Good for all situations, less recommended than Ignite.
Useful, but unnecessary for skilled Jax players.
Greater Mark of Alacrity
Greater Seal of Resilience
Greater Glyph of Alacrity
Greater Quintessence of Swiftness
Build if enemy has minimal CC (zero to two roots and stuns) and only one basic attacker.
Build if enemy has heavy CC. Do not build against low-CC mages(Katarina, Akali, etc).
Build if enemy has many basic attackers. Do not build against AD casters(Pantheon, Garen, etc).
THEN: (Treeline only.)
Build if against heavy magic. Build later on Rift or in Dominion.
[item_icon=Ionic Spark] Build always.
THEN: Build against any magic. Pick one or build both.
THEN: Pick two.
Build only if you are doing well and want more damage.
Build against heavy AD.
Build against fed carries.
Build against fed mages or heavy CC.
Hi! Call me Pyro. I'm not an incredibly high ELO player, but I have over 3,000 games played, with at least 900 as Jax. I've been playing LoL for about two years now, and I am currently in gold ELO. This section isn't so much to show off, but to show you who you're learning from, and give you my history with LoL.
Those were taken when I first wrote this guide. Jax is a somewhat different champion now, but I like to keep them around.
My guide is undergoing a major update since Jax has recently gotten a rework. Some parts are not done yet, and it might take a little while to finish it all, but rest assured, it will be done. All the important build, rune, skill, and mastery information that I'll be going over has been condensed into that TL;DR section. Read that if you need to know what to use.
| Relentless Assault
| Okay, this is our new passive. It stacks attack speed per attack, much in the way Jax's old ult did. It stacks up to six times, with a base amount of 4% attack speed per stack, but it increases by 2% every three levels. At levels 4, 7, 10, 13, and 16, the amount will increase to 6%, 8%, 10%, 12%, and 14%, respectively.
People have argued that the numbers here cannot compare to the numbers from the old ult's passive, but that is with the unrealistic expectations that you can even keep ten stacks for the duration of any fight. Unfortunately, Jax's attack speed stacks have always expired after 1.5 seconds, which means any old slow or root will stop you enough to remove your stacks. This is why it's not important whether the end amount is bigger, but whether the amount per stack is efficient. The good thing is, with the new passive, there is no point where your attack speed gain per stack will be less than it was with the old ult.
Another factor to consider with the new passive is that Jax now has better jungle potential, since he gets the attack speed at level one, rather than level six. This doesn't necessarily mean that you'll have to jungle, Jax can still handle a solo lane, but it is my opinion that new Jax is better suited to the jungle, and that is how I will be playing him.
Lastly, the very obvious argument against new Jax: "Where's Equipment Mastery!?" The thing about Jax's rework is that they not only reworked his skills, but his stats too. He now has higher base health, health per level, and armor per level, which means, without any bonus stats, he will now have better health than before. We will have to balance it out with a build somewhat more focused on attack speed and resistances. This is because we have much more in the way of base stats now, including AD and AP, thanks to the new active on our ult. More on that later.
| Leap Strike
| This skill is a simple gap closer. Jax jumps to a nearby target, which can be ally or enemy, and if it is an enemy, it deals damage. It scales with AD and AP.
As of the rework, this is relatively unchanged. The base cooldown is a bit lower now, and the cooldown at max is one second higher. Riot wanted to incentivize maxing Empower over Leap Strike, it seems, but I still max this first. The base damage at level one is slightly less since it only scales with bonus AD rather than total AD now, but the damage at max is good.
Altogether, this is your best skill. Use it to chase, use it to burst, use it to escape, use it to counter-harass. Use it for anything! It has fantastic ratios and gets a very low cooldown for a gap-closing ability, so it should undoubtedly be maxed first. At max level, its cooldown gets down to six seconds, which, on top of your Ghost, Flash, Cutlass/Gunblade active, Rylai's, Frozen Mallet, red buff, movespeed runes, movespeed masteries, or whatever else you may decide to use, will make you one of the most effective chasers in the game. Note also that it does not count as a normal attack. It will not apply lizard buff, stack up your ult, trigger an enemy's Thornmail or Warden's Mail, or slow with a Frozen Mallet. It does, however, apply Empower.
| This skill, like all of Jax's skills, is incredibly useful. It makes your next attack deal bonus damage, scaling with your AP. Using it will reset your auto-attack timer, so it can be used quite effectively to burst neutral creeps if the enemy team is nearby trying to steal them. Using it to reset your attack timer is also effective at increasing your total damage output, so use it as such.
Empower has been reworked to an extent as well. Because of the rework to Empower, Jax is very close to becoming one of those generic tanky DPS champions that we all know and hate. Fortunately, they did leave some AP ratios, and he still has his signature dodge and stun on Counter Strike.
Anyways, the rework to Empower seemed to incentivize maxing it first, since the new cooldown at max is 3 instead of 5, the new base damage is 40 instead of 60, and the new damage at max is 220 instead of 200. Nonetheless, I will still advise you to max Leap Strike first, since low-cooldown gap closers are extremely strong on melee champions that would otherwise be kited very easily. I do max this before Counter Strike now, though.
| Counter Strike
| Counter Strike is a relatively long cooldown skill that gives Jax 100% chance to dodge all basic attacks, excluding turrets, for two seconds. It also gives him 25% damage reduction for AoE spells for the duration. After one second of activation, or after the effect ends, every enemy within 300 range(a bit more than double your attack range) will take damage and be stunned. The damage scales with half of your bonus AD and increases up to double the base amount depending on how many attacks you dodged for the duration.
