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Aatrox/Strategy

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< Aatrox


Champion Background Strategy Skins & Trivia


Gameplay

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.

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.

Teamfights

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.

Champion Knowledge

  • Aatrox is a fighter, focused on initiation, sustain and sustained damage (despite already having a strong burst). His focus lies on having a strong initiation combined with powerful AoE damage, but keep in mind that he needs to be close to enemies afterwards in order to deal damage, so a mix of defensive and offensive itemization options will maximize your presence in game.
  • STRONG POINTS: Aatrox is a versatile champion in terms of role, being able to be played on top lane or in the jungle and as tank or fighter, even being able to combine both classes. He gains powerful attack speed buffs both from his passive and ultimate, while his passive grants him a second chance to either finish enemies or escape a dire situation.
  • WEAK POINTS: Aatrox can be killed fast in fights if his passive is on cooldown and disengages from the enemy team's side can stop his momentum since he only has one gap-closer. Since he is very basic attack dependent it is easy to counter him via itemization, such as Randuin&#039;s Omen item.png Randuin's Omen or Frozen Heart item.png Frozen Heart. Aatrox needs to be in combat constantly in order to deal his maximum damage output when a fight erupts, since his passive needs to be at its fullest in order to get a lot attack speed, especially when his build is damage focused, and less tanky, he will need more time to fill his blood well.
  • Since Aatrox has already great attack speed buffs in his kit, attack damage or defensive runes might provide more use than attack speed ones.
  • Stacking life steal is not well advised. Grevious Wounds will heavily cripple Aatrox' sustain, making it easier for enemies to duel him, as he will get even more dependent on his basic attacks.
  • Massacre.png Massacre greatly increases his range, opening possibilities to hit enemies from afar.
  • For a sustained damage melee fighter, Aatrox has strong initial AoE burst damage, using Blades of Torment.png Blades of Torment, Dark Flight.png Dark Flight and Massacre.png Massacre, alongside with the active abilities fromBlade of the Ruined King item.png Blade of the Ruined King and Ravenous Hydra item.png Ravenous Hydra, in quick succession can deal an incredible amount of damage and can be powerful enough to burst down squishy targets with high speed.
  • Blades of Torment.png Blades of Torment and Massacre.png Massacre deal magic damage, making it harder for the enemy team to itemize effectively against him, since they cause two different types of damage.

 Ability usage

  • Whether playing in lane or in the jungle, it is recommended that you level your Blades of Torment.png 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 AatroxSquare.png Aatrox's other skills.
    • It may seem appealing to maximize Blood Thirst.png Blood Thirst first for additional sustain, however the amount healed only goes up by 10 base with each skill point (roughly 3.3 health per attack)
  • If you feel confident enough, maximizing Blood Price.png Blood Price will provide heavy burst damage with a single basic attack, which can be used in lane to effectively trade with your opponent, coming out ahead in most exchange of blows.
    • To do so, last hit minions until the 3rd attack is ready and then make an aggressive move against your opponent, either attacking him with Blood Price.png Blood Price or switching toBlood Thirst.png Blood Thirst in the last second to continue attacking minions, in order to establish dominance in lane.
  • The attack speed from Blood Well.png Blood Well is one of the most underutilized parts of AatroxSquare.png Aatrox's kit, be sure to keep your Blood Well.png Blood Well full, regardless of whether or not the revive is on cooldown.
  • It is important to remember that Blood Thirst.png Blood Thirst and Blood Price.png Blood Price can be switched between at any time. Meaning you can charge the heal in Blood Thirst.png Blood Thirst then switch to Blood Price.png Blood Price to instead use it for damage, or the other way around.
    • Switch to Blood Price.png Blood Price for early game harass against other melee champions. On the other hand, switching to Blood Thirst.png Blood Thirst and getting one last heal can mean the difference between life and death when running from foes.
  • Dark Flight.png Dark Flight can be used as both an initiation move and a disengage, but be aware that AatroxSquare.png Aatrox is still vulnerable to crowd controls, such as stuns and knockups.
    • Dark Flight.png Dark Flight has a very fast movement time and can be used to quickly jump over smaller walls to escape pursuers or chase down enemies who have recently used Flash.png Flash or other blinks such as Arcane Shift.png Arcane Shift
  • Blades of Torment.png Blades of Torment and Dark Flight.png Dark Flight have great synergy with each other.
    • Using Blades of Torment.png 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.png Dark Flight for further punish the fleeing enemy. Reversing the skill order will achieve the same effect but not with the same efficiency - Dark Flight.png 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.png 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.png Blood Price immediately with Massacre.png Massacre after you engage for the quickest burst of damage. A full combo would be readying your Blood Price.png Blood Price, engage with Blades of Torment.png Blades of Torment followed by Dark Flight.png Dark Flight, proc Blood Price.png Blood Price bonus damage, then activate Massacre.png Massacre to deliver a burst of damage.
  • Be aware that both Blades of Torment.png Blades of Torment and Dark Flight.png Dark Flight briefly interrupt Aatrox's movement.
    • When trying to disengage, it's good to use Blades of Torment.png Blades of Torment first (since it has a longer range and a shorter cast animation) followed immediately by Dark Flight.png Dark Flight (since it has a shorter range and a longer cast animation).
  • With enough life steal, AatroxSquare.png Aatrox can leave Blood Price.png Blood Price on indefinitely, as the amount of damage he takes every third strike is negated by the life steal.
  • Massacre.png 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.
    • One use of Massacre.png Massacre is for heavy burst damage as explained above.
    • Another use of Massacre.png Massacre is to grant yourself additional attack speed for pushing down towers and taking inhibitors.
  • Later, when Aatrox has enough items to sustain and when his Blood Well.png Blood Well is off-cooldown, Aatrox can be used as a "living bait": sacrifice his Blood Well passive to make enemies waste some of their field control spells, leaving them open without retaliation when your teammates join the fray. After resurrected, Aatrox can continue to contribute in the teamfight.

