Varian Build Guide “Glory to the Alliance!”
Welcome to our guide for Varian, a Bruiser in Heroes of the Storm. Within these pages, you will find everything required to understand how best to play this hero, in both different map styles and team compositions.
1. Varian's 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 4, Varian can decide between multiple playstyles. Taunt turns him into a resilient protector capable of absorbing a lot of damage. Colossus Smash enables Varian to drastically weaken his target's defences, allowing him to take them down very quickly. Ultimately, 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.
2. Varian's Strengths and Weaknesses
- 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
- Banner talents at 16 provide excellent utility
- Weak early game
- Lacks waveclear
- No Stuns
- Limited escape mechanisms
3. Varian's Talent Build Cheatsheet
Protection BuildTalent calculator »
Unlike his other two Heroic Abilites, 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.
His later talents at Level 13, 16, and 20 are interchangeable. Depending on the situation you find yourself in, both Banner of Dalaran and 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 BuildTalent calculator »
The Arms Build turns Varian into a highly explosive melee Assassin, who excels at marking enemy priority targets using 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, 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 can (and should!) also be used against non-Heroic enemies, such as Mercenaries and Bosses in order to take them down much quicker.
Twin Blades BuildTalent calculator »
The Twin Blade Build is like a double edged sword. One the one hand, it can turn Varian into a fearsome juggernaut, relentlessly chasing down enemies thanks to the superior Movement Speed that Twin Blades of Fury provides. On the other hand, it can also cause Varian to die a lot, especially if the enemy team has several sources of crowd control, such as Slows, Roots, and Stuns, that allow them to keep him at a distance. Silences are not that crippling with this Build, as Varian can still run and attack while Silenced.
We recommend this Build, in particular, if Varian is played as a solo laner, however, pay attention not to overextend before gaining access to Second Wind at Level 7, which keeps Varian sustained.
4. Varian's Synergies and Counters
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, in particular, benefits greatly from having additional burst-heavy Assassins like Greymane or Jaina in the same team.
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.
5. Varian's Maps
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.
6. Varian's Tips and Tricks
- When playing the Arms Build, always make sure to use Colossus Smash first in order to increase all damage dealt from your other abilities.
- 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.
- Taunt can be used to interrupt (Heroic) abilities that have a short channel animation, such as Storm, Earth, Fire or 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 or Twin Blades of Fury at Level 4.
- Shattering Throw completely shuts down Heroes like Artanis, Johanna, or Chen.
7. Varian's 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, especially if no other Warrior is available or if your team needs additional frontlining, we suggest picking 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.
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.
- 18 Apr. 2019 (talents page): Updated Varian's early talents and talent builds in accordance with the latest Balance Update.
- 13 Oct. 2018 (talents page): Updated Talent Builds and changed Frenzy from Not Recommended to Situational.
- 06 Apr. 2018 (talents page): Changed Second Wind from Situational to Recommended.
- 04 Apr. 2018 (talents page): Changed Warbringer from Situational to Recommended.
- 28 Mar. 2018 (talents page): Completely overhauled Varian's builds and talents in accordance with his recent re-work.
- 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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