League of Legends Guide

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Toplaning 101

written by Coalescence

Table of Contents

  • Introduction

    The toplane is a silly position to be, especially when playing with a premade (I will be discussing it more from a premade standpoint than from a soloQ standpoint, but it might prove useful in soloQ as well). Its position is pretty secluded from the rest of the game, with 2 persons bottom lane and the dragon also being at the bottom half of the map. Dragon control usually means that the jungler spends more time hanging around the bottom half of the map, ganks top are common but usually less so than on the other lanes, especially around the point where the enemy is starting to really compete for dragon.


    When the enemies identify you as a big enough threat the amount of ganks top might increase. Although a nuisance, it will mostly benefit your own team as the pressure on bottom lane by your own jungler and the dragon control are greatly increased. Apart from that, the toplane is the closest thing to a true 1 versus 1.

  • Selecting your toplaner

    Setting up a toplane naturally starts in the select screen. Pick a champ with whom you feel comfortable. If possible try to pick a champ that synergizes well with your team. Another good approach is to pick a champ which counters your toplane opponent (such as picking Galio when versus a Rumble for example). Personally I like to lastpick as the toplaner so we can get important picks on the other 4 slots, while I focus on countering the toplane and getting as farmed as possible.


    The common picks on the toplane can be any of these:

    (off)Tanks: Tanky characters usually used for initiating, include Galio, Singed and Shen.

    AD/Onhit bruisers: Tanky physical damage dealers which fight on the frontline, include Garen, Gangplank, Warwick and Udyr. Most of these posses means of self sustain.

    AP carries: Mostly the AP carries which have a form of selfsustain (Morgana or Swain for example) or manaless caster which can easily heal up when they acquired a hextech revolver (such as Kennen).

    These only describe the common picks, theres actually a plethora of picks which might prove effective in the toplane. An AD carry such as Vayne can counter a non gap closing bruiser such as Udyr pretty hard by tumbling out of harms way and using condemn to propel him away from yourself.


    Another thing to consider when picking is how you peronsally like to lane, do you want to lane in relative easy or do you want to play it all out aggressive and gain freefarm by not allowing the opponent to not be in the lane? A Garen could dominate his lane pretty easily, while an Irelia or Singed might want to start safe and gather some core items before being able to freefarm with impunity and become a lategame monster.


    Last but not least you need to select proper summoners. Exhaust and ignite are common picks for duelling and are always a good asset to your team, try to figure out the enemies top pick or their most dangerous pick and pick accordingly.

    Teleport is another common pick for the top lane, it gives you the chance to teleport to other lanes to gank, teleport to dragon to contest or kill it, or when pressured hard in your lane and you need to do a quick heal and buy. If you don’t have teleport and the opponent does have always be aware that you might have to run to midlane or dragon if he appears there.


  • Assessing and deciding on course of actions

    Asses what your opponent is able to do, what you are able to do, what other factors in the game might influence your laning and act accordingly. From here on there are multiple things you could do:


    -          Ignore

    You will definitely encounter matchups where the combination of sustain and tankiness of both you and your opponent will reach a point where bothering each other seems like a waste of time. Freefarming seems like the best solution for the moment, but where you are getting freefarm, so is your opponent. Call for a gank, kill him, and continue to rack up farm.


    -          Zone

    When you notice you can potentially kill your opponent without too much risk, try to harass him as much as possible. Show them that you posses the means to potentially kill him and zone him out of experience range and from last hits. Donɢt forget to take your own lasthits or zoning might prove counterproductive.


    -          Farm at your tower

    The opposite from the former might happen. You could find yourself in a lane where the opponent has superior duel strength and tries to zone you from the xp/lasthit line. Try to stay around the xp line and don٢t worry too much about the possibility of getting outfarmed. Play it safe, wait until the wave pushes to your tower. When the wave reaches your tower you must try to keep it there as long as possible, don’t nuke the creeps down with area of effect skills or you might find yourself being zoned again. As long as your tower doesn’t fall too quickly you can afford it to be hit by some minions. Learn to properly lasthit under your tower (with skillsets from character such as Irelia or Shen is an easy thing to do). Call for ganks, theres always a chance (especially early game) that your opponent hasn’t warded properly and is susceptible for ganks by your jungler or mid laner.


    -          Push to opposing tower

    When you dominate your opponent in such a way that you can keep the creep wave at his tower and slowly kill it you could try to keep him from obtaining enough lasthits (especially when you notice that your opponent is bad at last hitting under his tower). This tactic is not without risk, some junglers are extremely dangerous and might blink to your position or gank from the lane. Global abilities also pose a threat. Ward up extensively, try to nuke down creepwaves at his tower and try to autoattack the tower when alot of friendly minions surround you, when your opponent tries to harass you with autoattacks he will draw the attention from huge creepwaves, giving him a harder time. Diving and killing your opponent is a possibility, but should only be done when you are absolutely certain that you can kill him and survive it yourself or that it forces your opponent to retreat meaning you kill the tower with impunity.


    Further course of actions when you have bested your lane include ganking the midlane, invading the jungle (high risk without wards) or continue to pushing to the next tower. Pushing to the second tower is a good way to draw attention away from other lanes and the dragon, but not without risk, it will require good warding or playing a character that can survive a gank from multiple people (Singed huehue), don’t forget to keep an eye on the minimap on a regular basis you can notice if things start smelling fishy.

  • Warding

    Point A: This is a good point of warding when you have a single ward at start, it doesnɢt grant you extended vision but it keeps you relatively safe from early ganks.

    Points B: Extended points when pushing harder into the tower, keeps you more safe from normal ganks by foot. Try to let your midlaner or jungler ward the point above the mid lane, or do it yourself when they can٢t or won’t do it. Care for junglers who can cross into the lane from the baron pit or have big gap closers such as Nocturne.

    Points C: When splitpushing to the next tower, these are pretty good ward spots to keep you relatively safe. There are still some ways to near you and you are still susceptible to blinkers or gankers with huge gap closers. Stay on your guard. You can set up even more wards, but there should be a limit to the amount you buy as it will drain your gold resources.

    Purple side:

    Point A: This is a good point of warding when you have a single ward at start, it doesn’t grant you extended vision but it keeps you relatively safe from early ganks. Care for junglers ganking you from your own jungle.

    Points B: Same idea as point A but extended view to notice if the enemy jungler comes from your own jungle. Keep in mind that some junglers can still reach you with big range gapcloser and that characters such as Lee Sin or Jarvan can just cross the cliff to your top bush within a second.

    Points C: Pretty good warding positions when splitpushing to the second tower.


    Ninja ganks:

    Some junglers prefer to let their ally push a bit and come through the lane and the dual bushes on top, ward them if you are afraid of such ganks or play passively when you notice something is wrong.

  • Conclusion

    If you like to bout it out in solitude with mostly tanky characters, the toplane is your place to be. Farm up, be a monster, assist your team with well timed teleports or racing to objectives such as dragon and be an annoyance by split pushing that lane ad infinitum.

  • List of solid solotop characters (subject to opinion)

    (off)Tanks: ChoɢGath, Galio, Jarvan IV, Shen, Singed

    AD/On hit bruisers: Gangplank, Garen, Irelia, Jax, Lee Sin, Nasus, Pantheon, Renekton, Trundle, Udyr, Warwick, Wukong, Xin Zhao, Yorick, Skarner

    AP carries: Akali, Gragas, Kennen, Mordekaiser, Morgana, Nidalee, Rumble, Ryze, Sion, Swain, Kathus, Cassiopeia, Brand

    Others: Talon, Teemo, Vayne, Tryndamere

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Submitted by Coalescence

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