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Threats & Synergies
Aatrox is a fighter that thrives in extended duels once he has enough items. Darius' all-in potential early game is too much for him to handle and as a melee champion he will struggle to farm against you. He does have an escape, however, so catching him won't be as easy.
Before level six Akali is an easy matchup. I suggest trying to all-in her before she hits that power spike. After level six her burst increases and she may be more difficult to beat.
All though a melee champion, Camille has a versatile kit with a strong shield and a stun. She's mobile and can escape or engage on Darius easily. Her damage is also excellent. You need to be careful when extending in lane, because her ultimate locks you down to an area where it's easy to set up a gank.
Cho'Gath can easily be killed early game if you manage to avoid his crowd control. Later on into the game his ultimate health stacking and damage makes him more difficult to beat.
Mundo has no mobility and is easy to kill early game. Even after he starts stacking armor you're able to kill him because of The Black Cleaver and Apprehend passive. Build boots against him early to make side stepping his Infected Cleaver easier and consider running Ignite against him, since he heals a lot of health with his Sadism.
Ekko gains a burst of movement speed from his passive and with cooldown reduction can dash around with his Phase Dive. His ultimate is also a counter to yours, and he gains a strong shield and stuns you with his Parallel Convergence if it hits. All though he may not be able to all-in or bully you out of lane, it will be difficult to kill him.
Even though a melee matchup, Fiora is extremely effective against Darius. Her true damage melts through Darius' armor and her Riposte completely counters your ultimate. She's also quite mobile. A good mind trick is to cast Noxian Guillotine on her at four Hemorrhage stacks. Darius players often want to wait for their Noxian Might that they get from five stacks, and she might not expect you to cast your ultimate early. If she wastes her parry at whatever point, fight her.
A decent Gangplank will try to poke you with his Parrrley and earn gold through the Bandit mastery. He won't be able to bully you out of lane, and if he steps too close you can easily burn his flash.
Garen has decent damage and armor shred in his kit, but you can usually burst him out with five passive stacks and Noxian Guillotine before he can kill you.
Mini-Gnar can safely poke you down with his Boomerang Throw and shreds through your health bar with his Hyper passive. It also gives him a burst of movement speed, which allows him to kite you. His Hop ensures he can escape if he gets too close. Try fighting him when he's Mega Gnar, but avoid standing near walls so he can't stun you against one.
Hecarim will struggle against you as a melee champion with no solid escape. His Devastating Strike accelerates after a short time, and you can pull him to you and slow him down before he manages to escape with it. Remind your team when he's missing, since his roams are quite potent.
Heimerdinger can poke you down from range and his ultimate turret works well against champions who wish to engage. Heimerdinger can also 1v2, so I suggest trying to farm up against him and sending your jungler mid/bot.
Illaoi has extremely good burst with her ultimate, which Darius struggles against. Build boots early so you can dodge her tentacles easily. Avoid fighting her unless you manage to dodge her Test of Spirit.
A good Irelia can fight you if she manages to do short trades by stunning you and dashing to a minion to escape shortly after. This will be difficult for her though, and you should have an advantage on this matchup. Try to kill her before she manages to build a Trinity Force and gets tankier, at that point she can even duel you.
Jarvan has good damage and lockdown with his ultimate, and it is fairly easy to set up ganks on him. However, if he engages with his flag + Dragon Strike combo, he has no escape left. Jarvan players will most likely try to chunk you down with their Dragon strike. It deals a ton of damage and reduces your armor, so try to avoid being hit by it.
Jax will beat you late game but will struggle in lane. He will only be able to defeat you once he builds more items and deals insane damage-per-second. Try to fight him after he has used his Counter Strike.
Jayce is a difficult matchup for Darius because he can poke him from range, forcing Darius to go back to base. If you try to engage on him he can run away with his Acceleration Gate bonus movement speed. If that's not enough, he can knock you back with his Thundering Blow. If you can catch him off guard and manage to get in range then you should be able to burn his flash or even kill him.
Karma has everything Darius struggles against: Strong abilities from range, bursts of movement speed in her kit and hard crowd control and a slow. If you go against this matchup, try to farm and wait for your jungler to come.
Karthus is an easy matchup against most champions. It might be difficult to kill him due to his safe farming with his Lay Waste, but he won't do much to you. Try to kill him with your jungler so that his transition into late game will take longer.
Kayle has a slow, a movement speed steroid, strong ranged damage-per-second similar to marksmen and an ultimate that prevents damage. Everything on her kit works well against Darius. Try to get into her melee range before level six and fight her before she gets to build many items and becomes a late game monster.
Kennen has ranged poke with his shurikens and a lot of hard crowd control. He can also easily engage or escape with his Lightning Rush. Hide behind minions to avoid his shurikens.
Kled is surprisingly tanky and can damage you from range. It will be difficult to kill him in lane. Try to avoid being locked down by him.
Lissandra has decent damage from range, an escape, hard crowd control and an ultimate that either locks you down or prevents damage. She's similar to Kayle, except she has hard crowd control instead of a slow and a blink as an escape.
All though Lulu's damage isn't the highest among AP casters, she has a slow and a movement speed steroid to kite you, with addition to a polymorph that will prevent you from doing damage and an ultimate which gives any of her teammates health against your Noxian Guillotine.
Malphite likes to build a lot of armor, and this is where Darius excels. Darius naturally gains armor penetration from his Apprehend passive and by building The Black Cleaver. Try not to stand too close to him when fighting him to avoid his Ground Slam, which lowers your attack speed and try to constantly trade with him so he doesn't get his Granite Shield back up. Be wary of his gank setups with Unstoppable Force. He can also use it to escape you.
