Malcolm Graves is a wanted man in every realm, city-state, and empire he has visited. Tough, strong-willed, and above all, relentless, through his life of crime he has amassed (then invariably lost) a small fortune.
Raised in the wharf alleys of Bilgewater, Malcolm quickly learned how to fight and how to steal, skills that have served him very well over the years. Smuggling himself to the mainland in the bilge of an outgoing cargo ship as a youth, he stole, lied, and gambled his way from place to place. But it was across the table of a high-stakes card game that Malcolm met the man who would change his life: the trickster now known as Twisted Fate. Both men saw the same reckless love of danger and adventure in the other, and a dysfunctional partnership that lasted nearly a decade was born.
Combining their unique skills, Graves and Twisted Fate were an effective team, pulling off scores of heists. They stole from and swindled the rich and foolish for cash, fame, and the sheer thrill. Adventure became as much of a lure as the payoff.
On the borderlands of Noxus, they set two renowned houses at each other's throats as cover for the rescue of an heir apparent being held hostage. That they pocketed the reward money only to ransom the vile young man to the highest bidder should have come as no surprise to their employer. In Piltover, they hold the distinction of being the only thieves ever to crack the supposedly impenetrable Clockwork Vault. Not only did the two empty the vault of its treasures, but they tricked its guards into loading it onto their hijacked cargo ship. Only once the pair were over the horizon was the theft discovered, along with Fate's trademark playing card.
But eventually their luck ran out. During a heist that went wrong, Twisted Fate seemingly betrayed and abandoned his partner. Graves was taken alive and thrown in the infamous prison known as the Locker.
Years of imprisonment and torture followed, during which time Graves nursed his hatred for his former partner. A lesser man would surely have broken, but Malcolm Graves endured it all and finally escaped. He clawed his way to freedom and began his pursuit of Twisted Fate, the man whose treachery consigned him to a decade of unspeakable misery.
Years later, Graves finally had his showdown with Twisted Fate. Yet, after learning the truth of what had gone down between them and escaping certain death at the hands of Gangplank with his old comrade, Graves put his vengeance aside. Older, if not wiser, the pair look to pick up where they left off, seeking to make themselves rich using their unique blend of trickery, heists, and focused violence.
Holed up in an empty bar, bleeding from a dozen wounds and surrounded by armed men who wanted him dead, Malcolm Graves had seen better days. He’d seen worse ones, too, so he wasn’t worried yet. Graves leaned over the smashed bar and helped himself to a bottle, sighing as he read the label.
"It's the most expensive bottle I have..." said the innkeeper, cowering below the bar in a glittering ocean of broken glass.
Graves looked around the bar and grinned.
"I reckon it's the only bottle you got left."
The man had panic written all over him. He clearly wasn't used to being in the middle of a gunfight. This wasn't Bilgewater, where fatal brawls broke out ten times a day. Piltover was regarded a more civilized city than Graves's hometown. In some ways, at least.
He yanked the cork free with his teeth and spat it to the floor before taking a swig. He swilled it around his mouth like he’d seen rich folks do before swallowing it.
"Pisswater," he said, "but beggars can't be choosers, huh?"
A voice shouted through the broken windows, buoyed with confidence it hadn't earned and the false bravado of numbers.
"Give it up, Graves. There's seven of us to one of you. This ain't going to end well."
"Damn straight it ain't," hollered Graves in return. “If you want to walk away from this, you best go fetch more men!"
He took another swig from the bottle, then put it down on the bar.
"Time to get to work," he said, lifting his one-of-a-kind shotgun from the bar.
Graves reloaded, pushing fresh shells home. The weapon snapped together with a satisfyingly lethal sound, loud enough to carry to the men outside. Anyone who knew him would know that sound and what it meant.
The outlaw slid off the barstool and made his way to the door, glass crunching beneath his boot heels. He stooped to glance through a cracked window. Four men crouched behind makeshift cover: two on the upper floor of a fancy workshop, another two in shadowed doorways to either side. All held crossbows or muskets at the ready.
