Varus Build Guide by Frubbs
Not Updated For Current Season
This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.
Not Updated For Current Season
The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.
Hello and welcome to my Varus guide! Varus is the latest AD Carry to hit the League and he sure does a great job filling his role. He is a fantastic poker and will fit into any team that needs a carry. I spent a very long time making this guide so please, if you enjoy this guide, take the time to upvote it, and if you didn't enjoy it, please tell me why before downvoting. I also want to thank JhoiJhoi for the wonderful tutorial on How to make a Guide and for the beautiful line dividers!
Pros / Cons
+ Great poke with Piercing Arrow
+ Bring down most tanks with Blighted Quiver
+ Moderate CC, great in teamfights
+ Extremely fun to play
- No direct escape abilities
- Can be mana hungry
- Can miss ult and have a long cooldown
- Item, mastery and rune reliant
My preferred masteries for most AD carries. Vampirism is very helpful for lane sustain and if you pick up a Doran's Blade instead of Boots of Speed and three Health Potions you would have 6% lifesteal right off the bat, allowing you to stay in your lane and farm longer than you normally could.sup]sup]
Greater Mark of Attack Damage
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
Greater Quintessence of Lethality
Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed
- Greater Mark of Desolation to cut through the enemies armor - OR...
- Greater Mark of Attack Damage if you prefer early game damage, great for minion farming
- Greater Seal of Armor to make sure the enemies attacks are not tearing you to shreds early game
- Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist if you are going against a lot of AP, these really help - OR...
- Greater Glyph of Magic Resist if you prefer an early game bonus instead of a late game bonus.
- Greater Quintessence of Desolation to penetrate 10 extra armor - OR...
- Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed since Varus isn't the fastest champion and needs to travel quickly.
Flash is the summoner spell of choice for most AD carries, first of all it can be used offensively and defensively. Want to kill that guy with 10 health running away? Flash. Need to get out of a sticky situation? Flash. Definitely a great choice.
Ignite is great for getting that target running away with only one bar of health left! Combined with flash you should be able to catch most opponents. It also is a great counter to the healing capabilities of champions like, Dr. Mundo and Volibear. Fantastic choice for most AD carries.
Heal allows you to stay in your lane, turn the tides in a teamfight, save your lane partner and so much more! It can be countered by Ignite but other than that it is a very powerful summoner spell. If you feel like you have to recall too much, try out heal, it is very viable and very effective.
Exhaust is great to prevent any champion from running back to their turret, unless they have Cleanse, and for making 1v1's bend in your favor. Bringing down a champion like Tryndamere's damage down by 70% will definitely help in teamfights and turn the tides in a 1v1. Very helpful.
Teleport allows you to have total map control. Someone on the opposing team pushing your turret? Teleport! You also can teleport to wards for quick ganks. Teleport is a completely viable summoner spell and allows Varus to be everywhere! The only issue is, it has a 300 second cooldown.
Ghost is the perfect summoner spell for chasing down any opponent and escaping a sticky situation. If you combine Ghost with Flash you can escape most ganks. The only downside to the summoner spell is that Exhaust easily shuts you down. Decent summoner spell, I prefer Flash though.
Smite is not a good summoner spell for anyone except the jungler, the only time it would be useful is for dragon or Baron. Leave it to the jungler to take Smite.
Surge is not a viable summoner spell. The attack speed and ability power is almost worthless in comparison to a summoner spell like Flash or Heal. There are better choices out there.
Revive is an awful summoner spell. You should not be dying in the first place, so why give yourself a cushion to when you die? Play smart, do not get Revive.
Promote is an OK summoner spell for pushing a lane, but overall you can choose a much more beneficial summoner spell to yourself and your team. Choose something like Flash and Ghost.
You should not take Clarity, because while Varus might be mana hungry at times, he is an AD carry and should not need to take a summoner spells that helps with mana.
I find Cleanse only to be useful if their team has a lot of crowd control. If you see a team like this: Nautilus, Veigar, Tryndamere, Kog'Maw and Taric, I recommend choosing Cleanse.
