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Gangplank Build Guide by SunHydrogen

Top Hydrogen

By SunHydrogen | Updated on April 4, 2018
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Choose Champion Build:

  • LoL Champion: Gangplank
  • LoL Champion: Gangplank
    Unsealed Spellbook
  • LoL Champion: Gangplank
  • LoL Champion: Gangplank
    Grasp Of The Undying
  • LoL Champion: Gangplank
    Arcane Comet


Magical Footwear
Biscuit Delivery
Time Warp Tonic

Bone Plating
Second Wind


LoL Summoner Spell: Teleport


LoL Summoner Spell: Flash


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Top Lane
Ranked #31 in
Top Lane
Win 48%
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Threats & Synergies

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None Low Ok Strong Ideal
Extreme Threats
Ideal Synergies

Hi, i'm Hydrogen and welcome to my Gangplank guide. I'm a Brazilian Streamer on Twitch and I've been playing League of Legends since 2012 on Season 2. My top rank was Challenger 752LP in solo queue only with GP. I started to play with GP in December of 2015 and he was the first champion that I deepened in knowledge. I hope to convey to you all what I have learned over the years in this guide!

Gangplank is a legendary pirate, one of the toughest champions to perfect, but it's very rewarding when you master it. He's one of the few champions who can adapt to most match-ups by playing passive or agressive and who can have several variations on his build and playstyle.

With a great split push potential and a machine of destruction in teamfights, GP forces you to choose the right path depending on the enemy composition

When we talk about Gangplank, we're talking about plundering, so we're talking about BOOTY (a.k.a. GOLD). Keeping in mind that he's not only the most infamous and dreadful pirate in the League of Legends universe, but according to Riot Games he was the number one champion with the highest gold gain in the entire 2017 Season, which makes him one of the most feared outscaling beasts in the game, savvy?
Now, with the Runes Reforged, we "arr" taking outscaling and plundering to the next level, me hearties! As we now pull out gold with Kleptomancy.

  • The most advisable situations to use Kleptomancy are against tanks and when you can spam your Parrrley(Q) without being much punished for it. This keystone is perfect to outscale your enemies by buying your Trinity Force as fast as possible.

  • Since the Parrrley mana cost was increased by 20 in patch 8.4, the use of Time Warp Tonic became very necessary because when we opted for Kleptomancy we needed to make the most of the laning phase to get gold with Bandit and Sly Sack of Gold.

  • This is one of my favorites, it basically gives you a free Magical Footwear, saving you 300g and making your tier 2 boot cheap in 50g, giving you a total of 350 extra gold.

  • Future's Market is perfect when you have some bad backs and need to buy an important item, but I do not think it's as strong as they say because you lose 50 gold every time you buy an item in advance, but that's just my preference.

  • Cosmic Insight is one of the best runes of Inspiration, behaves similarly to the removed mastery Intelligence it's all about the cooldown reduction on your abilities, summoner spells and items. Additionally increases your CDR cap to 45%.

  • Celestial Body is very good in situations you do not intend to be very aggressive in laning phase. It basically grants you +100 HP, reducing your damage by 10% until 10 minutes. I recommend you to always pick in medium/hard lanes that you need a little survivability against all-ins or dives.

  • Biscuit Delivery is a rune that I didn't like much but after v8.4 patch nerf it became necessary to use in some cases, since the mana cost of Parrrley is a little high.

  • Minion Dematerializer is a very situational rune, I recommend its use on midlane to avoid being outpushed, since in mid Gangplank doesn't have a very good lane presence.

  • I don't see much use for this runes on Gangplank, so I don't use them.

Now moving on, let's give a proper look at this next keystone... But before we start, let me ask you one single question: Is there any better treasure than life itself? No? So there ya go, lads/ladies! When gold is not enough for the infamous Gangplank, the man is capable of ripping apart the life of his unlucky enemies and stealing for his own health while he pushes them against their own turrets with the next keystone: Grasp of the Undying.

  • Demolish is the perfect rune to punish your opponent's turret when there's no one around to protect it. Be aware of when your laner needs to return base, roam or when he's dead.

