The best top lane champions of Season 8
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 Sion, Maokai, 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 8 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.
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.
Sion is the premier tank of the top lane at the moment. He couples his absurd tanky stats and lategame scaling with early game harass and damage like no other tank in the game. He can peel, he can engage, and he can trade one-on-one fights like no one else. Unfortunately, the timing and angles utilized by some of his abilities can be very difficult to master—but he’s well worth the effort.
The top lane isn’t ruled by a specific type of champion anymore, it’s ruled by a few very OP champions—and Camille is one of them. She’s a splitpusher that scales obscenely well, making her the better pick over other splitters like Fiora and Jayce in most scenarios. Her early game isn’t too shabby, either. But it can be hard to master her combo well enough to win trades without items and power spikes.
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.
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.
While Sion has risen through the ranks to become the top lane’s best tank, Illaoi has climbed her way up to hold the title of best bruiser. She gets incredibly tanky considering the obscene damage she can pump out in a teamfight. The best part? She doesn’t even need to do that well in lane to reach that point. As long as Illaoi coasts through the lane until she gets one or two full items, she can win most one-on-two matchups, making her a great bruiser to splitpush with.
Kled is a unique blend between a skirmishing splitpusher and a teamfighting tank. He puts out damage like a skirmisher, but he’s also very tanky like a bruiser. The catch is that unlike any other bruiser in the game, Kled can start fights with a big—and loud—ultimate ability. Have the capability to initiate fights without having to slowly walk up to his prey gives him a unique edge on other bruisers like Illaoi. Kled is much more item-dependent than those champions, which means his mastery curve can be steeper and more difficult to climb.
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.
Teemo is really only useful in solo queue as opposed to coordinated team play on the pro stage. This is because he’s an excellent one-on-one fighter, and most solo queue players don’t know how to handle him as a team. The higher elo you go, however, he falls off due to his lack of pressure in teamfights. He’s a solid option as a splitpusher, though.
Jayce, much like Teemo, is a great splitpusher and one-on-one fighter. Unfortunately he’s much more difficult than Teemo. He’s also much more reliant on items to deal damage, and properly managing trades at early levels before he gets those items is crucial. Unlike Teemo, though, he’s way better later in the game—especially on sieging and poking comps. He doesn’t scale terribly well, but he scales harder than the likes of Pantheon and Teemo.
Gnar is another splitpushing lane harasser, but he also works extremely well in teamfights as long as he can use his mega form to dish out loads of crowd control. The only reason he isn’t closer to the top with champions like Kled who are very similar in that regard is because Gnar is much less reliable. His teamfight presence is stellar, but if he isn’t in mega form, his team has to avoid fighting at all costs unless they have another tank to rely on.