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Xerath Build Guide by AP WormMaW Mid

Middle grandmaster

WormMaW's guide for Xerath!

By AP WormMaW Mid | Updated on December 9, 2019
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Runes:

Sorcery
Arcane Comet
Manaflow Band
Absolute Focus
Gathering Storm

Inspiration
Magical Footwear
Cosmic Insight
Bonus:

+1-10% CDR (lvls 1-18)
+10 Adaptive (6 AD or 10 AP)
+15-90 HP (lvls 1-18)

Spells:

LoL Summoner Spell: Flash

Flash

LoL Summoner Spell: Teleport

Teleport

LeagueSpy Logo
Middle Lane
Ranked #31 in
Middle Lane
Win 50%
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Introduction

My name is AP WormMaW Mid and I am AP Kogmaw main since season 3. I was Master tier season 4 and season 5 in soloQ, ending up in Challenger in 5v5 bracket during these seasons as well. Last season I ended up in Diamond 1 on EUW and Master tier 160LP on EUNE.

My main account profiles can be found here: EUNE, EUW

In the past, I used to be AP Kogmaw one trick, but after that, I started to learn wider set of champions and one of those was Xerath as well.

My motivation to play Xerath was always, that it was somehow similar to AP Kogmaw in terms of positioning and ability to snipe your opponents from far away. I was always attached more to artillery champions, rather than some assasins. Generally, I love the fact, that Xerath is able to extend the game, when your team is behind, while being able to siege down objectives, while ahead, which doesn't really apply for that many champions.
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Pros / Cons


Pros

+ Long range abilities
+ Generally strong damage dealer
+ Can extend game length, when team is behind
+ Relatively safe with right positioning

Cons

- Bad against hard engage teams
- No escape mechanics
- Mobile champions can juke his skillshots

What I usually see as a problem with Xerath is, that when you are facing some hard engage comp with Leona, Zac, Kled and so on, then it might be quite hard to keep proper position without dying. Maybe another small problem, that we might mention is, that Xerath generally doesn't like sustain, so healing/shielding champions might be a bit annoying during siege.
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Runes

Here, I will try to explain possible rune choices for Xerath, even though it feels like sometimes there might be multiple viable choices and the difference might be very low. I want to point out, that I will mention only those runes, that I somehow consider interesting for comparison, so there might not be all runes explained, because it would just result in incredible wall of text that nearly no one would ever read. So let's get started!




Compared to Summon Aery, Arcane Comet has way better damage output, even though it might not be sometimes unreliable, but especially with high amount of ability power, it's simply way better. Another thing is, that since you have slow on your Eye of Destruction and stun on your Shocking Orb, it's not really possible to juke it, especially when you get first hit by these - so generally, this is pretty much the only go-for rune.




Once again, this is the only possible rune from second row in Sorcery tree, since you can't really use the others. In addition to that, even though you have your passive, you still want to have some other mana source, especially during sieges or possibly teamfights, where you might not want to get close enough to land autoattacks and from my experience, Xerath has definitelly no problem to run out of mana.


VS


At the moment, this is my prefered rune on Xerath. The reason is, that you get extra power straight away, instead of waiting till level 10. Another reason is, that you have decent amount of ability power for pretty much most of time, since you are just standing behind, where you don't usually get damage. For most part, it's just investment into stronger early game, without losing much of power in mid/late game, if you even lose any.


This might be another interesting possibility, if you feel confident about your early game, it will definitelly spike into interesting extra CDR later on, which will allow you to fight more efficiently in teamfights, where the cooldown of spells matters, since enemy team will just not wait with melting your frontline. For that reason, you might as well aim for this rune instead, even though right now, it's not really my prefered one.


VS


Gathering Storm is pretty good rune, if you want to scale up into mid/late game. Right now this is my prefered rune over Scorch. Main reason is, that Xerath has generally decent base damages, which will allow you to be useful enough during early game, before this rune kicks in and after it does, you get really good damage steroid, especially if you combine it with Rabadon's Deathcap.


