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Graves Build Guide by OTGBionicArm

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League of Legends Build Guide Author OTGBionicArm

Graves: Complete Guide to Breaking the Law.

OTGBionicArm Last updated on May 27, 2014
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Ability Sequence

1
3
5
7
9
Ability Key Q
4
8
15
17
18
Ability Key W
2
10
12
13
14
Ability Key E
6
11
16
Ability Key R





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.



Masteries

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1/
Havoc
 
 

Offense: 21

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Legendary Guardian
 
 

Defense: 9

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Bandit
Intelligence
 
 
 
 
 
 
Wanderer
 
 

Utility: 0



Table of Contents


Quick Guide

Preface

Basic Information

Advanced Tactics

Wrapping Up

Items
Synergies and Counters
Summoner Spells
Runes
Masteries

About the Author
Introduction
Who is Graves?



|

Graves' Skillset
Skilling Order
Itemization



|

Laning
Roaming and Ganking
Teamfighting
Strategy and Tactics
|

Synergies
Counters
Epilogue



|


Starting Items


Core Build



Early Game



Mid Game



Late Game


Boots


Offensive Items


Defensive Items


Synergies and Counters

Graves is good against:


Graves is weak against:


Graves works well with:

Summoner Spells


__
+
__

or

Flash is mandatory. Simply put. Recent changes have made Heal the go-to summoner spell for many Marksmen, because it gives you and your support permanent health and a small boost of mobility. If the cooldown is too much for you, you may still opt to use Barrier, which is better against sudden burst.

Runes

A standard ADC page currently. Attack Speed Quints outclass lifesteal and help out with Graves' sluggish auto attacks for easy last hitting.


Masteries

This is a pretty standard mastery page with Blde/Spell Weaving thrown in. The feast mastery is there to make up for lack of lifesteal.




























































































































































































































































About the Author

I'm OTGBionicArm, a veteran here on MOBAFire and Graves was the first champion I witnessed the release for. As Season 4 is rolling in, I have been playing the Marksman role more and more, bringing me to play Graves with fondness and nostalgia. He's always been my favorite marksman due to his rugged and dark personality, heavy burst damage and focus on close quarters combat, in contrast to the rest of the Marksman cast.

GrandmasterD coded the entirety of this guides' format, YayaFTW created the amazing intro banner and HogoPogo made the dividers!

Introduction

Graves is a unique Marksman champion that focuses more on close range than long range. He boasts higher than average base stats for a Marksman, very high burst damage and decent mobility at the cost of attack range. Once praised as one of the best Marksmen back in S2, a train of nerfs brought down the manly King of carries. I intend to rise him up in popularity again for Season 4.

In this guide I will showcase an extremely aggressive "YOLO" (deal with it) style of combat. I focus on killing things very quickly, without chance of retaliation. Graves can function very well with a more standard AD carry build, but I prefer to build him somewhat like an AD caster, and focus more on killing things with my abilities instead of my auto attacks.

Just some Graves mood music; Listen while reading the guide!


Who's Graves?

Pros

+ Great Waveclear
+ High Burst
+ Good Mobility
+ Vision Denial
+ High Base Stats
+ High AD Scaling
+ Rugged As Hell

Graves' main strengths are his tankiness (for a Marksman), his high burst and his unique brand of vision denial. His Buckshot and Collateral Damage can nearly instantly kill squishies if landed properly and his Smoke Screen can create confusion among victims within it. Graves' passive, True Grit also gives him higher defensive stats the longer the fight goes on, meaning he usually wins extended damage trades.

Graves' Limitations

Historically, Graves main issue has always been his range, and that has not changed. Champions like Caitlyn can easily make things hard for Graves simply by auto attacking him. True Grit does not really do much to counteract this. He is also extremely reliant on his abilities and he has a lower than average base attack speed for a Marksman, meaning he will lose trades much harder if his abilities miss.

Cons

- Low Attack Range
- High Mana Costs
- AA Windup Is Slow
- Weak Against Poke
- Easily Juked
- Weaker Late Game
- Not A Bruiser

Graves' Skillset


True Grit
Graves's passive grants him bonus armor and magic resistance the longer he is in combat. This passive, in combination with his high base stats makes him much harder to kill than the average carry, and somewhat makes up for his short range. Somewhat.



Buckshot
Buckshot is Graves's bread and butter. Use it to shove the lane. Use it to harass. Use it to all-in and pump some maggots full of lead and death. Use it as your primary incentive to the enemy melees to stay the hell away from you. Remember that this ability can hit multiple times, meaning it will deal more damage the closer you get to the enemy.



Smoke Screen
This ability is like a personal mini- Paranoia. Throw it out onto a target to cause disorientation and confusion. It's great to set up ganks as it blocks vision on the map to those inside, making a sneaky entry for your jungler to gank them. This is also your primary peeling and juking tool.



Quickdraw
This ability is both Graves' main escape tool, as well as his offensive steroid. The bonus attack speed from this more than covers up Graves' low base attack speed when it is up, and the dash can get him out of poor situations with ease, or close in for a devastating Buckshot/ Collateral Damage combo.



