Varus Champion Guide by DualSword31
Version 1.0, Last Updated 2013-02-14
Table of Contents
- Please note this guides assumes that you know the basic terms for League of Legends
- Champion Overview
- Pre-Game Setup
- Skill Order and Abilities
- Item Builds
- Strategy and Tactics
- Lane Match-Ups vs Attack Damage Carries
Varus Build Guide
Most Recent Patch: V3.01.0.1 (Feburary 1st, 2013)
Varus is an Attack Damage Carry with an attack range a bit longer than most ADCs. His skillset composes of having long range poke, percentage life damage through stacks, an AoE that does damage, slows and debuffs heals by 50% and an ultimate that has strong crowd control. Varus takes more practice because he is reliant on you landing your skillshots but if played correctly, he can be one of the strongest AD carries in the game.
Varus' role is to start teamfights and do lots of AoE damage. His ultimate is like Ashe's Enchanted Crystal Arrow, but it spreads to other enemy champions instead. He can then follow it up with lots of AoE physical damage and AoE slowheal debuff. If played right, he can also out-harass most AD carries bottom lane.
The optimal rune setup for Varus is the standard attack damage setup, which consists of:
- Greater Mark of Attack Damage x9
- Greater Mark of Armor x9
- Greater Glyph of Magic Resist x9
- Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage x9
|Statistic||Flat||Per Level||Level 18|
This setup will allow you to play aggressively and win trades since you'll have the extra 10 magic damage through Varus' Blighted Quiver (W). If you wish, you can swap out your Attack Damage runes for Armor Penatration if you're going to fight a tanky team and the magic damage from Blighted Quiver will allow you to last hit with no problems.
There are three mastery page setups that work best with Varus:
21/0/9 is more utility so your summoner spells are up more, don't run out of mana and buff durations last longer. While 21/9/0 gives you some needed defense so you don't get bursted down as much. 21/6/3 though, gives you health and mana sustain. I've had sucess with all 3 mastery setups but it really boils down to who you're laning against. If you're laning against someone that won't burst you down, such as Ashe or going up against a passive lane in general. 21/9/0 wouldn't be the best choice.
The summoner spells you want to take on Varus are Flash and Cleanse. Flash is a mandatory summoner spell since you can blink over terrian, makes play, escape or dodging incoming attacks that would otherwise kill you. Cleanse is another great spell for Varus because he has no built-in escapes and if he gets caught my any form of CC, the enemy team will jump on him and get a free kill. An alternative to Cleanse is the summoner spell Barrier, which you can use to not get bursted down or bait out someone who's already committed to dueling you and get a kill on them.
Skill Order and Abilities
|Living Vengeance (Passive)||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x|
|Hail of Arrows||O||O||O||O||O|
|Chain of Corruption||O||O||O|
Living Vengeance (Innate): On a champion kill or assist, Varus gains 40% attack speed for 6 seconds. On a minion kill, Varus gains 20% attack speed for 3 seconds.
Varus has one of the best passives for ADC. With the recent nerf to attack speed items, the extra 20% attack speed you recieve from the passive becomes even more significant. Along with being able to build stacks quicker.
Q - Piercing Arrow: ('First Cast): Varus starts drawing back his next shot, gradually increasing its range and damage. (Second Cast): Varus fires, dealing 10/43/77/110/143 (+100% AD) to 15/65/115/165/215 (+160% AD) physical damage, reduced by 15% per enemy hit (minimum 33%). While preparing to shoot Varus' Movement Speed is slowed by 20%. After 4 seconds, Piercing Arrow fails but refunds half its mana cost.'
- Mana Cost: 70/75/80/85/90
- Range: 850 - 1475
- Cooldown: 16/14/12/10/8 Seconds
- Projectile Speed: 1900
A high-damage skillshot with a very long range that increases in damage as channeled. When channeling it is important to remember that you cannot auto attack and you are slowed. In 1-on-1 situations cast it immediately to trigger the stacks on the target. The is an effective poke as well as a finisher. Unlike other skillshots this one can go through terrain.
W - Blighted Quiver: (Passive): Varus' basic attacks deal 10/14/18/22/26 (+25% AP) bonus magic damage and apply Blight for 6 seconds (stacks 3 times).
Varus' other abilities detonate Blight, dealing magic damage equal to 2/2.8/3.5/4.3/5% (+2% per 100AP) of the target's maximum Health per stack (Max: 360 total damage vs Monsters).
