Darius Build Guide by Silvertaxx

League of Legends Build Guide Author Silvertaxx

The only Darius Guide you'll ever need [6.23 Pre-Season]

Silvertaxx Last updated on November 22, 2016
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Ability Sequence

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


Natural Talent
Battering Blows
Piercing Thoughts

Offense: 0


Defense: 12

Runic Armor
Veteran's Scars
Legendary Guardian

Utility: 18

Threats to Darius with this build

Show all
Threat Champion Notes
Nasus This guy. Alright. Lets talk about this guy. You can kill him whenever you want before he reaches 300 or more stacks. Its literally not even a problem. He wont even come close to killing you. He wont be able to actually farm a minion without losing a quarter of his health in early game every time he does. HOWEVER. What he can do is farm anyway. If you use your Q to harass you obviously tend to push the lane because you dont have exact controll over what it hits when you use it to harass. And his jungler can make your life a living hell. He CAN and WILL set up his cozy camp fire right in the river, or in any brush. You'll get hit with that 5 second snare (and dont tell me its a slow, after being slowed by 90% for 5 fucking seconds, you might as well just stand still because youre not going anywhere even if you wanted to), and then slowly beat down by him and his jungler. Over and over again. And im not exaggerating here. This literally happened to me more than 30 times at this point. HE is an easy matchup, the actual duo lane behind it isnt. The positive is that youll take lots of pressure off your team and they can take free objectives.
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This guide is still under heavy construction.

I intend on giving an opinion to every single item that you might find in a Darius build, as well as go very in-depth about advanced tactics, laning, teamfighting and general knowledge. Im not a high-elo player, but I would say that I, at least theoretically, have a sufficient amount of knowledge about this game and how Darius fits in it to give a well "researched" opinion and tips. I'll try and gather as much knowledge to make sure this is the only Darius Guide you'll ever need.

There is already a lot of information in the notes. So read those. SERIOUSLY.


I despise the new Splash Art and have been despising it ever since it was released. So, I just replaced it with the old one. Why do I hate it? Well, Ill let Riot Harrow, Writer of the Darius Lore explain that:

"He's not a crazed, bloodthirsty maniac, I'm afraid. He's more of a cold-blooded killer, moving through the battlefield with powerful, but precise, movements, striking with deadly force where it matters most. He takes pride in combat, but there's no primal bloodlust that he constantly needs to sate. Unpredictable sadists don't always make the best commanders."

And guess what he looks like in the new splash art. Its a disservice to the character and disrespects the writers.
Heres the thread I made about my custom skin on Reddit, but the files for replacing the new splash art with the old one are in the download too):

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About myself

What the fast is up pimps and players

My name is.. often changed. Generally, outside of League, its Silvertaxx. Dont ask me why. Just happened, years ago. Currently, my name in League is "True Might" on EUW.

Im a scrub that started playing this game late Season 5 that has since been obsessed with the game and already invested more than 1100 hours into it over the timespan of a year.
I've always been a person that tries to find a strong match to something in a game and identify with it. Im the type of person that wants to hear: "Oh, thats that [Fill gap] main right?!". And I since then, I've found my match. And that match is Darius.

He fits my playstyle, and does exactly what I want. He slices open entire teams and doesnt die. And he makes people cry in lane. So I dedicated more than 3/4th of my time in League solely to him. I've since then reached 530k Mastery points with him and I'm still playing him actively.

I'm making this guide as a help for people that try to get into playing Darius, as well as an archive for myself or friends that ask me about him. My goal is to combine all the knowledge and experience I could gather in one place, giving you the best guideline to success with this awesome Champion. However, even if I do talk alot about how awesome he is, I won't refrain to clearly point out his weaknesses, what he cant do, and which roles he can't fill. This is not supposed to be a sugarcoating love letter to my main champion, after all.

I hope you find this guide to be useful. Feel free to ask questions or make further suggestions in the Discussion attached to the guide. If you think this guide was worth your time, I'd be very happy if you would upvote this. But if you dont, thats fine too.

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Why should you play Darius?


+ Tanky while still dealing astonishingly high damage.

