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Darius Build Guide by NoxAeternum

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League of Legends Build Guide Author NoxAeternum

The Noxian Prince of Solo Top (Remade completely)

NoxAeternum Last updated on December 9, 2012
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DPS Darius


Health Focused Option

LeagueSpy Logo
Top Lane
Ranked #20 in
Top Lane
Win 50%
Get More Stats

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: 21

Honor Guard

Defense: 9


Utility: 0

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Introduction (Read this first)

Hey people on Mobafire.
I have decided to write a guide on Darius the Hand of Noxus because i feel like the way most players tend to build him maybe fitting but there are still alternatives.

Darius is in my personal opinion one of the most potent and versatile champions created for the league so far. His potentials reach from being an offtank/top laner over a jungler to being a glass cannon.
I think that setting him up as a tanky on hit dps top laner is a very effective way to play him.
As i tested him like a week on PBE Servers and extensively after his official release and i feel like my PBE and live experience could offer a fun new way of playing Darius.


So with no further introduction let's jump in.

BTW: This is my first guide ever so please rate, comment and be constructive while doing so! :)

Side note: The name of the guide is a referrence to Sinjustice's awesome Jarvan IV guide so go check it out: Jarvan IV The Prince of Solo Top

Edit: I will update this guide asap

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Why DPS?

Darius excells a dealing tremendous amounts of burst with his skills but lacks damage as soon as all his cooldowns are blown resulting in an overall lack of consistent damage. This is why i chose to incorporate some on hit as items: To increase Darius dps and consistency.
Also if your enemies choose to build a lot of armor you will still deal a good amount of damage because you have the magic damage output from Hemorrhage, Wit's End, the aura from Sunfire Cape and the on hit slow from Frozen Mallet giving you amazingly consistent damage output.

By building more AS i aim at achieving as much Hemorrhage stacks as possible while still maintaining a good damage output via on hit effect and Sunfire Cape's damaging aura.
I've included 2 build options in the DPS Darius section. I call the secon build maximum lane sustain as it gives you so much sustain through lifesteal and armor you won't need to recall no matter how much harassment.

For those people searching a way to build Darius without magic dps i have added an alternative build.

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Pros / Cons


+ Tremendous damage output early game

+ True damage ultimate

+ DoT Passive

+ Passive bonus Armor Pen

+ Great in all stages of the game

+ Can burst squishies to death


- Can be kited easily (slow movement speed)

- Needs Core items to be effective

- Mana hungry early on

- No ranged harassment tools

- Vulnerable to CC

- Focused when doing well

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I aim my masteries at giving me the maximum damage output possible in all stages of the game. This is why prefer a 21/9/0 set up.

Offense Tree


Tier 1:

Summoner's Wrath : Exhaust improvement

Brute Force : Some extra AD

Tier 2:
Alacrity : Bonus AS helps stacking Hemorrhage

Demolitionist : For better tower pushing early-mid game

Tier 3:
Havoc : Havoc adds some nice little damage to your Noxian Guillotine.

Deadliness : More AD per level

Weapon Expertise : For some more percentage armor penetration

You may ask yourself:
Why did you take 4 points in Deadliness and none in Lethality ?
Thats pretty easy to explain:
This build doesn't contain a single crit item meaning you will rely more on the bonus magic damage output from your items and Hemorrhage then on crits as you only have moderate AD.
0% crit chance = No use putting a mastery point in [Lethality]

Tier 4:
No points from me sorry Tier 4.

Tier 5:
Sunder : Flat armor penetration. I will explain the reason for more armor penetration in the runes section.

Tier 6:
Executioner : You will most likely use your ultimate on targets below 40% health. 6% true damage increase is pretty damn nice.

Defense Tree


Tier 1:

Hardiness : More armor for more early game bulk

Resistance : More mres

Tier 2:
Durability : More health per level making leveling even more profitable

Tier 3:
Veteran's Scars : 30 more health at level 1. A pretty nice bonus which helps a lot.

Alternative Masteries


This set up i aimed at giving you as much early game bulk as possible while maintaining some damage.

Offense Tree

Tier 1:

Summoner's Wrath : Exhaust improvement

Brute Force : Some extra AD

Tier 2:
Alacrity : Bonus AS helps stacking Hemorrhage

Tier 3:
Weapon Expertise : For some more percentage armor penetration.

Defense Tree

Tier 1:

Hardiness : More armor for more early game bulk

Resistance : More mres

Hardiness : You will draw minion aggro when harassing the enemy champion

Tier 2:
Durability : More health per level making leveling even more profitable

Vigor : For even more health regen. Combined with Regrowth Pendant this will help you absorbing enemy harassment.

Tier 3:
Veteran's Scars : 30 more health at level 1. A pretty nice bonus which helps a lot.

Bladed Armor : Reflect some damage back to the minions. Helps you farming and weakens the enemies minion wave while you harass your opponent.

Tier 4:
Initiator : Due to your amazing lane sustain you should nearly always be over 70% health. This mastery effectively counters your kiting problems.

Tier 5:
No points for you Tier 5 sorry.

Tier 6:
Juggernaut : For more health and some CC reduction


This mastery tree doesn't vary much from my main setup but it has 1 point in Lethality instead of Demolitionist thus it is aimed at dealing slightly more damage through your autoattacks then the main setup.This mastery setup should only be used if you plan on either building Darius crit heavy or plan to go for the Atmog's combo.

