- Aatrox: Champion Overview
- World Ender
- Evolved Aatrox
- Champion Spell
- Deckbuilding Options
- General Playstyle
Legends of Runeterra’s World Ender expansion is named after the World Ender himself and one of the most powerful beings in the whole of Runeterra: the Darkin, Aatrox. Along with him came some new keywords to learn and many new cards to play around with, including two other champions, Ryze and Kayle.
This article will focus on Aatrox, a champion not bound to any region, and one that is a bit complex to figure out considering how many things he can do. As such, we will look at how he, his Equipment, and everything else around him works, and how you can effectively build a deck around him. He has a great deal of value to offer once mastered, so let’s get right into it.
Aatrox: Champion Overview
Aatrox is a five-attack, five-health unit that costs six mana to play, and his evolution condition is “You’ve played World Ender.” His mana cost-to-stats ratio is slightly below average (an average ratio would land him with six attack and six health), but ends up being negligible since he Auto-Equips his weapon, The Darkin Blade, which has one-attack, one-health, and Regeneration.
Additionally, when he is summoned or strikes, he heals your Nexus for two and adds a World Ender to your hand if there isn’t one already there.
World Ender is a 13 mana slow-spell, reduced by one mana every time a Darkin or Equipped ally strikes, that Assimilates allies Equipped with Darkin weapons. What this assimilation does is transforms any units in play that are wielding Darkin Equipment into the fully-fledged Darkin form. So, for example, if you have a Forsaken Baccai Equipped with The Darkin Halberd when World Ender is cast, it will transform into Taarosh, the ten mana Darkin form of the former Equipment.
If a champion is wielding the Darkin Equipment, they are instead immediately leveled up.
When evolved, Aatrox transforms into a very imposing nine-attack, nine-health unit with Overwhelm. In addition to continuing to heal your Nexus for two health whenever he’s summoned and strikes, he now also passively reduces the cost of all your Darkin allies by five mana. This allows for some serious board-swarming with rather high-costing minions.
While Aatrox may not necessarily be able to one-turn-kill your opponent (though it is possible since he has Overwhelm), his presence on the board is just as scary since he enables you to play extremely powerful Darkin that would normally cost upwards of eight mana for much cheaper, enabling some massive swing turns. The higher-costing Darkin already have extremely powerful effects, which is why they cost as much mana as they do. Now imagine playing two to three of them in one turn. Sucks to be on the receiving end of that.
Aatrox’s champion spell is Aatrox’s Deathbringer Sweep, and it’s a three-parter:
- Deathbringer Sweep is a three mana fast-spell that causes Aatrox and an enemy to strike each other, but it then creates a Fleeting Deathbringer Slash in your hand.
- Deathbringer Slash is a two mana fast spell that also causes Aatrox and an enemy to strike each other, but then this one creates a Fleeting Deathbringer Descent in your hand.
- Deathbringer Descent is a one mana fast spell that, you guessed it, causes Aatrox and an enemy to strike each other.
Only the first version of Aatrox’s spell puts an Aatrox back into your deck. The two subsequent fleeting spells do not add more Aatroxes to your deck.
Aatrox’s champion spell amounts to three Single Combats for a total of six mana. As such, it is a very effective removal tool, and since he has Regeneration thanks to his Darkin Blade (and a nice health pool of nine once leveled up), don’t shy away from using all three casts if you can. Do be wary that you don’t overdo it though, as when he strikes, he only heals your Nexus for two, not himself.
Aatrox’s passive is The World Ender. First, it allows you to put any non-Champion Darkin card in your deck during deckbuilding, regardless of region. Secondly, once you’ve played three or more Darkin in the game, you will draw Aatrox straight out of your deck.
It is important to note that you need to play three different Darkin to get Aatrox in your hand. For example, if you play two Joraals (The Darkin Aegis) and one Styraatu (The Darkin Harp), you will not draw Aatrox because two of the three Darkin you played were the same Darkin (Joraal).
Thanks to his passive, Aatrox will always be bringing value to whatever deck he’s put in since you don’t have to worry about the varying regions of the many Darkin Equipment cards in the game. Aatrox makes the most sense in a mid-range deck, though putting him in a more late-game oriented deck is certainly feasible, as long as it’s not a hard control deck and just one that starts pumping out big minions and controls the board with good unit trades.
One of the key things to address is his World Ender spell that levels him up. Darkin allies are not the only ones that reduce its cost; any ally that is Equipped with any Equipment can reduce its cost as well, so with that in mind, Aatrox can fit very nicely into any type of Equipment-based deck. Furthermore, you can pair him up with regions that have good defensive spells, though it isn’t particularly needed (in bulk, at least) since his value comes from swarming the board with high-value minions, less so ending the game with his own swing at your opponent’s Nexus (though that is very possible).
Aatrox And Kayn (And Maybe Varus)
Probably the most obvious choice for Aatrox is Kayn, as he’s a Darkin as well, and the Cultist cards that complement Kayn also complement Darkin cards in general, which is good synergy with Aatrox and his army of Darkin Equipment.
You could run Varus if you wanted, but Kayn is better for two reasons. First, he’s five mana, not four, which simply falls in line better with Aatrox’s mana reduction of Darkin cards upon evolving. Second, and more importantly, Varus relies on a hefty number of low-costing spells to be scary, and Aatrox and Kayn rely more on Equipment, good trades, and mid to high-costing spells. As a result, Varus won’t be nearly as big of an imposing presence as Kayn (or any other Darkin) would be in this deck.
Aatrox And Vayne
As usual, Vayne complements anyone with good attack effects, and while Aatrox may not have the greatest one, he still has Overwhelm, and any unit with Overwhelm that hits twice in a turn poses a threat, even if it dies on its second swing. However, some of the Darkin Equipment that would naturally go in a deck with Aatrox have some very powerful attack effects like Taarosh (The Darkin Halberd) and Styraatu (The Darkin Harp). So, using a Tumble on one of those guys can be a huge tempo swing for you, or even end the game.
Aatrox, Braum, And Ornn
The logic behind the Aatrox and Braum pair-up is twofold. First, Braum, is great at controlling the board state early (especially with the Darkin Ballista), and this can give you time to get Aatrox all leveled up and ready to rumble. Second, this deck should run cards that can Forge (of which there are plenty in Freljord) your Equipment, turning Aatrox and Ornn into very big boys that can end the game in one turn, especially Ornn in this case.
You could run any number of each of these champions in this deck, though consider having at least two Ornns to have more opportunities to end the game with him. You don’t want to be too reliant on Aatrox or a buffed-up Braum to end the game.
Aatrox excels in mid-range decks of all shapes, be it those that pick up steam earlier in the game, or those that pick up steam later in the game. He is a scaling champion, so while you won’t necessarily be on-turn-killing your opponent, you will eventually overwhelm them with the unbelievable value of your Darkin cards being reduced in cost by five mana.
Due to how reliably you can pick up Aatrox during each match, there’s no need to mulligan him unless you want his champion spell, which is perfectly viable in certain match-ups.
All that being said, you must be careful that you don’t lose too much tempo when trying to play your World Ender. The last thing you want to happen is to drop a hefty amount of mana on it and have it get denied by something like a Deny or Rite of Negation. If that happens, your entire turn is gone, and you’re behind in tempo, which is a big deal when playing a mid-range deck. Thus, you can either wait until World Ender is cheap enough where if it’s denied you don’t lose too much tempo, or until you’re certain your opponent doesn’t have an answer for it.
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