Hello Everyone, I'd like to mention I am no Challenger Tier Player, Professional or Perfectionist for that matter, but I do enjoy League of Legends and all the strategy game-play it provides. I've played most all of the champions available, and I enjoy some more than others as I'm sure Most can agree with me on. I have no more insight into Aatrox than the next fellow as he is quite new, but I've come to enjoy him very much as he reminds me of Riven, I do feel he is best suited for Jungling though. Before you vote, whether Down or Up, please take a moment to read over my guide (it may be long winded, feel free to get your info and leave if you wish), as this is my first, but hopefully not last.
Which Runes to Use...
I Choose Life Steal Runes, Armor and Attack Damage runes primarily for Jungle Purposes, please feel free to tweak as you see fit, all games are different. Lift Steal runes work well with Aatrox although he may not need the extra Sustain as he has his passive + Blood Thirst skills, I find that the Extra Sustain helps me gank more often in Early Games as well as Late Game Team Fights.
Attack Damage Runes...No Brainer there, but feel free to exchange these with Armor Penetration Runes, at a certain point in the game Armor Penetration becomes just as important if not more so than straight Attack Damage.
Why So Much Defense Runes? - I usually pick up a lot of defense runes to sustain the jungle a bit easier at early levels, plus it helps with them ganks for the typical top and bottom lanes. I often switch out armor glyphs for magic resist glyphs, although it doesn't necessarily help too much with jungling it does help with sustaining typical mid lane ganks and general magic damage. I do not however use Attack Damage Glyphs/Seals as the amount they provide is not worth sacrificing the armor/resist.
Attack Speed Runes are also a plus! I don't use these too often as I itemize towards attack speed, but I do find that they are worth an investement.
Health Runes - At a certain point in the game everyone has some sort of armor/magic penetration so the new Armor/Magic Resist...is Health, the more you have the better you can live, the only scenario that this harms you in, would be some type of damaging spell that relies on how much health you have, Elise is a good example of this. I don't use health runes as i think they do not provide enough "umph" in comparison to other options.
Explanation of Skill Order and What Not..
Passive - "Blood Well" - This passive is what makes Aatrox an incredible Jungler along with his "Blood Thirst"(W) skill. Besides the ability to recover some health and become non-targetable for 3 seconds when on the brink of death, the passive also provides an attack speed buff, which ties in well with his jungle clear, or in those brutal team fights. By utilizing his passive properly you can jungle clear quicker, and in turn, gank more often. Even if he has consumed his passive (died and revived) the attack speed bonus does not go away, the bar will appear in grey underneath his health bar instead of red.
"Dark Flight"(Q) - Dark Flight is a great gap closer, or gap maker. Besides being able to close distances effectively, this can also knock your targets up into the air preventing them from being able to escape if you chain your slow right afterwards. Be cautious about this skill though as it does have a 10% of current health cost, early game it could harm you in a gank, late game initiations though...OP? On a side note, also be aware that you can be interrupted during this skill, it is a very brief charge up time (the time you lift into the air and then slam down at your target location) but if you are interrupted such as knocked back or stunned, the skill will fail.
"Blood Thirst/Blood Price"(W) - This toggle ability is the first skill we max, this skill is WHY Aatrox jungle is so Stronk. Besides the sustain at early levels, this skill scales with your bonus AD, meaning that you will heal much more the stronger you get...snowball anyone? The Blood Thirst part of the ability is typically for your jungle clear, but can also be used for diving into those team fights and keeping alive. On the otherhand "Blood Price" hurts like all hell, but is a double edged sword. Blood Price when used right, adds massive damage output on your third strike, but also consumes some of your life, use caution though because unlike your other abilities that scale with your "Current Health" blood price is a straight HP cost, which could turn a fight unfavorable. As a tip, you can switch back and forth between Blood Price/Blood Thirst (its a toggle after all) before your third strike, so you can use this very effectively without having to switch and then perform your 2 strikes for your 3rd strike to proc the passive.(look above your status bar for an indication when the next strike proc's this passive ability)
"Blades of Torment"(E) - This skill here provides a great slow for them ganks (and you wont be interrupted like your Q ability) although the width of the ability narrows towards the end of its range, it is still a fairly easy skill-shot to land. The animation is not extremely fast so it takes some getting used to but after a couple shots it should be no problem to land.
"Massacre"(R) - This ability scales with AP, so it doesnt get much stronger than the stats it provides as you level considering your AD. This skill is great to proc in team fights, if you pop your Q to initiate or land on multiple members, follow up with your R and hack away. If your in a situation where the enemy looks like theyre about to escape almost certain death, your Q and E are down...Massacre! The range is increased significantly and the damage dealt is great for finishing of enemies in those sticky situations.
Why E after W and not Q, you ask? - "Blades of Torment"(E) cooldown at maxed level provides a better Cooldown Ratio than "Dark Flight"(Q). Considering that both of the damage outputs are the approximately the same when maxed out, (unless for some reason you have AP, then his E will do more damage than his Q) you are able to dish out more damage than if you were able to if you had maxed your "Dark Flight"(Q) first. Besides the fact that the cooldown is a 4 second difference, the health cost is also less, which is another plus, saving that 5% health cost could be the difference of you being forced into using your passive or not. Lastly, this skill has a great Soft CC, that can keep someone pinned down while they are on the run.
Although the above paragraph defines my reasoning behind my skill order, I'd like to remind everyone that every game is different, if your team is less tanky, perhaps you need to go tanky and what not, well that same principal applies here. If your enemy team has a lot of escape mechanics perhaps you'll need to max your Q instead for that hard CC.
Aatrox is not too difficult of a champion to play, two of his abilities are skill shots but with practice they are no problem to land. As of release to the public, he may be the easiest Jungle champion to play considering his incredible sustain. Here are a few tips for game-play below, if you haven't already figured them out that is.
- Try not to always initiate a gank with both, your Dark Flight AND your Blades of Torment. Utilizing one at the beginning of the gank for the initiation and saving the other for when they attempt to escape should help you secure your kill for your teammates.
- When Clearing the Jungle and Almost always everywhere else, attempt to keep your Blood Well full, even if its on cooldown for the revival part, the extra attack speed will help you clear or win fights.
- You can use your Dark Flight as an escape mechanism as well! Use it wisely, if things turn sour, dont hesitate to dig out, unless you need to take the fall for someone on your team who is worth gold.
- His Ultimate Does Damage! I know you know...but! Try to pop it when next to an enemy if not multiple enemies. Sure its a hell of a steroid for that range and attack speed, but a little extra damage doesnt hurt right?
- Blood Thirst/Blood Price - you can toggle between these even if you have your third strike ready! If your going into a gank and notice that your 3rd strike is up for Blood Thirst and you have plenty of Health, switch over to Blood Price instead before you initiate, you can always switch back in the middle of the fight if your low
- As a Jungler I try to ensure my lanes are fed, as in i take the assist and allow my team mates to grab the kill, however; Aatrox is an incredible Snow-Baller. If you end up grabbing the kills rather than feeding your teammates fear not, Aatrox can destroy a team if hes fed, unlike some who do not snowball as well.
- As of Release...a Fed Aatrox can solo Baron, that is if the game allows it. I've tried it a couple of times, its quite ridiculous TBH, but at the 28 Minute Mark and the 40 Minute Mark I solo'd Baron with plenty of health left. I had Wiggles/Hydra/Zypher/BilgeWater/Ninja Tabi/Giants Belt the first time I did it @ 28 Mark, in case your curious.