Graves Build Guide by TaintedDarkSoul

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 TaintedDarkSoul

I got 99 problems, but the league ain't one

TaintedDarkSoul Last updated on January 27, 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: 24

Honor Guard

Defense: 6

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 0

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Hello summoners. Look at the other Graves builds, now back to mine, now back to the others, now back to mine. Sadly those others aren't mine, but if you stop reading theirs and switch to reading mine, you'll finally learn the secrets of how to play Graves like me.

At first glance it looks standard, repetitive and risky. Its a tried and tested method that always works under the best circumstances (when your fed). Below is how to make Graves unstoppable. Well then, shall we begin, partner?

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Pros / Cons

Why pay 6300 IP or 975 RP for Graves?


  • Strong early game harass
  • Good pusher/jungler
  • Good burst damage
  • Excellent attack speed/close gap/escape skill
  • Most awesome ult particle effects yet
  • "Dead man walkin" never gets old when you select him from your champ pool at the beginning of the game

  • Can get shut down real quick if singled out (but what carry isn't)
  • Some skill required with Q and R
  • You need to get in close to max Q's damage output, thus putting you in danger

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True Grit
(Innate): Graves gains 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 bonus armor and magic resistance every second he remains in combat. This bonus stacks up to 10 times. Graves is considered in combat if he has dealt or received damage in the last 3 seconds.

(Active): Graves fires three bullets in a cone, dealing physical damage to all enemies in their path. Enemies at close range can be hit by multiple projectiles, but each bullet beyond the first will deal only 25% damage.

    Range: 750
    Cost: 60 / 70 / 80 / 90 / 100 mana
    Cooldown: 12 / 11 / 10 / 9 / 8 seconds
    Physical Damage: 60 / 105 / 150 / 195 / 240 (+0.8 per bonus attack damage)
    Max Physical Damage: 90 / 157.5 / 225 / 292.5 / 360 (+1.2 per bonus attack damage)

Smoke Screen
(Active): Graves fires a smoke canister at the target area, dealing magic damage upon landing and creating a cloud of smoke for 5 seconds. Enemies inside the smoke cloud will be slowed and will have their vision reduced to only what is inside the smoke cloud and enemies attacking them, everything else will look like it is in the Fog of War.
    Range: 700
    Cost: 70 / 75 / 80 / 85 / 90 mana
    Cooldown: 20 / 19 / 18 / 17 / 16 seconds
    Magical Damage: 60 / 110 / 160 / 210 / 260 (+0.6 per ability power)
    Slow: 15 / 20 / 25 / 30 / 35 %

(Active): Graves dashes forward, gaining an attack speed boost for 4 seconds. Attacking enemy units with autoattacks lowers the cooldown of Quickdraw by 1 second each attack.
    Cost: 50 mana
    Range: 425
    Cooldown: 22 / 20 / 18 / 16 / 14 seconds
    Attack Speed: 40 / 50 / 60 / 70 / 80 %

Collateral Damage
(Active): Graves fires an explosive shell in a straight line, dealing heavy physical damage to the first target it hits. After hitting a champion or reaching the end of its range, the shell explodes dealing physical damage in a cone behind the target.
    Cost: 100 mana
    Range: 1000
    Cooldown: 100 / 90 / 80 seconds
    Initial Physical Damage: 250 / 350 / 450 (+1.4 per bonus attack damage)
    Explosion Physical Damage: 140 / 250 / 360 (+1.2 per bonus attack damage)

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V1.0.0.132 aka Sejuani:

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.

V1.0.0.129 aka Fizz:

  • Attack range reduced to 525 from 550.
  • Base mana lowered to 295 from 342.
  • damage per additional missile reduced to 25% from 30%.
  • Fixed a few small tooltip errors.

V1.0.0.128 aka Shyvana:

True Grit:
  • Buff duration reduced to 3 seconds from 4.
  • Armor and magic resistance per stack reduced to 3 from 4 at max level.
Buckshot: extra damage per additional projectile reduced to 30% from 35%.

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Buckshot Math

The following is assuming if all three (3) Buckshot bullets hit a target.


let x=13 bonus AD (67=54+13) <-- this is after one Doran's Blade and Brute Force .


