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Darius Build Guide by Phil Collins

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Phil Collins

Darius: Because Demacia is Overrated.

Phil Collins Last updated on July 27, 2015
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Introduction

Hello my friends, and welcome to my Darius guide. I hope you will learn a lot about Darius in this guide so that you can continue to go on maniacal rampages decapitating people with Darius.

Also, I am going to keep this guide as simple as possible because most guides on this site cater towards fuccbois and downies. Please do apply some critical thinking to playing this game as you are reading this guide. Do not expect me to lay out obvious info such as what to buy against a certain champion.


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Pros / Cons

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Pros:
- High damage without items
- Hard to be countered
- Damage is easily applied
- True damage nuke
- Great counterjungling
- Difficult to disengage from
- Extremely low mana costs
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Cons:
- No natural tankiness
- Easily focused
- Easily ganked
- Easily kited
- No gap closers
- Can put own team behind
- Picked on by the ranged


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Runes


9x Greater Mark of Attack Damage Easier last hitting and damage
9x Greater Seal of Scaling Health runes scale super hard into mid game
9x Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist Personal pref, can take flat MR
3x Greater Quintessence of Armor flat armor seals are **** now so get these instead

But... but... Greater Seal of Armor???
Flat armor is not recommended beacuse it only gives you 9 armor. Considering the amount of options we have for that slot, it's not usually a viable choice. Scaling armor seals are also trash because you will have 30 armor at level 1 which means if you ever try to trade you will get wrecked by minions.

The reason why scaling health is so good on Darius is because he does not have easy access to HP-related items that are core on him.

Also Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed is trash on Darius because that extra movespeed wont save you from getting ganked, and you get movespeed from Trinity Force anyway.


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Masteries

I like to go 9/21/0 on Darius. Why? 21/9/0 would make Darius too squishy to be effective. 0/21/9 is not an ideal choice either because you would have no damage. 9/21/0 gives you some damage with tankiness that will make you stay durable for the rest of the game.

Masteries
4/4
1/1
3/3
1/1
2/2
2/2
1/1
3/3
1/1
1/1
3/3
1/3
1/1
1/1
4/4
1/1


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Skills

  • Hemorrhage:

    Darius aims his attacks strategically, causing his target to bleed for 12 / 15 / 18 / 21 / 24 / 27 / 30 / 33 / 36 (+0.3 per bonus attack damage) magic damage over 5 seconds. This effect stacks up to five times.

    Darius gains 5% movement speed for each bleeding enemy champion.


    An extremely effective passive for laning and trading because the damage actually adds up to a lot. Hemorrhage also does magic damage which is great against armor stackers such as Malphite. If you trade you generally want to keep Hemorrhage on your target for as long as possible.

    One tip when running away from champs is to Decimate them (if they're close enough), which gives you the 5% movespeed from Hemorrhage.



  • Decimate:

    Darius swings his axe in a wide circle. Enemies struck by the shaft take 70 / 105 / 140 / 175 / 210 (+0.7 per bonus attack damage) physical damage. Champions struck by the blade take 105 / 157.5 / 210 / 262.5 / 315 (+1.05 per bonus attack damage) physical damage.

    Not exactly the best skill in lane because it auto-pushes but the tradeoff is that you get free damage if you use it properly due to its range. Usually maxed first because of its high damage and cooldown reduction. At 40% CDR Darius is able to cast this every 3 seconds which is why CDR is very important on Darius.

    Also, assess the opponent and lane situation before you use this skill as you do not want to miss your Decimate. The mana cost is quite high because of Darius' low mana pool, and it can push the lane.




  • Crippling Strike:

    Darius's next attack severs a crucial artery, dealing 20 / 40 / 60 / 80 / 100 % additional physical damage. As the target bleeds out, their movement and attack speeds are slowed by 20 / 25 / 30 / 35 / 40 % for 2 seconds. Crippling Strike's cooldown is reduced by 1 second for each stack of Hemorrhage on the target.

    The best skill in Darius' kit in my opinion. With 40% CDR + the cooldown reduction from the skill, Crippling Strike becomes a spammable Exhaust which deals twice your attack damage. Since it's an auto attack reset, you must absolutely use the auto reset at all times unless you need to slow someone quickly. For example, a Vladimir that gets pulled.

    The additional damage is also great with Trinity Force as it essentially makes Darius deal the damage of 3-4 autos in 1 auto.




  • Apprehend:

    Darius hones his axe, granting him 5 / 10 / 15 / 20 / 25 % passive armor penetration. When activated, Darius sweeps up his enemies with his axe's hook and pulls them to him.

