Varus Overview Infographic
We put together a Varus overview infographic that has the best builds, runes, strengths, weaknesses, combos, skill orders, counters, synergies and anything else that you need to quickly learn the basics of Varus. Make sure to share with your friends and check back here to get the latest updates. We will be updating this infographic as changes happen so check back often!
Who is Jurassiq
Clarence Mabansag, currently playing with the summoner name Jurassiq. He peaked at 1200 LP in North American Challenger. He was born in Manila but grew up in Chicago, Illinois. He began playing League of Legends in 2014 after switching from DotA. After placing second in a LAN in Wichita, Kansas, competing against Challenger-level teams with a group of friends, he decided to play competitively. He played in Academy League and other pro teams. Got qualified as 1st seed for ADC for the 2018 Scouting Grounds. And won the 2018 Tyler1 Championship Series. He also placed 2nd and 3rd in the last two Twitch Rivals Draft Showdown.
Table of Contents
Why Play Varus
Before we start on the Ultimate Guide to Varus, we first want to tell you why you should play him. His overall strengths and weaknesses are as follows:
- Strong laner. Not a lot of counters in the lane.
- Can be a tank killer and a source of poke for the team.
- Can be the team’s main engager.
- Very strong early to mid game, even late when ahead.
- Immobile: no escape abilities when Flash is down.
- Very reliant on his team’s peeling in teamfights.
- Doesn’t scale well into the late game if not ahead.
- Easy to punish if against a bot lane that can all-in easily.
These champions give Varus a hard time in-game, due to having a kit that can stop Varus from doing what he wants to do. Here are some of the biggest counters and how you can try to overcome the challenges they bring.
Xayah is considered a counter because she can easily play around your abilities. She runs at you and all-in you if your abilities are on cooldown. By boosting her attack speed with W (Deadly Plumage), she can out-trade you with auto-attacks. She is also able to root you when she hits multiple feathers. Your R (Chain of Corruption) is useless with her R (Featherstorm), making you lose your best CC ability. Wait for her to cast her ultimate before poking her down.
Miss Fortune is considered a counter because she has better poking capabilities than you. Your Q (Piercing Arrow) and E (Hail of Arrows) have long cooldowns, which is bad against Miss Fortune. Her Q (Double Up) can be hard to deal with in the lane, as a bounce can critically hit you. Even when you lock her down with R (Chain of Corruption), it won’t be able to stop her ultimate (Bullet Time) if you are in the middle of it. Take your time and never all-in her alone. It is better to fight 3v2 with a jungler and support locking them for you to stack your W (Blighted Quiver).
Lucian is considered a counter because of his ability to dash in and out of fights and hit double auto-attacks constantly with his passive (Lightslinger), which makes it hard to challenge him with your slow in E (Hail of Arrows) and your Q (Piercing Arrow). Only face Lucian alone when you have a great lead in items. He can also just all-in you with his R at 6, since you have no way to stop that ability. Rely on your teammates’ CC to beat him in lane.
These champions work well with Varus and should be considered being picked alongside him if possible. Here are some of the biggest synergies and how you can abuse them.
Pyke works well with Varus because he has enough damage to get Varus or himself a kill. With Pyke, you are able to pull enemies with Q (Bone Skewer) and setup and stun with E (Phantom Undertow) giving you the chance to kite your target and stack W (Blighted Quiver) before bursting them with your Q (Piercing Arrow) or with Pyke’s ultimate (Death from Below). If they can still escape those abilities, you still have your ultimate, (Chain of Corruption) to lock them down.
Nautilus works well with Varus because he is a strong lane bully that can protect Varus while also holding enemies with his passive (Staggering Blow). His W (Titan’s Wrath) increases his defenses while also dealing heavy auto-attacks with his anchor. The amazing thing about this duo is that when Nautilus casts his ultimate (Depth Charge) you can chain-CC with your own ultimate, Chain of Corruption, giving you time to fully maximize your damage potential.
Alistar works well with Varus because he can peel for you as well as set up amazing plays for the team. Whenever he hits W + Q on multiple enemies, you can freely cast your ultimate (Chain of Corruption) and hold your targets while you spam auto-attacks. Also, having him on the bot lane makes it easier to hit your abilities thanks to his E (Trample), which can stun targets.
