AP Mid Lane Gragas
Hi there, my name's Crystalfortress and this is my guide for mid lane Gragas, as well as my third guide on MOBAfire. I decided to do a guide for Gragas because he recently got reworked, and I started playing him completely differently as a result. This guide will show you how I have been playing and building Gragas since the rework. Make sure to vote on how you feel about the guide, and give me any tips or suggestions that you can think of in the comments section. I haven't gotten a chance to play many ranked matches with new Gragas yet, so the MATCHUPS chapter won't be complete. To help me with this, comment with your experiences with the build, who you were against and how you fared. Now then, let's get this party started!
Landmarks & Updates
60,000 views!!! NO WAY!!!
... But only 5 votes?
4/21/2014 - Patch 4.6: Yay, graggy buffs!!! Drunken Rage no longer has a self-slow, and Body Slam now has a constant 12 second cooldown instead of scaling from 16. YAY!!!
5/8/2014 - Patch 4.7: More graggy buffs (mostly just adjustments though). Barrel Roll now gives vision similar to Lux's Lucent Singularity, the range of Explosive Cask has been upgraded (slightly), they changed the indicators on Barrel Roll and Explosive Cask to be the proper sizes, and Drunken Rage can no longer be expended on wards. Yayyyyyyy!
Pros & Cons
21 points in offense is important for most carries, as you will be focusing on dealing as much damage as possible, and this tree provides you with stats to help you do just that. This is my preferred allocation of points, but some points could be switched around depending on personal preference.
9 points in utility provides you with a lot of helpful things. 3 extra mana regen is really nice since you won't be building any in terms of items, and this in addition to blue buff should work just fine. You also get quicker recalls, shorter cooldowns on summoner spells, better sustain from potions, and, most importantly, neutral buff duration. This will allow you to rely solely on blue buff for your mana regeneration.
Greater Quintessence of Ability Power
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Mark of Hybrid Penetration
Ability Power is your main offensive stat. These provide you with more of that. This seems pretty simple.
Greater Seal of Armor provides you with help defending against physical damage. This is especially helpful against AD mid laners like Zed or Kha'Zix, since they deal mostly physical damage.
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist is really helpful in the mid lane, as most of the opponents that you will be facing will be dealing magic damage, and magic resist helps protect against magic damage.
Greater Mark of Hybrid Penetration provides you with more magic penetration AND armor penetration. While his harass isn't based around his auto-attacks, Drunken Rage and Lich Bane make them an essential part of your burst damage combo, and these runes help with both them and the magic damage from all of your abilities.
I use these on all of my rune pages, just because I haven't invested in any other quintessences and these were good on all champions. Especially nice on close range champions like Gragas.
With the adjustments to runes in the recent 4.5 patch, I've been considering these more and more as an alternative, since they now start to overtake flat armor seals at level 6. Your choice, and possibly moved to preferred in the near future.
4.5 also gave a pretty big buff to scaling magic resist glyphs, and I've been considering investing in some myself. Could be helpful if you won't need the extra magic resist early.
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration will provide you with more magic damage from your abilities in comparison to Greater Mark of Hybrid Penetration, but your autoattacks (which are pretty important after the rework) will be less effective. I usually use a mix of these and hybrid penetration marks, giving me a good amount of both penetration stats.
Flash is necessary on almost all champions these days. It provides you with the ability to jump over walls, escape bad situations, close gaps on fleeing enemies, and surprise engage enemies in teamfights.
Ignite is pretty standard for most mid laners these days. The damage over time, heal reduction, and newly added sight allow you to finish off enemies much more easily. Especially useful against healing and regeneration-dependent mid laners.
Barrier can be used instead of Ignite if you would prefer the safety of a shield over the kill securing potential of damage over time. Especially useful against enemies with lots of burst, so that you can survive their initial damage.
Cleanse is another potential replacement for Ignite that is best used when the enemy team has a lot of crowd control. This in conjunction with Flash can let you escape most bad situations.
Keep in mind that the rework is still pretty new, so I'm not SURE that this is the best set up, but it seems like it is so far. Barrel Roll isn't that great anymore, so I usually take points into Body Slam first. However, now that Body Slam's cooldown doesn't reduce, I've been reconsidering, so might get changed. Obviously, points should be taken into Explosive Cask whenever possible. If you have a leveling order that you prefer, please let me know in the comments.
