The Emperor of the Sands: An Azir Guide for League of Legends
Sat 15th Jun 2019 - 10:50am
Azir deals damage largely based off of his auto attacks with Sand Soldiers, summoned units that are untargetable and will auto attack for Azir (even when he’s out of range to auto attack himself). When he is left alone, Azir deals terrifying amounts of damage. His main vulnerability is how squishy he is, so if any CC lands you can say buh-bye.
His passive is Shurima’s Legacy. This essentially allows him to temporarily revive a downed turret, friendly or enemy. While oftentimes this can go unutilized because the enemy team simply decides not to fight under the turret, it can function as a strong backup or escape mechanism for when you are deep in the enemies' base. Conversely, it works wonders in slowing down the enemy team's push into your own base.
His Q is Conquering Sands. This ability is a skillshot that allows Azir to reposition his Sand Soldiers within a fairly large circle around Azir. Not only does this give Azir a decent amount of safe long-range poke in lane, but it also empowers his E's ability to give him twice as much mobility.
His W is Arise! This is Azir’s bread and butter. It gives him much needed passive attack speed and the summoning of Sand Soldiers that make Azir... Azir. These soldier’s auto attacks deal extra magic damage to all enemies in a line and allow for Azir to shred through entire enemy teams.
His E is Shifting Sands, the ability with which Azir uses to reposition himself throughout a game. A mechanically intense combo, which requires fine-tuned practice to use reliably, is his E and Q. When utilized together, he can dash to a sand soldier and, before arriving, send it in whichever direction he pleases. If used offensively in conjunction with Flash, you can often surprise the enemy team’s carries with an ultimate straight out of a highlight reel.
Azir’s R is Emperor’s Divide. Azir’s ultimate can be used in many ways, including the one mentioned above. However, it is most commonly used to deny an otherwise deadly engage from the enemy team. Azir is one of the few mages who can position successfully on top of his AD Carry as he is able to protect them both with a good ultimate.
When Azir last fell out of the meta, it was largely in part due to mana issues in the early game as well as some nerfs to his E and R. This is why Azir often starts with a Doran’s Ring and buys a second one before any core items. Right in line with this is his choice of summoner spells. Because you need to make an early back, it is often encouraged to take Flash and Teleport so that you do not miss too many minions. When it comes to runes, I prefer to run Lethal Tempo, Presence of Mind, Legend: Alacrity, and Coup de Grace. Top this off with Manaflow Band and Transcendence to hit your mid-game stride as quickly as possible. Finally, secondary runes of attack speed, adaptive force, and magic resist/armor.
Azir’s core item is Nashor’s Tooth. After completing this, buy a Morellonomicon, one defensive item (i.e. Banshee’s Veil or Zhonya’s Hourglass), and Void Staff if they have MR or Rabadon’s Deathcap if they do not. Some situational items include Rylai’s Crystal Scepter against tanky opponents who have no dashes as well as Luden’s Echo for more short burst type of trading. Try Sorcerer’s Boots to top off the build.
It should be noted that some people run Arcane Comet or Electrocute on Azir to abuse his auto, Q, auto trade. While this definitely yields stronger results in the laning phase, his mana issues often arise (no pun intended) as an issue far before you bully your opponent out of lane. In addition, that build doesn’t hold the same teamfight potential as Lethal Tempo.
As mentioned earlier, the laning phase is all about allowing yourself to scale into late game. This is why we back early for a second Doran’s Ring after pushing the first 3-4 waves. In addition, you should be wary of jungle ganks, as Azir is very vulnerable to CC. His E is instrumental in avoiding key skillshots but targeted CC is your weakness.
After getting your double Doran’s Ring, the early game becomes all about soaking up as much farm and experience as you can without allowing your opponent to kill you or make key roams. If your opponent decides to roam, it is important to understand how dangerous it can be to follow your enemy through the river. Either path very safely through your jungle or push the wave in order to punish the roam.
In teamfights as Azir, we have two main objectives. First, put out heavy consistent damage to the overextended enemy frontline. This includes being ready to use your ultimate defensively for either yourself or your AD Carry. Second, you should also be looking for key opportunities to dive into the enemy team’s backline and ult them towards your team. This is known as the “Shurima Shuffle”, and it can often be the moment that turns an entire teamfight. Do this with caution though, as a mistake can often look like an int and result in a teamfight loss.
Azir's time to shine truly comes at 30+ minutes. When he is able to farm until around 5 completed items, he is generally able to kill a tank, from 100-0, in less than 5 seconds. The magic pen from your Morellonomicon, Boots and Void Staff will shred any resistances. Not to mention ADCs will die in 4-5 autos from a soldier. Of course, it's late game and so this goes both ways. Position yourself far in the back of your team, ensuring proper vision on both sides to protect your flank. After that, it's time to go to work. Focus on dealing damage, with the mindset that you will be ready to Flash any specific cooldowns you see come out of your enemies. Good luck!
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