Varus Summoner Spells
Varus recommended summoner spells are Heal and Flash. Flash is his main source of escape, and he needs it 100% of the time. You do not have an ability that can dash or blink away from your target, so this is a must. You run heal most of the time because it instantly gives you and an ally some HP. Great for 2v2 skirmishes in the bot lane.
If you want to farm hard in the early to mid game, then you can replace Heal with Teleport. This is effective if you have an enchanter support that can boost your defenses as well as heal you in the lane. If you are dealing with high CC duos in the bot lane like Leona, then Cleanse can also be an option.
Varus Runes and Keystones
Varus recommended runes are Arcane Comet, Manaflow Band, Absolute Focus and Scorch on Sorcery as primary, and Magical Footwear with Biscuity Delivery on Inspiration as secondary. This is your main rune page as a lethality Varus. Your goal is to poke enemies in the lane. Arcane Comet can deal extra magical damage whenever you hit an ability. Manaflow Band, Absolute Focus, and Scorch provide both mana and initial burst damage to your abilities. Your Inspiration runes will give you MS and additional protection in the lane.
Use 2 adaptive force, and armor/MR on this rune build.
Varus’ recommended items change depending on the situation, however, the following items will give you a good idea of what to build in different situations.
Varus starts with Doran’s Blade and a Health Potion for damage, health, and lifesteal in the early game. This is the typical build for ADCs in season 10.
Umbral Glaive is core on Varus because it adds AD and lethality to your stats. Also, having that active that can show you warded areas can keep you safe from assassinations. It will also prevent the enemy support from placing a ward in your bush for their toplaner to TP on and gank you.
Edge of Night is a core on Varus because of it provides lethality, AD, and health. But the most important reason why you choose this item because of its ability to block an incoming ability that may lock you down. It is a great item to protect yourself from mages that can easily burst you, such as Leblanc, Ahri, Malzahar, etc.
Youmuu’s Ghostblade is core on Varus because of the AD and CDR it provides. It also is an amazing item due to the fact that you can activate it and increase your movement speed instantly, which gives you extra mobility for teamfights and escaping rough situations.
Ionian Boots of Lucidity are your priority boots, as it gives your main source of escape, Flash, a lower cooldown. It also gives you more chances to poke your opponents with your abilities
Use Mercury's Treads if the enemy team has a lot of CC. This will reduce the time you are being held by the enemy CC. Also, the extra MR is good against compositions with a lot of AP damage.
Use Ninja Tabi if you are against AD bruisers and assassins, such as Riven, Darius, or Zed. Gives you the armor your need to deal with heavy AD compositions for extra survivability.
Use Boot of Swiftness if you are against a team composition that can easily slow you down with their abilities. The added movement speed is also really good for moving around the map.
Offensive Situational Items
If you are against tanks, you can build Lord Dominik’s Regards. This item provides 45 AD that increases your damage towards your targets. It also delivers 35% armor penetration that will pierce through defenses like butter. Get this item if your enemies have defensive items that reduce your overall damage output to them.
If you are against enemies with high regeneration or healing, you can build Mortal Reminder. This item provides 45 AD and 25% armor penetration, but it also applies grievous wounds every time you hit a target.
If you need to surprise an enemy with an empowered attack, you can build Duskblade of Draktharr. It gives 60 AD, 10% CDR, and 21 lethality. It also enhances an attack after being unseen for some time. This is a great item to burst the enemy with your damage out of nowhere.
Defensive Situational Items
If you need protection against mages that are great in the early game or just against a team composition full of AP damage dealers, you can build Maw of Malmortius. You can get Hexdrinker for the shield it gives, and upgrade it later on if it is really necessary. It provides AD, MR, and CDR to Varus.
If you want to live when an assassin or bruiser tries to kill you, you can build Guardian Angel. This item gives you the BF sword, armor, and stopwatch, which combined can protect you from death. It revives you and gives you the opportunity to fight back.
Full Build Example
An example full build for Lethality Varus can consist of:
- Umbral Glaive
- Youmuu’s Ghostblade
- Edge of Night
- Lord Dominik’s Regards
- Duskblade of Draktharr
- Ionian Boots of Lucidity
- Umbral Glaive
- Youmuu’s Ghostblade
- Edge of Night
- Mortal Reminder
- Duskblade of Draktharr
- Ninja Tabi
These are the most recommended build paths for Varus. Choose option #1 when you are ahead and you want to snowball your lead. Choose option #2 when you need something more defensive against assassins and heavy AD champions that have healing to counter you. Work around these build paths and use the one you need in the game.
