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Xerath Build Guide by Penita13
Death, Too Unreal - S7 In-Depth Xerath Guide (Mid & Sup)By Penita13 | Updated on September 28, 2017
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Choose Champion Build:
Xerath AP Mid-lane
VS. Caster Mages
VS. Burst Mages
Xerath AP Support
VS. Dominant Opponents
VS. Passive Opponents
With Immobile ADC
With Mobile ADC
Threats & Synergies
She is your greatest counter. With her 'w', she can reach you in teamfights with ease, burst you down and get out as quickly as she reached you before the fight even starts. Also, she can easily dodge your ultimate. Her passive, which gives her invisibility for a few seconds if she gets low, doesn't help either. Farm and try not to die. push her in early on, as she can't farm well under her turret, but stay at a safe enough distance so you don't get caught by her chains. Never go into the jungle alone, as she will pick you off and kill you. Stay behind your tanks and save your 'e' for when she goes in on you. If you're lucky enough to predict her movements and hit the stun or get a Zhonya's off, you have a small chance of surviving. Other than that you can only farm and pray that she gets exploded quickly.
Even though he is not as dangerous as Leblanc, he is still extremely difficult to play against. He has a good 'point-and-click' gap closer with which he can get to you easily or hardcore parcour over the walls for an escape.. If he uses it on you, try to stun him, walk back a bit, and launch your combo on to him, as he has no escape left. His ultimate gives him invisibility as well as damage, making him extremely unpredictable. He doesn't have a very good early-game, so try to bully him in lane. He can cheese you at levels 2 and 4 though, so don't get cocky when he is poked down a bit. Keep poking him down and denying him minions. After level 6 he gets a lot of kill-potential with his ultimate. Don't wander off into the jungle without vision and try to force teamfights rather than small skirmishes. If you are grouped he can't jump on you as easily. To aid in this, buy a Seeker's Armguard early and finish this as your second or third item. Poke him down before a teamfight starts. If you succeed, he can't go in on you as he'll die after you used your Zhonya's, which is the only way in which you are going to be able to live. If you did your job in the laning-phase, he falls off really hard and can't engage onto you at all. You should take exhaust to negate a portion of his damage that way. If you do this all, you should be able to not lose your lane and as such be able to win. If talon does win the laning-phase, you're in for a rough time.
Even though you don't see him very often in the mid-lane anymore, he is very strong. If you want to win against him, you have to do it during level 1 - 5. Poke him as much as you can, shove him in, make him use his 'e' and deny him as much minions as possible. Make sure he can't roam, as he can easily get a kill there and snowball out of control. If he hits 6, there's nothing you can do anymmore. Sit back, use your spells to farm, and hope you don't get killed under your tower. Your only option is to rush a Zhonya's hourglass for the active and group. His ultimate is on a (relatively) short cooldown and eases his all in with the crowd-control it provides. In teamfights he is less annoying for you, as you are way back, but if he gets fed and blows up your frontline, he will be both legendary AND unstoppable.
This is another very difficult match-up. You can poke her down early on, but she has fairly good sustain with her passive. She can poke you down herself and deal massive damage due to her returning orb dealing true damage. Next to this, she can easily set herself up with her 'Charm' and all-in you. Her ult makes it practically impossible to hit your ultimate, so make sure to use it either to waste her ult, or use it when her ult is down if you want to get a kill. Lategame you have an advantage over her, especially in teamfights, with your massive range, but if she is too fed, she will eventually reach you and kill you with ease. Winning this lane is purely based on the skill of the Ahri you're facing. If you don't come out of lane as equals, your only hope is that other teammates snowball and are able to blow her up before she does so to you.
This bird can be quite pesky to deal with. She has a very poor laning-phase. Her AutoAttack-animation is incredibly slow, so try to shove her into her turret. Buy boots early to be able to dodge her 'q' more easily and respect her ability to wall you off. Don't expect to kill her by yourself, as her passive egg-form gives her a back-up. This doesn't sound that bad, but after level 6 is where she becomes a hell of a lot stronger. An ult + 'e' combo will deal more than half your health. It is on a long cooldown though, so if you see her using her 'e', you can feel a bit safer. Make sure not to feed and wait out the late-game if you didn't win your lane pre-6. She can be relatively tanky, but it still isn't anything to worry about. If you play behind your tanks you should be fine.
This is a difficult match-up. you have to deny her a lot of farm early on by bullying her out of lane and shoving her into her own turret. If you don't win during the first 5 levels, you have a problem. She gets a multi-use 'point-and-click' gap-closer with which she can easily reach you and burst you down. If you don't play extremely safe you'll get taken down in the blink of an eye. If you're level 6 and nobody has done so yet, either ask somebody else to get an upgraded sweeping lense or get one yourself. Activating it when she is in her shroud counters it and gives you vision of her outline. A pink ward does the same, but costs more in the long run if you use this trick more often. During teamfights she can easily reach you and take you down. Save your stun for when she dashes to you and try to poke her down as much as possible before she goes in. Buy a Zhonya's and a Rylai's to force her to use all uses of her ult to stick to you. Ask your team to focus her with CC. Only if she is dead, do you have a shot at surviving the teamfight.
Annie is relatively easy to deal with. Even though she doesn't look that dangerous, she can deal a lot, lot of damage, even without items. Pre-6 you can poke her down due to your superior range, but negating her farm will be difficult due to her 'q'. try to freeze the minion wave in front of your turret and ask your jungler for a gank, as she doesn't have any gap-closers. Don't stand close to her if she has her passive up, because it allows her to get her full combo off and possibly set-up a gank or kill you. This is an example of a match-up in which bringing cleanse as a summoner spell is a perfectly viable option, though barrier will protect you more from her burstiness. Post-lvl 6 the situation changes. Reaching you will still be difficult for her, however getting hit with a flash tibbers into her passive stun will mean your demise in 90% of the cases. As such, I recommend rushing a Banshee's Veil. Try to group with your team and make sure never to be in range for this combo to land. She is quite squishy, so poking her down will win you the fight before it has even started. Similarly, not poking her down and getting engaged upon will make it difficult to turn the fight.
Azir has a good gapcloser with his 'e', but since it doesn't knock you up anymore, he is a lot less scary than he used to be. He can still do a lot of damage though and bully you out of lane, especially in the early-game. Next to this. he can counter your ultimate with his, as it pushes you back and stops the channeling. Play safe in the beginning. Only after you have a few points in your 'q' and some sustain is when you should start fighting him. In teamfights you are kind of eachothers counters. He is a safe mage, just like you, who can deal damage without being close thanks to his soldiers. You, however, with your massive range, can still reach him and poke him down. He, on the other hand, can also catch you out with his ult and has much more mobility than you. So if you go even in lane and you are able to poke him down enough to prevent him from coming close, you will win teamfights. However, if you don't, the situation can get tricky really quickly.
Brand is a scary laner. He has a lot of combos he can pull off, which makes him unpredictable. You can, however, poke him down hard and bully him out of lane without being in constant range of his combo's. Do this with care though, as his power lies in the element of surprise: If you are able to dodge out on one of his abilities, the rest won't deal as much damage, but will still hurt nonentheless. There are 2 viable options here. You can constantly shove the wave into his turret and negate him a lot of farm, as he can't farm well without using a lot of mana. Either that, or you freeze it in front of your own turret and ask for a gank, as he has no escape spells. Both are good options that negate some of his power. In teamfights you can poke him down hard and, as he has no heals or shields, there's nothing he can do about it. If he wants to deal damage, he has to come close, which he can't if you succeeded in poking down. Final tip: stay spread out to prevent his ult from bouncing around your entire team
This matchup is slightly more difficult than others, considering the fact she isn't a mage who relies on a combo. She has sustained damage and can constantly hit you when she is in range. Early on, try to avoid getting hit by her 'q' or 'w', as it will give her stacks of her passive. she has a small powerspike at level 4, when she has 2 points in her 'e', so try to avoid her then. Her 'e' gives her health back, so poking is effective, but you have to do so in a burst, and not once in a while. if she hits a 'q' and she comes after you for her 'e', just stun her with your own 'e'. Avoid shoving her in, as she farms extremely well under her turret. Just like many other match-ups, you scale better into the late-game. This means that playing patiently and safe, especially in the laning-phase, is key. Unless she gets a really good ultimate off, she won't be able to reach you in teamfights. You could buy a Banshee's Veil to protect yourself or simply poke her down and make sure she's too low to get close.
Cho'gath is difficult to play against. He is really tanky and gets health back for every last-hit he gets, which means poking him down is of no use. The only way you can get ahead in lane, is when he makes a massive mistake. His skills all have long cooldowns, so if he misses his 'q', with which he sets himself up, you should try to go in. Ask for ganks as well, as he's very immobile. Try to use all of your spells on him at once for a nice burst and slowly take him down that way. Buy tier 2 boots early to be able to dodge his 'q' more often. If you see he has difficulties landing his spells, you should start poking more, giving you more chance on a kill when he all-ins you. Be careful and don't underestimate his damage, as he can 100->0 you in a matter of seconds by using his ultimate. In teamfights, he is too tanky, so you shouldn't focus him. Stun him when possible and slow him (with a Rylai's) so that he can't eat one of your other carries.
Diana can absolutely destroy you if you don't play cautiously, so you should constantly try to predict her movements. During levels 1-5, she is very easy to deal with. She is melee and doesn't have much damage. Poke her hard and proc your passive on her to keep her on her toes. Shoving her in is possible, but if you give even 1 free kill to her pre-6, you might as well surrender at 10 minutes, because you have lost. As soon as she turns level 6, she gets a powerspike and a half. She gets a point-and-click gap-closer which deals a stupid amount of damage and can reset if she used her 'q' on you before jumping. Afer level 6, play like a little bitch. Let her shove you in, don't bother trying to poke her as it won't do anything. Instead, save your mana to farm under turret and look for a well-timed ultimate on another lane. Buy a Zhonya's as well to allow your team to deal with her when she jumps on you and group as soon as you can. In teamfights she can easily reach you. However, if she doesn't have 3 kills, she won't be able to 1-shot you and will most-likely die quickly. Other than that you can only inform your teammates when she roams, ask for ganks and pray that she's doing an ultimate-bravery build.
Ekko can be difficult to handle. He is quite unpredictable when his dash is up, so hitting your full combo can be a problem. When he tries to all-in you, just use your stun after he has used his dash to counter him. If you miss, you have a problem. To prevent this from happening, play the lane out safely and farm for late game. Avoid letting him proc his passive on you, as it (really) hurts and gives him a considerable burst of movementspeed. When he goes into the sidebrushes, be careful as he might be setting himself up with his 'w', which you can't hear or see coming from that position. When he comes back and plays agressive instantly, walk back and farm there. When he is 6, keep an eye on his ghost following him. don't step too close to it, as he can jump to you and re-engage. In the late-game, being grouped efficiently negates ekko's threat, as Ekko relies on finding picks. Otherwise, he has to get close in a teamfight to damage you, which is difficult if he's poked down. That is your job. If you get him low enough that he has to use his ultimate defensively when he engages, you are likely to win the fight.
AP Ezreal is a bit of an odd one. This adc has some hefty ap-scaling on his close-range abilities, meaning he has to get close to deal damage, leaving him vulnerable. However, he still shouldn't be underestimated. He can easily take you down with his 'e' and 'w'. His ult, which is on a very short cooldown, can deal more than half of your health, so be careful for that. In teamfights, there's nothing he can do to you, except for using his ult. You can easily poke him down and make him scared of going in. Wait till he has used his 'e' before using your 'e', as he can use it to dodge very effectively. Overall he's very mediocre and he can be handeled easily when not fed in the early game.
