Graves Build Guide by RoseOfInnistrad
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Choose Champion Build:
Lethal League - VS Squishies
Duelist Paragon - VS Tanks
Threats & Synergies
She's rough to fight early, but not unwinnable, and you outscale her pretty hard. You can do well if you countergank effectively, but be wary of invading because she can oneshot surprisingly easy.
She's honestly pretty easy to fight, her early is bad, and if you get Mercurial Scimitar she has no chance to fight you. Invade early and often.
Ezreal isn't as strong anymore, but he still hurts to fight early. Be cautious and try to predict where his Qs will be and you can win.
Don't sit in his W and you win. Scimitar suggested.
Chad. What an absolute unit.
If you can stay out of the way of his EQ combo while dueling you win, your Q also detonates early in his ult terrain. His early ganks are better than your s though, but being counterganked ruins him because has a one way ticket in.
You can fight him as long as you hover outside of his stun, which is conveniently easy to do with E.
I haven't had a ton of experience with this because she gets banned often, but the games I played I usually just invaded and killed her and she never seemed to be a problem. Don't let her scale though.
This matchup can be easy or difficult, but if you can dodge his W in either form you pretty much win. He's super weak early, but he clears his first camps rather quickly. Expect him to start on his red side more often than not for invading purposes.
Bugboy is usually pretty difficult. You will win fights if you encounter him in the river at level 3, but in many situations after that you lose. Get Red trinket to fight him effectively.
She's very predictable, and not as strong as you early. Play your fights smartly, and you'll dominate the matchup.
Lee is usually a big problem to me. He wins 70% of your fights if he lands Q on you, but you can win. He falls off too, but his R can pose a lot of problems and as Graves you just don't have a great answer to playing against Lee.
Lol it's Yi, you're not going to win late, You can win early by invading and counterganking, prolong his entry into the game and win early, or you won't win.
Dodge them skillshots, and kill them cougars. She isn't a huge threat but don't facecheck often in this matchup.
His early is weak, and 90% of the time he'll powerfarm to 6 to get his ganks often. If you meet him in his jungle and get the drop on him he's pretty easy to down, but if his shield catches your Q, you lose a lot of damage and he'll usually win. His ganks are also very good, albeit on a long CD with his R.
Pantheon's very simple, and it's possible to win. He's very predictable also. Red smite is a must to duel him.
I don't see a problem with Quinn as long as you don't let her initiate on you, you duel much better. Death's Dance is good into her.
Mean kitty can output a lot of damage, but doesn't particularly have an advantage over you. His early game is very weak also, you can invade him. Buy Guardian Angel at some point.
Shaco is a jungler I find to be very problematic to play against as Graves. I once played against an offtank Shaco would would use his clones and boxes to get in the way of my autos every time, don't be like me. He ganks quick and fast, and counterjungles and invades better than you for the most part. Get deep wards so you can see him coming.
Tristana jungle is a lot like Ezreal, but if you get the drop on her, she can't finish you off in fights.
Ecks dee, don't fight him late. Invade early, and you can kill him.
Twitch is actually surprisingly good, but you smash him in duels. Save your W in teamfights to blind him. He might ask how we aim so well in light, turns out he doesn't too well in darkness either.
Kill her early or get killed late. Oneshot builds are good against her since you won't win extended trades no matter what you build, I like lethality.
Sun Wukong is easy to invade early, and his post 6 is good, but he finds it difficult to oneshot you, and you win fights often. GA/Death's Dance recommended.
Rarely do I win this matchup, for pretty obvious reasons. Your saving grace is that your autos are always in range to hit him with his ult up.
Threats & Synergies
You shit on him pre-6, but you get outscaled in utility EXTREMELY hard post 6. Focus more on early invading and removing him from the game.
This matchup is won and lost based off dodging skillshots. Late game he outscales you in utility and damage, but his early game is pretty sad. Destroy him early, and prolong him being able to enter the game.
This guy as a jungler is weird asf. Depends on the skill of the player you're against in my opinion, but can definitely be won. He's one of the few tanks that don't outscale you with utility, and Grievous Wounds shuts him down pretty hard, and since you're against a tank anyways may as well build Executioner's Calling.
Galio's pretty crazy, and there's a lot of facets to this matchup. You can usually expect him to back up his laners when they fight, so you can know where to expect him oftentimes as long as you're paying attention to your lanes. I'd suggest causing problems in a lane other than one winning naturally to make him choose between teammates to assist.
How well can you dodge skillshots? Guess you'll find out.
Early on Hecarim is one of the most vulnerable junglers to invade. His sustain early is low, as is his clear speed. He doesn't have any escapes other than going m a x i m u m f a s t so you can crush him early on. Post 6 and in teamfights he's pretty lethal though.
