Ok, to clarify before this thread begins, this is not a ZOMG I CAN'T BEAT GRAVES NO MATTER WHAT Q_Q thread. This is a thread for genuine discussion about a champion to determine if he will need a hotfix or not. Note that I feel he leans on the overpowered end, and I will do my best to explain why. I want to hear why you disagree or agree with me.
Most of the pro players (colbeycheeze, chaox, dyrus, etc.) agree that graves is borderline op, if not full on op. But why? "I've beaten him in lane" you may say, or "He isn't uncounterable" you argue, and this is somewhat true, but what is the problem everyone is having?
First I feel you have to compare him to comparable champions, aka other ranged ad carries such as kog maw, corki, ashe, etc.
Starting off with his skills:
Passive: Graves's passive is ridiculous. I'll be blunt, this is the reason I think he's overpowered and needs to be nerfed. It gives him armor up the ass, so even if he's 1v2 in lane he can win harass trade with two champions with little problems.
Q: Graves's q hits like a truck early on, but it requires positioning and getting up close. Normally this would be a massive problem for an ad carry, but he has both a dash and a passive that effectively makes him tanky. It hits harder than almost any other skill I can think of early, and still does decent damage to squishies late.
W: A grossly underestimated skill. While everyone complains about his q and dash, I think this skill could potentially be more broken. Why? It makes the ad carry unable to right click on champions if he hits them with it because of the darkness effect. In addition it slows them which incapacitates the ad carry for a good second in a teamfight, which can make or break it. In addition, it really improves his running ability.
E: Graves's lategame skill. This skill, especially when you have a phantom dancer, effectively has no cooldown due to the cdr it gets each time you hit an enemy champion. But the main reason this move is so strong is it lets graves dash (through walls if you so desire) and dodge skillshots, making his dueling insane.
R: a decent nuke. Very strong at level 6, as combined with his q it will shear off well over half of your lane opponent's health unless they have all armor runes, masteries, and items. I don't feel there's anything wrong with it due to its short range and its drop off, but make no mistake, its a decent ult and useful in a teamfight as it largely invalidates the whole TANK STAY IN FRONT strategy that most people use.
How graves shines:
Graves is not item dependent. He is about the only ad carry I can think of that genuinely does not need items to do a lot of damage, stay in lane, and play strong. That said, when he does get items, with some damage and attack speed he becomes lethal. All he needs is a bloodthirster, phantom dancer, and his e steroid and he will be wrecking your team.
Graves is great against ganks. He can dash to safety (even through walls) impede champions with his smokescreen easily, and if his passive is full, he can often win a 2v3 due to his aoe burst early on.
His game has no weak stage. Unlike Caitlyn who, while an amazing laner isn't good at teamfighting and drops off lategame, graves gets the best of everyone's world. He has a positioning skill like tumble, an attack speed steroid like tristana's, and a q that is like a combination of volley and the peacemaker. The unique combination of his skills means that his game stays strong at every stage of the game. Laning, teamfights, late, early, etc.
Moving on, where does graves fall flat:
He has high mana costs and runs OOM if you aren't extremely careful.
Solution: lane with soraka or taric. Soraka will give you staying power with imbue and her heal, and keep you safe. Taric Graves can almost guarantee first blood due to the insane early damage output of graves's q and his dash which allows him to fully exploit the stun duration.
He has relatively short range, so in teamfight an assassin can usually leap on him
Solution: Get a tank that wasn't dropped on the head as a baby, and have them keep the assassin off your nuts. If you stay in battle for a short while, your passive will be stacked and if you get a bloodthirster you will last likely the entire fight and win it for your team.
Graves is definitely a fun champion, and I won't say that I've never beaten one before. I have. But every time I do it feels less like I am playing a superior champ and more that my enemy was a lot worse than me. Graves forces a lot of itemization early on, which can cost the ad carry their lategame, which is pivotal to winning, while remaining incredibly strong throughout. I know that he is suceptible to poke, but I feel that if the player is agressive enough with their dash it doesn't matter because you can poke him and he'll just dash in and do way more damage to you than you did to him.
Decrease his passive/base health (or better yet both): This is the biggest gripe that my high elo friends have. Graves's big issue isn't his damage, which while high is manageable. Its that he can build all damage and still be tanky as all hell, hit like a truck and just last forever. His bulk is unheard of for a champion with his level of damage, especially considering he's ranged.
Drop the base stat on his q: His q is fine lategame, but in early laning it takes away so much health, forces early recalls, and easily zones most ad carries (caitlyn being the lone exception, but I've already said why I feel graves is the stronger pick). If its base stat was dropped, graves couldn't pull the easy 1v2 outharass that he is doing right now.
Remove the slow on his smokescreen: Makes him impossible to catch when coupled with his dash. Also makes his kiting **** good. While you can say caitlyn outpokes him, if he drops this badboy on her and dashes in and qs, he can land some auto attacks in before she can get out of the thing and hit back (assuming she doesn't have net). This skill is really good for denying the enemy ad carry farm and generally forcing them to zone themselves throughout laning, stopping them from getting items. AKA it makes the enemy ad carry MUCH weaker.
Make his dash unable to go through walls: It can depress its cd too easily. This is just silly. Vayne's tumble doesn't go through walls for a reason and neither should this.
That said, I encourage you to tell me why I'm wrong or right and hopefully help riot see this so they can really consider the champ they released. Graves is really fun, and I don't want them to nerf him to the point where the fun mostly goes away like what they did to Jarvan and Twisted Fate, but I feel like he's just too centralizing in the current meta to be left untouched