Passive - Living Vengeance
When Varus gets a kill, he gains +40% AS as well as +50% bonus AS (bonus attack speed comes from your items, runes, masteries, etc.). This is a great passive to clear waves and fight better on teamfights, as it increases your ability to spam auto-attacks whenever an enemy dies. On minion kills it does the same but with half the values: +20% AS and +25% bonus AS.
Q - Piercing Arrow
This is your strongest damage source as well as your main source of poke. It is a really strong finisher, especially when paired with the use of your active W. Very long range that can be used to poke down enemies before objectives or teamfights. Use it efficiently by going into fog of war and poking people from really far away.
W - Blighted Quiver
This spell is all about passives. The first one is that all your auto-attacks do on-hit magic damage, and the second is that every hit applies Blight, which is capped at 3 per enemy. Your spells can then detonate the Blight to do up to 5% of the target’s max HP per stack. During the laning phase, this ability helps you last-hit minions and trade. It gives you extra DPS. Use abilities each 3 auto-attacks to maximize your damage in teamfights.
E - Hail of Arrows
This is the first CC of Varus. It is a great trading spell in the lane, especially if you have some Blight stacks on the target. Remember that it reduces healing, so if you get into fights enemies will need to move out of range from the damage to get the full benefit of their Heal or they will get out-traded.
R - Chain of Corruption
This spell snares the first enemy it hits. It then proceeds to slowly spread to other enemies in range. Whenever an enemy is snared, they receive 3 Blight stacks that can boost your Q and E damage. This ability is optimally used to catch enemies or to follow up on an engage. It can also be used purely for damage if you need to fight your target upfront.
Ability Skill Order
The skill order for Varus is R > Q > E > W. At the start of the game pick E (Hail of Arrows) so you can set up for lane priority and poke at the same time. Utilize your E by using it on the ranged minions when the enemy ADC is near them. After that you want to maximize your strongest damage, which is Q (Piercing Arrow) for poke (you can also take W only for early game harass and minion wave clearing), then prioritize E (Hail Arrows) to increase your second damaging ability. Lastly, your W (Blighted Quiver). This will boost your damage-dealing capabilities. Take your R (Chain of Corruption) whenever possible at levels 6, 11, and 16.
A power spike is when a champion reaches a level or builds an item that makes him a lot stronger than other champions in the game. Varus’ power spike is when he reaches level 9 -11. At that point, his Q (Piercing Arrow), which is his greatest poke tool, is maxed. This gives him the best chance of trading damage against the other ADC in the lane. Getting his 3 core items (YG, UG, and EoN) will give him the upper hand in the game. Maximize the power of your W (Blighted Quiver) to clear as many minions as possible in the early game.
AA + E + AA + (W+Q) Combo
Strongest trading combo in lane post level 3 (so you have all abilities unlocked).
Triple Q Combo
Your goal is to maximize the damage of your Q in teamfights. R + Q + Q + AA + Q. Remember: If your ultimate hits other enemy champions, you can keep reducing the CD of your Q.
E + AA + AA + AA + (W+Q) Combo
This combo reduces healing from your target, and then quickly bursts them down with your Piercing Arrow.
R + E + AA + AA + (W+Q) Combo
This is your strongest combo once you have your R. Can be used to one-shot squishy opponents. Try to get 2-3 auto-attacks before finishing with your W+Q burst.
How to Play Varus
During the early game, Varus excels at dealing damage to his lane opponents. You can hit minions with your auto-attacks until each one gets a Blight stack, then quickly hit an E (Hail Arrows) to clear the wave. You can also hold a Q (Piercing Arrow) when the enemy minions are coming. This will reduce their HP early before they face your own minions, giving you a lead in pushing. Do not forget that your harass with Arcane Comet and Scorch can easily out-trade the enemy ADC. Use this time to have an advantage, as you won’t be able to fight him through constant auto-attacks. Use this chance to cast long range Qs and drop their HP. If a 2v2 is about to happen, remember that you can boost your attack speed if you kill a minion from an ability and your E (Hail of Arrows) can reduce the Heal the other ADC has. Ward around your area as you play aggressive. Once you have your ultimate (Chain of Corruption) you can call your jungler and watch chain-CC fly and destroy your enemies in the lane.
