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Something that's been bothering me is the idea that Varus is your standard, everyday AD carry. You buy a , you buy an , and you call it a night.
And that's...that's so abysmally wrong, and shows such a neglect of knowledge about the champ that it makes me cry a little. Every time I see a Varus player build like a Tristana or a Graves, I die a little inside, because these people don't seem to understand what Varus does in the slightest.
Lets do a little overview, shall we?
A relatively standard Carry ability. He gets bonus attack speed for last hitting. Makes sense, and while not exactly the most flavorful of his abilities, gets the job done. Nothing really special here.
I think this ability is the thing that confuses a lot of people. That 160% AD looks like it's very much supposed to be focused on, and it's true, Piercing Arrow deals some pretty hefty damage on its own: But that's not why Varus is strong. 160% AD is still just A shot and a half, less if you've build up any crit chance. It's a useful tool for more reasons than damage, most notably, his next ability.
I swear, no one seems to actually know what this ability does. They seem to think it's just a flat % max health damage on ability use. So, so wrong. Varus gets a passive 25% AP on hit. Wow. That's...that's insane. Only a few other champions get that good of an on-hit effect. The only ranged champion with a better passive on-hit booster is Teemo, and he doesn't get the insane % max health detonations. Which is something else I'd like to bring up: Something no one seems to realize is that those detonations scale on AP. In fact, they scale outrageously well on AP. 6% per 100 AP at max stacks added to a base 15%. With a and , that's roughly 30% max health bonus magic damage. That he can proc repeatedly.
Speaking of Spellsword (Deprecated template: use Mi1 to Mi6.), that gives Varus 45% AP on hit. While this bonus damage doesn't benefit from lifesteal or critical hits, spreads it at 100% efficiency, which means more AoE damage and more enemies being dealt % health detonations from Varus's abilities. A properly fed Varus completely rips through enemy teams, carries and tanks alike., that now adds 15% AP on hit. Add that to 25% from Varus's passive and 5% from
Varus's only other AD scaling ability, and a pretty poor one at that. 60% bonus AD in a somewhat mediocre area with poor base damage. Hail of Arrows is a really weak ability overall, only useful for procing those handy dandy % health Blight stacks. Unfortunately, people fail to realize that building straight AD leaves him with only one ability that deals respectable damage, namely Piercing Arrow. On the contrary, AP or Hybrid Varus deals potent damage with all of his abilities due to his consistent % health magic damage, granting his utility ability (which is what Hail of Arrows is) more uses than simply area denial.
And lastly we have Chain of Corruption, a functional if uninteresting ability that allows Varus to lock opponents in place to build up his Blight stacks and nuke them out of existence. However, with 100% AP scaling, Chain of Corruption becomes a bit more scary when invested in, making it a decent mid sized nuke.
So what does all of this add up to? Well, factoring in the on-hit effects that don't benefit from crit chances, a single ability that scales well on AD, a passive which only grants AS after killing things, and a plethora of % health scaling that scale on AP, it seems to me building Varus like every other AD carry is just...dumb. Phenomenally dumb. Varus is the games first Hybrid carry, build to make good use of a wider variety of stats than other champions. This isn't like Graves with a single, unimportant ability with AP scaling, or Miss Fortune who can be build 100% AP and go nuts with her spells. Varus benefits most from a mix of stats. AD allows Q to be a good early and mid game farming tool, while AP and AS allow him to scale into late game very differently than most AD carries, who can't be defended against like most of his kind. He's a Hybrid champ through and through, and if I see you mindlessly building from the standard AD carry recommended items list, I'm going to automatically assume you're a moronic slave to the meta, incapable of thinking for yourself and blindly following whatever builds are popular at the moment.
Whew, this was a long one, I'll probably have another rant next time I see someone being blisteringly boring with their builds. Until next time!