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Darius Build Guide by iZeal

Top [Patch 11.1] iZeal's Darius compendium

Top [Patch 11.1] iZeal's Darius compendium

Updated on January 7, 2021
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League of Legends Build Guide Author iZeal Build Guide By iZeal 222 13 548,721 Views 2 Comments
222 13 548,721 Views 2 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author iZeal Darius Build Guide By iZeal Updated on January 7, 2021
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Runes: Bread and Butter Rune Page

1 2 3 4
Legend: Tenacity
Last Stand

Nimbus Cloak

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


1 2 3
Flash Ghost
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

[Patch 11.1] iZeal's Darius compendium

By iZeal
This guide is not fully completed yet as it currently is resembling a huge wall of text and lacks visual help in forms of videos explaining certain techniques. I will make this look prettier in the future.
I do not cover the basics of this game and am using terms new inexperienced players might not be familiar with.
I go over almost any item and rune in the game to give you an understanding why this should or should not be used by Darius as well as the general idea of how to approach the game while playing this champion.

If you are a new player with no experience in MOBA games, you may have difficulties understanding whether items are good or not and just want to get into games quickly.
Hoever, you have to remember that League of Legends is a very situational game and that you have to adapt to situations in each game individually. This is a big part of improving instead of simply using cookie cutter builds every game.
About the author
I am iZeal and have been playing this game since 2014 during mid S4 on the EUW server - my first release screen was Braum.
I started out as a support main mostly playing Thresh, Leona and Blitzcrank, hitting Gold in my first ranked season as I wanted to get the Victorious skin (and disappointingly it was Victorious Morgana).
In S5 I switched to jungle, maining Rek'Sai and Rengar and managed to stomp my way from Gold to Diamond in a few months, however I got stuck in Diamond II/III.
In S6 I grew tired of jungling and finally picked up toplane by playing Darius and have been maining this role and the champion ever since, hitting Masters in S7, peaking in Challenger in S8, remained Grandmasters throughout all of S9 and hit Challenger again in S10. All of this was done by purely Solo Queueing with the majority of my games on Darius starting from S6.
In this guide I want to show you the knowledge that I have gathered over the years playing at the highest level of Solo Queue.

I will try to keep this guide updated throughout the patches in terms of matchups, items and runes.

If you happen to have further questions you can ask them in the comment section on this guide or come by my twitch stream ( and ask me in my chat while I am streaming.

I hope you enjoy reading this guide and consider it to be informative.
Summoner Spells
Flash is the strongest summoner spell and required on pretty much anything (except Hecarim, Shaco and Yuumi). It is invaluable as a tool to engage, secure kills, turn fights, dodge skill shots or just escaping ganks or certain death and should ALWAYS be taken, especially on a champion with no mobility such as Darius.

Ghost is your secondary summoner spell that you should be taking on Darius in pretty much every single game. Ghost gives you a significant increase in movement speed over 10 seconds allowing you to catch up to elusive enemies, dodge skillshots or outrun your opponents. This summoner spell not only gives you a huge amount of kill pressure in lane whenever it is up, but also improves your teamfighting and therefore scales much harder than Ignite. Flash and Ghost are the only reason why Darius is able to properly function in high elo games. Ghost is also incredibly strong in conjunction with Nimbus Cloak as it offers you an immediate speedboost.
After the changes in 10.12 Ghost now gains a reset for every takedown enhancing its duration by up to 7 seconds making it even more valuable in teamfights.

Teleport is the staple summoner of the top lane and will most likely be used by your opponent. It has a hefty cooldown early game and can be cancelled by getting hit by a hard crowd control (such as stunned, rooted, suppressed or silenced) but allows you to channel a Teleport to any allied ward, minion, pet and even Rek'Sai tunnels or Jarvan IV's flag. Teleport allows you to pretty much get 1 or 2 free backs off, so you can heal up and buy items while losing barely if any minions to the tower. There is just one problem: Darius without Ghost is significantly weakened both inside and outside of lane as he lacks both engage and sticking potential. Darius also has much weaker TP ganks and flanks than other champions such as Malphite, Sett etc. who can instantly turn around a fight with their ultimates while Darius has to get his passive rolling. The new movement speed bonus helps a bit for TP ganks but isn't significant enough to keep you in range during a teamfight as its duration is too short.

Ignite increases kill pressure in lane by granting you true damage and 40% healing reduction on a low cooldown. While obviously making duels much easier especially in the early game, you will be lacking the global pressure of Teleport and the added mobility from Ghost on a champion that does not really struggle with damage output but rather achieving his condition to access his damage.
This summoner spell also doesn't quite synergize with Darius' goal of killing the opponent with his ultimate. All in all Ignite is more of a crutch to win laning phase and gives barely any impact in teamfights compared to Ghost.

While it might seem scary for inexperienced players to play without Teleport, it will teach you about when to back, proper resource management and taking proper trades and fights quickly as when you fail to do so you will just collapse.
Precision Tree:
Keystone runes:

Press the Attack: PTA is not optimal for Darius, even though you do have an AA reset and will most likely be proccing it during trades the damage increase will not be applied to your ultimate as it deals true damage. While it's a fun rune to experiment with in conjunction with Titanic Hydra it is not recommended in serious games.

Lethal Tempo: LT grants you attack speed after 1,5 seconds if you damaged an opponent and extends its duration to 6 seconds if you continue dealing damage to champions. On paper this rune sounds extremely strong for Darius as his bleed will always grant you the extended duration of Lethal Tempo and the AA+W+Q combo will take around 1,5 seconds to complete. However, Darius does not scale well with attack speed as he is a melee champion and has to stay in close proximity to the opponent to auto attack in quick succession, his Q locks him out of autoing for 0,75 seconds (same for his ult and E) and he has an aa-reset with low cooldown.

Fleet Footwork: Fleet Footwork heals you periodically when you autoattack as well as granting you a short movement speed boost, so basically a mini Hearthbound Axe proc right at level 1. Darius however tends to not buy a lot of AD especially during laning phase, gains a lot of HP making flat heals worth less and even with your passive running you will basically have an inferior Grasp of the Undying in terms of combat effectiveness. Don't use this rune.
- Bad.

