Darius Build Guide by JonJomate
Not Updated For Current Season
Great Items on Darius
Mid Game Items
Not Updated For Current Season
this is my Guide to Darius, the Hand of Noxus
Let me tell you something about him while you listen to this:
Alright. Darius is a melee AD Offtank. He has some overwhelming strengths and great damage capabilities, even without damage oriented items. His damage is split into physical, magical and true damage, all scaling off of AD, which is great because itemizing against Darius is very hard. He usually goes toplane, but can also jungle effectively.
Darius' kit is designed to take kills, from his passive to his ult, Darius is a very dangerous opponent, punishing every mistake with immense pain. Just getting a pixel too close, and you're already Apprehended, slowed, Decimated and killed. Laning against Darius is tough, and people tend to fear this champion, even if they're ahead.
Since his damage and 1v1 potential is so high, what balances this out? He sounds f*cking OP! Nope, that's not true at all: Unlike most other Bruisers, Darius lacks a lot of things:
- Sustain - Darius has none, and can only either buy health regeneration or lifesteal to help this fact, namely in the form of Warmog's Armor, Blade of the Ruined King or Wriggle's Lantern.
- Utility - CC, buffs for the team, or anything else that helps in general. Darius' only utility spell is Apprehend, helping allies to catch up or maybe even engage a teamfight. (Some Champions have very high utility, for example Maokai, Jarvan IV or Soraka.)
- Mobility - This one is pretty crucial. Darius is rather slow, and has no mobility-skills such as Irelia's Bladesurge or Maokai's Twisted Advance. This can lead to him getting kited hard in teamfights. He can't really get the grasp of his target, and will propably die even if built tanky. We will come back to this problem later.
- Defense - As you may have noticed, Darius is an All-In champion. He can't escape, he can't shield himself, and he can't heal back. Almost every other melee champion has at least one defensive skill or a passive. Jax's Counter Strike, Wukong's Decoy, Irelia's Hiten Style and Passive, hell even Evelynn has a shield.
Well, Darius has none.
Looking at that list, Darius seems to be not even close to similar to the other Bruisers in the game. And yep, that's true, we could actually call him an Anti-Bruiser / Anti-Tank. Split damage, percentual armor penetration and true damage rip through everyone's defense. His job is to downright destroy things, all by himself, he has the damage to kill an entire team if given the time and tankyness.
A standard Bruiser buys some damage from maybe TriForce or AtMogs, but they transition into utility-tanks by Mid / Lategame. (That was different back when Cleaver-Stacking was viable, thank god they nerfed it) Darius can't really do that. He has no abilities to stand up to the utility from other Bruisers. He has the abilities however, to kill said Bruisers. And actually everyone else.
Let's recall our little intro, and set up this sweet list:
+ HUGE Damage
+ Superstrong 1v1
+ Mixed Damagetypes
+ Abilities scale well
+ Takes kills easily
+ Frightens every opponent
- Gets kited
- Falls off lategame
- Can starve his carries from gold (if ks'ing much)
- Rather slow
- Ganks are pretty hard to pull off
- Pushes his lane and gets ganked easily
Let's move on to the Runes and Masteries now:
Runes and Masteries
Greater Mark of Attack Damage
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage
For Runes, the standard runeset for a Bruiser works perfectly for Darius. Flat AD and Armor to deal with the common AD Offtank at the toplane (or to survive the jungle), and scaling Magic Resistance, because you probably won't oppose a lot of AP's pre-midgame. You could switch the AD Quints to Movementspeed, if you like it, but that's pretty much a matter of taste. Another option for Marks are Armor penetration, but AD is stronger on Darius due to his scaling.
Masteries are standard, too: 9/21/0 is perfect for Darius, he profits from tankyness, tenacity, and movementspeed. Some people think, 21/9/0 is the better choice for an executioning champion like Darius, but Executioner does not amplify the true damage from Noxian Guillotine (or any other true damage). Apart from that, being tanky and "tenacious" is super important for an all-out melee champion, some bonus AD or lifesteal won't do much.
Moving on to the Summoner Spells:
Flash is one of the best summoner spells, if not the best, and fits on every champion. It is super versatile and can be used in defensive and offensive ways. Especially on a low-mobility champion like Darius, Flash is a strong choice. It sets you up for Flash -> Apprehend initiations, improving the danger you bring to the game as people have to watch out for you even more than the already do! It has also great defensive uses, such as escaping from a gank or flashing over walls if getting caught.
Since Exhaust got nerfed in Season 3, Ignite is the one and only aggressive laning summoner spell. It helps you pick up kills, decides 1v1 fights, and soft-counters a lot of toplane-champions like Irelia, Volibear, Rengar or even Sion. I would call it a must have on toplane.
Ghost is a possible alternative to Flash, but only really better on Dominion and Twisted Treeline (where you should absolutely pick it over Flash). It can be used for jungling to overwhelm enemies in their lanes with your speed, but Flash just outshines this spell.