This is where the biggest rework was. Counter Strike's cooldown is now four times what it once was, in sacrifice for it being "more reliable". I can say that I honestly do not like where Counter Strike has gone with the rework, but that is considering it an offensive option. The utility is still there, since it can still stun, but the cooldown is much longer, and the stun is actually less reliable than it was before, since you have to wait at least one extra second to use the stun after activating it.
Anyways, this skill is still very useful, but in a much different way than before. Even though the offensive aspect is much less scary than before, this skill is a very good defensive option now. The damage reduction is absurdly good if you can use it with proper timing. This skill easily can disrupt the enemy team's focus if you get them to focus you before your teammates. The addition of the stun is incredibly useful in a teamfight as well.
As for early game usage, this skill is only useful for initiating ganks, which is why I max it last. Use it before running into a lane and Leap Strike whatever enemy is there. Initiating with a jump and a stun always makes the enemy panic, and they'll almost always burn their Flash or Ghost, so you can come back when Counter Strike comes back up for an easy kill.
| Grandmaster's Might
| Passively deals bonus magic damage on every third attack, which scales with your AP. If activated, it will give 25/45/65(+.2 bonus) bonus AD and AP for eight seconds.
This is no longer the defensive skill that you use when you panic, that is now your E. This skill is now the skill you use mid-flight before your Leap Strike lands. The flat amounts on the active are incredibly good, but you need to be able to use it well. Make sure you land a stun before the enemy does, and you should be able to make good use of these free stats.
The passive on this is even more useful than before, since one tiny mechanic has been changed. Before, there was an unmentioned bug on Leap Strike that made it reset the third hit on your ult. This meant that after a Leap Strike, your next hit would not deal bonus magic damage. Now, since this has been fixed, you can Leap Strike to an enemy champion and quickly hit them with a third hit. This is mainly useful during lane phase, but you'll find uses for it even if you jungle like I do.
Obviously, I max this as soon as possible.
Masteries will be dramatically changed soon, and without Nimbleness, I will be very lost as to how to spec. Give me time to work with the new masteries, and I will hopefully update on this soon.
[0/14/16] (or [0/9/21] if you prefer) is the new page I use for Jax.
The most important things are Nimbleness(of course), and to block physical/minion damage in Defense, and to get the movespeed bonus in Utility. I know it's unusual for Jax, but the Utility tree is honestly probably the best way to go for almost any champion now.
[21/9/0]My OLD typical Jax masteries:
Key points in the offense tree here are AP per level, attack speed, magic penetration, bonus AP from ignite, flat AD, and Havoc. In the defense tree, Jax needs some MR, and what's really important is the 10% movespeed buff every time someone misses you.
Since champions like Jax are most effective when built hybrid, crit chance and crit damage are just ineffective. The point of critical champions like Tryndamere or Ashe is trying to get the entirety of your damage doubled(or more), because these champions are heavily reliant on basic attacks, but on champions like Jax, this just doesn't work, he has too much magic and is too reliant on skills. Building Jax with critical is beyond unnecessary, it gives him less damage output, limited item options, and no survivability. This is why we skip [mastery_text=Lethality] and [mastery_text=Deadliness].
[9/21/0]Tank Jax masteries:
Okay, so we spec 21 in defense to get [mastery_text=Tenacity], of course. Make sure to get [mastery_text=Ardor] on the way, as it works very well with your ult and item builds. It helps keep your damage up, even though you're tanking. Get [mastery_text=Nimbleness], of course. No problems there. I personally can't pass up that AP per level mastery, and the 15% spell penetration is really nice. You could try to spec the 9 in utility instead of offense, if you want. It would help you level a bit faster and you could get [mastery_text=Haste], too.
"Critical!? What the hell is wrong with you, Pyro!?"
It's okay, I deserved that. But really, Jax is quite good built strictly as an AD carry. Unlike other AD carries, Jax gets free survivability from his damage items, so we have a free pass to build only BF sword items, right? RIGHT! And one of those will definitely be an Infinity Edge. The late game damage from that IE will be scary, to say the least, so it makes sense to get the extra crit chance and damage with your masteries.
Runes are not absolutely necessary on any champion!
These runes will cost you over 20k IP for just one set, and I'm recommending two sets. Don't worry too much about the runes.
First of all, the runes I am recommending for Twisted Treeline are as follows:
Greater Mark of Strength,
Greater Seal of Evasion,
Greater Glyph of Potency,
Greater Quintessence of Swiftness.
These runes are specifically for Twisted Treeline for a variety of reasons.
is for about 30 early game health and much better early game killing and harassment power. Jax's skills scale greatly with attack damage. You'd be surprised with how effective these are. It's like starting with a free Long Sword.
will give you about 7% dodge, which is pretty sizable in comparison to the 20-ish you'll have with your Ninja Tabi and Counter Strike. The three combined will almost guarantee you a Counter Strike every time it comes off cooldown and a constant Nimbleness while in battle.
will help you deal with early game harassment and fight back. You'll get health and damage early game, which Jax needs badly. Jax doesn't need cooldowns at all, and the extra magic resist is kind of unnecessary on TT because most of the damage there is physical. I prefer the extra burst, and I do feel that it is the best option in any case, but magic resist glyphs are fine too.
is the best rune you can get for Jax. The extra movespeed is great. Playing Jax with these and Nimbleness is incredible. People will have such amazing difficulty running from you or chasing you.
Runes for Summoner's Rift will be slightly different, retaining movespeed and dodge.
Greater Mark of Alacrity
Greater Seal of Evasion
Greater Glyph of Warding
Greater Quintessence of Swiftness
will help your jungling more than attack damage runes will. They will also help you shift focus in the bigger team fights that occur on Summoner's Rift.