Although he has a lot of crowd control, Maokai will struggle against Darius simply because he works at a melee range and does not have an escape. Be careful of his gank setups with Twisted Advance.
Mordekaiser is another easy melee matchup. He has no crowd control or an escape, so it's fairly easy to engage on him. Try to kill him early game and deny his farm.
Nasus can defeat you in a duel once he has enough stacks on his Siphoning Strike, but before that try to deny his farm and kill him in lane if he steps too close. Consider running Ignite against him for higher kill potential. Nasus becomes a threat to you after level 6, since he can deal massive amounts of damage with his halved Siphoning strike cooldown while his ultimate is active.
Nautilus is similar to Malphite and Maokai in terms of tankiness, which Darius excels well against, but unlike them he has a solid escape with his Dredge Line. He will not defeat you in a duel but be wary of his gank setups.
Olaf has both consistent damage and burst, but he does not have a true escape. If he manages to hit his Undertow on you time after time he will deal some serious damage. Try to avoid his axes and duel him before he reaches level six.
Pantheon can poke you down with his Spear Shot and can be quite difficult to lane against. If he starts chunking too much health from you, build a chain vest before The Black Cleaver. Building a lot of armor early game can completely negate his all-in potential. Pantheon is a melee champion, so try fighting him when he tries to farm minions near you.
Poppy has excellent damage for a tank, but tanks are what Darius excels at. Poppy has a small movement speed steroid and her ultimate is a disengage, but other than that she isn't difficult to beat if you can fight her for a prolonged time.
Being a marksman, Quinn's auto attack damage is superb and she can kite you easily with her knockback and slow. Try to hide behind minions to avoid her Blinding Assault and farm up. Remind your team when she's missing; She can easily roam with her ultimate.
Renekton can do short trades with you and force you to go back to base with his all-in threat. His Slice and Dice ensures he's able to escape after he's traded with you. However, if you can catch him while his abilities are on cooldown, you can kill him. Try to fight him when his fury bar is low, that way he will have less damage.
Rengar has excellent damage and burst, but has no real escape. Once he jumps on you, try to all-in him. However, most Rengar players will try to jump from a brush with four stacks of ferocity and try kill you at level 2. Push the wave early to prevent this.
Riven has excellent damage and mobility. Once she hits level six she can burst you down before you can get five stacks on her. Try to kill her before level six if she wastes her abilities on a minion wave. If you struggle against her, build a chain vest before The Black Cleaver.
Rumble players usually build a Rylai's Crystal Sceptre, giving him a solid slow with his Flamespitter. His Electro-Harpoon is also a good slow, and will help him kite you. If you can get to his melee range you can easily kill him.
Ryze has a strong root and gains a burst of movement speed, allowing him to kite you easily. Try to hide behind minion waves so he can't land his Overload on you. If the matchup gets difficult, build a Spectre's Cowl into a Spirit Visage before The Black Cleaver.
Similar matchup to Nautilus. Shen is a tank with a dash, so he can escape Darius if he wants but won't be able to duel him until he gets more items.
Singed can't kill you unless you chase him. He can also escape easily with his bonus movement speed from Insanity Potion. He will most likely proxy farm against you, so remind your jungler to be ready to kill him if possible.
Sion is a tank with good crowd control and somewhat an escape with his Unstoppable Onslaught. Try to kill him before he gets to stack too much health with items and his Soul Furnace passive. You can interrupt his Decimating Smash with your Apprehend, but he quickly regains the ability after it's cancelled.
Swain most likely cannot kill you, but his slows and crowd control will make it difficult to kill him. As a ranged champion he will have an advantage over you.
Tahm Kench loves to build health, since his bonus basic attack damage depends on the amount of maximum health he has. Building health is also a good counter against Darius' true damage. Tahm Kench also gains a massive shield to block your ultimate and in a prolonged fight his amount of damage and crowd control might be too much for you to handle.
Teemo's ability to kite with his mushrooms and Move Quick make him a difficult opponent to lane against. Try to catch him off guard and all-in him if you get the chance.
Trundle's ability to bite off his opponent's attack damage works quite well against Darius. Trundle can also steal a portion of your stats and health with his ultimate, and his pillar slows you enough for him to be able to escape you. After he reaches power spikes from building up to a Trinity Force he becomes difficult to duel against.
Tryndamere's Undying Rage is a great counter to Darius' Noxian Guillotine. However, most of the time Tryndamere will die to your passive even if he gets away and heals with his Bloodlust. Try to all-in him before level six and be careful when fighting him early levels, since he gains 30% critical strike chance from his passive.
Vladimir doesn't have enough damage early game to entirely bully you out of lane, but he can be annoying to lane against. Try to all-in him if you catch him out of position.
Volibear's Chosen of the Storm works well in prolonged fights where he's able to heal up when he hits low health, but against Darius he may struggle. You can usually kill him with your burst from Noxian Guillotine before he manages to heal up with his passive.
Wukong has to get close up and personal when trying to fight you. A good Wukong will try to dash on top of you and hit you with his empowered auto attack, then use his clone to run away. If you allow him to do this, the matchup can get difficult. When he comes too close or tries to do short trades with you, all-in him. He has no escape and no crowd control to duel you before level six.
Xin Zhao is good at engaging at an enemy, not disengaging. Try to fight him early before he reaches item power spikes and becomes difficult to duel against.
Yasuo has very low base health for a melee champion. It will be a difficult matchup for Yasuo to win, and Darius will definitely have an advantage. Try to fight him when there's no minions around, so that he can't dash around.
Yorick has no escape and isn't able to duel Darius until he becomes tankier. Most Yorick players will try to split push with their Eulogy of the Isles. Try to all-in him if you can.
