Graves Build Guide by Weeznaz
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Personal Favorite Build
Health based tank busting
Vs 5 Ap and no Tank( Highly situational)
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.
Threats to Graves with this build
|Vayne||This should be a free lane: She has an extremely weak laning phase. You should have her easily beat. However, if you go even with a Vayne in lane you are loosing because Vayne will outscale you, her Silverbolts will ignore your True Grit passive. Late game duels with Vayne are problematic.|
Hello summoners. My name is Weeznaz and I am here to day to teach you how to play one of my favorite AD carries, Graves. To be clear this guide contains only my humble beliefs on how to play this champion. This guide is by no means the only way to play Graves, but it is just my opinion. If you agree/ disagree/ or wish to comment on anything I put into this guide please do so in the comment section. As an additional note, with the upcoming PBE changes it is apparent that a Graves rework is on the horizon and with those massive changes comes the invalidation of a majority of the content and my opinions on Graves. May this build stand as a historical document to what Graves was like from his creation til the end of Season 5. Whether this upcoming rework will be good or bad, we will miss the old Graves.
Introduction to Graves
Graves is an interesting champion. At the start of the game Graves functions more like an AD caster with high hitting spells who then transforms into a more auto attack reliant AD carry. Grave's spells have great AD ratios and Graves can dominate almost any lane matchup and can hard carry a game for you. Now at this point you must be wondering: he sounds too good to be true, well you are correct. All of these benefits come with a few problems. The biggest problem is Graves' auto attack range, which is 525 units while the average ADC has 550 unit auto attack range. While this might be a small nuisance in laning phase, in the late game this small differential can mean the difference between life or death, depending on placement. Graves may have short of hyper scaling late game stats, but he has to get in close range to use them.
Pros and Cons of Graves
1. Strong early- mid game: Graves has some fantastic spells and steroids in his kit. With his passive True Grit, Graves is an excellent duelist. With Quickdraw Graves has great attack speed in the mid game even without an attack speed item. Buckshot + Collateral Damage is a great burst combo for the early and mid game against squishy carries.
2. Tanky: Due to True Grit Graves is the tankiest ADC in the game. This passive makes Graves an excellent duelist and makes him harder to kill than most ADC's.
3: Respectable laning phase mana costs: For farming specifically, the only spell you should be using is Buckshot, and when using this spell conservatively and appropriately you shouldn't quickly run out of mana, or not have enough mana for a situational Quickdraw
1. Short auto attack range: This is the biggest weakness with Graves and why he isn't as good in the late game. You have a relatively shorter auto attack range than most ADCs, which puts you at increased risk during the teamfight phase of being caught by CC or damage. When compared to a long range Jinx or Caitlyn in the late game, Graves can have the problem of staying alive in order to deal damage.
3. You don't kill tanks well. Your kit is a squishy killer, but it doesn't kill tanks well. Combined with your shorter than average auto attack range and you have a problem vs multiple tanks. This has particularly become a problem with the introduction of Cinderhulk and the now abundance of tanks you will have to plow through.
Passive: True Grit
True Grit is a very interesting passive that makes Graves harder to kill than most ADCs in the game. As you continue to auto attack targets, your armor and magic resistance increases. Couple of things to note: this passive can stack up to 10 time, or ten intervals. If you stop auto attacking for 3 seconds you won't go from 10 to 9 intervals, you will simply loose all your passive stacks. Second, this passive can be a trap in itself. The passive encourages you to always be auto attacking something, and this can make you accidentally push up the lane to the enemy tower. If you do this, while your passive may be at full power, you are in a perfect position for a gank and at this point 3 low level enemy champions still outrank your passive. Best way to use this passive is to last hit the minions and try to constantly auto trade with enemy champions. You have slightly more attack damage at early levels than most other ADCs, so while avoiding skill shots and not taking minion harass use this to your advantage.
