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A-Atrox: Mr. Garvey Takes You To School [Jungle Season 5]
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Welcome to the A-Atrox jungle guide for Season 5! If you haven't watched the video below yet, I highly recommend it as part of my love for A-Atrox comes from the opportunity to call him just that, "A-Atrox". Also I love Key & Peele so a plug for them. In Season 4, I went from Silver to Platinum with mainly Wukong Jungle (mixed in with some Hecarim, Kha'Zix, and Amumu). For Season 5, I have created a different goal. I want to take a "sleeper" champion and make him as viable as possible. My quest led me to A-Atrox and the rest is history.
Let's get one thing clear. You're NOT going to accumulate gaudy stats with A-Atrox. People who go for glass cannon builds trying to rack up Pentakills will die early and often. A successful game will often have your KDA looking closer to a support than a carry. Bill Russell, one of the sport's greatest winners, once said "I measured how good of a game I played by how much better I made my teammates." Think of A-Atrox as a champ that makes those around him better.
Fine tuning A-Atrox in ranked (I can't stand playing in normals) has led to much feeding (Plat5 --> G3) but all of that feeding wasn't in Vayne. Below you will find what I consider to be the only complete Season 5 A-Atrox jungle guide around. This is still a process in evolution so check back in frequently to look for patch notes and updates. Thanks for looking and please comment and vote if you have questions or found it useful!
I mess around with these runes quite a bit. You can level 2 drag with the correct runes (AS/Lifesteal) but it'll always be "close" (<200hp). After trying different combinations in custom games I've concluded that Level 3 drag is the best if you're going to do it. It's quicker and you don't run the risk of dying or being incredibly low HP to it. See below on early game strategies (Blue vs. Red).
The other thing I've debated endlessly is whether to go AS, Lifesteal, AD or some combination of the 3. After additional trial and error I am CURRENTLY (subject to change) set on pure attack speed marks and quints as you pretty much build straight tank and AD/LS in my current preferred build with Bloodthirster. In addition, you really feel clunky in the early game jungle with low attack speed and don't proc your Blood Thirst / Blood Price soon enough for meaningful sustain, especially if considering a level 3 dragon.
You could argue to go straight AD and I wouldn't put up a huge argument though. You have AS with Enchantment: Devourer, Berserker's Greaves (optional), and your Massacre. In addition, I find that it's just not as common to have a long drawn out team fight where you'll get in 10-20 auto attacks (AA). It's much more common that you'll get 5-10 AA's in instead. This means you really want to make every attack (including spells) count and since your Dark Flight, Auto Attacks, and potentially Ravenous Hydra have good AD ratio's, you can consider being more AD heavy. I just don't prefer it at the moment.
I go with basic armor Seals and scaling MR glyphs since I don't feel the urgent need for regular MR glyphs.
There are three times in Aatrox's build where I typically have a tough decision to make: Blade of the Ruined King vs. Ravenous Hydra vs. Bloodthirster, Stalker's Blade vs. Skirmisher's Sabre, and Zephyr vs. Guardian Angel. Where you have less of an option is your first 3 items (Jungle Item/Devourer, Tank Item, then Tier 2 boots). Your first item after your jungle item will be defensive 90% of the time. I can't emphasize this point enough. With all of my experimenting with A-Atrox, I have NEVER been consistently successful building early damage with the exception of being very fed early on. You need to be able to sustain to proc his "W" in addition to using your AS/AA to their fullest. The other 10% of the time I will pick up a damage item because I'll need to carry and push my advantage even more.
This is by far the toughest choice for me. Originally I was a fan of Ravenous Hydra but now I prefer building Bloodthirster because of the following reasons.
1) The increased AD and Lifesteal over Ravenous Hydra
2) The shield is very synergistic with A-Atrox's kit as it allows more time for using the damage portion of your Blood Thirst / Blood Price before having to switch to heal mode.
