Xerath Build Guide by thewaterz
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.
After the S4 Xerath rework, many people have expressed their positive and negative opinions about him, with the majority being negative. His kit is now focused on long rage peels, and his less bursty ultimate is the main reason why many people play him less. However I feel that this rework not only allows him to continuously poke his enemies in the landing phase, especially with his passive, but it also allows for more reliable CC -> which brings us to this guide : Xerath support. I've played Xerath mid and I love it, but I usually fill, so I end up with support and one day I decided that I should try him. I have played unconventional supports such as Elise, Ahri and Rumble, but they were not as good as Xerath. (Elise was okay.)
Now, I'm not introducing Xerath support to be THE carry support, but with his stun, slow, and bursts, he makes for a great peeler and a bully in lane.
I'm currently Gold V. I entered Season 4 in Gold I with 8/10 wins in my provisional series but due to a series (pun intended) of unfortunate events, I ended up getting my series to Gold II then III then IV and then V. I'll climb back up soon!
Pros / Cons
Here are my latest stats (ignore the Karma one xD).
This one shows that I have not lost a single game with Xerath yet, and I'm hoping to see how long more I can continue my winning streak. Hehe.
So, let's start off with runes.
I use armor seals(as per normal) and mark seals for the extra armor, making me a tougher target to fight with.
I also use flat AP glyphs and flat AP quints because they give the highest flat AP stats.
If you think you need mana regen, take mana regen glyphs or quints. Or if you want that extra movement speed boots, then take MS quints. It's all up to you.
Now, to be honest, most of my masteries never hit a 9/0/21 or 0/9/21. They range from 19/0/11 to 15/12/3 to 5/22/3 (I'm weird like that). But my Xerath support goes a standard 9/0/21 for utility. Meh.
9 for offense basically for cooldown reduction and AP. And also that small buff for your ally with Expose Weakness .
21 for utility for mana, mana regen and more cooldown reduction.
This item is a must for Xerath support as it provides him more damage for his abilities. With his amazing harass/peel, he also gets gold from each successful hit of his ability. Also upgrades to Frost Queen's Claim which gives an AOE slow + peel. Upgrade to Frost Queen's Claim as fast as possible.
Gives magic penetration and movement speed.
If you need cooldown reduction, you could replace it with Ionian Boots of Lucidity instead.
If you need the extra armor, you could replace it with Ninja Tabi, but I rarely do get it.
If you need protection against heavy MR teams or lots of CC, then you could replace it with Mercury's Treads, but again, I don't really get it.
I start with Warding Totem and then change it to a Sweeping Lens later on after I get my Sightstone. Warding Totem gives an extra ward above the Stealth Ward you get. But once you have Sightstone, you already reached your maximum placement of wards, so a Sweeping Lens would be a good choice.
Athene's helps solve Xerath's mana issues if you spam your abilities too much. However it is costly and you will probably only get it mid game, so in the early game it is advisable to get Chalice of Harmony first, especially if you're facing other AP supports like Annie, Sona or Lulu.
Picked up by mid Xeraths as well, Rylai's is another must for Xerath in general. It slows the enemy once hit with any of his abilities, allowing him to peel more and let his team catch up with the enemy team. It also gives you health, making you a little more tankier. If you think your Eye of Destruction + Frost Queen's Claim is enough to slow, then you can replace this item with Rod of Ages or something else.
Very straightforward - it provides tons of AP for more damage output. I usually get it if I'm already fed or if my team lacks AP champions.
Okay. 40 Magic resist, 50 AP, movement speed, 2 possible slows and a reveal? Twin Shadows is awesome. But I only get it when the enemy team is hard to chase or if we lack vision. However, most of the time, vision isn't a problem and that's why I don't really buy this item. Ignoring the vision part, Twin Shadows is still a good way to chase down enemies if they're really far away. But if they're really far away, I don't know why you would want to chase them unless it's 2 hp Teemo.
Morellonomicon is one item that is overlooked. A huge 75 AP power boost, 20% cool down reduction and decent mana regeneration, Morellonomicon is an item that fits Xerath very well. I would even consider replacing Rabadon's Deathcap with this. Sure, it gives less AP, but with 20% CDR, the damage can be easily replaced with more usage of abilities. Plus it applies Grievous Wounds which can reduce healing by champs like Sona, Janna, Soraka or any other champ with a heal. Overall a great item for Xerath, but generally, it isn't always bought as some people prefer burst to peel. Again, preferences.
