Thursday, August 6, 2015

League Analysis: Gangplank Rework Impressions

When I started out in League of Legends, like I gravitated slightly towards Kunkka in DotA, I found myself wanting to play the seafaring Gangplank. I inevitably picked him up and went into the jungle and top lane with him for many games until I started playing ranked mode. As I played more and more League of Legends, I began to discover how desperately in need of a rework he was. He almost felt unfairly powerful, but had crippling weaknesses mostly due to a lack of numbers to back him up until he became a lategame monster.

Thus, I wrote up two reworks, with each attempting to address inconsistencies with Gangplank's abilities such as the RNG on his ult and a lack of an additional offensive ability to shift power into. Riot eventually addressed some of the inconsistencies themselves, but the more recent rework to Gangplank showed a lot of promise when I initially laid my eyes on it. After playing several games with him, I found I was correct in my initial thoughts that Gangplank was a lot better than ever. However, I also noticed some potential issues, though I think they can be easily resolved with a typical suite of balance changes. In this article, I will go over the Gangplank rework, starting with his passive and ending with his ult.

Passive: Trial by Fire
Gangplank's basic attacks periodically ignite his target (including structures), dealing 20 + (10 × Gangplank's level) (+ 120% bonus AD) bonus true damage over 1.5 seconds and granting Gangplank Trial by Fire's 30% bonus movement speed for 2 seconds. (15 second cooldown)

Destroying a Powder Keg instantly readies Trial by Fire and grants its bonus movement speed.
While I'm a little troubled by the AD scaling on this passive, it's overall a lot better than Grog Soaked Blade, which is either rather weak or a ridiculous permaslow depending on the situation. Trial by Fire has a cooldown that prevents the damaging effect from becoming overwhelming and allows for more strategic usage, especially since Parrrley cannot apply Trial by Fire and destroying Powder Kegs resets the cooldown. The former point makes last hitting with Parrrley while keeping melee swings ready for harassing the enemy champion an attractive strategy to utilize in lane. The melee attacks only restriction may also keep troubling aspects of the passive, such as the True damage and AD scaling, in check. The passive also provides a solid movement speed steroid that helps Gangplank gap close and escape much better compared to Raise Morale.

I think this new passive is great. I gladly welcome it compared to Grog Soaked Blade.


Parrrley's changes are not that significant overall. Aside from the addition of plundering Silver Serpents, the biggest change is that the mana cost of Parrrley does not increase with rank. The fact the mana cost remains at 50 is pretty huge for Gangplank since it makes Parrrley far more attractive to max out first and saves 20 mana every shot at max rank compared to pre-rework, greatly alleviating mana problems that the Saltwater Scourge had. I also specifically suggested that the mana cost be set to a flat 50 regardless of rank in an attempt to fix mana issues and I'm glad that I turned out to be more or less right.

Therefore, I really like the "new" Parrrley.

Remove Scurvy

Like with Parrrley, Remove Scurvy's didn't have that many changes with the rework. The most notable one is that the heal now scales with (15% of) Gangplank's missing health, greatly increasing its effectiveness even at rank 1. The heal is now so strong at rank 1 that I find Gangplank isn't struggling as much in terms of sustain even when enduring heavy harass.

Therefore, I'm happy with Remove Scurvy in its current state.

Powder Keg
PASSIVE: Gangplank stores a charge of Powder Keg periodically, up to a maximum of 2 + (1 × Cannon Barrage's rank) stored at once. (No cost, 1000 cast range, 18 / 17 / 16 / 15 / 14 second recharge)

ACTIVE: Gangplank places a Powder Keg at the target location for 60 seconds, which connects to other nearby kegs. Kegs have 3 health and take 1 damage each time Gangplank or an enemy champion attacks them, and passively lose 1 health every 2 (Level 1) / 1 (Level 7) / 0.5 (Level 13) seconds down to 1. If an enemy champion scores the last hit, the keg is disarmed and they earn 10 Gold.

If Gangplank scores the last hit, the triggering attack is splashed as physical damage to surrounding enemies, slowing them by 40 / 50 / 60 / 70 / 80% for 2 seconds. Explosions ignore 60% of their targets' armor, and enemy champions take bonus 80 / 110 / 140 / 170 / 200 physical damage.

The explosion sets off a chain reaction that explodes other connected kegs, regardless of their current health, though enemies may only be damaged by one keg. If Parrrley was used to detonate the Powder Keg, the explosion plunders every enemy it kills.
This new ability looks quite bloated, but in practice the ability is a lot easier to understand. The general idea is Gangplank tries to blow up Powder Kegs with autoattacks or Parrrley to deal a sizable amount of damage, chaining barrels together to increase the effective range of the ability. In effect, Powder Kegs provide Gangplank with some desperately needed area of effect offensive utility, which I suggested in both of my reworks for Gangplank.

However, while there's a bit of a learning curve to the ability, I think in its current state the ability might be a little too strong. Aside from the ability being manaless, which makes a bit of sense since using Powder Kegs has a risk of feeding an enemy player 10 gold, it deals significant bonus damage (to champions) and ignore more armor than a single given item provides, effectively making any Powder Keg explosions that land an enormous steroid effect for Gangplank. It is understandable that power would need to be shifted somewhere since Raise Morale was removed, but the amount of power this ability has, even accounting for factors such as risk and unreliability, makes it potentially dangerous and in need of tweaking in the future. This problem may especially become apparent once players learn to use the ability.

Despite the possible need for re-balancing, I really like Powder Keg. I think it's an excellent addition to Gangplank's kit and look forward to doing more cool things with the ability.

Cannon Barrage

Cannon Barrage remains the iconic global presence ability that provides additional firepower and slowing to help allies or secure kills. With the rework, it got some nice additions that make the ability even more potent. The ability itself has a new style of attack with cannonballs coming in waves of three rapid barrages at a time, almost certainly guaranteeing that anyone caught in the ult will get by 25% of the cannonballs (without accounting for upgrades). The upgrades, while expensive to the point that it's unlikely that Gangplank will get more than two by the late game, add some additional scaling to Gangplank while adding either damage or utility to an already potent ultimate skill. However, these upgrades don't seem the make the ultimate too overpowered, even with all three purchased.

Ultimately, I'm glad with Cannon Barrage, especially since it wasn't reworked into a new ability.


Gangplank has seen some hard times over the last few seasons. He's one of the champions that has really glaring flaws that hold him back, some of which I missed when discussing reworks for him. However, with a greater emphasis on creating counterplay based on Riot's design philosophy, Gangplank has had many of his issues fixed and once the dust settles and the numbers are tweaked, he'll be a solid competitive pick (at least some of the time). If I had one really negative thing I had to say about this rework, it's that I didn't get enough time to experience it before Gangplank was disabled as part of the lore of the Bilgewater event. Thankfully, that isn't the case any more.

The tooltips and ability information were taken from the Lolwiki article.

No comments:

Post a Comment