Launch Graves:

Difference = 14 damage from launch

let x=123 bonus AD (230=107+123) <--this is after two Doran's Blade and Brute Force and one maxed out The Bloodthirster.


Launch Graves:

Difference = 67.61 damage from launch

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Skill Sequence

At level 1 get Buckshot. You need a early game harass, and this is your primary/only attack spell.

At level 2 get Quickdraw. To close the gap or escape when needed.

At level 3 get Smoke Screen. Best to pick this up at level 3, never know when it might come in handy.

Level up Collateral Damage in levels 6, 11 and 16. This is obvious, level your ultimate whenever you can.

From levels 4-5, 7 and 9, max out Buckshot.
From levels 8, 10 and 12-13, max out Quickdraw.
From levels 14-15 and 17-18, max out Smoke Screen.

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Your Marks ( Greater Mark of Desolation) and Quintessences ( Greater Quintessence of Desolation) should be armor penetration. This will help early game, combined with your masteries, you should have a total of 31 armor penetration at level 1. So any mage champ will be easy pickings.

Seals should be flat armor runes ( Greater Seal of Armor). This will help with early game defense (in combination with Graves's passive and he is quite beefy).

Glyphs ( Greater Glyph of Critical Damage) are for critical damage modification. Reason why I chose these over critical chance is because when you attack, you'll land a critical eventually. Make it count. Sometimes you could of been 100 HP (or less) away from a kill and they escaped. With this additional +5% critical damage, you'll seal the kill.

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I go 24-6-0 for Graves. Standard 21 in offense by selecting all masteries on the left-hand side finishing off on Executioner .

6 points in defense. Maxed out Resistance and Hardiness for more armor and magic resist. Since I didn't see anything I wanted in defense I placed my last 3 points into the offense tree on Havoc .

And finally 0 points in utility. There is nothing of value for less then 9 points (meaning get Runic Affinity or bust).

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Summoner Spells

What to use: Exhaust and Flash.

Exhaust to shut down pesky enemy AD carries. Also easy way to pick up a kill or escape.

Flash to close a gap to get a kill or to run away.

What could be used: Teleport, Cleanse and Ignite

Can help you get back into lane faster, stop an advancing creep wave from across the map or to backdoor.

Can be used against heavy CC teams. If you don't run this, get a Quicksilver Sash.

Can be used to pick up firstblood and helps you dominate in early lane phases. Plus a good way to troll Tryndamere when he gets out of his ult.

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Core Items

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NOTE: This build is to maximize Graves's DPS. This should only be used in those games that your team has a huge kill lead. If both sides are trading kills, you will have to counter-build to either continue to deal damage or survive a beating in a teamfight (see next chapter).

In the beginning buy a Doran's Blade. On your first trip back pick up a second Doran's Blade and some Boots of Speed. This helps with your early lane sustain to farm up for that first B. F. Sword by giving you +200 HP, +20 AD and +6% lifesteal.

Third trip should be to upgrade those boots to Berserker's Greaves. Have any gold left over? If yes, buy a Vampiric Scepter or B. F. Sword (depends on how well your doing in lane). Recently I have been getting the Vampiric Scepter over the B. F. Sword for one reason: 18% total lifesteal. This means that you basically heal 20 HP every auto-attack, which in turn means you can be more reckless when using Quickdraw then Buckshot.

The next trip should have you getting The Bloodthirster. Start farming anything to get it to max asap. This is the item that starts to change the game around. The reason is because of The Bloodthirster's ability: +40 bonus AD and +10% bonus lifesteal upon killing 40 of anything (be it champions or minions). This quickly translates to more damage output and the ability to have a constant supply of HP.

Now that we have a ton of AD and lifesteal set up, lets work on getting some attack speed. Zeal will do for now. Upgrade that to a Phantom Dancer when you can. Repeat this step twice (for the attack speed buff and critical chance). Your critical chance should be 62% now (including masteries). This is pretty much all the attack speed you'll need. In combination with Quickdraw, you should have the fastest gun in Summoners Rift.

