I'm a new League of Legends player and I've recently started playing Darius. I have a problem though: my early game is terrible! I usually die 6-7 times in early game, then recover mid to late game, where I stop dying and start to kill. In the end, my score is something like 10/9/etc, where my 9 deaths occur in early game and my 10 kills all happen in mid to late game.

How can I improve my early game play? What are some tips for a better early game both in general and specifically for Darius?

4 Answers 4


Darius is really easy to play with, because you don't need to build any AD items to do tons of damage. For the first time you leave base, I would suggest trying out Cloth Armor and Health Potion x5 for lane sustain until you hit Lv 5 or 6. Then (if you're solo laning) ask your jungler to gank so you can Back.

Build order should be (after first purchase of course):

  • boots of speed (lv 1 boots)
  • Vampiric Scepter
  • Wriggle's Lantern (from Cloth Armor and Vamp scepter)
  • Phage
  • Mercury Treads (from boots 1)
  • Hexdrinker
  • Heart of Gold
  • Maw of Malmortius (From Hexdrinker)
  • Brutalizer (either sell it later to get a defensive item, or if you completely wreck shop then build it into Youmuu's Ghostblade, but only if your team (but yourself in particular) are doing so.)
  • Frozen Mallet (from Phage)
  • Randuin's Omen (from Heart of Gold)
  • late game, sell Wriggle's Lantern for a Bloodthirster
  • late game, sell Brutalizer for Guardian Angel / Thornmail / Warmog's Armor, or buy a Youmuu's Ghostblade

Skill Order:

  • 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-0-1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8
  • q-w-q-e-q-r-q-w-Q-w-r-w-w-e-e-r-e-e

Runes and Masteries:

  • Flat Attack Damage Marks - Self-explanatory. More damage for last hitting and harass in lane.
  • Flat Armor Seals. Again, self-explanatory. Helps defend against auto attack damage and minions.However, if you're laning top lane versus an AP bruiser, (and you're in a draft setting and know this before loading screen) I suggest you have two pages for top lane bruiser, one with Armor and one with Magic resist.
  • Magic Resist per Level Glyphs. These are for late game to offset some of the magic damage from the enemy AP carry and tank/bruiser/jungler. Personal preference for Flats or Per Lvl, but I find the Lvl MR runes to be the best for top lane.
  • Movement Speed Quintessences OR Attack Damage Quintessences. Personal preferences, depending on playstyle. I tend to play extremely passively early game, and prefer more move speed over a bit extra damage, and since its percent-based movespeed, it scales better into late game when you're chasing people down like you've got Boots 3 instead of Mercury Treads.

Honestly, your Masteries will be up to personal preference, as will Summoner spells. I personally go with 21/9/0 and Ignite + Ghost, but again, personal preference. Just be smart and don't build down the AP tree and you can't really go wrong.

** A comment on boot choice **

Many people suggest getting Ninja Tabi on Darius. I would HIGHLY Recommend that you don't, and here's why:

Ninja Tabi: - Movement Speed 2 - 25 Armor - Unique Passive: Reduces damage from non-turret based AUTOATTACKS by 10%.

Woop de doo, 25 armor. Movespeed 2, eh, you get the same from the other boots. Unique passive reducing damage by a percentage? seems nice... But think about it this way: You're reducing 10 damage off of a 100 damage auto attack. or 100 damage off of a 1,000 damage crit. Now how good does that sound? Not very, huh?

Mercury Treads: - Movement Speed 2 - 25 Magic Resist - Unique PAssive: +35 Tenacity (does not stack with other tenacity items)

Magic Resist is okay, but the REAL gem here is that Tenacity. Tenacity reduces the duration of certain Crowd Control effects by 35%.

  • Tenacity works on: Blind, Charm, Terrify, Fear, Taunt, Pacify, Silence, Slow, and Stun.
  • Tenacity does NOT work on: Knockback, Knockup, Pull, or Suppression.

Generally once the enemy team sees a Darius, they'll want to disable you in some way to make you less effective for at least a short duration during the game, and Merc Treads come in handy more times than I could count, whereas Ninja Tabi I hardly ever get with anyone, because its just not worth it to me since Dodge was removed.

Improving early game in general is easy enough, but hard to pull off thanks to the human factor of the other team. What I would suggest, is whenever you Back to buy items, grab a couple wards and health pots. Ward the little round wall by Baron, next to the Tribrush and diagonally down from the river bush by top lane. This way you see if anyone is coming both up from river and out from their jungle, and you can see if they go into yours. Once you finish off Wriggle's Lantern, you can stop purchasing wards, thanks to its active ability.

While in lane pre-9, I would suggest playing passive and last-hit as much as possible. Don't spam your abilities until you hit Lv 11, because quite frankly, your mana pool is terrible early game. If you're a solo lane versus a double lane, last hitting under tower is the safest place to be. Let your tower hit the melee minions 3 times and the caster minions twice (iirc) before swinging at them.

When you go aggressive, lead with your Q, your spinning blade, and make sure you hit them in the outer edge of it for extra damage. If they run, pull them back in and activate your W at the same time, and make sure you procc it by auto attacking at least once. In between your abilities, always remember to auto attack! You need to stack your bleed passive as much as possible to get the full use out of your ultimate when you inevitably use it.

