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Jax Build Guide by PH45

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[9.18] PH45's In-depth guide to Jax, the Grandmaster at arms

By PH45 | Updated on September 14, 2019
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Choose Champion Build:

  • LoL Champion: Jax
    Top Lane
  • LoL Champion: Jax
    JUNGLE JAX

Runes: Read the notes

1 2 3
Precision
Conqueror
Triumph
Legend: Tenacity
Last Stand

Inspiration
Magical Footwear
Time Warp Tonic
Bonus:

+10% Attack Speed
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+6 Armor

Spells:

The classic way
LoL Summoner Spell: Flash

Flash

LoL Summoner Spell: Teleport

Teleport

LeagueSpy Logo
Top Lane
Ranked #17 in
Top Lane
Win 52%
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Champion Build Guide

[9.18] PH45's In-depth guide to Jax, the Grandmaster at arms

By PH45

Hello, I'm PH45, and this is my Jax Guide.

My real name is Patrik, but you can call me either way. I am a long time League of Legends player (started back in Season 1). I'm a top lane main, and I picked up Jax as my main champion back in Season 5 and have played him mostly ever since. I reached Diamond 5 in Season 7, Diamond 3 53 LP in Season 8. I have about 2 million mastery points on Jax when adding up all of my accounts so I would say I have mastered him quite well.


My EUW OP.GG


I also got multiple other accounts but right now I'm switching between accounts and don't have a clear ''main account''.

Check out my YouTube channel where I occasionally post League related videos!







Now on to Jax. Jax is a bruiser style champion, who can really be very diverse with his builds and playstyles. You can play him as a splitpusher and duel almost anyone late game, or you can build him more tanky and peel for your carries, or just go all out and build him as a burster (although not recommended most of the time). Jax is a great champion to pickup as he isn't necessarily the most complex champion mechanics wise, but rather requires matchup knowledge. Knowing where to be and what to do at the right time as Jax is the key to utilizing him to his fullest potential.
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Flash: Best summoner spell in the game. Some like Ghost but I much more prefer Flash for capability of getting over walls or quickly getting in range with Leap Strike.

Ignite: I wouldn't really bother taking Ignite on Jax. Sure it can help you score early kills but the spell scales so badly compared to Teleport it's just not worth it. Especially if you lose lane hard it will feel extremely bad to have this summoner spell when you could've just had Teleport to help you out in a losing matchup/bad lane phase.

Teleport: After the Ignite nerf, I find Teleport again to be the more appealing choice as the second summoner spell. Most of the time it enables you to splitpush and teleport to teamfights if you aren't near the fight when it breaks out. It can also help you in tough matchups where you have to back a lot early but main focus with Teleport is to have map pressure instead of getting back to lane to catch that one wave. Just be careful when using it since you can't cancel the teleport anymore so choose wisely when to use it.


Smite is mandatory for jungling so if you are jungling take it. Often I like to take Stalker's Blade when I'm jungling as Jax for added stickiness but occasionally you might need Skirmisher's Sabre for added dueling power vs certain champion/if they get fed.


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Pros


+ Excellent duelist
+ Can fight almost anyone late game
+ Extremely strong late game
+ Great splitpusher
+ Has a built-in escape with ward + Q
+ Has an auto-attack reset
+ Gets naturally tanky in fights when using R as it gives you a good amount of resists


Jax is a very strong fighter once he picks up a couple items, and in late game he can be a monster in the right hands.
Cons


- Can be shut down with CC
- Hard to get back in the game if behind
- Requires matchup knowledge
- Has some difficult matchups
- Can sometimes struggle with teamfights
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Precision benefits Jax well, it offers him tools to deal with tanks and overall a nice set of runes.

As the keystone of choice I have picked Conqueror, other choice is Press the Attack. Conqueror is a great rune choice for Jax, although the previous version was far easier to make use of. Damaging abilities and attacks grant 2-6 adaptive force for 8 seconds on melee (2 seconds for ranged) and it stacks up to 5 times. At max stacks it also converts 8% of your dealt damage to champions as true damage, and you heal for that amount also. For jungling Press the Attack is the superior choice (although Conqueror might actually work in jg now, in top lane Conqueror is the better keystone right now.

