Aatrox Build Guide by Death_possum
Not Updated For Current Season
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Top lane Aatrox
Core build - Blade of the Ruined King
Core build - Tiamat
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.
Welcome to my Aatrox guide.
This guide focuses on how to build Aatrox and how to use Aatrox and his kit effectively.
Aatrox is easy to pick up, but it is far from easy to master him. He is super fun to play and can do well in many situations. He has few hard counters and can shut down many others in lane.
Aatrox has high damage potential, and if played correctly, can wreck havoc on the enemy team. He has very high sustain and can push very effectively.
I implore you to read the whole guide, and thank you for reading in advance.
Here are my current ranked stats with Aatrox:
Pros / Cons
+ Great sustain
+ Dark Flight is a great escape and fighting tool
+ Awesome dueling potential
+ Revive passive
+ Great wave clear and pushing power
+ Powerful ultimate Massacre
+ Great gank potential
- Blades of Torment & Dark Flight have high CD early
- Needs to keep his Blood Well up
- Dark Flight can be stopped by hard CC
- Healing reduction like Ignite screws him over
- Requires gold to be effective
- Very squishy
- Warden's Mail wrecks him
Aatrox's bread and butter masteries, most of these are pretty self explanatory, Aatrox depends heavily on auto attacks so anything that increases his AD ( Brute Force ), armour penetration ( Sunder and Weapon Expertise ) and overall damage ( Havoc and Executioner ) helps. I will however, talk about a few certain masteries:
vs. - Why get 2 points in Sorcery over 2 points in Butcher ?
Those 4 bonus damage to minions and monsters from Butcher is pretty small, you're not going to notice a difference when last hitting, and although Sorcery 's 2% cooldown reduction doesn't seem much better when it only reduces level 1 Blades of Torment cooldown by .24 of a second.
However, the cooldown reduction could mean life or death in a duel, you might have been able to kill your opponent if your Massacre was available, but it was 2 seconds away being off of cooldown, whereas Butcher does not help you at all in duels, or even in mid-late game as you'll have enough damage not to notice the 4 damage by then.
You can run Butcher if desired, but personally I think Sorcery is superior.
- Why take Summoner's Wrath over a point in something else?
Although the 5 AD from Summoner's Wrath when Ignite is on cooldown may seem small and insignificant, it is in fact much strong than anything else you could put 1 point in; 1% extra cooldown reduction from Sorcery ? 2 extra damage to minions and monsters from Butcher ? Or 5% extra damage to turrets from Destruction ?
The 5 AD will be better in most situations, also Summoner's Wrath is even better if you're running Ghost
& wiki - Why not Lethality and Frenzy ?
When playing Aatrox you should hardly ever, if at any point, be building crit, and although Frenzy works very well with Aatrox it would require building crit, which is simply not worth the gold.
This 17/13/0 page, is good for extensive trading, the extra 4 points in the defense tree help Aatrox take less damage when trading, and hence come out ahead in trades. I would only recommend using these masteries when playing someone who requires farm and harasses in melee, Irelia for example.
A normal junglers page, not much to add to my previous comments, just you could take Hardiness over Tough Skin and Bladed Armor .
vs. - Why are we taking Butcher now over Sorcery ?
In the jungle, where every tiny bit improves jungle speed it's good to take Butcher and Bladed Armor . You could however, if you preferred, take 3 points in Sorcery over the 2 in Butcher .
Normal top lane and jungle runes
Top lane runes if versing a magic damage dealer
- AD is the best and most powerful option for Aatrox, it makes for easier last hitting and better trading.
- Attack speed is a decent option as it synergies well with Aatrox's Blood Thirst / Blood Price, however Aatrox gets the Attack speed he needs from both his ultimate Massacre and his passive Blood Well.
Greater Mark of Armor Penetration - Armor penetration is a viable option, but since Aatrox is auto attack based and does not rely on spells, it isn't all that effective.
- Armor is really the only choice for Aatrox, it's best in the top lane for all matchups, and good in the jungle for tanking towers when ganking and reducing damage from both lane and jungle minions.
- Magic resistance is needed in most situations. You want to take scaling magic resist when you are not versing a magic damage dealer early game.
- You want to take flat magic resist when you are likely to be versing a magic damage dealer early in lane, Rumble for example.