Conqueror: Every single auto-attack and damaging ability (including sour spot Q and your ultimate) will grant you 2 conqueror stacks. Getting free AD (up to 36 at Level 18) is insanely valuable on a champion with huge AD scalings such as Darius. Not only that but at 12 stacks you get to heal for 9% of the damage you deal. Darius synergizes very well with that since he has a resetting true damage ult, 35% armor penetration and a big AD steroid in his passive to make sure that his damage never wavers.
+ The best keystone at the moment in almost any situation.

Minor Runes:
1st row:

Overheal: Don't use this. Darius has basically no way of healing at full health except when you purchase Death's Dance or spec into lifesteal and while I do not recommend either, Death's Dance will at the very least be your 3rd or even 4th item and by then you could have used Triumph much better.
- Bad.

Triumph: Triumph is probably the strongest minor rune in the game if you can get it procced. 12% missing health heal per takedown after 1 second can allow you to make huge plays especially with a champion such as Darius who has huge turn-around potential with a true damage nuke, his passive and his Q heal. Always take this when you spec into the precision tree. The big downside of this rune is obvious: if you don't kill stuff, you have no rune. And even if you kill stuff, you can die before you get the triumph proc. Making you salty. Very salty.
+ Best minor rune in this tree.

Presence of Mind: You gain mana for hitting and killing enemy champions. Has good synergy with your bleed but if you have mana problems then you either have to suck it up, use Manaflow Band, manage your spells better or get to Level 16 so your ultimate doesn't cost mana anymore. Just don't ever not use Triumph
- Bad.

2nd row:

Legend: Alacrity: You gain up to 18% attack speed starting at 3%. Take this whenever the enemy team composition allows it (when they don't have any stuns, roots, silences etc. that can be reduced by tenacity). It makes your autos much smoother and increases your farming skill, trading and all-in, towerkilling capabilities. Everything, basically.
+ Very good if against no CC, worse than Legend: Tenacity if against CC

Legend: Tenacity: Gain up to 30% tenacity. Tenacity is very welcome on Darius as you have no mobility to dodge CC and sometimes have to just tank it. Tenacity however does not affect continous slows, suppression or knock ups so always be aware what you are fighting so you can switch it out for Legend: Alacrity. This rune also allows you to easily go Ninja Tabi over Mercury's Treads making you that much tankier against aa-based champs.
+ Very good situationally.

Legend: Bloodline: Gain up to 12% lifesteal. The slowest scaling of the Legends and also bad on Darius. Lifesteal is a stat that scales with offensive stats that you will not gain unless in extended combat with champions and considering you have inbuilt healing vs champions that gets stronger when you are low health anyway you can simply ignore the pitiful lifesteal this rune grants you in favor of faster stacking from alacrity or stronger teamfight vs cc-heavy teams with tenacity.
- Bad.

3rd row:

Coup de Grace: 8% increased damage against champions below 40% health does not make much sense for a champion whose aim it is to execute opponents with a true damage nuke since true damage cannot get increased nor decreased in any way. Do not take this.
- Bad.

Cut Down: Deal more damage when someone has more maximum health than you? What are you going to fight against that will have 100% more maximum health than you? 30 stack Cho'Gath? 500 cs Sion? Do not take this. Ever.
- Bad.

Last Stand: Up to 11% more damage when you low hp? Yes please! By far the best option since you can actually use this bonus as it doesn't require you to fail your ult execute or not build any hp but rather wants you to simply take damage. Which you will pretty much anytime.
+ Best rune of this row.

Domination Tree:
Keystone Runes:

Electrocute: While Darius can easily proc this rune, getting a tiny bit of extra burst damage doesn't really help you all that much and might even make it harder to execute low hp enemies with your ultimate as your keystone can just kill them. Please don't use this keystone.
- Bad.

Predator: Predator is basically a Righteous Glory in rune form, but you have to take a keystone for it and you are not going to buy Righteous Glory anyway because it doesn't really synergize with Darius since you want movement speed after you have gotten your stacks.
- Bad unless you jungle or play roamheavy Darius midlane. Then it's mediocre.

Dark Harvest: A reset based keystone on a reset-based champion? It surely has to be op! Except it is not. Believe me when I tell you that Dark Harvest's added damage will not make the difference whether you get this pentakill or not, it's most liekly going to be your healthbar.
- Bad.

Hail of Blades: I used to run HoB in S9 a lot and this new iteration is better than the one I played with as Hail of Blades now resets even if you are in combat (which you will be since your bleed will deal damage for 5 more seconds). HoB gives you very great early game cheese potential but you will be lacking damage and healing from conqueror late game and since you should be winning your lane anyway why bother with this rune?
Okay, mostly because it is gated by the very bad domination tree.

Minor Runes:
1st row:

Cheap Shot: Darius is actually one of the best users of this rune as your W slows people and your bleed will instantly proc Cheap Shot. It's still not that great.
Meh, but probably the best out of this row.

Taste of Blood: A very strong rune on champions who can damage their opponents whenever it is off cooldown. Darius is not one of those champions. Seriously, who lets you walk up to them every 20 seconds? Either they beat you for attempting to do so or they walk away.

Sudden Impact: Gain Lethality for using a dash or flash. Well, your ultimate is a dash. Except it deals true damage, so lethality doesn't do anything for it. But your next Q is gonna deal more damage! Or when you flash into 5 people! Yeah, domination minor runes are catastrophic. Probably should be taking cheap shot tbh.
- Bad.

2nd row:

Zombie Ward: If you kill a ward, you resurrect him into a visible ward for your team with 1 hp! Also you get a little bit of AD up to a cap for this. Then again, you will most likely not get Sweeping lense nor carrying around pink wards.
- Bad.

Ghost Poro: This is what I would use: leave behind a Ghost Poro when your ward expires (so basically an extended ward that can get cleared by your opponent by walking into the poro) and gain stats for the poro getting scared away!

Eyeball Collection: Kill stuff to get AD. Wow, so... unique. Take it if you don't want to have a cute Ghost Poro watching your back. You monster.

3rd row:

Ravenous Hunter: This heals you for all types of damage you deal now. Which makes it much better than before and an actual option.
The best out of this row.

Ingenious Hunter: Gaining cooldown reduction on item actives seems nice, but what items with actives are you realistically going to buy? Stoneplate? Maybe Randuin's Omen. But chances are that your teamfights will be 90 seconds apart. This is only really good for champions with Glacial Augment, GLP, Twin shadows and Zhonya's Hourglass.
Situationally okay, but overall bad.