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Greater Mark of Desolation
Greater Quintessence of Desolation
Greater Mark of Desolation, Greater Quintessence of Desolation: Together with Weapon Expertise , Sunder and the pasiv bonus from Apprehendthese runes will give you all the armor penetration you will ever need. More armor penetration will gain you some consistency as your damage doesn't fall off that much during the progress of the gamen and it will help you harassing the enemy more effectively during the laning phase.
The reasons why i take armor penetration runes over other seemingly viable runes like Greater Mark of Stength will be explained in the next section.
Greater Mark of DesolationGreater Quintessence of Desolation

Greater Seal of Armor: Pretty standard solo top/top laner runes. They add more early game bulk to your build.
More Armor = Less Damage = More Survivanility = Good

Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist:I like to take those over Greater Glyph of Magic Resist because you will hardly face any kind of mage at the top lane.Furthermore it gives your runeboook a nice progressive touch and you won't need extra mres until mid game where you will purchase Wit's End.

Who doesn't like some options?


Greater Mark of Lethality

Greater Mark of Attack Damage
Greater Mark of Desolation: As explained before i take those for more armor penetration
Greater Mark of Attack Damage: I personally don't recommend these but you can alwasy take. Greater Mark of Attack Damage for more early game AD.


Greater Seal of Armor

Greater Seal of Health Regeneration
Greater Seal of Armor: More armor = Less damage.
Greater Seal of Vigor: Paired with Regrwoth Pendant you will have amazing lana sustain and health regen at early levels.


Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist

Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist: Some extra mres. I prefer mres/level over flat mres because you will most likely not be facing a caster as you play top lane.
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist: I do not recommend those especially not after the recent nerf but if you prefer flat mres over mres/level Greater Glayph of Warding are your runes of choice.


Greater Quintessence of Lethality

Greater Quintessence of Health

Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage

Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed
Greater Quintessence of Desolation: For the extra armor pen as mentioned before.
Greater Quintessence of Health: Some more health at level 1 turning you into a tanky guy right from the start of the game.
Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage: Only take those if you alreade have incorporated Greater Marks of Desolation into your rune build. Full AD is just not viable after your enemy buys Ninja Tabi or Wriggle's Lantern.
Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed: Counter your kiteability by using those quints to gain some extra movement speed.

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Why are Armor Penetration Runes crucial?

You have probably seen the Champion Spotlight and asked yourself:
Why does Riot suggest building one of the best non carry damage dealers without armor penetration runes?
I think the main reason is because they think Darius Ult will be off CD all the time so he can walk in to the teamfight deal some damage with his abilities and pick up the kill with Noxian Guillotine.

This couldn't be farther away from reality:
The build suggested by Riot does only contain the 10% armor pen mastery, Weapon Expertise !
As the last enemies standing usually are the tanks/offtanks this could break your neck in some situation and mid game this will be a huge disadvantage.

All your non ultimate damage abilities deal physical damage meaning that their damage is mitigated by the enemies armor. This means in conclusion that:

1.) Your abilities will deal less and less damage as the game progresses

2.) Your dps and overall damage dealt will steeply decrease too resulting in you only KSing your fellow teammates

Let's do some maths:

Saying your Decimate deals 240 physical damage and your enemy mitgates 60% of it due to him having 150 Armor:
240 * 0,60 = 144
240 - 144 = 96

You will deal less then 100 (!) damage to an enemy having 150 armor!
You may think now: Pfff i have 25% bonus armorpen + 10% from Weapon Expertise . While this may be true you will max your Apprehend last which will result in lacking a lot of armor pen in mid game where the teamfights start.

Let's just do more maths including Weapon Expertise and one point in Apprehend:
150 * 0,15 = 22,5
150 - 22,5 = 128,5

128 armor still negates 56% of your physical damage:
240 * 0,56 = 134,4
240 - 134,4 = 105,6

Even with Weapon Expertise and one point in Apprehend you will deal roughly 106 damage.

With armor pen runes ( Greater Mark of Desolation and Greater Quintessence of Desolation) + Sunder :
150 - 22,5 - 15 - 10 - 6 = 96,5 Armor

96,5 Armor will only mitigate 50% of your physical damage meaning an increase of 6% in terms of damage output!This means you will deal 120 damage with Decimate instead of just 105,5.

Well this may sound meh! to you but wait there is more:
Early game you will be able to shred right through the opposing tanky toplaners armor or even deal


damage with you autoattacks to their squishy champions!

Let's say the enemy toplaner has 52 armor at level 2 (where you pick your first point in Apprehend):
52*0,15 = 7,8
52 - 7,8 - 31 =
52 - 38,8 = 13,3

13,3 armor mitigates 12% of your damage meaning you can deal pretty awesome amounts of damage to the enemy top laner as long as he doesn't purchase Ninja Tabi.

Even if he purchases Ninja Tabi you will still deal a good amount of damage as you stil have 15% armor pen at your disposal.

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Summoner Spells

My preferred Summoner Spells

Flash: Good for initiations and escapes. Can teleport you over walls or other obstacles but has a fairly long cooldown. I prefer Flash over Ghost because Flash will bring distance between you and the enemy instantly while you can stil be slowed, stunned etc. when using Ghost.

