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Darius Build Guide by HypermanEX

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League of Legends Build Guide Author HypermanEX

Darius - Carve your own path (S3)

HypermanEX Last updated on February 6, 2013
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Downright Darius

Ability Sequence

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

Not Updated For Current Season

The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.



Offense: 9

Honor Guard

Defense: 21


Utility: 0

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Hi, my name is HypermanEX and I am writing this guide for Darius, The Hand of Noxus. Darius is my favorite champion because I am very good at utilizing his strengths in lane and then bringing them to benefit the rest of my team. I do not claim to be the best LoL or Darius player. I just have a very good understanding of how to use him as he is one of my most efficient champions.

In terms of his design, Darius is a melee AD casting bruiser. He relies on his abilities to chunk your health down and build hemorraghe stacks until he can finish you off with his true damage ultimate. Darius is that one champ that everyone hates to play against because they call him "OP". I admit that his ultimate is a huge strength of his, but there are other aspects of his design that keep him from dominating the meta fully. Darius players are expected to dominate whatever position they play and to steal all the kills with their ultimates (don't do this). That may not always be the case, but such is the identity of "The Hand of Noxus".

I think this thread perfectly explains Darius and his "OPness".
Understanding Darius

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Pros / Cons

  • Extreme snowballer
  • DoT passive
  • Very strong duelist early levels
  • Very strong chaser with slow and pull
  • Passive armor penetration
  • Low mana costs
  • The infamous kill resetting true damage ultimate
  • Very subceptible to kiting
  • Low mobility
  • Long cooldown on pull
  • Not as useful with ultimate on cooldown
  • Hated by friggin everyone cause he's "OP"

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Greater Mark of Lethality

Greater Seal of Armor

Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist

Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed

Marks: Greater mark of armor penetration or Greater Mark of Attack Damage
These are the mainstream runes used by AD bruisers. It's personal preference on which one you should use. Armor pen runes are better for harassing and scale better late game, and attack damage runes give you more damage for last hitting. Personally, I would take armor pen runes as Darius top because my goal is to bully and kill the opponent and snowball myself, and I would always take AD runes as a jungler because armor pen runes do not help in that aspect as much.

Seals: Greater Seal of Armor
This one is pretty self explantory. You will most likely face another AD bruiser top lane and want more defense against him, and they are the best seals for jungling. Also, these are the most efficient runes in terms of stats in the seal section.

Glyphs: Greater Glyph of Magic Resist or Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
MR glyphs are the only glyphs you should get on Darius. Like the armor runes, MR glyphs are the most efficient runes in the glyph section. Flat is better for early game, but it falls off after level 9 compared to the scaling ones. Personally, I take the scaling ones because I am more of a late game person, so the additional MR from flat MR glpyhs pre-9 is barely noticable.

Quintessences: Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed or Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage
Personal preference is for the movement speed quints. They are invaluable for chasing and escaping, especially after you build Trinity Force. They kind of make up for Darius's lack of mobility, but attack damage quints are always an option for more damage early.

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Summoner Spells

Best choices:

Ignite stacks very well with Hemorrhage and can allow you to help kill people extremely quickly even without your ult reset.

Considered a staple on most champions, flash can set up kills and escapes. Darius lacks a gap closer, but Flash to Apprehend is a very powerful initiation move. It also helps make up for Darius's lack of escapes, but use it wisely because it's on a 5 minute cooldown.

Good choices:

Exhaust is good for shutting down auto attackers (Jax, Fiora) and champions with strong burst/DoT (Rumble). It is also extremely good at shutting down carries late game if the rest of your team doesn't carry it. However, Ignite is better at finishing off most of your opponents, so take the enemy champion you're facing into account when choosing a summoner.

Ghost allows you to cover more distance than Flash over its duration, and it allows you to catch up to many champions and escape. However, its cons over Flash include the fact that it's not a blink, the distance covered is over time, and any slows can basically negate its effect. Situational summoner spell.

This spell was pretty OP in Proving Grounds, and now you can use it on the Rift. It's a little weaker and has the same cooldown as Ghost (210 seconds), but it can save your tail in most situations. Barrier itself hard counters Ignite as the shield amount is greater than Ignite's damage at equal levels, and this shield can help you win duels that you may lose. You may lose out on some kill potential, but Barrier is an excellent alternative to Ignite/Exhaust.

Teleport is good for helping gank other lanes and coming back to your own faster. However, it has a long cooldown and it gives you less kill potential. Situational summoner spell.

Only get this if you're jungling. It will help you secure jungle kills (your own and smite steals) and it gives a lot of safety by dealing extra damage to jungle camps.

Poor choices:

The rest of these summoner spells shouldn't be used because they lower kill potential.

You are not the support and don't need this.

You should be able to keep your mana in check.

You should not be afraid of eating cc because of the Tenacious mastery and Mercury treads.

It's weak and it falls off hard late game.

