Aatrox has found his way into the patch notes once again! In LoL Patch 13.17, he will receive changes that will hopefully lead him back on the right path, causing him to go back to his intended builds once more. But why is this necessary?
When Aatrox was originally released in 2013, his kit was... not exactly great. In fact, he was quickly dropped by many players after they realized that his gameplay just did not feel good.
This led Riot to update the Darkin Blade multiple times over the following years. While this improved his viability, he still did not feel amazing to play. After years of trying, Riot announced a full Comprehensive Gameplay Update (CGU – one of those reworks that Aurelion Sol got too, for reference) in 2017.
This CGU later turned out to be a full-scale VGU, and it eventually released in mid-2018. The rework was an astounding success, and Aatrox would finally be viable in the top lane again.
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Unfortunately, the new Aatrox turned out to be an absolute balancing nightmare. When first picked up by pro players, Aatrox would immediately take over the Rift and was picked or banned in 99% of all games at the 2018 World Championship. Due to this, Aatrox received many nerfs and had many mechanics removed, like the Crippling mechanic on his Passive – Deathbringer Stance and the revive on his R – World Ender.
Nowadays, he is mostly in line with other top lane champions. However, recent developments saw him pick up Lethality items instead of the intended Fighter items. This allowed him to heal more with the same stats, as Lethality would immediately ignore parts of the opponent's armor and would not have to stack up first, like Black Cleaver does.
LoL Patch 13.17: Will These Changes Bring Aatrox Back In Line For Good?
As part of the current PBE cycle, Riot are trying to bring Aatrox' tendencies to build assassin items to an end. They have now changed the damage type of his Passive – Deathbringer Stance and his W – Infernal Chains from physical to magic damage.
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While these are not his most powerful tools, he is definitely losing a lot of efficiency from Lethality items. Unfortunately for Aatrox mains, this change also means that they will need one basic attack or spell hit more to fully stack their Black Cleaver as the item only adds Carve stacks upon dealing physical damage. His Passive is not affected, as only the bonus damage is magic and his basic attack will still apply physical damage.
Note that this does not make Sorcerer's Shoes or AP builds on Aatrox viable – Aatrox still does not have any spells that scale with Ability Power. However, with Goredrinker and Spear of Shojin getting substantial buffs this patch, Aatrox mains will want to stick to Fighter builds anyway.
What do you think about this change to Aatrox? Do you think they should have changed a different part of his kit? Let us know in the comments!
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