After months of promises, Riot has finally revealed long-awaited Gangplank changes are finally on the League of Legends developer’s agenda. They have settled on a “direction” for the top laner, but it’s not good news for those hoping for buffs.
Gangplank has been on Riot’s radar for changes in League of Legends for some time. The Saltwater Scourge is a fan-favorite top laner, but he has strayed a bit far from expectations into a murky middle ground in the meta.
He is currently stuck between a squishy build that only has one big combo — landing a barrel chain — or a bruiser build that does alright in practice but doesn’t fulfill his fantasy.
The barrel combo especially makes good Gangplank players stand out, but casuals have struggled to pick him up in recent times. This is noted by a sub-46% win rate in lower elo, compared to high elo players who have mastered the combos and his overall playstyle to get that up towards 50%.
However, those hoping for straight buffs are going to be disappointed with what Riot has in store.
Once intended for LoL patch 12.13, Riot took some extra time to settle on a direction for the Saltwater Scourge: “We think we have a direction but want to take some additional time to validate,” developer Matt ‘Phroxzon’ Leung-Harrison said.
It comes after Leung-Harrison told players earlier in June the team was tackling “larger frustration changes” in an attempt to give him “incentives to build crit that aren’t damage”.
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That has changed as Gangplank has risen up in prominence in pro play, with Riot planning nerfs for LoL patch 12.14 to “top end barrels”.
It’s more than just that though. Riot are weakening the top laner’s early game to try and make him more exploitable. Lower base resistance, reduced damage on his Parrrley and barrels early, and other similar adjustments should give him some weaknesses.
His damage is also shifting away from mega barrel chains — Riot wants to emphasize his Q as a trading tool by scaling its damage with critical strike chance. This all but pushes Gangplank into the Essence Reaver / Infinity Edge builds for Crit-plank.
“[The] intent is to weaken his lane power early, move some of his crit incentives out of barrels and into more committal damage, but still bias him towards crit,” Leung-Harrison elaborated.
Riot did change Gangplank late in Season 11 to try and curb some of his issues, but it failed to make a big enough impact.
League of Legends patch 12.14 is set to go live in late July 2022. We will keep you updated with what’s to come right here.