Gangplank Overview Infographic
We put together a Gangplank overview infographic that has the best builds, runes, strengths, weaknesses, combos, skill orders, counters, synergies and anything else that you need to quickly learn the basics of Gangplank. Make sure to share with your friends and check back here to get the latest updates. We will be updating this infographic as changes happen so check back often!
Who is Solarbacca
Solarbacca, real name Emmanuel, is 17 years old and currently plays on the NA server with the summoner names Solarbacca, Gangplankqdmydad, lunarbacca, stezebomb, and not solarbacca. He has over 3000 games as Gangplank and over 3.2 million mastery points on the champion. He has peaked at 812 LP in Challenger with a Win Rate of 76%. He started playing in season 4 through a friend he met in Minecraft. He’d make Solarbacca play a few games vs beginner and intermediate bots, and then transfer to normal games. This lead to his love for a bunch of mechanically challenging champions. Later on in season 5 after the Gangplank rework he fell in love with the champion and has been maining him ever since.
Table of Contents
Why Play Gangplank
Before we start on the Ultimate Guide for Gangplank we first want to tell you why you should play him. His overall strengths and weaknesses are as follows:
- Gangplank outranges most other bruisers in the top lane
- Powerful early trades
- Global ultimate
- Scales very well late game
- AoE Damage
- Very reliant on items
- Hard to master
- No dashes
- Lots of hard matchups
- Takes time to scale up
Vladimir is considered a counter because his Q has the same range as Gangplank's Q. Gangplank has a hard time trading with him in lane because Vladimir has no problem trading Q's blow for blow in lane and will most likely ousustain your mana bar. He is also just as strong in teamfights as you and can kill you 1v1 with a few items. You have to play lane differently than you normally would to beat Vladimir. Do this by going for extended trades against where you use your passive to keep auto-attacking him. To get into a scenario where you have closed the gap between you and Vladimir. Look for trades where you can open up by hitting him with a barrel, slowing him and giving you movespeed in the process to chase him down with autoattacks. Vladimir does not win extended trades vs Gangplank as long as he doesn't have enough damage to burst you down. It is crucial that you try to outtrade Vladimir early and build an executioner's calling.
Riven is considered a counter because of her ability to gap close and get on top of you with her abilities. Her combos can burst you down very quickly while she survives your constant Q harass by using her E shield to block the damage. Look to harass her early game with your Q, as the cooldown on your Q is much shorter than the cooldown on her E, to gain an early advantage in lane. When she reaches level 3, focus on poking her with your barrels and be cautious not to get too close. Keep some barrels up in defensive positions to give you a chance to kite away from her should she try to go for a trade or all in you.
Lucian is considered a counter because he is a very mobile, ranged champion. He is an ADC that is very strong in the early game, which makes him great at punishing picks like Gangplank. Lucian's mobility makes it very hard to hit your Powder Kegs on him, and his doubleshot passive allows him to destroy your barrels by hitting them twice very quickly before you can. Outtrading Lucian's auto attacks are very difficult when you can only use your Q to counter. He also has the ability to kite you and deal more damage in the early game. Avoid facing him early on and focus on scaling and getting as much farm as you can. Clear waves with your barrels and deal with him later in the game.
These champions work well with Gangplank and should be considered being picked alongside him if possible. Here are some of the best synergies and how you can abuse them.
Sejuani synergizes with Gangplank because her crowd control and hard engage ultimate allow Gangplank to easily follow up and hit crowd controlled enemies with his powder kegs and ultimate. Sejuani also provides rounds out your teamcomp by being a frontline tank which Gangplank can’t provide to the team composition himself. Having a tank on the same team as Gangplank is very useful as tanks make fights last long enough for him to get multiple powder kegs off on the enemy. If Sejuani decides to gank your lane, Gangplanks Q even counts as a melee attack and stacks up a Permafrost stun on the enemy. Working together will limit the enemy team's opportunity to dive your backline.
Zac synergizes with Gangplank because, like Sejuani, his crowd control and engage makes great setup for Gangplank. With his E, Elastic Slingshot, he can surprise enemies with very long range engages and lock them up giving GP the opportunity to line up his barrels to the target and burst them. His ultimate can also hold enemies down to a position where you cast your own ultimate for massive damage.