Item usage

  • AatroxSquare.png Aatrox is a melee fighter who specializes in strong initiation and in-fight sustain. Because of the diversity in AatroxSquare.png Aatrox's kit, he can quite effectively build two different ways: Damage or Tank, being able to combine both build-paths as well.
  • Using Elixir of Iron item.png Elixir of Iron and Massacre.png Massacre together will provide an incredible 406 attack range, making it possible to hit melee champions from even farther, as well as granting tenacity and the bonus move speed for your allies.
Damage
  • Aatrox benefits from life steal since it allows him to negate the health loss from his abilities and complement the sustain from Blood Thirst.png Blood Thirst.
    • Apart from life steal, Blade of the Ruined King item.png Blade of the Ruined King provides attack speed, letting him regain insane amounts of health through Blood Thirst.png Blood Thirst. An early Bilgewater Cutlass item.png Bilgewater Cutlass also gives some much-needed early sustain.
    • Ravenous Hydra item.png Ravenous Hydra is a very useful item because it provides higher raw AD than Blade of the Ruined King item.png Blade of the Ruined King (which has better synergy with Aatrox's AD ratios), health regeneration, and waveclear. It is a powerful substitute (or complement) to BotRK, and is recommended if you plan to splitpush with Aatrox. It also provides a very powerful burst.
      • Keep in mind that Ravenous Hydra provides no attack speed at all. Aatrox will have to get attack speed from another source, but it is very likely that he will have to sacrifice tankyness if you plan to use an attack speed item, since apart from Wit&#039;s End item.png Wit's End, no attack speed items offer significant defensive stats, and even the aforementioned item is only useful against magic damage.
    • The Bloodthirster item.png The Bloodthirster gives a lot of attack damage and lifesteal, a lot more than Ravenous Hydra and Blade of the Ruined King. It also has a passive that creates a shield which has synergy with Aatrox's sustain. This is not recommended to use as Aatrox's core lifesteal item, though, as it has neither the attack speed and on-hit effect from Blade of the Ruined King item.png Blade of the Ruined King, nor it has the burst and the waveclear from Ravenous Hydra item.png Ravenous Hydra.
  • Trinity Force item.png Trinity Force provides many valuable stats to AatroxSquare.png Aatrox, giving movement speed, attack speed, health, attack damage, and a Phage item.png Phage 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.
  • Youmuu&#039;s Ghostblade item.png Youmuu's Ghostblade is especially useful once you fall below half health, as the bonus attack speed combined with the tripled healing from Blood Thirst.png Blood Thirst makes you very hard to kill, even without your revive passive.
  • Aatrox can use all 3 armor penetration items effectively (Last Whisper item.png Last Whisper, The Black Cleaver item.png The Black Cleaver and Youmuu&#039;s Ghostblade item.png Youmuu's Ghostblade). 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 Last Whisper item.png Last Whisper 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 The Brutalizer item.png The Brutalizer is a good idea. It can later be upgraded into a The Black Cleaver item.png The Black Cleaver, which offers high armor penetration and some useful health, or Youmuu&#039;s Ghostblade item.png Youmuu's Ghostblade which offers a passive that synergizes fantastically with Aatrox, as well as some critical strike chance.
  • Zephyr item.png Zephyr gives off great offensive stats, and the tenacity is good if not getting Mercury&#039;s Treads item.png Mercury's Treads.
  • While purchasing critical strike items seems to be tempting, given that Aatrox is very auto-attack reliant, he doesn't have enough mobility or sticking power to abuse critical strikes. Also, he would very likely have to sacrifice survivability to purchase critical strike items, so it is recommended to refrain from purchasing critical strike items, unless Aatrox is ahead already.
    • If you are going for the critical strike route: it is suggested to combine Infinity Edge item.png Infinity Edge with Youmuu&#039;s Ghostblade item.png Youmuu's Ghostblade. Youmuu's active will solve Aatrox's lack of sticking power. If the enemy team is lacking in mobility, Aatrox can instead opt to use Statikk Shiv item.png Statikk Shiv or Phantom Dancer item.png Phantom Dancer. The former provides higher burst and waveclear, while the latter provides superior DPS and dueling power. Keep in mind that pure attack speed items have poor synergy with Aatrox's abilities (except his W) due to them scaling only with attack damage.
Tank
  • Keep in mind that because Aatrox has an on-hit healing and he is likely to build lifesteal, he benefits a lot more from resistances over HP, as the combined sustain will give him enough effective HP.
  • Sunfire Cape item.png Sunfire Cape's passive will allow AatroxSquare.png Aatrox to deal mixed damage, forcing enemies to itemize on some magic resist as well as armor.
  • Randuin&#039;s Omen item.png Randuin's Omen 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.
  • Spirit Visage item.png Spirit Visage in conjunction with Ravenous Hydra item.png Ravenous Hydra 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.
  • Frozen Mallet item.png Frozen Mallet is also a good choice since it provides 700 bonus health and an on-hit slow, making Aatrox able to stick to opponents.
  • Guardian Angel item.png Guardian Angel is equivalent to a second Blood Well.png Blood Well; they both revive AatroxSquare.png Aatrox after death. This gives more survivability and allows for more opportunities to finish off targets.
  • An early Hexdrinker item.png Hexdrinker is primarily to counter laning opponents dealing mostly magic damage. Additionally, the active shield can save AatroxSquare.png Aatrox from an otherwise untimely death.

