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Aatrox Build Guide by Vapora Dark

Top grandmaster

Vapora Dark In-Depth Top Aatrox Guide 9.22 Season 9

By Vapora Dark | Updated on November 17, 2019
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Legend: Tenacity
Last Stand

Taste of Blood
Ravenous Hunter

+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+6 Armor


LoL Summoner Spell: Flash


LoL Summoner Spell: Teleport


LeagueSpy Logo
Top Lane
Ranked #52 in
Top Lane
Win 48%
Get More Stats

-Table of Contents-

Gameplay and Extra
About Me

Hi, I'm Vapora Dark, a veteran player that's been playing since season 1. During that time I've hit Master tier as a mid lane main in season 5, as an ADC main in season 7, again as a jungle main in season 8, and once more in season 9 playing a mix of all those roles including mid and Fizz. I can play every role to a very high level and have a very good understanding of the general aspects of the game on top of that.

I've been writing guides on MOBAFire since 2011, among which my achievements include winning the MOBAFire guide contest multiple times, achieving the highest score on the site multiple times with multiple guides, achieving the most comments on a single guide of all time by a very large amount which hasn't come even close to being surpassed in the 3 years that it's been archived, and having the most collective guide views on the site by a very hefty amount. I've also written some champion guides for Riot Games on the Lolesports site.

Precision & Domination

Conqueror is the best rune for Aatrox due to how easy it his for him to get and maintaining his stacks. The large amount of sustain and damage he gets from this rune makes it always the best choice in every situation.

Triumph can be a life saver in close fights, and the 20g per takedown actually adds up to quite a bit in bloody games.

Legend: Tenacity
Legend: Tenacity the other 2 options are useless for Aatrox but extra tenacity is very impactful. One of the worst things that can happen to you is to be CC chained and unable to sustain back with all your healing. This rune helps with that a lot.

Last Stand
Last Stand is the best option for you, as with the way Aatrox is played you'll very often dance around mid to low health and heal back up. With the massive percentage this rune offers it surpasses Coup de Grace enough to be the dominant rune.


Taste Of Blood

Ravenous Hunter
Taste of Blood: Until you get some Ravenous Hunter stacks and can survive fights long enough to get Conqueror going you'll need to endure the laning phase. Your laning phase is good but this rune just adds a whole lot of extra sustain for free.

Ravenous Hunter: After you gain a few stacks, your healing will be off the charts. With Death's Dance, Taste of Blood, Conqueror and World Ender you'll be healing for so much of the damage you deal even grevious wounds cant stop you.

9 Adaptive Force
9 Adaptive Force
6 Armour

This summoner spell is one you should always take and the one you'll always see. Flash has a billion and one uses, from flashing in to get a kill, from flashing away from danger, flashing over walls and flashing over abilities. This is something you should be very familiar with by now and it's something you should ALWAYS have. There is never a situation where you don't take flash.
As this guide focuses on top lane Aatrox, it's highly likely you'll want to take Teleport. Top lane is very isolated and has little pressure on the other lanes during the early and mid game. Teleport lets you create uneven fights and picks from anywhere on the map. It also has the benefit of being a free recall if you get ganked or otherwise forced out of lane at an inopportune time.
However as a top laner, you can create a huge amount of map pressure by killing your lane opponent or even having the threat of being able to kill them. Even if you don't think Ignite is important for you, it's something Aatrox needs to look out for as plenty of top laners will take it and it directly counters your self healing style of combat.

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Passive: Deathbringer Stance
Deathbringer Stance
Aatrox's next basic attack gains 50 extra range and deals [5 - 12%] of the target's Max Health as physical damage (max: 400 against monsters), healing him for the bonus physical damage dealt (25% healing against minions).

