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They Can Stall Their Fate, but Cannot Deny It — A Varus Pantheon LoR Deck Guide

Varus Pantheon is a solid Ladder option, and one of the most powerful decks in Tournaments. Leer shares why!

Varus Pantheon is one of the most powerful decks in the current tournament meta. In this guide, you will learn how to pilot it best, and why it is such a powerhouse in a Best-of-Three format!

Regions
Mount Targon
19 cards
Runeterra
21 cards
Rarities
27 100
champion
6
epic
3
rare
12
common
19
Mana cost
0
0
7
1
10
2
6
3
13
4
4
5
0
6
0
7+
Champions
6
4
Pantheon
3
Pantheon
4
Varus
3
Varus
Equipments
2
2
The Darkin Lodestone
2
The Darkin Lodestone
Followers
11
1
Forsaken Baccai
1
Forsaken Baccai
1
Saga Seeker
3
Saga Seeker
2
Lunari Cultist
3
Lunari Cultist
3
Iula
1
Iula
3
Wandering Shepherd
3
Wandering Shepherd
Spells
21
1
Momentous Choice
3
Momentous Choice
2
Guiding Touch
2
Guiding Touch
2
Pale Cascade
3
Pale Cascade
3
Hush
2
Hush
4
Furious Wielder
3
Furious Wielder
4
The Expanse's Protection
2
The Expanse's Protection
4
The Unending Wave
2
The Unending Wave
5
Heedless Resurrection
1
Heedless Resurrection
5
The Unforgiving Cold
3
The Unforgiving Cold
Open deck in builder

Best LoR Decks: Varus Pantheon – Card Breakdown

In the first place, this archetype is a PantheonPantheon deck. We run PantheonPantheon's usual Fated and "cards that target other cards" package, as it can also be found in other Pantheon blends, like Pantheon Fiora.

Pantheon Saga Seeker Varus

PantheonPantheon and Saga SeekerSaga Seeker are our two core units. Varus Pantheon revolves around targeting allies and consistently activating Fated. 

Saga SeekerSaga Seeker's one-mana cost means we can start cashing in on the Fates procs as early as round two, while PantheonPantheon will level up around rounds 6-8, gaining a random keyword that can turn around entire games. For example, if he gains Lifesteal against Katarina Gwen, or Elusive and Spellshield against Seraphine brews.

If you're a veteran player, you might miss Wounded WhiteflameWounded Whiteflame from this list. The dragon was already cut since Fiora Pantheon emerged but was the third staple Fated unit of the old Pantheon Yuumi – we don't play Wounded WhiteflameWounded Whiteflame nowadays because it has become too clunky. With Saga SeekerSaga Seeker, we can utilize Fated very easily, and PantheonPantheon is more of a finisher that doesn't need much support. 

Compared to those, Wounded WhiteflameWounded Whiteflame is a three-mana investment that makes it difficult to activate Fated every round. Even worse, since the nerf to Zenith BladeZenith Blade, Wounded WhiteflameWounded Whiteflame is easy to chump-block. Wandering ShepherdWandering Shepherd and IulaIula would be the cards we need to make Wounded WhiteflameWounded Whiteflame work, but those two are also three-drops, making it very awkward to play all of them.

VarusVarus is a “silent benefactor” of our Fated gameplan, similar to Camphor, the DoubtCamphor, the Doubt in Pantheon DEDemacia. He can push lethal damage once leveled up, and drawing him for free means extra value and consistent Equipment location to activate cards like Momentous ChoiceMomentous Choice.

Varus The Arrow of Retribution

VarusVarus' main advantage, though, is the cards we can run thanks to him. We will cover those later, but without access to Varus' Cultist cards provided by his Origin, Varus Pantheon would not be good enough to be played over e.g. Pantheon DEDemacia.

Now that we know the "who", we need to find the "how" for Fated activation.


Lunari Cultist Wandering Shepherd The Darkin Lodestone 

Lunari CultistLunari Cultist is the new Mountain GoatMountain Goat of the Fated archetype. It immediately gives us at least one GemGem – and with the amount of weapons we run, most of the time we'll get two.