Vayne is a rare pick in top lane, but when she's picked she's a pain in the ass. Her true damage, ability to kite and knockback are far too much for Darius to handle. Cry for ganks because she doesn't have a good escape and try all-in her before she gets to finish her first item.
Fizz does have a lot of damage, but he has to get into melee range to deal damage. If he wastes his Playful / Trickster you can try killing him.
Even though a marksman, Graves has a low attack range and gets destroyed by Darius if he allows him to get close. He's still annoying to deal with. Try to hide behind minions to avoid his basic attacks.
Not ok. Even though a tanky champion, Rammus struggles against Darius' armor penetration with no solid escape. Remember to ward properly because he can lock you down for long enough for the enemy jungler to show up.
Urgot has a decent amount of damage, but he has a short basic attack range. Try to catch him with your Apprehend if you get the chance and avoid being hit. Try to fight him if he wastes his Purge to clear a minion wave.
Greetings! Welcome to my guide.
I go on the internet as OdouDog.
I decided to make this guide after playing League of Legends for approximately three years now. I thought it would be my time to give back to the community that has helped me become a better player. In this guide, I try to go in-depth with explaining everything necessary for becoming a better player in such a way that it's enjoyable to read and easy to follow.
As you should know by now, this guide is about a champion called Darius. Darius is a champion most often played in the top lane as a durable yet deadly fighter. He's my second most played champion in terms of mastery score, but he's my most played champion this season. I previously mained Rengar in seasons 4-6 but I haven't played him much this season, since I don't like the direction Riot took him with his third rework.
What makes me play Darius is the adrenaline rush you get from demolishing enemies. Being a juggernaut wall that can wipe down an entire enemy team if left ignored is very appealing to me.
I hope you find my guide useful.
Thank you for 100k views! - 29th May 2017
Thank you for 500k views! - 13th March 2018
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+ Great snowball potential
+ Difficult to play against in low elo
+ A tank that can deal surprising amounts of damage
+ Works well against other immobile tanks in top lane
+ Lane dominant against most melee matchups and does well in early to mid game skirmishes
+ Mechanical skill is not a requirement
- Struggles against ranged champions in lane
- You may find yourself being kited easily
- Has no real way of engaging other than the use of Flash
- Ultimate may be difficult to land in team fights for resets
- Falls off slightly in the late game
Darius is a top laner most often built as a tank with one or two damage items, most notably Black Cleaver. Darius is classified as a juggernaut by Riot Games. Juggernauts are champions that have high base stats and work well with tank or hybrid builds, yet have immense amounts of damage. Darius can momentarily have over 400 attack damage with just one damage item in the late game, which is more than most assassins and marksmen that have entirely offensive builds.
Sounds great, right? There's one thing, though. Although juggernauts deal impressive amounts of damage and are meatwalls for their team, they lack any form of mobility. Darius has to walk next to his enemies to do any damage, which is why he may struggle against champions that deal damage outside of his attack range.
If being a monstrous Noxian military general NBA superstar who executes peasants with a battleaxe sounds appealing to you, you might want to pick Darius up!
Darius' NBA statistics
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When Darius hits an enemy champion with his basic attacks or damaging abilities ( Decimate has to hit it's blade to apply a stack), Darius adds a stack of Hemorrhage to his opponents.
Hemorrhage causes enemies to bleed for physical damage over five seconds. A maximum of five stacks can be applied and attacking enemy champions will refresh the duration.
When Darius either: Hemorrhage on opponents instantly.
This passive is an extremely powerful damage steroid. Once Darius manages to activate Noxian Might, he becomes a force to be reckoned with. You may notice enemies trying to keep distance off you when this happens.
Having Noxian Might active during a fight is extremely important, as it increases your damage massively. Try to stay in combat as long as you possibly can when it happens. Note that you can't use minions or monsters to gain Noxian Might, nor does combat with them refresh the duration.
Darius swings his axe in a circle around him. If he hits an enemy with the outer side of the circle, the blade, he will deal bonus damage and apply a stack of Hemorrhage to his opponents.
If Darius hits an enemy champion with the blade, it will also heal him based on his own maximum health. This heal is stronger if Darius has less health left. He can hit his blade on up to three enemy champions for maximum heal.
If an enemy stands too close to Darius and Darius only hits with the hilt of the axe, Darius deals less damage and will not apply a stack of Hemorrhage, nor will it heal him against enemy champions.
This ability is Darius' main damaging ability, and it's something that make him so difficult to kill. Late game with Spirit Visage Darius can heal up to 500 health with this ability if he hits three enemy champions with the it.
This ability is also Darius' main farming tool, as the blade can one-shot caster minions once you've built Black Cleaver.
Darius' next basic attack deals bonus physical damage and massively slows his opponent for a second. This ability is a basic attack reset. It means you can first hit your opponent with a regular basic attack, then cast Crippling Strike right after to instantly throw a basic attack again.
Crippling Strike also gives Darius some extra basic attack range, so it can be used to catch up to people you wouldn't normally be able to reach.
Killing an enemy unit with Crippling Strike refunds it's mana cost and greatly reduces it's cooldown. This makes it great for last hitting minions under turret and in general.
Apprehend is Darius' main engaging ability and his only form of hard crowd control. With this, Darius pulls all enemies in a cone towards him with his axe for a beating. Apprehend also passively gives him percentage armor penetration.
What's that you ask?
Having 10% armor penetration against an opponent with 200 armor means you will ignore 20 of their armor when dealing physical damage. Against you they will effectively only have 180 armor. Darius gains more armor penetration the more points he has put into Apprehend.
Darius leaps in air, striking an enemy champion with his axe to deal true damage. True damage is a special type of damage that ignores ALL ARMOR and ALWAYS deals the amount of damage displayed in the ability. True damage can't be reduced, even with Exhaust. Only way to avoid true damage is to use an ability that prevents damage entirely, e.g. Kayle's Intervention. Noxian Guillotine is especially good against tanks, since you will deal the same damage to Rammus as you would deal to Sona with the ability.
