Jax Build Guide by loukou1
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Not Updated For Current Season
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 The League has since rescinded its sanctions, but Jax has not; he fights and fights well with his trusty brass lamppost.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
Jax is an extremely strong top lane pick. He is able to outscale many bruisers due to his kit giving out tons of free stats as well as amplifying every full item he completes. Jax has very few counters in top lane, can go even in most top lane matchups, or because of his strong duelist kit shut down many of the traditional top laners who are considered top tier.
Jax has a somewhat fragile early game where he is the most vulnerable, but if you can overcome his weaknesses in that early phase he'll come back mid and late game and completely dominate the flow of the game. If you can dominate early, then you basically win the game because of how well Jax amplifies with items and how strongly he scales.
Jax has not changed much from Season 2 to Season 4, but because of how strong health is right now, he has the potential to be broken. Warmog's Armor is a must-buy on most champions, and Grandmaster's Might will allow you to abuse the health gain better than most tanks in the game. Additionally, with Blade of the Ruined King becoming Core on Jax, you're able to effectively counter health stackers as well.
In this guide, I will tell you how to use the champion with arguably the strongest duelist skill set in the game, and how to abuse that skill set to carry Solo Queue games.
+ Very strong mid - late game
+ Arguably the strongest duelist in the game
+ Gets a lot of free, expensive stats
+ Very high sustained damage output
+ Gets stupid tanky with stupid damage
because yes Jax actually has bad points since they took his weapon away
- Fragile early game
- Needs a lot of farm to reach godmode status
- Easily shut down by CC
- Doesn't stick to targets easily
- Easy to get cocky and try to 5v1 (yeah.... happens to me a lot...)
I see no reason why to take anything else.
Flash is good for a lot of reasons. It lets you Flash > Empower > Leap Strike for the killing blow, lets you escape, lets you Flash > Stun, etc... Some people say Flash isn't necessary because you can always Leap Strike to a ward, but you won't always have wards, mana, etc. Flash is generally more reliable in clutch situations.
Ignite is generally used to secure early kills or cut down the healing potential of some champions. Not much to explain.
Why not take...
Ghost lets you stick onto someone like super glue. While that is nice and Jax sometimes has trouble sticking to targets, that is totally unnecessary. Mid game Jax already has a Phage, a stun, and a Bilgewater Cutlass, and sometimes maybe Enchantment: Furor. Those items alone are already enough to stick to targets, and if you get CCed far away, you will have Flash up to instantly get back into that carry's face. Ghost does not give you that luxury, and sometimes that's all it will take to bring you down.
You're already a great duelist, and you don't need another slow.
Quicksilver Sash/ Mercurial Scimitar does its job a lot better. You cannot Cleanse suppressions, but you can Quick Silver Sash/Mercurial Scimitar it.
Actually, you can, but that means giving up on Flash or Ignite. IMO this is better on champions who can actually split push effectively. Jax is not a split pusher, he is a tanky DPS assassin.
Flat Attack Damage Marks will let us last hit easier, as well as abuse the 1:1 scaling on Counter Strike.
Top lane is where most bruisers lane. Most bruisers deal physical damage, so Armor Seals will help reduce their damage by a bit.
Again, most bruisers deal physical damage, but not magical, and therefore we can forgo flat MR Blues and go for Scaling MR to have a slightly stronger late game.
Life Seal Quintessences will give u an early and mid game sustain since with this build you don't rush a vamp scepter (life steal will be useful throughout the game a little more only helps).
I do not recommend other runes, as these runes give us the strongest possible early game, which is what we need to focus on.
Hybrid penetration masteries for all the damagez.
9/21/0 is viable too, in case you need to be a bit tankier. Remember to take the Armor Penetration mastery in the offensive tree and masteries in the defensive tree that corresponds to what you are going to build (max HP, resists, etc).
RUTHLESS ASSAULT (MANLINESS)
p.s. I know it's relentless assault ruthless just sounds manlier
Every time Jax attacks an enemy, he gains 4/6/8/10/12/14% Attack Speed for 2.5 seconds. Stacks 6 times.
This passive is meh early on, as 24% bonus attack speed isn't a lot especially if you want to freeze the lane and can't attack consecutively. But keep in mind that because Attack Speed was nerfed in Season 3, and late game it can give up to 84% AS, it's one of the strongest and most gold efficient passives in the game.
Jax is at his strongest when he has his passive stacked up. Try to force fights when you have your passive at 3+ stacks.
Although this seems counter-intuitive, do not repeatedly auto-attack minions to stack your passive if it means pushing your lane too hard. You do not want to be ganked and killed.
When you DO want to push your lane, keep this stacked up to rip apart towers and minion waves.
