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Varus Build Guide by billpal

Other AD Caster Varus mid/adc

By billpal | Updated on February 17, 2017
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LoL Summoner Spell: Ghost


LoL Summoner Spell: Flash


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ADC Role
Ranked #18 in
ADC Role
Win 47%
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Threats & Synergies

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Extreme Threats
Ideal Synergies


adc (attack damage caster) varus mid or bot is a beast with his q ability poking down enemies from afar. his q has the most range in game and the fastest projectile. it also passes through multiple champions.

varus mid is vulnerable to dives in early game and his power spike is at mid-game, when he gets his core items. Especially in this lethality meta in Season 7, where marksmen are a very weak role at the moment, ad caster varus is being seen at botlane replacing the marksman role, giving him that way a safer laning phase. If u are playing him at bottom, of course you should take Heal instead of ghost or the other summoner spells.
also he has completely no escapes which solely means you have to be very careful of how u position. in addition, you need a team that understands your poke strategy. that means that they will not engage fights normally before you have poked the opponents. it also means that they can peel for you in teamfights in case some1 tries to get to you.

Generally poke team compositions need lots of teamwork and coordination.
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When to pick / team comps.

ok, so caster varus means poke team composition with fast engage and disengage.
the poke team compositions need 2 poke champions , one tank , one to offer fast engage-disengage and one to bring some extra damage in the fights.

best ally champions your team should have : . nidalee replaces you as the ap damage from the jungle (its op anyways), while janna and sivir offer the best engage-disengage in the game.

do not go poke team comp when opponents have champions like : , because they have hard engage with knock-ups which you cant cleanse, and healers who can heal all of your poke.

example poke team compositions :
  • braum takes the role of the tank, riven the role of the extra damage dealer champion and sivir offers the needed utility with her ulty On The Hunt
  • gnar is the tank while vayne, as late game hyper carry, boosts your team's damage. janna offers the disengage with her ulty Monsoon or the engage with talisman of ascension.
  • . well, both janna and sivir for maximum engage-disengage, and 3 poke champions. in this team comp Clarity (R.I.P 5.22) seams pretty good choice xD
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Pros / Cons for caster varus with this build

with varus u basically want to farm and survive the laning phase. Dont hesitate to be offensive and poke down your opponents early in the game, but be carefull, if u get low hp u can easily get dived .Then u get your core items at mid-game at which point u get blue buff, you group with your team, and u start poking your opponents dealing crazy damage with your q's. after a bit of poke you can take free objectives.

+ varus is at his strongest with his core items at mid-game
+ q longest ranged poke ability up in almost every 4 seconds (40%CDR)
+ huge attack damage output
+ aoe slow/healing reduction
+ good engage-disengage ulty

- struggles in lanning phase vs some champions
- hard to position
- Susceptible to divers/knock-ups
- requires proper team composition (poke-disengage)
- relies a lot on the team
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most common for mid : Ghost Flash
If at bottom : Heal Flash
Try Cleanse Flash vs lissandra/ahri etc. This is the 2nd option if u dont want to get ghost.
some shield : Barrier Flash (when they have burst champions like kha leblancf fizz)
Exhaust Flash (e.g. vs zed jayce ryze)

Generally ghost and cleanse help you in teamfights giving you the necessary utility needed.
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typical runes with some ad some armor and some magic resist. i prefer flat rather than per lvl because varus really needs to stay stronk early game untill he gets his items.

Though, you can make 2 rune pages.
One when you lane vs AP : instead of armor, get health per level yellows.
Second when you lane vs AD : instead of flat mr get mr per level OR 6 cdr@18 + 3mr@18 : that way u get 10% cd and 10 mr at lvl 18.

(Some prefer to put cdr quints to have constantly 40% which is ok. But if u think of it, even without blue, 30% alone is op. And when you group with team, thats when u spam your q, and usually thats when u get your blue too.)
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With this build, varus is a beast at poking down enemies, and it also makes him hard to lockdown with cc.
key items for this ? Muramana Youmuu's Ghostblade Mercurial Scimitar on top of Ghost/ Cleanse spells.
Season 6 changes : varus can no longer play the proper role of both ad caster mid AND adc. New adc build relies heavily on critical chance rather than attack speed. So we can no longer build an attack speed item, after his core items, and turn him into adc. This doesnt work now.

