IntroductionWelcome to this guide on how to play Gangplank effectively in season 3. Gangplank is best as a solo top bruiser. Although he is also a viable jungler and an interesting support, this guide will focus solely on Gangplank in the top lane. I am an avid League of Legends player and have been playing gangplank since season 1. I am currently around 1500 elo. I finished season 1 at around 1200 and season 2 at about 1400. I'm very pleased with my progress as a player and feel like I owe much of my growth to the LoL community which can be so helpful and quick to share information on how to get better at this game. I feel obligated to give back to this community by making a guide on my best champion in an attempt to share some of the many lessons i have learned in the last 2 years of playing gangplank. This is my first guide and I imagine it will never be entirely complete as I frequently learn new things and I plan to update the match-ups section every time a new top champion or dominant jungler is released. If you have any questions or comments about this guide, please leave a comment and I will try to get back to you as soon as possible.
This is a screen shot of a recent winning streak of mine with Gangplank in ranked solo-queue season 3
You can see my up to date match history on LoLking: http://www.lolking.net/summoner/na/21328643
Gangplank is an extremely powerful champion but like every champion he has his weaknesses and is better in certain situations than others. Here is a Pro's and Con's List for Gangplank and a brief summary of when you should pick Gangplank
Very strong early game
Very versatile - able to adapt to what his team needs very well
High damage single target nuke on a very low cooldown
Able to remove CC from himself and heal himself
Scales very will into late game
Team movement speed and AD steroid
Passive slow on auto-attack
No reliable AoE damage
No hard CC
Not the best pusher early
From my experience Gangplank doesn't really counter many champions. Countering your opponent in lane can be devastating and I highly recommend that whenever possible you try to counter the other team's top champion. http://www.championselect.net is a very helpful site that will aid you in your desire to pick a champion with a favorable match-up with your opponent. The problem with trying to counter the other team's champion selection is that it is incredibly difficult to master more than a handful of champions so often the champion that best counters your opponent will often be one that you haven't really mastered or have never played at all or maybe one that you don't even own. It is in these instances where I usually rely on Gangplank. Although He doesn't really counter many champions, he is a very safe pick in almost all match-ups. By this I mean that a skilled gangplank can win almost any lane and help his team win no matter who his lane opponent is. So, I highly recommend that you try to counterpick your opponent but if you can't,then picking Gangplank isn't a bad choice. More info on when to pick to Gangplank and which champion match-up are the most favorable for him in the match-up section of this guide.
Gangplank is an extremely versatile champion that can do a lot of things very well. Because of this, there isn't just one way to play him. It is smart to have different rune pages and mastery pages set up for different match-ups and more generally to use runes and masteries that work well with your play-style. I personally play a very aggressive Gangplank and try very hard to get first blood as often as possible. I harass heavily with Q and when the enemy is weakened I go all in. Gangplank, because of his passive slow and high early damage output is amazingly strong at very early levels and is often capable of killing his opponent as early as levels 1 or 2. For this reason, I suggest runes, masteries, and summoner spells that will help make him an even more dominant early fighter. If you prefer to play more passively that is also fine as gangplank scales incredibly well into the mid and late game - especially with a gp10 build and the bonus gold from his Q.
SkillsThe following information as well as some other interesting info such as trivia and patch history can be found on the League of Legends Wikipedia article for Gangplank: http://leagueoflegends.wikia.com/wiki/Gangplank/Ability_Details
Passive: Grog Soaked Blade(Innate): Gangplank's basic attacks apply a poison debuff for 3 seconds that can stack up to 3 times. Each stack deals (3 + level) magic damage per second and slows the target by 7%.
Explanation:Grog Soaked Blade is a passive ability that grants Gangplank an on-hit effect, causing his autoattacks and Parrrley casts to slow and deal magic damage over time, ticking every second. This effect can stack up to 3 times.
Grog Soaked Blade's application does not pop spell shields.
Grog Soaked Blade's damage over time damages Black Shield and the slow is negated.
Grog Soaked Blade does not count as a poison for Cassiopeia's Twin Fang.
