Jax Build Guide by MFawkes
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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.
Hello there and welcome to a guide to Jax, the Grandmaster at Arms. Jax is best played as a AD offtank, usually soloing the top lane. He's a great beginning character, as his build isn't too complex and his abilities are pretty straight forward. However, few other champions can match Jax 1v1. He is a great choice if you prefer a melee DPS, with options to jungle and gank really effectively.
You need to level your abilities carefully. When I play Jax, I try to keep Leap Strike and Empower leveled equally, because using the two abilities combined is an extremely effective poke, especially early game. By level four, have two points in Leap Strike, one in Empower and one in Counterstrike. With this combination, it becomes pretty easy to eat up enemy champs early before level six. After you've put points in the ult, you want to start leading with it. When you start a fight with a champ at full health, trigger your ult to give yourself an advantage right off the bat. Your ult's passive will do quite a bit of magic damage on every third strike, so autoattack as many times as possible. When the enemy champ starts to run, immediately trigger Counter Strike to stun, then land a few more autoattacks. Save Empower and Leap Strike until the enemy champ is retreating and lower health. This strategy is especially useful with a CC strong teammate or a jungler that can gank quickly.
I build Jax as an AD Offtank, and so my item build is pretty standard. Where I differ from most is that I like to build magic resistance, because burst mages like Leblanc and Cassiopeia can absolutely rip through Jax (a lesson I learned the hard way, facing both those champions in a match). Start off with a long sword and two health potions. Build the long sword into a vampiric scepter, then grab boots of speed and build the vampiric scepter until wriggles lantern. Wriggle's lantern will give you some laning sustainability while you build into Trinity Force. First grab phage for the extra AD and the possibility to slow down your opponent, then do Sheen and then build Merc Treads before finally going buying Trinity Force. If you can manage this by mid-game, Jax will absolutely rage. After trinity force, definitely go for a hextech gunblade or guinso's rageblade. However, by the time that you're getting into heavy team fights, you have to have the Maw of Malmortius, and if you can swing it, Spirit Visage. Not only is the extra health and AD helpful, but you absolutely have to have some Magic Resist if you want to last at all against strong AP casters.
As odd as it might sound, Jax is best paired with a strong CC/support ranged champ. For my money, Lux or Teemo are the best choices to pair with Jax. Lux for her amazing CC abilities and the usefulness of her ult against retreating opponents, and Teemo for his speed and stealth. Both champions are good for ensuring that any enemy weakened by Jax goes down, even if they successfully get away from Jax. My preference is for Lux just because Jax is absurdly strong when accompanied by powerful CC. He's an easier champion for enemies to get away from, so a teammate that can keep enemies in the area are great. In team fights, never lead with Jax. Though he can be pretty tanky if you build him right, he isn't a good champion to take the brunt of an opposing team's attacks. Following your teams tank is a great strategy as you can easily pick off champs focused on the tanks. Jax's role in team fights is pretty straight forward honestly, but make sure to save leap strike for any enemies that run for it.
Jax is a perfect champion built into the proper team. He isn't necessarily a universally powerful champion, especially if the opposing team is AP heavy. However, when used properly, Jax is absolutely unstoppable. Be patient and build smart, you'll be happy.