Jax Build Guide by StunnedTzu
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.
STILL WORKING ON GETTING VIDEOS TO DEMONSTRATE JaxTICS (see what i did there?) INCLUDING:
POSITIONING IN THE LANE
if anyone has a good capture program, tell me, I need it.
Introduction to Bruisers & why Jax is exemplary at his role
First off, HEY! Thanks for taking a look at my guide for Jax, who I would consider to be one of my main champions. A lot of this build guide ends up as a wall of text, not because I expect everyone to read everything on here (the guide at the top of the page is usually enough), but because I wanted to make my reasoning available to anyone who reaaaaaaaally wanted to get into my head and know why I build what I build on Jax. Basically, if you just want the buld and some tactics, check the order above, and the jax tics section (once its finishe of course!)
WHY PLAY BRUISERS?
In the current team metagame (solo lanes top & mid, dual lane bot, and a jungler/counter-jungler) usually give the top lane to their AP CARRY (APC) or one of their BRUISER champions. If a team puts their APC on middle lane, bottom lane often falls to the team's AD CARRY (ADC) and a SUPPORT champion, leaving top lane to their BRUISER, and the jungle to their TANK.
The "BRUISER" group covers the "middle ground" of LoL champions. BRUISERS are champions that "fill out" the team's build, they are the jack-of-all-trade champions who play a role that rests between support, carry, and tank roles... which (hopefully) are filled by the rest of the team. Not surprisingly, champions played as BRUISERS are those who have decent attack damage, sustain, and cc, but are not proficient enough in these to play in any of the other aforementioned roles. While BRUISERS are not entirely necessary to a team's composition (as tanks are), they keep the playing field balanced, preventing enemies from focusing on a single offensive or defensive stat. A few examples of BRUISERS are Jax, Jarvan IV, Riven, and Singed.
Pros / Cons
+ Great duelist
+ High early damage output
+ Relatively tanky Trinity Champion
+ Ward Jumper
+ Melts faces with a friggin lamppost
- Hard to avoid harassment
- Susceptible to early ganks
- Focused in teamfights
- Mechanics are very difficult to master
Now lets talk about the pregame build...
Runes, Masteries, and Summoner Spells
Lets keep it simple, they don't do all that much of anything mid to late game (with the exception of those Greater Quintessence of Life Steal you have stacked) so its really best to get the bonus up front. Getting flat armour penetration, armour, and MR runes boosts your damage potential and survivability greatly in the early game and into the start of the mid game. The armour pen stays with you the whole time, but it becomes less noticeable against say Galio rather than Malphite than it was at the start of the game.
Pretty much the same deal as with runes, they give you an edge early on, but lose their luster later in the game. I prefer to go with a 21-0-9 mastery set up on Jax because it allows you to deal great amounts of damage from early on in the match, which (when combined with 9% bonus lifesteal from runes and the vampirism mastery) allows Jax players to stay in lane longer, without having to over compensate for harass with potions. More than adding damage to make Jax more sustainable in the early game, Summoner's Wrath , Brute Force , and Alacrity all synergy well with Jax's innate, ultimate, and abilities in general. Why not take more points for ability power or spell vampirism? Because Jax is an AD BRUISER hybrid, not an AP BRUISER hybrid. While Mental Force , and Arcane Knowledge do greatly benefit your ultimate, Grandmaster's Might, Jax is still an auto attacker at his core, ever bit of physical damage counts. Now at this point most readers will agree with me on the offensive mastery choices but will try to convince me that the defense tree is where I should put my remaining 9 points. While I can clearly why someone would suggest putting 3 points into hardness, 1 in Resistance , and the rest into Durability and Veteran's Scars , these choices represent an assumption that you are going to get harassed and damaged to where you need the bonus "tankiness". Because of my item choices however, (with Heart of Gold and Phage providing you with more than enough early game health) I believe that the remaining 9poijt could be better used in the seldom touched utility tree, rounding out survivability in places not as thoroughly covered by my items. I take points in Expanded Mind and Summoner's Insight because they allow me to cast more spells as I level, particularly more Leap Strike as an escape, or ghost if it comes to a full out sprint. I further take points in Swiftness and Scout as they further bolster my movement speed and lines of sight, contributing much more to my survivability than resistances would. While Jax is a BRUISER champion, and while BRUISERS are meant to be tankier, your enemies still can't kill what they can't hit.
