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Graves Build Guide by JP-117

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League of Legends Build Guide Author JP-117

Graves - "Destiny" will bring you down

JP-117 Last updated on June 27, 2012
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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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Graves - "Destiny" will bring you down

Welcome everybody to my first In-depth guide, featuring Graves!

Graves is my main AD carry, I have played a lot of games with him, and I have a lot of fun in all of them. I learned a few things along the way and I hope I can teach you some of them.

This guide is aimed at playing in bot lane, with a support. A lot of supports go well with Graves, but I feel supports with CC like a stun are really good in helping you secure early kills.

Please down-vote only if you think I'm saying something completely out of context or wrong, if you don't agree with a part of my guide, please voice it in the comments.

If you do agree, feel free to up-vote it. If you do, I will be incredibly grateful and give you all a virtual cookie (they're AMAZING).


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Who is Graves?

Graves is an outlaw that looks a bit like someone out of a Western. He has a shotgun called "Destiny", and he has a grudge against Twisted Fate. But I'll let the lore explain it for me:

Malcolm Graves was born in the back of a Bilgewater tavern and left there with a bottle of spiked milk. He survived a childhood in the pirate-run slums using every dirty trick in the book. Intent on building a new life for himself, he stowed away on the first ship to the mainland he could sneak aboard. However, the grim realities of the world forced him to eke out an unsavory living in the underground of various city-states, jumping the border whenever things got too hot. At a particularly high-stakes game of cards, he found himself seated opposite Twisted Fate. They both flipped four aces on the final hand. It was the first time either conman had met his equal. The two formed an alliance, swindling marks at the tables and scrapping back-to-back in the alleys afterward. Together, they ran the streets – stacking chips, decks, and rap sheets.

Unfortunately Graves made the mistake of hustling a hefty sum from Dr. Aregor Priggs, a high-ranking Zaunite official and businessman. When Priggs discovered how he’d been played, he became obsessed with revenge. He learned about Twisted Fate’s all-consuming desire to control magic and he promptly offered him a trade: serve Graves up in exchange for enrollment in a procedure which would grant his wish. Twisted Fate took the deal – both he and Graves knew the stakes of their arrangement, but the offer was too good. Once acquired, Priggs had Graves taken to a special location built to hold men whose crimes – or more precisely their punishments – were meant to stay off the books. Graves endured years of captivity at the hands of Zaun’s most unscrupulous wardens before he managed to escape. One of his fellow detainees introduced him to an eccentric gunsmith who modified a shotgun exactly to his specifications. He named it “Destiny.” After he paid a visit to Priggs, Graves joined the League of Legends with two targets in his sights: Twisted Fate and payback.

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Pros / Cons: What to expect from Graves


    . High damage output at close range
    . Reduces damage by auto attacking (allows you to get "up-close and personal"
    . AS steroid AND gap closer that gets one less second of CD each second you remain in combat
    . Slow and vision debuff
    . Cleans up after a fight with his ultimate
    . Close range helps with farming
    . He's badass (no seriously, look at him!)

    . Needs to get close to deal the most damage
    . CC takes him down HARD
    . Has no hard CC, so you need a bit of support
    . If you use your abilities to much you'll run out of mana a bit fast
    . Skillshot based ulti (new players might have trouble)
    . Has short range (MAIN WEAKNESS!!), so he can be harassed by a long ranged champion
    . His skins could be a bit better.

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Common AD carry setup, I use armor pen marks and flat ad quints. Why, JP? Because the AD helps with last hitting, and the armor pen helps with harassing. I prefer to use this mix rather than use only one of them.


Greater Mark of Lethality

Greater Seal of Armor

Greater Glyph of Magic Resist

Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage

Armor Penetration Marks
They help with the harass, and you'll counter any armor the enemy ad carry might have from runes.

Flat Armor Seals
To reduce harassment damage from the enemy ad carry.

Flat Magic Resist Glyphs
To reduce any possible magic damage harassment from supports or even some abilities from the AD Carry.

Flat AD Quintessences
To make last hitting easier and to increase your auto-attack POWAH!

This setup is aimed at giving a pretty solid early game, to help you farm more easily and get some early kills that are incredibly useful for an AD carry.