Explained Item and Purchase Order : (also see item notes)
varus actually builds early Tear of the Goddess just so he has enough mana to spam his q. he doesn't really favor from the Muramana when stacked as he isnt an actual adc.
Varus focuses on armor penetration , cdr and damage. since The Brutalizer got R.I.P.ed in 5.22, we will 1st go for an early Serrated Dirk after tear and boots, building it into Youmuu's Ghostblade as our 1st item.
After tear and ghostblade you will want to go for the 40% cdr, so upgrade your boots into Ionian Boots of Lucidity and then build Caulfield's Warhammer.
40%CDR = 10%ghostblade, 10%warhammer, 10%lucidity boots, 10% bluebuff.
So far we reached 40% cdr with some decent armor penetration and attack damage. but we need more than decent. right?
SO, next, we want to see what we need more. AD or Armor Pen. If opponents started stacking armor, we build last whisper. If they didnt, we finish warhammer into Death's Dance. Usually it will be early in the game for last whisper bcs opponents wont have started building armor yet, so most of the times we want to get deaths dance. At that point we have ionians boots, ghostblade, deaths dance, and tear. Then we once again choose btw manamune and last whisper depending on the opponent's armor. Most of the time tear wouldnt have stacked up yet, so delaying buying manamune so long wont be a problem.
BUT, there is a chance that we need some early defense stats. In that case, dont finish deaths dance, but choose one item from those in the "next" section (look "Final Item Defense" for details)
P.s. I removed Warmogs Armor as a possible defensive item because after the changes u need at least 3.000 hp to fully utilize it.

At this point let me say this : if opponents build no armor, just dont build last whisper!
but even if they build one armor item (i.e. omen) then you have to build it.
Some season 6 changes compared to earlier season 5 build : for our mid game build we would build last whisper (2300 gold) and b.f. sword (1500). now balance has change so we 1st build warhammer (1100g), then last whisper (1300g), and then we finish death's dance (2300g recipe price). imo this is kinda better as gold is better distributed/you have an easier buildpath.

For the final item, if thats offensive, I prefer Mercurial Scimitar over Bloodthirster because varus has no escapes and this active is very needed when some1 gets to you. even if he doesn't stun you or something just the temporary movement speed bonus is more than enough to get you out. also, if u combine it with ghostblade/ghost there is no way they can reach you. Although i find it useless if they cave no cc (doesnt work vs knockups). In that case build BT, as it gives you a decent shield, if you stack it, and also huge life steal.

No longer a thing for varus : Infinity Edge , as i said, in the new season, critical chance items are almost only for ad carries. varus is spellcaster.

No longer a thing : a̶t̶ ̶f̶u̶l̶l̶ ̶b̶u̶i̶l̶d̶ ̶(̶u̶n̶l̶e̶s̶s̶ ̶y̶o̶u̶ ̶a̶r̶e̶ ̶p̶o̶k̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶r̶e̶a̶l̶l̶y̶ ̶h̶a̶r̶d̶ ̶b̶e̶f̶o̶r̶e̶ ̶f̶i̶g̶h̶t̶s̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶y̶ ̶h̶a̶v̶e̶ ̶n̶o̶ ̶s̶t̶r̶o̶n̶g̶ ̶e̶n̶g̶a̶g̶e̶ ̶t̶e̶a̶m̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶m̶a̶k̶e̶ ̶y̶o̶u̶ ̶g̶o̶ ̶a̶d̶c̶/̶m̶e̶l̶e̶e̶-̶l̶i̶k̶e̶)̶,̶ ̶y̶o̶u̶ ̶c̶a̶n̶ ̶s̶e̶l̶l̶ ̶y̶o̶u̶r̶ ̶b̶o̶o̶t̶s̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶b̶u̶y̶ ̶Z̶e̶p̶h̶y̶r̶ ̶s̶a̶c̶r̶i̶f̶i̶c̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶s̶o̶m̶e̶ ̶c̶d̶r̶ ̶f̶o̶r̶ ̶s̶o̶m̶e̶ ̶a̶t̶t̶a̶c̶k̶ ̶s̶p̶e̶e̶d̶.̶ ̶(̶w̶h̶e̶n̶ ̶t̶e̶a̶m̶ ̶c̶o̶m̶p̶ ̶d̶o̶e̶s̶n̶t̶ ̶r̶e̶a̶l̶l̶y̶ ̶w̶o̶r̶k̶s̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶f̶i̶g̶h̶t̶s̶ ̶s̶t̶a̶r̶t̶ ̶f̶a̶s̶t̶ ̶w̶i̶t̶h̶o̶u̶t̶ ̶l̶e̶t̶t̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶y̶o̶u̶ ̶p̶o̶k̶e̶ ̶1̶s̶t̶)̶

OTHER vialbe ITEMS :

Maw of Malmortius It gives you some decent ad and armor pen, and a shield that absorbs magic damage. you can build it when you find yourself dying to small bursts of magic damage, like when the opponent xerath keeps landing his skillshots on you and you die in every fight. Or when you opponent has all in burst champions like diana leblanc fizz, and u build it early game to help u not feed.
But if in late game, i would rather pick banshee's veil than this.