Noxian Guillotine is used as an execute. This means that the goal of the ability is to finish off an opponent. There's a reason for this, too. If Darius kills an enemy champion with Noxian Guillotine, he can cast it again for a brief moment in an attempt to kill as many opponents as possible with it.
When Darius kills an enemy champion with Noxian Guillotine he gains Noxian might, which gives him massive amounts of bonus attack damage and causes him to apply all five stacks of Hemorrhage to his opponents. It is very important not to cast Noxian Guillotine first on an opponent who isn't affected by the five Hemorrhage stacks, but instead strike them with another damaging ability or basic attack to apply all five Hemorrhage stacks to them to get the most out of Noxian Guillotine.
Noxian Guillotine also causes all non-epic neutral monsters and enemy minions to run away in fear. It's that scary.
Noxian Guillotine - Dunk. Self-explanatory.
Decimate - Has the highest damage and is your primary damaging ability.
Apprehend - Leveling up this ability gives you armor penetration and the ability cooldown is reduced, allowing you to pull people more often.
Crippling Strike - Leveling up this ability will only decrease it's cooldown. Since last hitting units with this ability lowers the cooldown significantly, this isn't an issue. In fact, you will probably have more damage with the passive armor penetration from Apprehend than with the lower cooldown of this ability.
Max DPS combo
Use this skill sequence to ensure you get the maximum damage output from your abilities. Both Crippling Strike and Titanic Hydra work as a basic attack reset to allow you to get five stacks of Hemorrhage on opponents faster.
Noxian Guillotine Assassination
The goal of this combo is to gain Noxian Might off an enemy champion in the front line of a team fight, then Flash into an enemy carry while casting Decimate to apply all five stacks of Hemorrhage to them and deal the full damage of Noxian Guillotine. This combo can catch carries off-guard as Flash negates the time it takes to windup Decimate.
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Conqueror is by far the best rune on Darius in my opinion. After 4 seconds in combat, you gain attack damage for 3 seconds and 20% of your damage dealt is true damage. This in itself would be really viable on Darius, but what makes it absolutely broken on Darius in particular is the 'melee only' part of the rune: Damaging enemy champions refreshes the buff.
Since Darius' damaging abilities apply Hemorrhage, Darius is almost guaranteed to have this rune in effect for the entire duration of a fight or even a teamfight.
The new version of the Dangerous Game -mastery. Killing enemies restores health, more health the lower health you are. Overall a solid rune that allows you to stay alive when executing enemies with Nokian Might.
Deal more damage to low health targets! A solid rune that has synergy with Darius' execute-enemies play style.
Very solid rune for laning. Whenever you take damage from an enemy champion the next 3 attacks or abilities from them deal a flat amount less damage. All around useful rune in all matchups.
You start the game with additional health, which converts to attack damage after 4 takedowns. Great rune in lane for the extra flat health and converts into damage later on.
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Flash is by far the most commonly used Summoner spell in League of Legends. What makes Flash so strong is how versatile it is.
Flash can be used to avoid incoming skillshots or escape enemy champions, but it can also be used aggressively to get in range of enemies. Flash can even go through most walls. I almost always use flash on Darius.
Olaf becomes immune to crowd control with Ragnarok and can catch up to his enemies with the slow on his Undertow. This is why Ghost is a common Summoner spell on him and used instead of Flash most of the time. With the crowd control immunity he doesn't really have to avoid skillshots, he can just walk through them.
Shaco players often run Ignite or Exhaust alongside Smite in the jungle. They do this because Shaco has a fairly low cooldown blink in his kit already, Deceive. Shaco players much prefer having extra damage in exchange for mobility they already have enough of.
Hecarim's passive, Warpath grants Hecarim bonus attack damage based on his bonus movement speed. This means that Ghost actually gives Hecarim bonus attack damage. Also, Hecarim's Onslaught of Shadows is a dash towards targeted area where he can't be disabled by crowd control, similar to Olaf. This is why Ghost is ran on him over Flash most of the time.
Teleport has two uses. First, it can be used to get back to lane when you'd otherwise have to walk there from base. This saves a lot of time and prevents you from losing any minions.
Secondly, it can be used to gank other lanes, most of the time bot lane. Bot lane, similar to top lane and unlike mid lane, is a long lane. It's far easier to teleport there than to mid lane.
Although Teleport doesn't give you any defensive or offensive properties in combat, it does allow you to make plays around the map.
Ignite is an excellent Summoner spell to run when you want kill potential in lane. Ignite applies a damage-over-time effect on an enemy champions that deals true damage. It also applies Grievous Wounds to them, which reduces healing received.
This summoner spell should be ran if you want to be dominant in lane, especially against champions that have weak early game and scale well into late game, such as Nasus. Just with the fact that you have Ignite on you is enough for them to play extra cautiously so you don't kill them. This makes them lose a lot of farm.
Exhaust is an underated Summoner in lower rankings. It is a jack of all trades combat spell. It can be used both offensively and defensively by lowering the damage input of enemies and reducing their movement speed.
Exhaust is great against champions with a lot of burst. Champions like Zed and Riven dish out their damage in a short period of time, but Exhaust can negate a lot of this damage. Exhaust can turn a lost fight into a won one.
Run this Summoner spell in a matchup where the enemy champion has a high damage output, but after using their spells they're vulnerable. *cough Riven* Seriously, it's really good against her.
Ghost is similar to Flash in a sense that it can be used to both engage and disengage. However, Flash is instant. It allows you to catch people off guard and make plays that wouldn't otherwise be possible with Ghost.
