Since top lane is mostly populated by AD bruisers and tanks, AP top lane players are really rare.
But there are actually lots of advantages in playing ability power champions in the top lane, so I created this list for that exact reason.
I will cover the top 10 best AP top laners in League of Legends overall, but the list will not be in any particular order. In other words, all 10 champions are generally good picks and you should give them all a try.
And before we start, I just want to mention that you can literally play any AP champion in the top lane as long as you know their strengths and weaknesses.
From Cassiopeia and Ryze to all the crazy off-meta top lane playstyles you can think of.
But if you want great AP top laners that will never go out of meta, here they are.
Here Are the 10 Best AP Champions for Top Lane:
I can not say that the devil himself is my favorite AP top champion, but he is the first one that comes to my mind when talking about AP top laners.
Teemo is a ranged champion who poisons enemies with each auto attack, and whose Q will blind the enemy, rendering their auto attacks useless. If these two spells were not annoying enough, there is more.
His R is an invisible mushroom trap that deals massive amounts of damage. It’s an AoE effect that also slows down the enemies that step on it.
To be successful as Teemo, you will need to play patiently. Just poke your opponent whenever they walk up to CS and learn to place shrooms in areas that enemies frequently walk through.
This champion is so infamous that Riot themselves created a Twitch channel named TeemoDies, which tracked global Teemo death statistics.
I would recommend learning this champ to be able to counter the countless Darius players at the very least.
Cho’Gath is traditionally played as an AP tank, but I am gonna introduce you to a great AP magic penetration build, which will make it easy for you to carry games.
This build will make you deal around 1000-1400 damage with his Q, and around 1000 with his W, allowing you to one-shot most of the champions in any given game.
If this was not enough, your basics will deal around 400 damage when E is activated.
To start this build, you will want to buy Dark Seal and Refillable Potion as the first items. This means you will have to play safe in order to be able to stack the Dark Seal.
This item is great, as it will last you the whole game and you can upgrade to Mejai’s later on.
As you go through the game, you will see how significantly your damage will increase.
To progress the build, you will want to buy the Last Chapter and upgrade it to Luden’s Echo. After that, you will want to build Void Staff, and Demonic Embrace and as the final item you can buy Rabadon’s or Zhonia’s.
The boots will be situational, I usually buy penetration ones, but defensive ones will work too.
To pull off this build well you will need to know a simple gameplay strategy. The main thing you will need to do is farm well and not die.
In the late game, you will need to constantly be aware of the enemy’s vision and play stealthily. This way you can surprise the enemy by sneaking up on them and one-shotting them.
Read Also: 7 Best AP Mid Laners
The new Mordekaiser is a perfect carry AP top lane pick. He has been performing well consistently and has many strengths over other picks.
The first strength would be that he is very easy to pick up and play with. Morde is relatively simple mechanically and deals massive amounts of damage if you can land most of his spells.
His second strength would be his amazing scaling, which makes him good through both the mid and the late game.
The thing I like the most about Mordekaiser is his kit. He has a really fun ultimate that pulls enemies to a 1v1 shadow realm duel. This spell is great for eliminating enemy carries and can shift every team fight in your favor.
The thing that I do not like about Mordekaiser is that he is easily kitable and really hard to pull off in high ELO (Diamond 1+).
He can also be outclassed by many champions early and he can be really weak without his ultimate.
Lillia was originally designed to be a jungler, but she somehow found a way to become a great top lane champion as well.
I would recommend Lilia to everyone who wants a champion with an easy, but extremely fun kit to play. The thing I like the most about her kit is her passive that stacks movement speed with each ability you hit.
This makes it easy for Lilia to kite any champion in the game.
If you choose to play Lillia often you are in luck, since this champion is rarely banned or picked, despite its carry potential. Lillia also has a great ultimate that can CC and deal extra damage to any amount of enemy champions.
There are a few things that are not that great about Lillia though. Her base stats make her really squishy and easy to kill in the early game. If her R is not up, she does not have any CC really.
The last thing is that she really depends on her items.
Volibear is a good and reliable champ that is mostly played as an AP tank but you can play Volibear full AP as well.
Volibear is not really strong in the early game but he is not completely bad either.
He can usually start winning trades against many champions at level 3. And in early-game skirmishes, he will mostly win all 2v2s.
He has high amounts of damage, CC, a shield, and mobility that allows him to go in and out of fights.
The best way to play Volibear is with tank items. Itemizing like this will allow you to adapt to enemy sources of damage, and build stats that counter them.
It also provides consistency and the mistakes you make will be less punishable. So it’s great for beginner Volibear players.
If you are however a more experienced Volibear player, you can try out some AP build options.
