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Gangplank Build Guide by 1jamie50

AD Offtank Gangplank - The Crit Master

AD Offtank Gangplank - The Crit Master

Updated on February 22, 2014
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League of Legends Build Guide Author 1jamie50 Build Guide By 1jamie50 27 7 438,144 Views 52 Comments
27 7 438,144 Views 52 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author 1jamie50 Gangplank Build Guide By 1jamie50 Updated on February 22, 2014
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Hi, my name is 1jamie50 and this is my first guide on MOBAFire and therefore, I appreciate any feedback that can be provided to make this guide better.

This guide will focus on my build of Gangplank, The Saltwater Scourge as while as general tips on playing Gangplank to his full potential in the top lane as a bruiser.
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Overview of Gangplank

SPACE Gangplank is almost exclusively played as a Bruiser in Top Lane. He is a great farmer and harraser with Parrrley as well as being a pretty potent dueler and can deal out a ton of damage through critical strikes or tank a lot of damage depending on your build choice. SPACE |

Pros / Cons



  • Strong Farmer and Harasser
  • Global Ultimate
  • Passively Stackable Slow
  • CC Removal with Remove Scurvy
  • Gets scary if fed
  • Is a Pirate!


  • Armor counters Gangplank well
  • Can become mana hungry from ability spam
  • Can be countered by many top lane match-ups
  • Not always a good pick for every team comp
  • Seen as a weak pick in the current meta
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  • Grog Soaked Blade: This is an amazing passive. It allows you to deal out additional damage over time as well as have a passively stacking slow. This makes it an incredible tool for catching up to running enemies, as Parrrley can stack its slow from range. If an enemy engages too far into a duel with you, the chances of them being able to escape is not likely as well because of this passive. You can also abuse it as a very effective kiting tool a long with your movement speed from Raise Morale and an early Phage as well as bringing a bit of soft CC to your team.

  • Parrrley (Q): This is your main damaging ability and stacks everything from Trinity Force to Grog Soaked Blade as well as the chance of critical strikes. You should be trying to last hit as often as you can in the laning phase with it because you gain additional gold from killing minions with it. Make sure to abuse the ability to harass with it too. It has the opportunity to chunk the enemies health and against a melee characters, it gives you a range advantage. As mentioned earlier, you can also use it for kiting and chasing.

  • Remove Scurvy (W): Ah, the free Cleanse. No... really, this is Cleanse with a low cooldown. It instantly removes you from most types of CC like silences, suppresses, slows and stuns. You should always make sure you're timing this properly and not wasting it though. In a team-fight you could get out of a Leona stun with it and then get immediately suppressed from Nether Grasp. Just make sure to time it right. It also heals you for a pretty good amount, if maxed in lane.

  • Raise Morale (E): This is what makes Gangplank's kiting oh so amazing and where he gets such a high movement speed from. Along with the new Phage, Gangplank becomes extremely fast. This ability is amazing in lane for dueling against your solo lane partner due to the increased attack damage. However, this is an amazing late game team-fight tool since by activating it, you spread a minor AD and movement speed buff among any teammates near you. So enemies that are disengaging are much easier to catch right back up to and your whole team deals additional damage. Make sure to activate it when a team-fight breaks out.

  • Cannon Barrage (R): The ultimate... that can be placed anywhere on the map. This is amazing because you can use it to support your team anywhere. The cannons fall randomly so the amount of damage you do can vary largely but it has a large potential to do tons of damage to the entire enemy team. You can use this to stop enemies from taking a defenseless turret by killing the minion wave and forcing them to run or scatter. This can be dropped as a team-fight engage for initial damage and the slow or you can hold off and wait for the enemies to retreat for the slow. You should wait for enemies to group up to hit as many as you can as well as to try to drop it in the center of the champions so it takes longer for them to get out of it. Your ultimate has a rather short cool down so always be watching the map for opportunities to support your team. Remember, just because you can do stuff without being at a fight, that doesn't mean you shouldn't be. It's still better if you are within fighting range when a team-fight breaks out.
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Ability Sequence

Ability Sequence Order

For abilities, I take a point in Parrrley first, then go on to max Remove Scurvy, it gives you great survivability in lane and doesn't use too much mana. It lets you trade very effectively in lane.

