Solo Top guide for beginners

Top lane guide for beginners from one of our authors.
Masteries, runes, itemization, match ups and roles for most popular top lane champions:
Irelia, Gnar, Riven, Rumble and Vladimir.

League Top Lane Guide for beginners in Season 8

Solo Top Lane is one of the hardest roles in a LoL game. However, they are threats to the enemy damage dealers, but not only to them as they can play a split push heavy style that will destroy a lot of the enemy base if left unattended.

To play well on the top lane there are important things that you have to look out for:

  • Pick strong champion.
  • Understand your role in the game.
  • Choose the right item build for the chosen champion.
  • Master a champion and role.

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But we distance from the topic’s theme, so here is the top lane lol guide!


Playing at the LoL Top Lane you must understand that you standing all alone, and there are only you and your enemy. You need to know how to counter opponents and predict which champion will go on the top lane. It is your job to outplay your opponent, so you need to pick the strongest top laner, available in the LoL.

Top Lane LoL – Basic Information | How to play on Top Lane in LoL

From the very first minutes of the match, you need to check if your jungler need some help, and defend your jungle from the invaders. Do not forget that CSing is much more important than harassing an enemy, so always focus on minions. If you picked strong top laner, then you MUST control and dominate the lane and flow of the minions. As soon as you pushed your first tower, you will have two options:

  1. Join the party, to initiate teamfights and snowballing till the victory.
  2. Split-push while the rest of your team is taunting enemies.

In the late game, do not forget about strong and weak parts of your Top Lane Champion. Think about the best time to join the combat, and never forget that at this stage every mistake could lead to a defeat.

Best Top Laner | Meta Top Lane champions in Season 8 

top lane champions meta

In the current meta-game, the most picked top lane champions are Yorick, Teemo, and Maokai, but there are also other picks such as Fizz, Rumble and Vladimir that are viable. Gangplank is also picked very often, but this might be because of his rework since he used to have less than 5% pick rate before and his win rate is awful at the moment having stable 48.9% win percent.

The four champions named earlier are some of the best picks in Solo Queue for the Top Lane because they have great laning phases, good split pushing and they do rather well in team fights. Even if a champion is mainly a split push threat such as Yorick is, he is still decent at team fighting since his damage might take out an enemy damage dealer or at least keep them away from the battle.

Knowing what champion to pick and when is great for your success. Analyzing the enemy team is imperative in knowing what you should choose since they might have answers for what you want to pick and you will have a hard time from the beginning of the game. For example, if you pick Riven without analyzing the enemy team and then you see that they had a Shen, you will probably not be able to take advantage of Riven’s great laning phase since Shen has a shield and great sustain while you only have the shield. Shen is going to play defensively and let the minion wave push into his tower so he can try to taunt you and then trade really effectively under a tower. Another example is an Irelia pick versus a disengage heavy team. You might do well in the laning phase because Irelia is one of the strongest laners in the game, but team fights are going to happen in each game and if you aren’t able to get to the enemy carries then you might lose the fights and probably the game too. If the enemy team has a lot of disengages then you should pick very mobile champions such as Riven or Fizz because even if they can disengage from the fight, the huge mobility these champions have will let them get back to their enemies very quickly and keep dealing a lot of damage. Against poke compositions champions with engaging tools are great, champions that work well in these conditions are Irelia, Gnar, and Rumble. Even if Rumble is not a melee champion with hard crowd control, he can still initiate fights very well with the use of Equalizer (R) which, if placed well, can slow down the whole enemy team while melting their health bars.

Right now, thanks to the new runes, the next Top Lane Champions look like a pretty OP pick:

  • Yorick – 56% Win Rate
  • Teemo – 53.4% Win Rate
  • Maokai – 53.2% Win Rate
  • Sion – 52.9% Win Rate

These champions are just incredible – they are strong at wave cleaning, great at split-push, and are not useless in theamfights. Just pick one of them, and if opponent’s skill equals to yours, then you will see how easily you will own the lane, just thanks to the right pick. 

Laning Stage of the meta top lane champions is extremely easy because they have all the tools to harass an enemy, to CS minions and to flee out of combat if you being attacked.

If you are looking for a lol ranged top laners, then I want to suggest next ones, but not all of them can be used as effective top laners:

  • Teemo
  • Kayle
  • Heimerdinger
  • Kennen

So if you want to quickly boost your Elo or MMR then just master one of these LoL top laners.

Best Top Lane runes | Strongest runes for Top Laners

top lane runes

Runes now are very important, no matter what lane you play on or what you do in the game. They are different depending on which top lane champion you are playing. So you need a personalized guide for a chosen champion. Here I can only suggest to visit our Runes Reforged guide, to learn about new runes in LoL.

Best Top Lane item buildes | Overpowered items for Top Laners 

To be able to perform well, you have to buy the most effective items for each slot in your inventory. Even if the champions play on the same lane, they are in need of different items. In this LoL Top Lane guide, I will show the best items for many champions.

Irelia’s core item is Trinity Force because it gives her everything she needs. Attack Damage, Health, Attack Speed, the unique passive and more. After this item Irelia either goes for Zephyr or Blade of the Ruined King if she’s very ahead or builds tanky items such as Randuin’s Omen, Frozen Heart, Spirit Visage or other items that suit the purpose of making you bulkier.

Riven is often built full damage with one defensive item, often being Guardian Angel. The first item Riven should build is Brutalizer, but she won’t finish it until later in the game because Youmuu’s Ghostblade isn’t that helpful to her. Other damage items that are good for Riven are Ravenous Hydra, which is probably the most important item on her, Last Whisper, The Black Cleaver and Maw of Malmortius if needed. In case the enemy team has a lot of crowd control Riven can go for Mercurial Scimitar and in case the enemy team doesn’t have much crowd control nor magic damage then Riven can buy The Bloodthirster. These items give Riven all the damage she needs and enough effective health to survive battles.

