League Of Legends – AP Varus Guide


League Of Legends – AP Varus Guide

This is my first chapter of Unorthodox build series, just to state the obvious these aren’t played in current meta nor competitive meta. These are perfectly viable builds, but may require high mechanical skill to pull through. Usually the team might question these picks, so make sure that you got stats to back up your pick or just explain why is it good. In worst case scenario (Which is quite often) your team will start troll or won’t give you blue-buff or such.


With every mastery setting or rune setting, there is lot of personal preference to it, this means lot of people will have a different setup, which they feel comfortable playing with. There is no particular “Key” masteries you require with this build, but i would like to point out that having +20 in Offensive is recommended, since otherwise you barely do any damage. Following are very important though; Spellsword (Makes last hitting easier early), Destruction (Varus can take turrets pretty fast, once he gets lichbane) and Executioner (You need this for damage).



Runes matter much more than the masteries on this Varus build. There is multiple different choices and i’m going to explain all which i think really fit on this build and are viable options/alternations. (Note; many choices depend on lane match-up).

greater-mark-of-attack-damageMark’s (Red)

Out of mark options i would recommend Magic Penetration ones, since thats what i’m using. Do not use Armor penetration, since this is AP build and it won’t help you at all. Since attack speed is easily bought in-game i do not think its wise to use AS Reds, although it can work.

  • 9 x Greater Mark of Attack Damage  – These are better for early laning phase & last hitting, but drop quite a lot in late-game.
  • 9 x Greater Mark Of Magic PenetrationWhole AP Varus damage is based on his (W) so practically MPEN is huge help for breaking down MR stackers.
  • 9 x Greater Mark Of Hybrid Penetration I haven’t tried these, but in a sense they can work really well on more hybrid based build.

greater-glyph-of-magic-resistGlyph’s (Blue)

As many you already know there isn’t so many viable options on Glyph side. I have to say Glyph choices vary on lane match-up, but my recommendation is “AP Per Level”.

  • 9 x Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power After level 9 you have more AP than with flat ones, so these are ultimately best out of all options.
  • 9 x Greater Glyph of Magic ResistanceIf you got some heavy AP enemy like fizz (which should never happen unless some retard didn’t ban it) you should pick some sustain.
  • 9 x Greater Glyph Of Scaling Magic Resistance Once again, if you feel like too squishy heading towards lategame, pick these although you lose great amount of AP.
  • 9 x Greater Glyph Of Cooldown Reduction – Varus has painful cooldown on (Q) and (E) early game, for that reason i could suggest cooldown reduction, these are best runes for very lategame, also CDR per level is good choice.

greater-seal-of-armorSeal (Yellow)

I use same Seals with every champion i play with and that is Armor seals. They are perfect for every champion in this game, no matter what lane you play. AP Seals don’t give enough AP to be viable and that pretty much goes with every else option you have.

  • 9 x Greater Seal of ArmorThe best option since there is lot of physical damage from jungler/minions early and late.
  • 9 x Greater Seal of Scaling ArmorIt Doesn’t scale good as Scaling MR, but its still fine.
  • 9 x Greater Seal of Scaling HealthBest option after Armor, but i wouldn’t advise this a lot.

greater-quintessence-of-life-steal Quintessence (Purple)

As for quints, there any multiple options to go with, due long variety on that front. Luckily many options will work with this build. Cooldown reduction is fine choice so is attack speed, but i would go with penetrations.

  • 9 x Greater Quintessence Of Magic PenetrationMagic penetration is more effective than Flat AP quints after level 7, so these are really good choice for this build
  • 9 x Greater Quintessence of Ability PowerGives you good early/late game boost for whole game.
  • 9 x Greater Quintessence Of Scaling Ability PowerIt doesn’t scale well as Blue’s but i still think it might be OK to use these.

