Darius Build Guide by H4xDefender
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Vs Standard/AD Top
NEED MAGIC RESIST
Vs Heavy AP/AP Top
Not Updated For Current Season
The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.
About the Author
Hi, I'm H4xDefender, a competitive player of some renown in this game and some others. I unofficially hit platinum last season and currently sit around 1700-1800 ELO this season. I don't claim to be the best player around, but I certainly know the ins and outs of this game, and I know what i'm doing.
I'm not known for pretty guides. I'm known for rather short but effective guides that advertise information that is tried and true through rigorous testing at my elo, higher elo through teammates and friends, as well as tournament play. If you don't like "ugly" guides, go find another one now.
I've actually gotten a lot of messages about this regarding my Jax and Gangplank guides so I find it necessary to add a bit of credibility here.
I held over a 60% winrate with Darius in S3 through about 80~ games before the changes to ranked took place and wiped it out.
Why Play Darius?
He is a champion, that played correctly can STOMP 95% of all lanes he goes against hands down. His actual counters are very limited, and no matter who they pick against you, one mistake by them can win you a lane if you capitalize on it correctly.
Yes he isn't the BEST teamfighter, but he ISN'T a terrible one compared to a good number of bruisers, and can offer utility with his MS and AS slow on Crippling Strike and displacement/catch out ability with Apprehend, not to mention his absurd damage output with Noxian Guillotine, Decimate, and Hemorrhage, that FORCES him to be focused.
Marks: Standard flat AD. Armor Pen is also acceptable if you can last hit without the bonus AD, but that is a BIG if. AD > ARP early game, and not just because it is easier to last hit with. Don't take anything else.
Seals: Armor. Nothing else.
Glyphs: Few different choices here. IF you are vs an easy lane you can take AD, hard lane you can take armor. Normally this will be flat MR, scaling is fine if you are vs an AD top with little no AP damage, i.e. Riven.
Quintessences: Biggest range of choices here, AD, Armor Pen, Health Regen, Movement Speed, Armor, Magic Resist, all are fine here depending on the lane. It is standard to take AD which is what I prefer. If you want to mix AD and Armor Pen runes, usually you should take armor pen marks and AD quints. Health regen is super situational, movement speed is a preference thing, armor and MR are also super situational.
I'll go over why I don't go for more of a standard setup of 21-9-0 or 9-21-0 really briefly.
This is almost completely inferior to 14-16-0 because the tankiness you lose is substantial, and the damage boost is almost completely negligible. Darius doesn't really buy much crit so those masteries are pretty wasted on him, and while the armor pen is nice, it isn't worth giving up the bonus hp from Juggernaut and damage reduction from Block .
Better then 21-9-0, and actually not that much worse then 14-16-0. You get a little bit tankier at the cost of some AD and raw damage from Havoc . The reason I don't take this setup is because masteries like Reinforced Armor , Good Hands , and Legendary Armor are more lategame oriented while Darius is an early game stomper.
There should almost be no deviation from the standard maxing of Q (Decimate) because it simply does the most raw damage when you hit with the tip of it. Taking your ultimate whenever available should be a no brainer, as it also does a ton of raw damage.
If you are against a champion that is heavily dependent on attack speed such as Jax or Irelia and they are forcing trades on you, you can sink a few extra points into Crippling Strike before maxing Decimate to make trades more favorable to you, but the damage loss will be noticeable when trying to land max damage Decimates for free damage.
If you are against someone investing heavily into armor to shut you down such as a Singed or Shen, you can choose to max Apprehend AFTER maxing Decimate, although you should keep in mind, a few points may be enough when you have finished The Black Cleaver. NEVER EVER max Apprehend first, you will do absolutely no damage.
There are only a few viable spells so I'll run through them quickly.
Flash: I fleyish. You fleyish. Everybody fleyish. If you don't know how good Flash is, then I just don't know what to tell you. Flash Apprehend combos are super powerful for catching people off guard for initiates.
Ghost: Take Ghost against champions that generally kite you hard, or take Ghost themselves like Jayce, Elise, and Olaf. When you hit level 6, you can generally pop Ghost, run up to someone like a Jayce or Elise, force their Flash to be burned, and then keep chasing them with the movement speed from Ghost for a kill. The reason you don't take Flash in these lanes is because if you Flash aggressively or defensively, they will just respond with their own Flash. Ghost has a much lower cooldown then Flash, and covers much more distance overall.
Ignite: When combined with Hemorrhage, the kill potential Darius has with Ignite is just off the charts. You can literally dunk someone with max stacks from half hp and Ignite them, and 9 times out of 10 they will die from the sheer power of DoTs.