Smite is a must-have in the jungle. Sure, you can jungle without it, but Smite makes jungling a lot faster and easier. It also enables you to steal enemy buffs or even Dragon and Baron. It is also absolutely necessary lategame, since you have to secure Baron and Dragon with it.
Exhaust is a possible spell next to Smite if jungling, but it's a really risky choice. Your ganks become a lot stronger with this spell, but your non-existent escapes will give you a hard time in many situations. I only take Smite + Exhaust on mobile junglers like Lee Sin or Hecarim, and even then i'd think twice about it.
Barrier found it's way to the Summoner's Rift, and it sure is a good defensive spell. It will decide fights at the toplane for you, and with Ignite + Barrier it's almost impossible to loose an all-in battle at level 6, but as stated before, you need Flash or Ghost alongside your other spell on Darius, and Ignite is simply better than this.
The rest is just bad on Darius:
Bad on toplane, because everyone takes Ignite, and bad in the jungle because it won't help you at all. Kind of obvious.
A spell for carrys, trying to escape dangerous CC's. Nothing for Darius.
These three spells are rarely seen anymore, since supports need Exhaust to win their lane, no one needs mana so bad that he'd take Clarity for it, and well. Revive. Do you plan on dying a lot? No? Good.
This is actually a possible pick for some toplaners. Those that need a hell lot of farm, like Nasus or Irelia, but not for Darius. You don't need big items in order to be dangerous, you need to win and snowball your lane, and then proceed to go roaming and killing. Teleport is an option for sneaky brush ganks directly from toplane, or for splitpushing and teleporting somewhere else if a fight erupts. But Darius isn't really made for this spell, there are simply better options for him. By the way, did you know that you can Teleport to Elise's spiders? Whatever, let's move on:
Every autoattack or damaging spell applies one stack of Hemmorhage, stacking five times and dealing 12 / 15 / 18 / 21 / 24 / 27 / 30 / 33 / 36 (+0.3 per bonus attack damage) magic damage over 5 seconds. Darius gains 5% movement speed for each bleeding enemy champion.
This is a very strong passive, because it deals a crazy amount of damage. With this and Crippling Strike, almost nobody will be able to fight you in a sustained battle. Additionally, it will secure you a lot of would-be-kills. Imagine you being level 18 and towerdiving that Draven. You have maybe 80 bonus AD from your items so far, and die for some reason in the process. He survives with 230 HP. Guess what, he will die. Another point is the bonus movementspeed provided by it, which is kind of minor, as long as you don't hit everyone of them with a Decimate in a teamfight.
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.
Your main damage tool, and one of your strongest moves. It has a low cooldown, a low manacost, a sick basedamage (Show me any other AoE ability with 315 basedamage!) and a good scalation. Even if Noxian Guillotine looks the most frightening, Decimate is the true threat. You can use it to harass your laning opponent, farm efficiently, push a lane, kill the small jungle camps quickly etc.!
- Be carefull when harassing your enemy with this. It will push the lane hard and you will be prone to get ganked.
- Get used to the range, like with every other skillshot, but it is quite easy to land, and very forgiving to fail it, since it has such a low cooldown and manacost.
- Hit it on the outer part of the skillshot! (You can hover over the icon ingame to see a range indicator) It deals 50% bonus damage, which is SO much more. Also, when ganking or comboing an enemy, use Decimate before Apprehend, so you will hit it to it's full damage.
- The bonus damage on the outer part only hits champions! Im just adding this because i see some people jungling with Darius and moving very weirdly in order to get the bonus damage. It doesn't work. K.
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.
A straight-forward spell: You will deal bonus damage with your next attack, and slowing movement and attackspeed by a percentage. This is very helpful when it comes to chasing or dueling. It also resets the swing-timer, meaning that the activation of this right after a basic attack will make Darius attack imidiately again, just like Jax's Empower.
Additionaly, the cooldown is reduced by 1 for every stack of Hemorrhage on the target. On max stacks, this leads to a cooldown of 3 seconds while slowing for 2 seconds. Yup, you can almost perma-slow your foe with this, which is super strong in 1v1 scenarios.
Another very unknown, almost secret little fact:
Crippling Strike increases Darius auto attack range from 125 to 145 for that attack. That is very helpful if you're chasing someone and can't quite reach him. Activate it and you may.
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.
An AoE cone pull and your main initiate and CC. This skill has a deceptively high range of 550. This is slightly under the average AD-Carry Range, but you can still grab Vayne, Sivir and many other.
Some people say it's buggy or has a higher range than shown by the indicator.
This is because Apprehend grabs everyone inside the cone at the moment it's casted, and not at the moment the animation plays. This can lead to some funny long-range grabs. Use it.
Watch out however, Riot stealth-nerfed Apprehend in the 3.8 Aatrox Patch. It now has a more visible animation and feels a bit slower, the pull actually didn't change much in speed. This doesn't weaken Apprehend initiations while laning, but it can prevent teamfight engages because it is more visible now. (Say Vayne just tumbles away from it)
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, and then goes on CD.
