Graves Build Guide by Vicious Skittle
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+9% attack speed and +10 ability power or +6 attack damage, adaptive
Full Build Hybrid
Full Build Lethality
Threats to Graves with this build
|Kindred||Pretty much all other junglers are either equal (Lee Sin) or are weaker (Kindred) when fighting Graves at relevant stages of the game. Whilst some people can mess you up if you make mistakes, if you play properly 90% of matchups are in your favour.|
This guide focuses on Graves jungle as that's his only viable role right now. You can play him top and you can also kind of play him bot lane, but with the way his kit works and how the meta is for the lanes/jungle he's a tier 1 pick for the jungle and a bad one for top/bot.
Pros / Cons
+ Easy/Fast/Healthy first clear
+ Great early/mid game damage
+ Incredibly powerful burst
+ Very tanky if a fight drags on
+ Smokescreen is borderline broken
+ Easy to pick up and learn
- Short range
- Item dependant vs Champs
- Animation Cancels aren't easy
- Passive takes getting used to
- Once in a fight, hard to leave
- Falls off late game
Maxing R > Q > E > W is the only way you should max your abilities. Collateral Damage is self explanatory as you get it whenever you can like with every champion ult. End of the Line first because it's most of your damage, its AD ratio goes up with level making it even more important to max first. You max Quickdraw second because lowering its CD is very important for duelling but more importantly it increases the amount of resistances granted per dash. Smoke Screen last because it's utility and doesn't offer much for the early/midgame except the blind and the slight slow.
TAKE YOUR Quickdraw AT LEVEL 1. This is because in the jungle, an auto attack will deal similar damage to your Q at level 1/2. With the fact you'll be auto attacking a single monster (meaning Q won't have an AoE advantage) and that its cooldown will be lower than the Q you'll want this first. You'll also begin to stack your true grit from level 1, and if you clear the jungle properly you'll never drop a stack. There is no reason to ever not take E level 1 in the jungle. You'll always be starting at a buff and you'll always be auto attacking.
12-Gauge: Each of Graves's basic attacks consumes 1 shell and sprays 4 pellets in a cone. Enemies hit take (70 - 100 (based on level)% AD physical damage) plus a third of that damage damage for every pellet that hit them beyond the first. Critical strikes spray 6 pellets over a 50% wider cone and deal 40% × (1 + bonus critical damage) AD additional physical damage. Graves's basic attacks deals 25 % reduced damage against turrets. If positioned properly Graves can hit multiple units with a single attack.|
Buckshot: Pellets stop at the first enemy unit or structure they hit, meaning Graves is not guaranteed to hit his primary target. Each pellet will apply on-hit effects but enemies will only be affected by them once per shell. Non-champion units hit by more than one pellet are knocked back.
DOUBLE BARREL: Graves' shotgun, Destiny, holds up to 2 shells. After spending both shells or sitting on one for 4 seconds without attacking, Graves will take 2.079 seconds, reduced by 0.4% for every 1% bonus attack speed to reload with the fastest reload time being 1.22 seconds needing 104% bonus attack speed.
This passive seems a lot more complicated than it actually is. Graves can only auto attack twice before needing to reload, and his reload speed is based on his attack speed. His delay between firing both shots is also lowered by attack speed. When you attack a target Graves will fire in a cone, like a shotgun to deal a lot of extra damage if all the pellets hit. Crits are the same but more. Most importantly however is the Buckshot part of his passive, this is what lets him jungle. As all jungle monsters have a very low attack range you'll always be hitting at least 2 pellets onto them. This means that every attack will push them back. This allows Graves to attack and then move before his next shot to nearly NEVER get hit in the jungle. Plus with how much damage a 4 pellet shot can do, it makes his clear very good.
|End of the Line||
Graves fires a round in the target direction that deals 45 / 60 / 75 / 90 / 105 (+100% bonus AD) physical damage to all enemies it passes through and leaves behind a powder trail.|
Mana Cost: 60/65/70/75/80
After 2 seconds, or after 0.25 upon impacting with a structure or terrain, the round detonates dealing 85 / 115 / 145 / 175 / 205 (+ 40 / 70 / 100 / 130 / 160% bonus AD) physical damage to all enemies in a wide perpendicular area and in a reverse wave along the powder trail. If a unit is hit by both the inital round and the blowback from the detonated round they will take a total of 130 / 175 / 220 / 265 / 310 (+ 140 / 170 / 200 / 230 / 260% bonus AD) physical damage.
