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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 May 20, 2013

Always Buy

God tier against no last whisper:

Alternative to Ravenous Hydra

Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

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.



Offense: 9

Honor Guard

Defense: 21


Utility: 0

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Hello my friends, and welcome to my Darius guide. Personally, I really like Darius and I consider him to be my main, Darius carried my way to Gold ELO. I hope you will learn a lot about Darius in this guide and that you will continue to go on maniacal rampages decapitating people with Darius.

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About Me

I started League of Legends at February 2011, around when Jarvan IV was released. Being an avid FPS/Sandbox gamer, I always liked characters with brute force and nothing else. I looked for the champion who fit me the most, and at the time it was Veigar I just loved his huge burst. In Season 1 I was 800 ELO sadly, being a typical baddie. Then I started studying the game and I reached 1614 in season 2. Around that time, I discovered Darius. I found out that his playstyle fits exactly mine, and I haven't given up on the champ ever since.

I was motivated to write this guide because of my love for this champion.
Note: In no way do I claim that I am the best Darius player. I just want to share what I think is best for this champion.

Some stats:

I do kinda hate ranked though, so if you're disappointed at the amount of games I've played in ranked I'm sorry.

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Pros / Cons

- 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
- 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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Who is Darius? Why Darius?

Who is Darius?
Darius is an anti-Tanky DPS champion who excels at dueling and picking up tremendous amounts of kills through his sheer power and damage. One thing that makes him so strong against other bruisers is that he deals physical, magical and true damage in his entire kit. This means that he is extremely difficult to counter and bruisers will often suffer if they build too much defense. Although Darius is a high damage champion, he is at his weakest if he needs to escape as he has no escapes whatsoever. This means you should always build a bit of defense with Darius.

Why Darius?
Simple. Pick him to completely shut down other bruisers and proceed to kill everything. Darius snowballs at an extremely high rate due to the raw damage of Noxian Guillotine and Hemorrhage. At top lane Darius is an almost unstoppable champion (save being ganked) who can lane and harass extremely well.

When not to pick Darius?
The worst thing you can do as a Darius player is to pick him when the enemy has kiting champions, namely Anivia, Janna or Ashe. Since Darius has absolutely no gap closers, he can be kited to hell in teamfights and/or when chasing. So if you see a team with kite written all over it, don't pick Darius.

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Personally I think Darius should have runes that maximize his damage output while giving him early tankiness for easier trades.

9x Greater Mark of Attack Damage Easier last hitting and damage
9x Greater Seal of Armor For AD top lanes
9x Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist For mages
3x Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage Same reason as above.

I don't like taking Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed. Why? That movespeed won't matter if you are being constantly kited. Plus, the more AD the more damage you can get. If you need movespeed rush an early Trinity Force.

However, if you do feel that the movespeed suits you better, feel free to take it. The early movespeed can help pick up kills and escape.

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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.


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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.

This is a great passive that is extremely damaging and will often drop your targets unnoticeably quickly. This is the heart of Darius' kit. It will help Crippling Strike and Noxian Guillotine (which I will explain later) while also making Darius harder to itemize against due to it dealing magic damage. Abuse this passive in the laning phase, it wins lanes by a huge amount. It's also a 5 second DoT, so you can actually kill someone even if they escaped.

Also, the movespeed will make you harder to kite. Try to get 1 stack of Hemorrhage on each target when teamfighting.


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.

I really like this skill due to the fact that it deals such a high amount of damage with a decent range. Getting a feel for the "danger zone" will be one thing you should do as it deals a high amount of burst damage. Use this skill to quickly apply Hemorrhage to all enemies in teamfights for the increased movespeed, or to quickly harass the enemy laner and back off. When the enemy is low, combo a Decimate > Noxian Guillotine for a stylish finisher with high burst damage.

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.

I really like this ability as it makes dueling Darius a nightmare and you can permaslow people with the cooldown reduction passive. A quick Apprehend into Crippling Strike is a good way to get people into your comfort zone and unload on them, or to make them tank tower shots. In teamfights, try to land this on the enemy diver when they dive onto your AD carry, Crippling Strike will reduce their damage by a high amount.

Remember, the ability resets your autoattack timer so use it right after you hit someone with a basic attack to maximize damage output.


