Azir Build Guide by Aqua Dragon

League of Legends Build Guide Author Aqua Dragon

Platinum Marksman Azir - Emperor's Flurry

Aqua Dragon Last updated on November 28, 2016
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Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R


Natural Talent
Battering Blows
Piercing Thoughts

Offense: 18


Defense: 12

Runic Armor
Veteran's Scars
Legendary Guardian

Utility: 0

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The Author

Aquaired Skillset

Hi! I’m Aqua Dragon. I ended Season 4 at Master 1 and I play Marksman Azir on my ranked smurf, and am also the co-creator of !

I also play: I also take people's suggested playstyles, optimize them, and then make guides on them!

Want to to discuss or watch this build?
Join our community of off-meta lovers!

Here's a Platinum Marksman Azir game.

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Pros and Cons


  • A very high ~645 base "range"
  • Excellent objective taker and defender
  • Able to outtrade nearly any Marksman
  • Strong peel against melee
  • High zoning power even without Conquering Sands
  • Gradual power into hefty late-game spikes


  • Low in-lane mana sustain
  • Low harass potential in lane
  • Weak sustain
  • Late-game power spikes gated by high gold costs
  • Only escape can be body-blocked
  • Tricky to hit high-MS opponents

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What is Marksman Azir?

Shanking Sands

Azir is normally known for using high burst from their abilities to chunk opponents quickly, playing primarily as an assassin/burst magician in combat.

However, in doing so, a potential avenue of enormous DPS is overlooked: the massive consistent damage that soldiers get out of attack speed.

This damage is significantly higher than people realize. For specifically one soldier, the end-game DPS of Marksman Azir becomes equal to the DPS of an APC Azir, but with 1,300 less gold.

To avoid bogging down this guide with constant recalculations, I will state the math I found as factual. However, I don't expect to be believed simply because I say something is true. Therefore, I have made my calculations viewable. You can find them here. You will need to download the spreadsheet using "File" to test your own values; it is not directly editable online.

To understand how Marksman Azir is able to reach that level of damage, it's important to get a big caveat out of the way. Marksman Azir is primarily attempting to abuse the damage out of the soldiers. This means that Marksman Azir is not intended to function or play the same way as APC Azir. Burst is a secondary consideration.

The Math of Shurima

Because Marksman Azir is a sustained damage champion, the big question is: can increasing the sustained damage of the soldiers justify removing the burst? Marksman Azir answers with a yes. This leads to our final caveat before digging in:

All DPS calculations account only for one soldier, not for any other spells.

Enough dawdling; it's math time.

To make a comparison between Attack Speed and Ability Power for the soldier's power, DPS serves as a perfect metric. So consider the following hypothetical scenario.

Azir 1 has
Azir 2 has
100% attack speed,
0% attack speed,
0 ability power.
100 ability power.
Their DPS is 250.
Their DPS is 250.

These are using made up values.

In this hypothetical example, we can see that both Azirs have the same DPS despite having different AS and AP amounts. This means in terms of DPS, 100% AS is equal to 100 AP. More simply, 1% AS = 1 AP in terms of DPS. Again, these are fake values.

This means logically, we can assume that in this hypothetical example:

Azir 1 has
Azir 2 has
300% attack speed,
0% attack speed,
0 ability power.
300 ability power.

Both will have an equal amount of DPS: 750. When we run the math in the excel chart from earlier, we find this relationship to be true. Now that we know that the ratio always works, we can find the actual AS-AP ratio.

Finding the actual AS-AP ratio is mostly plugging in stuff to the excel chart in a trial-error process. However, sufficient calculation-testing revealed the actual AS-AP DPS ratio, assuming both builds have Nashors. They are noted right below. Note that because the soldier's base damage increases per level, the AS-AP level will also change per level.

At level 1, every 1% AS is equal in DPS to 0.74 AP
At level 18, every 1% AS is equal in DPS to 1.49 AP

Level 1; 1% AS = 0.74 AP
Level 18; 1% AS = 1.49 AP

This relationship is mostly linear per level up, meaning that every 1% AS gradually becomes more and more powerful. These numbers assume that the Level 18 in both builds have at least Void Staff and Nashor's Tooth.

It's pretty easy to see how this can quickly spiral in power. Nashor's Tooth's 50% As is more valuable than it appears.

When you reach the point where 1% AS = 1.49 AP, The AS from Nashors is on par with 75 AP. On top of the 80 AP it already provides (155 AP total). Only Rabadons can even possibly compete, and only with a sizable AP pool first. But Nashors is even more effective than that due to the yet-to-be-explained multiplying effects between AS and AP.

The Order of Magnitude is Given

Time to explain the yet-to-be-explained. There appears to be one case where these ratios don't hold true. Consider the following hypothetical situation:

Azir 1 has
Azir 2 has
50% attack speed,
0% attack speed,
50 ability power.
100 ability power.

