Xerath Build Guide by KamiHenry
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.
Why play Xerath?
Xerath offers EXTREME damage and poking power for the team. Your enemimes will melt under your awesome poking powers.
Some pros are:
Some cons are:
When should you play Xerath?
You should play Xerath when the enemy team does not have many gap closers, or a lot of CC. Gapclosers cause the doom of Xerath. An Irelia just came out of nowhere and jumped at you? You have no way to shake her off of you, besides using Mage Chains --> Arcanopulse, and even then, she'll just dash again to you. You MUST be positioned well in order to stay alive in teamfights. You're extremely squishy, even with your passive.
You should play Xerath when your team has many tanks, which can protect you for long durations of time, so you can continue to rain down lightning on your foes. Be wary of assassins as well.
Who works well with Xerath?
If you have any of these 4 champions on your team, the enemy team is going to be in a LOT of pain. The second they use their CC, use your Locus Of Power and then proceed to your enemies, who should now be clumped together. Thanks to the fact your Q only has a 3 second cooldown, have fun raining down on them while they receive a whopping 2300 damage burst. Afterwards, just spam Arcanopulse, since it only has a THREE SECOND cooldown. This combo alone should reduce any squishy to rubble, and drop any tank to under 50% HP assuming you're in Locus of Power.
As you have noticed, I maxed followed by Locus of Power and THEN Mage Chains.
You ask why? Simply because Mage Chain's range is only increased to 1000 by Locus of Power, while Arcanopulse's range is increased to 1300. It's usually useless in teamfights because a mere 1000 range difference will put you in range of getting gapclosed by an Akali, Amumu, Diana, etc. Therefore, I max it last. Maxing Locus of Power also reduces it's cooldown all the way down to THREE SECONDS. This means you can siege turrets by doing Locus --> Arcanopulse, turn off Locus, then do it again. And again. And again, because both skills only have a three second cooldown. You shred through a lot of magic resistance as well if you max Locus of Power. This combo will wreck people's faces.
Flash is the best summoner skill for Xerath. You are a complete positioning champ. If you're caught out of position, this is what's going to save you.
Ignite is, in my opinion, the best summoner spell for Xerath. Right now, you're probably saying "But Xerath is all about positioning far away from your foes! You said so yourself!" However, hear me out. Without ignite, you can EASILY lose kills in laning phase, which is CRUCIAL for Xerath. Xerath has to get farm and with ignite, you can get kills as well.
Getting kills in laning phase is good because it'll let you finish your build earlier, which is a plus for you. Sure, you're suppose to poke from a far range, but there are SOME times where your opponent gets a bit too close for comfort, and that's where Ignite comes in. This will help you pick up kills, and prevent pesky enemies running away with 20 hp. Not only that, but during laning phase, your Locus of Power's cooldown is RIDICULOUSLY long. There's no way you're going to poke every 20 seconds. Therefore, I take this when I know they'll get in my face, and I'll be able to ignite them.
Ignite works amazing versus champions like Katarina, Swain, and Mundo. You should also take ignite when your Arcanopulse range is longer then all of the skills your opponents have, because then they'll definitely be in range for an ignite. A quick Mage Chains --> Ignite --> Arcanopulse --> Ulti will melt down most meele/short ranged mage who dares to challenge you.
Is their team full of gapclosing CC'ers? Take this spell then. This awesome godly spell will save you from the utter destruction of foes at the cost of swapping it out with ignite. This is usually not needed because you should be positioning well enough NOT to get caught by an Amumu's bandage toss, or a Maokai's twisted advance. Take this if you think you'll get caught by a CC, or if they have an overwhelming amount of CC.
This spell is perfect for split pushing. Xerath is godly at pushing, and two Qs will clear the ENTIRE wave. It's also good for teleporting back to mid when you're versus someone who you KNOW you can't kill or beat, such as LeBlanc.
This spell is good for Xerath, but it's not exactly better then Flash. If you feel more comfortable with ghost, then go for it, but Flash will always be the better choice in most scenarios because you can escape and reposition instantly.
This spell is a solid choice if you know they have an assassin who you can't get away from, but will definitely try to kill you. One example of this is if they have someone like Talon. You cannot get away from Talon, but thanks to Exhaust, you'll be able to survive if he jumps on you, and hopefully get away.
Enemy mid have a LeBlanc? Take this. This is your ONLY defense VS a burst nuker who you KNOW you can't beat. Taking this spell will definitely save your life, and will give you two get out of jail cards. It scales into late game, so it's useful in all scenarios.
This spell is meh. You don't need clarity because of all your mana regen. Taking this spell is utterly pointless, and you're way off better taking something else.
Why would you even take this? You shouldn't be aiming to die anyways.
