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Graves Build Guide by DonRolf

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League of Legends Build Guide Author DonRolf

Fighting the wrong fight [NEW MASTERIES]

DonRolf Last updated on December 12, 2011
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Jungle Role
Ranked #17 in
Jungle Role
Win 52%
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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: 9

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 0

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So you want to play Graves, summoner? Graves is since his release easily my favourite AD carry. His long range autoattack combined with short range skills that can turn the tide of a teamfight just makes him devastating when used properly. In this guide, I will try to maximize his potential. If you have any comments or suggestions, be sure to leave them in the comments below.

Updated for the Graves nerf. Getting an early bloodthirster now, switched to Banshees in recommended items. Thanks for your feedback everyone!

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Why play Graves?

I've played a couple of games of Graves now, and the primary reason I play him is because he plays more fun then your average AD carry. His mobility is sublime and wrecking teamfights with your ultimate, getting away easily and give the occasional buckshot back is so much fun


  • Good farmer
  • Good pusher
  • Mobile
  • Huge early game bursts
  • Dash good for chasing or escaping
  • Teamfights are a blast
  • Passive counters squishyness early on

  • Lacks 1v1 power lategame
  • Pretty squishy, especially late game
  • Lacks crowd control effects

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Skills and their order

The passive. If you keep autoattacking minions, you'll get more magic resist and armor. It's useful for early game harass, autoattack some minions, Quickdraw in, Buckshot and retreat or chase.
]Your primary harass and lategame damage skill. The more bullets hit, the more damage, and they penetrate enemies. If your opponents push hard, use this skill. If there's a group of enemies, this is your way to go.
An awesome utility spell. It's like a portable version of Nocturne's Paranoia. Use this on casters like Xerath that aren't particularly mobile or ranged AD carries like Caitlyn to stop your carry getting focused.
This skill is so useful for chasing and getting away alike. When chasing a character, dash in, Buckshot and kill then with your attack speed bonus, or when harrassing, close the distance, Buckshot and dash away. Also really useful when pushing a lane.
This is called an ultimate for a reason. You can turn the tide of teamfights with this ultimate. Stand at a range, shoot it somewhere in the middle and their entire team is hurt. Use this when the enemy team is pushing or is retreating, works like a charm in combination with your Quickdraw

As Buckshot is your primary damage skill, get it first, grabbing Quickdraw at level 2 and Smokescreen at level 4 for increased utility. After maxing, finish maxing out Quickdraw and finally max Smoke Screen. Get Collateral Damage at level 6, 11 and 16.

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Summoner Spells

Flash is such an awesome skill, especially on Graves. It helps him get close or get away when being in a close encounter

Exhaust is a really viable choice, you'll stay in range to autoattack someone longer, and it helps you get close when Flash is on its cooldown

Ignite is another possible option to quickly kill off running enemies. As your mobility is already really good, consider choosing Exhaust over this.

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Runes and Masteries


Offense tree is my main tree, and as damage is important to a carry, I'm making sure I take Weapon Expertise . Alacrity is great earlygame, just like Vampirism and Sunder . Summoner's Wrath is used to beef up your Exhaust, as this will help you get that kill on the exhausted enemy.

A couple of points for defense. Hardiness is the obvious choice here, as you will be laning against another AD champion. Durability is needed to get that precious next mastery, Veteran's Scars


greater mark of desolation Armor Penetration is the most useful stat you can get on an AD carry, as not many items will give that stat. It'll give you the extra burst early on and will help burn through armor. If that isn't enough, consider buying a Last Whisper.
You're a ranged character, therefore pretty squishy. You still want to get up closer than most AD carries. That's where the Flat Armor yellows kick in. A boost of 12 armor can really make the difference to getting a kill exchange to being that lucker, as you'll be laning against another AD carry.
The natural enemy of an AD carry is an AP carry. These Magic Resistance per level runes will solve your problems against an AP carry, by taking less damage. Take in account your passive, and you will be able to stay in lane forever.
greater quintessence of desolation Again, same idea as the seals. Armor Penetration is invaluable, earlygame and lategame.

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Starting Items

This will help early game sustainability, let your attacks hit a slight bit harder, add in a good trade-in value and this is really the item to get.
To heighten your sustain and synergizing well with True Grit, this is a viable choice as a starting item. Although we're getting a late The Bloodthirster, this still is pretty viable.


