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Varus Build Guide by exafighter

Not Updated For Current Season

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League of Legends Build Guide Author exafighter

Varus, the early game bulldozer

exafighter Last updated on May 20, 2013
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ADC Role
Ranked #13 in
ADC Role
Win 47%
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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: 22

Honor Guard

Defense: 5


Utility: 3

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Welcome to my first guide, and I'm starting off with my current main champion, Varus. I will guide you through all the aspects of Varus, it's pro's and it's cons, why I choose the stated build and what makes Varus an everyday choice for winning bot lane.

I like to write, so excuse me when it gets too long, I am going to write only useful information down (at least I'll try to). Enjoy, and happy sniping!

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Pros / Cons

- Good AD Carry
- Good early/mid game poke
- Lane bully
- Can farm like a maniac and clear big minion waves in an instant with Q and E
- Can blow enemy AD carry out of lane when rush B.F. Sword (early kill very useful in this case)
- Fast traveling skillshots
- Battle-changing ultimate
- Fast attack animation + high attack speed = perfect kiter
- If he can create some distance, his E can make him escape
- One of the few champions getting close to countering Caitlyn.

- Squishy, and stays squishy all game long
- Positioning is everything
- When been killed early, very hard to come back
- No escape
- Farming is necessary
- Getting used with Blighted Quiver and paying attention to it is hard to learn for some people

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The masteries are stated as above. I know it is kind of weird playing 22/5/3, but let me go through it.

I started tweaking the usual ADC masteries, focussing on the early game. This is the phase which decides if you are going to be fed, or going to deal some minor damage late game. Considering that Varus' Piercing Arrow can kill someone in a couple of hits, he will be able to push his lane hard. Therefore, I took a point in Destruction . All the other masteries are the same as any other ADC and are aimed at dealing the most damage in the shortest period of time.

Next is the Meditation . Varus' Piercing Arrow costs a lot of mana, starting at 70 to 90 when maxed. Added to that, his Hail of Arrows costs 80 mana flat, so for a slow and some damage you already need 170 mana, so you'll be out of mana in no time. To be able to land a Piercing Arrow every now and then, you will need the increased mana regeneration. I had to reduce the Resistance to be able to do so, but as you have to watch your positioning, you are not supposed to catch much damage, and the scaling magic resist runes with compensate the lack of these masteries. Also, I'm putting 1 point on Hardiness , for a little extra flat armor early game.

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For the runes I can keep it short; flat AD marks for early game damage, flat AD quints for early game damage, flat armor seals to shield against the enemy ADC, and scaling m. resist glyphs for the teamfights, giving a little bit of extra magic resist. If you want more early game damage, you could switch out the glyphs for some extra health is you want more survivability, or attack speed/critical hit chance if you want more damage early game, but I can't recommend to do so. Switching the flat AD marks for Armor penetration is an option, but it is not going to help you much early game. There is some space to move runes, but this is what works best for me, and it works every time.

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Skill Sequence

Now I will talk about the sequence you will level your skills in. Again, this is what works best for me and I switch sometimes, because it really depends on your enemy's team combination. For example, I always max Piercing Arrow at level 9, because it deals tons of damage early game, giving you an opportunity to pick up an early kill.

I've tried maxing Hail of Arrows after piercing arrrow, but the extra magic damage on the Blighted Quiver passive worked out the best for me to max second. As you will have the Blade of the Ruined King while maxing your Blighted Quiver, you will already have a slow, and your Chain of Corruption will be there to lock your enemies in place. Maxing Hail of Arrows first makes sense though, if you play against an agressive opponent with lots of movement speed, a Vayne for example. If you do max Hail of Arrows first, keep the Piercing Arrow for last, as it won't do as much damage mid/late game and the extra magic damage on Blighted Quiver deals more damage.

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Now about the summoner spells. Pre-season 3, everyone including the AD Carries, went with the Flash- Ignite. However, times have changed. And so id the preferences.

I still find the summoners something debatable, as it is very situational. I find myself picking up Cleanse when playing against something like a Taric or a Leona, while going with Barrier against a Caitlyn, to 'counter' her ultimate with, but it also changes those close fights, and your enemy will most probably go with one of those too, so you want to be able to answer the extra sustain in fights.

Flash is just mandatory. There is no situation you don't want to pick Flash with Varus, as he has no blink ability.

And if you've played Varus in pre-season 3, and you are used to the flash-ignite, don't forget the Piercing Arrow ability. Just play it a little differently. Piercing Arrow will lose 2 seconds of cooldown every time you level it, so it has an 8 second cooldown on level 5. If Piercing Arrow is maxed, and your enemy is running away, just out of range for AA's, keep chasing. When he is under his turret, his recall will take just as long for your Piercing Arrow to come off cooldown. If your enemy is really stupid enough to recall under his turret (which, most of the cases, they actually are), you can easily snipe them.

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Gameplay & Items

I like to play Varus as an AD Carry in bot lane. Varus has an epic poke early game using and maxing his Piercing Arrow first, as it can literally deal 300 damage at level 9.

I start the game with Long Sword and two Health Potions most of the times, though when playing with a healing support (something like Soraka or Kayle) I sometimes decide to pick a Doran's Blade instead, because of the extra AD and sustain, giving you a slight advantage in the early bottom lane fights. potion of fortitude and three Health Potion is still good, but not on Varus. When you haven't activated the potion of fortitude, you will just not have enough AD to finish primed creeps under your tower.