Collateral Damage
This is basically just a much longer ranged version of Buckshot that deals more damage. You can use it to soften up a bunch of targets from afar, or peg a fleeing low health target. Personally, I tend to use this immediately after a point blank Buckshot to damn near instantly kill squishies.

Skilling Order



1




Q
2




E
3




Q
4




W
5




Q
6




R
7




Q
8




W
9




Q
10




E
11




R
12




E
13




E
14




E
15




W
16




R
17




W
18




Q

Buckshot is Graves' primary damage and killing tool, so it is the obvious first max. There's really not much to say about his skilling order except that I personally like to take a second point in Smoke Screen at level 8 because this gives the Smoke Screen enough damage to completely finish off an entire wave of creeps after Buckshotting them, giving Graves very amazing mid game waveclearing power. This is entirely optional and you can simply put that point into Quickdraw anyway.


Itemization

When itemizing Graves, you should be focusing on 2 key things; Attack Damage and Armor Penetration. He will eventually need critical chance and attack speed items, but the core of his build is flat AD and Armor Penetration.
Let's go over some items that are arguably the best you can buy for Graves as well as a few interesting picks.


Early Game

B. F. Sword is the most important item for Graves to acquire early on due to his extreme AD scaling and AD caster nature. If he cannot purchase it early, a Vampiric Scepter and another Doran's Blade should suffice and keep him in lane until he can afford his Best Friend Sword. Boots of Speed can honestly just be bought "whenever you feel like it" in the early game.


Mid Game

The Bloodthirster and Statikk Shiv grant Graves nearly unrivaled raw burst damage. Getting these items quickly can allow Graves to quickly dispose of softer targets that are caught out before team fights actually start, making him somewhat of an assassin if played right. The Bloodthirster hyperscales your AD ratios and gives you even harder sustain. Statikk Shiv on the other hand is your primary attack speed item. Why is it better than Phantom Dancer in the normal build? Because Graves is an AD Caster type Marksman designed to deal a lot of damage in a very short frame of time, the lightning procs on Statikk Shiv far outweigh the slightly higher attack speed and crit chance of Phantom Dancer by giving him additional burst.



Late Game

Last Whisper will finish your main damage items, allowing you eat through armor like it's paper. Infinity Edge makes your critical auto attacks outright nasty and it is generally a massive damage boost all around. Guardian Angel gives you a second life when you die, at lowered health of course. Many people buy the item, use it, then sell it for a different defensive item. Make sure you still try to stay alive as long as possible with this item as to not waste it.


Offensive Buys

Blade of the Ruined King is a great alternative to The Bloodthirster if you are at great risk of being dived or focused by beefy melee champions. The item helps you a lot in dealing with tanks and bruisers as health stacking generally counters Graves' damage, while also giving him another way to kite or catch up to targets. Zephyr can be a great pickup to eat through CC duration while still having great offensive stats, including sexy CDR. A common practice is to sell Berserker Greaves after you have 6 items and buy this because it offers far greater stats at the cost of a bit of movement speed. Phantom Dancer is your primary attack speed item, and it greatly increases your dueling power when your abilities are on cooldown and you are forced back into auto attacking. It also allows you to "phase" through enemy units, which is very useful when making escapes. This item is interchangeable with Statikk Shiv.


Defensive Buys

Mercurial Scimitar is an alternate defensive item against hard CC, as you won't normally take Cleanse. The active also removes suppression, something Cleanse does not. When being focused by multiple AD's, Randuin's Omen can go a long way to saving your life with it's passive and active effects. It also makes you beefy as hell, which in itself is a deterrent to trying to kill you. Banshee's Veil is a specialized defensive purchase. It usually for countering champions who rely on a single ability to engage on you ( Bandage Toss, Charm, etc) or abilities that will severely damage you from long ranges ( Javelin Toss, Shock Blast+ Acceleration Gate, etc). It also gives you a generous helping of health and magic resistance, which is always welcome, as Mages are your primary aggressors.

Laning

Graves plays the early laning phase very aggressively. You should focus on shoving the lane and simultaneously harassing your enemy with Buckshot as well as farming. As a Marksman, farming is your top priority. However, with an aggressive support such as Leona, Graves can get easy early kills by sheer burst damage.

You should always try to shove into the enemy tower (with proper ward coverage from your support, of course). This give you two advantages. One, you are free to further harass the enemy, and two, they are forced into focusing on last hitting under the turret, and using abilities on creeps rather than you. This particularly cripples carries with poor waveclear such as Ezreal and Vayne. Graves is nearly unrivaled in waveclear and shoving, with only Sivir and Caitlyn being contenders to outclassing him at this tactic.

Graves is also very good at escaping ganks on bot lane. A well placed Smoke Screen can confuse enemies long enough to escape with Quickdraw. For this reason, Quickdraw should usually be saved for situations when you have to escape. Using it aggressively early on can get you killed if it isn't up when the enemy jungler comes around.


