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Varus Build Guide by Cazed

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.


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League of Legends Build Guide Author Cazed

Varus - In depth guide! The cost of your life is one arrow!

Cazed Last updated on June 12, 2012
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My personally preferred build

[VS]

Alternative build

Ability Sequence

2
3
5
7
9
Ability Key Q
1
8
10
12
13
Ability Key W
4
14
15
17
18
Ability Key E
6
11
16
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.



Masteries

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
3/
Sunder
Archmage
 
 
 
 
 
 
1/
Executioner
 
 

Offense: 21

 
 
 
 
 
Durability
3/
Vigor
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Honor Guard
Mercenary
 
 
 
 
 
 
Juggernaut
 
 

Defense: 9

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Strength of Spirit
Intelligence
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Mastermind
 

Utility: 0


Guide Top

Introduction

Hi everyone, I am Cazed and this is my in depth guide to Varus - The arrow of retribution.

Since I'm usually the AD carry ( Ezreal used to be my main champ until now) on my team I really looked forward to the release of Varus.
RIOT didn't bring a (ranged) AD carry in the game for the last months and as a result i bought him the day he had been released.

Following are my impressions, thoughts and my prefered build for Varus, I hope it will help you playing this (in my opinion) ******* awesome champ even better than you did until now!

My aim is to keep this guide constantly refreshed and updated if the metagame changes or if there will be any patches that may affect the way Varus has to be played.
I'd appreciate if you could add constructive criticism and/or your opinion about a certain point in the comment section - I want the guide to be as informative as possible and some feedback definitely will help me achieving that goal!

Plus, English is not my native language, so if there is a part/section which is hard to understand or you find any grammar or spelling mistakes - please let me know so I am able to correct them! (It may also help me increasing my language skills ;).)

That said, let's get started!

P.S.: I want to thank JhoiJhoi for her awesome guides! - They gave me important background knowledge in playing AD carries and how to actually write a guide.
I will put the links to her guides in a specific section at the end (I will try to reference to as many other guides as possible to make sure I'll just give you specific information about Varus and how to play him).



Guide Top

Pros / Cons




Varus is a ranged DPS champion who can counter many other characters throughout the game.
He's got strong burst damage and a very good harass meaning he either contributes as a nuke in team fights or is able to dominate and farm a lane quickly.
Of course it's not always asured you will gain stats like 20/0/0 since there are - unfortunately - cons aswell.

Pros

- High DPS (like all AD carries)
- Built-in slow with Hail of Arrows
- Easy to farm with (high basic attack range)
- Hard to counter his damage (%-magic dmg!)
- Awesome passive Living Vengeance
- Great ultimate (escape, chase, team fights!)
- Long range of Piercing Arrow
- High burst damage!
SPACE SPACE
Cons

- Squishy (like all carries)
- Farm and/or kill dependend
- No jump (like Arcane Shift or Valkyrie)
- Slow movement speed
- Just two skins :(

- This is just a filling text
- It's meant to fill the gap
- Between the end of this chapter
- And between the beginning of the next
- Mission accomplished.


Guide Top

Masteries



Offence


Masteries
3/5
1/1
4/1
4/1
1/1
1/5
3/1
3/1
1/


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Defence


Masteries
1/5
2/5
3/1
3/5

  • Summoner's Resolve : Will increase our summoner Heal resulting in keeping us alive longer.
  • Resistance : Magic resist won't be crucial in early game - though you may need it against an harassing support like Soraka or Sona - but will later on protect you (combined with our runes) against the enemy caster(s). I will explain why i spend two points here in the Vigor part.
  • Hardiness : In the current metagame you will usually face another AD champion on bot lane and the best to defend against AD is to build up some armor - That's where our defensive masteries and runes will become handy.
  • Vigor : I made the experience that you are usually better equipped with more health regeneration than with more health in early game(!).
    I usually played with Durability and Veteran's Scars but it didn't help that much. You have to imagine: The extra health gained from Veteran's Scars are 30, the attack damage of your enemy around 60-75 - that's only half a hit!
    If you're being harassed and just step back for a couple of seconds (or make sure not to take any further damage) you will - with your support - heal back up again more quickly with Vigor which suits me better.
    With reading more and more guides and strategies I realised that this is personal preference, you could try both out and decide which complements your playstyle better.

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Utility


Masteries
1/5
3/1
1/1
3/5
1/1

Yes, you could go with the utility tree, as well.
The extra mana and mana regenaration from Expanded Mind and Meditate is - of course - very good, but if you can manage your mana pool good enough, this is just a waste of points. If you ever played sb. like Ezreal you will know that you're not supposed to spam your abilities and as far as I know, there is no other way to become oom in the game which would force you picking this mastery tree.
Furthermore, you will usually gain your first red-buff around mid-game so you don't need to have it longer through Runic Affinity (since you are usually in team fights and the laning phase will be - at the latest will become - past).