Buckshot is by far your most important laning phase spell and early game spell. This spell is your long range poke, farming, and burst spell. You will always take this spell at level 1 and max this spell first. A couple of things to note about this spell: This spell is best used when at close range with someone, as you want to hit them with all three shells from buckshot. If you constantly aim for a max range Buckshot, the enemy doesn't have to try hard to dodge the two shells that go off at an angle and they are free to dodge the shell in the center. Although the other two shells do reduced damage, they still do damage nonetheless, so try and hit this spell at close range. Also, try and use this spell with conservation in laning phase. you can perform this spell about 6-10 times in laning phase, but this spell costs a good chunk of mana and you don't regen mana very fast. Try and use this spell when you line up a minion that can be killed and poke the enemy at the same time. Important to note about this spell is it only scales off Bonus AD, not total AD. This means only AD from your runes, masteries, and items counts towards this items damage, it does not take into account the base AD values from Graves. So, to make this spell most efficient you want to build as many big attack damage items as possible, mainly Infinity Edge and The Bloodthirster
W: Smoke Screen
Smoke Screen is by far the weakest spell in your kit. It does very little damage and is the only spell in your kit that doesn't benefit from you building attack damage. Smoke screen is a piece of utility that I don't recommend using unless you are trying to kite out of a dangerous situation, trying to get dangerous CS, or going for an all in. Just note in a bursting situation, this is by far your least important spell. We take this spell, a piece of utility, at level 3 or 4 and max it last.
Quickdraw is your second most important pre 6 spell and in the late game this becomes your most important spell. This spell gives you increased mobility, but more importantly this spell gives you a massive attack speed buff. At level 12 you have 50% increased attack speed, as much as a Phantom Dancer gives! So, due to you being given a ton of attack speed you are allowed the freedom to not invest in an early attack speed/crit item, and you are incentivised to build damage items. This spell helps you get a great mid game powerspike. In addition, auto attacking reduces the cooldown of this ability by one second, which means this spell effectively gains cooldown reduction as you build attack speed. In the late game, you can get this ability to come back up very quickly, since it already maxes into a lowish cooldown and then you can decrease it by hitting people. We will be taking this ability at level 2 and maxing it second.
R: Collateral Damage
Collateral Damage: This is an amazing burst ability that has great AD scaling ratios. In addition, you can hit one person with two damage procs, assuming you hit the target. This is a simply amazing spell that can almost guarantee you a level 6 kill. Of course, this spell should be leveled up at levels 6,11,and 16. Another thing to note about this spell, it can be used for emergency farming if you are getting hard pushed into your turret, and you can steal Dragon and Baron with this ability if you have good timing and positioning.
These combos are written down under the assumption that you have vision control of the surrounding area and that you are safe to "all in".
1. E> auto attack for the increase attack speed duration> Q>R>W. The important parts of this combo are to fully utilize your attack speed buff given from Quickdraw and to get off a full Buckshot in the enemy's face for more damage. Collateral Damage does the same damage to the enemy as long as they are within the 1000 unit limit, while Buckshot is more distance dependent. Most important is to not using up important mana on Smoke Screen. Depending on how much mana you have, you may mess up your combo by using Smoke Screen. Save this spell for the end of your combo, as it will further disorient them and give you time to reposition and continue to further harass them.
2. E>Q>R>W. This combo is assuming that the enemy is low on health and you can simply kill them with your spells. In this case, just use Quickdraw as a gap closer.
3. Trinity Force Combo: You may have noticed in my item description that I include a Tri Force in my favorite build: For the record on Graves, this item is terrible early on in the build. However, for reasons I explain in detail in the Item Discussion section, Graves can utilize this item extremely well in the late game.
E> Auto attacks > Repeat: This is a simple combo, but with the increased damage from Spellblade Passive (See Item Selection) and considering how fast your attack speed is, which indirectly lowers the cooldown of Quickdraw, this combo is effortless and extremely effective.
W> Auto Attacks: This combo makes your Smoke Screen more useful and deadly in a burst rotation.
Q> Autos: This is already a natural spell weaving mechanic on Graves, might as well make it more deadly.
How to lane as Graves
As Graves, you want to exert good timing, patience, and be ready for the level 6 burst. During the laning phase, DO NOT spam Smoke Screen or Quickdraw to get farm. Just don't do it, save these spells for a more appropriate offensive or defensive moment. You have to conserve your mana, you can't constantly chuck out your Buckshot. The best way to use Buckshot is when you can secure farm as well as line up the shot to poke the enemy ADC. All the while, be auto attack trading with the enemies without taking too much minion harass or losing out on farm. Due to True Grit Graves can win extended auto trades with other ADC's, assuming he is dodging skill shots and not taking too much minion harass.
