Aatrox Build Guide by astrolia
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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.
See 2nd build for item list
Example Build: Glass cannon (Replace boots w/Zeph)
Example Build: Support Jungler
Example Build: Less Glass
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.
> ACTUALLY PLAYING AATROX
> WAIT, SO HOW DO I DUNK PEOPLE IN LANE?
> PRE-GAME SETUP (SUMMONERS, RUNES, MASTERIES)
> WHY AM I MAXING W FIRST? (SKILL ORDER)
> I STILL NEED HELP PUTTING TOGETHER A BUILD (ITEMS)
> QUESTIONS THAT NO ONE HAS ASKED ME (FAQ)
RAINBOW AATROX? WAT?
Since people on Mobafire are allergic to Reddit and are really behind on game trends, I would reckon that only a few hundred of Mobafire's 416k registered members have ever heard of the "Blue Ezreal" build that's really popular right now. The concept is simple: You build Ezreal using blue items like Iceborn Gauntlet, Last Whisper, etc. Some people cheat and get Blade of the Ruined King or The Bloodthirster at which point it's more like "Purple Ezreal" or "Indigo Ezreal".
"Rainbow Aatrox" has a very similar concept to "Blue Ezreal": Color coded items. To be Rainbow Aatrox, you must build him using a colorful rainbow of items. Unfortunately, you are only allowed 6 item slots in League, so for the purpose of Rainbow Aatrox, blue and indigo are combined together.
The cheat sheet for this guide has a list of items for each color. Pick 1 of each color to create your build. If you don't want to create your own build, check out my forum signature which randomly generates a build with an item of each color. Assuming you don't get like 5 defensive items or 5 pairs of boots, the build will more than likely work. If you really want to put some thought into it, check out the items and building section of this guide.
When building Rainbow Aatrox in lane, try to build in a sensible order so you can still do well in lane and actually get gold for your 6 rainbow items. (Also, probably build something damage-y first since all he has is damage. Defense is more for mid game once people start team fighting.) Remember the goal is to end up with 6 rainbow items, not that your items have to be rainbow at all time. Doran's Blades and other component pieces are all fair game. Have fun!
ACTUALLY PLAYING AATROX
Oh, what's that? You actually wanted to know how to play this guy? Uhh...
Aatrox relies on sustained damage and sustained healing with Blood Thirst. As a champion, he has synergy with dunk teams... and... that's about it. His Q, Dark Flight, makes him jump into the air with his Air Jordans then slam dunks you with his sword. Everything else is like, "Rawwwr autoattacks!!"
I suggest laning as Aatrox. I mean, you could jungle with him if you want/need to, but the AoE on his slow will make you want to kill yourself when you try to gank. It's seriously a /\ shape and it's annoying to try and land that thing on targets that are not directly in your face. Also he doesn't have 500 forms of crowd control that would make him useful late game even if he gets owned in the jungle early game.
Aatrox's laning is not exactly super fabulous either but it's far more passable than his jungling. He has no like big super high damage burst skill and no super useful defensive skill, so you will get your face beaten in by champions who have some kind of damage early. Take Riven in example. If she's smart enough to charge her passive before walking into lane (note: most of them aren't), she can reverse-dunk you at level 1. Jax can also beat your face in since he makes autoattackers cry in general.
With this in mind, the best lane for Aatrox just might be mid lane (I say this with uncertainty because it's kind of you know been like less than a week since he was released). Many AP mid champs lack a reliable escape pre-6. With your Dark Flight, you can easily dunk on a squishy mid. In team fights, you get your dunk on. If you die, your passive pops. And if you have a Guardian Angel, then it pops too. And then, and only then, do you actually die.
WAIT, SO HOW DO I DUNK PEOPLE IN LANE?
- STEP ONE // Look for an opening.
- EXAMPLE :: Enemy laner just used a skill shot and missed and there are no threats that could screw you over until that skill comes back up.
- EXAMPLE :: Enemy laner is about to last hit a minion and they won't be able to dodge Dark Flight.
- STEP TWO // Turn on Blood Price and hit something twice to get the bonus damage ready.
- STEP THREE // Dark Flight and knock them up and start autoattacking.
- STEP FOUR // They're running away to disengage you? Npnpnp, Blades of Torment and continue autoattacking.
- STEP FIVE // You just used all of your cooldowns. Unless you can like Ignite them for the kill or something, over-committing to this might get you killed. Back out, switch off Blood Price, and go heal off of minions before you dunk them again. EZPZ.
