Much like the mid lane, the top lane is another popular lane, especially right now. There are a lot of factors contributing to this, and a big percentage of that probably has to do with it being a 1v1 lane.
Compared to the bot lane where 4 champions are involved, the top lane usually has 2 people just duking it out in a battle of wits and reflexes, and these scenarios can make for some interesting plays. Of course, choosing which champions to utilize has a big role in how it all plays out.
While League of Legends doesn’t have extreme hard counters and focuses more on how you play your champions – at least, compared to other MOBA-Esque games – there are still a lot of champions who do very well with certain tasks.
Some champions dominate in lane but can’t contribute much to clashes in contrast to other champions if they don’t snowball (Yes, we’re looking at you, Sett!), but ultimately it’s going to depend on the team composition and what your strategy is.
In solo queue, you may benefit more from these Rambo-type champions, as you can’t always coordinate well with strangers, even with the most positive attitude. However, for the purpose of this article, we’ve compiled a list of the overall top 7 best top lane champions you can choose right now, all things considered.
Also read: Best Teamfight ADCs
The ability to be anywhere at any given time with Stand United is definitely what makes The Eye of Twilight so dangerous for opponents. A 1v1 scenario from a fleeing ally could turn into a 2v1 turnaround.
While it does have a rather lengthy cooldown, the global aspect of it is well worth it. Clearly, it is great at all stages of the game but really shines the most during the mid game when the laning phase is over and people are just trying to hunt and pick off squishy targets. All of his skills synergize well and are geared towards protecting allies and absorbing damage.
Shen is an excellent duelist, especially against melee champions who rely on auto-attacks for trades. Ki Barrier gives him a shield every so often when he uses abilities, including Shadow Dash. Being manaless, he can spam Twilight Assault during trades and often comes out on top because of the shield he gets.
For the ones who benefit from auto-attacks, you can take it a step further and use Spirit’s Refuge, which basically blocks auto attacks in a small area. What most people don’t know, however, is that it also blocks attacks that apply on-hit effects, such as Ezreal’s Mystic Shot or Blitzcrank’s Power Fist.
While he does have some degree of burst, utilizing energy instead of mana and having relatively low cooldowns (save for his ultimate) makes him great for hit-and-run tactics and short skirmishes, rather than longer, drawn-out fights. Rune pages like Resolve really tie in well with Shen’s kit; so well, in fact, that it feels like it was made for him.
Shield Bash synergizes really well with Ki Barrier and Twilight Assault, and gives you high-frequency damage. Because of his kit, you can build almost exclusively as a tank-type Shen while still dishing out enough damage to prevent enemy champions from ignoring you.
He also makes great use of items like Frostfire Gauntlet just for that extra oomph when you’re dashing into the enemy lines and weaving chaos. This meta has been very kind to Shen, and it certainly shows.
Before he was a witty and strong warrior, does anybody remember when Trundle was nothing but an embodiment of disease and a hulking mass of leprosy? No? Good. Trundle right now is definitely one of the better champions for top lane, and his ability to contribute a lot during a clash in several ways while also being amazing in the lane with his sustain from King’s Tribute makes him great for trading and bullying opponents out of the lane with his sheer healing.
His kit is semi-dependent on fighting within a certain area or zone of his picking, and while he still is a beast outside of that zone, he becomes nearly unkillable within that area, especially when an enemy tank is nearby. Chomp is a spammable skill that steals attack damage from opponents, which puts a huge gap on opponents who rely on AD.
Perfect for dueling. His ultimate, Subjugate, is very much like Chomp in the sense that it steals stats from the opponent, but to a higher degree. He empowers himself by taking armor, magic resistance, and even max health. Tanks who build a lot of items, regardless of which defensive stats they gain, will find themselves squishier.
Earlier I mentioned that Trundle does well fighting in a specific area of his choosing, and that’s because Frozen Domain gives him a big boost in movement speed, attack speed, and healing regeneration while inside that area. Pillar of Ice helps keep enemies locked in that area, but has a lot of other nifty uses.
It can be used to block paths and slow enemies, and even knocks them back if they get caught within the area where it rises. His kit is built around sustain and softening tanks. While you could technically use his ultimate on anyone, it is still percentage-based, so it works a lot better on tanks.
Also read: Best Wave Clear ADCs
While I did mention Shen was an excellent duelist, Fiora isn’t called The Grand Duelist for no reason. She takes it a step further with a kit revolving around trade-offs that heavily favor her when you time her skills correctly.
Because of the timing-centric nature of her kit, you could say her skill ceiling is relatively high, especially compared to simpler champions like Trundle. Her passive, Duelist’s Dance, is what makes her so great for poke encounters. It deals a percentage of max HP, so it hurts regardless of how much HP you stack.
Riposte is basically her counter ability and allows her to parry some damage and deal some in return afterward. It is only a 0.75-second window, but it doesn’t just parry all damage, it blocks debuffs and hard CC as well. This is a skill that is difficult to use but can devastate an enemy’s combo when used correctly. This works on absolutely everything, including execute like Noxian Guillotine.
She doesn’t come without her caveats though, as she has no real CC, is very dependent on the matchup, and falls off due to lack of utility if she does fall behind. At the time of this writing, the Goredrinker and Titanic Hydra builds are still very strong on Fiora when you pair it with the Conqueror rune, as it helps your already strong trading and gives you some health back when you do decide to trade blows.
Alternatively, you could opt to go for the Trinity Force and Hull Breaker combo if split pushing is more akin to the gameplay style you are looking for. During clashes, Fiora should basically activate Grand Challenge and try to weave in and out to eliminate key target champions.