Seals stay the same for the same reasons they are used on Twisted Treeline.
will help you against the slew of mages you will inevitably find on Summoner's Rift. Those AoE casters dominate this map and you'll need all the magic resist you can get.
Quints stay the same for the same reasons they are used on Twisted Treeline.
AD Jax Runes: Greater Mark of Strength Greater Seal of Strength OR Greater Seal of Evasion Greater Glyph of Strength OR Greater Glyph of Warding Greater Quintessence of Strength OR Greater Quintessence of Swiftness
Yes, really. That over-the-top 22 starting attack damage is scary, to say the least. Don't take my word for it, though. Try it for yourself. Build as much flat AD as you can, it works nicely.
Jax is a beautiful champion for people who like to experiment with builds, because just about any item that gives either attack damage or AP is complementary to all of his skills, including his passive. Attack speed also stacks up exponentially with your ult. What you build for Jax is not all too important, and as long as you have the right general idea on what to build, it shouldn't change Jax's effectiveness or strategy much at all. Although, it is pretty universal that a good Jax should generally steer clear from items that give critical chance and unnecessary health that you could be getting from the AD or AP on a better item. You should know that critical is viable on AD carry Jax, but more on that later. Also, it's best not to get TOO much attack speed. Getting between 40-80% from items is optimal.
With the nerf to Gunblade, I felt it would be necessary make a new section for AD Jax items(as that will probably be how I play him for now.) I will keep it separate from the old Hybrid items, but that's not to say hybrid Jax is bad now. He's just not as strong without his gun!
Upon starting, you can get either Boots of Speed and three Health Potions, or a Doran's Blade. Doran's Blade will give you a good amount of early health and damage, but you will miss out on 3 potions for sustain. Doran's Ring is also a viable starting option, but I think the blade is better. Personally, out of the three, I'm partial to boots as a starting item, so I don't have to worry about early ganks. I also find that the three potions you can get with boots as opposed to Doran's item help very much with early game laning. Boots help you dodge skill shots, too, to relieve more of the early game harassment. Either way, health potions are almost always necessary to get through the painful first few stages of the laning phase where you get harassed constantly. Jax is prone to this.
There is no good reason to get any boots other than Ninja Tabi. They complement your Nimbleness and Counter Strike, give armor, give magic resist with Relentless Assault's active, and are very affordable. The cheapest boots of all, and no boots work better for Jax. You won't need Boots of Swiftness, considering you have Nimbleness. The MR from Mercury's Treads is a bit low for the cost, and you get it with your Tabi/Ultimate active anyways. If you're dead-set on getting Merc's Treads in a game with a lot of stuns, or a Rammus, or something, it can be acceptable. Make sure you have dodge runes if you're going to get Treads, though. Berserker's Greaves are unnecessary, since you have plenty of other attack speed items to buy, but not a single other item for dodge. Since we won't be needing to waste any gold on magic or armor penetration, Sorcerer's Shoes are unnecessary. You have a lot worse options, but just don't get these. Boots of Mobility are, once again, unnecessary and bad. Your speed should be coming from being in combat and getting your Nimbleness, not from leaving combat and doing nothing.
To sum it up,
Ninja Tabi> Mercury's Treads>Everything else. More often than not, however, if a Summoner's Rift game goes on for longer than 30 minutes, I will sell my boots for Mercs, but seeing as the other tenacity items are now just as good as Mercs, you could probably buy a Moonflair Spellblade instead.
The nerfs to Hextech Gunblade made me cringe. They were a little too much, if you ask me, but I DO think that it is still a viable item. You probably won't see me buy it, but rather stick with the Bilgewater Cutlass, since it gives good AD, good lifesteal, and the same slow effect that the Gunblade does.
If the enemy team is caster-heavy, there is no better option than a Hexdrinker. It's cheap, gives you 35 AD(105 HP), magic resist, and a pretty substantial shield, especially early/mid game. The shield also applies damage mitigation, so with its own magic resist, and your ultimate's active, it will be very effective. If the enemy team has two casters(in a TT game), I suggest building this as a first item. I see a Hexdrinker as a must have in any game, unless the enemy team is Yi, Ashe, and Tristana. And even so, one of them will most likely build a Bloodrazor, so I'd say get a Hexdrinker anyways.
I would like to take this moment to say that Wit's End is one of my absolute favorite items on Jax. You will be hard pressed to find a game where I played Jax and didn't build this item. Why? 40% attack speed, 50 magic resist, 42 bonus magic damage per attack. There's nothing about this item that doesn't synergize with Jax perfectly, and I find that the bonus magic damage normalizes his auto-attacks between ult procs.
After the preceding items(Tabi>Gunblade>Hexdrinker>Wit's End), I will typically build purely tank, as attack speed will scale all the way to endgame, and the attack speed from Wit's End and your ultimate will bring you up to 2.1 or so. Tank items are more situational, and you'll have to closely analyze who's doing well on the enemy team to decide what to get. I'll write a section here for tank items, since I think they should be together.
It is my personal opinion that Warden's Mail is grossly underestimated, and if there is even one auto-attacker doing well on the enemy team, that is enough reason to build a Warden's mail. 50 armor and that absurdly good passive for only 1350 gold is something I find very hard to pass up. I usually will not build this into a full Randuin's Omen until all my other items are built, because it is a lot of money for not all too much more usage. Oftentimes the enemy team will be full of burst/AoE mages that you'll need to be able to resist and block. Yep, you guessed it, Banshee's Veil is a great tank item that works well for Jax as well. Blocking a spell every 30 seconds, having more health and 50 magic resist, yeah this item's got it all. It's pretty easy to build, too. Overused though Banshee's Veil may be, I still prefer the Force of Nature to it. Aside from the fact that it's cheaper and gives more magic resist, the passive synergizes well with Jax's passive, as he will typically have a lot of health to scale with that regeneration, and of course it gives some very welcome movespeed. Next, against squishy auto-attackers like Yi, I like to build a Thornmail. Pretty self-explanatory. 100 armor, 30% damage reflection, 2000 gold. What's not to like? I suppose that's all for tank items, I was considering mentioning Frozen Heart, but you should know better than to waste all your money on that. As with all other "Pure tank items", Guardian Angel is a great choice for Jax. Though it won't provide health, and the passive will only be useful if you have a bulky team to survive and keep the teamfight going. This item is very situational to me, but I think you should build it in games with a lot of tanky fighters on your team.
