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DARIUS BUILD GUIDE: Mastering the Art of the Dunk by Jawanga

by Jawanga (last updated 11 months ago)

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1
Greater Mark of Critical Chance(+0.93% critical chance)
8
Greater Mark of Attack Damage(+7.6 attack damage)
9
Greater Seal of Armor(+12.69 armor)
9
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist(+1.35 magic resist per level (24.3 at champion level 18))
3
Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage(+6.75 attack damage)
View Rune Details
Summoner Spells
View Summoner Details

Starting

Full Item Build

View Item Details
9
21
0
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/4
mastery 3 4/4
mastery 4 1/1
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 3/3
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 3 0/1
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 1/1
mastery 3 0/1
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/3
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/3
mastery 3 0/1
mastery 2 0/1
9 Offense
mastery 1 2/2
mastery 2 2/2
mastery 3 0/2
mastery 4 0/2
mastery 1 1/1
mastery 2 3/3
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 1/1
mastery 2 0/1
mastery 3 3/3
mastery 4 0/3
mastery 1 3/3
mastery 2 0/1
mastery 3 1/1
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 1/1
mastery 2 3/4
mastery 3 0/1
mastery 2 1/1
21 Defense
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/3
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 2 0/3
mastery 3 0/1
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 0/3
mastery 2 0/1
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/1
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 0/2
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/3
mastery 2 0/1
0 Utility
View Mastery Details
Player Level 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Hemorrhage
QDecimate
WCrippling Strike
EApprehend
RNoxian Guillotine
View Skill Order Details

Introduction

Hello!

This guide is currently under construction for the new S4 patch and with the new SoloMid guide format. It will take awhile to get everything up to speed, but I will do it as fast as possible. Much of the guide is still accurate despite the plethora of changes, so feel free to look around even though it isn't up to date! I will be putting in the new stuff first and slowly taking out the old stuff. So if you see some repeated info, just know I'm still editing the guide! :)

1/2/2014 update: Happy new year guys! Admittedly, I have just been really lazy about updating this guide. A lot has changed and it is somewhat difficult to keep up to speed X_X I am on break though, so no excuses really. I do want to make a comment about a significant change in my view of the optimal playstyle for Darius.

If you want to play Darius, you HAVE to win lane now if you are against any of these champs: Jax, Mundo, Renekton, Shyvana, Rengar. Your job is to apply a lot of pressure top because these champions scale much better than you and tank in team fights WAY better than you. You can't simply have a CS advantage or a 1 kill advantage. Right now, the meta is favoring top laners who can basically sit on the enemy ADC the longest in team fights, and Darius isn't one of them. So I'm just letting you know that at the moment, Darius is not at the top of the tier list (he wasn't before lol, but he's even weaker now in comparison).

I will keep track of the changes here.

-Runes
-Masteries (BIG UPDATE: 1/2/14)
-Summoners
-Item Builds (in progress)
-Skill Order
-Skills
-Important champion matchups (in progress)

Runes

Runes are pretty standard top lane bruiser setup.

Quints: Attack Damage, scales with all your abilities including your passive. Also makes CSing easier.

Marks: Attack Damage, same idea as quints.

Seals: Armor, self-explanatory, required for top lane trades and against minion aggro.

Glyphs: MR per lvl, helps give that bit of MR for mid/late game if the enemy team happens to have an AP mid.

If you're wondering about the crit chance mark, it sacrifices a little bit of AD for 1% crit chance, which can be a really funny way to win your lane if you happen to get a crit on your opponent. A little luck never hurts ;D

Masteries

mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/4
mastery 3 4/4
mastery 4 1/1
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 3/3
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 3 0/1
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 1/1
mastery 3 0/1
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/3
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/3
mastery 3 0/1
mastery 2 0/1
9 Offense
mastery 1 2/2
mastery 2 2/2
mastery 3 0/2
mastery 4 0/2
mastery 1 1/1
mastery 2 3/3
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 1/1
mastery 2 0/1
mastery 3 3/3
mastery 4 0/3
mastery 1 3/3
mastery 2 0/1
mastery 3 1/1
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 1/1
mastery 2 3/4
mastery 3 0/1
mastery 2 1/1
21 Defense
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/3
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 2 0/3
mastery 3 0/1
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 0/3
mastery 2 0/1
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/1
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 0/2
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/3
mastery 2 0/1
0 Utility
After recent testing, I feel like you should only go this if you're against a bad lane matchup and need to survive the laning phase.

Offense:

Sorcery: As an AD caster, CDR is a very nice stat to have. The attack speed mastery isn't as helpful, but you should remember that autoattacks are still very important.

Brute Force/Martial Mastery: As a champ that scales off AD, Darius uses these masteries very well in combination with his early game power.

Defense:

Keep in mind that these are personal preference. I am not exactly sure if these are optimal for the defensive tree. Try out other masteries as well as you'd like, maybe you'll find something you like better than what I suggest!

Block/Unyielding: Great early damage reduction in lane against harass, reduces 4 dmg on all autos.

Veteran Scars: Early health is very important for lane.

Oppression: A mastery I wouldn't take on all offtanks, but it works well with Darius since his W is a slow, so he can utilize this effectively.

Hardiness/Reinforced Armor: Taken against an enemy AD top laner, early armor is useful. Reinforced armor is especially good against Trynd, but will also come in handy towards late game against AD carries who rely heavily on crit.

Perseverance/Second Wind: These are probably the best new defensive masteries for this season. The health regen per % missing health is great, and Second Wind only enhances it. Might be less useful for Darius since he is an all-in type of champ, but it is good nonetheless.

Tenacious: Decent mastery to have for team fights, free armor/MR is always nice.

Legendary Guardian: Must have for Darius, and probably for most top laners as well. CC is your weakness, so you want to have the least amount of it as possible.

Swiftness: I did not include this in my masteries, but this is obviously very dependent on the enemy team. If they have a lot of slows, take this.

Summoner Sets

Primary Set
These will be your summoners 95% of the time.

Ignite is a must take on Darius. Many people cannot account for the ignite DoT and your passive bleed DoT, making this combination pretty OP. You can find yourself getting early kills often because it does a lot more damage than you think. I have gone against people who use barrier and even that doesn't save them because the shield doesn't last long enough to soak up the damage. 3-5 stacks of bleed + ignite at around 40-50% HP at levels 2-3 will almost certainly net you a kill, remember this! Learn the damage well; knowing when you will get the kill is key so you don't end up wasting Flash, another very important summoner for Darius!

Flash is also pretty necessary on Darius. His one big weakness is a lack of escape, so if the jungler knows what he is doing, he'll gank you often. Flash makes up for this; it's your one freebie. You also want to be aggressive with your flash! Knowing when to offensively flash to secure a kill comes with more experience on Darius. It is almost always worth it, so you can begin the snowball. You will need to familiarize yourself with Darius' damage output so you can judge when to all-in. It also helps you reach the enemy carries in team fights! If you flash+pull and use your combo, even if they flash out, you should be able to get a kill. Darius' flash+pull initiation is not recommended, but it can be done. If possible, try to get another teammate to initiate fights.
Ignite & Ghost
Ghost, combined with ignite, is your best alternative besides flash+ignite. This increases your chasing ability by a ton, and is useful against champions such as Jax or Vlad, since you can continually chase them instead of getting kited after you burn your flash. Generally, you want to take ghost against other champions that also use ghost. It is not as strong as flash in team fights, however.

I personally take Flash in almost every occasion; it's simply too good with Darius' all-in nature.

Item Builds

Starting Build(s)
Default Starting Build
Tough AD (Riven only)
5
Sustain/Low Threat Early
4
Super Cheese
4
Against Weak Laners
Starting Items -
Standard: dorans-shieldhealth-potion
Tough AD: cloth-armorhealth-potion5
Sustain/Low Threat Early: health-potion4 (wait for last pot if team doesn't need you)
Super Cheese: elixir-of-fortitudehealth-potion4 (wait for last pot if team doesn't need you)

First Back -
Ahead (More than 1600 gold): phageboots-of-speed OR dorans-bladepickaxe
(Less than 1600 gold): dorans-bladedorans-bladeboots-of-speed

Even: dorans-blade/cloth-armor OR null-magic-mantle

Behind: Health or Resistances to farm properly under tower

AP Top Rush: hexdrinker OR spectres-cowl

Core (Mid Game): phage OR tiamat/giants-belt/mercurys-treads OR ninja-tabi OR boots-of-swiftness

Offensive Options: trinity-forceravenous-hydralast-whisperthe-black-cleaver

Defensive Options: hexdrinkerranduins-omensunfire-capewarmogs-armorspirit-visagebanshees-veilfrozen-heartfrozen-mallet

Boots: boots-of-swiftness SITUATIONAL (LACK OF HARD CC/LOTS OF SLOWS)/mercurys-treads ABSOLUTE FOR MID/LATE GAME/ninja-tabi LANE PHASE

Enchantments: enchantment-alacrity/enchantment-homeguard/enchantment-furor

Other Semi-viable Choices: guardian-angelthe-bloodthirsterspirit-of-the-elder-lizardblade-of-the-ruined-king
Final Build(s)
Standard Final Items

Skill Order

Player Level 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Hemorrhage
QDecimate
WCrippling Strike
EApprehend
RNoxian Guillotine
So why do I take W first?

It's all about wave manipulation. Using Q instead of W level 1 has a much higher potential to shove the minion wave, since it is likely you will hit multiple minions with Q. By doing this, you are able to safely harass, but you also end up playing into the enemy laner's hand by pushing the wave. Soon enough, the wave will start snowballing towards them, and eventually they will be able to farm safely at tower while missing only a few CS.

If you take W, you do more or less the same damage as an outer ring Q if you combo an auto+W, as it is an auto attack reset. You will take some minion aggro, so be careful of that. This will also push the wave, but very slightly. Keeping the lane at a safe position is a key to success for Darius. You do not want to die to a gank early, so if you keep the wave closer to your tower, you have a good chance of avoiding this.

But why E third and not 2 points in Q early?

This skill order will test your lane mechanics and your ability to punish positioning mistakes. In the low-middle ELOs, many laners are not careful with their positioning. A lot of them are too greedy for certain CS, so that is where you make your move. Punish them for their positioning, and then pull them back in with E once they try to run away.

For the rest of the levels, R>Q>W>E.

