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Darius Build Guide by Draconic Lord

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Draconic Lord

Top Lane Darius - Strength Above All!

Draconic Lord Last updated on November 13, 2015
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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.


Natural Talent
Bounty Hunter
Battering Blows
Piercing Thoughts

Ferocity: 18

Dangerous Game

Cunning: 0

Tough Skin
Runic Armor
Veteran's Scars
Legendary Guardian

Resolve: 12

Threats to Darius with this build

Show all
Threat Champion Notes
Sion He cannot deal with your early power. In the laning phase he does not have enough damage to hurt vary much, and not enough tankiness to survive very long (yet). His Q is pretty easy to dodge if he tries to get the full effect due to the cast time, and his E can be avoided by not having one of your minions between you and him. The only potential threat is that he does have a lot of hard CC, particularly post-6, so he can make it very hard to escape a gank.
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Hello and welcome to my first guide! Darius has been one of my favourite champions since the day I first played him, so I am now reasonably experienced with him. In this guide, I will describe the items and techniques which I have found to work best on the Hand of Noxus.

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Pros / Cons


+ High damage while still very tanky
+ It's hard to build defensive items to stop him
+ Noxian Guillotine can exceed 1000 true damage at full build
+ Noxian Guillotine cooldown can (temporarily) reset
+ Great fun to play!
Darius is an excellent champion, dealing high damage, but still being tanky enough to survive some hits. Darius can deal loads of true damage and and even gains armour pen from Apprehend to make his primary damage type, physical, even more effective. This makes it very hard to build items to stop him.


+ Weak to CC
+ No escape ability (or mobility in general)
+ Awful attack speed and no really viable items to increase it
+ It takes quite a long time to give an enemy 5 stakes of Hemorrhage to make them take full damage from Noxian Guillotine
Darius does have some weaknesses though. He struggles to escape if ganked, (although if the laner and/or jungler are low enough, he can potentially double kill especially with the reset on Noxian Guillotine) and he is weak to CC in general. Even a small slow can stop him as he no gap-closer either.

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9 x Greater Mark of Attack Damage
9 x Greater Seal of Armor
9 x Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
3 x Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage

This rune page is simple but very effective. I don't recommend any alternatives really, the only one that could be considered is replacing some of the marks with greater mark of armor penetration. However, since Darius scales well with AD, and you get armour pen from Apprehend and Devastating Strikes , Greater Mark of Attack Damage will generally be better.

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Summoner Spells

Flash is of course pretty much required for almost all champions, and certainly for Darius. It will be his only mobility spell, and it's certainly better than Ghost for Darius.

For the second summoner spell, I recommend Teleport. It's a versatile spell if used correctly, and it allows you to have global map presence while it's up, as you can get to any fight in 4 seconds as long as there is a target for the spell.

It can be used on any allied targetable object except champions. Some lesser known things that you can Teleport to include Thresh lanterns and Rek'Sai tunnel entrances (assuming they are allied, of course). If a fight is about to start and you can see a target for Teleport, ask an ally to place a ward for you.

Teleport will make its target invulnerable for the duration of the channel (except for turrets), so if you see someone who is low trying to destroy a ward, it might be possible to use Teleport to save the ward and kill them (but don't use it to save a ward unless there is some further benefit to be gained - a ward isn't worth as much as that!).

Finally, Teleport can be cancelled during its channel, either by you being hit by hard CC during the channel, by reactivating the spell or by it's target being destroyed (if it was a turret - Teleport will make the target invulnerable otherwise). This will place it on a cooldown of only 200 seconds, so don't be afraid to cancel it if it looks like it wasn't a very good idea after all (such as turning a 2v5 situation into a 3v5 - that will probably just be another kill for the enemy team). Do be careful though, as you could 'bait' your own team into a bad situation if they think you're coming and then you don't. If you are trying to escape and there isn't time for a recall , consider using Teleport on a turret in your base - the channel is half of recall and damage won't stop it - only hard CC.

The only really viable alternative to Teleport is Ignite. The main use of Ignite is to increase kill potential during the laning phase. However, Darius already has great kill potential with Noxian Guillotine and Hemorrhage, which acts similarly to Ignite. Also, Ignite is much less useful than Teleport in the mid to late game. Ignite does inflict grievous wounds though, which reduce incoming healing by 40%, so if you are against a Swain, or someone else with a lot of healing, it can be viable.

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Hemorrhage is a great passive. It can stack which will multiply the damage by up to 5. At 5 stacks it really does a lot of damage over the 5 seconds, and it scales with your AD. If you get 5 stacks on an enemy, a large symbol will appear over their head. This makes it easy to see that they will now take maximum damage from your Noxian Guillotine. All your damaging abilities except for the inner area of Decimate and your basic attack will apply a stack (note that Apprehend deals no damage directly so it will not apply a stack).

