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Xerath Build Guide by Hyph3nated

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This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Hyph3nated

Xerath - The X Factor

Hyph3nated Last updated on October 17, 2011
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Middle Lane
Ranked #32 in
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Win 51%
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Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

Not Updated For Current Season

The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.


Brute Force
Improved Rally

Offense: 9

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 0

Expanded Mind
Mystical Vision
Presence of the Master

Utility: 21

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Welcome to my second build, this time written on Xerath. Xerath is a mage with CC, incredible range, and very good damage output. A very well rounded champion indeed, Xerath reminds me a lot of Ryze and LeBlanc, so I have built a guide modeled after the way I play those two champions. I ask that you read the whole guide before judging it, and I would be happy to take feedback from anyone in the comments section. ENJOI

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Pros / Cons

- High, consistent damage output
- Stun
- Percent spell penetration
- Passively increased armor
- Good harass levels 1-18

- Immobility in Locus of Power
- Many skillshots
- CC hurts
- Vulnerable to AP burst

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These runes tend to be my standard set for any and all AP casters.

Greater Mark of Magic Penetration - Mostly for the early game damage, considering most other champions you might likely face have around 30 magic resist, this will allow your spells to deal with only about 22 of their magic resist

Greater Seal of Replenishment - Xerath is a champion who tends to use his Arcanopulse a lot for harass, and even taking out multiple minions. The flat mana regen runes really help to sustain in lane, and allow for that continual use of spells

Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power - Probably the most obvious runes for any AP user. More ability power, more damage, and for Xerath, more armor

Greater Quintessence of Ability Power - The AP early game helps a lot, for more damage and more kills

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9/0/21 masteries. Very standard, with the spell penetration, cooldown reduction, experience boost, death time reduction, and decreased Flash cooldown.

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Summoner Spells

The champions I tend to play are AP casters with good burst. The summoner spells that I always get on these characters are Flash and Ignite.

I always find Ignite to be very useful, whether it is used to ensure a kill, shut down a lifesteal champion, or counter a Soraka or Dr. Mundo. Especially on the more bursty type of champions, Ignite will allow for that kill, as opposed to autoattacking and not getting the kill.

Flash is probably the best escape in the game, and to have it on a champion who does not have any other built-in escape is amazing. This summoner spell can be used both offensively and defensively as well, and knowing when to use it or not is very important. My views on the decision of Ghost or Flash are as follows: AD champions, especially those with mostly melee attacks, should definitely get Ghost. AD champions tend to have more consistent damage that will continually wail on the opponent, and to complement that consistent damage will be the consistent movement speed increase of Ghost. Flash on the other hand, I feel complements AP champions, those with more burst damage, because the burst damage needs the burst movement of Flash.

Ghost - Ghost is a very good spell, but as explained above, I find Flash to be more suitable for a champion like Xerath.

Teleport - Useful spell that will teleport you to an allied non-champion unit. Very good for maximizing time in lane, but this spell is better suited for good pushers, and tanky champions for defending turrets well.

Exhaust - Suited more for 1v1 champions, especially AD champions.

Clarity - Not a very recommended spell at all, because of its uselessness late game, and Xerath is not SO mana hungry early game that he needs to waste a summoner spell for it.

Cleanse - Cleanse should only be used on a champion who is in the action a lot, and who would be very vulnerable if stunned, such as a Master Yi.

Clairvoyance - Should only really be taken by the support on your team, and since this Xerath build (and most others) are not meant for support, do not take it unless you or your team sees it as necessary.

Fortify - Can be useful at times, but this spell is incredibly situational, and should only be taken by a tank or support... maybe.
WARNING: Absolute Trash Below

Heal - Heal is an absolutely useless spell from mid to late game, and even early game, pretty much the most it will do is make people laugh at you.

Revive - Terrible spell in general, only a few builds for a scarce amount of champions might even consider it...

Rally - This is the summoner spell that people use to make other people queue dodge when a friend just came online.

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Skill Sequence

Arcano Pulse

____________ Arcanopulse is the bread and butter of Xerath. Fairly low cooldown, high damage, long range, and AoE, this is a great spell to have, as long as it is used properly. I'm fairly certain that almost all builds have this ability maxed out first, because of its reliability in damage and low cooldown. Besides your ultimate, this move will be doing the most damage in battles. This move is perfect for taking out waves of minions, especially the ranged minions in back. Gauge the amount of damage your Arcanopulse will do, and using that assumption, be sure to last hit all 3 of them with one Arcanopulse.

