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Champion Background Strategy Skins & Trivia


By Tyler 'RiotWenceslaus' Eltringham [1]

Aatrox 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.png 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.png Blood Price for heavy burst damage when trading with his lane opponent. After the exchange, Aatrox can toggle back to Blood Thirst.png Blood Thirst to top off his health. When he’s ready to finish the job, Massacre.png 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.png 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.png Dark Flight and Blades of Torment.png Blades of Torment’s slow will aid his escape when enemies come charging. Even when things go totally wrong, Blood Well.png Blood Well offers a second chance to secure kills or make a quick exit.

Team fights

Aatrox’s mobility gives him an innate ability to pressure enemy carries in team fights. Blood Thirst.png 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.png 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.png Massacre, and slow on Blades of Torment.png Blades of Torment prevent high-value targets from escaping. All the while the consistent healing from Blood Thirst.png Blood Thirst and resurrection effect from Blood Well.png 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.png 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.png Dark Flight, and create an opportunity for the remainder of his team to turn and counter-initiate. If Aatrox is focused, Blood Thirst.png Blood Thirst’s sustain and the Blood Well.png Blood Well keep him in the fight, giving his teammates an opportunity to cut through foes as he resurrects and delivers the killing blow.

Skill Usage

  • Aatrox Aatrox is a fighter, focused on initiation, sustain and sustained damage. 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 in order to deal damage, so a mix of defensive and offensive itemization options will maximize your presence in game.
  • Strengths: Aatrox 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.
  • Weaknesses: Aatrox 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 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 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. Grievous Wounds will heavily cripple Aatrox Aatrox's 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 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 compareably high 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.
  • 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 Aatrox 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 Aatrox 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 Aatrox 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, Aatrox 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

  • Aatrox Aatrox is a melee fighter who specializes in strong initiation and in-fight sustain. Because of the diversity in Aatrox 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.
  • 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 tankiness 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 isn't recommended on Aatrox. While the stats that it gives are useful, it's hard to proc the Spellblade passive because Aatrox's cooldowns are very long, and toggling Blood Thirst.png Blood Thirst/Blood Price.png Blood Price do NOT let Aatrox proc Spellblade. Not to mention, this item is very expensive. If you want the bonus movement speed from the Phage item.png Phage passive, purchasing The Black Cleaver item.png The Black Cleaver is a better option (see the below section for more details).
  • 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.
  • The Black Cleaver item.png The Black Cleaver is an especially useful item to Aatrox after the changes. It gives an enormous amount of health, more cooldown reduction than before. The Rage passive from Phage item.png Phage is very useful too; apart from giving Aatrox more sticking power, it means that he doesn't have to waste gold on Trinity Force item.png Trinity Force to get it. The armor reduction may be hard to actually stack during a fight, but the stats that it offers make The Black Cleaver a very good option.
  • 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.
  • An early Hexdrinker item.png Hexdrinker is primarily to counter laning opponents dealing mostly magic damage. Additionally, the active shield can save Aatrox Aatrox from an otherwise untimely death.
  • 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, and building HP only makes his abilities cost more HP. However, one can argue that building HP makes Aatrox fill his Blood Well.png Blood Well faster, due to the higher costs from his abilities.
  • 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.
  • Thornmail item.png Thornmail makes Aatrox very tanky against auto-attack reliant AD champions, and allow him to deal more damage than they can do in return, and making sure that Aatrox wins trades against all of them.
  • 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 Aatrox Aatrox after death. This gives more survivability and allows for more opportunities to finish off targets.
  • Banshee&#039;s Veil item.png Banshee's Veil may seem to be outclassed by Spirit Visage on Aatrox, but the spell shield is very good against some dangerous spells such as Leona Leona's Solar Flare.png Solar Flare, and is actually necessary if there are champions such as LeBlanc LeBlanc or Annie Annie on the enemy team.
  • Sunfire Cape item.png Sunfire Cape's passive will allow Aatrox Aatrox to deal mixed damage, forcing enemies to itemize on some magic resist as well as armor. However, the passive falls off late game and Sunfire Cape is outclassed in terms of defense by Randuin's Omen and Thornmail. Not recommended unless you are, for some reason, building full tank Aatrox.
  • Quicksilver Sash item.png Quicksilver Sash is a good option if there are dangerous CCs on the enemy team and Mercury&#039;s Treads item.png Mercury's Treads and/or Banshee&#039;s Veil item.png Banshee's Veil aren't enough to protect Aatrox. It is actually recommended against champions who have suppression abilities, such as Malzahar Malzahar, Warwick Warwick, and Skarner Skarner, since those can't be reduced by tenacity.

