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Jax Build Guide by ShanimexZ

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League of Legends Build Guide Author ShanimexZ

AP Jax - Sustained Nuker

ShanimexZ Last updated on March 21, 2016
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Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

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This Build/Guider is currently ice boxed. Currently, as of 2016, AP Jax has no real redeeming qualities anymore. With the rise of Guinsoos as main Jax item (rightfully so, it's stupidly good) there really is no reason to only buy ap. Guinsoos/Hybrid Jax is just crazy good atm, with all these new masteries and stuff. So, if i ever can make AP jax work as well as Hybrid jax, i'm gonna work on this build again.

Hello and welcome to my first Guide on Mobafire.
i likely made some/a lot of grammar/spelling mistakes; i'm sorry, have mercy...

This guide is about AP Jax.
"AP Jax? That's stupid" as many of you may think.
But i assume you never saw a good one in action.
I am here to present to you one of the deadliest champions
that ever existed in the league.
Prepare yourself for the terror that is,


(I also really like the skin Vandal Jax. The blue stands for ability power! hihi)

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What the heck is AP Jax and why

I play Jax as AP Nuker.
Why? Cuz he is fun as heck and as far as i know, one of the strongest champions in existence.
Usually, Jax is build AD/Hybrid, to get the most out of his AD and AP scaling.
I would describe his AD Counterpart build as heavily sustained damage and tankiness, while his AP counterpart build focuses on bursting people down in a matter of seconds.
Hybrid kinda combines both, but to a lesser extend (by no means saying Hybrid is bad!).
Even tanks won't stand up to AP Jax for long.
I have yet not (really) encountered an enemy, that can outdamage AP Jax.
Once he get's his core items ( Nashor's Tooth, Lich Bane, Hextech Gunblade)he is a monster, that only can be dealt with by smart play and heavy CC.

So, but, how does it work?

A bit of personal history with AP Jax

(You might as well skip this)

As you may already know, Jax scales with both AD and AP. His Q, W, and Ult all scale with Ability Power. Before encountering AP Jax, i didn't like that champ. I found him boring to play as and his item build didn't allow for much variation at that time. When i first tried to build AP Jax, i failed hard, by only building AP.
This may sound good, but it's wrong, because it's way too hard to get his damage out. But, after seeing his enormous damage potential late game during a practice bot game (about 2000 magic damage on hit!!), i couldn't let go of him.
For a period of about half a year, i constantly tried to make him work,
but it was no use. In real games, every time i played him, i got crushed hard.
So i decided to test AP Jax builds in ARAM and Dominion, where one will start with more gold and accumulate gold a lot faster and easier by kills and assists.
I became better and better with mechanics, strategies and item builds,
until finally finishing (in my opinion) the perfect AP Jax build.
He is my main now, i play him in top lane, jungle and if possible, mid lane.
I had great success with this build so far and even made my first penta with AP Jax.

So, yeah, just a bit about me and Jaxy boy.

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Pros / Cons


    + Ridicoulusly high damage potential
    + High mixed damage
    + Easy to burst squishies with
    + Lot of room to outplay opponents
    + Very mobile champ, easy to catch enemies
    + Gets extremely tanky later in the game
    + (Almost)Impossible to duel against him
    - Absolute trash early game
    - Difficult to properly lane with
    - No natural sustain (health and mana problems)
    - Takes time and gold to be effective
    - Extremely Item dependant
    - Can get kited hard if played wrong
    - Can be very difficult to play

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Skill Explanation

Passive: Relentless Assault

Every time Jax attacks an enemy he gains 4 / 6 / 8 / 10 / 12 / 14 % increased attack speed for 2.5 seconds. The percentage is increased every 3 levels. This effect stacks up to 6 times. Will still stack if the attack is dodged or misses due to blind.

This passive is one of my favorites. It spikes up Jax power the longer he is in battle.
This passive will make one attackspeed item enough for jax to have a huge amount of attackspeed.
For AP Jax, this means more Ult procs in less time.

