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Varus Build Guide by caseynelson

Not Updated For Current Season

This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.

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League of Legends Build Guide Author caseynelson

Varus, The Sneaky Bandit ADC! (S3)

caseynelson Last updated on August 12, 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: 21

Honor Guard

Defense: 1


Utility: 8

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Season 3 Item changes have been updated!


About Me

My name is ggLA caseynelson and I play ADC for Team GGLA. I am a Diamond 1 solo que player as well and have played with the best of them. My team is a Challenger team going for the LCS this summer. I fell in love with Varus after realizing how strong his kit is. I've only played ADC in my 3 years of playing League of Legends and I assure you that I know my stuff.

Youtube: My Youtube Highlight video Page!
Stream: Diamond 1 Stream!

About Varus

Varus has an amazing kit that can easily lane harass or dominate a team fight. He has an aoe snare, aoe slow/heal debuff, long range sniper shot, and a passive that can boost his atk speed damage. What he lacks in an escape skill he makes up for in utility and control when enemies are present. Varus is strongest mid to mid late game with very solid burst damage vs. his opponents. He does % health damage so is a great choice for the current meta of champions who build health.

This is your guide to all thing's Varus. Killing, killing, eating a snack, and more killing. I'm here to show you the power that is Varus. Follow this guide and watch yourself turn into beast mode on the battlefield.

This isn't your Grandpa's Varus Guide. Buckle up and lets go!

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Full Video Guide/Commentary

Varus Full Game Video Guide

Hey all,

I wanted to add this video I made of a full game with Varus. I try to explain my runes, decisions, item builds etc. If you don't get the reasoning you want out of the video just look at the guide and it will be there. This is to see a real live game with the Varus guide implement in a high elo setting (Diamond 1 solo que) Enjoy!

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Pros / Cons


  • Strong Harass in Lane
  • AOE Snare
  • Great Farmer/Pusher
  • Solid Burst Damage
  • Sniper/Headshot Master
  • Zero Escape Skills
  • Needs lots of time in fight to maximize damage
  • Low HP= Bullseye on your back

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Typically you have two options when it comes to masteries.

Option 1: 21/0/9 (This is what I run). The 21 in the offense side is straight forward, but I really like Meditation and Mastermind in order to spam abilities and keep my summoners on short cool down.

Option2: 21/9/0. If you feel that you can't trade the other adc very well, go with the extra armor/mr.

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Greater Mark of Attack Damage

Greater Mark of Critical Chance

Greater Seal of Armor

Greater Glyph of Scaling Mana Regeneration

Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage

Greater Quintessence of Life Steal
Greater Mark of Attack Damage With the current meta, most threats you have to worry about build HP instead of armor. Damage is better for bursting down those heavy mouth breathing foes.

Greater Mark of Critical Chance Just one of these puppies is worth it since you won't miss the 1 AD rune but the 1% crit chance can change a lane completely around. Believe in the heart of the arrow!

Greater Seal of Armor Great for trading blows in laning phase. This will reduce the damage their bot lane puts on you and keeps you in the fight!

Greater Glyph of Mana Regeneration A little mana regen goes a long way. Gives you mana sustain when you need to spam your abilities. Mana regen also gives you more value over the other option Greater Glyph of Magic Resist.

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Summoner Spells

The Best of The Best

Flash:Flash is extremely versatile. It is your only gap creator/reducer so come team fights, make sure it is up! It helps you escape, chase, dodge, kite and beast mode!

Barrier: Since Varus has no escape (besides Flash, Barrier allows Varus to absorb the intial damage from enemy gap closers i.e. Barrier is great for early lane fights, use it to bait the enemy or get the last hit in for the kill!
Don't Die Like the Rest (Useful)

Cleanse: This is the only other Summoner Spell I consider taking. Use this if the enemy team has a lot of Hard CC i.e. or you want to get out of Exhaust and Ignite In team fights late game, staying alive is Rule #1, cleanse can make sure you follow Rule #1.

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Skills that Kills

Living Vengeance (Passive):
Varus's passive is great for early game farming and team fights. For laning phase, once you kill a minion you will be able to attack the next minion faster making it easier to farm with. When team fights break out, all you need is an assist with an auto attack, or to activate . For the next 6 seconds, you do insane damage.

Piercing Arrow: Master this skill as it will reward you with sniper headshot kills that make the kills go crazy. Has potential to snipe dragon/baron, Red/blue buffs, minions or champions with very low health.

