Xerath Build Guide by mehhole
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PLEASE NOTE: This build has been archived by the author. They are no longer supporting nor updating this build and it may have become outdated. As such, voting and commenting have been disabled and it no longer appears in regular search results.
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.
October 18, 2011
Fixed some spelling errors and put in new area for build 1 and build 3 comparing the two.
(Yes, I am Canadian so the "u's" are not mistakes "Armour" is not a mistake)
*Working on a section entitled "Positioning".*
November 17, 2011
Masteries Reworked with explanations given
January 24, 2012
Relooked some stuff.
What's in the Guide?
Alright, I mention three different builds, for three different purposes.
First is My Personal Favourite for 5v5 on Twisted Treeline.
Second is Dominion.
Third is Artillery build/basic build.
Next chapter I'll have the reasons and explanations of each in basic detail and further on the guide I'll get into greater detail.
Also,I'll be using Abrievations for the spells
Locus of Power will be "Lop"
Mage Chains is "MC"
will simply referred to as "Ulti" (for obvious reasons)
Different Builds Introduction
Basically each build I use/provide has certain purposes and different play styles. The most notable one is that the second is for Dominion, which has a completely different play style despite having the same or similar items.
The first is the one I like the best built around doing more damage early on and scaling into a greater damaging role later on. I do build Warmogs, which may be defined as unique on a Xerath, but I'll get into that later in the "Items" section. Generally, I intentionally don't need to use my Locus of Power that much so, instead, I can leave it at level 1 at focus on Mage Chains.
The second is my Dominion build which is fairly consistent, mana and mana regen is not as a necessity and health/defense is not that necessary either. Taking the long range is very good in Dominion and is recommended over Mage Chains in leveling.
The third build is a more standard Artillery style that most Xeraths will use. I don't think I need to say much about this but mastering Xerath will be easier when starting as this build.
For those heavy readers of guides who want hard explanations and reasoning you can drop down into the "Build #" Chapters.
Before getting into heavy details, I'll briefly explain the spells and show some details involved.
Ascended Form A very good Passive, better than many Champions but this may lead to people thinking they are safe but they aren't from magic damage.
Xerath receives 15% of his ability power as bonus armour.
100 AP = 15 armour 200 AP = 30 armour 300 AP = 45 armour. At level 18 you should be getting over 100 armour.
This is a pretty great spell and surprisingly deceptive. It doesn't have that much of a delay actually and has a fairly long range.
Cost: 65 / 70 / 75 / 80 / 85 mana
Damage: 75 / 115 / 155 / 195 / 235 (+0.6 per ability power)
Cooldown: 7 / 6.5 / 6 / 5.5 / 5 seconds
Cooldown with 40% CDR: 4.2 / 3.9 / 3.6 / 3.3 / 3.0
The range can be seen below with and without Locus of Power [Lop] on.
Locus of Power This spell increases the range of all your other spells and gives magic penetration. Well, this spell pretty much makes Xerath, Xerath. Activating this despite being in range of Arcanopulse will make the damage greater from it's magic pen.
Bonus Magic Penetration: 10 / 15 / 20 / 25 / 30 %
Cooldown:20 / 16 / 12 / 8 / 4 seconds
Cooldown with 40% CDR: 12 / 9.6 / 7.2 / 4.8 / 2.4 seconds
Mage Chains A fairly good spell that is somewhat similar to Brand's stun. Mage Chains, although, requires you to hit them first with Mage Chains and then the next spell from Xerath used on the enemy will make them stunned.
Xerath is one of the mages that can stun:
However, Xerath's stun, I find, is a lot easier to use and hit and it's cost is pretty good. (With the exception of Veigar) Don't neglect it's damage either, it does more than Arcanopulse, except only one one target.
Cost: 70 / 75 / 80 / 85 / 90 mana
Magic Damage: 70 / 120 / 170 / 220 / 270 (+0.7 per ability power)
Cooldown: 12 / 11 / 10 / 9 / 8 seconds
Cooldown with 40% CDR: 7.2 / 6.6 / 6.0 / 5.4 / 4.8 seconds
Now, this is becoming one of my favourite ultis due to its short cooldown and multiple uses and range.
