Gragas Build Guide by Vokseli
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.
Welcome to my guide for Gragas: Run, Fatman, Run!
Here's a quick introduction to my build and why you should consider building Gragas like this.
! IMPORTANT ! This guide is mainly meant for players, that have either/both trouble hitting with Barrel Roll and surviving in fights with the usual AP build. But even if you're an experienced Gragas player, you should consider this build, at least.
! IMPORTANT ! For those, that aren't that experienced in League of Legends, always remember that a build varies on the game you are playing and should be never considered absolute. Please read through the whole guide carefully to understand more about situations where you must build different items than the guide recommends!
1. The Deadly Barrels
Barrel Roll is Gragas's main source of damage and it's pretty important to hit the enemy in the lane phase with them.
Barrel Roll is also a great tool for farming minions and denying farm from the enemy.
The weakness with Barrel Roll is that it's hard to hit on a somewhat skilled player, that has learned to actually dodge skill shots. This is one of the reasons why I max CDR with Boots of Lucidity combined with Nashor's Tooth; more barrels = more pressure on the enemy.
2. The Never Ending Mana
Not much to say here, max Drunken Rage last, because Nashor's Tooth and The Greater Seal of Alacrity (x9) provide you with mana regeneration, that allows you to spam Body Slam like crazy. You'll want to grab damage skills first.
You should consider asking for the blue buff in the early levels, but after Nashor's Tooth you should manage fine without it.
At level 18 you should not run out of mana.
3. Catch Me If You Can!
Body Slam is what makes this build awesome. A skill, that can be used for both initiating the enemy on your lane, catching fleeing foes and escaping tough situations.
People already get annoyed, if you use Flash to go over a wall (initiating or fleeing), but Gragas has basically a built-in Flash, that has a low cooldown, does damage and slows the enemies that it hits. So why not use the skill on it's full potential?
It has a very low mana cost on all ranks and with CDR maxed, can be used very frequently.
Now, let's talk about Runes. There are several options on building Gragas
Greater Quintessence of Ability Power (x3): Flat AP, since Gragas really starts to kick in in the mid game, especially with this build, but needs a little damage to the start.
Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power (x9): AP per level, since they're more useful in the mid-/end game.
Greater Glyph of Ability Power (x9): If you're hungry for early game kills, for example, against a strong end game champion, take flat AP instead of AP per level.
Greater Seal of Scaling Mana Regeneration (x9): Mana Regeneration per Level, since Gragas uses a lot of mana when using Barrel Roll, especially in the mid game.
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration (x9): Magic Penetration, as should go for almost any AP carry.
This rune set allows you to do decent damage in the early game, as well as is designed to back-up the mana usage after maxing CDR. It's a pretty standard AP carry page, but works very well, if you need to deal damage.
I recommend using these runes, if you feel like the enemy can't harass you that often (has skill shots that can be easily dodged, for example).
Greater Quintessence of Ability Power (x3): If you choose to go for Magic Resistance for both Glyphs and Seals, these provide you with a little damage.
Greater Quintessence of Endurance (x3): If you feel like you need extra health in the end game and have the need for going health items like Rylai's Crystal Sceoter and Rod of Ages]], I recommend taking these.
Greater Quintessence of Health (x3): Great against characters like LeBlanc and Veigar if combined with Magic Resist.
Greater Quintessence of Magic Resist (x3): I don't necessarily recommend these runes, but if, for some reason, you're going for AP per level Glyphs instead of Flat AP Quintessences or Mana Regeneration per level, I'd grab either these, but rather, health Quintessences.
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist (x9): Basic defensive runes for mid lane, you really shouldn't take anything else for the Glyphs if you're playing defensively.
Greater Seal of Magic Resist (x9): If you really need Magic Resistance, get these as well. If not, go for Mana Regeneration per level Seals.
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration Even when playing defensively you should grab these. Otherwise your damage in mid-/end game drops quite a bit.
