Top is a lonesome lane where you are mostly clashing with opponents in 1v1 battles. But it is a perfect role for strategic people who enjoy carrying the game themselves.
Despite being a role where you can show your skills and dominate the enemy solo, it can still be hard to carry sometimes. This is why I made this guide, which is intended to help you carry even the worst of bot lanes.
I will cover the types of top lane champions, how to use them to their full potential, and how to develop your playstyle.
Types of Champions in the Top Lane
There are many types of champions you can play in the top lane, but they all share some similarities. They are all self-reliant and can sustain themselves without any assistance from allies. The most common top lane classes you will see are these.
1. Split Pushers
You are most likely familiar with this type of top laners, as they are the most annoying one to deal with. They are usually weak in the early game, but they scale with each minute of the game.
They have great clear speeds, 1v1 potential, and they deal great amounts of damage to objectives. As such, they are really hard to deal with. These are champions like Jax, Tryndamere, and Nasus.
Read Also: 5 Best Ways to Ward as a Top Laner
2. Scaling Hyper-carries
Scaling hyper-carries are much like split pushers in the sense that they need a lot of time to develop. Unlike split pushers, their primary goal is not exerting pressure through pushing and staying in lane but rather gaining enough power to carry fights solo.
They also deal more damage than other types of top laners, but they are more squishy too. examples of the most common hyper carries are Kayle, Fiora, and Gwen.
The bruisers are the champions that offer a great balance between damage and durability. They are extremely hard to kill, and they are great at team fighting.
In the laning phase, they can easily control the pace of the game due to their sustain. In team fights, they can focus on enemy carries and protect ally carries. Some of the most common bruisers you will see are Darius, Jax, and Renekton.
Tanks have exactly what you would expect them to have: incredible durability comprised of much armor, magic resistance, and HP. They often have great CC in their kit, which allows them to control enemy team.
Tanks do not threaten the enemy as much as other classes, but they are extremely strong defenders. And they thrive in teamfights rather than 1v1 skirmishes.
If you’re interested, here are the best tank champions in League of Legends.
This was the easiest way to categorize top laners, and I believe it is a nice way to look at them generally. They can be divided even further, but it would take much longer and would not serve much.
I have highlighted some of the most notable champions for each category, but there can always be some overlap between the categories.
Read Also: Top 5 Best Top Laners against Tanks
How to Play Top Lane – The Fundamentals
Playing top lane is a much different experience than playing any other role in the game.
There are some overarching concepts that are relevant to all lanes, but they still need to be adjusted for the top lane. We are talking about drafting champions, tracking the enemy jungle, controlling the lane, and so on.
What Champions to Pick in Top Lane?
As with every other lane, picking the champion for top lane will depend on what your team needs. Sometimes your team will need a carry, sometimes a tank, sometimes it will need an AP or an AD champion, and sometimes it will be a combination of these factors.
Your decision on what your team needs will depend on your pick priority. The lower you are in the picking order, the more information you will have to make a good decision. You will be able to analyze enemy team picks, and team picks.
Working with the information you have is the first step, then you have to run a calculation of what is the most beneficial pick.
Do you want to counter an enemy champ? Do you want to pick AP, so you do not have a full AD team? Do you need a tank to protect your carries?
As you can see, there are many factors to consider, and it can be hard to make the right call. To be fair, it is debatable if there is the right call. What I do know for sure is that there are better ones and less good ones, and the best you can do is learn through experience.
Here’s my guide on how to find your main champion in LoL and how you can decide on what to play in champion select.
Read Also: Top 5 Best Top Laners to Get Out of Bronze
Tracking the Enemy Jungle as a Top Laner
As we already know, top lane is a mostly 1v1 lane, but that does not mean you should not pay attention to the enemy jungler at all. It is easy to forget about their presence, and it can cost you the game very easily.
Jungle tracking starts as soon as jungle camps spawn, where you will need to determine where enemy jungler has started their clear. You will usually do this by noticing which laners came to their lanes late.
If the enemy bot lane is coming late, it is most likely that they were giving a leash to their jungler. Since bot lane is on the opposite side of the map, you can safely assume that the enemy jungler is pathing towards you, and that they will try to take scuttler at around 3:30.
The 3:30 timer is really important because that is the time when the enemy jungle will be around the top. They might gank you to secure priority for scuttle, or they might invade your jungler. Knowing this information is crucial for securing early leads.
In most games, you will want to push in, which will allow you to make many great plays. You can deep ward and wait for the enemy to show. You can wait in the bush with your jungler and catch the enemy off guard, or if you are weaker, simply let the scuttle go.
Later in the game, it will become easy to predict the enemy jungle, as they will just go around clearing camps within the same patterns. A 75 gold investment into a ward would be great here. You can place it within the enemy jungle and it will make your game so much easier.
Controlling the Waves in Top Lane
So far, I have covered the basics that are absolutely necessary to make top lane a playable experience for you, but what comes next is the real deal. If you want to stand out from the crowd and become a great top laner you will need to learn wave management.
Wave management refers to the strategical killing of minions to create favorable lane states and positions in order to gain or extend an advantage.
There are three most common ways to manage a lane: fast push, slow push, and freeze.
These terms might seem a little random, but they will become easy to remember as you learn how they work.
is the easiest strategy to execute. You will simply want to clear all the enemy minions as fast as possible and have your minions hit the enemy tower. This will open up a window of time for you to make plays on the map, as you will not be losing any minion and gold XP.
Fast pushing will allow you to deep ward, recall and buy items, help your jungler invade, do herald, teleport, and so on.
is a little harder to execute than fast push, but it serves a similar purpose. The goal with slow push is to stack as many ally minions as possible and send them under the enemy tower.
This is done by, well, slow pushing. You will want to have a few enemy minions attacking your wave until your second wave arrives. You can then kill both enemy waves and crash the wave under the tower.
Now you will have an even better window of opportunity to make plays than you would have with fast pushing. This will force the enemy to pick between losing massive amounts of minion gold and XP or losing a fight/objective.
Read Also: 10 Best AP Top Laners
is my favorite method of wave manipulation. The goal of freezing is to consistently keep a minion wave at the desired location, usually under your tower.
This is done when you are stronger than your opponent, and it makes it easy for you to deny them CS and XP. If they try to walk up to take minions, you can usually kill them or take a huge chunk of their HP.
How to Split Push as a Top Laner?
Split pushing is one of the most employed strategies by top laners. As you have seen, there are designated champions that are made for split pushing, but other champions can use this strategy too.
Split pushing generally refers to staying on the lane and pushing while your team is grouped as 4 and defending. This is done when you are at least strong enough to handle everyone individually or when you can fight a couple of champions yourself.
When you are really strong and split pushing, the enemy will have to send at least two people to stop you. This means that your team will be in a favorable position, and they will be fighting 4v3 or 4v2, which will allow them to take objectives and win fights.
To be successful at split pushing, you need to be great at communication too. This means making use of chat and pings to let the ally team know you will not be joining their fight. If your allies die before you put out significant pressure, the enemy will just rotate to you at no cost.
This is my in-depth guide on how to split push successfully in League of Legends. Check it out if you want to learn more about it.
Read Also: How to Carry as Jungle
Top lane is an isolated lane where you will mostly be fighting your lane opponent in 1v1 battles. This makes it easy to forget about other aspects of the game and makes you vulnerable to unexpected ganks, and other disasters.
To keep winning consistently, you will need to learn to track the enemy jungle, pick a correct champion, and learn to control waves. All this will take time but working on each aspect individually is bound to make you a great player.