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Graves Build Guide by Hoodstomp

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Hoodstomp


Hoodstomp Last updated on January 3, 2014
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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

Legendary Guardian

Defense: 9


Utility: 0

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Hello everyone, my name is Hoodstomp. I am an ex-professional league of legends player, and currently a top amateur/high elo solo queue player! I typically play AD carry, and this is the role I am most knowledgeable in! I currently have one account in Diamond 1, and a couple smurfs spread around, mostly in Diamond Elo!

Figured I would do my first guide on Graves, mostly because this is the champion I am known for! Also be sure to follow me on twitter @Hoodstomplol

Lets talk about him.

Graves is an extremely strong AD carry. He is strong throughout every point of the game. He not only brings the typical sustained damage that AD carries do, but he also has HUGE burst potential. He is very mobile with his E and can turn the tides of a fight and cause mass confusion for the enemy with good use of his W. He's definitely fallen out of favor in s3 compared to what he could do in s2, however with this guide hopefully more people will want to play him! The power of this champion in the right hands can be truly overwhelming for the enemy team.

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Pros / Cons

Every champion has some things they are good at, and some things they are bad at.. Well, ALMOST every champion.


- Extremely strong laning phase.
- Gigantic AoE burst as an ADC
- The tankiest traditional ADC
- Has an escape, and steroid
- Great at farming and split-pushing, buckshot does wonders
- He is manly


- Very low attack range (525)
- One of the slowest base attack speeds of an ADC
- Can fall off lategame, compared to other hypercarries
- He isn't black

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Greater Mark of Attack Damage

Greater Mark of Attack Speed

Greater Glyph of Magic Resist

Greater Glyph of Mana Regeneration

Greater Glyph of Attack Speed

Greater Seal of Armor

Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage

Greater Quintessence of Life Steal

I take all AD for my marks except for one attack speed mark (some people like to use 1 crit instead, I don't like rng) , this is very standard for ADCs. It helps you last hit in lane, and is quite important for controlling the lane and evening creep health. Also helps you push down towers (important for 2v1)

I take all armor for my seals. It is VERY important to do this, or else you will not be able to trade effectively in lane, and any AD assassins (which we see a lot of now) will completely destroy you without these.

This is where my runes start to get a little different! I take 5 flat mr glyphs which is completely standard, and I also take 2 scaling mana regen glyphs. I don't find MR to be the most important start for an ADC, you should be able to position well enough to avoid mages in teamfights. The mana regen helps A LOT for graves, as he is constantly spamming his q in lane. Recently, I have also started taking 2 attack speed glyphs on Graves, because he probably has the slowest atk speed of any ADC, it's just about comfort really.

For quints you wanna take 2 lifesteal quints, and 1 flat ad quint. This lets you last hit under tower fine, and still have a good amount of sustain in lane. Lifesteal quints are pretty much mandatory nowadays, because in s3 they nerfed vamp scepter price and removed the vampirism mastery. Some people prefer 6% lifesteal.. 4% just feels better to me, all preference in the end!

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So, for masteries I choose to go 21-6-3. A lot of people ask me why I don't just go 21-0-9 or 21-9-0. The reason is.. mana regen is a stat that cannot be passed up on Graves. At the same time though, scaling HP is great for pretty much any champion in the game, and the little extra mr/armor is always nice. I also choose to take butcher instead of havoc in offense, I never really like havoc.. doesn't provide much of a damage increase, butcher however makes last hitting extremely easy, and controlling creep health / waves easy as well. If you find that you are always sitting at full mana in lane you can go for 21-9-0 and drop the mana regen for bonus health and some more armor, however it really depends on your playstyle!

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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

True Grit (Passive)

This is a GREAT passive for an AD carry. Usually the weak point of an AD carry is that they are very squishy. This counters that completely. It's good throughout the whole game, you should try to keep your stacks up during lane phase in case the enemy team tries to go on you. It makes graves very tanky and hard to trade with.


Very strong skill. It does a TON of damage early/midgame. Try to use your e to get inside of your enemy and then buckshot for maximum burst damage.

Smoke Screen

This is a very unique/good skill. It is devastating in trades, make sure you blind the enemy ADC when fighting in lane. It's very good to use on chokes that the enemy will be coming through. It's great to use when running away as well (place it where they will have to walk) It's also very good for defending turrets. (blind the ad carry so they can't poke)


Amazing steroid. It is probably better than any other AD steroid because lategame it can virtually have an 100% uptime. It's also useful as an escape/chasing ability. You can dash through certain small walls with it. (Dragon being a good example). Use this ability to get inside of your hero and buckshot for a ton of damage, or reposition yourself in a teamfight.

Collateral Damage

This is why he's the BURST CASTER. This is a long range nuke that does a ton of damage early/midgame. Use it on the enemy team before going in and doing your sustained damage. It's also very good for 1v1 situations especially with ignite. You can 100 to 0 other AD carries if you combo your q/ignite with it.

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So as an ADC you are going to be starting with a Doran's blade pretty much 99.9% of the time. This gives you a lot of AD for last hitting/farming in lane, and bonus health for early fights. The 5 life gain on each auto may not seem like much, but coupled with lifesteal quints it adds up and gives you a ton of sustain which is needed in the bottom lane, make sure if you are losing health you try autoing the creeps to sustain back up!

OR + 's

On your first back you usually want to pick up a BF sword if you can afford it! However, this is not always the case; sometimes you'll have to go with a vamp scepter and some pots to keep you sustained and able to farm in lane.

