Gragas: Taru Sorbusten Herrasta - by AnalC

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Mission statement:

While brought up occasionally in discussions, (functional) guides (especially comprehensive ones) to build up a dmg/tank Gragas have mostly been non-existent. First of all, Gragas is overlooked and many times laughed out from a solo-Q teams. Secondly Gragas does not, in fact, locate among the most effective heroes of the game. People really rarely see decent Gragas. Those teams that win and do include Gragas usually win despite he is included, but not because of him. To put it other way, Gragas gets crarried, not other way around.
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This is simply because Gragas has two sets of abilities; one that utilizes AP, and another that gives 'n uses AD.

For a reason or another people have tendency to rely on AP skills. And no doubt there are summoners out there who can operate them effectively. That said, in my experience the reason why Gragas has got bad, maybe even a horrible reputation, is because casual players are fooled to think that they should build AP figure. AP skills, however, are mainly utilities while most players should definitely concentrate on developing and using AD skills. Gragas is a fighter, and easily build to be a decent one, while maybe never a legend able to parr with high ELO summoners playing characters like Annie, Rat or captain OParrrrrrrley himself.

My mission with this guide, therefore, is to spread the joy of playing a functioning dmg/tank Gragas. As stated above Gragas is far from the highest ladder of the pecking order if it's measured in effectiveness. Yet simply the most strongest reson to play Gragas is the challenge it offers. Heroes in LoL are relatively straightforward and their respective value seems to be measured in their ability to deliver direct damage. Gragas can be build to be effective, but it is challenging task and to be able to play Gragas good needs a lot of practise. Also you need to have good tolerance and sense of humor since many times you will encounter teams who's setup is practically impossible to come over in solo-Q games with unknown and random people next to you.

This said, I am skipping any introductionary parts for if you need to know how basic abilities work simply set up a practise game and get drunk with Gragas!

Basic strategy: kill and let die

The basic strategy to get Gragas flying is twofold: BE AGGRESSIVE but STAY ALIVE. Being aggressive entitles you to control space to deny your opponent leveling too fast, helps you and your battle buddy to level faster, gives you hopefully accelerated gold income, and, finally, aids you most likely, if played properly, to score several kills already in the beginning.

While staying alive early on is a valid tactic for every1, it is paramount when playing Gragas simply because Gragas is far less efective than most others. You need to score kills, farm minions and stay alive to be able keep up with levels and farm gold to get those extremely important items. While seemingly rather obvious, the importance of this will reveal it self when you try my ride.

Good news is that staying alive with this build is not tremendous task and will put fear and astonishment into the hearts of your foe in a scale they never felt before in front of Gragas. While staying alive, however, remember to be aggressive at the same time. If you dont, you will be left behind and be only a good sport for enemies later on. And get *****ed by the ignorant and spoiled childs of your team.

How to do this?

FORGET THE BARRELLS! FORGET AP's! Early on only time you need to worry about a cask is when you need to get drunk and you take a sip. Build damage, health, armor and MR. Just walk with me here, I will explain it in simplified yet entertaining manner.

Stack conventional damage in order to benefit from BODY SLAM as your main spell. In addition to your melee attack, it will be your ploughhorse. This means, of course, being where the fight is (this is obvious enough because you were told to be aggressive already). To be able to be where the fight is, stack life and life regeneration. With HAPPY HOUR this will boost your survivability. You can stay in the middle of the fight longer and get back to fight faster.

Get cooldown reduction to be able to spam abilities, all of them, but mostly BODY SLAM and DRUNKEN RAGE. Spamming abilities also regenerates your health. However, you should avoid spamming BARRELL ROLL because it will empty your manapool, while it is just a joke with this build. And mostly with any other build too.

When cooldown is reduced you can spam your ulti also, which is awesome and is the corner stone of enjoyment Gragas can offer. While relatively low damage for an ulti, it is not meant to cause major damage as much as it is meant to just physically relocate enemies. How to use it and how NOT to use it, I will explain later.

Prematch preparations: 

Masteries are personal preference, but I would recommend to support defensive and offensive capabilities, cooldown reduction and such.

Runes, also, are personal preference, but I stack attack speed, dodge and cooldown reduction. I dont have points enought to run a test with MACIG PENETRATION runes, but will proceed with that when I have enough.

