First off, let me formally thank you for making it past the TL;DR section. This is my first guide here on Leaguecraft and I would very much enjoy some constructive criticism for my work. I intend this to be a living document, one that changes with the times and updates with our beloved pirate.
Now that that's over, pleasure to have ye on board. Gangplank is a fantastic character that brings a lot to the table, mainly in the form of terrifyingly high burst damage. He is a very late game, very item dependent carry who relies on farm and balls of steel to get anything done. You'll know you love Gangplank the moment you toss a shot off mid game and see that Ashe's health drop by half.
With this guide I intend to give you a single item path to a powerful, balanced Gangplank build. By end game you will have maxed out crit chance, tons of survivability and the terrifying burst that Gangplank is famous for. Feel to free to make changes as you see fit and to accommodate your own style as you play him.
You are a pirate, keep this in mind when you are playing. All kills, farm and serviceable lass are ye booty. Get to end game. Get your items. Get drunk. And win.
Movement Speed increased to 320 from 315
Base mana increased to 255 from 239
Mana per level increased to 40 from 34
Raise Morale (remake)
No longer targets a unit (Gangplank can no longer kill allied minions)
Passive changed to 3/4/5/6/7% movement speed from 2/4/6/8/10% and 8/10/12/14/16 attack damage from 8/12/16/20/24
Activating Raise Morale grants Gangplank 14/18/22/26/30% movement speed and 20/28/36/44/52 attack damage
The activation also grants nearby allies 7/9/11/13/15% movement speed and 10/14/18/22/26 attack damage
Duration reduced to 6 seconds from 10
Mana cost changed to 50/55/60/65/70 from 60
Reduced the size of the area affected by Cannon Barrage
Now slows all enemies in the AoE for the duration, but slow reduced to 15/20/25% from 35/45/55%
Reduced damage to 65/110/155 from 100/140/180
Updated the random algorithm to not favor one quadrant over others
Fixed a bug where the tooltip said it lasted for 8 seconds, but it actually lasted 7
Base damage reduced to 20/45/70/95/120 from 20/55/90/120/150
Extra gold gain reduced to 4/6/8/10/12 from 4/7/10/13/16
Cooldown reduced to 5 seconds from 6
Mana cost reduced to 40/45/50/55/60 from 50/55/60/65/70
Base heal changed to 80/150/220/290/360 from 70/125/195/280/380
Damage increased to 6-23 per second from 5-18
Fixed a bug where it applied 9 damage ticks instead of 10
Armor per level increased to 3.3 from 2.8
Attack speed per level increased to 2.75 from 2.35
Attack range increased to 125 from 100
Remove Scurvy cooldown reduced to 22/21/20/19/18 from 30/27/24/21/18
Slow increased to 25% from 15/20/25%
Cooldown reduced to 120/115/110 seconds from 120
What this means: Early game is helped thanks to the lower cool down on Remove Scurvy and buffed base stats, last hitting will be made easier thanks to the increased range.
Ultimate is still largely useless. I don't see why they are nerfing slows across the board when they're really a hindrance if nothing else.
Very lazy patch over all. Only one minor change that affects our beloved pirate:
"The Havoc mastery now increases total physical and magic damage dealt by 4%, instead of increasing base physical and magic damage dealt by 5%"
Going to increase end game damage a bit more now. Awesome.
Some massive changes this patch that are making me overhaul my build. Progression will have more peaks and troughs, lacking the Avarice Blades to keep the crit chance constantly rising, but is overall cheaper and is still a very viable and useful build. End build is identical, so this patch does no more than increase your late game even more.
That being said, wow. Amazing patch for the pirate. Huge boost and I love it.
No longer reduces healing and regeneration, but now slows movement speed by 7%
Now stacks up to 5 times, but duration reduced to 3 seconds from 10
Damage changed to 4-21 from 5-19
Fixed a bug where Parrrley could sometimes restore gold to other players
Now applies Grog-Soaked Blade
Duration increased to 7 from 6
Damage increased to 75/120/165 from 65/110/155
What this means: Gangplank is going to get nerfed. Just wanted to state that now, ready yourself for the bat. He feels really over-powered now, so enjoy it while you can!
