Gragas is not your typical AP caster. His cooldowns are long, but not very long. His damage is high, although dependent on his farm and scaling. his survivability is higher than most AP mids, and his sustain is much better. Here is a guide for Gragas, the beer bellied slop that can end games FAST. He is an early/mid game champ and you want to destroy with him before it hits 20 minutes, or he becomes relatively useless.
Very good counterpick to almost all AP mids. He can shut most anybody down HARD if played well, Nobody can really stand against him.
Engaging to play. Alot of skillshot decipering, theres something interesting about him and non-linear. His farm is not the usual, and neither is his killing (he doesnt burst down 100-0 unless he is very fed).
Excellent to have on your team - his harass at enemy turrets is second to none, his poke is just very powerful, and if you are landing your shots, your team will be happier with you for it.
Excellent Ultimate: One of the best in the game for initiating, escaping, ganking, securing kills, destroying team positioning, doing damage in general, and is on a very short cool down.
He is difficult to master. A bad day with skill shots is a failed day with Gragas. He is dangerous that way.
His ult can mess things up rather than help if you don't know what you are doing or just miss.
He is often pood about because he is not picked much or picked and played badly just because his ia drunk guy with a big belly ^^
If he does badly, he does very badly, and his damage is dependent on feeding fast, or becomes unfortunately negligible by mid game.
Early game farm is not good
I use typical AP mid runes on him.
Mpen reds, MR Blues, Armor or health per level blues, and AP quints.
I generally go typical caster masters on him, for he benefits as most casters do. 21/6/3
Take summoners wrath for the bonus ap/ad when ignite is off cooldown.
Mental Force 4/4 for AP. here we are building him as an AP caster and needs as much AP as he can get.
2 Points in Butcher as there is not much else you can get to fill up 20 points in the Offensive tree, and as he has a hard time last hitting without his Barrel because of the potential harass of AP mids, a couple of points in butcher just helps give some leeway
on making last hit choices.
4 Points in sorcery for the cooldown reduction, as you need his spells available as often as possible.
1 Point in Arcane knowledge as he needs magic penetration to hit through enemy magic resist.
4 Points in Blast - the additional AP is great, and 18 additional AP at max level is nothing to scoff at.
4 Points in Archmage - More ability power the better
1 Point in executioner - just deals more damage for killing blows, and secures last hits on enemy champions.
In the defensive tree we get 3 points in resistance to help buffer off some of the damage thrown at you by your opposing mid, and 3 points in hardiness just because armor is not a bad thing, and it helps reduce damage taken early game.
In the utility tree we take 1 Point in summoners Insight for the CDR on Flash
and 2 Points in expanded mind for a little extra mana.
We want to build straight AP on him, and then some defensive items for survivability. Since with Gragas we want an early finish by late midgame or end game, we want him to do enough damage to poke hard, and to secure kills for himself mid game. But no more. It becomes a waste after a certain point, as you could easily kill most squishies and even some of the healthier champs in one full combo and maybe a little mild chasing. Survivability becomes more relevant here. We also want to depend on the enemy team comp and make sense to the whole game in general.
We start with either boots pots or a dorans ring depending on our opposing mid. For Brand, Ahri, Cassieopia, Ziggs, Viktor, Xerath, Kennen, Anivia and Karthus you want to start boots pots. This is to dodge their skillshots as the harass can quickly add up. For all other champs go dorans rings. If you feel confident, go dorans rings anyway, because you simply crush your opponents early and mid game with this build.
Then, we get situational. If the other lanes are even and your mid is not super easy to land shots on, you go triple dorans. This gives him a nice chunk of health, (240) (after the spectator patch),, 45 AP, and 15 mana/5 secs in regen. Because his bodyslam allows him to move around fairly efficiently still, there is no need for boots right now.
If the other lanes are doing evenly, or if you picked him just because you wanted to play him but moppimg up early game is not an option because your enemies are very good or have good early game champions - or both - you go for a tear of the goddess after your boots. Yes, a tear. His mana is good and his sustain is excellent, but when team fights come, you will find yourself without mana often if you spam barrels. We build this into an Archangels staff later. You buy a ROA before 15 minutes along with Sorcerers boots, then a Deathcap, and then your AAS. Your last 2 items are a FH for the armor, mana and CDR, and then a voidstaff since the enemies should have MR by now - or instead a Ryalis for health, AP and utility or DFG for burst.
But more often than not, in soloq, you can troll without going the official way and just do an early game mop up. If you are able to get 2 kills off your enemy carry easily and you anticipate you will get more, get a mejais soulstealer as your next time after your first ring or boots. Gragas can keep his stacks up perhaps better than any other champ thanks to his ability to bodyslam through walls or just bodyslam away from fights to safety. His natural health, sustain and second spell Drunken Rage give him 18% damage reduction which makes him pretty tanky in himself. Securing kills will also be easy if you use this method.
After the soulstealer or 3 rings you get boots 1 or 2 depending on your farm, and a deathcap. You then, trade in your dorans for something like RoA which will stack late or a Ryalis for AP, health and utility, as it is irreleveant at this point as you are already doing enough damage. You then get a FH for CDR, armor and mana or a banshees veil if the enemy has a lot of AP. You then get a warmogs - yes, a warmogs, as it goes excellently with his FH and the damage reduction from his Drunken Rage spell, and he does more than enough damage to kill most people at this point. If the enemy is building MR, get avoid staff and enjoy the reasonable damage it still allows for.
