Darius Build Guide by Gunyar
Not Updated For Current Season
Happiness is a well fed Darius
Not Updated For Current Season
This is meant to be a well-rounded concept build for experimentation. The goal is to slowly build offensive power and mobility while providing enough survivability to last through the late-mid game into endgame. It is based on different combinations of builds I witnessed across a variety champions I have played (and played against) recently. My hope is that by combining what I have learned into an unconventional mix of mastery, runes, and items, the end result will be a highly mobile Darius that can dish out massive damage quickly and still survive in large scale, endgame combat.
Q: WTF?!? Speed and life steal? Why defense?
A: No clue. Let's give it a shot and see what happens.
Why Attack Speed?
Darius' passive ability ( Hemorrhage) stacks up to five times per target. Consider the following:
- Crippling Strike is the best single target ability (aside from the finishing move, Noxian Guillotine, of course) to use on enemies. Its cooldown is reduced based on how many stacks of Hemorrhage you have on the target. More bleeding = more Crippling Strike attacks.
- Ideally, you only want to use Noxian Guillotine to finish off the target. This way it never goes on cooldown. The damage from Noxian Guillotine scales based on how many stacks of Hemorrhage you have on the target. More bleeding = better chance of landing the killing blow with Noxian Guillotine and avoiding the cooldown.
- When you are in a crowded fight with multiple enemies, having the 5% movement speed boost from each bleeding enemy (especially when coupled with Phantom Dancer) can get you out of some precarious situations quickly. More bleeding = better chance of escape.
Considering these points, the idea is to get as many enemies bleeding as much as possible, as quickly as possible. Given Darius' native AoE attack ( Decimate) AND the addition of AoE through other attacks by virtue of carrying Ravenous Hydra, I am hoping the speed stacking will deliver a bleed-fest.
Why Movement Speed?
Once you build Phantom Dancer, you can walk straight through minions. Couple this with the ability to hop into and out of fights quickly, slow your enemies with Frozen Mallet and Crippling Strike, stack it with the passive speed boost Darius gains from having Hemorrhage (hopefully on multiple enemies thanks to Ravenous Hydra), and my hope is that the movement speed will prove to be worth the investment.
Why life steal?
Since I started playing Darius, one thing I noticed is that he can be a glass cannon in larger fights. My friend helped me greatly by suggesting a defense based mastery build (discussed below), but sometimes that just isn't enough.
Once Darius gets his ultimate ability, he is a force to be reckoned with for the rest of the game. The downside to this is that your opponents tend to catch on to this and either run away or gang up on you. In cases where they gang up on you, it can be tough to stay alive. Even in one on one fights late in the game, you may find yourself constantly low on health and having to recall. My thinking behind life steal is that it will allow you stay out and in combat longer without having to constantly recall. Half health? No problem! Go jungling a bit or hop down to an empty lane and wipe up some minions. With the AoE damage mentioned above in the "Why Speed?" section, you should be able to steal your way back to full health and still maintain a presence on your enemy's side of the map.
Darius tends to come out swinging when it comes to early game. As soon as level 2 hits, you can train up Apprehend. Once you're level three, you have your Crippling Strike. In early laning phase, you can pop off a Decimate, snag the enemy champions with Apprehend, then hit them with Crippling Strike. If you're lucky, you can then finish them off with another Decimate (pre-level 6) or Decimate/ Noxian Guillotine combo (level 6 and up). The idea behind stacking up the defensive mastery points is to give Darius some early survivability so he can unleash juuuuust enough to hopefully get fed early and get a jump on item build.
Your Decimate cooldown being a low as possible as early as possible in the game is the goal. Stacking Apprehend second isn't so much for the power as much as it is for the armor penetration. Even though I probably should be paying more attention to Crippling Strike's power, the truth of the matter is that I tend to try and save it for use with an E/W Apprehend/ Crippling Strike combination all the time. I usually don't start using it independently until later into the game, so I max it out last.
I used to start Darius off with "the usual": Boots of Speed and three Health Potions. In early laning, Darius can go OOM if you're not careful. Taking Heal as a spell and tossing in a Mana Potion will help prevent this and keep Darius deployed longer without having to recall to charge up mana in the first few levels. This may not be a big deal if you're in a lane with a good partner, but if you're solo or having to carry your partner's weight, having a mana pot can make sometimes be the difference between being able to snag an early kill or having to pass and just farm minions.
Alternate Starting Items
There have been a few games where I burn through my pots quickly in the first few minutes but don't recall until level 6 or 7. Depending on your lane partner and whether or not you plan to stay in your lane (i.e. avoid recalling if possible) until you're ready to build Phage, you may just want to pick up Doran's Blade. Ideally, you can farm minions and gold (hopefully a kill or two!) until you're ready to pick up Phage and a set of Boots of Speed, possible even selling Doran's Blade to afford it all if you have to.
I can not count the number of times I have cursed the minions for slowing me down and preventing me from firing off that final Decimate needed to finish one or two enemies. The speed boosts on Phantom Dancer and the ability to avoid unit collision come in handy, especially during larger end-game fights.
For this experimental build, I chose to go all out on speed and life steal (as explained in the Summary section above), depending heavily on mastery for defense and items for just enough AD to keep the damage high and give a little kick to the skills.