Summoner Spells

Once again people have their preferences, which summoner spells they want to use, for example Czaru from Meet Your Makers uses Teleport always on midlane. Since you will be playing on Varus on a Midlane, whole laning phase is different than if you would be playing on botlane. I Didn’t list Heal (because opponent likely has Ignite) and other spells are just outdated and don’t give you any benefit on laning phase.


Barrier is really good spell against high burst champions such as; Fizz, Kassadin, Ahri, Leblanc or Annie. If you are against one of these four taking barrier should be under your consideration.


If you’re up against Zed, Kassadin or Kennen, you pretty much have to take Cleanse. Remember cleanse has lower cooldown than barrier, also removes ignite, which can be decisive in a gank or 1v1 fight.


AP Varus is not dependent on Ignite so you can always run with the Ghost + Flash Combo. Also really good chasing down opponents or just running away from ganks, since varus has no escape spells.


Ignite is a very strong spell (Duh), but is not necessarily needed since Varus (E) has grievous wounds debuff on it. Although early game you lack quite lot of damage so Ignite will help you on that front.


Some people at Bronze Division might have mindset that they can run exhaust + ignite or smite + ignite combos and play without flash. But let me tell you that it won’t work. Flash is mandatory spell and needs to be picked.


Since i pointed out earlier that Varus has (E), which applies grievous wounds debuff, you don’t practically need ignite. I think exhaust can be really effective on lane, remember to take the mastery with it though.


This spell is probably most useless of ones ive listed since, Varus has no epic chase potential or gap closers, so him teleporting in bot won’t do any good really, since he can’t catch anyone.


One thing i really like about AP Varus is that there is multiple options after Core items. I’m going to breakdown, which items really work well with him and which don’t. Please note that there might be some changes on items at Season 4, so we can’t really know will these things work then.

Starting Item’s

This is the most common starting items for many AP Midlaners, also works well with Varus, so 2 x health pots + Doran’s Ring. Choose this for any normal match-up.

Boots Of Speed along with 4 x Health pots or perhaps even 1x ward. Really good against opponents like Morgana, Ahri or swain where you can’t get caught by skillshots or you die. This is also optimal against Zed and other AD mid laners.

Core Build

Some Of you might think, why i shouldn’t get Berserker Greaves, since Varus is attack speed based ADC. Well you’re right, but you’re also wrong. Here’s why, the whole build is based on how much % damage your (W) does, Magic penetration deals so much damage with (W) so that makes Berserker greaves bad option to pick. Lucidity Boots are 2nd best option to go with, if you don’t want to build AP Boots.

(As For Augmentation, Go for Green Or Red based on the situation)

Lichbane is core item, because its essential for burst damage. First of all Lichbane gives you +5% Movement speed, Varus has really low base movement speed he really needs the extra boost, since you’re not going to build Phantom dancer or statikk shiv on this build. Other Important aspect of this item is the passive, which deals so much damage if you got tons of AP. Third important aspect is the mana, since this build is pretty heavy on casting (Q), (E) and you’re (R) you have to have mana to do that.

The Most important item of this whole build. Because of the recent change to Nashor’s tooth where Malady’s passive were moved to Nashor’s tooth it became really good Item for champions like Teemo, Diana, Fizz and kayle. So practically you do 15 (+15% Of AP) with each hit, that means around 30 damage with my recommended masteries and runes, combining this with Varus (W) and the Spellsword mastery, you will deal around 100 Magic damage per hit. Plus your physical damage, which is quite a lot if you get a head early. Also the cooldown reduction makes it much easier if you happen to miss your skillshots.

Other Optional Item’s

If you’re going to be full carry on the team you need to build Rabadon’s Deathcap, actually this is not 100% needed in my opinion since (W) scales enough with 200-300 AP.

Guardian Angel is only for people, who aren’t very good at positioning, so i always go with Hourglass instead. Hourglass gives +100 AP and +50 Armor, which are really good against Physical damage heavy enemy lineup or they just have tons of CC and want to kill you.

