Introduction and Stats
Hey there, Raphterra here again, back with another guide! This time, I’m sharing my full guide on Thresh Aatrox Xolaani the Bloodweaver control. My overall winrate with this archetype is 63.1% (24 wins, 14 losses). Most of my losses were due to me still refining the decklist and learning how to play the archetype. Once I finally got to the refined list and knew how to pilot the deck correctly, I was able to make the final push from Platinum to Diamond on my Americas account at 78% winrate (11 wins, 3 losses). After this, I tested out the deck on my Asia Masters account, and I had a respectable 50% winrate (5 wins, 5 losses).
I want to emphasize that this deck can be very tricky to play, especially when you’re playing it for the first few games. If you want to see this deck in action after reading this article, check out my full video guide!
Thresh Aatrox Deck Build
Thresh Aatrox is a grindy midrange/control deck that combines combines Shadow Isles‘ early swarm units (Hapless Aristocrat, Fading Icon, Keeper of the Box, Minion) with Aatrox‘s Darkin Weapons to outgrind opposing decks over a long game. Equipping cheap units with Darkin weapons give them better trading power against opposing boards in the early game. As your equipped units strike and die in combat, you progress World Ender‘s discount as well as buff up Xolaani The Bloodweaver‘s stats. As you equip Darkin weapons, Aatrox‘s origin effect will ensure that you will draw one of your win conditions in a timely manner.
Shadow Isles‘ several control tools (Quietus, Black Spear, Vengeance, Vile Feast) give this deck much needed removals against the meta matchups. The Ruination in particular will win you games against opposing Aatrox midrange decks.
Moonlit Glenkeeper is another control card that catches many players off guard, since they don’t expect this card to be ran in a Darkin deck. Moonlit Glenkeeper‘s Sapling can pick off key units in the early game, while also progressing Xolaani the Bloodweaver when it dies. A trick I like to do sometimes is to equip The Darkin Bloodletters to the Sapling, since this would discount World Ender and leave behind a Darkinthrall.
Lots of units die when playing this deck, so Thresh was a natural choice for the second champion slot. He usually eats up removal spells which opens up space for your real late game threats. He can also be very powerful if you equip him with The Darkin Harp or The Darkin Aegis.
Speaking of late game threats, you will win with this deck in the late game using your Darkins. Level 2 Aatrox, Darkin followers (Xolaani, Joraal, Styraatu, Anaakca), and Xolaani the Bloodweaver will ensure that you have a good chance of winning the late game as long as you play correctly.
General Mulligan For Thresh Aatrox
The mulligan for this deck is not that straightforward. As a general rule, you usually want a combination of an early unit + an early Darkin weapon. For example, The Darkin Bloodletters + Hapless Aristocrat or Fading Icon + The Darkin Harp.
The rest of the mulligan is very matchup dependent:
- The Ruination is good to keep against most midrange matchups with multiple big threats.
- Black Spear and Moonlit Glenkeeper are great keeps against decks that have key units on turns 3-4.
- Vengeance is good to eliminate singular threats like Viktor or Ryze.
- Vile Feast is obviously great against aggressive decks.
- Quietus can be great against specific units like Seraphine or Ezreal.
- Thresh is a card that you can keep if you already have a good hand, and if you think you will have a good chance of leveling him up in the mid game.
General Gameplay Tips For Thresh Aatrox
- Progress your World Ender discounts and your Xolaani The Bloodweaver buffs.
In the early to mid game, you should be looking to strike and trade with your Equipped units. This will progress your two main win conditions for the late game: Level 2 Aatrox and Xolaani The Bloodweaver.
- Prepare enough mana for your control tools and removal spells.
You have multiple control tools, and you need to be planning ahead and saving mana to use them at key moments of the game. Some examples would be Turn 3/4 Moonlit Glenkeeper + Nightfall activator, Turn 7-8 The Ruination against Aatrox‘s World Ender, or Turn 3/4 Black Spear against Vayne/Ranger-Knight Defector.
- Equip your Darkin weapons correctly.
Here’s a quick list of some of the ways that I utilize this deck’s several Darkin weapons:
- Darkin weapons are the most efficient Nightfall activators for Moonlit Glenkeeper. Quietus and Vile Feast are decent options too.
- You can equip Darkin weapons on Moonlit Glenkeeper‘s Sapling if you need more damage to kill opposing key units. The Darkin Bloodletters is one of my favorite weapons to equip on Sapling since it leaves behind Darkinthrall.