Guide Top

Runes



My preferred page


Runes

Greater Mark of Lethality
6

Greater Mark of Attack Damage
3

Greater Seal of Armor
9

Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
9

Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage
3

  • Greater Mark of Desolation: I can't point this out enough: An AD carry lives from his APen, both early and late game.
    I tried how to maximise my damage, either with six or nine APen runes and I figured out, that having around ten armor penetration and the rest flat damage is the best and most efficient way. Most of your enemies will come into battle with nine Greater Mark of Desolation what will lead in you having a damage advantage early on, plus, they will only have around five more armor penetration than you, but through Greater Seal of Armor you clearly won't notice the "extra true dmg" they do - since they don't ;).
    I will deal with situations where you have to buy your Last Whisper or a The Black Cleaver earlier than shown above later on in the chapter "Situational Items".
  • Greater Mark of Attack Damage: We want that three extra damage early on, though we will now have around 62 AD with no items right off the bat. If we will start with a Doran's Blade (as mentioned later on), we will have 72!
  • Greater Seal of Armor: Will protect you against the enemy AD carry and, as a result, you will be able to stay in lane longer since you have more sustain early on.
  • Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist: I take these to defend myself early on from being harassed from the (enemy) support too much, but the main reason for picking these runes is to protect myself against the enemy caster in mid- or late- game (or basically just when the team fights begin).
    I don't take flat MRes because the turnaround of the per-level glyphs is at lvl 9, the team fights will usually start at around 11-14 resulting in having more MRes in these ones.
  • Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage: Very basic, we have APen so we need AD, as well.

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Alternative Pages


Runes

Greater Mark of Lethality
9

Greater Seal of Scaling Mana Regeneration
9

Greater Glyph of Scaling Mana
9

Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage
3

  • As I already wrote in "Masteries" you won't run oom if you're playing mindful what would make the extra mana and mana regeneration pretty useless.
    If you are a beginner and don't have that many experience with AD carries, you could, of course, go into battle with this setup.

Runes

Greater Mark of Lethality
9

Greater Seal of Armor
9

Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
9

Greater Quintessence of Lethality
3

  • I played with these for some time myself but I realized that having the 25 APen but no "real" dmg output doesn't help you - either at farming and/or harassing -.
    Having in mind that you will deal 10 bonus MDmg through the passive of Blighted Quiver you could go with these as well, but that's - again - personal preference.
    Take Greater Glyph of Magic Resist if you are not that familiar with playing AD carries and if you experience (as a beginner) being harassed too much by a support like Sona.

Runes

Greater Mark of Attack Damage
9

Greater Seal of Armor
9

Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
9

Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage
3

  • Simple (and in my opinion pretty useless): You will have very much early game damage, yes, it looks cool, but it won't trigger as a result of not having APen and the enemy having armor.


Guide Top

Summoner Spells



Recommended Summoner Spells

SPACE I would suggest taking Flash nearly every time. There are so many different ways to use this summoner spell.
First, you can use it as a gap-closer to finish off your enemies (or to come back in ability/basic attack range).
Second, you can use it to jump over walls if you're persecuted.
Third, you can use it to stop an enemy gank (simply flash to the safety of your tower).
Fourth, you can use it in combination with Heal to safe one of your allies.

SPACE I usually take Heal on every AD carry I play. In the current meta the support will (usually) take Exhaust and the carry Heal, you do it this way because the carry's survival is more important than the support's.
If you're fighting 2 vs 2 on bot lane, the enemy doesn't possess this summoner spell and thinks he's easily able to kill you, you will prove him that he's wrong.
Another way to use it is to lure them diving you if you're alone and/or with low HP, activate the spell correctly, run around your tower, attack and score - trust me, it works!:)

SPACE As I wrote above, in the current metagame your support will take this spell. Of course it is awesome to have it on yourself, but I would run with Heal instead because it will provide your survival better than Exhaust (keep in mind you already have a built-in slow through Hail of Arrows).

______________________________________________________________________________________

Good/Viable summoner spells

Ignite works good with Varus either. Keep the enemy AD carry from being healed (through his/her support) or simply finish him off if he is low HP and tower hugging (and you couldn't land a shot/kill him with Piercing Arrow). SPACE

Cleanse is - needless to say - very useful, but as JhoiJhoi wrote in her Ashe guide:
Quoted:
[...] useful if you can use it during the duration of that 1-2 second stun/taunt/etc. If you cannot manage your micro seconds, don't even think about taking this Summoner Spell. [...]
SPACE

Ghost is a good choice on Varus, too. As Flash, you can use it as a gap-closer and to run away from an enemy gank. I prefer Flash because of the ability to jump over walls and (for instance) dodge the enemy jungler's abilities like Bandage Toss or Sonic Wave / Resonating Strike. SPACE

Teleport will drastically increase your map control.
You'll have increased ganking, laning and backdooring abilities but a CD of 300 sec!
You could take Teleport to combine it with other champion's abilities such as Heimerdinger's H-28G Evolution Turret or Teemo's Noxious Trap (since it is possible to teleport there, too).
SPACE

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Summoner spells I didn't list above either don't exist any more or you shouldn't even dare taking them since they are (as Varus or an AD carry) useless!


