Xerath Build Guide by 22theavenue
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.
Hi everyone, I'm 22theavenue (handshake to whoever gets the reference) and this is my first guide.
As its name suggests, it's a guide about how to use Xerath in Twisted Treeline. Yes, I already know what some of you will say: "Twisted treeline is useless, it's unbalanced, blah blah blah". True, but I still find it more entertaining than Summoner's Rift, that's why I play mostly in TT.
I bought Xerath right when he went out and played quite some games with him to try and find out the best build. I think I've succeeded in this, but I'm open to suggestions, so feel free to.
But back in topic, who is Xerath? The first word that comes to mind when talking about Xerath is "range", and this guy has lots of it. He has a fun and various skillset with short cooldowns which he can use to successfully harass or burst down, despite his passive being not so good. But let's go deeper in the analysis.
Pros / Cons
- Insane range
- Free magic penetration with his W
- Three-shot long range ulti with a short cooldown
- Squishy (like most of AP carries)
- his passive isn't that good paired with his move speed and stun capability
- his damage falls off lategame
Now I'll explain which runes I took and why I took them:
- 9x Greater Mark of Insight: Magic penetration. Xerath already has it, but having more is good.
- 9x greater seal of vitalityGreater Seal of vitality: Why these, and not AP per level seals? Because one AP per level seal gives 0,1 AP per level, which means 9 of them give 0,9 (let's say 1) AP at lv1 and 16,2 AP at level 18, which is not much at any level; vitality seals will give you 175 hp at lv18, which can make the difference between your death and your foe's. Another options are Greater Seals of Replenishment, giving you that more mana regen that allows a more aggressive playstile.
- 9x Greater Glyph of Force: roughly 2 AP at lv1 to 27 AP at lv18. Not much, but definitely not a low amount either. If you feel like doing it, you can swap these with cdr glyphs, but I wouldn't reccomend that: the CDR gain is really small and Xerath doesn't really need it.
- 3x Greater Quintessence of Potency: almost 15 flat ability power, they will make you stronger, expecially early game.
My masteries are 21/9/0, maximizing the AP gain via the appropiate offensive talents, as well as taking the 10% magic penetration and the upgraded ghost. In the defensive tree, I've chosen to maximize the magic resist talent (since Xerath's passive gives him natural armor) and then go down in the defensive tree to gain the +30 hp talent which will help for first blood.
If you've chosen the replenishment seals, then you can start with boots + 3 health potions. If not, then I highly suggest a
Doran's Ring, which will give you more health, more ability power and mana regen, allowing you to play aggressive from the start.
Xerath is slow, so our second item should be Boots of Speed right away (with a couple of health potions and a ward if you can afford them).
You already have a nice damage and harass power, but soon it will not be enough anymore, so a second Doran's Ring is needed.
After that, you really don't have choice if you want to keep dealing good damage: Xerath's damage falls off really badly, and being an AP carry means that if you can't kill your foe before your skillset is on cooldown, you're probably dead. For this reason you need that Rabadon's Deathcap, there's really no choice.
Now that your core build (boots, 2 dorans and Rabaddon's) is complete, you can be more free in chosing your next items. The first step from that point should be upgrading your boots, either with Ninja Tabi (if against an AD based team), Mercury treads (against magic damage or CC heavy foes) or Lucidity Boots to keep your offense.
Why not Sorcerer's Shoes, you say? For two reasons: 1) You already have magic penetration from W and marks, and 2) you'll eventually buy a Void Staff or an Abyssal Scepter which are more reliable mp items.
The rest of your build should be based on what's happening in the game: if you're doing good and can afford to keep going offensive, build a Rylai's Crystal Scepter and a Void Staff (not necessarily in this order): the first will slow them down with your E, allowing you to land Xerath's stun more easily, while the second will keep your damage high if your opponents are building magic resist although if there is more than a magic damage dealer in your team and he/she/they are not buying an Abyssal Scepter, it's your task to do so, replacing Void Staff with it. If the game is still going on, aim at a Zohnya's Hourglass for more AP (and 2 seconds of notarget mode to safely land your skills).
If you want to go defensive, your items should be Abyssal Scepter and Banshee Veil against heavy magic damage dealers, Thornmail and Frozen Heart against heavy physical damage dealers and and Guardian Angel when none of the two is prevalent. Be aware that if you go defensive you'll lack damage sooner or later.
