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Darius Build Guide by Rhoku

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[10.7] Strength is Absolute Ω Rhoku's Darius Guide

By Rhoku | Updated on April 3, 2020
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Rhoku's Featured Video
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Runes:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Precision
Conqueror
Triumph
Legend: Alacrity
Last Stand

Resolve
Second Wind
Demolish
Bonus:

+10% Attack Speed
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+6 Armor

Spells:

1 2 3
Default
LoL Summoner Spell: Flash

Flash

LoL Summoner Spell: Ghost

Ghost

LeagueSpy Logo
Top Lane
Ranked #20 in
Top Lane
Win 51%
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Threats & Synergies

Threats Synergies
Extreme Major Even Minor Tiny
Show All
None Low Ok Strong Ideal
Extreme Threats
Ideal Synergies
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I am
I've been a League of Legends player ever since the 6th Season, with me maining and learning the game through Darius. Right now I am a Darius Onetrick and my main is usually somewhere in Master/Grandmaster on the EUW server. I have peaked high Master before the end of Season 9 after which point I could no longer play properly due to my PC being broken. Season 10 I played well for a bit more than the first month and peaked Top 400 (almost Challenger). At the moment, I constantly swap between accounts but I will be making the run for high elo again. If you have any specific questions, feel free to ask me through the Discussions section of this guide, through private messages on MobaFire, through my stream or through any of my socials which I will link below.


I do not wish to claim that I am some amazing high elo god by putting my opgg and all these plays here. I simply want to provide SOME credibility to this guide. Know that you are receiving advice from a person who knows what he is talking about when it comes to Darius. I have mained him ever since season 7. He was the perfect champion for me which was why after picking him up, I immediately started climbing. With him being a popular pick and a great character to learn the game with, I want people to understand the basics of this champion. I've seen cases where someone picks Darius for the first time when filled Toplane, thinking he is an easy champ to play, only for them to fail miserably as they don't know a thing about the character. If you are a Toplaner or a Jungler/Midlaner who needs a champion for Top, learning Darius can give you a staple pick that you can use to effectively carry entire games and shut down teamfights.

Be sure to check out my Darius Jungle Guide!
If you wish to expand your champion pool, read my Mordekaiser guide. He is a similar champion to Darius so if you are a Darius player, you will have no difficulty picking him up.
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If you wish to add me ingame, here are my usernames:
Rhόku(EUW)
Rhoku(EUW)
King Rhoku(NA)
very creative aren't they

For now, I exclusively play on the EUW server. I have an NA smurf but I am not actively playing on it at the moment. I apologise if I am rude to you. I am sometimes just tilted. However, do not let that discourage you from asking any question that you might have. I really enjoy teaching newer Darius players. You are also free to add me if you want to download some of my games. I will be playing more seriously once the season starts.


Youtube


https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJgFs4nq79tvdbFtAkthvSQ

Here is my Youtube Channel. I don't have a regular schedule at all, as I only put videos on there when I can be bothered to make them. I'll mostly be uploading plays, guides and memes. Feel free to ask questions in the comments.

Twitch


https://www.twitch.tv/rhokutv

Here is my Twitch account. I stream there every now and again and I have linked it to this guide so you will know whenever I am live. At that point, feel free to come on and ask me questions live at any point in time. I stream mostly around midnight GMT.


Twitter


https://twitter.com/rhokutv

A while ago I was talked into opening a Twitter account so here it is. I mostly just post low quality Darius memes, make unfunny/rude jokes and screw around with my friends. If this method is convenient for you, then feel free to DM me on there.
If you are sensitive to certain topics/dislike edgy humour, then I suggest not visiting my Twitter.


Discord


https://discord.gg/QYZqT3b

Here is the Discord Channel for my stream where all of my content will be announced. I will always be on there all the time so you may contact me through there as well. I'd like to see you come and be a part of the community I am trying to build.
These are all the socials that I check regularly. I'd link more but honestly, some are just a waste of time as I am almost never on. Enough about me then. Let us begin.
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Pros


+ Can potentially deal incredible amounts of damage.
+ Difficult to kill due to his tankiness.
+ Can win entire teamfights singlehandedly.
+ Is very good at exploiting mistakes.
+ If played right, a gank will be a double kill.
+ Snowballs hard and can be used to win any lane if played correctly
+ Can easily come back into the game off of a single teamfight. He may be down, but he is never out.

Cons


- Immobile and Very Easy to kite.
- Missing E can sometimes mean certain death in some lanes.
- Falls off and becomes more team reliant lategame.
- Very difficult to play vs high elo toplaners. Sometimes you need to slow with W or E to be able to hit Q.
- Not a good tank. Has mediocre peel.
- Can be killed very quickly if he misses Q
- People in SoloQ are prone to stealing your Ult resets

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ATTENTION: I will be keeping this tier list updated for every patch.
Here is a video from my youtube channel on the breakdown of the best rune page for Darius. Watch this first as it explains all you need to know in terms of the most optimal setup. If you want to know more about Darius' synergy with other runes and wanna know what else is good for him, you can find a breakdown of everything below.
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ATTENTION


The important thing I have to tell the person reading this is to try to pick their runes themselves. It is by no means WRONG to copy runes but at the very least try to understand WHY you are taking the runes you are taking. Don't just copy the runes and go into the game without consideration of what your runes do. Although I have given you the optimal rune choices in most matchup descriptions, there will be times when my advice won't be specific enough. Only you know what you are up against so therefore, learning to pick the best runes yourself is the best way to go about this. Learn what each rune does and think whether it is useful or not in your specific scenario. Doing this will make you a better player. Quickly skimming through this guide before you get ingame when you've picked Darius for the first time in your life, will not.

With Darius, 3 of the 5 trees are viable options whereas the other two are situational. Darius is very versatile rune wise and has a surprising variety of playstyles, despite being a simple champion. You simply need more skill and game knowledge to utilise some keystones and runes. It is all up to your personal playstyle, what you find most fun, and, more importantly, the team comp that you're up against.

Viable Trees



Precision

The Precision tree is an excellent one for Darius as both a primary tree and a secondary tree. The keystones all provide different playstyles and there are very powerful individual runes that offer a lot for Darius like Triumph. You should be taking Precision as a secondary tree always when going for any Resolve tree primary tree setup, and when going for Phase Rush into easier matchups. It gives you access to Triumph, along with one of the Legend runes which is immensely useful.



CONQUEROR

Conqueror is the most versatile keystone as it works against almost everything, can be used in most situations and it gives Darius quite a bit of healing as it synergises with Noxian Might. The changes to it have made it much better early game but somewhat weaker lategame, as once people begin building armour, the healing you get from Conqueror is LESS than before, when it did true damage. The removal of the true damage on it has also made it better to build Black Cleaver while taking the rune, whereas before the armour shred would make some of the true damage obsolete. It is Darius' best keystone and I'd recommend beginners to play exclusively with Conqueror when they are new to Darius.

PRESS THE ATTACK

Press the Attack is a rune that requires you to play a lot more selfishly, as it is a dueling keystone. It makes your split pushing and early laning a lot stronger, allowing you to beat somewhat problematic matchups that can outdamage you in lane. It also helps your bleed stacks guarantee a kill. The sacrifice you have to make when taking this keystone is that Press the Attack is very bad in teamfights. As Darius, you won't be fighting a single target in teamfights. You will almost always get focused down. Which is why Conqueror would work better as it helps you in fights against multiple targets.

FLEET FOOTWORK

Fleet Footwork is a keystone that should only be taken into the worst matchups. It offers no damage, it does not help too much in teamfights and it makes your all ins weaker. It does give you a bunch of movespeed and healing which lets you survive, or even cheese a kill or two against a laner who you normally wouldn't be able to reach. It also has uses in a split push scenario, as it allows you to heal back up so that you can siege better, AND it gives you a little extra movement speed which can help you escape the enemy team when they decide to collapse on you. I'd recommend you to gather some experience with Darius before using this Keystone.

LETHAL TEMPO

Lethal Tempo is a very situational rune that is also quite tricky to use. The general idea is to damage someone with a Q and then slow them with W or pull them with an E so that you can actually land your autos on the enemy. It helps to be good at managing your auto attacks with this rune, as if you are not able to cancel AA animations, then this rune will be nigh useless on you. Against most competent players, they will be kiting you which won't allow you to fully utilise the keystone at all. It is also only good in duels, as in teamfights you won't be tanky enough to just stand still and AA someone. If you wish to quickly stack up your passive, Hail of Blades is the better option.


OVERHEAL

Overheal is not a very good keystone for Darius. Remember that Darius' Q heals for PERCENTAGE MISSING health so the shield is going to have to come purely from auto attack lifesteal if you do not have a healer on your team. The extra shield scales with 10% HP which is has its uses for Darius. I won't recommend you take this rune but if you really wanted it, you could opt for Legend: Bloodline which, along with a Doran's Blade, would let you stack it up decently quickly in the midgame. Lifesteal isn't too great of a stat for Darius though. Overheal is also, vastly overshadowed by Triumph which works too well with Darius to NOT take.

TRIUMPH

Triumph is the cream of the crop when it comes to the Precision tree. It is undoubtedly the best rune by far. Darius excels at cleaning up fights which is what Triumph helps you do. There have been COUNTLESS times where Triumph has saved my life in an important teamfight. It GREATLY helps you fight battles against multiple opponents, with it helping you in the 2v1 when you are trying to fight off a gank. Triumph is also AMAZING for when you are diving the enemy under their turret. It allows you to walk away with a SLIVER of health and due to it healing percentage missing health, it almost always saves you from the last turret shot. It is too good. Just take it.

PRESENCE OF MIND

Darius has some mana issues. As a lane bully, you will be using your abilities to harass often and can easily go on auto-pilot and waste all of your mana. If you are bad at managing your mana, you will very quickly run out and be left completely vulnerable in lane. But his mana pool isn't that big of an issue to the point where you need to sacrifice Triumph. Getting your mana back in a fight is nice but it is not too useful, as with proper mana management, you won't be in a position where you will ever NEED to take this rune. You are not Kassadin. You don't need it. The extra healing from Triumph is MUCH better. There is no way to make this rune work so don't even try.



LEGEND: ALACRITY

Legend: Alacrity is the rune you want to take from here whenever you are up against a team with either little to no CC, or CC that you know you are going to be able to avoid. This rune is mandatory for when you are planning on building Black Cleaver, as you need attack speed on Darius in some form. Even if you are going for [[Trinity Force], the extra attack speed will make you a splitpushing monster. The rune assists in your snowball so if you are confident, this is the one to take.

LEGEND: TENACITY

Legend: Tenacity is a god send. Darius HATES being CCed and locked down. CC not only allows for your enemies to kite you out, but it also leads to you getting focused down and oneshot because you are not able to properly retaliate. Legend: Tenacity works very well into CC heavy teams and it scales the best into the lategame, as being stunlocked in a teamfight is a death sentence. Sometimes, the appearance of single champions make taking this rune a necessity. Sejuani, Braum, Morgana, Lux, Neeko are all examples of champions that force you to take tenacity. This rune is also very useful in certain lanes like Ryze, Kennen and even Renekton due to their stuns being able to stop you from either catching up to them or retaliating.

LEGEND: BLOODLINE

Lifesteal is not a great stat for Darius. It helps when trying to sustain and for when you are trying to take jungle camps but it does not help you at all in fights. Life steal/spell vamp on Darius is not too good on general but if you really wanted it, you'd be better off picking up a Death's Dance or using Conqueror. The rune is also designed to scale to late game, as it starts off with no lifesteal. And Darius is not the best character lategame. You could maybe use this rune together with Overheal to get the shield without having to build lifesteal ingame but I wouldn't recommend it.



COUP DE GRACE

Coup de Grace used to be a good option to pick up as opposed to Last Stand before. But now it no longer gives you the additional AD that it used to give which synergised with Triumph so well and together could help turn lost fights around. It is great for early on fights where you need the bleed to secure a kill so you should be only taking it against easy lanes where you want to snowball harder. But overall, it is inferior to Last Stand. It also does not increase the damage of your ultimate so I'd only take it if I knew I'd be in a position where I can't easily use my ultimate.

CUT DOWN

Cut Down does not work with Darius at all. You are going to be building health. And even if you build full damage, Darius has so much base hp that it does not even work. Never take this rune.