Guide Top

Varus' abilities and how to use them correctly





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SPACE Just an incredible passive!
It can be used to farm more easily in early game and through the bonus you will be able to slay your lane opponent with ease (since you will stack Blighted Quiver, too).
This is how to use it: If you notice your jungler walking by for a gank, last hit a minion and start to fight. As it will be a 3 vs 2 situation the enemy may die or will have to burn a summoner spell (like Flash or Ghost) to retreat to safety.
If you fight 2 vs 2, it works the same way (just make sure, you're not too greedy and try not to take that much damage from the hostile minions, if the enemy player(s) run, try to snipe them down with Piercing Arrow).
In team fights Living Vengeance is just ridiculous: If your team focuses an enemy champ he will be down in no time, and you will receive a 40% attack speed increase!. The team fight won't take that much longer than the six seconds your passive lasts, in other words: You usually will have your passive during the whole team fight!

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SPACE Combined with Blighted Quiver, Piercing Arrow will be your main damage source. Piercing Arrow stacks 1.0 with your attack damage!
This is how to use it: Your first activation of Q will trigger the ability resulting in Varus gaining reduced movement speed and charging up the arrow. Your second activation of Q will shoot the arrow and it will have greater range and damage based on how long you charged it.
If you're using smart cast just hold Q down and you will begin to charge, release Q and the arrow goes off.
If the ability is at full charge and you don't shoot for four seconds, it will refund half of the mana cost!
  • If you intend to harass your opponent, try to hit him two or three times with your basic attacks ( Blighted Quiver will be stacked), charge a bit and try to hit your enemy.
    After you've done that a couple of times, they'll know how to dodge your Piercing Arrow. If you notice that, just do the following: As above, hit them with your basic attacks, then step into the bot lane-brush and wait a bit before you begin to charge up (your enemy will asume that you are doing that). Blight will last exactly 6 seconds so be sure to hit with your Piercing Arrow before it's gone (you will get the hang out of it after a couple of games).
  • If you fight at bot lane (with or without a jungler), try to play around with stacking Blighted Quiver and shooting/charging Piercing Arrow.
    As long as you are charging you won't be able to auto-attack or to use any other ability (most of the time I fight 2 vs 2 I stack Blight two or three times and then only charge my Piercing Arrow for about half a second to make sure I'm still capable to auto-hit my enemies).
  • You can use this ability to snipe down low-health hostiles, too.
    Simply charge up, aim and shoot, the only thing I realized that is important to point out here is the fact of Varus' being slowed over the charging duration by 20%.
  • In team fights you'll have to choose either stacking Blighted Quiver on one enemy and then shooting your CC (risking not to hit every opponent) or to charge up and shoot right at the beginning of the fight and hitting everybody.
    This is really situation dependend, try around and you'll find the ideal time when and how long to activate this ability.

______________________________________________________________________________________

SPACE You will deal extra magic damage on every basic attack (10, 14, 18, 22, 26) and will apply "Blight" (the dark "things" around your enemy).
Your other abilities will trigger Blight and will deal extra %-magic damage based on the target's health.
During the laning phase it will help you to farm more easily and in fights it will burst your enemies down if you trigger the passive of Blighted Quiver with Piercing Arrow as I described above.
Of course you could apply the extra magic dmg through Hail of Arrows either, but I prefer doing it with Piercing Arrow because it will will burst your opponent down at about 30 to 40% health and that's when they'll start to run ;).

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[SPACE AOE damage, slow and reduced healing!
There are multiple ways to use this ability, as well:
  • Shoot it behind your enemy if your jungler goes in for a gank so they will be slowed.
  • Shoot it between you and your enemy while retreating to prevent them from persecuting you.
  • While fighting 2 vs 2, shoot it directly on your enemies' heads (try to hit both, if they intend to get out, the carry will have to walk (resulting him not being able to auto attack) while you still do.
    If they'll stay inside, the support won't be able to heal his carry as effective as he would do without Hail of Arrows.

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SPACE Your ultimate... and a very powerful one - if used correctly;)!
A skill shot with pretty good range and many varieties of how to use it:
  • While laning: Shoot it to initiate the fight after you hit two or three basic attacks for Blighted Quiver and to offer you a 100%-chance to hit with Piercing Arrow!
  • While laning: If being ganked and/or at low HP, use it defensively to get away (only if you couldn't stop the hostiles with Hail of Arrows!).
  • In team fights: You have the choice: Either initiate the fight or wait until it began and start to disrupt the enemy team completely.
    Your ultimate will totaly screw up the enemy team's positioning and will often result in a quick (focus-) kill.
    Personally, I most of the time (there will be situations where you have to) wouldn't initiate with Chain of Corruption because the enemy team will spread apart and will make your ultimate useless.


Guide Top

Ability Sequence



> > >

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


______________________________________________________________________________________


SPACE
I start out with Blighted Quiver if I'm going to kill the golems (on blue-teams' side) with my support or if I buy Boots of Speed and three Health Potions instead of a Doran's Blade first because the passive effect will help me to farm very easy as there will be ten more magic damage.

