The Ultimate Guide to Darius – The Hand of Noxus
Sun 5th May 2019 - 9:17pm
His name strikes fear into even the most courageous of Demacian men. A ruthless Top Lane champion, Darius is known throughout the Rift as a strong laner and a Pentakill master. This guide will train you to become a Darius player that the Rift will never forget.
Darius’ passive is what truly makes him one of the most oppressive laners in the top lane. Darius applies stacks of bleed when hitting enemy champions with basic attacks or with his blade (explained later on). Darius can apply up to five stacks of bleed on a single target. Once Darius applies five stacks of bleed on a single target, or kills an enemy champion with his ultimate, Darius gains Noxian Might. Noxian Might gives Darius a large amount of bonus attack damage and allows him to apply 5 bleed stacks immediately through his usual means. Darius’ passive enables him to turn unfavorable ganks into a Double Kill, which will enable Darius to snowball further into the game.
As you might have realized, most champions in League have a bread and butter ability, or an ability that is used frequently and is integral to the respective champion’s kits. Darius is no exception. Decimate provides Darius with an easy way to dish out large amounts of damage, heal, and apply his bleed stacks in Noxian Might. Darius swings his axe around himself in a circular fashion, dealing 100% damage to enemies hit by the blade and 35% damage to enemies hit by the shaft. Also, when Darius hits enemy champions with his blade, he applies stacks of his bleed and heals himself based on the number of champions hit (capped at 3). As aforementioned, this is Darius’ bread and butter ability that is on an extremely low cooldown. While playing Darius, expect a lot of low health outplays using your Q due to its wide range of effects and the massive damage it deals. Note that Decimate does have a short cast time that can be abused by champions with dashes such as Fiora, Irelia, and Jax.
Ability (Crippling Strike)
Darius’ Crippling Strike is quite simple, but can be used intelligently in order to maximize damage to champions, and take down turrets extremely quickly. Darius’ next basic attack deals increased damage and slows the target. A key point to note about Darius’ Crippling Strike is that if Darius kills a unit with his Crippling Strike, the mana used is restored, and the cooldown is cut in half. This enables you to easily last hit minions while expending no mana. When engaging in battle against enemy champions, it is key to use Crippling Strike as an auto attack reset. To auto attack reset as Darius, auto attack and, as soon as the animation is halfway complete, press the key associated with Crippling Strike in order to cancel the rest of the previous animation. While it will take some getting used to, auto attack resetting with Darius’ W is integral to his combos (which will be discussed later on).
Apprehend is an ability with both a passive component and an active component. Starting with the passive, Darius gains percentage armor penetration as he levels up this ability. While not vital to his kit, armor penetration is always welcomed for a completely attack damage-based bruiser who could struggle against armor stacking tanks like Malphite and Rammus. With the active component, Darius pulls in all enemies in front of him and then applies a brief slow. As you can imagine, this is extremely strong to prevent Darius from being kited by attack damage carries and enables Darius to keep his enemies within auto attack range. Landing your Apprehend can change the tide of teamfights and is very useful in canceling varius abilities such as Miss Fortune Ultimate, Malzahar Ultimate, Lucian Ultimate, etc.
Ultimate Ability (Noxian Guillotine)
Darius’ signature and most satisfying ability to use. When used, Darius leaps in the air and strikes down the champion targeted, dealing True Damage that scales with the amount of stacks of bleed that the champion has. Noxian Guillotine resets its cooldown for a temporary period of time if it kills the enemy champion. While there is no need for further explanation, there are a few important tips to use. In a one-versus-one situation, there is no need to wait to kill the enemy champion with Noxian Guillotine, so use it as soon as you apply the five stacks of your bleed passive. Also, Noxian Guillotine is perfect to gain your Noxian Might passive at the start of a fight by using it on a low health target and then transferring the bleed stacks to other enemy champions.