Basic straight line skillshot that deals pretty mediocre damage on the way out, and insane damage on the return for a combined damage total higher than a lot of rank 1 ults (including his own Collateral Damage. Your goal with this ability is to bounce it off of a wall to do it's damage in .25s for some insane burst. Gank a lane, hold onto this ability until they're by a wall and bounce it to guarantee the damage.
It's also great for waveclear if you need to hold a lane as minions won't dodge the second half of the ability allowing for low level/low AD back line clear. When jungling just throw it out after your first clear to one shot (nearly) most camps.
You should max this ability FIRST for its damage goes up with levels, and it does insane damage. It helps with your jungle clear, ultless ganks and everything.
Graves fires a smoke canister at the target area, dealing 60 / 110 / 160 / 210 / 260 (+ 60% AP) magic damage to all nearby enemies, briefly (.5s) slowing them for 50% upon impact, and creating a cloud of smoke for 4 seconds that applies nearsight of outside the area to all enemies within.|
Mana Cost: 70/75/80/85/90
His only utility skill, Graves gets one that's borderline OP. It has a strong slow that lasts a fraction of a second, long cooldown, high mana cost and low damage canister that applies one of the strongest status effects in the game for 4s.
Nearsight makes an enemy only be able to see 900 units around their character (which is very small) and everywhere else on the map (warded or have an ally there or not) is placed into the fog of war, even people attacking into the area.
The amount of disruption this skill offers is a game changing basic ability. I would rank it up there with Event Horizon and Parallel Convergence for game changing non-ults potential.
I always max this ability LAST as it the premier one point wonder. 2s CD and a higher mana cost on a spell where you only use once maybe twice a teamfight anyway, and only once ever in ganks.
Graves dashes in the target direction, resetting his attack timer, reloading one shell and gaining a stack of True Grit for 4 seconds, stacking up to 8 times. Dashing towards an enemy instantly grants 2 stacks of True Grit.|
Mana cost: 40
Each pellet reduces Quickdraw's cooldown by 0.5 seconds upon impacting an enemy for up to 2s and 3s on a critical strike.
TRUE GRIT: Graves gains 5 / 7.5 / 10 / 12.5 / 15 bonus armour for a maximum of 40 / 60 / 80 / 100 / 120 bonus armour. Attacks/Abilities versus non-minions will refresh the duration of True Grit.
This is what allows Graves to be able to become insanely tanky without resistance based items. He's the only ranged champion in the game that want's to get into melee range and this ability is what lets him do that. It's also what lets Graves skip out on Armour/MR runes as you'll nearly always be dashing around in the jungle and always dashing forwards towards enemies making you insanely tanky.
In the jungle you'll want to try and always keep your true grit stacks up for your first clear. In the "first clear" section of the guide, I cover how to keep your stacks the whole clear.
Always try to get an auto reset off, Graves's auto attacks deal an absurd amount of damage so getting an extra one before needing to reload will increase your DPS by a lot. It's also mandatory for the animation cancels.
With the nerf in 7.7, your biggest weakness is magic damage. I would suggest taking MR per level blues for this exact reason.
I max this ability SECOND. I always start with this skill at level 1 as stated above for the pre level 3 jungle clear, but maxing it second for the CD/Resists. Once you get some CDR+stay in a fight for longer than 5s you'll become really, really tanky.
Graves fires an explosive shell in the target direction, dealing 250 / 400 / 550 (+ 150% bonus AD) physical damage to every non-champion enemy it passes through as well as the first enemy champion it collides with, while also being knocked back in the opposite direction.|
Mana cost: 100
After hitting a champion or reaching the end of its range the shell explodes, dealing 80% of its original damage in a cone.
