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Darius Build Guide by LukeMortora

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League of Legends Build Guide Author LukeMortora

The Dunknomicon; For all things Dunk (Patch 6.22 Season 6)

LukeMortora Last updated on November 15, 2016
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Top Lane
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Win 50%
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Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

Threats to Darius with this build

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Threat Champion Notes
Poppy Poppy's kit is mostly ineffective against Darius. Always mind where you stand, do not let her rush you into a wall. You should be absolutely fine at all stages of the game against her. Remember your E interrupts her R!


Hello and welcome to my comprehensive guide on Darius, the blood thirsty, meat-headed, butcher of the Noxian army. The object of this build is to be able to dish out as much sustained punishment as possible without getting killed in the process. This guide is for people who want something that was not written by a 10 year old who plays call of duty.

Hopefully this guide will give you an idea of how I play Darius, and why I made some of the item choices I have.

Disclaimer: I am not a professional player, and the following content is based on my own experience and successes. HOWEVER - It is very interesting that my guide has been **** on for leveling E over W, and the inclusion of Steraks... and now those things seem to be staple for Darius! Seems like i'm onto something! Just goes to show - don't listen to the naysayers if you've done your homework.

The Season 6 is now fully upon us, and thus is dawning the age of the ADC. While I anticipate Darius will drop in popularity dramatically, I have one piece of advice...


Important Upcoming Change in Patch 6.9

Great 1v1 potential
Laning phase sustain
Powerful passive
Capable of carrying a team
Great at all stages of the game
Dunking is super-satisfying
Has some hard counters
Difficult to catch some champions
All his CC is slowing only
Season 6 ADCs are crazy effective against you
Is quite a "selfish" champion
His forehead is a huge target

It is important that whenever you pick ANY champion, you MUST be aware of what your team is lacking, and what it isn't. If you have a very squishy team made primarily of physical damage - Darius is probably not such a smart pick. Quite often, you'll find you do much better in a team that also has a dedicated tank like Leona or Nautilus

Darius excels in sustained combat. This means that he does well against opponents who need to get up close and personal to do their damage. Once they are in threat range, it's quite easy to stick to an opponent with this build and explode them into meaty chunks. By the late game, you should be able to punish anyone who does not respect your presence in a team-fight. The beauty of playing Darius is that taking the kill if your carries can't get the killing blow still puts your team ahead in offensive capability - and often creates the distraction needed to later put your carry back on their feet.


There is a very good reason why this is such a popular summoner spell, you will usually default to picking this. Ghost is not necessary as we get plenty of move-speed out of this build. My advice would be only to use Flash defensively, as Darius lacks the escape potential once he has engaged. He has plenty of gap-close as it is, and if you're using this aggressively, it sounds like you need to adjust your play-style! My advice: Never don't not unpick this.


Teleport is one of my favourite top lane spells. It grants almost global map pressure, granted your allies are smart enough to ward up. You can also teleport onto minions which your opponent in another lane has dived past in favour of a risky kill. I highly advise avoiding using this to get back into lane unless you have a champion knocking on your door. Pay attention to your other lanes and you might just be able to snowball your allies to a win.


An argument can be made for taking ignite instead of Teleport - it significantly increases your kill potential, especially against extreme healing champions like Dr. Mundo and Swain. Personally, I feel that Teleport is much more useful, but I wouldn't begrudge anyone taking this instead if they were confident in their ability to use it.

Greater Quintessence of Attack Speed
We want to abuse Darius' passive as much as we can, I often secure first blood because people underestimate how quickly I stack this with these quints along with Fury .

Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage
Darius really benefits from the early flat AD, for last hitting and trading, you cant go wrong here.

Greater Seal of Armor
Most top laners are AD, and even AP laners tend to harass with their auto attacks - if you're against a champion like singed, however, you could swap some of these out for health seals instead.

Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction
Greater Glyph of Scaling Cooldown Reduction
6 of the former, 3 of the latter. Why? The 6 flat glyphs start you out with 4.98% CDR which is high value in the early game, and the 3 remaining glyphs will give you 5.01% CDR at level 18 which will put you 0.01% under the CDR cap with this build.

Keep in mind, this is an ideal setup against an AD exclusive top lane and AD jungler. If you're not confident, or you're fighting an AP top, see my alternative rune choices!