This is one of the strongest ults in the game. It hits so incredibly hard, that you will be surprised by the damage it deals. It deals true damage, and resets on killing your target with it for 12 seconds. This can lead to crazy rampaging through squishy enemies. It is, however, very important to stack Hemorrhage before you ult, because it deals more damage if you do so.
Some notes on Noxian Guillotine:
- Don't use it to take kills from your team! This is very important, as you can go 20 / 5 / 0 easily with Darius, but starving your carries from Gold is the last thing you should do! But since the nerfs, if you call them nerfs, this isn't so easy anymore. Noxian Guillotine became more like the huge, evil and devastating plan B, if a fight goes wrong. You unleash Darius' true power, feeling all great and mercyless.
- It is not an execute, but a huge damage nuke. You can also, if you want to, stack Hemorrhage on an annoying or dangerous target in a teamfight (That sticky Irelia trying to kill your Graves) and ult them to at least low hp, so they are zoned for the fight and have to retreat.
- Don't tunnelvision ever. Stay focused and get ready to switch your attention to something else in a teamfight, even if Udyr is so close to dying with that sweet red skull above his head. Your main role in fights is to either protect your carries or destroy theirs. Don't focus tanky people, and don't chase them out of fights.
- Even if it may be tempting: Your reset is not the most important thing in the world, and you will starve your carries and be less concentrated in teamfights if you're busy watching the enemies HP to fade until you can Guillotine them to death. It's fun though.
- Fun fact: Earlier in PBE testing, Darius' ult refreshed every allied ult if he got a reset. Imagine 5 Galio ult's per teamfight.
Since Darius is a Bruiser-like champion (but not a Bruiser like the others!), the standard items are strong on him. Tankyness in combination with Movementspeed, soft CC (Slows from Randuin's Omen or Trinity Force / Frozen Mallet) and Damage is what you want on him. With the Season 3 changes, you can even go heavy damage at least in the midgame. And there is a new secret little OP item for him, but i'll get back to that later. Let's go down the paths:
Boots of Speed + 4x Health Potions used to be the golden standard. These days, they are not as good as they used to be, but they provide a nice mix between offense and defense, and can help landing Qs and avoiding early ganks.
Cloth Armor is a smart choice against some champions, especially those with a strong early game and much physical damage. Xin Zhao, Renekton, Vi or Riven are reliant on their early domination, and they get shut down by this item quite well. The 5 pots provide a great amount of "laning health", too.
The Crystalline Flask + Wards and Pots is a great choice for a very safe early game with huge sustain and less worries about early ganks. Additionally to their defensive stats, they also allow you to play more aggresively in lane, since you can out-sustain bad trades, see incoming ganks and regenerate mana.
Another strong, defensive item, especially against basic-attack-heavy enemies. It will help you dominate, however, you have to sell it later. You can only get one Health Potion alongside it, but it already grants HP5.
Risky choice, because you can't get any pots nor wards, and it only grants (low) sustain if you're able to autoattack. However, the combination of health and ad will enable you to fight pretty much anything, so you can consider it against a passive jungler.
Only take this one if you're confident to kill your enemy with it, else you'd waste gold. This is the Doran's Blade in a more extreme version, but you can also get pots alongside it and bait enemies into towerdives and then activate it to regain health instantly.
This really is the new go-to-item for top Darius: It builds into the great great Blade of the Ruined King, gives a lot of early AD plus lifesteal and a very strong utility slow on a medium range. It is also nice to build, as no part of the recipe takes a bigger leap than 400 gold.
A good early item. HP and AD are both useful stats, and the movementspeed boost helps a lot with microing and out-trading your enemy laner. You can also activate the greater boost at pretty much any time by Decimateing a minion. However, you force yourself to build Trinity Force with this purchase.
Going the path of golditems will provide you with much more gold for your lategame items, and since Avarice Blade now builds into Atma's Impaler, it is actually worth buying! These two items don't give you a huge advantage in lane, but it is very likely that you don't need that anyways, you're Darius after all.
If you're laning against an AP, let's say Vladimir or Rumble or even Elise, take this one, it makes it just unfair. Magic Resistance, AD and that OP shield are going to take the slightest chance of winning from your opponent. But you will maybe have to sell this item, since Maw is a very aggressive item, and you can only afford going that aggressive if fed.
If you happen to lane against someone giving you serious problems, or who is ahead of you because of some dumb mistake, tower dive or whatever, buy one or two of these. It is one of the most gold efficient items in the game, and is going to bring you back on par. Obviously, you'll have to sell it though.
These items are a great way of becoming very tanky in the early and midgame without paying much for a big item, and they won't hurt your building path either. (Except for Negatron Cloak, since not that many items are built out of it anymore.) Get them if you feel that you do enough damage, but your team needs you to be in the frontline and soak up enemy focus.