Q: Parrrley(Active): Gangplank takes aim and shoots an enemy with his pistol, dealing damage. If it kills it, he gains extra gold and refunds half the mana cost. This ability can critically strike and applies on-hit effects.
Cooldown: 5 seconds
Cost: 50 / 55 / 60 / 65 / 70 mana
Physical Damage: 20 / 45 / 70 / 95 / 120 (+1.0 per attack damage)
Extra Gold: 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8
Parrrley is a targeted ability that deals physical damage to a target enemy unit. If the target is killed by Parrrley, Gangplank gains a flat amount of bonus gold and an amount of mana equal to half of Parrrley's manacost.
Parrrley procs on-hit effects.
Parrrley will not damage Black Shield.
Parrrley pops Spell shields.
You will not receive a stack of Grog-Soaked Blade when Parrrley is blocked by a spell shield.
Parrrley does not proc spell vamp and Rylai's slow similarly with all spells and abilities that proc on-hit effects.
Parrrley can critically strike.
Parrrley resets Gangplank's autoattack timer.
Parrrley will proc and apply the Sheen, Trinity Force, Iceborn Gauntlet and Lich Bane effects.
Units killed by Iceborn Gauntlet's Spellblade when using Parrrley will also grant the bonus gold.
Parrrley procs the splash damage from Tiamat.
Parrrley is affected by items like Thornmail, Warden's Mail and Ninja Tabi.
Parrrley uses melee autoattack item effects and buffs.
Blessing of the Lizard Elder and Frozen Mallet will apply the stronger melee version of the slow on Parrrley.
Every unit killed by Tiamat's splash damage or the proc from Statikk Shiv will grant Parrrley's bonus gold and refund mana.
This makes it possible to refund more mana than the ability costs (returning the full mana used with 2 kills and returning more than the used mana with 3+ kills).
Parrrley will be blocked by Aegis Protection, dodged by Counter Strike, and parried by Riposte.
W: Remove Scurvy(Active): Gangplank consumes a large quantity of citrus fruit, which removes all crowd control effects on him and heals him.
Cost: 65 mana
Cooldown: 22 / 21 / 20 / 19 / 18 seconds
Heal: 80 / 150 / 220 / 290 / 360 (+1.0 per ability power)
Explanation:Remove Scurvy is a self-target ability that heals Gangplank and removes any crowd control effects afflicting him at the time of activation.
Remove Scurvy can remove blinds.
Remove Scurvy does not remove Ignite, the damage reduction from Exhaust, or any 'airborne' crowd control effects (pulls, knock-backs and knock-ups).
Remove Scurvy is one of the few abilities that can remove suppression.
The suppression from Urgot's Hyper-Kinetic Position Reverser will be removed, but if the channel completes both champions will still be moved.
The suppression from Malzahar's Nether Grasp and Warwick's Infinite Duress will be removed, however Malzahar's ultimate will continue dealing damage unless you move out of the tether range or the channel is disrupted.
E: Raise Morale(Passive): Gangplank's Attack Damage and Movement Speed are increased.
(Active): Gangplank fires into the air, disabling his passive boost but inspiring himself to gain Attack Damage and Movement Speed, with nearby allied champions receiving half that amount, for 6 seconds.
Cooldown: 25 seconds
Cost: 60 mana
Area of Effect: 1400 (estimate)
Cost: 50 / 55 / 60 / 65 / 70 mana
Passive Attack Damage Bonus: 8 / 10 / 12 / 14 / 16
Passive Movement Speed Bonus: 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 %
Active Attack Damage Bonus: 12 / 19 / 26 / 33 / 40
Active Movement Speed Bonus: 8 / 11 / 14 / 17 / 20 %
Explanation:Raise Morale passively increases Gangplank's attack damage and movement speed. When activated, Raise Morale is a point blank area of effect ability that causes Gangplank to gain bonus attack damage and movement speed, and all nearby allied champions to gain half of his bonuses. However, Raise Morale's passive bonuses are lost for the duration of the active buff.