Cost: 150 / 180 / 210 mana
Magic Damage Per Cast: 125 / 200 / 275 (+0.6 per ability power)
Cooldown: 80 / 70 / 60 seconds
Cooldown with 40% CDR: 48 / 42 / 36 seconds
Build 1: Upfront and Dangerous
Generally speaking, there are two portions when playing with this build. The first is small skirmishes, general laning, and farming while the second portion is large team fights, (at least a 3v3 but of course up to 5v5)and laning/playing with champions that are a big threat to Xerath's farm and life. (Check the later chapter for Dangerous Foes and tips against them)
This game style for laning is generally on poking in using Lop followed up by MC and then Arc which will stun them and then let you retreat back to the safety of your side. If you are against a melee champion (besides Gangplank) then this strategy can be very safe and effective. Leveling up Mage Chains instead of Locus of Power will have emphasis on more damage for less time in long range (which is not needed in this strategy). This fulfills more of a nuker role early game being able to throw out MC then Arc and finally your three shots of your ulti on them. Due to the relatively short cooldown on your ulti, this will make this strategy fairly strong.
Farming is generally easy with Xerath as mentioned by Phreak in the Champion Spotlight and I'm sure all Xerath's would have seen it already so I won't go into much detail. However, I will say do not forget that your ulti does damage as well and can clear out stacked up minion waves attacking a tower.
In late game, you'll play more of an artillery role since you will do well in that, however, moving up is not bad at all. Again, mentioning Phreak who stays at "Locus of Power's maximum range" and simply toggles on and off while shooting his Arcanopulse. However, one flaw in this strategy is that he is not utilizing his Mage Chains. As we all know, stuns are very powerful in this game, and using it for strictly defense will not cut it, (at least not for me) moving up to throw a stun and then moving back is viable but staying at "Locus of Power's maximum Mage Chain's range" will be nice as well.
For items, I pick a more defensive build with Warmogs and Abyssal Sceptre. Many will think that the Sceptre is a terrible choice as Xerath should not be close to the enemy, I'll mention that this item can help you out greatly. First of all it gives you AP, enough said there. Second it gives Magic Resistance, which Xerath greatly needs as he doesn't have much at all. And third he can utilize it's passive my moving up close as mentioned before. Now, I don't pick Rylias because of preference, I just like Warmogs better. Try using Warmogs on any champion really, it's not as bad as it seems.
Choosing this build requires knowledge of the enemy champions and you may need to switch between this and the third build or a variation if you see that those enemy champions are not doing well/not playing well. For example: You see a Caitlyn midding against you and so you must adopt a more longer range artillery style. However, you realize that the Caitlyn is not doing well and so you can get in close to stun her and then simply back off without taking any damage.
Build 2: Ninja Defense in Dominion
Let me say first, Dominion is a great map and it allows certain champions to shine and others to down right fail. Veigar, for instance, is terrible while Rammus is pretty OP and banned in any Draft Picks.
Now, Xerath plays a very well needed role in Dominion. He plays a defensive role, not a pushing role. He should never be going bot and should always be going to the top tower at the beginning of the game. He should never be ninja capping and, instead, he should always be ninja defending. His range means that he can get a few shots to stop the cap and deter cappers. I'd like to focus on the top point.
Although it may be hard to see, I am standing in the top bush, a very potent spot for Xerath. If an enemy champion starts capping, you merely use Lop then Arc to destroy his cap. If he starts moving up to fight you you can throw out a MC, Arc then round down the other side and stay on the cap. Now, he is stuck at the top side allowing you to effectively guard him off and throw random Arc's at the top line to intimidate him and damage him.If he intends to fight you on the point, you can stun him again and simply walk off back to the top.
Now when against two people, if you think you can take one out with all your spells then do that, after that begin doing the same harassment with the first. If you cannot, try to hit one and then fight on the tower. Exhaust can be a very powerful way of obtaining the victory.
The following are great spots for Xerath to utilize his range. The strategy I use, is that I'll hit someone with arcanopulse [Lop] but don't do anything more. Either they continue capping, move around to continue capping, come and look for me, or die from the turret because they think they are capping (has happened multiple times before).
These placements work on both sides as the map is mirrored.
Build 3: Long Range Destruction
Now, this build is a general build that switching to is never bad. If you feel you are doing bad with build one, switching to this one can prove better results. (I've done this many times.)
