Brutal Graves: a fun way to play an AD carry that isn't Ezreal
Sun 11th Nov 2012 - 8:43pm
Yes yes: Graves is certainly not underplayed. Behind Ezreal, he and Corki round out the top three without contest. Rather, this guide focuses on one minor detail: Several patches ago Riot applied slight nerfs to the big three. Corki and Ezreal remained nearly unchanged. Graves' nerfs, however miniscule, do make an impact. By hitting his steroid and attack speed his damage output (however minor) is effected making him more reliant than ever upon his skills to output damage.
That said, the next question is how do you compensate or attempt to increase your damage potenial? I pose a humorous and surprisingly effective addition to a Graves build: buy an early Brutalizer.
The idea here is simple: Graves relies upon the damage based upon his Q. Brutalizer adds penetration to the ability, decreases the cooldown, and adds a small amount of attack damage. Due to the penetration, the damage based upon his Q and the scaling versus a BF sword, and factoring cooldown, in the early game a Brutalizer can be more cost effective even if it puts off setting up for the late game. The early utility and burst of this item can shutdown the lane completely and lead to an early win.
This concept does have a precedent: ages ago the Brutalizer was considered a viable item on Ezreal due to its interaction with his Q. Here the idea is similar in that you are relying on most of your harass to come off of an AD based skillshot. Here, Graves' buckshot is dangerously hard to avoid if used right, and then once his ultimate (Collateral Damage) is factored he has a burst potential at level six (with an ignite) of close to or over 700 damage (yikes!).
Here's some of the math for you:
1 Bullet from buckshot at rank 3 with a B.F. sword, at level 6, with AD quints and reds, does 248 damage. Versus a level 6 Ezreal with armor yellows at equal level (44 armor), that one bullet does 170. With a Brutalizer, the same buckshot does 232 damage, but with the penetration will do 180. This is considering only one bullet hits: the math will carry through that an early Brutalizer CAN add to a higher burst. The same concept goes for the ult--at level six and at early levels you will do more damage with the Brutalizer. Then factor the cooldown reduction: Collateral damage is normally on a 100 second cooldown so the item sheds 15 seconds ( CD reduction). The level three Buckshot is reduced from 10 seconds to 9 seconds.
In a nutshell: if you are in a position where you are ahead, a Brutalizer will amost certainly allow you to continue to snowball your lane. The logic is similar to that of buying an early Phage on Corki: Trinity Force is not the ideal lategame item on Corki, but when you are ahead you are best off buying the item that will allow you to maintain your lead.
Um... yeah, its pretty obvious: you are putting off buying a B.F. Sword. This is a pretty severe drawback and isn't felt immediately--but by lategame it certainly does. If you aren't snowballing your lane, a brutalizer can quickly become a dead item slot. Worse yet, odds are your team will think you are trolling going with an atypical build.
If behind this is a very poor descision for a purchase; this is a snowball build. That said, if you buy this item into a lane you don't think you can snowball than this purchase can backfire. This is what certainly differentiates from an early Phage build: the Phage is almost always a good early purchase on some ADs, but a Brutalizer does not provide the same type of utility.
Lastly, a brutalizer is a "dead item." What do I mean? Don't build a Ghostblade. This is treated like going for a Haunting Guise and holds the same drawbacks.
Step one: make sure you have a support that allows you to land your Q (all three bullets that is).
Step two: burst someone down. This means that you must play with an all-out aggressive style, otherwise it's a waste. Farm is not your primary concern, you must absolutely stomp the lane and punish slight missplays.
This means one thing is very important: DO NOT MISS BUCKSHOTS.
Always hit with more than one of the three projectiles. This build has turned Graves into a burst caster and like a burst caster you cannot afford to miss an ability and have it on cooldown. As stated, this is an extremely high risk but effective comp. To minimize risk, recommend your support has a good lockdown or can amplify damage. Leona is the best for this, but Taric and Alistar works spectacularly as well.
This is not an ideal build, but for early wins this is absolutely viable. In fact, this is actually very strong if played on a Twisted Treeline game, where a full bruiser build on Graves (defensive boots, Frozen Mallet) can be very strong. Either way, the important thing is to experiment with your builds. Cookie-cutter AD builds are just that: they are uniform and have no variance. A change/surprise build is an easy way to catch a surprise win.