IntroductionJax is (in my opinion) simply the best bruiser on Twisted Treeline. While his level 1 & 2 might not be as strong as some other characters, he still has Counter Strike, which can be a massive boon to early fights.
Jax quickly begins to build power from level 3 onward, turning into the strongest standing champion on the map, often capable of winning 1v2s and even 1v3s given the right situation. If you want to play the hands-down strongest champion on the map, play Jax.
MasteriesMasteries are fairly straight forward. Attack speed is important, ArPen gives a small boost to damage. Most points go into the defensive tree because you will be building full offense on items. Between the defensive tree, counter strike, active ult, and sustain through life steal, you should be tanky enough to live through a little focus, but your job is to kill people, not to tank. So don't get caught up with trying to tank whole teams down.
RunesAttack Speed is incredibly important to Jax, as is Movement Speed, other than that, standard Tanky armor and MR. You can swap blues for AP or flat MR as you feel fits your play style best, but I like scaling MR as they offer the best MR by the time you reach the mid-game stages where magic damage is flying freely.
Not much to say here. Exhaust helps to win duels, flash gives mobility when needed.
Could always take Ignite or Ghost, if you feel those work better for you.
Passive: Relentless Assault
Basic attacks increase Jax's attack speed by 4% / 6% / 8% / 10% / 12% / 14%. Relentless Assault lasts for 2.5 seconds and stacks up to 6 times.
What makes Jax so good when fights come to standing around swinging at each other.
Q: Leap Strike
Active: Jax leaps to target unit, dealing damage if the target is an enemy.
Physical damage: 70 / 110 / 150 / 190 / 230 (+ 60% AP) (+ 100% bonus AD)
Cooldown: 10 / 9 / 8 / 7 / 6
Cost: 65 mana
Great ability all around. Offers a great way to initiate, chase, and escape all in one. Mana is low enough to usually be available, but high enough that you typically won't spam it for farming.
Active: Jax's next basic attack or Leap Strike within the next 10 seconds deals additional damage. Empower resets the autoattack timer.
Magic damage: 40 / 75 / 110 / 145 / 180 (+ 60% AP)
Cooldown: 7 / 6 / 5 / 4 / 3
Cost: 30 mana
Pretty much THE reason Jax is so powerful in dueling. Empower gives a huge nuke on a short CD, has a tiny mana cost, resets your auto-attack timer, and adds a stack of Relentless Assault to boot! What's not to love? Apply liberally in all situations.
E: Counter Strike
Active: For up to 2 seconds, Jax dodges all basic attacks and takes 25% less damage from area of effect abilities. At the end of the duration or if Counter Strike is activated again, Jax deals damage and stuns nearby enemies for 1 second. This spell deals 20% additional damage for each attack dodged to a maximum of 100% increased damage.
Physical damage: 50 / 75 / 100 / 125 / 150 (+ 50% bonus AD)
Maximum damage: 100 / 150 / 200 / 250 / 300 (+ 100% bonus AD)
Cooldown: 18 / 16 / 14 / 12 / 10
Cost: 70 / 75 / 80 / 85 / 90 mana
Well that's a block of text. Basically, press Counter Strike when you 1) are going to be fighting a champion toe-to-toe and want to make his auto-attacks worthless; and/or 2) Need to stun a target. Take note of the mana cost and the short cooldown between the first and second activation.
R: Grandmaster's Might
Passive: Jax deals additional damage on every third basic attack. The counter will reset if he does not attack for 2.5 seconds.
Magic damage: 100 / 160 / 220 (+ 70% AP)
Active: Jax gains bonus armor and magic resist for 8 seconds.
Armor bonus: 25 / 35 / 45 (+ 30% bonus AD)
Magic resist bonus: 25 / 35 / 45 (+ 20% AP)
Cost: 100 mana
Hard to read, easy to understand. Putting points in this adds a free nuke on every 3rd hit. Press R when opponents are hitting you extra armor & MR.
Note to those new to Jax:
Jax has a somewhat unique skill set where all of his abilities benefit from AD, and 3/4 of his abilities (all but counter strike) benefit from AP. Between his ult and passive, attack speed is also vastly important as you want to build up Relentless Assault stacks as quickly as possible in order to to get more Grandmaster's Might procs off as quickly as possible (Also making attack damage more important). This makes all 3 stats incredibly important to the character, so keep that in mind as you play him and experiment with items.
