Gangplank Build Guide by Jazzbear
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This is my guide to Gangplank, one of my favourite champions to play in the top lane at the moment. First of all i'd like to give you guys some quick general information about this guide, my personal experiences with the game and my motivations to doing a guide.
I started playing LoL about ten months ago and really enjoyed it from day one. Since then i've been playing it a lot and learned a ton about the game. Though i'm not as experienced as most of the authors here on Mobafire i think i understand a good portion of how the game works by now and want to share my way of playing Gangplank with you.
Even though this guide is not focussing on introducing Gangplank to beginners, it contains a lot of tipps and knowledge on how to play and utilize him. For more experienced players the guide may show a possible alternative to play him in top lane.
In the last few months Gangplank hasn't really been a popular pick but since the recent mana-refund on Parrrley i think he has a lot of potential again and brings a lot of utility to a team if played and built wisely.
Let's start with the runes i use when playing Gangplank.
I like to have a healthy mixture of defensive and offensive runes to be able to take harrassment in lane but also deal some decent damage in return if necessary. But since my main goal is to farm as much as possible early on to become a utility beast late-game i'm focussing a bit more on defense.
Greater Mark of Lethality
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
Greater Quintessence of Armor
I'm experimenting with the Marks a little at the moment, so i keep switching between Greater Mark of Desolation and Greater Mark of Attack Damage. The Greater Mark of Desolation are great if you are planning to counter-harrass your lane opponent early. Let's say after you finished your Philosopher's Stone. They shred a good portion of their base armor and allow you to keep dealing okay damage if they are building some armor items.
The Greater Mark of Attack Damage are more useful if you just want to farm up your lane and are not looking to exchange damage with your opponent. They are making last-hitting a lot easier and help you to get almost every minion even under the tower if you keep hitting the minions smartly.
NOTE: Melee minions can take two tower shots before you can last hit them - the caster minions only one. So keep that in mind while last-hitting under the tower.
For Seals i'm always using Greater Seal of Armor. Really great Runes which offer you a lot of armor early on. With these you can take more harrassment and farm peacefully without having to recall early due to missing health. Alternatively you can use Greater Seal of Replenishment if you like spamming your abilities a lot in the early game. But i really recommend the Greater Seal of Armor since the armor is also useful lategame, whereas mana-regen is not as important later.
The Glyphs depend on your lane enemy. If you are playing Draft pick you can errogate most of the time which champion you are going to face in lane. If it's a champion that deals heavy magic damage early on i prefer using Greater Glyph of Magic Resist because they allow you to survive that early game magic harrass which can be huge on some champions like Rumble. Some other champions with decent early magic damage are: Akali, Mordekaiser, Warwick, Yorick, Shyvana or Malphite. If you are facing a more physical damage oriented enemy, pick Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist. At level 18 they give you double the amount of Magic Resist than the Greater Glyph of Magic Resist and since you don't need a lot of MR early in lane, these are the better choice.
Like most of your runes your Quintessences should also be chosen situationally.
Again: If you are facing heavy physical damage in lane i like using three Greater Quintessence of Armor for general tankiness and peaceful farming.
Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage are also decent Quints on Gangplank. They allow you to last hit even easier and harrass your opponent pretty decent as well. It depends on how aggressive you want to play your lane. I recommend the armor Quints though. Especially if you're facing champions like: Irelia, Darius, Fiora, Garen, Lee Sin, Olaf, Renekton, Pantheon or Wukong.
For my masteries i'm using 4-18-8. I'm getting all the good stuff from the defensive tree including
In the utility tree i'm skilling Summoner's Insight for improved Flash and Improved Recall , Good Hands and Swiftness . Alternatively you can skill Expanded Mind if you want to have a bigger mana pool.
I try to get as much movement speed as possible out of the masteries because of Gangplanks great chasing and kiting potential due to his slows from his passive Grog Soaked Blade. My rule of thumb: A fast pirate is a happy pirate!
I'm investing the last four points in Brute Force and Butcher to make last-hitting even easier.
For Summoner spells i use Ignite and Flash. Even though i'm trying to play passively in lane early game it's really important to have a bit of fighting potential as well to not get completely dominated by your opponent. For example: If you get towerdove (which is pretty likely since you are playing really passively under tower) it's great to have ignite for additional damage.
If they even decide to do dive you after level 6, it should be a free kill for you. As soon as he attacks you under the tower use your Cannon Barrage on the area around the tower to slow him. Combined with a Parrrley, maybe a few auto-attacks and Ignite your opponent should be pretty dead soon because he is slowed forever. Just kite him around the tower and walk away after he is dead. :)
Flash is obviously the best summoner spell in the game - no doubts. It allows you to escape early ganks, jump over walls or close the gap to get off one last Parrrley or autoattack for the kill.
The skilling Sequence on Gangplank is pretty simple. Basically we want to max out Parrrley first because it increases it's damage and the extra gold we earn from last-hitting minions - most useful skill in my opinion since we want to become as rich as possible as fast as possible. Additionally it's our main damage source for later in the game. If it crits, it hits. Hard.