Blighted Quiver: Blighted quiver give you very good burst damage. The stacks detonate after you use a skill on a champ doing health % damage. In a perfect world, you would auto 3 times, use R, auto 3 times, use E, auto 3 times, use Q. Most of the time you don't get the luxury of all that time, so remember to maximize stacks when possible before you use an ability.

I found that 2 stacks per ability is ideal when fighting.

Hail of Arrows: This is Varus's best and most RELIABLE harass/ability in the game. It has a long reach and is an aoe slow/heal debuff. It can zone out or slow opponents and make it easier to land your or .

Chain of Corruption: Varus's ult is a game changer. It snares the first person it hits allowing you and your team to dominate them and slowly reaches out and to snare other opponenets. You can use it defensively to snare those gap closing champions . Mainly, the aoe snare is so subtle that in team fights opponents tend not to recognize they are about to get rooted making is Varus, THE SNEAKY BANDIT!

Below is an ideal use of all of Varus's abilities maxing Blighted Quiver stacks on the enemy first then using each ability for maximum damage.

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Core Items

Core Items

Season 3 Update: Instead of going we are going with . The meta is going towards having armor and the passive ability on Randuin's can slow down any melee's that decide to dive you!

: Best boots for Varus hands down, the attack speed lets you get extra blight quiver stacks and put out the deeps! Stay away from mercury treads because once you are caught, you are most likely dead so the .25 seconds of less snare time won't help you.

: The biggest DPS increase you can buy for Varus. Crit chance + High DPS = Victory!

: Attack speed, movement speed, critical hit chance all pair up well with infinity's edge You get one attack speed item slot typically, this is best in slot for killing enemy champs.

: Gives you attack damage and armor pen, with our rune setup, we NEED armor pen. LW shreds tanks
Situational Items

: This is the anti- "I'm building massive hp and I'll dive you" item. If the enemy team builds hp, you build this. It let's you run away from with it's unique ability.

: Gives you solid hp/mp boost and gives you the all important spell shield against high burst champs or intiations, ultimates and LAZERS. Get this item in your defensive slot in any game you have a hard time surviving an enemy champions dive/ultimate/skill shot in team fights.

: Warmog's is your general defensive item on Varus. It gives you a huge HP boost that can help you survive dives or other enemy melee champions that dive you. .

: Froze Mallet is very underated in my opinion. If you have the cash, it gives you a comparable hp boost to , also with some AD and it's passive which slows enemies every hit. I like to buy this as my defensive item in games where you have a hard time chasing down enemy champions .

: Nice Magic Resist boost and great for getting out of snares in team fights. I would only buy this if you keep getting hard cc'd snared by the enemy champs .

: Great for pushing lanes and the initial hit in a team fight. Ask yourself this, am I focusing on single targets in team fight and not worried about clearing waves? Go with . Do you want to push creep waves/towers? Go with . Both items are very similar depending on what your objectives are.

I'm not going to list a bunch of items that don't see TOP level play. These are the best of the best items for Varus in this meta, choose based on situations and don't waste time with inferior items!

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In the current meta, picking AD means you will be playing with a bot lane support champion. Having the right support can drastically improve your lane play. Here's a few of the best supports that go with Varus.

Best Friend Supports

Best for babysitting in lane. Has Astral Blessing to heal you constantly and give you armor buff. Raka' also provides you with unlimited mana. If you are new to Varus and need to just survive and not be aggressive, go with Raka'.
Has slight heal to keep you sustained in lane, and also has the deadly stun. The threat of the stun is enough for enemies to play passive while you are free to farm. Great to engage or disengage if they decide to fight you.
Lulu's poke with Help, Pix! Glitterlance synergized with Varus's poke very well. Wild Growth used with Barrier give you great survivability in team fights.
Zyra provides strong long range poke and cc with Grasping Roots. Once she lands it, it's easy to land W,E,Q combos. Her ultimate Stranglethorns is amazing in team fights as well as laning phase.
Good sustainability in lane with Aria of Perseverance and great damage/poke with Power Chord. Hymn of Valor gives a nice damage boost and Crescendo is a great AOE ult to go with Varus's ult.
I call this the kill lane. Zenith Blade immobilizes and Shield of Daybreak stuns giving Varus plenty of time to get off W,E,Q. Solar Flare Provides AOE slow that further helps Varus land his ultimate in lane or team fights. My favorite laning combo.
Janna has a great shield/damage booster with Eye Of The Storm. She is one of the best peelers for Varus with Howling Gale Zephyr and Monsoon.
Thresh is the most OP support right now. Thresh gets tons of armor from Damnation so he can tank for you in lane. His Death Sentence can start fights safely and Flay provides additional harass. He can also zone out opponents with The Box while you pew pew them. Dark Passage can save you in dire situations and gives you armor. Oh so very strong.

$$$Poor Man Supports$$$
Blitz is the poor man version of . Don't be a poor man.