Greater Mark of Attack Damage
Again, early AD is very efficient on Darius, and most of your armour pen will come from your ranks in E, and the cleave passive on The Black Cleaver.

Alternative Rune Choices

// Darius is a Juggernaut, meaning he is a low mobility, quite tanky, damage dealer. For this reason, we need to amplify his ability to explode a target once he's closed the gap. The issue a lot of people have with the season 6 Masteries is that it's hard to tell the advantage of one mastery over another - so below, I have tried to explain why I picked what I did the best I can!

Resolve Tree

// Tier 1 Recovery
To my mind, Darius is a strong early game champion, so we want to emphasise that laning phase strength. Recovery gives us even more lane sustain which is also great against poke-heavy opponents. Unyielding isn't a bad choice either, but you wont see any return until you actually start building defensive items.

// Tier 2 Tough Skin
Again, we want to make our early trades as powerful as possible. Explorer is not a bad choice either if you plan to roam a lot and the enemy has a kite-heavy comp.

// Tier 3 Veteran's Scars
Early game health is super useful to us. Not only to we get a larger health pool but our Decimate heals are slightly stronger too. My main reason though is for the keystone mastery I chose, which converts this mastery to even more free damage. Runic Armor would be great against an AP top laner like Vladimir where you rush Spirit Visage early!

// Tier 4 Insight
Regardless of summoners you took, do not go with anything other than this. Words cannot stress the power of having Flash, Ignite or Teleport on a lower cooldown. You have plenty of lane sustain at this point so there's no need for perseverance.

// Tier 5 Swiftness
This helps with our immobility problem. Even with dead man's plate, you are easily kited by the right champions. If you think you'll have no problem with the team comp you're facing, Legendary Guardian is also a fine choice.

// Tier 6 Keystone Grasp of the Undying
I have enjoyed the most success with this keystone. Why? Because almost every item you build contributes to your health pool, and more health = more upfront damage. Pay close attention to the buff (signified by glowing blue hands on your character model) and try and trade whenever it is ready. You can enter combat by hitting minions. The bleed on you passive also counts as being in combat, so this is super-easy to keep 100% uptime on!

As of patch 6.8, Grasp of the Undying will now only trigger after being in combat with enemy Champions every 4 seconds, not just combat in general.

Ferocity Tree

// Tier 1 Fury
It is a toss-up between this and Sorcery, but I like the easier CSing with fury and the quicker passive stacking at level 1, but it has been noted that the likes of Dyrus who uses a similar build prefers Sorcery.

// Tier 2 Double-Edged Sword
Damage trade-off for increased damage? Yes please. Personally I think that Darius has enough sustain without Feast and I prefer to snowball as early as I can, so this helps a lot with that! If you are the only tank on your team, however, then it might be wise to go for Feast instead.

// Tier 3 Vampirism
We build lots of early damage, so we can benefit from the lifesteal easily. I dont see any advantage in taking Natural Talent over this.

// Tier 4 Oppressor
This one is great on Darius, as you apply a slow every time you trade anyway. As long as you're dunking them right after Crippling Strike, you can be sure you'll lay out a world of hurt. If you opponents are ALL squishy, take Bounty Hunter for added snowball.

// Causes your targets to take a stacking bleed debuff, up to 5 stacks. Once 5 stacks are reached, you gain noxian might, granting you a load of attack damage, and the ability to put 5 stacks instantly on any other target you hit with your Decimate or auto attacks.
// This new passive significantly increases your teamfight potential, especially when your opponents fail to respect your bleed stacks. You can apply this to every opponent with a well placed Decimate. You'll know when you've fully stacked a target, as there is a very clear indicator above their head (see below image).
Noxian Might Indicator

Decimate - Skill Shot
// AoE ability that hits everyone in a circle around you and heals you for 12% of missing health per champion hit (up to to 36%/3 Champions)
// This is your bread and butter. Use it to trade or to hit fleeing champions just outside your auto attack range. REMEMBER! it is imperative to hit your opponent with the axe blade, and not the handle, in order to maximise this ability's usefulness. This spell deals damage dependent on Attack damage.
Patch 5.20 Nerf

Crippling Strike
// Empowers a basic attack, dealing extra damage and slowing the target. If this attack kills the target, it's mana cost is refunded and the cooldown his halved
// We level this last because it only grants us a shorter cooldown per level and does not grant any additional damage per point investment. This is a very handy tool for farming as this resets your auto attack timer. You should weave this in between auto attacks for maximum effect when trading. Also works on towers! This ability scales with Attack Damage.