Nautilus, and other hard engage supports like Leona, synergize with Gangplank because they can easily force fights around bot lane. This is great for Gangplank because he can use his ultimate to follow up on their engage, even from the other side of the map. This can secure assists and even kills for Gangplank and his team, and can turn around fights that your team otherwise would've lost. Gangplank still has to be careful when playing out the laning phase in case of a gank by the enemy jungler, but the utility he provides the rest of the map is very beneficial for the rest of your team. These hard engage supports also help him by setting up his abilities in teamfights, just like Sejuani and Zac.
Gangplank Summoner Spells
Gangplank’s recommended Summoner Spells are Teleport and Flash like most top laners. This is because top lane is a very isolated lane and you often need TP to get back to lane or to assist your team. Flash is invaluable on almost every champion to make plays and escapes.
If you want to deal more damage to enemy champions with high health regeneration or have more kill pressure in lane, you can consider using Ignite and Flash. This can greatly transition around the map as their top lane will not be able to give pressure anymore, however this setup is much more punishing for you if you make a mistake and get forced out of lane, as you won’t have TP to get back quickly.
Gangplank Runes and Keystones
Gangplank’s recommended runes are Resolve primary with Grasp of the Undying, Demolish, Bone plating, and Revitalize with Biscuit Delivery and Time Warp Tonic as secondary in the Inspiration tree. This rune build provides Gangplank the necessary sustain for his HP and mana in lane. This sustain ultimately aids him in getting to his core items faster and shredding enemies and turrets. Grasp of the Undying makes his Q poke in lane much more potent, as his Q procs on hit effects and the Grasp proc is even stronger since it still counts as a melee hit even though his Q is a ranged ability.
If you are dealing with tanks and some bruisers that you can beat in extended fights, you can consider using this rune setup instead. With Conqueror, Triumph, Bloodline and Last Stand on the Precision tree and Taste of Blood and Ravenous Hunter as your secondary runes, this build can also sustain you while doing more damage in extended fights where you can get Conquerer stacked up. Taste of Blood works great with how Gangplank can Q lane opponents almost any time he wants for easy procs of the rune, and Ravenous Hunter gives him a bit more sustainability for his HP bar.
Both Rune Builds use +9 Adaptive Force on Offense and Flex, and +6 Armor on Defense for your stat runes.
Gangplank’s recommended items change depending on the situation, however, the following items will give you a good idea of what to build in different situations.
- Start with Corrupting Potion as Gangplank needs more mana to continually harass with his Q in lane. The sustain from Corrupting Potion is invaluable to help you stay in lane longer, control the lane, and secure a solid first recall. Make sure you use your Corrupting Potion whenever you’re trading with your enemy to do a bit of bonus burn damage to them.
- Trinity Force is core on Gangplank because he loves every stat that this item gives. The sheen passive is fantastic to increase the damage of his Q and barrels, and complements his trading patterns. Because of this, Sheen should be the first component of Trinity Force you purchase.
- Essence Reaver is core on Gangplank because the item gives you 20% CDR, critical chance and AD. Essence Reaver and Trinity Force allows Gangplank to reach 40% CDR with just his first two items. This item also helps to sustain your mana, which is very important for GP as he casts tons of spells. His Q and barrels can also critically strike for massive damage, and the crit chance adds up with the other crit items that you will be building later.
- Infinity Edge is core on Gangplank to give him more critical chance and increase the damage of his critical strikes. More crit damage is essential for GP when building for crit, because in addition to his auto attacks, his Q and E can also crit.
- Note: Gangplank’s Cannon Barrage upgrades are covered in a seperate section further down in this guide.
- Buy Mercury’s Treads for the tenacity when the enemy team has a lot of crowd control or for the magic resistance when the enemy team is heavy on magic damage.
- Use Ninja Tabi when playing against heavy AD champions that rely on autoattacks, like marksmen or melee carries such as Fiora or Tryndamere.