This passive is really helpful for Gragas in the early game. Every time you cast a spell, you will regenerate 4% of your maximum health instantaneously. This gives you lots of health regeneration, especially important for a close range farmer and damage dealer like Gragas. Keep in mind the recently added 8 second cooldown, and don't use spells for health regeneration if it is on cooldown. In addition, if you are running away and on low health while a damage over time effect ticks on you, try to cast a spell whenever your passive is up. It might just save your life.
This ability is your only non-ult long range ability, making it very important for farming and harassing in lane. When you activate it, Gragas will send out a barrel to the targeted location which will explode either in 5 seconds or when you reactivate the ability, dealing damage and slowing enemies in the area. The damage and slow can be increased by up to 50% if it explodes within 2 seconds of having arrived at the location. This ability's main use after the rework is the slow, but it can also be used for zoning (explained better in the TIPS & TRICKS chapter) or harassing the enemy laner. Now also grants vision, so can be used to scout bushes, help steal objectives, or spot gankers.
This ability is the reason why Lich Bane is in the build. Using it causes Gragas to start taking a drink, causing his next autoattack to deal additional magic damage, as well as magic damage equal to a large percent of the target's health. In addition, for the next three seconds, Gragas takes reduced damage from all sources. In combination with a Lich Bane proc, this will cause your auto attacks to REALLY hurt. Proper use is explained in the TIPS & TRICKS chapter.
This ability is your dash that you can use to get through walls, close gaps with enemies and escape bad situations. When you use this ability, Gragas will charge forward, travelling through any walls he comes up against and slamming into the first enemy he hits, causing area of effect magic damage around them and knocking back enemies hit, stunning them for 1 second. The cooldown is reduced if Gragas hits an enemy. This ability is very important for bursting enemies down, allowing you to close the gap and assuring that you are able to stay in range for the Drunken Rage and Lich Bane infused auto attack to hit.
Explosive Cask is Gragas's ultimate ability, meaning that it only becomes available to level at levels 6, 11, and 16, and should DEFINITELY be leveled every time it is available due to it's potency. When activated, Gragas throws an explosive barrel to the targeted location, damaging and knocking affected enemies away from the center of the explosion. This ability is hard to master, and can assure a kill against an enemy if used right or can save them if used wrong. Make sure to read the TIPS & TRICKS chapter for help with it's proper use.
|Doran's Ring start is really good for almost all AP mid laners, providing you with really good early game stats. It gives you health to make you more tanky, AP for stronger damage, and mana regeneration and a passive to help with mana sustain. Two health potions in addition to Happy Hour allow you to take almost any amount of harass in the early game.||
Doran's Ring, at the expense of the nice base stats in health and ability power that the Doran's Ring provides you with, as well as a little less mana sustain. Overall a good start if your opponent has A LOT of harass.
Boots of Speed are helpful on literally any character. More movement speed makes it easier to chase fleeing enemies, run away from bad situations, and dodge skillshots. A good early pickup in most matchups, especially against skillshot-reliant enemies. Also builds into Sorcerer's Shoes, an important item for Gragas.
||Doran's Ring (or a first if you started flask) gives you more great early game stats, the same as buying the first one. However, the main thing about buying a second one is the mana regeneration, allowing you to spam skills like there's no tomorrow and not worry nearly as much about mana. Definitely get a second one if your jungler won't give you the blue buff, but it's a good idea to get one no matter what.||
Lich Bane, an extremely important item for Gragas. However, it will still provide you with a lot of help on it's own, giving you ability power and mana, two nice stats, and a passive which actually works well on Gragas due to his fairly high base attack damage. Mostly just helpful for early Lich Banes though.