Skills

Hemorrhage
A pretty strong passive because of its DoT nature, which makes it difficult for enemies to judge your damage output, and because it deals magic damage (while scaling off AD), forcing the laner to build health instead of armor. Calculating your damage will become easier as you play Darius more; you'll eventually know when the ticks of bleed will secure a kill or not.

The 5% movespeed for each bleeding enemy is also important. In lane, it may enable you to keep up with a fleeing enemy and it can save your life in a gank. Hitting your Q on both enemies will give you 10% mvspeed and can potentially keep you alive if you do not have flash. In team fights, hitting more enemies with the AoE Q can give you the mvspeed necessary to catch an important target. This doesn't happen often, as you may get CC'd and peeled off if you're close to other enemies, and more often than not, you will need Q available to burst a squishy in the potentially short window of time you have to kill them.
Decimate
This is your bread and butter skill in lane. It is your source of harass and wave clear, and it does not use too much mana. It is very important that you learn the radius of the ability. What separates good Darius players from bad ones is consistently being able to hit your enemy with the blade and not the shaft, as it does 50% more damage. This will take practice, but eventually you will learn the positioning to hit with the blade.

Be careful about using it to last hit. You should only use it to farm when your opponent is out of lane and you want to push the wave to the tower to make him miss CS. You may also use it to trim down a huge minion wave, so your enemy laner doesn't have such heavy minion advantage. If you spam your Q to farm, you will run out of mana. Not only this, but once you use your Q, you leave yourself open to unfavorable trades since your main damage ability is on CD. Smart top laners will take advantage once your Q has been used. This becomes less important when your Q is rank 4 or 5, since the CD is pretty short where it should come up pretty soon again.

One thing to note, if you pull in an enemy, do not Q immediately. Auto and apply a W first. Since Q has no cast time, you may have to actually move back a little bit to reposition yourself to hit them with the blade of the Q. It will depend on how the enemy reacts to your pull, whether they retreat immediately or continue fighting you. Once you learn this, the combo will flow very nicely.

Another small tip is that you can auto during the Q animation, but most of the time you won't be in range to auto if you're trying to hit the outer ring of the Q.
Crippling Strike
This skill is very good for trades, especially against auto-attack champs such as Jax or Irelia, since it reduces their attack speed. It is also an auto-attack reset, so make sure you use a normal auto and follow it up immediately with this if possible. There may be times when just using this to apply the slow and extra damage is necessary. The slow is part of what makes Darius such a punishing champion. Try to keep in mind that the CD is reduced based on the amount of bleed stacks, so you may be able to turn around an extended trade that you seemed to be losing. Remember not to W against abilities such as Fiora's Riposte or Teemo blind.
Apprehend
This is the major reason why Darius is such a low ELO pubstomper. You have to be able to consistently land this pull to be a good Darius because of its long and unforgiving cooldown, but it isn't that hard. The range of this pull is deceptively long. The reason is that even if your enemy walks out of range, if they are in the pull range as you are casting it, you will still get the pull off. Also, the natural ArmorPen is one reason Darius can build mostly tank and still do tons of damage.

I often use this to punish mistakes, as most Darius players should. For melee champs, I usually save the pull for when they try to fight me and use their form of escape. Once they start running and realize they're going to lose the trade, I pull them back and it almost certainly results in a kill. Using your E while they are still fighting you is pointless! Do not use the pull to simply to bring them to you. You should be in a melee champ's face in the first place. For ranged champs such as Kayle or Jayce, you should try to pull them if they are ever in range unless you are significantly losing in HP. These champions have to poke you before they can kill you, so you have to force the fight to yourself.

For team fights, you will be using this to catch the enemy carries. Avoid using it on the tanks, because the CD is very long, and you will have no way to get to the important targets for the rest of the fight most likely. Champions with escapes easily counter this skill unfortunately. In some cases, you may even want to use this to peel for your carries, especially if they are stronger than the enemy carries. Just pull off the champs who are chasing after them. This is not recommended though. Most of the time, you will be better suited to use the pull offensively in team fights, since your support should have enough peel.

One tip I cannot emphasize enough: DO NOT SMARTCAST THIS ABILITY. You need to know the exact range of this pull to use it well and efficiently. Missing a pull in lane and especially in team fights can cost you the game.
Noxian Guillotine
Probably my favorite ultimate in the game. It is definitely one of the strongest nukes, especially for AD casters, and it does TRUE damage. Your power level spikes once you obtain this skill at level 6. A Q+E+auto+W+Q+ignite with this ultimate will kill many champions at level 6. If you cast this skill and the enemy flashes/uses an escape while you're casting, THE ABILITY WILL STILL GO OFF AND DEAL THE DAMAGE. Conversely, there is a bit of a cast time on the ability, so you can be killed as the animation goes off, and it will not apply the damage. It can make for some hilarious dunks, although a lot of people complain about it, so Riot may change this in the future. In general, the skill has different uses in laning and team fights due to its most recent nerf.

In lane, you will not need to worry about getting the reset, unless you are trying to 1v2 the top lane and jungle. You should still try to get 3+ stacks of bleed so the ult does more damage.

In team fights, you need to gauge the damage of this ability so that you can get the reset. Mid to late game, it is your main source of damage, and if you do not judge the damage properly, you essentially become a meat shield for your carries unless you are significantly fed. This is why barrier counters this ability so hard. It is also important to avoid extended team fights, because your ult will go on CD if you do not get a kill in 12 seconds. I really think this nerf was unnecessary, as Darius' team fighting late was weak enough. Another piece of advice: if you happen to catch someone out late, you may want to conserve your ultimate if you can kill them without it, so you can have it later for the 5v4. Otherwise, just remember that the skill goes on CD even if you killed someone with it! I know I have forgotten a few times, and I realize I can't do enough damage, resulting in my (undeserved, stupid roit) death :(

Overall though, this ultimate has huge potential for penta kills! And if you're a fan of dunking, you'll love this ability. Be wary of taking too many kills. While it always feels good to get a ton of kills, it can be bad if you are funneling gold into one source. The enemy team can just focus you down if they are smart, and your other teammates will be lacking damage to counter this. Stacking gold onto one champion usually does not turn out well.

Key Matchups

Drmundo
Difficulty
Favors Enemy
You better hope this guy is banned.

Dr. Mundo is probably the strongest top laner at the moment. The new defensive masteries have really buffed him, with the health regen and increased self-healing at low hp. It synergizes with his kit too well.

The reason I put this at a 3 is because Mundo is easily abused early. This is your window of opportunity, pre-6, to kill him. His abilities cost health, so just be aggressive. You still have a chance to kill him at level 6, but you need ignite. After this point, it'll almost be impossible to kill him as he stacks health and armor. He will have a much bigger impact on team fights than you, so you better hope you can shut him down before he becomes a monster.
Jax
Difficulty
Favors You
This matchup has always been quite easy for me, and I'll tell you why.

There are 2 key things you have to abuse Jax for: his weak-ish early game and his mana pool.

Most Jax players will take E (the dodge and stun) as their first skill. In this matchup, I suggest taking W level 1. When you go up to auto attack him, most Jax players react instantly by starting up his E. You will be using W regardless to get the instant auto reset, but if you use it while Jax is dodging, he will take no damage. However, the slow still applies and if you back off immediately after you W, Jax will miss the stun. 100%. By doing this, you've baited out a long CD skill and depleted a good portion of Jax's mana pool. This is very important!

Levels 2-6 will mostly be harassing him with Q and W. Do not use your pull if Jax still has his E or his jump. If he tries to trade, he will use his E to fight you, but because of the slow from your W, he will have to choose between missing the stun or using Q to land it. If he chooses the latter, you should be able to kill him. Fight him after you recover from the stun! He will realize he is losing the trade, and all you have to do is pull once he starts running away. Easy kill.

The difficulty arises from standard laning issues with Darius and Jax's great scaling. Your Q will push the wave and tend to put you in unfavorable positions, making you vulnerable to ganks. If you are able to freeze and zone Jax, Q only if you know you can combo him and really put the hurt on. If Jax is able to stay about even with you or get ahead in levels, you might be in trouble. You can still 1v1 him, but you have to kite him while his stun is up and use your abilities. Try not to fight him if he activates his ultimate at high HP.

Overall, there are many factors that favor you in this lane. You have to make a good amount of mistakes to lose the lane.
Nasus
Difficulty
Favors You
This is probably your easiest lane out of the common top laners atm.

Nasus, while a late game monster, is extremely vulnerable and weak early. This is why early game powerhouses, such as Darius or Olaf, can bully him out of lane and prevent him from scaling his Q. You really need to be hyper-aggressive in this lane early on. Still be wary of shoving the lane with Q; it's easier to bully Nasus if he's not safely farming under his tower. If he is farming at tower, you can still Q him as he goes for caster minions. Just be wary of jungle ganks since you'll be very extended.

You have the advantage until around level 9. If you haven't killed Nasus or denied him significantly, you'll find yourself in some trouble.
Renekton
Difficulty
Favors Enemy
One of the kings of top lane for quite some time.

This lane is definitely a challenge if Renekton knows to use creep advantage and his sustain. Make sure you keep track of the wave, I suggest keeping it even or slightly in your favor (1 or 2 creeps). Try to avoid using your Q as Renekton dashes in because you'll most likely hit him with the inner radius and do less damage. Your goal in this lane is to harass him enough so that he is afraid of dying if he comes up to sustain with his Q. Also, avoid the urge to dive him at low health after level 6. His ult gives him a good amount of health, and he can stun you under tower. Don't be too greedy, as this can backfire.

Renekton is overall a better pick. He is similar to you in strength early levels, and he is a much better tank late game than you are. His ult magic damage combined with Sunfire Cape does a ridiculous amount of damage. And if he builds full tank, he is pretty much unkillable as well.
Rengar
Difficulty
Favors You
Rango has somehow made his way back in the midst of top lane, but more as Tankgar, as seen from the Koreans in OGN. He maxes his roar first, allowing him to sustain very well in lane with the max ferocity roar. It also gives him armor and MR buff and is decent wave clear.

He does not do very well against Darius however. You can easily abuse Rengar early. Rengar can usually zone some top laners with his brush leap, but he will not want to jump at you, or he will most likely die. Notice when he has 4 ferocity stacks, and be careful of a double Q early. That has the potential to burst you hard and lose you the lane. Other than that, the lane is fairly straightforward. Be aggressive and he will have to give up quite a bit of CS. Don't let him sustain and you will have a pretty easy time. He wins if he's able to make you run through your mana bar.
Riven
Difficulty
Favors Enemy
This champion. I hate her so much. Broken at the moment, and extremely annoying to lane against because of her high damage, mobility, low CDs, and lack of resources.