"We tracked you halfway across the world, you son of a bitch," shouted the same voice. "Bounty didn't say nothin' about you being alive or dead. Walk out now with that cannon of yours held high and there don't need to be no more bloodshed."
"Oh, I'm comin' out," shouted Graves. "Don't you worry none about that."
He drew a silver serpent from his pocket and flipped it onto the bar, where it spun through a pool of spilled rum before landing heads up. A trembling hand reached up to take it. Graves grinned.
"That's for the door," he said.
"What about the door?" asked the innkeeper.
Graves hammered his boot into the inn's front door, smashing it from its hinges. He dived through the splintered frame, rolling to one knee, gun blasting from the hip.
"Alright, you bastards!" he roared. "Let's finish this!"
"Dead man walkin'."
"Go ahead! I like moving targets."
"This is gonna tickle."
"They picked the wrong fight."
"Think I'm bluffin'?"
"Like fish in a barrel."
"End of the line."
"I've got no time for games."
"What are you playin' at?"
"Got any bright ideas?"
"Let's settle the score."
"I ain't got time to bleed."
"Don't die, yet! Heh, that was only a warning shot."
"Hope you weren't planning to die of natural causes."
"I like my enemies two ways: dead, or about to be."
"Everyone's a hero... till you shoot off a leg or two."
"Well, well, it's time I straightened you out, Fate..."
Candidate: Graves Date: 14 October, 21 CLE
Malcolm Graves is the picture of resilience. His body, a checkerboard of scars and cracked calluses, remains fit despite his age. His expression is grim, determined. He carries an oversized shotgun in one hand. Its weight is irrational for its function, but it complements him well.
However, the real story lies in his eyes. They seem stubbornly fixed on something beyond his vision, something unachievable, some goal that has always remained slightly out of reach. Nothing will steer him from his course. It's as though he has pursued the carrot-on-a-stick for so long that, even though he learned the trick, it's all he knows how to do anymore.
Same old song and dance, Graves thought. Couple of big wigs trying to put on a show.
Graves wasn't one for theatrics. He preferred to keep most of his social interactions 12-gauge and below. Things hadn't always been this way. Once upon a time, he genuinely delighted in the game, fleecing marks and skipping town before the chips could fall. Back then he had a partner with a like-minded philosophy: the longer the con, the better.
Then Twisted Fate turned on him faster than a foal in a firepit.
Graves was no stranger to the double cross, but somehow Fate managed to blindside him. Never again. He paid a fair chunk of his life for that oversight. It was a hard lesson, but then again the most important ones tended to be.
Now all that was left was to even the score.
The clank of crashing steel broke his thoughts. It was a tone of bitter finality, the chime of swindled life. He knew it well. He spun to find a familiar set of bars lined mockingly between him and the freedom he so recently won. Behind them, the oily face of the man who incarcerated him, Dr. Aregor Priggs, sneered in victory. He raised his arm, happy to put a slug between Priggs' beady eyes, but his hand was empty.
He was trapped, again, in Priggs' privately funded detention facility.
Well, this is a setback.
Priggs grinned broadly, gathering a froth of reeking spittle in the corners of his mouth. He was a bulbous, slimy man whose only redeeming quality, as far as Graves was concerned, was that he had the stones to look his captives in the eye while he kept them holed up like dogs. Graves had worked out that Priggs used this little sanctuary primarily as a place to make high-profile competitors disappear, but he had earned a special cell for taking two of Priggs' more fetching mistresses for a week-long excursion on the sleaze's dime. By the time Priggs' retinue of head-bobbing corporate flunkies tracked all the funds Graves funneled, he and Fate were already in Demacia hustling vacationers on Conqueror Beach.
"I bet you thought you saw the last of me," Priggs wheezed. He always wheezed when he talked.
"The last I cared to," Graves said. "You looked a might improved with that pig face of yours spread across a wall." Every word carried a consequence, so Graves chose to savor them.
"Aren't you curious how I did it?" Priggs was pleased with himself.
"I don't wonder why critters come crawling back, I just stomp harder next time."