You don't need this. You could possibly net a kill or two by using clairvoyance and catching someone in a brush, but this skill is honestly not worth it over ignite or cleanse.
Skills - Explained
This amazing passive will keep you alive versus pesky AD bruisers that somehow get to you. This is phenomenal, because with Athenes Holy Grail, you have a combination of armor AND magic resist. It's great. Your ability power turns into armor, which means you can run mana regen runes instead of armor seals.
This is your bread and butter skill. Utilize it to poke all your foes for infinite durations. They will cry under the pressure. This is particularly useful in taking down a tower, as you can poke down enemies until they're half, force an engage, and win the fight because they're all low.
Locus of Power
This is your "ULTRA LONG RANGE MODE ACTIVATE!" skill. Pew pew your enemies from miles away. It also gives you 40% magic penetration, which means you can poke tanks too, shredding through a lot of their magic resist. Be careful of skillshots, as Locus of Power does root you, with a 1 second cooldown before you can unroot yourself.
This brilliant skill allows you to stun. This is pretty much it's entire use, as you usually should want to be as far away from possible as enemies as possible. If they get close, use your Locus of Power, Mage Chains --> Arcanopulse and then unroot yourself and run with the extra movement speed.
This skill allows you to rain down THREE circles of arcane power on your pesky foes. It'll melt ANY and ALL champs. Try to use this on at least 2 or more people, or else you're not using it to it's full potentials. The skill has a relatively low cooldown, so don't be afraid to use it to kill a running person.
The rating is between 1 - 10. 1 being easiest, 10 being hardest.
Rating : 6
Beware! Annie is deadly. She punishes players for getting too close to her. If you try to snipe her in Locus form and you happen to be too close, she will flash and you'll instantly eat a Tibbers to the face once she hits 6. Just passively farm and keep your distance until you can buy your Chalice of Harmony. Once you get your Chalice of Harmony (Which usually happens at around level 5 --> 7) you should have significant MR. You now are able to poke Annie without fear of getting insta-gibbed, because she can only at most drop you down to 1/4th hp after flashing and tibber'ing you, and you'll be free to retreat back, drink a few health potions, and then continue to poke her until she is forced to back. Then you can continue to snowball your advantage until Annie is easily crushed by you because her range is really short except for Tibbers.
Rating : 10
You are utterly doomed. LeBlanc is the Goddess of Anti-AP. There is no way for you to beat her. Her dash --> Q + R will easily do over 50% of your HP. Even worse, if you try to go into Locus Form, she'll dash and silence you. Then she'll shoot an ethereal chain to silence you AGAIN because of the mimiced Q. While silenced, you CAN"T DISABLE YOUR LOCUS FORM. You will be stuck there like a sitting duck, unable to move while LeBlanc kills you. You should just stay all the way back, and call for a jungler gank and hope to kill her.
Rating : 8
Kassadin is quite scary, mainly because his silence will force you to stay rooted if you use your Locus form. You can't quite beat Kassadin either because his constant Riftwalk --> Q + E will hurt a lot. And you can't do anything to stop him. Because of his annoying passive, and the fact most Kassadins have magic resist, you won't be able to KO him with your entire combo. Call for a jungler gank, he's a bit easier to gank then LeBlanc, and his damage isn't as powerful as LeBlanc's early game, so his rating is significantly lower then LeBlanc's. You have no way to actually "poke" Kassadin in your Locus form because each time you try, he'll usually combo you, and getting too close will still result in you getting harassed. Easiest way to deal with Kassadin is to bait him into riftwalking into you to attack you, then have the jungler ambush Kassadin. Immediately Mage Chains, and then ultimate, Ignite, and Arcanopulse. Chances are, he'll die and you'll have a free kill.
Rating : 8
Ahri's burst is quite high, but that's not the reason her rating is so high. Ahri effectively renders your ultimate COMPLETELY worthless. If you Mage Chains --> Ultimate, she'll dodge all 3 of your ultimates with 3 of hers, while you take a lot of damage back. Just avoid fighting her at all, you won't win. She will 9 out of 10 times destroy you by dodging your entire combo. Just try to poke her, and avoid getting hit by her Q. Of course, you can still defeat her if you poke her out of lane, but most Ahri players rush spellvamp, which allows them to heal a lot of the damage you dealt to them.
Rating : 3
Teemo is rather easy to beat. You outrange him by a lot, and he has no way to retaliate. As long as you keep your distance and poke him to death, it'll be an easy win. Don't get close! If you do, he will wreck your face because of his poisons. If you position well and poke, you'll have an easy victory VS Teemo.
Rating : 1
Katarina is absurdly easy to beat. You outrange her completely. If Katarina jumps on you and spins, a quick Mage Chains into Arcanopulse will shut her ultimate down, and will allow you to easily kill her.
