The site will be shut down completely on October 15, 2018 and become read-only as of Septmber 28th. More Info Here!
All Guides Darius Guides Season 6 Top Lane Darius (6.16 Update)
2 years ago

Darius Statistics for Cool Crimes

Author's performance with Darius compared to the ranked average.

Games Played
Win %
KA:D Ratio
Gold Earned
Creep Score
  • Author Champion Statistics
  • Guide Details

Summoner Spells Back to Top


This is what I take 95% of the time. Basically, take this if you want a good summoner spell.


A popular, but in my opinion inferior, option.

Here's why:
  • Teleport is a super safe summoner spell allowing you to come back from a losing lane - either due to being forced out or killed. TPing back to lane means you miss very little CS. Dying with ignite is that much more punishing as you will most likely miss 1-2 waves compared to TP.
  • Ignite will be punished in a competitive environment by a laneswap and therefore it's best to get used to Teleport.
  • Teleport allows you to turn around fights/make plays bot lane.
  • Teleport is 1000x better in the late game, allowing you to splitpush and TP into a fight, backdoor, respond to enemy baron/dragon attempts with homeguards or flanking with homeguards.
  • Darius already has mad damage. You don't need ignite to win duels and you'll often be able to 1v1 an ignite toplaner anyway.
Against someone like Mundo or Vlad I might consider running 14.png. I'd probably STILL take 12.png though. It's too good to pass up.

New Runes Back to Top

Masteries Back to Top


In my opinion, the best way to choose masteries is to pick a keystone and work from there. Lets look at them.


Warlord's Bloodlust

  • Since it's rework, gives a silly amount of lifesteal at low health.
  • You can't really rely on this to keep you alive. You can't consistently get attacks off to lifesteal up - you aren't ranged and you don't have a gap closer.

Fervor of Battle

  • The mastery for champions that autoattack a lot.
  • Darius doesn't autoattack nearly enough to make good use of this mastery. Because of your raidboss status, you will spend a lot of time crowd controlled.
  • You can make OK use of this but it's not even close to optimal.

Deathfire Touch

  • Any spellcaster that builds a lot of offensive stats can make good use of this mastery. It has low base damage but good scaling with attack damage and ability power.
  • Darius can't afford to build much offensive stats, but could potentially deal of a lot of damage with this mastery during his Bloodrage.
  • Your passive doesn't reapply this mastery, limited it somewhat.
  • Essentially this would only be useful during Bloodrage, and so there are better options.


Stormraider's Surge

  • Useful for any champion that wants to get in and out, providing great mobility if you're able to burst a target.
  • Potentially very useful for Darius. After killing a target, being able to catch another would be extremely useful. The slow resist is especially good.
  • The main issue this keystone faces is the fact you must commit 18 points into the cunning tree, a tree that really pales in comparison to the other two for bruiser champions.

Thunderlord's Decree

  • Very good on champions that can easily land 3 spells/attacks. Also useful for champion that don't build many offensive stats as it has strong base damage and poor scaling.
  • Darius can fairly reliably do this. A strong combo is E -> AA -> W -> Q, proccing this mastery.
  • I would however tend to avoid Thunderlord's in favour of Grasp on tanks, as grasp does pretty much everything better.

Windspeaker's Blessing

  • Useful for healing and shielding supports, and that's pretty much it.
  • An argument could be made for taking this mastery to increase the healing from your Q slightly, but I feel like that's too much of an investment for a pretty crappy gain.


Grasp of the Undying

  • Provides solid damage and sustain in lane (and teamfights).
  • Scales through the game, especially if you build lots of health and autoattack at all.
  • Can deal a surprising amount of damage to squishy champions in trades, and cause a large health swing.
  • Lots of Darius' gameplay revolves around sustaining himself during a scrappy fight, and this mastery helps him to that end.
  • Therefore, I believe that this is the strongest choice right now for Darius.
  • Nerfed in 6.8 but still the best choice IMO unless it gets reworked.

Courage of the Colossus

  • Nerfed to the point where it's not as good as Grasp (IMO).
  • Provides almost nothing early, but provides a big shield later PROVIDED you can get near multiple enemy champions and press E.
  • Darius doesn't tend to do this in a lot of circumstances, ranged champs will hang away from you and you will tend to peel in teamfights against 1-3 divers in most circumstances.
  • Difficult to get full value, and is therefore weaker than the lane pressure exerted by Grasp.

Stoneborn Pact

  • Amazing for duo-lane tanks.
  • Darius doesn't have a great way of regularly applying the debuff every 4 seconds, unlike someone like Braum.
  • Potentially viable, but you sacrifice a lot of your lane presence by not having a relevant keystone.

Therefore we're going to go for X-X-18, taking Grasp of the Undying as our keystone.

When we look for our 12, we have to consider that nothing from the Cunning Tree is particularly useful for Darius. He doesn't have many mana issues (even with no mana items), doesn't roam much, his true damage will not benefit from Merciless, and won't be receiving jungle buffs.

So it looks like 12-0-18 is our best bet.

Individual Masteries

Generally speaking, one choice will be better and it's pretty much never worth splitting points between options. That said, in some cases it's a toss up which mastery to use. I'd always recommend going 5 points one way or the other, even if the masteries are even in power.


T1: Sorcery = Fury

  • 4% attack speed will allow for nice last-hitting early on, and slightly increased dps late game. Darius' base attack speed is very very low and so this won't have much of a multiplicative effect.
  • 2% spell damage will increase your Q damage, which is the main chunk of damage Darius deals. It won't increase your ultimate damage. It won't increase your passive damage.
  • Therefore, neither mastery is particularly strong for Darius. It's personal preference.

T2: Fresh Blood > Feast > Expose Weakness

  • The more aggressive option, Fresh Blood adds to your strong lane presence and helps get the snowball going early.
  • Feast gives good lane sustain. Darius already has strong sustain from his good health regen and Q.
  • Expose Weakness increases your allies damage but won't proc off your passive unless I'm mistaken. Darius does a lot of damage on his own and it's worth taking a selfish option, unlike on a hard tank. As a result I'd avoid this mastery
  • Fresh Blood comes out on top as the most suited for Darius' playstyle. In extremely tough matchups, consider Feast (Kayle and Kennen come to mind)

T3: Vampirism > Natural Talent

  • Vampirism gives a nice amount of sustain throughout the game.
  • Natural Talent gives a small amount of attack damage (good) and ability power (useless) but honestly you can rely on Bloodrage for any extra attack damage, and Natural Talent pales in comparison.
  • The kicker for taking Vampirism is that Darius deals enough damage to benefit pretty well from it. A hard tank such as Maokai, Poppy or Nautilus deals less damage, and would benefit more from Natural Talent, but Darius doesn't really fit in that camp.

T4: Battle Trance > Double Edged Sword > Bounty Hunter

  • Bounty Hunter provides nothing at the start of the game, and allows you to deal more damage if you're already snowballing. This is much more useful for a jungler or midlaner, who are likely to get kills from a variety of sources. Darius tends to kill the enemy toplaner, potentially the jungler, and sometimes the bot lane with a TP.
  • Double Edged Sword is not really worth the risk compared to Battle Trance. It's extremely easy to force engagements for longer than 3 seconds as you will build very tanky and stick to people in melee.
  • Battle Trance therefore comes out on top in 99% of situations.


T1: Recovery < Unyielding

  • Recovery provides a small amount of lane sustain.
  • Unyielding provides some nice bonuses if you build a lot of armor/mr.
  • Darius typically builds very tanky, so Unyielding is superior.

T2: Tough Skin = Siegemaster = Explorer

  • Explorer is useful for roamers. Darius doesn't really roam, but sometimes the other options in this category just aren't as good as +15 situation movespeed.
  • Tough skin gives some decent early defense from champions where you are worried about lane harass, also nice for early all-ins. Taking 20 less damage during a fight can be very clutch.
  • Siegemaster is useful in matchups where you are concerned about being dived. This isn't regularly an issue for Darius, but it can happen.
  • This mastery slot is situational. Usually you will take tough skin, but the other two have their niche.

