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Xerath Build Guide by throatslasher

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League of Legends Build Guide Author throatslasher

Competitive Xerath

throatslasher Last updated on March 19, 2013
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Middle Lane
Ranked #4 in
Middle Lane
Win 53%
Get More Stats

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.



Offense: 21

Honor Guard

Defense: 9


Utility: 0

Hi, I'm throatslasher, and I'll be bringing you the CORRECT way to play Xerath. I have recently picked him up in the wake of his prominence in recent tournaments. His power was previously unknown in regards to his silent synergy with S3 changes.

I am currently Diamond V in solo queue, and I was a mid main in season 2. I recently switched to jungle and ADC, but I can still hold my own mid. I was searching for a new mid to main, and after trying out the "NEW" Xerath, I've found him to be stupidly overpowered. I am also writing this guide because there is no guide on mobafire that is correct in terms of build or items. I have come to personally believe that Xerath IS one of the strongest mids in the entire game, and I'll show you why. This will be a quick-ish guide due to time constraints and his general playstyle is ez-peasy
My style of guidewriting is to tell you what I do while offering some potential alternatives. If you disagree with the core of what I lay out, you've been warned. If you want to take my advice and experiment with some of the alternate builds/paths I lay out, that's certainly fine.

Instead of typing out Arcanopulse or locus of power a hundred times, I may refer to his spells by the default hotkeys of Q, W, E and R. I am clearly referring to their respective spells.

Just use these runes. I have yet to experiment with "TeH PRoZ RunE BuiLd" but I find the armor/mr/mpen/ap page to work fine.


You MAY try substituting flat or scaling mana regen yellows for the armor seals. It may work in certain situations, and it may warrant some playtesting. VS ad mids, always take armor seals. Duh.

Standard caster masteries. Teh ProZ build go 9 defense, but I prefer utility. I suggest you experiment with both, but I like the early mana regen and the extra blue buff duration.


9 Defense is REALLY nice on Xerath, especially if you go "teh pro" runes. It allows you to round out your MR as well as have a nice health bump early and late.

A given. Never play Xerath w/o flash.

I have really come to like teleport on some mids. It gives you a lot of global presence. Also, one good teleport early game can literally win the entire game. Since Xerath has so much range, it's really hard to think of another summoner that will really impact Xerath's teamfighting, so it's conceivable that NO summoner will help his teamfighting, so you might as well take teleport. There may be some other viable options, though...
I don't like it. I think it doesn't really do that much for you. It may save you from a jam or two early game, but in the late teamfighting stages, it becomes less and less useful. There is just so much in the meta right now that can't be cleansed ( Jarvan IV ult/knockup, Vi ultimate, Xin Zhao knockup, etc) that it hardly makes it worth it. Might be worth it in certain situations and it may warrant playtesting.

This thought has some promise. It will allow you to bait a bit in lane as well as absorb some burst in the early stages of teamfights. I personally think it's a SELFISH summoner spell, and it really won't have the same impact on a game that teleporting bottom and getting a double kill. At BEST, you can use it to bait a stupid jungler to a death as you activate barrier with 50 hp left. Or MAYBE you can save yourself from an all-in from your enemy laner. But that's just wishful thinking. If you play Xerath right, nobody should be able to GET to you in teamfights, making this less than useful. Still better than some other spells, though.

I don't like this. It gives you some kill potential in lane, but so what. In teamfights, you'll be so far away from your targets, you usually won't even use this, except MAYBE on their front line or something. Morellonomicon does 'damage healing', so you don't have to pack ignite vs heavy healers like Swain or Dr. Mundo or Vladimir. Don't take ignite.

Ghost, anything else: Meh. Not really necessary.

Teleport will do the most for you and your team. Too good to ignore. Take teleport and keep an eye on bot lane.

ascended form
Pretty forgettable passive. 15% isn't very much, and it's armor, so...
Don't bank on this passive, pretend it doesn't exist. If they have heavy AD, you still need to build armor. Consider 4th item seeker's armguard->zhonya's. If you're vs an ad lane, you can pick up a Seeker's Armguard earlier, after kage's.

