IntroductionGragas. Well... he is pretty fat. He seems to have drinking problem and just looking at him tells me that he doesn't really care about personal hygiene that much. And you know what? I don't care, because he is barrels of fun! (You better get used to puns like these. There will be a lot of them.)
Gragas is very fun champion to play - the fatso-of-all-trades as I like to call him. He can be a tank, a caster and even a decent AD champion. Sadly this varierty bears the drawback that he doesn't really excel with any of those builds. Still, this shouldn't scare you off since every champion can be devastating if played properly. And that's exactly why I'm writing this guide currently. This guide though will only focus on the AP Caster role though, since it's the most viable one.
Without further ado, this is my guide for Gragas - the Caskmaster.
Gragas' roleGragas fits currently best in the role of an Off-Tanky Caster. So in a Team he can fill the role of the main Caster or also the Off-Tank-role. This guide will more focus on the Caster role though, since there are way superior Off-Tanks out there.
He is best picked as counter against AoE-based teams due to his Explosive Cask that can easily cancel channel-abilities or knock dangerous AoE-abilites (Fiddlesticks' Crowstorm / Galio's Idol of Durand) away from your teamates. (or into your team if you're terrible)
Due to his strong midgame and great solo-capabilities he's best placed on a sololane. The best choice currently is solomid, since Gragas can't keep up with the tanky champions that reign solotop currently. Still if the enemy team runs a double AP strat or under under circumstances Gragas can toplane fine as well.
- Base Health increased to 523 from 493
- Armor per level increased to 3.6 from 2.7
- Charge speed increased to 1050 at all ranks from 650/750/850/950/1050
- Mana cost reduced to 50 at all ranks from 50/55/60/65/70
Not that I want to complain, but why? Sure I was pleasantly surprised to read about those buffs, but I never expected them.
On the other hand they're not major buffs. Just some nice additions. A bit more tankyness (17.1 additional Armor at lvl18 is not bad at all) and the adjustments to Body Slam are very nice. With the charge now being the same on every level Drunken Rage does look now like the superior skill to max as second.
Masteries & Runes
Run-of-the-mill Caster Masteries. Nothing much to say here. Wheter you want to sink that on point in utility into movement speed or improved recall is your call. Improved Recall is probably better though since that one 1% won't save your fat ass from anything really.
Gragas has great AP Ratios and the runes should really build up on that fact. Marks, Glyphs and Quints are pretty standard and should definitely be picked that way.
The only debatable ones are the Seals. Good alternatives for the AP at lvl18 are manaregen per/5 at lvl18, Armor or maybe even Life at lvl18 depending who you're going to lane against.
Flash helps a lot to set up your ultimate, since most enemies will keep enough distance to not be barreled towards you. Flash is that cheap little trick to screw them over. In addition, Flash has a nice synergy with Body Slam. Using Flash while slamming won't cancel the ability. This allows you to Bodyslam over minions or "telefat" enemies by Flashing close or directly on top of them.
With the recent nerf at the beginning of Season 2 I feel it's not a mandatory pick anymore. The range got ridculously short and in some cases Ghost or maybe even Exhaust becomes an attractive alternative.
Ignite - Never was a great fan of this summoner, but I did overcome my baser instincts and used it for a couple of rounds. And yes, it does make quite a difference. Having to lane against someone with Ignite while you don't have it automatically forces you to play more passively and therefore have the risk of getting zoned out. And Ignite is usually that particular something that gets you the kill.
is mainly a personal choice of mine. Still it's viable choice for Gragas, since he's very efficient in stopping sudden pushs. Not to mention that teleport allows split pushs and sneaky ganks by teleporting onto hidden Wards. I feel that in a team o'5 at least someone needs to have teleport, since it's just so versatile to not have it in your team. It's a good pick if you are top and don't really intend to kill your lane enemy anyways and instead want to support your team at dragon or ninja gank botlane.
Wait... what? I know this more of a supporter spell, but I find this ability actually quite useful for Gragas. I used to pick it quite a long time instead of Teleport. Since your Barrel Roll has a huge range, you're able to get some sneaky hits in from behind walls. But since it doesn't reveal the area it rolls to, so you're usually end up fishing in the blind, not knowing wheter you actually hit and especially not knowing if the enemy team comes around the corner to show you their appreciation for your little exploding present. Clairevoyance would solve this problem. Still it's more a spell for a true supporter, but Gragas would have to slot in case your team lacks one.
I'm not sure wheter Gragas appreciates it that you're making him run that fast, but it's still a good choice. Again - personal preference. Still Gragas has with Body Slam and Flash already enough escape and chasing capabilities, so Ghost is rather overkill.
Of course it's a summoner more suited for Carries or solotop chars. But it gives this nice edge in a standoff against other nukers.
Every not mentioned is either trash or I haven't used it on Gragas yet.
Passive: Happy Hour
On ability use, Gragas takes a drink restoring 2% of his max health over 4 seconds.