Greater Mark of Magic Resist (x9): Only get these if the damage from the enemy team mainly consists of Magical Damage, consider the least to be somewhere around 70% of the total damage. The weak spot is, that you can never know if someone's playing a troll build, though it isn't very common, especially not common in Ranked Games.
Example of a team that mainly consists of Magical Damage:
Magic resist is never a bad option when playing mid (unless your opponent is an AD carry, of course). If you need to play more defensive, I recommend building lots of magic resist.
It's also a pretty safe way to go for new Gragas players. You can also take health for Quintessences instead of AP, if you feel like you're going to receive a lot of poking.
Masteries & Summoner Spells
Go very offensive or very defensive, since with the runes and provided in this build Gragas doesn't need that many points from the Utility Tree. Both offensive and defensive masteries work depending on the style you play. But I myself use 25-0-5 or 25-4-1, but a 4-25-1 build should also be effective. There are three exceptions, that in my opinion shouldn't be changed by anytime, though:
ALWAYS grab a point in Summoner's Wrath .
ALWAYS grab a point in Summoner's Insight .
ALWAYS grab three points in Resistance , to gain magic resistance against the enemy AP carry.
2. Summoner Spells
- Helps escaping in the early game, if you get ganked. Combined with Body Slam, you get far
better chance of escaping or catching up than your opponent on the lane.
- Uses as a great Summoner Spell for baiting damage, escaping and running in to throw your
ultimate, when you want to pull someone to your team.
- Ensures kills thorough the whole game, is a great tool against heals and gives you damage
when on cooldown.
- Ensures safe playing on the lane phase and is very useful on team fights, 1v1 fights and
- Useful against champions that do high burst damage (Veigar, Annie etc), though has a weak
spot against Ignite. It's also useful when tower diving and great against getting
SOMEWHAT RECOMMENDED/FOR MORE EXPERIENCED PLAYERS
- Great for ganking top and bot lanes, if you're provided with wards. Also great for laning,
since you can Recall and then Teleport back to your lane. Gragas does have Body Slam as
an escape/chase tool, so if you feel like you don't need Flash, take this instead.
- If the enemy has a lot of Crowd Control, this summoner spell can be useful. I recommend
taking it with Flash or Exhaust.
- Very useful in early game, but loses it's effect the longer the game goes on. Wouldn't
- Could work towards the mid game, but doesn't really work that well in the early game.
Wouldn't recommend, but you can try it out.
- In my personal opinion Flash is straight better for Gragas than Ghost, but if you really
want to take Ghost, sure, why not.
- A great spell for spotting enemies, getting timers from their jungle, checking bushes,
checking for Dragon and Baron Nashor, but really, your support should have this instead.
- This guide is meant for laning and you should never take Smite when laning. It doesn't give
you protection or damage against the enemy.
- If you're even considering this, forget it.
- If you're even considering this, you must either be a troll and/or need to uninstall the
game straight away. Seriously.
On to the items. Here's a quick description on each item I recommend building.
If you feel that you don't need to use that much mana in the early game, go for Boots of Speed and three Health Potions, or Boots of Speed, two Health Potions and one Mana Potion. If you feel movement speed isn't necessary in the start and you want to get more health and mana regen, get Doran's Ring as your first item and buy boots after that.
Here are different build orders for the early game:
+ + + >> >> >>
+ + + >> >> >>
>> >> >>
>> >> >>
Gives health, little mana regeneration and little ability power. You should purchase two or three of these at some point, unless you have a very good start and tons of money. A good time to buy them are one before Fiendish Codex and one after it, since the items, for survivability, after Nashor's Tooth and Boots of Lucidity are both pretty expensive.
This is just to max your CDR along with buying Nashor's Tooth, a total of 40%. If you really want to get Sorcerer's Shoes instead, you need to take at least 10% CDR from another item later to get the same effects from this build, than listed below(probably straight after Nashor's Tooth, which also delays your Hextech Gunblade.
