Champion Notes: Darius, The Hand of Noxus!


Champion Notes: Darius, The Hand of Noxus!

     If we were to make a poll today for the most hated and reviled champion in the league, Darius could very well win.  Few champions are as hated as him and for good reason.  Darius dumps on so many people in lane every day and is such a basic champion in design that people you think you are better than, will still dunk you.  Enter also the best kill-stealing ability in the game and he can troll his own team creating even more frustration.  We will go over the binary nature of his design and why despite his great power, he doesn't have the win ratio people think he does.  By the end of this, it should be clear why he is really powerful.  But also why he can also be so weak.


Hemorrhage (Passive)

  • Deals Magic Damage
  • Makes him capable of dealing sustained damage beyond his abilities and attacks.  
  • Since it triggers off abilities too, you need to add your passive damage to each ability when hit. 
  • Attacks will not only add a new stack, but also refresh previous ones. 
  • This is part of the reason Darius is so hard to itemize against. 
  • The extra movement speed helps make it so that once Darius is on you, he stays on you. 

Decimate (Q)

  • Don't forget the target takes damage from your passive too. 
  • The extra damage on the outer ring makes this an even more powerful poke than it normally would be.  It also makes it so that when you run from him, he gets a final sort of laugh hitting you on the more powerful outer edge as you run. 
  • This is decent for pushing.  Most bruisers are bad at pushing towers, but Decimate gives Darius a bit more wave clear to push a tower down if top is away. 
  • The range on this is pretty good.  You can use this to poke against melee. 

Crippling Strike (W)

  • This is an auto attack reset.  Be sure to get one normal attack, then follow with this for maximum damage and faster stacks of your passive. 
  • Being an attack, attack speed slow and a slow, this ability is brutal.  Attack speed slows are among the best things in the game for reducing incoming damage from auto attacks and is part of the reason Darius is such a deadly duelist. 
  • The slow component, combined with his passive, makes it very difficult to run from Darius once he starts a fight.  You either need to blow something to get away, or fight him.  Fighting him is normally a bad idea as he wouldn't start a fight unless he was pretty sure he can win. 

Apprehend (E)

  • The pulls range is 550 at the very tip.  Most champions in the game have an average auto attack range of 550.  That means that if you are really good with this, you can pull in almost any champion that tries to auto attack you.  For this reason alone, some champions that you would think are a really bad math-up (like Kayle) are actually not that bad. 
  • The armor penetration on this is nice, but never a reason to level it over other abilities.  Remember that if you stack with this with something like Black Cleaver, the armor reduction is multiplicative. 
  • Only try to pull if your pretty sure it will hit.  This ability is just about the only thing that terrifies people about Darius.  Once down, many champions will laugh as they ranged harass you and dance around your slow behind. 
  • If you cannot use this in a teamfight to pull in a carry, use it to save yours.  This is an extremely effective peel for an AD carry and follow that up with your W to not only give you AD breathing room, but for them to weaken them so you can use your ultimate. 

Noxian Guillotine (R)

  • Easily the most hotly debated ability in the game.  A true damage, single target nuke that resets if it kills someone.  That just bloody sounds overpowered and quite frankly, it is.  One of the most misunderstood things about game balance is that individual parts of a champion can be straight up broken, even if the champion as whole is not.  This ability is what makes Darius terrifying, without it, he would not be nearly as good a champion.  This is what allows him to win engagements that other champions could not.  The reason this is considered ok, is because he cannot run.  Once a fight starts with Darius, he has to stay and fight, death or victory if you will. 
  • The damage on this is true, making the raw damage of the ultimate even more devastating.  Once Darius hits level 6, he is at the most powerful he will be in the game.  Often times looking for a fight that he can most likely win.  The damage (with stacks of his passive) is similar to other mage damage ults, but being true damage, the damage is even higher (True damage ignores resistances, so while Ahris ult might do 255, it is mitigated by MR.  Darius ultimate will do 320 at max stacks and not be mitigated.  Scary)
  • If you are trying to itemize against Darius, build health, then armor.  The health is the only thing that helps against his ultimate.  Armor works against everything else but his passive.  While is passive is magic damage, it is not significant enough for you to worry about building MR for. 
  • This skill, is why he is the lord of the dunk in League of Legends. 

General Notes:

