LoL Darius, the Hand of Noxus, guide: skills, rune setup, and best items

Published: October 20 2023

Last updated: November 7 2023

LoL Darius, the Hand of Noxus, guide: skills, rune setup, and best items
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Darius, the Hand of Noxus, is one of the true classics of League of Legends, with his reign of the top lane spanning over a decade and counting. This guide will review his skills, rune setup, best items to pick, and gameplay tactics.

The champion Darius is easy to play, tough to master, and you can use him to take on anyone. While Darius, like many Top laners, certainly struggles in team fighting scenarios, he more than makes up for it by having one of the strongest laning phases in League of Legends. With his uniquely punishing kit, Darius specializes in chasing down his opponents whenever they dare step too far forward. His chase potential makes Darius a uniquely powerful choice for climbing out of the lowest ranks of League of Legends, as most players refuse to respect the damage this champion can do. 

Being a beloved Champion in the League of Legends franchise, Darius will be part of the initial rooster of the new upcoming fighter by Riot, Project L! Don’t miss out our article on the matter, and keep an eye for our future articles about it. 

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LoL Champion Darius’ Skills Breakdown

LoL Darius passive: Hemorrhage 

Darius’ passive Hemmorage is the source of a large portion of the immense damage this champion puts out

Darius’ basic attacks and Decimate apply stacks to all targets hit, causing them to bleed for several seconds. At five stacks of Hemmorage, Darius gains a notable amount of Attack Damage, and in addition, it also increases the execution potential of Darius’ ultimate, Noxian Guillotine. 

Hemmorage’s damage and attack buff is most potent in the early levels of the laning phase, allowing Darius to win every one-on-one combat. 

LoL Darius Q skill: Decimate

Decimate is Darius’ jack-of-all-trades tool. The ability helps you clear waves, heals you, damages enemy champions, and applies stacks of Hemmorage to all enemies hit by the outer ring. 

Something to note is that in addition to applying Hemmorage, Darius' Decimate also deals more damage at the outer ring of the ability, so try and utilize this to deal more damage to your targets. 

LoL Darius W skill: Crippling Strike

Crippling Strike is the simplest part of Darius’ kit. It increases the damage and range for your next auto-attack and slows the target briefly. 

Do note that Darius’ Crippling Strike is an auto-attack reset. For those unfamiliar with those animation resets, you can use it to cancel a portion of your previous auto-attack animation, which allows you to hit quicker than you’d otherwise be able to. 

LoL Darius E skill: Apprehend

Apprehend is an ability that allows Darius to drag back enemies in a small cone in front of his ability, slowly them briefly. Apprehend allows you to extend fights this way by stopping enemies from escaping, in addition to the ability’s other benefits. In addition to the drag active, the ability also grants Darius a scaling amount of Armor penetration, which goes up as you level the skill, ranging from 15% to 35%.

LoL Darius R Ultimate: Noxian Guillotine

Noxian Guillotine is Darius’ ultimate and one of the strongest executing abilities in the game. The damage dealt by Noxian Guillotine increases with the number of stacks of Hemmorage. In addition, securing kills with Noxian Guillotine resets the ability's cooldown in part or entirely, depending on the skill's rank. 

Darius skill order in League of Legends 

Darius’ skill order is Q - E - W, unlocking all skills by level three

Optionally, into difficult ranged matchups, you can level up Q at levels one and three, as you shouldn’t ever get in range for your drag this early in the game. However, delaying leveling your skill here rules out any jungle assistance at level four, so consider where your jungler wants to go in their first clear rotation. 

Rune Setup for Darius in League of Legends 

The rune setups for Darius are easy to choose. The first rune page utilizes Primary Precision with Conquerer and the other standard choices, paired with Secondary Sorcery with Nimbus Cloak and Celerity to maximize your summoner spell and chase-down strengths. 

The second option takes a more defensive approach, switching out Legend: Alacrity for Legend: Tenacity in the Precision path, alongside Secondary Resolve with Unflinching and Bone Plating to maximize your Tenacity for some additional resistance against slows and stuns. A worthwhile adaption here is to switch out Bone Plating for Second Wind against champions with ranged abilities or attacks, as those diminish the effectiveness of Bone Plating significantly. 