Relentless Hunter: Movementspeed is very valuable, especially on Darius. Out-of-combat movement speed however is meh. If you get hit, or if you hit someone you get locked out of it and because of your bleed this is going to take an extra 5 seconds. Still probably the best option next to Ravenous Hunter.
- Bad.

Ultimate Hunter: Gain cooldown reduction on an ability that technically can be used until everyone is dead and then has a short cooldown that will go down to literally 0 at level 16? That is a no.
-- Extremely bad.

Sorcery tree:
Keystone runes:

Summon Aery: Your bleed doesn't proc it. You don't shield people. It's bad. Like really bad. Do not use it.
-- Very bad.

Arcane Comet: You are not poke based. Just stop it. It's probably worse than Summon Aery. There, I said it.
-- Very Bad.

Phase Rush: With the 2 new buffs to Phase Rush granting 40%-60% movement speed instead of the old 25%-40% movement speed buff this keystone is a lot stronger now than what it used to be. While it still challenges you to overcome the gap in the first place in order to proc it, it is definitely viable into a variety of matchups now and might even be better than Conqueror in special matchups where the opponent is reliant on slows such as Singed, Nasus or Tryndamere since Phase Rush not only offers a bigger movement speed bonus than Ghost now (albeit much shorter in duration) but also 75% slow resistance, allowing you to pretty much ignore them.
Situationally very good, otherwise viable but still outclassed by Conqueror.

Minor runes:
1st row:

Nullifying Orb: Gets outclassed by Nimbus Cloak. Used to be taken against heavy AP enemy comps and is helpful against the likes of Karthus, Rumble etc.
Situationally okay, overall bad.

Manaflow Band: This minor rune used to be the go-to rune in this tree as it gave Darius the tiny amount of mana he needs to not go oom during fights. Nowadays though Triforce's Sheen gives you this mana and nimbus cloak is just too good.
Okay, but outclassed.

Nimbus Cloak: Absolutely broken at the moment; an immediate speed boost whenever you use a summoner spell? This empowers your Ghost AND your flash (and jungler's blue smites, too, unfortunately) and makes you a race car. If you use Ghost, you have to use Nimbus Cloak. If you have to use Darius Jungle, use Blue Smite and this.
++ Overpowered, will probably get nerfed. Take it.

2nd row:

Transcendence: 5 Ability haste at Level 5, another 5 at level 8 and resets lower your basic abilities' cooldowns.
+ Good. Personal preference between this and Celerity.

Celerity: More movement speed, even the tiniest amount, can decide between you getting the 5th stack or your opponent just barely walking away from you. Active from Level 1 until the end of the game. Also 3 movement speed without boots so you outspeed every 340 base movement speed champion.
+ Good. Personal preference between this and Transcendence

Absolute Focus: Remember how I said Last Stand was so good because you get rewarded for taking damage as a melee champ? Well, Absolute Focus punishes you for not being at full health, which is just not going to happen as a melee juggernaut. Do not use it.
- Bad.

3rd row:

Scorch: A little bit of extra damage, I guess. Better on poke-based champions just like Taste of Blood is better for ranged champions.
Okay. Personal preference between this and Gathering Storm.

Waterwalking: More Movement speed and AD in the river is okay for junglers. If you are not a jungler I recommend not taking it.
Good in the jungle, otherwise bad.

Gathering Storm: A lategame minor rune. When you have Gathering Storm in the late game it feels really good. If you have it in the early game, you don't feel anything. It is not going to help you get ahead and you don't want to get into the super late game as Darius. Very counterintuitive rune but probably the best if you have to take one in the 3rd row.
Okay. Personal preference between this and Scorch.

Resolve tree:
Keystone runes:

Grasp of the Undying: Darius has a very easy time to keep this rune stacked by autoing either minions or champions, however this rune is very trade-based. And Darius does not want to trade in bursts, he wants to be able to turn every trade into an all-in and Grasp isn't the best all-in rune. Also you lack the option of a Gangplank who gets to proc Grasp pretty much on cooldown. While you can definitely use this rune it is not the best and also falls off later into the game.
Can be used, but not ideal on Darius.

Aftershock: A very popular rune before the 3rd iteration of Conqueror came along and often used in matchups that are deemed more difficult. Current aftershock is worse for Darius because you will most likely get 2 items that do not grant any resistances, but at the same time you are able to proc it more regularily which is especially good in lane to force good trades and all-ins. If you are the only frontline on your team, it might be time to pull out this bad boy instead of Conqueror.
+ Good. Outclassed by Conqueror in most scenarios, but situationally better.

Guardian: Why would you ever play a champion whose damage relies on Levels into a duo lane where he gains a lot less experience? Also even if you do, don't pick this. Take Conqueror or Aftershock instead...
-- Very bad.

Minor runes:
1st row:

Demolish: Before Nimbus Cloak was changed to its current broken iteration, a lot of Darius players went Demolish in their secondary rune tree. This rune is REALLY good if you can use it to gain plates. It accelerates your turret taking speed by a lot, but obviously it can be completely useless if you do not get to touch turrets.
++ Very good.

Font of Life: You are picking Darius because you want to be a selfish prick who takes matters into his own hands. Why would you pick a supportive rune? Also you won't be building enough HP for it to matter as well as no Ardent Censer.
- Bad.

Shield Bash: The only way you acquire a shield is by using Sterak's Gage or - god have mercy on your soul - going Overheal. Just do not take this. Take Demolish.
--- Useless.

2nd row:

Conditioning: More Armor and Magic Resistance is nice. You can take this into matchups that are easy so you get more stats for when they actually matter.
+ Good.

Second Wind: A very good rune to take when you are pressured by constant harass, especially against damage over times such as Teemo's poision or Malzahar's E. Falls off hard, but allows you to remain in lane much longer in difficult matchups when you cannot find a way to all in them.
Very good situationally, otherwise okay.

Bone Plating: Very strong early game rune that will give you insane power in extended fights. If you play around Bone Plating and your enemy does not, you will be able to simply outstat them with the insane damage reduction for 3 abilities or auto attacks. Not that great vs champions who get to proc it before going in (e.g. ranged).
Very good situationally, otherwise okay.