"I hope you still have that spirit when I'm through with you," Priggs spat. Graves didn't flinch. He may as well have been a tick for how long he'd held on in that place, with few friends and fewer decencies, tended by whatever trash Priggs found to run the outfit. Pain had long ago become a chore more than any kind of punishment.
"I hope you eat something lighter the next time I make you soil yourself," he returned.
"Why do you want to join the League, Graves?" The question was unusually direct for the wheezing oaf, but when the subject was the most powerful organization in Valoran, perhaps even his chaps got a little chafed.
"Don't know why you'd stop to wonder," he said. "You know my history as well as anyone."
"Miss me that much?" The new voice, a relic from the past, made Graves' blood boil. He grabbed the bars, knuckles white, as Twisted Fate strolled into view behind Priggs.
"Fate! I know you're crooked as a quarryman's spine, but you got a real set of tires throwing in with this sack of stool again!" This wasn't the reunion Graves had planned all these years.
"Why you-" the fat man sputtered.
"Why do you want to join the League, Graves?" Twisted Fate's face was calm, unreadable.
"You let me out of this cage and I'll show you-" Graves roared.
"Why do you want-" Fate started again.
"I'm going to ruin your con, Fate! The world may buy that you're some kind of ‘champion,' but I'm gonna show them what you really are. I will take everything you have, and when I'm done, you'll be lucky to scam the heat off a campfire." Graves took a deep breath. He didn't realize how much Twisted Fate had gotten to him. He silently vowed never to give Fate the satisfaction of seeing him this angry again.
"How does it feel, exposing your mind?" Fate smirked, a simple gesture that was acid in Graves' veins. He swallowed, determined not to lose his cool again.
"Feels like I just squatted with spurs on," he muttered.
Fate chuckled. "It's good to see you again, Malcolm."
With that, he strode out of sight, Priggs close on his heels. Graves sat in his cell, smoldering, until the bars suddenly opened. Cautiously, he exited the cell…
…and found himself standing in the Institute of War, weapon in hand.
Always putting on a show.
Graves clenched his teeth and cocked his gun. He wasn't one for theatrics, but if it was a show they wanted...
Riot Graves concept art (by Riot Artist Larry Ray)
Graves (New Dawn) concept 1
Graves (New Dawn) concept 2
Pool Party Graves concept art (by Riot Artist Charles Liu)
Graves Log-in screen still
Graves & Twisted Fate Gold Rush promo (by Artist Antonio de Luca)
Bilgewater: The Reckoning cover art
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Champion Sneak Peek
By Average Gatsby
If you've ever had a nemesis in your life that made you want to call him out for a showdown like the no-good, low-down, varmint, snake-in-the-grass that he is, you'll probably have a bit in common with this next champion. Allow me to introduce Graves, the Outlaw. In addition to being one of those crack-shot renegade types, Graves is possessed of a particular disinclination towards everyone's favorite Southern gentleman, Twisted Fate.
Whatever the result of his arrival in the League, one thing's for certain: Somebody's going to go out with a bang!
Graves Mechanics Preview
By Average Gatsby
We wanted to take this opportunity to preview some of the gameplay on our newest ranged DPS champion: Graves, the Outlaw.
This rough-and-tumble gunman uses a massive, hextech double-barreled shotgun to rain down death from a distance and punish any foolish varmints that get too close. For example, Buckshot shoots three quick shrapnel bursts in a cone in front of him. Unlike other multi-missile spells, however, all three Buckshot rounds can all hit the same target (although each individual projectile will deal slightly reduced damage).
Graves is also able to make it uncomfortable for foes to fight at his optimal range by throwing out Smoke Screen to limit enemy vision and slow them in an area, while Quick Draw lets him dash in for a quick shotgun blast or escape danger as needed. In this way he can control his positioning to set up maximum damage Buckshots.
Finally, Graves can use Collateral Damage to unleash a skill shot that nukes the first target it hits, spreading a cone of damage behind its target to hit anybody yellow enough to hide behind the tanks. While the single-target use is simple, properly utilizing the cone is what will separate the good Graves players from the great ones.
