Aatrox Build Guide by FINWolfie
Not Updated For Current Season
This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.
Example build 1.
Example build 2.
Example build 4.
Not Updated For Current Season
The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.
Pros / Cons
Everything good with Aatrox mid lane
+ High sustain
+ AoE nuke
+ Soft and hard CC
+ Revive passive
+ Passively increasing attack speed
+ Super low ability costs
+ Has escapes
+ Can be built tanky or assassin
+ Has both physical and magical damage
+ Did I mention he has incredible sustain?
Everything bad with Aatrox mid lane
- Has reduced effectiveness without full Blood Well
- CC is hard to land if you're a beginner
- Prone to being bursted down
- Caught easily with a gap closer
- Meleer against ranged or mage bruisers
- Massacre scales with AP instead of AD
- Prone to ganks because he pushes easily
- Does any of these 'weaknesses' actually apply?
Allows you to instantly teleport a short distance towards your cursor.
This is the most useful spell so far in League, it allows you to engage or disengage from sticky situations and reposition yourself to a more desirable spot. It's also instant which means it cannot be interrupted.
Allows you to deal decent over-time true damage to an enemy champion.
This is one of the most common spells aswell, it allows you to secure kills without diving too far, and it also reduces healing effects on that champion, making it harder for them to survive it. The damage from ignite can be cleansed.
Gives you a shield based on your level, for a few seconds.
This is also a very common spell, it allows you to survive from lock-on abilities and ultimates, aswell as turret shots, and is therefore good for survivability.
Gives you a burst of movement speed for a few seconds.
Allows you to catch up with enemy targets and escape from chasing enemies with no major CC or gapclosers.
Allows you to teleport to a friendly target: minion, tower or ward.
You can pick this if you think your opponents are going to push your lane when you go back, or if you wish to roam to another lane by teleporting to a ward. You can also roam and then teleport back to your lane.
All of these are great, but they're just not for you.
Builds and item explanations
High damage items
These are the items you should consider for 3rd-4th item, they give a clear advantage in damage and can help you give an immense impact on the games outcome.
You should build at least 1 of these items for your final build.
One of these should be your first damage item. They help you sustain yourself when combined with your W Blood Thirst.
You should build at least 1 of these items for your final build, and combine it with Spirit Visage if you need more sustain.
Armor penetration items
Since Aatrox is AA based champion and deals physical damage, it's worth considering one of these armor penetration items even if the enemies aren't building that much armor.
Unless the enemies are getting considerably high amounts of armor, you should only buy a maximum of 1 of these items for your final build.
Maw of Malmortius
Magic resistance items
These items are what you should be focusing on when playing Aatrox on middle lane. They allow you to take less damage from the enemy AP bruisers and Hexdrinker/ Maw of Malmortius will even give you a shield when you drop too low on health. Spirit Visage will help you sustain yourself better with one or more of the lifesteal items, Wit's End will help keeping your magic resistance up while farming and Guardian Angel will give you another revive with your passive Blood Well.
You should build 2 or more of these items for your final build.
Attack speed items
Attack speed is pretty self-explanatory, you will have less delay between your auto attacks, and therefore have "more" DPS. However, your passive and your ultimate also give you attack speed and therefore you shouldn't be too focused on getting these.
You should build a maximum of 2 of these items for your final build, consider getting items that belong to another category aswell.
You should upgrade your boots with one of these in mid-game or late-game -phases. They will help you keep up to your enemies when they run away, or help you run away yourself. Homeguard will also help you recover faster after you teleport, and quickly return to your lane.
You can only buy one of these. Don't upgrade your boots too early, or you'll waste your gold that's meant for other items.
Choosing the right runes
Greater Mark of Attack Damage
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
Greater Quintessence of Life Steal
Flat armor seals: These are a MUST, even if you pick them just for reduced damage from lane minions, you can not survive without the early armor that these seals offer. They are also EXTREMELY useful against AP champions that poke with enhanced AAs, such as Lux with her Illumination.
Flat MR glyphs: At mid lane, especially against those pesky AP bruisers that tend to burst you with an instant, you will need PROTECTION(!) and that protection includes magic resist. These are also standard with the armor seals and they shouldn't be changed to anything else.
