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Gangplank Build Guide by Khazem

Competitive Solo Top Gangplank

Competitive Solo Top Gangplank

Updated on May 21, 2012
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League of Legends Build Guide Author Khazem Build Guide By Khazem 144 20 678,193 Views 81 Comments
144 20 678,193 Views 81 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author Khazem Gangplank Build Guide By Khazem Updated on May 21, 2012
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LoL Summoner Spell: Ignite


LoL Summoner Spell: Flash


Change log

  • Added recent Patch Notes with the needed updates

  • Added some alternative mastery setups

  • Added some notes about the item build

  • Changed item build in cheat sheet slightly
  • Added Frozen Mallet as possible offensive item

  • Changed the mastery builds to match the cheat sheet
  • Editted some of the match-ups

  • Updated the build
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BEFORE YOU READ: I just want to stress that the item build in the cheat sheet is just an example of a balanced build and should not be followed blindly every single game. More on this in the items section of this guide.

Hello and welcome to my Gangplank guide.

Gangplank is a very strong solo top champion, having great farming abilities, a spammable long range harass, great escape tools and a global ultimate that allows him to help his team anywhere on the map while he's happily farming top.
Gangplank is also one of the few champions that can overcome all lane counters by properly building/choosing your runes and masteries and due to the way he works is very hard to counter in lane.

While he is also a competent jungler, I will only be talking about Gangplank in the solo top lane, and how you should play and build him to overcome counters and avoid getting countered.
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Pros / Cons


+ Has a low cooldown, ranged harass that applies his passive
+ Has a global ultimate which allows him to help his team anywhere on the map
+ Very good chasing abilities - combination of a stacking slow on his passive and a movespeed buff makes it close to impossible to escape from Gangplank
+ Has an easy time last hitting under a turret, having a low cooldown 'nuke' and a AD steroid
+ Has a free cleanse that even heals
+ Has a sword AND a gun.. can't get more badass than that

- Rather high mana costs for his early game, needs to hold on to some mana to be able to cast his ultimate
- Doesn't particularly clear waves quickly, unless he uses his ultimate on them
- Rather squishy so he needs some tank items in his build to be effective
- While his ultimate can be cast from anywhere he wants, it's easy to avoid and has a long cooldown
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Summoner Spells

Main Summoner Spells Choices

Adds to your damage overall and greatly increases your killing potential. You want this if you want to net kills in the laning phase.
Probably still the best summoner spell in the game. Can be used for both offensive and defensive purposes.
A good pick-up for a more dominant laning phase. Allows for proper Heal baits, better tower diving and overall more low level killing potential. Small note: Heal doesn't really do much for Gangplank later on in the game.

Viable if no one else on your team is picking it up or if you're planning to take this in combination with Ignite for a more dominant laning phase.
Wanna go AFK farm mode and have a good global presence all game? Teleport is a good way of achieving this. Allows you to get back in lane after an early buy for a small edge on your opponent, have better dragon control, have the ability to split push all game long.

Summoner Spell Combinations


Standard choice that gives you good killing potential in lane while having the safety of Flash throughout the game.


For maximum strength and killing potential in lane. Use this if you want to absolutely wreck your lane and snowball the game.


Same as above, though slightly less aimed at total lane dominance in favor of a more useful spell later in the game


AFK farm/split push mode. Get this if you're aiming for end game or in a split push team comp.
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There's a lot of rune options for Gangplank and which ones you end up using should depend on who you're facing. I will list all the most viable ones below.


Fleet Footwork
Phase Rush

  • Greater Seal of Armor: The only seals you'll ever want for top lane nowadays. 99 games out of 100 you'll need the armor.

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Offense Tree

Tier 1 - 3 points in Brute Force are pretty self explanatory. A point in either buthcer for easier last hitting or Summoner's Wrath if you're picking up Exhaust

Tier 2 - 4 points in Alacrity to get down to the armor penetration in the next tier.

Tier 3 - Weapon Expertise and 4 points in Deadliness . While it did go down in value for Gangplank after its recent change, it's still better than Havoc .

