Gragas Build Guide by paintrainmcbane
This build has been archived and is for historical display only.
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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.
Thanks for taking time to check out my guide. Gragas as a tank/bruiser top is not unheard of, however it is definitely not a popular choice. My goal is to show you, the reader, that taking him top is not only viable, but a very solid choice for lane and team-fight phases.
This is a work in progress, and this build is something that I have only recently conceived, as such it is very general for the time being. After over a year of playing, and going through every champion, I think I have finally found a role that I want to main.
I have tried my hand at writing guides before, and part of the reason I am publishing an incomplete work is so that my peers can either scoff or commend my efforts, and I can adjust as I learn/work on this guide.
This guide only applies to Season 2 in the current state of the game. I'm quite excited for changes coming with Season 3, and have no idea if this build will be viable with S3 meta/items.
Also, thank you jhoijhoi for your fantastic resource on making a quality guide. I have used it as a basis for where I am at, and will continue to use as I continue to polish my layout/guide in general.
Greater Quintessence of Health Regeneration
Greater Mark of Armor
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
- Greater Quintessence of Vigor - along with Happy Hour, assists with sustain.
- Greater Mark of Armor - Could be replaced for more damage, but not the goal of this build.
- Greater Seal of Armor - Armor is the best choice for Seals
- Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist - MR per level as most magic users aren't too painful early, but can dish out damage late game.
I feel that the Masteries explain themselves, however that statement has no place in a guide, so I will now explain each choice in depth.
From the Offensive Tree:
- Brute Force 2/3 - Taken for extra damage, assistance with last hitting
- Butcher 2/2 - Purely for ease in last hitting
- Alacrity 4/4 - More damage when trading
- Weapon Expertise 1/1 - More damage when trading
From the Defensive Tree:
- Resistance 3/3 - Easily obtained MR via masteries
- Hardiness 3/3 - Easily obtained Armor via masteries
- Tough Skin 2/2 - At times may need to tank a minion wave for proper lane position.
- Durability 4/4 - Health per level, can't go wrong
- Vigor 3/3 - HP Regen to compliment his passive/runes
- Veteran's Scars 1/1 - Flat 30 HP, great for your early game
- Bladed Armor 1/1 - Negligible damage, not a strong choice
- Initiator 3/3 - Move speed translates to dodged skill shots/getting out of trouble/or better positioning
- Juggernaut 1/1 - % of HP, and reduced CC, perfect for a tank
- Rather than Boots of Speed and 3x Health Potions, I opt for a Doran's Shield to start. While you lose mobility, you should be able to camp up top long enough to farm up to a Giant's Belt, Boots of Speed and a Vision Ward** on your first trip back. I always take Vision Ward**, and ensure to ward the jungle entrance to river rather than just the bush closest to lane. This is a little off topic of items, but it is important you ward your own lane, this keeps you safe from ganks, and clearing wards allows more opportunity for your jungle.
- As I mentioned previously, I prefer a Giant's Belt, Boots of Speed, and a Vision Ward** on my first back. Most top champs will have 2x Doran's Blade or a Phage at this time, and the increase of hit points from Giant's Belt as well as your increased healing from Happy Hour (% based heal) well allow you to trade without fear of being burst down.
**please see the Warding Top Lane section in regards to specifics on ward placement.
- The majority of the time, you will be taking mostly Physical Damage from your enemy top lane, and the enemy jungle. Not always of course, but for the most part building armor first is a safe bet.
- I prefer to pick up a Negatron Cloak before I start engaging the AP carry. Some care little for how many hit points you have, and will shred you to pieces without solid resistance.
- If the enemy team doesn't have CC, feel free to pick up Ninja Tabi, but I almost always take Mercury's Treads for the additional MR.
- Building your Giant's Belt into Warmog's Armor gives you health, and as we all know, more health is just plain good on Gragas.
- So from here, you really have to gauge who is doing the most damage. Don't build armor if their AD Carry has 0 kills, but the AP carry has 12. I generally will build a Sunfire Cape, then a Force of Nature. After that, for your 5th and 6th items you can choose from Frozen Heart, Abyssal Scepter, Thornmail, Randuin's Omen, or whatever is needed. If you're simply not taking damage, build a Rylai's Crystal Scepter for the Health, AP, and the slow effect. A tank with Guardian Angel is very frustrating to deal with as they either have to flat out ignore you, or focus you down giving your team time to lay down damage.
Skills and Skill Sequence
- Happy Hour is triggered after casting a spell. Gragas regenerates 4% of his health over 2 seconds. Getting the extra health regeneration Quints and Masteries, along with starting with Doran's Shield allows you to eat almost anything thrown at you early game, and come back laughing it off.
- Barrel Roll is my starting ability. At level 1 it can be used to assist with leashing your jungler, and in lane to zone out/harass the enemy. Barrel Roll is an AOE debuff, that lowers the attack speed of enemies struck. In team fights, try and peg the enemy AD Carry with a barrel to reduce their damage output.