A word of caution, however: Darius is a detriment to your team overall if all you do is Ult every time someone gets low enough. You need to make sure your team gets kills as well, so you're not the only fed player on your team. While your personal build is probably one of the most expensive ones on your team (besides the ADC) at approximately 14K gold, remember that while you have 5 of your 6 endgame items at 40 minutes, the rest of your team might only have one or two. And its easier to focus one player down (even if its' Darius) than it is four.

Hope this helps you (and anyone else in your situation)!

And remember, summoners: When there's a Darius on the enemy team, Half your health bar is just for show.

  • You may want to mention runes and masteries since those actually affect early game enormously. I personally suggest AD Marks/ Armor Seals / MR Glyphs and AD quints.
    – Shykin
    Commented Sep 10, 2012 at 17:43
  • Added runes to the list. Working on masteries shortly. Added a small note about Mercury Treads versus Ninja Tabi.
    – ccreason
    Commented Sep 10, 2012 at 18:09

Darius is a char who is build to go top lane where generaly you are alone so like all top lane player you need to survive on your own...

To do that you will need some escape missing a dashe or something to backup in your skills it s realy important to see the people coming for you... So keep your river warded will help you to avoid jungler's gank. and taking flash as summoner spell would be a great idea ;-)

Now versus your opponent, the best way to survive to someone is to know what he is capable of and if you can trade damages in your favor or not. If you know for sure you will loose the trade just let him push the lane and learn to last hit under your tower, grab him into it and wait your jungler :-D. But if you are stronger (and Darius is against a lot of people) early game just wait he comes to last hit and grab, slow and spin him start again 3 times with Ignite and it's over.

So make your experience and you can look ot this if you don't know.

To get some survavibility I recommend you to start with a frozen mallet because with this slow and the HP it provides in addition to your passive you just can't die.

Regarding the enemy team damage orientation take Mercury or Tiabi ( Berserker useless cause darius doesn't play much with his AA but more with his AD ratios)

And to finish you can take Atma's Impaler + Malmorthius (choosing the first one depending your lane opponent) you will have descent damages with a great survivability that alow you to dive in teamfights fearless and chain ult to the PENTAKILLL !!!! :-D

  • +1 For understanding what your opponent is == stronger laning. Commented Sep 10, 2012 at 23:38

What is your item build order? Darius is melee; so always get boots very early on - boots + 3 pots is a very standard start, and you really need the extra speed on melee heroes. Also, be very careful of rushing in to finish off enemies in a 2v2 lane - if your partner doesn't support, you will just end up dying, esp. if you accidentally go into turret range.

You haven't mentioned the item build or skill choices; but in general:

  • Boots first for mobility
  • Get a Vampiric Scepter early for some sustain, so you heal off minions in between skirmishes
  • Don't engage if your lane partner does not coordinate well, or is at low hp and can't support
  • Don't always upgrade to Berserker's Greaves, depending on enemies it may be better to go for Ninja Tabi instead ... will cut down AA dmg, and cheaper which means you could get earlier BT (BloodThirster)
  • 1
    I really would not recommend getting a vamp scepter early on darius, or building a bloodthirster early. He's much better suited for bruiser itemization (ie frozen mallet, maw, randuins) Commented Sep 11, 2012 at 16:36
  • @Snuffleupagus: How would a new player sustain in lane without scepter? The OP is concerned about limiting early deaths, and needs sustain for that imho. Also, if you have a particular build to suggest, maybe consider posting that as an answer as well.
    – Alok
    Commented Sep 11, 2012 at 19:51
  • If you're dying consistently in top lane you're going to get bullied off of CS; vamp scepter won't give you any sustain because you won't be able to farm. You're far better off getting some items with survivability/damage mix so you can contest and be able to live when you bait for ganks. Commented Sep 11, 2012 at 20:09
  • I'm suggesting vamp more for keeping hp topped off in lane; and assuming he can get some CS (atleast under tower). Also, as he is new its unlikely that he solely lasthits (which would give lesser amount of leech that hitting minions more often)
    – Alok
    Commented Sep 11, 2012 at 20:13
  • Use Regrowth Pendant instead of boots for the first buy. That allows you to stay in lane. Drop the vampire scepter altogether. IMO - Darius should be built fast (boots, phantom dancer, force of nature) and off-tank/bruiser (warmog, frozen mallet, randuins) Commented Oct 25, 2012 at 22:09

Normally Darius is strong agaist melee champions, just focus on last hitting as much as possible and if the enemy try to harass, hit them back. Remember that the longer the battles lasts, the more damage you will deal, because of the hemorragy stacks.

You will have some problems laning agaist a long range champion like kennen. In this cases I like to build a philo stone, this will give me the sustain i need to stay in lane and farm, also will give me a mana boost, so i can spam my skills as much as needed. If you are having a realy hard time, and you can't even last hit, let the enemy push and last hit under your turrent. Remember that your goal as solo top is to have a hight CS. Letting the enemy push also make it easy for your jungler to gank the lane.

In general, having some kind of sustain, and being able to last hit is your primary goal as solo top. If you are dying too much, avoid fights that are too risk and focus in your CS.

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