[Guide] Lux: Keep Your Distance

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Why another Lux guide?
Of the couple of Lux guides that are still up to date (i.e. not suggesting Zhonya's Ring), none emphasize Lux's damage as equal to, or more important than her crowd control (cc). After a lot of experimentation with Lux builds, and a lot of frustration finding the right combination, I've found this build to offer the most consistently rewarding play from her as a champion for you as a player, and the most consistently rewarding benefits for your team.

What specifically is the philosophy of the build?
Spell penetration, spell penetration, spell penetration. This build disregards mana concerns, and spends its gold/runes/masteries on spell pen. and AP. We don't worry about cool down reduction (cdr) until much later in the game. Other iterations of Lux will focus on low-medium kills, low deaths, and very high assists. This iteration focuses on high kills, low deaths, and medium-high assists.

Why are you so insistent about keeping your distance? It's pretty annoying.?
Because this build advises clarity and cv as summoner spells, no speed runes, and no extra health beyond Haunting Guise. In short, you're the squishiest of the squishy, and slower than molasses. Keeping your distance allows you to land a q in case of something like a charging rammus, or an annie that is determined to flash + stun you, and allows you to engage on your own terms. If it's annoying, it's only because I love you, and want to keep you alive.

Why damage over cdr?
We do eventually get cdr, but the reason we're concerned with damage as our primary tool is because Lux can kill a champion at full health with her full combo, provided she's using this spell pen / AP build. Reasonable cdr is important, but the difference between the 24% we end up with and the 40% other builds might get to is only about 4 seconds for the ult, and a second or so for q/e/w -- a tradeoff for killing power that is ultimately not worth it.



I agree here with pretty much every other guide. Get to the 15% spell pen. as a priority, and build through the utility tree making sure to hit mana regen, quickness and summoner spells.


Marks (Red) -- Flat spell penetration.

Glyphs (Blue) -- Flat AP. There is an argument to be made for scaling AP, so if that's what you have for your caster page, use it. This build chooses Flat AP, however, to secure a couple of early kills, netting some useful early gold and hopefully creating a snowball effect.

Seals (Yellow) -- Mana regen.

Quintessences (Purple) -- Flat AP. See discussion on Glyphs for scaling vs. flat.

Summoner Spells

Clarity -- This is what allows us to ignore Tears of the Goddess and other mana building items. This also allows us to lane almost indefinitely, and helps lategame when you can't afford going back to base just for mana. Keep in mind that I don't use mana regen Seals, so if you find that those are enough to keep your mana high, feel free to replace this slot.

Clairvoyance (CV) -- Absolutely necessary. Beyond just a scouting tool for your team, you should use this early game to check the bushes -- try targeting the spell just a bit out of bounds on the edge of the map, so the beam of light doesn't appear to anyone. If you do it right, the opposing team won't know that you can see them in the brush, and you can land a Q without them suspecting. Mid-Late game, this is what allows us to line up shots with R, and importantly, snag a kill from the river on a champion who has decided to B with low health near their tower.

Thoughts on other (potential) spells:
Flash -- Certainly useful, can buy you a second or two for Q to get back up if you're escaping. Lux remains extremely slow, however, and I find that you'll die as often as it'll save you.
Ghost -- More useful for Lux than Flash, because it is a sustained escape.
Ignite -- You shouldn't be close enough to land this, most of the time. Additionally, since ignite is primarily a killing tool for champions running away, your R fulfills that role better already.

Skills and Skill Order

Q -- Primary snare. Always your initiator. Run away if you don't land it.

E -- Secondary snare. AoE damage for teamfights. Scouting tool for brush.

W -- Multi-target shield. Try to hit all of your teammates in teamfights.

R -- Long-range, high damage. Most people use it for ganking, which you should (i.e. as someone is running away, or going 'b"), but also remember to use it point-blank as the nuke in your combo. Don't bother trying to line up multiple targets for simul-kills -- it's cool, and you'll be happy when it happens, but let it happen incidentally. Always focus down a single target or a tight bunch.

Skill Order




The reason we wait so long on shield is because Lux typically cannot output enough damage to scale as the game goes on without focusing q/e/r exclusively. Additionally, I've found that personal use of the shield is not highly effective (no surprise, given that it's intended as multi-target barrier), and that teamfights usually begin around the time you're taking w anyway.

Beyond that, there are two theories of playstyles here:
The first one, which prioritizes q over e, assumes a focus on first blood and an early kill or two over creep denial. Especially in laning with a partner, the 1st skill slot being spent on q has the advantage of the unusually long 2-second stun at lvl 1, which contributes both to an early gank or getting out of an early gank for yourself or your partner.

The second one, which prioritizes e over q, conversely assumes a focus on creep denial over early kills. Because of the spell's superior range (you can even cast it slightly beyond the marked blue range), Lux's e gives her one of the best early-game denial spells, besides a quality harassing + scouting tool.