When the active buff expires, Gangplank regains the passive bonuses of Raise Morale. It is not removed for the duration of the ability's cooldown.
Raise Morale's active is not an aura, and allies who move near Gangplank after the skill is used will not receive the buff. Likewise allies will keep the buff for the full duration once gained even if Gangplank dies or they move away from him.
R: Cannon Barrage(Active): Gangplank signals his ship to fire upon the target area for 7 seconds. Each cannonball deals damage. Enemies caught in the area of this ability are slowed, lingering for 1.25 seconds after exiting the area.
Cost: 100 mana
Area of Effect: 575 (estimate)
Cannonball Area of Effect: 275
Magic Damage: 75 / 120 / 165 (+0.2 per ability power)
Cooldown: 120 / 115 / 110
Explanation:Cannon Barrage is a global ground targeted area of effect ability that marks a target area for 7 seconds, slowing enemy units within for the duration. This slow lingers for 1.25 seconds on enemies moving out of the area. Additionally, every 0.3 seconds a cannonball falls in a smaller area of effect within the marked location, dealing magic damage to enemy units at that point.
Cannon Barrage does not proc on-hit effects.
Cannon Barrage procs spell vamp and Rylai's slow similarly with all area of effect spells and abilities with diminished effect.
Cannon Barrage will damage Black Shield and the slow is negated.
Cannon Barrage's slow will not pop spell shields, but its damage will.
Spell shields only have the potential to negate one cannonball, you can still be hit by other cannonballs and there is no effect whatsoever regarding the slow.
Cannon Barrage grants vision of the targeted area to Gangplank's team for the duration.
Hit-Box size plays an important role during Cannon Barrage. Targets with smaller hitboxes (like minions or Teemo) are statistically less likely to get hit from a cannonball and are therefore likely to take less damage. Targets with larger hitboxes (like Cho'Gath ) are likely to get hit with more cannonballs and take more damage.
Cho'Gath with 6 stacks of Feast and 2 other enlarging buffs ( Wild Growth and Storm Shield Storm Shield) will be big enough to get damaged from every single cannonball if he is in the dead center of the ability.
RunesYou have quite a few solid choices on many of your rune slots for gangplank so which runes you should use depends on who you are facing and your general playstyle.
Marks: Armor Penetration, Attack Damage, or Attack Speed.
I personally prefer armor pen marks. Its not likely that you will be picking up a brutalizer or last whisper in most match-ups so apart from the 8% armor pen mastery this is one of the very few places you can pick up some armor pen. Attack damage works well here too: it is perhaps even better for the very early fights but without any armor pen you will notice you damage drop off greatly once your opponent starts to get some armor. Attack speed helps you apply stacks of your passive more quickly and can make farming under your turret a little bit easier but is generally not quite as effective as AD or armor pen.
Seals: Mana Regeneration, Armor, Health, or Health Per Level
I personally prefer flat mana regen seals as this helps gangplank's early mana problems. A lot of people think you don't need mana regen runes because you shouldn't be spamming your spells. And they are right with most champions but gangplank's early harass can be absolutely devastating. If you only use your Q to last hit minions you get much of the mana refunded and don't really have mana problems, but you're not really going to get a lot of kills if you don't use your Q to harass. I suggest you spam the crap out of your Q. Use it on the enemy any time it is up and the enemy is dumb enough to be within range. If you don't find yourself having mana problems and can get away Armor, Health, or Health Per Level Runes then that is fine as a more passively played gangplank can be just as deadly mid to late game.
Glyphs: Cooldown Reduction, Magic Resist or Scaling Magic Resist Per Level.
The choice here is pretty much between early game and late game. Cooldown reduction helps in early fights as the fight can often be determined by how many times you can use your Q in the battle. If you prefer a more passive play style, Scaling magic resist provides a good amount of magic resist for mid-late game once the enemy AP carry is starting to be a serious threat and the AoE damage in teamfights starts to be significant. If you find yourself in the weird position of laning against a champion that does mostly magic damage, flat magic resist glyphs can make a huge difference early.
Quintessences: Attack Damage, Armor Penetration, Health, or Movement Speed.