Our goal with Graves was to make a ranged DPS that had some incentive to get up close or make enemies think twice before getting in your face. While it's completely possible to play Graves as a standard max-range carry, this dichotomy makes for skill differential without adding a high barrier to entry (or any hefty, paragraph-long tooltips). Whether trying to maximize the close-up damage of Buckshot, or setting up the 1-2 punch of Collateral Damage, we're excited to add a champion with true grit to the ranged DPS lineup.
Malcolm Graves was born in the back of a Bilgewater tavern and left there with a bottle of spiked milk. He survived a childhood in the pirate-run slums using every dirty trick in the book. Intent on building a new life for himself, he stowed away on the first ship to the mainland he could sneak aboard. However, the grim realities of the world forced him to eke out an unsavory living in the underground of various city-states, jumping the border whenever things got too hot. At a particularly high-stakes game of cards, he found himself seated opposite Twisted Fate. They both flipped four aces on the final hand. It was the first time either conman had met his equal. The two formed an alliance, swindling marks at the tables and scrapping back-to-back in the alleys afterward. Together, they ran the streets – stacking chips, decks, and rap sheets.
Unfortunately Graves made the mistake of hustling a hefty sum from Dr. Aregor Priggs, a high-ranking Zaunite official and businessman. When Priggs discovered how he'd been played, he became obsessed with revenge. He learned about Twisted Fate's all-consuming desire to control magic and he promptly offered him a trade: serve Graves up in exchange for enrollment in a procedure which would grant his wish. Twisted Fate took the deal – both he and Graves knew the stakes of their arrangement, but the offer was too good. Once acquired, Priggs had Graves taken to a special location built to hold men whose crimes – or more precisely their punishments – were meant to stay off the books. Graves endured years of captivity at the hands of Zaun's wardens before he managed to escape. One of his fellow detainees introduced him to an eccentric gunsmith who modified a shotgun exactly to his specifications. He named it "Destiny." After he paid a visit to Priggs, Graves joined the League of Legends with two targets in his sights: Twisted Fate and payback.
"They got a saying in the locker: ain't got nothin' but time to plan."
Passive - 12-Gauge:Graves stores up to 2 Shells. Each of Graves' basic attacks consumes 1 Shell and sprays four pellets in a cone, dealing damage to the first enemy they each collide with. Graves is not guaranteed to hit his target.
Enemies hit take 75% - 110% AD damage plus 25% - 36.6% AD damage for every pellet to hit them beyond the first. Damage scales with level. Turrets take 25% reduced damage (multiplicative).
Passive - Double Barrel: After using all of his Shells, Graves reloads Destiny, which takes ~2 seconds. Graves bonus attack speed slightly reduces the reload timer. If Graves sits on one Shell for 4 seconds without attacking, he automatically reloads, which takes half as long. Acquiring a Shell from Quickdraw will interrupt Graves' reloading.
Active:Graves fires a powder round forward in a line, dealing 60 / 80 / 100 / 120 / 140 (+ 75% bonus AD) physical damage to enemies it passes through and leaving a trail of powder on the ground. After a 2 second delay or if the round strikes a structure or wall, the trail ignites dealing 90 / 155 / 220 / 285 / 350 (+ 40 / 60 / 80 / 100 / 120% bonus AD) physical damage to enemies along the powder line toward the point of cast and in a rectangular area around the round's detonation.
New Effect: On-hit CDR can be triggered by each pellet - i.e. up to 4 / 8 / 10 times per attack.
New Effect: Instantly loads 1 Shell.
New Effect: Resets Graves' attack timer.
New Effect: Now grants Graves a stack of True Grit for 4 seconds, increasing Graves' Armor and Magic Resistance by 10 / 15 / 20 / 25 / 30 that stacks up to 4 times. Hits attacks against non-minions refresh the duration, but only subsequent casts will generate additional stacks.
Graves fires an explosive shell dealing heavy damage to the first target it hits. After hitting a champion or reaching the end of its range the shell explodes dealing damage in a cone behind the target.