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Varus Build Guide by Needlous

AP Carry AP-AS Varus - We All Fall Down

AP Carry AP-AS Varus - We All Fall Down

Updated on July 8, 2019
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League of Legends Build Guide Author Needlous Build Guide By Needlous 91 24 1,102,169 Views 64 Comments
91 24 1,102,169 Views 64 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author Needlous Varus Build Guide By Needlous Updated on July 8, 2019
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Runes: Normal runes

Press the Attack
Legend: Alacrity
Last Stand

Taste of Blood
Ravenous Hunter

+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+8 Magic Resist


1 2
LoL Summoner Spell: Flash


LoL Summoner Spell: Heal


LeagueSpy Logo
ADC Role
Ranked #18 in
ADC Role
Win 49%
Get More Stats
ADC Role Ranked #18 in
ADC Role
Win 49%
More Varus Runes

Introduction/Actual notes

08.07.2019 - Update post-guinsoo nerfs and for new meta, revamped runes (sustain + earlygame decent lane), changed items to not be obsolete (RIP wits end) and a few other things

Welcome to my Ability Power Varus guide! ;p
So, let's start off with "Why would I play AP Varus?"
So there are actually few reasons for that:
-He isn't as mana starved as other AP Carries (for example, let's say, Karthus or Brand)

-His capabilities for providing sustained burst are outstanding.

-Really satisfying to play one you get the hang of him.

-Can fall back on to his strong, 0,4AP scaling autoattacks once everything else fails.

-Literally gamechanging ult.

-Real depth, lots and lots of small things that you'll pick up through learning how to play him (for example, 4 and next 5 stack E, or learning exact timings on his ult stacks etc.)

Why am I not doing well after playing AP Varus for some 3 times???

Playing AP Varus, especially compared to his more poke oriented AD version is just hard to get used to. Give him a few games, and try not to give up just because he feels weak for the first or second time. Everything in League feels weak if you're not used to it's autoattack animation, timings, ranges and damage ranges.
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Just wanted to point this out

You will often deal lots of physical damage, especially if the enemy team starts stacking Magic Resistance; and by lots I mean like 20-30% of total. That's because your autoattacks and spells deal physical damage, apart from Blight and your ultimate. Thankfully now that Guinsoo gives your physical penetration, you can squeeze out a little bit more from your phys damage.
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Some vids

NOTE: Not really instructional videos or even a wide variety, they're here just to give you an idea of how the build will work out.
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Possible Abbrevations

Q - Piercing Arrow
W - Blighted Quiver
Blight - Blighted Quiver
E - Hail of Arrows
R - Chain of Corruption
Passive - Living Vengeance
mpen - Magic penetration.
HP - Health Points
IMO - In my opinion.
AP - Ability power
AS - Attack speed
AD - attack damage
B - recall
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Pros / Cons


-Really volatile lategame.
-%HP damage helps shorten the time needed to kill tanks significantly.
-Can oneshot ADCs with 2 stacks and R later on, should they not build Banshee or GA.
-Fun to play.
-Ult basically wins games on its own with high-CC comps.
-Amazing utility in the form of E.
-With barely any advantage, can snowball out of control against magic damage dealers in the midlane, with Wit's End and MR runes.
-High risk-high reward.


-Hard to play, especially during the early game; way less forgiving to make mistakes, as you have no lifesteal.
-Most of the damage you do is delayed by the need of applying Blight first.
-Relies on his hard to hit ult way too often.
-Can't have both burst and sustained damage in the early game; sustained damage usually wins out though, as AS also makes it way easier to last hit and move around.
-Tends to fare poorly against high-MR tanks unless ahead.
-High risk-high reward.
-If played botlane, needs a good support. If played wherever, needs a team that understands you're not trolling.
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The rune choices are awfully simple. You need more AS to get through laning, you need sustain to be able to stay alive for longer. Domination provides you biggest early AS spike possible as well as lots of free sustain through the game, pretty absurd sustain, really. Other rune choices don't matter as much but they work pretty well with Varus.
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Skill Summary/Combos.