Plenty of reasons. After Boots of Lucidity, CDR becomes a total of 40%, which is the maximum CDR that can be achieved. This allows you to use Happy Hour, Drunken Rage and Body Slam on their full potential. You also get attack speed, which is useful because of Drunken Rage's and Hextech Gunblade's bonus AD. Since this is the strangest item in my build, I think it needs a thorough explanation why you should buy it:
- You can keep Drunken Rage's passive buff up all the time, since the buff won't end
before your Drunken Rage comes off from cooldown. This passive is useful, since it
gives Gragas 30 Attack Damage and reduces the incoming damage by 10%. The 30 extra AD works
well along with the 40% Attack Speed bonus provided by Nashor's.
- Puts a mental pressure on the enemy, since you can actually spam Barrel Roll. It also
makes Barrel Roll a better positioning tool.
- The more you can spam skills, the more Happy Hour triggera.
- Body Slam is useful when catching up on a fleeing enemy, or using to flee situations
yourself. If you have Boots of Lucidity and Nashor's Tooth, you also get
a plus on your movement speed, since you can basically jump over any wall that comes on
your way instead of going around it.
- Explosive Casket, as any spell, is useless while on cooldown. It does have a rather
short cooldown, but does it hurt to have even shorter cooldown on it?
Gives survivability necessary to stay in fights, allows you to farm jungle when on low health and gives AD and lifesteal to comp with the 40% Attack Speed given by Nashor's Tooth.
Let's study slows in League of Legends before we talk about Rylai's. Every slow affecting spells is reduced in AOE spells and spells with lower base cooldown than 3 seconds. In League of Legends there are three kinds of slows: slows from skills, items and buffs.
Slows from two of the same source do not stack, for example, using a slow ability of 30% twice (without the effect ending between the usage) on the same target doesn't stack to 60%, but instead refreshes the duration of the slow. Hitting a single target spell with Rylai's Crystal Scepter doesn't stack with using another single target spell immediately, nor does it stack if you have Frozen Mallet and auto attack on the target, instead, the slow refreshes leaving the stronger one active.
Two characters auto attacking on the same target, if both have red buffs, doesn't stack the slow on the target. However, Rylai's slow stacks with the slow caused by a spell or a buff.
So when you have Rylai's Crystal Scepter, hitting Gragas's Barrel Roll or Explosive Cask on a target slows the target for 15%, but the slow from Body Slam and Rylai's together can be calculated with the following formula:
100% - 100% * 0,65 * 0,85
100% - 55,25%
Rylai's Crystal Scepter also gives health, which is useful for Gragas, since Happy Hour directly takes it's effect from max health and spell usage. It also gives some AP for stronger damage output.
RoA works great, if you need health, mana and AP. If you're not so keen on the slow of Rylai's Crystal Scepter, you shoul definitely buy Rod of Ages instead.
A pretty expensive, yet a very good item to add to your build. If you feel that you need extra damage and have spare gold, you should definitely buy it.
Always a great item on casters in the mid/end game. If you're not a fan of building Rylai's Crystal Scepter, consider buying this along with Banshee's Veil to get the necessary survivability.
Gives the necessary magic penetration to do more damage on more tanky characters.
A great item if you need more survivability, has a great active and a great passive. It's also another item that can be built instead of Rylai's Crystal Scepter.
If you lack health, Warmog's is a good choice for Gragas. It gives health regen and health the more creep kills you've got.
A good item, if you're going for a squishier build. Can prevent situations where you would instantly die.
If you feel you lack just a slight bit of damage and need just a little extra survivability, you should consider getting WotA. You can also stack the Aura Effect with a teammate, which would mean both of you receiving 40% Spell Vampirism and 110 AP, which would mean that along with Hextech Gunblade and Rabadon's Deathcap you would get a total of 55% Spell Vamp and 429 AP.
