Is Jayce AP or AD–Everything You Need to Know

Is Jayce AP or AD–Everything You Need to Know

One of the most vital Champions in today’s League of Legends is undoubtedly Jayce. Though most of his power is drawn from his well-designed ability kit, he significantly benefits from being an AD Champion. Jayce, as you may have experienced yourself, is an Assassin/Bruiser that loves going down the Lethality build path.

Though a few spells in Jayce’s kit deal with Magic Damage, most of it scales from AD. Take, for example, his melee E, Thundering Blow. It’s among the primary spells that he’ll utilize at all times. It deals Magic Damage that actually scales from the target’s max HP and Jayce’s bonus AD. He does have one spell that scales from AP, and that’s his melee W, that’s insignificant no matter how much AP you build. Not only that, the scaling on that spell is so poor you might as well just stick to building damage.

Jayce has several build paths to choose from, with the primary two being a Bruiser and an Assassin. They often overlap in item choice and can be too similar to note.

There’s a lot more to know about Jayce, so let’s take a detailed look at this fantastic Champion.

What you can expect:

  • Everything and anything Jayce-related.
  • Jayce’s position in the current meta.
  • A Top Laner’s Perspective on the Champion.

What Are Jayce’s Abilities?

Jayce is a unique Champion in League of Legends in the sense that he deviates from the standard 4 ability design philosophy. Jayce has seven total abilities that he can access through his Ultimate, Transform Mercury Cannon/Hammer. The spell itself is unlocked from level 1, similar to Karma’s, but cannot be leveled up at 6, 11, or 16. Instead, all of Jayce’s spells have six levels instead of the usual five.

So, buckle up; we’ve got a ton of abilities to cover.

Passive – Hextech Capacitor

Effect: Jayce gains extra movement speed and ghosting whenever he switches between the Cannon and Hammer.

This ability is crucial to Jayce’s gameplay loop and helps him be that quick and menacing Assassin/Bruiser we know and hate. It allows him to utilize his kit changes for more than just accessing different abilities. It’s there to amplify his speed and remove any obstacles in his way in the pursuit of his enemies.

We say pursuit, as Jayce will seldom be seen running away from someone. Even if he is, he’ll probably turn back for a second or two to throw his plasma balls at enemies. He really does have a lot up his sleeve and is as unpredictable as ever.

Melee Q – To the Skies!

In his melee Hammer form, Jayce’s Q allows him to jump on and slam an enemy, dealing AOE physical damage and slowing all afflicted targets for two seconds. This is his primary offensive ability and one that Jayce will use any time he wants someone dead quickly.

This is a potent ability, especially when maxed, and has both high base damage and high AD scaling. The slow is also pretty significant and prevents any enemies from escaping Jayce’s wrath. Here, his Assassin nature comes up, as his priority is often to eliminate enemies as quickly as possible. Prolonged fights do not benefit Jayce, and he doesn’t do too well in them.

His low cooldowns do help here, but Jayce likes his in-and-out style. We’ll talk more about what else Jayce benefits from when we get to his ranged abilities.

Melee W – Lightning Field

The one ability that does Magic Damage and scales from AP is Jayce’s W. Jayce surrounds himself with an electrical field that lasts four seconds. Any enemy caught in the field is dealt Magic damage. It’s a simple ability that provides Jayce with a similar defense to Rammus’ shell. In short, it gives him a so-called danger zone making it risky just to stand next to him.

Jayce can also use this ability in prolonged fights or when enemies are tightly grouped. Though the spell is weak and doesn’t do much, incremental damage can sometimes have a massive impact or be the last drop in the glass. Extra Damage in League, no matter how insignificant, is always good to have.

Melee E – Thundering Blow

Probably the most essential ability in Jayce’s melee kit is his E, Thundering Blow. This ability has insane damage potential and serves as Jayce’s primary security source. Jayce hits an enemy with his Hammer and knocks them back 500 units, dealing %MaxHP damage plus 100% Bonus AD. You can see from the scaling that it’s nuts and can cleave through a health bar like butter.

Jayce relies heavily on the proper use of this spell. It’s very unpredictable and hard to counter for Champions like Fiora. Those that rely on close-range attacks like Jax will find themselves consistently knocked back to a neutral distance. Playing against Jayce is challenging due to this spell alone, but there’s a whole lot more hiding in his ranged kit.

Melee R – Transform Mercury Cannon

Jayce uses this ability to switch to his trusted long-range cannon. His next basic attack is empowered and reduces the target’s Armor and Magic Resist. This is the core of Jayce’s design and what allows him to have a whopping three abilities available to him at level 1. Now if that isn’t OP, we don’t know what is.

Nevertheless, the Hammer/Cannon transformation isn’t that spectacular, and much more happens when Jayce decides to return. But more on that later.

Ranged Q – Shock Blast

With his ranged Q, Jayce fires a ball of energy in a given direction that deals AOE physical damage. It also reveals the area for 1.25s. This is Jayce’s go-to poking ability at all stages of the game. He can also use it to hunt down escaping enemies as well as drain an enemy’s HP before engaging them in melee.

This ability can be amplified by Jayce’s ranged E, Acceleration Gate. It increases the ball’s size, damage, and speed, making it much more potent and dangerous. When combined, these two spells provide Jayce with amazing poking capabilities and massive long-range AOE damage. The amplified damage and AD scaling are also off the wall, and make him that much more formidable no matter the distance.