Press the Attack gives you more damage towards the target you have attacked with 3 consecutive basic attacks and it also increases damage to them from all sources for 6 seconds. Jax can pretty reliably proc Press the Attack and gets great benefit from using it, but I think Conqueror is the better keystone on top lane right now, Press the Attack is better suited for jungling.
Next one on the list is Triumph. It replaced Dangerous Game and can save you in a clutch situation or just grant you some HP back in a intense teamfight.
Next are the Legend tier runes, from which all are fine really. I have started to like Legend: Bloodline, especially after the buff for it's late game. Legend: Alacrity is an alright choice due to the extra attack speed but Legend: Tenacity helps a lot vs high CC comps, or even vs lower CC comps it still really valuable. Your choice you should alter depending on your match. If your opponents have a lot of CC or lockdown you are afraid of pickup the tenacity one. If you aren't afraid of that then you can take the Alacrity one and gain permanent attack speed with it or take Legend: Bloodline and gain sustain since my builds usually don't include lifesteal.
Lastly from the Precision tree we have either Coup de Grace or Last Stand. I like Last Stand on Jax since you'll be in the middle of the fight most of the time so you'll take damage anyways and deal more damage with it. With Coup de Grace your targets melt faster when you get them below 40% HP, which Jax can do relatively easily when snowballing. Both are fine but personally at this moment, I prefer Last Stand.

Inspiration is still fine, it has choices between offering a bit of CDR for summoners, items and spells or you can go for some sustaining, and also some free gold basically.

Magical Footwear is nice as it lets you sink gold into other items rather than boots. It takes 12 minutes to arrive though if you don't get any kp during early game so it can be quite harsh to take if you have a rough time in lane.


Biscuit Delivery is also a viable option to take on Jax, combined with Time Warp Tonic. It helps you in harder matchups and lanes where you need to sustain more, since Jax doesn't have the best early game and it's pretty easily exploitable especially the higher you go on the ladder. After the nerf though I would only take this into lanes I truly need the extra sustain early.



Time Warp Tonic is nice for lane phase, your early trading benefit from the movespeed boost while active and also the instant heal for half of the potions healing can catch your opponent off guard. Other choice is Cosmic Insight This helps gives you quite low cooldowns if you get Spear of Shojin with Trinity Force since that makes you have 40% CDR + 5% from Cosmic Insight.

As for the stats you choose the attack speed one is really helpful, but the other 2 you should decide based on the opposing team, I usually end up grabbing the adaptive force + armor but vs AP lanes taking MR will be beneficial.




If you want to go for more defensive runes then take the Resolve tree.

For the first rune I would probably Bone Plating. It helps you in lane with your trades. After it procs it reduces the damage your opponents next 3 attacks/abilities deal to you by 25-50 depending on your level (works only for 1 enemy at a time).


Second rune choice is Demolish. It allows you to push towers down even faster, especially now that turret plating is added to the game this will help you take down those plates faster than ever.

Here as well the stats you choose should be decided depending on opponents. The attack speed one is really helpful, but the other 2 are more depending on do you need resistances/extra HP. Adaptive Force also feels solid for going agro early
Sorcery became a more appealing secondary tree again after Magical Footwear nerf. Sorcery offers tools to scale into late game and also some laning help with Nimbus Cloak/ Nullifying Orb.


You can take Nullifying Orb for heavy AP lanes like Swain, Kennen, Heimerdinger etc as it helps you a lot since it's like a mini Hexdrinker. Also Nimbus Cloak can be fun to try in some cases as it can score you that kill that is just out of reach.



Transcendence is nice for the CDR and damage after capping it out but though it sucks that it only becomes effective after level 10.



