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Season 14 Darius Build Guide

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Darius
Dariusthe Hand of Noxus
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The BEST Champion to One-trick

Welcome to my Darius Building fundamentals guide. You will be able to buy items like a Challenger player after reading it. I will break down my thought process for every core and situational item, explain what runes to take and have full build examples.

Over the years Darius has been pretty consistent with the items he buys since the champion doesn't really get changed and pretty much does the same thing every game. He likes to buy AD, HP, Movement Speed and resistances. He is a staple stat checker.

I won't make a section for Summoner Spells since you should ALWAYS take Flash and Ghost.

At the bottom of the guide there will be a video where I play Darius from unranked to Master MMR so you can also see in-game examples.

What runes should you take?

Precision
RUNE_CATEGORY_NAME_8000
RUNE_NAME_8010
RUNE_NAME_9111
RUNE_NAME_9104
RUNE_NAME_8299
Resolve
RUNE_CATEGORY_NAME_8400
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Shards

This is what you will take pretty much every game. There's only 2 things that you should look for in drafts to make minor changes:

  1. Crowd Control: If they have a lot of CC (KNOCKUPS and Suppression don't count) you want to take Tenacity in runes. Make sure to change Legend: Alacrity for Legend: Tenacity and the Health shard for the Tenacity & Slow Resist one. Tenacity also reduces the duration of slows, but not their intensity!
  2. Enemy laner: Ask yourself, how do they trade? If they do short trades or just poke you (like ranged champions do) you will keep Second Wind; if they like to fight to the death or do short trades you want to swap it for Bone Plating. Make sure to NOT fight when it's on Cooldown!
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Starter items

Doran's Shield
Doran's Shield
Doran's Blade
Doran's Blade
Health Potion
Health Potion
Refillable Potion
Refillable Potion

You will be buying Doran's Shield most of your games. You might think that a champion such as Darius would really like to buy Attack Damage, but it's actually the opposite. Because your passive gives you 30-230 Bonus AD having both more HP and healing will be more efficient than just buying more damage. Why? Since you need 5 stacks of Hemorrhage (the bleed from your passive) your goal is not to deal damage but to survive longer so you can get Bonus AD and use that instead of items as a source.

However, there's still situations in which you DO want to buy Doran's Blade. These are rare so you'll be fine going Doran's Shield every game. Buy Doran's Blade against champions that both don't proc Shield's passive AND are weak laners.

I show the Health Potion and Refillable Potion because it's important to buy them early game. Getting a potion on one of your first recalls can allow you to do a very aggressive trade, heal back up using it and then win an all-in. The Refillable Potion is a bit more specific since you only get that one if you REALLY need more sustain, such as facing a Ranged Champion or someone who has A LOT of healing in their kit (someone like Dr. Mundo or Illaoi).

Boots

Boots
Boots
Boots of Swiftness
Boots of Swiftness
Plated Steelcaps
Plated Steelcaps
Mercury's Treads
Mercury's Treads

I am placing them here since you should try to get Tier 2 Boots on your first recall. If you can't afford them, you will buy Tier 1 Boots and then upgrade them on your 2nd recall.

Below this you can find a simple flow chart I made to explain which boots you should buy:

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Core Items

Trinity Force
Trinity Force

You will be buying this as your first item almost every game. It gives EVERY stat that Darius wants.

  • Attack Damage: Darius has really high AD ratios on his spells and gets Armor Penetration with his E - Apprehend.
  • Health: As mentioned before, you love buying HP since you get a lot of AD from your passive.
  • Attack Speed: Faster Basic Attacks = faster 5 stacks of Hemorrhage
  • Movement Speed: 20 MS when you Basic attack. Since Darius has not a single ranged ability you want to stay in melee range.

Also you are an amazing user of Spellblade (the Sheen empowered Basic Attack passive) because Darius has the third highest Base AD in the game.

Item Pool

Dead Man's Plate
Dead Man's Plate
Force of Nature
Force of Nature
Jak'Sho, The Protean
Jak'Sho, The Protean
Spirit Visage
Spirit Visage
Guardian Angel
Guardian Angel
Frozen Heart
Frozen Heart
Randuin's Omen
Randuin's Omen
Death's Dance
Death's Dance
Sundered Sky
Sundered Sky
Kaenic Rookern
Kaenic Rookern
Anathema's Chains
Anathema's Chains

These are ALL the items you COULD buy on Darius. Some of these you will probably buy buy most if not every game (order will depend on drafts) and others are EXTREMELY situational and you might never buy them.