Ghost, however, gives you extra distance over a long period of time. It doesn't allow you to make insane plays, but it does allow you to be faster and this way stickier or harder to catch. Ghost also has a low cooldown.
Using Ghost is up to personal preference most of the time. I prefer to run Flash instead of Ghost because of the better play making ability.
Flash and Ghost together is a fairly new thing. It got popular in LCK among mid lane mages during Season 6 when Distortion and other boot enchantments were removed. Ghost received a buff and had it's movement speed scale up without having to spend any gold on a boot enchantment.
Combining Flash for it's play making potential and Ghost for the stickiness and ability to dodge skillshots easier makes it a great combination. Do I think it's good on Darius? Maybe, since Darius does struggle with mobility. I do think it's far better on mages, though.
Run this combination if you're an experienced Darius player and want even more play making potential.
Heal is best on Marksmen and mid lane Mages as a defensive Summoner Spell. This is because these classes are generally fragile, unlike Darius.
Barrier is generally the same as Heal, except Heal gives a movement speed bonus. Barrier on the other hand is better against aggressive champions that use Ignite. Heal's effectiveness can be reduced by Grievous Wounds from Ignite, but Barrier being a shield, this isn't the case for it. Again, Darius is not fragile and does not need this Summoner Spell.
Since Skirmisher's Sabre got nerfed a long time ago and isn't used in top lane anymore, Smite shouldn't be ran outside of jungle. Also, Darius jungle is questionable. Try it out though.
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In League of Legends, item builds are dynamic. What differentiates good players from the bad ones (among many other factors) is how they build depending on the particular game.
There are several varying factors that you must take into consideration when building a champion. These decisions are unique in every match and you must make these decisions in-game.
The game starts, and instantly you're left with the decision of what item to start with. In the next section I will guide you through what each starting item does and when you should start with it.
Doran's Blade is especially popular among attack damage focused champions. For 450 gold you are essentially getting 600 gold worth of stats, which is insane for a starting item. The only negative of the item is that you can't upgrade it into anything.
If you are unsure what item to start with, start with this. It gives you health, which allows you to stay longer in lane and help you survive against all-ins, it gives you lifesteal to sustain you through lane and even to later parts of the game. It also gives attack damage to make last hitting easier. All of that being said, Doran's blade is the go-to starting item for Darius.
Any melee matchup.
Doran's Shield is a great starting item against any difficult matchup. It gives you health regeneration to help you stay in lane and also increases the damage you deal to minions, which makes last hitting easier.
As you might expect, this item is very cost effective and is great against ranged poke lanes. If you're playing against champions like Lissandra, the health regeneration and damage reduction is very useful against the constant damage she can dish out with her spells and basic attacks.
Both magic and physical damage dealing matchups that poke you.
Lissandra Kennen Lulu
Long Sword is a more aggressive version of Doran's Blade. For less gold, you are giving away the health and sustain you would get from Doran's blade in exchange for slightly more attack damage and 3 Health Potions instead of 1.
The idea of starting with long sword is that you can upgrade it to a second tier item, like Phage sooner in the game. Instead of having to save 1250 gold for the item, you only have to save 950 because you have one component of Phage already.
The three Health Potions allow you to do trades more frequently and force your opponent to leave the lane early. In a scenario where you have three Health potions against your opponent who only has one, you will outsustain them in the short term.
To make Doran's Blade's lifesteal effective, you need to be hitting minions for a while. With Health Potions you gain 150 health over 12 seconds, which is insanely quick compared to the lifesteal you get from Doran's blade. Your enemy won't have any time to sustain back up from the trades and he has to leave the lane or die.
Weak matchups or when you want to all-in.
Nasus Dr. Mundo Yasuo
Cloth Armor is generally ran against champions with spammable physical damage dealing abilities. Some champions like these are Pantheon who constantly tries to chunk you down with his Spear Shot and Jayce who has ranged physical damage abilities and basic attacks. This option is usually better than Doran's Shield if you're against physical damage instead of magic damage.
There are two reasons for why Cloth Armor is a great starting item against the type of champions mentioned above. Firstly, you can afford 4 Health Potions with this start, which is the most potions out of any (viable) start in the game. Secondly, you can instantly upgrade your Cloth armor to a second tier item like Ninja Tabi or Chain Vest on your first back. The Health Potions allow you to sustain through the first few levels and the Cloth Armor prevents physical damage received, and the upgrade ensures you hit the power spikes you need in time.
Physical damage dealing champions who poke or have spammable abilities.
Pantheon Jayce Gnar
Like Cloth Armor, Boots allows you to start with 4 Health Potions and helps you survive against harassment. The difference is, boots are great against champions who have avoidable skillshot but are melee champions at the same time, making Cloth Armor or Doran's Shield obsolete, since you can just try to avoid all incoming damage. This is a fairly niche group of champions, so this start is rare.
Melee champions who deal large portion of their damage with skillshots.
Illaoi Olaf Zed
Corrupting Potion is generally good against tanks. Since tanks take quite long to kill, even in early game, you often times have to chunk them down with your abilities and basic attacks first before you can have them at a critical level of health where killing them is a possibility.
Corrupting Potion gives both health and mana, so it allows you to cast your abilities more often without running out of mana. However, it gives less health sustain compared to Doran's Shield and Cloth Armor with their damage reduction and regeneration from Health Potions.
Matchups where you're forced to use your abilities often and increase your mana pool.
Poppy Tahm Kench Nautilus
Black Cleaver is well known for being a tank destroyer item. Damaging enemy champions with this passive will shred enemy's armor by 4% for 6 seconds, up to 6 times of 24% total armor reduced. Darius' kit is all physical damage, so having armor penetration is going to be useful on him.