How to teamfight as Graves
Since Graves is an ADC many of the standard ADC teamfighting rules apply:
1: Stand behind your tankline
2: Don't be at the front of the fight.
3: Auto attack like crazy onto any target you can.
While Grave's kit may make you want to duel the enemy team, just remember unless you are really FED going into a 1 v 5 is not preferable.
Now specifically to think about on Graves is his Quickdraw and Collateral Damage, depending on how you use them can mean the difference between life or death.
I almost never initiate with Quickdraw, I use it as more of a kiting tool that can help me dance around the fight. I generally don't use it aggressively unless my team has gotten a good pick onto a member of the enemy team. Just never dash into the enemy team overzealously and you will be fine with this spell.
Now in a lane scenario using Collateral Damage requires less strategy since it should be obvious depending on life bars who to aim this spell at.
However in a 5 v 5 teamfight where everyone has full life bars you may not be so sure: Do I use it right off the back to damage everyone or do I use it to kill one person at the end.
Well, if I see 3 or more people bunched together as a fight starts I use my ultimate to damage as many people as possible and to help my team get more kills. If I don't see people bunched together, I will typically hold onto it and save it until they bunch up or I wait for one specific target to get within execute range, this target changes with each game. Just try and make this shot count.
I always take Flat attack damage Quints and flat damage marks for better last hitting, auto trading in the early game, and powering up my Buckshot and Collateral Damage in the early game. For seals I take flat armor in order to help me win auto attack trades. In Solo que I take scaling magic resistance glyphs as there is likely to be one AP threat on the enemy team and these are the best glyphs to deal with that. These glyphs are in my opinion the best glyphs a standard ADC should use.
However, if you are in ranked and see the enemy team doesn't have an AP threat, you can swap out the magic resistance glyphs for glyphs of your personal choice: I would choose between health, armor, or attack damage glyphs.
I run Graves with a 21-9-0 page, more of less a standard ADC page focused on attack speed, damage, penetration, and making my crits do more work for me. I take a point in Dangerous Game to fuel my hard carry stance and to give me just an edge in teamfights. I take the Mastery Frenzy to make my late game crits give me more DPS. The defense page is self explanatory and standard for and ADC.
Doran's Blade + Health pot: Realistically the only way Graves, along with the majority of ADCs, can start the game
Infinity Edge: This item is core and your first purchase in pretty much all situations. The flat damage gives a great boom to your Buckshot and Collateral Damage, and the crit chance helps you snowball against squishies.
Youmuu's Ghostblade: There are many reasons why you might want to pick up this item second or third in your build. First, since Graves is given an attack speed steroid you want to best synergize this is with building attack damage items, so you can postpone your Attack Speed + Crit chance item. Second, Youmuu's builds out of a The Brutalizer which is just a natural item on Graves. Also Youmuu's builds out of an Avarice blade, meaning you can pick up the whole item even quicker due to the gold generation. Youmuu's as a final item gives many stats: AD, Armor penetration, Crit Chance, And Attack Speed combined with movespeed. the movespeed is particularly important because Graves has short ranged auto attacks, and it can be at times difficult to get into auto range without taking too much harass. This item's active can mitigate this problem. Alternatively, if you are against multiple tanks this item is good at kiting them out due to the move speed active. This item gives one beautiful and smooth mid game powerspike. It should be noted though this item makes Graves play more like an AD caster than a full ADC. Just remember this item does loose its kick in the late game vs tanks when compared to the damage that crit chance can give you. But, if you snowball hard enough with Graves, this shouldn't become an issue.
Statikk Shiv: In a standard build, I don't pick up this item. It is simply not strong enough in the current meta to consider. It doesn't have the late game stats of a Phantom Dancer or the mid game power of Youmuu's Ghostblade. I just feel it is lackluster in a normal build.
Phantom Dancer: This is one of the best items in the game for Graves. In the late game Graves shifts from a more AD caster role into a full auto attacking ADC. This item combined with Infinity Edge and Quickdraw should make short work of a squishy enemy. There are 2 ways of looking at this item: You usually either want this item after your Infinity Edge for the increased mobility and crit chance. Or option 2, you build Y. Ghostblade and don't pick up this item until late game. I wouldn't pick up Y. Ghostblade and Phantom Dancer in the same build. Choose between the 2 items, they both have their pros and cons.
