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Darius Build Guide by R1ggins

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League of Legends Build Guide Author R1ggins

Darius, Fulfill the Dunk Prophecies.

R1ggins Last updated on March 14, 2016
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The Unkillable Dunkmaster

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.


Natural Talent
Bounty Hunter
Battering Blows
Piercing Thoughts

Ferocity: 0

Dangerous Game

Cunning: 12

Tough Skin
Runic Armor
Veteran's Scars
Legendary Guardian

Resolve: 18

Threats to Darius with this build

Show all
Threat Champion Notes
Nautilus As a current flavour of the month I think he warrants a mention here. In lane the only thing he can do is push and lock you down for a gank. Make sure you ward and back off if he starts to be more aggressive and your gank sense starts tingling. You can win the lane fairly easily, you out damage him throughout and can be the usual bully. He will buy the Zz'rot Portal in order to auto push one lane therefore TP is required in order to have the global presence to counter this as you already have enough kill potential without any summoners.
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Champion Introduction.

Hi everyone, Riggs here with a Darius guide I've put together which will hopefully give you all a bit more insight to this lovable villain. I've clocked up more than 100 matches so far this year and I've found Darius to be a consistently solid Champion that you should pick up and run into Solo Q and 5v5s alike.

With the changing top Meta which is now leaning more towards the Nautilus or Malphite tops stacking ridiculous amounts of armour, The Black Cleaver value is increasing and I now recommend it into these matchups. If an opponent has decided to build three armour items then The Black Cleaver will effectively remove the armour of one of these items for your entire team and the passive armour reduction stacks easily from your Bleed on multiple enemies simultaneously.

Darius brings so much natural damage and survivability he can slot into the front line of almost any team comp. Given that, Darius does best when he's not the primary engage threat. Either having some hard engage from jungle or support that can hold up the enemy team long enough for you to rush in and get to Dunking, or a poke/Juggermaw comp where the enemy has to come to and try to get through you.

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Strengths and Weaknesses.

[*] Dunk-Domination!!!
[*] Insane kit with heals, slows and true damage.
[*] Strong throughout the game.
[*] Can snowball hard and Carry.
[*] Great damage while full tank.
[*] Huge teamfight presence.
[*] Noxian Might.

[*] No gap closer.
[*] Easily kited.
[*] Vulnerable to cc lockdown.
[*] Q heal can be tricky to pull off.
[*] Needs to Proc Noxian Might to get rolling.
[*] No escapes and need to be aware of ganks through laning.

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There are now two viable keystones for Darius, the one I use most matchups is still Grasp of the Undying however Warlord's Bloodlust is viable if you're into a sustain lane where the extra early Penetration from Battering Blows is required and you're in a team comp that will allow you to build damage and not need the resolve tree to keep you alive.

Grasp of the Undying allows you to steal 3% of your own max health, dealing the same amount in Magic damage, after charging in combat for four seconds. In this guide I suggest stacking a lot of health so when it gets to late game this will be a significant chunk out of a squishy and provides Darius with even more sustain.

For laning, meeting the in combat for 4 seconds condition is as simple as putting a single Bleed stack on an enemy. In other words you can AA a minion and leave the Bleed stack ticking and Grasp of the Undying will be charged up and ready for your next AA on a Champion. However if the stack is on an enemy champion also with Grasp of the Undying the Bleed will meet his in combat condition also. This means you start out a trade with about 5% of your Max health up on your opponent. Add into this that Darius loves the extended trades, you will likely proc Grasp of the Undying two or three times, restoring 6/9% of your max health as well as doing that same amount in Magic damage which your lane opponent is unlikely to build resistance for early.

Warlord's Bloodlust encourages the "risky" low health play for Darius and synergises with his Decimate & Spirit Visage allowing the tilt causing plays where the enemy team puts a lot of cooldowns into you just to watch Darius continue to heal through while letting the his team work safely around him.

I recommend always taking twelve points in the Cunning, whether you specialise the eighteen into Ferocity or Resolve.

In the Spoiler below I also explain the other Mastery choices I suggest.

Spoiler: Click to view

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Adds a dot onto every enemy and when you reach five on a champion it's GAME ON!

This passive has two main parts and each makes Darius so strong in extended trades.

Firstly is the Bleed part

Spoiler: Click to view

The second part is Noxian Might, which I mention regularly throughout this guide as it's a huge part of Darius identity.

