Jax Build Guide

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Jax, the Shillien Master

written by Nicksceresmoni

Jax Build

Table of Contents

  • Introduction

    Hello! My name is Thomas Allen (online alias), however I go by the name Nicksceresmoni ingame. I like to believe I am a rather skilled Jax, albeit I have yet to reach 30 and try myself in ranked games. Generally, I end good games with a nice KD ratio and only the finest of enemies can truly shut me down. This guide is a work in progress, and like all of my creations, shall be of the finest quality.

    EDIT: I wrote this guide while I was a newer player. I have now reached 30 and I feel without a doubt, my general core build of ninja tabi + rageblade + bilgewater cutlass (buying a gunblade ONLY after your entire build is finished) is the strongest option. Jax has amazing backdoor potential due to his high attack speed from his ult + rageblade and attack speed items (assuming you disregarded this guide and bought them). I've come to the conclusion that Jax is more of a counter pick to an ad-carry-heavy team. Jax is the highest possible dps a melee hero can achieve in my opinion however his greatest downfall is his lack of cc. His stun, while very op and useful, simply doesn't cut it in high level teamfights. Jax will get focused down and killed almost every single time. However, if you want to pick on the level 30 noobs who only play normal games, then Jax is the hero for you.

    Some things in this guide may not be necessarily up to date and newer players will not be able to spot the important changes. As all guides, you should take it as a guide-not a bible.

    Oh, AP Jax is useless compared to the one in my build. I've tried both, there is literally no comparison. Also, I don't consider the guide rating system on this site to be very useful considering good players won't read them, and bad players will vote for ... bad guides.

  • Abilities

    [spell=Equipment Mastery]
    Jax has a pretty cool passive. It gives you more survivability which allows you to worry more about gaining damage. It is far from the god mode that it sounds like at first. You gain more health when you gain ad or ap. The passive gets a nice bonus from items like Atma's Impaler and Elixirs.

    Leap Strike
    This skill will make enemies cry upon proper usage. It hits incredibly hard when stacked with Empower. It can be used as an escape move, but it is not as good for escaping as a well placed flash. Leap Strike is not a skill shot.

    This skill makes you hit like a truck and lets you harass anyone. No one can deny your girth when you have this buff on you. It enhances damage for one attack and has perfect synergy with Leap Strike to easily damage champions. Once you get to level 4ish, you may choose to harass with this.

    Counter Strike
    This is another interesting skill. It gives you passive dodge which is cool. It is a ONE second stun, so it is not as useful as it could be in that sense. It hits for nice damage and can just destroy any melee champion who tries to fight you. This stun is aoe, so it can be used craftily in team fights.

    Relentless Assault
    This is three(!) ultimates in one truthfully.

    The first ultimate is the one most commonly used as it is a passive: every third attack is devastating. Proper timing of this ability can enhance your minion farming significantly. A tip with this skill is that the passive will not proc on a tower(!) so if you hit a tower five or so times, your next attack on any minion or champion WILL proc it. This is useful for scaring away enemies or for farming while damaging a tower.

    The second one is a passive snowball effect. Every time you melee attack an enemy, you gain one stack. These stacks go away very very quickly. The maximum number of stacks is 10. These stacks significantly enhance your attack speed. Proper usage of this can melt minion waves, especially when you have three inhibs down and your nexus is getting pushed.

    The third one is less useful, and the only active ultimate. It enhances your magic resistance. This is very good too, though, don't misunderstand me. This has a very low cooldown, so I use it whenever I feel it might be useful. Specifically, your dodge rate is used to enhance your magic resistance. It gives you more survivability kind of like your passive does; do not rely on it to save you.

  • Pros / Cons

    This might be a controversial topic, so please refrain from disagreeing strongly.

    Very high sustained damage
    Very high burst capabilities
    Very scary, high lane dominance if played properly (debatable)
    >>>He has very annoying harassment starting at level 3 if you follow my skill order
    Nice movement speed
    Effective anti-physical due to dodge
    Will defeat any enemy (physical) carry 95% of the time (this is not debatable, this is fact)

    Only moderate survivability
    Huge counter: magical characters (such as Malzahar and Karthus)
    Very item dependent
    Sensitive laning partners (laning with heroes who don't let you farm, or laning against enemies who have strong stuns, burst, or other cc, or Karthus' Defile)
    Weak early game (levels 1-3) then a potentially strong early-mid game (4-7) but you have trouble in true mid when people start ganking.

  • Masteries

    I personally prefer to believe that masteries are a matter of preference. I'll state which ones I use, and briefly explain why.


    I run Exhaust and Flash as my main mastery spells.