For when the senpai enemy team notices the invisible kouhai support-carry. Basically, if you get fed and the enemy team starts to target you, you could get the hourglass for defence. Sure you might probably die after you exit stasis mode, but your team can use that time to reposition themselves. It also gives you decent armor stats.
Gives magic resist, AP and a MR reduction aura. Not so favourable as it doesn't sync as well with Xerath as the ranges on his skills far surpasses that of Abyssal Scepter's 700 range.
Whether you're getting targeted or not, Frozen Heart is especially useful against an attack speed heavy team, e.g. Aatrox, Vayne, Varus, Tryndamere. With the additional 100 armor it gives, Frozen Heart makes Xerath tougher target to kill. Although the range is the same as Abyssal Scepter, the aura is more defensive and provides some security even if they manage to dive at you.
Firstly, I would like to say that this item isn't in the MOBAfire list, which is unfortunate. Anyway, it gives HP, a free cleanse, mana regen and MR. It's active's cool down might be a little long, but it still is a good item for Xerath. You can use the active on yourself or your ally when caught in a bad situation. You should get it if your ADC is less mobile or doesn't have much escaping skills, e.g. Varus or Draven.
|Arcanopulse is a long rage poke and is Xerath's main harassing ability. With it's short cooldown and decent damage, use Arcanopulse to poke your enemies from afar. The longer you charge it, the further it hits, but it slows you while you charge it, so be careful.|
|Eye of Destruction is Xerath's first utility skill which slows and deals damage to enemies based on how near they are from the centre. The nearer they are, the more they are slowed and damaged. The slow makes chasing easier as well as landing his other abilities.|
|Shocking Orb is Xerath's 2nd utility skill which stuns a champion based on how far it travelled. The further the distance, the longer the stun. With a quite long CD, I usually max this first playing support to increase the frequency of the stun.|
|Rite of the Arcane is Xerath's ultimate in which he can fire 3 magical shots from very far. Normally, you use this to take down enemy champions who escaped fights with little health. Or you could use it to slow them with Rylai's Crystal Scepter from afar while your team chases them down.|
As a support, you generally want to get Exhaust as your second summoner spell. It allows you to protect your ADC from barbarians like Tryndamere or barbarian hunters like Aatrox or simply a jealous AD carry because they didn't have an awesome support. Generally, it should be taken against a heavy AD team, or burst compositions.
It gives kill lane presence, and you can get it if their team lacks burst champions or hard carries.
A good way to turn around a fight, especially 2v2 skirmishes at bot lane. You could also use it to escape easier. Best used to snowball your lane, especially with the speed boost. Otherwise, it is not as useful as Exhaust in team fights.
Other summoner spells are not recommended, though I will leave it to you to decide if they are worth trying!
In the laning phase, Xerath excels in harassing the enemies with his Q ( Arcanopulse). It doesn't matter who you aim, as long as you keep them low. For example, if you aim the support, then their engages would be riskier. If you aim their AD carry, then the only engage would be when they return from base or if their jungler ganks. Always keep the tri-brush and river warded as Xerath is a lane bully and can push out the lane if their ADC doesn't go for farm because he's too low.
It is important that you kite and dodge their skills as Xerath is pretty squishy and a Leona Zenith Blade or a Thresh Death Sentence would most spell your Death Sentence. I will explain about the picks later on.
For me, I always rush Frost Queen's Claim while I have a Ruby Crystal, which I will upgrade to Sightstone after. I do this to maximise my damage potential and my gold gain as well. However, it means I have to buy several Stealth Wards before I get my Sightstone. Once I have my Sightstone, I can then sell off Warding Totem for Sweeping Lens.
After the landing phase, I will judge whether I need to be a little tanky, or I can play a little more aggressive. If tanky, I'll get Giant's Belt and Sorcerer's Shoes. If aggressive, I would get a Rabadon's Deathcap or an Athene's Unholy Grail.
In teamfights, Xerath's job as a support and mage is to protect the ADC while disrupting teamfights. With his E Shocking Orb, stun those who dive onto your ADC, e.g. Shyvana or Vi and peel for your ADC with Q Arcanopulse and W Eye of Destruction for slow.
Xerath can also initiate teamfights with a well executed stun on a high priority target - the mid laner or the ADC. Ultimately, his job is to stay at the back line, peeling for his team with his low cooldown abilities. If all your basic abilities are on cooldown, you may use your ultimate Rite of the Arcane for the burst damage until they come back off cooldown.
