Climbing Elo: Gangplank

Now that season six has finally ended, a new chapter has begun for League of Legends. With this new chapter dawns the next few parts of my Climbing Elo series.

An updated deck guide to the Shaman class - buffed and powered up with the newly released Shaman BRM Cards!

Now that season six has finally ended, a new chapter has begun for League of Legends. With this new chapter dawns the next few parts of my Climbing Elo series. As season six was coming to a close, I found myself entranced in Gangplank’s sweet powdered barrels, so why would I not do a guide over him?


With this series, I will be telling you ways that I enjoy playing these champions. I am not implying that these methods are the best, nor am I saying that these champions are meant to be played the way I play them. Simply put, these are fun builds to use in ranked that are effective and don’t force you to be a meta slave to win.

My History With Gangplank

I have played Gangplank since his original release and have enjoyed him thoroughly. Although his kit didn’t change much when they reworked him, I found myself wandering away from the champion and using him less and less. Something about his new kit seemed really off to me. I decided to finally give him a try in the last month of season six and I’ve never had more fun in LoL.

On top of his really interesting and interactive play style, Gangplank offers an array of hilarious emote spams, witty dialogue and banterous slander to throw at your enemies. In the past month, Gangplank has become my third highest mastery point champion on my main account, which doesn’t include the games I played on alternate accounts. If everything was combined, he very well may be my highest mastery champion, and for good reason.


Gangplank is a tricky melee fighter/assassin with the ability to one-shot multiple people in the right scenario. He is very hard to get used to, but once you get the hang of him, you will be a devastating force.

Passive: Trial by Fire – Every 15 seconds, Gangplank’s next auto attack on an enemy will burn them, dealing true damage that scales with level and AD. On top of the burn, Gangplank gains 30 percent movement speed. Gangplank can refresh the cooldown of Trial by Fire instantly by destroying one of his barrels created by his E. This ability allows Gangplank to trade very effectively in the early game, while giving him a strong auto attack buff in the late game.

Q: Parrrley – Gangplank shoots his pistol at whoever you click on, dealing physical damage. If Parrrley lands the last hit on a minion or champion, Gangplank gains up to six bonus gold and up to eight Silver Serpents. Once you have 500 Silver Serpents, you can trade them in at the shop to upgrade your ultimate. Parrrley also applies on-hit effects, including Sheen, Blade of the Ruined Kings and more, meaning you can buff its damage very nicely. In my build, I take Triforce, which makes Parrrley pack a punch when trading or clearing minions.

W: Remove Scurvy – Gangplank stuffs his face with oranges, removing all CC effects on him and healing him for a flat amount plus a percentage of his missing health. This ability scales very well with AP, which I take advantage of in the early game to ensure I can outlast and out-trade my opponents in skirmishes. Not to mention, this ability can save you in a pinch. If you’re about to get ulted, jumped on or baited by your team, this ability can often give you just enough health to save your life. It can be difficult to time, but with just a little practice, you can remove CC the second it hits you and make it look like you never stopped moving.

E: Powder Keg Gangplank stores up to three barrels with him that he can place at any time. Barrels have three health that ticks down to one over every 2/1/0.5 seconds at levels 1/7/13 respectively. If Gangplank attacks a barrel while it is at one health, the barrel will explode, dealing the damage Gangplank dealt to the barrel in an AoE on top of ignoring 40 percent of the enemy’s armor. The barrels also slow any enemy hit by up to 80 percent. Unfortunately, enemies can attack the barrel and destroy it before Gangplank has a chance to explode it, so you can’t just place them wherever. Gangplank can also place barrels next to each other and the explosion of one will trigger all of the others around it. You can’t make multiple barrels hit one person at the same time, so make sure to spread them out. Gangplank can explode a barrel with Parrrley, which not only makes the barrel do a lot more damage, but it also takes advantage of the bonus gold from your Q, meaning you can kill an entire minion wave with one Q as opposed to six. Exploding a barrel also refreshes your Trial by Fire cooldown and gives you the bonus movement speed associated with your passive.

R: Cannon Barrage – Gangplank calls upon his ship to fire a large barrage of cannonballs at a target location. The cannonballs come in waves that deal magic damage and slows enemies, totaling at three waves and a 30 percent slow. The ability has a global range at the cost of a hefty cooldown, so make sure you use it wisely. Without any upgrades, the ability is very lackluster, as the damage doesn’t scale with AD and the base damage is rather bad, but the upgrades really make the ability shine. The upgrades include: 

Death’s Daughter – In the first wave of the barrage, Gangplank adds a massive cannonball to the center that strikes once, dealing 300 percent damage in true damage in the center of the barrage. The massive cannonball also slows all enemies hit by 60 percent.

Fire at Will – The barrage fires two additional waves of cannonballs, effectively making the ability fire faster during its duration.

Raise Morale – All allies gain a 30 percent movement speed buff when standing inside the barrage that persists for two seconds after stepping outside.