Lifesteal quints: These are your best choice, even over the flat AD quints, because they synergize well with your Blood Thirst and early Doran's Blade. For those new players who are thinking of buying new quintessences, these are totally worth buying as fast as possible as they work for AD carries aswell.
Choosing the right masteriesOffensive trees 21/0/9 and 21/9/0: Usually offensive masteries are the best choice for a carry role, because they increase your overall damage in all phases of the game. You should take these if you feel like you don't need any essential defenses against ur opponent, or if your convinced you can take the enemy down easily.
Offtank tree 17/13/0: You should obviously pick this if you expect a harder lane, these lanes include opponents that have low-cd or low-cost self-heals or other sustain. This is also a great tree if you expect the jungler to be camping you, or if you're going to roam their jungle a lot.
Other mastery set-ups shouldn't be used as they don't offer anything useful for Aatrox, unless it was stupid of one to pick him.
Maxing order: -> / -> -> .
E: Blades of Torment: You should max (default) E first for faster farming and far greater poke from range. This works greatly as an opening skill for your junglers gank, if you can land it correctly. It's narrow and slow so you will have to watch out for the enemy's movement when you intent to cast it.
Pick a point for Blades of Torment at levels; 1 / 4 / 5 / 8 / 9.
W: Blood Thirst/Blood Price: First up (default) W, Blood Thirst is great with other lifesteal items like an early Vampiric Scepter or one of his core items against tanky teams, the Blade of the Ruined King. Second part of the ability, Blood Price, will allow you to deal immense damage every 3rd AA. In a duel you should use this whenever you're above 50% of your maximum life, and if you're under it, use Blood Thirst. However in a teamfight you should use only Blood Thirst instead because you will most likely be focused, and you want to keep your health up. Pick up points at levels; 2 / 7 / 10 / 12 / 13.
Q: Dark Flight: You should definitely max (default) Q last because it has such a long cooldown, and won't help you more than 1-3 times every teamfight, whereas Blades of Torment can be cast several times for different purposes, and Blood Thirst Blood Price will be constantly active. This is your main initiating ability for all kinds of fights and you should learn to land it as good as possible because only the enemy units on the very center of the radius will be knocked up. Pick up points for Dark Flight at levels; 3 / 14 / 15 / 17 / 18.
R: Massacre: Your ultimate (default) R works as an AoE nuke, and applies INSANE damage to all units around you. It also gives you a massive amout of attack speed which combined with your full build will give you nearly 2.0 attack speed (depending on your full build of course). It also increases your autoattack range which is extremely useful against anyone, especially one of your toughest general counters, Jax. You should pick up a point on Massacre whenever you can, which is at levels; 6 / 11 / 16.
Maxing order:/ -> -> -> .
Second option: You can max your W first and E second if you feel like you're going to face more poke than you normally would. This usually happens against low cd casters spamming abilities all over your face to take you down enough for the jungler to come and kill you. Casters like this would include champions like Ryze, Cassiopeia, Morgana and Syndra and countless more. It is still worth it to max E first against casters that have longer cooldowns like Brand, Diana or Anivia.
This phase is all about farming and getting gold for your items that actually deal damage. Whilst this gold can be obtained by taking down towers, killing enemy champions or just farming, it's much more efficient to take it easy on this phase. You don't have to go for super early kills if you feel like it's risky. Just stick to farming like usual, you will get there. However, it's a good idea to also deny your opponents farm by harassing and zoning him in the game. This will set them back in gold gain, and thus giving you the advantage over them in mid-game phase. Your main objectives in early game are to get your important items started. This means that if your going for The Black Cleaver you might aswell buy The Brutalizer as soon as possible. It's also very important you finish your boots at this point of the game, because they offer you movement speed, and thus escapes form tricky situations, aswell as other benefits depending on the selection of your boots.