I advise trying out both avenues and seeing which one suits your playstyle -- the more commonly accepted Lux playstyle is the latter, while the former is more unorthodox but in practice no less effective, just different.


This is where you'll see a markedly different Lux build than anything else on offer:

1) Amplifying Tome + Health Potion to start: This will give you a leg up in damage with your early harrassing, and make first blood a real possibility.

2) Basic Boots: Only buy these alone if you had to "b" and you have 350 gold. Otherwise, wait until you can grab the upgraded item.

3) Sorcerer's Boots: Crucial to the build because of the +20 spell pen. Get this before Haunting Guise for the mobility.

4) Haunting Guise: Again, crucial for the +20 spell pen. Upgraded from the Amplifying Tome you started with. The added AP certainly doesn't hurt, and the little bit of health makes you a less attractive squishy throughout the game. This and the boots are the cornerstone of this build -- by this time, you have 49 | 15% spell penetration, which means your spells do full damage to squishies, and you're probably overcoming most of the MR of even the tanks early-game.

5) Rabadon's Deathcap: If it looks unusual to get this as your third full item, that's because it is. Return to your base to grab the Blasting Wand and the Needlessly Large Rod as soon as you can afford them, because you'll need the AP to stay competitive. You now have most of your killing power, and only after 3 items.

6) Deathfire Grasp: Finally we get into CDR. Build the Fiendish Codex as soon as you get the gold, and the upgrade to DF when you get the chance. This will put you at 24% cdr, which is enough for our purposes. If your team is kind enough to help you with the blue buff regularly, you'll have 40% anyway. The extra AP and mana regen is also great, but it's the Active that's really key, because by the time you get it you'll be doing 44% (30% + 4*3.5%) of current health, with spell penetration. Discussed more later, but beware of the short range on the active -- it's the one exception to the tenet of keeping your distance, and accordingly very risky. The damage can be worth it, but make sure you have an escape plan and/or backup first.

This is the core build -- Haunting Guise, Sorcerer's Boots, Rabadon's Deathcap, Deathfire Grasp. Beyond this you want to build more AP however you see fit, and situationally. Thoughts on further items:

Morello's Evil Tome: Fantastic item. Unfortunately, a waste of 4% cdr when combined with DF (since cdr caps at 40%), but great value all around.

Zhonya's Hourglass: Often useful if the opposing team has started to target you first, or you're getting hit in the backlines by a quick-closing eve or poppy.

Archangel's Staff: Very expensive, nice AP, but usually by the time you'd get it you won't be building up much extra mana with the passive. Usually avoid it.

Void Staff: This puts your spell pen. at 49 | 49%, which is ridiculous. Really only useful if you're going against multiple champs with extremely high MR.

Will of the Ancients: Useful if you have a couple other AP champions on your team. Don't particularly need the spell vamp, but the AP is good for the value.

Abyssal Scepter: As another guide said, you shouldn't be close enough for the -20 to make a difference. Not recommended.

Lich Bane: By the time you would buy it, you shouldn't be hitting anyone with auto-attacks anyway. The idea is to keep your distance -- Lich Bane entices you to do the opposite.

Potential Questions:
Why no Rod of Ages?
The extra health is not as useful as it seems. If someone catches you, they're going to cut through your low MR and armor like butter, regardless of your health. The idea is not to let anyone get close. The extra mana is not useful with clarity. There are better items for value with AP.

Why no Meijai's Soulstealer?
You don't want to be a target. Your effectiveness rests in the fact that people discount Lux as not very dangerous, so it's easier to get off your combos. The cost-to-AP value is obviously very high if you can stay alive, but I've found that the damage is sufficient without it, and if you're playing a team that's paying attention you're quickly going to become the focus.


Standard Operating Procedure (SOP): This is the core playstyle, and I'll be referring to it a lot.
1) Always stay further than Q spell-length away from your enemies. This gives you room to stop them if they make a charge, and lets you engage on your terms when you're ready.
2) To engage, always start with Q. If you don't land it, retreat back, and wait for the CD. If you're sure you'll hit it and other enemies are far enough away to warrant it, move in right as you cast the spell while it's still traveling. That will close the distance for your auto-attack, which you'll use early-mid game. Immediately cast E on the champion, slightly favoring the space behind them. Launch one auto-attack, now the Q wears off, launch one more auto-attack, and while the second auto-attack is flying toward them, pop E just in time. This will ignite your passive twice, and do max damage. Besides being accurate with your ult, this sequence is the hardest thing about Lux to master.
Note: if they start running toward you after the Q and E, get out. Landing your auto-attack is not worth dying for.
2.5) If you have Deathfire Grasp and it's a high-health hero (especially a tank), launch off the active after Q and E, but before you pop E, and before you launch R. Basically, you want them standing still for it because it's such a close range active, and you want to do it at the start of the fight because the damage is based on current health, not max health. Remember, however, to use DF situationally -- if it's not apparent that you can focus them down before they close the distance, don't risk it. If you're unsure, reserve it for teamfights when you have the support that will let you regain your distance.
3) Launch R whenever it will kill them. A lot of the time, this will be counterintuitive because they'll be at point-blank range, and the instinct is to hold your R for a snipe. Remember, though, that your job is kills, not looking cool. Sometimes this means firing off R after Q, before you pop E, sometimes it means firing it last. Never launch R first -- remember that it ignites your passive.
4) Keep your distance.
5) Keep your distance.

