Jax Build Guide by Jnewbringspain
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+10% Attack Speed
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+8 Magic Resist
Threats & Synergies
Camille is a skill matchup. It's all about timing your counter strike at the perfect time, right before she starts attacking you. I would be careful until you get level 6, and sheen.
Cho is a diffciult matchup, but not impossible. Much of this matchup is opportunity based. Do not leap in and engage, you will lose that trade. Instead, wait for him to try rupture on you. Dodge it, then consider going in. If he recently used his vorpal spikes and misses rupture, you now have the advantage.
Most people hate playing against Darius, but I find this matchup to be very winnable. The important thing to do is bait his decimate and avoid it. This will allow you to farm a bit without much danger. Always back off if you end up with a lot of hemorrhage stacks. Later in the game, you need to stay very close when he uses decimate. If you stay inside it, it does practically no damage and he won't heal. A slight misstep in this matchup will likely leave you dead, so make sure you're comfortable with Jax if picking into Darius.
Another skill matchup. The one matchup you must take Mortal Reminder. Try to bait his Infected Cleaver and go in for an early kill. He is very hard to kill after level 6 due to his broken absurd healing, even with Mortal Reminder.
Ekko is difficult. AP is more difficult for Jax, and he does not need to basic attack to do a lot of damage to you. You can still win trades by anticipating his dive and using counterstrike, but it will require very good timing.
Fiora is winnable. You will need to make sure she does not Riposte your Counter Strike. If she does, you will lose the trade. Try to save Counter Strike and only use it after she uses Riposte. When you see her use it, sidestep it and activate Counter Strike and engage.
Gangplank is pretty easy, but difficult to secure a kill. He will likely spam Parrrley early on, so make sure you pick up Vampiric Scepter first. If you avoid his barrels, you should have enough sustain to be ok. After sheen and level 6, auto a minion twice, jump to him, empower and hit him. Back off afterward. He will struggle against this move, but once again be careful to not get caught in his barrels.
Garen is a skill matchup. Your Counter Strike will dodge his Decisive Strike, but his Judgement still makes extended duels difficult. Wait for him to come in with his Q, Counter Strike, get your combo in, and Leap away before you take lots of damage from his E. Do NOT leap to him or you will lose the trade.
Gnar can be difficult. He can kite you and easily escape if you jump on him. Try to avoid skillshots and farm up. Once you have level 6 and Sheen, auto a minion twice, Leap Strike to him, Empower and attack once, then back off. Do this a few times if possible and you give yourself a chance at killing him. If he is too skilled and out trades you anyway, just try to farm.
One of the hardest matchups. Don't try to solo fight him until late game. Ask for ganks in pregame as you will need them. His turrets make trading with him at close range impossible.
Try to fight her early, level 2 or 3. Avoid her Test of Spirit and Tentacle Smash at all costs. If you can make her miss these skills, go ahead and engage her. If she ults, Leap Strike out of it immediately and live to engage a different time.
You should be able to win this one as long as you don't eat her stun too often. If you do, attempt to Counter Strike right before it hits you and Leap away after the stun. She has terrible level 1 so use this to your advantage and go on the aggressive with Counter Strike.
Jarvan is easy, he just has a slight advantage early on. If you can avoid his Dragon Strike, most of his damage is gone. After level 6, avoid his poke and engage more often. You can easily Leap Strike out of his ult if you get caught.
Jayce is very hard because he can disengage, range, and burst. You will need a gank in this matchup. If possible, keep Leap Strike available until he pushes you back, then you can jump on him and attack freely.
Since rework this matchup has taken a 180. You have a huge advantage early on, especially level 2. She has no escape so you can Leap in, and she can't really damage you while you Counter Strike. By the time she hits her power spike, you'll be very far ahead and should still be able to handle her.
Kennen has good range, mobility, and crowd control. Just try to survive early on. Leave some minion kills on the table if it means keeping your health up. Level 6 won't be much easier since his ultimate is very strong, but you will have a better chance once you have Sheen.
