Graves Build Guide by SilentXeno

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 SilentXeno

You know you're broken when...

SilentXeno Last updated on November 1, 2011
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Team 1

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.


Brute Force
Improved Rally

Offense: 21

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 0

Expanded Mind
Blink of an Eye
Mystical Vision
Presence of the Master

Utility: 9

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So you know when you're broken when your double barrel shotgun shoots three bullets...

Whats New:
Graves being nerfed. big surprise.
now working on a build for early game Graves

This is my first guide so please be gentle. >.> That being said, im definitely open to constructive criticism.

Build 1 on cheat sheet is the generic DPS build
Build 2 on cheat sheet is tanky DPS build

strong harrass early game
great farmer/pusher
gap closer/escape mechanism
powerfull aoe nukes
dat manly mustache.

needs to be "in their face" to do the most damage
lacks sustain early game
it's possible to miss your ult

Some things I would like to point out.

I finally took the time to watch the Graves champion spotlight. Yes I noticed that the Generic DPS build is next to identical to Phreak's build, if not the same. It cannot be avoided as that is the Generic build for most Range AD champions. If you want to see the build that I have thought up, check CHEAT SHEET 2 for my Offtank Graves build. That being said, please avoid downvoting because of the DPS build as I will not claim it as my own.

I am experimenting different ways to play him based on the lane comp and other team. (burst, high sustain, maximizing auto attack speed etc.) Please look forward to new content :)

Currently, I'm having loads of fun with my offtank build and I feel it's a really cool way to play Graves. It is now more or less complete

REMOVED Sheen. I've finally decided that Sheen's only effective early game (if effective at all) and that going straight to raw damage is probably the prefered way to go. Downside to this, DPS graves is now built the same way as any other range DPS.

I am also getting a lot of comments on items, but not so much on the guide itself. I understand most readers will already have a good grasp of the game, but since this is my first guide, let me know if there is something wrong with layout, grammer etc.

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League of Legends v1.0.0.128

•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 damage per additional missile reduced to 30% from 35%

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Change Log

- first build.
- Made Trinity Force situational
- Created "lane phase" and "mid-late game teamfights"
- Added more optional items
- Made modifications to item list
- Added a "core build"
- Prepared a section for a possible offtank build
- Completed an offtank build for Graves
- Made a second build for cheat sheet (offtank items)
- Offtank build is done and tested
-Added Zeke's Harbinger as an optional item
-Made Zeke's Harbinger a core item in offtank build
-Removed Sheen and reworked DPS build.
-Added The Brutalizer and The Black Cleaver to indepth item list
-Watched Graves champion spotlight and found out Phreak did not use Trinity Force 0_o (jokes aside, I did find out that I used a build that he showed.)
-added new "cheaper early game" Graves build (untested, too busy lately)
-incoming Graves nerf

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Skills and Skills Order

Buckshot is your main harrass and damage skill. Fires three shots in a cone deals additional damage for each shot that hits. This skill is why graves needs to get up close and personal. Let the opponent feel the mustache on your face, before you BLOW THEIR HEAD OFF! :)
(Max this skill first)

Smokescreen is an interesting skill that decreases the sight range of enemies inside. This skill is like a mini Nocturne ultimate that can has amazing effect on range dps or casters as it causes them to have to take the time to reposition themselves to continue fighting.
Smoke Screen is also one of the best tower defence skills. Placed on top of the range dps will either make them sidestep or back out while you clear the minions.
* One point at level 4
** Havent decided whether I prefer maxing this before or after Quickdraw

Quickdraw is the gap closer or escape. Shortens cooldown by one second after every autoattack. Also gives bonus attackspeed. Lets you show them the inside of that giant barrel before you unleash havoc. Has surpisingly long distance and can go over certain walls. Also useful when dropping towers.
* Max this after Buckshot for offtank build
** Havent decided whether I prefer maxing this before or after Smoke Screen
*** Still take at level 2
**** Hitting towers does not reduce the cooldown of this skill

Your ultimate. Skillshot nuke that damages the main target and does damage to the targets behind in a cone. This skill can be used to deal large amounts of damage to all your enemys during a teamfight or finish that one guy whos running away. (Don't be afraid of using this in a 1 vs 1 situation)
*This skill has an insane range and it is further increased by the cone damage if nothing is hit. This skill is great for finishing off a fleeing target (if it is off cooldown)

This is his passive. When he hits a target or is hit by anything, his armor and magic resist increases by a certain amount. Stacks 10 times. His armor and magic resist will return to normal if he stops attacking or is not attacked after a short period of time. This skill gives Graves a slight bit more survivability.
*At level 18, the armor and magic resist from this passive becomes 3 per stack. At max stacks, we are looking at 30 bonus armor and magic resist!

smart cast ALL of Graves skills.

for those who do not know what smart casting is, smart casting will auto cast skill shots at the direction of your mouse when you press the key to cast.
this allows you to IMMEDIATELY chain a E -> Q skill in quick succession.
this may take some time to get used to, but you will notice that your combos will feel smoother.

