Fiora’s Splash Art in League of Legends

How to Play TOP – Beginners Pocket Guide

Table of Contents

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..grandmaster 6 years in a row.. challenger sometimes if I'm feeling cute.

This tutorial will teach you from scratch everything you need to know to become a legendary TOP laner. It’s meant for the newbies but everyone can learn hidden gems from it.

What is a Top Laner in League of Legends

If you just started League of Legends, a top laner is a player that is assigned to defend the left side of the map or the top left tower.

And it is called TOP because when you are looking at the game’s mini-map, it will appear that it’s on TOP of all the other towers when you split the map diagonally from the left top corner to the right bottom one.

On the top side, you are kind of isolated from the rest of your team. It’s a position where few things happen, meaning that not so much activity from other players, allies, or enemies, will exist. However, that doesn’t mean your position counts less. Quite the contrary, the top position is defended by very impactful champions.

You can safely consider this the closest position you can be to have in the game to a 1v1 matchup in the first 14 minutes, also called the laning phase. But this is, of course, not a rule.

You can, of course, be attacked and have your lane completely disrupted by just one attack or gank from an enemy jungler, support, or even mid laner, compromising your lane for the rest of the game.

The Punishing Nature of the Top Lane

Top position is the most punishing position in the game, meaning that even a tiny mistake will give you the impression that you lost your 1v1 and even the game. This requires your extreme attention. It is crucial for a top laner to be at least even in level with your enemy top laner.

As you can see here, I’m drawing an image of how important TOP position is.

Strategic Aspects and Initiating Team Fights

  • Teleport and Strategic Opportunities: It’s also known to be a strategic position even if it’s so isolated because the top position is often played with the Teleport summoner’s spell. You can teleport to win a dragon in minute 6 for your team, or you can invade the enemy jungle with your team to have the number advantage and win that fight, and then teleport back to your tower and be on time to farm and level up, etc.
  • Initiating Team Fights: Moreover, the top laner is usually the one that initiates the team fights. They are the ones that decide when and where these fights will happen.

Remember: Top lane is usually picked by disciplined strategic players that also love having cleaner fights and that are not afraid in leading the team fights.

Top Lane Champion Types

Players will always get creative when choosing their type of champion’s top side, but as a rule of thumb 2 main categories fit defending the top position and these are tanks and fighters, and 1 secondary category, marksmen.

The Tanks

Tank List in League of Legends

Tanks are champions that excel in durability and crowd control.

By starting team battles and upsetting the opponent’s backline, tanks are supposed to take damage and defend their allies.

They frequently possess crowd-controlling skills like slows, displacements, and stuns.

Strengths: High survivability, good crowd control, and strong initiation.

Weaknesses: Low damage output and can be kiteable by ranged champions.

The Fighters

Figther List in League of Legends

Champions with a balance of damage and toughness are referred to as fighters or bruisers.

They can successfully duel other champions and often deal strong sustained damage.

Fighters frequently combine offensive and defensive skills, which enables them to win prolonged battles.

Strengths: Good dueling potential, sustained damage, and moderate survivability.

Weaknesses: Can struggle against high burst damage or strong crowd control.

The Marksmen (less common in top lane)

ADC Marksman League of Legends List

Ranged champions called marksmen, commonly referred to as AD carriers, mostly inflict physical damage with their basic strikes.

Certain marksmen may be used in this capacity owing to their range advantage and scaling potential, despite being less frequent in the top lane.

These champions frequently put more emphasis on farming and scaling into the late game, when they can do powerful damage while remaining safe.

Strengths: High ranged damage output, good scaling into late game, and can pressure melee champions.

Weaknesses: Squishy and vulnerable to all-ins or ganks, weak early game, and reliant on good positioning.

Tips for Playing Against Different Types of Champions

The top lane is a diverse battlefield, home to a wide array of champions, each with their unique playstyle. Let’s dive into some handy tips to help you face off against different types of champions in the top lane.

1. The Unyielding Tanks:

Tanks are like the immovable objects of League. They’re tough, they’re resilient, and they pack a punch with their crowd control abilities.

Tip: When you’re up against a tank, focus on farming and scaling. Tanks usually start off slow, so seize this opportunity to gain an advantage. Items that deal percent health damage can be a game-changer against these high-health behemoths.

2. The Tenacious Fighters/Bruisers:

Fighters, or bruisers as they’re often called, strike a balance between damage and durability. They’re built for the long haul and can be quite a handful if they gain an upper hand.

Tip: Knowledge is power when facing fighters. Understand their power spikes and play around them. If their key abilities are on cooldown or they’re yet to get their core items, that’s your cue to strike!