Berserker's Greaves: These are simply the best boots an ADC can wear. I like to rush these after my Infinity Edge just so I have some innate attack speed and increased mobility.
The Bloodthirster: This is my favorite lifesteal item. It has everything Graves could ask for: high attack damage, high lifesteal, and the lifesteal shield synergizes extremely well with True Grit and makes you a great duelist. I usually make this item my third or fourth big ticket item. Also, this item is unfortunately the only real response to Thornmail an ADC has.
Last Whisper: This is pretty much a core item, since most team comps have at least one person building armor. The only reason I wouldn't pick up this item is if for some bizarre reason they don't have a tank, or for reasons I can't explain the tank isn't building armor (And yes this has happened to me in a few games).
Mercurial Scimitar: This is the most aggressive of the defensive items at an ADC's disposal, it is also my personal favorite defensive item. You can "cleanse" yourself of pretty much any crowd control and reposition to safety! In addition, the extra damage continues to make your spells and auto attacks hit harder.
Maw of Malmortius: This is an extremely situational item which I don't normally recommend. As an attack damage item with magic resistance, it is in most cases inferior to Mercurial Scimitar and this item can't free you from crowd control. I have only built this item once, under strange circumstances, but it did save my life. I would only buy this item under these conditions: 1, the enemy team has no tank and therefore this item replaces the slot normally taken up by Last Whisper and 2, There need to be at least 3 hard hitting and dangerous AP threats on the enemy team. In this case I would pick up this item before M. Schimitar simply because Maw is a cheaper and easier item to build and the health shield is more relevant in the mid game than the late game.
Blade of the Ruined King: This is an item I had to experiment with a fair amount. It looks as if it has many great qualities that Graves can take advantage of. After some testing ,here is my assessment: Don't buy this item in the early game. In the early game Buckshot needs bonus AD to become powerful and you are already given a free attack speed steroid. The best way to snowball your kit is by building high damage items, like Infinity Edge or Bloodthirster. I heavily prefer Bloodthirster to BORK in the early game as Bloodthirster synergizes with your burst and passive better and is superior for taking structures and killing squishies. Late game however is where I think BORK has a place in your build. If you make it to late game and you find its hard to kill the enemy tank, you may want to consider picking up BORK as item 6. The extra lifesteal, extra attack speed can help you dish out more DPS. The BORK passive can help you deal more damage to tanks and the BORK active can be used for either further tank busting or for kiting purposes. The danger with buying this item as a 6th item is it's an inferior aggressive survival item, I prefer Mercurial Scimitar. But, if you need to tank bust and can't do it with 5 offensive items, this might be the way to go.
Zephyr: This is truly a late game situational item. You can replace your boots with this item, which gives both attack speed and CDR, which makes quickdraw come up much faster and you get tenacity. Also this plus phantom dancer plus 3 dragon stacks means you don't loose much or any move speed.
Elixir of Wrath: If you are level 18 with 6 items, you should be chugging this potion at every opportunity possible. However, if in the early game you find yourself doing absurdly well you can pick up this item to help win trades and "lifesteal" to safety. If you are snowballing hard enough, then this item almost has not expiration time since kills or assists add 30 seconds to the item's time.
Guardian Angel: This is an excellent placeholder decision. The passive can save you in a teamfight and buy you time until you decide what real item to pick up as a 6th item.
Banshee's Veil: This is a good survival item to pick up if the enemy has a very fed AP champion. It is a good item but I find myself picking up Mercucial Schimitar more often than this item.
Trinity Force: This may sound strange, but I do like this item on Graves in the LATE GAME. This is a terrible early game item as Graves needs raw damage, crits, and attack speed to really snowball. Infinity Edge, Phantom Dancer, and The Bloodthirster are just too core not to get on a Graves. However as a fourth item if I am snowballing or a 5th situational item I think Tri force is fantastic on Graves for a couple of reasons. You add extra attack speed which indirectly makes your Quickdraw rotation come up faster. You get the Phage passive which helps you kite around teamfights even better. you get an extra 250 health, which synergizes well with True Grit and Grave's duelist nature. However the big reason for getting this item is the SpellBlade passive. Without any crit chance involved, at level 18 this item makes every auto attack after using a spell 220 bonus physical damage. Fun fact for those of you who don't know: this bonus damage is used when calculating crit damage, as was seen when in game 4 of the LCK Semi Finals in this link
Now if you look at the statistics for this game, there is a 2000+ crit performed by SKT T1 Bang, this would not have been possible without the Trinity Force.