AP Gragas is heavily underestimated. I think you'll see a lot of them soon, so that's why I discuss him as well. He is naturally tanky, but still deals a lot of damage. He can poke you fairly well with his 'q' and set up a gank with his ultimate and his 'e'. These same abilities can negate ganks from your team easily as well. Try poking him down and denying him farm. This will be extremely difficult to his ultimate, but there's not much else you can do. Keep farming up, preventing him from roaming and hope some other lanes get ahead. His only weakness is his long cooldowns. Look for a window of opportunity when his 'e' / ult is on cooldown and pick him off with your team. In teamfights, he is so tanky that he can reach you, but still have enough damage to burst you down. He can displace you with his ult, thusly interrupting your 'q' and your ultimate. Stun and slow him so that he can't come too far, but otherwise avoid him. Don't go anywhere without your team and their CC / peel if you don't know where the AP Gragas is, because if he sees you all alone, he will hunt for you and take you down.
Heimerdinger is another one of those picks which you barely ever see, but is extremely annoying. He will shove you in early on with his turrets, which is bad for you as you can't farm under tower that well, unless it's with using a lot of mana. You can take his turrets down from afar, however, whicih negates some of his pushing and poking power. Ask for ganks, as he has no escape-spells. If you don't come close to him but do poke him down and bully him out of lane, you have basically won. He won't deal too much damage if he doesn't have any kills and almost no farm. In teamfights you should be able to poke him down really hard, as he is very squishy. Stand behind your minion-wave when possible to prevent his rockets from hitting you and make sure to dodge his grenade, as his turrets will target you as a result.
Jayce is a very good scaling champion. He does a lot of damage, especially lategame, and has excellent poke. He actually has a longer poking range than you, yet your poke can go through minions, while his can't. Use this to your advantage and stand behind minions. He is fairly squishy, so poking him down shouldn't be too much of a problem. If you do get poked down to about 60%, be careful as a full combo can kill you. Fact is that most Jayces farm with their ranged form, so as soon as you see a jayce switch, be careful. He's either going to engage on you, clear the minionwave or set his incoming jungler up for a gank. In teamfights you probably won't be able to reach him, so focus on their other carries. He, however, shouldn't be able to reach you as well if you stay behind your tanks properly. When a teamfight commences, save your 'e' for when he engages on you. Make sure you have a Zhonya's by this time to make surviving a lot easier.
Karma isn't seen all that much in the mid-lane, but is often underestimated. She can deal a lot of AOE damage from early on and scales decently well into the late game, not based on damage but based on the utility her kit provides. You should farm and let her shove you in. Freeze your wave in front of your turret and ask for ganks. You can easily poke her down, but killing her will be difficult as she has a lot of movement speed and a good shield, which you should take into a count when ulting her. In teamfights she can't reach you if you play behind your tanks properly. Make sure you don't get rooted by her 'w' and poke her whenever you can.
Karthus is a champion which scales very well into late game, but doesn't have much lane presence. He can kill you at level 2, but afterwards he shouldn't be able to. He will try and farm up as much as possible, so try to poke him down and bully him out of lane. Stand close to the minions, because his 'q' deals much more damage when you are the only one it hits. Inform your team when Karthus is lvl6, as he can just press R and get a kill. You should be careful for that as well, as you don't have a (built-in) heal or shield. Getting a Zhonya's Hourglass early is a very good way to counter his ult. In teamfights he can't come close enough due to his squishieness, but sit in the backline instead, so you should poke him and ult him eventually. Be careful for his wall which can set-up ganks as well as his passive, as it gives him the opportunity to cast a few more spells after he's dead. In a nutshell, avoid getting close to him, and don't get low.
Kassadin used to be a very big counter to Xerath. He had a good gapcloser which dealt damage, a silence and a shield. This all got nerfed, reduced and removed to a certain extent, which makes him a rather unconventional pick in the current meta (though he is coming back slowly). Even though he has less damage and higher mana-costs, he still is a big pain to deal with. He won't be able to 100->0 you (though it doesn't take 3 rotations of his spells either), but what he can do is get you low enough with 1 all-in that you get afraid to farm, and rightfully so. Ganking him isn't very effective, as he will just jump away. Ulting him is very difficult for the same reason. If you play safe in lane, he can't kill you. Find a balance between playing safe and pressuring him enough that he isn't able to roam. In teamfights, he can reach you but will instantly be blown up if he does so at the start of a fight, so poke him down and make him think twice. Save your stun for when he ults onto you in a teamfight, or for when he wants to towerdive you. If you manage not to feed him and you group with your team properly, you should be able to play the game out rather easily. If you don't, he can still snowball out of control really easily.
Katarina has become a bit less scary in my opinion after her rework. When fed, she's still extremely scary. However, she has become considerably more predictable due to her 'q'. If she throws it, move away from the mark it leaves on the ground, as she can jump to it. To prevent her from snowballing, you should poke her down and shove her in whilst never giving her the oportunity to all-in you. If you don't push, she will and try to roam. After lvl 6, try to save your stun for when she uses her ultimate in order for you to interrupt it. I also recommend thinking about buying a Zhonya's Hourglass, as it counters her ultimate. Katarina is still an assassin, and one with relatively low mobility, meaning that grouping up will make her less threatening. Poke her before a fight starts and never face-check into a bush.
Lissandra is another champion who got nerfed so hard that she has fallen out of flavor. This is something you won't hear me complaining about, as Lissandra is a huge threat for Xerath. She can poke you down eaqually as hard as you with her 'q', though the range is not that large. She has excellent waveclear, a decent gapcloser and 2 hard cc abilities of which she can use 1 on herself to make her untargetable. This allows her to negate the threat that your ultimate brings and lock you down for her team to do the rest. The only reason why I think she isn't the biggest counter is the fact that you can see her gap-closer coming. You can stun her with your 'e' before she jumps to you or use your Zhonya's, which you should build here, to protect yourself. There's not much else you can do in lane, other than farming, not feeding and preventing her from roaming. If you're able to poke her down before a teamfight and make sure she can't go in anymore, you have a good chance at winning. The amount she has to be poked, however, is much higher than with other champions due to her ultimate.
Jarvan IV is a very big counter to Xerath. He can be a cheesy mid-lane pick or be in the jungle. Either way, you are guaranteed going to have a lot of trouble dealing with him. He has good poke with his 'q' and a decently long range gapcloser which knocks you up if he hits you with it. Next to that, his ult locks you in place so that he can AA you as much as he wants. He's quite tanky but is still able to deal an awful lot of damage. In teamfights he will pick you off and kill you or set his team up to kill you if he wants to. You can't do anything about it except for warding if he's in the jungle and staying way back when there's a teamfight. Focus the others before the fight starts and pray that your team can blow his teammates up when he engages.
Lulu will constantly shove you in. She has a 'poit-and-click' silence and a decent amount of poke with her 'q'. However, she's squishy and has no gap-closer, so she's easily bullied and denied. Her ultimate gives her a lot of resistances and allows her to knock you up when you come close. Conclusion: you probably aren't going to kill her after level 6 when she has a few points in her abilities without the help of a jungler who has plenty of CC. In teamfights she is more of a supportive kind of champion and doesn't deal that much damage, or at least as long as you didn't feed her. It depends mostly on your own team who you should poke. Focus the adc over her if you want to get rid of raw damage. Focus her if you want to get rid of the shields that block your engagers.
Lux is a very strong champion in the current meta. Her range, in addition to her high damage and ability to proc thunderlord's in a whiff, make her a very large threat. However, I don't rate her as much of a threat here, mainly because you are just about the only mage who can deal with lux effectively. You outrange her, have (technically) infinite mana with your passive and high late-game damage. To win versus her, you have got to play extremely safe in lane and just farm. Proc your passive off of the minions instead of her, as coming close will mean you'll take a lot of damage in return. After the laning-phase, her immobility will make her very prone to your poke and ult, as well as the CC of your team. If you are versus a lux, xerath is, in my opinion, the best AP-champion to play against her.
Malzahar is known for pushing 24/7. He will push you under turret with his "space-aids" and his little minion buddies and take your turret down as soon as he possibly can. Your wave clear is amazing, making you a decent counter to him. You should ask for help from your jungler, as Malzahar is very immobile, and poke him down when possible (for damage and to get rid of his passive). Try to 'e' him when you see he's about to ult you, as it will prevent him from doing so or, even better, stop his channeling entirely. In teamfights you can poke him down easily, but don't underestimate his flash-ult combo and his damage, as getting hit by his full combo will most likely get you killed.
Morgana mid is damn near never picked, and for a good reason. Even though she counters some mid-laners, there is a significantly larger amount of champions who counter her, including everybody who has decent poke (like Xerath). You can poke her down easily and ult her afterwards. She doesn't have a movement speed buff, so dodging will be very difficult for her. Stand behind your minion wave and buy boots early to be able to dodge her 'q'. Do this, next to avoiding her pool, and you'll be fine. In teamfights all you have to do is avoid getting caught out and she won't be able to do anything to you. You do have to be constantly aware of a bait by her black shield ('e') and a Zhonya's Hourglass (which she most probably will build).
Nidalee mid isn't picked that often anymore, but it is still quite strong. During laning phase, you outpoke her. However, she has a better follow up when she hits her poke, so you have to avoid getting engaged upon. Starting with boots here is recommended. Killing her with your ultimate will be difficult, as she has a jump and a heal, so try to get her really low before ulting. In teamfights you should focus her. You have just about equal range, but yours is AOE, and hers isn't. If she goes in, she wil probably be blown up, so as long as you have her poked down and your 'e' off cooldown. This will make it easy for your team to kill her, so you should be fine.
Nunu & Willump
AP Nunu mid is another one of those cheesy picks. He deals massive amounts of damage with his snowball and his ult, while still being able to deny your poke by gobbling some minions. He has a slow, an attack-speed buff for his allies and a massive AOE ult which scales very well off of AP. If you give him a kill in lane, you're done for. He will buy more AP and kill you easily. In teamfights he won't be able to reach you very easily, but one snowball could still do about 3/4 of your health. Watch out with this match-up and never, and I mean never, face-check a bush.
This is a fairly equal match-up in my opinion. You have better poke, but she can still easily farm from a disctance and poke you back. Orianna is equally prone to ganks, yet she is better at defending herself and setting up a gank than you. Watch out for her ultimate and follow the positioning of her ball. The laning-phase is purely based on skill, so if you want to win lane, you have to make a play. If you want to play it safe, don't force anything, farm and look for the opportunity to ult another lane. Orianna has less damage than you in the late game, but brings much more to a teamfight than you. Again, keep a close eye on her ball and stay away from it, as she can ult your entire team and turn a teamfight around singlehandedly. Try to poke her as much as possible and zone her with your skills. If you are able to get her low and let your team take her out, you have a good chance of winning the fight.