Other choice for the primary rune tree is to take Inspiration and grab Kleptomancy. It used to be a really strong keystone for a while. Now in Pre-season 9 they changed it to grant 5 gold or something better on the next 2 basic attacks after a spell cast which makes the rune overall stronger. Jax can pretty easily proc it in lane with his Empower or Leap Strike. It helps those lanes where you need to scale faster while you won't have the chance to kill your opponent that often (vs tanks etc). After that you take Perfect Timing, Future's Market and lastly Cosmic Insight. To be honest I never run this setups as I almost exclusively run Conqueror apart from when I'm jungling.




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  • Relentless Assault (Passive): Jax gains bonus attack speed for 2.5 seconds every time he lands a basic attack, stacking up to 8 times. This falls off one stack at a time. To utilize this passive in lane auto attack minions as much as you can before engaging the enemy so you have more attack speed to fight with.
  • Leap Strike (Q): Jax leaps to targeted enemy while dealing physical damage to the target. It can also be used to jump on wards, plants, Thresh lanterns etc. If you use your W before using Q the W's damage will be applied on top of your Q's damage.
  • Empower (W): Jax's next basic attack or Leap Strike within 10 seconds deals bonus magic damage. It is also an autoattack reset so after your auto attack has landed activate this for and immediate autoattack. They also added 50 more range on this ability in the patch 7.12 which is really nice since it makes this ability easier to land on a running opponent.
  • Counter Strike (E): When activated the first time Jax will block all incoming auto attacks for 2 seconds aswell as will take 25% reduced damage from all area of effect abilities. At the end of the duration or when reactivated Jax stuns nearby enemies for 1 second and deals physical damage to them, increased by 20% for each attack dodged, up to a 100% increase. This is the key to winning melee matchups at level 1. Just auto minions for your passive and then auto the enemy while near his minion wave so your E's damage increases.
  • Grandmaster's Might (R): It's passive enables Jax to deal bonus magic damage on every third basic attack within 2.5 seconds of each other. When activated Jax gains bonus armor and bonus magic resistance for 8 seconds. Once you hit level 6 in lane auto minions twice and then Q onto your enemy and autoattack and follow with immediate W for a good amount of burst.
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> > >
You want to be taking points on Grandmaster's Might whenever possible. Out of the basic skills you want to max Empower most of the time for maximum DPS. In some ranged matchups maxing Leap Strike might be the better choice, against champs like Gangplank, Kayle, Gnar and so on. Maxing Counter Strike isn't worth in my opinion, as you get much more out of maxing Empower and Leap Strike.

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While playing Jax keep in mind you shouldn't stick to only one build, build depending on matchup and your needs.

Titanic Hydra, the god of wave clearing
This item is extremely efficient when looking at it's stats. It gives Jax HP which is always good especially early on, some damage and most importantly it improves Jax's wave clear immensively.
Trinity force, never skipperino
Maybe the most important item for Jax. It gives Jax everything he can want. It has nice boost on his attack speed, some damage, movement speed, but most importantly it gives him the Sheen proc that makes Jax deal so much damage in short bursts.
Hextech gunblade, the endless sustain
This item gives lots of healing and some nice burst to kill squishies aswell as let you live longer in fights since it heals you for 15% of all damage you deal.
Blade of the ruined king, % health damage is good
This item is a good option if the opposing team has multiple tanky champs, or if your lane opponent is hard to stick with and you need some sustain as well (for example Singed)
It also gives you some attack speed which is always a nice stat on Jax.
Spirit Visage, healing improver
This item works extremely well with Hextech Gunblade as it improves it's already good healing. It was kind of nerfed in the patch 9.10 but I still think it's relatively good. It is also good against AP poke lanes since the repice item Spectre's Cowl grants you more regeneration after you have been damaged by enemy champion. It also gives nice amount of MR.
Spear of Shojin
It can be a fun and effective item, but with it you'll run oom fast. Think of this as a proper bruiser version of old Essence Reaver. It gives HP now which is good, but no mana/mana refund which really hurts you when you spam abilities and run oom shortly afterwards. Gives you a big powerspike but either you'll need a mana source Frozen Heart, or be ready to back constantly.
Randuin's Omen, death to ADC's
The build path got updated again and now it's again a sensible way to build it. I usually pick up Warden's Mail first and then build it onwards from there. Helps extremely well in auto-attack oriented matchups and later on it's slowing effect is nice in teamfights and it also slows enemies attack speed when they hit you so it lessens the enemy DPS.
Ninja tabi
Good for autoattack reliant matchups and also vs fed ADC's etc. Most of the time I go these boots unless the enemy comp has heavy CC which can be an issue. Late game it isn't as noticeable but it's still quite good.
Mercury's treads, the option for CC
Pretty self-explanatory, get this if the enemy laner or the whole enemy comp has a lot of CC as it can shut you down pretty well.
Guardian Angel, Aatrox passive for everyone
The item got a slight change, now builds out of a B. F. Sword and a Cloth Armor, it can be somewhat awkward to build as Jax doesn't need the huge AD you get from B. F. Sword but it's a efficient buy if you are getting focused a lot or you are the frontline of your team. If you have extra gold in late game and this items passive is down sell it and switch it for something else as the pure stats aren't worthwhile the wait.

