Jax Build Guide by chronus000
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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.
Welcome to my short guide to Jax. First off, this guide only is mostly about playing Jax as a hybrid bruiser. I believe that this is his natural form and strength, and it is only optimal to use him as such. As for jungling, I will try to include a build soon but for the meantime this is only applicable for soloing top lane. Second, I tried to keep this short. I won't be dwelling much on general strategies or specific gameplay since I think gamers should discover those themselves. I limited this guide to insights and build frameworks for Jax, with some tips included in the discussions. Also, you won't see any strict choices in this guide. Every game is different and some will require you to adapt your items, ability sequence or playstyle to win. For this reason, I've left enough leeway and spaces in this guide for you to customize and maximize your JAX gameplay. Lastly, I love playing him and so my only goal is to share the ways of the Grandmaster at Arms.
I hope you enjoy and learn a thing or two from me. So without further a do, read on.
Where does Jax shine and where does he fail?
The Grandmaster is a kinda item-dependent hybrid champion. He has a scary mid-to-late game damage, having an extremely powerful dueling, intiating and chasing ability kit. Going hybrid also means that you won't have to trouble yourself too much about buying penetration and enemy resistances since you have two major types of damage to rely on, just focus on AD and AP. Another thing that makes Jax strong is his uncanny defenses. He has a natural advantage against physical hitters with his dodge and can extend his offensive boosts to defensive with how his ultimate works.
While he is strong once farmed, his early game is usually considered weak. He lacks natural sustain and any long range farming or poking tool. He also needs time to reach his maximum potential in fights which means it is inevitable for him to tank some damage.
All in all, Jax is the definition of a melee, destructive, hybrid machine.
For runes, here are really no particular ones that mandatory for Jax to have. Just pick ones that are slot-efficient and will suit your playstyle best. Seal of Armor + Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist defense combo works particularly well for both laning and jungling. For marks and quints, you have these choices:
- Mark of Attack Damage or Quint of Attack Damage - easier last-hits, early boost in right-click and Q damage
- Mark of Hybrid Penetration or Quint of Hybrid Penetration - late game damage supplement
- Mark of Attack Speed or Quint of Attack Speed - easier passive stacking
For masteries, you'll want to have the 21-point Offense to maximize Jax's damage-dealing capabilities. Weapon Expertise , Arcane Knowledge , Sunder and Executioner will help a lot as you will usually be ignoring any resistance penetration for items. The other 9 points are better allotted on Defense to help with Jax's early squishiness. You can also put it in Utility is you really prefer the lower spell or item cooldowns and longer buff durations.
For summoner spells, the only one I really recommend getting is Flash. I feel that it's just more versatile for Jax than Ghost even with the high cooldown and all. As for the other one, choose between Ignite, Exhaust, Teleport, Barrier and Cleanse depending on need, playstyle, preference and team composition.
Empower allowing you to damage in sick bursts at each jump. The cooldown gets very short at high levels, making you harder to escape from.
- Leap Strike will proc spellvamp and Rylai's Crystal Scepter's full slow.
- The damage will be blocked by Banshee's Veil or Black Shield.
- It will proc his own Empower buff. Other on-hit effects will not proc.
- If Jax leaps onto a ward, it will be temporarily revealed for 2 seconds.
Trinity Force on your inventory, activating the ability will make that next attack deal absurd physical and magical damage at the same time, hence, hybrid DPS-ing.
- Empower will proc spellvamp and Rylai's Crystal Scepter's full slow.
- Magic damage from this ability will be blocked by Banshee's Veil or Black Shield. The physical damage of the attack will not be affected.
- The magic damage will not affect turrets.
- Activation will reset Jax's attack timer.
Leap Strike, this allows you to dodge physical attacks for 2 seconds then applying a 1-second stun on enemies around you. The two-stage function of this ability makes it extremely versatile, allowing you to use it to chase, initiate, avoid focus, escape, etc.
- The stun from Counter Strike will always occur as long as it is activated before any kind of interruption.
- The stun and damage will be fully negated by Banshee's Veil and Black Shield.
- Can dodge some abilities that proc on-hit effects. Examples include Blade Waltz, Parrrley, Mystic Shot, Hiten Style and Infinite Duress (damage only).
- Counter Strike will go on a 1-sec cooldown on its first activation before it can be activated again.
Empower. With an 80-second cooldown, activating this will grant additional Ar and MRes (scaling with AD and AP, respectively) for 8 seconds. Jax can usually handle duels and ganks without this so you might want to save its activation for teamfights where you will attract a lot of focus once you jump in.
- Magic damage from Grandmaster's Might will proc spellvamp and Rylai's Crystal Scepter's full slow.
- The magic damage will still affect those with Black Shield.
- The magic damage will not affect turrets.
- Activation has no cast time and does not interrupt previous orders.
- Grandmaster's Might only calculates the bonus resistances only once, at the moment the ability is cast. Changes to his stats during the active will not affect the bonus anymore.
Grandmaster's Might need to be given point whenever possible. The first point can go to either Leap Strike or Counter Strike. Both can be useful early so you might save the point for when you have the actual need for one of the choices. Most of the time, you'll want to have your Empower maxed by level 9 to coincide with your Trinity Force purchase. Choosing to max Leap Strike first is also viable if you really need the reduced cooldown or you'll be going for Hextech Gunblade rush. Leave Counter Strike at one point for a while, prioritizing on Q and W first. While it is a great ability, leveling it won't change much of what it does.
Note: I will only be talking about the optimal build. Guinsoo's Rageblade rush does have its moments but I still haven't completely decided on its general effectiveness just yet.
CoreJax ever since and they should be. Both of them puts Jax's damage output to a different level. The mix of stats are also great as the Grandmaster uses every bit they provide to maximum effect.
Usually, you want to rush your Trinity Force first as it is the optimal choice. The reason behind this is that Jax's purpose is to immediately burst down squishy champions so they'll immediately be out of the fight. The best item for this job is T-Force as it increases your damage the best, thanks to the powerful Spellblade procs. It also provides HP, AS and on-hit slow all of which contribute to Jax's strong presence once he has made this purchase.
Which part should I go first? After much internal debate, I find that it is usually better to acquire Phage first. It provides some damage, decent HP to work with and a chance to slow which helps a lot in early game skirmishes. The other two are fairly one dimensional ( Sheen for damage, Zeal for speed) so I find it much better to buy them after Phage than to lead with them.
The downside with T-Force, of course, is that you cannot sustain off your high damage. What this build will usually do is enter a teamfight, deal as much damage as possible then back away once your health has dwindled down. For this reason, it is sometimes better try to rush Hextech Gunblade instead. Why not? Even if it's not comparable to T-Force, the stats it provides still provides an immense increase in damage, it has an active slow and, most importantly, it has both lifesteal and spellvamp. While the damage-dealing process is much slower, the huge sustain will allow you to continue fighting indefinitely as long as you don't receive too much focus or crowd control.
Which part should I usually go first? First of all, you'll still want to get Phage first for the same reasons I've listed above. As for the actual part of the Gunblade, you'll want to have Bilgewater Cutlass first. Lifesteal is much more reliable than spellvamp and the Cutlass also provides decent damage and an active slow. That said, you can still go for Hextech Revolver first if you wish to start with smaller parts first.
As I've said, Jax's purpose is to jump on enemy champions and beat them down. However, no team will allow you to do that freely and so, you'll receive a brunt of their damage the second you leap in. If you just build straight-out damage items, you find yourself dead before you can even land your stick. So, once you've finish one damage item ( Trinity Force rush or Hextech Gunblade rush), what you have itemize next is for the purpose of "persisting". Buy some items with defensive boosts first to provide you with just enough survivability to last in the frontlines, stack up your Relentless Assault and pursue those hiding behind the tanks. This is the best way to make Jax effective in an organized clash.
The Basic Inventory FormulaMercury's Treads is ideal, providing you with tenacity and MR for surviving frontline burst damage and crowd controls. Enchantment: Furor is usually great, allowing you to maneuver and close in on your targets during ganks and teamfights.
2 slots for Core Items: Trinity Force and Hextech Gunblade
2 slots for Defensive Items which will allow you to live and thrive in the frontlines. Have a good combination of Health, Armor and Magic Resistance for these two as they'll be just as important as your Offensive Core for your role.
1 slot for a situational purchase which can be key to your team's chance of winning. This can range from wards, supplementary offense (Guinsoo's, Rylai's), better defense (Warmog's, Thornmail), team aura (Shurelya's, Zeke's) or necessary counters (Blade of the Ruined King, Maw of Malmortius).
Note to self: Include some pictures, jungling build and perhaps a tip-and-tricks section in the future. Also, put up a screenshot proving the builds' success.
Anyhow, thanks for reading and I hope you picked up a thing or two about Jaxing. If you liked it, please upvote. If not then downvote if you wish (please don't troll-vote), just put a comment explaining why. Hopefully, I can use it to improve this.