Best of all though is the "Noxian Might" effect. When you kill someone with Noxian Guillotine or get 5 stacks of Hemorrhage on an enemy, you get "Noxian Might" for 5 seconds. This gives you and additional 40-200 (yes, 200) attack damage (scaling by level) and makes anything that would add a stack of Hemorrhage add 5 instead, allowing for instant max damage Noxian Guillotine! That is awesome!

A high damage ability on an amazingly short cooldown and low mana cost! It does have quite a long cast time (0.75 seconds), in which the enemy can see that you're casting it and you can't cast anything else. This can be tricky to deal with, but it's not too hard with some practice. It even heals you! Specifically, it will restore 10% of your missing health per champion hit, up to 30%. This is great for making you win trades, and obviously can be huge in a teamfight. it's also one of the many things that make heath increasing items so good on Darius. This ability is great for harassing and wave clearing, but be careful as it will very quickly push the lane and Darius is vulnerable to ganks. This is your only AoE damage, so try to hit as many enemies as possible during teamfights (don't save it for more than a moment though to try to hit more enemies otherwise it would have come off cooldown anyway!). Note that the damage is higher on the outer half of the circle, and Hemorrhage will only apply to that area - try to use it before Apprehend if possible, and wait until the enemy is moving away before using it after a trade to ensure maximum damage.

Decimate can be used often to harass the enemy in lane. In this case it should be easy to hit them for the maximum damage on the outer half, but be careful because you will usually hit minions too which will push the lane quite quickly. Be sure to buy wards and make sure you know the enemy jungler is not nearby before committing too heavily while the lane is pushed - if you get ganked then it's kill them both or (more often) you will die.

Finally, if the enemy is low enough to be killed by one Decimate, but is being careful not to get in range of your Apprehend, you can Flash, immediately followed by Decimate to finish them off. Be very careful when doing this, make sure that decimate will kill them and that your flash will get you into range and also that they won't be able to escape during the cast time with a dash or similar - otherwise you will have to be very careful for 5 minutes while waiting for Flash, with no benefit gained.

Crippling Strike greatly enhances your next basic attack - increasing the damage by 40%, and applying a massive slow.

Crippling Strike also resets your basic attack animation. That means it's best to use it immediately after doing a standard basic attack for maximum damage as quickly as possible. Maxing this ability only reduces the cooldown. it's still usually best to max it second (you need those attack animation resets as often as possible to make up for the terrible base attack speed), but if the enemy are stacking armour, it may be better to max Apprehend for the armour pen. Crippling Strike will refund its mana cost and half the cooldown if it kills the target, to it's easy to use it for animation resets when last hitting.

Apprehend is what you will usually need to start a trade, especially if the enemy is ranged. However, if you can get into range of the enemy without using Apprehend then do so, because then it will be up for if they try to run. Due to the long cooldown, its best not to use Apprehend unless it's really necessary, particularly pre-6 when it might be difficult to actually finish someone off. If you can find another way of engaging, you can save Apprehend.

Apprehend unfortunately has a 0.25 second cast time and any enemies who escape the area during this time will not be pulled, so don't use it if the enemy is running and right on the edge - they will escape. It applies a nice slow to anyone who is grabbed though and gives vision of its area. This isn't normally very useful, but you can use it to look over walls in some areas.

This ability also passively gives Darius increased armour penetration, which is exellent and makes it even more difficult for the enemy to build defensive items against him.

The ability that Darius is famous for, this incredible ultimate can turn the tide of a battle. Its damage is true damage - no amount of armour or magic resistance will reduce it at all. By the late game Noxian Guillotine can exceed 1000 true damage when used on a target with 5 stacks of Hemorrhage, and that is really a huge amount. Oh and if it kills the target, you can cast it again for 20 seconds!

Pretty much the only thing that stops Noxian Guillotine from being way OP is that, to do full damage, the target must have 5 stacks of the passive, Hemorrhage. Except in duels, this is usually not possible, so you will deal "only" 60%-80% of the max damage (which is still a lot). The way it works is if it's used on a target with no stacks of Hemorrhage it will deal the base damage, and each stack of Hemorrhage increases that by 20%, up to 100% (double the base damage) at 5 stacks. You can see the current maximum damage by hovering over the ability in-game.

Recasting now has no cost, and the ability loses it's base mana cost completely at level 3. It also completely resets it's cooldown on kill at level 3, instead of just being recastable for 20 seconds. Finally, as a bonus, when it kills a champion, all nearby minions and ordinary monsters will be feared. The enemy players probably will be too, but unfortunately not their champions.

The game is actually slightly inaccurate in determining whether Noxian Guillotine actually killed the target. If the target survives the Noxian Guillotine but dies immediately afterwards (it must be within at most about a quarter of a second for this to work), you still get the cooldown refresh, which can be very useful!

