Varus Build Guide by Dybo
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.
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.
Hi there, welcome to my first guide on MobaFire. Varus is a powerful AD carry with few weaknesses, good all game long against almost any opposition. With percent damage, a strong (and very unique) crowd control, and a long-range harass tool, Varus has an amazing kit just waiting for you to dominate the bottom lane. So let's get building!
Pros / Cons
These are your standard AD carry 21/9/0 masteries, with a twist. Instead of running Deadliness and Lethality , we run Sorcery and Arcane Knowledge . I find the cool down reduction to be much more useful than 9 extra attack damage at level 18, and the magic penetration is important for your W (more on this later). Everything else is normal, adjusting between a point in Summoner's Wrath and Resistance or Summoner's Resolve and Butcher depending on your Summoner Spells.
Again, fairly standard AD carry runes, giving you Armor, Armor Penetration, Attack Damage, and Magic Resist (pretty much everything an AD carry would need). You do have some options, especially in the Quint area. Movespeed quints are especially good if you think you are starting with a Doran's Blade as Varus is rather slow (especially with his Q cocked). Other good options are CDR or flat MR blues (thought those are more suited for a mid-lane Varus)
Skills and Skill Sequence
This is Varus's steroid. It is relatively easy to activiate in lane (what with the minions dying all around you), though you will rarely, if ever, use the augmented version in lane (except to take that support for your sick Double Kill). It's nice to have, but don't rely on it too much.
*Pro-tip* Use your augmented attack speed to get more stacks of Blight on your opponents after killing a creep.
Your ranged harass tool and go-to "detonator," Varus's Q fires a fairly quick projectile that hits through creeps and has a fairly absurd range once charged. It scales very well with AD (1.0~1.6 AD depending on charge level). However, it has very, very long cooldown at low levels, so make your shots count.
Varus's little damage boost. Don't be fooled though, this skill is devastating. The passive magic damage is very good early (the equivalent of a Pickaxe} and the second half of the skill...basically makes your other three skills do 15% of the enemy's HP in magic damage.
The utility skill of the three, this skill throws out an AoE slow that also reduces all healing effects by 50%. Don't forget, this also triggers your Blight stacks. This skill also comes with a long cooldown, and is one of your only escape tools, so use it cautiously.
Finally, the ultimate. Initiation spells on AD carries are very good, and this one is especially nasty, spreading like a plague every two seconds. Toss this into a tightly packed enemy team, and watch them squirm in your tentacles of corruption. The one (big) downside to this skill is it's skill shot...don't miss.
Basically R>W>Q>E, starting with Piercing Arrow because Blighted Quiver does very little with no way of triggering blight stacks.
Using your Skills
This skill order has a very specific playstyle, and a very specific combo. The playstyle is one of light harass. As AD carry, your primary job is to farm. Fortunately, your W makes last hitting easy, and your passive gives you a little boost to attack speed each time you cs. With this attack speed, try and land an auto attack or two on the closest enemy. If you get three stacks, hit them with your Q or E to trigger blight. This should only work a few times on a competent opponent, but since Blight has a long duration (6 seconds!), you can effectively harass the enemy out of lane.
TLDR(you lazy bum): CS, get Blight Stacks, pop 'em, profit.
Your skill combo is (ideally): 3x Auto-Attack > R > 3x AA > W > 3x AA > Q
This maximizes your skills, damage, triggering a 3 Blight stacks with each ability.
But Dybo, why do you max your boring W instead of your amazing snipy Q???
Because your W, while not very flashy, is by far your most powerful skill, and your main source of damage both early and late game. I have seen a lot of guides recommend leveling your Q before your W. I very strongly disagree with that, for several reasons. First, anything that makes last hitting easier is great on an AD carry, and flat damage does the most early on in the game. Second, it doesn't cost mana to use, and while the having lower cooldowns and more damage is nice, spamming a 90 mana spell at level 9 is a great way to run yourself out of mana and into trouble. Finally, and most relevantly, Blight does an insane amount of damage. Each stack of Blight does 5% of the enemy's HP as magic damage, so if you play it right, each skill you use chunk's the enemy for 15% of the health. If you land the full combo (see above) you can expect a nice 45% of the enemy's health to vanish, in addition to your other damage.
Constantly frustrated by that last bit of HP? This is the spell for you. Try to use it after the enemy leaves your Desecrated Ground to maximize the healing reduction.
Your "Get Out of Jail Free" button, this is especially important for Varus because he has no build in escape. An all around all-star of a spell with innumerable uses.
The alternative to Flash. Not as good on Varus, as you don't need to chase very much, but it is a fine escape tool. I just prefer the ability to jump over walls. Either this or Flash is a must though, do not try to run without an escape unless you know you will never get ganked.
