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Varus Build Guide by Nazuraith

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Nazuraith

Varus - AD Burst Hybrid Carry

Nazuraith Last updated on May 25, 2012
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AD Bot - AD Mid

LeagueSpy Logo
ADC Role
Ranked #12 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

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 0

Chapter 1

Hello, welcome to my first guide on Mobafire. This guide (obviously) is on Varus and covers a collection of the thoughts and ideas that I've gathered through research here on Mobafire, my own gameplay, and watching other people's gameplay (Yay new spectator mode).

Hopefully, I have been able to put together a logical reason behind all my choices in how I build Varus. As a new champion, I know he is subject to changes, and that it's possible that people will find new/better ways to play this totally awesome character. If you have any suggestions, new ideas, or different reasoning, please comment and let me know. I'm also happy to explain anything further if I wasn't clear enough. Please try out the build and leave a comment if you feel that this build deserves a downvote, so that I can better both the guide and my playing as Varus :D

Also, thank you jhoijhoi for teaching me how to use all of the coding in creating this guide and for allowing me to use parts of her template, which you can find here.

I've decided to start this guide with a quick summary. Basically, this is a VERY in-depth guide concerning Varus, with ALL the information I take into consideration when building him.

However, to make sure you're not disturbed by the length of this guide, I will summarize the main points of the guide for those that do not wish to spend the time it takes to read it all.
  • Exhaust allows easy get-aways and works both offensively and defensively, this along with Flash make up for Varus's lack of escaping abilities.

  • I level up Piercing Arrow first so that I can have high damage poke, and high damage burst when I detonate my Blighted Quiver stacks. If you're less used to skill shots, leveling up Blighted Quiver provides a more reliable damage output.

  • I rush The Bloodthirster instead of infinity edge because Varus's Piercing Arrow synergizes better with it, and it gives him better early game lane sustain, as well as increasing his over-all burst damage ability.

  • I go for flat Attack Damage marks and Quintessences, as well as a 21/9/0 mastery build, in order to boost my early game attack damage, and burst ability.

  • I grab Hail of Arrows as my first ability, because the slow and heal reduction serves better in level 1 fights, allowing for get aways, Heal crippling, and chasing down First Blood.

  • Varus plays the first half of the game as a burst champion, but plays the second half of the game as a Range DPS champion.

If you have any thoughts or questions on these ideas, please, read further into the guide :)

Varus is an AD Carry unlike any other. In the title of this guide, I call him a AD-Burst Hybrid. Although half of his skills level up with Ap, I do not think that building any AP on him is effective. No, so how can Varus be a hybrid? The hybrid isn't in the build, it's in how he is played, and how he progresses through the game.

If you've played Varus, you'll probably noticed that when you faced off against that Caitlyn, you lost. How Varus was portrayed in the champion spotlight made him look like a, win the fight, snipe off the enemies as they leave, kind of champion. However, winning the fight is the limiting factor in that dream, and when Caitlyn owns you.. Well. She's the one that gets to do the sniping.

So now what. Have we wasted our money on Varus? Well, this is why I love Varus so much. Unlike the other AD champions, Varus plays through the early/early-mid game as if he was an AP Caster. As an AP champion, would you sit there auto-attacking the enemy carry? No of course not. Where Varus excels, is in large bursts of damage through stacking Blighted Quiver, detonating his stacks with Piercing Arrow, and sealing the kill with MORE stacks detonated with his Hail of Arrows, both cutting off their ability to heal up, and slowing down the enemy champion to keep them in range for a possible long range Piercing Arrow to take the kill (dreams really do come true ^^). Varus can often burst down the enemy carry once you've gotten them around 50%-70% life, which shouldn't be hard when you're landing Piercing Arrows.

To take advantage of Varus's burst potential, instead of rushing Infinity Edge, we rush the AD carry's Deathcap: The Bloodthirster. This will give you an early lead on any carry that is holding out for an Infinity Edge, securing your lane dominance, and your role as carry in the late game. Although maxing Blighted Quiver first gives you some good poking options with low mana cost, Piercing Arrow's high damage output overrules blighted quiver's % health damage, which scales better in mid/late game.

