Hey, this is my Xerath guide, and even though everybody pretty much only uses Solomid or CLGaming guides im going to put this one directly onto the LoL forums. I play a pretty solid Xerath, and I find him a dominant laner who brings great AoE damage and some utility to teamfights, and some armor, making him a great counterpick to AD heavy teams. So lets get into it with Xerathís spells!
Ascended Form (Passive): Xerath feeds on arcane power, making him increasingly resilient to physical harm. He converts a percentage of his Ability Power into Armor.
This passive is great, perfect for a ranged mage like Xerath. The percentage is 15%, so with 500 AP in the late game you get 75 bonus Armor. Makes you impervious to Talon, lets you 1v1 AD carrys without dying, makes you more durable against bruisers.
Arcaonpulse: Fires a long-range beam of energy, dealing magic damage to all targets hit.
This is your main damage spell in lane and after your ultimate has been used. The ratio is .6, so it benefits from AP but not in an overpowered way. It has a low cooldown, medium mana cost, and is generally spammable. Get good at landing it (its not hard, hitting every one should be your eventual goal), get good at predicting enemy movement, get good at abusing the fact that there are very few high-damage spells that can be used to counter harass in lane because it has massive range and passes over creeps with no damage reduction. Also your main farming spell, at level 5 it takes 2 casts to clear the whole line (excluding the cannon minion).
Locus of Power: Xerath anchors himself to a source of magical power, increasing the range of all his spells and granting him bonus % Magic Penetration. Although he is immobilized while Locus of Power is active, his movement speed increases upon disabling the ability.
This is the ultimate one-point-wonder skill because it doubles the range of all your spells and gives you 10% bonus MPen. At level 5 the range is the same, and the MPen is 35%. The main thing that scales with rank is cooldown (starts at 20 seconds but goes down to 4), but in lane you really donít need to use it for harassment since people want to farm creeps. Take a point in it at level 4 and leave it there. However, any time you use your ultimate you should activate this ability first, the % MPen really helps and the range is ridiculous. The movespeed buff after leaving is 35%, making it a mini ghost, so if you get caught and were already in Locus of Power you should have no problems escaping. Also nice for chasing and following up in the late game when its cooldown is 4 seconds.
Mage Chains: Deals magic damage to an enemy and marks them with Unstable Magic. The next spell Xerath strikes this enemy with stuns them.
This is an awesome stun/nuke. Its better than Brandís E Q combo because its harder to dodge and it passes through minions. This spell has a .7 ratio, which is Xerathís best (not including all 3 casts of ult), and it makes a great harassment combo in lane (E Q Auto Attack). The stun duration is 2 seconds, so you have plenty of time to either stun-n-run or to get your whole combo off.
Arcane Barrage: Calls down a blast of arcane energy, dealing magic damage to all enemies in an area. May be cast up to three times before going on cooldown.
Holy hell this spell is broken. Each cast has a .63 ratio, totaling to 1.7 if you hit all 3 casts, which is the highest ultimate scaling in the game (comparatively, Veigar ult is 1.2 + 80% of enemy AP, Malzahar ult is 1.3, and both of those are single target with high cooldowns). Its base damage is 975 at rank 3. It is also an AoE, and a pretty big one at that, about the size of Miss Fortuneís Make it Rain spell. It has a short cooldown, a low mana cost (for an ultimate), and massive range, especially with W active. This is how you kill people. This is why Xerath is a boss laner. You legitimately have the most burst in the game at level 6.
All in all, Xerath has great spells with tons of synergy and damage, combined with a massive single target stun and huge range. Also, because Q and R are both AoE nukes with massive areas and no reduced damage based on # of targets hit, he is a great teamfighter (and a safe one because of W).
Summoners: I take Flash because nothing else compares, especially on a mage, though Xerath needs it less than some. I take Teleport because Xerath doesnít need (and honestly canít effectively use) Ignite. The damage is nice, but you should never be in range to use it. Your level 6 burst can be fired from across both minion waves, and Ignite simply isnít worth it. Exhaust can be used if your team doesnít have one, it will save you from those darn melee dps (though your passive does a good job of that anyway). Tele provides tons of utility, lets you lane better, and is generally more powerful than 150 true damage at what, for Xerath at least, amounts to point blank range.
Runes: Pretty standard mage page, Magic Pen Reds cause nothing else is worth it there, Mana Regen per Level Yellows because you donít need armor (that passive is amazing), AP per Level Blues because you want to do damage, right? And Flat AP Quints are great for laning, and since Arcanopulse has a pretty decent ratio and is semi-spammable you want it to hit hard.
Masteries: Again, 9/0/21 mostly standard, taking improved Teleport instead of that one extra in either death timer reduction or mana/hp regen increase, depending on your preference. Nothing huge here.
Starting items: You can start with pretty much anything. Dorans Ring, Mana Crystal, Boots, all are great choices mainly because Xerath can do so much in lane. If you go Dorans Ring, you are going for an early kill. Q will be a 100 damage nuke in a line that can hit the enemy pretty much every time, and when you get E and another level of Q at level 3 then you are ready to start bringing the pain. If you go Mana Crystal, you are basically saying ďIm going to hit you with 4 Qís before level 2. And you will leave my minions alone!Ē The harass potential with Mana Crystal start is huge, even though you donít do as much damage, and it helps for starting RoA. If you start Boots and 3 Potions, it means you are not confident in your ability to outdamage the enemy early (i.e. if they are Cassiopeia or Ryze). However your massive range basically makes this start inferior, you shouldnít be in range for them to try anything. I MIGHT do it against Brand, but thatís cause I donít like Pillar under my feet.