Upon reaching 5 Bleed stacks or executing an enemy with Noxian Guillotine you get *HUGE!* getting an enormous chunk of AD and means any further Bleed stacks you put on an enemy (note: Champions, Minons and Monsters) is immediately 5. With the ult resets this lets you chain kills and gives you the truly satisfying DUNKS!!!

The extra AD this passive gives you is why you don't need to build any AD items to output massive damage. To demonstrate at level 1 it's equivalent to a B. F. Sword with 40 AD, level 18 it's equivalent to FIVE B. F. Sword with 200 AD.

Successfully activating Noxian Might is the difference between taking over a fight completely, and just being an annoying meat shield.

In the spoiler I discuss my decisions in this video and you can see what a monster Darius is when Noxian Might has been procced.
Spoiler: Click to view

Deals more damage with the Axe Blade Region and a huge heal when landed on Enemy Champions.

This is Darius Bread and Butter skill, the heal is 12% *MISSING* health per Enemy Champion hit up to 36%. This is how Darius becomes extremely dangerous when there's no Ignite on him in ganks and teamfights, you can see him almost die and then suddenly reappear from the melee with a third of his health back. This is the reason I suggest stacking so much health through the game as when you learn to land it reliably the already incredibly tanky Darius just refuses to die, especially with it on such a short 5 second cooldown at max rank.
Spoiler: Click to view

With either of your slow abilities ( Crippling Strike or Apprehend) activating Q immediately while walking away from the Champion will put them in the axe zone.

Crippling Strike
AA Reset, Slow and Extra Damage

Use the AA reset to last hit when you need to, or to secure Cannon minions if you feel you need to as the mana cost and half the Cooldown is refunded when the strike kills (works on wards as well.) This is really useful with the Minion AI changes so that they spread the damage more evenly it leads to several getting low at once, in order to not push and secure the CS utilise this skill.

When trading, use the AA reset to get two Bleed stacks on immeditely, then abuse the slow to extend the trade as normally Darius wants the fights to continue as long as possible so you can continue to build up Hemorrhage stacks to proc Noxian Might and set up the DUNK

Grab with a slow on the end, play carefully around the cooldown.

When in lane use after you opponent started a trade and is attempting to disengage. If you're in a minion wave make sure to utilise Champ only Click (it's in the settings) as you don't want to waste the follow up accidentally hitting a minion you grabbed.

Also use to set up ganks and late game with your Dead Man's Plate and alacrity Move Speed enhancements you can walk up to an enemy to grab them for your engage.

Do be careful as it's your only engage tool and it has a very long cooldown whether you hit or not so be sure to make it count. The range indicator is also difficult to match up with the animation and varies with different champion models so practice is the only way to get used to the intricacies of this ability.

Noxian Guillotine
DUNK! The tooltip tells you the max damage possible so keep checking it through the game to know when you can and cannot execute.
Each vertical line on a health bar relates to 100 health and so with this you can estimate when the ability will execute. The damage ranks up from 50% of the value in the tooltip with an extra 10% per bleed stack.

Keep in mind that your objective when fighting is to proc Noxian Might, either by getting the Bleed stacks or an easy execute on a low health enemy as it massively increases your damage output and being able to chain Dunks is one of the most satifying events in this game.

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Firstly I'm going to address The Black Cleaver and why in the tank build I leave it until a possible last item. The item gives you Health, CDR, some AD and a passive that lets you stick to enemies. Now this sounds good and Darius wants all these things, but I value the resistances and passives of Spirit Visage and Dead Man's Plate a lot more in laning and Mid-game to reach an unkillable point where Darius base damage from Noxian Might will take over. With the resistances you can soak up so much damage, regardless of the enemies. As for the Phage passive, it only helps once you've engaged but between Crippling Strike and Apprehend once you're in the fight you don't need more help staying on people.

The occasion when I would recommend grabbing The Black Cleaver early is when you're on a full AD team, or when the enemies are stacking armour as the 30% armour shred is easy to apply with bleed to a lot of the enemies and can make a huge impact on teamfights.

