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Varus Build Guide by Dtrikz

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Dtrikz

Team Purple

Dtrikz Last updated on October 15, 2013
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ADC Role
Ranked #14 in
ADC Role
Win 47%
Get More Stats

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

Honor Guard

Defense: 9


Utility: 0

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Introduction Varus and me

Hello and my name is Dtrikz and this is my Varus guide. I think that Varus is a very strong carry in the his only real weakness is his lack of mobility. If played properly you can single handidly dominate the lane by yourself. He is incredible at constant poke and burst (this also includes his massive % damage, up to 20% of someones health!). I really think that varus can bully out a lot of the popular carries in the current meta (graves, ezreal, corki, caitlyn).

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Pros / Cons

2 Crowd Controls
Stong Laning
Works with just about every support
Snowballs very hard

No escape
Slow as hell

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Rune Set #1
Greater Mark of Armor Penetration
Armor Penatration Marks are optimal on Varus because of his W. This gives him relatively high level 1 damage where the flat AD marks aren't really necessary.

Armor Seals. Self Explanatory, helps you with trades with the other ADC

You have a lot of different glyphs on varus. Since this guide is pretty standard it is using MR per level glpyhs, but you can use mana regen or attack speed.

Flat Ad Quints gives you raw Damage early game and easier last hitting. You can run Armor Penatration if you can start Dorans Blades giving you a ton of damage

Rune Set #2

As of late i have stopped taking armor pen marks on pretty much all of my AD Carries except for Draven. I have started taking Flat AD marks for easier last hitting and better early game damage (Levels 1-6), this is just my personal preference at the moment but you can still use armor pen if you prefer.

Seals still the same

Greater Glpyh of Scaling Magic Resist
Standard Glpyhs again. Take Flat MR runes if enemy lane has a lot of Magic Based Damage ( Tristana, Lulu, Sona)or they dont have an AP Carry

Quint of Life Steal
Lifesteal Quints are now standard for bot lane. I use 3 Lifesteal Quints but you can settle for 2 and put in 1 AD Quint. Lifesteal Quints synergize very well with the Doran's Blade allowing you to stay in lane much longer especially if your support doesnt have any sustain.

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Masteries are a very standard 21/9/0 for an AD Carry. Grabbing increased damage and armor penatration in the offensive tree and getting more armor, Veteran's Scars , and 1 point in Tough skin. The bonus health allows you to be quite beefy at level 1 while the Tough skin mastery allows you to tank minion aggro giving you better lane control. This is so the minions are less of a threat while you go for early trades.

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Summoner Spells

Its a get out of jail free card. Take it

This gets you out of so many sticky situations and allows you to nullify the enemy exhaust in lane. Especially helpful against lanes/teams with lots of on demand stuns. Take this considering you have no escapes.

A good choice if cleanse is not needed. Gives you a lot of killing potential in lane.

The new heal. Cant be reduced by ignite and great for stopping damage from assasins

Good Choices to but exhaust shouldnt be needed since your support should have it. Ghost is helpful for running away and kiting better.

Not a huge fan of this because so many people run ignite now. Just take barrier instead.

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Skills and Skill Order


This thing is helpful in lane. It activates when you kill whenever you kill something. So after killing a creep you can begin to start a trade. This allows you to have the upper hand while trading because of the steroid it gives. Teamfights this is just amazing because of its built in snowball. Kill one person and your DPS just goes through the roof.

First Ability

I have changed my mind on this skill and have decided that maxing Piercing Arrow is a priority and overall better. Maxing Piercing Arrow lets you clear waves, push waves, and siege towers better than Hail of Arrows. With this change i also feel that The Bloodthirster is a core item and should be bought over Blade of the Ruined King. When they moved some power from Hail of Arrows to Piercing Arrow it honestly is now more worth to max it first. Piercing Arrow is the longest range and most damaging non ultiamte ability in the game with the cost of a channel time and a rather high cool down. With the range and insane damage of the skill you can keep a lot of assassins at bay and reduce their health in some cases to 60% before even engaging them, allowing you to keep them at the tip of your auto attack range with your ultimate preventing them from unleashing their entire burst rotation on you.

