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SK Champion Spotlight: Graves

By Michael 'Wtblife' Ardelean
May 3, 2012 15:34


ImageThis is the second episode of the SK Champion Spotlight series. If you ever wanted to play Graves, but you did not know what to build, this is definitely the article you want to read through!

Welcome to another episode of the SK Champion Spotlight! Today we'll cover Graves, the Outlaw. This spotlight basically is a guide, which is based on how SK's DE Adrian 'Candy Panda' Wübbelmann likes to play Graves.

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Firstly, we'll take a look at the basic information:
Cost: 6300 Influence Points or 975 Riot Points


Which role fits Graves best?
Even though Graves is rather tanky, he only fits the role as an AD carry. Some might argue about this, but in the end Graves just does not work on top lane. However, he is all the stronger on bot lane. The fact that he gets tanky early on, while he still has the ability to dish out tons of damage, makes him very strong (especially while laning).
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What makes Graves unique?
First of all: He has a pump-gun and looks badass. The pump-gun does not only increase his badass-level, but also does a nice amount of burst damage (Q – Buckshot). Furthermore, his Smokescreen (W) is a unique skill, which can save or help your team in several and gamebreaking situations.

Still interested in Graves? Let's have a look at his abilities:

1.:Abilites

Passive: True Grit
(Innate):  Graves gains 1 / 2 (at level 6) / 3 (at level 11) bonus armor and magic resistance every second he remains in combat. This bonus stacks up to 10 times. Graves is considered in combat if he has dealt or received damage in the last 3 seconds.


Even though True Grit has already been nerfed, 10/20/30 armor & magic res for free is just amazing. If you want to start a trade, you can stack True Grit up by attacking minions. You also gain stacks by shooting a tower!

Q – Buckshot
Active: Graves fires three bullets in a cone, dealing physical damage to all enemies in their path. Enemies at close range can be hit by multiple projectiles, but each bullet beyond the first will deal only 25% damage.

Range:  750
Cooldown: 12 / 11 / 10 / 9 / 8seconds

Cost: 60 / 70 / 80 / 90 / 100 mana
Physical Damage:  60 / 105 / 150 / 195 / 240 (+0.8 per bonus attack damage)
Max Physical Damage: 90 / 157.5 / 225 / 292.5 / 360 (+1.2 per bonus attack damage)


Buckshot really makes you feel like you shoot with a pump-gun. Similar to True Grit, Buckshot has been nerfed a couple of times. Regardless, it still is a very strong ability. If an enemy stands close to you, every single bullets hits them and you feel like an AP carry, because of the high burst damage. Due to its nice range, short cooldown and low mana cost, it's perfect for controlling a lane and poking.

W - Smokescreen
Active: Graves fires a smoke canister at the target area, dealing magic damage upon landing and creating a cloud of smoke for 5 seconds. Enemies inside the smoke cloud will be slowed and will have their vision reduced to about 500 range; everything else will look like it is in the Fog of War.

Range: 700
Area of effect radius: 250-300 (estimate)
Cooldown: 20 / 19 / 18 / 17 / 16seconds

Cost: 70 / 75 / 80 / 85 / 90 mana
Magic Damage: 60 / 110 / 160 / 210 / 260 (+0.6 per ability power)
Slow: 15 / 20 / 25 / 30 / 35%


This is the ability that makes Graves unique. It can help you out in any situation! You can use it either offensively or defensively while taking an objective, in a team fight to disrupt the enemy positioning or simply as a defensive tool while getting chased. Smokescreen is just amazing, but remember use it smartly as it has a rather high cooldown.

E - Quickdraw
Active: Graves dashes forward, gaining an attack speed boost for 4 seconds. Using autoattacks on enemy units, but not structures, lowers the cooldown of Quickdraw by 1 second each autoattack.

Range:  425
Cooldown: 22 / 20 / 18 / 16 / 14seconds

Cost: 60 / 70 / 80 / 90 / 100 mana
Attack Speed: 40 / 50 / 60 / 70 / 80%


Quickdraw is a nice steroid combined with a dash, which helps you to position yourself. You can dash through thin walls, learn which spots work to take maximum advantage. As it the cooldown is lowered by auto attacking (does not work on towers!), you have a permanent steroid when doing dragon or baron. If you are on lane, you can dash towards an enemy to get maximum Q damage.

R – Collateral Damage
Active: Graves fires an explosive shell in a straight line, dealing heavy physical damage to the first champion it hits (also damages non-champion enemies whilst in flight). After hitting a champion or reaching the end of its range, the shell explodes dealing physical damage in a cone behind the target.

Range: 1000
Cooldown: 100 / 90 / 80 seconds

Cost: 100 mana
Initial Physical Damage: 250 / 350 / 450 (+1.4 per bonus attack damage)
Explosion Physical Damage: 140 / 250 / 360 (+1.2 per bonus attack damage)


Another strong burst ability. Combined with Buckshot during early and midgame, it deals crazy damage. It's not only good for finishing people due to its long range and instant burst damage, but it's also a nice aoe damage spell in teamfights, especially if your enemies are standing closely packed.

