Graves Build Guide by Ayunize

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.

League of Legends Build Guide Author Ayunize

Graves - The power of Buckshot

Ayunize Last updated on January 18, 2012
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Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
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.



Offense: 21

Honor Guard

Defense: 9

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 0

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Hi guys!
This is my first guide and its about my favourite Carry - Graves. I'm not a native english speaker so feel free to correct my mistakes, also i'm open for CONSTRUCTIVE Critics.

In the following guide i will explain you how i play Graves along with some tips and tricks.

Before voting please read the whole guide and (at least) consider testing it. Don't downvote because you dislike the build above as there is no regular build, just a core build (read Items section for more information about that).

Note that i have to test how all together works after the recent Graves nerf (Sejuani Patch), some information my be outdated until i finished testing.

I used jhoijhoi's great guide for making a guide. You can find it here

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Pros / Cons

  • smart enemies will focus you
  • even non smart enemies will try to kill you at the moment they see you bursting them down in a second
  • only one low CC Somke Screen
  • as nearly every champion very item dependant (= low farm makes him useless)
  • low base attack speed

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As you might see i will explain my used masteries here.
I use a 21/9/0 setup for increased damage and a bit of earlygame survivability that synergizes well with your passive True Grit


The most important points:

Attack Tree:
  • Weapon Expertise - obiviously for increased armor penetration = more DMG
  • Lethality - who doesn't want to crit harder?
  • Havoc - again more damage. I take that over Vampirism as I dont feel i need those 3% lifesteal
  • Sunder - Even more armor penetration, stacks with your runes to a total of 31 armor penetration at lvl 1 (you hit near to true damage earlygame as most enemies have ~30 armor without runes or masteries
  • Executioner - Even more damage to nuke enemies down (nice for the finishing auto attacks after your burst, stacks with Havoc

Defense Tree:
  • Hardiness - As you should lane bot (i'll explain later why) u will face the enemy Ad Carry in most cases. This skill stacks with your passive very nice and will defend you from his harassment
  • Durability - Some more HP, so why not (needet for the 9th point here)
  • Veteran's Scars - Very nice Hp boost earlygame as you don't use Hp Runes

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In this chapter i will explain my used Runeset and some options.

My Runeset:


Greater Mark of Armor Penetration

Greater Seal of Armor

Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist

Greater Quintessence of Armor Penetration

So why do I use them?

Optional runes:

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Summoner Spells

My preferred Summoner Spells described shortly:

  • Most useful Summoner Spell
  • Can be used for offense AND defense
  • Flash to that Kassadin after he jumped away to land your finishing shot
  • Flash through walls in the jungle to escape that Xin Zhao after stealing his Redbuff
  • Very strong spell
  • Can also be used for offensive and defensive reasons
  • Exhaust that Caitlyn to reduce her damage by huge 70% or to reduce Fiddlestick's Crowdstorm damage by 35% and prevent him from acing your team with it
  • Slow down that running Teemo to get in range bursting him down
  • Slow that Singed so he cant Fling you right in the enemy team

Optional Spells:

  • If you don't like Flash or are not lvl 12 yet, take Ghost instead as you need at least one escaping Summoner Spell
  • As with flash it can be used offensive and defensive
  • you can outrun enemies with ease making any champ to a nice chaser/kiter
  • If that Viktor just Flashed away (not over a wall) you can get him easily by activating ghos
  • In most cases you are faster than that Volibear so he can't catch up with his Rolling Thunder
  • If it should happen that you have to go solo top or mid you most likely want Teleport to go base with low hp and Teleport back to lane to defend your Turret (for sure only if your jungle can't cover your lane atm)
  • In lategame one of your creepwaves is near to an enemy tower and u know the enemies can't reach you fast? Teleport to the Turret and destroy it!
  • You are good at juking? Run into some brush and teleport away from your enemies! (taking the mastery Summoners Insight is recommendet for that)
  • Nice for some earlygame kills - finishes off that Ashe that just Flashed away
  • Ignite that Swain in his Ravenous Flock in teamfights to ensure his death as you reduce hishealing effects by 50% making him regenerate only half hp whil in his ultimate
  • Gives you 5 Ad while on Cooldown due to your Summoner's Wrath

