Jax - Strategy and Tactics - by Roar Man

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Over the past days I've been playing Jax with good success. He's a hero capable of pulling off massive melee dps, especially in team fights coupled with his Counter Strike and Empower. He's also a great early game ganker, Leap Strike providing an excellent chase skill. This guide is to develop a better knowing of Jax and how he works, which allows for improved playing . However, he does have a problem of being rather squishy if focus fired with spells, and also is item dependent.

This guide is intended to be a guide, it's not going to be as direct. I'm assuming that readers have some knowledge of LoL. It's not going to hold your hand, it's merely going to show you how.


SKILLS:


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Empower

Mechanic: Jax's next attack is boosted by a static value + ap and also deals splash damage. Damage builds up the longer you wait to attack. Lasts 1 attack or 10 seconds. 


Note: Now this is a skill that further boosts Jax's melee dps. Although it may seem to be an ability that should be taken early on to pull off early game DPS for ganking, I find Jax doesn't have the Mana early game to support the ability for too long, coupled with his leap strike. Thus, this is saved for late game.


Leap Strike

Mechanic: If you've played DotA, it's like Blink Strike. You'll jump to the target location and magic damage. Improves with AP.


Note: Bread and butter skill. Helps him chase and can also be used to escape, as you can target units. On a side note, melee attack procs will not proc from Leap Strike itself, but the attack delivered after Leap Strike. For example, a Jax with a Frozen Mallet will not slow the target with a Leap Strike, but if the Jax hits the target after leap strike, the target will be slowed. Can also be used to run away in certain situations, as you can target enemy units and neutral creeps.


Counter Strike

Mechanic: Passively improves Dodge and also activates when Jax dodges an attack, dealing damage and stunning briefly in an AoE around Jax. Improves with AP.

Note: Another great skill which I think is essential early as the Dodge chance greatly improves Jax's survivability, with the passive Dodge and the skill itself used as a stun, and the active is a great DPS skill. The skill can also be used to chase, with a lucky dodge from a passerby creep, get close to the enemy champion and use it to stun him in place for a while. 


[ULT]Relentless Assault

Mechanic: Passively increases attack speed after every hit and Jax deals bonus damage on his every fourth attack. The bonus damage improves with AP.

Note: With the improved ult, this now now undebatably a must. Also to keep in mind, after two consecutive hits, the third will proc the bonus damage, REGARDLESS OF THE TARGET if taken within a short amount of time (I'm guessing about 1 second.)


[Passive] Weapon Mastery

Mechanic: Increases Jax's damage received from items by 15%.

Note: I actually think this skill is kind of odd. At first it seems to make sense in the fact that it increases Jax's damage output, but it seems Jax should be stacking attack speed to proc his ult often, dodge for Counter Strike or even AP to go a magic damage dealing build. But none the less, still a useful skill, especially late game, that simply improves Jax further.


SKILL BUILD

I don't really believe in a wrong or right way to build a hero and like to think that anything is viable. What I go is max out Leap Strike, while also leveling Counter Strike and my Ult, leaving Empower for last. I think this is the build to use, coupled with the fact that I'll be ganking, Empower simply drains away mana that could be used for a Leap Strike.


ITEM BUILD

Again. It's a part of preference. But for the purpose of this guide, we will be using.

Regrowth Pendant

A great starting item. HP regen is invaluable in laning, and you can shrug off most early game harassment with it.

Ninja Tabai

Not onl the cheapest pair of boots, but it also offers more to Jax then anything else, the dodge improving counter strike procs.

Frozen Mallet

Now, with the new update, Jax is beast as fuck. The only realy problem is chasing (Even with Leap Strike, the slow is VERY nice) and the possibility of survival, which increases which HP. Frozen Mallet, you should have no problem mid game.

Now there are furthe luxury items you can pick up, varying on the situation.