If you feel like, you could start out with Piercing Arrow, too - I personally don't like this because I won't use my Q that much on level one, you'll hit level two very fast and if you skill this way you'll make sure you won't waste your mana for some damage/harass on the first level (as you won't be able to stack Blighted Quiver before shooting your Piercing Arrow).

Hail of Arrows is skilled at level four because you - usually - won't rely on the slow until the ganking begins around level four of five. (Plus, except your enemies are very stupid, there commonly won't be any champion kills before.) If you recognize that the hostile jungler tends to gank very much early on in the game / at low level - skill Hail of Arrows at that level (situational dependend).

(Skill Chain of Corruption whenever it's possible.)

I max out Piercing Arrow first, because it does (combined with a couple of stacks from Blighted Quiver) the most (AOE-)damage.
As a result, i get my Blighted Quiver maxed out afterwards as we're heading into mid-/lategame and the %-magic dmg will come in handy as we're about to face tanks in the (team-)fights.
The extra slow from an higher skilled Hail of Arrows is truly not needed and there is, compared to Piercing Arrow, less damage output and only a 0.6 per attack damage stack instead of Piercing Arrow's awesome 1.0!


Guide Top

Starting Items



and
SPACE When to start out with Boots of Speed and three Health Potions?

Personally, I buy these items first (most of the time) while playing Varus because of his very slow initial movement speed (310) or if I face a carry who is based on his/her skill shots (like Ezreal or Sivir).

Furthermore, I buy the items if the hostile laning duo has stronger harass and/or sustain (f.e. Caitlyn and Sona) than my support and I have (f.e. Varus and Janna).

If you're being harassed too hard or even die a couple of times, don't hesitate to buy one or two Doran's Blade(s) after the shoes and pots, they will give you more sustain, damage and (a bit) life steal keeping you alive longer. It helps a lot if you're missing creep score as a result of being zoned (as you will be able to trade little damage for some last hits).

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SPACE When to start out with Doran's Blade(s)?

Start out with Doran's Blade if you know you will either be able to farm and harass easy enough without taking too much damage (f.e. against Miss Fortune) or if you know you will completely dominate the lane (could be against many champions and/or if you realize your enemy is disconnected).
Depending on how the laning goes(!), start stacking two or three Doran's Blades (if you need more sustain), buy Zeal (if you want to farm more easily) or rush The Bloodthirster with an early B. F. Sword for very high damage output in the first 20 minutes.

If I'm able to get about two kills before my first recall I usually start with B. F. Sword because it will maintain my lane dominance as the enemy AD will buy more sustain (to survive and gain CS) through a couple of Doran's Blades or will only have shoes at that moment. One way or another: We'll definitely be able to kill him more easily - not considering ganks - than he will be able to slay us.


Guide Top

(Situational) Items and when to buy them



Usual Varus build


or
SPACE B. F. Sword or Zeal should be the first component you buy (of course after Boots of Speed) in the game.
Depending on how the laning progresses you'll have to choose either to rush B. F. Sword and The Bloodthirster (if you are able to afford B. F. on your first way back - buy it!. You will have a huge laning advantage and an awesome farming tool!) or to buy a Zeal (if you recognize that the enemy jungler ganks a lot, you'll need to be faster or you'll die. Since Varus is very slow, doesn't have a jump and except his slow from Hail of Arrows no real escape mechanism I would buy Zeal in that situation early on to be a bit more safe from the ganks.)
If you decided to rush B. F. Sword, buy Zeal after The Bloodthirster (team-fights are about to begin and you definitely need the extra movement speed if you want to survive long enough).

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SPACE You'll buy Berserker's Greaves - usually - with every AD carry (there are very few exceptions, f.e. a tank- Vayne).
They suit Varus even better as we're able to stack Blighted Quiver more often (resulting in more damage output) and are (through Living Vengeance and Blighted Quiver's passive) able to farm very easy.

Combined with Zeal you'll have around 410 to 415 (if you have a Janna in your team) movement speed which is, from there on, enough. (Furthermore, we'll finish our Phantom Dancer later on, too.)

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or
SPACE Personally, I prefer to rush The Bloodthirster with Varus. Since he isn't based on crits (like f.e. Ashe) you don't need Infinity Edge as your first item.
Through the +100 AD from The Bloodthirster (asumed you stacked it completely) you will destroy your enemies (remember: Piercing Arrow stacks 1.0 with your AD!).
Plus, the lifesteal will become very handy as we're around minute 20 and team fights will begin, soon.

Of course there are situations where you can't buy The Bloodthirster, in these cases or if you die often (because you got countered, ganked, outfarmed, etc.), buy Infinity Edge, then Phantom Dancer and The Bloodthirster, afterwards.
You'll have a constant damage output and won't rely on a fully stacked Thirster.
Another really important point to mention here is that through Infinity Edge we'll have about 305% crit chance ( Zeal and Infinity Edge) and our crits will deal 250% damage! So, if you're not sure that you'll survive the teamfights, stick with Infinity first and get The Bloodthirster later on, you won't regret it.