Kled is easy because his damage mostly comes from basic attacks. If he lands Beartrap on a Rope and looks to fully engage you, activate Counter Strike right before it pulls you in, then start trading. Once you dispose of Skaarl, keep your distance and let cooldowns recover. Bait his pistol shot, then jump in on him and attack.
Lissandra is hard to engage. If you jump in, she can simply use Ring of Frost and root you in place. She also has more range, and plenty of invincibility with Frozen Tomb & Zhonya's Hourglass. Better off farming in this matchup.
Malphite isn't as big a counter as you might think. He has a shield and passive armor resistance, and his E will drop your attack speed, but if you build Hextech Gunblade first, your magic damage will be greatly increased through your abilities and you can win trades.
I hate this guy. His tankiness and sustain is simply too great. He still manages to do damage without any items, so just get out of his way and try your best to farm.
Like most Nasus matchups, it's easy early on, and hard later on. Try to harass him early and stop him from stacking Q. Pick your fights more carefully as time progresses. Eventually you won't be able to 1v1 him, so try to delay the inevitable.
Olaf is not easy. Don't let his axe hit you, as it will be almost instantly reset and he can throw it again. Olaf has arguably the strongest level 1 in the game, so wait a bit before trying anything. After level 6, you won't be able to stun him with Counter Strike when he ults, so be careful.
Take Cloth Armor and x5 Health Potions. You will not kill him early, so just try to outlast his mana. He has a small mana pool so as long as you aren't taking basic attacks with his spears, you will survive it. You outscale Pantheon hard as the game goes on, so just wait for your opportunities to pop up.
Both champions kind of counter each other, so this is a skill matchup. Her Blinding Assault make it hard to jump on her, but your Counter Strike will help you a lot in this matchup. Try to save Leap Strike. If you engage with it, she will just Vault and get away.
Renekton is a pure skill matchup and it is all about landing Counter Strike at the precise time. When you know he is about to activate Ruthless Predator, this is when you want to Counter Strike. It dodges the skill and you should be able to out trade him. Be cautious with this matchup because the slightest mistakes will lose the lane.
Honestly, fuck Riven.
Rumble is not hard if you can avoid his Flame Spitter and Electro Harpoon. Play it safe until level 6 + Sheen. Start doing the trick where you basic attack a minion twice, then Leap Strike, auto, W him for a good chunk of health.
Ryze is one of the hardest matchups. He destroys you in every way. Avoid at all costs and try to farm. Consider a lane swap if possible.
Singed is beatable, but difficult. His Poison Trail doesn't do much damage early on, so take advantage before he gets too tanky. Always save your Leap Strike against Singed so you can jump to him when he Flings you. If you get early kills it makes later laning phase much easier.
Sion is very difficult because of the amount of CC, damage, and health. It is hard to win trades because of the massive shield he gets. Try your best to avoid his Roar of the Slayer, as it will drop your armor. Leap Strike to avoid Decimating Smash. Build BOTRK first in this matchup for some better sustain and tank shred.
As you probably guessed, Teemo is possibly the worst matchup. His blind dart screws you, his range and poison overwhelms you, and if you get the rare opportunity to jump on him and kill him, he likely has a mushroom nearby to help him escape as you slowly die to poison. Ask for jungle camp. You won't even be able to farm in this matchup.
Trundle is generally easy because you can Counter Strike most of his damage. The tricky part is when to activate your ult. Trundle's Subjugate steals a percentage of your health, armor, and magic resist. This means if you activate your ult, and then he uses his, he steals a lot more armor and magic resist. Only activate Grandmaster's Might after he uses Subjugate.
Tryndamere is easy since almost all of his damage comes from basic attacks. Counter Strike counters him hard. Beware at early levels though, he will crit you if his fury bar is full. I would take Counter Strike first in this matchup.