LEAP STRIKE (Q)
Jax leaps to a target. If it is an enemy, he deals damage.
Leap Strike is Jax's escape, engage, and chase tool. It has pretty big range and does a decent amount of damage, also on a pretty short cooldown. This isn't primarily used for damage, mostly for closing gaps or jumping to nearby minions or wards to escape.
This ability is mostly for utility, so take one point in it at level 2 and max it last. If you need a lower cooldown to use this as a gap closer, max this second.
Always keep a Sight Ward or two in your inventory for a makeshift Flash.
Max this second against champions who want to keep their distance, such as Vladimir or Teemo. Max this last against all others.
Empower + Leap Strike will deal a pretty high amount of damage early on, and is pretty strong for harassment, but it will leave you vulnerable to ganks until the cooldown is off. Use with caution!
Jax charges his weapon with energy, causing his next basic attack or Leap Strike to deal additional magic damage.
Empower is Jax's main source of sustained damage. Early on it's mostly used to trading, and end game it's used to boost your DPS or stack your passive faster. Because Empower does magical damage, and you mostly build flat AD, maxing this first will make it extremely hard to itemize against you.
Max this first (use it to poke the **** out of the enemy or last hit.
This is an auto-attack reset. Attack once, then activate Empower to swing again. This is especially useful for trading or last hitting.
Activating Empower then using Leap Strike is a very effective form of harassment, especially if you know you can't auto-attack to follow up afterward.
Try to time this with the third passive attack of your ultimate for huge spike damage. This makes trading with Jax after 6 very difficult, and should be abused.
COUNTER STRIKE (E)
Jax dodges all incoming basic attacks for 2 seconds. At the end of the duration, he damages and stuns all nearby enemies for 1 second. (Why? Because he's A MAN!)
THIS IS MANLY. 100% dodge completely nullifies all basic attacks and their on-hit effects. That means Irelia will not damage you with her Hiten Style (w), Darius will not cripple you with Crippling Strike (w), etc... The fact that this lasts for 2 seconds and stuns everyone for 1 second afterwards is just icing on the cake.
Usually, you should max this second to reduce the cooldown and get in as much auto-attack mitigation as possible, but if you need Leap Strike more/don't need auto-attack mitigation then max this last.
Use this to FORCE and WIN early trades to put yourself at an advantage, but don't get too cocky.
Remember to fights to only activate this when the AD Carry is targetting you, late game they are the ONLY real threats to you, and mitigating literally 90% of their damage is huge.
Try to use this to stun as many enemies as possible to maximize the efficiency.
This mitigates MINION DAMAGE. Because of the removal of minion damage reduction, this is a HUGE advantage Jax has over every other laner in the game. Fight near minions to abuse this.
*NOTE* This WILL NOT dodge basic attack MODIFIERS such as Renekton's Ruthless Predator (w) or Nasus's Siphoning Strike (q).
GRANDMASTER'S MIGHT (R)
Passive: Deals bonus magic damage every third consecutive hit
Active: Jax gains bonus Resistances based on AD and AP
The passive acts as your free harass and trade. It does a LOT of damage early on, and makes Jax stupidly hard to itemize against. Additionally, it synergizes a lot with your passive, making fighting and winning 1v1 against a Jax a stupid mistake. During lane phase, you should look for opportunities to apply the third hit onto whoever you're laning against for harass, using Leap Strike if necessary.
The active is what makes Jax incredibly powerful, and possible broken, late game with the Warmogs meta right now. What it basically does is it makes you tankier for every point of damage you build. No other champion in the game becomes tankier solely from building damage. Also, with the new health stacking meta, the efficiency of your free resistances will benefit you more than how it did in Season 2.
Take this whenever possible.
The third strike is a strong harassment tool in lane, as it costs no mana and does a decent amount of damage. Force and win trades with it.
Activate this right away when you engage. The resistances will let you survive the initial burst so you can keep fighting afterwards.
Don't be afraid to pop this every fight, it has a very low cooldown. Abuse that.
Unlike what my build says. I recommend starting with these items. As opposed to other starting items, because these literally let you win every single all-in fight. Additionally, Elixir of Fortitude doesn't restore health, it grants it, meaning the health increase is INSTANT and is NOT reduced by Ignite, making it very strong for baiting or surviving DoTs. Lastly, the Elixir lasts for a whole 4 minutes and is a HUGE boost in early game power.
You also start with a Sight Ward and potions for lane sustain.
Tons of damageTM. But anyway, this item is really strong on Jax. It gives a bit of everything and greatly increases your sustained damage through the Sheen proc.
CC reduction and MR is always good on Jax. The worst thing that could happen in a fight is being CCed so often or so hard that you cannot get your passive stacks up and die as a result. Tenacity will help reduce CC duration so you can get to the enemy carries easier.