The new Grog gives you a way to follow up your early game crits, with your sword. Now you can wade into combat to finish off weakened squishies in lane. Using it with your ult is just brutal. The damage is also scary, stacking means it can deal lots o damage in a short amount of time.
Cannon Barrage still broken, needs more than a 10 point increase to make me stop bitching.
What this means: Not much. A rather minor nerf that really only effects your 5th attack. Early game this means people -can- get away from you, and late game if someone survives this many attacks they are the tank with 200 armor. Not as bad as I had feared the nerf would be, presently surprised really.
Also made a few item changes in the guide, adding Philosopher's Stone as an early game item. The recent explosion of new Gangplank players since the buff has really given me plenty of subjects to dissect, and one of the main problems everyone was having was mana and maintaining health. I've played this build through several times and I find it makes your early game much easier. The Philosopher's stone can be dropped though if you feel comfortable without it. By the time you sell it, it's paid for itself but it does take up an item slot that could be used for wards.
In the future look for time increments to be added, currently playing around with timing the new build.
gold bonus reduced to 4/5/6/7/8 from 4/6/8/10/12 Raise Morale
Active attack damage bonus reduced to 14/22/30/38/46 from 20/28/36/44/52
Active movement speed bonus reduced to 10/14/18/22/26% from 14/18/22/26/30%
What this means: Another Parrrley nerf, again hitting gold gains. Since his first "buff" it's dropped %50. Using this to creep farm isn't as fantastic as it used to be. The change isn't game breaking but you'll find yourself counting creeps and kills more closely than ever.
Raise Morale nerf... I think this was uneeded. The original change was balanced against the removed deny mechanic and I think properly. Not a massive nerf, more of a tweak but I hope they don't hurt it more. He's become a strong pick since his passive rework, so expect more nerfs. More than likely they'll target base stats or Parrely's interaction with Lizard Buff next.
Grog Soaked Blade
max stacks has been reduced to 3 from 4 Cannon Barrage
Fixed a bug where Cannon Barrage would not grant gold on minion kills
Fixed a bug where Cannon Barrage's slow was not always applying consistently
What this means: Just another small nerf to Gang's early game gank potential and overall power of his reworked passive. No build changes.
Nonnegotiable. If you are planning on using this build, you need these runes. Without them your laning will suffer greatly. I advise against playing Gangplank without some sort of bonus crit chance as Parrrley doesn't really hit that hard in lane, but when it crits people feel it. Late game when your items give you over 100% crit these lose their effectiveness but I find that the early game bonus is more than worth it. If you get to Overtime, the runes will lets you sit at 97% crit chance with only three crit items.
I prefer the health per level or armor because I like to be slightly tanky. Grab Resilience if you want to have around 800 effective health at lvl 1, or Vitality if you'd prefer an extra couple hundred end game effective health. Mana regen isn't really a problem since they changed the base regen amounts and removed the deny mechanic so you're not wasting mana to waste minions. If you know how to conserve your mana you won't need mana regen items or runes. Philosopher's Stone also helps with this problem. End game you'll have a large enough pool to do whatever you want skill wise.
Flat magic Resist will help you more than you know against early game harassment. CDR is another viable option, but this item build will put you at 33%, getting the Elixir of Brilliance or Blue Golem buff will cap you out anyway.
Pretty bland 21/0/9 build to maximize your damage output. If you do choose Exhaust over Ignite or Flash, take the appropriate mastery [Mastery_text=Cripple].
