I was pretty surprised by the number of comments and the magnitude of feeling about Gangplank with my initial Champ of the Week post. He is apparently quite the hot topic, so I’m going to try to handle this as delicately as possible. I want everyone to at least understand where I’m coming from on Gangplank’s design before we discuss the specifics of his changes and why he has suddenly vaulted into the spotlight.
I want to start by saying that Parley is just bad design, plain and simple. It is too spammable, too good for farming, and too random. No skill hits like a Parrrley crit – not even Nidalee’s spear – in the early-mid game and for good reason. That kind of damage output is just silly on such a low-cooldown, low-cost skill. Period.
That said, this patch didn’t make much of a change to Parley. Very little was changed other than his passive, which is certainly strong, but I don’t think that’s the problem. The basic issue, as I see it, is as follows. Gangplank used to suffer from the fact that he had a very strong harass but abysmal damage if you got in his face. His passive was next to worthless, only good against a subset of characters that rely on healing, and honestly, if he was close enough to apply the debuff he was probably dead. Now fighting Gangplank in the early game is basically a DPS race, and it’s one he can often win, thanks to poking harass he’ll have on his target from Parley. It all comes back to the low-cooldown, targeted harassment from Parley.
Enough hate. Gangplank is a blast to play, and it’s because he feels like it’s worth it to engage a target. I think that’s a really good thing. His damage needs some tweaking to be sure, but he’s gone from being a character that was useful every 5 seconds to a champion I actually enjoy trying to set up a kill with, which I consider a huge success. I actually think he is incredibly close to a perfect balance point. He’s still extremely soft, which makes up for his damage output in most cases. I just think Riot needs to tone down his laning against low armor targets a bit.
I’ve tried the jungle thing a few times now and been mostly unimpressed by Executioner’s Calling. I’m sure I’ll have more on that later, but for now, I think he has much better lane presence.