Varus General Guide by PeachyPenguin

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League of Legends Build Guide Author PeachyPenguin

AP Varus: Tank Shredder

PeachyPenguin Last updated on May 31, 2013
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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: 30

Honor Guard

Defense: 0


Utility: 0

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Hello everyone, I'm PeachyPenguin, and welcome to my AP Varus Guide. I made this guide to hopefully give some insight into how to play Varus in a non-traditional way. I came across this idea while surfing the League wiki looking at ability scaling, and noticed his 1:1 AP scaling on Chain of Corruption and decided to start trying things out. I was disappointed but not surprised to find that I wasn't the first person to try this out, but here's my take on how to play a very strong AP Varus. (Keep in mind that I'm writing this guide in anticipation of the upcoming changes to Malady, Wit's End, and Nashor's Tooth in order to keep the guide up to date more easily. This build is still very effective without those changes, however.)

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Pros / Cons

First, let's look at some reasons to pick, and reasons not to pick AP Varus.

  • Insane burst damage, at max near 50% max health
  • High poke
  • Great against melee opponents
  • Excellent team fight CC and Damage
  • No good escapes
  • Vulnerable to poke and heavy all in engagement
  • Relies on getting a few items
  • Can have a really tough laning phase, depending on opponent

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Skill Sequence

The skill sequencing is as follows, and I will explain it in a moment:

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

A few of the other AP Varus guides I've looked at suggest maxing E ( Hail of Arrows) before maxing Q
( Piercing Arrow), and I definitely understand this, and built AP Varus this way for a long time. It makes sense, I mean, why would you max something that you're not scaling with when you can scale something else that provides the utility of an AoE slow? Since I recently changed my build path to start with BotRK
( Blade of the Ruined King), I've started maxing Q first instead, for a few reasons, and here's what they are:
  • I actually start with some AD before going into AP, so the heavy scaling of Q Piercing Arrow is very beneficial.
  • During the laning phase, poke much outweighs CC (unless we're talking about ganks), and the ability to have a strong poke from Q, both to hit with decent AD damage and to prock Blight stacks is really helpful for keeping lane control.
  • And finally, if you're picking AP Varus, it's not for his CC or healing reduction from E Hail of Arrows, but for his heavy poke/burst; the 25% slow from level one E is sufficient, and leveling it doesn't make it easier to land or easier to prock Blight stakcs with.

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Here's my rune choices:


Greater Mark of Magic Penetration

Greater Seal of Scaling Health

Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power

Greater Quintessence of Ability Power

I take Greater Mark of Magic Penetration, Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power, Greater Quintessence of Ability Power, and Greater Seal of Scaling Health. The AP and Magic Penetration are taken for the obvious reason of adding to damage output. I take the health in order to make up for the fact that
Varus is quite squishy.

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I take 30/0/0 masteries on this build, focusing entirely on outputting as much damage as possible.


I take Spellsword , Weapon Expertise , and Arcane Knowledge to make sure that I get through as much defensive stats as possible. Because AP Varus focuses on %Health damage the most, it's more beneficial to get Magic Penetration than to get AP. The more Magic Penetration, the closer to the full amount of %Health Damage you'll be dealing.

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These are the summoner spells I would recommend.
  • Ignite will give some extra damage, and if you throw it onto someone right before you try to land your ult and the rest of your combo, you'll have more AD and AP to compliment your already high damage.
  • Barrier can give you that little extra bit of survivability you may need to get out of a bad situation, or maybe stay under tower long enough to get that last kill. If you're going to take it, sub out Ignite. Also, if you choose Barrier, make sure to switch the point from Summoner's Wrath to Summoner's Resolve .
  • Flash is just all around a great spell. It can get you in close enough to land an unexpected ultimate, or help you escape. It's especially handy since Varus has no innate escapes. I would always recommend taking this one for it's invaluable versatility.
  • Teleport is great if you think you'll need to be mobile. If you think you can help your team get kills by beaming places that you're not expected to be, go with this spell. Again, I would sub out either Ignite or Barrier rather than Flash. Also, if you take this, make sure to switch your mastery point from Summoner's Wrath to Summoner's Insight .

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  • Living Vengeance Is a fantastic passive. The fact that you can sit in lane and not rely on buying Attack Speed to get full stacks of Blight on your opponent. This Passive is the reason that I wait for my 3rd or even 4th item to start investing heavily into Attack Speed.

  • The huge range on Piercing Arrow has netted me many clutch kills. The best parts of it are its 1.6:1 AD scaling when fully charged, and its long range. The fact that you can hit from so far away, means that even if your enemy is frightened to death and fleeing for their lives with some Blight stacks on them, you can launch this sucker and stop them in their tracks. Its great for finishing off stragglers trying to get away.

