Gangplank - Captain of the Team - by Lemt

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EDIT: Changed the guide up a bit after testing reader suggestions, and extended some sections. Thanks for the help so far!

Arrr, mates, ye all be welcome to my ship!

What ye will find herein must be taken to heart, lads, for yer lifes hang from it. Follow me orders, or hell take me ye'll serve as example by walkin' the plank!
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First, let's make a point clear: I, and only I, am Captain of this troop of misfits. When I order ye to open fire on a position, you open fire! And shiver me timbers, every shot that doesn't hit true will see one of you in the gutter!
I have been joined to this, "League of Legends" thingamajig. That means I'll fight on land, curse it! But the loot will be worthy of my time, more gold than you rascals can ever hope to see! They just want me to Parrrley with some freshwater fish, and maelstrom take me, for what they'll pay I'd Parrley with the Devil!
So heed my words, be loyal like the seadogs I now yer to be, and we'll all be filthy rich by the time we sail the seas again!

Captain Gangplank, the Sal****er Scourge

Welcome to this guide! In here you'll find instructions to play Gangplanck. Here, you will not learn to be a hunter of champions. You will not learn to risk your neck in solo missions. You will learn it all!


You are to be a team player. Don't push recklessly against a tower. don't try to fight if you are not certain of your victory. Strike fast, and hit back when attacked, but only if that helps your survival. DO NOT SOLO. Not you. You want to be on a "secure" lane, one where you can count on help, on support. Fighting 1vs2 takes concentration. Concentration that, as you will soon see, will be needed elsewhere.


Too often, people don't look at the map. They don't know where everyone is, when Ganks are coming, when you should push, when to defend. THAT IS YOUR JOB. Hence, why you will have to, mostly, be the defender. You will listen to requests of support, but will not actively seek to provoke ganks. You will call them, sure, but you won't BE the ganker, the one who's likely to get the kill, gold and glory.
Why, you ask?
Because of your ultimate. Too many people use the ultimate to try to kill enemy players, but THAT'S A WASTE. Barrage has a very low chance of hitting somebody, anybody, and should be used tactically, not aggresively.
That is why your number one concern will be map awareness. Early game, it lets you learn how the enemy team acts, how they tend to prepare ganks, who the dangerous players are. Later on, it will help you to use one of the best ultimates in the game, Cannon Barrage, to it's full potential.


Spells and Masteries

As far as spells go, you really want Teleport, but other than that it's up to you Heal is highly recommended, but Flash is also a great choice if you have it. But use it for defense.
As for Masteries, I prefer going for Utility:
-1 on Spatial Accuracy: that half-second can be crucial in helping defend a turret, plus it measn shorter cooldown too.
-3 on Perseverence: Helps you survive a bit better, so pick this.
-4 on Awareness: maybe 5% doesn't seem like much, but it means you level up just a bit faster than your opponent, meaning you are that more likely to have an advantage and survive better.
-3 On Meditation: That's 60 mana per minute. THIS IS HUGE. An extra free Parrley or Remove Scurvy per minute is nothing to laugh at, and means you'll last longer.
-1 on Good Hands or Expanded Mind: Greed is awful. And everything else you can pick is useless with this build.
-1 on Blink of an Eye: Of course, only if you are going to use blink. Otherwise, get Good Hands, Expanded Mind or Quickness.
-3 to use as you please between Quickness, Good Hands and Expanded Mind.
-3 on Intelligence. 6% cooldown acceleration? Yes please!
-1 on Good Hands, Expanded Mind or Quickness.
-1 On Presence of The Master: The whole reason you went for Utility. 15% faster Summoner spells is a must, IMHO.

That's 21 points. You have 9 more to spend on whatever you like, but the above are what you should start with. I strongly suggest going for Offensive now, meaning Deadliness, Sorcery, Cripple if you use Exhaust (Archmage's Savvy otherwise), then either Archaic Knowledge or Mender's Faith.

Pre-Match Chat
First, before the game starts, while you are at the Champion selection screen, talk to your team. Who is new? Who knows their character well? Is your team balanced? But there are a few VERY important things you must say.