3rd row:

Overgrowth: Gaining more hp and having more scaling is always nice to have and in most games you will get around 200 extra hp. Also increased your potential shield from Sterak's Gage.
+ Good.

Revitalize: Increased healing and shielding is meh, since you might as well just go overgrowth since your heal is based on your missing % hp and you don't have any shields. Don't take it on Darius.

Unflinching: Granting tenacity and slow resistance is very interesting, however mostly outclassed by the sheer movement speed power of nimbus cloak. You also have to relatively low to gain a notable amount of stats. If you are into very heavy cc and slow based compositions this might be worthwile to be taken, but remember that slow resistance does not stack addictively anymore. Might also be a decent choice if you think you absolutely need Bone Plating or Second Wind for a certain match-up.
Situationally very good, otherwise mediocre.

Inspiration tree:
Keystone runes:

Glacial Augment: I tried to make this rune work, but you lose a lot of power for a suboptimal utility build. Slows simply do not help you against champions with dashes and those who don't have dashes just get slowed by your W or E anyway. If you take this, make sure to get Randuin's Omen and/or Turbo Chemtank to abuse the empowered slow actives.

Unsealed Spellbook: If Darius didn't synergize with Conqueror so well, this might become the go-to for increased laning power. At 6 minutes which is most likely your level 6 powerspike you would be able to either teleport back to lane because of Unsealed Spellbook or use TP and then switch to Ignite or Ghost to all in your lane opponent with the item advantage as well as the summoner advantage. However, Darius does not use the other summoner spells such as cleanse, barrier or heal as well as other spell book users.

Prototype: Omnistone: If you have read everything until this point you will have realized that there are very few keystone runes Darius actually values and that there is one above all of them - conqueror - so why bother with the RNG element of having a random keystone chosen every couple of seconds?
- Bad.

Minor runes:
1st row:

Hextech Flashtraption: This rune is very meh. While you can try to cheese with it by using it in bushes to gain slight distance on an opponent in lane or have the ability to traverse terrain out of combat, it also gives your opponents a 100% accurate flash timer.

Magical Footwear: Gaining 300 gold for free and 10 extra movement speed sounds too good to be true. The only downfall of this rune is that you cannot buy boots and have to wait until they are given to you (which can take up to 12 minutes if you don't score a single takedown). On a champion that relies on movement speed so heavily that you will buy t2 boots pretty much first or after getting Hearthbound Axe every single time this is such a huge handicap that it really is not worth the benefit.
-+ Very bad in certain matchups but very good in those where you don't need early boots.

Perfect Timing: A stopwatch that only contributes 250g towards an upgraded item in its buildpath and is only usable after 14 minutes (-2 minutes per takedown). Gargoyle Stoneplate is basically a core item, so if you have to take a rune in this row and you need early boots, then take this one.
+ Good.

2nd row:

Future's Market: Borrowing money could be an interesting strategy in matchups where you have to get your Hearthbound Axe and T2 boots as fast as possible. Problematic however is that Darius doesn't truly spike that hard with 1 or 2 items making this rune significantly worse than on other champions.

Minion Dematerializer: Being able to just evaporate a minion from existance can be extremely useful in stopping teleports by your opponent to stop you from pushing out a wave (but also very situational). If you don't plan on going Sterak's Gage, you might have difficulties clearing caster minions in 1 q later on in the game and this minor rune could help you with the added damage you gain by using it against caster minions.

Biscuit Delivery: A good option for added sustain and more mana. Not that well suited to Darius as to other champions however since your mana normally depletes because of an all-in.
+ Good.

3rd row:

Cosmic Insight: This thing only offers summoner spell and item haste now.
Very bad.

Approach Velocity: Gaining 15% movement speed towards champions you are cc'ing is incredibly good. Except Darius only has slows lasting 1 second and would love to use this rune from range in order to get into range in the first place. Getting 7,5% movement speed approaching champions your team cc's is also nice. As you won't 100% need nimbus cloak anymore the inspiration tree and cookies might be able to solve the incredible mana usage of Darius and since you don't want to take any runes from the first inspiration row you might as well take this now?

Time Warp Tonic: If you really like going Corrupting Potion, then this is the rune for you: it gives you a chunk of health immediately, making it stronger in an all-in while allowing baits and also grants movement speed during the potion's duration for chasing, escaping, dodging. Obviously becomes useless after you don't have any potions anymore.
+ Good, but falls off hard and you have to buy Corrupting Potion.
Doran's Blade: The most aggressive starting item you can get. AD, Health and a bit of lifesteal makes this item the strongest all in tool you can get, however it is quite lacking when it comes to sustaining as you are forced to push quite heavily in order to make use of the 3% lifesteal. If you get an early kill or need more early game power you can purchase a (second) Doran's Blade, but try to keep it at 2 Doran's items at most.

Doran's Shield: This is the no-brain option that always works. Gives passive sustain, helps you deal with (ranged) harass, helps you lasthit, also scales terribly. Doran's Shield should be used if you are unfamiliar in the matchup you are playing or vs ranged champions, especially when they have damage over time such as Teemo's poison. Unlike Doran's Blade you can sell Doran's Shield relatively early if needed (such as being able to complete your Trinity Force with the gold) because Doran's Shield rapidly loses its value over the duration of the game.

Corrupting Potion: If you want to use Time Warp Tonic, this is the item to go with. It makes you relatively squishy, but grants huge amounts of sustain and allows you to spam your abilities without having to worry about mana. You also won't have to buy any potions. Not really recommended though, as there is basically no matchup in which Corrupting Potion surpasses the other items. You do not want to trade extensively with Darius but rather turn it into all ins.

Rejuvenation Bead x3: This item gives you the most cost efficient sustain start. While slightly worse than Doran's Shield at the beginning of the game, Darius' base health regen and health regen per level will make Reju beads stronger with each level. The best part about these beads? They sell for 105g each for a total of 315g compared to the 180g you gain from selling Doran's Shield or Doran's Blade. Also you do not have to get hit constantly in order to gain the maximum amount of health possible as health regen is running all the time.

Early items:

Hearthbound Axe: This item is much more aggressive than the old Phage was and offers you no additional movement speed for killing a unit anymore. You still need it to get to Stridebreaker and the other options are kind of meh anyway.