Second Ability

As of the Piercing Arrow Change this skill is only good for last hitting and early trades in my opinion now. Not that it is totally useless and you should still try to combo your abilities with it when you can. However once the other team gets an Locket of the Iron Solari/ Aegis of the Legion this skills damage falls of because you have no magic pen (and do not take the magic pen mastery because you want this skill in particular for Varus once people get MR), it does nothing for Varus when people begin to have 80 or more MR.

Third Ability

Max this second to combo your burst rotation after Piercing Arrow while combo-ing it with Blighted Quiver. You will use this skill generally after landing a few Piercing Arrow's to start a duel. Sometimes you can even use this skill to set up an easy Piercing Arrow however this puts a large strain on your mana pool, so don't do this too often.


This gives Varus a lot of killing potential in lane. In addition with his AOE slow he can assist in ganks with this very easily allowing him and his team to burst the target down quickily. However this ability is not as great late game. For example, you initiate with your ult mid lane and you hit their tanks. They just spread out and disengage. The time that it takes to spread the "corruption" is rather long so dont use this as an initiate. On the flip side if your fighting in the jungle this thing is amazing. Since everyone is in tight proximity you can get 2-3 people snared or even the whole team if your lucky. But for the most part use it defensively since you have no escapes. Get it whenever you can.

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A good start if you have an unfavorable match-up or if you know the enemy is going to try to level 2 cheese you or if you want to level 2 cheese them by doing double golems if your on blue side

Start this for Vampiric Scepter rush which makes building Blade of the Ruined King much easier

A good start even if you don't have a support with sustain because the sustain it gives Levels 1-4 is actually significant. Just be careful because this can leave you vulnerable in lane. Such as you get harrassed down by enemy early in the lane making you have to back earlier than you would like.
Elixir of Fortitude Health Potionsx6
Long Sword
Doran's Blade

Mid Game:
Turn your vamp scepter into The Bloodthirster and build your Phantom Dancer. The Statikk Shiv offers you more mid game power but less late game. In short, the less items you have the Statikk Shiv does give you more damage. This is when you'll start getting some DPS. Remember to keep farming to keep up your gold income to transition into late game.

When to get The Bloodthirster and when to get Infinity Edge?
Blood Thirster does give less damage when compared to the Infinity Edge. The lifesteal and bonus damage on bloodthirster is amazing. It helps you win trades in lane with the sustain and gives your abilities more damage. Times i prefer to get Infinity Edge first is when i feel like there will be more teamfights rather then just tower pushing and sieging, because Infinity Edge gives you more damage in team fights. Blood Thirster gives you more pushing power for waves and towers.
An answer to the The Bloodthirster over Infinity Edge argument on RoG:

I do not like this item as rush because i feel that Varus' relies too much on his abilities to get this as a 1st item. Varus' AD ratios are to massive to get Blade of the Ruined King so early. The way i prefer to play him rests so much on the damage on Piercing Arrow that this item would make it deal significantly less damage than if you rushed Infinity Edge Or The Bloodthirster. I prefer to get this over The Bloodthirster if i rushed Infinity Edge provided the other team is health stacking.

Late Game:

Once you get these two items you should be pretty unstoppable and at your highest DPS. Which one should you get first? Well, if the enemy has been stacking lots of armor get Last Whisper first. If not then feel free to get Infinity Edge instead

Defensive Items

Guardian Angel Is a good idea in almost any situation. It is best against bruiser teams or if you just want a second chance.
Banshee's Veil is good if you dont want certain abilities to get you, like Karthus' Requim
Mercurial Scimitar A must have if the other team is cc heavy and has a lot of burst. A good choice against champs like Morgana, Vladimir, Amumu, and Mordekaiser. This allows you to get rid of their ults.

Warmog's? Stahp it right now!