Q: Leap Strike
Jax leaps towards a target. If it's an enemy, he attacks, dealing 70 / 110 / 150 / 190 / 230 (+60% of ability power) (+1.0 per bonus attack damage) physical damage.

This skill is what makes Jax so mobile and maybe AP Jax viable in the first place.
It's his main damage tool early and will later be extremely useful when constantly jumping on enemies to catch up and to burst them down. It's important to have this ability maxed quite early, so its cooldown becomes extremely low.

W: Empower
Jax charges his weapon with energy, causing his next attack to deal 40 / 75 / 110 / 145 / 180 (+60% of ability power) additional magic damage.

This ability is used for harass in lane (Q, then W or W only when enemy is near)
and to reset your attack timer. While having low attackspeed early,
this reset will become really handy, when trying to proc your ult as it is just an empowered autoattack. In mid-late game fights, you will be constantly using this ability to deal high magic damage and (most importantly) to proc Sheen/ Lich Bane in combination with your ult to deal so much burst, that enemies don't even want to be in your line of sight.

E: Counter Strike
Jax dodges all incoming basic attacks for 2 seconds and reduces AoE damage by 25% while he is dodging. At the end of the duration, Jax deals 50/75/100/125/150 (+0.5 bonus attack damage) physical damage to nearby enemies and stuns them for 1 second. This spell deals 20% (up to a maximum of 100%) increased damage for each attack dodged. Jax has the option to activate the ability again after 1 second to end the effect early.

Another awesome ability. It makes you immune against all these auto-attack- champs for
2 seconds, which is a lot of time in fights. Late game, this will be your tool to survive ADCs damage, as they will probably focus you, if you don't focus them.
The stun is used for many things, like catching people, interrupting all sorts of things,
rendering enemies helpless while you burst them, denieing tower dives...etc.
Also, consider the fact that you are squishy without ult, and using this high-defense skill
at the wrong time or missing the stun, can get you killed easily!

R: Grandmaster's Might
Passive: Hitting 3 consecutive times enhances Jax's next attack for 100 / 160 / 220 (+70% of ability power) bonus magic damage.
Active: Jax gains 25/35/45 (+30% of his bonus attack damage) armor and 25/35/45 (+20% of his ability power) magic resist for 8 seconds.

This is the S****! This ability makes AP Jax possible in the first place, as it boosts your damage sky high when reaching lvl 6. Now you will be able to turn the tide.
Every third attack will proc the bonus damage, so attacking via auto-attacks is nesscessary to do damage in the first place. Jax is no caster.

The active part will give you a huge defense boost based on your bonus AD and AP.
Since you will be mainly AP, it will give you a huge chunk of magic resist.
AP carries without %magic penetration won't be able to lay a finger on you while you will be running around with 200+ magic resist during your ult. Use it wisely to stay alive!

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Skill Order

You can either choose to max your Q Leap Strike or W Empower first,
depending on your matchup.
Damage wise, both come very close to each other, with only a difference of 5 damage
when leveling up. Still, you could argue that you would typically be able to use Empower
more often because it's cooldown is lower, right?
Well, you can't really always walk up to your enemy and bash their heads with an empowered W,
while you can (if you want) always apply free damage with your Q, Leap Strike.
Also, the lower the cooldown of your Q is, the often you can use it in combination with your W,
think of Jayce's Shock Blast and its synergy with Acceleration Gate.
But it's important to notice that Leap Strike deals PHYSICAL damage
and Empower deals MAGIC damage.

Many enemies i have faced didnt't notice at first that i'm actually playing AP Jax.
Of course they will build armor. That actually is the right way to itemize against AP Jax early, hence maxing Q is often the better alternative for better, reliable harrass in lane.
If you notice the enemy buys armor (like wardens mail) early on, try putting a few early points into Empower first, to ignore some of your enemies armor and to deal
more magic damage.

