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An Ancient Mystery in Runeterra

By EzrealSquare Explorer Ezreal [S|L] [1]

Aatrox Promo 2

Hey, everyone. EzrealSquare Ezreal here.

Normally, I wouldn't ask for help. I've come across a lot of interesting relics in my travels, but never anything like these.

I've gathered everything on my desk for all of you to take a look. The important thing is that these relics were found all over Runeterra, and they date from different and completely unconnected eras. The thing is... they all share one similarity: they show a dark AatroxSquare figure, clearly inhuman, wielding a jagged Blood Thirst blade.

This is a mystery I'm not sure I want solved. From what I can gather so far, this dark figure has been at the center of many bloody conflicts and tales of war.

What do you think? Who is this figure, and what role has he played in Runeterra's history?

Oh, and if you really want to hear some of the stories about these things... I'll tell them, but some of them aren't pretty.


Aatrox Promo 3

Take a look at this. It's a stained glass window from Demacia.

Don't ask me how I got it. I'm going to give it back, I promise. I'm borrowing it for research, and they'll never know it's missing. Demacians never stop talking about light, so what do they really need a window for, anyway?

Look closely. See the shape in the center with the wings and the jagged Blood Price sword? That's the figure I've been seeing everywhere.

This is the first artifact that really got me thinking. It's not that old, and it can't really go back more than a few generations at most. I asked around, and nobody knows what the figure is or if he has a name. They all agreed on one thing though: whoever this figure is, he's clearly someone worth remembering to be immortalized like this.

But why does he appear in so many other places? So many of these artifacts are ancient, and some are from lost civilizations so old they don't even have names.

How is that possible?


Aatrox Promo 4

This statuette is from Noxus.

Yes, Noxus. You know how I feel about Noxians, but their city is full of history. It'll take more than dark magic, guards with massive axes, and a creepy SwainSquare bird guy to keep me from exploring the most important places in Valoran.

Noxus is full of these kinds of statuettes. Usually, they're made as tributes to the nation's greatest heroes, but this one doesn't look like any Noxian war hero I've ever heard of. I know of plenty, too, believe me: pick up any Noxian book and it's probably a way-too-lengthy chronicle of some hero's life, conquests, and the size of their weapon. I wouldn't have looked twice at this one if I hadn't recognized the figure.

Here's the thing that's really nagging me... what's Noxus doing with statues of a figure that shows up in Demacian art, too?


Aatrox Promo 5
Aatrox Promo 6

When I noticed the similarities between the Demacian stained glass and the Noxian statue, I had to know more. I pulled as many books as I could out of the library at Piltover's academy. There are some sections there restricted to everyone but academy graduates. I could have gotten in on my own, but I didn't want to burn any bridges, so I had JayceSquare Jayce help me out. Everyone loves that guy.

The smaller one is a book of Noxian war poems. Most of what's inside is standard Noxian military fare, but the blade on the cover captured my attention.

The big one right here is an old book of fables and stories. Not all of them are entirely true, but one of them caught my eye. The character in the story is an arrogant general leading his warriors into battle and winning with ease. He has the last of his enemies cornered, but... you know what they say about pride before a fall.

A great warrior - that's right, our dark figure - appears in the battle. The arrogant general's enemies, men on the verge of death, are inspired by his presence. "They rose from their knees as though he'd lit their very blood aflame", it says. "The shamed general watched as his men were cleaved by an army that had begged for mercy just moments before. His enemies had become murderers and butchers. As they closed on him, the general could not be certain whether they were still men at all."


Aatrox Promo 7

Shurima's been gone for centuries. It's hardly anything but dust now, but the ruins that remain show a massive civilization that once thrived in the desert. I have no idea what happened to the empire. It seems like it XerathSquare vanished without a trace... but that's a whole different mystery.

I found this urn in a tomb there. From the look of the place and some of the carvings on the walls, it was the final resting place of a great Shuriman warlord who led a battle against impossible odds. He and his men should have gone out in a blaze of glory but, somehow, they won. Just a handful of warriors defeated thousands of enemies who rose against them.

It's no wonder they'd immortalize that kind of victory on the walls of a tomb, but what is this dark figure doing on the urn? What part did he play in this battle? I just don't get it.


Aatrox Promo 8

You can carve plenty of interesting things out of the Freljord's ice. That place has always been a battleground, so I wouldn't have thought twice about digging up a dagger like this one if it weren't for two things. One: check out the etching in the metal. Look closely enough and you'll see the same serrated design found in the rest of these relics. Two, well... the dagger's hilt is carved from human bone.

Here's where it gets more interesting. The tribesmen of that region say the figure on the blade is a legend, a 'warrior-savior' who appeared during a battle against a hated rival tribe several years ago. They'd almost lost the battle, but the warrior appeared and led them to a crushing victory over their enemies. They left no one alive, but when the tribesmen went to celebrate with their champion, he'd already vanished. They say that - in his memory - they took the bones of their enemies as trophies.

It sounds like a similar story to the one from the Shuriman tomb. Both tell of a warrior who appeared and turned the tide of a great battle... but at a gruesome cost.


Aatrox Promo 9

This Ionian woodblock was carved long before the war with Noxus. They're rare nowadays, but they're always more or less the same. They all depict things of beauty: landscapes, monks in meditation, the stars and the night sky, all of that 'enlightenment' stuff they're always on about. All of them... except this one.

I've never seen anything like it. It's that same dark figure with that same blade - and the worst thing - I don't think those red stains are ink...


Aatrox Promo 10

I got lucky with this one. I found it stuck between the pages of that huge book. It's not the same paper, and it's pretty damaged. Maybe someone got to this research before me, but they didn't get as far as I did.

