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AATROX BUILD GUIDE: Win with blood on your hands (updating) - Patch 6.2 by JYarbz

by JYarbz (last updated over a year ago)

Featured421,751 Views 17 Comments
9
Greater Mark of Attack Damage(+8.55 attack damage)
9
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist(+12.06 magic resist)
9
Greater Seal of Armor(9 armor)
3
Greater Quintessence of Attack Speed(13.5% attack speed)
View Rune Details
Summoner Spells
View Summoner Details

Starting

Full Item Build

View Item Details
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mastery 1 0/1
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mastery 2 0/1
0 Offense
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mastery 4 0/2
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mastery 2 0/4
mastery 3 0/1
mastery 2 0/1
0 Defense
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/3
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 2 0/3
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mastery 1 0/1
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mastery 4 0/2
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/3
mastery 2 0/1
0 Utility
Player Level 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Blood Well
QDark Flight
WBlood Thirst
EBlades of Torment
RMassacre
View Skill Order Details

Introduction

Hello there! I'm JYarbz. While I'm currently not what I would consider a highly rated player, I do feel like I have a pretty above-average understanding of League of Legends strategy and have coached teams like KLG(LAS) in the past. Hopefully you will find my guides, while not necessarily a scrutinous examination born of hundreds of hours of gameplay, a worthwhile resource nonetheless.

Spot a typo in the guide? Have any concerns or requests? Please feel free to contact me at jyarbzlol@gmail.com.

Pros
High sustain
Good mixed damage early-mid game
Strong duelist (especially with a lead)

Cons
Very vulnerable when passive is down
Q is easily interruptible. It's probably the worst mobility in the game.
Ratios aren't that strong unless building glass cannon, which is very risky for an auto-attack reliant melee brawler

Runes

These are your general all-purpose Aatrox runes. If you have 1 rune page to dedicate to Aatrox and the rest of your melee auto-attack based fighters, this is it.

This page gives you mixed resistances, helping against both attack damage and ability power while also giving a good mix of attack speed and attack damage. If nothing else, I would recommend never going without any flat AD in your runes just to help with early trades and last hitting.

Summoner Sets

Teleport & Flash

This is the consistently the best mobility summoner in the most situations not only for laning, but also for mid-late game. Flash allows you to:
-Cross over terrain
-Have instant re-positioning. This is useful in lane when the distance between towers is relatively short and tower = safety. This also comes in handy for escaping fights or having extra initiation range to get to and disrupt the back line.
Ignite & Flash

See above.


Ignite is kill potential. A lot of aatrox's all-in in lane is not through his persistent damage but rather his burst from E and R. When you combine ignite with this you have a total of 515 damage from just those three abilities at level 6 assuming rank 3 E.

Item Builds

Starting Build(s)
Standard
vs ranged poke
vs AD
5

This is what I prefer to start in 90% of my aatrox games after the dorans shield nerfs. The sustain you get synergizes nicely with Aatrox's inherent sustain from W as well as your lifesteal quints. This also gives you lots of potential to all-in at early levels where aatrox often can with an early level 2 or just a stronger level 6.


This is a safe start, even after it's nerfs in patch 4.3. The only time I would start this though is specifically for the passive vs champions like . Just starting it because it's safe in general isn't really worth it after the regen and hp nerfs.


I only start this in a losing ad matchup. I might take this vs or maybe a
Final Build(s)
Standard Final Items
NOTE: Season 6 items not added to solomid yet.

Understand that there is no such thing as a perfect 6-item build, and that every game is different. With that in mind, here is a recommend all-purpose build.

Boots
Blade of the Ruined King
Maw of Malmortius
Sterak's Gage - http://leagueoflegends.wikia.com/wiki/Sterak's_Gage
Dead Man's Plate - http://leagueoflegends.wikia.com/wiki/Dead_Man's_Plate
Guardian Angel

Other item combinations that are strong on Aatrox

Double Lifesteal
Having two lifesteal items is typically not a strategy I would recommend for most champions. However, Aatrox relies on lifesteal-tanking almost more than any other champion in the game and having two lifesteal items is extremely powerful as long as you can guarantee that you will either (1) be splitpushing with vision or (2) have the defensive items to not immediately blow up in a teamfight.

Note that if your goal is having double lifesteal in teamfights, that Maw largely accomplishes this while giving you much better slot efficiency and defensive capabilities.

