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Darius Build Guide by Tymedragon

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Tymedragon

Darius: Dunkin' on Fools(in progress)

Tymedragon Last updated on June 18, 2013
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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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3/02/13: V0.1 Guide released
3/03/13: V0.2 Added changelog, tweaked mastery section, and added some of the lane-match ups
3/04/13: V0.3 Added Elise, Jayce, and Malphite to lane match ups, added ghostblade to the items section, changed items chapter. Randuin's Omen opinion rewritten, in core build now.
6/18/13: V0.4 Updates galore. Still working on the match-ups sections. A lot needs to go into that.

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Hi, I like to play Darius. Maybe you also like to play Darius. There's a bunch of ways to play him, and I'll try to include most of them here in this guide. I'll go over masteries, runes, summoner spells, and skill leveling orders.

Please read the Items chapter, don't just follow the build, and hopefully you'll learn how to dunk fools.

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About Me

My name is Tymedragon, and I'm not a professional player, but I'm pretty good, and Darius is one of my better champions. I generally win games with him, I have an over 50% win ratio with him in ranked.

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Meet Darius

Who's Darius?

Darius is one of the manliest champions in the game. His taunt is great, his laugh is great, his dance is amazing. People will rage if you pick him and dominate, which you should most of the time. I'll go over the pros and cons of Darius really fast:


Tons of damage with very little items
Easy to learn
Spammable spells w/ low mana costs
Free Armor Pen
GREAT Passive
Hard to escape

Easily kited
No gap closer
Easily ganked
Easily shut down in lane
Can put own team behind via DUNKS
Defeated by Garen

What is Darius?

Darius is super bruiser/tanky DPS who has all 3 kinds of damage in his kit(true, magic, and physical) which makes it hard to build to counter him in lane. He's a high damage champion who's based around snowballing. If ganked, he has no escapes and is at his weakest. HOWEVER, if already ahead, Darius has a good chance to take one of his enemies with him.

When do I pick Darius?

Pick Darius when you want to shut down the enemy bruiser(preferably a squishy one), and DUNK FOOLS. Snowballing in lane is easy with Darius, due to the raw damage offered by Noxian Guillotine and the powerful Hemorrhage passive.

When don't I pick Darius?

Try to avoid picking Darius when the enemy team is loaded with strong kiters(ie, Anivia, Ashe ) or you'd be against a ranged champion top( Jayce, Nidalee). Other things that annoy our friendly neighborhood DUNKMASTER include disengage heavy teams( Janna, Ashe). He has 0 gap closers outside of his Apprehend, which is situational at best and is decimated by teams that have a lot of kite, so if you see a lot of kite on an enemy team, don't pick Darius.

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Set 1

Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist x9

Greater Seal of Armor x9

Greater Mark of Attack Damage x9

Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage x3

If you use one glyph of strength, it increases your free ad from 15 to 16. It's not necessary, but I like to do it. Darius scales really well with AD, so that's why I take so much in my build. These are my main runes, but I have other sets that I use for him.

If you're against a ranged champion, run movement speed quints. If you're against an AP champion, use flat Magic Resistance instead of Scaling. Against Nidalee or Jayce, take HP Regen. Please avoid playing Darius against Nidalee or Jayce. Ever.

Set 2

Greater Glyph of Magic Resist x9 Go scaling MR if top laner is only ad

Greater Seal of Armor x9

Greater Mark of Critical Chance x2 A lot of people run one of these, but if you run two, your crit chance doubles, so why not?

Greater Mark of Attack Damage x7

Greater Quintessence of Vigor x3

I run this set against ranged heroes, and sometimes against Melee too. The HP regen from the quints is amazing, combined with 3 points in perseverance and maybe a Doran's shield, you have almost 30 hp regen/5 at level 1. Amazing. The crit marks aren't necessary, just me being cheesy.

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I wouldn't ever change these around, they're pretty solid. If you must change them, Reinforced Armor and Defender are decent defensive points. You're mostly a tanky bruiser though, so don't go any deeper into offense. Snag Summoner's Wrath for that extra bit of damage after you've blown ignite and probably secured a kill. I take Good Hands for that extra ten seconds or so off of late game death times. It can change the game. One point in Safeguard to make tower diving safer. This point isn't necessary, but I like to play aggressively and tower dive a LOT so it's helped me in the past. A single point in Perseverance for added lane sustain; if you feel you don't need it, replace it with a point in Reinforced Armor .