In late game, Varus has built up enough AD and Attack Speed, that he can easily transition over to the role of the traditional Range DPS Carry, as his auto attack damage surpasses his burst potential. This transition is what sets Varus apart from other Carries; instead of having a slow early game, he picks up speed earlier and fills a similar play-style and role of an AP Burst champion.

To see how I build Varus to accomplish this transition, READ ON. :D


+ Long Range Nuke
+ Early Game Burst
+ Multi-Target Root
+ Slow/Reduce Healing
+ Pretty Good Farming
+ Damage That Scales With HP
+ Epic Laugh :D

- Very Squishy
- No Escape Ability
- Positioning Dependent
- Easy To Punish
- Completely Skill Shot Based
- Often Focused
- Questionable Dance.. :P

I'm going to jump right into the meatiest and most controversial part of building Varus, his skill progression.

Living Vengeance:
Living Vengeance is Varus's passive ability. Whenever Varus kills a unit, he receives bonus attack speed. (20% for 3 secs upon killing a monster/creep, and 40% for 6 seconds upon killing or assisting in the kill of an enemy champion.)

This ability can be used in two different ways. The more obvious way is using the ability to clear out creep waves surprisingly fast. The second way is using the ability in fights. In team fights, you will snowball after your team gets that first kill, and you get that 40% extra attack speed.

Piercing Arrow:
Piercing Arrow is Varus's Q ability. Piercing arrow is a long range skill shot, which can be turned into quite a nuke in both early and late game. Piercing arrow has a charge time, but can be fired sooner for a smaller percentage of it's satisfying damage. Piercing Arrow is a skill shot and scales with AD.

This ability can be utilized in many different situations. Because of it's long range, you can use it to poke your enemies, farm creeps when you're zoned, and to snipe off fleeing enemies. Piercing Arrow, like all your abilities, can also be used to detonate stacks of Blighted Quiver.

Blighted Quiver:
Blighted Quiver is Varus's passive W ability. Blighted quiver adds a flat amount of magic damage to Varus's auto attacks (good for early game damage and last hitting creeps) that scales with AP. Blighted Quiver also causes your auto attacks to stack Blight on any number of targets at a time. Blight stacks can be detonated by any of Varus's abilities to do magic damage based on the target's maximum health (the % damage done also scales with Ap, on a 0.01% ratio).

This ability is the reason Varus can stand toe to toe with other AD carries and makes Varus scale well into late game team fights due to it's health% damage. Early game, this ability is basically a free Doran's Blade as far as damage, and will help you last hit creeps, and poke your opponents when they get close. Your goal with this ability is going to be to proc the stacks with an ability every three auto attacks (the maximum stack amount).

Your ability use should be something like: W-W-W-Ability-W-W-W-Ability-W-W-W-Ability. The abilities that you use will depend on the situation, however you will often want to open with either R (to immobilize your enemies), or Q (because it's cool down is shorter than W's, and you will often get to fire it twice in most later game encounters).

Hail of Arrows:
This ability is Varus's E ability. Hail of Arrows deals damage in an AOE zone, creating an area that slows and applies a 50% healing debuff to enemy units that walk through it. Hail of Arrows is a skill shot and scales with AD.

This ability is Varus's escape, and main utility. This skill can be used to slow enemies for chasing, or for getaways. However, it continues to maintain its usefulness in stationary battles due to its healing debuff. This ability is especially useful to counter enemy champions that often rely heavily on vamp or healing effects such as Vladimir, Dr. Mundo or Warwick (as well as any AD carry in the late game).

Chain of Corruption:
Chain of Corruption is Varus's ultimate ability. Chain of Corruption roots an enemy to the ground, dealing magic damage and spreading to enemies around the impact over two seconds, rooting and dealing the same amount of damage; Chain of Corruption will not hit any enemy unit more than once (sadly). Chain of Corruption is a skill shot and scales with AP.

This ability is great, as it allows you to grab some easy ganks/kill secures and can even make a great initiate in team fights, as it will grab one enemy, and the rest of the team if they stay too close; either they will lose a champion before the fight, or they can jump in at a disadvantage. However BE WARNED, this skill only ROOTS your enemies, it does not stun them! If they are ranged, they can still attack you!