Tier 4 - Lethality for higher crits and Vampirism for some more sustain in lane

Tier 5 - 3 points in Sunder also pretty self explanatory

Tier 6 - Executioner to help you finish people off and increases your chance of getting kills in general.

A few notes: An alternative setup you can use against weaker laners (where you don't really need the sustain and armor pen, take all the points out of Vampirism and 2 our of Sunder and put them in Sorcery and Arcane Knowledge instead.

Utility tree

Tier 1 - Expanded Mind to get down to Meditation in the second tier, Summoner's Insight to reduce to cooldown of Flash.

Tier 2 - Meditation to deal with the high mana cost of Parrrley and the remaining points in Swiftness for some extra mobility.

Alternative setups

There are a couple of alternative ways to spend your mastery points, will briefly go over these.

A defensive setup, good in case you really need to be more of a tank and generally want to be safer in the laning phase. I make sure to pick up the armor penetration in offense just so the laning phase isn't too weak.
There's a couple of defensive masteries you can change around if you prefer. The most important ones are Veteran's Scars , Initiator , Enlightenment and Juggernaut . Make sure to always grab these when going for a defensive setup.
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Grog Soaked Blade: Gangplank's basic attacks apply a poison debuff for 3 seconds that can stack up to 3 times. Each stack deals 3 + (1 × level) magic damage per second and slows the target by 7%.

Great passive. Makes Gangplank's chasing ability almost unrivaled

  • The first tick of damage is added to your initial melee hit, making last hitting on Gangplank very easy.
  • The damage over time gives you tower agro, take note of this when harassing under tower

Parrrley (Q): Gangplank shoots a target enemy with his pistol, dealing physical damage. If it kills it, he gains extra gold. This ability can critically strike and applies on-hit effects, including his passive.

Cooldown 5 seconds

Cost 50/55/60/65/70 mana

Range 625

Gangplank's main form of harass. Good for farming, harassing, last hitting under a turret and lategame decimating squishy targets.

  • Applies on-hit effects, including Grog Soaked Blade.
  • Procs Sheen on every use
  • Has a low cooldown so is an amazing harassing tool in lane
  • Don't use this to last hit when you can last hit with a normal melee attack. Spamming this costs a lot of mana.

Remove Scurvy (W): Consumes a large quantity of citrus fruit which clears any crowd control effects on him and heals him for 80/150/220/290/360 (+100% of ability power) health.

Cooldown 22/21/20/19/18 seconds

Cost 65 mana

Amazing escape tool. This is almost like a low cooldown Cleanse with a nice little heal added to it.

  • They're oranges, eat one and everythings k
  • Avoid using it for the heal as you'll be vulnerable to CC while it's on cooldown
  • Don't always use it on the first crowd control ability thrown at you. Apply common sense and use it when you really need it
  • If you're having trouble in lane you can max this first for much higher sustain

Raise Morale (E): Passive: Gangplank gains 8 / 10 / 12 / 14 / 16 Attack Damage and 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 % Movement Speed.

Active: Gangplank fires his pistol into the air, disabling his passive boost but increasing his Attack Damage by 12 / 19 / 26 / 33 / 40 and Movement Speed by 8 / 11 / 14 / 17 / 20% and nearby allied champions' Attack Damage and Movement Speed by half that amount for 7 seconds.

Cooldown 25 seconds

Cost 50/55/60/65/70 mana

Radius of AoE: 1200

Amazing ability. Mini Sivir ultimate with a huge range. Works through walls (as shown in the above picture) and instantly makes your team a whole lot scarier.

  • Works through walls and other obstacles as long as the person you're using it for is in range. Can be used for helping teammates escape from a safe distance
  • Activate this as you're initiating a fight, along with your ultimate this is a very good and hard to escape from engage
  • In the laning phase, only use this when going for a kill
  • Using this at max range on an ally who's about to get a kill will grant you an assist

Cannon Barrage (R): Gangplank signals his ship to fire cannonballs upon target area for 7 seconds. 25 cannonballs will drop over the duration and each dealing 75/120/165 (+20% of ability power) magic damage to all enemies hit. Enemies in the area of this ability are slowed by 25% for 1.25 seconds with the duration refreshing if one stays in the area.

