Jax Build Guide by AceWindstorm
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Jungle Jax: My Way
+11 Attack Damage or +18 Ability Power, Adaptive
Rush Against Tanks/Mobile Champs
Threats to Jax with this build
Hey guys, this guide is coming by request from quite a few people! I'm currently a Challenger player who for the past year and a half have grown very fond of Jax. I've tried a LOT of different stuff with him, and figured I ought to weigh in on the various ways our Grandmaster can be played.
This guide is gunna be pretty in-depth, so get comfy! This is by no means a beginner guide, but mostly for those who are at least somewhat familiar with Jax's kit.
For the Jungle Jax if you are autofilled from Top Build :
This build seems to be quite popular, mainly because it carries a playstyle more similar to toplane Jax, and allows toplane mains to stick to what they know instead of learning a new playstyle. It incorporates Triforce, which almost no other jungle Jax build does, and also uses
Fervor of Battle Press the Attack. If you really want to learn how to jungle properly (IMO) in the current meta with Jax, I would avoid this build or use it situationally if you need more damage output lategame on the team.
Jungle : Ya got options
There really isn't any clear that Jax can't do. From full clear to quick 3, he can do it all. You really have a lot of room to adapt your jungle route according to the game.
My personal favorite route is the ol' standby : Buff -> Wolves -> Buff. It's a fast clear, and leaves a lot of options from there. You can invade, you can scuttle, you can gank, all with pretty high power in your pocket. If you start red, you can clear wolves without taking a single auto from the small wolves. This is the healthiest possible clear you can get, by using 1 refillable charge and smite, you end blue buff with nearly full hp, ticking up to it using the pot.
You want to keep in mind your gank power is huge. A decently large gap closer, stun, and auto reset +
Thunderlord's Electrocute burst is no joke. You can straight out flash on people under tower and kill them before they can react when they are under 348 hp if you are level 3 and execute it properly.
Jungle Build/Playstyle Philosophy
So here's how it works,
In the mid game, Jax has a dip in power (if he doesn't have a significant lead) because he will only have three stats. Attackspeed, Health, and AD (Skirmishing Bloodrazor and parts of or completed Titanic). This is his weakest point in the game because he is so vulnerable to CC and picks due to the fact that he has no resistances or a significant health pool yet. At that time, having
Thunderlords Electrocute let's you explode out into fights even stronger (as I play Jax as a secondary initiator and frontliner), dumping out my damage cooldowns, and then popping my defensive cooldowns to try and distract/survive. At this point, you should look to intiate or re-initiate on people who are fed or whoever you DIDN'T build boots against.
When you finally hit the end of the mid game and start lategame, this is where
Thunderlords Electrocute is arguably less useful than fervor Press the Attack. Having items 3 and 4 bring in your defensive stats HEAVILY improves your survivability against CC threats because you won't need to pop ult right away just to survive before CC hits. However, Thunderlords Electrocute still makes you more of a threat to squishies than fervor Press the Attack will, because if you get more than a second or two to hit the enemy carries they are doing something wrong.
In the early game,
Thunderlords Electrocute is stronger without a doubt because it gives a stronger initial burst. By the time someone is RUNNING AWAY you haven't reached the breakpoint where the 12% weaken from Press the Attack causes you to have dealt more damage. At level 3 having Thunderlords Electrocute allows you to kill people who are at 350 hp or less with a perfectly executed combo, which is great for ganks/invades.
Thunderlords Electrocute gives you a tighter, stronger damage window in more realistic fights, and helps you more in the mid game where you want people dead ASAP so you don't die as quickly before you have your defensive items. It helps with getting picks, initiating fights, and 1v1ing or diving squishy champions.
As for the build, Skimrishing Bloodrazor -> Titanic just plays on these ideas further. It cuts out the greedy Triforce buy, subbing in Bloodrazor Enchantment to make up for the lack of attack speed. You can think of
Thunderlords Electrocute as compensation for losing Sheen passive, and you still want the Titanic for burst combos and auto resets. This build gives you a great early game, decent midgame, and very strong lategame.
You need to recognize that this build utilizes a very different playstyle from toplane Jax, and adjust accordingly. You are no longer a primary carry. You are not toplane Jax.
