- Get boots on your first back to avoid his Qs
- Play very safe but maintain steady Cs (farm)
- Conqueror + Resolve1
- Flash + TP
- Keep trades short and put early points into your Q
Darius is one of the strongest early game top laners in the game
He possesses a kit capable of massive amounts of damage at low levels. His passive bleed will cut you down. He heals off trades through conqueror and well timed swings of his axe. Just when you think you can sneak a cannon minion he will pull you in and punish you for half your health. Itemization and mechanics are going to be essential in your conquest to be the one who spins for the win. This is How to Counter Darius with Garen.
Before we get into it, make sure you know how Darius works. Have a read through his abilities here.
Building as Garen against Darius
Conqueror remains the best choice of keystone for Garen in most lanes. In this match-up it will not do much for you in the early stages. As the game goes on however, the extra scaling will help you tip tables in this lane as it should be around mid game.
Take resolve secondary to help you survive the early game, with Boneplating and Demolish as your choices.
As with many match-ups, your build will have to be adjusted according to how well you’re playing and the composition of both teams.
Specifically against Darius, you are going to need boots early in the game. They will help you dodge Qs and escape trades which you do not want to prolong. If you have boots and he buys boots as well, upgrade them to Plated Steelcaps. It will put you behind in build but keep you alive.
Divine Sunderer is the perfect Mythic item for this match-up. One of Darius’s greatest strengths is slowing you down and pulling you in to extend trades. The mobility supplied by Divine Sunderer is the ideal counter to this. It also fits well into your possible build paths.
Starting tank then choosing your path
After Divine Sunderer and Plated Steelcaps, its up to your analytical skills to decide where to go next in your build. Does your team lack tankiness? Deadman’s Plate and Thornmail are good options against Darius and other physical damage based champions. Are you faring far better than expected? Serylda’s Grudge will apply a useful slow against Darius, improve your teamfighting ability and increase your damage.
For more information on how to build Garen, click here.
Darius vs Garen: Laning
Next is how you’re going to lane against Darius without giving away an early death and setting yourself off for a game which is going to be difficult to bring back. There is one thing that cannot be stressed enough when it comes to facing a Darius. You cannot underestimate his damage. If your jungler so much as hints at the opportunity he will turn a gank into a swift kill and a flash out for himself. If you let yourself get caught out by a combo you will walk out of the trade with half health. However, like every champion, there are ways to play around his strengths.
A textbook trade for Darius
A trade for Darius is simple. He waits for an opportunity in which you put yourself out of position, ready to be pulled in. He then double auto attacks you by resetting the attack timer with an empowered auto attack with his W. The attack reset through an auto attack empowering ability is a useful mechanic. It applies to many champions with such abilities, including Darius and Garen. Once slowed substantially by his W, he sets up to catch you on the outside of the swing of his axe, healing if he does so. Even once the slow has worn off and you’re out of his grasp, he has left 5 stacks of his passive bleed on you. You wait for 5 seconds for this to wear off and start your journey to passive regeneration. Painful.
When and how to trade as Garen against Darius
After level 1, there is no potential to outdamage Darius as Garen in the early game. Trade only when you are forced to, and spend as much time as possible regenerating health through your passive. By not being hit by the edge of an axe swing you will be allowing yourself to regenerate smoothly. It’s also his only form of sustain. Bait out his Q and you will cause him to have mana problems. When forced to trade, in the best situations you will be able to Q in and E out if he chases you.
In most situations he will at least W you before you can Q him. Make sure that every trade all that you do is Q him and get out. Having your W activated just before he begins his combo will decrease his damage output and slow enough to make the trade a little more fair for you. Save your W for trades which you detect to be deadly.
Darius’s axe swing has a cast time but not a channel, your silence will not cancel it. Your silence will however prevent him from using an empowered auto attack for as long as he is silenced. Maxing your Q and W first is important. Your E isn’t going to do much for you in the early levels.
Stay out of trades, but when forced, make them as short as possible. Use your passive to stay healthy. Don’t underestimate his damage, even when you have a jungler to back you up. Stay safe until around level 11 when his high damage starts to scale down. Pick up as much Cs as possible. Never put yourself in a position in which you could give away a death. To counter Darius as Garen you are going to need clever laning mechanics and the right build, but everyone is capable of doing it. Stick to our guide and you will find yourself spinning and winning in no time.
Do you prefer smacking to win rather than spinning to win? Check out How To Counter Darius With Ornn.
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