T3: Runic Armor > Veteran's Scars

  • Runic Armor is just great. 8% is a massive healing increase at all stages of the game (half a spirit visage)
  • Veteran's Scars is okay, giving a decent chunk of early health, and synergises with armor runes especially. Doesn't scale nearly as well as Runic Armor.
  • Darius relies on healing in fights with his Q quite a lot, so Runic is just that little bit more useful.

T4: Perseverance > Insight = Fearless

  • Now we're really getting to some strong Darius masteries.
  • Insight is good. Having your summoner spells on a short cooldown allows for a lot more plays to happen round the map.
  • Perseverance gives incredible sustain in lane especially if (like Darius) you have strong base health regen. It's actually one of the best in the entire game.
  • There's also a lot to be said for the buff on low health, as Darius spends a lot of time on low health in duels and in teamfights.
  • Fearless allows you to negate burst, and scales well with your resists. The value it provides is probably not as much as Perservance, however.
  • Overall Perseverance is best but I wouldn't write off taking Insight/Fearless instead.

T5: Swiftness > Legendary Guardian

  • There are only 3 sources of Tenacity in the game. Swiftness is one of them, giving you some early tenacity (the other two are Mercury Treads and Elixir of Iron). The slow resist is also pretty helpful. Darius is *VERY* prone to being kited.
  • Legendary Guardian gives flat resists, and is useful if you'd prefer to be tanky rather than tenacious.
  • Darius benefits just fine from both masteries, but Swiftness is too good to pass up in the end.

T6: Grasp of the Undying > Courage of the Colossus > Stoneborn Pact

  • See above.

Alternate Pages

The only pages I'd consider to this would be variations on the 12-0-18 theme, swapping out one mastery for another, OR going into cunning to grab either Stormraider's Surge/Thunderlord's Decree. The latter would result in something like 0-18-12, but at the moment Grasp is too strong to give up.

Abilities Back to Top


Skill Order

This is actually very straightforward. Max R > Q > E > W every game, no exceptions.

  • dariusexecute.png (R) is your ultimate and should of course be taken whenever possible.
  • dariuscleave.png (Q) is your bread and butter spell, and most of your damage. Gains great base damage and cooldown goes down with rank significantly.
  • dariusaxegrabcone.png (E) gains a massive amount of armor penetration per rank, making it a vital second max.
  • dariusnoxiantacticsonh.png (W) gains very very little with rank (only cooldown) and so is maxed last.

Early Skill Levels (1-4)

This can vary a little bit.
  • You'll almost certainly want dariuscleave.png (Q) level 1. It's very strong in early trades.
  • Lately many Darius players have begun taking W level 1 and going for an early all in cheese by hiding in the bush nearest to the enemy top tower. W enables you to stick to the enemy more. Personally I'm not a fan of this tactic, but experiment if you wish.
  • Level 2 you'll either want to take dariusnoxiantacticsonh.png (W) or dariusaxegrabcone.png (E) depending on the lane. If it's a melee matchup, I'd probably take W. If it's a ranged matchup or I can kill my opponent if take it straight away, I'll probably take E.
  • If you're expecting an allied gank level 3, you should have a point in each of your skills at this stage. It's also acceptable to take another rank in dariuscleave.png (Q) if E isn't needed (no gank incoming and losing matchup).
  • At Level 4 you should take dariusaxegrabcone.png (E) if you haven't already. Otherwise start getting those points into Q.

Skill Summaries

dariuspassive.png Passive: Hemorrhage

  • This passive is just insane. When you reach 5 stacks, you're going to start dealing a disgusting amount of damage with all your attacks and abilities.
  • Allows for massive 1v2 potential when combined with the other elements of his kit. Attacking a new target when Noxian Might is active is very bad news for them.
  • The bleed deals even more damage at 5 stacks due to the bonus attack damage from Noxian Might.
  • Early on, this is what allows you to win trades. Enemy toplaners have to be afraid of your all-in, and treat your passive with respect. If you manage to reach 5 stacks, you will almost certainly win the trade unless you took heavy damage beforehand. Even if you don't make it to 5, you'll still be bleeding your opponent for large damage after they back off.
  • Later in the game, getting Noxian Might off is absolutely critical in your fights and entire games can literally be won or lost based on it. Don't be afraid to steal a kill with your ultimate so you can start getting to work on the other enemies.
  • It's very hard later to get 5 stacks, as teamfights can be very chaotic, a lot of crowd control is thrown about, and its difficult to stick to one target long enough to hit them with 5 spells/attacks unless they're isolated.
  • Early however, this helps make you the king of laning.

dariuscleave.png Q: Decimate

  • Provides a source of consistent damage.
  • It is critical that you learn how to hit people with the blade. It makes or breaks Darius. Your other abilities can slow, helping set up an impossible to dodge Q.
  • Gives you absolutely ridiculous sustain vs. champions, ESPECIALLY in teamfights, as hitting 3 champions makes it possible to heal for up to 50% of your missing health per Q with masteries and Spirit Visage.
  • Extremely potent waveclear for splitpushing. Walk up the side of the wave as it come down the lane, and charge your q as you stand a little way from the creeps. The melee minions double back and form a nice crescent allowing you to hit all 6 minions with the blade. During the midgame this should instantly kill ranged creeps and leave melee creeps on one hit.
  • Low mana cost, especially early on. Don't be afraid to use the ability early and follow up with autoattacks if your opponents don't learn their lesson. Doing this too much can result in the wave pushing too hard towards the enemy tower early on, however.
  • In teamfights, try to hit 2+ people with the blade to heal up. Use this ability on cooldown and as your #1 priority to survive tanking an entire enemy team.
  • Scales with TOTAL AD, making Sterak's Gage super useful.
  • Applies passive to all enemies hit, meaning that it's the best way to get 5 stacks on everyone after Noxian Might goes off during a cramped teamfight.
  • You can flash while charging Q. This can be used to surprise people in lane or in teamfights. Especially useful as a finisher. It might take a while to get used to hitting flash Qs. Just do it in sandbox mode :^) (update: sandbox mode now exists this joke is dead)

dariusnoxiantacticsonh.png W: Crippling Strike

  • Autoattack reset, you can AA -> W for more DPS.
  • Increases your range by a small amount (25), but noticeable. Allows you to catch someone that you might not otherwise be able to. Also helps with lasthitting if you can't quite get through the creep wave.
  • One-point wonder. Gains very little with rank.
  • Scales with TOTAL AD once again.
  • Typically used as a follow up to E. You can also just walk up and use W on someone if they don't respect your zone of threat, or if you used homeguard to get in range, saving your E to grab them afterwards.
  • Refunds mana cost and cooldown if you kill a unit, allowing this to become a useful last hitting tool throughout the game. I typically will spam this early on to help me catch more CS if the lane is fairly passive and I'm not looking to all-in.
  • Slow is actually very significant, but short duration. You can easily use this slow to set up an easy Q blade hit.

dariusaxegrabcone.png E: Apprehend

  • Main initiation/catching tool during the laning phase.
  • This ability makes you the worst nightmare of champions with no escape.
  • Impossible to dodge, but the short range takes quite some getting used to, and you *will* regularly overestimate the range of this ability.
  • Briefly stuns the target. If you're getting dived on, stunning your opponent can allow a clutch escape.
  • If you're getting tower dived, grabbing opponents as they begin to back off can net you a kill.
  • The armor penetration is once again very significant and means that this ability is the clear choice for a second max.
  • Generally you want to save this ability for as long as possible and grab people back after they flash, but that's usually not possible. Using the ability to act as an AOE stun is it's main use later on.

dariusexecute.png R: Noxian Guillotine

  • Darius' iconic dunk. What makes Darius Darius.
  • Save it for 5 stacks of your passive if you can because it deals increased damage based on your stacks, AND the bonus AD will increase the damage of your ultimate.
  • With Noxian Might, dunk will typically deal 1000+ true damage late game on targets with 5 stacks. Q -> R can instantly kill a squishy late game in this case.
  • Constantly look for targets to kill on low health and get the teamfight snowballing.
  • Gives amazing 1v1, and often 1v2 potential toplane. Virtually no-one can fight you if you play correctly.
  • Although not immediately obvious, this is actually a dash, and can't be cast if you are snared/immobilized.
  • If you misjudge a dunk, often times the bleed will get them anyway. In a 1v1 top lane, don't bother trying to execute your target with R if there is no secondary threat coming that you need the reset for. Just hit R when they reach 5 stacks.
  • Somewhat annoyingly, this spell fears your own minions when you kill a target, which can hinder tower pushing a little bit.
  • Don't make the mistake of trying to execute a target with no stacks on unless they're REALLY low. R does almost no damage on such targets.

