In addition to being a very strong jungler, Gragas can also excel in the support role. Though we’ve yet to see him in the LEC just yet, Gragas is one of G2 Mikyx’s favourite choices for SoloQ. Gragas’s strengths are plain to see – he is tanky, he deals a lot of damage, he has a lot of CC so he’s great at both peeling and engaging fights. But he also has his set of flaws.
"Sadly I’ve only played him one time in professional, but a lot of people know me in soloQ for my Gragas support..."
Gragas shares the same weaknesses with his melee support brethren. But, unlike the likes of Alistar or Leona, Gragas is actually capable of pushing back when being poked down by ranged supports. His Q, Barrel Roll, allows him to poke back and his passive, Happy Hour, keeps him sustained. Moreover, you have the option of simply hard-engaging with your E and ultimate if the enemy laners get into your range to try to harass you. Some other weaknesses of Gragas include his high CDs and mana costs; both of which can be remedied through runes and items.
As Gragas you should pick Resolve primary with Aftershock as your keystone. Aftershock is a fantastic choice on any support who can make use of it. As a melee with a lot of CC, it’s irrevocably your best choice. In the next tier you can pick up either Font of Life or Demolish. Mikyx recommends the latter if you have a non-traditional ADC lane partner (such as a mage) and the former in all other cases. Now you have another choice to make between Bone Plating and Second Wind. The former is good against burst lanes such as when you’re against, for example, Alistar. Second Wind is your choice against ranged supports, since it will help you negate poke. Finally, pick up Unflinching if the enemy team has a lot of CC, which is very often the case, but if they don’t, go with Overgrowth.
"Aftershock is basically OP on any support who can make use of it."
Inspiration will be your secondary tree. Over here the most important choice is Cosmic Insight because CDR is one of the most valuable stats for Gragas. The other rune can be either Perfect Timing, which can help you against dives or save you in team fights, or Magical Footwear. You might want to skip out on the magical shoes if you plan on roaming a lot since it’s usually faster to just buy boots. Against lanes with a lot of harass, you can also choose Biscuits to try to cancel out the damage.
"Usually biscuits are for players who are too insecure to win lane, so I don’t get biscuits. Nah, they’re actually fine if you need the extra sustain!"
Flash is the core summoner spell of every champion and Gragas is no exception. It helps you chase, escape and it assists you in some combos.
Ignite simply increases your kill pressure in lane. It’s also the best choice when you’re playing against healers such as Sona or Soraka.
Happy Hour: Your passive gives you extra sustain which can help you cope with being a melee support who will often have to face two ranged enemies during laning phase.
Barrel Roll: This spell is a great poking tool which is likewise useful for zoning, engaging and peeling due to the hampering slow on it. The range is also quite generous, as is the radius, so it’s not a difficult spell to land.
Drunken Rage: After a one second channel, Gragas’s next attack will deal extra damage and have a small AoE. While channelling you can’t use any abilities or attacks so it’s a good idea to begin the channel right before you engage a fight with your E. During the channel you will also be tankier with up to 18 percent damage reduction. As it has a small cost of 30 mana, this ability is useful for activating your passive when you’re low on health.
Body Slam: This is your main engage tool and the reason why Gragas support is so strong. At 45 percent CDR this ability has a short CD of 3.6 seconds if you hit an enemy, meaning you can initiate a fight every other time you blink. It can also cancel dashes like Leona’s Zenith Blade or Thresh’s Death Sentence.
Mikyx interrupts Camille’s dash with Body Slam and Misfits secure the Baron.
Explosive Cask: Your ultimate is a great engage, disengage and peeling tool that’s capable of turning a whole fight around. It is a double-edged sword however, and you must be careful with your timing and placement so that you don’t accidentally help an enemy escape, or push an enemy into your dying ADC.
"People usually use the ult to engage fights; to insec someone."