Yes, spells. Not much to say about them really. Ward Jumping (where Jax or Katarina drop a ward and use their q to boost towards it... usually using smart casting) lets Jax have a free, long range Flash for as long as he can pay 75g for sight wards, so I find that Flash is usually a waste of a good spell slot. Its not to say that Flash + a ward jump would be less useful, its just that the 270ish cooldown just doesn't justify it for me. I WILL BE SURE TO INCLUDE A VIDEO IF I MAKE/FIND ONE IN THE NEAR FUTURE!
Instead of Flash, I take its lower level counterpart, Ghost, for the extra mobility ( Jax is one of those movespeed hungry melee guys). I would also take Exhaust for the secondary abilities it provides rather than for the slow it is normally used as in solo que. Most players are familiar with the very basic slow part of Exhaust, and a few are with the enemy attack speed reduction, but that's only half the fun for Jax players. Taking a mastery point in Summoner's Wrath also reduces the unlucky champion's armour and MR by 10 each, as the Lol Wikia so aptly explains that reduction can be devastating with a champion like Jax chasing you.
Flash as I mentioned before, this spell is usually unwanted for Jax because of ward jumping, but it's still (as always) a viable choice
Ignite I'm not personally the biggest fan of this spell because it is more for first blood than anything else, while it increases your early killing potential, it's effectiveness compared to the slows and debuffs from Exhaust, Hextech Gunblade, and Trinity Force outclass this spell... At least in my opinion
Heal& Clarity can be used to replace Exhaust, but if you can't "safely" farm or manage your mana (he's a melee hybrid for Christ's sake) then you reeeeeeally should try out Jax.
Next up, skills...
Skill sequence, now this section (other than the item build) is probably going to get the most flak for being different and out of the ordinary for what most people I see playing Jax would do.[/h5]
As I mentioned in the previous section, I prefer to use Leap Strike as an escape tool rather than as a damaging mini Flash, with that in mind, I usually prefer taking it at level 2 rather than 1 as most players would... instead taking a point in Counter Strike, because it threatens your lane opponent (they usually try to avoid being stunned), and deflects auto attacks to let you farm the early wave (lvs 1-3ish) where harassment makes the biggest difference in your minion kill count... besides, if you're diving hard enough to need Leap Strike at level 1, you gotsta chill out and enjoy Heart of Gold's passive some more.
Empower at level 3 because this is when you should start to think about harassing anyone dumb enough to get close to you... and it helps you push back the lane if the enemy can't last hit properly and you find yourself stuck under tower
Counter Strike at level 4, who doesn't like to get more damage and less cooldown time from your main early safety/farming tool?
Empower again at level 5, this is when you start to think about early kills
Grandmaster's Might, always get your ultimate at level 6 (unless you're Jayce (does MOBAFIRE even acknowledge his existence yet?), and get ready for EARLY GAME phase two
At this point, you're going to see a lot more ganking attempts by the enemy jungler, and (even though Counter Strike + Exhaust + Grandmaster's Might rips faces off early game, even without items) you need to start preparing for this.
That's why from level 6 on until team fights start breaking out (usually around 24ish minutes, depending on if a turret or more has been pushed down), you should focus on boosting up Empower and Leap Strike to focus your killing potential in the mid game. I end up taking:
Leap Strike at level 7 to boost its damage output, and give me a better chance of killing or scaring my laning opponent to make farming easier
Empower at level 8 to boost your damage whenever you feel the need to hit w (btw it works wonderfully with Leap Strike)
Counter Strike at level 9, not so much for upgrading damage as it is for cooldown time
Empower again at level 10 (you should start seeing AT LEAST a few skirmishes here and there)
Grandmaster's Might as soon as you can at level 11
welcome to the mid game...
It means that you don't dive towers excessively, you don't engage in I Am Legend-esque dives against greater numbers to save a teammate OR YOUR TANK (THEY'RE MOST LIKELY THERE FOR YOU TO RUN AWAY), and it means that you level your skills appropriately for what the situation requires. I honestly prefer to build my skills as listed above, but after level 11ish, it really depends more on whether you need damage, mobility, or cooldown on your cc. Like with any part of ingame building, do what you need to win fights, PERIOD (.)
MAX Leap Strike first if you find that you need to be in and out of fights to avoid getting your head bashed in by that beefcake Alistar or any other tank with cc
MAX Empower if the enemy is say, Vladimir, Dr. Mundo, Jarvan IV, or Singed (to name a few), and have enough health that you can't melt them alone and are no longer able to duel with their team
MAX Counter Strike first if your tank (or off tank, nowadays) doesn't have all that much hard cc (say Cho'Gath... who I also love to play very much... OM NOPM NOM!)
