One pick we have seen highly prioritised in competitive play all over the world is the saltwater scourge himself – Gangplank. He has once again been reigning king of the top lane with Kleptomancy, being able to secure gold leads against his opponents that he really should not be able to.
What makes Gangplank so highly prioritised and overpowered?
Chippys: “GP is overpowered because he gets so much extra gold from relic shield, Kleptomancy and his passive so even if he loses lane or gets behind his gold should be higher than the enemy top laner. He can continue to stay ahead as his wave clear gets faster as the game goes on.”
Pabu: “[Gangplank] offers incredible utility across the map from level 6 with Cannon Barrage. GP ult makes it hard to make plays across the map, as he is always able to influence the plays without the need to Teleport.”
Sleeping: “Gangplank is very hard to lane against due his constant poking and sustain in lane with potions + his oranges, countering his trading patterns is also a difficult thing to do against someone who has a solid grasp of match-ups and the champion overall.”
What can you do to counter him/keep control of the lane?
Chippys: “Pick champs that can all in him easily like Camille/Riven/Vladimir and use the all-in threat with your jungler to either dive him or get first blood tower and snowball the game.”
Pabu: “A well-played Camille, Riven or Vladimir are some good options, and there are a few off-meta champions that can really dumpster him. In terms of gameplay, making plays when Cannon Barrage is on cooldown is a good start, and looking to 3-man dive the squishy Gangplank is a good way to gain advantages.”
Sleeping: “Most of [Gangplank’s counters] struggle in the current meta due to the Rune changes. He is also vulnerable to gank pressure due to lack of dashes in his kit, also he is one of the more easily killable champions of top lane if behind.” Sleeping also told me some different champs like Gnar, Illaoi, Jax, Fiora all can do well into Gangplank, but the matchups are still highly skill-based.
Do you have any ideas on how he could possibly be balanced? Perhaps without further nerfing Kleptomancy?
Chippys: “He can be balanced in my opinion if relic shield doesn’t work for him and his Q cooldown is higher at lower ranks. Also if his W cost more mana so he can’t spam it off cooldown to heal up and stay in lane”
Pabu: “I don’t think nerfs are particularly necessary for Gangplank, as any further nerfs will destroy him. I think it’s simply a matter of learning to adapt and how to play around it.”
Sleeping: “Right now on the PBE there are some nerfs targeted at him, nerfing the mana cost of his oranges and lowering down the barrel duration. I personally don’t think these affect him at all and the issue relies more in the combination of the Runes he uses and Relic Shield.”
Any other thoughts about Gangplank, or the top lane meta and how he affects it?
Chippys: “He makes top meta more fun for me since it is fun being tested if I can maintain 100% win rate on him in competitive ?”
Pabu: “Gangplank singlehandedly defines the top meta when he’s not banned as you have to play something that will punish him or not get punished by him too heavily. I think the top meta is fine right now, there’s plenty of blind pickable champs and the opportunity for skill heavy counterpicks to most of the meta exists. As Khan regularly shows, skill expression in the top lane is there, it’s just everyone needs to get better and actually show how the lane can be played.”
Sleeping: “You could say his impact on the meta is both good and bad, depending on the perspective you are looking from. A fan of organised tank meta team fight-oriented will think it’s bad, a fan who absolutely dislikes unkillable tanks in team fights will think it’s good.
I don’t think Gangplank alone is the issue though, the Rune changes played big major in the metashift that happened during preseason and a lack of reliable bruiser keystone definitely puts Gangplank on higher priority because I could definitely see a lot of champions being revived if he was out.”
According to the pros it looks like we’ll be seeing a lot more of the formidable pirate on the rift in competitive, at least for the time being.
A big thank you to these guys for talking with me about Gangplank, be sure to follow them on Twitter and tune in to the OPL for super-week 6 this weekend at http://twitch.tv/OPL