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Darius Build Guide by LoLReal

Top ✔️[13.15] Real's ULTIMATE Darius Guide (All Match Ups)

Top ✔️[13.15] Real's ULTIMATE Darius Guide (All Match Ups)

Updated on August 5, 2023
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League of Legends Build Guide Author LoLReal Build Guide By LoLReal 1475 85 2,363,078 Views 33 Comments
1475 85 2,363,078 Views 33 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author LoLReal Darius Build Guide By LoLReal Updated on August 5, 2023
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Runes: Darius vs. melee

1 2 3
Legend: Tenacity
Last Stand

Bone Plating

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


1 2 3
LoL Summoner Spell: Flash


LoL Summoner Spell: Ghost


Threats & Synergies

Threats Synergies
Extreme Major Even Minor Tiny
Show All
None Low Ok Strong Ideal
Extreme Threats
Ideal Synergies
Ideal Strong Ok Low None

Champion Build Guide

✔️[13.15] Real's ULTIMATE Darius Guide (All Match Ups)

By LoLReal
Hey, I'm Real. I'm a former LCS coach who previously coached Golden Guardians and Team Liquid. I am also a top laner and Darius main, I've played Darius since his release in season 3. I have played thousands of games on him across many accounts and have a good idea of how to optimally use him. I have peaked masters in Season 5 and usually hover around diamond most seasons now. I want to share this guide with those of you who are looking to pick up Darius in the future, or maybe just hone your current skills on Darius now. Hope you enjoy!

I also sell coaching for Darius specifically or just top lane in general that will help you climb. I have coached multiple pro LCS top laners and will give you detailed feedback focused on how you can make immediate improvement. If interested in purchasing a session with me, feel free to send me a message via PM on Mobafire.

Thanks for your support!
Pros & Cons

+ Strong early game
+ Massive lane bully
+ Strong mid game
+ Big team fight threat
+ Can 2v1 in lane
+ Tanky with damage
+ Adaptive build paths
+ Strong carry potential

- Predictable trade patterns
- Immobile
- Easily kited
- Vulnerable to ganks
- Reliant on summoner spells
- Lots of counters in lane
- Falls off late game

Match Ups Visualized

(See Threats section for more detailed match up info) ( Not pictured: Akshan [Hard] Zeri [Hard] Nilah [Easy] Udyr [Easy] K'Sante [Easy] )

Hemorrhage (Passive)

Darius aims his attacks strategically, causing his target to bleed for 12 (+1 per champion level) (+0.3 per bonus attack damage) physical damage over 5 seconds. This effect stacks up to five times.

Darius' passive is an integral part of his kit and a big part of what makes him such a powerhouse in lane + team fights. Our goal should always be to get our Hemorrhage 5 stack whenever possible in fights. Not only does this give us a massive boost in AD but it also allows us to quickly reapply our 5 stack bleed to new targets with Noxian Might. This leads into Darius' combos, such as getting 5 stacks on a front line target and using Flash onto the back line to apply Hemorrhage to a carry for an instant Noxian Guillotine.


After a 0.75 second delay, Darius swings his axe in a wide circle. Enemies struck by the blade take 50 / 80 / 110 / 140 / 170 (+1.0 / 1.1 / 1.2 / 1.3 / 1.4 per attack damage) physical damage and receive a stack of Hemorrhage. Enemies struck by the shaft take 35% damage and do not receive a stack of Hemorrhage.

Darius also heals himself for 15% of his missing Health for each enemy champion hit by Decimate's blade, up to a maximum of 45%.

Darius' Q Decimate is his strongest trading tool. Also very useful for punishing multiple targets in team fights and bringing Darius back up to a full health bar from low HP. Decimate is also what makes Darius such a strong laner. This ability is capable of chunking out the enemy and setting Darius up with a low HP target with 5 stacks of Hemorrhage to finish off with Noxian Guillotine. It's also worth mentioning that this ability, when used after his E Apprehend, is a true combo. Meaning if you use it right your Decimate afterward will not be dodgeable.

Crippling Strike

Darius's next attack severs a crucial artery, dealing 150 / 155 / 160 / 165 / 170% of his total attack damage as physical damage and slowing his target by 90% for 1 second.

If the target dies, the mana cost of Crippling Strike is refunded and the cooldown is halved.

Darius' W Crippling Strike, while basic, is an excellent ability. Most importantly, this is an auto attack reset, meaning you are able to instantly cast it after an auto attack and reset the animation, resulting in 2 quick attacks in succession. This helps us quickly stack up our Hemorrhage or quickly reapply it to a target with Noxian Might to set up for a Noxian Guillotine. A common combo you will be wanting to use is Flash Crippling Strike to quickly apply 5 stacks of Hemorrhage with Noxian Might to a back line target for an execute.