The big items
Alright: The Earlygame is over, you have the first two or three items in your inventory, and maybe one or two kills, and some assists. You have to start planning your lategame, your big items and the role you are going to fullfill in your team this match. Because no champion ever has one exact way to build him, a good player has to adapt to the game each individual match. Let's look at the best lategame item-combinations available to Darius:
- The classic TrinityTank. You rely on Trinity Force for your damage, and stack defense alongside it. This build is common on champions like Nasus, Irelia or Skarner, because they either have some innate damage source like Siphoning Strike or Hiten Style, or they have a great ability to make use of the Sheen like Crystal Slash. Darius can use TriForce to a limited extend with Crippling Strike, but it doesn't provide that much raw AD which could scale with his abilities.
- The combination of Atma's Impaler with items providing much HP (aka Warmog's and Frozen Mallet) is very strong, even if it already got nerfed for it's strength. The big problem with this path is the lack of strength in the early stages of building the items required. Now that Atma's is built out of a gold item though, you can reach these items way faster. And since Warmog's doesn't even have to stack anymore and has that awesome Force of Nature passive built into it, things look way better than in S2 for this combo. If you've got these items, you're a beast. You literally feel like that emperor overlord of doom Darius looks like, a ton of HP combined with Armor, great damage and some heavy Crippling Strike-Crits. Seriously, AtMogs is awesome, but only get it if you're ahead.
- The Season 3 Metagolem build. You want to get tanky as soon as possible, want to deal damage as soon as possible, and want to end this game as soon as possible. These items promise a lot of "bang for the buck". They used to be very overpowered, but all got nerfed down to a balanced state. You can still go this path, but it isn't as strong as it was, especially the Cleaver stacking. Buy one if any.
- Bruisers always liked the idea of buying one item that does all the damage, and Blade of the Ruined King may be this new item, since it's rework in the Quinn patch. Everything about it is just very strong and complimenting Darius well:
Attackspeed - More damage, more Hemorrhage, more deaths. Great.
AD - More damage to scale with everything, great.
Lifesteal - Great at fighting the jungle, and great to sustain yourself.
Percentual passive - Perfect to fight all those HP stacking weaklings, perfect to drop them faster to Noxian Guillotine range, since it deals the most damage to full HP targets.
Active - Holy sh*t, that is overpowered right now. 15% max HP in damage? And healing that back? AND speeding up while slowing the enemy? Great to reach fleeing enemies, and when you're playing Darius, every enemy is fleeing.
Shurelya's Reverie - If you're a little behind, or think this will compliment your team, a supportive tank-build on Darius is quite good. He still deals great damage and all the items are very gold efficient and provide huge utility and tankyness, all while auras and a golditem. This build is best on a jungle Darius, as you can't make much use of the utility if laning 1v1 toplane.
- Darius hypercarrymode. If you're wayy ahead and about to carry your team to victory, this combo is great. It's very very expensive, and really shouldn't be your usual way of building Darius, but if you leave the laning phase with 5/0, think about it. 150 AD are sick on this Champion, as you're going to force the enemy focus on you with that much damage. Well, too bad you got a GA, revive and tankyness. This is no viable standard choice though, i've never built this way in a serious game.
Note: Don't get confused, you would never actually build Darius or any other Bruiser they way you'd build an AD Carry. Infinity Edge, Phantom Dancer and The Bloodthirster belong to them. A melee needs to be tanky. Im just adding this because im sick of seeing some guys building glass cannon on champions like Nocturne, Olaf or even Irelia. Don't do it.
And now to the secret OP item: Mercurial Scimitar! It really turns a slow, dumb Darius in to someone running right at you and ripping your head off no matter what. 60 AD, magic resistance and a cleanse plus mini-sprint. It is really great. Until now, you never really could focus down a carry, because you got cc'd and killed, but with this item, WTF. Darius becomes an Anti-Carry.
Let's take a look at Darius' possible enemies, how dangerous they are and how to deal with them!
Since Darius is such a strong 1v1 champions, these are the weaklings which won't cause you much or maybe even any problems:
- He is a weak laner, not much damage besides Frenzy and his passive gets countered by Ignite.
- Just a champion that isn't working. Her mana costs are insane, and yes, her Q does hurt, but she really can't fight. Just stay away from walls.
- Weak early, your Crippling Strike attack speed debuff is perfect against her.
- Weak laner, not much damage. Also, you just stack armor.
- Way too squishy, and you can just stack armor while he can't.
- Got nerfed to hell, Savagery doesn't hurt anymore, and his AP build doesn't work, too.
- Same deal like Zed, too squishy and you can just go full armor.
- Rarely seen toplane, but weak and low-damage because you can go all mr or armor.
- Almost never seen toplane, his manacosts are too high without blue buff, and his sustain is bad. He also doesn't deal much damage early.
