Jax Build Guide by teepod
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.
Top vs AD
Finish Triforce ASAP
Possible 6th items
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.
The purpose of this guide is to be a reference/outline for a coaching session I am doing with the friendly old TOTP (too old to play) folks on June 12, 2014. It isn't really meant to be a mainstream guide, and I likely won't put any time keeping it up to date or making it pretty.
Jax is a hyper carry melee champ that gets extremely strong as the game goes on. He is very good at dueling, and thus is often best used as a split pusher. He does a mix of physical and magic damage, so it is hard to itemize against him.
Relentless Assault (Passive): Basic attacks increase Jax's attack speed by 4% / 6% / 8% / 10% / 12% / 14%. Relentless Assault lasts for 2.5 seconds and stacks up to 6 times for a maximum of 24% / 36% / 48% / 60% / 72% / 84%.
Tip: If you are about to fight your lane opponent (IE, a gank is coming, or you are about to jump on them), be sure to auto attack the minions a few times to get your passive up and going
Leap Strike (Q): Jax leaps to target unit, dealing physical damage if the target is an enemy
Tip: In addition to enemys, you can Leap Strike to wards, allied champs, and allied minions among other things
Tip: This is Jax's built-in escape. As long as you have your trinket ward available you can 'ward jump' by putting it down and instantly jumping to it. I actually prefer to keep my trinket ward in my inventory instead of putting it down for this very reason.
Empower (W): Jax's next basic attack or Leap Strike within the next 10 seconds deals additional magic damage.
Tip: This skill is an auto attack reset. You should always use it immediately after landing an auto attack or a leap strike.
Counter Strike (E): For up to 2 seconds, Jax dodges all basic attacks and takes 25% less damage from area of effect abilities. At the end of the duration or if Counter Strike is activated again, Jax deals physical damage and stuns nearby enemies for 1 second. This spell deals 20% additional damage for each attack dodged to a maximum of 100% increased damage.
Tip: This skill is very powerful at level 1. See the 'early game' section below for how to abuse it.
Tip: When in the middle of a teamfight, you probably want to let this skill last the full 2 seconds, as it provides 25% reduction in AOE damage
Grandmaster's Might (R): Passive: Jax deals additional magic damage on every third basic attack. The counter will reset if he does not attack for 2.5 seconds. Active: Jax gains bonus armor and magic resistance for 8 seconds.
Tip: The passive of this ultimate is what causes Jax to start doing absurd amounts of damage. You can use the passive to do some burst harass if you time it correctly (See the 'combos' section for more details)
Tip: Activate the ultimate at the start of any teamfight. It will make you very tanky for 8 seconds
Always start with E level 1, and Q level 2 on jax. You take Q second so that you can close a gap if needed (to help with a gank, or to put on more harass), or to get away if they gank early.
From there, if you are against a melee champ, max R > W > Q > E. We do W > Q because W has a low cooldown, helps us with farming, and does the most DPS.
If you are against a ranged champ, max R > Q > W > E. We do Q > W because we need to be able to close the gap in order to do any sort of harass, so we need the lower Q cooldown.
- The most basic combo is just using W to get an attack reset off. If you go up and auto attack the enemy, use your W immediately after it hits to get off 2 quick hits.
- A basic harass combo before level 6 is Q + W. Jump to them with Q, and then use W to hit them again.
- If you want to jump to someone to get off a stun (for example, you are about to get a gank or are about to catch someone out of position), then hit E, Q to them, and then reactivate E as soon as you can to get the stun off before they can get away.
- Once you hit level 6, you can get off some good burst harass by auto attacking something (usually minions) twice, jumping to the enemy with Q, and then auto attack resetting immediately with W. This will proc your ultimate, and will do a large chunk of damage
I think you should always take Teleport and Flash. There was a recent teleport buff that made it so that if you teleport to a friendly tower, the cooldown is 200 seconds instead of 300 seconds. That is over a minute and a half lower cooldown. That change alone is one of the reasons why Jax went from good top laner to God tier top laner. His weakness has always been his early game. People used to be able to bully him out of lane and severly slow his ability to ramp up and scale. With teleport Jax now has the ability to go back to base to heal up, buy, and return without losing anything. Teleport is also important for someone who is split pushing. You can join the team if needed (say, at a baron fight).