While Mountain GoatMountain Goat is better for trades, it forces us into bad attacks to get a GemGem. Also, Cultist is a better top deck, as we get the GemGem right away, which is useful to flip PantheonPantheon.

Also, equipping the Lunari Cultist makes her suitable for trading against two-Health units like AnnieAnnie or Mountain GoatMountain Goat, while also surviving an attack.

Talking about Equipment, Wandering ShepherdWandering Shepherd is the Weaponmaster. He allows us to simultaneously develop a unit, activate Fated, and Improvise. The improvised equipment is especially useful, as we can get FishawhackFishawhack for Overwhelm on a big Saga SeekerSaga Seeker, or Upcycled RakeUpcycled Rake for Scout on PantheonPantheon!

The Darkin LodestoneThe Darkin Lodestone is a very efficient way of activating Fated, while also giving our Saga SeekerSaga Seeker extra Health and potentially buffing another ally.

Since we don’t run as many units as Pantheon Vayne or Taric Poppy, HoraziHorazi is not as usual of a play as in DEDemacia brews. That being said, don’t forget about this option from The Darkin LodestoneThe Darkin Lodestone, and especially the Spellshield HoraziHorazi wears. If you can put FishawhackFishawhack on HoraziHorazi, she can become a lethal threat!

Note: Nope, putting Upcycled RakeUpcycled Rake on her and supporting an ally doesn’t give you a free attack. =)

Guiding Touch Pale Cascade

Pale CascadePale Cascade and Guiding TouchGuiding Touch are MTTargon staples that most decks use. They are extremely efficient combat spells that cycle themself, and in our case they activate Fated on top.

Mastering their use can seem tricky at first, but once you understand that playing Saga SeekerSaga Seeker on round two to activate Nightfall is the way to go, and that Guiding TouchGuiding Touch doesn’t need to heal two to be worth casting, you should get the hang of these spells quickly.


Now that we’ve talked about the who and how of Fated, let’s focus on the Cultist spells that VarusVarus lets us include in our list:

Momentous Choice Furious Wielder

Momentous ChoiceMomentous Choice is the best one-mana spell in the game. It makes trading against us extremely annoying, and activating the spell is not that difficult with eight weapons in our list.

As if that wasn’t enough, Momentous ChoiceMomentous Choice synergizes even better with our champions. It can activate Fated twice when leveling PantheonPantheon, and adds up to four power to The Darkin BowThe Darkin Bow.

The Expanse's Protection is one of the spells I rated the highest in this new expansion. It allows us to protect our valuable champions at Burst speed for mere two mana. This means we will always trade upwards tempo-wise when casting this spell. On the downside, The Expanse's Protection is reactionary in nature, and can’t be cycled proactively like Pale CascadePale Cascade and Guiding TouchGuiding Touch.

Furious WielderFurious Wielder is our saving grace when it comes to interacting with our enemy’s units. Since we lack access to DEDemacia, we can’t include Single CombatSingle Combat and Concerted StrikeConcerted Strike. Furious WielderFurious Wielder allows us to handle backline threats like SeraphineSeraphine, as well as remove blockers in the way of our Overwhelm units. This is an S-Tier card we don't want to miss.

The Unforgiving Cold Hush

Talking about S-Tier cards, The Unforgiving ColdThe Unforgiving Cold is the reason Varus Pantheon works. It flips a lot of matchups, especially DEDemacia ones, due to their tendency to go tall and rely on board trades. It can freeze a RumbleRumble against Rumble Vayne, or a ZedZed against Tumbling Elusives.

When you look at data, you can see that Pantheon Vayne struggles against Rumble Vayne (43% WR) because they can hardly bypass RumbleRumble's Spellshield. Compared to that, Varus Pantheon has a 61% WR in that matchups, because The Unforgiving ColdThe Unforgiving Cold is inescapable, even with Spellshield.

Pro tip: The Unforgiving ColdThe Unforgiving Cold can’t Frostbite a unit twice. For example, if you cast it once to Frostbite ZedZed, and then your foe buffs Zed's Power, you can not Frostbite him a second time with another The Unforgiving ColdThe Unforgiving Cold in the same round.