Items Back to Top

Starting Items

    Standard start
    Perhaps viable since flask's nerf

Core Items

    Rush most every game
    Boots depend on the enemy team
    Example Build 1 (Mixed)
    Example Build 2 (Heavy AD Enemy Team)
    Example Build 3 (Enemy Team Magic heavy)

Situational Items

    Magic Resist Choice. Spirit Visage is easily the best
    Armor choice
    General Defense
    Elixir Choice
    Viable Snowballing Items

Useful Stats

When we talk about itemization for any champion, we have to talk about what stats the champion actually wants to prioritize. Darius is no exception - he has several core stats that are very important.

As a juggernaut, Darius has very limited crowd control. You have more utility than someone like 102.png - but you can't build NO damage and still be useful. The result is building a mix of offensive and defensive stats.
  • Attack Damage - scales all of Darius' damaging abilities
  • Health/Health Regen/Armor/Magic Resist - mixed appropriately. Darius is a melee champion with no way of getting in and out of fights, and so must build very tanky to survive.
  • Armor Penetration - With the massive AD steroid provided by Noxian Might, and Passive/Q/W all dealing physical damage, this multiplies your damage output significantly.
  • Movement Speed/Tenacity/Slow Resist - Helps get into range.
  • Cooldown Reduction - Ultimately helps you tank more from heals with Q, control more with W/E, and damage more with Q/W.
That's it. Noticeably absent is attack speed - a stat which helps stack your passive faster, but due to Darius' hilariously low base attack speed, buying more is very inefficient. This is a deliberate balance choice by Riot, meaning you have to invest heavily into attack speed if you want the benefits, leaving you a very squishy target. We're better off investing in other stats.

Starting Items


  • Always take the yellow trinket. The vision and protection it offers is more useful than being able to clear your enemies wards with red sweeper. 
  • If an enemy jungler sees you have no yellow trinket it immediately puts a big target on your head - your lane isn't warded by default.
  • Later in the game, you can swap out for the Farsight Alteration if you wish, but since it's nerf on 5.24, it's a less attractive option than the more reliable wards from the Warding Totem.
  • On a related note, if you have a slot available, don't have one on the map, and can afford it, buy a control or two. Place is defensively or aggressively, wherever you think you can defend. Some of my favourite spots are bushes in and around the river, near jungle buffs, and hidden away deep in the enemy jungle. Experiment a bit. You should ALWAYS have a control on the map.
  • Since 6.1, the blue trinket is far inferior to the yellow trinket for top laners.
  • Since 6.9, the blue trinket is literal garbage. Never buy it.
  • Writing at 7.5, the blue trinket has continued to see use for top lane, but I still believe Yellow trinket to be the superior choice and I'll fight anyone on this.

Actual Items

  • Absolutely the best starting item for Darius. Provides high health sustain, and enough mana that you shouldn't have many mana issues, not only throughout laning, but throughout the game (despite building no mana whatsoever).
  • Try to take advantage of the damage-over-time effect by activating your potion during a trade, or looking to play more aggressive/zone out your opponent while you have the potion running. The damage is very noticeable.
  • One thing to note is that your passive, Hemorrhage, does NOT apply corrupting potion ticks.
  • Even if you don't start this item, I'd still recommend picking it up first back regardless. It just helps so much, saves you money on potions, and gives that little extra punch in damage.
  • Though you could argue you wouldn't buy 10 potions per game (to offset the cost), Corrupting Potion is good enough it doesn't matter.
  • Since it's nerf in 6.8, not as strong as it once was. Provides more mana for trades, but less health. I still think this is the best option, but you'll have to land an extra Q with that extra mana to make things worthwhile.

  • A potential start (or early purchase) in the case of facing heavy, heavy poke that you're extremely worried about.
  • Could be viable against Quinn, Pantheon, Ryze, Teemo... etc. I'm struggling to think of a champion I'd actually prefer to have this than Corrupting Potion level 1.
  • Honestly I'd just start Corrupting Potion anyway, but up to you to experiment if you wish.
  • The only instance I'd actually pick up a Doran's Shield would be first back vs. a lane where I'm losing really badly and am going to be eating a lot of harrass. It's a cost efficient early purchase when you're behind and need to catch up somehow.

Core Items

Items called "The Black Cleaver"

  • So important it gets it's own section. Complete this item every game, ideally as soon as possible.
  • This gives a very nice mix of offensive and defensive stats.
  • Most important is the Armor Shred, allowing you to take down the tankier top laners with ease. The shred DOES stack off your passive, thus making Darius one of the best champions to build Black Cleaver on as he stacks the Armor Reduction extremely quickly in a fight.
  • The movespeed from the Rage passive is very nice, helping make you hard to kite if you're in melee range.
  • The first part to build will often be Phage (rather than Warhammer), as it offers a generally better mix of stats. If you can only afford to complete Warhammer upon backing OR you're winning and can get something like Warhammer/Longsword, that's also fine.
  • Buffed in 6.9. Except in extreme extreme circumstances, always build this item first. Hopefully you were anyway.


  • Strong choice for ad-heavy teams, or an AD lane opponent. Especially useful when those AD champions rely on autoattacks for damage.
  • Typically never a BAD option. There are situationally better options, however.
  • If you're not worried about enemy crowd control, go ahead and pick these up.
  • If you're losing vs Riven/Renekton, go ahead and pick these up - before Black Cleaver is finished if things are bad.

  • Like tabi, useful when you're worried about magic damage on the enemy team.
  • More importantly, very useful when the enemy team has a wealth of crowd control and you're worried about getting into range. For instance, against Morgana, Treads are a very important pickup.
  • Treads are typically the best choice.

  • I've started buying these more and more since 5.22. They are very cheap (800g vs 1100g for treads/tabi) and provide a lot of movespeed, allowing you to chase down opponents with ease.
  • Like Merc Treads, these will help you against crowd control.
  • The critical deciding factor in going for Swifties over Merc Treads is the amount of slows on the enemy lineup. Enemy characters such as Lulu, Ashe and Olaf would push me to these boots.

Situational Defensive Items

Magic Resist Items

  • ALWAYS the best option for Darius' Magic Resist needs. Other items simply aren't as good.
  • Aside from the obvious Health/Magic Resist negating magic burst, the main upside of this item is the increased healing. 20% is huge and will amplify your Q heals by that little bit extra, helping you to survive in fights.
  • Once again, the main problem Darius has in teamfights is LIVING for long enough to get rolling, and if he is able to accomplish this feat, he can almost single-handedly destroy an enemy lineup.
  • Cooldown Reduction on Spirit Visage brings you to 30% if you have a Black Cleaver. Warmogs can be the final 10% you need, but it's not worth gimping your build for it if you need other items more.

  • An alternative, much more offensive option that exchanges raw tankiness for surviveability at low health.
  • The spell vamp is good from Lifegrip, but probably won't heal you as much as Spirit Visage would.
  • If I'm snowballing, and I'm against a heavy, bursty, AP comp, I'd definitely consider Maw as a viable alternative to Spirit. It is absolutely a niche item.
  • Since 5.22, the shield from Maw scales with your total Magic Resist, so stacking this with Spirit Visage is a very good option against previously-mentioned teams.
  • This item recieved some hefty nerfs back in March 2016, and I would never really think about building this anymore. Replace Sterak's with it if you must; never buy the two together.

