Varus Build Guide by Needlous

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.

League of Legends Build Guide Author Needlous

AP-AS Varus - We All Fall Down

Needlous Last updated on October 19, 2014
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Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

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.



Offense: 21

Legendary Guardian

Defense: 9


Utility: 0

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Introduction/Actual notes

10.19.2014 update - I will greatly upgrade the guide within up to 3 months. I need to play Varus more and see if the old way of playing him still works. I will also update all videos after new Summoners Rift comes out.

10.18.2014 update - changed the runes and summoners/masteries a little bit. I also recommend going midlane once again, because ADCs are pretty good nowadays and you can fare decently well against most midlaners. Except Ori and Syndra. I hate Ori and Syndra. Rest of the guide is still mostly outdated, I don't have the time to constantly edit it.

Welcome to my Ability Power Varus guide! ;p
So, let's start off with "Why would I play AP Varus?"
So there are actually few reasons for that:
-He isn't as mana starved as other AP Carries (for example, let's say, Karthus or Brand)

-His lategame burst is just outstanding - I mean, 50% of one's HP and 1:1 ult scaling...? ;D Just add Deathfire Grasp to that.

-He's pretty fun to play (at least IMO ;p) overall.

-Both his autoattacks and spells are pretty strong thanks to blight.

-Gamechanging ult and pretty big range on AA's and spells + pretty decent utility from E.

-Very strong passive~! Useful for both AD and AP Varus


If you want to, you're free to go - I won't force you into going straight AP-AS after all. I personally, though, kind of don't see the point of going AP-AD hybrid with hybrid penetration on Varus - if you're speccing for % damage anyway, why would you want to waste gold on AD early on? I mean, it's not *really* wasting gold, you get some early damagezzz, but I'd rather have more AP and AS for my Blight (:3).

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Just wanted to point this out

Most of your physical damage is dealt to minions when you're playing AP Varus, that's why there's so much physical damage in after-game stats dealt by you. This doesn't mean that he needs armor penetration/hybrid penetration runes, they just aren't all that needed overall, you'd be better off with just AP or full MPEN (which I am using).
To summarize: Q and E both deal physical damage, you use them to farm, they barely do anything to champions. Most of the damage dealt to champions is magic (2/3 in short games, over 9/10 in long games)

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Teamfight vids


Check out my youtube playlist here for all the AP Varus vids.

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Possible Abbrevations

Q - Piercing Arrow
W - Blighted Quiver
Blight - Blighted Quiver
DFG - Deathfire Grasp
E - Hail of Arrows
R - Chain of Corruption
Passive - Living Vengeance
mpen - Magic penetration.
HP - Health Points
IMO - In my opinion.
AP - Ability power
AS - Attack speed
AD - attack damage
B - recall

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Pros / Cons


-Exceptionally good late game!
-Alot of % damage - it doesn't really matter if target has 4k or 2k hp.
-Can almost 100-0 almost anyone with 3 stacks of Blight and ult with full build (after Deathfire active)
-Very fun to play ;p
-Ult can make lost teamfight won.
-Very good AoE slow and health regen reduction.
-Counters health stacking pretty well (basically everyone nowadays, lol.)
-High risk-high reward.


-Bad early game(especially pre-6; his lane is usually tough) - even though his scalings are big, base damage is really bad.
-Basically needs to AA 3 times before casting spell (unless enemy is low)
-Relies on ult to do his combo.
-Pre- Nashor's Tooth lack of AS can be reason you miss a kill.
-Needs a lot of magic penetration/shred on himself or in team in order to work properly against a team that stacks MR. If they have +150 mr and you have no mpen at all, you're screwed.
-High risk-high reward.
-Often needs "protect the queen" team composition to be successful - unless you can manage to "dance" in the back and force enemies to focus someone other, or the enemies are just bad, or whatever.

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Previously there were some pretty outdated masteries and I don't have the time to update everything atm, so I'll just leave this chapter for later.

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Completely outdated section, don't bother reading.

Marks - 9x Greater Mark of Magic Penetration - you can also use AS reds, I think that'd be possible to pull of using Magic Pen Glyphs too.

Seals - 9x Greater Seal of Armor OR Greater Seal of Scaling Ability Power - Varus is pretty squishy so some armor never hurts; take AP runes if you're pretty sure you can kite enemy AD's well or just burst them. You could also take mana regen seals, or hp/lvl ones. I personally would only choose from armor, hp/lvl and ap/lvl. Considering how often you see AD casters mid nowadays, armor just might be the best option you have.

Glyphs - 9x Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction, or maybe AP/lvl. My personal choice would be CDR, because you need to detonate Blight every now and then and you're not going to build too much CDR ;p. If you feel like you need more magic penetration, Mpen glyphs are also fine.

Quints - 3x Greater Quintessence of Ability Power - other good choice would be Mpen or MS quints - MS helps in a lot of situations in the end of the day, doesn't it?

