Azir - Buildpaths (Poke, Lategame Orgasm, DPS and more)
So where does Azir stand in the league?
he has the ZONE of Orianna,
he has the PEEL of Lulu,
he has the POKE of Zyra,
he has the DISENGAGE of Janna,
he has the lategame DPS of Karthus and...
...he builds turrets.
To sum it up, he is a great champion with huge potential to change the meta of the midlane, similiar like Lee-Sin did for the jungle and Thresh for the supporter role. He provides enough ranged waveclear to effectively COUNTER SIEGE and his poke and zone gives him great SIEGE potential. His ability to build turrets makes up for completely new strategic movements in the game.
Warning: Azir really likes to talk about Shurima and he is truly convinced of it. This might affect you as a player over time. But don’t worry, because the shurimian way is the only right way!
"There is only Shurima. All else is but a mirage.“ Azir - really cool bird.
This article is about Azirs different buildpaths and its ups and downs.
First, I am going to explain Azirs buildpoints, which you should prioritize when you are looking for creating a build for him.
- You should try to stack CoolDown Reduction (CDR) as early as possible.
Azirs passive "Will of the Emperor" transforms every 1% of CDR into 1,5% attackspeed.
But this is not the main reason why he scales so well with CDR: Nearly all of Azirs damage comes from his sand soldiers, which are stationary, but can be repositioned with his Q - "Conquering Sands".
This means, your opponent can just walk out of your sand soldiers range after you used your Q and your DPS (Damage Per Second) drops to zero.
But lower cooldowns on your spells mean, you can more often reposition your sand soldiers in a fight and therefore you increase your damage and utility.
Simply put, Azir scales too well with CDR, so skipping it is not a smart option.
- You will need atleast one item, which satisfies Azirs greed for mana.
Everything what Azir does, works with his sand soldiers. But those guys won't stay for a while, actually they disappear after 9 seconds. You will find yourself most of the time summoning sand soldiers, which is going to drain your mana pool.
The available options for mana regeneration are: Morellonomicon, Athene's Unholy Grail, Rod of Ages, Tear of the Goddess. I'll talk about them later in this guide.
Plenty of possible buildpaths appear, if we want to prioritize the above buildpoints. I tried nearly all of them and want to present you only the item choices, that I think fit him the best. I have to explain few things before though.
Let's start with the controversial subject: Nashor's Tooth on Azir.
First of all, I can't hear the argument anymore longer that this item shall be crap on him, only because he cannot apply its passive with his sand soldiers.
For all those guys, check out the stats of this item again, then calculate the gold value and you will easily realize: this item is gold efficient, even without its passive.
117,74 % gold efficient if you want to know it exactly.
Next, no matter how hard you want it to be not true, Azir remains an AUTOATTACKING champion overall. You can compare him to Graves or Lucian, who deal a fair amount of damage with their spells, especially during the midgame. Later on though, their autoattacking DPS is completely outshining their spelldamage.
Azir scales very similiar and therefore bonus attackspeed is much needed on him.
At this point, I have to talk about different playstyles. You can play around of not having any attackspeed items by playing much more like a spellcaster. In Azirs case this means, doing hard hits with a single Q or autoattack and it is overall a very poke - heavy style of play.
But coming into the teamfights, the Azir with some more attackspeed is likely going to outdps the poke - oriented Azir. This is simply because attackspeed scales over time and has no value in short, bursty trades. Be conscious about the pros and cons of items on your champion and you can better adapt to the game.
Another very important point: more attackspeed means a reduced attackdelay, which again results into more responsiveness of your champion.
Faster executed attacks, smoother orbwalking and so on. Those are things that I value, but this might not be the case for everyone, therefore it is a matter of prefered playstyle but also a matter of right adaption to the game.
For instance, your team is centered around teamfighting. You have a Maokai at top, a Jarvan in the jungle and a Janna and a Vayne at bot. If Maokai and Jarvan know how to play, then they are going to zone the enemy and peel for your birdy ass. Given your natural long range, it will be easy for you to dish out plenty of your magic damage. Some more attackspeed, therefore also more basic attacks could mean the difference here of doing enough damage to win the fight or not doing enough damage and getting blown up.