The build will be the usual stuff. Dark Seal, Luden’s Echo, Void Stuff, Rabbadon’s, and so on.
If at any point in time you feel threatened by the enemy, you can sneak in a defensive item and have it work well, since Volibear is really adaptable.
But if you’re really interested, here’s my in-depth guide on AP Volibear for you to check out.
Read Also: 7 Best AP Junglers
Malphite is one of the staples of top lane, and he is one of the champs that you should definitely have purchased and ready to go.
The greatest thing about Malphite is his extremely simple kit.
It allows great performance even for those who are not really familiar with the top lane.
His Q slows the enemies and gives him movement speed, his W enhances his auto attacks and gives him splash damage, and his E reduces enemy attack speed.
Malphite’s ult is another treasured ability, he can quickly charge into a direction and hit and knock up anyone in the way. It’s great for team fights and synergizes well with many other abilities, mainly Yasuo’s R.
As Malphite you will generally want to go the tanky route and provide utility for your team.
You will be able to mess with the enemy team by CCing them, and you will also be strong enough to deal a lot of damage to carries.
You will mainly want to play Malphite vs. AD heavy comps because fed AP champions will make your life really hard.
Another notable contender on this list, Kayle is a hybrid champion that can be played as both AD and AP. This champion is one of the greatest carries in the game, and it definitely pays to learn her.
Like most hyper-carries, Kayle can be really weak in the early game.
This means you will mainly want to farm and scale. To make sure you hit all your power spikes without getting the enemy fed, you should make sure that you know where the enemy jungler is.
The easiest way to protect yourself from this threat is to ward well.
Once you start gaining levels, the advantages will just compound. In the beginning of the game, Kayle can only attack in melee range, but that changes as you gain levels.
- At level 6 your attacks will deal bonus magic damage
- At level 11 your attacks will become ranged
- At level 16 Kayle takes her final form and her attacks start dealing true splash damage.
All this is great, especially because of how it synergizes with your spells.
The Q will lower enemy resistance, W will heal you and allies in your proximity, the E gives you an extra attack and the R is a story for itself. The R will give invulnerability for you or any ally of your choice.
Since Kayle is not particularly mobile you will have to play her patiently during the fights. You will mainly want the enemies to approach you, and not the other way around.
If you are strong, they will not approach you unless you force them.
The easiest way to force the enemies to approach you is by taking their objectives.
Gwen still seems to be a great AP top laner despite all ther nerfs Riot Games punished her with. She can currently be played as both tank and heavy AP champion.
But all high elo Gwen mains would agree that the best way to play her is full AP, although the tank build is also viable thanks to Jak’Sho (the item makes her tankier the longer the fight lasts).
If you decide to play AP Gwen you will have an easy time melting the enemy team. Playing her as a tank is also good, since you will be able to act as the front line, and still do as much damage as an average ADC.
The pick is generally really strong, but it can be a little weak and squishy in the early game.
Another thing you need to know is not to pick Gwen blindly since there are many champions that can easily counter her.
Read Also: 5 Best Ways to Ward as a Top Laner
Kennen is one of the OG picks from the past, and you will rarely see him in your games. But in the matches that you do, you can be sure you are playing against a well-seasoned monster.
Despite somehow being under shadowed by all the new champions, Kennen is still a really strong AP pick. He has an interesting kit and an ult that is one of the best in the game.
When it comes to playing Kennen, there is not much philosophy to it.
You will simply want to land your spells as much as possible, and run down the enemy with a full combo when they are on low enough HP.
The full combo comes down to striking the enemy with all your spells and finishing them off with your ult.
In the team fights, you will want to CC and damage as many enemies as you can with your R (while prioritizing carries).
Heimer is one of a kind, and there are no champions like him. What makes him unique is his playstyle which revolves around placing mini turrets.
The turrets he places are great at pushing minions and keeping the enemy junglers at bay.
The reason they are great is that they are simply too hard to kill, especially early on in the game. Whenever you try to go for one, you will be hit by another one, plus the barrage of Haimer’s spells.
When playing Haimer top, you will have the ability to severely limit the enemy top laners’ movement.
Whenever they try to go for a play on the map, you can simply use your abilities and towers to push in the wave and attack their tower.
The thing that can be detrimental when playing Heimer is bad turret placement. This is not a big issue because you will learn to place turrets well within a few games.
Another con is that this champion does not have that much of a burst, and he is really mana hungry.
There are many great AP picks in the top lane, and the best one for you will mainly depend on your playstyle. If you like playing it slow and scaling I would recommend going for Kayle.
If you are more of a beginner you can always rock something like Malphite.
And for those who enjoy making enemies damage their personal property, I would recommend Teemo.
Read Also: 10 Best Top Laners for New Players