Standard Off-Tank Build
Versus Heavy AP
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
|Pantheon||Not a threat. Keep up on farm, and make sure you are trading any poke he throws at you. If he engages with stun, counter with Q and make him regret it.|
|Singed||Ignore him completely. Unless he is avidly trying to kill you, you can just farm all game and carry team fights. If he does engage on you, Q-E-W combo, then go back to farming.|
Aatrox is strongest in the mid game before everyone has too many items. He excels at 1v1 because of his insane amount of sustain. His only real weakness is being kited for too long. If your ultimate and passive are both up, don't be afraid to engage their team. Q in, pop your ult, and start swinging away. A well timed Lulu or Sona ultimate basically guarantees you at least one kill.
The runes should be fairly self explanatory. Aatrox scales amazingly well with attack speed because of his passive and ultimate. Usually with your ult you should have around 1.4 attack speed at level 6.
Fury, for obvious reasons
Double Edged Sword, because 3% bonus damage is always amazing, and you have enough sustain that 1.5% damage taken is easily disregarded.
Vampirism, if you are building Guinsoos then you are going to be doing a significant amount of AD and AP so it works that much better.
Oppressor, because 2.5% bonus damage will help your early game much better than 5% IF you can kill all 5 people on the enemy team. Guaranteed damage is better than nothing.
Battering Blows, for obvious reasons
Deathfire Touch, I like DFT for Aatrox because I like to poke all game and with Guinsoos you will benefit even more from the AD and AP bonuses it gives you.
NOTE: If you do not plan on building Guinsoos then the KEYSTONE Fervor of Battle will probably be better because at level 18 if gives you 80 free damage. HOWEVER, still take the other masteries because you still have AP with your E and R.
Unyielding, because bonus Armor and MR is always a good thing.
Tough Skin, because you probably won't be using the bush and river very often.
Runic Armor, is the reason you go into the RESOLVE section. 8% bonus to healing, on Aatrox's W is already amazing. Throw in a Spirit Visage and you're golden.
Lastly, Insight because 15% off of the 300 second cooldown of Teleport is amazing. Throw in a DISTORTION enchantment and you're gonna have a fun time.
Items are always based on what is happening in the game. There is no set way to build, and no way I can explain every possibility. However, some suggestions I have are to determine what their highest source of damage is and try to counter that in some way.
If you are laning against an AP heavy opponent, try to rush Specter's Cowl, if you are still worried, turn it into a Spirit Visage and just heal. If they are AP, but you're not too worried about them just go for sustain/damage (BOTRK, Death's Dance, Guinsoos).
If they are AD heavy and you are worried they can kill you, go defensive before damage. A Chainmail goes a long way in the early game if you need to turn it into Thornmail at some point. But if you need health then a Sunfire cape is great on Aatrox since you will be up front and personal all game.
If you are worried about being bursted then Sterak's Gage is an amazing item on Aatrox. Not only do you get bonus damage and health, you get even more when it activates. Trying to blow up Aatrox, plus Sterak's, and then his Passive is a pain in the *** for a lot of champions and will get you a lot further in teamfights than most items.
You want to get an even mix of damage and tankiness. Let's be honest...Aatrox is only as powerful as his items. If you die before you can do any damage then what's the point of having it? If you have all health and no damage then you're not playing to your fullest potential. Personally, I think new Guinsoos and BOTRK are usually enough damage until late game (past 30 min). But don't be stupid and try to rush BOTRK if you can't survive long enough to sustain anyway.
EXECUTIONER'S CALLING IS BACK. If you are laning against anyone that relies on healing (Vlad, Mundo, Trundle, etc.) you NEED to get this item. It builds with Last Whisper so it will never be a waste.
This is fairly obvious for people who have played Aatrox before. A very large portion of his damage comes from basic attacks and your W is just added damage when you need it. If you are able to fight straight up, max your W first and you can 1v1 almost anyone.
If you need to poke more, level up your E. It has a fairly short cooldown and a decent slow so you can use it to distance farm and/or poke as you need to.
Your Q is really only used to engage or disengage so you don't need to put more than 1 point into it early.
In lane you can usually trade equally with most melee opponents and can outsustain almost anyone. It is best to stay at full passive bar for the bonus attack speed, and in case you die you'll get more HP back. Whenever you can try to time your W so you can hit your opponent with the empowered damage. After a couple of those most people think twice about getting too close. Don't forget that you get more HP back when you are below 50% HP so use your W's healing factor wisely. Use your E to poke as often as you can, or to farm from a distance if you are taking too much poke. If your opponent is low on HP, or their spells are on CD, try to get your bonus damage W ready, engage with a Q, hit for the bonus W damage and toss a fadeaway E as you walk back to farm. This is a very powerful combo early game.
Pros / Cons
Amazing sustain, especially with the new masteries and itemization.
Passive that gives him a second chance at life.
Mix of AD and AP that is harder to build against.
Great engage for teamfights
No mana costs.
Can solo baron with the right items.
Relies heavily on W/Basic attacks for healing/sustain.
Spells cost HP.
Ignite ruins your life.
Easily kited when spells are on CD.
In summary, Aatrox is best as an AD-Off Tank who can fly into the enemy team to start fights for your team. If you manage to knockup any of their squishies, instantly pop your ult and swing away. Aatrox is amazing at picks, and if he finds someone out alone can delete them before anyone shows up to help. But don't get cocky. If you are even with an opponent and they have ignite you will have a lot of problems fighting them alone. Work with your team and try to chain CC people with your knockup and whatever CC they bring to the table. If you aren't basic attacking then you aren't able to heal so don't bother chasing people you can't catch. Kiting is your weakness, don't chase.
Good luck out there,
Th3M3rc3n4ry (Season 5 plat)