Gangplank Build Guide by Aezuriel
Not Updated For Current Season
This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.
Support-Plank (with Smite)
Vs. AD Assasins
Not Updated For Current Season
The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.
Why Gangplank Support
Support Gangplank can be extremely rewarding to play. You are giving up a little bit of lane-phase utility in order to have a stronger mid-game with better dragon control (assuming you are using the Smite build). Please note, that this is not an easy role to play, especially on low-elo solo queue. It is highly recommended that you only support-plank with a competent adc and a jungler who understands map control, especially around ganking a pushed lane and using the dragon timer. That said, you are basically running a Tank-plank-esque build that has surprising mobility and burst in skirmishes, especially if you know how to BARREL appropriately.
As an added bonus, you are able to put out enough damage that you can shove a lane if your teammates are occupied elsewhere, and sneaking in a jungle camp while warding is another source of gold that your team would otherwise not have.
This is the secret of this build. You effectively increase your teams gold-per-minute, better help with objective control and counterjungling (potentially), and bring double smite to Dragon and Baron pushes.
Starting the Game
First of all, because this is such an odd-ball build, you should check with your adc to see if they want you to run Relic Shield or go straight for chilling smite. Whenever possible, you should start with Long Sword. It gives you extra poke 1-5 which can be invaluable vs. certain lane comps (it makes a difference if you are poking directly with Parrrley or if you are only poking with Powder Keg). Starting long sword also puts you on the fast path to building your Chilling Smite. However, many games you will want to start with Relic Shield for the extra tankiness and the ability to use Smite as a heal/large minion secure.
When in doubt... go Relic Shield. It is the safest opening and the most comfortable one for your adc. You can always sell it in the midgame once you are ready to buy Machete for your "jungle" item.
Also, you need to figure out very quickly if you are going to be starting a camp for your ADC, or if you are going to be giving your Jungler a "super leash". This is covered in another section, but I mention it here because if you are "super-leashing" your jungler needs to make sure to SMITE immediately so they get the buff from the camp. After they smite, you smite and then walk away to lane. With two smites, the first camp usually only takes a few auto-attacks to finish so it is imperative that you do this right and NOT steal the camp or xp.
The most important thing is that you communicate so that your TEAMMATES know what you are doing.
Even though you are running a smite build, you should NOT be trolling. Your #1 priority Item is Sightsone. It is imperative that you are warding and appropriately supporting your ADC. Barrels are neat as makeshift wards, but feeding your opponents a steady stream of free gold is a poor exchange for buying wards/sightstone. Also, it is imperative that you are setting up dragon to take the best advantage of running a multiple smite comp.
Once you have Sightstone and Lv.1 boots, you can decide if you want to work on other things (like Brutalizer/Stalkers Blade) or if you want to finish Ruby Sightstone and Upgraded boots. This will largely depend on how your team is doing, and how much extra gold you are able to pick up through Smite/Parrrley/Dragon. Your first 3 items however, should be Ruby Sightstone, Alacrity Boots (preferrably Mercury's Treads), and Stalker's Blade - Warrior. If you have opened Relic Shield, you don't have to sell it until you have enough gold for a completed Jungle Item. Some games you may not sell it at all. However it is important to recognize (and communicate) once you sell it, you are effectively dropping your supportive heal, and switching gears in how you operate.
As a support, most games will be decided (if not finished) by the completion of your 4th Item. If you NEED more peel, go Iceborn Gauntlet, If you are taking heavy Poke from AP (or the AP Support) look at Locket of the Iron Solari. In some rare cases, you may feel the need to share your get-out-of-jail free card with your carry. Mikael's Crucible is a fun way to "toss an orange" to a teammate while giving you an extra boost to your MR. However, in almost all other cases, go Dead Man's Plate. The extra mobility is invaluable, it keeps your burst damage up (especially when used on Powder Keg, and it gives a fat amount of extra health and armor which make you tankier while coincidentally improving the heal from your Oranges.
Realistically, you are using this to gain joint utility. You aim to have Stalker's Blade by mid-game in order to have Chilling Smite available as a pseudo-exhaust, while also giving you some pushing power and better Dragon/Baron control through the game.
This is the standard go to for support mobility. Allow you to re-position in an instant
to make plays or escapes.
If your team is REALLY uncomfortable with you taking Smite and your ADC has heal, you can take this instead.
If your team is REALLY uncomfortable with you taking Smite and your ADC has Exhaust or Ignite, you can take this instead.