This passive is lovely in the laning phase. It gives you a good Lane stayability and will help you to survive DoT effects like PoisonMalefic Visions, Children of the Grave and even Ignite to a certain extent. It's not that noticeble in lategame and nothing that we care too much as Caster Gragas.
And yes, Spirit Visage does affect it. Still it's not worth purchasing just for that.
Keep in mind that using another ability during the 4 seconds will reset the passive. So try to time your abilities so you can get the full 2% health regeneration. Also don't be shy to Body Slam in place, when you're in need of health.
Q: Barrel Roll
Gragas rolls his cask to a location, which can be activated again to explode or will explode on its own after 5 seconds, dealing 85 / 135 / 185 / 235 / 285 (+90% of ability power) magic damage in the area. Enemies struck by the blast have their attack speed lowered.
Cost 80 / 90 / 100 / 110 / 120 mana
Oh silly internet memes.
Well, doing a barrel roll is that you'll mainly do as AP Gragas. First use of Q will roll the barrel to it's location and as soon as it starts sizzling you can detonate it manually using Q again or just wait until it explodes on it's own after 5 seconds.
Important: The cooldown of this ability is not affected by the time of the detonation. The ability starts to cool down as soon as the barrel reached it's location. So "cooking" the barrel won't bring you any drawback. Actually with enough cooldown reduction you can immediately roll a new barrel when the old one explodes after 5 seconds.
"Cooking" the barrel is actually pretty useful to keep the enemy away from the minions. As long as you're not directly aiming for an enemy it's generally better to cook the barrel as long as possible until you can either land some last hits or an enemy is oblivious enough to run into it's explosion range.
Since it's a skillshot it will take you some time to get used to hit enemies with it. Generally it's best to get as close as possible (this means still having a safe distance from the enemy) before rolling and trying to lead the enemies' movement.
Other than that it does a good amount of damage, has a wide range and is hard to dodge without boots. Placed properly and with some luck you can hit the melee and the ranged minions with one barrel. Also you'll need a good amount of extra abilitiy power to be able to one-hit ranged minions with it in mid-game.
Since the spell has a massive range but rather slow rolling speed, try to roll the barrel through walls, out of brushes or other unexpected spots leaving them no time to dodge it.
W: Drunken Rage
Gragas guzzles down brew from his cask, channeling for 1 second. He gains 30 / 45 / 60 / 75 / 90 mana while channeling, and becomes empowered after finishing, increasing physical attack damage by 30 / 40 / 50 / 60 / 70, and reducing damage taken by 10 / 12 / 14 / 16 / 18% for 20 seconds.
Cooldown 30 seconds
Gragas' Fuel. Gives a good amount of mana, but more importantly let's you take less damage and grants you some attack strength, which gives your Body Slam a good damage boost.. In addition it's a channel ability, so don't accidentaly cancel it. You might get a bit of mana back, but you won't get the damage reduction or the attack buff.
During the laning phase use it whenever it's ready, since you'll probably bump into some mana problems from Level 5-6 on without any proper manareg item. Also make sure to never enter a fight not-drunkenraged. It doesn't look like it but Gragas is rather fragile without his booze empowering him.
In Mid- and Lategame you should have enough manaregen to not rely on Drunken Rage's extra mana anymore. It's best to keep this ability ready, so you can instantly use it when a teamfight breaks out. It's very hazardeous if Drunken Rage runs out in the middle of the fray and can cost you your fat life. So it's best to keep it ready so you can instantly use it once a teamfight breaks out.
E: Body Slam
Gragas charges forward, colliding with the first enemy unit he hits and dealing 80 / 120 / 160 / 200 / 240 (+50% of ability power) plus 66% of his physical damage to enemies in the area. Damage is split amongst targets hit. Units hit by Body Slam are slowed by 35% for 2.5 seconds.
Cost 50 / 55 / 60 / 65 / 70mana
This ability looks actually quite simple and boring, but believe me: This is the most hilarious ability in the whole game and I LOVE IT.
First off, there are many ways to die in the league. Getting shot by an cunning frostarcher, getting zapped by a powerful rogue mage, getting stabbed by some "DEMACIAAAA"-shouting tin can, but dying to the enormous tummy from an oversized boozing dwarf has to be the most humilating death the league has to offer. And that's exactly makes this ability so enjoyable to use.
Other than that this ability is incredibly versatile. It's good for chasing, escaping and pretty much serves as the flash for the obese people. Well it's not exactly a flash, but the whole space-time continuum would probably collaps if Gragas would flash through.
It's also useful to just put some distance behind you. This ability also quite spammable to get quicker from A to B and gives you ridiculous mobility.
Bodyslam is also quite abusable. First off you're able to defy all physics and bodyslam through thin walls. This is especially important for ganking, chasing and escaping. Just keep in mind that the ability ends prematurely if you bump into anything living.
