Xerath General Guide by Crackee
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.
This is my first guide I have ever made. To start, I am not a "Pro" Xerath, and I have much more practice to compare to higher ranked players. However I think this helps, as Xerath is not normally play (As far as I have seen), and if played properly he can be very very destructive. Recently my account got banned for a week, so I made a new account and got enough IP to buy Xerath. I played him for the entire week and by far he has to be one of my favorites over all. He has so many pro's that overwhelm the con's he comes with.
This is my skill sequence order, from most guide which I used prior to making this one, Locus of Power has been maxed before Mage Chains, but after experimenting with the skill build order, I found that winning mid lane was easier if you max Mage Chains after Arcanopulse. This is because in middle lane, I am roaming and moving around for often so I don't feel the need to need the range and magic pen that comes with, because with the combination of Mage Chains to Arcanopulse and Arcane Barrage x3 the opposite champion will most likely be dead, or need to back because being so low, which helps you out level them and gain more creep score.
These are the runes I choose for mine, I have not completed it yet, however I think these are best for Xerath mid lane. Straight Magic Pen Marks is what I chose because it helps at the beginning when the opponent doesn't have any starting magic resit, and helps late game for the tankier characters that have some magic resist, on top of Void Scepter and Locus of Power making his armor pen almost 100 percent. Straight starting Ability Power Glyph runes is good for early harass and helps out lane your opponent. Lastly for the Seals, you can play with, I found it difficult to save mana and harass at the same time, however with a Doran's ring and some mana regeneration, it helps Xerath maintain a mid game, killing minions with Arcanopulse and harassing your opponent. Lastly the Ability Power Quints help beginning game for harass and maximum damage.
My item list all depends on how the game is going, your creep score, and your opponent. Having Doran's Ring helps Immensely due to mana loss over time, and it helps sustain mid. If you are doing well at the start and your creep score is outstanding, do NOT build 3 Doran's Rings and head straight for the Rabadon's Deathcap. With the deathcap, your damage surpasses most mid champions, and when ganking top or bottom with the range you can help kill an enemy champion when they are low on the turret. Boots aren't necessarily my first build because of the Mana issue, and due to the fact Xerath has incredible range which allows him to stay close to minions and not chase when Champions are almost dead, he can kill from a long range. Next for Rylai's. This is a good item because it helps Xerath get some beef and have health to 1v1 certain champions. Giant's belt is my first buy in Rylai's because after getting Rabadon's Deathcap you have plenty of Ability Power and health is your next main concern. The last few items are all completely up to your choice, however I do recommend the Void Staff for the surplus Magic Pen. The Rod of Ages and Abyssal Scepter are all dependent on who you are playing against, if they are heavy magic champions, Abyssal Scepter helps for Magic Resist, and the Rod of Ages I hardly ever build because money becomes and issue because every item is pretty expensive. It is helpful when playing a more damage heavy team and you need more health and mana for sustain.
I use flash and ignite, like most standard Mid players, however this combo works EXTREMELY well for Xerath. After harassing in mid for a little and depending on you level, ability power, and health of your opponent, a great way to finish off an opponent(even if the battle is close and you are also low) a flash to get closer which enables your range of Mage Chains which leads to a stun for Arcanopulse. After that I usually ignite because of Xeraths range, and if level 6, 3 Arcane Barrages will normally finish off your enemy, but your Arcanopulse will also be off cooldown at this point for a little extra damage.
I have not played ranked yet with this champion and will revisit this section when I reach that skill level.