Skill order: Q first, thatís your damage and the other two are useless without it. E next because you want your CC ASAP. Then another level of Q for damage, and then your first in W in case you think you can get a kill and donít feel like diving. After that max R > Q > E > W. W is a one-point-wonder, the CDR from leveling it is not an issue early game, and the extra % MPen isnít as worth it as more levels in Q and E. R is first priority obviously, its most of your teamfight damage unless they all line up for you.
Early lane: Spend level 1 CSing your heart out unless you went Mana Crystal first, in which case you must land as many Qís as you can, and force them off the creeps. At level 2 if you feel like it you can try an E + Q combo, adding an autoattack onto the end while they are stunned for a total of about 250 damage. Its brutal if you do it, because a 2 second stun leaves no room for retaliation, and you are already behind your creeps again.
At level 3 you should definitely go for an E + Q combo because you now do 300 damage with it, causing major pain. With level 4 and a level in W you can get a kill. E + Q once (you should have done it at level 3 also), then they will be afraid. If they try to tower hug, run past their creeps and W + Q + Q. Donít miss, and you will get kills or they will go B with no creeps, leaving you to farm your lane.
At level 6 you have 750 damage in your combo, which is less than some mages but you have three advantages. Low mana costs, low cooldown ultimate, massive range from which to fire it. If you do the level 1-4 properly, they should get back to lane around the time you hit level 6. Donít wait around, use your full combo. W + E + R + Q + R + R. Use W in the middle of the creep line, preferably right behind your front melee minion to block skillshots. E + R is an easier way to ensure you stun, as much of your damage is from Q and you donít want to miss at long range. Then follow up with the last two Rís and they will be at ľ or less hp. They will leave lane again, or stay and you can W E Q for a kill as soon as your cooldowns are off. At this point they are either underleveled and underfarmed, or both of those and also feeding you. Use Tele to get mana and either Catalyst or a second D ring + Boots, depending on what you started with, and beat them back to lane.
Mid game items: You should get the fastest Rod of Ages of your life. 13 minutes is optimal, 15 is decent, 17-20 is pushing it. After Rod, finish your Sorcerers Shoes, then get a Deathcap. From here there are two options: Zhonyas if they have a lot of physical damage and your passive cant cut it, or Ryalis if it is doing the trick and all you need is health to back it up. The slow lets you land E + Q with ease because single target slow from E makes missing Q impossible, then R R R to follow up and another W Q for the kill.
Late game items: If you make it to full build, you should have Rod, Deathcap, Sorc Shoes, Zhonyas/Bansheeís Veil, Ryalis, Void Staff/Guardian Angel. GA is useful because it is a big DONíT TOUCH ME sign that generally removes all focus from you and lets you free cast without fear of nasty full-to-dead assassins. Bansheeís is nice because your passive doesnít give MR and you will find that, in a poke game, Bansheeís is literally the best item to have.
Teamfighting: In a teamfight, you are a boss. You have a few options depending on what is happening. You can catch strays from massive range and get a free kill, but if they group up for a big fight, head to the back of your team and let someone else initiate. Then, drop W E R R R onto the biggest threat in the front group of enemies. Try to hit 3 with R, and the stun on whoever is going to do the most damage or CC. Ignore the ranged AD and the enemy mage for this part. Now, stay in siege mode if you can, and E Q the ranged carry to death. They will be taking pretty much true damage from your Mpen, and you should persuade them with lightning that staying and fighting is not the best option. Leave the AP carry to your solo top or jungler, you cant fight them because you generally will only have the 30 base MR unless you were forced to rush Bansheeís from mass AP on the enemy team.
Stalemate: Xerath excels at fighting near enemy towers. Your W Q poke combo is up every 4 seconds, and it absolutely shatters enemy defence unless they have a dedicated healer like Soraka or Nidalee or Taric. If your team wants to dive, you can sit outside tower range and hit everybody with W E R R R Q and then W Q for the rest of the fight. If it is your team that is pinned to the tower, you can safely sit behind your team and poke them off it steadily, and AoE incoming creep waves very rapidly. Xerath is the king of Poke mages (with Nidalee being the queen).
Tips: Your farm combo is W Q then leave W and use another Q, last hitting the cannon with E if you want to do it fast. If you find yourself in a lane with an incoming super wave (20 creeps), donít be afraid to ult it to ensure you get all of them. Your ult has a 45 second CD at max level and can be used on creeps with no repercussions. It is also really good for either stealing (or securing) Baron and Dragon, especially at high levels when it can hit for about 1.5k really quickly. From mid, if you feel uncomfortable, just walk to the side across the cliffs, W, and launch a Q through the brush. For 85 mana you can basically trick any jungler hiding in there into thinking you know about him, and he will either show himself or go away.
Overall Statements: Xerath is a very strong champion in the league, he has a unique skillset that sets him apart from other burst mages, he has so much safety from his passive and his range that going flawless is a common occurrence. His late game burst is possibly lower than some other AP champions, but with a Ryaliís you can still be useful to your team and taking out squishy cannons is always doable. You arenít Veigar, donít try to take a melee dps from full to dead to punish him for jumping you, but you can kite him for quite some time with W movespeed and E R Q combo. Thanks for reading the guide, I hope it helps!
I Max Q and W first. This gives some really nice range and magic pen early on. Also, I tend to get boots straight into Sorcerers boots for the magic pen as well. After this I either go to an early Rabadon's or Archangle staff.
This works for me pretty well. the stun is great but I find the extra range of W is nice when soloing a lane
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