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Varian Build Guide “Glory to the Alliance!”

Last updated on Jul 11, 2017 at 13:00 by Kendric 36 comments

Table of Contents

Varian Image

General Information

Welcome to our Varian guide for Heroes of the Storm. Here you will learn everything you need to know in order to play Varian in a competitive environment, whether you play on your own or with a team.

About the Author

KendricSwissh is a Master League Warrior and Support player in Hero League. He has been playing Heroes of the Storm since the early stages of the Alpha version and has mastered a large number of Heroes. He is also creating Heroes of the Storm related content on YouTube, most notably his series called Epic Plays of the Week, which focuses on video clips submitted by his viewers. He is also a streamer on Twitch where he will gladly answer all of your questions about the game.

1. Quick Reference

Protection Build (talent calculator link)

Level 1 Overpower Icon
Level 4 Shield Wall Icon
Level 7 Live by the Sword Icon
Level 10 Taunt Icon
Level 13 Mortal Strike Icon
Level 16 Banner of Ironforge Icon
Level 20 Glory to the Alliance Icon

Unlike his other two Heroic Abilites, Taunt Icon Taunt causes Varian to become a stalwart Tank who is capable of peeling for his backline, while at the same time posing a serious threat to enemy Assassins and Specialists.

While his early game talents all revolve around his Parry Icon Parry ability, his later talents at Level 13, 16, and 20 are interchangeable. Depending on the situation you find yourself in, both Banner of Dalaran Icon Banner of Dalaran and Banner of Ironforge Icon Banner of Ironforge can be viable choices. Since Varian is such a highly adaptive Hero to play, we thoroughly recommend reading our in-depth talents section.

Arms Build (talent calculator link)

Level 1 High King's Quest Icon
Level 4 Shield Wall Icon
Level 7 Live by the Sword Icon
Level 10 Colossus Smash Icon
Level 13 Juggernaut Icon
Level 16 Banner of Dalaran Icon
Level 20 Master at Arms Icon

The Arms Build turns Varian into a highly explosive melee Assassin, who excels at marking enemy priority targets using Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash and unleashing a large amount of damage within split seconds to take them down as swiftly as possible. Similar to Tyrande's Hunter's Mark Icon Hunter's Mark, Colossus Smash applies Vulnerable to Varian's chosen target, which causes nearby allies to also deal increased damage on the target. As such, it is crucial to let your team know which target you are about to attack. Thus, we strongly recommend using ingame ping commands before leaping onto the enemy in order to guarantee immediate follow-up damage.

Keep in mind that Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash can (and should!) also be used against non-Heroic enemies, such as Mercenaries and Bosses in order to take them down much quicker. Due to the Heroic Ability's low cooldown, we definitely recommend doing so in order to save precious seconds, especially if you suspect the enemy team to be close by.

Fury Build (talent calculator link)

Level 1 High King's Quest Icon
Level 4 Shield Wall Icon
Level 7 Second Wind Icon
Level 10 Twin Blades of Fury Icon
Level 13 Mortal Strike Icon
Level 16 Banner of Ironforge Icon
Level 20 Glory to the Alliance Icon

Varian's Fury Build turns him into a deadly melee Assassin, providing him with an outstanding amount of self-sustain thanks to Second Wind Icon Second Wind at Level 7. Combined with the attack speed buff from his Twin Blades of Fury Icon Twin Blades of Fury Heroic Ability, Second Wind allows Varian to clear Mercenary and even Boss Camps all by himself without taking too much damage. The Level 1 tier is interchangeable with Overpower Icon Overpower, especially if playing on a battleground that does not feature many opportunities to pick up Regeneration Globes.

All in all, Varian compares in many ways to Sonya when going for the Fury Build. Constant movement is crucial in order to become harder to lock down by the enemy team. Despite the fact that Varian is one of the strongest duelists in the game, especially after picking Twin Blades of Fury at Level 10, it is important to know when to engage and when to retreat. Do not dive into the enemy team's backline without your Tank in your vicinity and avoid chasing blindly into the enemy territory at all costs!

See our Talents page for further information Create your own build and share it with friends!

Synergies and Counters

Varian synergizes with

Because of his lack of mobility, Varian performs best if paired with Warriors like E.T.C. who are capable of locking down targets for him to follow up on. It is worth mentioning that Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash, in particular, benefits greatly from having additional burst-heavy Assassins like Li-Ming or Jaina in the same team.

Varian is countered by

Varian is countered by Heroes like Lunara or Valla, who are able kite him due to their superior mobility or by Heroes like Muradin or Alarak, who can Silence him or slow his Basic Attacks. In order to deal with those types of Heroes, we recommend avoiding head-on battle. Instead, wait for your allies to arrive and take them on together.


Varian's stronger maps Battlefield of Eternity Dragon Shire Garden of Terror Hanamura
Varian's average maps Blackheart's Bay Braxis Holdout Cursed Hollow Haunted Mines Infernal Shrines Sky Temple Tomb of the Spider Queen Towers of Doom Volskaya Foundry Warhead Junction
Varian's weaker maps None

Varian excels on larger maps (such as Garden of Terror or Warhead Junction) featuring multiple Mercenary and Boss Camps, which he can clear by himself when going for the Fury Build. It is worth mentioning that one of Varian's major weaknesses is waveclear, which makes him slightly weaker Hero on maps like Infernal Shrines or Tomb of the Spider Queen.