To recap: Q, if snared E, if high health DF, if low enough health after or without DF then cast R, then pop E regardless (when they're at the edge of it, because the longer they're slowed the more time your team has to hit them). Auto-attacks are useful for your passive early game, and totally useless and very hazardous to your own health late game.

1) Only go mid if your team has no other options. You can mid just fine, but there are usually better heroes to do so with more important ults to get to.
2) Never take a 2v1. Your survivability and damage output does not support it.
3) Only last-hit minions so as not to push the lane, and only do so with your auto-attack. Do not waste spells on minions, ever (unless you're clearing a lane mid-lategame).
4) Harassing is your primary job. Do this using SOP. Don't get greedy, don't chase -- either you kill with SOP or you don't. Don't chase. At level 6, you can probably get a kill with SOP -- if you've been harassing, it'll only take one landing of Q to start the combo, and they're dead.
5) Use E and CV to scout (preferably CV, since you want all of your spells available at all times). Never faceplant bushes -- you will die, and it violates the primary rule of keeping your distance.

1) By this time, you should finally have W. Again, the reason we didn't invest any points in it until necessary is to maximize damage potential, and because W will rarely turn a fight early-mid game, while CC and damage often will. Spam W in teamfights.
2) Do not initiate. Wait well in the backline until someone else lands a stun, or someone has engaged. Use SOP at the point of attack -- if you can, you want to hit your E on multiple opponents, and then hit your R on those same opponents. Remember to stay back -- your auto-attacks are worthless at this point, and getting that close will only get you killed.
3) Always stay in the backline -- that means there should even be separation between you and your teammates. Don't stack up in a bush with your team -- you will get destroyed by the AoE damage from the opposing team, and you won't have time to launch your combo (let alone your R) at anyone.

Running Away: Is so crucial when your skills are on CD, especially since you aren't carrying ghost or flash
1) Q is your primary getaway tool. Make sure you land it as you run away, or you're dead -- taking the extra second to line it up is worth it if you're unsure.
2) E is your secondary getaway tool -- throw it in front of you, and then run through it. Do not pop it as your enemy runs through it and gets to the edge -- popping it releases the slow effect immediately, but letting it expire naturally causes the slow effect to last a little longer than the physical circle you can see. That 1/2 second can be the difference between life and death, and you don't need to be causing damage as you're running away.

Misc. Notes

Once you have DF, you should be the primary warder for your team. You have space on your item bar, and it's not as important that you get more AP (having about 500, plus all the spell pen. is a lot already -- more helps, but wards are important).

Don't taunt the opposing team in chat (i.e. Gloating after kills). Give them no reason to target you other than your quality gameplay -- this is the same reason we don't buy soulstealer. This build is much higher damage than anyone anticipates, because most people treat Lux as nothing more than glorified cc. As a result, if you're in the backline no one is going to rush toward you unless you've given them a reason to do so by taunting in chat. So don't do it.

Hopefully, this will make playing Lux more satisfying for you, as it has for me. The focus on damage doesn't reduce the effectiveness of your cc (2 seconds is 2 seconds, after all), and your team (and k/d/a ratio) will be grateful for the unexpected killing power.

Oh, and keep your distance.

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Personally I like to emphasize use of E early in the game to zone your opponents out of EXP range, or at least make last hits impossible.

But I would assume that this is a HUGE hit against your "Don't Taunt the Enemy" rule, as I usually shut down the opponents in the lane quite well, but am then target #1 for the remainder of the game, even if I am so under-itemized that I don't really scratch anyone (I tend to buy wards far too early and often)

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by prioritzing Q over E i can pretty much just stand behind my creeps and turn one of the best early game harassers in the game into a complete joke. i get that you're trying to deviate from the norm, and the emphasis on early ap rather than cdr makes sense, but prioritizing Q over E isn't the best idea, let alone "non-negotiable"

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Big Jaws



Keep your distance, but get real close with dfg.

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Originally Posted by GOHSnail View Post
This and the boots are the cornerstone of this build -- by this time, you have 49 | 15% spell penetration, which means your spells do extra damage to squishies (typically 30 magic resistance (MR), so they have negative MR for the purposes of your spells).