  • Bone Plating seems to be a good rune against all-in, as it absorbs a lot of damage . I recommend using it against assassins or champions with burst damage. Consider choosing Bone Plating not only against high damage laners, but also against junglers like Elise, Jarvan IV, Kha'Zix etc.

  • I choose Conditioning against tanks or champions that I occasionally need to fight on the sides in the future but with the main damage different from who I am against on laning phase, like Zed, Fizz, Vladimir etc.

  • I think Overgrowth has very low numbers compared to the others, but you can also pick it if you're going to build some health items.

  • These runes are not useful on Gangplank so I don't use it XD

Mate, don't get too cocky just because we taught you a little bit of pressuring tips...
You can't just start shooting like a scurvy 'n crazy dog, remember this: A good pirate never gets out of ammo or out of supplies.
Ya see, you don't need to always steal health Grasp of the Undying or gold Kleptomancy from your opponents while they still alive, instead of that you can fortify your own bullets 'n barrels while you keep safe controlling the resources and ammo like a true Saltwater Scourge, so finally... you can plunder your enemies after you send them straight dead to the Davy Jones' locker.
So, guess what we're using to reinforce our supplies, lads? Witchcrafting, hehehe! Or... i might say: Sorcery.

  • Summon Aery is the keystone made for lane presence, allied with Parrrley allows you to greatly upset your opponents. I usually use it in lanes against melees opponents that exposes a lot trying to farm. The thought behind Summon Aery is to force your opponent to spend resources, such as Teleport, deny some CS/EXP and who might eventually get a kill on less patient players. After Kleptomancy nerf in patch 8.2, I started to choose Summon Aery more often against melee/fighters like Riven, Jax, Fiora, Irelia, Camille etc.

  • The Ultimate Hat is a very strong rune on Gangplank, as the Cannon Barrage has a high cooldown and this gives you more windows of opportunity to create plays with your team. I consider it the strongest rune of artefact and I usually choose it almost always.

  • Nullifying Orb seems to be a good option when you are against some AP burst like Fizz Vladimir, Elise and etc, however I consider this rune a little weak and quite situational.

  • Celerity is a rune that is present at all times of the game. This extra mobility allows you to you to roam better on the map, dodge some skill shots and also increase your chase and escape potential. Move speed is an expensive attribute found in a few Gangplank items. An example of lanes I use Celerity is against Illaoi to dodge tentacles, Test of Spirit or also to keep me at a safe distance and not be pulled by Darius Apprehend

  • I think these three runes are pretty weak, maybe Gathering Storm is useful in some longer games, but it's usually not worth it.

Unfortunately Domination does not have much synergy with our great pirate, in spite of Electrocute similarity with the old Thunderlord's Decree , they have completely different functions. Thus, I will only show the runes I use in Domination.

  • Taste of Blood gives you great sustain in lane. Combined with Parrrley, you heal a relevant amount of health every 20s. This rune is very similar to the old Feast masterie.

  • Zombie Ward and Ghost Poro have the great function of keeping you with areas of vision to avoid ganks in lanes that you intend to play very aggressively and eventually stay close to your opponent's tower.

I usually choose Domination when I want to play aggressively, so I always use Domination Rune Path as a secondary Unsealed Spellbook or Summon Aery

After a while streaming I realized that many players asked me when to choose critical or lethality, so I'll answer that question once and for all.

Initially, the most remarkable lethality damage is more consistent than critical because you will be doing a fixed amount of damage rather than having to place your luck on some percentage.

The advantage of buying lethality is how cheap the basic items like Long Sword, Serrated Dirk and Caulfield's Warhammer are, and as a consequence, you impact the game at an earlier stage. Since the champions receive 2.7~3.7 armor per level (with the exception of Thresh), the lethality is more impressive in the early/mid game, where we can see its power spike with clarity because your enemies will have low armor.

Now when we speak about critical, we are talking about massive but not constant damage. The point we must understand is that buying critical soon after Trinity Force is not as strong as lethality, however two critical items can easily be equal to or greater than two lethality items

Depending on the point of the game you find yourself, and as the opportunities come up, you can go thinking about a pure crit build or start with lethality and then buy critical.

