The forces of chaos and terror are sweeping the Fields of Justice. Inhuman might is tearing asunder the dreams of the common man, and evil looms in every dark shadow and amid every brush! Is there no hope? Will we all choke on the smog of despair?
Look, up in that lane! What is that shining beacon of hope in the darkness? That flash of inspired courage, defying the tyranny of despots and bad odds? That thunderous trumpet-cry rallying the desperate and fearful to one last glorious victory?
It’s a ball of crackling plasma slamming into your face!
From the proud and shining towers of Piltover, covered in gleaming hextech from his feet to his manly and rugged chin, Jayce has come to bring the hammer down upon the Fields of Justice.
Hextech Capacitor (Passive) – Every time Jayce transforms his weapon, he gains 40 points of movement speed for 1.25 seconds, and ignores unit collision. By itself, the passive doesn’t seem particularly impressive – except that Transform has no mana cost and a mere 6 seconds base cooldown, allowing Jayce to roam lane-to-lane with surprising ease.
Transform (R) – Jayce’s signature ability is the ability to swap between a melee and ranged style of play. He has access to Transform at level one, and is therefore granted access to two spells from his regular kit at the start – one each from Hammer and Cannon mode.
Switching to Mercury Hammer, his default stance, allows his next attack to deal bonus magic damage, as well as granting him a flat armor and magic resistance. Mercury Cannon, in comparison, extends his range to 500, changes his skills, and makes his next shot strip the enemy of a percent of their armor and magic resistance, increasing by 5% from a base 10 at levels 6, 11 and 16.
To the Skies! (Q) – Jayce leaps onto a target, dealing physical damage in an area around him and slowing them for two seconds. Increasing ranks drop the cooldown of the ability and magnify the percentage slow for up to 50%.
While its range isn’t spectacular, To the Skies! is a fairly decent gap closer, should Jayce’s summoner opt for a jungling role. Thanks to the area of effect (AOE) damage, it also provides a great addition to your fast clear kit.
Lightning Field (W) – The passive effect of Lightning Field ought to look familiar. As with Taric, and perhaps as a reference to piezoelectric transformers that turn human motion into usable power, every attack from Jayce converts into mana. Unlike Taric, however, the effect scales more with attack speed than damage, returning up to 14 mana per hit at max rank. Either way, it translates into a lot of effective sustain, allowing Jayce to keep all options open throughout his laning phase.
Activating Lightning Field turns the ground around Jayce into a killing field, burning everything within its radius for magic damage over four seconds.
Thundering Blow (E) – Jayce hammers out a melee attack that deals magic damage plus a percent of the target’s maximum health, knocking them back and stunning them for a short duration. Not only does it guarantee a nasty chunk of damage on a target, but careful usage with “To the Skies!” lets Jayce knock a target straight into his team’s ravenous maws, while interrupting any channeled spells along the way.
Shock Blast (Q) – Jayce sends out a skillshot nuke doing AOE physical damage against the first enemy unit it crosses, or at the end of its path. Although it starts with fairly meager damage and missile speed, making it relatively easy to dodge, shooting it through Acceleration Gate gives it enhanced speed, range and damage, whittling down a besieged enemy team from far outside turret range.
Hyper Charge (W) – Jayce’s attack speed greatly increases for the next three attacks, dealing a multiple of his total attack damage with each attack. While the initial 70% of total AD seems like a fairly bad trade-off compared to his normal ranged autoattacks, the ability does reset Jayce’s autoattack timer, allowing you to squeeze in more damage in the same timeframe. Each level also increases its ratio a significant amount. By rank 5, each of the three shots is dealing 130% of his total AD.
The autoattack bonus also works with Jayce’s Mercury Hammer mode. By switching stances immediately after casting Hyper Charge, Jayce can not only add Transform: Mercury Hammer’s extra damage, but also partially refund the mana used. At rank five of Lightning Field, the mana cost is fully refunded — and then some.
Acceleration Gate (E) – Jayce casts out the contrapositive of Karthus’s Wall of Pain, granting a three second movement speed buff to all allied champions passing through it. As mentioned earlier, the Gate also greatly enhances Shock Blast.
Holy Swiss-army-knife, Batman! Jayce packs a rather versatile kit. Jayce packs eight spells, surpassing even Karma’s three spells with a mode toggle (the two forms of his fourth skill) dividing the rest into two sets of three. As they’re all on separate cooldowns, the Transform mechanic allows ability-chaining through all six by level three. And also unlike Karma, they’re all high-powered skills by default.
Jayce is a godsend in one particular team composition: the poke/split-push strategy infamously used by CLG.Prime. Gate-boosted Shock Blasts are devastating, able to chip away at a team’s health every ten seconds or so with strong, physical AOE damage. The combination of Lightning Field and To the Skies! clears out minion waves with shocking ease throughout the midgame, and a five-ranked Hyper Charge swiftly burns through a turret, inhibitor or nexus’s health.