Top Tier Spells Ghost A fantastic spell that I consider to be irreplaceable on any champ, especially Gangplank. You need to be mobile and this spell gives you it. Ignite My preferred spell. Mixing this and your passive puts out a deceptive amount of damage that can land you an early kill. Flash Another good choice, as it gives Gangplank another escape mechanism. Popping this over a wall can get you out of a lot of sticky situations. Exhaust Damage mitigation, slow and you can reduce armor? Fantastic! Offensive, Defensive so many uses for this spell. Might want to take this if you're stuck going 1v1 on top lane. Added CC can save you from a jungle gank.
Other Spells: Not the best, but to each his own.
Clarity For low level Summoners who cannot yet afford mana regen runes nor know how to effectively conserve mana, this can be a great help. However, I would not suggest it as its viability tapers off quickly into the game. Great support spell, not so much on a carry. Clairvoyance Another good spell that can help find the enemy. This spell has turned many failed baits into successful counter ganks and net me kills with cannon barrage. I would again suggest leaving this to your support. Teleport You should always have at least one of these on your team. Saving towers, pushing down others, porting in for surprise ganks and making it back to your lane if you're having a rough time. Teleport is really a great spell and one that I love to take, however I believe others are better choices.
With the rework, Gangplank's passive is now incredibly useful. Though the over all damage has been significantly nerfed due to the lowered duration and the healing mitigation has been removed, the stacking slow (up to 28%!) and Parrrley applying it are amazing buffs. This makes Gangplank a much better chaser and early game harasser. On top of your insane crit damage you can now apply another 12-63 magic damage. Mixed with lizard buff, you can also gank more effectively if you choose to do so. At max stacks (3) you're looking at an additional ~189 damage end game, less resistances. Few escape with slivers of health from GP.
I enjoyed the previous hand cannon much, much more. More damage, more gold and only 1 second longer cooldown. Use it to last hit minions, to blow apart players and to generally raise hell. It crits and people cry, nuff said.
Fantastic ability, though a little mana intensive. It's a free Quicksilver Sash, one of the few abilities that can get your out of suppressions. Save this for when it counts. If you're running back to base and you're low on health, sure. But don't use it to top yourself off when you know a teamfight might break out. If you get focused, use this and get-fo.
I actually prefer the remade Raise Moral over the old deny concept. Deny had no place in LoL and as such should be removed. Yes it made him unique, but so does a ranged spell that can crit. Deny plank was boring to lane against. Now he's an asset to his team. Pop this in a team fight and what your fellow AD carries rape face almost as much as you do.
Hate it. They removed the usefulness of this spell. You won't get kills, you won't help with team fights, you won't be able to farm minions. Save it for when someone needs help or when a teamfight breaks out. Drop it on them and hope that the enemy freaks out and backs off. I've had entire fights in the middle of the new ult and done nothing. That's not right.
Obviously, focus Parrrley first and foremost. Generally I would suggest Remove Scurvy over Raise Moral, but sometimes the extra buff can really make or break a fight. Choose whichever suits your playstyle most.
This is where you learn to swagger, walking into lane with 5 bars of health and 24% crit. Early game plank is no walk in the park, but if you survive it you'll become one of the best end game carries in the game. For the first few levels, don't hyperfocus on using your hand cannon to last hit minions, the small amounts of bonus gold doesn't make a big difference and the low initial base damage will make it hard to time the ability effectively. Try using it to soften up the enemy squishy or assassinate minions too far away to reach with your sword.
First Trip Back ~1500 gold
This should be around level 6 if you've been in a boring lane. Try to stay in lane at least until then, so you can use your ultimate to help out your lane mate if the enemy tries diving. If you've had to go back earlier than expected grab the boots as a priority Gang needs the mobility to dodge skill shots and weave into creep waves for last hits. The Philo stone is entirely optional, but if you're having a tough time in lane with harass and getting farmed pick one up.
Second Trip Back ~2360 gold
Again, focus boots over the Cloak of Agility. Having your Ult up when it's needed and your Parrrley always off cooldown are important for a good Plank. Your Parrrley should be hitting pretty hard by now and your crit chance will be high enough to make people back off. Be not afraid to harass instead of farm, the extra gold is sexy but keeping your adversaries terrified and low hp are better.
