How To Play Varus In League Of Legends

Varus is one of those ADCs that deal hybrid damage and scales incredibly well into the late game regardless of his build. Here’s how you can get started playing the Arrow of Retribution.


There aren’t that many ADCs that offer Varus’ combination of hybrid damage and long ranged poke which puts him in a very unique position. Varus playstyle and overall kit is built around dealing a ton of damage in a very short amount of time. He’s not a hyper carry but can deal damage nearly as much as hyper carries. He’s not a burst ADC but can deal just as much burst damage as any burst ADC. Add to that his abilities that allow him to deal magic damage and there’s literally no shortage for Varus to find ways on how to deal damage to his opponents. This kind of versatility is what makes him a great champion and allows him to fit multiple kinds of team compositions.

Champion Abilities

Varus kit has a great mix of long range and short range abilities that can help him come out on top in most situations. He also has a bit of utility so he’ll always be useful in team fights even if he falls behind.

Passive – Living Vengeance

When Varus kills an enemy he enters a vengeful fury, gaining increased Attack Speed for 5 seconds. Champion kill or assist: 40% (+30% bonus Attack Speed).

Varus gets a mini attack speed buff whenever he kills an enemy unit. It’s great for farming, allowing you to have an easier time to last hit minions. 

Q – Piercing Arrow

First Cast: Varus starts drawing back his next shot, gradually increasing its range and damage. While preparing to shoot Varus’ Movement Speed is slowed by 20%. After 4 seconds, Piercing Arrow fails but refunds 50% of its Mana cost.

Second Cast: Varus fires, dealing physical damage, reduced by 15% per enemy hit (minimum 33%). Blight damage detonated by Piercing Arrow is increased by 0% − 50% (based on channel time).

This is Varus’ signature skill and what he’s best known for. Piercing Arrow is your primary source of damage. It’s important that you land these arrows in all stages of the game as this is where most of your damage will come from, regardless of your build path. It also detonates Blight so it’ll have that extra punch that helps you deal more damage.

W – Blighted Quiver

Passive: Varus’ basic attacks deal bonus magic damage and apply Blight for 6 seconds (stacks 3 times). Varus’ other abilities detonate Blight, dealing magic damage per stack. Detonating Blight against champions and epic monsters reduces his basic ability cooldowns by 12% per stack.

Active: Varus’ next Piercing Arrow deals additional damage. Damage is increased by up to 90% based on charge time.

This is what makes Varus so hard to itemize against. It’s because of this ability that he can also deal a lot of magic damage despite building mostly AD items. It’s important to weave auto attacks into your combos so that you’ll deal the maximum amount of damage. This ability really shines when used in synergy with all of Varus’ other abilities.

E – Hail of Arrows

Varus fires a hail of arrows that deals physical damage and desecrates the ground for 4 seconds. Desecrated Ground slows enemy Movement Speed and reduces healing effects by 40%.

Hail of Arrows is a very underrated ability. It deals damage, has some crowd control, and best of all, it reduces healing effects the same way Grievous Wounds reduces healing. It has a decent AoE making it hard to dodge when placed properly. It’s an easier way of detonating Blight and can be the deciding factor when in a duel.

R – Chain of Corruption

Varus flings out a tendril of corruption that deals magic damage and immobilizes the first enemy champion hit for 2 seconds. The corruption then spreads towards nearby uninfected enemy champions. If it reaches them, they take damage and are also immobilized. Immobilized units gain 3 stacks of Blight over the duration.

Varus’ ultimate is a great ability especially in team fights, where the enemies are often clumped together. It’s also what makes him a somewhat self-sustaining ADC around the mid game as he can protect himself using this ability when ganked. Chain of Corruption is best used to initiate a fight to lock down high priority targets and allow your teammates to follow up with more initiation or crowd control of their own.

Runes and Item Builds

As we’ve mentioned before, Varus deals a hybrid of magic and physical damage so there’s a lot of room and flexibility in his rune and build path. You can build Varus as a burst ADC or even as a burst Mage. For this guide, however, we’ll focus more on maximizing his DPS and deals more sustained, on-hit damage as opposed to the more popular burst lethality builds.