    Under the defensive tree, I pick up 4 ranks of dodge rate and the speed proc off of dodging. These simply bolster the strengths of Jax. I also take magical resistance over physical resistance, because most of my trouble comes from mages.

    Under the offensive tree, it is a toss up between the +ap and +critical strike masteries. I chose the crit strike, because ap only benefits skills and carries do a lot of physical attacks.

    The attack speed talent is a waste of talent points in my opinion. I pick the magical penetration and cdr masteries because the passive third attack from your ultimate is magical damage. Empower is magical damage. It is a good mastery overall.

    Next, I take the armor penetration masteries. I do not purchase last whispers or black cleavers very often.

    I pick up the extra minion damage just to help my early game.

    Brute force, the +attack damage mastery comes next. This is mostly just a dump for offensive tree points to get you towards Havoc.

    I take lethality for the extra crit damage, and end my mastery build with Havoc. Critical damage is good, havoc increases all damage which is good, and Jax is pretty good too. Everything being good = the life I want to live.

    If you are sub 30, I have a priority skill order.


    under offense

    [mastery_text=Cripple] 1/1 (also take exhaust as a summoner spell... obviously.)
    [mastery_text=Deadliness] 1/3
    [mastery_text=Deadliness] 2/3
    [mastery_text=Deadliness] 3/3
    Sorcery 1/4
    Sorcery 2/4
    Sorcery 3/4
    Sorcery 4/4
    [mastery_text=Archaic Knowledge] 1/1


    under defense

    Resistance 1/3
    Resistance 2/3
    Resistance 3/3
    Hardiness 1/3
    [mastery_text=Evasion] 1/4
    [mastery_text=Evasion] 2/4
    [mastery_text=Evasion] 3/4
    [mastery_text=Evasion] 4/4
    [mastery_text=Nimbleness] 1/1

    then under offense

    [mastery_text=Cripple] 1/1 (and exhaust obviously)
    [mastery_text=Deadliness] 1/3
    [mastery_text=Deadliness] 2/3
    [mastery_text=Deadliness] 3/3
    Sorcery 1/4
    Sorcery 2/4
    Sorcery 3/4
    Sorcery 4/4
    [mastery_text=Archaic Knowledge] 1/1
    [mastery_text=Sunder] 1/1
    [mastery_text=Sunder] 2/2
    [mastery_text=Sunder] 3/3
    [mastery_text=Offensive Mastery] 1/2
    [mastery_text=Offensive Mastery] 2/2
    Brute Force 1/3
    Brute Force 2/3
    [mastery_text=Lethality] 1/3
    [mastery_text=Lethality] 2/3
    [mastery_text=Lethality] 3/3
    Brute Force 3/3
    Havoc 1/1

    EDIT: Lol, after having reread my guide I laughed a bit at thinking people below level 10 would look at my guide. Then I laughed even harder thinking that level 30s would look at it. The above is all very legit information even with updates and I advise it to all Jax players.

  • Runes

    Runes are very important for Jax. These are the ones I run and they are rather successful. You may choose to copy them if you want to be as good as me, otherwise I suggest you read another guide.

    Greater Mark of Alacrity *3 (attack speed)
    Greater Mark of Desolation *6 (armor pen)
    Greater Seal of Evasion *9 (evasion)
    Greater Glyph of Warding *3 (flat mr)
    Greater Glyph of Shielding *6 (mr/level)
    Greater Quintessence of Fortitude *2 (flat hp)
    Greater Quintessence of Swiftness *1 (movement speed)

  • Summoner Abilities

    I always run Exhaust and Flash.

    Exhaust is amazing for Jax! Jax already dominates enemy physical carries, but if they exhaust you then they can beat you. If you exhaust them too, its a stalemate that you might end up winning if you don't choose to flee. Exhaust is a slow which is beneficial for Jax as he has no slows. Exhaust can be used to counter champions which can harm your team due to poor composition, such as Tryndamere. Exhaust him when he pops his ult and watch a tower kill him. Exhaust is good, let no one tell you otherwise.

    Flash is a controversial topic for Jax however. I feel the added utility of it is too much to consider not having. Imagine a low hp enemy, leap strike is on cooldown. FLASH! AUTOATTACK! +300 gold; your team cheers your name. Imagine you're killing dragon and the enemies are all mia, a bad position to be in. All of a sudden all of them charge at you, where do you go? You flash out, of course. Imagine being chased by a Rammus, Gangplank, and Annie. Rammus collides with you next to the lizard, you're being bursted, you're at 800 hp, YOU FLASH AWAY AND LIVE. Flash can be used to go anywhere on the map, unlike Leap Strike which requires a target. The scariest thing Jax can do, is empower, Flash, and Leap Strike and Counter Strike a low hp enemy behind all of his allies, escaping before you can get targeted.

