Grumpjaw as a Captain by XapocaliptusX

Grumpjaw as a Captain

By: XapocaliptusX
Last Updated: Jan 20, 2018
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Build: Captain Build

Ability Path

Living Armor
Heroic Perk

Threat Meter

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Threat Hero Notes
Ringo Ringo is used as a damage dealer most of the time, this is why he has to shoot from far away. As Grumpjaw, you should gank and/or harass him early on, to make sure he doesn''t get farm to afford necessary items to do damage, after that, you'll be good to go.
SAW Saw has lower survivability, but high natural attack speed from Heroic Perk and an incredible lane push. Gank him as frequently as possible early on. Your Living Armor Perk will help you survive his high attack damage, while Ult will remove him from the Enemy Team and allow you to finish off the rest without having to Tank damage.
Kestrel Kestrel can deal incredible amount of damage from very far away, but has no movement based abilities. Controlling vision early will prevent Kestrel from going into Stealth, and will allow your team to safely take her down.
Reza Reza is a formidable opponent against many heroes, since he can deal just enough damage to at least force them to retreat. However, Grumpjaw can apply a strong slow at Reza to prevent him from diving in Backline. Also, your Heroic Perk can absorb good amount of his damage, allowing you to Body-Block his A for your team.
Reim Reim is a second most dangerous Duelist in game(First one - Krul). Like you, he can gain protection from basic attacks(And Abilities). The longer you stay in front of him, the more health he will gain. Swallowing him is also useless sometimes, so consider avoiding that.
Ardan Ardan is a great choice in terms of a Protector, he can save his allies from your ganks using Vanguard(A). And Gauntlet(Ult) can be devastating to your team, if you don't have Crucible. But during the early game, when he's not tanky enough, you can attack with confidence to secure easy kills.
Phinn Phinn can get tankier than you, and will always absorb more damage. After he reaches Level 8, stun from his A becomes very effective to Stop you from diving. Worst of all: Phinn can't be effected by your Ult, so he can basically block it for his allies. However, Phinn has no movement based Abilities, so he can't reposition, allowing you to flank him easily. Use his Disadvantage to your Advantage!
Lance Like Phinn, Lance is also tankier than you, and has movement based Abilities. He can easily prevent you from Charging, or Flanking, using Gythian Wall(B). Also, you can't do anything to save your fleeing ally after his Impale(A), since you have no Defensive Abilities... However, you can use your Ult on Lance to make enemy team absolutely defenseless.
Catherine Catherine has a very strong stun, which will deny your Ultimate, or stop you from slowing enemies with your Grumpy(A) Ability. Striking her isn't a good idea either, because her Stormguard(B) will reflect almost any damage you do. Also, if she silences your whole team and engages immediately afterwards, there will be pretty much nothing you can do to stay alive.
Grace Grace can completely deny your engagement using Holy Nova(B). Plus, it will knock everyone up. Even if you try to take down her teammates separately, she will heal them instantly. Swallowing one of her allies with your Ult can also be ineffective, because it will be easier for Grace to stun you, since you will be slowed when carrying enemy in your stomach.

Chapter Table Top

1.The hero itself;
2.When to pick Grumpjaw(Synergies, Counters);
3.Item Explanations;
4.Early, Mid and Late Game;

The hero itself Top

Grumpjaw is a tanky initiator, who is mostly played as a Weapon or Crystal Power Jungler.
His flexibility isn't the best, but you can play Grumpjaw in a Captain position as well.
His kit offers high Team Utility with a Strong Slow, and a unique Ability to briefly remove a single enemy hero from the game.
Grumpjaw has a very strong initiation potential, especially during the Early Game, where you can Gank, or Invade Enemies. This means, if he teams up with heroes, who can follow him to the fight, will make a good Team Composition.
Take a look at Grumpjaw's kit(To see Ability details, point on their icons):

Living Armor
Slot: Heroic Perk

Grumpjaw's Heroic Perk allows him to become tanky, making him a suitable Frontline Protector. Especially during Early to Mid game.
If you maintain pressure, you will reduce incoming Damage by up to -30%.
Living Armor Perk is even more effective when paired with Defensive items, since you will have a high Health Pool and take reduced Damage.
Be sure to collect all 5 Stacks before each engagement.

