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Varus Build Guide by KoZee

ADC [12.10] An In-depth Guide To Bot Lane Varus!

ADC [12.10] An In-depth Guide To Bot Lane Varus!

Updated on June 4, 2022
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League of Legends Build Guide Author KoZee Build Guide By KoZee 77 7 194,037 Views 6 Comments
77 7 194,037 Views 6 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author KoZee Varus Build Guide By KoZee Updated on June 4, 2022
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Runes: Lethal Tempo [DPS]

1 2 3 4
Lethal Tempo
Presence of Mind
Legend: Bloodline
Coup de Grace


+10% Attack Speed
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+6 Armor


1 2 3
LoL Summoner Spell: Flash


LoL Summoner Spell: Heal



Threats & Synergies

Threats Synergies
Extreme Major Even Minor Tiny
Show All
None Low Ok Strong Ideal
Extreme Threats
Ideal Synergies
Ideal Strong Ok Low None

Champion Build Guide

[12.10] An In-depth Guide To Bot Lane Varus!

By KoZee
Hello, I'm Synnoh! I'm a Varus One Trick who loves testing and playing a variety of builds on Varus. I'm not the highest ranked or most played Varus, but I think I have a decent amount of experience and success with him.

Having said that, these are common ways that I play Varus, as well as some of the most popular builds for him! This guide is meant to help you start playing the champion. Remember that Varus is very versatile and can be built many ways, so you should test your own builds and see what works best for you!
Why Varus?
Varus is a champion that, right now, has a very low pick rate. Additionally, his win rate is also below 50% right now. Despite this, I almost only play Varus. What is the reason for this? Well, mostly it's because I have fun playing him. His playstyle fits me very well and I find success with him. I actively play many of his builds and am testing new ones. Despite his play rate and win rate, I do think he is viable. He is an occasional pick in high elo, both with his lethality build and his critical build. While he may not be as strong or flashy as new champions, he can be successful and is, in my opinion, just as fun if not more.
Pros & Cons
+ Versatile with multiple builds
+ Good poke damage and range with Piercing Arrow
+ Self peel and catch out potential with Chain of Corruption
+ Shreds tanks with Blighted Quiver
+ Clears waves quickly with Living Vengeance
+ Blighted Quiver active gives you execute damage.
+ 3 stack Blighted Quiver Piercing Arrow combo can deal more damage to dragons than smite, giving both steal and secure potential.

- Immobile and can be easily caught out if you position poorly
- Very squishy, like most ADCs.
- If another lane loses, it can be hard to carry as Varus
- Building lethality into multiple tanks can be hard
- Suffers a little from being outdated as a champion.
A Short History of Varus in the Meta
Despite not being meta currently, he has had his time in the meta with a few different playstyles.

One popular way to play Varus in the past was using Guinsoo's Rageblade and building him on-hit. However, this was nerfed after and Varus's play rate fell with it. After new items were introduced in season 11, this build is a ghost of it former self. Guinsoo's Rageblade lost its scaling attack speed and armor and magic penetration, making it a bad item on most champions. If you want to go for the attack speed Varus now, critical seems to be the way to go. This is why this guide does not feature an on-hit build despite it being meta at one point.

Another playstyle that became popular in the meta was lethality. This was a bit more popular in recent times as an ADC, but was also played mid-lane. The mid-lane playstyle was popularized by pro-player PowerOfEvil. This build is still more than viable today, taking items like Duskblade of Draktharr and Muramana. This playstyle abuses your range on Piercing Arrow to deal damage from afar rather than your damage mainly coming from auto attacks.
How Varus Is Played Now
Varus is sitting with a low 2% play rate and 0.1% ban rate right now. While he is not meta, he is plenty viable to climb with. He still a few different builds that are fine to play him with.