Clairvoyance is not a good summoner spell for a carry like Varus. Only the support should take Clairvoyance. Choose an alternative summoner spell like Exhaust or Heal.
|SPA||Living Vengeance is great for minion farming due to the fact that when you get a minion kill you attack 20% faster for the next 2 seconds! In teamfights getting a kill or assist will allow you to bring down anyone else with an extra 40% attack speed for 6 seconds! (That is the equivalent of a Recurve Bow!) While there may be better passives out there this one sure is a hard-hitter.||SPA|
|SPA||Piercing Arrow has an exceptionally long range and is great for poking the enemies. You can easily charge up an arrow and hit them even while they are at their turret, messing up recalls! A tip to Piercing Arrow is to start charging it aiming away from your target, so they don't suspect anything suspicious and then fire it. You can still move while charging the arrow as well.||SPA|
|SPA||Blighted Quiver is outrageously amazing at shutting down any health stacking champion, like Dr. Mundo. At rank 5, with 3 stacks, an ability triggers it do deal 15% of the targets maximum health! You can use this to take out Baron relatively quickly, although the damage dealt is capped on monsters. So if Dr. Mundo has 4,000 health and you get 3 stacks of Blighted Quiver on him and then activate it with Piercing Arrow you will deal over 815 damage, not including armor.||SPA|
|SPA||Hail of Arrows is phenomenal at stopping healing, like Volibear's passive, Chosen of the Storm or Dr. Mundo's ult, Sadism. It also is a great way to escape a gank and chase down enemy champions. A tip to Hail of Arrows is if the target is coming at you, aim it a little closer than he/she is and if they are running away, if you can, aim it a bit ahead of them. I have seen a lot of people fail with placement on Hail of Arrows so just a note.||SPA|
|SPA||Chain of Corruption is Varus' ultimate. It is incredibly useful and can change the tides in any teamfight. It can be used for initiating a teamfight, or if you are losing the teamfight, to escape. It immobilizes the first champion it hits for 2 seconds and then shortly after spreads to nearby enemy champions. You can miss it as it is a skillshot, but I don't find myself missing it too often. I recommend not using this on single champions, unless it is early game and you don't expect any ganks or teamfights to happen. This is a phenomenal ultimate, use it well.||SPA|
We max Piercing Arrow first because it is Varus' main poking ability. It also allows him to kill those enemies running away with 50 health. Next we max Hail of Arrows for even more damage output[*] . You can max Blighted Quiver first if you are going against someone like Shen or Dr. Mundo. I usually max Blighted Quiver last because it isn't as useful as the other abilities.
- (Can be replaced with Mercury's Treads) if the other team has a lot of CC, or if you go mid lane) We go with Berserker's Greaves to make minion farming 25% easier! These boots are truly amazing for farming, allowing you to outfarm your opponent easily. You might prefer Mercury's Treads for the tenacity though. I don't recommend Boots of Swiftness just because all they offer is speed, but if you prefer speed, take them.
- (Core Item: Do not Replace) The Phantom Dancer is an obvious choice for any AD carry. The attack speed, critical strike and movement speed is invaluable. I get the Zeal early game, to make minion farming quicker and easier.
- (Core Item: Do not Replace) Ahh... the glorious Infinity Edge if you don't pick this up, you are not an AD carry. 80 base damage, 25% critical strike chance and 50% CRITICAL STRIKE DAMAGE!!! That means that you do 250% of your normal damage. So instead of doing 100 base damage, you deal 250 critical strike damage! A must have for ANY AD carry.
- (Core Item: Do not Replace) Great base damage and killer lifesteal. You can get up to 100 attack damage and 20% lifesteal with this weapon. Great lane sustain and perfect in teamfights. You also will dominate 1v1's because for you heal yourself for 20% of the damage you deal! The Bloodthirster is a no-brainer for any carry.
- (Can be replaced with any situational item) You might have noticed people are able to escape you pretty easily unless you are Ashe. This is where the Frozen Mallet comes in! It gives you 700 extra health, which is very nice for survivability and a 30% slow for 2.5 seconds everytime you attack! That is more than Ghost's bonus speed! Very excellent item, highly recommended.
- (Can be replaced with any situational item) The enemy tank should have loads of armor by now. If you were laning against someone like Rammus you probably would have wanted to buy this earlier. It is extremely amazing against tanks that stack a lot of armor. It can be replaced by any of the situational items though if you feel you do not need it.
- The Banshee's Veil is by far the most amazing item I can recommend. It gives you a spell shield every 45 seconds that can block ultimates, stop a high bursting spell like Dark Matter, and just is a great item in general. It also gives a decent amount of health and mana for survivability. It also can stop Brand's stun combo! He uses Conflagration on you, but Banshee's Veil has blocked it! Then he throws Sear at you to stun you and it damages you, but the stun has been averted, potentially saving your life. If you feel like you are being stomped on by a single spell, replace Last Whisper or Frozen Mallet with this.
- When the other team has some crazy burst AP champs like LeBlanc or Veigar this item can save your life! Normally they would be able to burst you down in about 3 seconds if they are able to pull off their full combo. This item will easily counter these "glass cannon" champions. The extra damage also is a nice component. Replace Last Whisper or Frozen Mallet with this if needed.
