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Graves Build Guide by Chriskros

Graves - Shotgun you to dead!

Graves - Shotgun you to dead!

Updated on February 6, 2012
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League of Legends Build Guide Author Chriskros Build Guide By Chriskros 633 72 3,270,194 Views 186 Comments
633 72 3,270,194 Views 186 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author Chriskros Graves Build Guide By Chriskros Updated on February 6, 2012
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Hello there!
This is my first guide and it's about my favorite champion, Graves. Try out the built and vote! Graves has been my favorite champion since I saw the patch preview; Finally a male ranged DPS with an awesome shotgun, who don't want to play that champion!

If you do not agree with the items, masteries or runes, look further in this guide to see why and comment why you think I am wrong.

So I present you my guide for GRAVES, THE OUTLAW!

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Pros / Cons


  • Good burst damage
  • Good passive to stay in lane
  • Ranged AD
  • Good farmer
  • Escape dash: Quickdraw


  • Get focused a lot
  • Harshly any CC
  • Item dependent
  • Rather slow
  • Slow Attack speed
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Summoner Spells

Recommended Summoner Spells

  • Flash: Flash can get you out of trouble and can also be used to close the gab between you and and your enemy. I always pick this spell.
  • Exhaust: I regularly take this, it's good to reduce the damage output of an enemy and slow him. (e.g. Tryndamere, so you can reduce the damage output of him when his ult Undying Rage is up). Another use is to escape or to make sure your enemy don't escape.
  • Ignite: Ignite is awesome for first blood and even further in the game. If your opponents do get away with barely any hp left, definitely take this.

Optional Summoner Spells

  • Teleport: This helps u to get in lane faster after you recalled to buy items, or to help a lane in trouble. This has many uses, but I like Exhaust/Flash much more than Teleport.
  • Ghost: Awesome for chasing but that's pretty much it. If you consider this to run away from sticky situations, then absolutely don't pick this when the enemy team has a lot of slows. I would never take Ghost on Graves because of his Quickdraw.
  • Cleanse: Since the buff cleanse is more viable against a CC-team. If you have to lane against a Taric or anyone with a stun/snare. Consider taking this.
    NOTE: Cleanse doesn't work against:
    1. Skarner's ult Impale which pulls you away
    2. Warwick's ult Infinite Duress which suppress you
    3. Malzahar's ult Nether Grasp which also suppress you
    At the moment, I don't know if you can Cleanse Urgot's ult Hyper-Kinetic Position Reverse but I think you can't.
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New masteries! I don't think they are better than the older ones, though you have more combinations..

Anyway, you can chose between mana or health. If you chose for mana, you would rather want the mastery setup 21-0-9 and for health, you would go for 21-9-0.

They both have the same Offence tree.


I believe this is the best offense tree for an ad carry. The extra AD, Lifesteal, Crit and Armor Penetration are welcome. You deal barely any magic damage, so don't put any points in AP, Magic Penetration and so on.

So we start by putting 3 points in Brute Force and 1 in Summoner's Wrath if u take Exhaust or Ghost. Otherwise it's better to put a point in Butcher . It's all pretty obvious now..


We put 4 points in Resistance and Hardiness . You put 3 points in Resistance if the enemy is more AP based, or you put 3 points in Hardiness whether the enemy team is more AD. 2-2 can work as well.

Extra health is always nice on an AD carry. Thats why, if you decide to put points in defence tree, you want to have the HP bonus.

Since Cleanse is more viable now, definitely put a point in Summoner's Resolve if you decide to take that spell.