This is your BnB farming/poke spell. You get a ridiculous power spike every 2 levels as you rank this skill up. Your power level increases dramatically from 4 to 5, 5 to 6, 6 to 7, and 7 to 9. Try to make plays in these windows. Once you have rank 5 Arcanopulse, you can two shot a creep wave with back to back q's. Also, you will bring the caster minions down to 1 AA from death with 1 q. To farm that back wave quickly, auto each one once and Q them to secure all 3. Or, with blue buff and some cdr, blow 2 q's on a wave to secure all of the cs.

This is also your main poke skill. I won't give specifics on how to poke effectively with this spell other than ACTUALLY HIT IT. This requires predicting their movement, and/or harass them when they commit to a cs.

locus of power
This is what makes Xerath god-mode. 40% magic pen on all of your spells makes you the ultimate MR shredding beast. Also, with the RIDICULOUS range enhancement, you can blast their back line with q's and r's from an entire screen away. Get creative with locus to secure easy q's by ducking into fog, activating w, blasting them with q, and then return to lane. It's free cost, so use it liberally. I will include a live commentary of a Xerath game at some point and explain more.

mage chains
Single target nuke. Nothing special. Hit them with this spell during an all-in and hit them with another spell to stun them. It's extremely easy to stun someone if you follow up mage chains with your ultimate, but it's still quite easy to e+q for a stun at early levels with some practice. Xerath is a big early game threat as an unexpected stun from Xerath can lead to their death or a blown flash if you have good jungler presence.

This spell synergizes well with Xerath's kit, and it has GODLY range during locus of power. You get 3 casts, and you get a lot of time inbetween each cast before it goes on cooldown. I recommend you always try to cast this spell in locus of power if locus is level 3 or higher OR you need the range. It's on an extremely short cooldown once you finish morellonomicon, so don't be afraid to spam it if you'll hit a lot of your enemies safely, or to zone, or whatever you can think of.

Since there is so much time allowed between casts, it would be prudent not to throw any casts away. If you are pretty sure you will miss the third cast from your current position, you have a small window of time to hold onto it if you want to reposition and cast it when you'll get more use.

Start with:
, x4, x2, sight ward

kage's lucky pick, boots, , ,

Mana sustain items:

End game offensive options:
, , , (BLECH)

End game defensive options:
, , ,

7th item:
Upgrade HG into

But Throat, you said Morellonomicon sucked!

Yeah, I know. I'm allowed to change my mind. It's ridiculously cost effective and it gives Xerath BOATLOADS of CDR for next to nothing. It doesn't have the mana sustain that Athene's has, but with careful mana management and blue buffs, you can handle it. Haunting Guise is your next big buy. Once you finish morello's, sorc shoes, and HG, you should be noticing a huge power spike when you blast people during locus of power. For end game options, you typically want 5 offensive items and 1 defensive items, and the choice is on you. If they are a magic damage heavy team that is initiation based, you may want a b-veil (blocks ashe arrow, malphite ult, etc). If they have heavy AD sustained damage, you might want a warmogs (j4 etc). If you end up picking up a rylais (not recommended), I find GA combos quite well with the large health pool you'll have. I find rylais to be an effective defensive option on Xerath as it not only brings some extra utility to his kit, it also allows him to somewhat peel for himself. If they don't have hard gapclosers like j4, jax, irelia etc and instead have soft gapclosers like volibear, a single 'e' may provide enough slow for you to acheive a safe distance and lay your combo down in locus of power. I would definitely not consider rylais to be anywhere near core on xerath.

The HARDEST thing about Xerath is managing his early/mid game mana issues, and if you MUST, you can break down and buy an early chalice of harmony. This will really slow down your build, but it will allow you to keep up the pace of your harass. I would NOT recommend tear of the goddess. It eats up an item slot and has ****py upgrades, unlike chalice, which can be built into athene's as a 5th-6th item, but I wouldn't recommend Athene's and I wouldn't recommend chalice of harmony.