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What AP Jax needs, is attack speed, paired with ability power and cooldownreduction.
The following runes are my preffered runes, which i thought to be the most useful ones.
(I'll be explaining the use of these stats later during item explanation)

So, for Marks i take Greater Mark of Attack Speed for a nice bonus early, before getting my first attack speed item Stinger. In the case of a heavy defeat in lane and you not being able to gain enough gold for your items, these will come in handy for still being able to apply your burst.
I don't recommend taking Greater Mark of Magic Penetration, as you won't deal that much magic damage, until you finished your Nashor's Tooth or Lich Bane. Early you'll be dealing primarily attack damage.

For Seals, i take Greater Seal of Armor.
This one's a no brainer, since you'll probably want to go top (or jungle).
It will reduce damage dealt by minions as well and help you to
sustain the minion aggro while trading.
You could also consider Greater Seal of Scaling Armor, but i prefer stronger early game to be able to "properly" reach mid game and get my items.

For Glyphs, i take Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist.
Since you'll want to be top or jungle.
You can swap Greater Glyph of Magic Resist for these ones.
It's all up to you. If you don't think you will encounter that much magic damage early, take the scaling glyphs. If you do think so, take early game glyphs. It's that simple.
I don't recommend other glyphs, like Greater Glyph of Ability Power since AP won't do much early. Tankiness early is your way to survive the early laning phase properly.

For Quintessences, i take Greater Quintessence of Ability Power.
Just for early game power, really. Still, aprox. 15 ability power is really good for the ult,
as you won't have the gold to buy much ap yet.
You can of course try other quints, but i had the best experiences with these ones.

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For Masteries, i take 21/9/0
(Taking points from the utility tree are wasted stats for AP Jax in my opinion, as you want damage)
I think the masteries are kinda self explanatory.
Attack speed, cooldown reduction and mixed %penetration is all Jax really needs.
The rest of the points i took in offense to simply deal more damage.
I only take one point in Executioner , because i think other masteries provide more for AP Jax (for example Spell Weaving or Arcane Blade , which synergises with Nashor's Tooth)

I would not recommend going 9/21/0, since AP Jaxs job is to annihilate squishies.
If you want to play tanky Jax, don't go AP.

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Summoner Spells

For Summoners, i take Ghost and Ignite.

Why Ghost?
Easy. You will be learning soon. Catching up to people is nice.
Why not Flash you ask?
Well, i often find myself in the situation of being too slow to catch up and apply auto attacks on people. Sure, Flash let's you catch up immediately and is nice for getting in range, but in the long run, it won't help you to stick to your enemy. Ghost kinda eliminates that. There's a Vayne shooting you back with E after you wanted to smash her skull in? Just pop that Ghost and make her your ... you know.
Even if your enemies use Flash, you can easily catch up with your 500+ movementspeed and walls are not that much of a problem as well, tbh (ward jump).
Also, that 300 seconds CD doesn't appeal to me somehow. So unreliable.

Why Ignite?
You kill people. Hence Ignite.
You can of course as always try different summoners. I don't think others are that good on AP Jax. Maybe on Jax, but not AP Jax. I often thought about Teleport, but i would never want to trade Ignite or Ghost for it.
Securing kills OP!
Sort of.

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This is where it gets kinky.

Starting items/Early items

It is difficult to itemize Jax early, since you simply can't do much in terms of damage.
The recent nerfs to Doran's Blade made sustaining through early laning even harder,
3% lifesteal really is worthless on AP Jax, if you don't plan on shoving your lane to infinity. Vs. AD matchups, i'd take Doran's Shield and play as defensifely as possible, and against matchups, that won't deal much damage in trades, i'd pick up a Doran's Ring and 2 pots.
Crystalline Flask is another great item for staying longer in lane, as it will give both health and mana back.

Your first goal will be Sheen, which you will later upgrade into Lich Bane.
It will boost your damage, so that you can finally trade with your opponent and win.
I doubt you will get this item before lvl 6, but if you do, then you must be doing great. Together with W and Ult, this proc will hurt a lot, allowing you to trade.
Next, try building Nashor's Tooth. This item is absolute core.
I'll tell you why.

