Graves Build Guide by Herkkuparila

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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 Herkkuparila

The real gangster carry, Graves

Herkkuparila Last updated on January 10, 2014
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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

Legendary Guardian

Defense: 9


Utility: 0

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Hello, I am an adc main from EUNE, and I play in platinum division. Graves is one of my main adc champions, and I am here to share my Graves guide with you. I hope that my coding skills have increased since my last guide, and that you will enjoy this guide. May it help you understand more about Graves.

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+ Strong burst throughout the game
True Grit gives potent damage reduction
Quickdraw makes a good gap closer / escape
Quickdraw's cooldown can be reduced by auto-attacks.
Is the manliest champion in the League, seriously Pantheon has nothing on this.

- Can prove to be mana hungry
Slow basic attack speed
Basic attack range is 525, when the most common is 550.
Passive needs to be charged.
Smoke Screen has limited uses

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Summoner spells

Flash and Barrier is the most common pair of spells for an adc, Flash is the best summoner spell in the entire game, this is why we are going to pick it for Graves too.
Barrier became the best choice for ad carries after Heal was nerfed.
I am going to list the summoner spells that currently exist in the summoner's rift.

Cleanse is viable for ad carries, but it has only one use, disspelling CC on yourself, when compared to Barrier which you can use to save your life from executes and bait fights. Cleanse should only be picked against heavy CC team, keep in mind that you can't cleanse suppresses or knock ups.

Ghost is not ideal for ad carries although the movement speed is not useless, the utility that Flash brings you just beats Ghost any day. I don't recommend Ghost for Graves.

Ignite is good for picking early level kills, but loses it's use in the late game. Ignite should be picked if you have a kill lane on bot.

you are not a jungler don't pick it.

Never pick this spell, it's only for trolling, or expecting that you will die so often that you need the respawn.

Clairvoyance is also useless on Graves since your skills don't have enough range that they would need Clairvoyance in order to aim them.

Exhaust is somewhat viable, but I don't recommend it, it can save you from assassins and win a 1 vs 1 fight, but it doesn't help against multiple enemies.

Clarity is not preferrable since you need to learn how to play without wasting mana all the time, and it's uses are pretty limited.

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Think it as a rule when playing adc to get 21 points in offense tree to unlock Havoc for nice damage increase, and if you combine it with Double-Edged Sword you get 4.5% more damage to all attacks and skills only from 2 masteries. If you think you need more movement speed or mana regen then consider using points in Fleet of Foot or Meditation but do it at the expense points in defense tree.
Also one thing to keep in mind is that 21/9/0 or 21/0/9 is a more preferred than 21/4/5 or some other variation because with 9 mastery points you unlock some "stronger" masteries, for example Martial Mastery or Juggernaut .

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I am one of those players who don't understand much about the "theoritecal" part of the league, so I can only tell a small portion about the runes. But the reason I use these exact runes is that Greater Quintessence of Life Steal help your sustain in lane, and durability in fights, also it helps you in recovering from a fight.
The Greater Mark of Attack Damages are the best ones for marks, since you need some bonus ad to help with last hitting (unless you are really awesome at last hitting, but in that case you probably don't need the guide)
Greater Seal of Armor and Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist synergise well with your passive True Grit. A good reason to use scaling glyphs is that you don't need very much magic resist in early game against another adc.

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Items with explanations

Graves has most use of flat ad, due to his ad caster style of play, this is why you should try to gather as much ad as possible in early game to mid game. Attack speed is not your first worry because Quickdraw gives you the attack speed needed in early game.
The decision between Infinity Edge and The Bloodthirster is mostly about what you personally prefer, The Bloodthirster is kind of better since your skills don't use critical. Buying attack speed should not be hurried until you have all your base damage items ( The Bloodthirster, Last Whisper, Infinity Edge).
Finish the build with a defensive item ( Guardian Angel, Frozen Mallet, etc.) or if you are 17/0/9 with the team score of 26/0 then you can consider a second The Bloodthirster, or a Blade of the Ruined King.

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Graves has a strong trade potential, but is weak against constant poke. Meaning that if possible you should be the aggressive player, not your enemy. Graves' main poke is Buckshot which works as a strong damage even if you are not close to the enemy.
A good combo for harassing or a lane fight, is to close in with Quickdraw then hit with Buckshot at a pointblank range for the damage increase (every additional bullet does up to 35% bonus damage), always make sure that your support is with you!! Unless you do this, you will most likely receive more damage than you can deal out.
Remember that Graves is a caster type of adc which means that most of his damage comes from his abilities so it's pretty important to know when and how to use your skillset.

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If you know how to farm with an adc, then skip this chapter. When playing Graves you might have trouble with last hits due to slow attack speed, if this is a problem remember that you can use your Buckshot as a farming tool, making your wave clear fast and gives you pretty safe last hits. Like I mentioned before you can use some mastery points in Butcher to increase the damage you deal to minions with basic attack you will most likely aid you in getting those pesky last hits.
Something that will help you in last hits with Graves is that his auto-attack animation is relatively fast, making it much easier to last hit compared to champions with slow auto-attack animation like Ashe.

