Gragas Build Guide by MRN.ecco
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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.
Hello! I'm Tyler "ecco" Spesick and I am here once again for to bring you insight into one of my favorite champions!
Gragas is a very unique and interesting champion that has had his main-stream play-style changed multiple times throughout the last couple of years through patches that Riot has implemented. With the recent nerf that was done to his Body Slam he still has a very similar play-style but it makes him a lot harder to play because he is much less forgiving and therefore harder to play. If you enjoy the versatile play and unique way of Gragas then read on and learn!
- Amazing poke and consistent damage.
- AoE attack speed slow
- Massive AoE Burst
- AoE Slow
- Incredible, fluid movement that gives great chasing/escaping power.
- Strong sustain in lane with his passive as well as Drunken Rage.
- Insanely weak first few levels in lane.
- Everything is skill-shot so if you miss your spells then you literally sit there and do nothing.
- Body Slam's nerf causes it to be very punishing if used improperly.
Due to Gragas' extremely heavy AoE and burst potential, he works fantastically in heavy team-fighting comps. His 5v5 potential is one of the highest of any mid-laners in the game. You want to build a comp around him where you are constantly forcing team-fights and gaining every advantage from these successful team-fights as possible. The example composition that I have for this section is going to be Jax, Jarvan IV, Gragas, Sona, and Ezreal. It's a very strong composition that excels in many different ways (split pushing, sieging, disengaging and team-fights) which helps emphasize Gragas' strengths.
Overall it is a very strong engage that can be done with Sona or Jarvan with the other acting as the follow-up engage. There is a ton of AoE that if done in the proper order, can practically one shot anyone who gets caught by the very first ultimate. Then, after the initial wave of ultimates, Gragas splits everyone up and gets them all low on health. Jax and Ezreal are fantastic at cleaning up these fights with their incredible mobility and low-cd gap closers and burst.
Ignite and Flash are my choice of summoners to run on Gragas. Going anything else on Gragas doesn't really make sense to me. Teleport is decent on him but it hurts his laning and snowballing potential too hard. Barrier is terrible on him because, once again, it hurts his aggressive laning and will make him lose kills he would other-wise gain.
|...|| Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power
Greater Quintessence of Ability Power
These are the runes I run on Gragas and they are fairly greedy to run. It focuses on Gragas' mid to late game being the strongest it possibly could and pretty much forfeiting any strength and trading that could be achieved through flat magic resist glyphs. I do this because Gragas' early game is already bad in most match-ups unless he's following up with a gank or post-6. And if he is level 6 or higher you should have your Chalice of Harmony by then anyway so losing the mr from runes shouldn't really matter.
These are the standard AP masteries that I have been running on my mids lately. It gives you the most damage possible as well as giving you all you need from the utility tree. The only thing that could really be controversial about it is taking the biscuit masteries over Runic Affinity. I believe that the trade-off is more than worth it because of the extra sustain that it gives you in lane and the instant health gained from the biscuit greatly helps in close dueling situations.
The only time I stray from this ability sequence is if I am somehow pushing the wave and am having to be in the middle of the lane early on. In which case, I'd take a point in Body Slam at level 2 to give myself more mobility to avoid ganks and capatalize on a weak lane opponent. Other than that, this is what I go. Drunken Rage is maxed second because the extra ad it gives scales well with the damage on Body Slam and also gives a good chunk of mana and damage reduction.
Happy Hour (Passive)
Happy Hour is an amazing passive. In my opinion, it is one of the best laning passives in the game. It gives fantastic sustain, definitely in conjunction with Drunken Rage (which is free to cast and also gives you mana for more spells which means more health regen - YAY!). When it is convenient to, you can cast your spells to where the passive runs out from the first spell and then would start over for the next (such as Barrel Roll into Drunken Rage. Lastly, when you have blue buff you can kind of spam spells when it is safe to for a little bit of extra health regeneration.
Drunken Rage is a very straight forward spell. It heals you from your passive upon cast, gives you a flat amount of mana, and damage reduction! A fantastic ability that makes Gragas a little bit tanky without having to build really any defensive items (except Zhonya's because it is godlike on him). Just an overall fantastic ability that should be spammed pretty much every time it is off cool-down. The only thing tip I can really provide to you about this ability is don't do it in vulnerable positions! You are leaving yourself vulnerable for a decent amount of time while you chug down that alcohol so do it safely!
This ability has seen some nerfs lately that has brought down Gragas from the 3rd most mobile champion in the game (Behind Kassadin and Nidalee). He is still really mobile but just not as much as he used to be. Be careful spamming this ability like before because the cool-down is pretty damn long. Full CDR will bring the cool-down of using it raw (not hitting anything) to about where the cool-down would have been before with 0% CDR.
With all of the warnings presented, let's take a moment to talk about the pros of this ability. It is one of the best sticking abilities in the game and sets you up for a very easily landable Explosive Cask. It can also be used situationally for wave-clear if your Barrel Roll just isn't packing enough punch. Can also be used to escape over walls easily and just overall be a pain to pin down.
There is an advanced tactic with this ability that requires precise timing with Flash. If you body slam and then Flash right at the end of the ability, where you flash will carry over the AoE of the body slam and still do all the damage and slow them. This can be used to get straight on top of a squishy target when they aren't expecting it and just murder them. I suggest going into a custom game to try out this bad boy a few times before humiliating yourself in a regular game by failing it at first!
Explosive Cask is just amazing. It's this giant AoE from hell that has a 1.0 ratio on it. Completely insane ultimate. Can be used to split up the enemy team while hurting them all dearly, peeling for your ad-carry, catching a priority target, scattering the enemy team away from a turret, stealing baron, and even more. It's awesome but also needs quite a bit of practice to do exactly what you want it to do.