Graves has one of the most satisfying ultimates in game thanks to the animation and the sound of the explosion. Aside from that, it deals some incredible damage in a large AoE. Very simple as well. Press ult into direction of victim, let someone else clean up the stain that was once a player.
Whilst the knockback is more annoying than helpful in a lot of cases it means you can use it to escape a bad situation when your Flash and Quickdraw are on CD. You can also cancel the knockback which I cover how to do in the combos section of the guide.
I max this ability 6/11/16 (whenever I can) like 95% of other ultimates in the game.
The best all round keystone for Graves at the moment is Fleet Footwork. Being able to get lots of movement speed every few seconds whilst also healing for a large amount is incredibly useful on a bruiser-like champion. Whilst it doesn't offer damage by itself, the fact you can go alacrity/ coup/cut down along side sorcery gives you some great scaling. Overall if you're unsure about what to take or are new to Graves, take this page.
For your first rune the only option here is Triumph. The Overheal shield might seem good because of the healing from fleet and the fact the jungle never hits you, but it won't ever block much damage as it's designed more for trading in lane with a healing support.
Again only one rune here, Legend: Alacrity gives Graves some much needed attack speed. You can situationally get tenacity or bloodlines but if you need tenacity you get mercs and if you need lifesteal you get DD/Mercurial/Maw. Alacrity is the only consistently useful option.
Here is some actual choice, if the enemy team has 2-3 champions who are likely to buy enough HP items to get over 3k (Tanks, Bruisers, Mages who get RoA + Torment) then you'll take Cut Down. If they don't, then you go Coup de Grace.
The 2 runes you'll always take are Celerity and Gathering Storm. The amount of AD you get from Gathering Storm makes it a must have on nearly any champion and Graves really likes movement speed so the 1.5% from celerity is a must get. Not to mention you get so much AD from the movement speed Fleet Footwork and Stormrazor provide.
Waterwalking is almost a must in the current meta of scuttle crabbing. The large movmeent speed and attack damage you get in the river does 2 very important things for junglers. Firstly, it makes taking neutral objectives easier. Scuttle, Dragon, Rift herald and Baron areas are all in the river making you gain the bonus attack damage. Secondly, the movement speed makes your ganking potential better. A flat 25 movement speed it literally a pair of tier 1 boots meaning you can get early ganks off a lot eaiser. It also synergises directly with Celerity.
Now whilst Fleet might be the best all around rune setup, not everyone likes Bruiser/Crit Graves. If you're more of a bursty assassin kind of player then you'll want to go lethality, and if you go lethality you need to have a different rune setup. I personally prefer Dark Harvest but Electrocute is solid too.
The difference here is a playstyle choice. Dark Harvest is better in the mid game and if you like to farm along side killing people. It's also my preferred option and the one I suggest you use. Electrocute has its place for just being easy to use and being really good in the early game without needing to worry about gathering souls. It's a lot stronger before 50 DH stacks too, so keep that in mind.
This rune page is for lethality Graves, Sudden Impact gives you lethality. It's the only option.
Whilst Zombie Ward has some use against cheese junglers like Warwick who can solo dragon early, the AD you get from Eyeball Collection is too good to pass up, especially with the absurd ratios Graves has.
The biggest difference here is that one directly assists you in combat by giving you healing based on your ability damage (which will be a lot with how much damage you deal) and the other is an out of combat utility letting you have more map pressure. I prefer Relentless Hunter in every situation, but Ravenous Hunter has its place.
For the same reasons above, you go Celerity because you like MS and you go Gathering Storm because you love AD. However, I personally no longer go Celerity as Lethality Graves because of the MS you get from ghostblade + relentless is more than enough in and out of combat. So why Transcendence over Absolute Focus? Because with my prefered lethality build (at the top of the guide) you overcap on CDR *and* get 40% CDR at very early on. This is amazing for Lethality Graves as it's the most amount of AD possible whilst also getting off the most ability casts as possible. It's really potent.