It will be EXTREMELY easy to apply full stacks of this passive on an enemy champion, simply because your passive bleed will damage them every 1.25 seconds. Two auto attacks are enough to shred your opponent's armor.
The other passive, Rage, grants 20 movement speed for 2 seconds when dealing physical damage. Kills on any unit grant 60 movement speed instead. This passive is also especially useful on Darius, because applying one stack of Hemorrhage means you will have an extra 20 movement speed for the next five seconds. Darius' weakness is champions who are able to kite him out of his melee range, and extra movement speed helps him to catch up to his opponents.
Randuin's Omen is an alternative to Dead Man's Plate against physical damage dealing champions. Omen is a bit more defensive and it is great against Marksmen because of it's critical damage reducing passive and attack speed reducing passive.
Pick Randuin's Omen over Dead Man's Plate as an armor item if:
1. You're against attack speed heavy or critical strike using champions like Yasuo or Tryndamere.
2. Your primary goal in a teamfight is to peel your backline, not engage on enemy team's.
If the enemy team has a lot of physical damage and no magic damage, I suggest running both Omen and Dead Man's Plate.
Spirit Visage has a great build path. One of it's components is Spectre's Cowl, which not only grants you health and magic resistance for a reasonable price of 1200 gold, meaning it can be bought early game, but it also has a passive that gives you a short burst of health regeneration whenever you take damage from enemy champions. This makes it a great first item against difficult magic based matchups that try to poke you down with their spells and force you to leave the lane.
Spirit Visage itself is quite a valuable item on any champion looking to build magic resistance, even when ignoring the passive of it. With the passive included, the item becomes very valuable.
The passive grants it's user increased healing from all sources, meaning health regeneration, healing from other champions like Sona and Soraka, even the health you gain from reviving from Guardian Angel... and of course, Decimate's heal. This, and the well rounded stats make Spirit Visage the the go-to item for Darius' magic resistance needs.
Maw of Malmortius builds out of Hexdrinker. Like Maw of Malmortius, Hexdrinker grants you a magic shield when you go below 30% health. However, instead of the shield's strength scaling with magic resistance like it does with Maw, with Hexdrinker it scales with champion level. This means you can build just the Hexdrinker without having to worry about having extra magic resistance from Spirit Visage. The Hexdrinker is also quite cheap at the price of 1300 gold, meaning you can easily buy it as a reactive purchase against a fed mage in the enemy team.
"So, which should you use? Visage or Maw?"
It's the case of whether you want to deal more damage or be tankier. If you think you can get away with buidling Maw of Malmortius, go for it.
However, Maw of Malmortius' shield increases the more magic resistance you have. So it would be beneficial to first build Spirit Visage, then Maw. I personally only build it against teams with high magic damage outputs.
When to build Ninja Tabi and when to build Mercury's Treads?
It's quite simple. When the enemy team has a champion with a lot of crowd control, let's say Nautilus, you should build Mercury's Treads. They give tenacity, which lowers the time crowd control effects take place.
If the enemy looks like this:
Knockup, stun, silence
Usually a team like this won't have enough crowd control for it to be worth building Mercury's Treads. In this case, Ninja Tabi should be more valuable.
If the enemy looks like this:
Stun, root, knockup, slow
Root, knockup, slow
A lot of crowd control that can be reduced, build Mercury's Treads.
Boots of Swiftness are a niche pair of boots that do sometimes work on Darius. Use them against a team which doesn't have much hard crowd control but have many slows and kite you well.
I don't suggest building the following boots:
The ultimate counter to marksmen. Thornmail is an excellent item against teams that have champions who primarily deal their damage with auto attacks, such as Yasuo, Tryndamere, Irelia etc. Build this item instead of Warmog's Armor if the enemy team doesn't try to poke you down before a fight in a siege. You can choose to build a Randuin's Omen instead of this item if you feel like you need the slow and further reduced damage.
Before patch 7.9, this item was decent but not too impressive on Darius. However, with the changes to the item in the patch I highly recommend building this item in the late game.
The changes were:
BASE ATTACK DAMAGE +25% ⇒ +30%
UNIQUE PASSIVE - LIFELINE
BEFORE = Upon taking at least 400-1800 damage (based on level) within 5 seconds, gain a rapidly decaying shield for 30% of maximum health for 3 seconds ⇒
AFTER = Upon taking at least 400-1800 damage (based on level) within 5 seconds, gain a rapidly decaying shield for 75% of your bonus health for 8 seconds.
BEFORE = When Lifeline triggers, grow in size and strength, gaining +25% additional Base Attack Damage
AFTER = When Lifeline triggers, grow in size and strength, gaining +40% additional Base Attack Damage
The changes to the item made it much more AD tank reliant item rather than an item for someone like Graves who mostly builds attack damage and little to no tank items. Since Darius has the second highest base attack damage in the game, right behind Sion, the base attack damage boost is very very good on him.
Guardian Angel got changed in 7.9 to be more of a carry-based item. However, it still is decent on Darius, considering how important attack damage is on him. Now the item builds out of a B. F. Sword and Cloth Armor instead of Negatron Cloak and Chain Vest. OK, not bad items on Darius. Also:
BEFORE: Upon taking lethal damage, restore 30% of maximum health and 30% of maximum mana after 4 seconds of stasis (300 second cooldown)
AFTER: Upon taking lethal damage, restore 50% of base health and 30% of maximum mana after 4 seconds of stasis (300 second cooldown)
What makes Guardian Angel especially good is the fact that your playstyle can entirely change after you purchase this item. Before if you had to leave a fight at 500 hp because you'd die otherwise, now with this item you can stay in a fight 'till you die and then some. Being the last man standing is important in late game when death timers are over 50 seconds. Since Darius has 2282 health at level 18, it means he will restore 1141 health (even more with Spirit Visage!) which is insane.