You will notice that they're all tank items, reason being that between your core items and Noxian Might you are better off investing entirely on HP and Resistances for the reasons already explained.

Below I will explain each of them individually so you know when and why you would buy them. They will be arranged from least to most situational.

Dead Man's Plate
Dead Man's Plate
Force of Nature
Force of Nature

Dead Man's Plate is classic item for Darius, Force of Nature has also been a staple since Season 10. Ican't emphasize enough how important Movement Speed is for this champion. Your third item should always give this stat.

These are your only real options, so it's very easy to choose. Do you need Armor or Magic Resist? If it's 50/50 and this question didn't make it clear then the second question you would ask yourself is "Do I want **Slow Resist **or Tenacity?". It's also very common to build one after the other so if it's 50/50 is just a question of what you need first, not which one over the other.

That's it for knowing when to buy each, as for why they're a good item on Darius tho. They give you both HP and Resistances which are perfect since you want to start becoming REALLY tanky at this point. Besides also giving Movement Speed as a stat, the passives include a way for you to gain even more.

Dead Man's Plate makes you gain "Momentum", meaning that if you move, you will move faster. At max stacks of Momentum your next Basic Attack will also deal bonus damage: a flat amount based on your stacks + a percentage of your Base AD (which is very high!).

Force of Nature lets you gain stacks of "Steadfast", one per each time you take Magic Damage and 2 each time you are Immobilized. At 8 (max) stacks you get an additional 70 Magic Resistance and 10% Bonus Movement Speed.

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Anathema's Chains
Anathema's Chains

Are you tired of the enemy team having a single character that either shreds the resistance you buy against it or is the only one with that damage type? I got the perfect solution for you.

Anathema's Chains is a very cheap item that only gives HP (and some Ability Haste, but we don't care about that). The real value however comes from the passive you get from it. You will be able to "Chain" an enemy champion (use the active on the one you choose) and mark them as your Nemesis. After 1 minute, they will deal 30% reduced damage against you AND they have 20% less Tenacity when they're within 700 range (champions can have NEGATIVE Tenacity!).

There's only 2 situations in which you ever buy this item (in both this is still probably the last item in your build):

  1. Only one of the enemy champions deals Physical or Magic damage, all other 4 deal the opposite type or don't deal damage at all. This single character must also be a carry (dont chain a tank).
  2. They have a champion that shreds almost, if not all your resistances against their damage type. Best example of this is Evelynn, who can potentially shred 100% of your Magic Resistance by combining her W with Magic Penetration items.

The reasoning is that buying resistances when there's only 1 source of such damage type is inneficient. Say you buy armor because they have a fed ADC, but the rest of his comp is Magic Damage dealers (Gwen, Elise, Katarina); the damage you take on any given fight will probably be 75-100% magic damage so all the gold invested in armor would be useless. If you were to buy HP instead then you would still last longer in those fights.

Full Build Breakdowns

In this section I will show 3 examples of games I played and explain the thought process I had.

As an exercise, try to think why I bought each item while looking at the image before reading so you can test your knowledge after reading my explanations for each possible item.

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First thing you should ask yourself is why I have Doran's Blade instead of shield. Reason being enemy Illaoi took Unsealed Spellbook with Flash & Ghost. My goal here was to just win my lane at level 1 meaning this was the better choice.

You can see I'm trying to get my boots as fast as possible. Looking at the enemy comp Plated Steelcaps is the obvious choice since they are all Physical Damage dealers.

They're almost full melee champions as well meaning I will get a lot more value from Trinity Force opposed to Stridebreaker. Second item needs no explanation as it should be Sterak's Gage like 90% of the time, if not more.

By third item I could see that enemy Twitch was building Ability Power, but even then they have 3 other melee physical damage dealers so armor is a big priority. Dead Man's Plate being the only item giving us both Armor and Movement speed.

