Varus Build Guide by SSBmetalmario

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 SSBmetalmario

Varus Snipes Thee - AD Carry Varus Build (Bot Lane Guide)

SSBmetalmario Last updated on May 14, 2012
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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

Honor Guard

Defense: 0

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 9

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Hello everyone. My name is SSBmetalmario (At least it is on Mobafire and LoL) and I welcome you to my very first guide, a Varus guide. Also, please read and try out the build before downvoting or upvoting, and please keep in mind that this guide is not necessarily meant for ranked games.

Now, looking at most of the cheat sheet (mainly the items I suppose) You might think: Why, SSB? Well, I will tell you in this guide, so read on.

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Pros & Cons

Now, before I'm going to summarize the good and bad things about Varus, I am going to tell you something about when to select him. When in the champion selection, make sure you can go bot lane (since this is not a mid guide). If someone else already claimed AD carry, it will be wise to select another role. A team with 2 AD carries is considered bad in general (when I face such a team composition I mostly win the lane).

Allright, now for the good and bad things about Varus.



  • Long ranged abilities.
  • High attack speed and attack damage (Signature stats for AD carries)
  • All abilities are skillshots.
  • Ranged (Almost forgot that)
  • Punishing escape mechanisms.
  • Can absolutely dominate almost any champion.
filler filler


  • Fairly squishy, especially early on.
  • Susceptible to CC.
  • All abilities are skillshots.
  • Not very fast.
  • Mid-to-long cooldowns early on.
  • Susceptible to ganks if the lane is not warded.

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I do believe these are pretty self explanatory (most AD carries use the same setup), but I will go into the trees briefly.


Ahhh, the offense tree. No AD carry should do without it. So, we want to do a lot of damage, so we spend 3 points in Brute Force . Also, since we will need some farm, we will spend 2 points for Butcher .
I put one point in Demolitionist because I do not use offensive summoner spells, but if you do use them, feel free to spend this point in Summoner's Wrath .
And of course, since we are AS dependant, we will spend 4 points in Alacrity . The next obvious choice is Weapon Expertise for those pesky armor stackers.
Next up are 3 points in Havoc , because more damage will result in less HP for your opponents (Oh yeah, makes it easier to get kills too). 3 points in Vampirism for the extra life steal survivability.
3 points in Sunder armor will net you (along with the ArPen runes) near-true damage early game for your auto attacks.
Of course, since escaping targets don't need to escape, we put a point in Executioner .


Yes, no points in defense here, since Varus benefits more from utility in my opinion. We will put 3 points in Good Hands because dying is sometimes inevitable (Tower Diving and succesful enemy ganks).
1 point in Improved Recall because that 1 second can be the difference between life and death, especially when recalling with low HP, even near your tower.
We put 4 points in Swiftness to cover up for a bit of Varus' slowness.
I put one point in Runic Affinity here, but if you think Summoner's Insight is a better choice here, go ahead and put your last point in that.

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Greater Mark of Desolation. With 9 of these, you will be dealing tons of auto attack damage to the early game pokers. Also, late game, these will let you ravage the enemy carry if they didn't stack much armor.

Another viable option may be Greater Mark of Attack Damage, however I feel the ArPen is better for late game, and since you will be poking/harassing with Piercing Arrow (which scales on AD, yes, but deals physical damage, which is reduced by armor in turn) I believe ArPen is better. But do what you like, I'm not ordering you.


I use Greater Seal of Armor, for the early survivability. You also may use health seals, however late game, you won't take as much damage (if all goes well) and early game it will be harass from here to Tokyo, so I recommend Armor seals here.


My choice are 9 Greater Glyph of Magic Resist. Like with the armor seals, they are perfect for early game, due to the harass. You can also use MagRes per level glyphs if you want.


My 3 Greater Quintessence of Scaling Attack Damage give me the early AD I need to be feared. You could go for ArPen, but with the marks, you can have too many of one stat.

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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

I will give a quick explanation of Varus' abilities and why I level them when.

This is your passive. It increases your attack speed by 20% temporarily when you kill a minion. On a kill or assist, this is doubled over a longer duration. This skill is great for farming minion waves.

This will be your main skill. Not only for harass, but for farming, too, since we will have enough mana with this build. Pressing Q makes Varus draw an arrow on his bow, while another press on Q fires it. This skill penetrates through targets and will not be stopped by terrain, although the damage gets less with every target it passes through (up to a minimum), dealing physical damage. I max this skill first because of the great burst damage it can cause at very long range, especially when combined with Blighted Quiver. Speaking of which...

