Jax Build Guide

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Getting Jaxed

written by silasw

Jax Build

Table of Contents

  • Introduction

    Jax is the professional athlete of LoL. He has no grudges to settle, no friends to protect, no nation to fight for. He fights because he wants to win. Then, he enjoys gloating as much as possible. Feel free to use /taunt in order to properly assume the role of Jax. Don't ever lose, though. Look at the lore, it plainly says that Jax is unbeatable.

    Jax is a melee DPS character, through and through. He runs (or jumps) into the middle of a fight, and whacks everything as much as possible. Jax is also one of the best characters in the game when fed. Don't hesitate to steal a few kills. A fed Jax can easily take down three people with plenty of health to spare.

    Jax is very strong against physical damage characters, because of his extra dodge chance and his spammable stun. However, he is weak to casters that can keep him away with crowd control and unload burst damage.

    This guide details a hybrid Jax build. AD and AP are both extremely useful stats on Jax, as all four of Jax's abilities benefit from AP, and all of them are useful in close combat. Leap Strike and Counter Strike give you great burst damage, while you still have one of the best sustained damage outputs in the game.

  • Abilities

    [spell=Equipment Mastery]
    This is what makes Jax work. You can build all the damage and AP you want, and you'll still end up with tons of health. You're going to need that health, since you need to get in the middle of every fight to deal damage.

    Leap Strike
    This is your distance closer. This is how you can instantly reach whichever enemy looks like they need a good smacking. It does respectable damage at all stages of the game, you'll often use it to get the killing blow on an enemy. It's also your escape ability, and it's amazing at that too. Leaping to an allied minion while running away can easily bring you out of range, and since you're one of the faster champions in the game, they probably won't catch up.

    There are a few walls on Summoner's Rift that you can leap over. The base walls, the walls around dragon and Baron, and the walls near the mid lane bushes are the most important ones. Remember, you need vision and someone on the other side.

    Your mana pool can't support spamming this in the early game, so don't waste it. The mana cost quickly becomes a non-issue as you gain levels, though.

    This skill adds a little to your DPS. You can use it to last hit a little, but don't make a habit of it. A pretty boring skill overall. It can help you build up Rageblade stacks more quickly, which gets you rolling faster in a teamfight. The recent Jax rework made this skill much more powerful, although it lengthened the cooldown.

    Be careful, though. If you use it too early before you jump in, a clever opponent will notice and realize what you're about to do. Of course, this also means you can bluff with it. People who know the wrath of Jax have probably been conditioned to run away when they hear that sound.

    Counter Strike
    This skill is essential to your survivability in a teamfight. Because of this, you should prefer to fight around minion waves. It's useful, but don't rely on it too much. Careful enemies won't autoattack you when you really need the stun.

    Relentless Assault
    This is the "Freight Train" ability. Once you get rolling, you crush everything in your path. In teamfights, you'll need a couple seconds to build up Rageblade and Relentless Assault stacks, so try to stay out of the way. Once you attack a couple times, you can jump right into the mayhem. Full stacks of both Level 3 Relentless Assault and Guinsoo's Rageblade will nearly cap your attack speed, so your damage output will be enormous. With Rageblade and another attack speed item, you should hit the cap. Never buy more attack speed than that.

    The new active ability is great for Jax; it's all I ever wanted when I played him before. Using it is fairly obvious; when it looks like you're about to get hit by lots of spells, press R. The better your reaction time, the better it is.

  • Summoner Abilities

    Best Options
    Since you're running into the middle of every fight, you're bound to suffer from some crowd control. Don't let it ruin your day. Exhaust and other blinds are particularly painful, ruining your DPS for long enough to swing the fight in the other team's favor. Cleanse is also a great escape tool, it will save your life and annoy your opponents to no end. In draft mode, Cleanse is a good pick if the opposing team has a character like Amumu.
    Jax has no natural slowing ability, and people will naturally want to get away from you. You'll end up chasing enemies a lot. Repeated leaping may work sometimes, but that isn't what Jax was made to do. Ghost will let you chase people while dealing damage and retaining your Relentless Assault stacks. It's also useful for escaping.
    This is the other way to make up for Jax's lack of slow. Exhaust can make it much easier to take down enemies in the early game, as well as shut down opposing carries in teamfights. If you really want first blood, Exhaust (with the mastery) is essential.
    When those enemies always seem to get away with 1 HP, those lucky bastards, Ignite is what you need. It's also good against healers like Sona and regeneration-heavy characters like Mundo and Warwick.