Third Trip Back ~1650 gold
BF Sword is your first major damage item, and getting this somewhat early really kicks your crits up a notch. Because you lack any real armor penetration you need the damage to make up for it. Get this before any more crit items, and build it into an Infinity Edge ASAP.
Fourth Trip Back ~2180 gold
Infinity Edge is when you become a legitimate threat. Your hand cannon will now take chunks off of people's healthbars and squishies will run as soon as they see you. Grabbing the extra Cloak of Agility will get you to a respectable crit chance. At this point you'll also start one-shotting minions on a regular bases, so farm will require less forethought. Remember to mix in the Parrrley whenever it's off cooldown as well.
Fifth Trip Back ~1934 gold
Ghostblade gives Gang everything he needs and wants. CDR, Crit armor penetration and a sexy active. By the time you've turned your Avarice it's paid for itself. By now teamfights are beginning to break out, stay in the back and use the active after team fights not before. Better to chase faster and run faster then.
Note: DO NOT forget to use the active when it's needed.
Sixth Trip Back ~1110 gold
Time to start putting health into the build. A balanced build requires survivability, and you won't get that stacking lifesteal or more damage items. At this point you start looking more bruiser than glass cannon. Don't be surprised if you find a tanky DPS champion try to 1v1 you thinking he can burst you before you destroy him, easy kills.
Seventh Trip Back ~1890 gold
Wait, what? Warmog's? Yep. I see everyone talking about how it's a crap item but I think people often forget the usefulness of a huge chunk of health. When this is farmed up you'll have near 3.5k HP. Even without resistances you'll be able to take a hit like a boss and be able to escape near anything. You're not a tank, you don't need to take focus fire. You just need to survive it long enough to let your tank do his job.
Eighth Trip Back ~2015 gold
Congratulations, 100% crit chance. With the Phantom you are now faster and more dangerous than most carries in the game. This item will let you weave into harass range much easier and let you escape like the wind with the stupid amounts of movement speed. Pop Raise Morale, Ghost and Yomuu's together for fun times!
Ninth Trip Back ~1525 gold
Speaking of resistances, you now have armor to take on other physical carries. Your crits will two shot them, while it'll take four for them to return the favor (in most cases). You should have that Warmorg's fully farmed by now and all that extra attack damage is going to make you hit even harder. It's now End Game and you are at your prime.
Overtime ~2290 gold ///
Games rarely get to this point, but when they do the biggest problem that GP faces is armor stacking tanks and the odd squishy toting around some bits of armor. Last Whisper makes him hit harder from both the increased attack damage and percent armor penetration. At this point you should have both access to Elixirs and Golem buff, so your cooldowns and crit chance will not change much.
Don't be afraid to invest into Elixirs and Health Potions if you have the extra gold, the bump to your stats can be invaluable. And buy wards, please buy wards. Yes you need to finish your build but after your B. F. Sword you're not going to have room for them. Pick some up early game to pull your weight.
If you ever find yourself around the 2k gold mark, it's probably time to head back and grab something. Remember that you're a very item dependent character, and having the next one will make all the difference at crunch time.
Crit Runes versus Armor Penetration Runes: The Debate
I feel it necessary to add my two cents into the debate over Critical Chance runes as vs. Armor Penetration runes.
In my experience crit chance help GP out more than the armor penetration. I've tried it, and yes very late game when you have the full build and an Elixir of Agility, armor penetration will make him hit a little harder. However, what makes Crit Plank terrifying in lane isn't the consistent damage that Parrrley does, its the pants shitting crits. His whole presence is built around that chance of taking away a third of someone's health. With this rune set up you enter lane with 24% crit chance. That's a 24% chance of making the enemy character back off and wonder if it's really worth the minion kills. End game it allows you a 100% crit chance with tons of survivability, something that I find helps me sleep at night. I swear to you 80-95% and you will find that last needed Parrrley will misfire.