HushHush is another The Unforgiving ColdThe Unforgiving Cold, but different. Sometimes, The Unforgiving ColdThe Unforgiving Cold doesn’t hit the targets we want. HushHush can silence ZedZed or EzrealEzreal, allowing us to block them. 

That being said, HushHush isn’t a Cultist spell, meaning it doesn’t draw us VarusVarus, and gets blocked by Spellshield. It is definitely one of the first cards you want to cut when teching your deck!

Forsaken Baccai Iula

Forsaken BaccaiForsaken Baccai is a gap filler that is almost never a dead draw. It allows us to locate key cards for a given matchup, and can be an early blocker or The Darkin LodestoneThe Darkin Lodestone target. If you want to be better versus aggro, run three copies of this card.

IulaIula is a one-of that can protect our Fated units, or even VarusVarus from removal. If our foe runs many cheap-cost, low-stat units like ConchologistConchologist (also called chump blockers), we can put Overwhelm onto Saga SeekerSaga Seeker for extra Nexus damage. Since PantheonPantheon and Varus (level 2)Varus (level 2) already have Overwhelm, and we have access to better Spellshield cards, we don’t run more than one copy of IulaIula.

The Unending Wave Heedless Resurrection

The Unending WaveThe Unending Wave is one of those cards that we play since we have access to it, but it doesn’t impact the deck too much. Sometimes, we need to find PantheonPantheon or The Unforgiving ColdThe Unforgiving Cold to come back into a game, and The Unending WaveThe Unending Wave gives us two more looks for it. 

On the downside, the cards drawn are fleeting. If we get a HushHush or The Expanse's Protection and can’t use them the same round, they are lost forever.

That being said, don't hesitate to use the Wave aggressively to look for your wincons. If you find PantheonPantheon off The Unending WaveThe Unending Wave but discard the second card, that’s a trade worth taking, since PantheonPantheon will most likely win us the game. We would likely run a two-mana boat for PantheonPantheon if we could!

Heedless ResurrectionHeedless Resurrection is a one-of that can come in clutch in some situations. Varus Pantheon relies on their Overwhelm champions to close out the game, so resurrecting one of them is a good idea. That being said, we first need our champs to die for Heedless ResurrectionHeedless Resurrection to work. This, and the fact that the card will resurrect VarusVarus if both your champions have died in this game, means that we only run one copy of it.


Tech Options

Ambitious Cultist

Ambitious CultistAmbitious Cultist can be the third four-drop in our deck. This allows us to mulligan more aggressively for Saga SeekerSaga Seeker and Wandering ShepherdWandering Shepherd in most games, without running the risk of missing a round-four play. While the card that Cultist creates is not great in eight out of ten cases, we don’t always want to drop PantheonPantheon on round four, and Cultist is just as good of an Equipment target due to its high health!

Oftentimes, before we want to develop our champs, we want to make our smaller units a threat. Playing Ambitious CultistAmbitious Cultist plus an Equipment can force our foe to use removal like Ravenous FlockRavenous Flock on this unit, instead of one of our valuable champions.


Pantheon Varus – Mulligan

We always keep Saga SeekerSaga Seeker and Wandering ShepherdWandering Shepherd. If we already have Saga SeekerSaga Seeker in hand, we can keep The Darkin LodestoneThe Darkin Lodestone. If we have both of those in hand, we can also keep Momentous ChoiceMomentous Choice, and our Saga SeekerSaga Seeker will never die.

Pale CascadePale Cascade is also a solid keep when we see Saga SeekerSaga Seeker in our starting hand, as it allows us to efficiently activate Fated while cycling itself. 

Compared to that, Guiding TouchGuiding Touch frequently doesn’t allow us to trade with Saga SeekerSaga Seeker early, as it doesn’t buff our Saga SeekerSaga Seeker to four health like Pale CascadePale Cascade. This makes Guiding TouchGuiding Touch only a situational keep against Ravenous FlockRavenous Flock decks.