Rabadon's Deathcap is without a doubt the best caster item in the game, and with all of Jax's AP ratios, it's certainly not a bad choice. BUT, I have recently turned away from this item because of two things: it has been nerfed slowly over time, making it less efficient, as well as the fact that my build now tends to shy away from flat AP for a tad more attack speed and a lot of resistances. Nonetheless, if you build more than just a Gunblade for AP, you could benefit a lot from this item.
A Guinsoo's Rageblade is often considered the best item on Jax, and not without good reason. It is extremely cost-effective, and if you can keep its stacks up with your Relentless Assault at the same time, it gives even more AP. The attack speed is very helpful too. To be honest, I don't often build this item anymore. Not that it isn't a good item, but just because it works similarly to his ult doesn't mean it should be a core item. Nonetheless, it's a fine item. Get it if you want, but I think there are always better items to get.
For carrying, it really helps if a character has a good amount of crowd control, so if you're not happy with your Cutlass/Gunblade/Lizard Buff/Counter Strike, you can get either a Frozen Mallet or a Rylai's Crystal Scepter. These two sometimes hurt your overall damage output, but if you have enough as it is, they are a great asset to give you more survivability, and help you chase people down well. Not really a must, but I would recommend them for a game that is already going smoothly. As with the Rageblade, I've evolved beyond these items in most cases. I don't quite find the need for the extra slow anymore, and I find that the burst I get with other more powerful items is enough to kill with just a Gunblade slow or a Counter Strike. As with the Rageblade, also, they are still good items, and you shouldn't disregard them. Find out which items work best for your own play style.
Trinity Force is a viable item for Jax, and I used to see enemy Jaxes build it a lot. I used to like it for the movespeed and Phage effect, as well as the fact that it's easy to build, but it's just too expensive for too small amounts of AD, AP, and attack speed. It DOES give your burst much more damage when you Empower/Leap Strike into an auto-attack, but I don't find it as useful as I once did.
An AP-heavy version of the Trinity Force is a Lich Bane. I am much more partial to this item than the Trinity Force. It gives almost as much movespeed with potentially more burst damage output. It also provides that extra magic resist, which is always good. The only downside to a Lich Bane as opposed to a Trinity Force is that the Lich Bane doesn't give that Phage effect on auto-attacks. If you're not happy without the slow, you could get also get the Frozen Mallet or Rylai's. Note that I wouldn't recommend this item until you build a Deathcap. That is, if you choose to build that much AP.
If the enemy team has much physical damage, Atma's Impaler is a great choice. It works great with Jax's passive, too. Although the critical is far from necessary, it's very welcome. This item is particularly useful later, after you get a lot of health from your other items especially if you do decide to get a Frozen Mallet or a Rylai's.
The Bloodthirster is neither a fantastic nor a bad item for Jax. It's perfectly fine if you want to be more physically oriented. It doesn't really deserve any special mention. Get it if you want.
Barring all I said about critical, armor pen, and cooldown reduction, Youmuu's Ghostblade is a decent choice for Jax. The aforementioned stats are always welcome, and definitely helpful, as well as the attack damage. Of course, the most important thing about it is the active. The extra burst of movespeed and attack speed is very nice. I never personally build it as I feel there are many better items to build, but this is a good item, and it's easy to build.
If you find it necessary to get tenacity, you should definitely get the Moonflair Spellblade. It's cheap, gives 50 ability power, and 35 tenacity. Perfect, right? I thought so too.
The way I typically build Jax nowadays utilizes attack speed much more than before, and I think that one of the very best choices for attack speed is a [item=Malady]. Malady is easy to build, gives good amounts of AP and attack speed, and has a fantastic passive that goes very well with the loads of magic damage that Jax deals. I also feel that the bonus damage from the passive is often neglected, but with Jax's tremendous attack speed, it's very useful.
Mostly as a late game damage item [item=Madred's Bloodrazor] is great. The 4% damage is huge when considering Jax's innate attack speed. It's more of a late game item, though, because it doesn't give much in the way of flat attack damage, and thus doesn't give much survivability nor damage for your abilities.
The Black Cleaver is quite an interesting addition for Jax. Seeing as it has attack speed and damage, I think it's definitely a good item. Build it if you want, it wouldn't be a bad idea.
NEVER GET THESE ITEMS.
First, [item=Stark's Fervor] is just a bad item for Jax. I've seen a lot of bad Jaxes build these; I can't quite figure out why, and I'm not going to try to. Auras are fine and all, but I think Stark's has one of the least beneficial team auras, and it'll benefit you even less. Stark's gives armor penetration, which Jax doesn't need, as he is mostly magic based. It gives an overkill on attack speed, which is not cost-efficient. The lifesteal is good, but you could easily find a better lifesteal item to build, like a Bloodthirster. The worst thing, though, is it doesn't provide attack damage or AP, Jax's main source of damage and survivability. It doesn't do anything you need it to, so don't get it. Please.