LAST STAND

Last Stand is the best rune in this tree. It gives more damage than Coup de Grace and it is active more often because as Darius, you are immobile which means you will be taking a lot of damage which is what Last Stand helps with. It helps against tougher lanes and it helps in teamfights. You mostly want to take this rune if you are taking a Precision keystone.




Sorcery

Darius cannot properly utilise many of the runes in this tree. His immobility however, allows him to make good use of the extra movement speed provided. And if you ever take Sorcery as a secondary tree, you mostly will be taking Nimbus Cloak and Celerity. The tree is also great option if you want to be roaming but roaming on Darius is a more complex playstyle.


SUMMON AERY

Summon Aery is not a very good keystone for Darius. The tree itself is not too great but the keystone itself is even worse. It helps in poking but Darius is not the kind of champion who would get any use out of this. Summon Aery may proc twice due to bleed but that tiny synergy is nothing impressive. Do not take this.

ARCANE COMET

Arcane Comet is the worst rune in the game for Darius. Do not use it.

PHASE RUSH

Phase Rush is an immensely good keystone for Darius that makes certain matchups that were impossible before, entirely doable. Though you lose the potential damage of Conqueror, you get a massive amount of sticking power. This keystone is going to help against teams who have lots of slows where the movement speed and the slow resist are going to help you exist in teamfights as opposed to being slowed down to a crawl and not being able to do anything. It is great in dealing with kiting champions and, combined with Ghost, it lets you run very quickly in and out of fights. Phase Rush is also commonly taken with Teleport as it compensates with ghost in a way. But there are many situations where Ghost is irreplaceable. When combined with Unflinching, it essentially makes you immune to slows.


NULLIFYING ORB

Although Nimbus Cloak is a great rune for Darius, Nullifying Orb is a great pick up into certain AP matchups like Cassiopeia or Ryze that give you a hard time. It scales with AD which means that once you have your passive activated, you will get a much bigger shield.

MANAFLOW BAND

Manaflow Band is a decent pickup on Darius because his mana pool is not that great. If you are looking to spam your abilities in a lane to poke an opponent, then Manaflow Band might be a viable option. I'd only recommend it if you are going Black Cleaver, because Sheen solves all of your mana problems.

NIMBUS CLOAK

Nimbus Cloak is probably the best keystone in this tree. You essentially want Nimbus Cloak if you are ever going to take Ignite, as it gives you SOME movespeed to work with. Even without Ignite, Nimbus Cloak is great in certain situations, especially for when making plays with Flash.


TRANSCENDENCE

Transcendence gives you extra cooldown reduction at 10 minutes and is viable as Darius almost never builds up to 40% CDR. Although Cooldown Reduction isn't the most important thing on him, it helps anyway. You will almost never build enough CDR to exceed the cap though.

CELERITY

Celerity gives you a tiny bit of early movement speed which is nice and it amplifies the ridiculous amount of movement speed given by this tree anyway. You can take it if you enjoy the extra movement speed but it is not always necessary.

ABSOLUTE FOCUS

Absolute Focus allows you to do a bit more damage when you are at higher HP and allows you to win earlier trades. But you are going to be taking Phase Rush into poke matchups most of the time, meaning that you won't be high enough HP to use it properly most of the time. Not to mention how you are immobile which leaves you susceptible to being chunked down.


SCORCH

Scorch gives you a decent bit of poke in lane and a bit of early game power. It has a 10 second cooldown so you can use it often if you fight a lot in lane. It is the go to in this section if you are not looking to roam often.

WATERWALKING

Waterwalking is a decent rune if you are looking to roam through the river often. It helps a lot in early river fights and skirmishes, with it also helping in fights around Rift Herald / Baron .

GATHERING STORM

Gathering Storm is not a very good rune for Darius. The AD comes to you later on in the game in a point where it has no impact on anything at all. It is a lategame rune and Darius is not a lategame champion.



Resolve

This tree is very good for Darius as it allows for you to pick up a variety of defensive runes that help with most playstyles and matchups where you might struggle. Second Wind makes some nightmare matchups more doable and Demolish’ turret destroying power allows you to snowball very hard by taking plates in seconds. It also makes you a very dangerous split pusher, as it, combined with Trinity Force, leads to you melting turrets.

GRASP OF THE UNDYING

Grasp of the Undying is a good Keystone that Darius can take. Though there are runes that provide more damage and more utility, Grasp of the Undying lets you do very well in short trades. This is why it is optimally taken into matchups where the enemy champion will be looking to go in for quick trades and back out like Renekton or Riven, or taken into matchups where the enemy champion cannot retaliate properly after you AA them for the stack. This Keystone can also give you a very nice bit of health to work with.

AFTERSHOCK

Aftershock is one of the best runes for Darius in the game. Aftershock, much like Conqueror, both synergises with Darius’ kit AND is in a great tree which makes it a very good choice. I’d suggest taking it only after you are used to hitting your hooks but with enough experience, that should not be too difficult. Aftershock makes certain difficult lanes very easy ( Riven, Akali), allows for you to tank much more damage in teamfights, AND it encourages Flash+E engages, as without it, you usually get focused down and oneshot.

GUARDIAN

You should, under no circumstances, be thinking of taking this rune in a solo lane. Even if you are autofilled and are playing Darius support, you’d be better off with Aftershock. You do not have a gap closer like Braum or Rakan that lets you quickly get to your ADC to use this rune and as a Bruiser, you will be fighting solo/diving the enemy backline alone a lot. Even if you could use it properly, which Darius cannot, the shield wouldn’t even be worth it. It is nice to be friendly and work with your team but understand that Darius is a selfish champion.


DEMOLISH

Demolish is an incredible rune in this group and is probably the one you will be taking every time. Darius has a lot of lane pressure and can easily take enemy plates. Not a lot of people know that Darius’ E armor penetration works on turrets which makes it even more effective. This rune helps you split push harder later on in the game and it accelerates your snowballing. It is sort of the Triumph of the Resolve tree. Trust me when I tell you that once you start playing with Demolish, it is very difficult to go back.

FONT OF LIFE

Font of Life is a very terrible rune. As I explained in the explanation of the Guardian keystone, Darius is a selfish champion who needs to be great at working alone first, and with his team second. Even if you are playing Darius support, you don’t have a great way of mass applying this rune. Not to mention how the heal is just pathetic.

SHIELD BASH

This rune is unusable. Darius has no way of generating a shield for himself. You might combine it with Overheal and Legend: Bloodline so that you can make shields and make use of this keystone but it is just not worth it. The tiny amount of damage you get from this rune pales in comparison to the sheer power of Demolish.


BONE PLATING

Bone Plating is a great rune for Bruisers and Fighters in toplane. And Darius is no exception. You will be wanting to take Bone Plating into characters like Irelia or Kled who will be hitting you multiple times per trade. Taking Bone Plating into a champion who can easily poke you OR a champion who can attack you and disengage with ease is not optimal though, as this will mean that if your lane opponent is smart, you will be getting no use out of Bone Plating.

SECOND WIND

Second Wind is the most general rune out of this group and you will be combining it with Doran's Shield very often to combat lanes with oppressive poke. Second Wind is great into ALL ranged matchups and even some melee matchups that can either poke often ( Aatrox) or ones that can easily disengage from you. You will be taking this most of the time.

CONDITIONING

Conditioning is the black sheep of this group. Second Wind and Bone Plating both make your laning easier whereas Conditioning does not really do anything until after 10 minutes. However, the buffs to your Armour and Magic Resist that Conditioning gives is nothing to scoff at. You can take it if you are up against a high damage team, if the team has a lot of big damage dealers and if they have a mix of both physical and magic damage that is difficult to itemise against. The key thing to keep in mind is that you have to make sure that you are laning vs a character where you can easily beat them( Sion) and don’t need extra help in lane from the other two runes.


UNFLINCHING

Unflinching is a situational rune. But it is very effective in such situations. Unflinching gives you Tenacity and, more importantly, Slow Resist that can do wonders vs certain matchups and certain compositions. Unflinching is essentially MANDATORY when the enemy team is populated by champions with lots of slows ( Ashe). You can combine Unflinching with Phase Rush to be practically immune to slows or even take it with Legend: Tenacity to cut the duration of all CC in half. If you are up against a team where Tenacity is not that useful, then this rune is not what you should be taking.

REVITALIZE

Revitalize seems good in theory. Spirit Visage essentially does the exact same thing but better so when stacked up with it, Revitalize sounds like a great choice. But you have to remember that it only comes into play when you are at low HP. Not to mention how the healing is honestly negligible at times. Explaining how this rune is bad is hard so you will just have to take my word for it. The Tenacity and Slow resist from Unflinching and the extra HP from Overgrowth are things that you WILL be missing when you take Revitalize. HOWEVER, if your team has a champion like Soraka, Janna or Yuumi who will be healing and shielding you often, Revitalize would be a very good choice.

OVERGROWTH

Overgrowth is a simple but good rune. If the other two situational runes in this group are not applicable, you can go ahead and just take Overgrowth. This rune gives you a decent chunk of health. If you like the extra HP from Black Cleaver but want to go Trinity Force, then this rune will make up for the lacking health. The best part about this rune is that it works really well into difficult lanes where you won’t be able to farm too much.




Situational/Difficult to use Trees



Domination

The Keystones and the runes in this tree range from completely useless to situational for Darius. Simply put, the Domination tree is not good for Darius in anyway. You might be thinking that the extra healing from Taste of Blood and Ravenous Hunter are great but you would only partially be right. Lifesteal on Darius is NOT a good stat. Spell Vamp/Lifesteal from abilities is BARELY a good stat. Though it helps you heal up and take jungle camps, the healing you get is not going to make a difference 19/20 fights you take. Not to mention how it becomes nigh-worthless in the lategame. I would recommend you to stay away from this tree. You may experiment with it here and there or even take it for fun but overall, the tree is difficult to properly use. It is home to both Predator and Hail of Blades which are awkward to use but they both have their purposes.


ELECTROCUTE

Electrocute is not a very good Keystone for Darius. Now on its own, having the ability to get a bit of burst in short trades sounds great and I agree. But you have to understand that the tiny buff in short trades is not nearly enough to compensate for the TERRIBLE set of runes that the Domination tree has. Not to mention how Electrocute won’t synergise with your passive as it procs early into the fight, not later on in the fight which is when you will have your passive activated. Lastly, in Mid-Late game teamfights, you are going to have to kill people VERY quickly. Most of the time, you will only have the time to land a single W or a Q before ulting which won’t even proc Electrocute. So overall, I wouldn’t recommend this Keystone.

PREDATOR

There are a few Darius players in the world that make use of this rune. Predator Darius is a very roam heavy Darius build. It is very unusual, difficult to use, situational and at times, just useless which is why I would not recommend this Keystone at all. Worst of all, it does not really offer much strength in lane which means it is only useful against lanes you dumpster anyway. If you are a player that likes roaming quite a bit, then Predator might be an okay Keystone. But I’d highly recommend better Keystones if you do not have experience playing Darius.

DARK HARVEST

Dark Harvest is a very fun Keystone to use, despite not being a very good one. Try it out in a normal game a few times, because once you get ahead and start killing people, Dark Harvest adds like 300 extra damage to your ultimate which guarantees the execute most of the time. In theory, the synergy might seem very good but not so much in practice. You have to keep in mind that Darius, once ahead, does enough damage with his Ultimate to people to the point where he can oneshot them from half health. Dark Harvest is ONLY good when massively ahead but it does not always work with your ultimate. If winning the game is your intention, I wouldn’t recommend Dark Harvest.

HAIL OF BLADES

Hail of Blades is the only Meta Keystone in this tree. It is very cheesy, tricky to use, easy to counter play when against better players and forces you to use the horrendous Domination tree. If you do not utilise your slows properly, landing all of the autos might sometimes be difficult. You have to be good at cancelling your AA animations too. With all that said, Hail of Blades DOES give you a very quick way to stack up your ultimate and allows for you to be VERY DOMINANT in the early laning phase. I’d recommend it against immobile characters who cannot disengage very well, as that way you can just wail on them and get your 5 stacks up very quickly. But you have to understand that Hail of Blades falls off VERY quickly. The thing in most teamfights is that most of the time, you will be killing people with your ultimate before reaching 5 stacks and getting your passive with the R execute instead of stacking it up fully. Despite that, Hail of Blades works when the fight begins instead of other Keystones that come into effect only later on in the fight which can be good in certain circumstances. Try it out for yourself.




