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Varus Build Guide by Veinne

Not Updated For Current Season

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Veinne

Varus - Purple is a manly color! (S3 update)

Veinne Last updated on March 3, 2013
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ADC Role
Ranked #13 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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Greetings summoners,
I am Veinne (pronounced like Vayne)
and welcome to my very first mobafire guide!
I worked extremely hard to make this, and I still have many things to do
so any constructive feedback is greatly appreciated and
if you like this, please rate and comment!
Thanks for taking the time to check this out! It means a lot to me!
I have read many amazing guides on this site
that have helped me become much better at this game,
and I finally think I can give back to the community!

So try to contain your excitement while I introduce to you my own personal take on
Varus, by far my favorite and most enjoyable AD carry in the game.
Join me on this journey friends, let's do this!

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These are just screenshots of myself playing Varus. I hope this guide benefits others and they could give me a few to post as well.

Normal Game play

Ranked Game play

These next pictures show some pretty brutal numbers. Granted I may have been fed, but following the build I created helped me capitalize on it 100%.

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Potent pros / Critical cons

Varus is a great choice if you're looking for a powerful and versatile AD carry. Due to his amazing harass, Piercing Arrow, and a great passive, Living Vengeance, for fast and effective farming, he can take any lane location and excel at it. He also has a damaging aoe slow Hail of Arrows. This can be used to close the gap on enemies or even can be used preemptively as an escape mechanic. Varus is an extremely powerful champion who, if you follow this guide, can drop others in the matter of seconds with high crits, high damage, and high attack speed. This along with an ultimate that can easily turn team fights in your favor, makes you public enemy number one. Be prepared to be targeted by angry enemies and the target of many /all compliments about how just lovely you are! Varus is a high risk high reward champion but if you follow this guide and put the time in, you will become a true force to be reckoned with!



  • Rather Squishy
  • Can be difficult to master. (All abilities are skill shots)
  • Requires you to be proactive, reading your opponents movements.
  • Always targeted in team fights.
  • No real escape mechanic other than Flash.
  • Escaping with Hail of Arrows can take practice for the timing.

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Item order is VERY important with Varus. Getting the right item at the right time can gain you total lane dominance. The opposite can occur if you aren't getting your items fast enough or properly, as is most champions. This is the order I try to get my gear every game unless it's a bad game that I need to buy situational for. I'll detail my preferred item build item for item and explain why I feel you should get them.

Item purchase order:

  • Doran's Blade - I always choose this to start with. The extra health, damage, and even life steal can make your early game harassing quite effective.
  • Berserker's Greaves - I always get these bad boys as soon as I can. The increased attack speed plus your passive Living Vengeance pairs for a faster and easier farming experience.
  • B. F. Sword - Get this right away. +45 damage is fantastic. Also builds into...
  • Infinity Edge - By far one of the most amazing weapons in this game. Build into this ASAP. Return back to base if you're struggling or want more damage and pick up Pickaxe and or a Cloak of Agility to speed the process up.
  • Vampiric Scepter - At this point you're faced with an impasse. If you're taking a bit more damage than you're comfortable with and want to have a little bit of safety, grab this. If you're doing well in your lane grab...
  • Zeal - then.. Vampiric Scepter
  • Phantom Dancer - This is truly amazing in my opinion. Many people disagree with it, but I for one am a huge fan of this. This compliments every one of Varus's strengths and covers your weaknesses. The extra movement speed helps you get out of danger and the attack speed and crit is just WAY to impressive to pass up.
  • The Bloodthirster - This weapon is truly amazing for Varus. You should be able to farm 40 creepers quite fast if you have purchased the rest of the items. You will be one shotting nearly every creeper building into this very quickly. You will also regain health very quickly as well when you auto attack.
  • Last Whisper - This is a very impressive weapon to choose from. Not only do we have 40 extra attack damage, we also have a 40% armor penetration. Tanks will be getting hit quite hard by you at this point.
  • The Black Cleaver - As if we weren't hitting hard enough, we now have this big guy. This thing is a tanks worst nightmare at this point. 3 auto attacks and you've already reduced their armor by 45 for you and your team to smack them around.