Teleport: Since Darius has the power to crush his lane super hard even without a kill summoner like Ignite, you can take Teleport to try to make taking Dragons easier for your team, or simply teleporting in for a gank bottom lane if they are struggling to try to turn the game around. Taking TP over Ignite is largely based on preference.
Barrier: Nope. You win all-ins vs everybody and Ignite gives you better kill potential.
Heal: Nope. Same reasons as above.
(Unrelated note, I typed ALL this up, but my browser crashed and I lost all of it, what you see here is the SECOND time I am typing all this up FML)
I will explain every item I build relatively in-depth here with a short explanation. I will not repeat items, CTRL-F it if you cannot find it.
STANDARD BUILD VS AD:
The Brutalizer: A nice chunk of CDR, as well as a huge damage boost with the armor pen and AD it provides, all for a pretty low price. An incredibly cost efficient item that provides a big spike to Darius's damage in lane.
The Black Cleaver: Percent armor pen when combined with the percent armor pen from Apprehend is just super strong, not to mention it gives a whopping 50 AD, as well as some extra CDR and tankiness. A strong item on Darius overall.
Warmog's Armor: I shouldn't need to explain how good Warmog's Armor is, not just on Darius, but on almost every bruiser in the game. A ton of tankiness and sustain, all for a relatively low price, even after the added cost of an extra Rejuvenation Bead.
Guardian Angel: This item is amazing, especially on someone like Darius who has massive damage output. When Darius dives into a teamfight, he cannot be ignored, but all the tankiness from Warmog's Armor as well as the resists from GA make him so tanky, that teams will want to ignore him. Even if you somehow manage to die, having GA will ensure you will fight on. Just make sure you don't get caught, and the impact of this item will be extremely noticeable.
Blade of the Ruined King: With everybody stacking HP, this item gives you a lot of extra damage, and all for a pretty low price of under 3k gold, not to mention it gives you lifesteal to sustain in fights, and it has a good active for sticking to a target like the AD carry and bursting them even faster if you ever get to jump on them.
Randuin's Omen: An amazing item to fight AD carries lategame. Both the passive and active are crippling to AD carries, and if you ever get in range to land Crippling Strike as well, you will completely nullify their damage which is huge. Not to mention it provides a nice chunk of health as well, which makes you an absolute monster when you have The Black Cleaver, Guardian Angel, and Warmog's Armor as well.
STANDARD BUILD VS AP:
Hexdrinker: Gives you complete dominance vs an AP champion in lane. The shield makes you practically unburstable, and it gives you a ton of MR and AD for the cost as well. Fantastic item vs APs.
Maw of Malmortius: Unfortunately, nowhere near as good as Hexdrinker, it is kind of just there to be an available upgrade to Hexdrinker. The passive AD bonus is nice when in conjunction with Warmog's Armor and Guardian Angel though, and the shield is always nice.
Mercurial Scimitar: The stats it provides isn't great, but the active is amazing on a melee champion like Darius, the only downside being that it is simply too expensive to build on an everygame basis, the ability to remove CC from a champion like Darius is just unrivaled.
Sunfire Cape: Good if you need armor as well as hp and Warmog's Armor isnt cutting it (because it provides no actual armor). Good in trades and all-ins, and helps push as well.
Ninja Tabi: Great item in lane if you need armor but you don't want to invest gold to buy a major armor item. Make sure to sell lategame if you need tenacity and you didn't build Zephyr.
Doran's Shield: Very strong laning item, get if you are struggling in a lane where you are facing lots of auto attacks, i.e. Irelia, Jax, Jayce.
Thornmail: If the enemy has auto attackers in every single lane AND jungle and they start snowballing, buy this. i.e. Tryndamere, AD Kayle, Vayne, Xin Zhao.
Frozen Heart: Same deal as above, but buy this BEFORE they start snowballing to ensure they DO NOT snowball.
Locket of the Iron Solari: Extremely cost efficient, if nobody else on your team is buying this and you need armor you should grab it. It is very cheap too, at only 2k gold in price.
Atma's Impaler: If as a last item you need more armor after Randuin's Omen and Guardian Angel but you need damage as well.
Wriggle's Lantern: If you need sustain armor and damage all at once in a lane, and if you need to stomp lane in order to win.
MAGIC RESIST ITEMS:
Banshee's Veil: When you are facing strong initiate magic damage CC such as Gragas's Explosive Cask, Orianna's Command: Shockwave, or Galio's Idol of Durand.
Mercury's Treads: Good bit of MR to help you survive vs AP until you finish Warmog's Armor/ Guardian Angel, and the tenacity helps a ton.