In conclusion, The Black Cleaver is a nice item, but it's 700g more expensive than Spirit Visage and 600g more than Dead Man's Plate and means that instead of walking through fights taking very little damage and dominating mid game, you increase Darius already huge amount of damage by a little but have no bonus resistances to one of the enemy carries who can then focus you down easily. With the state of Dynamic Queue you should anticipate at least one opponent getting out of control and these early resistances enable you to reign them in swiftly rather than having to play defensively until you can complete your third item.

When following the Dunk Domination damage build path I recommend Phage first and to play aggressive enough that you pick up kills and can get rolling. If you get ahead in this position picking up a the Tiamat into Titanic Hydra as your level advantage will give you enough resistances to keep stomping all opposition. If you get stopped and can't roll completely then finish The Black Cleaver and continue the build depending on the status of the game (ie tank if you're behind, continue to build damage if you're then getting fed.)

My Recommended Build

Item Sequence

The Black Cleaver

Titanic Hydra

Spirit Visage

Dead Man's Plate

Mercury's Treads - Alacrity

Zz'Rot Portal

I take Corrupting Potion into almost every matchup, the only real alternative is Doran's Shield which I will take into an opponent with an overwhelming burst at level 1/2 such as Wukong or Yasuo, if you can survive this early cheese you can CS up and be a much greater threat.

I take Corrupting Potion because it's so strong an item, each charge restores 150 health. 150! That's equivalent to a Ruby Crystal PER charge! So essentially you walk to lane with three extra Ruby Crystal or 1200g stats for 500g, not even taking into account the mana restore or the damage. If you use the pot going into a trade the magic damage will continue to be refreshed from your Bleed passive and this sneaky damage adds up.

On top of this, the pot continues to recharge every time you recall. This allows you to be very aggressive early as Decimate keeps you relatively safe at low health and with Teleport summoner even if you take bad trades, you will still return to lane with your first buy and another 450 health sitting in your inventory, which stays relevant throughout the match. As most items Darius will be buying are of two components, or have a combine cost of ~1000g with two items, having Corrupting Potion take up an inventory slot is not a big sacrifice.

This will be your first item through the laning phase, if you're against an AP laner then grab Spirit Visage, otherwise Dead Man's Plate.

When you've decided the laner you're against, pick up Spectre's Cowl or Giant's Belt on your first back. The Cowl passive gives you even more regen if they try to poke you, and the health from the Giant's Belt makes your heals off of Decimate that much more effective and is more valuable than the armour from Chain Vest.

The passives make this pair of items so valuable for Darius, Spirit Visage's extra heal synergises with his Decimate and Grasp of the Undying and Dead Man's Plate speed boost and on hit slow helps reduce the Darius engage issues whilst giving even more stickiness.

It's worth noting if you're against a full AD comp don't build Spirit Visage, either accelerate your build with the Titanic Hydra/ Warmog's Armor or replace it with an earlier Thornmail/ Randuin's Omen if you're finding yourself behind and in need of more tankiness. You will have to be more careful as your heals and sustain will not be so effective without the Spirit Visage passive

This choice of boots applies to every tank, you want to make your choice depending on what you're facing, Mercury's Treads vs hard CC, Ninja Tabi when they have more than one AA reliant champ (ie Marksman & Master Yi or Jax etc.) I rarely take Boots of Swiftness but they're an option when you're constantly slowed by Rylai's Crystal Scepter or Janna. I ALWAYS upgrade with Alacrity enchant, it makes getting into a fight so very much easier and is better than Furor enchant as Darius has less trouble sticking to opponents once the fight has started than he does in getting in their faces to begin with.

You want to have the boots completed after your first of Spirit Visage or Dead Man's Plate and before the second, whenever you've backed and find yourself with enough for the components grab them.

I upgrade with alacrity enchant somewhere around third/fourth item, when the large teamfights start and I've not enough gold for a more major item.

Armed with your Spirit Visage and Dead Man's Plate you should be starting to take part in teamfights and get a feel for how strong each team has gotten in this particular match. If you're finding an opponent is getting out of control grab your Warmog's Armor, again more health = more Decimate & Grasp of the Undying heals and you should have enough resistances between Spirit Visage and Dead Man's Plate that stacking health is the most efficient way to be even tankier.

However, if you're finding yourself ahead and are in a position to dominate fights grab the Titanic Hydra. Picking up the Tiamat means you can clear caster minions with a single Decimate and Tiamat active and once the Titanic Hydra is completed you can clear so rapidly you're ready to split push and take towers quickly.