  • Just flat-out worse than Spirit Visage for Darius. Blocking one spell does nothing when you're getting blasted with 15 spells. Doesn't provide healing amp. Doesn't provide CDR. Enough said.
  • Cheaper, so if you need MR urgently it could be a band-aid. Seriously just build visage though

Armor Items


  • Gives very good stats in general, armor and health being the two main sought-after stats for a tank (moreso than MR, as enemy mages usually lack the sustained damage to bring down a tank).
  • Part of the issue that Darius as a champion has to address is getting into range to deal his absurd damage. This item helps solve that issue.
  • Pick up if you need to close distances, but if you want to stick to targets then Randuins will help you more.

  • Ohmwrecker is a weird item, but it's definitely usable on Darius. While probably not as strong as other Armor options, it can be strong in the right situations and if used well.
  • Gives 10% CDR, usually bringing you to the cap.
  • The active is situationally powerful - while a dive typically lasts longer than 3 seconds, it can be used to break a siege effectively if the tower is in kill range.
  • Gives less raw stats than Randuins.
  • Overall, I'd probably advise steering clear of Ohmwrecker, but if you like 40% CDR, need Armor, and need to break sieges it could be a decent bet.
  • As a side note - don't build this if you're going for Zz'Rot. Point Runner doesn't stack.

  • A good lategame pickup if you have multiple armor items already and are facing a good amount of physical threats, especially auto-attack reliant ones.
  • Somewhat amusingly, provides pretty good waveclear lategame as minions pretty much two-shot themselves on your spiky armor.
  • Massive armor, but no health, meaning that you're investing big into physical reduction and can be vulnerable to enemy mages.
  • Scales off your armor. Only buy this if you have decent armor. You should have one other item at least.

  • The item for those moments when you're getting crit really hard.
  • Very nice active. Allows you to more easily stick on top of people to build up stacks of your passive.
  • Some would say this is overkill on top of Deadman's - two Armor/Health items is a lot of Armor and Health. It's still good though. You'll be very very beefy and very difficult for AD champs to take out.
  • Combine Deadman's/Randuin's/Tabi/Thornmail to become a bit of a problem for full AD compositions.
  • If Yasuo or Tryndamere or a second ADC is on the enemy team, you'll certainly want to get this as there'll be two champion critting you. Double crits, double value.


  • Strong attack-speed slowing effect to stack with Randuin's against AD-heavy or attack speed reliant teams.
  • Gives great CDR, only build this if you're willing to skip Spirit Visage. Pretty risky prospect. You COULD build it anyway but you'd be wasting gold.
  • I generally avoid this item for the above reason, but it's situationally strong (if you don't need any MR or can make do with just GA/ZZrot)

General Defensive Items

  • Super good. With the exception of his passive and ultimate (abilities with strong damage anyway) Darius scales great with the % base AD Sterak's provides. This is often the deciding factor in whether Sterak's is a viable purchase.
  • The shield is godly. Darius eats a lot of burst during teamfights, something you can't avoid.
  • Pick this up at the stage of the game when you're worried about dying to enemy burst before you can combo people down. This is often when teams begin to group, and so the timing of this item in your build will vary game to game.
  • A very important factor to note is that item is one of the few good responses to % health true damage, something you will come to hate (if you don't already). Because the shield is such a big part of the item's value, and only adds indirectly to your health pool, these % sources will do less damage than if you'd built an item like Warmog's instead.
  • TL;DR: Go away Vayne and Fiora.

  • Very nice luxury final item for sure. The massive regen essentially turns you into Garen. Especially useful when you'll be eating a lot of poke.
  • If you're facing a lot of percent health damage, I'd advise against this.
  • Conversely, if you're facing a lot of non-percent true damage - Vel'Koz, Olaf, Cho'Gath... - increases the value of Warmog's.
  • Since it now gives 10% CDR, I'm becoming a bigger and bigger fan of this item. It rounds out the build super nicely. Only build it 4th or 5th (not counting boots).

  • I absolutely love the Point Runner passive on Darius, and this is the best item that builds out of Raptor Cloak.
  • Huge defensive stats, outclassing Guardian Angel.
  • Active is actually a huge deal, and can really help you splitpush/siege with your team. If you're in a siege comp with champions such as Tristana and Azir, I'd strongly recommend this item for the midgame.
  • Just rounds out the build nicely. You've built lots of health on almost every other item, it's resist stacking time.
  • Set up the void gate somewhere near the target tower, but round a corner, in a bush, or just slightly hidden away. It makes it easier to defend. You're gonna want to push the lane at the same time, unless there's a huge wave built up and a teamfight is brewing elsewhere.
  • Nerfed slightly in 6.6, but still a strong choice.


  • This item has been repeatedly buffed to the point of viability. Once one of League's most expensive items, it has become one of the cheapest. Sure, it has a hefty cooldown still and has taken hits to it's Armor and Magic Resist values.
  • General rules for Guardian Angel: buy if you're dying early in fights. Sell late game when it's on cooldown.
  • You sacrifice slot efficiency for the incredibly strong passive - GA provides few combat stats.
  • Experiment with it if you like the item and the situation arises where it's useful. Buy once late game has hit and teamfights are the way of life. It REALLY sucks to lose the active from a random duel on the other side of the map.


  • Righteous Glory is an interesting pickup - it will help you stick to targets, provides incredible mana sustain and give you a way of initiating fights.
  • If the enemy team lacks good disengage (eg. Morgana Bind) this could be actually somewhat reliable for turning you into an initiator.
  • I haven't experimented with this yet, but I have on other champions, and I love it's effect. Give it a try if you need the sticking power (incidently this is probably the best item for you if you find yourself running low on mana frequently).


Offensive Snowballing Items

  • You get another autoattack reset with the active of this item, allowing you to build up stacks just a little bit faster.
  • Massive waveclear, but somewhat overkill. Darius already has good pushing capabilities.
  • Traditionally this item is best suited for champions with great attack speed and health, like Olaf or Volibear, allowing them to proc the on-hit AoE cone effect more. Darius doesn't really fit in this camp, and so I don't particularly recommend Titanic Hydra as a core purchase.
  • Damage has been nerfed from what it once was and I never buy this item. I prefer maxing CDR and surviveabilty rather than relying on items like this for damage.

  • Personally, my favourite offensive item for Darius. While it suffers from providing no obvious tank stats, the physical vamp passive helps alleviate this. 
  • Another item that provides your last 10% CDR.
  • Especially good when you start getting 3+ champions bleeding with your passive, Death's Dance will heal you for significant amounts during a teamfight.
  • Another thing that's useful to note is that the pseudo-damage reduction is actually really useful. Darius heals himself for a lot over time, especially at low health, and this item goes a long way to make him harder to kill.
  • Due to it's offensive-focused nature, it's best suited for those times when you're really far ahead and want to keep wrecking people. Otherwise, just get tankier. Sounds boring but then why are you playing a tank


  • The *definitively* best Elixir for Darius. Makes you harder to kite, tankier and helps your teammates get into range of you. You'll always be in the front of the fight, sometimes leading the charge, giving value to the movement speed trail.
  • Makes you bigger, allowing you to absorb more skillshots for your team. Ideally everyone would dodge the skillshots, but that's not always possible.
  • This provides a really strong amount of tenacity, which is really critical for bruisers.

  • An alternative elixir with a similar passive to Death's Dance.
  • An option if you need more damage or are confident in dealing enough damage, and aren't worried about enemy crowd control.
  • Generally recommend the other elixir more.

Matchups Back to Top

Click on a champion below to see the author's notes on that particular matchup.