Exhaust:Perfect for shutting down those annoying AD carries or just slow runners. In combination with Crippling Strike this will make you a unstoppable dueling force and the nightmare of the enemy AD carry and solo top laner.

Other decent choices

Ignite: For those who are to lazy to run after their nearly dead enemies. Great for picking up first blood or finish of running enemies early game. It deals true damage and also reduces the enemies healing by 50% so take it as a counter spell for champions like Dr. Mundo.

Teleport: If you play solo top Teleport can provide some great utility. For example it is possible to spend your gold in th shop and return to he lane without losing gold or exp or lose the controll over your lane. It is also great for setting up early ganks as you can not only teleport to minions but also to wards Shaco's boxes or Heimerdinger's turrets.
Replace Exhaust with this.

Ghost: Great for chasing runners and escaping from non CC enemies but can easily be countered by a stun or a snare. As explained before i do not take Ghost for varous reasons but it is still a decent choice to go with. Ghost wil make you a lot less kiteable.
Replace Flash with this.

Cleanse: Cleanse can save your life in many ways because it removes all debuffs placed on you (including summoner spells like Ignite) and lowers the duration of other CC by 65%.
This will save you more than once after a disastrous teamfight when the enemy team tries to morph up the survivors.
Replace Exhaust with this.

The not so viable rest

You shouldn't need this with your Regrowth Pendant and the lifesteal from The Bloodthirster. Since the Heal nerf it's healing power steeply falls off as the game progresses making it somehow useless on Darius because he needs some consistency.

Good for support champs like Soraka not on Darius.

So... you plan on dieing ? Never take this it's just not viable unless you like to die.

No, just no. You are a melee fighter not a mage meaning that you can deal a good amount of damage just with your autoattacks.

Contraty to the fact that many people jungle with Darius i personally think there are much better jungle champions like Lee Sin or Udyr.

Could be viable but the AS boost is too minor to really make a difference and AP is just useless on Darius. It's just not worth the slot.

If you want to troll push some lanes then take promote. Otherwise this is a tool for pushers like Nunu.

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Abilities (adding more images soon)


Your nice little passive. Your autoattacks AND your damaging skills ( Decimate, Crippling Strike, Noxian Guillotine) apply one stack of Hemorrhage.
It deals DoT magic damage to your target and stacks up to 5(!) times. It will help you chasing down wounded enemies and greatly amplify your dps and increasing the damage from your ultimate.
Due to the movement speed buff you get for every bleeding champion chasing down survivors after a team fight will be pretty easy.


Your bread and butter skill. Use it for AoE farming and harass. It has extreme harassment potential as it's AoE is quite large and enemies in the outer part of the AoE take 50% more damage. Together with Crippling Strike you will have massive burst potetial at your hands.
However: Don't spam this skill, you have a very low mana pool early on!
Max this skill first to gain the maximum harassment and farming power early on.

Tips and Tricks:

+ Try to strike the enemy with the blade of your axe. The damage dealt is significantly higher.

+ Walk into the middle of the minion wave and use Decimate to hit as many targets as possible

+ Spam Decimate in teamfights to give your enemies as many stacks of Hemorrhage as you can

Crippling Strike

Crippling Strike greatly amplifies the damage dealt by your next autoattack. Furthermore it reduces the targets attack and movement speed.
At rank 5 your next autoattack will deal 200% of your normal damage and reduce the targets attack and movement speed by 40%.
The cooldown of this skill will be reduced for every stack of Hemorrhage applied to your target.
This skill is what makes Darius such a great duelist against nearly every other melee champion. As the cooldown gets lower the more stacks of Hemorrhage your target has Crippling Strikes effectiveness rises the longer the batlle goes on.
The damage amplifier also applies when attacking turrets and inhibs/nexus!
Max Crippling Strike second for tremendous dueling power and burst mid game.

Tips and Tricks:
+ Crippling Strike resets your autoattack timer. Try to use it immediately after an autoattack for maximum damage.
+ Use Crippling Strike in teamfights to shut down the enemy AD carries and deal tremendous burst damage.
+ Try to use Crippling Strike as often as possible when pushing towers it will greatly increase your damage.


Apprehend gives passive armor pen (25% at rank 5) and allows you to pull enemies over a short distance.
I take this skill mostly for it's utility not for the passive armor pen because percentage armor pen starts to pay out mid-late game. The passive armor pen allows Darius to have an amazing consistency damage wise. It really helps you late game where the enemies offtanks/tanks will have a lot of armor stacked.
You can use it to pull the enemy carry out of positionn or catch annoying runners or initiate a teamfight.
Max Apprehend last as it is primarily an utility spell.

Tips and Tricks:
+ Try to pull the enemy AD carry towards you to mess up the enemies positioning
+ Learn to manage the cooldown on Apprehend, it is quite long meaning you have to decide whether to use it at the start of the teamfight or save it for catching the surviving enemy champions.
+ You can pull creeps through walls. Use this to easily steal the enemies buffs (Champions can also be pulled through walls)

Noxian Guillotine

Your ultimate, Noxian Guillotine, deals true damage to a single target. This damage is amplified by 20% for every stack of Hemorrhage applied to the target resulting in a 100% damage increase if your target has 5 stacks of Hemorrhage on it. If Noxian Guillotine deals a killing blow the cooldown will be reset!
This skill helps Darius to becoma a real horror after level 6 because he can basically finish of any running enemy with below 1/4 health.
Max Noxian Guillotine whenever possible (at levels 6, 11, 16).