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Lane opponents

Like I have mentioned earlier Graves has a basic attack range of 525, which is rather short. This means that to harass the enemy with basic attacks you need to get close, close enough for the enemy adc to hit you with his/her basic attacks too. This is why Graves has to harass with Buckshotor go in for a combo (in most cases) in order to make a worthy trade.
Here I list some ad carries that are most often seen in ranked, and how hard they are to play against with Graves

|| Ashe has basic attack range of 600 and her Volley will make a good poke against graves, but she needs her Enchanted Crystal Arrow to win you in a straight fight. Ashe is a medium opponent

|| Varus has basic attack range of 575 and both his Piercing Arrow and Hail of Arrows have a longer range than your Buckshot, but regardless of that you can burst Varus in an instant while he needs to stack his Blighted Quiver in order to burst you, so you have the upper hand against Varus. Varus is easy to lane against.

|| Caitlyn has a basic attack range of 650 so she can harass you with her basic attacks and Headshot without giving you much chance for counter play, your best bet against her is to go all in with moderate health and hope to deal enough damage to scare her into playing passively. Caitlyn is very hard to lane against as Graves

|| Tristana has a basic attack range of 550 but her passive Draw a Bead increases her range and it will reach a maximum of 703 range at level 18. Otherwise she isn't hard to lane against, but will be trouble in late game. Tristana is a medium opponent on lane.

|| Draven has a basic attack range of 550. His Spinning Axe is all the harass he has but it's also enough to harass you straight out of the lane, like playing against Caitlyn you should try to use your burst in order to scare him, but unlike playing against Caitlyn you can harass Draven with your Buckshot when he is hitting you with his axes, remember that you can secure a good hit with a Buckshot if you aim it at the landing zone of his axe, this leads to a "win-win" situation, you deal damage or he drops the axe. Draven is a hard opponent to lane against.

|| Jinx has also a basic attack range of 525, same as Graves. But this only applies in her machine gun mode, she gets up to 700 range with her rocket launcher, but the harass you really need to watch out is her Zap! luckily your Quickdraw works perfectly for dodging her Zap!. Jinx is a medium opponent to lane against.

|| Vayne has a basic attack range of 550. Vayne has a weak early game, but she outscales Graves in late game. So you should pressure her on lane while you still have the upper hand, mostly you need to watch out for her Condemn. Vayne is an easy opponent to lane against.

|| Ezreal has a basic attack range of 550. Ezreal has his Arcane Shift that he can use to dodge your Buckshot and Collateral Damage but he can't match your burst damage, which gives you some advantage. Ezreal also needs to stack his Rising Spell Force in order to get his attack speed bonus, while you can just Quickdraw and gain attack speed instantly, so you have the advantage in 1 vs 1 combat. Ezreal is an easy champion to lane against.

|| Corki has a basic attack range of 550. Corki has some advantages against Graves since his Phosphorus Bomb has a stronger damage than your Buckshot (unless fired at a pointblank range). His Valkyrie can be used as a juke for your skills, but Corki lacks the attack speed steroid that Graves has, and also Corki has higher mana costs than you, which you should be using to your advantage. Corki is a medium opponent to lane against.

|| Sivir has a basic attack range of 500. You can use your basic attacks as a good poke against Sivir since you have the range advantage (though it is only a small amount of range), but you need to watch out for her Spell Shield since it can block your Buckshot or Collateral Damage completely.
And like mentioned before Graves is a caster type of carry, your skills are your main source of damage and wasting them on her Spell Shield will lose you the trades, but to counter the shield you can pop your Smoke Screen to consume the shield and continue your burst afterwards.
Sivir has strong damage from her Boomerang Blade but you can dodge it with your Quickdraw remember to deal out some damage if you manage to dodge her Boomerang Blade since her main damage is out. Sivir is a medium opponent to lane against.

|| Lucian has a basic attack range of 550. Lucian is also a caster type of carry, so timing your Quickdraw properly will reduce his damage a lot, if possible save your Quickdraw to juke out his The Culling which is a strong damage source if it lands well, ( Lucian can follow your Quickdraw juke with his Relentless Pursuit).
A talented Lucian can poke you with farther away than your Buckshot would reach by using his Piercing Light, also his Ardent Blaze has a longer range than your Buckshot so he can poke you a bit, but probably has a hard time in an all-in fight. Lucian is easy to medium opponent to lane against.

|| Miss Fortune has basic attack range of 550. Miss Fortune uses her Double Up to poke you, and you can't do much against it, her Impure Shots increases her trade potential as an attack speed steroid, and also if she stacks her Impure Shots with auto-attacks her Double Up will become insane poke, which you can't match with your skillset.
Miss Fortune has no movement abilities so hitting your Buckshot and Collateral Damage will be easy, but remember to use Quickdraw as a juke against her Bullet Time. Miss Fortune is a hard opponent to lane against.

|| Twitch has a basic attack range of 550. Twitch's ultimate spray and pray gives her 300 more attack range icreasing up to 850 range. Twitch is a very squishy champion with no movement abilities, so your burst will be easy to land and will also devastate him due to his low hp pool. Twitch also needs time to gain his attack speed from Ambush, unlike your Quickdraw which gives attack speed instantly. Twitch will probably win a 1 vs 1 fight with his ultimate and stealth. Twitch is a medium opponent to lane against.

