Gragas Build Guide by BuddhaKingpen
Not Updated For Current Season
This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.
Not Updated For Current Season
The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.
For a long time, since the innervating locket nerf, gragas has been an overlooked champion. People felt that his tank role couldnt be dont because of his lack of cc. Then shushei took him to dreamhack and everyone hopped on the ap gragas bandwagon(myself included, even though i read it in a guide prior and decided to try it). Now if u build gragas anything but ap, people seem to think that you're doing it wrong. and while yes, ap gragas in the mid is very powerful early-mid game, endgame he seemed to be lacking for me. He could still assassinate the carries, and screw up team positioning, but after his q, and his ult, his presence in a well done late game team fight was missing something.
so i tinkered around with ad gragas, which works....only if u get fed... i tried straight tank, which like everyone said before, just doesnt have enough cc to get the job done... i tried support tank bottom lane... once again, good damage in lane, not enough cc with the added disadvantage of having barely any tankiness from lack of farm and no burst after the laning phase.
Until one day i found what worked for me. OFFTANK ANTI CARRY. with this build, once i learned to utilitze it correctly, i would NEVER lose a top lane. ever. to anyone. and i've played malphites,olafs,vlads,kennens, maokais,sivirs,teemos, jarvans, warwicks, trynds....pretty much anyone who's a decent solotop, i've played them with this gragas build and won. if not the first time, after taking time to readjust how to level up my skills, which i'm gonna give u a quick cheat guide with this. it even beats mid laners if u feel the need to go mid with it. but keep in mind ur not going ap, so ur burst post laning will be lacking.
With this guide i will teach u how to lane, how to teamfight, and how to consistently win (at least ur lane...lord knows u cant carry stupid) with anti carry gragas.
Pros / Cons
-does hybrid damage in lane. makes it harder for the enemy to itemize against both for the laning phase
-The best of all the late game gragas builds
-extremely mobile champion
- high early game burst, AND sustained, while still being tanky
-sustains well in lane through the use of philosophers stone, his passive, and his w
- can walk into a team 5v1, kill the carry, and walk out alive with full build.
-has a solution for almost all lane matchups.
-mid game is lacking. basically just a mundo with a sheen proc, but without his ult
-if solo queue, teams wont know what ur doing more than likely, may lead to a few teamfight deaths unless u explain yourself.
- only one form of hard cc (as game changing as it can be)
-a tad harder to use if u dont know how every champ in the game works.
ok the whole strategy behind my runes is that they capitolize on what gragas already has. so his w makes him naturally tanky, plus armor seals and mres glyphs for added tankiness. u will be more tanky than most solotops with your w up. the mpen marks are for the hybrid damage in lane. you know how some people run like entire pages of armor up top, or entire pages of mres? well this solves the problem. if they run entire armor pages, max out ur q first, and along with magic pen reds u will nuke them...HARD. plus u do still have enhanced auto's from w. if they run entire MR pages, then max w first, body slam into them. and beat the dog mess out of them. at level 9 70 attack damage, plus mitigation is hard to beat. even if u dont run armor penetration marks. thats why i prefer mpen reds over apen reds. u can always do consistent physical damage anyway, BUT if they negate ur barrel damage, and thats what u need to spec into to win the lane, then ur screwed.
Quints are optional. i run move speed because with a full build, and your e, outside of maybe hecarim, you will be the fastest champion in the game...a flash thats up every 4.5 seconds with max cdr, plus 479 movement speed? yeah he blazes though the map. like seriously. the only way someone is faster than him, is if they itemize purely for movement speed. like maybe a triple phantom dancers teemo or something lol.
this just establishes your tanky damage dealer dominance in lane. late game, sure u wont be doing much magic damage, but it helps early game, and that's where masteries and runes should shine the most imo. honestly i've never tried spec'ing into armor pen, but if u read the runes section, i think my explanation for running mpen on this gragas build defends itself enough.
but once again. this just adds to what gragas already has, plus covers what he doesnt. the defense tree was made for gragas.
i run ghost/ignite for numerous reasons.
