How to play top lane
Top lane due to its location and current meta is definitely an outstanding position in the game. The fact that we are alone in SoloQ for most of the game means that for some people, carring with Top may seem impossible. My name is Musialinio and I have been dealing with Coaching for over 4 years, and in this article I will present you 10 tips that will show you how to play and carry from Top Lane in season 9.
1 – Before you start…
You must know that Toplaners can play the following roles in a team:
- Splitpusher – We are a lone wolf, whose task is to stay on the side lane to remove towers, inhibitors and create pressure on the other side of the map more than the rest of our team.
Best splitpush champions → Jax, Fiora, Camille.
- Teamfighter – In teamfights we feel like a fish in the water, and a well-played R can pull the team out of the worst trouble. Most of these champions are also relatively tanky compared to other ones.
Teamfight Top Laners → Ornn, Gnar, Malphite.
- Lane bully – A popular choice since the addition of turret platings, the game consists in constantly poking the enemy toplaner using a larger range, having pressure on the lane and pushing the tower. Usually we also have slightly higher damage than other toplaners and / or utility for our team.
Lane bully Top laners → Viktor, Karma, Teemo
- DMG carry – We want to safely feed our necessary items to deal tons of damage (aoe or not) after the laning phase
Dmg Carry Top Laners → Vladimir, Ryze, Akali
It is worth noting that some champions are able to perform more than one role, depending on the run and build.
2 – Which Top Laner should you choose?
The answer is very simple – the best at the current meta and the one that you feel confident and comfortable with!
Akali, Pantheon, Vladimir, Renekton, Irelia ◄ Those are best champions for TopLane rankeds in Patch 9.20
Also remember to ask yourself questions at each Champion Select:
- Do I know which champion I will play?
If YES – which champion should you choose to win the lane?
If NO – which champion should I choose so that I can not lose the lane, regardless of the enemy pick?
- What does my team need? Do we have a tank and do we need it at all?
- Do we need AD / AP damage?
- Do we need cc / engage?
3 – Ignite or Teleport?
Teleport because of its versatility is definitely a better spell than ignite. A single teleport can win the game if it is used at the right time. However, this usually requires understanding the map, macro play, wave management and the team’s appropriate response to the teleport.
Ignite, on the other hand, is much simpler to use. It has a cooldown twice smaller than TP and helps to win lines much more, which in SoloQ itself is one of the most important factors determining the winning game.
We recommend taking Teleport:
- Any Top Laner with a weak matchup
- Experienced Top laners who thoroughly understand a number of dependencies associated with the use of TP
- A champion created for Split push
We recommend taking Ignite:
- Beginners and players on low Silver / Gold divisions
- In the case of the Lane Bully champion type: Renekton / Pantheon
4 – Powerspike with leveling
Surely you happened to die a few times in a fight, because suddenly the enemy hit a level and unlocked a skill that was crucial and contributed to your death.
The advantage of a single skill over an enemy is very important, and at the same time incredibly underestimated by the vast majority of players not only in low divisions such as bronz, but even in diamonds!
Read carefully and remember the information below, because from now on it will allow you to predict when you will unlock the second, third, and final skill of your champion!
- Level 2 – one whole wave + 1 melee minion or 2 range minions
- Level 3 – 2 whole waves + 3 melee past
- Level 6 – 2 melee minions or 1 melee + cannon from the wave that appears on the lane at 5:30
All you have to do is learn how to start fighting to surprise your enemy with a level advantage and you’ll never lose the lane again!
5 – Position of the enemy jungler
Often, the moment of the appearance of the enemy toplaner on the lane can tell us which camp in the jungle the enemy jungler started with.
If our enemy laner was on the lane right away – then enemy jungler probably started the game with a buff on the other side of the map. This means that in about one and a half minutes he will be at your lane – it can get dangerous! It is worth in this case to protect yourself with a ward placed in the right place around 2:30.
If the enemy was late – he probably helped the enemy jungler with a buff on your side of the map.
- If this jungler is Jarvan IV, Xin Zhao or any other type of champion who can gank on level 2, then you should consider a very early gank. In this situation, you have to put a ward almost immediately after the arrival of the minions!
- However, if the enemy jungler plays other champion, then you are safe for about 4 minutes because he goes to the other side of the map
6 – Don’t fight in minions!
Minions are often treated by players as harmless sacks of money that open if we kill them. In fact, killing them is important and gives us a lot of gold during the game, but it is equally important to avoid fighting in a large cloud of minions, especially in the early stages of the game.
Why? They just inflict HUGE DAMAGE.
Two trivial rules:
- Try not to fight in the enemy minions or do not do it for too long
- When an enemy makes this mistake, don’t panic and stay close to your minions
7 – Best Top Lane build
No champion in the game has one, universal and best build that will work in every game. One items perform better or worse depending on the enemy on the lane and its entire team. There is one rule – Adapt yourself to the situation!
A few examples of Top lane builds:
- Ninja Tabi are the OP item when we play against Yasuo / Tryndamere / Irelia / Renekton / Jax ► These champions rely mainly on auto attacks
- When we play a Tank the Specter’s Cowl will be a great choice when we play against AP, such as Karma / Vladimir / Akali
8 – Use the bushes during the fight
The so-called playing with vision is another technique that allows you to win fights. Thanks to the fact that you hide in the bush for a moment and disappear from the field of view of the enemy, you create a chance that the enemy will make a mistake and, for example, will attack the minion instead of you or enemy skill will not cast to the end, which may prove crucial in the 1v1 fight.
Similarly, do not get beat in this way! If you are determined to fight hard and see that the oenemy is escaping to the bush – put a ward in them to avoid unnecessary mistakes during the fight!
9 – I pushed the lane. What now?
First of all, don’t stand by your enemy tower idly! You have no benefit from doing nothing, so we want to be active as often as possible.
What can we do?
- Keep fighting – knock your enemy under the tower / take tower plates (it’s worth remembering to proclaim demolish if you have him) or even kill the enemy if you have the right chamion ► If you don’t know where the enemy jungler is, it’s not worth the risk. ◄
- Go down to the enemy jungle – while the enemy is busy with the farm under the tower, we can go down and place a ward, e.g. at the roadside. Thanks to this, we will be able to notice the enemy jungler and predict his possible gank!
- Roam to mid – if the enemy midlaner is easy to catch and additionally pushes, he asks for punishment himself!
- Descent to the river – On the river waiting for Honeyfruit that will renew our HP and Mana, and Scuttle Crab which we will easily kill with a champion with CC
- Return to base – if none of the above options seems reasonable, it’s worth just going back to the base, buying some parts of items and renewing your HP.
Remember that your push must have a reason. Never push for no reason!
10 – Communication with the jungler
If your enemy used some flash or ultimate during the fight, which could help him escape, write your jungler or ping the skill. Without it your enemy is a much easier target and will definitely encourage your jungler to gank.
- You managed to win the 1v1 fight against Malphite, who had to used his ultimate to escape. If your jungler is nearby, and you are able to quickly push past the turret of the enemy, encourage your jungler to dive. This is a free kill!
These were 10 basic tips that should outline your way to winning the top lane! For those who want to go to a much higher level, I invite you to personal coaching. I will be happy to show you how to play top lane well! Link below