Xerath Build Guide by ScionOfHRH

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.

League of Legends Build Guide Author ScionOfHRH

Xerath: Artillery Strike

ScionOfHRH Last updated on October 13, 2011
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Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

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.


Brute Force
Improved Rally

Offense: 9

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 0

Expanded Mind
Mystical Vision
Presence of the Master

Utility: 21

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I know that there is a lot to add and I will be adding to this as often as I can until my guide is finished, so please be patient with me! :) Constructive ideas and suggestions are always pleasant!

Chapters to come:
Summoner Spells
Play style suggestions and Strategies

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Hello Summoners! Welcome to my guide for Xerath, the Magus Ascendant. First, I want to thank you for taking some time to view my guide as it is my first. This is most definitely a work in progress so please be patient with me. Any suggestions will be welcome, as long as they are constructive and have a valid point of view. I will be checking back and working hard to make this guide as complete as possible, not just for myself but everyone else too. In my opinion, all guides should have the point to make EVERYONE better at their chosen champion to make the meta more complete and challenging.

I have been playing League of Legends for just a couple months now and I must say I'm hooked! I enjoy playing for the fun of the game (even when I'm losing) more than the serious side, so if you see me online give me a friendly shout! :)

When I heard about Xerath, and saw how he is designed, I knew then that I would try to main him. I've been having pretty good results so far, as I will show further into this guide. He can be a lot of fun to play, especially when you have a group that understands how he works. He can be very frustrating too, especially when you first check him out. The key is to be patient, and learn to mix things up with him. Xerath can become predictable if you're not careful.

Okay, so much for all the boring stuff. Let's get down to it, shall we?

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Pros / Cons


    Fun to play!
    EXTREMELY long range
    Large/quick nuking damage output
    Strong harass capabilities
    Excellent farming

    Very low health
    Heavily mana dependent
    Very low mobility
    No viable escape methods

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Since I'm newer to the League, this is one of my weaker subjects. Any constructive suggestions are very welcome!

MARKS: With any caster, you need to be prepared to hit your spell damage to as close to true damage as possible so I go with flat magic penetration runes here. Not a lot of explanation needed.

SEALS: Xerath is an extremely mana hungry champion. He needs all the help he can get early game so I go with Greater Seal of Replenishmentflat mana regeneration seals. Once you pick up your Morello's Evil Tome, you should be doing just fine.

GLYPHS: As with any nuke mage, you need as much AP as possible. With Xerath's harass being so good early game, I go with flat AP glyphs. This will help deal better damage while you poke the enemy with Arcanopulse. Also gives you better farming potential, and a very slight armor buff from his passive.

QUINTS: Again, I go with AP quints for all the same reasons as my seals.

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Going with a typical caster mage 9/0/21 here, putting points into Haste and Blink of an Eye . One point in Utility Mastery for an added boost on Blue Monster Buff and Baron Nashor.

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Skill Sequence

Let's get to it, shall we?

Ascended Form -> This passive may seem a bit underwhelming when you first start playing Xerath, but over the course of a game this stat can add up; helping you to survive longer in team fights against heavy AD teams. Some long games I begin approaching 160+ armor without buying a single armor item. Not too bad for a caster!

-> Next to Xerath's ultimate, this is his main damage output. Longer range than most (read: ALL) champs at LEVEL 2, you can poke all day long. I level this up at one, alternating between Locus of Power to keep that range going. This spell will net you kills from so far away and its so satisfying! If I'm not mistaken this is only out ranged by Kog'Maw 's ultimate, Living Artillery and your own ultimate, Arcane Barrage.

Locus of Power -> This is the next ability to level up alternating with Arcanopulse. This gives you a nice boost to your damage output through auto magic penetration, allowing you to build AP items almost solely. This also gives you the amazing range capability to poke your lane adversaries all day long. An added benefit is the small movement speed boost you get after it toggles off.

Mage Chains -> With the shortest range of Xerath's abilities, this will also allow you to stun your opponents when you hit them with any other damaging spell (not including Summoner Spells). This also has the fastest scaling in damage each level, but slower cooldowns than Arcanopulse. I usually get this either level 3 or 5 for the stun effect, then max out last.

-> This ultimate just blows me away. Three shots per activation, INSANE range, good AP ratios, damage that can MELT health bars, and a respectably low cooldown especially once you get all of your CDR items (36 seconds, I believe?). This ult can take some getting used to, but believe me once you get the hang of it...LOOK OUT! Make sure you lead your targets appropriately, and I also suggest turning on SmartCast for this ability ONLY. Speeds up your reaction time for an ability that needs it.

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With Xerath's design being one that hits hard and fast from a very long way off, high AP items are a must. Xerath's passive ability also scales with these items as well, giving you a nice armor bonus (15 per 100 AP) into the late game. Additionally, he highly benefits from cooldown reduction and mana regeneration as well. Late game, you will also need extra magic penetration to punch through your enemies' defenses. This, combined with Archaic Knowledge and his ability Locus of Power, you can launch an assault on the opposition from behind the lines like no other champ (except maybe Kog'Maw. Even though these are strong suggestions, they are only that...suggestions. Change these as you see to fit your play style. Let's take a look at our options:

Meki Pendant Health Potion Health Potion
I start with Meki Pendant for two reasons. One, it gives you a boost in mana regeneration that you NEED. Two, it builds into your first major core item, Morello's Evil Tome.

