Build Guide by LackadaisyFrog
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.
Jax is an assasin, right? So why do so many people play him like an off-tank or attack speed dpser? Guinsou's Rageblade, while made for him, is never my first item, and it shouldn't be yours either. Your ultimate, while wonderful, is not what makes Jax great.
Being able to Empower and Leap Strike an enemy champion to less than half their health is what Jax was made for. Jax doesn't have much to follow that up with to begin with, but once his attack speed is actually up there, you'll have no problem taking out anyone unfortunately unwitting enough to stray from the rest of their team.
Why flat ability power, magic penetration, and dodge, you ask? Jax has an amazing late game, as anyone who's had him turn around a game on them knows. The real problem with Jax is early game survivability and damage; Before level 8 or so, Jax is very squishy.
Ability power makes his spells, especially Empower, forces to be reckoned with. This is important in the early game so that your damage output is comparable to other champions, since you get no ability power whatsoever otherwise.
Magic penetration is the extra push behind your ability power. Tanks and Carries alike will fear your damage potential if you have enough magic penetration to pierce through to their health.
Dodge is, naturally, Jax's specialty. Dodge Runes give him a solid foundation to build upon for his passive dodge and Ninja Tabi, coupled with his masteries.
This build means business, by which I mean damage, by which I mean business. 21/9/0 give you valuable dodge, some much-needed magic resistance, and a small speed boost from the defensive masteries. The ability power, cooldown reduction, and damage increases from offensive masteries are your bread and butter.
I like buffing Exhaust and Ignite to make killing earlier in the game easier, to ensure I get the finishing hit, and because the addition 10 AP from Ignite's cooldown is a great boon early on. Flash and Clarity are also good (you'll run out of mana fast) from what I've seen, but I prefer slowing fast enemies rather than jumping around them.
You want ability power, spell vampirism, lifesteal, and--last and possibly least--some attack speed. You want to hit hard, live long, and move fast.
Why spell vampirism? Why not more lifesteal? What's the difference? While those are all completely inane questions, it's because you'll be doing tons of magic damage and a small bit of physical damage. Spell vamp will steal large chunks of health at a time, while lifesteal will compliment it with tons of small portions, once your attack speed is 2.5.
The last two items in your final six (Madred's and Malady) are my personal favorites. They make your physical attacks really fast and really useful, dealing much more damage and lowering your enemy's magic resist for your abilities.
If you want something different, try Rylai's for the quick ones and Wit's end for mages. If you need to get tanky, Warmogs, Force of Nature, Thornmail, and Spirit Visage. Warmogs is just straight health, for trouble with diverse teams. Force of Nature is magic resistance and health, thornmail eliminates physical carries, and Spirit Visage makes your lifesteal more effects, making you great 1v1 and eliminating the chance of enemies "geting lucky".
Why all Empower first? Because its base damage is nearly one and a half times that of your Leap Strike, and you need damage up front. You can't assume you're going to get kills, so you'll get ability power early. Jax is easy to shut down completely if he's focused on. Making yourself feared with large early-game damage potential makes you better in the long run.
I like taking Leap Strike after that, to reduce the cooldown so you're a better chaser. Counter Strike is great for taking on multiple enemies, which you don't want to do until late game anyway. Having that point in Counter Strike from the beginning, however, means the minions also attacking you while you fight a champion WILL give you your stun.
Again, a strong early game means an excellent late game, meaning you win. Exhaust to catch them, ignite to gaurantee you get the kill (only cast it when they're below half of their last health section (divided by the lines) or to reduce the healing effects on a Warwick, Mundo, or the like.
Pros / Cons
-This focuses on making you have a great early to mid game, making your late game great simply because Jax is great late game.
-You'll get lots of kills with your Empower + Leap Strike, so use it when your enemies are down to about 2/3 of their health.
-You can take on two or three champs at once, if you're quick and smart, and you don't get any lag at the wrong time.
-Mana, mana, mana. Consider buying lots of extra mana potions after you get your Revolver to counter the massiv mana usage.
-Prone to being ganked, easy to focus on.
-Remember, you are NOT A TANK. Jumping in first or sticking around at low health means death.
-Lag WILL kill you. Do not go near towers.
Creeping / Jungling
As with any carry, gold, experience, and neutral monster buffs are your friends. Get blue and red buffs, kill dragon after level 9, and kill neutral creeps when you're near them.
Farming with someone makes last hitting a pain, especially if they're a good farmer. Don't use your Leap Strike to last hit unless you're having a bad game, but do use your Empower since its cooldown is low and it costs only 20 mana. Counter Strike can let you farm enemy creeps en masse if you have none of your creeps there and all of them are attacking you, just don't blow all your mana.
You won't get there fast enough, so be there already.
Stealing kills is easy with your Empower + Leap Strike, try not to do it unless you think your teammate might die.
Let the tank go first. Leap Striking in to initiate is easy, but don't do it unless someone else is already being focused on.
Counter Strike let's your low-health friends get away. Use it often.
This build is ALL magic damage. Get a Void Staff if they have a heavy tank against magic.
You can jump further than you think; If you're chasing, make sure you're set to auto attack them and then click them for Leap Strike.
You deal MASSIVE ammounts of damage up front, but that doesn't mean you're a burster. Once your attack speed is up there with Guinsou's Rageblade and any other regular attack speed item, you'll have plenty of damage to follow up with. My favorite way to kill is to Leap Strike without Empower, wait for that first hit, follow up with Empower to get the second hit immediately, and then let the third hit kill them with my Ulti's Passive. When you're stacking enough AP, each one should do about a third of their health.
Don't stick around, because you WILL DIE. Unless you have all tank items, you're likely to get killed by their last-ditch effort.
And finally, don't stray from your team. You may be awesome, but you're still not a tank. You cannot take a team of 5 by yourself, like Jax used to be able to.
If you don't like this build, I'd love to know why in the comments.