Best top lane builds in League of Legends’ 2021 preseason

Be the frontline your team needs with these builds.

Image via Riot Games

With the recent item system rework in the 2021 League of Legends preseason, most top laners don’t know what to rush anymore due to the vast amount of changes the game has gone through. The loss of mana and ability haste on plenty of core items forces top laners to think about their build now instead of just rushing the same items in every game.

This list includes top lane builds for most archetypes, which should you give you a brief idea of what to build in every game to have a good head start in season 11 of League.

Here are some of the best preseason top lane builds.

Tank

Runes

Screengrab via Riot Games

The top lane is the home of most tanks. While there are plenty of viable builds for tank top laners, the Resolve tree is the primary option due to its tank-oriented runes. You want to get Aftershock to become an unkillable machine due to its effect for the first couple of seconds of a gank or teamfight. Other useful runes are Conditioning and Overgrowth to make you stronger the longer the game goes on. Due to the amount of magic resistance and armor you’ll get from items, Conditioning will prove useful once you have a couple of items.

The ideal secondary tree is Inspiration for the free Boots of Speed alongside some Item Haste and Summoner Spell Haste. If you prefer to get some more Tenacity, go for the Precision tree.

Items

Screengrab via Riot Games

The reworked tank items are quite busted, allowing most champions who can build one or two of the ones shown above to quickly become a force on the Rift. Sunfire Aegis is your core tank item to help you farm up and do a lot of damage in teamfights. Its ramp-up effect is significant and can help you quickly take down squishies.

Mercury’s Treads: This is a great boot choice to increase your tenacity and magic resistance. Against AD champions, aim to get Plated Steelcaps early on instead.

Sunfire Aegis: This is one of the most busted items in the game right now. It has a stacking effect on top of its old damage effect, making it strong for any tank champion in the game. While it used to be strong even before the rework, now it’s become one of the best items in the game.

Demonic Embrace: Most tanks have AP ratios, so this item feels quite busted. Once you add up the damage from it with Sunfire, you become deadlier than an assassin.

Thornmail: With so many healing effects in the game, it’s important to have some healing reduction—and this item is the best option for that. It feels great to acquire Thornmail due to its cheap build path.

Randuin’s Omen: Reworked Randuin’s has a great passive, reducing incoming damage from basic attacks by five per 1,000 max health. Rushing this item, however, shouldn’t be your priority since you need some health for it to become effective.

Frozen Heart: This item is still great, solving your mana issues while also providing the AoE attack-speed debuff. This makes it feel impactful with so many champions who rely on attack speed.

Bruiser

Runes

Screengrab via Riot Games

Going for the Precision tree and Resolve secondary has remained a priority for most bruisers. Precision gives you access to Conqueror, which is one of the strongest runes in the game. The tree also has Legend: Tenacity for the reduced crowd-control duration and Last Stand to make you a huge threat the lower your health is.

Resolve has Bone Plating to make you harder to kill during a gank and Overgrowth to ensure you get a lot of health in the later stages of the game.

Items

Screengrab via Riot Games

The new Mythic items are beneficial to bruisers, opening up a lot of build paths. You can either go for the usual Trinity Force or explore other items, such as the Goredrinker. The item gives you an active similar to Darius Q, making you hard to kill regardless of what you build afterward.

Plated Steelcaps: This is a great boot choice, granting you a lot of armor and a strong passive that reduces the damage from attacks by a flat percent. If you’re facing several AP-oriented champions or champs with a lot of crowd control, pick up Mercury’s Treads instead.

Goredrinker: This is essentially Darius Q as a Mythic item. The stats granted by the item are amazing. You’ll get all the stats you want as a bruiser—health, attack damage, and ability haste—alongside the Darius Q active, which scales with ability haste as well.

Ravenous Hydra: This item has been slightly reworked, but it still has a passive cleave to help you shove waves. The stats granted by the item remain a focal point of it, so acquiring Ravenous Hydra should be a priority for you just like before.

Sterak’s Gage: This item went through a slight rework, but it’s still a great option for bruisers to make you beefier. The reworked shield feels much better to use now, too.