Attack speed and adaptive force are must-haves for your bonus runes, with your third option being a resistance of your choice. In most cases, that’ll be Armor, as there aren’t many top lane mages in the current meta. 

Summoner Spells for Darius in League of Legends 

Summoner Spells are rarely worth discussing for Top laners due to the strength of Teleport, but Darius is one of the exceptions

Regarding Summoner Spells, your first pick is simple: you can’t miss out on Flash. However, Darius players worldwide have left their Teleports behind, instead using Ghost or Ignite as their second Summoner Spell. And if you think about it, the decision makes a lot of sense. As a champion, Darius cannot win lane from behind, and without any tools to escape Junglers in his kit, you may as well have an additional tool to control your laning phase. 

From our testing, it's worth noting that Flash/Ghost feels much better to play with, as Ghost is a much more versatile tool overall. Ghost has more defensive options, significantly improving your options later in the game. 

Itemization Choices for LoL Darius Explained

There is much to cover for Darius’ items, so let us begin with the basics. You can choose between two starting items, the Doran’s Blade, which is more aggressive, and your go-to in lanes you want to win. On the other hand, Doran’s Shield is for all matchups you think you’ll struggle with or in which you don't have experience.. 

As for your Mythic item, throughout the last year, Darius players picked between three choices: Stridebreaker, Goredrinker (rip), and Trinity Force. However, in patch 12.17, one option stands out beyond the rest: Stridebreaker. The item currently has the best stats, and the additional slow is highly beneficial to chasing down your opponents. 

After your Mythic is complete, your options open up significantly. There are the usual defensive tools with bonus Movement Speed, like Deadman’s Plate and Force of Nature. Or you can take a more offensive route and use items like Sterak’s Gage or Death’s Dance to build on your survivability and damage. 

Also possible, as with all Melee Top laners, is the Hullbreaker, the tower-breaking item that makes you an incredible split-pushing threat. However, after speaking with some high-ranked Darius players, some argue, in its current form, that Hullbreaker is just a win-more item and that in games where this item shines, you’d be able to take over as Darius regardless. 

Boots Choice for Darius in League of Legends

As with most champions who aren’t marksmen, defensive boots are too good to pass. Mercury Treads against teams with lots of Crowd Control or Magic damage. Plated Steelcaps against everything else. 

However, in some cases, Darius players opt for Boots of Swiftness instead. The main situation players choose these is against ranged top laners that they got ahead of due to jungle assistance. Purchasing these in the right situations allows you to run down even the toughest opponents after the first tower falls. 

Gameplay tactics for playing Champion Darius in LoL

Darius is a classic example of a lane bully in League of Legends. You win or lose your games based on the lead you can build in the laning stages, where you either become a monster or irrelevant. As Darius, one of the best things you can do is to start auto-attacking your opponent whenever they try to get creeps. Because of the strength of Hemmorage, they’ll have no choice but to back off and lose gold and experience. And if they don’t? You just kill them. 

Another mistake many Darius players need to correct is misusing their abilities. There is no way around it: Darius’ ability cooldowns are long. So, make them count. Don’t just throw out your Apprehend if you aren’t certain it lands. Don’t just throw out Decimate to get that creep when your opponent is close. And similarly, DO use your Crippling Strike whenever you need that to farm minions. That ability cooldown is much lower, and the extra gold you generate will help in the long run. 

Matchup portion for champion Darius in LoL 

In terms of overall matchups, Darius follows a clear, broad theme. Ranged champions are awful to play into, as you can’t reach them consistently. These include Quinn, Vayne (only at high ranks), Cassiopeia (Only at high ranks), and Heimerdinger. All four of these are so bad you may as well reset champion select because you won’t have a good time. Similarly, most melee matchups are great because you are one of the strongest fighters in the laning phase. Everything from K’Santes to Irelia and Sett, you can take them all on. 

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Arend Zijdenbos

Arend Zijdenbos
Arend Zijdenbos

Writer. Explorer. Gamer.