Hey there, Raphterra here! After covering Vayne’s best decks in my previous article, it’s time to feature The Arrow of Retribution, Varus. In this article, I’ll be covering the best Varus decks for ranked ladder in The Darkin Saga: Domination.
In my patch review for The Darkin Saga: Domination, I mentioned that Varus wasn’t good enough to be included in any high-tier decks. Boy was I wrong! I definitely underestimated Varus; it turns out that he’s pretty decent and he definitely has a place in powerful decks.
The Cultist package is slowly becoming a utility powerhouse, allowing Varus decks to run some of the best spells in the game. Momentous Choice was already arguably the best combat trick in the previous patch, and the addition of The Unforgiving Cold allows Varus decks to hard counter Vayne Demacia strategies. This alone gives Varus decks an edge in ranked ladder, given how popular Vayne is right now.
With that out of the way, let’s dive into the list!
The Best Varus Deck – Pantheon Varus
Pantheon Varus is my pick for the strongest deck for Varus, with the pairing having an overall Masters winrate of 54.4% in 2000 games. The decklist above is the most promising build, with it’s impressive 60% winrate in 255 Masters games. Once again, Pantheon Fated is showing its flexibility with another Pantheon variant having a high-tier winrate.
This is one of the decks that can level up Varus quickly because Fated decks already look to target their units with spells, unit effects, and equipments. Even if you don’t level up Varus quickly, level 2 Pantheon and Horazi are reliable win conditions. Pantheon Fated decks are already favored into Demacia because of its tendency to make bigger units, but the addition of The Unforgiving Cold makes those matchups even easier. It will be uncommon to run out of cards when using this deck with a full set of The Unending Wave and Pale Cascade alongside two copies of Guiding Touch.
More Target Synergy – Akshan Varus
Akshan Varus is another Varus deck that has been performing decently with an overall winrate of 50.5% in 38000+ games. The archetype’s best-performing decklist has a respectable winrate of 52.3% in 7100+ games. This is my personal favorite archetype for Varus just because it’s running Swinging Glaive, one of the most fun equipments in the game!
Similar to Pantheon Fated, Akshan decks already work to target units to progress champion level-ups. With multiple targeting spells and equipments, Varus can also consistently level-up in this deck. Ranger-Knight Defector is another key unit for this deck; it can snowball quickly when equipped with Swinging Glaive. Despite not having Demacia as a secondary region, this Akshan deck has decent interaction tools with Merciless Hunter, Grappling Hook, and Furious Wielder.
She’s Alive? – Nami Fizz Varus
Akshan Varus and Pantheon Varus are the two most-played Varus decks, and they’re pretty much the only Varus builds with a decent sample size. For the next decks, I’ll be looking at some builds that have high potential, but with lower sample sizes. It will still be too early to make final conclusions about them, but these concepts are worth exploring.
We’re starting with the return of the recently-nerfed champion, Nami! Nami Fizz Varus is an aggressive elusive deck used by Aikado in the a recent 5v5 showmatch between NA and CN. This archetype combines the powerful Cultist spells with Nami and Fleet Admiral Shelly‘s buff effects. The build runs three copies of The Darkin Harpoon and two copies of Piltovan Castaway to activate the Cultist cards’ requirements.
The deck only runs one copy of Varus since you can draw him anyway with The Arrow of Retribution. It’s important to take note that Varus counts as a region. This makes the card generation pool for Wiggly Burblefish and Coral Creatures even stronger. Marai Songstress and Blooming Cultist are solid, cheap elusives that can grow big when buffed with Nami or Fleet Admiral Shelly.
Despite its limited sample size, this deck might be a potent counter against the most popular Seraphine variants. However, Vayne decks seem to be an unfavored matchup for this up-and-coming elusive concept. Overall, the archetype isn’t performing well with a 48.6% winrate in 1200+ games.
The Combo Concept – Riven Varus
Unlike the previous decklists, this is an all-in combo one-turn-kill deck. Riven and the Reforge archetype have always functioned this way. This archetype wants to give a unit Overwhelm and attack buffs, then attack multiple times through Ruined Reckoner‘s Midnight Raid. Riven decks have more ways to Reforge now after receiving Rune Squire as the latest addition to the Reforge package. Riven‘s Blade Fragments can be devastating when used with Level 2 Varus‘ The Darkin Bow.
Ranger-Knight Defector can be a decent alternative buff target due to its Scout keyword. It can end games on its own if you can give it Overwhelm. On your defensive turns, you can Rally by casting Ruined Reckoner‘s Midnight Raid on Ranger-Knight Defector. I haven’t played this deck myself, but I’m doubtful on it’s ability to get to Level 2 Varus. I think that adding some copies of Lunari Cultist is necessary to help the deck progress Varus‘ level-up requirement.
I think that this is just the beginning, and Varus decks will only get better in the next expansions. We should be expecting more support for Darkins in The Darkin Saga: Finale. We might receive even more powerful Cultist cards soon! Varus‘ design might look simple and straightforward, but he’s actually very satisfying and rewarding to play. I’ll be playing with some Varus concepts in the next days, and I will be making a deck guide if I find anything successful. Stay tuned!