Passive: Darius hones his axe, granting him 15 / 20 / 25 / 30 / 35% armor penetration.

Active: Darius sweeps up his enemies with his axe's hook, pulling them to him while briefly granting vision in the area around the pull. Enemies pulled by Apprehend are slowed by 40% for 1 second.

Apprehend is the utility that we need in Darius' kit. Apprehend lets us pull in carries towards us to close the distance, or even defensively to evade a gank. A tip for Darius players out there, Apprehend has a mini-stun like effect on the end of the pull animation and it can be used to briefly disarm targets on top of you to give you a moment to keep running away. This is perfect for when you are being ganked and need an extra .5 seconds to escape. Also, the armor penetration on this ability that you passively get is very underrated. 35% armor penetration is a lot of extra damage mid-late game.

Noxian Guillotine

Darius leaps to an enemy Champion and strikes a lethal blow, dealing 100 / 200 / 300 (+0.75 per bonus attack damage) true damage. This damage increases by 20% for each stack of Hemorrhage on the target up to a maximum of 200 / 400 / 600 (+1.5 per bonus attack damage) true damage.

If Noxian Guillotine is a killing blow, Darius causes all nearby minions and monsters to flee in terror and he can recast the ability for free within the next 20 seconds. This can occur multiple times in succession. At maximum rank, the cooldown will completely reset on kill.

Noxian Guillotine is the most iconic ability of Darius, and for good reason. This ability alone gives Darius his 1v5 potential. Your objective in team fights is to proc Noxian Might by getting 5 stacks of Hemorrhage up and chain Noxian Guillotine on low HP targets to get resets. Use Flash and Ghost to close the gap between the carries in team fights, apply 5 stack instantly with Noxian Might and let it go. This is your most important ability in team fights so it is crucial that you learn to use it properly. Darius does not have an execute indicator like other champions when enemies are low, so you will need to learn how much damage you do in order to not mess up your reset. Noxian Guillotine allows you to turn 2v1s when you are ganked fairly easily in lane too.
Summoner Spells

Always take Flash, no exceptions. It is strictly the best summoner spell available in the game.


Ghost is the most optimal second summoner to take on Darius. Ghost allows you to push leads, team fight better, and synergizes incredibly well with Darius' kit. Your biggest weakness is easily being kited, so this shores up one of the largest problems you'll have in fights.


Ignite is an OK summoner spell and useable in certain match ups currently. Lanes where you can use Ignite as an option are: Mordekaiser, Wukong, and Tryndamere. These are all match ups where the enemy will either be trying to all-in you frequently, have strong healing, and/or the need to snowball is necessary. A common misconception is Ignite is a garbage summoner that should never be taken on Darius. It allows you to snowball lane more efficiently than Ghost in certain all-in match ups and is arguably way better early. It has its niche, but Ghost is certainly better overall.


Don't take this summoner on Darius unless you're playing competitive (aka, never).
Darius vs. Melee Top

I have run many different pages testing keystones + secondary trees on the new patch and I've come to conclusion that this is one of the best in general. Conqueror is OP on the current patch and should be used. The amount of damage and healing it gives you is unmatched.

Triumph is the best here and self-explanatory, this rune will often save you in team fights or 2v1s with its effect. The bonus gold is nice too. Overheal and Presence of Mind are very underwhelming and borderline useless on Darius.

Legend: Tenacity, is, in my opinion, significantly better than Legend: Alacrity. Alacrity feels better in lane and in the split but ultimately does not translate too much mid and late game, where Tenacity shines. Your team fighting and 2v1 potential with Tenacity is unmatched. The only time I would switch Tenacity out for Alacrity is in the odd case where the enemy comp has virtually no CC.

Last Stand is a bit better than Coup de Grace. As a front line champion you are soaking a lot of damage in fights, and will generally be low in fights when you're on the back line. Both are OK options but I find Last Stand optimal.

Bone Plating is fantastic in melee match ups where you're trading frequently.

Unflinching is one of the most overlooked runes in the game. It is very powerful and, with Mercury's Treads, can effectively push your tenacity to the point where you have 50%+ tenacity. CC and being kited is one of Darius' biggest weaknesses, so this helps us out quite a bit.

Switch the flex rune from armor to MR if vs. AP

(Note: A lot of players prefer sorcery tree secondary for Nimbus Cloak. I find it unnecessary and somewhat redundant since we have Ghost but ultimately it is preference. I play very aggressively in lane and find that the resolve tree is way more useful when trading often. If you intend to play more for team fights and less for lane, sorcery second is fine too.)

Darius vs. Ranged Top

The only significant change in this match up is we switch Bone Plating for Second Wind. This allows us to sustain through the poke a bit better to farm under harass.

