Aatrox Build Guide by Gh0stcloud
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Not Updated For Current Season
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Other viable items
Example damage build
Example Teamfight build
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.
Threats to Aatrox with this build
|Lissandra||Pretty easy. bait out her E and you should eb good to go. Poke her down and sustain of creeps and the lane should be free. Consider an early hexdrinker|
|Maokai||Easy lane. He might give you some trouble early but once you get bork you wreck him even if you gave him 1 or 2 early kills. Consider an early hexdrinker|
|Master Yi||Easy lane. You outdamage him early adn if you snowball he has no chance. Make sure his alpha strike is downbefore engaging with Q.|
|Dr. Mundo||Easy lane.Like with Malphite, if you can kill him pre 6 good, if not don't worry. Try to zone him from CS|
Hello there! So you want to learn Aatrox? Good choice! Chances are that if you're here you tried Aatrox and absolutely got rekt in your first game, am I right? Don't worry most people don't get the hang of him in the first couple of games. He is a lot harder, in a sense, than the traditional bruiser because you have to get used to his unique resource management which is his health.
Now Aatrox excels in having small skirmishes in lane and then sustaining back by auto-attacking creeps. He is also an excellent split pusher, which is what this guide will be focusing on. I will also cover team fighting because you won't be able to split push every single game.
When you play Aatrox in the jungle you will have to alter you playstyle a little accordingly. I will mainly focus on the Devourer item since the phantom hit passive provides great synergy with his kit. However if you see yourself falling behind early consider the warrior enchantment. You will give up some late game power to be able to get back into the game now. Warrior gives you a nice power spike. If you do decide to go down the warrior path and you do end up getting to full build you can always sell it for a better item.
PROS / CONS
+ Strong early damage in lane
+ Free GA passive
+ Gret duelist
+ Great wave clear especially with Hydra
+ Hard to come back when behind against most matchups
+ Susceptible to burst
+ Extremely weak when passive is down
+ Easily counter jungled early
For your runes you'll want AD reds, flat armour yellows, flat MR blues and attack speed quints. You'll need a mixture of AD and AS in order to be effective. the more bonus AD you have the more damage and sustain your W (Blood Thirst/Blood Price) will give you which is where most of your damage comes from. You can run flat AD quints as well if you want but for duelling a little bit of AS is recommended so you can proc your W more often. Depending on your matchup you can also replace some armour yellows for flat health yellows for instance if you are laneing against an AP based champion. Furthermore you can replace your MR blues for scaling MR blues if you are a against an AD champion but remember that some magic resist is still useful because some AD champions will do mixed damage (like Sion or Irelia).
When you're in the jungle you can run attack speed reds, armour yellows, scaling mr blues and attack speed quits. If you want you can replace the AS quints with flat AD quints, it's really up to preference although the attack speed will give you slightly faster clear early.
The masteries are pretty straight forward 21/9/0 bruiser masteries. You need to build Aatrox offensive because he is not very useful full tank (everything apart from your ult scales of bonus AD). You can change the masteries to your preference although I have found most success n the ones I have put on this guide. Also make sure to avoid the Frenzy mastery in the offensive tree since crit chance is not really worth it on Aatrox, the reason being that your Blood Price's (W) bonus does not benefit from crit chance.
When you're jungling then adjust your defensive masteries, taking Tough Skin and Bladed Armour. I personally don't think its worth taking the offensive jungle masteries because it means you would have to give up Spell Weaving and Blade Weaving which can increase your damage output against enemy champions by 6%. The jungle masteries will only help you marginally early and once you upgrade machete they will completely fall off.
There is really not much to the skill sequence. In the top lane you should max E first in most scenarios. It give a decent amount of burst early to mid game and is relatively easy to hit since it goes through units. However there are some cases where you will want to max W first. The first is when you don't want to push the wave. Since E goes though units it can hit multiple creeps meaning you're going to end up pushing the lane unless your opponent also uses aoe to poke you. Another reason to max W instead of E first is when you do more auto attack trading than poking or if you need the extra sustain early on.
In the jungle you'll always want to max your W. The clear speed is roughly the same to maxing E but the increased sustain is very helpful and it also increases your dueling potential in the mid game. If you decide to go for the warrior enchantment and want to put a lot of early pressure on the map then it can be worth to max E first to make your ganks a bit stronger.