In the image, it looks like these men are revering a statue of the dark figure. The statue itself looks like it's half-unearthed. It might not even be something they built, but something they found.

What is it about this figure that drove these people to be so devoted to him?


Aatrox Promo 11

I won these coins off a certain Card Master whose name I won't say... and whose real name I don't even know. I'd lost every single hand up until this one, and the one time I beat him, of course he'd bet completely useless old coins. I can't spend them anywhere in Valoran. At least I've found a 'use' for them now. It took me a while to realize it, but that's the same jagged blade on these old coins.

Finally, there's this pendant to the right. It's very, very old, and I have no idea where it originally came from. That's the dark figure's face right there in the metal. Whoever he is, he's been around for a really long time.

That's all I've collected so far. So... what do you think? Who is this figure, and what does his presence mean?

I know one thing: I never want to meet him...


Aatrox Promo 12

Uh oh.

Don't pay any attention to that sketch of me and whoever that is, it's not important. I didn't mean to leave it out.

I'll just... put it away.


Aatrox, the Darkin Blade, revealed

By Tyler 'RiotWenceslaus' Eltringham [2]

AatroxSquare Aatrox, the Darkin Blade emerges from the shadows of history to slake his thirst for Blood Well blood and battle. This deft warrior Blood Price cuts down his foes and Blood Thirst drains their life force with his blade. Aatrox's abilities cost health to cast.

Blood Well
Blood Well

Aatrox stores a portion of his abilities' health cost in the Blood Well, which slowly drains to a base amount while he is out of combat. When Aatrox loses all of his health, he draws on the Blood Well and recovers the amount of health stored.


Dark Flight
Dark Flight

Aatrox rises into the air and slams into a target location. Enemies within the impact zone are Airborne icon knocked up and take damage, while nearby enemies take damage.


Blood Thirst
Blood Thirst

Aatrox Blood Thirst 2 heals himself on every third attack. Activating Blood Thirst toggles Blood Price Blood Price.

  • Blood Price: Every third attack now deals Blood Price 2 bonus damage instead of healing Aatrox. Aatrox loses health based on the bonus damage dealt.


Blades of Torment
Blades of Torment

Aatrox fires a line attack that damages and Slow icon slows enemies caught in its path. Aatrox is refunded a part of the health cost if Blades of Torment strikes an enemy champion.


Massacre
Massacre

Upon activation, Aatrox instantly damages enemies in an area around him. For the duration of Massacre, Aatrox gains bonus attack speed and range. Massacre has no health cost.


Aatrox Screenshots


AatroxSquare Aatrox is a basic attack dependent melee champion who excels as a duelist and team fighter. His built-in Blood Thirst 2 sustain and Dark Flight escape mechanics make him an ideal fit for top lane.

Top-lane

The sustain from Blood Thirst Blood Thirst keeps Aatrox's health topped off, allowing him to farm throughout the laning phase. Aatrox excels as a duelist, able to switch to Blood Price Blood Price for heavy Blood Price 2 burst damage when trading with his lane opponent. After the exchange, Aatrox can toggle back to Blood Thirst Blood Thirst to top off his health. When he's ready to finish the job, Massacre Massacre adds significantly to an already potent burst combo.

If the lane isn't going Aatrox's way, the knock-up effect from Dark Flight Dark Flight can be used to set up ganks for his jungler. Or, if Aatrox has bullied his enemy out of lane, he can push aggressively, safe in the knowledge that the disengage from Dark Flight Dark Flight and Blades of Torment Blades of Torment's slow will aid his escape when enemies come charging. Even when things go totally wrong, Blood Well Blood Well offers a second chance to secure kills or make a quick exit.

Team fights

Aatrox's Dark Flight mobility gives him an innate ability to pressure enemy carries in team fights. Blood Thirst Blood Thirst grants Aatrox plenty of sustain as he tangos with enemy initiators and tanks. When he sees an opportunity to reach an enemy carry, Dark Flight Dark Flight closes the gap and allows the punishment to begin. When Aatrox is in deep, the area of effect burst and extra range from Massacre Massacre, and slow on Blades of Torment Blades of Torment prevent high-value targets from escaping. All the while the consistent healing from Blood Thirst Blood Thirst and resurrection effect from Blood Well Blood Well keep him alive long enough to cut through enemy squishies.

If Aatrox's team is on the defensive, a well-aimed Blades of Torment Blades of Torment can slow multiple enemies and open a window for retreating allies to slip away. Alternately, he can kite enemies with Dark Flight Dark Flight, and create an opportunity for the remainder of his team to turn and counter-initiate. If Aatrox is focused, Blood Thirst Blood Thirst's sustain and the Blood Well Blood Well keep him in the fight, giving his teammates an opportunity to cut through foes as he Blood Well resurrects and delivers the killing blow.

Media

Aatrox, the Darkin Blade - Login Screen01:24

Aatrox, the Darkin Blade - Login Screen

Aatrox's Theme



Worlds 2016 Zedd - Ignite03:47

Worlds 2016 Zedd - Ignite


  • Aatrox Wing Exploration 1 (by Riot Artist Riot Artist Eoin Colgan)
  • Aatrox Wing Exploration 2 (by Riot Artist Riot Artist Eoin Colgan)
  • Aatrox Concept 2 (by Riot Artist Eoin Colgan)
  • Aatrox Concept 3 (by Riot Artist Eoin Colgan)
  • Aatrox Concept 4 (by Riot Artist Eoin Colgan)
  • Mecha Aatrox Promo 1
  • Mecha Aatrox Promo 2
  • Sea Hunter Aatrox Concept (by Riot Artist Samuel Thompson)
  • Bounty Hunter Skins Splash Concept (by Riot Artist Sixmorevodka Studio)


References