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Skill Summary/Combos.

Your bread and butter skill is obviously Blighted Quiver - it helps you with last hitting, it's your main damage source later on. Living Vengeance is actually very nice addition to that - every time you kill minion or a champion(assists for champions count, too), you get bonus attack speed for a while - that makes your DPS much bigger, especially if you've got that champion AS bonus. Piercing Arrow serves purely for detonating Blight, it's not the hardest skillshot, but also not the easiest one to aim. Hail of Arrows, your E, is AoE ground-targeted skillshot, which slows and reduces HP regen/healing of units which stand on it. Slow/hp regen reduction works similarly to Singed's Mega Adhesive, damage is dealt when the arrows fall on the ground. Chain of Corruption is another skillshot - it's not very hard to aim, range is kinda big, and it spreads onto nearby enemies. Because of it's 1:1 it is very good with AP build, even though base damage is kinda meh.


<If you don't have DFG (*are actually sane*) just ignore the fact that it's listed in combo sequence. It's pretty basic and self-explanatory stuff anyway.>
Blighted Quiver = autoattack. In any of these cases, Hail of Arrows can be replaced with Piercing Arrow, unless you want to decrease enemy healing from potion or skill.
Lane Harras -


Gank Setup -


( Blight stacks aren't necessary if your jungler is high-damage, or you're in a hurry. )

Usual teamfight rotation -
( )
Burst combo (Works well only when you have decent amount of AP; Deathfire isn't needed to do it, but when you get it, it increases you damage by alot.) -
- and then continue stacking/detonating blight if target survived.
It should look something like this:
(Yeah, I know he had no MR other than base, but later we've tried it with MoM on Nasus and had about similar results :p)

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Skill Sequence

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
W is maxed first for damage, E is maxed second because of utility it provides and lower CD, Q is maxed last. Also note that Hail of Arrows cost doesn't increase with level.
A lot of people are saying that maxing E or Q is better, because teh damages - that simply isn't true. Maxed Blight will deal 26x3(78)+15% of one's hp in 3 autoattacks - Implying enemy mid has 1000 hp @ lvl 9, that is 228 MAGIC(Remember, you have magic pen runes/masteries) damage total, not counting AP scalings(quints, masteries~). E will deal 225 PHYSICAL damage (3 less! :p), and Q will deal max of 215 + (lvl9 ad x1,6) 116 (331 total) PHYSICAL damage, implying you haven't hit anything before and it's fully charged. But, but, but - you're going to have that 116 damage anyway(It scales off base AD~), and base damage is, again, surpassed by Blight - by now, it should be obvious what to max first ;P.

Skill priority Chain of Corruption> Blighted Quiver> Hail of Arrows> Piercing Arrow
I think I've covered everything regarding skill order above, haven't I? :)

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Summoner Spells

My setup:

Flash for mobility.
Barrier because botlane meta 2 stronk.

Other choices:

There really are none. If you're hipster you can go with Heal instead of Barrier, but that'd be it.

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My item build:
MY BUILD ORDER is 3x pots + flask start > NLR + boots > Rabadons > Sting into Nashors > Voidstaff > Runaan's if your team has half of a brain, Zhonya's otherwise > Zhonya's/Runaan, depending on previous item.

Rabadon's Deathcap is rushed because you need to have some AP to back up ult and Blight - base damage is rather low.

Nashor's Tooth right after because you need more attack speed, cdr and mana regen for proccing Blight more often.

Void Staff because you need magic penetration, like every other mage.
NOTE:You can switch build order around as you wish.

Other good choices:

These items can be used in alternative build to some degree, though I don't like some of them (Like Guinsoo's - It just doesn't suit my playstyle.

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Recommended supports for botlane

As of usually I'm plaing AP Varus rather on botlane than on mid, because having support solves a ton of his problems (like no sustain); usually, you're looking for someone who can:
- Heal you
- Peel for you
- Build Locket or Mikael's sooner or later (support items in general)
- Can lane passively
- And, ideally, has some form of MR shred (doesn't actually happen, there are no supports with MR shred other than Raka)

Funly enough, the most unappreciated support outta here, Soraka, can do 4 out of 5 things I've listed above, so she's one of best supports you can get. Other worth mentioning supports are Lulu, Nami and support Nidalee.

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57,1% winrate and 4,6 KDA. All of the games were played with AP Varus at gold-plat level, physical damage dealt is so high because of the fact that you farm a lot with your AoE Q/E (and you're constantly autoattacking, unlike most of mages) - Long story short, AP Varus is viable. Not particularly strong in current meta, but viable.

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I'd love to thank jhoijhoi for Guide about making guides
Also, huuuuuuuuuge thanks to Cubby1313 - check out his Orianna Guide!
If you have any suggestions or something, PM me.
I am aware of the fact AP Varus is sorta hard to play and easy to counter (heavy poke/cc mids), but I personally enjoy playing him anyway, so.