SUDDEN IMPACT
Sudden Impact has no synergy with Darius whatsoever. It ONLY activates when you Flash. And Flash has a 5 minute cooldown. Utterly unusable. Not to mention how Darius has Percentage Armour Pen built in already, making the flat Armour Pen nigh useless.

TASTE OF BLOOD

Taste of Bloodis usable but its not very good. The healing it gives in lane is not very high and the cooldown means you can’t proc it often. This rune is better on ranged champions that poke as it gives them access to easy sustain at the expense of their lane opponent. Darius cannot as easily make use of this rune as he has very low range. As bad as it is, if you ever go Domination you will probably take it as the rest of the runes are horrendously bad.

CHEAP SHOT

Cheap Shot might sound like an okay choice as it has a low cooldown and Darius has more than 1 movement impairing ability but you have to remember that we use E along with W in a single combo. And also, the amount of damage this rune offers is quite pathetic. It being true damage means nothing. If you have Hail of Blades and can properly space out your E and W, then maybe you can get more than one use out of this rune. It's either this or Taste of Blood and honestly, Taste of Blood is a bit better.


EYEBALL COLLECTION

Eyeball Collection is what you should be taking in this group if you are bad at warding. It is SOMEWHAT useful if you are snowballing and switching to sweeper to get the extra AD from wards but it is a very terrible rune as the extra AD is negligible at best.

GHOST PORO

Ghost Poro is useful if you are going to be warding often, as knowledge of an upcoming gank is very vital. But the better you get, the less you will get out of this rune as you will eventually learn how to track enemy junglers. Overall, I’d recommend this rune as it is more forgiving of wasting stealth wards.

ZOMBIE WARD

Zombie Ward is like Ghost Poro but you need to be taking sweeper or buying a ton of control wards. Overall, if you are looking to have vision control just take Ghost Poro. Zombie Ward might only work if you are trolling as Support Darius.


ULTIMATE HUNTER

The Hunter runes do not work on Darius. You are not known for ganking other lanes. You will be getting two stacks at most which makes these runes very ineffective for you. Not to mention how Darius does not even need his ultimate to be on a lower cooldown, as it is low enough as it is. The benefit given by it is miniscule.

RELENTLESS HUNTER

As mentioned with the previous Hunter rune, you can’t stack it properly. But out of combat movespeed is SOMEWHAT useful as it lets you get to skirmishes faster, get to midlane for the once in a blue moon Darius gank and it lets you get back to lane a bit faster. Its not good, but its SOMETHING.

INGENIOUS HUNTER

Darius only builds items with actives in certain games. He can’t even utilise this rune properly. It may be an okay pick if you are running Predator but honestly, just go Relentless Hunter instead.

RAVENOUS HUNTER

A fully stacked actually gives you quite a bit of healing with your Ultimate which CAN be useful. But more often than not, it WON’T be. Still, when going for a rune in this group, it is either going to be this or Relentless Hunter.



Inspiration

Inspiration is probably the trickiest to use tree with Darius. You need to be VERY good with him to use these runes and Keystones properly but once you do, you can actually craft great playstyles for yourself. You have to be creative with this tree. Inspiration is also the go to secondary tree as you need Time Warp Tonic if you are going to start with Corrupting Potion. Magical Footwear synergises with this combo well, as the potion gives you movement speed when you need it which lets you delay your early boots to get an extra 10 movement speed later.


GLACIAL AUGMENT

Glacial Augment is a tricky keystone to use to its full extent. But it can be done. The slow form the autoattack allows you to set up an enemy for a Q without needing to use your W or your E. It also allows you to and encourages you to build Righteous Glory and Randuin's Omen, as the actives of both items will be great in teamfights. A Glacial Augment build is a tanky, full teamfight oriented build where you will be looking to engage the enemy and mass apply slows to everyone. I’d say go for Black Cleaver and skip Sterak's Gage as you are going full tank. Remember to pick up a Gargoyle Stoneplate as it will let you engage and then survive your own engage as the enemy team focuses you down. This build doesn’t let you duel or splitpush too well though.

UNSEALED SPELLBOOK

Unsealed Spellbook used to be a very nice choice for Darius. After trying it out for a while, I regret to inform that it is no longer as good as it used to be. It isn't bad by any means, but it is far too difficult to use properly. It kinda lets you have Teleport which lets you splitpush without having to worry about your team on the other side of the map but I dunno. This Keystone is the most difficult one to use properly but when done right, but its way too much effort in my opinion. However, do not let that deter you from trying it out and forging your own playstyle as it is doable.

PROTOTYPE: OMNISTONE

This Keystone is like Unsealed Spellbook but for keystones. You might think that it is also another high skill high reward keystone like Unsealed Spellbook but you would be very wrong. The rune picks a keystone at random and honestly, you can only take it into easy matchups where getting the wrong keystone wouldn’t screw you over. Imagine getting ready to all in a Riven level 6 and then getting something stupid like Fleet Footwork where just picking Aftershock would’ve been a lot better. You have to know how to use every rune to make it work but again, “smart” or otherwise, it is still RNG. You may try your luck but I wouldn’t recommend it with this specific keystone.




PERFECT TIMING
Perfect Timing is a useful rune. It is situational though. Stopwatch is an overpowered item and the active can be used very well on Darius and virtually any other champion in the game. You can save it to survive a dive, to turn around a fight by using it to avoid your opponent’s crucial damage source or even save it for a lategame engage. It also builds into a Gargoyle Stoneplate or a Guardian Angel which are both decent pick ups for Darius.

HEXTECH FLASHTRAPTION

This rune is only good for bush cheeses and in very NICHE cases where you have to cross a wall. It may be used to cheese a ranged opponent once but after that one instance, they probably are not going to fall for it again. I would not really recommend this rune at all.

MAGICAL FOOTWEAR

Magical Footwear is a viable rune to run, and it is what you are going to be taking if you are going to go for the Time Warp Tonic + Corrupting Potion combo. It synergises with them, as they give you the early movement speed you need in certain fights and give you a kill’s worth of gold along with 10 extra movement speed. But I personally cannot live without an early Boots of Speed buy. You only get the movement speed when drinking the potion which means that all the other times in the lane when you have to dodge skillshots, when roaming and when running back to lane, you are stuck with the default, 340 movement speed until 10-12 minutes into the game. Not to mention how Ninja Tabi and Mercury's Treads are sometimes vital early purchases in some matchups and taking this rune does not allow that.


FUTURE’S MARKET

Future's Market is a great rune to take. Often times with Darius, you are 100-200 gold off your main purchases. Future's Market allows you to circumvent that. It works really well into difficult lanes where you cannot farm too well as it gives you that little bit of extra gold to build those defensive items that might help you kill your opponent and snowball the lane. Though it is unnecessary into easier lanes, it still helps in certain scenarios.

MINION DEMATERIALIZER

Minion Dematerializer is a tricky to use rune which has a purpose that you won’t be needing if you are going to build any damage. However, if you are going for any full tank build with Black Cleaver, then you need this rune to be able to actually waveclear properly.

BISCUIT DELIVERY

Biscuit Delivery is a great option to go for if you are running the Corrupting Potion + Time Warp Tonic combo but do not want to take Magical Footwear. The Biscuits give you very nice sustain early against tough matchups. They also allow you to make mistakes. If you take a bad trade that leaves you low enough to be all inned and killed, you can simply take a Biscuit and heal back up some of the damage you took. They also give you a bit more mana to play around with.


TIME WARP TONIC

You want to be taking this rune exclusively with Corrupting Potion. This rune allows for you to have more movespeed early on before you get your first boots, Corrupting Potion gives you a bit more damage that works very well with Darius’ bleed AND it lets you survive DOTs like Teemo Poison or even Ignite in some cases as it gives you half of the health and mana from all potions instantaneously. It is not my cup of tea but it might be yours.

APPROACH VELOCITY

Approach Velocity does not work with Darius. You can only apply your CC once you have already reached your target. The only situation where it might work is when you are running in to help out a low HP ally but that is not common enough to take this rune I’m afraid.

COSMIC INSIGHT

If you like the Inspiration tree but dislike the Time Warp Tonic + Corrupting Potion combo, then you can opt for this rune. This rune gives you CDR for EVERYTHING which is very nice. The CDR it gives for your summoner spells is what Darius really loves though. Flash and Ghost allow for Darius to actually be a threat to the enemy backline and having them on a lower cooldown is great to have.




Bonus Stats


The stats you take into your specific games are unfortunately, very match specific which makes copying them off the internet suboptimal. It is not too difficult to decide which one to take however so do not worry. You may take double armour into a difficult AD matchup, double AP into a tough AP matchup or Attack Speed+AD into an easy lane opponent that you can kill. Are you good at CSing to the point where you don’t need the extra AD early on? Would the stacking health be better for you as the lane is easy enough early on? Ask yourself these questions and adapt to the enemy. One thing that I CAN tell you to take is Attack speed. You almost ALWAYS have to take early attack speed. Darius' attack speed scales terribly by level and he doesn’t start out with much which will make duels in lane difficult without compensating for it by using your runes, especially if you go for Black Cleaver.
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FLASH
Flash is vital on Darius. It makes him a threat to the enemy backline, it saves your life when you get caught which will be often as an immobile champion and it allows you to outplay your opponents in lane. Not taking Flash is a very bad idea.
GHOST
Ghost is a great summoner spell as it eliminates one of the things that inhibit your destructive abilities on Darius which is your lack of mobility. Ghost makes it difficult to nigh impossible to kite you, it makes it easy to land your Qs, it lets you run away from ganks while saving flash and it also lets you chase people down. Ghost makes many lanes doable and is just incredible. Most Darius onetricks will be taking it.

TELEPORT
Teleport is the natural Summoner Spell to take as a toplaner. It allows you to fix your wave and salvage an otherwise horrendously bad position that would leave you vulnerable. It lets you get back into lane after getting ganked. It lets you have presence in the botlane and everywhere in the map and it is vital for splitpushing sometimes when the enemy has a strong engage and it is lategame. The macro power of Teleport vs the massive utility of Ghost. Your choice.

IGNITE
Ignite basically makes some lanes impossible to lose. Ignite along with your 5 stacks of bleed guarantees the death of your opponent if they even dare to trade with you. The bad part about Ignite is that although it makes your a very prominent terror in lane, it falls off super hard and it doesn’t give the map presence of Teleport or the immense utility of Ghost.

Everything Else
All the other Summoner Spells are not good with him at all. Exhaust is only useful when you are fighting a laner with strong burst, when you are trying to catch someone out and slow them and when you want to weaken an assassin for your ADC. But supporting your team is not what Darius does. You can counterplay bursts by playing the lane/fights properly and Ghost can be used to catch up to people. It doesn’t make one person slower. Instead, it makes you faster which lets you reach everyone.
Darius jungle is very bad. He does not have mechanics in his kit that would allow him to kill jungle camps. You run out of health very quickly and you are a very easy target for a stronger early jungler to invade, as taking camps is very costly both health and mana wise. If you HAVE to, I’ve heard that a build like the one Olaf runs works for Darius but I’d recommend you not doing this in the first place.
Heal and Barrier are worthless. With you stacking health and resistances anyway, the amount that you get from them is not that impactful. Just do not even think about them. Even if you are going Darius ADC for some ungodly reason, just take Ghost.
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PASSIVE ABILITY
HEMORRHAGE


♦︎ Darius' basic attacks and damaging abilities cause enemies to bleed for 5 seconds, dealing 13 - 30 (based on level) (+ 30% bonus AD) physical damage over the duration. The bleeding will trigger every 1.25 seconds, and can stack up to 5 times, for a maximum of 65 - 150 (based on level) (+ 150% bonus AD) physical damage over the duration.
♦︎ Upon applying full Hemorrhage stacks to an enemy champion or killing one with Noxian Guillotine, Darius gains Noxian Might for 5 seconds.
♦︎ Noxian Might: Darius gains 30 - 230 (based on level) bonus attack damage and instantly applies full Hemorrhage stacks through his usual means.