This can vary a lot. I'll explain what is a good choice. Put a point in Summoners' Insight if you want to improve your flash with 15 seconds CDR. If you go for this kind of mastery setup, definitely max out Expanded Mind and Meditation . You also want the buff bonus Runic Shrine.
Now you have 1 free point, you can put this in Good Hands if you want to reduce the time you're dead. Another choice is to put a point in Swiftness for a little bit Movement Speed.
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Main Runes

  • 9 Greater Seal of Armor
  • 12.69 Armor (1.41 each)
  • Cost: 9 x 210 = 1890 IP
  • Armor helps you counter your squishiness early on
Greater Mark of Desolation
  • 9 Greater Mark of Desolation
  • 15 Armor Penetration (1.66 each)
  • Cost: 9 x 410 = 3690 IP
  • These are the best marks for a DPS
  • 9 Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
  • 1.35 MR / lv | 24.3 MR at lv 18 (0.15 MR / lv each)
  • Cost: 9 x 210 = 1890 IP
  • As casters start to deal more damage, you want to keep your MR as high as possible
Greater Quintessence of Desolation
  • 3 Greater Quintessence of Desolation
  • 10 Armor Penetration (3.33 each)
  • Cost: 3 x 1025 = 3075 IP
  • Same as for the marks, a must have for a DPS
These are the main runes I play with. With this, you have 25 Armor Penetration, 1.35 Magic Resistance per level and 12.69 Armor and a total cost of 10.545 IP.

Optional Runes

You can't change the Greater Mark of Desolation and Greater Quintessence of Desolation because you really need them as AD carry. Though, you can change the other two, or at least one. If you use a lot of combo's, consider using Greater Seal of Scaling Mana Regeneration and/or Greater Glyph of Scaling Mana Regeneration. They both give a nice mana regen at lv 18. You can switch them out with Armor/Magic Resistance depending which you want to use. I also added the Greater Glyph of Scaling Cooldown Reduction, in some cases, you just need that Cooldown Reduction.
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Skill Explanation

True Grit: Graves gains increasing armor and magic resistance the longer he remains in combat.
This is Grave's passive. At the moment, it gives a bonus of 1 at lv 1, 2 at lv 6, 3 at lv 11. This can stack up 10 times. This passive is not really useful for a DPS, but it's not a bad passive, it helps you to stay in lane longer and taking less damage at the end of the game, max 30 armor and magic resistance, who don't want that!

Buckshot (Q):Graves shoots three bullets in a cone, each dealing 60/105/150/195/240 (+) physical damage to all enemies in their path. Enemies hit with multiple bullets take 30% damage from each additional bullet.
This is your main damage output if you're not auto-attacking. Use this to push your lane and/or to harass your enemy so he can't farm without taking damage.

Smoke Screen (W): Graves fires a smoke canister dealing 60/110/160/210/260 (+0.6) magic damage on impact and creating a smoke cloud at the location that lasts 5 seconds. Enemies inside the cloud have their sight radius reduced and are slowed by 15/20/25/30/35% while they remain in the cloud.
This skill has so many uses and is the only CC you have:
  • Harassing your enemy
  • Slowing your enemy and taking his sight radius away for a few seconds when he's escaping
  • Lasthitting minions! Yes, if there are some minions with very low HP, it can be smart to cast this
  • Smoking bushes so you have an option to escape

Quickdraw (E): Graves dashes forward gaining 40/50/60/70/80% increased Attack Speed for 4 seconds. Each of his basic attacks lowers the cooldown of Quickdraw by 1 second.
Just like Smoke Screen, you can use this for many purposes:
  • Speed up your attack speed when attacking a turret for example
  • Close the distance between you and the enemy when you're chasing
  • Get away when they are chasing you
  • You can get through SOME walls.

Collateral Damage (R):Graves fires off an explosive shell dealing 250/375/500 (+1.4) physical damage to the first enemy champion hit. After hitting a champion or reaching the end of its range, Collateral Damage deals 140/275/400 (+1.2) physical damage in a cone behind the target.