You should also build WotA instead of Hextech Gunblade if you're not going to get to the melee range, since it's cheaper and provides you with the same amount of AP and Spell Vampirism than Gunblade.
EXAMPLES OF BUILDS IN ACTION
This build works great in the mid game, if either you have succeeded on winning the lane or the bot has succeeded in winning their lane.
However, sometimes this build is either too expensive or too squishy. If you need more health, or Spell Vampirism, consider building somewhat like this:
If you need Magic Penetration on targets that have much Magic Resistance, then change Abyssal Scepter with Void Staff
If your teammate has Will of the Ancients and you can go squishier, you can raise your damage output against squishies a whole lot with the following changes to the build (causes you to lose Magic Penetration and magic Resistance from Abyssal Scepter):
Remember to always build according to the game. I hope this helps you understand situational building a little better. The possibilities of how your build looks in the end of the game are many and as I said, NEVER consider any build absolute.
But how do I know what to build and when?
Keep a look at the enemy team and your own team: if the enemies have lots of damage, trying to catch up to it rarely works, instead, try building yourself tankier so you can keep the AD carry alive. This is because most of the time AD carries do the most of the end game damage.
If they don't have that much damage, but the problem is rather the tanks killing the carries, build Magic Penetration and utility items. If your team doesn't have items like Frozen Heart, Abyssal Scepter, Shurelya's Reverie or Aegis of the Legion, consider buying them and be a walking stack of aura's and actives.
In all it's simplicity, learn how to counter when enemy builds certain items, but also be careful to build too defensively against them. If you theorize long enough, eventually you'll learn what to build in any situation and build it almost by instinct.
Sometimes the game progresses for so long, that Nashor's Tooth, Boots of Lucidity and Abyssal Scepter might lose their grip and need to be swapped to something else.
At this point you want to most likely get more survivability or Magic Penetration rather than damage. Here's a few examples of very late game builds without the previously mentioned items:
A build where you built WotA instead of Gunblade
A build where you built RoA instead of Rylai's
A build where you chose to build survivability instead of damage
Remember that swapping items like this takes a lot of money. This has been the biggest weakness with my core build so far: it doesn't do that well if the game continues for too long.
I did mention that this is a mid-/end game build and yes, it is. If the situation has come to this though, there's usually nothing else to blame but your team as a whole. I would like to remind, that you are part of the team as well and therefore you failed as a team, not individually. At this point you can just hope that your team has stronger end game potential than the opponent team.
Usually my defeats have come from the game extending way too long, where everyone in the game has a full build, sometimes because of the enemy teams choice of champions compared to ours, sometimes because I couldn't farm enough to adjust to the flow of the game.
Farming & Laning
Farming with Gragas in the early levels requires hitting the creeps with auto attacks. This is why you want to use your barrels to secure last hits, so the enemy has to dodge them instead of harassing you.
You can also use Barrel Roll to deny the enemies last hits by zoning him out of the area to hit the creeps.
REMEMBER that you don't always need to explode the barrel straight away.
When you get Nashor's Tooth, your last hitting becomes easier because of the bonus AP, CDR and Attack Speed.
One barrel should be enough to kill the caster minions and a carefully placed barrel damages the whole wave, killing the caster minions and leaving little health to the melee minions, that can be killed with Body Slam (if you only have one point in Body Slam, you probably need to auto attack the melee minions once so it kills them).
After you get Hextech Gunblade, one Barrel Roll explodes the whole creep wave, except the cannon minions.
First of all, I play Gragas mainly on mid since he can do mean damage on squishy casters like Annie, but he's also great at top lane. The following guide is mainly for playing in mid.
Play defensively and try to farm until level 6. After this, you can start to become more aggressive, because the enemy knows that your ultimate does massive damage and a perfect combo kills him instantly, without him being able to do anything.
Try to get the blue buff before reaching level 6 and keep looking for ganks on your lane. If you get ganked, try to prevent it as early as you can by using Body Slam to move to your tower. Always position yourself so that you've got room to move.