I only put two points in Juggernaut and Tenacious because the first two points give you more bang for your buck than the third point. Tenacious increases in increments of 5/10/15%. This means that your second point doubles the value, but the next point only increases it by 5%. The same thought process applies to Juggernaut , which increases by 1.5/2.75/4% per point. Your first two points are worth more than the third point, which frees up points to be used elsewhere, allowing me to fully utilize the Defensive tree.

I take only two points in Hardiness and Resistance for the same reasons, but feel free to tweak your Mastery page as you feel fit. Taking the extra point in Hardiness is good if you feel you need the added 1.5 armor. Consider it against Riven.

Against Draven, run Reinforced Armor . His damage is wicked.

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Skill Overview

Darius has a very strong kit, filled with all three types of damage. Because Noxian Guillotine does true damage, Darius can get away with building very little damage and still being a force in team fights, or lane duels.


Darius aims his attacks strategically, causing his target to bleed for 12 / 15 / 18 / 21 / 24 / 27 / 30 / 33 / 36 (+0.3 per bonus attack damage) magic damage over 5 seconds. This effect stacks up to five times.

Darius gains 5% movement speed for each bleeding enemy champion.

The fact that this passive does magic damage AND scales makes it one of the best and hardest to counter passives in the game. The burst from five stacks of this + Ignite will decimate nearly any champion in the game that doesn't have insane health regen. Try to abuse this passive as best you can in laning phase, getting five stacks and then walking away while the dot does it's magic will almost always make a trade a win for Darius. People walk away thinking they'll survive, but if you drop ignite on them, it's highly unlikely.

Darius's entire kit revolves around his passive, but I'll get to that later. Apply this to as many champions as possible in team fights to increase your movespeed and lower your kiteability.





9 / 8 / 7 / 6 / 5


40 Mana

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.

This spell gives Darius strong wave clear, and strong harass in lane. Learn the extra damage zone. If you can hit the enemy with the extra damage bit each time, your harass will nearly double. Use this to apply Hemorrhage quickly to everyone in a team fight for your movespeed, or to harass the enemy quickly and run off. When the enemy is low combo Decimate > Noxian Guillotine for a quick DUNKING finish.

Crippling Strike






30 / 35 / 40 / 45 / 50 Mana

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.

This ability gives Darius amazing dueling capabilities, as it slows attackspeed as well as movement speed. If the target has five stacks of Hemorrhage on them, the cooldown Crippling Strike is lowered to a mere 3 seconds, giving Darius a virtual perma-slow. Use this on bruisers that dive your carry, as it will lower their damage output a bit, and also use it on the enemy ad carry. You can Apprehend > Crippling Strike someone who comes close to your tower to force them to take free damage from the tower. If you can, proceed to Decimate > Noxian Guillotine > Ignite them for a potential kill.

Crippling Strike's damage increase applies on towers and it also resets your auto attack timer, so use it after a basic attack to deal maximized damage.





24 / 21 / 18 / 15 / 12


45 Mana

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.

Not much to say here. It gives free armor penetration, so Darius doesn't have to itemize for it. The hook aspect of it makes it easy to flash > Apprehend for a wombo combo with your team. Don't initiate with this in lane, use Crippling Strike and then Apprehend them if they start to get away.

Apprehend's range is slightly longer than the indicator.

Noxian Guillotine




120 / 100 / 80


100 Mana

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. When Noxian Guillotine kills the target, it can be recast within the next 12 seconds. This can occur multiple times in succession.

This is why you're here, don't lie. You want to dunk fools. It's a pretty common enjoyment among League of Legends players.

Noxian Guillotine makes Darius the low elo pub-basher that he is. It was recently changed to it doesn't refresh on kill immediately, but you can cast it again within 12 seconds after killing someone. This changes nothing, your goal as Darius isn't to DUNK everyone, but rather to DUNK the squishies. If you get it off twice in a fight(once on the AD carry, once on the AP carry) you're doing your job. It's potency in lane was reduce slightly in the most recent patch with a CD increase.

The damage on this skill increases based on how many passive stacks you have applied to your enemy. Getting five Hemorrhage stacks and then ulting results in insane damage AND reapplies your passive.

Don't worry about always scoring the kill with your ultimate in lane. Getting them low with this then letting Ignite and Hemorrhage do your dirty work will usually be enough.

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Skill Order

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

First three levels should go W > E > Q. W for early trades(attackspeed slow is invaluable), and E at level 2 to snatch people if they try to get away from a winning trade or an early gank! Feel free to start Q if you're Purple side and they walk into lane after leashing low HP.

Max Q first for maximum harass, W second for dueling and E last for cool down and more armor pen.

If you're playing support Darius, max W.