Lich Bane, it is still good to pick one up early on Gragas because it builds into Rabadon's Deathcap, Abyssal Scepter, and Void Staff. It also provides a good amount of early ability power for stronger spells.
||Rabadon's Deathcap and Zhonya's Hourglass, two core items.||
Kha'Zix or Zed. Provides you with ability power and armor to help defend against their physical damage. Also builds into Zhonya's Hourglass, a core item.
||Lich Bane. However, the stats it provides are also quite nice on their own, with ability power being your main offensive stat, and movement speed being quite a heplful stat on any champion, especially close range ones like Gragas.|
Gragas being no exception. The ability power boost from this item is huge, providing 120 on it's own, in addition to multiplying the effectiveness of itself and all other ability power items with it's 30% ability power increase. Definitely important for Gragas.
||Lich Bane has become an extremely important item for Gragas after his rework, due to the increased focus on close range damage, as well as the new Drunken Rage making auto attacks a big part of your burst damage combo. Gragas also has pretty high base attack damage in comparison to most mid laners, making the second part of the passive nice on him.|
Void Staff is really good on most magic damage laners, but it is especially good on Gragas, due to his %health based damage from Drunken Rage. The magic penetration is also just nice for all of his abilities, and the 70 ability power isn't bad at all.
Gragas due to the fact that most of his damage is now in close range, and hitting enemies in close range is a pretty dangerous prospect late game. This item provides you with more safety from the active, as well as some nice armor and ability power.
||Abyssal Scepter mostly for the magic resist and magic resist-reducing aura. Magic resist rounds out your defensive stats, and the magic resist-reducing aura is nice on Gragas because almost all of his damage is now close range and the %health damage from Drunken Rage has really good synergy with magic penetration. 70 ability power is also nothing to sneeze at.|
Guardian Angel can be taken instead of either Zhonya's Hourglass if you need more magic resist or Abyssal Scepter if you need more armor. In addition, it can be taken instead of either of these items solely for the passive if you are currently the main damage dealer on your team (extremely fed) and are getting focused in teamfights.
Mercury's Treads can be taken instead of Sorcerer's Shoes if you either need more magic resist against your lane opponent or need the tenacity because either your lane opponent or the enemy team has some kind of crazy cc.
||Liandry's Torment could be used to replace Abyssal Scepter if you are against an all physical damage enemy team. The magic penetration and ability power are comparable, the health is a nice bonus, the passive is nice and helps you be even more of a tank hunter in addition to Drunken Rage, and the magic resist on Abyssal Scepter would be useless.|
Iceborn Gauntlet is a possible replacement for Lich Bane in the situation where you fall behind against an ad mid opponent. In this situation, the rather large boost in armor will really be helpful, you still get some good damage from the spellblade passive, and the mana is always nice. Also, the slow aura is very nice for if you fall behind because generally when you fall behind you should tend towards supportive items, as your significantly reduced damage won't have much of an impact even if you did get a lich bane since they're already so many items ahead of you.
Gragas isn't super powerful in the early game, so you mostly just want to focus on farming, harassing and zoning enemies if they stand too still with Barrel Roll. If they go aggressive on you and you could die, try to Body Slam out of their range and Flash if necessary. After level 3, if they step too far forward, activate Drunken Rage, then Body Slam and auto attack them. If they are on low health, to all-in you should activate Drunken Rage (they will usually run away at that point, unfortunately), and if they stick around, Body Slam - auto attack - Barrel Roll them, which should hopefully kill them. If they harass you a lot, be sure to activate an ability whenever Happy Hour is off cooldown.
Mid game is when Gragas starts to get pretty strong. By this point, you should have your Lich Bane for sure, and should have most of, if not all of your Rabadon's Deathcap and Sorcerer's Shoes. Your burst should be pretty crazy, and you can use this to your advantage by roaming to other lanes a lot and helping them secure kills on their lane opponents. You can also focus on dominating your lane opponent by bursting them whenever they step out of line. If the enemy team tries to take the dragon, you may be able to steal it with Explosive Cask, or can use it to determine the fight around it. If enemies start to roam to your lane and push towards your tower, ping for your team to help, because you can't farm with Barrel Roll from long range nearly as well any more, and close range lane clearing is dangerous against multiple enemies.
Gragas has a pretty strong late game. Explosive Cask can be a determining factor in teamfights if you use it right (TIPS & TRICKS section). Barrel Roll should be used to harass and zone enemies during sieges, and your main aspect, your close range burst, is at peak damage. You can usually easily 100-0 most squishy enemy targets. You can take advantage of this in team fights by jumping in the back line using Flash and Body Slam and then killing an enemy carry. You can take advantage of this out of teamfights by trying to catch enemies out of position (hopefully your support puts deep wards in the enemy's jungle) and assassinating them while they are rotating between lanes. Explosive Cask can be used to steal baron or have a huge impact on the fight around it.