I take points in Cannon Barrage whenever possible at levels 6, 11 and 16.

You should then focus on maxing out Parrrley for damage output, followed lastly by Raise Morale.

---> ---> --->
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Gangplank is best used as a tanky damage dealer, so I recommend going 21/9/0 in masteries, picking up as much additional attack damage, armor penetration and other offensive boosts in offense, like increased overall damage.

Frenzy is great because it applies an attack speed boost every crit you get and that helps for Gangplank since he's very good at sticking to enemies with Grog Soaked Blade.

As an AD Bruiser, you also want to go into the defense tree, picking up additional health and damage reduction.
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Summoner Spells

My Recommendations:

Flash: A free escape card, this is the ultimate summoner spell for safety and most of the time you should take it no matter what champion you're playing. It's a great free card out of tough situations that you may get caught in.

Ignite: This allows you to deal true damage over-time. You should be using this to gain kills and will allow you to grab kills on low health running enemies that you may not pick up without it as they can potentially escape successfully (such as to their turret). A great spell for a solo 1v1 lane.

Other Viable Options:

Ghost: A potential but not recommended switch for Flash. It's not as reliable as an escape tool and well you can catch up to the enemy with it, you can do that with Flash too and Gangplank already gains a ton of movement speed.

Exhaust: Slow the enemies movement and attack speed which can help in a 1v1 fight, though I'd rather prefer Ignite's additional damage over this, especially since you already have Grog Soaked Blade. Can be useful as a CC when your jungler comes to gank too or for neutralizing the ADC's attack speed in a fight late-game.

Teleport: Personally, if I were to switch Ignite with anything, it would be this. This allows you to get back to your tower quicker, teleport to a fight when it starts, gank a teammates lane, split-push and so much more. I still rarely run it but it can be good if you're facing a pusher top ( Mordekaiser) or if you think your teammates might have difficult lanes to fight.
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Full Build:

  • Ninja Tabi: These are usually going to be your go-to boots. Your enemy top lane is most likely going to be an AD champion and you want to build to counter out their damage output. The passive allows you to not really take too much damage from towers late-game which with good coordination, can allow you to fight with your team under the enemies tower pretty effectively as long as you're tanking it.

  • Statikk Shiv: Amazing Item for GP all-around. Gives you a nice 20% crit chance boost and more movement speed and attack speed. This is great for sticking to champions with your passive slow and already amazing movement speed. Oh, and Parrrley procs Statikk Shiv too. Not only that, but this builds nicely out of your Avarice Blade.

  • Ravenous Hydra: Hydra is an amazing item for most AD top laners since the start of Season 3. It gives you a massive boost of damage as well as life steal. Make sure you are activating this item, especially when you are dueling as it deals additional damage to everything around you. This is a great item for most top laners. It also makes you an amazing split-pusher as you can insta-clear waves with this activate and Statikk Shiv's passive.

    Situational Items:

    From here on, you should adjust depending on your situation. The main build I give is what I will build most of the time but any of the below items are good choices. It just depends on your situation in the match you're playing.

    Offensive Play:

  • Infinity Edge: If you're doing good, you should always build this. Even if you're doing bad, you should still think largely about building this. Gangplank benefits largely from additional AD but the crit chance and the additional crit damage is what you're looking for because this makes Gangplank's damage absolutely immense.

    Trinity Force can be taken before Infinity Edge, it's all up to personal preference in order.

  • Trinity Force: Tons of Damage. This is everything wrapped in one small package, and Gangplank can use everything in it to his advantage. An amazing item for GP. The new Phage passive makes this an even more potent pick-up now and will basically make it impossible to run from you.

    Trinity Force can be taken before Infinity Edge, it's all up to personal preference in order.