Vlad is a hard matchup. Obviously he has range and sustain, but his Sanguine Pool makes it impossible to fully engage. Try to be somewhat aggressive early and build MR fast. Your Counter Strike is nearly useless in this matchup. Try to get ganks.
Fairly easy matchup early on as long as you can identity his clone. Do not engage him, wait for him to engage you. After he clones, activate your E and he should show up in time for you to leap to him. You should be able to out trade him this way, but he becomes a bigger threat at level 6.
Not a bad matchup at all, you can keep up with his mobility somewhat, and Counter Strike puts the hurt on him. His Windwall is completely useless against you. Try to basic attack him every so often to pop his shield before using Empower to do real damage.
Yorick is easy if you save Leap Strike and can avoid his Mourning Mist. Counter Strike works well against Last Rites, and you can jump away if you find yourself inside his Dark Procession.
Jax does really well with champions that have fast gap-closing skills with CC. Amumu Bandage Toss makes this pair work well.
Jax does really well with champions that have fast gap-closing skills with CC. Jarvan fits the mold, but can also trap your enemy in his ult.
Jax does really well with champions that have fast gap-closing skills with CC. A good lee that can jump on the enemy and ward hop ult him into you makes your life really easy.
Jax does really well with champions that have fast gap-closing skills with CC. Pantheon's W is short and simple, but he does good burst damage, so between the two of you the enemy will drop really fast anyway.
Jax does really well with champions that have fast gap-closing skills with CC. Zac has the longest of dive range skills along with CC to make things easy.
Jax does really well with champions that have fast gap-closing skills with CC. Vi is in contention with J4 for best pair because she has such a ridiculous gap-closing range between Vault Breaker and her ult. Her ult being lock-on along with your Leap makes the damage completely guaranteed.
Jnewbringspain's Top Lane Jax
Why should I trust you?
Because I'm good at Jax and VERY rarely lose lane when I play him. I have a lot of experience with Jax, 80,000 mastery on my alternate account (I LUV CPT PICARD), and another 80,000+ on my main account (I have much more experience than this if you account for all the time I've played him since Season 1 where mastery wasn't a thing)
Here are some other guides I've made.
See spoiler for my stats.
+Solid off-tank pick that gives you a bit of everything.
+Great gap closer/escape with Leap Strike.
+Only needs 1 or 2 damage items to dumpster people.
+Counters AA based champions with Counter Strike.
+Great split push, gets AS from Relentless Assault.
+Versatile, can be built tank, AD, AP, Top, Jungle.
+ Empower cancels AA delay, allowing a double AA.
+Can help other lanes with his gap closer & stun.
+Great ultimate skill in Grandmaster's Might. Passive magic damage on 3rd hit, making it difficult to build armor against Jax, and defensive steroid when activated.
- Jax can potentially be kited by a skilled enemy.
-Not great against heavy burst teams.
-Takes practice to truly master.
-You will likely die, even if you are fed.
-Not very good against tanks in lane.
-Mains top lane, which is probably the least impactful role in the current meta.
- Counter Strike isn't nearly as effective if laning against a mage.
-Very weak against teams with disengage. ( Lee Sin, Tristana, Janna)
Q - Leap Strike is a fantastic skill and will be maxed 2nd. Although it is not a heavy damage dealer, it is a very versatile skill because it can be used on almost anything. You can leap to enemies, teammates, minions, pets, wards, even on to a Thresh lantern! Also has low cooldown, so you can
W - Empower is maxed 1st. This skill empowers your basic attack with extra magic damage. Very low CD at max rank, low mana cost. and good damage. Also, it resets basic attack delay. This means you can basic attack, then hit W and instantly attack again. There is added range too, making it
E - Counter Strike is maxed last, but is possibly Jax's most defining skill. During Counter Strike, any incoming basic attacks are automatically dodged. This instantly gives him a huge advantage over other basic attack based champions like Tryndamere or Master Yi. At the end
R - Grandmaster's Might (Passive) is an amazing ultimate ability. Passively, it will trigger every 3rd consecutive basic attack for extra magic damage. Keep in mind, if you wait too long your third attack will not trigger with extra damage. You can keep track of the consecutive hits by monitoring your
If you activate Grandmaster's Might, you gain armor and magic resist based on your attack damage and ability power. More attack damage gives more armor, and more ability power gives more magic resist.