Warding and Ganking

Season 4 has eased the burden placed on Supports of warding. This is mostly done by the ward cap forcing you and everyone else on the team to actively ward with them. Good news though! You, as the Marksman are still not expected to buy wards. You get an awesome Warding Totem for laning phase, which will automatically upgrade at level 9, and again if you choose to buy the upgrade. Basically throw this ward where ever your team doesn't already have a ward to help out.

If you're winning the lane, and you've dropped the enemy bottom tower early, you and your support may opt to roam. Graves is not exactly a skilled ganker, but following your support, or allied laner's lead, you can supplement a gank with your massive burst damage to create terrifying scenarios for the enemy team. Try to use your Smoke Screen to cut off the enemies path of escape and disorient them.

Teamfighting

Graves is is both amazing, and equally risky in team fights. His massive AoE burst can make quick work of a frontline, or caught out squishies if positioned well, but he is constantly at risk due to his short range. Graves requires above average peeling effort from his allies to survive in many team fights.

You should always try to be behind your beefier allies. As a Marksman, you will generally be the primary target of assault. Try to kite melee aggressors with Smoke Screen, Quickdraw and a lot of orb-walking. "Orb-Walking", or "stutter-stepping" is to auto attack and immediately click to move after the attack animation goes through, canceling the end of the animation and resetting the "cooldown" of your auto attack animation. Use this tactic to gain distance from enemies and damage them at the same time. Be aware though that Graves has a relatively slow attack windup and it can be awkward to get used to.

Strategy and Tactics

In a nutshell, we've covered Graves' core gameplay, Buckshot people, Smoke Screen them, Orb-Walk. But now I will go over some more advanced tricks and nifty hints.

Caster vs. Carry

Graves functions better as more of an AD Caster. He scales incredibly hard on attack damage, and his abilities have very high base damage. This, in combination with his low auto attack range means it's far more advantageous to build him with a focus of AD and Armor Pen. He can function as a normal attack focused AD carry, but it is both risky, and less efficient. This build can be effective though if fighting multiple tanks, as your abilities will deal far less damage to them than crit enhanced auto attacks.

Dat Burst

The combination of Buckshot, Smoke Screen and Collateral Damage can instantly kill or seriously maim squishy targets. Be sure to get as close as possible with this kill combo to get the most damage from Buckshot! Also be sure that getting so close to pull this combo off won't get you killed in the process.

Smoke Screen Juking

Smoke Screen can be used to juke and further confuse enemies. For instance, when running from an enemy at bot lane, you can fire Smoke Screen in front of yourself and walk into it, forcing your pursuer to follow. Quickdraw in a seemingly random direction as they enter the Smoke Screen and they may keep going the wrong way, creating a massive gap in distance between you.

Wall Dashing

Quickdraw can be used to cross certain walls. Graves is capable of crossing over the Dragon and Baron Nashor pit walls as well as over all jungle camp walls. You must be very close to the walls to do this. use this tactic to save your life without burning Flash!

Synergies

In lane, Graves works very well with extremely aggressive supports. Supports that help Graves shove the lane, or outright kill enemies early on compliment him the best. Some specific supports include Thresh, Leona, and Braum. Thresh is arguably the strongest support as he is so versatile, providing Graves another escape and insane all-in power. Leona has an insane CC lock combo and high burst damage to boot, making her the perfect ally to follow up with for easy kills. Lastly, our newest support, Braum creates the manliest lane ever with Graves. When Graves goes all in, Braum can jump in front and block all the damage for Graves while also providing a nasty stun you can set up. He also gives you an impressive Armor and MR buff to add to your passive, making you even more insanely tanky for an ADC.

As for the team as a whole, champions with strong AoE and initiation mesh with Graves' massive AoE burst nicely. Amumu and Jarvan IV come to mind for junglers, and champions like Orianna or Kennen for Mages. They can lock down the entire enemy team to set up Graves' Buckshot/ Collateral Damage combo.

Counters

As mentioned previously, Graves struggles against high ranged champions. Caitlyn and Varus for instance can easily poke him with auto attacks every time he goes to last hit. Your support can alleviate this by harassing them back or doing an all in, but this can still make laning a hell for Graves. Another specific carry that can give Graves issues is Sivir. She has equal or even better waveclear than him, and despite having lower range, she can block Graves' Buckshot with her Spell Shield, effectively eating a big majority of your damage in a trade or all-in.

In team fights, Graves is easily dropped by enemy assassins, especially ones with silences like Kassadin or Talon. Silence is possibly one of the worst CCs for Graves to come in contact with, as he is primarily ability focused. Without proper peeling from his team Graves will not be able to handle these assassins, or other CC heavy melee champions well. Tanks and brusiers also give Graves major problems as they generally stack health, making Graves' burst less potent. Against these champions, the auto attack centered, Blade of the Ruined King/ Infinity Edge build may be advised.

Epilogue

This concludes my guide to Graves, the Outlaw. He is a very fun Marksman to play, but may be awkward to sue for standard AD carry players. If you wanna try something with a more bursty, AD caster feel, give Graves a try! Thank you all for taking the time to read my guide. If you have questions or comments, please let me know!

OTGBionicArm