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Darius Build Guide by Blaquenwhyte

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Blaquenwhyte

Darius: Reign of Terror (In-Depth Tanky DPS)

Blaquenwhyte Last updated on May 28, 2012
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Ability Sequence

1
4
5
7
9
Ability Key Q
2
8
10
12
13
Ability Key W
3
14
15
17
18
Ability Key E
6
11
16
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.



Masteries

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
3/
Sunder
Archmage
 
 
 
 
 
 
1/
Executioner
 
 

Offense: 21

 
 
 
 
 
4/
Durability
Vigor
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Honor Guard
Mercenary
 
 
 
 
 
 
Juggernaut
 
 

Defense: 9

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Strength of Spirit
Intelligence
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Mastermind
 

Utility: 0


Guide Top

Introduction: Darius and You


Greetings, Summoners; my name is Blaquenwhyte, and welcome to my guide to Darius, the Hand of Noxus!

Darius is a fairly straightforward champion, but still tons of fun to play. His kit enables him to play numerous ways: he can essentially be an AD carry (because he can deck out some damage), or he can be a tanky DPS that's both hard to kill and a monster when it comes to damage.

I prefer to play Darius in a tanky DPS way because he needs survivability to truly be effective, both to take advantage of his passive, Hemorrhage, and to deal the most damage possible. A glass cannon Darius can't do as much because he has no natural escape mechanisms, so a target fire will immediately render a Darius that can't survive a sustained assault useless.

As mentioned in the title, this guide will purely cover a tanky DPS build for Darius, and will probably talk very little of glass cannon or pure tank builds. So, without further ado, I give you my guide to playing Darius!

(for a list of changes throughout the life of this guide, click here.)


Guide Top

Pros / Cons


spaaaaace
Pros



+ Effective harasser ()
+ Naturally high damage
+ Naturally tanky
+ Awesome at securing kills ( and )
+ Strong mid/late game
+ Good farmer ()
+ Strong in team fights if left unchecked
+ Fairly easy to play
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Cons



- Vulnerable to ranged harass
- Vulnerable to CC
- No natural escape mechanisms
- Rampant usage is bad for your team
- Relatively weak early game
- Needs time get 5 stacks of
- Mana hungry if abilities are spammed
- Sort of item reliant
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Guide Top

Darius' Arsenal: Abilities and Explanations




Your passive. Keep in mind that more stacks of your passive don't make the damage tick faster, they make each individual tick do more damage. Each stack of your passive is denoted by little blood drops that circle around your target; each drop of blood indicates one stack. At 5 stacks, the enemy gets a skull over there head, basically denoting that a Noxian Guillotine will really screw up their day at that point.

Important Notes:
  • All of your basic attacks and abilities (excluding Apprehend and Noxian Guillotine) apply a stack of this passive
  • Hit a Decimate well and not only will you get a free DoT on all your enemies, you'll get increased mobility! Use that to your advantage with catching people out of position or killing a fleeing enemy
  • When building up stacks, try to use an ability, then auto attack, then another ability. This not only maximizes stack build-up, but damage as well, and is basically a fundamental principle for almost any champion



This ability is basically what makes Darius such a mid-game monster, because the damage it does is pretty amazing for a tanky DPS. This should be self-explanatory, but always try to hit people with the outer half of your axe to do more damage. The knowledge of the exact size of the circle and which half you want to aim to hit with will come with time, so practice, practice, practice with this ability.

Important Notes:
  • When harassing, walk close to the enemy (but not onto them unless you plan on attacking), just enough to hit them with the outer half of the ability
  • When in a team fight, try to walk in the middle of the enemies to get maximum damage from this and Hemorrhage stacks (obviously don't blatantly expose yourself to CC and die, though)
  • When using it on enemies that are on top of you and running away, save this for when they reach the outer half of your circle for maximum damage



This ability hits pretty hard (especially with Sheen/ Trinity Force) and functions as an effective CC. A crit from this at max rank can potentially do the equivalent of 4 auto attacks of damage (200% from the ability is 2 auto attacks, and then 200% of that is 4 auto attacks), so it can hit like a truck from time to time. This ability has a low mana cost, low cooldown, and the potential for high damage, so learn to use this ability and love it.