In addition you're able to cast other spells while bodyslamming. For example starting the bodyslam and then immediately casting Drunken Rage will cause Gragas to drink while slamming. It's a bit buggy though and the channling bar won't show up. But just wait a second after ending the Bodyslam and the buff will be applied. It also helps to set up a sudden Explosive Cask. Sadly Gragas "forgets" about your command if he finishes the bodyslam without reaching the cast range. So it's rather wonky and will take some time to get used to.
Another fun thing to do is checking for stealth champions. Slam randomly around and if you bump into something - there he is!
Here's a video where I show off some applications for Body Slam:
It's pretty old but it still serves the purpose.
R: Explosive Cask
Gragas throws his cask to an area. Upon landing, it deals 200 / 325 / 450 (+100% of ability power) magic damage to all units struck, knocking them back.
Cooldown 90 / 75 / 60seconds
Cost 100 / 125 / 150mana
This ulti has many nicknames. "Come here!", "Piss off!" or also "Skillshot for the lazy people". And that pretty much describes the uses of this ability. It's either to pull enemies towards you, push them away from you or your mate or to finish off wounded enemies. And since the range and the radius is redunculous, therefore the name "Skillshot for the lazy people".
In case it's not obvious enough: The direction of the knockback depends on which side of the explosion center the enemy is standing.. Explosion goes boom, pushes everyone to the left of it away to the left, everyone to the right of it to the right and everyone out of range nowhere etc.
As already mentioned the range and the radius might be huge on this ulti, but it's probably one of the hardest skillshot to use. The throw of this beauty can decide the whole outcome of teamfights, since there is a slight difference wheter you'll chuck the squishy carry or the grim-looking enemy tank into your team.
That's why it's best if you wait for a good opportunity to use. Usually a stun, a snare or a massive slow is the perfect opportunity to give them "some free booze". Also try to calculate in blink (Ezreal's Arcane Shift) or hastes (Kennen's Lightning Rush) of some champions.
In addition Explosive Cask can cancel channel abilities, which can serve as a life saver in teamfights.
Fiddlesticks getting ready to crow? Barrel to the face!
Malzahar looking funny at your mate? Barrel to the face!
Katarina doing the merry-go-round? Boot to the head! ...no wait. Barrel to the face!
That's why this ability should rather be used as reaction and not as initiator, unless there is really a 100% chance served on a silver platter.
The damage on the cask is until Level3 not significantly higher than your Barrel Roll. So the enemy has to be very low to really serve as a finisher rather than a "pusher to safety". (as often seen on terrible Tristanas as well)
Since the cooldown on this ultimate is rather low on rank 3 it can also be used for farming if there's no teamfight coming up.
More about the specific use of the ultimate in "Teamfights".
Pretty straightforward. There can be little alterations at the beginning though...
- If you intend to get First Blood, start with Body Slam instead of Barrel Roll. It slows and does insane Damage against single targets. Pick Drunken Rage at Level 2 for the Mana regeneration.
- In heaty Situations, it's better to pick Body Slam already with Level 3. This allows you to attack or to retreat easier in case shit is hitting the fan.
Why are you skilling Drunken Rage instead of Body Slam?
Well Timmy, that's pretty simple:
- Drunken Rage gives you Mana back. Mana you definitely need in the laning phase.
- Drunken Rage gives you attack power and Bodyslam scales with attack damage. In other words by leveling Drunken Rage you also increase the damage of Bodyslam.
- So the only aspect left is that the mana cost for Body Slam doesn't increase with leveling, which can be neglected in favor for the higher Basic Attack damage, which actually contributes quite a lot in early game.
Still in the end it's your decision. Both ways sure work, but I'm too old and stubborn to change my opinion.
Doran's Ring is probably the best choice for fatty. Together with Runes you'll start with a whopping 38AP which means painful harassments. The 80HP gives a good amount of Life and the manaregen helps you to be aggressive early. The Health Pots is usually not that bad, your passive keeps your most of the times healthy enough to compensate for those basic attack pokes and puny spells from your enemy laner.
An alternative depending on your lane enemy is to start with the usual
The best way to go are the usual double Doran's, Boots and then building towards Rabadon's (idealy starting with Needlessly Large Rod).
If your lane is being painful to you, you can also go for Catalyst the Protector first.
Finishing the Core:
MOAR POWAR? - Get yourself a fancy hat - Rabadon's Deathcap to be precise. Even though the "More Power!"-philosophy always failed for Tim Taylor, more power is exactly what Gragas needs.
I'm too Squishy - Ideally you want to Rush Rabadon's asap. But there's no use of getting a huge amount of AP if they focus you down in a split second. Get Catalyst the Protector - if this suffices as def go for Rabadon's, otherwise build it to a Rod of Ages. And if nothing else - make a Banshee's Veil out if it.
Finish your Boots - Ionian Boots of Lucidity is my current favorite pick, Sorcerer's Shoes are nice as well, Mercury's Treads for heavy cc teams, Boots of Mobility help to set up your ulti and if you're in the ganking mood.
Boots aren't really that important on Gragas tough, focus on finishing your first core item first.