It gives you things like attack speed and Magic resistance, which are OK. The most important thing on this item is that it reduces targets magic resistance, which makes your (W) deal more damage. The Attack speed bonus and MR bonus aren’t high though, so for that reason i would pass, it might be useful against some team comps though.

Void staff is always great choice when enemy team stacks tons of Magic resistance. Whole AP Varus build revolves around the Penetration and (W)‘s percent damage.

The Range of Abyssals aura has been reduced lower than Varus attack range is, so for that reason i do not think its best option, but it still provides decent Magic resistance and AP.

Really good item for Varus overall. Vampiric Specter gives really good laning phase if you got some poke issues. Many people do not know, but (AD) spells do give spellvamp in this game. Also Active spell scales from AP and is good for Kiting people away from you or catching them. Depending on your summoner spells this is must have.

If your not choosing Lichbane, you can go with Iceborn, in case they have AD heavy team. Although Iceborn does 125% damage of your physical damage not your Ability power, so this will be more sustain item than damage. Also none of Varus spells apply the effect.

Very challenging to use with this Varus Build, but if you use it right it can deal So much damage that your parents will drop their pants. Also CDR is pretty good.

Varus Skills & Leveling

Once again i leave it to people what they want to level first and last, but these things vary a lot depending who are you against. Also i want to explain how really AP Varus Works.

As for Leveling MAX out (W) first then (Q). Take 1 rank of (E).

Living Vengeance

Living Vengeance

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.

Piercing Arrow

Piercing Arrow

Hold: Varus starts drawing back his next shot, gradually increasing its range and damage. Maximum range is achieved in 2 seconds.

While preparing to shoot, Varus cannot auto-attack or use his other abilities, and his movement speed is slowed by 20%. After 4 seconds, Piercing Arrow is automatically cancelled, going on full cooldown and refunding half of its mana cost.

  • Minimum Damage: 10 / 47 / 83 / 120 / 157 (+ 100% AD)
  • Max Damage: 15 / 70 / 125 / 180 / 235 (+ 160% AD)

Release: Varus fires, dealing physical damage to all enemies in the arrow’s path, reduced by 15% per enemy hit (down to a minimum of 33%).

  • Projectile Speed: 1900
  • Minimum Diminished: 3.3 / 15.7 / 27.7 / 40 / 52.3 (+ 33% AD)
  • Max Diminished: 5 / 23.3 / 41.7 / 60 / 78.3 (+ 53% AD)
Blighted Quiver

Blighted Quiver

Passive: Varus’ basic attacks deal bonus magic damage. They also apply Blight for 6 seconds, stacking up to 3 times.

  • On-hit Magic Damage: 10 / 14 / 18 / 22 / 26 (+ 25% AP)

Varus’ other abilities detonate Blight, dealing magic damage equal to a percentage of the target’s maximum health per stack. This damage is capped at 360 against monsters.

  • Magic Damage per Blight Stack: 2 / 2.75 / 3.5 / 4.25 / 5% (+ 2% per 100 AP) of target’s max health.
  • Max Magic Damage: 6 / 8.25 / 10.5 / 12.75 / 15% (+ 6% per 100 AP) of target’s max health.
Hail of Arrows

Hail of Arrows

Active: Varus fires a hail of arrows that deals physical damage and desecrates the ground for 4 seconds. Desecrated Ground reduces healing effects by 50% and slows enemy movement speed.

Chain of Corruption

Chain Of Corruption

Active: Varus flings out a tendril of corruption that infects the first enemy champion hit, dealing magic damage and snaring them for 2 seconds.

The corruption then attempts to spread towards enemy champions within 550 range, applying the same damage and snaring if they stay within 600 range of the infected champion for 2 seconds. The corruption will continue to spread until there are no further targets in range, but each champion may only be infected once per cast.