- Actually not that bad, but his combo costs a lot of mana for a toplaner, and you can just go full armor.
- If he's going AD, he's a joke ( Fiora style), and if he's going AP, he's annoying, but you can interrupt his Meditate, and you can go MR.
- Deals more damage than you'd think, but can't really fight and is squishy early.
- Deals a fair amount of damage, but pushes her lane all day.
- Just a very very bad champion, gets kited, even by Darius, and countered by Ignite.
- Was once a great toplaner, then his manacosts got nerfed, and now he can only fight with the blues he's getting in the jungle.
- Weak and squishy early game, and his AS debuff doesn't hurt you much.
- Too squishy early game, and you'll just obliterate him. His pushing is suicidal, too.
As you may have noticed, two things are a great strength of Darius in a 1v1 scenario:
- His basedamage is high enough to kill anything, so he can just stack one type of defense.
- His damage is hybrid, so his enemy can't do the same.
This may sound awesome, but Darius has hard match-ups and even hard counters. These are either superstrong 1v1 fighters or annoying ranged kiters and pokers. But we'll look at them one by one:
- Difficulty: medium He is a strong 1v1 champion, as you propably know, and has sustain and an escape. Analyse your opponent: Does he max his Undertow or Reckless Swing? If he maxes his first skill (what's smarter), you need to dodge it, while hitting Decimate. Stay in your minions, so that he will push the lane just like you will, keeping a balance. Every time he failed his Undertow, engage on him, you will win the fight since his Q is on cooldown and his E isn't maxed. (Don't engage if it's ready however, the cooldown is super low if he can pick it up instantly)
If he maxes Reckless Swing, just harass him (but don't fight toe to toe). You don't have much to loose since his harass won't hurt now.
- Difficulty: medium / hard She is very weak early, and it's absolutely crucial that you abuse that fact, because she does outscale you hard, and will be able to fight you after level 9 or 10, once she maxed out her Hiten Style. Beat her early, and snowball out of that advantage, in order to keep her from farming. But don't destroy her tower, because you would end the laning phase and enable her to freeze the lane in order to farm up again!
- Difficulty: easy / medium Don't underestimate Akali's damage early on, but even if you do, Darius does beat her in a straight fight. What's dangerous about her is the combination of Mark of the Assassin harass while hiding in the Twilight Shroud, and the heavy snowballing she can perform if she picked up kills early. You can hit her in the shroud with Decimate and Apprehend, which will help a lot. If you still have problems against her, set up a Vision Ward on the lane and buy a Hexdrinker.
- Difficulty: easy / hard Gangplank won't be able to do much against you, since you have a way higher harass with Decimate and can beat him in a straight 1v1. The only problematic thing is if he goes on early crit with runes and Brawler's Gloves. Crit Gangplank is pretty imbalanced because it's pure randomness if he just absolutely destroys you.. or not. Start with Cloth Armor or Crystalline Flask against him.
- Difficulty: medium / hard Wow, since the new S3 items, Garen became strong! His scalations are good, and his silence, slow break and speedbuff are very useful. You have to make sure to win this match-up early, because both of you snowball immensely. Ask your jungler for an early gank and start with Cloth Armor.
- Difficulty: medium Ugh, Shen. He really is one of the most annoying and yet boring lane opponents ever. A spammable shield, Feint, harrass and sustain with Vorpal Blade, and just incredible fightability and resiliance. Don't get me wrong though, Shen isn't the type of enemy which is going to kill you much, he will much rather bully you around, out-sustain you with his energy and sustain, and out-trade you. All the while he grants his team global presence with Stand United.
Countering Shen: By all means, Apprehend him out of his ult, Stand United. It's on a HUGE cooldown, and it is almost wasted if you interrupt him, because his ally will only get the shield from it. Concerning laning, Darius mechanics are not made for fighting champs like Shen, he has a attackspeed debuff, which is almost useless vs Shen, and he has an initiate, which is just what Shen wants to do anyway. If he maxes his Shield, he can also (almost) fully block every Decimate. Buy a lot of tankyness and magic resistance, Warmog's Armor is great vs him, because he works with small base damage values to wear you down. Don't push to hard. Learn to trade versus him, it's just a matter of timing Q and generally baiting his Feint by moving around. Good luck.
Difficulty: hard - very hard There is a reason why Malphite is a standard ban nowadays: He absolutely destroys AD's. Heavy harass, incredible tankyness and the ability to straight up fight Darius in a 1v1. Buy magic resistance, and try to survive this lane. The Crystalline Flask start is best on this matchup. Or just ban him.
Difficulty: Very hard Yup, you're about to fight vs. your hardcounter. She can kite you all day long with her movementspeed buff, slow and ranged attacks. Even her damage is quite high, because of her passive hybrid percentual penetration. Tips against her: Stack a lot of armor, start with Cloth Armor, and use your ult in moments she doesn't expect, because she can block it with her ult. Most Kayle's just use their ult if they're low HP and expect your ult, so just use it while she's at half life. She will probably panic and use her ult while fleeing, enabling you to chase and kill her. Remember: A reset isn't important at all in the lane, use it as a damage tool! Definitely ask your jungler to gank a lot.