Next up, Phantom Dancer. Before the dodge was taken off, I could understand it. Attack speed, dodge, and movespeed. A pretty hefty price for not too much utility, but it was alright. The dodge has since been taken away, and it is now a nearly 3000g movespeed buff. Replace it with a Trinity Force if you need the movespeed.
Doran's Shield was fine until they made it cost 475. Now that you can't buy your potion with it, it doesn't do its job anymore. It seems like no Jax players build this anymore. Good job, Jax players!
Nashor's Tooth is something I've argued with a lot of Jax players about. Yes, it gives attack speed and ability power, BUT, it is very expensive for why you're really buying it. As Jax, I've never needed mana regen, and I'm pretty sure if you have any idea what you're doing, you won't either. Jax's cooldowns are very low as it is, and he has very powerful auto-attacks while his skills are on cooldown, so he doesn't get as much use out of cooldown reduction as many other champions do. Malady is a much better option, especially because of its passive.
Okay, so there are a few Jaxes out there that build Philosopher's Stone first, and I will put it quite bluntly. Philosopher's Stone is a bad item for Jax. You could spend much less money on a couple more potions and have much better early game regen. People use the argument that it generates gold, and while that holds some merit, it is not practical to spend that 800 early game gold on nothing. Sorry to burst your bubble, but yes, in this Jax player's opinion, Philosopher's Stone is nothing. Update! Nobody builds Philosopher's Stone on Jax anymore either. Good job, Jax players!
Warmog's Armor is not the worst option you have as Jax, but you have many options that are much better. Jax has naturally low resistances and(because of his passive) naturally high health, and as you should already know, you need a balance of health and resistances to live through things well. Should you decide to buy an Atma's, you can buy a Frozen Mallet to synergize with it instead.
If I had created a "You probably shouldn't buy these items" list, it would be there, but since I didn't, I'll put it here. Cloak and Dagger is not a good item for Jax. There is no reason not to buy the Spellblade over this thing. You don't need crit, and the attack speed is pitiful.
AD Jax items:
AD Jax has always been a good build, as long as you get a lot of flat AD, and now, I'm willing to argue that with this AD build, critical can be viable on Jax.
Use Ninja Tabi for the same reasons you would with hybrid Jax.
With the nerfs to Gunblade being the basis of a new Jax build, we'll still need some extra CC. Instead of buying a Frozen Mallet for CC, you can take a Bilgewater Cutlass. It gives a good amount of AD and lifesteal with the same slow you would get with a Gunblade.
Hexdrinker is even more useful in this build, since it will be one of the few items giving you resistances, and it gives pure AD, which will work nicely here. Build it early.
Use Atma's Impaler for the same reasons you would use it in the other build, except now, the critical is useful. Only get it later. Much later.
Build all the BF sword items. Just do it. I don't think I have to give reasoning for them, they're just good. The Black Cleaver first. The Bloodthirster second. Infinity Edge last. Entropy first in Dominion games. Sanguine Blade second in Dominion games. Infinity Edge last in Dominion games.
Build Example (Outdated)
Okay, so there are multiple ways you can go with building Jax. I'll give a few of my favorite examples.
First off, my general core build goes something a little like this:
And this is what it looks like if the game goes on too long:
This build is designed for caster-heavy teams with a lot of stuns and taunts:
The majority of overplayed champions in League of Legends are magical, in case you've yet to notice. If you get stuck in one of those solo queue situations where the rest of your team locks in as a bunch of mages, you can build something like this:
With the huge amount of Ability Power items there are in the game, AP Jax can go a number of ways. I'd say AP Jax is the most fun to build, because there are so many options and adaptations. Optimally, I'd say you should go for something along these lines:
While Jax is always pretty beefy, you can also go ahead and build tank Jax. It's pretty effective when you don't just build conventional tank items. Also notice that I build my masteries differently for tank Jax. I'm using the second set of masteries in my mastery section for tank Jax.
On Twisted Treeline, it's not uncommon to find a team full of physical carries. In such a scenario, you can build off-tank with your regular build, just with a few tweaks. It's amazing how easily you can counter a Yi/Xin/Trynd team by doing something like this:
Skilling order (Outdated)
Focusing Leap Strike is optimal to get the cooldown as low as possible. Leap Strike also has the most impressive damage. Counter Strike is a must. The stun is vital. The damage on Counter Strike is also more noticeable than on Empower, and it is an AoE. It helps you jungle when your lane is pushed, and helps immensely in team fights. The single point into Empower gives you all the use you need from it. It still has the same AD/AP coefficients at level 1, so it still adds a great deal of damage to your Leap Strike.
Summoner Spells (Outdated)
I feel Ghost is a must for any physical character aside from Master Yi. Coupled with nimbleness, it's especially effective for Jax.
Ignite is almost invariable to me as it can be used after an Empower/Leap Strike combo to ensure a kill. 10 AP while it's on cooldown never hurts, either.
Flash is completely unnecessary and not very useful. Leap Strike provides the same utility with a five second cooldown. You have some worse options, but even more better ones. Don't get flash, please.
Exhaust is a fine spell, but not nearly as useful as Ignite or Ghost. The new updated version is much more useful than before, and it is a good slow/damage reducer. Altogether, I still wouldn't get it over Ghost or Ignite, but it is a viable option.
Teleport is only good on Summoner's Rift, and even so, it's not all too good for someone as innately fast as Jax who can get around well anyways.
Clairvoyance is the support's job. Speed and damage are more important than this for you. Buy a ward. You can jump over walls to them when you get ganked.
[spell=Fortify] is a bad spell. The cooldown is way too long, and it never does its job right, especially if you're not going to spec far enough into the defense tree for the improved Fortify.