Again, switch the flex rune from armor to MR if vs. AP

Some Darius players run Aftershock or Phase Rush pages in certain match ups, but the fact remains that Conqueror is the best team fighting rune for Darius by far. Most of his weaknesses in lane can be alleviated with good itemization (Early Plated Steelcaps vs. hard AD lanes, early Mercury's Treads or Spectre's Cowl in hard AP lanes.) For that reason I think the Conqueror pages are optimal overall and the superior choice.

Lethal Tempo

I have been testing the new Lethal Tempo quite a bit for S12 and I think that it is pretty good. It is stronger early in lane phase as you 1v1 better and get your 5 stack bleed quicker. It's not as strong late game and for team fighting as the healing and damage you get from Conqueror is just better late, but it's a great option if you want to be dominant early in lane. I really enjoy taking this in melee match ups where you can punish the opponent. I don't really recommend it in ranged match ups as it tends to be harder to punish with it, and at that point we just want to play for mid-late with Conqueror.
Trinity & Steraks

REMINDER: This is now the best build on the new patch. Stridebreaker is no longer the superior mythic in most games. These items were made for each other though. Trinity Force synergizes so well on Darius due to the fact that he makes great use of all the stats, and it helps him in the split push. It makes the already strong lane of Darius even stronger. Sterak's Gage gives you a lot of extra AD. This also works with the Sheen proc from your Trinity Force, making these two in combination an insane 2-item power spike.


Situationally good on Darius, specifically in match ups vs. ranged champions. In most cases Trinity Force is a superior item for trading, splitting and just overall. With us taking Ghost nearly every game, the active on Stridebreaker is not nearly as useful as it should be. The extra damage and attack speed that Trinity Force gives us is very good. With that said, extra movespeed and health are both stats we use very well. Plus we get movespeed like the old version of Phage and a slowing active. It also boosts our other movespeed items. Everything Darius could want in a item is here. Unfortunately, outside of specific ranged match ups, it's been nerfed quite a bit to the point where Trinity Force is almost always better.


Good item in the current meta. You can go Hullbreaker second on Darius if you want to play an aggressive side lane split push oriented game. It's very gold efficient right now.

Black Cleaver

Know how we said 90% of games you'll be going either Stridebreaker, or Trinity Force and Sterak's Gage? Well, the other 10% of games we'll be getting Black Cleaver too. The two conditions that we go Black Cleaver AND Trinity Force are either when you are very behind early, or when the enemy team has 2 or more tanks, not including support. For example, if the enemy has tank top and tank jungle, OR tank top and tank mid, go Black Cleaver. That is when it is more efficient to run Black Cleaver with Trinity Force. On the even rarer occasion that the enemy comp has 3-4 tanks, Black Cleaver becomes insanely cost efficient. Otherwise just Trinity Force alone and going into Death's Dance is more efficient every time. Even if you're laning against a tank. But keep in mind if you get behind early and have a bad start, Black Cleaver is a nice option because the components are so cheap and health is a really nice stat to have when losing.

Dead Man's Plate

Arguably the best of the 3 armor items Dead Man's Plate is always a good pick up. The movement speed is great on Darius and we find this useful in all scenarios.

Randuin's Omen

Randuin's Omen should be your first armor pick up if the enemy has a fed AD/crit user like Tristana, Yasuo, Xayah, etc. OR if the enemy team has multiple (2+) champions that are building crit. Otherwise stick to Dead Man's Plate.

Gargoyle Stoneplate

Gargoyle Stoneplate is an interesting item, but should only really be considered if your team has no front line or primary engage. This means that you will likely have to soak the damage for your team in fights (something that Darius doesn't want to be doing.) If you are surrounded by a team without engage and squishies, consider opting for Gargoyle Stoneplate first or second. Otherwise I'm of the opinion that Dead Man's Plate and Randuin's Omen are more useful armor options.

Spirit Visage

Our most common magic resistance pick up. This synergizes great with Decimate and allows us to heal more.


Thornmail is very gold inefficient if you don't get good use of its passive. If you need it, holding onto Bramble Vest is almost always the best call until late game. Exceptions to this are maybe if enemy team has 3 healing autoattackers (ex: Trynd, Yi, etc.) but this is pretty rare. In general Thornmail is a trap and you shouldn't build it. Just hold onto to an early Bramble Vest in match ups where it is needed (ex: Tryndamere)

Force of Nature

Force of Nature is a much better item in S12 that synergizes well with our other movespeed items like Trinity Force , Stridebreaker and Dead Man's Plate. It's a good pick up for your final item in certain AP heavy enemy games and a must have vs. Ryze or Cassiopeia.
Early, Mid, & Late Game
Early Game

Early game as Darius you should first ask yourself how the match up is level 1 at the start of each game. Can I trade hard level 1 and win, vs something like Maokai or Illaoi? Or are they a strong level 1 champion that could potentially out trade me level 1 like Olaf? Always ask yourself about the game state and match up before you get into the game. It helps you plan out your lane a lot.

