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Gangplank Build Guide by Thatdudeinthecotton

Ap Gangplank - The Sound Of Cannons

Ap Gangplank - The Sound Of Cannons

Updated on January 24, 2018
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League of Legends Build Guide Author Thatdudeinthecotton Build Guide By Thatdudeinthecotton 45 7 1,354,540 Views 101 Comments
45 7 1,354,540 Views 101 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author Thatdudeinthecotton Gangplank Build Guide By Thatdudeinthecotton Updated on January 24, 2018
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Choose Champion Build:

  • LoL Champion: Gangplank
    Top/Mid Classic
  • LoL Champion: Gangplank
    RuneGlaive Rampage (rest in pe


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 fun he is by no means op, and is advised to be played as more of a counterpick or just for fun 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 not being consistently updated as new patches come in, but I'll do what I can :)

With the death of runglaive, ap gp has been re-relegated to being sub-optimal, you have been warned.

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In Rememberance Of RuneGlaive

On the 22nd of july 2015, Gangplank, with Enchantment: Runeglaive in hand, fought to the death with ap Ezreal. In doing so, he succeed in slaying the menace, but at the cost of his own magic. May his sacrifice be honoured by all.
why runeglaive?
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Pros / Cons

-Consistent damage output
-Table-turning heals
-Has personal Cleanse every 20-12 secs.
-Ult deals significant damage

-Mana hungry pre-level 6.
-Is weak against gapclosers.
- Parrrley pre Sheen is average.
-Pirates get scurvy :(
-Pirates get scurvy :(


When to pick AP GANGPLANK:

Spoiler: Click to view
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Summon Aery:
The main appeal of this rune is that it lands every, single, time it goes off. It's just raw bonus damage, and quite a bit of it at that. It doesn't have quite the "oomph" that Arcane Comet has on a single proc, meaning that if you wanna live the ap gp global snipe dream, then this isn't quite the rune for you. But in terms of consistency this rune is far better.

Arcane Comet:
This is a solid keystone as it gives your poke a little more damage, by giving it an ap scaling before you've finished lich bane. It also pairs decently with your ult to snipe kills, though it can be dodged if the enemy is paying attention. Not much more to it since it's just a damage rune.

The Ultimate Hat:
The cd on gangplank's ultimate is very long, so this rune is really very good on him, reducing his ulti's cd by around 15-20 seconds by itself. The only other rune worth considering here is Manaflow Band if you really just want to commit to the sustain thing in lane.

10% CDR is pretty hard to beat and the other two options in this tier aren't really comparable for gp.

Gathering Storm/ Scorch:
Gathering storm is good if you think your team is gonna want to force it into late game, since that's where this rune specializes in. But if the team is a more typical early to mid snowbally type comp, then scorch is better to make your damage relevant a little bit faster.


Perfect Timing:
This is a get-out-of jail card that will also speed up the proccess of getting Zhonya's Hourglass, an item which was almost core without this rune. Chances are this is going to get nerfed, and if it does I recommend [[biscuit delivery instead, but until then this is sweet.

Biscuit Delivery:
Gangplank somewhat struggles with mana sustain, this helps patch that up nicely while giving him more overall mana to work with later. Swap it for another mastery if you decided to take Manaflow Band however, since that on top of this would be overkill.

Cosmic Insight:
It's cheap and efficient cdr, giving a boost to Gangplank's ability to grab cs with Parrrley early on, and keeping his abilities up more often at all stages of the game.
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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 you're 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 you're confident you can dominate your lane with it, go ahead.

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.

Unless you're going jungle with runic echoes, don't pick this up.

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.

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. Usually better in mid than in top, as burst is more common in mid

Seeing as you already have a cleanse, this spell is very situational. Consider it if the enemy team has ridiculous amounts of CC. Wait, scratch that, don't.

Bad Summoner Spells

Spoiler: Click to view
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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: Trial by firee Movespeed and true damage
> Gotta go fast. This passive lets you duck in and outof fights easily. Simply smack a minion with it and bang, you're faster than your enemy and can just waltz up to them to Parrrley them in the face. It can be used on powder kegs to help with escaping or pursuing aswell, and of course it can be used on enemies themselve for the bonus damage. Sadly it in no way benefits from ap so it's main purpose here is the speed boost.

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)

Powder keg: A big bang that procs onhits
> These barrels are used for zoning and harassing your opponents. They proc on hit effects in an area around them and deal bonus damage to champions, while ignoring 60% of their armor. A simple way to zone an opponent with these is to plant one on your minions, wait for its timer to run down and then put another near your enemy, but near enough the first one so that the two's explosion radius's overlap. If you do this you can smack the first keg and it'll chain the explosion onto the other keg without having to wait for its timer to count down.

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. If you want DPS get the upgrade Fire At Will, Death's Daughter is used for sniping or 1v1 ing, and Raise Morale is for helping teams that lack innate mobility.

ALWAYS be aware of when this skill is up.
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Early to late game

Early game:

Well, its farming time :D.
Gangplank's early game damage is pretty good, though it can be outdone by some bruisers.
Focus on getting as much farm as possible, and simply sustain the lane all day long. Chances are you won't get kills, but won't die yourself. The idea of this strategy is to safely reach midgame without any really big screwups.