This phase usually starts after one or more turrets are destroyed in any lane, and it usually happens at around 20 minutes. By now you most likely have at least one of your core items, or numerous major items that are going to be built into your core items. When this game phase starts, the lane(s) that took down objetives will start roaming towards other lanes, and securing kills on them, helping them to achieve objectives aswell. Aatrox is one of the fastest tower destroyers in the game, with the attack speed from Blood Well and also Massacre if you wish to use it on this, he can down towers in no time, nearly as fast as Rengar. This phase is very important for the game. It's most likely the reason for any surrender or other income of any game, and should be taken seriously and with 120% concentration. You should be ready to react to ANY SITUATION going on between the teams, go help anyone IMMIDIATELY. This phase is no longer about farming, it's about getting more objectives, like dragons and towers. Thus you should focus on grouping and killing objectives and opponents.
NOTE THIS!!! Do NOT start a teamfight if you don't have to, or if there is no goal that relies strictly on the opponents' deaths!
Late game phase is less tricky than mid game, games usually don't go this far because snowballing can efficiently lead your team to victory. Late game starts at around 40 minutes plus or whenever teamfights stop leading to anything. At this point players have most or all of their items, and either deal heavy damage or tank lots of damage. However teamfights wont lead to anything because after these fights either no carry lives, or cant possibly push due to all the (super) minions that are invading the way between bases. Some champions are strictly better for late game than others however, such as Nasus, Jax or in this case, Aatrox.
EASY opponents stand nothing, or absolutely nothing against you. Thus you will dominate them either by pushing them to their tower, eventually taking the tower kill for your team, or killing them and then pushing the lane to the objective even faster. You shouldn't need ganks against this player, but BEWARE: their jungler could make your game a nightmare.
HARD opponents will destroy you on lane, either by clearly outfarming you or by easily poking you out/killing you when you try to resist. These opponents should be taken as a threat for the mid game phase and targeted priority in the teamfights because they will be ahead of you.
TRICKY opponents have either abilities similar to yours, or have a high kill potential but low resistances. Results for these matchups cannot be forecast because they're not based on champion mechanics, but the player's skills and knowledge.
LeBlanc is quite a pest actually, however squishy she is, you will most likely not get to hit her if she plays right. Just farm because you can sustain her long cd bursts eventually. You won't be killing her even with a jungler, and your best chances of getting ahead are in mid game.
This guy will poke you with all of his abilities as long as he has mana, and he will never run out of mana with his kit. Avoid getting caught by Malefic Visions and try to get a kill before he hits level 6. Post-6 you should rely on your junglers gank because Malzahar can only disable one of you.
Swain is a nightmare, just keep an eye on other lanes for possible roaming and try to keep up with farm without getting poked too much. You can try to poke Swain with your Blades of Torment but you're most likely going to get poked yourself for more than you can do.
Annie is one of those who you just shouldn't end up against. If this does happen however, you're going to suffer; Her AA range exceeds your Blades of Torment and her burst is most likely going to kill you, and while you're recovering from Blood Well her CDs are already down.
Cassiopeia proves her might by spamming you with all her spells nonstop. This will force you to max your Blood Thirst first and therefore leaving you with no poke whatsoever. You can consider an early Hexdrinker or even a Maw of Malmortius just to sustain more of her damage.
This is going to be a disaster. There is no way in holy Ionia that you will ever be able to destroy his turrets, and the beams will take your health down everytime you let them hit you. Your only chance of killing this yordle is if he leaves himself with no protection of these turrets.
This spell spammer is one of your worst nightmares. He has the perfect kit, CC Rune Prison, spamming with his low cooldowns, spell vamp with ultimate and attack speed reduction with a very common Ryze item, Frozen Heart. You should try to switch lanes with someone.
There are easy and hard things to this match; You will probably not kill him, he will probably not kill you. However the fact that he is going to outfarm you at some point leaves you behind in gold which means he will do more in occasional teamfights than you might be able to.
Well, all I can say, she might escape post-6 by jumping away in cougar form, but you're probably going to dominate her. Sustain whatever spears you can't dodge, you'll be fine.
Akali is gonna be one of your best friends, the fact that she is meleer will give you a huge advantage over her. If she comes close and you can hit out either 3 AAs with Blood Price for peeling or kill her, you will be winning lane by far. Her pokes are far less than your sustain.
While her zoning is dangerous for many, you shouldn't get too worried about it, she wont deal even nearly as much damage as you without roaming for kills, and you can counter-gank or catch her offguard on the way to the other lane. On laning phase you will be outpoking and outfarming her.