Trinity Force you can build this as your final item if you want more offense. it doesnt give you much damage for your poke, but it is a decent boost in your overall kit. imo there are better items than this.

Blade of the Ruined King g̶o̶o̶d̶ ̶i̶t̶e̶m̶ ̶v̶s̶ ̶b̶r̶u̶i̶z̶e̶r̶s̶ ̶l̶i̶k̶e̶ ̶i̶r̶e̶l̶i̶a̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶u̶d̶y̶r̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶g̶e̶n̶e̶r̶a̶l̶l̶y̶ ̶v̶s̶ ̶c̶h̶a̶m̶p̶i̶o̶n̶s̶ ̶w̶i̶t̶h̶ ̶m̶u̶c̶h̶ ̶h̶e̶a̶l̶t̶h̶.̶ ̶y̶o̶u̶ ̶b̶e̶n̶e̶f̶i̶t̶ ̶f̶r̶o̶m̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶p̶a̶s̶s̶i̶v̶e̶ ̶b̶u̶t̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶a̶c̶t̶i̶v̶e̶ ̶a̶l̶s̶o̶ ̶h̶e̶l̶p̶s̶ ̶y̶o̶u̶ ̶g̶e̶t̶ ̶a̶w̶a̶y̶ ̶j̶u̶s̶t̶ ̶i̶n̶ ̶t̶i̶m̶e̶ ̶f̶r̶o̶m̶ ̶t̶h̶a̶t̶ ̶u̶d̶y̶r̶ ̶c̶o̶m̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶s̶t̶r̶a̶i̶g̶h̶t̶ ̶o̶n̶t̶o̶ ̶y̶o̶u̶.̶
i dont suggest this item any more. if you need defense from udyrs irelias etc get omen. if you want damage vs healthy champs just upgrade last whisper.

Frozen Mallet it gives lots of hp and a passive than helps you kite opponents. pretty decent defensive item, although you will not have the crazy range in "melee" form, nor the attack speed, to kite your opponents that crazy.

Phantom Dancer Statikk Shiv and such items. these are typical attack speed items for normal ad carries. i dont recommend them at all. remember that you are not ad carry but a caster who spams his q like nidalee. (and better!)
Also in season 6 you will either have more than 50% critical chance, or zero. attack speed got nerfed and critical strike got buffed so adc bulid is more oriented that way.
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Living Vengeance{passive} : it helps farming in lane phase and in fights if u get an assist its a great boost.

Piercing Arrow{q} : its varus' bread and butter. the whole build comes around this skill.
TIP : with 40% cdr, u can use 2 q's straight one after the other with no cd. You start channeling your 1st q for 4 seconds, and the last moment u release it. But your cooldown started when u 1st pressed q, and not when u released the arrow, so because u were channeling it for 4 seconds it means now it is almost off cd and u can use it again immediately.
When q is maxed (5 points) and u have 40% cdr, it has 4.8 seconds cooldown. Also, u have 4 seconds available to channel your q or it cancells. BUT the truth is you have slightly more than 4 seconds. i would say u have 4.2 seconds. if u test it too u will see what im talking about. q takes a bit more than exact 4 seconds to cancell. SO if u w8 untill the last moment to release your 1st q, then u have your q up again in like 0.5 seconds, which is insignificant time.
+your q takes 2 seconds to fully channel its range/damage. Thus :
Using this trick, you opponent can get hit from 2 full ranged full channeled q's in only 2 seconds.
Or if u dont want to fully charge the 2nd q but rather cast it immediately -> your opponent can get hit from 2 q's in 0.5 seconds. :D

Blighted Quiver{w} : not much of an ability early on in most mathcups. later though u can use this passive to burst tanks. just remember to do 3 aa and then use your abilities.

Hail of Arrows{e} : this helps in waveclearing. furthermore, it has a very useful slow and an AoE healing reduction. use it wisely vs champions like swain and volibear (save it for when they try to heal).

Chain of Corruption{r} : its his ultimate ability. you can simply use it as a stun to get away from a gank. in teamfights its a great ability that offers your team lots of control since it will most likely stun the entire team if they are relatively close to each other.
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farming with varus is one from the easiest things to do. after u get Tear of the Goddess and serrated the cleanup in the lane is relatively easy. one q when minions approach, one e on the ranged minions and from one aa in the front minions and its gone in 3 seconds. when you get your core items just q and e on front ones do the work.
generally varus can farm from a great range without ever getting close to danger.

