Some champions in League of Legends are just flat-out stronger than others.
Mid lane is one of the game’s easiest roles to carry with, mostly because you have easy access to any other part of the map. Oh, and a lot of damage. Great mid laners are those that can effectively roam to other lanes while keeping good pressure on their own mid lane opponent. Champions that can do that well are indispensable.
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 the whole thing. It can be difficult to keep up on the flavor-of-the-month champs, so let us do it for you.
Here are our top five mid laners for League’s Patch 10.21.
- Max percent health damage
- Innate tankiness
- Global ultimate
- Melee mage
- Predictable movements
- High mana costs
Galio was one of the most contested picks in the past after his rework. After countless nerfs, though, he disappeared from the meta. He’s back to dominate it now after recent buffs that make his laning phase stronger and allow him to roam more often.
His kit is perfect against magic damage compositions or melee-oriented squads due to his ability to taunt entire teams or absorb magic damage with his passive from W. While Riot was cautious to buff him before due to his pick priority, the recently-released champions in the mid lane have kept him in check.
Resolve is the most-picked tree on Galio because he needs the additional resists to be played effectively. Aftershock enables you to survive after your initial engage and be a beacon of crowd control for your team without exploding in the first second of a teamfight. Shield Bash syncs well with your passive and W, allowing you to do huge amounts of damage in the short trades during the laning phase. Bone Plating makes you even harder to kill both in the laning phase and afterward. Overgrowth is a staple rune for most tanky champions, granting you free health as you farm.
Nimbus Cloak will make you faster in teamfights since flashing will grant you movement speed, which will allow you to catch unsuspecting enemies off guard and crowd control them. Transcendence is taken for the additional cooldown reduction since Galio’s base cooldowns are quite high due to their power.
Galio’s skill priority is the following: R>Q>W>E. Q is your wave clear and poke spell, so it should always be maxed first. There’s some flexibility with the second basic ability max, but W is usually taken more often than E due to needing to taunt enemies more often than dashing away with E. If you find yourself in a game where you need mobility more, max E after Q instead.
Farm and poke early on with your Q. Use the additional AoE damage from your passive to clear waves without wasting too much mana. Galio has high mana costs, unlike other mid lane mages, so you should be wary of every spell cast. It’s better to use spells to clear one wave instead of attempting to poke an enemy hiding behind the wave.
Once you reach level six, start pushing your wave and look for roam opportunities around the map. Your ult range is high and you should look for plays as often as possible when it’s up. The cast time is slow, but it can quickly turn the tides of battle in your favor.
As for items, build depending on what your team needs. Galio is flexible in this regard and has multiple viable build paths.
- High-impacting ultimate
- Strong single-target damage
- Has a basic ability to deny flashes/dashes
- Scales well
- No early movement speed from boots
- Skillshot reliant
- Needs to be close to melee range to deal damage
Cassiopeia has a medium skill floor and a high-skill cap. She is one of the best champions to practice a lot. The more time put into her, the better you will understand your limits. Her lack of boots hurts her laning phase toward the mid game, but that’s compensated later on by an additional item slot.
Cassiopeia is one of the best Conqueror and Ravenous Hunter users. The keystone grants her the needed ability power early on, alongside great healing capabilities when combined with the Domination tree. Presence of Mind will grant you the ability to spam your E to kill enemies quickly in teamfights, while Ravenous Hunter will keep you topped up on health both during the laning phase and in teamfights.
If you feel the need to have more mobility, however, then you might want to go for the Sorcery tree combined with either Precision or Domination. Phase Rush is one of the best keystones if you need movement speed considering how easy it is to activate with Cassiopeia.
Cassiopeia’s skill priority is the following: R>E>Q>W. Maxing E first will allow you to poke enemies down quickly if caught with a Q or W, while also allowing you to last hit more efficiently. Q second will let you keep up the movement speed buff longer in teamfights, allowing you to compensate for the lack of boots in your inventory.
Cassiopeia needs to rush Tear of the Goddess as soon as possible. Archangel’s Staff is the core item on her. It enables her to be a terror in both pro play and solo que. With Archangel’s Staff charged, you can start forcing plays with aggressive ultimates. When the enemy goes all-in, you can pop the shield and turn on them. Cassiopeia deals a lot of damage with her E spam on poisoned enemies, so try to poison them before you start spamming E.
If lane is going quite poorly, then look to stack up Doran Rings to help yourself out early on while you stack your Tear. After Archangel’s Staff, you want to focus on getting Liandry’s Torment to become an unstoppable machine who deals a lot of maximum health percent damage.
In teamfights, aim to use your W to deny important dashes or flashes from opponents and save your ultimate until the enemy dives you. Don’t use it too early on one target only.
- Low-cd flash with ultimate
- Strong AoE damage
- Scales really well
- Weak laning phase
- Requires constant jungler attention vs ranged AD matchups
Kassadin is one of the best mid laners to carry with once you have items and have reached your power spike. While his weaknesses can be minimized with proper rune and item builds, he still needs time to scale to be effective. Once you reach level 16, you become completely unstoppable and your chances of losing are slim if you juggle around a teamfight properly.
This is a self-sustaining rune build. Kassadin is flexible and can use all trees effectively. We recommend going with this since it’ll help out in most matchups and won’t need much tweaking.
The Precision primary tree is strong on Kassadin. Fleet Footwork grants a lot of needed sustain and some movement speed to avoid ganks. Presence of Mind allows you to dominate teamfights by giving you the mana to spam your ultimate, Coup de Grace grants extra damage to finish off opponents and Legend: Alacrity allows you to do your combo faster.
Domination as a second tree helps you out tremendously during the laning phase by giving you additional healing capabilities, which are amplified when you get some kills on the enemy champions.
Kassadin’s skill priority is the following: R>Q(rank three)>E>Q(rank five)>W. While Q is the only ranged ability and allows you to farm single minions or poke out the enemy champion, E is your primary wave clear tool and you need to max it as soon as possible. If you’re facing a heavy AP-focused team, you can max out Q first instead. If you’re facing a heavy AD-focused team, you can max out E while keeping Q at rank one until level nine. W should be maxed last regardless of your situation because the damage and utility from Q and E grossly outweigh the damage bonus from W.
Kassadin scales well with items and experience. He’s weak before level six, and as a result, you need to pay attention to the trades you take. It’s fine to let minions die without last-hitting them, as long as you get the needed experience to survive the laning phase. Once you reach level six, you can switch to an aggressive playstyle and engage on enemies with your ultimate. But without your ultimate, you’re walking bait for the enemy jungler. Your main goal should be to get Rod of Ages as soon as possible, alongside Archangel’s Staff. These two items will make you insanely strong and hard to deal with.
A third important item to make you an unkillable machine is Zhonya’s Hourglass. You can engage then use it to bait out enemy ultimates and come out of it unscathed to clean up your opponents.
If the game doesn’t go too well early on, you can focus on getting to level 11 or 16. These levels grant you access to the second and third levels of your ultimate, respectively. A level 16, Kassadin usually never loses the game since the mobility granted with your rank three ult is unmatched by most champions in the game. The damage on it is just a bonus to how overpowered he becomes.
- Great CC as a basic ability
- Queen of laning phase
- Can one-shot most squishy champions
- High mana costs
- Scales poorly into later stages of the game
Ahri rose in popularity following the shift in power from her Q to her passive. She is no longer a CC Glacial Augment bot and can purchase ability power-oriented items to be much more efficient compared to her previous iteration. While the feel won’t be the same as in previous years, she does feel like a burst mage now more than a utility mage.
The Romination path is core on Ahri, granting you Electrocute for additional burst, Taste of Blood with Ravenous Hunter for Sustain and Eyeball Collection for some additional ability power. Electrocute scales well into the mid to late game, making you a huge threat as the game goes by.
The secondary rune page is more flexible with Manaflow Band and Transcendence. But if you need more sustain, you can go for Inspiration for Biscuit Delivery alongside Time Warp Tonic for a much easier laning phase.
Ahri’s skill priority is R>Q>E>W. Maxing Q is essential on Ahri since it acts as your primary tool to wave clear and poke the enemy down. E is maxed second for the additional charm duration and the ability to deny dashes more often. W is maxed last even though it’s a good ability to farm up. It’s utility is much smaller compared to Q or E.
Ahri has a clear game plan. You want to farm up and get your core item of Luden’s Echo, which makes you a very deadly mage. If your game is going well you can go for a Dark Seal and then upgrade to Mejai’s Soulstealer for extra ability power. Roam frequently if your lane is pushed so that you can aid your teammates and stack up Eyeball Collection.
Going into the mid-game, purchase an Oracle Lens and aim to clear vision and pick off enemies who wander into the fog of war. Your burst combo of E into Q and W does a lot of damage to squishy champions, and you can follow up with R if the enemy attempts to fight back or escape.
Into the later stages of the game, aim for creative flanks using your ultimate charges to delete squishy carries. Focus on targets who don’t have Banshee’s Veil or Quicksilver Sash so that you won’t get denied when you attempt to kill them.
- No mana
- High skill cap
- One of the rewarding mastered champions in the game
- Weak against tanks
- Hard to come back if behind
Zed is one of the most popular assassins on the Rift with whom the arguably best League of Legends player Faker became known for. The skill cap is tremendous and the difference between a one-game Zed and a one-hundred-game Zed can be easily seen.
The recent revert of his nerf from Season 3 brought him back to terrorize the Rift once again.
Zed excels at dealing huge amounts of damage in short periods of time and getting out unscathed before the opponents realize what happened to them. The Domination primary Keystone aids his goal considering it gives you Electrocute which you can proc easily, Cheap Shot to ensure you have enough sustain to reach your power spikes, Eyeball Collection for the additional AD and Ultimate Hunter for that low cooldown on your ultimate.
There’s a couple of viable secondary rune pages, with Sorcery being the most popular one for the additional cooldown reduction and Scorch for additional damage.
Zed’s skill priority is: R>Q>E>W. You want your main damaging ability in Q to be maxed out as soon as possible. Afterwards you want to focus on maxing E to increase your burst potential. While W is an amazing ability, the additional damage from Q and E outweigh the utility from the W.
Zed is an early to mid-game assassin who excels at getting in and out in a couple of frames before enemies realize what happened. You have a lot of damage early on but at the same time you become vulnerable if you use your shadow aggressively.
Balance out aggressive with safe plays during the laning phase, look for opportunities to land a deadly W>E>Q combo on the enemy when he tries to last hit. Once you reach level six, start looking for opportunities to kill your opposing laner or go for a roam on the side lanes.
As you slowly grow in power with your lethality item spikes, you’ll reach a plateau in the mid-game unless you are extremely fed. It’s important to look for opportunities by split pushing, ambushing opponents to end the game before that point, otherwise you’ll get out-scaled and lose the game.