These are League’s top-tier top laners for this season’s solo queue.
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 10.16.
- Strong sustain
- Lots of crowd control
- Exceptional teamfighter
- High mana costs
After being away from the Rift for multiple matches, 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 the 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 is 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 setup ganks for your jungler with his high CC capabilities, though he is quite mana-hungry, so prepare to run out of mana if you don’t have any mana runes or items.
The Resolve tree is core on Maokai, since it grants him additional damage and sustain via Grasp of the Undying. Demolish will help you to take towers since your tower-taking capabilities are quite low with your kit. Conditions 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 is maxed first. W is maxed second to have a point-click crowd control more often, which allows you to get onto carries more often or help set up ganks for your jungler. E is max last. For it to be effective it needs to be placed in a bush. In teamfights you will 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 quite well 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 secure a kill easily. 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 your ultimate to cut them in their tracks, and engage with your W followed up by a Q. Remember to auto attack often to proc your passive and get healed up frequently in teamfights.
- 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 sustain
- Strong duelist
- Good split pusher
- Falls off late game
Renekton is back in the meta after falling off due to recent buffs to his counterpicks. After those overbuffed champions were nerfed back into their staple position, Renekton came back to dominate the top lane.
He is one of the best top laners in the game due to his ability to impact the early game pressure and create room for his jungler to gank or take top side crab alongside Rift Herald.
The Precision Tree is core on Renekton. It grants you access to Press the Attack or Conqueror. Both keystone runes amplify your power both in and outside the lane. While Press the Attack is usually taken to dominate the lane, Conqueror is taken to have better scaling into the later stages of the game.
Other notable runes that are great on Renekton are Triumph, Legend: Alacrity, and Last Stand. All three runes sync well with your kit and teamfight presence, increasing your damage the lower your health gets.
The secondary rune page is more flexible with some players preferring to go for Domination while others favoring Resolve. Resolve has two great runes which allow you to increase your lead in Demolish and Bone Plating. Considering your plan is to engage on your opponent as often as possible, Bone Plating ensures you get the upper hand in the trades.
Renekton’s skill priority is R>Q>E>W. His Q is the best skill in his kit, arguably better than his ultimate due to its amount of healing damage. You want to use your fury to empower it and do major damage in trades during the laning phase. Maxing E second is recommended due to the additional mobility you’ll have with its longer uptime. While W is a great ability overall, the utility from Q and E outweigh it.
Your goal as a lane bully is to make sure your opponent never goes unpunished for every single attempt at last hitting minions. You should try to go for trades as often as possible since your most powerful period is the early to mid game. Once your opponents start scaling, you’ll most likely fall behind and be useless.
Try to aim for a Blade of the Ruined King as soon as possible since it grants you everything you need, including lifesteal, attack damage, attack speed, and a perfect on-hit effect which synergizes with your W.
Once the laning phase is over, look to split push and join your team once your teleport is up.
- 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
- 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.