Don't even think about getting Revive. It also has a gargantuan nine minute cooldown. I'd have to say, though, I personally feel it has more uses than Flash for Jax, especially if you put the point into improved Revive in the defense tree.
Take Smite if you're jungling, preferably replacing Ignite. The utility you get from Ghost is far more useful and reliable than a quick few hundred damage. Smite/Ignite is fine, but you'll probably find yourself missing that speed boost. It's all about preference.
You don't need Heal. You should get lifesteal or spell vamp from something. If you do, it'll be fine.
Clarity isn't good for Jax. He's not very mana-hungry. Go back to base for once, and maybe buy a Mana Potion.
Way back in the day, [spell=Rally] used to have a great little glitch where you could throw it down and heal with your passive by moving in and out of range. This no longer exists, and probably wasn't ever that great anyways. Don't get it, Rally isn't very good.
Cleanse is not necessary for Jax. He has great mobility and deals with the slows on Twisted Treeline very well. However, on Summoner's Rift, the large amount of stuns, snares, taunts, and fears will often get the best of him. I still do not recommend Cleanse on SR, but if you absolutely need it, it is understandable. It is awful and unnecessary in the majority of TT games, though, so don't bother.
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (Outdated)
Jax is a very bittersweet champion for most people, and it is usually difficult for beginner and middle-ground Jax players to overcome his weaknesses.
-Very high damage output, both burst and sustained.
-Combines the role of a caster, tank, and a DPS incredibly well.
-Very beefy, even without any tank items.
-Great counter for physical carries.
-Adds something vital to any team.
-Quick application of crowd control to many champions, through fast attack speed with a Frozen Mallet, and with Counter Strike's AoE stun and low cooldown.
-Not easy, or even(arguably) possible to counter well when expertly played.
-Quite possibly the best Twisted Treeline carry in the game.
-His voice is so damn manly.
-Prone to harassment, without many options to avoid it.
-Pretty hard learning curve between the "I can play Jax" and the "I play Jax really good" phases.
-Typically very weak early game.
-Somewhat item dependent.
-More dependent on neutral buffs and jungle control.
-Suffers badly without proper movespeed.
-Gets focused down in most team fights.
-Relatively weak to any good caster with a decent amount of magic penetration.
Ward Jumping (Outdated)
I'd like first to point out a useful little tactic that is very useful in certain situations. If you already have a tendency to buy wards(because map awareness wins games), make sure to put them in certain spots where you can Leap Strike over the wall. Leap Strike needs a target, but it can be an ally, which means a ward works just fine.
You can easily ward the dragon and use the ward to jump over the wall in case you get ganked. You should be warding the dragon later anyways, but if you have it to spare, it's good to spend the extra 90 gold to put one there early in the game.
It is also possible to jump over really thick walls, but there has to be a decent bit of space between the ward and the wall for you to land in.
I've yet to find a use for jumping over these, but it's nice to know, in case you get any ideas.
And like any good physical carry, you need to be able to backdoor, right? Lastly, you can use wards to jump in and out of base. Very situational. You also can't do it in the middle where Shaco/Tryndamere typically Deceive/Spin in, you need to move up a bit.
Early Game (Twisted Treeline) (Outdated)
You might want to start by calling top lane in the champion select, to make sure nobody has a problem with it. It's really important for Jax to get out of that terribly painful laning/harassing phase as early as possible. It's not absolutely necessary, but it's definitely helpful. Taking top lane also helps you out-level everyone else so you can carry later, which is what Jax does best.
Before minions spawn, people like to hide in lots of crazy places to gank you. If you don't like the initial gank, or don't feel safe against the enemy team, you can hide in the dragon spawn, and still be in range to get experience like so:
Once you can see both enemies in bottom and you feel safe, you can find a tasty minion to eat up with a Leap Strike over the wall.
Avoiding harassment is your top priority as a Jax in early game. Getting harassed means being vulnerable, and Jax is already vulnerable enough during early game. A very close second, of course, is last hitting minions. Just smack them when they get down to about 60 or so health. You can attack and reset your attack timer with empower to kill them from about 160 with two quick attacks, too. It's good to run in like this, kill a minion, and run back, as often as possible, to avoid harassment and get back in your meat-shielded womb, behind all your minions.
When you hit 3, put your point into Empower and Empower/Leap Strike to harass back. One of these combos can easily deal up to 200-300 damage package of harassment at around this level. This is the point where you should be trying to push your lane. When it's pushed to the turret, take a look and see if bottom needs some killing. Anyone under 400-500 health is an easy 1v1 target to hit and run. Empower/Leap Strike and ignite will do about that much alone. Of course, these estimates change with every character, and you have to know what your enemies are capable of. No matter how complex a guide can be, it can't substitute for experience.
Mid Game (Twisted Treeline) (Outdated)
By now you should have a steady cash flow of some sort from last hitting creeps, at the very least. A couple kills would be ideal, but some people aren't as ignorant of MIAs as most are. Typically speaking, you should have a couple kills by now if you're able to sneak out of your lane unnoticed. By Mid-Game, I mean between, say, 7 minutes to 20 minutes. Between about level 6 and 12. Total gold between about 2k to 4k. Just vague references, so you know the general time-frame I'm talking about.
