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Aatrox is a basic attack dependent melee champion who excels as a duelist and team fighter. His built-in sustain and escape mechanics make him an ideal fit for top lane.
The sustain from 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 for heavy burst damage when trading with his lane opponent. After the exchange, Aatrox can toggle back to Blood Thirst to top off his health. When he’s ready to finish the job, 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 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 and Blades of Torment’s slow will aid his escape when enemies come charging. Even when things go totally wrong, Blood Well offers a second chance to secure kills or make a quick exit.
Aatrox’s mobility gives him an innate ability to pressure enemy carries in team fights. 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 closes the gap and allows the punishment to begin. When Aatrox is in deep, the area of effect burst and extra range from Massacre, and slow on Blades of Torment prevent high-value targets from escaping. All the while the consistent healing from Blood Thirst and resurrection effect from 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 can slow multiple enemies and open a window for retreating allies to slip away. Alternately, he can kite enemies with Dark Flight, and create an opportunity for the remainder of his team to turn and counter-initiate. If Aatrox is focused, Blood Thirst’s sustain and the Blood Well keep him in the fight, giving his teammates an opportunity to cut through foes as he resurrects and delivers the killing blow.
- Whether playing in lane or in the jungle, it is recommended that you level your Blades of Torment first as the increased slow time as well as the powerful, ranged, magic damage offers more per skill point than any of Aatrox's other skills.
- The attack speed from Blood Well is one of the most underutilized parts of Aatrox's kit, be sure to keep your Blood Well full, regardless of whether or not the revive is on cooldown.
- The attack speed synergizes very well with Blood Thirst
- It is important to remember that Blood Thirst and Blood Price can be switch between at any time. Meaning you can charge the heal in Blood Thirst then switch to Blood Price to instead use it for damage.
- Dark Flight can be used as both an initiation move and a disengage, but be aware that Aatrox is still vulnerable to crowd controls, such as stuns and knockups.
- Blades of Torment and Dark Flight have some synergy with each other.
- Using Blades of Torment first can allow you to get in a few hits and hopefully force an enemy to attempt an escape, after which you can follow up with Dark Flight for further punishment. Reversing the skill order will achieve the same effect but not with the same efficiency - Dark Flight has a longer cooldown and is a "harder" form of crowd control, thus encouraging more efficient use.
- Additionally, the slow from Blades of Torment makes landing dark flight's knock-up easier by reducing the enemy's ability to dodge it
- Try following the bonus damage from your Blood Price immediately with Massacre after you engage for the quickest burst of damage. A full combo would be readying your Blood Price, engage with Blades of Torment followed by Dark Flight, proc Blood Price bonus damage, then activate Massacre to deliver a burst of damage.
- Be aware that both Blades of Torment and Dark Flight briefly interrupt Aatrox's movement.
- With enough life steal, Aatrox can leave Blood Price on indefinitely, as the amount of damage he takes every third strike is negated by the life steal.
- Massacre has a huge variety of uses and a relatively short cooldown, so don't be afraid to use it for as many of these as possible
- Aatrox is a melee fighter who specializes in strong initiation and in-fight sustain. Because of the diversity in Aatrox's kit, he can quite effectively build two different ways: Damage or Tank.
- Aatrox benefits from life steal since it allows him to negate the health loss from his abilities.
- Apart from life steal, provides attack speed, letting him regain insane amounts of health through Blood Thirst. An early also gives some much-needed early sustain.
- is the item that gives the most attack damage and life steal in the game. It will make Aatrox extremely potent in 1v1 duels.
- is a very useful item to have when in the middle of a team fight, allowing you to both deal damage to and heal from multiple enemies, giving Aatrox a very powerful late-game presence.
- provides many valuable stats to Aatrox, giving movement speed, attack speed, health, attack damage, and a movement speed bonus on-hit .
- Make sure to utilize the procs of Trinity Force properly or the breadth of mediocre stats it provides will be less effective than an item more focused on a single stat.
- is especially useful once you fall below half health, as the bonus attack speed combined with the tripled healing from Blood Thirst makes you very hard to kill, even without your revive passive.