I put this as a high difficulty because the Darius vs. Riven matchup is probably one of the most snowbally matchups. Whoever gains the advantage will zone the living hell out of the other. So if you die once, you will not be able to farm at all.

Your level 1's are similar in terms of power, I'm actually not sure who would win in a fight to the death. Start Q in this lane, as you want to harass Riven, rather than straight up duel her. Do not worry too much about pushing the wave in this lane; you actually WANT to do this. You need minion advantage to tone down Riven's aggression and to win trades. In any case, if Riven wants to fight you, she'll end up pushing the wave as well with her abilities, so you won't be pushing that hard. If Riven starts fighting you with her Q level 1, don't just run away. Auto her and orbwalk as you retreat and make sure you pop a potion early.

Unless you can see the enemy Riven make positioning errors early on that you can punish, I would take 2 levels in Q early.

Be careful at level 6. If she hits level 6 first, you HAVE to back off. Conversely, if you hit level 6 first, take this small window of opportunity and force a fight. If both of you hit level 6 before fighting, you still need to be cautious. Her ultimate gives her a ton of AD, increasing her shield and her damage output. She outputs damage faster than you, so she will win if you don't try to kite her around (which is difficult anyway because of her mobility). Flash the second proc of her ultimate if you can; it's pretty obvious when she'll use it as it's an execute.

This is an absolute must in this lane: RUSH SUNFIRE CAPE. You need to survive her initial burst, as your natural Q damage, bleed, and true damage ult will kill her as long as you can extend the fight.

I haven't tested it out, but I feel that 21/9 masteries and Doran's Blade are still a better option for this lane since it really helps your damage. Doran's shield does not help much against an AD caster like Riven. If you get some good harass on her, the lane will start favoring you.
Shyvana
Difficulty
Favors Enemy
Dragon lady has become very popular recently due some small changes to her kit. She's become Renekton-like, innately tanky and able to do tons of damage without building damage.

This is a tough matchup because her early game damage with her W is really strong. She can match your strength, so if she rushes you with the W, kite back as you fight and use your minions if possible. She will also naturally push the wave if she fights with her W on in your minions, so don't be so scared to use Q. Just make sure you hit the outer ring when possible.

Your level 6 all-in's are similar, so it's always better to harass her down if possible. If she gets to Sunfire Cape before you kill her, you will most likely lose a duel with her.

Introduction

Hello summoners! My name is Jawanga, and I've been playing League about a year now. I'm not the most experienced player, but I would say I've obtained a good amount of knowledge about the game thus far.

My ELO isn't the highest either. I was in the 1400s for most of S2, and I reached Diamond in S3, and with none other than the Hand of Noxus!

As I climbed my way to Diamond, I found unusual success playing the Dunkmaster himself. Here are my stats thus far, and some recent successes!

S3 stats:
[http://i.imgur.com/nDa1Gdu.png]

Recent games:
[http://i.imgur.com/zGpMAuN.png]
Ignore that Ez game :P

[http://i.imgur.com/b6VGHIh.png]
These 3 games brought back an 0-2 deficit in my Diamond promo!

[http://i.imgur.com/CK2uoRj.png]
Some success with Ravenous Hydra.

Item builds:
[http://i.imgur.com/Ea1hE31.png]
[http://i.imgur.com/ZrpNxKL.png]
[http://i.imgur.com/CqnndHN.png]
[http://i.imgur.com/xana1Mj.png]
[http://i.imgur.com/5BCVdxz.png] (Against Singed)
[http://i.imgur.com/up0AIYE.png]
[http://i.imgur.com/KfVyNLc.png]
[http://i.imgur.com/l6iJoiX.png]
[http://i.imgur.com/Xa8griK.png]

Here are some pros and cons of playing Darius! Then you can decide if he is the right champion for you :)

Pros:
- Extremely strong early game
- Most people have a hard time calculating his damage because of passive+ignite DoT combo
- One of the most snowbally champs
- Potent harass
- Huge lane bully due to punishing kit
- One of the strongest level 6's in the game
- Has strong potential to 1v2 due to his ultimate
- The Dunkmaster, who doesn't love dunking?
- Fun to spam laugh and dance 8D

Cons:
- No innate sustain
- Susceptible to kiting, seen more often in higher ELO, where positioning is much better
- Lack of an escape, asking the enemy jungler to camp you
- Falls off late game, especially due to the nerf on his ultimate
- Subpar initiator

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Change Log

~7/1/13 -> Updated starting items against certain matchups
~7/5/13 -> Updated thoughts on Black Cleaver
~7/7/13 -> Updated Kha'Zix matchup
~7/11/13 -> Updated intro, hit Diamond!!!
~7/21/13 -> Updated skill order
~7/31/13 -> Updated for Patch 3.10
~8/2/13 -> Some small ninja nerfs that Riot implemented
~8/5/13 -> Updated matchups against Nidalee, Renekton, Tryndamere
~8/11/13 -> Added chapter for Ravenous Hydra
~8/30/13 -> Updated for Patch 3.10a
~9/18/13 -> Updated for Patch 3.11
~9/18/13 -> Updated item build

What's To Come

- In-depth Trinity Force chapter -> Done
- Combos/Burst -> Done
- Game phases -> Done
- Top lane matchups -> Done
- Team fighting -> Done
- Team comp synergies/Enemy teams to avoid picking Darius -> Done
- Jungle synergies/junglers to be careful of -> Done
- Recommended item starts for lane matchups -> Done
- 3.10 patch updates -> Done
- Summoner's Rift maps to show exactly where you can cheese -> In Progress
- Discussion about Ravenous Hydra vs. Triforce -> In Progress
- 3.10a patch notes, especially changes to Phage and Triforce -> Done
- 3.11 patch notes -> Done
- 3.12 patch notes
- Item build options, especially more significant consideration of Flask or Doran's Shield
- New information on certain lane matchups
- Integration of past patch notes into guide

Sorry guys, I haven't been able to update recently because of school! I'll be sure to update it when I get time!

Patch 3.11

Not much to note in this patch, most of the changes were to game features.

The only notable nerf:



Adjusted the blob pick-up part of his passive, making it easier for counterplay.

Analysis: Very minor nerf, but it continues to help enemy laners deny Zac's sustain.

Patch 3.10a

There were some pretty significant nerfs/buffs to items in this mini-patch.

Items:



Reduced range on active and increased CD on active as well.

Analysis: This was more of a nerf to the ADC class because of its ability to give them self-peel (more so if they didn't have it already). It's overall a slight buff to bruisers and Darius because it makes it a bit easier for melees to get to ranged champs.



Slight increase to combine cost and overall cost of item.

Analysis: Spirit Visage was really way too cost-efficient, so this nerf was warranted.



UNIQUE Passive - Icy removed, new UNIQUE Passive - Rage, and combine cost reduced.

Analysis: A lot of new and significant changes. Let's start off by noting that Phage was pretty overpriced, so the reduced price is understandable. I will discuss how this price change might be overpowered when considering Triforce.

But let's talk about the new passive Rage: basic attacks grant 20 movement speed for 2 seconds on hit. Minion, monster, and champion kills grant 60 movement speed for 2 seconds.

This passive replaced the RNG slow on Phage, giving champs a more reliable chasing mechanic. What seems a bit over the top is the 60 mvspeed given for killing an enemy unit. Junglers are now smiting minions to gain that mvspeed and initiate a gank that will be hard to get away from.

Overall, it's much more appealing to buy Phage as a first item for lane.



Same changes as Phage, increased Spellblade passive to 200% base AD, and decreased price due to Phage component.

Analysis: Holy crap, they buffed Triforce into one of the best items in the game right now. I'm predicting for this item to get nerfed soon, so use it while you can. The Spellblade buff to 200% AD is HUGE. It gives all AD champs a significantly bigger burst, and that works very well for Darius since it suits him well to gibb a certain target and get the reset with his ult. The quicker you can kill them, the less time they have to kite you! Triforce should be heavily considered now.



Retains Icy passive, but now builds out of Giant's Belt+Pickaxe+Ruby Crystal.

Analysis: Frozen Mallet, which isn't built out of phage anymore, can now be built with Triforce. The combination of the slows+mvspeed buff will make it extremely hard for anyone to kite you, but it may be unnecessary to have this much utility. It is probably best to only build one, and generally, I believe Triforce will be the best item of choice. However, you can build this with Triforce if you're in need of a 6th item and don't need to be any tankier.

Champions:



Shield on W reduced at all levels, and ultimate can be interrupted by roots now.

Analysis: Not too significant for Darius in the laning phase, but it does make him a bit less annoying with his tankiness. The ult change also does not affect Darius at all.



Range of blob pickup reduced and ult no longer provides tenacity.

Analysis: Zac is a pretty annoying matcnup for Darius, so these nerfs help quite a bit, especially the blob pickup. You now have an easier time counterplaying his sustain, which is one of the reasons Zac can win against Darius. He also proves less of a nuisance in team fights with the tenacity on his ult gone.

Patch 3.10

Most of these updates will revolve around the big itemization changes from this patch.

Items:



Removed from the game.

Analysis: This doesn't hit or involve Darius too much, since the item was mostly bought between the jungler or support. This does force you to build MR individually since you cannot get the aura from your teammates anymore.



Buffs to health, MR, and now gives health regen. Slightly more expensive. Also builds out of Spectre's Cowl.

Analysis: HUGE buffs, big enough to make this a staple MR item in almost every bruiser/tank's build. Cost analysis has been done for this item, and the stats that it has been given far outweigh the increase in price. If you buy , you will definitely want to buy Spirit Visage for MR.



Slight buffs to health, MR, and has a new UNIQUE passive that grants health regen after taking damage from an enemy or if the spell shield breaks. Slightly more expensive and does not give mana anymore. Also builds out of Spectre's Cowl.

Analysis: While not as significant as the SV buffs, Banshee's has also become more attractive. It gives a bit more health than SV, but the shield, as always, is what's nice for Darius. You will probably want to opt for this item if you have no form of sustain for Darius.



