League of Legends: Gangplank barraged with buffs on Patch 10.11

League of Legends. Courtesy of Riot Games.
League of Legends. Courtesy of Riot Games. /

Gangplank is set to return to the top lane meta after his Patch 10.11 buffs

Gangplank was once a regular feature of the top lane and one of the most popular champions in League of Legends. In fact, just six months ago, GimGoon piloted the Saltwater Scourge in two World Championship final games, guiding FunPlus Phoenix to their first-ever international trophy. Since then, Gangplank has fallen out of favor completely, but that could be set to change after Patch 10.11 lands.

According to Riot Scruffy’s Patch 10.11 preview, the top laner is set to receive a buff to his base attack speed this week, increasing the number from 0.658 to 0.690. Although this may seem like a very small improvement, it’s important to consider how many attack speed items Gangplank builds during a game and how these will synergize with the upcoming AS buff.

On that subject, Gangplank will also benefit from the proposed Zeal buff set to hit live servers on Patch 10.11. Phantom Dancer is a popular item among Gangplank players as it provides both attack speed and critical strike chance, two vital stats for increasing the pirate’s damage output. If the Zeal buff sticks, the movement speed offered by Phantom Dancer will increase from 7% to 9%, increasing GP’s mobility.

These two buffs could be the first step in Gangplank’s return to the top lane meta.

Increased attack speed could be the solution to Gangplank’s problems

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Attack speed buffs are more effective as the game progresses with players purchasing completed items with percentage AS increases. Gangplank’s first completed item is Trinity Force, granting +40% attack speed, which will become a much more effective power spike as a result of the top laner’s Patch 10.11 buff. GP will see a small increase in DPS early on, giving him a slight advantage in trades and duels with his top lane opponent, depending on the matchup.

However, this attack speed buff won’t be massively impactful until Gangplank purchases his second attack speed item, Phantom Dancer. At this point, the top laner will have scaled up significantly and be able to blow up enemy squishies with a single barrel. In the late game, the improved attack speed will allow GP to work in auto attacks and Powder Kegs with more ease, increasing his overall DPS in team fights.

On top of this, there’s the Zeal buff which gives Gangplank a small boost of mobility after completing Phantom Dancer, further allowing the Saltwater Scourge to maneuver around team fights with ease and pull off key Powder Keg explosions.

It’s also important to note the inevitable shift towards scaling team compositions as a result of the marksman changes on Patch 10.11. From this patch onwards, ADCs will be far more powerful and a viable win condition, moving the meta towards more scaling-focused champions, which will undoubtedly lead to a rise in Gangplank’s solo queue and pro play presence.

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Gangplank’s projected Patch 10.11 buffs won’t immediately launch him back into S tier, nor will they instantly make him a meta pick. However, the increased attack speed will improve the top laner’s DPS in late game team fights and allow him to single-handedly carry games with perfectly placed barrels.

With the return of pro play on the horizon and the LEC/LCS Summer Split just weeks away, it would come as no surprise if the high utility and strong scaling Gangplank wriggled his way back into the top lane meta and became a frequent pick on Patch 10.11 and beyond.