I get more CDR to establish constant shots in long range. Even if your attacks don't do as much damage, the added slow with will be enough to aid in battle and make you a bit more support. Now, I've not mentioned the differences in staring items. In build one I go Philo stone as I really like that items and find that with enough pacing, that's enough mana regen. Also, at the end Xerath doesn't really need any Mana regen.
This will give you Mana regen, ap and CDR. Very good.
Basically, this build makes you stay at long range just as Phreak does. However, I do not stack AP runes on him and instead focus on CDR and Mana regen runes which helps me out in short and late game. Getting extra armour is not the best for Xerath though it can be very helpful.
There are many different champions in Lol and of course many are worse or better against one single type. Xerath is one of the champions that can take on many, as can many mages.
He does well against:
Of course there more but that's what I've mentioned. Generally his range keeps him safe but allows him to damage, though his damage may not be as great against certain champions said such as Galio.
Champions he is terrible against:
Now this again is not all of them but the ones that are a bit more obscure, I've tried to mentioned. Silences are a pain but anyone that can close the distance and damage is definitely dangerous. Veigar is also a pain, but if you're not in range (since he's very short ranged) then you're fine.
Positioning is a huge part of scrimmages and larger battles in Lol. With bad positioning, most fights will always mean a loss despite who you are playing. Getting caught of guard or catching others of guard will certainly mean deaths.
Xerath is one of the champions that benefits a lot more from positioning. Most of his spells are AoE and his main ability is a shot that fires in a line. This would mean that a good position would be to line up enemy champions throughout your arc maximum range. Being at your maximum range will insure that you are safe.
Playing Xerath requires good positioning whether or not you use build 1 or 3. If you play up close with build 1, then positioning is not as big of a deal as build 3. Instead, maximum range for mage chains should be what determines range.
As Xerath, poking in for a few shots is nice.
Build 1 vs Build 3
Basically, build 1 has less mana regen and focusing more heavily on the late game while using basic harass to ensure that the opponent is still afraid of you. Instead of loading up on Locus of Power, you get Mage chains to increase damage. At endgame, your range really comes into use so getting that in the end is great, no? Well, the Mage Chains into Arcanopulse with your level 1 Locus of Power is good enough harass. You'll be pulling this off every 20 seconds or so (Locus of Power's CD). Getting Philosopher's stone is something I love to get on most of my mages, and I think it helps you very much in the end game. I usually never sell it until I need it to make space for my last item.
Build 3 makes you artillery pretty quick, as Phreak said, but artillery is not useful unless you can do damage. Instead of doing high damage shots, the focus is in doing rapid shots with the high CDR you have in this build. Getting Blue buff is a huge priority. However, to get those many shots off, staying at the back is recommended which means Mage Chains is not that used. In return, Xerath's ulti can be used over and over again with it's very low cooldown and high manaregen. I find that I have enough mana late game that I don't need Archangel's staff as it is fairly expensive item.
In basic psychology, if someone throws an object at you, your basic reaction is to dodge or raise your hands to avoid the blunt of the pain. This can work if someone throws something as light as a paper ball. The principle is that the more shots you fire off, the less they pay attention to the others on your team and with your high mana regen you should get this off well. They won't be able to judge how much damage you do constantly and will be in fear of your ulti, and it might not even do that much damage. Build 3 lets you do long range harass pretty much all game; it lacks some of the power of early game to make up for a good late game if you know positioning.
With the introduction of new masteries, there comes experimentation. However, from deducing the masteries, not much will have changed. The build is still a general 9 0 21 from both the Summoner's Rift builds but a 12 0 18 for the Dominion Crystal Scar build. Reasoning follows:
The new AP masteries in Offense are not too great actually. The 18 AP doesn't seem like a lot and the 5% gain on ap isn't as great as it seems as well. With 100 ap you get 5 extra ap. Let's assume we have 400 Ap from items. Now we add in 18 and now multiply by 1.05
[400+18]^1.05= 438.9 so roughly 439 Ap. That would be a gain of 39 AP. With Rabadon that would be 50.7. So about 51 Ap. I'd rather go with the 9 0 21 rather than 21 0 9 or 21 9 0.