    I generally take Cleanse/Ghost or Exhaust/Ghost.

    Possibly Tempting Options
    Teleport is better used on other champions, but it's not useless for you. If you're not good at avoiding harassment, you might want to take this. Of course, there are also some shenanigans you can pull by teleporting to wards.
    I can't say I've ever tried Rally, but it just seems weaker than the above options. I believe the damage bonus does give you extra health from your passive.
    Heal is Heal. You can use it to bait people into trying to kill you, or you can save teammates from certain death. It loses its effectiveness in the late game though.
    Someone else on your team should take this. Jax's spell slots are too valuable, they need to be used for things that help in combat.
    Flash just isn't that good on Jax. You already have great escape capabilities, and you certainly don't need to use it offensively. Jax doesn't have a gamebreaking stun or skillshot that you need to position perfectly to use. With Jax, you need to prepare for chasing situations, so Ghost is superior.
    If you want to jungle with Jax from level 1, go for it. This guide won't help though.

    The rest of the summoner spells are just horrible for Jax.

  • Masteries + Runes

    I use a 9/21/0 mastery build. Archaic Knowledge (magic penetration) and Nimbleness (speed boost after dodging) are absolutely essential. Put points in AP over critical chance. A 21/9/0 build would also be possible, although I prefer 9/21/0 for improved Cleanse and the extra toughness. If you want improved Ghost as well, you can dip into the Utility tree, as long as you make sure you still have Archaic Knowledge and Nimbleness.

    For runes, make sure your Seals are Greater Seal of Evasion. Along with Ninja Tabi and a level in Counter Strike, you'll have enough dodge to proc Counter Strike whenever you need it.
    You have a couple options for your Marks. Greater Mark of Insight and Greater Mark of Desolation are both solid choices. Greater Mark of Alacrity is nice with Relentless Assault. However, don't get Greater Mark of Malice. Critical chance doesn't synergize with Jax's hybrid physical/magical damage.

    For Glyphs, you could go with a few different things:
    Greater Glyph of Warding helps you survive laning against casters like Veigar, Zilean and Ryze. Magic resistance is the most useful defensive stat on Jax, besides dodge of course.
    Greater Glyph of Clarity lets you spam your skills more for extra damage. This is extremely useful for Jax, much more than for other characters.
    Greater Glyph of Celerity gives your Leap Strike and Empower even shorter cooldowns late game, enabling some serious hopping shenanigans.

    As for quintessences, Greater Quintessence of Fortitude is always helpful for early game tussles. I actually use two of those and one Greater Quintessence of Evasion just for the hell of it. I like pissing people off with lucky dodges.

  • Items

    Core Build
    Starting item: Doran's Shield
    This gives you much-needed health, and lets you take a little harassment while last-hitting. This is important as a melee character.

    Next, get Ninja Tabi
    In most games, these boots will be the best choice. If the enemy team has a ridiculous amount of stuns, or just far more magic damage than physical damage, go for Mercury's Treads instead.

    If your lanemate is capable of soloing, and you don't have a jungler, you can buy a Vampiric Scepter around this time and head into the jungle. This plan of action is very optional, and it won't always be a good idea.

    Third, you need Guinsoo's Rageblade
    This item gives you everything you need. I would be hard pressed to find a reason not to get Rageblade. It's got plenty of damage, AP, and a little attack speed, and the price is right.

    Rylai's Crystal Scepter is your next core item. Start with the Giant's Belt. It gives you tons of health, and once you finish it, you'll be able to pin down enemies easily. Frozen Mallet may seem better for a DPS character, but 80 AP is much better than 20 AD, and the price is comparable.

