Feeling hesitant playing Azir? Rioters have put together a lengthy guide detailing his strengths and playstyle.
This week, Azir ascends to the free champion rotation! Sift through this collection of knowledge from players, pros, and the community to claim your place on the ancient throne:
IBeMatey: theorycrafts tons of options and items to fit multiple playstyles
Xervos: dives deep into lane matchups and counters
Demonata: touches on every ability and item choice in depth, as well as lane opponents, team synergy, and strategies for every phase of the game
Summoner School: a community-run subreddit overflowing with Azir discussions, tips, tricks, and builds
For up-to-date info on how the pros are building Azir, head over here.
Looking for an inside edge? Check out some tips and insight from Riot Velocity and Squad5, two of the dudes involved in balancing Azir’s kit.
Squad5: Azir excels at zoning his enemies and dictating the pace of team fights. He’s great at protecting carries with his zone control and allowing them to deal their sustained damage. And he’s definitely one of the most, if not the most, complex and challenging champs in the game.
Riot Velocity: Yeah, your first few Azir games will just be you trying to figure out how to use him. He’s got a significant learning curve—he’s as difficult as Zed or Yasuo while being most similar to Orianna in terms of play style. But once you’ve got him down, he’s extremely rewarding.
What matters most with Azir is keeping track of how many soldiers you have on the field, where they’re positioned, and how many soldiers you have in reserve. Sometimes it’s best to be thoughtful and let the plays develop. Wait for the right opportunity and coordinate with your team.
Squad5: Right now, Heal is popular for midlaners, but I think Ignite is actually a much better option in Azir’s case. Getting that extra damage early is really important for Azir, and his range and kit mean he doesn’t need defensive spells as much. Teleport is another way to go because Azir has a lot of pushing and tower-killing power.
Riot Velocity: I tend to agree with Squad5, but I think Exhaust can have its place on Azir as well. If you use all your abilities and the enemy just runs past your soldiers and jumps on you, Exhaust is a great way to survive until your spells come off cooldown.
Squad5: I think there are three main ways to build Azir (though they can of course blend into each other):
1. Bursty glass cannon – Risky but oh-so-satisfying, you’re looking for maximum damage from ability usage + the first soldier autoattack.
2. Full CDR sustained damage – More CDR equals more AS thanks to Azir’s passive, so you’ll lay down maximum long-term hurt with more frequent escapes and utility to boot.
3. Tanky mage – An early Seeker’s Armguard into a later Rod of Ages or Rylai’s means less up-front damage, but also lets you stick around longer and exert the full-range of your zone control power and sustained damage.
Personally, I opt for number two by rushing Fiendish Codex and Lucidity Boots, because getting free AS from his passive is essentially just free gold. Once I get to 40% CDR, I go straight AP. If you’re really confident, you can make a special Rune/Mastery page with 10% CDR. It’ll make you a ridiculous lane bully.
If you aren’t convinced that you should build CDR, remember that even though it isn’t raw AP, CDR increases Azir’s potential damage output significantly. CDR means more soldiers out at once as well as better soldier attack speed due to your passive. And more soldiers with more autos = tons of damage.
Riot Velocity: Personally, I opt for a blend of the first and third options, with the specifics depending on how my game is going—something like Rod of Ages into a Deathcap is common for me. A lot of people like to add Nashor’s to their arsenal, but I skip it. It doesn’t really suit my “Q-plus-soldier-auto-for-half-your-health” playstyle.
I definitely don’t ignore CDR, picking up the 5% CDR from Masteries to get a smooth 20% when paired with Ionian Boots. After that, I’ll assess whether I want more CDR or not. Morellonomicon is a great purchase on Azir with his soldiers being able to proc the item’s passive. If CDR isn’t the appropriate choice at the moment, I go for a Void Staff. I always make sure to cap my build off with a defensive item. In most cases, I pick up a Guardian Angel.
Riot Velocity: You pretty much always want to max Q. Most of your damage in lane will come from Q and autoattacks.
Squad5: I’m with you there. It’s tempting, but don’t max W first. Your soldiers’ stab damage depends on Azir’s level, not on W’s level. Q is important because you rank up Q’s base damage and reduce its cooldown, so you can move your soldiers around a lot more. RQWE is the most effective path, from what I’ve seen.
Riot Velocity: Place your soldiers in between the ranged and melee minion wave to zone the enemy and farm safely. This lets you farm the front and back line with the same soldier as well as push your opposing laner off the minion wave. Soldiers’ autos are like Lucian’s Q—they can deal damage beyond the circle of their attack range. If your lane opponent hides behind his or her minions, stab the minions for free damage!
Squad5: You’re going to want to flood the lane with lots of soldiers, but resist putting down a solider every single time your W comes off cooldown (especially if you’re losing lane). You never know when you’ll need to raise one and E to him defensively to escape a gank.
Riot Velocity: Players new to Azir will often just put down a soldier and E to it to offensively gap close. But instead you should WQE! This lets you deal free damage while you gap close. But don’t get too bloodthirsty—you don’t always have to go for a knockup on your E. Sometimes, you should just use E to get into a better position.
Also, always be on the lookout for opportunities to push—an unattended Azir can absolutely wreck towers, so make sure to take advantage of that power whenever possible.
Squad5: Not many people know this, but soldiers work like wards when you place them over terrain. If you can get a soldier more than half way over a wall, you can get him all the way over! And here’s another fun trick: if the enemy’s hunting you down, drop a soldier and start walking in a different direction. If they follow you, use your E like Lissandra’s E and hop to your soldier.
Riot Velocity: In team fights, it’s tempting to use Azir’s ult offensively, but it’s often better to save it to protect your squishies from bruisers. His wall makes him a huge asset for chaotic jungle team fights, so don’t shy away from those.
Squad5: Don’t get me wrong, playing it safe is great, but I usually can’t resist going for the inSec with Azir’s ult. It’s easy enough to ult enemies back into your team by simply flanking them, but you can also pull it off from right in front of them for maximum swag. Drop a soldier and send it behind your enemies with Q, then E to it and quickly ult back the way you came.
When ulting, keep in mind that Azir’s soldiers actually spawn slightly behind him before rushing (and pushing) forward, which can give you that crucial extra bit of range for catching an enemy. If you picked up Flash, you can use it to extend your threat range to a truly ludicrous level, or hold it in reserve to escape once you’ve executed the play. Works 1,000% of the time, every time.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask me at @NoL_Chefo or e-mail me at email@example.com.