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Graves Build Guide by Wall_of_Jerico

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This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Wall_of_Jerico

Put them in their GRAVES!

Wall_of_Jerico Last updated on April 10, 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 is one of the most fun ranged AD carries to play. With his ridiculous burst and higher survivability than most other ranged carries, he is a great champion. The key to using Graves is landing your skillshots. The best combo is Quickdraw to approach the enemy followed by Buckshot right in their face. Then, use your ultimate Collateral Damage to finish them off. If they try running (or chasing), just use Smoke Screen where they are moving towards. It can be easy to run out of mana early game if you aren't careful, so try to make your Buckshot count. As this is my first guide, please feel free to leave comments and constructive criticism.

A few games using this build:

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Pros / Cons

Ridiculous damage
Higher survivability than other ranged AD carries (with defensive item)
Has an AOE slow
Attack speed steroid
Has an escape
AOE damage abilities

Can be difficult to hit people with ultimate
Uses mana fast
Shorter range compared to other AD ranged carries
Needs lots of farming to sustain build
Vulnerable to CC

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The most effective way I have found of playing Graves is with 21/9/0. The offense tree is pretty self-explanatory. Usually, the entire left side of the offense tree is recommended. However, after Deadliness was changed, Lethality is not really worth those 5 points. To get Executioner , you need 21 points.


Offense Tree
Tier 1: Summoner's Wrath for the buff to exhaust. More useful than Butcher. And of course, Brute Force .
Tier 2: Alacrity for the attack speed. Sorcery is useful and it helps you get to Executioner. Demolitionist is an underused skill. It adds on 10 bonus damage to your attacks on turrets, which is great early game. Later in the game, you won't see that much of a difference.
Tier 3: Weapon Expertise is an amazing mastery. 10% armor penetration goes a long way and will help you throughout the game.
Tier 4: Vampirism is the only way to go here if you plan on getting Executioner. Besides, you can't shake your head at 3% lifesteal! Well, I guess you can, but combined with your items it adds up.
Tier 5: Sunder is great as it gives you more of the armor penetration you crave (or should be craving)!
Tier 6: Executioner , the masterpiece of the offense tree. Can get you the kill when you otherwise would have missed it by 20 hp. Don't you hate when that happens?

Defense Tree
Tier 1: Put one point into Resistance and 3 into Hardiness . Yes, it doesn't look even but the armor will go further early game when you are trading basic attacks.
Tier 2: Get Durability for some extra health, as you are fairly squishy.
Tier 3: Veteran's Scars are great early game for a nice health boost. It could mean the difference between first blood or first death. It also gives you more health than a health quintessence.

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Greater Mark of Lethality

Greater Seal of Armor

Greater Glyph of Magic Resist

Greater Quintessence of Lethality

Armor penetration runes are the best. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. For marks use 9 Greater Mark of Desolation. Flat armor seals Greater Seal of Armor are extremely helpful, as they let you trade hits with the enemy carry and have even higher survivability when combined with your passive. Flat magic resist glyphs Greater Glyph of Magic Resist are great early game and make it so that you don't need to buy a defensive item before your core items. For Quintessences, use Greater Quintessence of Desolation. This will bring you up to 25 armor penetration, which will be awesome early game and still good mid-game. Overall, these runes will allow you to deal more damage while still adding some defense.

Your rune page should look something like this:

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Summoner Spells

Main spells:

There are a few acceptable spells for Graves. However, no matter what the situation is you should always get Exhaust. You can slow your enemy as they run, catch up to them, and weaken their attacks and abilities. Remember, Exhaust is your friend, and their enemy. Flash is the second spell that you should use. Great for escaping or pursuing the enemy. Combined with Quickdraw you can close that gap even faster. One thing that you can do is aim Smoke Screen slightly ahead of where your opponent is running towards. This way, they will have to choose to either keep running through it, or go around. Either way, it will help you catch up to them. Smoke Screen + Flash + Quick Dash will take you straight to practically anyone (NOTE: Singed not included).

Other useful spells:

Another spell you might consider is Teleport. It can be especially useful when you are forced to duo the bottom lane with a non-support. Also can be used if you are going mid and want to be able to buy items/heal and return quickly with minimal damage to your turret. Ignite is useful for getting kills early in the game. It can also be used when champions are running away. If you know what champions you are playing against, such as Sion, Dr. Mundo, or Vladimir Ignite will half the healing they receive. This can be extremely useful in team fights or 1v1. At least one or two people on your team should have this. You shouldn't be worried about igniting the other team, since you are a ranged carry. This is why in most situations, Exhaust is better.

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Skill Sequence and Explanations

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

Buckshot. Max it first. It is powerful the entire game and is your main source of damage.

Smoke Screen Get it at level 4 or when you have no other options. Max this skill last as it is a utility skill and you don't really do damage with it.

Quickdraw Max this second. It is a great attack speed steroid and it's cooldown is reduced for every basic attack you do. Eventually, all of the basic attacks you do during its duration will reset the cooldown so you will be able to use it whenever you want. As previously mentioned, it is great for closing gaps to use Buckshot or when escaping.

Collateral Damage Level this skill up whenever possible (levels 6,11,16). It does a huge amount of damage to the first target it reaches and then deals damage in a cone behind it. You can use it when the enemy team is grouped together for maximum damage. Smoke Screen followed by Buckshot and Collateral Damage is one of the easiest way to get multikills. Because they are in the Smoke Screen, just Quickdraw near there and then use Buckshot and Collateral Damage to finish them. Your ultimate is also useful for chasing enemies as they usually don't expect the cone of damage after the initial hit.
In summary, Collateral Damage > Buckshot > Quickdraw > Smoke Screen.