A side note about sight wardwards: Since Xerath has so much range, it would be a clever idea for you or your teammates to buy and place wards. If you have vision of your opponents, you can disrupt their farming or steal jungle creeps with a W+Q long distance arcanopulse.
Ghost as my summoner spells, because Xerath is squishy and slow and he needs mobility.
Alternative choices can be:
- Ignite: the ap gain from its mastery is nice, but its short range isn't ideal with Xerath's long range.
- Exhaust: Good to slow down your opponent and land your stun combo easily. Good for newbie Xerath users.
- Clarity: Also good for newbie Xerath users; stop taking it when you've learned how to handle Xerath's mana costs.
- Heal: since the rework, this spell has become quite good in TT.
Skills, skill sequence and how to use them
First off, let me describe
- ascended formAscended Form: Xerath's passive converts 15% of his AP into armor. This makes you a little less squishy against physical damage dealers; howewer, this is not much as most AD carries will cut through it like butter. Also, it's not even helping when you need to escape, since Xerath's base movement speed is quite low and your stun needs 2 skills to trigger, meaning you have to stop and shoot 2 skills. Even with smartcast, you'll likely be dead before landing that stun.
- Arcanopulse (Q): Your main nuke. This spell has long range, deals good damage, has a very short cooldown and it's an excellent tool for last hitting if you have enough mana regen to spam it. It has to be maxed first.
- locus of powerLocus of Power (W): Your "turret mode"; when you activate it, after a short delay Xerath gains magic penetration and his spells gain more range (the range on Q is INSANE); however, Xerath will be rooted in place during it. For this reason, there's one key word when using Xerath: POSITIONING: You must learn where to correctly position yourself before attacking, because this is the first ring of your chain and it will stuck you where you are. If you activate it again, Xerath gains free movement again, along with a short movement speed increase for 2 seconds, which by the way isn't enough to try and double W to escape someone. Since each rank in this skill lowers its cooldown by more than 4 seconds, I max this second. At rank 5 LoP will have a little more than 1 second cd, meaning you can cancel it and reactivate it shortly after if you're in need to reposition yourself.
- mage chainsMage Chains (E): This is your stun triggerer. This spell "marks" your opponents so that your next spell that hits him also stuns him for 1,5 seconds. A good spell that deals a good damage, but we only need this for the stun effect, which is 1,5 seconds at every rank, so we'll max it last.
- Arcane Barrage (R): Xerath's ultimate and (duh!) most powerful spell: when you use it, you'll see a lightning fall from the sky and hit an area, dealing magic damage to whoever was in it. Its AP scaling may seem low (0,6), but Xerath's ulti can be shot 3 times in a row, meaning that if you can land all 3 hits, it's like you just hit your opponent with a 1,8 scaling spell. Considering its amplitude and the range gain with Locus of Power, this spell is very easy to land, all you need to do is to figure where your opponents will go.
lv1 to 3:
I feel I have to explain this part of the game because it's of vital importance for Xerath. His game style changes through these levels.
At LV1 you only have your Q. don't bother damaging minions with it, you can't sustain its mana cost if you abuse of it too much. Go for last hits, and use your Q and autoattacks to harass your opponent when he's in a good position; remember that you're squishy and slow, so don't play too aggressive here.
At lv2 you have mage chains, which means your harass will be better and you can start playing more aggressive. Try to keep your E active to have vision of its range. When your opponent is at hand, E then Q him and autoattack while he's stunned. As soon as he breaks free, retreat, then repeat as soon as you can. You'll be enjoyed as you see them being punished hard by your range when they try to harass you.
At lv3 you gain Locus of Power = your range amplifier. This means your EQ harass combo can be performed from an even greater range, and you can even land another Q while they're escaping, gaining a kill if you're lucky.
From lv6 on you have your ultimate and your Doran's rings give you plenty of mana regen, and this means you can safely spam your skills without worrying too much about mana. The strongest combo i've found with him is:
First off, position yourself. When you think you're in a good position, activate LoP and IMMEDIATELY smart cast Mage Chains. MC can be cast during the LoP channeling time, meaning you save time, thus performing your entire combo before the end of your W. After landing the E, unload the first bullet of your ulti, proccing the stun. While your opponent is there rooted in place, Q him (this is made because you can calmly aim at a stunned target and because your Q has a short cooldown and you can cast it again soon); then shoot your 2nd and 3rd ulti bullet; by that time, your opponent is fleeing, your W is going to end, but your Q will also be ready again. Shoot it (it has an insane range) to put an end to your foe's misery.