Cooldown is reduced by 2 seconds when Aatrox casts a spell, hits a champion with the edge of The Darkin Blade or hits a basic attack on a monster/champion.
This passive is a relatively simple damage buff that will cause your next basic attack to deal a large amount of bonus physical damage based on the enemies maximum health. It then heals you for that damage which is also single target, meaning Ravenous Hunter and Death's Dance also heal you for it. It only heals for 25% of the damage if you hit a minion, so it's best to trade with your passive when possible.

Casting any ability will lower the cooldown of this attack by 2s, and hitting someone with the edge of The Darkin Blade decreases this by a further 2s. This also works on basic attacks meaning you'll want to continue to weave in auto attacks during fights. Not only for this passive but to also stack Conqueror.
Q: The Darkin Blade
The Darkin Blade
No Cost
16/15/14/13/12 sec Cooldown
Aatrox slams his greatsword down, dealing 10/30/50/70/90 (+60/65/70/75/80% total AD) physical damage. This ability may be re-cast 2 additional times, each one increasing the damage by 25%.

Strikes that hit with the Edge knock enemies up for 0.25s and deal 50% more damage.

This ability deals 40% damage to minions.

Q damage increased by 25% per cast - Q1/2/3 = 100%/125%/150%

Each Q that hits with the blade end (visible on indicator) deals 50% more damage than usual.
An ability based around 3 skill shots that is designed to be used with good positioning and in rapid succession. The area that this ability covers is different depending on which cast you're on. The first cast is a simple straight line, similar to Blade's Reach. The second cast is a lot wider but is also shorter. The final cast is a small circle slightly in front of Aatrox.

The ability deals more damage with each cast, with the first one being the lowest damage and the third cast dealing the most. More importantly though is that there is a small area in which you will deal 50% bonus damage and trigger a small 0.25s knockup on all targets hit. The first and second cast have this area on the tip of the skillshot, right at the far edge whereas the third cast is a smaller circle inside the abilities normal circle. Whilst this ability doesn't have a lot of base damage, if you hit all 3 parts on the smaller area you will be dealing a high amount of damage based on your total attack damage.

I max this ability first as it simply deals the most damage, directly increases how often you can use Deathbringer Stance and it helps with wave clear.
W: Infernal Chains
Infernal Chains
No Cost
26/23/20/17/14 sec Cooldown

Aatrox smashes the ground, dealing 30/40/50/60/70 (+40% Total AD) physical damage to the first enemy hit and slowing by 25% for 1.5s.

Champions or Large Monsters have 1.5s to leave the impact area or be dragged back and damaged again.

Deals double damage to minions.
A simple skillshot that deals a small amount of physical damage and applies a 1.5s slow. However when it hits a champion/large monster the enemy is tethered to the impact point and a large area expands out from them. If the target does not leave this area within 1.5s they are then pulled back to the impact point and is dealt the damage again.

I max this ability last as it deals low damage, only has a weak slow attached and the crowd control is unreliable against mobile champions.
E: Umbral Dash
Umbral Dash
No Cost

9/8/7/6/5 sec Cooldown

Passive: Aatrox heals for 20/22.5/25/27.5/30% of physical damage he deals to champions.

Umbral Dash resets Aatrox's basic attack timer and can be used during his other spell casts without interrupting them.
Passively, Aatrox will heal for a percentage of the premitigation physical damage he deals to champions. It's important to note it's premitigation making it better than things like lifesteal or other healing effects.

Upon cast Aatrox will dash a very small distance. That is all this ability does now.

It also has the unique effect of being able to be used during his other spellcasts. This has innate synergy with his Q, The Darkin Blade, as it allows you to move the smaller blades edge zone more precisely even after casting it.

I max this ability second as the cooldown needs to be as low as possible to make proper use of it and the extra healing is powerful.
R: World Ender
World Ender
No Cost
120/100/80 sec Cooldown

Aatrox reveals his true demonic form for the next 10 seconds, fearing nearby minions for 3 seconds and gaining:

60/80/100% increased bonus movement speed that decays over the duration.

20/25/30% increased Total Attack Damage.

50/60/70% increased self-healing.