Rating : 9.5
Fizz is one of the most annoying mids. If he uses his ultimate --> troll pole to dodge your mage chains --> Urchin Strike, you'll more then likely die and Fizz will snowball out of control. Poking Fizz will be difficult as well, as Urchin Strike is a low mana spell that he can use to dodge your Arcanopulse. Combined with his annoying Playful/Trickster, you have a ridiculously hard opponent to beat. There's almost no way to beat Fizz unless you get a jungler to gank, and even that's difficult because Fizz is so slippery and can escape ganks.
Rating : 3
This is an easy match-up. You outrange Orianna by a lot, and there's almost no chance for her to land her ball on you when you hit her with Locus of Power --> Arcanopulse because Locus of Power makes you move faster immediately after you turn it off. Just poke her to death.
Rating : 4
Karthus 99% of the time does NOT care about killing you unless you're preventing him from farming. He only cares about farming, and his early game is weak. Take advantage of this by poking him to death, forcing him to back, and then laugh as you shut down his farm. Don't let him farm, and beware of getting caught by his after he uses his , because if you do, you'll likely lose half your HP.
Rating : 8
Xerath is NOT a fan of gapclosers, three long ranged ones at that. Once Akali hits 6, she'll likely kill you by dashing into you, and then killing you. It'll be difficult to kill Akali if she drops her shroud on as well, as it gives her bonus armor & MR while giving her stealth. Turret hug or ask for a jungler gank, since Akali likely won't dive you since you have a stun. All-in-all, difficult match-up, you probably won't win V.S. Akali.
Rating : 8
Be careful about poking her without Locus of Power after she hits 6. Her Ulti --> combo will wreck you if it ever hits you. Keep your distance, as Anivia will usually outdamage you, and will wall you back if you try to hit and run, resulting in your death. The reason her rating isn't higher is because Anivia is SLOW. Therefore, hitting your Arcanopulse on Anivia is as easy as 1 2 3. On the other hand, you happen to be slow as well, but Anivia's Q is even slower then a snail. Just be careful, stay back, and don't duel Anivia. Egg baiting is very common. DON"T FALL FOR IT.
More matchups to come later.
Best items to build on Xerath
This item is every mage's best friend. Tons of AP basically.
This will give you the much needed mana regen and cooldown reduction that Xerath needs. It also gives decent AP. It helps Xerath in EVERYTHING. It's absolutely perfect for him.
Brilliancy comes from this Void Staff. Void staff gives you some AP, but most important, it gives you 40% magic penetration. This is HUGE. Turn on your Locus of Power, and then fire away. 80% magic penetration. You will scoff at magic resistance, as your Locus of Power + Void Staff + Magic penetration runes + Sorcerer boots shred through all of that expensive MR they bought for you.
This is if you didn't take Cleanse. If the enemy keeps trying to CC you, such as Morgana, Amumu,and Lux, then buy this item to save yourself from the annoying CC, which could inevitably lead to your death.
Is that Ashe always aiming at you with her ultimate? Are you always getting hit by some ridiculous CC in teamfights? Take Banshee's Veil then. Their CC will be consumed. This is an excellent item, as it'll save you in many situations where you would've gotten stunned, knocked up, or snared.
If you need more mana and health, take this item. It's generally unneeded however, because you shouldn't go out of mana with Athene's Unholy Grail. You could take Rod of Ages and Rylai's crystal scepter if you really want to be tanky, but I find it's unnecessary. However, if you feel more comfortable with buying Rod of Ages, then take it.
This item will prevent enemies from running out of your ulti after they get hit by the first one. It also makes landing your ultimate a LOT easier after you Arcanopulse an enemy. It provides health and some AP. In worst case scenarios, this will save you after you Mage Chains --> Arcanopulse because of the added slow. Definitely worth it.
This item gives you a second life. If the enemy team climbs over mountains and crosses across oceans to get to you, then this item may be a smart choice, since you will revive, and your team will be there to save you while you're resurrecting. I would take this if they have someone extremely scary, and if it's in late game. Some notable examples are Talon, LeBlanc, Akali, and Kassadin.
This item is not all that great, but it can be useful in some scenarios. For example, if they have a Katarina or Kassadin, this item can keep you alive, and lower their magic resistance so you have an easier time killing them. This item is generally not useful otherwise because you won't be in range for the Abyssal Scepter to take full effect.
These provide you with early ability power, which will allow you to do more damage with your Arcanopulse.
If you're against someone like Galio, then these runes will greatly help you. They're otherwise pointless because it's going to be unnecessary afterwards, since sorcerer boots, Void staff, Locus of Power, and magic penetration marks will handle MR shredding.