This is my favorite build to play. Build crit maximizes your consistent damage in team fights. This usually involves building items like Kraken Slayer, Runaan's Hurricane, and Infinity Edge, however some can be swapped out, especially depending on the situation. For example, sometimes it will be better to build Galeforce instead of Kraken Slayer into squishies, or Phantom Dancer instead of Runaan's Hurricane if you need to go front to back in team fights and can't shred threw everyone at once. After these, you just build more critical strike, or sometimes a defensive item like Guardian Angel. Additionally, you normally take Lethal Tempo, however, I personally love taking Press the Attack. This build is good in most situations, as it can shred down tanks but still deal a lot of damage to squishy champions.

The most popular build with Varus right now is going to be his lethality build. This was meta at one point in season 10 and is the most recent build Varus was meta with. This playstyle involves poking enemies down with Piercing Arrow. You typically take Arcane Comet with this to poke even more, especially with the slow from Hail of Arrows. You will often build Duskblade of Draktharr, Ionian Boots of Lucidity, and Muramana when going lethality. However, you don't actually need to build Muramana if you aren't struggling with mana, but it's still a good option due to the extra burst and poke it provides. As such, I'd still recommend it and it's what I normally do personally. I recommend this build when they have a lot of squishy champions and when you can't get can't get close to use auto attacks without being punished. The range of this build works well into champions like Caitlyn.

AP Varus has been around for a long time. It hasn't been meta the same way lethality and on-hit builds are, but it has been a common niche pick. When going APC Varus, I think his more consistent damage build is better than his burst AP build. This means you go Nashor's Tooth first into Riftmaker and Rabadon's Deathcap. You should also take Press the Attack when going this build for the extra burst on your 3 blight stack combo. This build is best when you have little AP on your team, and it can be very effective into tanks since Blighted Quiver's AP scaling does percent max health damage.

Varus in season 11 has a lot of versatility with a lot of playstyles. While there is the standard picks of Critical and Lethality, there is more, such as that AP build. I'd like to say that playing Varus is all about finding how you enjoy playing him. This guide is supposed to give you a general direction to finding how you like to play. There are more items and combinations you can use, such as Galeforce, The Collector, and Infinity Edge. I encourage you to try these alternative styles that are not meta and play what works for you and what you find fun.

This is the go to keystone for Varus's attack speed build. It worked especially well with his on-hit build on the past, and it is now the most common option for the critical build. Lethal Tempo's bonus attack speed helps with stacking Blighted Quiver and should let you get 2 fully stack blight procs win a fight. This also works really well with Kraken Slayer, as the extra attack speed will let you get the extra true damage more often.

This is the standard option for Lethality Varus now. It provides a lot of burst for Varus for a few reasons. Duskblade of Draktharr is the most common mythic for Varus and you will want to auto attack to use it, and Hail of Blades will make it so when you do so you will also be able to get multiple autos off. Since you're building a lot of AD and Lethality with this build, you will deal a lot of damage with those 3 autos. It also lets you apply blight very quickly, meaning your next ability will deal even more damage as well. This rune has replaced Arcane Comet earlier on in Season 11.

Press the Attack serves as an alternative for Lethal Tempo in Varus's critical build, as well as the standard for APC Varus. It is my personal favorite rune for Varus's critical build. The benefit of Press the Attack over Lethal Tempo is you have a bit higher burst with a little less shred. It excels more in early game, especially at level 2 where you can get 3 stacked of Blighted Quiver and then use it's active and fully charge Piercing Arrow to deal a ton of damage. Almost no other champion can deal this much damage at level 2, which makes you a huge threat at level 2 with Press the Attack. Additionally, you take this with AP Varus's build in order to maximize your blight damage. The vulnerability combined with the fact 3 hits is enough to fully stack blight means this synergizes well.

This is an old alternative rune that can still find some success on lethality Varus, as it increases your poke damage and synergizes well with Hail of Arrows. I would advise against using it however, as Hail of Blades has been found to be much better than Arcane Comet, but if you want a slightly higher poke playstyle, it can still work. It gives you access to the sorcery tree which has some nice things for Varus, but it's sub-optimal overall.
Summoner Spells
Flash is non-negotiable on Varus. You are low mobility and you need it to reposition. Most champions take this no matter what, and Varus is one of those. The ability to dodge skill shots and position yourself better in the middle of a team fight can be huge to whether or not you win fights or just get one shot.

