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The sustain from Blood Thirst keeps Aatrox's health topped off, allowing him to farm throughout the laning phase. Aatrox excels as a duelist, able to switch to Blood Price for heavy burst damage when trading with his lane opponent. After the exchange, Aatrox can toggle back to Blood Thirst to top off his health. When he’s ready to finish the job, Massacre adds significantly to an already potent burst combo.
If the lane isn't going Aatrox's way, the knock-up effect from Dark Flight can be used to set up ganks for his jungler. Or, if Aatrox has bullied his enemy out of lane, he can push aggressively, safe in the knowledge that the disengage from Dark Flight and Blades of Torment’s slow will aid his escape when enemies come charging. Even when things go totally wrong, Blood Well offers a second chance to secure kills or make a quick exit.
- Team fights
Aatrox's mobility gives him an innate ability to pressure enemy carries in team fights. Blood Thirst grants Aatrox plenty of sustain as he tangos with enemy initiators and tanks. When he sees an opportunity to reach an enemy carry, Dark Flight closes the gap and allows the punishment to begin. When Aatrox is in deep, the area of effect burst and extra range from Massacre, and slow on Blades of Torment prevent high-value targets from escaping. All the while the consistent healing from Blood Thirst and resurrection effect from Blood Well keep him alive long enough to cut through enemy squishies.
If Aatrox's team is on the defensive, a well-aimed Blades of Torment can slow multiple enemies and open a window for retreating allies to slip away. Alternately, he can kite enemies with Dark Flight, and create an opportunity for the remainder of his team to turn and counter-initiate. If Aatrox is focused, Blood Thirst's sustain and the Blood Well keep him in the fight, giving his teammates an opportunity to cut through foes as he resurrects and delivers the killing blow.
- Dark Flight Dark Flight can be used as both an initiation move and a disengage, but be aware that Aatrox is still vulnerable to crowd controls, such as stuns and knockups.
- Blades of Torment Blades of Torment and Dark Flight Dark Flight have some synergy with each other.
- Using Blades of Torment Blades of Torment first can allow you to get in a few hits and hopefully force an enemy to attempt an escape, after which you can follow up with Dark Flight Dark Flight for further punishment. Reversing the skill order will achieve the same effect but not with the same efficiency - Dark Flight Dark Flight has a longer cooldown and is a "harder" form of crowd control, thus encouraging more efficient use.
- Try following the bonus damage from your Blood Price Blood Price immediately with Massacre Massacre after you engage for the quickest burst of damage. A full combo would be readying your Blood Price Blood Price, engage with Dark Flight Dark Flight, proc Blood Price Blood Price bonus damage, then activate Massacre Massacre to deliver a burst of damage.
- Be aware that both Blades of Torment Blades of Torment and Dark Flight Dark Flight briefly interrupt Aatrox's movement.
- With enough life steal, Aatrox can leave Blood Price Blood Price on indefinitely, as the amount of damage he takes every third strike is negated by the life steal.
- Aatrox is a melee fighter who specializes in strong initiation and in-fight sustain. As a health-based caster, Aatrox relies on dealing heavy damage to stay alive.
- Aatrox benefits from life steal since it allows him to negate the health loss from his abilities.
- Apart from life steal, Blade of the Ruined King provides attack speed, letting him regain insane amounts of health through Blood Thirst Blood Thirst. An early Bilgewater Cutlass also gives some much-needed early sustain.
- The Bloodthirster is the item that gives the most attack damage and life steal in the game. It will make Aatrox extremely potent in 1v1 duels.
- Ravenous Hydra is a very useful item to have when in the middle of a teamfight, allowing you to both deal damage to and heal from multiple enemies, giving Aatrox a very powerful late-game presence.
- Trinity Force provides many valuable stats to Aatrox, giving movement speed, attack speed, health, attack damage, and a Phage slow.
- Aatrox can use all 3 armor penetration items effectively (Last Whisper , The Black Cleaver and Youmuu's Ghostblade ). The choice depends on whether or not you need armor penetration early, and also whether or not your enemies are focusing on armor.
