, snares, taunts, and fears will often get the best of him. I still do not recommend Cleanse on SR, but if you absolutely need it, it is understandable. It is awful and unnecessary in the majority of TT games, though, so don't bother.