I prefer AD or Armor Pen quints as they provide you with the damage you are going to need to pick up first blood. If you wanna be more safe and make sure you don't give up firstblood to that early gank from the enemy jungler you can pick up some health or movement speed (wards help too.)
MasteriesGangplank is one of the few champions who can actually get a pretty good mastery setup going into any of the different trees or even going a little bit into all of them.
I definitely feel, however, that the offensive tree and defensive tree are a little more helpful currently and suggest either 21/9/0 or 9/21/0 as the main choices for mastery pages for Gangplank.
I will add some more information to this section in the future; I am having some technological difficulties at the moment regarding the guide making program that solomid has created (its great - I'm just not the most tech-savvy). Masteries are pretty much self-explanatory and based on personal preference and playstyle anyway so you can just do exactly the mastery page that I recommended or just fill it out yourself with what appeals to you.
This is the basic setup for gangplank. Flash helps you escape a gank or secure a kill and ignite provides some extra damage to allow you to get an early kill and make you are able to duel just about anybody.
Although gangplank doesn't have a natural dash he can get away without having flash since he has some passive movement speed with his E and cc removal with his W. There are a few other choices that are definitely worth considering on Gankplank.
You have a built in slow with your passive but more slow is always good. Exhaust is great at setting up ganks. If your jungler comes in for a gank, exhaust your lane opponent while you and your jungler kill them. Also, exhausting the enemy AD carry in teamfights can be devastating. It can also be helpful to exhaust AP carries with predictable burst or massive AoE. Exhausting a fiddleticks or kennen while they are ulting will really help your team out and really piss them off. if you have exhaust and ignite together, there is no reason you should ever lose a 1v1. This combo makes your early kill potential ridiculous.
Map presence. In solo-queue, it is often not enough to just win your lane. if you want to make sure your team wins you need to try to ensure that other lanes win as well. telepoting to agressive wards bot lane can setup some deadly ganks with gangplank. especially once you have ultimate. its also extremely effective late game where you can split push while your team forces a fight at baron or at another tower. If no one comes to stop your split-push, you just take their base and if someone does come to stop you then you can teleport to the rest of your team making it a 5v4 and force a fight at some objective.
This can be used instead of flash. My general rule of thumb is that ghost can be good on tankier people since they can take a few hits while squishies MUST have flash since they can't take a few hits. Although Gangplank can definitely take some punishment, he has a built in movement speed steroid as well as a passive movement speed buff so flash is probably just better for him.
This can be good. It helps you not die which is always good. Heal baits under tower can be hilarious but the other summoners are probably better choices
This is a pretty troll summoner on gangplank. If you get it, you have to buy a so you can laugh your ass off as the enemy throws cc after cc at you and you just eat oranges and its k. seriously tho, I would only recommend this if the enemy team had a skarner, warwick, and urgot and even then its not really good just funny.
Item BuildsStarting Items: Here a few effective starting item choices for Gangplank. You only get 475 gold to start (unless you go deep into the utility tree) so spend it wisely.
Boots got nerfed in season 3 (taking 25 movement speed away from boots and adding it to all champion's base speed). Despite this boots and health potions is still a very strong start. decent sustain and the extra mobility helps escape ganks and secure kills. When you force your opponent to flash away, often you will be able to catch up to them without using flash because of the slow from your passive and the extra speed of starting boots. This will allow you to keep your flash for when you get ganked. If you have to help your jungler with red/wraiths or wolves/blue you only get 3 potions, if you are on the opposite side from where your jungler starts then you can go back to base before 1:30 and pick up the fourth potion and get back to your lane before missing any minion kills.
This is a very safe start against just about any match-up. The mana regen from the flask will let you spam your Q a little more (especially useful if you chose not to get any mana regen runes) and the sight ward is extremely useful against early ganks from the enemy jungler. More information on which junglers to be more concerned about in the match-up section.
This start will occasionally draw some rage from teammates. You might hear things like, "LoL at this noobplank starting brawler's gloves like its season 1". Despite what any of your teammates might say, this is actually a pretty decent start. it helps you build your avarice blade asap and can lead to firstblood quite often. A lucky crit or two can basically win your lane for free. It generally is best however to leave as little to chance as possible so I suggest a more consistent opening.