Important Notes:
  • When the ability is calculating the amount of Hemorrhage stacks on the target for its cooldown reduction, it does not count the one that it applies itself
  • Try to use this on an AD carry to lower their attack speed



Not an amazing skill, but one that gives Darius a lot of utility and makes him strong against even armor stackers without having to get items. It does no damage on its own and doesn't apply any stacks of Hemorrhage, but its main purpose is to pull an enemy in so you can go to town on them. Good utility, and good for securing kills.

Important Notes:
  • This costs a lot of mana, so don't overuse it or it will run you dry very quickly
  • It does not pull minions, but it will pull monsters; you can pull blue golem and red lizard from behind the trees on both sides of the jungle
  • It pulls everything in a cone in front of him, meaning it can pull more than one champion/monster

Noxian Guillotine will receive an entire chapter of its own later in the guide due to the fact that using it correctly is of paramount importance both for playing Darius and for his teammates. To proceed to that section, click here.


Guide Top

Summoner Spells

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Recommended Summoner Spells

I take this mainly because you have both a pseudo- Ignite and a pseudo- Ghost from your Hemorrhage passive. You can use this both to chase down an enemy so you can get in range for that last Noxian Guillotine or Decimate, or you can use it to escape, shut down an enemy carry, etc. I find this is the most useful of the offensive spells for Darius.

Compliments his mobility, as well as somewhat alleviates the fact that he has no natural escape mechanisms. Flash is the crown jewel of many different champions because it is such a versatile spell; it can be used offensively, defensively, even in a support way to take a shot for a friend, such as an Ace in the Hole or Enchanted Crystal Arrow. Very useful for Darius.



Alternative Picks

Not a bad choice, but also not that useful for Darius. He already basically has Ignite to a lesser extent in the form of Hemorrhage, and even though the healing reduction might help from time to time, I don't think the utility it provides is enough to warrant usage of it unless you find Hemorrhage isn't enough.

Compliments Darius' mobility well, and can be used in the same way Flash can. Definitely not a bad choice, but since Ghost doesn't really alleviate his vulnerability to CC, I tend to go for Flash more.

Definitely nice for Darius for those times where CC is your bane, but useless otherwise. If you pick this, it's going to be situational or you know you're up against a CC-heavy team. Otherwise, not a bad choice.

A lot of people underestimate Heal. A proper use can earn you a kill or two, or keep you alive in order to stay in your lane. Since Darius is generally solo top, this helps his sustain tons, as well as being good for baiting the enemy into a tower dive that's destined to fail.



Not Recommended

Clairvoyance: Not really a bad pick, but this is usually one that's saved for a support.

Surge: Also not completely useless, but will be worse than other choices 99% of the time.

Revive: If you're dying enough to make this useful, then you need to turn to more than your summoner spells to fix the problem.

Promote: Not bad for pushing a lane, but Darius is already a great pusher, so this won't help much, if at all.

Garrison: Save it for the tanks.

Smite: This guide isn't a jungle guide, and Darius isn't all that amazing in jungle anyway. By all means, though, take it if you're jungling.


Guide Top

Masteries


Masteries
1/5
3/5
4/1
4/1
1/1
1/5
3/1
3/1
1/
2/5
2/1
4/1
1/1

Offensive Masteries

Summoner's Wrath (1/1): For the improved Exhaust, or any other summoner spell you might have taken that benefits from this.
Brute Force (3/3): Helps with early game damage and farming.
Alacrity (4/4): More attacks means more Hemorrhage stacks and damage.
Void Stone (1/1): Together with the passive bonus from Apprehend, even armor stackers will melt before you.
Deadliness (4/4): You don't get a ton of AD from your items, so this helps provide some passively.
Lethality (1/1): Crits hurt in the first place, and this just makes them hurt more.
Vampirism (3/3): Helps your sustain a bit, which is always welcome for a solo lane.
Sunder (3/3): Again, you're going to shred through armor.
Executioner (1/1): He's already awesome at securing kills, and this just helps that more.