I exclusively run flash and teleport on Aatrox in the top lane. If you want to be effective at slit pushing teleport is mandatory. It allows you to take objectives on the other side of the map quickly, defend towers and other objectives, gank a lane, countergank a lane and joining a teamfight. Iginite is also a viable option. It gives you a lot of kill pressure early in the game and might be a good choice if you need to snowball early. Or simply if you aren't good at using your teleport effectively. This means not only using it to get back into lane. While it is important that you don't let your opponent free farm and get ahead in experience it might be wiser to walk to lane sometimes. For instance when you just killed the enemy and pushed the wave under his turret. There is no need to tp back to lane because by the time you walk there the wave will probably have either reset or your opponent decided to hard push. If he freezes lane (which he should never do when you're not there) you can go roaming and help out other lanes until you see him push in which case you can use TP to get back and defend your tower.
Of course when you're jungeling you'll want to replace teleport with smite. I would never replace flash with teleport simply because it makes your engage a lot stronger and gives you another escape.
In Lane your playstyle should be dictated according to your opponent. If you face someone who has the advantage over you early on you should let them push the frist wave and the freeze the wave just in front of your tower. If you don't know that much about creep wave management check out these guides from SoloRenektonOnly they give some very good insights:
The Even Minion Rule
The Uneven Minion Rule
This video by **** Huap is also very helpful:
How to Freeze, control an dmake giant minion waves
If you face someone with a lot passthrough skill shots that they use as poke you can counter poke with E without having to worry about pushing the lane as much. Your E is a passthrough skillshot, meaning that it will go through terrain, minions and champions and do damage to everything along the way. Another example would be Olaf's Undertow (his axe toss). An important thing to remember when trying to control minion waves is that you shouldn't kill all the enemy minions if they kill all your minions and are about to attack your tower. The best thing to do would be to walk forward and tank aggro for a few seconds until your next wave comes. If you kill all the enemy minions that will effectively reset the wave and force you forward.
An important thing you should keep track of is how much damage you can output with one combo, so: QR(W)E. When you engage someone you should alway have Blood Price toggled on. With practise you will be able to tell when you can go all in on someone. Your Ult is a very nice steroid for all-ins. You can kite almost all melee champions and the AoE nuke does a surprising amount of burst damage. When you do engage on the enemy laner make sure you either know where the enemy jungelr is or you have a ward out. Your Q is your only escape so if you engage and the enemy jungler is there things can turn sour quite fast.
Aatrox in the Jungle is a bit of weird to play early. On on hand you infinite sustain basically makes it impossible to die to the jungle itself, however because your Blood Thirst is most effective when you are below 50% health you will hover around that amount for most of the early and early mid game, making you very susceptible to counter jungling since you won't be able to duel most junglers simply because they will be healthier than you. As mentioned I will be focusing on the Devourer enchantment because it is the strongest choice on Aatrox. Unlike with how the old Feral Flare worked, you don't start stacking your devourer until you actually buy the item, so you should try and get the gold for it as quickly as possible and then go back IMMEDIATLY. The quicker you get it the quicker you can start stacking it and the faster you will complete it and become the raid boss of prophecy. You do have strong ganks at level 3 so try to put out a little bit of pressure early before you get Devourer.
Once you have your devourer start tacking. Yes you do get stacks for champion kills or ***its but usually you have to invest time into a gank that you could spend stacking more. Of course this doesn't mean never gank! But your decision making needs to be on point if you don't want to waste time. I personally don't bother ganking if the enemy isn't pushed up my ally's lane quite far.
Controlling the Scuttle Crab areas is very important as well since they give you 2 stacks per kill. This also helps out your laners a lot since it gives you control of the river. When you are jungle you should always try and keep track of the enemy jungler. This means buying wards and upgrading your trinket ASAP! As with top lane, you should always buy a pink ward if you back and have a spare 100g unless you have one still out on the rift.
In the late game you will either want to split push or fight with your team (see Team Work section below)
Ravenous Hydra vs. Titanic Hydra
The reason I tend to opt for Titanic Hydra instead of Ravenous Hydra is because, even though it contributes less towards Aatrox's base scalings it does tackle his innate weakness, which is burst. The extra health helps immensely considering how bad his base HP is. The fact that Titanic Hydra allows Aatrox to scale of max HP while still providing a decent amount of damage is also huge for him. Yes the AoE Lifesteal provides very good synergy but it still leaves him very vulnerable to being CC'd and burst down. I think RH is still a very viable option if you snowball hard and want to finish the game before 30 minutes. But the longer the game drags out the more Aatrox tends to fall off with a RH build. When all members of both teams are full build Aatrox can't bring the same level of damage and survivability as say Tryndamere to the table simply because he will die too quickly to put out enough damage. RH is by no means a bad choice on him! I do know that his HP scalings leave a lot to be desired but in my experience I have found better success with TH than RH simply because it makes him more durable.