If you aren't worried about CC (like me) or you need auto-attack damage reduction against whoever you're laning against ( ), then buy these. Ninja Tabi makes it harder for the enemy AD Carry to kill you late game too, which makes it easier to survive in fights as you reduce the most major damage source from the other team.
Buy Boots of Speed during lane phase, but hold off on Tier 2 boots until team fights start happening. Jax has enough mobility with Leap Strike to forgo 20 Movement Speed in return for some more damage.
Makes you stick onto carries extremely well. This + + 's active will guarantee that no carry can escape without a lot of help from their teammates. And even then, sometimes it's not enough. Upgrade boots into these when teamfights start.
If you need them to defend your base, or if you need to recall then rush to baron or something. They're really useful.
Enchant your Boots with Enchantment: Furor if you need to stick to Carries in a team fight. Otherwise, build Enchantment: Homeguard.
This is still good on Jax. If the enemy team is more AP oriented, or if you want more burst from your abilities, then buy this instead of Blade of the Ruined King. Or, if you're fed, go all out manliness and buy both.
If you're against a double AP team composition, which rarely happens now. But it still happens, with say Elise top and another AP Mid. The shield will really mitigate a lot of their damage, as well as giving you a good amount of AD. I'd keep it at Hexdrinker and upgrade it later in the game though.
If you're approaching a full build, and if you bought Ninja Tabi, then Zephyr is the way to go. It gives you Tenacity without sacrificing the auto-attack mitigation from Tabis, and also gives a lot of attack speed and move speed to reach carries faster.
So they had a Malzahar. But really, CC screws you over really hard. HOWEVER if you time your Counter Strike like a man right before Malzahar ults you, it is possible to stun him while he's suppressing you, cancelling the suppress.
I don't like this item. This is best as a mid game item, but the problem is your core items ) are MUCH more important and better, and there's no room to buy this during mid game unless you're literally 100/0. Plus, it's a glass cannon item. HOWEVER with the new patch it grants you more buffs when you're low on hp.
If you're dying first every teamfight, buy this. Otherwise, no. But you'd be surprised how often people like focusing you when you dive their carry.
Do you need an on-demand AoE permaslow to chase or protect your carry? This doesn't happen every game, but sometimes you'd need it say vs Singed.
More suitable for a bruiser, IMO, and Jax isn't a real bruiser. This is good against all the AD Assassins running around, though, because of the health and armor it gives. Also has extra wave clear with the passive.
If no one on the other team has a Blade of the Ruined King, buy this first instead of Randuin's Omen, and buy Randuin's Omen as a last item. It's just raw health which synergizes with Grandmaster's Might, making you unbelievably tanky.
General Manly Laning
Wait for them to get in auto-attack range, then use your Empower to reset your auto-attack and hit them. If they decide to fight back, use Counter Strike to mitigate damage, Leap Strike up to them to keep them range, stun them and back off. After level 6, be more aggressive, wait for the third hit of your ultimate, then Leap Strike to close the gap and Empower to deal damage. This is VERY difficult to out-trade early on.
Taking Advantage of dumb enemies
Always look for mistakes the enemy laner is making, and capitalize. Common mistakes are using abilities to push or farm or missing skillshots. In that case, you should almost immediately start a fight, as they cannot use that ability when it's on cooldown, and you have an advantage. Remember, bruisers rely on basic attacks about as much as abilities to deal damage, and Counter Strike nullifies basic attack and on-hit damage, meaning if they are down an ability they deal significantly less damage.
Early on, just focus on farming. If you see your opponent engage, pop Counter Strike to mitigate damage and trade back with Leap Strike and Empower, using the stun duration to disengage. Don't do this every single time, though, because Counter Strike has a long cooldown and is easy to bait out. Jax's early dueling power comes mostly from it, and if it gets baited out and wasted, you can lose many trades, and that can snowball into a lost lane.
Teaching the ganker a lesson
When getting ganked, remember not to panic. Calmly activate Counter Strike to take less damage, then try to stun people and jump to minions or to a ward to get away. Also, try to predict jungler ganks. If whoever you're laning against is playing passively, then wants to fight all of a sudden, back off immediately because that's a sure sign that his jungler is nearby. Unless the jungler is at mid or bot, in that case fight back if you can.
If you have any sort of advantage however, YOU should start trades with Leap Strike and Counter Strike. You should also stand close to dying allied minions so that when the enemy laner comes in to last hit, you can hit them with an Empower and possibly start a fight. The point here is to push your advantage as much as possible so you can show dominance and farm in peace, reaching late game faster and more easily.