Ironspike Whip: Gives you more damage, that's about it.

Kindlegem: More survivability and ability haste, preferable 2nd or 1st component.

Executioner's Calling: If you really need anti-healing quickly then look no further: Executioner's Calling only costs 800g and because of your bleed every auto of yours will inflict Grievous wounds for 8 seconds on an enemy champion, making it valuable especially against champions who aren't that autoattack based.

Bramble Vest: If the enemy champion is required to auto you in order to heal (Lifesteal or Fiora, then buy this item. While it is not advisable to upgrade it any time soon, Thornmail is still a great item to have later on in the game and sitting on Bramble Vest will make your life much easier against healing champions in the meantime.

Spectre's Cowl: If you are really struggling with harassing magic damage champions you can get this item to help you sustain. It's not really good though.

Hexdrinker: This item is a choice for those of you in need of extra fighting power against magic damage champions to survive their scary all in. Just like with Bramble Vest though you should not upgrade this item until much later into the game and also try not to build Sterak's Gage when you own this item already.

Core Items:

Stridebreaker: This item gives you everything: Gapcloser, movementspeed, a slow, AD, HP, ability haste, attack speed. Just get it. No other mythic item competes with this thing on the same level UNLESS you play vs 5 melee champs in which case you can go Goredrinker.
You can use its active during your Q charge up!

Goredrinker: While this item grants you the most amount of power and has a mini-version of your Q heal on its active it also requires you to be in range for this which traditionally is the biggest problem with Darius in the first place. Once you are in range this item outperforms Stridebreaker, but using that logic you might as well run Ignite over Ghost or Flash every game.

Sterak's Gage: This item is the best bruiser item in the game: a now guaranteed shield once you fall below 30% of your max HP, a lot of HP gained from the passives that include you getting hit by different champions, cheaper than most other items and keeps you alive at low health for the big Q heals or Goredrinker actives while you are boosted by Last Stand. It's so reliable now that you want to buy it pretty much every game as 2nd item.

Gargoyle Stoneplate: Get even more survivability with this thing's dual resistances and shield. Perfect when you get focusfired, just don't misstime the active.

Situational items:

Randuin's Omen: This item is still one of the better armor items around when it comes to defensive utility.

Dead Man's Plate: With the introduction of Winged Moonplate you can immediately get a speedboost for little gold. Buy this item if you want to be a speedy boi.

Thornmail: While Bramble Vest is a must buy in certain matchups, it is not recommended to immediately upgrade it to Thornmail. Having access to Grievous Wounds can be helpful and so is the magic damage return whenever you get auto attacked (especially when your team manages to get the Ocean Drake's soul). Be careful that this passive draws tower aggro. An excellent buy against non-crit based champions with lots of sustain either through healing, especially lifesteal. Darius doesn't have a real option to continously CC opponents for the 60% grievous wounds though.

Guardian Angel: A rather rare occurence on Darius that you buy this item. Its stats are mediocre, and the passive is also not that great on Darius. When you get ressurected, you lose Noxian Might, though if an opponent still has 5 bleedstacks on him when you are revived, you can hit him and instantly gain Noxian Might again. This item is better on diver champions, however if you are vs full AD teams then you can definitely consider Guardian Angel.

Situational MR items:

Spirit Visage: This item is well suited to Darius' needs as his healing from Q, Triumph and Conqueror benefit from the passive. While it used to have much better stats, this is the go-to Magic Resistance item in most of your games unless you want to be an even speedier boi with a Force of Nature.

Force of Nature: You trade more healing for more MR and more MS.


Plated Steelcaps: The strongest shoes in terms of combat stats; if you play against champions who rely heavily on auto attacks (such as ADCs, Jax, Tryndamere) you should definitely consider the Steelcaps. Especially if they don't have CC or you already have Legend: Tenacity. They are the best boots to rush on Darius in a lot of matchups because of their passive and the armor helping against minion aggro for Darius as often you only need to keep up with your opponent and let your passive and Conqueror deal the damage for you.

Mercury's Treads: Much more situational boots as you don't build them for Magic Resitance but rather for the Tenacity they provide. You can rush these boots against certain opponents that deal magic damage such as Kennen, Cassiopeia, Rumble, Teemo or Ryze as they are ranged and have CC to disengage from you. Against a champion like Mordekaiser you should rather look at their whole team composition before making a boot choice.

Boots of Swiftness: They just got buffed this patch and used to be the go-to choice a couple years ago when everybody rushed them to stay safe from ganks since no jungler was able to catch up to you when you were speeding around with 60 extra movement speed.
Useful if you are against heavy and continous slows (such as Glacial Augment empowered slow actives).

Mobility Boots: No. You stay in combat much longer than any other champion in the game because of your bleed and hitting you once takes off all extra movement speed.

Berserker's Greaves: For now this is pretty much never worth it unless you want to disrespect your opponent.

Ionian Boots of Lucidity: Having reduced summoner spell cooldowns is nice and all, but again - this is not that great. You will regret not going defensive boots on Darius in games that aren't already over and since you basically always get T2 boots before or right after your first item you'll have to know by then whether you can even afford to troll or not.

Sorcerer's Shoes: ...

Other items:

Death's Dance: Only good vs AD-heavy teams as maybe 3rd or 4th item.

Titanic Hydra: Darius is not lacking in damage, he needs defensive utility from his items.

Ravenous Hydra: Just don't.

Bloodthirster: No.

Infinity Edge: Don't go crit.

Essence Reaver: No.

Blade of the Ruined King: Currently the meta-defining item in the top lane and to a certain extend also in the bot lane. While Bork-Darius is still kind of trolling it might be needed to keep up with certain Bork-match ups as otherwise you will have a hard time keeping up in duels with your opponent if you are not snowballing far ahead. The active is great and the passive works well with your armor penetration, but it does not truly fit into Darius' playstyle nor build so even if it is overpowered it remains suboptimal.

Maw of Malmortius: Hexdrinker is okay to rush if you are against AP Top and Jungle (and maybe even mid?), this item gets heavily outclassed by Sterak's Gage with which it competes because of the passive Lifeline (you will either get Sterak's or Maw's/Hexdrinker's shield, but still retain the tenacity and the spellvamp and lifesteal), only buy it if you are playing against extremely heavy magic damage comps and don't stack it with Sterak's Gage.