This is your ultimate, dealing damage and at the end of it range or when it its a champion, it has AoE damage. The range is pretty insane with the cone. Use this to hit enemy's when they are escaping with barely any HP left. You can also use this to initiate a team fight, because everyone get damaged. Be careful when you are using this ult in close range, it might be tricky, but u can miss this very easily.
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Skill Sequence

We start by putting a point into Buckshot. This is our main damage output, so we want to max this first. At level 2, we put a point in Quickdraw and we will max this as second. This is your escape and chasing skill, it's also good for the extra attack speed you get from its active. At level 4, we put a skill point in Smoke Screen and we max this as last. We max our ult Collateral Damage at lv 6, 11 and 16.

If we put this together in a nice chart, we get this:

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

When you are fighting at your lane against an enemy champion, harass him as much as possible. Start with Buckshot followed by Quickdraw and Smoke Screen to slow him and thanks to the 1 second CDR, you can land another Buckshot . If you have enough mana, try to do this every time. You can also start by using Quickdraw to close the distance, followed by Buckshot so he takes more damage from Buckshot.

Team Fights

In teamfights, it's all about positioning. You are not a tank, nor an initiator with any CC (maybe your ult). Your main goal is to deal damage, so use Buckshot whenever it's off cooldown and when it will hit. You can use Collateral Damage to damage the whole team, or to finish off escaping enemy's like I already said.
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Start items

Personally I like to start with a Doran's Blade so you counter your squishyness early on with a bit hp. Another possibility is to start with Boots and 3 Health Potions. You can do this if you start without someone who can heal, but you'll have to base faster then. If you can't dominate your lane or your lasthitting isn't that good, consider buying another Doran's Blade. Try to farm as much as possible to get the items below as soon as possible.

Core items

These are items I get every game I play with Graves.

Berserker's Greaves: +25% Attack Speed UNIQUE Passive: Enhanced Movement 2 (does not stack with other Boots). I prefer this over Boots of Swiftness because you need that extra amount of attack speed. Buy boots whenever you need the movement speed and/or attack speed. Don't buy your boots when you have no other items!

Bloodthirster: +60 Attack Damage +15% Life Steal Passive: Gain bonus +1 Attack Damage and +0.25% Life Steal per kill. Bonuses cap at +40 Attack Damage and +10% Life Steal. Bonuses are lost upon death. This item is the first item I built, early on, thanks to your passive, you won't die much so you can definitely stack it to have a nice amount of life steal.

Zeal: +20% Attack Speed +10% Critical Strike Chance +8% Movement Speed. Thanks to this zeal, you don't need the Boots of Swiftness. It also grants you a bit attack speed and Critical Strike Chance. The extra movement speed makes this item just perfect for your early game. You can buy this before Bloodthirster, but I like to deal some damage first, instead of hitting fast.

Infinity Edge: +80 Attack Damage +25% Critical Strike Chance UNIQUE Passive: Your critical strikes now deal 250% damage instead of 200%. Infinity Edge gives a bonus critical chance and a higher critical strike. Therefore it's a must have on Graves. You can buy this item before Bloodthirster if you don't need the lifesteal yet and want to do more damage.

Phantom Dancer: +55% Attack Speed +30% Critical Strike Chance +15% Movement Speed. After you bought 1 or 2 upgraded B. F. Sword-items, it's time to upgrade that zeal and get that bonus. You now hit fast and do some damage as well.

Situational last 2 Items

Madred's Bloodrazor: +30 Attack Damage +40% Attack Speed +25 Armor UNIQUE Passive: Your basic attacks deal bonus magic damage equal to 4% of the target's maximum Health.Buy this against a tanky team or a team with a lot of HP. It grants you a bit survivability and DPS. Don't buy this against a squishy team as it will have barely any effect.

Frozen Mallet: +700 Health +20 Attack Damage UNIQUE Passive: Your basic attacks slow your target's Movement Speed by 40% for 2.5 seconds (30% for ranged attacks). This item grants you survivability, a little bit Attack Damage and a free CC, a 40% slow. Against a tanky team or a heavy burst team, you might want to pick this item as 3rd.

