The new champion, Darius, the Hand of Noxus (most likely named after two famous top lane players – Dyrus (TSM) and Darien (M5), was released several days ago, and has been advertised as a powerful top laner and jungler. How strong he actually is, and which roles does he fit the most?
Hemorrhage (passive): Darius’ basic attacks and damaging abilities cause enemies to bleed for 12 / 15 / 18 / 21 / 24 / 27 / 30 / 33 / 36 (+0.4 per bonus attack damage) magic damage over 5 seconds, stacking up to 5 times.
Darius gains 5% movement speed for each bleeding enemy champion.
Decimate ( Q ): Darius deals 70 / 105 / 140 / 175 / 210 (+0.7 per bonus attack damage) physical damage to all nearby enemies in a circle around him. Champions in the outer half of the ability are struck by the blade, taking 50% additional damage.
Crippling strike’s base cooldown is reduced by 1 second for each stack of Hemorrhage on the target.
(Active) Darius pulls in all enemies in front of him.
(Passive) Darius gains 5 / 10 / 15 / 20 / 25% armor penetration.
Noxian Guillotine ( R ): Darius leaps to target enemy champion and strikes a lethal blow, dealing 160 / 250 / 340 (+0.75 per bonus attack damage) true damage. For each stack of Hemorrhage on the target, Noxian Guillotine deals an additional 20% damage.
The cooldown is refreshed if Noxian Guillotine kills the target, or if the target dies within 0.5 seconds after use.
First thing to note is that, unlike most bruisers, Darius has absolutely no built-in sustain nor mobility, which is already a solid reason to place him below the top jungling tier. His Q allows him to clear jungle camps at a reasonable speed, however it’s not quite enough for him to compete with counter jungling monsters like Shyvana or Mundo. In top lane the lack of sustain also makes it rather hard for him to successfully exchange during the laning phase, and the lack of mobility makes him weak and vulnerable to ganks early game. But the reason we’re not going to instantly place him in the lowest tier and call it a day is – you probably already know the answer – his ultimate.
Darius’ ultimate is why he’s so feared of in teamfights. The base damage (up to 320 on level 6) is huge, the AD scaling (up to 1.5) is even better, and on top of that it deals true damage. Combined with W and E this allows him to destroy enemy carries in bare seconds, putting him just slightly below top tier assassins like Irelia or Jax. What Darius lacks as an assassin is mobility (his E range is way behind Irelia’s or Jax’ similar abilities), which can be somewhat compensated by using movement speed quintessences; and instant burst: his passive, Hemorrhage, requires him to actually stick to his target for a bit to be able to maximize his burst, giving plenty of time for the opponent’s team to react and possibly prevent it.
You most likely won’t be seeing Darius in the competitive play, as at every aspect he’s good at there’s a champion that will do better. Also I expect his ultimate to receive a nerf – possibly the cooldown reset getting removed, because right now it’s one of the most ridiculous abilities in the game. However, Darius will surely be staying in solo queue for a while: he really starts to shine in teamfights, easily picking up kills with his ultimate – and that is much more likely to happen in solo queue, where fights occur more often, sometimes over nothing, giving him a much wider room for snowballing.
Lategame viability B+
Constant damage C+
Crowd control D