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Graves Build Guide by Maioku

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Not Updated For Current Season

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Maioku

Get Three Coffins Ready... My Mistake Five

Maioku Last updated on November 4, 2011
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Summoners Rift

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Jungle Role
Ranked #17 in
Jungle Role
Win 52%
Get More Stats

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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Thanks to Searz for the awesome guide format! You can find it here.

I may have dropped down in the top guide's list but that will not stop me from keeping this updated. If you like my Guide, Upvote me if you don't please help me make my guide better.

This is my first Guide on here. I'm hoping to make a Great guide but I can't do it without your help. I will keep this updated as often as I can. As I play more and get better with Graves I will be adding more pictures and video's to make my guide more enjoyable. If any of you send me pictures, or videos (I have LoL recorder so if you send me the file ill pick awesome moments) of matches you want displayed I will be more then happy to put them up in a Fan section of my build. I put a lot of pictures in my section that explains good escapes with Graves, because I feel things like that require visual aide's.

As always if you help me improve my guide I will give you a Rep. cookie


I had to so some work to his Skill sequence and Rune's in order to counteract the nerf coming to him.

Mouse-over any items or abilities to see their tooltip.


(for any abbreviations you don't understand)

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Pros / Cons


    Pretty long range
    Amazing passive
    Powerful auto attacks as well as nuke.


Pretty high priority
Needs very good positioning
A lot of damage requires you to be up close.
Ultimate can miss at close range

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Standard AD carry masteries do just fine on him. Why reinvent the wheel, right? If you take ignite don't spec into exhaust and make sure to grab the one for Ignite instead.
If you don't have any problem last hitting minions you should take the 2 points from Offensive Mastery and put them into Alacrity to make it 3/4 for some much needed extra attack speed.

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Main rune set

Greater Mark of Desolation Greater Mark of Desolation
Armor Pen Marks are a must on every AD champion, especially a Carry.

Greater Seal of Resilience
Armor Seals will help a lot with your early game, harass and lane survivability.
Greater Glyph of Warding
Since they are Nerfing his passive to allow for 10 less Magic resist and armor I have decided to change from my to allow for more magic resist.
Greater Quintessence of Strength
This is the rune I use most of the time, as they are good for him Early game but not so much for late. Because of this, I always get a late game Armor pen Item to balance this out, so I don't bother getting both Quints and marks for Armor Pen.

Other runes worth considering

My main Rune set is not the only good one for Graves. There are quite a few amazing Runes for him, probably even more then I have listed, so feel free to experiment yourself!
Greater Mark of Strength
Very good for him early game.

Greater Seal of Alacrity
More attack speed is always a plus.
Greater Glyph of Alacrity
If you still would like to have the attack speed over the magic resist these runes are still a great choice.

Greater Quintessence of Desolation Greater Quintessence of Desolation
If you take the AD Marks you should take these for losing your Armor pen marks.

Greater Quintessence of Alacrity
So since his passive is getting hit I wanted to test getting these over because the attack speed could come in handy over the early attack damage.

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Summoner Spells

By far the best Summoner Spell in the game. All carries need this to Escape. Even those with escapes in their abilities having this gives them an added OOMPH.

Good for keeping your Friends close and Enemies Closer. Specked into it will make you win almost any 1v1 Fight with Relative ease mid to late game.

If you don't want flash, this will also give you more of an escape. Quick Draw over a wall then ghost to get away.

Good Spell for Carries especially if the have an AP ability.

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Skill Sequence

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
This is really the only ability Sequence you need for him at the moment. It lets you get the most damage out of his Buckshot early game while leveling up Quick draw to stay out of trouble.
Grab one Smokescreen at level three in order to put people in the dark.

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Draw. (tools of the trade)

True Grit

This little passive is the reason why Graves can survive most of the issues he is faced with. If you can keep the stack's maxed out you will be deceptively durable.


Graves is the first ranged carry to every have a kit that allows for close up combat. With this ability the closer you are to your opponent the better. There are two times you want to shoot this out, when you are in someones face, or when they are close to death and just outside your auto attack range.

Smoke Screen

This is probably the move you will use most as Graves to open a fight. If you can catch them inside the zone and dash to them they will have no idea when you will appear. This little guy makes escaping a breeze, just run and cover your tracks with this ability. It will require the enemy to guess which direction you went.


This is my favorite ability that Graves has. It is not only a great gap closer, but it is also an amazing escape ability. The attack speed buff is perfect for pushing turrets or even attack champions, but while it is on cooldown you are vulnerable and have almost no escape other then your flash. While attacking champions can make it available faster, you do not always want to rely on that strategy.

Collateral Damage

The mechanics for this Ultimate is unlike any other move I have seen. Similar to Lux's Finales Funkeln you can either open or close with this ability. Knowing the difference is very difficult. Unlike Lux's ability, once the shell hits a champion or reaches the end of its trail it will explode into a cone that reaches quite a bit further, making it perfect to grab a kill off of a fleeing low health enemy. The biggest if not only downside to this ultimate is that it misses at very close range.