New item that gives health and MR as well as a UNIQUE passive that grants health regen after taking damage from an enemy champion. Builds into Spirit Visage or Banshee's Veil.

Analysis: This item is huge for bruisers who have to fight against the AP tops. It is better for tanks who would not normally buy Hexdrinker, so for Darius, you may still want to buy Hexdrinker first. If you are behind, it may be wise to go straight into Cowl since it gives health and overall more MR. Very good first buy overall.

Champions:



Nerfs all around to the ranges of his spells. Significant buffs to mvspeed on ultimate.

Analysis: Ryze has actually become one of the more annoying top laners pre-patch, especially for melee bruisers, and I have been meaning to include him in the top lane matchups. With the nerfs to his range, I feel that he will become even more common as a top laner, as he will be outranged by many mids. I can't say whether the nerfs to his range will make it easier for melee bruisers to engage on him, but the mvspeed on his ult will be a pain for Darius. I will have to play this matchup more to give my input on the lane.

Nerfs:

I recently found out that Riot may have nerfed the ranges on Darius' pull and range by a small margin.

His pull range has been reduced to 540 from 550.
His ult range has been reduced to 460 from 475.

You can find this on the League website and compare it to SoloMid or LoLking. I'm not exactly sure what warranted these nerfs.

Combo/Burst

As we all know, Darius' damage is very high, particularly at levels 2, 3, and 6. Here are some combos you can pull off at each level in lane.

Note that these consider AD quints instead of MS quints; it could make the difference.

Level 2:

This will highly depend on the matchup and your skill level with Q or E.

Reasons for taking Q level 2 -
>If you are trading with someone who can push the lane just like your Q while trading such as or .
>Melee

Reasons for taking E level 2 -
>Basically the opposite, they do not have some kind of AoE ability to push the lane. Thus, they will draw a ton of creep aggro.
>Ranged

WQ combo -> auto+W+back away+Q. You will need to step back a bit to hit the blade.

WE combo (against Melee) -> auto+W+run back to your creep line+E. This combo will take more practice and is a bit more complex. You will not need to E if the enemy laner keeps following you, you win the trade hands down because they will continually draw creep aggro. You can continue autoing them until they run away, where you can then pull back. Creeps hurt early!

EW combo (against Ranged) -> E+auto+W+auto. Keep in mind where you're positioned when you pull. You want to stay in line with your creep wave so you don't draw too much aggro from enemy minions. Also consider who has minion advantage when doing this. If they have significantly more creeps on their side, it's probably best to not engage. Also, the number of autos you get after W depends on where you are fighting. Don't chase too far into enemy creeps, or you'll start racking up minion damage. Definitely stop after the slow is gone.

At around 40% health, if you pull off either of these combos, add in ignite with 3-5 stacks of bleed and they will be dead.

Level 3:

You will first want to pull off a level 2 combo to get them around 50% HP.

Combo 1 -> E+auto+W+back away+Q+auto+ignite.
Combo 2 -> Q+E+auto+W+auto+ignite. You can start with Q if they are in range of course.

Level 6:

You can literally 100 to 0 someone depending on their armor/starting items. Will be harder if they started cloth and/or have armor yellows.

Combo 1 -> E+auto+W+back away+Q+auto+ignite+R.
Combo 2 -> Q+E+auto+W+auto+ignite+R. Like the level 3 combo, only if they are in Q range to begin with.
Combo 3 -> Q+E+auto+W+auto+Q+ignite+R. This definitely guarantees a kill if they are far away from tower and do not flash/you flash when they flash.

A note for all the <back away> combos. Higher ELO people recognize that Darius does more damage with the outer ring of his Q, so they'll fight right in your face so you hit them with the shaft if they know what they're doing. You will have to analyze your laning opponents tendencies and reactions first! They may start running immediately, so you may not have to back up to hit the Q properly! Use your own judgment, each game will be different in some way.

Item Builds

One of the reasons I love playing Darius is because he has a pretty flexible item build. It really depends on what the enemy team is building, and you can itemize accordingly. Death recaps help!

Early Game:


Your standard and most used starting items will be the Rejuvenation Bead+4+2 wards. Why do I sacrifice one health pot for another ward? As I've said before, one of Darius' biggest weakpoints is getting ganked. With 2 wards, you ensure safety until about 8 minutes into the game for the most part. It is much better for you to have to leave lane early than to die to a jungle gank. Most games, you will end up selling the Rejuv bead for a more important item.



You may want to consider this start against tanky/manaless/sustain top lanes such as or that require you to use your abilities more to setup kill opportunities. It's also good when the enemy team doesn't have a high pressure jungler that requires wards at all times.



If your enemy laner depends on poking/harassing you with autos early such as or , consider picking up Doran's Shield. The new passive on increased resistance to auto attacks, the health regen, and the decreased price make it a viable starting option. Since you have no ward, you may have to play more passively depending on the jungler.


Against strong ADs (such as ), you may want to start the old Cloth+5. Take this if you're somewhat scared by your enemy's early game. I, for one, am terrified of Riven's early game cheese, so I take the armor to make sure she does not score the early kill. Otherwise, you will want to go the standard start, so you can be aggressive while making sure you're safe from ganks.


Now let's talk about the Fort pot+3. I used to go Fort pot+4+ward before they increased the price of Fort pot. It was very strong on Darius. However, I have not gone Fort pot+3 so far. I value not getting shut down early over getting a cheese kill. If you have the balls to do this, be my guest. It's definitely possible with Darius' early game damage. If you do not get a kill though, you will have thrown 350 gold down the drain and put yourself further behind. Also remember that you can use this to save yourself if you get ignited.

First Back:

There are multiple scenarios that can happen as you come back to shop for the first time.


With the recent changes to Phage and Triforce, this should be your first buy in almost all of your games. Phage is incredibly cost efficient and gives Darius very beneficial stats in health and AD. Not only that, but the passive is much more reliable than the old Phage and can help to continue snowball the lane due to the mvspeed buff it gives. Allows better chasing potential. With boots included, there is almost no way your opponent can get away if they are without boots in lane. This makes Darius even more punishing than he already was.


1600 gold is usually a hard amount of a gold to come back with, so when you come to shop with less than 1600, you may consider buying double Doran's Blades. This will give you health, a bit of sustain, and complete domination in lane. In addition to the double Doran's, you can also buy Boots of Speed. The reason for this is that movement speed is very good on Darius despite the movement speed buff to all champions. Simply having that 25 movespeed over your opponent can mean you catching them out since top lane is such a long lane! If you feel like you have control over your lane without the Doran's, you can opt for building Long Sword or Ruby Crystal so you can build straight into your core items.

/
If you're not that confident about your lead or are pretty even, buying one Doran's and resistance such as cloth or mantle to itemize against your lane is also a good choice. You want to increase your damage, but also increase your tankiness for lane and for later in the game. Usually these will build into your tier 2 boots.


Against an AP top, you may want to rush a hexdrinker. Definitely consider this if the enemy team is running double AP. The shield is incredible early, and is great in terms of gold efficiency. Keep it at a hexdrinker until you do not have anything else to buy. Maw is not an efficient buy, so you're better off completing the rest of your item build.

///
If you're behind in lane, you probably want to start building health and resistances first. Doran's Shield, Chain Vest, Giant's Belt, etc. are all good to survive your lane. You simply want to be able to farm at your tower and not get dove, as well as bulk up for team fights. If you are able to get tower dove by your lane, you will not be able to come to lane at all and not only miss the gold from CS, but also the valuable experience you need to gain levels. These items will help you from experiencing this desperate situation.

Again, always buy wards and pots! The vision and sustain is vital to your success in lane!

Core (Mid Game):

//
At this point, you will want to have a Phage and Giant's Belt in your possession. You also want to have tier 2 boots, either Tabi, Merc's, or Swifties. It is important that you have these so you can keep up with the enemy team, who will most likely have their upgraded boots as well. You also need to move around the map quicker to get to objectives and team fights.


Instead of a Phage, if you want to be split-push/sustain Darius, you can buy Ravenous Hydra. I do not find myself building this often because Tiamat is a pain to combine with the 4 items, and requires a high and odd amount of gold to buy. The wave clear/sustain is amazing. One Q+the active proc will decimate (ha get it? 8D) the minion wave.

From here, you need to judge the flow of the game. If your team is winning, and you don't necessarily need to be too tanky yet, start finishing your Triforce. I suggest building the Zeal after Phage simply for more movespeed. If a certain enemy carry is fed, you should itemize accordingly. Building Sunfire Cape or Hexdrinker/Negatron are very good choices.

Remember to keep buying wards! You have to contribute to the vision on the map; your support should not be doing this alone.

I will talk in-depth on Trinity Force on its own chapter, discussing why I deem it necessary on Darius almost every game.

Late Game:

Some optimal builds:

AP-Oriented:/

AD Heavy (Lack of hard CC):

-> These are a must at somepoint between mid and late game, especially late game! Against teams with decent CC, which will be 90% of your games, you need these tier 2 boots to remain relevant in fights. If you bought Tabi for lane, sell them and buy Merc's when you can. It's hard to tell you when, so use your best judgment when deciding to switch.

-> These are highly situational! You will want these if the enemy team doesn't have a high AD threat and lack hard CC. Most teams will have hard CC, but for those teams that have a lot of slows and such, Swiftness boots will help much more. The price of Merc's is primarily for the tenacity, not so much the magic resist.

At this portion of the game, you need to be a tanky mofo on the front lines. Triforce gives you more than enough damage to gibb a carry, so you need to soak up as much damage possible for your carries in most cases. Warmog's, Spirit Visage, Randuin's Omen, etc. are extremely viable options for defense. If you want to help your whole team, you can also build a Runic Bulwark, but many times your jungler or support will have this.


If for some reason you do not need to be as tanky (suppose you have a decently tanky mid and a tanky jungle), you can build Last Whisper for some AD and even more ArmorPen to help you scale better into late game. I'm not sure how this 35% ArmorPen works with your natural E ArmorPen, but if I had to guess, it is multiplicative. You can also consider Bloodthirster for raw AD, but it is not a good late game buy. You have to stack it for it to be most effective. Also, the sustain does not help you much in team fights since you probably won't get to auto attack much throughout the entire fight.

Let's expand some of the offensive and defensive options available to Darius!