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Levels 1-6 Early Game

Blue Side Start: If you are starting blue side, make sure you get Ancient Golem at the 1:40 mark. Attack the smaller golem (the one on the left) first than trade off hits with your support with the big daddy. When both are dead, support goes to help your jungler (if he started red) or with you to lane. Kill the minions quickly so you can hit level 2 first. There is quite a difference between being level 1 and being level 2. You can zone out the enemy if you get level 2 first or even first blood.

Purple Side Start: Help your jungler with Wolves, than give him a few shots on Golem. Be careful because blue side adc may have started on their mini golems. You will know this if one of the two bot laners have lost hp. Caution: Play cautious because they can get level 2 before you and turn aggro. It is best to just play it safe until you hit level 2 yourself.

Last Hitting: Waiting until the minions are one hit from being dead and being the one to take the last hit. This allows you to farm $$$ without pushing your lane. This will make it harder for enemy junglers to gank you and easier for you to win. Winning>Losing.

Once you are in lane, your job is to focus on three things.

1) Last hitting minions to make that cash
2) If there are no minions to last hit, look at your own minions, if they are low, then the enemy adc will try to last hit them. This is the perfect time to use Blighted Quiver immediately followed by Hail of Arrows for ultimate harassment. The range is very long, and does lots of damage.
3a) If you are a boss, you slowly widdle them down by using the above mentioned tactic then killing the enemy at level 6 on your own or
3b) Wait for your friendly jungle to gank for you, kill, and be happy.

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Levels 7-12 Mid Game

At this point in the game, you and your team need to be thinking about 3 things:

  • Towers
  • Dragon
  • Buffs

Work towards pushing your lane tower down or getting a kill bottom lane either by yourself or with a jungler. Once accomplished, kill the dragon for much needed team gold. Your team should be grouping and starting team fights.

Freezing a laneFreezing a lane: The term for when you allow the enemy minions to push just before your tower to meet your own minions without taking turret hits. This is perfect for reducing ganking risk from enemy jungler and for zoning out the enemy team. This also makes the enemy team overextend if they want $$$ and opens an opportunity for your jungler to gank.

By this time you will know if you are ahead of the other team or behind.

If you are ahead:
  • You can freeze the lane, increasing your creep score even more and denying the other team expereience and money
  • You can put pressure on your lane forcing the other team to give up a tower or bring help to the lane, opening opportunites for your other lanes to push and get towers/$$$.
  • Straight beast mode 5 man mid, take towers, names, $$ and victory.

If you are behind:
  • Best thing to do is to freeze your lane and DO NOT push it. This allows your to safely farm and catch up in creep score, $$$, and items. The enemy may roam if you do this so make sure you tell your team.

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Levels 13-18 Late Game

Team Fighting as Varus

When playing any AD Carry, you have one job. Don't die and do as much damage to the correct targets as possible. This is done by proper positioning and kiting. Once you are comfortable with Varus, you can initiate team fights with your Chain of Corruption but until then, stay in the back. You cannot risk being stunned and immediately killed. Target the enemies that are most threatening to you.

The enemy tank/assassins will do their best to dive you and burst you down. Stay calm, shoot as your move backwards between shots. You have your Hail of Arrows to slow and Chain of Corruption to snare any divers that come your way. We get Last Whisper to burst down tanks and after you can help the team kill the rest. If the enemy tank doesn't dive you, focus your damage on their damage dealers if it is safe.

ADC's are the most important factor in a team fight, they simply put out the most sustained DPS.

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Beast Mode

Beast Mode: At any point in the game where you are so fed and enemy's crumble at sound of your name, this is Beast Mode.

Once you have achieved maximum beast mode status, you can do this.

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This is my first guide and I hope you all learned something from it.

I can be found streaming at

and will be streaming ADC, teaching the basics to those who want to learn.

Also visit my youtube channel at for highlights of all my adc plays and guide videos to come!

Please give me your feedback, what I can add, clarification or just to say hello!


-GGLA Casey Nelson