Any combination of these items could also work. You are going to want to get an early philosopher's stone so it makes plenty of sense to start with a faerie charm or rejuvenation beads or both and then maybe some potions or wards. If this sounds like something you may want to do just play around with the different combinations and see what works the best for you.
You will want to get the GP10 items as soon as possible. Philosopher's stone gives great sustain and avarice blade gives a little crit. This is the strength of this build. With the two GP10 items and the bonus gold from your Q, you will have more gold than your opponent even if they are ahead in minion kills. And if you can manage to beat your opponent in minion kills and pick up a few kills or even just some assists with your ultimate, then you are capable of snowballing out of control and becoming an unkillable behemoth that does tons of damage. The sheen is amazing on gangplank. It gives you a little extra mana and AP which helps you sustain with your W and more importantly it adds a lot of damage to your Q. I try to get 2 health potions and a sight ward every time I go back but its probably not worth missing out on of these core items for.
Optimal Mid Game Core:
Unlike the early core, which is pretty much set in stone, the mid game core is a little more flexible. This is isn't always the best item route but you can never really go wrong with atmogs and infinity edge. The big question for you each game will be which to get first between your infinity edge and your warmog's armor. The answer depends mostly on your lane opponent, how well you are doing, and your playstyle. If you need damage to kill a really tanky lane opponent pick up Inifinity Edge. If you have died more than once, maybe you should pick up a warmog's armor. After you get warmog's armor and infinity edge, you should turn your avarice blade into an atma's impaler. It's synergy with Warmog's is incredible and the extra crit and armor are perfect for gangplank.
Boot choices: Tier two boots are a cheap way to pick up some extra movement speed and a nice little bonus. I often upgrade my boots immediately after finishing my early core but occasionally wait until after completing a few major items.
These are generally the best boots on gangplank. You don't really need tenacity since you can just eat oranges to remove CC. The CDR helps allows you Q more often meaning quite simply, you do more damage. Lowering the cooldown on your Global Ultimate is also quite helpful.
If you are going against a strong AD lane or an AD heavy team, Ninja Tabi are an incredibly cost efficient way to pick up some extra tankiness.
If you want to push your lane to tower and go gank mid a lot or help control dragon or just run around the map crazily like a bloodthirsty pirate then Boots of Mobility are a solid choice. You have some decent map presence with your global ult but Its nice to be able to follow up your ult with you actually being there to help in the fight. With your passive movement speed and your active speed steroid and Boots of Mobility you can get across the map surprisingly quickly and wreak havoc in every lane instead of just your lane. Boots of Mobility are especially useful if you aren't running teleport.
Final items: After your mid-game core and upgraded boots you need to figure out whether you want to turn your sheen into a trinity force or iceborn gauntlets. Trinity Force adds tons of damage and utility while ice born gauntlets is a little more defensive but adds a very powerful consistent slow and a good amount of CDR. Lastly, you will want to sell your Philosopher's stone and figure out what you want to pick up for your final item.
A few major items to consider for your final item slot:
This is a great item. It gives you a ton of magic resist, a decent bit of armor, and an aura for your teammates. If your no one else on your team built it, then you should build. If someone else on your team did build it, build it anyway.
This item is great on Gangplank. The recent changes to it have made it a top tier magic resist item for anyone who get use out of the CDR and bonus to healing effects.
This item is quite expensive but extremely powerful. The only thing better than being able to eat oranges out of CC is being able to do it twice - the speed buff is pretty crazy too.
If the other team is stacking armor and your team already has a black cleaver or two and you need to be able to do more damage to the bruiser/tanks, then this item is perfect.
If are getting focused and don't want to be focused, buy this item.
It build's out of the philosopher's stone that you already have and provides some CDR and a pretty useful active. Every team should have at least one and two is just better
Don't get it if you are building your sheen into a tri-force. This plus iceborn gauntlets is pretty fucking funny. SO MUCH SLOW! It gives a bunch of health which synergizes well with the atma's impaler you should be buying.