- Lifesteal provides great sustain with Blood Thirst in lane, and means that in the jungle you can start Doran's Blade.
- Attack damage works well, provides extra damage and trading potential.
Greater quintessence of Armor penetration - Armor penetration is another viable option, not as good as the other two but can be useful in certain situations, when you have a full AD team for example.
- Ignite is nearly always a must take, gives you an extra boost of damage to finish of targets, and if they are healing champions, such as Volibear it will help you deal with them a lot easier.
- Always take Smite when jungling
- Flash is also standard for Aatrox. Great escape, chase and skill-dodging spell.
- The only reason to take Ghost in my opinion is if it is your personal preference.
- I would not advise taking Exhaust in a normal situation, however it can be very effective for dueling or if you are intending on playing a more supportey-styled Aatrox.
The normal summoner spell combo for top lane is .
For jungle it is . However, I occasionally take if i'm looking to gank a lot.
- Perhaps Aatrox's most important ability. It passively grants attack speed as you fill up the bar, using Dark Flight, Blades of Torment or Blood Price fills up the bar however much it cost to cast. Always try to have Blood Well filled up as much as possible. You health when you revive is equal to the health in your Blood Well, don't be afraid to use your abilities on nothing.
Keep in mind, when you resurrect you lose all of the blood in the Blood Well, hence you lose the attack speed bonus. Also Spirit Visage effects the amount of health you resurrect with.
- AOE-damage jump ability, has a short cast time in which it can be canceled if Aatrox gets hard-cc'd. The middle of the AOE knocks up all enemies. It is very important to land this when fighting and especially ganking, I would advise against using it to farm while in lane, in case of being ganked. Very useful for escaping and chasing opponents.
If you are intending on invading, or think that your opponents will invade, get this at level 1.
- A strong toggle ability, great harass against melee champions in lane (hit 2 minions, swap to Blood Price and hit your opponent) and gives you massive sustain. When fighting, to use Blood Thirst / Blood Price to it's full potential, you need to use Blood Price until you fall below 50% HP, then swap to Blood Thirst as the healing is doubled while you're below 50% HP.
Both Blood Thirst and Blood Price's Heal/Damage procs have different animations to normal auto attacks, Blood Thirst pokes and Blood Price uses an over head smash.
- A slow skillshot that narrows as it travels, difficult to hit at range, but it's poke and wave clear is magnificent for laning.
- A great ultimate all round for Aatrox, increases his attack speed dramatically, increases his attack range and provides an AOE nuke when activated. Has a decently low cooldown, so use it for pushing towers and any duel you get into.
Maxing Blood Thirst / Blood Price first ensures you have great sustain and great harass in lane, also when using Blood Price Aatrox has intense pushing power.
If you are being zoned and are unable to get into melee range of the minions I would advise maxing Blades of Torment first instead.
Also if you are playing an opponent you can wreck by going all in on , I would advise maxing Dark Flight second instead of third.
When jungling, you don't need more sustain than level 1 Blood Thirst gives you, and you want to prioritize ganks. With that in mind, maxing Blades of Torment is your best bet, it being a long range slow that increases the duration per level.
Some would say to max Blood Thirst / Blood Price first over Blades of Torment for clear speed, but Aatrox has decent clear speed already, and when jungling you want to prioritize ganks over clear speed after your first clear, hence why you start Blood Thirst / Blood Price and then max Blades of Torment.