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Also a common AD carry setup, with AD, AS, Life Steal, Armor Pen, Armor, much like the runes. The main thing I want to talk about here is that I usually take heal on Graves (it's a preference, really), so I put a point in Summoner's Resolve for the bonus healing. I don't take one point in magic resist because I don't think it will affect much, but if I'm taking Ignite or Exhaust, I won't take the point in Summoner's Resolve, and so it will go to MR. Also, if I take Ignite or Exhaust, the point I put in Butcher will go to Summoner's Wrath.

Again, it's a preference.

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Summoner Spells

As I stated above, my preference is to take Flash and Heal. Why?
Good you should ask.

This is a life-saver. I have escaped fights I could not win, or I've positioned myself better, or even dodged skills with this spell enough times to fall in love with it. You will often see 10 players running Flash, so no surprises here.

Another life-saving spell. A Heal at the right moment in a teamfight, or a bait with heal afterwards to reel in a kill can change the tides of the game for you. Yes, I know Heal has been nerfed, but I still like it. I do not take it whenever I fully trust my support (premade) or if it's a support with very good heals (Soraka, foe example)


This spell is also very useful on an AD carry, because not only will it reduce the healing their support might do, it'll deal damage over time that can secure kills that might have gotten away. Or maybe simply to burst down the enemy. If you want to take it, make sure you take Summoner's Wrath instead of Resolve.

Amazing spell to win duels. Reduces the target's Damage Output, Movement Speed, and with Summoner's Wrath, Armor and MR. Everything you need to shut down their carry pretty fast.

If you play an AD carry you know that the enemy team has the annoying habbit of trying to kill you first. To accomplish this, they'll run into your team and try to apply some CC on you, the damage dealer. Deny them that and punish them for running into your team with Cleanse. Also very useful against Champions like Alistar or Blitzcrank, who can Support and CC you until you're crying in a corner (if you aren't careful, that is). But of course, you could just get a Quicksilver Sash

If you prefer it over flash, you can take it. But you'll have already insane movement speed with this build, so I don't really use it much. Plus, without flash, you won't be able to Flash over walls, which is something really useful in the jungle.

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Graves has a pretty good toolkit for an AD carry. He also deals a lot of damage with his Buckshot. I'm going to explain you his skills right now:

True Grit

This passive is what makes you a man! It's what makes you a pretty cool guy who shoots champions and doesn't afraid of anything! Ok, seriously now, it is a pretty good passive. You get bonus armor for each attack (it stacks up to 10), and it lasts while you remain in combat. Of course, your priority is to last-hit, not stack this at all costs. But if you think you'll get in a fight soon, or you want to attack them, stack this for a bit.


This skill sends out three bullets in a cone. If you fire this close to an enemy champion, not only will it be hard to miss, all three bullets will hit. That's how you get the most damage out of it. You can use it to check bushes, to push minion waves, or to harass from long range if you think you'll take a lot of damage if you get close. It has a nice cooldown (you're not supposed to spam it), mana cost, and the scaling is pretty good too. Basically, this is your main damage output at early levels, and a very reliable one later on. I max it first to get more damage out of it.

Smoke Screen

This is a nice skill. You can use it to escape (just throw it where they will go through), or to chase (throw it a bit ahead of where they're going to). It slows any champion in it and it removes visibility. The last part is sometimes underestimated. You can make them not see you coming in to shoot them in the face, you can make them not being able to target an ally with an ability, and my favorite: You can deny Nocturne his ulti by using it on him while he's activated his ulti, but not jumped yet. This way, he won't be able to jump, and you get to hear Graves's hidden taunt. Sweet. Since I mainly use it as utility, I max it last.
Tip: You can farm a minion wave quickly by using Buckshot and this right after.


This is your gap closer, and your steroid. You can use this to push turrets faster, kill someone faster, catch up to someone, move through small walls, re-position yourself in a teamfight, get close to someone to shoot him with Buckshot. The possibilities are amazing. Get creative. To get the most out of it's AS buff, I max it second.

Collateral Damage


Your finisher move. Or your initiator. I'd rather use it as a finisher though. Anyway, it's a skillshot that deals damage on hit and in an explosion after it hits a champion or gets to the end of range. It has pretty long range, and the scaling of ad on this is great. Feel free to play "FINISH HIM" before you use this on someone running from you with low health for extra internetz and lulz.

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Items and according Game Phases

Early Game: Doran's Blade, Berserker's Greaves, B.F. Sword
Doran's Blade: I start with Doran's Blade most of the time. It gives you AD, health that you really can use due to your short range, a bit of Life Steal, and it's a cheap item. You can stack them later on to ease your farming, but if you last-hit well, you won't need to. Try to stay in lane until you get around 2000 gold, so you can get Boots and B.F. Sword.