Flash gives you an infinite number of possibilities thanks to sheer utility it provides. Offensive flash forward, defensive flash away, flash over skillshots, flash into skillshots for your team... There is nothing you can't do with Flash. The only downside this spell has is that it's got a long 5 minute cooldown. That being said, every champion will take it except people who can use Ghost like Hecarim or Olaf and champions that can get away with it based on their kit/playstyle ( Shaco is the only champ like this). You are not a Ghost user so you take Flash.
Smite is always taken because you're a jungler. You need it to buy the jungle items like Hunter's Machete and Skirmisher's Sabre - Warrior. Aside from the items you need to buy, it also gives you better clears (with healing) and killing big camps faster. It's also required to reliably get objective monsters like Baron/Dragon. If you don't take Smite and the enemy team has one, you will be at an insane disadvantage. You should ALWAYS take Smite if you're jungling.
Another very important thing to note is the incredible synergy these 2 items have with each other. This is because Stormrazor will make your first auto attack a 100% crit, which in turn makes New Destiny fire 6 pellets which makes The Black Cleaver instantly hit full stacks. Instantly shredding 24% of a targets armour in a single basic attack for everyone on your team is almost the same as just giving them all a Mortal Reminder. That is so incredibly powerful for a champion like Graves.
|The only jungle item Graves should ever buy. Warrior because you're an AD champion and Skirmisher's because it'll make you even more tanky and an ever better duelist. rush this item every game. No exceptions.|
|This is an amazing item on Graves because it makes him a lot more tanky, mobile and gives him a load of armour penetration. This is because New Destiny procs four instances of the shred every auto attack all 6 if he crits. Everything about this item is perfect for Graves and is an item you'll buy every game with the normal build. As said above, second or third.|
|This item is perfect for Graves. Critical strikes work differently on Graves making the potential damage this can put out put lethality to shame. It also works very nicely with your reload mechanic as more often than not after you finish reloading you'll also have a Stormrazor crit ready. In combination with Fleet Footwork you'll also run incredibly fast after said auto attack making you hard to chase and escape from. Without a doubt a core item and one I buy every game without fail. As said above, second or third.|
|The default boot of choice. Stacking % damage reduction makes Graves absurd. Only against physical damage, you'll be getting these 60% of the time.|
|These are an incredible offensive option. Getting 35% attack speed is huge for Graves as it'll make your DPS skyrocket. Problem is, that the other 2 boot options are a lot better as Graves is more of a bruiser carry than a regular ADC. With the removal of AS runes these became a lot better, but that also means you lost armour/HP/MR. Also please stop saying "YOU OVERCAP ATTACK SPEED MAKING THESE BOOTS AWFUL IF YOU HAVE PD/ZERKS" That is flat out not true. Check the comments of this guide for screenshots.|
|A very specific build to buy these boots, if you go the full lethality build alongside the Transcendence rune then you buy these. The summoner spell CD is nice, but it's mostly because they're both cheap and will offer a very early CDR cap, which you'll aim to go over to get very efficient AD.|
|Solid choice vs a lot of magic damage or CC. When you don't need Tabi, you'll probably be buying these. With the nerfs in 7.7, these boots are now even better as the MR can help offset the MR removal from Quickdraw. However you should NEVER buy these boots just for the MR, it's the tenacity you're buying them for.|
|Even with The Black Cleaver sometimes you just need to kill tanks faster. If they have 3 tanks (A tanky top, a tanky jungle and a tanky support) then you'll want to be able to burn at least one of them down ASAP. Getting this + a black cleaver will makes you a godlike threat to any champion. However I must emphasise you only want to buy this item when there are multiple tanks, otherwise The Black Cleaver will do enough work on its own.|
|Simple item here, you buy this instead of Lord Dominik's Regards if the enemy team have a decent amount of healing/sustain. Dr. Mundo, Soraka, Vladimir and Aatrox come to mind for getting this item. Get the Executioner's Calling early if you're planning on buying this item at a later time as 800g to almost gut those champions is HUGE.|
