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Gangplank Build Guide by Thatdudeinthecotton

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Thatdudeinthecotton

Ap Gangplank - The sound of Cannons

Thatdudeinthecotton Last updated on October 10, 2014
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Well hello there fellow summoners, I am Thatdudeinthecotton and welcome to my guide on AP Gangplank! As an alternate take on the god of the seven seas, this build focuses on giving out several powerful abilities for you to use, instead of focusing solely on one.

Ap Gangplank can be played as sustain bruiser toplaner, or a glass cannon esque midlaner. While strong he is by no means op, and is advised to be played as more of a counterpick than a regular choice if you are playing in ranked.

Remember: This guide is not the be-all end-all way to play Ap Gangplank. This guide represents My conclusions on the optimal way to play/build him. I encourage you to examine and critique this guide as you feel necessary and if you feel I am ignoring some significant items, skill choices etc, please mention it in the forum and I'll consider adding it to the guide. I will try my best to iterate further on this guide and answer any questions concerning the build order, skills etc.

This Guide is consistently being updated as new patches come in :)


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Pros / Cons

-Consistent damage output
-Table-turning heals
-Has personal Cleanse every 20 secs.
-Ult deals significant damage

-Mana hungry pre-level 6.
-Is weak against gapclosers.
- Parrrley pre Sheen is average.
-No insane Crits.
-Pirates get scurvy :(
-Pirates get scurvy :(


When to pick AP GANGPLANK:

Spoiler: Click to view

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Greater Mark of Hybrid Penetration

Greater Seal of Armor

Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist

Greater Quintessence of Ability Power
Explanation and alternatives:
* = Reccomended

Greater Mark of Attack Damage: Get these for last hitting and to boost the effectiveness of early all ins when going aggresive top lane. These don't help as much as penetration marks later on though.
* Greater Mark of Hybrid Penetration: Id say these over magic pen as these help your early game a little more and later on a third of Parrrley's damage is physical.

* Greater Seal of Armor: Pretty standard, they simply provide very good armor. They'll give you some bulkiness early game.

* Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist: Generally take these over flat glyphs as most ap champs hit their stride at level 6.
Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power:Your ap until your ult or Lich Bane doesn't matter that much, which means scaling ap is more helpful than flat glyphs.

* Greater Quintessence of Ability Power: Whats there to say? It makes your abilities hit harder. It also puts more citrous in your oranges, sway in your swag and junk in your trunk.
Greater Quintessence of Life Steal: Even more sustain in laning phase as well as stronger dueling early.
Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed: Allows you to delay building boots if you wish, without being penalised too heavily. (For obvious reasons I still advise building boots at some stage in the game).
Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage: Easier last hitting + better early dueling.

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Safe top lane farm and general purpose mid

Pretty standard ap oriented masteries. Built to help Gangplank's scaling as the game goes on. It leaves you a little vunerable early without much defenses when compared to the alternative masteries sheet, however this is exchanged for sheer damage later on.

The mastery points in utility are very useful early game. Meditation will help your early mana consumption issues, and Fleet of Foot gives free movespeed (which is useful in every situation) But the real prize here is Culinary Master . This makes you're early sustain much stronger, as each health pot will now give +35 health per pot (remember Alchemist ) as well as bonus mana. That means a single pot is as good as/ better than having Veteran Scars maxed. If you're going for a five pot start, Culinary Master is flat out better than 9 points in the defense mastery tree.

top lane/ bruiser mid

This masteries setup gives gangplank additional tankyness, allowing him to absorb damage for his team. However, early game it also gives him alot of duelling potential, letting him all-in his opponent at level 2 and getting an early firstblood by utilizing his passive Grog Soaked Blade.

For this strategy you'll need to start with Ignite and either a cloth armor or Elixir of Fortitude. This works well against bruiser/ squishy tops, but is somwehat less effective vs tankier champs. If against a mage while using this setup, don't expect to get a kill unless they screw up.