Tips and Tricks:
+ Try to place as many Hemorrhage stacks as possible on your target before using Noxian Guillotine for maximum damage
+ Your masteries amplify the true damage by 7,5% if you use it on an enemy below 40% health
+ It works as a gap closer but has a fairly low range
+ Deal as many killing blows with Noxian Guillotine as possible to have off cooldown all the time

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Skill Sequence

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

> > >

Max out your Q spell, Decimate first. It deals an amazing 210 (+0,7 bonus AD) damage at level 5 increasing by 50% if you hit an enemy champion with the blade of your axe. As you use it for farming and early game harassment it has top priority right when not skilling Noxina Guillotine.
You should reach rank 5 in Decimate at level 9.

Max out your W spell, Crippling Strike second as it becomes more usefull the more AD you At rank 5 it adds 100% damage to your next autoattack. It also reduces the enemies attack and movement speed by roughly 30%. This little utility extra makes this spell extremely usefull when dueling as it's cooldown gets shorter the more Hemorrhage stacks your target has.
You should reach rank 5 in Crippling Strike at level 13.

Your E spell, Apprehend is an utility spell which adds percentage armor pen to your stats and helps you intiating fights or catching fleeing enemies.
Because percentage armor pen starts to be effective mid-late game i recommend skilling this last.

Your R spell, Noxian Guillotine, is your epic ultimate and has top priority. It should be skilled whenever possible. Noxian Guillotine drastically increases your effectiveness on the fields of justice as it deals true damage and resets it's cooldown timer everytime you deal a killing blow with it. Although it involves a leap NEVER use your ultimate as a gap closer or initiation move!
Noxian Guillotine deals more damahe the more Hemorrhage stacks are applied to your target.
Skill your ultimate whenever possible, at levels 6, 13 and 16.

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Standard ability combos

Standard Farming combo

Step 1: Walk into the middle of the minion wave WITHOUT pulling their aggro.

Step 2: Use Decimate

Step 3: Profit!

Standard Harassment Combo

Step 1: Walk up to the enemy champion

Step 2: Use Decimate

Step 3: Follow up with an Apprehend...

Step 4: ...into a Crippling Strike

Step 5: Repeat the process until target can be finished with Noxian Guillotine or dies from the harassment itself

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Uses of Apprehend

Crucial grapple locations

As you can see you can pull the blue buff/jungle creeps through the wall and steal it/them as well as pulling champions through the base wall.
You can pull enemies into your base or out of their base.
Arrows which go in both directions mark areas where you can initiate a fight very well or just separate high priority targets from the rest of the team.

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Starting Items

Best starting setup for solo top.
Regrowth Pendant will give you a lot of lane sustain and with the Mana Potion you always have enoguh mana at your hands. Upgrade Regrwoth Pendant to Philosopher's Stone for some mana regen and GP5. This will grant you maximum lane sustain.

X 3
You can also start with Boots of Speed + 3 Health Potion giving you more lane sustain and movement speed. I prefer Regrowth Pendant over this because of the loss of early game lane sustain.
As you should use early game to farm and harass as much as possible, Regrowth Pendant offers a lot more by providing lane sustain then just Boots of Speed and 3 Health Potions.
By taking Boots of Speed you won't be that easy to kite early on but still won't be the fastest runner.

X 3

X 5
Some people like to start out with Cloth Armor and 5 Health Potion. This is actually pretty viable.
You can upgrade your Cloth Armor into Ninja Tabi for cheap gold and the 5 Health Potion will give you bonus lane sustain.
However you won't have the extra AD provided by Doran's Blade.


Although it is not the best option you can start with a Doran's Blade as it gives you some AD plus some extra health early game.
This will let you start out at around 700 health and 67 AD at level 1 which is pretty decent. However i don't recommend Doran's Blade on a solo lane as you will need some lane sustain. I prefer Regrowth Pendant over Doran's Blade because it gives you all the lane sustain Doran's Blade lacks.

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Boots? Have some options!

+ Cheapest boots in the game
+ Bonus armor and passive damage reduction

- Single trick boots: Only damage reduction
+ Big movementspeed boost
+ OK price

- Single trick boots: Only movement speed boost
- No damage reduction
+ Gives magic resist
+ CC reduction

- Pretty expensive boots

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Core Items

The Bloodthirster will give you all the damage you need til late game and give you some nice lifesteal too.
As you can farm with your Decimate like madman you should be able to max The Bloodthirster in no time.As Darius is an excellent duellant the lifesteal will pay out in more then one situation during the game making The Bloodthirster and overall excellent item for Darius.

A little bit of CDR, some health and health regen, an activ AoE slow and a big load of armor. This item is absolute boss if you face an AD top laner and it also helps you spam your skills harder plus staying longer in the fight. It will also shut down the enemy AD champs very effectively by mitigating their damage beyond any usefullness and giving you a 20% chance to slow their movement and attack speed by 35% when they hit you. Together with the slow you obtain from getting Phage chasing will be a breeze.

Wit's End will greatly increase your dps by giving you a nice attackspeed boost of 40% and an on hit effect which deals 42 magic damage.
It also gives you some magic resistance which increases up to a cap of 20 when hitting targets.
Wit's Endincreases Darius dps plus making him tougher in teamfights.