I have played a lot of games, but I can honestly say, I have almost never seen a Swain being played in the mid-lane. Heck, I almost forgot he even existed. Either way, Swain is prone to long-range safe mages, and long-range is what defines Xerath. You can poke him down, after which he either has to go back or use his ultimate to regain some health, the latter of the two being most likely. Because you are so far back, he won't be able to damage you, and when he tries, you just stun him and walk away. Consequently, your damage will be nullified by his ultimate. Next to this, you both have tools for mana-sustain (your passives), meaning this will very much so be a farm lane. As long as you don't die in lane, you've basically won, considering the fact you scale much better and harder than him. He will try to walk into your team with his ultimate on, but he isn't incredibly tanky, so he should die quickly if focused. To ease this proces, poke him down to about half health and then start focusing the ADC. If he walks into your team, you use everything on him, and suddenly it's a 4v5.
Syndra is a pesky opponent. She's fairly equal to you (long ranged mage, low mobility, good poke). This means you two share weaknesses as well as strengths. Ask your jungler to gank once or twice in the early game and create pressure. Try to freeze the wave in front of your turret and poke her as much as you can. Even though your range is longer, she has a lot more burst and initiation potential. In teamfights, you'll be the only one who has long enough range to reach her, so make use of that. You should focus her, which is fairly safe if you stay behind your teammates. Be wary of her long-range stun and the burst from her ultimate. Buy an Adaptive Helm or a Zhonya's, whichever suits the situation best. Winning this match-up will come down to the same thing as with many other mid-laners, yet she differs in the sense that you have to be able to predict her much more (stun, ult, ball placement) while still fullfilling your own role. Definitely one of the harder match-ups.
Twisted Fate is a champion who likes small skirmishes rather than teamfights. He will try to rush to level 6 and try to roam with his ultimate. We don't want to give him this opportuninty, so you should push him into his turret and dodge his 'q'. Try to take his turret as soon as possible: it opens up the map for your team, while making it more dangerous for him to roam. If he draws a yellow card, just walk away. It all sounds easier than it really is, as you are inevitably going to draw the attention of the enemy jungler. That's why you ask your jungler to be able to countergank your lane and turn the fight around. He can also help take the tower when it is low enough. Next to this, make sure to ward one side of the river and stick to that side. In teamfights he doesn't do much unless when ahead. He throws a few cards, but is easily taken down by either you or one of the brawlers in your team. Force him into a teamfight and, if you played your lane properly, you will easily win the fight.
Veigar is incredibly bursty. If he hits his stun in the Lategame, you are basically dead. Simple as that. Try to utilise his poor early-game by poking him hard, pushing him into his turret and negating cs. Whether you win or lose your lane depends on how well you play the first 15 minutes of the game. Veigar is the only AP-champion that scales better into the late-game than you, so you have to win before he reaches this point. He is equally squishy and immobile, but you have a much larger range. Make use of this to the fullest. When he hits level 6, he gets a huge powerspike. Play very safe and don't let him ult you, as it will murder you before you can even blink. In teamfights, as long as you are far back, you should be able to deal with him. However, he has the potential to kill you with a single ultimate. Buy boots early to avoid getting stuck in his 'e' for an early gank. In this case getting a Zhonya's Hourglass is more of a requisite rather than an advice.
Vel'koz is a champion who deals a lot of damage later on, but is extremely difficult to play. If you're up against a good Vel'koz with a good sense of geometry, he will be able to poke you hard while still being able to have the wave frozen in front of his turret. Keep poking him as much as possible, but watch out for possible ganks, as his 'e' makes for a great set-up. Keep your distance and don't die. A Zhonya's Hourglass counters his ultimate, so consider picking that up. In teamfights he deals a lot of damage, but is very squishy. Focus him and you should be able to scare him away so that he can't go in. Ask your jungler for help as he has low mobility. If you can make sure he's behind in the early game, he won't be able to come back (unless you throw really, really hard).
Viktor is a champion who will constantly pressure you. He wants to farm and get his 'e' upgraded before he is really going to try and kill you, but his poke before this point hurts already. You have to delay this powerspike as much as possible by poking him constantly and denying him as much farm as possible. Put a control-ward into a side-brush and stick to that side to play up-front but still be relatively safe. After his upgrade, he starts to hurt even more. Make sure to buy boots to dodge out on the second part of his laser mroe easily. When he decides to pressure you back, ask for ganks, as he is equally immobile. Considering his role in teamfighhts, he is not much different from other AP mid-laners. You have better range, meaning he will have a hard time to reach you. However, when he does and gets his full combo off, you're probably toast.
In a mirror match-up, the one with the most skill, knowledge and experience wins. You have the same strengths and weaknesses, so this is a very self-reflective match-up. Ask your jungler for help and try to get kills in other lanes by ulting them. In a teamfight, the most fed Xerath will be able to take the other one down. Purely skill-based match-up...
This pesky ad mid-laner is quite threatening. I advise you not to take a skill until in lane. If the enemy Yasuo started with his 'e', you should do so yourself as well. If he wants to harass you early on, you can stun him and negate his damage. When he has his shield up, try to AA him and break it before poking. Don't forget his windwall, which can block your 'e'. Buy am early Seeker's Armguard to negate some of his damage and constantly respect his ability to dash onto you. Don't let yourself get knocked up when he has ult, becuase he can burst you down really fast. In teamfigts, he will try to knock up your entire team, so avoid getting near him. When you see he hits someone with his tornado, try to stun him and prevent him from using ult. You can poke him down, but with his shield up it won't do that much. If you don't get behind in the early to mid game, you should be safe behind your tanks.
A good Zed will poke you down hard until you're low enough that he can all-in and ignite you. In this match-up you should take exhaust instead of heal as a summonerspell. If you exhaust the Zed while he has put his deathmark on you, it will negate a portion of the damage and his ability to flee. Stun him when he wants to go forward to harass you and only proc your passive on him when you are absolutely sure his 'w' is down. Play safe and bait out his 'w'. His laning-dominance falls off later on, but he makes up for this by roaming. Keep poking him and as soon as he wiffed his abilities, use your full combo + your ult. In teamfights he will be able to reach you and burst you down while still being able to get out alive. You should poke him down as soon as you see him and save your stun for when he ults you (aim behind you, as that is where he'll land). You should get a Zhonya's Hourglass here, as it counters his ultimate. Get it either as a second or third item (not taking boots into a count). If you and your team didn't feed him 2 or 3 kills, your chances of surviving are a lot higher, but don't prevent him from 100-0'ing you when caught.
Ziggs has some poke, but it isn't reliable and easily dodgeable. Rather than standing behind your minions, stand to the side of them. This way you won't get caught in the splash damage when his bombs hit the minions. He is very squishy, so bullying him shouldn't be very difficult. He has low mobility, so ask your jungler for some help and shut him down. Be careful when he gets 6, as his kill-potential gets much higher afterwards. A zhonya's early on can be useful here, but if you are dominating your lane, you should just get more damage and keep killing him. In teamfights he can deal damage from a safe distance, but not safe enough. As soon as he gets close to throw a bomb, you can poke him back with double that damage. You still shouldn't underestimate his burst though.
Zyra has a lot of damage and is able to bully you out easily if you let her plants hit you. She is very squishy though, so your spells should land hard. She has low mobility, so your jungler should gank her a lot. Kill her plants as soon as possible, as you get gold for them and otherwise she shoves the wave into your turret constantly. Utilise your range to poke her down and ult afterwards. If you dodge her root, you should be fine. Target her before teamfights with 2 q's and she has to go back. However, if you fail in landing your skills, she will use her ult on your team with her plants in them, making her a very scary team-fighter. Lastly, beware of her passive, which shoots a final 'bullet' after her death.
Sona is picked as a support most of the time. However, there's a small chance you'll encounter a mid Sona, and if you want to win against her, you have to know how. Sona is extremely strong early game. She brings a lot of early poke and some good sustain. However, if she tries to poke you, she'll run out of mana really quickly. That's when you have to start hitting her back hard. Until then you should wait it out and keep farming. When she is low on mana, poke her and deny her farm, but make sure she can't burst you down. Asking for ganks is effective as well, as she has no gap-closing abilities besides her flash. Survive the early-game and in the mid- to late-game you will completely and utterly destroy her. She is really squishy and brings no CC besides her ult, which is on a relatively long cooldown. She can't reach you during teamfights and she'll probably be taken down really quickly. Not too much of a problem if you play the lane out patiently.
Aurelion Sol is a champion with a lot of potential. When played correctly, he has some good zoning and poke in lane, whilst also scaling decently well into the late-game. He has the potential to stun your entire team with his starsurge. However, coming across an actually good Aurelion Sol player is (luckily) a rare thing. In teamfights he has to come relatively close in order for him to do damage to you with his passive / W. This trades back into him being relatively tanky, making him difficult to poke down. When facing an Aurelion Sol, try to keep farming and aim for late game. He is also easily kited, meaning a Rylai's is very effective against him. Don't try to force anything, as you will simply get punished for it. Try to play safe, as Aurelion Sol excels at setting up ganks. If you're lucky, your opponent will use his 'q' and end up in a risky position. You shouldn't shove, but ask for ganks instead, as he has no gap-closer other than his 'e' which can be easily canceled by simply hitting him. You deal more damage and you deal it from a safer distance, but don't underestimate him. Stay aware of the possible engage with his 'q' or ultimate. This is, in my opinion, a match-up in which your enemy mid-laner is not your primary target in teamfights. He is simply too tanky with his Items and you would just be wasting your mana and cooldowns on him. Try to go for the ADC when possible and othwerwise play the waiting game and poke him out slowly. If you haven't fed Aurelion Sol in the early- to mid-game, you should be fine.
Taliyah is a mage who has quite some poke. She has a displacement spell which she can combine with her 'e' to deal a tremendous amount of damage. Even though she's very good at poking, she is extremely predictable. If she wants to poke, she's going to want to step off of her 'worked ground'. If you see her doing so, simply step back. Her full combo will be initiated through throwing her 'e' on the ground and knocking you into her 'w', you are going to want to dodge it. Buy boots early on and consider picking up a Banshee's Veil as well if you don't feel comfortable against her. Post level 6, she is going to try and roam with her ult. Try to find a balance between playing safe and pressuring her until you have an item or two. Afterwards you start to deal too much damage for her to handle. As long as you keep playing smart and poke her effectively, she'll have a hard time. However, if you feed her, you can only farm and pray she won't snowball the other lanes. In teamfights she has the ability to split your team with her ultimate. Try to stick with your team as much as possible and siege turrets. She's not very good at defending, so as long as you don't give her the ability to engage, you're fine.
Threats & Synergies
Graves is seen most often in the jungle and the top-lane, but I have come across a few bot-lane graves players. He is a very up-close champion. You, on the other hand, have a very long range, which is why you have an easy time when dealing with a graves. Even though he is relatively tanky, you should be able to poke him down. You should use the bushes in your lane, but don't stand too close to the wall, as Graves' 'q' can detonate off of it immediately and deal a lot of damage. Do keep his burst in mind though. His ult can be fired from a long distance and can easily finish you off. His dash makes it more difficult to land your spells, but that shouldn't be much of a problem concidering its long cooldown.
Kog'maw is the squishiest ADC in the game. Next to that he doesn't have any gap-closers. This means that he is a really good target for your spells. He is a very good scaling champion. This means that it is your job to give him an as hard time in lane as possible. Don't be afraid to use all of your mana on poking him, because his kill-pressure in lane is extremely low (unless he has a blitzcrank as support). In the late-game he is still very pokeable. However, if he gets a few items, he will be able to literally 2-shot you. Avoid getting close to him and stay behind your tanks. If you poke him down enough, he will be blown up without difficulties.
