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League of Legends Darius Champion Review

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By alexander_hinkleyDate: Aug 21 2015 Views:

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Darius was one of several League of Legends champions to be reworked during the 5.16 "Juggernaut" patch. It seems that more often than not when Riot reworks a champion they end up simply ruining them – either by making them overpowered or by severely underpowering them then having to subsequently shore them in up a future patch. Unfortunately, Darius has fallen victim to the balancing team. He feels clunky, slow, and overall much weaker than before. Considering his win rate was already below 50% prior to the patch, weakening him seems nonsensical. Let's compare his abilities to the old versions and see why he is worse off.

Skills

League of Legends

Darius's Hemorrhage passive got a damage nerf in this patch. The new version scales based on Darius's level but the scaling is such that it is weaker both early and late game For example, at level one the old Hemorrhage used to deal 12 damage +30% of his AD over five seconds. The new Hemorrhage deals 10 damage (9 + 1) +30% of his AD. At level 18, it used to deal 36 damage +30% of his AD. Now it deals 27 damage (9 + 18) +30% of his AD. That's nearly a reduction of 10 damage per stack. Not only was the damage per stack reduced, but the total damage is as well. It used to be able to deal up to 180 + 150% AD at max level. Now it deals up to 135 + 150% AD.

Darius did get a second passive called Bloodrage to make up for this. Bloodrage is very useful, but only if you can manage to put five stacks of Hemorrhage on an enemy. Once five stacks are applied or after Darius kills an enemy champion with his ultimate, he flies into a Bloodrage and gains between 40 and 200 bonus attack damage (based on his level) and will also apply full stacks of Hemorrhage on each attack. Bloodrage lasts for five seconds.

So which is better, the old passive or the new? I would venture to say the new version is better since effectively doubling your attack damage in Bloodrage can really turn the tides of a battle. Although Darius still loses out on a lot of damage over the course of the game thanks to the nerf to Hemorrhage, the new Bloodrage aspect of his passive is the one good thing to come out of this rework for Darius. So far so good for the rework.

League of Legends

Decimate is where things start going downhill for Darius, and almost makes him unplayable now. First of all, it deals a lot less damage than before. It used to deal between 70 and 210 base damage +70% of his bonus AD per level. Now it deals between 10 and 50 damage plus between +50% and +70% of his total AD. The key here is that the new version scales on his TOTAL attack damage while the old version scales on his BONUS attack damage. So this means it will deal more damage right? Not necessarily. Darius starts the game with 56 base AD. Let's say he started the game with an item giving him +10 AD for 66. 50% of 66 is 33. So a level one Decimate based on these circumstances would deal 43 damage (10 + 33). Compare that with the old formula: 70% of his bonus AD is 7 thus the old Decimate would deal 77 damage (70 + 7).

So obviously it deals less damage early game, but what about late game? Let's say Darius is level 18 and has the ability maxed. At level 18 he has 141 base AD. Let's say he has +150 AD from items for a total of 241. 70% of that is 203 so a maxed out Decimate would deal 253 (50 + 203) under these circumstances. The old Decimate, however, would have dealt 315 damage (210 base + 105 from his bonus AD).

That isn't the only thing that got nerfed with his Q. If you are too close to an enemy and only hit them with the handle instead of the blade, it now deals 50% less damage. It used to deal 34% less damage. In other words, the ability deals less damage than before and now also punishes you even harder if you are too close with even MORE of a damage reduction. Even with a maxed out Decimate and a respectable 223 AD, Darius can no longer kill caster minions in one hit with this ability if he is standing right up next to them. That's really sad.

Furthermore, Riot put a 0.75 second delay on this ability. This is the absolute worst thing about the rework. 0.75 seconds doesn't sound like a long time, but in the League of Legends realm it can be an eternity. It makes Decimate feel clunky. The delay on your action makes it feel almost as if you are lagging. To make matters worse, your enemies can see a shadowed indicator showing that you are about to cast it so they have more of a chance of avoiding it now (or getting closer to you to take half damage).

The one bright spot in the new version of Decimate is that Darius now heals for 10% of his missing health for each enemy champion he hits (up to a max of 30%). Darius almost NEEDS this heal to help him survive long enough to set off Bloodrage since he literally has to stand there hacking away at an enemy to build up enough Hemorrhage stacks for it. Unfortunately this still doesn't make up for the NUMEROUS other nerfs to the ability. Most of the time you're only going to be able to hit one enemy champion and healing for 10% of your missing health doesn't do much. Even if you manage to hit three enemies and heal for 30% of your missing health, how effective will that be? If you're missing 1,500 HP, for example, that means you'll heal for 450. That's about one extra spell you'd be able to take. Not all that impressive. The new Decimate sucks and considering Decimate is a mainstay in Darius's kit, it lowers his overall power level tremendously. If Riot removed the ridiculous delay, the healing would more than make up for the damage reduction and Decimate would still be serviceable.