Against an AP lane or a karthus ult this item can be pretty helpful.
very solid magic resist item. the extra health and mana are nice and the passive is really helpful in certain situations: ashe arrow, malphite ult, etc.
Lots of health, lots of armor and a cool active. very solid item against heavy ad teams.
if the other team has an attack speed based champs like vayne or kogmaw this item can really help your team out
a more offensive item choice. it is basically like a phantom dancer but builds out of an avarice blade which is pretty fucking sweet
used to be op as shit but isn't anymore. only build it if your team is stacking ad, the other team is stacking armor and no one on your team has one already.
Full build Notes: Once you have your full build don't forget to pick up Elixirs and an enchantment for your boots. It is completelty reasonable to buy elixirs and boot enchants before you have full-build just make sure that you do remember to eventually if you get a full build and have gold left over.
I personally recommend the homeguard boot enchantment. If you are running teleport, it is insanely powerful. even without teleport it is still really useful. Furor is good if they have an especially slippery carry like ezreal and you need the extra chasing power and alacrity is a very balanced choice as the flat movement speed is helpful is many different situations.
Late game, someone on your team should have oracle's elixir at just about all points in time. normally the support or jungler will buy it but occasionally you will have to as the top laner. Its is definitely worth it. Vision control is so important in the late stages of the game and clearing the other team's wards around baron can lead to a much easier teamfight and an easy win.
I usually don't buy elixirs until I have A full build but they can be helpful if there is going to be a really important fight in the next few minutes.
Final notes on Item builds: It is important to note that the item path above is just a guideline, specifically for an ideal game. Each and every game of League of Legends is a unique experience and the better you adapt to the specific challenges of each game the more successful you will be. It is important to figure out what your team needs to be successful and try your best to fulfill that role. If your team is lacking a tank, then you should try to be a tank and pick up some extra defenses or If your team is lacking damage you should go for a more damage oriented build. It is crucial to realize that League of Legends is team game and your ability to work well with your team is absolutely essential to victory. I will leave you with a few examples of some Gangplank end-game item builds.
A few full-build Examples:
Tips and TricksPeople often vastly underestimate how powerful his passive slow is. Wait until the enemy walks toward a minion to last hit it or camp a bush and wait for the enemy to face-check it. Then auto attack them and Q them to apply two stacks of your passive on them. At this point they are slowed significantly and as you chase after them they are forced to either turn and fight you or flash away.
Stealing red at start of game against junglers that must start blue is a great way to give yourself an early lead and set the enemy jungler way behind. If you are playing against a fiddlesticks or an amumu or any other jungler that is going to definitely start blue this strategy can work quite effectively. start with boots and potions and go to the enemy redas soon as possible. The enemy team will usually focus on protecting their jungler at his blue while you as a sneaky pirate (bonus points if you have the special forces skin) can solo the enemy team's red buff by yourself. After you get red, go back buy a ward becasue taking the jungler's red will make him angry and he will probably try to gank you and then teleport back to lane with an xp advantage and red buff. This strategy is very risky but it can start the game rolling in your team's favor very quickly.
Camping river bush when purple side for first blood: When you are purple side, your top lane opponent will likely assist his jungler with blue buff. very many players will unwisely walk up the river to go their lane because it is a little bit quicker and they dont want to miss that 1-2 cs. If u sit in the bush there and wait for them to walk up to it you can catch them by suprise with a quick parley and auto-attack applying two stacks of your passive. This can very often lead to an amazingly quick firstblood or at the very least a huge lane advantage or a forced flash.
Match-ups (Coming Soon)I am eventually going to include a detailed section for every common top lane match-up but as you can imagine, that is quite an undertaking. My plan is to add information to each champion as I encounter them in ranked play but as you can imagine it might be a while before I happen to stumble upon any particular match-up. If anyone would like to see a particular match-up explained, just leave a comment and i will try to get to it right away - its just that right now this huge task is a little overwhelming and I am lacking the motivation to just jump right into it.