Since you are poke champions, Scorch will probably provide you a bit more early-game pressure on your opponent, which might be sometimes useful to have. Generally though I don't really prefer this option, because I feel like you simply don't need it and you should rather make that investment into scaling (at least in this case).





Main reason, why I find Inspiration that good is, that it provides you 5% extra CDR, which might not look that great, but having it permanently on all your spells is generally quite good (at least it feels like it), except for that, you can get either way free boots or Stopwatch, that you can build up into Zhonya's Hourglass against some assasin teamcomp, which is pretty much extra gold.

It's probably worth to mention, that except for my experience, it's not really too far from Inspiration and Domination, so if you feel like using these instead (for example for extra CDR on ultimate or extra mana sustain from Presence of Mind etc. then go ahead).


This is usually my prefered first rune on Xerath from Inspiration tree. Main reason is, that it saves up some gold (you don't have to buy boots) and you get permanent movementspeed boost, which is quite useful for any immobile champion. It's also important to mention, that you should swap this for Perfect Timing whenever you are facing some assasin or heavy-AD teamcomp, where you will want to build Zhonya's Hourglass.



At first glance it looks like pretty awkward rune, but when you realise, that even though it's 5%, you still need to consider, that it's permanent and you don't have to wait for it, then it applies on your items and summoner spells as well, which is really good and of course your spells, where you might go over cap like this, which is even better.


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Prefered items


Doran's Ring is my typical starting item, to get a bit of AP, HP and possibly make my last hitting easier.


I usually build up Dark Seal right after Doran's Ring, since it gives me better sustain from potions and in addition, I can usually get decent amount of extra AP, since as artillery champ, you are relatively safe, when getting kills/assists. For same reason people might consider to run Mejai's Soulstealer.


Pretty much must-have first item. This increases your siege potential and generally potential to set-up teamfight by poking down your opponents. It also gives you 20% CDR and amount of extra mana, that you need to not stay tapped all the time.


In my opinion this is quite underestimated, while really strong item for Xerath in early game. With this + Sorcerer's Shoes you can do nearly true damage to targets, that don't have any magic resistances. In addition to that, you get a bit of ability power and health, which will help you to survive, when someone gets on you.


Typical boots for mage, that wants to deal as much damage as possible. Some people might consider going CDR boots, but to be honest 18 flat magic penetration is just way too much to give up.


Our little red hat... another mandatory item for any mage that wants to deal "TONS OF DAMAGE". Generally it scales well together with Gathering Storm and Absolute Focus. Though, you should make decision between this and Void Staff as 3rd item depending on enemy team and how they build up their items. If you feel like they have a lot of magic resistances, you should always go for Void Staff instead.


I never understood how some people are able to propose mage build without having this item. The damage amplification that you get out of magic penetration is just huge, but don't build it in unnecessary situations - when your opponents don't build up any MR. It's just up to your own decision, when you decide to buy this item, just to be able to get through enemy team defenses.


Mandatory item, when you are facing a lot of champions, that have some kind of sustain, except for that it's great due to the fact, that it has magic penetration, but you shouldn't really rush entire Morellonomicon if they don't really have that kind of excessive self-healing. In that case, you should just stick with Oblivion Orb and finnish this item as last, to get extra stats.


This item got buffed multiple times recently and I feel like it's really great on Xerath or generally for your team, mainly because it provides extra utility in terms of slow effect. It also adds extra AP and health, which will again help you to survive, when someone gets on your face (not always though...).


Really great situational item, when you are up against many champions, that deal magic damage or that can burst you down, while being extremly mobile ( Fizz, LeBlanc and such). It also helps you against champions like Thresh or Blitzcrank that will constantly try to catch you, which will be really hard for them, whenever your magic-immunity barrier is up. It's worth to mention, that it as well containsn CDR, which will allow you to reach CDR cap with blue buff.