-CALL A LANE, ASK FOR SUPPORT: You don't want to solo, as I said, so make sure you are going with a Champ that can help keep you alive.
-GIVE THEM A CODE: Your team should know when you have Barrage ready. I use "arr" as the keyword. It's fast to write, and easy to identify with a pirate, so people should remember it without any problems. More on this later.
-TELL THEM YOU'LL WATCH THE MAP: And DO IT. If engaged when you have to say something, disengage. Call a quick back ("b") so your teammate won't be caught unawares, and look at the map. If you see anything worth telling, do it. Use pings a lot too, just make sure they know what it means.

Starting Items and Abilities

You can go with health regeneration or mana regeneration as your starting item.
-Health regeneration is more straightforward and cheaper, go for Spirit Visage. If you go down this route you should get a single level of Remove Scurvy, just to remove debuffs. Buy a Rejuvenation Bead, and some Health/Mana Potions.
-Mana regeneration will be almost twice as expensive, but works out much better late game. You want to build towards Soul Shroud, buffing any nearby teammates with Manaregen and better cooldowns. It's the one I prefer in this build, but go with whatever you like best. You'll want to level up Remove Scurvy more at the expense of Raise Morale. Buy Mana Manipulator.

As for abilities, get Parrrley if you decided to start with the Bead, Remove Scurvy if you got the Manipulator. You want to get Parrley up fast for the extra gold, so make sure you don't waste the shots. Remember to save up Remove Scurvy to remove debuffs if you don't really need the healing.

Leveling Up

You abilities should usually be chosen in this order:
-Cannon Barrage: always choose this one first.
-Parrley and Remove Scurvy: level up as needed, but special emphasis on Parrley. It will allow you to get better items faster.
-Raise Morale: Less important, but don't ignore it. It's a free passive buff, and lets you deny last hits on your minions (I dare say this is the only way to do so). The big Cannon Minions give extra gold, so deny those if at all possible (but at the last possible moment!). Also, this is specially useful against Close Combat enemies. When they move in for the Last Hit, you deny it. Your lane partner will also get a small buff, so this is a great time to try to gank him up!
Very good later on in team fights too. killing a Minion is perfectly worth 4 people getting a lot of extra attack and movements speed for a few seconds, specially if you target a weakend minion.

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Item Build

You should try to get these items:
-The Bloodthirster: The first item you should usually finish, this makes Parrrley much better and helps you stay alive longer.
-Boots: Whatever rocks your boat. I recommend Swiftness, because it gives you a slightly better speed than what others usually have. Between these, Raise Morale's passive and Remove Scurvy you should be REALLY good at running away, or into, fights. Be where you are most needed!
-Soul Shroud or Spirit Visage: Both give you better Cooldowns, and they've already been discussed.
-Rylai's Scepter: OK this is an odd choice, but hear me out. It gives you a hefty amount of HP, better at staying alive. The extra AP is not totally useless. It makes Remove Scurvy heal a bit more, and makes the Barrage deal SLIGHTLY more damage. It also means as soon as you cast Barrage, EVERY enemy will be slowed down 15% for 1.5 seconds. Doesn't sound like much, but believe me, it's important. Without this, your Cannon Barrage is much less effective.

You now have two slots to fill with whatever you desire, or rather need. Here are some recommendations, but adapt to your enemy!
-Frozen Mallet: A great item, and it works wonders with Parrrley. You can freeze ranged every 4 seconds if you got good cooldowns! Excellent item choice both for offense and defense.
-Infinity Edge: A very good item, but you won't get the full benefit as other Gangpank builds do. Your critical rate will be low, so only get this if your other item will be Phantom Dancer.
-Phantom Dancer: See above.
-Warmog's Armor: A good choice if you are finding it hard to stay alive, but I'd rather increase my damage.
-Executioner's Calling: I DO NOT know if this stacks with your Grog-Soaked Blade, but it may be worth testing if the enemy team tends to heal a lot. If it DOES stack, it would be very good against those crazy builds you sometimes see of melee characters with around 90% lifesteal. Reducing 80% of healing with melee attacks and 40% with Parrrley shots could prove very powerful in some situations.
-Trinity Force: Another item that I am unsure of how it will work. If you shoot Parrrley, will the extra damage apply to that shot? To the next? Not at all? I'll try this out next time I play one of those easy games.
-Banshee's Veil: One of those tech items, it is great against teams with lots of mages.
-The Black Cleaver: You won't really get the full benefit out of this item due to the low attack speed of this build. But it does buff your damage quite a lot.