Cost: 100 mana

Range: Global

Radius of Target AoE: 575

Radius of Cannonball AoE: 275

Sight Radius: 600 (estimate)

Global ultimate that makes Gangplank a threat wherever he is. The damage on it is completely random and might sometimes hit everyone every time or other times miss everyone and do no damage at all. The rreal treat of this ultimate however is its AoE slow.
  • Be aware of its mana cost when in lane. Always keep enough mana to use this for both offensive and defensive purposes
  • When using this to escape, use it in the path you're about to cross, causing everyone following you to be slowed for its entire range
  • Always keep an eye open on the map in case your team needs help. A good placed Cannon Barrage can turn fights around
  • Can also be used to clear creepwaves when defending a tower you might not reach in time

Ability Sequence

This is generally the skill sequence you should follow. A few notes on this.
  • If you're having a hard time in lane, put more points into Remove Scurvy early on or even max it first
  • When you put your first point into Remove Scurvy is highly situational. Whenever there's a realistic jungle threat and you think you need to get out of crowd control, put a point into Remove Scurvy. This can be at level 2, 4, maybe even level 7 or 1.
  • In case of a level 1 fight, put your first point into Raise Morale.
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Starting Items

Boots of Speed
Neutral starting item that makes for safe laning, good chasing for more killing potential at low levels and allows for 4 Health Potions at level 1. (Buy 3 when the game starts and wait near the fountain for 35 gold for a 4th)

Regrowth Pendant
Good starting item if you plan to go AFK farm mode. Allows for a quick philosopher's stone which in turn allows for more Parrrley spam on creeps for gold.

Cloth Armor
The item you should pick up against most strong bruisers. Allows you to buy 5 Health Potions to help you stay in lane longer.

Offensive Items

Trinity Force
Great item that gives Gangplank everything he needs. It is very expensive though so only get it if you're doing really well in the lane.

Atma's Impaler
A good early buy against most bruisers. Becomes cost effective at around 1800 health considering Gangplank likes critical chance. You usually want this after a couple of Doran's Blades and a Phage.

Infinity Edge
This item will significantly increase your damage. When damage is what you want to deal, this is the item to get.

Last Whisper
Great item to counter high armor targets. Becomes a good buy once at least 3 enemy champions have over 100 armor.

The Bloodthirster
Cheap way of getting a lot of damage if you don't think you're going to die often.

Doran's Blade
If you're getting one, might as well get a second. Two of these should be enough to make you a beast early game.

Doran's Blade
Good buy to snowball your lane and increase your early game strength in general. Also goes well with an early Atma's Impaler

Maw of Malmortius
Solid item against a lot of AP champions. When laning against AP, get an early hexdrinker and upgrade it to this later in the game.

Frozen Mallet
Great item that I actually prefer over Trinity Force nowadays. The extra slow is very powerful and the nice health bonus will help you survive early fights.

Defensive Items

Warmog's Armor
If you're not getting a Frozen Mallet, this is usually the next best choice for health.

Force of Nature
Great item against heavy magic damage.

Randuin's Omen
Very useful against an AD heavy team. Makes you a lot more durable and gives you a great passive and on-use effect to screw over the glass canons.

Spirit Visage
I often find myself getting this against double AP lineups. Not only does it increase your sustain in lane, the rest of the stats are also good on Gangplank

Banshee's Veil
Good to get against very bursty long cooldown AP champions, such as Sion/ Kassadin/ LeBlanc. The health and mana boost is a nice bonus.

Guardian Angel
Good pickup if you're being heavily focused. Goes well with Bloodthirster to sustain through fights and be very hard to kill.

Aegis of the Legion
A cheap way of giving you some nice defensive stats and making you more useful to your team. Make sure to only get this if your support or jungler isn't planning on getting it.

Chalice of Harmony
This is actually very useful when laning against an AP carry. Gives you some magic resist to deal with the damage and allows you to keep your mana up for constant Parrrley's and sustaining with remove scruvy.


Mercury's Treads
Usual boots of choice. Useful for both the MR and the CC reduction. Having Remove Scurvy is no excuse for not getting tenacity.