Other viable choices

  • Guardian Angel - is a very viable substitute for The Black Cleaver. It gives you a free revive every 5 minutes and the extra defense can keep you alive late game from beefier champions.
  • Banshee's Veil - is also a great choice for heavy AP stacked teams. Gives you magic resist and even a shield that will absorb potentially fatal damage every 45 seconds.
  • Madred's Bloodrazor - is a good choice over The Black Cleaver if you are going against a much tankier team composition.

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I chose a 21/9 build catering more to my aggressive play style versus other champions. I took your
standard AD Carry build with a point in Summoner's Wrath for the extra boost with Ignite.
If you choose to play a more defensive build and would favor Heal instead of Ignite, you can simply remove the one point in Summoner's Wrath and put it in Summoner's Resolve for a 20/10 build.
Either way, this is our preferred build, but you can easily switch a few points around to suit your teams needs.

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Greater Mark of Lethality

Greater Seal of Armor

Greater Glyph of Attack Damage

Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage

  • Greater mark of desolation: These are the obvious choice over flat AD marks. I find these much more useful. There isn't a general consensus over which is better than others, but I prefer having these. We will have enough damage via our build that these marks are nearly obsolete.
  • Greater Seal of Armor: I prefer to have these for a little extra defense while harassing and farming. The very small amount of defense, however small can save your life. Especially having very limited escapes.
  • Greater Glyph of Attack Damage: Me being an aggressive Varus chose to have these instead of extra defense. Many others will choose runes like Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist however I do not. Having the extra damage can take people by surprise by the amount of damage you dish out. They will be more inclined to run away than engage, giving you a greater advantage.
  • Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage No other real substitute. We want as much power as we can get and this delivers.

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Summoner Spells

Preferred spells

Flash is probably the best choice for Varus. It is our only escape method so it is a must have. Great for engaging, escaping or finishing a kill.

Ignite is another fantastic choice for aggressive Varus. It allows for great pressure on enemy champs and can even be used for defensive measures to have someone back off.

Possible choices

Heal is a great substitute for Ignite It allows you to stay in lane longer and even harass harder. Can definitely be a viable option.

Exhaust is another viable choice, though your support should probably grab this if you are bottom lane. It can be used to have an easier chase or even used for an escape paired with Hail of Arrows.

Ghost is a reasonable choice if you wanted extra survivability. I wouldn't recommend taking it but some prefer to always have the extra escape mechanic.

Teleport is an semi reasonable choice as an ability. It allows you to get back to your lane quickly after leaving. Allows you to have solid control over you lane. I personally don't use it for Varus but it is viable.

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  • Living Vengeance (passive)

    "On champion kill or assist, Varus gains 40% attack speed for 6 seconds. On minion kill, Varus gains 20% attack speed for 3 seconds."

    This is a really good passive. It helps you to farm fairly quickly. Even helps in team fights if you get the kill or even the assist.
  • Piercing Arrow [Q]:

    "Varus starts drawing back his next shot, gradually increasing its range and damage, then he fires it, dealing minimum 10 / 43 / 77 / 110 / 143 (+1.0 per attack damage) to maximum 15 / 65 / 115 / 165 / 215 (+1.6 per attack damage) physical damage, reduced by 15% per enemy hit (minimum 33%).

