"Neither the Flames nor the Depths Could Claim Me.": An In-Depth Gangplank Guide



Mon 9th Oct 2017 - 2:41pm

Gangplank is a very strong late game carry accompanied by a weak early game. In most matchups, Gangplank needs to play very safe to survive lane so he can outscale his opponents. That being said, let us continue with the guide.


  • Can solo carry games mid to late game
  • One of the best teamfighters in the game when played properly
  • The strongest scaling champion in the game
  • Unique playstyle with his Powder Keg combos
  • Snowballs hard with a lead early
  • Is a pirate


  • Extremely weak early game
  • Weak versus dives, must outplay to survive them
  • Needs a lot of gold to acquire his items and to be effective

Which lane do you play him in?

I prefer playing him in the top lane, since the match-ups are easier there, but you are much more prone to suffer from ganks. In mid lane he has harder match-ups but can escape ganks easier. Mid lane also offers the Raptor camp to steal using his Powder Kegs, to increase his gold/Silver Serpent income.


Passive: Trial by Fire

Gangplank's next basic attack burns the target, dealing true damage over 2.5 seconds and granting him bonus movement speed for 2 seconds. The damage is halved when used on turrets. It cannot be applied with Parrrley or Powder Keg, but destroying a Powder Keg resets the cooldown of Trial by Fire and grants him the movement speed.

This passive makes Gangplank a strong duelist and splitpusher. The movement speed is extremely useful for effectively trading in lane and escaping potential ganks. It also resets every time you destroy a Powder Keg, so use that to your advantage in fights.

Q: Parrrley

Gangplank shoots the target enemy with his pistol, dealing physical damage and applying on-hit effects. This ability can critically strike. If Parrrley kills its target, Gangplank plunders gold and Silver Serpents.

This ability combined with his Powder Kegs is what makes Gangplank as a champion. It is a point and click poke/damage ability that serves as a ranged auto attack. It's short cooldown makes it a great ability to use to poke and win trades in lane and significantly increase your gold income because of the Bandit mastery. It can also activate his Powder Kegs from a distance.

W: Remove Scurvy

Gangplank consumes a large quantity of citrus fruit, removing all crowd control affecting him and healing him based on his missing health.

The less health you have the more this ability heals you. It is useful to escape ganks where the enemy jungler/laner uses crowd control and can be used as sustain in lane.

E: Powder Keg

Gangplank places a Powder Keg that can be attacked by Gangplank or his enemies at a location for 60 seconds. If Gangplank destroys a keg, it explodes dealing his attack damage as physical damage (ignoring 40% Armor) to enemies and slowing them for 2 seconds. Champions take bonus damage from the explosion. When a keg explodes, other kegs with overlapping blast zones chain explode. Enemies can only be damaged by one keg. Kegs' health decays every 2 seconds (Decay rate increases at level 7 and 13). Keg explosions apply Parrley's plunder effect.

Paired with Parrrley, this is your bread and butter. It allows you to utilize the gold and Silver Serpent making part of your Q on every minion the Kegs kill if you detonate it with your Parrley. Late game, it deals huge amounts of area of effect damage. What separates average Gangplanks from the best is their ability to consistently land Powder Keg combos on the backline of the enemy team. Fancy combos do not matter if you do not land the barrels.


R: Cannon Barrage

Gangplank signals his ship to fire upon the target area for 8 seconds, calling down 12 waves of cannon balls every 2 seconds, revealing the area. Each wave deals magic damage to enemies hit and slows them.

Cannon Barrage is a global ability which deals huge amounts of magic damage over time in a limited area. Use it to secure kills/assists around the map, to help you and your teammates escape ganks or unfavorable situations, or to secure objectives. Gangplank can purchase three upgrades for this ability in the shop, for 500 Silver Serpents each, which significantly increase the power of this ability:

1. Death's Daughter: An initial cannonball lands in the center of the ultimate area, dealing true damage and additionally slowing all enemies hit for 1.5 seconds. This can be used as a mini nuke, since the initial cannonball deals true damage and slows more than the normal cannonballs. If you are comfortable with hitting the initial cannonball, then take this first. Otherwise, take Fire at Will and take this second.

2. Fire at Will: Cannon Barrage fires additional 6 waves of cannonballs over its duration. It increases the number of waves during your ultimate. That means that the damage and slow is increased because of the increased frequency of the waves. You usually take this second, but you can take it first if you are not confident with landing the Death's Daughter cannonball.

3.Raise Morale: The Barrage grants allies bonus movement speed while they are inside the area, persisting for 2 seconds after leaving it. You take this last in any situation. There is no game where you would prefer this one over the other two upgrades.

Skill Order:

Gangplank's skill order is nearly always the same, the only variable is taking W level 2 if you are playing versus someone who can poke you down or even kill you level 2. You max Q for poke and increased gold/Silver Serpent gain, followed by E, which decreases the recharge time on his Powder Kegs and finally followed by your W. You should upgrade your ultimate every time you can. In order, you max R > Q > E > W.