Apprehend - Skill Shot
// Pulls targets in a cone towards Darius and applies a 1 second slow.
// We level this second mainly for the additional armour penetration. Typically, you'll want to avoid using this until the last minute to prolong your trades, but it is also acceptable to initiate with this on a fleeing opponent. It is also worth noting that this ability can interrupt escapes like Rocket Jump if timed correctly. It can also be used in a losing situation to stall for time if your Decimate needs another half second to heal you and save your life.
Patch 5.20 Nerf

Noxian Guillotine
// Deals true damage to one target, which increases based on the number of bleed stacks on your target. If this kills the target, it also grants noxian might.
// This is your signature spell. The Dunk. You should use this when you think the damage is enough to secure a kill. In a team-fight situation you should prioritise executing a squishy with it to proc your passive, and then chaining that onto any one else who is low enough to execute. It is worth noting that on the third rank of this spell, any kill or assist will completely refresh it's cooldown, making it even easier to chain together kills. This spell scales with Attack Damage.

Early Game


Phage represents a little of everything we need - some mobility, some survivability, and some damage. It's a great all-round item, if a little pricey. Do your best not to go back until you can pick this up outright. If you're really, really behind though, you could always buy up to three Long Swords instead as they all build into The Black Cleaver. I highly recommend finishing Phage first over Caulfield's Warhammer

How to Phage

Boots of Speed

This is worth picking up right after phage. Movement speed is absolutely essential on Darius! It allows you to punish your enemies mistakes, and if you're really ahead, to more effectively zone your opponent. If you pick this up before your lane opponent, you're going to bet they'll have a bad time against you. Do not skimp on this item! BUY IT!

Core Items

The Black Cleaver

This item has huge synergy on new Darius, it offers a little of everything which is perfect for his early game. The AD is a nice boost to your offensive ability, but it's real value lies in it's other stats. Let's analyse:

Rage: There is an excellent reason why you build phage first. The move-speed passive is essential to the Juggernaut meta, allowing you to chase targets and to force trades by AA-ing minions for the speed boost. This also applies on your dot ticks as the cleaver also procs on physical damage. That means if a champion or minion is bleeding anywhere on the map from your passive, it will constantly refresh this speed boost. Use your Decimate on jungle camps or minions to escape and chase!

20% CDR: This is way too valuable, more often than not I find my opponent is one Q away from death and the CDR generally secures that for me. It is a boost to your survivability as it allows you to life-steal more often with your Q.

Cleave: Since the changes to Hemorrhage, the cleave stacks now proc on the ticks from this passive's DoT due to it now being physical damage. By the time your opponent is on 5 stacks, they'll be fully cleaved, and that bleed will HURT LIKE CRAZY.

Dead Man's Plate

This item is the be-all and end-all for Juggernauts and Fighters alike. I would not be surprised to see it nerfed in upcoming patches. I cannot begin to describe how much I love this item. It grants so much mobility which is absolutely essential to closing the gap with squishies. the momentum passive is not lost by taking damage, only when you next auto-attack, which is what makes it so good. Some might argue that Sunfire Cape would be equally valuable, but I don't rate it on new Darius for a few reasons. Darius does not need the wave-clear from the sunfire passive, as with the cleaver built, a well-aimed Q can clean up an entire wave. It is true that Darius thrives in long engagements rather than short trades, which is where sunfire generally belongs, but I find that with the armour pen on your E and the burst physical damage on 100 momentum stacks, you'll explode squishies pretty quickly, as well as being able to actually catch them.

Boot Options

Mercury's Treads or Ninja Tabi

Welcome to season 6, the age of the ADC has dawned. it is now a 50/50 split between buying these two, but actually right now I prefer Ninja Tabi unless my opponents are stacking hard CC. As we gain plenty of move speed from our first two rushed items, I do not recommend upgrading Boots of Speed these until those two are completed.