As I've already mentioned briefly, control of the jungle buffs is vital. Not only for Jax, but for this map. Most importantly, you should try to get lizard at 6. Just go down, pull the lizard aggro up away from the bushes so it doesn't get stolen. It's also good to have a ward here at all times after about five minutes in. If you put the ward close enough to the left or right slanted walls, you can jump over it in a pinch, but still have view of the lizard. Another thing, most importantly, is the dragon. Nobody will be expecting you to solo it at 6, but you can do it with some lifesteal or a potion. Although, you can get very unlucky with your dodge chance and get hit by every attack, so I usually wait until about level 8. Just hit counter strike every time it comes up to stun the dragon a bit and make sure you have full health and a potion first. If you have some health leftover and your lane is still pushed, feel free to get a wraith or wolf; they are still important. To sum it up, it's most important to keep a ward in dragon and lizard at all times, (especially if you keep it in Leap Strike range so you can jump out of a gank) and it is important to keep these buffs on yourself and/or your allies at all times. The extra gold is very useful, too.
You shouldn't have to worry about harassment so much anymore, so if you're still in the laning phase, stack up your ult against minions so the next hit will be a third, and hit a champion with it. This is a good way to counter-harass. It seems this is especially effective against those ignorant and greedy physical carries. You know the ones I mean: Xin Zhao, Master Yi, Pantheon, etc. You can scare them off of the experience in your lane, or if they want to stay, kill them. Of course I make it sound too easy, but once you know all the minor details and timing issues with Jax and know exactly what enemies' capabilities are, it does get that easy. Talent scales better for Jax than most other champions.
Late Game (Twisted Treeline) (Outdated)
This section has turned out to be more of an item strategy section than anything, but not much more can be said for late game Jax, so here goes.
As a general rule, you should be hitting like a truck by this point in the game, as long as your kill/death is evened out. The majority of the Mords, Singeds, Mundos, or Garens you'll come across can take quite a beating by now, so now's the time when your build will have to diversify. Aside from the core items, you'll need to know what to get next. It's all situational.
If the enemy team has a Cho'Gath, Singed, or Mundo, you might want to build a Bloodrazor, it's pretty underrated as a Jax item. Banshee's veil is always a viable item against caster-heavy or stun-heavy teams, although I don't recommend it for most situations, as it is pretty pricey. Guardian Angel is a final great item to get. If it seems like you get one or two kills, and don't die easily, but still die before the fight is over, that's the perfect time to get a Guardian Angel. Those times when you need just a bit more survivability are the most notable for Jax to get a GA, and I would strongly recommend it in that situation, but only that situation. If you are getting overkilled, it doesn't end up doing its job, and you're better off getting more attack damage or speed. Just don't go overboard with a Malady, Bloodrazor, Rageblade, etc. Any combo of two is good, though.
A final note to take is even if you're destroying everything, don't do anything stupid. Don't go 1v3 just because "you can handle it", because one unexpected Exhaust is all it will take to get you killed, and then that team you've been carrying has to deal with a 2v3 with enemies that just got fed 1000g from a Jax. You'll get aced and lose, it happens all too often.
"Early Game Dominator" Jax (Outdated)
I've found a way to deface Jax's pure name with a DASTARDLY combination. It has to do with very high base stats and the AD/AP ratios on Empower and Leap Strike. This combination is not for those with heart issues or women who may be expecting.
First, throw away everything you have ever thought about movespeed, and instead, use . You also absolutely have to use the and . This unholy combination should give you twenty-something ability power and a little more than seventy-something attack damage.
When the game starts, you can buy either a Doran's Blade or a Doran's Ring, because, contrary to "Bravery rules", Doran was neither a coward nor a peasant. Don't get a Doran's Shield! It won't help the evil deeds we're trying to accomplish here. You can pick the ring or the sword, you'll get about the same damage and health either way.
Altogether, you should have over 700 health and either 7X/4X or 8X/2X of AD/AP, depending which item you get.
Masteries stay exactly the same, by the way.
Instead of waiting in the dragon spawn, like I normally do, when attempting this blasphemous method, I just wait in the top lane bush, get as aggressive as possible, and ignore all creep damage. Leap Strike at level one, Empower at level two, and burst like hell. You should be able to out-lane just about anyone and harass people out of experience range. Two Empowered Leap Strikes and an Ignite should bring you a kill on a silver platter.
Be warned! This method is very dangerous and highly illegal.
Seriously, though, as broken as I make it sound, it's quite a gamble. Stacking all these flat stats hurts your later game if you don't get kills and snowball early. This strategy is for the daring.
Summoner's Rift Overview (Outdated)
I need to lead this section by saying do NOT expect Jax to have the same effectiveness on Summoner's Rift as he does on Twisted Treeline. We all know he gets focused very often, very quickly, and very easily, and with five people to focus you down rather than three, you're going to be hard pressed to find a good time to jump into battle and actually get kills.
It's especially difficult to deal with because, in comparison to Twisted Treeline's prevalent champions(Tryndamere, Mundo, Singed) who, for the most part, only have slows, Summoner's Rift is dominated by AoE casters, supports, and tanks(Shen, Galio, Amumu, Sona) who have a plethora of stuns, taunts, and roots to trap you and kite you. The reason why Jax is just fine on Twisted Treeline is because he deals well with high-health and high-damage champions like the ones that dominate Twisted Treeline, and, as a general rule, those champions often don't have much more than a slow, so he's just fine.
Also, ward jumping does not have the same utility, if any, on Summoner's Rift. There aren't enough walls to jump over, and even less that you would care to put a ward at. The only examples of possible ward jumps are at the Dragon and at Baron. Put one in the back of the Dragon cage at 10-15 and one in the back of the Baron cage at 25-30, if you want. It's very useful if someone is soloing, as you can gank. At the very least, it will provide you sight so you can Smite it over the wall. Also, ranged champions with an [item=Oracle's Elixir] will be less likely to see it if it is all the way in the back of the cage, way behind Baron, that way it won't get destroyed.