2.: Masteries and Summoner spells.
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"As with every AD, I choose 21/9/0, where I put 3 points in MR and the rest into the hp bonus. I take MR instead of armor, because, even on bot lane, most of the harass comes from magic damage. Furthermore it helps more if the enemy jungler or mid comes to gank."
- Candy Panda

As with almost every AD carry, you should take summoner heal and flash as your summoner spells. You can also go ignite + flash, but heal + flash is just way safer.

3.: Runes
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For runes you should take standard AD runes: 9 x armor pen (red), 9 x flat armor (yellow), 9 x flat magic resist (blue) and 3 x flat ad

4.: Spell order
Normal skill-order: R > Q > E > W (as W is a utility spell, skill it once at level 4)

5.: Play style, Items
Starting items: Start with boots and 3 hp pots, if you are facing a harass lane. Take Doran's Blade if you are up against a burst lane. However, you also can take Doran's Blade against a harassing lane if your supporter is a healer, like Soraka.

Basic play style (on lane):

As Graves, you have extraordinary early power. In order to take advantage of this, you need to play aggressive. One essential thing when playing aggressive is harassing, while the enemy wants to last-hit. Do not only look at the enemies minions HP bars, but also at your minions hp bars. If a minion is low on health, the enemy AD carry is going to last hit it (under normal circumstances). Take advantage of his obvious move and hit him with Q and an auto attack. If you're not sure how to harass and last hit at the same time, take a few minutes and watch WhatTheMoose's video guide.

If you want to trade, make sure your passive is fully stacked. Try to deal as much damage as possible with your Q. Do NOT engage a fight, when you're not a 100% sure that you are stronger.

After hitting level 6, and therefore getting your full skill-kit, you should be aware of your ability to burst someone down. If your enemy (AD carry or Supporter) is at 50% hp, and you can close the gap with a dash towards him, you might be able to kill him instantly with an Q -> R combo and one or two auto attacks. Even though both skills got nerfed several times, together they still deal a huge amount of burst damage.

How to react to different types of lanes:
There are three different types of lanes: the poke lane, the burst lane and the sustain lane.

The poke lane: An example for a poke lane is Lux + Caitlynn. They have long range poke, which can be very strong. In case you face such a lane, take a sustain supporter and push the lane constantly.

The burst lane: An example for a burst lane is Leona + Corki. Due to your passive, you are quite tanky. Make your supporter pick a burst support like Taric and show 'em who's boss.

The sustain lane: Example: Soraka + Ezreal. This one is handled easy, when your supporter picks a burst supporter (Taric, Leona, Alistar). Push them as well as you can and try to burst them down in one go (otherwise they just heal up again).

First back (if not forced to):
Your first travel back home depends on how the lane works out. If you have a dominant lane, try to force them to go back. If the go back, push the creeps as hard as you can and base too. The enemy will lose some creeps and you will gain even more advantage.
Alternatively if you struggle in lane or don't have enough pushing power, port back when the enemy started pushing the lane slightly. In this case you arrive before them and the lane will be pushed to your said, which allows you to zone them potentionally.

First back Items:
Make sure to get at least 2 (3 if you have enough money) Doran's Blades, Boots and some HP pots on your first trip back. If you have some gold left get a ward. Try to back when you have about 1500 – 1600 gold.

The 20 minute mark passed and I am doing well, which items should I have?
You should have upgraded boots (most likely Berserker's Greaves), 3 Doran's Blades and Wriggle's Lantern. Additionally, you should be on your way to a B.F. Sword.

What to do after the laning phase has ended:
"Seek team objectives and help fighting/defending them. Look for more farm and potentially freeze your lane, in order to deny the enemy AD carry."

- Candy Panda

Final item build (priority order):
Boots (depending on the enemies, but most likely Berserker's Greaves), Infinity Edge, Phantom Dancer, Last Whisper, Guardian Angel, Bloodthirster (sell Wriggle's Lantern for it). If the enemies have stuns that are hard to avoid, get a Quicksilver Sash after Infinity Edge.

How do I act in team fights?
Positioning is the key to win team fights, especially if you are playing an AD carry. You want to stay behind your team. You should NEVER be in front of any tanks. This may cause you getting jumped on, which basically means a lost team fight. If a team fight is started, the enemies tanks/bruisers will jump on you. Try to attack them, despite everyone saying 'lol don't focus the tank, noob', because you won't be able to do more at first.
Provided that you have survived the tanks / bruisers jumping on you (also depends on your mates), your time to shine has come. As soon as the AP or AD carry is in your range, switch to him and melt him down. If you can't reach someone squishy without getting dangerously near to the enemies, continue attacking the tank, which is most likely still chasing you and pray that you find someone, who has mispositioned himself and punish him. Either way, you killed something and have more space now.
Your smokescreen is a brilliant tool in a team fight, use it wisely. A well place smokescreen can lead to a mispositioned AD carry and an easily won team fight.Image

6.: Counter picking and getting counter picked:
"Graves is a very balanced champion. He does not hard counter anyone, but is not hard countered by anyone either. It all depends on the support in this case."
- Candy Panda

This guide may not be the best way to play Graves, but it is the way our very own DE Adrian 'Candy Panda' Wübbelmann likes to play him. It is fully based on information given by Candy Panda.


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