+ Mid and late game teamfight potential very strong.

As you quite surely know, Darius doesnt need a lot of offensive items to deal extreme amounts of damage. He can walk around with 4000 Health and 200 resistances, while still easily having 250 AD and another 200 hidden up his sleeve with Hemorrhage. About 1000 maximum true damage on Noxian Guillotine on its last level with a regular tank build, that can be chained for as long as you want (If you actually execute them and have enough enemies left alive), make him a teamfight monster despite his lack of substantial CC or mobility to catch out the enemy carries or disrupt the front-/backline.

But why does he deal so much damage?

This has multiple reasons; the first one being that his Q and W scale with attack damage not bonus attack damage. This synergizes well with the second fact that he scales extremely well without items, being the champion that generates the second most base attack damage without needing any items, only surpassed by Mordekaiser.

AD @ Level 18
1. Mordekaiser 146 AD
2. Darius 140.88 AD
3. Skarner 133.5 AD

Another reason is that Apprehend, on its last level, grants you the ability to straight up ignore a quarter of your enemies' armor, and combining that with a cleaver, you shred through armor in no time.
And the last, and probably biggest reason: Noxian Might.

Noxian Might is the part of your passive that grants you a buff that gives you 40 AD at level 1, and 200 at level 18, and lets you apply maximum stacks onto anyone that you hit with anything that would normally apply a single stack. These being the outer circle of Decimate, Crippling Strike, Noxian Guillotine and basic attacks (no matter if buffed by e.g. Titanic Hydra or not). As you're reading this, you should start understanding how much of a big deal this is. In addition to wittling everybody down with a constant stream of damage even without hitting them after youve done it once, it amplifies the damage of Noxian Guillotine EXTREMELY, leading to you dealing the maximum amount of damage with it after hitting them once. Why does Darius always get those tripples and quadras, and pentas in teamfights? Because if he gets to execute even one single champion, his damage and foremost Noxian Guillotine's damage skyrockets, and makes it easy to chain it into a multikill. Thats just how it goes; he either dies before he gets to kill anyone, or he has a pretty good chance to get that multikill and completely crush them to pieces. Which is why he is so frustrating to deal with in teamfights, because you need so much peel to keep him away from you, and its very hard to burst him down while there are 4 other people whacking your face in too.

+ Insane lane bully, great 1v1 power and sticking potential

If youve played against a Darius as a melee champion once, you know how hard he is to deal with. The Q hits for lots of damage, and one can mostly not engage in a 1v1 since he will just win it with his Hemorrhage. Trades without retaliation are basically impossible (unless you happen to be Renekton or Riven) since he will just pull you back when you want to go back to last hitting and ruin the trade for you. In addition to that, the enemy never really knows how much 5 stacks will eventually damage them for, leading to countless flashes into their tower, when they were already dead the moment they walked away.
Furthermore, being Apprehended is like being hit by Death Sentence. You know youre gonna eat some big burst now unless you Flash out of there or have some long range inbuilt mobility, like Shadow Dash, since Darius can just slow you down enough for him to even kill you. This is what I call Apprehends "hidden passive". Its a looming threat that makes zoning even easier, since you can engage on the enemy every time he dares to come close to your minions. Ill talk about Abilities more later on though.

+ He has that "feely feel"

Let me describe that "feely feel". Its very feely.
Its the feel when you gank a Darius, he is at 20 HP, he Decimates, is back at 200 HP and double kills you.
Its the feel when you're just about to kill an Ekko, ignited him, and a Parallel Convergence hits both of you and youre dead.
Its that feel when youre just about to kill a Riven but suddenly she has a ****ing 300 HP Shield with Valor and ****s you up.

