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 10.23.
- True damage
- Crowd control (CC) denial as a basic ability
- Mediocre teamfighter
- 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.
She rose in the meta as a result of Camille becoming more popular. Fiora is a great answer to Camille with the match-up being highly skill reliant between both parties.
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 kit
- Free item upgrades
- Can burst down squishy champions
- High skill floor
- Mana issues
Ornn is one of the best tank champions to play. His kit is good for a tank. He has mobility, burst damage, damage based on maximum health point of enemies, and a lot of crowd control. But the best thing about Ornn is the free item upgrades, which are valued at 1,000 gold. While you need to reach a certain level to upgrade you and your allies’ items, it won’t be a big problem since Ornn can easily farm and scale into the mid to late game.
The Resolve tree is core on Ornn since it grants him additional health, damage, and tower pressure. If the enemy backs without a proper timing, you can get a fast lead by taking tower plates by using Demolish. The Inspiration secondary will grant you additional lane survivability via biscuits and the free Stopwatch can be used to save you from a sticky situation and later converted into a Gargoyle Stoneplate.
Ornn’s skill priority is: R>W>Q>E. You want to max W for the maximum amount of damage, waveclear and lane pressure. Afterward, you want to max Q to clear waves in mid-game and have terrain to collide with more often. While his E is his primary mobility spell, the scaling of Q and W is much more efficient and should be maxed first.
Your goal as a tank in the top lane is to not lose the game, scale into the mid-game, and purchase your core items. You can bully people in lane if they’re aggressive, but overall as Ornn, you should sit it out and farm to reach level 13 as soon as possible for the free item upgrade. Once you get your ultimate at level six, look for a Teleport play around mid or bottom lane to secure objectives.
If other lanes aren’t going for any plays, you can try to force a dive in the top lane—just make sure to coordinate your moves with your jungler. By being on the same page, you can follow up by taking the enemy top laner tower or the Rift Herald and snowball the game.
Remember to communicate with your team and insist they purchase upgradeable items so that you’ll get maximum efficiency from your passive.
- Strong sustain
- Lots of crowd control
- Exceptional teamfighter
- High mana costs
After being away from the Rift for multiple patches, Maokai is back in action. His counters were nerfed into the ground and his item build was buffed up. The most significant buff was to Bami’s Cinder. The item deals a lot of AoE damage if you use crowd control on a champion and Maokai has plenty of it.
He’s quite simple to pick up and can also be fun to play due to how his abilities work. He has a great laning phase due to being able to set up ganks for his jungler with his high CC capabilities, though he can be mana hungry. Aim to get some mana items early on to solve this or stack up your Manaflow Band.
The Resolve tree is essential on Maokai since it grants him additional damage and sustain via Grasp of the Undying. Demolish will help you take towers since your kit lacks capabilities to do so. Conditioning alongside Overgrowth will make you harder to kill by granting you additional armor, magic resist, and health.
The secondary Sorcery tree will fix your mana issues and the additional cooldown reduction will allow you to use your crowd control more often.
Maokai’s skill priority is R>Q>W>E. Your Q is the easiest ability to farm with, so it’s maxed first. W is maxed second to have a point-and-click crowd control more often, which allows you to get onto carries more often or help set up ganks for your jungler. Max E last. For it to be effective, it needs to be placed in a bush. In teamfights, you’ll most likely not have a bush near you, so you’ll lose a lot of utility if you max it.
Your goal as a tank in the top lane is to not lose the game, scale into the mid game, and purchase your core items. You can set up ganks for your jungler with all the slows and roots in your kit. Pre-level six, you can flash in with W then follow up with a Q to allow your jungler to easily secure a kill. After level six, you can initiate with your ultimate then follow up with your basic combo.
In teamfights, look for flanks to surprise the opponents, throw out your ultimate to cut them down in their tracks, and engage with your W followed up by a Q. Remember to auto attack often to proc your passive and heal up frequently in teamfights.
- Great kit
- Game-changing ultimate
- Easy to play
- Lackluster outside of ultimate
- Mana issues
Malphite has found himself in a comfortable spot following the recent item rework in League. He benefits from most new tank items and as a result became one of the most annoying top laners to deal with. You can easily master him since his kit is pretty straight-forward and doesn’t require a lot of mechanical prowess to be effective. One good ultimate at the correct time and the game is yours to take.
While tanks usually go for the Resolve tree, Malphite is an exception. You want to go for Sorcery combined with Inspiration, ensuring you have a lot of poke during the laning phase coupled with great sustain. Sorcery will give you the needed mana to spam your abilities via Manaflow Band, while Inspiration will give you both mana and health via the Biscuit Delivery rune and Time Warp Tonic.
With this rune build however you must start Corrupting Potion to ensure the best effectiveness out of the Time Warp Tonic. If you don’t want to start Corruption Potion then either change that rune to another one such as free Boots of Speed or change the secondary rune tree all together.
Malphite’s skill priority is R>Q>E>W. As a melee champion you’ll be struggling early on against ranged champions so maxing Q is a priority for you. It helps you last-hit cannon minions or poke the enemy champion down. While the mana cost is quite high early on, it shouldn’t be a big deal as long as you start with a Corrupting Potion. E is maxed second for the AoE damage to help you clear waves faster and join your team as soon as possible.
Malphite is not a champion with whom you can carry games fast or win the laning phase. You need patience to play this champion since in essence he is quite simple and doesn’t require complex decision making. Throw your Q on a constant basis to poke enemies down and then try to last-hit minions until you get your Bami’s Cinder. Once you have it, clearing waves will be much easier and you should be able to safely farm for your core items.
Once you have the Mythic Sunfire item, you should look to either keep pushing your lane or join your teammate to unleash a devastating ultimate onto the opposing team. Regardless of which choice you’re going for, remember to keep up the farm to ensure that you have enough gold for other items as well.
As the game goes on, you’ll become much stronger due to your passive on E which gives you a lot of armor, practically unkillable against physical damaging champions.
- Great duelist
- Can dash over walls
- Game-changing ultimate
- Item reliant
- High skill-cap
Camille is a powerful pick in the current meta. She singles out immobile carries easily and can destroy them in the blink of an eye. While she has some weaknesses such as being item reliant and having a high skill ceiling, the glaring pros of picking her grossly outweigh all cons she currently has.
Camille is flexible with her rune choices. The current most popular one is the Resolve primary tree with Precision as secondary. Resolve grants her access to the Grasp of the Undying keystone alongside Shield Bash, Bone Plating and, Overgrowth to make her deceptively tanky.
Precision as a secondary tree grants her access to Legend: Triumph for those pesky low health plays and Alacrity to increase your attack speed and overall DPS.
Camille’s skill priority is the following: R>Q>E>W. You want to max the Q since it is your main damaging tool. It will also allow you to get Trinity Force procs more often with the lower cooldown. After maxing Q first, focus on maxing E for the additional mobility. In some ranged match-ups, you can max E first then Q or a couple of points in W for the additional sustain, and then Q. Camille’s entire kit is very good and you can max pretty much any ability you want in the long run.
Camille is one of the strongest top laners currently. She scales well with offensive items, making her extremely annoying and difficult to deal with. Look to punish the enemy when they go for minion kills by doing a simple combo of Q, auto, improved Q 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. If you have enough gold for a Tiamat or Ravenous Hydra, you will become unstoppable and the enemy will have to send multiple members to stop you.
Remember to ward if you’re going to push aggressively and look for teleport plays in the backline of the opponent. A simple teleport behind followed up by a E into R on a carry can decide the game in the mid or late game easily.