Slot: A

This Ability can be used in many ways, but it's most common use is initiation/Engage.
Since you'll be playing as a Captain, your only damage source for Grumpy will be stacks of Living Armor, becuase each stack increases damage.

However, Grumpy has a very strong slow, and a great Gank potential during the early game.
Example: Slow enemy carry whenever he/she is alone in lane, to let your team finish the kill easily.
Start Team Fights with this Ability whenever you find an Opportunity. Try to apply slow to all Enemies in a cone in front of you, and command your Teammates to follow up. This is a tricky combo for Enemies to deal with.
Grumpy is the biggest part of Grumpjaw's Mobility, as it can be used to Reposition, and/or pass through most walls for Emergency escapes.

I recommend Overdriving this Ability first for increased Slow duration and Damage based on your Living Armor stacks.

Slot: B

This Ability is pretty much useless in a Captain Grumpjaw's case, since your top priority will not be doing damage, while Hangry increases Grumpjaw's attack speed and Basic attack damage after using it. However, it can be quite handy for closing the Gap between you and Focused Target.
If your team finds an advantage, or if you need to increase damage against Objectives, a Stormcrown will be a good purchase.

I recommend skipping the Overdrive of this Ability in ANY case.

Skill Skipping:This is a commonly used trick by a professional player FlashX, who plays in Team SoloMid. This trick involves not upgrading your Secondary Ability( Hangry in this case) to LvL2 when reaching XP Level 5. Because after you reach XP Level 6, you will unlock the Ultimate and gain LvL 4 on your Primary Ability( Grumpy).

Slot: C

This Ability is the biggest part of Grumpjaw's Utility, and is the most powerful Power Spike.
there are ton of ways of using Stuffed.
Most common uses could be:
  • swallowing enemy Carry and spitting it inside the Turret range(Useful for ganks);
  • swallowing enemy Captain to make rest of the enemy team defenseless(useful in team fights);
  • saving a fleeing ally;
  • etc...
Cooldown accelerating items(Such as Clockwork) will greatly reduce the Cooldown of Stuffed.
Remember to wait for opportunity - Timing is most important.
Position yourself in a favorable spot using Grumpy, or close gap between you and an enemy with Hangry to make sure you are guaranteed to land it. Winning 3 against 2 should not be a problem afterwards.
I recommend maxing this Ability as soon as you reach Level 12 for faster Cooldown speed.

When to pick Grumpjaw Top

Unlike Ardan, or Phinn, he can't protect teammates with Abilities, but can confidently engage enemy team in most cases(A hero with similar playstyle could be Fortress). This requires you to invade, gank or engage whenever you see an opportunity, to make sure your teammates aren't the ones, that need to retreat.
In the draft pick, you must Lock in Grumpjaw only in necessary situations, or when you have stable Voice Communication. Most people aren't comfortable with Captain Grumpjaw, which means he's mostly useless in Solo Queue. So you need to be playing with your Friends(People you trust).
Grumpjaw isn't compatible with every hero in game eihter. Here are some examples of Counters and Synergies.

Synergies with Grumpjaw

Grumpjaw can synergize with heroes, who have escape mechanisms, or who are good at Following engagement. Most WP Junglers can go with him with confidence.
Glaive is a good example. Afterburn + Grumpy, and Afterburn + Stuffed combos can neutralize most enemies. Also, in emergency situations, Glaive can dash out of danger, and will not require you to "Save" him(Similar to Rona).
Taka is also a good synergy, as he has many combos with Grumpjaw(For example: Grumpy + X-Retsu). Both of them can invade enemy jungle early on.
Skye and Varya are very good at kiting, and dealing Team-Wide damage from afar.
They are both CP Carries, meaning, you can have any of WP Junglers in your team, as they synergize with Grumpjaw very well.