During an all-in in the laning phase, if you are about to die and Noxian Guillotine won't quite kill the target, you can use it anyway and escape while Hemorrhage finishes them off - you wouldn't get to use the cooldown reset anyway as no one else is about.

In teamfights you want to get your Noxian Might to trigger as soon as possible. The idea way to do this is to kill someone with Noxian Guillotine, but it may not be the fastest. Sometimes, the bast idea can be to actually focus an immobile tank and build up 5 stacks of Hemorrhage on them. The massive AD buff and instant 5 stacks can make it as though you'd focused the carry all along if you hit them just once with Noxian Might. If you have used Noxian Guillotine and got the reset, but the reset it about to expire, its usually a good idea to just use it on anyone in range (assuming you don't overextend yourself by doing so), as it was going on cooldown anyway. However, the cooldown is measured from when it's cast, not when the reset expires. Finally, unlike some ults, Noxian Guillotine does not go on cooldown if it "misses" due to the target becoming untargetable during the cast time, which can catch some people out.

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Check the build path notes at the start of the guide, there are more concise explanations there!

Starting Items

Usually the best starting items are Long Sword, 3 x Health Potion and a Warding Totem. This is a versatile start, as the Long Sword can build into Tiamat, Hexdrinker or occasionally Vampiric Scepter.

Darius has great early trade potential, but if the enemy has even more (for example Pantheon or Riven), then Cloth Armor and 5 x Health Potion is a good start. It will give more sustain and the Cloth Armor can build into Warden's Mail or possibly Chain Vest.

I don't recommend doran's items, mainly because they don't build into core items, and it seems a waste of gold to use them when there are fine starting items which do build into core items. However, if the enemy laner can harass you a lot with basic attacks or single target abilities (for example Teemo or Kayle), then Doran's Shield is a possibility if you don't feel confident enough to use the Long Sword start against them.

First Complete Item

An excellent first item with health, AD, massive cooldown reduction and armour shred to go with your Apprehend. The "rage" passive is also useful for "sticking" to targets. Your starting Long Sword upgrades nicely in to the Phage which immediately gives the "rage passive". Not much more to say here as there aren't really any disadvantages.

Titanic hydra is a good second item, ensuring you damage remains strong whilst increasing your defenses. Note that the damage of the active and passive scale with max health, so they will get even stronger later. If you are losing or need resistances to survive facing a fed enemy, this item can be delayed until later (when it damage will be higher), focus on resistances as the black cleaver still gives enough damage to make you impossible to ignore. If on the other hand you are already ahead by at least three or four kills, then you can get Ravenous Hydra instead. This will give you loads of damage and sustain but will make you a bit squishy.

Mid and Late Game Items

If the early game was reasonably good or better, by now you should have completed The Black Cleaver and ideally be close to Titanic Hydra. Don't forget to use the active! It does pretty high damage on a 20 second cooldown.

Upgrade your boots as soon as possible once skirmishes of several players from each team start to happen. Darius benefits greatly from being able to move around in these situations so I usually choose Boots of Swiftness - Alacrity. These are the fastest boots while in combat (where Boots of Mobility become no better than basic Boots of Speed) and really help Darius contribute as much as possible to the fight. The slow resistance isn't hugely noticeable but it certainly helps becasue slows can mess up Darius so much.

Other options are available though. If the enemy has loads of cc then Mercury's Treads - Alacrity can be used. The magic resitance they give is also helpful. Alternatively if there are fed champions on the enemy team that rely primarily on basic attacks such as Tryndamere or Master Yi, and of course the enemy ADC, then Ninja Tabi - Alacrity can be useful (although in this case Thornmail is usually better, unless these enemies are so fed that both these items are required).

Finally, if you are losing and constantly having to defend your base, you can replace Enchantment: Alacrity with Enchantment: Homeguard. It doesn't do anything from shortly after leaving the base until you return, but it does have its uses. It also works well with Teleport - if you Teleport from the summoner platform, Enchantment: Homeguard will still work. This can allow you to have a very dramatic entrance on fights indeed!

These are usually the strongest resistance items for Darius. The passive on Dead Man's Plate allows even more mobility, and Spirit Visage increases the power of your heal while granting even more cool down reduction. However there are plenty of other possible resistance items to consider, so be sure to adapt depending on the situation.

Sterak's Gage was literally made for Darius, so understandably he benefits from it. It fits well with was Darius is designed to do, giving some damage and a good buff when you take a lot of damage quickly.

Greater Stealth Totem is an excellent trinket! For only 250 gold, it will give you all the wards you need. Get this as soon as you can after level 9, and remind your teammates to upgrade as well. If the enemy team have powerful stealth ( Shaco, Rengar etc.), or if your allies are warding very well, you can go for Greater Vision Totem instead. The Vision Wards it provides are also good for clearing enemy wards from the dragon or baron pits, but you can only have one at a time, so Greater Stealth Totem is usually better.

