League of Legends: Hello. My name is Varus. You killed my Family.
By Jason Harper (Hhean), OnRPG LoL Specialist
Welcome summoners, to the patch v126.96.36.199 article for League of Legends, the game that is prepared to die. This patch includes spectator mode, a reworked Ryze, altered AP items and the belated addition of Varus, The Arrow of Retribution.
Varus is a ranged AD carry with good poke and a lot of utility, but has a very unreliable damage output. He’s designed around hitting the enemy from as far away as possible, with one of the longest pokes in the game, faster than average movespeed, and absolutely no durability. Due to the way his abilities interact, he must do sustained damage to get the most of his burst. As with most ranged AD carries, he’s best placed in the bottom lane, though Riot did try to make him mid viable. Whether or not they have succeeded remains to be seen.
Your main strategy as Varus is to poke the enemy from as far away as possible with his Piercing Arrow [Q] to soften them for his approach. Once you’ve established a life lead, you can now begin bullying your lane with his auto attacks, and abuse his fast movement speed. Even one tap from Varus’ auto attacks can lead to some great followup damage in the lane, as getting a quick stack of his Blighted Quiver [W] on an enemy before immediately popping it with an instantly released Piercing Arrow or Hail of Arrows [E] can lead to some impressive damage.
The absolute perfect damage combo from Varus would be to kill a minion (or champion) to trigger his passive, then hit an enemy champion for three stacks of Blighted Quiver, root your target in place with his ultimate, Chain of Corruption [R], hit for three more stacks, Hail of Arrows, three more stacks, then finish with a Piercing Arrow. If you are able to actually do this the enemy is likely already being locked down or is just thoroughly stupid. As a whole, stick to the skill order outlined above, but just fire off as many shots and/or abilities as you think you can get away with before backing away to safety.
More often than not though, his ultimate should not be used to initiate fights. It’s got a short range, doesn’t stop other ranged characters from hitting you back and has a slow projectile speed, making it easy to dodge. Chain of Corruption is best used for two purposes. One is to chain it in with other crowd control effect after your initiator has already run in and locked the enemy team, keeping the enemy from fighting back for an even longer time. This has the benefit that the enemy can’t attack you if they’re already locked down, and you can pick the target you want because they should all be unable to move while you’re taking aim. The second use is to stop bruisers from murdering you. Varus’ escape tools are non-existent, so holding your ultimate back for the inevitable point in a team fight someone tries to jump on top of you can buy you the time your tanks will likely need to peel those burly enemies off your fragile self.
In a duo lane, start with Piercing Arrow for its crazy long range pokes. As a solo, however, I found Hail of Arrows to be more effective, as the slow allows trades to go in your favour. Blighted Quiver should be taken at level 2. As a duo, get Hail of arrows at level 4, and as a solo take Piercing Arrow at level 3. Piercing Arrow should be maxed out first, followed by Blighted Quiver second.
Start with boots and three health potions. I swear at this point there’s no reason to buy anything else on any character type except support. Hoping Riot are looking into this. After that, treat him like any other ranged AD. Stack Doran’s blades for a good laning phase; two is common, but three is good if you’re having a tough time. Rush that Infinity Edge as soon as you can. Good follow up items include Bloodthirster (More poke damage), Phantom Dancer (More Blight stacks), Last Whisper (Better in the late game when armour stacking becomes commonplace), and Banshee’s Veil (Allows you to poke without trading with long range mages like Xerath). Whatever you do though, don’t fall into the trap of trying to build hybrid or AP items on him. The damage simply doesn’t stack up well compared to a simple AD build.
He requires 21 points in the offense tree in order to be effective, but where you put his remaining 9 points is really up for personal preference. I like the mana regeneration from the utility tree because I find that varus is not only mana hungry, but unlike many ranged ADs, actually has to use his abilities frequently in order to have a decent damage output. For his runes, you’re going to be using armour seals and magic resist glyphs as usual. For his marks and quintessences you have some room to play with. How much you balance between his attack damage and armour penetration is dependent on if you want to strengthen his comparably weak late game, or make his strong laning that much stronger. For a lane build, I use full AD in both marks and quintessences, and for a more balanced build I use three AD marks, six armour penetration marks and AD quintessences.
Varus’ damage feels on the low side to me, and I don’t think that this damage is lost in favour of strong utility. While his utility is good, it simply doesn’t feel comparable to Ashe’s dominating presence in a fight. He also is an extremely micro intensive character, requiring you to hit with three different sorts of skillshots reliably, and invest in auto attacks before taking the gamble that you’ll actually hit. While most competent players will hit with most of his shots, a single missed opportunity can potentially cut his damage output dramatically. I suspect that he will have his specialist, fanatical players that will invest a lot of time mastering his every nuance to bring out his potential in full.
Varis is alright. I can see his appeal, but I don’t think he’s going to be a great pick unless some of his ardent followers really spend the time to crack the character open. If you’re an experienced ranged AD player looking for a personal project to sink some time into, I’d advise giving him a look when he comes on free rotation. For everyone else who might be looking for a nice new AD in one of their secondary roles, I’d say there are better options.
The AP item reworks are hopefully going to spread around the love to new item builds for mages. Currently people haven’t altered their builds much due to the changes, but we’ll likely see some shifting around in the coming weeks as the general playerbase slowly begins to adapt. While I really like the healing reduction added on Morello’s Evil Tome, I can only really see it being taken against very sustain heavy teams where one ignite simply isn’t enough. While increasing the cost of Will of Ancients now puts its cost more in line with other items, its new cost still feels on the high side. The new and improved Deathfire Grasp is deadly as all hell. Put that on your glass cannon type AP nukers and just go nuts. Just be aware that its range isn’t so great, and you’ll be very fragile if you’re only carrying one and a Deathcap.
I’m actually not sure if the Atma’s Impaler nerf was too far, given that the item was already beginning to drop off a bit in use. I guess Riot were simply sick and tired of seeing the Atmog or Atmallet builds in so many games, and simply wanted to see it gone. For those of you who still really, really want to shove an Atma’s Impaler into your build, the breakeven point for the item is now in the 3000hp range, so you’ll need to stack a few health items now for it to be worthwhile.
A big hubbub was made over what looked to be a major rework to Ryze, but he’s pretty similar to how he was before. Even if you still build him in the exact same tanky build as before, his damage output is now slightly higher than it once was. Combined with his new super fast movement speed, he can be a massive threat late game, as escaping from Ryze can be a genuine challenge now. The reduced range on his Overload does hurt his laning though, so while his threat level is now higher overall, you can now bully him far more easily in the early game to prevent him snowballing into the tanky mage-monster we all know and hate.
Spectator mode also has (finally!) made its way to League of Legends. While I do think this is a good time to be celebrating the inclusion of this much requested feature, it still has some functionality that needs work. While watching a friend’s game is great, being able to spectate what a friend is watching would also be a welcome feature. My big gripe with the system currently though is that while you can move back and forth along the timeline of a game freely, you can’t go back beyond when you started spectating, and you can’t go back once the match ends. Still, it is good to be able to watch what people are up to, and mercilessly mock them in tells.
Not that anyone I know would do such a thing.
To discuss some of the changes yourselves, post in the massive League of Legends thread in the free to play MMOs section, or post in the comments section below. If you haven’t tried League of Legends yet, you’re missing out.