This is a passive skill that applies on auto attack. It enhances your attacks with magic damage and applies a debuff on the target. The debuff stacks 3 times and is detonated for a percentage of the afflicted's maximum health as magic damage. This ability scales with AP. Whenever an enemy comes into range, try to at least Auto Attack him three times before landing your Q or E. This makes your target take a lot more damage. I level this last because it kills off a percentage of the opponent's health when detonated, so it scales better with late game.

This is an Area of Effect skillshot that damages and debuffs the ground, reducing healing and movement speed of enemies walking on said ground. This is also a great farming tool, for a bit closer range than your Q. This is also one of Varus' escape mechanisms, as it slows enemies walking on it. This means that, when being chased, or if a teammate is being chased, drop an E before them and get away like a boss. Also usable for detonating stacks of W. I level this second because of the damage scaling.

Yes. The ultimate. Not a lot of damage, but a spreading CC. Do make sure to land it because it has a really long cooldown. This CC is amazing in teamfights, where enemies are out of position. Just strike one when they are close enough to eachother and the CC will spread, locking them all in turn. Do remember, however, that it will never hit the same target twice in one cast. And I do believe the skillshot penetrates through targets, but I never tested it, so I'm not exactly sure. Level this ability whenever you can.

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Ah yes, the items. You probably scrolled down here to see what my item order was all about. Well, I'm gonna tell you here, so read carefully.

Starting Items

Yeah. Meki pendant. Why, you ask? Well, because it allows for more Piercing Arrows!(also Varus is kind of mana hungry, but that is relatively solved here.) The mana regen will probably let you stay longer in the lane, which will result in more money to buy. Feel free though, to buy 2 HP pots, or 2 mana pots or no pots at all, but one of each works best. If you get some intial harass use the HP pot. When you used a lot of mana, use your mana pot. It's time to recall when you at least have around 1k money.

1st Recall

The Tear of the Goddess allows for more skill spam. Why no AD items yet? Because you can harass enough on level damage alone at this point. And for every skill you cast, your mana increases. (Not for your W, sadly.) If you have the money, you can also buy your Boots of Speed, but prioritize the tear. If you don't have the money to buy boots, well, bad luck, go back to the lane using Teleport.

Other Recalls

The manamune is the first thing you buy. Recall as soon as you have enough money. Additionally, if you have enough mana and HP left, farm away. Always try to save up as much as possible and recall when your mana is depleted.
Then buy everything (preferably) in order of the item list: Berserker's Greaves, Phantom Dancer, The Bloodthirster, Infinity Edge, Frozen Mallet.
Berserker's Greaves grant you the movespeed you need, and some bonus AS to boot.
The PD lets you get crits and grants you a lot of AS, as well as some movement speed.
Then we get a BD for the much needed Life Steal and Attack Damage.
Since you are the AD carry, you will need more AD. And guess what? Infinity Edge grants a lot of AD. So get that next.
And then, to top it all off, buy a Frozen Mallet to increase your survivability with some HP as well as a nice passive slow.

Situational Adjustments

Here I will explain some items that you can get if the situation needs it, but do remember to keep the manamune in as first.

Yeah. If you're up against armor stacking Dr. Mundo or Rammus, you really want this. I do prefer Infinity Edge and Bloodthirster over this, though.

Swap this with Frozen Mallet if you need more HP than the mallet gives, and the slow is not needed.

I guess you can use this when the enemy team is magic damage heavy. (Not necessarily AP heavy.)

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Summoner Spells

Oh yeah, I almost forgot this section. Oh well, here we go then.

My choices

Yes. I use this. It is a damn handy spell to have. I prefer this over Exhaust and Ignite because I always fail at them, and teleport has more uses to me. You can teleport to wards, minions, pets, and towers. This let me save a lane more than once per game, and I use it to do quick shopping during the laning phase, effectively making enemy harass mean nothing. Also, this is more viable on Varus because of his low base speed.

Myeah. I'm probably gonna say what most people say, but here goes. Flash is really multifunctional. It goes for ganks, escapes, securing kills, dodging killshots, catching killshots, and stealing dragon or baron. Anyway, I have this spell on F because that's easier to remember ( Flash DOES start with an F, after all).

Usable spells

Yes, you can use clarity. It means more farm, I use it a lot on other mana hungry champions I play. However, for this build, you don't NEED it, since we are building Manamune.

It's fine to use, I guess. I just do not use it because I fail with it, and Varus doesn't need it if he lands his Piercing Arrow.

Same as with Ignite, really. Varus has a built-in slow with his Hail of Arrows and technically doesn't take that much damage due to his range.

