IntroductionWho is Darius?
Darius is a very powerful champion of great strengths but glaring weaknesses.
- High damage with or without items. Will always be a damage threat.
- Useful hook that pulls enemies into your team for easy focus fire.
- Crippling slow on demand to peel for your carries.
- Can zone high priority targets enemies in team fights with the threat of his hook and his ultimate.
- Fast and efficient Jungle Clear.
- Strong ganking with his hook, slow and high damage.
- Unlike pure tank junglers, Darius can win most 2v2s fights, if one breaks out in a lane you're ganking. Darius is excellent in small skirmishes.
- True damage ultimate to eat through the armor of enemy tanks and bruisers.
- No good escape abilities. Fight or die.
- Slow, Easily kited, and not good at extended chases.
- Lacks sustain and natural defenses.
What role does jungle Darius play on a team?
Darius is one of the most misunderstood champions. So before discussing what role jungle Darius should play on a team, let's talk about what roles he can't play:
Darius is not a carry.
Some people consider Darius a carry, and they are wrong. Some simple math will show that by mid game, Darius only gets a ~0.46% damage increase per additional point of AD, the best damage stat for him (see chapter 8 for math). Crit and attack speed are not worth it as most of his damage is skills not auto attacks. Armor pen is also not worth building, as it only benefits his physical attacks, not his ult or his passive.
Carries can also deliver their damage easier due to their range and higher mobility. Darius' damage will fall off very hard if he is not ignored by the enemy team, because he cannot deliver his damage from range and his only gap closer (hook) is a very long cooldown.
More to the point: He's a melee range champion with no natural defenses, no natural escapes, his damage is backloaded, and he's easy to kite. You need to be very tanky to function, if you build glass cannon you will explode in any teamfight before you can do anything, and if you are too much of a damage threat, they will focus their CC on you and you will become useless.
While you can carry the early game with your strong ganks and the mid game with your high base damage, you can't safely build a lot of damage items and don't benefit much from them, so by late game you're either a meathead or dead meat.
Darius is not a cleanup champion
Some champions like master yi or katarina come in towards the end of the fight and clean up everyone. At first glance, Darius may look like this kind of champion, with his ultimate that resets on kills. This first impression is highly misleading.
Darius certainly has the kit to kill everyone on an enemy team if they stand still, however they're probably not going to stick around long enough for him to do that, His ult, while mostly unavoidable, has a rather long cast time which will immobilize him for a second, giving other enemies time to escape. It's not possible to play Darius as a cleanup champ vs competent players.
Darius does not dive the enemy carry
Darius also does not function as a diver in teamfights, like olaf, Jax, nocturne, Akali or Udyr: He can't dive into the enemy team, chase down the carry and kill them. Simply put, he's too slow, his hook cooldown is too long, and he has nothing in the way of defensive or escape abilities to allow him to pull that off safely. This is a common role that bruisers or assassins perform, and Darius is particularly bad at it.
So what is Darius? He's a tank and a bodyguard.
Simply put, Darius is a tank, and he packs the best kind of Crowd Control: Death. His massive damage without any items, including his true damage resetting ultimate, will cause any enemies to think twice before going near him. Even without building building much AD, you're still enough of a damage threat that you can't be ignored in teamfights. And if you build tank, they can't easily focus you down. And regardless of how much damage you do, the positional displacement from your hook is a huge threat to any squishy that could be easily focused down by your team.
What Darius lacks in CC he makes up in pure zoning capability. By building Darius as a tank, you turn your most glaring weakness: kitability, into a strength: zoning capability. If the enemy carries go anywhere near you, they will get hooked in, they will get decimated, they will get ulted, and they will die to focus fire from your team. So instead they will keep their distance while you kill the rest of their team. This zoning ability that Darius possesses simply by being so dangerous is a worthy substitute in teamfights for the crowd control abilities that most traditional tanks possess. And between his hook and his short cooldown slow, he's hardly lacking in CC himself.
In addition, by rushing boots of mobility, you can build Darius to perform another role that tanks typically perform: inititaion and ganking. These boots won't help you much for chasing people down after the fight has started, but they will help you gank, start fights, countergank, and get to the fight quickly to help your team if a fight breaks out while you're jungling. You can use these boots to seek out and find out of position enemy carries and then hook them into your team.
Darius functions best when he is not the primary damage threat on your team. He is much better as a secondary or tertiary darage threat. Due to being so easily kited, if you try to solo carry with darius, you will lose the game. As a secondary or tertiary damage threat, he still has the potential to kill enemies if ignored, and is much more likely to be ignored. If he is not ignored, he can soak up CC or focus fire which should have been targeted at a real carry with items, causing your team to win the fight.
Because of this, its generally better to get your team fed than you fed. So I recommend not stealing laner's creeps or spending a great amount of time splitpushing on Darius. Many bruisers are gear dependent, but Darius is not. He functions very well with only mobility boots and a support tank item or two like aegis and/or locket.
This passive is great, it does tons of damage and gives you some move speed in teamfights. Interacts with his W and his ultimate.
This is a nice aoe ability for teamfights and jungle clearly. Pretty simple ability. this does more damage if it hits with the blade. In fact, it does tons of damage.
Unlike many similar skills, this does not interrupt your auto attack or movement on use. So there's no need to time this skill to your auto attacks as you would for most jungle skills.
- Crippling Strike
This is a nice slow, both for attack speed and movement speed. It's like a mini-exhaust. The cooldown gets shorter as you get more bleed stacks, but unless you're auto attack speed is faster than 1.0 (it won't be), it's still better to cast this sooner rather than later. It also does tons of damage.
This ability resets your auto attack so make sure to auto once before using it, and also use Q first to get another bleed stack for shorter cooldown.