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Summoner Spells

Flash/ Ignite:

Ignite is one of the best Summoners on Darius as it gives him insane burst.

Flash is commonplace on nearly every champion in every role ever since season 1, because of the amount of plays you can make with it.

Other Choices:

Ghost is ok if you want to start skirmishes and exit them quickly.

Exhaust this is ok if you're against someone who's strong because of their auto attacks.

Smite jungling? Take this.

Teleport is ok if you think you're going to get shoved out of lane alot. And you can use it to roam bot lane. Who doesn't love getting fed off of the enemy bot lane?

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This is going to be a pretty long chapter, I imagine. So sit down and get ready for a decent read.



Doran's Shield- Health Potionx1

Shield was buffed, super strong against ranged heroes with its sustain, Jax, or Riven.

Rejuvenation Bead- Health Potionx5- sight wardx1

Preferred start now, good sustain and early vision.

Elixir of Fortitude- Health Potionx3

This is my preferred start. Play it right, and you will have first blood. The fort pot gives you 15 AD, which is more than you can start with otherwise, and immediately heals you for 120 HP at level one. That's almost as much as a health potion INSTANTLY. And the ward always helps. EDIT: Nerfed, sucks now.

Cloth Armor- Health Potionx5

Take this against Riven, Jayce, and Gangplank. They do stupid amounts of physical damage, and the early armor will help a TON. Against Riven and Gangplank, rush Ninja Tabi.

Early Lane Buys:(pre-15 minutes)

Always: Boots of Speed
Needed mobility for a champ with 0 escapes.

Doran's Bladex2

This is a strong lane buy for Darius against most people. It gives him a bit of damage, HP and sustain.

Spirit of the Elder Lizard

Better than double doran's in most cases, still get doran's shield if against strong ad.


It's not as bad as I thought, but it's not as good as Elder Lizard.

Doran's Shield

Anti-auto attack. Cheap armor, decent HP and some extra regen. Get this against Gangplank to lower his Parrrley damage and against Riven to lower her Runic Blade empowered autos.

Warden's Mail

If the enemy buys a Bilgewater Cutlass, delay your Blade of the Ruined King and get this to lower their damage. Combined with Crippling Strike, you slow around 40% of their attackspeed.


Buy early against AP, shield is invaluable when there's an enemy Karthus. Do not upgrade to Maw of Malmortius, it's a waste of gold and the passive is counter-productive. Replace Hex w/ Banshee's Veil late game.

Giant's Belt

Get this around your second back. It's a solid item on Darius, giving him various build paths.

Snowballing hard? Bilgewater Cutlass or The Brutalizer. Build cutlass into BoRK before 25 minutes if you get it early.

Mid game buys:(15-20 minutes)

Randuin's Omen

Get it against an AD laner, especially Tryndamere and jax.

Warmog's Armor

Solid all around tank item if enemy team is mixed/heavy AP damage. Use w/ caution against Vayne and Kog'Maw.

Aegis of the Legion

Super good and important. Get it for sure if your jungle/support aren't buying it. Communicate with your team.

Sunfire Cape

Still good, but not the greatest. It's ok if you're split pushing.

The Black Cleaver

Get this if your team has a strong AD jungler( Jarvan IV, Xin Zhao). Good AOE armor shred with Decimate. I used to dislike this item but after some testing, it's not bad. Not optimal, but not bad.

Boots of Mobility

I personally love these boots on Darius. You can roam mid or bot easily with them, dunking fools. Also good in sustained chases.

currently not as good, Blade of the Ruined King is too popular, it counters the mobility offered with these. better to get Boots of Swiftness or Ninja Tabi. ALWAYS Mercury's Treads against Fiddlesticks or Amumu.
EDIT: Meh, wouldn't get these as often, they don't feel as good as they were.

Ninja Tabi

Get these against Riven, Gangplank, Jayce, or Jax as early as a second buy. The passive is super strong and it builds out of a Cloth Armor start.

Boots of Swiftness

Strong anti-kite boots.

Mercury's Treads

Get these if the enemy team is loaded with CC. ALWAYS BUY AGAINST Fiddlesticks. HIS Terrify IS THE STUPIDEST CC IN THE GAME.

Teamfight buys:(25-30 minutes)

Runic Bulwark

If you bought an Aegis in lane, upgrade it to this before the 30 minute mark ONLY IF THEY HAVE STRONG AP. Upgrade later against weaker AP/no ap.


Enemy ad's fed? Make them kill themselves on you. God-tier anti-ad bruiser item.

Frozen Heart

Want to slow auto attackers even more? Be my guest. Pretty expensive though, I wouldn't get this too often. Thornmail is pretty good for the most part.