Recommended Items

Summoner's Rift
Starting Doran&#039;s Blade item Health Potion item Warding Totem item
Early Boots of Speed item Tiamat item Vampiric Scepter item
Essential Ninja Tabi item Blade of the Ruined King item Death&#039;s Dance item
Offensive Trinity Force item Ravenous Hydra item The Black Cleaver item
Defensive Randuin&#039;s Omen item Maw of Malmortius item Spirit Visage item
Consumables Health Potion item Vision Ward item Elixir of Wrath item
Summoner's Rift (Jungler)
Starting Hunter&#039;s Machete item Refillable Potion item Warding Totem item
Early Boots of Speed item Stalker&#039;s Blade item Recurve Bow item
Essential Ninja Tabi item Stalker&#039;s Blade (Devourer) item Blade of the Ruined King item
Offensive Ravenous Hydra item Death&#039;s Dance item The Black Cleaver item
Defensive Spirit Visage item Maw of Malmortius item Randuin&#039;s Omen item
Consumables Health Potion item Vision Ward item Elixir of Wrath item
Howling Abyss
Starting Reaper&#039;s Emblem item Doran&#039;s Shield item Health Potion item2
Essential Blade of the Ruined King item Dead Man&#039;s Plate item Ninja Tabi item
Offensive The Bloodthirster item Youmuu&#039;s Ghostblade item Ravenous Hydra item
Defensive Randuin&#039;s Omen item Spirit Visage item Maw of Malmortius item Face of the Mountain item
Consumables Oracle&#039;s Extract item Health Potion item Elixir of Wrath item
Crystal Scar
Starting Boots of Speed item Prospector&#039;s Blade item Health Potion item3
Early Mercury&#039;s Treads item Bilgewater Cutlass item Spectre&#039;s Cowl
Essential Blade of the Ruined King item Dead Man&#039;s Plate item Spirit Visage item
Offensive Titanic Hydra item Death&#039;s Dance item Maw of Malmortius item
Defensive Randuin&#039;s Omen item Guardian Angel item
Consumables Health Potion item Elixir of Wrath item
Twisted Treeline
Starting Doran&#039;s Blade item Boots of Speed item Health Potion item2
Essential Blade of the Ruined King item Ninja Tabi 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 Wrath item


  • When Aatrox 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 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 burst 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 Riven Riven and Pantheon 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 burst. At this point, only champions that have superior sustained damage, such as Jax Jax or Warwick Warwick, can duel Aatrox.
  • When Aatrox 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 Aatrox 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, Aatrox Aatrox's stats and kit are similar to those of a melee ADC, like Fiora Fiora or Master Yi Master Yi. These champions are devastating as long as they are able to attack, but are extremely vulnerable to crowd control, and while Aatrox 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 Teemo Teemo or Quinn 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 Aatrox 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 Aatrox 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 Lulu, Zac Zac, Singed Singed, or Karma 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.

Champion Spotlight

By David 'Phreak' Turley [2]

Aatrox Champion Spotlight06:02

Aatrox Champion Spotlight

Learn to dominate top lane through damage-heavy exchanges and potent lifesteal in the Aatrox Champion Spotlight.

Aatrox Aatrox’s combination of mobility and survivability enables a hyper-aggressive playstyle, punctuated by brazen dives and daring escapes. He excels at relentlessly pushing lanes, relying on his Dark Flight.png Dark Flight and Blood Well.png Blood Well to evade incoming ganks. In team fights, Aatrox’s mobility takes on a more offensive bent, allowing him to dive past tanks onto valuable back line targets.

Learn how to massacre your enemies with Aatrox in the Champion Spotlight, where we’ll sample the Darkin Blade’s tactics, masteries and more.


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