|The best magic resistance item Graves can buy. Every stat he wants, and when the passive procs you become even harder to kill. I buy this if the enemy team have 1-2 magic damage threats. When I do choose to buy it, it's usually fourth after my SR/BC/Jungle item.|
|With the introduction of Stormrazor, Phantom Dancer is no longer a core item. It's still incredibly powerful as 45% attack speed, 30% crit chance and a nice damage reduction passive are all still great for Graves. However Other items offer both more damage and more defence than this, plus the crit chance isn't really a big deal now that you can crit more consistently with Stormrazor.|
|This is a great duelist item for Graves as the item is straight up made for his playstyle. With Graves having a first in last out mindset, getting lifesteal from all his damage dealt and the delay in damage taken (which in combination with PD and Red smite) will make him really hard to take down as long as you can keep attacking. It's a very expensive item, but I've been buying it as my 5th/6th item a lot and it does serious work.|
|Sometimes you need a cleanse. Situational item to buy 5th or 6th and you can sit on the Quicksilver Sash for a while before fully buying this. Important vs super important pick CC that merc treads can't do alone. Such as Dark Binding, Infinite Duress and Nether Grasp.|
|Sometimes you just need to go so hard, you die. This item allows Graves to either do that, or make a mistake but not cost the game. I would buy this item 5th slot at the earliest. Super situational as usually the game will be over by 6 items, and that you usually want more damage/lifesteal as you're so tanky anyway.|
|Probably the most situational buy on this whole item section. With the buff to its AD/Lifesteal and the lowered attackspeed it makes this item no longer total garbage for Graves. You should still very rarely build it as you usually can get a lot more out of the other lifesteal items, but against 3 high HP targets ( Vladimir, Malphite, Lee Sin and Braum for example) then the % damage becomes valuble enough to buy even with Graves' slow attack speed. I really must emphasise that this item is SITUATIONAL and should only be bought when you're against at least 3 very high HP targets.|
In this section, I'll cover the 3 Lethality items Graves may buy and what it will do for your damage. You'll nearly always be going all or nothing with Lethality. Either buying all 3 of them or none of them.
All the formulas are taken from the lolwiki, it gives a nice and easy to understand chart of the exact flat pen you get based on the targets level.
Lethality Graves will always be a really fun playstyle as totally destroying someone with a combo never gets old. With the rune changes, people lost a lot of defence (Max HP from scaling HP and a lot of champs didn't get just base armour compensation) meaning lethality is stronger. They all got lethality buffs too! With Sudden Impact you'll have 70 lethality after dashing with all 3 big items.
You'll ALWAYS be buying Ghostblade > Edge/Dusk > Dusk/Edge. Ghostblade rush is the only lethality item to ever rush on Graves. The OOC movement speed makes it amazing in combination with Relentless Hunter but more importantly Duskblade of Draktharr is only "decent" on ranged champions. You mainly buy it for the blackout passive/lethality rather than for the nightstalker damage.
Edge is a utility lethality item that offers no CDR but costs more and has HP and a spellshield for an active. This is really nice in the mid/late game so you can buy it depending on if you need to survive longer of if you need more map pressure from dusk.
After you get all 3 lethality items + boots + warrior you have 1 item slot left. This means you go something situational. Usually it will be a GA/DD/LDR to survive longer.
Overall, with how much damage Dark Harvest/ Electrocute deals and just the current meta I think lethality Graves has a place. I do think Stormrazor does a similar job to Lethality however, but who says you can't both stack lethality and SR?
After the scuttle changes your priority has shifted from farming permanently to dueling with over neutral objectives. Usually you'll get a leash from your bot lane, then clear the wolf camp and then go to the top side scuttle crab. As you're Graves you can not only bully most opponents easily you also kill the scuttle incredible fast thanks to New Destiny removing it's defence buff.