    While preparing to shoot, Varus cannot autoattack or use abilities, and his movement speed is slowed by 20%. After 4 seconds, Piercing Arrow fails but refunds half its mana cost. "

    This is such a great ability. It's an amazing harass, and even a great chaser. It can be used to safely harass turret huggers without taking damage from the turret. It also hits very hard. Getting skilled with this ability will make your opponents cry. Learning how to properly read your opponents movements and timing this shot will separate the good from the bad. Level this first for it's your primary damaging ability.
  • Blighted Quiver [W]:

    "Varus' basic attacks deal bonus 10 / 14 / 18 / 22 / 26 (+0.25 per ability power) magic damage and apply Blight for 6 seconds (stacks 3 times).
    Varus' other abilities detonate Blight, dealing magic damage equal to 2 / 2.75 / 3.5 / 4.25 / 5% (+0.01% per ability power) of the target's maximum health per stack.
    This damage is capped against monsters."

    This is a great harasser and even a farming tool. You can use your {Q} or {W} to activate the blight damage. Level this second because the rest of your damage will be coming from auto attacks and activated blight damage from your other abilities.
  • Hail of Arrows (E):

    "Varus fires a hail of arrows that deal 65 / 105 / 145 / 185 / 225 (+0.6 per bonus attack damage) physical damage and desecrate the ground. Desecrated ground slows enemies' Movement Speed by 25 / 30 / 35 / 40 / 45% and reduces their healing and regeneration by 50%."

    This is a very underestimated ability. How this is utilized will also separate the good from the bad. This is a great ability to slow a fleeing champion or even can be used preemptively from being chased. Proper placement of this can either get you a kill or save your life. This is also useful against healing champions due to the 50% healing reduction. Great ability to force a Heal from the enemy. Level this last because you use it primarily for the utility purposes. The damage isn't very proficient.
  • Chain of Corruption (R):

    "Varus flings out a tendril of corruption that deals 150 / 250 / 350 (+1.0 per ability power) magic damage and immobilizes the first enemy champion hit for 2 seconds.
    The corruption then spreads towards nearby uninfected enemy champions, applying the same damage and immobilize if it reaches them. The corruption will continue to spread until there are no further unaffected targets in range."

    This ultimate is just amazing. It has so many uses. It can be used for a guaranteed kill, used to secure a fleeing champion, and even can be used to stun someone chasing you and escape. But what really shines about this ult is that when it hits a champion, the tendrils spread to all nearby enemy champions stunning them as well. This ultimate can single handedly win team fights and secure victories. It takes practice and timing, but once you learn properly, this ability wins games. Obviously level this as soon as you can.

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How to lane

Laning as Varus can be a challenge if you're not prepared to play with him. As an AD carry you must obviously farm. Do your best to last hit as much as possible and use your Piercing Arrow to harass, being careful not to drain yourself of mana. Varus is a capable lane partner because you can lane with nearly everyone and excel well. I however prefer to lane with someone who has some form of hard cc or a strong slow. Below I'll list some of my preferred laning partners and some who still work well. Also this implies you are laning with a supporting champion. Varus is not very strong in kill lanes. We don't like to share creeper kills.

*The list below is my opinion on the best laning parters for Varus based on hundreds of games with different supports. Your support's skill level will greatly effect your laning experience.

Preferred laning partners

  • Volibear - He is one of my favorite champions to lane with. His flip is almost a 100% guaranteed kill if you time your abilities correctly. Time your Hail of Arrows to land where Volibear's Rolling Thunder flip will be and you will be able to burn down a champion fairly quickly.
  • Alistar - Alistar is a fantastic choice to lane with. He brings a huge variety of supporting qualities that can help you dominate the lane. Definitely a great choice.
  • Blitzcrank - This is another really good laning champion. He's a great fit. Timing his Rocket Grab and Power Fist, timed with your Hail of Arrows and it's another quick easy kill.
  • Leona - She's another good choice. She can be a great supporting tank. She has a number of CC's that really benefit Varus.
  • Sona - Probably one of the best non tanky supporters who works well with Varus. She has pretty decent heals and a nice aoe stun that can help secure kills.
  • Taric - Another very solid choice. Tanky, heals, and has CC. One of the best partners for Varus.
  • Amumu - He brings multiple stuns and a nice aoe that helps drain down enemy champs. A pretty good lane partner if they can get the stuns off well.