With this information in mind, consider in the late game how frequently you get off spell rotations: You have Buckshot, Collateral Damage, most importantly a ton of Quickdraw rotations, and you can even use Smokescreen to get off more damage. It doesn't even take much effort to get in these sheen proc rotations. Meaning you have a plentiful supply of Spellblade empowered crits, giving you "supercrits". However there is one hugely important aspect you need to keep in mind whether considering this item: dragon control. See I prefer to sell my boots in favor of this item. I explain this more in detail down further in this paragraph, but the movespeed on Phantom Dancer + move speed on Trinity Force and the 3 dragon stacks gives you a respectable move speed. Since you will still need an item to keep you alive you can't have both boots and Tri Force at the same time: If you don't get dragon control don't consider this item.
Math summary 1: Standard Graves Build Build
The Bloodthirster + Phantom Dancer + Infinity Edge + Last Whisper + Tier 2 Boots + Survival item= 347 Damage, 867.5 damage when crit chance and IE interact. 394 movespeed with no dragon stacks, 412 move speed with 3 dragon stacks.
The Bloodthirster + Phantom Dancer + Infinity Edge + Last Whisper + Tri Force + situational= 378 damage,598 damage with spellblade passive, 945 normal crit damage, 1495 Spellblade enhanced crit( super crit). 373 move speed with no dragons, but 389 move speed with 3 dragon stacks. However, don't forget about the Phage passive from Trinity Force, which gives you 10 move speed when just attacking and 30 move speed when you kill an enemy champion, which can help you dance around a fight extremely well.
So with Tri force replacing boots, and assuming 3 dragon stacks, you only loose a small amount of move speed but gain the Phage passive, but more importantly it's the ability to dish out this "super crit" that is imperative for Graves, especially in the Cinderhulk meta. Graves in the late game sucks at killing tanks, and this item specifically for Graves in the late game counts as a tank busting item.
You may have noticed an alternative build path called the "Unusual Build". Note, if you are just starting out with Graves. This build is a bit risky and not for the inexperienced. I prefer this build, because it is not a usual build. I like the challenge and new experience of a build that is completely sink or swim. I will now explain the logic behind this build.
In the item discussion I explain why I like Trinity Force on Graves, specifically on acquiring the "Supercrit". This build is all about acquiring the "Super Crit" as often as possible. To do this more often than normal you need lots of crit chance, and cooldown reduction.
Move Speed Quints: I add these so that I can pick up a Tri Force in place of my Berserker's Grieves. In addition, having these quints gives you 345 move speed at level 1 compared to the 330 you would have in a normal build. Having this extra move speed can help you in the early game dodge skillshots and get in auto range, this can sometimes be frustrating with your low auto range. I do take rank 1 boots just to have some move speed until I get both the Tri Force and Phantom Dancer. Note, Movespeed Quints + Tri Force + PD= 388 move speed.
Attack Damage Marks: Helps you last hit and adds damage to your Buckshot
Scaling CDR Glyphs: This is where things get interesting. In order to get as many Supercrits as possible, you need lots of CDR. This can be done using CDR runes. At level 18 with 15% CDR your Quickdraw is on a 12 second CD instead of a 14 CD, which means you need 2 less auto attacks to get your [Quickdraw]] off cooldown.
Scaling Health Seals: Since I'm not running magic resistance I don't want to just run armor (most supports come with magic damage). So I will invest in health, which is a universal statistic. You can substitute these with flat health seals if you prefer, but I haven't had a game where getting to level 9,10 (Which is when the scaling health seals break even/ exceed flat stats) so I prefer the scaling health runes for the late game benefit.
If you are running this rune and mastery set up you must build the following items in the following order
Double Doran's Blade or Doran's Blade + Vampiric Scepter: You need an Infinity Edge, Youmuu's Ghostblade, Phantom Dancer, and Trinity Force to become unstoppable. You don't have time to finish a The Bloodthirster early in order to have high damage output. However, you need a form of cheap and easy to obtain lifesteal to sustain yourself. One of the two methods listed above will hold you over until you build your core 4 items.