  • Darius is what I would call a highly match-up dependent champion.  While he has a lot of champions he does well against, he similarly has a lot of champions that can make his life tough.  Due to the lack of sustain and gap closing, certain heavy harass champions can beat him in lane. 
  • Playing against Darius requires a good chunk of knowledge.  You need to know how the match-up against him works, can you take him at lvl 3?  Can he blow you up at lvl 6?  It is good to know when you can fight him, how you can stay safe and how to keep this monster down.  
  • Do not be afraid to ask for help against Darius if your not sure on your lane.  Darius has no form of escape or sustain, so the damage you do to him will stay and he needs to blow summoners to escape good ganks.  Once your ahead of him, it can be exceptionally hard for Darius to come back in lane. 
  • Even if Darius is shut down in lane, he can come back in teamfights.  Because he has a powerful execute, it is very possible for Darius to get back into the game by getting kills in teamfights.  So Darius, even when shut down, does not necessarily mean he is out. 
  • Because of Darius's ultimate, you can kill steal like a boss.  But please beware doing this.  While it is great to have a lot of gold on one person, Darius is not a hyper scaling champion and the gold needs to go to other people on the team.  If someone else is going to get a kill for sure and no one is in danger, consider letting them have the kill.  Remember your more a tank and bruiser, not a carry.  
  • Darius is very weak to kiting.  His only way to get to his targets is by clicking on the map and his E.  Consider this if your afraid of him hurting you.  Ashe for example can kite him for days.  This is part of the reason that Darius does not have a massive win rate, despite how many lanes he has likely shut down in his life.   
  • When thinking about Darius, consider the design I have talked about.  He cannot run away, he has no sustain, he has no gap-closer and he is only ok at scaling.  So what did they give him?  Massive all-in power, a strong early game and an ultimate that breaks rules.  Darius is infuriating to play against sometimes but he has some very clear weaknesses, despite his great strengths. 
  • Darius is the high lord of the dunk.  No champion even comes close to being able to dunk people like him. 


That concludes our notes on Darius.  Now go dunk some people for me!



  • #47 Im2Fast4U

    I found that AP Kennen is an amazing counter to darius at top lane. When played well he can easily poke him from safe distance and use his lighting rush combined with stun to escape alive, while pulled. I played few games on rankeds with this matchup and i won my lane every time. Unfortunately, as it was said in the article Darius can still do well in teamfights even i won my lane.  And if you pick kennen you have to be sure that your jungler is going to be really tanky and will be able to protect other teammates.

  • #48 lazule2

    Yes, Kennen can kick his ass most ranged champs can just don't let him catch you because Kennen is very squishy and don't attack him with your E unless you are sure its going to kill him. Use E to escape he will never get you this way its impossible for him.

    Darius isn't a big deal really thats why he isn't used a lot in platinium.


    Last edited by lazule2: 1/31/2013 4:43:14 PM
  • #43 lazule2

    Damn this article makes me want to lane vs a Darius.

  • #38 m1spl4ced

    "Countered by: Teemo"

    aha hahaha hahah ahaha, oh, all the squirrels i've crushed.

    Last edited by m1spl4ced: 1/29/2013 3:38:37 PM
  • #39 Rubicanth

    because those players sucked. but if you use your brain, you know why he counters him

  • #40 JocularThePeasant

    Champion vs. champion Teemo beats Darius. Player vs. player, often the better player wins. The key to being good is understanding counters in addition to playing well.

  • #44 Gunthore

    Teemo is a champ played by people that are not good at him to counter many melee champs... If the teemo is not good, it doesn't take long to find out and crush him.

  • #36 raikaria

    > Kayle not listed as a counter when she counters Darous 100% at every stage of the game

  • #37 MerryLane

    Hm, Kayle and the other champions listed aren't totally "counters" of Darius.

    See, mr D is made so he can burst any champion, and only a handful of real AD carries have the range to play safe (caitl trist ashe for instance).

    If you play Kayle, Te emo or Nidalee, you might bully him for 5 mins, but if he lands one good combo, you are dead and you will hardly come back, while he at worst can go back to town 3 times (because you don't have his "finishing" power).

    Add to that the fact the jungler decides the lane more than the matchup, and here you go, counters aren't definite counters.

    Nope, Darius' biggest problem, is his lategame (focused hard, and his team might not have the damage or the cc to work with him, or on the contrary the ennemies can stop him when he wanna do his job)

  • #41 TreeBurrow
    If you play Kayle and time your shield correctly, Darius will not be capable of bursting you down in a single combo... And your Ult will come up again before his does...

    Sure, if you mess up your timing you'll likely die, but then it becomes a skill match-up... IMO, Kayle is about as close to a hard counter you're going to get...
  • #46 kirillian

    In an even matchup of farm, items and health, Darius doesn't need the ultimate to beat Kayle. The bleed stacks do more than enough damage. The issue is that it depends on who initiates the fight and so gets the damage off first. If Darius can use his pull to initiate and thus get two stacks up on kayle before she can harass, she cannot outdamage him til at mid game at least. If she gets the drop on him, then yes, her ult can prevent a large amount of damage from coming in. When dueling Kayle, I actually use the ult early. With good reactions, it can be blocked, but then the bleeds can be re-maxed to 5 thus guaranteeing a kill even if Kayle manages to kill darius.

    Caveat...I play primarily Dominion. But this doesn't change the fact that most of my duels consist of Kayle's bottom lane who have a whole item more than my Darius (I play roamer). If Darius gets the drop, even a more fed Kayle can't deal with the damage...early game, there is no comparison...the ult isn't going to save her.

  • #34 phoenixx310

    I'm not sure I understand why you didn't put Kayle on the list of counters? I'm pretty sure she's Darius' #1 counter.