Situational Items

Thornmail
Great against 3+ auto attacking champions on the enemy team
Last Whisper
This item is good, but situational on Aatrox. I probably wouldn't look to build this unless I'm splitpushing vs a tank or I absolutely must build this to do any damage to my targets.
Spirit Visage
In theory, this item is perfect on Aatrox. But it just never feels that great to me. Grevious wounds seems too accessible. And Maw is just so strong right now. Still not bad, especially if you are against lots of AP and you know there won't be debuffs to your healing.
Guinsoo's Rageblade
This item is actually pretty decent on Aatrox now. Very good as a first item if you're snowballing. It's cheap and gives that tiamat passive that's very useful for pushing. It also helps accentuate your mixed damage in the early-mid game where you are still providing a decent amount of burst magic damage against targets with no magic resistance.
Quicksilver Sash
Consider this against really heavy cc and follow-up burst. It's situational since it's rather ill-advised for teams to waste cooldowns on just an Aatrox in the front lines with passive up. The idea being that your team could then win the teamfight with so many important cd's gone. But if you just can't do anything in fights, this is not a terrible buy.

Skill Order

Player Level 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Blood Well
QDark Flight
WBlood Thirst
EBlades of Torment
RMassacre
You pretty much always max E first on top lane Aatrox. You can put an extra point or two in W here and there before rank 5 E if you want depending on how much you may be able to sustain. But E is your only ranged ability (good for nabbing cs when it's not safe to melee creeps), your only reliable waveclear as well as giving you good mixed damage making it harder to itemize against you early in the game.

Next you want to max W for higher sustain and also higher damage in duels. Aatrox is an auto-attacker. Q's cooldown doesn't go down enough with ranks for it to be worth maxing before last.

Skills

Blood Well
Direct link: http://leagueoflegends.wikia.com/wiki/Aatrox#Blood_Well

Your passive is a huge part of your kit and is one of the only reasons Aatrox is even usable in the current game. When it's up, you're difficult to dive, even at a numbers disadvantage. You can take a lot of fights you couldn't otherwise and—especially if you know where the jungler is—stay in lane longer than normal much like Anivia players often can except you have hyper sustain at low amounts of HP.

Pay attention to this cooldown as it can make or break fights.
Dark Flight
Direct link: http://leagueoflegends.wikia.com/wiki/Aatrox#Dark_Flight

You must be aware of how gimped this ability can make you. Do not try to use it after someone has gap-closed to you and before they have used their cc if at all possible. This is the most interruptible jump in the entire game. If someone's on top of you, try to wait until after they CC you to jump away. If you know you're going to take a bad trade then try jump away first.

On the flipside, this is nice to have early game to setup ganks, and if you can manage to land a multiple-person knockup in teamfights (pretty difficult) then it has great impact.
Blood Thirst
Direct link: http://leagueoflegends.wikia.com/wiki/Aatrox#Blood_Thirst_.2F_Blood_Price

This is my favorite part of Aatrox's kit. Managing Blood Thirst versus Blood Price isn't that complicated, but it does take a bit to get a feel for. You should always have a silent timer in your head counting each third attack and adjusting your toggle accordingly.

Blood Thirst - Gain HP. Gain is tripled below 50% hp.
You're going to be using this a lot in early laning.

Blood Price - Do extra damage. Costs HP.
More quickly builds up passive attack speed.
Blades of Torment
Direct link: http://leagueoflegends.wikia.com/wiki/Aatrox#Blades_of_Torment

Massacre
Direct link: http://leagueoflegends.wikia.com/wiki/Aatrox#Massacre

Champion Matchups

Drmundo
Difficulty
Favors You
Build .

You will want to try to be aggressive early-mid in this matchup. Make Mundo cs with cleavers and even block them with your own model if you can easily heal back the damage.

After level 11, you will begin to lose this matchup if you have not already built up an advantage. You can somewhat bring it back in a 1v1 later with double lifesteal items, but it's risky and soloq games rarely work out that perfectly with that much coordination where you get a 30 second 1v1 duel.
Jax
Difficulty
Favors Enemy
This is a matchup where you get outscaled pretty hard. However, playing the matchup correctly in the early game you can get a lead and win lane.

Your main advantage early game is the fact that Jax uses mana. While treading safely (especially if you're not super confident) you should try to trade fairly often to try to trade more against his mana than anything else. If you can get out Q's and E's without taking too terrible of trades then always go for it.