Infinity Edge: High damage, crit chance. You just need to build this item first.
Youmuu's Ghostblade: You need to build this item second because this item, as an offensive option, has a small window of opportunity. the flat penetration is strong in the early game but gets weaker in the mid game and very weak in the late game. Youmuu's Ghostblade gives a ball of strong stats that Graves loves. Most importantly, the flat CDR in the item shaves off 1.5 seconds from the cooldown of Quickdraw. This item, when activating the item and using Quickdraw at the same time the cooldown of Quickdraw can completely reset itself. Now when combining YGB with Scaling CDR glyphs makes your Quickdraw come up even sooner. Here are the CD's on the spell starting at level 9-18: 16.5, 14.7, 14.5, 12.8, 11.1, 11, 10.8, 10.7, 10.6, 10.5 seconds. This means in late game Quickdraw you shave off 3.5 seconds from this cooldown, meaning you need 3-4 less auto attacks to make this spell come back off CD. This means in teamfights it's easier to reposition in extended teamfights. Another important aspect to note is during teamfights, you should use this active DEFENSIVELY. Use it to dance around the teamfight and survive longer.
Phantom Dancer: Adds a tremendous amount of attack speed and crit chance. This item indirectly makes the cooldown of Quickdraw come up incredibly fast.
Note: IE + YGB + PD= 65% Crit chance= You will outduel just about any ADC and deal respectable damage to a tank
Trinity Force: The man of the hour, the source of our Super Crits (For definition of super crit see item discussion). At this point in the build you have the crit chance, cooldown reduction, damage, and attack speed to make your super crits come out frequently and dish out massive damage.
The Bloodthirster: You need a lifesteal item, BT is the best lifesteal item for Graves, and you now have the time and necessity for a full life steal item.
Last Whisper: If you snowball the game hard enough, you can get by without buying this item early on. In most normal games, you will be stuck building it. If you get behind/ if their tank gets ahead then build this item after YGB.
Elixir of Wrath: Gives you extra damage and "Lifesteal". I chug these in the late game, if I am snowballing hard in mid game I will consider picking it up early.
Like I said, this is a risky build (one might even say troll build), but I think this is a fun and unique way to play an ADC. It's not perfect, but what's the fun of life and League if you don't try new things and experiment a little every now and again.
This is a bit of theory crafting, however due to my current couseload I don't have time to test it but in theory this build should offer a new way to protect you from assasins and do more damage.
The full builds looks is: Infinity Edge into Tier 1 Boots into Phantom Dancer into The Bloodthirster into Last Whisper into Trinity Force into sell tier 1 Boots into Sterak's Gage. The main thing here is the interaction between S. Gage and Trinity Force. S Gage increases your BASE AD, which works with Trinity Force spellblade passive. When you combine this with the "supercrit" math I discussed abouve you can boost your damage by about 200 at level 18.
In addition, between the Bloodthirster shield, the health from Trinity Force, the health from Sterak's Gage, and the unique "shield" passive from Sterak's Gage you would now have al alternative manner of surviving an assasination attempt and dealing tons of damage.
Like I said, I haven't tried this yet and won't be able to do so for a long time due to time constraints. So, just give it a try and see what you think
Mid Lane Graves
You may be thinking, why would I bring an AD marksman into the mid lane? Just as a disclaimer, I have only as of today played 2 games with this set up so far but due to my familiarity with Graves and the fact that I main mostly mid lane champions I can instantly tell that Graves can have a place in your mid lane arsenal.
Before I explain the set up, I want to explain why Graves works in the mid lane. Graves get's free armor and magic resistance due to True Grit, great for dueling. Graves has 525 auto attack range, which puts him on par with many mages and ranged assassins. Graves has decent waveclear in the form of his Buckshot which if you manage your mana cost with you can use this spell quite frequently. Graves has a short dash in the form of Quickdraw, which in mid lane is very good for trades in lane, dodging skill shots, or escaping a gank since mid lane is so short using Quickdraw can usually save your life (unless you are REALLY far up in lane). Graves has a very potent 1-2 item powerspike which can be taken more advantage of in the mid lane than it could in the bot lane. Also a really good side note, Graves can become a really good split pusher due to his low mana cost Quickdraw and his decent waveclear with Buckshot. The last reason to add Graves into your arsenal is the unexpected factor: most mid laners expect ot be facing either ranges AP champions or melee AD champions ( I know there are exceptions to this rule but this is the majority of mid laners in today's meta). Many players are not familiar with playing against mid lane ranged AD champions, this unknown factor can cause them to not realize that at level 1 you can beat them in a fight simply because you have stronger auto attacks.