I start with these items first in all situations except against Pantheon. If you lane against him, go Cloth Armor and Health Potion. Take Warding Totem in all situations since you can Leap Strike to it, unless you are laning against Teemo and you are having difficulty with his Noxious Trap. Then you may want an Oracle Lens.
Your first item built should be Trinity Force, unless you are fighting a tank, then you might consider BOTRK first. This item gives Jax a nice boost in many areas and is typically all you need to out-duel your opponent. Sheen should always be first in the build path, choose whether you want Stinger or Phage based on your matchup. Phage if you need to stick to your enemy better, Stinger if you feel you need some CDR.
Next you will want to focus on your last pure damage item, Blade of the Ruined King. Once you finish this item, you will have an ideal amount of attack speed, and the passive will help greatly against any tanks you are going against. The active skill is also very useful to Jax. The movement speed you steal is enough to stop an enemy from getting away most of the time.
Now that we are past the core items, these next items will change a lot in order built, and the items themselves. At this point, just ask yourself what you need the most.
If no one on the enemy team poses a real threat to you currently, go with Spear of Shojin. If the enemy has a fed mage, go with Maw of Malmortius. If you want more damage & an extra life get Guardian Angel. If you have fed enemies that are crit-based, go with Randuin's Omen.
Most of the time, you will probably use 1 of these items per game. It is important to know the right item to take.
Mercurial Scimitar is only taken if the enemy has a strong suppress CC move (Because suppress is unaffected by tenacity). Examples would be Malzahar Nether Grasp, Warwick Infinite Duress.
Adaptive Helm is really only taken against Teemo. It helps a ton against his Noxious Trap and his poison.
Thornmail should only be taken if multiple enemies are basic attackers. Example of a team comp to take Thornmail: Tryndamere top lane, Master Yi jungle, Vayne ADC. It is not worth taking Thornmail if your lane opponent is the main basic attacker. Your Counter Strike is enough to deal with your lane opponent.
Hextech Gunblade is great if you need to fool your lane opponent. When you are facing a pure tank who just builds armor to counter you, take this before Trinity Force. This is the only time I do this, but it will work great against "counters" such as Malphite or Rammus. They will always build armor first and you can obliterate them with this item.
Mortal Reminder is hardly ever built, but if the enemy team has multiple heavy healers, such as a Dr. Mundo top, Vladimir mid, and Soraka support, you should consider getting this item.
Farming is very nice with Jax. It will take a few matches to get used to Grandmaster's Might passive 3rd hit, but once you get used to it, farming will be a breeze. Empower and Relentless Assault make his under tower farming exceptional. If you are about to miss a minion kill due to basic attack delay, use Empower to finish it off. The mana cost is low so it shouldn't affect your mana pool much.
Early Lane Phase
Starting at level one, you will want Counter Strike first most of the time. It's a great skill if you are going against another melee champion that you can easily walk up to attack.
You will want to start basic attacking minions the second you get in lane if there is no threat from your opponent. Don't push too hard, but try to stack up your Relentless Assault. When you are not in danger of losing much health from enemy minions, go in and attack. The attack speed should make you come out ahead. Obviously, you don't want to try this against certain opponents who have strong level 1, such as Pantheon.
You will have to be careful to not push your wave too fast, leaving yourself susceptible to ganks. It is a little tricky knowing when to stack your passive or not. At level two, assuming you managed to out trade your opponent, grab Leap. If you played your hand correctly with Counter Strike at level 1, your enemy should already be low. You can force a Flash at level 2 in most matchups.