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SPACE Why Phantom Dancer?
Well, there are many reasons:
  • It will finish our perviously bought Zeal ;).
  • 55% attack speed will help us stack Blighted Quiver more often and we'll shoot off more basic attacks.
  • 30% critical strike chance combines with our Infinity Edge, we'll have around 55% crit rate and our crits will deal 250% damage (through the passive of Infinity Edge).
  • 15% movement speed bonus from Phantom Dancer and our Berserker's Greaves will make us very fast (around 442 MS), we'll be able to farm different lanes in mid-/lategame, are able to join/position ourself in team fights very easy and are able to run away or chase without effort.

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SPACE Buying this item is vital for every AD carry, you'll gain a bit armor which protects you against the hostile DPS-champion(s) and a slight amount of MRes.
Plus, you'll get revived every five minutes (awesome in team fights!)

Consider buying this earlier, too!
Guardian Angel is highly situational dependend. If the enemy team is focusing and bursting you down in team fights, buy it earlier, if your hostiles completely ignore you (they shouldn't), buy it later on.

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or
SPACE As we are deeply in late game now and the tanks definitely have built up a lot of armor, we want armor penetration... as much as possible!

Personally, I rate Last Whisper over The Black Cleaver (in late-game) because:

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Different builds


Mid-Lane Varus


Only addition is Maw of Malmortius as you will usually face an AP champion on mid lane and the passive shield will greatly protect you against him/her.

Remember that your enemy will be cooldown dependent!
After the mid-laner activated his skills: Harass him and step out before the abilities refreshed.

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Tank Varus

This build is based on JhoiJhoi's Tank Vayne build! (Thank you JhoiJhoi)


Though I wouldn't recommend it, it is possible to play Varus tanky because he doesn't rely that much on AD items.
You will still do enough damage because of stacked Blighted Quiver and Piercing Arrow.
Suitable if you're a beginner and get caught off-guard many times (f.e. farming on enemy team's side or pushing your lane - alone - too far) as you won't be bursted down immediately.


Guide Top

Gameplay



Early game



Depending on your enemies and your support, start out either with Doran's Blade or Boots of Speed and three Health Potions.
Make your way to bot lane and (, if you're on blue teams' side,) kill the double golems with your support, first.
As I already wrote in Starting Items, if you lack of sustain and/or die once or twice, stack a couple of Doran's Blades to gain more sustain in lane and to farm easier. Plus, here you'll make the decision either to rush The Bloodthirster through an early B. F. Sword or will buy Zeal as a first item. (This depends on how you farmed, how the killing went and how you generally play against your opponent, so there is no "real" way to tell you when to do what. I usually go like this: If I'm able to farm easy, to stay in lane very long and am able to controll my opponent I tend to rush The Bloodthirster, if I need more movement speed because of too much enemy ganks or a skill shot-based enemy, I buy Zeal first.

Simply farm the rest of the early game and if you manage to get some kills, even better!

Once your jungler goes in for a gank (usually he does if the lane is a little bit pushed to your turret), shoot Hail of Arrows behind your hostiles so they are getting slowed once they try to run away.
Focus the same enemy as your jungler, stack Blighted Quiver a couple of times and finish him/her off with Piercing Arrow and (if necessary) some basic attacks.
Once the enemy jungler goes in for a gank (usually if you pushed your lane a bit too hard) and you haven't retreated (as a result of no wards, etc.), shoot Hail of Arrows either "on your head" or between the attackers and yourself to come away. (Use Flash if necessary!)
Please remember where your safety zones are during the laning phase (thanks to JhoiJhoi for the picture):



Early game usually ends at around 20 minutes when the team-fights begin, until then, try to finish one or two core items (depends if you got some kills or got killed, etc.).

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Mid- and late- game



The team-fights will start here and the laning phase will be over (generally, we're from around minute 20/25 until the end now).
They will either take place on one lane or at Baron/Dragon. (Of course it's always good to have your turret attacking the enemy team, as well.)
Try to farm as much as possible from now on, too (enemies push some lanes and/or both jungles). You'll have to purchase your core items to be any use for your team.

This is how to paricipate in team-fights as Varus: First of all, it's all about positioning yourself! You're a carry and you're squishy, one time stunned or focused, you usually will be dead (or about to revive through Guardian Angel).
You should always stay behind your team, you have 575 basic attack range, Piercing Arrow, Hail of Arrows and Chain of Corruption with really good range to shoot them from a safe distance.

Immediately after the team fight started, disrupt the enemies' positioning with Chain of Corruption, either stack Blighted Quiver on somebody or directly shoot Piercing Arrow to hit most of the hostile team.
You should always try to focus the enemy carries, but NEVER give your positioning up to do so! If your not secured through taunts, stuns, etc. from your tanks: Likely attack an enemy tank instead of going into the action too far and immediately die.

There will be the right moment for you to attack the enemy carries, just wait for it!

If you have Guardian Angel's passive ready you are, of course, able to position yourself a bit "badlier" as you will be revived either way.

If your team wins a team-fight you'll push a couple of towers or will kill Baron/Dragon, so you'll generally won't port back (just heal up at some minions through your lifesteal from the items), but don't give away any free kills: If your low, one or two enemies surived and you're not sure if they try to bait and slay you: Port back!