Do we keep Momentous ChoiceMomentous Choice when we only have Wandering ShepherdWandering Shepherd in hand? Nope. Finding an early unit as a target for Equipment takes precedence.


Varus Pantheon – Tips and Tricks

Find excuses to play Pale CascadePale Cascade and Guiding TouchGuiding Touch. Those spells are meant to activate Fated and cycle themself. Keeping them in hand will mean we effectively play with one card less in our hand.

For example, if you play Saga SeekerSaga Seeker on round two and have the choice between The Darkin LodestoneThe Darkin Lodestone and Pale CascadePale Cascade, it is most of the time better to play the spell, as it will draw you another card. Especially if we don't have a round-three play yet, we should delay playing The Darkin LodestoneThe Darkin Lodestone!


Don’t overvalue your Saga SeekerSaga Seekers. While they are the most powerful follower in our deck, if our Saga SeekerSaga Seeker can trade two-for-one, or even three-for-one while cycling our spells, we will have gained a huge tempo and card advantage. 

Our finishers are PantheonPantheon and VarusVarus, do not hesitate to trade Saga SeekerSaga Seeker away for value!


Varus Pantheon – Matchups

Pantheon Vayne – Favored

Mulligan: Saga SeekerSaga Seeker, Wandering ShepherdWandering Shepherd, PantheonPantheon

In this matchup, the player who can grow a bigger PantheonPantheon usually wins. Even if our opponent rolls better keywords like Quick Attack or Spellshield, they don’t matter if our PantheonPantheon can just block theirs.

Pantheon DEDemacia is usually the better PantheonPantheon blend with access to combat tricks like Single CombatSingle Combat and Rallies. Unfortunately for them, The Unforgiving ColdThe Unforgiving Cold is really good against tall units, and even goes through PantheonPantheon's Spellshield. 

We don’t keep The Unforgiving ColdThe Unforgiving Cold in our mulligan, though, as we need to fight for a tempo advantage with our units. Keeping four mana open in the later stages of the game is key to forcing our foe to play around The Unforgiving ColdThe Unforgiving Cold and will give us the edge in this matchup!

Further reading: for the other side of this matchup, check GeneralSchwartz's No More Demons – A Pantheon Vayne LoR Deck Guide.


Seraphine Ezreal NXNoxus – Unfavored

Mulligan: Saga SeekerSaga Seeker, Wandering ShepherdWandering Shepherd, champions, Guiding TouchGuiding Touch if Saga SeekerSaga Seeker in hand

This matchup sucks because they have all the removal. We want to find our champions, even VarusVarus, to not run out of units. Guiding TouchGuiding Touch can catch our foe off guard against a Ravenous FlockRavenous Flock or Scorched EarthScorched Earth.

Since this is a bad matchup, take your odds. For example, if you have a GemGem and Saga SeekerSaga Seeker in hand, but no other protection for Saga SeekerSaga Seeker, play him anyways and try to activate Fated with the GemGem, even if they might have Mystic ShotMystic Shot. We can not play around a lot of stuff against Ez Sera and have to take our chances.

This matchup is a premium example of Saga SeekerSaga Seekers role in Pantheon Varus. If we can get our opponent to cast Ravenous FlockRavenous Flock or DisintegrateDisintegrate onto Saga SeekerSaga Seeker, we are very happy because they might lack this removal later against VarusVarus or PantheonPantheon.

Further reading: for the other side of this matchup, check Card Gamer's Seraphine and The Clash at Noxus – A Seraphine Ezreal LoR Deck Guide.


Rumble Vayne – Favored

Mulligan: Saga SeekerSaga Seeker, Wandering ShepherdWandering Shepherd, The Unforgiving ColdThe Unforgiving Cold

Rumble Vayne is a one-trick pony who specializes in locating RumbleRumble through Legionary ChargeLegionary Charge, and protecting him. This archetype stands and falls with RumbleRumble.

How fortunate for us, then, that we run The Unforgiving ColdThe Unforgiving Cold!