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Here i will show you his Skills and how you should skill Graves for maximum Damage output. I use the following Skill sequence:

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Skill explanation:
  • Buckshot - Your Damage output besides your ultimate. It has medicore cooldowns
    (CD/lvl : 12/11/10/9/8). Now you might ask how you can do so much damage when it only gives (60/105/150/195/240 + 0,8 per 1 Ad). The reason is that you fire 3 bullets in a cone in front of yourself. Enemies can be hit with multiple cones, if you do so if deals insanely huge ammounts of damage, especially early and midgame. However you get only 25% of the damage per additional bullet.

  • Smoke Screen - This skill is devasating in teamfights as it's like a little Paranoia, if fired on their Kog'Maw he cant see his enemies and as a reason of that he cant autoattack them (even if he hits a Living Artillery). It can also be used to finish low hp creeps earlygame after you hit them with your Buckshot, but that takes much mana, so i don't recomment it.

  • Quickdraw - Gives you the attackspeed early/midgame so you can go raw ad for the start to boost your burst. It works like Vayne's Tumble, just gives you (40/50/60/70/80) instead of more damage for your next shot. You can use it to dash away from that Rocket Grab or get a little more distance while Dazzle is on his way to stun you. Also nice to dash directly in front of that Miss Fortune and Buckshot in her face, followed by some fast auto attacks.

  • Collateral Damage - Your personal teamfight winner /enemy carry destroyer. Has huge affects on teamfights due to it's high damage (250/375/500 + 1,4 per bonus ad AND 140/275/400 + 1,2 per bonus ad) in a cone behind the first hit enemy. Use it to nuke down Corki on lane even if he has 3/4 hp. Just Click E Q R for win. In Teamfights use it when you can hit as many enemies as possible ( i.e. while Idol of Durand )

  • True Grit - This is what Graves beefiness is based on. It gives you (1/2/3) Armor AND Magig Resistance for each hit you get (up to 10 stacks max.). It stacks great with all those items masteries and runes I use, making you extremely durable of an Ad Carry so it won't be that easy to get nuked down and it gives quite a bit power to stay on lane longer. Overall a very nice passive just fitting perfect to Graves

Skill Rotations:
  • E Q R - ( Quickdraw Buckshot Collateral Damage) - Your finisher. Can easily burst down squishier enemies (such like Ap or Ad carries wich you should be focusing for sure) even with over 1/2 Hp in early/midgame. Normally you cant burst that hard in lategameas even the carries get some defense (if its above 1200 elo, if you are below lvl 30 or 1200 elo you should have no problems bursting them down as they simply go for pure damage).

  • E Q - ( Quickdraw Buckshot) - Your harassment tool on lane. Quickdraw to Ashe and Buckshot her head away. Be sure you are colse to the enemy to deal maximum Damage with Buckshot. After the combo head for some quick auto attacks or just retreat (may consider Smoke Screening the enemy so he can't see - and as reason of that - attack you while you get out uf his range safely). Can also be used as finisher combo pre lvl 6 or if your Collateral Damage is on cooldown, but obiviously is less powerful than the E Q R combo.

  • W E - ( Smoke Screen Quickdraw) - Useful for escaping. Nuff said.

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So let's come to the items.

Note: There is no build i follow all games. The items above are my most used ones and you always have to choose of a varity of viable items and have to know why and when to buy them. However there is a core buildwich I get almost every game:

Core Build:

  • Doran's Blade - In my opinion the best Start item for every AD Carry in general. Gives you Ad for harassment and lasthitting along with some needet Hp. The 3% lifesteal are pretty much useless, unless you decide to get Vampirism ans stack two or three of them, what is viable is you have problems on your lane.

  • Mercury's Treads - Always a nice choice, and as i play Graves a bit beefy the best boots for that reason out there. The 35% less CC is especially useful when it comes to teamfights as you should get focused, this saves your *** after an Curse of the Sad Mummy or Unspeakable Horror hit you. Also the MR stacks with your passive skill, True Grit.