    Apprehend is quite an essential skill to Darius because it's his only way of getting to his opponents. Do not ever miss this skill, its cooldown is quite long. However with 40% CDR you can get apprehend to around 11-12 seconds only.



  • Noxian Guillotine:

    Darius leaps to an enemy Champion and strikes a lethal blow, dealing 160 / 250 / 340 (+0.75 per bonus attack damage) true damage. This damage increases by 20% for each stack of Hemorrhage on the target up to a maximum of 320 / 500 / 680 (+1.5 per bonus attack damage) true damage.

    When Noxian Guillotine kills the target, it refunds mana and Noxian Guillotine can be recast within the next 20 seconds. At rank 3, Noxian Guillotine's cooldown resets completely. This can occur multiple times in succession.

    The famed dunk. Excellent ultimate for a bully like Darius because it allows him to snowball hard. In lane, you usually do not have to go for a reset and just let Hemorrhage + Ignite kill your opponent because it won't refresh anyway.

    Again, building 40% CDR reduces the ultimate to around 40 seconds worth of cooldown time, essentially making the ult refreshed constantly.


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Summoner Spells

I take Flash and Smite/ Teleport

Flash is core on everyone. I can't stress how much Flash has helped me in game. You can do a Flash / Apprehend or escape easily.

Smite for jungling.

Teleport is important for dragon/baron control and you should usually take this against even or farm lanes.

Ignite is usually not favourable but you can take it against lanes you stomp or lanes you have to snowball against. However you better be making use of your time when your enemy top laner teleports away.

Ghost is pretty trash because it's only a 27% increase but it's good against Ashe.


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Items

Starting items:

Aggressive early start against weak lanes in order to snowball.

Use if you need to play passive against hard lanes/AP. Usually the recommended starting item

Another passive start against hard AD and ranged harass.



Boots:


Usually the boots to buy on Darius. Don't rush it or else you'll put yourself behind because of its lackluster stats. Get some items first beforehand.

Don't buy this until your first major item because it's too expensive. If you need mr buy Hexdrinker or Spectre's Cowl.

I would only recommend this if you go jungling, as the extra mobility can help you get to camps faster and you can gank more.



Damage options:

New BC is really good because combined with Frozen Heart you can reach 40% CDR. Also extra health is tasty. Great item if you are going to build tank but you need damage. If you have other tanks triforce may be a better option.
Go to item to finish first if you are snowballing. Solves all of Darius' problems of being kited, having slow attack speed and catching up to people. The Black Cleaver is still good but the raw burst from triforce is still too good on Darius
Seriously not that bad on Darius because of all the raw stats it provides. If you think about it 20 flat ArPen is extremely overpowered. Plus, the active is nice for anti-kite. Blade of the Ruined King is also a viable alternative.
Possible 6th item if you're snowballing super hard or as an only damage item if you're against tanks.



Defensive options:

Extremely overpowered right now combined with Thornmail because they're both cheap as ****. However not exactly optimal on non-tanks like Darius, consider wisely.
If you ever need armor this should be your first choice. Frozen heart offers CDR which Darius desperately needs. The extra mana will also allow you to use your spells more often since Darius has a low mana pool
The other armor item that every tank wants. Go for it if you need even more armor. Outclasses Sunfire Cape by a huge margin.

Randuins has seen better days but it's still an okay item. It's no longer mandatory unless the enemy team is all AD.
The only MR item viable on Darius since a lot of stats from Spirit Visage are wasted on him. Locket of the Iron Solari is viable too if your team needs it.


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Other Items


Generally not recommended due to it not having a build path, but if you get first blooded early in lane buying two is a good idea. You can also buy two against squishies and stack tank items after.


These boots are really good for anti-kite and when you're snowballing super hard.


This is trash on Darius now because you won't ever stick to your targets enough for the passive to be worth buying on him.


This item is alright but I wouldn't recommend it at higher ELO because auto-push is a no no. You can trade extremely well but the drawbacks are too risky. I'd recommend The Bloodthirster over hydra if you want some jackpot damage.


If you are snowballing against a strong AP then definitely buy this item, but sell it later.


Never buy this **** item. You pay for a lot more than it's actually worth. If you need damage from Hexdrinker sell it for a real damage item like Last Whisper.


Only get this against heavy CC/suppress


Viable item if you can't close out the game but honestly wasted on Darius because you'll usually die in the middle of the fight as bruiser with no escape, rendering your GA passive irrelevant.


THE most broken item ATM, believe it or not anyone can use the item because of the stupid active. Possible 6th defensive item against super AOE teams.