To all the people hating on Wit's End

You need AS to make use of the lifesteal from The Bloodthirster. If you don't like Wit's End just scrap it from the build and look at the 2nd DPS build option i gave to you. In the 2nd build i replaced Wit's End with The Black Cleaver.

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Late Game Items

This item will finish your development into an relentless killing machine as it gives you an on hit slow which counters all your kiting problems and a really big health boost. Due to the massive health boost it gives you won't need that much armor and you will be comfortable with about 170.
Frozen Mallet increases your dps by giving you an on hit slow and more health allowing you to stay in fights longer and dish out more damage. This item counters your kiting problems completely

Maw of Malmortius helps you becoming an unstoppable tanky killing force. It adds some magic resist and damage to your stats plus giving you a damage increase as your health drops. This will make you deadly at low life and synergize very well with The Bloodthirster because the more damage you have, the more healt you can get back via lifesteal helping you to heal yourself up very fast after escaping from a gank/lost duell. Maw of Malmortius also gives you a shield when below 30% which absorbs the next 400 magic damage incoming for 5 seconds. This will help you landing some Noxian Guillotines in teamfights and maybe even turn the tides of the battle.
Maw of Malmortius amplifies your damage output and helps you staying in battles longer.

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Situational Items

Damage/Early Sustain

:Take Wriggle's Lantern right after your boots. It will give you some AD, some armor, lifesteal and a free ward for cheap.
In combination with The Bloodthirster this will give you a decent amount of 24% lifesteal
The armor will help you to take more hits from your enemies and will lead to a nice armor value of 100+ in early-mid game while the ward leads to more map control and helps keeping you safe from the enemy jungler.
I take Wriggle's Lantern almost every time when i face an opponent who can zone the lane very well thus denying me farm. The reason why i listed it in situational items is that it is no mandatory to take it although i would recommebd getting a Wriggle's Lantern in 80% of your normal games (depends on opponent) and 100% of your ranked games as it is cheap and offers a lot of benefits.[/columns]

: This item will help you bringing down tanks as it gives you an attackspeed boost of 40% and an on hit skill which deals 5% of the targets maximum health as magic damage. It also gives you 40 AD and 25 armor which is pretty damn awesome in combination with the rest of your build.
Madred's Bloodrazor steeply increases your dps by giving you more AS, more AD and an on hit damaging passive. It also makes you a little bit tankier by giving you bonus armor. Only build this if the enemy team stacks hp or armor but ignores mres.
I would recommend replacing Maw of Malmortius with this but Frozen Mallet should work too as a replacement option.

: If you don't like Wit's End at all or you just feel that you could need more damage but less mres The Black Cleaver it the item for you. It offers a nice 55 AD bonus and 30% bonus AS as well as an armor shredding passive. As you need some more attack speed to use the lifesteal you got through Wriggle's Lantern/ The Bloodthirster i think that one AS item is mandatory for a succesfull tanky DPS build.
I normally don't take The Black Cleaver because i prefer being more on the tanky side but as Wit's End is a very controversial item i decided to add The Black Cleaver to the situational items.
The Black Cleaver boosts your dps by giving your more AD and AS as well as some indirect armor penetration.

Armor for those annoying AD carries

: This item gives you some armor, some health and a nice damaging aura.[/color]
This item will greatly increase your survivability while giving you some more dps in teamfights. It also helps you farming creep waves more efficiently as the AoE from Sunfire Cape damages minions too.
Replace Maw of Malmortius with this.

: Thornmail gives you 100 armor and a passive that return 30% of the physcial damage dealt to the attacker. Only build this item if the enemy team is either full AD or you are facing a extremely fed Fiora, Master Yi, Caitlynn etc. As it only give you awesome tanking power you should leave this item to the real tanks.
Replace Randuin's Omen with this

: This item gives you a 18% crit chance, a nice armor boost and a passive that converst 1,5% of your max health to AD. In combination with Warmog's Armor or Frozen Mallet Atma's Impaler gives you quite a nice boost of AD and survivability.
I suggest getting this item instead of Maw of Malmortius as your runes and the on hit passive from Wit's End give you enough mres to mitigate a good amount of damage.
You can also buy Atma's Impaler instead of Maw of Malmortius as they both give damage and resistance. As you need more armor replace Maw of Malmortius.

Remember: Always build situational!
If you need to get more armor against a balanced team i won't recommend getting Atma's Impaler instead of Maw of Malmoriuts. I would rather replace Randuin's Omen with Thornmail depending on how fed the enemy AD carry is.
If you decide going for Atma's Impaler it is not necessarily mandatory to buy Warmog's Armor.
As Randuin's Omen and Frozen Mallet give you a good amout of health too it should also work fine with Randuin's Omen and Frozen Mallet.

Magic resist for those fed AP carries

: Force of Nature gives the highest magic resistance amount in the game. It also gives a nice health regen booost and increases your movement speed.
This item is nearly always viable but doesn't offer a spell shield like Banshee's Veil.
Use Force of Nature if the enemy team has a fed Brand, LeBlanc, Annie etc.
Replace Maw of Malmortius with this.

: Banshee's Veil benefits you in multiple ways:
First of all it gives you bonus health and mana curing eventual mana problems. Secondly it adds a spell shield which refreshes every 45 second plus adding 50 more magic resist.
Banshee's Veil helps you greatly by giving you a lot of extra bulk and a spell shield which can neutralize critical disable in teamfights.
Replace Maw of Malmortius with this.