- NOTE // If you have your ultimate, you can be hammy and chase them to their tower. But until you get additional life steal on items, having both Massacre and Blood Price on might massacre your own HP.
- NOTE 2 // If you're below 50% hp, Blood Thirst heals for 3x. Seriously just hit a minion if you drop below 50%.
PRE-GAME SETUP (SUMMONERS, RUNES, MASTERIES)
- SUMMONER SPELLS // Flash should be like common sense. Ignite is obviously for killing people, but you can take like Exhaust for making enemies tired, Teleport for map control / teleport ganking or Barrier for surviving burst.
- RUNES // As long as you have Greater Seal of Armor and Greater Glyph of Magic Resist, the others barely matter. Even if you go mid lane, you should use Greater Seal of Armor because - get this - mid AP champs usually have longer range than you and they can autoattack harass you! (Note: Might not apply at Bronze. Or copper. Or wood. Or plastic.) For marks, Greater Mark of Attack Damage, Greater Mark of Armor Penetration, Greater Mark of Attack Speed, whatever you want. Quints can also be whatever - AD/ASPD/ArPen like the marks, or even life steal, movespeed, flat HP, HP regen.
- MASTERIES // 21/9/0 or 9/21/0 work but I recommend 14/16/0 so I don't look like everyone else. 14 points helps you get extra damage masteries (real talk: flat AD is useful for last hits if you decide to go full baller mode and use 25% ASPD runes). Defense tree helps you not get owned by champs like Riven.
WHY AM I MAXING W FIRST? (SKILL ORDER)
Since the majority of your damage is from your autoattacks, maxing Blood Thirst first is a pretty legit thing to do. Maxing Blades of Torment first is fine if you're getting zoned and need to farm creeps from range. But even if you max Blades of Torment first, you're only going to use that skill like once before it goes onto an 8-12 second cooldown and during its cooldown you're going to be autoattacking to trade damage. There is like 0 reason to max Dark Flight first though which is quite unfortunate since it is your dunking skill. (Remember to level your ult btw.)
At levels 1-3, you can take whatever in whatever order. I would recommend taking Dark Flight at level 1 or 2 though since you can use it to escape ganks. Here are possible situations where you would want to take a different skill at level 1:
- DARK FLIGHT @ LEVEL 1 // Your team is invading. Dark Flight's knockup would be more useful in a level 1 team fight.
- BLOOD THIRST @ LEVEL 1 // You are top lane facing Irelia. She has to be melee range to last hit and she can't really last hit from range until she hits level 6. You could take Blood Thirst at level 1, turn on Blood Price, whack minions twice, then go whack her to proc Blood Price's 3rd hit bonus damage.
- BLADES OF TORMENT @ LEVEL 1 // ...okay I actually have no idea when you would take Blades of Torment at level 1. Maybe versus someone ranged who can poke you so you can get last hits from range. But then if you use it on the wave, you clear the wave faster and you push it to their tower and you get into an unfavorable position.
I STILL NEED HELP PUTTING TOGETHER A BUILD (ITEMS)
Going over literally every item would make me want to cry, so let's try to go over an example scenario and items we might want to build in that scenario.
Start with the Basics: Aatrox's Skill Kit
First, look at Aatrox's kit. He doesn't appear to be much of a high burst damage champion. His skills give him a gap closer to jump in on someone and a slow to help keep someone in place while he autoattacks them. Essentially, Q and E are for utility.
His damage comes from Blood Price which will only proc once every three attacks. He wants to do sustained, drawn out damage, and we'll need to have lifesteal to continuously do that since his skills cost health. Without his ultimate, he fights completely at melee range. Though he can rely on his passive to bring him back in a fight after taking focus damage, he still needs a way to survive versus longer range champions (especially when his passive is down).
Tl;dr = you can assume Aatrox will do well with a combination of lifesteal and attack damage (and thus also armor penetration) with a splash of tankiness so he doesn't die instantly.
Example: You're playing Aatrox versus a team with 3 AP champs
Now that you have a vague idea of what kind of stats you need, you need to think about how you're going to accomplish a mixture of lifesteal, AD, and tankiness. This will vary game to game as enemy team comps probably won't be the same every game.