Possible snowball item when you are fed to hell and are looking for some big ticket damage and lifesteal when you're gonna be 1v2ing often. Why BT but not Hydra? Simple, the passive from BT is much better because it is a source of defense. If you think about it Darius only needs to survive long enough for the 5 stacks of Hemorrhage to do enough damage for him to dunk. It also gives 8% more lifesteal and 5 more AD and that is much more bang for your buck considering the fact that hydra is only 200g cheaper.


Good jungle item on Darius. Ranger's Trailblazer is also viable but the extra slow will help you gank much easier as a champion with no gap closer. Upgrade to the warrior enchantment or cinderhulk depending on what your team needs.


Pretty gimmicky item that is good theoretically but it's not gold efficient enough to be bothered with. If Frozen Mallet had better stats then it would be a decent item to buy.


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Early Game

Contrary to a popular belief, Darius is not invincible at levels 1-3. If you spam your skills you will push your lane and this is bad considering that the meta revolves around tank junglers with heavy CC who will gank you to no tomorrow. You should assess your opponent first and play accordingly. Once you have a few ranks in your Q you can start playing aggressive and going in for kills. Don't be afraid to 1v2 if their jungler is low and your enemy laner is low as well.

You should start Decimate level 1 since it's ranged and does the most damage, level Crippling Strike second to trade better and Apprehend at level 3 so you have access to your full combo.

The reason why you are not that strong at early levels is because of resources. Decimate costs 40 mana for damage that is not guaranteed to hit, able to push the lane unintentionally, and may not hit for max damage. Your base mana at level 1 is 263 so Decimate will effectively cost you 15% of your mana which is a lot of mana. You also only gain 27 mana per level and you have other skills to cast as well.


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Mid Game

Darius is pretty strong at the point of the game. You would have your first or second item already and you have huge kill and catching potential. As a top laner, you need to pressure your opponent by pushing to his tower constantly (assuming you're not behind in gold) and then either taking your tower or teleporting to dragon with your team. You need to ward deep and know where the enemy jungler is so that you can push hard without getting ganked. If you ever see the enemy jungler at top run back and teleport to your team so you can take dragon, assuming that they are competent enough to know that taking dragon while the enemy do not have their jungler nearby is a wise idea.

If your team does not need help and you are ahead, you should push your lane and take top, and 1v2 if you ever need to since Darius has the potential to do so. You can do this better if you have tanky items.

During teamfights, if you have a tanky jungler alongside you, you should play frontline and kill their bruisers because Darius counters bruisers super hard with his Crippling Strike and bleed. However you will transition to a peeler late game because if you play frontline during late game you will get melted in 2 seconds.


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Late Game

Generally Darius falls off at this point because his damage is too low and he is not tanky enough to survive a significant amount of damage to be effective. You should however, peel for your ADC since your pull and slow is actually a good way of peeling. Your ult can also swiftly kill divers, allowing your ADC to survive and carry the game for you.


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Lane match-ups

Disclaimer: Matchups generally don't matter if you are genuinely better or worse than your opponent so don't take what you see below for granted.



Easy champs:


You can press an early advantage when Cho has no items and dunk him, but don't expect yourself to get extremely fed because he'll just stack defense against you.


Gangplank is annoying levels 1-3 because he gets free harass on you and his passive is stronger. After that, however, he pretty much loses to you in every single trade. Basically you would want to get some damage in on him before he gets you too low on health. GPs who max their heal also insta-lose the lane.


You probably won't ever kill him post-6 but early on he's squishy as hell with no trading potential whatsoever. Just don't get hit by his Q's all day and you win.


Olaf can get aggressive and kill you but this is only if you started with a dumb item like Doran's Blade. If you wait a few levels and build accordingly he's a free kill.


Lee is very easy to beat in lane because he can't ever trade against you in lane due to minions. He also lost his attack speed slow so he can't do anything against you.


The farm master. His harass is pretty annoying early on so you'll probably end up farming the lane. But if you ever get a good hook on him he's a dead man.


He does no damage compared to you and he can never run away from you because of your pull and him having no escape. The ones who build damage will get raped because you simply outdamage him in every single aspect. Wukongs who build tank are smarter but you still won't lose to them if you build tanky as well.


Yasuo takes it up the anus in this lane so just build damage and kill him everytime you have a chance to do so.


Akali is basically a joke now that her damage got gutted. You can rush a hexdrinker and kill her every single time you come back to lane because she has no escape and she can't kill you, similar to Yasuo.

Even or challenging lanes:


You can force trades early against aatrox because Crippling Strike completely counters him and he won't sustain enough to survive your damage (provided that you didn't get poked too hard by his E). Don't be afraid to pop his passive with ignite because you won't need it to kill him after his passive because he revives with less than 30% of his health.