Void Staff: This puts your spell pen. at 49 | 55%, which is ridiculous. Really only useful if you're going against multiple champs with extremely high MR.
Your guise will not cause your spells to do extra damage to squishies. You only get bonus damage from magic reduction, not penetration--debuffs on the target (malady, starfall, wall of pain, etc), not stats on you. With a fast sorc+guise, you're actually just wasting 20 mpen unless you're laning against someone with mercs or one of the few champs that have natural MR scaling.

Void staff + Archaic Knowledge is 49% penetration. The combination of 40% and 15% is multiplicative, not additive.

Scaling AP vs Flat Glyphs: Flat is 8.9 AP, scaling is 1.5 AP per level. They match at level 6 and after level 2 (i.e. the majority of the time flat is better) you're looking at most an 8 damage difference if you land both your bind and slow.

I disagree with a number of other choices--Q over E, skip shield, build like you're carrying but no mejai, DFG on a long range character--but it's your guide.

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Let me try to address some of the comments (sarcasm aside, there are legitimate concerns). I definitely had some of the details wrong, which I'm about to change as per suggestions, but I would like to emphasize one thing: this build and its subsequent guide arose out of successful gameplay, not intellectual, masturbatory theory -- in other words, I didn't post it because I thought it would be different and cool, but because I wanted to share my success with the broader community.

1) Don't taunt the enemy was in reference to chat, which I realize now wasn't clear in my writing. It pertained to not doing things like, "<all> SUCK IT!!!" after a kill. Good laning, good gameplay.... not what I intended to marginalize. **Edited in guide

2) Allow me to change the skill order section to reflect more flexibility with q vs e, and the relative merits of both. What I was thinking with it being non-negotiable was really about the shield (another debate, but I'll stay firm on that one), but that wasn't remotely clear in the 1st iteration. **Edited in guide

3) DFG does cause conflicts with the mantra of "keeping your distance," which is why I advise making sure to land "q" first. I am however going to change the guide a bit to reflect that it has to be more situational -- i.e. if you know you can focus the target down, and you're sure it's 1v1, go ahead and use it, otherwise don't risk getting that close. **Edited in guide

4) Absolutely correct on the spell pen -- I hadn't read my research properly. I'll change it above, but I maintain that guise + sorc's is the primary reason this build has been so succesful in play -- since it isn't the bonus damage I thought, I am invested in playing more and more rounds to see what exactly it is (I consider myself a good player, but definitely not pro, thus I assume it's the build that carries my gameplay in most matches and not the other way around). **Edited in guide -- if you'd care to give me the time, I'd like to continue the discussion on scaling vs. flat (as it pertains to this build)

Finally -- yeah, it is "my guide," but that doesn't mean it can't be a collaborative work, it doesn't mean I can't be wrong, and it doesn't mean we can't make it into a better guide as a community (which I view as worth doing, since the playstyle is unaddressed in other guides).

Closing note, it is not perfect, but I do advise playing a few matches with the build and seeing what you think based on in-game experience.

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Ionic Breeze

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Just a suggestion, but I think when pushing a turret, and you want to clear out a wave of approaching minions, do use your E or R ability, since it has a pretty low cooldown time. It helps

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Proper Lux attack combo:

Toss AOE (E) slowing enemy to land your snare easier
Snare (Q) adding a mark
Auto-attack igniting bonus dmg
Pop AOE (E) adding a mark
Ulti (R) igniting bonus dmg and adding a mark
Auto-attack igniting bonus dmg

tldr; EQaERa

I prefer to level my skills like so:
EQEWER, then prioritize R>E>W>Q

I just use Q for the stun, and W is leveled in time for team battles.

It's better to max E first because gauranteed dmg is superior to situational dmg (Q can miss, E generally won't) Shield is too good to pass up and doesn't really hurt your dmg output all that much imo.

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Ionic Breeze -- for sure, for sure. Heading out at the moment, but I'll change it in the guide to be more clear about what I meant. Essentially, just didn't want people using "e" to clear out minions in the early laning.

Dredzach -- I've found that landing the Q first guarantees the subsequent combo, while the opposing champ can get out of the e in under 2 seconds (the cc on q). I'm not saying that your "proper" method doesn't work, but at the very least there's room for both techniques; I've just found for my skill level as a player, Q first is the surer route.

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Originally Posted by grayrest View Post

Scaling AP vs Flat Glyphs: Flat is 8.9 AP, scaling is 1.5 AP per level. They match at level 6 and after level 2 (i.e. the majority of the time flat is better) you're looking at most an 8 damage difference if you land both your bind and slow.
i've never understood scaling runes from the flats. so if flat is better and will give you more. why do scaling runes exist?