Since being a pirate was pretty much all any of us wanted to do as a child, allow us to guide you toward living vicariously through League of Legends’ very own scourge of the high seas, Gangplank. Iconic for his ability to remove himself from any sticky situation, as well as chunk entire teams for half of their health come late game, Gangplank has a tricky early game to navigate that proves immensely rewarding come the 25-minute mark.
In terms of runes, you will want to opt for a path that allows you access to Grasp of the Undying. The on-hit additional magic damage and heal are incredibly useful, especially when you consider that it interacts well with your Q’s on hit effects. The potency of this combination means that the ache in your chest that comes from missing Kleptomancy is at least slightly remedied.
Item-wise, it’s all about an early Sheen – your Q applies its on-hit effect pretty reliably, and this makes your trading patterns even more obnoxious to deal with. Transition this to a Trinity Force by mid-game, stack up some Lethality to add some more punch to your hits, and roll through the enemy backline. Cooldown reduction is also very valuable, as more Cannon Barrages means more map-wide influence.
So primarily when playing Gangplank, you’ll want to always max your Q – Parrrley! – first. The ability is essentially a targeted ranged auto-attack, except it grants you additional gold if you kill a target with it, and procs your Sheen/Trinity Force. Use this to last hit creeps, hit your next maxxed ability, E – Powder Keg (an area of effect explosion that also applies your bonus Q damage), or just poke enemy champions down. Also of note is that the E detonation will reset your passive, allowing you to trade more aggressively thanks to a true damage burn and an extra burst of speed.
The strongest part of Gangplank’s kit is ironically the one that is seen as a one-point-wonder most of the time. Offering both sustain and escape from any negative effect, W – Remove Scurvy is one of the most potent abilities in the game. See below for a tip on how to maximize its effectiveness.
Gangplank’s R – Cannon Barrage can be used to influence the map or save yourself from being a dove. An immensely useful tool, it is both Gangplank, and his team’s primary source of both engage and disengage.
Tips and Tricks
An unfortunate situation has arisen in both professional play and solo queue, in which top lane is pretty much ignored by both teams after five minutes into the game. How do you remedy this? By playing one of the League’s best duelists and safest laners.
Gangplank, the outlier that he is, doesn’t actually care about being left in isolation all too much. A pretty binary trading pattern of proccing Grasp of the Undying and then Q-ing an enemy for a solid chunk of health early game while clearing out the waves helps the Pirate King stay on top.
Unconventional W Usage
Part of what makes Gangplank so good at being left alone–and escaping some slippery situations even Lissandra players with the fullest of inventories would struggle with–is his iconic W – Remove Scurvy. The ability immediately cleanses any negative effect from Gangplank, as well as offering a small heal.
Obvious uses of this ability include crowd control and the like, but you can also use it to remove particularly obnoxious ultimate abilities – Mordekaiser, Urgot, and Camille without a care in the world.
Besides his scaling and innate safety, the real reason why Gangplank is so good at his isolated gameplay is that he can affect the map from any lane. Use your R – Cannon Barrage to clear waves if it looks like you’re being set up for a dive, check neutral objectives like Baron Nashor and Dragon, or set up ganks by cutting off an escape route.
Gangplank’s utility is both unparalleled and immense – almost as much as his late-game teamfight damage.