If not knowing what you should pick up, go for:
-Frozen Mallet and another Bloodthirster. Total of 16255 gold if you have Soul Shroud or 15180 if you got Spirit Visage. 335.78 DPS, 326 damage per attack with maxed Bloodthirsters, 253.38 DPS and 246 damage per attack with fresh Bloodthirsters.
-Infinity Edge and Phantom Dancer. Total of 17215 gold if you got Soul Shroud or 16140 if you got Spirit Visage. 423.28 DPS, 286 damage per attack with maxed Bloodthirsters, 364.08 DPS and 246 damage otherwise.

The first path will be better if your team lacks holds, and will give you slightly higher Lifesteal. Parrrley will do here 412 damage on normal hits, 824 on crits, 461 on average. Plus it will slow.
The second path means you are a much better carry (110 DPS higher). Parrrley will do here 475 damage on normal hits, 1188 on crits, 917 on average.
As you can seem the second option is much better if you want to be a killer, but the first one may be needed sometimes. Note that both are calculated from maxed out Bloodthirsters, and that the "average" result is just that, the average, for you to see what you will expect. And since you should shoot a Parrrley every 4 seconds, that part becomes VERY important.

DISCLAIMER: I've used the stats-calculator so if the calculator is bugged, so will my stats. I THINK it doesn't add Infinity Edge's +50% crit damage correctly when calculating DPS, so it might be a bit off. I also don't know if it adds the passive buff from Raise Morale in either case, so take those stats with a grain of salt.

How to Use Cannon Barrage

Cannon Barrage is NOT for farming. EVER. Cannon Barrage should be mostly be used for these situations:

-When pushing towers: as soon as the path to the tower is clear and your team starts to advance, place it behind the tower so that the closest part of the AoE to your team takes the enemy Tower in. This will prevent the enemy from protecting the tower by staying just behind, and will keep reinforcement creeps from bothering your team. Make sure you use it when your own creep are getting near the tower.
-When defending towers: IF YOU ARE SURE THIS WILL SAVE THE TOWER, use it where it will cause most damage to the enemy, but ALWAYS cover around your Tower. DO NOT use it if the enemy is perfectly capable of killing the tower even if you use the Barrage.
-In team battles: NOT at the start of the battle, it'll just delay the fight. The two teams engage, stuns and spells fly around, THEN use it. It means the enemy has already commited to the battle and spent resources, and will hurt them more if they try to run. Plus the slight slow will help your team gang up on whoever gets left behind.
-DO NOT USE IT TO SAVE CONDEMMED LONERS: Sorry for them, but the other three uses are too important. BUT if you can save several teammates, or that teammate needs the extra oomph to push a Tower, etc, by all means, fire away!


-Early game, you almost alway want to teleport into the action. But later on, it is sometimes best to walk there so that you keep teleport ready. Use it to teleport to turrets under attack, to help on a gank or push, etc. Remember you can support globally with your ship's cannons!


NEVER enter a fight without Remove Scurvy available. You can use it no matter the situation, even if silenced, so use it to get away if needed. Shut down stuns and the like with it. Use Parrrley early for extra damage, and so it will be available again before the fight is over. Remember Parrley freezes if you are bought a Frozen Mallet!


Stay behind your team's CC specialists, but in front of you rangers. apply pressure and support with Parrrley, heal when needed, keep your team buffed with raise morale, and concentrate fire on squishies. Designate targets by pinging on the enemy so you can all work together. And remember your CC attacks stop healing partially, so it may be a good idea to hit several Champs if you see a Heal coming!