Heal is going to be your go-to summoner spell most of the time. This is standard for ADCs as it gives you and your support health and movement speed. This is standard and recommended. There alternatives, but if you're new to Varus or ADC, this is probably going to be what you want.

Cleanse is a normal alternative option for ADCs into team comps with a lot of crowd control or undodgeable(or nearly undodgeable) crowd control. This can include something like Leona's ultimate Solar Flare, which is really hard to dodge and can be deadly when it lands. It's also fairly common for your support to take heal when you take cleanse.

Teleport is specifically an option meant for lethality Varus. The reason is doesn't work well on his other options have to do with his range. Lethality Varus is able to poke down enemies rather than trading and needing to take damage. While heal is still normal for lethality, teleport is a viable alternative.

Exhaust is a viable option for ADCs who want to stop burst from assassins or strong all-in champions, such as Tristana. It's not going to be something you take every game, but can be a viable alternative, especially if your support takes heal instead of you leaving you open to exhaust who you want when they target you rather than relying on your support to do it.

Ignite is something you can only ever really take if you have a Yuumi who takes Exhaust and Heal. It basically lets you get the damage while your support can heal you and use the defensive summoner spells, and since she'll normally be on you, you don't need to worry about her being too far for heal to work and it leaves her open to not needing Flash.

Living Vengence

Varus's passive is Living Vengeance. Whenever you kill a unit, you gain 20% (+20% bonus attack speed) attack speed for 5-11 seconds based on level. The passive attack speed is doubled for champion kills or assists for a total of 40% (+40% bonus attack speed). Due to Varus having a low pick rate and not being very popular, many people might not even consider Varus passive when they are choosing a fight. Despite this, Varus is really hard to beat while his passive is active, especially right after a champion kill or assist. After 4 seconds of charging, the ability will cancel and refund 50% of the mana cooldown. Note that if Varus is crowd controlled while charging his arrow, it will cancel the charge and put the ability on full cooldown.

Attack Speed on Unit Kill: 10%/15%/20%(+20% Bonus Attack Speed) at Levels 1/7/13
Attack speed on Champion Takedown: 40%(+40% Bonus Attack Speed)
Duration: 5/7/9/11 seconds at levels 1, 6, 11, and 16.

Piercing Arrow

Varus's Q is Piercing Arrow. It's a long range arrow thats range and damage goes up with its charge. While you're charging, you have 20% reduced movement speed. Additionally, Blighted Quiver's passive stacks are activated by Piercing Arrow, the blight damage increasing between 0-80% depending on the arrow charge.

Maximum Damage: 15/70/125/180/235 physical damage
Cooldown: 16/15/14/13/12 seconds
Mana cost: 65/70/75/80/85
Total AD Ratio(when fully charged): 125%/130%/135%/140%/145%

Blighted Quiver

Blighted Quiver is Varus's W. The most simple part of it is a passive that makes you deal bonus magic damage on-hit equal to 7/8/9/10/11(+25% AP). Additionally, every auto attack will apply 1 stack of blight to your target. Any enemy can have up to 3 stacks of blight at once, and activating by hitting Piercing Arrow or Hail of Arrows it will deal % max health magic damage. When Piercing Arrow activates this, this damage will do 0-80% extra based on the charge of Piercing Arrow. Whenever you proc your blight stacks on an enemy champion or epic monster, your Piercing Arrow, Blighted Quiver's active, and Hail of Arrows cooldowns will be reduced by 12% of their maximum cooldown per stack of blight.
Varus's Blighted Quiver also has an active, which a lot of people seem to overlook and not even know he has! This active enhanced Varus's next Piercing Arrow to deal 9-21% percent missing health magic damage based on arrow charge and the level of Varus.

