Build Guide by Warlemming
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Hey guys, this is a guide to how I play Gangplank, The Saltwater Scourge. This build is designed to make Gangplank dangerous throughout the game, and very dangerouns during the end game.
Gangplank is one of the most dangerous heroes I have come across for providing team support, crowd control and map control. On top of this, he has his own cleanse and heal, increasing his early game staying power, and making him more effective during team fights.
3/25/11: Added in an alternate build which does not use Trinity Force. Aims to maximise his endgame potential.
Pros / Cons
+Very high damage Nuke, High Damage Overall
+Global Nuke, Acts like a much greater Fortify
+Can DENY CREEPS. Only hero in the game that can.
+Has a very large amount of movement speed.
+His Passive is great for harassing/fighting heroes. One hit will totally ruin a health pot.
+Has a healing Cleanse! This is incredibly useful.
-Is a melee hero
-Takes a decent amount of feed to get dangerous. Helps to have appropriate runes etc.
Preferred Summoner Spells:
Exhaust: This ability cripples the damage output and movespeed of a target hero. This makes chasing heroes easy, and gives you a significant edge over an opponent you are fighting.
Ghost: This ability makes chasing easier throughout the game, and a fully equipped Gangplank with Ghost on is an outright Blur, flying past everyone. Combined with Exhaust, your target will never escape.
Optional Summoner Spells:
Flash: Being able to escape better is certainly helpful, but I feel Gangplank already has sufficient escape ability with his Remove Scurvy combined with Ghost.
Ignite: It is helpful for dealing more damage and trying to kill escaping heroes early on, but I feel it is overshadowed by Grog Soaked blade, which provides the -50% healing as well, but is applied with every hit.
Teleport: This can be great for getting around the map very quickly. Gives you two ways to defend a distant tower instead of just your Ultimate, and makes the early game a bit easier.
Poor Summoner Spells:
Clairvoyance: Not a bad summoner ability, but not as useful as others. Best left to support heroes.
Clarity: A boost of mana is only useful for the first 10 minutes, and even then, requires particularily great amount of spamming. I feel it is overshadowed by Teleport, which remains useful throughout the game.
Cleanse: This ability is unnecessary as you already have Remove Scurvy, which also heals you, and has a shorter CD.
Fortify: Unnecessary for you, as you can already use your Ultimate for greater affect, AND be rewarded gold for it.
Heal: You have Remove Scurvy as a heal already, you do not need this too.
Rally: The damage bonus is weak overall, and it is easy to destroy the rally ward.
Revive: 9 minutes to CD. Don't even think about it.
Smite: A jungling ability is not going to do you much good. Only even CONSIDER it if you've got an enemy jungler, and can sucessfully counter-jungle.
These runes were chosen to maximise Gangplanks damage throughout the game. Gangplank's early game deadliness is based on Parley, which can critical hit. By starting with an extra 20% critical strike chance, you are going to be scoring more massive damage hits early on, and need less items to get a very high critical strike chance.
A lot of Gangplank players prefer to use Furor runes, to make his critical hits more powerful. I decided against this, because, firstly, a full set of Crit damage runes increases the critical strike damage by ~35%, which compared to an Infinity Edge/ Deadliness crit of 260%, means you will do about 13% more damage, and also, to get closer to the 100% crit chance requires more crit rewarding items, instead of increasing your damage further.
The Focus runes are very nice for almost all heroes, allowing you to spam your abilities more often throughout the game.
Gangplank is a DPS hero, and to maximise his effectiveness, I use 21/0/9 Masteries.
An extra 2% chance to critical strike adds up very nicely by the end, trying to get as close as possible to do 100% critical strike. Extra CD and the 15% magic pierce means that Gangplank can use his moves more oftenly.
But the main reason we want 21 points in Offense is:
Lethality and Havoc. These reward massive extra damage, 5% from your Havoc mastery, and 10% for every crit (and you should be critical striking almost constantly by the end game).
The last 9 points in Utility go towards Good Hands, Awareness, and a point in Meditation.