The Early Game : Bring it on! (Toplane)
Jax's level 1 is very powerful. Your (E) is one of the strongest abilities in the game, as it causes you to be immune to basic attacks. Your optimal level 1 trading goes like this :
1. Auto attack the enemy champion once, and take an auto from them as well. This causes you to draw minion aggro which will empower your (E).
2. Since you have taken minion aggro and a little bit of damage, this maximizes the efficiency of your (E) which you will use immediately AND maximizes the efficiency of the corrupting pot charge you are going to use.
This results in you literally getting the best scenario out of EVERYTHING you have level one. It really can't be beat directly by most champions. Combine these things with proper attack animation canceling and movement, and you get a massive chunk on an enemy who does not respect this.
Obviously this level 1 strategy doesn't work against ranged champions very well, so adjust accordingly. Most, if not all of the time, you will still take (E) level one though.
Your starting item does not change this early game strategy either. What you need to focus on however, is the state that you put the wave in. Most often, you will end up stunning the enemy + 2-5 minions depending on the spacing/pathing, and this will cause your lane to slow shove into enemy tower for exactly 3 waves. At this moment the most important thing to do is prepare to fight a 2v1 gank, or ward it and give up lane pressure for over a full minute. Getting early vision and information on where the jungler starts is crucial to setting yourself up for success.
It's also okay if you don't manage to get this really good trade, as it isn't necessary to win lane, it just makes it a bit easier. You still want to make sure you are csing well, and work towards your items. At the end of the day, you outscale almost every opponent in the game, so most of the time you will have that to fall back on. In cases where you want to stay safe, try and use (Q) as little as possible, to keep it around for the escape potential.
Tough Early Matchups : Pantheon, Fiora, Riven, Jayce
All of these champs are very VERY annoying to deal with, so I am making a separate section to address them in more detail.
Pantheon : This guy has a really uninteractive lane plan. He wants to poke you out with (Q). You can counteract this by starting doran's shield. However, on his first back where he grabs his serrated dirk, this is where stuff gets tricky. His (Q)'s will really start to hurt, even with all the armor you have. To counteract this, try and get an early jaurim's fist, and tabi. The stacking health + armor values will bring up your sustain and towerdive defenses significantly. Also don't forget to grab refillable/corrupting early on as well, because natural regen just won't be enough after he has dirk, and of course Time Warp Tonic synergy.
Jayce : This one plays pretty similar to Pantheon, with the difference of having the possibility of ranged autos, and good mana sustain. It's absolutely more difficult than Pantheon is. You want to take the same item approach, and focus on trying to scale as best you can. As long as you don't fall too far behind, he won't be able to towerdive you safely. You outscale him with your core + defensive items, so just try and get to that point.
Fiora : Fiora can be very tricky. There are a few key things in this matchup. First, dodging her (W) regardless of it being a stun or not is CRUCIAL. That thing slows way too much and will be the main reason why you die if you do. I start doran's blade in this matchup in order to be more powerful early on. As long as you space properly and know her cooldowns, you should be totally fine. What you want to do is get armor on your first back. Getting bramble vest ASAP is very important for this matchup, as it cuts her vital sustain quite a lot. From there, tabi into tri, the standard stuff, should go just fine for you. No need for jaurim's in this lane. Note that you really don't win extended trades with her until you bramble, and even then if you guys are 6 you still can't outright fight her. Stay cautious and outplay.
Riven : People tell me all the time that "Riven is easy" or something along those lines. I can tell you straight out, this is wrong. Those Rivens have no idea what they are doing. Almost all of the best Riven players out there have said that if you know what you are doing, Jax can't do anything, and they are right about that. Your only choice in this lane is to get ganks and snowball, or scale. You will beat Riven eventually, but if you get ahead of her she has very little chance to come back. If it's just an island toplane though, you are in for a rough time at the higher levels of play.
Midgame : Split or not split? (Toplane)
So you have two choices in the midgame as toplane Jax. It is also possible to blend the two options together if you are really good at macro n stuff.
