Darius Build Guide by Digits
Not Updated For Current Season
This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.
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.
So; to begin with, I've never written a guide before. Ever. This will be my first, and while most would say 'go easy', I'd like anyone who uses or reads this to hit me with your hardest. I'd very much appreciate all the critique possible, I've only recently been playing Darius, and so to better inform other players who read this guide of the best or at least most efficient and simple ways to build and specialize him instead of be feeding them information that isn't the highest and most defined quality I can give. To go on from that point, I'd like to inform everyone this is a build for Darius that follows him as some what of a... 'Attack-Damage Offtank' because the Phage and the Frozen Mallet gives him a sustain but his damage is still rather heavy; however, we will get into this subjects later on in the Items section. So. Please read on; thanks for your time, and all of your comments are welcome. Even if you just want to say hello.
So; I've focused all of these masteries in a way that will best and most efficiently deliver early to middle game benefits, that will still carry over into the end of the game. The purpose of this is to create benefits that are not lost in late game and are not received to late in the game to be useless in the early game where a lot of factors are determined for the winners. As you can see most of the points will be placed inside of Offense, as this build focuses him as an off-tank, which means all of his armor and his health will come from both items and such on as well as the fact he isn't necessarily meant to be going in first or taking the most damage. Its much more applicable with this specific design that you go in second or third after the tank when the fights already begun, an extremely well-coordinated team will likely switch-focus fire to you being very weary of your ultimate, but in most games and even ranked ones this won't happen, and you'll be free after entering in after the initiation to wreak havoc with your Crippling Strike and Decimate. These masteries are primarily boosters to your character, instead of things you rely on heavily in the game, the only superbly demanding things of them I would say is the Armor Penetration and the Executioner talent. This is because Executioner is greatly effective when using Darius's Ultimate on targets below forty-percent health and because the Armor Penetration further aids him in taking down more armored and heavy tanks like Malphite or Nautilus. To be honest I'd say the most important things to get in this tree-build would be Weapon Expertise, Havoc and Executioner. Should you feel anything else is more fitting for your play-style provisionally really won't damage the base build whatsoever.
We follow this specific skill-set, Period. The reason behind this is because you need your decimate at the start of the game to really damage and apply your Hemorrhage, however, its mainly a poke and your other teammate for the real early game (estimating between 3-8 minutes of the game) should be doing a good sum of damage so its wise to pair up with a full-Attack Damage carry. You get Apprehend next to get that armor penetration and have the ability to catch those pesky runners; however, unlike most builds Apprehend should not be a priority on your Skill level. This is because the cool-down on this specific skill is rather large, not to mention, the Armor Penetration isn't necessarily worth it ten minutes or less into the game when nobody really has that much armor. A lot of your damage in all three phases of the game will be coming from Crippling Strike, Hemorrhage and of course your Noxian Guillotine. This is because Hemorrhage is amazing after the stacking the full five times and being allowed to sit for a good three or four seconds before dropping your ultimate, as well as the fact Crippling Strike's 200% increase to damage factored into your base 300-375 base damage is fairly beast.
To cut straight from Skill Sequence to Teamwork; I'll go ahead and give a brief-breakdown of how I play Darius with this specific build. A lot of the time I will not initiate or engage first. This is because I believe Darius is not an assassin, nor does he have the capabilities to initiate and pull out before receiving a death-blow (to himself of course). I will usually engage after the tank on my team, most of the time this is Blitzcrank or Malphite as thats what my friend usually plays. Most of the time as Darius, you want to really focus the squishiest and the hardest hitter on the team; in retrospect, if this target doesn't exist initiate the target that has the most or least armor and will be the most effective thing for you to damage. This is because of all of the Armor Penetration on this build. By sequence of attack I suggest Decimate > Cripple > Cripple > Decimate and then allow your auto-attacks to fill up the rest of your Hemorrhage if need be. If they attempt to run, Apprehend them because You Are The Law! and then from there end them with your most-gracious execution. Apprehend is mainly gotten for the Armor Penetration or to catch runners; it shouldn't necessarily be used to engage, only to catch or stop escapers. Remember to use your Noxian Guillotine only if it is a guaranteed kill for the refresh as this build does have the sustain so your mana will still be there. If you're a quick-draw though you can use it earlier and deal with the cool-down, I only suggest doing so when its on a target that absolutely has to go down as fast as possible. When engaging more heavy armored opponents open up in this form Cripple > Cripple > Decimate > Cripple and then end them. Decimate should only be used if they're as close as possible to you for the full damage, and, in groups of more then one target for maximum damage-to-mana usage. As Darius your more of a lone-wolf, your teamwork comes from helping in team-fights by eliminating the highest priority damage dealer or support champion, don't take this the wrong way though. You're still part of the team. Engage in team-fights and definitely help the allied champions when they need it.
