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Draven Build Guide by Ketski

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Ketski

Draven Does It All... With Style!

Ketski Last updated on August 16, 2012
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ADC Role
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ADC Role
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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

Honor Guard

Defense: 1

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 8

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Draven The Executioner

It may sound a little odd, but I believe that by reading a champion's background, and learning him/her as a character, you are able to generate a better understanding of the champion, both in and out of combat. It establishes a tone, and allows you to seamlessly glide into his/her discrete and unique playstyle. Besides, the lore is pretty interesting. With that said, here is Draven's background story:

Unlike his brother Darius, victory in battle was never enough for Draven. He craved recognition, acclaim, and glory. He first sought greatness in the Noxian military, but his flair for the dramatic went severely underappreciated. Thirsting for a method to share "Draven" with the world, he turned his attention to the prison system. There he carved out the celebrity he desired by turning the tedious affair of executions into a premiere spectacle.

At Draven's first execution, he shocked onlookers when he ordered the doomed prisoner to run for dear life. Just before the man managed to flee from sight, Draven brought him down with a flawless throw of his axe. Soon, all Draven's executions became a gauntlet through which Noxian prisoners raced for a final chance at life. He used this trial as his own personal stage, and turned executions into a leading form of entertainment. He rallied onlookers into a frenzy, while desperate prisoners scrambled to evade him. They never succeeded. Rejecting the solemn, black uniforms of Noxian executioners, Draven donned bright outfits and developed flashy signature moves to distinguish himself. Crowds flocked to see Draven in action, and tales of his performances spread quickly. As his popularity grew, so did his already-inflated ego. He belonged at the center of attention. Before long, the scope of his ambitions outgrew the population of Noxus. He decided that the glorious exploits of Draven should be put on display for the entire world.

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If you do not want to read everything in this guide, at the very least read the ITEM BUILD and GAMEPLAY sections.

Draven is a ranged AD carry, that is unlike any other that we've encountered in the League so far. In addition to the job of a standard AD carry, he has the luxury of catching an endless stream of spinning axes.

Spinning Axe is Draven's main damage tool (bonus 85% attack damage @ level 18) that procs his passive, Wicked Blades which causes additional bleed damage (102 @ level 18) to the target champion over 4 seconds. Oh, and it stacks. But here's the catch: his axes fly back towards you, and to keep the spinning axe active, you have to catch it. The axes fly at the direction he is facing immediately after the throw. If he isn't moving at the throw, it comes back to a spot relatively close to Draven's stationary position. This is what makes Draven so very difficult to master. It all comes down to positioning, knowing where to throw, and when to catch.

Draven also has a built-in escape/chase move, Blood Rush, that refreshes upon catching a spinning axe. With successful catches, Draven essentially has this skill's effect permanently evoked. This allows him to glide seamlessly in and out of harass range, as well as chase enemies while juggling axes.

Draven's last ability, Stand Aside knocks enemies aside and slows them down up to 40%, for running away and chasing. This, combined with everything else, makes Draven a high mobility and utility champion capable of quickly getting into and out of fights.

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Pros / Cons

+ Amazing harass with passive bleed procs
+ High damage, high mobility
+ Global ult for fleeing foes
+ Amazing hair that defies gravity
+ Draven does it all... with style!
- Hard to master (micromanage)
- Requires constant catching of axes
- Must master positioning
- Axes hard to keep track during team fights
- Standard AD cons

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Greater Mark of Attack Damage

Greater Glyph of Magic Resist

Greater Seal of Armor

Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage
  • Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage: Combined with flat AD marks (reds), these runes will give you a total of +15 attack damage at level 1. This is extremely useful not only for harassing the enemy, and ensuring first blood, but also catching every last hit.
  • Greater Mark of Attack Damage: Arguably better than armor pen reds for the reason that early game sets the tone for the rest of the game. Better starting AD means better early game dominance, potentially easier farm, and better harass.
  • Greater Glyph of Magic Resist: Flat MR for early burst mitigation.
  • Greater Seal of Armor: Flat armor against the AD bot to ensure survival.

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Summoner Spells

Flash: For chasing, escaping, and pretending like you're Kassadin, there's nothing better than Flash, Flash, Flash! Who doesn't use flash?

Heal: I usually take this, as it's great for baiting, and surviving. The number one goal as an AD carry is to kill without being killed, and this fits the bill just fine. Early game, it can save you and put that extra vitality you need to win out in a duel, or get back to turret alive.