League of Legends

Moving on to Darius's W, this also got a huge nerf. Crippling Strike used to deal between +20% AD and +100% AD. A double damage basic attack was pretty sweet. Now it deals +40% AD at all levels. While that might equate to a bit more damage early game, late game it means you are dealing 60% less damage from this ability than you used to.

Crippling Strike used to slow the enemy's movement AND attack speed by between 20% and 40%, depending on the level. This slow lasted for two seconds. The new Crippling Strike no longer reduces the enemy's attack speed, only their movement speed. Although the movement speed slow was increased to a whopping 90% at all levels, the duration was reduced from two seconds to just one. Call me crazy but I'd rather have the old version back.

One interesting thing of note with this ability is that there is pretty much no reason to level it up anymore. Nothing on this ability scales with the sole exception being the cooldown timer. Every time you level up the new Crippling Strike, it will shave one second off the cooldown, but nothing else. There's no damage increase. No slow increase. No mana cost reduction (or increase – as used to be the case). Just one second off the cooldown. Darius players should now max out their E before their W because at least that reduces the cooldown on that ability AND increases his armor penetration.

League of Legends

Speaking of Darius's E, this is one ability that actually got buffed (slightly). After pulling an enemy with Apprehend, they will now be slowed by 90% for one second. The casting time of Apprehend also got ever so slightly reduced from 0.32 seconds to 0.25. The cooldown timer and armor penetration passive it grants him were both unchanged.

League of Legends

Noxian Guillotine also got a damage nerf in this patch. When Darius was first released back in 2012, Noxian Guillotine is what made him a champion to be feared on the battlefield. The fact that it dealt potentially huge amounts of True Damage coupled with its ability to immediately become available to be cast again if it killed an enemy was a game-changer. Of course back in those days True Damage was rare, not like today's League of Legends where it seems everybody and their mom can inflict it. After Riot nerfed Noxian Guillotine so that it only was available to cast after a kill for a short period of time and didn't completely reset, Darius got a lot weaker. This patch deals yet another blow to the once fearsome Noxian Guillotine.

As if Riot didn't reel back Darius's damage enough already with their reductions to Hemorrhage, Decimate, and Crippling Strike, Noxian Guillotine also got a reduction. It used to deal a base of 160, 250, or 340 true damage with extra damage based on how many stacks of Hemorrhage the target had on them. Now it deals a base of 100, 200, or 300 true damage. Although technically the stack damage was unchanged at 20%, because it is a percent of the base damage, this means each stack of Hemorrhage also adds less damage than it used to. For example, 20% of 160 means each stack would have added +32 True Damage. 20% of 100 means that post-rework each stack now only adds +20 True Damage.

They did reduce the mana costs on Noxian Guillotine to zero when you have it maxed out. If you kill someone with it and then cast it again within the 20 second timeframe, that cast also costs zero mana. Killing an enemy champion will also send Darius into a Bloodrage. Clearly with all the perks such as cooldown resets, mana cost reductions, and Bloodrage, Riot wants to make it so Darius players only use their ult when they absolutely know it will kill someone. An enemy champion surviving your Noxian Guillotine is now even more of a disappointment than before.

Conclusions

Darius is undoubtedly worse now than he used to be. He simply doesn't deal the damage he once did. Hemorrhage, Decimate, Crippling Strike, and Noxian Guillotine all got damage nerfs. The idea that anybody could argue the new Darius is better is insane on this basis alone. Yes the mana cost reduction on Noxian Guillotine can be useful under certain circumstances where he used to run out of mana. Yes the 90% slow on Crippling Strike and Apprehend helps keeps gank victims from escaping your grasp. And yes Bloodrage temporarily turns him into a beast. But all of this is secondary to the fact he doesn't deal the damage necessary to get the job done when he's NOT in Bloodrage.

Darius used to be a high damage bruiser but he no longer fits into that role after this rework. The 0.75 second delay on Decimate alone is annoying enough that I personally never want to play Darius again. I can't get over that feeling of simulated lag. There's already enough lag problems with League of Legends as is. They don't need to add ability casting delays that mimic its effects.

The only time Darius ever feels strong anymore is when Bloodrage is active. When he's in a Bloodrage, he does feel nigh-unstoppable which is a great feeling (unless you're on the receiving end of it then it's a horrible feeling) but I'd rather play a Darius that feels dangerous the entire game, not just a small fraction of it. Is the boost from Bloodrage worth nerfing all of Darius's other damage-dealing abilities? I would say no and in my opinion this is easily the worse rework job that Riot has done on any champion to date.

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