Twisted Treeline walkthrough
This will not deeply cover all the infos, but is rather a quick guide on how to play here, with some tips.
This map is smaller than SR and your team is lacking 2 members, so don't come here saying "Meh I played a lot of SR this will be piece of cake". NO. You will fail. The playstyle here is quite different, so swallow your pride and calmly learn the map. You'll soon realize that the differences are quite bigger than you thought.
Now, about the map: 3 things are important here: ganks, jungle control and moe of that MAP AWARENESS: Always keep an eye on the minimap, buy wards whenever you can and be aware of where your enemies are. As a Xerath, you should always take the top lane, since it's imperative to you to reach lv6 ASAP; however, it's not a holy truth: there may be some champs in your team who need the top lane more than you and unlike you can also jungle, and your champ is good even in a duo lane.
Whatever lane you are in, don't always wait for your teammates to say "ss", "miss" or "mia" to retreat or to expect a gank: your teammate may be in base, or dead, or simply he forgot to say so and/or to keep an eye on his foe(s). Always look at minimap and see where the enemy(es) in the other lane is(are).
Be aware that jungle control is crucial in this map, so if you see at least 2/3 enemies missing, this means that either one of them is farming in top jungle, or they are killing the dragon. Dragon here is a gamechanging buff like Nashor in SR (although not that powerful), so you should prevent your enemies to get it at all costs.
I already said to buy wards. "But my teammate is already caring about buying wards!" Wrong. Everyone in your team should buy wards. Every second a ward is not near the lizzard (middle of the mid jungle) is a second which expose bot lane to ganks; every second a ward is not above the dragon "cage" is a second when your enemies are killing the dragon. These two spots (and expecially the lizard one) should be always warded from lv4/6 and throughout all the game.
Don't hesitate to gank if you have the odds to do it. However, remember that a failed gank is time you spend away from you lane creeps and the experience that comes from them, meaning that too much failed gank attemps will lead to you being underleveled and underfarmed, which is BAD. If your teammates ask for a gank, watch where your and their lane opponents are, and then decide if it's worth it.
Something important in this map is the first blood: usually there will be a skirmish between teams at level 1, before or shortly after the creepwave. The hotspots for this to happen are the tiny bush in the bottom lane, the bushes in the center left and right (near each base), the two bushes right above the bottom lane one and the two bushes in the top lane. Be aware that if you don't spot your enemies in the botlane bush they must be in one ot the other spots I mentioned. For this reason, when you're going top lane, always take the route hugging your base wall and ending under your lane turret; if by the time top lane creepwaves clash against each other, if none of your enemies are still visible, then this means they're all hiding in the top bush waiting for you to come closer and kill you 3v1; for this reason, stay far from those bushes and always hug the toplane upper wall so you can flash through it in the dragon "cage".
Creeping / Jungling
When you'll have your doran's rings, you can start using your Q to last hit. Since said spell has a short cooldown, you can use a couple of well positioned arcanopulses to clear a minion wave and gain a bunch of lasthits. A good pushing strategy is to cast a LoP'ed arcanopulse on an incoming minion wave (when they're still all lined up), and then a second normal arcanopulse to kill them. Feel free to clear a creepwave with your ultimate if you feel like you won't need it in the next 40 seconds (for example, to defend your nexus against a super minion creepwave).
Xerath's squishiness and spellset don't allow him to jungle efficiently, despite his passive, so leave the jungle to some teammate. However, you can still counterjungle by stealing jungle creep lasthits with your long range. (wards help with this, read more in the items section).
Xerath is a fun champion to play. He needs lots of practice but is rewarding when you know how to use him and can hardly be countered in solo lane. True, there are other AP carries who are equal to better than him and require less skill, but if you like mages, and if you like to earn your kills, Xerath is the champion for you.
01/20/2012: Fixed icons, corrected a few parts and added the "Twisted Treeline walkthrough" section
12/07/2011: Guide released