LocusLocus of PowerPower

____________ Locus of Power is the reason why Xerath has such incredible range. In addition, the percent spell penetration is huge, especially against tanky enemy champions. Xerath's key to success in teamfights comes from his ability to sit back, immobilize out of range, and hurl out as many spells as he wishes. The range and spell penetration combine to do great damage to the enemy team. The thing that I find different about my builds from other Xerath builds is that I do not put a point into Locus of Power until level 5, and I leave that one point in it until every other ability is maxed out. This will be discussed further on.

Some people might be wondering if the movement speed increase from Locus of Power is worth it to immobilize yourself for that 0.5 seconds. Well, over a span of 3 seconds, a Xerath with only his base speed and boots with Enhanced Movement 2 travels 1155 game units, whereas that same Xerath using Locus of Power for the movement speed increase will travel 1232 game units, confirming that the bonus movement does outweigh the 0.5 second delay. Assuming that you deactivate and start walking again exactly at 0.5 seconds.

MageMage ChainsChains

____________ Mage Chains gives Xerath his only form of CC, however, being a stun, it is one of the best types of CC to have. The mechanic behind the Mage Chains is that after you hit an enemy with it, in order to proc the stun, you must damage them with another one of your spells, which is only Arcanopulse and Arcane Barrage. Using Arcane Barrage to proc the stun is very simple, because of the wide area that the ability covers. Arcanopulse provides more of a challenge, since it is harder to land the ability.

Arcane Barrage

____________ Arcane Barrage is a pretty sweet ability, being spammable up to 3 times, with high damage, and a fairly large radius. Its 3 different charges are perfect fillers in combat while waiting for other moves to come off cooldown. Arcane Barrage has a range as far as that of Arcanopulse, both in and out of Locus of Power, so be sure to use that to your advantage whenever possible.

AscendedAscended FormForm

____________ Ascended Form is a pretty sweet passive, allowing for Xerath to be more resilient against AD champions. It also lets Xerath build without worrying too much about being able to survive, which is why in this build, I try to add in items that will synthesize with this extra armor. This passive is a good thing to keep in mind for whenever you buy an item, because the ability power you get from the item will also give you armor along with it.

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Skill Sequence Reasoning

Locus of Power VS Mage Chains

The decision to level and max out Mage Chains over Locus of Power comes from the way I have decided to model my playstyle of Xerath off of that of LeBlanc. The mechanic of Mage Chains really reminds me of her mechanics, which is one of the reasons I decided to play Xerath in the first place. For this reason, I decided not to utilize the long range of Locus of Power, and focus more on the damage of the Mage Chains + Arcanopulse combination.

The only real use for the extra range on Xerath, besides harass, is to finish a kill with Arcanopulse. In Locus of Power, the range on Mage Chains is 300 lower than that of both of Xerath's other damaging spells, at 1000 game units. This means that actually dealing damage long range only comes from Arcanopulse, because wasting an ultimate when not engaging is stupid. The times that you are really going to get kills is when the enemy engages you in a closer ranged battle. In this situation, which will be the majority of the time, it is better to have more damage than range and increased spell penetration. Besides, because of the delay between when you activate Locus of Power and when your character actually is able to use another move, the enemy is able to easily see what you are doing. They will either take your immobility to their advantage and engage, making the extra range useless, or they will be ready to dodge the incoming arcanopulse, which, to be honest, seems a great deal easier to dodge at long ranges than up close. For teamfights, that is when you use your Locus of Power, and cooldown doesn't matter, because you will only be needing it once to send out spells at the group engaged in battle, and the rest of the teamfight is spent on the run, where Locus of Power is not a good idea to use.