Jax doesn't build an abundance of AD like ADCs or some bruisers would. 3 points in warlord gives +5% BONUS (not total) AD. With this build, we are building about 55 AD (30 from triforce, 25 from Bork). Even if our 6th item is offensive, we won't get more than 100 bonus damage. 3 mastery points for no more than 5 AD at full build? No thanks.
Why not Enchanted Armor ?
That mastery gives 2.5/5% BONUS (not total) Armor and MR. With this build, the most we will have at the end of the game is 120 bonus armor and 95 bonus MR. This mastery would give about 5 armor and 5 MR at the end of the game. That is respectable for a first-row mastery, but late game Jax's ultimate gives tons of stats. What he needs help with is early game. That is why we put the points into Block/Unyielding instead.
AD and Attack speed both help Jax. I think attack speed helps him more late game (to proc his ult passive more often, and to synergize with Bork), but we need enough AD to do some decent damage and last hit early.
Health seals are viable against an AP top, but overall I prefer the armor seals.
For glyphs you will want magic resist. I recommend flat MR vs AP, and scaling MR vs AD laner.
VS an AD enemy (like Renekton), I think the best start is Cloth Armor + 5 Health Potion. That gives us some much needed defense, and 750(!) health of healing. That sustain will help us get through the early game. Also, the cloth armor will likely be built into Ninja Tabi, which is one of the most cost-efficient items in the game. If you decide that you need Mercury's Treads instead, you can eventually sell the cloth armor and get most of your money back.
VS an AP enemy (like Ryze), there is no cheap MR item to start. I do NOT think that starting Null-Magic Mantle is valid, because then you only can afford one health pot, and you will have no defense vs their auto attack harass. You will be pushed out of lane way too easily. I think the best bet is to just load up on sustain with Crystalline Flask + 3 Health Potion. That gives you 810(!) health + 180 mana. The flask also refills when you go back to base, so you don't need to buy more health potions. All of this sustain means that you can have negative trades (Where you lose 200 health and they only lose 100) but eventually come out on top due to superior sustain. The extra mana means that you can use your skills a little bit more liberally without fear of going OOM.
Another possible start is Doran's Blade + 1 Health Potion. This is fine against someone who provides no danger to you early, and is someone you might want to all-in fight somewhat early. An example of an enemy like this is Dr Mundo.
The last possible start is Boots of Speed + 3 Health Potion. I don't ever personally run this, but is viable vs some ranged enemies that you want to fight early and stick to them. The good part about this is that the money isn't wasted (you will always have boots in a final build).
Jax is weak early and has no built-in sustain. That is why we want to build Vampiric Scepter ASAP. Vamp costs 800 and provides 10 AD and 10% lifesteal. For only 600 more gold we can build that into a Bilgewater Cutlass which provides an additional 15 AD, 2% more lifesteal, and an active that does 100 magic damage and slows the enemy. The slow is great for making sure that you can get a stun off, so I would recommend finishing cutlass before starting work on the triforce.
Trinity Force and Blade of the Ruined King are the core items on Jax. Those alone are enough for him to do massive amounts of damage. After that we just need to build enough defense to be able to live when we jump into the middle of a fight.
Why is Trinity Force core on Jax?
Triforce is an expensive item that gives lots of stats: AP, AD, AS, crit, health, mana, movespeed, more movespeed passive, and a burst passive. Jax can utilize ALL of those stats. Additionally he has low enough cooldowns on his skills (mainly his W) to keep proc'ing the 'spellblade' passive.
Why is Blade of the Ruined King core on Jax?