Offensive Situational Items
- If you want to have higher healing on your W while burning enemies with your abilities, you can build Liandry’s Torment. The AP on this item increases the healing on your W and the damage of your R. Because Gangplank opens most teamfights with his R, he gets plenty of time to stack up the 10% bonus damage on this item. The burn damage on Liandry’s also does more damage to movement-impaired enemies, which works great with the slows from his R and E.
- If you are vulnerable to being bursted down by your enemies, you can build Sterak’s Gage. The stats benefit Gangplank, but the main purpose of this item is the health and passive. The passive, Lifeline, grants you a shield equal to 75% of your bonus HP when you take a lot of damage at once, which can save you from burst damage. On activation, it also increases your size and gives you 30% tenacity for 8 seconds. Consider buying Sterak’s Gage when the rest of your build has other HP increasing items, which will make the shield bigger.
- A more offensive alternative to Sterak’s Gage is Phantom Dancer. This item gives more offensive stats with its crit chance and attack speed than Sterak’s Gage does, while filling a similar role to it. The attack speed is particularly useful to keep fighting when your abilities are down. Phantom Dancer has has a similar passive to Sterak’s Gage, giving you a shield when you drop below 30% HP. This shield is usually smaller than the shield that Sterak’s Gage gives and only scales off of levels, but can still save you in a pinch. Note: do not buy Sterak’s Gage and Phantom Dancer at the same time, because the cooldown on the Lifeline passive is shared between the two items, meaning that only one can go off.
- Lord Dominik’s Regard and even Morellonomicon can be very useful items to pick up if you need the grevious wounds passive agaisnt enemy teams with a lot of healing.
Defensive Situational Items
- If you to protect yourself against heavy AD compositions, you can build Randuin’s Omen. This item gives you a lot of armor and health to deal with AD champions better. On top of the armor, it has a unique passive which reduces the damage of critical strikes against you. It has an active effect as well, which unleashes a wave around you that slows the movespeed of nearby enemies. This can be used offensively to chase down enemies and secure kills, or defensively to help you and your team run away from bad fights.
- If magic damage mages are the biggest threat to you in game, you can build Spirit Visage. This item offers more health, magic resist and health regeneration to GP. It also increases the effectiveness of all healing on you by 30%, which works with your W. While the 10% cooldown reduction might go to waste if you already have Triforce and Essence Reaver for the maximum of 40% cooldown reduction, the other benefits of Spirit Visage still make this item worth building.
Full Build Example
An example full build can consist of
- Trinity Force
- Mercury Treads
- Essence Reaver
- Infinity Edge
- Phantom Dancer
- Liandry’s Torment
Passive - Trial by Fire
When active, Gangplank’s next basic attack deals true damage over time to the target and gives him a small amount of movement speed. Trial By Fire is an effective tool to burn enemies as well as escape them and chase them down when needed. Whenever you destroy a powder keg, your passive is immediately refreshed. Abuse this to get your passive off as many times as possible in a fight.
Q - Parrrley
On activation, Gangplank fires his pistol at the target, doing physical damage and applying all on-hit effects. This includes Spellblade from Sheen and Trinity Force, as well as Grasp of the Undying. Gangplank abuses this ability the most in lane to constantly harass his lane opponent and stack up Grasp of the Undying. When forced to play defensively in lane, this ability can also be used to last hit minions. His Q can also be used to blow up his powder kegs from range and amplify the damage done by them with his sheen procs. Every enemy; including monsters, minions, and champions last hit by his Q, grant Gangplank a small amount of bonus gold and Silver Serpents. This also applies to enemies killed by powder kegs that Gangplank explodes with his Q. Silver Serpents are a unique currency that only Gangplank can earn, which he spends on upgrades for his ultimate.
W - Remove Scurvy
On activation, Remove Scurvy heals Gangplank for an increasing amount based on his missing health, and removes all crowd control affecting him. Remove Scurvy is a very powerful skill to master and can help you to get out of sticky situations when mastered. This ability costs a lot of mana, so avoid using it just to sustain your HP whenever possible. It also has a long cooldown that many opponents can take advantage of to kill you. Learn to dodge skills that are easy to avoid so that you can have your W up to cleanse abilities that aren’t so easy to dodge.
