Ultimate Graves guide: Best League of Legends builds, runes, tips & tricks

graves guide league of legendsRiot Games

Graves has long been one of League of Legends‘ most popular champions, dominating Summoner’s Rift for many years now. Whether you’re new to him or are a veteran of the marksman, we’ve got the ultimate guide here to mastering the Outlaw.

Released all the way back in 2011, Graves is one of League’s oldest and most beloved marksmen.

After a rework in 2015 pushed him into the jungle, he’s been one of the more favorable characters in the role ever since. Able to farm quickly and deal out massive amounts of damage, Graves is always a popular pick by junglers looking to stomp the competition.

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Looking to master Graves? We’ve got the ultimate guide with the best League of Legends runes and builds, as well as some tips and tricks for the Outlaw.


graves pool party toy gunRiot Games
Pool Party Graves turns his shotgun, Destiny, into a water gun.

Who is Graves?

Malcolm Graves is a skilled mercenary, fighter, and thief from Bilgewater. Having grown up in a dangerous port city, he learned how to fight and steal at an early age. Despite having an unstable temper, he still believes and adheres to honor amongst thieves.

Graves is known for the partnership formed with a fellow vagabond, Twisted Fate, whom he’s completed many dangerous jobs with. The Outlaw is also notorious for his double-barreled shotgun, Destiny, which has long served as his weapon of choice.

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On Summoner’s Rift, Graves is a ranged marksman who can blind enemies and deal massive amounts of damage in an instant.

Graves abilities & gameplay

Graves has a kit packed with damage, mobility, and toughness. As a jungler, he can clear camps incredibly quickly and move around Summoner’s Rift reliably ganking lanes and securing neutral objectives.

As a top laner, Graves can push minion waves with ease using his Q, End of the Line, which shoots out an explosive shell that detonates after 2 seconds. Graves can become a powerhouse by farming up and providing marksman damage while being able to absorb incoming damage as if he were a bruiser.

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Graves can deal maximum amount of damage by managing his shotgun ammunition efficiently. His shotgun stores two bullet charges, and Graves must reload after running out of ammo. He refills one bullet upon using his E, Quickdraw, which has Graves dash in a set direction and gain armor, so look to burst opponents down by emptying your ammo then dashing towards enemies and hitting them with another shot.

battle professor gravesRiot Games
Battle Professor Graves was released in 2018.

Quickdraw also provides Graves two stacks of True Grit if dashing towards an enemy champion, helping Graves tank incoming damage while chasing opponents. Auto-attacks lower the cooldown on Quickdraw, allowing him to get off multiple dashes in a team fight.

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End of the Line is also a spell that can be manipulated for extra DPS on your enemies. If End of the Line is fired into terrain, it explodes instantly dealing damage much faster than usual. Look to pin your opponents against walls and terrain around Summoner’s Rift to pop opponents quickly.

The marksman’s W, Smoke Screen, fires a canister in an area that blinds opponents, slowing opponents inside and blocking their vision outside the area. Smoke Screen is great for either hunting down opponents or disrupting an enemies combo where they have to click on a specific target.

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His ultimate ability, Collateral Damage, fires a massive shell in a line exploding when hitting an opponent and then dealing damage in a cone afterward.

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Graves is both a difficult champion to lock down with tons of escape options as well as a hard one to escape from on the other side.

  • Passive: New Destiny — Graves’ shotgun has some unique properties. He must reload when he runs out of ammo. Attacks fire 4 bullets, which cannot pass through units. Non-champions struck by multiple bullets are knocked back.
  • Q: End of the Line — Graves fires an explosive shell that detonates after 2 seconds, or 0.2 seconds if it strikes terrain.
  • W: Smoke Screen Graves fires a smoke canister at the target area creating a cloud of smoke that reduces sight range. Enemies caught in the initial impact are dealt magic damage and have their Move Speed reduced briefly.
  • E: Quickdraw Graves dashes forward gaining an Armor boost for several seconds. If Graves dashes towards an enemy champion, gain two stacks of True Grit instead. Hitting enemies with basic attacks lowers the cooldown of this skill and refreshes the resistance boost.
  • R: Collateral Damage Graves fires an explosive shell dealing heavy damage to the first champion it hits. After hitting a champion or reaching the end of its range, the shell explodes dealing damage in a cone.

Best build for Graves

As an AD marksman, Graves is best built with a focus on high attack damage and Lethality.

The best Mythic item you can build on Graves is Eclipse, which gives him access to Lethality, a passive that grants him a shield, and a Mythic passive that stacks armor penetration.

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Although many Graves players used to build Immortal Shieldbow or Galeforce, critical strike Mythic items have received nerfs throughout Season 12 leaving Graves to rely on Lethality items once again.

After that, look to round out your build with items that help him absorb damage like Maw of Malmortius or Black Cleaver. If you are looking to be a full-on damage carry, begin building critical strike items The Collector, Lord Dominik’s Regards, then Infinity Edge.

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Top meta Graves items in Season 12

  • Mythic: Eclipse
  • Boots: Mercury’s Treads / Plated Steelcaps
  • Jungle Item: Hailblade / Emberknife
  • Umbral Glaive
  • The Collector
  • Lord Dominik’s Regards
  • Infinity Edge (only if crit-focused build)
  • Black Cleaver
  • Maw of Malmortius
  • Serylda’s Grudge
snow day gravesRiot Games
Snow Day Graves was released back in 2016.

Best runes for Graves

The best runes for Graves help him to survive in team fights and well as deal as much damage as possible. The most reliable rune for Graves to take is Fleet Footwork, which grants him a short burst of healing and movement speed upon attacking.

Outside of Fleet, there are a few options that work for the Outlaw. Dark Harvest is a good option when looking to play as cleanup damage for your team, and First Strike has become great when you’re the one to engage combat.

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Graves’ best secondary runes are going to be in the Inspiration tree with Future’s Market and Magical Footwear.

Top meta Graves runes in Season 12

  • Fleet Footwork
  • Triumph
  • Legend: Alacrity (Legend: Tenacity when against heavy crowd control teams)
  • Coup de Grace
  • Magical Footwear
  • Future’s Market

graves league of legends runes

Graves skins in League of Legends

Graves is one of the best champions to learn to play jungle with as he has a flexible design that can lend itself to any player.

An expert Graves player can carry any game, and now you have all the tips you need to dominate solo queue with the Outlaw.

Looking to master all of Runeterra’s finest? Be sure to check out our other League of Legends guides:

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