Darius Build Guide by RogerDeath
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
Hey everybody, its RogerDeath back with another guide. This time I am doing one for Darius, one of my new favorite tops. Like all my guides, expect a TL;DR section following the detailed explanation.
I know that there are plenty of other Darius guides out on Mobafire, but they never seem to do quite the right thing. I've seen those that focus entirely on jungling, while others focus on tanking and not building any extra attack (relying entirely on his team and his ult). My issues with these guides is that they just don't quite fit how Darius was designed: Take tons of damage, deal it out.
This guide is here to serve that purpose, to show players an easy build to use that will give them the best of both worlds.
Version 1.0: Initial release
Top guide finished
Build order established
Skill Sequence semi-finished, needs more through testing
Some unused sections
First off, you want to go with nine Greater Mark of Scaling Attack Damage. Because all of Darius' abilities, save Apprehend, scale with attack damage we should make him good at all points in the game. I chose the scaling Marks instead of flat because it is really hard to crush Darius hard enough early game to stop him from snowballing late.
For you seals, I decided to go with nine Greater Seal of Armor. This is going to help Darius get to that late game I referred to in the Mark category. While Darius is able to beat most AD tops, he can take tremendous damage while doing so. Armor is important for Darius to make sure that he comes out ahead in these trades, and can make the difference between giving First Blood or just barely limping back to the turret.
The glyph of choice should be nine of the Greater Glyph of Magic Resist. This is going to help Darius get to that late game I referred to in the Mark category. There are several AP tops that Darius can handle fine and those that he can't, but having this extra starting MR is going to make sure that he doesn't get destroyed easily by either set.
Finally, picking up three Greater Quintessence of Scaling Attack Damage gives our Darius build more damage as he levels up. At the beginning of the game, you will notice that you are doing slightly less damage then most AD tops (due to flad AD runes) but as the game progresses he gets mightier and mightier. From all this scaling AD between runes and Masteries, Darius' ult (at max stacks and level 18) does 750 damage.
Darius is pretty simple in terms of what masteries to take. We will be utilizing a 21/9/0 offense-oriented build, but it also allows Darius to act as a damage sponge. I will only bring up unusual picks for this area instead of walking you through the entire thing.
The first unusual pick we have is in the Offense tree, with the Demolitionist choice. I picked it because Darius is usually not that bad at dealing with towers but this gives him an extra boost. This proc will apply on both the regular auto-attack as well as Crippling Strike so Darius can hit the tower hard pretty fast.
The only other unusual pick is actually a LACK of a pick here, in this case Lethality . We aren't building crit on Darius (save for a little bit from the Atma's Impaler) so doing extra damage when we do get a crit will barely be noticeable, especially given how ability oriented Darius tends to be.
Just look up top. Honestly, if you are just going for a short version of this guide I doubt you would even look farther then there anyways...
Now we reach the true heart of the guide: how to itemize Darius to be such a threat while sitting in the middle of the fight. While I have posted an approximate build order above, there are several factors to consider before you follow it strictly.
If you are going top against an AD champion, start with the standard jungle ( Cloth Armor, 5x HP pots) build to minimize the damage that other champion will do to you. If its an AP champion top, then proceed straight into your Hexdrinker with a Null-Magic Mantle and spend the rest on two health potions.
I recommend Ninja Tabi as your boots so that your armor value is roughly equal to your Magic Resist, in addition to the extra damage reduction for auto-attacks (important for the enemy AD-Carry(s)). Because it is standard for more tanky, AD-oriented champions to go top this is one of the first items I get. HOWEVER, if the enemy team has 5+ CC skills I would recommend that you get Mercury's Treads to get out of that faster.
The next listed item is a Phage but this can be switched with the Hexdrinker if you are taking too much magic damage (same thing goes for their fully-upgraded versions, the Frozen Mallet] and [[Maw of Malmortius). These items give Darius the ability to stay in combat longer while still doing extra damage.
Once the aforementioned Frozen Mallet] and [[Maw of Malmortius are completed, we have three options which can be done in any order depending on what your needs in the game are: Warmog's Armor, Force of Nature, and Atma's Impaler. While I suggest geting the Warmog's Armor first and then the Atma's Impaler, a very fed AP carry would make it more important to have the Magic Resist and health regeneration from Force of Nature.