This champion is hardly ever seen anymore. Her low play-rate doesn't mean you are 100% guaranteed to win though. Ashe has a poor laning-phase up and until level 6. She can poke you with her 'w', but this will lead to a depleted manapool for her. Due to her squishyness and her immobility, she can be poked down really easily. However, as soon as she reaches level 6 she gets an engage tool with which she can stun you for a few seconds. This can cause you or your teammate to be caught out. I advice you to get a Mikael's Crucible, as it can deny the stun. In the late-game she can deal a fair amount of damage, so you should focus her with your poke. It overall shouldn't be too difficult for you, but you must not underestimate her.
This serial killer can't kill your thirst for blood as long as you handle him in a smart way. In lane, Jhin revolves around the 4th shot of his passive. It is a guaranteed crit, which can hurt very much. Try to prevent getting in his range when the animation for this 4th shot can be seen and you're fine. Jhin has a lot of bush-control with his Teemo-like traps. They don't deal damage if you step on them, but when they explode after a short while they can most definitely be felt. So when you trip one of these mines, make sure to leave its circle as fast as possible. Try to dodge his 'w', especially when he has his passive applied onto you, as it will snare you and make you vulnerable. Next to this, make sure you don't stand close to the minions. When he bounces his 'q' off of it, in particular when it kills the first minion it touches, it will do a good chunk of damage. After he hits level 6, he gets a long-range sniping ability with which he can easily finish you off. Try not getting too low (say, under 2/5 health) and, when you do get low, try to heal up with one of your potions. In teamfights you should be able to focus him quite effectively. He has no gap-closers, but gets a decent burst of movement-speed when he crits. If you stay behind your tanks and do your thing, you should not have to worry about him.
Sivir is an easy champion to play, but therefore doesn't have a lot of outplay potential. This is good for you. Sivir is a real 1-trick pony. She will push you in hard in lane with her 'q' and her 'w', which at the same time are good poking abilities. After she has reached level 6, she will look to group and use her ultimate to engage or catch out one of your allies. Stopping her will be difficult due to her spellshield, which gives her some nice mana when procced. What you want to do is poke her as always. Getting bush-control is quite useles, due to the fact that she will push. Avoid poking her with her 'w', because it will proc her spellshield and give her some easy mana. Only poke with your 'q'. When engaging, try to get close before using your 'e', as it will give her less time to react. In teamfights you should simply not wander off. She can deal some nice damage and reach you even behind your tanks. However, she is quite squishy and immobile without her ult. Try to engage onto them before they engage onto you and you will have a good shot at winning the fight.
Corki is known for his mixed-damage, which makes it difficult to itemise against him. In the early stages of the game, all you have to worry about is dodging out on his 'q', as it hits hard. Buying boots early on can help you with this, but if you have proper bush-control you don't necesarilly need to. Once he gets level 6 he will use his ultimate to get a lot of sheen-procs onto you. Try to dodge out on the rockets that are coming your way and keep trying to poke him. He has a good escape spell, but due to its high mana-cost and cooldown he will most likely only use it when the situation is getting really tricky for him. Once you hear the buzz, it means Corki has his passive up. Play really safe until he has used it, because it's practically a free Rumble ultimate. Corki's power lies in the mid-game. If you manage to delay his power-spike enough, he will not be able to do a whole lot. As long as you keep focusing him, you should be able to keep him at bay.
Ezreal is a poking ADC. He relies on stacking tear of the godess and poking you with his 'q'. He is not hard to play against, in the sense that as long as you dodge out on his skillshouts, you're fine. Get tier-2 boots early and poke him hard. He has a blink with which he can dodge, but it will not be enough to stop you. Be careful for his ult, as it can finish you off easily. In teamfights you have the superior poke, so this should be an easily won fight.
This annoying (b)rat can become your worst nightmare if you feed him some kills. He has immense late-game scaling and can reach you due to his ult. In lane, he will try to farm and poke you after some AAs with his 'e'. The invisibility from his 'q' can come as a surprise and can really catch you off guard. Try to deny him minions by punishing him for his immobile kit. In teamfights he will try to hit your entire team through the use of his ultimate. Make sure to focus him with your abilities and get him as low as possible before the fight starts. If your team is able to reach him, you can win the fight easily. However, if you and your ally have fed him one or two kill sin the lane, you have a problem. But it comes down to the same principle. If you were able to deny him in lane, he will be less of a threat later-on.
Even though bow and arrow aren't superior to arcane energy, he still deals some heavy amount of damage when he has his items. When you face a Varus, it is key to dodge his 'q'. You can buy boots early on to make it easier to dodge, but if you're able to aquire bush-control, this is not particularly necessary. He is very immobile, but is relatively tanky when compared to someone like jinx. His poke is superior to yours, mainly because you're support - with a full-ap build you would destroy him - but this doesn't mean you should make it easy for him. In fact, he will not focus you, whereas you will focus him hard. When he is low, he can't participate in a fight other than using some spells and hoping not to het engaged upon. If you shut him down in lane like you're supposed to, you'll have an easy time playing it out.
Caitlyn is feared for her long range. She is a true lane-bully and is a very safe ADC. You want to try and achieve bush control. Her traps make this difficult for you. Avoid stepping on them, as she can get a free crit onto you. Your range is superior to hers though, so you should be able to poke her down. She has some mobility with her 'e', but other than that she has no way of dodging your spells. Be careful of the guaranteed crit that her passive gives her. The particles give away when she has her passive up, so keep an eye on that. You should buy boots early on to be able to dodge out on her 'q'. As soon as Caitlyn reaches level 6, she gets a long-range sniping ability which can finish you off if you're too low. You and your teammate can block it though, so whomever has the most health should tank it. In the late-game she is a relatively safe ADC. You can still reach her with your own massive range, so you should focus her hard. If you coordinate with your team, this match-up will not be extremely difficult.
Jinx is a late-game champion, much like yourself. She doesn't have a lot of lane-dominance, but can poke you very well with her 'q' and her 'w'. She will try to farm as much as she can, so her main focus will not be killing you. Make use of this by poking her down hard. Don't get too close, as she can catch you by with her 'e' and get some free attacks onto you. In teamfights, she is a high priority target. She has the potential to wipe your entire team out if she gets the chance to. By poking her, she won't be able to participate into the fight or will be blown up instantly. You should never get close to her when getting out of laning-phase, because she is great at catching people out and she has the potential to 4-shot you with just 3 completed items.
Kalista hops around like a maniac when she gets some attack-speed. This makes it difficult for you to lane your abilities. This is a match-up in which prediction is key. If you can't read her movements, you're going to have a hard time. In lane she's very straightforward to deal with: avoid getting auto-attacked, try getting bush-control and poke her if possible. However, in this match-up it's even more important that you don't let her AA you, because these hops let her stick to you. Next to that, she can hurt you a lot with her rend. After she gets level 6 is when you should really be afraid of her. If she grabs her support with her ult, you should get out of there. It can make for a devastating combo. In teamfights she is difficult to deal with, but there are some champions who are able to deal with her quite effectively, such as malphite. If you want to help your teammates in defeating her, you should prioritise her with your spells and make sure she stays low. If you succeed in doing this, the chances of her surviving long enough to get resets from her rend will be smaller. All in all she isn't much more difficult to deal with than other champions, it's just that she will destroy you if you give her a small window.
Miss Fortune is very much an early-game champion. She has a lot of movement-speed and an ability which can slow you, so it will be difficult to escape from her. Her 'q', when bounced off of a minion, can deal absurd amounts of damage. It is predictable though, so don't lose focus. If you're able to survive her early-game, which is pretty difficult, you've still got her ult to take into a count. It is a large sphere of damaging bullets which reaches very far and can absolutely demolishes you if you stand in it for too long. If you're able to poke her down, which is easier said than done, she won't be a real threat in teamfights. That is, unless you have given her 2 or 3 kills in lane. In that case, you can't come close enough to poke her down really.
This yordle finds her strength in the late-game. However, she is quite a strong laner as well. The passive of her 'e' makes standing in the minion wave something you'll regret. Its active hurts an awful lot if she gets a few AAs of as well. Don't get in range for her to hit it and if she does, stun her and walk away. Even though Tristana isn't very mobile, she does have an amazing (dis)engage spell, her 'w'. This makes it difficult to catch her and engage on her. Poke her down as much as you can and try to punish her as much as possible. In the late-game, she can deal a lot of damage and from an incredibly far range due to her passive. However, she still remains squishy and thus pokeable. She isn´t very unique, so you don´t require a specific approach to be able to deal with her. However, if you don´t deal with her she will become a real problem.
Draven is very difficult to play against. He is incredibly snowbally and can benefit massively from one mistake. In lane, he is quite predictable. He is going to want to farm with his 'q' up and wants to catch his axes. All you need to do is aim your spells on the mark on the ground and you'll hit him 9 out of 10 times. However, he deals an incredible amount of damage early-on. He has a relatively spammable speed-up with his 'w' with which he can dodge out on your spells or catch up to you. Forget bush-control for now. All you should focus on is not giving him kills. If you tied your lane with him, you have the advantage later-on. Only after you have some got all your spells and are at a position in lane in which you feel safe to poke, only then should you start poking. Draven is quite squishy, but still has a lot of lane presence at half health. If you don't get caught by him you should have an easier time. This however goes for your ally as well. But because we only have one peeling ability, it will be difficult for you to manage. This sounds all a lot more simple than it is, but if you play it out correctly, winning should be doable. Honestly though, you should try to avoid picking Xerath support into him.
Lucian is a very strong laner, which means that he is scary for you. He has some good poke with his 'q', but it is predictable, so you should be able to dodge it if you keep an eye on his movements. His passive makes him bursty, which means it will be difficult to trade with him. You can't engage on Lucian if he's full health, as he will simply outtrade you. This means it is your job to poke him down as much as you can. If you don't succeed, the chances of you coming out of lane unscaved will be quite small. He is very mobile with his dash, which is on quite a short cooldown. His ult is a good finisher and his 'w' lets him chace you even better. Avoid getting close to him, as it may very well result in your death. In teamfights he is annoying to deal with, again, due to his mobility. If you poke him down, which is difficult, you will have a better shot at winning the fight. However, this is still not guaranteed.
Vayne is the nightmare of any tank in the game. She doesn't need to be fed or farmed to still do a crazy amount of damage. This is because of her 'w', which does a %health damage on every third hit. In lane you should therefore avouid getting hit 3 times in a row. Vayne is quite mobile with her tumble (q), but is still squishy enough to poke quite hard. And poking is something you should do at anytime, because if she's confident enough to engage onto you, landing your stun is the only way you're going to win. In the late-game she will mostly have an eye for hitting your tanks, which leaves room for some poking to do. However, if you get spotted by yourself in the jungle instead of being in a teamfight, she will easily hunt you down with her passive and ultimate. Her kit leaves little to no room to be shut down when ahead. She is not necesarily snowbally, but rather an unstoppable force. So basically, you have to find a balance between poking her like crazy and playing extremely safe with your tail between your legs. It is going to take quite some games to find out how you can effectively deal with her. But when you do, she isn't the biggest problem you can face.