So in the Vs champion section I will go more into depth about each champion, but here are some general rules:
Graves is good against low champions who have to purchase Tear of the Goddess: These champions will be stuck in a power trough while you focus on a hard hitting AD item. Pretty much every champion who builds tear early is naturally weak against Graves and just on a champion basis he could beat them in a duel.
Graves can be good against long ranged AP poke. If you can dodge spells, Graves can be good against most mages since most mages aren't good duelists.
Graves is bad against AD assasins: Zed, Talon, Fizz, Master Yi, Riven, Tryndamere, are all champions that once they hit level 6 should be able to easily kill Graves. Graves may be able to handle them in laning phase until level 6, but unless you get a very large lead I almost guarantee these champs will win.
Now let's talk about the set up for mid lane Graves.
There are 2 mastery pages you can use. The mastery page I list in the standard Graves build or the new one I have for this build, the only difference being in this new page I take Double Edged Sword simple to be stronger in duels and have better assassination potential. For runes I take Move Speed Quints for many reasons. These quints + your base move speed puts you at 345 move speed, which is fast enough to dodge just about any skill shot. Also In a mid lane Graves build I prefer to double down on the mid game by purchasing a Youmuu's Ghostblade instead of a Phantom Dancer and as a result I don't want to loose any movespeed. Also if the game goes on long enough I like to switch my boots for a Trinity Force (See my discussion in the item section about why I like Tri Force on Graves). I take flad AD marks just for early trading potential. I take Scaling Health Seals as health is the best general defense to damage. I take Scaling CDR glyphs so that my spells, particularly Quickdraw come up as fast as possible. If you build a Youmuu's Ghostblade and are level 18 you have 25% CDR, which makes your Quickdraw have a 10.5 second cooldown instead of 14 seconds, which means you need 3 less auto attacks to dash dance around a teamfight which can be critical.
For summoner spells I take Flash and Teleport. Flash is just mandatory in this game for almost every champ. I take Teleport for a very important reason: map pressure and split pushing. With teleport I can pick up a BF sword, then I know that the bot lane is still farming for their BF sword and if the opportunity presents itself, I go to bot lane. I should have a level and item advantage and when I am level 6 I unload my burst. If I perform the gank right I get the enemy duo lane killed and snowball this move into a tower, then dragon, then into strong map control. Having teleport also means you split push, forcing the enemy to decide whether to address your presence or not. In either case you can turn that into your advantage (you either take a free structure or you trick them into coming for you then you TP out and opt into a teamfight where your team has a numbers advantage). My personal favorite is being able to TP into the enemy base in a late game situation and backdoor the base. I feel that Teleport just gives mid lane Graves more option on how to affect the game and map than any other summoner spell.
If you don't want to take Teleport here are some alternatives:
Ignite: If you want to dominate your lane hard
Exhaust: If you are worried about an "all in" from an assassin can help you not take a bad trade, or not get blown up
Heal or Barrier: defensive oriented combated spell
Ghost: Mid lane Graves can make good use of Ghost as during a teamfight this spell can help you dance around the enemies even harder while you kite and wittle them down
Cleanse: if you against hard CC then this spell can really save your ***.
I will explain my item purchase ordre
1: Doran's blade: best starting item for Graves period
2: B.F. Sword: Builds into Infinity Edge and is the best place to hopefully put your early money
3: Berserker's Grieves: Adding attack speed early in your build can help you clear waves faster and dodge + dance your way around skirmishes
4: Infinity Edge: Damage time
5A: a second Doran's Blade (do this if the enemy has a tank as you will need to get Last Whisper and won't have time to get a big Lifesteal item)
5B: Brutalizer: this builds into youmuu's
6: Youmuu's Ghostblade: This item is great on Graves. The flat CDR and the movespeed active can give you some very powerful and reliable early game damage.
