Dear LoL Community,
We are the Aatrox mains and we would like to share our story. The rework was not for us “but for the community” – so we cannot find anything close to old Aatrox in the game anymore. Where upon getting nerfed, his play rate now is exactly the same as it was before. We wanted to see him changed, but never as much as he was. Riot themselves said he had a healthy winrate for all of his 5 years of prior existence.
An excerpt by Youmuus why he loved the champion when he actually tried him: "Not a particularly good Aatrox player but there was always an allure that made me want to sink time into learning him. His thematic of this drain tank warrior who fought till the end was such an amazing fantasy. There were moments where you would have extremely low hp and hit a critical mass of healing which kept you alive and played more and more risky in hopes of making of those sick plays over and over again. It sucks we can't do that anymore, I think the flat passive heal on current Aatrox is a huge injustice to his design and why a lot of people who were initially drawn to him left. Changing him from an auto attacker to an ad caster was just the nail in the coffin for me as it just seems like he is now a completely different champion now. Personally, and from the Rengar community we hope you guys get your revert as well."
“Witness Truth.” Words said by an ancient and mysterious figure, only associated as being war itself. Ancient by that massive wisdom, experienced. A god. Why? A legendary warrior who would appear in only the largest of battles, in the direst of situations. Emotionless in the middle of all the chaos around him and that's what his voice lines expressed: an inhuman, cold, mental state towards war meanwhile he talks about rage, when he feels none. From then on, he would either be remembered as a saviour or as the darkest and most horrific thing you could imagine. A mesmerising figure in combat, so graceful in combat that made him perfect, something beyond men.His animations were the perfect mixture between brutality and elegance. Two different poles. An artist and a killer machine. No hesitation.
As a creature that appeared to be war itself in the grand scheme of history, he wasn’t really interested in what went around the world, but merely spreading war itself as a means to prove his point that strife is a core part in every living being. Everyone wants war. His look really represented it as well – his wings being torn from the many battles and him having his armour be a part of his physiology, such as growing out of his legs. We also cannot forget his sword – a jagged living weapon that not only slashes, but also eats the very essence of his enemies.
His story was and still is part of Summoners Rift itself, as the two teams are modelled after the first war that has a record of his appearance. The blue team represents the Protectorate who he saved, red team is the Magelords who he killed. On a rock by the outer top red tower he still stands depicted. A silhouette of him, not the sword, for that was put there even before his lore was re-written.
He had perfect abilities to showcase his lore – Dark Flight to jump into the enemy team, followed by Massacre and then even when you die, you resurrect to turn the tide of battle. His abilities perfectly represented his war as he never led through words, but through action.
He was a champion about thrills like no other, because everything he did revolved him dancing near death. He had a trade-off between health and damage. The feeling of stance-dancing, managing your passive and being rewarded when you did everything right. Knowing when to switch from extra damage, to healing stances, flash Q engaging and ulting to get all your stacks of passive and then have a major attack steroid so you could slice anyone down in your vicinity. Orbwalking while you had extended range, with positioning well and making sure you can stick to high-priority targets and sustaining through it all through a visceral offensive onslaught. Being rewarded for being aggressive and offensive by sustaining and staying alive. That was an intoxicating playstyle. Originally Aatrox was also very versatile: in games he could be seen going full ad, a normal bruiser builds or even full ap. Throughout the years and even without the changes in a meta, you could go all kinds of things as your build. Or you could go one step beyond and take the route of Darien - get a Manamune.
Aatrox had 2 skillshots (3 if you count the ult) a toggle which defined how he managed situations and a resource bar which was essentially a gate to his stats, which is also outplayable. He had a slow dash to catch up to someone and for many years it was considered too slow for him to ever be good, same going for his E. His life-stealing had a balance aspect to it because it took a lot of time to fully heal from minions, and if you wanted to life-steal you had to AA minions (or champions). That meant you needed to put yourself in danger and risk yourself dying to AA minions if you were low hp or half. You needed to think if you wanted to lose on damage and heal or stack passive and deal damage.
His mini rework did alter his playstyle but it kind of left him who he was, something that we did not see with the major rework. Our champion was completely changed. That did not happen as during some point they decided they wanted to keep nothing of old Aatrox and wanted to just completely change him. The current version of Aatrox still feels unfinished, some animation transitions aren't smooth at all, the wings constantly get bugged, they removed his E charge system, something that makes him feel even less smooth. You can see how good he is for balance from the 6 months of just nerfs.
We still don't understand why they would make the rework for everyone except for the core fanbase, this feels really, really disappointing to the players who spent time and effort with him, this stings even more after looking at the reworks that came after Aatrox, loyal and they kept the core champion in them, especially Kayle and Warwick. He used to be a god, a true otherworldly warrior. We loved him as a whole package – the story, the looks, the gameplay and his voice. And now Mordekaiser, Riot contacted one of the most prominent Mordekaiser mains to make sure the future rework was in the right track. A rework should be loyal to a champion, modernize them, give them more tools, make them easier to balance, which is exactly what happened with Warwick, Kayle and Nunu. Even the experimental change that Riot showed with the new healing based ultimate is that this champion should not be named Aatrox as even the last connecting straw to who he was is disappearing because they cannot balance the rework. Last but not least – Bbtrox has interesting ideas. His current dominance in pro-play has left him where he is currently and he needs more work to make them efficient and healthy for the game in all levels of play. This rework accomplished none of its goals and took every step away from the original playerbase, it was handled poorly. He needs to be a different champion, so that the new mains do not have to go through the same as us.
Thanks to everyone who participated in this post, props to over 150 people that expressed their opinions on our reddit and discord.
There are also many more heartfelt opinions over at the AatroxMains subreddit, although I'm not certain if I'm allowed to link to it.
Thanks for hearing us.