To set smart cast, go to Option -> Key Bindings, scroll down and replace you Q,W,E,R
The default setting for smart cast is Shift+(Q,W,E,R)

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Summoner Spells

Main Choice

Not much to say, flash to escape, flash to chase. With quickdraw, you should be able to get out should you be ganked.

Gives huge advantage in 1 vs 1 situations, slows that buiser so you can kite them.

Other Viables

Great against healers like Mundo, Warwick etc. Also great for finishing off enemies with low health. Take if you think you don't want exhaust.

Another exhaust replacement. Flash Ghost and Quickdraw will let you escape almost anything. Also works as a chaser.

Lets you always be in lane. Although there are other spells that help you in combat, being able to farm at all times is always good.

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I take 21 in offence tree putting a point on Exhaust as well as 9 in utility. The reason being the exp from the utility tree is really nice and the slight buff duration from Utility Mastery is one of my favorites. Its also possible to take 21-9-0 putting points in defence. However, I find that my runes and passive is more than enough for survivability.

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First item
Dorans Blade. Health, Damage, Super tiny lifesteal.


+ x3


Boots are always situational. That being said, these boots are probably the main choice for autoattacking dps.

Get this for cheap MR and if the enemy has a lot of crowd control. You'll noticed that you almost need to be inside the teamfight to do the most damage so these are never the wrong choice.


At max stacks, this item gives the highest raw AD. AD + Lifesteal, whats not to love?

Move speed, attack speed and crit will really pump out some heavy DPS.

More raw AD, crit, bonus damage for crit.

For those hard to kill tanks. You shouldn't really focus the tank but if you notice your enemy is stacking armor for you, this item will help improve your damage output.

Attack speed and amazing lifesteal + attack speed aura. Very good if you already pump out enough damage and need some attack speed and sustain. Even better with allies that auto-attack.

I don't believe this item is still underrated. This is honestly one of my favorite items in the game. The lifesteal and armor is a great way to compensate for low sustain early game and the free ward is just icing on the cake.

A gift for the tank. Gives armor, AD, attack speed. One deadly passive. Get this if there is someone on the team stacking health.

Great item, passive slow and fairly large heath bonus to boot. Does not give as much AD as other items but the suvivability it gives should not be overlooked. If you do end up getting this, you should still be getting red buff from time to time.

High AD item, on hit armor reduction, attack speed boost. Very good for when carries realize they need armor to fight you. Then again, very good even if they don't stack armor. :)

Flat armor reduction, cooldown reduction, AD. Build this if your lane consists of tanky champions. Don't bother building this into Youmuu's Ghostblade as you cannot make use of the item's full potential. Sell this for other armor reduction items late game. ( Last Whisper, The Black Cleaver)

Why trinity force? Yes this item is expensive so why get it. Well the stats this item gives is just too attractive. Movement speed to kite enemies, AS, crit, health for survivability, slow and the 150% sheen proc. Very powerful nuke when combined with your E -> Q -> R -> W
*no longer core item by a well thought out point by Wayne3100

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Situational Survivability Items

I say situational but I don't mean it's situational to get a survivability item. Graves is not a glass cannon. Unless your opponents are clueless, they will realise that you are a threat. and when you have to be really close to maximize damage potential, you need survivability.

For heavy damage casters or CC (crowd control).

Gives Armor and Magic Resist. Reviving passive. You can get this if you noticed you are being focused in team fights.

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Generic DPS Graves

Here I will point out that this is a VERY EXPENSIVE BUILD. To complete this build, you would have to be well into late game or be amazingly fed.

This is also the generic range AD DPS build. Since every game is different, feel free to mix up the build a bit.

An example is:
Mercury's Treads for Berzerker's Grieves
*for CC counters and MR

Frozen Mallet for Banshee's Veil
**remember to always try to grab Red Lizard Buff

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Offtank Graves (tested)

Through some demand...

*Sell Wriggle's Lantern if you end up having enough for Zeke's Harbinger end game.

Here is my offtank build.
With this build, you can still do damage and you will be much "tankier" than your average dps.

The idea behind it is simple. Wriggle's Lantern gives AD and armor. It has high lifesteal for its cost. The ward will be useful at dragon or just to prevent ganks from jungle/mid.

Mercury's Treads gives magic resist as well as reduction to CC. Very important as Graves is largely affected by crowd control.

Atma's Impaler from the health you get from Warmog's and banshees

Warmog's Armor Heath, because he really lacks it.
*I know I did say I wasn't a fan of warmorg's but I thought about it and realized that with his passive, my runes, and some of the other items, all he is really missing is the health to tank damage

Infinity Edge With 2% crit from masteries and 18% from Atma's, infinity edge turns out to be a very nice choice for this build

Banshee's Veil Anti-caster. Much needed MR as well as blocking off one potential nuke or stun. Bit of health for more Atma's damage boost and mana as you will be spamming what ever skills are not on cooldown in a team fight.
*with your survivability and lifesteal from wriggles, you rarely have to go back to base, hence the need for a mana boost.