Guide Top

Laning partners



SPACE You should be alive for a long time and thus being able to farm very good because of Alistar's huge sustain. If the enemies come to close or you're near dying he'll just Headbutt them away from you or will knock them up through Pulverize.
If your support is good, you nearly won't take any damage which consumes the fact that his heal ( Triumphant Roar) is pretty useless.
Furthermore, through his ultimate ( Unbreakable Will) you'll be able to finish off the enemies even if they are "hiding" under their tower.

It's always good if Alistar initiates a 2 vs 2 fight (or a gank) if he is able to stun an hostile while knocking them against a thick wall with Headbutt.

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SPACE I experienced that Blitzcrank-support works very well (with most ADs).
Only his lane-attendance will make your enemies feel uncomfortable - they are always frightened of being pulled to you through Rocket Grab (they will hide behind their minions)... and they should be!
Laning with a Blitzcrank is awesome! - Once he pulls one of your foes with Rocket Grab and knocks them up into the air through Power Fist they are at about 1/4 of their health (you hit your basic attacks and abilities the whole time and while they retreat, too!) resulting - most of the time - in a quick kill.
Through his passive ( Mana Barrier) your support usually won't die even if he's caught out of position.

On the downside, he doesn't have anything that could save you (f.e. heal, shield), so be aware of that and you should be fine.

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SPACE Well Janna... Sorry, but I don't like her - with neither carry I play, especially not if I'm Varus.
Though the shield and the built-in damage boost is really good, only a few Jannas I played with had been able to activate it correctly.
Plus, I don't feel like having enough sustain as her only heal mechanism is her ultimate Monsoon.
If you have a good Janna who activates her shield properly (to defend you or to maximise your damage dealt with Piercing Arrow she is, of course, very viable.

This is, again, personal preference, if you like laning with her, do it. Personally, I prefer other supports and leave Janna to a combination like Kog'Maw/ Janna or Caitlyn/ Janna as there will be much more damage output (even if the shield isn't placed good) as a result of the higher basic attack range these carries have.

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SPACE Karma works good in combination with Varus, her heal and shield are decent (if Mantra's cast before using them the heal/shield should be enough) and you will be able to stay in lane long (as she heals percentage to the health you lost) until you'll have to recall for the first time.
Through Spirit Bond Karma is able to either help you chasing an enemy or to slow them if your or the hostile jungler is going in for a gank.
(Combined with Hail of Arrows the slow will be around 35% without an active Mantra and both skills on level one!)

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SPACE Laning with Leona works great, too.
If she is good and hits her stun often, you'll be able to get free stacks of Blighted Quiver or a free hit with Piercing Arrow which bursts the enemy down really fast.
Through Eclipse your support nearly won't die and with Solar Flare Leona is awesome in engaging 2 vs 2 fights, stop ganks or iniate them with, most of the time, great effect!

As with Blitzcrank: Leona doesn't have a heal or shield to help you, play safe, wait for her stun to apply and you'll be fine.

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SPACE It's just a fact that Lulu is an awesome champ!
The slow from Glitterlance is incredibly high (80%!) and the harass is good, too.
Through Whimsy she's able to stop ganks or to turn a 2 vs 2 fight in your favor and it helps you to chase fleeing enemies much better as it makes you faster, too!
Her shield from Help, Pix! is decent and her ultimate Wild Growth is just incredible (no matter if used defensive or offensive!).

Like Janna she does only have a built-in shield and not a heal, whilst I love laning with her because of her awesome harass and assisting abilities!

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SPACE It depends on the Lux-player, if he or she is good and manages to hit with his/her skill shots Lux is really helpful as a support, during the laning phase and later on. If the abilities dont hit, your support will be pretty useless as she won't be able to help you at all.

There is not that much to say here: Only remember that she doesn't have a heal but a shield and that Light Binding only binds your enemy. They will still be able to attack and cast abilities!

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SPACE Sona is a very good support.
I like laning with her, especially when she hits level six and is able to cast Crescendo. The AOE stun is awesome in 2 vs 2 and even more in team fights or ganks!

Laning and farming is pretty easy with her as a partner because of her heal ( Aria of Perseverance).
Furthermore, she helps you even chase or run away from an enemy through Song of Celerity and her harass through the Hymn of Valor + Power Chord combo is very strong (in early game)!

Just make sure not to spam your abilities that much as she doesn't have a mana-reg ability.

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SPACE Having Soraka with you (no matter which AD carry you play) is just incredible!
You will be able to
  • farm and lane very easy (you just can trade damage for last hits as the gained health through Astral Blessing is just ridiculous!).
  • harass better than your opponent (you nearly have infinite mana - if you play mindful! - through Infuse).
  • the overall heal in 2 vs 2 - or team-fights is very high and viable for the whole team! (Combined with a well placed Heal a team-fight may completely take a turn!)

I only found one "bad" thing out about Soraka: If she goes full-support instead of full-AP her damage output is very weak... But that's ok since she is a support and you as a carry will live way longer and will have way more damage output therefore!