Basically, its the ability to turn situations around and surprise enemies. League isnt just gameplay and skill, its a game of psychology. Its a game of expectations and assumptions. If you kill somebody at level one, which happens quite often on Darius (at least for me), you have to expect more focus from the enemy jungler. If you play passively until level 3, he might think he has the upper hand and keep pushing, and then you just completely **** his **** up because he cant get back to his tower in time. Its decision making. And its your decision to make. And it will impact how the lane plays out.
And abusing this comes with time. By playing him more and more, you will develop a feeling for when to try to escape from a gank, or just keep fighting. Youll get a feel for who to focus, how to employ your Apprehend to buy you some time for Decimates heal, or get that important fifth stack from Hemorrhage off by pulling an escaping enemy back. Youll get a feel for how to make your enemies think that you think youre losing and dying, but then completely defy their expectations and turn everything around on them.
And Darius just has the perfect tools for this. He has a gigantic damage boost that he can reach by just focusing anyone and can then apply stacks to everyone around him. He has a heal that heals for A LOT. And he also has abilities that disrupt enemies. Getting pulled by Apprehend is basically the same feeling as getting hit by a Rocket Grab. You dont really think in these moments, you act instinctively. ESCAPE - thats the only thing that matters at that moment. And thats another thing we can abuse.

And last but not least, he tilts enemies. People ofterntimes dont really understand how to play against him, and just search for the instant excuse about how OP he is. And this isnt a factual pro point. Its a psychological pro. I've known and witnessed people that literally tilted about having Darius against them on lane before the game even started.

+ He snowballs extremely hard

We all know this situation. An assassin on mid gets ahead and has a few kills, and now every time bot lane tries to farm theres a LeBlanc with 5 damn kills right around the corner, ready to rip them an entire new a**hole. But once that team getting raped by her gets their sh*t together, they can focus her down and get her out of the fight.
But Darius, oooohh Darius, once he gets a couple of kills you can hope that you can kill him in a 3v1 situation at all without him getting a tripple. His mere presence zones the enemy in that situation. And instead of actually trying to kill you (because if they try, theyll probably end up pretty dead), all they do is try to escape. Which gives your team a gigantic advantage.
Why is this the case? Well, although toplaners do of course scale with items, they also scale extremely well through levels. And our main power with Darius in the form of damage isnt actually achieved with damage items, but rather with our Hemorrhage, Noxian Guillotine and Decimate getting stronger and your AD being increased just by "passive scaling" [The AD, Health etc. you get without items. Which is damn high on Darius (stated above)].
Those get stronger because..
- Hemorrhage because you gain more bonus AD through Noxian Might with every level.
- Noxian Guillotine because of Hemorrhage becoming stronger.
- Decimate because the scaling is very strong and synergizes with your passive scaling. And becoming more tanky means getting more health back from your Q.

TL;DR you dont actually get your damage from items but from your current level, and kills just give you more tankyness and levels. Which makes it unbelievably hard to deal with you, because you soak up tons of damage while still dealing more damage than before - even though you didnt build a single bit of Attack Damage after The Black Cleaver.

+ Strong in almost every meta.

Tank meta? Good luck tanks, Darius ignores 25% of your Armor upfront with Apprehend and then 35% more with The Black Cleaver. They have no chance of dueling you once you've completed your first item, and neither do they have any chance before that. Furthermore, you cant build against true damage.

So the other option for top lane are Carries. **** like Riven, Rumble and others. Well, good luck for them with actually killing you. The only problem carry toplaners can give you is the fact that they..
A. Might have a little too much mobility, which allows them to juke you. Right, Riven?
B. Bring a lot of burst and DPS to gank situations which makes you easy to kill. Right, Riven?

My god I hate Riven so much.


- He lacks disengage

Darius isnt a b*tch. Everything in his kit is about going in and keeping his enemies near him, his effective zone. However, youre not a god. You might have the ability to fight multiple champions alone for a while (When youre super-fed you can basically Penta alone tbh), but once you get CC'd and focused down by the enemy, you have nothing to escape except your Flash. You usually dont want people to get away from you, thats not what your kit intends, so when a situation like that arises you can only work with slows, for which you have to get into melee range again. You get the point. This makes decision-making more important. If you commit to a fight with Darius, you fully commit. There is usually no backing off, and even trying to escape will just make your chances of survival even slimmer at times.