This is a good early game skill as it gives you an extra 10 magic damage which will help in last hitting and winning damage trades. Blighted Quiver triggers a stacking passive on the enemy called Blight, anytime you use a skill on the enemy it triggers this passive to do % health damage. Make sure to stack this passive as many times as possible on as many people as you can in team fights before triggering the passive.
E - Hail of Arrows: Varus fires a hail of arrows that deals 65/105/145/185/225 (+60% Bonus AD) physical damage and desecrates the ground for 4 seconds. Desecrated Ground slows enemy Movement Speed by 25/30/35/40/45% and reduces healing effects by 50%.
- Mana Cost: 80
- Range: 925
- Cooldown: 18/16/14/12/10 Seconds
Hail of Arrows is a high-damage nuke that applies a healing debuff as well as slowing. It is an effective tool for kiting and can also peel enemies off of teammates. This is generally the first skill you use in an engagement as the slow sets up easy Piercing Arrows or can help you move in for Chains of Corruption. It's also the easiest way of activating your Quiver stacks.
R - Chains of Corruption: Varus flings out a tendril of corruption that deals 150/250/350 (+100% AP) 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.
- Mana Cost: 120
- Range: 1075
- Cooldown: 120/105/90 Seconds
- Spread Range: 550
- Tendril Break Range: 600
This ability is an extremely strong initiation tool even rivaling Ashe's ultimate in potency. It is a skill shot 2-second immoblize. The skill spreads to other enemies if they stay in close proximity to the initial target for more than 2 seconds. This discourages enemies from helping the immobilized target or face getting caught by the ultimate themselves. Since this skill is a skillshot make sure to take care when aiming.
For most of your games, this is what your build should be based on. Please note that you won't always buy the same items every game since every game is different.
- Berserker Graves with Furor Enchantment
- The Bloodthrister
- Phantom Dancer
- Last Whisper
- Guardian Angel
- Quicksliver Sash OR Mercurial Scimitar
When the game starts, you have two choices to choose from: Boots of Speed + 3 Health Potions OR Long Sword + 2 Health Potions. Generally you'll start with the first selection so you can dodge and poke with your long range but if you're going against a passive lane, Long Sword + 2 Health Potions would be more useful to poke them down faster. Especially if the opposing support is Soraka.
First Buy Back
After farming up some gold and make your way back to base, you can buy a couple of items to strengthen your presence during the laning phase.
Vampiric Scepter is one of the key items for ADCs. It allows you to sustain yourself during laning, gives you good attack damage for the price and builds into a Bloodthrister later on.
Doran's Blade is another good item for the quick health and attack damage, while getting 5 health back for each minion you kill. Just remember that this item doesn't build into anything so you can sell it later to make space or to help you complete a core item.
Boots of Speed if you started with a Long Sword + 2 Health Potions, for the movement speed since Varus has no built-in escapes and is slow.
Berserker Greaves will give you more movement speed along with attack speed. This means you can escape and poke much easier if the enemy hasn't upgraded their boots to tier 2.
B.F. Sword will only be an option if you manage to get 1550 gold or more before you back to base. If you actually have that much gold, always go for B.F. Sword first for the huge attack damage. It also builds into a Bloodthrister and if you already have a Vampiric Scepter, you're only 850 gold away to completing The Bloodthrister
Health Potions are nice for the quick sustain and you can buy them with your left over gold if you wish.
Nearing the end of laning phase, you should have at least one core item complete. ADCs don't have that much variation when it comes to buying items so you'll see other guides for ADCs recommanding similiar items all the time, such as The Bloodthrister. Let's go on about what your core items on Varus will be.
The Bloodthrister is Varus main attack damage item. It gives you 70 attack damage, with being able to raise it to 100 attack damage and gives you great sustain. This item will give you all of your needed damage and sustain for late game. This item should always be your first finished core item unless you're ahead and get an Infinity Edge.
Infinity Edge is another great attack damage item if you don't want to build The Bloodthrister. It'll provide more burst with it's critical chance and increasing your crit damage to 50% but you won't get the sustain that The Bloodthrister offers. I only recommand getting this if you are ahead and have built a Vampiric Scepter so when your crit, you'll get a decent amount of health back.
Phantom Dancer gives everything an ADC needs. Attack speed, critical chance and movement speed. The attack speed and critical chance work great with your Bloodthrister or Infinity Edge so you can start pumping out tons of damage faster. It also has a unique passive that lets you ignore minions so escaping and kiting, along with the movement speed makes it easier.