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.

A fairly simple spell that grabs all enemies in front of Darius. One thing to note is that you can grab people regardless of whether there are minions blocking you or not. When you engage on an enemy, don't use Apprehend first. Use Crippling Strike and Apprehend them if they start getting away.

The armor penetration is also a useful factor for Darius it means he won't have to itemize for armor penetration that much.

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. If Noxian Guillotine deals a killing blow, its cooldown is refreshed for 12 seconds.

One of the best ultimates out there. A true damage execute with 680 base damage which refreshes on kill? Yes! This skill is what makes Darius so lethal, the snowballing and power packed within this skill is enormous. Abuse it often to get kills as you will be extremely ahead. Make sure to get some killing blows as the cooldown refreshes on each kill, enabling you to nuke your enemies extremely hard.

Keep track of the opponents health, as the earlier you execute the faster you can attack other enemies or retreat. One thing to note is that 1 bar of health = 100 health.

Sometimes, if an opponent is too tanky but needs to die, you won't have to execute them with Noxian Guillotine. Simply apply 5 stacks of Hemorrhage and drop them low with Noxian Guillotine. You can use this tactic in a desperate attempt to immediately drop someone to low health.

Also, if you are sure you can kill your opponent without the use of your ultimate, do so to save mana and prevent the 12 second refresh.

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Summoner Spells

I take Flash and Smite/ Ignite

Flash is VERY IMPORTANT! I can't stress how much Flash has helped me in game. You can do a Flash / Apprehend or escape easily. Darius loves this spell.

Smite for jungling.

Ignite because it stacks with Hemorrhage, and you can kill people easily.


Ghost if you want to get to skirmishes quicker or you somehow hate Flash. I don't really like this spell on Darius though, with all the slows in this game you won't get to a target/escape without using Flash

Like H4xDefender stated, it's also a good choice against your counters like Jayce. By taking ghost you can all in them and they would use their kiting ability and Flash, but Ghost still covers all the distance you need to kill them. Go check out H4xDefenders Darius guide, he's diamond so he probably knows more than I do.

Exhaust if you want to be a more aggressive ganker, not recommended however as Crippling Strike will serve as a better Exhaust.

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As Darius, item choices are very diverse for you. However, choosing the right items for the right situation is a critical stage to succeed in your games.

Starting items:
Starting items are an essential part of the early game as it basically defines the advantage or disadvantage you have against your enemy.
sight ward
This is a better start now that 9 pots have been limited. You can upgrade Rejuvenation Bead into Warmog's Armor, Locket of the Iron Solari or Ravenous Hydra.
sight ward

This would be another alternative if you plan on saving gold early-mid game. It's better than Elixir of Fortitude now that the price got increased by 100.

This is another option that I rarely buy. I would only go this path if I'm against a bully top lane who can shut me down Jayce, but they do not have a good ganking jungler.

Boots are a big part of what makes a full build on a champion. The extra mobility really helps getting to places a lot faster, along with many extra bonuses that come along with it.

A good item to buy against AD top lanes, you should buy this after getting your first small damage item, or you can rush it if you are having difficulty in lane.

A good item to buy against AP top lanes, you should buy this after getting your first small damage item, or you can rush it if you are having difficulty in lane. Also, consider selling Ninja Tabi for this later in the game if you bought it.

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:
Damage items are for when you feel like you need more damage over defense, which will give you exactly what you asked for, damage. Often times you would buy a damage item if you killed your lane opponent a few times, or you have high CS.
This is a good item as an alternative to Ravenous Hydra as your only damage item if you expect the enemy to build lots of armor. Even though you miss out on the lifesteal, the armor reduction is nice for your passive and your AD carries.
Trinity Force is a damage item which gives you a little bit of everything. Thankfully, no stats are wasted on Darius (save for AP). The deal-breaker about this item is the passive proc, which gives you a lot of damage when stacked with Crippling Strike.
Combined with The Black Cleaver, Apprehends passive, and Weapon Expertise , you can say goodbye to any of your enemies attempts to build armor.

Core damage item on Darius. Rush this everygame and just build according to the situation onwards.

Not a good item to rush, but if they all have 2600+ health, why not?