Tips & Tricks

♦︎ Hemorrhage makes Darius a massive threat in lane as he is essentially going to win trades due to it. It is one of the two reasons as to why fighting Darius is a bad idea. The bleed stacks are a built in Ignite of sorts as they will be securing kills for you very often. It also has great synergy with your ultimate so try to get an idea of just how much each stack increases your ultimate’s damage by so that you can get access to Noxian Might faster. Noxian Might itself is what makes Darius such a monster.
♦︎ This passive gives Darius enough damage so building full damage on him is not ideal. You want to be surviving long enough in a fight to get you passive and then oneshot the enemy team with the overwhelming damage that it provides you with. Nothing closes out a fight faster than a Flash + Q with Noxian Might along with him executing everyone unfortunate enough to get hit. It turns disadvantaged fights in your favour and allows you to sweep up whatever’s left of the enemy team even when behind.

Q
DECIMATE

♦︎ Darius prepares his axe for 0.75 seconds, then swings it around himself, dealing physical damage to nearby enemies, reduced to 35% against enemies hit by the shaft.
♦︎ Darius heals for 15% - 45% (based on the amount of enemy champions hit by the blade) MISSING health. The shaft of Darius' axe will not apply Bleed or heal him.

Tips & Tricks

♦︎ Decimate is your main trading tool in lane. It is useful for wave clearing, poking weaker laners, trading vs stronger opponents, mass applying Noxian Might and staying alive thanks to its healing. Learning to land this ability is mandatory if you are going to be a good Darius, because a Darius that cannot land his Qs is not going to be of much use. And in many of the harder matchups, the opening for them to go in for a trade is you missing your Q.
♦︎ A trick to learn with Q that is useful for executing low health enemies and turning teamfights around is using it in conjunction with Flash. You learn how to do it consistently with experience after getting used to Flash range and Darius’ Qs’ outer zone. Try to get good at hitting Q as doing it in higher elos is difficult.

W
CRIPPLING STRIKE


♦︎ Darius' next basic attack within 4 seconds gains 25 bonus range, deals bonus physical damage and slows the target by 90% for 1 second.
♦︎ If Crippling Strike kills its target it refunds its mana cost and half of its cooldown.
♦︎ Crippling Strike resets Darius' autoattack timer.

Tips & Tricks

♦︎ Crippling Strike allows for you to slow the enemy enough to hit them with a Q, apply massive amounts of damage if you have Sheen and it is the source of most of your combos. An E->AA->W->Q combo is good to learn on Darius so make sure you know how to do it. Make sure to be used to your attack speed so that you can efficiently reset your autoattack timer with it. W is a great tool for farming as it refunds both half the cooldown and the entirety of the mana cost. Lastly, make sure you know how to cancel the animation of W by using it with Q. Further explanation on how to do this in the Combo section below.

E
APPREHEND


♦︎ Darius gains armor penetration.
♦︎ After a brief delay, Darius pulls in all enemies in front of him, slowing them by 40% for 1 second, and briefly grants sight of the area around the pull.

Tips & Tricks

♦︎ Landing this ability is vital to your survival on Darius in some matchups. Landing it can grant you kills, whereas missing it can get you killed. Instead of going to the people kiting you, you just bring them to you. This ability allows Darius to stand a chance against ranged laners and it gives him outplay potential against many things.
♦︎ Much like his Ultimate, Apprehend cannot be stopped. This means that it can be used to cancel things that suppress you like Warwick ultimate or Malzahar ultimate if you time your E correctly. E can also be used to pull people out of dashes. If you have great predicting skills and reactions. You can essentially render the dashes of many champions obsolete. Camille’s hookshot, Aatrox’ E and essentially ANY movement spell that isn’t instantaneous and isn’t explicitly states as being unstoppable. If you are fast enough, you can stop the really quick ones like Akali’s R and Irelia’s Q.
♦︎ You can utilise E to escape ganks or even engage the enemy team, which should work better if you have Aftershock. The passive armor pen makes you a nightmare to fight for tanks and lets you shred towers better which is always nice.
♦︎ People often don't utilise the slow of this ability. Basically, the champions that you pull are slowed for 1 second after you use your E. Now this is only situational, as some champions having movement abilities means you have to do your AA->W->Q combo immediately after pulling but if your opponent is immobile and you need to make optimal usage of your slows in order to run them down properly, you can use the slow of your E in order to land an extra auto before doing your combo (so basically E->AA(during E slow)->AA->W->Q).

♦︎ One thing to note is that despite your character model getting bigger, your E range stays consistent. That is why you might run into situations where you have Sterak's Gage activated and your E goes through the enemy champion’s model but it still does not hook.

R
NOXIAN GUILLOTINE


♦︎ Darius becomes unstoppable for 0.25 seconds and attempts to execute the targeted enemy champion, dealing icon true damage, increased by 0% - 100% (based on Hemorrhage stacks).
♦︎ If Noxian Guillotine kills its target, Darius causes all nearby minions and monsters to flee in terror for 3 seconds during which they are rapidly slowed by up to 99% over the duration, activates Noxian Might, and is able to recast the ability within the next 20 seconds at no additional cost. This can occur multiple times in succession.
♦︎ At rank 3, if Noxian Guillotine kills its target, its cooldown resets completely.

Tips & Tricks

♦︎ The execute. The dunk. The identity of Darius. Noxian Guillotine is why Darius is feared in teamfights. A good Darius will make proper usage of it and clean up teamfights at every opportunity. There is a bug ingame, as the “Maximum” damage displayed, does not factor in your Noxian Might AD so it is lower than what you will ACTUALLY do by 60-345 damage.
♦︎ It is a good idea to know how much minimum damage your ultimate does so that you are able to get an easy reset off of a low HP opponent which should win you the fight. Just know how much your ultimate does as you do not have an indicator like Cho'Gath or Pyke. Make sure to take shields and heals into account, as you might need an auto or two before utling to make sure they don’t get in your way.
♦︎ Although it is always good to secure the kill with your ultimate, keep in mind that sometimes, it might be better to use the ultimate early, when it won’t kill. This is useful vs champions who have invulnerability spells ( Fiora, Kayle), in fights where getting your passive is more important than getting your ultimate off, when you have a Sheen and just need the empowered auto and for when you are about to die which means that you might as well use it so that your team can capitalise off of your damage.
♦︎ If you are looking to Flash+R, make sure to buffer your R before you Flash as that makes it instantaneous and impossible to avoid, even if the enemy Flashes.
♦︎ You are unstoppable while ulting. Unless the spell ( Sivir) or the damage ( Fiora) is blocked, the ability is going to go through no matter the distance or anything. It cannot be avoided and can only be stopped by killing Darius. If your target gets out of vision, goes untargetable( Zhonya's Hourglass) or you yourself are in stasis( Bard R), then the Ultimate does not go through but it also does not go on cooldown so you will be able to use it again instantly. It is a good idea to ward the other side of a wall or a bush, when you know that your opponent is going to be using Flash to try to escape.
♦︎ A little known trick with Darius is that you don't have to kill an enemy with your Ultimate for it to reset. I know it sounds crazy but if the enemy just dies milliseconds after you use your ultimate, regardless of whether it is you or your ally that kills them, you get your ultimate back. If you attack speed is high enough, you might be able to get your ultimate back if you kill the enemy with your Auto Attack right after ulting.
♦︎ Another thing to consider is that Darius' R is technically a movement ability. If you look closely, Darius slightly moves closer to his target that he uses his ultimate on. This basically means that you cannot use your ultimate if you are grounded, by Cassiopeia's Miasma for example, or rooted.

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ATTENTION

I've had a similar disclaimer in the Rune Breakdown chapter but I shall put it here as it applies to items too. Do not just look at my finished builds and copy them one to one. I tried to make them all as general as possible so that they'd work in most situations but no matter what build I put up here, there may be a better build that is optimal for your specific game that you yourself are going to come up with on the spot. It is difficult to do initially which is why I have written everything below. I have explained what the use of every item is, when you should buy them and/or what champions/type of champions they are good against. Ultimately, only you can decide what the best build will be and you should have a general idea before the game is even loaded. It is not WRONG to use a pre existing build but it should only be used as a guideline.



STARTING ITEMS


Doran’s Shield
Doran's Shield essentially good into every matchup. If you don’t know what starting item to go for specifically and are new to Darius, just pick this one up all the time. Doran's Shield works well into unfavorable skill matchups that trade well into Darius, and is DESIGNED to fight ranged toplaners which is when you should be buying. It has very good synergy with Second Wind as well. Just do not buy this item later on in the game, as it is just a waste of money.

Doran’s Blade
Doran's Blade is the item you want to take if you are confident in your lane, are good at Darius and/or need the early stats to fight your lane opponent. If you are planning on fighting within the first few levels, Doran's Blade is a mandatory purchase. Doran's Blade is also a very gold efficient source of stats. If bought it as a starter item against a Jax for example, you can buy one more as the extra stats will help you win early on.

Rejuvenation Bead
Rejuvenation Bead is an incredibly underrated starting item that helps certain unplayable matchups actually doable. With triple Rejuvenation Bead, Darius has 25 Health Regen at level 1. That is 5 hp per second which is the equivalent of half a potion on. Permanently. It works really well into poke matchups. Another great plus is that selling one of the Doran's items gives you back only 180 gold whereas selling all of your Rejuvenation Bead gives you 315 gold. The item used to be even better when it built into Raptor Cloak but it is still good as it builds into useful items that you can pick up later on into the game.

Corrupting Potion
Corrupting Potion is a starting item that lets you be more reckless with your Mana. It is also great into champions like Jax and Illaoi who build it as well. This is because, although you beat them in a trade, they drink a stack of Corrupting Potion and heal up the damage you’ve dealt whereas you wouldn’t have that luxury. If you also take Corrupting Potion, you will be able to match them and be higher HP overall. However, that whole thing along with a tiny bit of damage Corrupting Potion gives is not really worth it unless you take Time Warp Tonic along with it.

Cloth Armor
Cloth Armor start is a bit old fashioned but it works somewhat into strong AD characters like Pantheon or even Jayce, who can potentially bully you out. Cloth Armor along with 4 Health Potions gives you a decent bit of early armor and sustain that lets you survive until you are able to build it into Ninja Tabi.

Long Sword
Long Sword is a very greedy and a snowballing item. You only want to be only taking it into lanes like Sion where you just win straight up. Long Sword gives you a nice bit of damage but it makes you much weaker than you should be early on as Doran's Blade is so much more efficient with gold. It gives you health along with lifesteal for just 2 less AD. If you can get to your first back with Long Sword without dying, you have accomplished your goal, as you have not set yourself an entire kill ahead. But it is far too risky and it makes you too weak in early fights to take it into a lane that is difficult by any means.

Health Potion
You want to be buying Health Potions with whatever money you have left. They are pretty self explanatory. Just make sure that you do not waste them. A common mistake is spamming the Health Potions the second you take damage which only wastes them. A good guideline that I personally use is to take them only when I am below 60% HP IF my enemy laner can exploit my low health AND if I am not planning on going back to base soon.

EARLY ITEMS


Refillable Potion
Refillable Potion. This item is not mandatory by any means. I personally get it every game. It gives me an extra bit of health that is useful when I take bad trades. If you have spare gold, pick one up and try it out to see how you like it.

Control Ward
Control Wards are vital. Though I will break this down into more detail in the warding section, know that you should be helping your team out with vision, as doing so leads to you knowing better where the enemy jungler is and adapting your playstyle off of it.

Phage
Phage is Darius’ strongest item early on. Though there are more viable options when it comes to specific matchups, this item is useful against everyone. The stats on it, health and AD, are very good on Darius but the passive is what makes this item so great. With Phage, you can kill a minion and use the movement speed that you get in order to run up to your enemy laner and start fighting them. Since you will have more movement speed, you will be able to catch up faster. This item lets you stick to enemies, kite dangerous opponents and it builds into both of your big power spikes.

Chain Vest
Chain Vest is not the best early purchase as it does not build into anything you’re going to be building quickly, unless you are going to go full tank. Despite this, the item is very good against champions like Jayce and Wukong who build lethality. It is also great against AD characters in general. As long as you aren’t feeding, you should be able to beat your laner if you have a Chain Vest on top of Ninja Tabi.