Malady

Very good in general, 5 damage capping at 6 stacks. That's 35 damage ANYTHING even touches the debuffed target. Also gives a nice 40% attack speed to help Jax's ult and the Malady buffs.

Zeal/Phantom Dancer

A nice choice, especially against a physical DPS team. The +movementspeed is also nice for chasing and running.

You could also upgrade your Regrowth Pendant

Spirit Visage

Reduced cooldown, HP regen and magic resist, a nice little item and only costs 1375 in total.

Warmog

Great for longer dragging on games. Empower late game will also let you farm, a long with counter strike your HP will go up in team fights without you not even knowing it.

Runes
I use a combination of HP/Mana regen runes. I've heard of Dodge and Armor being useful, and Attack/Crit/Attack speed runes being another obvious choice to improve melee DPS.

EDIT: As of late I've been using DPS runes, Attack Speed, Attack Damage, and Crit; and it has shown a nice improvement in DPS, and I find it's more useful then the regen.

Summoner Skills

I take Flash and Exhaust, two very simple skills that are very efficient. Flash is both an offensive and defensive skill, you can use it to chase or escape. The only real downside is it's very large cooldown. Exhaust is a slow, which can be nice for chasing and even saving team mates. Another neat thing about Exhaust is that it causes 100% of enemy champions during it's duration. Why is this useful? Sometimes you may find yourself 1vs2, plant Exhaust on the Physical DPS Champion and you may have yourself a kill you may live to tell about.

Ghost doesn't seem like a bad choice either. The only real debatable choice would possibly be Promote and Fortify, as Towers aren't very strong and Promote arguably being the worst summoner skill in the game. A proper Teleport can also assist in some nice ganking, and Boost is a nice Survivability skill.

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Gameplay


Ah, above else, I think this is the most important part of the game. Now, I think there are a couple of essential tips when playing the game over all that everyone should keep in mind:
  • Look at the MiniMap. The Mini Map is a crucial part of the game. Take a glance at it when you can. It can avoid ganks, or give opportunity to a gank.

  • Learn to focus. Now this isn't as easy as it seems. Sometimes players pay too much attention on their individual hero and don't notice their team getting ganked just a few paces away from them. Again, the minimap is important here. If you see a friend in need, try to help.

  • Communicate. Talk to your lane mate, talk to your team. It can be very frustrating when you chase and your lane mate doesn't, simply because you didn't say anything. Pinging is also nice.

  • Don't get caught circle jerking. Don't run from lane to lane trying to gank heroes if it seems the enemy team is trying to play it safe and neutralling. If this is the case, spend our time either trying to hunt their woods, laning for exp or farming. That being said, don't get so caught up in farming. Remember, ganking keeps the enemy team down.

  • Be courteous and polite. It's still a game, to be enjoyed 

Early Game Level 1 - 6

I prefer a lane mate. Yes I said it, non solo. This opens up lot's of early game kill opportunities. With Leap Strike and Counter Strike (We talked about it's stuns utility for chasing) coupled with a Ashe, Mino, or a strong nuker, first blood isn't that far away. Last hitting is crucial, as Jax being a carry, needs to farm all the gold he can in lanes. You can harass with Leap Strike and Counter Strike, but don't go overboard so that you don't have mana for when an actual opportunity rises. The regrowth pendant should help your lane staying power, but it doesn't make you invincible. You can trade blows and recover, but don't get too cocky. Overall, harass, last hit, and gib a kill or two.

Mid Game Level 7- 12

This is where things get interesting. You should have atleast a Ninja Tabai and Phage being built. Start roaming around. Look for squishy heroes that don't have escapes mechanism and try to bring an ally and kill them. Keep in mind of Summoner Abilities, as every Champion can have access to one.

When ganking, there are some crucial things to take note of. Always be aware that the enemy Champion may have players coming to help him. The longer the distance of the chase, the more chances there are that enemy team mates will come to help him. Some players will use slows and such almost at the last second, but using it earlier it a chain to slow down Champions for a much quicker chase can be crucial at times.

