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 , somehow returned.
Azir is a mage who summons Shurimanto 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 withto make the most of the opportunity. Once a favorable trade or two unlocks kill potential, Azir utilizes , knocking the enemy champion up and setting himself up to compel a and finish them off. When the is flipped, a quick and rushes Azir out of danger.
Add Azir'sto the mix and the Shuriman leader exercises even more zone control. To go for the kill, start off with and to position Azir behind his opponent. From there, 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 provides safe passage from a fight, building a wall between Azir and his pursuers.
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 dominatesand fights, using his to lock enemy teams into (or out of) the pits. If teamfights take a roadtrip, Azir must be judicious with and , moving his zone of control along with the combatants. Post-initiation, Azir's an expert at punishing uncoordinated enemies. - combined with Azir's - 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, transforming convenient exits into spear-guarded gauntlets. Similarly, 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 or beguiles baddies with and , spiriting himself over a jungle wall.
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, and help him jump the base wall and sneak around the siege to rebuild his own inner turret. Caught between the inhibitor turret and the , 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, knocking up a foe, setting up Yasuo's and positioning himself between the thoroughly-screwed baddie and the rest of the enemy team. A timely 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, 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, layeringon 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 plentifuland a potent , Kassadin's equipped with tools to work around Azir's -controlling, -damage fighting style and bully him out of lane.
|Sivir - the Battle Mistress
Sivir'sand the soldier's piercing attacks dish out a withering amount of AoE damage and break teamfights wide open. With the speed boost from , 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. Between , and the damage reduction of , Maokai enables his team to lock down and depose the emperor.
- Champion Insights
- , game design by ZenonTheStoic
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:
taught us that auto-attacking, stationary minions tend to lead to defensive play. From the likes of , , and , we learned that players do not appreciate minions that run off and do their own thing. ended up on a short leash and follow 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:
creates a sand soldier at a target location, from which the soldier projects threat in a circle - so far, so . 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.
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,and 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.