|Doran's Blade is Aatrox's bread and butter start for both laning and jungling, I would take this is nearly all situations, if you're having a particularly rough time in lane, you can pick up another. It is overall better for Aatrox in the jungle because of his sustain. You do not need the extra clear time from Hunter's Machete.|
|The Cloth Armor 5 Health Potions start is common among top laners, however Aatrox is normally better off starting a Doran's Blade. Starting Cloth Armor is only needed against heavy physical damage dealers, Riven for example. You generally wont need to start with it though, but don't be afraid buying Cloth Armor if you're having a hard time in lane.|
|I wouldn't recommend stating Rejuvenation Bead unless you prefer the Tiamat build instead of Blade of the Ruined King.||Sight ward|
|Starting Elixir of Fortitude is good in strong or difficult lanes, especially a mirror lane. Do not, however pop the Elixir of Fortitude until you are fighting or dueling, as it would be wasted.|
Early game items
|Next you want to get your Bilgewater Cutlass as soon as possible, if you are forced to back early, try to get a Vampiric Scepter, Boots of Speed and some Sight wards. Obviously, you want to be building this into Blade of the Ruined King, but by itself it is a great item for laning and jungling, the sustain and the slow for chasing/ganking.||
|If you prefer the Tiamat/ Ravenous Hydra build, you should be looking to pick up your early Tiamat and Vampiric Scepter, the latter is generally better to pick up first, for the extra sustain and early damage.||
|If you are having trouble with a magic damage dealer early on, it might be a good idea to pick up a Hexdrinker, a Vampiric Scepter is also important and if you cannot afford the Hexdrinker or are forced out of lane early, just pick up a Null-Magic Mantle and build it into a Hexdrinker or Mercury's Treads later.||
|If the enemy team is AD heavy or if you are having trouble against a physical damage dealer, Ninja Tabi are always a good bet. If you already picked up Cloth Armor I would advise picking up Ninja Tabi's. If you are having trouble with CC late game you can always pick up a Zephyr.|
|If the opposing team is crowd control heavy, or have a lot of magic damage dealers, I would advise picking up Mercury's Treads. Again, if you were having trouble early with a magic damage dealer and have already picked up a Null-Magic Mantle but don't think it's worth building into a Hexdrinker, Mercury's Treads are for you.|
|If you are jungling, it is generally better to pick up these than Mercury's Treads or Ninja Tabi, although they have their place in a junglers bag. Boots of Mobility are amazing for getting around quickly and for moving from one gank to the next, nearly always buy these when jungling.|
|Blade of the Ruined King is absolutely amazing for Aatrox and I highly recommend using the Blade of the Ruined King build. Everything about this item benefits and works well with Aatrox. The active on Blade of the Ruined King is also awesome for chasing targets or dueling.|
|I keep mentioning the " Ravenous Hydra" or " Tiamat" build, but I have yet to properly talk about it. The Ravenous Hydra/ Tiamat build is an alternative to Blade of the Ruined King, it works well for someone who prefers to, or is required to play a more passive and/or less assassin orientated Aatrox. It works very well with split pushing, and works very well with a tankier-styled Aatrox.|
|Spirit of the Ancient Golem is a must buy for jungle Aatrox, it's stats are awesome for him; it gives cooldown reduction, health, tenacity and increased his damage to monsters. Always buy this when playing jungle Aatrox.|
|Last Whisper works very well with Aatrox because of his dependence on auto attacks, it majorly increases his damage and helps him shred through tankier champions. Last Whisper is a must-buy.|
|Building some tankiness on Aatrox is always a great idea, it increases his survivability and hence lets him output more damage over time, it can help him survive fights and aid him in being a nuisance to the enemy carries. Randuin's Omen helps in teamfights, when Aatrox jumps into the thick of it, he can slow the entirety of the enemy team and reduce the output of the enemy marksman (ADC if you will). It is also a great item for chasing.|
|Spirit Visage is more a luxury buy than anything else, it is a great item for Aatrox, increasing his survivability, tankiness and reducing his cooldowns. I would certainly buy it if the enemy team is magic damage heavy or if you are having a problem with a magic damage dealer mid or late game. Keep in mind; the passive from Spirit Visage increases how much HP you revive with when Blood Well is used.|
|As with Spirit Visage, Guardian Angel is a luxury buy, I would not advise buying Guardian Angel unless you are ahead in the game, if you are behind the passive could be wasted. However if the team is even in their magic and physical damage dealing Guardian Angel can be a very helpful item for Aatrox, but I would not buy this item unless I was ahead and had the gold income to acquire it quickly.|
|Maw of Malmortius is a great and easy way to counter-build magic damage dealers, Hexdrinker can be upgraded later in the game to the Maw of Malmortius but I would recommend instead selling the Hexdrinker and buying a Mercurial Scimitar, as it deals well with CC.|