However, Grumpjaw can struggle against Tanky heroes, as they can prevent you from charging, or turn the fight around in their taste.
Since you have no Defensive Abilities(Such as Vanguard), your team will be exposed during the retreat. This gives enemy team a good opportunity to attack and secure an easy Ace.

Grumpjaw's counters

Phinn is a good counter against Grumpjaw, as he's tankier, and someties can neutralize your engage with Quibble. Also, he can't be Swallowed and if he pulls one of your allies, there's pretty much nothing you can do about it.
Lance is similar to Phinn. He is also tankier than you, can root your teammates in place with Impale, or completely deny your Engage with Gythian Wall. Unlike Phinn though, he can reposition during the fight, and counter your Flank attack(But if you swallow Lance, his team will be defenseless).
Reim is also a great pick against Grumpjaw, as he can ignore you and attack your teammates immediately. He can sometimes build tankiness by attacking you - the Frontline, allowing him to survive even in the most tight situations. However, you can neutralize his assault with Grumpy or Stuffed.
Catherine and Grace counter Grumpjaw in a similar way. Your movement speed is significantly decreased After Using Ult, also, if you get stunned, you will immediately spit out enemy hero, that you're carrying. That's where Merciless Pursuit and Holy Nova Abilities shine. They can stun you whenever you cast Stuffed on enemy.
In Team Fights, Grace can use Holy Nova to stop your engagement effectively. While Catherine can use Blast Tremor and turn the whole fight around.

Item Explanations Top

Since Grumpjaw has no defensive Abilities, and can not keep his team safe whatsoever, Items are crucial for him. Keep in mind, that offensive items aren't helpful to your Team, but can come in handy sometimes.
Every captain's build includes three Main(Core) Items
(To see item details, point on their icons.)

Fountain Of Renewal

Fountain of Renewal should always be your First tier 3 item, as it can help you avoid, or survive early engagements from enemies. If you acquire Fountain of Renewal sooner than enemy Captain, I suggest engaging in their jungle, or going for a gank. But make sure you don't over extend, since Fountain grants you only +200 HP, so that won't make you very tanky.
Keep in mind, that this item heals more, if you're low on health, but becomes slightly less effective during the late stages of the game.


Crucible is often picked up as the second item by many players. Especially when enemies have hard AOE Abilities, Such as Verse of Judgement, or Oblivion. A well timed Crucible can block incoming damage, and CC. It's high health pool also makes you very tanky(+700 HP).
Without Crucible, your team is basically defenseless.
If you get the Crucible sooner than enemy Captain, consider engaging in Team Fight, as the enemy team won't be able to block CC, allowing you to finish the Fight easily.

War Treads

War Treads is a crucial item for you, since it can help your team to follow engagement, or Retreat from the Fight.
Consider picking up War Treads second, if your teammates are getting kited easily. Then, build Crucible immediately.

Make sure to leave two free item slots in your inventory for Flares and Scout traps before you build Contraption. Map awareness is one of your Top Priorities as a Captain.
Some items are very situational and non-compatible with some heroes. In Grumpjaw's case, those items could come in handy whenever you see a requirement.


Clockwork can be very useful, as it decreases your Ability Cooldown times, grants you bonus Energy and Energy Regeneration. And gives you Little bit of Crystal Power(+60 CP).
Purchase this item when you see the requirement(Example: When you need more Energy and/or Cooldown Speed), and only After you complete Core build.


Even though, Aftershock has small amount of Crystal Power(+35 CP), the scaling with Grumpjaw is very powerful. It can significantly increase your Damage output and Cooldown speed(+Energy Regen.).
However, you can't buy it early, since it is NOT a Support item, but you can choose only one from Clockwork and Aftershock. And that's only when you complete the Core build.

