I’ve recently been looking through op.gg to see how the top players in challenger who main Top lane are able to carry their solo queue games so consistently, focusing on which champions they play, as well as the runes/masteries/item builds used, and thought I would write a post to share the knowledge.
DISCLAIMER: This isn’t meant to be a definitive explanation of every high challenger top laner, or every champion that they play. I’ve just picked a few of the most popular to keep this brief, and because they are the easiest to explain what I learned.
I also appreciate that many of these item builds are not surprising to people who know the champion, and are by no means new. However, some of them are slightly changed from what was previously done, and I wanted to be consistent regardless, so I have included the most common builds for all champions mentioned.
Masteries – http://i.imgur.com/1cTCeNu.png (the 3rd point in summoner’s insight vs 1 point in strength of spirit is preference)
Phart uses either 21/9 (which he mostly uses against irelia), or an alternative page which no one else I saw uses if he’s less worried about dying to an all-in http://i.imgur.com/XuGRFRp.png
Starting Skill Order – Q>W/E (some go Q>W, some Q>E, some take a 2nd point in Q at level 3, other’s take their 3rd spell. The only rules are start Q, and have all spells, with 2 points in Q at level 4).
Skill Max Order – Everyone maxes Q first. Maxing E next is most common, but other options are to max W 2nd, or to take 3 points in W, and then max E before finishing leveling W. That is because 3 points in W will let you 1 shot the ranged minions with a Q and W, and also gives a longer stun against champions who dive on you like irelia.
Item builds – Ionian Boots of Lucidity are taken 90% of the time in the games I saw. The build is fairly standard AP, with a combination of Rabadon’s Deathcap, Void Staff, Zhonyas, Morellonomicon, and Abyssal Scepter. Depending on match up and player preference, the first item is either Zhonyas/Abyssal/Morellonomicon. It is quite common to get all three of those, prioritising resists over flat AP (Phart seems to do this every game), while there are instances where players went for an early void staff if the enemy are stacking Magic Resist.
-A second Doran’s ring is popular, but optional.
-Can replace seals with Armour/level and glyphs with Magic Resist or Magic Resist/level.
-The CDR or Attack Speed is preference, as is going 21/9 or 21/0/9. Phart also uses his 21/6/3 page.http://i.imgur.com/umZrmmR.png
Starting Skill Order – E>Q>Q>W to shield yourself and auto attack to win trades at level 1 or Q>E>Q/W to poke/farm from range (also provides better minion wave control).
Skill Max Order – Q>W>E
Item builds – Lulu is a champ who wants as much flat AP as possible to increase her utility and the heal on her ult. She also wants to try to cap CDR to increase her utility further. The most common start is a doran’s ring into either Morellonomicon or an Athene’s Unholy Grail if Magic Resist is needed. Some people also take Abyssal Scepter first against high AP teams like laning against Cassiopiea with Nidalee Jungle.
After that, in no particular order Rabadon’s Deathcap, Void Staff, Zhonyas, Lich Bane, Mejai’s Soulstealer (since it gives high AP, and Lulu usually gets lots of assists without dying), Abyssal Scepter, and occassionally Banner of Command
-Ionian Boots of Lucidity are almost always bought on Lulu.
Maokai is one of the most versatile top laners in regards to Runes and Masteries. His spells encourage additional magic damage through magic penetration and ability power, while his passive encourages him to have more hp, as well as more attack speed to get as many procs on the passive in team fights without having spells that are used before you can reset the counter. And since attack speed is good, getting some early AD can be helpful in certain lane match ups as well.
There is a player named ? ??? who is currently rank 40 who almost exclusively plays Maokai, so I will base this mostly on his style, but will try to mention the differences that other players use.
I will only provide the runes, masteries and skill order used for the jungle, as ? ??? is not consistent with his item builds (or his skill order but that’s simpler), and this is not a post about jungling. The support section will also be very brief for the same reason.
- Runes – TOP: http://i.imgur.com/hbYSI8p.png
The above page is most popular, but some other players replace these with:-
Magic Penetration, Attack Speed
Flat Magic Resist, Cool Down Reduction, Cool Down Reduction/level
JUNGLE: http://i.imgur.com/4MzpFmf.png (Quintessences are Attack Speed)
SUPPORT: http://i.imgur.com/lYRasxL.png (the Quintessences are HP)
- Masteries – TOP: http://i.imgur.com/KJ6pD7Y.png  vs high AP teams,http://i.imgur.com/ZMqEScu.png  vs AD.
- Starting Skill Order – TOP: E>Q>W>Q for fast level 2 on a jungle camp and/or scouting at level 1.
JUNGLE: Q>W>E>Q or E>Q>E>W or E>Q>W>Q
Skill Max Order – Q>W>E
Item builds – TOP: Doran’s ring to start > a catalyst item (Rod of Ages/Righteous Glory) > Frozen Heart/Spirit Visage > Thornmail
-Both frozen heart and Spirit Visage are bought, but order is dependent on lane match up and team comps.
-Items to complete the build are Randuin’s Omen, Warmogs, Banshee’s Veil (in addition to Spirit Visage), Abyssal Scepter.
-Boots are Mercury Treads or Ninja Tabis.
-A second Doran’s ring is popular, but optional.