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The icons shown above display the final 6 items that this build will get you, as well as their general build order. (Does not include any consumables you wish to buy)

Item Rationale

Spawning Items

Meki Pendant - Two main ideas pointed me in the direction of using this as my starting item.
1) Xerath needs mana regen to use his Arcanopulse properly
2) Morello's Evil Tome is the best item for Xerath in this build
_____Arcanopulse is an ability that should be used on Xerath as a form of harass. The range and good damage output brought by this ability is too much of a harassing tool to pass up. For this reason, mana regeneration seemed to be a great way to start off. The decision to take the Meki Pendant over Doran's Ring was made simply through game played as Xerath. I find that the early game health and ability power is unnecessary, because I find Xerath to have a lack of "amazingness" very early game. Also by buying the Ring, I lack The ability to stay in lane, simply because of how much more useful those two Health Potions are. They each regenerate 200 health over 20 seconds, which far outweighs the 100 health provided by Doran's Ring. The Doran's Ring turns out to be a waste of money as well as stats in the end.
_____The ability to quickly build into the main item of this build is great, and doing so with gold to spare for Health Potions is even better. Morello's Evil Tome and its benefits on Xerath will be explained below.

Full Core Items

Morello's Evil Tome
I see this item to be outstanding for Xerath. An amazing 20% cooldown reduction is the initial reason I looked at this item. After playing Xerath, I found that during his early game, autoattacks would fill too much of the space between abilities in combat. To remedy this, cooldown reduction seemed to be the logical way to go. This item, as well as Deathfire Grasp is the only fully-built item with both ability power and cooldown reduction. Because I just hate Deathfire Grasp in general, Morello's Evil Tome gave me as Xerath amazing cooldown reduction, a good amount of ability power, and mana regen, all things that are great for him.

Mercury's Treads
Boots are basically a given in any build. However, the reason for including boots with magic resist and tenacity is that Xerath already gets enough magic penetration as it is from Locus of Power, and the early game flat magic penetration is taken care of from Mark of Magic Penetration, leaving the extra flat magic penetration from Sorceror's Shoes incredibly unnecessary. As for Boots of Lucidity, the extra cooldown reduction goes wasted, since the total amount would be over 40%, the cooldown cap. I see it as much better to have magic resist and tenacity than wasting money on cooldown boots that aren't put to full use. The only other alternative to Mercury's Treads would be Boots of Swiftness, and although the extra speed would be incredibly useful for lining up skillshots, I find that the option of building tankier with tenacity outweighs the extra speed. The magic resist from the boots complements the health from Rylai's Crystal Scepter and the armor from Ascended Form to build Xerath fairly tanky, without going out of our way to focus on it.

Rylai's Crystal Scepter
This item is also a great fit for what I am looking to accomplish in this build. It provides health to add to Xerath's tankiness, while providing ability power (which alos gives armor), and a slow. This slow is very good in combination with Mage Chains, because it allows you to hit the target and proc the stun with much greater ease than before. Lining up the shot with Arcanopulse will allow for an almost guaranteed hit on a slowed target.

Rabadon's Deathcap
Basically the best ability power item in the game. This will give a huge increase in ability power, not to mention the armor gained from your passive as well. The more ability power you have, the more damage you will deal, simple enough.

Final Items

The last two items of this guide are somewhat a personal preference, as long as one of those items has magic resist. This is of course assuming that the game continues on for this long.

Will of the Ancients
The ability power and awesome aura provided by this item is great. Remembering that this aura affects both you and nearby teammates, you gain a total of 80 ability power, and 25% spell vamp. At this point I don't think I need to explain why the ability power is good. The spell vamp, on the other hand, I find to be very good for Xerath because of his high, fairly consistent, and AoE damage output. Although AoE abilities only have 1/3 the amount of spell vamp, hitting at least 3 enemy targets with some of your moves should be manageable part of the time, especially in teamfights. The spell vamp should still be noticeable and should make a difference even if you are not able to hit 3 targets. So even without full effectiveness of spell vamp on a portion of your abilities, the ability power and spell vamp you give your allies should benefit your team greatly anyways.

Banshee's Veil
As the final item for Xerath, I chose to finish it off with more magic resist, balancing out a good amount of armor, magic resist, and health. In addition, the passive on this item is invaluable. Of course the value of this passive depends on the spell that it blocks, but either way, it is an amazing passive with massive potential. The mana brought by this item is also a bonus that is always helpful for any mana user.

Abyssal Mask
Again, this item will help to polish off the resilience of Xerath with magic resist. However, although it also provides ability power, I prefer to get a Banshee's Veil instead, because although the aura is incredibly good, it sort of reduces the effectiveness of Xerath's percent spell penetration. If there is less magic resist to take a percentage of, that is less magic resist being penetrated through (being selfish here).