Health items for more survivability

: Warmog's Armor gives you health and health regeneration plus a passive effect that upgrades the health and health regen amount for every minion you kill. Combined with The Bloodthirster you will get AD and more survivability just by farming creeps.
The big downside about this item is that it offers no resistances just flat health and regen. The rules for incorporating it into your build are:
Enemy team is AD heavy but lacks AP: Replace Maw of Malmortius
Enemy team is AP heavy but lacks AD: Replace Sunfire Cape
You can also replace Frozen Mallet with this item but keep in mind that you will get kited easily if you don't have Frozen Mallet's on hit slow.

Tip: Buy an Atma's Impaler in combination with Warmog's for maximum damage plus survivability.

More Items following soon

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Early game

Your goals in the laning phase

You will have a weak early game but will rule in mid and late game. Thus your primary target in the laning phase should be minion farming. Use Decimate to farm entire minion waves and use Crippling Strike to secure the last hit on the siege minion.
Harass the enemy champion whenever possible as you will just shred through their armor and go for the kill as soon as your jungler ganks.
Try to get as many last hits as possible!
More lasthits = More money = More mid-lategame power

Starting out at solo top

Philosopher's Stone

Start with Regrowth Pendant and 1 Mana Potion, This will give you the sustain to safely farm and harass. Buy Philosopher's Stone on the first recall along with Ninja Tabi or Boots of Speed depending on which boots you choose. Philosopher's Stone is still a viable option after it's nerf as you don't need that much mana regen thus the 8 bonus mana regen per 5 will still greatly improve your lane sustain.

How to choose your boots

Does your/one of your enemy/enemies have strong CC?

Answer = Yes: Mercury's Treads

Answer = No: Ninja Tabi

Is your lane AD or AP?

Answer = AD: Ninja Tabi

Answer = AP: Mercury's Treads

Answer = Both: Look at question 1. Choose boots depending on it's answer.

Answer = Hybrid: Same as for "Both". If the enemy has not much CC take Boots of Swiftness (sell later on).

Sidenote: Question 1 is superior to question so if the answer to question 1 is "Yes" you don't need to think about the AD/AP/H├Żbrid question!

Select your build route!

The way of the damage beast

Philosopher's Stone

This setup aims at giving you the maximum possible damage output through B. F. Swordwhile maintaning some bulk via Phage.
It will provide you with 63 bonus AD plus enough armor, health and mana regeneration. This will make you a fearsome opponent at solo top and provide you the maximum lane domination. You rely on dishing out more damage then you take so try to harass your enemy as much as possible.
In general you can say that this build should only be used against a very bad solo top enemy or if you are fed and/or have a big level advantage as it doesn't provide much lane sustain and you need to dominate your lane all the time otherwise you will lose it.
You only rely on Philosopher's Stone to keep you in your lane meaning you are weak against strong harassment champions like Gankplank with his Parrrley.

The Noxian Prince of Solo Top

Philosopher's Stone

This setup will make you unbeatable in direct duels where the power of your abilites is replaced by raw striking power. It gives you a whole lot of armor, lifesteal, decent AD and some health. Combined with Crippling Strike and Exhaust your enemies won't be able to last long in a duel. However you will still die if their jungler ganks making it a 2 vs 1 fight.
Use the ward Wriggle's Lantern gives to you! It will greatly help you to dodge incoming ganking attempts.
You will also have remarkable lane sustain as Philosopher's Stone provides you with health and mana regen and Wriggle's Lantern gives you enough lifesteal to regain your health while farming.
This is the overall best option if you face an enemy whose skill level is about equal to yours.

Lane sustain to the max

Philosopher's Stone

Getting owned in your lane? Let me introduce you to the max sustain build. You will not only have the regen from Philosopher's Stone but also you will have two lifesteal items giving you a total lifesteal value of 22%. This will help you gaining your health back fast and staying in the lane very long. The armor provided by Ninja Tabi and Wriggle's Lantern should counter mos of the harass. You will be irremovable from your lane as long as you play smart and safe.

The best thing about this set up:
As soon as laning phase is over you can switch to your normal build!
Just build that Vampiric Scepter into The Bloodthirster and then just build your normal build (unless you need a more specified build).

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Mid Game

Your goals in mid game

If you did well in the laning phase and managed to push one or two of their towers you should at least got one of the above explained early game setups together. In mid game your power will start to grow as you should have a pretty good set of bonus stats by now. Your ultimate goal in mid game is to rack up kills and push towers whenever possible. However: Don't head solely for the towers as the enemy team can and will disturb and fight you when your team performs a 5 man tower push. The towers are not your primary goal in mid game!

Remember:Don't "secure" all the kills with "Noxian Guillotine" as the rest of your team especially the AD carry need kills too.

Important note please read!

Although you are no longer in your lane, farm as much as possible. Farming is crucial in every phase of the game especially if things aren't going so well and the enemy team has more kills then you. If you manage to outfarm the enemy team you can still win with because you will gain gold and have all your lanes pushed by the minions.

If you decide to go with The Bloodthirster and Warmog's Armor farming minions will help you even more by continuously adding bonuses to your stats just by killing minions.

