Build Guide by Krautwurst
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Not Updated For Current Season
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Welcome to my version of a Tank Gragas build. Gragas is a very versatile champion that can fulfill many roles in a game, but I find him to be especially effective as a Tank/Support. One big question commonly asked regarding Gragas is, "Is AP better than tank?". In my opinion, the honest answer is that Gragas is decent when you stack AP, but in reality there are many heroes that simply do it better. However, as a tank, Gragas truly shines due to his ability to mitigate damage and escape unlike any other hero. With this build, and proper skills, you can solo an AP Gragas at 18 with ease. Keep in mind that with this build comes a lot of whining. People insist (for no real reason) that AP is better. Let the naysayers nay say, and keep playing this character the way it was meant to be played. In this guide I'll cover what I believe to be the most effective way of playing Gragas as a tank.
01 Dec 2010 - v. 1.1.0 - Added Rod of Ages, Added Mejai's Soulstealer, changed description of many items, changed item build, changed mastery build.
01 Dec 2010 - v. 1.1.1 - Minor changes, Gameplay section under review.
03 Dec 2010 - v. 1.2.0 - Overhauled Gameplay section, added Disclaimer.
Pros and Cons of Gragas as a Tank:
- Great Early Game DPS.
- Great at chasing.
- Not nearly as many skill shots.
- Insane damage mitigation.
- Great at escaping.
- Can secure team kills or escapes.
- On-ability-use health regen.
- Somewhat low DPS Mid/Late Game
- Vulnerable to stuns.
- Takes some skill to play successfully.
Keep in mind these matches are unranked. I'm not claiming to be the best player in the world. Against average players, this build has positive results.
Gragas is great alongside most any hero, but he's especially effective with:
For this build, I have taken:
Cleanse - Helps immensely in late-game situations where you become outnumbered and overrun. Using Cleanse can nab you some truly incredible escapes, even late game against the entire enemy team.
Ghost - I use this skill for three primary reasons. First of all, escaping. Although Body Slam can assist you in escaping, Ghost helps in situations you're facing two or more heavy damagers with high movement speed, or a movement speed boost such as the Active ability of Youmuu's Ghostblade. Secondly, it can help you move more quickly to locations that require more assistance, such as turrets overrun with minions, or arriving to assist a teammate secure a kill. Thirdly, this skill works incredibly well in combination with Explosive Cask. Walk near an enemy, and before they can react, use Ghost to shorten the distance, get off a slow with Body Slam, then, just as they think they're going to escape, Explosive Cask to knock them right back into your melee range.
Other Spells to Consider:
Exhaust - Works well against melee heavy opposing teams. However, you shouldn't be in a situation where this would be any more beneficial than Cleanse or Ghost. If you're planning on laning with a very strong damager, this is one to consider to secure early game kills easily. Alternatively, you could have them take it and you could both be happy!
Ignite - Can help you secure kills early on which will boost your Leviathan stacks significantly. However, this becomes less effective as the game goes on and is virtually useless in late-game.
Rally - Rally is actually a relatively useful spell to Gragas. However, only take this spell if you are not as concerned about Snares/Stuns/etc. or you might end up dying more than you want. Fairly decent at securing team kills, and could give your team the edge in a large skirmish.
Happy Hour - This passive is really great for Gragas, especially when you have a large health pool late game. Basically, this enables you to regen health anytime you want by simply using an ability. One thing to remember, if you're trying to regen a lot of health and want to use this passive more than once in a row, let the first application finish it's duration before you reapply by using another ability! If you don't, you lose most of the duration of the skill, and don't regen nearly as much health.
Barrel Roll - As a tank, this ability should be at the bottom of your priority list. Only level it up when you are absolutely forced to. There are three things this ability will do for you as a Tank. First of all, you can throw it into a crowd of fast attackers to give them a nasty attack speed drop (please note that Mobafire's tooltip does not currently indicate the Attack Speed reduction coefficient, which is 20% / 25% / 30% / 35% / 40%), or, even better, use it to pop Banshee's Veil on the opposing team before you hit them with an Explosive Cask. Lastly, and I've only personally seen this once or twice, you can use it to secure a kill through a wall, around a corner, etc.
