8 Quick Tips for Graves

by 1d ago
Thumbnail image courtesy of Riot Games

Graves is one of the more difficult champions to master due to his shotgun mechanic, a unique and interesting way to classify auto-attacks.

As a result of this, he has an intense amount of interesting mechanics and tricks that let him feel way more satisfying to play. With these tips and tricks in particular, you can tell your opponents that the buck(shot) stops here.

RELATED: A guide to Graves

1. Graves knocks back jungle creeps and minions, so constantly kiting is important when jungling instead of sitting still and auto-attacking
2. Graves' auto-attacks deal more damage to all targets, including towers, if he stands next to them and lets all the pellets hit them
3. Graves' ultimate does more damage in its initial hit than the cone it produces after it hits its first target
4. Graves gains more armor and magic resistance if he dashes towards his enemies, but it doesn't have to be directly. He can dash diagonally and still get the extra stacks but not expose himself to as much danger
5. Graves' Q activates its second damage trigger much quicker when it hits a wall, so try to line up your burst on targets closer to walls if you have the luxury
6. Graves' Q bounces back quicker on champion-made terrain, e.g. Jarvan's ultimate, Anivia W, Trundle E, and Taliyah ultimate.
7. Graves' auto-attacks hit the first thing in front of them, so if a minion or tower is in front of your target, the pellets will hit that minion or tower instead. Being aware of this will make you a better Graves and better at understanding your limits.
8. Graves' W triggers a blindness that, after 1 second, can let Duskblade's true damage work again

RELATED: Graves pro builds

Gabriel Zoltan-Johan is a News Editor at theScore esports and the head analyst for the University of Toronto League of Legends team. His (public) musings can be found on his Twitter.

Graves pro builds

by 1d ago
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When building Graves, there are many options that allow you to thrive in different kinds of situations. His innate synergy with raw attack damage, the lethality items, and health and shield items give him some leeway in what he is allowed to build to stay relevant.

RELATED: A guide to Graves

However, that doesn't mean that you can just avoid building certain items. A distinct core that includes early attack damage is key to making sure Graves stays relevant in the early and mid game. Afterwards, he has a lot of flexibility based on the enemy compositions, broadly listed below.

The Classic

  1. Skirmisher’s Sabre (Warrior)
  2. Ninja Tabi
  3. Edge of Night
  4. Sterak's Gage
  5. Duskblade of Draktharr
  6. Guardian Angel

Against Heavy AD

  1. Skirmisher's Sabre (Warrior)
  2. Ninja Tabi
  3. Edge of Night
  4. Sterak's Gage
  5. Death's Dance
  6. Randuin's Omen or Guardian Angel

Against Heavy AP

  1. Skirmisher's Sabre (Warrior)
  2. Mercury Treads
  3. Edge of Night
  4. Maw of Malmortius
  5. Phantom Dancer
  6. Death's Dance

RELATED: 8 Quick Tips for Graves

Against majority tanks

  1. Skirmisher's Sabre (Warrior)
  2. Berserker's Greaves
  3. Edge of Night
  4. The Black Cleaver
  5. Phantom Dancer
  6. Death's Dance

Against majority squishy targets

  1. Skirmisher's Sabre (Warrior)
  2. Ninja Tabi
  3. Youmuu's Ghostblade
  4. Edge of Night
  5. Duskblade of Draktharr
  6. Phantom Dancer or Death's Dance

Gabriel Zoltan-Johan is a News Editor at theScore esports and the head analyst for the University of Toronto League of Legends team. His (public) musings can be found on his Twitter.

A guide to Graves

by 1d ago
Thumbnail image courtesy of Riot Games

Thanks to his high burst damage and mobility, the rough and tumble Graves, is a ranged jungler that can wreak havoc on opposing laners.

A ranged carry by trade, Graves is fairly unique in the current meta when compared to other ranged junglers like Kindred, who have not seen many changes in the meta go in her favor. Graves also boasts fairly tanky stats and a passive that gives him invisible armor and excessive tankiness as long as he stays in fights and keeps pumping his double-barrel shotgun.