|Quicksilver Sash and Mercurial Scimitar are great late game items to deal with magic damage dealers and heavy CC. Out of the two Quicksilver Sash is the more important one, but later on it can be upgraded to a Mercurial Scimitar to increase damage, usually you should do this as a last item buy, but if required or desired can be done earlier.|
|Zephyr has great stats for Aatrox, especially if you have built Ninja Tabi and are having trouble with CC. However, Blade of the Ruined King/ Ravenous Hydra and Last Whisper should be higher priority damage dealing items.|
|If you are having trouble with slippery champions or think you want some more survivability but still want damage, Frozen Mallet is a great choice.|
|I like to buy Locket of the Iron Solari if my jungler or support is not buying it, I find it a great item after getting my Randuin's Omen or helping my team deal with magic damage dealers, giving your team a 230 damage shield helps a lot in teamfights and it's aura is a must have for the team.|
|Infinity Edge isn't the best item you could buy for Aatrox, but it is decent if you are either; building critical strike, or looking for some extra damage.|
|Again, there are better items you could buy for Aatrox but The Bloodthirster is an ok pick, giving you heavily increased AD and lifesteal can be a great bonus.|
One of the most important things to remember to do while laning with Aatrox, is to keep your Blood Well as high as possible, don't be afraid to use your spells on nothing. If you are starting with Dark Flight or Blades of Torment use them while in base and on the way to lane. If you're leashing for your jungler, and are starting with Blood Thirst / Blood Price, use Blood Price to help wither down the monsters, as to stack your Blood Well.
With Aatrox you should be pushing your lane and harassing your opponent; I find, that the best way to harass at level one is to auto attack a minion twice, activate Blood Price and hit the enemy champion. At level one it does massive damage and it stacks your Blood Well.
Once you reach under 50% HP you should heal with Blood Thirst off of the minions until at least 75% HP, if you can. If you are pushing as you should be, you should reach level two before your opponent, meaning you can level your Dark Flight and use it to jump on and knock up your opponent, with Blood Price activated you may be able to kill them if your Blood Well is stacked, for the attack speed bonus. Be careful however, just after you reach level two, the opposing team jungler should be about finishing their second buff, so be careful of ganks and don't waste your Dark Flight.
It is a good idea when pushing as Aatrox to buy Sight Wards as while pushed you are prone to ganks from the enemy jungler. I always try to buy my Vampiric Scepter as early as possible as it helps me to sustain, push and win trades.
When the game begins you're going to want to pick up your Doran's Blade and if you're on blue side, walk to your red buff (purple goes to blue buff). Ask your teammates to guard both your buffs to make sure the enemy team is unable to invade and steal your buffs without your knowledge.
Both red and blue buff spawns at 1:55, when it does get your team to put some damage down on your respective buff and attack it while using Blood Price, doing this ensures you get your Blood Well stacked, only switch to Blood Thirst if you drop below 50% HP.
Once you have finished off your buff, walk directly to the other buff (Blue buff for blue side and red buff for red side). Once there, start attacking it and use your Q, if your Blood Well is fully stacked by this point make sure you're using Blood Thirst not Blood Price. Once the buff reaches 490 HP, use your Smite on it to finish it off (it is a good idea not to use your smite early in case of the enemy jungler smite stealing it). Once finished, gank top (or mid if you think it's more likely to get a kill).
The most important job of a jungler is to gank. Ganking is the best way to ensure your lanes do well and don't fall behind. There are many things to consider when going for a gank; should you or your laner initiate the gank? Where should you gank from? Is the enemy jungler nearby? If there are multiple targets, who should be your priority?
Should you or your laner initiate the gank?
This depends on if you think you are walking through wards when walking to the lane in question, it depends on your opponents ability to escape once they know you are ganking them.
If your ally that you are ganking for has good CC to initiate (like Shen and his Shadow Dash) or they believe they can bait the enemy, it opens up the option for them to start the fight before you arrive and the opponent notices you.
You generally want your ally to initiate when you know that you are walking through an enemy-warded area of the map or simply if the enemy knows that you are coming for a gank. It gives the enemy less chance to escape, especially if your ally can get them to use their escapes.
Where should you gank from?
When ganking you have many options from where to gank from; you could gank through the river, you could 'lane gank', or you could go behind the opponents by going through the corresponding tri-bush.
Ganking through the river
The average gank is made by walking through the river into the lane in question, it is the 'normal' way to gank a lane and should be used if the enemy you are ganking is pushed, or is around the middle of the lane.