Black Cleaver: +55 Attack Damage +30% Attack Speed UNIQUE Passive: Your basic attacks reduce your target's Armor by 15 for 5 seconds (effect stacks up to 3 times).Against a normal team, you can buy this item. Reducing Armor together with attack speed and attack damage is a good item for a carry. Don't buy this when some of your enemy's have over 150 armor. It's better to buy a Last Whisper then.

Last Whisper: +40 Attack Damage UNIQUE Passive: +40% Armor Penetration. Use this against tanky team with a lot of armor, at least higher than 150, otherwise it's better to take Black Cleaver which also grants some more Attack Speed. Together with the 25 Armor Penetration runes, you get: (Enemy Armor - 25 From Runes) * 0,6 From Last Whisper

Bloodthirster: +60 Attack Damage +15% Life Steal Passive: Gain bonus +1 Attack Damage and +0.25% Life Steal per kill. Bonuses cap at +40 Attack Damage and +10% Life Steal. Bonuses are lost upon death. Another Bloodthirster is an awesome choice when you are doing well. This will make you almost unkillable because of the high life steal you get. 2 full Bloodthirsters grants you 200 Attack Damage and 50% Life Steal.

Guardian Angel: +68 Armor +38 Magic Resist UNIQUE Passive: Revives your champion upon death, restoring 750 Health and 375 Mana (5 minute cooldown). Now they have to kill you twice! Together with Flash you can escape and deal tons of damage after that. If you are going to buy this, buy it as last item. It also grants you much Armor and Magic Resistance.

Trinity Force: +30 Attack Damage +30 Ability Power +30% Attack Speed +15% Critical Strike Chance +12% Movement Speed +250 Health +250 Mana UNIQUE Passive: Your basic attacks have a 25% chance to slow your target's Movement Speed by 35% for 2.5 seconds. UNIQUE Passive: After using an ability, your next basic attack deals bonus physical damage equal to 150% of your base Attack Damage (2 second cooldown). Does not stack with Sheen or Lich Bane. Gives you a bit of everything, good overall item, expensive but grants you boost you can use. Extra movement speed, more survivability, a good choice for Graves.

Banshee's Veil: +375 Health +375 Mana +50 Magic Resist UNIQUE Passive: Gain a spell shield that blocks the next incoming enemy ability (45 second cooldown). This grants you more survivability, I would definately buy this if an enemy caster is dominating the game. Why choosing this over Force of Nature? FoN only gives you Magic Resistance and Health Regen, but it's better to take less Magic Resistance and more Health and Mana.

Zeke's Harbinger: +20% Attack Speed UNIQUE Aura: Grants nearby allied champions 20% Life Steal, 20% Attack Speed, and 30 Health Regen per 5 seconds. Reduces the Armor of nearby enemy champions by 20. It is always good to have an item like this in your team. Personally I wouldn't buy this, but I would go for an extra Bloodthirster or Phantom Dancer depending on what you exactly need.

Boots of Swiftness or Mercury's Treads: Although I said that you don't actually need the speed, in some situations it's better to switch it with your Berserker's Greaves. The same goes for the Mercury's Treads, when the enemy has a lot of CC (stun, silence, snare, fear, taunt, knock-up), you can switch your boots to minimize the duration of CC.
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You can play on all lanes, though you're a bit too squishy for playing at solo top, mid will be fine, it's not the best choice to have at mid, but it's definitely better than nothing. Your best position is bot lane with support. Lasthit the minions to get gold. When you are low on HP, you can base to get Boots if you started with Doran's Blade. Every time you base, buy Health Potions. I like to save up for my B. F. Sword but in some games, you just can't do that, knowing when to buy what is really important! ALWAYS look at the enemy team to see that they got a jungler.
TIP: You can use Smoke Screen to lasthit a group of minions!

Bot lane with support

You are the best when you are with support.

These are the best supports you can get on your lane. You can harass while they will heal you/shield you. You can stay longer in lane and farm till you got 2000 gold which means Boots and B.F. Sword. If the enemy team has a jungler, be careful, ask support to ward it and 9/10 times you will be fine. I do not rank the supports, it depends on how your partner play with them.

