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Gragas is one of the champions I have enjoyed more over the last two years. While I play him exclusively as a burst AP caster in this movie, which I feel is usually his best role, he can be played as a tank and an AD fighter with limited success due to his Drunken Rage buff and his low-cooldown dash.
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Gragas is a very powerful champion, but he does suffer against a lot of current champions who have dashes or other ways of avoiding his skillshots. As a burst caster, failing to land any of his abilities is a huge loss in damage, and tends to leave him unable to do anything but auto attack or position for several seconds.
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He's also a bit buggy. I didn't get into his bugs because they're hard to pin down mechanically, but it's all sorts of small things. For instance, his Happy Hour passive buff will occasionally read out as an entirely different ability. Charging occasionally fails midway for no coherent reason, and if it brushes against a wall in the wrong way he essentially stuns himself for a moment. Sometimes his barrel (like Anivia's shot) is not visible either to the Gragas player or their opponent. And you can screw up his run animation.
He's just an old champion. His mechanics are a frankenstein mix. But he's a genuinely good and enjoyable champion, especially if you're comfortable with skillshots and like burst champions.
Anyway, as a burst caster:
Runes: Red Magic Penetration, Yellow Clarity (mana regen / 5), Blue Force (AP / 5), Potency Quints (flat AP).
Masteries: 21/0/9 with all of the caster perks in offensive, mana and buff duration in utility.
Summoner spells: Ignite/Flash. Teleport occasionally in place of Ignite.
Skills: R - Q first. You always need at least one point in E and W early, but which you choose to max after Q depends on your game situation. Normally I'd max E, but if I felt a team would punish me if I got close, I'd focus on W for a little better laning (and damage reduction when I did get in close, again helpful if a team was going to punsh me).
Items: Any standard caster build will work, though you absolutely must consider survivability against some teams.
Boots: Sorc or Merc Treads (usually Merc Treads).
First big item: Rod of Ages or Rabadon's or 2-3 Doran's. Honestly, I lost nearly every game I prioritized early Doran's, and I usually did well in games where I prioritized Rod of Ages and/or Rabadon's.
Everything from here on out is a decision based on what they're building. Do you want CDR and aren't getting blue? Get CDR from items (Morello's gives you Kage's for a bit, Glacial Shroud/Frozen Heart are good against highly physical teams). Do they have a lot of magic resistance? Void Staff. Need to survive incoming burst? Zhonya's is great.
Against heavy magic teams, Abyssal Scepter has strong synergy, especially since you are more likely to be in range to apply the debuff.
Deathfire's Grasp is amazing, btw! If you're not already used to this for burst casters, start practicing now. With Gragas, a Deathfire Grasp can be the difference between annhilating someone in an instant or waiting several seconds while they shut you down or escape. If you can get this early, do it!
Varus will certainly be the next Don't Feed (provided he's not delayed again). I would like to get him done as soon as possible this week, as our family will be moving to a new home next weekend.
After Varus? I'm not sure. I'm a big fan of Ezreal right now and I would like an excuse to play more of him. Stay tuned!
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Don't Feed is a video series that covers champions in greater detail than the Champion Spotlight. This series is descriptive, not prescriptive, meaning that I aim to provide you with solid information without telling you which items, runes, or masteries are best (as these frequently change). With this information, you can better play against these champions, and you may be interested in learning to play them. Even after more than a thousand games, I am still learning new things about these champions by making these videos, and I'm sure the vast majority of LoL players can learn a lot from these.
My goal is to provide these videos for all champions in League of Legends.