It goes without question that Azir is quite a weak champion right now. Even for worlds, the stats don't lie. Pro players are now second-guessing the efficiency of Azir and his playrate has greatly decreased after seeing that he just keeps losing on the world stage. Even when fully mastered, he's not offering the same late-game fantasy that he once did and is still very easily punished by mistakes that are sometimes simply out of the player's power. Similar to Ryze.
After One tricking him for a few years and being on every point of the soloQ ladder with him (except GM+) There are quite a few suggestions I could make about the Emperor to see a much higher consistency in SoloQ WITHOUT breaking him for competitive play.
The Main glaring weakness that Azir has is initial burst and CC, (outside of fully committing in melee range using your R, which is USUALLY NOT how you want to enter a fight) and that will always be the case for having obvious counterplay patterns. However, there is another weakness that many Azir players will run into, and that is HITBOX CLARITY/ACCURACY. This is what I want to touch up on more than anything else that will strengthen the performance of his gameplay from all levels of play. I am proposing ZERO Damage buffs. Please read the following and I will explain my reasoning:
Azir's Q: Conquering Sands – This ability has a very peculiar and unique hitbox pattern that is extremely inconsistent with every other champion in the game. When you have 2 soldiers out, they will NOT follow your cursor and instead split into a V shape that goes in between your cursor, causing your ability to fully miss a target. Now all of us Azir OTPs are well-aware of this, and have gotten used to PURPOSELY aiming your Q fully next to your enemy character's model in order to make at least one soldier hit, but then the other soldier is STILL too far to overlap for the 25% subsequent damage. There are 2 ways that this problem can be addressed to make it a lot more clarifying and satisfying for Azir players for all levels of play, while of course having the LEAST amount of impact on Top-Level-Pro-play, as there are no power-creeped damage changes.
A: Buff the actual Q hitbox width (which is a change I am more in favor of) to make the soldiers easier to land even when they act in a splitting pattern from where you send them out to your cursor. I was trying to look everywhere where I can find Azir's actual Q hitbox WIDTH size, but holy damn, all I know is that this skillshot is literally the side of a needle in terms of width. So many times I've seen the soldier visually touching the enemy model, and still not granting damage, when the ability is primarily used for just the slow/soldier placement for being able to deal DPS. With a pathetically low base damage and scaling of a measly 0.3 AP, this is the least that can be granted out of this painfully inaccurate ability, which gets me to my second suggestion.
B: Either ALWAYS send at least one soldier to the exact area of your cursor when you have specifically 2 soldiers out, or change the AI to have them meet narrowly enough where the attack still lands in the exact cursor spot. I shouldn't have to purposely be accustomed to a skillshot mechanic that DOESN'T grant me the damage within the area that I assigned it to on my cursor. That is extremely inconsistent with every other champ in the game and can result in bad habits playing other champs. If I sent it to that area, and it misses, that is another story. This will clear up a widespread confusion amongst many lower tier players that feel otherwise deterred or intimidated from ever trying the champion again, and simply giving up the champ after their first game, feeling it was too hard to understand, regardless if the game was a win or loss.
Azir's W: Arise! – I think this ability makes relative sense and I wouldn't change anything in terms of how the ability itself is. However, whether it be a bug, or an intended mechanic within the Soldier coding, there seems to be a huge problem using attack-move with your soldiers. I have countless times, hit a completely seperate and far out target, (sometimes with a completely different soldier in another spot) again FULLY AWAY from where my cursor is issuing the attack-move command, even when I double down and use the 'Target Champions Only' keybinding. The soldier is on the enemy, and fully in range to hit the enemy, and sometimes still, in between kiting, I will autoattack a completely different target (minions, etc) for no reason even though I'm spacing and kiting perfectly. Why do I have to pin-point right-click on top of the enemy to fully guarantee that the sand soldier won't just bug out and hit a completely different target when I'm even also using the 'Target Champions Only' keybinding? I may as well be only right clicking and not be using attack-move at all. That is, again, inconsistent to the behavior of any other champion in the game, and it should be addressed to behave as such.
Azir's E: Shifting Sands – This is an ability that I am actually in favor of nerfing if the clarity changes prove to be too strong. This is the only ability in his kit where I think the numbers are actually good. However, again, the ability has some painful QOL issues. I would be in favor of leaving this completely alone if at least the Q and W were changed around the suggestions above. Alas, I will still give a suggestion to this one.
A: Fuse the EQ damage together (Either simultaneously or within the same time frame, and have it still count as 2 abilities for runes like Conqueror/Electrocute) and grant the +1 sand soldier even when you hit an enemy at the tip of your EQ combo. It's very easy to lose a ton of value on this ability for not landing directly on top of the enemy character model and makes it hard to commit to this ability in fights.
B: Make the shield duration START at the end of your EQ travel time, or just buff the shield duration to 2 seconds flat. Often times you don't actually even get the shield value out of the ability when traveling/engaging because it disappears way too fast within the time you're travelling with EQ.
Azir's R: Emperor's Divide – No suggested changes. Even though the utility of this ability has been repeatedly nerfed and changed, I think the ability has enough skill expression and balance, and is fine to be left alone if the changes above were applied.
TL;DR I will label the abilities in patch form for a quick and brief understanding
Q: Conquering Sands – Hitbox width increased by 20(?) units edge-to-edge (I'm not sure what would be the appropriate number)
New torpedo-like wind animation in front of soldiers (with the hitbox change) for hitbox clarity!
Soldiers now meet slightly closer together (by 20 units?) when specifically 2 soldiers are sent to a cursor location.
W: Arise! – Fixed a bug (I'm just gonna call it a bug) Where Sand Soldiers will select a completely different target from the point of where you issued an attack-move command with 'Attack-move on cursor'.
E: Shifting Sands – NEW: Drift collision: Now grants both the EQ damage respectively and grants the +1 soldier upon connecting with the tip of the hitbox.
Shield duration now starts at the end of drift travel time, or collision (AND/OR) Shield duration increased to 2 seconds from 1.5
After being a long time enthusiast to this champion and seeing the different changes throughout the years, I genuinely think that these clarity/QOL changes, with the current state of his numbers, will promote healthy gameplay consistent to other champions on how abilities should interact (that is not overbearing for skilled/pro players), while also finally increasing his play rate for lower tier players. Azir thematically is one of the coolest champions in the entire game. It's about time he's treated as such and finally gets some love. Thanks for the read guys, and please let me hear your feedback 🙂
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