Prior to the rework, Yorick didn’t see nearly as much popularity as he did during his early debut years in Summoner’s Rift. However, mostly because of the changes with bruiser items in Season 12, champions such as Yorick have finally resurfaced. In fact, he’s actually quite a powerhouse during most stages of the game.
Mostly immobile and with a bit of a learning curve, Yorick at a glance may seem a bit daunting, however, he does bring a variety of benefits through the table that definitely rewards the efforts. As far as top lane champions go, he is excellent at split pushing. Imagine laning by your lonesome when you see Yorick and a small army casually striding towards you from the forest.
Because of this nomadic playstyle, Teleport is still a viable option despite the recent nerfs it received (only being able to teleport to structures). During the laning phase, he can actually bully most champions – even duelists – due to him being able to summon Mist Walkers with awakening. This is great for trades because Yorick won’t even need to be too near the champions to deal damage to them.
Dark Procession is a breakable crowd control that really hinders movement when your jungler ganks or during a clash. Unlike Crystallize and Pillar of Ice, however, it does not hinder your allies as they can move through it. Perfect for targeting specific enemy champions. What makes him an excellent split pusher though, is his ultimate skill Eulogy of the Isles, which summons the Maiden of the Mist.
The maiden is a persistent summon that can push the lane without Yorick being there himself. This is great if he wants to farm jungle or simply go help out another lane and often leaves him a couple of levels ahead of the opposing top laner by the time mid game rolls around.
This champion has always been good since her introduction to Summoner’s Rift, seldom seeing a bad patch for extended periods of time. She’s known for clutch plays and trades due to the sheer amount of dashes and shields she can evoke in a relatively short amount of time.
At present, nothing too big has changed about her, and at her core, she is still the same champion. Much like Fiora, she has a very high skill ceiling, but that’s what makes her so good. It gives her the potential to make amazing plays and excels in a lot of the things she aims to do.
Riven, however, does not have built-in sustain herself, so making the right calls can be detrimental to you or your opponent, depending on how it plays out. She is also very versatile, and because of her natural semi-tankiness and itemizations with the fighter patch, she can function differently depending on what your team needs, and yes, that includes being an assassin.
Broken Wings helps her zip around during a duel or clash and reposition herself, all while ending with a knock-up and some damage. Ki Burst is a stun that’s great for interrupting or canceling spell animations. Valor is yet another dash and repositioning tool that gives her a shield with a base cooldown of 6 seconds at level 4.
Blade of the Exile, along with Runic Blade, is what makes her so painful despite being mobile and tanky at the same time. Wind Slash from her ultimate is also great for catching fleeing opponents, which is unlikely they’d get away anyway because of all the dashes Riven has.
Because she has no mana to manage, she can focus on pure bruiser items like Goredrinker, Abyssal Mask, and Black Cleaver. It gives her a little bit of extra tankiness while still maintaining that annoying damage output.
Back in the early days of League, Tryndamere had what I thought at the time was a self-sustaining kit. On paper, he had everything he needed for a successful game. All the elements were there.
Fast forward to today, and this trail of thought still holds water even with all the patches the game has received. Tryndamere has everything he needs innately built-in. He gains a crit chance through his passive skill Battle Fury. Bloodlust makes him hurt exponentially the closer he is to death.
It can also be used as a makeshift healing mechanism if you’re in a pinch. Mocking Shout is a slow and reduces damage. Spinning Slash can be used to initiate and is spammable in the thick of things due to your crit percentage. He has no mana, so he doesn’t have to manage it or build sustain for mana.
All that being said, Tryndamere is really known for his ultimate skill, Undying Rage. This is his bread and butter, and it’s the reason why he can build pure damage without being a glass cannon.
Tryndamere is a very straightforward champion to play. You spin in, start smacking everyone around, then spin out when your ult is about to end. It can be unnerving at times, especially because more often than not, you’re going to be on the brink of death.
Regardless of the trends or meta, he is always a viable champion simply because of the way he is built. This, however, can be a double-edged sword. You have your standard cookie-cutter builds, and despite the changes in recent patches, perhaps only Axiom Arc is the only non-traditional item worth considering.
While it makes it relatively easy to build Tryndamere, it also makes him predictable. When played right though, it doesn’t matter too much what your opponents know, because Tryndamere is the paragon of Rambo-style jumping in and hitting anything that moves without a care in the world. Leroy Jenkins would be proud.
What makes Garen so great now is that he’s very easy to pick up and play, while also still being a viable pick in higher elos due to how innately tanky and painful he is. He suffers from the same weaknesses a typical bruiser has, such as the potential to be kited into oblivion, but he has a few tricks up his sleeve that may help alleviate such problems with proper timing and positioning.
Garen is a terrifying champion to lane against, especially during the early game. The silence and sheer damage from Decisive Strike followed by the Beyblade-Esque animation from Judgment have been a staple in the League community for as long as I can remember. Courage gives him some passive tankiness while the active effect is something similar to Alistar’s Unbreakable Will.
During the laning phase, Garen’s passive ability Perseverance gives him natural regeneration, assuming you aren’t against a poke-heavy enemy champion. His ultimate is a great execution skill that secures kills from fleeing enemies. He is a simple champion and is relatively easy to counter, but playing around your team’s composition can help out a lot.
He is versatile in the sense that he excels as a bruiser and can build towards more damage or more tankiness, while never really lacking in both. Trinity Force does wonders for him, and Garen makes use of absolutely everything except the mana it gives him. Overall, his simplicity and ability to easily execute while being forgiving of mistakes earns him a spot on this list.