Our Season 11 Top Lane Aatrox guide features recommendations on rune choices, itemisation, tips and tricks, and more. Be advised that these guidelines are not rigid, and that nothing is set in stone as in-game circumstances (i.e. lane matchup, enemy team composition, enemy team advantages or lack thereof) may lead you to adapt and tweak your approach, particularly after your core build is complete.
Standard spell choice.
Standard spell choice for top laners, opens room for Teleport ganks and the option to join teammates during team fights mid-split push.
Aatrox is a melee duelist with a dangerous skill combo that he can use from relatively far. He compensates for his lack of mobility with impressive health regeneration and damage if he correctly lands his skills on the enemy. The following items are core to Aatrox at all stages:
A great damage and survivability option for Aatrox, who makes great use of the Thirsting Slash unique active to deal damage and heal, particularly when diving towards enemy back lines in team fights.
With this item's splash damage and health sustain passives, Aatrox can push lanes faster and can act as a front line bruiser during teamfights and duels.
Starting items - Options
Standard health regeneration potion
A starting item that offers damage and health sustain — both useful to Aatrox.
Cost may vary
Depending on the enemy team's composition, Mercury's Treads and Ninja Tabi are viable options. Please be mindful that each option excels in different circumstances.
Heavy magic damage and crowd control make Mercury's Treads more appealing, whereas heavy physical damage may prompt a Tabi purchase instead.
Skill leveling priority
Depending on the situation, you may opt to level a different skill — e.g. an early point in W may make the difference in escaping a gank. But, as a rule of thumb, Aatrox players are advised to level their skills following this priority order:
R > Q > E > W
Aatrox's kit features a wide choice of mid-range combos, granting him the ability to harass his opponent from the early levels in order to secure an early lead.
His Passive - Deathbringer Stance increases the range of his next base attack, which deals damage based on the target's maximum health and reduces the potency of healing and shields for a few seconds. The cooldown is reduced by 2 seconds every time he casts a spell, or when he hits a champion with the edge of his Q - The Darkin Blade.
- Level 1: Choose Q - The Darkin Blade to help you kill minions and harass your opponent at the same time.
- Level 2: His main weakness is his mobility, particularly when disengaging from a bad trade or escaping from a gank in the early game. E - Umbral Dash launches Aatrox forward over a short distance, offering him a band-aid of sorts for escaping. Note: the skill is usable simultaneously with Q - The Darkin Blade — thus increasing its range when used offensively, or granting him the ability to slow or knock back a target while escaping.
- Level 3: W - Infernal Chains creates an area on the ground which slows and deals damage to the first enemy hit. If the enemy is still in the area after 1.5 seconds, he is pulled to the center and suffers additional damage. You can use it offensively to catch an enemy, or defensively to counter an enemy gank.
- Level 6: Take advantage of your R - World Ender as much as you can. The damage amplifier and extra speed allows you to put enormous pressure on your opponent and force him to use his Flash — allowing you to maximize this significant advantage.
If your lane opponent is pushing hard at levels 2 and 3, ask your jungler for help and punish their overly aggressive lane positioning. Aatrox's spells can greatly assist/set up allied ganks.
In team fights, remember that most of your skills have an area of effect. Feel free to activate your R before jumping into a team fight, to take advantage of the bonus movement speed and reach the backline of the enemy team. The lifesteal provided by your Ultimate and the Goredrinker active allow you to survive longer at melee range, giving your Carries ample time to clean up.
Tips & Tricks
- The cooldown of Deathbringer Stance is reduced by 2 seconds for each skill used. Do not hesitate to use your spells as often as possible.
- Aatrox's Q - The Darkin Blade is a three-hit combo — hitting enemies at the edge of the first two shots and dead center for the third one knocks them airborne and inflicts much more damage.
- Flash can be used mid cast for each Q - The Darkin Blade hit, allowing you to quickly surprise your opponents.
- The Bloodwell that shows during R - World Ender refreshes upon killing a target or assisting in a kill. The more kills your team scores, the longer your ultimate lasts.
- E - Umbral Dash allows you to jump over quite a few walls.
- On activation, R - World Ender fears enemy minions near you.
- Take full advantage of the control provided by W - Infernal Chains to hit all your Q - The Darkin Blade charges on the target and inflict maximum damage.