Fiora isn't that hard but she severely outdamages you at levels 1-3. What you should do is survive first few levels, go back and buy armor + 2 dorans and teleport back to lane. Then rush thornmail after. She now does jack **** to your health and you can dunk her easily.



Honestly depends on whether the Garen builds defense or damage. Tank garens usually get dominated, but you need to watch out for brutalizer + dorans garens because they WILL out damage you and kill you with their ult. So build according to their items and play passive when needed. When you have armor Garen does jack **** to you so itemize if needed. Your ult is also up more often than his so keep track of when he uses his ult.



You dump on her but when you get stunned into a bad trade you're going to get ****ed really hard. So make sure she never has minion advantage on you. If you're both level 9 and you haven't killed her once in lane or are not out-csing her by a large margin, she will utterly destroy you in trades so make use of her weak early game and press an advantage.



Skill matchup. Jarvan will poke you endlessly but he loses 1 on 1 fights. Force fights often and make sure to stock up on pots + armor or else he'll burst your *** when you're too low on health.



Even though there is no way Darius will ever lose to Jax, I still put him here because if you ever leave lane and let Jax farm and take your tower for at least 10 minutes, don't ever 1v1 him unless you are significantly ahead or else you will lose and fall further and further behind as Jax outscales you. All you have to do early is mash Q on his *** since he cannot dodge it and force his dodge without using your hook. Once he's used it, hook him back and chop his head off.


Skill matchup. You go even with Renekton if he knows what he's doing but if you ever catch him without his dash you win the trade. However as the game goes on it will become harder to kill him and honestly even if you stomp a renekton he can still build tank and be more useful than you. Don't let renekton first blood you or he will out-sustain, out-trade, out-tank and out-cs you.


If you get cheesed by rengar at levels 1-3 you automatically lose so just survive. Since most rengars build damage early what you can do is have a couple of dorans blades, and rush frozen heart or thornmail and let your base damages do the work. Not only will rengar be unable to kill you but you can kill him because he is squishy, and ignite + Hemorrhage will be more than enough to destroy the guy.


Riven's a pain in the *** early but once you get some armor you will dominate her. Farm for the first few levels and keep your lane slow-pushed so she can't just faceroll her keyboard and snowball the hell out of you.


Pantheon is honestly pretty easy once you survive the first few levels and get yourself some health. Basically once you back for double dorans + ruby crystal you can just port back and kill him. Once you get a kill on Panth he will never catch up to you again. However if you get first blooded prepare to experience a world of pain.


Singed is pretty easy since he has no response to your harass. However after Singed has a few items I suggest farming because he will tank all your damage, kite you to hell and possibly even kill you. So press an early advantage or you will have a hard time.


Farm lane. Not much there is to this lane. He can Q-poke you all day but that would mean he's losing CS since you should be pushing against a champ like shen who can't last hit under tower. If he ults then take all his ****.


Trynd is easy but you need to farm the first few levels or else he'll cheese you and win the lane. But after your first back he's free food until he starts outscaling you.


You need to return harass against udyr because he has much higher damage than you early on. But now that tiger does physical damage it is possible to beat him in lane if you build armor and let Hemorrhage do the work.


All you have to do this lane is know the cooldown of his flamespitter. When it's down, trade with him. Pretty easy to dunk this guy if you catch him without his cooldowns. If he all-in ults you and uses flamespitter then you need to flash away because trust me, it's going to kill you quicker than you think.


Skill matchup, but it slightly depends on the Zed. If he's a passive one who pokes you and only uses his W to run, then you're gonna get raped because once you're too low he can easily come in and finish you. However, if he's an aggressive Zed who uses his shadow to harass then you will destroy him. This is because the only thing Darius can't deal with is poke. If Zed blows hiw W to harass and you hook him he's basically dead.

Also, if you rush damage against Zed you're asking to lose the lane.


Rek'sai is a super cheesy early laner just like Rengar. The key here is to never try to break her tunnels after a trade or else Rek'Sai can reuse it and chunk you super hard. However, like Rengar, Rek'Sai is squishy and stacking armor will generally win you the lane.

Hard lanes:


Most people think Darius would counter Nasus because of his damage but this is not true. This is because your harass pushes the lane, exactly what Nasus would want. He also lifesteals through your harass and you can't harass forever because of your mana costs. Nasus also rushes armor naturally and you won't ever do damage to him later on regardless if you built tank or damage.



Jayce will endlessly poke you with a nuke and all-in you once you're too low on health. In order to counter this, you should return aggression against him if he's too close to you. You almost must never be pushed to your tower or else you will miss CS while getting harassed.