Gnar is a champion that is building very tanky items, often having only one item that benefits his damage, but if he’s ahead he can go for two. The only damage items Gnar makes use of are The Black Cleaver and Frozen Mallet. These two items make his split pushing great because the enemy laner has no chance of out-trading him since his damage is immense after three hits land. After building the damage item(s), Gnar goes full tank by building items appropriate to the damage threats on the enemy team.

Shen builds very tanky early on and often gets his only damage item between the last items if at all. In case Shen is against a physical damage threat he goes for Sunfire Cape as the first item because it also helps him split push. If Shen is against a magical damage threat then he buys Spirit Visage as first item. After he gets tanky enough, Shen can choose from Trinity Force and Blade of the Ruined King as damage items. These items help him split push and they also help him be more of a threat during team fights by increasing his damage.

Rumble’s core items are Liandry’s Torment and Rylai’s Crystal Scepter. Because of the crowd control he has and the way he deals damage, he makes full use of it. Abyssal Scepter and Zhonya’s Hourglass are other two very important items, often, if facing a team with a lot of magical damage, Rumble can build Abyssal Scepter early, before Rylai’s Crystal Scepter, and if the enemy team has much physical damage then he can build Zhonya’s Hourglass early. A little trick that Rumble can do with Zhonya’s Hourglass is that he can use Flamespitter and Zhonya’s Hourglass afterwards to keep spitting flames while being invulnerable. Another very important item for Rumble is Void Staff. Because of the huge amount of damage in his ability kit, it makes enemies take big amounts of it in a little amount of time. After building penetration and Zhonya’s Hourglass, Rumble can go for Rabadon’s Deathcap.

Vladimir, being a champion with a lot of self sustain from his abilities, makes great use of Will of the Ancients, especially after the changes to it which made the healing even better by calculating the healed amount before enemy resistances reduce the damage dealt. This is Vladimir’s core item which lets him split push a lot by not having to go back to base because of low health and it also saves him the gold which he would use on potions. In case Vladimir plays against heavy magical damage champions, then his second item should be Abyssal Scepter, else he buys Zhonya’s Hourglass. Void Staff and Rabadon’s Deathcap don’t have an order of buying because it depends on how much magic resist the enemy team itemizes.


Pushing a lane while being separated from your team doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it’s more than that to it. Being safe while doing so and making sure that your teammates know what to do while you are split pushing is very important things because if they aren’t respected then you will be at a disadvantage while doing so.

league split push strategy

To split push safely you have to keep areas of the map near the lane you push warded. The easiest way to do this is by upgrading the Warding Totem to Greater Stealth Totem because it’s a miniature version of Sightstone that gives you access to two wards but doesn’t give you any health. Buying a pink ward and placing it somewhere the minions won’t go past is great because this way you have your back covered while pushing and the only areas you have to ward are the ones at the same level as you or deeper into enemy territory. These wards will make you and your team see the enemy team when they approach your position so that you can take advantage of their movement. While enemies come to your position, as split pusher you have to back off and wait for them to leave before you can push any longer, while your allies should take an objective, either a buff, a dragon, Nashor or a tower. To make sure that your allies know what to do when you are split pushing, you should tell them that you will be split pushing and that they shouldn’t try to fight or try to get an objective until the enemies leave towards your position. Even if this seems like common sense, even in the LCS there have been matches where teams wouldn’t be coordinated enough to take advantage of enemy movement.

For more details you can read our split pushing guide.


Even if split pushing is a very important thing for top laners, lane phase still exists and it determines which top laner is going to split push more effectively since the one that wins the laning phase will have an easier time while the one who loses will have to attract the enemy top laner out of lane by trying to make plays with their team.

There are different matchups, these can be winning matchups where your champion is at an advantage, equal matchups where neither party can win, skill matchup where the winner is determined by their skill and losing matchup where your champion is in disadvantage.

Most top laners that are popular in today’s meta do well in a multitude of matchups, but all champions have downsides, even if for some of them these downsides aren’t well sketched in the laning phase.

Irelia, Gnar and Riven are champions whose skill determines all of their laning phase matchups, even the ones against champions such as Jax who are terrifying in 1 versus 1 scenarios. Their mobility, crowd control or range in Gnar’s situation are enough to make their enemies have a hard time trying to beat them.

Shen is great against champions whose early game and mid game is good because once he gets one or two items he almost won’t receive any damage, but if he’s against other tanks such as Maokai where he won’t be able to trade effectively nor scale better than them, he won’t be able to split push well.

Rumble and Vladimir are weak against champions that can get to them quickly because their defensive statistics are very bad early on and thus they won’t be able to resist the damage they take and they’ll have to stay safe for the whole laning phase, meaning that they will lose many minions and they won’t be able to split push well. They are very good against tanks because even if they can reach Rumble or Vladimir easily, they won’t have enough damage and they will lose the trades.


In conclusion, if you follow this guide and train with the champions stated above, you will be able to play top lane very well.


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  1. Seperty

    Very nice guide, however it’s a bit outdated, since season 6 brought a lot of changes, but basics are the same, so this guide is still useful!

  2. Pandemonium

    Interesting info, but a little outdated. Popular TOP champions were changed now, and now most popular top lane champions in lol are – Shen, Gangplank, Pantheon, Galio, Jax, Nasus, Yasuo, Tryndamere, Garen, Teemo, Renekton, Fiora, Darius, and Riven. And all of them are really great!

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