Defensive options:
Defensive options are often what makes you able to last through fights and duels. You would want to buy at least two defensive items to ensure you live through destroying the enemy. It is also a good idea to build defensive items as Darius when you are losing your lane.

This item is really good because it's super cheap and it gives you 1000 health, effectively letting you tank lots of damage.
I honestly think that Guardian Angel is an awesome item in terms of protecting a person. You get a second life to destroy your enemies! The defenses are just the icing on the cake.
This item is an option if you need a bit of everything in defense. I do not recommend buying this if your support and/or jungler have this item, however.
The passive is essentially a 6th bleed stack, it's never bad on Darius.
Randuins gives you so much slows, and it gives you health as well. Great item for tanking, and is a counter to Blade of the Ruined King.
Super cost-efficient item, it's just a lot of bang for your buck. Should be one of your first choices for def items.

Damage/defense hybrids:
These items are extremely good on almost all bruisers. This is because, like the title, they give both damage and defense. Both of these stats are what bruisers crave for and what better way is there to increase your effectiveness other than buying damage/defense hybrids?
You already have a permaslow so getting this would be overkill, but it's still decent if they have a lot of dashes.
Nowhere near as good as Hexdrinker, it's more of an upgrade to AD than defense, so buy wisely.
Mercurial Scimitar is a good item if you often find yourself CC locked in fights. However, I only recommend buying Quicksilver Sash and upgrading it really late into the game as the upgrade isn't very worth upgrading.

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Buying the right items for laning

Obviously early game in solo queue is everything. Being Darius, you would need to maximize your early potential to compensate for your bad late game.

First, get into your lane and observe your enemy. Is he/she an ability power based champion like Rumble, or an attack damage based champion like Riven? You should build accordingly.

For example, when laning against AD's, I usually get an item sequence like this:

There are other options as well. An early Glacial Shroud or Warden's Mail can help if you are building tank and relying on base damage, or if you are looking to recover from an early gank or first blood, a Doran's Blade can help you greatly.

When laning against AP's, I usually rush a Hexdrinker and build everything else later:
, OR

Feel free to change between The Brutalizer or Phage depending on your needs. Also, I do not recommend getting an early Negatron Cloak as it does not build into an item that fits Darius very well. Maybe Banshee's Veil if you are playing against a poke comp.

Laning against AD/AP: Mercury's Treads OR Ninja Tabi
Need a bit of survivability and damage? Buy Phage/double Doran's Blade
Need snowballing items? Buy The Brutalizer/ Tiamat into Ravenous Hydra
Against AP? Buy Hexdrinker
Struggling in lane? Buy Doran's Blade AND/OR philosopher's stone, Giant's Belt
Dominating lane? Get The Black Cleaver/ Ravenous Hydra/ Trinity Force
Only tank on your team? Buy Warden's Mail/ Runic Bulwark/ Hexdrinker/ Sunfire Cape
Don't know what to build? Get tank items.

As you can see, Darius has many item build paths and you should definitely focus on what item you need the most.

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I do not recommend jungling with Darius in the new jungle. This is because he has absolutely no sustain and he will become low various times when jungling. Your build options are also slightly limited if you jungle, compared to top lane. However, if you have no choice, then I will guide you through jungling with Darius.

It's even worse now that his ultimate got nerfed and he can no longer have really strong ganks everytime post-6.

First, do the standard blue path.

Wolves > Blue > Wraiths > Wolves OR Golems > Red > Wraiths

The bottom left corner of the image has the legend for reference.

Take Decimate at level 1 and start shredding creeps. Remember to tell your teammates to look out for early invades if you're going to start blue, and vice-versa if you're going to start red.

Of course, you will have to start Hunter's Machete and 5 Health Potions. Usually I buy a Spirit Stone for Spirit of the Elder Lizard and Boots of Mobility/ Ninja Tabi as my core jungle items, and then from onwards I buy whatever I need, which is usually tank items.

It's not a good idea to buy Wriggle's Lantern, you only get 15 AD, **** lifesteal and +200 magic damage on procs (up from 300 due to madred's razor), not worth the gold you're paying fo(Waste of gold since you can't build it into other items later in the game)

When ganking, attempt to quickly use Decimate in the "danger zone" and autoattack + Crippling Strike. If they Flash away, use Apprehend and keep beating them until they're dead.

