IntroductionVarus is a very underrated AD carry in the NA scene, he is a more DOTA style type of semi-carry with a ridiculous utility kit of CC. What I mean by DOTA style of play is where, you poke them out and then when you poke them low enough you go all in for the kill.
Varus excels at that type of play more than other AD carries besides Caitlyn. He has the best team-fight presence out of all the other AD carries because of his ultimate that roots one target and has the chance to spread to the rest of the enemy team and root them. Having other champions on your team with similar AoE ultimates such as Orianna or Amumu, makes Varus synergize well with AoE teamcomps.
MasteriesI run these masteries to be able to have the ULTIMATE lane presence while taking the minimal amount of damage from the creeps. As Varus with more range than the commonly picked AD carries such as: Graves, Corki, Urgot, and Kog'Maw.
He has the capability to be able to push them out of lane as soon as laning phase begins as long as you have the correct support to match-up with what they pick. Rather than having the 21 points into offensive tree taking the increased damage under 40% life winning the lane is far more important when playing as Varus.
RunesThese runes I use for winning the lane, Armor Penetration is good for doing damage to champions, and by poking them consistently as Varus this has more damage output that having flat AD. It also helps your Q and E scale better since they do physical damage.
Blues and Yellows are pretty standard for defense early to late, you meet the AP carry early-game not too often until you go for Dragon so MR/lvl is the best and having armor in lane helps you negate the main source of damage bot-lane.
Quintessences though, I have been testing between movement speed/attack speed/flat AD/armor pen. I know I am not perfect at CSing so the easiest way to prevent that would be by getting flat AD quints. Recently though I have tried the attack speed quints and I am seemingly doing very well.
Ignite, helps you win the lane even harder Varus has the potential to kill someone at anytime doing his 3 attack nuke combo or when you poke someone down low enough you can flash ignite-autoattack, and then charge up Q for the long-range kill(dont miss).
Passive: Living Vengeance
On kill or assist, Varus temporarily gains Attack Speed. This bonus is larger if the enemy is a champion.
Q: Piercing Arrow
Varus readies and then fires a powerful shot that gains extra range and damage the longer he spends preparing to fire.
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 (+) to 15/65/115/165/215 (+) 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.
Cost 70/75/80/85/90 Mana
This ability is the greatest sniping ability known to man, I call it "Godarrow" as long as you never miss of course. Some people tend to max this first for poking but in any given competitive game this is not viable, maxing W over this to allow you to poke them out of lane is overall more efficient and more damage.
W: Blighted Quiver
Varus' basic attacks deal bonus magic damage and apply Blight. Varus' other abilities detonate Blight, dealing magic damage based on the target's maximum health.
Passive: Varus' basic attacks deal 10/14/18/22/26 (+0.25) bonus 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%) of the target's maximum Health per stack (Max: 360 total damage vs Monsters).
#1 Poking ability for an AD carry! Miss Fortune has a similar skill but Varus's skillset is more synergized between all skills overall.
E: Hail of Arrows
Varus fires a hail of arrows that deal physical damage and desecrate the ground. Desecrated ground slows enemies' Movement Speed and reduces their healing and regeneration.
Varus fires a hail of arrows that deals 65/105/145/185/225 (+) 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%.
Cost 80 Mana
R: Chain of Corruption
Varus flings out a tendril of corruption that immobilizes the first enemy champion hit and then spreads towards nearby uninfected champions, immobilizing them too on contact.
Varus flings out a tendril of corruption that deals 150/250/350 (+1) 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.
Cost 120 Mana
Great AoE ultimate to synergize with Amumu/Orianna/Annie/Sona, or just an ability to pick off easy kills with its 1200 range.
Skill OrderNote that Varus is a just recently released champion and that no Skill Order or Build is set in stone.
I've been watching EU teams play Varus competitively lately and they tend to max E first on Varus, while I don't agree with it, it has shown some success during the laning phase.
They usually do a very aggressive combo such as Leona/Varus or Alistar/Varus.
By charging up Q you do lose DPS time so I can see why they go for the consistent damage by maxing E but it's not always best to be aggressive all the time to go for the kills, pushing them out of lane is just as good as killing them.