Stormrazor: Crit. No.

Any of the lethality items: No. Darius doesn't need damage, he needs survivability.
Edge of Night gives you a bit of HP and a spell shield, but Darius can't really utilize it well since he just slowly walks at people making it easy to pop it.
Youmuu's Ghostblade has interesting properties with the increased out of combat movement speed as well as the active, but again you should not be trading more damage vs tankiness on a champion that has a flat AD steroid in his kit that relies on him living for a prolonged period of time.

Abyssal Mask: You don't have enough CC and also true damage cannot be increased.

Wit's End: While it does give permanent movement speed and gives you magic damage on hit, this item is very suboptimal. Not recommended.

Warmog's Armor: You don't want to be stacking much more HP without resistances on Darius since your damage items already grant you 0 resistances. Use this item only if you are facing heavy poke comps ( Nidalee, Ziggs, Ezreal etc. so you can stay healthy, otherwise stay away from this item as Darius.

Lord Dominik's Regards: You already have Armor Pen. You really don't need this.

Chempunk Chainsword: You bought an early Executioner's Calling for the Grievous Wounds and think about upgrading it in the very late game? Tell your team to get Morellonomicon or Mortal Reminder on your midlaner, ADC or Jungler or buy Thornmail instead if you get autoattacked by the person whose healing you want to reduce. Only get this if it is a target who is not going to autoattack you and when your team refuses to get anti-healing themselves.

Turbo Chemtank: An item that allows you to catch up to almost anyone. The only problem is that once you get into range you will be lacking a lot of stats since this item only grants you 25 armor making you a lot less tanky than other armor options would have. Usable but very situational and often outclassed. Glacial Augment gives you a freeze ray on the active.

Black Cleaver: The new Cleaver looks interesting on paper, but is even worse than the old one (and people stopped building the old one on Darius in 2018 or so). No more movementspeed, less health, more expensive and most importantly: the passive does NOT proc on Darius' Hemmorrhage as it is not considered a spell. Even if it did, Darius tends to execute enemies with his Noxian Guillotine so % missing health damage isn't even that great on him. The armor shred isn't needed either as you have 35% inherent armor penetration from Apprehend and true damage on your ultimate. Get tanky and speedy instead.
Passive Hemorrhage:
This passive is literally the reason Darius is a champion. Seriously. Always keep track of the bleed stacks, because getting 5 stacks can be more important than hitting a squishier target. Once you get 5 stacks on a champion you gain Noxian Might, up to 230 AD and apply 5 bleed stacks to anything you touch including champions which means you can basically keep Noxian Might indefinitely until either you or everyone else is dead and your ultimate will deal maximum damage after a single auto attack or Q hit.
Try to get a feeling for how much damage the bleed deals so you don't have to flash after dead people.

Q Decimate:
Darius' bread and butter ability. Use it to poke, use it to last hit, use it to push, use it to heal, use it to deal damage. Also this ability is your main skill expression. It is not advisable to hit anything with the inner circle of the Q as you will not get a bleed stack onto your opponent, deal pitiful damage, waste 0,75 seconds of your time not auto attacking and you won't heal either. You can cancel your W animation with your Q to make it harder to react to. The difference between hitting and missing this skill is HUGE. Don't miss.
You can use actives such as Ironspike Whip or Stridebreaker during the charge up of this ability.

W Crippling Strike:
Despite its name it doesn't actually cripple. Only slows. But by 90%. That's a lot. Also gives you 25 extra range so you can pretend to be Irelia for 1 auto attack. Use it to reset your auto attack timer, to proc spellblade, kill towers, last hit minions with it if needed (if you kill something you get full mana refund and half of its cooldown is refunded as well, try not to fail it ever since the mana costs went up). This auto attack can also not be cancelled (not even by yourself) so you can buffer it before getting hit by crowd control and even flashing away won't save people if the animation goes through. You can cancel the animation of your W by pressing Q once the animation starts.

E Apprehend:
This skill is your life, you have to play around it when it is on cooldown. It doesn't deal any damage, but you can pull everything and anything but Epic Monsters towards you to then chestbump it back. Now this ability is also bugged and inconsistent since sometimes your opponents don't move visually but are still pulled on their screen, sometimes they don't get pulled at all and even if they are pulled it is very inconsistent where they land (either right inside your Q sweetspot or just inside the sourspot). Still, if you miss this ability prepare to face a long walk of shame during laning phase as its cooldown is absolutely gigantic and any ranged champion will relentlessly punish you for having 0 chance of engaging onto them.
This ability is best used to prolong a trade so if you can start a fight without using it, that's great! If not, depending on the enemy you might want to not immediately AA+W+Q but rather AA, then walk with them, AA, walk with them and only use your W+Q once they try to escape. The closer your enemy is, the easier it is to miss this ability as it is cone shaped by the way.
It is possible to buffer an undodgeable Decimate when you knock up someone with your Q by pressing E, pressing Q before everything becomes uncastable and then NOT moving until the Q animation starts. If you don't buffer it, your opponent may be able to Flash or dash out of your Q.
You max this second because of the damage increase through the armor penetration and also because having this on a 24 second cooldown sucks as well as because it reduces the mana costs.

R Noxian Guillotine:
Darius' signature ability. If you use it, it applies a bleed stack (or 5 if you already have Noxian Might running) and deals true damage that cannot be reduced by any means (such as Exhaust, Gargoyle Stoneplate's active on yourself or other types of damage reduction). It resets on a kill for 20 seconds (or permanently once it is Rank 3). It has 460 range and is coded as a dash so you cannot use it while you are rooted or grounded. You can basically use it as an auto attack reset but it is preferred to get the kill with it so it resets and can be used again. Level 6, 11 and 16 are HUGE powerspikes that give you an insane amount of burst damage that will rip apart squishies and armor stackers alike.
Knowing how much damage you deal with how many stacks is mandatory to become a great Darius player since executing champions with this ability will immediately grant you Noxian Might and spare you the hassle of hitting some peasant 5 times in a row.
Oh, by the way, if you happen to lose vision (because of fog of war, unwarded brushes, Quinn's Blinding Assault, Graves' Smoke Screen etc.) your ultimate will cancel. It's not going to go on cooldown, you can use it again, but you will have to cast it again and hope that your animation goes through the next time. Also champions going into untargetability such as Zhonya's Hourglass active, Vladimir's Sanguine Pool, Camille's Hextech Ultimatum or Fizz' Playful / Trickster will stop your ultimate, but you can use it right after. You are also unstoppable during the animation, meaning CC doesn't affect you during that time (but you will still be stunned if the stun duration goes on longer than your ult animation).
Combos and techniques
Darius' "combos" consist of him either starting the fight by pulling enemies towards him while auto-attacking them multiple times, using W as am AA-reset and hitting your ultimate either as a finisher or to get Noxian Might faster by applying another bleed stack instead of waiting for an additional auto attack or literally walking up to the enemy and using auto-attacks until he tries to disengage at which point you pull them back in to extend the fight.
Seriously. This champion isn't difficult nor complicated. Only takes clean execution.
Get it? Execution? Noxian Guillotine?