Drunken Rage - This is the bread and butter of how you are going to be able to take on many opponents at once. At level 18, with nine Greater Glyphs of Celerity and the Passive from Frozen Heart, this should have a 100% uptime. The most important thing to remember about this skill is that you don't get the buff if you're interrupted, so keep in mind that it is much better to walk away from your opponent, drink where you won't lose your buff, and then re-engage. There is no reason why you should not put this up whenever possible. If you don't have this on cooldown, you're not playing Gragas correctly.
Body Slam - The real meat of this build's damage dealing, and the most important skill in your arsenal. Body Slam is a great tool for almost anything you want to do with Gragas. Do you need a little HP? Use Body Slam. Do you need to escape? Use Body Slam. Is the opponent getting away? Use Body Slam. Are minions overrunning a turret? Use Body Slam. This will be your go-to ability in almost every situation, and the more you use it, the more useful you will find it to be. Keep in mind that this skill, as its tooltip indicates, will hit the first target you encounter, and split the damage between the three nearest targets. Therefore, if you're looking to do damage with this, make sure to use it when the enemy is not standing near minions, and don't try to Body Slam through minions to reach an enemy. It will not work, and you will be left out of position.
Explosive Cask - This ability is one of the most hated in all of League of Legends. There's nothing worse than thinking you've just escaped from sure death when suddenly, from behind the wall next to the turret you're standing beside, comes a giant barrel that explodes and throws you right back into the range of the entire enemy team. The most important thing to remember about this ability though, is that it is dual-purpose. It's predominant use, which should be pretty much all you use it for, is to knock an opponent back towards you so that you may continue to deal damage, or knock an opponent away from yourself or a teammate so that you can escape. However, one of the more interesting uses of this ability is to scatter minions. Assume hypothetically your Summoner Abilities are on cooldown, you're deep in enemy territory, and there's someone chasing you while you're low health. Don't panic! Perhaps you could lead them alongside a line of minions, hit your Explosive Cask, then Body Slam across the lane through the hole where the minions used to be. With any luck they won't follow you exactly and will either get caught up in the remaining minions, or be in poor position to make the kill for the rest of the lane, which will give you more than enough time to escape. Assume perhaps a very low health enemy is getting away, and you're almost in range for that last finishing Barrel Roll. Cask minions out of the way, quickly Body Slam into range, and Barrel Roll to finish the kill. Don't underestimate the usefulness of this ability, it will get you out of a lot of sticky situations and secure you a lot of kills.
In this section, Gragas can be a bit hard to nail down to a set of items. In fact, many items work for Gragas, but there are a few items which work particularly well with him.
Leviathan - One of the undisputed core items of a good Tank Gragas, Leviathan is absolutely essential to your goal of becoming invincible. It is very viable to rush this item immediately by purchasing a Ruby Crystal at the beginning of the game and pick this up as soon as possible to begin grabbing stacks here or there in early/mid game. However, if you're solo laning, or if it seems unlikely your lane will be getting many kills, this item is better suited for mid/late game.
Mercury's Treads - In general, for this build, Mercury's Treads are the best boots you can get. In Early/Mid game, the only real threat to Gragas is sticking around in the lane too long with a harasser and getting pinned down just long enough to be killed or hit with an Ignite and then killed. If you know you're going to be facing a team with a lot of Melee, Ninja Tabi might be a better option, with some mastery points moved around to get Nimbleness.
Warmog's Armor - One of the best items to get on a Tank Gragas. The reason it works so well is that Gragas' Drunken Rage's damage mitigation enables you to be liberal with Armor/Magic Resist, and focus on gaining large amounts of health. In addition, Happy Hour works exponentially better the more health you have. If you're solo laning, or in a lane unlikely to get kills, Grabbing a Regrowth Pendant first, then Giant's Belt can make you incredibly hard to kill even early in the game and make you able to farm very effectively in your lane, giving you much needed health and regen bonuses.
Frozen Heart - Another really great item to get on Gragas. I usually save this one until later on in the game, because the uptime of Drunken Rage earlier than that is sufficient to keep me alive and do damage to any fool who steps to me. However, when you hit late game, you're going to want a 100% uptime on Drunken Rage, and the best way to do that on Gragas is to get Frozen Heart. The percentage based attack speed reduction is also insanely useful, especially against enemies like Warwick or other Madred's Bloodrazor users.
