So you’ve decided to take the plunge into the world of League of Legends. You’ve assembled a group of like-minded friends and are discussing which champions and positions to pick. If you like playing solo and fighting up close and personal, this guide is for you. If not, please read on you might still pick up a thing or two.
It’s important to understand that different positions in the game carry different duties. This article goes over the basics of top lane strategy.
The top lane favors champions that are either carries or tanks. These champions can take and dish out plenty of damage. This also means they can hold the lane on their own and benefit from more XP and gold for themselves. Carries such as Jayce and Yasuo focus mainly on dealing damage, while tanks such as Maokai and Ornn center on maximum tankiness to complement their crowd control (CC) abilities. Champions that fall somewhere in between are fighters that start with on or two damage items, and then move on to tank items as the game develops. Examples of these are Darius and Yorick. Tanks may only deal average amounts of damage in the early to mid game, but they remain super tanky at every stage of the game.
Tanks complement their toughness with crowd control abilities. Knockups, stuns, and taunts are abilities your teammates will rely on during teamfights. Landing a two-second CC on an enemy carry can quickly turn the tides of a fight. By improving tankiness and stocking up on items that reduce cooldown, tanks can cast more spells during teamfights, thus contributing more crowd control and extra damage.
Do not stack ability power or attack damage if you’re playing a tank. These don’t scale well later in the game.
You can rely on fighters to deal medium to high damage in most stages of the game. But late in the game you have to be a little more careful because they aren’t as tough to kill as tanks. Fighters shine when they’re able to flank enemies or use their mobility to get past the other team’s meatshields and disrupt the backline. Since fighters are a balance of damage and tankiness, they are neither tanky enough to dive into teamfights head-on, nor threatening enough to disregard strong peels. As such, their scaling is often worse than that of the tanks or pure damage carries.
Full damage carries such as Jayce and Kennen are perhaps the most difficult top lane champions to handle. They don’t do well in teamfights but their damage scales impressively. They excel as split pushers and have great duelling capabilities.
Carefully plan out your aggressive plays–don’t go all in. If you do, you’re setting yourself up to be punished. If you’re a tank, your place is in teamfights. If you’re a fighter, wait for an item power spike. If you’re a full damage carry, stay in your lane, farm and level up.
Keep an eye on the Jungler
Junglers can have a significant impact on the outcome of the laning phase so having good map awareness is essential for the top laner.
Think about this: if your opponent makes an aggressive move and you have no idea where your opponent’s jungler is, it’s either an incoming gank or a bluff. Calling their bluff might not be in your best interest.
Keep in mind that your opponent is just as paranoid as you are about getting ganked. If your jungler shows up on a lane other than yours, expect your opponent to see that as an opportunity and might just Flash on you.
Learn from every match
In some games, your strategy will work and you’ll thrash your opponents, but in other games, you’ll take a beating from player who’s simply far better than you. If you’re losing your lane, take the opportunity to learn from your opponent. Find out what they did better in the game. Did they farm better? Did they take more objectives than you. Learn from every match and incorporate winning strategies into your next game.