There are currently extensive changes to Aatrox in the Public Beta Environment (PBE), the League of Legends testing server. David “Repertoir” Capurro, lead designer, has outlined some main goals for the update: emphasize Aatrox’s role as a juggernaut and the drain-tanking in his kit, and fix his passive attack frame, which resulted in unintentional passive attack cancels. A major part of Riot’s goal to refine Aatrox’s identity, the largest changes will be to his ultimate ability, the revive. But the breadth of the rework will also result in changes across the board.
Aatrox current list (see image) updated for 4/23 PBE push. General stuff going on:
Testing showed him to be a bit overtuned. Nerfed some stuff.
New healing amp on R seems cool but needed tuning.
Switching Q CD paradigm to start CD after sequence (Q CD reduced as well) pic.twitter.com/6AE1CcEH66
— David Capurro (@OdysseyDcap) April 23, 2019
An instant, guaranteed revive promotes constant diving and reckless front lining in a team fight, so Aatrox will now only revive if he receives a kill or assist during the duration of his ultimate. To compensate, he will receive a reset to his Q cooldown and an extension of the ultimate duration if he does do so. That’s a massive buff. Riot also plans on giving back the second charge to his E in response to the backlash from Aatrox’s player base.
On the whole, these changes really capture the essence of Aatrox’s unique gameplay while cutting back on the more unhealthy parts of his kit. The changes reward good gameplay even more now with buffs to healing on his Q. Aatrox will now need to play team fights carefully before a well-timed initiation. Overall, this cuts back on his reliability but substantially increases the outplay potential.
Aatrox of yesteryear
In the League of Legends visual and gameplay update (VGU) or major champion rework of June 2018, Aatrox changed from a niche top lane split-pusher into a dominant laner and extremely strong team-fight champion. As part of his overhaul, his one dimensional kit, which mainly relied on auto attacks, changed to give him far more agency and skill expression, hence the many skillshots and the mobility woven into his kit.
Unfortunately, Aatrox was nerfed repeatedly following his release, ranging from his passive sustain to base damages. At the moment, Aatrox suffers from the “Ryze Syndrome,” a champion that is too good in coordinated environments like pro play, which necessitates constant nerfs and weakness in solo queue. As of patch 9.8, Aatrox has an abysmal 46 percent win rate despite a solid play rate of 3.91 percent.
However, I definitely look forward to Repertoir’s new changes and foresee a resurgence of Aatrox on the rift in the future.