By Jason Harper (Hhean), OnRPG MOBA Reporter
Aatrox is an aggressive bruiser that uses his own health to fuel his abilities. His jungling capabilities aren’t terrible, but he’s better suited to top lane. Given he relies on a similar three hit system, players accustomed to Jax or Xin Zhao will likely adapt to him the easiest.
High damage (Both sustained and burst)
Increased range on his ult mitigates his kiting problem
Snowballs hard from an early lead, becoming a strong split pusher
Unreliable crowd control
Must commit wholly to a fight, as his CC and escape are the same ability
Easily kited, even after using his CC (mitigated by his ult)
Is hurt badly by a poor start
Blood Well [Passive]: When Aatrox uses an ability that costs health, he places a portion of the health lost into his blood well. If he dies, his health bar will refill equal to the amount that was previously in his well. This has an equivalent cooldown to Zac and Anivia’s passives. He also gains attack speed based on the amount of health in the well.
Dark Flight [Q]: Jumps Aatrox to the target area, damaging any enemies hit. Enemies in the centre of the blast will be knocked airborne. The way he moves during this ability is unusual, as he moves just off the ground, waits for a moment, then surges forwards. Getting the timing down so you actually hit people can take some getting used to. The delay will still hinder you even once you’ve got it down, as it lets your enemies know what direction you’re jumping, giving them a split second to dash out of the way.
Blood Thirst/ Blood Price [W]: Enhances every third auto attack made by Aatrox. Blood Thirst will return health, with a massive bonus to his health gain if his health is low. Blood Price will dramatically increase his damage, but will cost him health every time it’s triggered. Use the first to farm, and the second to kill people, blow up towers and get fast jungle clear times.
Blades of Torment [E]: Slow moving skillshot that fires two converging projectiles. Damages and slows all enemies hit. Not likely to hit unless you’re firing it from point blank due to its slow animation and lethargic projectile speed.
Massacre [R]: Deals damage in an AoE around Aatrox. He gains an attack speed steroid and greatly increased melee range for the duration of the spell. He can hit at far as Quinn or Teemo while he’s in this form, while still being treated as melee.
Combos & Shenanigans
Switching between Blood Thirst and Blood Price can allow you to get the drop on your enemies in the lane. Hit a minion twice in Blood Thirst before quickly switching to Blood Price as you leap at the enemy with Dark Flight and hit them with the third strike, doing a great deal of burst damage. Slow enemy for good measure, hit them until they’re dead. Maybe switch back to Blood Thirst if you think you need to stay alive. Use your ultimate for additional damage, or if you’re being kited.
It’s very important to establish lane dominance as Aatrox as quickly as possible. Having your jungler gank for you early is a must in order to succeed, since Aatrox needs to snowball in order to be relevant in a match. Once he gains the slightest advantage he will stomp down on his lane opponent hard, but if he loses momentum early on he’ll drop into a cascading failure state that’ll last throughout the game. While warding up the entrances to your lane is pretty common advice, Aatrox cannot even afford to let his lane entrances go dark during the early game, as a single enemy gank will turn the match into a 5v4.
If he does get the edge though, Aatrox will not be stopped. He can split push incredibly hard, smashing structures down with Blood Price in seconds, then quickly healing off the next minion wave. Any attempt to stop him will result in him either slowing this would be ganker before flying off, or just straight up murdering anyone who gets too close. While he’s not bad to have around in a team fight, his ultimate certainly gets better the more people he has around, he’s best suited as a duelist and split pusher, so he can take full advantage of his combination of high auto attack damage and sustain.
His itemisation also should factor in if he’s ahead or behind. When behind, he just needs to stay alive and not feed, so he just needs to tank up and be as little a burden to his team as possible. When doing well though, he can go full bore damage, act nuts and rely on his passive to keep him alive whenever he goes balls deep. His recommended items list is a good starting point, but he needs to prioritize his purchases depending on how well the lane goes.
His looks don’t go beyond ‘Super Sentai Demon Guy’ and his personality isn’t anything beyond what you’d expect. Aatrox is the poor man’s Khorne, with nothing to set him apart, either visually or thematically.
Mechanically he’s bland too. The only thing that makes him mildly interesting is his ability to turn into a ranged character when he uses his ultimate, but even that’s covered by Kayle, who can pull the same stunt at level 1. If you’re someone who’s absolutely dedicated to playing as three-hit proc melee auto attackers, but don’t like how awful they’ve been in season three, perhaps, maybe, you’ll give a damn about Aatrox. The silly thing is though that the way Riot decided to fix the problem with melee auto attackers is to simply go “Ehhhh sod it. Let’s just make him ranged sometimes”. Ah yes, the best way to avoid a problem is to avoid it completely. Genius.
His general power is also too erratic to become a staple in anyone’s collection. Having a character that either steam rolls the enemy based on an early lead or becomes completely useless from a single misstep can’t be most people’s idea of a great time. He’s a blast to play in the former scenario, but you’re going to loathe him in the latter.
Boring dull dull boring zzzzzzzzzzz. Bed time.
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