The cooldown is too long, you shouldn't be dying, and it's considered a troll spell.

Key Hint: Always take at least Flash/ Ghost. Without either one, your opponents can capitalize on your lack of escapes.

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I run 9/21/0 on Darius because he is an AD bruiser and benefits greatly from 21 points in the Defense tree as it helps him get somewhat tanky, but still allowing him to pack some hard damage.

Offense tree:

Tier 1: 1 in Summoner's Wrath for improved Ignite/Exhaust, 3 in Sorcery as CDR is better for Darius than attack speed as he is more of an AD caster, and the attack speed from Fury is pretty minimal.

Tier 2: 4 in Deadliness to get to Weapon Expertise .

Tier 3: 1 in Weapon Expertise . This mastery is very strong overall as it stacks with Darius's passive, so you are guaranteed at least 30% armor pen late game.

Defense tree:

Tier 1: 3 in Perseverance and 4 in Durability . Perserverance, although it's not that much, gives some decent health regen in lane, and it gives you some good sustain when combined with a philosopher's stone. Durability is used to get to Veteran's Scars .

Tier 2: 3 in Hardiness or Resistance , depending on your matchup. A little extra armor/MR is good for early game trading. If you're playing normals, you usually won't know who your matchup is, so go with Hardiness . If you do know you're facing an AP champion, then switch those 3 points in to Resistance .

Tier 3: 2 in Unyielding and 1 in Veteran's Scars . Unyielding allows you to take a little less damage in trading and it leads to Block . Veteran's scars gives you 30 more hp, which could make a difference in early game trading.

Tier 4: These are the good ones. 1 in Block , 3 in Tenacious , and 3 in Juggernaut . Block is good against most champions in general. Tenacious makes you more resistant to CC, and juggernaut makes you bulkier (4 more HP for every hundred, 3000+4% HP=3120).

Tier 5: Good Hands would be the only mastery here worth getting. Legendary Armor is not that great early game and if you don't put 3 points into it or get a ton of resistances, it's not that strong.

Tier 6: 1 in Honor Guard . Makes you more resilient to damage overall.

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Skills and Sequence

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

This should be the skill seqeunce every Darius should use. The general idea is to max Noxian Guillotine, Decimate, Crippling Strike, then Apprehend. The only flexible areas with the skill sequence would be around levels 1-3, where you could get Apprehend at level 2. It's good for setting up ganks and forcing trades, but you usually lose damage against other laners at level 2 because apprehend provides no damage.
This is Darius's passive. Any damaging abilities or attacks by Darius place a stack of hemorrhage onto the opponent, causing them to bleed over 3 seconds. Bleeding champions grant Darius a 5% movement speed bonus each, so it helps for chasing and somewhat escaping. This passive is one of the reasons why Darius is so deadly, as it adds additional damage to his kit.

This is Darius's infamous, kill resetting ultimate. By itself, it deals 160/250/340 (ranked respectively) true damage and the damage doubles when you have applied 5 stacks of Hemorrhage. You max your ult first for obvious reasons: so you can dunk harder and lower its cooldown if it doesn't refresh. When using it, try to apply as many stacks of Hemorrhage as possible and try to make sure that you will kill the opponent with it so you can use it again. However, if you have to blow it to save yourself or to get a kill, then do so. If you have Ignite, using your ult combined with ignite damage can be a nifty way to surprise your opponent.

Decimate is Darius's first and primary damaging ability. It is maxed next because it is your main harassing and farming ability. You want to use to harass your opponent with it at max range (425 units) because it will deal 50% more damage. You can also use it to push your lane, but keep in mind that the 50% extra damage doesn't apply to minions and pushing your lane makes you more subseptible to ganks.

Crippling Strike is Darius's 2nd ability and should be maxed after Decimate. It is an autoattack modifier that deals enhanced physical damage, and it reduces movement speed and attack speed. This deals a percentage of increased attack damage, so building more damage makes this ability stronger. It is also a very good dueling and chasing skill. You can also use it to escape, but that would mean being up next to your chaser.

Apprehend is Darius's 3rd ability and should be maxed last. It is a pull with a 550 unit range that also grants passive percentage armor penetration. As your utility skill, it should be used wisely as it has a long cooldown (24 seconds at rank 1). Apprehend can be used to initiate or peel for you and your team. The reason why it is maxed last is because it forces you to be careful of when to use it and getting more % penetration from it early is not worth the extra damage from your other abilities as your opponents will likely not be stacking armor until late game.

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Item Sequence

The Bloodthirster

Warmog's Armor

The Black Cleaver

Randuin's Omen

Trinity Force

Darius has a wide array of items that are useful in helping him maximize his potential. In terms of what stats you should be looking for in items, here are some rankings of stats that work with Darius.


Attack Damage - Darius has high attack damage scaling in his abilities as an AD caster.
Movement Speed - Darius is highly subseptible to kiting, so getting movement speed will help him catch up to opponents and run away from stick situations.
Health - Health is the best way to get bulky now that it is cheaper and resistances are less effective.