3. The Pesky Ranged Champions:

Ranged champions can be a real thorn in your side in the top lane. They’ll poke, they’ll prod, and they’ll chip away at your health from a distance.

Tip: Patience is key against ranged champions. Play defensively, use the bushes for cover, and when the time is right, close the gap and engage. And remember, a well-timed gank from your jungler can turn the tide in your favor.

4. The Deadly Assassins:

Assassins are the burst damage experts of League, capable of taking you down in the blink of an eye if you’re not careful.

Tip: Vision is your best friend against assassins. Keep your surroundings warded and play safe if you’re unsure of the enemy assassin’s whereabouts. A little defense can go a long way in surviving their burst damage.

5. The Tricky Mages:

While not as common in the top lane, mages can be quite a challenge with their high burst damage and crowd control abilities.

Tip: Dodging is crucial against mages. Avoid their skill shots, engage when their key abilities are on cooldown, and consider magic resist items to help weather their magical onslaught.

Remember: When playing TOP lane, it’s best to select a champion that you like, because each type of champion brings unique strengths to the table and the key to victory lies in understanding your enemy’s champion.

Filling Team Composition vs Counter Picking

While counter picking can give you an advantage in your lane, filling your team composition is often more beneficial in the long run. League of Legends is a team game, and having a balanced team composition can make team fights, objective control, and map pressure much easier.

For example, if your team lacks a tank and crowd control, you might want to consider picking a champion that can fill that role, even if it’s not a counter to your lane opponent. Remember, winning your lane doesn’t always mean winning the game. It’s important to consider what your team needs and how you can contribute to the overall team strategy.

Remember: Winning your lane TOP side will not always grant you a game-win. It’s more important to prioritize what your team needs rather than counter-picking your lane opponent. Your willingness to be what your team needs to be can give you a win instead of a loss.

Laning and Wave Control in Top Lane

Wave control is the art of manipulating the minion wave to your advantage. It’s a crucial skill for any top laner.

Slow pushing allows you to build a large minion wave to pressure the enemy tower. It’s perfect for setting up dives or securing objectives.

Freezing the wave near your tower forces the enemy to overextend, making them vulnerable to ganks.

Fast pushing clears the wave quickly, giving you time to roam or recall without losing too much CS (Creep Score).

Minion Wave Management

In League of Legends, mastering minion wave management can give you a significant advantage over your opponent. Two fundamental rules govern this aspect of the game: the Even Minion Rule and the Uneven Minion Rule.

The Even Minion Rule

The Even Minion Rule states that if the minion waves are even in number and meet on your side of the map, the wave will push toward the enemy side. This is due to the proximity of your next wave, which will arrive sooner and start dealing damage before the enemy’s wave.

Key points to remember:

  • Use this rule to set up a slow push toward the enemy turret, which can help you build a large minion wave for a strong push or set up a dive with your jungler.
  • Be aware that this also exposes you to potential ganks, so proper warding and map awareness are crucial.

The Uneven Minion Rule

The Uneven Minion Rule, on the other hand, states that if the minion waves are uneven and meet on the enemy side of the map, the wave will push toward your side. This is because the enemy’s next wave will arrive sooner and start dealing damage before your wave.

Key points to remember:

  • This rule can be used to set up a freeze near your turret, denying the enemy laner farm and experience while keeping you safe from ganks.
  • Breaking the freeze (by thinning the wave or fully pushing it into the enemy turret) is necessary if the enemy laner starts roaming or if a crucial objective is about to spawn.

Understanding and applying these rules effectively can significantly improve your lane control.

 Remember: Mastering wave control can give you a significant advantage in lane. Understand when to slow push, freeze, or fast push to maximize your lane pressure. League of Legends is not just about mechanical skill, but also about strategic depth and decision-making.

Trading and Fighting in Top Lane

League of Legends Malphite Top Laners

Trading in top lane revolves around CS. The goal is to damage your opponent while they’re focused on last-hitting minions. It’s a delicate balance between securing CS and dealing damage.

Playing around cooldowns is also crucial. If the enemy uses a key ability, it’s your cue to go in for a trade.

Reaching level 2 before your opponent gives you a significant advantage. With an extra ability at your disposal, you can force a favorable trade or even secure a kill. 

Speaking about CS, here you have the perfect farming table that applies to every role.

 Remember: Trading effectively is all about timing and understanding your opponent’s cooldowns. Always aim to reach level 2 before your opponent for an early advantage.

Understanding the Bounty System

The bounty system in League of Legends is a mechanic that rewards players for shutting down enemies who are on a killing spree. The more kills an enemy has without dying, the larger their bounty becomes. This bounty is awarded as bonus gold to the player who finally takes them down.

