Build Guide by Subito Piano
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Gangplank's true utility comes from his ability to quickly hit enemy champions for massive amounts of damage and then to escape without significant harm. With sufficient investment in crit-based items, Gangplank can provide DPS support in two areas of the map at once thanks to his Ultimate. In addition, he has the ability to heal himself and erase all negative statuses on him, an asset that can allow Gangplank to escape from many potentially volatile situations.
First off, I would just like to say that this build will by no means always guarantee you a win. From my experience, this is the most pragmatic build for Gangplank, because it gives him realistic items to purchase early game, and then once the kills start to pour in, he can invest in more expensive gear. By end game, Gangplank will be an agile, criting maching with massive champion-slaying potential.
-Massive damage with critical hits
-Infinite range of Bombard
-Ability to escape from many ganks with Remove Scurvy
-Can obtain vast quantities of gold with Parrrley
-Decent buffer for attack speed and movement speed
-Needs slowing support to finish off many heroes
Good Summoner Spells
Exhaust - This slowing spell allows for early game ganks since Gangplank lacks the ability to slow on his own. It has great early game ganking potential, and getting early game kills is essential for buying the quintessential Avarice Blade.
Clairvoyance - Can be used in conjunction with Gangplank's ultimate to finish off enemies seeking to teleport safely from behind their own turrets.
Clarity - A spell useful for continuous laning early game. Some prefer to invest in mana regeneration pendents early game, but I believe that this is not an economic use of money. Clarity gives yourself and allies increased mana, which allows for increased use of Parrrley early game, and consequently, more gold.
Teleport/Flash - These transportation spells give Gangplank an even more unrivaled map presence, as he can now be present in 3 lanes within a four second window, when teleport/flash is used in conjunction with his Ultimate.
Unnecessary Summoner Spells
Cleanse/Ghost - Remove Scurvy combined with an enhanced movement buff should be enough to escape from most ganks.
Fortify - Gangplank's ultimate is an effective enough tower protector.
Heal - Not worth it with any investment in life steal, which Executioner's Calling has.
Ignite - Not necessary, since Parrrley already does ranged damage and his passive ability reduces incoming healing.
Rally - Gangplank already has a decent buff in Raise Morale.
Revive - This built is partially based around not dying, so it is not worth it.
Smite - No point, since Gangplank is a mediocre jungler at best.
This will deal loads of damage to champions and minions alike. Early game, Parrrley's primary use if for last-hitting minions and receiving extra gold for these kills. As Gangplank's attack and crit rate increase, Parrrley as the potential to slay many enemy heroes. This will probably be your main source of damage dealing, so it should be maxed out first.
W: Remove Scurvy
I always keep enough mana on hand to use Remove Scurvy. Why? Because you never know when an ice arrow will stun you from across the map. Unless at low health, I would recommend using your mana for extra gold with Parrrley. A good all-around survivability skill, I place Remove Scurvy's importance below Parrrley but above Raise Morale.
E: Raise Morale
The most useful time to use Raise Morale is during turret assaults and large team battles. If you attack a minion already being attacked by a turret, you can greatly speed up the attacks of your allies on the turret and it will fall faster. In the chaos of large battles with many champions participating, the death of one minion is certainly worth the speed and attack speed boosts for your allies. However, these two circumstances usually occur late game, so Raise Morale will be the least important early-game ability.
R: Cannon Barrage
An unbelievable good Ultimate, Cannon Barrage has seemingly infinite uses, but here are a couple:
1. Deter enemies trying to destroy an undefended turret
2. Help yourself or allied champions being pursued by enemies
3. Cut off enemies trying to escape from your wrath
4. Destroy an entire minion wave
Avarice Blade - Useful early game for the crit chance and its gold output. It is a good long term investment that will allow you to buy more expensive items late game. If you so please, you can upgrade this to Youmuu's Ghostblade late game for the extra damage and crit chance.
Executioner's Calling - I usually start off the game with the Vampiric Scepter, which allows for extra survivability early on. Then, after buying an Avarice Blade, I buy an Executioner's Calling for the extra crit and DOT.
Ninja Tabi - Enhanced movement is essential for Gangplank escaping potential ganks. I prefer the armor and dodge chance offered from Ninja Tabi because it gives Gangplank some much needed survivability, and the occasional dodge can save you in the right circumstances. Berserker Greaves are also an option, but I think the attack speed boost from Phantom Dancer is sufficient.
Infinity Edge - After purchasing the relatively cheap items above, you NEED to invest in Infinity Edge. This makes Parrrley incredible, particularly with a crit.
Phantom Dancer - Improved Crit, Attack Speed, and Movement Speed. An excellent choice.
Your last item should probably either be either Last Whisper, the Frozen Mallet, or the Bloodthirster. If your opposing team is primarily made up of tanks with significant armor investment, I choose Last Whisper. If the team is primarily made of frail gankers or spellcasters, I buy the Frozen Mallet for the extra HP. Also, the guaranteed slowing will make it harder for other hit-and-run characters to successfully kill you or run away. The Bloodthirster is an all around good item for Gangplank's attack and survivability. Any of these three items are solid late game choice, but odds are the game will be over before you have the chance to buy any of them.
Useful Laning Partners
I find that Gangplank works well with teammates who specialize in slowing: Ashe, Nunu, and Ryze for example. This allows Gangplank to get off extra attacks, particularly Parrrley, for easier champion kills throughout the game. Ranged champions are preferable to tanks, as they can drive off some of the hard-hitting tanks that can spell doom for Gangplank.
Early Game Strategy
The firs ten minutes of the game should be all about amassing obscene amounts of money, and hopefully scoring a couple of champion kills. Use Parrrley as much as possible to get extra gold from minions, but always make sure to have enough mana ready to use Remove Scurvy. Above all, do not put yourself in foolhardy situations where you could die. Never underestimate the power of an ill-timed crit. I would not recommend tower diving, as this build does not give Gangplank any extra health that is required for tower diving. However, with the help of a minion push, I do use gangplank to hack at turrets, but always keeping an eye out for nearby champions and keeping an eye on the health of my minions.
Mid/Late Game Strategy
After buying all of your early game items and purchasing some of the required parts of the Infinity Edge, you should start to notice the destructive power of Gangplank's Parrrley and Bombard. I usually stop laning around level 10 or 11, and begin initiating ganks with other teammates. For this strategy to succeed, you must coordinate with your teammates to make sure that no lanes go left undefended for extended periods of time. Tower pushing is a realistic option for Gangplank, but it works best with a partner who can utilize your Raise Morale boosts.