League of Legends: Totally Addicted to Jayce
By Jason Harper (Hhean), OnRPG League Reporter
Jayce is a versatile bruiser with a number of ranged abilities. While he can act as a purely ranged character, he’s far better suited to softening the enemy up with his ranged abilities before closing in for the kill. He can act as a top, jungle or bot lane choice, though he’s best suited to going top. Due to his role swapping dynamic, Nidalee players may be the most comfortable picking him up. While she is his closest cousin in mechanics, he still stands apart from her, as while he has a good poking tool, it isn’t the centre of his game.
Let’s break this guy apart, and see what makes him tick.
Highly adaptable and unpredictable
Can fit in multiple roles, good for solo queue on a budget
Rewarding skill combinations
Low mana costs on individual abilities
Very long range poke
Good utility (2 crowd control, 1 team buff)
High skill cap
No ‘haymaker’ ultimate
Individually weak skills
Mana hungry combos
Needs to get in close to get the most from his kit
Short range on his ranged auto attacks
No built in sustain or shields
Mercury Cannon/Mercury Hammer [R]: Switches between Hammer and Cannon stance. Also gives Jayce a buff to his next auto attack. In Cannon stance he will apply an armour and magic resistance debuff to the target, and in Hammer stance he’ll deal additional magic damage on hit. This is the only ability he has that shares a cooldown between stances.
Hextech Capacitor (Passive): When Jayce switches stance, he gains additional movement speed, and ignores unit collision. Players can spam this to get across the map quicker as well as unleash very high movement bursts in combination with his Acceleration Gate. At the time of writing this passive will actually let you pass through champion made terrain, like Jarvan’s Cataclysm. Abuse this knowledge until Riot fixes it, because it makes the characters that use these abilities a complete joke.
Shock Blast [Q Cannon]: Moderate range skillshot that will detonate in an AoE when it hits an enemy target or reaches its maximum range. The blast grants vision as well as dealing damage. Gains additional range, damage, projectile speed and a larger blast when fired through an Acceleration Gate. Its short cooldown makes it a great harassment tool in the lane, while the extreme range of the enhanced version gives him a very effective poke.
Hyper Charge [W Cannon]: Grants a very high attack speed bonus to his next three auto attacks. The important part about this ability is while it can only be triggered in Cannon stance, you can use the three auto attacks in either stance, as the self-buff will persist even after a stance change. Hyper Charge is the main way that Jayce enhances his damage output. If you use this as someone plants a ward near you, the three shots will destroy the ward before it turns invisible.
Acceleration Gate: [E Cannon]: Places a wall that increases the movement of any allied champions that pass through it, including Jayce. His Shock Blast will be greatly improved by firing through it. Best to run along the length of the wall, rather than just passing through it.
To The Skies! [Q Hammer]: Short gap closer with an AoE slow. Should be used with a stance change and Acceleration Gate to close distance on targets, because it’s not very good alone. This ability combined with Lightning Field makes for very fast creep wave clearance.
Lightning Field [W Hammer]: The passive on this gives Jayce back mana when you auto attack minions. This can be good when last hitting under your tower, to give you that little bit of extra staying power, and also for jungling without blue buff. The active creates a damaging aura around Jayce that will persist even if he switches stances. Since it does nothing but hurt people, use it anytime you’re near to something you want dead.
Thundering Blow [E Hammer]: Single target knockback that ends in a stun. Can knock enemies through walls. If they hit into a wall that’s too thick for them to pass through, the enemy will simply stop and be stunned right next to you, ready to get their face smashed in by a hamer. Primarily used for punting enemies back into your team or pushing melee enemies away.
Combos & Shenanigans
Jayce should always be flicking between his Cannon and Hammer stances to trigger his passive, getting himself across the map quicker. However, he’ll be much stronger if he starts a fight in his Cannon stance. The Cannon’s abilities will help both soften up his foe as he approaches, while also making his Hammer stance stronger when he’s able to go in for his full combo.