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

This is one of the most controversial parts of building Varus, and likely will remain so. Hopefully I can give my argument for how I level up Varus, and equip you with the knowledge for you to try out the different sequences yourself to see if one or the other better matches your play style.

Common Leveling Ideas in all options:

I ALWAYS grab a point in Hail of Arrows as my first skill, as it will help in those level 1 fights to slow down the enemy, as well as ruining that healing summoner spell that would have turned the fight in their favor, and might grab you first blood.

In all of these sequences, I suggest leveling up Chain of Corruption at all chances. However, there is the option of leveling Chain of Corruption at level 6 and then NOT leveling it up again until level 17, as it is used primarily as a utility ability, as compared to damage output, and the time that it roots your enemies for does not increase with its level. However, the CD for the skill is reduced by 15 secs per level. You make the decision.

Leveling up your W skill first:

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

This allows you to take a larger amount of HP when you proc your Blight Stacks. This idea focuses on getting attackSPEED before getting attack DAMAGE, so that you are able to apply blight as fast as you can. Leveling your W skill first is becomes more viable in relation to the tanker the enemies that you are facing in your lane are, as it will deal more damage to tanky support chars like Leona, then squishy support chars like Soraka. This path also requires MUCH less mana! I would recommend leveling your W first if you are less accustomed to skill shots, as this way a majority of your damage output will be placed on your auto attacks, and you will use less mana, instead of using it all on your skill shots. After maxing your W, I would go for more damage on your Procs, and level up your Q next, following with your E last.

Leveling up your E skill first:
Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

The arguement I have heard for leveling up your E first on Varus, is that it has a flat mana cost. Also, this skill will be more defensive on Varus, as leveling it increases its slow amount, allowing for you to escape the situations that you may have died in otherwise. Honestly, I feel like this skill would only make sense if you were playing Varus as aSUPPORT character. Otherwise, I don't think that the damage lost in this trade is worth it for the extra utility. After this, I would level up my W as it will begin to shine in the mid-late game, and you can get more damage per mana cost of your skills. Following up with your Q, to boost your pre-teamfight pokes.

Leveling up your Q skill first:
Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

This option is the one that I've settled on. Leveling up your Q first allows for better poke, and higher damage output overall, as your Q (fully charged) has a1 AD to 1.6 damage output. (100 AD = 160 bonus damage on Piercing Arrow.) The downside, is that you need to be smart about your Mana usage, as this skill will quickly drain your MP when leveled up first. However, I feel that the mana cost is worth the damage. I follow this with leveling up your W ability for extra burst on your Q, and overall more damage per mana spent on all abilities, following up with your E to slow the newbs that are running from your power!

Mastery Explanations


My motto is "win early game, win late game", meaning that if you're able to hold your lane where you want it, farm well, and even pick up a kill or two ^^ , you can secure your place as the carry in the late game.

To help achieve this objective, I've put 21 points into offensive masteries, and 9 points into defensive masteries.

Offensive Tree

Summoner's Wrath : Grabbed a point in here so that you get the -10 Armor and Magic Resist on your Exhaust, both of which benefit Varus due to his Blighted Quiver. When playing mid, I don't run exhaust so I switch this point to Butcher for even easier last hits in mid.

Brute Force : Grabbed three points in here to add a little more attack damage, and easier last hits, both of which are good for early game and advance us to the next tier.

Alacrity : Attack speed is QUITE fantastic on Varus, allowing for you to stack Blighted Quiver as fast as possible.

Weapon Expertise : Armor pen is always important on AD carries. This mastery scales well into late game, and is quite a lot of pen for just one point.

Deadliness : Gives you some more attack damage each level, which scales well on Varus's Piercing Arrow.

Lethality : Because one more critical shot can make the difference between getting 'First Blood' and being the first to die.

Vampirism : Helps with lane sustain before you pick up The Bloodthirster; with Two Doran's Blades and this mastery you have 9% Vamp (which is 29% once you get The Bloodthirster Mwahahaha...)