Mandatory defensive item against heavy-AD team or generally if you are up against things like Talon, Zed, etc. You should always get this item if you don't feel comfortable against enemy team and you are just afraid about their assasination/engage potential. It also contains extra CDR, helping you to reach cap together with blue buff.


Not widely used, yet pretty good item for any kind of player that likes to gamble a bit. It proved to be really good, whenever you have good early and you know, that enemy team don't really have too many tools to get on your face. (Please, just don't turn your 10 stacks Dark Seal into Mejai's Soulstealer and die in next 2 minutes, losing all stacks like me... :D).
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Spell-maxing priority


> > >


Well, your main long-range source of damage with lowest cooldown. Mandatory ability, that you should always max first. Except for that, I guess there is not much to mention here, maybe except for the fact, that if you want to know some advanced mechanics (that you will not really use 99% of time), then you should go into practice tool and look on youtube how to make either way Flash- Arcanopulse to throw it further or to possibly change angle, if you flash into side, after releasing your Q. It might be sometimes shiny to do, but since it costs you flash, you don't really want to do it too often.


Another important ability, that you should rank-up second. Main purpose of this ability, except for damage is the ability to kite your opponents, due to pretty huge slow effect (especially if you hit the central spot of this ability). What is definitelly worth to mention is the fact, that you are able to use this ability to set-up opponent for your Arcanopulse. In other words, in lane you can expect your opponent to last hit, so you just send Eye of Destruction on him, because it's way harder to juke, which will slow him (more or less, depending on where you hit him) and then it will be way harder for him to juke your Arcanopulse or possibly Shocking Orb. So try to abuse this ability as much as possible, when trying to go for poke, especially in lane.


Great tool to pin down your opponents and peel for yourself. Be careful about the fact, that if you hit this ability on melee range, it's duration is really small, so be ready to chain this with Eye of Destruction as well, if you want to get away from someone. It might be also useful to learn how to chain Shocking Orb with Flash, to not let your opponent so much time to react on it - again you can practice this in practice tool (simply keep trying to Flash right after using Shocking Orb).


This is probably my most favorite ability, that makes you feel like a god, that has ability to decide the fate of each one of your opponents. Usually it's you should be using it for finnishing off your opponents, but sometimes you might consider using it to poke down target, that is in awkward spot, getting chased by your team, which will simply force him to decide, if he wants to juke and get caught by your teammates or eat each one of the shots (which might kill him after all, if he is squishy enough and you have enough AP).

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Playstyle

Here I will try to describe some main parts of gameplay and mention things, that are somehow important. Xerath is generally quite strong in any game phase and can provide his team with really good damage backup.


Early game


It's important here to find balance between farming and harassing your opponent. Sometimes people are focusing way too much on harassing, while losing farm themselves (somtimes including me), so make sure, that you try to keep up pressure on your opponent, but don't go too far with it, where it would cost you a lot of last-hits or that it would expose you to a gank.

Except for that, make sure that you stack up your Manaflow Band as soon as possible to get that regeneration effect. For that reason, I am starting with Eye of Destruction, which has nearly same cooldown as Manaflow Band and it's way harder to juke, compared to Arcanopulse. For that reason you won't lose too much mana, while trying to hit your opponent.

As I mentioned already before, you should always aim for hitting your Eye of Destruction before going for Arcanopulse, since the slow effect will make it really hard for your opponent to juke your Arcanopulse, making your lane harass way more efficient. For hitting your Eye of Destruction, try to predict the moment when your opponent will try to go for last hit on minion and just throw it into his path, making him decide, whether he wants to try to juke or get the last hit.

Remember, that you are quite squishy and you don't have any escape tool except for Flash, so don't make any super agressive moves early on.