This system adds an extra layer of strategy to the game. Sometimes, it might be worth taking a risk to shut down a high-bounty enemy. However, it’s important to remember that dying to secure a bounty can also give the enemy team an advantage, especially if you have a bounty on your head as well.

 Remember: The bounty system in LoL it’s a strategic element that will influence your decisions throughout the game. You have to keep an eye on which enemies have a bounty because taking them down might flip the coin to your team’s advantage. And on the other hand, if you are the one with a bounty on your head, you should pay attention not to die. Keep your eyes open and play strategically to make the most out of the bounty system.

The Significance of In-Game Tower Plates

In-game tower plates are a feature of the outer turrets in League of Legends. Each outer turret has five plates that, when destroyed, grant gold to the player. These plates make turrets harder to destroy in the early game, encouraging laning and early game skirmishes.

Destroying a turret plate can give you a significant gold advantage in the early game. However, remember that turret plates get tougher with each one you destroy and they disappear after 14 minutes, so it’s important to balance your time between farming, trading, and taking down turret plates.

 Remember: Tower plates offer more than just gold; they’re strategic assets. Each plate destroyed brings you closer to controlling the lane. However, they increase in durability with each plate taken and vanish after 14 minutes. Therefore, balance your time between farming, trading, and targeting tower plates. Every decision matters in shaping the game’s outcome.

From Novice to Expert: Top Macro Learnings for Top Lane Dominance

TOP is where the game’s pulse is most potent, where the tempo of the match is directed by those who have mastered the art of map control. Top Macro isn’t just about securing victory in your lane, it’s about converting that triumph into a ripple of influence that permeates the entire map. For a comprehensive guide on top lane macro strategies, check out this video by Skill Capped.

It’s about discerning when to advance, when to roam, when to teleport into a team fight, and when to exert pressure through calculated split pushing. It’s about understanding the ebb and flow of the game, like a seasoned navigator understands the shifting currents of the sea, and using that knowledge to outmaneuver your opponents.

Dominating with Teleport in Top Lane

Teleport, the top laner’s best friend. It’s not just a quick way back to your lane, it’s a ticket to anywhere on the map where your presence can turn the tide. Got a lead in top? Great, now use that Teleport to spread the love.

Join a skirmish in bot lane, turn a fight around, or secure an objective. The world—or rather, the map—is your oyster. Remember: Teleport isn’t just a convenience, it’s a strategic powerhouse. Use it right, and you can keep the pressure up across the board.

Understanding and Adapting to the Game Flow

Top lane isn’t an island, despite what it feels like sometimes. It’s part of the greater ebb and flow of the game, and you need to move with it. If your team’s riding high, ride with them. Group up, force fights, take objectives.

If the tide’s against you, though, you might need to batten down the hatches. Farm defensively, keep your wards up, and try to stop the bleeding. Remember: Top lane’s about more than just your lane. It’s about reading the game, and knowing when to push and when to pull back.

League of Legends Sett Top Laners

The Importance of Vision Control

Being top means you’re on your own a lot, which makes vision your best defense. Warding the enemy jungle keeps you safe, sure, but it also gives your team a window into what the enemy’s up to.

Building and Using a Lead in Top Lane

Snowballing your advantage is key in top lane. Once you’ve established a lead, it’s crucial to extend it. Use the Rift Herald to take down towers and invade the enemy jungle for extra farm.

After crushing your tower, transition to mid-game macro. This could mean roaming to other lanes, securing objectives, or even split pushing.

Split Pushing and Applying Pressure

Split pushing is a powerful strategy for top laners. By pushing a lane alone, you force the enemy team to respond, creating opportunities for your team elsewhere on the map.

The risks are high—you’re far from your team and vulnerable to ganks—but the rewards can be game-changing. A successful split push can lead to significant tower pressure, valuable map control, and even a victory.

 Remember: In the end, top lane’s a balancing act. You’ve got to win your lane, sure, but you’ve also got to keep an eye on the bigger picture. Use that Teleport wisely, read the game, keep your vision up, and you’ll keep the pressure on all game long. That’s how you turn a lane lead into a game-win.


What is the role of a top laner in League of Legends?

The top laner is typically a solo role focused on winning their lane, applying pressure through split pushing, and providing utility in team fights.

What are some good champions for beginners in top lane?

Garen, Sett, Malphite

How do I manage waves in top lane?

Wave management involves controlling the minion wave to your advantage. This can be done through slow pushing, freezing, or fast pushing, depending on the situation. Check out this guide for more details.

What should I do if I'm losing in top lane?

If you’re losing in top lane, focus on farming safely, warding to avoid ganks, and looking for opportunities to assist your team in fights around objectives.

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Written By Epicnoob

..grandmaster 6 years in a row.. challenger sometimes if he's feeling cute..


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