Some League of Legends champions 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 nine 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.
Kayle is the hyper carry of the top lane. Even though her early game is a bit slower, her scaling power is just amazing. She melts down enemy defenses, has strong splitpush power, and is one of the strongest teamfighters in the game. Her invulnerability can keep her standing even at the frontlines or help the carries stay alive if the enemy somehow breaks through. Kayle’s late-game damage can give her the power to solo carry a game.
Pantheon is undoubtedly one of the strongest champions in League and can barely be countered. His Q ensures that he can poke almost any top lane champion away to safely farm or get a quick kill, so as long as you pay attention to wards and jungle position, you shouldn’t have much issue getting out of lane unscathed, especially with the targetable stun. Pantheon has high damage output and can easily deal with tanks.
Garen is an enigma because he went through several years of absolutely no popularity and then quickly became one of the strongest top laners in the game. He was just recently buffed and almost reworked after not receiving any attention from Riot in quite a while. This made him a lot more damaging and a more reliable champ to play in the top lane. Garen has high sustain, great scaling, and is almost always a safe pick.
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.
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.
Jax hasn’t been buffed recently, but he still packs quite the punch. He just sort of snuck up to the top of the list. Thanks to the simplicity of his kit, Jax is one of the best champs to fight one-vs-one with. And once he’s in teamfights, it’s easy for him to jump onto the enemy carries, stun them, and take them down. He hits pretty hard early on despite being a late-game hyper carry, and overall, he’s reliable and strong.
Fiora has been very on and off throughout the seasons, but right now, she seems to be somewhere in the middle. She excels at pumping out way too much damage in a one-vs-one fight, but she’s more of a splitpusher than a roamer. Fiora is a bit harder to master, but once you’re familiar with her kit, you’ll soon realize the value of her outplay potential in the top lane.
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.
Aatrox’s passive healing and high damage can be extremely painful to fight against. In addition, Aatrox has strong wave clear and excellent engage potential. His resurrection and CC allow for outplays all around. He isn’t simple to play due to his dependency on skillshots, however, and he struggles against some of the strongest picks in the meta, like Pantheon or Darius. But if you put in an effort to learn how to play Aatrox, it’s likely going to pay off.
No, this is not a joke. Teemo has actually made it onto the list of League’s current best top laners. The cute scout has great potential to take wins in the top lane, especially in a meta that’s very focused on attack damage. His mushrooms provide vision, offense, and defense. He’s a lane bully with his blind and poison and he can basically deny the enemy ADC. When you pick Teemo, however, prepare for some backlash from your team.
Malphite truly is as solid as a rock. His ultimate offers amazing engage with burst damage and he’s tanky enough at the same time to hold on in the middle of the fire, which can quickly turn teamfights in your favor. He’s very easy to play and offers some CC, but he’s also slow and struggles in the earliest stages of the game. If you’re more playful, try switching his tanky build to an AP one and watch enemies melt under the Unstoppable Force.