The best top lane champions of Season 7
Some champions in League of Legends are just flat-out stronger than others.
For top laners, there are three archetypes of champions that fluctuate ahead of one another as the meta changes. There are splitpushers, which are champions that have weak laning presence and a weaker ability to trade damage until they get a few items. Once they get some items and can duel with their opponents, they just steamroll through the lane, taking turrets until the enemy team sends forces to stop them. For splitpushers, it’s all about drawing aggro so your team can take objectives unopposed around the map.
Then there are the support-style top laners. These are the beefiest tanks in the game, like Gragas, Galio, and Shen. They can trade damage with their lane opponent reasonably well, but their main strength comes from surviving in their lane until they can build up enough tanky items to join their team in all-out teamfights. Their crowd control and utility make them great playmakers and protectors for the team’s carries.
Finally, we have the top lane hyper carries. These champions put out insanely high damage in the blink of an eye, and can usually hit multiple targets at once with high cleave and AoE damage. They build a bit more resilient than mid lane or jungle assassins, making them oddly hard to kill for how much damage they throw out.
Some of the best top laners can fill more than one of the three archetypes, allowing them to play a more versatile style depending on what the team calls for. Others, however, fill one role so well that they fit flawlessly into certain team compositions.
This list of top-tier champions can be affected depending on a number of things. Sometimes the meta shifts for no apparent reason other than players’ tastes, but usually there’s some kind of balance change behind it. It can be difficult to keep up on the flavor-of-the-month champs, so let us do that for you.
Here’s our top lane tier list for League's Season 7 solo queue.
Champions in this tier are the strongest in the current meta, and it doesn’t take much effort to carry yourself through the ranks of solo queue with them.
If you master the Grand Duelist, there aren't many champions that will be able to counter you. She has mobility to get to ranged attackers, absurdly high true damage for tanks, a crowd control reflection, and great sustain. She's a bit difficult, but there's no other top laner in the game right now that can do as many things as well as Fiora. Her splitpushing power and high burst damage make her the ideal pick for carrying solo queue games.
Riven is a skirmisher just like Fiora, and her skill ceiling is also quite high. The thing that Riven does that other skirmishers cannot, however, is teamfight like an absolute madwoman.
All of her hardest hitting abilities are quick AoE bursts of damage, and if she can get in the proper position behind an enemy team, she can cause some mayhem. Combine her damage with items like Death's Dance and Black Cleaver, and she's also very hard to kill. Her downfall is her vulnerability to crowd control, which she handles poorly compared to Fiora.
Out of the others in the top tier, Jarvan is fairly underrated. He isn't played quite as much, but he deals comparable damage. More importantly, he can double as an effective tank if the team needs it. His versatility makes him a force to be reckoned with. He can splitpush if need be, but his true power comes from his quick crowd control and teamfighting power.
The second most powerful top laners take a little bit more effort to play well, but when executed properly, they can carry a game just as hard as the best.
The gator is another great solo queue pick because of his burst damage potential. He also works as a potent splitpusher in the right situation, but he can get out-pushed by traditional splitters like Tryndamere. His real strength lies in the fact that he deals so much damage while remaining very tanky, and his ultimate ability makes him quite a threat in teamfights.
Pantheon is often at the top of the solo queue win ladder, and it isn't because of his baking skills. It's because when it comes to cheese, there isn't a better top laner in the game. With such a low cooldown on his Q, which also deals decent damage, there aren't many champions that can deal with the constant flow of damage from Pantheon while trying to farm.
The Duke of Dunk is a very strong pick in the meta simply because of how much raw damage he deals... if you're a melee champion. If you're ranged, or a Pantheon, he's going to have a tough time getting close enough to you to deal damage, but there aren't many melee champions that can match his power early in the game. He has one of the best level one damage outputs in the game, and he's excellent at getting an early snowball rolling to run away with the match.
This is an interesting tier because champions at this level aren’t exactly strong in the meta, but if you can learn how to play them well, you can still make them work to carry games. It might require a bit of extra effort to get there though.
Galio has all the tools for pushing his lane quickly and trading a lot of damage with his lane opponent. With both his ranged ability and melee power, he can deal with pretty much any top laner. Where he really shines is his ultimate, which gives him fantastic map pressure and teamfighting prowess. Unfortunately, he suffers from the same issues as Shen. Although he's powerful, his ultimate is a total flop unless his team has more coordination than not, which typically only happens at higher elos.
Kled's ultimate is certainly more helpful in teamfights as well, but it can still be used solo, making him a little more useful in uncoordinated situations than Galio. He also clears waves quickly and has high dueling power, but he isn't placed higher than Galio on this list simply because he's fairly difficult to play. He also has a much more difficult time dealing with ranged opponents.
Aside from Riven, there aren't many AD powerhouses that can do well in a teamfight. Gangplank is one of them. With his barrels, he can deal eye popping damage to the entire enemy team in the blink of an eye. His ultimate also gives him a global presence despite being up in the top lane, something that only a few top lane champions can boast—none of which deal as much damage as Gangplank. He's extremely hard to play though, especially when compared to other global machines like Galio and Shen, and if you can't play his barrel mini game just right, he's totally useless.