Tree cuck man. Expect him to take one of your camps early. It's usually a toss up between starting one buff and running directly to the other to match him, or just counterjungling the opposite buff you lost. His teamfights are good, but he isn't as rough to handle as some other tanks.
Tree cuck tree, this dude is brutal. He has crowd control on every ability, a really stupid heal on his passive. His early clear is somewhat healthy but you can invade. Wouldn't pick Graves into this matchup.
Surprisingly difficult, but Graves doesn't excel at killing 10,000 HP ultratanks with 9 forms of CC anyways. Beat him early, he's hella slow.
Nunu & Willump
I fucking love Nunu. Just not while playing as Graves. You're going to get counterjungled a bit, but you can fight this back a little bit. Nunu can't instaclear a camp, and if he saves his Q to "smite" then he loses a bit of health. Also make sure to be wary of potential level 4 dragons.
Problems. A lot of them. He does so much damage, offers his team better items, has a ton of CC, is super tanky, his early clears are pretty healthy too. Wouldn't pick into this matchup.
His early game is a joke, but post 6 he's just one of those useful tanks. Invade, counterjungle and fight early.
She's actually super fuckin' problematic. You lose fights after first item, you win pre 6 as long as you're cognizant of her W blocking your E.
Probably your worst matchup, I fucking hate him. He's got a lot of CC, including a taunt into beetle shell armour where you shank yourself. You don't necessarily win early either. Would not pick into this matchup.
He outscales you, and with an early lead you can outpace him, but if it gets to late game you lose. His early is bad though, invade often.
This is a really neat matchup to me, there's a lot of subtle facets to winning it. If you can dodge her abilities stuff and maintain distance, you win fights. Her ganks are better than yours though at pretty much all points.
Wow. A supertank jungler with hella CC and mobility and literally hundreds of free temporary armor. Wouldn't pick into this matchup.
Shen is one of the few exceptions for tanks, you can usually fight him. Dodge his taunt, and once his W goes down, you shred his shit. You have to be mobile though and counterjungle, because no matter where you go to attack a differet enemy he can follow, so you have to set him behind.
Draconic danger. She farms super fast and you lose fights unless you really pull off a good outplay. If you can deny her dragons it's winnable though, her pre-6 ganks are pretty bad.
Mixed feelings on this one, Skarner can do well and Skarner can do really poorly. If you can keep distance you can usually avoid him but don't expect to kill him.
If you can kite well, you can win this, but if he gets ahold of you it's GG. You can make good use of your E kiting, and don't forget you can R to stay out of range.
The Godyr. This matchup is pretty similar to Trundle, but he's harder to evade. His early mana problems are pretty bad though, so you can invade better,
Riven... Meh, don't see her often. Her early is really weak, and she's easy to snowball on. Make sure you ward so you can follow her around. You're just much better suited to the jungle than she is.
If you dodge her Q you win, if not then you'll likely lose, but not always. Counterganking her is also extremely potent because you can deny her R with your W and her CDs are very long.
LOL nobody plays this champ.
Probably your worst matchup outside of supertanks, he just sustains so much. Get Executioner's Calling and you might be able to win but he can chase super well so... meh.
He ends up being a supertank with a lot of CC, but his early clear is just horrible now. Take advantage of it.
Also, I have written one more guide as of the release of this one, one for Yasuo. If you're interested, check it out! Rose's All Purpose Yasuo Guide!
So all in all, Graves is very good at dealing a lot of damage with his auto attacks and Q/R. He has a lot of mobility in combat, and is overall a very good duelist. However, he has virtually no crowd control or teamwide utility, and isn't durable unless in combat for enough time for him to stack Quickdraw. It is for this reason that Graves has fallen out of favour with the current tank based meta.
+ Does TONS of damage mid-late game
+ Not mana intensive
+ Has flexible build and jungle paths
+ Is criminally good at fighting enemies in their own jungle
- Is inherently squishy
- Needs items To deal damage
- Reliant on other champions for crowd control
- Has a high skill cap
- Has low-mid range combat range
This sequence is used for the standard full clear path and the invade path, which are the paths you will use in >95% of your games.
You take Quickdraw at level 1 due to the fact that your autos at level 1 deal as much damage as your q would. Both spells are on similar cooldowns, but you down get the extra armour/kiting power that you would have with Quickdraw if you start End of the Line. After that, you max Q for higher damage, then E for mobility/damage/tankiness, and W for utility.
Once again, Riot has reworked the Rune and Mastery systems, this time conjoining the two under the moniker of Runes Reforged.
Precision is the attack speed tree, and it's where the keystone rune that Graves usually takes is located. Said keystone is Fleet Footwork, and essentially is a charge that charges whenever you auto attack or move. When your charge reaches 100%, Fleet Footwork triggers on an auto attack and heals you (based on bonus AD) and grants additional 30% movement speed for 1 second. It's a pretty simple rune, it charges exactly like but heals you and makes you fast, so if you by chance build Statikk Shiv or Rapid Firecannon, it will operate in conjunction with those two. Also, if you critically strike on the charged attack it will increase your healing.