You have a major decision to make. You can go one of two routes: on one hand you have the Archangel's Staff route, or the other; Morello's Evil Tome. I always go for Morello's Evil Tome, giving you 75 AP, 20% CDR, +12 mana regeneration per 5 (and don't forget 11 armor from his Ascended Form), the Tome gives you everything you're looking for in an item. SO...

For :
Blasting Wand or Boots of Speed, Amplifying Tome

For :
Upgrade your Meki's Pendant into a Tear of the Goddess first, then pick up Boots of Speed.

From this point, you need to evaluate your (AND your allies') situations to evaluate your next purchases. Continue looking forward to your Morello's Evil Tome or Archangel's Staff, and look at what your enemies' item choices are throughout the game.

If your opponents are purchasing magic resistance:
- turn your Boots of Speed into Sorcerer's Shoes
- start building yourself an Abyssal Scepter first over a Void Staff. Flat magic resistance reduction first over magic penetration, always. Magic penetration is multiplicative, not additive. You already have a decent amount of magic penetration from Locus of Power. Void Staff is definitely good on Xerath, but only once they start getting higher levels of magic resist.

If your opponents are purchasing more tanky items:
- hold off upgrading your Boots of Speed right away. If you'r enemies are DUMB and don't get magic resist, you get to upgrade to Ionian Boots of Lucidity, spamming the **** out of said enemies with Locus of Power => Arcanopulse and Arcane Barrage. Make sure when you kill them to send them an "/all <3". :)

-start building your other core items:
-> Obviously a MUST on EVERY caster, and a few other AP champs as well. Not to mention the larger armor boost (27+ just from this item if my math is right) that you get from Ascended Form.

-> This can be a very powerful tool. You'll get the full slow effect proc from Mage Chains, which will help IMMENSELY in landing your stun comboing into Arcanopulse or Arcane Barrage. Sadly, you don't get the full slow from either of those abilities since they're AoE, but can almost permaslow your enemies with this. Your AD champ buddies should thank you. Plus, the added bars to your health is nice too since Xerath is so lacking in that department.

Okay, so now that we've decided what our core items are, we should be looking like this:
or , and either or

We have two more slots left, so what to pick? Your last picks are usually the most situational, so we'll go through them with my explanations for each.

-> If you're pitted against an AP champion heavy line up, or need to boost your flat magic resistance reduction if they picked up Negatron Cloak or the like, this is a solid pick. Good AP boost, excellent magic resist, flat magic resist reduction, and again don't forget the armor boost from Ascended Form. Plus if you decided on Sorcerer's Shoes, which is probable if the above statements are true, this will help counter their Negatron Cloak.

-> Okay, I can hear the doubters now. Why would you pick an item like this? Xerath isn't an up close and personal champ! Believe me, I know. His strength comes from being able to nuke people from afar and frustrate the hell out of them. But hear me out. IF you're owning, and you feel confident enough with your skills, this item is SO MUCH FUN! Whats more fun than to run up confusing your opponent and connect with Mage Chains , slowing them from Rylai's Crystal Scepter , chaining into Arcanopulse to stun them, smacking them with the proc from Lich Bane, toggling Locus of Power, then NUKING THE **** OUT OF THEM with Arcane Barrage! Best part is, if they didn't die by that point, you should either: 1: hit them with the next proc off of Lich Bane, or 2: blast them again with Arcanopulse as they flee in terror. Remember what Xerath's "fifth taunt" is: "You can run...but you'll just die tired!" HAHA!

-> Now you're probably thinking why I list this as a situational item. I actually think this is a very solid item for Xerath. I consider it situational only in correlation with what the opposing team has built. This could possibly be built earlier or later, depending if they have lots of magic resist. Then get it for sure and enjoy having around 60% magic penetration on top of your Sorcerer's Shoes and Abyssal Scepter. But if you have a need to get around their resistance, make sure you get the former items first, Void Staff later.

-> I haven't actually tried this item, as the game is usually drawn to a close by the time I have an opportunity to get it. If anyone out there has some insight, please feel free to comment. My feeling is that the MAJOR AP and armor boosts (remember Ascended Form as well) can significantly help, and the active can save you when you get focused in a team fight. If you're laning well or getting a lot of kills, I can recommend this item.

-> If you decided to go with Morello's Evil Tome first (which I HIGHLY RECOMMEND) instead of this, start building this when you can. Always plan on purchasing both, as the stats from both remedy any mana problems. And I know I sound like a broken record about Xerath's passive, but when you add up all of the boosts you get from the high AP items you can stand up to fight AD champs and...ahem...dare I

-> If you feel added survivability is needed, this is the way to go. 50 AP and 25% Spell Vamp is nothing to sneeze at. Hitting a whole minion wave at once while they're marching toward you with Arcanopulse can net you some serious health. Plus helping the Akali or Morgana on your team as they help defend you will be greatly appreciated. Not to mention that both of them may very well have one too...and they stack...get it? Good.

-> Now this item can either be a huge boon, or a burden. I would suggest picking this up early, after your Morello's Evil Tome to get your stacks, but ONLY if you are having a BEAST of a game. High kills and assists, no or few deaths. If you aren't doing this, skip it. Period.

-> This is the ONLY hard defensive item I can suggest to take your last spot. I don't think you really benefit from it as much as your AD Carries and Tanks. If Xerath is in a situation where you need the spell block, you're either in the wrong place at the wrong time, or you're just dead. Focus more on getting ability power.