Runes

  1. Lethality Reds
  2. Scaling Health Yellows
  3. Scaling Magic Resistance Blues
  4. Attack Damage Quintessences

As Graves, you don’t need AD as much as other junglers because of the unique way that you clear camps. Remember that you have the ability to push creeps back (and take less damage as a result of your auto-attacks and the True Grit passive).

Because of this, lethality allows Graves to better scale as he farms out his early game. And if you do opt for more lethality items, the penetration will be devastating in teamfights, especially for your spells and close-up auto-attacks.

It's because of your True Grit passive and early itemization towards resistance that scaling health yellows are best. The ability to kite and take little damage from the early jungle means you're able to take full scaling health yellows without much downside. Keeping yourself healthy in the jungle through kiting also means that getting invaded isn't too disadvantageous to these runes. Scaling magic resistance blues adds to your tankiness, but attack speed blues may also be a viable option if you feel there isn't enough magic damage on the enemy team.

Finally, attack damage quintessences keep your damage relevant early as your lethality scales from it's starting value of 60%.

Masteries

Though the Ferocity tree (specifically Tier 4) was brutally nerfed in Patch 7.4, it's still worth putting 12 points in it to maximize your damage. Taking Sorcery is a good boost to your burst combo, but Fury is just as viable to speed up your reload for more buckshots in sustained fights.

Bounty Hunter gives you more damage in all situations, including combat with minions or neutral objectives. Double-edged Sword is a reasonable substitute for immediate damage.

Putting 18 points in Cunning allows for specialization in more lethality and Thunderlord's Decree, further adding to your burst damage. Getting Greenfather's Gift helps with your jungle clear and with your burst at later stages. Taking Assassin can help you with invades or catching people out of position. Meditation is less necessary because you don't consume mana as readily as other champions, so your first blue buff should be sufficient.

Skill Order

Starting with E actually allows Graves to clear faster, as its cooldown is lowered by attacking enemies. As a result, Graves not only gets tankier, but it also increases his kiting capabilities which will allow him keep himself healthier in the jungle's early stages while doing more damage to camps at Level 1.

First six levels: EQQWQR

Maxing Q should be first on your list as it gives you the most damage while maxing E out second gets you additional resistances and a quick extra buckshot that gives you more damage than taking levels in W. Consequently, taking W last is most appropriate, though a point in it early can help your kiting and let you chase enemies while serving as an additional way to trigger Thunderlord's Decree. Always take your ultimate when you can, as it gives you the most amount of damage when you level it up.

Build Order

RELATED: Graves pro builds

Graves has early itemization around his jungle item and lethality. The main reason he does this is because Graves wants red smite in solo queue in order to increase the damage dealt once he sticks to a target. However, in more organized games, it's perfectly appropriate to go with Tracker's Knife.

  1. Skirmisher’s Sabre (Warrior)
  2. Ninja Tabi
  3. Edge of Night
  4. Sterak's Gage
  5. Duskblade of Draktharr
  6. Guardian Angel

Sterak's Gage is an emerging item that is valuable to carries like Graves, and the health and shield synergize with him in particular thanks to his True Grit resistances, as well as those from Ninja Tabi and Edge of Night. Duskblade of Draktharr is useful for the extra true damage as well as an extra sweeper and out of combat movement speed to weave into fights and chase down fleeing targets.

Playstyle

Graves excels at two main things in the early game: power-farming and counterganking. As Graves, you want to farm up like any other ranged carry in a safe and secure way. Tracking jungle movement is key, and when the jungler is revealed, using their CS numbers can help you extrapolate which camps they've taken and which camps you have the opportunity to rotate into if they've been left up and the enemy is far away from them. As a counterganker, Graves is happiest when his enemy commits their dive and burst just as or before he gets into a fight, allowing him to chase down and clean up accordingly should their gank go awry.

This divides Graves' role into two simple metrics. If you are tracking the enemy jungler and know they are in the same half as you are, be prepared to countergank. Otherwise, if they are on the opposite side, be prepared to invade in order to get vision or steal away camps and get a sizeable experience and gold lead.