However, I will just lay out the facts and let you decide if 50+ AP is good enough of a choice.
In Dominion, instead of taking 9 0 21. I go 12 0 18 with minor changes because summoner spells are not as important in Dominion. Havoc seems to be a viable option.
Well, items are a very important part of Lol and is very important for Xerath as well. Let's go over the items I've chosen as well as some other variables.
This is a great item for any Mage but especially for Xerath. Stacking Ap gives him more armour, this item actually gives 182 AP and because of his passive he gets 27.3 armour.
Now, this gives you a long range slow and also gives AP and well wanted health. A very good item but I do not secure this in build 1 due to my extensive use of stuns and buying of Warmogs for health.
Spell vamp will increase not only your survivability but your teammates due to it's passive, and it also ands some AP.
Ok, so now it gets a bit explanation necessary. I've said this before but you get AP, Magic Resistance and a passive that decreases enemy magic resistance. Ap is great, enough said right? Magic Resistance is very much needed on Xerath as he stays at 30 for much of the game. By moving up and close in build 1, the magic resistance is very useful for surviving. Now, since you are moving up as well the passive will work well also. Again, you help your team out.
Man, many will disagree with this item choice of mine I know. In fact, I was opposed to putting it in this guide myself as I believe that people would just see it and down right vote badly and not even read on. Sometimes, I get Warmogs earlier on and not at the near end. Sometimes, I don't even get it. However, Warmogs is a great item that can protect every champion. Sometimes you need to sacrifice some ap for more defense, so in the long run you can do more damage since you're not already dead. Oh, and why not Force of Nature? Well, Warmog's helps you for Armour and Magic Resistance so it's a good choice since it gives you health. More health helps you from both physical and magical attacks so it'll help out in all situations.
So why not this early? Magic Penetration will do you nothing if you don't even do enough damage. Say you had 100% Magic Penetration and your spell does 100 damage. Well, you do 100 damage then. But if you had so much more AP, you would do the same if not better plus you would get Armor from it. What's the point of having Magic Penetration if you don't have enough magic? Same point here, what's the point in having infinite magic regen if you don't have any mana?
This gives mana regen, ap and CDR. Very nice indeed. I think that it's enough said there. I don't use this in build one because I'm not spamming my spells every single moment during laning phase and late game the mana regen isn't that necessary.
Philosopher's StoneLet's take a look at Philosopher's stone now as I'm sure many are disliking it or unsure of it. Now, let's just run a small test. Assume that you have bought Philosopher's Stone at 6 Minutes (In build 1 you have teleport, so no worries) and that the average game is 45 minutes.
45-6=39 39x60=2340 seconds Gold=5/10seconds 2340/10*5= 1170 gold. 1170g-800g= 370 profit.
Assume the game is 65 minutes now.
65-6=59 59x60=3540 seconds Gold=5/10seconds 3540/10*5= 1770 gold. 1770g-800g= 970 profit.
All that for 18h/5 and 8m/5, a very good item indeed for Mana regen needs but don't stack 2 as the gold effect doesn't stack on the same gold/second items.
A very important part of choosing a champion, is choosing summoner spells. Certain summoner spells are useless on Xerath. You'll never need rally or Revive.
Here's a list of valued Summoner spells that are good on Xerath (Standard list not Dominion)
Very good, I use it for all. Popping this and then your stun is great. Update, flash has been nerfed slightly and so I use this on 1st and 2nd build only now.
A very multi use spell like flash. Exhaust definitely has its merits. Although, it did get a slight nerf, it is still very useful.
A spell that can get you back to your lane quick, or even out of danger.
Again, another multi use spell. Although, if at long range a flash may be better as you already have distance. I've decided to use this on third now due to the nerf.
Not that necessary but better than most spells. Early game it's good late game it's not. Never use this on Dominion.
Ok spell. I don't find it that great though, I'm sure others will.
Alright, a new spell but I must say that it is not that great on him. Although it gives Ap, the AS is useless and the slow from exhaust is much more beneficial.
I hope that you enjoyed and learned from this guide. I intend to improve upon this guide constantly if necessary. Please comment upon things I can improve and please comment if you find this guide good or not good and then a reason. Please do not flame me, but if you have to, keep it subtle or in good taste.