Some Gangplanks prefer Ghost to Flash. It is an okay option but lacks some of the play-making capabilities. If you prefer the longer duration to the instant effect it is not unreasonable. However I cannot understate how much more often Flash is just better. Especially once you finish Dead Man's Plate.
How to use Smite (as a support).
For this build to truly shine, you should be using Smite. Yes some people will wonder if you are trolling. It is probably the last thing you expect to see on a support. However, you are using counting on additional gold gain from it's use. Between Smite, Runes, and Parrrley, you should be able to generate the same amount of gold (or more) than a traditional support --- while building extremely tanky. It also allows you to have additional dragon pressure early (since you are always nearby dragon) during lane phase.
First of all, whenever possible, start the game by smiting and tanking a jungle camp for your ADC. If the jungler wants to get uppity about their starting order, you can instead turbocharge his 1st clear by giving him a major boost to his leash. Do whatever works best for the team. Remember, a happy jungler ganks more, especially if he has more time on his hands thanks to the fast clear you just gave him.
If you do smite and tank a camp for your ADC, take a quick look at your lane and see if you can immediately recall. The health regen from going back will save you some headache in lane, plus you can usually get another pot and/or ward to take into lane with you. While it may seem counterproductive to your ADC, going back to Well allows your lane to push, and gives your ADC an even bigger bump in XP in lane (if they farm safe), and sets your lane up for an early Gank.
However, remember that many junglers in the current meta prefer to start bot, then clear top and make sure that top is OK before spending the rest of the mid-game bot/mid. You don't want to be putting yourself in dire straits while your jungler is still in his 1st clear Topside. It is okay if your lane gets a little behind in CS in order to stay safe. You will make this deficit up in Jungle camps and Dragons later.
This is one of the major advantages to this build: Intentionally soaking more XP into your ADC so that they will have an XP advantage in lane. By using SMITE/Stalker's Blade instead of a traditional Support Item, you can keep up in gold/xp without having to be glued to someone else's backside all game.
Sometimes this is sneaking off to take a jungle camp, but more often it is choosing the RIGHT TIME to leave them in lane while you Back or Ward, so that you are not splitting XP. It takes a good ADC to realize this however, so make sure your ADC is comfortable and warded before you take off to do anything too drastic. You are NOT BARD. Most importantly, if your ADC gets disheartened or pushed too hard (or feeds because they want to blame you for all their ills), you will lose your ability to control the river, making it that much harder to secure dragon for your double smite composition. This is the main reason you only want to do this with a competent ADC ... preferably one who trusts you and knows what you are doing. One bad Gank on a clueless ADC can ruin the lane.
When you are approaching dragon or baron glance at the amount of damage that your smite has up. Make sure you know how much damage you are going to do. I also HIGHLY RECOMMEND you type the damage into chat and let your jungler know how much you can smite for, so that you both know what the "secure number" is. As a rule I try to smite at 2x my smite amount so that the jungler's smite secures the objective. Pay close attention however... some junglers will smite early... or even leave dragon altogether if it is being contested. You need to be prepared to deliver the securing smite if your jungle abdicates this role. Where possible you should be tanking Dragon and body-blocking over-the wall skillshots. As an added benefit, you can drop Powder Keg over the wall for some added security/distraction or arrange a series in river to be prepared against a run-by smiting or counter engage.
Outside of major objectives smite will serve as both a source of added gold and as a pseudo-exhaust (once you have Stalkers Blade). It will also help you push lanes, and can occasionally give you some added utility against champs like Malzahar, Heimerdinger and Zyra, who bring pets to skirmishes.
Lastly, once you hit mid-game, try to use smite as often as possible to maximize the gold it gives you. An important part of this build is about increasing the total gold the team earns (including you). The only time you should be saving a smite is if you are preparing for an engage or a baron/dragon secure.
Trial by Fire [PASSIVE] -- Cooldown: 15 seconds*
Gangplank's next MELEE attack deals bonus true damage over the next 1.5 seconds to non-structures. This also procs a 2 seconds move-speed (30%) buff for Gangplank. *Detonating Powder Keg immediately resets this cooldown and awards a move-speed bonus.
Parrrley [ Q ] -- Cooldown: 5 seconds
A ranged attack that procs on-hit abilities (not including Trial By Fire). If an enemy is killed by this attack, 25 mana is returned and Gangplank plunders an equal amount of bonus Gold and Silver Serpents. (Plunder: 4/5/6/7/8)
Remove Scurvy [ W ] -- Cooldown: 22/20/18/16/14 seconds
Instantly heals Gangplank for 50/75/100/125/150 HP (+90% AP) (+15% Missing Health), and removes all Crowd Control effects. This ability CAN be used while under the effect of a stun. However, it does not instantly remedy displacement effects like knock-ups.
