Riot Games reveal Aatrox's reworked abilities

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Riot Games reveal Aatrox's reworked abilities
Image by Riot Games

Have you recovered from watching Aatrox's trailer on June 11? If so, good for you. If you haven't, we are afraid to announce that Riot Games have released material that might send you into a frenzy.

Aatrox's full ability rework has arrived on the official League of Legends website. Although he is not due for release during Patch 8.12 on June 13, he is likely becoming available on the Public Beta Environment within the next few days for players to help Riot Games tune his numbers.

Regardless of your ability to access the PBE, here is a full briefing of his rework:

  • Passive: Deathbringer's Stance – Aatrox’s next basic attack has increased range and deals a percentage of the target’s maximum health as damage. This attack also significantly reduces all healing and shielding on the target for a few seconds.

    Deathbringer Stance’s cooldown is slightly reduced whenever Aatrox casts a spell or when he lands the edge of The Darkin Blade on a champion.

Deathbringer's Stance is a departure from a passive Blood Well, which allowed Aatrox to gain a temporary revival should he fill the well through ability casts, and should he die within a short period of time after doing so. It also puts the focus squarely on perfectly landing the abilities in his kit, and synergizes well with it.

The passive also facilitates counterplay against shields and healing, which Soraka, Sona, Janna, Lulu, Taric and Nami provide at a steady basis. Teams that rely on the presence of such a champion in their composition would be wise to consider throwing a ban on Aatrox should they not sacrifice bans on more oppressive champion picks.

Three swift strikes, as illustrated by Riot Games. The order of the strikes is (from top to bottom): 1, 3, 2.
Three swift strikes, as illustrated by Riot Games. The order of the strikes is (from top to bottom): 1, 3, 2. 
  • Q: The Darkin Blade – Aatrox swings his greatsword up to three times. Each cast increases in damage, impacts a unique area of effect, and can hit with the edge of the blade (a second, smaller hitbox).

    Edge of the blade: Hitting enemies at the far end of the first two casts and the center of the third briefly knocks them up and deals significantly more damage.

Here is our answer to the "three swift strikes" that everyone was able to notice during the trailer. The edges are outlined with a thicker red outline in the first two strikes, and the center of the cone appears on the third hit. The ability outputs a large amount of damage, but is his only damaging ability of significance, putting the accent on perfectly landing each strike on priority targets.

Moreover, his third strike is a gap closer, provided Aatrox reaches a point where he can cast it.

  • W: Infernal Chains  Aatrox smashes the ground, damaging the first enemy hit and briefly slowing them. If it’s a champion or large monster, they are chained to the impact area.

    If the chained enemy is still in the impact area after a few seconds, they are dragged to the center and take damage again.

Aatrox has the ability to lock a target down should his ability connect, slowing the target significantly. Opponents would be wise to dash out of the ability if it connects, or to preemptively do so, lest they are forced to Flash out of it. Judging from the footage available on Riot Games' announcement, the lockdown seems reliable as the lockdown area is wide enough. In conjunction with his remaining abilities, it promotes a more proactive all-in playstyle and facilitates landing his three Q strikes.

  • E: Umbral Dash – Passive: Aatrox heals for a portion of the damage he deals.

    Active: Aatrox dashes, increasing his attack damage for a few seconds. Umbral Dash can store up to 2 charges and can be used simultaneously with The Darkin Blade.

Umbral Dash allows Aatrox to sustain himself to similar extents as his current W - Blood Thirst does, as well as receive health from his ability damage. Such sustain could become overkill should Blade of the Ruined King ever become part of his core itemization as an additional item.

However, the most significant component is his active, as it allows him to dash over a small distance to fix the targeting of his Q – The Darkin Blade's strikes, as well as dodge crowd control skillshots such as Morgana's Q – Dark Binding and Braum's Q – Winter's Bite. Considering the lack of reliable gap closing on Aatrox's kit before he is able to land his third strike, the last thing an Aatrox player would want is for a snare, slow or stun to stop him dead in his tracks and prevent him from correctly lining up his three Q strikes.

It is important to note that his Umbral Dash can be used while a Darkin Blade's strike is being cast, which makes this ability extremely important in Aatrox's kit.

  • R: World Ender – Aatrox unleashes his full might, becoming monstrous in size and taking flight on massive wings. As he transforms, Aatrox fears nearby minions and briefly increases his movement speed (this bonus is reactivated when out of combat).

    While transformed, Aatrox increases his overall damage and gains a Blood Well that stores health over World Ender’s duration, reviving him if he takes lethal damage while in his true form.

The Blood Well has made it into Aatrox's new kit and is an active component - a reliable one at that. Should Aatrox die with a fully loaded Blood Well, he can regenerate up to half of his total health points, provided Grievous Wounds effects are not in place.

The ability has the potential to flop as much as it does of performing wonders on Summoners' Rift, depending on the player's skill on the champion. Moreover, his Blood Well revival effect no longer pins him on a location - allowing him to move while untargetable.

It also wraps up a remake that has the potential to be extremely overpowered on release, depending on how Q – The Darkin Blade's damage is tuned. One thing is certain: there will be more Aatrox players after the rework than before.

 

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