E - Powder Keg
This ability is the most important skill in Gangplank’s kit. Mastery over the positioning, timing, and decision making around powder kegs makes the difference between good and great Gangplank players. On activation, Gangplank places down a powder keg at the target location. These barrels start out with three health which gradually ticks down to one HP. The barrels’ rate of HP decay gets faster at level 7 and even faster at level 13. You can Q or autoattack barrels to reduce their HP, however, enemies can also attack barrels to reduce their HP or destroy them. When you hit a barrel on one HP it explodes, dealing damage in an area around it which is amplified by on hit effects like Spellblade and can critically strike. Kegs with overlapping zones will connect, creating a chain that will blow up every keg in the chain if you activate one of them. In the early levels, focus on putting kegs in defensive positions to zone enemies and dissuade them from trading with you. Memorize how fast the barrels tick down so you can time it better than the enemy to get the last hit and explode them. When you reach the mid game, powder kegs will be your main source of damage, allowing you to do massive AoE damage and crits. Spend some time in Practice Tool getting the timing of the barrels down to master Gangplank.
R - Cannon Barrage
On activation, Gangplank calls on a barrage of cannon fire on the targeted area, damaging and slowing the enemies in the area. The true strength of this ability lies in it’s global range. allowing you to fire it off anywhere on the map. Pay attention to the map and your team to assist your team in plays on the other side of the map. One good Cannon Barrage can change the tide of a fight and the game, even if you’re on the other side of the map. This ability can be upgraded throughout the game by spending Silver Serpents on three different unique upgrades that only Gangplank can purchase.
Managing Silver Serpents And Ultimate Upgrades
Throughout the game, always keep in mind that you need to earn Silver Serpents to purchase upgrades for your ultimate. Any time Gangplank last hits a target with his Q, including any targets killed by kegs that he explodes with his Q, he earns Silver Serpents for every target killed. This unique currency is spent on upgrades for Gangplanks ultimate. A good rule of thumb to use when farming Silver Serpents on minions is to only use your keg + Q combo when you can last hit three or more minions with a single keg. Otherwise it’s not worth it. Aim to have your first upgrade purchased by the 13-18 minute mark. Fire at Will increases the rate at which the cannons fire from your ultimate and should be the first upgrade that you purchase as it gives the most consistent increase in damage. Get Raise Morale second, which gives your team a large movement speed buff while inside the range of the ultimate. This is very helpful to engage and disengage fights with your team. Death’s Daughter makes Cannon Barrage fire a large, powerful cannon in the center of your ultimate after a short delay, doing a large amount of true damage. Because of the inconsistency of this upgrade with how hard it is to actually hit the damage, get this upgrade last.
Ability Skill Order
The skill order for Gangplank is R > Q > E > W. However, you can put a few extra points into W early if you’re getting beat in lane and need the extra healing to sustain a bit more. Q is your main source of damage early in the game and putting points into it increases the damage and makes your poke and trading more potent. Your E, Powder Keg, is your next priority skill to max after Q. This will help you wave clear better and earn more Silver Serpents along the way. W, Remove Scurvy, should be maxed last. Levelling this ability isn’t a priority as you should only need to use it to save yourself when necessary. Level up your ultimate whenever possible on levels 6, 11, and 16.
A powerspike is a time when a champion reaches a level or builds an item that makes them a lot stronger than other champions in the game at that time. Gangplank powerspikes when he reaches level 3 and has unlocked all of his abilities to take control of lane. He also spikes upon completing his Trinity Force, especially if he is able to complete it early. Gangplank spikes again when he finishes his three core items and starts moving towards the late game. He also becomes much more powerful at level thirteen because the tick rate on his barrels becomes very fast, allowing him to get barrel combos off on enemies rapidly.
E + Q
This combo is used to clear the wave in your lane at the early game phase. This is also your basic combo for 1 barrel in fights which can be used in almost every situation.
E + AA
This combo is another version of E + Q, but uses your auto attack to explode the keg instead of Q. Your auto attack animation is much faster than your Q, which can prevent your enemy from destroying the barrel before you can blow it up.
E + Q + AA
This combo is used when being chased by an enemy and you want the instant movement speed of the barrel while slowing the enemy chasing you.
