Xerath Build Guide by SakuyaFM
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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.
If you are successful with this build, feel free to send me a private message with a screenshot of the endgame scoreboard or your match history, preferably the former!!
Xerath is a multi-ranged, multi-purpose champion despite the fact that Riot advertises him as a long-range nuker. As a matter of fact, even though he could do that job and do it well, he can also be a shorter-range tanky mage or an anti-carry with heavy AP and zero survivability. It's all in the itemization.
WARNING: THIS VIDEO CONTAINS MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF EUROBEAT AND ARCANOPULSE SNIPING.
WHAT THIS GUIDE IS/WHAT IT WILL DO FOR YOU:
- A guide to building Xerath
- Learn viable masteries and runesets according to most playstyles
- Give you a sense of direction with item builds + points as to why you should get them
- Help improve your Xerath play with tips and tricks, mainly for his Locus of Power
- Make you listen to some awesome Eurobeat, made by Japanese artists. YOUR MIND = BLOWN
WHAT THIS GUIDE ISN'T/WHAT IT WON'T DO FOR YOU:
- A bible to Xerath that you must follow to the letter
- Net you 400 kills
- Get a social life
- Magically make you summon LIGHTNING BOLTS
Pros / Cons
+ Long range, rivaled only by Kog'Maw's Living Artillery
+ Versatile, multiple item paths
+ Ascended Form gives you Armor without having to invest in itemizing for it.
+ Arcane Barrage is flexible enough for AOE damage, single-target nuke, or multiple-target distribution.
- Locus of Power requires very good positioning, and will telegraph your moves.
- Mage Chains has low range, and will almost always warn your enemy of a gank, unless you are liberal with using it for harrass.
- Low AP ratios compared to other good AP casters.
This is one of the best summoner spells if used correctly. It could used to chase champions over walls, or run away from champions over walls. It could also be used as a quick gap closer to hit a dying, fleeing enemy.
I'm going to take some flak here, but imagine this. You are attempting to gank someone with your jungle. They have flash up. Are you going to be able to deal enough damage or close the gap when they flash away? I think Exhaust does a much better job in early game, both offensively and defensively. Instead of blowing Flash, why not use your Exhaust on that DPS Jungler when you get ganked mid?
If you really insist on taking Ignite, take it. It's still a good summoner spell on Xerath, but you're counting on half luck, half skill on this.
Combined with Flash, it almost always guarantees escape when timed correctly. I still won't take this over Flash, however.
Runes / Masteries
Xerath uses standard caster runes, but has some options available depending on your playstyle.
9x Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
9x Greater Seal of Scaling Mana Regeneration
9x Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power
9x Greater Quintessence of Ability Power
Greater Seal of Scaling Ability Power is a good replacement for MP/5, but it does leave you mana-starved and needing of blue buff much earlier.
Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction allows you to give blue buff to either a second mage in your team, or another blue buff-dependent champ, and itemization goes towards damage.
Greater Glyph of Ability Power gives you early game damage, and could easily give you first blood.
Greater Quintessence of Scaling Ability Power gives you a better late game, but slightly cripples your early game.
These are standard caster masteries. Because I use Exhaust, I put one point into Cripple. I also like to put points into Perseverance rather than Good Hands. I know it's bad, but I usually expect to die fewer than 5 times in an average game.
In the early laning phase, your Q will be both a last-hitting tool, or a harassing tool. Maxing this first allows you to clear waves much faster if you are pushed into your tower, as well as deal more damage to your enemy.
W comes second because by this time, teamfights will start to occur, and having the lower cooldown and increased Magic Penetration will help in teamfights.
E comes last. It provides no increased utility to be maxed before your main skills.
Xerath is such a flexible champion he does not have a single core build. It all depends on which role you are playing in a team.
Boots of Speed + 3 Health Potions - If you know you are laning against someone with a ranged skillshot, make sure you get this item first.
Doran's Ring - If you feel that you can easily dominate your lane without having to sustain yourself through health pots, starting up with a Doran's is great.
Sapphire Crystal + 2 Health Potions - This will build into an early Catalyst, either for a Banshee's or RoA, and gives you mana and HP sustain with 2 pots. Great middle ground.
Single Mage Team - AOE AP Carry Build
Sorcerer's Shoes are an excellent choice as an AP Carry, especially if you stay at max range all the time. It's also the only Magic Penetration item you are going to need if only the enemy tank bought resists.
Don't even think about leaving this out on any build.
Banshee's Veil should not be ignored, whether it's against heavy CC teams, or just having the extra health, mana, and resist.
