A guide to playing with Xerath

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Mafidog

Junior Member

15-12-2011

This is a guide concerning my favorite yet champion: Xerath, the Magus Ascendant. Note that I' m not a lv. 30 nerd, but I guess that I can post as a guide the way I play with Xerath. This is a totally personal guide, and not well... really professional. Note that I had been playing with Xerath for about 3-4 weeks, thus having a great deal of experience about playing with him efficiently.

Lore
"In the ancient civilization of Shurima, the mage called Xerath practiced magic with undying passion. He believed that with enough magical power, he could gaze into the heart of Runeterra to know the secrets of history and the universe beyond. Such magic was beyond the limitations of a mortal body, but Xerath obsessively pursued a path to infinite power nonetheless. With every breakthrough he grew more and more powerful, yet not without consequence. Xerath's increasing arcane abilities wrought havoc on his physical form. Desperate, he undertook a dangerous ritual to transcend his dying body. The outcome would be immortality or self-destruction. Violent magic unleashed during the ritual caused devastation throughout Shurima, but when the dust settled, Xerath emerged as an ascended being of pure arcane energy.

Free of flesh and bone, Xerath held nearly infinite power at his command. However, in the wake of his chaotic ritual, the mages of Shurima feared his careless disregard for life would bring ruin to the kingdom. After a terrible struggle they subdued Xerath, but they could not destroy his ascended form. Instead they trapped him within an enchanted sarcophagus and sealed him in an underground tomb. Eons passed, civilizations rose and fell, and Xerath's imprisonment was lost to memory. For centuries, Xerath's vast power tore away at the sarcophagus and weakened its spell. Finally, he willed forth a burst of magic that shattered his prison, but its core remained, containing Xerath and his power within its broken pieces. Seeking to rid himself of this burden, he was drawn to the magic of Valoran's nexuses and found he could absorb their power. Yet the nexuses had gatekeepers: petty mages known as summoners. Xerath knew his key to true freedom from his prison lay in gaining their trust, and he offered his power to the League of Legends.

'I have no need for vengeance. Time has brought ruin to the mages of Shurima and I alone remain.' Xerath, the Magus Ascendant"

Overview
Xerath is an extremely well balanced mage champion that has a huge spell damage output in the battle. In my point of view, Xerath can also be played as a Bruiser/Tank champion, thanks to his passive (Ascended Form) and the good amount of health he passively gains as he progresses through levels.

When I take Xerath in a game, I make sure to agree with my team to solo the mid lane. Xerath' s skills are mostly based on landing them properly, thus making him an ideal mid lane pusher and nuker in early in game levels. Once you get his ultimate skill at level 6, you can mostly play him on every lane.

Skills
I take up Xerath' s skills as seen here:
Arcanopulse>Mage Chains>Arcanopulse>Mage Chains>Locust of Power>Arcane Barrage>Arcanopulse>Mage Chains>Mage Chains>Arcanopulse>Arcane Barrage>Mage Chains>Arcanopulse>Locust of Power>Arcane Barrage>Locust of Power>Locust of Power>Locust of Power

Items
For items, I don' t quietly follow Phreak' s build. I firstly take Doran' s ring as usual, and then immediately pick Ionian Boots of Lucidicy. Instead of Rabadon' s Deathcap, I take as my first item Void Staff, which gives me extra magic penetration, and then take Rabadon' s Deathcap. Being easily brought down if snared, stunned, feared etc, I take up a Moonflair Spellblade for tenacity, and finally complete his build with Rylai' s Crystal Scepter and Will of the Ancients. During endgame, I take an item that would help me reduce incoming damage based on my needs, by replacing Doran' s Ring with either Thornmail or Force of Nature. This build gives me a good damage output (507 Ability Power when fully built + 40 from runes and masteries [see below], including the 30% from Rabadon' s Deathcap), which also includes spell vamp, magic penetration, tenacity and armor/magic resistance (depends on final item).

Runes and Masteries
For runes, instead of /per level runes I take flat ones. Flat AP glyphs, flat AP seals, flat AP Quintessences and Magic Penetration Marks. This rune build gives me an early advantage in game (27 Extra AP from runes) rather than endgame AP, which I consider less important than early game AP, and extra Magic Penetration (8.55).
For masteries, I take extra AP masteries and Magic Penetration in Offense, none in Defense, and extra mana, extra mana regen., reduced time spent dead, Advanced Recall and cooldown reduction in Utility (9-0-21).

Thanks for reading my guide, I hope it helped you, or at least presented you a new way to play with Xerath.


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tehas4ever

Junior Member

09-03-2012

cheers man, be sure that someone will try it out, well atleast i will. gonna report with my findings or ways to improve something.
thanks again.


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DivineEvil

Senior Member

10-03-2012

I see this guide a really, really negative direction for the Xerath. Let's me comment in order of following:

Quote:
Xerath is an extremely well balanced mage champion that has a huge spell damage output in the battle. In my point of view, Xerath can also be played as a Bruiser/Tank champion, thanks to his passive (Ascended Form) and the good amount of health he passively gains as he progresses through levels.

When I take Xerath in a game, I make sure to agree with my team to solo the mid lane. Xerath' s skills are mostly based on landing them properly, thus making him an ideal mid lane pusher and nuker in early in game levels. Once you get his ultimate skill at level 6, you can mostly play him on every lane.
Looking in more deeply, Xerath is a pure late-game AP carry with proficiency for high continuous damage over high range. He excels at defense and siege situations, but really threatened target in the jungle and in 1v1 situations.

He cannot be built as a Bruiser since that make his AP ratios fall down, thus both negating his Passive effect and making no essential benefit from any additional suvivability whatsoever. Xerath's most noticeable pros is his range, thus using that range in order to deal huge damage from safe spot is a core of his game-play. He is also highly in need for shorter cooldowns to keep the damage going, thus he is in no-way an early champion at all, since only when he got the Q and W maxed up is the moment when he can start to actively participate in any action.

Xerath's relies heavily on the positioning and timing and since his Q is his overall core ability which makes up for the 60-70% of all his spellcasting and 80-90% of his damage dealing, learning how to predict enemies movement and land it on multiple targets is a primary feat required to play him efficiently.
Quote:
Arcanopulse>Mage Chains>Arcanopulse>Mage Chains>Locust of Power>Arcane Barrage>Arcanopulse>Mage Chains>Mage Chains>Arcanopulse>Arcane Barrage>Mage Chains>Arcanopulse>Locust of Power>Arcane Barrage>Locust of Power>Locust of Power>Locust of Power
That skill order completely shut downs Xerath's primary feat - his outrageous range. mage chains is by far not the best damage spell, with it growing mana cost it drains mana severely combined with Q that you need to land in order to stun a target. WIth this setup in mid-game you will be easily focused and could not harass anyone safely. For nuking potential there's much better choices. That skill order will insure that you would not get a good time standing on mid versus anyone with boots. You will be totally destroyed or at very least outsustained. The proper order is goes simply as this:
1.) Get R whenver available
2.) Max Q as soon as possible
3.) Take W whenever R or Q is unavailable
4.) Take grade 1 E either on level 3 or level 7 depending on opponent's offensive potential and max it last.
That is a default order which allows for safe harassment and farming. It does not allow you to nuke people up, but as I previously said, Xerath is a continuous damage sourse, not a nuker. Q takes priority because it's Xerath's core ability, and W takes second priority because the difference in cooldown of following levels is mot extreme of any other abilities in game whatsoever. 20 sec cooldown gives you only the way to make a ranged sweep time to time, while 4 sec cooldown allows you to get all of your spell on huge range with huge % penetration at any given time. Maxing E does increase the damage, but it's still very weak for it's cooldown and growing mana cost and Stun does not increased, thus it's as good at 1 level as it is at 5th level of Chains.
Quote:
For items, I don' t quietly follow Phreak' s build. I firstly take Doran' s ring as usual, and then immediately pick Ionian Boots of Lucidicy. Instead of Rabadon' s Deathcap, I take as my first item Void Staff, which gives me extra magic penetration, and then take Rabadon' s Deathcap. Being easily brought down if snared, stunned, feared etc, I take up a Moonflair Spellblade for tenacity, and finally complete his build with Rylai' s Crystal Scepter and Will of the Ancients. During endgame, I take an item that would help me reduce incoming damage based on my needs, by replacing Doran' s Ring with either Thornmail or Force of Nature. This build gives me a good damage output (507 Ability Power when fully built + 40 from runes and masteries [see below], including the 30% from Rabadon' s Deathcap), which also includes spell vamp, magic penetration, tenacity and armor/magic resistance (depends on final item).
Again, some Champion simply does not required to be bruisers. Making Bruiser out of ranged AP carries is the same thing as calling Hockey forward to go goaltendering instead with the same outfit. It simply does not fits their features to do the other's work. These items makes Xerath snowballing extremely miserable.
- Starting with Doran's Ring is not always necessary or efficient. If you have the skill-shot opponent like Ahri, it's better to take Boots + 1 red, 2 blue potions. If you facing some equal hard-carry AP champions like Ryze or Kennen, then it's nice to get the Meki Pendant + 1 red pot instead for more sustained harassment. Taking Null Magic Mantle + pots is a must versus heavy AP assassins like Kassadin and LeBlanc, just in order to survive and farm efficiently. Doran's Ring is a good choice if you're required to face an offensive mid opponnet like Brand or Annie, otherwise it's does not worth the setback.