Exhaust: Can be used offensively and defensively, to shut down the enemy AD champion. A blow to the groin, to turn things around in the tide battle. Ideally your support would carry the exhaust, while you would carry a heal.

Ignite: For a more offensive play, to ensure early kills. I prefer to be safe than sorry, but ignite helps secure the early game advantage, and is definitely recommended against teams with a heal sustain support.

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Most of these are standard AD masteries, following the 21/0/9 base with a slight tweak. (A point in defense for the summoner spell mastery) I opted for mana regen masteries ( Meditation and Expanded Mind )) in the utility tree as opposed to the minimal armor and magic resists from the defense tree because of the nature of Draven's harass. More mana equals more harass. And we like more harass.

Alternatively you can go for the 21/9/0 AD masteries, utilizing the armor/mr and +30 bonus health mastery for a slightly beefier and more resilient early game. If you're running out of mana quickly, consider getting Sheen earlier, or simply play more conservatively.

There is no one way to go about things, see which one fits your play style!

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Ability Explanations

While I understand that walls of texts are scary, to understand a champion, you must understand his abilities. And unfortunately, yes, that requires a bit of light reading. I've included the key points that are pertinent to understanding Draven's abilities and how they work from the LoL wiki. I've added my own commentary in orange, but I urge you to read the technical details, as they are very important to understanding how your abilities actually function!

PASSIVE: Wicked Blades is a passive ability that activates whenever Draven lands a critical strike or a Spinning Axe-enhanced attack on an enemy unit, causing it to take additional physical damage over 4 seconds. ( 30 + (4 × level) = 102 dmg @ level 18)

At level one, wicked blades gives you an additional 34 damage. This is actually pretty deceiving as most people don't realize it's on them -- but it's basically a poison/ignite (that STACKS). Two stacks could easily ensure you first blood. Right as the enemy flashes away and thinks he's safe. Bam, he dies from your passive. This of course, gets even better as you level. And it even applies on just crits without spinning axe!

SPINNING AXE (Q): Spinning Axe is an autoattack modifier that causes Draven's next autoattack to deal bonus physical damage equal to a percentage of his total attack damage. Additionally, this attack will launch an axe that bounces off the target into the air, back towards Draven. If Draven catches the axe as it lands, his next attack will also be enhanced with Spinning Axe.
  • Spinning Axe will place a visual cue on the ground where it will land. This visual cue is visible to both player teams.
  • If there is another Draven on the enemy team, he will be able to catch your axes, and you will be able to catch his. Catching the enemy's axes will have the same effect as if you caught one of your own.
  • Spinning Axe's buff lasts 6 seconds after casting the ability or catching an axe.
  • Attacking a turret or other structures will refresh the buff duration, but it will not apply the bonus damage or cause the axe to bounce back.
  • While the Spinning Axe buff will only stack twice, it is possible to have three axes running at the same time, by keeping at least one axe in the air at all times, a.k.a juggling.
  • Unlike most autoattack modifying abilities, Spinning Axe does not reset Draven's attack timer when cast nor when he catches an airborne axe.
  • Spinning Axe enhanced attacks can critically strike. However, the bonus damage from the ability itself is not multiplied by the critical strike modifier.
  • If Draven does not move when attacking, Spinning Axe will bounce back towards him, either landing directly on him or to his sides.
  • On the other hand, if Draven moves while attacking, Spinning Axe will bounce ahead of him, either directly in his path or slightly off to the sides.

The skill that makes Draven one of the most formidable foes in the League. His spinning axe at level 18, can practically be considered a nuke spell. It's that good... and it's free! (provided you catch your axes). The most important thing to remember is to face the direction you wish to take the fight when you hit your enemy with Spinning Axe on. Always try to catch your axe whenever you can; the passive + additional damage is too good to pass up. Always keep your Blood Rush active during skirmishes, to glide in and out of attack range while juggling axes. But NEVER try to catch your axe if it lands it will compromise your positioning.

The ability to successfully catch axes, while constantly re-positioning yourself properly is what separates a good Draven and a mediocre Draven. More on how to use this properly is explained in the Gameplay section.

BLOOD RUSH (W): Blood Rush is a self-active ability that increases Draven's movement speed for 1.5 seconds and his attack speed for 3 seconds. Catching a Spinning Axe will reset this skill's cooldown. The movement speed bonus decays over its duration.
  • Catching a Spinning Axe will refresh the cooldown regardless of whether the buff is active or not.