    Some reasonable alternatives however not ones I would use include

    Ghost (speed is rather legit)
    Teleport (can be useful for sure)
    Cleanse (a good decision for any melee character)
    Ignite (finish off a target that runs to his tower) the mastery however may or may not be worth it, 15 ap isn't really bad compared to the alternatives but it isn't GOOD either.

    Some summoner abilities that I would stay away from or even insult you for using include:

    Heal (not worth it compared to alternatives)
    Smite (FUCK YOU if you jungle as Jax)
    [spell=Rally] (like heal, not worth it compared to alternatives...unless you want to do something cute)
    Revive (lol)
    Clarity (jax has some mana problems, clarity is not a solution, consider mp/5 glyphs)
    [spell=Fortify] (not a carry summoner ability)

  • Skill Order


    The first few levels of this skill order are weak levels.

    I take counterstrike first because 10% dodge for free? Pretty good deal.

    Then I take one point of Leap Strike in order to escape undesirable conflict.

    Then I maximize Empower, stopping only for my ultimate.

    Then I max Leap Strike, stopping for my ultimate.

    Lastly I max Counter Strike, stopping for my ultimate.

    The first two levels give you a lot of survivability, which is why I get those two skills. Empower after lets you harass enemies. At Empower level 5, its a 100% chance to deal an EXTRA 200 damage to your enemies, regardless of your AD or AP. Enemies will sometimes get close to you to try to harass you, hit you once, and leave. When they get into attack range, hit them once with Empower and they'll think twice about it next time. I prefer maxing Leap Strike afterward simply because it reduces cooldown, which is pretty good overall. Counterstrike doesn't provide you with many advantages beyond additional damage so I don't worry about it too much

  • Items

    As a very item dependent champion, this section is going to be very important! I use a very loose build and you should too, in the sense that I change it nearly every game.

    I start with a Doran's Shield. The shield gives me extra staying power and can help reduce the odds of you having exp denied by needing to return to your tower.

    I try to farm as much gold as possible and analyze my laning partners and enemy team. Lots of mages? Bad game for you then, roll with Mercury's Treads. Most other situations I'll grab a Ninja Tabi since dodge is very strong for Jax. I try not to return until I have atleast 1200~ gold. If you have leftover gold after buying your boots, buy a Pickaxe. If you can't afford one, buy a Vampiric Scepter. Try to buy a few health potions too, and if you have lane dominance, consider buying a mana potion. If you purchased a vampiric scepter then you can likely solo dragon. If you don't think you can, ask your laning partner to help you.

    IMPORTANT NOTE: JAX IS A DUOLANE CHARACTER, NOT A SOLOLANE CHARACTER. I know first hand how strong Jax is, and I also know that whenever I see a Jax go mid against me on one of my other champions, I say "fuck yes free win from the dumbass that can't harass me back because I can sustain more dps than he can burst since he has no gold since I have been denying him all game and oh look now i'm level 12 while he and his jungler who has practically moved into his lane are both level 9"

    Go back to your lane and do not try to gank enemies. Try to save up a lot of gold. If you purchased a pickaxe, your main priority is a Guinsoo's Rageblade which will cost ~1200 more gold. If you have gold left over, buy another pickaxe. Do you have a lot of gold, over 1850 left? Buy a B. F. Sword. Is a specific enemy really hampering your gameplay? Is he physical? > buy a Chain Vest. Is he magical? > buy a Negatron Cloak and if you can afford it, a Ruby Crystal. Return to your lane, get red buff if it is available near your lane. If you bought a BF sword, you are now capable of killing many enemies and your leap strike should have a huge burst. If you bought a rageblade and already have your ultimate, you are capable of dominating creep waves in seconds if your enemies leave the lane. If you had to buy defensive items, then you are going to have a rough mid-late game and you will need to rely on your team to carry you.

    Note: if the physical enemy is still hampering you after you bought a Chain Vest, then you may build it into a Thornmail when you feel appropriate. A thornmail on Jax is a strong item considering it will allow you brawl against enemy melees much easier.

    Next, buy a Bilgewater Cutlass. Put this in your #1 item slot, because you will actively use it's active. You now have a slow which lasts a couple of seconds with a tiny range every 60 seconds. This is when you become a scary carry. If your team is doing amazing and you are too, then buy elixirs. The Elixir of Fortitude is the best elixir for jax, in my opinion. All elixirs are good, if you have 900 gold then get all of them.