This skill is so much better than your typical Jump-To-Them gap closer. Here's why:
If you have a big standoff, and you are, say, jax, and you jump to a target with, say, leap strike, you're now in the middle of their team, which means they focus you down and you die.
On the other hand, if you're Darius, and you hook them: they're now in the middle of your team, and they are the ones that get focused and die die. Positioning wise: a hook is far superior for any situation where you'd rather you and they be closer to your team than their team, which is most situations.
The downside of this ability is its long cooldown, which means you need to save it for an opportune time and not just throw it out at the start of the fight for the hell of it. If you save this ability for later you can use it to passively zone squishy targets who will stay away from you until you use this. One of the big mistakes you can do on darius is using this too early in a big teamfight.
This ability does not do tons of damage, so max it last.
- Noxian Guillotine
This is darius main CC ability, it can potentially stun the target for up to 60 seconds.
... But seriously, this does tons of damage!
This is a really great team fighting ability for focus firing a target. Often times in teamfights you'll catch one enemy and everyone will burst them and you want them to die now, and having a gigantic stack of true damage at your disposal really helps out for this purpose.
The neat thing about this ability is that it resets on kills, but this is a trap. The reset is great in close multi-person fights where you need to kill a lot of people, but in most situations the cooldown on this is hardly a concern, you just want one target dead and then your team can clean up the rest no problem or so you can go back to farming the jungle after a gank.
You also don't want to steal too many kills: Darius doesn't really need items and he doesn't carry late game, so when practical try to give kills to allies on your team. But "Kill secured" is still a concept. It takes some experience to know when the target has any chance of getting away.
If a target is clearly dead, and there are no other targets, don't steal the kill just because you can. Also if you're ganking a lane or something and it's a close or dangerous 2v1, you should pre-emptively use this as soon as you get a few bleed stacks. Not only does this give the kill to the laner who can probably use the gold better, this has the advantage in that if you get CC'd or knocked back and/or they flash before you ult, you still did your damage. Your teammate who probably has more mobility than you do can finish them up for the kill.
What you don't want to happen is this: You save your ult for the killing blow, except it never comes because they flash away after slowing you, and then your teammate tries to chase them down but can't quite finish them before they get to their tower, but since you're darius and slowed, you can't help out. If you had ulted sooner, they would have died and your teammate would have gotten the kill. Instead, you go back to farm the jungle for a minute and your ult would have come off cooldown in this time anyway. So, again, the reset on the ult is a trap, especially in the laning phase. It's much safer to just ult as soon as you get a good amount of bleed stacks before your enemies slip away, particularly if your enemies have escape moves or if your allies have gap closers that they haven't used yet allowing them to follow through any flashes or blinks.
It also does more damage overall if you use it as soon as you get 5 stacks, because it refreshes the passive stacks and they continue to tick for more damage.
Skill OrderSkill order is pretty obvious on Darius. You should start Q, W, E so you have all 3 skills for your first gank.
After that, prioritize R > Q > W > E .
You max Q first because it reduces the cooldown and improves the aoe clearing of your jungle, and also its your best damage ability.
Next you max W for more damage and a more powerful slow.
Maxing E only gives you a small amount of armor pen and reduces the cooldown, so you max it last.
Starting Jungle RoutesDarius lacks sustain so a full clear to level 4 wears him out and there's no reason to ever do it. Just get level 3 and both buffs and then go gank something.
I usually gank top or mid at level 3, so start at wraiths-->red if you are blue side, then head to blue.
If purple side, start wolves--> blue, then head to red. Once you secure both buffs you will be level 3, and you can gank top or mid and hopefully get first blood, to help you pick up an early boots of mobility for even more ganks.
Here's a couple youtube videos of the two routes:
Note on red path: hitting blue golem from across the wall with Q requires VERY specific positioning.
Specifically, you have to stand on top of this tree:
Early Game Mentality (level 3-8).
- Quick Summary: Gank at 3, then farm for boots of mobility, then gank some more.
The basic river gank.
At level 3 you should try to gank either mid or top, or both, and try to get some kills or at least pressure the lane. If you go top right after your level 3 doublebuff clear you can often get first blood.
For ganking top you have several options:
- wait for them to get to about the halfway point on the map, then come from the bush at river and hook them, pulling them closer to you and your teammate for the kill. Try to cut them off from their tower. This is the simplest method and will usually work vs enemies who lack CC or escapes, and it doesn't rely on your ally to do anything.
- a more reliable way of ganking, if your ally has some kind of CC ability and the opponent is playing somewhat aggressively, you can have your laner start the fight. In this case, they walk up to the enemy, CC them somehow, as you follow up and hook them. Should be an easy kill. This type of gank will only work in lanes where the enemy is not afraid of your ally, because otherwise they would back off before your laner could get the CC on them.
- If your laner has no CC and they have escape abilities, ganking is hard, but still possible. In this case you need to ask your laner to bait them into playing too agressively. Depending on the perceived intelligence of the opponent, there are several methods that may work, such as moving too close to the creep line so as to get into harass range, moving to the side of the lane just near the side bush. another option is for your laner to recklessly use damage skills to attempt to harass them... the enemy may overextend a bit to try to trade back. Just jumping on them then running away may work for this purpose. Faking a recall might work at later levels, but they're unlikely to be stupid enough to fall for that one at level 3. In any case, baiting them is really the laner's job, not the junglers, even if you know how to do it it would probably take too long to explain to someone in a game.
- another thing to keep in mind of is the hp of your own minions. If one is low, they may be about to last hit it. So you can guess that they'll run forward to last hit right at that moment and then come out of the jungle to gank them when they're slightly overextended.
To push the lane or not to push, that is the question
After a gank where the opponent has backed or died and your ally has backed or died, you have a decision to make on whether to push the lane or not. If you do this right, your creeps will all die at the enemy tower causing him to lose CS. If you do it wrong you will steal farm from your laner and cause him to be overextended.