I think most people forget to keep this on every time you catch an axe during a fight. It's an incredible boost of movement speed and attack speed! Use it to your advantage! Every time you catch your axe, you should be Blood Rushing to get in another hit in and running away before they get in range. Simply repeat. If your fight is more stationary, try to run in circles while juggling axes at their faces, or constantly switch in and out of range. Never get caught with the cooldown as it could lead to your demise. Also use it to escape skillshots as soon as you see it coming towards you. Activating this skill will also help proc sheen and your spinning axe throws will double in damage. More of this is explained in the Gameplay section.

STAND ASIDE (E): Stand Aside is a pass-through linear skillshot that deals physical damage and knocks back all enemy units it hits. Additionally, enemies hit by Stand Aside are slowed for 2 seconds.
  • Stand Aside procs spell vamp and Rylai's Crystal Scepter similarly with all multi target spells and abilities with diminished effect.
  • Stand Aside pops spell shield.
  • Stand Aside will not damage Black Shield but the knock back and slow are negated.
  • Stand Aside knocks enemies away from the skillshot, to its sides.
  • Stand Aside can hit stealthed champions, but it will not reveal them unless their stealth state is dependent on their movement or location ( Teemo's Camouflage or Akali's Twilight Shroud if she is knocked out of the AoE).

The range on this thing is really good, and provides a fantastic aoe damage as well as a disruptor tool. Be sure to aim it correctly so that the enemies are pushed to the side you want them to go. The middle line dictates the dividing line, and enemies on one side will be pushed further to that side. In team fights, this is a fantastic way to knock people up, slow them and separate them. Use it to chase down enemies, as well as run from them.

WHIRLING DEATH (R): Whirling Death is a global pass-through linear skillshot that travels in a straight line across the entire map, dealing physical damage to all enemy units hit. When Whirling Death hits a champion or when Draven activates the ability again, it will reverse its course and return towards Draven. Whirling death deals reduced damage for each unit it hits, down to a cap, but the damage reduction resets on the projectile's return trip.
  • Whirling Death procs spell vamp and Rylai's Crystal Scepter similarly with all multi target spells and abilities with diminished effect.
  • Whirling Death pops spell shield.
  • Whirling Death will not damage Black Shield.
  • Whirling Death will continue in its initial direction for a short distance after hitting an enemy champion; it will not reverse directions immediately upon impact.
  • Whirling Death's cooldown begins immediately after the ability is cast.
  • Whirling Death can only hit a given target up to 2 times.
  • Whirling Death grants vision while in flight.
  • Whirling Death can hit stealthed champions, but it will not reveal them. If the stealthed champion is the first unit hit, Whirling Death will still reverse its course.

This is a fantastic tool for burst initiation, and picking off runners, but best of all, causing havoc during a clustered fight. When the enemies health are ~60%, use your ult to hit as many targets as you can -- and if you can't, aim it at their squishies. Immediately after you cast this, Blood Rush, and Spinning Axe as many times as you can to as many different targets without getting caught. This is when your team should burst/stun, and pull out all the punches resulting in quite a bit of deaths on the enemy team-- especially their squishies.

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Item Build

Early Game

Boots of Speed
This is my favorite opener. It helps you catch your Spinning Axes, dodge enemy skillshots as well as stay in lane longer with pots. If you are laning with a heal-sustain support bot however, consider getting a Doran's Blade instead.

Doran's Blade
On your first port back, if you do not have enough money for a B. F. Sword, or are simply doing badly in your lane purchase 2x Doran's Blade for the health, damage and lifesteal sustain. Better safe than sorry!

Vampiric Scepter
If you need more sustain or did not get Doran's blades, consider getting an early vampiric scepter. The more you are in lane, the more farm you can get. The more farm you can get, the better your items.

Mid Game

Level 2 Boots
Get the boots according to what the enemy composition is. CC/AP? Merc Threads. Heavy AD? Ninja Tabi. No CC and mixed AD/AP? Berserker's Greaves. Prioritize Merc Threads when the enemy has good CC, always.

B.F. Sword
If you don't have a B.F. Sword by now, get it as soon as you can. Always keep up with damage increase so that you can effectively gain kills and pose as a threat to the enemy. Make the enemy team scared of you!

The bread and butter of Draven's massive damage nukes. Use Blood Rush to activate Sheen, and throw your Spinning Axe, which will proc your passive bleed. Can someone say massive damage? That's +100% physical damage from Sheen, +85% physical damage from Spinning Axe and +102 damage from your passive.

Late Game

Infinity Edge
Once team fights starts happening, you won't always catch your axes. Getting extra critical strike chance, will help with passive procs. Great damage as well.