Recommended Items

Summoner's Rift
Starting Doran&#039;s Blade item Health Potion item Item
Essential Ninja Tabi item Spectre&#039;s Cowl Blade of the Ruined King item
Offensive Ravenous Hydra item Maw of Malmortius item Last Whisper item
Defensive Randuin&#039;s Omen item Spirit Visage item Guardian Angel item
Consumables Health Potion item Sight Ward item Vision Ward item Elixir of Wrath item
The Howling Abyss
Starting Doran&#039;s Blade item Boots of Speed item Health Potion item3 Cloth Armor item
Essential Blade of the Ruined King item Ninja Tabi item Zephyr item
Offensive Youmuu&#039;s Ghostblade item Ravenous Hydra item Sanguine Blade item
Defensive Spirit Visage item Maw of Malmortius item Randuin&#039;s Omen item
Consumables Health Potion item Elixir of Fortitude item
The Crystal Scar
Starting Prospector&#039;s Blade item Boots of Speed item Health Potion item2
Essential Ninja Tabi item Sanguine Blade item Blade of the Ruined King item
Offensive Youmuu&#039;s Ghostblade item Ravenous Hydra item Entropy item
Defensive Spirit Visage item Maw of Malmortius item Randuin&#039;s Omen item
Consumables Health Potion item
The Twisted Treeline
Starting Doran&#039;s Blade item Boots of Speed item
Essential Blade of the Ruined King item Ninja Tabi item Zephyr item
Offensive Youmuu&#039;s Ghostblade item Ravenous Hydra item Sanguine Blade item
Defensive Spirit Visage item Maw of Malmortius item Randuin&#039;s Omen item
Consumables Health Potion item


Countering

  • When AatroxSquare.png 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, AatroxSquare.png Aatrox's Blood Well.png 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.png 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 attack speed 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 ineffective, 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 RivenSquare.png Riven and PantheonSquare.png 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 JaxSquare.png Jax or WarwickSquare.png Warwick, can duel Aatrox.
  • When AatroxSquare.png Aatrox casts Dark Flight.png 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.png Dark Flight will likely make the skill miss you.
  • In lane, zoning AatroxSquare.png Aatrox out of combat will quickly drain out his Blood Well.png Blood Well making him a much more vulnerable target.
  • While he can be built as a fighter, AatroxSquare.png Aatrox's stats and kit are similar to those of a melee ADC, like FioraSquare.png Fiora or MasterYiSquare.png Master Yi. These champions are devastating as long as they are able to attack, but are extremely vulnerable to crowd control, and while AatroxSquare.png Aatrox's Blood Well.png 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.
    • In particular, not only his damage but his in-lane sustain are dependent on him auto-attacking. Champions with strong blinds like TeemoSquare.png Teemo or QuinnSquare.png Quinn will give him fits during laning.
  • Inflicting Grievous Wounds can reduce his healing from Blood Thirst.png Blood Thirst.
    • However, Grievous Wounds does not affect the health he regains from his AatroxSquare.png Aatrox's Blood Well.png Blood Well.
  • Without ability power (which likely won't be built), Massacre.png 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 AatroxSquare.png 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 LuluSquare.png Lulu, ZacSquare.png Zac, SingedSquare.png Singed, or KarmaSquare.png Karma.
  • Aatrox is auto attack reliant for not only his damage, but also his survivability. Reducing his attack speed by purchasing Randuin&#039;s Omen item.png Randuin's Omen or Frozen Heart item.png Frozen Heart can help reduce both of those components greatly.

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