GHOST- you be gragas
you be super fast
you be havin a flash every 4 seconds with cdr, every 7 without
you be strong. you be evasive
you be able to chase down targets and slow them
you be able to late game, charge straight into enemy team with ghost and wail on the carry. either the enemy team is forced to focus you and waste cc and spells on u, or they let their carry die. either way, its a win win.
overall if u pick flash, u just dont have as much chasing, initiating, or even running. theres almost nothing that flash could do for u that body slam wont, plus the ms will get you further away than a flash would if u need to run
ignite- honestly this is personal opinion. but it guarantees me winning my lanes i found out. i seriously mean this. you are stronger than everyone. then it lets you also beat out high sustain champs. if u outdamage everyone while laning, and can outchase most champs while laning...all u really need is something to make sure they cant sustain through the beating
Other viable options
TELEPORT- granted i like having long laning phases that are slow, and full of nothing but farmfests. if u feel like your top lane matchup really will only come down to a stalemate (in other words, you're new to this way of playing gragas) then grab tp. along with philosopher stone, his passive, and his w, gragas has an insane amount of sustain. tp makes it even more so. go all in, pull back, tp back up at full, and force a recall, or free kill.
HEAL-gragas's natural tankiness combined with this makes heal baiting extremely viable. plus with infinite mana, this synergizes with his passive really well in lane. then in a teamfight, its good if u choose to play the tanky initiator role. if the team DOES choose to focus you once u start beating up their carry, and ur team took a tad bit too long to respond, this should heal u right back on up to where u should be.
EXHAUST- your q and your e already do what this does, but if you feel the need to COMPLETELY shut down a carry, this is youre best bet. its always funny to have a frozen heart, randuins omen activate, a q, and exhaust a carry. 0.1 attack speed is no fun for them lol.
This is the complicated part... ok you need to know ur matchups. usually for top lane, i run three points into barrels, for decent burst, a solid cd on it, plus a good attack speed debuff, then i max w, then e, then finish off q. this allows for two decent bursts, with follow up off good auto attacks. this is for the average melees like trynd, nasus,jarvan and the like. I will now give you a cheat sheet on how to level up your skills based off of a charactes laning type. This will stay up here until I have time to type out my individual character matchups section. then i will streamline this section a bit more.
Passive Mage Lanes(cho gath, galio, ap gragas, malphite, maokai, vladimir)- these guys , you want to max q first just so that u can poke at them. their strategy is usually to push the lane really fast, then fall back to a bush or their turret while u last hit. maxing q first will keep the lanes in a stalemate( or even to ur advantage, if u wait for the minions to push a little before nuking all of them) and maxing q first will also allow u to poke at them should they choose to want to fight you. they all have your burst, but none of your sustained damage, and only one of them (vlad) has your sustain. you should win all of these lanes
Aggressive Mage Lanes(akali, Cassi,Fizz, Kennen,Kat,Morde,Rumble, Ryze, Swain) for these lanes you rely on your sustain and consistently high sustained damage. I usually eat one move to the face after taking a swig, so the damage output is lessened. I then just charge into them, throwing a barrel while body slamming, then just beat on them. if they do more damage than u feel comfortable with taking, then max q one more level somewhere between levels 7-11, and just outpoke them. notice your q has more range than all of them. take advantage of it.honestly tho. u want to max that w asap after level 5, and get to the point where u can just tank their harrass and beat them down with raw damage.if u notice that they run all MR runepage, then max w first before u even worry about level q. No need to have ur pre 6 damage negated. if played correctly, u will win. this may take the longest to get used to, since it makes u change up ur playstyle more than any other champion type. u still should win the lane.
Passive AD lanes(jarvan, poppy, irelia,udyr,nasus, nidalee)- you kinda crush these guys. like steamroll stomp em. my standard skill sequence works on these guys to max effect. they get close to a minion, you q them. they try to fight you, then you outdamage then. even irelia needs attack speed to do her true damage. she wont get those attacks off with a barrell debuff. nasus wither? body slam away. you outpoke these champs, you do more sustained damage than these champs. u have the same mobility as these champs, your sustain is equal to, if not better than most of these champs. with sheen u have high burst as well. u will not lose these lanes. its impossible.
Aggressive AD Lanes(garen,gangplank, olaf, pantheon, riven, teemo, tryndamere, wukong)- honestly,these guys u cant use a consistent way to beat. u just need to adjust. for the most part with these guys, i max w first to tank their harrass and give it back. if they are auto attackers, this is a safe strategy, as your q will leave their auto attacks slow, while ur w makes u tanky and deal more damage than them. so u can beat gp trynd, and even wukong and riven this way. just wait for rivens shield to go down before u use the barrel. olaf's e goes through ur mitigation from ur w, so beating hiim wont be easy. they say once he finishes his wriggles, he wins most melee lanes, but this is not the case with gragas. he wont be able to burst u down if u barrel him from a distance. and he cant sustain too well if every time he gets bursted, he also loses his attack speed. your q almost single handedly beats olaf.
CORE- Philosophers stone, boots of speed, sheen.