Cooldown-Reduction? - Gragas profits a lot from Cooldown-Reduction. Since you can't just barge in with Body Slam or throw your ultimate into the fray whenever your please, you're mostly relying on your Q. So it's important to have this ability on a short cooldown as possible. In addition a low cooldown on BodySlam gives better Mobility and a low cooldown ultimate allows you to "cask" it up to two times in a teamfight.
We either got the choice between Deathfire Grasp or Morello's Evil Tome. I personally prefer Grasp since it makes up for Gragas' lacking amount of reliable, ranged Nukes, but of course it's situational.
Usually the Ionian Boots suffice for CDR, since you'll most likely have a blue once in a while and get yourself an Elixir of Brilliance.
Too fragile? - Get Rylai's Crystal Scepter (Starting with Giant's Belt.) or Banshee's Veil (Starting with Catalyst the Protector if you need more health or Negatron Cloak if the lack of Magic Resist ist he problem) I'm usually peachy with a Rod, but sometimes the situations calls for a thicker skin.
At this point you can usually sell your Doran's to get another a Slot for Wards / Elixirs or item components. Your Manaregrunes should be able to regenerate enough Mana to keep you going, unless you're spamming like there's no tomorrow.
Close Combat possible? Get Lich Bane. If there are dangerous Melee DPS Champions like Irelia, Renekton etc. around, you should rather refrain from getting that item. They usually end up killing you quicker than you can nuke them.
Need Magicresist? Get either Abyssal Scepter or already mentioned Banshee's Veil if they have dangerous cc.
Lots of Magicresist? - Void Staff will penetrate it. This should be a priority item, especially when you went for the Cooldown-Boots instead of Sorcerer's Shoes.
Getting surpressed? - Quiksilver Sash is a very underrated item and beats Banshee's Veil in many aspects.
Predictable Nukes or Heavy DPS? - Zhonya's Hourglass. The well-timed active can save you from nukes like Karthus' Requiem or Veigar's Primordial Burst and the armor provides protection against DPS-champions.
And what about...?
- I haven't used that Item on Gragas yet, but I do think it could be a nice situational Item against heavy Nukers like LeBlanc, Viktor and others.
- Bollocks. Gragas doesn't need a huge Manapool and can't really afford to buy a Tear early game, since he either needs AP or HP but not Mana.
- Honestly - no clue. Bought that item maybe once in my entire lifetime.
- Icky. Eats an item slot and doesn't offer that much. Maybe if you get locked down by cc the whole time and you already bought tier 2 boots, but the item is very, very situational.
- Ha, memories. Used to buy this item when I first started to play Gragas. And I would say it's not even half-bad on Gragas if its stats wouldn't be so incredibly pooey.
- Gragas does already enough TONS OF DAMAGE. After all, he probably also weights a couple of TONS.
- Nieh. Of course more HP means more regen from your passive, but you're a nuker. Not a tank. And unlike Anivia (See Froggen's famous Warmogs/Soulstealer build) you rely way more on your AP ratios than deep-frozen chicken.
- This is item is pretty bad on Gragas. All your spells are AoE and you cast in pretty slow intervals unlike other Mages that greatly profit from WotA.
Only really buy it if you got a second mage on your team and you both go double WotA for fun and profit.
General Tips & TricksSince there are a couple of things that can't be explained that well in words and images I figured I make a quick video guide with several small things that can help you becoming a master in the art of rolling the barrel:
In case the video doesn't work, here's the direct link to it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-3FVEKTmDw
PS: The video's only blurry for the first minute during the introductory babble.
The video covers following topics:
- Quick meta-analysis (Patch v220.127.116.11)
- Leashing Golem
- Regular kill during Laning phase.
- Counterjungling / Jungling Ganking
- When not to use Drunken Rage
- Using your ultimate to separte the enemy team
The video is already a bit obsolete, but most points still apply.
LaningGragas is best placed on midlane and in certain situations also solotop.
Champions you can lane against:
Squishier Champions with no/weak healing abilites, area based and/or close range abilities.
Gragas' biggest advantage is his range and his mobility. Barrel Roll allows him to stay out of harms way and still be able to harass. Body Slam allows him to dodge area based abilites like Brand's Pillar of Flame or simply blink through terrain like Jarvan's Cataclysm.
Champions you can't lane against:
Champions with strong healing abilities and high resists.
Gragas just doesn't possess the needed DPS to keep those champions at bay. They are usually tanky enough to just simply ignore the barrels and leech themselves up in the minions, completely overshadowing Gragas from level +7 on. So you end up getting brutally zoned and most likely also killed.
Gragas is a pretty save laner. Even as caster you're pretty sturdy. In addition, you got your Body Slam to move around quickly and later on your ulti if someone just can't stop hugging you.
For laning you can either go for the harassing or the farming route, depending how the "laning atmosphere" is. In other words using the barrels on the minions or the enemies.
For farming it's best to barrel for the weaker ranged Minions. Like I said in the ability description - roll the barrel early and cook it until you're able to get last hits from it.
