Straight from depths of corruption spawns a new inductee into the field of justice. Riot Games' new League of Legends champion, Varus, The Arrow of Retribution, a new attack damage, ranged carry brings forth powers that would appeal to those who seek to do incredible amounts of damage to their enemies in a very short period of time.
I’m not going to tell you Varus is easy to use in a realistic match-up nor is he for the faint of heart. He has very limited utility as well as no built-in forms of escape. He trades it all away for poke and AoE damage. Experience with ranged champions like Kog’Maw, who also trades away utility for tons of damage, will help you a lot.
Arrows of Retribution
Let’s take a look at the kit Varus was given. You’ll notice it’s very offensive and provides you with plenty of damage but limited in everything else. Just a bit of balancing the game mechanics, ya know?
Living Vengeance (passive/offensive) - This is Varus passive ability as well as his steroid. Every time you kill a minion you are granted 20% additional attack speed. The bonus is larger for attaining a kill or an assist on champions, which grants you 40% additional attack speed. The steroid is really powerful but it’s rather unreliable, don’t expect to always have that delicious boost to your attack speed.
[Q] Piercing Arrow (Offensive Poke) – This skill is just awesome and is one of the more unique abilities in League of Legends. It fires a piercing arrow in a straight line but what’s unique about it is you can charge the move, increasing the range every second it’s charged up. However, you move a little slower while charging so it’s good for finishing people off and in-lane poke rather than something you’d want to do constantly. This move does a lot of damage, since the ratios seemed to be higher than 1:1 attack damage. However, the damage is reduced for every target is passes through. At lv.18 the skill had an 8 second cooldown, which means it’s not spammable.
[W] Blighted Quiver (Passive/ Offensive) – Blighted Quiver gives Varus bonus magic damage. It’s basically free damage for every point you put into it. The one thing about this ability is every time you hit an opponent with a basic attack, you stack “blight” on them, which are basically little blobs that float over their head. If you hit the target again with any of Varus’ offensive skills, you detonate the blight, dealing additional damage per stack. This move gives you a ton of bust damage if you’re offensive enough and time your skills properly.
[E] Hail of Arrows (Offensive/ Utility) – Exactly how it sounds, Varus launches a hail of Arrows in a very Lord of the Rings-esque fashion, and desecrates the landing zone. Opponents who stand in the desecrated land are slowed and receive reduced healing. This skill should be used wisely. The AoE damage is great but the cooldown is a whopping 8 seconds at lv.18 which means it’s not spammable. Putting the effects on the right targets, especially with a healer on the other team, can make or break a team fight.
[R] Chain of Corruption (Utility/Ultimate) – This is Varus seemingly over-powered ultimate. It launches a skill-shot tendril that immobilizes his target, and spreads to near-by opponents. This move is used to initiate a team fight or to punish those that are caught out of position. In a duel, the move is not as effective as Ashe’s arrow or Vayne’s Condemn, since it only IMMOBILZES targets, not stuns them, so they can still attack you if you plan to duel against a ranged opponent. The range is somewhat short and it is rather easy to miss without the practice so use it only if you know you can hit. At lv.18, the cooldown is 90 seconds, so you’ll only be using this once in a team fight.
Vengeance is yours: Playing Varus
Varus is an extremely powerful ranged carry. He has plenty of abilities that add to his damage output as well as long-ranged poke to just bug the heck out of your lane. I believe Varus was designed to play it safe, as well as pump-out long-ranged aggression that isn’t easily countered by most opponents.
If you plan to play Varus, you need to use the mind games to your advantage. You carry with you, unbelievable ranged abilities. Use them to your full advantage. Devote some time to full harassment just to get your opponent to back off a bit. Just know you have no escapes, so you need to play it a little bit safe in-lane so don’t over-extend by using your AoE on minions. If your opponent is caught over-extended abuse your blight/piercing arrow combo. I’ve taken champions straight to half health this way.
Take note that in the early to mid game phase, your abilities have an exceptionally long cooldown. You want to use them wisely since if you miss, there's a good chance your opponent will want to fight back.
In the team fight, I’d say Varus is a good initiate, but at the same time, Chain of Corruption has a rather short range, which means if you aren’t fast enough, the opposing team can catch you instead. Just remember this move IMMOBILIZES so it has to be followed up by an effective stun or additional snares. It does however, buy you enough time to net your team the kill if used on the right target, which means the tendril will jump onto someone else.
As far as builds go, Varus follows the standard order of boots > lifesteal > infinity edge > ???. Though not the most effective strategy, I picked up a frozen mallet at one point to help with kiting targets, especially in a kite-team comp.
Dealing with Corruption: Opposing Varus
Varus is not an easy opponent to deal with in-lane if the player is good with skill-shots. His ranged is just un-matched in the hands of someone who knows the basic mechanics of the game. Even Caitlyn falls somewhat short even with her longer-ranged basic attack. So how do you deal with Varus? Counter aggression and dodging skill shots.
For Varus to have both long-ranged and damage, something needed to be sacrificed. In this case, that was escapes and short cooldowns. If Varus misses his combo, counter that since it’s not easy for him to retaliate if you have a good gap closer. If he is caught out of position for even a second, take full advantage. Force him to burn his Flash/Ghost. All he has for escape is slowing you down with “Hail of Arrows”, which is ineffective if you move out of the way.
Varus’ ultimate, Chain of Corruptions, is easy to dodge, but if it does hit you, don’t let it get to your head. You can still attack him especially if you’re a ranged champion since it’s simply there to immobilize you. There were circumstances where I actually let Varus hit me with it, thinking he was going to win the duel, only for him to fall short to the intended over-extension and a gank waiting for him to snare.
Varus is only over-powered because of his range, and naturally, some players don’t know how to deal with it. Just know that he’s an easy target if you can determine the skill-level of your opponent.
Bring on the pain
Varus plays like any standard ranged carry. He has poke, a steroid, and limited crowd-control moves. A majority of everything he does is area-of-effect in one way or another so the damage output you can pump out in a team fight is way up there. His biggest issue is not having a direct form of escape; no dash, blink, or speed boost. Nothing. This generally makes him difficult to play in-lane since you may need to play a lot safer than usual as well as leaves no room for error in team fights where positioning is key.
I recommend Varus to those who already have experience as ranged, AD carries. Knowledge of the laning phase, last hitting, and team fight positioning is pretty much required and not given to you like some other champions do.
-Extremely long range
-Range is effective enough to counter mid-lane AP, most bottom lane carries, and melee top
-Plenty of AoE
-Two steroids, though one is rather unreliable
-Ultimate is a snare, not a stun