Executioner : 6%, with 500 attack, and 250% crit = an extra 75 dmg each auto attack after they reach 40% health. Plus, if we're talking about sniping with your q.. That's another 120 dmg. 'Nuff said.

Defensive Tree

Resistance : Grabbed it for a little more magic resist. If you wanted you could switch this point for a point in Summoner's Resolve if you would prefer the bonus to any of the defensive summoner spells.

Hardiness : Grabbed for lane sustain, making trades between you and any AD Bottom character more favorable, and defense Vs most junglers. Also, it advances us to the next tier of masteries. When taking Mid Lane, I switch armor and resist, putting 3 points into Resistance , and 1 point into Hardiness .

Durability : Hp is always nice. :) Not much to say about this. It's only 6 more health at level 1, but it's 108 health later on. It's mostly to get to the early game advantage of Veteran's Scars .

Veteran's Scars : This mastery is entirely for early game, where 30 health can (once again) make the difference between getting 'First Blood' and being the first to die.
Possible Changes:

Some builds will grab Arcane Knowledge and Sorcery for the CDR and Magic Pen for Varus' W and R abilities, I just feel that it doesn't scale as well into late game, when a majority of your damage is going to be dealt though your Auto Attacks and your ultimate becomes more of an utility ability. However, if you're fighting against a team that's just building up HP, then it will be worth getting the Magic Pen for your W.

I didn't put any points into Summoner's Resolve or Summoner's Insight . You could choose to trade Veteran's Scars for one of these two masteries, I just prefer the extra health in the early game, as opposed to the CDR on Flash, or the 10% more healing. Although I know the extra healing scales better into late game then the flat 30 health, you still have Heal's big cool down, and your health SHOULDN'T matter that much in late game. You're rather squishy already, and with anybody on the enemy team running Ignite, Heal will lose half of its amount anyways. (If you're being focused, you likely WILL be ignited.)

This is, of course, all my own opinion, you make your own choices.


Some other builds went for the Utility over the defense tree. Although I personally prefer the survavibility over the mana regen, I figure I might as well cover it so that you can make your own choice. I find this idea more viable in mid lane, where you are likely to be tempted to poke more often due to squishy mid-laners and you'll need more mana regen.

Utility Tree

Good Hands : Death timer reduction REALLY good when the end of battles turn into base rushes, where a few seconds can make the difference between a win and a loss. You could take three points in here for the full 10% instead of 4%, or just put the two into Swiftness .

Expanded Mind : This is mostly a place holder to get to the next tier, but extra mana is always nice to have. :)

Swiftness : Varus has a pretty slow base run speed (only 310), so extra run speed is great for chasing down a fleeing Master Yi, or escaping a rolling Rammus. (Synergizes well with your Piercing Arrow, letting you nail the last hit on those pesky enemies fleeing under their turret.)

Meditation : This is the entire reason for going this rout, get more Mana Regen, get to shoot your Piercing Arrow more, do more damage, have more lane presence. There's nothing nicer than stacking blight, and watching your arrow take off a third of that squishy mid champions life. :D (If you're going this rout, put all three points into this.)

Let it be known, however, that this skill (and in essence the entire tree) can be made obsolete if you can get the blue buff from your jungler (or yourself).

Runic Affinity : Lets you keep that blue buff that makes this tree obsolete longer. :) (Which I suppose is useful in and of itself.) You could take one point out of the other masteries to grab this one. It's all opinion.

Rune Choices


Greater Mark of Attack Damage

Greater Seal of Armor

Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist

Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage

  • Greater Seal of Armor: Chosen to make exchanges with your fellow AD-Bot-Laners more favorable, and to increase gank survivablity.

    Other options are
  • Greater Seal of Attack Speed if you just can't get enough attack speed (Not worth it in my opinion)
  • Greater Seal of Scaling Mana Regeneration for the extra Mana Regen (I chose the per-level Seals because they beat the flat ones by level 7, and are .2 away at level 6, which is when you'll A. Be more likely to be looking for kills with Chain of Corruption and B. You'll need to use more skills to keep the enemy at bay, as they will also have their ultimate up.)

    In middle lane, I choose Greater Seal of Scaling Mana Regeneration because we won't need the armor until later in the game (where your base Armor will be fine, and you can make up any deficit with an armor item).