Skill OrderCounter Strike is taken at level 1 as it provides solid utility and tankiness. It can be hit in the middle of a level 1 fight if you are the target, used to secure a kill through the stun, or even escape any early ganks.
At level 2, I normally take Leap Strike, but if you are in charge of your lane and no risk of ganks, feel free to take Empower for added harass potential/last hitting.
Empower is maxed first as it is cheap and provides much of Jax's damage output. Grandmaster's Might is taken at every available level, and Leap Strike second for the added damage and mobility.
Counter Strike is maxed last as most of the benefit is provided through the dodge and stun. While the cooldown and bonus damage is nice, mobility through Leap Strike and damage through Empower are more important to the character.
Boots for mobility, Doran's Blade because it's perfect for Jax. Do not sell your Doran's until you are ready to complete your Trinity Force.
The Scepter is rushed for the added damage and sustain. The health pot is there to help win early fights. Health potions add a significant amount of sustain, and often, early fights can come down to the difference of one auto-attack on one side or the other. 35g spent on a health potion at this point can often result in you walking away with 300g from the kill instead of your opponent.
OR + +
Get appropriate boots according to your opponents damage type. Nina Tabi are cheaper, Mercury Treads are better. When opponents are dealing fairly equal damage of both types, pick your preference. After T2 boots, upgrade to a Cutlass and work toward your Rageblade. You might be thinking Trinity Force is better, but trust me. Play a few games with the Rageblade this early and you will become a fan. It is the perfect item for Jax, and with the new proc at 50% hp, it is even better than ever before.
OR + + + + OR
As the game proceeds on, finish out your BotRK, and build a Trinity Force. These 3 items alone give Jax the perfect set of stat buffs to destroy basically anybody in a 1v1, and most sets of champs in a 1v2, by far the biggest thing to watch for at this point in the game is getting CC'd to death before you can wind up into action.
Nashor's & Zephyr are luxury items, but Twisted Treeline allows for losing teams to turtle up in their base for quite a long time, so you will get one of these often enough. Obviously, go for Nashor's if you got Merc Treads. If you went for Nina Tabi, get Zephyrs according to need. Sometimes you don't need any tenacity at all.
By this time, the game should be over. If you find yourself still playing beyond this point, make sure you have Alacrity on your boots and go for whatever fits the game. Maw if you're fighting lots of AP, Frozen Heart if lots of AD, or anything else you feel would help.
Early GameDon't be afraid of early fights. While Jax is not the best level 1 champ in the game, he's not bad, and Counter Strike should keep you alive through most altercations.
Once minions hit the field, take top lane. Your early game options depend on what champ you're playing against and how aggressive the opponent is.
Some harass combos at your disposal are:
Leap Strike > Counter Strike (wait until they start fighting for the full 2 sec of immunity) > walk away during the stun
-This is good for opponents who would want to stand and trade blows with you
Counter Strike > Leap Strike > Counter Strike Stun
-Good for ranged opponents who want to poke, but not fight face-to-face
Counter Strike and just auto in the middle of the minion waves
-If up against melee and you have the opportunity. The more minions, the better since your opponent will have to absorb your minion attacks and you are dodging all of his.
As always, apply Empower liberally.
Mid GameI would consider mid-game for Jax, the timing where you should have T2 boots, Bilgewater Cutlass, and Guinsoo's Rageblade.
These 3 items offer a lot of options to Jax.
The active on the cutlass can be used to slow champions both chasing you and being chased. While 2 seconds might not seem like much time, it is usually all you need to make the difference.
Rageblade, as I mentioned in the items section is the PERFECT item for Jax. It offers everything he needs, get it ASAP.
Once you upgrade to Blade of the Ruined King, start looking for openings to take out Vilemaw. Jax with BotRK can basically solo Vilemaw. Still, I'd watch for openings and bring your teammates for the added safety and speed.
Late GameOnce you finish the BotRK and Trinity Force, go kill them... seriously... why are you still in this game?
Try not to eat too much CC early in the fight, that's the tanks job. But don't feel bad about taking a few hits. As long as your ult is activated, you should be able to take a few hits while getting in/out of a fight.
Final CommentsJax is a relatively easy champion to play with a strong set of abilities that allow flexible play and multiple ways to handle the enemy.
While Jax does not offer support options through ranged attacks or CC, he can still fit with most any team comp through his massive damage output, decent tankiness, and Counter Strike's stun. On a map like Twisted Treeline, it's hard to go wrong with capabilities like that.