The Numbers Behind Blighted Quiver

The Whole build of AP Varus is based on Blighted Quiver practically. Let’s talk about the passive damage first. You deal 26 Damage + 25% AP lets say that we got 200 AP. Which is roughly gained with runes, masteries and our 2 core items. You will have +50 Magical Damage, which sums up to 76 Magical damage per hit. Then you count the Spellsword passive in which is 5% of max AP, which makes it 86 Magical damage per hit. Then we will count the Nashor’s tooth passive in, which is 15 + (15% of total AP). 

So in short, with 200 AP you will deal 131 magic damage per hit + physical damage per hit (should be around 60-70 around levels 9-12). BUT, this is only the half of the passive portion we have here.

The important part is the % Damage, which you will be doing with blight stacks. With Max rank (W) you will deal 5% of max health per stack, there is 3 stacks maximum, which makes it 15% with 3 stacks. Then you have ratio, which is (2% per 100 AP per stack ). Which makes it 12% + 15% = 27% from 3 stack passive. So 1/3 of opponents health.

P.S – I suck at fucking math, but the numbers are high thats all you need to know.

Laning Matchups

With every lane there is champions you don’t want to face and champions you want to. I haven’t played every single match-up there is with AP Varus, so i cannot give you full knowledge about that. Experience will help you get there. Obviously Varus has very high base range, which means you will out range every opponent except Caitlyn and AP Tristana on lategame, oh yeah Jinx with (Q). Otherwise you’re pretty safe.

The match-ups are categorized from A to E. Meaning “E” is easiest and “A” being hardest. I will update this list though, if there is some changes to champions. You will most likely have huge edge on your opponent since they do not know who is mid.




Difficulty – D

Swain is relatively easy, since all your spells will out-range him and your (E) will decrease his spellvamp and ultimate heal. Also he will likely stack health from items Liandry/RoA/Rylai so your % damage comes handy.



Difficulty – B

Ahri is one tough bitch to deal with to be honest, but with upcoming nerf changes to her will make her deal less damage overall, so she shouldn’t be mega hard to deal with. Picking up a cleanse or barrier really helps against spells like Charm.



Difficulty – C

Annie has huge burst potential, but if you pick banshee veil her combo is ruined. You will out-range Annie heavily with your auto-attacks and spells. You can play extremely safe against her.


Difficulty – B

Anivia is kinda annoying since her combo is pretty deadly and varus has no proper escape spells to deal with the wall or slows. Taking cleanse is advised.


  Difficulty – B

Diana is very strong champion, which overpowers most opponents after she reaches 6, but if you are able to poke her before she gets there, you might have huge advantage over her.

Difficulty – A+

Fizz is your hard counter. This is champion you need to BAN in the draft phase, you can only lane till 6 after that he will burst you in a second.

Difficulty – C

Karthus this dead guy is pretty easy since you out-range him heavily, if he comes close you simply put (R) to his dead face or just cleanse out of Wall Of Pain. Also you can poke Karthus pretty freely and give him hard time on lane.

Difficulty – A+

Once again, like Fizz this is a champion you need to ban always. You perhaps can deal with him early game, but silence will be your undoing in the long run, you may win lane if you run cleanse, but then you lack proper burst to kill Kassadin, before he is going Blink away.

Difficulty – D

You pretty much hard counter Soraka, she can’t do much against you if you’re going to pick up early vampiric specter for heal sustain. Your (E) will make her heal’s useless. I know Soraka mid is not really most picked lane, but i just wanted to point out that Varus is really good against her.

Video Guide & Final Verdict

Whoever is reading, i hope you enjoyed this guide and hopefully it gave you insight how to play this character, i prepared nutshell video guide below, which can help you a bit understand more this champion, but text versions purpose is to be in depth version, video is just to show the power and show my awesome skills :), please leave comments and feedback.



Sugi is Owner of MobaMonster. He likes to try/play different Moba games in the market and is very competitive gamer. Currently is looking forward to Strife and Core Masters. Sugi's grammar is bad.

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