Preferred Summoner Spells

Flash: Due to Varus's lack of ANY escape skill (Like Caitlyn's 90 Caliber Net, Graves's Quick draw, or Ezreal's Arcane Shift) this allows him to get out of ganks, or jump in for that last hit, REGARDLESS of Crowd Control.
Exhaust: Exhaust is a multi purpose spell, allowing for you to shut down the enemy carry in team fight, and put the odds in your favor in earlier lane fights. With the Summoner's Wrath mastery, it establishes a clear person to focus. Defensibly, it can not only slow an enemy, but will also negate a large portion of their damage, allowing you a get safe away when you're low on health.
Heal: This summoner has made a comeback, allowing for sudden changes in the tides of a fight, allowing for you to bait your enemy into a fight they can't win, and allow you healing when you have no support/ your support has left the lane. Personally, I feel like Ignite (or a fellow Varus) completely wrecks this spell.

Viable Summoner Spells

Ghost: This spell is better for lengthier escapes, however I feel that because you're still subjectable to CC, that flash still excels due to over-wall-flash-ability-ness. You just can't beat that get-away. One REALLY good thing about this spell, however, is its long duration. BUT. It's all personal preference. Whichever you are more comfortable with. Another option would be taking this AND flash, which is viable.
Ignite: Ignite is great for snagging those kills under towers.. If you missed your Piercing Arrow. And cutting down on enemy health regen/healing/vamp... If you missed or miss-used your Hail of Arrows. Am I making a point here? Varus sorta has this skill built in already. I just don't find it necessary. But. If you're more comfortable with it, go for it, sometimes you need the extra damage.

Cleanse: Cleanse is good for getting out of CC heavy teams, but is only viable if you hit it RIGHT as you get stunned, otherwise you should just grab another spell.
Surge: For the most part, Varus's passive basically gives you this. However I feel like because Varus does get bonuses from Ap that this COULD be viable. It synergizes well with Blighted Quiver, letting you stack faster, and do more damage, however, I guess I just haven't seen it be completely worth it. Often, I use my Summoner Spells as 'OS' buttons, but I will be trying out this spell on Varus to see how it does. However, I have heard convincing arguments for using it as a turnaround spell, (much like heal) being used to bait enemies into fights they cannot win.
Teleport: Better if you're in a solo lane, but it lets you get back with losing minimal creep score, or to get to your team when they've started pushing the enemy base without you. (Hopefully not, but it happens.)

LESS Viable

Smite, Clarity, Revive: Jungling = Not this guide = No Smite, Revive is just... No. Not worth it. Evar. And. Clarity, tempting, but mana won't give you that kill or escape that gank. Manage your mana. Don't get this summoner spell.

Anything else. Not even worth mentioning, and shouldn't even be tempting to you.

  • : Berserker's Greaves are core because YOU WANT ATTACK SPEED, both as an AD carry, and for stacking Blight, YOU WANT THIS. You could switch these out for Mercury Treads for the tenacity, but I feel like if there is THAT MUCH CC on the other team, (enough for the boots to be worth it), then you're going going to get caught regardless of tenacity. So, in my opinion, Berserker's Greaves, kill them before they kill you.
  • : Blood Thirster, I not only make this item core on Varus, I suggest that this is the FIRST thing you get, after the one or two Doran's Blades. This item will both turn your Q into a nuke, (160 more damage~), but will give you MUCH better lane sustain, and with a blue buff, you'll be set for quite awhile. Once you get this item, you should be able to root and burst down the enemy carry once they reach 70% health, (otherwise known as after you hit them once with your Piercing Arrow ;D).
  • : Phantom Dancer, very important. Right after you get The Blood Thirster, you'll have a significant boost to your damage output. So what's left but to be able to get extra movement speed to chase down those squishies, extra attack speed and criticals to stack your blights, and fire a 320 damage Piercing Arrow right into their forehead?
  • : This weapon is the final nail in building the bridge to carry your team. At this point, you're doing about 200+ damage at 1.6 Hits each second, with 29% vamp. This weapon will ignite your nuclear warheads, turning your 200 dmg into 700 dmg on your 45% chance for critical hits! Unless the enemy team can get together, get past your team and focus you, they're in for quite a lot of time spent respawning.