Core items

Nashor's Tooth

It will give attack speed, which you will use to proc your Ult, it gives AP, which will boost your damage you do with your Q, W and Ult so far, and it will give you 20% CDR.
These 20% are really sweet. Jax's cooldowns are already pretty low at max rank (Q=6, W=3).
As soon as you are maxed out on CDR (easily obtained by masteries and the buy of Ionian Boots of Lucidity) you will be able to use your jump every 3.6 seconds and your W every 1.8 seconds.
This is the huge strength of AP Jax. Being able to constantly jumping around
and activating Empower to proc Lich Bane and your ult.
This results in your damage being constantly over the top, while giving your enemy so little chance to escape with your 3.6 second CD Leap Strike. On top of that,
Nashor's Tooth's passive will give you additional magic damage on hit,
which you will be able to proc a lot
(cuz your Jax...and you auto attack).
When building this, start building Stinger first.
The CDR it gives alone isn't enough, but its attack speed for procing your ult
is more usefull than the AP its counterpart Fiendish Codex gives.

Lich Bane

Second Core Item. I would only buy this after you finished your Nashor's Tooth,
both because you won't be able to abuse the spellblade passive with high cooldowns,
and the spellblade passive of Lich Bane scales with ability power,
so it's more effective to buy some ability power before upgrading Sheen into it.
You proc this item's passive simply with every W.
Combine this item's passive with W and Ult do drop a nuke on the enemies and take half their health bar! Just try it out, the damage is outrageous! (Truly outrageous)

Hextech Gunblade

Last Core Item. This item provides crucial spellvamp, which AP Jax needs to stay alive, both outside and inside a teamfight. Recalling takes way too much time and not being able to stay with your team because you can't regenerate HP is bad.
Why don't buy this item earlier? Because your damage won't be high enough to heal effectively.
You shouldn't consider it before finishing Lich Bane and Nashor's Tooth, so that your damage will be high enough to "spellvamp" from it.
Buy a Hextech Revolver, first. Since Hextech Gunblade will also give AD and lifesteal, it will increase your tankiness you receive from your Ult as well.
So, it's probably sometimes worth to buy before stacking more AP, when facing many AD champs.
Overall, you should consider when you need to upgrade Hextech Revolver.
AD is not as useful for damage purposes as AP (At least not for AP Jax).
Keep that in mind.

Other very useful items

Rabadon's Deathcap: This is your item if you have no trouble bursting people. Get it if you feel safe in fights in terms of surviveability or nuking through the magic resist of your enemies. Shouldn't be bought unless you have some nice AP to begin with!

Zhonya's Hourglass: Probably the most useful item in the current game.
If you are getting CC'ed to death or taking to much damage by hard hitting aoe-bombs before even getting into the fights during late game, take this one.
You will negate every ability thrown at you during it's active.
I also have to mention that 2.5 seconds is a lot of time; time, in which your enemies can escape, which is bad, or you are getting your cooldowns back and can plan your next step, which is good.
Quite useful. It's base stats are also really good, providing huge amounts of AP and armor.

Rylai's Crystal Scepter: Grants health and AP. You can greatly benefit from the health: you already gain very high resistences from your ult. Having much health will increase your surviveability even more. The passive is only used for your Q Leap Strike,
which will proc a strong 35% slow. I swear, it's impossible to get away from an AP Jax with Rylai's.
If you are having trouble catching up to people (even though having a 3.6 seconds jump) get this. This item is great if your choice of boots did not fall for Ionian Boots of Lucidity.

Abyssal Mask: Makes you even more of a thread to all those AP carries.
It will grant you ability power and magic resist and a passive, that reduces the magic resist of nearby champions by 20. More useful, if you aren't the only magic damage dealer.
I could have included this item into the core build, but buying magic resist
on AP Jax is very situational.