This matchup is heavily defined by Jax's E. Obviously, this blocks all auto attacks for the duration and getting a stun with free autos is huge. For this reason I try not to ever let Jax get a free E on me while my E is down. Jax's E is powerful, but barring you making the mistake of autoing him during it, doesn't actually do a whole lot by itself. It's the unanswered auto damage he gets during the duration since you can't trade back. So you want to force jax to have to Q to you when he charges his E.

This allows you to either jump away with your Q—your jump will still complete even if stunned during the animation— or to turn if you can trade favorably and even chase with Q if the situation is right. Once Jax E is down you can do a lot of work here. To accomplish this I will never walk up to Jax with my E down. The E slow will allow me to kite out Jax during his E duration while he is channeling the stun or force him to Q to me which gives me the options I want as well as forcing out more mana. This matchup is all about Jax's counterstrike, play around it.

You also have more burst than him at level 6 in a straight up fight with your ultimate. And if your passive is up you can be pretty ballsy against him.

I also like in this matchup as an extra tool to help kite Jax the same way I do early in the lane with my E.
Malphite
Difficulty
Favors Enemy
I don't like this matchup. Maybe better Aatrox players know the windows to beat Malphite. But it feels like his attack speed slow just makes this matchup impossible. Try to wait for him to use E on creeps and then go in is really my only advice. Your saving grace in this matchup is your passive, making it hard for him to just kill you outright with his full combo.

Just grab and try to make it to where he can't do damage to you.
Renekton
Difficulty
Favors Enemy
A well played renekton does not lose lane early. Start if you're not confident in this matchup. This will give you the sustain and resistances you need to go even in the early game vs renekton. If the jungler is a high pressure AP jungler you can try .

Renekton can bully you a little early. As long as renekton doesn't use his cd's on creeps there's not much you can do but try to grab unsafe cs with E (and harass safely) and heal up off of creeps when the lane pushes to you.

Don't burn your ult for Renekton's ult at level 6 unless you have to. While it's true Aatrox is a great duelist at low amounts of HP, Renekton just has more ability damage—more burst—than you early on in the game. Before you get tankier, where sustained damage will matter more, renekton's ult and passive will actually still make him stronger at low amounts of hp in a lot of cases. You will outscale him in the 1v1 by around level 11-13, especially if he builds tank items. Just get there without being too far behind.
Riven
Difficulty
Favors You
Riven is a bit of a tough matchup. I've played this a few times and it's hard to get a read on the matchup because of how hard this can snowball one way or the other. This may be one of the few matchups where I would recommend early armor.

Be wary of Riven's 3rd Q interrupting your Q. This will virtually guarantee you lose by itself.

If you can get riven to waste cooldowns then that's the best time to jump on her and go all-out.

When Riven ults (be careful at level 6), you may want to just try to run if you can. Also remember that it increases the range of her attacks just like your own ulti does.

Like most matchups this is all about making trades and then having a favorable enough position on the creep wave to be able to heal up afterward. Riven's natural regeneration is next to nothing and you can exploit this early on in the lane before she finishes hydra.
Ryze
Difficulty
Favors You
Rush and beg your jungler to come top. It's very easy to shut Ryze down and very hard to deal with a farmed one. Rush magic resist items and you can dominate him in the early-mid game with all-ins.

Ryze is a fairly easy target for your Q's and he can't interrupt them. That's actually the main reason I find this matchup to not be too difficult.

Early Game

Trading
As aatrox you should usually be looking to trade often in most matchups, especially if your passive is up meaning you're much less vulnerable to an all-in. Your sustain triples below half HP, meaning if you trade anywhere close to even in the actual trade then you usually win out in the long run very shortly thereafter. You do however have a ranged ability, so if it's really not safe to trade heavily (due to jungler pressure or enemy laner's strength) then you can use E to harass/cs more safely.

If you manage to gain a significant advantage in lane, don't be afraid to ask your jungler to help you come dive. Diving is really easy with aatrox passive and can really help cement a lead and snowball top lane in the right situation.

Level 6
Aatrox's level 6 is incredibly strong. Not only does this give him access to another magic damage burst ability, but it gives him ridiculous stats in the form of 350 range auto attacks and 40% attack speed for 12 seconds. Especially considering Aatrox's W, this attack speed increases his dueling potential (sustain and/or damage significantly). The facet I think most people underestimate most about this ability is the base damage on the initial burst.