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Wall's can be your friend

The two river walls are probably the most important one to be able to jump through. Most team fights happen in middle lane.
This wall is very nice to be able to go through as an escape route or even as an attack route. When they are chasing they would need to go around or when their jungler has gotten low at their blue. They wont be expecting that.
This wall is a personal favorite of mine.
Team fight at Dragon or Nashor? There is your escape.
It may be up to you to steal Dragon or Nashor, Surprise them before they can grab it.
I know that was a lot of pictures but i wanted to make sure people knew which walls are the passable ones so they don't get killed.

Escapes With Smoke Screen

Certain paths can make escaping with smoke screen even easier. Since the AoE makes people lose vision paths with multiple branches will make enemy's less likely to follow you. Below I have provided pictures to better show what I am talking about. Red arrows indicate the danger zone (area most likely you are running from) while the green arrow's indicate the path you should take to be safe.

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Starting Items

There are couple paths you should take with Graves. There could be more but these are in my opinion his best if not only.

As a ranged AD carry your biggest source of substain is lifesteal. You need life steal. Doran's Blades are essentially an early game Blood Thirster.

Movement speed early game can be just as important as lifesteal. For the first couple levels people usually don't grab boots so you can always be one step ahead of them, literally. All and all combined with three a great way to start your lane.

First Time Back.

If you started with the Doran's Blade your ideal first shop will be and a for that amazing early game damage.
But since life isn't fair, more times then not you will be forced back too early. If this is the case then you want to at least buy and another

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Core Items

Here are the items I consider to be Core for Graves. Items that are designed to get him to be the best AD carry you can have. If you guys want me to remove the boots since every champion gets boots just let me know.
Just like with any champion remember to pick up Heath potions when you are at the store to keep you in lane longer.
Having one or two of these are the perfect way keep your early game strong. They get sold later so it's not like they take up much room anyway.
The best boot's for any Ranged AD carry. Early game attack speed means a lot.
A must have on almost every AD carry especially the Ranged ones.
Graves suffers from both low movement speed and low attack speed. Throw the Crit in there and you have a recipe for disaster.
With the incoming nerf to his passive and just the fact that Banshee's Veil is on of the best defense items. If they happen to have any combo based champions you can through them out of whack.
With a phantom dancer you will be hitting hard and often once you grab one of these.

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Other Good Items

If you just can't deal with the lack of Movement speed he has then these are a great replacement to Berserker's Greaves
When they are all AP champion's or if they have a lot of CC and you need the tenacity.
I see this boot get picked a lot on almost every champion but if it works it works. If you get this you will want if not need to get and get the masterie points in both and they will add to your escape ability.
Good early game lifesteal and a free ward. A good item when going up against physical opponents. I recommend getting it in a solo lane or if two AD DPS's are in your lane. Since it gives armor.
Even though it is not that cost efficient or optimal on Graves because he has quite some high cooldowns. That said with the current Meta, Trinity Force is a good item. I do recommend getting it if you want Graves to have a bit of AP for his Smoke Screen.
I love this item a lot. I get it on all auto attack champions. The Passive is invaluable with Armor pen marks.
If the black cleaver doesn't give enough armor penetration for you then this item is a good replacement.
Black cleaver is for focusing one person, while Last Whisper if for when you need to attack a lot of people.
If for some reason they are building health and not armor, or they are all tanky DPS champions, you will need this to bring down all that health.
I want to explain the significance of this item as an early game item. Graves has pretty high cooldowns. The cooldown from this item along with the AD will make you a force to be reckoned with early game laning. You will most likely sell this mid game.
Until they give this the Gunblade treatment, making its passive unique, stacking these is a really good strategy.
There has been situations where I have bough more then one phantom dancer. The movement speed along with the crit goes well with the Infinity Edge so sometimes you just have to get multiple.
This is an all around great item for Graves. The slow will help with your low movement speed and frozen mallet is an amazing kiting item, since not everyone has Ashe's frost shot.
Not only does this add more armor and magic resist, but it also requires the enemy to kill you twice. Which can mean the difference between life and death for you.
The enemy team have a or a are they destroying you? Then stop them in their tracks, literally.

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As an AD carry you will need to farm as much as possible. Pick a good Support and last hit all the creeps, or go mid lane. There are better mid's, but if you need to go there, you can. All laning phase you want to get as many minion kills as you can so you can afford your expensive items. Never roam alone. When you leave your lane always have a buddy to help watch your back. You never know who may be around the corner. You want to focus your fire power mostly on the other teams squishier champions , before going for the more tanky ones. Blue Buff is ok on Graves, but you want to give that to the AP casters, while you focus on Red Buff.