Mid Game Items

Spirit Visage

Most of the time you'll see me build this on Darius using this build. The reasons are simple. The 10% CDR bumps us up to 30%, which we can cap with either a stolen blue buff, or our 10% CDR Runes. The increased self heal at this point is insanely powerful. With you flailing your axe around wildly at as many opponents as possible, you'll be really REALLY tough to kill. I tend to find that I don't need any more armour than I got from Dead Man's Plate as most ADCs have yet to build Last Whisper or it's upgradable counterparts.

If the enemy midlaner is behind, and the enemy ADC is ahead, pick up sterak's first.

Sterak's Gage

This is a really good mid-late pickup for when the team-fights really start kicking off. You've already built yourself plenty of health in your first two items, so the shield passive is going to be strong enough to keep you on your feet. If you're focused, it will really punish anyone within Q radius for proccing the additional AD. It significantly increases your 1v1 potential, as well as burst damage survivability. It's also a fairly cheap item, making it pretty easy to finish even if you're behind.

When is it most efficient to buy Sterak's Gage? Patch 6.4 Change

If the enemy ADC is behind, and the enemy Midlaner is ahead (and is AP-based), build spirit visage first.

Final Item

Titanic Hydra

There is some debate as to whether to build this, Ravenous Hydra, or something else. Personally, I feel that this item is right at home in this build. Given that you've built plenty of health for the cleave to do significant damage, it also gives you another auto-attack reset. I feel that the heal on your Decimate is significant enough to keep you on your feet, meaning we no longer need the life-steal that old Darius needed from hydra.

If the enemy ADC has built Last Whisper or equivalent, build Thornmail first.


Thornmail is now incredibly valuable to you. Your kit makes you sticky enough without the randuin's passive, and with the changes to masteries and items, ADCs have more lifesteal than ever. This is going to ensure you can survive the beating you are about to take from the ADC meta. It sports a massive chunk of armor which you already have plenty of raw health to take advantage of. If the enemy ADC has Warlord's Bloodlust , this is a great counter to that.

If the enemy ADC has failed to build Last Whisper or equivalent, build Titanic Hydra first.

Alternative Item Choices

Even if you are not the main tank on your team, you can take quite a beating in the late game. A lot of people are intimidated by your health bar, but fail to realise that you haven't build an awful lot of defensive stats. You must be careful not to be caught out of place.

You are at a distinct advantage when fighting in or near the jungle, as your Apprehend gives your the element of surprise when it comes to am-bushes. If your team has any sense, they will lul your opponents into a false sense of security, and bait them towards you. You can then spring your trap and create an inescapable death-zone in which they cannot escape without burning their Flash.

In my spells section, I mentioned that you should not initiate using your Apprehend. The reason for this is that the move-speed bonus from Dead Man's Plate and tenacity from Mercury's Treads allows you to close the gap with anyone. If you can, you should open with Decimate, close the gap and auto attack. Follow it up immediately with Crippling Strike. Weave in another auto attack, reset the AA timer with Titanic Hydra. This should be your 5 stacks. Should your target flash or dash out of range, this is where you should use Apprehend to pull them back into kill-range.

There are many variations of this combo, but the long-story-short is that you should always auto attack between your spells and items if you can. You'll stack your Hemorrhage so much quicker than usual.

Keep an eye on your team!

Surprise Pull!

Buy Wards!


Move between auto-attacks

Mute toxic players

Beware of Counter-builds

Have faith in your 1v1 capability

Well, that's everything! I hope this guide is useful to you in some way. If you have any constructive criticism for me, I'd be happy to hear from you - or if you think my guide is lacking in something or I have been unclear about anything, do let me know.

Thanks for reading!

Some of you will have noticed the RSUK tag on the corner of my images,
so this is the bit where I shamelessly plug my gaming group - because I can! :D

RedstonersUK are group a friends who play games for fun, and create "let's play" style videos for our many many fans (lol). If it takes your fancy, check out our promo video on our youtube page! we appreciate every view or subscriber we get <3

09-21: Updated broken image links
09-23: Added additional item discussion, corrected some spelling mistakes!
11-23: Updated with S6 Changes
11-30: Updated runes, and full mastery discussion
01-26: Updated mastery section
02-18: Added "how to phage" section, updated runes
03-04: Added lane Matchup Analysis
03-22: Corrected out-of-date info and spelling errors
04-07: Added "Look Ahead" section at the start of the guide for PBE changes

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