    Buy an Infinity Edge. Your enemies likely think your damage is pretty strong and are wary of you, but soon they will start stacking health and armor. An infinity edge gives you a huge damage boost, crit rate boost, and a crit damage boost.

    If you bought a Chain Vest, then build it into an Atma's Impaler. This item is very good on Jax, but until you buy an infinity edge, I have trouble respecting it. It is very expensive.

    If you bought a Negatron Cloak and Ruby Crystal, then build both into a Banshee's Veil. If you did not buy either item during mid game, then build whichever you feel will give you the best benefit.

    If the game is still going, build your Bilgewater Cutlass into a Hextech Gunblade. Keep this item in slot #1. The active's only difference from the cutlass is that the range is significantly larger and that the slow deals more damage when applied (note: this damage can be applied through exhaust, if you got an enemy very low but were exhausted in a desperate escape maneuver)

    Consider buying a The Bloodthirster, B. F. Sword first. No game should last this long with a Jax as good as you on map, so gg. (disclaimer: no game should ever last this long, regardless of how good of a Jax you are)

  • Items: simplified

    So, you want to know what items to buy as Jax in what general order, but don't much care for adapting to the situation like I briefly explained how to in the previous section. You can pretty much follow this build and will win:

    Doran's Shield to start with

    at 1500 gold, go to base and buy Ninja Tabi + Vampiric Scepter

    at 950 gold, go to base and buy Pickaxe

    at 1300 gold, go to base and buy Guinsoo's Rageblade

    at 1450 gold, go to base and buy Bilgewater Cutlass

    at 1850 gold, go to base and buy B. F. Sword

    at 2250 gold, go to base and buy Infinity Edge

    at 880 gold, go to base and buy Cloak of Agility

    at 1500 gold, go to base and buy Atma's Impaler

    at 1850 gold, go to base and buy B. F. Sword

    at 1300 gold, go to base and buy The Bloodthirster

  • Items (further continued)

    These are items I would not recommend purchasing as Jax.

    #1) Phantom Dancer This item is very expensive and gimmicky. At low levels of gameplay, you can buy 3 of these and you'll win simply because you're too fast to catch. Against competent enemies however I advise you to pick another item.

    #2) Trinity Force and Sheen Trinity force/sheen have some interesting synergy with Jax, however I play him as a sustained physical melee anticarry, not a bursty melee caster like bad players do.

    3) The Black Cleaver This item was recently buffed. I actually kind of recommend it, but I'm leaving it on the list simply to remember how it used to be. It now builds from a BF sword and dagger, so it gives you a lot of ad and a tiny bit of as. The armor deduction debuff now stacks only three times. Armor debuff items are strongest against characters with LOW BASE ARMOR. If you want to counter a tank, build a last whisper which is another good Jax item since it has been buffed.

    4) Abyssal Scepter Dude, this is an AP item. AP Jax builds are retarded and I used to have some pansy ass nice-guy explanation saying it was bad, but dude, its just a bad item for Jax. Don't buy it.

    5) Frozen Mallet I like this item a lot, truthfully. It is not a good Jax item though. It provides health (good), and a constantly slow (very good), but it doesn't give much damage. It is expensive and only advisable if you HATE Bilgewater Cutlass and are unable to farm the lizard's buff.

    6) [item=stark's fervor] + all other attack speed items except for Guinsoo's Rageblade are BAD IDEAS. You do not need attack speed, and only complete rookies stack it. I know I used to when I was new. Stark's has a nice aura for your team, but you are not a team player: you are Jax. The rageblade is the one exception to disrespecting attack speed items, because it has such strong synergy with your ultimate, gives you lots of good stats, and is fairly cheap. Don't buy Berserker's Greaves ever.

  • Laning Partners

    I'm sorry, I wrote this part of the guide when I was a newer player. I have since found it to be rather inaccurate beyond recovery, so I have decided to remove it. If I get time in the near future, I may rewrite it better however I would rather remove it for now to avoid steering new players in the wrong direction.


  • P.S.

    Did you like my guide? Give me a +1 at the top of the page! Leave a comment too.

    Are you unsatisfied with my guide? You should leave me a comment explaining where and why, and maybe we can work together to improve the guide for everyone.


    EDIT: Don't rate my guide. Odds are if you're rating it, its because you're displeased with its content rather than being satisfied with it. If you're a noob, then please do not rate my guide. Unless you consider yourself a seasoned player of summoner's rift (gtfo TT scrubs) then you should not be evaluating anyone else's guide. Questions? Ask in the comment section, and I'll reply the next time I go to update this guide.

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