Note that Gangplanks damage (with this setup) early is best in sustained fights, the longer the better. However, this setup doesn't scale with damage as well as the first, and should be used when the team needs a late game offtank/bruiser.

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Good Summoner Spells

Just gonna get this one out of the way, yes Flash is a good spell choice. It can be used offensively, defensively and for anything in between.

This combined with Cannon Barrage gives you a powerful map presence at almost every stage of the game. Good for saving turrets, allies or split pushing. Also it lets you return to lane quickly, especially if your top.

The classic spell for duels, ignite adds some considerable damage to your repertoire. I don't take it as often as teleport, but if your confident you can dominate your lane, this will make it even easier.

Has been buffed to give a move speed buff on use, also the heal now scales better than barrier. The double heal is a little redundant, but with the extra move speed, Heal essentially works as a semi- Ghost. Is good for sustain and chasing, but has somewhat less kill potential than Ignite.

While typically seen on supports, this spell offers significant dueling power as well as letting you effectively "shut down" any carries damage potential in teamfights.

"usable" Summoner Spells

The usefulness of this over flash is hotly debated. Personally Id only consider this when the enemies lack cc to slow you down. Then this would give more chasing potential than flash. However, its not very versatile.

Another Duelists spell, its great for when you need a way too mitigate the enemies burst. The problem with this spell however is that it only last for 2 seconds, during which most enemies will wait for it to go down before finishing you.

Seeing as you already have a cleanse, this spell is very situational. Consider it if the enemy team has ridiculous amounts of CC.

If you don't like the health and mana pot start, this will make your early game sustain better, however I find it be less useful late game than the other summoner spells.

Bad Summoner Spells

Spoiler: Click to view

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Skill Sequence

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Okay, time to get into the meat of the guide. One of the main reasons that ap Gangplank is effective is that he has a good offense AND a good defense. As such, the skilling order is pretty circumstantial. If you're winning your lane no problem, max Parrrley first for the extra damage and gold income. If you find yourself getting pushed around a bit, max Remove Scurvy after putting two points in Parrrley. This'll keep your harass decent while still getting strong heals. Whichever skill you neglect at the start you max 2nd, leveling Raise Morale last and Cannon Barrage whenever you can.

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Skills and How to use them

"Invincibility lies in the defence, The possibility of victory in the attack"- Sun Tzu

Passive: Grog Soaked Blade Slow + magic damage on autoattacks

>This passive essentially makes Gangplanks level 1 auto attack one of the strongest of all the melee champs in the game. To clarify: at level 1 this makes every attack you do 12 bonus ap per hit, with a stacking slow that goes to 21%. Thats better than a longsword, and because of this passive toplane Gangplank can all-in 90% of his opponents ( Pantheon included) from level 1. However, if you're running ap Gangplank
you'll need to hit level 2 and get Remove Scurvy before going in.

Parrrley: A single gunshot
> Your bread and butter ranged harass tool. It deals solid damage and procs any onhit effect you have at your disposal. You simply throw this your enemies way whenever you've got the mana to spare and last hit minions with it for the extra gold. Don't spam it too much though, or you'll run dry on mana pretty quickly. Since the bullet itself procs Lich Bane you dont need to cast a spell beforehand to get the effect.

Remove Scurvy: Heal and shake off CC
> The ability which benefits the most from ap. Its quick and effective. You'll mostly find yourself using this to sustain your laning phase early on. It can also be used to bait enemies into a trap if you've lost a little health. Simply let the enemies come at you while your standing beside a bush -or whathaveyou- and you can just nom on oranges while your teammates dive on them for their carelessness.(doing this below 50% health is risky)

Raise Morale: Attack damage and Movespeed steroid
> A nice passive, along with an active thats good for helping you or your allies attack or retreat. It helps take towers faster, and should generally be activated in any prolonged fight. It especially helps to activate this just before you get the drop on someone, as you'll be faster and have no need to stop for it if your chasing them. -Activate at start of teamfights, especially if your side is initiating-