"Potential" laning partners.

  • Lulu - She's not a terrible choice. Has a nice cc ability and a good shield but isn't the most proficient supporter.
  • Nunu - I've played some very good games with a Nunu support. His slow is quite powerful and very useful. He has a nice ult that can help seal kills. Also has a nice attack speed increase for the lane which is always nice to have.
  • Maokai - Laning with him can be a bit difficult. He has some nice stuns and a good harass ability. He can be a bit unpredictable so he isn't the most viable supporter for you, not to say he can't be an effective supporter.

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General gameplay

Early Game

Due to our passive, Living Vengeance. We are allowed an easier farming experience than most AD carries in the game. This should help put us at an early creeper kill lead in your lane. Make sure you are always last hitting or you are wasting time with your passive.
Piercing Arrow allows us to harass safely and effectively whether it be from bushes or in the open. As soon as you began to charge your ability, if your opponents see it, they are going to move every time. This gives you the ability to force them to move into positions giving you breathing room for farming or harassing.
Always be prepared for ganks. We have no escape mechanic meaning we need to constantly be proactive and always expect a gank. If your support for some reason isn't buying wards, do yourself the favor and grab them. They WILL save your life.
Once we hit level 6 and grab Chain of Corruption, be ready to start killing. Coordinate your ultimate with your lane partner or jungler's CC's if they have any and you will easily get the kills.
*Remember, our harass and ultimate makes a huge target all game, especially early game when we are slower. We will be the focus of coordinated ganks so sometimes saving your ultimate as a stun for escape can save your life.

Mid Game

At this point you should have just completed your Infinity Edge and have a Vampiric Scepter and starting to build into Phantom Dancer. You're going to be hitting much harder and you should have a good creeper kill lead on the other AD Carry.
It is likely that there will be some lanes turret down, hopefully on the enemies team. If one of your turrets are down however, don't fret. Stay in your lane and pressure the opposing turret unless you must absolutely come help another lane.
If your team is either on the winning or losing end, it about time to start roaming as a team and mopping up turrets and objectives like dragon .
Red is a great buff for Varus so try and grab it if no one else could benefit more. Us being ranged gives us the extra safety to attack with less fear of being ganked or focused.
Unless you're fed, avoid tankier champs like Shen, Malphite, Darius, etc. They may get hurt but unless you're dealing enough damage, they will tear you to shreds. Play smart when encountering tanks. Always focus the other carries!
*Remeber, we are the AD Carry. We must get kills, we must "carry" the team. But we must also be alive to help our team. Don't be needlessly reckless. If needed, safely farm and build your items. A dead AD carry is a sad AD carry.

Late Game

Assuming you've been having a decent game, you should nearly be finished with your build. You just either be feeding The Bloodthirster or already have. You should easily be able to fill this fairly quickly and get back into the team fights.
At this point, you're public enemy number one. The entire enemy team is talking about how they absolutely NEED to focus you down or they are going to lose. Use their recklessness to your advantage. Set up traps or lure enemies into your team. They want you dead and they will do their damn best to kill you.
Your ultimate will be a determining factor if you win or lose team fights. Time your ultimate to hit multiple champions. I try to aim for the closest champion chasing or fleeing and it will spread to the rest of the nearby champions. Always focus the other carries. You will drop them in seconds with this build.
Take the initiative to sight ward key points like baron and dragon .
If you are losing, you can also attempt to steal baron with Piercing Arrow. If you do attempt this however, you must escape as soon as you use that ability for the enemies will be chasing you down hard.
Here I show you a baron steal that went incredibly wrong. Due to poor team communication and a poor Chain of Corruption placement, we lost a great steal that could have turned a very close game in our favor. I shouldn't have engaged but after two members took a bad decision to open, I was put in a very tight spot to react.
*Remember, you're of vital importance to your team. Your ultimate can be the determining factor of a win or loss. It can help secure an ace which will lead to a victory. Know that you aren't designed to take damage, but to deal it instead. Be constantly aware of your surroundings and you'll carry your team to victory.