- Gragas with a Lich Bane and Drunken Rage has lots of close-range burst damage. Try to assassinate low health enemies whenever you can.
- Body Slam is exceptionally good at escaping from bad situations. You can use it to jump through walls that most enemies will not be able to follow you through unless they use Flash. If they are chasing you through the jungle, going through walls into jungle creeps will decrease the cooldown without having to hit an enemy champion. Just make sure the monsters won't kill you.
- If you can, allowing Barrel Roll to charge up significantly increases the strength of both the damage and the slow. This is easiest to do if the enemy is affected by an ally's crowd control. Or, if you're a total boss, you can charge up a Barrel Roll and then knock an enemy into it using Explosive Cask.
- Explosive Cask is really difficult to use. I would suggest practicing it in some bot games before taking Gragas into any normal or ranked games. These are the possible uses for it:
- Splitting up enemies in a teamfight, so your team can pick them off.
- Knocking one or more enemies towards your team so you guys can kill them.
- Knocking enemies away from your team if a teamfight is going poorly.
- Stealing or helping steal objectives like dragon or baron.
- Securing kills that are out of the range of your other abilities and are on low health.
- In the late game, be sure to use your Barrel Roll to zone enemies during sieges. One good way to do this is to put it in such a location that the enemy has to either move into a very small choke point (making ally's skillshots easier to hit) or take the damage & slow from the barrel (also making skillshots easier to hit).
- Both Body Slam and Explosive Cask can be used to end channel abilities, like Katarina's Death Lotus or Fiddlesticks' Drain.
- Barrel Roll can't be reactivated if you are under the effects of any crowd control that stops you from casting spells, including silences, stuns and knockups.
- Always try to cast Drunken Rage a little before you get into a fight, because the inability to cast spells for a second leaves you vulnerable, but the damage reduction and empowered auto attack are really helpful.
- Since patch 4.7, the barrel now grants vision. This can be extremely helpful for checking a bush that you think might have an enemy in it before you go in yourself and checking the side lane bushes for any possible ganks from their jungler (although don't do this unless you suspect they are there, it costs some mana).
- Since the barrel has now grown a pair of eyes (Patch 4.7), baron and dragon steals are much easier. When you know the enemy team is attempting one of these objectives, throw in a Barrel Roll, wait until it is at the right amount of health ( Barrel Roll damage + Explosive Cask damage, or maybe a little less), throw in Explosive Cask, trying to make sure to knock away the enemy jungler so he can't smite it away, and activate Barrel Roll just as Explosive Cask lands. Hopefully, this should get it for you, although it may also cost your life if they jump out of the baron pit and kill you.
Keep in mind that I haven't played a whole lot of games with post-rework Gragas, and so don't have a whole lot of knowledge to put in this section. I will update this with new content whenever I play a game against a new opponent. To help me fill up this section, comment with your experience with the guide, who you were against and how the matchup was if it isn't too much trouble.
Thanks for reading my guide!!! I hope that you liked it. Whether you did or you didn't, be sure to vote and comment with how you felt about it, and if you use the build, be sure to tell me how it went!!! If you have any thoughts or suggestions pertaining to any part of the guide or build, let me know in the comments. Have fun playing with the new Gragas, and have a nice day!!!
4/5/2014 - Guide finished and published
4/6/2014 - Added "AP Offtank" alternative build. Won't be covered in the guide, but might help some people out. Be sure to comment if you disagree with the build.
4/24/2014 - 10,000 views!!! That's pretty good!!! Anyways, I added a landmarks & updates chapter, updated the matchups chapter with a few more that I've played, updated some sections of text for patch 4.6, and added the alternative items section to the ITEMS chapter (which I had planned to do from the beginning, what a doofus!!!). Glad that people are looking at the guide, but if you get the chance, please vote, as it makes me feel all cozy and warm inside. Also so the guide can get seen more. But mostly just for all of the feels. Also changed the main guide masteries to 21-0-9 because i've found that I prefer it.
4/25/2014 - adjusted masteries chapter to fit new masteries.
4/30/2014 - Added support graggy alternative build, as I've seen it get fairly popular in solo queue.
5/8/2014 - Added iceborn gauntlet to alternative items, as suggested by MonoHearted. Adjusted some portions of text for 4.7.