Cannon Barrage: AOE Slow with a hail of Cannon Balls
> A map wide annoyance on regular gangplank, with amped up ap this becomes a serious damage dealer. This skill lets you: Save turrets from being pushed, save allies with an aoe slow, turn a sudden brawl in your teams favor, steal enemy buffs and more: FROM ANYWHERE ON THE MAP!. This can even be used to farm up some spare change if you've just gone back to base and can't quite afford that shiny Guardian Angel you've been saving up for. +popping this in the middle of a tf will let it wreck ungodly mounts of damage.

ALWAYS be aware of when this skill is up.

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Starting Items

Sustain and Safety

This is a good start against quite a few lanes. The mana pots allow you to harass more often, and the extra health pot means you can save your w for cc removal should a gank happen. Depending on how aggressive you think you can be, feel free to switch up the health and mana pot ratios. This obviously doesn't build into anything, but it'll give you a ****ton of sustain during laning phase.

Wardless starts

The average start, gives some mobility and sustain. Saves some time on getting your full build aswell. However, it doesn't naturally come with wards and you'll have to be more conservative with your mana. Would only really grab boots if the enemy is heavily reliant on skillshots. Doran's Ring, since its price drop, is pretty appealing on a whole. gives a little health, decent mana sustain and buffs your heal. If your you grab a Warding Totem, then Doran's Ring would be a good pickup.

Early all in (top only)

This is for duking it out with your opponent at levels 1-3. Take Cloth Armor versus ad, or if you're simply unsure weather or not to commit to an all-in. If you're 100% sure you want to go for it, take Elixir of Fortitude. Obviously buy health pots with both of these options as they'll further increase the power of your duelling + sustain. Unlike the other two item setups, this start benefits an aggressive playstyle way more than a passive one.

*These items are more effective if you posses the way of the warrior and a Warding Totem.

First Time Back

Beating/Harassing Enemy

This item synergizes very well with ap Gangplank. The ap boosts his heal, the mana deals with his consumption issues and the proc makes his Parrrley deal good damage, whether you've been levelling it or not. Buy this before your other mana item if you can harass your opponent safely and aren't just farming. Otherwise buy this 2nd.

Mana sustain

If you find yourself either playing defensively and just safely faming all day with your Parrrley , this would be the best choice of item. It gives nice mana right off the bat and progressively builds into an Archangel's Staff and more mana than any self respecting citizen knows what to do with. More useful top than mid.

Mr + Mana

This is more of a mid lane item than anything else (though it does well against ap tops aswell) primarily because of the mr it provides. It also builds into less overall damage output when compared to its alternative.
( Athene's Unholy Grail vs Archangel's Staff).

Armor needed

A strong first item against AD lanes. Aside from armor, it provides mana sustain and indirect damage in the form of CDR. For what it is its very cost effective. Build Sheen into Lich Bane before getting Frozen Heart as the extra defensive stats aren't worth the amount of gold it costs early on. Works especially well in top.


Lich Bane

Lich Bane is absolutely mandatory.
This item is literally half of what makes ap Gangplank viable. It procs with Parrrley, giving you some nice ranged damage. It helps that almost half of Parrrleys damage is ad,
making it hard to build resistances too. Then there's the added move speed for utility AND it's got ability power which'll amp up all of your abilities ( Parrrley now included).


Archangel's vs Athene's

There are three main factors to consider when choosing which of these two items is going to occupy your second item slot. Firstly, does the enemy rely on ap?, do you feel the need for some more early CDR after Ionian Boots of Lucidity? and finally, are you having serious mana consumption issues (I mean major issues)? If the answer to all 3 of these questions is yes, then Athene's Unholy Grail will probably be the better choice.
However, in terms of raw power Archangel's Staff gives signifigcantly more ap (approx. 60 more from its passive) and also comes with a very useful active when it becomes Seraph's Embrace. Also ,as CDR is built in to other items further on in the build, this makes Archangel's Staff the more powerful late-game option of the two.

