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 10.19.
- Great kit
- Game-changing crowd control as a basic ability
- Global ultimate
- Hard to come back if behind
After being away from the Rift for multiple patches, Shen is back in action. His recent passive shield buff in Patch 10.15 made people remember that Shen exists in the top lane. Another significant buff since Shen was meta was the Bami’s Cinder, which received an AoE damage effect. The item deals a lot of AoE damage if you use crowd control on a champion, and Shen can easily proc 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 his Spirit Sword, which allows you to deal quite a lot of damage to opponents.
The Resolve tree is core on Shen, since it grants him additional damage and sustain via the Grasp of the Undying. Shield Bash is easy to proc and taken as well. Second Wind alongside Overgrowth will make you harder to kill by granting you health and health regeneration.
The secondary Domination tree will make your short trades deadlier and Ultimate Hunter will ensure that you have your ultimate up as often as your team needs.
Shen’s skill priority is R>Q>E>W. Your Q is maxed first for the waveclear and trading potential. Without it, you’re going to have a hard time killing anything. E is maxed second due to how much potential it has. You can easily turn the tides of a lost game with a good taunt. Having it more often is only beneficial to you and your team. W is a nice basic ability as well, but maxing Q and E is a much higher priority.
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 your taunt. As you slowly level up, you’ll get access to your global ultimate. You should start looking around the map to see opportunities to turn the tides of a gank and help your allies survive in low-health situations.
In teamfights, look for flanks to surprise the opponents with a flash taunt, or throw your ultimate to save an ally then engage on the enemies. One thing is important, never stick to your allies if you have your ultimate up, always look for split-pushing opportunities.
- 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
- 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.
- Strong one-vs-one duelist
- Hybrid damage
- Low cooldowns
- Needs time to scale
- Not the best teamfighter
Jax has risen in popularity as a result of his favored matchups getting more popular. He was quickly brought back in the meta to stop the domination of champions such as Renekton, Camille, Shen, and others.
He has a great itemization path, which is flexible depending on matchups and the sustain from runes allows him to easily get all the items he wants.
The Precision tree is core since it gives you additional damage via Conqueror stacks, which you can stack quite easily due to the fact that you’ll have a lot of attack speed. 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. Due to your low cooldowns, you can easily last plenty of time while being low health to dismantle the enemy.
The secondary Inspiration tree is core since it gives you more sustain so that you have time to scale. Time Warp Tonic will make your Corrupting Potion much stronger and give you the possibility to stay in lane forever. Biscuits act as additional sustain as well, which increase your mana cap on top of giving you a lot of sustain.
Jax’s skill priority is R>W>Q>E. You want to max your W to directly increase your trading potential. It acts as an auto-attack reset and allows you to proc Sheen or Trinity Force much more often. Q max is second due the mobility and E, while being one of the most powerful defensive basic abilities in the game is maxed last because you need the damage and mobility from W and Q.
Jax is one of the strongest mid to late-game top laners in the game. The core items of Trinity Force and Blade of the Ruined King make you extremely tanky and hard to kill, especially if you get 12 stacks of Conqueror due to the basic armor and magic resist you have in your kit. Your main goal is to survive the laning phase and get your items before it ends.
Once you get out of the laning phase, look for opportunities around the map to split push. You are very strong in one-vs-one scenarios and can take down most champions. While your teamfight is lackluster, it’s heavily compensated by your power of splitpush. If you fail to use the split-pushing technique, then perhaps another champion is better for you since Jax isn’t the best teamfighter in the game.In mid to late-game teamfights, look for out-of-position carries and try to flank them before they can react. Use your AoE stun wisely—save it for when the enemy team is stacked up to stun them all.
- 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.