  • Dr. Mundo
  • Ekko
  • Fiora
  • Fizz
  • Gangplank
  • Garen
  • Gnar
  • Graves
  • Hecarim
  • Illaoi
  • Irelia
  • Jax
  • Kayle
  • Kled
  • Lissandra
  • Lulu
  • Malphite
  • Maokai
  • Morgana
  • Nasus
  • Nautilus
  • Olaf
  • Pantheon
  • Poppy
  • Quinn
  • Rammus
  • Renekton
  • Riven
  • Rumble
  • Shen
  • Sion
  • Trundle
  • Vayne
  • Vladimir
  • Volibear
  • Yasuo


Dr. Mundo

  • Darius is very difficult to deal with for Dr. Mundo, who has no escape and relies on getting into melee range to deal most of his sustained damage.
  • Darius thrives in melee and will win a trade in an even lane 9 times out of ten.
  • Be very careful for enemy ganks, as the permaslow from infectedcleavermissilecast.png can easily spell doom for you.
  • This lane can easily go on of two ways. If you manage to get an early kill or two then Mundo will be in big trouble. However, if you fall behind or the lane is even, it can swing in his favour.
  • He has a very predictable movement pattern, allowing you to land easy Qs on him, but cleaver can be incredibly irritating if you can't get in range.



  • As with almost all matchups vs a fragile champion, this should be fairly easy.
  • If he gets into a trade, you win.
  • He will probably spend most of the time farming with Q from a distance which will drain his mana fast. You can easily deny him from that point onwards.
  • Care for his stun and ultimate, which can both deny you a dunk and a reset.
  • His stun is especially crucial to shutting you down in teamfights and you need to make it your priority to not get caught in it.
  • Wait out his ultimate, as it's easy to dodge your own with his. You don't want to fall behind in this matchup as he could win an all-in with ultimates if things go REALLY bad.
  • If he builds tank, you're one of the better counters to him.



  • One of the more difficult matchups for Darius.
  • Like any Fiora matchup, won and lost on vitals. Blame it on RNG if you lose. Works for me
  • If she uses Riposte poorly and you have your grab+dunk, all-in straight away. Flash on her, do whatever. It should be a free kill.
  • She needs to riposte your ultimate to beat you. If she manages to proc all 4 vitals with her ultimate, she can also win that way. Try to slow her down and position yourself against a wall. If she hits all 4, get well out of her heal zone ASAP to stop her outhealing your DPS.
  • I recommend getting a Sterak's 2nd or 3rd item, as otherwise her passive damage will destroy you in the mid and late game.



  • Somewhat of an irritating matchup, you definetely have the edge early.
  • Before you've finished cleaver powerspike, Fizz can win a 1v1 if he baits you under tower/hits his ultimate/dodges your Q with his E.
  • It's down to him to outplay you on this one. If you play well, you should do just fine.
  • If he wastes his E, then you should all-in straight away.



  • Although picking Gangplank vs Darius is super brave, he does have the ability to outscale you as the game progesses.
  • Gangplank will usually just look to farm, meaning this lane can be very passive. You should try to play very in his face.
  • The general rule for the lane is one hook and he's dead; although his barrels can do a good job of saving him.
  • One good tip is to try to bait him into detonating a barrel by pretending to approach it to last hit it.
  • Without barrels available, he's very weak and will die easily.
  • Gangplank has an extremely powerful lategame and it feels like playing against a ticking time bomb at times. Fortunately he's seeing strong nerfs in 6.17.



  • Unless Garen manages to dodge all your Qs, there is no way he can trade with you in this lane.
  • Try to charge up your Q before his silence hits. This can be tricky to land, as you might not be able to land a slow beforehand due to the silence.
  • If you aren't comfortable hitting Q without a slow simply save your skills until after the silence wears off.
  • Be careful fighting him at low health.
  • You generally don't want to roam too much in this matchup, as if you get kills you will become the Villain and won't be able to fight Garen.
  • Grab him back when he tries to run.



  • The go-to pro counterpick to Darius, Gnar is someone who can fairly safely lane into him.
  • A semi-decent Gnar in Mini Form will harrass you every opportunity he gets from max range, and kite you to death. He'll save his leap for after you use your E.
  • If you want to kill Gnar you're basically required to flash on top of him when he's in Mini Form.
  • Killing him in Mega Form is easier, as Gnar players will tend to waste their leap in this form. If he does so, you can go for an all-in.
  • Be very careful about fighting him near walls or turret diving, as if Gnar can land an ultimate on you you're in trouble.
  • You need to try and land as many Qs as possible to sustain through this lane. When Gnar goes to CS, predict his movement and Q him. When Gnar harrasses you, back off, the turn back as you wind up your Q.
  • His % health is extremely frustrating to play against - I recommend an early Sterak's if you can.



  • Graves is just bullshit really.
  • Usually you'd be able to deal with a champion like this, but he'll generally wait our your Q or E and kite you forever.
  • Deals ridiculous damage and is really tanky.
  • Take farm whenever you can, and stand behind minions.
  • If he tries to dive, try and stand on the other side of your tower - his attacks will hit it and he wont be able to finish you off.
  • If he uses his E forward you should be able to punish and kill him in most situations, but otherwise this lane is gonna be really rough.



  • While Hecarim, if played well, can definitely take you on early in this matchup, you outscale him heavily if you play even slightly safe.
  • Your slows and damage ruin him, a melee champion who really needs to use his only gap closer offensively to win duels.
  • Just be very careful early on, and get some armor. I recommend Tabi - Cleaver - Deadmans.
  • Hecarim's roam potential is very strong, and he will usually try to snowball other lanes. Punish him by taking his tower.
  • You can either save your E for when he backs out of an extended trade, or initiate with it if he's not willing to fight you at all.



  • Pretty easy matchup for Darius. You outdamage Illaoi at all stages of the game.
  • She can potentially have the edge in teamfights if she's ahead and your team walk into her mosh pit.
  • Careful about being hooked. Treat it like you would a Blitzcrank or Thresh, ESPECIALLY when she is near a few tentacles.
  • If you are hooked, you can either choose to engage her, which is usually if she doesnt have nearby tentacles, or cut your losses and leave the radius immeadiately.
  • If you CAN all-in, do so. Due to the nature of Illaoi's spirit, if you get her bleeding, then she won't have much time to take out your spirit.
  • All of her spells are very telegraphed. You should almost always be able to sidestep her Q especially.



  • Irelia can be a very big threat for you, especially during the midgame.
  • During laning, her stun is very annoying, as it makes it very difficult to get an extended trade on her.
  • Don't underestimate her ultimate damage - when combined with Sheen, she can 100-0 you pretty easily.
  • Play very cautiously if the enemy Irelia is a strong player during midgame. You want to focus on health and armor like usual.
  • Late game you have the advantage and can easily duel her.



  • Jax can be a tough one. If he is any good, he can win early trades by dodging your Q with his own. 
  • His E stops your autoattacks, so when he uses it, wind up your Q.
  • Don't pull Jax in unless you're winning hard. Let him Q to you, then grab him back after he disengages.
  • Both of you enjoy extended trades. I recommend attack speed quints in this matchup as they provide the most DPS possible.
  • You can take Jax out fairly easily late in the game as you become WAY too tanky for him to deal with. Quite a lot of teamfights will be a matter of you protecting your teammates from him.



  • While Kayle can be really annoying, it's pretty difficult for her to kill you.
  • If you can catch her pre-6, she's just dead.
  • She'll stay at range, and try to prevent you from hooking her. Its your job to stop her from doing so - flash on her to land your w if you have to. After she flashes away, grab her back.
  • Delay using your ultimate for as long as possible. She'll be looking to block it with her own, and if she's quick, she'll be able to. Eventually she'll probably lose patience and blow it, and after that you can finish her off.
  • During teamfights Kayle is very frustrating to play against, as she can stop you killing any single target with your ultimate. Try to stay away from her, and pick up a straggler to get going.



