Fnatic top laner Adam might be a rookie in the professional League of Legends scene, but he’s still one of the most experienced Darius players out there. Adam’s proficiency with the champion caught the eyes of many when he used him to secure a pivotal do-or-die victory in the quarterfinals of this year’s LEC playoff bracket against G2 Esports.
Adam’s 7/2/7 performance in that particular game punctuated a dominant split from Fnatic, as the team earned their ticket to the 2021 League World Championship as a result of the victory. Adam would go on to win LEC Rookie of the Split honors, while Fnatic finished the season as runners-up in the European league.
Dot Esports sat down with Adam to discuss his performance with Darius against not only G2 Esports but throughout the entirety of his career in the latest episode of ‘Mastery Class’. Here’s everything you need to know to become a Darius master yourself, just like Adam.
When to pick Darius
Darius, despite being relatively popular among solo queue players, is considered an ‘off-meta’ pick by many pros. Since 2019, Darius has only been picked in 17 professional games played in major regions. With that being said, Darius is usually a champion that grabs attention as a counter-pick. In 2021 alone, Darius has been used as an effective top lane counter-pick against champions such as Sion, Camille, and Sett in professional games.
“When you pick champions like Darius who aren’t really meta, usually you don’t prepare to play such a champ,” Adam said. “Those champions are already in your pool and you have to be ready to play them at any time under any circumstance. I’ve played Darius for six years now, so I know a lot of things about him and how he works in certain matchups.”
According to Adam, he picked Darius in that famous fifth game against G2 Esports earlier this year because of the matchup in the top lane.
“Darius is known to have a really good matchup against Camille,” Adam said. “Usually a really good Darius can abuse a really good Camille. I also picked Darius because they had a lot of tanks and not a lot of mobility. They had champions that want to go in, and Darius prefers to peel.”
In that particular game, G2 top laner Wunder had picked Camile with the third pick of his team’s draft. Adam and Fnatic waited until the next rotation in Champion Select to counter-pick G2 with Darius. Seven minutes into the game, Adam earned his second convincing solo-kill on Wunder, effectively winning the laning phase right there and then.
“Darius is usually good against enemy compositions that either want to go in or are really tanky,” Adam said. “Darius is a tank-smasher. That’s what he’s made for: to kill people who want to go in or are really tanky.”
When constructing a rune page for Darius, your primary runes will always be constant, as you won’t ever have to shy away from the Precision tree. “The runes are very basic. You’ll be taking them every time,” according to Adam. “In the Precision tree, you’ll go with Conqueror, Triumph, Tenacity, and Last Stand.”
Once your primary tree is set in stone, you can look towards the Sorcery and Resolve trees to round out your secondary rune choices.
“Depending on how confident you are, you can go Sorcery for your second tree with Nimbus Cloak and Celerity,” Adam said. “You can also go Resolve with Second Wind and Bone Plating if the matchup in the top lane is very volatile.”
The most ideal Mythic item that Darius players can build on the champion is Goredrinker. The bonus HP that the item gives makes Darius particularly tanky in both the later stages of the laning phase, as well as the mid-and-late portions of a game. Additionally, the bonus attack damage granted by Goredrinker turns Darius into a formidable source of front-line DPS. After your Mythic item is purchased, items such as Sterak’s Gage, Dead Man’s Plate, Thornmail, and Anathema’s Chains are viable options to add to your build throughout the course of a game.
“When you see that the enemy team doesn’t have that much mobility, and you see that you’ll be clearing the melee in teamfights, you should [build] Goredrinker,” according to Adam. “It will give you a lot of tankiness and sustain, especially if you find yourself to be next to five people.”
Beyond Goredrinker, though, there are certain situations where you should stray away from the item and build another Mythic option: Stridebreaker.
“You might go Stridebreaker when you need mobility,” Adam said. “Even though you won’t have a dash, the Mythic bonus that gives you movement speed is huge for Darius against some comps.”
Regardless of which Mythic item you feel is stronger depending on the situation at hand, Darius players will always want to stay in the face of the enemy team, dealing damage on the front lines of a teamfight, while still serving as a beefy off-tank for the rest of their team.
How Darius fits into a team comp
Darius is a relatively niche pick, especially considering League’s top lane meta has often revolved around main-tanks. If you notice the enemy team is drafting a low-mobility team comp, Darius will be a perfect choice for your team, as he’ll be able to stick onto the opponents and deal damage relatively easily.
“I like to pick him when the enemy team doesn’t have that much kiting,” Adam said. “Darius’ biggest weakness is kiting and mobility. You don’t want to deal with that as Darius.”
As we mentioned before, Darius will find the most success against tanky melee champions. According to Adam, the only melee champions that Darius can get outpaced by in the laning phase of a game are Riven, Fiora, and Renekton, among others.
“[Darius can have some bad matchups depending on the player,” Adam said. “There are a lot of ‘skill matchups’ that…can be hard for him depending on the knowledge that you have on the champion.”
When picking Darius, you’re going to want to avoid drafting him into matchups where he’ll have to face off against ranged champions in the top lane. Enemy picks like Kennen, Jayce, Karma, and others will make things difficult for Darius as he won’t be able to get in and deal damage in a one-vs-one fight. Instead, you’ll be chipped away by poke damage and forced to Recall more often.
“Darius is really weak against [ranged] champions,” Adam said. “Even though he can Ghost and try to all-in the [opponent], it’s still a bit hard because you need to understand the champion really well.”
In total, your main goal when playing Darius should always be consistent: get in the enemy team’s face and deal as much damage as possible while managing to stay alive. Sure, the same can be said for any melee champion in League, but none of them are able to be quite as effective or deadly as Darius.