For why Good Hands is much better than Perseverance, go to my Veigar build.
I take Meditation because Gangplank does not need the extra gold from Greed. An hour long game rewards you with a whooping 360g extra with Greed, enough for a pair of Boots. Instead, that point towards mana regen, even if only 1mp/5, helps you that little bit extra during the early game, when you are at your most mana heavy.
You can opt to take Utility Mastery instead, and it is a fine choice, getting an extra 15% more time out of any runes you acquire. This is up to you.
Now for why you're all here.
Sheen. This item is truly incredible on Gangplank, and for some reason people don't take it immediately. Perhaps they don't realise it works with Parley, raising the damage of it monstrously. A level 2 Parley will inflict just over 200 damage with a Sheen, which is simply overkill at the time. Critical strike with it? 400 damage.
That is why I start with Mana Crystal and 2 Health Potions. The mana crystal gives you a very large amount of starting mana, allowing you to Deny (see below) many more creeps early on. The two red pots should be ample extra health to get you to at least 860g, at which point you can get your Sheen.
I usually aim to recall after 1210g, so I can also pick up Boots of Speed, making it much easier to chase heroes early on.
For boots, we want Ionian Boots. These give a nice 15%CD reduction, allowing you to spam more, since you won't get many alternatives for CD reduction.
As soon as you can afford to, go back and pick up a Philosopher's StonePhilosopher's Stone. This item is your early game staying power, with massive hp/5 and mp/5. You will be able to cast Parley at your enemies at every opportunity without worrying of a lack of mana. It also gives bonus gold, which will refund the entire cost and then some by the time it will be removed.
Then, buy 2 Avarice Blades. Some people dislike this item, but its a cheap way to raise your Critical Strike Chance early game. 1500g for 24% more critical strike which will pay itself back, is worth it. At this point, you will have 44% chance to crit. 1 in 2 Parley's is going to make your opponents very sad.
Now you want to finish your Trinity Force. This will increase the deadliness of your Parley's further, on top of a range of general improvements, including MORE crit chance (59%). By the time you have this item, you will be a true threat to your enemies.
You will have 1 slot empty at this point, which will be filled by a Phantom Dancer. You can go about this buy either getting a Zeal sooner, or just buying it in one go. This will bump your Crit Chance to 89%, and you will gain a very large amount of attack speed, and movement speed.
Now you should be aiming to get your Infinity Edge. This item is where Gangplank starts hitting hard, and his Parley will hit like a Tank. Sell one of your avarice blades, which should have refunded itself fully by now, and buy this item (Go for the BFSword if you can afford it). This will push your Crit Chance to 97%, provide a LOT of extra damage, and increase your critical hit damage considerably.
At this point your items should look like:
At this point, there are 2 items you want to get rid of, the remaining Avarice Blade first, then replace the Philosophers Stone last.
Phantom Dancer: This item is a great choice if you do not have the 18% extra critical strike chance runes. If that is the case, replacing the last Avarice Blade with this will give you the 97% Crit Chance regardless. However, it will reduce your potential damage. If you do take this item, you will have extremely high movement speed, and should be able to chase everyone (except maybe that pesky Yi).
Bloodthirster: This item will give you some much needed Lifesteal, and a very large amount of damage. It is a fantastic choice for an endgame item, allowing you to take down champions with ease.
Madred's Bloodrazor: A bit more damage, more attack speed, and a VERY nice passive. This is great in games where your opponents stack armour against you, allowing you to hit the for 4% magic damage each hit. With all the attack speed items you have, you will attack VERY fast.
Ghostblade: This item is a nice final addition to your build, giving you some armour pierce, more critical strike and a nice Active ability. If this replaces your Avarice Blade, you will finish up on 100% chance to critical hit. Remember to use your active ability when chasing someone, and even Yi will be given a run for his money.
Last Whisper: This is a good item if you've got a lot of Tanky enemies against you, where Madred's would be insignificant regardless. The 40% physical pierce will return a lot of your damage.
Be aware that if you do not take a critical strike giving item as your last 2 items, you will finish up on 85% chance to crit. This is OK, especially when you start using Agility Elixirs, which will give you 8% more regardless.
Preferred Final Build:
Just one glance at Gangplanks abilities and you should see amazing potential. For those of you that have for some reason missed me pointing it out a thousand times, Parrrley can CRITICAL HIT. I have made shots for OVER 2000 DAMAGE by the endgame with this.
His Grog Soaked Blade is not to be underestimated. If anything, its one of the best harassment passives in the game, and allows fights between you and a DPS hero to be very one sided, by crippling their heal rate.
He also has a Cleanse ability that heals himself, Remove Scurvy. This ability allows you to join team fights without being instantly shut down by stacks of CC. It also removes the Slow effect on Exhaust, but not the 70% damage reduction.
Raise Morale is the reason players will HATE you. You can use it to deny creeps throughout the game. This is very significant. It can result in you and a laning partner leveling up faster than their solo. It also gives you a passive increase in movement speed and damage, and gives this bonus to all your allies (and you again) upon using the active.
Cannon Barrage is FANTASTIC. It allows you to stop tower pushes, set up ganks, and cause all around damage during team fights. It also slows anyone it hits. See that wave of creeps and 2 champions pushing your undefended top tower? Drop your ult and watch them suffer. Doing this throughout the game will not only keep your towers up, but get you fed much faster with all the creep gold.
At level 1, take , this will be used for Denying creeps non-stop (see Playing Gangplank). After that, maximise your Parley whenever you can. This ability is your main damage dealer. It is to DPS heroes, what Baleful Strike is to Veigar.
At level 4, take Remove Scurvy. You only need 1 point in this for most of the game, as while it does provide increased health return at higher levels, you should be more focused on maxing your other abilities first.
Upgrade Raise Morale whenever you can't upgrade Parley, it will allow you to hit harder in general, and make you move faster. Remember that this ability is a team boosting one as well, take advantage of it when you can.
And obviously take your Ultimate whenever possible, it is completely worth it.
These are some helpful tips for playing the Saltwater Scourge to best of his abilities.
Assuming you took Raise Morale at level 1, go to your nexus, on the side that your lane is on. As soon as the minion waves start (1:30), shoot the first melee minion and head to your lane. By the time you reach your lane, your Raise Morale will be ready, and you can shoot another melee creep. This will already give you an early game advantage, by reducing your opponents exp and gold a fair amount.
After that, always shoot your Cannon Minion if it is coming, otherwise, shoot melee minions. Cannons are the most valuable, then melee, then ranged.
Early Game Harassing:
Gangplanks most underappreciated ability is Grog Soaked Blade. This ability is brilliant. On top of being able to harass down targets with his Parley, he can also waste Health Pots early game in a single hit.
This ability does (at first level)5 damage per second for 10 seconds, and halves the targets heal rate during it. For the 10 seconds its active, instead of 100health from the pot, they receive 50, which is then reduced to 0 from the dps it causes. The 100health the pot restores is probably the damage you caused them just hitting them.
Your ult is a single tower fortify. If none of your allies can protect a tower from a push, or if your team is preoccupied and someone is backdooring, drop your ult in front of the tower (When the creeps are there). This will kill all the creeps and hurt the champion, thwarting his backdoor attempt.
Early Game Fighting/Farming:
Parley is an incredibly useful move for both inflicting damage and farming gold, since it gives a lot of extra gold on a target it kills (Up to 16g per minion extra). However, you will not have a decent amount of mana until you get your Philosopher's StonePhilosopher's Stone. There are a few steps to what you should be doing with your mana early on:
Start of game up to getting Sheen: Try to only use Raise Morale, only use Parley if you need to (or you want to and have a good amount of mana to spare)
After getting Sheen: Use Parley whenever an enemy hero gets too close.
After getting Philosopher's Stone: Use Parley on heroes AND low HP creeps.
Gangplank is a great hero, providing the team with a very nice map controlling ability, and a lot of damage to team fights. His farming ability is one of the best in the game, and his potential damage he can inflict is outright brutal.