Spirit of the Ancient Golem

If you don't get merc treads, and went with ninja tabi or something else, this is good if they have strong ad. Also gives HP and CDR, honestly not a bad buy.

Banshee's Veil

Hard engages like Malphite or Blitzcrank on the enemy team? This is good! Also a solid MR item in general.

Quicksilver Sash

Consider this against Amumu.

Infinity Edge

If you're super, super fed, get this. Your W can crit, so you might two shot someone with this.

Enchant your boots at around 22 minutes. Get Furor, Homeguard, Alacrity, or Distortion. Captain is good too if you're the only initiation on your team.

Optional purchases:

shurelya's reverie

Are you support Darius? Get this. Get it even if you aren't support, if you're just looking to have some fun. Consider if your team lacks initiation. The speed up into a clutch Apprehend is a good way to start a fight.

Spirit of the Elder Lizard

Super strong if you're jungling.

Locket of the Iron Solari

Good if no one else is getting it.


Good if you need more move speed.

Sword of the Divine

Messing around in normals with friends? Want to have some fun? Get this and IE. Enjoy!

The Bloodthirster

Eh, it's ok. Gives you some extra AD, but if you're building a ton of Damage on Darius, you're not very tanky. And if you're not tanky you're not very useful.

Trinity Force

Used to be almost core, but price changes on Phage made it bad on Darius.

Iceborn Gauntlet

A decent item on Darius, but I'd rather get Frozen Heart if I wanted CDR and Mana. The slow's strong as hell though.

Frozen Mallet

A strong item still, but not that great because it's hard to get Phage in lane. Combine it with Iceborn Gauntlet for maximum perma-slow.

Youmuu's Ghostblade

I'd originally planned to just ignore this item completely, but after some further testing, I can do that no longer. This is the ULTIMATE snowball item, the active is insane, even if season 3 nerfed its duration. If you can get this as a 3rd item, it's pretty much GG.

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Early Laning

No melee champs can out trade you unless they have a level advantage. Harass hard with Decimate and use Apprehend and Crippling Strike to force winning trades to carry on. This will apply 3 stacks of Hemorrhage, leaving you to auto twice to get five on them and win the trade.

As soon as you hit level 6 and get Noxian Guillotine, go in for the kill as long as you have Flash/ Ignite up.

Careful not to shove lane with Decimate as Darius is quite vulnerable to ganks. Keep tribrush and river brush warded.

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Mid Game

As long as you got a couple of kills early, Darius is a killing machine now, at his strongest. Get your Boots of Mobility and roam around the map. You can kill the mid laner easily. As long as their jungler isn't fed or a full tank, you should be able to kill them in their jungle. Be careful, and be map aware. Stick with your team for Dragon skirmishes. Darius annihilates in small skirmishes.

REMEMBER YOUR DRAGON TIMER: 6:00. Keeping track of buff/objective spawn times can seriously help you win. If you do dragon before the enemy team even knows it's up, you'll likely win.

Think of Dragon as 7-10 creepscore for you. If you need to roam bot to help with it, that's fine, so long as you don't lose your tower for it.

In 1v1s:

Decimate > Apprehend(if they're trying to escape) > Auto attack > Crippling Strike > Ignite > 2 autos > Noxian Guillotine

Can't reach them with Decimate? Apprehend them into your clutches, then carry on with your combo as normal.

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Late Game

In season 2 Darius fell off late game. Now, it's the league of bruisers. You're not super powerful, but you're stronger than you were before. Your damage is lower than it was, but people WILL focus you because they think you're overpowered. Try to dive their ad carry and soak up CC. As long as you get their ad carry down to a 1/4 HP, you're doing your job.

AD Carries will be scared of you. Use this knowledge to your advantage. Zone them from the fight by standing near them. If you have Thornmail and they try to auto you, it hurts them more than you unless they have a The Black Cleaver and a Last Whisper.

BARON DANCES ARE VITAL. Do not always start the baron when you know the enemy time might be around. Baron HURTS and has a massive attack damage debuff. You do not want to fight if you have baron's aggro. HOWEVER, if the enemy team has baron's aggro, do not hesisitate to go in unless they are super far ahead of it.

Baron's respawn timer is 7:00. If you are the jungler and feel you can outsmite the opponent, do not fail to try. If you succeed, you secure 1500 gold for your team, and the powerful Baron Nashor buff that gives 40 AD/AP and massive regeneration. Even if you die for the steal, it's worth it.