Statikk Shiv gives less attack speed and critical chance but it offers more movement speed and gives you an AoE damage. It's a great item to build if you don't have enough gold mid game and want to build it for the increase damage but when late game comes around, Phantom Dancer outshines it since it gives you the most benefit all around.
Last Whisper is a must when mid game or later rolls around. It gives you 35% armor penetration, which also makes it the highest armor item in the game and gives you 40 attack damage which is a lot. If the enemy team starts stacking armor and health, the Last Whisper will make it easy to still deal damage to them due to it's high ignore rate against armor. If you don't build this item, you're going to have a bad time because your damage output will be hampered.
Notable and Defensive Items
Guardian Angel is one of the best defensive items you can get on the sole fact you can come back to life after dying once. Making you a harder target to take down becasuse once you've fallen, you'll come back and start to lifesteal enough where they can't kill you since they've lost a teammate or two. It works well against those annoying bullcrap assassians like Talon, Akali, Irelia and Kha'zix.
Quicksilver Sash is a cheap magic resistance item that gives you a built-in cleanse. This item works very well against heavy AP and CC teams. It can be upgraded into a Mercurial Scimitar for the extra attack damage.
Warmogs gives you a ton of health and great health sustain so you can surivie being bursted down but won't work that well against champions that can dish out sustained damage.
Enchantment: Furor is an echantment upgrade for your tier 2 boots. Furor is the best option for Varus because it gives you 12% movement speed for 2 seconds when you attack, allowing you to chase, kite and escape better. If someone is making an advance on you, you can shoot them with your Hail of Arrows or Piercing Arrow for the quick boost in movement and get away.
Varus' skillset allows him to be an aggressive laning unless you're fighting supports such as Blitzcrank or Leona. You'll have to be more careful. His long range allows him to poke, farm and control the lane with ease and a point in your Blighted Quiver allows you to deal an extra 10 magic damage and stack blights on them. One of the things you must master is knowing when to stop stacking blights and triggering the blights with you spells to deal some mean damage and when to start engagments.
If you're always worried about getting the maximum of blight stacks on the enemy, I can say you're going to put yourself in a bad positon putting you in a situation where you'll have to use your summoner spells or get killed. If you manage to get ahead of the enemy bot lane, you can keep the pressure pinned on them so they have a tought timing but remember that Varus has no built-in escapes, so playing too aggressive can get you killed by the enemy jungler or an AP champion that'll burst you down. One way of harassing is to use your Hail of Arrows to slow them down, auto-attack them to put some blight stacks on them then use your Piercing Arrow to trigger the blight passive.
Mid game is where Varus truly shines. This is when his Chains of Corruption start to flex its muscles because any skirmish going on, Varus can simply use it to start fights then use all of his AoE and CC afterwards to win them if he manages to land all of his skillshots. Other than that, play like any normal AD carry and stay behind your team, take towers and teamfight. Keep farming to get items for late game and push lanes with your Piercing Arrow and Hail of Arrows.
Nothing much changes from Mid Game. Baron becomes an important objective instead of Dragon and Varus can still use his Chains of Corruption to initiate and kite with his long range, while dealing burst damage with his blight stacks since everyone on the enemy team will stack health. Especially if they're a bruiser.
Make sure to have good target priority so you know what enemy to use your skills on first. Initiate team fights with your ultimate then follow it up with an E targetting as many enemies as possible within the radius. You want to get as many auto attacks as you can without endangering yourself to stack your passive, then you want to trigger the passive with a fully charged Q if possible. This set up does good AOE CC and massive damage if it hit correctly. Remember to use your Q and E everytime they are off cooldown. Since Varus is an ADC it is important to keep in mind and be self aware of your positioning since that is one of the biggest key factors to playing squishy champions in team fights.
Ashe is a similar CC champion like Varus but she has a bit longer auto-attack range than you but you can deal more damage than her. You can cleanse out of her Enchanted Crystal Arrow but careful because she can chain slow you, which enables junglers to catch you. Her only damage spell is Volley which every Ashe takes at level 1, so when you reach level 2. You can easily out damage her by using Hail of Arrows, Piercing Arrow and auto-attacking her since she'll be slowed in your Hail of Arrows.
Caitlyn is an annoying lane to go against because her of her auto-attack range but that's all she has on you. Simply dodge her Piltover skillshot, harrass back with Hail of Arrows, get some stacks on her than use your Piercing Arrow to trigger them. If her support is making it hard to get near her, just farm with your Hail of Arrows and Piercing Arrow.
