League of Legends can be a fun experience; you have assassins that can one-shot tanks and supports that are foreign to the concept of limits. The AD carry role seems to be the timidest among all the competition –until you add some spice to the mix.
As it turns out, the secret formula of making AD carries ‘broken’ is to not build AD on them. This is because certain marksmen tend to have hybrid scaling that can change their distinctive playstyles, and quite surprisingly – every single one of these AP ratios makes zero sense.
In order to play AP carries like Varus, you need to start with Luden’s Tempest and gather as much raw AP as possible. Tick-based items like the Demonic Embrace and Liandry’s Torment won’t work since the main power lies in his empowered Q popping all Blight.
Needless to say, the game’s prime AD carry is not as simple to play even as an AP carry. You need to have the proper tools at your disposal if you want to survive teamfights while coming out as the final victor for your team.
Also read: Full AD Bard Build
How Does AP Varus Work?
In simplest terms, Varus has a passive that allows him to apply stacks of Blight to the enemy it auto attacks. While the main purpose of Blight is to make the target vulnerable, Blight generally tends to have a percentage of AP scaling with his W.
Since the Blight stacks can be consumed, the Blighted Quiver (W) tends to take advantage of this to pop off any present stacks from the target, thereby allowing Varus to deal magic damage according to the target’s maximum health.
The Blighted Quiver is used to clad the Piercing Arrow (Q) with the said effect. Therefore, each enemy hit by the arrow experiences this level of damage instantly, so you’d often experience your targets getting one shot in due to your arrows.
Q – Piercing Arrow
This standalone ability works by making Varus charge an arrow that can be launched from his bow upon release. This arrow generally deals physical damage, so it is compatible with Lethality as well. However, that’s only the tip of the iceberg regarding Varus’s Q.
Once an arrow is charged and launched, any enemy hit in its wake will experience 0-50% more damage from his W passive (Blight). This effect is proportional to the amount of time an arrow is charged for Varus to launch. Therefore, you’d generally want to hold it for as long as possible.
Plus, the more you charge it, the farther it can go. Luckily, the cooldown on this arrow becomes lower the longer the game goes on and reaches the point where you can just keep firing it off with the help of Lucidity Boots.
Since this is considered on-hit damage, you’d be taking complete advantage of the modifiers on your auto attacks. However, this is generally more useful for Lethality carries. Therefore, it only works with niche items in the AP route. You generally won’t build them, so skipping them is better.
W – Blighted Quiver
This is a two-step ability that acts as the main source of your damage. Unfortunately, the cooldown for the Blighted Quiver is a bit too long, so you’d get punished heavily if you manage to miss your W-clad Piercing Arrow.
The Blighted Quiver will only really work if you manage to cast it within the first 0.2 seconds of the ability. Therefore, you would need to make every shot count. Since the ability works in accordance with the target’s health, you won’t have to distinguish between tanks and carries when firing the arrow.
The only factor you would need to concern yourself with is the amount of MR an enemy possesses. You can just backseat carry at a teamfight by taking out prime carries from the teamfight. And, if you feel like it, there’s always the option of auto-attacking the remaining enemies since you essentially are a marksman.
This ability scales with level, so every point in your Ultimate will make it considerably stronger than before – no questions asked. The passive applies the stacks on every bit of on-hit damage. Therefore, you’d be good to go as long as you can auto-attack the enemy thrice before unleashing the skill.
Also read: Best Lethality Junglers
Building AP Varus
With the general idea out of the way, it’s time to head into the general build path. Fortunately, it’s quite similar to the usual AP carries like Veigar. Therefore, you’d be able to grasp it in no time, given that you’ve played them before.
With that said, let’s dive into the general build:
You will be starting your game with a Tear of the Goddess in order to stack it early. This item will give you a decent mix of both AD and AP. Plus, it’ll solve your lingering mana issues, so all the better. You don’t really have to complete it as your first item.
Just make sure to buy the tear early and leave the completion for your second item slot. Additionally, don’t forget to purchase boots!
This will be your pseudo-primary mythic. Its main purpose in the build is to provide the necessary flat MR penetration along with a certain level of AOE damage to your kit. While your E serves as a decent placeholder, your main goal is to have some sort of presence going onwards.
Since this paired with Manamune will be enough to make your mana feel near-indefinite, any more investment in the mana stat will incur diminishing returns from here onwards. Thus, it’s better to aim for pure AP items.
The passive on this item gives you more magic penetration the lower an enemy’s health is. It’ll grant you the power to finish off enemies with low HP bars before you reach your level 16 power spike. You can swap it later on if the game manages to head into the extreme late state.
Any AP Item
For the second last slot, just adapt to the current state of the game. For example, a Nashor’s Tooth might be the way to go if the enemy is a bit too tanky to one-shot or if you want some sort of reassurance. You could also go Rylai’s Crystal Scepter or Void Staff if the game demands it.
No AP build is complete without this item because the percentage AP increase is just too good of an offer to pass out on. Upon reaching this state, you should theoretically be able to make enemies vanish with the slightest poke of your Q.
If that’s not the case, consider chugging a potion or swapping the Sorcerer’s shoes with another AP item. However, that’ll come at the expense of your movement speed. Therefore, only do it if the enemy has no active threat towards you.
Also read: Best Off-Meta Top Laners
Teamfighting With AP Varus
The most basic milestone you need to reach is not to miss your Qs. Your Ult has decent AP scaling, so make sure to use it to not only deal damage, but also apply CC to the enemy team. Consequently, you would need to protect yourself from any coming engage.
Since AP Varus generally relies heavily on cooldowns, having some CDR in your kit will always be beneficial. Plus, you can always make him into a gold printer by picking First Strike as your main rune.
He’s a bit different from your run-of-the-mill carries. So you can build into anything you want (except tank); just make sure to have enough leeway to spec as needed. Don’t achieve this by selling your items in the early to mid game, as it’ll cost you big time.
All in all, your main goal while playing AP Varus is to hit your Blighted arrows at the correct time. While it might seem difficult in theory, a bit of practice is all you need. However, if it still looks difficult, consider training a bit on intermediate bots in the practice tool to perfect your shots.
Varus’s arrow is near-undodgeable in the Fog of War. Therefore, try to be creative with your assaults, and you’ll find a playstyle that not only suits you but also transforms AP Varus into a killing machine.
Lastly, we recommend you try it in normals (in any lane other than Bot) first to familiarize yourself with the tech. You really wouldn’t want to ruin the game for your teammates by first timing it in a ranked match. While you might not get penalized, the quality of the game will be bad – even for you.