Your runes! I will actually be leaving this to you guys. Runes are an investment of money (so to speak), and so, I feel more comfortable and confident that you should both pick and buy your own runes. They're more of a boost to somebodies already stable play-style, this build was fairly flexible and designed to allow you lee-way with building it, that means the runes are also fairly easy to pick or to allow you to complexify it and choose what suits you the most! I wish you luck in this department, as I myself get rather frustrated trying to maximize spreading around of points I desire in Runes!
Items! The biggest and most important piece of this game and all builds! Now; a lot of builds feature Warmonger's Chest piece, or something like that, I forget the exact name for it. This is no offense to them but I find it to be a pricey and steep off-load of gold, especially for someone focusing on still supplying an ample amount of damage while having enough sustain to survive a ultimate or two. Instead we replace that by getting our boots first so we can zoom-zoom, and then we really want to focus on getting that Frozen Heart, the potions in the beginning are optional. The Frozen Heart should be first because that mana boost is oh-so-heavenly, its really helpful once you start eating away your mana in team-fights when you start executing people. The armor is also rather nice since top-lane is usually filled with rather violent-physical damage blokes. Not many builds feature Manamune and it can be a questionable design; but with Frozen Heart, and if its an especially long game, it'll tax out to being around a straight 100 or so extra damage. Which is really quite nice once you factor in its regeneration and base mana, of course. You really want to try and get the first four items before around ten minutes or so, with ample farming and a good set of two or three kills, it is possible. If you have to sacrifice something, sacrifice the Phage. You're an off-tank going for damage supplementation. Manamune will benefit you much more in that department, the earlier you can get it, the more damage it can output in late-game as well. The Infinity Edge is rather my favorite part; not for the straight out base damage, but the good chance of Critical Strike'ing that happens now and then. It adds a bit of a gamble to the game. If you land that critical strike the enemy is definitely going to be hurting in the side for a bit. If you must though; get your Bloodthirster before your Infinity Edge, its Life-steal and the base 100 damage might benefit you more then the Infinity Edge depending on the situation.
This is a fairly short explanation. Flash will be used as your escape-tactic, or, if you're a real ballsy person it'll be your initiation or catching tool. The Ignite is mainly to add a small amount of damage to your team-fights to priority targets, or on the other hand, to help you kill those people with a sliver of health trying to wobble away! No running! This is Noxus!
When it comes to farming; if you're having a good game this shouldn't be necessary with a decent amount of minion kills backing your even and/or winning game, however if you're getting it pretty rough or you know its going to be hard I suggest popping in the jungle often to grab wolves and golems when going to your lane or returning (or even ganking). A good idea is to focus on spell-caster minions, as they have the lowest pool of health and resistance to physical damage, making them quite the easy pickings for your big-ol' axe. I also suggest, if you know it'll be a rough game, picking up teleport to give you the ability to hop fast between lanes at certain times and pick up a good chunk of farm. This is mostly a in-game decision kind of thing though and is determined usually by your own play-style, at least thats how I feel it works for me.
Pros / Cons
I would love to do a fancy green and red bullet list... But uh... I fail. Don't even know how to. So I'll sum up the Pros with saying this build allows you to really focus on still doing damage but having the sustain to still be a beat-rag if you really need to or to survive those pesky AoE Ultimates from people like Galio or Karthus, however, at the same time it is a costly build and should be used wisely and with flexible decision making in between games to keep things running smoothly. It also might be a Con that this is a build designed by someone who is rather new to Darius and League in general, and for all I know, this build was designed horrible! I leave that to you all to decide, though.
So; to sum it all up, I've given you what I think to be a decent-reliable and flexible build. I do hope you all find some enjoyment from reading if anything at all. I'd like to give a shout out to all of the other Darius builds on this website, I haven't read all of yours, but a lot of yours helped me learn to play him when I first started and such on. I'd also like to thank the buddies I consistently play with, as they were my test-rags so-to-speak. Other then that I leave the rest in your capable hands, and I hope this build does you good! Thanks for readin'!