These shoes will maximize your early game damage output. In combination with your Quickdraw this can land some devastating blows. NOTE: you could consider witching these up for Mercury's Treads lategame.
When focused, your goal is to stay alive. This will minimize crowd control effects on you, and because you're a really mobile champion, this can help you get out of sticky situations or chase that one lucky enemy


Nail some faster hits. Get the occasional critical to finish them off. Chase quicker to get more damage out of your Buckshot. This item will help you in all aspects.
The highest yielding Attack Damage item in the game. Lifesteal giving you so much sustain. What would you want more? This makes you really, REALLY good. It is vital that you get this early.
Another item great for chasing, synergizes well with your Phantom Dancer. A chase is much easier pulled off with a 30% slow. Getting up close gets much easier with the health bonus.
You're almost complete now. You hit fast. Next up is hitting really hard. This sword is helping, yet again, your Phantom Dancer, making basic attacks and the occasional crit hit even harder.

Situational last item

Is the AD carry a huge problem? Get this. This will buy you more time for your support to crowd control everyone, for your AP carry to burst someone dead, and get a second chance to get away with your superior mobility.
Use this if the enemy AP carry is a bigger threat over the AD carry. The buff on this item, blocking an ability, will usually block the initiative stun, like Amumu's Bandage Toss or Annie's Pyromania. You'll get away, get a distance and snipe the enemy team off one by one.
Use this if the enemy is heavy on armor, or if the tank can't get focused properly. You'll burn through the tanks armor, netting an easier kill when their tank has some awful crowd control. Consider getting this early, but not until you completed your Phantom Dancer
Got multiple carries and you're the only one doing well? Share some of your stats by getting this. It'll aid you and the rest of the carries wiping the enemy team, and can make the difference getting a successful push.

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Early game / Laning

When laning, your best bet is take a support that has some good stuns / slows like Taric or Kayle, or a tank with heavy crowd control like Singed or Amumu. You want the first blood, so be sure your support uses a Clairvoyance in the bush, gives a stun and get a early first blood with your buckshot. You want to do this, as there will most probately be a similar setup on the other lane. If, in the occasional exception, you don't lane against a support/hardcarry, do not bother grabbing early first blood.
As you're squishy early game, your best bet is make your support ward the brushes. This is extremely important, wards win games. Ward the brush on your side and the brush on the river, as these are the most important chokepoints. Laning against a stealth champion? Consider buying a Vision Ward or two.
When you're in a safe position, focus on farming. Your support should harrass, do it yourself too without getting yourself in danger. Farming still is priority. Play defensively and don't push your lane too hard. If your support harrassed enough, grab that kill as it's worth a huge batch of money and will make a difference


You are properly farmed right now if done well, so you have the ability to gank. You will need to get those kills, so if there's a quick ganking oppertunity, always take it. Make sure the map is properly warded, giving more oppertunities. You should get red buff by now if your jungler didn't take it.
If there's no ganking oppertunity, push a tower. You'll have decent attack power. Only push if there's a ward on major chokepoints: when pushing you're really vulnerable to ganks. You want to watch out extra if the enemy team has a Twisted Fate or a Nocturne, as they are the people that can wipe you out in no-time with their ultimates.
You're vulnerable to ganking too. If you get ganked, apply zoning. It is an important part of the game.

Endgame / Teamfights

Teamfights are a blast as a hardcarry. You're item dependent, so in a long game your attack power should be unmastered. As most used hardcarries are ranged ( Caitlyn or Kog'Maw), they should be easy for you to kill at short range with your Buckshot. When you're able to get a kill in a 1v1 situation, use your Collateral Damage. Every kill counts.
When you're in a teamfights, stay behind at first. Give them a poke by Quickdrawing in and Buckshot for some nice harrassment. Use Collateral Damage when the enemy is clutched together and you'd want to group anyways. You want to make use of your ultimate as long as possible, so when possible, use it when you suspect the teamfights is going to be long. It does some immense group damage and lowering them is a nice way of turning the tide of a game.

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After playing my occasional matches of Graves, he's easily one of my favourite hardcarries. The combination of being ranged, but still hitting hard up close and being mobile just makes him as fun as the mobile Master Yi or the long-ranged unbeatable Caitlyn. Have fun playing the pro gambler Graves, as the fate of the enemy team just has been turned!

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The blocking of paths with a skill or with champion placement
Say, you're on lane with a Singed and an enemy Caitlyn overextends from her lane, leaving you in the river, to find a Taric in the brush. You want to run, but you know they can kill you off because you ran to the river. The tribrush is a triple chokepoint with generally one entrance, use this. Get your Singed to block off one of the paths and let him take another. Most enemies will focus Singed and you will get away safely.

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24-10-2011 First version, changed runes, several small fixes (thanks GrandmasterD!)
25-10-2011 Repost, made the horrible mistake to put comment to vote off.
25-10-2011 Some minor text changes, updated by suggestions in comments. Added Vampiric Scepter to starting items.
29-10-2011 Graves nerf incoming! Switched to an early bloodthirster for nerf and asked by many people.

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