1. Splitpush and itemize directly against the opponent you will split against. Attempt to win the 1v1 while the rest of your team holds out on the 4v4. This is the best way to avoid teamfighting as a whole if they have better teamfight.
2. Group up with your team once you hit your two item spike (Tri + Titanic) and start teamfighting. If you can find a flank into a fight, you are hugely effective. You can melt carries super quickly with proper combos.
The blending of these two playstyles is difficult but is probably the most effective way to play Jax. If you can split against the enemy laner, but roam behind/into the enemy team before your laner can react, you can take a 4v5 advantage fight somewhere else. It blends the properties of splitpush pressure and teamfight prowess into one. This obviously isn't easy, and requires a lot of thought beforehand.
You need to ask yourself, can you win a teamfight? Is their disengage too strong? Can I win a 1v1 if "x" laner goes aggressive on me? Do we win a 4v4? Can my team disengage from a 4v4? These are all examples of knowing the state of the game and realizing how to address it.
If you are splitpushing :
Keep in mind that splitpushing is a very, VERY tricky and dangerous game to play. It requires an immense amount of map awareness, intuition, wave knowledge, and skill to execute effectively. It also limits your teamfighting effectiveness in some cases by a very extreme amount, so be VERY CAREFUL when choosing this strategy. Some quick tips for splitpushing:
1. If you have a tank or someone you cannot kill but are not threatened by stopping your push, simply wait until the wave in the opposite lane begins to push onto a tower, recall, and teleport to it. This will either prompt a response from someone holding the midlane, or forces a teleport from your laner. When this happens, the rest of your team can rotate botlane on the next shoving wave and beat down the tower, destroying it or doing a lot of damage. This is the basic concept of 4-1 splitpushing. The other option is that when someone rotates from midlane, it creates the possibility for a 3v4 dive scenario.
2. Know that the best way to set up a wave for a slow-push is to kill the caster + cannon minions and leave the wave alone.
3. Specifically for Jax, timing your aggression with the arrival of a new minion wave provides some extra safety, as you can (Q) Leap Strike away for free should the situation turn against your favor.
4. When splitpushing, Durability > Sustain, because of the 2v1 scenarios. This is why most of the time you still go the generic Tri Titanic before optimizing your build towards one opponent, if you choose to do so. It is more flexible should splitpushing no longer be favorable, while still offering very strong pushing/dueling power.
5. At the end of the day, sometimes a splitpush is not a feasible strategy to win a game. If the enemy team has Malphite, Jarvan, Orianna, Miss Fortune, Alistar, your team IS GOING TO GET ENGAGED ON. You splitting isn't going to do anything if your team gets wiped by hard engage combos. This is why identifying your win condition BEFORE a game starts is very important.
Lategame : Godmode (Toplane)
If you hit 6 items, you should be unkillable 1v1. When you have Tri + Titanic + Frozen Mallet + Thornmail + Gunblade + Phantom Dancer (totally hypothetical build), it's gunna be REAL hard to kill you. At this point, you should be able to splitpush against pretty much anyone. If you feel like your team can't win straight out teamfights, you have this option in the pocket. Just make sure you don't get picked off so the enemy team doesn't get priority over objectives.
This section is for listing out all the bread and butter combos for Jax. I'm gunna link videos of these as well, and will update this section at a later time. For now, I wanna get this guide posted!
Basic Combos :
These combos are the ones you want to work on first, as they are the most applicable and important combos.
1. The Proper Engage combo is a really important one to master. It makes use of the deceptively large range of your (E) Counterstrike to stun the opponent earlier than they think possible, effectively minimizing their reaction window. All complex engage combos stem from this skill.
1. Proper Engage - E -> Q -> E (midair)
2a. Tiamat Resetting is different from Titanic Resetting (below). It is a very slight difference but a difference nonetheless, and can make or break a gank, a kill, even a game. You can combine this with proper engage combo to get the full burst combo.
2a. Tiamat Resetting - Q -> AA -> W -> Tiamat (Active) -> AA
2b. Titanic Resetting is the opposite of Tiamat Resetting. With Tiamat, you use W beforehand, but with Titanic you use it after. Just like Tiamat, you combine this combo with the Proper Engage to get the full burst combo.