If ganking a hard to gank lane, try Flash + Apprehend + auto attack + Crippling Strike + Decimate.

Also, remember to ward! Warding helps your team greatly in map control and that 75 gold might just save you from a 3 man gank. Always buy 1-2 wards whenever you go back to base if you can afford it.

If you want to know more just watch Stonewall008's videos, I'm a huge fanboy of him and you should be too.

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Early Game

Early game is Darius' strongest point. There are almost no bruisers who can trade with Darius in a straight 1v1 and you should attempt to force fights if possible. Balance last hitting and harassing so you can keep an effective gold income while zoning the enemy. When attempting to harass, walk within the "danger zone" of Decimate and use the ability. It will take off a good chunk of health. When trading, attempt a Decimate into an Apprehend + auto attack + Crippling Strike. This will apply 3 quick stacks of Hemorrhage while letting you attack twice more to have 5 stacks on the enemy.

Remember to ward often and be careful not to push too hard as Darius is very prone to being ganked.

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Mid Game

Mid Game is a point where Darius starts becoming a killing machine if you've managed early kills or a high amount of CS. Try to roam often as Darius has so much damage in ganks. I like to gank mid often as the enemy mage is often the squishiest target on the team and should be an easy head to chop off.

Also, remember to stay with your teammates during skirmishes as Darius pretty much annihilates people during small skirmishes.

Your fighting combo should be Decimate > Apprehend > Ignite > autoattack > Crippling Strike > two autoattacks > one more Decimate if needed > Noxian Guillotine.

If you can't reach them with Decimate:

Apprehend > Ignite autoattack > Crippling Strike > Decimate > 2 autoattacks > one more Decimate if needed > Noxian Guillotine.

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Late Game

This is where Darius falls off. It's not his damage that falls off however, it's his usefulness overall. Since AD carries are now dominant, you are prone to being kited and focused. Since Darius has no natural tankiness, you might die very quickly. Play cautiously and wait for your initiator to initiate. Try to stay near your AD carry as Darius is a great peeler. Remember to catch squishies that are out of position and chop their heads off. It is unlikely that you can catch any of their squishies in a high ranking match.

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Lane match-ups

Bear in mind that you win every single all-in fights at level 6 (except Elise because she's a ***** champ), unless you fed them a kill/behind in cs.


Difficulty: Easy

  • Constantly harass Akali, she is squishy.
  • If she hides in her Twilight Shroud, Apprehend her out of it.
  • Call MIAs often to prevent her from snowballing.
  • Be aware of her level 6 as her power spike is super high.


Difficulty: Medium
  • Cho'Gath is too tanky to be killed, focus on farming.
  • Don't get harassed by his Feral Scream too much.
  • If he starts getting aggressive, start trading and ult before he does.
  • Ward often, Cho'Gath works well with allied gankers.


Difficulty: Depends
  • Darius can do the exact same things as you can do, so be careful.
  • The person to win the lane is the person who gets the first kill in lane.
  • Try to land as much Decimates as possible.
  • If in a struggling trade, use Noxian Guillotine and Ignite afterwards and Flash out (Not killing them with your ult)

Dr. Mundo

Difficulty: Easy

Difficulty: **** this champion.
  • You must start with heaps of pots because her Neurotoxin hurts.
  • Dodge Cocoon.
  • Stay around the middle of her Rappel if she tries to escape.
  • Again, grabbing her will lead to you being stunned and counter-harassed.


Difficulty: Non-existant

Difficulty: Medium
  • He will poke you often with Parrrley, try to stay back and farm for a bit until you get higher in levels.
  • If he maxes Remove Scurvy, ignore him and farm.
  • Once you get your items you can murder him easily.
  • Don't stand in his ult in a 1v1 or you will lose.


Difficulty: Medium

Difficulty: Medium
  • Don't duel Irelia, she has too much sustain to be bothered with.
  • Stay ahead in gold if you want to win against an Irelia.
  • Harass with Decimate as much as possible.
  • When she hits level 9, you are likely to lose 1v1s.

Jarvan IV

Difficulty: Easy

Difficulty: Medium
  • Stay away from Jax when he has Counter Strike on.
  • Avoid using Decimate if he Leap Strikes onto you, this deals less damage.
  • Check your death recap to see whether to buy armor or MR as he deals both types of damage.
  • Decimate spam is an easy way out of this lane.