At first glance this might seem like a really good item on Darius. You might have seen some montages on YouTube or Reddit where people deal 1-2k true damage on Cho'Gath with his ultimate, Feast using the active effect of this item.
This is a very good item on Cho'Gath, but not so much on Darius, even if Darius' Noxian Guillotine deals true damage. First off, Cho'Gath's ultimate scales off maximum health. When he activates Gargoyle Stoneplate's effect, he not only becomes tankier but his ultimate deals more damage. This isn't the case for Darius, who's ultimate scales off attack damage. Cho'Gath's other abilities (as a tank) aren't meant to deal much damage, they are meant to crowd control enemies so your team can follow up. Darius doesn't work this way.
Secondly, Darius has a lot of damage outside of his ultimate that he would prefer not to lose. When going for a reset with Noxian Guillotine, you want to deal enough damage to your opponents with your other abilities before you cast your ultimate, in order to get the reset. This scenario of executing an enemy with your ultimate is similar for Cho'Gath, but the implications are different. Cho'Gath isn't really bothered if his ultimate doesn't kill his target, he's not going to be able to use it for a while anyways so it doesn't matter as long as he gets to deal the damage. With Darius, it is absolutely crucial to land your ultimate for the ability to reset, and to keep dealing damage so you can get even more executes off.
If you're crippling your own damage in exchange for more tankiness, you may not be able to land a proper ultimate and your threat as a lethality to the enemy team decreases. Once you get your first reset off an opponent with Noxian Guillotine and are looking to do the same for your next victim, you first want to use another ability on them to get them low enough to cast your ultimate. Very rarely is your ultimate enough to literally one shot someone even with max stacks of Hemorrhage, so decreased damage for your abilities that don't deal true damage is counterintuitive.
You could argue that you should use the active of the item at a start of a fight to absorb as much damage as possible while applying your Hemorrhage stacks, then when the effect ends you go on a rampage and just benefit from the well-round stats of the item. In this situation, the item might indeed work. But I personally believe there are better items to use on Darius, and sacrificing another item for this just doesn't seem worth it to me. The item isn't inherently bad, I don't just see it being as fitting for Darius as it is for other tanks. That's just my opinion, though, and I could be wrong.
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In League of Legends, wards are a very important tool for giving you information about the map. In this section I will show you how you should ward as a top laner.
Stealth Wards are free wards that last for a moderate amount of time but you have a limited amount of them. They also have quite a long cooldown. These wards are invisible unless detected by Sweeping Lens or the vision plant.
1. Very standard ward that helps you prevent being ganked from the river side.
2. This ward doesn't protect you from river ganks, however, you can use this combined with a Control Ward on the river brush to become almost ungankable.
3. This ward is especially good early game against weak junglers. If you believe you would be able to kill the enemy jungler when they go take their Red Brambleback , try this ward. At the very least it provides you information of whether the enemy started at red or blue.
Control Wards are wards that last the whole game unless destroyed by the enemy team. They should be placed in spots where it's either easy to defend them or they won't be easily found by the enemy team.
1. This ward will last a long time if you're able to protect it from the enemy laner. It will also prevent him from getting any vision of the river.
2. This ward is great for your mid laner as well, since it gives vision of the lower part of the river. If you're unable to ward the upper river brush because it gets destroyed often or you feel like assisting your mid laner, use this spot.
3. This ward is a great defensive ward and will last a very long time. This ward is to alert you from being dived by the enemy jungler and should give you some time to ask for assistance if you being dived was soon to be a possibility. The enemy laner will not be able to destroy this ward without passing your turret. Usually they do this only when they're far stronger than you and want to proxy farm.
4. This ward is both aggressive and defensive. This brush is often overlooked by the enemy jungler, and goes unnoticed even if they walk over it. Gives you information whether the enemy jungler is coming to you from either red buff or wraiths.
1. Blue team junglers tend to gank from the tribrush instead of the river since it blocks your escape path. This ward is usually better, unless you extend far in lane and ganking you from river is easier.
2. Better ward than the tribrush ward if you're past half point of the lane.
3. Great aggressive and defensive ward. Similar to red ward on blue team, this ward gives you information whether the enemy jungler is at Blue Sentinel or Gromp .
1. Great spot for a Control Ward and will prevent the enemy laner from getting vision of the tribrush. I do not recommend using upper river brush for a Control Ward since it's difficult to protect from the red side.
2. Again, Gives vision of the lower part of the river. Shows if the enemy jungler is killing Rift Scuttler . Helpful ward for your mind laner as well.
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Yasuo - Difficulty 3
Renekton- Difficulty 5
Pantheon - Difficulty 6
Ryze - Difficulty 7
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It takes one mistake to die to Darius.
Darius is difficult to play against. Especially as a melee champion. As Darius, if you're in a good matchup in lane you should always try to find opportunities to trade with your opponent. Against ranged champions, play with caution to avoid taking too much damage, but still try to all-in if you get the chance.
Darius can usually win a duel early game if it's a fight to death. If not, he will kill the enemy with his bleed at the very least. Try to constantly force trades in matchups that I've marked below 5 on a scale of 1-10 on top of this page. You should be able to beat these champions in lane if you're equal items with them.
This is where Darius gets his spotlight.
Darius' strongest point in game is the mid game, like many other AD casters. Darius spikes in power above most champions at around 2-3 items and he can be difficult to deal with.
Try to force dragon fights and siege during this time. Like I said, Darius is stronger than most champions mid game and he is great in mid game team fights when marksmen aren't strong enough.
You can also try split pushing and teleporting into fights.