Drunken Rage ist also a great help for last hitting due to the incraesed base damage. From ability level 2 on you should be able to last hit ranged minions, which got hit by one tower shot.
Body Slam also helps to finish off weakened minions, who got e.g. already damaged by your Barrel Roll.
You should refrain from using your Ulti to farm in early game though, since the damage is rather low and it's best to have it ready for emergency cases like sudden ganks.
As mentioned in the ability description: Get as close as possible before using Barrel Roll, so your enemies aren't able to dodge it. Of course so close that you're still save which means out of ability or basic attack range. E.g. you can get ridiculously close to Rammus, but at the same distance Renekton might consider jumping in your face and making very greasy Shishkebab out of you. Alternatively just roll barrels out of the brush, so they won't see you rollin' (so they can't be hatin')
If an enemy champions is not surrounded by other units and it's safe enough you can try to Body Slam in his pretty face, then give him a barrel and some basic attacks extra. Make sure your Drunken Rage is active though.
If you successfully knock someone back with your Ultimate, estimate the "knockback destination" and try to greet them with a Body Slam to instantly slow them.
Not like you should ever duolane with Gragas, but here are some examples for good and bad laning mates:
What Gragas needs mostly as laning mate is someone to help him setup his ultimate. This means every champion with a good stun or root like Taric, Sion or Morgana are pretty good for him.
Gragas can also be more of a supportive lanemate as a big fat drunken protector and protecting squisher champions like Veigar to get his last hits.
Basically all champions with area-/channel- or skillshotbased ultimates.
This includes Ashe (Enchanted Crystal Arrow), Annie (Summon: Tibbers), Fiddlesticks (Crowstorm), Galio Idol of Durand), Kennen (Slicing Maelstrom), Lux (Finales Funkeln), Sona (Crescendo).
Of course this doesn't mean that there's no way in hell you can lane with those, but it requires good communication with your partner to prevent screw ups. E.g. accidentaly knocking your enemy out of channelrage of Malzahar's Nether Grasp or knocking someone away which causes Ashe's Enchanted Crystal Arrow to miss.
It's basically a double-edged sword. Laning with those champions can either turn out positive like knocking someone back into Nunu's Absolute Zero or negative by knocking them out of it.
Caster Gragas is an awesome sololaner.
Due to the large range of Barrel Roll you're always pretty close to your tower and so quite save from harassments. Due to your high Health Regeneration and the reduced damage from Drunken Rage you're able to take some punishment from enemy harasses when farming last hits at your tower. And as soon as you hit Level 6 people your enemies will be more cautious when pushing the tower. And if they're not, they probably going to die.
Important about sololaning though is that you shouldn't risk anything on your own. You're here to hold and not push the lane. Dying once can already be enough that your tower gets pushed. And why should risk such an advantageous position? You're leveling faster and get more gold than your lane enemies. The longer this phase endures, the larger the drawback they'll have later on. And if you're having trouble defending tell you're jungling mate, to help you out with a gank. And if you have a solo lane due to a disconnected Champion, maybe the middle can help you out. Otherwise... well... sucks to be you then.
Gragas is his most common and best position.
Middle basically follows the same principle like normal laning, except that you're on your own. Either farm or harass. In addition you can be more aggressive with your Body Slam.
Also keep your eyes peeled for misses. Maybe get a Sight Ward or two for the side bushes after the first recall and mayben even a Vision Ward if there are Stealth champions like Evelynn skulking around.
Gragas is a pretty decent ganker.
The easist way to gank is to knock a the enemy with Explosive Cask into the tower, while they're pushing it. It's best to wait for an initiation like a slow, root or stun to place your alcoholic surprise properly. Try to slow them using Body Slam use Flash if necessary to pass the minions on the way.
Gragas speciality though is ganking the enemy Jungler. His mobility allows him to sneak in and out of the enemy jungle quite easily, which is a strength you definitely need to use, which's demonstrated in the General Tips & Tricks video.
As I already mentioned Gragas isn't best suited for top. But there are of course some exceptions. Like I said champions without or not that much sustain are winnable matchups for Gragas. Champions like Rumble or Jarvan are pretty good match-ups for fatty.
Still Gragas can still safely farm with his Barrel Roll and avoid fights with ease due to his huge range. This tactic can be used if your teams toplaner gimps the enemy mid, which would usually gimp you. Let's say if your Riven midlanes against Kassadin and you go top against Renekton. Of course you can not win against Renekton, but you can still farm pretty well while Kassadin in mid gets the living bejeebus beaten out of him.
As solotop I recommend getting a Catalyst the Protector first building into a . Mainly since you'll be relying much more on your barrel to last hit and may not be in range for blue buff. Plus pick up Teleport to support your team in Dragon fights or for ninja ganking botlane.
Early game aggression is the key. Pre 6 you should be stronger. Especially since Charm shouldn't cancel a running Body Slam. Past 6 she'll dodge all of your spells so you're just better of pushing the lane aggressively so she can't go gank lanes without loosing her tower.