Difficulty: Hard
  • You will get poked often so pots are vital in this matchup.
  • Jayce can harass you, but he can't duel you. This is an essential difference from good and bad Jayces.
  • Getting an early gank will enable you to win against Jayce.
  • Dodge his empowered Shock Blasts, they hurt a lot.


Difficulty: Hard
  • Like Jayce, pots are vital in this matchup.
  • Kayle can only harass you but she cannot duel you. If you can get a good grab onto her you can win the lane.
  • Don't get too greedy with Noxian Guillotine as Intervention will stop that.
  • You can stay near your minions if Kayle uses Righteous Fury, it pushes her lane and enables your jungler to gank.


Difficulty: Medium
Lee Sin

Difficulty: Easy

Difficulty: Hard
  • Don't fight if he Ground Slams you.
  • Focus on farming, Malphite is too tanky for you to deal with.
  • Don't stay around with low health, he can ult you to death.
  • Build some MR to negate his Seismic Shard poke.


Difficulty: Easy

Difficulty: Medium

Difficulty: Medium
  • Kill Nidalee before she hits 6, as she will become hard to catch.
  • Build an early Ninja Tabi to help with her poking.
  • Land a Crippling Strike right after she heals herself to negate the attack speed increase.
  • Make sure she has used her heal before you execute her.


Difficulty: Medium

Difficulty: Medium
  • Attack him after he uses his abilities, he is an AD caster.
  • Bait Renektons ult before you execute him.
  • Don't Apprehend him if he has more than 50 rage.
  • Health counters Renekton pretty well.


Difficulty: Easy

Difficulty: Easy
  • Try to bait her Valor before attacking her.
  • Flash out of her wind slash if you have good timing.
  • Don't use Apprehend until she has used her Ki Burst.
  • Call for ganks often to shut down her carrying ability.


Difficulty: Medium

Difficulty: Medium
  • Be aggressive with Apprehend, Shen can't outdamage you in straight 1v1s.
  • Don't get poked too often by Vorpal Blade.
  • Alert your team when Shen his level 6.
  • If Shen stacks armor, push your lane.


Difficulty: Easy

Difficulty: Easy

Difficulty: Very easy

Difficulty: Depends
  • Take a look at his stats before deciding whether to buy armor or MR.
  • Pull range = AA range
  • Decimate obliterates his health.
  • Get a Crippling Strike on him if you are fighting, Move Quick can be annoying.


Difficulty: Easy

Difficulty: Medium

Difficulty: Medium

Difficulty: Medium

Difficulty: Easy
  • Wukong runs OOM easily, force trades.
  • Be careful of ulting the fake Wukong.
  • Don't let him get free harass, or else you will lose the lane.
  • Building health is a better counter as Wukong reduces armor with Crushing Blow.

Xin Zhao

Difficulty: Hard

Difficulty: Depends
  • Pots are vital in this matchup.
  • Stack health.
  • Don't Apprehend him as it gives him a chance to nuke you with Omen of War.
  • Call for an early gank, Yorick is bad at escaping ganks.

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Darius Champion Spotlight:
Ciderhelm's Don't Feed Darius:
A beautiful Darius pentakill by c0n3x /league-of-legends/champion/darius-98
Why you shouldn't kill-steal as Darius:

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Thanks for reading my guide on Darius. I hope you have learned a lot from my guide and you will continue to use the square-jawed executioner we all love. And don't forget to...

(Fenixborn ftw!)

~ Phil Collins

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Patch thoughts

Patch 3.03

Noxian Guillotine

- When Noxian Guillotine kills the target, it can be recast within the next 12 seconds. This can occur multiple times in succession
- Cooldown adjusted to 120/100/80 seconds from 100 at all ranks

This is a slight nerf to Darius' laning as he can no longer kill his opponent repeatedly now. It's not really a big deal in lane, but this is a huge nerf to jungle darius because now you can't have high damage ganks repeatedly. Also, it's a nerf to Darius' late game as well because now you can't use it outside of teamfights during late game, or else it will go on cooldown. Overall this is pretty bad for Darius.

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