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SPACE Besides Soraka my preferred support with Varus is Taric.
Yes, Soraka is more viable for the whole team in late game but Taric will
  • most of the time give me free burst damage through Dazzle (I hit a couple of stacks from Blighted Quiver before he activates it, wait for him to stun the enemy and shoot Piercing Arrow on a non-moving opponent).
  • heal himself and myself very descent (through Imbue).
  • decrease the armor of my laning opponents with Shatter resulting in me doing more damage with all my AD-based attacks.
  • give me and the whole team an AD and AP increase through Radiance.
  • be more tanky than Soraka in late-game (good if the team excists out of too many squishies).

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SPACE First of all, I didn't have a Zilean with me that often.

I also wouldn't recommend him as a viable help for Varus because he, despite of his ultimate Chronoshift (revive) and his movement speed boost through Time Warp, doesn't have anything well to contribute to a longer survivability of the carry.

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I'm aware of the fact that I didn't list every single support.
I didn't because either I don't lane with them at all (f.e. Nunu) or they are - in the current metagame - played in different roles (f.e. Shen and Nidalee at top)!


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Laning opponents




I will now list the main and most important facts you'll have to keep in mind in order to win your lane against a certain champion below, this includes information about their abilities (/how to counter or avoid them) and your opponent-specific starting items.

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SPACE (Start out with Boots of Speed and three Health Potions! - to dodge Volley)

Right after the beginning of the game she will try to hit you with her passive ( Focus) as her first hit on the lane will be a crit. Just try not to take this one - at some point she will have to shoot a minion if she intends gaining creep score ;).
Volley will be her main harass-tool, you're able to avoid it if you position yourself behind your minions. If the ability is skilled on level one it will have 16 seconds cooldown, so try to hit Piercing Arrow (of course with stacked Blighted Quiver) while she can't cast Volley (her cooldown will drastically decrease until it is maxed - on level five its at four seconds!).

A good Ashe will always use Hawkshot to prevent herself from ganks but it has a very high CD (60 seconds on every level), tell your jungler if she used it so the gank will be successful.
Try not to overextend on your lane because Ashe's able to chase you with ease, through Frost Shot you nearly won't be able to escape an enemy gank (remember that Varus movement is naturally slow!).

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SPACE (Start out with Boots of Speed and three Health Potions! - to dodge [[Piltover Peacemaker)

Remember that Caitlyn has a higher basic attack range than you and to avoid her passive (if Headshot is ready her hands will glow).
You will be able to dodge her main harass ( Piltover Peacemaker) with relativ ease (as you'll have Boots of Speed), just step up or down/left or right (depending on where you're standing) at the moment you see her charging it (it will take her 1 second to shoot).

She will place Yordle Snap Trap mostly in the brushes. The good thing about the traps is that you can see them (while you're in the brush), so try to walk by them - especially if a gank or a fight begins!

She will shoot 90 Caliber Net to retreat if she's near death but as you have Piercing Arrows incredible range (and the slow from Hail of Arrows) you should be able to snipe her down easily.

Try not to be in lane with low health if you're laning against Caitlyn and she is level six!
She will shoot her ultimate Ace in the Holeat you and there is (except from your support or another teammate walking by to intercept it) not that much you can do against it.
If you're lucky enough to get back into the fog of war before she shoots (will take around two seconds) you'll be alive, either.

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SPACE (Start out with Doran's Blade! - to maximise your beginning damage output and sustain)

If you're facing a Corki there are only a few things to keep in mind:
  • Through Phosphorus Bomb and mainly Gatling Gun Corki will be more efficient in short distance fights, just make use of your higher basic attack and ability range.
  • He is easily able to close gaps, jump over you and get away through Valkyrie - that's where Chain of Corruption comes in handy!
  • He will try to harass you with Missile Barrage (once he is level six) but you should be easily able to dodge them. Keep in mind that they have a very high range!

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SPACE (Start out with Boots of Speed and three Health Potions! - to dodge Mystic Shot)

If you play mindful against Ezreal you receive a great advantage over him.
His basic attack range is lower than yours and his only damage output will be Mystic Shot which you will be able to avoid easily if you're hiding behind your minions or just dodge it through your Boots of Speed.

If he keeps spamming Essence Flux he will be out of mana very fast leaving you an easy kill!

Chain of Corruption will become handy against Ezreal as he has Arcane Shift as a built-in escape mechanism.

You should be able to dodge his ultimate Trueshot Barrage through your shoes, too!

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SPACE (Start out with Boots of Speed and three Health Potions! - to dodge Buckshot)

He will use the Quickdraw + Buckshot combo as main harass-tool. Once you notice he dashes forward walk up/down or left/right (depending on where you are on the lane) to avoid the following Buckshot.
Depending on your support and how the laning went so far, you could eitherway try to trade the damage with him, stack Blighted Quiver and shoot Piercing Arrow while he is in front of you, if he retreats your high basic attack range will keep poking on him! (You shouldn't consider doing this if he has f.e. Soraka as a support as he will be back up in no time!)

