Darius isn’t an easy champion to beat in League of Legends. Season 12 brought a few changes to his itemization, and now Darius is one of the best picks in the top lane. He has many favorable matchups and only a few that can cause a serious problem to his playstyle. If played correctly, Darius can go even or win the laning phase in almost every game. And because of this, many players wonder how they can counter Darius in season 12 of LoL.
But be at ease. As with any other champion in the game, playing Darius has a few cons that you should be aware of. High elo players know how Darius works, and they do everything they can to exploit his weak points. Darius is a very simple champion in theory, and you shouldn’t feel on edge when you’re matched against him. However, you shouldn’t underestimate him either! Remember, Darius only needs a few kills before he can 1v5 your team!
So, how do you counter Darius in season 12 of LoL?
Well, the best strategy to counter any champion is to learn how that champion works. Once you understand what his win condition is, you can easily beat him. Certain champions, items, and positioning tricks work well against him, and we’ll be covering them all. A helpful tip is to try playing Darius yourself and get familiar with the range of his abilities and the way he is played. But if you need quick and practical tips, then here’s what you need to know.
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Darius’s Abilities in LoL Explained – What Does Darius Have?
- Passive – Hemorrhage – This ability is a bleed effect that stacks 5 times. Darius can apply it either with his auto-attacks or with his abilities. If Darius manages to get 5 stacks on Hemorrhage, he gets a big buff of attack damage. The DoT also does a lot of damage every 1.25 seconds over its duration. If Hemorrhage is at 5 stacks, it also reduces the cooldown of Darius’s abilities by a minimum of 16 seconds.
- Q – Decimate – Darius’s Q is the most important ability to get right. Once activated, Darius spins around with his ax and damages all nearby enemies. This ability has two different ranges and two effects depending on which one hits you. If Darius uses Decimate on a champion that stands next to him, the ability will only damage that champion. But if he hits the enemy with the outer radius of his Decimate, Darius heals for 15%-45% of his missing health, based on the number of enemies hit. This also applies a stack of Hemorrhage, which isn’t the case if you stand next to Darius during Decimate.
- W – Crippling Strike – When Darius uses his W, his next auto attack within 4 seconds will deal extra damage and slow the target by 90% for 1 second. This ability can be used right after an auto-attack and can also critically strike. If Darius kills an enemy with his Crippling Strike, the mana is refunded.
- E – Apprehend – This is the second crowd control ability that Darius has. Apprehend pulls all enemies in a con in front of Darius, knocking them up and slowing them down. It does a little bit of damage, so it’s mostly used for closing the gap. However, Apprehend also grants Darius 15 / 20 / 25 / 30 / 35% armor penetration passively.
- R – Noxian Guillotine – And Darius’s ultimate is a type of an execute ability that does true damage. Noxian Guillotine directly benefits from Hemorrhage and the applied stacks. Using Noxian Guillotine on a target that has 5 stacks of Hemorrhage will deal 100% increased damage. And if the target dies instantly, the cooldown of Darius’s ultimate is refreshed.
Best Champions that Counter Darius in Season 12
Currently, Riven holds a 10% higher win rate in the matchup against Darius. This really speaks of the nature of this matchup and why Riven is one of the best counters to Darius in the top lane.
She is an extremely mobile champion and can dash consistently. Moving around the lane and dodging Darius’s abilities is a key strategy to beating him. Thanks to her Q and E, Riven can dash away from Darius’s W and E. But she can also easily escape from his Q by either moving away or moving in. Riven also has a shield that helps against Darius’s ultimate.
Wukong is another popular champion that counters Darius in season 12. His win condition comes from his W. This ability dashes Wukong in a direction, gives him stealth, and also leaves a clone behind him. This is extremely helpful when trying to dodge Darius’s Q, and if that fails, Wukong can jump to Darius with his E and get inside the inner range of Decimate.
Wukong’s ultimate is one of the best crowd control abilities in the game and is also useful against Darius.
Kayle is known to have a favorable matchup against Darius. The reason for this is that Kayle is a ranged champion. She can farm safely during the laning phase but also poke and punish Darius when he goes for CS. In addition, she has a slow that helps her keep her distance and also a heal to counter Hemorrhage.
Kayle can use her ultimate to completely block the damage of Darius’s R, even with 5 stacks of his passive up. This is a massive advantage that Kayle has after level 6.