I'll illustrate some builds to make it simpler to understand.

early impact Trinity Force -> Youmuu's Ghostblade -> Duskblade of Draktharr
early transition Trinity Force -> Youmuu's Ghostblade -> Infinity Edge
preparing for late game Trinity Force -> Essence Reaver -> Statikk Shiv or Infinity Edge

We must consider that choosing the correct order of the items and which to choose in a certain situation can directly impact the game. Choose wisely and adapt.

  • Infinity Edge was made to cause massive damage, and it should also appear in 95% of the games, but only from third item onwards. We must consider that before buying the Infinity Edge we need to have the necessary items to have a good transition from mid to late game. Despite the great potential of Infinity Edge, you need a bit of luck to be effective with it because you will only have 20% critical chance, so I recommend having a Statikk Shiv or Phantom Dancer before buying it or buy a Zeal soon after the Infinity Edge.

  • Phantom Dancer is a solid item to duel with your opponents, especially against fighters and tanks. With a lot of attack speed, you can easily blow up barrels and also apply Trial By Fire a few times. The most important attribute of this item is the 12% damage reduction, which differentiates it from Statikk Shiv and Rapid Firecannon. I usually choose Phantom Dancer as second or third item.

  • Sterak's Gage is a very strong item in situations that Gangplank needs to hold a burst. The differential of this item is to be the only item that proves base damage, which directly influences the damage of Trinity Force or Sheen. I recommend using it against champions who possess a great burst damage or that has true damage, like Camille, Irelia, Zed, Riven and others.

  • Lord Dominik's Regards It was one of my favorite items, but after the nerf in patch 7.24b that made it a very situational item. I recommend using it against champions who have a lot of hp, like Gnar, Cho'Gath, Renekton and that necessarily have a difference of 1.5-2k more than you.

  • Death's Dance is a great item, as well as giving you lots of damage and reducing the damage impact, it also gives you a good sustain. I recommend using it when playing more on the sides, and especially against champions you fight for many seconds. Against offtanks or tanks like Ornn, Renekton, Sion and junglers like Zac, Sejuani and others.


Spoiler: Click to view

Gangplank can purchase upgrades for his ship in the store at the cost of 500 Silver Serpents each, which improve Cannon Barrage. You should collect 500 coins over 12 to 17 minutes, depending on how fast you buy your Trinity Force.

  • Cannon Barrage fires at an increasing rate over time (additional 6 waves over the duration). So basically with Fire At Will your AOE damage increases from 420/720/1020 to 630/1080/1530 total magic damage. In most of cases Fire At Will will be the fist choice to upgrade your ship because it can be useful in many ways, such as teamfighting, zooning areas to prevent engages, contest objectives(Baron, Dragon, Turrets etc) and sometimes to protect yourself against 1v1 or 2v1 situations.
    Transcendence, Cosmic Insight and The Ultimate Hat are good runes with it.

  • Riven is one of the coolest duelists to play against, but despite having a very strong all-in, she usually has a very vulnerable laning against our big pirate. At level 1 we must find out what skill Riven started with, so as soon as he arrives on the lane, use Parrrley to check if he started with Broken Wings or Valor, and then use that information to poke and start to get lead. A small "trick" is to add an easy shortcut to /joke, "pretending" to have used Parrrley to fool Riven and make him spend his Valor. If you get level 2 first, immediately throw one Powder Keg on the ground to create a zooning area, forcing Riven to lose CS. If riven gets level 2 first, just step back so you don't lose HP trading. Another important point against Riven is realizing that Powder Keg is the only protection against her all-ins, so be aware that in patch 8.4 your barrels lasts only 25 seconds on the ground. From level 6 on, be aware that she can engage you at any time. I recommend using Summon Aery and Resolve as secondary keystone. Corrupting Potion is the best option against Riven, since you will probably be constantly in combat. Now for the build, the ideal order against riven is Trinity Force -> Ninja Tabi -> Sterak's Gage and then you can go to Phantom Dancer or Youmuu's Ghostblade. If Riven buys Death's Dance, then immediately buy a Executioner's Calling. From your level 13 you do more than Riven on the sides and teamfights, so avoid making mistakes in early game, always tell when Riven is roaming and the victory will be yours.
    Spoiler: Click to view