3) You normally want to have your Blood Well full before fighting which requires farming minions or jungle camps. Same thing for your Bloodthirster to gain the shield so might as well synergize.
Arguments for Ravenous Hydra:
1) It gives you the option to have some surprise burst damage with the Q>R>RH Active combo.
2) Ravenous Hydra active is guaranteed to hit those around you versus Blade of the Ruined King as the adc/squishy may not be within reach.
3) RH has superior wave and camp clear.
4) It's just more fun for me to use - I don't know why.
Arguments for Blade of the Ruined King include:
1. Increased AS = Quicker proc of your W so you can sustain longer
2. You can use it's active to chase down people
My one argument for those who absolutely love the BOTRK active is that the Stalker's Blade active acts similar to the BOTRK active.
Honestly, I have flip flopped on these two items probably a good dozen times. As of writing this, I am currently favoring Stalker's Blade primarily for more CC in the early game. You have a couple options for CC when ganking ( Dark Flight/ Blades of Torment) but the more I play A-Atrox the more I tend to want even more CC to really ensure I get off to a good start. Skirmisher's Sabre is definitely the better item if you like split pushing but I tend to like to stick with my team and like the option to peel for ADC or chase someone down for a gank.
I prefer Zephyr to Guardian Angel for these reasons:
1) You already have one "GA", your passive. People claim "2 GA's is OP" but in reality if you NEED your second revive then you're probably the last one left on your team and you will die instantly anyways. I prefer the strength Zephyr gives you
2) Guardian Angel isn't cost effective (see cost effectiveness chart below) as Zephyr is.
The final thing is that I'm still experimenting with the possible use of Frozen Mallet as the final item, a combo for tankiness as well as some more soft CC with the AA slows.
I consider this to be as close to a core item as possible. You'll most likely build armor instead of MR first and this is the item to build just that. The active is nice for when you want to duel, chase, or jump into the action with your Q. Always build this or Spirit Visage as your second item, unless you're extremely fed early on. Then go damage item first.
I once considered this a mandatory item and 99% of people you talk to will say it is. Great MR and the lifesteal synergy is fantastic. However, the more I play A-Atrox the more I'm convinced I can delay this item and instead get Hexdrinker. The lack of damage output when you go Randuin's Omen then Spirit Visage is noticeable and unless there is a heavy AP comp or a super fed AP mid then you're probably fine living with the Hexdrinker passive until mid to late game when you can pick up Spirit Visage.
Maw of Malmortius:
The more I play A-atrox, the more I consider Hexdrinker, if not Maw of Malmortius, a core item. The passive for the item (shield) is incredibly synergistic with A-Atrox as it allows you to avoid being burst down by AP mages and buys you a few more auto-attacks to sustain in a fight. In addition you gain more AD the less HP you have and guess who thrives at low HP? You guessed it, A-Atrox. If I'm going against a fed AP mid or AP comp I will sometimes make Hexdrinker my second item instead of Randuin's Omen
As time goes on, I'm pretty sure I'm going to change this to my recommended final item on A-Atrox. The item is somewhat useless early game since you don't have enough resistances or HP to sustain at a low HP but late game.... LATE GAME. If you're late game enough that you can sell your jungle item, you need to consider this item an option. Assuming you're smart and sustain in a team fight you could potential have a total of 52% AS, 30 AD, 10% LS, and 72 FREAKING AP. In late game you'll most likely be able to proc this entire item's passive which puts it ahead of Zephyr and Guardian Angel in my book. To be continued!
I've tried to make all items as gold efficient as possible. Check out Shakarez's item efficiency chart HERE
I always start with Blood Thirst / Blood Price for sustain, remember to take the skill at the last second possible because if you get invaded you would want to take Dark Flight instead for the escape.
I almost always go with Dark Flight second because of the escape ability. This comes in handy for when you are invaded by a early game jungler like Lee Sin. More importantly, I like to have it for when I do Level 3 Dragon's as I can use it to jump in and out of the pit without being seen.