Another example, you don't have team protection and you also have a hard time to survive versus some diving fighters and assasines. You will be happy to get one or two attacks off as you are mostly concerned about surviving. Maximizing DPS makes not much sense here, rather increase the damage of those one or two attacks with buying a lot of magic penetration and ability power.
A last point that I am going to mention according to this subject: Azir and his crappy base attackspeed.
His base attackspeed is 0.6, which is the second lowest in the game and this is, how bonus attackspeed from items and levels gets calculated (note: bonus attackspeed does also include attackspeed gained from levels):
base attackspeed * (1 + (bonus attackspeed / 100))
Following this formula, base attackspeed is actually the variable that decreases the bonus attackspeed variable and brings your attack speed on a normal value at the end. So mathematically seen, an Ashe with a base attackspeed of 0.658 and 80% bonus attackspeed will have a bit more attack speed than an Azir with his base of 0.6 and 80% bonus attackspeed.
Whatever, this is the wrong way to look at it!
There is a reason, that Azir has a low base attackspeed and growth and it is due to balancing. He has totally different scalings than Ashe, in fact three sand soldiers attack with an ability power ratio of 0.9 plus base damage on top of it, which means nothing else than TONS OF DAMAGE.
So, even although he has a low base attackspeed, 80% bonus attackspeed still means he will attack 80% faster.
Also, from the wiki: http://leagueoflegends.wikia.com/wiki/League_of_Legends_Wiki
"Champions with a low base attack speed will receive less of an attack speed boost from the bonus than champions with a high base attack speed, but the proportional increase in DPS will remain the same for both."
Now according to Azirs buildpoints again:
Either a Morellonomicon or an Athene's Unholy Grail is the first item choice for the majority of league player, as it luckily for Azir, combines the above explained buildpoints into one item, they provide: 20% CDR and a lot of mana generation.
Which one of the two you chose, should depend on many factors like for example your matchup, the enemy teams composition and so on.
For instance, it is difficult to avoid the long range spells of a skilled Xerath player, so in this case some magic resist from the Athene's Unholy Grail could help a lot, but then again it isn't so effective versus a physical damage dealer like Zed. You might consider to rush a Morellonomicon versus AD assasines.
However you are going to decide, I recommend you to invest into a second Doran's Ring as Azir is very mana hungry and even with the Athene's Unholy Grail you can find yourself out of mana many times after a skirmish. The rings are going to buff your weak early game and provide you mana sustain in lane and some bonus health as well.
Alright, it is now time then to show the first Azir build, which focuses on the previously mentioned poke - heavy style of play.
Build: Poke - heavy.
Ionian Boots of Lucidity are needed to reach the CDR cap of 40% in conjunction with either a Morellonomicon or an Athene's Unholy Grail and the 5% CDR mastery.
After this, you want the flat magic reduction of Haunting Guise, because you replaced the Sorcerer's Shoes with the Ionian Boots of Lucidity.
Flat magic reduction is a powerful stat and therefore also rare. It is effective versus all targets, including those with much magic resist and those with no bonus magic resist. It also synergizes greatly with magic penetration.
Afterwards it is pretty much up to you if you decide for the Void Staff, Rabandon's Deathcap or the Zhonya's Hourglass. It all comes down to adaption again.
Is the enemy team very dive - heavy with champions like Zed, Renekton or Kassadin? Zhonya's Hourglass might be a smart choice here.
Are you already quite fed and want to further push your lead? Rabandon's Deathcap, also for the improved waveclear.
Are the enemies already stacking magic resistance and you cannot avoid targets with a fair amount of magic resist? Void Staff.
Those were just a few simple examples. Ask yourself those questions and you get used to it.
About the build: it provides a lot of ability power. It is superior for poking the enemy down and overall Azir will do slow, but hard hitting attacks.
Build: Sustained Damage.