Gargoyle Stoneplate, time to jump in to the fight
I don't build this item too often, but when I do damn does it feel good to jump in to the fight and just tanking damage for a long time. Stone Skin passive gives you +40 armor and mr if there are 3 or more opponents near you, so you will just have a lot of extra resistance then, then when you activate it you get extra hp also. You will lose 60% of your damage for 4 seconds but thats a worthy trade off imo, as if you build this item and you go in to a big fight you aren't looking to oneshot anyone at that time, rather soak up damage and after withering the opponents then killing them. Very good buy if your team lacks frontline or you just need to survive longer in fights.
Thornmail, the way to cripple an AD comp
This item seems to be really good in some cases now. If the opposing team has lot's of healing champions or just a fed AD champ with lifesteal this is the perfect item.
Thornmail applies Grievous wounds for 3 seconds which helps killing those pesky healing champs much easier. Also it has the cold steel passive which is nice.
Death's dance, bleed it out
This item got changed in 8.24 and it seems really good for Jax. Now it heals for 15% of ALL damage dealt, and as we know Jax knows how to deal damage. The DoT bleed passive is also nice which allows you to have more time in fights healing up, essentially it acts like a damage reduction.

Sterak's Gage, Tenacity and shields
I really like this item on Jax. It gives you some protection against burst, but also still gives you a bit more damage. So for the cost you get some AD, HP shield and +30% tenacity, which is a good stat on Jax. Only thing you need to keep in mind is that the shield doesn't pop every time, so this item is good if you are getting bursted a lot in fights and you need to also negate some CC when chasing down your opponents. This item isn't a must buy every game but it got a lot better than before.
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Some can find certain tank matchups hard for Jax, but most of them are pretty manageable. If you face a tank in top lane just do what you usually do, farm and trade with them if the opportunity is good, and kill them if they make dumb mistakes. However when they get to a certain point of tankiness it becomes hard to kill them. In this case just buy Tiamat like usual and shove them to their tower while warding around so you don't get ganked. This gives them 2 options, either Teleport to help their team in fights and lose the top lane tower or stay in lane to clear waves while your team fights the opposing team without their tank/cc machine.
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Splitpushing is a good way of pressuring the enemy team. Jax excells at it for multiple reasons:

His passive gives him more attack speed and he can take turrets down pretty fast after he get's Sheen. You just auto-attack and right as the attack has landed you use Empower for the auto attack reset and at the same time you get a Sheen proc. Also having Titanic Hydra helps splitpushing as your waveclear improves and it also gives you an autoattack reset.

Jax is also a strong splitpusher since he can duel pretty much anyone in the later points of the game and if you are ahead splitpushing is a great way of giving the enemy team pressure around the map.