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Ad carry, a misleading name. Since supports carry the bot lane but adc carries the game, this is why you should know something about what synergises well with Graves, and what kind of support are strong against Graves.

Ally supports

|| Taric is probably one of the best supports for Graves and here is why:
Taric has a stun Dazzle, meaning that he can lock enemies for a ensured hit from Graves' burst.
Taric has a heal Imbue, he helps the sustain and also makes buying Doran's Blade less risky.
Taric has two strong auras that increase defense and offense for Graves

|| Alistar is my favourite support for Graves right after Taric. Alistar has more CC than Taric so he can lock enemies for the burst, but he lacks the auras that increase Graves' stats.

|| Nami has the heal Ebb and Flow which is good with Graves since he is prone to poking and harass. Nami's Tidecaller's Blessing also works well with Graves' burst.

|| Thresh works well with, but he lacks the healing that is good for Graves. His CC based kit synergises well with Graves but it's possible that his Death Sentence and Flay move the target making Graves miss a bullet from Buckshot. Otherwise Thresh works really well with Graves.

|| Janna doesn't have a "real" heal for Graves but her Eye Of The Storm increases his burst and can keep enemies in place for the burst with Howling Gale.

|| Leona is also a very good support for Graves although she lacks the healing which compensates for his weakness to poking and harass. Leona's passive works great with Graves because it increases his burst and also using her Eclipse to mark minions with Sunlight Graves can afterwards Buckshot the minions for a faster clear.

Enemy supports

|| Sona uses her Power Chord and Hymn of Valor for strong poke damage, if you engage a fight on lane against Sona keep in mind that her Crescendo will stun you in a bad position if you are not careful. Sona also heals the damage you deal with your poke, so try to go all in and burst someone in an instant,so she can't heal the damage away, keep in mind that Sona is very squishy and dies fast when hit with a Buckshot in the face.

|| Lulu uses Glitterlance and Help, Pix! for strong poke that is hard to juke, and also her Wild Growth saves a lot of lives from your burst. When engaging a fight when the opponents have a Lulu keep in mind that Whimsy will stop your burst and get you in trouble.

|| Leona uses her Sunlight for extra damage, and her stuns stop you from Quickdrawing away. When facing Leona try to juke as much skills as possible with Quickdraw since escaping won't be as simple after she lands something on you.

|| Nunu has only Ice Blast as poke, but it's low cd keeps you at low health, if you give him the chance to spam it, also Nunu can prevent your escapes pretty well with Ice Blast unless you dash over a wall with Quickdraw. Nunu's bloodboil allows enemy adc escape with the movement speed boost it offers without giving you much chance for chasing them down due to your limited mobility and CC.

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Teamfights with Graves

Since you are the adc of your team, you should try to stay behind your team for protection from the enemy dives. Unlike you would guess at first, you should focus the tank/bruiser/thing that focuses you, instead of running past the enemy team's tanks just to focus enemy adc, just no, don't do it.
You can use Collateral Damage for many purposes in the team fight, you can use it as a poke in the start (for a health advantage), you can use it for bursting someone chasing you, and of course you can use it as a finisher to clean up escaping enemies.
When you are being chased you should try to move in between attacks to kite him (this sounds self explanatory, but I am still going to include it). Doing this deals damage possibly making him to give up on chasing you and it also reduces Quickdraw cooldown which naturally helps in escaping. Remember that you can use Smoke Screen to slow and make jukes with bushes since it takes vision away from the enemy inside of it.

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Tips and tricks

Here I include some trivia and actual tricks that might help you to play with Graves.

If you achieve max attack speed when using Quickdraw you are able to keep Quickdraw's attack speed bonus up all the time.

Your Quickdraw can get you through walls allowing jukes/escapes/chases.

Collateral Damage deals damage well beyond the indicated range, unless it lands on a champion.

Collateral Damage deals damage to minions and monsters, so you can steal baron or dragon with it.

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This is the end of my Graves guide. Hope you liked it and maybe it even helped you to play Graves a bit more. Please tell me in the comments what did you think about this guide and if you want to know more about Graves so I can update this guide and possibly answer your questions. Make sure to check my other guides too! The ones that exist are getting an update soon, and more guides are on their way!