  • #33 orionbrando

    Dunk it! Dunk it! Dunk it! I remember those days were Darius Ultimate cool down was refreshed by assists and even if the opponent was killed by hemorrhage

  • #30 FilhyppyDarrell

    I can see a lulu caitlyn lane swap being the most effective counter. Enormous kiting power combine strong damage that he won't be ale to dodge (cait ultimate), and 2 or 3 ways of countering his ult (lulu , ult , her shield  + exhaust or heal)

  • #32 MerryLane

    Lane swaps screw 99 % of the melees, I don't see why such a lane swap would screw Darius more than other solotops.

    Anyway, if you swap with lulu/caitl, that's a bit stupid because you will only deny Darius, and your top will be denied as well, so both teams are equal in the end.
    (+ Darius can farm better than average due to his Q and grab, yes, grab minions to get the lane pushed under tower faster. Oh and Darius can get a triple kill midgame that would put him back on-par)

    Meanwhile you kinda ruin the efficiency of lulu+caitl, which is mostly to deny the ennemy adc and his support. You should take an adc that scales better than caitl for that, such as kogmaw.

    And there is always the possibility for Darius to go mid and swap with his apc that might have an easier time to clear waves safely than him.

    Last edited by MerryLane: 1/29/2013 1:10:09 PM
  • #35 FilhyppyDarrell

    I agree on the part that you only deny 1 champ when you could deny two, so you better take a hyper carry to make it worth it.


    However , don't you think getting a triple kill mid game would make anyone come back ? The only advantage that darius have here is that he can get a triple kill easier than most of champ. Still against lulu , good luck for him getting it.

    So in the end, his best counter is teemo ?

    Last edited by FilhyppyDarrell: 1/29/2013 2:05:34 PM
  • #17 KnockX3Penny

    Emerald, I have had GREAT success playing Trundle top against Darius.  Trundle is by far my best champion, so I am not sure if it's a possible counter or I am good enough with Trundle to utilize my skills effectively.  The way I figure it, Trundle has many effective methods of fighting Darius.....

    1.  He steals AD and also resets an auto attack for two quick hits.  2.  Trundle's passive gives him sustain to fight in the lane, which Darius does not have any sustain.  3.  Trundle has his pillar and w to allow him to engage or escape from Darius when he needs to.  4.  Trundle's ultimate is a huge way to bait a Darius ultimate OR simply to steal away his defenses and give Trundle health (which is the most effective way to fight Darius early).  5.  Often, I run exhaust/ignite on Trundle because he's hard to catch (his pillar, w, and cc reduction) and those two summoner spells make killing Darius easier.  

    What are your thoughts?

  • #22 Emeraldw

    I don't understand the match-up at all and I don't know Trundle.

    The only that stands out to me, is that Trundle has no way of getting away from Darius.  Sure you can run up and steal some AD, but he doesn't need AD to kill you. His passive and abilities are enough.  If you use your pillar to run away, he can pull you back to him.  And then there is his lvl 6 power.  Even if you won prior to 6, Once Darius hits 6, he has so much more offensive potential.  

    Maybe trundle works great against him, but I am not sure how he can use that sustain, if he can't hurt Darius that well to start with.

  • #27 Bystekhilcar

    Frequent, heavy, trades pre-6. Trundle's passive gives ridiculous sustain; Darius might win a trade, but 30 seconds later Darius will be at the same health whilst Trundle will be full.

    Post-6, you can follow a similar strategy so long as you disengage properly. Baiting hooks is important; once the hook is blown it's just a matter of waiting out the Crippling Strike duration before shifting slightly and completely disengaging with Pillar.

    Darius, for all his power, is not that strong of a duellist. Trundle brings sustain, massive debuffs and a good disengage to the party along with his crazy duelling, so it's difficult for him to lose lane to Darius unless he makes mistakes and allows Darius to snowball.

  • #28 MerryLane

    What he just meant, byske, is that if Darius decides to zone you, he will do it easily.

    Like he said, he outtrades you before and after lvl 6, because he doesn't have to go melee range to Q your face, for instance.
    Multiplying Q with the border's extra damage (only to harass and provoke mistakes) before all-in when the situation is in his favor, is a common strategy when you play Darius. Since trundle needs to use way more mana to trade back or outsustain you, you are already winning the lane.

    Also, after level 6, it's not that complicated. You start by zoning trundle with one or two Q, then if he really wants to last hit you just auto him a few times to stack the passive.
    He will then want to trade himself, or go back.
    You can then choose to Q him again with the extra damage, or use cripple so you can auto a few more times while he moves back to his tower (cripple's cd is pretty short if u have a few stacks).
    There, trundle will start freaking out. He will use his pillar (grab or even flash+grab), use any ability that is not on cd, and dunk him (if possible without the AD debuff coz of the 1 AD ratio on ulti)

    I don't really see how a good trundle can win a lane against a good Darius unless he gets babysitted and Darius' jungler ignores him.

    Last edited by MerryLane: 1/29/2013 11:16:15 AM
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