How TFT Set 9.5 Bilgewater trait works in Runeterra Reforged: Horizonbound

Gather together the most unlikely pirates to take out enemy boards.

Image of Gangplank holding a citrus on the Dreadway TFT Set 9.5
Image via Riot Games

Pirates are returning to Teamfight Tacftcs through the Bilgewater trait in Set 9.5 Runeterra Reforged: Horizonbound, featuring a legendary Gangplank and six other unlikely champion pairings.

The Bilgewater region is getting a chance to shine in TFT Set 9.5 and it isn’t an economy trait. Packed with pirates like Twisted Fate, Graves, and Miss Fortune, the trait deals AoE damage to enemy teams through cannons, which synergizes with additional AoE damage from Gangplank and the Dreadway. 

All TFT Set 9.5 Bilgewater champions

Featuring seven pirates with various agendas, players can turn the unruly gang into a vertical comp. Gangplank is the legendary of the crew, piloting the Dreadway. True to Ganplank’s nature, the Dreadway explodes causing AoE damage but not before citrus tossed overboard grants attack speed and cleanses allies of negative effects. 

Here are the seven Bilgewater TFT Set 9.5 champions, along with their other traits. 

  • Illaoi: One-cost unit that also has the Bastion trait
  • Graves: One-cost unit with additional traits Gunner and Rogue
  • Twisted Fate: Two-cost unit with the Multicaster trait as well
  • Nautilus: Two-cost unit that also has the Juggernaut trait
  • Miss Fortune: Three-cost unit that also has the Strategist trait
  • Nilah: Four-cost unit with the Vanquisher trait as well
  • Gangplank: Five-cost legendary unit with a unique River King trait and the Gunner trait

Bilgewater trait breakpoints and gameplay tips

The breakpoints for the Bilgewater Set 9.5 trait are 3/5/7/9. Achieving nine isn’t easy, as it requires a player to get to Level Nine and craft two Bilgewater emblems—not including Heart, Soul, and Crown Augments. Champions Riot recommends that can benefit from a Bilgewater Emblem are either Aphelios or Xayah. Nilah was the main carry but her domination was likely stifled through the 13.18 B-patch,  Which nerfed her Cleave damage and reduced her attack speed.

Activating the Bilgewater trait marks enemies. Together the Bilgewater pirates shoot cannon shots directed at marked enemies, dealing physical damage that increases as damage is dealt. The more Bilgewater units on the board will increase the damage from cannon shots. 

  • Breakpoint of three: 100 plus 33 percent of the damage dealt
  • Breakpoint of five: 150 plus 55 percent of the damage dealt
  • Breakpoint of seven: 325 plus 70 percent of the damage dealt
  • Breakpoint of nine: 800 plus 135 percent of the damage dealt

The 13.18 B-patch hit the TFT Set 9.5 Bilgewater trait a bit too hard, according to game designer Stephen “Mortdog” Mortimer. Patch 13.19 buffed the Horizonbound trait, slightly increasing the base damage and the percent of damage dealt. Gangplank was also buffed through Patch 13.19, increasing the pirate’s attack speed, burn duration during melee attacks, and ranged mana on hit.

Gangplank is the TFT Set 9.5 champion that ties the vertical comp together as a five-cost legendary and is the main carrier. Players can opt to place the legendary in the frontline or backline depending on the comp build, with Riot recommending attack damage items when on the frontline and ability power items when placed on the backline.

Players may run seven Bilgewater units when attempting to go vertical, or push their luck and attempt to cap out at nine. A potential downside to the vertical build, however, is a lack of tanks on the frontline protecting champions like Nilah and Gangplank when they are on the backline. 

The verticle Bilgewater comp most often played caps at seven with Nilah and Miss Fortune as the two primary carriers. Nilah is typically positioned in the second row behind the frontline while Miss Fortune takes a backline corner. And Darius is a solid TFT Set 9.5 champion to put a Bilgewater Spatula on, beefing up the frontline to protect the carriers.

Players can test out Gangplank and the Bilgewater trait in TFT Set 9.5 through live and PBE servers.

Update Sept. 15, 6:30pm CT: Stats for the Bilgewater trait were updated following the TFT Set 9.5 13.18 B-patch.

Update Sept. 27 10:20am CT: Stats for Bilgewater were updated through Patch 13.19, along with buffs applied to Gangplank.

About the author
Danny Forster

Lead MTG and TFT scribe for Dot Esports. Danny is a gamer beach bum residing in Spacecoast Florida—who also enjoys anime, fishing, and Star Wars. You can typically catch Danny playing TCGs and a variety of strategic games. He also hangs out on Twitter @Dannyspacecoast.