If you plan on doing a Level 3 dragon, I would take Blood Thirst / Blood Price again for your third skill as this will help immensely with the early dragon. If you plan on ganking instead then take Blades of Torment for the additional CC.
From there I max out Blood Thirst / Blood Price and Massacre as they are available then Blades of Torment as the lower cool down and poke will be more beneficial in team fights and mid game.
Pretty self explanatory. You'll almost never go without Smite or Flash for jungle A-Atrox, especially considering his lack of escapes.
: Your most important resource. Because of this passive you are afforded the luxury of diving and ganking early and often. I almost NEVER gank without my passive being up, especially in the early game. You're just too darn squishy without it so it must be an absolute guaranteed kill to go in. This is also because you're typically living around the 50% HP mark.
You can dive towers as well with this, especially if a wave is pushing. Once a tower takes you out and starts your passive, it should switch focus onto minions or your teammates. This will allow you to hopefully get out alive.
: Your only escape ability other than flash. This ability is the difference between feeding and sustaining. I see way too many people using this to jump into team fights, only to get focused down immediately. The only time you use this to jump into a team fight is if you're 100% sure you'll have immediate follow up. Otherwise you want to use this for disengage, peel, or CC on targets after a sustained fight. It is INCREDIBLY tempting (even for me now) to jump into a team fight with the Q>R> Ravenous Hydra combo but it's probably the wrong choice a good 80% of the time.
: Your Blood Thirst / Blood Price is what makes A-Atrox a viable jungle champ in Season 5. It's no secret that the new jungle hits harder than in the previous year and this allows A-Atrox to shine. You want to toggle Blood Price on when > 50% and Blood Thirst when < 50% for the 3x extra heal. Keep a close eye on this during team fights as having Blood Lust instead of Blood Price on when you're at low HP can mean the difference between life and death.
: I max this second after Blood Thirst / Blood Price as the lower cool down and poke are better compared to the higher cool down and 100% commitment that Dark Flight brings. A lot of people say this is a hard ability to land but honestly it just takes some practice. After a while it becomes pretty reliable.
: A great steroid ability but many people tend to forget the AOE damage it also brings. It lasts for quite a while (12 seconds) so don't be afraid to pop it relatively early in a team fight. Again, if you're 100% sure you'll have follow up from your team, you can do the Q>R> Ravenous Hydra combo but otherwise I don't rely on the AOE damage as a huge burst damage, especially since it scales with AP.
+ Built in Guardian Angel Passive
+ Strong early game ganks
+ Can solo dragon virtually whenever
+ Amazing sustain in Season 5 OP jungle
- Incredibly squishy if you don't build tank
- Auto-attack dependent, thus prone to kiting
- No reliable escapes due to Q start up time and interruption
Early game is all about one thing, AGGRESSION. If you're not aggressive in the early game, you're wasting your biggest strength which is early game lane ganks and dragon. Here are my standard starts for both sides.
The more conservative of the two starts I do. I will typically start Krugs-->Red Buff-->Raptor then do Drag. At this point I'm level 3 and put two levels into Blood Thirst / Blood Price. I will typically jump into the Dragon Pit from behind to avoid being seen. This works about 90% of the time, the cost of this is that you won't be directly putting your team ahead like a gank/kill would and hoping they're good enough to use the buff they just got. But c'mon, it's a guaranteed dragon!
The other option is to gank mid if it's pushed up or your mid laner has some CC as well. If this is the case I'll put a point into Blades of Torment to help with CC.
The more aggressive of the two sides. I will typically do a level 2 gank bot lane after having done Gromp. I come through Tri-bush and ask my bot lane to engage before I get there to help ensure they dont have an easy escape. I would say my team typically gets a kill 50% of the time and another 25% of the time the bot lane has to back immediately. Again, this is pretty risky because if the gank fails then you just wasted quite a bit of time.