Every takedown Aatrox gets in World Ender increases the duration by 5 seconds up to the maximum of 10 seconds.
A very powerful buff ultimate that gives Aatrox a large amount of movement speed that decays, a large AoE fear on minions,a sizeable bonus attack damage multiplier and a huge self-healing multiplier.

You should time this ability to help you get into combat thanks to the bonus movement speed. Don't do it too late though as you'll want to chain takedowns together in order to extend the duration.

The combat stats are very strong but the real power comes in the self-healing buff. This buff isn't affected by area of effect like Conqueror and being able to heal for such a large amount together with you being tanky from items makes you terrifying.

I put points into this ability at 6/11/16
Doran's Blade

Against all matchups you should take a Doran's Blade to deal a decent bit of extra damage whilst also having a nice health buffer. The lifesteal doesn't mean much to you but a little extra sustain never hurt anybody.
Ninja Tabi

As a fighter you'll nearly always be buying defensive boots. Ninja Tabi are the best option against auto attack based champions and physical damage. Such as against Yasuo, Riven or Darius. As the meta in top lane is pretty much all physical damage with an emphasis on basic attacks ( Jax, Irelia, Riven, Renekton and so on). There will be your default choice in most games.

Mercury's Treads

The other defensive boots, Mercury's Treads offers magic resistance and 30% tenacity. These are the correct option against magic damage based teams and those with heavy crowd control where you don't need to buy armour early. Morgana, Brand and Ahri are all popular right now and their kits are directly effected by tenacity.
The Black Cleaver

A core item for almost any fighter and Aatrox is no exception. Large amounts of health and attack damage alongside % armour shred and extra movement speed on hitting targets with 20% cooldown reduction as well. [[The Black Cleaver] will almost always be your rush item if you're not snowballing.

Death's Dance

Aatrox's kit is based around dealing a high amount of physical damage and healing back through said damage. Death's Dance is the perfect pairing for him, allowing you to sustain for longer in fights which lets you survive for longer during World Ender which means you can continue to make use of the huge self-healing it offers for longer. I would get this item every game as well, making it core.

Sterak's Gage

Sterak's Gage is another item that offers a large amount of health which alongside that has a passive that will shield you based on your bonus health and gives tenacity during the shield's buff. It will also give you bonus attack damage based on your base attack damage and Aatrox has a very high base attack damage making this item scale very well with some levels.

Guardian Angel

Extra attack damage with some armour are solid stats for any physical scaling based champion. An extra life every 5 minutes can allow you to play a lot more aggressively without a fear of giving up a kill especially considering the fact you'll be in melee range of some very high damage champions.

Spirit Visage

A pure defensive item that gives you a lot of health, magic resistance and some cooldown reduction. Most importantly the reason you buy this magic resistance item over other ones is because it will multiply all your healing by 1.3x . This item alone almost negates one of your biggest weaknesses which is Grievous Wounds. Whilst you don't need magic resistance every game, whenever you do need magic resist you'll want a Spirit Visage. Usually however you would prefer more damage with items like Death's Dance or Guardian Angel than a pure tank item.
Youmuu's Ghostblade

With the very high amount of base damage and scaling in The Darkin Blade and the fact Aatrox has a powerful early game, buying a single lethality item is staggering for your potential damage. Whilst buying multiple lethality items isn't good on Aatrox as you'll be too squishy, a Youmuu's Ghostblade is perfect as your first or second item as it gives you incredible sticking power, roaming power and lane dominance. This should only be considered if you're super fed though as more often than not you'll want items that can help keep you alive.

Randuin's Omen

Large amount of health and armour make Randuin's Omen strong against almost any physical damage champion. The passives of taking a less damage multiplier against critical strikes can really cut into the damage of champions like Yasuo or Caitlyn and the cold steel passive will make them further do less damage as they'll receive an attack speed slow. Ontop of all that it comes with an active that pairs very nicely with your melee based kit. Getting ontop of someone is fairly difficult if they have mobility so once you get onto them Randuin's Active will let you stay on them more easily. Usually however you would prefer more damage with items like Death's Dance or Guardian Angel than a pure tank item.