If 1% AS = 1 AP, we would expect these two to have the same DPS. But this isn't true. The build with a mixture of AP and AS will deal more damage; the stats multiply each other.

The exact nature of the damage mutiplier is nearly impossible to quantify with simply one number. This is because there are two multiplicative effects at work.

First, the multiplier becomes stronger as the proportion of AS and AP equalizes. Using our previous hypotheticals for reference:

Azir 1 has
Azir 2 has
Azir 3 has
Azir 4 has
Azir 5 has
100% attack speed,
75% attack speed,
50% attack speed,
25% attack speed,
0% attack speed,
0 ability power.
25 ability power.
50 ability power.
75 ability power.
100 ability power.

In this example, the multiplying effect increases as AP and AS get equal in amounts. This means that Azir 1 and Azir 5 have the least damage, while Azir 3 spikes the most in damage because the amount of AS and AP is exactly equal.

This relationship is proven by running the same scenario with other proven ratios like 1% AS = 1.49 AP.

Azir 1 has
Azir 2 has
Azir 3 has
100% attack speed,
50% attack speed,
25% attack speed,
0 ability power.
75 ability power.
150 ability power.

Azir 2 in this scenario has the most damage, as the "proportion" of attack speed and and ability power is equal.

How much is the multiplier? This is difficult to state, because of the second multiplicative effect at work.

As the amount of raw AP and AS increases, the multiplier grows.

The multiplier is not some static extra amount like 20% more damage. It scales with the amount of stats that Azir gets. In addition, the increase is not linear with the number of stats.

A table for reference. The higher the points, the more raw AS and AP stats that Azir had.

50 points:
100 points:
150 points:
200 points:
250 points:
300 points:
350 points:
1.4% DPS multiplier
5% DPS multiplier
10% DPS multiplier
15% DPS multiplier
20% DPS multiplier
26% DPS multiplier
32% DPS multiplier

For this, every 1% AS was considered a "point" of stat, and every 2.26 AP was also considered a "point" of stat. Although so far we've been using a 1AS : 1.49AP ratio. this is based on the assumption that both Azirs have Nashors. But for calculating the raw stat multiplier, we have to assume neither Azir has any items. For this, our new ratio is 1AS : 2.26AP, which is how much AP is necessary to equal 1% AS assuming neither Azir has any items at all.

The multipliers in the table were then calculated by comparing the DPS of a mixed point build against a full-AP point build. So for example: Since every 2.26 AP is a point, a 150 point build would have 339 AP. That's 2.26 multiplied by 150, for every point.

Then, this build was compared against a mixed build. Every 1% AS is a point. This means with 150 points, the build would have 75% AS and 170 AP. 75 points of AS, and 75 points of AP. The damage was compared, then plotted into this table.

You would expect that 100 points worth of stats would give twice the multiplier compared to 50 points worth of stats. However, we can see this is incorrect; it's closer to a 3x multiplier.

Similarly, 200 points of stats is not twice as much 100 points. It's closer to 3x as well.

The multiplier continues along this way forever. For Marksman Azir, this means the damage multiplier is ~60% for the soldier, compared to a build composed of the same number of points but of AP instead.

Concluding Remarksman

Marksman Azir with three Nashor's Tooths ends with 2.41 attack speed and 448 ability power. This is the same DPS as AP Azir, but is 1,300 gold cheaper.

With a Rabadons instead of Stinger, this goes up to 2.07 attack speed and 728 ability power with a DPS of 699. It's 500 gold cheaper, and still dealing 15% more DPS than APC Azir.

This is the power that exists from three multiplying effects (the proportion, the raw, the soldiers) stacking onto each other.

The most obvious issue is tapping into this DPS. The soldiers are not guaranteed damage and have a little gap between movements. However, you will find that getting soldiers to consistently hit enemies is often the least of your problems. This is something I can only state from experience instead of mathematically prove, but it rings true that your positioning and timing are far more important problems than getting the soldiers to stick.

it's important to know that nowhere is this guide saying that Marksman Azir is more powerful than APC Azir. The only thing being stated is that potential exists, and that perhaps that potential can be tapped into.

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Masteries and Runes



All of these seem pretty self-evident, except for the less obvious Kesytone choice of Deathfire. After running through some scenarios, Deathfire Touch basically outclasses Thunderlords Decree in damage when fighting beyond 4-5 seconds. This is an extremely common situation for MM Azir, especially in teamfights, making Deathfire the preferred mastery of choice.