Defensive Masteries

Hardiness (2/3): Helps establish your tankiness. Only 2 points are taken so we can get 2 in Resistance and strike a nice balance between magic resistance and armor.
Resistance (2/3): Again, helps establish your tankiness. For why we get 2 points, see the above.
Durability (4/4): More health helps sustain and makes you more tanky.
Veteran's Scars (1/1): Helps your early game sustain a fair amount, which is when you'll need your farm to snowball into the mid and late game.

(alternate masteries will be added soon)


Guide Top

Runes


spa
Q
U
I
N
T
S

sp
sp
Q
U
I
N
T
S

spa


spa
M
A
R
K
S

sp
  • Greater Mark of Attack Damage: Again, flat attack damage is great for the early game where Darius is weakest. You do more damage, making it easier to farm and maybe get a kill or two.
  • Greater Mark of Desolation: Extra armor penetration is still good even though Darius gets a lot of it by default. I would only recommend taking these if you didn't take armor pen Quints though; having two sets of armor penetration is a bit overkill.
sp
M
A
R
K
S

spa



spa
S
E
A
L
S

sp
  • Greater Seal of Armor: Honestly, this is the only good choice for Darius in my opinion. Flat armor renders him less vulnerable to harass in the early game when he needs his farm. Once he gets into his build, he'll have plenty of armor to go around.
sp
S
E
A
L
S

spa



spa
G
L
Y
P
H
S

sp
  • Greater Glyph of Magic Resist/ Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist: I prefer flat magic resist glyphs because he generally has enough by the late game and it's the early game where he's vulnerable, but it's up to you. However, I think that magic resist glyphs of some variety are absolutely mandatory. There are others that could work, but I think that for a tanky DPS build, these are the only viable choices.
sp
G
L
Y
P
H
S

spa


Guide Top

Noxian Guillotine: Blessing or Curse?



I wanted to devote an entire section to Darius' ult, Noxian Guillotine, because how you use it really shows whether you're a good or a bad Darius player.

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The most succinct way to summarize how to use Noxian Guillotine is the following: secure, don't steal.

We all know how rewarding it is to get that execution on any hero, especially so with Noxian Guillotine due to its insane true damage and refresh when you kill someone with it. But you really, REALLY don't want to get caught up in that feeling.

Darius is a tanky DPS, or at least he is if you're playing him the way that I've covered in this guide. He is not a carry, and he should not function like one. If your carry is killing someone and you come out and execute him because "hey, he's dead, isn't he?" then you're not helping your team. In fact, you're probably hurting it.

Carries need kills to snowball into what they are... carries. Without that, they might as well be glass cannons that shoot BB pellets instead of cannonballs. To rampantly execute foes with Noxian Guillotine is selfish and 9 times out of 10 you will be hurting your team, because carries can't snowball off of assist gold. If there's a team fight and you're the only strong member on your team against a team of people who have been able to farm because your carries can't kill them, you're going to lose. And I hate to be harsh, but it's going to be your fault.

There are reasons beyond just gameplay that you shouldn't be rampantly executing everything in sight. You figure: if you end up winning, why does it matter? And to that I say: well, you're the only one that won. You basically ruined it for everyone else. And I'm not exaggerating, either.

In the end, we play this game to have fun. Sure, you might be having fun going 25/0/4, but no one else is having fun going 7/1/14 even though they come out top in damage done. As the old motto goes: have fun, but not at the expense of everyone else.

In the end, Noxian Guillotine is a very useful spell, if used correctly. If an enemy is about to get away, by all means, execute him if your carry can't. While you can kill people, it is not your sole purpose, unlike a carry. If a carry can get a kill, let him; don't steal the gold for yourself just because you want it. It's bad for your team, ruins the fun for everyone, and is just generally an annoying thing to do.
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TL;DR: Use Noxian Guillotine to secure kills, not steal them. Carries need kills, and you stealing them isn't helping your team.


Guide Top

Skill Sequence


Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

(R) > (Q) > (W) > (E)

For more information on the skills themselves, see the section where I explain each skill.

First Picks (Levels 1-4)

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Level 1: Take Decimate. You will need it for farming, harassing, and possibly securing a kill in the early game. Crippling Strike and Apprehend aren't bad choice, but Decimate is better.

Level 2: Take Crippling Strike or Apprehend, whichever is more suited for the situation you are in. If you are having trouble with ranged harass, take Apprehend, but otherwise, take Crippling Strike.