Zeke's Harbinger Although this item doesn not give damage like if you build The Bloodthirster, it does come with a lifesteal aura and the attack speed is very useful as this build is lacking in that aspect. (sell Wriggle's Lantern for this)


The Bloodthirster A replacement for Stark's. Huge damage so when you crit, it hurts. High lifesteal to boot makes this a great item. Not the preferred choice.

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Comparing the two builds.

Build 1:
-High Damage Output
-High Attack Speed
-High Mobility

-Lower Health Pool
-Majorly affected by Crowd Control effects
-Lacks a bit of damage until B.F. Sword
-Wickedly expensive

Build 2:
-High Health Pool
-Early Game Sustain
-Wriggles is easier to farm up than B.F. Sword
-Ward from wriggles will save you from ganks

-Less Damage Output Than Build 1
-Slower Movement Speed
-Slower Attack Speed
-Damage Gap between Wriggle's Lantern and Atma's Impaler
*not too big of a setback as your buckshot still has enough more than enough firepower

HUGE thanks to Sgtsmash for the idea of offtank Graves. Atmogs is the way to go for him after all.

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Greater Mark of Desolation - You are AD, deal mostly physical damkage. Get these.

Greater Seal of Armor - Lets you live when you introduce them to your little friend.

Greater Glyph of Magic Resist or Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist - Same idea with seals

Greater Quintessence of Desolation or Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed - Up to you. I like to run Swiftness because you want to be able to kite your enemies. Desolation for the same reason as marks.

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Lane Phase

So where is the best place for Graves to be? In my opinion, that has to be bottom lane. Graves lacks any real sustain, making solo/mid top a bit more of a struggle. There are better choices for those lanes. (i.e. Renekton, Nasus, Morgana). The bushes in bottom lane also allow for an easy harrass.

Graves "bullet" animation is fast, making last hitting minions fairly a breeze. Keep in mind that as a range AD DPS, you should be getting a high creep kill score. With enough practice at last hitting, you would also want to be able to harrass. Fortunately, harrassing with Graves is not overall too difficult as well. His gap closer Quickdraw followed by Buckshot allows for massive damage. A warning however, is that by putting yourself up close, you may take damage from counter attacks and minions. By hiding in the bushes, it allows you to walk up to the enemy and Buckshot, using Quickdraw to escape.
*note that over harrassing with skill combos are also an issue as Graves' mmana pool is not overly large

To compensate for lack of sustain, good laning partners are:
- Soraka
- Taric
- Nidalee *although she may be in top lane
- Sona
- Janna
- Alistar

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Mid - Late Game Teamfights

In midgame, you will notice that farming becomes much easier as buckshot can clear a caster minion wave. Don't ever stop farming!! A high creep score means better stuff.

If you have a jungler, ask them if you can take the lizard buff. This will allow you to hunt down escaping enemies as well as land a bit of extra bonus DoT.

Lizard Buff is something you almost always want to have, given that your jungler is nice and will let you have it. I've noticed that although he has skills to chase, he has no slow aside from smoke screen]. I have yet to find a place to put [[Frozen Mallet (which was most likely why Trinity Force was in my original core build).
* still get Lizard buff even after Frozen Mallet if you do choose to buy it.

In my experience, team fights are generally short, and the winner is usually decided within the first few seconds. This is because if one team deals large ammounts of damage to the other team via nukes, the other team will most likely begin to retreat.

To use your skills effectively, you will have to charge into a teamfight. Since Buckshot does not become weaker passing through multiple targets, you would want to hit as many as you can on the first shot. Following with your Smoke Screen and Collateral Damage will lay down some pain. Finish off those fleeing enemies by chasing with Quickdraw will insure success.
*After you throw your skills down, it is a good idea to back up a little bit to change your role from a nuker to a range dps.

You are not invincible and you definitely cannot soak damage like tanks can. If you notice large amounts of CC like from Amumu or Annie, think about when is a good time to go in. Even if you cannot hit with Buckshot, Collateral Damage and Smoke Screen have enough range to do damage. Besides, you're still a range DPS, just auto attack.

Smoke Screen in teamfights:
This skill is unique and when placed well really screws over the other team. In a team fight situation, simply throwing this in the middle of one will cause your enemies to lose their target. Most likely, their first instinct is to retreat. Not only does that allow your team to get free shots on them, but it can save low health allies.

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Thanks for reading, and feel free to post a comment and thumbs up if you liked my build. Please try my build before you say anything too negative or give me a thumbs down. I will be adding more sections in the future. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this build, feel free to leave a comment and I will get back to you very soon.

Have fun with playing Graves and remember that you get better with practice. :)

*Note: If you do end up downvoting this guide, I would like to know the reason so I can improve on this or future guides

*Note #2: none.