Mordekaiser, AKA Huehue, is a champion you don't want to face as Xerath support. If he picks Morde into you, you should probably just dodge the game, because there is a 0.01% chance that you're going to win. Mordekaiser basically counters everything that you do. He has some nice heals with his 'w', which speeds him and his support up as well, and his targon stacks. Besides that, there's also a shield from damage dealt which you have to bust through before you can actually damage him. And when you've finally beaten through that all, you'll have used all your spells. He'll run upto you, bop you on the head with his 'q' 3 times and you can say goodbye to 3/4 of your health. Combine that with some natural tankiness, an AOE ability that gives him a lot of that pesky shielding, and a possible dragon pet, and he is litterally a force you can't reckon with. He will destroy you, he will vaporise you, and blood and tears will be shed. I, to this day, have never won a game against Mordekaiser as support Xerath.
Xerath was the very first mid-laner I ever tried. I didn't understand much of him and quickly went onwards to try and find another champion I could understand. Quickly afterwards, when I started to learn how the game works, he gained a special place in my heart and I still play him a lot nowadays.
Even though Xerath is barely ever played anymore, I still feel like he is a very strong pick when in the right hands and that he is extremele underrated. However, Xerath wil work out best if your team has a lot of peel (e.g. Janna or Alistar) and a good frontline (e.g. Alistar, Malphite, Poppy, etc). Only when your team is able to keep you safe on the back-line, should you pick Xerath. But without further ado, let's get straight into the guide.
+Safe to play
|Xerath has a huge range, which makes him a very safe champion. At the start of the game, you can bully the enemy out of his lane and in teamfights you can sit behind your teammates and deal massive damage. Xerath can win a fight before it has even started by targeting the enemy carries and taking them to (below) half-health. His passive, Mana Surge, makes sure he doesn't run out of mana. Combine this with AOE abilities and you've got yourself an incredibly powerful poke and waveclear champion.|
+Prone to burst
+No reliable hard CC
+Abilities hard to land
|Even though Xerath has a lot of damage, he has to give in on mobility. He has no gap-closers and is reliant on escaping using his flash when ganked. This low mobility makes him prone towards burst, as he can't dodge the damage. Next to this, he can't stop enemies in their tracks, as the only form of hard CC Xerath has is a skillshot stun. This, and the fact that his abilities are predictable, makes it relatively hard to land your spells. If you want to survive, you've got to act instead of react and predict the enemies' movements.|
Every 12 seconds, Xerath's next basic attack will restore 30 / 33 / 36 / 42 / 48 / 54 / 63 / 72 / 81 / 90 / 102 / 114 / 126 / 138 / 150 / 165 / 180 / 195 mana.
The amount of mana restored is doubled if the attack target is a champion.
COOLDOWN 12 seconds
RANGE 525 (Auto-Attack)
This passive is fantastic, especially in the laning phase. When used properly, you'll never run out of mana, allowing you to keep poking and shoving enemies in without having to go back. However, With great power comes great responsibility, as walking up too far for your proc can very well mean your death.
This is a passive, so you're not allowed to put any points into this ability.
- Auto-Attacking an enemy with your passive up, will proc it and grant you double the mana you would have gotten otherwise.
- In teamfights, you shouldn't try and auto-attack enemies, except for when their tank is in your face. You shouldn't even be close enough to, as you're supposed to be way back.
Fires a long-range beam of energy, dealing magic damage to all targets hit.
First cast:Xerath charges Arcanopulse, gradually decreasing his Movement Speed by 50% over the next 1.5 seconds, while increasing the spell's range.
Second cast:Xerath fires Arcanopulse, dealing 80/120/160/200/240 (+75% Ability Power) magic damage to all enemies in a line. While charging Arcanopulse, Xerath cannot attack or cast other spells. If Xerath does not fire the spell, half the Mana cost is refunded.
COOLDOWN 9 / 8 / 7 / 6 / 5 seconds
COST 80 / 90 / 100 / 110 / 120 mana
RANGE 750 - 1400
This is your main ability. It gives you the absurd amount of range and poke you are known for. Hitting it can be quite difficult, as the enemy can see your casting animation, but once you get used to the enemie's movements, you can shred their healthbar with ease.
This ability has the second maxing-priority, directly after your ultimate Rite of the Arcane, as it allows you to deal the most damage.
- Try casting this ability when you are out of sight. This way the enemy can't see your casting-animation, which makes this ability easier to hit.
- Try smartcasting this ablilty. It eases the aiming and allows for smoother poking while last-hitting.
- Using the ability, but not casting it a second time, refunds some mana. This is useful for scaring off the enemy to deny him cs, while not wasting all your mana.
- You are able to flash after you have cast this ability once, which can close the gap between you and your target just enough for you to be able to hit him.
- This ability has a minimum range. So, when being chased, casting this ability two times shortly after one another slows you down minimally, but still alows you to dish out the damage.
EYE OF DESTRUCTION
Calls down a barrage of arcane energy, slowing and dealing magic damage to all enemies in an area. Targets in the middle receive additional damage and a stronger slow.
Xerath calls down a blast of arcane energy after a 0.5 second delay, dealing 60/90/120/150/180 (+60% Ability Power) magic damage to all enemies within the target area, slowing them by 25% in a target 200-radius area for 2.5 seconds. Enemies in the center of the blast take 90 / 135 / 180 / 225 / 270 (+91% Ability Power) magic damage and are slowed by 60/65/70/75/80%. This slow rapidly decays to 25%.
COOLDOWN 14 / 13 / 12 / 11 / 10 seconds
COST 70 / 80 / 90 / 100 / 110 mana
This is an amazing ability. It is a circle which deals more damage in the centre of the circle. Next to this, it gives a nice slow and has a huge range. Good for finishing off low-hp creeps and scaring off enemies.
This ability has the third maxing-priority, directly after Arcanopulse, as it has the highest scaling. However, if you feel like you are going to need your Shocking Orb very often, maxing it instead of your Eye of Destruction is an option.
- Use this ability to set yourself up. It's easier for you to hit a target with your stun when they are slowed by this ability. Similarly, having enemies stunned makes it easier to land this ability.
- This ability works better when smartcasted. It allows for quicker reaction times and more precise placement.
- This ability gives vision when used. So if you want to know if that LeBlanc is camping in a brush, just use your 'w' on it to find out without dying.
Deals magic damage to an enemy and stuns them.
Xerath fires an orb of raw magic. The first enemy hit takes 80/110/140/170/200 (+45% Ability Power) magic damage and is stunned for between 0.5 and 2 seconds. The stun duration increases based on traveled distance.
COOLDOWN 13 / 12.5 / 12 / 11.5 / 11 seconds
COST 60 / 65 / 70 / 75 / 80 mana
This is the one spell which can save you from potentially bad situations. It is a skillshot though, so landing it could be difficult. Smartcasting here is a choice of preference, but personally I use it smartcasted for quicker reactions.
This ability has the fourth and last maxing-priority, as all your other abilities give you more scaling and thus late game damage. However, if you feel like you are going to need your Shocking Orb very often, maxing it instead of your Eye of Destruction is a viable option.
- Make sure you are using this ability at the right time. You don't have any other hard CC or gap closer (except for your flash), so use it wisely.
- You can use this ability to set yourself up and make hitting your other abilities way easier.
- Combining your Shocking Orb with your Rite of the Arcane, can make sure you land the first two Arcabe Barrages, without the enemy being able to do anything about it.
RITE OF THE ARCANE
Xerath immobilizes himself and gains three shots of a long-range attack.
Xerath ascends to his true form, becoming rooted in place and gaining 3 / 4 / 5 Arcane Barrages, each with a 0.8 static cooldown. This magic artillery deals 200 / 240 / 280 (+43% Ability Power) magic damage to all enemies hit (maximum 600 / 960 / 1400 base) single target damage. The root ends after 10 seconds, when all shots have been fired or when manually deactivated by issuing a move command. If Xerath does not fire off a single Arcane Barrage, half of the cooldown of Rite of the Arcane is refunded.
COOLDOWN 130 / 115 / 100 seconds
COST 100 mana
RANGE 3520 / 4840 / 6160
This is your ultimate, the ability that gives you kills on enemies without even having to be close to them. Using it on a low-hp target secures the kill for your team (Or steals it, but that doesn't matter cause you're the mid-laner :3). Next to using it on players, it can also be used to steal objectives and buffs.
This ability has your first maxing-priority, as it gives you the biggest powerspikes. As soon as you're allowed to level-up your ult (levels 6, 11 and 16), you should do so.
- You should definitely smartcast this ability. You can get a surprise attack and have a higher chance at hitting your first shot.
- A shot gives some vision, so if you barely miss someone, you'll know and get another shot.
- Using your Farsight Alteration befor sniping someone in the fog of war, will give you vision of your enemy, massively increasing the chances of you hitting your ult.
- Always walk away a bit before using this ability to a place where you are safe. If your ultimate gets disrupted by any form of cc, it will go on full cooldown, so make sure to prevent this!
- Your ult doesn't have a casting time, so it can be used immediately after you've stunned someone with your 'e'.
- I pick 9x Greater Seal of Health. These can be swapped out for any other form of defensive rune, mostly depending on the enemy. However, if you don't know who you're going to face or don't have enough rune pages to cover every situation, picking health as an all-rounder is recommended. I do advise you to include some defence in your runes, as you don't want to get stomped before you even reach the 20-minute mark.
- 9x Greater Mark of Magic Penetration. These marks allow you to deal more damage throughout all stages of the game. There's no other option here. Some like running Greater Mark of Precision and like to AA a lot in the laning-phase, but you spend more time casting spells, so I'm not a huge fan of those.
- The scaling AP glyphs give you more AP in the late game, which allows you to hit harder than with regular AP glyphs. You can switch them up and put some regular AP combined with scaling if you are going for an earlier finish or expect to need the ap in the early to mid-game, however you should always have some of both in your build, not either or.
- I put 2 flat AP quints and 1 scaling AP quint in my build. The same goes here as with the scaling AP glyphs. You can swap these out for scaling AP if you expect a long game, however, this is the most balanced and provides you a lot of damage throughout all stages of the game.
- The 9x Greater Mark of Magic Penetration make sure you deal more damage in the early game, massively boosting your pressence (and as such pressure) in lane. Alternatives aren't advised.
- The Greater Seal of Armor is very useful for when the enemy ADC wants to harass you with his auto-attacks. They will hit you less hard, making you more durable throughout the entire game. You can swap them some out for either health or magic resist seals (depending on the enemy team). However, these are in my opinion the best, considering the fact you will face an AD enemy for the largest part of the game.
- I go for some late-game damage with the Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power. Even though you want to have pressure early game, you don't want to lose it later on. These can be swapped out for mana-regen if you can't control your mana well or expect to get zoned, but this is traded for some much needed late-game damage.
- 9x Greater Quintessence of Ability Power for the AP throughout the game. Gives you a nice damage boost, which might just be enough to secure (..."secure"...) a kill for your team.
I have chosen for 12/18/0 masteries. The reason I don't take any points in the Resolve tree, is because those masteries are mainly defensive, which is not how we want to build our beloved sniper.
I do want to mention the following. Even though this is the most balanced mastery page,
there is a second option. Instead of the relatively bursty nature of this page (due to Thunderlord's Decree ), you could take a route more aimed towards sieging by taking Piercing Thoughts and Deathfire Touch . You deal more damage this way, however you have an even weaker laning-phase and can't scare people off with a quick burst of damage. As such, you need to be good at Xerath, playing out the laning-phase properly and have an excellent understanding of positioning in general. Finally, I recommend only taking this page when you know the game is going to be a poking/sieging based game (enemy has no engage or solely squishies for example).
