Champ of the Week: Gangplank Wrapup


The Gangplank Champ of the Week was definitely the most contested to this point, but that really didn’t surprise me. Gangplank is one of those champions that gets out of control in a way that is extremely frustrating to play against, but he’s also difficult to use to maximum effect. I think a lot of players feel like Gangplank is usually terrible to play against and terrible to have as a teammate. While I think Gangplank can be a strong toon, I think his big problem is the fact that his skills rely on random procs to be effective.

I’ve covered most of the problems with his design in earlier posts, so I thought it would be good to wrap up the discussion about Gangplank with what I think would be a good design direction for the champion. He needs more than just one simple change, for sure – he needs a few of them to really be a reasonable presence in the League.

I think the idea of a ranged physical nuke is fine for a melee character like Gangplank. Several other melee DPS share that trait – Jarvan, Pantheon, Mundo, Lee Sin, Nocturne all have one – but none of theirs have the ability to crit. The crit function needs to go away, plain and simple. I think an armor penetration debuff would be perfect for the skill. It would allow him to rely more heavily on a Trinity Force build, which gives him improved survivability, something he desperately needs. It would also give him a little extra teamfight utility, which, with the removal of his crit potential, would be pretty much necessary.

His ultimate also needs to become the kind of skill that deals reliable damage. Part of what makes a champion competitive quality is that the damage and utility they provide is predictable. That’s important for both sides of battlefield. If my teammates can’t reliably expect a slow or a stun when its needed, I probably need to pick a different champion. Similarly, opponents need to be able to predict incoming damage and slows. Obviously, Gangplank is problem in both cases. His ultimate and his Parley deal unreliable damage and his ultimate isn’t always a reliable slow. That has to change, either by making his ultimate slow anyone in its range and deal predictable damage over time – think Crowstorm – or by completely redesigning the skill.

The long and short of the Gangplank issue is that he needs to be a predictable force on the field. Until that happens, he will continue to frustrate players by underperforming and overperforming depending on how the dice fall.


Champ of the Week: Pirate Power

Minute Man Gangplank.

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.


Champ of the Week: Gangplank

Spooky Gangplank.

The latest patch brought another change to Gangplank, a character who has seen more changes in the last month or so than he has in the probably the last year. I really miss the days of Spell Pen Gangplank, back when he used to deal magic damage with Parrrley. Obviously it was problematic in design, but oh so much fun to play.

I’m really happy to see him get a new passive with the latest patch, even if he’s probably a little OP in lane now. Okay, he’s a lot OP in lane, at least against your average matchup. Still, I think it will be cool to take a look at what needs tweaked about his design, why the passive changes make him problematic, and the types of builds he can use to maximize his damage output. I’m especially interested in the latter. A lot of people think it’s Infinity or bust, but I’m a strong believer in Sheen, especially if you’re up against a softer target like Ashe or Lux.

I might take him into the jungle if I have a chance for enough games, but I’m already seeing him banned in the ranked/custom games I’ve been playing, so Jungleplank may get pushed aside. Check back later in the week for more on everyone’s favorite pirate.


Patch Preview shows off Alistar, Fiddlesticks, Gangplank reworks

The patch preview for next week is live, giving us a look at what’s in store for several of the game’s most neglected champions. Alistar, Fiddlesticks, and Gangplank are all due for reworks this week, all of which should be significant improvements on their respective playstyles.

If you follow Guinsoo on Twitter, you know the Alistar remake has been in the works for several months. A few times it even looked like it was patch ready and then got pulled. Basically the changes will give Alistar a lot more farming potential as well as a few more ways to use his skills that aren’t so Flash dependent. I’m really excited about this remake – Alistar was such a cornerstone of LoL at launch that it has been tough to see him slip into obscurity.

Fiddlesticks is basically having his damage normalized, which is exactly what he needs. His early healing has been nerfed a touch, but with an armor buff to keep his jungling strength. His Dark Wind bounces 5 times at all levels and now has scaling damage, which should improve his presence in both lane and coming from jungle, and Crowstorm has been rebalanced to account for the damage shift. Again, I’m really excited about the changes. I was a huge Fiddlesticks fan for a very long time. A little consistency will go a long way for him.

Lastly, there’s Gangplank. Plank has long been a problematic champion for Riot. He’s randomly bursty, has the only deny in the game (which is absolutely broken in some situations), and has a hugely unreliable ultimate. Pretty much all of that is being addressed with the patch, which I can only imagine will mean good things for the champion. He’ll be able to make better use of Raise Morale, his ult is much less of a guessing game, and his Parrrley shouldn’t be quite such a gamble. Again, excited to see this play out.


Where are the mid-cycle skins? [UPDATED]


Since I’ve been away from my home gaming machine for nearly two weeks now, I wasn’t able to pull up the mid-cycle, unreleased skins as I have for the last several patches. They are there, though, I promise you. The real question is, why haven’t we seen them?

From what I’ve been able to find, Ezreal, Gangplank, and Twitch are all slated for some new duds this patch, and Shen and Heimer could be getting new skins next patch. I’m not sure what the delay is, though if I had to venture a guess I’d say it’s that Twitch is getting his legendary skin: Gangster Twitch. I only guess it’s his legendary because he has a tommy gun, which I’m assuming makes a different sound than his little bow. From the splash screen it also looks like he might be bipedal, which would be a really cool change.

The Ezreal skin shows up in game as Explorer Ezreal but what I’ll call Navy Gangplank doesn’t seem to be there. Could he be a prize skin, maybe for the Halloween contest?

UPDATE: The skins are now live. Navy Gangplank remains as yet unannounced.


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