Summoner Spells:

Flash: Flash is the go-to summoner spell for most champions and Gangplank is no exception to that. The ability to transport yourself a small distance is extremely valuable in dodging skills, escaping over walls, and more. Do not underestimate the importance of this summoner spell.

Teleport: Teleport is usually taken top lane but can be taken mid lane as well. It is my summoner spell of choice, as it can allow you to farm more if you are behind or pressure the lane if you are ahead or even. You can also use it to teleport in to a teamfight if you were farming/splitpushing.

Exhaust: I usually take exhaust mid lane when I am playing versus a heavy burst champion (Syndra, Zed or even Yasuo). It can be taken top lane versus Riven or Yasuo as well.

Runes and Masteries:

Full Attack Damage Marks, and 2 Attack Damage Quints, Full Health per Level Seals, Full Flat Cooldown Reduction Glyphs and a Flat Cooldown Reduction Quint.

The flat Attack Damage in the Marks/Quints allows for easier bullying/farming minions in lane, the Health per level seals allow you to be bulkier come late game, and the Cooldown Reduction runes allow you to farm more often with Parrley and they allow you to be more flexible with your build as you reach the cooldown reduction cap with Trinity Force and either a Youmuu's Ghostblade or Lucidity boots.


Universally the best page to use on Gangplank. You scale extremely well with cooldown reduction, you can proc Bandit with your Q and you can proc Thunderlord's with your ultimate alone.

Starting Items:

Now the most common options are:

Doran's Ring and two potions.
Safest start possible on Gangplank, because the health and mana-on-kill passive helps with extra sustain in lane. The only con to this start is that you delay Sheen and Trinity force with it. You take this when playing mid lane.

Sapphire Crystal + Refillable Potion
The extra early mana from the Crystal allows extra poke in lane. It also allows you to get Sheen earlier, for an easier lane. I usually start this when playing top lane, because most top lane champions that are currently played can't poke you back very well.

Back Timing:

If you started Sapphire Crystal, then you should back at 1150 gold, which allows you to get Sheen and Cull.

If you started Doran's Ring, then you need to back at 1500 gold for Sheen and Cull or at 1050 for Sheen only.

Sheen and Cull is the only powerspike that you get until Trinity Force. It allows you to farm and poke more efficiently.

Core items:

Trinity Force is Gangplanks best item. He makes use of every stat or passive ability this item give, so this will always be your first major item, no exceptions. You should always take Sheen first, then it depends on the match-up. Generally you take Stinger in easy matchups that allow you to farm with Q or versus ranged champions and Phage in melee match-ups that you can bully and you need to run away from.

Everything Youmuu's Ghostblade offers, Gangplank loves. The extra cooldown reduction will cap you out if you are using the correct runes. You build this after Trinity Force or not at all if you bought Lucidity boots as it caps you out.

Infinity Edge amplifies his damage immensely, since your Q and E can crit. You usually buy this item after Ghostblade, or second if you bought Lucidity boots and not building Ghostblade.

Phantom Dancer or Statikk Shiv are built after Infinity Edge in 99% of your games. The only instance where you do not build them is if they have 3 tanks on the opposing team, in which case you build a Last Whisper upgrade instead. Statikk Shiv is better for burst, as you can apply the lightning with your Q. Take Phantom Dancer if you play to split push or duel a lot. You usually sell boots when you have full items and buy the one which you didn't buy before.

Last Whisper is usually built last, but you can build it before your Zeal item if you do too little damage to tanks. You can buy Executioner's Calling if you are playing against a Swain, Dr. Mundo, Vladimir or Soraka and upgrade it whenever you see fit. But in most games, you can't go wrong with building Lord Dominik's Regards.


Usually you need to choose between Ninja Tabi and Mercury’s Treads, depending on the enemy team set up. Lucidity boots are fine as well, but they over cap you with cooldown reduction. You should build them only if you didn't build Youmuus.


Laning phase:

Playing the laning phase as Gangplank can be difficult. Your only objectives are to farm as much as possible and not to die. You can start poking with your Q after you buy Sheen, and you begin matching most of your match-ups in damage after buying Trinity Force. Do not forget to ward as Gangplank is an easy target to dive. You should not roam, unless you are sure that you can get a kill and not die in the process. You are the strongest after level 13, when your barrels' health decays the quickest.


You are one of the strongest, if not the strongest, teamfighting champions in the game. Your Kegs and ultimate offer huge damage in teamfights, which makes you one of the best solo carry champions in the late game. You should stay safe and try to do as much damage as possible to the enemy carries.

Conclusion and Afterthoughts:

Gangplank can be picked into nearly every team composition in solo queue and he has a unique gameplay pattern and style which makes him one of the most interesting and hard to play champions in the game. He can solo carry most games if played properly, which requires some practice. But that practice won't seem be boring if you enjoy playing the Reaver King of Bilgewater. Now go plunder some for some LP!

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