There are a variety of League of Legends top laners that counter each other. Some vary in strength based on metas, others vary depending on matchups.
For top laners, there are three archetypes of champions that fluctuate as the meta changes: hyper-carries, support-style champions, and split pushers.
Splitpushers have a 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.
Support-style top laners are the beefiest tanks in the game, like Sion, Ornn, 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 team fights.
Top lane hyper-carries 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.
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 are our top five top laners for League’s Patch 10.13.
- CC denial as a basic ability
- True damage
- Mediocre team fighter
- Requires good awareness to make good use of W
Fiora is one of the best split pushers in the game, which can easily net you wins if you have a good laning phase. She’s one of the highest skill cap top laners in the game with which you can show off your mechanical prowess.
As with many bruisers, Conqueror is the core keystone to take. It grants you additional AD that scales well alongside the healing component when fully stacked, which makes you a huge nuisance for the opposing team. Triumph is taken for the additional gold and health return for those risky plays. Some people like to go for Overheal due to the abundance of assassins in the meta, but Triumph is the better default choice.
Legend: Alacrity is taken for the additional attack speed but other options are viable as well. Legend: Tenacity is valuable against CC-focused compositions, while Legend: Bloodline can be taken against heavy tank compositions to keep you topped off. But Coup de Grace, on average, deals more damage so it’s taken instead of the other two.
While there’s a lot of experimentation regarding the secondary tree, Resolve is one of the most picked due to Demolish, which can help you snowball early on. Bone Plating can also help you get favorable trades. You can try out Inspiration for the Biscuit and free Boots of Speed as well.
Fiora’s skill priority is: R>Q>E>W. Q is maxed first to help you out with your wave clear and mobility. It’s the most valuable skill in your kit and should be used wisely early on to proc your passive. E is maxed second due the effectiveness of having your attack speed steroid as often as possible. W is maxed last. Even though the utility from it is tremendous, if timed correctly, you can negate all incoming damage and CC.
Fiora is one of the most snowbally top laners in the game. If you win your lane, most of the time you’ll be able to convert that lead and help out your teammates as well. During the laning phase, focus on using Q to proc the passive on your opponent for a huge amount of damage. Due to Conqueror and Bone Plating, you have a huge advantage early on and can take fights against most top laners without issues. If you’re having a rough time, try to farm for your core item, Tiamat, Blade of the Ruined King, or any other item you choose.
Your main goal should be to splitpush with your core items. The more time you spend teamfighting, the more opportunities you give the enemy team to come back.
- Strong one-vs-one duelist
- Exceptional sustain
- Good at punishing immobile champions
- No dash
- Falls of in later stages of the game
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 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.
The Precision tree is one of the core trees on Darius. While there are some players who prefer to go for Sorcery main for Phase Rush, most go for Conqueror since it grants you a lot of damage and healing when stacked up. The Precision tree is very good since it gives you additional sustain via Triumph in teamfights and the Legend: Alacrity will make your attacks more fluid and more frequent. Additionally, Last Stand does increased damage when low on health. The secondary Sorcery tree will make you stick easier onto the enemy champions since mobility is the biggest problem of Darius
Darius’s skill priority is R>Q>E>W. You want to max your Q since it is your primary waveclear ability, alongside heal, and poke. E max second over W since you need the lower cooldown on the drag—it’s better to have a gap closer more often than the additional damage from W.
Darius is one of the strongest early game fighters. His passive alongside Conqueror allows for easy outplays on both the enemy top laner and jungler. Engage on your opponent with E when he tries to go for last hits, stack your passive, and let them bleed. If they try to engage on you, your passive alongside Conqueror will overpower most top laners and give you a chance to pick up easy kills.
In teamfights look for the immobile carries and charge towards them with Ghost or Flash. They are the easiest targets to pick off and allow you to get your passive stacked to be stronger for the remainder of the teamfight.
- Strong one-vs-one fighter
- Can be easily kited
Volibear is the latest reworked champion in the game. He received both visual and kit updates to bring him in power with the more-recent releases such as Sett, Aphelios, and Senna.
While the first days were quite harsh on the reworked Volibear since he failed to excel in any area, the hotfixes within 48 hours brought him back into play. He is currently a dominant pick in both the top lane and jungle.
The core tree is Precision since it grants Volibear everything he wants to excel at dueling other champions. The keystone taken is Press the Attack since it is the easiest keystone to proc and it deals a lot of damage in a small period of time. Other notable runes which help Volibear be the thunder bear of his team is Triumph, Legend: Tenacity and Last Stand to increase the damage if you’re low on health.
The secondary rune page is more flexible, with most players preferring the Sorcery page for the additional movement speed from Nimbus Cloak and the additional cooldown reduction from Transcendence.