Given the many, many skills you can spam, a Sheen-into-Trinity-Force build for Jayce is only natural. As most of his skills have innate cooldown reduction when ranked up, and the one that doesn’t (Lightning Field) has only a 10-second cooldown by default (with a 40% uptime), Jayce should have ample opportunity to load a Sheen proc every two seconds, dealing out tons of damage.
Justifying the Trinity Force build are the surprisingly low mana costs throughout his kit. Transforming costs no mana, and eight of the six regular skills cost a flat 30-40 mana, regardless of rank. The only mana-hungry skills are To The Skies! and Shock Blast, which consume 60 and 75 mana each at max rank. When taking into account the built-in mana sustain from Lightning Field, spell costs only become a limiting factor if spammed over a long duration.
It seems as if Jayce is meant to have a somewhat fragile laning phase, given his relatively low stats for a top-lane or jungling bruiser and based on how his ability damage scales with each rank. His range, too, is inferior to other ranged top laners’, with Mercury Cannon providing only 500 to his autoattacks. Ultimately, he can’t quite trade one-on-one with melee bruisers, and he can’t quite stay out of threat zone for Kennen, Vladimir and others.
Jayce’s weaknesses only remain relevant when not factoring in Acceleration Gate, which enables all sorts of mischief from our Piltover champion from even rank one. The Gate’s synergy with Shock Blast gives him a better zoning tool than all but a handful of other champions, and if they chase after you, all the better: pop it behind you, run towards the Gate, throw a Shock Blast through it to deter them, and mode-switch into Mercury Hammer to sustain your movement speed bonus. Because of all this, don’t be fooled by the weight of his weapon — Jayce does not lack in mobility.
There’s also the fact that, at level one, he starts with more utility spells than most champions. While Jayce’s spells scaling off of bonus attack damage does mean weak attacks per cast early on, the overall utility and control of his kit won’t only scare off most duelists, but also allow Jayce to get in a parting shot or three as they flee.
Regardless of the role he’s playing, Jayce will usually maximize Lightning Field/Hyper Charge first. This has less to do with the ability’s power, or even the sustain it offers, and everything to do with the fact that the more you put it off, the worse and worse it’s going to feel. The attack speed boost for Hyper Charge allows for decent damage at level one – but the slower you are at reaching rank 5 on it, the worse your three fast autoattacks feel.
Of course, it isn’t just about Hyper Charge. Lightning Field’s four-second damage aura complements Jayce’s primary roles rather well — as a top laner, he’s able to quickly shove the lane to the enemy turret; as a jungler, it is a crucial skill for his jungle clears, allowing both mana sustain and faster farming. If called upon to act as a backup AD Carry, lowering Hyper Charge’s cooldown to six seconds allows Jayce to shred health from champions, monsters and turrets alike with equal ease.
Of course, with all of that utility, Jayce has one more role he could potentially play — as a support! Thundering Blow and Acceleration Gate offer tremendous disruption and survivability elements to his bottom lane partner, allowing easy disengages from losing fights. To The Skies! grants a potent offense as well, damaging and slowing a target for your AD Carry to plink happily away at, and it combines excellently with Thundering Blow’s displacement and stun. Even Transform works great here – attacking a target after Transform: Mercury Cannon shreds their armor and magic resistance for five seconds, amplifying the effectiveness of your lane partner’s attacks.
Jayce’s hammer support ought to play a bit like Leona, though without the devastating AOE stun ultimate. His emphasis isn’t so much on deterring enemy aggression as it is on being the aggressor, using Transform into Mercury Hammer to allow a To the Skies! and Thundering Blow combo to toss a target into your AD Carry’s kill zone, as well as dealing a good amount of burst damage by yourself.
While Jayce’s reliance on bonus attack damage for scaling offers a counterbalance to his early-game effectiveness, his low mana costs and Lightning Field sustain allows for a truly dominant lane presence after his second round of items. In his current state, Jayce is perhaps too permissive of spell spamming — an increase to his mana costs, or even an addition of one to Transform, would force his players to put more thought into their ability usage.
Summoners just starting out on him will be struggling to just remember what spells are available, whereas more skilled players will still need time to work out the nuances of his kit and learn how to juggle seven cooldowns.
Even in a game full of supernatural monsters, abominations, legendary warriors and arcane masters, Jayce stands proud and tall as the Superman of supermen. Pulling back on Jayce’s heroics won’t change the essence of what makes Jayce fun — obnoxious combos and devastating crowd control.
Riot’s put a fancy hextech hammer into your hands with this latest champion. And there are five particular nails on the other side of the map that need a few whacks…