Controlling your domain
Remember, early game Jax is all about surviving his weakest phase and slowly building up an advantage. If the enemy laner isn't in lane, shove it as hard as you can into his tower to deny him exp and gold and 'reset' the minions, then go back to base and buy. If he IS in lane, try not to push too hard, because you don't want to overextend too much and get ganked, you want HIM to be closer to YOUR tower. Lastly, if you have a slight advantage, freeze the lane as much as possible and zone the enemy laner.
Trade-offs for dummies
Try not to take too much damage from trades, though. Jax has no innate sustain (unless you take my runes), and against some laners such as Yorick(extremely sustained) or Darius(high harassment) that could be a problem in the long run. However, Counter Strike is an excellent way to both win trades and completely avoid damage. Therefore, try not to fight until it is off cooldown. You are not late game Jax yet, so be patient and just try to farm up.
This is an important thing to learn too. Know when Jax is strong and when Jax is weak, and know when Jax is stronger and when he is weaker than his opponent. For example, in his pre-6 state Jax is at his strongest at level 3 and weakest at level 5. Therefore, it is wise to fight at level 3 rather than 5. BUT some champions such as Kayle are still stronger than you at 3, so even if you're at your strongest state, you should still play passively because you can lose fights.
Hint: Early on, Jax's 'peaks' are at level 3, 6/7, 9, and 11. After that, he progressively gets stronger and stronger.
Show your MANLINESS
This thing again! Very few champions can fight against the sheer damage output of a level 6 Jax (honorable mentions go to//maybe). If you ever want to bully your lane, now's the time to do it. Every time your Leap Strike is off cooldown and you have the third hit of your ultimate up, get into their face and trade with them, using Counter Strike if necessary. When they're ~half health or less, utilize Counter Strike for the stun and kill them.
MANING UP your lane
Again, freeze the lane as much as possible, or push it hard if you're ahead. Pushing the lane will stack up your passive faster, so you can be ready for duels in case they try to fight. Pushing the lane will also make you have the third hit of your ultimate up very frequently, so you're always ready to bully the enemy laner.
If your team needs more gold and experience, or you need more presence in the map, take the enemy tower so you can have more free time to roam and help out your team. If you're winning your lane, take it even if your team doesn't need it because it means you can walk down to Dragon and take that in a 5v4 while their top laner tries to push out the lane back to your turret.
MAN Fights (teamfight phase)
Teamfighting as Jax is simple, you just have to follow two rules:
1) Never initiate fights. You are not a tank, you are a tanky, sustained DPS assassin.
2) See AD Carry, kill AD Carry.
Jax, no matter how farmed and fed you are, should never, EVER initiate a fight.
Even if you're full build 30 minutes in.
Because that means every single CC the other team possesses will be piled onto you. EVERY. LAST. SKILL. And that means you will be unable to do your job of killing the enemy AD Carry, which means you will lose the teamfight.
Instead, wait for some of it to be used, then jump in :D Preferably after your tank initiates while everything is a mess.
When the fight starts, activate Grandmaster's Might jump STRAIGHT onto the AD Carry. It doesn't matter if it's Vayne, Kog'Maw, or whoever, just jump onto it (if they're ever close enough and stupid for you to just walk up to them, save Leap Strike for after their escapes). Afterwards, activate Counter Strike when they target you to dodge all their damage, and keep pounding away at them, using Blade of the Ruined King to keep them close to you. DO NOT let them have any breathing space, stay on them until they are dead. That is your one and only job in teamfights.
If you can't find the AD Carry? Save Leap Strike for when you do. I admit, finding a tiny AD Carry in the middle of teamfights is hard at first, but focus and you'll be able to do it.
If you didn't succeed, then you have probably died, and hopefully the chaos you have caused for the other team was enough for your own team to cleanup the fight.
If you did end up killing the AD Carry, target the squishiest members of the other team afterwards, taking them down one by one until you go down. This is usually in the order of AP Carry > Support > Bruiser > Tank. Alternatively, you can peel for your own AD Carry, because they deal more damage than you, but Jax doesn't have the best peels (situational long cooldown stun, damage, and Phage procs only...)
MANLY Team Composition
Jax fits into any team composition really. Any team can benefit from a super strong tanky assassin that deals a lot of sustained damage. The only real requirement is that you would need some kind of initiator, but (although not recommended) Jax can fill that role as well if he built a Guardian Angel.
If your team needs you to protect a high value AD Carry, such as Kog'Maw or Vayne, I don't recommend you pick Jax because he isn't very good at protecting carries, he's best at destroying them.
Overall, Jax is a good pick if your team doesn't need a lot of peel.
Jax is a very strong Yolo Queue pick as he has a lot of good matchups, as well as being a very strong mid to late game carry. With practice, you can be able to overcome his weak early game to create a monster to be feared. Hopefully this guide has helped or taught you to play Jax better at top lane.