Author: MMOsite Writer Alexander Hinkley
Aatrox, the Darkin Blade is the most recently released champion in League of Legends. He is classified as a melee fighter but can also be quite tanky due to his passive and built-in life regeneration abilities. Aatrox is hard to kill and when his passive is up, you will have to kill him twice.
His passive is called Blood Well. Whenever he uses an ability that costs health, he stores that health lost into the blood well. Once Aatrox dies, he will automatically come back to life with hit points equal to the contents of the well plus a certain amount extra based on his level. The maximum amount of total health he can store increases as he levels up. Blood Well is also useful while Aatrox is alive since it increases his attack speed by 1% for every 2% in the well.
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Aatrox's 'Q' is Dark Flight. He jumps into the air and then slams the ground a short distance away, dealing physical damage and knocking enemies into the air for one second in an area of effect. This ability makes Aatrox a pretty good ganker since he can fly out of the bushes and onto opponents. It can also be used to initiate battles or to aid in his escape if need be. Each Dark Flight costs 10% of his current HP though, so don't overuse it needlessly.
His 'W' is actually two passive abilities that can be toggled between one another. When Aatrox has Blood Thirst activated, he will heal himself on every third basic attack. The amount healed scales with his attack damage at the rate of 25%. That might not seem like all that much but if Aatrox has below half health, the heal scales to a bonus based off 75% of his AD. This can make him very hard to kill as long as he keeps attacking. Most players have an instinct to flee from a battle as their hit points begin to get low, but Aatrox players should stay. This heal will help Aatrox win many one on one duels, especially if you have built items that also have life steal.
The other half of his 'W' is called Blood Price. It works in the same way as Blood Thirst, but rather than healing you every third attack, it deals significant bonus physical damage. When maxed out, Blood Price will deal 200 base damage +100% bonus AD. You can imagine how powerful this would become late game. The only drawback is that it also costs you health on each third attack, so you can't just keep Blood Price on the whole game. You must be smart and have Blood Price activated when your health is near full and switch to Blood Thirst when your health falls below half in order to heal yourself back up.
Aatrox's 'E' ability is Blades of Torment. Basically he sends out a wave of magic power from his sword dealing a combination of magic and physical damage in a line as well as slowing enemy champions by 40%. Blades of Torment has a range of 1,000, which is just a bit longer than Blitzcrank's infamous Rocket Grab ability. The damage on it isn't that great though, especially since half of it scales with AP and Aatrox is an AD champion by nature. While it can be used to poke at enemies from a distance, it is best used on fleeing champs to slow them down.
His ultimate ability is Massacre. When activated, it deals magic damage to all nearby enemy champions and increases his attack speed by up to 60%. He also gains a little bit of attack range, though his attacks are still considered melee. The attack speed boost received from activating Massacre couples really nicely with Blood Thirst and Blood Price since he will be attacking like crazy and getting third attacks in much more frequently.
Although this is not meant to be an in-depth build guide, players should keep in mind Aatrox is best built as a tanky bruiser so you should buy items that will boost both his attack and defense in some small way. For boots, focus on defense and pick up Ninja Tabi or Mercury Treads depending on the composition of the enemy team. Attack speed is important for Aatrox to hit his third attacks from Blood Thirst / Blood Price more often. Blade of the Ruined King is essential for its attack speed bonus and added life steal which both keep him alive in prolonged engagements. Bloodthirster (or Sanguine Blade on Dominion) is another item that Aatrox should definitely get for the lifesteal bonuses. Spirit Visage is another essential since it increases his self-healing by 20%.
Depending on how you need to play him here are some other items to consider:
- Zephyr has a lot of perks but the attack speed bonus is especially valuable to Aatrox. If you don't have Merc Treads and need tenacity, buy this.
- Maw of Malmortius is good against teams heavy on AP
- Sunfire Cape is useful for teams with heavy physical damage
- Frozen Mallet for the increased hit points and
On Summoner's Rift, Aatrox is a top lane / jungler. He can also be played successfully on Dominion but is not as effective on that map. On Summoner's Rift, you should take a point in Dark Flight first since burst damage is better in early game encounters. Aatrox is best late game though after he gets some items that will increase his latent life steal. He can be very efficient in duels but really shines in team fights thanks to his passive. It takes a long time to kill him and then even after he falls, he comes right back to life. This can mean the difference between your team winning and losing a team fight.
Like most champions that rely on basic attacks, Aatrox is weak against Teemo. It is best to buy Merc Treads against blinding champs to reduce the duration. He also has problems with Jax, Riven, and Fiora due to their mobility which allows them to get in and out of battles quickly. Aatrox is generally strong against Darius since his bleeding effect is all but negated by the healing. As for teammates, Aatrox is good with other champs that have stuns or snares such as Lux and Amumu. Teammates can disable an enemy champion and you can hack away at them for massive damage.
Aatrox is not for everybody. He is a good champion for players who like to play aggressively and aren't shy about running into danger and staying there for as long as possible. If you play conservatively and don't like to put yourself in the trenches because you are scared of dying, you won't like Aatrox.