Something that's been bothering me is the idea that VarusSquare Varus is your standard, everyday AD carry. You buy a The Bloodthirster item The Bloodthirster, you buy an Infinity Edge item Infinity Edge, 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 TristanaSquare Tristana or a GravesSquare Graves, I die a little inside, because these people don't seem to understand what Varus does in the slightest.

Let's do a little overview, shall we?

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.

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.

Piercing Arrow
RANGE: 850 - 1475
COST: 70 / 75 / 80 / 85 / 90 mana
COOLDOWN: 16 / 14 / 12 / 10 / 8
Piercing Arrow

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

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

While preparing to shoot, Varus cannot autoattack 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 Diminished: 3.3 / 15.7 / 27.7 / 40 / 52.3 (+ 33% AD)
  • Maximum Diminished: 5 / 23.3 / 41.7 / 60 / 78.3 (+ 53% AD)

Second Cast: 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

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.

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
  • Maximum Magic Damage: 6 / 8.25 / 10.5 / 12.75 / 15% (+ 6% per 100 AP) of target's max health

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 TeemoSquare 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 Nashor's Tooth item Nashor's Tooth and Rabadon's Deathcap item Rabadon's Deathcap, that's roughly 30% max health bonus magic damage. That he can proc repeatedly.

Speaking of Nashor's Tooth item Nashor's Tooth, that now adds 15% AP on hit. Add that to 25% from Varus's passive and 5% from Spellsword mastery 2013.png Spellsword, that gives Varus 45% AP on hit. While this bonus damage doesn't benefit from lifesteal or critical hits, Runaan's Hurricane item Runaan's Hurricane 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.

Hail of Arrows
RANGE: 925
COST: 80 mana
COOLDOWN: 18 / 16 / 14 / 12 / 10
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.

  • Physical Damage: 65 / 100 / 135 / 170 / 205 (+ 60% bonus AD)
  • Slow: 25 / 30 / 35 / 40 / 45%

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.

Chain of Corruption
RANGE: 1075
COST: 120 mana
COOLDOWN: 120 / 105 / 90
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.

  • Magic Damage: 150 / 250 / 350 (+ 100% AP)

The corruption then attempts to spread towards enemy champions within 550 range, applying the same damage and snare 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.

  • Projectile Speed: 2000

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 GravesSquare Graves with a single, unimportant ability with AP scaling, or Miss FortuneSquare 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!