Pros / Cons
After playing Xerath of a decent amount of games I have come across the Pros / Cons of his game play. To start, his Con's can make him suffer if not worked on. At start he is squishie and prone to ganks from the opponent jungler, and once behind it is hard to come back. Again his mana problem can be an issue if you are having trouble finishing off an opponent. Xerath's speed is also a problem, he doesn't move that fast(even with boots), and chasing an opponent leads to a possible gank which you cannot escape from, and ganking bot and top can be difficult because you cannot get down/ up fast enough to assist your team. He is also a skill shot heavy champion, making him difficult to play unless you practice a lot (which I recommend). Furthermore, I recommend smart casting if you are not already doing so(look it up if you do not know what this means). Lastly, in my opinion Xerath has some what of a dependency on the Blue Golem Buff. This is because of his mana problem, however it is also a Pro for him because when he has it he can cast Arcanopulse on minions and harass his opponent whenever, and the Cool Down reduction is holds allows Xerath of have Arcane Barrage up mostly whenever you need it. In fights, when you cannont kill the champion with combo's and they get low and have to back, normally by the time the get back Xerath's Ultimate is off Cool Down and ready to blast your enemy again. Now for the Pro's of Xerath. In my opinion, Xerath's Pro's overwhelm his Con's. Xerath is a very good mid champion, and since he isn't seen very often he is hard to counter. However even with some of his counter champions (Such as Katarina) you can shut down your opponent if played well. The range Xerath has is a great Pro to help you master him. When play majority of champions, you can harass them while you still farm for minions, any time the opponent is near minions you can set up an angle at which you get creep score and damage the opponent. Next Xerath can be hard to gank if you play more passively and wait for the right opportunity to use your spells and burst your opponent down. When playing passively, you are closer to your turret, which gives you more room to hurt your opponent even when they are running away from you because of his range. In addition with his stun combo, it allows him to either carry out a kill or escape easily by just stunning. On top of that, his Arcanopulse helps Xerath surpass the enemy champions creep score. Just after a few items Xerath can either damage most minions in 1 single hit, or finish off most minions in a single blast. Furthermore, Pro's for Xerath is that if you are pushing the enemy and their jungle is not near you, Xerath can harass his opponent on his own tower without getting damaged by it. Xerath is a fairly hard champion to play in my opinion and he can be very strong, and if he is fed possibly unstoppable. Another ability which makes Xerath a good mid character is his passive, which gives him Armor depending on his Ability Power. This is helpful because Xerath can destroy Attack Damage Carriers, even without the stun, and it also helps him sustain through a top or jungle bruiser. Lastly, his Arcane Barrage destroys champions in team fights, Xerath must stay back so he can't get focused, and he can just unload all his damage onto multiple targets.
The way I play Xerath is that I normally start roaming once I get my boots and some Ability Power. He can gank both top and bot because his stun allows your teammates to jump on your opponent and add extra damage for the kill. He also has ridiculous range, which allows him to sit in the bushes and hide, while he blasts the enemy team. Be careful, however because with his lack of speed, Xerath can get killed easily if the gank is not successful or if he gets counter ganked.
Again his passive helps Xerath a lot if he has a decent amount of ability power. This helps him stay alive and get away from fights or temporarily remove himself from a fight and continue fighting from a distance. His range is unique which helps early game because of his squishieness and be able to harass champions that counter you to set up ganks. His stun combo is also fairly unique because it allows ganks to occur more often and allow him to win lane. With a quick stun combo, ignite and arcanopulse, on top of a teammate helping him kill the enemy, the enemy essentially does not stand a chance. Lastly Xerath's ultimate is unique and there are not much like it. It allows Xerath to do extreme damage to an enemy, and also finish off an opponent when they are running away.
Farming is extremely important for Xerath (unless he is fed early game and already has plenty of gold). This is because all of his items are extremely expensive, and Xerath can be dependent on his items. Farming is fairly easier however, because his Arcanopulse can eliminate minions quickly, which also helps protect your turret from taking damage, and also making so minimal minions can even reach the turret.
Since this is my first guide, I am new to it so be nice on the comments. But in summary, I think Xerath is a very underrated, underplayed champion. After playing him for a while I have come to found he is very difficult to out farm, and out damage. Problems Xerath can encounter are enemies that have more health than damage Xerath can burst out. Xerath is more of a Burst Down champion, give it all you got in 1 combo. However, he is very fun to play, and his Scorched Earth skin is by far one of the coolest ones out there. Enjoy my Guide and Hope it helps! Happy Gaming!