A high armour defensive item that counters auto attack based damage dealers who also sustain a lot through lifesteal. A lot of marksmen and a few top laners really feel this item and against specific matchups I would consider getting Bramble Vest fairly quickly. Specifically Fiora. Usually however you would prefer more damage with items like Death's Dance or Guardian Angel than a pure tank item.
Laning Phase
As a top laner your main job in the laning phase is to draw pressure from the enemy jungler by being some type of threat that requires multiple champions to deal with you. You can then exert that pressure accross the map using things like Teleport or invading with your jungler/mid laner. Aatrox is the type of champion to attain his threat through being able to lane for longer than most champions and is incredibly potent and 2v2s or diving thanks to World Ender.

You'll mostly be trading with your lane opponent whilst keeping the wave either shoved into their tower or frozen near yours. You can do this using The Darkin Blade on minions or specifically not using it on them. At level 6 you can become a very large dive threat as you'll revive upon death for up to 12 seconds. If your jungler comes at this point you can very easily dive the enemy and use the fact you'll not die to get not only the kill but total topside control.

You can also setup ganks very easily with your Infernal Chains as if it hits an enemy champion at the same moment your jungler ganks it can make it very difficult to escape without a mobility skill, and even then if your jungler has a strong crowd control then they will nearly always get pulled back all the while you're damaging them.

Depending on your summoner spell you'll want to either focus more on pushing and roaming (if you have Teleport) or focus on freezing and dueling (if you have Ignite). This is not an absolute though because even if you have ignite sometimes you'll want to shove to roam/invade/deny your opponent and Teleport has an infinite number of map based uses from going bot lane to setting up freezes with superior recall timings.
Mid Game
In the midgame you will be doing very similar things to as you were in the laning phase. Keeping a side lane managed whilst constantly looking to pressure the map through split pushing or creating uneven fights from Teleport or good roaming. It's impossible to say when to split and when to group simply because every match is different and there are too many variables to give an answer. If you're unsure about the best thing to do you should pay close attention to what your direct opponent is doing/wants to do and what your team is doing/wants to do.

Your direct opponent being your split pushing enemy. You can more easily figure out what to do based on understand them and their champion. For example, it's unlikely you can outduel a Fiora so you should look to keep the wave shoved/frozen and look to create uneven fights from ganks or roaming. However if you're against someone like a Maokai then you should attempt to pressure towers and try to kill them if it's safe to do so so the map can more easily open up for objectives. This is a skill that only comes with practice/time.
Late Game
Aatrox isn't the best of champions late game because you simply can't out DPS carries and you can't take damage like a tank. However you're still just as deadly to the enemy you're mirroring. Just like you've been doing all game you'll want to split and look for towers/kills/roams and ganks. However in the late game you'll nearly always be able to get a lot more done in terms of base destruction thanks to how much damage you'll be dealing to towers if left unchecked. Just make sure to rotate to your team or Teleport to them if a fight breaks out, as they can start and end faster than you can clear waves.
Aatrox is a juggernaut who excels in skirmishes in the mid game. The amount of self healing he gets is some of the highest in the game as unlike most healing/lifesteal it's premitigation which means it'll heal the damage regardless of if you hit for 100 damage or 500 damage (unless you have grievous wounds). He also has a lot of skill expression in his hit as consistently landing your Q The Darkin Blade on the blades edge is not easy. Even with using Umbral Dash to more precisely move it.

A good Aatrox will weave basic attacks in between landing his Q on the blades edge whilst dodging abilities with the dash and will just flow incredibly well like a Riven with perfect animation cancels.
Follow me on snapchat @vaporadark
League of Legends Build Guide Author Vapora Dark
Vapora Dark Aatrox Guide