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AP Xerath Midlane

Last updated on October 7, 2016
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Cheat Sheet

General Build

Xerath Build

Ability Sequence

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

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.


Natural Talent
Bounty Hunter
Battering Blows
Piercing Thoughts

Ferocity: 12

Dangerous Game

Cunning: 18

Tough Skin
Runic Armor
Veteran's Scars
Legendary Guardian

Resolve: 0

Threats to Xerath with this build

Show all
Threat Champion Notes
Azir Very easy to harass. He has to stand still when using his W which makes him easy to poke out. He shouldn't be able to ult you because he has a hard time getting in range to damage you.
Karthus Has a much shorter ranger and his Q is pretty easy to dodge. Recall before he reaches level 6 if you have low health.
Ryze Easy lane. His low range, weak early game, and low mobility makes it easy to poke him out of lane. Watch out for his root though.
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Pros / Cons


  • Strong early game.
  • Best range on an AP champion.
  • Good burst damage.
  • Good wave clear.
  • Mana sustain from his passive.
  • Safe laner.
  • Good roaming with ultimate.

  • Is entirely skill shot based.
  • No mobility.
  • Little CC.
  • Struggles against tanks and assassins.

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Skill Sequence

General Skill Sequence

At level 1 I always start with Q (Arcanopulse). It has a very large range and is great for harassing your opponent.

At level 2 I put a point into W (Eye of Destruction). This gives you two long-range poke abilities to harass your opponent.

At level 3 I usually point a point into E (Shocking Orb). This is around the time when you're vulnerable to ganks as junglers (especially early game junglers) will try to get advantages for their other laners and Xerath has no escape. If the enemy jungler and your opponent has little kill pressure put another point into Q instead to improve your harass.

The general skill sequence is to max Q first, W second, E third, and R whenever possible.

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Best Items:

Morellonomicon: This is a core first item. It is the perfect item for Xerath offering him the much needed CDR and AP. The mana sustain allows him to be less reliant on his passive too.

Sorcerer's Shoes: This should always be completed after Morellonomicon. Magic penetration is invaluable, especially against squishy targets.

Luden's Echo: This is my preferred second item. It offers a lot of AP, burst, and movement speed to help make up for Xerath's lack of mobility.

Rylai's Crystal Scepter: This is also a good choice as a second item. It offers a lot of AP, survivability with the HP, and a great passive slow that makes hitting your abilities easier, especially your ultimate. I usually don't buy this until later in the game when your opponents have more items and likely more movement speed.

Rabadon's Death Cap: Xerath has very high AP ratios, so Rabadon's Death Cap gives you a massive power spike. I usually buy this as a third item. It will allow you to take half the health out of a squishy ADC.

Void Staff: I like to buy this mid to late game when the enemy team starts building a lot of magic resistance.

Situational Items:

Zhonya's Hourglass: This item is suboptimal since Xerath should always be in the back line. That said, it is very strong against Zed and even Talon. If you're getting killed by them constantly it might be worth picking up.

Abyssal Scepter: This item is suboptimal because Xerath shouldn't be in range for the aura passive. Only get this if you're getting killed by champions like Leblanc, Diana, or Akali.

Liandry's Torment: This item gives you more magic penetration but it feels rather lacklustre. There are usually better options.

Rod of Ages: Xerath is strong at all stages in the game but works best when he gets an early advantage. Rod of Ages scales great into the late game but can make it difficult to snow ball from the early game and exert more pressure.

Hextech Protobelt: The active is nice for escapes but this item doesn't provide enough AP. Rylai's is usually a better purchase.

Hextech GLP-800: Xerath usually isn't in range to use the active. That said, it provides a good amount of AP, health, and mana.

Mejai's Soulstealer: Only buy this if you're absolutely stomping the game. Losing stacks upon death HURTS!

Bad Items:

Nashor's Tooth: Xerath doesn't use attack speed well.

Lich Bane: Using auto attacks is inefficient mid/late game to get full use of the passive. Trying to proc the spell blade passive puts you in danger.

Hextech Gunblade: The AD is wasted on Xerath and almost all of his abilities are AOE making the heal passive weak.

Athene's Unholy Grail: The passive is useless on Xerath and gives barely any AP.

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Early Game

Xerath is a lane bully and early game you will want to assert as much pressure in the lane as possible. The best scenario would be to get an advantage by getting your opponent to back before level 6. Fortunately, Xerath's Q and W are not blocked by minions. I cannot emphasize this point enough. You MUST bully your opponent to be effective. There are very few champions that can bully Xerath so take advantage of that.

That said, the difficulty is that all of Xerath's abilities are skill shots so a lot of practice will be necessary in order to bully your opponent out. If you can't land skill shots you will do no damage. If you find your opponent is hard to hit then try to call for ganks to get early kills.

You will also want to be sure to auto attack your opponent or minions every time your passive is up so that you don't run out of mana.

The first item that you will want to build is Morellonomicon. This item is perfect for Xerath. It gives him a lot of AP, CDR, and even more mana sustain. Optimally you will be able to at least buy the Lost Chapter component and boots on your first back. After you finish Morellonomicon, complete Sorcerer's shoes.

Your second full item will usually be Luden's Echo. It provides you even more AP, more burst, and movement speed that allows you to get out of sticky situations.

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Mid/Late Game

Mid game is where Xerath shines. Xerath is very good at assisting in kills in the jungle or in other lanes with his ultimate. Xerath is also great at sieging with his long range poke and safety. That said, Xerath should almost never be trying to take down an inner turret without allies around as he will be an easy target for assassins and fighters.

Late game, Xerath still does a great job at dishing damage to the back line. You will need to position properly though as hard CC from the enemy team can leave you extremely vulnerable. Furthermore, you always need to be cautious for flanks. Optimally you will aim your damage towards the champions that have the least MR or have the greatest kill pressure. ADCs are usually very squishy and you can usually poke them out since they need to focus on targets that are closer to them. Try your best to do as much damage as possible before a big fight starts out to greaten your chances of winning the fight.