Slumbering Husk

Slumbering Husk is mostly used to avoid Abilities with high Burst Damage(Such as X-Retsu), and is
commonly purchased on Fragile heroes, as it also has high Health Pool(+650 HP).
You can build this item as Grumpjaw, if you want to sustain yourself on the Frontline.


Shiversteel can be handy if enemy team is good at kiting you, or your allies(Against Heroes such as Vox). It also gives you bonus Attack speed and Health(+500 HP). When paired with a single Offensive item, Such as Stormcrown, or Aftershock, Shiversteel can do more than you expect.
Grumpjaw can do fine combos with this item.
For example, you can cast Hangry to close the gap between you and a fleeing enemy, then Activate Shiversteel. Attack speed bonus from both, Hangry and Shiversteel will stack, and allow you to keep attacking enemy, keeping him/her in range for your allies.

Nullwave Gauntlet

Nullwave Gauntlet is a great purchase for any initiator hero, as they can use this item to Silence enemy Captains before charging. Unable to use items, they won't be able to block CC in Grumpjaw's case, or use Fountain of Renewal to heal up. Ultimately, enemies will be forced to retreat, while you can catch up on them...


When a single meal isn't enough...

Scaling throughout the Game Top

just like any other hero, Grumpjaw has it's own Powerspikes and Advantages at different stages of the game. Learning about hero Pros and Cons can drastically help you in-game.
I'll tell you about all I can in this Chapter.

Early Game(0:00-8:00)

Grumpjaw is best at this stage. His perk allows him to be very tanky Early on, can do massive Damage without any items, while having very good Invade and Gank potential.
Your top priority is harassing enemy team, while Supporting yours. This way, you can get the Gold lead you need, to enter the Mid Game.

As the match starts, I suggest buying Ironguard Contract to help you on the first jungle clear(If you start from the base) and Laning phase. After clearing the jungle, go to the Center and try to take Advantage of a Large Healer Minion, as it rewards a killer with up to 120 Gold(+A Buff). If you, or your teammates manage to get it, I suggest engaging for the First Blood. Afterwards, try to steal as many camps from enemy Jungle as possible, than retreat immediately.
Until 4:00 minutes, you should help your Jungler to clear camps, and/or Invade enemies whenever you see an opportunity.
You can also go for a gank whenever enemy Carry is exposed.
First Shop:At 4:00 minutes, the Jungle Shop will spawn on Healer Minion's location. At this point, you usually collect approximetly 2 000 Gold, which is enough for Fountain of Renewal(If you have Oakheart). Purchase this as the first tier 3 item whenever possible.
If you have left any Gold to spare, buy Sprint Boots, Scout Traps and Flares.

Grumpjaw's biggest Powerspike comes at Level 6, when he Unlocks Ultimate - Stuffed.
Swallowing an enemy Carry and spitting it into a Turret range can almost lead to a Guaranteed kill. Use this Ability as often as possible, and try not to miss...

Mid Game(8:00-15:00)

Grumpjaw's Damage and Tankiness will slowly decay, at the start of Mid Game. This is the main Disadvantage of a Captain Grumpjaw.
However, you should try to make up for what you miss, with Utility. Helping your allies secure quick kills and Harassing enemies through the Mid Game can help you significantly.

