Range plays a significant role in the top lane and often determines the outcome of the early game.
When you lock in a ranged pick into a melee opponent, you essentially double your chances of victory early on. This is because ranged champions can constantly harass melees with auto-attacks and abilities to force them out of lane.
This constant threat can only be countered by top laners with lots of gap-closers, such as Jax or Wukong. However, their dashes are not always useful if you’re careful and use your range to trade favorably every time.
In this post, I’ll delve deep into the 5 best-ranged tanks you can play in the top lane as well as how you can use their kits to create massive advantages early on.
Buckle up and let’s go.
Before we go any further, let me just touch on Veigar tank briefly and give you a few reasons why he may be the perfect pick for you.
For starters, Veigar is an easy champion to play. And even though his ability kit consists of multiple skill shots, they’re easy to land once you place your enemy in his E. So if you don’t wanna bother with learning new mechanics, lock in Veigar and don’t bother reading on.
On the other hand, Veigar’s passive allows him to stack bonus AP throughout the game. This means that your damage rises as the match goes on regardless if you’re winning, losing, building ability power items or not.
What this does is that it allows you to focus on building tank items and stacking magic resist or armor, depending on what you need. In the late game, you’ll still be able to one-shot the enemy ADC, so you don’t have to worry about being useless.
In fact, Veigar’s E is one of the most useful CC abilities for teamfights. This alone makes you a valuable addition to your team.
Now add the fact that you’re likely going to be unkillable with a full set of defensive items, so the playstyle is extremely fun.
Here I have my full guide on Veigar tank if you want to check the runes and items I personally use.
Vayne is arguably the most hated top lane pick in League of Legends. Because of her hard-hitting auto-attacks, she’s able to bully ANY melee pick in the top lane and dominate the early game.
However, the most cancerous build you can run on Vayne top is her off-meta tank build.
If you haven’t seen the videos on YouTube, Vayne tank usually runs items like Titanic Hydra, Frozen Heart, Bloodthirster, and even Death’s Dance. Coupled with her Shieldbow as her mythic, Vayne becomes literally unkillable in the late game.
Early on, you still have to be careful and not overextend when the enemy jungler is pathing top side. But you do want to pressure the enemy player and use Vayne’s passive to land true damage hits as much as possible.
Speaking of, the true damage from Vayne’s W will provide you with enough damage in the mid and late game. You’ll still be a good counter to all tanks against you, especially your lane opponent.
Read Also: Top 10 Best Tanks in League of Legends
Ryze has always been a good off-meta top lane pick. He brings a couple of good tools to the role, including magic damage, decent escape, and flexibility in his build path.
As an AP mage, Ryze can be a good option if your team is primarily AD. Since he scales very well in the late game, you don’t have to worry about not having enough damage.
This frees you up to go for optional items such as Frozen Heart, Spirit Visage, and Warmog’s Armor. Of course, you can also opt for something like Zhonya’s Hourglass or Banshee’s Veil to further increase your defensive options.
The cool thing about Ryze is that you can rely on your ultimate to get out of sticky situations after level 6. This allows you to play even more aggressively and punish the opponent for every CS they want to get.
The key thing on Ryze is keeping up with farming early on. But if you have even a bit of experience with this champion, you can easily do this by E>Q>E>Q the minions after level 5.
So, he’s a great pick I really recommend!
Swain is another mage with lots of sustain. Once you pick a few items on him, you become really unkillable during your R. Yes, you have to be very careful when you activate it but the ability has generally a low cooldown so you can use it every fight.
Although Swain scales fantastically well in the mid and late game, his laning phase is particularly strong too. For example, he can grab the melee opponent with E and harass them with Q when they try to take CS.
These tools make Swain a menace in the top lane so he doesn’t have too many counters in the role. He’s generally squishier than pure top lane tanks, but he also deals more damage than them, so… you get the point.
As for the actual items, I really like going for Spirit Visage early on because it gives you more healing during Swain’s ultimate. You can couple it with Zhonya’s Hourglass and Gargoyle Stoneplate for the ultimate defensiveness. And your mythic item can always be Rod of Ages.
With this lineup of items, you’re likely to dominate the battlefield of each teamfight. You can get in between the enemy team, activate your R and survive long enough to allow your team to ACE the enemy.
That’s the real fun of playing Swain tank.
And finally, we have Karma. Even pro players have been taking advantage of Karma’s tank build for years now. This really speaks of the potential this pick has at countering traditional top lane picks.
For starters, Karma is a notorious champion when it comes to poking. Her Q is on a 2-seconds cooldown and she can repeatedly use it to harass melees when they try to farm. Not to mention that she can also empower it with her R from level 1.
On level 3, Karma’s W+Q combo is scary to any top lane champion because she can also shield herself to make sure the trade ends up in her favor.
Unlike the other AP mages on this list, Karma can build in any possible way she wants. First, she can focus on supportive items if she needs to. Second, she can build as many AP items as she needs. And third, she can dump everything and go full tank.
For the third option, I highly recommend Spirit Visage for the extra healing as well as Turbo Chemtank and Force of Nature. These items are likely to make you unkillable, especially when you activate your empowered W.
There are other effective ranged champions that you can build tanky to accomplish the same mission.
For example, building Vladimir tanky is always a good option. And there’s a really fun off-meta Teemo tank build that terrorizes so many top laners nowadays.
But I’d recommend you stay with these 5 if you’re looking for quick success.