Yes! Warmogs! Since the current trend is to stack tons of health because of the way armor penatration works right now. This allows you to be on the same level of tankyness as the 4k health Cho Gath and survive even if you get hit by some sort of cc. Another thing is that you can survive assasins burst pretty nicely with this item. I would definetely say that building this for a defensive item will make you invincible. Now the other team has to 5 man focus fire you to kill you

The Zephyr
This is an endgame item when you have nothing to buy. I havent seen anyone do this yet but selling your boots for this is actually a good idea. ONLY DO THIS WHEN YOU HAVE NOTHING TO BUY. The tenacity,damage, and attack speed is pretty OP since this item can substitute boots endgame. There is no point to getting this over boots when still in lane.

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Playstyle and Mechanics

Varus is a poke oriented champion that has the capability to go all in. With the combination of crowd controls and good positioning you can burst down enemy tanks and an entire team.

You are the AD Carry. Cs as much as possible and try not to miss last hits. Poke the enemy when you can and cs as much as you can. For example, if you have 3-5 creeps on your side while they have 7-10, dont start a fight as the creeps will slowly kill you. back off and cs. If the number of creeps is pretty even and none of their creeps are close to dying auto attack them while they try to last hit. This gives you free harass while they try to last hit. Use piercing arrow to whittle down your opponent with no counter play other then them dodging it. Also you can use this to push waves if you arrive in lane first to get a slight level advantage. If your support has been pink warding brush, use the brush control to your advantage. Move in and out of the brush cs and harass. How? If you want to harass leave the bush slightly and auto attack your opponent and go back into the bush before they have a chance to respond. This is most advantageous when they are trying to last hit within your auto attack range. Also use the unwarded bush to set up and aim your Piercing Arrow without them seeing you charge it.

Late Game: You melt anything you touch, so dont die. In teamfights stay in the back and DONT use your ult to initiate unless if you can snare some one important on the enemy team. With proper positioning and protection you should be able to dominate teamfights from the back. Use piercing arrow to deal damage from the back while the enemy team's first wave of CC goes off. Hail of Arrows to slow down their team and setup easier Ultimates that will be more likely to hit more people because of the slow.

A lesson positioning:
Stay in the back and dont get greedy for kills. You have probably heard the common phrase "Focus the Carry". Well yes and no, Put simply attack the squishiest and closest person to you. Obviously if you can attack their AD carry while not putting yourself in harms way go for it. Just remember if you properly position yourself you should be the last surviving memeber of your team.

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When not to pick Varus

This guy is one of the biggest reason's why i dont get to play varus all the time. His ganks are tought to beat, especially when he has red buff. You will not get away without your summunor spells. His root is just to damn strong. A gap closer is already a pain for you, A gap closer with a snare spells death for you. You CAN NOT over extend when he is jungling. His ganks are sure to kill you.

Mecha Khazix
900 range jump and stealth? Nothing left to do but cry as he kills you in teamfights and stealths away. He has so much burst and mobility that he can get in and get out while killing you at the same time. Don't pick Varus when this guy is still up for grabs or he is on the other team because he will just completely faceroll you.

You can play Varus against Katarina. But if she roams or gets fed, she will be a pain in your ***. How strong she is dependant on your team comp and how fed she is. But for the most part, i would not pick Varus against her becuase of hermobility and burst damage. If she jumps on you you will almost have to Flash away. Kind of a toss up which really depends on your team comp and how fed she is.

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Lulu is one of my favorite supports for Varus. Their combined poke and Crowd Controls Leads to a very fun poke lane. She also grants varus a fair amount of protection through shields, cupcakes(polymorph), and slows, in combination with Varus' CC, making it hard for enemy bot laners to even all in this combo. Since both of their playstyless are persistant poke and burst they synergize well together.

Sona is also a great for varus because of her combination of auras and great poke damage. Sona's heals, auras, and Ult is such a huge help to Varus in Lane. Be careful though, because of the Sona nerfs to her health, it can be easy to get carried away and overextend.....Leading to death. Dorans Blade start with this support and dominate the lane. Synchronizing level 1 power chords and auto attacks can give you a massive advantage and forcing people out of lane in early levels.

