Xerath is the newest addition to Riot Games’ League of Legends champion line-up. He is a long-range artillery-style caster that excels at dealing damage to multiple enemies from a distance (a greater distance, that is, than typical casters). Sporting a maxed-out spell damage statistic and a massive amount of spell penetration, Xerath has the potential to wipe out entire enemy teams in a single sweep of his abilities. In addition, Xerath has built-in defenses against physical attacks that shy away enemies that seek to target him and allow him to run from most dangerous situations.
The key to using Xerath lies within the utilization of his Locus of Power:
Locus of Power (W)
Xerath anchors himself to the ground he is standing on for up to 8 seconds, increasing the range (by 400) of all his spells and granting him bonus magic penetration (max 30%). Although he is immobilized while Locus of Power is active, his movement speed increases by 35% upon disabling the ability for 2 seconds. He can deactivate the ability at any time after 0.5 seconds of casting it.
On Dominion, Locus of Power makes Xerath a powerful siege unit that can flush enemies out from underneath their towers. On Summoner’s Rift, Xerath is able to farm comfortably under the saftey umbrella of his tower without opening himself by over-extending. As well, the range increase and damage bonus granted by Locus of Power allow Xerath to harass enemy champions without getting within range of most attacks (a few exceptions to the rule include much of Lux’s toolkit, Morgana, and Orianna, as examples).
Fires a long-range beam of energy in a line, dealing 75 / 115 / 155 / 195 / 235 (+0.6 AP) magic damage to all targets hit.
Unlike Sivir’s Boomerang Blade and Caitlyn’s Piltover Peacemaker, Xerath’s Arcanopulse does not weaken as it passes through enemies. This allows Xerath to clear incoming creep waves (as shown in the Champion Spotlight by Phreak) while also poking at enemy champions in the lane. Because of its short cooldown (down to 5 seconds without reduction) and decent ability power ratio, Xerath can use Arcanopulse to consistently deal damage to enemies over the course of the laning phase while simultaneously pushing them against their tower.
Of course, putting their backs to the wall doesn’t stop Xerath from harassing — locking him down in a bush with Locus of Power allows Xerath to continuously wear down the enemies’ defenses while nested under the cover of brush. Over-extended with a jungler on the way? Xerath can release his Locus of Power for a quick burst of speed to sail him back to safety.
As a caster that has the potential to deal a lot of damage to a lot of enemies at once, Xerath opens himself up to being targeted by heavy physical attackers and sly, burst-type assassins alike. Xerath has an answer for both of these.
The first comes in the form of an innate ability that grants Xerath increased armor based on a percentage of his maximum ability power:
Xerath receives 15% of his ability power as bonus armor.
Like Vladimir, stacking high amounts of ability power will subsequently result in increases survivability — a potent combination for any character.
However, this still leaves Xerath vulnerable to magic damage. He is not without an answer for that, though:
Mage Chains (E)
Deals 70 / 120 / 170 / 220 / 270 (+0.7 AP) magic damage to an enemy and marks them with Unstable Magic for 3 seconds. The next spell Xerath strikes this enemy with will stun them for 1.5 seconds
Xerath’s only targeted ability comes in the form of LeBlanc’s Sigil of Silence (replacing the silence with a stun). With Rylai’s Crystal Sceptor, it becomes nearly impossible for a marked target to evade a stun from an Arcanopulse.
It should be noted that, although Mage Chains deals more damage than Arcanopulse to a single target, Arcanopulse can hit multiple enemy champions as well as allows Xerath to farm, hence making it a more viable option for early leveling.
After stunning his target, Xerath can then open fire with his final and most powerful ability:
Arcane Barrage (R)
Calls down a blast of arcane energy, dealing 125 / 200 / 275 (+0.6 AP) magic damage to all enemies in an area. May be cast another two times, with no cost, within the next 12 seconds before going on cooldown.
As an AP nuker, Xerath could not go without a powerful AOE ability. When used at the right time, Arcane Barrage allows Xerath to take down entire enemy teams with a few well-timed clicks. Making full use of AOE stuns (Amumu, Morgana) or damage multipliers (Vladimir), coupled with his increased magic penetration, turns Xerath into a powerful tank — and this cannon is not made of glass.
Xerath’s two key stats are ability power and cooldown reduction. As such, there are several core items that immediately come to mind.
Rod of Ages – Gives Xerath a healthy mana pool to continuously use his abilities while also granting him increased damage through ability power and survivability through health.
Rylai’s Crystal Sceptor – Applies a slow to the target of Mage Chains, making it easier for players to land one of Xerath’s skill shots. As well, the AOE bonus from the item keeps enemies within the radius of Arcane Barrage for a longer period of time.
Morello’s Evil Tome – Grants Xerath ability power, mana regeneration, and cooldown reduction — all extremely important for keeping a steady flow of spells rolling out.
Rabadon’s Deathcap – Obviously, as it provides a massive increases in damage as well as bonus armor due to Xerath’s passive ability.
Other items include:
Void Staff – Although it grants Xerath an increase in magic penetration, Xerath already has a high amount (30% with Locus of Power active) and the bonus from the item does not stack additively with his abilities. However, it does stack multiplicatively, which should net Xerath about 60% total magic penetration. This may be useful for teams building heavy on magic resistance.
Ionian Boots of Lucidity/Sorcerer’s Shoes – The choice of boots is contingent upon style and whether or not the player feels Xerath needs shorter cooldowns on his abilities. Of course, a maxed-out CDR greatly benefits Locus of Power, but it also means that players that have difficulty landing Xerath’s skill shots are given several more opportunities because of the low refresh rate on his abilities.
Zonya’s Hourglass – Because of Xerath’s passive, ability power items coupled with Rabadon’s Deathcap will grant enough bonus armor that investing in an Hourglass would be a waste of resources. Realistically, the only benefit to buying this item would be for the active use, which won’t come in handy if players couldn’t get away in the first place.
Tips and Tricks
- Without a large amount of cooldown reduction, players are advised to deactivate Locus of Power after using all of Xerath’s abilities rather than waiting, while immobile, for them to come back up.
- Unless Locus of Power is already activated, it is not recommended that players click it on and off quickly for the speed boost to escape a gank, as the short channel time will negate the benefits of the bonus movement.
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