This is likely to be the most controversial part of this page, and I can understand why. When I play Darius I don't level everything the same way, so I cannot tell you there is only one way to do this and every other way is wrong.
Decimate should be the leveling priority because it is the skill that has the most impact on the game (save your Ultimate). Having an ability that can hit enemies who are farther away from you more then those close to you AND applying one stack of your passive is incredible.
With Apprehend make sure you grab it at level 2 to give you some sudo-chase ability. Once you finish leveling Decimate though, you can level this as much as you feel you need to. There will be games when you need it up more often (or just the extra percentile armor shred) and then there are those games where you barely use it.
Same thing goes for Crippling Strike, though get this at level four. The extra damage is nice and the fact that it refreshes your attack CD allows for near instant 3 stacks of Hemorrhage to be applied. Slowing the enemy down can also help, but we have that covered through itemization ( Frozen Mallet). If your enemy needs to die faster get this over Apprehend.
And now for Noxian Guillotine. If you do not get this every chance you get then quit playing Darius because this is the skill he is most known for. Dealing True damage is a rare thing, and through proper itemization, runes and masteries you can EASILY hit 1k true with all five Hemorrhage stacks on. Make sure that you ONLY use this when you know you can kill your opponent due to the CD refreshing; if it goes on cool-down in the middle of a teamfight you might as well abandon it now if the enemy tanks are still alive.
Flash allows you to get the jump on your opponent or to get out of a sticky situation. In my opinion, the best use of this ability is to get close enough to a retreating enemy to grab them with Apprehend to deny the escape.
Exhaust slows down your opponent and would allow you to smack them several times when they normally would have gotten away. This is vitally important to Darius, since he doesn't have any gap-closers save for Apprehend which can be hit-or-miss. Massivly reducing the opponent's damage output is equally awesome, and can help you survive when you normally wouldn't
Ignite is an interesting spell for Darius. On one hand, our passive acts as a sudo-ignite doing extra damage to fleeing opponents. On the other hand, Ignite does allow for less healing and is a True Damage type spell (very rare). If you enjoy using this spell then take it, but I personally don't.
Ghost is a decent spell for Darius, mainly due to his lower move speed without buffs. Getting to a teamfight faster allows for more chances to get that uber-ult off for another kill. Feel free to switch this out with Flash if you so choose.
Heal would help you stay in your lane longer, but at the expense of either being stuck in the fight longer or losing a small DoT advantage. Not being able to stop your opponents from getting away is not woth it in my opinion.
Teleport gets you somewhere really quickly, and can be great if a minion is attacking a turret you want to destroy. The cooldown timer on this skill and its lack of versatility is what excludes it from my usage.
Cleanse gets rid of all those nasty CCs on you and prevents you from being stuck in new ones for longer. Only useful if you know you are getting a team that has massive amounts of CC.
Avoid These Spells
Clarity works badly unless you are spamming your abilities off as soon as they come off cool-down, and even then its not even smart to take.
Clairvoyance can be a major loss to your build, because you lose the ability to persue your enemy.
Revive to be honest, would not be here if it were not for the nine minute(!) cool-down and how the revive times got reworked at all levels.
Smite If you are thinking about taking Smite then you are probably going to be jungling, and this isn't a jungle Darius guide. For our purposes, you should NEVER take this spell.
Surge is half worthless to Darius due to it boosting AP instead of AD in addition to the Attack Speed buff. I cannot recommend it because AP has no place on Darius, even temporarily.
Promote is useless in most every situation. There is really not a time or place to take it unless you have a much stronger DPS to towers.
Summary and Closing
Darius does not need to be a glass tank to do tremendous damage, but he also doesn't need to be so tanky as to only have one real source of damage in his ult. That was the point that this guide was made to address, and I feel it has done so admirably. While it may not be the best guide around, it does provide the basis and ideas that are needed for any Darius Off-Tank player.
Please let me know how you think this guide can be improved no matter what it is. Feedback allows me to get a different perspective on how the guide is seen and how effective it is.