Powder Keg [ E ] -- Recharge Time: 18/17/16/15/14 seconds
Gangplank can hold a maximum of 2 (+ 1 x the rank of Cannon Barrage) charges. Using a charge places a BARREL at a target location. They can be destroyed by Gangplank or enemy Champions. Due to complexity, BARRELs have a more detailed breakdown in the next section.
Cannon Barrage [ R ] -- Cooldown: 140/130/120 seconds
Gangplank calls down the thunder, revealing a large area, anywhere on the map. Three waves of cannonballs deal magic damage to the area and slow enemies hit by 30% for 0.5 seconds. This skill can be upgraded at the shop, if Gangplank accumulates enough Silver Serpents.
Powder Keg is a unique mini-game style skill, currently exclusive to Gangplank. As stated before: Gangplank can hold a maximum of 2 (+ 1 x the rank of Cannon Barrage) charges. Using a charge places a BARREL at a target location. They can be destroyed by Gangplank or enemy Champions.
When placed, these BARRELS have a Max life of 3 auto-attack hits, similar to wards. If left alone, this life decays by one hit every 2/1/0.5 seconds (depending on the rank of Cannon Barrage) to a minimum of 1 hit. BARRELS have a limited vision radius, and can be targeted by Parrrley. If an enemy last-hits a BARREL, they are awarded 10 bonus gold.
If Gangplank last-hits a BARREL, it causes the barrel to explode. This deals an amount of physical damage equal to the last-hit to all enemies/minions within the BARREL's radius and slows them by 40/50/60/70/80% for 2 seconds. This damage ignores 60% of armor, and deals 80/110/140/170/200 bonus damage to champions.
*Special note: On-hit effects and modifiers are applied to the Barrel's explosion. This includes:
- Sheen proc
- Dead Man's Plate Charges
- Plunder (From Parrrley)
- Bonus Gold (from Avarice Blade)
- Slows (from Frozen Mallet or Iceborn Gauntlet)
If two or more barrels are close enough together, they will be connected by a fuse. If Gangplank detonates any connected powder keg, ALL BARRELS connected to that keg will explode in a chain reaction, regardless of current health.
How BARRELS Connect:
When placing a Barrel, you will see the barrel itself, and the ring indicator around the barrel. The ring indicator is both; the damage radius if the barrel explodes, and the connection radius to other barrels. If there are two barrels whose OUTSIDE RINGS OVERLAP they will be connected by a fuse, and detonating one will detonate both.
Note, you do NOT have to get the ACTUAL BARREL in the ring... just the outside indicators -- as diagrammed below.
Before we move into advanced barrel placement and use, I want to say something very important:
Use Barrels Sparingly
When in need, Powder Keg can make a nice temporary ward, but the gold they give on destruction makes them a liability if you are regularly using them in place of a ward.
More importantly, barrels are your primary source of CC during ganks. Not only do they slow... but detonating them also refreshes Trial By Fire. Let me reiterate that one more time. If your ADC is getting ganked, even if you pop a barrel that nobody is near, your passive will refresh and you will be immediately rewarded with a move-speed buff.
That doesn't mean you can't do other cool things with them, but you should be using them sparingly, or preparing in advance for gank or dive. Most often you can plop a barrel in a bush, or behind your ADC and just leave it sit there in case you need it.
How to set up an engage on a BARREL
Parrrley is slow. I don't mean kinda slow, or even slower than you think. IT IS SLOWER THAN MOLASSES GOING UPHILL IN WINTER. While, it is basically point and click, Parreley has a wind up animation, and THEN a slow projectile trajectory. this means that no matter how perfect your timing, most times if you put your Powder Keg in range of the enemy ADC, you are handing them an excuse to collect 10g. This means that BARREL engages require at least 2 Powder Keg charges unless you get really lucky.
Typically you want to hide a Barrel out of range (in a bush/out of sight is better) and let it tick to 1 hit. Then you drop a 2nd barrel in range of the first and IMMEDIATELY shoot the 1st barrel. If you are quick, you can drop 2 (or more) and do this to cover a bigger area. Multiple Barrels will NOT do extra damage however, you are merely increasing the blast area.