2b. Titanic Resetting - Q -> AA -> Titanic (Active) -> W.
3. Your Full Burst Combo is the bread and butter of your existence. This is what makes Jax REALLY strong as both an initiator and a backline threat. It combines the Proper Engage and Tiamat/Titanic combos together. Note that if you aren't getting your W auto off at the tail end because people are flashing away, it means you aren't fast enough with the combo yet. This is NOT easy to do.
3. Full Burst Combo (Titanic) - E -> Q -> E (midair) -> AA -> Titanic (active) -> W
Full Burst Combo (Tiamat) - E -> Q -> E (midair) -> AA -> W -> Tiamat (active) -> AA
Complex Combos :
Some of these aren't necessarily 'complex' but do add an additional layer of things on top of the basic combos above, or aren't very commonly used/hard to pull off. This section also covers animation canceling.
1. Using E to animation cancel is not particularly intuitive, but it's relatively simple once you figure it out. If you do the Full Burst Combo properly, you have actually already been doing this. If you start an attack during the ending animation of your E, the auto attack animation should entirely cancel while still doing damage. This ends up making the second auto attack come out faster. Add on the fact that you are resetting with W/Titanic/Movement, and it ends up being MUCH faster, especially in the case where you use movement afterwards. **Note that when using E to animation cancel while Qing works best if done immediately after landing, so only do it like that if they have no escapes up.
1. E -> AA -> E as soon as AA -> Follow up with W/Titanic/Movement.
2. Fog of War initiation is actually pretty nuts. By teching flash into the full burst combo, you gain enough range to initiate on the enemy from fog of war distances. This requires a very exacting knowledge of your ranges to pull off well.
2. Fog of War initiation + burst - E -> Flash -> Q -> E (midair) - AA -> Titanic (active) -> W
3. Basic Q auto animation canceling is pretty crucial post level 6. It tightens up your auto attack strings so that even with escapes you begin to confirm three hit combos or two hit combos without use of E. It's also incredibly simple to do, and practice, but far more difficult to implement in an actual game setting. The animation canceling is done by issuing an attack command immediately after landing from Q. Yes, it's possible to do this by spam clicking, but that can cause issues if you misclick once and cancel the auto, the enemy blinks away and you walk forward a bit into a bad situation, etc. It's best to practice it with as few clicks as possible so you maintain calm and accurate inputs.
3. Basic Q Auto Animation Cancel - Q -> AA command after landing
So that's pretty much all I got for our boy Jax. This is the first guide I've ever written, so feedback is greatly appreciated! Keep in mind that this is not the "final version" of the guide, as I plan to update it with things I might want to add or through suggestions from you guys!
In case anyone wants to keep up with me, here's my socials/twitch/whatever :
Twitch : https://www.twitch.tv/acewindstorm
Youtube : https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvwXMWQcSqcS_NgaXdb3yBA (ugly link sadly)
Twitter : @AceWindstorm https://twitter.com/AceWindstorm
9/17 - Published
9/18 - Edited some small language mistakes
9/19 - Added Swain, Gnar, and Kennen to toplane matchups, thanks to feedback.
9/24 - Fixed up some title stuff for nicer display, put some work into combo section. Grammatical fixes.
11/11 - Preseason runes update!
11/14 - Added Garen to toplane matchup section. Updated combo section. Did some color stuff and
strikethrough text, the strikethrough will stick around for a while until people become completely familiar with the new Runes Reforged systems. Also fixed my Toplane runes, seemed like they errored on the secondaries.
12/29 - Updated Rune builds for both jungle and top, removed tank jungle jax, edited Preason Runes section. Updated items for Jungle Jax My Way, Autofill Jungle Jax and Top Jax My Way.
1/20 - Fixed rune description inconsistency.
2/18 - Updated toplane runes to account for minor rune changes.
2/26 - Updated Rune descriptions and added some color to the first chapters that were missing + editing. Rune updates.
2/28 - Jungle matchup section updated. Toplane matchup section updated.
3/11 - Culled the Season 8 Pre-season rune update section.
3/17 - Updated Tough Matchups section because it had old irrelevant information that was misleading. Also updated item set to reflect the Relic Shield Bandit changes.