That being said, if you have vision on the enemy jungle you can skip doing a scuttle early and simply invade or push them off their scuttle. There are some champions you cannot do this too (notably Pantheon) but most can't deal with your armour from Quickdraw and the damage from New Destiny. Ontop of both of those, you don't take damage from camps unlike most other junglers so odds are you'll have a health potion and flat health advantage.
After you take your scuttle I would suggest moving towards your red buff if you started blue on red side, or gromp if you started red on blue side. Slightly confusing I know but below is a picture of the rough clear you'll take colour coded by team. Keeep in mind, as I said before, keep your clears dynamic. You don't need to do the same clear every game and sometimes you'll get invaded level 1 or the enemy will start at one of your buffs. Just keep vision around you and you should be okay to make the correct judgement call.
Probably the most important part of the game for the junglers outside of deep vision and neutral objective control in the mid/late game. After your first full clear, you're level 3 and have full HP with 2 points in Q ready to go. Your first target is almost always going to be the top lane or the mid lane. This is because you usually always end in the topside jungle on both teams. Either the red side raptor camp or the blue side blue buff. If you're on red side make sure to walk below krugs/above the baron pit because the scuttle is most likely taken by the blue side jungler.
If there is no gank opportunities, you should then either do krugs + the camp you didn't do, or simply invade. Most champions have to run away from Graves in the early game because of the damage you deal and how tanky you are. Just make sure to keep your eyes glued to the minimap as you step into enemy territory, if the enemy team are missing from their lane you should immediately retreat unless your team is also coming. Graves is strong in the 1v1 early game, but a 2v1 or 3v1 will still kill you instantly.
It's really hard to put into a guide how to/when to gank and when to counter jungle so the most important thing to get used to is paying attention to the minimap when you're walking around/clearing the jungle. You're Graves. You won't die to a camp if it hits you 3-4 times whilst you add up the junglers CS and try to determine their pathing.
Same with counter-jungle threats. You're Graves. You can brute force a jungle fight simply by the fact you do a lot of damage and that you'll nearly always be full HP. Try to roam with your laners to get wards into the enemy jungler allowing you to more safely counter-jungle or simply track his movement.
There is also nothing more fun than sitting in a bush, watching some poor Rengar walk right next to a wall in his own jungle to be immediately turned into giblets.
I must emphasise to FARM YOUR JUNGLE. ON RESPAWN IF POSSIBLE.They take 1:40 to respawn. Or 100 seconds a camp. With how fast you clear the jungle with a Long Sword or two, you can seriously rake in XP/Gold faster than nearly every jungler. This also means you can contest their jungle camps for income but more importantly to put them behind. If you see a jungler have 12cs and gank your top lane with double buffs whilst you finish off the red buff, you should IMMEDIATELY run to the raptor camp and take it from them.
Counting did get changed in the pre-season mostly because of the new Legend runes and making jungle CS consistent (you could have a lead of 20 or so CS if you took all raptors and krugs, but have the same xp/gold as someone who only took gromps and wolves). However in the early game it's still possible.
Every camp is worth 4cs so if a jungler ganks a lane with double buffs and 12cs then odds are they took a scuttle ontop of their 2 buffs. Likewise, if they have 12cs but only a single buff then you can very easily contest the buff they didn't take. As soon as the enemy jungle appears on the map you should always have a glance at them and their score/cs to check for buffs/route and plan accordingly.
Midgame is where Graves does most of his champion killing. As he'll have an item or two, which really increases his damage. You'll still want to be clearing your jungle as much as possible to keep up with gold/farm (make sure to not let your laners take too many camps. One or 2 is fine, but you're a carry jungler.)
More importantly however you'll want to aggressively look for skirmishes that will end with giving you gold/exp and objectives. The best way to do this is to spam ping where you want to go. For example, the enemy Red Buff is spawing in 30s. You spam ping "on my way" to the buff and ping for assistance on your nearest ally. 9 times out of 10, they'll shove and come with you. Then, being Graves you can one shot the buff and deny a huge chunk of xp/gold/pressure from the enemy team.