Spectre's Cowl
Spectre's Cowl is a great item into annoying AP matchups that are able to easily poke you out. Rumble, Teemo, Cassiopeia and Ryze are examples that come to mind. Spectre's Cowl combined with Doran's Shield and Second Wind let you sustain from poke very easily. Going Phage into some of these champions can be high risk high reward, as if you do not get a kill on them without Phage, you will not be able to stay in lane too long as they will get their items and be dealing a lot more damage than before. Spectre's Cowl is the safer option and it is recommended against competent players. If you are confident/smurfing though, you can simply go for Phage.

Boots of Speed
Picking up an early Boots of Speed is great. It lets you kite better. It lets you stick to enemy champions better and it allows for you to dodge skillshots much more easily. I love being able to move around so I usually pick it up in my first back. Doing so also allows me to more quickly upgrade it into one of the two very powerful upgrades.

Ninja Tabi
Ninja Tabi are amazing. They essentially work into every AD matchup in the book. And into some, it is mandatory. Riven, Jax and Jayce are great examples of champions that you need Tabis against if you do not want to be destroyed. Ninja Tabi give you a decent bit of armor but the passive is what makes this item shine. The reduction of AA damage makes this great into any and all autoattackers. If the enemy team has a strong auto attacking character, say a fed ADC or a fed Yasuo, you will probably be looking to pick up Ninja Tabi.

Mercury's Treads
Mercury's Treads are great items as well. The tenacity that they provide can be great into matchups where they have stuns that you cannot counterplay. Champions like Kennen, Ryze or even Neeko where dodging her stun is possible but very difficult. Treads work very well into high CC teams with champions like Sejuani, Morgana or Braum where you getting stunned is an inevitability. Overall though, unless the matchup specifically requires it, Mercury's Treads aren’t the best early rush.

Bramble Vest
Bramble Vest is a great item into bruisers/characters that are both AD and love to heal. With Conqueror’s healing being greater, this item is going to be more useful. Bramble Vest works really well into Fiora, as it allows you to just win any fight against her. If you are good enough at playing the matchup, it is not necessary but Bramble Vest stops her healing which makes you a brick wall that she cannot overcome. Bramble Vest is also good into characters like Illaoi and Renekton who are known for turning fights using their healing.

Executioner's Calling
Executioner's Calling is similar to Bramble Vest in purpose. Darius’ bleed allows for him to apply Grievous Wounds very effectively with this item. If they have a strong healer on the enemy team and nobody else is willing to pick this item up, then it might be you who has to do it. Executioner's Calling is also great into Vladimir and Swain, as they are big healers who won’t be auto attacking you. Though it is not as necessary into Swain. Unfortunately, Executioner's Calling does not build into any useful item for Darius later down the line. Once another character in your team gets Grievous Wounds, you should be selling it.

Kindlegem
Kindlegem is an early component of Black Cleaver. The CDR is neat but not too great. On the bright side however, it can also be built into Spirit Visage which means that if you were on your way to building Black Cleaver, you can change your mind and go for Trinity Force if you happen to pick up a few kills in a skirmish or a fight.

Sheen
Sheen is a great item. On your way to building Trinity Force, you will be buying Phage, either Sheen or Stinger, and then completing the item. I personally like Sheen more, as it massively increases your damage output if you combo it with your abilities correctly. Sometimes, when in a fight, it might just be worth it to use your Ultimate just to get the sheen proc. Sheen also allows for you to do a massive amount of damage in quick trades. Last but not least, Sheen lets you melt turrets as well. The CDR is also nice.

Stinger
Stinger is great as well. The CDR is nice but this item is going to be giving you a decent bit of Attack Speed to work with. Though it won’t make your trades as strong as it would with Sheen, Stinger lets you get to Noxian Might quicker which makes it better in all ins. If you are up against a tank character who just lets you stand there and auto them, Stinger is the way to go.

TRINITY FORCE vs BLACK CLEAVER


The choice between Trinity Force and Black Cleaver is one you are going to have to make depending on your playstyle, the enemy team composition and whether you are able to generate a lead or not. The TL;DR of the comparison is that you want to go Trinity Force if you are ahead and are up against squishy champions. This makes you a better splitpusher and a better carry. Black Cleaver however, is what you want to buy when you are up against more than 2 tanks or when you have fallen behind, as it lets you be more useful to your team in teamfights. Do not build both of them at the same time.


TRINITY FORCE
VS

BLACK CLEAVER
Trinity Force has much more damage and it lets you outplay your opponents better. You will be less of a use to your team utility wise but that does not matter as you will be a dueling monster and a splitpushing threat with how quickly you take down turrets. Your burst makes you very dangerous to the enemy backline and allows for your Flash plays to be even more powerful. You want to go for Trinity Force if you are fed and it is up to you to carry. Although Darius isn’t known for his roaming, the movement speed helps you reach river fights and midlane quicker. Black Cleaver is what you should go for if you are looking to play more around your team, if the enemy has a tanky lineup or if you fell behind in lane. It has more AD and HP but it does not offer anywhere close to the damage Trinity Force does. Your bleed passive synergises with the item very well, because if you hit an enemy once, the bleed stack will lead to them having the full Black Cleaver armour shred. If you wish to work more with the team incase there is another carry, and especially if you are looking to frontline for your team, then Black Cleaver with a full tank build might be a viable option.

CORE AND VIABLE TANK ITEMS


Sterak's Gage
Sterak's Gage is an incredible item for Darius. The stats that it gives are great. The health is great but due to Darius’ high base AD, the item gives you up to 70 bonus AD which is very powerful. The shield along with the tenacity is very powerful in teamfights as it stops you from being bursted down. It lets you survive getting caught, survive some burst, and it helps you 2v1. Another great thing about this item is that the shield scales off of the HP you will build and the bonus AD will scale along with your level, leading to the item scaling well as the game continues.


Dead Man's Plate
This is a great best tank item for Darius. It gives you great tank stats and it gives you an okay slow on your next auto attack. The damage is somewhat negligible. But the slow on the AA is not why we build this item. The movement speed is. The movement speed lets you chase people down better and, more importantly, it allows for you to rotate much faster. This becomes exceedingly more useful as the game goes, as you might have to collapse on someone or get to an objective before a fight breaks out. The movement speed is also helpful when splitpushing.


Spirit Visage
The tank stats of this item are great. The increased healing on it, makes Spirit Visage your go to Magic Resist item. It synergises incredibly well with Darius, as your Q hits now heal for 20% of your missing HP instead of 15. It is a great option when the enemy players pick up grievous wounds and a VERY good purchase when your team has a healer.

Randuin's Omen
This item is great if you are up against champions that build crit. Yasuos, Tryndameres and fed ADCs come to mind. The slow on it is very great in teamfights and when catching people out for your team.


Righteous Glory
Righteous Glory is a very nice item. It gives you a powerful active, decent tank stats and is quite cheap. It allows for you to catch up to characters who would normally kite you out. It helps you teamfight better, so it is a great 3rd of 4th item to pick up. If you are up against some cheese champion like Zilean or a Vayne, then Righteous Glory might be your only hope of reaching and killing them.

Adaptive Helm
Adaptive Helm is somewhat inferior to Spirit Visage but if you are up against an AP champion that spams abilities like Ryze or Cassiopeia, then you need to go for this item. Adaptive Helm also works vs the AP damage portion of Corki’s autoattacks, Kai'Sas passive and Kog'Maw’s percentage health damage. It works against ANY SOURCE OF MAGIC DAMAGE THAT IS REPEATED. It should work against Mordekaiser as well but if you are going to itemise against him, it is better for you to pick up Quicksilver Sash, break free of his ultimate and disengage as he only beats you with his ultimate.

Thornmail
Thornmail is a very niche item but it is great at what it does. Though for most of the game, you will be sitting on a Bramble Vest, upgrading it to Thornmail is not a bad idea at all. The massive amount of Armour helps greatly when you are stacking it against a full AD team. This item is optimal against an enemy team that has healing autoattackers( Fiora, Draven with Bloodthirster). It also SOMEWHAT helps against those that build on-hit but on-hit builds tend to be nigh impossible to deal with once the one building them gets ahead. Overall, Thornmail is a great pickup if you are up against a full AD team.

RISKY/QUESTIONABLE/SITUATIONAL ITEMS


Titanic Hydra
No good Darius player is going to recommend this item to you. And for good reason. With Darius, you mostly want to tank up very quickly and start stacking resistances in order to avoid being destroyed in teamfights. Keep in mind that only a FEW damage based items are good for Darius in all situations. Most of them, are only good if you are splitpushing and are planning on fighting 1 or 2 champions. In teamfights when you are up against the enemy backline, you will get shredded to bits. Titanic Hydra, suffers from this issue. It allows you to oneshot any squishy champion you get your hands on but realistically, you rarely even get people to 5 stacks as your combo gets squishy champions low enough to kill them with a 3/4 stack ultimate. On paper, the extra autoattack reset sounds great as it lets you get your passive in 1 combo off of the enemy frontline but if you are fighting the enemy frontline, then you will mostly be CC'ed and held down by that tank you are fighting while the enemy backline melts you away. And the lack of resistances opting for Titanic Hydra gives, allows for you to be killed faster. You might be tempted to try it out instead of Sterak's Gage but Sterak's Gage is straight up better. It scales with your other tank items, it gives you a massive amount of AD and it essentially allows you to beat any assassin(unless they are like 20 kills ahead) as you will be impossible to kill before you can chop them down. This item DOES have its uses though. It gives you that extra bit of waveclear that allows you to push lanes faster and it makes you tougher to beat in 1v1s. I'd only recommend this item if you are planning on split-pushing most of the game. I'll write more about split-pushing below.

Gargoyle Stoneplate
Gargoyle Stoneplate is, in my opinion, a very underrated and underutilized item for Darius. If you are planning on frontlining for your own team, you are your team's only engage or you are up against heavy DPS, this item is a MUST HAVE. It only helps in teamfights so you will be mostly wanting to take it into games where you will be working with your team extensively. The item allows for you to tank a LOT of damage (unless you are up against a character like Vayne or Kog'Maw) for quite a long time. It gives you time to stack your passive off of tanks during the active duration of the item, then allowing for you to engage and reap the enemy team after its effects are over. It is also a great item for saving you if you are low, with it not decrease the damage of your ultimate being a nice bonus. But it is somewhat counterintuitive if you are going for a Trinity Force based build, as it cuts your damage by a significant amount. Normally, you would stray away from this item but if you fell behind and you are in a position where you HAVE to work with your team, this item is an excellent choice.

Death's Dance
Death's Dance is actually a great option for Darius after the changes to it. It is a bit pricier but it also is a lot better for Darius AND it has a much better build path which I love as the build path was my biggest problem with the old item. Now it is a solid third item choice if you are ahead, as the item prolongs your existence in fights for as long as possible. If you do fall behind though, the item is far too expensive to bother building.

Guardian Angel
Guardian Angel is the item that you want to be getting if you are super ahead and have to carry your team. It is when you know that your death would probably lead to the end of the game which is why you would immediately build this item and then get into teamfights to abuse your mid-game powerspike. The stats on it are not that appealing but the passive is really great. Keep in mind that this item isn't going to allow you to go “oh I get to turn off my brain and run at the enemy team”. When you carry, you have to think the MOST. So when you die, make sure that you have taken down enough people with you to the point where your team can actually follow up and help you as you revive. The item does fall off super hard lategame, where a tank item would be much better though. It is a good choice as a third item.

Frozen Heart
Frozen Heart is a VERY niche item that you will be building on VERY RARE occasions. The item is great if you are stacking armour against an all armor team but you really want to be buying this if your team if up against a lot of autoattackers. The item is also very cheap and cost effective so if you are behind but need to tank for your team, it is a great pick up. Not to mention how it has 20% CDR which comes in handy.

Warmog's Armor
With how popular percentage health damage is in the game, building straight health without resistances is not a great idea. However, Warmog's Armor is actually very effective if you are up against a poke heavy team, as it allows for you to face tank many skillshots for your team and then heal everything back up.

Iceborn Gauntlet
Iceborn Gauntlet is not the best item for Darius but I've seen it work so I am putting it down here. I don't recommend you build this if you are new to Darius but if you have Black Cleaver, are against a full AD team and want to be split pushing, it is a decent item. Honestly, the only reason you would consider this item is due to its price. If you are behind but want some splitting power against a Jayce or something, then it is an option. Not the best one, but it IS an option.