If I had to describe Darius' late game in one word, it would be decent. Darius doesn't fall of dramatically like Renekton or Lee Sin, but he won't be able to 1v1 most duelist champions at this point.
What's a duelist champion?
Duelist champion is exactly what you read. A champion good at dueling. Here's a checklist for all the properties a duelist has:
1. Damage comes primarily from basic attacks
2. Builds 1-3 offensive items and rest defensive items
3. Usually has a decent amount of mobility or catch potential (e.g. Irelia dash or Trundle pillar)
Champions who deal most of their damage with basic attacks scale well to lategame. This is why Marksmen are weak in early game and need a support to handhold them to lategame.
Some duelist champions:
Darius on the other hand doesn't have these properties. However, his Noxian Might gives him 200 attack damage at level 18 and even though he won't have much attack speed, his basic attacks will still hurt. He will be able to 1v1 all champions except duelists and Marksmen with self-peel. For example:
This is why it's best to group as Darius lategame.
At this time it'll be difficult to get a reset off Noxian Guillotine, since the backline will be at full build and melt through you. By all means, if you can catch someone off-guard, go for it. But I recommend waiting for someone else to engage for you and you joining the fight. If you can't reach the enemy backline, try to get a reset or at least Noxian Might from someone in the front line.
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Your goal should be to improve, not win games
I know it sounds really silly, but hear me out. If your goal is to win games, you inevitably aren't going to succeed in your goal all the time.
What happens when you don't meet your expectations? You get sad. Nobody wants to get sad, because being sad means you don't play as well as you should.
This is why your goal should be to improve. When your goal is to improve, you can never fail!
Even if you lose a game, if you tried your best, you still reached your goal. This means you did something right. When you reach your goals, you become happy! Happy = Good.
Trying to get better automatically translates to winning games, but the mentality of it is different. If you play to get better, you will win, because you are getting better and the rank where you're currently at doesn't match your skill level.
Even Faker, nicknamed "Unkillable Demon King", arguably the best League of Legends player of all time, loses games once in a while.
Never play ranked when you're hungry/tired or had an awful day in general
You should only play ranked when you're mentally at your best. You should go to every game with a positive attitude, this way you're less likely to tilt and go on a losing streak. If you lose two games in a row, take at least a one hour break. If you get angry over the game, stop playing for the day and sleep over it.
It's also good to keep care of your physical health. Remember to drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated and to prevent any headaches that might have a negative impact on your gameplay performance.
Doing cardiovascular exercise and/or weightlifting can have a positive effect on your mental health and brain function, which may cause you to make better decisions in-game and in life. This is why many League of Legends pro teams visit the gym several times a week.
Never flame or provoke flamers
Your goal is to git gud, not win arguments.
Paying attention to the chat or typing yourself is distracting you from the game and has a negative effect on you and your team's performance. Don't be passive-aggressive, only use chat to call objectives/summoners and to compliment your team in a non-sarcastic way.
Use "/mute all" whenever someone is being negative. Never reply, unless it's something positive. Don't try to tell your team how they should play. It will only make them more angry.
Pay attention to the small details
Keep track of your and the enemy's jungler
In the first five minutes you can generally get a good idea of where the enemy jungler is by taking the following variables into consideration:
Did the enemy bot lane come to lane after minions collided?
If yes, they gave a leash to their jungler and the jungler started at the bottom side red/blue buff
Did the enemy top laner come into lane late? Is he/she missing health and/or mana?
If yes, the enemy jungler is starting top side and will probably gank you before you hit level 2.
By default junglers start at bot side because the bot lane gives a better leash with two champions, in contrast to only one in top lane.
Look at your map every 3 seconds.
You don't have to stare at it. Glance it for 0.5-1 seconds. See if you can see the enemy jungler anywhere. Are any of the enemy laners missing? Is the enemy mid lane Twisted Fate, do I have to back off? Pay attention to the map. Missing crucial information can make or break your game.
This should be enough.
Runes and masteries aren't really all that important
A common thing people in lower elo's do is they spend too much of their time worrying about having good runes. The thing is, they don't really matter.
In season 7, I've only used one rune page on Darius, which had 9x ad marks, 9x armor seals, 9x magic resist glyphs and 3x attack speed quintessences. I was placed in Gold II at the start of the season and I'm currently Diamond V. I only used one rune page.
I also made one mastery page for Darius and used it for 90% of the games I played with him.
Please note that having runes and masteries in the first place is very important and not having them is a huge disadvantage. Choosing between scaling health and flat armor seals isn't as important, though.
By all means, create optimal runes and masteries if you want. But don't be discouraged if they aren't perfect.
Note that all the charts in this guide are only backed up by vague estimates based on research done by others and my own personal opinions.
Change your playstyle depending on the individual game
You don't play the same vs a Nasus and a Quinn. Against Nasus you always try to bully him out of lane or kill him and against Quinn you build armor early and hide behind minions.
If the enemy team has a Warwick jungle, you can relatively safely play aggressively and extend in lane. If the enemy team has a Lee Sin jungle, you must proceed with caution.
MMR (matchmaking rating) is what causes you to climb in ranked ladder
MMR is a hidden score that everyone has. It determines who you get matched against in ranked. You may not always get matched against people who are the same rank as you. Instead, you are matched against people with the same MMR as you.
This means that you can be a Bronze I player and get matched against Silver III players. This is because the algorithm that matches you against other players has noticed that you are better than other Bronze I players.
Since you have proven to the algorithm that you're better than the other players in your ranking, instead of placing you against other Bronze I players that might not be a challenge to you, you get matched against higher ranking players instead.
To compensate, whenever you're matched against higher ranking players than yourself, you gain more LP per win and lose less LP per loss. This is to make the matches more fair for the Bronze I players that aren't as good as you, and to help you climb faster to where you belong.
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