At the moment with AS, CD and dodge runes I can get nice support to back up my playing style which relays highly on spamming BODY SLAM, EXPLODING CASK, dealing melee damage and being in the middle of fight.

As above, summoner spells are also personal preference too. However, I would recommend Ghost and Ignite. You dont need exhaust because BODY SLAM slows enemy, and your gonna build FROZEN MALLET too. You dont need Flash because you have BODY SLAM already. You dont take revive because you stay alive. You dont choose Rally because it is for support units and your the frikkin' HAMMER, not the hand that holds it!!!

At the beginning buy a REGROWTH PENDANT. By supporting your constitution it will help you to be aggressive, engage the enemies and still stay on lane without leaving to heal, tactic which supports our long term goal: fast leveling and relatively high farming. We are not modest nor timid, so you know how to start! Take BODY SLAM in the beginning. With a decent lane partner you might very well score a first blood and do it more often than any other champ.

How to make the grog kick?

First I wll explain what to do with all of your spells. Ghost and Ignite are combat spells, however if you can master other spells use them by all means.

How I personally use my picks, is this: Ghost will let you move around the map quickly, pursue the enemy and also run away if needed. Sometimes it happens because, as said, Gragas is not so effective that it would be able just to take everything and come out as a winner. Mostly, however, it is used to go after the enemy, not other way around. When combined with reduced cooldown-BODY SLAM you can take down practically anybody. JUST WATCH OUT FOR GANKS 'n TRAPS. If thats not a possibility, just go bravely after the enemy and it will mostly be lights out for the poor target (if you have kept up with leveling and item build)!

Ignite is the way to ensure a kill in a tight fight with an enemy that is not running. It slows health regeneration down and should finish the enemy if he escapes somehow, or even if he finishes you – which of course might happen because, lets say it again, your not on the top tier of the champions even if you are absolute pro as a summoner.

In what order you should choose your abilities? I never pay enough attention to this, but, as said, start with BODY SLAM. Then continue with DRUNKEN HAZE. After this it's up to you – pick either one which is open. At lvl 6 remember to open your ulti. Some point you might want to open BARRELL ROLL, also, but you should not max it before you cant upgrade anything else. Try to keep up with ulti, but otherwise choose either DH or BS until they are mad max!

Details, details details....

Below all of the spells are explained as indepth as I found possible. Some of what follows might be obvious. Some of what follows might be irrelevant. I am going to tell it anyway. Something is surely missing, too.

 is one of the many reasons why you want to stack life. Every time you use ability, your hero will regenerate 2% of your max heatlh. Therefore you are better off more you have health.

 is the main tool in your shead. Use it to farm, use it to engage enemies, use it to fight enemies already engaged, use it to escape traps and ganks, use it to ambush enemies by moving through the walls, keep it in constant cooldown – you cant spam it 222222 much! It has low cooldown and lowering it even more simply makes this spell GROG AND ROLL! And, more often you can use it, more your health is gonna regenerate. However, to make it effective, you need to have some extra damage from items.

BODY SLAM takes you through the walls, so the bravest of hearts are known to have gone where no AP Gragas has gone before – into the middle of the intact enemy base to score a kill from a low health enemy trying to make his way back to the summoning circle. Shaco can do this, yes. But why have an eggshell to do it? The eggshell who needs to wait for a long coold period to be able to escape from that base? Be the hero your n00b team has been praying for, and tell your shaco just to lean back in his comfy chair and enjoy the show you run!

HOXHOXHOX: remember that BS splits the dmg among the targets, so every time your gonna slam an enemy, place your self so that you cant accidently slam creeps at the same time. This might be the very mistake many Gragas' do giving summoners impression that BS is weaker than it actually is. However I dunno, I have never played against a good Gragas. Hint: getting 5 scores and 10 assists and being satisfied for your success with AP build is not what I consider good.

DRUNKEN RAGE, while keeps you in mana, also buffs your damage and reduces taken damage. Because it costs nothing, simply use it all the time. However, develop an eye to recognise situations where you may need it so you can time the use properly. Take a sip of sima every time before fight and your future stays bright, altought maybe a little bit dizzy, as we older people can tell from the real life. With a single exception of level 1, you will always first use DRUNKEN RAGE and only after that use BODY SLAM. With CD reduction, you reduce the gap between the end of coolddown and end of drunk buff, reduction which is extraordinary important to stay in the middle of the fight.