For one thing, Bork is an excellent dueling item, and if Jax is splitpushing he will need to duel. It helps him fight 1v1, and helps him stick to targets in teamfights. The item also synergizes well with attack speed due to the %health passive. Jax has plenty of attack speed in his build and kit which will allow him to melt everyone, even tanks.
On most champs, if you are behind early you would want to build tanky. However, on Jax I still recommend building Tri + Cutlass before any defensive items (other than maybe tier2 boots). Jax's ult gives him defense based on how much AD/AP he has built... so he can afford to build straight damage at the start.
You don't need to finish BORK right away after triforce. If you are going up against a tank or are already splitpushing and are ahead, then yes finish BORK. Otherwise start building tanky.
Look at the other team to see how many of them deal magic vs physical damage, and to determine who is getting fed.
If they are dealing lots of magic damage, try to build Banshee's Veil or Spirit Visage. I think spirit visage is better in general (get some CDR), but if they have some high impact spells like nidalee spears, banshees may help you more.
If they are dealing lots of physical damage, build Randuin's Omen. The reason we build this instead of Sunfire Cape is due to the fact that Randiun's has much better armor, and due to Randuin's active. When Jax is split pushing, he can use the active to stick to someone or to get away. When jax teamfights, he will likely jump to the enemy back line. The Randuin's active will slow their whole team and make sure Jax can stick to their carrys.
Sunfire is more for very tanky champs who just soak up damage in the middle of the fight.
If the enemy is a good mix of magic/physical damage, start building parts of each of the major items ( Spectre's Cowl and Giant's Belt).
For your 6th item it depends on what your role on the team is and how the game is going. Are you doing large teamfights? If so a Guardian Angel may turn the tide. Are you split pushing? Guinsoo's Rageblade gives you even more dueling power and allow you to take down towers ever faster. Zephyr helps if they have lots of CC and you don't have tenacity. Sunfire Cape or Thornmail will help if you need more armor.
As for boots I would recommend either Ninja Tabi or Mercury's Treads. Tabi is one of the most cost effective items in the game, and is great vs an AD laner (Plus we started cloth armor vs AD lane, so the combine cost is minimal). Merc treads give some MR, and the extremely valuable tenacity stat.
I think the best boots upgrade is Enchantment: Furor. It gives you 12% movement speed when you use a single-target spell/attack. Everything but Jax's E is single-target. 12% of his move speed is roughly 40 speed, so it is significant. Add in the movement passive from the triforce and jax becomes extremely sticky. Other options include Enchantment: Homeguard for defending your base, or Enchantment: Distortion if you find yourself needing to use teleport often.
Early Game (< Level 6)
Jax is strong at level 1, but very weak from levels 2-5. Your goal should be to farm as much as possible and avoid dying. This is one of the reasons that we take teleport. We will likely be pushed to tower and poked down early. We can back, buy our sustain, and then instantly get back to lane without losing CS/EXP.
His E is very strong at level 1 (because other than 1 spell, the enemy can only auto attack), which is why we take it at level 1. What you want to do to gain a big advantage early is to walk straight up to their champ when the minions first meet in lane and auto attack the enemy champion. This will cause all of their minions to start attacking you. Normally this would be a big mistake as minions do tons of damage at level 1. However, your E can block all of that damage, and will be amplified by all of the autoattacks it is dodging. So auto attack them once or twice, and then start your E. That gives you 2 more seconds where you can auto attack them and they can pretty much do nothing. At the end your stun will go off doing 100 damage. At this point back off and get out of minion aggro range to avoid taking damage back. That start will give you a huge advantage in lane, one which you should be able to milk to get you through the early game.
Try to freeze the lane early game outside of your tower. That will give you the safety to farm, and will open up the opponent to ganks. Avoid using your Q or E for farming. These are extremely important spells with long cooldowns and high mana costs. If your jungler comes to gank, use E + Q to jump on the enemy and stun them. That should give your jungler a chance to chain his CC with yours and get you guys a kill. Any time you successfully kill or push the enemy out of lane, push the lane to tower ASAP and go base.