- He lacks mobility

I have to make this clear. Darius loses a lot of effectivity if he plays against a coordinated enemy team that builds a team around keeping him away from carries. And by that I mean it plumits into literal uselessnes. You have nothing except Flash to get close to anyone that isnt already in your Apprehend Range, and even that is often not enough. You want enemies around and near you, and you want to be ignored. If those two criteria are achieved, youre golden and ready for destruction. If neither of them is, you have to prepare for a hard time. If they have a single capable Alistar, your best bet is to ignore everything and just stack on Alistar and flash into the enemies to apply max hemorrhage and just try to dish out damage. There isnt much else you can really do if he uses his abilities well against you and your team doesnt take proper advantage of that. And we all know Solo-Q. People never take advantage of major misplacement of CC.

Look out for teams that look CC and disengage-heavy to you. If they have an Ezreal and Alistar on bot, an Ahri mid and a Maokai top, you really should think twice about picking Darius. Which is why being 1st or 2nd pick is really suboptimal. You dont want people building a composition against you.
Ask your mates if you can trade with them to get 3rd, 4th or 5th pick instead. Supports and junglers are always a good choice because people usually dont put a lot of emphasis on counterpicking these.

- He is a very binary and predictable champion

Why binary? Well, binary numbers consist of 1 and 0. Now imagine 1 being a very good performance, and 0 a pretty average or bad one. Thats what Darius is like. He exceeds in matchups and against composition that favor him, but has a very hard time achieving anything if he plays against a composition built against him or a counter matchup on lane. There isnt much inbetween. Luckily, the latter one is infrequent and he can perform very well in most given games.

Why predictable? Because Darius isnt Lee Sin or LeBlanc who can style around you, juke all your abilities and kite you efficiently. No, Darius is a straightforward champion. He is a brick wall on anabolica whose whole message is "fight me bruh". Which is definitely good when you get somebody that does want to fight and who underestimates your power. But when you have two coordinated people that arent afraid of flashing in a gank situation to keep you from getting 5 stacks, things get a little more difficult. You cant really do much. You only have your flash to make a significant play and otherwise just have to accept that you probably wont catch up to that Lee Sin with his 100 ward-jumps, and work with what you have.


- You draw a lot of attention to top lane.

This is mixed because, on one hand, you'll give the rest of your team some room to breathe since the nature of Darius means that he just has to be ganged up on to actually be killed. Which means that you'll get focused a lot from the Jungler.
However, we cant forget that the gist of "you'll get focused a lot" is "you'll get camped like crazy and sometimes every offensive move when you dont have everything around your lane warded means your death because you will never be in a 1v1 situation". So good warding and knowing when to go aggressive in lane is VERY important.

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Why did I choose these masteries?

EDIT: This section will be completely remade. I have new thoughts on this and will revamp this entire part.

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All about items.

Alright. Lets talk about items.

The Black **********in' Cleaver.

Let's break down why this is considered a must-have and a must-have first item for every Darius player. It gives you the things you need in a neat package: Survivability, damage and movement speed. And it synergizes extremely well with your passive. When you look at this item, and then look at Darius' moves, you just go thinking: "My god.. thats..".

Since Hemorrhage deals damage to your enemy 5 times, and The Black Cleavers passive gives you stacking armor reduction on your enemy for every time you deal physical damage to them, its not hard to see why this works so well. You hit them once, 5% armor is gone. BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE! Hemorrhage takes its toll, damaging the enemy 5 more times over the next 5 seconds. Lets rewind: "Dealing physical damage to an enemy champion reduces their armor by 5% for 6 seconds. This effect stacks up to 6 times for a maximum of 30% armor reduction.". I dont think this needs further explanation.

But wait, theres another one.
The "Rage" part of the Cleavers passive is super helpful too, since Darius lost the movement speed from his passive, so this gives you the ability to stick to targets even more or just hit a minion and run in a little faster than the enemy might expect, giving you the jump on them. Oh, and since your passive deals physical damage youll have the MS bonus over and over again.