Maw of Malmortius
Hexdrinker is a great pickup into AP lanes but what it upgrades into, namely Maw of Malmortius, is a questionable item. It is not bad but what makes it worse is that it does not stack very well with Sterak's Gage. It is a pure damage item as well which makes it sound even worse. I would recommend simply keeping the Hexdrinker and going with the normal build but if the enemy team if full AP, then it might be an okay idea to pick it up.

Boots of Swiftness
These boots are only great vs a slow heavy team like Anivia, Ashe and etc. where their mere existence makes teamfighting hell for you. They are also great into tank Viktor top, as it lets you walk through his Iceborn Gauntlet slows more easily. The other boots are MUCH more efficient though, so only use this item as a last resort.


Wit's End
Wit's End is an optional item against a full AP team. It makes you strong in 1v1 situations. But it is **** in teamfights as it requires you to sit there and spam autoattack which is not what Darius does. Overall, if you have to play splitpush into a full AP team, then it is somewhat viable but I do not recommend it at all. It works better on top of Black Cleaver though.

Phantom Dancer
Phantom Dancer is a very troll item for Darius. It's passive stacks with Sterak's Gage which makes it even LESS viable. It is also not a good replacement at all. It leaves you too squishy and it does not stack with HP. It is a fun item but just don't get it. It used to be a better item before they changed it but now, it just has no purpose. It makes your splitpushing a LITTLE stronger and its price is great if you pair it with Black Cleaver but hear me out when I tell you to run far away from this item if you are new to Darius.

Quicksilver Sash
Quicksilver Sash is a great item to pick up and sit on if you are your team's only carry and are against Malzahar or Mordekaiser. Just train yourself to use it quickly. You almost never want to upgrade it to Mercurial Scimitar unless it is hyper late game, and you have completely filled out all of your item slots.

Essence Reaver
If your victory is guaranteed and you want to have fun, grabbing Essence Reaver or an Infinity Edge can lead to you doing crazy amounts of damage with your W if it crits. You are TROLLING if you are buying this item but when the game is guaranteed or you are just playing normals for fun, they are very entertaining items to purchase and play around with.

Edge of Night
I used to love the old Banshee's Veil. Edge of Night fulfils the same purpose now. Though the stats on it are not too great, as Lethality on Darius is a troll stat. Overall, it suffers the same fate as other damage items but it is still fun to use at times. Just don't pick it up if you are serious about winning.

Youmuu's Ghostblade
Youmuu's Ghostblade is the only lethality item I'd recommend and only if you are playing a roam heavy playstyle. It also only works against a squishy team. Overall, high risk and barely minimum reward item. Don't use it if you are new to Darius and even if you are good at Darius, don't use it either way.

Blade of the Ruined King
Blade of the Ruined King is a powerful item against massive tanks. It also makes you very strong in splitpush 1v1s and it ruins the lives of any tanks that want to screw with you. It makes you squishy in teamfights which is why I rarely buy this item. It is great on top of Black Cleaver as it turns you into the ultimate tank buster(keep in mind that merely tanking up, helps against tanks as your passive means you have the damage you need to kill them whereas they, do not) and it helps in 1v1s against champions like Fiora. But then again, going for straight up tank items might be better for you in teamfights. Difficult item to use too.

Runesteel Spaulders
Support Darius is not something I recommend. You get poked down too hard, you have to share exp and you don't get a source of gold which SERIOUSLY weakens you. If you are trolling/playing for fun,then go for this.

Knight's Vow
Playing support AS Darius isn't great. HOWEVER, if you are feeding and you have a fed carry on your team who is your only hope for victory, then it does help to get tanky support items like Knight's Vow or Locket of the Iron Solari to help them out.
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The thing with Darius is that there is no one concrete combo. This is not a fighting game. This is not Riven where you have a combo lined up for every situation. As Darius, you have your abilities which you can use in any order. It all depends on the situation.

The biggest thing to remember for Darius though is the cancelling of his W animation. You use your empowered W on a target and then press Q just as Darius begins his auto attack animation. This way, Darius still hits the enemy with his W but the wind up for the Q begins which allows for you to hit your enemy with the two abilities one after another. Add an auto attack and you are left with an AA+W+Q combo that can get you 3 stacks in seconds. With Trinity Force, this combo will be able to chunk squishies down and do so VERY quickly. Get into practice tool and work on being able to do this combo reliable.

Another thing you can practice is to make sure the enemy has no chance to escape your ultimate. If you are in a teamfight or are chasing your opponent down where your target is out of your R range, and your ultimate will immediately kill them, then the obvious thing is to Flash+R. But remember, if the enemy predicts that you will do this, then they can Flash too. In order to circumvent this, you have to press R on your target and THEN Flash. R+ Flash. In the opposite order. Why this is better is due to the fact that when you press R on someone, Darius will walk towards them and ult immediately as they get in range. So if you R before you Flash and are in Ult range with your opponent for mere milliseconds, then Darius will automatically begin ulting. And we all know that Darius Ultimate cannot be dodged once it begins. This techinque essentially reduces the time window the enemy has to Flash or dash away to a bare minimum. It being super easy to do is also a plus.

One more thing you can do is practice Flash Q and Flash E. They are not really any special mechanics but you have to practice the timing. The key idea is to Flash just before Darius swings his Q around, NOT when he winds it up. Remember, in League of Legends, the more time you give your opponent to react, the less successful you are going to be. Be lightning quick so that you can kill them before they can react. Both Flash Q and E will get better as you play more Darius and get used to his hitboxes and whatnot though.
Here is a video I made where I do all of the above and explain how to do so, how they work and etc. along with a few more tips here and there.
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As an early game lane bully, this period of the game is going to be the most important one. Darius spikes very hard during early-midgame fights where nobody has the damage to burst him down. Gathering a lead in lane will allow for you to be the main carry of your team up until the very end of the lategame. The most important thing you need to know going into the laning phase is the matchup. How does it play out? Are you up against a Sion who you can endlessly bully? Or are you against a Vayne who will be harder to deal with. I have written about every matchup in detail including the optimal playstyle which you should try to replicate or at the very least keep in mind. As Darius, if a melee enemy missteps hard in the first level, you can very easily cheese a first blood off of them using your W. But this is only against bad players though. In general, you want to be playing very carefully, as some champions who are supposed to be easy to beat, are actually difficult to play around during the first 2 levels. You should also keep in mind that standing inside bushes and ambushing your enemy is a very strong tactic for Darius. Try it once or so by standing in the closest bush in lane to the enemy or by standing in tribrush(if you are on the bottom side of the map) to see if you can get a free kill or not. Again, such cheese tactics only work against weaker players. One tip that I can give you is to utilise Honeyfruit. It is the green plant that spawns in the river, which will drop 5 fruits that you can collect for HP and Mana. Once you push a wave onto the enemy turret, you have a bit of time on your hands which you should use to ward up your brushes. You can also use this time to look for a Honeyfruit if you took a bad trade in lane, want to sustain up but don't want to use your Health Potion. Their spawning is somewhat RNG but generally, the first Honeyfruit spawns between 6:00 and 6:30 somewhere near the Baron Pit.


A quick side note I want to leave here is to do with leashing. I won't go on about this for too long but I just want to warn you to be careful before you find out the hard way for yourself. Basically, Darius' bleed stacks can sometimes take the camp that you are leashing for your Jungler. This is obviously bad as you are ruining your Jungler's early power and tilting him. This is why in my leashes, I always hit the camp until it has 5 stacks and just leave. You might want to help your Jungler out by leashing more but trust me when I tell you that they might not respect your bleed so leaving early is the safer option. This way, you also make sure you get to your lane earlier.


Jungle Pressure

Although shoving the wave is great for getting lane priority, you have to keep in mind that junglers LOVE ganking Darius. And as a toplaner, you have to accept that you are on your own, as good junglers in soloque are rare to come by. Fighting a 2v1 is very difficult as it requires you to have knowledge about both your enemy laner AND how powerful the enemy jungler is (a Kayn will be free food compared to an Olaf). Aftershock makes fighting off jungle ganks easier but once you get fed enough, you can win 2v1s very easily regardless of your rune choice. Before getting ahead, fighting off ganks is just risky and I’d just recommend trying to avoid ganks. Do not shove your lane in too hard. It is even better if you let the enemy push to you. Try to keep your bushes warded. I have a very basic image in the warding section where I have the warding positions but I will release a warding guide video out sometime. Generally speaking, once you get level 2, keep in mind that the enemy junglers might be wanting to gank you so adjust your playstyle to be more passive if you think that the jungler is on your side of the map.. Some junglers like Twitch, Jarvan IV and etc, like to gank you IMMEDIATELY after doing their red buff so keep an eye out for those.


The first 10 minutes of the video cover how to track enemy Junglers. The rest of the video has many more tips on other topics.

My Own General Playstyle

Allow them to get level 2 first, with you backing off and sacrificing your minions so that you have the HP to fight and kill them. Once your lane is at your turret, farm up until level 3 and look to catch the enemy out so that you can run them down. Your Level 3 powerspike is IMMENSE as it turns around so many matchups so try to see if you can get a kill. All of this is very general advice though. I mention, once again, that the optimal playstyles for every matchup are written in the matchup section.


Tough Matchups

Some matchups are just tough and impossible to beat sometimes. That is okay. Remember that Darius still spikes midgame, regardless of whether you are fed or not. Just try to play safe. IT IS OKAY TO GIVE UP CS FOR HP. A lot of players glorify the usefulness of CS and while it is true that simply farming better can win you more games, what ISN’T true is that you should be tunnel visioning on CS. Is getting that cannon minion really worth having half of your HP being chunked out? Because most of the time, it isn’t. The general rule of thumb that I use is that if you take less than around 80-100(a single autoattack) damage for every CS, it was worth it. If you take ANY more damage, then it wasn’t worth it. So do not put yourself in a position where you just eat an entire combo and have the enemy laner chase you down with their ranged Autoattacks. Farm up to get your tank counter items ( Ninja Tabi, Spectre's Cowl) and once you get your hands on them, try to see whether you can kill them or not. Even if you can’t kill them, you should still be looking to farm safely so that you have the strength to contribute to mid game teamfights. If you are in a favourable matchup though, just try to keep a good amount of CS. (7-8 CS per minute is okay)
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Mid Game Playstyle

The midgame is arguably the most important part of the game and most of the time, it is when the game is on its way to finish as game length has been very low lately. The length of a game gets lower the higher up the ranks you go, as people tend to be better at closing games out and knowing what to do with leads. The midgame is when Darius spikes the hardest. As long as you haven’t died more than 5 times in lane, you should be one of the key players for your team so keep your eyes open. And even if you did feed, getting multiple kills in a single teamfight can get you back into the game so you should always keep your eyes open.

Mid game is all about snowballing the lead you accumulated through the laning phase into a win. Your biggest priority should be taking down your opponent’s first turret but that alone isn’t enough to win you games. The tricky part of this stage is balancing how much time you spend pressuring you are going to do toplane together with how much time you spend getting kills and/or objectives around the map. I myself play primarily around Top and Midlane, as I tend to regularly go back up top to farm, pressure my opposing laner AND to protect my own turret. This is simply my playstyle though. Sometimes, conceding your toplane t1 turret is worth it. For example, if the enemy bot looks like they are pushing up, it might be a good idea to go back and then use a summoner spell or two to run both the enemy ADC and Support down. You almost always have to be there for the elemental dragons as they are another win condition on top of Baron now so it is always a good thing to keep the bottom side of the map in mind. Rift Herald is a powerful objective so if you get ahead early, take it with your jungler or even alone if you aren’t afraid of the enemy 2v1ing you. If a fight at dragon breaks out and you are too far away to impact it, you can continue to push down the enemy T2 with the Herald. But you mostly be wanting to use Herald in order to take down the mid turret.

Work with your Mid and your Jungler to 3 man the enemy midlaner and knock the turret down. The rest of it just comes naturally. But you HAVE to make sure to go back toplane to take the CS that your opposing toplaner has inevitably pushed to your turret. If they are taking your turret, then go kill them. The examples I’ve explained here vary greatly from moment to moment. Sometimes, the enemy laner is so strong that you won’t have the lane pressure to take the enemy turret down. In situations like these, it might be better to continue pushing or to go help your team if you think that your laner will be able to destroy your team without you. It is all about the specific situation and it is up to you and your knowledge of Macro to pick the correct decision.