Armor and magic resist: Resistances are less effective, but you will need some to maximize the effective of health.
Life steal: Darius benefits from life steal pretty well, as he can restore health with auto attacks and Crippling Strike.
Attack speed: Attack speed is an average stat for Darius. You shouldn't be specifically getting any, but it helps stack Hemorrhage more.
Armor penetration: Darius does have 25% guaranteed armor penetration at lvl 18, but as the game progresses, opponents will likely get more armor, so you might need to get a little more armor penetration to deal with it.
Cooldown reduction: As an AD caster, cooldown reduction is a useful stat. However, there are some pretty bad cooldown reduction items for Darius aside from The Black Cleaver.
Critical strike: A decent stat on Darius, don't build it specifically as an AD caster
Mana: Darius gets mana hungry if you spam your spells a lot, especially if you use your ultimate multiple times, so mana items may be decent.
Tenacity: Only item you should consider for tenacity is Mercury's Treads, which is pretty core for most situations.


Ability power: No scaling with any abilities, absolutely useless aside from Sheen
Mana regen: You should not have any problems managing your mana pool. If you do, get blue buff or a mana item ( Frozen Heart, Iceborn Gauntlet, Trinity Force).
Health regen: Weaker overall, only good from Warmog's Armor and somewhat Runic Bulwark

Now to evaluate item builds:

Starting items:

Crystalline Flask + sight ward + Health Potion: This start is ideal against AP opponents or champions that deal mixed damage or large amounts of damage over time. This start will give you safety and sustain in lane. The flask is able to be used through multiple recalls, so by the time you have to sell it, it will have more than paid for itself.

Cloth Armor + 5x Health Potion: This start is ideal against AD champions. It provides some good defence and sustain. The cloth armor can help you win trades by taking less damage from your opponent.

Boots of Speed + 3x Health Potion: Boots have gotten weaker with the movement speed increase to champions, so this start is weaker now in my opinion. As a top laner, you want to be able to at least sustain until you hit level 6 or can afford wards and a minor item. Being a little faster is a slight advantage, but I believe the other two starts above are better.

Early game items:

Philosopher's stone: I believe this is core for many top laners with mana. It gives small amounts of regen and provides passive 5 gold per 10. Being able to get gold passively while laning is a huge advantage, and it helps regardless of whether you are behind or ahead. After all, it is guaranteed gold.

Vampiric Scepter: If you are able to use auto attacks to farm safely, then the scepter is an ideal item to get early. It allows you to sustain with a little bit of additional damage while also being available for rushing The Bloodthirster.

Phage: A core early game item, it provides health, attack damage, and a passive slow chance. It helps with chasing and the slow stacks with Crippling Strike.

The Brutalizer: Helps to win the lane harder by being able to do more damage and cast your abiities more often

Giant's Belt: A good item to get if you're behind, makes you bulkier

Hexdrinker: Get it against AP champions, it can help shut them down and make you deal more damage at the same time


Mercury's Treads: These are your number one choice of boots and you will want to get these whenever you can. The tenacity is valuable at all times and can save you from dangerous situations.

Ninja Tabi: Usually purchased against an AD lane or AD filled team

Boots of Mobility: I usually only get this when I'm jungling because it helps with roaming.

Do not get:

Berserker's Greaves: You don't want to specifically build attack speed, plus merc's/tabi's make you tankier, and that's what you want from your boots.

Boots of Swiftness: 15 more movement speed is not that valuable, and the 20% slow reduction is pretty useless because you're still slowed anyways.

Ionian Boots of Lucidity: Specifically building cooldown reduction? No.

Ideal Final Build:

Core Items:

The Black Cleaver: This compliments Darius very well. It gives him some health, CDR, and most importantly, additional armor reduction to add on to his passive armor penetration. As opponents build more armor, Darius's passive armor pen won't be as useful, so Black Cleaver helps make up for it.

Warmog's Armor: After playing several more games and using build calculators, I have concluded that Warmog's Armor is the best item in providing effective health, both physically and magically. It makes you extremely bulky and adds giant sustain. This will allow you to stay in fights longer and not have to recall as much.

Lifesteal options: The Bloodthirster or Blade of the Ruined King or Ravenous Hydra

A lifesteal item is a plus for Darius. The Bloodthirster is my ideal choice because as an AD caster, he benefits from more AD, and the cost for Bloodthirster is 100 more than BOTK and 500 less than Hydra. It's also a lot stronger than the other lifesteal options, as it is meant to be a snowballing item. BOTK has a nice passive and is good against health tanks. The Hydra is good if you plan to be in the midst of team fights often, as its active scales to your AD.

Phage options: Trinity Force or Frozen Mallet

Trinity Force is a heavily criticized option for Darius. However, it is a personal favorite of mine. Darius benefits from all aspects of it minus the 30 AP.