Situational and Late game Damage items

Rabadon's deathcap

"Tons of damage" -Phreak
Seriously this item will just make all of your abilities pack so much more punch. However for the amount of money it costs you won't be getting any form of tankieness or sustain. I would normally delay this for a zhonya's, then grab it immediately afterwards. However if you stomped your lane then there's nothing wrong with getting this immediately after your core.

Zhonya's Hourglass

Yup, the jukemeister is here. This provides some pretty nice armour, a hefty chunk of ap and one of the most potent active abilities in the game. Since this builds out of Seeker's Armguard, your power wont be at low ebb while building it and you'll gain some solid defence. I would put this just under core for ap Gangplank as it allows for some interesting plays.


Abyssal Scepter

This is a solid item, just not spectacular. It provides good defense against casters, while giving a nice passive mr reduction for you and your team. Good if the enemies aren't stacking mr to counter you.

Void Staff

Sortof the opposite of Abyssal Scepter in that its at its best when the enemy stacks mr. Its best used as one of your last purchases, as the mr reduction isn't that noticeable early on.


This gives out a lot of useful stats, particularly if your finding yourself mana hungry in mid to late game. the mana-regen and cooldown reduction allows for you to spam your moves a little more, and the passive makes it more difficult for the enemy to save themselves in a teamfight. I normally take it if the enemies got an annoying lifesaving ability/healer on their team.

Liandry's torment

Warning: passive only procs on ult!.
Well this doesn't proc with Lich Bane...So...yeah...not that great an option really.
It'll give you some Magic pen though and procs for full damage on you ult(because of the slow), but still your paying a lot for an upgrade to only one of your attacks.


Don't buy this. You only benefit from spell vamp on one of your moves, so its pretty useless to have.

Rylai's Crystal Scepter

Consider this Rod of Ages little brother. No mana, and the base stats aren't as appealing overall. The only reason to get this is if the enemies lack natural flash esque escapes, in that case the overall 40% slow on your ult is nice.


-These items are geared directly towards survivability. If you're playing toplane, take two of these, building them either during or immediately after your core. If your playing mid, grab one of these last.

Frozen Heart/Randuin's Omen

These two are the best anti-ad items in the game. Which one is better for your situation depends on whether or not the enemies have reliable escape's (random example: Shunpo). If they have powerful escapes, Frozen Heart is the best as it builds outof Glacial Shroud. If they lack escape mechanisms, Randuin's Omen might serve you better as it will help you "stick" to your opponent more easily.
Thornmail is also an option, but it doesn't provide utility to the team and its passive isn't as good as Frozen Heart's against the majority of enemies. Might build it if someone else has already got Randuin's and the carry is an AD carry.

Spirit Visage

Build this if enemy mid (or other ap champ) is becoming a problem. The MR is good and the cdr helps you spam parrley, BUT what really makes this item is the passive. As ap Gangplank can already heal huge chunks of his health this item just makes him that much more unkillable.

UPDATE: the new passive health regen on this makes it essentially a must buy on ap Gangplank, as it'll also help against other damage types aswell now.

Warmog's Armor

^^reason to get warmogs^^
Warmog's is a good choice if there's no prevelant damage type on the enemy team, or if the enemies just grabbed a whole lot of magicpen/armorpen. Though the regens been nerfed its still pretty noticable. Would not build if the enemies grabbed a Blade of the Ruined King.

Guardian Angel

Gives some armor and magic resist which is nice, but really everyones here for the passive. Mathematically speaking, the warmogs will give you more health than the revive from this does, however the four second stasis can really save your bacon in a teamfight. Always be aware when its up, but try not to waste it if possible. If your confident in your team to follow your innitiate, or your getting focused down alot, this could be a good choice.