Jayce’s go-to bread and butter combo sounds long winded, but it can come out with deadly speed when used with smart casting. While in Cannon stance, drop an Acceleration Gate in front of Jayce and fire a Shock Blast through it just before he runs through. If you have the auto attack enhancement from his ultimate, quickly shoot it at the enemy if they’re in range. If not, don’t waste your time. Next, get his Hyper Charge ready before switching to his Hammer stance for even more speed (you should still be under the effects of the Acceleration Gate, after all). Zoom up to your target and target them with his To The Skies!, triggering his Lightning Field while still airborne. You will now land on them and trigger every single ability he has on them all at once, in one devastating barrage of delayed-blast agony. To the Skies will slam into them, then three Hyper Charged hits will let rip, triggering his ultimate’s on-hit effect, all while the Lightning Field grinds their health off.
The last step in this chain bears for consideration, as it is possibly the most important part, and shows how much control Jayce has over his foes. Now that the enemy has taken your full burst, Jayce will be on cooldown, and therefore very vulnerable to a counter attack. If you’re feeling cautious, or your combo was only intended to wound rather than kill, you can use his Thundering Blow to immediately push the enemy back, change stance and go back to harassing. If you want to finish the job though, you can use his passive to walk straight through your hated foe, and smack them backwards, either into your fellow teammates, or simply into a bad position. While they’re stunned, you should have enough time to swap stance and begin the whole combo all over again, especially if Jayce has brought a little cooldown reduction to the table.
For those of you who want the short version of all that, Jayce’s full combo is to start in Canon stance and proceed to EQWRQW(E) his enemies.
Jayce’s list of situational combos are incredibly varied, and likely will continue to expand as people dig deeper into the character. One trick I rather enjoy is using his Shock Blast to find people in brush or behind walls, then using the small window of vision to leap on them with To The Skies!. Batting them back through a wall immediately afterwards is optional.
A similar trick is to bash Golem through the wall of its camp, then leap through the wall with To The Skies!, allowing you to safely fight it in the brush near the river, rather than knee deep in the enemy jungle.
The reach on his Acceleration Gate+Shock Blast combo shouldn’t be underestimated. It’s on par with Nidalee’s spear, and travels far faster. Unfortunately it doesn’t deal the same damage in the mid to late game, but its AoE can make for some great harass against teams cowering under their tower in the late game. When using this combo, always try to put the gate as close to Jayce as possible, as the projectile will only gain its speed when it passes through the gate, yet its range will remain the same regardless of when it’s enhanced. In less than ideal situations though, remember that the ball will always be enhanced, regardless of what angle you fire through it.
Thematically, Riot has been doing really well recently. Draven’s abilities drove home the thrill, the excitement of being a narcissistic killing machine. Jayce nails that creativity and experimentation we associate with a great inventor. It’s not about slamming your foes with a sledgehammer (though that certainly helps), it’s about careful planning, preparation and creative solutions. There is no tool that Jayce doesn’t have, and no situation that he will be at a disadvantage, provided he has worked things out ahead of time. A comfortable, experienced Jayce player will be a real pain to deal with in the future, and everyone starts to get over his cliff-face of a learning curve.
All of this versatility does come at great cost though. His complete lack of an ultimate means that while he can spam people down with his barrage of abilities, constantly engaging and disengaging from fights, he never simply turns around and makes someone explode. He needs time to hurt people, so mages can often be his bane. While he can do a good amount of damage quickly, it won’t matter if he’s stunned, then plastered across the walls of Summoner’s Rift mid combo.
Jayce is an interesting character that should at least be played when he comes out on free week, especially if you value versatility over raw power. He’s strong, but not game changing. He may see long term use as a good counter pick for top lane, given he can kite a number of other bruisers with ease.
To discuss Jayce yourselves, post in the massive League of Legends thread in the free to play MMOs section, or post in the comments section below. If you haven’t tried League of Legends yet, you’re missing out.