On Summoner's Rift, my strategy(and probably the most effective one possible) is to try to maintain that Twisted Treeline feel for playing Jax. This is most easily done by jungling, so that's what I'll be covering. It's also nice not to have to deal with the harassment in the laning phase, because when the enemy has all those stuns, snares, and taunts, it's that much harder to deal with harassment.
Jax is a strong jungler with a golem buff, because Counter Strike stuns, stopping creeps from hitting you, and dodges, also stopping creeps from hitting you. He's able to retain his health pretty well in the Jungle, and jungles fairly fast with his high damage output. The golem further reduces the cooldown of Counter Strike and helps keep up your mana, because honestly, Counter Striking every few seconds hurts your mana bar a lot.
He's also very good about jumping out of a bush with an Empowered Leap Strike and an Ignite, so he can keep up the ganks whenever possible. This also keeps the whole Twisted Treeline environment up because you can gank left and right and always keep people on their toes. Also, since there are a maximum of two people in a lane at once during the laning phase, you don't have to worry about jumping into a whole team fight during early ganks.
It's very convenient that Jax's build doesn't have to change at all in order to jungle. You just get your armor first. As with any jungler, it's pretty much mandatory that you get a Cloth Armor and five Health Potions, which is fine, because you need that cloth armor to build into your Tabi. You might also want to get a Vampiric Scepter right after your Nikes. It will build into your Cutlass/Gunblade, anyways.
Skilling order should be the same too, except you start with one point into Counter Strike rather than Leap Strike. You need it to dodge and stun neutral creeps.
The only thing I would say is much different about jungle/Summoner's Rift Jax is rune setup. First, I feel dodge runes are mandatory on jungle Jax, as opposed to being passable for Twisted Treeline. The ~10% is not good enough at level one to keep your stun up every few seconds like it should be. It probably will be that you will prefer attack speed for marks, as well, because they make for faster jungling, and they are very effective all the way up to endgame. Also, with the dominant AOE/Burst casters on SR, you'll probably want those Magic Resist glyphs I mentioned.
Also, don't forget to put that one point from the offense tree into improved Smite rather than that crit chance mastery.
Early Game (Summoner's Rift) (Outdated)
This is where I feel very unsafe. Jungling on this map is very scary, especially starting at blue golem. It seems that enemy teams are always more than happy to gank any unconventional jungler, that is, anyone other than Warwick and Udyr. They'll see you with Smite and immediately rush over to your golem.
First thing to check! Do they have a jungler? If nobody on their team has Smite and they don't have a Warwick, Udyr, or Fiddlesticks, go to their golem instead. It's much safer. Just go through the jungle and don't be seen by anyone in the lanes and hide in the golem bush until minions spawn.
If they do have a jungler, you'll have to get your own golem... This is often problematic, and there's no sure-fire way to make it work, but ask your teammates to stand guard for you until minions and/or golem have spawned. The best location for this is around the Baron/Dragon bush, for Blue/Purple team respectively.
Also, while standing in your golem bush, make sure to stand right on the edge so you can see both sides for enemies coming. Standing like that and having allies stand guard makes it a little easier and a little less nerve-wracking, but the scare's not over until you finish the golem. Make sure you always have a health potion on.
Jungle routes differ if you get their golem.
Starting at your golem:
Your ancient golem
Your little golems
Back to heal, get Tabi, get more health potions
Take over a lane if necessary
Your lizard elder
Gank either lane adjacent to Lizard
Free-farm from here
Starting at enemy golem:
Their ancient golem
Your ancient golem(skip this if you don't have enough potions/health left)
Your little golems
Back to heal, get Tabi, get more health potions
Take over a lane if necessary
Your lizard elder
Gank either lane adjacent to Lizard
Alternate between enemy and allied blue golems to keep it up at all times
Free-farm from here
Whenever you see an empty lane or a lane that needs help, finish the camp you're fighting and take over. Farming a minion wave or two is much more beneficial than a couple creep camps, and if you don't take over lanes once in a while, you'll probably find yourself underleveled.
Dragon is much harder to kill now that it:
Is immune to crowd control(No more stunning it every couple seconds)
Has higher health
Slows your auto-attacks(its auto-attacks apply the "burning" debuff.)
Deals bonus true damage over time(its auto-attacks apply the "burning" debuff.)
Because of all this, you can't get dragon as early as you used to be able to. You'll probably need to be level 9 or 10, and you'll probably need some help from bottom lane. Make sure you have your Vamp Scepter, Smite, and a potion or two before you start. The Pickaxe would help, too, if you can get it by now. Save your Smite for the last-hit in case you get ganked. Expect it to do 600-ish damage by now.
Late Game (Summoner's Rift) (Outdated)
This is the point in the game that all people are so enthusiastic about Jax for. Because he is "such a good late game champion". That may be true and all, but late game is when Jax gets destroyed by crowd control, and of course, enemy teams on Summoner's Rift are always composed of Rammus, Amumu, Janna, Caitlyn, and Irelia. With all that kind of crowd control that will inevitably be on the enemy team, you'll need to make sure you have either Mercury's Treads or a Moonflair Spellblade. If the enemy team has two or three hard CCs, you'll want a Banshee's Veil too.
Aside from item recommendations, there's not much to say for this section, but I'll do my best. For one thing, make sure never to misplace yourself inside the enemy team without a few tanky allies around. You will get stunlocked and it will not be pretty. Late game is the time when Jax looks very scary, but the sad truth is that he will drop like a rock to the enemy carries. I don't have a very good explanation as to why it is the way it is, but late game Jax is very fragile when facing any sort of crowd control or a strong enemy carry.
That said, Jax is certainly not a weak late game champion. He is one of the strongest chasers in the game with horrifying sustained damage. You will just need to make sure you stick around your team and don't chase too far, and you should do very well in team fights.