+30 attack damage - More damage
+30% attack speed - Allows me to stack Hemorrhage more
+10% critical strike chance - Critical damage is good
+250 health - More bulkiness, not as much as Frozen Mallet
+200 mana - More mana for skills, especially his ult
+8% movement speed - This is probably the biggest reason why I get Trinity Force, addresses his kiting issues
+Sheen proc - A little extra bit of damage, stacks with Crippling Strike
+Phage passive - 25% chance for slow is good for chasing, but not guaranteed

As for the pricing issue, it is not an item that should usually be rushed. I usually get this more often because even when I'm in the middle of a team fight, it helps give me more DPS and take down my targets a lot faster. The slowing from Frozen Mallet is not as useful in a large team fight, so that's why I prefer Trinity Force. Frozen Mallet is still a very good useful option for Darius for the guaranteed slow and health for less gold compared to Trinity Force. No matter what though, Darius should almost always get a Phage upgrade late.

Armor options: Randuin's Omen or Iceborn Gauntlet or Frozen Heart or Sunfire Cape or Guardian Angel

As an offtank, you'll want some resistances to be bulky. Randuin's Omen is the suggested option because it gives the most effective physical health, having both good amounts of health and armor. It also has a nifty passive and active for chasing and kiting. The other main options include the Glacial Shroud upgrades: Iceborn Gauntlet and Frozen Heart. Iceborn Gauntlet is more situated for offense, and it is a good item for Darius because it gives him more mana to spam spells with, cooldown reduction, and a slowing Sheen proc. There's also Frozen Heart, which is more situated against auto attack heavy teams. Sunfire Cape is also a good item with similar stats to Randuin's and it's a cheaper option. Guardian Angel is a good item if you're starting to get focused as heavy part of your team's DPS, but since its nerf, it has become a less viable option.

Magic resist options: Maw of Malmortius or Mercurial Scimitar or Runic Bulwark or Banshee's Veil

The Maw is a good item with Darius as it builds from an early Hexdrinker and is a pretty cheap final item. The passive shield is not that strong late game, as 400 HP could be as much as one ability or auto attack, but nevertheless it is useful. If you do buy a Hexdrinker early, then the Maw will replace your lifesteal option. The reason why Maw is no longer a core final item is because Warmog's Armor gives much more effective health and is core for staying alive longer in fights.
Mercurial Scimitar is a viable option for clearing a debuff and using the speed boost to catch someone or escape. However, it is expensive and not core. Runic Bulwark is in this section because it's greatest stat is its magic resist boosts. However, it is purely a defensive item and provides no offensive stats compared to Maw or the scimitar, but it's a very strong support and defensive item. Banshee's Veil is a weird option for Darius, as building it specifically means getting Catalyst the Protector. It does provide a spell shield every 25 seconsds, so it does have its use.


Enchantment: Furor: This is, in my opinion, the best enchantment for Darius's boots. It helps Darius's chasing potential immensely and it can also be used to escape.

Enchantment: Homeguard: Even though I highly recommend Furor, I find myself getting this enchantment the majority of the time. The movement speed and instant regen is invaluable to helping you get back out to the lanes/jungle faster, and it is good for base defense. It is also one of the cheaper enchantments at 475 gold compared to 650 gold.

Enchantment: Alacrity: More movement speed is good for Darius. Furor gives more movement speed in bursts, but Alacrity gives you a small flat amount of movement speed that is good for roaming and moving around in general.

Enchantment: Captain: If you find yourself being the main tank or a big part of your team's frontline, these could be useful.

Other options (Included, but not highly favored):

Infinity Edge: Expensive, but it does provide some nice AD and critical damage

Last Whisper: The Black Cleaver is a lot better for Darius, but if there is a TON of armor, then this may be necessary.

Zeke's Herald: If Darius was a support, this would be a good item to get, but you generally want to avoid this.

Locket of the Iron Solari: Same thing as Zeke's Herald

Thornmail: I don't really like this item, but it is useful if there is a dangerous auto attacker or two that you want to shut down.

Atma's Impaler Is only effective if you get both Frozen Mallet and Warmog's Armor, gives a good amount of AD, armor, and critical strike chance

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Darius Syndrome

"Darius Syndrome" is what happens when a player succumbs to the delightful glee of mashing the R key to take ALL the kills! This is a problem that leads to much criticism of Darius. His ultimate, Noxian Guillotine, prompts you to get more kills to refresh it, it lusts for blood and kills and doesn't care who you stomp to get them, including your own team."

- OTGBionicArm

As OTGBionicArm has described, the Darius Syndrome of wanting to smash everyone's head in half with Noxian Guillotine gets you fat, but sometimes takes away from your teammates. In early to mid game, when you're fighting with your teammates, you want to try not to take every kill, especially if your ally (except for supports) is capable of getting it safely. However, come late game, give in to the Syndrome. The goal of late game teamfights is to kill the other team, and you will need your ult reset to deal the maximum amount of damage possible. If your team calls you out for "ksing" here, they are clearly not team players. I'd rather secure a kill with my ult than wait for my team to slowly kill off my enemy. Also, take kills from feeders on your team. You should be able to make more use of the gold than them.