Early Game (lvl 1-5)
During the early laning phase (lvl 1-2), I highly prefer to play a somewhat passive game, depending on my lane opponent. Against a melee opponent like akali, I get very aggressive at level 1 and harass her with auto attacks. Against ranged opponents/opponents with high range, I play a bit more passive.

Once I hit level 3, rank 2 q does quite a bit more damage than level 1 q, so I start poking with q's. If there's a chance I'll miss a q, I usually don't throw it, since I'm liable to push the lane, which can be dangerous. After a few minutes, throw your ward in the top lane brush for safety. I play a bit passive at level 4, but I still go for cheeky w+q's from fog on my opponent. Once I hit level 5, I get VERY aggressive with my q's, and usually start chugging mana pots to get ready for my full combo at 6.

Mid Game (lvl 6-13)
Once I get my ultimate, and maybe even at level 5, I'll always keep an eye on bot lane. I'll take note of where my allied wards are in case I need to Teleport in. Otherwise, if no ganks or fights present themselves, I'll usually be content with pushing my wave and securing all of the cs as I work towards Morellonomicon, Haunting Guise, and then sorc shoes. Get every blue, and make sure you abuse w+q combos every time they're off cooldown when you have blue buff. Push, CS, tele-gank, and push some more. If your opponent is stupid enough to get chunked and stay, you can probably burst down a half hp opponent with a full combo.

Late Game (lvl 14+)
Stay grouped. I'll give a rundown on how to play Xerath in teamfights:

Basically, you want to stay mobile, and well behind your front line. The job of your front line is to hold a line, and keep enemy gapclosers from jumping on you. If their dps gets to you/your back line, you're ****ed. So, ideally, lets say your front lines smash into each other, and you're well behind your front line. Then, you want to E+Q and early threat, and then activate W. Begin throwing out ultimates on clustered groups of enemies (preferably their back line), and cast Q on any enemies that are lined up when it's available. That's how you teamfight.

However, if you see a disjointed fight, or they have gapclosers that can't be stopped ( Akali coming late to a fight, Kassadin, Twisted Fate, Wukong), then it is ideal that you stay mobile and keep kiting. If you get jumped on, immediatly e+q and back up. Hopefully your front line will turn around and peel for you. If they do, continue to walk back a bit, activate locus, and let loose. If they do have gapclosers you can't stop, you should pick up a Zhonya's Hourglass after guise, sorc, and morello. Then, when Akali jumps to you, you can throw down a pink ward, stun her, and then zhonyas. Laugh as your team cleans her up.

With Xerath, most matchups can be played exactly the same way. If there is someone you heavily out range, harass with autos and q's. If there is someone you kind-of out range, harass with q's. If you're against someone that you can't stick damage to, don't waste your time trying.

You need to assess how much pressure the junglers can exert on your lane. If they have someone crazy aggressive like xin or j4, you should play on your back foot and avoid pushing at all costs. If they have ww, push to your heart's content. If YOU have a j4, you may feel a little bold and harass anticipating a hero-gank. If you have a ww, don't expect him to do anything for your lane until he hits 6, which will take forever.

On the next chapter you will find the most common matchups you'll encounter. I intentionally left out champs that 'aren't in the meta' because who cares. These care champs that you may see and you will need to know how to fight:
(Note: In all of these matchups, their starting items and subsequent purchases play a major role in how you should approach the lane. If your lane opponent shows up with ample sustain, you should probably try to stick damage to him later rather than sooner. If your lane opponent shows up with a Doran's Ring for some idiotic reason, or boots of speed 3 hp pots, or NO magic resist in their runes, you should definitely force trades early and often to force them back or kill them.)