The only reason I opt into buying Magic Resistance is the enemy ADC buying AP because now I can actually benefit from purchasing Force of Nature. Reason being that they have enough Magic Damage on top of Immobilizing effects that I can easily reach the 8 stacks of its passive.

And as final item Jak'Sho is a great purchase considering they have both hybrid damage and fights will last more than 5 seconds.

Frozen Heart definitely seems like a good purchase here, but given their ADC can easily stay at more than 700 range of me means that it would only really debuff the Yasuo. With that in mind I benefit a lot more from having an item that gives HP since that is really helpful against all enemy champions; also a stat such as Movement Speed is very important considering all the slows and displacements they have. This then leads you to its counterpart Randuin's Omen, but similarly only one enemy champion deals Critical Strikes and they weren't really investing into that stat either so it's just as if not less useful than Frozen Heart.

One might also think Anathema's Chains is good here with Twitch being the only Magic Damage dealer of the enemy team, but that means he deals a decent chunk of True Damage (can't be reduced) while also not being fed at all, also making that item very subpar.

Showing this one as a good example of a game where Stridebreaker is better than Trinity Force.

Let's quickly explain the easy parts. Doran's Shield because enemy laner is a ranged character and Plated Steelcaps because they are again almost full AD. You might also notice this time I went for the Refillable Potion, this is also because the enemy Top Laner was a ranged character so this allows me to make even or slightly losing trades into positive ones.

The reason we build Stridebreaker is them having 3 ranged characters but also ALL of them have some form of Hard CC. They can either stop me completely or displace me. It's extremely difficult for Darius to stick to any of them in melee range so the passive of this item is incredibly valuable.

I actually bought Dead Man's Plate before Sterak's Gage for this very reason, what I need is to be able to reach them so Movement Speed will benefit me more than Attack Damage, meaning I have to get it earlier and not instead of the other.

You might also notice I bought a Negatron Cloak and just sat on it. One might think Azir is their only damage dealer since Twisted Fate was building AD, but his spells still deal Magic Damage. This is useful when you know you are going to turn the component into a completed item but you don't really need that full item just yet, just whatever stat they give.

After Sterak's Gage I would've purchased Jak'Sho so it's much harder to burst me down in their CC chain. Last item there's definitely a few options since you can stack Force of Nature easily, but might not benefit much from the Movement speed; Ezreal already has Frozen Heart so you run the risk of just "wasting" the passive; Randuin's Omen sounds good but no one in the enemy team bought Infinity Edge, TF just stacked Attack Speed and Jhin built Lethality. Azir wasn't dealing nearly enough damage to warrant you using Anathema's Chains on him, also their hybrid damage makes buying MR actually efficient.

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I wasn't facing a weak top laner so I start Doran's Shield. Also rush Plated Steelcaps since pretty much all of Yone's damage comes from Basic Attacks and their jungler also deals Physical damage.

Their entire enemy team is quite mobile and squishy making the extra damage of Trinity Force more valuable than Stridebreaker's active, mainly because hitting multiple targets with it is very unlikely. It's best to all-in a single target and burst them as fast as possible here.

Lots of burst damage and almost 0 CC so we are getting that Sterak's Gage as second item.

Next we need Movement Speed, Armor and HP: Dead Man's Plate suits us perfectly. Their damage is at least 70% physical and are very mobile.

I was definitely ahead but I needed an even bigger gold lead to make up for my team's lack of damage. This is why I bought a Long Sword along my Sterak's Gage. Baron was spawning within a minute of me walking out of base so I was definitely going to fight before I had another chance to base. I couldn't afford to buy defensive components since I needed to look for a fight there.

The extra damage helped me get a shutdown and bot Tier 2 Side turrets, cashing in a total of 2000 gold. Selling it helped me complete Frozen Heart since now I no longer needed that extra damage.

As for the Frozen Heart purchase, I needed Armor to defend against their biggest damage sources, being Kayn and Yone. Of the passives my Armor item options give, this was the most optimal, they have 2 champions with high Attack Speed.

They definitely have a slight amount of Magic Damage outside of Aurelion Sol but not enough to make any of the Magic Resist items a good purchase, so I opt for Anathema's Chains because of that and it's cost. We were in a losing position so if I aimed for a more expensive item chances are I would just lose before I get a chance to complete it, which makes the cheaper option more suitable.