The order in which you will obtain the upgrades will be Fire at Will, Death’s Daughter then Raise Morale. Fire at Will offers too much extra damage and utility to pass up. Death’s Daughter looks appealing, but since the ability has low base damage and only scales with AP, the extra damage isn’t very high. Raise Morale could be an effective first pick-up, but you often won’t even notice the increase in movement speed.


AD Gangplank Top


  • Ionian Boots of Lucidity
  • Triforce
  • Infinity Edge
  • Youmuu’s Ghostblade
  • Lord Dominik’s Regards
  • Phantom Dancer/Maw of Malmortius

Skill Order

  • Q
  • E
  • W

Champs to AVOID playing against

  • Irelia: Even though you can cleanse her stun, she just outright kills you in the 1v1 matchup.
  • Tryndamere does the same thing, but also doesn’t care if you try to kill him. You will get dove under tower as soon as his ult is up and it won’t be fun.
  • Pantheon because his passive negates your Q and your passive, removing all your possible trading options. 

Summoners and Keystone – Flash/Teleport/Exhaust & Thunderlord’s Decree

Since Gangplank is a pretty weak laner pre level seven, you will have a fairly hard time surviving in the early game. The only real way to make it out of the laning phase ahead is to outplay your opponent, which luckily, Gangplank is very efficient at. Since your barrels take very long to tick down in the early levels, you’re going to have to be tricky with your barrel placements.

Lane often won’t be going your way, so your first two items should be Sheen and Cull so you can sit under tower and farm towards your upgrades and items. As soon as Triforce and Infinity Edge have been acquired, you’re free to kill anyone that isn’t too tanky. Combining Cull and the passive from your Q generates insane gold, so you can often turn the tides of your lane and start winning fights. Post level seven, your barrels start to tick down fast enough for you to catch your opponent off guard. You can even place a barrel in a bush so you can connect another barrel to it at any time.

Once you hit level six, constantly be on the lookout for ult opportunities around the map. These opportunities include if an ally is chasing an enemy, you can use your ult to slow them down so your team can catch up. Since your ult hits multiple times in rapid succession, it will often proc thunderlords on its own, meaning you can use it to execute low health enemies who barely escape. You can also use it to cut enemy forces in half, giving your team a clear advantage.

After Triforce, you will be able to one hit the caster minions with a barrel and a Q. Doing this leaves the melee minions with just a little bit of health, so make sure you weaken the melee creeps before you pop the barrel so you can kill all six creeps at once. If you’re lucky enough for Infinity Edge to crit with your Q, you can do devastating damage given the 40 percent armor penetration, allowing you to one shot the wave regardless.

Gangplank takes advantage of the new Lethality mechanic really well since his W already gives him some armor pen, he is often ahead of the early curve in terms of penetration. Once he hits level 18, he will have insane amounts of armor pen, allowing him to 1v1 most tanks. 

As team fights start to break out, make sure you sit in the back and place barrels in the middle of the enemy team. In this scenario, one of three things will happen. They will either ignore your barrel, which allows you to Q it and do massive AoE damage, they will destroy your barrel and leave you with only your Q and auto attacks for damage, or they will ignore your barrel and jump onto you and murder you. You have to pick your fights very carefully as without your barrels, you deal significantly less damage.

Around the middle of the game, you can often sit in a bush with a barrel and one shot unsuspecting enemies if you can crit. One crit barrel plus your ult and a passive auto will often leave enemies burnt to ashes or limping away in pain. Even if you don’t manage to crit, your barrels 80 percent slow on top of your increased movement speed means you can chase down any target to finish them off. Since you will have 45 percent cooldown reduction, your Q will be up every couple of seconds, giving you great sustained damage.

Late game is played a little bit slower than mid game since most people will have enough damage to kill you. Given your only real form of long range damage is connecting barrels, you will have to be wary of long range poke like Caitlyn or Xerath. However, if they even remotely overstep their boundaries, don’t hesitate to place a barrel under them, ult and chase them down. If you took Phantom Dancer, 1v1’s will be no issue as you will crit a ton more and take 12 percent less damage. Maw of Malmortius is only useful if you find yourself dying to mages consistently. Maw lost a lot of value to Gangplank after they removed the armor pen from it.

Gangplank works extremely well with two types of team comps: those with a ton of CC so he can hit barrels for free, or those with a lot of peel so he is free to spam barrels at the enemy. Any other type of team comp leaves Gangplank in a weird position where he is often unable to contribute a lot if the player is inexperienced.


Overall, Gangplank is an incredibly fun top laner that doesn’t really care how well he does in lane because he evolves into a powerhouse in the late game. In the right hands, Gangplank can often carry a game by himself with clever barrel placement and on-point ultimates.

Did this guide help you understand Gangplank? Is Gangplank one of your favorite champions? Let us know by tweeting us at @GAMURScom or by commenting below.

Are their any other champions you would like to see a guide over during this pre-season? Let Josh know by tweeting him at @iEnglishBetter or emailing him at [email protected]

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