Not Recommended:

  • Greater Mark of Magic Penetration: Using the excel chart, we find that 1% AS roughly equals 1.5 spell pen. This makes attack speed marks ideal for maximizing damage instead.
  • Greater Glyph of Scaling Cooldown Reduction: Proper play of Marksman Azir won't require a significant amount of CDR to function well. 20% is sufficient, allowing for further power to be put in through spell pen or scaling AP.
  • Greater Quintessence of Attack Speed: Marksman Azir lacks any inherent sustain and doesn't get any lifesteal items in the build. Replacing spell vamp with anything would remove the primary safeguard against harass.

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Ability Analysis

Shurima's Legacy
  • The tower aids Azir in setting up a perimeter to zone enemies into the soldiers

Conquering Sands
  • On a fairly short cooldown, used primarily for organizing soldiers rather than damage
  • A powerful tool for trading in lane, but expensive in mana
  • Its damage is not negligible, functioning as a strong execution spell

  • The keystone of Marksman Azir. Soldiers have the same attack speed as Azir.
  • Maxing Arise! first allows for a massive 60% attack speed by level 9
  • Useful for farming during the laning phase due to its low mana cost

Shifting Sands:
  • After using Shifting Sands, cast Conquering Sands while in mid-air. This will pull you much further.
  • The shield it provides isn't that great, so try to avoid forcing the sheld except as a last-ditch effort to survive.

Emperor's Divide
  • Setting up the wall to block a pathway is the simplest way of getting plenty of time to attack with the soldiers
  • You will have to be somewhat selfish in using the ult for your own protection, as its your only tool to survive divers and assassins.

W, Q, E, then W > Q > E

, , , then > >

The goal of the build is more sustained soldier damage and the passive attack speed given by Arise! is insane. Maximizing it first, combined with the items you get by the time, easily allow for over 100% AS by level 9. It's quite potent.

Conquering Sands is maximized next for more powerful executions and faster soldier positioning.

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Empire Building

First, it's important to look at the best attack speed items Azir is capable of getting; they're the most effective for Marksman Azir to reach their full power. The goal is to maintain an equal proportion of AS and AP to maximize the multiplying damage effect

The easiest two additions are Nashor's Tooth and Stinger. The separation will be understood in a moment.

Nashor's Tooth is a bit interesting because it only grants raw stat bonuses compared to owning its components, Fiendish Codex and Stinger, since a large portion of its cost is justified by its unusable (for Azir) passive. This means both its components are amazingly gold efficient on Azir, but Nashors itself lacks the same efficiency.

It does, however, combine both of these items into one slot, making it very slot efficient. This means its good to build Nashor's components, but hold off finishing Nashors until much later.

The most cost efficient Nashor Tooth component on Marksman Azir, made up of the even more gold/dmg efficient daggers. It is this powerful multiplier provided by each Stinger and Dagger that makes it possible to have the equal-DPS end-game build that is 1,300 gold cheaper than APC Azir, with a more gradual DPS growth.

As a result, trying to create several daggers, then several stingers is the name of the game. But while the temptation to stack them forever exists, it must be remembered that at its core, Marksman Azir is about abusing optimal gold/dmg, and this means keeping an equal proportion of AP to maximize the DPS multiplier mentioned before. It's important to inject AP items accordingly.

To even out the proportion of AP and AS, it would seem tempting to throw in a mana item. However, Marksman Azir is not as mana-intensive as APC Azir. Mana items also heavily gate Marksman Azir's power spikes heavily, especially for the laning phase.

After a careful evaluation of the possible AP items, two stand out.

Though an effective DPS loss compared to other raw AP items, the extra health and 40% slow from each soldier auto makes it very easy to make up the difference. Even landing one more autoattack with the slow compared to without it makes up for lacking raw AP. It's no wonder that Rylais is core on APC Azir as well.

This one is chosen mathematically. By running several scenarios through the Excel Chart, it was found that building a Void Staff before the stingers maximizes Marksman Azir's damage/gold ratio against any target above 70 MR (pretty much anyone). It also helps make up for MM Azir's difficulty in taking down tanks.

By further using the excel chart, it turns out that Berserker's Greaves also always outclasses Sorcerer Shoe's in damage for the soldier DPS, making it a much better choice in all situations.

Finally, by using the excel chart (again), the sixth slot brings up an interesting conundrum. At this point in the game, five items already exist in the build (Berserkers, Rylais, Nashors, Nashors, Void Staff). It turns out that Stinger and Needlessly Large Rod have the same gold/dmg. Meanwhile, Rabadons absolutely outclasses Nashors in damage.

But there is only one slot left. Trying to build into a Rabadons late game with only one slot is excruciating, as it means having to save up 2,550 gold while holding onto the meager Large Rod before finishing Rabadons.

