Graves Build Guide by T1NF01L
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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.
This is my personal Graves build and it seems to work well for me. This build focuses on early game durability as well as a decent early game damage output. Grave is a very versatile champion and I've seen him used in a variety of ways extending from ranged DPS, ranged support, and offtank. Graves can perform well in lanes with partners or solo lanes, I use this build for either solo top lane (if there's a jungle) or mid. Graves' skills allow him good mobility and decent escapes. With Quick Draw Graves can dash through thin tree lines or over small ledges and into the jungle for an escape, as always Flash does work as well. The Smokescreen skill can be used in various ways, paired up with Quick Draw it allows a nice escape or a block from incomming ganks from jungle or other lane champions. It also serves good for a distance closer as the speed reduction allows you to get closer with Quick Draw. His ult is great for last hitting champions as they run through their turret while using Quick Draw to get out of the turret range if you happen to dive. I prefer Graves as a mid champion with a fair amount of defense and AD he can hold mid for a long time granted you don't get overrun by other champions which does happen quite often.
Runes and Masteries / Summoner Spells
The summoner spells I like to use are Flash and Ignite, both of these are kinda no brainers but you can use whatever spells you like generally. I use Flash for the nice escape or distance closer again working well with Quick Draw or Smokescreen. I use Ignite because lets be honest, when is Ignite ever a bad idea?
The runes I use also focus on early game damage and durability. These should be fairly straight forward and self explanatory.
I use the typical offense masteries with Graves expect using 22 in Offense. Again I believe durability to be nice on Graves so i take 8 into Defense and the dodge helps survive early game as well.
Early Game - Mid Game
I like to start with the Doran's Shield since it helps Graves survive early combat. The health bonus is the best you can get from early game items plus the armor helps his passive True Grit really shine in 1v1, the health regen is really a no brainer it allows you to stay in lane and farm gold. Try to avoid being too close to the enemy champion and mainly focus on farming with Buck Shot. Graves' Buck Shot does great early game burst damage and has excellent crowd control. If the champion is too close to the minions you can constantly harass and poke the champion. Around level 3 it's a good idea to dash around minions or slightly closer to the enemy champion in order to poke with increased damage. I around level 7 or 8 you should have enough gold to grab the Berserker's Greaves, I recommend getting these boots because with all Ranged AD champions extra attack speed is always nice. If possible also start working towards the Wriggle's Lantern either by getting the Vampiric Scepter or the Madred's Razors, this part is really your preference and what you would prefer to buy first. I use the Wriggle's instead of the Blood Thirster simply because it gives damage and defense as well as a good chance to to do a large amount of damage to minions or champions making dragon simple to run down and help kill quickly. As always focus a lot on farming and harassing enemy champions, If you have destroyed the enemy turret or pushed the mid champion back to their base help gank the other lanes for more gold and experience as well as ultimately pushing the champions back and securing feed for you and your team.
Graves is very valuable in team fights as his range and damage can really turn most fights around. Try to stay behind champions if in a lane or behind tree lines if in the jungle. This makes Graves able to do good damage in safer areas. Always focus on downing the squishier champions in every team fight and if you can cut off champions arriving late to the fight and down them quickly in a 1v1 then that is also a good move to make. Use your Smokescreen to help your teammates gain the upper hand and initiate a fight with a good start. Quick Draw is useful to use, if you dash side to side in team fights without going to close to the enemies you can easily pick off squishy champions with quick and painful pokes.
The items can be played with and changed around this build just seems to work for me very well. I choose the items in this build in order to give Graves a good harass and good survivability.
Doran's Shield: As explained above this game allows you to stay in your lane longer and makes Graves a more difficult opponent for enemy champions early game.
Berserker's Greaves: Gives you a good amount of early attack speed allowing your early harasses to be more effective.
Wriggle's Lantern: Gives AD as well as Def again making Graves able to deal and sustain more damage. The life steal allows you to heal up while not wasting potions or running to base leaving your lane defenseless.
Black Cleaver: This allows you to harass nicely making you attacks stronger and faster by a decent amount. The 15% reduced armor is very nice for Graves making you able to deal more damage to any champion coming you way. (total of 45% reduced armor after 3 stacks)
Phantom Dancer: The attack speed, crit chance, and movement speed is too good to overlook for Graves making this a must have item.
Frozen Mallet: 700 health, 20 attack damage. This makes Graves a lot more durable while still providing him with damage. The PASSIVE slow is very useful in team fights slowing down opponents and making it easier for your team to catch up and kill.
Last Whisper: 40 AD and 40% armor penetration, there's really no reason to not have this. this along with your Black Cleaver makes tanks almost as squishy as a caster.
Optional Items: As I stated this build is not flawless and is meant to be toyed with. So some items may work better in certain situations, other items I like with Graves include.
Blood Thirster: The AD and Lifesteal on this weapon are nice and the passive gains to both (40 AD, and 15% lifesteal) are also very useful in certain situations.
Infinity Edge: The 80 AD and 250% crits are really nice if the opponent team is squishy and there's no need for armor pen.
I'm going to be updating and adding more to this build as patches and nerfs come out for Graves, but this build works great for me. I'm never finishing a game with negative stats and always dominating early lane. I am open to suggestions on changes to this build or item sequence and as always comments are appreciated. If you take the time to read the build please take the time to comment with your thoughts :D. I do like criticism as that's the only real way to find flaws in anything but let's please at least stay nice about it too. And don't forget to vote.
Good luck and have fun with Graves.
Pros / Cons
Early lane dominance
Easy farming capabilities
High early burst damage and late damage output
Very squishy in situations
Can't always escape
Easy to kill late game alone