RELATED: 8 quick tips for Graves

The mid game is all about using your powerful burst to completely decimate your opponents. As you have access to your ultimate and jungle item, your burst combos and sustained damage are massive, so focusing on ganking and diving lanes where your allies have crowd control or your enemies have blown summoner spells and are at low health will be more appropriate than your early gameplan.

As Graves opts into his second and third items, he becomes a bit more of a frontline presence as well, as he's able to siege effectively and play in front of his backline carries. His smokescreen also provides great utility in siege situations or in contesting neutral objectives. His ultimate also contributes to burst that can be used with smite to secure neutral objectives, but also clear creep waves quickly.

Graves' late-game plan is all about using your combos to annihilate squishy targets and his strength lies in his ability to kill enemies quickly from a long distance, making frequently used items such as Redemption less effective because there is little to no reaction time to Graves' combos.

Combos

Graves has insane combo potential as his abilities can cancel into each other, as well as into or out of auto attacks. Here are a couple of combos that are fundamental in understanding how to weave Graves' abilities and attacks into one another.

  • Auto-R-E-Auto-QW

The auto before the ultimate is necessary because you otherwise would not be able to dash during your ultimate. It's all about the ability to cancel one into the other, so timing isn't as necessary as hitting the buttons in their correct order.

  • Auto-E-Auto

The above is a more simple combo in theory, but it's all about the timing of the second auto-attack. If you attack click immediately as you E, you can start your auto-attack on the frame that you come out of the dash animation. This can be surprising to enemies given Graves' generally slower attack speed, and combined with another spell can trigger Thunderlord's Decree very quickly.

Gabriel Zoltan-Johan is a News Editor at theScore esports and the head analyst for the University of Toronto League of Legends team. His (public) musings can be found on his Twitter.

Riot details uLoL postseason as collegiate players continue to express frustration over changes

by 4d ago
Thumbnail image courtesy of Riot Games

Collegiate League of Legends players continued to express their frustration at over the removal of championship prizes in the 2017 uLoL season as Riot unveiled the 2017 postseason on Friday.

The teams that win each of the five regional conferences will automatically advance to the League of Legends College Championship, with the second place teams from each region playing in a Wildcard tournament to decide which three teams qualify for the championship. The Wildcard tournament will run on the weekends of April 1-2 and April 8-9, with the championship running from May 26-29 in Los Angeles.

uLoL came under fire last week after collegiate players discovered that there would be no championship prize pool for 2017 season. Instead, prizes would be awarded based off of a team's performance in the regional finals. While the change was made when Riot originally announced the 2017 season, Riot did not publicly state that there would be no championship prize pool this season, with many players assuming that the regional prizes were in addition to the championship prize pool.

The current regional prize distribution is an $8,000 scholarship for each player on the four teams that win the regional bracket, $4,000 for second, $2,000 for third and fourth, and $1,000 for fifth through eighth place. In addition, two members of each Top 8 team's support staff will receive half of what a player would earn in scholarship money. Last year, $30,000 was awarded to every player on the first place team of the uLoL championship, while $15,000 was awarded to each player on the second place team.

Riot has not responded to theScore esports request for comment. However, J.T. "Tiza" Vandenbree, League Operations lead for Riot's College team, tweeted last week that scholarships were moved to the regional level to spread them across more teams.

University of British Columbia's uLoL manager Gabe Johnstone believes that teams will not benefit as much under the new rules for prize distribution, which lessens what attracted many players to the uLoL system in the first place.

"I think the change in distribution of the prize pool is unfortunate for the high profile teams, and doesn't really benefit a lot of teams," Johnstone told theScore esports. "Lower tier teams who will earn the same amount as last year and the top teams earn either 1/4 or 1/2 as much per player. To me the whole point of the tournament was to be able to compete for a chance at paying off tuition. I know Blizzard does this with their HoTS prize pool, where essentially a freshman's entire college could be won if they won first place in their freshman year."

New to this year's uLoL championship is the addition of a new conference, the Big Ten Network. Compared to uLoL teams, players on Big Ten teams do not receive prize money for winning the conference. Instead, players receive a $5,000 scholarship provided by Riot regardless of their placement, with two members of each team's support staff receiving $2,500 each. For Jalen "Julius" Key, mid for the University of Michigan, the lack of a prize pool for the championship lowers the incentive for teams to get there.