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Starting Items

OR and 3

To start off, get a Doran's Blade. It's a great overall starting item, making you even tankier early game and still giving you good damage. However, if you are laning bot with someone that is not so great at healing, getting Boots of Speed and 3 Health Potion can really help you stay in lane longer.

Your next goal should be to get your Berserker's Greaves which give you a nice attack speed boost along with 2 enhanced movement. The exception to this purchase is if the opposing team has 3 or more players with CC (Crowd Control-stuns, slows, silences, etc.) or AP nukers. Then you want to use Mercury's Treads for the tenacity and Magic Resist.

Core Items: You should aim for these items every game.

Next, you'll want to grab Vampiric Scepter to be able to heal yourself when you attack, allowing you to stay on lane longer. Zeal is your next choice. It'll give you crits, attack speed, and movement speed which will help you farm faster.

Getting The Bloodthirster next is extremely important as you'll get the damage you need for your abilites as well as an increased amount of lifesteal. And...if you don't die often you can stack even more AD and lifesteal! Your next 2 core items are Infinity Edge and Phantom Dancer. I recommend at least getting the B. F. Sword component of the Infinity Edge to increase your damage output if you decide to get Phantom Dancer First. How to decide? If you feel you need more damage, go for the IE and if you feel like you'd rather have an enhanced version of your zeal, go for the PD.

Defense Items

Your last two items are situational. You can replace your Doran's Blade at this point if you haven't already. One of the best defense items for ranged AD carries is Banshee's Veil. It blocks an incoming negative ability (basically, any ability an enemy tries to use on you) every 45 seconds. It also gives you magic resistance, mana, and health. Overall, a great defensive item.

However, another item to consider is Frozen Mallet. It gives you a large health boost and allows you to slow enemies with your basic attacks. If you'd rather have the health and slow instead of the extra protection then FM is a good choice.

Situational Items

By this time it should be later in the game and a few enemies will be stacking health, armor, or both. Now is when you should be working on getting your Madred's Razor. It rips through their health with it's passive- every basic attack you do deals an additional 4% in magic damage equal to their maximum health. As a plus it gives you attack speed, damage and armor. If the enemy team is pretty squishy, Madred's Bloodrazor won't do much. You'd be better off with a The Black Cleaver as it reduces their armor while also granting you attack damage and attack speed.

Two items that provide a good amount of both offense and defense are Maw of Malmortius and Trinity Force. As Maw of Malmortius is upgraded from Hexdrinker, it is great when that enemy AP carry is doing ridiculous burst. This can work in conjunction with or instead of Banshee's Veil. It also gives a great attack bonus and a passive that increases your damage based on your health. Trinity Force is also a good item overall, all the stats benefit Graves. It is fairly expensive though, and I would only recommend buying it if you have already gotten your core items and you are doing fairly well in game.

If you are fed enough and the other team doesn't present much of a threat to you, another option is to buy a second The Bloodthirster because the effects stack. Two full Bloodthirsters give you 200 damage and 50% lifesteal. Yeah, it can get pretty ridiculous. But don't forget-it resets on death.

Sight Ward

Buying a Sight Ward when no one else seems to be doing it is ok. Even though you are the carry, if your support is terrible (or if you are mid) buying Sight Wards can save your life.

At the end of the game when you are all maxed out on items, buying Elixir of Agility and Elixir of Fortitude are useful and they will be activated immediately if you have no more item slots. Oracle's Elixir is extremely useful as you will be able to see stealthed characters and enemy wards or traps. However, it is lost upon death.

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Q and A

Q: Why wouldn't I get Infinity Edge before The Bloodthirster? Doesn't Graves need more damage early as an AD carry?
A: Bloodthirster is a better choice for your first core item for two reasons. The first is that the items needed to create it are cheaper. Having an early Vampiric Scepter will benefit you and is cheaper than ingredients for Infinity Edge. It works with the rest of the build. The second reason is that it will give you greater survivability earlier, allowing you to farm better and last longer in lane. If you don't die, it will eventually have higher damage output than an Infinity Edge.

Q: How do I know what defensive item to get? Which one is the best?
A: The truth is that it depends. If you find yourself facing 2 or more AP nukers, Banshee's Veil is a great choice. It can make the enemy "waste" an ability on you to get rid of the protection before attacking you. This can ruin some combos and stuns that others might throw at you. Another commonly used item is Quicksilver Sash. However, I prefer BV because it has a lower cooldown, and also gives you more health and mana. QS is also intended for teams with more CC. If you find yourself in the middle of the enemy team, chances are you are going to die anyways.
Frozen Mallet is a better choice when you consistently have enemies escaping from you and it gives you a large health bonus. If you don't want an all out defense item, but still want lots of great stats, then Trinity Force is for you. Maw of Malmortius is great when you are receiving heavy magic damage, as it provides a shield, magic resistance, and a good amount of attack. The passive also increases your damage as your health is lowered.

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Thanks for reading, hope it helps. You'll see how good Graves can really be. This is ongoing, I'll try to post screenshots and such later. Comments, questions and suggestions are welcome!

Thanks to jhoijhoi for general coding and formatting. Credit goes to Blacknsilver for recommending Hexdrinker.