Offense



I see a lot of pros build this item when they play Darius, but I'm not exactly sure why. I only build this if I really need to match the sustain of my lane opponent such as . It only gives 25 AD, and the 40% attack speed is not the best for Darius since you should be playing Darius as an AD caster rather than an AA champ. The only attractive part of the item is the active, which can help against kiting, but because of the lack of AD, you don't have the burst to kill the intended target even if you do get to them.



A lot of Darius' used to build this before the true damage on the item got nerfed. Your bleed dot + ignite + this item's dot is pretty ridiculous. The item overall gives pretty good stats to Darius: AD, regen, and CDR. However, with the recent nerfs to the AD it gives you, it has become a less viable item to build overall on non-junglers.



I used to build this a lot on Darius, and it is a decent early buy. Definitely go for it if you got the early kill and want to enhance your burst and counteract armor purchases by your lane. 25 AD and 10% CDR is really nice early. However, you might as well go double Doran's since it gives you a little less AD, but more health and some sustain. The reason for this is Black Cleaver isn't that good on Darius. He has no quick way to shred armor like some AD champs such as Garen and Wukong, so the passive from the item isn't ideal for him. You can definitely build this if your team is all AD, and you can help them shred the enemy armor.

Update: I've been thinking, and Black Cleaver has become more appealing to me. It gives health, CDR (which is very nice for an AD caster like Darius), flat ArPen, and more AD than Last Whisper, although it is 700 more gold. Since Darius has natural ArPen, this might be better than building Last Whisper. You would probably have to forgo the Triforce if you decide to build this. Frozen mallet + BC is a decent combination.

Defense



This item is great for teams with significant CC. It allows you to cancel that one ability, which means that's one less CC stopping you from getting to the carries. The shield also comes back in a fairly short amount of time, so it's not the biggest deal if it gets popped from a random ability. It is a good source of MR and health, so highly consider this against double AP.



I highly suggest this against an all-AD team or against a hyper-carry AD such as Vayne or Trist. It is one of the biggest sources of armor in the game and it provides 20% CDR. As an AD caster, CDR is great on Darius. I would not buy this if someone else is going to buy it, since the aura doesn't stack, or if you need more health.



Many of you are probably wondering why I don't find Frozen Mallet to be an essential buy on Darius since it's important to avoid getting kited to death. Much of this is explained in the Trinity Force chapter, so I won't repeat myself. I would only buy this if you can't find the space/right amount of gold to buy Trinity Force, and it's a priority for you to get bulkier. Usually if I still need more health after building Randuin's, I'll opt for this. I will also probably have a different damage item such as Black Cleaver to help shred armor as I continuously slow them. Otherwise, Trinity Force remains a much more efficient buy.



In general, Guardian Angel has become less effective in S3 due to the nerfs on the resists and the increase in price. It's mainly to keep the squishy, high-damage carries from dying right away to massive burst, such as Darius' dunk. For bruisers, it's become less of a priority. You will most likely not need this unless you built considerable amount of damage and are ahead of pretty much everyone in the game. Otherwise, it's not important for you to stay alive. You need better resist items to remain in battle as long as you can instead of being squishier and put in revive mode where you can easily be focused and die right as you come back up. Definitely a rare and situational buy for Darius.



Randuin's is one of your big ticket items as Darius. Not only does it provide health and armor, but its passive/active also synergize very well with him. AD carries will be slowed by autoattacking you, making it harder for them to kite you around. The item also has a great active, especially if you can pull multiple people in, slowing all of them. You will need to consider this for almost all your games.



Spirit Visage is a great option against teams with multiple sources of AP. It is best to get this if you build some sort of sustain such as Ravenous Hydra. I think it also goes well with Warmog's and more health, especially if you get baron buff. The best part about this item is its 20% CDR, so you can consider building this mainly for the CDR. However, you may not want to build this if you need a way to lessen the CC from the enemy team with Banshee's Veil.



This is a great early buy for Darius if you get fed early. The passive from Sunfire is strong early to mid game since you'll most likely be in the middle of team fights, but falls off once the game reaches late game stage. By then, Sunfire becomes mediocre in terms of its armor and health. You will generally want to build this before the 25 minute mark for it to be effective.



Warmog's used to be a dominant item in the game, but Riot has made significant adjustments to counterplay health stacking. This is also a strong mid game item, when items such as BotRK or Liandry's have not been built yet. It is generally a good buy when you don't really have to itemize against a certain damage source (AKA no one has gotten particularly fed yet).

Trinity Force



What is it about this item that makes it so strong on Darius?

Trinity Force used to be too expensive for most champions to get at about 4200 gold. Since then, Riot's decreased the price down to 3843. Although it is still one of the most expensive items in the game, its stats are well worth it for Darius and some other champions now. Let's look into the stats:

+30 AD -> AD is always good on Darius
+30 AP -> This is the one stat that Darius does not have any use for
+30% Attack speed -> Not the most useful stat on Darius, but nice to have. Allows you to apply bleed stacks faster through autos
+10% Crit chance -> Can be very helpful in gibbing carries, especially if you crit with your W. I have confirmed this is possible. To be clear, you will get 300% damage with your W and a crit
+8% Movement speed -> This is godlike on Darius, combined with his passive, it really helps chasing targets or catching people out. One of the main reasons I build this so often
+250 Health -> Not the most amount of health, but it's still something and Darius always appreciates more health
+200 Mana -> Like the attack speed, it's nice, but not that necessary. Makes it less likely that you go oom when getting resets with your ultimate

UNIQUE Passive - Icy: Basic attacks have a 25% chance to slow target's Movement Speed for 2 seconds on hit (30% slow for melee attacks, 20% slow for ranged attacks).
- As long as you're not cursed by the RNG gods, you should be able to get at least one proc as you get multiple autos after your W. Again, great for chasing

UNIQUE Passive - Spellblade: After using an ability, the next basic attack deals bonus physical damage equal to 150% of base Attack Damage on hit (2 second cooldown).
- This makes up for the useless 30 AP from the Sheen. This passive adds quite a bit to your burst, enabling you to gibb carries faster

Comparing this with Frozen Mallet, you spend about 500 more gold for all these extra stats, sacrificing 450 health and giving a 10% weaker and RNG-based slow. That seems extremely worth it to buy Triforce instead. These stats overall make the item a very gold-efficient buy on Darius.

However, it is still very expensive. You need to figure out whether it is appropriate to buy this item in certain game situations. It is not ideal for you to finish Triforce if you need to be tankier for your team.

Ravenous Hydra



After experimenting with this item quite thoroughly in most of my recent games, I've found Ravenous Hydra to be a very potent offensive item choice for Darius. Let's take a look stat by stat:

+75 AD -> One of the best sources of AD, better than unstacked BT, which scales very well with Darius' skills
+15 Health regen per 5 -> Not an overly significant stat, but useful nonetheless
+12% Life steal -> Covers one of Darius' weaknesses, no natural sustain, allows him to stay in lane more easily

UNIQUE Passive - Cleave: Basic attacks deal 20% to 60% of total Attack Damage as bonus physical damage to enemies near the target on hit (enemies closest to the target take the most damage).
- Small AoE bonus damage that gives Darius more presence in team fights, works well with his pull

UNIQUE Active - Crescent: Deals 60% to 100% of total Attack Damage as physical damage to nearby enemy units (closest enemies take the most damage) (10 second cooldown).
- Again gives pretty decent AoE to team fights, also adds additional burst to help Darius combo and finish someone off. This active along with Q clears whole minion waves completely, giving Darius good splitpushing ability.

Overall, this item is very good on Darius. I usually buy it when I don't need the mvspeed from Triforce due to mvspeed runes or Janna passive. It provides more DPS than Triforce, considering you don't get 2 or more crits. It's become my go-to offensive weapon for the dunkmaster.

Early Game

The early game is where Darius shines, barring ranged champs. There are a few things you should consider before minions spawn.

1. Who is your lane matchup? Buy your starting items accordingly. You can take a look at my matchup chapter if you're unsure what to buy.

2. What is your team planning? Are they invading or defending? Make sure if your team is invading, you haven't taken a skill point yet. You may need your pull, so level accordingly.

3. Are you leashing for your jungler? If so, make sure you let him know not to give you the buff through your bleed. Or if you really want the buff, you can keep quiet about it :) Either way, while it helps to have the buff (more so red than blue), it'll probably hurt your team in the long run since the jungler is behind in experience and loses gank potential, if he needs red to gank.

4. If you aren't doing 2 or 3, you can hide in certain brushes at top lane to get some cheese damage on your enemy laner as they're walking into lane. I will put up a separate chapter with maps that show in detail where you can hide.

As laning phase begins, keep the aggression up on your laner at all times. When I say aggression however, I mean calculated aggression. Keep your lane warded and know when you can assert your early game advantage. It will be your key to success knowing when to back out if the enemy jungler is coming or if you can potentially get a double kill.

Cheese and Warding (In Progress)

The Dunkmaster Cheese:

Darius' level 1 is stronger than almost every top laner. The only champion I am unsure about is Riven .

This cheese is most commonly done when you are purple side (top side) and if their jungler is likely to start blue. Here is where you want to hide:

[http://i.imgur.com/r9ew3w4.png]

The red circle represents the river brush you want to hide in.

Keep in mind that this will probably only work consistently around mid Gold! Higher ELO players know that they need to take the safe way to lane so they can avoid this cheese.

So if you want to know if your enemy laner is smart enough to avoid fighting with you, you should place a ward (this is assuming you started 2 wards) at 2:00 so you don't miss any CS:

[http://i.imgur.com/HW8iSTJ.png]

The green circle indicates where you should place the ward, the opening of the river to blue buff.

If you see the enemy laner approaching where you are hiding, take a point in W. 2 reasons for this:

1. Auto+W may do a little less damage than Auto+Q, but the W is better for extended trades because of the CD being lower from amount of bleed stacks. Most of the time, the enemy will run, which is the right thing to do, and the slow from W allows you to tack on at least 1 more auto. If you orbwalk correctly, you should be able to get 2 autos.

2. The AS debuff on W helps immensely since most level 1 duels are autoattacking. This is one of the main reasons you will win a level 1 against any laner.

Here are some of the advantages you can gain from this tactic, in order from least likely to most likely:

-First blood
-Forced flash
-A favorable trade

If you see an extended trade is happening (you are around 70-80% hp), start drinking a health potion! Health pots are incredibly important for early fights in making sure you stay above your laner in HP, especially in these kinds of duels.