Before the Juggernaught patch I would have recommended rushing either Ravenous Hydra or Bork ASAP. However the new Titanic Hydra is very good on Aatrox so I reccomend building a Tiamat then a cutlass and finishing both items roughly at the same time, usually the Hydra first for better dueling/burst and wave clear if you are ahead. If you aren't ahead then finish the Bokr first so you can still freeze lane near your tower. If you are behind consider delaying one of these core items and opt for something tankier instead. After both of these Items are complete you usually wan to start stacking some health to increases the damage of your Titanic Hydra and to become more durable in general. Upgrading your Trinket should be a pirority as well, especially when split pushing! Sure if you rather finish a big item and buy a ward or two thats fine but upgrading your steath ward trinket basically gives you infinite wards!! Furhtermore as a rule of thumb whenever you back and have 100g you should buy a pink ward (assuming you don't already have one on the map).
WHen jungeling rushing your Devourer will be your top priority. Bork and Hydra are still part of the core build but you might want to consider delaying one for some defensive stats. Usually you'll want to get cutlass after devourer and then go for some defensive items. You can consider going for the Ravenous Hydra after Devourer to increase your clear speed. Titantic Hydra is most effective when split pushing and even Aatrox jungle is still a strong split pusher, your focus should be to stack up your devourer and help out your team rather than split pushing so opting for a Ravenous Hydra is probably the better choice. You will also be able to output a lot more DPS with Devourer's phantom hit passive as well as having a lot more sustain s you don't need the extra durability that much.
After both of these Items are complete you usually wan to start stacking some health to increases the damage of your Titanic Hydra and to become more durable in general. Spirit Visage is pretty much mandatory unless the enemy team is a full AD comp. It gives you insane sustain and the extra health and cooldown reduction are pretty nice as well. A Hexdrinker into a Maw is also a good choice, it synergises very well with Aatrox's W. Even if the enemy only has one AP carry it might be worth picking up both a Maw and a SV. This is because one of Aatrox's weaknesses is strong burst that he cant sustain back up from. As mentioned many AD based champions also have abilities that do Magic Damage.
For armour items you should usually choose between Dead Man's Plate and Randuin's Omen. Aatrox doesn't really have any synergy with Sunfire Cape so it's not worth picking up over the other items. Thornmail isn't that gret anymore after the nerfs and you'll want to stack health for your Titanic Hydra so I would only consider getting it if you're really far behind. If you want to split push for most of the game then getting a third damage item (preferably something with armour pen) is the best choice. If your team lacks a decent front line consider getting a Guardian Angel since it will allow you to revive three times in a teamfight, assuming you have your passive up which you should always try to do before going into an important fight.
Late Game Items
Usually you will want your two Core items and two defensive items leaving you with one more open slot if you didn't opt for a hexdrinker. Which item you get last depends on what your team needs you to do. If you need to splitpusher then go for damage, your sustain and two defensive items make you durable enough to 1v1 a lot of champions or at least buy enough time for your team to take an objective somewhere else on the map. I like going for something with armour pen such as a Last Whisper. A Black Cleaver is also an option but you have to consider that only your Q and your AAs will apply the armour shred so it might not always be the optimal choice.
If your team needs another man on the front line the get another defensive item. Guardian Angel is amazing since it lets you revive three times in a team fight and you get to keep your passive for a lot longer. If you are against a full AD comp it might be worth picking up another armour item instead.
Also always make sure that you pick up an Elixir of Wrath when you go into a team fight, the additional AD and the Bloodlust effect (essentially 10% Lifesteal) has extremely strong synergy with your already inate sustain. With two Lifesteal items or Bloodthirster you can already completely negate the health cost of Blood Price. If you only build one Lifesteal item then this elixir will also help you negate the health cost from Blood Price. Bloodlust also applies to physical damage abilities but since only Q deals physical damage it isn't that significant to Aatrox. If you are relied upon to be the frontline you can also consider getting an Elixir of Iron.
An alterantive build you can try is with Trinity fore, Bork and Sterak's Gage. Sterak's Gage in itself is already pretty gold efficent on Aatrox since he has above average base AD, however it doen't contribute to his scalings since the AD gained from Sterak's Gage is counted as base AD not bonus AD. Hoever in conjunction with Trinity force this is still a considerable damage boost. The burst protection from it's passive is also quite useful in teamfights or even in 1v1s. You will most likely not get a Hydra item with this build, unless you want to go glass cannon, so your wavelcear will suffer a littler bit but you should still manage just fine with your E.