  • Vladimir is one of the mage that has appeared more frequently in the top lane, due his good laning phase against most of the top laners and an extremely strong late game, so be very careful with the great vampire that in almost every time will come with Ignite. Initially I should recommend Kleptomancy for an early more gearing-up and gold and farm. You can also use Summon Aery or Grasp of the Undying as a more aggressive option(works best in the mid lane with Ignite). Be aware of the functionality of Vlad's abilities to prevent lose too much health, such as his Transfusion with empowered damage, which you can sense as soon as the bar above Vlad is yellow and about to turn red or in its third use. Also try to stay behind the minions when Vladimir starts casting the Tides of Blood and in 80% of the time you hit a barrel at him he will probably dodge with Sanguine Pool. I usually play in a more defensive way, using Kleptomancy as primary keystone and Resolve as a secundary to get more defensive stats like HP, regen and MR. In the lane I get gold with Kleptomancy whenever is possible with Parrrley and try to avoid long trades. That way you prevent 1v1 or 2v1 dives. I recommend rush Trinity Force and Executioner's Calling right after. Some situational itens you can buy after is Phantom Dancer or Duskblade of Draktharr as second big item

  • If your opponent in lane is a great fighter like Irelia, some key points must be observed. As in several other matches, Gangplank has a certain advantage in early, if you can stay away and poke your opponent whenever possible, but with the mobility coming from Irelia Bladesurge with carelessness, she can easy gap close on you and force unfavorable trades. You can easily remove Equilibrium Strike stun with your Remove Scurvy but you don't need to always remove if you're not in risk of being ganked or bursted. Remember that Remove Scurvy heals you based on your missing health. Pay close attention in your minions because she can reset her Bladesurge and jump on you. Irelia level 6 is decisive on the lane and must be respected because of all-in potential with the presence of her Transcendent Blades is extremely high due to the damage and sustain provided. Don't think twice about retreating in a clear situation all in case the lane is even for the laners or even at slight advantage for you. Setting the build, power spikes and positioning on the lane are the keys to win Irelia. If you have a bad start, consider Sheen -> Sterak's Gage.
    Kleptomancy or Summon Aery are good choices to play against her, but your secondary keystone need to be Resolve because of Irelia true damage and burst. Executioner's Calling is a good item after Trinity Force if you want to 1v1 her. If Irelia go to Blade of the Ruined King, then you may need to build more defensive, items like Sterak's Gage, Phantom Dancer and Death's Dance are very good to fight her in the sides.

  • Sion is a great tank that has been a nightmare for some top laners, since his kit is very powerful and can be very effective in all stages of the game, especially a very dominant laning phase and a strong teamfight due to his great initiation and crowd control . Initially you need to be aware of some details as soon as the match starts, as Sion can steal the Red or the Blue. Another initial strategy used by some of Sion players is to get the first wave of minions next to your inhibitor and soon after after dying, uses Teleport in a Trinket on your jungle to steal buffs. If none of these things happen, Sion will throw you minions with Roar of the Slayer every 12~8 seconds along with Arcane Comet and Scorch as soon as you get in lane. The first levels can be tricky if you take too much Roar of the Slayer, so if you can't dodge, you can remove the slow with your Remove Scurvy and avoid the Decimating Smash leaving its range, if you are too close consider going to the sides instead of running straight. So using Resolve and Corrupting Potion can give you an early more safe. Kleptomancy seems to be the best option against him, but you can also use Grasp of the Undying if you want more sustain or Arcane Comet to impact on the game after your level 6, then it depends on what you have in mind for the game. Sion must buy a lot of armor, so if necessary buy an Last Whisper to penetrate part of his armor, but I believe you should build up thinking more about the other players than about Sion itself .
League of Legends Build Guide Author SunHydrogen
SunHydrogen Gangplank Guide

League of Legends Champions:

Teamfight Tactics Guide
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