Starting Items

For starting items, you run Varus like any other ADC. You start with a Doran’s Blade and a Health Potion to get you going. Doran’s Blade gives you everything you need to make it out of the early game like Health, Damage, and even a bit of Omnivamp. 

Mythic Items

Now for Mythic Items, Varus has a lot of options. All the ADC and Lethality Mythics have a case to be made regarding their viability on a champion like Varus. However, the two best choices are, without a doubt, Immortal Shieldbow and Duskblade of Draktharr.

  • Immortal Shieldbow – This item is the best item you can have on Varus especially if you’re going for a more on-hit damage build. Some players would rather go for a Kraken Slayer since it does offer more DPS. But, it would essentially relegate Varus into a glass cannon. Having Shieldbow drastically increases Varus’s survivability while dealing identical damage to a Kraken Slayer build. 
  • Duskblade of Draktharr – Duskblade is the go to item if you want to build Varus like a burst ADC. It essentially makes him a long ranged assassin and can easily erase squishy champions from the map. The passive invisibility when you get a kill also goes a long way in allowing you to reposition if ever the enemies get close to you. 

Full Build

After purchasing your Mythic item, you should focus on getting your tier 2 boots. Since we’re going for an on-hit DPS build, you should go for Berserker’s Greaves. Next, take Wit’s End for the insane bonus magic damage and attack speed. It also gives you a bit of magic resist that can go a long way in increasing your survivability. Next, Guinsoo’s Rageblade is a great item to pair with Wit’s End since it also gives you a lot of attack speed while also giving you more on-hit damage. Once you have these two attack speed items, you can go for Serylda’s Grudge to further increase your damage. It also gives you additional slow on all your abilities so it can be great for kiting or chasing opponents. Finish off your build with Edge of Night to increase your survivability through a passive spell shield while also increasing your overall damage output.

Other Viable Items

There are plenty of other viable items on Varus. In fact, as long as it gives attack damage or attack speed, you can make a case for it being a viable item on Varus. Here are some of the best choices you can seamlessly swap for one of the items on your core build.

  • Youmuu’s Ghostblade – This is a very cost efficient item that gives you damage, lethality, and an active movement speed buff. It’s perfect when you need additional damage and the Serrated Dirk can help you farm better in the early game.
  • The Collector – This item gives you attack damage, lethality, and critical strike chance. Plus, it helps you execute low health targets. This item is great when going for a lethality/burst oriented build while also being an excellent addition to crit focused builds.
  • Infinity Edge – This is one of the core items on nearly every ADCs. It gives you excellent damage, and increases your overall criticals. It’s an excellent item to round out your build and you’ll never go wrong with an Infinity Edge in your inventory.
  • Axiom Arc – This is a new item that fits Varus perfectly especially if you’re building Lethality. It gives you damage, lethality, and ability haste. Plus it’s passive reduces the cooldown of you’re ultimate by 25% every time a Champion dies within 3 seconds of you damaging them.


For runes, go with the Domination tree and take Hail of Blades as your keystone. This gives you a large amount of attack speed in a short amount of time. It increases both your DPS and Burst damage. Next, take Taste of Blood for the sustain, Eyeball Collection for the increased damage, and Ravenous Hunter for the increased healing. For secondaries, take Biscuit Delivery to help you get additional sustain in the early game and Cosmic Insight for cooldown reduction. For rune shards, take Attack Speed, Adaptive Force, and Armor.

Useful Tips

  1. A lot of new Varus players tend to underestimate Piercing Arrow’s range and damage. Try to charge it to get the maximum amount of range and damage. 
  2. You can take Dark Harvest as your keystone if you’re confident that you can get stacks using Varus. Having Dark Harvest will significantly increase your damage and can even put you in a better position to succeed.
  3. For summoner spells, always take Heal and Flash. Cleanse and Barrier are good alternatives for Heal depending on your matchup.

So there you have it! That’s all you need to know about playing Varus in League of Legends. Be sure to check back with us again for more awesome guides on your favorite games. Have fun and we’ll see you on the Rift!