The big golden cow is also a good choice. Not because he is lunch meat but 2 hard CC's and a heal that is great during laning. The classic combo of headbutt pulverize will allow you to get 3 blight stacks on people and blowing them up. A pretty easy lane since both of you have CC and are pretty tanky.

Now the godly cc bot of leona is just too good, especially if Leona knows what shes doing. Her Passive Sunlight gives you so much burst, its just rediculous at early levels. Leona's typical E+Q combo is enough to lock down a single target long enough for you to kill them. Running ignite in this lane is almost a guaranteed first blood. This lane is pretty much a kill lane and very easy to snowball.

Metric Tons of CC. If anyone is aloud to get near you, your doing it wrong. Thresh alone is more than enough to peel almost an entire team off of you. This lane is very similiar to having a Blitzcrank but better. Play off of Thresh's ability to land pulls in lane and you should have no problem winning the lane. His combinations of CC actually work really well with your ultimate allowing you to get more than 2 people snared. If played perfectly you can get everyone inside The Box. In short this combination is such a cluster**** of CC even a tenacious Irelia will have a hard time getting to you.

The perma banned CC bot. Wait for pulls and kill whoever he pulls. Post 6 a pull is a kill. This lane has incredible burst because of blitz's ultimate and Power Fist. Lane is simple, grab>fist>root>kill. Lots of CC

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Bottom Lane Match-Ups

A very Bursty AD that can snowball on you at level 1. You can not really trade with her at level 1 because she does not rely on combo-ing her abilities to damage like you do. Get to level 2 as fast as possible. Varus handles Miss Fortune very well unlike some other squishy ADC. You outrange her and try to remove her speed debuff before trying to land skill shots on her because she will just run around all of them. Take an aggresive support with you like Leona, Taric, or Blitzcrank. Not a hard match up, but can turn sour very quickly.

He has short range. Abuse this to all hell. Though Graves' burst is incredibly high, but you can compete with it. Try to always poke him when he goes for cs because most of the time he cant retaliate. Try to keep your stacks up on him because it will keep him at bay if he wants to all in you with his support. A pretty easy lane mainly because of your range and that your burst is on par with his. As long as you can keep poking him and zone him from cs with your range you can easily beat him in lane and duels.

This match-up is entirely dependant on your support. Caitlyn's laning phase is incredibly annoying because of her massive 650 range. For the most part, she can get free Auto Attacks in at all times. All though if you get in range you can fight her very well, the problem is getting there. A support with a hard CC and a gap closer, like Leona works very well because she can lock down Caitlyn long enough for you to get your combo off. After 6 the lane gets much easier because of your ultimate, Chain of Corruption

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Summary and updates about this guide

Varus is an extremely underated carry that is somewhat team dependant and needs someone to peel for him in teamfights. He is fun to play and works well with a lot of different team comps. I do enjoy playing Varus and he has giving me good success in ranked. I won my final placement match with varus to get into gold and since then climbed to gold 3.

UPDATE #1 1/8/13:
I will in the near future be tweaking and editing a few of the sections and adding a few more like when to pick varus, supports for varus, counterpicks to varus(althought i dont think there are any hard counters to him). In addition I'll be doing some more BB Coding, graphics, and videos. Thanks for reading my guide on Varus

UPDATE #2 1/13/13:
I updated the Item Section because it was pretty much an eye sore. This format should be much easier on the eyes and more to the point. This is all i feel like doing right now so I'll get to the other things i said in the update above.

UDATE #3 1/14/13:
Had a little spare time today so i updated the runes section with some BBcoding and added "Supports" section.

UDPATE #4 1/20/13
Added more to the items and explanations. Also added the Summoner Spells section

UPDATE #5 1/28/13
More info in items

Added Thresh, Blitzcrank, and Leona to supports section

Added Warmogs and Zephyr to items

Changed starting items section
-Added Elixir of fortitude and udated the Doran's Blade start
-Added Blade of the Ruined King to Items

I would really like some feedback if your going to vote. You can be brief about it but if your going to vote please leave some feedback for me. I know I could have made it mandatory for the first few voters but i decided not to. As you can tell feedback is much appreciated