Jax Build Guide by Thalia Kael
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Top Lane Jax
Not Updated For Current Season
Top Lane Jax
Hello, I am Thalia Kael, also known as NCC 1701 or KefkaZix or KKKefka. I currently play ranked mainly on the account “KKKefka” on NA and I am diamond 2 rank. I used to main Kha’Zix but now I play mostly Jax and a couple of mid lane champions.
Jax is an amazing splitpusher and duelist. He is also great in chaotic (or clean for your team) skirmishes, but his teamfighting is a bit of a wildcard because in some fights or against some comps you can be rendered very useless yet in other fights or against other comps you can dominate their entire team almost singlehandedly. Another weakness is that he’s prone to being camped and if he falls multiple levels and a full item behind he can become really weak as he can no longer outduel everyone or splitpush to the same effect and all you have left is mediocre teamfighting on a champion that’s far behind... not so good. The good part is that you spike really hard on your finished items, especially Trinity Force and Hextech Gunblade. You can often fight most champions with one and a half items or even two full items with only Trinity Force or only Gunblade, so as long as you don’t fall too behind, being slightly to moderately set back is okay. Your two item spike, usually Trinity Force and Gunblade is also insanely strong and you’ll basically be as strong as almost any three item champ. Once you round it off with a tanky third item you have in my opinion the strongest and most threatening three item champion in the game. Because of these reasons I think Jax is a S-Tier or at worse an A-Tier top laner in soloqueue with the current meta even though he has his weaknesses.
This is what most good Jax players currently run in the top lane. Fervor is essential and the Cunning tree is garbage compared to the Resolve tree for Jax so we put our last twelve points there. The only things you could change are Feast to Double Edged Sword, Vampirism to Natural Talent or Oppressor to Bounty Hunter. Those are all viable options but I currently prefer this page.
Standard auto-attack based champion setup. You can also take scaling magic resist glyphs if for whatever reason you don’t think you’ll be fighting near magic damage champions till level 9. Hashinshin also runs scaling armour seals but I don’t like them as much.
Ghost is in my opinion a necessity, it has a much shorter cooldown than Flash and lets you move so much more considering you already have a low cooldown jump in Leap, which can be used as a gap closer, escape or just extra mobility due to it being able to target allies or wards.
Teleport is the standard top lane spell and is of course viable on Jax. Pretty straightforward.
Ignite is an option to replace Teleport as it allows you to secure early kills much more consistently than with Teleport.
Exhaust is another option to replace Teleport with that fares much better against certain champions like Tryndamere and also scales much better. It’s really good against ADC’s in teamfights too.
Doran’s Blade and a Health Potion is the strongest start due to the sustain of the health potion and the extremely gold efficient stats Doran’s Blade provides.
Alternatively you can start with Corrupting Potion for even more sustain but I don’t prefer this start as it removes a lot of your ability to spar with the enemy top laner due to the lack of stats.
I keep Warding Totem all game due to the utility of having wards up almost all the time but mainly for the ability to ward jump, a core part of Jax’s playstyle.
Depending on the enemy team’s champions, you’re going to want to rush either Trinity Force or Hextech Gunblade. Once you’ve decided on which one you want to rush, then build Phage + Daggers + Boots if you're going Trinity and if you're going Gunblade get as much of Bilgewater as you can + Boots and Tomes. If you can't afford any of the larger items get a Cull.
Finish the item you started building, then go for Mercury Treads and get the item you didn’t rush.
After finishing your core you are still pretty squishy so you generally need to buy a defensive item now. I prefer an item with a health component like Frozen Mallet, Sterak’s, Deadman’s or Spirit Visage but you can also go straight to Guardian Angel. Only build Randuin’s if they have more than one crit-based damage dealer. Only go Spirit Visage when they have double AP and their ADC is weak or if they have triple AP. If they have a really strong physical damage threat go for Deadman’s. If they don’t have a clear type of damage go for Frozen Mallet or Sterak’s. You can also just build Guardian Angel third against pretty much any composition but I don’t prefer to. I rarely don’t build Frozen Mallet, Sterak’s or Deadman’s as my third item, so if you want a general build you should be fine almost every game with one of those instead of the more niche options. For my fourth item it depends entirely on their team comp and what the state of the game is but generally you want to either get Guardian Angel or another situational damage item like Phantom Dancer, Nashor’s Tooth or BotRK. I’d say I get Guardian Angel seven times out of ten. For your last item either build another defensive item you don’t already have or a damage item. Never buy more than one damage item after your Core, though. You need at least two defensive items.
After Laning Phase