Itemization
vs AP -
vs tank -
snowball -

Mid Game

Mid game is really defined by what your team comp does best and how you as a top laner can translate your advantage into a team advantage. This means most likely roaming from top into mid and bot lane for dives/dragons/invades/etc. If your team is just winning everywhere you can continue to split top, but solo queue especially is usually won by roaming. But it isn't all about you. Your team comp may be great at teamfighting or sieging or have great pick potential. You should analyze what your team is best at as a whole and play to those strengths. Aatrox tends to be a very strong 1v1 duelist, but with a lead and especially with passive can easily group in the mid game with a strong teamfight presence.

When behind
You honestly have most of the same options when behind, it's just you're in a bad position now. So you lose a lot more for roaming. If you roam and the enemy top laner comes, he's probably stronger than you and can come dominate fights, but that's somewhat of a picks thing too. Maybe he's not that great at teamfighting. The best option is just try to get the defensive items you need to farm in the 1v1 at least without giving up anything else. If you're continuously being pushed out and losing even more cs and xp you're kind of at the mercy of your team as to whether or not they can help you get back in the game or just ignore your lane and carry you from everywhere else.

Late Game

Teamfighting Itemization

This item synergizes extremely well with Blood Well in the lategame. This gives Aatrox yet another revive making his teamfighting especially annoying to deal with. When you can dive the back line and revive twice while hyper sustaining through damage after the enemy burst is gone, you can often buy the time your team needs to deal their damage and win.

Objective control
Aatrox actually has pretty good baron/dragon speed. It's not the fastest in the game, but especially if you have you can melt it fast. This is situational, but you may even want to blow your ultimate for the attack speed if you know you can burn the objective fast enough. I often blow ultimate to take down towers.

Teamfights

Synergies

These two champions alone increase Aatrox's teamfight presence dramatically. In the case of orianna you can be a ball delivery system for a good shockwave combo. Aatrox still doesn't have the longest range initiation, so you will need to be a bit careful about when you Q in and especially with what can interrupt you. For lulu, Wild growth does very similiar things but is even more powerful specifically for aatrox. The knockup is great, but it gives you a persistent aoe slow for 7 seconds. Considering Aatrox's identity as a fighter, as well as the extra HP the ult gives you you should be able to sit in the back line and have a persistent higher aoe slow than randuins while raining down blows on priority targets.

Dive buddies
Aatrox's main role in teamfights is to ideally land his disruption on someone in the backline and blow them up or force them out of the fight. This can be hard depending on gold/teamcomps to do by yourself. It's much easier when you have another bruiser or any other dive/threats diving the back line with you. This can be anything from hard initiation like or fighters/assassins like . This list is in no way comprehensive. The concept itself should be easy enough to understand.

Be careful that this doesn't mean you aren't flexible. Some games—when the things that matters most is you keep your adc alive—It can be better to just stand in front and try to zone out the enemy team before using Q or E or both to come back and help peel the bruiser off your adc. You can even probably do decent damage to that bruiser if you have .

Counters
Honestly this list could go on for a really long time, especially depending on how you build. Aatrox is supposed to be a sustain tank whose gap closer is a little lackluster in the lategame against long range/safer champions due mostly to it's long cast animation more than it's short range. There is counterplay to everything though. So let's talk about how the enemy team can deal with aatrox and how you can appropriately respond back.


All these champions just make dive comps incredibly difficult. Against champions like this you can't just set up shop mid and say "group as 5" and blindly jump into their team as if it's going to work out. Zyra is the ultimate counter engage. If you Q into a Zyra and your team tries to follow up there's probably an ace in your future. Nami is actually a really nice counter to Aatrox, and a good nami can even interrupt your Q relatively easily regardless of the fact she can counter engage with ult easily anyways. Nunu is an even more specific counter to Aatrox due to his incredibly high attack speed slows. Good luck diving into a Nunu team—You need most likely. If Nunu starts his ult early, you can interrupt it though, so watch for that. And if Nunu is snowballing you, just try peeling for your adc who isn't having their attack speed slowed. Amumu's ult will allow you to cast spells but not auto attack, so again just really tough to dive into and get anything done. Janna is just the god of peel and counter engage and interrupting your Q is extremely easy. If there was an easier champion to screw aatrox over with then it's Alistar. W and Q both interrupt your Q and aren't ultimate abilities. So good luck initiating vs a good alistar.

When one spell can make or break your initiation, the best way to try to deal with this is to grab and try to find a flank. If you can keep the banshees up and engage with it on you then that could help. But most likely they have several ways to peel you and this won't help much if you're in the backline by yourself.