Next is to pick up another B. F. Sword. Sell a Doran's Blade to make room. This sword will turn into a Infinity Edge. Your critical chance should now be 87%, so you should be getting a critical hit every basic attack. Each critical hit will now deal 2.65 times more damage (including runes and masteries: 2.5 by Infinity Edge, 0.1 by your Lethality mastery and 0.05 by your Greater Glyph of Critical Damage). This translates to being able to crit close to 1,000 points of damage about every half a second. And we're not stopping just yet.

Your last item will be another The Bloodthirster. Sell that last Doran's Blade for yet another B. F. Sword. With both The Bloodthirsters at max, they will give you +200 AD and 50% lifesteal. You should be practically unkillable as long as your attacking a champ and if your not focused/stunned. Achieving quadra and penta-kills should be easy as long as you have proper positioning.

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How to: Counter-Build

As stated above, this is a "glass cannon" build (the extra Phantom Dancer and The Bloodthirster would be the items you'd be looking at to remove for something else if you or your team is having trouble). If things are looking bad, deviate from this build and start getting armor or magic resist depending on your situation:

Enemy has too much armor/HP. No problem. Get:

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How to: Lane

Against a Single Champ:
Use Smoke Screen to temporally blind your target, close the gap with Quickdraw and pop Buckshot to deal damage. Auto-attack and - if your lucky - use your Collateral Damage to seal the kill. Use this if your in solo mid. This also works well in top or bottom, just be mindful of what your other laning enemy is doing when you want to strike.

Against Minions:
Killing minions is easy with Buckshot. Let them get into 2 rows and pop the skill. Finish off any with auto attacks. You can also pop your Buckshot when they are in a line. This too will damage them just the same, but some in the back or in the fog of war might not be touched. Thus this isn't an efficient use of your mana in early game. In mid to late game you can do whatever you'd like to kill minions.

In Jungle:
Same idea as minions. Use Quickdraw whenever possible to speed up killing red or blue buffers.

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How to: Teamfight

Whenever engaging in a team fight, never initiate. This build (and the champ) makes you a glass cannon and you will get crushed fast (especially since everyone thinks Graves is OP, hes not, ANY fed champ can become OP). Instead wait for your tank or any heavy armored/HP champ to start.

Next step is to auto attack to support the tank. If they are weak, pop Smoke Screen then Quickdraw towards them and finish them off with Buckshot and more auto attacks. If things are looking bad, well its time to use your ult. Yes you read that right, your gonna use Collateral Damage at the beginning of the fight. Why? Well the reason why is that most likely your enemy will swarm around the tank champ to try to kill them. By using your ult, its kind of like bowling, you will hit more then one champ and you can tell who is the weakest link to physical damage. That will be your target.

Use your Smoke Screen on your target or treats, close the gap with Quickdraw (if needed Flash) and use Buckshot to deal most of the damage. Then finish them off by auto attacks. Next step is to find your next target. Once located, kill them too. By this point they should be either dead or retreating.

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Thats about it. Good luck and have fun.

Version 1.7.2

Change Log:
1.0.1 - Changed build name from "I got 99 problems, but you ain't one" to "I got 99 problems, but the league ain't one," thanks shurkin.
1.1 - Added Last Whisper and other anti-armor items into the Items box.
1.2 - Expanded on Seals. Touched up on defensive items, fighting in lane and in teamfights. Images soon, once I find time.
1.2.1 - Fixed intro, made it real classy ;) .
1.3 - Added Skills section and added BBcode.
1.3.1 - Fixed Skill Sequence error. Thanks Blowfeld for pointing it out :P .
1.3.2 - Fixed minor formatting issues.
1.3.3 - Changed chapter 9 and 10's names.
1.4 - Added Core Items chapter.
1.4.1 - Added end game screenshot in Intro chapter.
1.4.2 - Added some addition notes for clarification in the Items chapter.
1.5 - Added a Nerf chapter (fixed the Skills chapter as a result), touched up on Items chapter (regarding getting the Vampiric Scepter before a B. F. Sword, fixed the item sequence as a result).
1.5.1 - Added buckshot math to Nerf chapter.
1.6 - Added new masteries, more changes a-coming (post Fizz nerf and masteries)
1.7 - Fixed skills, nerfs, runes and materies for Sejuani patch. Added a new chapter for buckshot math.
1.7.1 - Cut off the end of the items chapter and made it its own chapter: how to counter build.
1.7.2 - Added more options into summoner spell chapter