PRO TIP: in lane you can poke your opponent with the below trick.
your maxed q range is 1650 units and its longer than the vision range (1100 units). this means you can poke your opponent without them seeing you. but vice versa u cant see them either. So, what you do is, you go in lane and you put a ward in front of his turret (don't reveal it though). this little vision you get, gives you the advantage because you can now see him and hit him with your q. the opponent cannot see you and he will get a blind q on his face that he can never dodge.
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Power Spike / Teamfights / How to Utilize Varus / Examples

Varus' power spike is when he gets his core items. Its generally the mid-game at which he excels. Champions dont have much hp and they are not tanky yet, but varus' q deals already broken damage. So if u hit 3-4 q's before a fight, u will force your opponents to back off and that gives you easy objectives. you can basically kill some1 squishy at 20' with your core build in just 3 q's from afar.

In teamfights/late game just stay behind your team and poke the opponents down. if they try to engage you can use your ulty to disengage easy. with the build introduced, if they break through and get to you, ghostblade gives you attack speed and movement speed, muramana makes u having like 500 ad dealing crazy damage and scimitar cleanes away any potential cc to you.
simply, with scimitar cleanse and ghostblade there is nothing they can do to you.
unless you have no defense item and they burst you 100-0.

A Build Example :
i finished my core items at 21'. then is when u press tab and look at your opponent's team. they had no armor yet (malphite had, but only one sunfire, and he was building mr item after it...). So i said lets skip last whisper for now. But they had too much hp. lee alistar malphite had at least 3k hp each, so i built Giant Slayer for a start. After it, i rushed Banshee's Veil because teamfights had already started and my main threat was malphite's and lee sin's ultimates trying to cc and kill me. It turned out that choosing to build it 4th full item won us the game :).
after banshee's, i proceeded finishing giant slayer into Lord Dominik's Regards, and then warhammer into Death's Dance.

Perfect Game Example abusing varus mid 100% :
As u can see here, in this game we had a very bad start. all lanes were losing and our opponents had the immense lead of being 6.300 Team-Gold ahead of us ONLY at 21'!!!
it was pretty much a ff-20' type of games. game was 18-8 and we were 1 drake and 2 turrets down, without having taken any turrets/drakes for our team.
BUT, right then we grouped 5 mid, i landed many consecutive q's onto their team, bringing 3 of them down to less than 30% hp, and then we engaged and killed them making, as you see, a small comeback at 22'. we got the mid turret and drake off that. then we recalled, shopped, and grouped mid once again at 24'. I HAD BLUE BUFF AND MY CORE ITEMS Muramana Youmuu's Ghostblade Caulfield's Warhammer Ionian Boots of Lucidity. 40% cdr
In the next 4 minutes, we never left midlane, never backed and never recalled. we did one push to the nexus and we won game just like that. i kept landing my q's on them and so we kept on pushing and forcing them to back/recall. our opponents just crumbled to my poke and our team composition. gg wp
Now that i talked about team composition
full tank, peeler (cc)
full tank, engager-disengager-peeler (cc)
engage-disengage (ulty-movement speed buffs)
attack damage hyper carry.
(in this game i picked barrier bcs of lux+kha burst damage)
they had no tank, they were all squishy targets easy to melt down with my q.
when they tried to engage us and kill us (they were all very fed) our teamcomp was perfect to repel them and disengage using either gragas/sona/varus ulty. and when i finally had poke them down, we also had very good engage/dive potential with our maokai.
Thats how we won that game, in only one push-to-nexus-win, while being 6k gold down and extremely behind in game.
from 18-8, game ended 20-21 on kills.
as u see here, i was poking them down to low hp, and then we would engage on them and twitch would clear them up whith his aoe ulty.

Conclusion : Caster varus is very strong champion, But he kinda needs the right team composition and coordination from all 5 players in the team. Its something rare in soloq :) but if u play with some of your friends and pull it off, it is op :)
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to sum up caster varus is a poke champion with the best poke ability in the game. his q has 1650 range when nidalee's spear has 1500, and it can also hit through multiple units. also its projectile is the faster poke ability in game (after jayce's combo-ed q). he also offers his team decent cc in fights with his aoe ulty. this build offers varus lots of utility to help him survive fights.

im open to any suggestions anyone of you may have, thoughts etc.
thanks for reading my guide!
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