NOTE: Videos outdated, will replace soon. Section probably needs more updates, too; for example, mentioning Thunderlords in lane... Your bread and butter skill is obviously Blighted Quiver - it helps you with last hitting, it's your main damage source later on. Living Vengeance is actually very nice addition to that - every time you kill minion or a champion(assists for champions count, too), you get bonus attack speed for a while - that makes your DPS this much better, especially if you've got that champion AS bonus. Piercing Arrow serves purely for detonating Blight, it's pretty easy to aim and can be weaved in between autoattacks, also helps proccing Thunderlord's sometimes. Hail of Arrows, your E, is AoE ground-targeted skillshot, which slows and reduces HP regen/healing of units which stand on it. Damage is dealt when the arrows fall on the ground, and then - little know fact - about half (maybe less?) a second later, whole field detonates your Blight stacks again. It's possible to detonate up to 5 Blight stacks with E if you're using this mechanic correctly. Chain of Corruption is another skillshot - it's not very hard to aim, range is kinda big, and it spreads onto nearby enemies. Because of it's 1:1 AP ratio it's obviously pretty strong once you get your Deathcap rolling, even though base damage is kinda meh.

Ideal Combos:

Blighted Quiver = autoattack. In any of these cases, Hail of Arrows can be replaced with Piercing Arrow, unless you want to decrease enemy healing from potion or skill or intend to detonate 4 or 5 stacks. If you're in a hurry, it's sometimes better to detonate two or even one Blight stack than none at all.
Lane Harras -

Gank Setup -

( Blight stacks obviously aren't necessary if your jungler is high-damage, or you're in a hurry; tl;dr is "just ult the enemy" )

Usual teamfight rotation -

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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
W is maxed first for damage, E is maxed second because of utility it provides and lower CD, Q is maxed last. Also note that Hail of Arrows cost doesn't increase with level.
A lot of people are saying that maxing E or Q is better, because teh damages - that simply isn't true. Maxed Blight will deal 26x3(78)+15% of one's hp in 3 autoattacks - Implying enemy mid has 1000 hp @ lvl 9, that is 228 MAGIC(Remember, you have magic pen runes/masteries) damage total, not counting AP scalings(quints, masteries~). E will deal 225 PHYSICAL damage (3 less! :p), and Q will deal max of 215 + (lvl9 ad x1,6) 116 (331 total) PHYSICAL damage, implying you haven't hit anything before and it's fully charged. But, but, but - you're going to have that 116 damage anyway(It scales off base AD~), and base damage is, again, surpassed by Blight - by now, it should be obvious what to max first ;P.

Skill priority Chain of Corruption> Blighted Quiver> Hail of Arrows> Piercing Arrow
I think I've covered everything regarding skill order above, haven't I? :)
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Summoner Spells

My setup:

Flash because it's flash.
Heal because it's the best panic button around.

Other choices:

Cleanse is a great choice with the CC creep all over the game and I've been using it myself way more often than I'd like to admit
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My item build:

Wit's End makes for and amazing anti-mage tool and helps makes your early to midgame transition really smooth.

Sorcerer's Shoes instead of Berserker's, as you already have the necessary AS from your runes and 15MPen makes it possible for you to bring squishies to, effectively, 0 MR with Wit's End.

Nashor's Tooth right after, it's a huge damage boost and gives you some much needed CDR.

Guinsoo's Rageblade is the single greatest damage spike for AP Varus in the game

Zhonya's Hourglass provides you with situational survivability.
NOTE:You can switch build order around as you wish, though I wouldn't really recommend it unless it's a matter of building Zhonya's vs Zed or skipping WE against 4 AD team etc.

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Recommended supports for botlane

Sometimes you have enough AD as is, and are stuck in botlane. Playing AP Varus then is fine, on the most part you're providing your team with equal amounts of damage and ADC would provide; it's just that it's magical, not physical. Optimally, you should pick him when your support can do at least 3 of the following:
- Heal you
- Peel for you
- Build Ardent Censer and use it effectively
- Build Knight's Vow and use it effectively

Some supports I'd recommend are Nami, Lulu and an competent Alistar.
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AP Varus is, I believe, stronger than he ever was as of writing this. And that's coming for someone that's played him for some 5 seasons already. You should not feel bad for playing him, just don't forcefully pick him when you would have 5 AP or when you're not in an adequate role (botlane/mid)
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I'd love to thank jhoijhoi for Guide about making guides
Also, huuuuuuuuuge thanks to Cubby1313 - check out his Orianna Guide!
If you have any suggestions or questions, PM me.

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