While RumbleRumble wears Spellshield, which protects him from Furious WielderFurious Wielder, The Unforgiving ColdThe Unforgiving Cold goes through his Spellshield. And since RumbleRumble needs to attack to fulfill his job, Frostbite leaves him vulnerable to getting blocked by our tall units.

In this matchup, we don’t need to kill our opponent – we just need to handle all our foe’s RumbleRumbles. This means that we can open-pass into our opponent to have more mana available to deal with their RumbleRumble/pop his Spellshield.

Further reading: for the other side of this matchup, check Card Gamer's Tumble on the Rumble – A Vayne Rumble LoR Deck Guide.


Aggro – Unfavored

Mulligan: Baccai ReaperBaccai Reaper, Saga SeekerSaga Seeker, Lunari CultistLunari Cultist

Against aggro like Annie Jhin and Miss Fortune Swain, we can’t do much. We run anti-Demacia cards like The Unforgiving ColdThe Unforgiving Cold that are too slow for this matchup – we can’t beat everything, and aggro is the one matchup we have to sack to beat other archetypes.

Try to find your early drops and don't panic when taking face damage. Since we don't have many early units, going for value trades is important, especially to have blockers when Annie Jhin uses their stun cards.

Keep in mind that Furious WielderFurious Wielder can counter Noxian FervorNoxian Fervor. Apart from that, there’s not much to say, hopefully, you don’t queue into aggro too often!

Further reading: for the other side of this matchup, check PakiInPyjamas' By Her Guns Shall Noxus Rise – A Miss Fortune Swain LoR Deck Guide, and Yangzera's Annie goes to Stack School – A Jhin Annie Aggro Guide.


Vayne Zed – Slightly favored

Mulligan: Saga SeekerSaga Seeker, Wandering ShepherdWandering Shepherd

We just talked about how Noxus aggro is good against us because we run slow anti-Demacia cards. So what happens if we face aggro DEDemacia?

There is always the threat looming that they curve out and beat us before we can stabilize with big units. On the other hand, ZedZed is susceptible to The Unforgiving ColdThe Unforgiving Cold and Furious WielderFurious Wielder.

If we can manage to hold on the first three to four rounds, and keep four mana open to threaten a ZedZed kill, this matchup should be favored for us. Keep in mind that they run many protection spells like Twin DisciplinesTwin Disciplines or DenyDeny. Leaving four mana open means that they have to save 5+ mana themselves to develop ZedZed and protect him.

Further reading: for the other side of this matchup, check my Return of Rally Elusives – A Vayne Zed LoR Deck Guide.


Tournament Meta

As I mentioned in the intro, Pantheon Varus is one of the best tournament decks in this meta. Varus Pantheon's weak spots are Seraphine archetypes and Aggro – but since our foe can only bring SeraphineSeraphine once in a lineup, we can simply ban her and only lose to aggro!

Especially in a meta where DEDemacia is prevalent, Varus Pantheon can shine as the core to a counter lineup.
Personally, I have brought Pantheon Varus alongside Akshan Lee Sin, and Zed Vayne or Leona Diana, to the last two weeks of the Aegis league, going 3-1 in the process against some of the best lineup-builders of the west like Pavelicii and Mati24Mayo.


Closing Thoughts

Pantheon Varus is one of those decks no one saw coming. VarusVarus in particular appeared to be an underwhelming champion, overshadowed by SeraphineSeraphine and VayneVayne. Nonetheless, he has found a home alongside our Fated demon fighters, teaming up to show vampire hunter VayneVayne the ropes. 

While not the best LoR ladder deck due to SeraphineSeraphine’s popularity in the meta, Varus Pantheon can fit into almost any tournament lineup that aims to ban Seraphine archetypes. 

Personally, I have found a lot of enjoyment piloting this deck, even more so in Gauntlet and Tournaments.

I hope you found this guide helpful and learned something. If you have questions about the deck, why not shoot me a message on  Twitter (@Leer97) or Discord (Leer#2026)?

I’m grateful for any advice on how to make these guides even more valuable for you. Thanks for reading and see ya next time! =)



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