Banshee's Veil/Quicksilver Sash

Total MR
Both of these are good against mages for similar reasons. They both offer MR and they both shrug of spells. The key difference being that banshee's shield is popped by any spell, whereas quicksilver can be spent on any cc that bothers you. Quicksilver also builds into Mercurial Scimitar.
Normally I would choose banshee's veil as it tends to be abit more helpful should the enemy get a suprise initiate on you. However if you've got the reflexes, quicksilver is a decent option.

Aegis Of The Legion/ Locket of the Iron Solari

Toplane only:
Very much so geared towards team based stats, these can be a good option for teams that distinctly lack tankyness. Would only pick these up after mid game, as the stats given aren't as beneficial to your early game as other items, and you're really getting it for the team aura's anyway.
Note: Aegis auras don't stack. If someone else is building it, you'd be better off getting something else instead.

Sunfire Cape

Toplane only:
The usefullness of this item increases with how long you can stand next to your enemies and live. For that reason Id only ever build this as a part of my top build and even then only when Im being very aggresive.


Wards save lives more than most armors do. No it is not just the responsibility of the support to get every ward for your team. A ward only costs 4 minions, so don't be stingy.


-Boots are pretty much essential for any champion. Without decent movespeed you'll never be able to catch or escape from your enemies. Which set you choose is circumstantial though I recommend building them early.

Generally your best bet is to go for Ionian Boots of Lucidity, as the CDR helps you both offensively and defensively. If you want to increase your magic damage get Sorcerer's Shoes for the Mpen. Against a heavy ad team, Ninja Tabi are useful. Mercury's Treads are used against teams with reliable CC. Boots of Swiftness are good when the enemy lacks "hard" CC. Boots of Mobility are helpful when roaming, but offer no combat based advantages.

Weird items

-Items that are currently being experimented with or are just very niche in their usage.

Just, why?

For the longest time this has been viewed as "core" on alot of ap gangplank builds. However upon really looking at it, while it does provide gangplank with a little of what he needs in every area, it doesnt provide enough in any one given stat that its benefits outweigh that of other items. Lets compare each item in the mid example build.
-It cant replace boots, gp's natural movespeed amp is his only gapcloser.
-Can't get rid of Lich Bane
- Archangel's Staff gives much more mana and ap (we're talking over double of both) making it way more cost efficient.
- Spirit Visage: It gives more health, MR, buffs gp's heal more than any ap item in the game can and has a passive health regen upon taking damage. No contest here.
- Rabadon's Deathcap/ Zhonya's Hourglass/ Void Staff: You need the damages, and these items give them to you, rod of ages doesn't even provide half of what these items do. + Its only way to compete with them is to be at full stacks which may not even happen considering it is now end game at this point :/

alternate to lich bane...?

So... yeah... this is Lich Banes only competition when it comes to this build. obvious disadvantages are: less ap, weaker procs and no ms buff. However it does come with a hefty chunk of CDR (so you don't need Ionian Boots of Lucidity), A strong AS buff and constant ap procs on all of your attacks. Since your melee this means you'll need tankiness and for that reason I reccomend only using it as part of a toplane bruiser build.(if you really have to that is)
-Currently testing-


Well they give AP, MS, MR and a helpful active. All pretty helpful, but has the same problem as Rod of Ages in that it doesn't conveniently fill any given item slot :/

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Early to late game

Early game:

Spoiler: Click to view

Mid game:

Spoiler: Click to view

Late game:

Spoiler: Click to view

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If you feel like showing off the stats you got while using this build, Ill post them here :)


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Well, that's about it for my build on ap Gangplank.
I sincerely hope that you enjoyed reading it, and hope you see your way to trying him out in the future :D
If you have any criticisms or questions please share them and I'll do my best to reply :)

Obligatory shout-out to JHOIJHOI, Cause without her, every guide on this website would be unformatted and bland.

Big thanks to Captain Meiyjhe whose feedback helped improve the item build significantly.

5th of november 2013: Updated toplane-section, reccomended items and added new item path.