Dont be pansy, and be afraid to use DRUNKEN RAGE even in the heat of the battle if it has worn off. Simply show your superiority to your enemies by calmly taking a sip from your barrell despite of their futile efforts to hurt you at the same time. On the other hand, if you find your self in the middle of the fight without this buff and your CD is still on for awhile, and, you are getting tremendous punishment, leave the battle and move behind your team mates – they should be there right? Use BODY SLAM to execute this, in order to heal at the same time and to make your leave happen faster. And if your team is not there, you should not be there either. Wait behind your mates to get a new drunk buff, heal a little (which should happen fast because of your abilities and item build) and then BODY SLAM your wayback to the heart of the battle.

EXPLODING CASK is your big shoota! It is not as usefull as most of the other ulties in terms of direct damage. It is more an utility to be able to deliver damage with your melee attacks and with BODY SLAM. However, it has ability to hurt the enemy, too, with a considerable amount of damage, while it is not maybe parallel to other ulties.

First of all, use it to pull an enemy towards your team. This is something Blitzcrump can do also, and even more easily, because EXPLODING CASK is difficult to aim. Why prefer drunken fatty over Blitzscum then? First of all, our germanic lightning can only pull you, it cant push you nor it cant deal damage while pulling you. So he is likely to pull the weakest enemy to ensure the kill. Gragas deals decent damage at the same time enemy makes it's way to him and his team. Then you might say Gragas cant stun and the enemy can escape? Well, what I can say? Read forward and you will find out the incredible secrets of building Gragas no-one has revealed to you before! 

You dont need to stun him, while if you have stun in your team your mate can of course do it. Brilliance of this move is that you can pull both, strong and weak enemies alike, and they all shake in front of you. If you pull a weak champ to you, ulti has dealt damage to him already and it should not be a problem to finish him off fast without a stun. However, you should pull a strong person, say Ryze, to your team. He's not gonna die right away, but good news are that hes gonna die all together.

After pulling him to your team you right away BODY SLAM him. This is not stun, but it slows him down giving your team time to react. At the same time when they are makeing their moves, and Ryze effortlessly trying to run away, you are already hammering him to the ground. This Gragas build has attack speed, melee damage, passive damage, and, if thats not enough, you can always BODY SLAM him again to slow him down, to ensure the kill, to heal yourself, and give your team's ranged champs time to finish him if he's gonna make it anyways. And you should IGNITE him if hes gonna make it.

Secondly, you can use EXPLOSIVE CASK to push your enemies away! 
This is something our Blitzmädelin cant do. It is extremely usefull when your team mates are retreating and they need you to delay enemy. You can save many friends with neatly placed CASKs between your mate and his pursuers. You can also save your friends, and your self too, by relocating an enemy executing AoE ulti, such as Nunu and Fiddle. Let them find themselves from the bushes far away from the battle as your team wipes their team's other members out.

Advanced tactic is to place EXPLODING CASK so that it seaparates the enemy team from each other. This move is a good initiator, placing neatly build Gragas to both roles, quarterback and carry. When enemies run like headless chickens trying to flee to the safety of their base, you can wreak a havoc. After separating the enemy team it is simple to score kill or another and then push a turret or give leverage to your creep wave to psuh a turret while your enemy is struggling to regroup.

WORD OF WARNING: aiming the EXPLOSIVE CASK is extremely hard. Thats also a huge part of the enjoyment one gets from playing Gragas – you can improve over time, and yet still the ability is extremely hard to master. Therefore it is good that the base CD is low already, and we are gonna lower it even more. You can actually spam your ulti, which is far more than most of the other champs can do. 

Dont be afraid to farm with it! This Gragas build is extremely dependable on staying alive and farming both, enemy champs and creeps alike. If you can take single, weak enemy down by wasting your ulti, which actually has nice range, do it! That's something Fiddle, for example, should not do for his team surely ripps his head off if his ulti is on CD when the team fight erupts shortly after using it for a single kill. Gragas, on the other hand, has his ulti ready in no time. So dont forget to build CD instead of, well, what ever you fool AP jesters ever might want to build!

