Ultimate Varus guide: Best League of Legends builds, runes, tips & tricks

Andrew Amos

Varus is one of League of Legends’ best meta picks in Season 11, dominating the bot lane. The Arrow of Retribution can one-shot any enemy from afar with his long range poke. Here’s how you can master him with our guide.

Varus isn’t an original member of League of Legends, but having kicked around for almost a decade, he’s certainly had his time in the spotlight.

However, players are still finding new ways to play the Arrow of Retribution. There’s been somewhat of a renaissance in Season 11 thanks to a new build.

Here’s how you can join the wave with the ultimate guide to Varus, including his best builds, runes, tips and tricks to master the marksman.

Varus is one of the many champions getting balance changes in League of Legends Patch 10.12 this week.
Varus is one of the many champions getting balance changes in League of Legends Patch 10.12 this week.

Who is Varus?

Varus was once a Darkin who tormented his foes, but ended up becoming a victim of his own methods during the Great Darkin War. He remade himself in the flesh of two Ionian hunters to escape, and now hunts for retribution against those who locked him away for centuries.

On Summoner’s Rift, Varus is a bot lane marksman who dishes out plenty of damage with that enchanted bow of his, harnessing the power of the Darkin to send enemies straight back to the fountain.

Varus abilities & gameplay

Varus is all about poking the enemy down with his powerful W-Q combo. While he starts out in lane with his E, you end up maxing Q first to chunk your enemies down. It is your primary damage ability.

The rest of his kit then revolves around maximising your W stacks. Once you hit three stacks, throw another ability on top to keep getting the highest damage proc. Note: His ultimate applies maximum stacks immediately and locks enemies in place, so keep that in mind as you combo.

  • 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.
  • W: Blighted Quiver
    • Passive: 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.
    • Active: Varus empowers his next Piercing Arrow.
  • 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 self healing and regeneration.
  • R: Chain of Corruption ⁠— Varus flings out a damaging tendril of corruption that immobilizes the first enemy champion hit and then spreads towards nearby uninfected champions, immobilizing them too on contact.

Best build for Varus

While Varus builds previously used to focus on his on-hit damage, nowadays it’s all about Lethality and insta-bursting targets with his high-damage Q.

To maximise this, any of the Lethality Mythics work. Prowler’s Claw used to be the best-in-class option, but since its nerf, Eclipse and its hefty sustain have been the preferred choice for Varus players. If you need more damage, Duskblade is also a fair choice.

Muramana and Serylda’s Grudge are non-negotiable items on Varus, else his Q doesn’t do enough damage. After that though, it’s pretty flexible. Plenty of shields to cut through? Serpent’s Fang is good. Getting bursted in fights? Consider Edge of Night or Guardian Angel.

Top meta Varus build for Season 11

  • Mythic: Eclipse (best all-round) / Prowler’s Claw (more mobility) / Duskblade of Draktharr (more damage)
  • Boots: Ionian Boots of Lucidity / Plated Steelcaps (if against AD assassins)
  • Muramana
  • Serylda’s Grudge
  • Serpent’s Fang (especially good against shields)
  • Edge of Night (if you need CC protection)
  • Chempunk Chainsword (if you need healing reduction)
Varus has been suffering from a low win rate for nearly half of Season 10.
Varus has been suffering from a low win rate for nearly half of Season 10.

Best runes for Varus

Varus has a pretty set in stone rune page. Hail of Blades is a must-take to try and get his passive stacks up. Then the rest of his runes gives him sustain and extra damage so he doesn’t get one-shot in a fight.

Taste of Blood and Ravenous Hunter give much needed omnivamp, while Biscuit Delivery keeps his mana in check in lane. Eyeball Collection is a great stacking rune, and Cosmic Insight keeps all your cooldowns low ⁠— including items and summoner spells.

Top meta Varus runes for Season 11

  • Hail of Blades
  • Taste of Blood
  • Eyeball Collection
  • Ravenous Hunter
  • Biscuit Delivery
  • Cosmic Insight
Varus runes league of legends guide
The Arrow of Retribution’s runes are the same no matter the lane opponent.

Varus skins in League of Legends

If you want to gain some easy ranks in League of Legends Season 11 as an ADC, Varus should be a pick near the top of your list.

He’s likely to kick around in the meta for some time, so if you take these tips and tricks to heart, you’ll be a master of the Arrow of Retribution in no time.

About The Author

Hailing from Perth, Andrew was formerly Dexerto's Australian Managing Editor. They love telling stories across all games and esports, but they have a soft spot for League of Legends and Rainbow Six. Oh, and they're also fascinated by the rise of VTubers.