Darius is one of the best bruisers to carry a League of Legends solo queue game. He punishes immobile champions and is a nuisance to deal with, even if he is behind, due to his True Damage on his ultimate. He scales great into the mid-game and becomes unstoppable with a couple of core items.
As with all League champions, specific items are going to be more effective depending on the situation. But there are certain items that work well on Darius in all games. These core items are going to ensure that you have the best possible experience with this champion.
Conqueror: This keystone rune is perfect for Darius. It grants you stacking attack damage and an amazing healing effect once you fully stack it. It is the perfect answer to tanks since you’ll become unkillable when dueling them.
Triumph: Triumph is a great snowballing rune to help you survive low-health encounters and get a bit more gold on takedowns. In teamfights, this can be the difference between you getting enough time to spam your ultimate and dying.
Legend: Alacrity: Legend: Alacrity is a basic rune to increase your attack speed and make your attacks feel more fluid. It is the default rune against all types of teams, but if you’re facing a heavy crowd-control focused team, you can go for Legend: Tenacity instead.
Last Stand: As Darius you’re usually going to be walking to enemy champions and soaking up all their poke while you reach them. As a result, activating the Last Stand effect is quite easy and makes you extremely deadly if you reach them with a low amount of health.
Nimbus Cloak: This rune has been popularized over night and remains core on most bruisers, junglers, and ADCs. It grants you a huge burst of movement speed when you use a summoner spell, giving you the opportunity to either escape or chase down slippery enemies.
Celerity: Since you don’t have any dashes or movement speed-enhancing effects in your kit, you need all the movement speed effects you can get from runes. Celerity is great in this regard, increasing your overall movement speed and making bonuses stronger as well.
Bonuses: +10-percent attack speed, +9 adaptive force, +6 armor
This defensive item is perfect to start with on Darius. It grants you health, a passive to help you last-hit and and an amazing health regeneration effect when you get poked down early. It helps you survive laning phase and get your core items with ease. While getting Doran’s Blade might seem better in some matchups, you can never go wrong with Doran’s Shields. You can always default to it.
During the farming phase, you are most likely going to take damage from enemy champions. Health potions heal back 150 health over 15 seconds and will give you extra time before having to base.
Ninja Tabi is the best defensive option in the top lane since you’re a melee top laner. You’ll be getting auto attacked quite a lot early on and getting this item early on reduces all that pressure on you and allows you to survive the laning phase easier. The only exception would be if you’re facing heavy crowd-control focused teams. Mercury’s Treads would be a better option then.
Trinity Force is the bread-and-butter item for Darius. You need to go for either it or Black Cleaver as a core item since you need the Phage effect. Without it, you’ll never reach the enemies since the movement speed is too valuable for you to pass up. Trinity benefits of having less health than BC but having more stats overall in other departments as well. The biggest bonus is the Sheen effect which is easy to proc and gives your auto attacks a huge chunk of additional damage every couple of seconds.
The other Phage item, which is better to get against tankier champions. While Trinity Force excels against squishies, you need the armor penetration from BC instead. It grants you a little bit more health and a great armor penetrating effect, allowing you to melt tanks easily.
A core item for Darius since you’ll be getting into the fray first as the frontline your team needs. This item ensures that you are tanky enough and don’t get burst down within seconds by giving you an absorption shield, which scales with health items. This item gets better as the game goes by and you get more health items. It will grant you a couple of thousand extra health when the shield is activated by the end of the game.
Deadman’s is a great tanky item that enhances your movement speed. It grants you health, armor, and a slow effect against melee champions, ensuring you can get on top of them and stick to them like glue.
One good tactic with this item is to stack it up then sit in a bush, waiting for a lonely enemy to come by. You can then hook them into the bush and unleash your combo, most likely killing the enemy in the process.
A magic-damage oriented defensive item. It grants you magic resist, health, and increases the healing you receive—three perfect stats you benefit from quite a lot. Against heavy AP-oriented teams, it can be rushed as a second item instead of Sterak’s Gage.
This item is great to make you an even bigger threat. You will have two lives to unleash hell onto the opposing team. If the enemy team focuses you down and waits for you to revive, then your team has enough time to dismantle them as you come back to life.
While the stats granted by it might seem mediocre, the item is gold efficient and the revival effect which resets in five minutes can win you the game.
If you’re facing a heavy ability power-focused composition or a composition that has too much crowd control, then Mercury’s Treads can come in clutch. It gives you much-needed early magic resist and reduces duration from any crowd control landed on you.
You can rush it against a mage in the top lane since the early magic resist is very valuable and will reduce the damage output of the enemy by quite a lot.
Boots of Swiftness
If you’re facing a team with a lot of movement-slow effects, then getting Boots of Swiftness might be a good choice. It will grant you more movement speed than Tabi’s and reduce the duration of incoming movement-slow effects.
It is a good idea to rush them if you’re having issues getting on top of targets early on, especially your laning opponent.
This is a great item if you’re facing champions who can lock you down with heaps of crowd control. It’s cheaper and can be activated at will to cleanse crowd control at any time. Building it against champions like Leona, Nautilus, Braum, or Syndra is a great idea if you want to be able to move around in teamfights.
The upgraded version, Mercurial Scimitar, is quite nice as well, giving you attack damage, lifesteal, and a small burst of movement speed when the item is used.
Bramble Vest reduces the healing output of enemy champions attacking you. It can be rushed against Quinn, Fiora, Jax, Irelia, and other bruiser champions who get a lot of healing early on. While it doesn’t scale very well into the later stages of the game, it is a good item early and cheap on top of that.
If you’re facing some mages, then getting Executioner’s Blade is a better option to apply the Grievous Wounds effect.
A more offensive-oriented item if your game is going well. It grants you plenty of defensive and offensive stats, while providing a great damage mitigation effect. It will ensure that you don’t get burst down within seconds by putting a damage-over-time effect on you instead of the upfront damage.
This item used to be mediocre on Darius, however, it’s rework allows Darius to become an unstoppable machine.
Gargoyle’s Stoneplate is great for bruisers who are getting blown up. It grants you decent base armor and magic resist, which are increased if you’re surrounded by enemies. The active portion of it allows you to gain bonus health for a couple of seconds, which if timed well can mitigate crucial cooldowns from the opposing team.