There are two "animation cancels" that Darius can utilize to maximize damage output in a short period of time. The first animation cancel revolves around the aforementioned "auto attack reset" with your Crippling Strike. By quickly canceling the initial auto attack animation with your W, you release a short burst that can help with killing creeps and enemies as well. The second animation cancel is with your Crippling Strike and Decimate. Similar to the auto attack reset, you should use your Decimate as soon as the damage from Crippling Strike is applied.
The combination of these two animation cancels nets Darius with an extremely quick high damage combo. Start with an auto attack, followed by an auto attack reset from your Crippling Strike. Then, immediately use your Decimate while repositioning to hit the outer edge of your blade. This will net you 3 stacks of your passive and much closer to using your Noxian Guillotine.
Fortunately, Darius has a wide array of rune choices to select from depending on how you wish to play him. It is best to choose runes for Darius based on which playstyle you prefer.
Phase Rush has been the popular choice among higher ranked Darius players due to its 75% slow resistance and ease of use. Phase Rush enables Darius to speed though teamfights and easily access the enemy backline in order to get off a quick Noxian Guillotine! However, with Phase Rush, you trade mobility for damage, which can backfire in the case of one-versus-ones against other bruisers. In general, Phase Rush will be your best choice due to its great utility for Darius’ low mobility kit.
Hail of Blades
While not recommended by any Darius players, Hail of Blades was recently buffed to accommodate auto attack resets, which Darius adores. Hail of Blades really only has a use against Fiora, but is great to have fun with.
Like Hail of Blades, Aftershock is situational against very few champions, namely Yasuo, Riven, and Renekton, due to their burst damage. Aftershock can be procced off of your E, which requires you to land that ability in every single fight. Aftershock provides ridiculous tankiness, but faces the same issue with Phase Rush – lack of damage.
Conqueror was recently changed, which hurt Darius’ overall win rate and his strength on the rune. While it still can be a great choice into tankier matchups, it struggles to compete with the other runes mentioned.
You will want to start with Doran’s Blade into melee matchups or easier ranged matchups. Doran’s Blade provides the necessary early game damage to match with other bruisers.
Against ranged poke matchups such as Teemo, Kennen or Quinn, take three Rejuvenation Beads. Rejuvenation Beads provide regeneration (as the name suggests), which will help you survive the earlier levels of the lane.
Darius can choose between Black Cleaver or Trinity Force as his starting core item depending on the enemy team composition. Simply, if the enemy has two or more tanks, take Black Cleaver, otherwise, take Trinity Force. Black Cleaver trades attack speed and mana for increased damage, health, and armor penetration. Trinity Force enables Darius to turn into a split-pushing monster due to the Sheen passive.
After your starting core item, Darius should take Sterakk’s Gage which will provide the necessary health, damage, and survivability that Darius so very much needs in teamfights.
Later Stage Items
Closing out his build, most Darius players will build tank items to scale into the later stages of the game. You do have the opportunity to build Guardian Angel if ahead, but tank items will be the primary avenue to choose for the most part.
How to Lane as Darius
In lane, Darius dominates most melee matchups due to his "stickiness", or ability to stay close to the enemy, with his Apprehend ability. It is your job to consistently whittle down the enemy's healthbar with your Decimate and then pull them in with your Apprehend and finish them off with an auto attack reset with your Crippling Strike and finally your Noxian Guillotine. In ranged matchups, buying an early Phage will provide you with a short burst of movement speed that is perfect for initiating fights against ranged bullies such as Gnar and Jayce. Landing your Decimate in lane is key to staying healthy and winning crucial trades. As a top laner, it is your duty to place deep wards after pushing in waves. As Darius, you have no movement abilities in your kit, which leaves you extremely vulnerable to being camped. With these tips, you can transition a considerable lead into the Victory screen.
Darius, in the right hands, can tear through the enemy backline with easy. However, if subjected to continuous crowd control, you will see little use for your team's success. Follow this guide's item path and rune choices in order to maximize your damage and tankiness. Thank you!
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