His slow through Smoke Screen works nearly the same way as Hail of Arrows does.

While fighting 2 vs 2 you should remember that he (from level six on) will cast Collateral Damage for heavy damage! Meaning, if he's able to place and time his ultimate well he will completely change the outcome of the fight!

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SPACE (Start out with Boots of Speed and three Health Potions! - to lower the effectiveness of Void Ooze)

If Kog'Maw is the hostile carry, remember
  • that he will always try to hit you with his passive ( Icathian Suprise) after you have slain him so be sure to either have enough HP to survive or to dodge it.
  • that he basically has less attack-range than you, BUT through Bio-Arcane Barrage a way higher and damaging one! (Be sure to get out of his range - 710 - if he activates it... He will shine in a different color!)
  • to dodge his slow from Void Ooze!
  • that he will (from level six on) try to harass and locate you through his ultimate Living Artillery. With your shoes it should be relatively easy to dodge it.

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SPACE (Start out with Doran's Blade! - to maximise your beginning damage output and sustain)

Personally, I don't think that Miss Fortune is a viable choice against Varus.
Consequently, there is not much to write here, except that
  • you shouldn't be close to your minions, she will cast Double Up to hit you "through" a minion or will use Make it Rain to hit a full creep wave.
  • you should step back if she is activating her Impure Shots because of her drastically increased attack speed.
  • you should walk out of her ultimate ( Bullet Time) with the SHORTEST way you can find!

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SPACE (Start out with Boots of Speed and three Health Potions! - to dodge her Boomerang Blade)

I commonly don't play Varusagainst Sivir, but if you have to (because of first pick, etc.) here is a little help:

In combination with Taric it's going to be very hard to lane against Sivir (as Taric will stun you through Dazzle and she will hit you with Boomerang Blade two times).
If Sivir lanes with another support, you should generally be able to control her, whilst it's not going to be easy.

A good Sivir will be able to activate her Spell Shield every time you cast Piercing Arrow making him generally useless as he won't trigger the stacked Blighted Quiver neither.
Try to bring her shield down trough Hail of Arrows and then cast Piercing Arrow - or even better: let your support cast an ability on her before you shoot!

Through Ricochet she will try to harass you while your farming and/or next to your creeps.

You should keep in mind that she is easily able to chase you and to do high DPS through her ultimate ( On The Hunt)!

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SPACE (Start out with Doran's Blade! - to maximise your beginning damage output and sustain)

I didn't play against that many Tristanas but here are my intentions I gained through the few I did lane aginst:
  • Remember that from level four on she will have a higher basic attack range than you (through Draw a Bead).
  • Fights won't be that easy as she will have high DPS through Rapid Fire and you won't receive that much heal from your support because of Explosive Shot.
  • She has a built-in escape/chase-mechanism ( Rocket Jump).
  • She is able to knock you back through Buster Shot - she may use it to throw you into one of her towers or to get you away from her (whilst the cooldown is very low - 60 seconds).

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SPACE (Start out with Doran's Blade! - to maximise your beginning damage output and sustain; You could start with Boots of Speed and three Health Potions as well if you want to be a bit "secured" from Condemn.)

Last but not least: Vayne

Her chasing abilities are - through Night Hunter combined with Final Hour - incredible!

During the laning phase, her main damage sources will be Tumble and Silver Bolts. She will try to hit the third basic attack to trigger the true damage but generally you should be at safe distance after you took two (her attack range is lower than yours!).

NEVER be caught off-guard as she will make use of it and commonly stun you with Condemn, plus, you will receive the doubled damage, too.
While laning and fighting 2 vs 2 position yourself well so you won't get knocked against a wall!

Final Hour is an awesome ultimate - If she activates it, try to gain some distance to her (she will have increased AD and will become stealthed every time she uses Tumble). If you have to, use Chain of Corruption to get away safely (it will snare her while she is in stealth, too!).

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As in "Laning partners", I know I didn't list every single carry you may phase on bot lane (for instance an AD- Kennen).
I didn't because you generally won't phase these champions if you are playing Varus.


Guide Top

Summary




Thank you very much for reading the whole guide!

As I already stated in the Introduction, I'd highly appreciate constructive criticism because it helps me and everybody else reading this guide!
Drop your thoughts in the comment section or write me a PM and I'll reply as soon as possible!

If the guide helped anybody even just a little bit it had been worth the work!

I listed guides that helped me writing this one and others with basic information about the game below in References, so be sure to check these out, too!


Guide Top

Change Log




11 May 2012 - Started out, wrote the Introduction
12 May 2012 - Added Pros / Cons
13 May 2012 - Added Masteries, Runes, Summoner Spells and Varus' abilities and how to use them correctly
Published the guide.
15 May 2012 - Added Ability Sequence
16 May 2012 - Added another Cheat Sheet and Starting Items
17 May 2012 - Added (Situational) Items and when to buy them
19 May 2012 - Added Gameplay
21 May 2012 - Added Laning partners and References
22 May 2012 - Added Laning opponents and Summary

No changes to Varus in the Darius and Draven patches.