SUPPORT: Relic Shield > Targon’s Brace > Mobility Boots > Sightstone > Face of the Mountain
-Finish the build with whichever is needed for the team out of Frozen Heart / Locket of the Iron Solari / Spirit Visage / Sunfire Cape (with Ninja Tabis) / Righteous Glory.
Since SKT T1 MaRin is currently rank 1 on Korean Challenger with lots of recent Rumble games, and 10?????? is rank 10 with Rumble as his most played champion, this section is mostly based on them.
- Runes – http://i.imgur.com/iGSwTx6.png
-MaRin likes to run Armour/level (or occassionally flat Armour) instead of hp/level and against Sion he uses 3 flat Magic Resist and 6 Magic Resist/level glyphs, which is used by many different players on many different champions as their preferred magic resist runes.
- Masteries – http://i.imgur.com/ENGiRbg.png
-MaRin takes 2 points out of CDR in favour of Butcher and Feast. He also replaces Expose Weakness with Arcane Blade.
Starting Skill Order – Q>W>Q>E or Q>W>E>Q
Skill Max Order – Q>E>W (MaRin usually takes a second point in W before maxing E)
Item builds – Starting items are either Boots+4, Cloth+5, Ruby Crystal, Doran’s Shield, or Amplifying Tome.
In the early/mid game most players build a combination of Sorcerer’s Shoes, Haunting Guise, and/or Seeker’s Armguard depending on the match up.
The item’s finished after that point are Zhonyas Hourglass, Liandries Torment, Void Staff, Abyssal Scepter (which is often rushed as first item in hard match ups vs ranged AP), and Rabadon’s Deathcap.
- Runes – http://i.imgur.com/z4kONoi.png vs AD
-Phart takes Hybrid Penetration marks.
-There are 2 variations in Ryze masteries from what I’ve seen. The first is whether you go 0/9/21 or 9/0/21. The other is whether you take starting gold and the Bandit mastery, or more Mana and Movement Speed.
- Starting Skill Order – Q>W>E>Q or Q>W>Q>E
-Start W for invades.
Skill Max Order – Q>W>E
Item builds – Sapphire Crystal is the only starting item used.
-Tear of the Goddess is taken first, followed by catalyst > Rod of Ages, but a Glacial Shroud is bought before finishing RoA against AD lanes (e.g. Hecarim).
-Next tier 2 boots are finished, which is usually Socerer’s Shoes if possible (e.g. low CC enemy team), otherwise Mercury Treads or Ninja Tabis as appropriate.
-Then the Archangel’s Staff is finished if the game is going well, or finish Frozen Heart if more Armour is needed urgently. Then either Void Staff or Banshee’s Veil/Spirit Visage depending on what is needed.
-If laning is hard due to magic damage, an early Spectre’s Cowl is bought before continuing on with the build.
Some honorable mentions that I thought were quite interesting and unusual, yet still successful.
I have found a player named ?? ????? who is currently rank 48 in challenger, who is in a lot of games with players such as MaRin, Faker, and Phart who almost exclusively plays Master Yi in lane (top/mid/adc) with ignite. http://i.imgur.com/tmeUtis.png / http://i.imgur.com/ng1ToW0.png
He also runs an almost identical build every game.
Runes – http://i.imgur.com/q30PHjg.png
Masteries – http://i.imgur.com/HuXfo41.png
Starting Skill Order – Q>E>Q>W is most common, but occassionaly Q>E>W>Q against lanes that harass a lot early.
Skill Max Order – Q>E>W
Item builds – Blade of the Ruined King > Youmuu’s Ghostblade > Randuin’s Omen/Banshee’s Veil > final Item
Boots are Mercury Treads or Ninja Tabis, and are usually finished before 3rd item is started, with basic boots usually (but not always) bought during building the BotRK.
Both Randuin’s Omen and Banshee’s Veil are bought every game, but the order is game dependent. They are the 3rd and 4th item (not including boots).
The final item is usually a Last Whisper or a Maw of Malmortius (if Maw, hexdrinker is sometimes built earlier in the build). However, his games rarely last that long, so it’s hard to see all of the options.
Here is one of the few games where he actually won as ADC Master Yi http://i.imgur.com/QB6eATW.png  He bought Last Whisper as his 6th Item, but sold it for the Maw of Malmortius. He then sold his Youmuu’s Ghostblade for an Infinity Edge.
Jin Air TrAce has recently been spamming Nautilus Top in Solo Queue with great success, so I thought I’d share how he’s been doing it. He only has 14 games on it so far (with a 71% win rate!), and it’s been evolving as he’s been doing it, but it’s pretty cool nonetheless.
Runes – http://i.imgur.com/etGovl6.png
Starting Skill Order – W>E>E>Q or W>E>Q>E
Skill Max Order – E>W>Q
Item builds – He usually starts Doran’s Ring, but has started flask against Lissandra.
-He gets 2 Doran’s Rings and then a Rod of Ages before basic boots, then gets Mercury Treads (hasn’t built ninja tabi’s once so far).
-Last week his build then had him buy a Banner of Command, but recently he has changed to getting a Wit’s End.
-He then finishes off his build with Frozen Heart, and any of Spirit Visage, Banshee’s Veil, Randuin’s Omen, Warmogs, and/or Thornmail.