Author: MMOsite Writer Alexander Hinkley
Gragas is the other old champion to be reworked in the recently released 4.5 patch for League of Legends. Old Gragas players have reacted to the rework with somewhat mixed opinions. Some love the new Gragas and think he got much stronger. Other Gragas veterans maintain that he was ruined and is no longer viable. For what it’s worth, Gragas’s win rate did go up post-rework. According to statistics on elophant.com and lolking.net, his win rate went up a little bit after the patch was released. Let’s take a look at what was changed in the rework compared to the old Gragas.
Gragas’s passive is called Happy Hour. Every time he casts an ability he takes a chug from his cask which heals him. This passive was changed in a few different ways. First off, Happy Hour now instantly heals him for four percent of his maximum health rather than healing for just two percent of his max over four seconds. Not only does the new Happy Hour double the actual healing effect but it is an instant heal, too. So that it was strictly better, Riot added an eight second cooldown to it when it had no cooldown before. Overall, the new Happy Hour is way better than the old one.
Barrel Roll was changed by quite a bit. It will no longer slow the enemy’s attack speed when it explodes. Replacing this utility is a movement speed slow. The damage of the ability was nerfed with a reduction in both base damage as well as a reduction in the AP ratio. It now scales with 60% AP instead of 90% so that really hurts Gragas’s damage dealing capabilities. As if to make up for this, Riot added another utility which will increase the damage and movement speed slowing effect by up to 50% as the barrel sits out on the field before detonation. This doesn’t really offset the damage reduction of the ability itself, however, because enemies are not likely to just wander into a barrel that has been clearing sitting there for several seconds. The range was also reduced.
Barrel Roll used to be the ability Gragas used to poke and harass enemy champions. The new Barrel Roll is simply not as good to that end as the old one was, so it is worse than before. One potential use for new Barrel Roll would be to leave the barrel in a bush or something and trick an enemy into walking into it.
Drunken Rage was changed completely around as well. It used to have a pretty hefty cooldown timer, 25 seconds at all levels. Now its cooldown is between eight and six seconds, depending on the level of the ability. The old Drunken Rage used to restore some of Gragas’s mana and empower him with increased attack damage for 20 seconds. The new Drunken Rage no long restores any mana and simply empowers Gragas’s next basic attack to deal bonus magic damage. The damage dealt by the reworked Drunken Rage is based on Gragas’s ability power as well as a surprisingly high percentage of his opponent’s maximum health (it can deal up to 12% of his target’s maximum health at max level) which makes it good versus high health tanks. The new Drunken Rage may only last three seconds but it also allows him to move at 80% of his movement speed while drinking so it couples nicely with his new Happy Hour passive.
Body Slam was, and still is, one of Gragas’s most powerful abilities since not many people would expect a man with his sizable gut to be able to quickly dash forward. The ability power ratio and base damage of the ability were both slightly increased but the attack damage scaling was completely removed. It used to deal +50% AP and up to +70% AD in damage. Now it deals +60% AP. This shouldn’t be a problem since nobody ever built AD Gragas anyway.
Body Slam also got some cool new utilities added to it. Body Slam used to simply slow the enemy champion’s movement speed upon hitting them but now it will actually stun them and knock them back. Since stuns trump slowdowns this is a good thing. The cooldown timer was increased on early levels of the ability but when you hit an enemy the cooldown gets reduced by a few seconds. This promotes Gragas using Body Slam to actually body slam someone rather than using it as an escape when being chased. The mana cost also got a slight reduction.
Explosive Cask is Gragas’s ultimate ability. This ability actually wasn’t changed much except in terms of damage. The damage was nerfed pretty heavily. Not only does Explosive Cask deal less base damage but the ability power scaling was reduced from 90% to 70%. Obviously, this is worse than the old Explosive Cask.
The reworked Gragas plays pretty much the same as he did before. You will still want to use Barrel Roll to harass then use Body Slam to initiate. Once you have body slammed an opponent (or maybe even slightly before), you’ll want to activate Drunken Rage for the basic attack added damage. Try to target high health champions with a Drunken Rage empowered attack first since it deals damage based on maximum hit points. You’ll also want to make sure to use Drunken Rage only right before you are about to hit an enemy since the empowerment only lasts for three seconds instead of 20 like it used to.
With its damage and range reduction, Barrel Roll isn’t as good of a harassment tool as it was before but it still gets the job done. It can also be used right before engaging since the movement speed reduction will help make sure your opponent doesn’t escape.
In conclusion the reworked Gragas has some stronger abilities and some weaker ones. Unfortunately, his long range abilities such as Barrel Roll and Explosive Cask are the ones that got weaker while it seems his up close and personal abilities like Drunken Rage and Body Slam got better. Perhaps Gragas should now be played more aggressively instead of a medium/long range poker?