I take 5 points in Sorcery, which shouldn't be a surprise. The other possible mastery, Fury , gives you attack speed, which is not something we benefit a lot of.
The choices I made in this tier are evident as well. I chose a point in Feast , which Helps with farming during the laning-phase. The other 2 masteries don't fit Xerath. We don't Auto Attack a lot, so Fresh Blood isn't useful and, seeing as you're probably the main damage dealer, Expose Weakness shouldn't be picked either.
I take 5 points in the Natural Talent mastery. Choosing Vampirism and going full-spellvamp Xerath was a very funny thing to do, the removing of spell-vamp on items leaves this one mastery. The late-game Ability Power is worth much more to us, hence my choice.
This mastery-point is probably the most preference-based in this guide. Bounty Hunter shouldn't be picked, as you want to focus the carries and not be limited in any way by doing so. That leaves Double Edged Sword and Battle Trance . I prefer picking the prior one, simply because you'll also deal 3% extra damage to minions, which enhances your waveclear. However, the latter is good as well.
I take 5 points in Savagery , as it is tremendously useful for last-hitting. If you're used to farming with AP champions, you could take Wanderer , however it doesn't benefit you all that much, so I would take the safe route and pick Savagery
Secret Stash has always been a mastery which I adored. Especially since health can be a problem for Xerath, the instant 15 health can make a difference. The increased duration helps with getting out of laning-phase as well. Runic Affinity can be good, but not as beneficial as you would like it to be, and Assassin is, as one would expect, for assassins, which you are not even in the slightest.
Merciless makes sure you deal extra damage when enemies are low, which is very useful in combination with your ultimate ( Rite of the Arcane), as it gives you the ability to finish an enemy off more effectively. When you are experiencing some mana-issues, taking Meditation can help, though I do not recommend it.
This is not as much a matter of which mastery is the strongest, but rather which mastery isn't the weakest. Bandit is a mastery purely designed for supports and Greenfather's Gift is of no use to a mid laner, so Dangerous Game is the obvious choice here.
Even though you do benefit from cooldown reduction, taking Intelligence over Precision is not advantageous in my opinion. If you want to dish out as much damage as possible, choosing the small amount of extra CDR will not give you more effective damage than the magic penetration. Thusly I choose Precision.
Thunderlord's Decree has been considered 'OP' for a very long time. And to be honest, it still is very strong, though not on all champions anymore. You, as a long range mage, can proc this mastery very easily and make the most out of it. As for the alternatives, Windspeaker's Blessing is useless as you have neither a shield, nor a heal, and you don't benefit from the movement speed Stormraider's Surge provides you with all that much.
|Exhaust: Exhaust is a good alternative for heal and is very useful against AD mid-laners such as Yasuo and Zed. You can negate a big portion of their damage, slow their movement speed and attack speed, and thus outrun them. This can save you from a lot of potentially bad situations.|
|Cleanse: You should pick this summoner spell if the enemy team has a lot of hard CC. For example a Shen support, a Nasus top and a Morgana mid. If you are bad against an Annie, you can pick Cleanse as well, but usually you won't be in range for her, so it's not truely necessary.|
|Ghost: I personally don't like ghost all that much. It doesn't offer anything other than movement speed, which isn't something useful if you are getting ganked by a champion with hard-CC. However, you can use it to effectively outrun other mages, so I can't see why it's bad on Xerath. That's why I added it to the list. Ghost should only be picked mid if your opponents have little to no CC, though. Otherwise it's useless.|
|Barrier Barrier can be useful, but it isn't at the top of my list. You can protect yourself by negating a portion of the damage received. This is especially useful against bursty champions. However, it doesn't bring anything but a shield, unlike Heal, and is only useful in the laning phase as, during teamfights, you are way back. It can be useful versus bursty champions such as LeBlanc and Fizz, who can also reach you in the late game, but that is, in my opinion, the only situation where you should pick barrier.|
|Teleport Teleport gets you close to enemies, which is not what we particularly want. However, it can make for some nice (counter)ganks. Next to this it can give you a quick ride back to lane. I personally don't quite like teleport on Xerath, but when coordinating well with your team or when facing a heavy-poke opponent, Teleport can be a very viable pick.|
|Ignite: You aren't going to be in range to ignite someone, or at least you shouldn't. You poke enemies down and use your ultimate to finish them off. You should never be getting close to your enemy, so don't pick this on Xerath.|
|Smite: Very simple. You aren't a jungler, so I see no reason why you would even consider picking this.|
|Sorcerer's shoes: These are the standard tier 2 boots for any AP mid-laner. They provide you with extra movementspeed and on top of that some magic penetration, allowing you to deal more damage to your enemies.|
|Luden's echo: This is an amazing Item on Xerath. It gives you a lot of AP and some nice movementspeed, plus a passive which works similar to a Statikk Shiv. This item increases your poking threat by a lot. However, unless you've got a sieging team-composition, there are other items which will have more use, such as a Zhonya's vs a Zed for example. Similarly, this item's not all that great if you're not ahead. Luden's Echo is, in general, best when you're confident you can shut the enemie's carries down via poke.|
|Zhonya's Hourglass: This is, again, a fantastic item on Xerath. It gives you a lot of AP and an active which makes you untargetable for 2.5 seconds. This is extremely useful to evade some of the burst and CC that the enemy focuses on you. This makes the Zhonya's extremely useful to prevent yourself from being caught out and dying.|
|Adaptive Helm: This is a relatively tanky item, which honestly doesn't fit Xerath and his playstyle. However, there are a few match-ups in which I sometimes incorporate this in my build, mostly when enemies are getting fed. The Adaptive Helm does best vs champions who either have consistent damage/DOT or very low cooldowns. As such, it works well against champions like Akali, Karthus, Katarina, Malzahar, Syndra and Viktor. However, if the enemy relies on a simple rotation of spells which deal damage on impact, this item will most probably only set you back even further. You benefit from the resistances and cdr, but mainly the passive. It prevents abilities with a wind-up time or a debuff from stomping you and can allow you to survive the laning-phase and reach lategame. Only pick this if you are extremely far behind or are really going to need it to survive. Also, make sure to swap it out in the late-game if you don't need it anymore.|
|Hextech GLP-800: This more defensive brother of the Hextech Protobelt-01 has never been the popular one of the two. Still, it is a pretty good item if used correctly. Where the protobelt is used for engaging and dodging, the GLP is used to reposition and peel for yourself. This makes it a pretty strong item if you don't have the amount of peel you would like to have. Next to this awesome active, you get some juicy AP, Mana and Health, as well as the unique passive originating from the Catalyst of Aeons component. Overall, it is a fantastic item. It, however, has to suit your playstyle.|
|Rylai's Crystal Scepter: Oh boi do I love this item. You get a nice amount of AP and health. Now, this by itself is not something to boast with, as there are multiple items out there which give equal or more stats. However, what makes this such a great choice are the passive and the price. Xerath lacks two main aspects: the ability to engage and disengage (reliably). They both come down to a need for CC, which is provided by the passive of this item. As such, it allows you to peel for yourself and help your team find picks. But what makes this item amazing, is the price. for a mere 2600 gold, you get the same stats (- some magic pen and 5 AP) the 500 gold more expensive Liandry's Torment would give you. Why I do consider this item situational though, is due to the fact that you shouldn't need it if your teammates have enough peel. On the other side, if your team doesn't have enough peel but you still want to play Xerath, this item is a must.|
|Seraph's Embrace: If you are new to Xerath or experience mana-issues, the Seraph's is probably your way to go. Next to giving you a large powerspike later in the game, it effectively lowers the mana-cost of your abilities by 25% and gives you enough mana to be able to constantly spam abilities. Upon the completion of the stacking, you will have gotten a self-shielding active, 1000 mana, 110 AP (80 Base + 3% x 1000 mana) and 25% reduced ability costs. There are, however, multiple reasons why I don't like this item on xerath. I will discuss these down below. To be short, this item is more effective than other items if the enemies have no engage and you plan to siege with your team.|
|Rod of Ages + Seraph's Embrace: This combination is very much aimed at getting a massive powerspike in the mid to late game. You should build these two items if you have absolutely zero kill-pressure, but neither has the enemy. Examples are versus a Lulu, a Karma or a Heimerdinger. If you do build these, start with boots and potions and get a Catalyst of Aeons on your first back. Your next priority is a Tear of the Goddess, after which you are going to want to complete your Rod of Ages. Finish your boots somewhere around this time as well. During this stacking period you must simply farm. Tell your jungler to focus other lanes (unless if the enemy is extremely overextended) and don't try to fight, with the exception of ulting other lanes. Continue your build like you would normally and build your Archangel's Staff once your tear is almost done stacking. During this time, you should have gotten max stacks on your Rod of Ages as well. At this point in time, you are a spell slinging powerhouse. If you, however, build these and don't play safe enough, you will get killed again and again and again due to a lack of damage, effectively losing you the game.|
|Hextech GLP-800 + Rylai's Crystal Scepter: If you are playing draft-pick and end up with Xerath while your team has little to no peel, these items are a must. They both give you health and peeling potential, whilst still granting a decent amount of AP. Afterwards, you are probably going to want to build a Morellonomicon, or you'll not have enough damage. As such, you should start like you normally would. Buy a Doran's Ring and 2 biscuits and work towards a Lost Chapter. Try to fit a pair of boots somewhere in here too. Afterwards, build the 2 main components of both items ( Hextech Revolver and Blasting Wand) and finish wichever item you need most. After having finished the other item and your tier 2 boots as well, you are going to want more damage. Like mentioned before, build the Morellonomicon and the Rabadon's Deathcap as well. The final item is up to you. With these items you will not deal as much damage as you would normally. However, your chance of survival is far greater and, no matter how you look at it, you deal more damage alive than dead. If your team does have peel, though, you should not go this build (either or is fine).|
|Void Staff + Liandry's Torment: These two items work wonders against tanks. It is, however, your job to poke the enemy carries. As such, the only time you should build these 2 items in combination with eachother is when the enemy has no carry or when the enemy carries have no possible way of dealing damage (e.g. a Lucian or Heimerdinger who fed hard). If this is the case, the main threats are the tanks. Therefore, being able to deal damage to the tanks is a must. These 2 items both have a way to work aronud Magic Resistance, and the latter of the two is good vs enemies who are stacking health. You will have recognised this situation once you have about 3 items, most probably Sorcerer's Shoes, Morellonomicon and a third item. The Void Staff is more impactful later on, so build the Liandry's Torment first. The 6th item can be anything, but try to focus on damage. Alternatively, if you build these whilst the enemy still has carries that are of use, you won't deal enough damage to be impactful on both the tanks and the carries. If the enemy has both carries and tanks, build the Liandry's Torment and work from there. If the enemy has no exceptional team composition, build the Void Staff in the mid to late game to negate some of the magic resistances.|
|Sorcerer's Shoes: These are the best upgraded boots option for Xerath in any lane. They allow him to deal more damage by bypassing a portion of the enemy's magic resistance. I personally wouldn't take anything else, but if you want you can try out some alternatives.|
|Ruby Sightstone: Although you should always buy the Sightstone in the early game, the moment to upgrade it is situational. The upgraded version costs 800 more gold and gives you 350 health and a passive which reduces the cooldown of actives on items by 20%. As a result, you should upgrade to this item when you need the peel from your Frost Queen's Claim and other support items more frequently. The extra health is useful, but if you're looking for more health you should simply buy another item.|
|Mikael's Crucible: This is the second of the 3 items which you should swap out based on the enemy team. Mikael's Crucible cleanses all cc off of a teammate, while making them immune to slows for the next 2 seconds and giving them a large movement speed buff for a short period of time. It can keep your adc in the fight for so much longer, while also providing some nice stats for you in the form of magic resist, mana regen and CDR.|
|Rylai's Crystal Scepter: This is the third of the replaceable items. Rylai's allows you to be more tanky, but next to that it gives you the ability to kite with your spells. It slows enemies with every ability cast. Since Xerath lacks peel, this item works wonders for his protective abilities. There are very few cases in which I don't buy this item, just because it is all-round incredibly efficient.|
|Ruby Sightstone + Frost Queen's Claim: This combination revolves not so much around these two items, but rather the UNIQUE passive on the Ruby Sightstone and its compatibility with active items. This is another build for peeling which works differently from the still effective combination mentioned above ( Rylai's Crystal Scepter and Hextech GLP-800) but is extremely useful. What it comes down to is that you buy the upgraded sightstone somewhere in the mid game and solely buy items with actives afterwards. I like to run Sorcerer's Shoes, Frost Queen's Claim, Ruby Sightstone, Hextech GLP-800, Zhonya's Hourglass and Redemption but you can swap some items out according to personal preference and the enemies. The downside of this type of build is that you are limited to a small selection of items of which most don't give a lot of AP. So if you want to do more damage, you shouldn't go for this build.|
|Rod of Ages + Knight's Vow: There are going to be times where the best way to peel for your carry is to take damage for them. This is especially the case for late game carries such as Jinx, Twitch and Tristana who can take any enemy down if given a few seconds. Instead of spending those seconds running away, by building these two items you allow them to deal damage and as such kill the enemy. If you are going to build these two items, you first have to recognise the situation. Only build these together if you have a late game carry with you. Before recklessly building this, you should work towards the Rod of Ages as the first item after your early game core. If, by the time the item is done stacking, your laner is even or ahead and your other carry is behind, you can build the second item. If this is not the case, you would be dragging a dead animal with you or lack the required amount of peel to protect 2 carries, most probably killing you all. Build 1 or 2 other items and, when the mid game starts, build the Knight's Vow. Seeing as the Knight's Vow transfers damage dealt to your bound ally to you as true(!) damage, you are going to want to build health rather than resistances. This is where the Rod of Ages comes in. It will have given you 500 health once fully stacked, meaning you're able to pack quite a punch. Next to this, using the UNIQUE passive from the Catalyst of Aeons component, you get health from casting abilities. So basically, you take more damage when near a bound ally (instead of them taking damage) and you heal yourself by casting abilities. And with the extra mana added by the Rod of Ages, you're able to spam your abilities quite effectively.|
+60 Ability Power
Passive: Your Champion gains 20 Health, 10 Mana, and 4 Ability Power every 1 min. Bonuses cap at +200 Health, +100 Mana and +40 Ability Power. (Not included in stats)
UNIQUE Passive: Eternity: Your champion gains 15% of damage taken from champions as Mana and spending Mana restores 20% of the cost as Health, up to 25 per spell cast (toggle spells heal for up to 25 per second).