Laning Solo and Duo


AD carry's aren't the most powerful solo mid's but when they have burst it gets slightly easier. At level one you want to focus on last hitting minions and harassing with your Q. At level three your harass gets even more powerful. The best combo for nuking your mid opponent will be to trap them inside your smokescreen then dash to them when the can't see you and hit them with all three of your buckshot's to do the most damage. Then, if you can't kill them after that, you want to get away in case there is a jungler waiting. Item wise I would stick with Grabbing the Doran's Blade to start, and lane until you have enough money to buy at least boots of speed. Preferably you want to lane until you can buy boots and another item, then fight as long as you can, shopping only when needed.

Duo Laning

Like I said earlier, a good support is your best laning partner. A Support who is willing to wait in the bush and hold the enemy still while you damage them. If a support is out of the question then you will want a good old fashioned tank. Don't ever lane with another carry. It is really hard to try and out farm them. I will Explain strategy's for each individual champion but as a rule of thumb you just want to last hit minion's while your support keeps them too scared to come into EXP range. If your support does get a stun, popup, snare or anything like that off, you better be Quickdrawing up to them and hitting with a three Buckshot shells

Your Friends

Here I am going to list the support champions that I have had the best experience's with. As I have more supports laning with me I will expand the list.
He was my first duo lane partner. His stun was perfect for me once I hit level two. Wait for him to harass from the bush, once that stun comes out Quickdraw up to the enemy and Buckshot them, auto attacking when necessary, then retreat.
So far he is my favorite lane partner. His constant harass from the bush with his popups and slams make for great setups.
Other then the fact that we had a Karma that thought she was a tank... she is another good lane partner. I have never played her but her AoE slow can help you get away safely.

Game Phases

Mid Game

After your turret gets pushed you don't need to maintain as much lane presence as you did before. This said you can start going for ganks. When you do gank you need to make sure that you get at least an assists to make up for being out of your lane. Chances are you will be ganking mid so you can get to your lane back quickly if need be.

Your basic gank combo.

This is the best way to make a gank successful. This way you blind the enemy before they know how many people are coming and even where you are coming from. Then you get the most out of your nuke and attack speed buff. If the enemy is escaping after you almost killed them, fire off your ultimate to stop them in their tracks.

Late Game

At this point you and your team are roaming. Searching for the enemy or pushing lanes. Here is where you have to be careful. Make sure you never get caught out of position. Careful use of Quickdraw is the trick to graves. You can use the attack speed buff from it to destroy turrets in almost a blink of the eye. Keep in mind that auto attacking turret's does not reduce the cooldown.

Team Fights

Your role in team fights is what makes graves such a fun champion. You want to Smokescreen the support, if they have one, so that they can't heal. Then you want to focus on their squishy champions and try to just deal as much damage as possible. Be careful of using you Quickdraw a lot, it may refresh from auto attacks but you can still be caught with it on cooldown. Mostly you want to stay on the outskirts of a battle, Quickdraw in only when you can do a lot of damage or secure a kill.

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The way I play Graves on the good ol' Crystal Scar is probably different then most people. I play him as solo bottom Hybrid: his low movement speed makes him not great for capturing, but great for holding, while the Trinity Force and Rageblade will make his Smoke Screen do a lot of damage.


Starting Items

Since you aren't going top you don't need tier two boots and this will help you hold bottom.
Enough speed to allow you to get to your point fast enough.
lets you stay bottom longer.

Rest of the Items

Great attack speed.
Replaces the Bloodthirster, keep your stacks up.
Always good on an AD carry no matter what the game mode is.
Movement Speed, Attack Speed and Crit. Whats not to love?
If you would rather have health and attack damage, grab this instead of the Phantom Dancer

Other Good Dominion Items

The 4th hit dealing magic damage can be good when combined with the Rageblade.
Replaces the Madreds if you need the damage.
Since I take Graves bottom, this is good for keeping you there and it allows you to capture their point faster.

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Put a Little Meat on Your Bones (Tanky)

Special thanks to iStandAloney for helping me come up with ways to play Tanky Graves.


No matter if you need to be tankier or more powerful you always start with this.
Any tanky person should take these, Helps you get out of CC effects.
You are still a ranged AD carry.
Later you will get a phantom dancer but that is once the zeal stops allowing you to kite.
When playing a Range AD tanky this item is always essential It gives you much needed health as well as the ability to kite.
You now have enough health to buy this. The Health to AD is perfect and the extra armor will help you live.
Now this item is good. When being tanky and ranged you are already hard to kill so why not make them have to kill you twice?
Here many of you will probably disagree with me. I like this last because the Zeal will allow you to kite enough until this point. If you want to grab it earlier get it before the GA other wise leave it as your last. Good positioning along with your smoke screen and flash is enough escape that the MS isn't such a high priority.


One of tanky graves roles with Frozen Mallet and Zeal is to kite since your attacks lower the cooldown on your Quickdraw and thanks to that you can kite amazingly, just attack, attack, attack, which will slow them thanks to Frozen Mallet and if they get too close just Quickdraw away and do the same thing. Definately destroys singed or other annoying melee champs.

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Match Results

We had an Akali leaver :/

Fan Matches

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Patch Notes

So far only one patch has passed that hit Graves, and in all honesty you will hardly even notice it.

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%