    After that, get Bilgewater Cutlass and build it into Hextech Gunblade. During this time, you may want to be chugging Elixir of Fortitude as well. Once you get Gunblade, you'll have an ungodly damage output and plenty of health. The ranged slow is nice too. If you really need a certain item to counter an opponent, feel free to build it before this.

    Situational Items

    Banshee's Veil
    A wonderful defensive item for Jax. Spells are your weakness, and this is the best item to handle that. I build this often, because balanced enemy teams will have at least a few spells you don't want to get hit by.

    Atma's Impaler
    When I'm getting taken down by physical damage, this is my item of choice. I don't get it until I have at least 2500 health, though. This is the only good option for extra armor, and it gives good damage too. It's great for its cost.

    Sword of the Divine
    If the other team has a decent Jax, you'll need this to take him down. If he's smart, he will get one too, but you don't want to be the only one without it.

    Phantom Dancer
    If the other team has at least two physical DPS characters, this might be a worthwhile item. Many Jax guides insist on getting this item, but it really isn't necessary. It doesn't give you any health, for one thing. It costs almost as much as Gunblade, but just isn't as good for your damage or survivability.

    Executioner's Calling
    In its current form, this item is useless. Don't bother.

    [item=Madred's Bloodrazors]
    If the other team is ridiculously tanky, you can grab this late game. Don't get it too early, as it doesn't give you much health at all.

    Those are all the items you will really need. Feel free to experiment with other options.

  • Skilling Order

    You want to max Leap Strike ASAP. Reducing the cooldown is extremely important, because you'll be using it a lot to jump from enemy to enemy in a fight. You also want to make sure it's available when you need to escape.

    Get just one level in Counter Strike at level 2, and max Empower second. Empower's new version adds a lot to your burst, so it's very useful early on.

  • Build Example


    This build has all the damage you need, and tons of health. If you have lots of gold even after buying these, get all the elixirs, then buy a defensive item like Banshee's Veil or Guardian Angel. If you don't think you need that, Phantom Dancer is fine too.

  • Laning

    The laning phase is when you're most vulnerable. Make sure you don't get shut down here, or else you won't be able to carry later on. Lane with a ranged partner, or someone with a heal like Taric. A partner with a stun may be able to get you first blood. For the most part though, you need to stay back and last hit as many creeps as possible. Note that Jax can't do much at all to save a dying partner's butt.

    You should easily be able to farm enough for Ninja Tabi the first time you recall. The second time, you should be able to get Pickaxe. You should easily finish Rageblade before the 20 minute mark if you're doing okay.

  • Teamfights

    You are not the initiator, remember that. (Although, if you can leap and stun their whole team, you can do a pretty good impression of one. You better hope your team follows you real quick though.) You need to jump right in after your tank initiates, and start wailing on their squishiest carries and/or support characters. Taking them out of the fight is extremely important, even if you can't kill them outright. Jax is only truly effective after the opponents have committed to the fight, but don't be afraid to just leap for some extra damage if they're running away. Jax's Leap does significant damage to squishies all by itself.

    If your team has any targeted heals or shields, you should be the primary target. If your teammates don't realize this, politely inform them (after you get focused down and killed). An unchecked Jax can effortlessly crush a team, and if you won't even die to all their best burst damage, you can crush their morale as well.

    Remember that you can use Counter Strike to interrupt channels. If Katarina happens to use her ultimate next to you, by all means mash that E key with all your might. It isn't reliable though, especially when minions aren't around, so your team should have another character for that job.

    If you can stay alive and healthy throughout a teamfight, hitting enemies the whole time, your team will surely win. That's just what Jax does. Make sure your team doesn't start any fights without you. Follow this guide, and you'll be the most hated character on your team. Just hope that your teammates can protect you from the inevitable 5-man focus fire. If they can't, all is not lost; you should be hard enough to kill that the rest of your team can crush the enemies while they're busy with you.

  • Conclusion

    Reading a guide won't make you a good Jax player. You need to get out there and play some games to learn Jax's limits. If you're not used to playing melee DPS, playing Jax will be a completely new experience for you. Don't take my word for anything, get out there and try it. I hope to see less terrible Jaxes around in the future. Jax has fallen out of favor lately, but I think he's a great character, and more people should try him out.