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New Azir guide: how to play, what to build and what’s different

The bird is back.

Azir has been a topic of discussion since he first launched onto the Rift in 2014. One of, if not League’s most challenging champions to play, the bird emperor has always been too strong or pitifully weak. The struggle of balance for Azir is understandable, considering how many systems he can effect at once.

Finally, after months and even years of people complaining about Azir for one reason or another, he is seeing a miniature rework. Unlike some other changes, like the Xin Zhao rework, Azir hasn’t gained much in the way of new features. Instead, his kit has been completely re-balanced.

Here are all of the Azir changes from Patch 7.19 and what to build on the newer, better bird.

Base Stats

Azir has gained some base health and base Movement Speed. He now has 540 health (rather than 524.4) and moves at a speed of 335 (rather than 325). These changes should keep Azir competitive considering some of the other bonuses he is losing.

Q - Conquering Sands (max first)

Azir’s cast range has been reduced from 875 to 720. His spear length (the range that his soldiers can attack in) has been increased from 300 to 370. The cooldown has been decreased while the base damage has been significantly increased, specifically in the late game. To compensate, the AP ratio has been reduced from 0.5 AP to 0.3. Finally, Sand Soldiers will now group up much more when they slide into a location.

The nerf to Azir’s Conquering Sands range is by far the most significant of his changes. While he still has plenty of range to deal with foes in the mid lane, he is going to struggle against long range aggression more than he did previously. However, getting away from his soldiers is now going to be much harder, making getting caught by them far more punishing.

W - Arise! (max second)

Azir’s Soldier Command range has been decreased from 800 to 660. However, Azir can now summon soldiers 500 units away from him, rather than only 450. The recharge rate of his soldier charges is now reduced in the early game. The base damage of soldiers has been upped in the early game and slightly nerfed in the late game, while secondary stab targets receive 40/70/100 percent damage depending on level (1/6/11). Azir’s soldiers can no longer attack wards.

This ability also has one big mechanical change. Whenever Azir has three or more soldiers on the field at once, he will gain a massive attack speed bonus depending on Arise!’s current level: 20/30/40/50/60 percent attack speed for five seconds.

In order to compensate for his lack of range, Riot wants to turn Azir into more of a mid-range duel mage. In team fights, he will be able to summon soldiers very quickly and maintain his attack speed buff for the entire fight. Since Azir is a auto-attack mage, that AS buff is nothing to sneeze at and he will mess you up if given the chance. If you are Azir, keep your soldiers close and ready to fight. If you are playing against him, get on him as quickly as possible, or all of your allies will disappear.

E - Shifting Sands (max third)

Azir gets a shield immediately when using Shifting Sands, not when he hits an enemy champion. The shield has a 0.7 AP ratio and only lasts for 1.5 seconds. However, if Azir smashes into an enemy champion while he is shuffling he will immediately grant a soldier charge for Arise!

The changes to Shifting Sands helps Azir keep mobile and safe. The consistency of the shield and the built in scaling ensures that he can get into or out of a fight without as much hassle. The patented “Shurima Shuffle” is also still in place, meaning that Azir can slide to his Soldier while using Conquering Sands, extending the range of his mobility by a ton while also making his movement less predictable.

If you are curious how to do this, it is fairly simple. Press E first so that Azir is sliding toward a soldier. Mid-slide, quickly direct that soldier with Q to another location. As Azir is already in transit, he will follow along.

R - Emperor’s Divide (max whenever available)

Azir’s wall will no longer prevent movement spells once it is in place, and will only bump players while it is sliding forward. However, the cooldown of Emperor’s Divide has been reduced across the board while the wall itself gains one soldier for each level of the ability, going all the way up to seven soldiers at level 16.

This is an overall nerf to Emperor’s Divide, but it will allow the emperor of Shurima to throw out that wall far more frequently. As far as playing against Azir, this a great change, as you should no longer find yourself in a perpetual state of bouncing off of walls.

The Build

For Azir, we want to build some AP and attack speed. This will help Azir fight fast and hit hard.

Starter Items

  • Doran’s Ring
  • Biscuits

Boots

  • Sorcerer's Shoes

Build

  • Nashor’s Tooth
  • Rylei’s Crystal Scepter
  • Void Staff
  • Rabadon’s Deathcap
  • Liandry’s Torment

Situational item

  • Morellonomicon (If you are a newer Azir player and find yourself struggling with mana.)
  • Zhonya’s Hourglass (If you find it hard to live through fights or massive burst damage.)