Furthermore it is imporant to consider that the items I've listed are just basic guide lines. If all goes well in lane then this is what you should build but don't just always blindly build the same thing. For example if the enemy team has a Kalist consider getting a Frozen Mallet to stop her from kiting you to death. You should always analyzse the situation and get the item that will help you or your team the most in a given circumstance.
PLAYING FROM BEHIND
A lot of people don't understand that in order to do well you NEED to know how to play from behind sometimes. This is especially the case with Aatrox since he get shut down very hard when he falls behind. It's not always easy to make your team understand that you simply can't stay top lane because you will get dove and killed. A good example for this is Lee Sin. He is a monster when he get the upper hand in Lane and will RQ kill you under tower and then safe guard away and there is nothing you can do about it. In a case like this it is imporant to not go on tilt. If your jungle doesnt help you top then abandon the lane. There is no point in staying and feeding the enemy even more kills, he will get your tower whether you are there or not. Try to help other lanes, if you see your jungler ganking take some jungle farm, buy vision build some tanky items and buy vision for your team. Make yourself as easy to carry as possible. In temfights you should peel for your carries (don't splitpush because you need to be able to 1v1 the enemy toplaner to be able to do that).
When you fall behind in the jungle then you'll want to go for the warrior enchantment and help your team by providing vision through wards and scuttle crab control. Build tanky and try to snowball the lanes that are already winning. If you provide good vision and can keep track of your oppnents you can still counter jungle the enemy jungler.
For me there are two very important rules to split pushing: 1. You need good map awareness. You need to be able to keep track of your team and the enemy team's movements. Otherwise you can get 3 or 4 man ganked and get shut down quickly. 2. Buy wards. This goes hand n hand with the first rule. In order to keep track of the enemy team you need vision of their jungle. If you are pushing from Blue side then make sure to ward their tri brush and if you can the area around their red buff. If you manage to take scuttle crab as well this will give ou enough vision to back off in time to back off if the enemy comes for you If you are pushing from Red side then ward the entrance to their blue buff and the crossing between blue buff and wolves.
Because it is s imporan to ward upgrading your warding totem ASAP is extremely important.
Here is a map of where you should ward when you are split pushing. Only go for the deeper wards, near the enemy base, once you have take the outer turret.
One thing you need to do to split push effectively is to COMMUNICATE with your team. Split pushing is a lot more effective if your team can contest another objective somehwere on the map, forcing the enemy team into a lose-lose situation. Your team should be confident that they can 4v4 the enemy team. This way either the enemy has to group 5v4 to stop your team from taking another objective or they send people to deal with you. Aatrox is an extremly strong split pusher and can often 1v2 or even 1v3 when he is ahead. HOWEVER if you don't know where the enemy is and you see one person coming for you then that usually means that they are all coming for you. Map awareness is key!
Another important factor when split pushing is to consider the enemy team comp. If they have an extremely strong engage DON'T SPLIT PUSH!!!. Because the enemy will just group mid and steamroll over your team and you can't out-push 5 people. You have to take into account that strong engage comps are not easy to play safe against, that's why they are called strong engages.
As a high damage bruiser your job should be to dive balls to the wall into the back line and wreck havock! If you manage to get onto an immobile carry you can usually burst them down and kill themor force them to retreat from the fight. If the do retreat DON'T mindlessly chase them! Help your team! Since one of the carries is not in the fight the enemy tem will have lost a considerable amount of damage and you hsould be able to win the fight. If you have another front line tank like Amumu or Sejuani then this will make your job a lot easier. If you need to engage you should make sure your flash is up since a well executed flash Q can force the enemy to focus you and let your team do some damage or it will allow for some nice wombo combos. IF you are relied upon to be the front line then getting a GA is highly reccomended since you are extremely weak without your passive. If you don't have a GA consider popping your ultimate when you revive to fill up your bloodwell and be a bit stronger.
If you are not required to dive the back line or if your have a fed carry it might be worth peeling for them instead. With Bork, Randuin's, E and Q you have pretty decent peeling tools at your disposal. If you have a fed AD or AP carry i would always suggest doing this instead.
When playing Aatrox have some patience, he does take some getting used to. He is not as beefy as other bruisers. You will have to be able to tell exactly how much damage you can take and how much you can put out to play him to his fullest potential. He is extremely fun though and I hope you will enjoy playing him as much as I do!
That's it for this guide! I hope you found the information here insightful. If you have questions or suggestions then ask away :)!