Duo lane without support

This means your team doesn’t have a jungler or no support. When you have to play like this, don’t push! Make sure that you get most of the minionkills and farm up to your B.F Sword. If you can’t do this, you can buy Vampiric Scepter first and/or follow by a Zeal. You should get enough attack speed and life steal to farm up faster to that B.F Sword.

Since you have 2 players whom do damage, you can push a bit and get kills. Quickdraw followed by Buckshot should damage them by a lot. Especially if you have a partner who can stun/snare, you deal more damage and sometimes it will result in a kill. You can also use Buckshot first to clear the minions and hitting an enemy champion, followed by Quickdraw to get closer and hit 1/2/3 more hits.

There aren’t any good champions you can lane with except support, but tank should be just fine. Get cs and win. Champions like Lux, Morgana or Orianna can be played like support and thus they won’t need much farm, so you can get the most. The most important thing is GOLD, so minionkills/championkills.

Mid lane

Before I start to talk about this, this depends on 2 facts: JUNGLER and WHO’S MID. You will probably face an AP carry mid, which is the best choice. Since you play mid, always watch out for ganks as you have no CC (except a ‘slow’),which means you can’t push. If you are having trouble with your opponent, ask for ganks, especially if they are pushing your lane. Try to lasthit minions, do not auto-attack for most of the time, but now and then an attack to keep up your passive.

If their jungler targets you fast or the AP carry at mid is just too strong for you, don’t farm until you got a B.F. Sword, but buy parts of your Core items. This would mean, you first buy your Boots and some Health Potions. Then you can buy parts for stats you think you are missing, this would be a Vampiric Scepter, Dagger, Brawler’s Glove or a Long Sword for a fast Phage.


Once the first or the second turret is down, some players start to roam and ganking other lanes. Watch out with roaming with graves, you are very squishy, so you need a partner. If I play bot, I come ganking mid some times, but for most of the time, I stay at a lane and keep farming. Once the real teamfights start, you need your items to deal damage. Lasthitting will become much easier and you can push your lane to bring down the turret. Always look at the minimap to check that it is safe for you to push. If 5 man are missing, don’t push.


This is where you shine. You now deal tons of damage in teamfights. Let someone else initiate with CC and use Quickdraw to get in range, Buckshot to give the enemy full damage of your skill and keep auto-attacking with your attack speed boost. Use your ult when they are escaping with low hp or to damage the whole team. You can also use Quickdraw to speed up with them or to get out of the fights when you’re low on hp. It’s up to you when you decide what to do. If the teamfight is over, recall or go to another lane to farm, you can always use gold. Before a teamfight start, take red or let your tank take it, but make sure you have a red buff in your team.
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30 October
Made the guide


7 November
Updated Gameplay
Edited skill changes with the patch

23 November
Updated everything with the new patch
New Masteries

02 Januari
I finally updated the guide.
New explanation for new masteries
Added Cleanse as Optional Summoner Spell
Still working on supports.
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Graves is an awesome champion, so definitely try him out. Please comment so I can change some parts of this guide. If you're downvoting, please comment.
Thanks for reading,

To Do!

  • Adding extra information about the five supports I mentioned
  • Farming, Laning
  • Need to change the Wall of text @ Gameplay

    Patch Notes

    League of Legends v1.0.0.127

    New champion: Graves

    League of Legends v1.0.0.128

    • True Grit (or True Grit
      Spaceee - Buff duration reduced to 3 seconds from 4
      Spaceee - Armor and magic resistance per stack reduced to 3 from 4 at max level
    • Buckshot damage per additional missile reduced to 30% from 35%

    League of Legends v1.0.0.129

    • General
      Spaceee - Attack range reduced to 525 from 550
      Spaceee - Base mana lowered to 295 from 342
    • Buckshot damage per additional missile reduced to 25% from 30%
    • Fixed a few small tooltip errors
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Graves - Shotgun you to dead!

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