At level 3 when you have all three of your basic skills, I usually start to play a bit more passive at this point. Unless your opponent is a hard counter, he/she should be pretty low on HP or backing already. Take this time to grab some farm. Getting your first two items is absolutely critical for Jax, so try not to take unnecessary risks.
Mid Lane Grandmaster's Might Phase
Skipping ahead to when you get Grandmaster's Might and probably have Sheen or are close to it. This is where you can really punish your opponent. Basic attack a minion twice, then Leap Strike to your opponent, basic attack, Empower, and back off. Watch your opponent's health drop by 1/3 with this quick combo. Once your cooldowns are reset, go in again, but activate Counter Strike before you Leap Strike. The stun should be enough for you to get a kill if he/she does not have Flash up.
If you find yourself in an extended duel with a basic attacker like Tryndamere, it is VERY important to not reactivate Counter Strike. You will want this skill going as long as possible to dodge as many attacks as possible.
Try to activate Grandmaster's Might early instead of too late. If you see a gank coming in that is unavoidable, or you are about to engage in a team fight, activate it before you take any damage. It is better to activate it a little too early than activating it too late.
Late Lane Splitpush God Phase
Late into the lane phase, you will have a lot of attack speed by now. Nobody in the game will be trying to solo duel you. Keep pressure in your lane and try to drop a tower. Don't forget to use Empower to reset your basic attack and deal extra damage with Trinity Force.
Depending on the enemy team, you may have 1 or 2 towers down, or maybe 0 if they really concentrate on shutting you down. Because Jax does so well in 1 on 1 situations, and has great mobility potential, I find jungle roaming to be very effective at this point in the game, maybe more effective than trying to gank another lane. Start making your presence felt all over the map. Roam around and look for opportunities to steal jungle farm, pick up an easy kill, or help another lane.
Once team fights start happening, you will want to change up your style a bit. You can't just jump into the middle of a fight right when it starts, because Jax is susceptible to burst and kiting. Try to wait for a couple seconds for the front lines to throw out their skills. Once the fight really starts going, activate your Grandmaster's Might, then Counter Strike, and hop on an easy squishy target. In these situations, you want to keep Counter Strike spinning as long as possible, as it also reduces AoE damage. If you manage to kill someone, but are in danger of dying, back off and try to Leap Strike to safety. Jax is amazing at escaping contested team fights.
If you have a decent amount of health and a few opponents are low, keep attacking. You have the tools to survive and kill them all. Take notice of Counter Strike cooldown, because it is the biggest factor in securing kills at the end of team fights.
The other strategy when team fights start happening is to simply splitpush. As stated before, Jax is a godly splitpusher. Don't splitpush too much though, your team will likely need you. Pick your spots well.
Most of Jax's tricks have already been mentioned somewhere above, but I will go through each one here.
Leap Strike can be used on almost everything. Leap to a ward, minion, champion, jungle fruit, even a Thresh lantern! You cannot leap to a tower/inhib/nexus.
Empower cancels basic attack delay, so take advantage of this NONSTOP. Cancel when attacking towers, minions, and obviously enemy champions.
Counter Strike should not be reactivated when dueling with a basic attacking champion. Dodge as many attacks as possible before the stun goes off.
Once you have Grandmaster's Might, attack a minion twice, then Leap Strike to your opponent, basic attack, Empower, and back off. In one second you'll hit your enemy with Leap damage, basic attack damage, Grandmaster's Might damage, Sheen damage, then another basic attack along with the Empower damage, dealing massive damage before the enemy can react.
Jax is a versatile duelist capable of dominating even the heaviest damage dealers. Hopefully my guide gave some insight on this champion. For those of you who made it this far, thank you for reading!
Comments, questions, and feedback are very welcome. I will do my best to answer all questions sent my way.
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