Aatrox Build Guide by Neatkhajiit
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That's my boy!
+9% Attack Speed and +15-135 Health (at levels 1-18)
Balanced Build #1
Balanced Build #2
It's been a long time coming, but it's finally here: the Aatrox Rework. This lovable monster may still look the same, but he's a whole new bucket of fun. Old man Aatrox mainly focused on attack speed, life steal, movement speed, and even critical chance itemization, with a play style usually revolving around the right mouse button. While this was all good and fun, young blood Aatrox likes to play on the tanky side. This time, you're going to want to focus on cooldown reduction (CDR), attack damage, some life steal, and health. And, just for the record, Aatrox is NOT Riven 2.
Pros / Cons
+ Decent sustain with Umbral Dash's passive
+ Moderate mobility with Umbral Dash
+ Fantastic CC with The Darkin Blade and Infernal Chains
+ Built-in Guardian Angel with World Ender
+ Great dueling potential with Deathbringer Stance
+ No mana to worry about
- Very slow; Umbral Dash doesn't add much to chase potential
- Difficult to hit enemies with the edge of The Darkin Blade
- Weak to ranged poke and mobility
- Umbral Dash's life steal alone is not enough
- World Ender resurrection gives false sense of security
Aatrox, more than ever, requires patience, a steady hand, and some damn good aim to be played effectively. He still has the ability to play top and jungle, but in a less aggressive manor. Keep your distance, land hits with the edge of The Darkin Blade, use Deathbringer Stance whenever it is up for some significant poke damage, and make use of Umbral Dash to position The Darkin Blade mid-use. Aatrox isn't the same point-and-click champion he used to be; he's far better.
With the new runes, the possibilities are endless. I personally prefer to use Dark Harvest in the jungle, making that first hit with Deathbringer Stance really pack a punch. The other Domination runes just follow his kit. For Top lane, I like to take Conqueror, due to the fact that you'll be in combat practically the entire time in lane, and Precision runes makes perfect use of this status. I also prefer to take Resolve runes with both primary sets.
Arcane Comet and Grasp of the Undying build have also seen a lot of use lately, and so I've added them to my build. Nothing too fancy. I prefer to use both of these build in the top lane, but either are easily viable in the jungle, especially if you swap in Celerity and Waterwalking on the Arcane Comet build.
The Cooldown Situation:
Aatrox is given a strong kit of hard-hitting abilities, without the need for mana. The trade-off? Long cooldowns. For this reason, max cooldown reduction is essential in playing Aatrox effectively. Therefore, when planning out a build for Aatrox, always consider how much CDR you have, how much you need, and what kind of items could fill that space.
|The Black Cleaver||Cooldown Reduction: 20%. The perfect item for Aatrox. Increased survivability? Check. Attack damage and armor shredding? Check. 20% cooldown reduction? Check. Increased chase potential? Check. No stats or passives are lost on Aatrox when purchasing this item. While The Black Cleaver is basically mandatory, refer to "Cooldown Reduction Items" section for additional options.|
|Frozen Mallet||Frozen Mallet does wonders for the Darkin Blade himself. Landing your The Darkin Blade edge hits can be difficult, but getting some Frozen Mallet hits between each use can make aiming a whole lot easier, especially when chasing. If you'd rather take another item, refer to the "Situational Items" section for more information.|
|Death's Dance||Cooldown Reduction: 10%. My preferred life steal choice. Not only does Aatrox receive some well-needed CDR, but Death's Dance practically has his Umbral Dash passive built in, letting you heal even more with The Darkin Blade. Remember, Death's Dance is not useful in every situation. Refer to the "Life Steal Items" section for more clarity on what to choose.|
|Stalker's Blade - Warrior||Cooldown Reduction: 10%. Enchantment: Warrior is really Aatrox's best choice in the jungle. He doesn't really need attack speed anymore, but attack damage and cooldown reduction are perfect for his kit. Even though Aatrox misses out on the cool jungle item passives, it's best to go with the tried and true Enchantment: Warrior.|
|Skirmisher's Sabre - Warrior||Cooldown Reduction: 10%. Stalker's Blade is my preferred jungle item, but Skirmisher's Sabre has its benefits. It's really about preference and play style. I find that the slow on Stalker's Blade makes fighting far easier, because Aatrox's main issue is just getting to the enemy.|
Cooldown Reduction Items:
|Youmuu's Ghostblade||Cooldown Reduction: 10%. Probably the best alternate option to Death's Dance. Movement speed, leathality, and attack damage. All very useful for Aatrox. Pick this up if you'd rather take Ravenous Hydra or The Bloodthirster.|
|Maw of Malmortius||Cooldown Reduction: 10%. Great aggressive response to a strong AP presence on the enemy team. Maw of Malmortius even offers additional life steal when you're in need, which can be very handy.|
|Duskblade of Draktharr||Cooldown Reduction: 10%. Duskblade of Draktharr is a decent item for Aatrox, but only really when jungling. If going top, this item is not worth it.|
Life Steal Items:
|Ravenous Hydra||Ravenous Hydra is my go-to wave clear item on Aatrox. He now has the ability to clear wave pretty easily now, so Ravenous Hydra is lower on the list of life steal items. However, if you want to clear minions and/or camps really dang fast, look no further.|