  • Last Whisper: If enemies are stacking armor, you should grab this. You need the armor penetration to break through their defenses and if you are fed, it is likely that they will stack armor. If not, continue along your normal build path.

  • Bloodthirster: BloodThirster will give you additional AD and Life Steal. If you need to deal out more damage or are having a bit of a hard time in lane, this can help you out.

    Defensive Play:

  • Randuin's Omen: I like this item, mainly for it's tankiness. The mass armor and the additional health it gives is great, however the passive on this thing is awesome too. You slow the enemies attack speed when they attack you? This can not only cause you to win 1 vs 1's but can cause your enemies to do less DPS. You can also make it stronger by activating it? That could change the tide of a team fight. This is a great choice on Gangplank, I'd normally choose between this and Guardian Angel depending on the situation.

  • Guardian Angel: This makes you tanky a long with your runes and masteries and allows you to run-up and engage to slow the enemy team down. Also, you get a second life which can really be the difference in team-fights. Great item.

  • Maw of Malmortius: Dual attack damage and magic resistance. Take it if your facing a lot of AP damage but other than that, don't bother.

  • Warmog's Armor: Warmogs was an item that was once very popular on Gangplank but it's welcome has become a bit over-stayed. Well it's not a bad item, Gangplank can get a lot more out of alternatives ( Sunfire Aegis, Randuin's Omen) then out of this these days. I recommend you avoid this.

  • Sunfire Aegis: A pretty nice pick-up for Gangplank. It's good against heavier AD comps but it's stats mesh pretty well with you. It would also once again make you an even faster split-pusher late-game along with Ravenous Hydra and Statikk Shiv. This allows you to be very tanky well having a ton of AoE damage in your current build. Quite a good item for Gangplank, if you don't feel like Randuin's Omen's passive is absolutely needed, you probably want to look into this as an alternative late-game.

    Optional Boots:

  • Mercury's Treads: Mercury's Treads are good if your facing an enemy team with tons of crowd control or if you are facing an AP top-laner. Remove Scurvy is probably enough of a Cleanse, unless you're facing an AP top-lane, you should probably go Ninja Tabi instead.

  • Mobility Boots: This would make you have god-like speed. Good if you need to get around the map to objectives etc. super fast but otherwise not really any point.

  • Boots of Swiftness: Same as the above though potentially better for chasing enemies since ranged enemies can't just AA you to slow down your movement speed.


    With the introduction of totems in the game, you can start off with a free ward.

    I suggest using the Stealth Ward as your totem of choice since top lane is the most likely lane for ganks and in my opinion is the most useful of the three.

    Un-like the Scrying Orb, this provides you constant vision of your river and you shouldn't pick up the Sweeping Lens because it doesn't fit into your lane style.

    Always make sure to have your river warded and upgrade this to the Greater Vision Totem by the end of the game, it's probably one of the last items you want to fully upgrade in most cases.
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As a top laner, you should always start off by watching for an invasion and/or leashing for your jungler. This will depend on what side you're on.
  • If you're on blue side, you should watch for an invasion at the Ancient Golem, which I will call Blue Buff from now on, as well as helping to leash for your jungler, if he decides to start there.
  • If you're on purple side, you should watch for an invasion at the Lizard Elder, which I will call Red Buff from now on, as well as helping to leash for your jungler, if he decides to start there.

There's something very important to note when it comes to leashing, Gangplank's Grog Soaked Blade deals Damage Over Time (known as DoT from now on).

This means that you have to watch to make sure you do not steal the buff from the jungler, it is best not to stay around for too long.

Most junglers do not Smite their first buff anymore so it's not as big of an issue but just make sure to let your jungler know about it so that you don't steal it.

Last Hitting:

When you get to lane, make sure to start last hitting any minions you can. You want to try to get as many of them as possible and you should try to get as many as you can with Parrrley for additional gold.

Both CSing and the additional gold from Parrrley's passive can make you win a lane gold-wise even if you're having a rough time.


You should always be looking to harass your opponent as well, this will be done with Parrrley. Make sure to pay attention to when they get low on HP and/or Mana.

These are usually your signs to try and kill them and if you don't, it will at least give you free reign to last hit the minions, push the lane to their tower and go back yourself, causing them to miss CS.

Warding and Ganks:

You have to remember to watch for incoming ganks. The top lane is the most common lane for junglers to gank. You want to keep your lane warded whenever you can with your Stealth Ward and you may want to pick up an extra Stealth Ward for your jungle side bush if you're on the purple team.

Another major thing that goes along with this is to not push up too far if the enemy top laner is up. It's not a favorable position to be up farther towards the enemies turret because you deny your jungler the opportunity to gank well putting yourself in a very easy to gank position.
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Defending and Attacking Towers:

Towers win games and you always want to have the advantage up on them. As mentioned earlier in the Abilities section, you can pretty effectively defend some towers with Cannon Barrage.

If a tower is really in imminent danger and no one is around it, use your ultimate to clear out the minions and make any enemy champions scatter for the mean time.

You should always be looking for times to attack towers, the best time is when you know no enemies are close and you'll be safe or when you have a numbers advantage.

Let's say... you spot the jungler and top laner around bottom lane, this is your best time or opportunity to push and take the top lane tower. Not only that but you draw the attention away from your team, most likely making the enemies back off.


Dragon is the mini-boss in the lower river. By killing it, you gain global gold for everybody on the team. It will commonly be taken first around the mid-game phase except if the enemy has someone like Fiddlesticks who can take it alone as early as level 5 or 6 with blue buff.

You should always have it warded which should normally be done by the bot lane support. You usually want to do Dragon when you have an advantage numbers wise (enemies are spread around the map or dead) or when the enemy have no vision on it or no way to contest it. You usually want Smite to be up for your jungler.

Dragon can turn a game around for a team that is having problems. It spawns every 6 minutes.


Team-fights will usually start around mid-game. In fights, you want to try to deal as much damage as you can. You also want to soak up a moderate amount of damage yourself. This is the job of most bruisers.

For Cannon Barrage, you don't want to waste it. Wait until either your team or the enemy team engages then drop it in the center of the chaos area. If you don't get into a situation where you can feel like you can drop it without wasting it, you can always use it to stop any enemies that try to retreat from the fight.

Make sure to Raise Morale your team whenever you can and throw out Parrrley's whenever possible. If you know you have a kill secured, it's best to last hit the enemy with it for the additional gold.

You commonly want to focus the ADC and mid-laner first in fights. Gangplank can usually kill these targets really fast with the high crit damage and crit chance, sometimes even in 4 hits total.

If your ADC or mid-laner gets CC'd or stuck to, you want to get whoever is on them off them though. Peel for your ADC and then go back to focusing their priority targets.
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A lot of the stuff you've been doing since early and mid-game, you'll continue doing for the rest of the game like Dragon and warding.

For warding in late-game, you no longer want to focus only on your lane, you want to still be making sure you're constantly using your totem ward and if you have extra gold, you may want to pick up a few extra wards. Warding is a group effort, it's not only the supports job.

Look at this map for the best locations for wards late-game.

Baron Nashor:

Baron Nashor spawns in the upper river near top lane. He's a late-game monster buff that gives everyone on the team the buff Exalted with Baron Nashor, giving everyone additional HP and Mana Regen and additional Ability Power and Attack Damage. This gives whatever team that grabs it a big advantage.

You should usually do it when all or almost all the enemies are dead or when most of the enemies inhibitors are down so that if they try to contest it, they'll end up severely damaging their base.

A Vision Ward should be placed to see whether they can see it or not and Stealth Wards should be placed around the perimeter so you know if they're around waiting to try to steal it.

You want Smite up. Baron's often turn into a Smite battle between both junglers.


While Gangplank is a pretty amazing team-fighter late-game, he can also work very well as a split-pusher, especially with your core build.

To split-push, you have to pay attention to where the enemy team is. If you see 5 enemies scattered around the map around mid lane or even better bot lane, that is your opportunity to push top lane and attempt to take down a tower and vice versa for bottom lane towers.