But wait, theres another one.
"Killing any unit or receiving an assist on a champion that has any amount of Black Cleaver armor shred grants 60 movement speed for 2 seconds instead.". Now you might not see how this is the big deal Im making it out to be, but let me explain. This makes the "Dunk-Train" much easier. Lets just assume you kill the target you've been throwing your giant axe into for 20 seconds now, preferably with Noxian Guillotine. The thing you want to maximize out of killing somebody with that move is the instastacks you get through the passive. Your top priority is to now move on to the next targets as quickly as you can and, lets say, "spread the disease", and keep your Noxian Might up for that extreme increase in AD. Since you just happened to kill a unit youre gonna have 60 extra movement speed. Thats literally a free pair of pristine boots right there showed up your manly arse for an entire 2 seconds. You'll have an easier time making your executes worth it and an easier time finishing off the people that will probably be running away from you at that point.

But wait, theres another one.
The build path is great. Phage already has the "Rage" passive built in, and is basically a little boy's version of the full product. Just keep your gold in check, go back when you have about 1550 for dem boots and a Phage, and youre set. Then, 1100 gold later, go ahead and get yourself the Caulfield's Warhammer, giving you CDR and even more AD.

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All about abilities.

Q – Decimate

This is your bread and butter. Its your main damage ability, your lane Sustain, your lane harass, your Waveclear, your zoning tool, your natural tankynes, your kiting tool (yes, actual kiting, Ill talk about this in the gameplay section), and much more.
Basically, your Q is by far one of the most important things in your kit. Its easy to use, but with so many things packed into it that are essential for success, missing it (or mainly missing the blade range, which is just as bad) is a very, very big deal, especially in the early phases of the game. Decimate becomes a spam ability in mid and lategame, with a 3 second cooldown with just a bit of CDR and 5 ranks in it, but early on, you can be really punished for missing it. Especially if your enemy has slows, you do not want to waste this, since you really cant back off out of a fight and your most important ability is on cooldown.

Things to look out for when using Decimate:

- Its NEVER okay to not hit with the blade. Hitting with the handle is just as punishing as not hitting anything. The handle side does such low damage, does not apply a stack of Hemorrhage and does not heal you. It is CRUCIAL to hit with the blade in every stage of the game and in every kind of fight, be it in a 1v1, in skirmishes or teamfights, and will very often decide whether you will live on to kill the enemy, or die because you couldnt hit it properly.
- Decimate has a hefty windup of 0,75 seconds. The enemy clearly sees the windup and has some time to react. Predict your enemy‘s movement. If you know they’ll be walking away from it, then start walking towards them the moment you press it, and obviously the same applies vice versa.
- If you want Decimate to finish off a low health opponent thats out of range (which can happen really often), dont flash and then press it. Youre giving your opponent plenty of time to react and counterflash it. Instead, start the windup, and then when its almost done, flash into blade range. The time they’ll have to react will be so puny that its basically impossible for them to dodge it.
- When Noxian Might is up, Decimate your opponents as much as you can. You have to channel your inner Hecarim main and hammer onto your Q key like a madman. You want to survive, so you want the heal. You want to apply 5 stacks to prepare them for Noxian Guillotine. You want to keep Noxian Might up by having 5 stacks on your opponents. Its your AoE ability, so when youre in a teamfight youre basically bound to hit SOMETHING with your blade, no matter if its the support or the Rammus.

W – Crippling Strike

Crippling Strike is crucial to keeping your enemies in your effective range. Its some good damage, it has a low cooldown by default, and is an autoattack reset. Furthermore, killing a unit withit restores the mana cost entirely as well as halving the cooldown on it.

Things to look out for when using Crippling Strike:

- Make sure to make proper use of your slows. And by that I mean, dont Apprehend and then instantly use Crippling Strike. Maximize your slow time, wait for the 1 Second 40% slow to wear off, and THEN use Crippling Strike.
- As with any abilitiy that resets your autoattack timer, maximizing the damage output with Crippling Strike is done by exactly knowing the Champions Autoattacks, when the damage actually comes through in the animation and the proper time to then reset it.
- Crippling Strike actually, surprisingly, adds some extra range to the next auto, so when youre chasing somebody thats out of range for your normal attacks, theres a good chance youll be able to hit them with Crippling Strike.
- Crippling Strike makes it easy to farm due to the resetting nature it has, refunding half of the cooldown as well as the mana cost. You really cant be punished for using it when last hitting, since the cooldown is so low once it gets halved, so make sure to always do so if its required.