Darius only really has 2 advanced techniques:

Cancelling his W into a Q and buffering his Q after his E.
In order to cancel your W animation you simply press Q at any point after the empowered W auto attack starts.

In order to buffer your Q after your E you have to press E and immediately after it press Q before you get locked out of doing any action. Then do NOT move until the Q animation starts. If you right click before that, it will cancel any input you had buffered. If you pull it off correctly, your enemy will be airborn and unable to react to your Q even if he tries to flash it, making it the only way to hit your Q on certain mobile champions and guaranteeing critical Q hits and heals.

You can buffer Q, W, E and Ult through CC.

If you ult a champion at the same time as you kill a unit (a different champion, a minion, a monster etc.) you gain Noxian Might.
Early game
Darius is considered to be a lane bully, which means that he has a lot of strength in the early part of the game to gain an advantage over his lane opponent. Now while this depends on the type of matchup and player you are up against, you can say that Darius in general excels against most melee champions starting from Level 1 because of his passive empowering his auto attacks with bleed and AD steroid that does not allow enemies to take extended trades. Short trades on the other hand do not benefit Darius in most cases.
Ranged champions on the other hand have an auto attack range advatange (wow, really?) which means they will shoot you in the face multiple times before you even get to hit them back.

So depending on what matchup you are up against as well as the pathing of your and the enemy jungler and their respective power you will have to decide how to play the lane. You can sit back and let it push towards your tower and try to freeze it on your side of the map so you can abuse Ghost and run people down over a long distance once you have reached level 3 or 4 or you start to push in order to gain the level 2 advantage to surprise your opponent. If you are able to kill him that way, great. If not, you can now start denying CS by slowly building up the wave which protects you against the enemy jungler and opponent and can even allow you to 2v1 at an early point in the lane if you play it correctly.
Darius has few big powerspikes as his power usually depends on how fast he gains access to Noxian Might, in general though Level 1, 2 and 3 are strong as well as his Level 6. Maxed Q at Level 9 and 20% CDR grant him an easier time as he can spamm his Q and use his E more freely.

Laning without Teleport means three things:
you have more kill pressure because of your ability to Ghost AND Flash after people; pulling your opponent and then hitting them with a AA+W+Q combo allows you to use Ghost and keep up with them even if they Flash as most champions aren't able to take a fight where Darius starts off with 3 bleed stacks and will try to run from you.

- You are harder to gank because you have 2 mobility summoner spells to use.

- If you make a mistake (such as taking a bad trade and you cannot afford to stay in lane) you will lose a lot of exp as your opponent will either push the wave into your tower to deny you exp and gold, forcing the wave to reset and screwing you even further or by freezing the wave and potentially teleporting back to keep you in an ethernal cycle of getting ganked.

You will also need to learn how to get proper back timings. The best time to back is when you fast push the wave before a cannon minion wave and then immediately back. Pre 20 minutes every 3rd wave will be a cannon minion wave and you can always check your minimap to see both the position of the approaching minion wave and whether or not it has a cannon minion.
Your opponent will have a hard time killing the minions in time (unless he uses Minion Dematerializer on your cannon minion) and you will most likely only lose a melee and maybe the Cannon minion instead of the whole wave.
This obviously requires you to have control of the wave. If you don't have that, you'll need jungle assistance or accept that you lose minions. Be quick with your purchases, by the time your mana and HP bar are refilled you should already be on your way back to the lane.

If you manage to kill your opponent, try to push the wave into the tower so he can't freeze it by teleporting back. Do not overstay and die for it though.
Darius is also notably easy to gank so having good map awareness and vision control is advantageous. Otherwise you have to muscle your way through with a 2v1 or maybe a countergank from your jungler.
It is your task to gain an advantage over your opponent in CS, EXP and gold. The best way to achieve this is obviously (solo)killing your opponent as Darius scales extremely well with experience and a kill grants a lot of that, tower platings are very important to take, too.
If you fall behind you will have trouble being useful in teamfights unless your entire team is ahead, but don't fret it: you can still turn this game around by proccing your passive early in a fight.

If your lane opponent refuses to fight you, push towards them as slowly as possible to build up a big wave, then use this wave to either dive (with your jungler) your opponent, take turret plates (as your opponent will take a lot of minion damage hitting you) or roaming midlane/invading the jungle to get vision control, kill the enemy jungler or midlaner or to secure Rift Herald.
Mid Game
Midgame enters when the laning phase ends and people get their first items. While Darius was very strong in the lane, his midgame is a lot weaker. Level 11 is a huge powerspike in terms of damage and allows you to pretty much half-health squishies at this point with your ultimate at 5 stacks, but you are far from tanky. This makes teamfights and skirmishes very explosive as you have to be very careful not to take unnecessary damage or else you will die way too quickly before being able to turn the fight around. The nature of Trinity Force and Sterak's Gage also means you will need a lot of gold to keep up in quantity of items during this time as they are very expensive.