E > W > Q
Since E is your most valuable ability, you will want to max it out first to ensure you can reach that 3.6 CD power spike as soon as possible. In soloQ, Mikyx likes to max Q second because he tends to build a bit of AP after his core. In professional play, he would go with W max second so as to make Gragas tankier.
"In SoloQ I like to go AP after my core build (Liandry’s + Morellos and things like that) so I max Q second. But most of the time on support you should max W second because it gives you more damage reduction."
E + Flash: Upon pressing E and while travelling towards your enemy you can press Flash to essentially double the distance you can cross, whilst still keeping the knock-up at the end of the animation. This is a great way to catch an enemy by surprise and make it much harder to dodge or Flash away from your engage.
R + E: Just before the Explosive Cask is about to knock an enemy towards you, you can activate your E to instantly knock them up when they reach you. Just point your E towards where the enemy will be flying when they get knocked back from your ultimate.
E + R + Flash: This is a more advanced combo that involves using both your ultimate and your Flash during your E animation. You begin by using your E, ulting an enemy and then flashing onto them to land your E after they’ve already been knocked back by your ultimate. It’s useful as there’s a 0 percent chance of the enemy reacting in any way due to the constant CC.
Mikyx bursts into the fight with his E and disrupts it entirely, leaving Ryze out of the fight and Darius and Alistar directly into his ally’s hands.
Although Gragas is melee, your starting item should be Spellthief’s Edge. Relic Shield gives you a bit more sustain; but is worse in every other respect. Spellthief’s will give you more pressure in lane (as you will be doing more damage), increased mana regen and, most importantly, it gets you all the closer to your 45 percent CDR power spike.
On your first back you can either rush boots, which will make roaming and warding easier. Mikyx suggests Ionian Boots of Lucidity, but says Mobility Boots and Mercury’s Treads are both fine alternatives. Mobility Boots fit him well because he’s a great roamer (remember that Gragas is also a terrific jungler). Mercury’s are a good choice against heavy CC enemy team comps.
If you couldn’t afford upgraded boots on your first back, pick up Frostfang first, which will also give you 10 percent CDR as well as help you accumulate stacks faster and get you your Eye of the Frost upgrade.
Your first two big items are Eye of the Watchers and Zeke’s Convergence. These are your core items as they’re useful in any game against any comp. After that, you have the freedom of choice. If you’re doing well or it’s a personal preference of yours, you can opt to start getting some more AP and take the game into your own hands. Otherwise, you can keep buying support items like Locket of the Iron Solari or Redemption and just keep buffing and protecting your team.
Gragas has a pretty smooth laning phase in general because he can poke, trade well, keep himself sustained and escape from ganks or unfavourable fights with his E. He has a harder time in lane against supports who can counter his attempts at engaging with his E. So think of champions like Tahm Kench and Morgana.
"He’s kind of weak against champions that he can’t E into for free to win a trade. Other than that, Gragas can be played in almost any match-up, since he’s always going to be useful."
As he is also a prolific jungler, Gragas is great at setting up ganks and roaming. Be sure to take advantage of this by roaming mid lane whenever it’s possible for you to leave your lane. Immobile enemy mid laners like Orianna and Syndra are easy-pickings for you. Do try to coordinate your ganks with your jungler to make them more effective as well.
Mikyx flashes over a minion wave and Body Slams Samux, securing the kill for Misfits.
In team fights, Gragas can fulfil many different roles. If your ADC is doing well, it might be best to just focus on him and keep assassins off his tail. Your ult, E and Q do a great job at that, and hopefully you’ll have some items to help you peel as well. Gragas can also just be the big bulky tank and soak up a lot of damage if no one else on your team can fill that position. Your ultimate can be used as a very effective initiation tool and can likewise disrupt or reset an unfavourable team fight.
In conclusion, Gragas is a very well rounded (pun intended) support who can fit in a lot of different team comps. He’s got damage, utility, defense and the capacity to carry any team to victory.
A huge thank you goes to G2 Mikyx, who has dominated throughout the whole LEC Spring Split. We can’t wait to see what he can do in playoffs and later on in the Summer Split.