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Varus Build Guide by Xander Cat

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Xander Cat

[S4] AP MID Varus - The Ultimate Guide

Xander Cat Last updated on October 20, 2014
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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

Legendary Guardian

Defense: 9


Utility: 0

Threats to Varus with this build

Show all
Threat Champion Notes
Akali Harass Akali hard in lane and make sure you last hit really well as she will without a doubt miss a lot of farm assuming you are punishing her for trying. Keep one blight stack on her at all times and from my experience she will almost inevitably try to jump on and all in you at level 6. When she does, simply aa her > Ult > Ignite > Kite > Q and it should be a free kill.
Katarina Same as Akali really, just keep harassing and when she dives all in at 6, just be aware that your ult will not disable her's but if you can get 3 stacks and your ult off on her then you should easily come out on top regarding the trade/kill.
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My name is Xander Cat and I've been a Varus main since i got dominated in lane by him when I was about level 10 playing normals after recently being persuaded to play the game. At the time I thought 'wow this guy is OP so I need to buy him'. As an ADC main I play more AD Varus but discovered in a 'piss take normal match' that he was a messiah in the mid lane.

AP Varus is in my opinion a lane bully who deals large magic damage with his auto attacks which goes side-by-side with building blight stacks for large amounts of burst.

When your [W] is maxed your burst potential is roughly 42% of their maximum health plus the damage of the ability you use. Late game if you land 2 blight stacks, and if your lucky maybe 3, followed by your ult then you will one hit the majority of all carries and easily take over half health from a tank regardless of their defenses due to your damage being based on % of maximum health.

The biggest problem with Varus is that he strongly requires a suitable team comp. Due to his lack of mobility and escapes he is extremely easy to focus, meaning he requires this so called 'protect the Kog'maw comp'. If your team can keep you alive along enough to ensure you can keep up the consistent damage (which many other popular mid laners can't compete with) then you are likely to carry the match.

I know a 61% win rate isn't exactly phenomenal but it does give a steady increase of elo so I can definitely recommend him for ranked once you understand how to play him correctly.

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Is a MUST for Varus due to the fact that he has no immediate escapes. But remember don't be afraid to use your Ultimate to escape it it means the difference between life and death.

Is my preferred secondary spell as it can be applied easily to snared targets and allows for increased ease of kills during the lane phase.

These are both also valid options due to his lack of mobility and escapes.

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Greater Mark of Magic Penetration

Greater Quintessence of Ability Power

Greater Seal of Armor

Greater Glyph of Magic Resist

Greater Glyph of Ability Power

Unfortunately I don't have unlimited IP/RP so I have to use this rune page which I use across a variety of other mid laners. However it's still actually a really good general page for Varus as it contains both Armour and Magic Resist which aid him due to his lack of escapes.
  • If you wanted, due to his ability to control the lane (Vs. most opponents) you could swap these out for scaling defenses to improve his late game.
  • Another option would be to add some AS marks in there rather than Magic Pen to insure to stack blight quicker.
  • If you're lucky enough to build multiple pages, or know who you'll be laning against then I would strongly recommend trying to counter your lane. For example, if you're against an Akali (which is a really good lane for you) you could add some AS to increase the amount of harass; whereas if you're against a heavy AD team with a Zed mid for example you would be advised to swap out some MR for some additional Armour.

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Item Sequence

Nashor's Tooth

Sorcerer's Shoes

Rabadon's Deathcap

Runaan's Hurricane

Lich Bane

Zhonya's Hourglass

is pretty much a must have on Varus as he hugely benefits from all aspects of the item and I would recommend rushing it as your first item in lane.

I know many disagree with me upon the choice of but what this achieves in the late game is auto attacks which are hitting 400+ magic damage. The significance of this is that you can shred tanks as they will most usually build Armour over Magic Resist as the case usually is that the AP Carry won't want to use his burst on the enemy tank. Even if they do build some MR your damage is so consistent with your auto attacks and attack speed that you can kill them surprisingly quickly.

Is another item which I feel is quite important within the build for a variety of reasons. One reason for it's success is obviously the massive AS steroid it gives you, allowing you to apply stacks much faster. However the main reason this item will be seen on any AP Varus guide is because it applies blight stacks to multiple targets through the use of it's passive. When in team fights you can attack just two people 3 times and their entire team could potentially all have 3 blight stacks. One ult and..well, I've had a penta or two from not doing much other than waiting for the ult to switch from one enemy to another.
Build this item.

Other options:

Another really good item on Varus which increases his burst potential for the ultimate. If you are snowballing then you could build this early on Varus and maybe skip the zhonya's if it wasn't needed.

If their team is building a whole lot of MR. Honestly though, I would say in Gold elo and below it's probably not necessary. In my personal experience from these elos I have noticed no one really counter builds to a huge extent.

If you already have then I doubt you'd need this but you could maybe build it if they had 2 assassins on their team, one AD and the other AP, however you would only be left with 4 offensive items/3 with boots so your team would require sufficient damage.

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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

After the switch of power tofrom I would without a doubt max Q after the obvious W. It's faster to fire in rushed situations if needed and also has the range advantage if a snipe is needed.

Make sure to remember that deals physical damage and has no AP scaling and is used as a tool to activate your blight stacks. The importance of this is that you need to remember to release it as soon as possible as you gain no advantage damage wise from charging it because you wont be building any AD. As well as this the faster you fire it means the enemy has less time to react/dodge and your DPS rate is increased.

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Laning Phase

Like I said before, Varus is a lane bully who can harass easily with his high AA range. Due to this I would strongly recommend trying to keep at least one blight stack on your opponent at all times, especially if they are melee. This means that if you decide to engage, or if they jump on you you save having to apply another stack for potential damage by auto attacking which could mean the difference between getting the kill or not.

Varus is particularly good vs. assassins; If you follow the method above and try to keep a stack on them at all times then when they inevitably engage upon you all you have to do is maybe aa them once or twice more then use your ult. This will disengage them completely and deal alot more damage than they were expecting. Furthermore this will then allow you to kite them for another 2/3 AAs which when followed by a and an ignite while they were snared should result in a kill majority of the time.

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In these cases represents an auto attack.

Lane harass:

Setting up a Gank:
Try to place this directly in front of them towards the direction they are likely to run to so they have to walk across the entire area of effect, maximizing slow potential. Also, I would recommend only landing two /AAs before the to ensure you get your damage out as they might panic flash as soon as they are released for your snare.

General 1v1/Team fight damage output:

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General Tips

  • In lane, use your (E) when your opponent uses a health pot to halve the regeneration.
  • As you wont be building AD never charge your (Q) further than the range needed as it will reduce your DPS.
  • Varus' (E) is particularly good vs. self healers such as Yi and Mundo.
  • You can still use flash whilst a (Q) is being charged to hit some fancy long range snipes on out of range targets.

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Pros / Cons


  • Strong laning phase (+ Easy to farm)
  • High burst potential
  • Consistent magic damage
  • People don't know how to play vs him
  • Multiple target snare in TFs
  • Fun
  • Not a contested pick

  • Immobile
  • Easily targeted
  • Requires specific team comp

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I'd like to say thank you to Needlous as I used some of his ideas within my guide. We disagree on a few things but I think that's because he's still in the process of updating his guide. Anyways, he's a higher elo player than me so I shouldn't argue XD

You can find his AP Varus guide here: