AP Gangplank Build – AoE One-Shots for Everybody! (Guide)

AP Gangplank Guide by Runetarium

Gangplank has been in a great state for several seasons now. His damage is explosive, his range is pretty convenient for top lane, and he scales extremely well for the late game. 

But while most players build lethality and crit items on GP, AP Gangplank has been on a rise. The AP build for Gangplank offers an alternative playstyle, one where GP isn’t only a late game carry but a presence of dominance on the whole map.

Players that have tried AP Gangplank have more than one story to share of how their ultimate obliterated the entire enemy team. But if you’re among the players that have never given AP GP a shot, I’ll be glad to introduce you to it!

In this post, I’ll give you all the information regarding AP Gangplank such as which runes and items to take, what to do in game, and why is ability power the superior path for Gangplank in certain scenarios.

So, let’s go on a magical journey together!

Why AP Gangplank?

Gangplank on Summoner's Rift

There are two major reasons why ability power is beneficial to Gangplank.

  • W, Remove Scurvy – scales with ability power and doubles the potency of Gangplank’s healing with each cast.
  • R, Cannon Barrage – has an insanely high AP ratio and can one-shot multiple enemies in the circle.

True, W and R are the only two abilities in GP’s kit that scale with AP. But Gangplank’s Q applies all on-hit effects, including magic damage ones such as the effect from Lich Bane. GP’s E ignores a portion of the target’s armor anyway, so you never feel like you don’t have enough damage.

So buffing Gangplank’s W and R with AP is almost never a bad thing. And in many situations, having huge heals every 5 seconds and an AoE spell that can win every team fight is actually kind of broken.

To simplify things, the biggest strengths of AP Gangplank are self-healing thanks to his W and AoE magic damage thanks to his R. Because of this, the playstyle of AP GP changes a bit towards the mid and late game while the laning phase is almost identical to AD GP.

For example, one thing that AP Gangplank does very well is surviving in lane. Since Gangplank’s oranges have such a high AP ratio, each cast grants a heal of over 30% HP, even on rank one. And in the late game, when the ability is fully maxed, a single W can heal GP for 50 or 60% HP.

On top of this, Gangplank’s overall damage doesn’t suffer too much from not building AD items. His passive, Q, and E, have decent base numbers and actually deal a lot of damage, even when your inventory is full AP.

Of course, you can always swap one or two of your AP items for AD ones if you feel like you need more consistent damage. But in most cases, you’ll find out that AP Gangplank is great all around.

Laning Phase

Gangplank's healing with W and AP items

The way to approach laning as AP Gangplank is actually pretty simple.

Besides farming, your job as AP Gangplank is to poke with Q as much as possible. This is especially important against melee champions and you want to bully them out of lane by constantly applying your Q and passive burn.

On level 2, you can perform basic combos such as E > Q > E for double barrel explosion. And if you have Ignite, it’s likely that you can kill your lane opponent.

Gangplank’s W is the key to your survival and you always want to have enough mana for it. Not only does it heal you but it also removes CC effects, so it’s a perfect tool for staying alive even when the enemy jungler comes to gank.

However, the most important strategy here is to immediately recall when you have 700 gold and buy Sheen. Sheen is simply an amazing item for GP and boosts the damage of his Q significantly. And it allows him to win almost any 1v1 duel in the mid and top lane.

After level 6, your main goal is to keep shoving the minion waves, roam around to help your jungler, and influence the rest of the map with your R.

Teamfights

Gangplank's ultimate Cannon Barrage with AP items

When the mid or late game kicks in, AP Gangplank is much better than AD Gangplank. Here’s why.

As AD Gangplank, your only way to carry a teamfight is to hit a great barrel combo. However, this isn’t always an easy thing to do, especially against experienced players or really mobile team.

But AP Gangplank doesn’t rely only on his barrel combo. Instead, his ultimate is an easy-to-hit cooldown that does insane amounts of AoE damage, especially in tight areas such as the Dragon pit. Cannon Barrage also slows down the enemies so it’s easier for GP to hit a good barrel combo.

And again, Gangplank’s W scales extremely well in the late game which simply means that even in teamfights GP can heal himself to full health with one or two casts, no matter how bad the situation is.

Of course, Gangplank is a great champion for split pushing too. You don’t need to teamfight if all of your allies are losing. Instead, push the side lanes and you can still have an impact thanks to your global ultimate.

Matchups

There are a few champions in League of Legends that really counter Gangplank. And you definitely want to spend your ban on one of them.

  • Ekko – avoids all of GP’s damage and you can’t stop him from using his R.
  • Vladimir – can dodge most of your damage with his W.
  • Tryndamere – beats Gangplank with any build post level 6.
  • Ornn – is simply too tanky to solo kill.
  • Swain – a strong champion all around with more than enough damage and CC

Some champions like Yasuo and Yone can also be problematic for GP during the early game, but you can definitely beat them if you play carefully.

AP Gangplank – Runes

Rune page for AP Gangplank

Before I dive deep into my preferred rune page for AP Gangplank, know that there are several options you can go for besides this one. And the two best ones are Arcane Comet for early game dominance and First Strike for faster scaling.

But here are the best overall runes for AP Gangplank in LoL.

  • Dark Harvest

Dark Harvest is a great keystone for late game. It allows you to scale up your damage against targets on low HP through stacks you collect by damaging enemies on low health. Dark Harvest synergizes with AP GP because you mainly use his ultimate against enemy champions who are already low, no matter if that’s a teamfight or a global cast across the map.

  • Cheap Shot

Cheap Shot also has a synergy with GP’s kit because it does bonus true damage to crowd-controlled enemies, including the slowed ones. Two of Gangplank’s abilities apply slow effect (E and R) so it’s a good rune to have at all times.

  • Eyeball Collection

With Eyeball Collection, your primary goal is to increase your AP as much as possible during the early and mid game. The rune does this on a small scale but it’s all passive and you don’t need to worry too much about it.

  • Ultimate Hunter

Ultimate Hunter is a must-have rune for AP Gangplank because cooldown reduction is king in League of Legends. You want all of Gangplank’s abilities to refresh very fast, especially his ultimate. More Rs means more pressure around the map and more Ws equals you staying alive in most fights.

  • Manaflow Band

Manaflow Band is a great rune for the laning phase because it increases your maximum mana and your mana regeneration. Remember, AP Gangplank doesn’t buy Tear of the Goddess but his abilities cost a lot of mana. So, always have Manaflow Band!

  • Scorch

And Scorch is mainly picked to buff your burn damage during the early game. It synergizes with Gangplank’s Q and passive and allows you to bully your lane opponent even harder.

AP Gangplank – Items

Items for AP Gangplank

Although the item path for AP Gangplank is pretty simple, there are tons of situational items you can go for. So, don’t be afraid to experiment.

  • Lich Bane

Lich Bane is the most important item for AP Gangplank for the first half of the game. You want to upgrade your Sheen as soon as possible and deal tons of on-hit magic damage with Lich Bane.

  • Luden’s Tempest

Luden’s Tempest is the preferred mythic item for AP GP. Besides all the beneficial stats, it grants bonus magic penetration for each legendary item you have. And it makes your first ability hit harder which is perfect for a barrel combo or a global cast of Cannon Barrage.

  • Sorcerer’s Shoes

As for boots, Sorcerer’s Shoes is the best choice overall. They grant enough magic penetration for the early and mid game, so you want to have them in most games.

  • Rylai’s Crystal Scepter

Even though Gangplank has two slow effects in his kit, Rylai’s Crystal Scepter is still a very beneficial item for him. With it, you can use Gangplank’s Q first to slow down your target just so your barrel combo or R will surely hit them.

  • Rabadon’s Deathcap

Rabadon’s Deathcap is the biggest damage booster you can get on AP Gangplank. It grants a lot of AP and buffs the stat based on how much ability power you already have. So it’s essential for late game.

  • Void Staff

And Void Staff is the second greatest item you can get on AP GP in the late game. It gives you a lot of magic penetration and it’s the key to taking down the tanks on the opposing team.

Skill Order and Summoner’s Spells

It might sound weird, but the skill order for AP Gangplank is identical to that of AD Gangplank. You don’t max your W first or second because the ability has a high AP ratio and always heals a lot, no matter the rank. And because of that, we focus on damage first.

Here’s the entire skill order for AP Gangplank:

123456789101112131415161718
QQQQQ
WWWWW
EEEEE
RRR

As for Summoner’s Spells, the best combo is Flash + Ignite. It allows you to be super aggressive in the early game and have a kill potential against any enemy. So it’s perfect for mid lane AP Gangplank.

But if you’re in the top lane, Flash + Teleport might be a better option for you.

Conclusion

AP Gangplank has been one of the most fun off-meta builds I’ve played in recent years. It’s such an engaging and interesting playstyle that gives you huge power points such as solo killing the enemy ADC from across the map.

I’ve followed many AP Gangplank players and learned different strategies from them. And if you want to do the same, I can recommend you watch this YouTube video of a player that reached Grandmaster solely by playing AP GP. And even though he does a few things differently, his take on AP Gangplank is fascinating and fun to see.