I max out Raise Morale second over Remove Scurvy. Why? Well, Raise Morale passively increases your damage and movement speed with each level which are both very useful stats for last-hitting and chasing enemies or escaping ganks. And the active is just an incredible damage and movement speed boost for you and your nearby allies. That gives your team a great advantage in teamfights, when chasing enemies or fleeing from sticky situations.
Remove Scurvy on the other hand is mainly a pure utility skill which provides you two things: a cleanse and a minor heal. That's why i always skill an early point in it at level two. Yes, the heal increases with each level and actually heals you for a pretty good amount at level five. But since the skill should mainly be used for breaking any kind of incoming CC, the healing part is rather irrelevant in most cases. (I must admit though that it saved my *** quiet often) But in my opinion using the skill just for a small heal in lane is a waste of mana most of the time. And if you're really unlucky you have it on cooldown when someone ganks you which can result in your death. Experienced players will recognize if you're using your Remove Scurvy prematurely in lane and use it to their advantage. That can hurt really bad!
So use your Remove Scurvy wisely - it's an awesome, awesome skill if used in the correct moments and cripples a lot of enemy combos. :)
Skill his Cannon Barrage at level 6, 11 and 16 since it's a hell of an ultimate. As soon as you hit level 6 you have to try to watch the map as much as possible. See a fight in bottom lane? Cannon Barrage on the enemies and watch your assist or maybe even kill number in the top right corner move up. :)
If you're premade it's even easier. Let your teammates know when you hit level 6, so they can call for your ultimate when they need it. His global presence makes Gangplank a really unique champion and a utility beast at almost all stages of the game.
Sometimes it even let's you perform a sneaky dragon steal if the enemy team dares to fight dragon without their jungler around. Don't use it on the dragon if the jungler is around though. He'll just smite it and your ultimate goes to waste. :(
So always be aware of player positions. Gangplank's ultimate is all about map awareness and evaluating fights correctly.
Ah yes, the items. That's a very interesting chapter on Gangplank because there are a lot ways to build him. I've seen builds from Critplank over Tankplank to the most recent guide i've seen called Bankplank. I've experimented with all of them but in the end i have to say none of them really worked out for me. Let's have a look at a few popular Gangplank builds:
Well.. as you can already tell by the name, this Gangplank tries to stack his crit chance and damage to infinity by building items like Phantom Dancer, Infinity Edge or any other items that build out of Brawler's Gloves or Cloak of Agility. He tries to wear down his opponents early in lane by using Parrrley over and over again on his enemy and snowballing the lane. Which actually can work pretty well against rather squishy top lane champions like Teemo. But since the top lane is mostly bruiser town this tactic starts to fall off pretty soon. Critplank gets counterd by early jungle ganks and early armor items. Since he's using all of his mana to harrass his lane enemy he will be out of mana really, really quickly and thus is vulnerable to ganks by the jungler if he finds himself in a bad position. Also quick Ninja Tabi and a Chain Vest or even just another Cloth Armor can shut down Gangplanks damage on Parrrley immensely.
Tankplank is a decent way to build Gangplank if your team happens to have no tanky jungler and just dies too fast in teamfights. But building purely tank items on Gangplank is a waste of his potential, more precisely his damage output in my opinion.
Yes, if you really need a tank in your team, Tankplank is an okay pick, but in that case other champions like Shen, Malphite or Cho'Gath may be better for that role.
This playing and building style is actually pretty similar to mine and i've experimented with it various times. Bankplank just sits in lane forever with Teleport and Flash, builds a ton of gp10 items and becomes richer and richer over the progress of the game. Which is good! Don't get me wrong, i think the idea and the approach of Bankplank is really good. But for me the playstyle is generally too passive and can kick you in the *** if your lane opponent is really aggressive and forces you to react to his harrassment - which Bankplank just isn't able to. Additionally, if you let your opponent have too much freedom to roam around the map, your team eventually starts to suffer under the additional pressure. And a Gangplank who just sits on a philosopher's stone, a Heart of Gold, an Avarice Blade and a couple of potions can't counter-react to this or instantly dies if he tries to.
The build that works for me
Early Game Items
I start with Boots of Speed and three Health Potions - pretty standard starting items for top lane. If you think you're gonna face a lot of early physical harrass by your enemy, a Doran's Shield is always a solid starting choice if you think you can live without the movement speed. I prefer having the movespeed so i can escape early ganks better or even net a kill i otherwise wouldn't have gotten.
After farming as many minions as possible with Parrrley i'm rushing Philosopher's Stone. Generally it's a great item to sustain in lane, especially to not run out of mana by using Parrrley over and over again for farming. Additionally the extra gold helps me getting my following items faster. If you have the 800g for the Philosopher's Stone, push the lane a little so the lane doesn't hit your tower while you're back at base and recall.
95% of the games i'm also getting a Heart of Gold as my next item so i can stay in lane AND get additional gold through the two gold items. This should give you a pretty big gold advantage over your opponent in the mid game.