An important point is that Darius does not need lane farm, he's very gear independent. So this isn't a question about who gets the farm, it's mostly just a question of whether you can deny the opponent by crashing your creeps against his tower, causing him to lose CS.
- Rule of thumb: if your creeps outnumber the enemy creeps, push the lane. If the enemy creeps outnumber yours, freeze the lane.
If the enemy creeps are outnumbered they are going to die slowly to your creeps and the lane will naturally push. In this case, if you leave them be, your laner will return to lane overextended and your opponent will come back in time just to have a nice big wave at his tower for him to farm. So instead what you should do is kill the enemy creeps so the lane reaches the tower and dies, and hopefully resets or starts pushing the other direction while you're gone.
If the enemy creeps outnumber your creeps, the enemy creeps will push. This takes judgement, you don't want the creep wave to reach your tower until your laner comes back, so try to last hit a little and freeze it just before it gets into tower range, and if a new wave of your creeps are comming soon, you can body block it so the creeps don't take too many tower hits.
Note: If your laner is low hp after a successful gank, and he doesn't back, and he is pushing the lane, don't leave! Help him out by helping him push the lane so he can back, or stand in the river bush and watch for the enemy jungler. Sometimes laners want to push the lane to get a bit of CS so they can buy an item after they back, and also to crash the enemy creeps against the tower denying enemies cs, and you should work with him on that and not just ditch him when he's low hp making him an easy kill for the enemy jungler.
- After your first gank at level 3, farm the jungle for boots of Mobility, but watch the map for overextended enemies.
Usually after my first gank successful gank on either mid or top, I'll just farm for a bit and try to get boots of mobility ASAP. These help me move quickly to react to ganks, countergank, or lane gank. If you're pretty close to boots of mobility and there aren't any obvious gank targets, you should just farm for a bit and try to get enough gold for them.
- Once you get mobility boots, start lane ganking and counterganking constantly
With these boots you can do lane ganks which are often the best kinds of ganks, especially in lanes where your allies have some CC. This means you don't have to come from the river which is dangerous because you could be caught or spotted by a ward. Just tell your allies to cc them as you come, then follow their cc with your hook, and suddenly you've got some easy kills and you bypassed the river which probably has wards everywhere. This is the best way to gank bot lane which is almost always warded. If you're quick you can get boots of mobility before the enemy support even has boots 1. This will make for an easy kill for bot lane if they're even remotely overextended.
If your allies are overextended, you should probably hang out near that lane so you can back them up by counterganking. Once you get mobility boots keep an eye on your own overextended lane and try to hang out there if possible. Darius is a great counterganker as he brings a lot of power to a 2v2 fight, so you can usually win jungler + laner vs jungler + laner matchups.
Tips for avoiding counterjunglers and avoiding being ganked in the jungle:
I don't usually counterjungle with Darius due to his lack of a natural escape move, so it's dangerous to go to the enemy jungle alone. The only major exception to this is i'll sometimes go to the enemy blue buff at about 7:15 which can be pulled accross the wall for easy killing.
Darius is a fairly good duelist so he doesn't have too much problems with counterjunglers, but that's no excuse to play sloppy. If the enemy jungler could be nearby, you should pull the jungle creeps out of their coves and towards the lane. There's no reason to fight wolves in the wolf cove when you could fight them at the edge of mid lane. Same with double golems, you can pull them towards the side lane within spitting distance of your tower and kill them there. For red buff you want to train it as far away from the red-buff-bush as possible, that's a common place for ambushes.
Killing a jungle camp doesn't take a lot of concentration so focus on the enemy laner's positions and if they're moving towards you, watch out. You can also decimate the wraiths once and then run back behind the bush to train them out a bit, and then run back and fight them in the bush rather than heir cove, which is safer.
When you give your 2nd blue buff to the mid laner, which I do most games unless the mid laner is feeding, you could pull it accross the wall with hook. This is generally safer than standing inside the blue cove because its closer to your towers, but mostly it saves the laner some time. Make sure to go back across to clean up the lesser lizards once you're done.
Mid-Game roaming, ganking and teamfighting (level 9-13)
- Summary: The river becomes a dangerous place to be. Watch for enemy laners being MIA. Ganks are now more of a team effort. Always be nearby if a fight might break out.
At this phase of the game the jungle creeps are fair game for anyone on your team, not just you, and you should spend more time roaming and counterganking than farming the jungle.
Kill creep camps as you pass near them, you can wipe them out pretty fast, but don't wander off to wolves when your team is near dragon and a fight might break out.
The biggest thing about this phase of the game: if a fight breaks out anywhere you need to be there to support your team. So never be far away from your team unless you're sure they're safe. You can farm nearby junglecreeps like wraiths or wolves while you watch mid lane, but always be ready to charge in and help out in case any fight breaks out.
The other thing about this phase is that often the enemy team will be MIA so the river becomes a dangerous place to be if you don't know where the enemy team is. So you shouldn't go to river unless the enemy's position is known or your team is nearby to back you up. Lane ganks still work pretty well though, but keep in mind where the enemy team is, if none of them are visible on the map they might ALL be there to countergank. Make sure to keep in mind any global ults or teleport summoners the enemies have before deciding whether you actually outnumber the opponents or not.
Late game role and mentality, level 14+At this point you transition into the Tank role. You should have your core tanky/support items (locket and aegis) built by now, so you're pretty tough to kill and you now have some team utility. Your damage is still high: you're Darius, you don't need items to do damage.
You could buy a ruby sightstone to ward up the maps, if there aren't enough wards already. It's important to have the map warded at this point in the game so you know when you can catch enemies out of position. During this phase, group with your team and focus on pressuring objectives like towers and baron. Try to catch enemies out of position with E, or just wait for a start to fight and then jump into the thick of it.