+80 Ability Power
UNIQUE Passive: Awe: Gain Ability Power equal to 3% of your maximum Mana. Refunds 25% of Mana spent.
UNIQUE Active: Mana Shield: Drains 20% of your current Mana to shield yourself for an equal amount + 150 for 3 seconds. 120 second cooldown.
Seraph's Embrace is obtained by gaining full Mana Charge on Archangel's Staff (750 bonus Mana).
These items both suit different roles. The Rod of Ages gives you AP and more survivability with some health and mana which get progressively higher for the next 10 minutes after purchase. The Seraph's Embrace gives you mana, which gets progressively higher until the maximum amount of stacks is reached, AP and more AP based on the maximum amount of Mana you have. However, both items do share the aspect of stacking, meaning these items can grant you with a large powerspike once completely stacked. I will talk about how they compare to eachother, when to build which item and why I almost never build them
Stat-wise there are some small differences. For conveniece, I will calculate with base stats and assuming the items are fully stacked. The first and most important stat, AP, is pretty hefty on both items. the ROA gives you 100 AP and the Seraph's gives you 110 AP. The latter, however, has the potential to give your even more AP depending on whether you build more mana. Considering survivability, both deliver on different terrains. The seraph's gives a lot of mana, 1000 to be precise and a shield based on your maximum amount of mana. The ROA gives you 500 health and 400 mana. So, statistically, Seraph's has the slight edge. However, both are very viable.
To be short, you may want to buy Rod of Ages when you expect to get bursted. In this case peel won't help, meaning you are going to want some survivability in the form of health or resistances. On the other hand, if you expect nobody to reach you and to easily reach the late game, you could buy Seraph's Embrace. Now, here's why I almost never buy these items. To begin with ROA, you get 100 AP, some mana and some health. If you know how to play Xerath and are comfortable with doing so, you'll need neither the health nor the mana (although in some cases some extra health can be nice). For a bit of extra gold, you can get other items which might not have the same amount of AP, but provide you with much more useful passives and actives (e.g. the Void Staff). As for the Seraph's, the same reasoning applies. The amount of AP is good, but you shouldn't need the mana. And since you won't be stacking mana items, the passive on the item goes to waste. For roughly the same amount of money you can get other items which are more useful to you.
If you, however, do experience some issues with the management of your mana, these items both can be good. I just urge you to not get used to them and try to learn how to play with other items.
+80 Ability Power
UNIQUE Passive: 15% of damage taken from champions is gained as Mana. Spending Mana restores 20% of Mana spent as Health, up to 25 Health per cast (Toggle spells heal for up to 25 per second).
UNIQUE Active: Fires a spray of icy bolts that explode, dealing 100-200 (+35% of ability power) magic damage (depending on level). Enemies hit are slowed by 65%, decaying over 0.5 seconds (40 second cooldown, shared with other Hextech items).
+75 Ability Power
UNIQUE Passive: Your spell damage and summoned minions will slow the target's movement speed by 20% for 1 second.
These items are both bought in this build for their peeling capabilities. Both give you some nice AP, although they have different AP values due to differences in prize. I will go over in which situation you should pick which item and how they compare to eachother.
There is little use in going into the statistics, seeing as both items are in a completely different prize-range. For 400 extra gold you get 5 more AP, a different passive and an active. The passives can't be compared as they are structuraly different.
Now, as for the purpose of buying these items. You will build Hextech GLP-800 or Rylai's Crystal Scepter because you want to be able to peel for yourself. Both items provide that peel in a different way. Rylai's adds a slowing component to all your abilities. It allows you to kite, whilst also giving you some potential to catch people out. This, however, is not your main reason to buy it, the peel is. The Hextech on the other hand provides a gap-closer, which also slows enemies around you. which one you want depends on the enemies. Logically speaking, if the enemies are easily kiteable, you should opt into the Rylai's Crystal Scepter. Equally evident, if the enemy has a lot of skillshots, you should choose the Hextech GLP-800. There are some middle grounds with which you have to think logically which item would work best. As an example, Ekko gets a movementspeed buff from his passive. As such, kiting is not really effective. You should stay out of range of his 'e', and if you're not you need to be able to quickly reposition yourself. Therefore, you are going to want to build the Hextech GLP-800. If you don't know which one to buy when facing a certain opponent, feel free to ask.
Early game: You are going to want to start the game by just simply farming. Try to get all of your abilities and poke your enemy from time to time with a 'q' or a 'w'. Try to proc your passive on enemies, but don't be afraid to use it on minions. When you are winning trades and are out-farming your enemy, try to deny him cs. You should avoud pushing your enemy in, unless you can roam with a high chance of succes or when the enemy can't farm under his turret. If this is not the case, just keep poking and farming. Buy a control-ward and put it somewhere in a side-brush when you do shove your enemy in. This way you will know where the jungler is, and with your long range, you are very good at defending it.
Your main goal for the early-game is not losing your lane. If you win or tie, both in CS and kills, you can basically outscale anyone. This doesn't mean you shouldn't be playing aggressive. You have a lot of bullying-power with which you can potentialy deny your enemy a lot of resources. Make sure you don't force anything you don't 100% know you can win though.
Kill Potential: Low
Your laning-phase is relatively weak, especially level 1 and 2. During these levels, you have no means to effectively defend yourself. Both your Arcanopulse and Eye of Destruction are AOE abilities, meaning you have a high chance the wave will shove into the enemy, leaving you susceptible to ganks and engages from your enemy laner. To avoid this, you have to try and prevent your lane from shoving. For this reason, I like to take Eye of Destruction first when I'm facing a dominant laning opponent, as you are less likely to shove the wave this way.
For now, simply focus on farming. During these first two levels, you are going to want to use your abilities quite sparsely. This way you will be able to farm under turret when you get low due to the enemie's pressure. Additionally, this will allow you to push back enemies who are trying to constantly shove you under your turret. Don't force anything for now. If you are able to get some free poke off, go for it, but don't overdo it.
Lastly, and this is mostly for players who are used to playing with Xerath, I encourage you to try to find a pattern in the enemy's movement, more specifically the way he dodges. Use a few abilities and see which way the enemy walks. You still want to avoid using up too much mana, but when you have your passive up, you can cast an ability and proc the passive. If you succeed in finding this pattern somewhere during the first 3 levels, you are going to have a much easier time in lane. Whether this works generally depends on the enemy and whether they even give you the time to analyse their movement, but it is definitely worth a try.
Kill Potential: Low
Level 2 is not much different from level 1 in the sense that you still don't have a lot of room to work with. You have no way to defend yourself and not enough damage to be able to play aggressively. You do have another spell to work with now, allowing you to do more poking. Do still keep your mana at a high level (about 1/2), for the same reason mentioned above. This extra spell simply means you can punish the enemy harder when they make a mistake. This doesn't change the fact that you shouldn't force anything and should focus on farming above anything else.
There are going to be enemies who will try to lvl 2 cheese you (e.g. Talon, Yasuo or Zed). These enemies are mostly AD, which is why I sometimes take my Shocking Orb second instead. This way I am able to peel for myself and prevent the enemy from getting a kill and snowballing.
You will probable hit the 3-minute mark when you're level 2, sometimes level 3 (depending on the position of the wave). This is the general time junglers have finished their clear. Unless you are pushed back, stand on the opposite side of where you expect the enemy jungler to be anf farm from this position. Stick to that side of the lane, as you will have the most reaction-time this way. Keep an eye on the map, as you might be able to spot their jungler or have to help your own jungler in a fight.
Kill Potential: Low
At this level, you are going to have all your abilities. You're able to react to most situations, though you will not be as effective as other champions might be (yet). Allthough I generally like to hold off with poking hard until I'm at least level 4, you should start looking to land a stun and hit your full combo afterwads. This is where reading the enemie's movements comes into play. If you're able to predict where the enemy is going to dodge, it is easier to hit your abilities and bully the enemy.
This is about the time where you are going to execute your general plan of action: If the enemy is bad at farming under turret, try to shove them in; If the enemy likes to shove, try to freeze the wave in front of your turret; If the enemy has a weak early game, poke them down. Start slowly at this point in the game and progressively increase the frequency at which you are executing your plan. This is for the general reason that you get stronger the longer the game goes on, giving you more room to work with.