- Aatrox can use all 3 armor penetration items effectively ( , and ). The choice depends on whether or not you need armor penetration early, and also whether or not your enemies are focusing on armor.
- If you predict that your enemies are likely to get high amounts of armor, it is best to get during mid-game, helping you transition into your late-game phase better due to the high armor penetration and low cost.
- If you feel that you need armor penetration more early, or that you need cooldown reduction, getting a is a good idea. It can later be upgraded into a , which offers high armor penetration and some useful health, or which offers a passive that synergizes fantastically with Aatrox, as well as some critical strike chance.
- gives off great offensive stats, and the tenacity is good if not getting .
- 's passive will allow Aatrox to deal mixed damage, forcing enemies to itemize on some magic resist as well as armor.
- helps soak up damage in team fights and helps you survive long enough to take out high priority targets and the active slow helps catch running enemies.
- in conjunction with results in fast healing due to the increased healing effects of Spirits Visage and the AoE life steal from Hydra. It also sync well with his Passive and Blood thirst as it also increases their healing.
- is also a good choice since it provides 700 bonus health and an on-hit slow.
- is equivalent to a second Blood Well; they both revive Aatrox after death. This gives more survivability and allows for more opportunities to finish off targets.
- An early is primarily to counter laning opponents dealing mostly magic damage. Additionally, the active shield can save Aatrox from an otherwise untimely death.
- When Aatrox takes fatal damage he is healed for the amount currently in his resource bar. Landing a fatal blow on him while the resource bar is low will result in him reviving with a lower amount of health.
- Unlike other reviving champions, Aatrox's Blood Well revive is rapid and grants him invulnerability during this time which allows him to quickly re-join a team fight after being dropped to critical health.
- When fighting him, consider his resource bar as part of his own health. (For example, killing him with a full Blood Well will make him return with a large portion of his hitpoints and if the fight was closely matched, he will most likely kill you.)
- Be aware that his passive (after reviving) doesn't provide any attackspeed anymore, because he consumes all the blood within it and be sure to look if he got the Blood Thirst/Blood Price buff while reviving.
- Aatrox's main weakness early game is being bursted down, as he is naturally squishy, and that's the reason why he should build tanky during mid and late game. If you use a champion who can burst down Aatrox, the healing will be innefective, as Aatrox will lose too much health in a short period of time to be able to heal though the damage. This is especially dangerous for Aatrox if he already lost his passive.
- Because of this, assassins or champions with amazing early game damage, like Riven and Pantheon, are effective counters to Aatrox. They can dish out a lot of damage against Aatrox, and then zone him from farming, since he relies on auto-attacking to heal himself.
- Once Aatrox starts to get tanky items, these counters lose effectiveness, as Aatrox can no longer be bursted. At this point, only champions that have superior sustained damage, such as Jax or Warwick, can duel Aatrox.
- When Aatrox casts Dark Flight towards your location, avoid being knocked up by moving away from the center of impact.
- Most players will aim the ability right above you or right behind you. So, moving closer to Aatrox at the time he casts Dark Flight will likely make the skill miss you.
- In lane, zoning Aatrox out of combat will quickly drain out his Blood Well making him a much more vulnerable target.
- While he can be built as a fighter, Aatrox's stats and kit are similar to those of a melee ADC, like Fiora or Master Yi. These champions are devastating as long as they are able to attack, but are extremely vulnerable to crowd control, and while Aatrox's Blood Well helps him survive, he is no exception to the rule, as a well landed stun or snare can severely hinder his combat abilities.
- Inflicting Grievous Wounds can reduce his healing from Blood Thirst.
- Without ability power (which likely won't be built), Massacre's initial damage is not a factor. The large attack speed and range bonus is a huge threat, but you don't have to worry about getting instantly burst-nuked by the activation.
- The ability lasts long enough for most teamfights, but baiting Aatrox into using the ability to commit to killing you before a fight breaks out will remove the strong threat the ability presents in a teamfight.
- However, it's recommended you only do this if you are a very hard to kill or catch champion, such as Lulu, Zac, Singed, or Karma.
- Aatrox is auto attack reliant for not only his damage, but also his survivability. Reducing his attack speed by purchasing or can help reduce both of those components greatly.