Ionian Boots of Lucidity
Good pickup against low CC teams that don't have too many auto attackers. Cooldown reduction is a good stat for Gangplank.

Ninja Tabi
Against auto attack heavy comps. Good against a lot of bruisers in lane, especially the likes of Riven or Irelia.

Note on item builds: Always make sure you build what you need in a game. The cheat sheet is just an example of a build for the avarage game (bar the fact that you should probably make a choice between double Doran's or Wriggle's). For example: If you need to be tankier early on in the game it's usually not smart to finish your Trinity Force first. Instead, grab a Giant's Belt or even a Warmog's Armor after you build a Phage. If you have a good advantage in your lane, you can get a Sheen before your Phage for more damage, and more mana for Parrrley spam. Always use common sense when building in the laning phase and don't just blindly follow the item build in the cheat sheet.
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Gameplay - Laning Phase

Before the game starts, if you're playing a draft game, make sure you know who you're laning against and pick your runes and masteries accordingly. If you're playing blind pick, check the loading screen to see who you're laning against and buy your first item accordingly.
When you're starting Boots, buy it along with 3 Health Potions and wait for the game to start at max buying range (you have enough time to figure out where that is). As soon as you get 35 gold, buy the 4th Health Potion and head on over to your lane.
In case of a level 1 fight, buy whatever you need for your lane (but don't wait for a 4th pot in case you're starting boots), put a point in Raise Morale and stick with your team. When there's no level 1 action, put a point in Parrrley, leash for your jungler if you need to and head to your lane.

There's two different ways to play Gangplank in the lane. The agressive way and the defensive AFK farm way. Since the defensive AFK farm way is pretty self explanatory, I'll go over the more agressive way. Harass your opponent with Parrrley whenever they're in range but don't overdo it mana wise. Always make sure you have enough mana to escape a gank if you need to.
Don't use your Parrrley for last hits unless you would miss one otherwise, always use it for harassing your lane opponent. Your first buy should be a double Doran's Blade and a sight ward. If you're having trouble in the lane against a strong bruiser, buy accordingly ( chain vest/[[ninja tabi or if you're having trouble against an AP champion, get some magic resistance (can even buy a Hexdrinker)

If you're running Heal/ Ignite you need to be as agressive as possible. Auto attack and Parrrley your opponent whenever you can and when going for a kill, use your Raise Morale, Ignite and commit to the kill. Don't be afraid to towerdive as long as you have Heal available.
This summoner spell setup relies heavily on dominating your lane and getting early kills so you can snowball it, so never be afraid to be agressive. Make sure your lane is always warded up and buy your Doran's Blade to further snowball your lane asap.
When using this stategy, skip the Wriggle's Lantern entirely and go for a Phage into Atma's Impaler right after the double doran's.
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Gameplay - Teamfights

Gangplank's role in teamfights is to initiate and catch people off-guard. He has 2 great tools to hard engage a fight by both slowing down the enemy team and speeding up your own. When the teamfight starts, use the confusion of the fight to get on the enemy carry. Whatever you do, the enemy carry needs to be well aware of your pressence.
Gangplank has amazing tools to get to a target and stay on them, so use that for the target that's generally the hardest to reach, the AD carry. You will likely be heavily focused but assuming you've built your atmog's by now, you should be able to take it and if not, they'll have used so many cooldowns on you your team is now in a very good position to win the fight.

Your priority in teamfights should look something like this:
  • Kill enemy AD carry
  • Kill enemy AP carry
  • Kill highest kill streak
  • Defend your carry
  • Defend your highest kill streak
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Top Lane - Challenging Matchups

Difficulty: 9/10

This is probably your hardest match-up, especially if Nidalee is going for her bruiser build. She will outpush you, outsustain you and at level 6 outdamage you. There's no real way to actually beat her due to how tanky and sustained she is, but you can make sure you outfarm her and eventually outscale her. Make sure you get a lot of armor from runes and items. Start with a Cloth Armor and get a Wriggle's Lantern asap. After that you should immediatly start building your atmog's. Once you get that, you should be in a good position against her. In the actual laning phase, avoid getting too many free auto attacks pre-6 and farm with Parrrley if you have to. After 6, beware of when she jumps at you in cougar form. Use your mobility to avoid damage as best as you can.