And Quinn can utterly destroy Darius. She is an obnoxious champion to deal with in the top lane, especially if you’re melee. All of her abilities have some kind of bonus when playing against Darius, starting from her passive. The period critical strikes hurt a lot and can force Darius out of the lane.
Quinn’s Q can be used either for poking or for running away. The blind effect can really stop Darius’s damage, even if he is on top of her. And Quinn’s E can push Darius away, which is very helpful when he tries to get in range.
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How to Lane Against Darius?
Let’s talk a bit about how Darius plays the top lane.
Darius is one of the strongest melee champions in the entire League of Legends. He has a dominating presence right from level 1 due to his passive – Hemorrhage. And no matter which ability he picks up first, he can kill most top lane picks simply by bleeding them to death. Levels 3 and 6 are when Darius is the scariest. Having all abilities available usually means a free kill for him if you aren’t careful enough.
Darius players will often play aggressively and will constantly look to trade. If you’re playing a melee champion yourself, then you must be aware of this. Try to avoid trading when his abilities are refreshed, and he’s ready to stack his passive. Most people underestimate the DoT damage from Hemorrhage, so don’t be one of them!
In lane, your position should be in a diagonal line from Darius, regardless of whether you’re playing a ranged or a melee champion. He moves right – you move left. He moves left – you move right. This will help you keep an extra distance so Darius can’t pull you with his E or slow you down with his W.
But the most important thing you can do to counter Darius is to outplay his Q. If you’re ranged, then then you must run away from Decimate’s range. And if you’re a melee champion and can’t get out in time, it’s best to move in and stand next to Darius.
Experienced Darius players will always try to move back a bit during the animation of Decimate to secure the extra damage and healing. Try countering it by either running away or sticking next to him.
How to Beat Darius? Best Counter Tips:
- Avoid trading early on. As mentioned above, Darius has more damage than most top lane champions in the early game, so dueling isn’t the best idea. Instead, you should look to poke and trade when his abilities are on cooldown.
- Keep track of your Hemorrhage stacks. It might be difficult for people in the lower elo, but watching the Hemorrhage stacks is key to beating Darius. When you approach 4 or 5 stacks, you should immediately run away, especially after level 6.
- Crowd control Darius as much as possible. Darius has no way of dodging or removing crowd control abilities. This can be your biggest advantage, especially if you can lure your jungler to gank your lane. Setting a gank on Darius isn’t a hard thing to do.
- Dodge Darius’s Q. If you can avoid this ability altogether, then go for it. However, if you cannot run away in time, always try to stick to Darius. This will deny him damage and healing, so you always get the upper hand.
- Be mindful of Darius’s ultimate. Because Noxian Guillotine does true damage, it can execute tanks as well squishy champions. The ability isn’t too scary on its own, but as soon as Hemorrhage starts to stack, Darius’s R hits like a truck.
The Best Items to Counter Darius in Season 12
- Executioner’s Calling – Darius’s healing can be a big problem if not addressed. Purchasing Grevious Wounds is always a good idea, especially if he is ahead. On AP champions, you can go for Morellonomicon early on.
- Sterak’s Gage – Darius doesn’t only do physical damage but true damage as well. Because of this, you don’t want to build only armor against him. You want to add maximum health as well. Sterak’s Gage is a nice item that allows you to play offensively and defensively. The passive shield can save you from Darius’s R.
- Zhonya’s Hourglass – If you’re playing an AP champion against Darius, then Zhonya’s Hourglass should be one of your first purchases. The extra armor definitely helps, and you can use it to either dodge his Q or R.
- Guardian Angel – Sometimes, there is simply nothing you can do against a fed Darius. But Guardian Angel can give you one more chance of defeating him in the same fight, so it’s a good item to have.
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As you can see, Darius can be easily countered if you dodge his Q and avoid being near him when his R is up. He is a bully in the top lane and usually forces champions to fight him 1v1. This isn’t the wisest thing to do against Darius, so waiting on your jungler is always the better option. In the meantime, you can try to bait him and waste his mana. Run away if you have 5 stacks of Hemorrhage on you and go all-in when you haven’t been hit in a while.
These are the rules you should incorporate in your own gameplay if you want to counter Darius in season 12 of League of Legends!