Difficulty: hard This little rat is going to give you problems, if he can play well. There is almost no counter-play available to Darius in order to beat Teemo, but your Apprehend outranges him. This is a skill match-up, and you can do it, but it will be annoying as hell. Buy armor, but start with boots. Stay in the brushes and zone Teemo, to keep him from attacking you. Ask your jungler to gank before Teemo hits level 6, because he will prepare the brushes with his Noxious Traps after that. (Not noxian btw. Don't worry.) Kill his tower as fast as possible if you're loosing this lane, and keep him from split-pushing, since that's the only thing he can do lategame. Teemo sucks in teamfights.
Difficulty: hard / very hard Nidalee is probably the champion with the highest skill cap in the game. That being said, she can practically out-play everyone, because of her insane kit of tools. Fighting a very skilled Nidalee is frightening, and a champion like Darius hasn't that many options to out-play her. She has great sustain with her E, and her cougar-form "Takedown" Q deals a ton of damage if you're low life. The difficulty of this matchup depends on her playing either AP or AD, however. If she plays AP, you'll win the lane by dodging some Javelin Tosses, if she plays AD.. yea. Stack armor and don't fight her if you're low HP. What's additionally annoying about her is the ability to escape from virtually everything with her insane mobility while in cougar form. However, the nerfs to her in Quinn patch really hurt her laning, because she got a lot less tanky.
Difficulty: medium-harder You may remember Elise as a weak AP-Offtank with absolutely no lategame and low damage, but once you played against a good one... Elise's basedamage is incredible, and she can just build tanky as hell. You can see Elises with double Doran's Ring, Haunting Guise and Sunfire Cape just destroying toplane. That being said: Don't underestimate her! But you can definitely win this match-up, i just wanted to make sure that you don't enter this lane with a cheesy mind-set ^^ (Stack magic resistance, buy Hexdrinker and Phage and make sure to not get kited all day long)
Difficulty: hard Cho'Gath is a very strong, sustained and bursty AP-Tank toplane. His passive sustain got nerfed recently, but he is still very hard to push out of the lane. He is a bit weak early, exploit it! Once he got fed, he snowballs heavily, and is able to one-combo you, if you're not going tanky. You will need magic resistance and health, in order to survive Cho'Gath. Hexdrinker is actually a semi-great choice against him, because he will Feast you if you're low life, which deals true damage. (The shield doesn't help against that). Ask for ganks, and try to bait his Rupture's into your minions, which will push the lane to your tower.
If he gets ahead and becomes tanky beyond belief due to him eating minions all day, consider Blade of the Ruined King, it deals percentual current HP damage, and even heals you for the half of that amount. It's a useful item in general, but it's perfect if your enemy starts stacking HP. ( Olaf, Volibear or Dr. Mundo are other possible champions doing that)
Difficulty: Medium Aatrox is a feared opponent because of his amazing sustain and great dueling with his steroids from Blood Well and Blood Thirst. However, you are perfectly built do deal with the likes of him: Crippling Strike's attackspeed debuff and slow in combination with your Decimate harass will shut him down immensely, and his only applicable harass (Besides from going all-in with his jump) is Blades of Torment, which pushes the lane hard. You can actually kite Aatrox on a melee basis: Slow him, walk away, Q him, reengage, slow him again, rinse and repeat. His passive is very annoying and there is not much counterplay to it, and his sustain is pretty sick. As i said before, don't let him fight for a prolonged time, and burst him down once he's low and uses his ult with Noxian Guillotine. Don't forget to bring Ignite.
Those are some of Darius' opponents, but i'll add a lot more in the following days!
Damage [In-Depth Math]
If you're going to fight toe to toe toplane, it will help a lot if you learn to estimate your damage, so let's do some math. Noxian Math, of course. First of all, these are the conditions we're estimating:
- You and your enemy are level 6.
- You have about 30 bonus AD.
- Your enemy hasn't bought magic resistance so far (Very unlikely at level 6).
- Everyone has standard runes and masteries.
Your 30 AD come from:
- 15 from AD Quints and Marks
- 4 from Deadliness at level 6
- 10 from a Long Sword or Doran's Blade
- Your enemy has about 57 armor and 48 magic resistance, if he has 9/21 masteries and defensive yellows and blues (which is standard at toplane, and if not, it's even better).
- This deals 170 true damage at level 6 over 5 seconds. It also halves all healing effects.
- This deals 320 + 45 (ad scalation) = 365 true damage instantly at level 6, as long all 5 Hemorrhage stacks are up.
- The 5 stacks deal 90 + 45 (ad scalation) = 135 magic damage after you refreshed these stacks with your ult. Since your enemy has about 48 magic resistance, this deals 91 effective damage.