Because of low cooldown you can, and also should, actually farm creeps with your ulti. Dont take out 3 or 4 of them with it, but ten! My Gragas is, as said many times extremely dependant on gold and levels, so farm! Sometimes critical creep waves gather together and this mass jeopardizes your tower. For Gragas, these critical masses are an opportunity! Gragas can take them out in a sec, because he can spääääm his ulti! Ensure no other champ comes in your way – you want the gold and xp your self. This is the drill: hurl your BARRELL into the middle of the stopped creep mass. Then you place your self so that you BODY SLAM to the middle of the creep mass. At this point your passive damage (explained later) is going to be dealt in ruthless manner. Now is the big moment: LET YOUR CASK FLY!

Dont worry – your ulti, if build properly (inc. masteries and runes) is up faster then you can spell ”DIE TWITCH!” in Finnish. Creeps are hurt already so bad that they are not going to be thrown all over the place, but instead they turn to gold. So, our danish showwrestler is not only drunk, he is an alchemist too.

Some might say you dont need to use your ulti, just use your passive dmg, melee dmg and another BODY SLAM spell. Well, BS is not that effective against multiple targets. Creep mass will split the dgm into so many small portions that it is hardly noticed. Thats why it is extremely good against heroes who are not located side by side. Another thing is that you need to move forward quickly. You cant simply stay there and handycraft your way throught the creep mass. With this build you are, despite what that particular senior member troll asks in every single Gragas thread, one of the primary targets for the enemy. You cant be caught alone or they are gonna end your godhood even faster then you spell ”die twitch” in English (which is not actually that fast because after all you are Gragas, but they will end it anyway).

So understand: They WILL target you. First because they think that you are weak and easily killed, and later because they are afraid of you. But you know what they say! Let 'em fear you as long as they hate you... Therefore you do need to use your ulti to wipe the creep mass out fast, and to be able to move out fast also. Ashe in the middle surely needs your help at this point already.

Use it as a probe! One funny and highly usefull feature of the EXPLODING CASK is that it extends your line of the sight. If there would be one wish that Riot would do for me (in addition for hiring me to brew them coffee and make them orient style martial art tea), I would ask that they include this feature to BARRELL ROLL, 2. Atm BARRELL ROLL does not extend your vision, making it practically useless ability.

However, your ulti does it, and luckily we CAN SPÄÄÄÄM IT! When you get some flight hours under your belt, and what most of you already have, you will develop an gaming eye. You get huntch that something is going on in a place where you cant C. To figure out what it is, you can throw out your EXPLODING CASK.

Your line of the sight extends until the ability explodes, which is something like a sec or so? No matter how short time exactly is, it is long enough so that you can gather intel and make informed decisions how to react. There are several war stories I could share with you to explain in more detail how this works. Plz take a look at the bottom of this guide, 2 the section ”war stories.” Basic use, anyway, is to throw it over a wall to see what is going on behind it. If there's an enemy, he might get some damage, be relocated to proper direction and you can engage him with BODY SLAM, and most likely score a kill. If there's an ambush, you can mess it up simply landing your cask into the middle of them. What ever it is, it is definitely worthwhile and enjoyable drama will follow.

Steal the Baron buff! Gragas is also one of the champs who can steal baron with his ulti. Bad thing is that you need to spot the baron first to know excatly when to throw your ulti in. This is why you would need to extend your line of the sight with something else than your ulti, and I hope it could be BARRELL ROLL in near future. You also can utilize your team and ask TF to do the spotting. You might be able to drop a ward into the Nashor's lair, however, I have never done it my self. If you can have visual on baron, you know exaclty when to act.

EC is not the only way to steal baron. You can BODY SLAM your way to Baron too. Nothing is more dramatic than BODY SLAMMING your way to Baron's lair from above, and then hurling both CASK and BARRELL in, and putting in some passive and melee dmg to ensure the kill, and of course, right away to die in front of your enemies. If enemy has security while they attack Baron, it is located in front of or near to the doorway, not above the lair. If your team has guys like Kart, OParrrley, Ashe, TW and Pant, you can actually laugh their futile efforts of getting baron to scorn. Simply wait and go in at the right time. You get the baron and the enemy and the game, 2!

BARRELL ROLL is mostly harmless. That's all one can say about it. Well, it can hurt more you than enemy, if you start spamming it. It is extremely mana hungry so use with care and really rare. The build here is not mana regeneration build because you dont need mana hungry methods and you have some base mana regeneration already so – ignore it until you know it very well. Then you know to ignore it even more.

Part 2...
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