Tl;dr Try not to ks unless you have to. Come late game, secure all the kills

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Early Game

Early game, you should focus on getting as much CS as possible while establishing yourself as a lane bully. Starting with Decimate, you should use it at the outer ring area to harass your opponent when they try to cs or whenever they get close. On your first recall, try to get philosopher's stone and a sight ward or two. Phil stone is crucial as it is guaranteed income that you will have until you complete your build, which usually takes until the 30-40 minute mark, and it gives you some decent innate sustain. Once you hit level 3, you should have all of your skills par your ultimate available, and here, you can use the "Chopper" combo to deal some heavy damage.

Apprehend=>Auto-attack=> Crippling Strike=> Decimate

If initiated properly, you will be able to chunk your opponent's HP quickly without reaction. You apprehend them, auto attack then Crippling Strike for the AA reset, then you retreat and use Decimate at max range. This combo is extremely good on champions that rely on abilities for damage and can take out about 1/3 of your opponent's HP.

Once you hit 6, your kill potential skyrockets. If they haven't hit that point yet and you feel confident, go for a kill. Be sure you are aware of the positions of the enemies (particularly, their jungler) before you ever initiate an all-in fight. You could also call for a gank. Make sure to save Apprehend if your opponent still has their flash. Make sure you know the damage of Noxian Guillotine with full stacks of Hemorrhage because you really want the ultimate reset. Once you get the first kill, it is easy to snowball hard if you can maintain your lead.


  • Farm, farm, farm
  • Harass as much as you can
  • Always try to Decimate at max range
  • Save Apprehend for fleeing opponents if you're going in for the kill
  • Call for ganks often
  • Ward your lane often
  • In close fights, use Noxian Guillotine at max damage whenever you feel like you have to, even if it doesn't reset
  • If you're about to die and you have help incoming, deal out as much damage as possible (blow Noxian Guillotine on the opponent)
  • If you have the advantage, press on it

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Mid Game

By mid game, if you've been dominating, you should have a few kills and have taken down your tower. If so, you should roam a little bit after pushing down your lane a little. You can help your mid take down their tower and gank their mid as well, assist with Dragon, or gank bot and help them push down their towers. The goal of mid game is to push down the first towers in all three lanes and contest all dragons. Basically, it's about getting objectives. Join your teammates for fights and objectives as they benefit the team as a whole. Make sure to save an inventory spot for wards, because proper warding gives you a huge advantage and safety in the game.


  • Roam and gank other lanes
  • Contest all dragons
  • Push all lanes and take down towers
  • Group with your team
  • Ward, ward, ward

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Late Game

Late game is all about teamfights, The respawn timers are at their longest here, and each death takes you out of the game for at least half a minute. That is some crucial time that you don't want to be dead for, but you want the enemies to have it. At this point, depending on the status of the game, you should know what type of coordination you need to win fights. If your whole team is snowballed, you probably should be able to just push and win. But in an even match, there are a few important things you need to consider.

1. How will your team initiate fights?
Idealistically, your team should have a designated tank that is NOT you. Darius is not naturally tanky and is not a guy you want dropping quickly in a fight on your team. So let your tank initiate fights with their cc and your team should be close enough to follow up. There are exceptions to this: if you catch someone important to the other team's dps out of position (ad, ap carry, top laner) or someone who is isolated, then feel free to start a fight. Flash=> Apprehend is a powerful initiation move, but it should be used wisely.

2. Who are the opponent's greatest source of DPS?
Most likely, their AD and AP carries will be the biggest threats in a fight. If they are left alone, they can destroy your team depending on how fed/farmed they are. These two are priority targets in every team fight. But sometimes, their top laner is fed/farmed as well, and they are a bigger threat then their carries. Make sure your team knows who to focus beforehand, as split focusing can lead to a lost team fight.

3. Where are my carries?
Your team is looking to focus their carries, but so is theirs. When a teamfight starts, you have to make a choice in your positioning. If their team has a hard initiation that leads to your carries being jumped on, peel the enemies for them. You want your carries to be alive as long as possible dealing as much DPS as possible. However, if they are safe and your team grasps the upper hand in a fight, feel free to go balls deep for the enemies.

4. After the fight, what objectives can be taken?
When you win a fight, check your team's status and take a look at the map. Depending on your position, your team should take turrets, inhibitors, baron, or dragon. If your whole team is still relatively healthy and are near baron, then take it. In my opinion, the best thing to do after winning a fight is to take inhibitors. They put tremendous pressure in the lanes and allow more freedom for you team to roam and take jungle creeps and other objectives.