- Drunken Rage returns a set value of mana (not a percentage), increases your physical damage, and reduces the damage you take. I max Drunken Rage first to increase the mana obtained, and reduce the most damage. Using before Body Slam increases the damage done, and reduces the damage you take. Drunken Rage and Happy Hour are the reasons why you will never have to leave your lane.
- Body Slam is just fantastic. It can save you from ganks, or secure ganks. Will help you win trades, or escape if a trade is going badly (don't run into minions!) I try to keep it handy for when my jungler is moving in. Great for simply bullying your opponent back from the minion line.
- Explosive Cask is in my opinion the best Engage/Disengage in the game. In the right hands you can decide when and where team fights will happen. Used poorly, you may accidentally launch an Amumu smack dab into your team...try to avoid that. Explosive Cask combined with Body Slam equals a dead opponent on any level 6 and after ganks. Catch runners, save carries, split apart enemy teams, steal barons, the uses are endless. You are only limited by your CDR, imagination, aim, and timing. Practice using in bot games to get the timing. Be aware of your allies ults. If you know Malphite wants to ult in, don't knock the whole team around wasting his ult.
- Flash - I can't think of a single reason to not take Flash on Gragas. Not ever.
- Ignite - My personal choice. Building tank, you aren't going to have much ability to finish people off, ignite will allow you to secure kills during ganks.
- Exhaust - A great tank ability. If you need to feed your jungle kills to snowball them, Exhaust is ideal. Great for shutting down an enemy carry in team fights.
- Teleport - Helps for getting around, making heroic saves bot lane, getting back to lane after taking down dragon, or simply an early back/return if the opportunity arises. I am not a fan of taking it personally, however it does have good utility, and makes your map presence that much greater.
Pros / Cons
+ High Mobility
+ Incredible Sustain/Durability
+ CC in a slow, a debuff, and a displacement
+ Flexible Build
- Large Character Model (creep block)
- Abysmal Damage Output (this build, not Gragas in general)
- Skill Shot Reliant
- Does not buff or support team with any skills.
I have not been afforded an opportunity to try bruiser/tank Gragas in ranked. I've brought it up a few times in champ select, but normally I am asked to "play the meta", especially as my ELO is 1100, folks are afraid to try new things. I understand that perhaps there is a reason you don't hear about certain champs aren't played in certain roles; but again, I feel Gragas can not only top lane, he can top lane like a boss.
Creeping / Jungling
I don't recommend this build in the jungle. You would be too slow to be effective. I am imagining ways to make Gragas work in the jungle, but this build is definitely not suited for it.
Bruiser/Tank Gragas is a disruptor, and meat-shield in team fights. It is your job to use your abilities to effectively protect your team, and interfere with the enemy. Your primary targets are the enemy damage dealers. Prevent them from damaging your allies, and survive the damage they deal.
Ideally, Explosive Cask will be used to initiate. Try to split up the team, if possible launch one or two enemies into your team to be destroyed quickly. If you are on the defensive, use Explosive Cask to protect your carries, or simply disperse/knock-back the enemy team.
Barrel Roll should be used to attempt to zone the enemy, and to apply the AS debuff to the enemy carry.
Drunken Rage Should be up as often as possible. Don't be afraid to channel the full ability if you are being focused. You are a large man. you can take a hit. Channeling affects the mana returned, but the full buff applies to your damage reduction and Attack Damage if the channel is interrupted.
Body Slam Should be used to defend allies, and if the situation calls for it, to intercept/chase enemies. Can be used to escape bad situations, however clipping a minion can and will stop you short, and may result in your untimely demise. Body Slam can also be used to obtain ideal positioning for Explosive Cask, however the best rule is to save it to save your team.
Picking up Barrel Roll at level 1 allows you to zone the enemy. However, if you miss, or your enemy realizes you are not AP and that your barrels don't really hurt, you may not be able to sit comfortably at the minion line for a few levels.
Personally, when I enter lane, I abstain from damaging minions at all, and try to get the lane frozen close to my turret as soon as possible. By the second wave I should be in a comfortable position to start last hitting. The damage from Drunken Rage assists with last hitting so you aren't entirely reliant on farming with abilities and running out of mana.
This section will need to see some work. I only have 3-4 match-ups that I am confident enough to comment on.
Warding Top Lane
Despite my lack of artistic skills, I have attempted to show where approximately you want ward vision as Blue and Purple(Red) teams.
So, if you have made it this far, thanks again for reviewing my guide. I hope that I've encouraged you to re-think bruiser/tank Gragas if you had doubts before. I understand that some feel building Gragas as a tank is a waste because he is already tanky, and it is simply better to capitalize on his AP ratios/burst AOE.
I am not here to say Tank Gragas is the best Gragas. I am saying as a tank, Gragas functions amazingly well. You will need a team that can do damage for you, and you will need to have good engagements.
This guide is a work in progress, I need to get many more games under my belt before I will be able to back this guide with experience. I have only invested 8 hours or so into this guide, so it could stand some polish on formatting and proof-reading.
I am publishing this guide at this time in the hopes of obtaining some feedback. I have enabled the option that a comment needs to be left before you can vote, and I sincerely hope for some honest feedback from the community.
Again, thanks for reading, and happy hunting fellow summoners!