When you get in lane, wait for the minions. You don't want to get the enemy ADC to get an advantage over you. As the minions enter the lane, follow them, always take great care when entering the lane. You don't want to catch early damage. As soon as both the ADC and the support are in vision, land a Piercing Arrow, and play very aggressive with your support, not giving your enemy any farm. Your Piercing Arrow will keep your enemies low.

However, there are two exceptions; when playing against a healing support, and a stunning support. You don't want to play too aggressive against a Taric or a Soraka, as the first will make your (seemingly) free damage turn into a (close) death for you, and the latter will just heal your damage. Still don't grant them any farm, but keep them at a distance while standing among your melee minions.

Pre-season I would've said rushing a B. F. Sword is viable, but now it's a completely different story. As Varus doesn't have a 'blink' ability, the S3 Bilgewater Cutlass is perfect for him. the active slows your enemy for 25% for 2 seconds, giving you some time to get closer and keep up with your enemy. Do not finish the Bilgewater Cutlass before your enemies are around 2,5k health though, it's just not as viable as buying a [BF Sword]].

Of course, try to win the lane, but when you are getting owned, let them push and get your last hits under your turret, also making it possible to do some free damage, hopefully pushing them back a little bit. This is not an unlikely situation when playing against a healing/stunning support. Always focus on your farm, you need items quick to deal enough damage, more than other ADCs, as Varus' AD per level isn't as good as many other ADCs.

Moving into midgame, get your Phantom Dancer next, not buying any side items. If you already have Zeal and Dagger, and still got 433G remaining? Don't buy another Dagger, just wait till you can buy the Cloak of Agility, or able to finish the Phantom Dancer instantly. Your Phantom Dancer will give your damage output an enormous increase, also being able to stack Blighted Quiver much more quickly.

Here comes the phase of the game where you have to pay attention to your Blighted Quiver. Always try to poke a little with auto-attacks until the enemy has 3 Blighted Quiver stacks. Then, detonate the Blighted Quiver by shooting your Hail of Arrows. As your enemy gets lots of damage, they most probably start to run away. Use the Blade of the Ruined King active to steal their movement speed. Chase them down, auto attack until again 3 Blighted Quiver stacks are added, and shoot your Piercing Arrow, channeling to almost maximum charge. Now they will most probably be down to 300HP, giving you an easy kill.

Always watch your Blighted Quiver, also when doing Dragon, Baron or having a team fight. Instead of focusing someone, try to get Blight on all your enemies, and shoot Hail of Arrows, dealing lots of damage. Building the Infinity Edge and next the Runaan's Hurricane will make life much easier, as the Runaan's Hurricane's passive arrows will also stack Blighted Quiver on enemies, being able to stack Blighted Quiver stacks on 3 enemies instead of 1, dealing tons of damage. This is the reason why Runaan's Hurricane works on just a few champions, including Varus.

Remember: (3 Blighted Quiver) -> Chain of Corruption -> 3 Blighted Quiver -> Hail of Arrows -> 3 Blighted Quiver -> Piercing Arrow gives the best damage output.

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I'd like to go deeper into the teamfights/late game. This is the phase where you will have to pay attention, being off guard for a second can decide the game now. You are supposed to deal all the damage and you will have to, so read this carefully.

Your Chain of Corruption can be a game changer in teamfights. Always try to aim your ultimate at the enemy tank, immobilizing him and making him unable to catch damage. In the meanwhile, try to stack some Blighted Quiver stacks on the enemy team, and shoot your Hail of Arrows. Continue to stack Blighted Quiver stacks, as Chain of Corruption spreads to other nearby champions. Your ultimate can work out two ways, the first is isolating the tank, giving you a free pile on the enemy tank. This is the situation you don't like, because piling the tank is useless. The other enemy champions will return into battle, and as all your abilities are on cooldown, you will get killed. The second is the enemy team staying near the tank, giving Chain of Corruption the possibility to spread, and immobilizing the complete enemy team, giving you a lot of free kills. Remember that ranged enemies are still able to attack while chained, so never root the ranged first, take the melee down first.

Positioning is everything in teamfights. As an ADC, you are supposed to deal the most damage, but never, never ever think about going into the middle of the fight. As you are very squishy, and the build grants you hardly 2k HP at level 18, a focus or a lot of AoE damage will be an instant kill, losing the teamfight. Try to stay on the very back of your team's line, making sure you are safe for enemy focusses, and if the enemy jumps on you, your team can instantly focus the jumper to death, making the fight 4v5.

When everything goes wrong, i.e. Jax and Pantheon jump on you, all you can do is Hail of Arrows and pray that your team with deal with it adequately, slow/stunning them and make sure you get out safely. Wait till the fight is going and all abilities have been used, and return to the fight. Stack Blighted Quiver and detonate it regularly, and you will be fine.

The nightmare of every ADC player, is when someone jumps into you and stuns you while your team retreats. As you are squishy, you are dead. Always keep an escape route ready, so stay close to walls or brushes. In teamfights where you are getting focused, this will give your team some time to chase and deal damage. While running, shoot Hail of Arrows in front of the chasers, and even your not-so-impressive movement speed will be sufficient to be able to escape the fight. Never even consider channeling for Piercing Arrow while running, even though you might be able to get a kill with it. When you die, but the enemy ADC lives, your team gets cleared with ease.

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12-2-2013: Version 1.0
4-5-2013: Version 1.1, Lissandra update

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Thanks for reading my guide and I hope it helps you. Below you can click on Guide Discussion, you may discuss the guide over there. I will check it often, so if you think some information is incorrect, please leave your comment there and I will check it every now and then.

This was my first guide, I hope it helped you to understand Varus a little more. I will update the guide in a while to update the design and fix where necessary. Also, feel free to leave a comment below and good luck playing Varus. :D