Item Progression

The way of the damage beast

At the end of mid game you should have those items. You may think now: Those are pretty expensive how should i get that much gold?
As i mentioned before you should only start to build Darius the damage beast way if your team and especially you are extremely fed and you can win any fight easily.

By rushing The Bloodthirster right after you completed your early game setup you will receive a huge AD and lifesteal boost which can be upgraded even more by farming minions/killing jungle creeps. Go for Giant Belt right after completing The Bloodthirster for a nice health boost.

You will have some survivability through your Ninja Tabi and your runes but still blow up if under fire from a burst mage. This is where Hexdrinker comes in. Hexdrinker gives you 25 AD and 30 mares which is pretty good for an item that costs only 1400 gold. To top it of Hexdrinker gives you a 250 magic shield as soon as your health falls below 30%. The magic shield is what makes Hexdrinker so viable on Darius. This little shield will allow you to get of one or two Noxian Guillotines and so has the potential to turn the tide of a teamfight.

As i want to further improve your DPS now and give you even more armor penetration to work with i suggest building The Black Cleaver next as it gives you bonus AS, a nice AD bonus and an armor shreding passive which really becomes handy when facing tankier enemies. This item will greatly help you becoming even more deadly in direct duels or when attacking a squishy target as it reduces the enemies armor up to a cap (45 armor reduction is max).

To smoothen your resistances, build Sunfire Cape out of the Giant's Belt you purchased before. This will bring your armor on par with your mres and will greatly help you surviving in teamfights. The damaging aura is a nice little gimmick which can become handy in prolonged teamfights.

Note: Sell your Philosopher's Stoneas late in the game as possible, the GP5 really adds up after some time and the mana regeneration can become handy in more than one situation.

The Noxian Prince of Solo Top

This is my preferred build as it is kind of cheap and gives you a good amount of damage and resistances. I recommend this build against a balanced enemy team as it provides around 170 of armor as well as mres. Although the mres value in the cheat sheet is listed as ~150 you have to take the on hit bonus from Wit's End into consideration which gives you 20 bonus magic resist.

The reasons why i rush The Bloodthirster are the same as in the damage oriented build. It helps you developing a tremendous power without sacrificing any tank items.
Remember: The more your farm the more damage you get.

Go for a Chain Vest and a Null-Magic-Mantle. Those two items are very cheap and will get your resistances to a good offtank level thus allowing you to stay longer in teamfights. However: Never go in first you will be focused to death if you just run in and try to kill someone.

Build a Randuin's Omen from Chain Vest for the following reasons: More armor and health will greatly increase your overall survivability. The cooldown reduction will also increase your dps ny letting you cast your spells more often. Because of the passive/active slow Randuin's Omen offers you will be even harder to defeat in a straight 1v1 and you will be abl to escape prettty easily by popping the active ability.

Upgrade the Null-Magic-Mantle into Wit's End. As Wit's End is a very controversial item i will try to explain it's role in the build as reasonable as possible.
The bonus AS is crucial to use the lifesteal from The Bloodthirster properly. I think this is the point where everyone that has 150+ wins can agree with me. If you don't hit fast enough lifesteal becomes useless in teamfights. More AS also helps you to stack Hemorrhage on your enemies faster.
But why Wit's End? Wit's End gives you, together with it's on hit passive, 56 mres plus bonus AS plus a damaging on hit passive. This makes Wit's Emd a great item for Darius as you benefit heavily from everything it gives to you. The magic damage does stack with the damage from Hemorrhage. This will heavily increase you DPS as you do not only deal physical damage with you autoattacks now but also magic damage.

Build Hexdrinker for the same reasons as explained in the damage build.

The way of the healthy warrior

This build is completely different form the other builds as it favors health and survivability over raw damage output. Due to the amount of health and damage it gives you even in mid game this build is more than legit and it works not only on solo top but also on bot lane and duo top.

Frozen Mallet is core in this build option as it gives you a massive health boost, a little AD bonus and a on hit passive which slows everything you hit with your almighty giant axe of death. This slow will remove all your kiting problems as you already got a slight movementspeed boost from the changed mastery tree ( Initiator ).

Go for Hexdrinker next for the same reasons as in the other build options. Add Chain Vest and you will have a nice amount of armor and mres plus the shield from Hexdrinker at your defensive disposal.

Build The Bloodthirster next. The choice of this item is also explained in the above builds so please have a look at the other build options too.

By building Atma's Impaler you will receive another nice AD boost along with a crit chance which can become handy from time to time especially if you win a direct duel just because of a lucky crit. Together with Frozen Mallet, Hexdrinker and The Bloodthirster you will hae massive amounts of AD thus having a lot more damage output via autoattacks as well as your abilities as they all stack with AD (even Hemorrhage).

As your last midgame item i suggest a Giant's Belt as it will give you a great amount of health and can be build into Warmog's Armor pretty easily. It will also give you slightly more damage because of Atma's Impalers passive.

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Late Game

Your goals in end/late game

The objectives of the late game phase are pretty straight forward. Your primary goal ia too win teamfights and push their towers. Also getting the baron buff whenever possible is extremely important. Don't head solely for the towers as you will be easily ganked and defeated even when 5v5 resulting in approximately 90 seconds for the enemy team to push and win the game. You should have become a pretty decent offtank by now. This is why there are only two more items to go for to smoothen out your build and resistances.

Remember: Never leave your team alone for farming purposes! Late game death times are horrible.