  • This champion is garbage



  • Another champion that wants to stay away from you and just harrass you forever.
  • Lissandra is actually quite short range, meaning your Q is pretty easy to land.
  • When she throws out her E to escape, just run towards it. If she doubles back, then she's dead anyway.
  • Be very careful for jungler intervention, as Lissandra has some of the best gank set-up in the whole game.
  • Try not to stand behind minions, as it makes it easy for Lissandra to harrass you from range with her Q.
  • While Ulting herself is annoying, it's typically her last resort and you should be able to kill her shortly afterward.
  • Be very careful towerdiving unless she has no ultimate.



  • While Lulu is okaaaay to lane against, she is a nightmare for you in teamfights. Her slows and polymorph ruin you, but even worse is her shield and ultimate. These two can make your ultimate fail to kill so often it makes teamfights very difficult to play.
  • Try to save your ultimate during fights until she's used hers, so you can be sure of killing a target.
  • For laning, just weather through her harrass by standing behind minions and Q-ing her whenever you can. Look to hook her if she gets careless.
  • She'll naturally push the lane, meaning you can farm fine near your tower.
  • Much less common top since her waveclear+ratio nerfs, generally seen support these days.



  • Most tank matchups for Darius are extremely easy.
  • While Malphite can stack armor, your E passive, Black Cleaver and ultimate really shut him down.
  • You outdamage, outsustain and outtrade him at all points.
  • When you take down his shield, try to get as much damage as possible on him for the next 5-10 seconds to prevent him blocking your next rotation with his next shield.
  • Your passive delays his shield for an extra 5 seconds.
  • Only thing you have to be careful for is his ultimate, which can be problematic if you get camped by an enemy jungler.
  • The typical patterns in this lane will involve Malphite avoiding combat with you at all points, while you should try to take any and all opportunites to engage him.
  • Malphite outscales you late into the game with his massive teamfight presence, try to end the game before then if at all possible.



  • A tank matchup that is very easy to win. To deal enough damage to trade with you, Maokai has to get into melee range, and without an escape, you can punish him super hard.
  • When he tries to run, grab him back like usual.
  • Your ultimate is unaffected by his.
  • It's super easy to build up 5 stacks. Just attack and keep running past him as he retreats.
  • When he Ws, he will dodge your Q if you're charging it at that point, so try to force his W first or you won't get the heal. You can just use Q and accept that he won't take damage. Your Q should be shorter cooldown.



  • A super boring lane. Morgana will just pool the wave. Neither of you has any kill pressure.
  • Early on you might be able to get a small advantage.
  • Otherwise, very little you can do - if you try to go in, Morgana will bind you, and if she misses, will shield your hook.
  • If her E and Q are down, go for an all in. Flash on her if you can.
  • Otherwise this will just be a farm lane. Look to get advantages from teleports in other lanes.



  • Probably the hardest Nasus counter in the game. You can destroy his health bar with your damage.
  • No way he can ignore you, which is what Nasus wants to do. If you get 5 stacks you will become a massive massive threat for him.
  • As usual against champions with strong gank setup, be extra vigilant in warding against jungler and mid ganks.
  • Try to trade with him at every opportunity.



  • There's not really much to say about this matchup. It's yet another tank that has nowhere near enough damage to trade with you.
  • You're gonna outheal his DPS, destroy his shield, and he has very limited options to get away if you hook him in.
  • You should be able to secure kills easily if he plays carelessly, and deny him totally if he doesn't.



  • Olaf has a very strong early all-in threat, especially with ignite, and a good Olaf player can cause major problems for Darius.
  • With his ultimate, you have have no way of peeling him off yourself, making it very difficult to land the Qs that you need desperately to heal.
  • His damage is very very strong early on, which is when you have power dips.
  • Prioritise health and armor like usual. Delay cleaver if you have to.
  • On the plus side, your ultimate is very good for finishing him off, denying his lifesteal tanking at low health. His damage is still insane though and you might not be able to get your ult off before he brings you down with E+Q spam.



  • You outscale Pantheon super hard. Just play somewhat safe early and dont get wrecked
  • Post-6, you win for the rest of the game.
  • Get rid of his shield by AAing before using your W.
  • He has no escape, and if he's behind, you can grab him to kill him.
  • His harass can be annoying but you can just all-in if it gets overbearing.



  • Another super easy tank matchup where you have advantage from level 1, and for the rest of the game.
  • Couple things to be careful of - her Q zone can hurt if you take damage from it twice, so just move out of it. Her E can wreck you in ganks - try to avoid wall angles.
  • During teamfights, her ultimate is annoying, and is Poppy's only saving grace in this matchup. Try to dodge/flash/avoid/wait it out if possible, as she'll probably attempt to cockblock you when you hit high stacks.
  • Her W does nothing to you.
  • Look to trade at all points during the lane. You should win.



  • I feel sorry for you. This lane is not fun. Quinn is like an annoying little fly, constantly harrassing you, blinding you and vaulting off you in you get close.
  • It's definitely possible to kill Quinn if you manage to get her to use her E poorly and can chase her down.
  • Early on, play safe. Take whatever farm you can get. Quinn will probably build up a CS lead.
  • Get Deadman's after Black Cleaver to chase her down, and either tabi or swifties.
  • If you can catch her, you can kill her, but her global presence + damage can be overbearing.



  • Very good matchup for you. Unlike most champions up top, you can survive and match Rammus' damage even through defensive ball curl.
  • Your ultimate is brutal for him and he has no way of getting away if you manage to interrupt his powerball.
  • Try to hit level 2 early and go for an all-in.



  • A good Renekton player can give you massive problems. His damage early on is very strong, especially around level 1 and 2, where you can easily get killed if you aren't careful.
  • After his combo of E > W > Q > E, he has no damage for about 6 seconds or so, depending on what stage of the game you're at. You should try and chase him down with your spells.
  • Take special care if he has ignite. Allow him to zone you off the wave.
  • Pay attention to his fury bar. If he is at or close to 50 or more (bar becomes bright red) then he can use his empowered stun, an ability which can deal 1/3 of your health bar early.
  • You do outscale Renekton, but if he gets snowballing he can be impossible for you to deal with and dive you repeatedly.
  • If you need to execute him with your ultimate (1v2 or 2v2) wait for him to ult first, as it gives him 250/500/750 health depending on rank. If it's a 1v1, it doesn't matter. Just ult at 5 stacks.



  • This matchup is fairly dependent on how good the Riven player is. A good Riven player can win/go even in basically every lane.
  • Unlike most champions, she can't bully you around early on, especially level 1, where you can just build up stacks on her and outdamage her totally.
  • At level 3 + 6 she spikes immensely (more than you) and you need to exercise massive caution.
  • If Riven doesn't get kills, she's fairly useless in comparison to you - play safe if you have to. The most critical thing is that she doesn't get snowballing.
  • She has 4 dashes to dodge your Q blade, so you either want to hold onto it, or just yolo and go for a prediction on her dash. Her shield is her easiest way of dodging the Q, so if you see her use that, go for the Q.



  • Surprisingly easy. Rumble is immobile, and medium range. If Darius can hook him in, there's not much Rumble can do to get away.
  • If you allow him to harrass you all lane, you'll just lose. All in or stay further back.
  • Be very careful for his overheat passive, as it's the only real way he can fight you in melee. If he's at 60+ heat he can activate it very easily.
  • Get off his equalizer as soon as he puts it down. Flash if you have to.
  • Pre-6, Rumble has a slight advantage, but post-6 Darius should be able to tank through his damage.
  • Build some early magic resist in this matchup - black cleaver into spirit/maw. Swifties or Mercs are both decent boots.



  • Shen is stupidly tanky and has really strong sustain. While he probably won't be able to kill you or harrass you out of lane, you probably won't be able to either.
  • If he taunts onto you with no jungler support, you can probably win as he won't be able to get away, so you can take advantage in that situation.
  • His global presence is stronger than yours, but if he recklessly uses his ultimate or teleport to go bot/mid lane, you can hook him out of it.
  • His trading is extremely strong with his Q/W; you win an extended trade but you have to make it a priority to get him out of his dodge zone; consider charging Q during this time.
  • He looks for short bursts of damage and backing off; you look for building five stacks and killing him. Let him dash onto you if you can - you can kill him if he uses his escape aggressively at any point.