E + AA + E + Q(Farming Combo)
This combo is a great way to clear the waves when you have 2 or more barrels available. Position your barrel in the middle of a wave to hit every minion in the wave at the same time. Then, explode this barrel with an autoattack to soften up the minions. Immediately place down another barrel and explode this one with your Q to last hit every minion, earning extra gold and Silver Serpents because you last hit them with your Q. You may have to use some autoattacks on the minions before you can finish them off with the second barrel depending on your items and the stage of the game.
E + Q + E(Phantom Barrel Combo)
This combo is a faster variation of a normal E + E + Q combo. You can put down your second barrel while your Q is travelling midair towards the first barrel to surprise your enemies with an unexpected fast barrel. This combo takes some practice to get down, so go ahead and give it some time in practice tool.
E + E + AA
This combo is used when you are sitting in a bush or in lane and you want to blast a barrel on the enemy out of nowhere. Place your first barrel in a bush and when it is ready, cast another one in front of the enemy and auto attack the first. Keep in mind that enemies cannot see your barrels in brushes if they don’t have vision of them, which lets you set up a nice surprise for them.
E(Bush) + E + Q
This combo is the same as the E + E + AA combo but you use your Q to blast the barrels instead of your auto attack.
E + E + AA + Q
This combo is similar to the one above. Use an auto attack while your barrel has two or more HP to quickly reduce it down to one HP, then use your Q to last hit the barrel for more damage. This combo is important to use when you are below level 13, before the tick rate on your barrels gets faster.
E + AA(Enemy) + Q(Barrel) + AA(Enemy)
This combo is used to maximize the damage from your passive, Trial by Fire. Place down a barrel and auto attack the enemy to apply your passive burn to them, then use Q on the barrel to explode it and get your passive back up, then auto attack the enemy again to apply your passive a second time.
E + E + Q + E(Triple Barrel Combo)
This combo is the most basic 3 barrel combo you use to hit far away targets. You place one barrel behind you, one in front of you, blast the first barrel with your Q, then cast another one farther than the second one. This gives a wide range of AoE damage to your opponents that can hit enemies from very far away.
E + E + AA + E
This combo is similar to the combo above but a little bit difficult as the animation of the auto attack is faster than Q, so you have to be faster with inputting the third keg.
E + E + Q + Flash + E(Triple Flash Barrel Combo)
This combo is almost the same as the basic Triple Barrel Combo, but your flash often allows you to get a bit more range on the third keg and puts you closer to the enemy to chase them down with auto attacks.
E + E + AA + Flash + E
This combo is the same as the combo above but is faster due to your auto attack animation being faster than Q.
E + Q + E + Flash + AA + R + AA
This combo maximizes everything in your kit. This combo opens up with a standard Phantom Barrel combo then adds more onto it to transition it into an all-in. Flash onto the target you hit with your barrel to get auto attacks off on them while casting your ult to do more damage.
E + R + E + AA + E + Flash + Q(Last Barrel) + AA
This combo is used when you are unseen, whether in brush or out of vision. Place a barrel down, then use your ultimate on the enemy close to you, cast your second barrel on them to chain with your first barrel, and then auto attack the first barrel to set them off. You then throw down another barrel on top of the enemy, flash in, Q the final barrel you just put down, and finish off with another auto attack. This is a difficult combo but if used properly, can deal tremendous damage.
How to Play Gangplank
When playing the early game with Gangplank, determine if you are going to be aggressive with your opponent in the lane early or not. Use your strong level one and keep harassing your target with Q and passive auto attacks when possible. When you reach level 3, you can use a few of your combos to trade more. When you go back to get your first buy, do not buy sheen on your first recall. Pick up a Doran’s Blade and a Long Sword. This allows you to auto attack the caster minions twice and one shot them with your E + Q combo afterwards. These items also allow you to have better dueling potential as it gives more damage and sustainability early on. Focus on both harassing and earning more Silver Serpents to quickly earn yourself a lead.