  • Stick with your team, travel as 5
  • Keep all lanes pushed
  • Ward key locations in the jungle (Baron, dragon, buffs)
  • Destroy their DPS in fights and peel for your own

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This biatch is pretty annoying. Early, she will poke you all day with Mark of the Assassin. Then, when you try to fight her, she pops her shroud and you're left confused and dazed. What you want to do is be aggressive. You are tankier and stronger than her early, so abuse it. Also, call for an early gank. An early kill in this lane will allow you to snowball extremely hard. Once she hits 6, she can poke you hard with constant procs of Mark of the Assassin, so make you sure you always return damage to even out trades.

This guy is not that bad. He is not a very good duelist and his main cc is a skillshot. If you dodge his ruptures, punish him hard. Using the Chopper combo often will get him very low. Overall, I believe Cho is an easy match-up.

Ah, I love mirror matches. Start cloth+5 pots, and let me tell you the number one tip for winning a mirror match: Watch for the opponent's Decimate. Early on, you should try to poke them with your Decimate without getting poked by them. Once you hit level 3, you will have the Chopper combo available. So now you just wait until your opponent uses their Decimate, whether it an attempt on harassing you or for pushing the lane. Once they pop it, they will have lost a portion of their DPS while it's on CD. Now you must capitalize on that. Use the Chopper combo everytime their Decimate is on CD and you will win every trade. If you hit 6 before the opposition, fight them immediately. Most likely, the Darius who gets the first kill will win the lane, and with this one tip, you can win many mirror matches.

Her key ability pre-6 is her Q, and she will use it often to poke you down. A tip to dodge them is to move to the left every time she uses it. Once it's on CD, capitlize on her lack of damage. Make sure your ult can deal enough damage to kill her even when she shields. Once she hits 6, her ability to stick on you can benefit her ganks greatly, so keep your lane warded.

She's easy peasy. You're tankier and stronger early. Bully her away from her minions to keep her passive on the low. In order for her to harass you, she has to commit to fighting you, but Decimate and Crippling Strike will make her regret ever trying. Make sure you don't use crippling strike when she uses riposte though.

He's meant to counter AP mages, but not you. He has to get in melee range to farm, so harass him whenever he tries. He also has no way to deal with the Chopper combo, so abuse it. His harass comes from skillshots, so early boots and null-magic mantle can help you deal with it. Once he hits 6 though, he can lock you down with his ult, so be careful if you see him closing in on you as he may use his ult to assist a gank.

He's easy peasy. He's very squishy and he has only one damaging ability pre-6. He has to get within pull range to Parrley you, so use the Chopper combo whenever you can. His ult is annoying, but it's easy to walk out of.

The battle of the Noxian and Demacian bruisers. This matchup is pretty even. Winning this lane will require careful usage of your abilities. Garen's trading power comes from silencing you and then spinning in your face. What you want to do is Decimate him as much as possible while farming, then, when he charges you, pop crippling strike and then auto attack him back as he uses judgment. If you just allow him to spin in your face, you will lose every trade, but by retaliating, you will return some damage and most likely outdamage him because of your passive. When you're both 6, you want to keep your health higher than him. Remember that his ult has CD, and yours doesn't if you use it properly, so he will lose out on killing potential if you survive it and return to lane.

Easy. He is a poor duelist, one who is very subseptible to the Chopper Combo. At even health, he cannot take you 1v1. This means he may get ganks often.

You are a pretty hard counter to Irelia. She has no trading power until she gets all of her abilities (at least level 3), so harass as much as possible. Stay away from low health minions as she will use them to close the distance to you. If she does engage, pop crippling strike in her face and proceed to attack her and decimate until she retreats. At that rate, you will be able to hit 6 before her and kill her easily

Jarvan IV:
Very subseptible to the Chopper Combo. He has to auto attack you to deal decent harassment as his Dragon Spike is pretty weak on its own. Your passive and crippling strike make a huge difference in straight 1v1 fights, and your ultimate is far stronger.

This guy isn't that bad, but he's still very strong. Decimate him early, and when he jumps on you with Counter-strike, retaliate with crippling strike and an auto attack or two after you are stunned. Jax outtrades you if you simply allow him to stun and empower strike you without taking damage, but you can outdamage him if you retaliate. Crippling strike is a very good skill against Jax because he relies on attack speed to proc his ult, and the lowering of DPS from that will allow you to dunk him for the kill a lot sooner.

Jayce is considered a huge counter to Darius, but having mained both, I don't think he's that bad. Start cloth+5 to lower his damage to you. Play more passive in this lane as Jayce will poke you to oblivion. Usually, Jayce will push the lane pretty hard with him controlling the flow of the minions. When he gets to the tower, try to pull him in for the Chopper combo. Jayce is relatively squishy and will take a lot more damage if he retiliates from the turret. Your goal early is to get the first kill. Call for an early gank if you can. Jayce has many tools to help him escape, but careful observation can help you get him regardless. First, Thundering Blow only knocks away one target, so when he's ganked, he has to choose which one to knock away. Secondly, his Acceleration Gate's speed boost decreases quickly, and if you happen to get in a crippling strike, it will basically negate the speed boost. Thirdly, keep your flash and pull handy for when he does. Jayce doesn't want to straight on fight you 1v1 as he lacks a damage ultimate, so get up in his face whenever you can.