Volibear’s skill priority is R>W>Q>E. The W max allows you to outduel anyone in the top lane or during the later stages of the game where you’re split pushing. Q max is second to make you more mobile and E max is last due to its utility being much lower compared to Q or W.
The Volibear is still in a testing phase with players experimenting which builds are better. Some players are going for Doran’s Shield to have more sustain in the laning phase, while others go for the Doran’s Ring to have more damage early on. There is no wrong starting build, take whichever makes you feel more comfortable. Corruption Potion is also a good start.
With the Press the Attack keystone, your main goal is to look for opportunities to catch your opponent off guard and get a good trade-off by using your W alongside procing the keystone. After you have used your W and Keystone, back off and wait for its cooldowns. Your trading pattern is going to be this until you get your core items.
Once you get your core items, start split pushing and look for opportunities to join your teammates with Teleport.
- Strong one-vs-one duelist
- Exceptional sustain via passive
- High-impact ultimate
- High mana costs
The Monkey King is back in action after his recent rework. He has ascended to an instant pick-or-ban position from never being picked. The rework has kept the core aspects of his original kit and heavily improved them. The most notable change is the decoy, which did nothing before but now acts as an additional damaging tool, copying Wukong’s abilities and dealing a ton of damage.
His newly upgraded passive gives him health regeneration and makes him a terror both in one-vs-ones and teamfights.
While the reworked Monkey King has been live only for a couple of days, most players figured out the best runes, items, and skill priority. The Precision tree is core since it gives you additional damage via Conqueror stacks, which you can stack quite easily. The tree also grants additional healing via Triumph and Conqueror when fully stacked, Tenacity to reduce crowd control, and Last Stand to do increased damage when low on health. The secondary Resolve tree will grant you additional tankiness via the health gained from Overgrowth and prolonged sustain via Second Wind, which synchronizes really well with your passive
Wukong’s skill priority is R>E>Q>W. You want to max your E to be able to get onto targets more often and since it is the primary CS tool in your kit. Q max is second due to the damage granted and lower cooldown with each level, and W max is last since the increased damage from your clone doesn’t matter if your abilities don’t do damage. The clone will indirectly do more damage if you do more damage with your abilities since it copies them.
Wukong became one of the strongest early game champions after his rework. The new passive, which is much more useful on lane, grants him a stacking armor and health regeneration buff. This buff combined with the runes above will make you extremely tanky and hard to kill, especially if you get 10 stacks of Conqueror.
Once you get out of the laning phase, look for opportunities around the map when your ultimate is up. You can go for a fast combo, pop ultimate, and do your combo again once basic abilities are off cooldown then use ultimate again; this will unleash devastating amounts of damage on anyone.
In mid to late-game team fights, look for out-of-position carries and try to flank them before they can react. Use your clone wisely—you can knock-up enemies with it as well. If you position it properly, you could CC an entire team even if they’re split.
- Great duelist
- Overall great kit
- No dash
- Hard to come back if behind
Garen is a powerful pick in the current meta. After a small rework around his abilities a couple of patches ago, new builds have emerged, namely Trinity Force into Phantom Dancer, which makes him extremely potent in one-vs-one scenarios and a terror in team fights. If most players went for tanky items before and relied on teammates, the current Garen goes for offensive items and is the carry.
The Precision tree is core on Garen. Conqueror directly increases your damage via adaptive force granted, while also making you tankier via the healing received when fully stacked. Triumph will save you in team fights by granting your health back when you get a kill. Legend: Tenacity will make you less vulnerable to Crowd-Control, while the Last Stand makes you deadlier the lower your health.
The precision secondary is needed on Garen since he is not a good tower taker. Demolish helps you get the early plates to snowball while Bone Plating is needed to make you harder to one-shot when you rush into the enemy in a teamfight or laning phase.
Garen’s skill priority is the following: R>E>Q>W. You want to max the E since it allows you to wave clear and do a lot of damage to the opponent if they are isolated. Q max is second to allow you to be more mobile and get on your targets faster. W max is last since tankiness is the last thing you need with this offensive build—damage is more important.
Garen is one of the strongest top laners currently. He scales really well with offensive items after a rework to his E, making him extremely annoying and hard to deal with. You should focus on stacking your W early on and farming for Trinity Force. Look to punish the enemy when he goes for minion kills by doing a simple combo of Q into E to deny him the experience and gold.
With Trinity Force completed, look for offensive plays all around the map; your base damage combined with the damage from Trinity Force makes you a force to be reckoned with.
Before the rework, you would be the frontline your team needed and tank most incoming damage. Now, after the rework you act more like an assassin, try to look for flanks and don’t just run into enemies since you’ll get blown up quite easily.