Any elixir except Elixir of Sorcery is viable. Elixir of Ruin is for split pushing, which you could sometimes do with the help of your Teleport. Otherwise basically its Elixir of Wrath for a bit more damage (also helps your sustain, but unfortunately like Decimate only against enemy champions), or Elixir of Iron for more defense. The size boost from Elixir of Iron and Sterak's Gage can make you very large indeed!

Situational Items

It's never a good idea to stick too rigidly to one set of items. There are many other items which work very well on Darius and in the right situation they could be just what you need to get the edge in a close game.

Ravenous Hydra instead of Titanic Hydra can be devastating on Darius, but your job is also to take a significant amount of the damage in teamfights, so only use it if you are significantly ahead to ensure you don't become squishy. It's best purchased directly after The Black Cleaver as long as you are three of four kills ahead. Another advantage if that it allows you to heal up between fights without always having to recall.

This is situational, but you will sometimes want a Quicksilver Sash. Buy this if the enemy team have too much cc for Mercury's Treads to be really effective. It gives a bit of magic resistance and a very useful active. The quicksilver active is the only thing in the game that can remove suppression, and note that it doesn't only remove CC. Any debuff attached to you will be removed, including Ignite, as well as other damage over time effects like Children of the Grave and (unfortunately!) Hemorrhage. However, you must time it carefully as you can be affected by CC again immediately after use, and this time there will be nothing you can do about it. Try to be aware of all abilities the enemy have that might need the quicksilver active, and see if you can attract them in teamfights before removing them all. Timing it right will take some practise, but its very powerful if you can.

One thing Darius suffers from is lack of sustain. Decimate has some healing, but it's limited and no good for healing between fights. Warmog's Armor if perfect for fixing this, giving massive sustain and loads of health which increases the damage of Titanic Hydra and makes Sterak's Gage easier to trigger as well. However, it has no resistances, so often getting this will be less efficient than reducing incoming damage via resistances. It can replace Sterak's Gage instead if you wish.

This would normally replace Dead Man's Plate. Randuin's Omen is useful if the enemy rely on crits (fed ADC, Yasuo, Tryndamere etc.), although Thornmail is often a better choice in this case. Also, the active on Randuin's Omen is great for chasing, or just generally messing up the enemy team in a teamfight. If the enemy rely on moving around a lot while fighting, this could stop them.

This would replace Spirit Visage. The passive is very useful against dangerous spells like Dark Binding and Rocket Grab, and initiation like Unstoppable Force, though you are less likely to be targeted by this sort of thing at the start of a teamfight, as being pulled in might just let you Apprehend their carries while the rest of you team follows up.

The quicksilver active actually gets a bit of an upgrade on Mercurial Scimitar, granting a 50% movement speed boost for 1 second. This is very useful especially on Darius, who benefits greatly from movement speed in combat. It helps you not to get hit with CC again immediately after using it, and you can even use it just for the movement speed boost when chasing (or being chased). Be careful with this though as you will have to wait 90 seconds before you can remove debuffs again.

As for when to actually upgrade to Mercurial Scimitar... well this is tricky as Mercurial Scimitar is extremely expensive - 2450 gold when you already have the 1250 gold Quicksilver Sash. If you are really ahead (something in the region of 7/0 or 9/2), then you can get it when you only have Ravenous Hydra, boots and very basic defense such as a Giant's Belt and Cloth Armor as you are so far ahead you can kill anyone before they can damage you much - even with so little defense. Otherwise this will be a later (probably last) item as you will need to focus more on defense in the mid game.

If you're ahead or your team has other tanks, this can be used as your main magic resist item. Of course, it's focus is also on damage, but you will not struggle for magic resistance especially if this item is combined with Mercurial Scimitar. And it has a powerful magic shield, particularly useful against burst although it does last 5 seconds.

Armour and magic resist on the same item is very nice, but it doesn't give any health. However, if you feel you have enough health this can be the 6th item, and Darius can use the revival reasonably well.

If the enemy are full AD, this is a good replacement for your magical defensive item of Maw of Malmortius or Banshee's Veil. It's also useful if a basic attack reliant enemy like Tryndamere or the ADC are fed. It works well with Randuin's Omen, as their stats synergize nicely.

Not a very good item as The Black Cleaver will give armour pen with much better other stats. If the enemy have a huge amount of healing or nearly all of them have a massive amount of armour then Mortal Reminder may be necessary, but it will leave you squishy. Otherwise use this only if you are extremely fed, and therefore basically building full damage. It would usually have to replace Spirit Visage/ Maw of Malmortius, which will weaken your magic resistance.

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Thnak you for reading my Darius guide! I hope you learned something which will help you guillotine more enemies on the fields of justice!