Recommended early game item sequence: Cloth Armor - Wriggle's Lantern - Giant's Belt
Recommended skill to max first: Remove Scurvy

Difficulty: ?/10

Can be quite tricky. To be honest I haven't actually laned against him as Gangplank myself, but I've heard he can be quite challenging. His passive will block a lot of your Parrrley's so avoid using them when his passive is up. Build some early armor and try and remove his passive with an auto attack. Get a Wriggle's Lantern as first item to help you sustain his constant Q spam. If his Q spam is becoming a problem, build a Chain Vest. Max Remove Scurvy first if you're having trouble, Raise Morale if you're doing fine (your Parrrley gets denied pretty hard by his passive so max it after the laning phase UNLESS you're having so much trouble you need it to last hit)

Recommended early game item sequence: Cloth Armor - Ninja Tabi - Wriggle's Lantern - Phage - Chain Vest
Recommended skill to max first: Remove Scurvy

Difficulty: 7/10

Another tough match-up as Irelia is also a champion who can overcome a lot of counters. Her W hurts like hell and she's tanky AND has a ton of sustain to boot. The best way I found to deal with her is to take advantage of your stronger early game and snowball it from there. It's a high risk high reward tactic but if done right will shut her down pretty hard. Make sure you get Ninja Tabi asap as well as a Wriggle's Lantern. It's recommended to use Heal/ Ignite in this match-up as the winner of this lane will have a great impact on how the game goes. Try and avoid taking too many hits when she activates her Hiten Style and constantly return the harass with your Parrrley. Warmog's Armor is a very good item against her so get this pretty early and you'll be fine.

Recommended early game item sequence: Cloth Armor - Doran's Blade - Doran's Blade - Ninja Tabi - Wriggle's Lantern - Giant's Belt
Recommended skill to max first: Parrrley

Difficulty: 7/10

Another champion who gets harder to deal with the longer the lane goes. Much like in the Irelia matchup, the most effective way to deal with Rumble is to score a pre-4 kill and snowball the lane, rendering him useless. Avoid getting your Parrrley's shielded and be careful of his damage when he's overheating. You have the ability to kite him and wear him down so use this as best as possible. When his shield is on cooldown and he's low on heat, go agressive on him. Get early magic resistance if you're having trouble.

Recommended early game item sequence: Boots - Doran's Blade - Doran's Blade - Mercury's Treads - Phage (or Negatron Cloak)
Recommended skill to max first: Parrrley

Difficulty: 7/10

This match-up is so commonly brought up when it comes to Gangplank so I thought I'd talk about it. If you know you're about to face a Riven, get a lot of armor in runes and start Cloth Armor. Riven can be quite annoying as she can shield a large chunk of your Parrrley harass. Though with enough armor, you'll be able to trade with her properly and come out ahead early on. Do not let her get ahead of you by any means because she does snowball really hard once she hits level 6. Farm up, get Wriggle's Lantern and Ninja Tabi and go agressive on her. Due to her mobility, she is very hard to actually kill but if anyone can do it, a champion with a perma slow can. Get some more early points into Remove Scurvy over Raise Morale for some added sustain. This can be a very tough lane especially when she gets some armor penetration. Be very careful not to die.

Recommended early game item build: Cloth Armor - Ninja Tabi - Wriggle's Lantern - Phage - Chain Vest
Recommended early game skill sequence:
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Closing Comments & Game Scores

That's about it for this Gangplank guide. May this guide teach you the ways of Gangplank and give you a free ticket to 1800 Elo. Thanks for reading, if you have any concerns, questions, feedback or just want to say something to increase your postcount, feel free to leave a comment and don't forget to vote if you liked or disliked the guide!

Lastly, some game scores to prove this build actually works. If you've followed this guide and got a good score of your own, feel free to post it in the comments and I will feature it here.

And of course, credits to jhoijhoi for her guide to making a guide for all the awesome templates which I used for most of this guide.
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