Damage on Attack: 7/10.5/14/17.5/21(+30% AP) magic damage
Damage from Blight: 3%/3.5%/4%/4.5%/5%(+2.5% per 100 AP) max health magic damage per stack
Cooldown: 40 seconds
Active Damage: 9% to 21% missing health magic damage based on Q charge and champion level.

Hail of Arrows

Varus shoots arrows in a circle on the ground, dealing physical damage and leaving a circle on the ground that will slow enemies and apply 40% grievous wounds to those in it.

Damage: 60/100/140/180/220(+90% Bonus AD) physical damage
Slow: 25%/30%/35%/40%/45%
Grievous Wounds: 40%
Cooldown: 18/16/14/12/10 seconds

Chain of Corruption

Varus shoots a tendril of corruption, dealing magic damage and rooting the first enemy hit for 2 seconds. It adds 3 stacks of blight to the target over the course of the 2 seconds of the root. Additionally, the root and magic damage will spread after the first target's end, dealing the same damage and root duration and also applying 3 blight stacks over the root duration. Enemies cannot be hit by the same Chain of Corruption twice. This can be used to hit an enemy and let you start charging Piercing Arrow with Blighted Quiver's active to burst down an enemy. This combo does a ton of damage when building AP as well.

Damage: 150/250/350(+100% AP) magic damage
Cooldown: 100/80/60 seconds
Early-Mid Game
Varus's early game depends on which build you choose. You'll often need to leash your jungler and head bot. Once you get bot, the first challenge is hitting level 2 first, which can be done by killing the first wave as well as the 3 melee minions of the second wave(assuming both you and your support are in lane). If you take Piercing Arrow level 1, try to enter lane by hitting the enemy through the wave of minions, thinning the wave while dealing damage. If you took Hail of Arrows, you will need to play a bit safer. If you have comet, it will likely be worth to try to poke enemies with it.

If you took Piercing Arrow level 1, once you hit level 2 you can put a point into Blighted Quiver and so long as the enemy is level 1, you can try to hit the enemy 3 times before using your Blighted Quiver active and hitting the enemy with a fully charged Piercing Arrow. This is especially effective if you have Press the Attack, however it can also be easier to do if you have Lethal Tempo or Hail of Blades to stack quickly. This combo does a lot early on, and so long as your support can be part of the trade, you should usually win the trade or possibly even get a kill.

After this, you can play lane like most other ADCs. Try to farm and not get caught out. Try to keep track of the enemy jungler and keep the river warded a little deep in order for you to have time to react to ganks. If you have a good engage support, try to follow up on any engage they do as it will often let you get blight stacks easily. Depending on your playstyle, you can look to either all in or just poke down enemies, however overall they're fairly similar.

If you get a kill, try to hard push the wave and back so the enemy misses experience and gold while you get to back and spend your gold. Alternatively, if your jungler is bot and you have priority and the lane is in a good state, you can go and take drake. This is really easy to do with Varus so long as you have some mana, since your Blighted Quiver Piercing Arrow combo on a dragon with 3 stacks of blight deals more damage than smite, so if you time it correctly you won't have to worry about the enemy jungler stealing it.

If you gain a lead and take turret, you can try to swap lanes with your mid or top. It's often optimal to be in a solo lane with a lead if you don't need to worry about 1v2ing due to the fact to get solo experience rather than sharing it with a support. This will help you not fall behind against the solo laners of mid and top that may be fed while also having the experience lead on you.
Mid-Late Game
During mid-late game, your job varies greatly depending on your build. The common idea is you're going to want to be in team fights and to help your team get objectives, whether it be dragons, barons, or turrets. Varus is great in team fights with most builds.

With critical, you will usually want Runaan's Hurricane usually to deal damage and shred through multiple target. This also applies blight to many targets at once. Your job here is to stay alive and deal as much damage as possible.

With lethality, your job becomes to poke rather than deal consistent damage. You will want to land Piercing Arrows and Hail of Arrows when you can, and possibly catch someone out with Chain of Corruption

League of Legends Champions:

Teamfight Tactics Guide