- In most all team fights the squishy hard-hitting champs like Varus are targeted first. This item will basically give you a second life. I have had over 3 ultimates used on me at once and Guardian Angel made them useless. It also has an armor and magic resistance bonus making you pretty durable too. Replace Last Whisper or Frozen Mallet with this.
- When the other team has a ton of what we call "right-click win" champions like Master Yi or Tryndamere, then Frozen Heart is a MUST have. It gives you 99 armor and reduces the attack speed of nearby enemies by 20%! It also gives you a nice amount of CDR (cooldown reduction) allowing you to spam Piercing Arrow in teamfights! Replace Last Whisper or Frozen Mallet with this.
- If you have any suggestions for situational items, please leave a comment!
Early game as Varus is pretty easy. I recommend either going mid or bot, he is strong in both lanes. Try not to get too aggressive as you are very squishy, but instead focus on minion farming. His passive, Living Vengeance, makes minion farming extremely easy. Try to harass the opposing team as much as you can with Piercing Arrow, so they either have to recall and miss experience, or sit by the turret and not farm. Try and purchase Sight Wards to avoid ganks from the other team and place them in the brush near the river. Try and help out other lanes if they are in trouble, and if your lane is secure.
By now you probably should at least have your boots and Infinity Edge. Keep farming minions and holding your lane until someone provokes a team fight. Varus is exceptionally good in team fights due to his outstanding ult, Chain of Corruption that immobilizes an enemy champion for 2 seconds and spreads to any nearby enemy champions. It is a skillshot, but it is pretty hard to miss since it goes through minions. Try not to use this on single champions, unless it is early game and you don't expect and ganks or team fights to happen. In comparison to Ashe's ult, Enchanted Crystal Arrow I view Chain of Corruption to be much more useful in team fights, and much easier to aim. You can use his ultimate to initiate a team fight, but it could lead to you dying. I suggest letting your tank initiate the fight, and then using your ultimate. If nothing interesting happens mid game, then keep farming minions and earning gold.
Team fights definitely have happened by now and either your team or their team has probably pushed to an inhibitor. If you have been pushed to your inhibitor you want to play more defensively and fend off the Super Minion s, or if you have pushed to their inhibitor you might want to try pushing the side lanes as well. You definitely have your core items by now, and with the right skill, should be able to defeat most of the enemy team 1v1. Now is all about decision making, if you are losing I do not suggest going to get Baron Nashor only due to the fact that they probably have Sight Wards there and could steal Baron, score an ace and win the game. I have personally done this a couple times thinking the buff would help. Just play smart and you should be fine.
Tips & Tricks
- In team fights try not to just shoot a Piercing Arrow into the crowd, instead try and hit a couple of them applying Blighted Quiver and then shoot it, to maximize damage.
- When you are harassing your lane also try to stack Blighted Quiver on your opponents before shooting Piercing Arrow. Remember the stack lasts 6 seconds, so you don't necessarily need to get all three stacks in one poke, just hit them once, back off, hit them again, back off, hit them a last time and shoot Piercing Arrow! This works especially great against health stackers like Dr. Mundo.
- Always throw Hail of Arrows in front of the opponents if they are running away, or closer to you if they are running towards you. The slow is applied in the area of corruption, not when it hits the target, use this to your advantage.
- Try not to use Chain of Corruption on single targets, unless it is early game and you do not expect ganks or team fights to happen. If a team fight does happen and it is on cooldown, you will not help as much as you could.
- Have any Tips & Tricks suggestions? Leave a comment!
Comparison to Ashe
I find him to be exceptionally better at harassing than Ashe only due to the fact that Volley is her main poke. Varus has the ability to poke with Piercing Arrow AND Hail of Arrows, not to mention the incredible capability of Blighted Quiver. Blighted Quiver combined with most armor penetration items and runes make Varus a perfect AD Carry/Anti-Tank. If you can get three stacks of Blighted Quiver on the tank and use Piercing Arrow, you can drop their health QUITE fast. His ultimate, Chain of Corruption also has a much higher rate of hitting the enemy, unless you have insane sniping skills. Overall I view Varus to be the better AD carry, as of now.
Thank you all so very much for taking the time to read my guide. If you enjoyed it, please leave a comment and upvote! If you did not enjoy the guide please tell my why, I am always looking to improve my work! This is my first guide I have ever written and I feel very proud of it. Thank you and I hope you enjoy creaming the other team!
- 05/8/12 - Started writing guide
- 05/11/12 - Released guide
- 05/11/12 - Added a screencap of games as Varus
- 05/11/12 - Changed boots in build to Berserker's Greaves and also updated the item purchase order to allow for more farming/lane sustain
- 05/11/12 - Added a mid lane guide
- 05/12/12 - Changed masteries and summoner spells section, added tips & tricks section