Don't initiate fights unless your team is there to back you up.
You should also stay with your team constantly. Darius is not that good at split pushing because he doesn't have any natural escapes, and he doesn't need the farm. In addition, from the jungle role, you probably won't be farmed enough to 1v1 whoever they send to stop your push, which puts you in a dangerous position.
How to teamfight with DariusOnce a team fight starts, either by you catching someone with E or some other way, there are a couple of general rules to follow:
- When in doubt, attack the target closest to the bulk of your team. This will typically be the target singled out for focus fire. If you're the one who started the fight, this should be whoever you hooked. Otherwise its probably some bruiser that tries to dive your carries, so you need to cripple them with W and damage them otherwise.
- Position yourself about 400 range from the bulk of your team, towards the enemy team. You don't want to be too close to your team, or you'll all get destroyed by AOE, but you don't want to be too far away either. But you want to be close enough to your team to use your hook to peel bruisers off of the squishier targets of your team, and close enough for them to attack any melee champions that jump on you. You need to be between your team and the enemy team so that the enemy carries can't safely attack anyone other than you. If you still have your hook up, and they're short range, they won't be able to safely attack anyone because they risk getting hooked.
Mathematical Basis for Item Buildwarning: long, bloody and boring. Just skip reading this section if you're willing to take my word for it for what items you want to build.
How to itemize a character can be considered like a very complicated math problem. Although it's impossible to account for all possible situations, we can make some realistic assumptions to model and simplify the situation and see which items are betters, to quantitatively measure the value of stats against eachother as best as possible.
Many analysis use gold efficiency as a basis for item comparison, however this is inexact as just because a stat is expensive doesn't mean it's good. This analyssis attempts to determine the value of stats based on how much they increase your offensive or defensive capabilities.
With that in mind, here's a list of assumptions to be used we are using to simplify and model our comparisons:
1) Darius is level 13, using a 21/9/0 mastery set, attack damage marks, armor seals, mr/level glyphs, and he already owns boots of mobility, Wriggle's Lantern, and Locket of the Iron Solari. He has 2 points in R, 5 points in W/Q and 1 point in E. (I need to update this section since I don't buy wriggles anymore but whatever i'll do it at some point when i get time. Wouldn't change the math by much anyway.)
2) 1 "part" of his damage is from R (assume full stacks of passive). This is the relative proportion of his total damage that comes from his ultimate.
3) 3 "parts" of his damage is from Q (including bonus 50% damage).
4) 2 "parts" of his damage is from W.
5) 4 "parts" of his damage is from basic auto attacks.
6) 30 "parts" of his damage is from passive "ticks"(a "tick" is how much damage his passive does in 1 second with 1 stack).
6) Half the damage darius takes is physical, half is magic. (this is factored in AFTER armor/mr)
7) This calculation does not take into account enemy %hp damage or true damage. The errors introduced by the omission of these two factors should roughly cancel out.
8) This calculation assumes that Darius' enemies have 15 integer armor pen, 15 integer magic pen, 8% armor pen and 8% magic pen.
9) each point of hp/5 is worth 6 health by definition.
10) each point of lifesteal is worth 6 health by definition.
11) Opponents have 100 armor after factoring in the armor reduction from masteries and E. Opponents also have 70 magic resist.
- First, Determine how much attack damage, armor penetration and critical strike increase his damage by:
using assumptions 2-5, we can calculate Darius' relative weighted damage with no bonus AD and 95.5 base AD (level 13) as follows. Keep in mind that enemy armor is assumed to be 100 and enemy magic resist is assumed to be 70
500 [R] + (315*3 [Q] + 95.5*2*2 [W] + 95.5*4 [autos] )*100/(100+enemy armor) + 6 * 30*100/(100+enemy magic resistance) [passive]. = 1460.38
His AD scaling is as follows:
1.5 [R] + (1.05*3 [Q] + 2 * 2 [W] + 1 * 4 [autos])*100/(100+enemy armor) + (.06 * 30)*100/(100+enemy magic resist) [passive] = 8.134 damage per bonus AD from all "parts".
Keep in mind, because these damage numbers are relative and weighted, they are only meaningful in comparison to eachother.
In addition, he already has some bonus AD (see assumption #1): In this model, He has wriggles for 15 ad and 20.22ad from runes and masteries, for a total of 35.22 bonus AD. This gives him an additional 286.48 weighted damage (multiply 37.5 times 13.4), for a total of 1746.86 weighted damage.
Further additional AD will still increase his weighted damage by 8.134 per point, therefore we can calculate the increase in damage darius would expect by building one point of AD as 8.134 divided by 1746.86, which comes out to: 0.004656~, or about 0.4656%.
Next, let's calculate the benefits he gets from critical strike:
Critical strike only works off of auto attacks and the auto attack component of W (not the bonus damage portion). Since he strikes 6 times total in our example (4 autos, 2 w's), this nets him a average damage bonus from one point of critical strike of [attack damage]*8. His attack damage is 95.5 (base) plus 35.22 (bonus), or 130.72. Multiply this by six hits, you get 784.32. Divide by 2 (enemy armor is still 100), you get 392.16. Divide this figure by 100 because we're talking about 1% crit not 100% crit, and you get the value of 3.9216, which you divide out of our total weighted damage of 1746.86 for a result of 0.002245~, or .2245%, which is how much each point of critical strike increases Darius' damage by.
A final calculation for the offensive stats section, we'll need to find the benefits of armor penetration (integer).
Re-solving our damage formulas above with the assumption that the opponent has 90 armor instead of 100 results in a base damage (not including bonus ad) of 1505.356 and a damage scaling of 8.427 per bonus AD, or 1802.16. Divide the 1802.16 figure by the old 1746.86 figure to determine the damage increase from 10 armor penetration. It comes out to 3.166%, or .3166% per point of armor penetration.
