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AzirSquare Azir, the Emperor of the Sands, Revealed

An oft-repeated legend stirs in the desert of Shurima. The swirling sands carry rumors of the ancient emperor AzirSquare Azir, somehow returned. [1]

Shurima's Legacy
Shurima's Legacy

Will of the Emperor: Cooldown reduction icon Cooldown reduction increases Azir's attack speed.

Disc of the Sun: Azir raises a Sun Disc on the base of a destroyed turret (enemy inhibitor and nexus turrets are immune to this effect) Azir's Sun Disc behaves like a turret, except that it deals increased damage and grants Azir gold on minion or champion kills. The Sun Disc lasts for a short while and if Azir is killed or moves too far away, it loses armor.

Conquering Sands
Conquering Sands

Azir orders all Sand Soldiers to rush at the target position. The soldiers damage and Slow icon slow all enemies they smash through as they rush into the fray.


Azir summons an untargettable Sand Soldier - a memory of a Shuriman warrior - from the ground. Azir uses his basic attack as a command, ordering soldiers to attack for him, piercing through their target and dealing damage in a line. Sand Soldiers attack even if Azir himself isn't in basic attack range. The soldiers fade back to sand after a short while or when their emperor leaves them behind.

Shifting Sands
Shifting Sands

Azir feints, rushing to the target Sand Soldier. If Azir collides with an enemy champion, he stops, Airborne icon knocking them up and gaining a shield.

Emperor's Divide
Emperor's Divide

Azir calls forth a phalanx of shield-wielding soldiers who press forward, Airborne icon knocking back and damaging enemies. When the soldiers finish their charge, they stand as a wall, blocking enemy champion movement and dashes. Allies can pass through the wall and gain a speed boost when they do. These soldiers cannot be ordered to move or attack.

Azir Screenshot
Azir Insights 1

Azir is a mage who summons Shuriman Arise! soldiers to control the battlefield and basic attack for him. The soldier's piercing basic attacks furnish most of Azir's damage potential, making him an outlier amongst mages as a right-click-focused champion. Azir's spells, on the other hand, manipulate his and his soldiers' positions to keep him safe and establish dangerous no-go zones for his enemies.

Azir establishes shifting zones of power through soldier placement, gaining control of the lane and farming with their assistance. For instance, a soldier placed near the enemy's caster minions dares a lane opponent to harass or farm through the piercing spear. When the opposing laner missteps, Azir commands the attack, repositioning soldiers with Conquering Sands Conquering Sands to make the most of the opportunity. Once a favorable trade or two unlocks kill potential, Azir utilizes Shifting Sands Shifting Sands, knocking the enemy champion up and setting himself up to compel a Conquering Sands Conquering Sands and finish them off. When the Ancient Coin item (ancient) coin is flipped, a quick Arise! Arise! and Shifting Sands Shifting Sands rushes Azir out of danger.

Add Azir's Emperor's Divide ultimate to the mix and the Shuriman leader exercises even more zone control. To go for the kill, start off with Arise! Arise! and Shifting Sands Shifting Sands to position Azir behind his opponent. From there, Emperor's Divide Emperor's Divide drives the foe deep into Azir's side of the map. Pushed so far into Azir's territory, the opposing champ's sure to meet their end at a spear's tip. If offense proves temporarily unwise, Azir's Emperor's Divide ult provides safe passage from a fight, building a wall between Azir and his pursuers.

Azir Insights 2

As in lane, as in teamfights: Azir shines in battles tied to one physical location, where he can safely order his soldiers around and dispatch adversaries from afar. In that vein, Azir dominates Baron NashorSquare Baron and DragonSquare Dragon fights, using his Emperor's Divide ultimate to lock enemy teams into (or out of) the pits. If teamfights take a roadtrip, Azir must be judicious with Arise! Arise! and Conquering Sands Conquering Sands, moving his zone of control along with the combatants. Post-initiation, Azir's an expert at punishing uncoordinated enemies. Shifting Sands Shifting Sands - combined with Azir's Emperor's Divide ultimate - separates enemy front-liners from their damage dealing dependents, dividing the enemy team for methodical conquering. With the baddies split, Azir charges his soldiers in for the kill, pumping out marksman-level sustained damage until none challenge his rule.

In jungle skirmishes, Azir sets up nasty ambushes with Conquering Sands Conquering Sands, transforming convenient exits into spear-guarded gauntlets. Similarly, Emperor's Divide Emperor's Divide wholly closes a jungle entrance, sealing Azir's foes in with him. Trapped, they’re surely short work for Azir, his soldiers and their allies. If a fight goes south, Azir reliably disengages with his Emperor's Divide ultimate or beguiles baddies with Arise! Arise! and Shifting Sands Shifting Sands, spiriting himself over a jungle wall.