- Boots is surely goes into (IBoL) Lucidity, since Xerath has all the penetration he might need. Getting 15% cooldown reduction is increasing his damage output by this very 15%. No objections here.

- Taking Tear of the Goddess early is a most viable on Xerath since he can charge it up with Q and W very consistently. If you will get the Blue Buff, you can charge her indefinitely with Q, using no mana whatsoever. Maxed W simply makes it's free. Transformed into Archangel Staff at any stage seems necessary. Xerath have to get the huge mana reserves in order to keep his Pulses firing, since his own mana reserves are both very average both on level 1 and level 18m, while mana consumption is high.

- Rabaddon's Deathcap is a must for any major AP damage dealer. For a AoE damage caster, Xerath has very good scaling, so this item is not even negotiable.
- Next one is Morello's Evil Tome, which finalizes all the essential Xerath stats - if you have proper masteries, it gives you 39% cooldown reduction, additional AP and mana regen. At this point your Q+W combo simply becomes your new auto-attack. You don't need a Blue Buff any longer, since you have pretty much the same thing permanently.

- Void Staff comes next. Making this one pretty much negates any enemy efforts to protect themselves via magic resistance. 10% Mpen on Masteries, 30% Mpen on Locust's Active phase and 40% Mpen of Void staff results in 1-(0.9*0.7*0.6) = 0.37 efficiency of Magic resistance, which is 62,2% total magic penetration, the biggest %Mpen that can be acquired in the game. The enemy took all his inventory to build 300 magic resistance? Ok, but we'll care only for 111 resistance as Xerath on this one. Still, making it any earlier will make the penetration meaningless, since none of enemies has accumulated enough magic resistance to make % penetration worth the money spent.

- Item of Choice. There's always the one IoC on any Champions I play. It's always goes last when the game prolongs so far. The choice depends on the most threatening enemy at this stage. Options are:

1.) Zhonya's Hourglass - counters AD focus if there's one strong AD carry or fighter, who knows what you're really worth.

2.) Abyssal Scepter - counters AP focus if there's one strong AP carry or Bruiser, also allows to deal almost true damage to enemies who still does not got any additional Magic Resistance. Unlike Magic Penetration, insreases magic damage of your allies as well.

3.) Will of Ancients - allows to sustain better in the late-game fights, especially if brought low with AoE abilities. Good option, but only if no one else got it.

4.) Rylai's Crystal Scepter - gives some health, increasing defense well against both AD and AP, but the slow given is a questionable benefit with Q and R both applying only 15% slow.

5.) Deathfire Grasp - A viable option if you expect bad guys going extra beefy. Requires to get the Sorceress Shoes instead of IBoL to make use of CDR, should be built out of Kage's Lucky Pick taken early. With full item build and Locust Provided shots the 50% health magic damage nuke versus moderately resistant targets.
Quote:
For runes, instead of /per level runes I take flat ones. Flat AP glyphs, flat AP seals, flat AP Quintessences and Magic Penetration Marks. This rune build gives me an early advantage in game (27 Extra AP from runes) rather than endgame AP, which I consider less important than early game AP, and extra Magic Penetration (8.55).
I am... don't quite sure how's having a Needlessly Large Rod without taking an item slot on level 18 is not important. It's only on Normal games and lowest ELO is where early game pretty much decides the late game result, if that ever comes. In Ranked games, runes are taken just in cognition with champion's most essential game phase. Xerath does not belong to early game as an AP carry. 16-18 more damage on abilities? Don't see a point. Scaling don't rising with level, and champion levels 8-9, a which per-level runes equalized with flat runes, is easily achieved.
Quote:
For masteries, I take extra AP masteries and Magic Penetration in Offense, none in Defense, and extra mana, extra mana regen., reduced time spent dead, Advanced Recall and cooldown reduction in Utility (9-0-21).
These are more fitting for the champion with higher Utility rating, like Orianna or Lux. Xerath does not need these. Xerath is brought to deal damage. 21-0-9 works better for him. 10% CDR with IBoL is just 25% CDR, which not makes Xerath damage output as good as it can be.

Overall, this build is completly alien to the Xerath's nature. None of the pros are made use off, insead his flaws are brought forward and awkwardly compensated, making a tough, useless figure on the battlefield. There are a chammpions with clear alternative build available, especially hybrids, which can be AP and AD prioritized, and fighters, who can be balanced around durability and damage indefinitely. But for Carries, in most cases, champion features dictates the right way to think about the champion's role and performance. Just like Karthus built glass-cannon is simply miserable walking ulti, so does the Xerath built as Bruiser is merely a mess of stats, that cannot excel at anything, especially at the role he's designed for.