"The loss of a prize pool at the championships is very disheartening because it's lowered the incentive to try for the teams that get there," Julius said. "Although winning to prove that you're the best team is a valid reason, with the time commitment involved it feels like it's more important to be the best in your area than the best overall."

Despite the lack of a prize pool, Julius will go to the championships if they qualify to receive exposure for his team.

"Since our school doesn't provide scholarships, we would go to the championship to get more exposure for our team," Julius said. "We're currently not supported by the University of Michigan, but if we were to win the championship as well as Big Ten it would greatly increase our chances of getting more support from the university."

In the 2016 uLoL season, teams and players were awarded $648,000 in prize money. Under the current prize distribution for the 2017 season, players in the original four conferences, outside of the Big Ten, will receive $560,000. Combined, the Big Ten network received $420,000 in scholarships.

Taking both uLoL and the Big Ten into account, Riot has spent more money on the 2017 season than in the past year. But Riot's scholarships are guaranteed for players on the Big Ten, compared to the performance based scholarships in the other conferences. Julius believes that Riot's focus on the Big Ten is the start of Riot's shift to a conference system that resembles existing collegiate conferences.

"I believe they're doing it to set up for future years," Julius said. "I think that overall Riot is trying to move towards a more conference based system that resembles traditional sports. Since Big Ten has partnered with Riot it feels like they are going all in on it so to speak, and the other conferences feel cheated. However if their prioritization of Big Ten can bring in other conferences it's better in the long term for Collegiate League."

Johnstone takes a different view, saying that Riot's focus on the Big Ten will not help uLoL going forward.

"I know Riot is prioritizing Big Ten and other traditional conferences over the original West/North/East/South that we have had," Johnstone said. "Giving every team in it guaranteed money, sets up a obvious style of league that they want to run. I don't think this is good for uLoL in the short or long run though."

Preston Dozsa is a news editor for theScore esports whose journalism idol is Dino Ghiranze. You can follow him on Twitter.

Kha'Zix pro builds

by 4d ago
Thumbnail image courtesy of Riot Games

With an aggressive and versatile gameplan, Kha'Zix has very different styles of builds due to his constantly changing evolution setups. He also has a variety of assassin and bruiser items that suit his style perfectly, due to their innate passives and ability to help him scale. Other tank items in the later game have the possibility give him the ability to survive in fights to get the necessary resets to change positions.

RELATED: A Guide to Kha'Zix

This list covers every permutation of team composition that the Voidreaver can face, with a wide variety of items to compliment an optimized core. As a result, Kha'Zix can constantly change his strategy game-to-game, and adapt to the coming threats.

The Classic

  1. Skirmisher’s Sabre (Warrior)
  2. Boots (Ninja Tabi most of the time, Mercury Treads if tons of crowd control)
  3. Edge of Night
  4. The Black Cleaver
  5. Sterak's Gage
  6. Randuin's Omen or Guardian Angel

Against heavy AD

  1. Skirmisher’s Sabre (Warrior)
  2. Ninja Tabi
  3. Sterak's Gage
  4. The Black Cleaver
  5. Death's Dance
  6. Randuin's Omen

RELATED: 7 Quick Tips For Kha'Zix

Against heavy AP or Crowd Control

  1. Skirmisher’s Sabre (Warrior)
  2. Mercury Treads
  3. Edge of Night
  4. The Black Cleaver
  5. Sterak's Gage
  6. Optional Quicksilver Sash (versus suppression)
  7. Duskblade of Draktharr or Mercurial Scimitar (if facing suppression)

Against majority tanks

  1. Skirmisher’s Sabre (Warrior)
  2. Mercury Treads
  3. Edge of Night
  4. The Black Cleaver
  5. Last Whisper
  6. Randuin's Omen
  7. Mortal Reminder

Against majority squishies

  1. Skirmisher’s Sabre (Warrior)
  2. Ninja Tabi
  3. Youmuu's Ghostblade
  4. Edge of Night
  5. Duskblade of Draktharr
  6. Guardian Angel
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