After the first three levels, before you have gone back for Sheen, you'll probably hit a bit of a power drop (assuming the lanes even). Most enemies have a stronger level 6 than you in 1v1 scenarios. Taking that into account, just try getting to level 6 before your enemy so that you can either kill them or B early and keep the wave off of your tower with your ult.

If the enemy stuns you, consider when it is best to w. If you w too early you may just remove the enemies CC, but still be hit by their damage dealer without healing. Since gangplank lacks CC, pushing will make it exceptionally hard for your jungler to gank. Also, even with a CC cleanse, you don't want to make your lane an obvious target for your enemies jungle. If your junger does come to gank, remember to use your e to improve their damage+chasing potential.


Mid game:

"The Cannons are ready!!"
So now you have your ult. This means you have to pay much more attention to whats going on across the map. You can now roam from your lane to help your allies, without worrying too much about your lane getting pushed as you can repel the wave no matter where you are. Of course you can also use your ult to help teammates in fights that are just too far away from you, it can secure kills if the enemies too fast to chase or if they're hiding under their tower.If you're suspicious that the enemy are going dragon (Or know they are) you can ult to check/ steal it from them.

Late game:

Teamfights are now in full-sway, and where you are in them depends on which build you've taken:

DPS: You're the ap-damage dealer for your team. Generally speaking you do better in the middle of your team as opposed to the front or back. Being in the middle allows you to dps anyone brawling with your tanks while also being in range to fight off anyone diving your teams squishies. You can get away with this because anyone who can't instantly gib you will have trouble killing you thanks to the crazy heal on your W.

TANKY: You're a bruiser, ergo you either follow up after your teams tank or innitiate fights yourself. Your goal is to be a pain to kill for anyone who attacks you, but deal enough damage so that they have no choice but to try. But really you're just stalling for time as your other more damage focused allies go to work.

-In both cases use your ult when the enemies are bunched up-

When pushing: Always utilize your e for a faster push. Once you have Sheen you can use the procs off of w and e to deal more damage to the turret.
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Starting Items

Sustain and Safety

If you have absolutely no intention fo killing your lane opponent, even when you get Sheen, then just pick up this potion and hang in lane. It'll help you not die.

Rush start

The best start generally which is why it gets the biggest paragraph. Both items build into 3 good start up items each. Faerie charm lets you get more health pots, but sapphire crystal gives more immediate mana before your first recall, which lets you heal more often with W. If you feel you need more mana than this start can provide you should consider just starting with a corrupting pot instead, but getting Sheen a couple minutes early is a really big deal if you can pull it off.

Armor up!

It's armor, it stops you from dying to oppressive ad opponents who will try to kill you early, such as Pantheon or Riven. You can build the Cloth Armor into a Zhonya's Hourglass later, which will also be sped up by using the Perfect Timing rune to get a discount on the full item.

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.

Damage and more ap scalings

This is generally picked up 2nd after Sheen. This doesn't give mana, but it does provide some damage, some ap, but most importantly it provides the ability to buy Hextech Rocketbelt later on in the game. This gives gangplank another ap scaling, a small gapcloser/escape tool and another way of clearing minions (in fact it completely destroys super minions).

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).

NOT-CORE-ANYMORE: Archangel's staff

It used to be a big thing between choosing to get Archangel's Staff and Athene's Unholy Grail, but as athene's has been changed to be a support item it's no logner much of a contest. If you can afford to get Tear of the Goddess in the early game, against a somewhat passive lane opponent, then archangel's is good. But with Hextech Revolver turning into the more proactive protobelt, and Zhonya's Hourglass being capable of cheated out early with Perfect Timing, Archangel's Staff is no longer the big core item it used to be. Still the best when trying to scale super long with Gathering Storm though.

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. If you use Perfect Timing you'll be getting this every game.

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 Mask 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!.
DOUBLE WARNING: They finally fixed it, 4 years later, and now it works on his Q as well, Huzzah!
I an absolutely great item that is pretty much mandatory against tanks as it shreds them quite well, especially in combination with the slow from gangplanks ultimate. Woth consider taking it in combination with Rylai's Crystal Scepter for the combo with Q (results may vary).


Garbage, not in the game anymore.

Rylai's Crystal Scepter

You want your bullets to slow people? Well pair this with Liandry's Anguish and Lich Bane and you've got some decent bullet pain going for ya, while also being able to chase people. Doesn't have any real utility besides that.


-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.

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

Isn't all that good since they scrapped most of the armor and and all of the mr for AD.

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.


Control wards save lives more than most stats do. No it is not just the responsibility of the support to get every control 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. Mobility Boots 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?

Not good simply because you can't really buy it early game without really pushing back more impactful items, and the stats aren't built to scale late.

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 :/

runeglaive path
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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.

3rd of July 2015: GUIDE ENTIRELY REOWORKED: Runeglaive Rampage Update!

22nd of July 2015: Runeglaive rampage is over, may it rest in peace. Ap Ezreal is a doofus.
League of Legends Build Guide Author Thatdudeinthecotton
Thatdudeinthecotton Gangplank Guide
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Ap Gangplank - The Sound Of Cannons

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