1- Barrel Roll. This is your bread and butter skill, does good AOE damage and applies an attack speed debuff on your enemies.
2 - Drunken Rage - this ability gives you mana, and a short buff upon yourself that reduces damage taken by 10% at rank 1. thats quite considerable.
3 - Bodyslam - this allows for chases, escapes, and getting to and from lanes quicker.
We then take Barrel Roll whenever we can as it is our bread and butter skill, taking Explosive Cask at 6 and then whenever it is availbe, and Drunken Rage whenever the other 2 are not available. We max bodyslam last as its damage is not relevant to our needs, and all it really does is reduce the cooldown which we don't need much of in any case as fights will be far and in between and short.
How to Play Gragas
Gragas is difficult to play. But VERY rewarding and downright deadly if played right. He is a dangerous carry who can turn games in your favor fast, or destroy them if you play him wrong.
I will go into how to play hi mat the different stages, how to farm with him, and what to do with him for powerful efficiency from my experience. Maybe you can learn a thing or two and implement it in your own game.
Farming is hard with Gragas early game. His barrels - even 2 barrels - often are not enough to take off waves, and he is a melee autoattack champ so last hitting is difficult and risky with him because he can get harassed easily.
What we want to do is get as many last hits as we can manage on minions near to you, and just harass your opponent laner. If he stands still for even a second, send a barrel right at him. Now, you want to try and send the barrels in the direction people will be moving and not right at them - except when you play vs dumb people. If he is standing to the left of the minion wave, and in the center of the lane, he is likely to move a little to the left hen he sees the barrel coming. You aim it a little towards where you think he would go so it lands right under him. Its speed is relatively quick and if you manage to get good at him landing his barrels is not hard. If the enemy stands still for a second - barrell. If they have a predictable movement pattern - barrel. If they say hi, barrel. Just keep using your barrel. When you oom, wait on your W to get you some mana, enough for a couple of barrels, then barrel. about 2 in - the -face barrels with a dorans ring or 3 with boots should have your mid fairly low and fairly annoyed. Here you either bodyslam into them, barrel and ignite for a kill, or flash, then barrel ,then ignite and then bodyslam if necessary to 'secure' the kill. You should have enough for 3 rings now. Push the wave then recall and get your rings. When you get back, get very aggressive. They are afraid of you now and will not want to engage. use this to your advantage. You want to bodyslam+barrel them a couple of times, then secure the kill again. wit h3 rings you will outharass them like a king if they try to trade with you, in all probability they will just run. 3 rings should do about half their health per barrel now. A couple of combos and they are dead. When they die, body slam your way to another lane and gank it. Bodyslam into the enemy team and send a barrel at where they plan to go. If your lane partners are likely to get a kill as well - you want to place your barrel in such as way that it would be present for the killing blow, and only detonate it for the killing blow. Your partners might ***** a little that you are 'ksing', but they will be thanking their stars when you are 5/0 by 12 minutes and doing godly damage and taking the game home. Use your ult to throw the enemy into your team or away from their turret if their is diving required, or just to kill your own lane. You ult him towards yourself and bodyslam at the same time. This hits him and slows him. Your barrel will be easily to land now and you land it, often securing the kill, or ignite.
Next you get your death cap.
Know when to back off, as Gragas is tanky but an annoyed enemy team can quickly burst him down. If they start focusing you, back off. Let the heat fade. Then kill them again. Keep your mejai stacks at all costs. Your team will call 'WTF' on your if you dont sit in a fight all day because 'Gragas is a tank' and his W gives him powerful damage reduction - and because he has a strong melee hit, but it is better to play him like a mage - diving in and out for bodyslams and for kills, but never staying IN the fight, regardless of how it gets, unless they are VERY low. I give you permission to run away with your mejai stacks if you are low or the rest of your team is and they are definitely going to die. In fact, this has to do with all people in general. dont fall for this 'idiewithu' ********. Its just fake and ego stroking. Dont do it. Leave if you must. And take kills as much as you can. a 5/0 gragas at 12 minutes can do much more than pretty much any other champ.
The deal that you have to know with gragas is this - if you don't kill early your farm will suck because your farm is not good until you can kill whole minion waves with your barrel (about 75 Total AP, 45 after the runes and masteries I recommended and 3 dorans rings). By the time mid and late game comes, your barrels will be almost irrelevant. Nobody will care, youll just be a 5th wheel helping with your ult once in awhile and getting focused a lot for easy kills.
If you DO get your early kills, you are unstoppable. Triple dorans rings by about level 7u and you are doing half your enemies health with your barrels. You can 1v1 pretty much anybody except tanks, and your presence in skirmishes and teamfights is immense because all 3 of your abilities are AOE.
So you NEED to kill and KS. Then you kill and become godlike. And it is over before the enemy team says 'dat barrell'.
Gragas is an excellent although unconventional AP mid who can wreck havoc in your game. His ult can reposition entire teams, gank, kill champions fairly easily and secure kills, save your team from certain death, and stop other ults (Galio, Katarina, anything that can be cancelled with a stun really). His barrels offer excellent damage on a good cooldown, his defensive ability is solid for its sustain as is his passive, his bodyslam can chase and escape well making him a dangerous laner for the opponent and a safe one for himslf, and can be used through walls for added utility and chase/escape. He is an early game champion and you want to have the odds severely in your favor by level 15 or he is not going to be carrying as hard as he can.