Mid game


Mid-game is the game phase, where people will start hating your Xerath, unless they have really good team composition against you or unless you are incredibly behind. Main thing is, that your poke will start to be really annoying for enemy carries and due to that, you should be able to start getting objectives.

During siege it's important to understand risks, that enemy composition contains. You need to remember what champions they play and what are they cappable of. For example things like Fiddlesticks, Zac, Talon and so on can just flank you from side and kill you unnoticed, so make sure that you have sides warded as well, when going for siege at Tier 2 towers etc. Generally in this phase, your positioning will start being way more important than before.


Late game


During late-game, your positioning will be really crucial and pretty much any mistake might be punished really badly, because as much as you are strong, you are important as well for your team. So in most cases, if your ADC is not incredibly good, if they take you down, your team will start losing objectives, or even lose Nexus during one push.

Except for the fact, that you might flop really fast, you will cause really huge problems to your opponents, whenever you hit your Q, because if you reach full build, you can chunk even like 50% of health from enemy carry player, unless they have some items for health/MR.

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Threats

In this section, I usually try to mention pretty bad matchups, but I feel like Xerath has huge potential of outplaying your opponent in lane and if you play it right, you stand chance against most of the champions. What is problem though, is initiation and catch potential, which is generally bad for Xerath. For that reason, I will try to mention these kind of threats, that I see as quite annoying.



This little robo-guy is just as annoying as it gets. The fact, that he will most likely keep chasing you and try to do some Flash-hooks, will just mean that you need to keep in mind, that anytime, when you get out of position without Flash, means that you can get caught and easily killed.

Sometimes it's even good to build up Banshee's Veil against him, to prevent getting random hooks.



Zac is another champion, that you don't want to end up against. His catch potential is just huge and even if you ward-up sides during siege, you will most likely never get perfect vision, which means, that he can always possibly get on you somehow.

Generally it's already annoying during laning phase, that he can keep engaging on you, forcing you out of lane or even killing you.



Leona's main strength is in her ultimat, that she is able to throw at quite high range. For that reason, you should always be careful, whenever you are getting closer to her, because whenever she ults you into her full combo, there is always risk, that you will just flop, especially without Flash.



This nasty assasin is huge threat for most of mages, together with his ability to juke your skillshots, he is really annoying both in lane and even more in teamfights. You always need to be careful to not get too close to him, if you don't need to. And of course, rush Zhonya's Hourglass as soon as possible.



This is pretty much similar to Zed, except for the fact, that he is able to infinitelly jump over walls. For that reason, your team should NEVER attempt to fight in jungle and just try to siege from lane, where you have some time to disengage, ideally with some backup from your support or some other team member, who can peel him out from you. You should also rush Zhonya's Hourglass against him, even though it's a bit easier to lane against him, compared to Zed, since he needs to make some sort of flank, to really get on you, compared to ghost + R, that Zed can perform.



It might not look like that, but this guy can be a real headache. If he gets fed, he can just pull off his Ragnarok and smash your face without you being able to do anything. Luckily for you, he is able to do it from early to mid-game, but in late-game where everyone already has so much damage, he usually dies, whenever he tries to do such thing alone.


Please note, that there might be way more threats like this, that are quite annoying, yet I tried to point out the most obvious ones. Maybe in a future I will add some more, or if you would have some in mind, just feel free to put it into comment and I will consider adding it as well!

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Is this the end?

Making guide is continuous work and I am not sure, whether or not I will not add new parts into it. Right now I think, that I said probably the most important part, that should be always included here. But no matter what, you might still expect some updates, whenever I find something new or in case that I would figure out something, that I want to share with you guys.

Though, I wish you best of luck with this lazor guy and always remember that...

I follow the path to power!
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Other guides

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Additional questions? Wish to support me further?

If you have any additional questions, if I wouldn't explain something here properly, then feel free to visit me and ask me on my stream.

https://www.twitch.tv/kostickatv
https://twitter.com/Kostickax
https://www.facebook.com/Kostickax/