Around midgame is when you should start picking up your first core items if you have decent farm, or some kills. Your first big ticket item should always be bloodthirster, let me explain why! Graves has 2 skills that scale AMAZINGLY off of bonus ad, making BT the best damage item he can purchase. BT is also necessary on shorter range ADCs because you have to be IN the fights, and the sustain will help you stay alive. After you have gotten your BT there are a couple routes you can take next.. either you can go shiv or pd, or you can go zeal into last whisper.

OR OR / ?

I'm going to explain when you should go for either PD/shiv or zeal into LW. If you are ahead, and doing pretty well the attack speed/crit usually benefits you more than armor penetration because those stats can snowball you pretty hard when you are already doing well. It honestly doesn't matter if you get PD or Shiv there is very LITTLE difference, it's pretty much all preference. I usually get shiv though! (if you want to be like me!) If the game is pretty even, or you aren't doing too hot you probably want to get a LW asap after your bt/zeal. This will make you useful in teamfight, even if you are behind. This way, even if you aren't fed and slaughtering everyone.. you have enough armor pen to make your q and r nukes do significant damage in teamfights. After you finish BT/LW/PD or Shiv you pretty much have completed your core, these 3 items give you the most damage for Graves. You can either choose to go defensive or offensive after this depending on the game and the enemy team comp.

Offensive Lategame Items:

This gives you the most damage out of any item as an adc in the lategame.

Defensive lategame items

This item is GREAT against dual AP comps, or even a single AP nuker that wants to single you out.

Great if you feel like you are the biggest threat on your team, and want to stay alive at all costs.

Not many people realize a second bloodthirster can be a great defensive item, depending on what you are playing against the additional lifesteal can keep you alive against a lot of bruisers (bork can be substituted)


I get asked this a lot - so i'm just going to add it in here as well. Some people like to rush bork on Graves. I'm not a fan of this at all, he doesn't scale very well off of attack speed because he already has an attack speed steroid, so a lot of the bork stats go to waste. I think BT first is better in pretty much every situation.

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My favorite Graves lanes are: Soraka Graves, Sona Graves, Taric Graves, and Janna Graves. These are all very strong lanes. Generally, you won't have a problem beating or at least going even with the enemy.

Caitlyn is another champion that is a bit tricky for Graves to play against in lane. She can poke/zone you when you aren't even in range to hit her. Her damage isn't very high, but it wears on you. If you are going up against Caitlyn, you really need a sustain support like Soraka/Sona/Alistar or else she will poke you down, making you likely lose out on cs/exp. Try to dodge her Piltover Peacemaker and avoid stepping on her Yordle Snap Traps. Once you are higher than level 6 and have some sustain, you can start winning this lane and easily all in her with a Buckshot and Collateral Damage combo with auto attacks in between.

Graves has a pretty big advantage in this matchup. Ezreal can not win a straight up trade against Graves, so the only option he has is to try and poke using Mystic Shot. As long as you stand behind creeps, he cannot do this. In this matchup, I usually try to bully Ez and push him into tower. When you Buckshot the wave, try to do it when Ezreal is CSing, so that he takes damage while you are pushing the wave as well. If he ever wastes Arcane Shift, make sure to punish him for it.

Graves actually does surprisingly well against Varus, considering Varus is known as a lane dominating ADC. It can go either way because this lane is basically a skill matchup. Graves definitely has the advantage if an all-in happens, if you manage get in Varus's face there is no way that he will beat you. You do have to be careful about getting poked down in this lane so don't be afraid to trade with him. If he gets autos on you, he is going to follow it up with a Hail of Arrows to proc his Blighted Quiver stacks. Instead of running away and taking free damage, you should man up and Quickdraw into his face (obviously don't tank a million minions). If you land a close range Buckshot, you will definitely win the trade.

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Laning Phase

The way you want to play Graves in lane is as a bully, and a pusher. You want to continuously shove your opponent into the turret (this is easy with your buckshot) and pressure them while they try to CS. It is extremely easy for Graves to shove the lane and harass at the same time, you want to time your buckshot when the enemy AD is going for a CS this way it hits them and the creep wave, which pushes the lane and does damage to your enemy. You can also choose to freeze the lane if you want if you are against a weaker AD, and zone them/force trades all day. If someone misses a skill shot, or uses a key ability (taric stun) don't be afraid to e in and get good damage on them. You are an extremely potent brawler in lane, your passive true grit makes it very difficult to trade with you. Once you are 6, your kill potential goes up massively. You can look to "wombo combo" people especially if you are laning with someone who has hard CC like taric/sona. Your q-r combo will pretty much kill any other ad, or at the least force them out of lane. Once you have your BT your damage skyrockets in lane, and your pushing power is great. Look to push out the lane, and shove your opponents out. This makes it easy for your team to pressure objectives like dragon, and mid turret.

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Team Fights

Teamfights are situational with Graves, sometimes you want to get up close and personal so you can unload your burst on people. However most of the time you will be playing like a traditional AD carry, try to kite back and hit what you can while staying in a good position. You can still use your ultimate to do massive damage to all of the squishies. However, do not tunnel vision and get too close to the enemies by trying to focus the wrong person. Remember as an AD carry it is also your job to shred the tanks, there is nothing wrong with hitting them as long as you are properly positioning yourself. Hit what you can, and stay alive. Try to utilize your utility in smokescreen on the enemy bruisers and in choke points where enemies will be running through. This skill can be devastating and completely put someone out of the fight for a period of time.