Zhonya's Hourglass
I had originally thought of finishing the build off with this item, as I usually do with other similar champions. However, once I actually thought about it, I am building Xerath fairly tanky already, and the active of this item might not be as effective on him as it is on squishier characters. In addition, although extra armor is good, unless the enemy team is very AD oriented, I would prefer to balance out the magic resist and armor as opposed to having a great deal more armor than I do magic resist. Still yet, this item is a good item to consider buying, because its active can be very useful, allowing you to survive while your teammates come to help.

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Early Game Combat

____________The early game, which I would consider to be levels 1-5 in this case, are considerably different than later in the game when you have your ult available. Autoattacks during the early game are going to have to be your filler in between cooldowns. If an engagement occurs, and both you and the enemy are fighting, first use Mage Chains, then be sure to hit the following Arcanopulse for the stun. It is almost guaranteed that you will only be able to use one Mage Chains, so try to make it count by landing the stun. While waiting for the cooldown of arcanopulse, you will want to autoattack, and try to move in between autoattacks as well, to make any skillshots harder for the enemy. If you think you can get the kill, be sure to Ignite before they Flash away, and feel free to use Flash yourself if you think it will be worth it. The majority of combat in the early game will consist of autoattacks and waiting for cooldowns.

Mid Game

____________Mid game, which I would guess is from around levels 6-15, is fairly different from early game, because you have to factor in your ultimate (and theirs). In the general 1v1 situation, a Xerath must lead with Mage Chains, and attempt to proc the stun with Arcanopulse. Then follow that up with 3 Arcane Barrages, and by then, the 3.55 second cooldown of Arcanopulse should be off, and you smack them again with that. This gives out some pretty crazy damage, and with the stun, is pretty good 1v1. If this fight is one of those where all the enemy wants to do is stand there and wail on you, let them, and go into Locus of Power for the entirety of the fight. Otherwise, its entirely situational for when to go into Locus of Power. I would suggest to activate it when it comes time to use Arcane Barrage, because no matter how much the enemy moves, it should be very easy to land the arcane barrage, especially if you have your Rylai's Crystal Scepter by then.

Late Game

____________The line between mid game and late game is pretty foggy, but I will say that late game is once you hit level 16 to the end of the game. At this point, you should probably have your first 4 core items if you were farming fairly well. Also, the difference between mid game and late game is that there won't really be any 1v1s at all. Everything should be teamfights once the game gets past a certain point. In teamfights, it is best that you position yourself about 900-1000 game units away from the point of engagement (yes, you will have to guesstimate). Your goal is to root yourself down in a relatively safe place with Locus of Power, and use that 30% spell penetration to its best. You should know or have communicated with your team who to stun, so hit them with Mage Chains and follow up with Arcanopulse. At this point, the target should be to busy with the rest of the fight to even attempt to dodge the ability, but still, don't miss. Once that is done, start throwing out all of your Arcane Barrages, and send out an Arcanopulse when it is ready for use. Be ready to unroot yourself from Locus of Power in case the fight moves towards you, or an enemy champion starts to focus you with a lot fo damage. The movement speed from the deactivation of Locus of Power should give you the speed you need to move away from most predicaments. One thing to be aware of is that your second Arcanopulse might come off of cooldown soon before your Mage Chains does. It is most of the time worth it to wait to use Arcanopulse until you have hit the target with Mage Chains first, because of the stun.

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Ugly Calculations

These equations looked really ugly when written out above in their sections, so I decided to make their own place down here in case people wanted to see how I came up with certain values

Locus of Power Movement Speed
3(315+70)=1155 game units in distance travelled.
On the other hand, when Xerath is immobilized for 0.5 seconds, with the 2 second 35% speed increase, the movement looks like this:
2(519.75)+[0.5(315+70)]=1232 game units.
This makes the distance travelled from using the immobilize more efficient than simply walking, assuming that you deactivate and start walking again immediately at 0.5 seconds.

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Thank you all very much for reading my Xerath guide, I hope you ENJOI'd it. I ask that you read everything (ok, fine you don't have to read the equations section) before voting. I am glad to take any feedback, positive or negative, just don't be too offensive if you can :D. K SHOOTS!