Xerath Build Guide by TheTrooper15
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01/02/12- Items completely changed and rearranged
Alright, I've seen a few Xerath guides up so far, none of which seem to be rated very highly. I play Xerath extensively on Dominion and occasionally in 5v5 matches as an AP carry. My opinion on him is that he is nothing but a massive powerhouse. Anyone taking utility items or anything of the sort are doing the opposite of helping- they are stripping him of his role on a good team. He has incredible range and should thus be hitting beyond where anyone can touch him, especially in team fights. I shall explain more as the guide goes on.
MASTERIES UPDATED 11/18/11
Ok, masteries are COMPLETELY different now. 20-0-10 is my new build. The Offense tree gives a great amount of AP, both starting and per level. The 4 ranks in Blast is more than the ENTIRE set of AP/level seals. This is absolutely phenomenal for Xerath and AP champs in general. Just overall, he gets +4 flat AP, 18 AP at lvl 18, bonus 5% of total AP, and bonus 1.5% total damage. This in addition to 10% mPen, some CDR, and some spell vamp just buff him through the roof.
Note, i forgo the final Offense mastery in favor of a little more spell vamp. At 1000 damage, 6% means a bonus of 60 damage. Wooo.... yeah, not even worth it. If you are hitting for that much when they are below 40%, that little bit is irrelevant. Even though it's only 1% more spell vamp, it's constant all game in all situations with every attack. You could, instead, put it in Runic Affinity if you think you'll get blue buff. If you are playing Dominion, i would say definitely do that instead.
Runes- Some may disagree with me on this, probably very loudly. However, I believe he is nothing without power. The Greater Mark of Magic Penetration make up for the fact that I do not get sorcerer's shoes. The Greater Quintessence of Ability Power give early game AP, which helps him both harass and farm. The Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power and Greater Seal of Scaling Ability Power, however, are much better as AP per level than flat ap, since they will be coming into play more after you get Rabadon's, not early on. End game, he would hit hard even without items. These runes are to maximize on his potential. If you disagree, i guess you could always toss in a few mana or mp5 to help out, but after you get Tear of the Goddess you really don't have many mana concerns, surprisingly.
Giving this its own section since I see some crazy opinions out there. I personally take Teleport and Clarity. I take Teleport because Xerath has an expensive build and needs to level quickly to maximize damage output. Teleport allows you to remain in lane as long as possible.
is the one i see getting bashed. Yes, late game you won't need it. No kidding. Early game, which is when you make or break yourself as a strong lane presence and need to keep an opponent away from your tower, clarity is a godsend. You have literally no mana at early level- a few shots of Q and you are already hurt. Going in for a kill at level 6? Well, that's going to cost you easily 300 mana for the full combo. Better hope you haven't been harassing! Or, pop clarity, problem solved since they underestimated you as being oom.
Reasons NOT to take other things people recommend:
- Seriously, Flash on a long range mage? You have probably the longest range in the game when W is on, and up there even when it isn't. There is NO REASON you need to be chasing enough to warrant flash. Xerath has incredible gank potential as it is- Just walk into a bush, pop W, and blast away! Flash would limit your use of W, honestly, since you would need to flash in then activate it- IN THE OPEN. Bad decision overall.
- A great spell, for anyone who can't hit from half a lane away. The range is so short, getting that close should happen rarely if ever. You are just asking for a nasty surprise at that range.
- Same as ignite, wonderful spell, but the short range limits it to situations that are already FUBAR. Play smart, and you won't need it.
- Same as flash, really. Xerath shouldn't be chasing anything that W+R can't catch.
Everything else.... yeah, don't even think about it.
As most will tell you, gets maxed first, no questions about it. It is his primary damaging spell, farming spell, and harassing ability. Locus of Power is, obviously, very useful, but until late game when the massive magic pen comes into play, 1 rank for the range suffices.
Mage Chains gets maxed second, both for the increased damage and the reduced cooldowns. Before you attempt to use Xerath in anything approaching a competitive match, I advise playing bot/custom matches to learn how to land his stun consistently. It is a bit difficult, both because of the Arcanopulse skill shot and the different range of the two spells. However, it is a decent length stun, and also part of a high-damage combo- What's not to like? Getting good at it is important for becoming a Xerath that makes a difference.