|The Bloodthirster||A very handy item on Aatrox. High life steal and high attack damage with an overheal ability is worth considering. However, it's rare that Aatrox will be hitting hard enough and fast enough to get that overheal to begin with, missing out on some of the item's effectiveness.|
|Blade of the Ruined King||One of my favorite items in the game, but sadly not as effective as it used to be on Aatrox. He doesn't really need the attack speed anymore, but that's not to say it's wasted on him. The slow, however, is perfect for chasing, especially because Aatrox needs help with mobility.|
|Sterak's Gage||I haven't quite been sold on the effectiveness of Sterak's Gage yet. Aatrox does have the highest base attack damage at level 1, but this could change with the rework. This item makes Aatrox very effective in teamfights, absorbing damage and ignoring crowd control. A serious contender for a Frozen Mallet replacement.|
|Guardian Angel||Good stats and a second resurrect? Why the hell not? Guardian Angel is a great item, especially on a tankier Aatrox simply because of how much health you'll be restoring every time you come back. It'll make your opponents think twice about focusing you, letting you work your magic with very little retaliation.|
|Titanic Hydra||Great item for a tank Aatrox. Titanic Hydra provides Aatrox with much-needed health and health regen, wave clear, and even damage that scales off of his health. Consider replacing your life steal item entirely with this in a tank build.|
|Lord Dominik's Regards||35% armor penetration is very tempting on Aatrox, especially against a tankier team. Consider this an option if you're having trouble against champions like Darius and Maokai.|
|Mortal Reminder||Mortal Reminder is meant for a similar situation as Lord Dominik's Regards, but if the enemy team has a lot of sustain. You end up trading 10% armor penetration for Grievous Wounds. Not a bad deal.|
|Spirit Visage||Cooldown Reduction: 10%. Everything Aatrox could want in a defensive item; CDR, additional healing, and some solid stat bonuses. You'll most likely want to build this every time, unless you're doing an aggressive build.|
|Dead Man's Plate||While there are plenty of other armor choices, Dead Man's Plate helps Aatrox the most in staying alive and getting around quickly. While Dead Man's Plate has no CDR, it's still a worth-while pickup if you're already at max CDR. An all-around great pick for armor.|
|Randuin's Omen||A decent item for defensive purposes, probably more so than Dead Man's Plate. However, Aatrox has issues getting to the enemies, not keeping them there, so the slow is kind of overkill on the crowd control. Still, it's up to preference.|
|Adaptive Helm||Cooldown Reduction: 10%. I would only ever seriously consider building Adaptive Helm against a significantly AP-based team, and/or an AP lane opponent with repetitive poke. In these conditions, this item works wonders. Otherwise, don't bother.|
|Warmog's Armor||Cooldown Reduction: 10%. Solid health and health regen, as well as CDR make Warmog's Armor a great choice. However, to capitalize on the item's full potential, only consider this item if you're planning on building more tanky than usual. Otherwise, grab something with more resistances.|
|Ohmwrecker||Cooldown Reduction: 10%. I know what you're thinking. " Ohmwrecker? Really?" Yes, really. This is certainly not my first item choice, but Ohmwrecker has some pretty decent stat bonuses, not to mention CDR. If you're planning on going for split pushes, this is not a bad option.|
Passive: Deathbringer Stance
#1. World Ender
6 / 11 / 16
#2. The Darkin Blade
1 / 3 / 5 / 7 / 9
#3. Umbral Dash
2 / 8 / 10 / 12 / 13
#4. Infernal Chains
4 / 14 / 15 / 17 / 18
Deathbringer Stance is a very handy tool in Aatrox's kit. For starters, it empowers your next attack, which is always good, but this attack also reduces all healing and shielding on the target. This makes fighting champions like Dr. Mundo, Warwick, and even Sion much easier. Probably the first thing you'll notice about Deathbringer Stance is the 25 second cooldown. This is pretty substantial for an empowered attack, but this cooldown is reduced every time you cast any ability or hit an enemy champion with the edge of The Darkin Blade! While CDR won't effect the passive directly, it will allow you to use more abilities, reducing its cooldown.|
The Darkin Blade is Aatrox's main source of damage. Hitting an enemy with any part of the ability does a decent amount of damage, but you are going to want to land those edge strikes. Not only does that knock up the enemy EACH TIME you land a hit, but it also does 50% more damage! In addition, the ability has two recasts, so you get three strikes in total per ability use. The cooldown starts as soon as you cast the The Darkin Blade the first time, so don't worry about using all three casts as fast as possible. In fact, it's probably better to time your strikes patiently. Each strike is 25% stronger than the last, and so it's very important to hit the final cast. The first two cast edges are further way from you, allowing you to poke decently from a distance. This functionality also gives your opponent two choices to avoid the edge damage: move in closer or back up. If they choose the former option, they'll be in perfect range to be hit with the final, melee-distance cast of The Darkin Blade. Learn the spacing of the ability, and try to combo it with Infernal Chains, because landing the final cast is nearly impossible if they're already running.