Kayle is pretty stupid because she kites you to hell and back and you can't do anything about it. But if you hook her she has a chance of dying if her Q isnt up. Also, if you push your lane constantly and hit 6 before her, you have a small window of opportunity to kill her. Once you hit 6, all in her *** and dunk on 5 stacks + ignite and hope you get the kill. Otherwise, just farm, sustain and ask your jungler for help.



The unkillable lightning squirrel who somehow is a mage+initiator+autoattacker all in one. You pretty much won't ever kill this guy unless he screws up in your melee range. Again, farm, sustain, ask your jungler for help.



Malphite is the epitome of annoying since he can max Q with a couple of Doran's Rings which allows him to harass and kite you. Once he's done poking you a quick ult + E + Q combo will render you dead. Not to mention he can rush armor if all else fails. Also you can pretty much never dive this guy unless you are looking to commit seppuku.


Maokai is similar to Malphite but you have bigger kill potential on him because he can't just ult away if you ever catch him in a bad spot. His Q is better than Malphite's however because it costs less mana and has a low cooldown. Also, he has sustain and do not underestimate his burst damage because if he snares you in his wave you're in for a bad time. His ult pretty much counters your whole kit too.


Sion got nerfed too hard so he's basically much easier this time around, but he's still in here because he can spam his skills on you and kite you forever. Just don't let him snowball into an unstoppable juggernaut.


Some shyvs will take free harass from you and you can generally stomp them. But once you go against a shyv who realizes that her Burnout + E proc severely outdamages you pre-6 then you will not be able to trade efficiently. The new cinderhulk shyvana build also counters you because you can't kill her while she does 10000000 damage per second to you.


Don't be fooled by the fact that he's an autoattack reliant champion. Even though you win extended trades, Xin will absolutely destroy you in quick trades because he bursts much harder than you do. You only have a chance at level 6 if he hasn't backed yet or else you're in for a world of hurt. Also if you get ganked you're not going to escape from this guy.


Vayne is similar to Quinn in the sense that she gets to harass you out of lane starting from level 1 and have self-peel. Good Vaynes will usually destroy you completely. However in my experience Vayne is easier to beat than Quinn because the key to beating Vayne is to never be in a position where she can run away to a safe position. This does not work with Quinn because her ult will save her from all situations.

What I mean by this is that immediately after you successfully land a hook on her, walk to her side before attacking her. Assuming that this is early laning, this means that you are effectively either forcing her to run to top lane river to kite you or towards the wall near the bushes at top lane, in which she has nowhere to go because you can't get kited if she cannot move away. Any Vayne that tries to run back to tower will also get wrecked because she has to cover more distance than you have to. If she runs towards the river ping your jungler to gank her and proceed to swiftly separate her head from her body.


Hecarim top is the dumbest thing to ever happen to league of legends. Not only is he deceptively tanky, Hecarim's sustained damage is much higher than yours and if you hook yourself into a bad fight you won't escape from him due to his double gap closer. Oh yeah, and the icing on the cake is that he outscales you dramatically. Have fun.

Impossible difficulty:


Nidalee has all the tools to go against you which is why she is almost impossible to lane against if the player knows what he's doing. Not only can she kite you to hell, she also has an execute that bursts you to hell if you make a dumb pull. However, the good thing is that if you pull her and she hops away, this puts her into the outer range of Decimate.


Teemo usually wrecks you if you don't snowball pre-6 because he can harass you without using mana and kite you without trying (his shrooms). A good teemo will never let you hook him and he will have shrooms around him even if you do manage to hook and attempt to chase him. Pepper your angus.



If you hook him before his mid game spike you will beat him, but later on you are almost guaranteed to be going to be pushed out of lane because of his infinite harass + sustain while being f*cking resourceless.



Impossible lane. Most Yorick players are players who have played this guy since release. So... yeah.


Another ranged champion with easy ranged harass and CC to prevent you from ever getting to her. You have a chance if you time your hook perfectly on the moment she is about to jump to her E, otherwise get ready to be harassed all day while receiving little to no farm whatsoever.


Your biggest counter as of now. Gnar is able to harass you in a safe range without the costs of mana while having a reliable escape as well. mega gnar also completely counters you because he is able to stun you long enough for Hemorrhage to run out if he plays it right. You basically need your jungler to win this lane.


Fuck this champion.


You lose.


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Final Thoughts

Guide updated for season 5 for the first time in 3 years. GLHF with your Darius endeavours.

On a side note:

Lord Darius = pros
Woad King Darius = pros
Bioforge Darius = intermediates
Dunkmaster Darius = noobs