During the mid game phase, you can buy phage and sheen to help you get stronger in lane. Even though Gangplank is a scaling champion, he is also a strong laner in the top lane. Focus on getting to your core items to powerspike as fast as possible. You become a monster at level 13 when you can get barrel combos off rapidly and have your Q and E maxed. Try to look for opportunities to get off a big triple barrel combo in teamfights. But be aware that this comes with a risk. If you miss this combo, you’ll have to wait a long time for your cooldowns to be back up before you can be effective again. Stick to double barrel combos if you want a safer play and an easier way to land your abilities. Focus on doing lots of damage for your team.
- Split Pushing – Gangplank split pushes very well thanks to his waveclear and passive working on towers, as well as the fact that he can assist his team with his ultimate without even being there. Try to split push when possible especially before level 13 as you are not your most powerful yet, and being in a lane by yourself means you will earn more experience and gold to reach your powerspikes faster. Earn as many Silver Serpents as you can to get upgrades for your ultimate. Always remember that when your Teleport is up, you should try to assist your team as it one of your jobs as a top laner. Have presence on the map by pressuring side lanes to force the enemy to react to you. You can still split push even after level 13 as you have better items around this time. Watch for the positions of your opponents and place vision with your team to help you make the right decisions.
- Objective Control – When it comes to fighting around neutral objectives you can do two things. If you’re confident in your team’s abilities to win a teamfight or 4v4, and you can beat the enemy in a sidelane, you can split push and rely on your ultimate to help your team in fights, as well as use your teleport to join your team in fights when necessary. Your second option is to go to objectives with your team and prepare barrels in the area around the objective to hit enemies that try to face check.
Late game Gangplank is all about execution and is what you play this champion for. He is a late game monster because his damage scales tremendously with items. You can delete squishy champions and get enemies critically low, removing them from a fight. Around this time you have obtained all three upgrades for your ultimate. Your ult and barrels allow you to do massive AoE damage in teamfights. Position hidden barrels and set up traps around objectives with your team to burst your enemies. If you master his combos, you can delete targets. Always mind your own positioning to make sure that you stay safe. Combine your combos with your team’s crowd control so you can easily hit them. As you open up the enemy base, look to split push whenever possible away from the main neutral objective up while your team positions around the objective, like Baron or Elder dragon, as long as you can beat your opponent in the side lane 1v1. If you’re able to pressure the side lane while your team pressures an objective, this will force the enemy team into making a decision and they will likely make a mistake like picking a bad fight at the objective where you and your team can wipe them or sending multiple people to deal with your split push so that your team can take the neutral objective for free.
Gangplank Tips and Tricks
- Play aggressive with GP, even though he scales he is still strong in lane!
- Auto-attacking a barrel is more reliable than using Q on it.
- Blow up your barrels to refresh your passive in fights.
- Be aware of whats going on around the map and look for opportunities where your team is fighting that you can use your ultimate on the turn the fight around. Try communicating with your team too by pinging your ultimate to let them know that you are ready to follow up.
- Your W can remove the blinding effect from Nocturne ult, which is especially useful if you’re trying to watch a fight from far away to use your ultimate or TP.
These below videos are great game play examples for how to play Gangplank.
Frequent Mistakers/Noob Traps
These are things most Gangplank players do that shouldn’t be done at a high level ELO.
Trap #1 – Building Sheen first. Building Sheen first is a noob trap because although sheen is good, it does not give you any sort of sustain fight or short trade potential so if you are all inned by a Darius or Irelia, you may end up dying. Many people neglect building resistances early or a dorans blade and long sword instead because they are accustomed to sheen being the ultimate powerspike.
Similar Champions to Gangplank
Listed below are some champions you can use to replace Gangplank as a DPS in the team when he isn’t available. This list will give you a variety to choose from, safeguarding your LP from going down and keeping your games awesome.
Potential to 1v5, Has built-in sustain and he's an Amazing teamfighter. Aatrox is a great at harassing his enemies in the top lane and being a menace in teamfights similar to GP. You can use him to set up fights and destroy the enemy team.
Strong 1v1, Strong in lane and scales extremely well, and has a Very high damage. Fiora is great at fighting 1v1 in the top lane. Her cunning abilities can shred the enemy's HP through vital points. Choose her if you want to keep targeting a champion and reduce their purpose in the team. She is also a great split pusher where she can take advantage of her strong 1v1 potential and can shred through towers incredibly quickly.
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