Athene's Unholy Grail gives Gragas everything he has ever desired. A little bit of magic resist helps with trading and dueling, a rediculous amount of mana regen that helps with poking and just overall sustain, and finally a decent amount of AP. This route makes his early laning a bit weaker than if you were to go, say two Doran's Rings into Morellonomicon but that setup doesn't scale nearly as hard into mid to late-game.
Then we really stack on the damage. Rabadon's Deathcap and Void Staff are purchased next. Gives the most damage possible for your mid-game that gives you a gigantic spike in overall power. Your Barrel Rolls will hurt like no other and you will have the ability to one-shot pretty much any priority target with your full combo.
Zhonya's Hourglass is typically the next item because of how fantastically it synergizes with Gragas. It allows you to be more aggressive and get in deep in fights while also buying yourself time for your cool-downs to come back up. Also, a cool trick you can use is that while in mid Body Slam you can actually activate Zhonya's Hourglass and Body Slam still works... except you're invulnerable. Cool, right?
Then, the icing on the damage cake is Deathfire Grasp. It gives you god-like burst that will guarantee the demise of any priority target and actually gives you a decent chunk of damage on tanks if needed.
Lastly, you pick up Greater Stealth Totem at some point after your core is complete. Just whenever you have the gold available and you aren't denying yourself too much damage or completion of a key item then pick it up!
Gragas is a fairly safe pick that will lose early-game pretty consistently to most popular champions. I'll go over some of the key match-ups you'll be seeing.
Orianna: Gragas is actually a pretty good pick against Orianna. She will crush your soul and make you wish you were never born prior to level 4 but after that you kind of mess her up. With the Flash + Body Slam trick I mentioned earlier it gives you amazing kill potential and sets up ganks really well. She doesn't do that much damage to you in a straight up fight with because of Drunken Rage and it just really hard for her to be aggressive without taking a lot of risks.
Syndra: This champion is similar to Orianna for the early game part. She hurts and shoves the lane really strongly but once you kind of get a little bit of room to breath you can really punish her well with your sticking and burst potential. Play the early game safe and punish her later on when she gets too comfortable.
Ahri: She beats you. Still does after the nerfs. She has so much room to out-play and kill you that it is just a losing battle. The best you can do in this lane (given even skill) is to lose the lane by 20-30 cs and lose your tower without doing any damage to hers. That is how the match-up should go on paper. Just be very careful against her and NEVER body slam unnecessarily because that is her time to ult in on you for a free charm and the kill that comes soon after.
|...||Laning with Gragas is fairly straight-forward. In most cases, your early game is going to consist of you farming safely with Barrel Roll with auto-attacking minions for last hits when you can safely. If they are going for a last hit then that is a good time for you to go for one as well (if there is one available for you to get) because they can't be auto-attacking both you and a minion at the same time. Be careful not to hit too many other minions when you are last hitting/harassing with your barrel roll early on. If you do, you will be doing a ton of damage overall to the lane which can cause it to push away from you. This allows your opponent to freeze the lane which causes you to just lose. You can't farm safely or pretty much at all against a champion that is stronger than you when the minions are on their side of the lane.
Once you get level 4 and beyond, a lot of the match-ups that were weak start to become a little bit stronger for you. Call for jungler ganks when your opponent is playing too aggressive and you can capitalize on them being too comfortable and begin your snowballing. Once you get a small advantage in the lane, you should be able to just completely crush them because of how hard Gragas snowballs. Farm wraith camps when you can shove your lane easily and don't have opportunities to roam.
|...||Mid-Game can be an awkward time for Gragas. His mid-game is very strong but until he really hits his core items there are a fair amount of mids that do more than him in my opinion. Look for roaming and diving opportunities in side-lanes. Gragas is fantastic at diving because he can push them away from their tower with Explosive Cask and just overall has a ton of burst.
Focus on staying together as a team past laning phase to either siege the opposing team's turrets or force objectives. Gragas is fantastic at both of these so make sure to force stuff as a team. Don't sit around farming forever because you will be missing opportunities to gain advantages. If your team ever gets engaged on in a situation that is bad for you, explosive cask can be used as an amazing disengage.
For what you are doing in team-fights, it is mostly played like a ranged spell-caster. You will be poking from the out-skirts with Barrel Roll, looking for a chunky ultimate onto a majority of their team. Hitting 3 or 4 people, skattering them and knocking priority targets either into your team or away from them is great. The longer it takes for them to get back into the fight the less impact they are having on the fight. You can use your Body Slam to help peel for your adc if there is nothing else to do with it. Look for opportunities in the beginning (when you have your full combo) to get on top of a priority target with body slam to burst them.
|...||Late-game for Gragas is where he truly shines. He has so many options and more aggressive choices once he completes his Zhonya's Hourglass and has just an insane amount of burst and damage with Deathfire Grasp. Even when just his core is complete his barrels chunk extremely hard and his overall AoE burst is through the roof.
The tactics and overall team philosophies listed in the mid-game section still hold true. You want to be doing the same things as you were before but you just have more opportunities to go ham in team-fights due to Zhonya's. Poke, split up their fight and just overall do an insane amount of damage with your ult. When sieging towers, don't be afraid to just use your ultimate to push the opposing team away from the tower. It will do a lot of damage and also give your team an opportunity to tank up the tower and either finish off a weakened one or do a lot of damage to a healthy one. His ult is so versatile and the more experience you gain with Gragas the more you'll realize just how amazing it is.