From where you gank a champion can also be important. Location, location, location. For example, coming up from behind a Champion is a good idea as it warrants at least one free hit before they notice, or if they run, they will run into you or farther away from their base. Use the terrain to your advantage. Don't allow yourself to be seen by creeps, "All warfare is based on deception." Take shortcuts, brushes, then jump out with your mates and surprise the enemy. Another valid tactic is to have your "Ganking Party" split up, of course there is a risk of you guys getting picked off individually, but say you have a Mino run in while you flank the rear, the Champion will be thrown off, where will he/she run?

Baiting is also a valid tactic. Leap Strike, do not hit the enemy but stutter so that you are hit by a nuke or an auto attack, and run back. Most people if they see you doing this will underestimate you and will try to go in for the kill. This is when you turn back to stomp them. However, the enemy may run scared after a Leap Strike out of precaution, which from there you can finish off the wave of creeps and move on to try and gank. Things can go wrong though, if you jump back in and see that they are stronger, Counter Attack, and run. Remember you can use Leap to run away in certain situations. Baiting with a team mate is usually advised, especially in the case where things do go wrong. Also note baiting one-shot or combo Champions such as Annie, Ryze, or Fiddle who can have you locked and killed before you can react.

Also, when ganking a group of Champions, focus firing is key. Priority is nice, see which Champion your team should take down first. It's usually glass cannon heroes such as Tristana or Ashe, but also keep in mind that the target your team focus fire may be able to escape with Ghost or Flash. Which is usually why it's best to set a string of priority lists. Of course you don't have to 100% stick to the Champion your team has pinged. If you see that suddenly a Champion beside the one your team has targeted is low, you as Jax can try to take him out and leave the targeted.

Try to follow up a successful gank with a push, enemy teams will have to recuperate while you and your team should have no problem happily pushing a tower or two.

Run down of a gankers mindset:
  • You can and WILL be at times, counter ganked. Shortening the distance travel by burning Summoner skills maybe valuable to you and your chasing mates.

  • Focus Fire. Develop a priority list. Go for the glass cannons. However...

  • Sh*t Happens. Expect the unexpected. If a priority target goes out of range, move on, hit other Champions.

  • Location, Location, Location.

Aside from ganking in mid game, you maybe encounter rare 1vs1 encounter. Jax excels at these. Simple Leap, and Counter Strike. Don't underestimate yourself, a damaged Jax can be fully capable of taking out a full HP Ashe, Karthus, or even a no Ult Ryze.

Alas, if your ganks don't seem successful, farm. Farm, farm, farm. Don't spend too much time circle jerking, it may not prove useful. I can't tell you exactly when you need to farm or gank, you must assess yourself. You or maybe a team mate or two also maybe able to do Dragon if you have the time.

Late Game Level 13-18

Now, you should at least have Ninja Tabai, Frozen Mallet and be done or building Phantom Dancer. At this part of the game, full fledged team battles as well as longer skirmishes(chases) will take place. You as Jax is to get in there, try to pick off Glass Cannons with Leap Strike and whatnot. With Frozen Mallet, you can initiate, but remember, you are no tank.

As said in the mid game section, while your team focuses one Champion, if you think that your team has it covered, you can start to attack another vulnerable Champion. With Frozen Mallet, you should be able to keep that one Champion busy enough so that your team may finish of the original Champion and come to help you.

Also remember to use Counter Strike and Empower as much as you can. Those two coupled together can provide a large amount of AoE damage.

Jax can be a useful defender. If your team is on defense, I advise this being used near a tower, Empower, Leap Strike, and if able Counter Strike, and back off. Rinse and repeat, it's a fairly good Defensive maneuver. If Champions target you while doing this, they can take a nice chunky beating from the tower.

Conclusion

Jax is really not a difficult Champion to play, it just takes some knowing and experience. Also don't be afraid to stray from the builds here and try new things. Thanks for reading.


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