Mid game is when teamfights occur most often and it is when you could start splitpushing. Before we get into these concepts, there are a few more things that you should know. One of these things is the importance of your summoner spells. You might’ve noticed that after playing a bunch of Darius, WITH your Ghost and Flash, you are an unstoppable god but without them, you feel like an immobile turtle who rarely does anything. This is why sometimes, it is better to get into fights only when you have your summoner spells. And sometimes, a single kill won’t be worth a summoner spell. It is up to you really. Just be aware of your limits as a Darius who has no summoner spells as overstepping and expecting to be saved by your Ghost when in actuality it is on cooldown can be a great way to int away a game. Another key tip is to NOT DIE. Seriously. Dying throws away such a massive gold and XP lead. If you just focus on not dying and you keep farming properly, you will eventually build up a 4 level advantage over the enemy team. That is not to say that it is ALWAYS bad to die. But it is just bad MOST of the time. With how bounties work recently, if you have a lead, then the game is going to slap a bounty on you which will make death even more punishing.


Here is a Coaching video I will be linking multiple times in this guide as it explains a lot of concepts at once.

Teamfighting

Teamfights in most elos are a chaotic mess where nobody really knows what’s going on. And sometimes, that includes you at times. To keep focus in teamfights and not do stupid things, you have to, first off, clear your head when a teamfight is coming up. Concentration is key. The next thing is to establish what your goals for a teamfight are. What is your role for this current game? Are you acting as a peeler where you will be sticking to your carry, stopping everyone from getting to them and getting 5 stacks off of the tank that is going to attack them in order to then run the enemy team down? Are you a tank frontliner who will be the one engaging and facing the enemy tanks? Or are you a squishy yet dangerous threat to the enemy backline who can use his summoner spells to decimate the enemy backline? Whatever your goals are, keep them in mind but do not adhere to them too much. It is a dynamic game and sometimes, unpredictable things can happen. You might be trying to get 5 stacks off of a tank but then an assassin will be caught and reduced to 300 health right next to you. At that point, switching targets will allow you to get to your passive faster. Do not tunnel vision too much. Keep a general overview of how the fight is going. And if it looks like you guys are all gonna die, it might be better to fall back and mitigate the losses.

Your goal as Darius should be to kill the enemy team which you do by getting access to your passive. Your passive is a GAME CHANGER. It can turn the tide of battle as it lets you oneshot essentially anyone on the enemy team unless you are very far behind. There are two approaches to go about doing so but keep this thing in mind. IF A LOW HP ENEMY IS IN YOUR RANGE, GO FOR THEM! AUTO THEM ONCE AND USE YOUR ULTIMATE TO KILL THEM. The more you play Darius, the more of a sense you are going to get for how much damage he does with his ultimate. Now that we got that out of the ways, lets get into the two ways. Manually stack up to 5, and then chunking a backliner with a combo and executing them with R. Manually stacking up to your passive can take quite a bit of time. You need to be a frontliner to do so and as a tank, you will be very prone to getting comboed and chunked down. The other way is to get your hands onto a Soraka or a Jhin or some other low HP backline champion and using your combo to get them low enough where your Ultimate will be enough to kill them without 5 stacks. This way is easier to do when you are flanking and you are generally going to need a summoner spell to do it effectively. But this way IS the more effective way to go through teamfights unless you’ve built like a full tank. Flanking is moreso a part of splitpushing which we are going to get into now.

Skip to 11:50 for teamfighting. But the whole video is useful so you can watch it all.

Splitpushing

Splitpushing is one of the most powerful tactics that you can utilise as a strong dueling champion. A lot of bruisers, including Darius, fall into this category which means that it is something you can do too. It is quite difficult to do properly due to Darius having low mobility and it is done improperly by most people in general. Splitpushing teaches you a LOT about Macro and how the game works. Mastering this skill is going to essentially give you a free ticket to high Diamond/Master if you combine it with other skills.


What is Splitpushing?

Splitpushing is basically when you move to a side lane(preferrably one that is on the opposite side of the map when compared to the major objective that’s available, e.g. botlane when Baron , toplane when Elder Dragon .) and then start clearing waves in order to create pressure. This puts the enemy team into an awkward position as they are forced to deal with both you and your team. Although you might have fantasies of pulling off a crazy 1v3 and taking a turret and an inhibitor by yourself, most of the time, splitpushing is just going to be used to waste the enemy team’s time and resources so do not be too sad if you do not get anything when splitting. Just make sure that you do not die. I mentioned this already but dying is not great for you at all, so if the choice is to die but take 2 people down with you OR to retreat but waste people’s time, go for the safer option. Splitpushing is dangerous because it is a very risky strategy. It essentially gives you control of the game. This also means that if you lose the game, then it was probably because you ****ed up and didn’t rotate to your team for a teamfight.


When should you Splitpush?

Knowing when it's a good time to splitpush and when its a good time to group up with your team is purely based on your specific game. Splitpushing might be worse against a team with a hard engage but it might also be the only way to win against a team with a crazy amount of waveclear with champions like Anivia. There are just general conditions that, when checked, will most likely lead to split pushing being a good idea. The biggest thing when it comes to splitpushing is to make sure that your teammates can handle a 4v4 or a 4v5. If you know that your team will get slaughtered if you leave them alone, then do not splitpush. As Darius, you should be looking to stomp and carry teamfights in the Mid Game, with you taking objectives afterwards. Splitpushing should mainly be a consideration for Lategame where your teamfighting is weaker but your 1v1 is still strong. Just make sure that your team can at the very least waveclear and SURVIVE in a 4v5. You should also only be splitpushing if you have the damage to easily clear the wave. If you are running ONLY Black Cleaver, then it is going to take you far too long to push the waves so you might be better off grouping with your team. Splitpushing is also MUCH easier to do when you have Teleport. With Ghost, although you can be very dangerous against anybody who comes to stop you, you won’t be there for your team if they get caught out without Teleport. This part is pretty self explanatory but please make sure that you can reliably beat anybody on the enemy team before splitpushing. You do not want to be a free kill. It also helps to take a few wards with you and upgrade your ward to the blue trinket in order to keep sight of the enemy and leave before they collapse on you. Sorry to repeat this but it SUCKS to DIE. DON’T DIE. One more thing to keep in mind is to communicate what you are trying to do to your team. Let them know that you are going to split push and tell them to not pick fights when you aren’t there, but also tell them to force things when the enemy team is starting to rotate to you. You ideally don’t have to explain all this if they know what splitpushing is.

There are multiple things you can do while splitpushing. As I mentioned before, you want to be wasting your enemies’ time as your own team gets objectives/a better position on the map. You basically want to draw people to you and then quickly run away before they can get to you in order to waste their time. It is simple, it doesn’t require you to be too fed and is what you should be doing if the enemy that is protecting the turret against you is not someone you can dive. Be careful when doing this against champions like Camille who can EASILY trap you. My personal favourite thing to do is to use splitpushing in order to split up the enemy team, and then flank the rest of the enemy team to get a very easy and a favorable teamfight OR have your team catch someone off on a rotation as the enemy team will be disorganised from having to move around the map. If you are fed enough to dive and kill whomever is sent to defend against you then do so by all means and then take the turret. This is the last time I’ll repeat this but seriously. DON’T DIE.


Apologies for not being able to use my own video. NEACE is great at explaining this concept and if the above text is not doing the job, then watch the video below. A Darius splitpushing guide is not really on my to do list atm unfortunately.
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If you haven’t carried the game to a victory by now, know that it is no longer up to you to win the game. Darius is strong early, immensely powerful midgame but also terribly weak lategame. Although a tank build will allow you to do more than a damage build, you will get shredded to bits either way by the enemy backline. You have to work with your teammates and if your teammates are feeding, then the game is essentially lost. If you are planning on splitpushing, do so with caution. Always be sure to rotate to your team before teamfights break out so that you can peel your carries. That is essentially all you can do. Teamfighting lategame is very difficult as one misstep results in your immediate death. If you do not have Flash or Ghost, then you will not be able to do any killing in a teamfight if the enemy carries know how to kite properly. Your ultimate damage is still staggering though. You should be saving your squishy teammates from assassins and peeling for them until you get your Noxian Might after which point you should try to oneshot at least one of the enemy carries using your flash. Your ultimate also helps deal with tanks. I'll write this again but remember, don't tunnel vision on attacking the enemy.
PROTECT YOUR BACKLINE.
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I’ve mentioned wave control and things like “freezing” and “shoving” many times throughout this guide, especially in certain matchups where doing so is vital. You might be thinking that spamming Q to damage the enemy in an easy matchup might not be a great idea. Your opponent, if they have but a shred of intelligence, will want the wave to push into their side of the lane which leaves you in a very gankable position. Thinking about things like where the minions are, the amount of damage the minions do and how to manipulate the minions so that they work FOR you instead of against you is a massive part of toplane. And with how much pressure Darius has in the lane, mastering lane pressure on him is important to exploiting easy to beat lanes and VITAL to surviving more difficult lanes.


Why learn Wave Control?

If you are throwing a Q, it would be better if you make sure that you hit as little minions as possible. But sometimes your level 2 is just too important. If you are playing against a laner like Renekton where playing around powerspikes is important, then you should try your best to kill minions as fast as possible and then use your additional ability to take a good trade. What I am basically describing here is how the way you should interact with the minions changes from game to game. I have written about how you should be keeping the lane in some of the matchups but this will change based on who the enemy jungler is. A great yet simple tip is shoving the lane after you kill your lane opponent. You have to make sure that the minions crash at the enemy turret and are NOT frozen just outside the turret range(this is suicide just make sure that at least most of them are under the turret range). That way, the wave will slowly bounce back to you, with you being in a spot that allows you to escape ganks. This is just the beginning though. There are many more subtle things you can do and if you master your interactions with minions, you will be dictating how the lane plays out. Add split pushing and mid game into the mix and knowledge of minions is essentially going to allow you to control where your opponents will be.


The Basics

Before you can learn how to run, you must first learn how to crawl. Let us start with the very basics. There are 4 types of minions in the game: Melee Minions, Ranged Minions, Cannon Minions and Super Minions. A small side note but the word “Creep” is just another way of referring to a minion. CS just stands for “Creep Score”. Minions give more and more gold as time goes on, especially Cannon minions. All minions are counted as equal in terms of CS. But some minions are more important than others. Cannon minions for instance, are very important as they give much more gold than any other minion. This means that you should make sure to get the last hit on them. Whereas last hits on Ranged Minions, though still good, are not as important. To summarise, Cannon>Melee>Ranged in terms of what you should be prioritising. Keep in mind that if you are up against a difficult matchup, sometimes it might just be better to not go for a cannon minion if you are going to eat an entire combo for it.


In terms of DPS, the Cannon minion obviously does the most damage followed by the Ranged minion and then the Melee minion. This is why if you are going to freeze a wave, it is better to keep Melee minions alive as dragging them is going to cost less of your HP.(when you have to freeze your lane, instead of letting the minions hit your turret, you sometimes take aggro and drag them away from your turret and let them crash with your minion in order to keep them frozen outside your turret range)
In order to know how to effectively farm minions under your turret, you need to know how many turret shots it takes to kill each of them. Keep in mind that damage from your own minions and damage from yourself will change this so try to make sure to use your abilities to get all the minions. Until you get some additional AD through items, a melee minion is gonna die to 2 turret shots and 1 auto attack. A ranged minion will die to 1 turret shot and 2 auto attacks(Ranged minions are somewhat tricky to farm on Darius as your bleed damage messes it up a bit. Try to use your Q and your W to last hit them properly). A cannon minion will take 7 turret shots and then an auto attack to kill. As I mentioned more than a few times, use your W to CS as much as possible. There is essentially no drawback to doing so.


Minion Aggro

Minion Aggro is a very important thing to understand as well. If you auto attack an enemy champion or hit them with a point and click spell, the minions will aggro on to you and start attacking you. This is why fighting inside an enemy minion wave is a bad idea, especially in the early game where their damage will make a huge difference. This is also why ranged champions are so oppressive in top lane. Their range allows for them to poke you and then walk away to avoid minion damage whereas a melee champion would never be given such luxury. Darius Q is great though. It is AOE meaning that if you hit the enemy with it, you do not attract minion aggro. Turret and Minion aggro are far more complex but this basic understanding is good enough.

Though it is not very high up on my to do list, I might get a CSing guide video out at some point where I can better explain some of these concepts. But what I have explained here is enough.