Mid Game (Level 6 to 13)
Your goal mid game is to farm a ton and get as huge as possible.
At level 6 you hit a pretty big power spike. Unlike most champs who get a high impact spell at 6, Jax gets a passive that he gets to use all the time. Every 3rd attack does a ton of extra damage. What you want to start doing is harassing the enemy by using the following harass combo: AA minions twice, then Q to the enemy and W right after you hit. Assuming you have level 1 Q, level 3 W, this will do 70 (Q) + 110 (W) + 100 (ULT) base damage almost instantly. Add in at least another 80 damage if you have Sheen.
You can use your E to disengage if they try to fight back, or if they are low enough to chase and kill. Really what you want to do is just do the combo once or twice to get them low, and either get them low enough to kill, or to push them out of lane.
Once you get strong enough to fight the enemy, you want to start pushing the lane. Push it to their tower and then go farm Golems/Wight. Rinse and repeat. I want to stress how important experience is. Every level you get about 800 gold worth of stats for free instantly. A single kill gets you 400 gold, and you don't get to realize any of that until you go spend it. If you have the option of chasing a kill or getting more farm/experience, you should be choosing to farm. You want to get to the point where you are the highest level player in the game by a level or 2.
I would honestly just ignore the rest of your team at this point and keep farming. Don't bother rotating mid or anything like that. You want to be efficient and farm as much as possible. The exception would be a case where you think you can teleport behind bot lane to get a double kill + dragon.
Late Game (Level 14 and on)
At this point no one on their team should be able to 1v1 you. In most games your goal should be to split push top or bottom lane. If they send one person to you, kill them. If they send 2 or more people for you, back off and tell your team to take objectives. If the other team starts doing Baron, you can teleport in so that your team can 5v5.
At this point it is important to make sure the map is well warded so that you can tell if the enemy is coming for you when you are split pushing. It is also important to only push when your team is pushing elsewhere on the map. If your team is in your own jungle or in your own base buying and you are split pushing, the other team can send everyone to kill you without consequence. If your team is pushing the other 2 lanes while you split push, then the other team has no good options. If they leave you alone, you will take towers. If they sent lots of people for you, the rest of your team should be able to take towers or dragon/baron.
I actually don't have enough experience to give full breakdowns of all of the matchups. Generally Jax does better against champs who do a majority of their damage via auto-attacks, because Jax can use his E to avoid 2 seconds of that type of damage. Thus, I would say that Jax is strong against champs like Master Yi, Tryndamere, and Aatrox.
Some laners that give Jax an especially hard time are:
- Renekton because he has built-in sustain, is a lane bully, and none of his abilities are blocked by Jax's E
- Singed because he gives almost every melee champ trouble.
- Teemo because most of Jax's damage is autoattack, and he can cause those to miss. He can also easily harass you with his range and speed
- Malphite because he has an attack speed slow, and generally likes to build lots of armor
- Ryze because he can harass from range, and Frozen Heart is a core item on him.
How to play AGAINST Jax
- Ban him (yes, I believe he is worth a ban, or worth first pick if Blue side)
- Pick a champ that counters him like Renekton
- Bully him early in lane, and ask for jungler assistance. You need to delay his power spike as long as possible.
- Use exhaust and/or CC on him in teamfights
- Build frozen heart (Armor + Attack speed slow)
- If the enemy Jax is repeatedly doing the AA, AA, Q harass combo, tell your jungler. Once he jumps in he no longer has his escape
Is it possible to hit the attack speed limit with this build?
According to http://leagueoflegends.wikia.com/wiki/List_of_champions%27_attack_speed , Jax needs 234.2% bonus attack speed in order to hit the limit.
We are getting
5% from masteries
13.5% from runes
84% from a fully stacked passive
40% from Bork
50% from zephyr OR 52% from fully stacked rageblade
That puts us at a max of 194.5% at full build... so no we won't end up wasting any attack speed stats.