Since the nerfs and subsequent fall of Lucian as the main marksman, Graves has risen up as the best burst-oriented marksman, as the sole reason he wasn't picked was Lucian was just plain better than him.
This rework is inspired by the New Dawn cinematic, you'll see how much by reading further down this page (for starters, it includes giving him his cigar). I also intend to make Graves have a secondary role, namely fighter, by putting more emphasis on his passive, but the price to pay is being less of a marksman than he currently is.
First, I took his range down. Graves is meant to go in your face, but his current range doesn't reflect this fact enough because he still out-ranges Lucian, Sivir and Kog'Maw. To compensate, his health is going up, especially late in the game (read: +5 health growth).
I also increased his base armor (by 1.2), and brought his health regen to the level of tanks such as Sejuani, Maokai, Gragas and Alistar (it's +2 base and +0.15 growth). This is to encourage Graves players to attempt trades in lane, and recover faster than their opponents if they don't take too much damage.
I removed the free magic resist because ranged champions, especially carries, shouldn't gain it for free. Instead, I replaced it with tenacity. It may not be the best answer, but it gives a tool for Graves to not be kited to death with his short range.
April 28th, 2015 change: Graves now gains armor when he casts his skills. It grants more tankiness during the brief lane trades and overall just works better for a caster marksman like Graves. Removed the tenacity because lategame Graves would be impossible to kite, so now he has to rely on Quickdraw to avoid skillshots.
RANGE:800 / 400
COST: 70 Mana
COOLDOWN: 10 / 9 / 8 / 7 / 6
Active: Graves fires three bullets in a cone, each dealing physical damage to all enemies in their path. Enemies can only be damaged by one bullet. Damage is doubled if the enemy is within 400 range of Graves.
I lowered the range by 100 and changed the increased damage condition along with the increased damage. Buckshot is the closest we get to a shotgun blast, and I wanted to emphasize this. It's also closer to an AD version of Twisted Fate'sWild Cards.
RANGE:950 / 250
COST: 70 Mana
COOLDOWN: 18 / 17 / 16 / 15 / 14
Active: Graves fires a smoke canister at the target area, creating a cloud of smoke for 5 seconds. Enemies inside the smoke cloud are slowed and nearsighted. While in flight, the smoke canister can collide with enemy projectiles, but will only stop if it hits projectiles from an ability.
Yes, not only did I inspire myself from the New Dawn cinematic, I also drew from User:Willbachbakal's own Graves rework. A magic damage nuke just doesn't feel right in Graves's kit, and the flavor of this skill lies in its unappreciated utility. Not much more to say: being free of the magic damage allows me to keep the mana cost fixed and to lower the cooldown more without fear of his sustained damage output.
I wanted to make it into a skillshot and raise its range, but I realized it may just bite Graves when the smoke only blows up at max range, so scratch this.
RANGE:425 / 700 / 30°
COST: 40 / 30 / 20 / 10 / 0 Mana
COOLDOWN: 18 / 17 / 16 / 15 / 14
Active: Graves dashes forward.
For the next 5 seconds, Graves' basic attacks reduce the cooldown on Buckshot by 1 second.
Graves takes 50% reduced damage and ignores crowd control while he is dashing towards a visible enemy champion.
Attacking Wards will reduce Buckshot 's cooldown while under the active effect.
Runaan's Hurricane's bolts will also reduce the cooldown of Buckshot while under the effect of Quickdraw, for up to 3 seconds off of its cooldown on each attack.
Graves is picked more for burst than for sustained damage, so I'm shifting the Quickdraw boost from attack speed to attack damage. Also, more armor makes Graves a better fighter and all-in champion. Since I didn't want to make the bonus armor too big, I made the ability easier to spam with lowered cooldown and mana cost as you level it up, in the vein of Lucian's E.
August 30th 2016 change: Still the emphasis on all-in'ing despite the armor and AD buff's removal. Quickdraw's dash now allows Graves to ignore enemy crowd control if used well.
RANGE:800 / 800 / 45°
COST: 100 Mana
COOLDOWN: 90 / 75 / 60
Active: Graves fires a heavy explosive shell in a straight line (0.5-second cast time), dealing physical damage to any non-champion enemy it passes through, as well as the first champion it collides with, applying on-hit effects. After hitting a champion or reaching the end of its range, the shell explodes, dealing physical damage in a cone behind the target.
I guess that does it for tonight's rework. Before letting you all comment on this I'd like to thank User:Willbachbakal for hooking me onto Graves. This awesome champion deserves more love, so to your keyboards, and let me feel what you think I did great or much less great!
August 30th 2016
Attack damage increased to 55 ( + 5) (140 at level 18) from 54.3 ( + 3.1) (107 at level 18).
Attack speed growth decreased to 2.06% from 2.9.
Range decreased to 425 from 475.
Mana regen decreased to 6 ( + 0.4) (12.8 at level 18) from 7.925 ( + 0.7) (19.825 at level 18).