I also perfer burst potential in lane. With the amount of champions able to heal themselves and others, hitting hard is better than hitting often.
And another note:
If you are in "Top Tier" Elo, you are not reading guides that will help you master a character. Ignore what people say and find what works for you. Try this build out and enjoy yourself.
Things to Watch Out For
This is a list of characters and items you want to be wary of.
This character really and truly scares me whenever I play Gangplank. I know that most people think him an underpowered derp character at the moment, but he is the best counter-pick for Gangplank in the entirety of League of Legends. His concept is the opposite of our Pirates, an AD burst caster that has an amazing early game and crappy late game. A decent Panth will shut you down during the laning phase with his Aegis Protection that completely absorbs your harass and his stun combo which can hit like a truck. All he needs is a support lane mate, or one with decent CC and he can make your life a living hell. If at all possible, avoid him and change lanes. If you can't, get your lane buddy to pop his shield and Parrrley him every chance you get. When he jumps you, eat your orange and walk towards him and start auto attacking/Parrrleying. Never run away from Heartseeker Strike, but through it.
Rocket Grab->Power Fist->Static Field is the most one sided initiation period. Step lightly and move quickly if you are on the receiving end of a talented robot. Stay behind minions and tanks, ward often and remember to eat your fruit AFTER his ults. His passive Mana Barrier also makes him deceptively tanky. Don't chase one to your death if he has full mana and you haven't popped his shield yet. And don't focus one in a team fight, once his combo is done it's another 20 seconds until he's a real threat again.
Undying Rage is pretty much how Trynd will kill you. Let him get the jump on you and its over, at least end game. Try to lane against him early and deny him farm. If you see an enemy Trynd in ranked get Exhaust/Flash instead of Ignite/Ghost. What it usually comes down to is a 1v1, and you have a cleanse. Make him use his ulty before her gets to you then count down to 2 from 5 and pop Exhaust. He'll try to spin to safety, follow with Flash and use your passive slow to finish him off.
Your goal is to make every single enemy character pick up one of these. Of course, it's going to hurt like a mother hitting one, but more than likely you'll have enough HP to tank the damage and wasting both 2k gold and an item slot is worth it. However, be weary of the tank getting one. It's better to not harass at all if your options are two tanks packing these. If armor stacking becomes a problem, replace your Ghostblade with a Last Whisper soon.
Tips and Tricks
Farm Like a Boss
Always find time to put down those uppity minions, get farmed if you can't get fed. Your Parrrley and your gold per 10's will help you do this, but don't be afraid to auto attack out a creep wave to back to your team end game or use your ult to clear one if you're in base and need a few extra gold to finish an item.
If you really want to master Gangplank, or ANY character in LoL you need to learn how to conserve mana efficiently. Know when to use Parrrley to last hit and know when to simply run in with your sword. If you think you'll need to use your ultimate or Remove Scurvy don't go off spamming your abilities and draining your mana. Once you have a feel for what you can and cannot do, you can pull off some really crazy stunts that enemies will never expect.
Get Blue Buff When Possible
"Well du'h!" But seriously, if you think you're doing your team a favor by giving the support caster or AP carry the blue buff you are sadly mistaken. Blue buff lets Gangplank spam Raise Morale to destroy towers, spam Remove Scurvy to stay at full health and drops his 1k damage burst spell to a 3 second cooldown! Remember, just because you build AD items doesn't change the fact that you are a burst caster.
And also remember to no be an ass and steal it from that Taric that's been smacking on it for the bast 5 minutes. Play with your team not against them.
Join the Kill and Release Program
Once you get a hit on someone lacking a hard escape (a flash ability), they are pretty much yours until you decide to let them go. Get your stacks up there and make them pay for each step in blood. You are tanky enough early game to withstand a little punishment and burst (especially with armor runes at lvl 1). If they commit pop your Raise Morale and tear them apart, ghost/flash if you need to keep up and ignite if you need to close the deal.