Umbral Dash not only allows Aatrox more mobility and terrain traversal, but also gives him increased damage and mix-up potential. You see, Umbral Dash can be cast during any of Aatrox's abilities without interrupting, most importantly The Darkin Blade. Umbral Dash let's you re-position The Darkin Blade AFTER you've begun casting! This let's you pull off some interesting combos, confusing your opponent. Umbral Dash has two charges, and I like to max this after The Darkin Blade, simply because it allows me to reduce the cooldown of Deathbringer Stance quickly.
Infernal Chains is Aatrox's other major crowd control tool. It does some moderate damage, but nothing to be concerned about. What's really important is the chain and pull ability, allowing you to set up some The Darkin Blade strikes. While the enemy can run out of the range of the ability and avoid the pull altogether, this doesn't tend to happen past the early game. This is where something like a Frozen Mallet could come in handy, but this ability is not our highest priority, and so it's not really a concern.
With all of this in mind, we can finally talk about World Ender. Aatrox's ultimate ability give him everything he could possibly want: attack damage, movement speed, and survivability with a resurrect. The minion fear is just aesthetic as far as I can tell, but you should always use this ability when a major fight starts, or even beforehand to help you get to the fight. It's important to time this ability correctly, because casting it too early could mean the enemy can wait out its duration and kill you, and casting it too late could mean the enemy killing you quickly, not allowing you to fill your Blood Well. As before, Aatrox's World Ender is really just a buff meant to help finish off your opponents, and should not be neglected.
Per usual, you'll want to level your ultimate at levels 6, 11, and 16.
The Darkin Blade is Aatrox's main source of damage besides basic attacks, making it an effective tool for not only laning, but jungling also. You'll want to level this next regardless of position.
Then, you'll want to grab Umbral Dash, followed by Infernal Chains. Infernal Chains is one of those abilities with high functionality at level 1, and minimal difference upon leveling it further. Umbral Dash, on the other hand, increases your life steal and gives you a more effective tool for lowering your Deathbringer Stance each time you level it.
COMING SOON! As Aatrox was reworked, his matchups changed drastically. Therefore, it'll take some time and experience to put together something that would be good enough for this guide.
Since Aatrox is mana-less, he certainly benefits from
Crest of Cinders
more. However, it really depends on which camp is closest to your bot lane, because they'll give you a more effective leash. Therefore, going
Crest of Insight
might be the better option if you're coming from the red-side nexus.
Also, if you're low health, just walk on over to the Rift Scuttler and use him to bring yourself back up to a decent level of health. Rift Scuttler is now a vital part of jungle rotation, and should be killed at some point during your rounds.
Rift Scuttler (if it's there)
Greater Murk Wolf
Rift Scuttler (if it's there)
Rift Scuttler (if it's there)
Greater Murk Wolf
Rift Scuttler (if it's there)
Overall, Aatrox is an off-tank fighter who specializes in crowd control, dealing incredible damage, and just staying alive. What's important to remember is that Aatrox is the key to a successful Aatrox player is the ability to build accordingly to your team's needs.
Aatrox quickly became my favorite champion the moment I played him for the first time. His simplistic design, his wide-reaching backstory, and his high-risk play style all came together in a wonderfully flawed creation. Even with his new, much-needed rework, I find myself enjoying the champion even more. The essence of the old Aatrox is still there, and more vibrant than ever. It's great to see my favorite champion finally shown some love, and I hope I can help all of those who may not understand the guy just yet.
Feel free to comment! I'm always looking for more advice on how to make guides.