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How To Counter Aatrox With Garen

Episode 2 on Spin To Win Adventures: How to counter Aatrox with Garen.

As of season 10, Aatrox is a weak champion. He has a low win rate. He is still one of the most popular champions to find yourself playing against in the top lane. His high mobility, high damage and high lifesteal kit attracts playing who love making themselves look good.

According to the stats, Aatrox struggles.

But stats shmats. He still does tons of damage in the early game and it can sometimes seem difficult to lane against him. Garen can handle him though. Aatrox wouldn’t have a low win rate if there weren’t players out there who knew how to take advantage of his weaknesses. So he does have weaknesses. We are going to show you how to exploit them using Garen through laning mechanics, itemization and late game strategy. 

Before we get into this, make sure you know what Aatrox does with his 4 buttons. Check out his abilities here.

Garen vs Aatrox: Laning

Level 3

Level 3 Aatrox is a pain. He has lots of damage, and abilities to help him get to you to deal it. His weakness is that all his cooldowns are too long. Once he has used his abilities, he’s vulnerable to trades. You need to bait out his abilities and fight him when he doesn’t have anything to use on you.

Dodging sweetspots

Almost all of Aatrox’s damage comes from his Q. Once he has activated it once, he has a maximum of 8 seconds to cast it twice again before it goes on cooldown. After the first cast, keep your distance and wait for all three casts to pass. Then engage with a Q E combo and walk out before he gets everything back. When he has activated his Q, try your best to not get hit in the sweet spot zones.

If his E is up, he will often expect you to walk backwards and then land the sweet spot Q by dashing forward. Sometimes it’s better to walk forward and take the normal damage rather than risk getting hit by the sweet spot. Each cast deals more damage than its predecessor, so it’s more important to dodge the second two than the first one.

W vs W

Aatrox’s W is his chain, which brings you to the centre of the zone if you can’t get out of the zone in time. Your W has the same cooldown as his. If you’ve been hit by his W, activate yours. It will help you get out of the zone, and if you can’t get out in time it will block the damage which will follow from the sweet spot Q he will land. His W can’t go through minions, so stay behind them to avoid getting hit by it. If he wastes his W, you use yours to swing trades in your favour.

Healing from your passive

Aatrox can only cancel your passive with his Qs. When you need to heal up you can keep a bit of distance or stay in the brush to avoid getting damaged by him. Aatrox’s way of sustaining is damaging enemy champions so if you can avoid being hit by his Q or his empowered passive basic attack you can stop him from healing so much in lane. You know when his passive is on cooldown if you see him stab an enemy minion instead of smack it with his sword.

When to fight

If you can avoid fighting when his ultimate is active then do it. Rather bait out his ult then re-engage when you can kill him easier. He does a lot of damage for a 10 second period but after that he’s back to his old self. Once he has ulted, get back to your tower ASAP if you don’t think you can kill him anyway. Aatrox’s ult doesn’t give him a revive like it used to, so don’t be scared to ult him while it’s active.

Aatrox’s strong laning phase is the only reason some think he’s scary and don’t want to face him in lane. Just go even with him or better until level 11 and fights will be easy for you. Garen scales better than Aatrox, so keep that in mind.

Items and Runes

Conqueror

For runes run Conqueror. It’s the best option for Garen right now runewise. You could possibly run Grasp of the Undying, but you aren’t going to be trading often enough for it to be too useful. Conqueror will help you better late game.

Bramble Vest!!!

Rush Bramble Vest for its grievous wounds. Grievous wounds are the ultimate counter for Aatrox because of how much healing he has in his kit. You can then go Trinity Force into Sterak’s, and follow the normal Garen build. Rush Deadman’s before Sterak’s if you’re struggling, before Tri Force if things are desperate.

Garen vs Aatrox: Late game

You fare much better in the late game than Aatrox does. Your focus won’t really be on Aatrox during teamfights. You should care more about peeling damage and getting to the enemy carries to burst them down with a bit of damage from your Q,E and an ult. Try to keep Aatrox off your carries. Even though he isn’t strong late game, he still has enough damage to delete squishies with his abilities.

His problem is that he will be squishy himself. Tank a bit of his damage and let your carries kill him before he can get to them. That’s all you need to do when it comes to playing against Aatrox as Garen in the late game.

Final thoughts

Aatrox is a pain to play against because of his strong early game, but Garen is well equipped to handle this darkin’s damage. When you’re beefed up with a few items, especially one with grievous wounds, you shouldn’t have trouble delivering good, clean Demacian justice. Follow these tricks and you won’t have trouble spinning and winning against Aatrox.

If you want to improve your chances in other match-ups in the top lane, you should have a look at our other articles.

If you’re looking for more Garen-specific match-ups, here they are:

  1. How to Counter Darius with Garen
  2. How to Counter Nasus with Garen
  3. How to Counter Wukong with Garen
  4. How to Counter Mordekaiser with Garen

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