Get dunked. This is an extremely easy matchup. With an early Philosopher's and the Perserverance mastery, you can regenerate back most of her harass. Your pull can disrupt her ult, and she can be harassed relatively easy as she is a melee champion.

Haven't played this one yet, but apparently, she is a "hard" counter. Her "advantage" comes from her slow and her E. However, she is a very bad close-up fighter, so once those are on CD, get up in her grill. Force a fight whenever she has those skills down and you will be on top in terms of harassment. Once you both hit 6, make sure to save your ult as she will use hers to counter yours. Just back off when she pops intervention as it's only 2 seconds, then immediately reengage and dunk her.

He's squishy. In order to outtrade you, you have to be isolated and he has to max Q. Just simply stay near your minions and Chopper him up. Be careful if he uses the bushes often to proc his passive multiple times.

Lee Sin:
Lee Sin is not that bad. He can't outtrade you unless he hits his Q, so stay behind your minions and capitalize after he uses it. It may be hard to use the Chopper combo on him because of Iron Will, but always try to deal as much damage to him as possible.

The rock is a poor trader, but he's tanky. Build an early brutalizer and merc treads. During laning, you must harass him as much as possible. You need to keep his passive down and wittle his HP away. If you maintain a good distance while laning, he will not be able to hurt you with anything other than Seismic Shard. Use the Chopper combo quickly to avoid Ground Slam. By constantly harassing him, you can easily kill him and snowball.

Master Yi:
The original Dunkmaster can't deal with you. He is Alpha Strike and auto attack oriented, so once he uses Alpha Strike, he has to auto attack you to continue dealing damage. But you have damaging abilities available, so use them. Crippling strike is very effective at disrupting him. You should be extremely aggressive as he should be extremely easy for you.

This guy is a pain in the *** to kill once he gets sustain. However, the secret to beating him is simply being aggressive. Sure, his passive will give him some bonus health. But his weakness lies in his lack of mobility and poor dueling skills without his abilities. This guy will push your lane hard, but when he gets to your turret, give him a good Chopper combo and engage in a fight. You should be able to take out his passive quickly and his damage will be inferior to yours in a straight up fight. Just constantly keep up the pressure on him and fight him whenever his passive is off or at a low amount.

This guy just wants to farm, but he's gonna have to deal with you at the same time. Start harassing him immediately as soon as you get into lane as he will probably have Siphoning Strike first. You want to harass this guy to oblivion to prevent him from farming. Later, he will probably use Wither and Spirit Fire to retaliate, just back off when he does, then reengage. Do not fear his ult, just make sure you don't use yours before he does. Expect him to use his ult everytime you go all-in post-6, so fight him through it and execute him when you can. He will most likely start building tanky, so build some yourself or build some sustain (scepter, phil stone).

Skill-matchup. Start cloth+5 to deal with her poke. Nidalee has no hard escapes other than Flash pre-6, so abuse her with the Chopper combo whenever she tries to poke you. She cannot outduel you unless you allow her to poke you endlessly, so get up in her grill and give her the pain. When she goes into the bushes, ignore her until she auto attacks, revealing herself. Then engage her with the Chopper combo and harass her hard. Once she hits 6, she becomes an annoyance to catch but if you hit her early with a Crippling Strike and save your pull, she won't get away before she gets dunked.

This guy is annoying to deal with as he can literally have infinite sustain/poke, but that means you have to be aggressive. Chopper combo and auto attack this fool to oblivion. Sure, he may Ice Blast you now and then, but they will add up unless you keep the pressure on him. When he hits 6, save your pull for when he tries to ult, and be careful if he goes into the brush. You don't want to get EMPIRED.

Skill-matchup. The skills of the players determine how easy or hard this lane will be. Olaf's trading power comes from Undertow spamming and Reckless Swinging in your face. Keep your distance and Decimate when you can. Once you hit level 3, try to hit him for a quick Chopper combo. If done correctly, you will chunk him without being traded any damage. If you can keep up this pressure, you should be able to snowball easily. Be sure not to waste your pull on him if he ults.

This one is actually quite hard. He can poke you over time with his Spear Shot and until you get any tenacity, you will eat his full Heartseeker Strike whenever he jumps on you. The key to beating Pantheon is always trading harass. Don't let him use his combo and poke you for free. Give him the Chopper combo. Don't use Crippling Strike when he has his passive up, so take it down with an auto attack. Your kill potential is a lot stronger at level 6, so if you hold out until then, you should be able to take care of him.