E – Apprehend

This is probably the ability that has the highest skillcap out of all the abilities in Darius’s kit. Apprehend is a conic area of effect displacement, meaning its a stun and causes the enemy to be airborne for the duration of the pull (Allowing Synergy with Last Breath, for example). Being a displacement and stun, it interrupts all channeled and charged abilities, all dash abilities (Except Playful / Trickster because he is untargetable, obviously) and other airborne effects. The duration of it can not be reduced by anything, and neither can it be cleansed. However, the stun that comes with it can be removed by cleanses, and then any other movement abilities can overrule the displacement.
So basically, you can interrupt a ton of stuff, be it Death Lotus, Absolute Zero, Aegis of Zeonia, Sweeping Blade and so many more that it would fill half of the page here.
Furthermore, its your main tool to keep people in your effective range or get them there in the first place. It’s extremely punishing to miss in the early stages of the game, but becomes more and more available as you put points into it (which is also part of the reason why we max it second, also descriped in the ability sequence notes).
Apart from that, it grants you the ability to fight tanks more efficiently with its upfront armor penetration.

Things to look out for when using Apprehend:

- Just like any other pull ability, it ignores terrain, meaning that you can catch people that are out of position extremely well when the enemy does not have sight of you by just pulling people over walls into you or your entire team.
- The range is often underestimated, and knowing it precisely is crucial to maximizing your damage output. Hitting it on the maximum distance is the most effective use of it, so make sure you know the range like the back of your hand. If you just started playing Darius, maybe turn on the range indicator for it if that helps you.
- People that escape the Area before the pull starts will not be pulled back like they were before the rework, so its pretty easy to counter if you see it coming and have a blink ability up. However, if for example Ezreal is caught in the Area, but then starts the windup for Arcane Shift before the stun is in effect, he will just remain in the place he was standing at after he has finished the cast. It’s weird, but thats the way it is for most blinks that have a channel time.
- Using Apprehend gives you sight in the area that would’ve been pulled in. That can sometimes be useful since you can get sight inside of brushes without entering them or placing a ward in them.
- It can be resisted with Black Shield and Ragnarok, so dont waste it on targets that have it on them.

R – Noxian Guillotine

This is your signature ability. The only purpose of it is pure damage. And while it only does one job, it does a ******** good job. Its a single target short range dash, meaning that it applies spell effects and CAN be blocked by Spell Shields. Furthermore, since it’s a dash thats roughly double your attack range, it does get you closer to your target. However, the drawback is that any snares will prevent it from being cast. BUT, once you’ve started a cast of Noxian Guillotine, the only thing that can stop it is Stasis, Untargetability, loss of sight by stealth, or your death, meaning that if you’re stunned while casting it, you’ll suffer the stun AFTER the cast is done. It resets when it deals the killing blow to a champion and grants or refreshes Noxian Might. And being a damaging ability, it also applies a stack of Hemorrhage.

Things to look out for when using Noxian Guillotine:

- Do NOT use this spell if youre not sure whether it‘ll kill the target. Landing the killing blow with it in everything thats not a 1v1 is EXTREMELY important, since it then grants you Noxian Might, and with that you can basically win any fight with the extreme damage output youre granted for the duration of the buff. And thats not even considering the fact that you need and want the reset whenever possible.
- Since Noxian Guillotine will strike the target regardless of distance, make sure to use it when you suspect that somebody will try to escape it with a mobility spell. They’ll waste it and still die.
- Casting it on an enemy that is almost dead and being attacked by your team is never a bad idea, since it doesnt go on cooldown or consumes mana until the cast is finished and strikes the target.
- Ill just say this again: This isnt a ******** simple damage spell. It’s a damage nuke, but one that needs a lot of preparation or very good timing. Know the damage output, and NEVER use it to just „add some damage“. Thats the most stupid thing you can do.