Spirit Visage: If you need a quick burst of MR and a bit of tankiness to do your job in fights this is the item to build. Provides a bit of CDR as well so you get a tiny bit more damage.
Runic Bulwark: If nobody else on your team is building this, you need both resists/a lot of MR, and you don't need to deal a ton of damage build this.
Mikael's Crucible: If you are getting STOMPED by an AP and someone on your team is carrying but faces the threat of CC, build this for them to help them carry, Quicksilver Sash/ Mercurial Scimitar is only for yourself.
BIG TICKET DAMAGE ITEMS SON:
Trinity Force: If you need a little bit of everything really. Gives you mana, a slow, more damage, movement speed, a bit of tankiness, crit, and attack speed. If you are stomping and dont need armor pen and you want to chase people down build this.
The Bloodthirster: Good if you don't need to be tanky at the moment, the other team isn't building too much armor, and you want to do a lot of damage. Provides a lot of fight sustain with Warmog's Armor as well.
Infinity Edge: If you are disgustingly fed and the other team doesn't have the CC or damage to kill you and isn't building armor either, go for it.
Zephyr: Extremely underrated item, provides a nice bit of AD, some attack speed that is partially wasted, a TON of useful movement speed, and tenacity as well that lets you go items like Ninja Tabi, and Boots of Swiftness/ Boots of Mobility without having to worry about being overly hampered by CC. Really good for splitpushing as well.
Last Whisper: If the other team is building absurd levels of armor and you simply need to do more damage.
Ravenous Hydra: If you aren't getting CC'd too much and you don't need to be tanky/dont need armor pen, this is the best choice to do maximum damage as it has a strong AoE active that is strongest near the middle, amazing in conjunction with Decimate which is strongest near the edge.
Youmuu's Ghostblade: If you need some armor pen, but you need a gap closer as well, this is the item to buy. Quite underrated.
Any more item questions, leave a comment or PM and i'll get back to you, although I pretty much cover every item even remotely viable on Darius here. (HE HAS 0 AP SCALINGS).
WHY I HATE/DON'T BUILD FROZEN MALLET.
Frozen Mallet is COMPLETELY UNNEEDED ON Darius.
There is NO reason to EVER build it over Randuin's Omen, Guardian Angel, or Warmog's Armor. None. In comparison to Randuin's Omen, the 200 health, slow, and bit of attack damage is nowhere NEAR worth it compared to the amazing AoE slow active Randuin's gives, as well as the massive armor bonus, and the crippling passive it provides when you are hit by auto attacks.
In comparison to Warmog's Armor, you do NOT NEED THAT SLOW OR THE ATTACK DAMAGE BONUS. IT IS NOT WORTH GIVING UP THE REGEN AND THE BONUS 300 HP THAT IT GIVES YOU, SINCE Darius HAS MASSIVE DAMAGE OUTPUT, THAT 30 AD WILL NOT CHANGE. If your argument is "but i need slow man" buy Randuin's Omen. If you need tankiness buy Warmog's Armor.
Your ult does true damage, your passive does magic damage, and everything else does physical damage, with Apprehend giving you passive armor penetration. Thats why people say its impossible to itemize defensively against Darius :P.
Remember your ult applies one stack of your passive, but you still need to have five stacks on the target you are dunking to get max damage.
Hemorrhage does NOT apply a healing debuff, so it can be mitigated by a health potion rather easily.
Apprehend does NOT apply a stack of Hemorrhage, only damaging auto attacks and spells do. When you are blinded, you do not apply stacks of your passive on auto attacks.
Learn the range of Apprehend well. It is slightly deceiving. Remember you can hook over walls if people are close to them, but most of the time hooking people who flash over a wall will be unsuccessful. (FOR LIKE NO REASON EITHER TOO WTF)
Crippling Strike applies an attack speed debuff AS WELL AS a movement speed slow. ALWAYS try to land it on the enemy AD carry lategame.
Darius is very good at sticking with the AD carry lategame and killing targets that try to dive them. This can win you many more fights lategame as opposed to diving the enemy AD carry as Darius is seriously hampered by crowd control, even with tenacity.
Darius is a counter to pretty much all melee bruiser top laners, it is usually safe to pick him vs anyone with a melee auto attack, I will explain this indepth when my matchup section is complete.
Darius is a fun champion with a lot of potential, in my opinion he is definitely worth the 6300 to new players because of how dominant he is in top lane. He isn't a bad jungler per se, but being a jungle main myself, I can't say he is quite up to snuff with other top tier junglers at the moment. If this changes somehow, I'll be sure to add a jungle section, or even write a separate guide about him, have no fear. Until then, happy dunking!
TO BE ADDED: