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League of Legends 101 – How to play Toplane

So you are looking to play League of Legends, but you aren’t a fan of the whole “team environment” they’ve got going on? Don’t worry, we have a special spot for you: The Toplane.

Isolated from the map, it’s home to strong brawlers that take the fight to the enemy, and we’re here to teach you the basics.

Champions up Top

The list of champions that can go top is extremely long, so we can’t cover them all. Traditionally though, it’s inhabited by tough, often melee fighters with resistances, health, and most importantly, damage. Juggernauts, Duelers and Tanks are prime examples of toplaners.

Why these champions? Well, the toplane is a very long lane, and you have no support backing you up when you stray far from the safety of your tower. That makes it the most dangerous lane to be in, so you’ll need a tough champion to help you survive.
When beginning your journey in League, you might have someone accompanying you in the toplane. Soon you’ll find that person has ran off into the jungle, and you’ll be on your own, brawling one versus one to see who comes out on “top”. For beginners, we recommend playing Juggernauts like Darius and Garen to give you a feel of how toplane plays.

Want a challenge? Duelers like Fiora and Riven excel at outplaying their opponents through high mobility and difficult mechanics. Play these champions if you’re feeling a bit more ballsy, and if you like making huge flashy plays. Risk and reward is the key when playing duelers, so go hard or go home.

Lastly, Tanks are very often found holding the line in the toplane. While they lack damage, their extreme resistances let them hold off enemies and survive in lane. These are often stronger at neutralizing threats and stunning enemies getting too close for comfort.

Objectives

The objectives of a toplaner are simple: Get advantages in lane and use these advantages to help your team to victory. As it is a 1v1 lane, killing your lane opponent is the best way to start creating a lead. Champions like Darius and Riven are especially designed to do this, so if that’s your style, go for it. There’s many ways to create leads, so pick your own style and crush your enemy.

So, you’ve got your lead, what to do now? From here, you can take down the toplane turret for some extra gold, or try to find advantages elsewhere. You shouldn’t necessarily feel obligated to stay in your lane the later the game goes when your team needs you. While Tanks like Ornn and Malphite specialize in grouping up with their team to protect them, Duelers like Fiora and Tryndamere may find it easier to win games through splitpushing: a concept where you stay away from your team to push in lanes alone, forcing your enemy to react. The style you play thus depends on what champion you’ve picked.

Toplaners are often equipped with the Teleport summoner spell, this lets you teleport in places your enemies would never expect you to appear. Use this to your advantage to not only kill the enemy toplaner, but the other enemies as well. Creating a lead and distributing it across the map is the best way to carry playing toplane. As you are often far away from the action, Teleport is key to finding plays you otherwise can’t.
Tanks should focus on being there when the team needs them. For example, if your team is looking to fight over an objective, be sure you’re there beforehand so you can protect them from any danger coming their way.

Minions and Junglers

Killing your enemy laner is more than just being better at controlling your champion. Controlling waves is a key to success in every lane, but especially the toplane. Where the minion wave is in the lane is an extremely important factor for your safety, and thus the safety of your opponent. For instance, if the wave is close to your tower, you’re less likely to die, as you’re closer to safety. If you’re constantly pushing the wave into the enemy’s tower, that may mean you’re overextending, practically inviting the enemy jungler to come eat you up.

Junglers are the biggest threats for toplaners, as you have no support to help you. Be sure to use your wards in bushes to spot the jungler coming to your lane, as one death may mean you’re out of the game forever. While warding can spot the enemy jungler coming in, be sure to help yourself even more by using your minions to protect you from harm.

How to do this exactly? Don’t worry, there’s a lot of resources out there to help you with the more advanced concepts. Don’t feel afraid to enter forums like the SummonerSchool on Reddit to help you learn new techniques and mechanics, and with a little experience you’ll be just fine.

In short, stay alive, kill your enemy, kill more enemies, and win the game. While we covered a few, there’s a lot more to discover when it comes to different styles of toplaning. Creativity is most often found in the toplane, so don’t be afraid to try something new. After all, the most important thing is to have fun, so go out there and stomp some Teemos (or play him yourself).

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Image Credit: Riot Games

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