How To Play Top Lane In League Of Legends
Last Updated: August 16, 2021
Do you enjoy beating your opponents in a 1v1? Do you like playing alone with minimal support from your teammates? It can be overwhelming to learn a new role in a game like League of Legends. So in this guide, we’ll show you all the important things you need to know if you want to play Top Lane.
They say that Top Lane is an island. That’s because if you play Top Lane, you’ll find yourself being on your own for most of the game. Most players make the mistake of thinking that playing Top Lane is like being a placeholder. There’s a lot more to it than that. There are a lot of nuances and mechanics that you need to learn when playing this role and being able to succeed in doing so can be incredibly rewarding.
What Champions Can You Play in This Role?
Before we get into how to play Top Lane, we must first learn about the champions best suited to this role. There are three main classes of champions you’ll find in the Top Lane: Bruisers, Tanks, and Juggernauts. Top Lane champions often have good sustain and excellent wave clear.
Matchups are also very important in the Top Lane. Top Lane is sometimes referred to as the counter pick role because most champions here have hard counters that can ruin your day. By knowing who counters your champion, you can easily ban them in Champ Select before the game even begins. So, without further ado, let’s take a closer look at each champion class.
Bruisers are champions that can both deal and take a lot of damage. Champions in this class are sometimes called Fighters or Duelists. They have consistent damage and have great wave clear that help them effectively push the lane. They also have decent defensive stats that allow them to be a frontline for their team.
Champions like Irelia, Riven, and Camille are considered bruisers. If played well, these champions can single-handedly carry their team to victory. A great champion for beginners in this class is Sett. He has great damage, good defense, and a pretty straightforward kit that’s easy to understand.
If you want a champion that has great defense without skipping on the damage, you should consider picking up a Bruiser.
Tanks are the most resilient champions in the game. They are tough melee champions who have very high defensive stats but have little damage. Tanks also have some form of heavy crowd control so they are great initiators in a team fight. Investing in defensive items can make Tanks nearly unkillable in the late game. They have great sustain and can hold their own in the Top Lane.
Champions like Malphite, Ornn, and Cho’Gath are some of the Tanks you can play in the Top Lane. These champions turn into late-game monsters by simply soaking up damage for their team. A great beginner champion in this class to pick up is Maokai. He has a lot of sustain and tankiness plus a kit filled with crowd control, including a point and click snare.
If you want to be your team’s frontline or like setting up kills with crowd control, you might want to try Tanks.
Juggernauts are champions that have the best qualities of both Bruisers and Tanks. These champions are incredibly durable but still deal tons of damage. A huge drawback to these champions is that they have poor mobility but make up for it with spells that allow them to catch up to their enemies.
Champions like Darius, Mordekaiser, and Urgot are some of the best Juggernauts in the game. They may be very slow and immobile, but they can severely punish their opponents if they get too close. A good champion to start learning the Juggernaut class is Garen. He has all the tools that make him a potent damage dealer while being a tanky frontline.
If you’re looking for champions that strike the balance between Bruisers and Tanks, you would enjoy playing as Juggernauts.
Top Lane has a very deep champion pool. There are plenty of champions you can use that’ll fit your playstyle. The classes we’ve mentioned before are the most common champions you’ll most likely run into when you head to Solo Queue. Sometimes you’ll see other champions that don’t fall into these categories.
Some of these champions become part of Top Lane rotations because they can counter certain champions. Quinn, for example, is classified as a marksman but is often played in the Top Lane. She hard counters one of the strongest lane bullies in Renekton. Sometimes, you’ll see assassins like Rengar or Yasuo in the Top Lane. They both deal good damage and have excellent sustain.
If a champion can last on its own without support from teammates, it can be a viable champion in the Top Lane.
There are lots of summoner spell combinations you can take when playing Top Lane. Taking Flash is almost always a given. The utility that Flash gives you is just too important so you’ll want to take it with you 90% of the time. Teleport is also a good choice since it gives you an added presence around the map and allows you to be there for your team when they need help. Top Laners usually run with Flash and Teleport as their summoner spells. However, some champions would do better with other setups.
Darius and Nasus, for example, would rather take Ghost and Flash. Since both of these champions are pretty immobile, the extra mobility these two spells provide helps make up for their weakness. Some champions also take Ignite and Flash for kill pressure. Champions like Renekton and Irelia would favor taking Ignite over Teleport since they can always go for a kill. If you’re feeling pretty confident, you can take Ignite plus Teleport. But, we would only recommend this if you’re sure that you won’t need Flash. Champions with high mobility like Yasuo or Wukong would be perfect for a setup like this. These champions have skills that allow them to escape from harm’s way or close the distance between them and enemy champions.
Now we’ll dive into how you’ll play this role. In the early game, you’ll want to learn how to properly manage your Minion Wave. You need to learn how to slow push to get an advantage. Slow Pushing is exactly as it sounds. You need to focus on just last hitting minions so that you wouldn’t worry about overextending in the lane and becoming vulnerable to a gank from the enemy Jungler. Keep in mind that you also need to have decent vision control and know where to plant wards. Having good ward placement can save you from a gank and helps you keep an eye on objectives in your proximity, like the Rift Herald.
The laning phase is the most crucial part of playing Top Lane. This is where you need to build a lead and get ahead of your opponent. Whoever gains an advantage can dictate the pace of the game. You don’t have to worry if your lane opponent counters you. Just try to farm and last hit minions, while keeping safe under your turret.
At this point in the game, you should have around 1 or 2 completed items. Now, your focus at this point is to keep pushing. You’ll want to clear up to the second turret to gain an advantage. This is also around the time when your team starts grouping for team fights or to contest objectives.
If you took Teleport as one of your summoner spells, this is the time you’ll find yourself using it the most. An important tip in using Teleport is to only use it when you’re sure you or someone else from your team can secure a kill. You don’t have to use Teleport JUST to save a teammate. It’s better to stick to your lane and continue pushing than wasting Teleport to help a teammate only for you to die as well. You may get flamed for not using Teleport but at least you won’t risk giving the enemy another advantage.
As a Top Laner, your primary focus in the late game is to push the side lanes. Applying pressure to the side lanes opens up opportunities for your team to secure objectives like Baron and the Elder Dragon.
It’s okay if you die while applying pressure as long as your team manages to secure these objectives. You’ll want to keep doing this until your team can converge and push the other lanes. While it is important to split push, you also need to know when to group with your team. Something like this can’t be taught as it depends on the game’s current status. You need to make decisions based on all the information available to you.
Playing Top Lane can be very overwhelming at first but it gets easier once you get the hang of it. Remember to learn all the champion matchups and use whatever you have at your disposal to gain an advantage. You can always go and check out Pro players and see if you can pick up a thing or two on how to play Top Lane.
So there you have it! There’s plenty of ways on how to play Top Lane. This is just a guide that hopefully helps you understand the basics of the role and gives you a solid platform to start with. Have fun and see you on the Rift!