In general, Xerath works well with kiters like Vayne and Ezreal as the ADC would normally be aimed in 2v2 skirmishes, giving Xerath many opportunities to dump his skills onto the other ADC. He can also work well with AD casters such as Lucian and Varus as the enemy would have to dodge many abilities. ADCs that can duel well make Xerath to not be prioritised, allowing him to dish out his abilities without much focus on him. (From experience.)
[7/10] Jinx is pretty okay with Xerath. Her W Zap! is a great tool for damage and slow, which Xerath can follow up quickly. However, Jinx's abilities are easier to dodge than other ADCs. This duo is all about zoning. Though Flame Chompers! may not hit, it can zone out the enemy or force flashes. A way it could work would be for Xerath to successfully stun while Jinx places Flame Chompers! over the stunned champion.
[7.5/10] Graves is pretty compatible with Xerath, especially with the buff to his ultimate Collateral Damage. Pre-6, Smoke Screen is a really useful ability to disable the enemy's vision for awhile, long enough for Xerath to chain his CC. However, Graves doesn't have any CC of his own besides W, so he is a bit more reliant on Xerath.
[8/10] Varus, like Lucian and Caitlyn have their Qs able to clear waves quickly and harass enemies with Xerath's kit( Blighted Quiver). He also has an AOE slow, Hail of Arrows which allows easier chasing and escaping. His ultimate Chain of Corruption also guarantees a stun from Xerath and vice versa. Varus, however, has no escape mechanic other than a slow and thus relies heavily on Xerath to peel and help him escape.
[8/10] Caitlyn's Piltover Peacemaker synergizes well with Arcanopulse, pushing lanes quickly and harassing enemies over the minions. Her Yordle Snap Trap allows Xerath to follow up with a stun, most likely securing a kill. Additionally, her ultimate Ace in the Hole can pick up low health targets, with the help from Rite of the Arcane.
[8/10] Like I said, Vayne is a great kiter especially while in her ultimate Final Hour, confusing the enemy as they continuously switch targets between the two while she Tumbles. With great chasing abilities, they can easily get kills from their hunts. Xerath's strong harass makes up for Vayne's weak laning phase, however, they are very easily squished by all-in champs, e.g. Caitlyn and Leona.
(10/10) In my opinion, Lucian synergies extremely well with Xerath. With his Q Piercing Light, W Ardent Blaze and Ultimate The Culling combined with Xerath's set of abilities, the harassment level of this duo is crazily high. A successful stun from Xerath can blow up their ADC to half health even at level 3. Also, Lucian's dash allows him some kiting potential, which adds to the level of synergy.
9.5/10. Similar to Lucian, Ezreal can kite, can harass and can escape easily. However, Ezreal is more reliant on his abilities to do damage than Lucian, which makes him fall off just slightly. Also, even though his Q Mystic Shot has a low cooldown, Lucian's Piercing Light can pass through enemies which makes him a just slightly more reliable than Ezreal.
I haven't played with other ADCs so I won't be able to accurately give an account of the synergy with them, but I will update it once I've done so.
Leona is a monster against Xerath. If you get caught, prepare to use a summoner spell or two to escape. Her initiations lock you or your ADC down and can set up easy kills with their ADC or jungler.
Tips: It is important to dodge her Zenith Blade so that she cannot fire her E-Q-W combo. Try to harass her before she hits level 3 before she has all three skills and when she does, she'll be too low on health to engage. Once she hits level 6, play a bit more safer as she has her ultimate, Solar Flare which is an AOE stun/slow, similar to Xerath's Eye of Destruction, except that it can stun. If Leona locks you down, immediately Flash away and reposition yourself to fight back. If she locks your ADC down, Exhaust, stun Shocking Orb and fire the rest of your skills onto their ADC before they get to yours as Leona lacks damage.
Thresh is similar to Leona, however he has a less straightforward play style. His Death Sentence can hook you, stunning and dragging you back and can also then leap to you. Again, try to dodge it so that he cannot follow up with the rest of his abilities. Try not to get to close to him, even if you're surrounded by allied minions as he can Flay you back and slow you by 99% with The Box which he can follow up with his Death Sentence. Like Leona, make sure you harass him first so that it is riskier for him to engage on you or your ADC. Also, if he hooks your ADC, give their ADC the same treatment. When Thresh uses his Dark Passage to save his ally, you can predict where they will travel and either stun or aim your ultimate at them.