Item BuildsAlways start with boots 3 pots, unless you are running with a soraka versus a very non-aggressive lane early on such as Vayne/Alistar and Urgot/Janna.
On your first back you want to be able to buy your first two then go for and a
Then you want to start building toward your Infinity Edge and Phantom Dancer, then if you see their team not building much armor you want to get a Bloodthirster next then your Last Whisper.
Usually as a defensive item people go for Guardian's Angel but I myself am not a fan of that item. When you die the first time you are stuck in the same spot until it revives you and then you have crappy positioning if they are all over you unless your team is smashing in that teamfight, and as an AD carry once you die with it you aren't doing any damage although it does give the mind-game presence of "Oh we can't kill that guy he has GA."
I usually opt for a Banshee's Veil if they have like an Ashe/Morgana/Skarner. Otherwise I get a QSS but most of the time I go for a Frozen Mallet because I trust my teams protection(not including solo-queue) this enables me to have the great kiting capability of an Ashe while also having great team-fight presence and good burst towards targets.
Essentially allowing me to protect myself versus bruisers that dive me and 1v1 them. Having a Frozen Mallet really helps out since Varus doesn't have any escapes of his own.
Early GameBeginning the laning phase, you want to start getting free poke hits as soon as possible. Always take the free hits that the enemy bot lane gives you where they can't attack you back. But at the same time do your best to get as much CS as possible, making them miss a CS is always good no matter what, but if you can make them miss a CS, while poking and getting CS yourself, that's even better.
When playing Varus try a few moves to start out... poke them when they go in to get a caster creep CS, and poke them when they come to poke you and mainly focus on your CSing except when those two situations occur.
Getting ahead of the enemy AD carry is key to winning your lane, zoning them is even better. Varus has great range to even poke them as they try to tower CS also, pushing early isn't bad but only do it when you know a jungler is going to do a regular jungle route and not gank bot level 2, like an Amumu/Nautilus/Mundo/Nocturne.
Having a early ward set-up in river helps too to know when you can be aggressive and when you can't.
As you practice more and more Varus you'll get use to his playstyle and abuse his poking range.
Team FightsMid/Late Game is where Varus shines. Whenever you pick Varus you would hope that your teammates picked champions with CC also such as Leona/Taric/Alistar/Annie/Morgana/Nautilus/Riven etc... in any given teamfight you want to look for any pick-offs with your ultimate onto either their AP carry or their AD carry, catching any one of them is a good situation for your team and allows them to followup with stuns to burst them down instantly. Varus has great initiation with his ultimate and great escape.
If that doesn't happen save your ultimate for when they clump up or a bruiser is running directly at you and noone is stopping him. When you land an ultimate as they clump up it is always wise you throw your E ontop of them right afterwards to prevent any healing they do as your team begins to chop them up.
Varus is a snowballing type-champion in a teamfight, as soon as the first person dies that you were apart of is where he becomes one of the best AD carries in the game, that attack speed passive is an amazing skill for any AD carry.
While also having the ability to use your Q to snipe off runners or providing huge burst on one target after getting your 3-hit W ability onto them is great.
Never dive in after any AP carry or AD carry in any given teamfight, always let them come to you or attack the closest thing next to you.... you don't want to be put into a bad position where the enemy team can turn on you and gib you instantly, that's what they want you to do.
AD carries are meant to tear through the opposing teams front-line, having one of their carries come close to you is like Christmas. If their carries are in a bad-position that's when you target them, if not mow through their front-line until an opportunity to take out a carry arises. Never forgo your positioning as an AD carry to dive someone unless you have a great team-comp with CC to back you up.
Final CommentsThis is my first guide, so please let me know what I can do to improve my future guides.
I am still learning how to put these item pictures in so don't hate me for that. :( I will be sure to update this guide as I play more Varus and learn him.
Varus has a different playstyle altogether than all other AD carries. Learning him at first was a challenge and I didn't like it at all, but after the second day or so I really enjoyed him and found his advantages and weaknesses and found ways to capitalize more on his advantages.
Varus will be a great addition to our vast champion pool of picks on my team of TSM's Brother team. You'll be seeing him more in compettive play. :P