  • Really easy matchup. Like most tanks, Sion can't compete with Darius' sustain and damage during a trade.
  • If he charges his Q when you're in the zone, you'll usually be able to hook him straight out of it.
  • Ward your red/blue buff to make sure he doesn't steal it level 1 with his passive cheese.
  • He has no means to get away from you other than his ultimate, and you should just be able to kill him if he gets a step out of line.
  • Play extremely aggressive in this matchup.



  • While you have the advantage in lane early on, especially with an early kill or two, Trundle can render you absolutely useless later on.
  • His ultimate drains your resists, and gains them for himself, pretty much negating half of your build.
  • In an extended early trade, you'll win with your passive damage and Q heal, but in short trades he can cause you major problems.
  • Don't try to fight him when he ults you. Just retreat and swing your Q at him as you go. If you can build 5 stacks while retreating, you may be able to turn if you aren't already too low from his attacks.
  • This matchup is about pushing an early advantage and trying to snowball other lanes before Trundle makes you useless in the late game.



  • Not necessarily a toplaner, but as a tankbuster, Vayne poses a nightmare to Darius.
  • If she does head top lane, you're probably going to have a bad time. Her W damage is pretty disgusting, her Q allows her to kite you forever.
  • Consider purchasing pink wards to all in her.
  • Try and get jungler assistance to focus her down early.
  • Buy Sterak's early.
  • Later in the game, your hook can really screw her over if you can actually land it.



  • Vlad is just plain annoying. He sustains forever, is really safe with his pool, and deals a lot of consistent damage with his abilities.
  • Build some MR early, and look to land Qs and Es on him as much as possible. If you do manage to get into a melee with him you win.
  • Movespeed will help in chasing him down - deadman's, raptor cloak - especially in the midgame. Consider swifties if he builds Rylai's.
  • More popular now than he was pre-rework, but less common top.



  • Volibear typically relies on getting full healing from his passive to win fights. His damage is very high, and he has the capabilities to duel you early on.
  • If his passive is down, and you're ahead, he'll have to play very safe, but otherwise you need to rely on your ultimate to execute him before he regens.
  • Volibear gets kited, much like you, later on, so even if he's doing well it won't be a big issue unless you absolutely can't go near him.
  • No escapes other than his Q.



  • Stack a mix of armor and health in this matchup - if you only build armor then Yasuo will ruin you with his ultimate.
  • While his mobility is annoying and can be used to dodge your Q, you outdamage him and outtank him. Try to fight him away from minion waves if you can, so he'll have nothing to dash through.
  • Try to proc his shield frequently, and trade afterward.
  • His windwall does nothing to you.
  • Generally, if you can build up enough stacks without him getting away, this matchup is pretty easy.

When to Pick Darius Back to Top


  • While he can be an absolute terror in the top lane, Darius has some weaknesses that opponents can take advantage of.
  • Darius is weakest against poke or kite compositions. He is one of the archetypical "Raid-Bosses" of League. He is very difficult to take down and deals huge damage if allowed to, but is extremely kiteable. If enemy teams pick a lot of ranged champions with heavy crowd control or slowing effects, Darius will have a tough time surviving and dealing enough damage to be relevant in fights.
  • Darius relies on his ultimate to deal about half of his damage in teamfights. If he can't get the first ultimate off, or the enemy team has enough tools to deny him killing the target (like Kayle's or Kindred's ultimates) Darius' effectiveness is severely limited.
  • Darius doesn't provide a great deal of crowd control and relies on his teammates controlling his opponents during fights for the most part. He is a strong pick when your team already has a wealth of CC effects.
  • Darius loves movement speed buffs, as they help him get into range with ease. Champions like Lulu and Zilean really function well with a Darius.
  • Darius is incredible as a counterpick to all-in engage/dive comps. As enemy champions charge into his team, he can stand at the front, weather the storm of random damage/CC effects, and hack his way through everyone. By champions dashing into Darius' range, they do his job for him.
  • Somewhat of a strong blind pick (when you don't know your lane opponent yet) as his bad matchups are all playable, and he has many even or good matchups.

Early Game Back to Top

First Contact

  • Before minions spawn/during loading screen, it's a good habit to start thinking about how you're going to play the lane.
  • Look at not only the enemy laner's champion, but their summoners and the junglers. Do they have ignite? Can you win an early all in? Are you likely to get ganked early? Are you likely to receive ganks early? Try to predict your early play.
  • Typically, unless your team plans to invade, you'll want to ward part of the river or the enemy jungle, and cover one of the entrances to your own jungle. If it's possible (teammates willing) try to make so that the enemy can't make into your own jungle without first going past an allied ward or champion.

Trading, Combos and Gameplay Patterns

  • Darius has some of the strongest trading potential in the game and thrives especially in long, extended trades. Almost no top lane champions can compete with a 5-stack Darius. His combos are pretty basic, but I'll still go through them.
  • Try to make good use of Grasp of the Undying, as trading whenever it is available gives you a nice spike of extra damage and healing. Darius can maintain the "4 seconds in combat" requirement extremely easily as his bleed repeatedly keeps him in combat for 5 seconds after a single attack.

Q (-> E -> AA -> W -> ...)

  • A lot of time in lane, you'll want to use your Q for some quick harass and healing. It's very strong against opponents who have a difficult time dodging it, as it deals significant damage and gets them bleeding.
  • Against opponents who can dodge your Q, this is risky as it gives them a 5-10 second window during which you cannot use your Q again. If you miss, you have to be aware that you may just get all-inned and die straight away.
  • If your Q hits, you may choose to follow it up with your other abilities. It's all to do with how confident you currently feel in the lane.

E -> AA -> W -> Q -> ...

  • Your bread and butter for getting an extended trade up on a champion without an escape. E brings them into range, W is used to autoattack reset, and Q is virtually undodgeable due to the 90% slow from W.
  • This brings an enemy to 3 stacks, and you just chase them down and try to get the last two.
  • Often times against ranged champions, this will be your only option to damage them as they will stand well away from your Q harrass.
  • Flash can be used beforehand if necessary.

All-In with Ultimate

  • In a 1v1, you won't need a second use of your ultimate and it's more important that you just get it off while you're still in range. This means that as soon as you hit 5 stacks, press R and let your opponent bleed out with the help of your other damage if you're still in range.
  • 5 stacks is generally achieved by hitting two or more Qs on your opponent with the blade. It has a short cooldown, is difficult to move out of if you keep moving while charging, and deals great damage.
  • In a 1v2 or 2v2, you'll often want to use your ultimate twice if possible. Try to catch your opponents both with your Q blade whenever you can, and as soon as one of them enters kill range, execute them with R. Then turn to the next person and instantly apply 5 stacks. Pretty simple. Darius is very powerful in small group skirmishes.

Minion Wave Control

Melee vs Ranged

  • Quite a lot of early laning phase is about the creeps, especially in top lane.
  • Many top lane champions are melee, meaning that to trade, they'll have to run into the enemy creep wave. Unlike casting spells, using an autoattack on an enemy champion aggros all nearby enemy creeps to attack the aggressor. This means that the player that plays further back will have an advantage.
  • However, due to match-up disparities, quite a lot of the time the aggressor will be attacking because they have a significant early advantage that isn't offset by taking ~50-100 damage from a minion wave. Just avoid fighting an enemy champion in a big minion wave unless in unusual circumstances, no matter how tempting it is! The minions will do way more than 50 damage if they're in a big pack.
  • Ranged champions operate slightly differently. Usually these champions will be harass-type champions that will constantly pepper their melee opponent with attacks. While this also aggros the minion wave onto them, quite a lot of the time the minions will not reach the ranged champion to deal their damage.
  • However, what this DOES do is push the wave in the melee champion's favour, allowing them to safely last hit under their tower, or near it, where they are very safe from ganks.