- If you predict that your enemies are likely to get high amounts of armor, it is best to get Last Whisper during mid-game, helping you transition into your late-game phase better due to the high armor penetration and low cost.
- If you feel that you need armor penetration more early, or that you need cooldown reduction, getting a The Brutalizer is a good idea. It can later be upgraded into a The Black Cleaver , which offers high armor penetration and some useful health, or Youmuu's Ghostblade which offers a passive that synergizes fantastically with Aatrox, as well as some critical strike chance.
- Zephyr gives off great offensive stats, and the tenacity is good if not getting Mercury's Treads .
- Sunfire Cape 's passive will allow Aatrox to deal mixed damage, forcing enemies to itemize on some magic resist as well as armor.
- Randuin's Omen helps soak up damage in team fights and helps you survive long enough to take out high priority targets and the active slow helps catch running enemies.
- Spirit Visage in conjunction with Ravenous Hydra results in fast healing due to the increased healing affects of Spirits Visage and the AoE life steal from Hydra. It also sync well with his Passive and Blood thirst as it also increases their healing.
- Frozen Mallet is also a good choice since it provides 700 bonus health and a on-hit slow.
- Mercury's Treads are essential against teams with high crowd control and/or magic damage. As mentioned previously, Zephyr can replace this item if there is a lack or magic damage but there still are large amounts of CC.
- Ninja Tabi offers an upgrade path to Cloth Armor , and the passive helps to trade against AD champions and freeze the minion wave.
- Guardian Angel is equivalent to a second Blood Well Blood Well; they both revive Aatrox after death. This gives more survivability and allows for more opportunities to finish off targets.
- An early Hexdrinker is primarily to counter laning opponents dealing mostly magic damage. Additionally, the active shield can save Aatrox from an otherwise untimely death.
- When Aatrox takes fatal damage he is healed for the amount currently in his resource bar. Landing a fatal blow on him while the resource bar is low will result in him reviving with a lower amount of health.
- Unlike other reviving champions, Blood Well Blood Well de Aatrox revive is rapid and grants him invulnerability during this time which allows him to quickly rejoin a team fight after being dropped to critical health.
- When fighting him, consider his resource bar as part of his own health. (For example, killing him with a full Blood Well Blood Well will make him return with a large portion of his hitpoints and if the fight was closely matched, he will most likely kill you.)
- Be aware that his passive (after reviving) don't provide any attackspeed anymore, because he consumes all the blood within it and be sure to look if he got the Blood Thirst/Blood Price buff while reviving.
- When Aatrox casts Dark Flight Dark Flight towards your location, avoid being knocked up by moving away from the center of impact.
- In lane, zoning Aatrox out of combat will quickly drain out his Blood Well Blood Well making him a much more vulnerable target.
- While he can be built as a fighter, Aatrox's stats and kit are similar to those of a melee ADC, like Fiora or Master Yi. These champions are devastating as long as they are able to attack, but are extremely vulnerable to crowd control, and while Aatrox's Blood Well Blood Well helps him survive, he is no exception to the rule, as a well landed stun or snare can severely hinder his combat abilities.
- Inflicting Grievous Wounds can reduce his healing from Blood Thirst Blood Thirst.
- Without ability power (which likely won't be built), Massacre Massacre's intial damage is not a factor. The large attack speed and range bonus is a huge threat, but you don't have to worry about getting instantly burst-nuked by the activation.
- The ability lasts long enough for most teamfights, but baiting Aatrox into using the ability to commit to killing you before a fight breaks out will remove the strong threat the ability presents in a teamfight.
- However, it's recommended you only do this if you are a very hard to kill or catch champion, such as Lulu, Zac, Singed, or Karma.
- Aatrox is auto attack reliant for not only his damage, but also his survivability. Reducing his attack speed by purchasing Randuin's Omen or Frozen Heart can help reduce both of those components greatly.