If you get them to 35% hp or lower, ignite them and force them to flash or risk dying. This is where you use your judgment to see if flashing for them and getting one more auto will net you first blood.

If they use ignite on you first, either ignite them back immediately and continue fighting or disengage. You should win the trade still or bait out one of their summoners and remember you have this advantage if you want to fight later.

Mid Game

The ideal position for you to be in at this point of the game is to have won your lane and taken tower. Your item build should have reached the core section by this time as well. You will have to analyze how the rest of your team is doing. Usually what is best is to group for dragon if it is up at this time. Force a dragon fight while your enemy top laner is back top trying to get your tower. This can be a very crucial point in the game. If you play it right, the least you get out of it is a free dragon, but many people at low ELO do not realize they should give it up and force a bad 4v5 fight that you can decide with your presence. It is worth losing some farm at top if you can win a good dragon fight and obtain the global gold from dragon.

If you find yourself in the opposite scenario, where you lost lane and lost tower first, be sure to notify your teammates. You can either push your lane and try to take the tower, or group for dragon if you aren't that behind. If you choose the former, you have to tell your teammates to give the dragon up if your enemy top is missing. You can tell your jungle to attempt a smite steal, but you should not lose anything more than his life for the dragon. If he dies, but steals the dragon, it is worth it. Make sure this does not translate to losing mid tower, because at that point, the trade isn't really worth it. Mid tower provides a lot of map control.

Overall, the key to mid game is grouping and taking objectives. Objectives win you the game, not the number of kills. It is about this time where baron should be warded. Speaking of wards, you still need to buy them! They are essential for keeping you and your entire team safe.

Late Game

Darius becomes a bit lackluster once this stage of the game hits. You can still gibb enemy squishies, but it becomes significantly harder, especially for AD carries who generally scale up to this part of the game. Baron control is extremely important here. Take a look at your outer lanes, especially bot lane, and see which way the lanes are snowballing. If possible, try to get bot to snowball towards the enemy side so they either lose baron to send someone to stop the minion wave, or they give up all the CS and potentially lose a tower. If you are in this position where bot is snowballing against you, it is often a better idea to give up the CS if it means your team needs you to contest baron. Sometimes your AD carry might get greedy, but be sure to ping him back and tell him to stay with the team. Baron is a crucial objective at this stage of the game, and is not worth losing over some farm.

If you win a team fight and have a choice between baron and an inhibitor, 9 times out of 10, take the inhibitor. This provides map control you need since mid will be shoving with super minions (most games, people take mid inhib first) and all your other lanes will have stronger minions as well. The only time you should NOT take the inhibitor is if the enemy team is about to respawn and can counterbaron if you don't back and heal fast enough, especially with the implementation of homeguards. You have to remember not to get greedy here, so ping back your teammates if you have to.

And as always, keep up your contribution to warding if possible. You may not have room for any, but if you do, buy at least one pink to help your support clear out baron wards.

Team Fights

Team fighting can be a bit tricky for Darius. I will discuss mid and late game team fighting.

Here is a list for your roles in team fights from most to least important:

Anti-carry, Tank, Peeler

Mid Game:

It's important to realize here that the front line on either teams is usually not that tanky yet, including yourself, unless someone got super fed. Therefore, you should not tunnel vision the enemy AD or AP carry, unless they are significantly strong at this point in the game. You can do a significant amount of damage just to the enemy jungler or top lane if they are fighting you. However, you should still save your E for an opportunity to pull in a particular target you need to kill. You may even want to use your pull to peel for your carry if he is absolutely huge! CC and kite are your weaknesses, so don't make yourself a huge target (screaming "I will destroy your carry") in fights. Find a way to play around it if possible, maybe arrive to the fight a bit late, when all the CC abilities are on CD. Your ultimate brings an enormous amount of damage to team fights at this point, so it is pretty vital that you get the reset when you use it.

Late Game:

For late game, it's usually more important to get the enemy squishies now (we're talking 5 to 6 item AP or ADs). It may be worth it to flash+pull a target in team fights if you have to. Even if they flash out after, it might be too late for them if you get your combo off. They will either die or be too low to come back into the fight. If you miss your pull or an enemy gets away with low health, do not keep chasing! As Darius, once you've used your pull, you've lost any means of getting to someone for about 12 seconds (for max rank E with no CDR). You won't get the AD or AP carry unless they stand still, and don't kite you around. Simply zone them out from focusing squishier targets and turn your attention to whoever you can damage.

You may consider using your pull again to peel for a certain hyper carry if necessary. Usually, your support should be able to do the job. Again, you should try to go for resets, although it may be more important to just wipe a certain person out in fights. Overall, your job is to get in the thick of things and soak up as much damage as you can to give your carries as much time to DPS.

Common Top Lane Matchups

I may not cover every top laner that you will encounter, but I will go over the most important ones!

= Hard
= Easy

Cuz obviously, the easier the lane, the more dunks you get off :D

A common theme to note: Low ELO Darius will almost always beat low ELO ranged champions. This is due to lower ELO players not knowing how to position and kite in lane. Also, it is significantly harder to CS with some AP tops.


Aatrox

Starting items:

Many people have a misconception that Aatrox is a counter to Darius because of his passive. While his passive is annoying to deal with in terms of your ult, he is not a counter to Darius. Aatrox has poor early game stats and he is melee, which makes Darius a hard lane to play against early. You simply need to fight him as much as possible and Q harass too. Don't let him sustain off the creeps for free. If you fight and harass him enough, he cannot come up to the wave without risk of you killing him. Also, save your pull for when he uses his jump. This is definitely a winnable lane for Darius.


Akali

Starting items:

This lane is heavily in your favor early, especially with the recent Akali nerfs. Akali cannot get close to you without taking multiple Q's to the face. The only thing that will lose you the lane is a jungle gank, or if you haven't shut her down hard enough pre-6. Once level 6 comes around, her damage will be on par with yours once she gets her ultimate stacks. So it is wise for you to engage a level 6 fight as soon as you hit level 6!


Cho'Gath

Starting items:

A good Cho'Gath is extremely hard to kill. If he has armor runes and starts cloth+5, there is little to no point to harass him. The most you can do is Q and W him whenever possible, avoiding pushing the lane as much as possible. Try to get him to the point where he can't come up to the creep wave to use his passive to sustain the damage. Your only chance is to get a kill early, otherwise, with Feast stacks and more health/armor, Cho'Gath will start bullying you out of lane. His health stacking directly counters your true damage ult.


Elise

Starting items:

This is one of your nightmare matchups. A good Elise will almost never get within range for your pull. Her Q clearly outranges your pull, so she can constantly harass you without being in danger of getting pulled. Even if you do manage to pull her, she can stun you and disengage quite easily. If you're low enough, she can just transform into spider form and finish you off. This matchup requires you to have to play the top lane brushes well. Take as much CS as you can without taking too much free damage. You're going to have to wait for a jungle gank or a crucial mistake by Elise, such as pulling her into your tower. You have stronger 100-0 all-in power, considering you guys are about even in items.

You may want to consider pushing this lane for a faster level 2, and see if you can all-in her by being a level ahead. You could also just push the lane so you can buy first since Elise has terrible wave clear early. This can backfire if the lane starts freezing near her tower, keep in mind.


Fiora

Starting items:/ (low pressure jungler)

Believe it or not, Fiora's early game damage is on-par with yours, possibly even higher. She is one of the few champions who can fight you level 2 because of her Riposte. It will block your W, so be aware of that. It is in your best interest to use your Q to harass her down to an amount of health where you will be able to all-in her. At level 6, both of you have very strong ultimates, but you should come out on top if you've harassed her enough. Once you buy some armor, this lane should be very easy for you.


Gangplank

Starting items:/ (low pressure jungler)

This is a pretty even lane because there is only so much you can do against GP, it depends on how the enemy GP plays it. Like Elise, his Q outranges your pull. There are two things GP can do with this: harass or farm. If he is smart, he'll harass you with the skill and try to force you out of lane. This is where you'll have to use the top brushes effectively. He will run out of mana if he spams the ability too much on you. If he decides to farm with this skill from the getgo, you should be satisfied. The lane will essentially become a farm fest. It is for this same reason that you will have a hard time killing GP. If you pull him and W, he has a slight movement speed buff and oranges to negate the slow. He can also farm safely with his Q, but you might be able to deny him a few minions here and there while the skill is on CD.


Garen

Starting items:

Garen is a fellow dunkmaster, so it makes sense that he fares quite well against Darius. In fact, Garen is a good counterpick. He puts out less amount of damage than Darius, but he's significantly more tanky and he has passive health regen. He also has an execute ultimate just like Darius. However, you can still win this lane matchup. Early Q harass is necessary; this is one lane I would take Q level 1, level 2 for sure because Garen can push the lane as well with his spin. If Garen silences you and starts spinning, don't just run. You won't get out of the spin, so you have to trade back, or he gets all this free damage on you. At the very least, you should move+auto if possible, so you have less distance to retreat back to tower if you're losing the trade. Once the spin is done, you can pull him back and continue putting on the damage. Keep harassing with your Q if you can; don't let him get his passive health regen up. Overall, this is a tough matchup for Darius.


Irelia

Starting items:

This matchup is fairly easy and simple for you. While she has a stun, you can continually harass her with Q and slow her attack speed with W, which is key on Irelia. Try to avoid fighting her directly while she has her Hiten Style on (it makes a distinct sound when activated), kite it out with your Q and W. Irelia depends on sustain in this lane, so try your best to keep her zoned from the minion wave. Also remember to ignite her during her ultimate!


Jarvan IV

Starting items:

Another fellow dunkmaster. The reason this lane is somewhat difficult for you is because J4 can continuously poke you with his abilities, somewhat like a ranged champion. However, unlike a ranged champion, he can also fight you straight on. His level 2 is arguably stronger than Darius'. You should still fight him regardless, especially if he comes into your minion wave. If you allow him to poke you all day in lane, you will definitely lose. A jungle gank would be helpful to get you snowballing.


Jax

Starting items:

The 4th dunkmaster. This is an easier matchup, simply because you can harass Jax for free with your Q. He has to survive the early levels in order to have a chance to fight you later. While you should Q him as much as you can, avoid pushing the lane too hard at the same time. He will outscale you hard if you are about even. You should not use your pull to start trades. Just auto, Q, and W until he puts up his stun/dodge. Even if you W during the dodge, it will still slow him, so you can kite him out, forcing him to use Q if he wants to land it. If he uses Q at any point in the fight, pull him back when he starts running. Be careful of his 3rd hit passive ult proc. If he is randomly hitting minions, he is looking to hit you with the ult.