  • Infinity Edge - THE item for any Ad Carry. Very high Ad 25% Critchance and more Crit damage. What do you want more? Finish this before your boots, this item has the highest priority in this build, or in general of every AD Carry build. Thats the point you start dealing real Damage.

  • Wriggle's Lantern - Yes, Wriggles. I get this item as it provides me with the much needet lifesteal, some Ad and some armor making me beefier again. Also the free ward is nice to place for example at their blue. And the best: It's cheap! All in all a nice item to get as Graves, the reason why I get this after my Infinity Edge is, that you need the massive damage first. I also tried to get a The Bloodthirster now, problem was that it is more expensive, delaying the other items and the missing armor as i am focused to be beefy and not instant dead in a teamfight. Remember that you dont do damage while you are dead so getting a bit resistance can't be wrong. However this can be replaced by a The Bloodthirster althoug i feel more comfortable with my Wriggle's Lantern.

Your next items:

Here i will show you the items to get after the core build. Remember they are situational so getting the wrong ones at the wron time can result (in the worst case) loosing the teamfight as you were too squishy/did too low damage/were too slow... and loose the game. Note that i tested many items and will only post the viable item choices and combos.

Most used:
  • - Phantom Dancer - You need attackspeed and Crit, or just that bit of movenspeed to outrun your opponents? This item is almost always a good choice.

  • - The Black Cleaver - You are still in midgame while the enemies don't have ~160 armor? You need a bit attack speed but still want some damage for your Burst? Get this item now, but care if it comes to games lasting >50 min the enemies build more and more armor, by this point The Black Cleaver gets almost useless.

  • - Last Whisper - Enemies stack armor as hell? Get this item to cut them like paper in lategame. (Note that The Black Cleaver gets useless by that point, consider selling your BC for this one)

  • - Frozen Mallet - Gives you a HUGE buch of HP providing you (compared with my core and masteries/runes/ True Grit the ultimate tankieness to get as an ad Carry. But thats just one point. I get this most of the times just to get that amazing slow so the enemies will never outrun you again! Do NOT get this if you don't do enough Damage for some reason as it is not very cheap.

  • - Banshee's Veil - Probably the most used defensive item in the Game. So why not on Graves? It Provides you some MR, HP and MP along with the epic spellshield all 45 seconds. This Item saved my *** so many times and is even more than viable although you should not get it if you don't do enough damage at the moment. Get it lategame if you suffer hard by their ap carry as the shield can shutdown his whole combo, or simply if their Amumu always comes out of nowhere stunning your whole team.

  • - The Bloodthirster - Viable to replace with the Wriggle's Lantern in the core build, personal preference. If not in core build, you can get this later in the game or in midgame if you already dominate for some raw damage. Can also replace your Wriggle's Lantern lategame. But take care to keep your stacks on it high, otherwise its less useful.

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To Do, Changelog


12.01.12 - Started writing
16.01.12 - put my guide to Mobafire
- Accidently published (not finished)
- Archieved
17.01.12 - Published the Core Guide (will add more in near future)
18.01.12 - Graves gets nerved (will add new information soon)
•Buckshot Mana cost increased to 60/70/80/90/100 from 60/65/70/75/80
•Collateral Damage
◦Initial damage reduced to 250/350/450 from 250/375/500
◦Explosion damage reduced to 140/250/360 from 140/275/400
◦Cooldown increased to 100/90/80 from 80/70/60
- Introduction changed a bit

- Teamwork
- Laning
- Laning Partners
- maybe farming
- some more Tips and Tricks
- maybe other viable items/runes/masteries (tell me some and describe shortly, i will test them and add them)
- other tings (tell me what you want and i will add it)

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First of all, thank you for your time reading my guide,
comment and vote (please thee me why you voted it up/down, so i can improve the guide. CONSTRUCTIVE critics are always welcome.

Thanks to jhoijhoi for his great guide here it helped me very much.