League of Legends preseason for season 6 has hit, and it’s a doozy. We’ve got some heavy hitting changes, and one of the heaviest hitters is Graves. Graves has always had trouble finding his niche to fit, but now it’s even harder. Because he can go everywhere.
Graves is overpowered. You can argue people just haven’t learned him yet, but this is pretty empty considering he can burst people down faster than he can fire three shots. Top Laner, ADC bot lane, Jungle, you could probably even Mid Lane him, no position is safe from his long arm of the law. This man has had a few changes to make him work everywhere, and I’m gonna make a quick review of how to fight against, or as, this Cigar lacking powerhouse.
Graves is all about the burst, and that extends to even his auto attacks. He finally has a real shotgun now, and each shot is a spread of multiple bullets. The more bullets hit, the more damage dealt. When Graves gets a critical strike, he fires more bullets in the same spread area, for more damage. Graves uses an Ammo system, which can be seen by all players in the game. He has unlimited ammo, like everyone else, but only two shots can be used at a time, before a notable “reload” delay. Graves has to reload then, significantly reducing his fire rate. He automatically reloads when inactive, walking around, whenever he gets the chance. So you only need to worry about ammo when combat rolls around. Your auto attacks should be planned well, and interspersed with his powerful abilities. Before we continue, he has one more very important passive, although it is rather easy to ignore at first. Graves gains bonus armor and magic resist while in combat, including last hitting minions, jungle camp fighting, everything.
Graves’ Q is a powerful skillshot that hits twice. It is shaped like a T
When fired, it does damage as the explosive shell heads toward the big end of the T, and then pauses before exploding over the powder that is littered on its way out, for a second strike of damage. If this shell hits a wall it explodes backwards as it would, but from the wall, starting earlier, when it hit said wall. It can easily decimate minion waves with a single well placed Q.
Graves’ W is a smoke screen. It does very slight damage when fired, and has an area of effect that hampers vision immensely. Anything in the AoE cannot see outside of the AoE. This is very powerful in teamfights, and great at disabling ADCs.
Graves’ E hasn’t changed, it’s a short dash that temporarily increases attack speed, and all auto attacks refunding cooldown. It is worth noting, however, that this buff, like all attack speed increases, speeds up your reload, as well as the time between auto attacks.
Graves also gets a new Ultimate: Collaterall (R). It hasn’t changed in functionality, except for that it now knocks back Graves when fired, to help get out of danger after bursting out all your damage.
Next let’s talk about Grave’s Items. Crit chance is good on Graves, but generally not quite as good as pure damage. So Graves generally wants to diverge from most ADC builds.
First off, the new Essence Reaver is great on graves, as it gives cooldown reduction, mana refunding, and turns our crit into something useful for abilities, more cool down reduction (CDR) and mana. I suggest starting with Essence Reaver as your first item when laning with Graves. Usually this is best followed by Infinity Edge, or another Crit heavy item. Berserker’s Greaves or Boots of Lucidity are really up to personal choice, because Greaves, (and all attack speed) don’t do as much for him due to his immensely low base attack speed.
I’d argue Phantom Dancer will be pretty perfect as a second item for Graves to follow Essence Reaver with, but I haven’t been able to test it myself, as PD is currently disabled on the currently live version of the game. Phantom Dancer is perfect because Graves gains movement speed when near enemies to better close the gap or put distance between himself and his enmies. Since his abilities are very close range focused, and his shotgun is best at point blank, Phantom Dancer will be one of his favorites. In addition it’s amazing for kiting as the last champ you damage does less damage to you. Toss a smoke grenade to trigger that reduced damage and use your dash to put distance between you when it’s best fit.
Graves is now often seen in the jungle. Graves is now the second marksman to close the gap on Jungling and meet viability. Graves’ shotgun knocks back minions and jungle monsters when multiple shells hit, and has high base damages to help his first clear. The only Jungle Item enchantment he wants is Warriors for the AD, and the best thing is his Q works best in the jungle, due to all the walls.
I hope this guide to Graves’ rework helped you understand how to play as and against this terrifying explosive marksman.