Nothing better defines the top lane in League of Legends than two bulky bruisers going toe-to-toe in a gruelling, slugfest of a laning phase. In the top lane you're likely to be on your lonesome, so the ability to outplay and outlast your opponent is what separates experiences top laners from those who are new to the field.
For those wanting to stamp their mark in the top lane, you'll want to safely gather gold, look for opportunities to deal good trade damage while also playing around junglers to set up or avoid ganks. It's a careful balance of channelling your efforts both into your lane, and being aware of everything else that's happening around you.
It makes sense, then, that some of the game’s toughest hitters and tankiest damage-soakers find their home way up in the far north of Summoner’s Rift. We’ve taken a look at them all and gathered together five of the best top laners right now in League of Legends.
It's worth quickly noting that this list is by no means definitive. We're aware that League is home to many other strong heroes which can be strong in the toplane too, and we've just picked out a handful of the most popular right now - for all skill levels!
For a tank, Ornn’s damage output is surprisingly high. His kit also features a bucketload of CC, so he brings a lot of value to ganks and especially teamfights.
We’ve found him pretty scary to lane against, and that’s because of his Volcanic Rupture. Upon activation he slams the ground and sends out a fissure which deals damage and slows enemies hit. If placed well, it can catch enemies off guard and line them up nicely for a Searing Charge. It’s a deadly combo which can output easy damage with minimal risk, as he can just saunter off once he’s finished.
His Ultimate, Call of the Forge God can apply even more pressure in lane, and can set up gankers nicely. It’s also a great engage or disengage tool, but try and coordinate with your team before you smash R. If they’re in the loop, you can pull off a big wombo combo.
Hoo boy, Yorick has finally made it. He’s been a bit of a leftfield pick for a while, but is actually good now - in the right composition. Why? Put simply, he’s a magnificent lane pusher who can clear waves at light speed, and yes, even when facing a super minion wave he’s still able to push it out in seconds.
Not only does he push waves, his Last Rites has a low cooldown and high damage, meaning you can bash down turrets just as fast. If any enemies want to stop you, then they’ll need to group up as Yorick’s Maiden of the Mist and ghouls will make a 1 vs 1 almost impossible.
Yorick’s main downfall is his lack of teamfight presence and his lack of a dash. This means he’s easy to kite if the enemy has a displace, or any form of CC, really. He’s also not super tanky, which means he can’t soak up tonnes of damage and lead the charge in a fight. You’ll want to take Teleport, push lanes and wait for the opportune times to dive in.
You’ll also want to watch your early game in lane as Yorick can struggle against the likes of Aatrox or Ornn who have big damage. It’s key to be patient, wait until you’ve got some items under your belt, and your ultimate, before committing to a fight.
Another one-trick special, Singed has finally stepped into the limelight. He’s an absolute nightmare for the enemy team as he’s hard to pin down, clears waves quickly, deals a surprising amount of damage, and brings great utility to the table.
While he’s going to struggle against ranged champions in the top lane, he can more than hold his own against bruisers. Often they’ll think they’re winning a trade, but then quickly realise their health bar is getting a bit too low - all of sudden they’re dead.
We love his massive slow, his immense movement speed, and the fling. The fling is great against vulnerable enemies, as you can toss them into your team’s waiting arms, and watch as they get deleted in seconds. It’s also a fantastic panic-inducer, as enemies often underestimate how far they’ll get flung, and may have used up all of their abilities, meaning all they can do is try and run - good luck to them!
To play Singed most effectively, you’ll want to bully your lane, split push like crazy, and roam when you spot an opportunity. Take Teleport to increase your roam potential, or so you can cheekily push a lane while the enemy team is distracted.
Like many top laners, Kled has benefited enormously from the changes to Conqueror. The Rune now increases sustain, which has buffed his unmounted form immensely and means he’s able to kite, deal damage, and get back on his raptor with greater confidence.
Kled will struggle against tanks, but if you’re against someone a touch squishier, he can be really potent. All of his skills promote hard engages, and he can truly hypercarry a game through roams if he gets strong enough. Despite being centered around fighting, he has a surprising amount of utility with his Beartrap on a Rope, as well as his Ultimate which grants his entire team a big movement speed buff.
Since his big rework, Mordekaiser’s become seriously strong - his damage output is silly. His passive Darkness Rise whittles down enemy health bars, and there’s no easy escape. Then there’s his big Obliterate, followed by Death’s Grasp which reels in enemies for even more clobbering.
Then there’s Mordekaiser’s Ultimate, Realm of Death. This transports his target into, well, the Realm of Death. It’s totally separate from the Rift and it’s where Mordekaiser has a one on one showdown with whomever he pleases. If he wins, the enemy champion dies and he re-enters the Rift with better stats. This is great for dealing with a enemy you know you’ve got the edge over, so you can eliminate them from the fight quickly.
Overall, he’s quite tanky and can totally snowball out of control with only a couple of kills under his belt.
Irelia makes the list of best top lane champions as a capable duelist with excellent kill potential, while also being a strong counter to some of the other popular meta picks in top lane.
It all starts with her Ionian Fervor passive, which not only grants a stacking bonus damage buff on her basic attacks when using spells but also grants significantly extra damage when hitting enemy shields. This puts her in a strong position to counter other current top tier picks in the role – the likes of Urgot and Sion, who have shield skills as an integral part of their kit.
Irelia also excels at reducing the damage she takes from enemy attacks with a well-timed use of Defiant Dance. This not only negates a lot of incoming damage, but can then turn those blocked hits back against a target. In top, where having a health advantage over your opponent and winning damage trades if key to establishing a lead, this ability is vital.
Lastly, she can also turn on the pressure and look to nab an early kill – even solo. Flawless Duet can usually serve as decent set up by stunning and marking any target it hits. Being marked will allow Irelia to follow up with Bladesurge to dash to the enemy – and it’s cooldown will be immediately refreshed because of the mark.
From there you can all but guarantee a kill with Vanguard's Edge. This ultimate damages the enemy it hits and then surrounds the target with a wall of blades that damage, slow and disarm any unfortunate soul who runs into them. There’s very little chance they’re escaping that one!
More League of Legends guides
- 1. Jungling - LOL - Jungling guide
- 2. Carrying - LOL - Carrying guide
- 3. Duos - LOL - Best duo combo
- 4. Beginners - LOL - Best beginner champions
You might not expect a champion that wields a lamppost to be an effective choice in League of Legends but Jax is definitely up there as one of the game’s best top laners. A tough fighter, he can wildly snowball out of control and even end up winning a 1 v 5 against the entire enemy team in the most extreme circumstances.
A major strength of Jax in the top lane is his ability to duel almost any champion and come out on top in the trade. All of his skills work towards that, but perhaps the most prominent is Counter Strike. This allows him to dodge all incoming damage for a brief period and then counter by stunning all surrounding enemies. Timed well you can avoid any damage from your lane opponent and then quickly apply some poke before they can respond.
You can push that advantage even further with Empower: an ability that makes your next auto attack deal extra damage. Master the timing of this skill too and you’ll soon have a health advantage over whoever you’re facing in the top lane, forcing them to play more cautiously or back to the fountain to regain health. If they stick around you can commit to a fight, jumping in with Leap Strike and exploiting Jax’s passive which increases his attack speed with each consecutive hit.
Win the lane, get ahead on items and Jax can be an unstoppable force across the map as the match transitions into the mid-to-late game. You’ll be able to freely dive into team fights and tear through all the poor enemy champions who dare stand in your way.