As a player who mostly plays Sion and other immobile tanks, I’ve taken to banning Darius in nearly all of my games. He’s an extremely punishing champion to lane against, especially early, and his bleed mechanic has left me frustrated and dead many, many times.
Darius has also been very good in general recently, and not just against Sions. His win rate has been above 51 percent for the last four patches, peaking in Patch 6.23 at 52.21 percent, according to Champion.GG’s statistics of ranked games Platinum and above. That win rate is even higher with the new Courage of the Colossus mastery (the most popular mastery tree for him has a 58.9 percent win rate). His play rate has also been steadily rising, getting to 12.2 percent on this most recent patch.
Patch 7.2 brings three nerfs to Darius, in a move that will likely bring me much joy and maybe even some LP.
First, the damage on his passive, Hemorrhage, has been reduced from levels 1-14. This is intended to make his early game less punishing — once Darius gets those stacks on you, it can be very difficult to not just straight up die over and over again at the start of the game.
NOXIAN MIGHT BONUS (LV 1-6) :: 40/40/45/45/45/45 attack damage >>> 30/30/35/35/35/35 attack damage
NOXIAN MIGHT BONUS (LV 7-13) :: 50/60/70/80/90/100/110 attack damage >>> 40/50/60/70/80/90/100 attack damage
NOXIAN MIGHT BONUS (LV 14-18) :: 120/140/160/180/200 bonus attack damage (unchanged)
The second and final nerf directly to Darius comes to his Q, Decimate, where he swings his axe in a circle around him. As it stands, it’s already preferable to get hit by the handle of the axe, rather than the blade — it does less damage, and if you get hit by the blade, Darius heals himself. Now, the damage from a handle hit has been reduced even further, from 50 percent of the blade’s damage to 35 percent.
The final nerf to Darius this patch is a nerf to Courage of the Colossus’s laning power. Intended as a team-fight keystone mastery that would allow divers to rush into an enemy team fearlessly, it also had way too much laning power, allowing someone like Darius to bully their opponent with the shield it offered on his Apprehend.
Courage of the Colossus’s shield now scales based on the number of enemies around you, meaning the shield is much weaker in a 1 vs. 1 situation. It seems unlikely Darius’s will continue to bring the keystone from here on out.