- Next, let's calculate how good the defensive stats are for increasing Darius' defenses.
with assumption #1, we can see that darius has a wriggles, locket and some runes and masteries, and this all gives him base stats of the following:
10% life steal
63.8 magic resist
using assumptions #7 and #8 to convert life steal and hp/5 to health, and counting the locket's shield as being worth 180 hp, we can combine these stats together into a figure we'll call "Hit Points" (HP), which comes out to be:
2561.6 HP as a starting value.
The first stat to calculate is simple. Each point of additional health increases his HP by 1, on a percentage basis that's 1/2561.6, or .039%
I don't know a good way of calculting the value of hp/5 compared to health, so I just value it at 6 times health, which is how much health you regen over 30 seconds. Seems about right. Calculating the value of lifesteal is equally problematic and I also value it at 6 times health.
For armor we can do a better calculation, using Effective HP formulas. Armor increases your effective hp by a factor of (100+armor/100). Because our opponents have 8% armor penetration and 15 integer armor penetration, this comes out to a factor of (100+143.19*.92-15)/100, or 2.1673. If we add one armor to our character, the formula is now (100+144.19*.92-15)/100, or 2.1765. Divide that by 2.1673 and we get 1.00427, or a .427% increase. If we assume that half the damage we take (after armor/mr) is physical, divide this figure by two, to get .213%, which is the amount each point of armor increases our effective hp by.
A similar formula can be used for magic resist, and because our starting stats have less magic resist, each point is worth more relative to armor. With 63.8 magic resist versus 8% magic pen and 15 integer magic pen, our effective hp against magic is increased by (100+63.8*.92-15)/100, or 1.4370. Add one magic resist, and it's now (100+64.8*.92-15)/100, or 1.4462. Divide that by 1.4370 and you get a factor of 1.00637, or a .637% increase. Divide that by two since only half the damage we take is magic, and each point of MR is worth a .319% increase in effective HP.
Note that because my already-bought-items already have armor, Magic resist is valued much higher than Armor. This is by design. Since magic resist is so hard to find on decent items, I value it at a premium.
Compilation of Stat Values
Ok, so the math above is long and bloody but here's a list of stat valuations that were calculated above:
Attack Damage: 0.4656%
Critical Strike: 0.2245%
Armor Pen: 0.3166%
Magic Resist: .319%
Next, I'm going to make possibly the shakiest assumption in this whole math section: I'm going to assume that an increase in damage dealt is equally valuable to an equal increase in your total defenses. So offensive is valued the same as defense. This isn't really based on anything but we need some way of comparing offensive stats to defensive stats. With this assumption, the % figures above can be directly compared.
Because the % figures above aren't too meaningful, let's convert them a "point" system that is related to gold efficiency. If we take a Giant's Belt as our prototype item, it gives 400 health for 1000g. This sets the value of health at 2.5g per point. We'll use that as our starting definition. If each health is worth 2.5g and each health is worth a .039% increase in defenses, and an increase in defenses is worth the same as an increase in offenses, then each point of gold is worth a .0156% increase in defense or offense.
With that in mind, here's our list of stat evaluations, now expressed in gold valuation:
- Gold Valuation of Stats:
- Attack Damage: 29.8g
- Critical Strike: 14.4g
- Armor Pen: 20.3g
- Health: 2.5g
- Armor: 13.7g
- Magic Resist: 20.5g
Other Stats: (mostly arbitrary)
- Life Steal: 15g
- HP/5: 15g
- CDR: 20g
- Mana: .6g
- MP/5: 21.6g
Some stats do not lend themselves very well towards mathematical comparison, so they're harder to directly evaluate. I've already mentioned that I arbitrarily value both lifesteal and hp/5 at 6 times health. So let's plug them both in at 15g apiece.
Another hard to evaluate stat is CDR. Let's plug it in at 20g per point. I don't value this as stat very highly on Darius because it doesn't help his auto attacks, and doesn't help his passive or his ult very much. It also doesn't help his burst damage which is a more important component of his damage than sustained damage. I'm not going to waste any more space with the math but it increases his sustained damage by roughly the same amount per point as attack damage does, but due to its drawbacks I value it at less than attack damage.
Mana is another stat darius doesn't really need: his mana costs are pretty low, only 40 per q, which is less than comparable spells from similar champions. I find flask is enough mana most of the time so i only value mana at .6g per point. If you sit regenerating mana for 3 minutes, each point of MP/5 will give you 36 mana. Multiply that by .6 and you get 21.6, which is a good enough valuation for MP/5 for me.
- Here's the spreadsheet!
Now that we've estimated the value of each stat, we can make a spreadsheet to calculate the value of items you can buy with these stats!
Blade of the Ruined King nerfed into the ground but I'll leave it in this spreadsheet in it's glorious unnerfed state as a testament to how dumb it was for 4 days.
This spreadsheet lists my cost-effectiveness analysis of various items that you might consider purchasing on Darius. The (Bonus+Pts)/Gold row is the important part! That's my estimate/calculation for how gold efficient the item is. It's color-coded with blue being the best, dark green being next best, and red being the worst.
To Download the spreadsheet, go here:
One quick note about Spirit of the Ancient Golem & spirit of the elder lizard (SOTEL) in the above spreadsheet: They are now listed at discounted price of 2090g, which reflects the fact that they build out of Spirit Stone. If you sell your spirit stone for 490g, you can use it to buy something else. Or you could keep it and upgrade it, saving the 30% resell tax and effectively giving you a 210g discount on spirit of the ancient golem and spirit of the lizard elder.