Best damage for the cost, and getting stacks will make you even more powerful. The lifesteal makes a huge difference as well.

Trinity Force
Sheen tactic with more attack speed, movement speed, and slow proc. Everything Draven needs in one item!

Guardian Angel
Hopefully you haven't died a million times. If you're on a spree, this will help you keep it. If you've died a few times, this will help you stop dying, and in late games can change the fate of tides. Basically, in case you screw up. If you've been dying non-stop, don't buy a G.A. You're doing something wrong. Position yourself better, and have better map awareness.


Last Whisper.
If you see 2 or more of their enemy champions stacking armor, or if you're just noticing that you're not doing enough damage to some of their champs... build armor pen/damage! Always check their items and counterbuild.

Maw of Malmortius
If you are vsing an AP champion in lane, get an early Hexdrinker to build into Maw of Malmortius later. Get this item if you're vsing a heavy AP team as well.

Banshee's Veil
Lots of stuns on their team? Heavy AP? Build a Banshee's! Nothing sucks more than getting stunned and dying to their team before a fight even starts. Extra health and mana never hurts either.

Phantom Dancer.
If they don't have a lot of cc, you're not dying, or you're not that great at catching axes, get a phantom dancer for the increased crit chance, and mobility. This should always be your second to last or last item.

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Early Game

  • FARM. Try to get every last hit you possibly can. With your AD runes, and a Doran's Blade at your disposal there should be no reason to miss a last hit. Practice and see how much damage you do, and get a feel for when you should be hitting minions for the kill. Remember that melee and caster minions have different health bars.

  • HARASS. Harass the squishy champion in your lane whenever he/she is in near range. Activate Blood Rush for a movement speed boost, run up to the champion, and activate Spinning Axe. The instant you throw it, run backwards so that the axe lands behind you. Catch your axe, which refreshes Blood Rush, and repeat. This combo is what makes Draven such an amazing harasser. His arsenal of skills allow him to harass without exchanging damage! In addition, his Wicked Blades passive will proc.

Mid/Late Game

  • AXES ARE DISPENSABLE. Remember that you do not always have to catch your axe. If it lands in a bad position, don't catch it! Remember that the enemy can see the cue-spot where your axe will land. This will cause you to become an easy target to those with skillshots if you are exposed! A Nidalee spear or a Blitzcrank grab can lead to your demise. If your axe lands somewhere unfavorable, ditch it!

  • POSITIONING. Positioning is key to any successful AD, and especially so for Draven. It is pertinent to know where to face after a Spinning Axe throw. This relies on your judgment of when to chase, escape, or stand still. Your Spinning Axe will land approximately where you will be were you to continue on your directional path. It is thus very easy to catch when you are chasing in a direct line. In a teamfight you should always try to be in a position where you can safely escape, or even flash over a wall that is hard to traverse by normal means.

  • YOUR ULT. is fantastic for catching runners. It is also great for clustered team fights. As your tank charges in and your teammates are in the fray, cast your ult to try and hit as many enemy champions as you can. Your ult will do a LOT of damage to the enemy squishies, which your team can capitalize on. By the time they know what hit them, they're already dead! To enhance this "surprise", try to make sure your ult will hit the enemy squishy (twice), and use it when they're at least under 60% health. Your ult can turn the tide of battles easily.

  • STAY OUT OF THE FRAY. This goes with positioning, but a lot of ADs die this way. Don't try to hit the back row of the enemy team if it means walking directly into them. Hit the people that you can without compromising your life, and try to get enemy champions that are out of position. Remember to always use your Blood Rush to get in Spinning Axe hits. Draven has a lot of mobility, so use it wisely.

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If anyone wants to submit their success with their Draven games thanks to this guide, pm me a picture and I'll upload it in this section here!


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6/20/12 - Order of items at the top changed to reflect standard gameplay better. Edited item build descriptions/explanations.
6/18/12 - Light updates/tweaks. Item build explanations added.
6/17/12 - Guide created.

To-Do list
  • How to play against specific champions (bot lane)
  • Champion Synergies (who best supports Draven?)
  • More in-depth gameplay strategies
  • Remove redundant statements
  • Trim ability explanation section

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I am no means the master of Draven and my build and guide are merely guidelines on how to play him, NOT the ONLY way to play him.

This guide will be updated as I see fit. If there are any errors or contradictions, please send me a PM! Comments and upvotes appreciated :)

A special thanks to jhoijhoi and IceCreamy on their guides on how to make a guide, and use columns!