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Advanced tactics (work in progress/with videos)

Here I will detail some advanced tactics with Varus's abilities. As an AD Carry most of our damage will come from auto attacks late game, but that doesn't mean we just right click and chase. Being Varus gives us some very unique and effective abilities to dominate the battlefield.

Tricks with:

Living Vengeance
  • Time a last hit on a minion before engaging or even during a team fight. Getting the kill triggers your passive Living Vengeance, which aids your damage output when you need it the most.

    *Be careful doing this as it requires a high level of awareness to pull this off effectively.

  • Living Vengeance is refreshed during each kill so it can make very fast and effective farming. This can help you to power farm if you need to quickly push a lane without the fear of not last hitting a minion. Timing your auto attacks can easily give you quick farming lane.

Tricks with:

Piercing Arrow
  • Piercing Arrow doesn't have to be fully charged in order to be shot. You can quick fire it as soon as you draw it back. This can help you burst down targets much faster.
  • Piercing Arrow is also an amazing tool to use on fleeing champs. Timing where enemy champs will flee and firing in their direction will snag you some nice kills through the fog.
  • This ability can also be charged while using Flash. Meaning you can hit Q first, max the range then Flash and then release your charge with Q. This video below shows me doing this exact technique for an early game kill.

    *WARNING* Doing this is very dangerous because you will blow your only true escape method for a potential kill. I recommend not doing this unless you can guarantee the kill and your safety afterwards. Also this is a VERY basic video documenting this method. Match up isn't the important factor here, it is the technique.

Tricks with:

  • Blighted Quiver is easily noticeable by a circular purple symbol that surrounds a target for every hit stacking up to 3 times. Being aware of the blight stack on a target makes your Piercing Arrow and Hail of Arrows abilities hit harder depending on the amount of blight stacked.
  • Try to get 3 stacks before using any abilities. This will maximize your damage output. However, do not let this dictate your pressure. If you have an opportunity to open with a different ability do so. You will lose kills if you solely use abilities with only 3 stacks of Blighted Quiver.

    3 stacks of Blighted Quiver

Tricks with:

  • Hail of Arrows can be used as an escape tool preemptively. Placing this ability in an enemies path will slow them down and may force them to give up on a chase.
  • The damage radius is slightly larger than the actual display radius. This can very narrowly hit a fleeing champion which can be used to either secure a kill or cause more damage.
  • Timing Hail of Arrows shortly after Chain of Corruption gives you a little extra viability after the snare. So after you have the stun, you will have a slow effect giving you more breathing room for a kill or an escape if necessary.
  • Hail of Arrows has a 50% reduced healing effect on affected champions. Timing this when champions are low or on champions who have heavy healing abilities for a more effective damaging output.
  • If you have 3 stacks of Blighted Quiver, try to use your Hail of Arrows to activate the passive. It is easier to hit the target with Hail of Arrows than Piercing Arrow in certain circumstances.

Tricks with:

  • Chain of Corruption used as a chase mechanic can almost promise a guaranteed kill if you are hitting hard enough, depending who you are fighting of course. Being aware of your opponents escape mechanics will help you when timing your ultimate. Use your ultimate at the peak of an enemies escape mechanic. This will ensure that you have the maximum amount of time to damage and potentially kill them.
  • Proper placement of Hail of Arrows after a Chain of Corruption will give you a longer period of stun + slow, giving you more time to damage someone down.
  • The same applies when using this as an escape mechanic. Chain of Corruption + a properly placed Hail of Arrows in front of the enemies path can ensure that you manage to escape safety.
  • Chain of Corruption used during a team fight can easily turn any fight in your teams favor if used correctly. In fights do your best to angle your ultimate to try and hit the middle of the group to ensure that your snares spread is used to its full potential.