- Notes about "Scaling Bonus"
The "Scaling Bonus" Field on the spreadsheet attempts to account for the multiplicative synergies of certain stats with eachother. For example, having magic resist and health on the same item is good because the stats scale with eachother. Having a balance of MR and health is better than having one big stack of either. The "Scaling Bonus" attemps to account for this, giving bonus points to items that have a balance of stats that scale multiplicatively with eachother. Note that the scaling bonus is only really relevant if you don't already have a good mix of stats. If your item build already has plenty of, for example, armor, magic resist, and health, even if you get them all from different items, you can ignore the "Scaling Bonus".
- Notes about "Arbitrary Bonus"
This is just an arbitrary amount of gold that I add to the valuation of each item based on hard-to-quantify actives, auras, passives, etc, or stats like tenacity or attack speed that aren't directly listed in the stat list.
Machete is basically mandatory on every jungler now. You'll also need some health potions at level 1 to keep you topped off in the jungle.
For better jungle clearing and builds into Spirit of the Ancient golem or Spirit of the Elder lizard later:
Ok, they buffed the hell out of both SOTEL and SOTAG... you'll definately want to buy either SOTEL or SOTAG everygame and some games its worth it to get both.
This means I'm not going to buy wriggles anymore and I'll buy this instead. Wriggles clears the jungle faster than this but the difference is marginal. Honestly Darius clears fast enough already. With this item you give up a little bit of early game jungling speed for MUCH better itemization options.
There are no other boots:
Darius REALLY needs these. He just can't catch people without them. He also needs to be very mobile to quickly reach any teamfight where his team needs help. You need some way of catching people in ganks with darius, you need to be able to roam fast so you can countergank, and you need some way of initiating onto the enemy team if you're going to play the tank role.
Once he gets near someone, he can apply his slow and redbuff and probably burst them down with help from teammates. But before he can do that he has to hook them somehow, and these boots really help. Lane ganks are really hard to do without these, and if you don't use these you'll never catch an overextended person coming through river if it's warded. I wouldn't consider any other boots for jungle darius. I build these ASAP, which gives me enough move speed to lane gank lanes that don't have any big escape abilities. If you're quick, you can pick these up before the enemy support even has boots 1, making a lane gank on bot lane very simple to execute.
(optional) Buy this for sustain:
Darius mana costs aren't too high, but they are a little noticable, and flask helps out with this. Also he has no hp sustain so the flask will keep him topped off.
This item is especially good vs poke comps as you can use the free potion charges to negate any poke damage you take.
Consider rushing this after Boots of mobility:
Ok, I know how I wrote last month, something like, "You don't need damage on darius, he has good base damage, blah blah blah blah" But this item is just really f'in good now. They may have overbuffed it, IDK. I mean, if this item is cost efficient on someone like fizz it's obviously OP on a champion with actual AD scaling like Darius. I even see some non-jungle ADCs buy like ezreal buy it.
Anyway, if you're doing well and think you'll still have enough time to get somewhat tanky before the mid game teamfights start, might as well rush this item.
This item is extremely gold-efficient vs any teams where you're likely to get the full benefit of the shield. If you expect that it will be a magic damage dealer that kills you, this is a must buy.
Vs heavy AD teams I would skip this as the shield doesn't do anything if you're finished off by physical attacks.
Core Tank item: OR
If you think you can afford to build damage and dont think you'll need tenacity this game, don't buy , you'll want to save the spirit stone to get
Both and are very similar, they give good tank stats hp and armor. My spreadsheet now thinks that SOTAGolem is now more cost efficient due to the recent slight nerfs and buffs to SOTAGolem. The downside of getting sotagolem is that if you get it you've used up your spirit stone so its harder to get spirit of the elder lizard.
Since it's so close, which one you buy first hinges on enemy team comp: if they have a lot of stuns/slows/fears/taunts/etc you should get sotagolem for the tenacity. If they're not running too much cc i'd get locket. You'll get both eventually unless you're want SOTEL as already mentioned.
Note: Spirit of the ancient golem is cost efficient enough that you might pick it up late game as a 5th or 6th item even if you already bought spirit of the elder lizard.
Great aura item, every team needs one:
Sometimes the support builds this so you don't have too, but if they don't, you should get it for sure.
In Season 2, before this item got nerfed, I would build this even if the support did, it was that good. It's still good but IMO you don't really need two on the same team, so have a chat with your support about who is going to be the one to buy this thing this game.
This also gives you some much needed magic resist which is hard to find on items you'd want to buy. The other good magic resist item is Hexdrinker, already mentioned above.
Vs heavy physical teams you don't need to upgrade aegis to this, but vs balanced teams or heavy magic teams, this is a high priority and should be your next buy if you built Aegis.
Vs Heavy magic teams, You may want this even if the support already bought it, as its hard to find magic resist items that you want to buy.
Late game pickups:
This item is great and often underbought. If you expect the game to end in less than 10-15 from now, it's gold efficient to just perma red-potion. Also, if you expect a big fight around baron or a major push, definately pick up one of these before you go.
Optional More Tankyness: OR
If you need to be tankier just buy whichever you didn't already buy between locket and Spirit of the Ancient Golem.
I prefer these to frozen mallet because Darius already has a melee range slow, so the slow from mallet is somewhat redundant. If I really need more slow, randuins is probably better. Although frozen mallet isn't bad, some people prefer it. If you like the slow feel free to build it.
Optional More Damage: OR
Blade nerfed, that was a funny patch. So now your best damage options are Elder Lizard or Maw if you already built hexdrinker. Don't build more than one damage item or you'll be too squishy, and really you don't need any damage items so both of these are optional.
Of these two items SOTEL is probably the better in general, maw is only good vs heavy magic teams. Vs heavy physical teams, Elder Lizard is the best damage option even if you already have spirit of the ancient golem.