That means: If you're 5-Stack-Ulting + Igniting your enemy, when he's at 626 health, he will die at level 6.
Our only problem is: A part of this damage is over time, which means that the enemy can do some things while in these 5 seconds of ticking damage:
- This is a very annoying Summoner for Darius. It will block 215 or 235 (with Summoner's Resolve ) damage at level 6. The shield, however, only lasts for 2 seconds. There is no way that our ticking damage from Ignite and Hemorrhage will surpass 215 damage within just 2 ticks, so we just have to subtract these 2 ticks from our calculations: That's -68 damage from Ignite and -36 effective damage from Hemorrhage. Conclusion: If our enemy has Barrier and uses it after you did your combo, it reduces our damage by 104 to 522. (If he uses it while you're ulting, it reduced it by 215 to 411, but you should avoid that)
- By far not as bad as Barrier, because it get's halved by Ignite (and actually no one uses it, but you never know..). It heals by 165 at level 6, and is reduced to 83. It reduces our damage by 83 to 543. So.. why is it better than Barrier for us? Because it is just as bad if they use it while you're ulting!
- This global ult is actually stronger than Heal, healing by 200, and even more if the Soraka has AP. (But we can safely say that she doesn't have too much by level 6) It gets halved by Ignite, and effectively, this reduces our damage by 100 to 526.
- Kayle's ult, and very annoying. The damage reduction is easy to calculate, however: If she uses it while you're ulting, you loose 365 damage. That reduces our damage to 305, and you should really avoid it. If she uses it afterwards, it's the same like Barrier: It lasts 2 seconds at level 6, and removes 2 ticks, reducing the damage by 104 to 522.
- All other shields - Other shields are just reducing the one-tick-damage, 52, times the seconds it lasts. Most shields last around 2 seconds ( Rumble), some last 3 ( Shen). Unless your enemy maxes his shield however, it won't absorb more than around 80 anyways, since it has only one skillpoint in it.
That's it for damage, with these numbers in mind, your damage estimation will be a lot better!
Jungling with Darius is fun but a little bit different from most other junglers: You don't have a direct gapcloser or high mobility, and Darius' ganking is a little difficult in comparison to god-tier gankers like Lee Sin, Jarvan IV or even Shaco.
On the other hand, he clears fast with Decimate, and has the ability to wreck anything apart, be it a laner or enemy jungler. Even without much items, Darius has a crazy damage output and can gank lanes just by bursting them down.
- What is very important in general, and especially if you're ganking: Don't KS! Darius' design is a little flawed in that aspect: Champions are always the most fun if you play them just like they were meant to be played (Example: Sneak up with Rengar's Thrill of the Hunt and burst Teemo with double Savagery.) That being said, Darius way he's meant to be played is killing. Getting someone low and then executing, every single time. And that's the reason why people tend to ks so much with him, unlike with other champions: It's fun!
Withstand that however, and think rational. You don't scale as good as the carries. Let them have their kills.
But back to jungling:
For the path, you should start at blue, get some more damage on it, and then directly go to your red, killing it with Smite. Now you're level 3, with one point in every skill. This is the usual way to clear early since the change to the jungle in 3.8.
A gank at the toplane is usually the best thing you can do. Not only that it probably isn't warded so early, toplane also snowballs heavily, so you'll set up your teammate for winning his lane with an early gank.
The only problem is: You can only really do the blue > red > top rush if you're on purple side. If you are on blue side, you're on the wrong side of the map once finished with red buff. At this time however, botlane is warded already, and pulling of a gank midlane is hard for Darius.
So what can you do if you're on blue side? It's actually a great strategy, arguably stronger than the top rush purple side can do, but it requires your toplaner to pull off: You start at the enemy red buff! Most junglers these days start at blue, no matter if they are mana based or not, so you should have an easy time killing the red buff with Smite, then going to your own blue, and ganking top afterwards. Since 4 people of the enemy team will be covering their blue, only the enemy top could notice you. He is probably standing next to his tower is sits in the tribrush at toplane, so make sure you don't come too close.
You have several options to gank a lane:
- 1. The usual gank
You go in, pull them, and kill them. Easy. But only possible if they have either pushed pretty hard, or if they're slower than you. Red buff or Phage really helps here.
- 2. The tryhard gank
You go in, Flash or Exhaust, pull and then kill them. Highly effective and dangerous, but at a high risk. If you don't kill him, you wasted 1 or 2 summoners.
- 3. The sneaky brush gank
You ask your laner to push his lane hard, so that you can sneak into the lane brushes and wait hidden for an engage (or engage by yourself if in range)
- 4. The lanegank
This one is pretty hard for Darius. The concept is: Wait for one of the laners to engage, and run in to decide the fight. Most people are usually focused on the fight and don't react quickly enough to avoid you. However, since Darius is so slow, this one is pretty hard, Ghost helps. Hecarim excells at this type of gank.
