Azir - latest League of Legends champion revealed and he has a thing for sand
The reveal of a new LoL champion is always exciting and this time Riot have brought us a mage with a fondess for manipulation and sand.
The Riot crew certainly like to mix things up. While Gnar was a champ that spent half the match as a speedy kiter and the rest as a beastly tank, Asir comes to us as a mage who gets others to do most of his damage.
A successful match as Asir depends on positioning and zone control, so he's another champ that will take a certain amount of skill to master. A number of his abilities bring new play styles into the game, an excellent way to keep the MOBA monster interesting and fresh.
"An oft-repeated legend stirs in the desert of Shurima. The swirling sands carry rumors of the ancient emperor Azir, somehow returned. "
Will of the Emperor - Cooldown reduction increases Azir's attack Speed
Disc of the Sun - Azir creates a turret on the base of a destroyed turret. Behaviour is the same as a standard turret, but deals extra damage and grants Azir gold when it kills. The Sun Disc last for a short while and loses armour if Azir is killed or moves too far away.
Conquering Sands - All summoned Sand Soldiers rush at the target position. The soldiers damage and slow all enemies they hit.
Arise! - Azir summons an untargettable Sand Soldier. Azir then uses his basic attack as a command for the soldiers to attack for him, like puppets on a string. The soldiers can attack when Azir is not in rage himself, allowing him to sit back from the action and still get in those basic attacks. Soldiers will fade after a short time or when left behind.
Shifting Sands - Azir rushes towards a target Sand Soldier. If he collides with an enemy champ, he stops, gains a shield and knocks the enemy up. Excellent for escaping and quickly changing position.
Emperor's Divide - Azir's ultimate calls forth a mighty phalanx of shield-wielding soldiers who press forward, knocking back and damaging enemies. After their charge, soldiers will form a wall blocking enemies and granting a speed boost to allies. Unfortunately for dreams of a one mage assault force, this phalanx can not be ordered about.
Azir is definitely an interesting one. He's a mage, but most of his damage is done with right-click basics rather than spells. The Sand Soldiers are his source of damage, while most of his spells are all about positioning, so obviously a good knowledge of positioning is required for this champ.
By placing his soldiers, Azir creates zones of power and can farm and manage a lane in a number of ways. Going up against Azir is like stepping on to a chessboard. Exposed pawns can draw you in, but a sudden conquering sands can change the whole board, leaving you in the middle of a kill field.
The combo Riot are suggesting is some basic damage from soldiers, then a Shifting Sands to knock the enemy champ up before using a Conquering Sands to finish them off, saving an Arise! and Shifting Sands for an escape route.
Add the ultimate to the mix and you're looking at Arise! and Shifting Sands to get behind the enemy, then Emperor's Divide to force them further into your side of the map where sharp spears should do their work.
For teamfights, Azir prefers a set location where he can plan his soldier positioning. As such, Baron and Dragon fights are his ideal territory. When caught on the run, he can do an excellent job at messing up team formations and can really punish undisciplined teams. Jungle fights, with their narrow entry and exit points are perfect for Azir to once again control territory, setting up killzone choke points or completely blocking off an escape route with his ultimate.
From the quick overview released by Riot, it's hard to see a flaw with Azir, once he's played well. The skill level could be the main barrier to complete domination, but while Gnar had definite weaknesses in each form, Azir needs to be managed well. Champs who can either ignore his zone control or who can in turn limit Azir's mobility are the way to go here.
Azir can be incredibly powerful, but as all of his strength is in his Sand Soldiers, if he deploys them incorrectly he is left as a weak target to cut down.
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