When fighting make sure to utilise the Titanic Hydra active, done properly you can quickly inflict three Bleed stacks with the attack reset on it and Crippling Strike(ie AA>W>Active)

Pick this up when you're expecting a major fight, for instance Baron or an important Drake. Again more health and tenacity assist Darius to soak up all the damage and CC the Enemies throw out and be able to stay in the fight while enabling the squishies to do their thing too.

With the shorter game times in this meta you will almost never get to build this last item, however these are all viable items to finish off your build;
Thornmail is my favourite in order to deal with the Marksmen's update and any Master Yi or Jax out there.
The Black Cleaver is again viable if you want the CDR and are struggling to stick to enemies after engaging, or if you're finding enemies are stacking so much armour that you're unable to scratch them,
Banshee's Veil if you're against a Magic heavy team comp,
Sterak's Gage is a great choice if you're still getting large chunks of your health bursted. It gives you the breather to land a Decimate or two to heal up and the extra damage is nice, though without a sheen item the extra base AD isn't utilised to its fullest,
Righteous Glory if you're struggling to engage,
Zz'Rot Portal Currently Flavour of the Month as the meta has realised how useful it is to afk push a lane across the map in order to take advantage of this pressure to force an advantage elsewhere. Hide the portal in a bush or a defensible position,
Randuin's Omen gives you more health armour and a nice passive to reduce AS, a less nice one that reduces Critical Damage and an active that helps sticking but I don't rate it as highly as Thornmail in the current meta.

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Laning Tips

Be aware of the opponents Summoner spell, if they take Ignite then you won't be able to use Darius stupid Decimate heal at low health and you'll need to account for this in early trades. Expect them to play very aggressive and push for Level 2 & 3 advantages and "cheese" you early. Once they've blown Ignite either you can stay in lane and regen up with Corrupting Potion or just recall and Teleport back to lane hopefully with an item advantage and take control of the lane from here.

It's important to keep good minion wave control throughout the early game (if you want greater detail Solo Renekton Only does some great vids explaining it), several times I've been cheesed, given up First Blood, but come back to lane with a chance to freeze as they failed to push to turret with the early death timers. This lets you turn the lane around because of gaining two waves of XP up on the opponent as they had to back after the cheese trade and without Teleport it's a long walk to Top Lane. If you can get a level or two ahead Darius grows into his true lane bully form and you can zone the enemy quite freely. The free AD from Noxian Might increases at levels 1, 3, 7 and then every level after that. This is another reason why it's so crucial for Darius to at least stay even in Experience.

Of course the converse is true, if you've been forced out of lane and Teleport back into a Jungler gank, it plain sucks. The difference that even one level makes to Top Lane in the current Meta can't be dismissed. If this happens just keep doing Darius things, CS as much as possible, stay healthy with Decimate, try to reclaim wave control to wait for help. DON'T try to make up for your early errors by going ham and dying a further three times and falling several levels behind because then you truly will be useless.

Make sure you use your Corrupting Potion and if you went with the Doran's Shield start do keep buying Health Potion as they let you stay in lane and continue to CS. You only need to kill two melee minions to make up the 50g cost of a Health Potion and if it lets you stay to take another wave then it more than pays for itself both in the CS you pick up and the XP you don't miss.

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Warding Tips

Be aware that Darius has no escape ability and so you need to put deeper wards than usual so you have more time to react to a gank. I find this easier on Purple side as a pink can normally survive more than ten minutes in the tri-bush and you're fairly safe if you choose to defend it, on Blue side it's more difficult to keep the ward alive in the top river bush.

I find the top river bush gives too little warning if either the jungler or your lane opponent have any CC so on purple side try to ward further down by the entrance to the Blue jungle Blue buff.

On blue side encourage your jungler to keep control of the Rift scuttler and to put a pink in the bush above mid lane to get the river vision to react. Place a pink in the top bush as it helps to keep vision away from the other team.

On both sides try to pay more attention to the mini-map, keep checking to see where the enemy jungler & mid laners are and if they disappear for a while be safe and give up a few CS for in order to avoid the gank that they could then snowball off of.

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Final note

I will be updating this guide with videos to demonstrate the joys of chaining dunks and the ridiculous situations that Darius is able to walk out of. Other than that I hope the guide helps you and please leave me some feedback.

See you on the Rift.