- 5. The camp
You choose one lane (usually top) and camp it. That means: You're always around that lane, waiting for an opportunity and frightening the enemy laner. You do clear your jungle, but you always have an eye on that lane, ready to gank it. Once the enemy pushed: Gank him! Once someone initiates: Gank him! Once your lane get's ganked: Countergank!
Since Darius is so strong in 1v1 fights, counterganking is especially effective with him by the way.
Many people get pissed off if they're getting camped, and start to rage at their jungler or someone else. Sometimes they even ragequit, but whatever the case: Your laner will win hard and outfarm his enemy by tons of CS, and that's great.
Aside from ganking and snowballing his lanes, a jungler has different tasks, too: Map and objective control.
It is important to show presence on the entire map as a jungler. Especially Dragon is a big objective, granting your entire team 1k gold in total. Securing it whenever it's up will set your team way ahead. Dragon respawns after 6 minutes. It's a good habit to write something like "Drake 28:40" in chat every time you killed him, so your team knows when to be around that position next time. A good time for killing dragon is: If their midlane, botlane or jungler just died or showed their face on a remote location, go and do it with your mid and bot! Wards are helpful, of course. Soloing Dragon is no problem for Darius after level 8 if he has Wriggle's Lantern and maybe some additional armor or AD.
Also, learn to Smite! It actually works like Noxian Guillotine for Monsters. Check how much damage you do, left click the Dragon / Baron / Buff and smite as the HP went under the damaged amount. You can also smite-steal Dragon or even Baron if their jungler can't smite appropriately.
Building jungle Darius mostly differentiates in the early and midgame. In the Season 3 jungle, you pretty much have to start with Hunter's Machete and 5 Pots. The decision making starts after that: Either you go the Spirit Stone path or the Wriggle's Lantern path. Wriggle's Lantern grants lifesteal, which is nice to have, and a Sight Ward active.
On the other hand, Spirit of the Ancient Golem grants CDR and mana regeneration, and, what is really nice, tenacity. With it, you can buy Boots of Swiftness, being very fast and slow-resistant.
Or, depending on how the game develops, you could buy Spirit of the Elder Lizard, granting much AD and the same nice-to-have CDR and mana regeneration. Additionally, you get a true damage passive, looking all evil and awesome when Decimateing a bunch of minions end each of them burns. In most cases, the tank option is better for Darius, but if you feel that you have tanky champions on both solo lanes and need more damage than damage soak, go with the Elder Lizard.
All of the jungle Items cost exactly 2000 gold, so it's not a matter of cost, but a matter of strategy whether you decide for tankyness, damage or lifesteal and wards (and some damage).
From there on, you can continue building Darius like a toplaner.
Teamfighting is always a critical topic for Bruisers. This is what they excell the least at, Bruisers want small skirmishes and fights. (One of the reasons you see no AD Carrys on Dominion, because there are so many skirmishes)
However, Teamfights do occur. Here's a list of possible teamfight situations:
- The best case scenario - They are split up or badly positioned, and you or your tank can initiate on them. Things you have to do in this case: Kill their carries! Catch up to them with Shurelya's Reverie or Randuin's Omen and destroy their frontline. The highest priority is the zoning or death of the AD and AP Carry.
- The usual teamfight - Both teams clash into each other and start fighting. Things you have to do in this case are dependent on how fed or aggressive you are. If you built aggressively, wait until one of your tanky champions jump on their carries and follow them. (For example Leona) It is crucial that you don't die in the initial burst, because you have to output your damage.
If you built defensively, you have to initiate on their carries and set up your damage dealers to kill them. Your aim is to soak up damage and damage / catch their carry.
The third case would be the "defend-the-carry" stance. This applies if you have a fed hypercarry like Vayne but they have a lot of dangerous anti-carries like Irelia. Stay next to your carry and fight vs. everyone opposing her / him. It is crucial that you don't use Apprehend to pull them to you (And Vayne!), but that you use it to get them off of the carry.
- The worst case scenario - You get catched or are split up. They initiate and suddenly everyone sits in the Curse of the Sad Mummy. You can see how the HP of yourself and your mates drop like crazy. Since it's very risky to get aced, you should use your life to safe your team by either baiting their focus and running in a different way than your team does, or just starting to fight, since they will identify you as a threat and focus you, instead of chasing the rest of your team.
If this is pointless, just try to escape: Because Darius is so slow, your only options are to Flash over a wall or Ghost / Shurelya's Reverie away.
Alright, that's it for now! I hope you enjoyed my guide, even if it contained a little more text than the usual Moba Guide. I just tried to pack as much information in this Guide, since most guides just describe a few built paths and what the champion abilities do, but LoL is more in-depth than that.
I'll probably polish this guide a bit in the future, but the basic concept is there.
-Added Match-Up Section
-Added Summoner Spell Section
-Updated to Quinn patch.
-Added some new itemizations
-Reworked the top sections with the different builds
Have fun with Darius!