Poking is the way to win your lane in the mid game. Use your W (Blighted Quiver) by slowly stacking it on your target. You can move away to a safer spot and cast your long range Q (Piercing Arrow) to hit your target. Don’t forget to use your Triple Q combo when dealing with enemies in the lane, as the cooldown of your Q is reduced if you detonate at least a Blight stack.
- Split-pushing – When playing as a lethality Varus, you do not have enough attack speed to fast-push a turret. If you plan to do so, you must have allies around you to protect and aid you to hit the turret for plates.
- Objective control – As you plan to take objectives like Dragons and Rift Heralds, you want to position yourself where you are able to spam your Q safely. If enemies have allies like Malphite, Orianna, Leona, etc, then stacking W (Blighted Quiver) is not a priority at this moment. Try to maximize your long range Q in a safe distance. You can set up teamfights with your R when you see your team is ready to follow up.
As you approach this phase, your gameplay will almost be the same throughout. You are a lethality-type Varus, and you should be playing like one. Your Qs at this moment can shred your opponents’ HP instantly. Look for opportunities where you can surprise squishy targets with its damage, and then let your allies quickly follow up with their CC. You can then cast your ultimate (Chain of Corruption) and slow your enemies down with E (Hail of Blades) before focusing on auto-attacking them. This will maximize your damage potential and burst enemies along the way. Always be in a position where you can dodge important skill shots from enemies and receive utility from your support. Do not face ADCs 1v1, as your attack speed isn’t enough to deal with them. Focus more on casting unexpected and unbelievable Qs that will reduce their health bars dramatically.
Varus Tips and Tricks
- Always max Q on Varus and get used to hitting your enemy with it.
- Starting with W can help you last-hit more easily and push the wave easier without spending mana.
- When trading blows with a target, never start with Q. Slow them down with E first, and hit your W auto-attacks before casting your Q when they run or as a finisher.
- Combo your ultimate with your team’s composition.
- Arclight Varus ultimate is hard to see, so if you can use it, do so.
These below videos are great game play examples for how to play Varus. Coming Soon!
Frequent Mistakes/Noob Traps
These are things most Varus players do that shouldn’t be done at a high level ELO.
Mistake #1 – Not auto-attacking in-between abilities. Most low ELO players just spam their abilities and forget that their W is always active. Maximize its power and do not neglect its ability to increase your damage to your target as well as reduce the cooldown of your Q when you detonate Blight.
Mistake #2 – Using your ultimate in an open area. Casting Chain of Corruption without minions or allies is easy to dodge for high ELO players. Always use it to connect with your allies CC to avoid missing it. Make sure you have your teammates to follow up near you when using your R unless you know you can one-shot a target alone.
Mistake #3 – 1v1ing ADCs with attack speed builds. Even though you get attack speed from your passive (Living Vengeance), your build isn’t cut out for dueling. It’s purpose is to poke the target and burst them instantly. Do not level yourself to your enemy’s strengths, use yours. Play 1v1s slowly and play around your cooldowns and poke before fully committing to a 1v1 fight.
Similar Champions to Varus
Listed below are some champions you can use to replace Varus and be the damage dealer that bursts out enemies along the way. When he isn’t available because he is either banned or picked by the enemy team, knowing these champions will give you a variety to choose from, safeguarding your LP from going down and keeping your games awesome.
High range. Abilities allow easy kiting. Good poke and waveclear. Ashe stays hidden and quiet, ready to shoot arrows to her targets. She sends hawks that scout the area and discover the position of her enemies. With one shot, she can crystallize an enemy and stop his movements with her enchanted crystal arrow.
Heavy poke lane. One-shot potential. Ultimate great at teamfights. The land of Bilgewater is a harsh world for a woman. But Miss Fortune is relentless at her vengeance to beat Gangplank. With her two pistols by her side, she can cast bullets around enemies while she struts and chases her targets for a double up. Get ready for a barrage of bullets if you underestimate her.
Global AoE ultimate. Camouflage. Good root. The wife of Lucian. She is amazing at casting long range poke with her relic weapon. She can heal allies while dealing damage on a target. With the power of the Black Mist, she hides in the shadow and surprises targets as her teammates hide with her. No ally will be left alone on the map with her Dawning Shadow ready to assist anyone.
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