You're actually a pretty good counter against Akali. Your Q covers like 80% of her stealth and your R allows you to knock her out of her smoke bomb. Still avoid that she can proc her Q on you, but play aggresive and make use of your drunken raged Basic attacks.
Gragas is pretty much a hard counter vs. Anivia. Body Slam not only allows your to phase through her wall, dodge her Q, it can also delay the impact of her icycle long enough so it won't proc the bonus damage because you're not slowed anymore. Use your Q mainly to harass and make lasthits with basic attacks.
Gragas is a good choice vs. Annie. Range of your Q allows you lasthit without getting in stunrange and if her stun isn't up you can harass her well with Body Slam, Basic Attacks and Qs. Plus Gragas is usually tanky enough to withstand Annie's Roflstomp-Combo.
Brand can outplay you hard in the first levels if he plays smart. Stay passive first, get some damage in with your Q and better save your Body Slam for dodging his stun or his pillar. From Level6 on your should be able to outdamage him though. Might want to start with Boots + 3HP Pots and Skill Bodyslam at lvl3 against him. Early Catalyst is a good option if you're getting your ass kicked.
Cassiopeia is like for every other champion a huge pain - especially since you are melee. Good players will predict your obvious movement to last hit and take advantage of it. Still I think early aggression is the key to killing Cassio. It's all about avoiding her Q and then go for the dunk. But easier said than done.
Fizz is quite a pain. He will dodge your barrels and will out-DPS you autoattack-wise. So going aggressive against fishy has no use. It's best to respond to his dash with a Body Slam and disengage. You can't really use your barrels against him as long as his Playful / Trickster is up.
In midgame just push your lane and go either farm some jungle camps or go gank. Or push the tower if Fizz is ganking one of the sidelanes.
Starter Items: /
Galio is a boring matchup, he will most likely have enough sustain and MagicResist to not be easily killable. Still you can bully him out of lane, by heavily relying on your autoattacks. After all you are both Melee and you are the stronger one.
Well... play better than him. Period.
Little nerd is obnoxious, but not really a huge threat. He can deny you hard though since you're melee and he'll probably poke the crap out of you with his Rockets. From Level6 though you should be able to nuke him down quickly.
Karthus isn't a huge threat. And he'll most likely be busy farming instead of harassing you. As a tip: If he catches you with his wall: Attack. There's nothing more obnoxius for Karthus if you suddenly attack instead of run away. Otherwise harass with Q, finish him with Body Slam, Ult and ignite.
Well he's an Antimage. He'd to a pretty bad job if he wouldn't counter you, now would he?
Still you're better off being aggressive. Maybe less harassing with your Q since the silence will usually prevent you from detonating your barrel in time but more with Body Slam and basic attacks. Make sure to call miss frequently. Kassadin ganks strong and often - if he does try to push the lane and get the mid tower. Rushing Mercury Treads and/or early Catalyst is a good choice against him.
Jumpy gal, I'm telling ya. Nothing too bad though. Use your Q to harass only if she used her Shumppo or doesn't have anything to jump to. Use your ult to counter hers or finish her off.
Hamster on crack. Terribly annoying. Stay behind your creeps so he can't hit you with his Q, don't get tagged by his Lightning Rush and try to avoid his basic attacks empowered by his passive. Otherwise the usual. Harass with Q, last hit with basic attacks finish him off with Q, Body Slam, Ult and Ignite. Early Catalyst is an option against him.
Starter Items: /
LeBlough... again Anti-Mage and darn good counter to Gragas. Best thing to do is just to stay passive the whole time and last hit. If you don't feed her, she'll be a pushover later on. Make sure to call misses frequently. If LeBlough can't get kills in mid - she'll gank. If she does - push the lane and try to get the tower. Again early Mercs and/or Catalyst are a good choice.
Besides a manical laughter Lux doesn't have that much to offer.
At least not much that Gragas really fears. Yes, her autoattack poke hurts and is annoying but it's not enough to push your out of lane. Harass her with your Q and only engange with Body Slam, when she misses her snare. Altough an attempted snare is usually a telltale sign for a jungle gank, so beware your fatrolls.
Just as a random drop-off: Malzahar's a douche.
Otherwise than being a douche he shouldn't be too bad. Try to keep him down before Level6 and stay passive past 6 because of his ult. If you can predict his ult usage (for e.g. by suddenly flashing to you) you can instantly counter it by using your ultimate. He starts channling - gets instantly knocked away breaking the channel and you have a good laugh.
Congratulations - you just lost your lane.
Mordekaiser is a really, really tough matchup for you and you won't win it unless your jungler gives you a hand or Morde is mentally handicapped.
You do have a slight chance in the earlier levels, when he can't build up his shield that well yet, but as soon as he has his revolver it's practically impossible to win a 1v1 against him, so don't even try it.