- The Darkin Harp is great to equip on Keeper of the Box and Thresh to secure Lifesteal or Challenger attacks. The Darkin Aegis is also a solid option of you want to protect these units from cheap spells.
- The Darkin Spear is my least-prioritized weapon in the early-mid game, I usually only use it for Anaakca in the late game.
- Plan your late game finishers.
Winning through Overwhelm damage with Level 2 Aatrox is your usual way of winning. Don’t forget that Xolaani the Bloodweaver costs 2 when you have Level 2 Aatrox on board. Darkins from Darkin weapons can help you in different ways depending on your board state:
- Xolaani only costs 1, but requires you to kill a unit to summon her. She’s useful when you need to push more damage, but make sure to sprepare enough sacrificial units if you’re planning to close games out with Xolaani.
- Joraal can be played for free when you have Aatrox on board. You can use him to make life hard against spell-heavy decks, or to take away blockers to give way for more Overwhelm damage.
- Styraatu and Anaakca are both 3-cost units. Styraatu is best played when you need more value, while Anaakca can help you establish a stronger board or a stronger attack.
- Remember that Assimilate keeps granted buffs and keywords. Keep this in mind when equipping Darkin weapons on your followers e.g. Keeper of the Box keeps Lifesteal after transforming, Darkinthralls keep the stats buffs too.
Thresh Aatrox Meta Matchup Tips
Red Gwen Elise Katarina
- This matchup is even. Sometimes there will be games where you won’t be able to answer The Harrowing + Fallen Reckoners.
- When playing against Red Gwen, you need to mulligan as if you’re playing against an aggro deck. If you have enough early units, you should be able to trade and chump block your way smoothly out of the early game.
- The Harrowing is one of the few ways that they can sneak in wins against you. If you can afford to, try to clog their board space with units. If you can stall long enough, your Overwhelm units (Level 2 Aatrox, Xolaani, Xolaani the Bloodweaver) can go through the health of their small units.
- In the mid game, you need to be preparing spell mana to deal with their key units. Black Spear and Moonlit Glenkeeper are good tools to deal with Gwen or Katarina. Vengeance is your only clean answer to Eternal Dancers.
- Try to make a read if your opponent is trying to setup The Harrowing. Depending on your board state, you might need to save enough mana to counter with The Ruination.
- Thresh can level up very quickly in this matchup. He will be the primary target for Ravenous Flock, so you might want to equip him with The Darkin Aegis to make it harder for your opponent to deal with him.
- You are slightly unfavored against Aatrox Kayn, but slightly favored against Aatrox Vayne. Aatrox Kayn can sometimes snowball by consecutively playing Kayn and Aatrox. The Vayne variant is much more manageable because you usually only have to worry about Aatrox.
- The Ruination is your big reset button in case things go south. Players usually don’t play around this board wipe especially if the board is full of units. You don’t mind Ruinating your own board in this matchup because this will just grow your Xolaani the Bloodweaver. If you aren’t under too much pressure, you can save The Ruination for when they cast World Ender.
- Xolaani the Bloodweaver will outscale them in the late game. Their Darkin units or even Level 2 Aatrox won’t be enough to beat Xolaani the Bloodweaver in combat.
- Ranger-Knight Defector is the big scare card on Turn 4. You will want to prepare Black Spear or Moonlit Glenkeeper to deal with it before it snowballs out of control.
- I usually don’t mind trading Aatrox for Aatrox in this matchup. Xolaani the Bloodweaver will eventually win you the late game if you are trading Aatroxs with each other.
- Quietus is another card that can swing the matchup if you can remove Kayn with it. Try to force out Momentous Choice before Turn 5 as this is usually their only counter to Quietus.
Piltover & Zaun Champion’s Strength
- The matchup is very favored, because you can usually pick off their cheap units with your control spells. You also have The Ruination as a clean answer to Champions’ Strength.
- Force them to block with their board by pressuring with your units. The Darkin Harp is great way to push damage in the early game. I prefer equipping it on Keeper of the Box to keep healing the Nexus.
- Depending on what variant you’re facing, remember to always save removal spells for key units! For example, Jinx is your primary target for Black Spear and Vengeance. Quietus can do a lot of work against decks running Esmus, Breath of the World.
That’s it for the guide! I really wanted to make a guide for Aatrox, but I had to take my time to find a spicy deck for The Darkin General. Hope you enjoy playing this Thresh Aatrox deck as much as I did!