Riot Games has yet again added a new character to their ever-growing list of unique champions in their very popular game, League of Legends. After a slew of melee and tank releases, the public finally gets their hands on a brand-spankin’ new AP (ability power) mage, Xerath the magus ascendant. I picked this puppy up the moment of release and he’s pretty good at what he does. Influence Points can be hard to come by for some and maybe you don’t feel like putting the riot points down to make the buy, well that’s I’m writing this. To help you see if the champion is worth your purchase.
Let’s start by saying Xerath is a ranged mage. No wait. He’s a very ranged mage. The foundation of his abilities stems from a move called “Locus of Power”, which renders Xerath immobile but almost doubles the range of all his abilities, giving him nuking power further than any other champion, except for Karthus because he can hit everyone on the map anyways. Activating the Locus of Power turns you into a long-ranged cannon, able to deal tons of damage in a team fight perhaps without ever being seen. Though immobile, deactivating the ability makes you move faster which helps in running away.
On top of the range, Xerath is relatively durable to an extent. His passive allows 15% of his total ability power to be converted into armor. May not be much, but it’s a step up from the “totally squishy mage”, which makes sense, because that armor on top of his energy form has to amount to something right?
SO anyways, Xerath has 3 offensive abilities for you to use. His “Q” is called “Arcanopulse” and it’s pretty much force lightning. It requires precision aim, much like the shurikens on Kennen or Leona’s stun charge, so in some cases, you will need to “lead” your target to hit them. My advice is to use this move for harassment, especially when they are moving towards or away from you. His “E”, “Mage Chains” is an ability that does minimal damage, but marks your target with magic, as noted by a purple beam for an indicator. Anyone marked with this will be stunned by your next spell. A very useful crowd-control ability which could buy you just enough time to get away or get the kill. And finally, his ultimate, or his “R”, “Arcane Barrage” is his AOE damage ability. What’s neat about this move is it can be used up to 3 times before going into cooldown, making it spammable.
For runes, I use Magic Penetration marks, HP/Level Seals, Flat Cooldown Glyphs, and HP quints. I also use the utility tree as my primary, 9/0/21 because you can’t go wrong with the extra EXP and cooldown reduction. I also run with flash and exhaust, though I was debating swapping out Flash for ghost. That’s not the best set-up, nor is it even an ideal one, but for testing purposes, I wanted to go with something basic.
Xerath is amazing early game. I decided to start with a Doran’s Ring instead of rushing my build. Great harassment, good farm, and with plenty of range, the opposing players in your lane definitely have to be extra careful, otherwise they will end up suffering a ton of damage. Because “Locus of Power” is easily accessible, hitting your targets every now and then is never an issue and it’s even possible to get an early kill with the help of your partner. Just use your incredible range to your advantage and you’ll be fine. You really can force the opponent to constantly have to go back to base without being touched.
Mid game is when Xerath begins to pick up the pace because by now, you have some AP/Extra Magic Pen and I’m sure the opposing force hasn’t spent time investing in magic resistance quite yet so you should be doing a ton of damage. By now, you can easily be setting up ganks because you can plant yourself in a bush and begin a pre-emptive assault on the enemy. If timed properly with magic chains, you should be able to do some pre-damaging stun along with having your lane mates do tons of damage and more than likely, snagging the kill. You may not be the master of escape like Kassadin is, but you can launch assaults without alerting the enemy, making “snowball items” very viable if you have a method of escape planned out. Remember, you’re not invincible or “tanky” by any means, and chances are, you planted yourself in a bush that is most likely to receive the blunt of the reinforcement pain should they arrive.
So really, this new character is like a mage assassin, striking enemies from the safety of some random shadow while your teammates do all the frontline work. He’s got a decent learning curve because of his intense range and more advanced players can take full advantage of map positioning. Much like the blackmage in Final Fantasy, you are the ranged nuker, doing tons of damage from a far, just like a mage should. I find Xerath to be a great addition to LoL, simply because I love AP nukers, but all the ones out are said to be “feeble” to other jobs. If played right, Xerath is an unstoppable hidden force to be reckoned with.