Lane ganking, if you do not know, is where you, as the jungler walks down the friendly side of the lane and normally through the bushes (when ganking top lane or bottom lane).
It is particularly effective when you allies are pushed and ganking through the river would not be effective. Be careful of wards in the the side bushes, ask your allies if they know of any wards in said bushes before committing to the gank.
A tri-bush gank is where you walk through the tri-bush, normally the one closest to the enemies tower and either gank the enemy from behind, or tower dive said enemy.
You want to be ganking from the tri-bush gank when the enemy is pushed back just in front of their tower or are at their tower. However, be careful when tower diving and make sure your team has enough damage and wont be CC'd or kited to death.
Is the enemy jungler nearby?
And what should you do if they are?
Most junglers these day take the route as described above, so both you and the enemy jungler will probably finish their initial route at the same time and if you are both ganking the same lane, will be ganking that lane around the same time. You need to be very wary of this, if either the enemy laner or jungler is one that has high early game damage such as Riven or Lee Sin, the enemy jungler may be able to successfully counter gank, or even kill your ally before you reach the lane.
At any other point in the game, since you should be paying attention to each lane and hence notice if the enemy jungler ganks another lane, you know it will be safe to gank the lane you are intending on ganking. However, make sure to pay attention to friendly wards and if you see the enemy jungler near the lane you are intending on ganking, be cautious when ganking that lane, they could easily counter gank you and turn the tides.
If there are multiple targets, who should be your priority?
If you are either counter ganking, ganking bottom lane or if there are multiple people in one lane, you need to decide who to focus, who to avoid and who to ignore.
When ganking, you need to take into account the HP and damage potential of each target. If they have a low health, but high damage potential target in lane (such as Riven or Olaf) it may be a good idea to focus them and kill them before they can do much damage. If you are ganking bot lane, and there is an Draven and a Sona, although the Sona is much weaker and you and your allies could kill her easily, it's normally a good idea to focus the marksman first, as they can poke and damage your allies from afar. This subject is very case-by-case and you will have to make most of the decisions yourself.
One thing you'll notice if you watch professional players play Aatrox is that in fights, unless they catch someone out, they will be hanging at the back of the fight like all assassins, until they see their opportunity and the majority of CC is down so they cannot be stopped easily.
You need to keep this in mind when playing Aatrox, do not initiate fights as Aatrox even when building some tankiness, is extremely squishy and can be bursted down with ease. You may think this is not a problem because of Blood Well, but if you do end up using Blood Well your attack speed will be significantly reduced and your HP will be significantly lower.
Regarding Blood Thirst / Blood Price in teamfights, you want to be using Blood Price until you drop below 50% HP and then swap to using Blood Thirst, if you do not think you can micro-manage this well, just use Blood Thirst for the whole fight.
If you can, use Dark Flight to get near the enemies before using Massacre, otherwise you waste the AOE nuke you get from Massacre. Your main targets for the fight should be the enemy damage dealers, usually the marksman, to achieve this you should try hit them, or get as close as you can with Dark Flight and then use the extra range of Massacre to hit them.
Although you have your Blood Well you want to try staying alive as long as possible. If your Blood Well does end up getting popped, you need to back out of the fight as soon as possible and get your Blood Well re-stacked as soon as you can. Once out of the fight you should return to your staying-on-the-outskirts-of-the-fight state until you have your cooldowns back and will be able to stand a chance.
Aatrox is an incredibly strong champion if played right, and terrible if played wrong. Aatrox is super-fun to play and has a huge game presence throughout the game. It may take some time getting used to his abilities and it may take some time to be able to land Dark Flight and Blades of Torment every time, but once you do, it's definitely worth it.
Thanks for reading my guide, if you found it useful or liked the guide, please upvote. If you have any comments, questions, requests or if I have made an error please don't hesitate to comment or ask. If you are going to downvote, please tell me why you are, I appreciate and welcome any constructive criticism.
Thanks again for reading.
PS. I play on OCE if you are interested in looking me up. LolKing still shows my NA account.
9/10/2013: Released the guide
10/10/2013: Fixed the jungling portion of the guide to be correct (was missing Spirit of the Ancient Golem). Updated the introduction section to include current ranked stats.