This guide will follow a difficulty rating:
Green = easy
Orange = Medium
Red = Hard

Master Yi
Twisted Fate

Your q is slightly longer than her q. Make sure you keep your lane warded and harass when it's available. If you can't forge an advantage, force the lane to devolve into a push lane, and you will outroam her with your teleport. Charm is very deadly. If she starts skirting your creeps to get a free shot at you, run. Call for jungle ganks before she hits level 6. She's extremely vulnerable to getting ****ped on before 6.

Akali is very vulnerable to your poke and auto attack harass. You should concentrate heavily on taking free harass, but be warned. Most akali's start with a billion health pots (9+), so you will probably run out of mana before she runs out of health. Make sure you harass with your q at level 3, 5, and 6 to get the most bang for your mana. If she doesn't have sufficient sustain, **** on her with auto attacks and out roam her with teleport..

This lane will quickly turn into a farm lane. You can easily harass her with q's when she commits to cs'ing with her auto attack. If she won't let you kill her, shove her into tower as much as possible before level 6 to make her miss cs and roam with your level 6+ and teleport. If you are ahead, ward up her blue buff and deny her 1st blue buff typically around 7:10-7:15 (If their jungler started blue). If Anivia misses her first blue, she's completely screwed.

You outrange her completely. Call for jungle ganks and bait her into getting too close and then stun her. She can be a threat once she's 6, but you don't have to get near her. Call for your jungler early and often. Be wary of when she has pyromania up. She can flash+stun you as her jungler jumps up your butt, which WILL kill you, but that's about the only way.

You slightly outrange him with w+q. You should just concentrate on cs until level 5, and then start harassing him HEAVILY with q's in preparation for your full combo at 6. If you have a good jungler, encourage him to abuse brand's lack of mobility.

Cass can out range you and out damage you. She can push just as hard with blue buff, but you can completely burst her down with your ultimate combo and you can outroam her easily with teleport. In the current meta, nobody just picks cass on a whim. If they pick cass, odds are they know what they're doing. Be wary.

The thing about lane Cho'gath is that his passive scales extremely poorly. His level 1-3 sustain is ridiculously high, but it quickly falls off while Xerath's damage just goes up and up and up. With that in mind, you should avoid harassing him too hard early as it will just push your lane and he will sustain it all back. Once you hit level 3-5, encourage your jungler to gank mid and blow Cho's flash.

Diana is extremely tanky during the laning phase, but she has no sustain. If she has a low sustain build, harass her starting at level 1 with auto attacks and the occasional q. She also has no mobility. Call for ganks, harass hard at level 5+, and out roam her with teleport. Once she hits 6, obviously, be wary. You can bait her to a death by calling for a jungler to sit nearby as you intentionally get too close to diana. If she takes the bait and rushes in, E+R + Jungler = dead Diana.

Gragas is just a big fat target. He has no choice but to eat your harass early. Once he gets some levels, it will probably devolve into a farm lane. Be wary of his ultimate. His sustain scales well, so your window to kill him is from 5-9, or earlier with jungle ganks.

Farm lane. You can easily kill him with a gank and a stun combo. If he has a low sustain build, blast him with q's starting at level 3. If he's playing the lane well, put the brakes on your harass and just cs. You can push into his tower and force him to cs under pressure.

Play against Kass like you would vs Akali if akali had way less sustain. Kass is a huge target and not any kind of a threat early game. Your job is to deny him cs and potentially even kill him. If your jungler is positioning to gank, don't push. If your jungler won't gank soon, harass and push as hard as you can (but make sure you conserve your mana). Whenever he roams bottom, if you can turn the fight, teleport down there with him.]

sinister steel
This will quickly devolve into a farming lane, especially if she starts 9 hp pots -> hextech revolver. You can kill her, but she can not kill you.]