Also thanks to his mobility with Leap Strike, Jax can escape sticky situations with his ward hop mechanic which makes him somewhat slippery as he can jump over walls.

When to splitpush?




When splitpushing you are essentially leaving your team 4v5, so your team needs to be aware of what you are doing. The idea of splitpushing is to either attract attention to you, so the opponents send 1-2 or more champions to deal with you which leaves your team free to take objectives with the overpower they have. The other case is that the enemy leave you unnoticed and try to take down your team, in which case your team needs to be aware of the risk and back off before it's too late. When this happens you push the lane you are splitting as hard as you can as you can get surprisingly fast multiple towers down from a lane.


When splitpushing vision is a really important thing. Try to have vision around the area you are pushing so you know when to back off if the opponents try to gank you from the fog of war. Also keep an eye on the minimap to see how many of your opponents are visible, and where they are. Think of who you can solokill and who you can't, who you can possibly 1v2 etc.


If you have Teleport while splitpushing you can also consider Teleporting into teamfights. If your team can hold on the fight while your TP is channeling you can win the teamfight with the element of surprise if the opponents first thought it will be a 5v4 fight for them. Before you tp consider which option gives your team the most advantage. If the fight is already lost pretty hard, push as much as you can and back, remember to keep vision on objectives like Baron Nashor and Dragon depending on the lane you are pushing since if the opponents kill your team they are likely to do one of these objectives if possible.
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At level 1 you can cheese your opponent (easier vs melee champs) with having Counter Strike up, going to auto them in their minion wave, after you have attacked and minions turn aggro on you activate your Counter Strike and keep autoattacking your opponent if you can stay in range. If done correctly you should chunk your opponent for a good hefty amount of damage and force them to pop a potion or in general just back off.

When you reach 6 a common thing to do is auto minions twice, then Leap Strike on to your opponent, auto them and immediatly follow with Empower. This combo will do good amount of damage as your Grandmaster's Might 3rd proc + Empower do quite a lot of damage in a short burst.

You can also cancel your autoattack animation with your Counter Strike. When you have activated Counter Strike and you have autoattacked, right as the damage from your autoattack lands re-activate Counter Strike and this will cancel the rest of your autoattack. This is very useful if you want to do a fast combo with your W and Titanic Hydra for example.
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Jax can be played in multiple ways. He can splitpush very effectively, especially in mid- to lategame with the Titanic Hydra rush. He can escape sticky situations with his ward hops and with that put constant pressure on the lane he splits. He can also be played as a frontliner if your team lacks a tanky champion since Jax gets naturally tanky with Grandmaster's Might and a couple of tank items and you are set. He can also assasinate squishys even when building tanky, so if your team is fighting and you see the enemy ADC caught off guard you should try to assasinate the ADC if possible.
Gameplay clips Back to Top
Ill add some cool clips I get on Jax from time to time.
Ward hopping and trinket choice Back to Top
Sometimes after top laners and others switch to either Farsight Alteration or Oracle Lens but not on Jax. On Jax you keep Warding Totem so you can ward hop and potentially escape from tough spots. It's extremely useful when splitpushing and there are multiple enemies coming at you you just wardhop over a wall.

You should also note you can use your Leap Strike on things like Jarvan IV flag, Thresh lantern and so on.
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Jax is extremely good champion at taking advantage of an lead and carrying your team to victory! He can be difficult to play against comps with lot's of heavy CC but even that can't stop the Grandmaster in some cases.

Any feedback on this guide is highly appriciated, I will be updating this constantly whenever there is something to update or new ways of playing Jax are discovered

Have a great time splitpushing and smashing enemies as Jax!

And of course if you enjoyed the guide make sure to subscribe on YouTube for League of Legends content! Subscribe

Thank you to @Jovy for the awesome banners made for this guide!

Also some of the code used in the making of this guide is from http://www.mobafire.com/league-of-legends/build/making-a-guide-101506#chapter11 @jhoijhoi

- PH45