Jayce

Starting items: (better if you think you're good at dodging skill shots)/

This guy is one of the safest and most annoying picks in the game. A good Jayce will beat the crap out of you. It is key for you to dodge his E+Q's or the lane is lost. This is one of the matchups you may want to push out the lane and make a quick buy. Again, this could result in freezing the wave at Jayce's tower, which is the exact opposite of what you want to do. You also do not want to farm at your tower because it gives Jayce free reign to poke you at the tower. You want to pull in Jayce whenever possible and try to get off as much damage before he knocks you away. Once you get to level 6, you have potential to all-in him. At the very least, you should try to force him out of lane with your combo. If you fall behind in this lane, it will be very difficult for you.

Consider taking in this lane! Even if he knocks you back, you'll have the movement speed to keep up with him.


Kayle

Starting items:

Kayle is probably the biggest counter to you. She has range, a slow, a heal/speed-up, AND an ability that completely negates all the damage from your ultimate. A good Kayle will make the lane a nightmare for you, and there's almost nothing you can do. You'll have to depend on bad positioning from her, and pull her in whenever possible. Keep in mind that she uses mana pretty heavily in the early game, so if you can play around that, the lane will be easier. Your all-in potential is stronger still. Try to force her ultimate before you use hers; some Kayle's may not even have the reaction time to ult as you ult, but if that happens, then they're not very good.


Kennen

Starting items:/ (low pressure jungler)

This is an extremely frustrating matchup for Darius. He can constantly harass you with Q's and his W passives all day. Some Kennen's will go Doran's blade to make his autos and W passives hurt even more. It also makes itemizing difficult for you. Even you manage to pull him in, he can E out and run you through the stun cycle. Make sure when you do pull him, that you do not have a mark on you beforehand. If you even have one mark on you, Kennen can E when you pull him in and W right away, stunning you and making your successful pull fruitless since you are unable to take advantage of it. You will need to ask for a gank in this lane, provided the Kennen doesn't make a huge positioning mistake.


Kha'Zix

Starting items:

Kha'Zix used to be an extremely frustrating champion to play against with his ridiculous wave clear, sustain, and passive proc from his W. With the recent changes to his kit, he's gotten somewhat stronger as a top laner. Most Kha'Zix players will max his Q now, which has been buffed to rework his kit. It does more damage against isolated targets now, so make sure you fight among your creeps when you choose to fight. Your Q should outrange his if you keep getting max range, so you have a way to harass him without retaliation. He has sustain, but you can eventually bully him enough to zone him from the creep wave. Try to save your pull after he jumps so he doesn't have a way to escape you. Another small thing to note is that his stealth will stop your ult momentarily, so if you need to kill him quick, keep this in mind.


Lee Sin

Starting items:/ (low pressure jungler)

Lee Sin has an extremely strong early game, even stronger than Darius'. His attack speed passive, and his own attack speed debuff on you is strong early. His Q is also a very strong nuke, especially if he maxes this skill first. His Q+R+Q combo at level 6 is about as strong as your ult, except it is a lot faster since you need to get bleed stacks in order to maximize your damage. Lee also has natural sustain, so you must try to harass him down enough so that he risks dying trying to life steal off the creep wave. His W can also allow him to escape your pull, keep that in mind. If you can dodge his Q's and hit your own, this lane should go in your favor. A well-played Lee Sin is very hard to beat.


Malphite

Starting items:

Malphite is a strong anti-AD champion, especially with auto attackers. However, your magic damage from bleed and the fact that Darius is more of an AD caster makes the lane a bit easier for you. With Malphite's passive shield, it will be a bit difficult for you to score an early kill without a jungle gank. If you are unable to get an early kill, it will be almost impossible for you to kill Malphite later once he stacks armor. A Malphite that also goes somewhat AP too is scary as well. His constant Q harass will start to hurt along with his E's. You should try to flash his ult too; it's somewhat predictable at long range especially.


Nasus

Starting items:

There is one thing Nasus hates: early game champions/lane bullies. Darius is just exactly this. You zone Nasus right from the start, so you must try to deny him as much as you can. Don't allow him to stack his Q. This is one lane you want to avoid pushing because Nasus can farm at the tower very well with his natural sustain. He can also setup a gank quite nicely with some levels in his W, so you want to avoid being near his tower as much as possible. If Nasus is allowed to get his Q stacked, he will start outscaling you hard by stacking armor and doing good damage with the Q.


Nidalee

Starting items:/ (low pressure/damage jungler)

Nidalee is another one of those poke champions. Most top Nidalees will be AD bruisers, but they often do a lot of mixed damage. You will win straight up trades pre-6, but combined with her range and passive, it will be hard for you to pull her in. She also has built-in sustain to bully you out of lane. You will also need to play the brush well in this matchup and abuse positioning mistakes as much as you can. A good Nid will take a dump on your face, no doubt about it.

Go Doran's shield start if their jungler is low pressure or low damage. Nidalee doesn't have very much follow-up damage pre-6, so you can afford to not buy a ward.


Pantheon

Starting items:/ (low pressure jungler)

This matchup should not be too difficult for you. Don't allow Pantheon to Q you all day for free. You should be able to get in range for a Q of your own when he goes for certain creeps. You win straight up duels early as well, so pull him in when you can. It's best to use your pull if he jumps in to stun you and starts running away, but you should still be the aggressor and pull him in regardless. Make sure to take down his passive with a normal auto and then apply your W, so the increased damage does not get blocked. His level 6 ult is mostly used for ganking other lanes, so you heavily gain an advantage at that time. Be sure you tell your teammates about his level 6 if he's been gone from lane for awhile.


Renekton

Starting items:

This lane is slightly in favor of Darius early on. You should be able to out damage him levels 1 and 2, but he becomes dangerous with his full combo at level 3. Be aware of his fury bar, an empowered Q or W hurts a lot early. He'll try to dash at you with an E through minions (which allows him to double dash), empowered Q+auto+W (his 1 second stun)+auto. He'll save the last E most likely to get out and make you unable to do too much damage. However, his dash is shorter than your pull, so you should be able to pull him back in and bring some pain. Don't allow him to sustain back with his Q as the lane goes on, otherwise you will definitely start losing. His level 6 rivals the strength of yours, granting him passive fury gain, magic damage, and health to counter your true damage ult. You have to be on point with your Q's and pulls to gain an advantage over Renekton.


Rengar

Starting items:

Since his nerfs, Rengar has become a shadow of his former self. I still believe he can be played at a high level, as you see high ELO players do extremely well with him. In lane though, he has become very weak early. Most Rengar's will look to Bola you as much as possible, it is his form of harass. It does have a higher range than your pull, but Rengar is melee after all, so you can harass him whenever he goes for certain farm. You have to force all-ins in this lane, since Rengar also has innate sustain, and will outlast you in lane. Once he builds some armor and health, you will start losing control in this lane.


Riven

Starting items:

Riven is a harder than many think. While it is possible for Riven to win, it takes a lot more skill and outplay for her to win against Darius. Her level 1 power may be stronger than yours due to her passive. Be careful of being level 2 cheesed against Riven, she can kill a minion as she Q's to you and level up her W. It takes a good amount of skill to do this, but be aware of such cheese early. You may want to go cloth+5 to prevent this from happening. Don't be so obvious with your Q's in this lane. Riven can easily dash into you with her E, take the normal damage from the Q and mitigate most of it with the shield. At level 6, you want to avoid a straight up all-in unless you have some more health over her. She can burst you down faster than you can. Keep in mind that you can flash the second cast of her ultimate, which is important because it is an execute. This lane heavily snowballs for whoever gets the first kill.


Rumble

Starting items:

You do very well in this lane early since Rumble's levels 1-3 are very weak. In this time, you should either get a kill or zone him from the wave as much as possible. As he gains levels and builds a Haunting Guise, he will start becoming very strong. You will want to rush a Hexdrinker in this lane. Avoid dueling him in his ultimate!


Singed

Starting items:

I can't believe I forgot to add Singed to this list originally.

Anyway, Singed has a fairly weak early game, which is great for someone like Darius. Depending on how Singed plays the lane, either shoving the wave early with his poison or simply last hitting, you will decide whether to take Q or W first. Take Q if he is shoving so you don't get pushed in too hard. You will want to harass him as much as you can before level 6. Once he gets level 6, he will become very annoying to kill because of his ultimate, and Darius doesn't have a very good way to deal with Singed. If you pull him in, he can simply fling you away, and you've lost all means of getting to him. So your best bet is to save your pull until he flings you. Also, many Singed's build health and mana (which results in more health), countering your true damage ultimate. It is key for you to abuse the early levels and bully Singed before he becomes unkillable.

As for dealing with the whole new Proxy Singed craze, I'm not an expert at this since I haven't had to play against it yet. Buy as your starting item so you are able to tank the minions and spam your Q for wave clear! After that, what I would do is rush a Tiamat into Hydra so you can sustain and have equal if not stronger pushing power. Early levels, try to keep the wave from your tower, and continuously spam Q to clear the waves. Let your jungler deal with Singed if he can. If there's a whole wave at your tower, you should try to get the experience and gold rather than chase Singed around.


Shen

Starting items:

Darius can bully Shen around for quite awhile in this lane before Shen starts building armor and health. Make sure you keep constant pressure on him, so he cannot teleport without fear of you interrupting it with a pull. I suggest building Ravenous Hydra in this lane! You won't be able to kill a Shen who has Sunfire and Warmog's without some sort of sustain, so you need Hydra for that and the split-pushing ability.


Teemo

Starting items:

As with all ranged champions, a well-played Teemo will make this lane a living nightmare. Your best chance at killing/outplaying him is before level 6, when he doesn't have the help of mushrooms to kite you around. Your use of the brushes is key to your success in this lane. Pull him in whenever you can, and remember to W when you aren't blinded. If you get a pull at level 6, you will most likely be able to 100-0 him. Ask your jungler for a gank if possible because once you get ahead, Teemo will most likely be unable to lane against you anymore.