Force of Nature - This item is incredibly useful once you get your health pool up with Warmog's Armor. The magic resist is also great for late game, and alongside Frozen Heart, you won't be taking much damage from any hero out there. The movement speed buff is just an added bonus. Grab this item and you'll be in great shape for the remainder of the game, or until you finish your build.
Frozen Mallet - An incredibly useful item that can actually be built second or third if you're really kicking the other team's ***, Frozen mallet is one of the best items you can get for Gragas for more utility and a little more damage. Not only does this give you a nice chunk of bonus health, it makes you a snare machine. Body Slam, combined with this item will pretty much reduce any chance your opponent has of escaping your range.
Other Items to Consider:
Sunfire Cape - This item is actually both a blessing and a curse on Gragas. Certainly, you'll be surviving most team battles and this will help you do so. However, one of the most overlooked aspects of this item is that it tends to attract minions and creeps to you like a magnet. This isn't a problem normally, since you would want them around you to die. However, if you're being chased or pursuing an enemy, especially through a jungle, you must use exceptional situational awareness not to pass too close to pockets of creeps, or they could prevent you from getting a kill by getting in the way of your Body Slam. Keep in mind that if you stack six of these, you're a professional.
Randuin's Omen - On Gragas, this item isn't really very useful. Not only does your Barrel Roll already have an attack speed reducing effect, but if you build Frozen Heart, you'll already be looking at quite a good chunk of attack speed reduction. Also, in comparison to your Happy Hour, and if you build Force of Nature, 25 Health/sec is negligible. Also, Body Slam really decreases the usefulness of the snare. Personally, I would avoid this one like the plague, but if you feel absolutely compelled to get Heart of Gold, this could be an option if you don't want to sell it for something better. Keep this in mind however: Heart of Gold will pay for itself after 32 minutes and 30 seconds. By that time, you could have much better items and a far superior build. It's up to you.
Thornmail - I've found that this item, although somewhat useful late game, especially against enemies that rely on auto-attacks, can be replaced with better items. Only take this if you're being focused by a large number of melee and want to return some damage.
Guardian Angel - Guardian Angel can actually be nice on Gragas, but overall I don't use it as much as other items for one simple reason: Gragas is a fat man with way too many escapes. Honestly, when you're playing this hero, dying should be a non-issue for you unless you're facing a solo lane with two ranged attackers, and a turret diving Warwick. Deaths do happen, but late game they do not. Getting more health will serve you better than building this item, but if you're somehow dying and want this item to ensure that you keep your 20 stack of Leviathan, this is a great choice.
Madred's Bloodrazor - Madred's Bloodrazor to pretty much anyone reading this may seem out of place in this guide. To clarify, as far as most heroes are concerned, Mejai's Soulstealer is far superior on Gragas for doing damage. One exception is on exceptionally fed tanks in Late Game. In this situation, Madred's percentage based magic damage, combined with Frozen Mallet, you can take an enemy tank completely by surprise, and easily secure a kill 1v1.
Banshee's Veil - Another alright item to get on Gragas. If you're facing a particularly large number of enemies with stuns/snares, it may be worth it to pick this up. However, the biggest reason I usually avoid this item is that it does not provide much health, and most smart opponents will pop your bubble before hitting you with a snare, therefore nullifying the main reason any Gragas would want this. If you're playing against particularly stupid enemies, this is a great choice.
Soul Shroud - This item is actually not very useful on Gragas. For one thing, your Drunken Rage should already have a 100% uptime with 9 Greater Glyphs of Celerity and Frozen Heart, so the cooldown reduction is unimportant. The mana regen doesn't matter because you'll be getting plenty of mana from Drunken Rage. Additionally, with Utility Mastery you should be focused on grabbing the Golem buff whenever possible to become an infinite mana machine. However, if you want to change out your glyphs, and need to sacrifice the buff to another teammate, this might be a viable option to approach 100% uptime with Drunken Rage.
Aegis of the Legion - A pretty terrible item. Most of the bonuses here are negligible with Drunken Rage. Don't pick this up unless you're really hard pressed for some Magic Resist, and by that token, Banshee's Veil or Force of Nature are far superior.