And that was about it. Yes, no Heal, because Varus doesn't need it in my opinion. You may use it if you like, but I do not recommend it. All the other summoner spells are just... No. Not for Varus, anyway.

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Gameplay tips

Yeah, so I looked at this guide again, and I found it to be missing something. Then I realized my guide wasn't complete without some tips to give some better chances to new Varus players. So, here goes.

Early Game

So, this is probably the most important phase, the laning and the warding phase. What I usually do with Varus when I arrive on bot lane, is wait at the tower for the minions to almost arrive. Why give the enemy time to hide in your bush? Guess what. Piercing Arrow right on their heads! Also, mostly, try to give a decent guard to your jungler, but do retreat when it seems hopeless.

During the laning phase itself, I try not only to harass, but also safely kill minions with E or Q if the enemy is trying to zone me. If you can go for the kill while not endangering yourself, go all out. Do keep an eye on your mana though, this is why we have that Mana Potion. If you have any money left after buying when recalling, BUY THE FREAKING Vision Wards OR sight wards! This helps so much when you place it in the river bush. I had often when the enemy jungler ganked, and I escaped because I retreated as soon as I saw him with the ward. Why a vision ward? To kill the wards that the enemy eventually placed.

Now, a common question. When does the mid game start? Well, I'd say when you have about Manamune, Berserker's Greaves and Zeal.

Mid Game

Now here is when things start going whacky. Everyone leaves their lanes, posing for a teamfight that doesn't come, ganks all over the place, fights for dragon, pushing on lanes. By this point, the enemy should have learned to quite fear you without using CC. Your Piercing Arrows will take away about a quarter of their health if they didn't buy armor (except for the tank(s)).

Important: Stay with at least 1 teammate! If you don't, you'll be ganked so hard you'll think Varus has no HP at all. Now, what you CAN do alone, is farm big minion waves pushing your turrets, gank enemies that are gankable (like squishy Annie or Lux, don't try this on Dr. Mundo or Rammus). Note: They're gankable when they're ALONE. Don't try a 2v1 unless you're at full HP and they are at 1/10th of theirs. You can however, shoot arrows at them so they retreat. Mid game is really random for every game, depending on what team is winning. Just try to help and kill whenever possible, like slowing chasing enemies or harassing tower huggers. Recall when you have money to buy. Do interrupt your recall s however, if ONE low-HP enemy champion passes by and doesn't notice you. It's be a waste to let the kill go.

Late game starts when you got your Phantom Dancer and The Bloodthirster.

Late Game

Late game can be classified as the following: Big pushes, Baron kills and steals, Dragon kills and steals, turnarounds, teamfights, aces. Rule no.1: Stay with team. Rule no.2: Kill enemies if possible. Rule no.3:Get baron if possible, or steal it if the enemy is doing it. Rule no.4: Get ace, get push or baron. And rule no.5: AUTO ATTACK LIKE HELL. Your AA's should be about as devastating as a Gragas throwing Explosive Cask with 999 AP at a champion with no magic resist. Okay, maybe not that, but you get the point (I hope).

Just don't try to die. The respawn timers are so long here, that if you die, the kill rate of your team will probably drop (since you're the carry). Also, when in a teamfight, you can probably focus anyone you wish, since you can detonate Blighted Quiver stacks for a PERCENTAGE of the enemy's health. However, I do recommend not focusing the tank, and focusing their damage dealers. Also, as a last tip, try to practice juking. Things like Light Binding, Howling Gale, and Infuse are really disruptive when you are drawing a Piercing Arrow.

A tip on Baron

When your team is doing baron, move to the edge of the alcove (opposite of where you enter). Then just kill the baron. If the enemy team tries a steal, kill the baron with all skill possible. Use your Chain of Corruption if needed. When you get baron, Flash over the edge and make your glorious getaway!
Also, when the enemy team is doing baron and you KNOW this, while your team has no Clairvoyance, send an ult in to see how much the baron has left. This way, you can kind of calculate when you need to shoot a Piercing Arrow to steal it. Of course, you should watch out if an enemy has Smite. Also you can make them panic by sending a Hail of Arrows in between them. Then they rush, and you can (probably) steal more easily.

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Well, that was my guide for Varus, the Arrow of Sniperation. I wrote this guide especially for those players who have serious mana problems with champions like Varus. So please, do not downvote just because it is not the buildup you are used to, and try it out before you flame me about my items. I am SSBmetalmario, and this was my very first Mobafire guide. Don't forget to give some constructive comments with your votes. Thanks and cheers in advance if you liked it!