Maw is obviously only good vs magic damage heavy teams. Note: Hexdrinker is more cost-efficient than maw, so there's really no hurry to upgrade it. I don't pick up maw until after I get two tank items built at least, although I'll often get hexdrinker pretty early.
Whether to build damage is somewhat situational, it depends who the enemy is focusing in teamfights. If they're ignoring you you may want a bit more damage to make yourself more threatening and allow you to kill more people. If they are focusing you down first you should just keep building tank items, such as the following:
If you value the revive at the same as you value 30% hp, this item is absurdly cost-efficient. But the cooldown is long. I usually pick this up, if ever, as a last item (not necessarily 6th item) when I think the game is about to end next teamfight.
Still dying to heavy physical damage?
Randuins is a really good buy vs heavy physical comps, also gives a nifty slow. It depends how tanky you need to be whether you get randuins. If you find yourself being focused a lot, you should probably pick this up. If they seem to be ignoring you, might as well pick up a damage item instead.
I prefer this item to Frozen Heart on Darius because I don't value CDR very highly on Darius, and this gives more tank stats.
Still dying to magic damage?
I hate how they removed force of nature, because there seems to be a lack of big ticket magic resist items besides bulwark. Bulwark and hexdrinker are almost always enough, but if you really need more MR, I guess just build a negatron and sit on it. Banshee's veil and Spirit Visage both suck for Darius so you're in no particulary hurry to build either. Quicksilver sash and mercurial scimitar are way too expensive. Of these crappy choices, the least-worst-option is probably Spirit Visage, although watch your CDR, you don't want to be overcapped. I wouldn't upgrade the negatron to that except as my very last buy.
I don't like Banshee's Veil on meat shield champions like Darius, too easy to pop the bubble with some random spell, and not a very good item otherwise.
You are not an AD Carry.
Don't buy AD carry or assassin items like . You're not an ad carry who can sit in the back safely plucking away with arrows from 600 range, and your base damage is high enough already. You're also not an assassin who can fly across the screen and then instagib someone.
As Darius your damage is backloaded, so you need to be tanky to put it out in the first place, and these items are not cost efficient compared to tank items if you value defense and offense equally.
Other Notable Items
depends how much other people on your team are warding. You could buy this if you don't think there are enough wards already.
Getting an early or two wouldn't be bad on Darius, but I don't do it.
Special boots Enhancements
All of the boots upgrades are awful from a gold efficiency perspective so don't pick them up until late.
I'd say pick up if you're winning, if you're losing, or if you need a pickoff.
MasteriesThe Great Debate, Offense or Defense masteries? I say Offense.
I use an offensive 21/9/0 spec for jungle Darius, which is probably going to be controversial. The other obvious option is 9/21/0
Before I go into more depth on defending my position of 21/9/0, there's a few things that should be conceded:
1) If an offensive spec'd darius dueled a defensive spec'd Darius, all else being equal, it would be a close fight and the defensive spec'd Darius would win.
2) Related to the above, Defensive tree gives more defense than offensive tree gives offense.
3) The top tier offensive mastery, "Executioner", does NOT work with Darius' ult. I've personally tested this. Also, riot confirms that it is not a bug: http://na.leagueoflegends.com/board/showthread.php?p=24821180#24821180 Havok also does not work.
It seems pretty dumb IMO that darius of all champs wouldn't benefit from executioner, considering his theme, but whatever.
4) For lane Darius, Defensive Spec is obvious.
Considering the above, you'd think that I would spec defensive, right? Well, no. There are a couple of reasons which are unique to jungling--and this applies to all junglers, not just Darius--which make the defensive tree inferior in my opinion, and these are the reasons that I rarely spec defensive on any junglers:
- Offense is better than defense for clearing the jungle.
Imagine you have two options for improving your jungle:
1) Make all jungle monsters deal 10% less damage (analogy to defensive)
2) Make all jungle monsters live 10% less long (analogy to offensive)
At first glance this appears to be a straight trade-off: Speed vs damage taken. If you spec defensive, you take less damage in the jungle than offensive, right? Wrong. Because if the jungle monsters live for 10% less time, they have 10% less opportunity to damage you, and you still take 10% less damage, in addition to killing faster.
In fact, if you do jungle testing, which I have done, you'll find that an offensive spec'd Darius ends his jungle route at roughly the same hp level as a defensive spec'd Darius, except faster. This is because killing the jungle faster also reduces the damage you take from the jungle, albeit indirectly.
So there is no trade off. Offensive is simply faster.
- Offense is superior for Ganking
Ingrained in the concept of a gank is an unfair, one-sided fight. Besides the occasional enemy invasion, as a jungler, you for the most part get to choose your battles. You choose when to go to a lane to gank, and if you're doing it right and playing carefully, you're more likely to fight a 2v1 or a 3v2 in your favor than an even fight or a fight where you are outnumbered.
With this in mind, there are two ways a gank can go badly where what masteries you are using actually matter:
A) You attempt a gank, and the enemy slips away with a sliver of health
B) You attempt a gank, and the enemies turn to fight you and just barely kill you.
Either of these situations is bad and should be avoided. A) can be averted by specing offensive, the extra damage from offensive tree could have given you enough to finish off the enemy. B) Can be averted by speccing into defensive, as the extra tankyness could prevent you from dying.
So the question, which of these situations is more likely? And the answer is, if you're ganking properly, A. Since you choose your fights, you should be choosing ones where you are at the advantage. If you're just as likely to give the enemy a kill as to get a kill when you gank, you're not a very useful jungler, are you?
Ganking is another facet of jungling where offense is more important than defense.