You should be fully leveled 10 minutes ago... if not, refer to the MID GAME section above
The FULL set of core items contains:
Maw of Malmortius
Locket of the Iron Solari
IMPORTANT NOTE! WHILE THESE ARE THE CORE ITEMS, THEY ARE NOT ALWAYS THE BEST FOR EVERY GAME. THEY ARE SIMPLY A GOOD, BALANCED STARTING POINT TO WORK FROM.
With the purchase order broken up into three main phases, the EARLY GAME, the MID GAME, and the LATE GAME. Each phase is then further broken up into PREFERRED purchasing groups, i.e., what you want to get on which trip back from the lane.
Purchase 1: Out of the Gates
Boots of Speed for the mobility to "safely" farm minions
Health Potion x3 for some early early game sustain, helps smooth out the harass
Purchase 2: After a bit of farming or that first blood
Heart of Gold both for the +gold/10seconds passive, and for the 250hp it provides
Vampiric Scepter to bolster the extra survivability and lane sustain from the Heart of Gold
Long Sword for some early game damage bonuses
Purchase 3: After a good amount of farming, taking advantage of Heart of Gold's passive
Long Sword a second for even more AD power
Pickaxe you guessed it, more damage
Ninja Tabi or Mercury's Treads choose between the two situationally, regardless, they each give you some more mobility to avoid ganks and some damage resistance to keep you in the lane longer
Purchase 4: Transitional purchase, fits between early game and mid game
MID GAME: Farm until the fighting starts, then keep farming minions in between teamfights, but stay close
Purchase 1: Pokes and harasses are starting to become duels and escapes, fight wisely
Hexdrinker uses up a Long Sword and your Null-Magic Mantle for bonus AD, MR, and a fight weathering passive
Sheen synergies well with Empower and Counter Strike by doubling AD on the next auto attack
Purchase 2: The active range on the Bilgewater Cutlass is now too short for good engagements and your own safety
Hextech Gunblade who doesn't like bonus AD, AP, spell and physical vampirism, on top of upgrading Bilgewater Cutlass's active with more damage, slow, and range... no one doesn't, except your enemies
Purchase 3: If you're playing right, you'll start getting focused in fights, start building tankier without sacrificing your damage output
Trinity Force is the easiest way to do this, plus the synergies from sheen get a nice bonus
emblem of valor while you're not a tank or a support, this item boosts your and your teammates' survivability in a fight, plus the armor beefs you up against that damned Tristana
LATE GAME: If the game has made it this far, dig in, grab a bite to eat on your next death, and for the love of LoL make sure your internet doesn't cut out before its over
Purchase 1: Start finishing up those item chains, you're gonna need them
Maw of Malmortius pretty logical extension of the Hexdrinker you should have bought in mid game purchase 1, gives you a damage boost, makes the passive shield beefier, and gives you an AD bonus based on % of missing health
Purchase 2: what he said
Locket of the Iron Solari finishes off your team focused item, gives you a great active shield that works well with the one from your Maw of Malmortius, and uses up that Heart of Gold that's been awkwardly clogging up your inventory
Chain Vest just because you should have the cash if you kept farming in between and pushed down the big creeps along the river, and because it builds into...
Purchase 3: Roshan anyone?
Guardian Angel just in case you thought that you didn't already have enough armour, enough MR, or enough sustain, you just bought a second chaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaance (kudos to those who hopped off of LoL enough to get the reference xD ) courtesy of Riot :)
Thornmail for when that fed ADC is getting on your nerves, the 100 armour bonus (the largest in the game) and the 30% AD return will get you to last longer than you otherwise could, trade this for Guardian Angel (as coming back from the dead to be re-melted is just a waste of your spawn time)
Don't you think that building your heart of gold into a randuin's omen would be way more powerful than a locket of the iron solari? Otherwise not a bad build +1
Just tell your support to build the locket and enjoy the way more powerful active of randuin's omen (imo).
Quicksilver Sash if no amount of MR can save you from the enemy tank's cc, swap, you guessed it, Maw of Malmortius out for this one, although it sacrifices some AD to do so
Rabadon's Deathcap no good APC's on the other team? Drop your Maw of Malmortius for even more damage with Leap Strike, Empower, Grandmaster's Might, and MR scaling for the former
The Bloodthirster an alternative to the Rabadon's Deathcap alternative, if you'd rather just make your AD godly and give yourself some nasty life steal bonus for even more survivability
JAXTICS ----- If you only read the build summary, this is what you've been
This is probably the part that most people are going to read if they skipped my quite lengthy explanations of the build portion of the guide. So I'll try to keep it short and bittersweet.