Difficulty: Medium - Hard
In general, Blitzcrank is annoying to play against as one Rocket Grab can be devastating. The problem with this pick is that unlike Thresh and Leona, Blitzcrank pulls you or your ally to him, making it a safer engage, but still as painful. There are a few things you can do when facing him. Firstly, bait his Rocket Grab and dodge it, making him waste his mana. His Q costs 120 mana which takes up almost half his mana pool without additional stats. Secondly, instead of aiming him, harass his ADC so that they cannot follow up with decent damage. Thirdly, since your lane will be pushed 90% of the time, Blitzcrank can pull for an easy tower kill. Make sure you always stand behind minions as a general rule for playing against him with any champion. Lastly, make sure your lane brushes are warded so that you can see when he's going to grab you. He gets a bit tanky mid-late game, but after his first grab, he will be useless for awhile, so use that time to deal out damage.
Lulu is easy to play against, as she has no heals and her shield is on a relatively long cooldown early levels. However, jungle ganks are very strong as she can Wild Growth her jungler to knock you up while he dives onto you. Also, Whimsy makes you an easy target, as it reduces your movement speed and disables you from casting spells and attacking. Otherwise, your lane should be easily won.
Zyra is also easy to play against. Being squishier than other supports, Zyra is easily poked down pre-6. Her ultimate, Stranglethorns is however, very dangerous and can disrupt your damage output while it knocks you up. She can use Grasping Roots following it up with her ultimate so try to dodge it. Make sure you burst her down before she gets to use it. Also, if you do manage to barely survive the fight, remember her passive Rise of the Thorns, which can still kill you even after her death. She can also use her plants to block Shocking Orb.
Like the other two AP supports, Sona is easily harassed with your skills. However, her skills are unavoidable, so do stay out of range from her Hymn of Valor which can be very painful especially if she auto attacks with her Power Chord. Again, pre-6, even with her heal from Aria of Perseverance, she can be bursted down easily. At level 6, watch out for a Flash Crescendo especially when the enemy jungler is near.
Now, Nami is a little bit harder to play against. She has a decent heal/damage Ebb and Flow and a heavy cc Aqua Prison on a relatively low cooldown that suspends you in the air. Her passive Surging Tides lets her and her ADC kite better to avoid Xerath's abilities and when level 6, she has another heavy, large AOE CC that knocks you up. Try to wait for her to use her Aqua Prison before using Arcanopulse as it slows you, making you an easier target for the bubble. Her heal can bounce off to do damage in fights and return for another heal, so she can bait out a fight that might be favoured towards them. If she initiates with her ultimate, try to get a stun on her before she can follow up for a bubble before you get knocked up. If she starts with a successful Aqua Prison and then her ultimate, do flash away and stun the ADC before you get knocked up as she can use Tidecaller's Blessing on her ADC and slow you with each auto attack.
Once again, I haven't played with enough support champs to accurately describe the rest of the support champions, but once I do, I will update it.
Tips and tricks
- Try to deward the lane brushes with Sweeping Lens so you can pull of surprise Arcanopulse at your enemies.
- Always try to get his passive to proc on enemy champions as they give you twice the amount of mana, BUT don't do it if it puts you in a dangerous spot.
- His W Eye of Destruction can be used as a scouting tool as it provides vision for that second if you have used all your wards.
- His ultimate Rite of the Arcane roots him, so be careful as it makes him an easy target.
- Rite of the Arcane can also be used to slow enemies far away with Rylai's Crystal Scepter to allow your teammates to catch up.
- Pull off an E -> W -> Q -> combo for maximum damage/peel.
- Your E Shocking Orb stuns the longest at max range, however if chasing at max range, by the time you cast it, it would not reach the target. Hence, slow them first with Twin Shadows or Eye of Destruction and then fire your max range E for a long stun.
In conclusion, Xerath is very strong in the bot lane. As a support, he has a slow, stun and peel - which can do a lot for the team. I would say that he is much more team-oriented than Nidalee support because of his CC and can peel much more than heavy CC-ers like Alistar and Leona because of his low cooldowns on his Arcanopulse and Shocking Orb.
Once again, I'm not trying to popularise AP carry supports or bring it back e.g. Nidalee. But Xerath provides a lot of peel and good CC to succeed in his lane, as well as teamfights. But why do I call him the invisible carry? It's because I always end up getting fed because I never get aimed in 2v2, 5v5 fights and I just get a kill. No, I don't ks. pls.
Do remember that Xerath is still a support and peeling for your ADC is your top priority.
I hope that this guide has been helpful in explaining about Xerath support. Please do leave (constructive) comments in the comment section if you have any queries or opinions or criticism. Thank you~!