Varus Build Guide by vJetz
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Hello! My name is Jet and this is my Varus guide. In this guide, I will be giving in-depth explanations for two different ways of playing Varus. The first, and my personal favorite, is Hyper Carry Varus. This utilizes early game harass with Hail of Arrows and focuses on kiting and late game damage output. The second, more popular, Varus playstyle would be Poke Varus. This utilizes the high scaling of Piercing Arrow for incredible poke damage and wave clear and focuses on making sure that you only go into battle with crippled enemies.
I may make a Varus mid guide at some point, but probably not for a while.
Introduction to Varus
Varus is an AD Carry that brings a lot of utility to his team with Hail of Arrows and Chain of Corruption. He has slightly higher range than most ADCs at 575. (Average is 550.) Varus both dominates the early game (Out-trades with Blighted Quiver, Has a constant attack speed steroid while farming in Living Vengeance, and his Hail of Arrows / Piercing Arrow packs a punch, even at early levels) and comes close to matching other late game hyper carries as long as you can pick someone off at the beginning of a fight.
Mastering Varus can be tricky. His lack of escape ability means that he is reliant on Flash. Piercing Arrow and Chain of Corruption are very potent skill shots, however, they both can be difficult to land. Knowing when to stack Blighted Quiver can also be hard. With practice, Varus can be one of, if not the best AD Carry.
Pros / Cons
+ Higher range than most other ADCs
+ Passive attack speed steroid ( Living Vengeance)
+ Kites well ( Blade of the Ruined King + Hail of Arrows + Chain of Corruption)
+ Hard CC Ult ( Chain of Corruption)
+ % Max Health Damage ( Blighted Quiver)
+ High range poke ( Piercing Arrow)
+ Wave clears well ( Piercing Arrow + Statikk Shiv)
+ Good Disengage ( Hail of Arrows + Chain of Corruption + Banshee's Veil)
+ Decent at Sieging
+ Burst Potential
- No gap creating abilities
- Piercing Arrow is less effective
- Needs an assist or kill to get attack speed steroid ( Living Vengeance)
- Lower Damage than other Late Game ADCs
- Mana Hungry
- Damage reduction through units ( Piercing Arrow)
- Piercing Arrow is easily avoided
- Low kiting ability
- No gap creating ability
Living Vengeance (Passive): On champion kill or assist, Varus gains 40% attack speed for 6 seconds. On minion kill, Varus gains 20% attack speed for 3 seconds.
Living Vengeance supplies a lot of Varus' damage output. It goes unnoticed, naturally, since most passives do, but Living Vengeance grants Varus bonus attack speed equal to that of a Statikk Shiv. This means that as a fight gets rolling, picking up a kill or assist will essentially grant you an extra item for 6 seconds.
Piercing Arrow (Q): Varus starts drawing back his next shot, gradually increasing its range and damage, then he fires it, dealing minimum 10 / 47 / 83 / 120 / 157 (+1.0 per attack damage) to maximum 15 / 70 / 125 / 180 / 235 (+1.6 per attack damage) physical damage, reduced by 15% per enemy hit (minimum 33%).
While preparing to shoot, Varus cannot autoattack or use abilities, and his movement speed is slowed by 20%. After 4 seconds, Piercing Arrow fails but refunds half its mana cost.
Piercing Arrow provides great poke, however, can be difficult to hit and renders you vulnerable. Unless the desired target is the first to get hit by the arrow, they will take reduced damage. While charging the arrow, you can not auto attack or use other abilities. On top of this, you apply a self slow, leaving you open to enemy skill shots and counter attack. This ability is actually a hindrance to Varus while he is within auto attack range as basic attacks will out dps Piercing Arrow. (Barring the Poke Varus Build. As maxing Piercing Arrow first will allow it to out dps basic attacks until 30-40 minutes into the game.) Piercing Arrow should be charged and fired from a safe distance, preferably from the fog of war.
Blighted Quiver (W): Varus' basic attacks deal bonus 10 / 14 / 18 / 22 / 26 (+0.25 per ability power) magic damage and apply Blight for 6 seconds (stacks 3 times).
Varus' other abilities detonate Blight, dealing magic damage equal to 2 / 2.75 / 3.5 / 4.25 / 5% (+2% of ability power) of the target's maximum health per stack.
Blighted Quiver has two different parts to it. Both are extremely useful and potent. The first part is the passive magic damage on every basic attack. This is similar to Miss Fortune's Impure Shots in the sense that, as long as you match your opponents damage, you will out-trade your enemy auto attack for auto attack.
This leads into the second part: the detonation damage. Even if your opponent does out-trade you like this (and even better if they don't), by hitting them with an ability when they carry blight stacks, they receive damage equal to a % of their max health. (It is important to note that the % of max health listed on the tooltip is per stack. Therefore a level 5 Blighted Quiver at 3 stacks will do 15% of their max health when triggered.) In lane, it is best to try and stack all 3, but don't end up losing a trade because you got too greedy for stacks. In teamfights, you will more than likely have to kite their tanks and bruisers. It is best to get all 3 stacks of blight on them for maximized damage.
Hail of Arrows (E): Varus fires a hail of arrows that deal 65 / 100 / 135 / 170 / 205 (+0.6 per bonus attack damage) physical damage and desecrate the ground. Desecrated ground slows enemies' Movement Speed by 25 / 30 / 35 / 40 / 45% for .25 seconds and reduces their healing and regeneration by 50%. The slow duration is refreshed if enemies stay within the zone.
Hail of Arrows is a slow field / desecrated ground that deals damage upon cast. As well as utility, it also brings more reliable poke than Piercing Arrow. This is the case because Hail of Arrows is much more difficult to dodge than Piercing Arrow. The slow can help with kiting, especially when paired with a Blade of the Ruined King. As long as you don't get locked up, this can be nearly as efficient as an escape ability. Desecrated ground can also help to quickly get rid of pesky regen-based front liners. (ex. Volibear's Chosen of the Storm, Dr. Mundo's Sadism, Swain's Ravenous Flock.)
Chain of Corruption (R): Varus flings out a tendril of corruption that deals 150 / 250 / 350 (+1.0 per ability power) magic damage and immobilizes the first enemy champion hit for 2 seconds.
The corruption then spreads towards nearby uninfected enemy champions, applying the same damage and immobilize if it reaches them. The corruption will continue to spread until there are no further unaffected targets in range.
Chain of Corruption is essentially an AoE snare, with the effective area expanding from the current snared person. This ability is cast as a skill shot and is notorious for being completely whiffed. A key to mastering Varus is to not miss this skill. Once you hit somebody with Chain of Corruption, the hard work is done. The Chain will then spread to nearby enemies (550 range) after the first enemy is free from the snare. This works similarly to Malzahar's Malefic Visions, however, it doesn't need to kill to be passed on and the damage is done upfront. It can also spread to multiple targets at once. Aside from Ashe's Enchanted Crystal Arrow, this is provides the most utility of all AD Carry ultimates.
"Jet, why do you skill Blighted Quiver before Piercing Arrow. Piercing Arrow does a lot more damage."
REWQ and REQW are rather similar ways to skill Varus. Some of it comes down to personal preference, some of it comes down to what you need in lane.