Void Staff: You should only consider this item if the enemy team is so packed with magic resist, that you feel like only doing AD damage. This item gives 35% magic penetration, which maybe is good for other AP carries, but not that good on AP Jax. Your damage is still mixed, especially if you already bought Hextech Gunblade. So, AP Jax won't feel the effect as hard as other carries do.
(get this item immediately though if there is an enemy AP Jax in the game!)


Get dat Warding Totem.

What's with boots?

I would always recommend choosing your boots according to your enemy team.
Still, Ionian Boots of Lucidity are my boots to go with to max my CDR and jump like a madman. There is no escape from a 40% CDR-Jax!
Take Ninja Tabi, if your enemy team has too much AD damage you can't block with your dodge alone. Take Mercury's Treads if the enemy team has too much inavoidable CC and you can't seem to get your damage out.
Take Boots of Mobility if you have an easy time roaming the map and killing everybody or just for more mobility on the map. (I would only buy them for case 1)
But they won't provide any combat stats, so better stick with the other boots if you're not sure about it.

Why not Sorcerer's Shoes?/Why not Berserker's Greaves?

I wouldn't consider Sorcerer's Shoes a possibility for the same reason why Void Staff or Greater Mark of Magic Penetration aren't worth it: you deal heavily mixed damage early on. Unless you have finished your core items, you will be primarily dealing physical damage.
The effect is mediocre. End of story.

Berserker's Greaves is a doubled edged sword, really.
One the one hand, you'll have more attack speed, which will result in more Ult procs, which results in more damage.
But, not having the 15% CDR from Ionian Boots of Lucidity let's you use your W less, as well as your jump. So, i really have no idea if these boots are worth it as an offensive option or not.
(I tend to say, the CDR-boots are more useful, cuz you will easier catch up to people and proc Lich Bane faster. You can try them, but i wouldn't recommend them in terms of catching people)

BTW, movementspeed isn't the most important stat on AP Jax - well, at least early.
You shouldn't care about tier 2 boots unless you finished at LEAST Nashor's Tooth
- it's really not worth it. Get AP, attack speed and CDR first. Hence why Boots of Swiftness are kinda useless on AP Jax. Sad. Slows won't trouble you much because of your jump and ghost, and if they do, i would still go with Mercury's Treads.
Also, you already get a nice boost of movement speed from Lich Bane.

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You are an AP Carry - Why not mid lane?

Because you are vulnerable to hard CC and poke.

Mid laners like Ahri s**** on you early and will destroy your life.
You can try going mid lane anyway. I played some games mid lane and it really depends on who you are facing. Champs like Twisted Fate, who have, like you, no natural sustain, are actually beatable (if you can deny his stun). Otherwise, you should stay away from hard CC or hard sustaining laners. If you have to fight against a Nasus or Dr. Mundo top, don't get ypurself forced in all ins or long trades. After 6, you might have a chance in outtrading them. Until then, stay calm and carry on.

(Matchup is a different thing in ranked games. You really should never pick AP Jax against champs like Nasus, Fiddlesticks or Kayle. You'll just feed them and get your team in trouble. Simply don't.)

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Early Game

I will keep this short:


Against top laners like Renekton or Darius you won't stand a chance.
Your damage early game consists of auto attacks, but since you will be going AP,
they won't do damage. Just try to silently farm and harass your enemy only if you're not in the risk of getting your a** beaten. Stay safe, keep farming and wait for your jungler to help you out. If your enemy is tower diving you, stay calm, use your Counter Strike and try to make the most out of it. Get pots early and consider Crystalline Flask + the Doran's items.

If you managed to reach lvl 6 without dieing and not losing your tower, you're good.
I'm proud of you.

After lvl6

You will be able to trade. An easy harass is landing 2 autos on minions, then jump on your enemy and activate W to proc both your Ult and W. If you did it right, you won't need to use up your stun to pull it off. Still, be careful before finishing your core items and don't let yourself get pulled into extended fights! If you are however going for the kill, jump on them, use your W and proc your ult, stun and chase. If it gets nasty, use your Ult's active to beat your opponent.
If they flash away or somehow escape, it's fine. Use your Ghost and chase after them!
Your Leap Strike should be on a low cooldown;
hence use W and Q to finish running enemies off!