Say you're at loading screen and you're versus a team with jungle Fiddlesticks, mid lane Ahri and top lane Rumble. Before the game begins, you'll know the enemy team has a strong combination of ability power and crowd control. You can begin mentally crafting a build. You decide ASAP that you really want a Mercurial Scimitar for your green item to be able to cleanse statuses while still gaining magic resist and AD, then Mercury's Treads for your blue item so you have some kind of status reduction while Mercurial Scimitar's active is down. Now that you know of 2 items you definitely want, you can try to build around them.
Process of elimination by color
The 2 colors we've already selected, Mercurial Scimitar and Mercury's Treads, gives us some magic resist, tenacity, a cleanse, and even AD. Let's look at ArPen next.
Last Whisper is a very strong ArPen item. Unfortunately, it's also blue. You wouldn't be able to buy Last Whisper and maintain a fabulous rainbow build. The other armor pen items on the spectrum are The Black Cleaver and Youmuu's Ghostblade. Say you've settled on The Black Cleaver. This leaves our purple spot open for a number of useful items such as Blade of the Ruined King for more lifesteal, Youmuu's Ghostblade for more flat arpen, or Maw of Malmortius for more magic resist.
Environmental factors in your build
There are other things to think about besides "the enemy team does magic damage." Here's an example: Say you're going to pick a lifesteal item. Of the remaining colored items, there's Ravenous Hydra, Guinsoo's Rageblade, Wriggle's Lantern and Executioner's Calling. There's also Blade of the Ruined King in the flexible purple slot. Of the bunch, Ravenous Hydra and Blade of the Ruined King are both good choices for their effects.
Ravenous Hydra looks like an appealing choice here since in this example, you're mid lane versus the enemy Ahri who can max Orb of Deception first to easily clear waves and roam once she gets her ult. By going for a Tiamat early on, you can keep up with her wave clear and save Blades of Torment for when you want to fight her. This leaves our yellow item to be whatever.
A problem (and a solution)
This build has no armor. Magic resist is important when 3/5 members of the enemy team are going to do a lot of magic damage, but the enemy AD carry is still someone who can blow you up. By going Wriggle's Lantern or Executioner's Calling for your yellow slot, you could potentially use your orange slot on an armor item like Sunfire Cape for armor (for double armor, Wriggle's Lantern gives armor too). There's also Randuin's Omen in the purple slot for armor.
Say you've decided on the 6 items you want: The Black Cleaver, Ravenous Hydra, Wriggle's Lantern, Mercurial Scimitar, Mercury's Treads and Maw of Malmortius. Now you need to figure out what order to build them in.
As mentioned in the part above, if you're mid lane versus Ahri, having a Tiamat/ Ravenous Hydra will make you able to clear waves faster and you can also stack Ravenous Hydra's active with Massacre. You can build Tiamat first then work on completing Ravenous Hydra or starting on a magic resist item like a Hexdrinker, Mercury's Treads, or Quicksilver Sash.
But then what happens if you're getting camped by Fiddlesticks and you need a magic resist item in lane? You don't have to "sacrifice" damage. You can buy a component item like Null-Magic Mantle. Also, Hexdrinker gives both magic resist and AD and will later turn into your purple item, Maw of Malmortius.
Overall, having an idea of what you'd like to build will help, as will knowing what the items do. (You can mouse over items in the cheat sheet and it will tell you what exactly they do and how much they cost. There's no reason for me or any guide maker to have to make a guide re-iterating that information.) Another thing to keep in mind is component items. Some items are "easier" to build than others. Hexdrinker is made up of very cheap parts that you can easily afford early game before you're raking in the dough.
QUESTIONS THAT NO ONE HAS ASKED ME (FAQ)
Q: Do you really think AP items like Zhonya's Hourglass and Twin Shadows are "good" on him?
A: Not particularly. I just ran out of purple and blue items so I added AP items with defensive stats.
Q: Why did you include some items with mana or mana regen?
A: Because the other effects/stats were useful enough to overlook the wasted mana stat.
A: They are way more brown than they are green.
Q: ...then why did you include Warmog's Armor?
A: Because it has a distinct green glowing background. (Similar to Thornmail having a red glow and Randuin's Omen having a purple glow.)
Q: If Ninja Tabi is disqualified since they're more brown, then shouldn't Guardian Angel and Hextech Gunblade also be disqualified for being teal?
A: ...uhhhhh well I'm Asian and in Asia blue and green are similar.
Q: Then doesn't that mean that blue items could be gre-
A: SHUT UP.
Q: Can Boots of Mobility, Guinsoo's Rageblade and Sunfire Cape count as yellow?
Q: Is this guide a troll or does this actually work?
A: Yes to both questions.