Ranged W – Hyper Charge

Hyper Charge empowers Jayce’s next three basic attacks with modified damage and high attack speed. This is his way of dishing out great damage in quick succession. Based on the ability level, the damage changes drastically, from dealing 70% of Jayce’s AD to 110%. Thus, this is more of a late-game burst ability than an early-game one. Still, it helps to have quick attacks early, which can help with trading and poking your opponent.

Ranged E – Acceleration Gate

With his ranged E, Jayce can spawn a horizontal energy ‘gate’ that he and his allies can pass through to gain bonus movement speed. It also grants sight of the area for four seconds. The ability primarily serves Jayce for amplifying his Q, as we’ve said above. You’ll see him using these two abilities in succession almost always. Using it independently is very situational, and one should focus on giving their Q that incredible boost.

Ranged R – Transform Mercury Hammer

Contrary to his Hammer/Cannon switch, the other way around is much more exciting. It switches Jayce to a melee range but gives him a massive amount of bonus Armor and Magic Resist and amplifies his next attack with a significant bonus Magic Damage. It’s a fantastic thing to use at all times, and full melee engages should be planned around it. That extra boost to defenses and damage means that Jayce can safely all-in an enemy and get out unharmed. It’s insane that this is available to him from level 1.

What’s the Best Lane for Jayce?

Jayce is traditionally a Top Laner that has very few counter picks. He’s among the safest Champions to play in all divisions, especially in the Platinum+ range. It takes a ton of skill to master Jayce’s many intricacies and seven spells. However, once you do so, you’ll be nigh unstoppable against most Top Laners.

Ranged Top Laners are a hated bunch. Champions such as Vayne or Quinn get a ton of flack from the community for being so-called ‘noob’ picks. Jayce combines the best of both worlds, providing the player with great melee and long-range abilities. The hate he gets is, therefore, twofold. People despise his design and believe it is beyond broken. The author here is one of those people but will say more on the subject in a later section.

So, Assassin?

Yes, and no. Jayce is an Assassin in the sense that he usually goes for an Assassin-esque build. However, his nature as a Brawler makes him a bit different from your traditional Assassin. The items he builds usually come with a ton of shields and extra HP, such as Eclipse, Maw of Malmortius, Guardian Angel, etc.

All of these items help Jayce sustain himself in prolonged fights in melee range while also significantly amplifying his long-range damage. You’ll have to often switch between being a Bruiser, Assassin, and Control Mage to make the most out of him. He currently sits at below 50% win rate in Platinum+, implying that he isn’t the easiest Champion out there.

Don’t be fooled by the low win rate. He’s a great pick against most traditional and popular Top Laners. They significantly struggle against him, especially in the late game. Champions like Jax and Fiora, believed to be among the strongest Top Laners ever designed, can easily be bested by a good Jayce player. Keep that in mind when selecting him in matches.

The Most Popular Build

According to, one of the most credible sources of League of Legends statistics, the best items to purchase for Jayce are the following:

Starting Items: Doran’s Blade + HP Potion

Mythic and Core Items: Eclipse first, followed by CDR Boots and Manamune. (Keep in mind that you should get Tear of the Goddess much earlier so that you’re not late on stacking.)

Fourth Item Options: Either Serylda’s Grudge or Youmuu’s Ghostblade. Whichever the situation calls for.

Fifth Item Options: Serylda/Youmuu’s, depending on which one was your fourth. Edge of Night is also a good option.

Final Item Options: Guardian’s Angel or Maw of Malmortius, situationally. Edge of Night also works based on what you got for the fifth item.

The Author’s Opinion on Jayce

I’m a Top Lane main and have been for over ten years now. Incredibly, I’ve dwelt at Top for over a decade. In all that time, I’ve encountered a few Champions as brutishly overpowered and annoying as Jayce. I cannot say that I hate him, that emotion is reserved for Yasuo and Akshan, but I don’t like him either.

You see, I main melee Bruisers a lot. Champions like Jax, Darius, and Gangplank are all on my regular rotation. Recently I’ve taken up Fiora as an answer to all the madness Riot’s been putting out lately. All of these Champions are directly or somewhat countered by Jayce. They all heavily rely on engaging Champions at close range and have limited gap closers (save for Fiora, but she still has a cooldown on her Q). Jayce’s melee E is too much to deal with in this respect, as he can easily prevent any attack from my side.

It makes it rather annoying to have to deal with constantly being denied an attack. Fiora is the best of all the Champions mentioned here due to how low her Q cooldown can get. She can survive the initial E and come back for seconds. There’s also a possibility of preventing the spell with her W, but since it’s so unpredictable, that can be nearly impossible to achieve.

I don’t know. Jayce annoys me beyond comprehension. He can switch quickly and effortlessly from melee to ranged and back again. I tend to get pretty nervous in my matches, making me fume with rage. He’s the jack of all trades, and I try to avoid playing against him as much as possible. However, we can only ban one Champion at a time, and I’d rather play against Jayce than ever set my eyes on Akshan again.

Closing Thoughts

As we’ve seen, Jayce is an AD Bruiser/Assassin that loves his Top Lane skirmishes more than we could express. He’s a good Champion for players of all skill levels but has a high skill cap and can take a while to master. We highly recommend him to everyone but don’t expect to be treated kindly by other players, especially your opponents. Jayce can bring out the worst in people. But you’ll see that for yourself.  

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