Same build actually, except that I swapped Liandry's Torment with Nashor's Tooth and therefore also Ionian Boots of Lucidity with Sorcerer's Shoes. It takes a bit longer to reach the CDR cap but this build gives you a better teamfight presence as it approaches my above points about building Nashor's Tooth on Azir.
"Poke - heavy" and "Sustained Damage" are two very common builds for Azir.
But you can improve them if you want to invest into some CDR runes. I know, they are damn expensive unfortunately, but they are also totally worth on Azir.
So, regarding his strong scaling with CDR, I run flat CDR runes on him to start the game with 20% CDR already. I love this setup as it gives me a stronger starting and I am able to reach max CDR after only buying either the Morellonomicon or the Athene's Unholy Grail.
Two builds appear again:
Build: Poke - heavy with CDR runes.
Build: Sustained Damage with CDR runes.
"Whoops! Where is the mana? IMA THURSTY BIRD!!"
Well yeah, the actual buildpath of "Sustained Damage with CDR runes" contains an early Chalice of Harmony and the two Doran's Rings. I realized that this can be enough of mana generation when you try to manage your mana a little bit.
Later on I sell the Chalice of Harmony for my sixth item.
Same pros and cons of the first two mentioned builds apply again.
But what you get, is an earlier max CDR power spike and overall a smoother starting in my opinion.
What you sacrifice is: some magic resist from the glyphs and the 15 ability power from the quintessences.
Now don't get me wrong, 15 AP is a lot! However I feel Azir has a lot more impact with the early bonus CDR instead of the 15 ability power. After all, I guess you have to test it out and see what works best for you.
Now I am going to show you the
ULTIMATIVE KILLER TERROR LATEGAME BUILD!!!!!!!!!
Build: Lategame Orgasm.
Sometimes I run it on him, when I play him at top and have an easy match up. This build provides the most of ability power and highest DPS at the end and also gives you the highest utility with the Seraph's Embrace shield and the Zhonya's Hourglass active.
Tear of the Goddess is actually a really great item on Azir, as he can stack it extremely fast via sand soldier summoning and when fully stacked, you upgrade it into Seraph's Embrace, which gives Azir full 120 ability power!
BUT this luxury is coupled with an huge cost.
Tear of the Goddess needs time to scale up and has no combat value at the beginning. It slows down Azirs already weak early game furthermore, so that is why I feel that you really can only go this buildpath, when you have teleport and an easy farmlane at toplane.
Rod of Ages:
I don't like it on Azir due to several reasons.
First, Azir is very mana hungry and this item cannot really solve this issue. From all the mana regeneration items, Rod of Ages gives the least mana regeneration.
Secondly, it has no CDR.
Thirdly, because of my second point, Rod of Ages does just furthermore delay Azirs first and important power spike.
Fourthly, Azir has long range spells and can play ridiculously safe, he has higher priorities than investing gold into bonus health at the beginning of the game.
Rylai's Crystal Scepter:
I simply can't find the place for this item on Azir, as items like Rabandon's Deathcap, Void Staff or Zhonya's Hourglass have a much higher priority. The slow effect on your "Q - Conquering Sands" is really strong, so I feel that this item is wasted gold on him.
Haunting Guise, one of Liandry's Torments item - components, is really strong, especially when you combine it with Sorcerer's Shoes.
Liandry's Torments passive though...not so much.
Except you have to deal with many health stacking frontliners of course, but otherwise you have to know:
Liandry's Torment has a gold - efficiency of 82.9%.
Its passive must have a value of 497 gold or more to push the gold - efficiency of Liandry's Torment over 100%. That is definetely not the case when you hit squishier targets.
The thing with Liandry's Torment is, that you actually pump gold into a passive, that scales with the stats of your enemies. But Azirs scalings are by far too great.
I'd recommend you to only upgrade into Liandry's Torment at the end of your build or if you think you have to burn their beefy frontliners.
This has been my shortguide about item choices on Azir so far. It was written during the time of LoL patch 5.2.
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