  • Blighted Quiver is the key to the success of this build. It makes your basic attacks deal extra magic damage based on your AP, and puts those lovely Blight stacks on your opponent. At level 5 with 0 AP, procking max stacks (3) of blight will deal 15% of your enemies MAXIMUM Health. That's with ZERO AP. And it has a 2% scaling, which means you'll be doing an extra 1% PER STACK for every 50 AP you have. Not a bad deal at all. for perspective, building ONLY Rabadon's Deathcap would make 3 blight stacks prock for 24% of their max health!

  • Hail of Arrows is mostly a utility spell, or just used for easy Blight procking. It's easy to hit someone with because it's an Area of Effect. If you've put Blight stacks on someone, this is the easiest way to prock them. The range isn't as high as Piercing Arrow, but it's long enough to be very useful. It also provides a pretty decent slow even at early levels, which might be enough to let you get a couple more Auto Attacks off, and maybe even enough to prock more Blight with your Piercing Arrow

  • This is an amazing skill to combine with the way that AP Varus works. Because it has a 1:1 scaling with AP, you will really be able to see the benefits of buying those AP items when you ult. Chain of Corruption is an excellent CC spell, and when building AP allows you to output CRAZY amounts of Damage if you use it correctly. I have a small section explaining exactly to used this to its full effectiveness later in the guide.

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Here, I'm going to go over my item choices, and why i chose them.

Item Sequence

Sorcerer's Shoes

Void Staff

Nashor's Tooth

Rabadon's Deathcap

Runaan's Hurricane

Wit's End

Okay. So we'll start with the rushed Blade of the Ruined King. As I mentioned earlier, AP Varus has a really rough laning phase, due to low mobility and no innate escapes. Grabbing one of these will give you an active that improves your running capability by stealing the enemy movement speed, as well as giving some nice lifesteal to help you sustain in your lane.

The Sorcerer's Shoes, Void Staff, and Rabadon's Deathcap are all there for the same puprose: MOAR AP. Since you gain 1% of the enemies MAX Health in damage per Blight stack, per 50 AP, taking these three items will net you 5% more per stack. That's 10% total per Blight stack. The Magic Penetration you get from the Sorcerer's Shoes and Void Staff make this damage that much more effective.

Next is the Nashor's Tooth and the Runaan's Hurricane. Both are obviously there for the Attack Speed, which will get you stacking your Blight much much quicker! The Runaan's Hurricane will also send your Blight to 2 other enemies at a time, and apply an on-hit-effects you have. This could include the Magic Damage from Blighted Quiver, Nashor's Tooth, or Wit's End if you built one. The Nashor's will give you more AP as well, making your AP somewhere around 330, or 11% max health per Blight stack. This amount does not include any bonuses from Runes or Masteries.

Finally on the list is Wit's End. This is situational, and I would pick it up if I was against an AP top, or if I was taking Mid-lane. It will give you the Magic Resist you need to survive burst from mages, and reduce their magic resist to make your Blight more effective.

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This last section is going to be a brief explanation of how to micro-play your game to get the most out of your Blight stacks, and your Chain of Corruption.

During the Laning phase, land Auto-Attacks on the enemy as much as possible and don't hesitate to throw you Piercing Arrow or Hail of Arrows onto them as soon as they have 3 stacks on them. If you can't win the lane this way, play conservative. Wait until you can farm up enough gold to get your Blade of the Ruined King and the %Health Damage it does should help you get in a better position. If you're up against someone who gets really tanky, like Garen or Riven for example, just try to stay back and prock as many Blight stacks as you can. Remember, it does %Health Damage, so even if they try to tank up, you'll still chunk them pretty well.

In team fights try to land a couple Auto-Attacks on your target before you launch Chain of Corruption at him. The combined burst from Blight and your ult is huge, even against tanks. Once you've gotten your ult on to someone, take a close look at the battle. Try to see who it's going to spread to, and who it won't. Remember, even the spread of Chain of Corruption will prock any Blight stacks you've put on people, so try to get 3 on to everyone else you think your ult will hit! Dealing something like 45% of several enemies max health in a short period of time in one fight is absolutely devastating to the enemy team if you pull it off correctly.

This concludes my guide! I hope you enjoyed it, found it helpful, and will give it a shot. I won't guarantee it's amazing success, because AP Varus is somewhat of a niche pick, and your team may need to be willing to set up the comp around your pick. Have fun!


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