  • : This item is great for the amount that it costs, and adds survivability to Varus. I feel that it is worth getting your second item. Depending on how well you are farming, you could consider getting a second blade to greater increase your damage output early game. If you get two of these, you have 9% vamp with your mastery, and an extra 160 health. (As well as 32 more damage on your Q :D)
  • Wriggles Lantern: This item is good for the extra armor, damage, last hit-ability, and vamp. I will sometimes get this item if I'm not able to stomp all over my lane. However, if you have an advantage, I would suggest instead pushing it and continuing to rush The Bloodthirster.
  • : Good to buy if the enemy is really stacking defense. If they aren't putting their defenses past about 100, it would be better to just get a The Black Cleaver, as it will give you more attack damage, attack speed, and more armor penetration.
  • : This is a good defensive item if the enemy AP Carry has gotten dangerous, as it gives you some more magic resistance, some health/mana, and a shield that blocks a spell every 45 seconds. However, when fighting against a good caster, they can use a lesser ability to remove your shield before using the rest of their combo.
  • : This is a more offensive option to Banshee's Veil. Not only does it give you Magic resist and a shield that negates 400 magic damage when you REALLY need it, it gives you 55 attack! As well as a passive that can boost that to 80 attack! This item can give you the split second you needed to vamp some life back and live through that pesky AP's barrage! I feel like this is better then losing the shield over a lesser spell. However, it doesn't give you the HP Banshee's Veil does. Counting the extra hp from Banshee's Veil, that spell shield only has to negate more than 25 damage for it to beat Maw of Malmortius in survivability. However, MoM gives you more damage (which could add to vamp). It's all your decision, and may differ on the situation.
  • : I get this to get less squishy. I often get this item, as it helps slow enemies so you can get kills and better increase your ability to carry the game. If you're losing, it gives you some more HP, and makes it so you can KILL all the low health champions that always seem to get away when you're losing...
  • : Gives some good magic resist AND armor, however I rarely get this, as the passive just lets the enemy dance around your body before they kill you again. EH.
  • : If you've been majorly fed, you can always get another one of these for the extra 100 dmg and 20% vamp, which will boost your survivability as well as dmg output. Try and secure your fed status, but don't go overboard with damage, as eventually the enemy team will get a clue and start focusing you.
  • : Attack speed is always good, movement speed isn't bad, and more critical shots is great. Stack those blights all the faster, run away all the quicker.
  • : An overall good build for a carry, gives you the Magic resistance and the ability to get out of CC. (Very important to NOT get shut down as the AD carry.) This is a very common item among AD carries. (Suggested by Phil Collins)

Early Game:

Early game, you want to start off with Doran's Blade and Hail of Arrows, this will give you the utility to possibly nab a first blood early on in the game. It also helps in team ganks, if your team is together enough to do that.

FARM. FARM. FARM. As the AD carry it is your DUTY to get those last hits. Poking takes second to creep killing. If you can go in for a kill, try and clear the creep wave first. It will both reduce the damage you take (those creeps will screw you up in the early game), and ensure you got your farm in.

I would suggest waiting until about level 5, or when you get your 2nd Doran's Blade, to start shooting off your Piercing Arrow without trying to stack Blighted Quiver first. This way you can do chunks of their HP, and you still have the Mana to stay in lane. Before that, it often isn't worth it.

If you are leveling up your Blighted Quiver first, then wait until your blight stacks are level 2. In early game, you can conserve even more mana, as level 1 Piercing Arrow only takes 65 Mp. However, later on it will be better to proc your stacks with Hail of Arrows, once your Piercing Arrow gets beyond level 4. By learning how to properly line up your shots, you can gain some NICE burst damage, taking up to a third of enemy life.

Always try and get 1-2 health pots when you B, and if your support isn't doing a good enough job, a ward or two.