Easy win for you. You outrange him and can poke him down, making you control the lane. The only thing to be careful of is to not get his by his missles and if a heavy CC support keeps you pinned, his burst damage will hurt you alot, even possibly killing you instnatly. When his Phosphorous Bomb is on cooldown, you can start knocking him down a few pegs pre-level 6 since that'll be his only form of burst damage.
This match-up isn't that bad to be honest. Draven has a stupid powerful level 1 and 2 with his axes but you can stop him from advancing on you with your Hail of Arrows. If he's on the pursuit to get you, you can put some blights on him, use Hail of Arrows to trigger the blights and win the trade there. Forcing him to back off.
I'm sure everyone and their grandma has have to fight against an Ezreal since he is the biggest thing since sliced bread. You bring more to the table than Ezreal when it comes to teamfights but during laning phase. Ezreal can poke you down if you keep taking hits from his Q. Simply stand behind minons or dodge his Mystic Shots. You can bait him to use his Arcane Shift with your Hail of Arrows since most Ezreal players rely on it instead of moving with their mouse. When it's down, you can try and go in for a kill if you wish but just a reminder that when Ezreal is channeling his Trueshot Barrage, you cannot stop from channeling with your ultimate. (Nothing can stop it from firing regardless because he's bullcrap.)
Probably the hardest ADC to fight due to his high burst, defense and a move that makes him dash to avoid your skillshots while giving him attack speed. Along with his smokescreen, making it hard to see and destorying your framerate. All you can really do is poke him most of the time because if you get caught by his Buckshot and ultimate, he's gonna send you back with your tails between your legs. There's nothing much you can do in this matchup.
Kog'maw is weak and easy to kill early game until he reaches level 6 when he can start bursting you down with his ultimate. Whenever he uses his W to harrass you, just use your Hail of Arrows to slow him down so he can't get close enough to you. When it's on cooldown, you can start poking him down and in teamfights, everyone's secondary job is to protect the Kog'maw, which your ultimate makes it difficult for them to do when they're snared.
Miss Fortune brings burst to the table with her Double Up, an on-hit with her W that gives her attack speed and her ultimate that can be hard to dodge if you're CC'd. The only problem she has is no built-in escapes, so being able to beat her isn't that hard really. Her passive gives her a lot of movement speed but the moment she takes damage, she becomes really slow. The best way to beat Miss Fortune to be more aggressive than her when the opportunity comes around. You can start out by using Hail of Arrows to knock off her passive and slow her even more, harrass with auto-attack afterwards to do some damage and get blight stacks then end it with your Piercing Arrow to trigger the blights. Congrats, you just won a trade against Miss Fortune. The only thing you have to do is to keep her passive on cooldown but be careful when she uses her ultimate. If you try to use it on her, it won't stop her ultimate at all and you're letting her get free damage on you if you stand in it while casting it.
Sivir isn't much of a problem since she has short range except for her spellshield that can make it a pain in the ass to slow her and in return, gives her mana. This lane is basically farming and poking with your auto-attacks, trying to bait her spellshield so it goes on cooldown. Afterwards, go in for the kill if you please.
Another hard matchup since she can easily outrange you and push you away with her ultimate if you try to kill her, and in result can put you in a bad position afterwards. All you can really do is try to harrass her as much as possible because once she get past level 4, she'll start to outrange you and can simply jump away if you try to do anything. She has a bad mid game which you can take advantage of but if you don't find a way to slow her down. She'll destory you with her long range and built-in attack speed buff that is crazy.
He range isn't as long as yours and doens't have that many pokes except for his E however he can stealth away when it's not on cooldown. When he triggers his ultimate, you can simply use your to stop him since he has to auto-attack to use it. Use Hail of Arrows to slow, harras with auto-attacks and Piercing Arrows to trigger the blights. That's all there's really too it.
Not a hard fight, but he can be really powerful if he gets ahead. If he starts stacking armor, switch over to your Blight Quiver and level it so get the extra magic damage with your auto-attacks. If he lands his E on you, you can use your Hail of Arrows to slow him down but be careful when he tries to use his ultimate on you since you can put you out of position and into the middle of his team.
Be the better Varus.
She can tumble away from all of your skillshots but you outrange her with your auto-attacks. You can't duel her because she'll dish out more damage than you and her only form of poke is her tumble. Try not to stand near terrian because she'll condem you into them, stunning you and easily giving her a free kill.
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