Freezing Minion Waves and Denying

  • One thing that is extremely useful to do, especially vs a melee opponent, is to learn how to freeze a minion wave near, but not under, your tower - allowing you to farm safely. If you're ahead of them so much that you can fight them AND a wave of minions and come out on top, you'll be able to deny your opponent as well.
  • The setup to a freeze is almost always a slow buildup of enemy minions on your opponents' side of the lane. This can happen for a multitude of reasons, such as 1 or 2 minions in your wave hitting the enemy tower.
  • If a large wave does build up for the enemy and freezing is possible, don't use your AoE to clear the wave! While last hitting, let the enemy minions kill yours, then tank the wave long enough for more of your minions to come up and tank the enemy minions once more.
  • When setting up a freeze by tanking the wave, you need to make sure that the enemy minions don't come into tower range. This will pretty much instantly end the freeze and could even allow the enemy laner to set up one of his own.
  • Denying is accomplished by moving to the far side of the minion wave and zoning your opponent away from last hitting. If you're good, you can maintain a freeze indefinitely (at least in theory).
  • A freeze is very useful when your lane opponent has backed, as you can make them miss 1-2 waves of minions for free, then potentially more if they're too scared to come near your tower (due to jungle pressure or being behind).

Mid and Late Game Back to Top


  • As allied and enemy towers start to go down round the map, splitpushing should be your primary goal with teleport as a summoner spell. Darius is a strong duelist, and can go toe-to-toe with many other strong splitpusher in the game if he's ahead or even slightly behind.
  • Your primary goals are to draw attention of other enemy members to your side of the map, giving your team breathing room, kill your enemy laner, and take towers whenever possible. With his W, Darius has slightly above-average tower pushing capability.
  • Quite a lot of the time during mid-game you'll want to push a wave as fast as possible. When it's coming up/down the lane, this is accomplished by walking up the side of it and winding up your Q so that the blades hits all 6 minions. It might take a tiny bit of practice to get this down. This should kill or bleed out ranged minions, and you can finish off melee minions with an attack or two.
  • Vision is absolutely vital to aggressive splitpushing and is one of the reasons you NEED yellow or blue trinket rather than red. Ward commonly travelled locations in the enemy jungle if you're on their side of the map. Some of the time you'll be able to take a 1v2 or a 1v3 but in other instances you'll want to back off or duck out of vision for a short time in order to not die to the enemy team goonsquading you.
  • If you can, you should try to secure enemy buffs and jungle camps whenever they're available. It won't be a play you can make too often, but really sets the enemy back. You should ward a likely nearby location to prevent enemies from arriving in a large cluster to kill you while you're doing so.
  • In the case of being behind, focus on pushing out waves and not straying too far where you can get dueled. Look to group up slightly earlier and make plays with your team for objectives.

Teleport and Roaming

  • While splitpushing, you'll want to be on the lookout to teleport to important fights around bot lane, dragon, and mid lane. 
  • A good habit is to be regularly checking the minimap every few seconds, as fights can break out very quickly without much warning and being a few seconds late on a critical teleport can be the difference between getting 2 kills and getting nothing at all.
  • Look for wards that are good teleport spots. Post-20 you can teleport from base with the homeguards buff to make your gank even more effective.
  • Roaming with Darius is generally pretty poor, as his initiation is very easy to prevent. You can walk into ongoing fights over towers and objectives however, as enemies often won't have cooldowns available to stop you.
  • Turret diving is very possible - coming from behind mid lane or bot lane outer tower will often result in a sucessful kill as you will deal crazy damage to the lower level champions at this point in the game.

Teamfighting and Objectives

  • As the game progresses later and later, you need to spend less and less time on your own, and more and more with your teammates.  Depending on your team comp and how the game's going, look for objectives like Baron, Dragon and Inhibitors wherever possible.
  • Teamfighting as Darius can be absolutely monstrous if you manage to get going. Your main goal is to try and execute someone to get the ball rolling - getting 5 stacks like you do in laning phase is much more difficult due to the chaos that is a League of Legends teamfight, so apply as many as possible but just look for someone in kill range. Typically a pseudo-tank support/jungler like Thresh or Blitzcrank can be a solid bet, as they'll be in the frontline brawl but won't be able to soak much damage.
  • After the first kill goes down, you can try to get to the backline and Q -> R them. Quite often this will straight up kill a squishy target, depending on the stage of the game. Q applies 5 stacks during Noxian Might and deals upwards of 500 damage, gets them bleeding for 100+ damage per second, and R can deal 1000+ true damage depending on the stage of the game.
  • Sterak's and your Q heal, ideally, will keep you alive through enemy damage if you're being focused down (which you absolutely will be). Try to keep spamming your Q on cooldown as priority for survival.
  • As you move into late game, it will be more and more difficult to take on the enemy back line alone as their damage skyrockets. Try to focus on peeling for your carries and executing front liners as a priority if the back line damage becomes too much. If the enemy has assassins or high damage melee threats, they should really be taken out as a priority throughout the game anyway.

About Me Back to Top

I'm a English Diamond top lane main on Europe West. I've been playing the game since May 2011, or early Season 1. I've had experience in all kinds of metas and in all seasons. I enjoy theorycrafting quite a bit, but I'm also happy to take notes from other players.

I picked up Darius shortly after his rework and have been playing him solidly since I became a top lane main back in October 2015. I've continued playing him through the nerfs (thankfully he's not permabanned any more).

I will (hopefully) occasionally stream at (my previous summoner name) in the future. I've done some in the past, and am looking to pick up a better computer at some point so I can maintain a decent stream quality.

I play in the NUEL ( so you might occasionally catch me on their stream from time to time.

Thanks for reading! Be sure to let me know of anything I can do to improve the guide, or if you have any questions, feel free to ask them below.

~Crash/TurtleFail/Cool Crimes

Version History Back to Top

17th December 2015

  • Guide in first complete state and featured.

19th December 2015

  • Added Version History.

21st December 2015

  • Added Gangplank to Matchups.
  • Small adjustments to phrasing.

6th January 2016

  • Added Garen to Matchups.

18th January 2016

  • Updated guide for 6.1 - items and masteries.

20th February 2016

  • Updated to 6.3.
  • Edited notes for Windspeaker's Blessing.
  • Moved Malphite and Ryze matchups to Medium.
  • Added Graves matchup to hard (good luck)

23rd March 2016

  • Updated to 6.6.
  • Added Health Regeneration and Attack Speed Quints as new options.
  • Small adjustments in various places as usual.
  • Edited matchups for Shen, Sion. Added Rammus matchup.
  • Updated Warlord's Bloodlust.

25th April 2016

  • Updated to 6.8.
  • Individual analysis for various masteries updated including Grasp Nerf.
  • Added note on level 1 all-in under 1-4 skill order.
  • Updated items: Corrupting Potion, Doran's Shield.
  • Updated matchups: Ekko, Renekton, Kayle.

23rd May 2016

  • Updated to 6.10. Several big changes overall.
  • Items updated - Spirit Visage, Maw of Malmortius, Banshee's Veil, Warmog's Armor, Titanic Hydra
  • Items added - Guardian Angel, Righteous Glory.
  • Items removed - Boot Enchantments (RIP).
  • Masteries updated - I'm generally taking Fury over Sorcery in T1 Ferocity.

20th/21st August 2016

  • Updated to 6.16.
  • Rune descriptions updated.
  • Items - sections moved around (Sterak's, Deadman's), removed Ghostblade, added Frozen Heart. General updating of descriptions
  • Matchups - Ryze removed (reworked and no longer played top). Added Kled (in a way). Updated Poppy, Maokai slightly.
  • Updated ability and mastery descriptions (generally rewording a few sentences, removing out-of-date references etc)

20th March 2017

  • Going through all patches from 6.17 to 7.5. A lot has changed.
  • Masteries given full runthrough, going over new options and changes in the trees.
  • Few item descriptions updated/removed.
  • More to come!

Send Feedback