It is your task to push out the sidelanes and rotate to group with your team for objectives such as towers, dragons or heralds/barons at this time. If you got ahead during early game, you should be able to secure priority by pushing the lanes far out making it less significant that your opponent might have TP since you are going to be at the hotspots first.
If you are behind you will be facing difficult times as you still have to keep up in exp in order to keep up in damage but since you will get pushed in you will have trouble rotating in time. Try to draw an opponent to your lane by pushing it out or group with your team and abuse number advantages in order to get back into the game. A single reset can make you relevant again in the right circumstances.
Late Game
Late game starts at around 3 items or 30 minutes. You want to reach Level 16 as soon as possible as it grants another huge spike to your ultimate damage as well as every Level granting you even more AD from Noxian Might. Completing Gargoyle Stoneplate as your third item will make you a god among men for 4 seconds (obviously depending on the state of fedness of your enemies).
All you are looking for is getting your passive procced as soon as possible. Darius can easily demolish a backline with a Q Flash powered by his passive into multiple dunks if given the chance. However you have to play around your summoners at all times.
Also do not forget that you are not a true tank. Even with the Stoneplate Sterak's combo you have to be careful not to take unneeded damage and the healthier you are gaining Noxian Might the more potential you have to turn around the fight.
Depending on your follow up your Flash hooks can have devestating consequences for your team, but it will also limit your potential of carrying teamfights yourself for the next 5 minutes.
The later the game goes, the more items will have the potential to ruin your impact: Spellshields such as Edge of Night ir Banshee's Veil make it harder to hook, Q or Ult people, Guardian Angel stops your reset, Zhonya's Hourglass stalls your damage for 2,5 seconds, Sterak's Gage and Phantom Dancer can eat up your dunk's damage etc. Besides the fact that everyone dies much faster, so not only will you have less time to abuse yournpassive but you also have fewer opportunities to even proc it.
Since Patch 10.6 Darius lost laning power through increased mana costs making it crucial to not spam your abilities and commit to all ins even more so than before, meaning that you will have to be careful against matchups who can sustain for a long time. He still remains a strong pick into many matchups as he enables you to get an early snowball going and still scale decently for a lanebully, he is relatively easy to pick up and doesn't require advanced mechanics to do well, has huge turn potential in fights and requires your opponent to play without mistake if you run Ghost and Flash. Darius punishes mistakes extremely hard and if given the opportunity can be a clean up carry capable of 2-shotting squishies while still building tanky and allowing a certain threshold of mistakes on his side.
Keep in mind that Darius needs his summoners to function both inside and outside of lane and even with Ghost and Flash you might have difficulties.
Onetricking Darius can be challenging as he is not the greatest blind pick and gets banned or picked quite frequently especially in lower elo, so you will have to rely on other champions.
19/03/20 DD Changes and Darius nerfs
20/03/20 TP section edited
22/03/20 Section about Corrupting Potion reworked because of Mana nerfs.
01/04/20 Matchups that use BORK slightly altered, Blade of the Ruined King and Death's Dance item discussion changed
05/04/20 Phase Rush buffs taken into consideration
15/04/20 HoB section reworked since it actually got better for Darius, Wukong matchup added, Sett and Urgot matchup slightly altered
23/04/20 Added Vayne, Heimerdinger, Jarvan IV and Shyvana matchup
29/04/20 Patch 10.9 didn't change anything remarkable - Wukong "nerfs" won't bring him down from top tier, Lissandra Q buff might make her viable top and mid again
13/05/20 Patch 10.10 is barely worth a mention. Small Rhaast nerf, Soraka might become a nuisance again, Kled got a tiny bit weaker early game, Maokai got a tiny slap on the wrist, Diana got a placebo nerf. Bork is still broken.
29/05/20 Patch 10.11 hit and does not change much. Vayne got buffed (also in the sololane) so good luck laning against her. Volibear got reworked, I have yet to see how good he is. Zeal items got buffed in terms of movement speed but they aren't really worth to be picked up for Darius. Bork is still not nerfed, so most match ups are basically rush tabis bramble into TF Steraks. Next patch will have huge implications with Ghost rework, Unflinching buff and Approach velocity rework, but it's only on PBE for now.
25/06/20 Skipping 10.12 and going right into 10.13. Conqueror nerfs didn't shake up Darius' build since it is still the optimal rune to run. Predator is meh, Unflinching usable, new Ghost makes Nimbus Cloak not a 100% must-take but it's still Nimbus Cloak. New Volibear is terrorizing the rift and Darius does not like playing against him, match-up has yet to be added though. Lucian, Gnar, Ryze buffs are super not fun for Darius. Yuumi seems to be gone though.
08/07/20 Patch 10.14 Ghost is better, Wukong and Volibear got a tiny bit weaker, Predator is still garbage for Darius, Riven matchup got more difficult because of Riven buffs.
14/07/20 Death's Dance is a thing you can buy.
22/07/20 Patch 10.15 grants Shen a stronger early game through a buffed shield, Ornn's base armor got nerfed and makes him squishier early, Unsealed Spellbook nerfed which makes Kennen weaker, but no direkt changes for Darius.
01/08/20 Disclaimer changed.
05/08/20 Patch 10.16 makes the Jax matchup much harder as the window to punish Jax is now even narrower; 14 seconds CD on E means he can go for trades early more often. Same for Fiora with her x-th consecutive buff in a row getting a stronger early game again.
Nimbus Cloak got nerfed a bit, but is still the superior choice unless you absolutely need Bone Plating/Second Wind and/or Unflinching.
23/08/20 Patch 10.17 barely changed anything.
02/09/20 Patch 10.18 nerfing Shen's shield by 10 instead of his damage doesn't do anything, Sett is now forced into AD heavy builds to keep up in damage making the matchup even more snowbally, Kayle changes make it harder for her to sustain.
16/09/20 Tiny Patch 10.19 introduces Samira, Akali nerfs ruins her waveclear but won't change her kill threat, Irelia buffs won't change the laning matchup, Lucian's nerf will facilitate the fact that this champion can meleeform anything from level 1 onwards.
30/09/20 No notable changes from Patch 10.20.
14/10/20 Nimbus Cloak nerf weakens Darius' sticking potential and Resolve tree becomes therefore more appealing. Camille nerf makes it a bit easier to duel her as she will be lacking a bit of attack speed at later levels but she is still the undisputed queen of top lane right now, Hecarim nerf is placebo as well.
31/12/20 First update for preseason in preparation for S11.
07/01/21 Patch 11.1 nerfs Stridebreaker by lowering its AD by 10 and granting it an additional 10 AH instead. Goredrinker got hit making it more situational for Darius as well and Grievous Wounds got buffed in its duration from 2 to 3 seconds.

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