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Lane Match-Ups

Darius's Greatest Foes

Difficulty in lane: 8/10

Difficulty out of lane: if AP 7/10 if bruiser 6/10

Overview: Her strength against Darius lies in her ranged autos. Once she heals herself, she'll get off more autos due to the attack speed buff, use Crippling Strike to lower her attack speed. If she's AP, watch out for her spears, and be careful not to step on traps. They shred your resistances by a TON and do a fair amount of damage if she's built AP. When she's bruiser, her cougar form will be the vast majority of her damage, though Darius can usually duel her as long as he doesn't get poked down too hard by her autos and spears.

In teamfights, AP Nidalee's job is to poke with spears. If you're constantly moving so she can't hit, you'll probably win the fight. She has powerful clean-up/assassination abilities, but is much squishier after the most recent patch, which removed her bonus MR/Armor from Aspect Of The Cougar. If played bruiser/tank, she'll go in to clean up while in cougar form, but won't do much upfront burst.


Difficulty in lane: 8/10

Difficulty out of lane: depends on enemy team comp/10

Overview: Jayce's Shock Blasts hurt. They hurt for 40% more if they come out of an Acceleration Gate. Do your best to dodge them in lane and your life will be a lot better. He cannot all-in you as Darius will slaughter this chump every time. However, Thundering Blow can be a real pain in the *** if you're the one to initiate the fight. You probably won't get any kills in lane without jungler assistance, but if you can, go for it.

In teamfights, if he has a large amount of AD, Acceleration Gate powered Shock Blasts will hurt your team like AOE AP Nidalee spears, however, he'll be squishy enough that you can dive him. If he went more bruiser, he'll likely use his Thundering Blow and other escapes to peel.


Difficulty in lane: 10/10

Difficulty out of lane: 8/10

Overview: She's been nerfed a lot. Just get a hexdrinker and abuse lane brush to win trades. If she can't see you, she can't Rappel, and remember that in Rappel, she still takes damage from Ignite and Hemorrhage
In teamfights, she will try to dive your carry. Do your best to peel her off, as she is a powerful assassin.

  • Start: Health Potionx9- sight wardx1
  • Do not stack HP, all of her poking power is based on your current/missing HP.
  • Her spiderlings do a surprising amount of damage.
  • When she attempts to Rappel away from a gank, she will generally come down right where she went up, unless there's neutral creeps or allied minions for her to jump down to. Just stand and wait.
  • Ask your jungler and mid to roam top and help you. A lot.
  • Roaming is strong against her, she's only a major threat to Darius in lane.
  • Ban her.

Difficulty in lane: 9/10

Difficulty out of lane: 10/10

Overview: Another one of the harder counters to Darius, Malphite is a pain as any AD champion. Darius has a bit of an advantage against him though: he does all 3 types of damage and has built in armor penetration. Even so, Malphite's massive Armor buff, attack speed slow, decent base damages, and ultimate make it a challenge to deal with him in lane. Consider asking mid to swap.

In teamfights, he is absolutely one of the strongest engages in the game, ranked in the top five alongisde Amumu, especially in solo queue. His ultimate Unstoppable Force combined with his Ground Slam can very well end the game if it's played and reacted to correctly. Build Banshee's Veil a little early on to make avoiding his engage easier.

  • Start: Elixir of Fortitude-[health potions]]x4- sight wardx1
  • Try to wait until he uses his Ground Slam to farm before starting a fight. Even then, only fight if you're at a higher HP than he is.
  • Harass with Decimate and focus on farming, he's too tanky to kill usually.
  • His ultimate makes a distinctive sound and is easy to Flash out of as long as your quick with your reflexes.
  • Ask your jungler for help.
  • He does magic damage. If he starts to hurt too much, build some MR.
  • Ban him.

Difficulty in lane: 8/10

Difficulty out of lane: 8/10

Overview: The most annoying squirrel on the fields of justice, Kennen's top-lane power is because he's ranged. At one point, he was so good that they nerfed his AA range. A lot of top lane Kennen's will build some AD and harass you out of lane with their W, which scales incredibly well with AD. When his Shuriken glows with Lightning, his next auto will be empowered. Be careful to dodge his Q. Don't get stunned.

In teamfights, his Ult+Zhonya's combo is an AOE stun that's incredibly powerful. He himself cannot 1v5, but he can easily win a game for his team if played well.

  • Start: Rejuvenation Bead- Health Potionx5- sight wards x1
    • Use brush tactics against him. If he can't see you he can't auto you.
      I don't have much in the way of tips because I haven't played against many, but I play him myself. He will wail on you with autos, nothing you can do about it. Get a Doran's Shield.