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League of Legends 101: How to play Azir effectively

The Emperor of Shurima has been a steady midlane pick for years. Here’s our take on how to play Azir.

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As far as mage midlaners go, Azir easily has one of the highest skill ceilings. With any amount of mechanical prowess, Azir can outplay any traditional control mage. This incredibly strong outplay potential, and relative ease of mastery, has made Azir a near constant favorite in both soloqueue and professional play. As all champions require, Azir takes time and knowledge to master. Here are our tips and tricks to carry with the Emperor of the Sands.

Combos and Trading – How to control your army

Azir is one of the few champions in League of Legends that generally works well into most matchups. His long range and poke ability, as well as peel, make him a safe, yet aggressive pick. Your goal should be to win the early lane matchup through aggressive trades so you can scale into a massive team fight threat, where Azir truly shines. This requires an extensive knowledge of how to utilize Azir’s army most effectively.

Basic Combo: W + Q + Auto Attack

Azir’s W (Arise!) gives him a massive range advantage over most opponents and enables favorable trades. Your most basic combo will involve and Q (Conquering Sands). This combo puts your opponent in a bind, should he be aggressive and move toward you, your ranged auto will let you kite them until you’re back under tower. If they move away, your Sand Soldier will be able to get a few extra hits.

‘Ambush’ Combo: W + E + Q (Flash) + R

You should keep in mind that your soldiers provide you a small amount of vision when you place them down. This leads to some interesting team fight setups. This combo works best around objective fights or jungle skirmishes where you can flank your opponents. Your initial W, E, and Q are only meant to close the gap with flash being needed only in long ranged scenarios. Your ultimate is meant to fling the opponents back into your main force while keeping them in range of your Sand Soldiers.

Late game roles – Scale and contest

Azir’s unique kit gives him a very specific role in the mid to late game. Azir can easily glide through walls, making him a prime candidate to contest around objectives. If your team does not have priority over the Baron of late game Dragons, you will have to the primary diver. One more combo can quite literally force your opponents out of either pit.

Objective Contest Combo: W + E + Q + R

This is a significantly more difficult combo to execute on, but in neutral objective fights, this could be the difference maker. Your will get you over the wall initially while your will send you back to approximately your opponents will be shuffled to. This will reduce the amount of enemies on the objective and hopefully push them closer to your allies. This is an incredibly mechanically demanding combo that happens in a flash. Don’t be discouraged if you mess up the exact timing the first few times.

In more standard, front to back team fights, you should provide a scaling threat. Azir is one of the most deadly late game champions in League of Legends. Getting to this point involves intensive farming and staying alive. Even without Azir’s combos, you should be able to drop Sand Soldiers and do massive damage.

Itemization and runes – The more AP, the better

As a potential AP carry mage, you’ll need to prioritize items that help you scale. Luden’s Tempest should be the first item you rush, even before boots. Given how much you will be expected to dive into the enemy and objectives, Zhonya’s Hourglass should be your next item, as the few seconds of safety could allow your team to catch up. After this, you should keep perusing items that facilitate your late game damage. This could include Rabadon’s DeathcapVoid Staff, or Morellonomicon.

Hail of Blades is an incredible keystone, increasing attack speed to make your auto attacks, and your soldier’s, significantly faster. Cheap Shot is good to follow up on your ultimate. Granted your focus will be on neutral objectives, the more vision you have, the better. Ghost Poro can provide a small amount of crucial vision. Relentless Hunter helps your already impressive peel. Sorcery will be a good secondary, Absolute Focus and Gathering Storm helping your damage output and scaling potential.

Overall, Azir is one of the most fun yet mechanically challenging non-assassin midlane pick. Mastering the Emperor will take hours and countless games of practice. Once you’re able to execute the perfect Baron flanks with some of his most complex combos, it’ll be wort the effort.

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Image Credit: Riot Games