His Q, Conquering Sands, is the ability that sends all of his summoned soldiers to a direction, dealing damage to enemy units that they pass through. The ability power ratio and travel distance were lowered, but the hitbox of the soldiers has increased by about 70 units. The cooldown timer has also become longer in the early game but shorter in the late game.
His W, Arise, is what allows him to summon his soldiers on a directed location and then attack enemy units. The damage from the soldiers has been increased at all levels but reduced at Level 18. The soldiers can now be summoned further away from Azir and last 10 seconds. The attack command from Azir has a lower cast time, and the soldier’s damage per level has been increased, but they can’t attack wards or trinkets anymore. As an added new effect, Azir’s W grants him additional attack speed for five seconds whenever he summons a new solider. It’s important to note the more attack speed Azir has, the quicker his soldiers attack targets.
His E, Shifting Sands, makes Azir dash to one of his sand soldiers and gives him a shield. The new E gives a 70 percent ability power ratio and the shield is activated immediately, but the shield lasts only 1.5 seconds and the dash speed has been reduced from 1,700 to 1,400. The E also has a new effect, which halts Azir when he collides with an enemy champion while he’s dashing to a soldier and instantly prepares a new soldier.
His ultimate, Emperor’s Divide, summons a wall of soldiers that moves forward in a direction and pushes back any enemy units it encounters, dealing damage while staying on the field for three seconds as a continued wall for enemies. The cooldown has been lowered at all ranks, the wall size has increased at all ranks, and the wall soldiers now interrupt enemy dashes while they’re moving forward.
The mechanics of Azir have been basically kept the same, but with some tweaks that could change the way Azir and enemy champions play against him. His soldiers have been tweaked to matter more to his damage output, as they do more damage than before, and the attack speed steroid after summoning a new one means the soldier’s damage potential has increased even more.
His Q received an overall nerf, with a longer cooldown timer in the early game, shorter travel distance, and the 20 percent decrease in AP ratio. The increased hitbox is nice, but will mostly benefit the players capable of precise commands. It’ll be less of a poking tool than it was before, but a portion of that power shifted to his W, which can now be summoned further away from him.
The new effect in his E could change the way he’s currently played, especially as colliding with an enemy champion doesn’t apply any crowd control effects or damage. Azir’s E was a useful engagement or escape tool as he dashes over walls and enemy champions alike. Now with a larger window to stop him in his tracks, Azir’s enemies can position themselves to corral him. The immediate shield with a 70 percent AP ratio seems like a measure to increase his chances of survival, but as it only last 1.5 seconds it’ll likely be used to dash towards an enemy champion in order to take the lane advantage and win trades while the shield is active.
Azir’s ultimate being able to block enemy dashes while the soldiers are in transit gives him a more mechanical window in terms of engagement or disengagement now that enemies can’t time their dashes to get away from or move towards Azir. This means post-Level 6, he has a better way to coordinate with jungler ganks as well as in team fights, as he can more effectively displace priority targets.
Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games