Level 3: If you didn't take Apprehend, take it now; if you didn't take Crippling Strike, then take it instead.

Level 4: Now is when you start following the priority above, so take Decimate. It provides you with almost all your early-game damage, so level it whenever you can (excluding level 6, when you level your ult).
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Guide Top

Item Build


Early Game Openings

sp










sp
In my opinion, this is the best build to use. It transitions nicely into the rest of your build and provides you with mobility for both harassment and retreating, as well as sustain via the 3x Health Potion. The best all-around build, and the one I would definitely recommend above the other two options.


I don't really like this option, but I'm putting it up here because it is an option. Given that Darius will be solo top almost every time, this just doesn't provide him with the sustain necessary to hold his ground. You would have to be very aggressive for this to pay off by harassing the enemy, but I don't like taking that risk of it not paying off.


This is basically the sustain-crazy defensive build, where you stay back, last hit, and harass here and there. This build is alright and it's not necessarily bad; my only quarrel with it is that it doesn't transition very smoothly into the rest of your build and it renders you vulnerable to ganks due to the lost mobility from the Boots of Speed. Not bad, but not my build of choice.
sp

Late Early Game/Early Midgame


By this point in the game, you should have gotten or be getting this. It gives you some quick health (sustain), a little bit of damage for harass and securing kills, and a useful slow. When the time comes, we'll build this into a Frozen Mallet.

Generally, you want to get one of these two choices. You would get Ninja Tabi if you're up against an auto attacking team (though it also helps with tanking), and you would get Mercury's Treads if you're up against a CC heavy team. Other boots don't work for a Tanky DPS Darius.

If you've been farming really well or have a few kills, then you might be able to afford this. This is very nice, giving you the whole compliment of tanky stats (the shield and magic resist) as well as damage.

Midgame


You could either get this before Hexdrinker or after, but you definitely need to end up with this at some point. Tons of health, some attack damage, and a slow helps Darius in just about every way, especially when you get your Atma's Impaler.

Besides the fact that we'll build this into a Trinity Force later, I think this is a really great item for Darius. He's already strong in the midgame, and this just exaggerates that, as well as giving him mana for sustain. Crippling Strike procs this and then immediately uses it afterwards, so it will be hitting like a truck.

Perfect compliment for Darius, giving him both tanky stats and damage, as well as complimenting his Frozen Mallet well. This is a must-have, but you might be getting this a bit later than the mid-game unless you farmed fairly well.

Late Midgame/Early Late Game


Now's the time to build that Hexdrinker into something even better, finishing off your magic resist and making you even more tanky, as well as giving you a bit of damage to boot.

Late Game


Here's where you start having options. I already put the Guardian Angel and Trinity Force in my build, but it can change depending on the game.

Provides you with a lot of survivability, and even a revive for you to deal damage even when they think you down for the count. I would get this if their AD carry is becoming too much to bear, because the armor will help against it.

Provides you with tons of sustain, as well as countering any AP champions that might be trouble at this point. Not a bad choice.

Basically Force of Nature but with less tanky stats and more toward just soaking damage a bit more. Also not a bad choice at this point if an AP champion is tearing up your team.

If you're really far ahead, this isn't a bad choice, or if your team is AP heavy and the other team has shunned armor in favor of magic resistance. In a match on even terms, though, this isn't that great of an option.

Basically provides a little of everything, which never hurt anyone. It buffs you up even more in a lot of ways, but it's very expensive, so you'll probably only be able to get it if you're farming well or far ahead.


Guide Top

Conclusion


Well, that's the end of the guide, folks! I appreciate you coming to read it and I hope it helped you out. My guild is not intended to be a bible; its intention is to teach you about Darius in a way that allows you to come with your own builds that work for you in different situations, I just used a sort of all-around build to get you there.

I will keep it as up-to-date as possible, and will definitely take suggestions from comments! This is my first guide, so it's a learning experience for me. Don't hesitate to constructively criticize it, since it only helps me get better!

Thanks again, guys!

Special thanks to:
  • JhoiJhoi, for her epic guide that can be found here!
  • Weme, for being awesome
  • You all, for reading it

Change Log (most recent at top)


  • 5/28/12 - Guide published