After this I will typically go do Wolves as my smite will be up. This way I can get vision in my jung from the smite as you will be very vulnerable to counter jungling at this moment. Then finish blue and either go grab your jungle item or continue with the top side of the jungle.
Another option on red side is to start top with red buff then immediately gank top at level 2. I will only do this if I have a strong level 1 top laner who's going against a champion that doesn't have good escapes. It's really risky and I don't find it works a lot of the time.
If my bot lane doesn't have a good early game comp I might opt for a level 3 dragon or go gank mid or top. Remember, the first 5 minutes are crucial to A-Atrox, you have to make something happen to take advantage of your early game kit.
[*] If you're ganking when your passive is down, be 100% sure you can immediate get the kill, you're very squishy until you get some items.
[*] Don't engage with your Dark Flight. You want to engage with your Blades of Torment to either cut off their path or slow them. Then try and bait a flash before using Dark Flight. You want to maximize the time you're auto-attacking the enemy.
[*] Try and time ganks for when your Stalker's Blade is up, this can often mean the difference between a kill and the enemy barely getting away.
[*] Don't be afraid to be the one who tanks turret shots on dives. Better you with your passive than your teammate.
Map of Possible Jungling/Ganking Routes
This may be a bit too elementary but I basically break down team fights into two optiosn for A-Atrox:
1) Peel and Poke:
Like what the title says, your best bet during a team fight is to peel for your ADC, poke with your Blades of Torment and then auto-attack/sustain for as long as possible. Your strength lies in your Blood Thirst / Blood Price and your passive so you want to make sure you utilize them both to their fullest. You have several skills that help peel if you have a fed teammate ( Dark Flight, Blades of Torment, and Stalker's Blade) so utilize them.
This is the big temptation with A-Atrox. I ALWAYS want to Dark Flight into a huge group and go H.A.M. One would argue this is a totally viable strategy for A-Atrox because of his passive. Unfortunately, once you come back from your passive you're incredibly weak as all of your Blood Thirst / Blood Price stacks are gone. In addition, even with defensive items, A-Atrox can be quickly burst down if he's not sustaining in a fight.
In the same vein, gunning for the enemy ADC is also tempting. This is more of a viable strategy then just jumping into a big crowd but only if you're 100% sure you can close the gap instantly (aka they're within range of your Dark Flight. Typically a Q>R> Ravenous Hydra active> Stalker's Blade will do the trick to take out an ADC. However, if you get kited in the least you're absolutely dead as you'll then be typically stuck between the ADC and the rest of the team. Not a good spot.
Well, A-Atrox has a special place in my heart because he was the latest champ to be released when I first started playing LoL. I remember just starting out and hearing people say how "OP" he was. Little did I know that would apply to every champ that's newly released :D
For me, fun is action. Action isn't power farming for 30 minutes straight. I like to gank early and often because in the end, that's what's most fun for me. So picking a champ that can be aggressive early is a definite bonus.
Finally, I wanted to pick a "sleeper" champ for Season 5. I'm pretty sure I won't hear complaints about A-Atrox being "OP" any time soon. So it's a challenge for me to find a way to make him exactly that, OP.
Mecha A-Atrox all day. I kind of have a thing for all mecha skins except for Malphite. That skin is awful.
Looking for DuoQ Partners?
Absolutely! I'm always looking for cool, down-to-earth, mature people to DuoQ with. I prefer Mid/Top/ADC. Ragers and those who behave like children need not bother contacting me :D
1.11.15: Thanks to everyone for the feedback and voting! This awful guide somehow made it to #1 on the ever so prestigious "best new mobafire guides!"
1.11.15: Updated runes! Now full AS!
1.11.15: After more time in the lab I've decided my favorite damage item for A-Atrox is actually Bloodthirster! Check out the updated item discussion and build!
1.7.15: Added Guinsoo's Rageblade to items and item discussion after some testing. Think it might be the preferred final item now!