Tryndamere

Starting items:

Tryndamere is becoming more popular for some reason now, so you may see this more often. I initially thought this lane was pretty easy for Darius, but it's actually harder than I thought. Trynd's ability to crit early on can screw you over if he gets some cheesy crits fighting you. Avoid extended trades while he has a full fury bar, simply Q and W and back off. Once he buys sustain with his Q heal, it becomes more difficult to zone him from the wave. Good laners will get you to Q the entire minion wave while you harass, making the wave shove. Trynd with sustain can farm quite easily at tower, so the lane becomes a farm fest and boils down to the junglers. If either one of you gets a kill early, the lane will snowball pretty heavily.


Udyr

Starting items:/

Udyr has insanely strong early game damage with his Tiger stance, even though it was nerfed. He also has the ability to sustain himself and shield himself with his Turtle as well. Add his stun into this, and Udyr presents a fairly difficult matchup for Darius. You may want to get a faster level 2 and chunk him down. As with most sustain champs, you have to continually punish and harass him if he comes up to the wave. This is harder of course since Udyr has the ability to trade with you as well. See if you can get a gank since Udyr has no real escapes just like Darius.


Vladimir

Starting items:

Darius dominates Vladimir in the early game, since Vlad's damage is considerably weak and his Q is on a relatively long cooldown. You will need to get ahead before level 7, otherwise Vlad will start sustaining his way through the lane with a 4 sec CD Q and spell vamp. Pull him whenever you can, and force him to pool (which takes 20% of his current health). Keep in mind that his pool is on a longer cooldown than your pull, so you can effectively zone him out during this time with the help of the brush.



Wukong

Starting items:

Darius does well against Wukong at every stage of the game. You can Q him whenever you want and neutralize his attack speed buff from his E with your W. His decoy will not help him either since your Q is AoE and will most likely hit him anyway. He will need much help from his jungler in order to win this lane, so make sure you keep your lane warded and have good map awareness! Despite his weakness to you, Wukong brings a lot more than you to team fights with his knockup AoE ultimate, so shut him down and make him useless.


Xin Zhao

Starting items:/

Xin proposes a good challenge to Darius early with his insane early game damage due to his natural 15% armor pen. Avoid trading with him when he has his Q active. He will most likely proc it when he dashes to you, so kite it out with your Q and W and avoid getting knocked up. You can pull him back once he tries to run and go to town on him. Once you hit level 6, your power levels even out and you can go for a kill here. You should always look to harass him down first with your Q and zone him out.


Zac

Starting items:

Zac isn't too common, but I've seen more of them go top lane when I play Darius, so I figure it's worth talking about.

This lane is all about the early game for Darius. Zac has significantly less damage than you at the start, so you have to harass and fight him as much as possible. It's important to keep note where his blobs go after he uses his abilities. If you step on them, he cannot pick them up to gain health back. Also, it may force him to step out of position, so punish him for it. You cannot simply let him sustain this lane. A jungle gank may help early to pop his passive and ramp up the kill potential for you. Keep in mind that your ult goes on CD if you use it it proc his passive.

If you don't deny Zac enough early or get a kill on him, he will most likely rush a Giant's Belt into Sunfire Cape. At this point, it will be quite difficult for you to kill him because his sustain becomes much stronger (he heals for %max health). Once this happens, he will start turning the lane in his favor.


Zed

Starting items:/ (low pressure jungler)

Zed has become quite weak with the recent nerfs, but he can still win in a lane against Darius. He cannot fight you all-in unless he has more health than you and is level 6. Most Zed's will look to poke you down with his Q's, but until then, you can zone him from the wave. Try to get in his face when you can. This is difficult because of his escape, so be aware of when he uses his shadow. If he uses it to farm, you can just start running up to him, and he has to back off. Your level 6 is much stronger unless you're below 50% HP.

Synergies

Typically, champions who can dive and provide a good amount of burst damage to squishies complement Darius well. It helps when there is another threat on your team, so you do not get all the attention of being CC'd and kited to death. Here are some champions that have team synergy with Darius:

-> Her ability to draw attention of the enemy team allows you to take less CC and damage. She also provides a good amount of burst that allows you to take out people faster with your ultimate.
-> Much like Akali, she can dive right into a team and provide great single-target damage. Her Moonfall works well with your pull, grabbing multiple people, which sets up very well for an AoE team comp. This can backfire however if you want to focus a single person (grabbing multiple champs makes it harder for you to auto/ult the correct person because of body blocking).
-> Simply for the global movespeed buff, and if I haven't said it enough, movespeed is godlike for Darius.
-> Glorious resets everywhere. Not only does Katarina make it easier for you to dunk people by getting them low, you also help her out with your dunks by lowering her CDs with assists.
-> More resets! With the coming changes to Kha'Zix, he's going to have an even better assassination kit. You have the ability to get at least one person low with your damage/ultimate and allow him to start jumping all over the place and to clean up fights.
-> Orianna fits well with many bruisers. Your pull+her ult can setup great team fights.

Counter Team Comps

There are certain champions that you do not want to pick Darius into outside of top lane. Generally, this involves champions who have escapes/blinks, which Darius has trouble with because his pull is the only way he can get to people, and once he uses it, those champions can just blink away. So in short, Darius does not like playing against high mobility champs including:



There are other champs that have dashes/escapes, but they are on higher CD, so it isn't as big of a problem.

Here are some special cases:

-> Her auto attack range combined with her net means you will almost never get in range to pull if she knows how to attack+move.
-> Warning! You may have to reconsider playing Darius simply due to a Janna being on the enemy team. There is a reason Janna has one of the highest win rates in Solo Q right now. Her kit brings so much peel/disengage for her team, and the global movespeed buff is a huge detriment in your ability to stick to people. Not only that, but her shield has the ability to screw up your ultimate. A good Janna will make team fighting unbearably difficult for you!
-> Just like in lane, her ultimate completely counters yours in team fights. She has to have good reflexes unless you make it really obvious who you're going to ult.
-> Her speed-up/polymorph makes it hard for you to get to certain targets and her ultimate can screw up your judgment with your ultimate.
-> His utility and CC is ridiculous right now, making team fights difficult for you. But the one thing to remember is that if you kill him with your ult and he has his passive, you won't get your ultimate back.
-> His ultimate works like a free GA, so somewhat like Kayle's, it counters your ultimate as well. Anyone you "kill" with your ultimate will revive and you're down a high-damage nuke.

Ultimately, you might want to reconsider picking Darius if you see 2 of these champs. Definitely if there's at least 3. But important to note is that this only matters in higher ELO! Positioning and team fighting is poor in low Gold and below, so you can still abuse and gibb champs with Darius.

Junglers and Darius

This is not a section about jungle Darius. Instead, this is a section about which junglers do well at ganking for Darius and ganking Darius himself.

Let's start with Darius' allied junglers:


Generally, Darius does very well with junglers who have point and click CC or are CC bots. You can either lead with the pull or lead with the CC; most of the time, it will result in your opponent's death.

Some special cases:
-> If he lands an E+Q, it's pretty much GG for the enemy laner. But the more significant reason why he is good with Darius is his ult, which is a dunk like yours. It can trap the enemy with both of you in it, giving no way to get out unless he has an escape or flash. At the same time, this ultimate can block you out if not used correctly.
-> This is very situational, and highly depends on the skill of the Lee Sin. The main reason why Lee is good with Darius is his ridiculous early game damage. Combined with your damage, it is almost a guaranteed kill if Lee can land a Q.
-> Xin has good, but somewhat unreliable CC. It's pretty key for him to get the 3rd hit on his Q to get the knockup when he's ganking. However, his early game damage is insane, so if the two of you can just go to town on someone, it will pretty much result in a kill.

Now let's take a look at junglers who give Darius trouble:



Due to his lack of mobility, Darius has unfavorable matchups against high mobility junglers such as Hecarim or Rammus. Even if you see a gank coming, if you're too extended, you won't get away from these kind of champs. Darius also has trouble with high-damage, early-ganking junglers such as Lee Sin and Shaco. It forces you to play passively against matchups in which you need to be aggressive such as Riven or Renekton, or get killed early, which could potentially screw you over for the entire game. Normally, your early wards help, but you may be forced into a Cloth+5 start depending on your matchup.

Some special cases:

+ -> These champs who have a ton of utility and CC usually make it hard for Darius to get away from a gank. Add in Boots of Mobility, and there's almost no way Darius can get out alive, even with flash up.
-> If you don't have flash, and J4 comes with level 6, you won't be getting away. With no escapes, Darius is trapped within Jarvan's ultimate, so your best bet is to fight and to try to get a kill out of the gank.

Final Comments

Just come on and slam summoners! Darius is a very good low ELO stomper, guaranteed wins or your ELO back! He is an easy champ to learn at first, but it takes more skill and time to master the art of the Dunk.

Comments

April 12, 2014 - 03:24 PM #1

http://www.linkbucks.com/KtnP

January 20, 2014 - 09:35 PM #2

http://sh.st/cM6P

December 17, 2013 - 01:20 AM #3
Xet

Worst darius guide ive ever seen, its costing me the game right now, you put so many items but you dont even do a build order, are you fucking retarded? you do first back then put the most random shit on there, thanks alot asshole.

November 29, 2013 - 08:59 AM #4

not good

October 31, 2013 - 06:40 AM #5

dang this is so thorough nice nice

September 19, 2013 - 03:23 AM #6

Why don't people play Darius more. He's so OP :O

September 1, 2013 - 01:24 AM #7

@Dead Mantis



I don't really use range indicators, but I really prefer not to do any kind of "auto" cast on E. It's extremely important for you to land the pulls.



@hairy asdf



I think you posted this before the recent buffs, but yeah, I had taken a liking to Ravenous Hydra. The mvspeed on Trinity Force, like I've said in the guide, can be significant in catching up to targets, which is why I get it. However, now with the recent buffs, it should be one of your go-to items.

August 25, 2013 - 10:39 AM #8

Just my opinion but I don't think trinity force is that great on Darius. All of his abilities are scale with AD so the AP is useless on him (his passive doesn't scale with AP). Also the mana is sort of a waste on him unless your spamming all your abilties.Lastly the cost of this item is very expensive so having no use for the AP and mana is a bit important. This item would be very good for champs like Jax but personally I would get a different item.

August 21, 2013 - 09:34 AM #9

You said do not have your e on smartcast, but i would still do it with range indicators on, since you can hold e and see the exact range (and just release when in range)

August 18, 2013 - 02:08 PM #10

base hero talon

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