It's true that most junglers, including Darius, transition into tanks late game. But this doesn't matter early game. Because this game is so snowbally, early game is more important than late game. Early game there is no such thing as a tank, junglers are just assassins. they need to get kills and assists from the jungle to snowball the game, and offensive spec is much more suited to this by giving you a faster jungle clear and higher damage during ganks.
And even though I build darius mostly tank, I still build *some* damage. It's better IMO better to get the little bit of damage I need from masteries, and then get my tank stats from items, because I want the damage as soon as possible, while I don't need to be tanky until the serious teamfights start.
Individual masteries analysis:
The defensive tree is cluttered with decent masteries which you will have a hard time choosing between.
So you might be thinking, "should I sacrifice the tenacity mastery for a % increase in armor and magic resist? Should I skip the 5 magic resist mastery because it doesn't help jungling? Is the integer damage reduction mastery worth it now that it only works on champions? Is the 10% crit damage reduction worth it, even though its useless until late game?" And if you're asking these questions, you've come to the wrong guide, because I spec'd offensive. I don't really know which defensive masteries are best, I want them all but there's only 21 points to put in defense unless you want to miss out on Deadliness and Weapons Expertise, and you don't.
The offensive tree is a lot more obvious: You take the AD Masteries and skip the AP ones. Really, it's all obvious. The only thing I should bother mentioning here is don't take the crit damage bonus masteries because you won't have any crit until 30 minutes into the game if ever.
I will also say that whether to take the CDR masteries or the attack speed mastery or the bonus minion damage is an interesting debate. None of these are good masteries, but I ended up taking bonus minion damage, 4% attack speed and 1% cdr. You might prefer to max the CDR. It doesn't matter a heck of a lot.
The 9 points in defensive is a harder decision.
1) Integer damage reduction is huge for jungling... if jungle monsters hit you for 8 damage a swing, that -2 damage per hit really adds up. So I wouldn't skip tough skin even though it does nothing past the jungle phase.
2) Bladed armor will increase your jungle speed by a lot and I think its worth taking even though you have to give up a pittance of armor to take it. 6 damage reflected per hit adds up fast.
3) Perseverance is utter and complete trash now. I don't know why they would nerf this mastery like this. I have tested it and it does in fact give you almost zero hp regen if you are close to full health, which you should be most of the time if you got a decent leash and want to stay safe. If you're playing safely, this mastery does nothing, unless you're playing ARAM. This mastery is only good if you're running around at dangerously low hp levels for extended periods of time.
4) You take about 1250 total damage from your first jungle clear not factoring in the reduction from tough skin. You have about 40 armor. if you had 45 armor instead, (from hardiness), you'd take about 1206 damage instead. This is about even with the 39 flat hp you get at level 3 from veteran scars and 2 points in durability. Veteran scars and durability are much better late game, so I'd rather have them than the +5 armor mastery even if its slightly better for jungling.
5) Summoner's Resolve is worth more than 2 armor IMO. Armor tends to cost 20g on items, although I value it less in my itemization chapter. So if you use smite 4 times, you've made 40g and made up the difference. If you use smite more than that, and you will, you'll start making a lot more money than that 2 armor is worth.
6) If you want more mana regen, 21/6/3 is a pretty good option.
RunesThe nice thing about Darius' runeset is that he can just use the same rune page as an AD carry. He needs the same stuff: attack damage, armor and armor pen.
That said, while whatever standard AD carry runepage you're using will work perfectly fine, I use a more specialized set with movement speed quints:
- Marks: Flat AD. Armor pen isn't bad here either. Attack speed is also passable.
- Seals: Flat armor, standard for junglers
- Glyphs: Magic resist/level. These help me survive mid-late game vs magic damage threats. With these plus your natural scaling magic resist, you'll have pretty good MR even without building for it. There also aren't any other good options for glyphs as CDR isn't IMO that important on Darius and he obviously doesn't need AP. The list of good options for glyphs for jungling is pretty thin, so magic resist/level it is.
- Quints: I use movement speed because I like to run fast for better roaming and ganks. The other good option, which works out great if you're sharing this runepage with an AD carry, is flat attack damage. This ups his early game damage by quite a bit. In the math section you'll see that AD only increases his damage by ~.46% per point mid game (level 13), but early game it's closer to 1.0% to 1.5% as he doesn't have his skills maxed out yet and doesn't have his ult, so AD helps him out more early game.
Summoner SpellsSummoner Spells
Needed for fast jungling and dragon/baron control.
Darius really needs an escape, he doesn't have a natural one. This is also great for intiating with flash-->hooks. You can also take ghost but I prefer flash because I'm building boots of mobility anyway and ghost will take me into diminishing returns for movement speed.
Change Log12/20/2012: Guide Released
12/22/2012: Minor Updates.
2/21/2013: Spirit of the Lizard elder got buffed a couple of times since I made this guide, so I removed it from "Do not buy" list. It's now a decent option as a sole damage item in an otherwise full tank build.
3/3/2013: Removed wriggles and warmogs from build. With the warmogs nerfed, I'd rather have spirit of the ancient golem every game for my 2nd health item. Which means spirit stone, which means no more wriggles.
3/3/2013: So blade of the ruined king is now overpowered as already mentioned by a lot of other people. And no reason to ever buy SOTEL until it gets nerfed.
3/4/2013: Removed Atma's from build. I think with the mog's nerf you'll never have enough hp for this to be worth it. You'd need like 4k hp before atma's is cost efficient, not even considering the fact that blade of the ruined king exists and is more cost efficient.
3/4/2013: Updated item section for recent itemization changes, updated spreadsheet.
3/5/2013: Why did I even bother adding BOTRK to this guide, everyone knew it was going to get nerfed. Didn't really expect a hotfix! Removed blade, Moved SOTEL back as an optional item.
4/27/2013: SOTAG and SOTEL buffed again. Moved SOTEL up in my build. I need to update the Math chapter at some point >.<