Rod of Ages - This item is actually pretty nice even with a tank build, as AP scales well with all of Gragas' abilities. This also provides a good chunk of health and mana, and is viable as an item choice when you want a little extra kick to get the job done but don't want to sacrifice health.
Mejai's Soulstealer - Once you get 20 stacks of Leviathan, this is actually one of the best items to consider. At 20 stacks, your Barrel Roll will be pretty potent, and Late game when your DPS has a good build, picking up stacks is simple. The cooldown reduction at 20 stacks is also significant, and will give you an overall boost in effectiveness. This is easily the best item to get if you want a slot dedicated to boosting your damage.
Usually, I start the game with Boots of Speed and 2 Health Potions. As a tank, Gragas is not suitable for the middle lane, and if possible, should lane with one of the heroes listed in the Hero Synergy section, though he is compatible with nearly any hero. Just be sure to play to your partner's strengths.
*Note* - If you're going to be solo laning, pick up Regrowth Pendant, and then go for boots. This will make it much easier to stay in the lane without having to return for consumables. Play very cautiously, especially if you're in a lane with characters that have a stun or snare. Be sure to use Body Slam liberally on minions before they reach the turret. If you allow them to stack up too heavily, you'll be overrun and could lose the turret or be killed.
Check your laning partner's Summoner Spells. If they have Exhaust, get Drunken Rage first. If they don't, get Body Slam. Unless you're taking on two high HP characters in your lane, you should be able to get first blood relatively easily. If you're doing well on HP, push them to the turret to reduce the amount of gold they receive. If you need to recall, have your partner move back, to avoid being ganked from mid.
In Early game, especially if you got first blood, your Body Slam can catch the enemy by surprise and be quite intimidating. Use it to hinder the enemy getting last hits on minions by Slamming into the minions nearby and getting a hit in on them. They'll usually turn and run away instead of getting some easy gold.
By level 6-8, you should have finished your boots, and from there it's up to you to assess how you want to progress with your item build. If you're doing well, and your team is getting a lot of kills in your lane, pick up Leviathan. If you're doing alright but being forced to back off frequently, begin building Warmog's Armor. Leviathan is relatively cheap and your team should be getting more reliable kills a little later on so don't feel like you have to build it first.
*Note* - Don't neglect your consumables! Sight Ward Sight Wards and Oracle's Elixir are great on Gragas if you're facing a jungler or a stealth champion. Getting these items early on won't hurt your wallet too badly and can actually secure you some kills if the enemy gets careless.
By level 12-14, Warmog's Armor and Leviathan should be finished, and from this point it depends on your enemy team's composition in how you progress. If they're magic heavy, get Force of Nature. If they're melee heavy, get Frozen Heart. At this point your main focus should be reaching 20 stacks of Leviathan. If you don't have 20 stacks late game you could be in trouble if the enemy team focuses you, especially if you went with Force of Nature and don't have a 100% uptime on Drunken Rage.
*Note* - Remember to get buffs. The Golem buff is great before you build Frozen Heart, and the Lizard buff is great before you get Frozen Mallet. Keep in mind that you are a support character, and if your main DPS needs a buff, you should let them have it.
At level 17-18, you should be wrapping up whichever fourth item slot you chose, and should work on building the alternate, so if you chose Force of Nature, build Frozen Heart, or vice versa. The one exception is if the enemy team is all melee or all magic damage. In that case, skip the appropriate item and go for Frozen Mallet and one of the alternate items listed, or build another Warmog's Armor.
At level 18 with 5/6 items, you should be able to take anything on. You should have 20 stacks of Leviathan, and you'll be incredibly hard to stop. You'll seldom be in a game that lasts long enough to build Frozen Mallet with this build, but it is a great item choice for your last slot, especially if your teams are evenly matched and you're trying to secure the game winning ace. Once you get 6/6, remember to get potion buffs whenever you can afford it, and make use of your Explosive Cask to separate and annihilate targets with a low health pool.
This guide was written by Krautwurst. If you want to use it on another site, you don't need permission, it's a silly League of Legends guide not my autobiography! If you give credit where credit is due, I'd appreciate it, but then again, I don't really care if you don't. If you have any questions or comments feel free to post in the comments section and I will review any legitimate suggestions. If you do have criticism, please make it constructive, and I'll change the guide if I feel it's warranted.
I hope you enjoyed this guide. Good luck and have fun!