The idea behind this is to be taking towers when it's most likely the enemy team has little or no opportunity to respond because of their distance from the location of the tower.

This is also why you want to have vision on as many targets as possible, normally at least 4.

Gangplank's kit is also very good for escaping after doing this because of his slows, CC removal and movement speed buff.

Teleport is also very useful if you're going to be playing a split-pushing role though it's not required, I don't exactly recommend switching Ignite out for it often.
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Gangplank is a very fun top laner to play. He can deal out an amazing amount of damage well taking a good amount back as well and can stick to any target pretty easily. He has global support and pressure with Cannon Barrage and a free CC removal with Remove Scurvy. By farming with Parrrley, you can gain a leg up in gold over your laner even if you've been having a rough time.

Overall, Gangplank can be played many different ways in top lane, it just depends on the situation your in.

Certain template's used in this guide are from jhoijhoi who's guide can be found here.
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Change List

  • Remove Scurvy is now set to be maxed first.
  • Updated Remove Scurvy's ability section.
  • Phage removed from early-game items.
  • Note added to Early-game items.
  • Butcher and Feast added to offensive mastery tree.
  • Double-Edged Sword and Dangerous Game removed from offensive mastery tree.
  • Enchanted Armor removed from defensive mastery tree.
  • Block and Unyielding added to defensive mastery tree.

    12/03 - Hot Fix
  • Multiple broken links fixed.
  • Mercury's Treads were un-changed and still in core item build.

  • Item Removals: Youmuu's Ghostblade, Phantom Dancer
  • Added to Core: Ravenous Hydra, Ninja Tabi
  • Added to Defensive Options: Sunfire Aegis
  • Moved to Optional Boots: Mercury's Treads
  • Item Section Info Updates: Last Whisper, Ninja Tabi, Mercury's Treads, Warmog's Armor
  • Summoner Spell Info Updates: Teleport
    • Parts of my build were still a bit out-dated (such as Youmuu's Ghostblade and Phantom Dancer) compared to the present game, so I brought the build into the newer top lane light.
  • Split-pushing section added to late-game tactical section.

  • Brawler's Gloves was still in the starting item build, now replaced with Doran's Blade.
  • Preparing guide for changes potentially coming soon.

    11/21 - Hot Fix
  • Item build wasn't displaying properly because MOBAFire's system only supports showing 6 end-game item slots still, end game totem moved to the a new slot.

  • Masteries page updated, as well as mastery info section.
  • Stealth Ward added to starting build and a new trinkets section underneath items.
  • Mentions of trinkets added to early and late-game warding sections.
  • Sweep of tactics section for removal of Oracles.
  • Updated for Season 4.

    11/17/13 - 2
  • The site hosting the ward map is defunct. I pulled it from it's servers and re-uploaded it but it's in much lower quality, probably going to be re-make one myself.

  • Coding error in images under "Optional Boots" still displayed Ionian Boots of Lucidity, which was removed from the build and should have displayed Boots of Swiftness.
  • Guide prepped for Season 4 updates.

  • Randuin's Omen is no longer listed twice under Defensive Options in example build.

  • Error in Items section not regarding post changes.

    9/26/13 - Part 2
  • Moved Randuin's Omen into main build over Guardian Angel.
  • Removed Frozen Mallet from defensive options.

  • Hidden match-ups section removed for future re-make.
  • Secondary mastery page removed, primary is better.
  • New info added to Pros/Cons.
  • Overview info re-adjusted and brought into the newer game.
  • Last Whisper added to offensive options.
  • Infinity Edge removed from core, added to offensive options.
  • Trinity Force removed from offensive, added to core options.
  • Ionian Boots of Lucidity removed from optional boots.
  • Runic Bulwark removed from defensive options due to removal from the game.
  • Abilities section re-formatted.
  • Outdated Summary section re-made.
  • Chapters Added: Early-Game, Mid-Game, Late-Game

    7/29/13 - 2
  • Quickly hiding the very outdated, unfinished Matchups section.
  • New Info added to Trinity Force in Items section.