At the same time, enemies are going to start executing their plan. For example, an Annie will start to stack up her passive and land her full combo on you. By this time, you will have more mana to work with. Your spells will cost more as well, but this does not outweigh the mana acquired by leveling-up. This means you can use your abilities more frequently. Don't be afraid to end up with a little amount of mana. Your passive as well as the passive from the Doran's Ring will give you enough mana-sustain. Do make sure that you have enough mana to cast your Shocking Orb at all times though.
Kill Potential: Low
Level 4 is where your true potential starts to show. You deal a lot more damage and are able to bully enemies effectively. You are still (and will always remain) vulnerable, however, meaning you don't want to mindlessly walk up and harass the enemy. I generalyl like to poke the enemy down to half health with 'q' and 'w' before I start to look to land some Shocking Orbs.
If you are able to, try to poke the enemy without shoving the wave. This is important in earlier levels, but especially from this point onwards. If the wave is on your side of the map, the enemy has to step up to get cs, leaving him vulnerable to ganks. If you notice the wave stays on the enemy's side of the map, push the wave hard until it reaches the turret. This way the minion wave will bounce and push into you again.
Enemies will be able to engage onto you more effectively at this point as well. To be able to counter this, you need to have a good knowledge of the enemy you're facing, as well as Xerath. As a general rule of thumb, I like to stand at the point where, if I were to throw out my Shocking Orb, I will be back under my turret before the enemy can catch me, no matter what spells they use (not taking Flash into a count). This range will differ based on the enemy you are facing, as well as the enemy jungler. For example, I play safer when I'm facing a Rek'Sai than when I'm facing a Kindred.
Kill Potential: Average
With another point in your 'q', you seriously start to hurt. Your poke is really strong, and with the amount of mana-sustain you naturally have (even more when you've bought a Lost Chapter), you are a real monster. You should be able to avoid getting engaged upon at this point, except for when you get ganked. Therefore, you need to make sure you have (at least 1 side of the map) warded-up. When an enemy engages on you, simply stun them and walk back. In the proces of walking back, you can punish the enemy hard and prevent them from going in again.
As soon as you start to get near hitting level 6, you have to make a choice. If you think you are able to kill the enemy (by poking and ulting afterwards), you should start poking and shoving/freezing the wave (depending on the whereabouts of the enemy jungler). If you know you are not going to kill the enemy, for example when you are facing Anivia, you are going to want to try and shove the wave and look towards other lanes for opportunities to ult. You can ask your jungler to get vision on a specific side of the map or get some vision yourself.
Kill Potential: High
Now that you're level 6 and have your ultimate, you can finally fullfill your role as a sieging sniper. You can poke the enemy, clear the waves quickly and as such take towers. You have a lot of pressure on other lanes with your ultimate and can roam very effectively. You are quite reliant of others to engage, but when you've started a fight, you'll be able to dish out a load of damage.
If you were able to get out of lane even or ahead, the rest of the game will most likely be in your favor. You will only get stronger and stronger, whilst other enemies are falling behing or are failing to keep up with your scaling.
From here on out, the game will essentially only change in 2 ways: when you enter the mid-game and when you enter the late-game, both of which are described below.
Mid-game: As soon as towers are starting to fall, the laning phase has ended. When you are ahead, try to take your enemy's turret if you haven't done so yet. Start roaming and try to get kills in other lanes. If you are able to get a kill in your own lane, you ofcourse don't have to roam all the time, but try to create as much pressure as possible.
If you are behind, keep farming. try to help other lanes and try to prevent yourself from dying. Don't go through unwarded territory (unless you have back-uo), as you can easily get picked off. Try to play for the late-game and stall as much as possible. If your enemy has a powerspike around this time, try to group with your allies and move as a unit from lane to lane to take objectives.
Late Game: This is where you shine. You have about 3 or 4 completed items and are dealing massive amounts of damage. Try to group and utilise your fantastic ability to siege. Gaining a gold-lead through destroyed towers is a very good strategy. Poke the enemies as much as possible and try to get them low. If you are afraid of one enemy in particular, focus him and when he reaches about 1/2 health, ult him to scare him off. Afterwards engage with your team and win. If you're not, simply focus on their carries, throw out as much spells as possible and kite with your 'e'. When the teamfight turns in your favor, use your ult to finish enemies off. Don't use it in the middle of a fight, though, as it leaves you rooted and vulnerable. Be cautious about when to throw your stun. It is your only tool of defence and has a fairly long cooldown. If you waste it and someone engages onto you, you are done for.
Early game: In the early game you have to be really careful. You are still fairly weak at this point, so make sure you don't get caught. Getting bush-control as soon as possible is key to winning. Both the river and the lane-bushes are very important, which is why you should get a Sightstone very quickly. This item allows you to see the enemy jungler coming, which prevents enemy ganks and makes it possible for your team to make a play elsewhere. Next to that, it is much easier for you to hit your spells when the enemy can't see you casting them. That's why I take a Sweeping Lens as my starting trinket. Try to poke your enemies and AA (Auto-Attack) them as much as possible. Do make sure that you have enough mana for your stun, as it is the only peel-tool you have.
Getting you and your ally out of lane unscaved is your main goal. Try to deny your enemies as much as possible, but don't get caught off by a Rocket Grab or a Death Sentence, because you are really squishy.
Mid-game: As soon as you get your first 1 or 2 items and across the map turrets start to fall, the laning-phase has ended. This means you have to be extra careful about enemies coming to gank you, making warding even more important. Next to that, this is the stage in which you decide in which way you want to keep playing support. Either you start to roam to try and get your other lanes snowballing, or you stick with your ADC and aim for the late-game. My preference lies with the second option, but I have found both options viable. You should make a choice taking the enemy team, your own team and, of course, your personal preference into a count. You still want to stay back and try to poke the enemies a bit. The main difference with mid-lane gameplay is the fact that you don't deal as much damage with your spells, so you are going to want to use them more as a zoning-tool.
Late game: This is where you are at your strongest. Basically, you have an extra mid-laner on your team, which is able to peel and deal damage at the same time. Make sure you use all the actives of your items in a teamfight, as they can truely turn a fight around. However, you should never forget that you aren't a carry. This means that defending your ADC is and remains your primary goal. If you are going to have to sacrifice yourself for your ADC, you should do so. Never forget that throughout any stage of the game.
Keep up the warding and try to have a Control Ward placed at any time. You can set-up your team for an engage by the slowing that Rylai's gives you and your Shocking Orb. If you played the game correctly up till this point, you should have no problem ending it off.
|Q: With which ADCs doeas Xerath support synergise?||
// Xerath support revolves around reaching late-game and becoming a second mid-laner who can peel for his ADC at the same time. For this reason, Xerath works well with any ADC that can get Xerath through the laning-phase. All ADCs that heve a lot of lane-presence and can finish a poked enemy off synergise. Examples are Lucian and Miss Fortune, but also lane bullies like Jinx, Draven and Caitlyn.
|Q: When should I roam as Xerath mid instead of ulting?||// What it comes down to, is that you should roam whenever you have the chance to (the lane is pushed into the enemy and the target lane isn't) and when your ult won't secure a kill. There's a difference in result between ulting from your lane and busting a flash or spending a minute to walk over there and pick up a (double) kill. However, do remember that you're not a master ganker and that you should only gank if the enemies are low enough to be killed with ease. If this is not the case, either ulting or simply go on farming will be more beneficial.|
Influence on Xerath
Eye of Destruction: Bugfix slow now correctly decays from 25% to 13% once, not twice
Spellthief's Edge line: Tribute passive After last-hitting a minion, Tribute charge generation is paused for
Frostfang: NEW Cooldown Reduction 10%
Frost Queen's Claim: Build Path
Knight's Vow: Total Cost
Eye of Destruction: Slow
Rite of the Arcane: Base Damage
Adaptive Helm: Damage Reduction Damage taken from repeated instances of a spell or effect is reduced by
Knight's Vow: Health
|July the 25th, 2015||- Start of guide.|
|August the 2nd, 2015||
- Corrected some grammar and spelling mistakes;
- Added Zhonya's VS Rylai's discussion section;
- Added Support build path (Gameplay explanation coming soon);
- Added Sona to match-up section.
|August the 10th, 2015||
- Changed title appropriately;
- Corrected some spelling mistakes. (I can't type for ****);
- Added Patch 5.15 to the "Patch Influences" section;
- Added support to the "Gameplay" section;
- Updated a mistake in the "masteries" section.
|August the 30th, 2015||
- Added Patch 5.16 to the "Patch Influences" section;
- Upgraded Support part on the Masteries and Runes sections. (Items coming soon)
|February the 24th, 2016||
- Edited and republished for the new season;
- Updated the "Patch influences" section;
- Updated the "Threats" section;
- Updated the "Items" sections;
- Updated the "Summoner Spells" section;
- Updated the "Mastery" sections;
- Updated the "Abilities" section.
|February the 28th, 2016||
- Added banner to the guide;
- Changed guide name to 'Death, Too Unreal';
- Added Patch 6.4 to 'Patch Influences.
|April the 7th, 2016||
- Added Aurelion Sol to the 'champion matchups' section;
- Added new patches to the 'patch influences' chapter;
- Updated the threat level of certain champions. Special thanks to BlueMoon1 to notifying me on this.
|April the 29th, 2016||
- Updated the 'threats' section at the start of the guide;
- Introduced the Support role in the 'threats' section;
- Added new patch to the 'Patch Influences' chapter;
- Updated itemisation;
- Smoothened lay-out and (textual) structure;
- Introduced FAQ.
|May the 5th, 2016||
- Updated the itemisation according to recent changes;
- Added patch 6.9 to the 'Patch Influences' section;
- Updated information on abilities, items, etc according to newest patch;
- Worked on Images and Artwork (coming soon).
|May the 22nd, 2016||
- Added custom artwork and Table Of Contents and updated lay-out;
- Updated overall content according to Sethbling's notes. Special thanks to him;
- Added 'Patch 6.10' to the patch-influences;
- Added Taliyah to the 'champion match-ups';
- Updated 'Item-Discussions section (part 2)' according to recent changes.
|June the 24th, 2016||
- Updated some coding issues considering the artwork;
- Updated the patch-notes for Patch 6.11 and 6.12;
- Added a link to my coaching service in the 'Word Of Thanks'.
|August the 21st, 2017||
- Updated all the outdated statistics;
- Updated the Patch notes;
- Updated the general build (items, runes, masteries and order of abilities);
- Updated Match-ups in the "threats" section;
- Added new builds in the overlay for specific situations;
- Expanded the item explanation, added a new item combination section and updated the item discussion section;
- Updated the 'masteries' section, as well as its artwork.
|September the 4th, 2017||
- Added Patch 7.17 to the "Patch Influences" section;
- Fixed some formatting errors.
|September the 14th, 2017||
- Added Patch 7.18 to the 'Patch Influences' section;
- Updated the 'Patch Influences' section to now hold 5 patches;
- Updated the 'Masteries' section to discuss Deathfire Touch ;
- Updated the 'gameplay' section to include a breakdown of the first 6 levels.
|September the 28th, 2017||
- Added Patch 7.19 to the 'Patch Influences' section;
- Made a quick hotfix for the bug with images.
Thank you for reading and digging through all that information. If you liked the guide and want to support me, please leave a +1 or comment. I want to keep improving my guide, so if you have any criticism, tips or annotations, please tell me and I shall do my best to improve.
Good luck and a lot of fun with Xerath,