TL;DR Tips

  • When playing the Arms Build, always make sure to use Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash first in order to increase all damage dealt from your other abilities.
  • If you plan on going for Twin Blades of Fury Icon Twin Blades of Fury at Level 10, we strongly recommend also picking Second Wind Icon Second Wind at Level 7 in order to be able to clear Mercenary and Boss Camps all by yourself.
  • Charge Icon Charge does not go through obstacles such as Walls, Gates, or any other impassable terrain.
  • If you are not sure which Banner to pick at Level 16, the safest bet is usually Banner of Ironforge Icon Banner of Ironforge.
  • Taunt Icon Taunt can be used to interrupt (Heroic) abilities that have a short channel animation, such as Sundering Icon Sundering, Storm, Earth, Fire Icon Storm, Earth, Fire, or Twilight Dream Icon Twilight Dream.
  • Playing Varian requires you to be mindful of your allies, especially during the initial Hero draft. For instance, if your team desperately needs a Tank, do not insist on taking Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash or Twin Blades of Fury Icon Twin Blades of Fury at Level 10.
  • Shattering Throw Icon Shattering Throw completely shuts down Heroes like Artanis,Johanna, orChen.
See our Abilities page for further information

2. Overview

Varian is a multi-class Hero who can be played as both a melee Warrior or a melee Assassin depending on which talents are picked throughout the game. Having access to multiple crowd control abilities, Varian excels at slowing his targets allowing him to take them down himself or with the help of his allies. At Level 10, Varian can decide between multiple playstyles. Taunt Icon Taunt turns him into a resilient protector capable of absorbing a lot of damage. Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash enables Varian to drastically weaken his target's defences, allowing him to take them down very quickly. Ultimately, Twin Blades of Fury Icon Twin Blades of Fury increases Varian's to attack and movement speed significantly while in combat, which causes him to become a deadly threat to less agile opponents. In order to unleash Varian's full potential, players will have to learn how to fulfill both the role of a peeling Warrior and of an hard-engaging Assassin.

3. Strengths

  • Very flexible playstyle
  • Strong talent choices across the board
  • Can take on the role of both a Warrior and Assassin, which makes him hard to read in drafts
  • Outstanding Basic Attack damage
  • Capable of clearing any Mercenary and Boss Camp all by himself when going for Second Wind Icon Second Wind at Level 7 and Twin Blades of Fury Icon Twin Blades of Fury at Level 10
  • Banner talents at 13 provide excellent utility

4. Weaknesses

  • Weak early game
  • Lacks waveclear
  • No Stuns
  • Fairly high learning curve
  • Limited escape mechanisms

5. Role in the Current Meta

Varian's diversity in terms of classes can be considered both a blessing and a curse. While it is quite useful to draft a flexible Hero whose role is hard to assume for the opponents, it can sometimes be hard to determine which playstyle adds the most value to your team's composition. As a rule of thumb, it is crucial to communicate with your teammates before picking Varian. While we generally recommend going for Taunt Icon Taunt, especially if no other Warrior is available or if your team needs additional frontlining, we suggest picking Colossus Smash Icon Colossus Smash if your team lineup features other burst-heavy Assassins, such as Li-Ming or Jaina who will greatly benefit from its Vulnerable debuff. Last but not least, Twin Blades of Fury Icon Twin Blades of Fury poses a solid alternative if your team requires a nimble frontliner capable of dealing sustained damage throughout longer team fights.

Mastering Varian will require more practice and experience than on many other Heroes due to the vast amount of different playstyles and talent builds. However, a well played Varian has the potential to single-handedly carry his team. To do so requires strong map awareness and swift reflexes while in combat. Thus, we strongly recommend practicing Varian in Unranked and Quick Match first before using him in Hero League.

6. Reading Further

To take things further, we have 2 more pages that you can read:

7. ChangeLog

+ show all entries - show only 10 entries
  • 11 Jul. 2017 (talents page): Changed High King's Quest from Situational to Recommended.
  • 03 Jul. 2017 (talents page): Updated Varian's Level 1 talents.
  • 16 May 2017 (talents page): Updated Warbringer's description.
  • 11 Mar. 2017 (talents page): Updated Varian's talent section to fit the current meta.
  • 28 Feb. 2017 (talents page): Updated Warbringer in accordance with the latest Balance Update.
  • 18 Feb. 2017 (talents page): Re-arranged Varian's Level 13 and 16 talent tiers in accordance with the Lucio Update.
  • 04 Feb. 2017 (talents page): Updated Level 7 talent discussions and assessments.
  • 20 Dec. 2016 (talents page): Updated text for some talent discussions, but assessments remain the same.
  • 20 Dec. 2016 (this page): Adjusted weaknesses.
  • 15 Nov. 2016 (this page): Guide added.
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