In game situations where time is critical, an appealing alternative exists instead: build another Nashors (which requires only needs 1900 gold after Stinger, though has less total DPS than Rabadons) and sell it when Rabadons can be bought in one go, or focus on getting a final defensive item which won't feel horrible holding onto one component with. This also has the bonus of giving a handy 10% CDR until Nashors or Rabs is complete
Dead Man's Plate is interesting because Azir's soldiers will not proc the momentum stacks, meaning Azir can retain the entire 60 MS bonus while autoattacking at the same time. In this regard, it functions as a more defensive Phantom Dancer equivalent.

With the arsenal analysis complete, the build path can be constructed.

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Build Order

Damage ASAP

The guiding philosophy behind Marksman Azir is maximize the gold/damage value of every purchase. This is not to be confused with gold efficiency; defensive items can be extremely gold efficient, but their gold/damage ratio is often low.

This ratio was maximized by running items through the excel chart one at a time to see which order of items kept the ratio the best. Exceptions were made for Greaves, Codex, and Rylais, which have values that a gold/damage analysis can't quantify (movement speed, cooldown reduction, slowing effect). The order of those three items can be moved around at will based on the relative importance of their extra utility, though I've provided my own optimal below.

Starting Items

Continue, in Order
> > > > > > > > >

Sell Doran's when you need space for any component or item that exceeds 500 gold, or for a quick gold spike for an earlier Rylais or Needlessly Large Rod.

If power is needed immediately, head for a Stinger. If further quick damage is necessary, upgrade it to a Nashors. But if extremely ahead and it looks like there's time to farm, go straight for Rabadons instead As analyzed earlier, while one Nashors may not provide as much raw DPS as Rabadons, it provides quicker and cheaper immediate power instead of having to wait for so much gold before upgrading to Rabadons. Ultimately though, sell the Stinger/Nashors when you can purchase Rabadons in one go.

Some defensive options do exist in place of a final offensive item however. You may also consider building a defensive item right after Rylais against a particularly poke-heavy team or against a team consisting primarily of one type of damage (Deadmans right after Rylais against an all-physical composition is very powerful).

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Stage of the Game


In the early game, your goals are to
  • Farm using soldiers, always having one in pocket
  • Counter-harassing with Conquering Sands
  • Poke with soldiers you have set across the wave
You have enough mana regen that you can keep up one soldier up indefinitely. Try to avoid summoning the second except in emergencies, since there are diminishing offensive returns on additional soldiers anyway.

Avoid summoning soldiers to farm until you are about to be zoned out. Azir has a very satisfying autoattack even without soldiers and doesn't need to waste mana unnecessarily.

When you are being pushed, summon a soldier in the lane preemptively where you expect the next set of minions to fight each other. This will let you farm for several seconds from significant distance when being pressured hard.

You do not have enough mana regen to harass freely with Conquering Sands. Active harassment should be reserved only for when you know you can secure more than 1 hit on the target.

Try to move toward opposing marksman and hit them with the tip of a summoned soldier to get free harass. Recognize that if you do this, you may be forced to farm with your spare soldiers, so harass wisely.

When the enemy ADC harasses you with an auto, send a Conquering Sands their way to punish them. This will outtrade with all but the strongest early-game ADCs.


As the laning phase ends, you will
  • Group with the team to push down towers
  • Stay in the backline and let fights occur before moving in
  • Avoid falling behind in CS
Despite lacking raw AD, your tower pushing power should not be underestimated. You can take towers fairly rapidly and can pressure enemy towers by constantly hitting them with Arise! whenever the minion wave nears.

Continue using only one soldier at a time unless you can avoid it. However, at this stage of the game, you will be more often bringing out extra soldiers to do your work.

If you cast Conquering Sands every time you see a damage opportunity, you will very quickly run out of mana. Save it for positioning your soldiers into areas where they can do the most DPS instead of relying on its burst. You can also use it as an effective execute during duels.

Your wave clearing power is strong. Set up soldiers in a line against incoming waves to destroy them before they touch your turrets.


You rapidly scale in power and will already have most of your items ready
  • Use Emperor's Divide to set up a fortress to autoattack enemies from
  • Direct soldiers into areas where your team has laid down heavy CC
  • Melt baron and dragon with your powerful sustained damage
An interesting strategy against pushing enemies is to sneak behind them and summon a turret to block off their only escape. This allows your team to get off a strong engage while providing you a defensive perimeter to fight from or forcing enemies into the narrow jungle.

Keep your distance by abusing your enormous "range" as a marksman. Since this will isolate you from the team, you will need to use Emperor's Divide to survive against diving assassins.

Standing inside of the wall given by Emperor's Divide will let you kite most melees for all 8 seconds of the wall's duration. Abuse this power.

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This guide was a lot of fun to write, and I hope you all have learned everything you will consider helping me with my experiment. If you have any questions, leave a comment or drop a line over at ! And be sure to check out !

Shurima will never end.