League of Legends Role Guide: Top Lane

by Phirex

If you’re looking for a lane where you can engage in a lengthy 1 vs 1 with your lane opponent, be self-sufficient for most of the early game, and make important strategic decisions, then the Top Lane is for you – here’s our guide on one of the more popular roles in League of Legends. 

What is the Top Laner? 

The Top laner is the Summoner which spends the start of the game (known as the early game) in the Top lane of Summoner’s Rift. The Top lane is the one of two solo lanes in the game, along with Mid lane. 

The Top Laner generally tends to receive less early assistance than the Middle and Bottom lanes, leading to a larger focus on the Top Lane’s immediate opponent. This, as well as being a long solo lane, has led some to refer to Top Lane as the ‘island’. 

If you want to try out a high variety of champions and playstyles, Top lane is the best role to do this in. Champions chosen in the top lane tend to be either high damage or tanky and difficult to kill.

There are more melee range champions in the top lane due to the length of the lane; its long and solo nature means more chances to run down enemy champions. 

League of Legends - Image credit Riot Games
League of Legends – Credit: Riot Games

How to Start Out as a Top Laner 

When starting out as a Top laner, you’ll be isolated vs your lane opponent (the other champion in the Top lane) for most of the early game. There are three main things to focus on whilst in lane: trading, warding and CSing. 

Auto attacks and abilities

Due to the length of the lane, auto-attack range is especially important in the Top lane. If you’re playing a melee champion vs a ranged champion, it can be difficult to get CS whilst being damaged. 

It’s usually the case that if you can get close to a ranged champion as a melee Top laner, you’ll be able to do high amounts of damage which they struggle to cope with.

If you’re a ranged Top laner vs a melee, try to damage them with your auto attacks early in the game, either forcing them to recall or stay for too long, so you can chase them down and get a kill. 

Top laners also rely on abilities. It’s important to track your cooldowns and those of your opponent to maximise damage output and increase your chance of running down your opponent and getting a kill.


Trading in lane is the process of exchanging damage with your lane opponent in the hope of coming out of the top; you’ll find trades occur a lot in the top lane, so try to get comfortable with auto-attacking your opponent or damaging them with an ability fairly frequently. 


Whilst trading is important, it’s also imperative to ensure you accrue gold and XP by killing minions (CSing). Try not to let your minions get too close to your tower, as this can make it difficult to CS. 

What are the Top Laner’s Main Responsibilities?


Whilst the Top lane is solitary for the most part, its length means it’s easy to get ganked by the opposing team’s Jungler. Use wards (bound to 4 on your keyboard) and place them in the river, to make sure the Jungler isn’t sneakily trying to damage your progress.


The Top laner usually uses the Summoner Spell Teleport. This is for two reasons: firstly, it can help you get back to the long lane quickly, so you don’t lose too much time or XP. Secondly, it means you can help out your allies in the Mid or Bot lanes – a good Teleport use can swing the game in your favour! 

What Champion Should I Start With?

Garen, The Might of Demacia - League of Legends
League champion Garen – Credit: Riot Games

When starting out, it’s best to pick a champion that is easy to use. Garen is a great champion to start with because he’s easy to understand, doesn’t use any mana, and does a lot of damage. Give him a spin in Practice mode first to see what his abilities do.

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