A decent Summoner Spell, good for baiting tower dives, and lane sustain. I would run this against a harass heavy lane or with a support with a poor or non-existant heal. Replaces Ignite.
An underrated spell, this spell is a must have if the enemy team either high quality ( Warwick Fiddlesticks and Rammus spring to mind) or high quantity crowd control. Especially useful against that Ashe Sona lane. Replaces Ignite
In the Beginning
- Boots of Speed + 3x Health Potion These are your typical starting items, giving move and sustain. Buy these unless you have a good reason to run...
- Doran's Blade This is a great item, giving attack damage, lifesteal and HP, all for the low low cost of 475. Buy this if you have a sustain support like Soraka or Sona.
Your First Buy
- 2 x Doran's Blade If you started boots, you need some damage and sustain. Two is a fairly typical number of Doran's to buy, less leaves you vulnerable in lane, more starts to cut into your big buys.
- Boots of Speed If you didn't start boots, get them now. Always try to stay at the same level (or higher) boots as your opponents.
- Health Potion / Sight ward HP pots are great if you're getting out-sustained or consistently harassed, and sight wards are a must have (thought your support should be buying them)
- Berserker's Greaves or Mercury's Treads Level 2 boots are great, grab them when you have the cash. Zerkers are the standard AD carry boots, but Merc Treads are a good buy if the enemy has a lot of crowd control or a lot of Magic Damage
- Vampiric Scepter This is your main sustain item, giving 19% lifesteal (with Doran's and masteries). This item lets you sit bot and farm indefinitely, which is pretty good for only 450 gold
- B. F. Sword or Pickaxe As an AD carry, you need damage, and these build into your biggest buy ( Infinity Edge). Try to save up the 1650 and buy that BF Sword, but if you're forced out of lane, the Pickaxe is a fine buy
- Zeal Last, but not least, your attack speed. Feel free to grab a Dagger early, since your Blighted Quiver scales very well with it.
Endgame Power Buys
- Infinity Edge This item just screams "AD carry," massively buffing your damage and criticals. So save up your 2180 and buy this bad boy ASAP.
- Phantom Dancer After upgrading your BF Sword, it's time to upgrade your Zeal. The combination of this and IE makes you a force to be reckoned with, giving you nice 400~500 damage crits.
- Last Whisper Tank getting you down? Enemy team stacking armor? Buy this and start dealing true damage again. This is a somewhat situational item, only buy this (early) if over half their team is going heavy on the armor.
- The Bloodthirster Finally, your lonely unupgraded Vamp Scept gets turned into the highest damage item in the game. The lifesteal and damage on this are great, grab this before Last Whisper if the enemy team is low on armor.
That Last Slot
This slot is usually reserved for your sole defensive item, and is entirely dependent on how the game is going.
- Guardian Angel This is a good "safe buy." It gives a bit of armor and MR, and revives you if (when) you get focused. Be wary of the 5 minute cooldown on the passive.
- Banshee's Veil Did your team spend all game feeding the AP carry? Then grab this. Try to keep your "bubble" up as long as possible.
- Quicksilver Sash Cleanse in a bottle. This item's great if the enemy team has a crowd control that you absolutely need to avoid. Note that it gives more MR than the BV, so take that into consideration if you don't need the extra mana and health
- Hexdrinker into Maw of Malmortius This item is best early, when the shield is proportionally bigger. Grab this if the enemy jungler is ability based and just loves to camp your lane.
- The Bloodthirster If you get very, very fed, seal the deal with another BT. 40% lifesteal is nothing to scoff at. Be warned, building this leaves you especially vulnerable to crowd control, since your only "defense" is the HP you regenerate from auto attacks.
To Wriggle's, or Not to Wriggle's
Wriggle's Lantern is a great item, but it is a very situational buy for an AD carry. The only (ONLY) time you want to buy this is against a high harass, high sustain lane like Graves Soraka. This item is best very very early, grab it even before your level 2 boots to maximize the effect of the armor and lifesteal. If you do end up building this, remember that the passive is very good at killing Dragon and Baron, so get your team to take those early. And don't forget to use that active!
If you can play AD carry, you can play Varus. Try to remember your combo, and try to get at least two stacks of Blight on an opponent before popping it with a Q or E. I would say Varus is one of the most powerful ADs all game long, good with either a sustain support or a crowd control support. Play him, and win a lot.
Thanks for reading my guide, and please vote. Constructive criticism is also appreciated.
Acknowledgements and Version History
- 5/10/12 Version 1.0 Guide published
Thanks to JhoiJhoi for the awesome how-to guide