One of the primary reasons you want to use barrels sparingly is that you want to save them for when you are getting ganked. Once you see a gank coming, drop a barrel on or behind your adc, preferably in the path your ADC will take to try and escape, and try to position yourself between your ADC and the closest relevant threat. If the threat continues to engage you can detonate a barrel on top of them especially if you can connect a second BARREL to the first one you dropped. Try your damndest not to blow Remove Scurvy too early, because once your carry is safe, the enemy will turn to you. Where possible try to score an auto-attack to proc Trial By Fire for the movespeed (remember you can use it on a minion) and be prepared to do it again once you pop a barrel with Parrrley.
Now... that is a lot of stuff going on at once. The good thing is, it can be just as confusing for the enemy team. Many times your opponents will get scared or frustrated and go for the barrels first. That is good because every hit on a barrel is one less on your ADC. Even better, is that a gank is the one time your opponents MAY NOT pay attention to barrels (tunnel vision). If you get 1 good detonation off, you can easily turn an enemy gank into a counterkill.
Especially as a support, Powder Keg is your bread and butter skill. More often then not, you are going to use Barrel's detonated by Parrrley to harass Champions, apply CC and on-hit effects. Unless you build Ravenous Hydra specifically to split-push Powder Keg is also your most effective tool to shove lanes. As such, pay close attention to the number of charges you have on Powder Keg before entering into skirmishes and make sure you are giving yourself enough time to regain charges from pushing, that you aren't leaving yourself without an escape hatch should you get ganked.
Lastly, don't forget to clean up. If you are leaving an area, unless you have a good reason, try to auto or Parrrley any sitting barrels to prevent the enemy team from randomly discovering 10g for free. Laziness costs gold, don't squander your advantage.
Even done right, lane phase can be rough, especially if you get a comp that wants to bully the lane. Fortunately the rework on GP makes him an excellent tank. However, you need to be mindful that you lack the heal or hard CC of many other supports. Remove Scurvy may save your bacon, but Oranges won't do your ADC any good if you get caught in a bad spot. Even worse, once the enemy laners/jungler realize how hard to kill you are, they will just look for ways to dive past you, straight to your ADC.
On the positive side, you have some amazing burst, even on a full tank build. If your ADC is good enough to know how to poke, and when to commit to a fight, you can easily turn fights back on an aggressive push and come out with a kill or two. That said, I will reiterate, it is not uncommon to start with relic shield in lane to give yourself a way to heal your ADC when things get hairy. You can always sell the shield in the mid game if you decide to get your smite item later. When in doubt, start relic shield -- Machete is useless in lane until you start making threats at Dragon.
Also, be sparing with your mana. It may be tempting to lob off a Parrrley at your opponents every chance you get, but you can deplete your mana pretty fast if you get too aggressive ... especially if you have to Remove Scurvey too often to stay healthy. As a tank, you will be largely ineffective in dealing damage outside of applying your passive or popping Powder Keg.
Most importantly, if the enemy team dives your ADC, you will need every skill you can muster to turn fights, and going OOM usually means one of you are going to pay the price. Even if you are winning lane... its better to back off and be safe than to push into a counter/gank and run out of mana at a key moment. Remember this build is favored over time... more time means more gold, more XP. Don't be in a hurry to camp under your enemy's turret.
Lastly... DON'T FORGET TO WARD. Its sad that as a support I should have to say this... but it is extremely tempting to treat GP like a kill lane. The reality is, this is a fragile build that requires smart play and good decision making to be rewarding. If you don't act like a normal support and ward appropriately, you are selling your team short and run the risk of invalidating the advantages this build offers through one bad gank.
Mid-to-late game, you should have a good amount of mobility to be able to ward the map and push objectives. You have just enough AD that with Powder Keg and good Mechanics, you can shove lanes and farm jungle camps. You are Tanky enough to jump into skirmishes and get some burst/peel in. Cannon Barrage is good for securing kills or pushing a lane anywhere on the map, or even just have added pressure or vision. Parrrley makes a nice pop (especially on Powder Keg) and Remove Scurvy keeps you in fights and clear of enemy CC.
As mentioned before, you are basically Tank-Plank on a limited income. Be prepared to die first in fights, but if you can help it, you will soak enough damage that the rest of the team will push through.
If you have wards in place and are not posturing for dragon or baron, look for opportunities to take jungle camps (especially if you can poach them from the enemy team) or split/push other lanes. Cannon Barrage is a great tool to push multiple lanes at once, if you are in split push mode or if one of your lanes is heavily pushed in, and your added mobility from Dead Man's Plate lets you catch up to any stand-offs that develop as you work the map.
