Aatrox Build Guide by
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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.
A guide to greatness.
This is a basic, quick guide to a champion that was just released, Aatrox.
As is such, I do not expect this guide to retain relevance, due to the fact that Riot almost never releases champions perfectly balanced, and I expect a nerf to Aatrox to come within the next couple of weeks, whether he deserves it or not, and whether you think he warrants it or not.
The point of this guide is to maintain your excellence of Aatrox both at this current stage, and beyond. I expect that the nerf will cripple his sustain quite a bit, so this guide will retain relevance, as I hold sustain very high on my priorities in order to play an effective top champion. After all, if you can't stay in lane, it's awful hard to play top, isn't it?
Pros and Cons
- Damage/Sustain Ratio: Aatrox delivers an obscene amount of damage out for the amount of sustain he gets in return. You can abuse this to essentially remain in top lane as long as you want, and also, it allows you to duel just about any champion and come out on top due to sheer sustain.
- Solid Ambusher: If your foe isn't expecting your attack, Aatrox is a powerful ambushing champion, able to leap out and slam into champions and do enough damage that they will either have to retreat, or die.
- Fantastic Sustain: With W, his sustain is simply through the roof. He can maintain presence in top lane due to no mana bar, and still keep up on health due to his health regen.
- Predictable/Preventable Escape: Unfortunately, not everything is perfect in Aatroxland. His Q can be interrupted by various moves, including Rammus' Q, so escape is not always guaranteed. In addition, his E doesn't provide enough slow to allow for an effective escape either, which means that despite seeming like he has a lot of escape options, Aatrox has, well, surprisingly little options when escape is concerned.
- Shut down by CC: This is a pretty much universal con to pretty much any champion, but it especially applies to Aatrox, as so much of his damage relies on when he first swoops in and starts striking. Without the initial burst of damage, his sustain is crippled, and he ends up faltering in the face of superior firepower.
Now, quite honestly, I prefer Teleport and Flash for my spells. Ignite is nice, but generally not needed, as Aatrox is rather proficient at pursuit, and doesn't need those two things in order to pick up a kill. Teleport allows him to shift to other lanes if needed, or to return to his own in a hurry, allowing his team flexibility in deployment.
If you suspect you will have serious problems in laning phase in picking up the kill on your opponent, or he has a solid source of sustain, then Ignite might be a solid option instead of Teleport. I honestly cannot see any other spell setup working as well as this.
I go with 3 Movement Speed Quintessences due to the fact that I am a firm believer in mobility. The more mobile your champion is, the more places they can be in, which translates into more places they can set up a kill from. Aatrox has low enough cooldowns that added attack damage bonus isn't needed to pick up the kill, and the added movement speed can help you reach teamfights or other such things that much faster.
9 Mark of Attack Damage and 9 Glyph of Attack Speed, because, well, this should be very well obvious. Attack damage and speed to add a bit of extra oomph in the early game, and to allow you to outgun other champions in earlier game.
9 Seals of Armor, because most champions you will go up against on top are generally physical damage champions, and rely heavily on causing physical damage in order to stop you. As a result, extra armor means you have a bit more time to deliver that extra third hit to regen that extra bit of health that might allow you to win that duel.
I don't see any other rune builds working very well, admittedly.
This is already well-explained in the relevant section above, but I shall elaborate.
Your main goal as top is, in the end, to prevent the enemy from taking your tower, and to take their tower in return. There are two ways of doing this:
A: Hold the line until your teammates can take down the enemy tower.
B: Dominate the lane early, and take the tower before you start tapering off late game.
Some champions favor one playstyle over the other, and Aatrox is, thankfully, a champion that can essentially do both. With his sustain, he can hold the line, and with his dueling skills, he can also bully and dominate the lane against weaker and less mobile champions.
Being able to move from one style to another depending upon how your team is doing and what the jungler is doing is important to ensuring victory on top. Therefore, mobility is paramount. You want to get Mercury Treads in order to negate a solid amount of CC and to improve movement speed. You want to get Phage to absolutely ensure that no enemy will escape, in addition to adding a bit of extra beefiness to your build, which is needed early on.
From there, you want to continue on to Trinity Force, due to your W providing enough inherent health regen until you can afford something better. Trinity Force is important, because your W can trigger it pretty much at will, in addition to your other abilities accentuating your need for it as well. It provides a little of everything that Aatrox needs, except for mana, but quite honestly, that's forgivable considering how dang useful this thing is on him. Also, it improves movement speed, which is exceedingly important.
Bloodthirster is an obvious next step, because it allows him to beef up his sustain and improve his damage at the same time. The boost from Trinity Force should allow him to get him up close and doing damage, but by the time you get a Vampiric Scepter, you should be noticing some lag from your W. So, therefore, get something to compensate.
From there? Realistically, just build whatever suits your fancy. If you're getting hit hard, you need a bit more defense, no big deal. Go that route. If you aren't getting hit at all, build items to hit hard enough to attract notice.
Passive - Blood Well:
It's like Trynd's R except you can't do anything during it. It allows you to survive otherwise insurmountable duels by sheer sustain, and allows you a good chunk of time for your jungle to get there and save you from certain death. Fantastic passive, overall. You should be using your abilities quite a bit, so it should be relevant.
Q - Dark Flight:
Excellent chasing and pursuit ability, otherwise mediocre escape ability. The delay before the movement ensures that an enemy has time to see that you are going somewhere, and gives him time to knock-up, stun, or whatever he might want to do before you actually manage to get away. Stunning might not keep you from finishing the flight, but the enemy certainly knows which way you went, and that moment of stunning could be all they need to close in and secure the kill on you.
HOWEVER, as a pursuit method, this is a fantastic tool to hit an enemy, knock them up to interrupt anything they might be trying to do, and set yourself up to rip them to shreds. HOWEVER, the knock-up time doesn't change no matter how many points you put into it, so one point is more than sufficient to make it useful.
W - Blood Thirst / Blood Price:
Oh, where do I even begin....
This ability is fantastic. It switches on will, which means instant Trinity Force activation whenever you want it. It allows you to switch on the fly between damage and sustain, and do so without any delay whatsoever. You want to max this first, because the sustain/damage you can get from it is excellent, and also feeds into your passive.
Get this. Max it. Do it, do it now.
E - Blades of Torment:
Yet another reason why Aatrox is scary. Useful as either a quick nuke to whittle down the enemy, a way to get last hits on a ranged top laner, or a way to slow down an enemy after the initial descent from the Q, Aatrox's E is just about perfectly suited to any task you might put it to. In addition, it adds to your passive. It scales with AP and AD, so, your Trinity Force shouldn't go completely to waste on it. Use this liberally. I'm not even kidding.
R - Massacre:
A rather mediocre AoE nuke that adds an attack speed and range steroid to Aatrox. Quite honestly, not necessary to make Aatrox good, but certainly a nice little addition to an already solid build. The nuke won't really be noticeable at higher levels, but the attack steroid certainly will. One bonus it does have is not being visibly flashy, so opponents will not pay as much attention to you as the big angry Alistair using his ult, or whatever.
Quite honestly, if you're playing Aatrox, you should already know how to top lane. If you don't know how to top lane, you should read other guides on how to top lane. I'd love to go into details, but due to time crunch, I have to cut this guide relatively short. I may add more to it at a later point, not to mention making it prettier, but as it stands, this is all you get.