Mid Game:

In mid game, you want to make sure that unless you're already fed, KEEP FARMING. Always keep late game in mind, as that is where you play your key role in the game. If you're already fed, begin your carrying now, and get an early win. :)

By about now you will have your Blighted Quiver up to a decent level, at least half way. You'll want to try and start stacking blights on your targets before using your abilities again. (It's always a good idea, but when it's only level 1, it has less of an effect.) By utilizing your blight stacks, you gain massive burst damage, and can take down most enemies once you've hit them in the face with a couple Piercing Arrows.

Late Game:
At this point you should be SO FARMED, that you have your core items done a long time ago(if you haven't been completely shut down by a nasty Urgot or something). If this is the case, your main damage source has passed on from your burst damage, to a constant Range DPS role.

In team fights, you will have to be EXTRA careful about your positioning. Be aware of what your team is doing, and place yourself in strategic positions. One of the major downfalls of Varus is that he doesn't have any way to get out of sticky situations (apart from flash). This makes you VERY VERY EASY to focus, don't give the enemy the chance.

Although you should never try to initiate, you should learn to recognize situations where you can take advantage of your ultimate. If your team is ready for a team fight, and the enemy Graves gets a little bit out of position... BAM. Snag him with Chain of Corruption and your team has a free kill, if the enemy team tries to salvage the situation, your chain will spread along the other enemies, effectively giving your team a nice advantage. If an opportunity does not present itself, try and save your ultimate for when the enemy is bunched together, or when your team is chasing down enemies and mopping up the fight.

Tips and Tricks:
  • In early game, try and kill minions between first attacking a champion to gain the boost from Living Vengeance to stack blight faster.

  • ALL of Varus's abilities are skill shots, I HIGHLY recommend using smart cast to fire off quick Piercing Arrows and Hail of Arrows

  • Charging up your Piercing Arrow from the bush = an unprepared champion and an easy shot (as Piercing arrow has a quick projectile speed)

  • When an Enemy is running under their tower and you know you can't catch up with them, ALWAYS hold Piercing Arrow out for it's full duration in order to be able to do maximum damage, and have maximum range.

  • Learning how to lead with your skillshots is one of the defining traits of a good Varus Player, the enemy won't always be running in a straight line towards or away from you.

  • Often times, it is worth waiting for an enemy to already be stunned for you to use your ultimate, this is less important the better you are at skillshots

Comment with any more tips you think should be shared! :D

You made it to the ending! If you actually read through all of that, I commend you. I hope you appreciate the work that I've put into the guide, and I hope it helps you develop your skills with Varus.

And, to run through the summary points in the beginning again:
  • Exhaust allows easy get-aways and works both offensively and defensively, this along with Flash make up for Varus's lack of escaping abilities.

  • I level up Piercing Arrow first so that I can have high damage poke, and high damage burst when I detonate my Blighted Quiver stacks. If you're less used to skill shots, leveling up Blighted Quiver provides a more reliable damage output.

  • I rush The Bloodthirster instead of infinity edge because Varus's Piercing Arrow synergizes better with it, and it gives him better early game lane sustain, as well as increasing his over-all burst damage ability.

  • I go for flat Attack Damage marks and Quintessences, as well as a 21/9/0 mastery build, in order to boost my early game attack damage, and burst ability.

  • I grab Hail of Arrows as my first ability, because the slow and heal reduction serves better in level 1 fights, allowing for get aways, Heal crippling, and chasing down First Blood.

  • Varus plays the first half of the game as a burst champion, but plays the second half of the game as a Range DPS champion.

Ask questions!! :)

This is where I place the evidence of your success! :D

These are all the guides that I read that both gave me, and helped develop my ideas on how to build Varus. (As well as make this guide.)


CellOne: (proof that Varus isn't Caitlyn)


Phil Collins:


Guide was published: 05-18-12, 12:51 AM
Fixed some formatting, added in Quicksilver, Trinity, and a new cheat sheet option. Thanks for the comments!: 05-18-12, 11:18 PM
Removed trinity, changed item build progression, Yay comments! 05-20-12
Replaced all the photobucket photo links with imageshack ones. Lol. Suchapain. Also added 0's in front of all the 5's in the dates in the changelog. ^^ 05/21/12
Oops. Missed one. 05/22/12
Maintenance. 05/24/12
Edited the Item Progression 05/25/12