Morgana is unkillable - period. Don't try to kill her, don't even think about trying it. You simply won't make it. Just farm and maybe try to harass her off the lane, even though you should rather focus on farming. Other than that your ult is a perfect and save spellshield remover - doesn't knock her around, still does a tidbit of damage and the cc of your fellow ganking jungler can trigger without any problem.
Don't be silly - nobody plays her anymore.
She isn't terrible threatening because of her low damage. And since you're tanky as Gragas anyway you can play pretty aggressively.
Ryze and shine, Mr. Freeman.
He's strong. Would call him a viable counter to Gragas. Constant harasses with his Q, Cage prevents you from using your Body Slam. Still Ryze needs his core Items to become a real real threat. Early he is squishy, his damage is rather low and he's very mana hungry. So keep him down before he gets his core together.
Isn't too bad for Gragas. Harass him right when his shield goes on Cooldown. Save your Body Slam to fly gracefully away from his stun, so he can't pop his shield on you.
Swain not that much of a pain. (harharhar)
Keep him down Pre6. You are much, much stronger than him. Harass him, tank through his laserbird and make his life miserable. Because as soon as he has his Catalyst he's going to be ugly and too tanky to just simply nuke down. Just push the lane instead and go gank.
Never played against him up to this point, but he's a popular choice lately. I think he shouldn't be too hard, but then again there's the factor wheter you damage him or not, if he jumps onto you while you're body slamming.
That wretch that forced you to change your "Cask Master" title! Make him pay!
It's actually a pretty good matcup for you. He's squishy, has no sustain, his stun is very obviously telegraphed and has a small range. Plus you can pretty much nullify the stun by using Body Slam before getting stunned. So you can basically counterinitiate by Bodyslamming directly into him, while he throws his gold card.
D'awww... how cuuuuuuuuute.
But seriously, Veigar isn't a strong early game champion, but he's a strong gank initiator. Get too aggressive, he lands a stun and the enemy jungler beats the booze out of you. If you get caught in his Event Horizon you can Bodyslam through the border - you still get stunned, but most of the stun ticks off while you're still slamming. Still try to harass hard early game, so he can't farm AP.
Vladimir sucks - literally and metaphorically.
Harass hard early game, keep him down. Since +lvl7 he'll be a huge pain in your oversized buttecks.
Viktor's pretty nasty. Very aggressive mage that pokes the living bejeebus out of you - especially as melee. However Viktor lacks escapes. It's best to instruct your jungler to gank mid in the earlier levels as often as possible. If Viktor gets off to a bad start, he'll be less of a threat later on.
Xerath is a strong midlaner.
Still basic rules apply. If he tags you with an E and starts showering you with his ult, either Body Slam away or knock him away with your ult - or actually engage by knocking him towards you.
I never laned against Ziggs but I would say he could be pretty nasty for Gragas.
Huge range, lots of poke, area denial... Things that Gragas wouldn't really drink to. Yet it's Ziggs and Ziggs isn't a particularly strong champion in my opinion.
So I'd say he shouldn't be a particular bother.
Starter Items: /
Poor old man.
I never considered Zilean as a strong mid and Gragas doesn't think any differently. His pathing is very predictable when he wants to bomb you, so get a Q in or even engage with your Body Slam if he isn't in the middle of the creeps. Zilean is only strong if you let him put bombs on your head all the time and never strike back. Zilean is squishy, Zilean eats mana like Swiss people eat chocolate. Force him to use his E to avoid damage, Harass back when he's trying to bomb you. Be aggressive.
Mid GameAround this point of the game it will become clear wheter you can win your lane or not.
- Make sure your lane is properly warded. in the river or even a if the enemy team has a ganking stealth champion - or if you just want to be a douche and destroy your lane enemies Wards. If you need some good ward spots, here they are:
- Never. EVER. waste your Ultimate for farming before you got it to rank 3. It will bite you in the ass. Always consider that you still have your Body Slam to disengage fights. Only use your ultimate when it's really needed.
- If your jungler or any other ally doesn't need Blue buff - get it. It will help a lot - especially in disadvantageous situations, since you'll be relying on your Q a lot.
If you have the advantage try to zone with the enemy as good as possible. Use you're Q only to harass and let you're Drunken Enraged Basic attacks do the last hitting.
If you're loosing stay passive and try to get last hits with your Q. From Level 9 on your should be able to one-hit casters minions and Drunken Rage should garantuee some easy last hits underneath the tower. Try to setup a ganks or at least strong harasses with your team to prevent your lane enemy from getting too much farm.
If you're lane is pushed or got pushed already, help out on the other lanes. Especially for defending towers, since your Q is perfect for killing minions out of a safe range. Keep Map Awareness up at important spots like Dragon or the river in general.
Always keep your ultimate ready to prevent enemy ganks or support your own ones by separating the enemy team, interrupting channel abilites or killing that one guy, that just flashed over the wall with <100HP.
Late Game- Since no ability except your ult gives vision to scout, you have to move very carefully around the map. In unscouted areas, try to stand close to ledges that allow you to escape per Body Slam.