Gives your spells that awesome slow, especially when combined with your Arcane Barrage. Gimping your enemy's mobility makes for easier chasing, as well as better odds in landing Arcanopulse.
The Hourglass is more of a luxury item, especially since Xerath has some built-in mitigation through his passive. However, it is a good idea to get this before a Deathcap if you are going against Karthus.
Even though Void Staff is listed last, you must know when to squeeze this item into your build. My personal guideline is when at least 3 people have a Negatron Cloak. Null-Magic Mantle could be countered with Sorc Shoes and your Locus of Power.
Single/Double Mage Team - Tanky AP
Grabbing cooldown boots means you have faster casting times to compensate for the lower AP.
Because you are going to focus on shorter range combat, you will need as much effective health as possible. Rod of Ages gives you enough health to survive but still be a threat to the enemy.
WotA gives you sustain during a teamfight, especially with your AOE ultimate, paired with lowered cooldowns.
Because of your lowered cooldowns, this means you are able to spam skills much more, which in turn helps to charge your Tear faster. Banshee's Veil and Rod of Ages giving you health, resists, AP, and Ascended Form Armor gives Archangel's some nice synergy.
Double Mage Team - Anti-Carry
Note: This is much harder to pull off on a single mage team where you are the main nuker. You have no escapes like LeBlanc, who could get away with building something like this. This requires near perfect positioning.
My Personal Build Order
Boots of Speed + 3 Health Potions
Catalyst the Protector
Rod of Ages
Needlessly Large Rod
Will of the Ancients
Why these item selections:
Sorcerer's Shoes are usually the best choice for squishy targets with little MR. An unprotected champ will take a LOT of damage, whilst a Null-Magic Mantle is the threshold in which you should need this. A Negatron will need a Void Staff instead.
The early Catalyst means more lane sustain, and more survivability. Seeing as it builds into RoA or Banshee's, you could easily fit either or into the build as needed.
The Void Staff is there to make sure you have enough MPen when you are not able to set up for Locus of Power, which will most likely be at least 80% of your engagements.
Double/Triple-stacking Doran's Rings are also a good way of lane sustain if you feel that you keep getting pushed around. This also allows you to delay Rod of Ages or completely ignore it for another hybrid health item.
Other Item Choices:
Whenever there's another blue-buff dependent champion on your team, maxing your CDR won't be possible at all times. Grabbing this item with the CDR boots can get you close to cap. Count the masteries and you'll be able to reach it.
A fed Xerath is a very apparent force to be reckoned with. Mejai's just makes that even more apparent.
When you need Tenacity, grabbing this is a good idea. I still don't like Tenacity items other than Mercs, but it's your choice.
This is basically the hard counter to Skarner, Warwick, Vladimir, Mordekaiser, Sona, Amumu, and Malzahar. Buy these if you're having trouble against them.
In addition to your Banshee's Veil, this will help lessen the effectiveness of heavy CC.
Though Xerath is meant to be played at long ranges, sometimes the enemy stacks a lot of health. If there is another champion i.e. Poppy, Sion, LeBlanc, Shen, etc. who has escapes or is tanky enough to get closer, leave it to them to purchase and use this.
Locus of Power - Defining Xerath
Positioning and usage of Locus of Power makes or breaks Xerath. A lot of players will turn this on whenever a teamfight is on its way. I used to do this a lot while I was learning him, and it didn't exactly yield good results. Luckily, my team is usually there to cover me.
- Don't automatically use Locus when a teamfight starts. This will more than likely get yourself killed, or force you to blow a summoner's spell when you could have avoided it.
- Know your enemy's sight limit. Xerath's Arcanopulse will go slightly beyond sight range when on Locus. Use this for safe and unexpected harrass, while being in EXP range.
- Ganking side lanes using the brush and Locus means you could actually attempt ganks close to their turret, as long as it's coordinated with your teammates.
- If you find a good spot to put down Locus, but your full combo doesn't quite reach (E Q R), don't force yourself to stay there. Use your Q and R if the chances present itself once you have activated Locus. If not, turn it off and relocate, or engage at a shorter distance.
- Being in the jungle near a teamfight means you can throw out spells without being seen aside from the particles you produce from using skills. Just being able to hide yourself from the enemy means you cannot be targeted.
Xerath is still not a top pick in high-ELO, yet he is still very viable in the current meta. His medium-high skillcap is a very attractive choice for players, and his range is very pleasing. Positioning is everything for Xerath, and learning which items to get depending on the ranges you like the engage will help you use him in his most effective capacity in the Fields of Justice.
Oh and before you go out there and throw lightning bolts, make sure you watch these videos.