If we can trade hard level 1 we have a couple options. We can cheese in a brush, common spots include tri-brush if you're blue side, or river brush if you are red side. You can also use the lane brush to cheese behind minions too.

If you can't fight them level 1 easily, or are unable to cheese, then we should focus on getting our CS in lane. If it is a winnable melee match up, something like Camille, make sure to take heavy extended trades when possible. This is where Darius shines. We can translate this to an early first blood or early first turret. If it is a difficult ranged match up like Kennen, we want to farm and get as much CS as possible to transition into a successful mid game.

Make sure to use efficient wards top side. The best spots to ward when top are here:

Ward 1 keeps you protected from common tri-brush ganks, and ward 2 gives vision of junglers coming up river to gank you and a bit of vision from junglers coming through tri-brush. It also shows when they are on crab which is very useful information for your jungler. This is typically better than the vision ward being used in the river brush at top, which offers nothing more than some protection from blast plant ganks. Ward 2 being placed lower down the river gives us more useful vision of the enemy jungler and potential mid roams. Outer blast plants spawn around 5 min~ so just take note of that.

Tip: Every single time you have an extra 75g on a base pick up a Control Ward. Get in the habit of doing this on every recall. Increasing your vision game is one of the best habits to get into in order to climb.

For control ward placement, these are the best spots generally:

1 and 2 are self explanatory and pretty common control ward spots. 1 is more common when you are on red side, 2 more common when you are on blue side. But if you are pushed up and winning hard with control of the lane either spot is good.

3 is a good spot that detects movement through river and gives you crab vision top side, but is cleared somewhat often by junglers walking through it. 4 is only really useful on red side, but it is my absolute favorite spot to control ward if you are on red. This spot gives you a lot of useful information, like when the enemy jungler is on blue or pathing top. The big bonus of this spot is junglers and top laners VERY rarely check this brush for wards or walk through it. Your control ward will last a very long time here in most cases and gives you a lot of solid information.

Mid Game

For the mid game, Darius should be primarily focused on using his 1 and 2-item power spike to skirmish/team fight when possible. If you have been farming decently, or better yet if you have a lead, you are exceptionally strong at this point in the game and we need to take advantage of it.

If you have a lead at this point, you can stay top and continue to apply pressure and try to draw the jungler to you. At this point you should have the potential to 2v1, and if you are successful, it can really turn the game in your team's favor.

You can also leave top and help your jungler secure Rift Herald or help your team secure Dragon . A lot depends on the game state and how your team is doing. If your team is struggling on the bot side of the map it might be wise to roam down for a team fight and Dragon . If they are doing well it is unlikely you need to roam down to help and are better off pushing your lead top and continuing to draw jungle pressure.

Towards the 20 minute mark and onward you want to maintain baron control with your lead top if you have it. Help your jungler secure and clear vision around baron at this time. If you get a pick or two while they try to get vision you can look to take an early baron if the game state warrants it. Vision is everything and can't be understated. If you don't have a lead top help your team establish baron vision without getting picked off.

Late Game

Late game isn't Darius' strongest point. At this point you have played out your power spike, and while you can still be very useful in team fights, you need to be careful for the 5-6 item ADC's late in the game. You have two options late game. You can either split push and try to draw pressure in the side lane, or force fights with your team. If you are stronger than all enemy champions in the 1v1, splitting is a very good idea. If you are not, or have been outscaled by something like Jax in the side lane, then you are best off grouping and forcing objectives with your team.

Assess the game at this point as well because it will change how you need to play team fights. Is your ADC stronger than theirs? If so, you are likely going to want to front to back. Kill the tanks and enemy front line attacking your carries first. You can also pull them off with Apprehend as a form of soft peel. You can get 5 stacks of Hemorrhage on tanks and melt them with Noxian Guillotine so your carries kill the front line quicker. You can also get 5 stacks of Hemorrhage on the front line and look to close the distance on enemy carries depending on the fight.

If your ADC is weaker than theirs, it is usually worthwhile to try and close the gap with Ghost and Flash and attempt to kill their carries on the back line.

It's hard to recommend an "all-in-one" approach to team fights since they are so dynamic and always different. Try to assess them on a case by case basis and close out the game.
Thanks for reading my guide on Darius. I hope you take the information learned here into your next Darius game on the rift.

If you also enjoyed the guide or found it helpful consider giving it an upvote! It helps me out.

If you want to see this guide used in action or have any questions for me, feel free to follow my Twitch stream. I am very responsive while streaming and focus on making the stream both educational and entertaining. See you around!
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LoLReal Darius Guide
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✔️[13.15] Real's ULTIMATE Darius Guide (All Match Ups)

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