Commit or Retreat, Do Not Dally
If you can escape, escape. If you can kill, kill. If you can't escape, take someone with you. Know when to fold them. If you've over extended and you know that the jungler is going to land a kill don't make a half-assed attempt at life, run at the support and either try to give him the kill and deny the jungler the assist, or give that squishy a little shiv between the ribs and slap the tower. If you're running away, keep going until you're safe. Staying under a tower with 1 bar of hp against someone that can dive will do you no good. And whatever you do, do something. Make your decision and go balls deep, staying passive will get you nowhere. Knowing where the break point is between these extremes come with experience and are the mark of a good player in general.
You need to learn this as Gangplank. Float like a butterfly and sting like a goddamn battleship. Use your speed and cleanse ability to weave into enemy range and pop your shots off. Target squishies if possible, tanks if necessary, uppity minions if there's nothing else. Never stop moving and never move in unless you know that you're going to get the kill.
You Have a Buffed Cleanse
I can't stress this enough. So many new Gangplank fanatics forget to use one of their best spells when it counts most. Yes, your Remove Scurvy is more than a decent self heal. Remember to capitalize on it to get out of suppressions, slows, roots, fears, silences, taunts, etc. it is your get out of jail free card. You can also use it to bait someone into closing the gap, wasting their defense CC or mislead them into thinking you are at lower health (a surprise 360 HP can get a lot of over-confident carries killed).
Cannon Barrage Slow nets Assists
If you see a fight breaking out in a lane, fire off the cannon. Net yourself an assist and let your lane mates know you care. If you happen to KS apologize and go buy your Infinity Edge.
Cannon Barrage Reveals Fog of War
No, I don't mean to use this as a Clairvoyance whenever you want to know what the enemy jungler is up to. But if you know someone is baiting, using it check a bush can save your entire team an asswhooping and turn it into a counter gank. This requires lots of raw experience to use effectively.
Wards are OP'd
Buy them early game, force people to buy them for you late game. You need map awareness, this will make or break games. Ward in front of baron, dragon, neutral buffs and in choke points where ganks are common. Placing some outside of your base walls if you've gotten pushed, or within your enemies base if you're pushing will allow you and your team to harass enemies easily. Don't forget that grabbing Oracle's Elixir end game will let you destroy your enemy's map awareness as well. Supports generally grab one around mid game, but when your item build is finished and you have gold to spare go ahead and pick one up.
Health Potions and Elixirs are Good Investments
No, don't pick up health potions end game. But if you go back during the laning phase, make sure to pick up 2 or 3. Each one of those is a free 250 health and gives you A LOT of staying power. Pop one before you initiate a fight in lane and it can save your life. Elixirs are like this too. Focus on the Elixir of Fortitude in lane, it can save you from Karthus, Ignite and even fool people into tower diving if it's still in your inventory. But don't spend too much on them. If the game is drawing to a close and you know a teamfight is about to bust out, go ahead a Elixir up. Even if it means pushing back an item you couldn't yet afford. Going into a fight with a little bit extra health, cool down or attack speed can make all the difference.
Don't be Afraid to Mix Things Up
If you think building the Warmogs and Atma's early would help you more than finishing the Phantom Dancer, don't be afraid to. Itemization is important, but if you're not surviving long enough to do what needs doing then you're having a problem.
Be an Asset, Not an Ass-Hat
Gangplank has a bad rap as a KSer, a feeder and a detriment to a team. Don't play into that. Gangplank has a terrible early game, the highest single spell burst in the game and is often last in, first out of a team fight (as he should be). This is how a carry works so don't feel bad if your Parrrley KS's a Sona from her losing 1v1 against a Warwick. This is a team game, remember that. You're not carrying yourself, but your entire team. Every kill was a group effort, and let them know it. "GJ" , "Nice kill" , "Grats", "Thx". Simple short messages that will make your team feel appreciated. Also /ignore "Player Name". Don't forget that one either.