Mid Game Items
Now it's time to build some damage and starting to counter-harrass your enemy in lane. I generally start building Trinity Force in this order: Phage > Sheen > Zeal.
Why Phage first? 225 health, 18 attack damage and a 25% chance to slow your opponent by 30%: Great item for Gangplank. Additionally to your passive, which already can slow your enemy up to 21%, the possible slow-proc allows you to slow your enemy by 51% and really stick to him. That is a lot of freaking slow!
Then Sheen: The extra mana is nice so you can spam a few more Parrrleys. The ability power increases the damage on your Cannon Barrage a little and increases your healing through Remove Scurvy - also nice. The passive gives you even stronger auto-attacks every few seconds after you used an ability which is also very useful for killing global objectives as well as enemy towers.
The Zeal gives you extra movement speed, a small amount of crit chance and attack speed. Good stats, but i think they're not as useful as the ones the other items give us. So i buy this last.
After you finish your Trinity Force you're starting to become a real threat for carries. Your Parrrleys start to hit pretty decent, especially if they crit. If you can catch the enemy AD Carry out of position, your slow procs combined with your damage can be really annoying.
Choose your boots situational. In 80% of the games i buy Mercury's Treads just because they are simply the best boots in the game. The CC reduction and MR are unbeatable most of the time. BUT: If your find yourself get shut down in lane really hard with physical damage it's often a good choice to buy Ninja Tabi. They are cheap and can cut down the enemy's damage a lot. They are also a good choice if the enemy team has a lot of auto-attackers and deal more physical damage OR just doesn't have a lot of CC which has to be countered.
Sometimes i even buy Ninja Tabi in lane and sell them later in the game for Mercury's Treads if i find myself shut down in lane too hard but want to have the tenacity later in the game.
It's important to becaome more tanky after Trinity Force! For the next item i generally choose between Aegis of the Legion or Warmog's Armor. If your support didn't already start to build Aegis i really like to build it on Gangplank. Health, magic resist and armor are all really useful stats to not be totally squishy in teamfights. Additionally your team really benefits from the aura it gives which can be the decisive factor of winning or losing a teamfight.
Warmog's Armor gives you a massive HP boost which you can increase by farming up more minions. A fully stacked Warmogs gives you a lot of Health and a lot of Healt regen as well. More survivability - great!
And which item really synchronizes well with more Health? Correct: Atma's Impaler! A common build combination on Tankplank as well because Atma's Impaler gives you Attack-Damage based on how much health you have. AND it increases your crit chance as well. And we all know that critting Parrrleys really hit hard, especially if you have no armor.
Late Game Items
If the game has come this far you definetely don't need your Nomad's Medallion and Heart of Gold anymore. However: if the enemy team has a lot of auto attackers additionally to the AD carry, Randuin's Omen is a great item to pick up on Gangplank. It makes you even tankier and the active really has a big impact in teamfights if used correctly.
So. If we don' buy Randuin's Omen we have one more item slot left. What to buy... what to buy...
We are now tanky enough to take a lot of damage in teamfights. Now it's time to deal infinite damage with critting Parrrleys. And the best item for doing so is... of course Infinity Edge. Yes, 80 Attack-Damage, 25 crit chance and the 250% crit damage hit like a freaking truck! Watch the health of the enemy carries go down to nothing in 2-3 crits and enjoy. The best fun a pirate can have, believe me.
- The poison debuff on his passive allows you to get a last hit on a minion even if your auto-attack wasn't strong enough to kill it.
- Parrrley helps you last hitting minions that are out of range for your auto-attacks. Additionally it grants you extra gold everytime you last hit a minion with it. (8 gold at rank 5)
- The combination of philosopher's stone, Heart of Gold and your Parrrley will soon make you to the richest man in the game and allows you to throw your gold at the shopkeeper back at base constantly.
In some circumstances you may even use your Cannon Barrage to clear a giant creepwave that is pushing on the other side of the map. It's always a pleasure to watch your pockets fill with gold when you do that. But don't do it too often or right before a teamfight! It's always important to have Cannon Barrage ready when a teamfight starts. Otherwise you are not as useful anymore. Again, it's all about evaluating the current state of the game when using your ultimate.
That was my guide to Gangplank, the saltwater scourge! If you haven't played Gangplank at all until now - give him a try! He is really fun to play and benefits almost every team composition. He may not be the strongest pick for the top lane but i really think he is viable. Even in ranked play he is a decent pick if you errogate your enemies well and think he can benefitial to your team.
I'm always open to any kind of criticism and i'm highly interested in possible improvement for my Gangplank build and playstyle. I'm happy about every feedback and suggestions i can get from other players. Also improvement for my "guide making" are hightly appreciated since it's my first and pretty spontanious build.
A big shoutout to jhoijhoi for her really informative guide on how to make a guide - it was really helpful! And the little png's for chapter seperating are also really nice, thanks for letting people use them for their guides. :)
Keep on Parrrleying and having fun with the game!