Morgana is much like Kassadin, whatever she deals you can sustain because they have long cooldowns, the ultimate isn't a problem since you can either flash or Q out of the range, and while she has a spell shield, it'll be instantly destroyed if you activate your ult next to her.
She is like pie, you can eat her if you're hungry. Don't be afraid to engage on her whenever you're capable of. She may try to escape with her abilities but you can always catch up to her with Dark Flight.
First of all, you will most likely never get to kill him unless he makes a mistake. He can escape your engages and he will most likely not engage unless his jungler is coming. Just outfarm this guy and avoid getting caught by their jungler.
You can take this bad boy down whenever you wish in early. He is so squishy he shouldn't be more than a siege minion with more gold in its pockets. Just remember to stay away from his Defile + Lay Waste spam after he dies, and don't let him poke you when you're away from minions.
Kassadin is your dream opponent with Aatrox. The fact that you deal physical damage, already counters Kassadin's passive and the other fact that your Blood Thirst negates every single thing he does in a matter of seconds with Vampiric Scepter makes this lane even easier.
Lux is one of those opponents that you can defeat easily but you have to be careful with. Just don't let her burst you when your Blood Well is low, other than that, this is an easy lane that you should be able to dominate this lane just by playing normally.
Talon is much like Lux, but not as efficient because he can't poke like her. You should obviously be careful when facing his full burst, but while it deals quite a bit damage, your passive should protect you nicely. Aggressive playing is best against Talon.
Brand has quite long cooldowns and high mana costs which inevitably leads you to a free kill because he will run oom. It's usually easier to take Brand down alone, rather than having the jungler come over so Brand's ultimate can bounce between you.
Usually easier to let Fiddlesticks do the engage on you, and waste his Drain on you when you still have Dark Flight available to disrupt it. Easy lane, turn on Blood Price and you can outdamage his sustain abilities. Also keep vision because you can disrupt his ultimate.
Despite being similar to Elise, and getting tanky, he does this in late game rather than becoming tanky instantly. Gragas will go down with Blood Price turned on and you don't have to worry too much about his ultimate because Dark Flight allows you to jump right back in.
However good TF might be, he will either build tanky and be useless, or build damage and be way too squishy. Either way you will dominate this lane whenever you choose to.
Are you kidding me? He might deal tons of damage but his ult is useless against you, and you can engage on him whenever you choose because he has literally no escapes.
Much like Kennen, you will most likely never get the chance to kill this guy, Sanguine Pool can negate your burst or a gank from your jungler. You will most likely be outfarming this guy because he is going to sustain out of you, while you sustain out of continuously attacking minions.
Fizz can dodge your Blades of Torment or Dark Flight or even Massacre is he's a good player, this can cause problems. However Fizz shouldn't be able to kill you all at once after you get The Bloodthirster or another major lifesteal item which will heal you all the time.
I consider Ahri purely a skill matchup, because both of them can counter each other with their utility and passive sustain. Also both of them have initiation and poke. This leads into a battle of minds for these 2 to measure their usage of momentum.
This matchup is basically just delaying the inevitable. She will either deal heavy damage, which you can sustain by maxing Blood Thirst first, or you will dodge those and poke back. However, she will run out of mana, and thats when you will easily kill her. Maxing E is still more efficient.
Elise is a rare pick nowadays for a mid laner, but happens every now and then. This is also easy and hard for Aatrox because Elise is both ranged and melee. The only tricky thing is that Elise players tend to build health. Consider building Blade of the Ruined King.
Syndra can poke you often while later on you can only sustain some of it, gradually she will either run out of mana, or you will run out of health. Either way, this lane is a skill matchup and the winner shouldn't be "announced" based on mechanics.
While this might seem easy, Viktor can beat you with decent items. His kit might not be the best against you, and with his long cd's he isn't going to do much, but that Death Ray combined with Liandry's Torment and Rabadon's Deathcap will hurt like a billion lightning strikes.
With Zyra it's really all about momentum, the one to miss more poke and engage earlier wins, both of you have high damage and lots of kill potential. She is very squishy thought because Rod of Ages is an uncommon item for her, and Rylai's Crystal Scepter isn't enough for protection.