You can outrade the croc easy. Try to do most of your damage while near your turret, so that he will be discouraged from jumping on you. His ult is a lot like Nasus's, but it's nothing to fear if you have the upper hand.

Rengar can be quite dangerous early. A good one will make good use of the brushes and enhanced Savagery to poke you down. However, he doesn't have an ultimate of comparable power to yours, so you gain a huge advantage at level 6. Build tankiness if you have to, and you should be fine.

She is not that hard. In order for her to harass, she has to commit to small skurmishes and face your direction. However, you can outharass her at any moment. Always fight back when she tries to engage. A Riven that falls behind is easy to snowball off of.

Skill-matchup. The most important thing to keep in mind is that he has to face you in order to deal the full damage from Flamespitter. Be aggressive. Poke him whenever you can. Force him to retreat when he tries to use Flamespitter in your face. Keep your flash handy for when he ults on your location, as it can be devastating if you remain in it for too long.

Shen has poor trading power, but very high sustain. Usually, against Dariuses, Shens will max their shield first. Don't mind that, just keep your abilities handy when he tries to shield himself. Harass him hard and often. He has very little damage to trade back with. Also, keep your eye on him after level 6. If he tries to use Stand United, immediately go and Apprehend and punish him.

This guy should take a lot of harass early on. He has very poor dueling skills and can be bullied away from minions very quickly. However, he can set up ganks very well, so take care for that. If you do chase him, don't follow directly in his poison trail. Veer off a little bit from it and you should be able to negate most of his DPS.

Poor trading power. This guy can get ahead if he gets his farm, but you should be able to deny him it. Harass him hard every time he wants to farm. The best way he can trade is to stun and whack you, but you have abilities and he doesnt. Kite him around when he uses his ult, and damage him from a distance during this time.

Easy matchup. He's very squishy and his poke from Rake is not that strong. You should be able to harass him hard and often. Once he hits 6, he can be a pain to kill, so buy a vision ward at that point.

Skill matchup. He may have to capabilities to kite you and poke you, but you can outdamage him in a straight up fight. Give him the good chopper combo whenever you can and watch his heath wittle away. He's very squishy. Save your Decimate for when he blinds you as it also negates crippling strike. If you get an early kill on him, you should be able to snowball hard. Be sure to get vision wards in your lane so you can avoid getting shroomed.

Relatively easy. He can't outtrade you early. Keep him away from his minions so he can't build up some crit chance. The annoying part comes when he gets his ult. So when you decide to kill him post-6, keep your ult ready until his is over. Disengage when he uses it and kite him with Crippling Strike. Once it's down, take him out. It's easy to snowball against a Tryn that's behind.

Not that hard. His trading power comes from poking you over time. Don't let him trade for free. Give him a Chopper combo whenever you can and get him to pool as soon as possible. It has a 20 second cooldown early, so he will be subseptible to harass during its cooldown period. He is ability reliant for damage, so harass him when he uses them on minions.

His early game is pretty strong. Frenzy is a pretty strong execution move early on. When he tries to initiate on you with Rolling Thunder, prepare yourself for a counter attack. Don't let him harass you for free. Try to harass him to the point where his passive kicks in so that you don't have to account for that later. By taking that advantage away, Volibear should be an easy kill.

The monkey cannot outtrade you early. Harass him hard and often. Watch out for his clone though, you don't want to waste abilities on it. Moderately easy lane.

Xin Zhao:
This guy is attack speed oriented, so Crippling Strike is very effective against him. His one forte is being able to sustain by farming with his W passive. Do not let him do that. Keep pressure on him at all times and retaliate if he wants to fight.

You will need to build your own sustain. Philosopher's, cloth armor, and potions will allow you to keep up with Yorick's harassment. Try to harass him whenever you can and kill his ghosts whenever he uses them. His trading power is bad, so stay close to him. Call in an early gank and that will allow you to build a heavy advantage.

All other matchups are ones that I have not faced against.

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Overall, Darius is a very strong pick wherever you take him. Personally, he should be built with offense in mind with tankiness on the side. Remember to play smart with Darius and you will be spreading Noxian might all over the league.

This guide is very much a work in progress, so I will try to update it whenever possible. Being a full-time student leaves me with little free time. There are a lot of pictures and revisions that I would like to make.

Thank you for reading, and good luck to all!

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Change Log

1/31/13: Guide Published
2/1/13: Moved Mercurial Scimitar to Offensive Options and Maw of Malmortius to the Ideal Build. Skills and Sequence and Items section added. Icons added to Match-ups. Changed some icon mistakes and added more items to the options.
2/4/13: Cleaned up spacing issues and fixed annotations in Items to Late Game Sections. Added enchantments to Items. Added Jungle chapter.
2/6/13: Moved Warmog's Armor to Ideal Build and moved Maw of Malmortius to Offensive Options. Fixed Enchantments coding in Items.