Another champion has yet again been unveiled by the illustrious Riot Games, and I hear he’s one tough varmint. Graves the Outlaw, a new ranged carry, has been added to the mix and the most surprising part is he’s a guy! Yes, a male ranged carry. Took long enough.
I picked up this bad boy as soon as I could and what drew me in was a mustache made of win and a shotgun the size of my body. One tough fellow he is. I wouldn’t say he’s the most unique character out there in-terms of technicalities but he sure brings down the pain. I’ve compiled my notes together to tell you guys what’s going down with this champion’s abilities.
What you get for his head
Graves is no push-over in the world of hurt and also packs a few sly techniques up his sleeve. He has two offensive moves and two utility moves, and his passive gives players a small incentive to stick around for the fight.
Gunslinger (passive) – This gives players a slowly rising boost to armor and magical resistance the longer Graves stays in a fight. It starts at +1 for each stat every second you remain in combat, with a max of 10 stacks, and the bonuses increase as you level-up. By lv.15 I had +3 bonuses, so staying in the fight granted me with +30 magic resistance and armor, which may not be much, but helps nonetheless.
[Q] Buckshot (offensive) - Your shotgun blast of death. This fires 3 shots in a cone angle and does piercing damage, meaning it will pass through minions and other champions. The cool thing about this move is if you’re up-close and personal, this bad boy does burst damage because all 3 shots will nail your target, dealing a ton of damage. Quite useful in a teamfight, because champions will generally be more bunched together allowing for maximum effectiveness.
[W] Smokescreen (utility) - This is your Nocturne ultimate in a can, and what I call Graves’ most unique ability. You throw the bomb and your enemy’s fields of vision are reduced and they are slowed while they are in the bubble of smoke. This will make it difficult for them to escape or see where your team is coming from since they can’t see past 5 feet. The range is also quite nice, meaning you can toss it from the safety of a bush. This can be combined with Quickdraw and Buckshot to deal massive damage. It is also a nice of way of getting away, much like Batman always does.
[E] Quickdraw (utility)- Graves’ only ability with a western-themed name and the one you’ll be abusing like no tomorrow. This is a dashing move with very minimal distance, but it allows you to close gaps when you need to buckshot someone, or gain distance when you’re fleeing. The selling point of this ability is that it increases your attack speed exponentially after using it. It starts at +30% and raises by 10% per level put into it. And every time you auto-attack, the cooldown drops by 1 second, making this move easy to access in combat.
[R] Collateral Damage (Offensive Ultimate) - This move is what will separate good Graves players from amazing ones. This is a skill shot ability that bursts for a ton of damage and at the moment of impact, the projectile explodes, hitting everything behind the target. An alternative way to use this is shoot the projectile and just make it explode at its maximum range. Be warned that it can easily be dodged and you only get 1 shot to make it count before suffering from the cooldown. Fifty seconds at lv.3 is reasonable but team fights aren’t going to last that long so missing this attack will put your team at a potential disadvantage.
How you walk the western style
Graves is a RANGED carry but to bring him to his full potential, you have to have an aggressive play style. Vayne, my main offensive AD character, is a ranged carry but because she’s an assassin, she plays out a little bit more passively before reigning hell. Graves does not play like that. You want to be up in your opponent’s face as much as possible, staring them down, and making them scared. You do a ton of burst damage and the most effective way to control your opponent is making them scared of your quickdraw/buckshot combo. Sure, you have to wait for the right opening, but the more you can force your lane opponents to recall or at the very least, pull-back, the more control you’re giving to your team.
In team fights, you’re going to want to properly utilize your smokescreen. If the enemy is slowed and can’t see what’s being done to them by your mages and ranged characters, they’re done. Simply put. Timing your ultimate move is also a very crucial part of your team-fighting process, as you can do a good amount of damage to the entire opposing team if the move is positioned correctly. And remember to stay in the fight for as long as possible. Your defenses are boosted and chances are you can do dish out more damage than you take.
Final Notes and recommendations
Graves is a pretty awesome character and has a pretty low learning curve, so anyone can pick him up and play him right off the bat. A great addition to the league family, because you can’t go wrong with gritty outlaws, right? And on top of that, one of skins reminds me of Wolverine, so that’s also win. So if you’re an aggressive player that perhaps wants to try a ranged DPS, then Graves is the character for you.
- Great Burst DD with abilities
- Great DPS with attack speed
- Decent in-combat survivability
- Has a built in slow utility (smokescreen)
- Has a dashing move to get away or close gaps
- Over-sized shotgun and a mustache made of win
- Poor defensive base stats outside combat
- Poor HP stats
- Usage of mana can be troubling