Graves General Guide by SSibold
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.
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.
This is my first guide ever, as such I would greatly enjoy any and all feedback in order to improve this guide. I'm currently a 12-1300 Elo player on the NA server. I don't play to try and be a pro, but I enjoy number crunching to get the most out of champs. Graves is an AD Caster at heart but many times is built as either an Auto Attacking(AA)/ AD Caster Hybrid, or worse yet, an AA Carry. I think the Hybrid Build is very valid in many team comps but I wanted to show a couple of different ways Graves can be built depending on your needs as a carry and the opposing team. So let's get started with the guide:)
Pros / Cons
Great AD Burst
Nice AOE Damage makes him great in team fights
Good Early Game
Tankier than most Carries
No good Escape Mechanism (Although Quickdraw can be used in some situations)
Needs to stack True Grit to get "tanky"
Shortish AA Range
Graves farms pretty well and has very good poke early and late game. He also has two utility spells which can be used offensively or defensively in a variety of situations. I'll go into more detail about those later. Also he has a 3.0 AD Ratio on his Q and R meaning for every point of AD you get, 3 points of AD get added to his burst. Insane!
My runes are pretty standard except for my Marks and my Quints. I get defensive runes for both my Seals and Glyphs. Then I choose a mixture of Mark of Attack Damage and Mark of desolation because I want a bit more early game poke and AD for last hitting. You can go all Mark of Attack Damage if you wanted but I think the Mark of Armor Penetration scales better as well as allows you to do nearly true damage to squishies the entire game.
The masteries are also fairly straight forward. I want to get all the AD and armor pen I can early game to maximize Graves poke with Buckshot as well a keep the edge he has on other carries by staying a little more beefy. You can change the Sorcery and Butcher points at will depending on your needs. If you like to poke go with the CDR or if you're more passive and want to farm go with Minon Damage. Its more of a personal preference in that area. You will notice I don't grab any points in Lethality or Frenzy because, as I said in the intro, Graves is not an AA Carry he is either and AA/ AD Caster Hybrid or AD Caster. Therefore Critical Strike and Chance are a bit wasted since we don't build a lot of AS. Havoc on the other hand improves our late game burst quite a bit so I get points in it instead.
I want to maximize my burst as quick as possible so I rush a The Bloodthirster then grab Zephyr for the Movement Speed(MS) and Attack Speed(AS).
Why Zephyr over Phantom Dancer???-
I go Zephyr over Phantom Dancer because it give me twice as much MS (for Graves slowness) plus CDR, Tenacity,and MOAR AD all of which I would trade any day for critical strike chance. I said this before but I'll reiterate. Graves is not an AA Carry so Crit Chance is a bit of a wasted stat on him. *I only say a bit wasted because I have gotten kills with critical strikes before*
The items after Bezerker Greves, The Bloodthirster and Zephyr are really up to you and your status as an ADC. If you are behind maybe take a little more defenses to last in fights and come back. If you are ahead build acording to the enemy team in order to keep your lead. They get armor you get armor pen. Don't just think "I'll build Damage" and expect to win the game because you are ahead at the moment. Leauge of Legends is about getting advantages and keeping them. Therefore you have to build ACCORDING to the other team in order to gain an edge.
With that being said Last Whisper is usually a good all around item for teams that build some armor but are also building damage. It gives you a 35% pen on top or your runes flat pen so you still dish out a lot of damage. Feel free to look through the item guides I have created to get an idea of what items work well against certain teams.
The important thing to remember is get R and Q when ever possible to maximize your burst. I get a point early in Smokescreen for the utility is gives me early and max Quickdraw by level 13 to get as much damage out as I can during Teamfights.
Buckshot is your main damaging ability. It has a short cool down and gives you a lot or damage with 1.5 AD scaling. A few things to remember about Buckshot is that unlike Volley it penetrates past creeps. Giving you pretty much free harass anytime they try to last hit. Be warned that this can push lanes unintentionally so use it wisely. Another key to this skill is at close range it does more damage, because the target gets hit with more than one shot. An easy tip is Quickdraw in Buckshot then either walk away or Smokescreen on top of them and walk away. They may get an AA or two off as you walk away but you will have won the trade (Unless they are really far ahead of you). I recommend only doing this after you have gotten some life steal so you can heal up the AA damage you received. Also I'm not sure if it is just me but I think the range of Buckshot is slightly farther than the skill shot icon shows so don't be afraid to use it to pick off kills that seem just out of range.
Buckshot early-mid is a pretty good amount of mana so don't spam it, unless you lane with Soraka (which is a very good match up in my opinion). Late game you won't be using it as much unless there is a team fight so mana issues shouldn't occur.
Flash and Ignite are going to pretty much be you only choices unless you decide to take Exhaust instead of Ignite. You could also take Heal for the baits it provides but with poke Graves has you really shouldn't be baiting kills. Cleanse is also very valid in higher ranked play but isn't really necessary in lower Elo. I pretty much always go Flash, Ignite to secure those early game kills and finish off people late game. On more than one occasion I have turned level 6 grabbed Collateral Damage Quickdrawed towards the opposing ADC Buckshotted Ignite, Collateral Damage and burst the carry from nearly full health for a first blood.
Team Work/ Teamfights
As the carry you always want to be farming as much as possible, but never miss a Teamfight, if one erupts, in order to farm more. You are one of the MAIN sources of damage, if you're not there you may as well have left your teamates for dead. I am exaggerating a little but I'm sure you get the point.
Now that we have established you need to be there I'll go over a few tips on how to position your self for maximum damage output as well as stay safe and protected. Never initiate always let either the enemy team go in or whoever may be the initiator on your team. Feel free to be cautious and hang back out of sight of the enemy team, but not to far back that you get there late. There is a great guide for carry positioning by Awesomefusion on Youtube Check this out for general info about AD carries
Specifically referring to Graves you want to Buckshot and Collateral Damage as many people on the enemy team as possible. Generally this means wait for the initiator to go in from either team before using any skills. Feel free to auto the initiate but wait to use your Buckshot until the teams begin to group up. This generally happens when the melees collide and everyone else CC's. Don't underestimate the burst of Buckshot and Collateral Damage it hits pretty hard if you have a decent amount of AD. The nice thing about Graves is he can re-position some using his Quickdraw, which also increases his DPS. Quikdraw should generally be used in team fights in order to increase your DPS and each AA reduces the cool-down, meaning it will be up again fairly quickly if you need to re-position once more. This doesn't mean that you dash into the enemy team, you should always be on the outer-skirts of team fights damaging whoever you can.
One misconception about carries is that they should only be attacking high priority targets. While this is ideal, in the chaos of a teamfight it is not always practical. Awesomefusion goes over this in the link above, but I'll mention it here too. As the AD carry it is you job to dish out as much damage as possible to whoever is within AA and skill range. Try to get in a area where you can get to those high priority targets, but not as a sacrifice to your own well being.
Quickdraw- Through Walls
This section is dedicated to showing what walls Graves can Quickdraw through. The range on Quickdraw is not very long but you would be surprised what walls you can dash through either offensively or defensively.
Thank you for checking out my guide:) Once again this is my very first Guide so comments would be appreciated. I will continue to update and add info to this guide if there is a demand for it. EG- People actually read it and make suggestions. This is still a work in progress and I intend to add more to the guide. Such as, who supports him well in lane and other tips.