Jax - Mini Guide - by Akuma

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It's official. Zileas has said Jax is OP, and given some of the experiments I ran this weekend, I tend to agree, as much as I hate to say it. I think magic nuke/stun heavy teams can beat Jax (Ryze/Annie by themselves can be tough, otherwise, you probably need 2 characters with at least one stun and one big nuke), but everyone else has a hard time.

Empower + Leap Strike combined with spammable Counter Strike was too strong. Empower + Leap gives you the first hit in almost all occasions. At that point, they either attack you (and you therefore will have a few chances to proc a dodge and therefore a stun) or they run (which means you are beating the crap out of them with no damage done to you). So enjoy it while it lasts, but most of the data below will probably need some modification once Jax gets nerfed. 

But I did some experiments over the weekend and found some conclusions that people may or may not agree with. Here they are:

1. AP builds can be very much reasonable

2. Going with a physical DPS build nearly requires that you get a Sheen. That is just too good to pass up.

3. I think a Phage is good, but a Frozen Mallet is too much for Jax for the cost. You only get +2 damage, a slow, and +450 HP, not worth it for 2k gold more.

4. Attack speed is very important to allow you to trigger your ultimate. Combined with dodge and crit, Phantom dancer is critical for you, but AFTER you have significant +DAM

5. Jax needs some defense to be a real killing machine in late games when they will be focsing and hunting you. I tried a Guardian Angel, but much better is a Banshee's Veil
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Summary


Though AP builds can be effective, physical DPS works better for Jax overall. In this guide, we maximize the advantage of two key skills:
1. Weapon mastery (+15% damage from +damage items)
2. Dodge -> Counter Strike
To go for a pure AP build is basically throwing away his passive (#1). An AP build gives you controllable up-front burst but lower sustained DPS. A physical build will give you better sustained DPS plus excellent burst, but not as controllable (since you are hoping for autoattack crits).

Dodging is great for defense, but in the case of Jax, his Counter Strike ability allows you to AOE stun and damage on a dodge. In short, dodge increases your survivability and your DPS, so you absolutely must maximize dodge at all costs. You will learn to love seeing Jax surrounded by a purple ball; that means he just dodged and is ready to Counter Strike.

Item Build

Item Build, v1.0
Regrowth Pendant - HP regen needed for early game laning
Ninja Tabi - Speed and dodge make this a critical item for Jax
Phage - +damage, slow, health, and builds to Frozen Mallet
Infinity Edge - The main item you are going for
Zeal -> Phantom Dancer - The only other item in the game that gives you +dodge

Then choose between, depending on needs:

Frozen Mallet - You already have the Phage. Are you having problem finishing people? This will lock them in place for you.
Defensive Counter - Are they blowing you up? Against tanks, get cooldown items. Against magic, get magic resistance

Item Build, v1.1

Regrowth Pendant
 - HP regen needed for early game laning
Ninja Tabi - Speed and dodge make this a critical item for Jax
Sheen - It is only natural that after an empower, counter strike, or leap strike that you want your next hit to increase +dam by your base damage. Do NOT upgrade this to a Lich Bane in this build.
B.F. Sword - The B.F. Sword is +50 DAM, but since you're Jax, you get +57.5
Zeal - Gives you much needed attack speed, crit chance, and move, and turns into Phantom Dancer, critical to your dodging.

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Then choose between, depending on needs (typically, look at top killer on opponent side and determine counter):

[vs. Heavy Magic]: Banshee Veil - If there are lots of stuns and magic nukes (Ryze, Annie, Sion, Veigar), you will want this for the HP and magic resist. You aren't afraid of physical DPS (you already have a ton of armor and dodge). If they are glass cannons anyway (Ryze), you really need this earlier rather than the DPS.

[vs. Heavy Melee or you find you aren't stunning them enough]: Zeal -> Phantom Dancer - Against melee guys, Phantom Dancer's attack speed helps trigger the Ultimate more often in hand-to-hand fights (more common vs. melee), it helps your dodge (also good against melee and stunning), and your closing/escape speed (+movement).

[Generally need more DPS]: Infinity Edge / Black Cleaver / Phage - Buy the best one you can afford and move on.
Runes

I like stacking primary runes only, as secondary runes give you inferior stats. The latest patch made this even more evident. Therefore:
Red: Armor Penetration (recommended) or Critical Chance
Yellow: Dodge (so you can spam E)
Blue: Cooldown (so you can spam E)
Purple: Dodge (so you can spam E, see a pattern?)
Masteries

21/9/0 is the best, as it maximizes DPS, but it goes into the defensive tree enough to pick up all the dodge related masteries (+dodge and Nimbleness). The minor problem with this build is that your mana regen is insufficient because you'll be spamming your E ability at times. 0/9/21 also works, but I felt it was a bit gimped on the offense side.

Skills

For levels 1-3, get one of each of the skills, starting with Leap Strike, as it is very good killing tool at level 1-2. After that, choose based on the following priority, meaning the first item on the list must always be chosen if available:
1. Relentless Assault (R) - Helps laning, farming, burst, jungling, ganking, all for 0 mana cost. A must if available.
2. Counter Strike (E) - IMHO, his most important ability.
3. Leap Strike (W) - An incredible ability used mainly to start an attack or catch runners.
4. Empower (Q) - Kind of weak, it's a DPS increase, but your other abilities are key to how Jax works.
Summoner Spells

Flash - good for chasing down or escaping, though on long cooldown.
Exhaust - good for chasing down mainly, or running away from single enemy

Those are what I would recommend, though teleport and revive have their uses.

Strategy
Fight amongst a few enemy minions to help you trigger a dodge -> Counter Strike.
For other characters, ganking a lone champion is the ideal situation. For Jax, fighting amongst a few enemy minions actually helps you because the minions attacking you help trigger a dodge, which then allows you to AOE stun and DPS using Counter Strike. This is why we spent a ton of effort getting dodge, now we are going to abuse it. Just don't go too crazy with this in the early levels (your dodge isn't high enough), and don't jump into a huge mass of minions and you'll be fine.

Typical Fight

1. Empower your weapon (Q) (optional, only if significant time between Empower and your attack)
2. Leap Strike the enemy champion (W)
3. While you are still in melee range (safe or otherwise), spam Counter Strike (E)
4. Pursue if safe, otherwise run.
5. Repeat

Cautions

You are susceptible to a few things, so keep these in mind:
1. Baiting: After a Leap Strike, most people run, and many Jax players get in the habit of chasing. Jax players need to be wary of chasing too much and getting baited.

2. Ranged Magic Nukers: You are susceptible to ranged, glass-cannon magic based champions like Ryze because dodge doesn't help you against their nukes. If one of them is really owning you, consider picking up magic resist to counter. These are your biggest foes, make sure you get the jump on them; your Leap Strike (W) should outrange basically any ability you would be scared of. 

3. Tanks: You really aren't that susceptible to tanks by themselves. They should obviously never be your first target, due to high HP and high armor. But if you do have to fight 1v1, and since they have to be in melee range and they are generally autoattacking, that gives you a ton of dodge chances puts them in range of your Counter Strike when it triggers. Basically, at high levels, they will be stunned at every E cooldown, and with your R ability, the longer you fight hand-to-hand, the faster and harder you hit, and they start running. If you are really having trouble with tanks, I would recommend getting some cooldown items to allow you to spam Counter Strike even faster.


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