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Mid Game

This is the most important time to make plays with AP Jax.

Help your team getting Dragon, defend towers and secure kills for your team.
If then, the first small Teamfights break out, you will start to really shine.
Focus the ADC and APC of the enemy team. ADCs won't be able to do much against your dodge/stun
and APCs won't deal enough damage to you
(well, except if you don't activate your Ult, silly!).
If you think your team will follow you, you can even initiate a teamfight for them with your AoE-stun Counter Strike combined with your Q.
Nothing is better than obliterating an enemy team with a bunch of AoE stuns!

Also, consider hunting for the blue buff, aka. crest of the ancient golem .
Without pots, your low cooldowns will drain your mana pool like crazy during teamfights.
Blue buff counters your mana costs. Ward the enemy blue and take it down fast with your crazy burst.

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Late Game

Towards late game, Teamfights will be more and more meaningful for the outcome of a game.
Stay with your team, catch the enemy team off guard and secure objectives
(Baron, Inhibitors, towers...).
I have to mention that AP Jax is a really effective turret-killer because of his passive attack speed steroid and the amount of AP you'll be building in combination with the spellblade passive from Lich Bane which does damage tower.
If you have a free item slot, always, i repeat ALWAYS get an extra ward.
Split pushing is impossible without them. If you don't want to get you booty beaten, take wards, place them smart and duel your enemies if you are confident that nobody else is around.
You will win these for sure. I believe in you.

As mentioned before, in teamfights, avoid getting CCed or burstet to death and focus the ADC or APC first. If you play smart, you should always be able to burst at least one champion down and damage another one pretty bad. Clearing up teamfights is the easiest to do with AP Jax. Just stomp on whoever tries to escape.
Sometimes, you can help your team greatly by eliminating the thread of your ADC dieing to bruisers or assasins. If you realise, you're loosing teamfights because your ADC doesn't stand a chance against them, try interrupting these threads with your stun if you need to.
But if you lose the teamfight because your ADC is stupid, forget about him.
Just do what you need to do.
Burst squishies.
And did i mention that you should let your tank initiate?
You are not an initiator. Mid game it's possible, yes. But Late game it's too risky getting bursted.
(Except for that game-changing 5-man-stun! Ahh...good times...)

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Top Lane-Matchups


NOTE: I'm no diamond/challenger player and have not played as many games to call myself something like an advanced lol player. I don't know every aspects of every matchup ever, so don't judge me if i'll make some mistakes here. Pls tell them to me anyway!

Aatrox will be a very hard matchup. You basically don't stand a chance to sustain through laning phase. His W passive will heal him to no end, it doesn't matter if you manage to harrass him. You will most likely lose all ins as well. He will try to harrass you with his Blades of Torment and then use Dark Flight to close in and smash your face in with Blood Price. Avoid his E to negate this! After 6 however, you can outtrade him pretty hard with Counter Strike and Grandmaster's Might.
It is possible for him to think he will lose an all in due to your strong trades.
A smart Aatrox however, will just heal himself up under his tower if nesscessary.

Darius outtrades you from second one. His Q is just too strong. Farming will be extremely difficult, as he can force trades too easily with his Apprehend.
Even after lvl6, winning against him is extremely hard, as your Ult armor and magic resist won't matter much due to his ult chunking down 1/3 of your health anyway. I'd say you switch the lane or ask for ganks. But remember; Darius is extremely prone to CC and you have a Counter Strike so use it!

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Overall, i find AP Jax incredibly fun to play.
He is a challenging champ, who needs a skilled player to handle him.

Before downvoting this guide, please give this build a chance.
It may look quite controverse, but i assure you,
it's possible and quite viable.

AP Jax is your champ to feel like the champ!

Anyway, if you have any questions, feel free to comment and i'll answer them gladly!
Keep in mind this is my first guide ever,
it can only get better from here :P