Burst damage
This list is pretty long, so I'm not even going to give examples. But being able to burst you when you jump in is a big problem. You need the appropriate resistances and for mid-late game teamfights you really want to consider a . Note that you should really think twice about fighting with your passive down. Aatrox without passive is a significantly weaker champion than Aatrox with passive up. This totally defines how aggressive and effective you can be in fights. Especially Aatrox with GA + passive can essentially zone out the entire back line for the duration of the fight while your backline kills theirs faster. You may also want to consider if you think that will help block some of the burst or even against really heavy AP/AOE teams.

CC
This actually isn't a huge deal for a tanky aatrox, but if you're building more dps items, then you're relying on sustain tanking more than anything. And you can't sustain if you can't auto attack. Still, Aatrox in all forms has good sustain with W + attack speed from passive and ult. And this stops you from being able to do that.

Knockups/Knockbacks
If used correctly, this is the only form of CC that can stop you mid flight to interrupt your Q. All other CC will take place at the end of your jump. Q is a long cooldown, so this is a relatively big deal and can almost decide fights by itself. Make sure to be aware of enemy cc and whether or not they can interrupt you. There are a lot of these in the game, so it's hard to go over every single one, but you will learn how to deal with them as you play. Some knock backs are kinda worth the Q if you can force it out like Lee Sin kick. Other ones like Alistar can just fuck you. Good luck initiating vs .

Conclusion

Thanks for reading the guide and I hope it helps! Let me know in the comments what you liked and what you think could be better.

Comments

October 18, 2015 - 08:42 AM #1

Hey man, really like the guide, I play aatrox jungle because i love him with devourer, one of my highest win rates. I still find your items section and matchups very useful anyway

Deadmans is waayyyyy better than raduins 100% of the time in my opinion

July 2, 2015 - 01:47 AM #2

Love guide and the build path. You Ave really good explanations for going botrk vs hydra. I'm just not sure on the masters b/c I always go 13/17/0 getting the second wind in the defensive tree and focusing the rest in the offensive tree. Any thoughts?

December 6, 2014 - 10:58 AM #3

tks for the guide its very good and give me some new ideas ;D

July 1, 2014 - 07:23 AM #4

Evs - honestly I haven't played very much Aatrox lately. I still personally prefer tiamat if doing well. But if not I tend to go a bit more tanky like some early armor vs renekton. Botrk/hydra together is something I was liking more and more when playing aatrox before as double lifesteal really compliments his kit in a way that it doesn't with hardly any other champion since his dueling potential is so high.

So I'm not really sure what my build order is atm because I haven't played very many aatrox games the last couple of patches.

ErrorLolz - I haven't played the matchup in a long time. The most important thing I think is to pay especially close attention to Tryndamere's rage bar or whatever his resource is. When it's full it means he crits a lot more and hurts a lot more obviously. You probably don't want to get in much of a trade when this is the case.

June 30, 2014 - 08:11 PM #5

I've recently played Aatrox top and I've had lots of difficulty with Tryandamere. I feel like his attacks eventually hurt a lot more than yours and he can reduce your AD. Do you have any tips for me against Tryandamere top? Anything would help.

May 23, 2014 - 01:50 PM #6
Evs

Hey jyarbz again thanks for updating guide, I see you put bortk and hydra in your main build now, in a standard game what is normally your build order? for example your vsing ad top,ad jungler,ap mid. Thanks

April 8, 2014 - 07:52 PM #7

wow this is one of the best guides i've ever seen

April 5, 2014 - 07:06 PM #8

I actually have tried hydra + botrk and I actually like the build. I usually don't like two lifesteal items on most champions, but it's actually pretty good on Aatrox. My general goal with Aatrox is to build an advantage in lane and then use that advantage to group with my team for objectives in the mid-late game and close out the game. Without building tankier, it's a lot harder to group with Aatrox. Plus when you get GA you can abuse that with your passive pretty hard in teamfights. Randuins works really well with that so you can jump in + aoe slow and survive longer.

It's really hard to actually be a lifesteal tank while building damage because 5 people can just focus you with burst. When you're tanky, it's more damage when dealing with 5 enemies because that means they can't just focus you down easily. If you're just splitpushing then sure just build mostly damage.

April 5, 2014 - 11:24 AM #9
Evs

Hey dude thanks for the guide,helped me out alot , but i got some few questions about the items, have you tried going both hydra and bortk? also why do build towards tanky aatrox and not damage aatrox.

April 5, 2014 - 10:27 AM #10
Evs

Hey dude thanks for the guide,helped me out alot , but i got some few questions about the items, have you tried going both hydra and bortk? also why do build towards tanky aatrox and not damage aatrox.

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