This rune will allow you to shred through any magic resistance that is left over after the magic penetration from Sorcerer Boots, Void Staff, and Locus of Power.
These give you the much needed mana regen early game so you don't go out of mana when poking.
These will give you armor early game if you're against a bruiser or AD caster mid, such as Talon or Zed.
Greater Glyph of Magic Resistance
This will prevent enemy mids from nuking you down from full --> 0 in one combo. It'll mitigate poke, and will overall improve survivability.
If you need extra AP, and don't need magic resistance, then take these. They will help you deal more damage early game.
Rod of Ages V.S. Rylai's Crystal Scepter?
As you can see, both and give the SAME amount of AP. However, look at this next graph.
In this graph, it shows that RoA gives MORE health after it is stacked. This means that you have to buy it early, otherwise, Rylai's is more effective. However, rushing RoA is generally not a smart idea on Xerath, which means the game may potentially end before your RoA even fully stacks. Xerath needs mana regen, so rushing RoA would hold him back, rather then help him during early game.
In this graph, you can see that RoA is WAY more cost effective then Rylai's in raw stats. However, Rylai's also gives a passive that allows you to slow people. So in order for Rylai's to compete with RoA, Rylai's passive would have to cost 1697 gold to be more cost effective then RoA.
In conclusion, RoA is good if you buy it early game, because it requires 10 minutes to stack. However, since you need Athene's which you usually finish by 15:00 --> 20:00ish, you'd have to buy it right after finishing Athene's for it to be effective.
Rylai's on the other hand, instantly provides stats, and has a higher value then RoA before it's passive kicks in. The passive is also very helpful in keeping you alive, or in preventing enemies from escaping.
Rylai's will almost always be the better choice since games may not even last until 30:00 for RoA to stack.
can poke incredibly hard. Use this to your advantage! Force the enemy to go back, so that he loses precious EXP and gold. Once you force the enemy to back once, you can usually do it again, and again, and again, giving yourself a huge advantage over them, and effectively shutting them down.
Make sure you buy Sight Ward. Without wards, you will EASILY get caught by the jungler, and then, when you die, the enemy mid will simply snowball, crush you, obliterate you, and then render you utterly useless early --> mid game.
Here is a rule of thumb I use -
Do not dive as Xerath.
Do not get greedy to get a kill, if there's a chance you might die.
If you see the enemy going back with 20 HP, and the enemy is approaching, don't run in there to kill the enemy, and then die. This is a terrible idea, because you just gave the opponent an assist and a kill, which is worth more then you getting one kill. If you can kill without getting killed, then do it. If you can kill, but there's a risk of getting killed, go back. I have thrown my early game advantage too many times to count by making this silly mistake. It's just not worth it.
There's no reason for your team to engage instantly. 's poke is phenomenal, and by teamfighting instantly, you've pretty much just ruined Xerath's poking potential. Ask your team to allow you to poke the enemy team a tad. This way, when you teamfight, they'll be missing 300 --> 600 HP, which is a huge advantage.
Focus down the main carries as well. Don't focus a over a squishy and fed .
Some mistakes some Xerath players make.
Focusing tanks when you can kill squishier people in teamfights.
Please, do not EVER do this. It doesn't MATTER if you have 80% magic penetration, there's no reason for you to focus a tank. They have 3k HP, and they're not worth it. You're better off killing the enemy carries, and removing their main damage source.
Throwing down your ultimate in teamfights when they're not clumped.
This is a terrible idea, you just waste your ultimate on one person. Why do this? It's pointless. You don't make full use of your ultimate, and you lose a lot of your burst damage. Your ultimate should be for when they clump together, where you then unleash torrents of massive AOE damage. Try to use it on at LEAST two to three people, it's not worth it to use it on one person unless that person happens to be a hyper carry like Kog'Maw or Vayne or if they're incredibly fed.
Spamming Q, and pushing the lane.
Number one way to get ganked, pushing your lane. ALWAYS position yourself so that you hit as few minions as possible, while still being able to hit your opponent. Your opponent gets harassed, and you don't push the lane, what's not to like?
Trying to duel people in laning phase when they have full HP
Xerath does NOT have enough firepower to nuke down someone from full to zero unless you happen to be fed. Xerath pokes and pokes and pokes. You don't even have to kill . If you force them back, you make them lose precious gold and EXP that you're getting.
Using Mage Chains in Locus Form and then immediately following up with Arcanopulse
Don't do this. If you do, what will happen is you'll throw Mage Chains, and Arcanopulse will hit BEFORE Mage Chains hits, resulting in no stun, and possibly no kill. If you throw Mage Chains, wait .2 seconds before using Arcanopulse, since Arcanopulse is nearly instant, while Mage Chains has a projectile speed.