Regrowth pendant and a health pot- really good starter items on gragas. for a few levels he can be played passively ( or not, depending on ur matchups), and this helps with that mindset. u still will have just enough mobility with your e. no worries
philosopher stone- once u go back the first time, you want enough money for at least this, some boots of speed, and a ward. now is when u can start trying for kills. this blows both your mana regen and health regen through the roof with your passive and your w
sheen- this will give u the burst to really out damage everyone. once u w, then body slam in and auto attack, most champs will have lost at least 1/4 of their health bar, if they try to fight u back, wait a bit, then barrel roll on them for an attack speed debuff and another sheen proc. if u find yourself not winning the exchange, your body slam should be up by then. if you ARE winning however, this is where u ignite them, ult them so that they need to burn flash or die, then body slam them into more autos. and if they flash...remember we dont take flash...ghost outchases them. in other words...sheen nets free kills.
Optional items(what u see as the build up top is my main build, but i change it depending on game length)
Warmogs Armor- Hp is always an amazing defensive stat, and usually more useful, after u get one solid resistance item. since hp is especially useful early on, u want to build this directly after your core is built, to max it out ASAP
Frozen Heart- I usually build glacial shroud, then force of nature, then finish my trinity, then frozen heart, but its an important item nonetheless. great defensive stats, shuts down ad carries just by u being there, and provides u with the almighty cdr. excellent item
Force of Nature- I prefer this to banshees or quicksilver. u arent a carry, so i think quicksilver is useless. actually you WANT to absorb the cc for your team. so getting items to break cc is kinda pointless imo. the regen is op with his passive and tankiness, and the movespeed allows him to chase down squishies like jason voorhees does underage ****s. its scary knowing that someone is gonna kill u knowing theirs nothing u can do about it.
Trinity force- if u manage to finish up your defense items first, this item is of the utmost importance for ur late game damage.this is how u kill the squishies. you will be faster. u will be tanky. you will do burst. you will shut down their attack speed, while having some of your own. this makes you god over the squishies. their team will make plays according to YOUR moves once u get this.
Shurelyas Reverie- I think every anticarry (except olaf) needs this item. this tells ur team some ***** gonna go down. on gragas. i use this only to initiate. never to run. a freight train with two ghosts and high movespeed that can kill your carry without taking much damage unless your entire team focuses him... yeah... plus its the natural thing to buy after your philosopher stone, since those tenacity items suck. AND it maxes out your cdr. making you have that op 4.5 sec aoe slow/flash/wallhack.
randuins omen-some tell me that if i'm gonna do this, i should get randuins. but i feel that the cdr on frozen heart is just too strong to ignore. if i feel like i dont need cdr that game tho, i dont hesitate to get his instead. plus i like the consistent attack speed debuff frozen heart gives rather than the inconsistent one from this. remember ur an anti carry, not a tank. even tho u can initiate like one.
spirit visage- good with force of nature and your passive on an ap heavy team. its funny to get back like 300 health from using one spell. i dont like it. some do.
aegis of the legion- if u feel its gonna be a quick game, you can skip all the high end specialty defense items and just rush aegis and trinity force. it does the same overall thing for a game with an early finish, minus the hyper tankinesss and super speed.
frozen mallet- good if u go for the good ole metagolem and get fratmogs. u just wont be as tanky tho.
atmas impaler-read above. does increase sustained late game dps however.
sunfire cape- good for farming. if u run teleport on gragas, he can split push pretty damn good then tp into a teamfight. doesnt work as good as it does on a champ like shen or malphite tho.
thornmail- if the other carry KNOWS your playing anticarry...they wont be attacking you, if they do, since u debuff their attack speed, u arent even making the most out of this items passive. I dont get it. it may make sense to some people. just not me.
Guardians Angel- This is what u will get to round out your tankiness for that mid game finish along with aegis and trinity. if it goes longer than expected, you can still finish up shurelyas and get a warmogs. ur still tanky as hell. just no extra perks like movement speed or cdr
banshees veil- it works. not as well as Force of nature tho. it takes away from the freight train mentality.
To my knowledge, no other items work well with this strategy. ad items just wont get the job done. you arent really an assassin, you are an anti carry. u kill the carry before they can do anything effective in a teamfight. but if u cant take the beating you will recieve on the way to getting stunned, slowed and kited, you will never do that job. so no ap items, no ad items. just all tank and a trinity force.
so...basically you are mundo, only your ult isnt made useless by ignite, you have a gap closer along with your slow, and u have an attack speed debuff. try it. u do good damage, can tank for your team, can render ad carries uselss, and basically u get to just be a man! Stop playing gragas like a ***** and go ANTI CARRY!
I will clean this up and add pics when i have the time. i will also add a character matchups section.