The aim of the midgame is PRESSURE.Your goal is to create map pressure by killing, warding and being aggressive on objective. A good thing to do is take an enemy camp then immediately go to a lane and push it in and get a few hits on the tower. After 2-3 times you'll either have the tower or the enemy team will attempt to collapse. At this point, do the same tactic on a different lane. Repeat until all lanes are unsafe to farm for the enemy.
You should also apply counter-pressure. Letting an enemy team do this to you is a big problem as I'm sure in your games you've noticed one team groups and the other follows suit. With the second usually losing/behind. Try to break that cycle by forcing fights at neutral objectives (Drag/Rift herald/Baron) or by split pushing. You're Graves so you can most probably 1v1 any champion on the enemy team. There are exceptions, but even a Vayne can't duel you in the mid game because you one shot her and have too much damage reduction from redsmite + PD + Tabi or a mix of those 3.
Always try to look for kills as it's very important to stay ahead of the enemy team. You're a carry, you need gold and the best way to get gold is to show the enemy team your New Destiny.
This is 5-6 items, bot lane carries become actual champions and the bruisers/tanks no longer hurt much. (Much). It's Graves weakest time-frame in a match. This is simply because at a certain point it becomes difficult to one shot someone through lifesteal, heals, shields and peel. More over, you're VERY short ranged. Getting cosy in melee range is what you want, but good luck sticking to a 5 item Vayne before she turns you into a crossbow pincushion.
At this time, your big objectives are Baron, Inhibitors, Elder Dragon and towers. As a jungler, you'll be paying close attention to your Smite charges and always have one ready to go in case a neutral objective fight breaks out. Regularly ping your smite cooldown to let your allies know that you can/can't force a baron/elder or if you should just bait/fight.
Your job in late game fights is to deal massive damage but also soak aggro. You want to be the champion who goes in second behind a frontline in order to dive straight into the middle/backline where you'll hold a target in your aggro "taunt" until your other more glass cannon champions can finish off the fight. It's all about outmatching and outlasting here.
Outmatching is basically picking favourable fights. You'll take those 4v5's where you're the 5. You'll prey on the squishy weak ADC who still can't deal with you. You'll bait the support into overextending for wards. You'll outmatch your enemy team. Creating a pick can win games almost single handedly. How many matches have been decided by the loser, not the victor? Be the one to spot the loser and calculate how to best pry that loss out of them.
When 2 even teams with solid vision control, or lack of, clash the victor is usually who can stay standing. Being Graves this is pretty much in his lore, but in the rift it's a very real way to win long matches where if you've crossed the point of being able to carry, simply not being broken by tilt/anger/frustration can coax a victory. It's also a great way to teamfight! Being the one to survive means you get to delay the loss, or push the victory. At this point in the game you can win if you're the last man standing simply by how fast you push/take towers.
Don't let this fool you though, as it's your team that needs to outlast as well. Being the last man standing on your team, when 4 of them are alive isn't going to cut it. Take the hook for the bad Lucian. Flash for the ult KS on the Vayne JUST to make sure she can't get split second healed. Be the one that keeps your team together until the very end.
I've won countless games simply by being the one in control. Graves is designed from the ground up to be in control throughout the game. Whilst you can't easily straight up kill someone at this point in the game, you still have enough damage to always be a very real carry-like threat.
So in summary, Graves is an early-mid game carry jungler whom is very tanky and has insane burst at the cost of any real CC and the ability to carry when late game comes around (unless you outmatch and outlast). Right now Graves is pretty much the best jungler in the game. This is because most meta laners have CC, but also because power farming whilst staying healthy is the way the jungle works right now. Lee Sin, Warwick, Rengar, Elise and Gragas all fit this bill. Graves has the best early clear out of them all combined, and has the most AD damage of them all as well. Not to mention he's badass.
Don't forget to remind your enemies They picked the wrong fight.
Headers: Janitsu. His stuff is a lot nicer than anything I could make artistically.
ATM there is only one person, because this guide is built from the ground up by myself. That being said, edits/changes can always be added to here.
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