At 8:00 minutes, you should be able to purchase Crucible as the second item, and prepare to build War Treads aferwards. At some point, you can sell Ironguard Contract, as it becomes more and more useless.
Team Fights usually do not occur during the Mid Game, but this doesn't mean you should not be prepared.
How you win in a Team Fight is completely depended on you. However, keep one thing in mind: If enemies engage you first, try to retreat back to a safe position, since you can't deny their engage, or protect your allies...
Finding Gold lead in the Early Game, will give you a significant advantage in item choices and in Team Fight outcomes.
If you start a Fight, be sure to use Grumpy first, then follow it up by Hangry(Focus the most Fragile hero, or the one with lowest HP). This is a strong initiation combo, followed up by your allies. And will most likely lead to a success.
Objective Splitting:After securing an Ace, your team will have some free time, while enemies are Respawning.
To use this time properly, you can Split Tasks in such a way, that everyone in your team will focus on different Objectives.
For example:
  • Carry - Turrets;
  • Captain - Gold Miner;
  • Jungler - Steal enemy camps, or help you with the Gold Miner.
Bully your opponents even further, or even go for their Crystal Miner, to make them defenseless in future Team Fights. Acquire Vision across the map, to be aware of Ganks, or Ambushes.
Remember, if enemy team starts engaging before you, you'd have no other choice, but to retreat. This is the biggest possible threat in Mid to Late Game.

Late Game(15:00-End)

Grumpjaw is not particularly a strong Late Game hero, especially when you're playing as a Captain. Utility can no longer help you so much either. However, items such as Nullwave Gauntlet are very effective at denying enemy resistances. Use this to your Advantage.
Your main role is still Initiator and Ambusher, meaning you must be careful at timing your attack. A single Team Fight can change the course of the entire Game.

At some point during late game, you will finish the build, but remember to get Core items( Fountain of Renewal, Crucible and War Treads) before anything else.
Don't forget the Vision: Your second Top Priority as a Captain is to establish Vision. It is one of the most important parts of the Late Game.
Grumpjaw's Tankiness can be used during this period, since Defensive items pair well with Living Armor. Crowd Control is also not to be underestimated in Team Fights, as it can slow all enemies if used right. However, his Damage Output becomes almost useless(Not if you have purchased Clockwork or Aftershock).
The most important part of the Late Game - Team Fights.
You can no longer Invade or Gank enemies, since everyone in both Teams will stick Together, and probably wait in the Tribush.
Command your Team to engage when everyone is ready. As I've already mentioned, you can only reach success when you're the first to Charge against enemy Team. If you have purchased Nullwave Gauntlet, it will make things easier(I've mentioned that as well).
Try to spread out Basic Abilities as soon, as the Fight starts, but save the Ultimate for Emergency, or a suitable moment.
For Example:When enemies get close to Crystal Sentry, so you can Swallow and spit them out in Sentry's range. This will also force enemies to chase you to defend their Ally, meanwhile you can finish them off.
If you manage to get an Ace, or kill at least 2 enemies, start capturing the Kraken immediately.
Once you Unleash her, don't forget to follow her and destroy Enemy Turrets, cause Leaving the Kraken alone is considered Feeding.
The Kraken Exchange:
A single Turret is worth 200-300 Gold, while Defeating the Kraken rewards the whole team with 500 Gold.
Kraken can take out only one Turret if you do not Assist her, so this is not an Exchange you'll be willing to make.
  • Your Team: +200 Gold(1 Turret)
  • Enemy Team: +500 Gold
However, when you assist The Kraken in Lane Push, she can easily take down at least 3 Turrets, or Probably all of them(Depends on the number of Enemy Turrets). Ultimately, this will expose the enemy base and make it easier for your team to Win.
  • Your Team: +500-800 Gold(3 Turrets)
  • Enemy Team: +500 Gold
The Kraken is a Huge advantage, and you should never miss the opportunity to Capture her.
But before all that, you need at least one Successful Team Fight, which depends on not only you, but on your Entire Team.
Keep playing as Grumpjaw to find the Best Tactic for your Playstyle. Learn about his Advantages and Disadvantages to find the best Team Composition possible.

This was XapocaliptusX, thanks for reading my guide on Grumpjaw, I surely appreciate your acception to read it. My only intention was to provide readers with as much information as possible. If you have any Suggestions, Corrections or else, feel free to ask. I'll try my best not to leave them unnoticed.
Hope you have a great day!


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