Manipulating the Wave

Although in many videos and guides, even this one, manipulation of the wave is going to be split up into a few categories but in my opinion, this isn’t strictly speaking the truth. It is simply a guideline to make it easier to grasp minion control. Wave control is very difficult to understand and is honestly more like a spectrum. How much damage you deal to the minions, which minions you deal the damage to and etc. all contribute to this. I will try to give you an easy introduction to minions in a digestible format which you can use to get a beginner’s understanding of this concept. Know that more often than not, a “beginner’s understanding” is more than good enough for a majority of ranks. I’ve faced high Diamond toplaners who have had very bad wave control.

Basically speaking, wave control is all about how and when the minions are going to get reinforcements. If you look at your map, you see the next minion wave(the minion waves are mirrored. If you wave is at your T2 turret, the enemy wave is also at his T2 turret) and where in the lane both minion waves have crashed is going to change which side is going to get the next wave of minions first.



This image is a basic guideline as to how many MORE minions a wave needs in order to continue overcoming and pushing against the enemy. You simply have to keep a basic count of how many minions there are in your head. This imagine is going to be very important to explain our first concept, Freezing.


Freezing

Freezing is very difficult to pull off but also very rewarding when done right. Freezing is BASICALLY when you last hit the minions when they are about to die(at the very LAST second. Easier with high attackspeed) and also match the damage that the enemy does to your minions in order to make sure that the minions stand in a certain position in the lane(if the enemy does damage to your minions, then they will die faster so you need to do around the same damage to his minions). The position in which you should be freezing the wave, ideally, should be right outside of your own turret. In the image above, it would be the area between the yellow and the blue zone. Freezing the lane puts you in a very difficult to gank position, you can get every single CS whereas the enemy champion will struggle to do so, the enemy laner is in an easy to gank position and in higher elos, a perfectly execute freeze shuts lanes down. In lower elos, you can starve your opponent out very effectively with a good freeze. You mostly want to be freezing against lanes where you are massively ahead and/or the enemy champion misstepping would result in their death. Unless their IQ can be displayed using a single digit, they will most likely back off and try not to fight you. If that is the case, executing a freeze is an amazing way to slowly put together a massive gold lead as you can zone them off of all minions(do NOT let the enemy CS. make sure they get destroyed every time they try). Freezing against ranged toplaners is much more difficult as they have ranged abilities that they can use to thin out the wave. You can try to simply replicate their damage onto the minion wave to keep it even. Another great thing about freezing in a position like this is that the enemy champion is far away from their turret, which means that if you have your Ghost up then you will essentially kill your laner every time.



Shoving/Hard Push

Shoving the lane is basically when you want to be doing as much damage to the enemy minions as possible with both your abilities and autoattacks. Learn how Darius’ abilities work and try to practice taking down entire waves. If you want the wave to push quickly on its own(Fast Push), you can kill all minions except the ranged ones as this will lead to the lane pushing on its own (this is good for when you want to roam as it will lead to a larger wave that you enemy laner has to deal with which gives you a lot of time to roam and participate in skirmishes outside your lane). But most of the time when shoving, you do not have time to do that. After killing your opponent, you need your minions to crash at the enemy turret ASAP. And during the midgame, you need to shove sidelanes very quickly so that you can participate in teamfights. More on this specific point in the Mid Game section.
Shoving the lane during a normal laning phase when both of you are in lane is not the best idea as it leaves you in a very vulnerable position. It also gives the enemy the opportunity to freeze the wave against you which, as we discussed before, can be very difficult to overcome. You should probably only be pushing when you are ahead and can handle a 2v1. Shoving the lane to the enemy does have its advantages though. If the lane crashes at the enemy turret, it will eventually bounce back to you. If you thin the wave properly on its way back, then you will be able to execute a freeze. Shoving minions also keeps your opponent in lane which gives you time to roam and help in river fights that are about to break out. Overall, you should not be permashoving the lane as it is a very easy way to just get destroyed by ganks. Shoving is a useful too to utilize though. What you should be doing more while laning is Slow Pushing.




Slow Pushing

Slow Pushing refers to two things. The more complex thing is basically when you kill all the minions in a wave except for the melee minions. This will lead to your minion wave pushing slowly but it will do so in a way where it builds up a massive friendly minion wave that HAS to be dealt with. This is a great midgame tactic to employ if a teamfight at an objective is about to happen. Leaving a side lane to do this a minute or so before a teamfight will lead to the enemy team having to deal with the pressure created from the massive minion wave AND the pressure created from your team having to contest the lane. It is basically a version of Splitpushing where the minions are the ones splitting. Be careful though as you should ONLY do this if your team is going to take a major objective. Otherwise, you will be feeding a ton of farm to the enemy.

The other definition of a Slow Push, the more popular one, is when your minion wave is slowly pushing towards the enemy and all you do is last hit the minions. This type of pushing works great as it means that the enemy will not be able to trade into you due to you having more minions. This is what you want to be doing most of the time in lane so get used to last hitting. It crashes large minion waves at the enemy turret that are difficult to deal with and is excellent for setting up dives. Remember how minions aggro onto the enemy laner if they auto attack you? It also applies to dives. If you have a massive minion wave crashed at the enemy turret and the enemy champion auto attacks you, then your minions will start attacking him, leading to the dive being even easier to pull off.


Here is a great video to explain Wave Control. Make sure to pay attention to the video and listen to what it covers.

Proxying

Proxying is not really something you will be doing too often but it is good to know about the concept anyway. Proxying is when you go behind the enemy turrets and kill the minion wave by yourself before they can reach your own minion wave. You might be seeing Singed players do this a lot. This tactic is VERY risky as it puts you in a very gankable position AND killing the minions without your own minions will mean that you will be left at lower mana and HP as you will have to tank the minions. But this tactic is the ultimate way of applying pressure on the map as the enemy team will HAVE to deal with you. I’d only recommend you do this if you are strong enough to 2v1 or even 3v1, as the enemy midlaner will be on their way to get you. I overall wouldn’t recommend you use this tactic as a beginner.
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Warding

It is very important to utilise your wards in order to avoid ganks. By proper wave management and vision control, you should be impossible to be beaten in a gank. And learning to do all that properly will allow for you to be a very powerful soloq player. Darius being an immobile champion only makes this skill all the more important. You mostly want to ward around 2:30-3:00 as that is the time period where most junglers will have finished their level 3 clear and be looking to gank top. However, there are some junglers like Twitch or Jarvan IV that are able to gank at level 2 which is why it might be a better idea to play carefull early on in lane. Predicting these level 2 ganks mostly comes down to knowledge on different jungle champions and their clear speeds.



The image itself is drawn from the perspective of you being on the bottom half of the map but the places where you should be warding remain the same essentially. Generally speaking, the places marked in red are where you want to be warding most of the time, with the others coming in handy in different situations. Tribrush is a very important bush that you want to be warding most of the time, with a control ward or a stealth ward depending on which side of the lane you are on (place the control ward closer to yourself so that you are able to protect it). The bush on the other side is also a great choice and it needs to be warded in most cases. I personally would ward further down the river(closer to the yellow point) to also cover both the ward entrance and get more vision of scuttle crab as this helps both you, your jungler and it gives you more time to react if you see the enemy coming your way. Do this vs champions that cannot cross walls though. Because if you are caught doing this vs a Zac, then you will be screwed as he can simply jump over the wall from where the blast cone is. If you ever push up, it might be a good idea to go into the enemy jungler and take both the vision plant and the blast cone while setting up vision(if you are on the top side of the map).




Macro

Macro is what sets most players apart. The most mechanical player in the game will only get to low Diamond with no macro. Game sense is very important, especially in League. Whichever player thinks more and has more knowledge on what the limits of every champion are and where everyone is, is going to be the one to come out on top most of the time. What should you be doing at any given point in time? Is it better to farm in lane or go help with an early skirmish(its almost always better to help your team out if a fight is happening near the lane btw. Don’t go if its a lost fight though. Like when there are more enemy champions and your jungler just got caught) Though it is good to be active around the lane to pick up kills and snowball, with Darius, you do not want to be roaming all that much. Staying in your lane and drawring pressure is how you use your champion optimally. Drawing pressure from the enemy jungler to you and allowing your team to 3v4 the rest of the map while you 2v1 up top. The bad thing about macro play is that there is not much you can do to immediately improve it. It is the hardest skill to improve as it requires you to have experience, read a lot about the game, watch a lot of instructional videos, and watch your own demos to question your deaths and take note of how the enemy jungler rotates around the map and etc. You can make it a habit to look at the map and register where the enemy jungler is and so on but this skill just takes time to learn. Do not be impatient. Just try to play the game and STAY OFF AUTOPILOT. Think consciously about the things you are doing. Do not go in after a teammate if they are stepping into certain death. You too will die. Do not get tilted and if you do find yourself frustrated after a game, stop yourself from playing another game. I personally always take a break after a frustrating loss.



A tip I can give you is to watch videos of high elo players as they explain things. TFBlade does an okay job giving you a general idea of how to play toplane but in my opinion, they are not really the best ways to learn the game out there. The way I myself improved my Macro was watching the videos from NEACE and some analysis videos from LS. NEACE is probably one of my favourite instructional League videos as I enjoy his “no bs” style of explaining things. He has many guides for you to go through and he has a splitpushing guide. Both LS and NEACE has a few good coaching videos that you can view where they break down a LOT of the mistakes the players in those matches make. I suggest finding a video of them coaching a player at your rank and just looking through the gameplay as they explain concepts. You want to keep your eye out for the same mistakes you make and keeping your mind open for the players with the better macro to tell you how to get better. I myself also coach Darius players live on stream and I will be uploading my coaching sessions to Youtube. Here is the most recent one. Special thanks to Sir_Obliterator! He makes a lot of great Darius Content on his Youtube and he streams sometimes. A wide range of topics were covered in this video which makes it a great all purpose video to study.

/league-of-legends/champion/darius-98
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The most important part about climbing is attitude and mentality. How you view your games and whatnot is the defining factor of whether you are going to play 10 games a day and be hardstuck or if you are going to be slowly but steadily climb over a month or so. You have to be patient, consistent and positive. Though I am not exactly positive, below I have written a list of rules for myself that forms a somewhat good attitude.
Ω You only get the right to flame if you are doing well. Don’t talk if you are playing badly. Shut up, adjust your playstyle and get carried.

Ω If you died X amount of times to a jungle gank, it is not your jungler’s fault. It’s yours.

Ω If you spend more than 3 seconds typing then it is time to mute all chat.

Ω If climbing is a goal for you, make sure you are calm and focused before playing. If you are not able to concentrate, if you are having a bad day or if you are upset/tilted, either stop playing or know that you will not be able to play at your best.

Ω Do not have herd mentality. Don’t just follow your teammates. Think for yourself. It is a team game but don’t run in to a massively unfavourable situation that will certainly lead to your death.

Ω Never surrender. Especially if you are low elo. A lot of games can be thrown.

Ω Be confident enough to know you will beat everyone who opposes you but don’t let your ego stop you from recognising your mistakes.

Ω Excuses are for the weak. You can blame your team for being bad, you can blame Riot for having terrible balance and you can blame the matchmaking system being broken and putting you up against smurfs. Know that none of those reasons is why you are not climbing. Its you. You are the only common factor in all of your games. If you are stuck at a rank for a long period of time, it’s your fault. Only by recognising your own flaws can you begin improving.

REVIEWING ALL SKINS

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Thanks a lot for reading my guide. It took me a LOT of work to get this out. I hope that it was of some use to you and it helped you improve in some way. If it didn't then I hope that it was an entertaining read at the very least. I tried to contain everything you need to know in this guide. If you do have any specific questions or need something explained in more detail, then simply contact me and I will try my best to help out as quickly as possible.

Special thanks to Sam D-B for the edit. He creates and uploads Darius montages to his channel every so often. They are incredibly clean and he is very talented so please check him out. Here is his Youtube channel:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAetgDN5myAZE_YP7PDszXQ
Tell him Rhoku sent you :>

My profile picture for Twitter account was drawn by my good friend. If you are a fan of the style and want to commission her/bother her, you can do so on her twitter at @Jrabanito.

Many thanks to Jovy for the Headers! Makes my guide look much better :>


Be sure to check out my Darius Jungle Guide as well!


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-Rhoku