Shurima's Legacy Disc of the Sun doesn't raise a turret quick enough to be of much use in teamfights, but sieges are a different story. When attacking enemy inhibitors, Azir can resurrect their inner turret, trapping the enemy team inside their crumbling base and making counter-engages a dangerous proposition. Conversely, when Azir's base is under assault, Arise! Arise! and Shifting Sands Shifting Sands help him jump the base wall and sneak around the siege to rebuild his own inner turret. Caught between the inhibitor turret and the Shurima's Legacy Sun Disc, the enemy team can either scatter or be crushed.

Works well with: Struggles against:
Yasuo - the Unforgiven

Picks are easy with this pair: Azir uses Shifting Sands Shifting Sands, knocking up a foe, setting up Yasuo's Last Breath Last Breath and positioning himself between the thoroughly-screwed baddie and the rest of the enemy team. A timely Emperor's Divide Emperor's Divide pushes the rest of the enemy team away as Yasuo safely slices and dices. Kill secured.

Ziggs - the Hexplosives Expert

Ziggs simply outranges Azir with Bouncing Bomb Bouncing Bomb, giving the emperor loads of trouble in lane phase. Azir shouldn't expect to do much besides stand near his turret and farm against the diminutive demolition expert.

Sejuani - the Winter's Wrath

When Sejuani crashes into a teamfight, layering Permafrost Permafrost on an enemy team, she grants Azir all the time and safety he needs to set up soldiers for maximum damage output.

Kassadin - the Void Walker

With plentiful Riftwalk mobility and a potent Null Sphere shield, Kassadin's equipped with tools to work around Azir's Conquering Sands zone-controlling, Arise! sustained-damage fighting style and bully him out of lane.

Sivir - the Battle Mistress

Sivir's Ricochet Ricochet and the soldier's piercing attacks dish out a withering amount of AoE damage and break teamfights wide open. With the speed boost from On the Hunt On the Hunt, Azir and his soldiers can chase down any champs before putting them to the spear.

Maokai - the Twisted Treant

Azir thrives on his ability to move around fights with Shifting Sands Shifting Sands. Between Twisted Advance Twisted Advance, Arcane Smash Arcane Smash and the damage reduction of Vengeful Maelstrom Vengeful Maelstrom, Maokai enables his team to lock down and depose the emperor.

Champion Insights

AzirSquare Azir, game design by ZenonTheStoic
Azir Insights 3

What does it mean to be the Emperor?

More than anything, an emperor has subjects. An emperor does not act; he commands. With that in mind, it made sense to focus gameplay on controlling the might of Shurima!

Internally, we call these champs 'minion-mancers'. Once we knew Azir would take on this kind of kit, we knew it was time to look at what does and doesn't work for these often-problematic designs:

Heimerdinger taught us that auto-attacking, stationary minions tend to lead to defensive play. From the likes of Elise, Malzahar, and Yorick, we learned that players do not appreciate minions that run off and do their own thing. Spiderlings ended up on a short leash and Voidlings follow Malefic Visions relentlessly. Finally, minions the player directly controls aren't a great fit for League's control scheme and lack the counterplay of 'stay outside of this zone'.

Awareness around these problems allowed us to introduce appropriate trade-offs to Azir's kit. With these weaknesses in place, we could make the soldiers very strong indeed; imagine if I told you that, given the right setup, your basic attack has 1200 range and hits units in an AoE.

Here's how we approached the core loop of soldier generation and manipulation:

Arise! creates a sand soldier at a target location, from which the soldier projects threat in a circle - so far, so Heimerdinger. However, soldiers require an active input. Azir must right-click and go through a basic attack animation for soldiers to do anything. This makes both Azir and his enemy understand that a conscious command was given to the soldier. This also means that if Azir is stunned or running away, soldiers cease to be a threat. All of a sudden, Azir's opponent can comfortably aggress.

Conquering Sands orders all soldiers to charge toward a target location, damaging and slowing enemies they pass through. This forces Azir to think carefully about when and where to send soldiers. Can Azir afford to use the spell for damage and slow or (Counterplay incoming!) will this allow the enemy to engage on Azir while his soldiers are temporarily unable to move?

Taken together, Arise! and Conquering Sands form a minion kit that gives enough control to make the emperor feel in control while leaving enough weaknesses to make enemies feel that aggression is an option.

Happy minion-mancing!

Azir Insights 4


Azir, the Emperor of the Sands - Login Screen

Azir, the Emperor of the Sands - Login Screen

Azir's Theme
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