Boots of Speed+3 Health Potions: If you have a lane based on skillshots, like Ezreal, or if you need to dodge a few skills thrown at you. The pots add some sustain to help you stay in lane until you get enough gold for your early game items.

TIP:If you need the sustain, instead of IE you can get a BT to get some more life steal and bonus AD if you farm it well. If you're getting killed by their ad carry faster than you can kill them, get this and zeal.

Mid Game: By now, you have decent attack speed, you may have already finished Infinity Edge and started a Zeal, and you should have taken their tower (if things are going well). Now, you should focus on getting some attack and movement speed from Zeal (to get to where you're needed faster and a Vampiric Scepter to add some sustain to that AS. Farm your lane whenever you get a break from helping other lanes, and you should be able to have your Phantom Dancer and another B.F. Sword by the start of late game.

Late Game: If you do well, you can get kills from wandering champions, champions out of position and teamfights. Finish your items, get Guardian Angel to avoid getting killed by the enemy bruiser going for you, sell your Doran's Blade for Last Whisper or The Black Cleaver, depending on the amount of armor the enemy team has, if they have a lot of armor, get Last Whisper, if they don't have much, get The Black Cleaver, and finally, you can sell your boots for another Phantom Dancer if you have extra gold and want to crit everyone to death.

Instead of Guardian Angel, if you're doing a good job in team fights or even small fights and not getting hit a lot, feel free to get a Frozen Mallet instead. In the Late game, more survivability doesn't hurt, and since you already have a pretty good amount of AD and Attack Speed (you can use your Quickdraw in fights so you don't need to buy as much Attack Speed as in other AD carries without this steroid, like Ashe), this is a solid choice. It also gives you more AD (which is always welcome) and a Slow that you can put to good use, whether it is to catch up to a fleeing enemy, or to weaken key members of the enemy team in a team fight, it's up to you and the situation you're facing.

Quicksilver Sash: If the enemy team is bringing a lot of hard CC into the fight, and if their AP carry is farmed up or fed, this helps a lot. 56 MR and a Cleanse. It's a bit situational, but useful nonetheless.

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I can't stress this enough, farming is the most important thing in the laning phase for an AD Carry. If you're at a low level, you might think only kills give a lot of gold. This has been proven wrong so many times. Knowing this, practice your last-hits until you can get almost every minion kill in a minion wave. Know the amount of health your auto-attack takes away from a minion, and get a good support to give you the farm. If you're learning, try to set a goal each game: Have 100 cs at 20:00 (it's low, trust me), then, as you improve, try 150 at 20:00, and finally, 200 at 20:00 (that's very, very good).

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Lane Opponents


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Team Fights

In Team Fights, stay behind your team, mainly your Tank, and let them initiate. Remember this: your job as an AD carry is to stay alive and deal damage. You should attack champions in range. Throw your Smokescreen from a safe position so that it slows and reduces the vision of the enemy team, use your Buckshot, and make sure you get all the damage out of it. Pop your Quickdraw right before you start auto attacking and use it to re-position yourself, maybe to get behind the Tank and attack from there.
Also, keep in mind that your job isn't to go through their team for their AD carry, that would get you killed in a second. You need to stay safe and deal damage from there, even if it means attacking a Tank. Of course, if the opportunity does present itself, if their carries are out of position, then remember, this should be the priority:

1. AD carry
2. AP carry
3. Offtank/Bruiser/Jungler/whatevertheheckyouwanttocallthem
4. Support
5. Tank

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25/06/2012- Guide released!

    .Corrected some spelling mistakes
    .Added some info
    .Added more chapters.
26/06/2012- Finally learned BBCoding. USE ALL THE CODES!!!
27/06/2012- Wow, 1000 views. I wasn't expecting it so fast. Thanks guys!

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Ending and Special Thanks

And there you have it! This was my guide to playing Graves. I hope I could teach you something, and that you can learn how to use Graves at his best.

Special Thanks to:
Robo Ninja Monky for sharing and allowing me to use some of his knowledge.
jhoijhoi for her fantastic guide to making guides!
This guide is still in construction, I'll update some information and get some icons and make a template and banners of my own to just give this a better look.
Thanks for the first feedback, as I said, I'm still learning how to use the coding, so expect a visual change in the next few weeks. I will also finish these chapters, as I want to test some of these things. Thank you :)