The way of the damage beast/The Noxian Prince of Solo Top

As you can see i add the same items to the damage oriented build and my preferred build as they both benefit Darius heavily.

By upgrading Phage into Frozen Mallet you will receive a permanent on hit slow and a huge chunk of health making you even ore threatening and harder to bring down in teamfights.

Maw of Malmortius benefits you by giving you more AD as you lose health meaning that all of your attacks and abilities will get stronger as you loose more health allowing you to win a else lost fight. The magic shield also becomes very handy as explained in the mid game section.

The way of the healthy warrior

The reasons why i decide to add Warmog's Armor to the more health focused build should be pretty obvious. By building this item you will get a ton of health and health regen which can e upgraded by killing minions. Paired with Atma's Impaler this item will also aid you by giving you a lot more damage.

I build Maw of Malmortius for the same reasons as in the two other builds. The difference is that you will be able to benefit more from it's passive. Due to the fact that you have more health you will gain the passive AD bonus than you would normally do.

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Team Work/Teamfights

Just some quick thoughts and reminders about team work with Darius:

You should:

1. Seperate the top priority enemies (the carries) from the rest of their team by using Apprehend

2. Spam Decimate as often as possible to ensure maximum AoE damage to all enemies

3. Use your Crippling Strike and Exhaust to severly cripple the enemy AD carries attack and movement speed

4. Give your AD and AP carry as many kills as possible

You should never:

1. "Secure" every kill with your ultimate unless there is no carry around

2. Run straight in and initiate a fight. Darius may be an offtank but he is no initiator. Champs like Amumu or Blitzcrank or even Garen are better initiators as they all have some kind of silencing/rooting CC Darius lacks completely.

3. Purposely KS your carries. If you do so you are abd and you should feel bad so don't KS ok?

4. Steal blue or red buff from your carries or any minions/jungle creeps at all

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Hall of Fame

If you had a good game with one of my builds don't be shy send me a screenshot of it and i will publish it here :)

A pretty good game by Vidas Morte (Thank you for the screenshot :)) where he carried hard and still had a assist counter of 7 which isn't that natural as soon as you get fed and can deal massive amounts of damage in no time via your abilities. As you can see their main carry (in this case Master Yi got a nice bunch of kills too. Nice work Vidas.

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Viability of the builds

I try to hold my assist count about as high as my kill count. Why? Because your teammates need kills also and it won't be good if you as a tanky dps/bruiser have all the kills.

This was a pretty nice game with a pretty nice team (after days of trolls, leavers, feeders etc etc) where i tested the more health oriented build. The results were pretty awesome. I played bot lane with ashe until mid game which is by far not the best position for Darius I tried to hold my assist counter at roughly the same level as my kill counter as the AD Carry needs a lot more kills than you early on.

I will test the more health oriented build at solo top lane and will upload more screenshots proving the viability of the buils.

Again a nice game with the more health focused built. On a duo lane this build works out perfectly but i am still not sure about the top lane. I think i will be able to finish the midgame section soon if the testing results remain positive.

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Last Sentence

So that's it with my guide for Darius.
I hope you liked it and pls rate and comment. I am open for criticism as long as it is productive. :)

Thanks to:
+ OTG BionicArm for giving a lot of support
+ War Rager for pointing out some viable alternative items.
+ Searz for his awesome template on how to make a guide look good.
+ Redemolf for the good feedback and the improvement ideas.
+ jhoijhoi for the awesome template on how to write a guide and the cool separators/dividers.

Changes planned:
- Adding a gameplay section: Farming/Laning,Teamfights
- Adding more alternative items
- Adding more Summoner Spells
- Adding more information to the Skill Sequence section
- Expanding the gameplay section (late game)
- Further optimizing format (masteries etc.)

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Change Log

Guide published
Updated mastery section and added more alternative items
Completed the Summoner Spells section
Completely revamped the masteries section
added a grapple location and a viability image
added seperators/section dividers
05/28/2012 Changed format,
splitted up the items section
activated require comment to vote due to 2 unexplained downvotes
added images to the skill section,
added "Farming/Laning" section
Deactivated comment to vote again as i've seen that this does not prevent people from downvoting without trying. Bring it on people.
Changed the item's section a little bit:
Moved Frozen Mallet to "Late Game Items" section and put Madred's Bloodrazor in the "Alternative Items" section
implemented Maw of Malmortius
added maximum sustain build option
Removed "Farming/Laning" section
added "Early game section"
added "Basic ability combos" section
added "Uses of Apprehend" section (still under construction)
implemented Wriggle's Lantern
reworked parts of the "Summoner Spells" section
reworked "Masteries" section
added "Skill Sequence" section
reformated "Summoner Spells" section
changed the name of the former "Alternative Items" section to "Situational Items" section
added "Mid Game" section
fixed some typos
reactivated comment to vote as i now deem my guide worthy a +1 so i don't want any trollvotes to happen
added The Black Cleaver to the situational items section
changed the 2nd dps option a little bit
expanded midgame section work still in progress
further expanded the midgame section work not finished yet
fixed a mistake in the cheat sheet item build
expanded midgame section
finished midgame section
added Hall of Fame section
moved Randuin's Omen to core and Sunfire Cape to situational items
finished mid and lategame section
changed cheat sheet a bit
07/23/2012 added the Team Work/Teamfights section, pretty much finished the guide planning on adding teh missing pictures soon