Kayle can heavily out damage you if she can get in range to q you and auto you a few times, but you shouldn't even let that happen. Keep your distance, and don't dare harass her with auto attacks as that will put you in range of her q. Always be wary of her ultimate. When attempting to burst someone down in your lane and kayle is 6+, be wary that if you don't cc kayle, she will probably get her ultimate off and negate a good amount of damage. The way around this is to kill Kayle outright (post your 6) while she's stunned from your mage chains. This is practically impossible if Kayle is over half hp unless your jungler is helping.

He has no sustain and you out range him. He also has no reliable way to push a wave, so harass early and once you get a blue or some items, shove waves. He should make it difficult to land anything on him due to his high farming range. If he doesn't, punish him.

If you play this right, you can force kha'zix out of lane. Harass him down with auto's and q's. This will force him to use his spikes for sustain, which can push the lane in your favor.

Mirror ImageSigil of Silence
Leblanc can outtrade you quite hard at all levels. Her silence will also interrupt your level 6 combo, making you a sitting duck. You can put damage on her as she cs'es, but it probably won't stick if she has MR quints. Your only shot at beating a competent leblanc is with ally jungler ganks. I'm not quite sure how to win this matchup, so make sure you stay alive and healthy and look for action bottom.

Lux outranges you and outtrades you, but you don't have to trade with her. If you're playing low elo, you can probably try to poke her down. If she knows what she's doing, stay away from her. She'll kite you and spam you with e's all day and you won't hit her with much of anything.

Master Yi
This matchup is nightmare mode. He will out push you, out harass you, and sustain all damage you can put on him instantly. Your only shot is to play far back and wait for jungler ganks. Once you finish morellonomicon, the lane gets a lot easier due to the damage healing. You don't have enough mana regen early to make any real damage stick on him, so just try to stay healthy and farm.

Morde can definitely outpoke you and shield your harass, but he can't really avoid pushing the wave and he can't avoid your e+q combo. If you have a ganking jungler, he will have a really bad time. After a while, the lane should devolve into a farm lane.

You have a very dominant early game compared to nidalee. Her heal costs a lot of mana, so you can easily force her out of lane with strong harass. She isn't a threat until 6 or if she is hitting spears. Put on your juke shoes and you'll win the lane. She can't farm off of tower very well before 6, so if you get a chance to SAFELY push a wave or 2 into her tower, she'll be hard pressed to get that cs while avoiding your harass.

You out range orianna quite heavily. There isn't much to say about this matchup. Poke her and aggravate her, and then bait her hard when your jungler shows up and smash her with an e+q combo to set up kills.

Most ryzes run MS quints and 21 utility, making him very light on his feet. Ryze can make big plays by just charging you and catching you off guard. You have a window of smashing ryze. He should have 4 hp potions which sucks, but it's managable. Call for jungle ganks and wait for level 5 to really let loose as much harass as you can.

Swain is a complete pushover until level 6. Until level 6, he'll only have potions for sustain. The only spell he has that he could possibly ever hit you with is w, but you shouldn't be getting hit with random nevermoves. Blast him with a MAX RANGE Q or W+Q when he tries to cs with his auto attack. If he gets his full e+q+w combo off at any time, it may crush your health depending on his runes. Keep him at bay with max range Qs.

You outrange her, and she should run out of mana before you do. Harass, but stay mobile to dodge her stun combo.

Twisted Fate (AP)
Twisted fate can be a tricky lane. A great twisted fate will never even try to trade with you. A bad twisted fate will get too close and will let you harass him down. He technically shouldn't be able to put any damage on you whatsoever, so I'm calling this lane very easy. The only way he can touch you is flash+gold card so be wary if he just charges you with a gold card for no reason. You're probably getting ganked.

Vlad is a complete pushover until he hits level 7 and 9. Harass him down, but more importantly, shove waves into his tower. Vlad pre 5 can't cs for **** off of tower. Once you finish morellonomicon, you should be able to stick him with a damage healing debuff during your combo which will really screw with him. Once he finishes revolver, it will be pretty much impossible to make any damage stick on him. Either roam and gank or farm and push.]