Chempunk Chainsword: With so much healing in the game, having an item to reduce that is great. Before, there weren’t that many choices. But now, all archetypes have at least one option—and this is yours.

Death’s Dance: This item was slightly reworked during the itemization overhaul, losing its magic resistance. Its effect and other stats are mostly unchanged, making Death’s Dance a great pickup regardless of losing the magic resistance.

AD ranged

Runes

Screengrab via Riot Games

This archetype is still going strong in the top lane with notorious champions such as Lucian, Vayne, Quinn, or Jayce. They all benefit from the Precision tree, which gives you access to great runes such as Press the Attack to increase your burst damage early on, Legend: Alacrity for the free attack speed, and Cut Down to take down those beefy tanks.

The secondary tree is flexible for this archetype, but going for Nimbus Cloak feels great due to how busted the rune is. It gives you a huge burst of movement speed after you use a summoner spell, allowing you to escape a lost fight.

Items

Screengrab via Riot Games

While there are various efficient build paths for this archetype, the attack speed oriented one above should help you learn the ropes of this playstyle before you transition to more snowball-focused builds, such as lethality. The core Mythic item here is Kraken Slayer with its true damage on-hit effect every three attacks.

Berserker’s Greaves: This is the best boot choice for attack speed based champions. It grants you a lot of attack and movement speed early on and can be rushed as a first item.

Kraken Slayer: While initially seen as underwhelming, this item gives everyone Vayne’s passive from W, allowing you to do a lot of true damage the more AD you have. The build path has cheap components, too, so it feels great to rush early on.

Blade of the Ruined King: The reworked BotrK is still great to acquire. Instead of relying on its active, you’ll have it as a passive effect on a much shorter cooldown, making you a huge threat every 20 seconds.

Stormrazor: This item hasn’t been changed a lot and still feels great to purchase. Stormrazor’s slow effect helps you chase enemies or kite them so you can escape to safety.

Phantom Dancer: This item was nerfed, losing its passive shield. But it’s still good to buy due to its Ghosting effect, which helps you kite during teamfights. Having a 40-percent attack speed buff after attacking the same target five times isn’t bad, either.

Mortal Reminder: It’s important to have some healing reduction due to the amount of healing in the game. This item gives you everything you want as a ranged AD top in terms of stats and healing cut—and it’s cheap to buy.

AP champion

Runes

Screengrab via Riot Games

There aren’t too many AP champions in the top lane due to the tank buffs, but two AP champs dominate the top lane meta. Kayle and Akali both have a great laning phase and scale tremendously well with the new items.

Take the Precision tree to help you be more mobile, while also solving some mana issues with Presence of Mind. Your secondary tree should be Domination for Taste of Blood and Ravenous Hunter, two runes that will allow you to sustain throughout the duration of the game.

Items

Screengrab via Riot Games

Most viable AP champions in the top lane aim to get Riftmaker for the bonus damage passive, alongside its true damage conversion once fully stacked. Another notable new item is Demonic Embrace, which makes you beefier and deals max health percent damage.

Sorcerer’s Shoes: This is a solid boot choice to increase your overall damage. You can rush Sorcerer’s Shoes, but that will delay your Mythic item.

Riftmaker: This is one of the best AP items in the game, giving you bonus damage, omnivamp, and true damage conversion once fully stacked. Riftmaker should be acquired as soon as possible to help you become an unstoppable beast.

Demonic Embrace: This is a great item to deal with those pesky tanks who stack up health. Demonic Embrace deals a lot of maximum health percent damage, making you deadly to both squishes and tanks combined.

Zhonya’s Hourglass: Zhonya’s is a great defensive item to prevent imminent death. Seeker’s Armguard was buffed, too. It costs much less now and can be rushed as a first item if you’re dealing with strong AD champions in the top lane.

Morellonomicon: Morello was slightly reworked, no longer giving you magic penetration. Instead, it has a Grievous Wounds debuff that stacks up to 60 percent. This is a great item against all of the healing in League.

Rabadon’s Deathcap: This is arguably the best AP item in the game. It’s best to get your Deathcap toward the end of your build to amplify your power. It’s not a great first item due to it needing other AP items to be effective.


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