- Deny enemy Pushing. Gragas can clear out entire lanes quickly with his Q or even in a split second using his ultimate.
- Gragas is excellent at stealing Buffs like Golem Dragon or even Nashor. Place your Q on the target, throw your ultimate and detonate your Q at the impact of your ulti for a high damage nuke.
- Play the harassing Game. Gragas' mobility and huge range allow him to get some sneaky damage in. Roll it through walls, roll it out of the brush, roll it from the hidden, but always have an escape plan with your Body Slam ready. In the same way you're even able to initiate teamfights by separating one or two enemy champions from their group - still it's rather risky if their movement is erratic and there's no slow/root/stun that aids with your aim.
- Warding is very important in lategame. If your inventory space gets too tight, sell your Doran's Ring to get money and spaces for Wards.
Adjust your build to the enemy team!
After the core build, you got to study the enemy team in order to find out what items are going to help you the most.
- Do need to build your Catalyst the Protector into a Banshee's Veil, because you constantly get hit by Ashe's Enchanted Crystal Arrow or do you just need some Health from your Rod of Ages? Do you even get focused enough, so it's necessary to build a Catalyst or can you move on to move on to more offensive items?
- Is the enemy stacking Magic Resist, so it's beneficial to get a Void Staff?
- Can your team profit from spellvamp enough to get a Will of the Ancients?
- Do you constantly get focused down by a single target or is there a strong HP-Stacker, so a Deathfire Grasp could be a good choice?
- Do they have strong cc so it's better so switch to Mercrury Treads or buy a Quicksilver Sash.
TeamfightsGragas isn't a particularly strong champion in teamfights - he's actually quite weak, since he can't contribute that much as other casters do due to the lack of nuking abilites. That's why it's better to avoid direct teamfights and rather play the harassing game and picking off single targets who overexpand.
Using your ultimate
The very first and important thing is to decide how you're going to use your ultimate. The initial use most emerges from the enemy teamsetup, but in most teamfights it ends up being a spontaneous decision. I priorize the use of the ultimate the following way:
1. Disrupting the enemy
There a lot of dangerous ultimates out there, most of them only when they can be fully executed. And this is the part where fat man shines - disrupting (channel)-abilities Due to the high range and radius Gragas can easily cancel ranged Ultis like Miss Fortune's Bullet Time.
Disrupting also means just simply knocking away Meleechampions from their designated target to get your friend some breathing air. Altough AoE-Abilities like Idol of Durand do have a higher priority.
2. Seperating enemy team
This can often be combined with "Disrupting Abilities" since during channeling-Abilities champion stay stiff like board and are easy prey to be knocked in a certain direction. Say a Warwick overexpands and hops head first with Infinite Duress in your mates' face. Instantly use the Cask so Kittycat gets his claws off his cat tree and gets knocked towards you. Be so nice and greet him with your decently sized tummy and invite him for a drink when you're on it.
Well, not much to say. It does good amount of damage. So if the whole enemy sits in the radius of your cask - throw that darn thing. Still keep in mind that if you use it as damage nuke, that you don't automatically open up their escape by knocking them completely away from the commotion.
Actions in Teamfights
First off, make sure that Drunken Rage is active respectively use it. The 20 seconds are usually long enough for the main battle and damage reduction isn't all that important for chasing / escaping.
Try to hit with prority-targets like carries with Barrel Roll (especially DPS carries since it slows attack speed), see if there's a single out target you can hit with Body Slam, but NEVER charge into the whole group with it - it's suicide as Caster Gragas. And since it will hit several targets, the damage output will be pathetic. Instead use it to sneak around the enemy to maybe knock the squishies into your team or just simply kill them.
Always keep an eye out for occasion where you ultimate is needed to achieve any of the goals as listed above.
If you're winning, try to chase and slowdown people with Body Slam or knock them, if you still have it, back with Explosive Cask.
If escaping, see if you can slowdown some chasers with your Body Slam who're after an almost dead ally (Provided you got enough health to actually survive your heroic deed.) or just knock them back with Explosive Cask.
Pros & Cons
- Strong (Solo)-Laner due to lanesustain and good harass
- Strong Early- and Midgame
- Ridiculous Burst potential
- Decent chaser / escaper due to high mobility
- Versatile, unique low-cooldown Ultimate.
- The satisfying "bump"-sound knowing that you just buried a poor frost archer underneath your blubbery tummyrolls.
- Rather weak Lategame
- Subpar compared to regular casters, because...
* Less offensive spells. (2.5, while other casters have 3 or even 4)
* Body Slam very risky and rather ineffective in teamfights.
* Less reliable spells. (3 Skillshots)
* Rather long cooldown on his main damage nuke.
- Terribly placed Ultimate can screw over the whole team.
Final CommentsWell, that's finally it. The end of the line. I hope somebody actually bothers to read through this novel and that it's actually going to be useful for someone. Please make sure to rate and especially comment - I'm always open for feedback.
Keep on rollin' those barrels. Cheers!