FYI- yes, Arcane Barrage also does proc the stun on Mage Chains, and if possible you should definitely do that. However, the low cooldowns on Arcanopulse and Mage Chains late game pretty much give you the ability to spam stuns, so it is far more valuable to learn how to do that rather than relying on the ult.
- Xerath's ult is extremely powerful, but does require some skill. It consists of 3 shots, triggered separately over up to 12 seconds. This is good, in a way, since you can use a single shot to kill a low-life champ and still have 2 more for others, but it is bad in that people can escape the majority of damage if they are quick enough to avoid 1 or more of the blasts. To ensure a kill, activate W, hit them with E, then ult on them to stun and hit with the 2 other blasts before it wears off. If they survive, Q should have enough range and damage to finish the job.
Final note on Locus of Power. The range is awesome, but you ARE stuck in place. Remember to hit your combo, then deactivate W before trying uselessly to run away while stuck in place! Happened to me more than once in the heat of the moment. Ah, and DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE the massive magic pen this ability gives you at high levels. If you can use it safely, you should always activate it before attacking. The cooldown is relatively low, so no worries about wasting it.
Xerath is a heavy AP nuke. Thus, his items need to reflect that.
The item descriptions and discussions below are in no particular order.
to start, nothing earth shaking here. On dominion, take Prospector's Ring- even better!
- NOT Sorcerer's Shoes, unless you think they are REALLY going to stack magic resist, but even then the percent reduction from W should be far more effective. I cannot stress enough how much of a difference the CDR on these makes to your utility in a team fight. With these, you go from a one shot nuke who drops his spells and runs to someone who can constantly bombard a team from hiding or behind a tank. You can spam stuns every few seconds if you are good at hitting with Q, and firing it into a group of enemies over and over never gets old. You can easily get off Q-E-R-Q under one W activation with these, something not to be underestimated.
- I made it a point to put Tear of the Goddess in there first, because you need it as soon as possible for the mana and mp5. However, Archangel's Staff is when you finally can deal some respectable damage and end your mana problems.
- Ok, if you doubt this, go play an ad champ. Lol.
Rylai's Crystal Staff- The game has changed a bit since Xerath originally came out, and with that comes a more specific and useful role for him to fill. Rylai's not only gives Xerath some wonderful health with enough AP to justify the purchase, it gives him a constant, significant slow to everything he hits. 15% is not as much as some, obviously, but considering that he can easily slow all 5 enemy players for an entire team fight, it rapidly becomes a game-changer.
- If you will recall, we skipped flat Mpen from sorc shoes early on. With masteries and runes, we have around 10/10% to start. Add in Xerath's W effect, and that moves to around 40% at lvl 5. That is enough for most squishies and non-resistance champions. However, just one or two MR items can negate that. Thus, we take Void Staff late game. With this item, his overall Mpen with W popped is 69% as of the last time I checked. The calculation for multiple % pen effects is a bit odd and seems to change every now and then, but regardless, this is still an amazingly effective item. The extra AP doesn't hurt either!
If the game gets late enough for you to be able to sell doran's ring and get a sixth major item, you can hardly go wrong with something as nifty as Zhonya's. Not only does it give you an awesome amount of AP, it gives you a decent shot of armor, which is always nice, and a great active effect. Xerath is not very strong if enemies can close, as you may have noticed. The active on this may just save your life as you dodge a powerful ult or lose aggro to tougher teammates. No real downside to this item, and a great way to finish off a build. That 135 AP (after Rabadon's and masteries) may just be the damage boost you need to make the final push stick.
In honor of my page reaching 666 views, here are some screenshots of me killing lots of people! I thought it was appropriate... haha.
So, you may notice, I usually have a lot of assists. Not quite sure why that is, someone always manages to get the last hit or what have you. Had some awesome games to post, but it seems I waited too long. These are all about low-to-average games for me... haven't been playing ranked in a few days due to school and whatnot. Anyway, more to come as I play more.
Oh, and OF COURSE I lost my last 2 Dominion matches... I had a 6 in a row win streak at number 1 on the team that I, being a moron obviously, forgot to record. I'll be sure to put those up when I repeat some decent games.
EDIT 10/20/11- 4 more games up
Ok, since this has now happened twice... I ask that you PLEASE at least try the build before telling me things are stupid. Further, if you are going to say something is stupid, please try to do so in relatively intelligible English and provide constructive criticism instead of "LOL U NOOB Y U TAKE TEH CLARIYRY??"