  • I'm giving this guide a bump to update it's status. From recent experience this build should still work fine if not better than before even through the recent changes to items such as Phage and Trinity Force.

  • Minor masteries update.
  • HTML Update to Pros / Cons.
  • Matchups hidden for the time being.
  • Published updates since May 6th.

  • Changed Introduction chapter.
  • Merged and re-formatted Overview and Pros / Cons Chapter.
  • Added Ability Tactics as an Ability sub-section.
  • Removed Revive, Garrison, Clairvoyance, Barrier, Clarity, Smite and Heal from spells section.
  • Re-formatted Summoner Spells section.

  • Quick Chapter Removal.

  • Matchups: Akali, Cho'Gath, Darius, Dr. Mundo (unvisible)

  • Re-started the match-up section.
  • Removed build trust section.

  • APRIL FOOLS, nah this is an update.
  • Fixed minor spacing issues.
  • Added Build Update note.

  • Added Statikk Shiv to situational items.
  • Explanation added to second mastery page.
  • Minor changes all-around.
  • Note: Build may be slightly outdated for what I use now. Update may come soon.

  • Removed a rough draft of the matchups section that was not supposed to be visible.
  • Changed greater mark of armor penetration to Greater Mark of Attack Damage.
  • Added the mastery page I use today. (9/21/0)

  • Happy New Year!
  • Added Frozen Mallet to Situational Items.
  • Added a mock section for Matchups.
  • Fixed some info in different sections.

  • Updating at 2:48am = Funny
    • Heavily updated my outdated build.
    • Updated Introduction, Overview, Pros/Cons, Abilities, Items and Situational Items.
    • Removed Farming Page (for now).

  • Masteries have been updated for the new mastery pages.

  • Update on my Birthday :)
  • Changed Heal to Ignite.

  • Changed Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction to Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist in build.

  • Changed Build Order.
  • Changed Item Build Order.
  • Updated info to include the buff in Patch V1.0.0.143.

  • Changed Skill Sequence to level Remove Scurvy second instead of Raise Morale.

  • Changed Greater Seal of Attack Speed to Greater Seal of Armor.

  • After extensive testing, I have modified the build order slightly as listed by follows.
  • I now take Infinity Edge before Phantom Dancer.
  • I now take an early Vampiric Scepter while I'm making my Infinity Edge.
  • I grab Phage a bit earlier now to give me a bit more durability mid game.

  • Fixed a reference in Situational Items to Black Cleaver.
  • Fixed up Pros and Cons section.

  • Switched Atma's Impaler in build to Frozen Mallet.
  • Switched Greater Quintessence of Critical Damage to Greater Quintessence of Critical Chance.
  • Fixed errors in Situational items section that was still reffering to Black Cleaver.

    5/16/12 - Part 3
  • Fixed an HTML coding error in Situational Items.

    5/16/12 - Part 2
  • Switched Black Cleaver as last item to Bloodthirster.

    5/16/12 - Part 1
  • Fixed a formatting error in Pros/Cons
  • Added Ability Sequence page.
  • Finished Masteries, Runes, Spells and Farming pages.
  • Added ending summary.
  • Build posted.

  • Abilities section complete.
  • Added Frozen Mallet to the Situational Items list.
  • Started Summoner Spell section.
  • Changed Skill Leveling order.

  • Added Ability Info.

  • Changed Item Build to how I now build Gangplank.
  • Changed Item Page and Situational Item builds pages.

  • Added and Completed Situational Item Page.
  • Cleaned Item Section.

  • Changed Gangplank Overview page to Build Overview.
  • Changed info on Build Overview page.
  • Added Gangplank's Lore.
  • Abilities page changed.
  • Masteries, Runes and Spells Page added.

  • Introduction clean-up.
  • Info added to Gangplank overview.

  • Gangplank guide production started.
  • Added DPS Build.
  • Pages: Introduction, Pros/Cons, Gangplank Overview, Abilities, Items, Farming.
  • Items page gives suggested backup items as while as the change to build 2.
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