7A: Last Whisper: If the enemy team has a tank you can't fall behind in terms of damage, you need to get this
7B: The Bloodthirster: If the enemy team doesn't have a tank then go for this item: The AD, and lifesteal will allow you to duel harder and pump out more damage.
8A Phantom Dancer: It's time to start criting more often!
9: Trinity Force: If you are at a late game situation and need a way to be more important, sell your boots and get this bad boy (See the Item Discussion as to why I like this item on Graves).
10: Elixir of Wrath: This item is awesome and can honestly be bought at any point in the game. However, I usually don't get it before I at least complete my Infinity Edge.
What do you guys think? Let me know in the comment section
Supports with Graves
Graves is a very snowball and kill lane reliant ADC. He wants the game to end before the late game. Now these support matchups are not set in stone, with hard work and skill any of these supports can work with Graves, its just that some supports objectively work better with Graves than others.
1. Thresh: Thresh has good ranged auto attacks, disengage potential, and amazing catch potential. It doesn't matter that Graves is short ranged when Thresh lands a hook and pulls the enemy closer to you. This is probably your best support to go with.
2. Leona: Has amazing CC and kill threat at early levels. Also has a tank steroid to make your all ins be more effective. A very good kill lane support, but she can get harassed down in lane.
3. Morganna: She has great early damage and can block many forms of CC with her Black Shield. Black Shield + True Grit means that Graves can become relatively tanky in the early game against mages of AP assassins. A very good kill lane.
4. Blitzcrank: A higher level 1 kill threat than Thresh, and has amazing catch potential. However Blitz can get poked down similar to Leona.
5. Annie: Can prime stuns, and has high base damage. A great kill lane, but offers no real utility
6. Nami: The only non traditional kill lane I like on Graves. Nami doesn't have high damage or god like kill threat, but she has great forms of utility and sustain. She can heal you, which can allow you to trade more often than your opponents who may not have sustain. Also, Nami can speed you up with any of her spells and help you close the gap. This can be particularly helpful seeing as Graves does have a short auto attack range and sometimes getting in range of others can be frustrating. Combine Nami's speed ups with the slow on Tidecaller's Blessing means Graves can stick to a target very nicely. And for bad situations, Nami can disengage the enemy and save your ***, unlike a good portion of the people on the good supports list.
Middle of the Pack supports
1: Lulu: Lulu has strong early dueling potential and good base values on her speed up and shields. The speed up part helps Graves overcome his short range and attack enemy ADC's. Only issue is lulu just isn't as damaging as an Annie/ Morg and doesn't have sustain.
2: Janna: While Graves is more a fan of engage supports, Janna's Shields + speed boost can work quite nicely with Grave's kit. Also her shield doubles as a damage boost for Graves, which can allow him to win early trades. Note, Janna has a low auto attack range and is really squishy.
3: Braum: Similar in playstyle to Alistar, except Braum has at level 1 the ability to stun the enemy bot lane. Braum can offer some protection and good engage/ disengage. Braum is basically a better rounded Allistar with a better laning phase.
4: Nautilus: Nautilus and Braum are very similar in terms of role, both bringing heavy CC to a level 1 fight. Nautilus has better engage than Braum, but very low disengage.
5. Allistar: No Disrespect to the cow with great late game tank scaling, but his early game leaves much to be desired. It simply takes more work to make Allistar synergize with Graves than any of the optimal supports needs. However, Alistar is a level 6 turret diving god and at level 6 can push himself harder in trades than most other champions in the game. Also Alistar does have heals which Graves always appreciates.
1. Soraka: In theory Soraka should be good with Graves: Soraka is an endless healing machine with long range poke. In theory, Graves should be able to endlessly trade with the enemy knowing he can just get Soraka healed and Soraka should be able to help the 2 v 2 with safe poke. However in a real game, I have never had the lanes work in this fashion. Soraka just feels too much like a backline support while Graves is an upfront all in champion. I don't like Soraka, in reality it feels like you 2 have no synergy.
2. Sona: In terms of survivability/Disengage not as good as a Nami. In terms of damage, Morgana and Annie have Sona beat. Quite simply, not an optimal choice.
3. Bard: While Bard has received some buffs recently, I still don't like him. I would prefer a support with stronger lane presence.
Was this guide helpful? Do you agree or disagree with anything on this guide? Let me know in the comments.