When you get Nashor's Tooth, play aggressive. You can spam skills to a certain point, but keep sure you don't empty your mana pool.
At this point of the game, you should be trying to ignore your opponents farm and roam every time your enemy leaves your lane.
After getting Hextech Gunblade the lane phase has usually ended. If everything went well on the early game, you're pretty strong at this point. Problems do occur on the following cases though, that should be handled with care:
- There's a tanky DPS on the enemy team, that had a really good start
- The enemy team got all/most of the Dragon's and/or Baron's so far
- You did poorly in the early game and are therefore weak compared to the enemy on your lane
This doesn't mean that you're not going to be able to outplay them (to a certain point, of course). You should be trying to cause AOE damage with your barrels as much as possible and wait for your tank to initiate the fight.
Gragas has great harassment with Barrel Roll and can do great damage before the fight even starts.
Rylai's Crystal Scepter or Rod of Ages provides you with more damage and survivability, so you can be pretty mean at this point.
Think of yourself as a pinball, bouncing everywhere in a team fight with your Body Slam, slowing targets and doing damage constantly.
This is pretty much what you're doing, as well as trying to focus squishies first, and the enemy team has to decide if they focus you or not. If not, enjoy kills, if they do, tank as much damage as possible and try to get away with Body Slam and/or Flash.
Max Barrel Roll first, then Body Slam and max Drunken Rage last. You should grab a point in Explosive Cask every time it's possible (levels 6, 11 and 16).
So the skill order is Q, E, W, in simple terms.
Think of it as a damage spell and laning tool. A carefully placed barrel provides you with safe laning and much farm.
You'll be using this every time you have a chance; it's effects and mana regeneration are too good to not to be used.
Can be used during sliding with Body Slam. Always try to channel the spell until the end to get the passive bonus.
Think of it as an initiate and escape tool, as well as a great slow and damage ability.
On a tight spot, this can be used to leap over most of the walls. It can also be used to get from one place to another faster than just by running.
It uses just a little mana, so don't be afraid of spamming it.
! IMPORTANT ! Explosive Cask isn't usually used midst a team fight. At the worst case scenario you throw their bruisers at your carries and cause your team to lose an otherwise won team fight.
Use Explosive Cask mainly on situations, where you can pull a single enemy to your team to pick up a kill or if you're running away from someone with CC, or to save someone.
It's a great skill and if you use it right, your team will love you. But if you use it wrong, they will hate you. Mastering Explosive Cask takes time and practicing, but is well worth the effort to learn.
Pros / Cons
- One of the best mid/end game farmers
- Isn't squishy in early game
- Has a rewarding learning curve
- Has a great damage output
- Looks, sounds and feels awesome
- If handled right, gets out of almost any bad situation
- Can burst down almost the whole enemy team with a few skills
- Great at baiting
- Skills fit together really well
- Not weak for ganks
- Free Flash every few seconds with an extra effect
- Can turn the teamfight to your teams favor
- Difficult to master
- Skills require a lot of mana in the early game
- Is usually weak against tanks and bruisers with hard CC in the end game
- Is a melee caster
- Can turn the team fight to the enemy team's favor
Hope you found this useful!
I'm trying to improve this guide as often as I can, so if you spot something that needs to be cleared, inform me.
My English is not perfect, so there may be typos every now and then. I'll try to fix these as I find them, in the mean time just bear with it.
If you need to correct me somewhere, feel free to do so. I'm always happy to learn and will fix my mistakes!
This build doesn't fit for everyone, but I myself have found it better suiting for my personal style of gaming than the generic Rabadon's Deathcap, Rod of Ages, Void Staff, Athene's Unholy Grail one. I've won 70-80% of my Gragas games after I started using this build and I am trying to improve it every time I can!
Good luck and have fun!
The Newbie Guide Maker!