If you play smart, ward, and make good decisions, you will be able to generate a significant gold/xp advantage for your team.
Vs. Sona -- Difficulty: Moderate
Sona's persistent heal in lane can make trading difficult, yet she can be extremely squishy and vulnerable to ganks. You survive all-ins much better than your adc, making your carry a prime target for trading. Poke/harass till 3 then wait for her to get low on mana or over-commit.
Vs. Leona -- Difficulty: Moderate-Hard
This one depends a lot on your adc. Poke/harass the enemy ADC or Leona till 3 then be wary of all-ins. Turret farm whenever possible and set her/them up for counter-engage punishment with barrels.
Vs. Nami -- Difficulty: Hard
A good Nami can be very hard to Lane against due to the nature of her CC. Where possible, punish her for missed bubbles, but be mindful of her regular heals and persistent slow/adc buff. Don't instinctively W if you get hit by a bubble since you still can't move till you are on the ground. Most times its better to save it for the clutch heal.
Vs. Janna -- Difficulty: Easy
This is a pretty simple matchup so long as you don't over-commit trying to harass/push. She's designed to punish engages so be passive, let your adc CS and don't get too trigger happy for kills.
Vs. Blitzcrank -- Difficulty: Moderate-Hard
This is a mostly okay matchup, save that mistakes in positioning can be devastating, especially if your ADC is too terrified to trade damage. Don't over-commit, punish missed grabs, and don't push into the enemy turret unless you are prepared/ahead.
Vs. Morgana -- Difficulty: Easy
Aside from being wary of all-ins at 6, simply position well, try to eat binding for your adc if you have to, and be prepared to Remove Scurvy. Build MR early if you take excessive poke.
Vs. Lulu -- Difficulty: Hard
Lulu has strong poke, polymorph, and unfair autoattack harass. You are not favored in this matchup. Play safe, wait for ganks, and only harass/engage if you are willing to all-in. Where possible, push the lane and BACK, but be willing to turret farm most of lane phase.
Vs. Tahm Kench -- Difficulty: Easy-Moderate
His poke/ap can be annoying, but fortunately, Catfish are allergic to Citrus. Get in his face and melee harass, let him get his stacks and eat you. Remove Scurvy and harass the enemy ADC while Tahm is scratching his head and cursing at the taste of Oranges.
Vs. Braum -- Difficulty: Easy-Moderate
Similar to Tahm Kench. Save harass for when you can down an orange. Force him into protecting his adc more than he is trying to poke. Be mindful focus on your adc, and for his ult after 6.
Vs. Zyra -- Difficulty: Moderate
Similar to Sona/Morgana. Ranged harass can get annoying, but you are tanky enough to sustain. Just let your ADC CS behind you and wait for ganks or for her mana to run out.
Vs. Zilean -- Difficulty: Moderate
Be wary of his burst/all-in at lv2. After that, its not horrible. Just make sure your adc is prepared to punish him back. If your ADC is too paranoid to trade, turret-farm and wait for ganks. Early MR/merc treads can help here if he gets too obnoxious.
Vs. Karma -- Difficulty: Hard
This is another tough one. You are slightly weaker to AP harass and her burst/kit are impressive if you try to counter harass. My best advice is to dance around and let them push the lane, and only try to counter-harass when her R is on CD. Definitely want MR here.
Vs. Alistar -- Difficulty: Moderate-Hard
Similar to Leona, this guy is all about engaging. Play a passive lane and focus on CS. If he over-commits punish the adc. If you can bait him into running out of mana, you can bully him out of the lane. Just be wary of pushing into the enemy turret.
Vs. Bard -- Difficulty: Easy-Moderate
Bard can be pretty difficult if he knows what hes doing. He can spam his stun, negating the advantage of your W. Try to harass away from walls/minions when W is on CD, and be mindful of meep harass Otherwise, bully the lane while he is busy "exploring"
For anyone not mentioned here, just find a similar support and transfer over the key points. If you end up vs. some kind of cheese comp / kill lane. Play passive and let them get frustrated trying to kill you (as GP you are a natural target for hate) and be prepared to counter-engage on well set up barrel bust. More importantly, play the gold game. If they are more focused on killing you, just play safe and let your ADC farm. They will be forced to split gold, and as long as you don't start feeding kills, they will be well behind after lane phase.
Feel free to mention additions you'd like to see and I will update this regularly, as I find more time to sit and write. I am also testing different Builds and Items, while testing viability. If there is anything you'd like to see, mention it in the comments and I'll try to get it in as quickly as I can.