As far as the minor runes go, they're pretty self explanatory and don't change, but I'll give a brief explanation of some viable ones.
Legend: Alacrity. Kills = Permanent attack speed.
Coup de Grace. More damage on low HP targets. Kills = Bonus AD.
Sudden Impact. Dashes = Lethality.
Eyeball Collection. Kills = AD.
Ravenous Hunter. Kills = Spell Vamp.
Relentless Hunter. Kills = Out of combat MS.
Celerity. Gain MS, gain AD based on bonus MS.
Waterwalking. Gain AD in the river.
Gathering Storm. Gain AD as time goes on.
scuttle Scuttle Crab is now worth over 10x what it used to be, and it's a camp that restores health and doesn't hit you back. So what are the downsides of having such a desirable, efficient camp? It's very highly contested. What do we want to think about differently that might gives us a better chance at taking it? Well the best thing to do is try to analyze who you're against. What champion is the opponent playing is the best place to start with this, because you'll usually be able to come up with a good answer to the second question, where are they going to start? Knowing where they started will also usually tell you what camps they're going to be taking next. As Graves, it's not bad to do any combination of your own camps, so it's far better to try to match your opponent and fight them on scuttle. A supermajority of the time junglers will get a leash from their bot side and clear whichever buff is there. This changes depending on the champion, but most will start bot unless they're manaless, in which instance they'll opt for red buff (if red isn't where their botside is), or if they desperately need mana, they'll opt for blue (same note for manaless), or if they can start raptors without a leash. Most champions fit into those 3 categories, and paying attention to which lane shows up in lane late after 1:55 should give you the answer of where they started, and will tell you if your guess is right. Usually the enemy champ will take one more camp and traverse into the river and go for scuttle. Fight them there if you can, and if you win the scuttle contest congrats, you can now plan to gank or move to the other side of the map and go for the other scuttle and your other camps, or gank a lane, and that's where things get hazy. It's usually better to go for camp clearing, invading if your lanes have priority, or taking guaranteed ganks, but it's all situational and you'll have to come up with those answers yourself. Good luck.
Using the paragraph above, you have a good idea of what to do to start on the correct side to fight the enemy jungler, and if you can correctly guess when they'll be on the scuttle, you can fight them (bonus points if you have armor stacks from Quickdraw}.
Nearly every champion in the game will want to be leashed by their bot lane. They get a better leash, more security against invades. What you will want to do is start at your top side, clear whichever buff you have, then immediately run to the enemy's topside jungle. Place a ward so you can see them coming, the take their buff. You should be able to take it close to or before they get there, then you have the choice to fight them or not. You will both likely be level two, but you will have two buffs and they will have one. If you choose not to fight, run back to your jungle and begin your clear.
Graves, as a strong clear jungler, doesn't need a leash. However, if your lanes want to leash you, it will help. You'll want to start on the same side as the enemy jungler, so you end up on the same side of the map, and can countergank and apply pressure on the same side.
Above is Tarzaned's Graves Jungle Clear guide. He's considered one of the greatest Graves players and even one of the best NA junglers of all time (currently holding the Rank 1 spot in NA).
Graves Blue side, Warwick Red side. This is where it starts, even before the minions spawn. Where is Warwick going to start? He'll start at his blue of course. He'll get a better leash from his bot lane, and better protection from a level 1 invade. So where should you start? You have two choices, Red or Blue, and you should start at your blue. You want to take Path 1 and take his red. So you get a leash from your top lane and run into his jungle, putting a ward down so you'll be able to see when he comes from his bot side. You take his red, and just when you finish, he walks out of the bush. You see, he's level 2, which means he only did two camps. A quick click of Tab reveals he has 4 CS, meaning he cleared his wolves. Now there's only one more choice to make. Fight or return to your jungle. You can fight Warwick at level two, because odds are, he'll have his Q and W and can't outpower you.
Now you might ask, Rose, what did literally any of that have to do with Theoretical Vision? Simply put, you knew where Warwick would be because of the logical choice of where he should start. You know what path he would take and the approximate time of when he would be where he would be. Theoretical Vision doesn't stop there however, you also know that normal camps respawn after 2 minutes and 30 seconds, and logically, if Warwick doesn't gank anyone, he'll probably back and go there afterwards. You know where he is without seeing him (although you will be warding his jungle).
Jhoijhoi for her excellent coding guide
Tarzaned for his video that I used, and for his streams where I learned a lot from
14JUN2018 - Major overhaul to items and runes, major changes to Jungle Clear section to include the new scuttle changes, made minor changes.
27APR2018 - Updated Runes and Runes chapter, updated items, added champion matchups.
21AUG2017 - Published Guide