The top lane in League of Legends can be a bruising battle between tanky fighters and damage-dealing carries. Choosing the right champion for this solo lane is crucial to find success. In this article, we will count down the 5 best top lane champions to play in patch 13.17. From lane bullies to late-game hyper carries, these top laners have the damage, crowd control, and durability to dominate the top side of the map.
The current top tier top lane champions include classics like Malphite and Tryndamere along with more recent standouts like Kled and Illaoi. Each of these champions excels in the top lane matchup with their unique blend of abilities that allow them to win trades, escape ganks, scale well, or influence other parts of the map. Players who master these top 5 top lane champions will climb with ease by crushing their lane opponents, enabling their jungler, roaming mid, and applying pressure across the map. With strong lane priorities, teleport usage, and skillful trading, these top lane picks have the potential to hard-carry games and make a huge impact on the outcome.
Illaoi Continues to Dominate Top Lane. Illaoi has been a powerful pick in the top lane for several patches now and continues to perform well with a win rate of 52.2%. The Kraken Priestess thrives in the 1v1 or 1v2 matchup of top lane with her high damage output and ability to completely take over team fights when she lands a good ultimate.
Illaoi’s core item build revolves around Black Cleaver, Sterak’s Gage, and Death’s Dance to maximize her ability damage and healing. Starting with Corrupting Potion helps her win early trades and have constant lane pressure. The recommended runes are Grasp of the Undying, Demolish, Bone Plating, and Overgrowth to synergize with her all-ins.
Although powerful, Illaoi does have some counterpicks that can give her trouble. Most notably, Vayne is able to kite out and dodge Illaoi’s skill shots while dealing percent health damage. Fiora can also outplay Illaoi’s ultimate and win extended trades with her mobility and true damage vitals. Juggernauts like Darius and Mordekaiser also pose issues if they’re able to force an all-in with their ultimate.
But in most matchups, a skilled Illaoi player will crush their lane opponent once they hit level 6. Illaoi excels at fighting multiple opponents with her Ultimate – Leap of Faith and zoning control from her E – Test of Spirit. She has strong push power with her AOE slams and surprising chase potential with repeated W – Harsh Lesson slows. Her unpredictable damage and self-healing make her a nightmare to gank if she lands her abilities.
Overall, Illaoi continues to be a top-tier threat in the top-lane meta that can single-handedly win team fights. Her unique mechanics and ability to 2v1 make her a perfect pick for top laners looking to dominate the island in the early game and become an unstoppable force in the late game. She remains one of the strongest top lane champions at higher elos.
Also read: League of Legends: Top 5 Jungle Champions
Malphite has consistently been one of the best top lane tanks and currently sports a solid 52.2% win rate. He thrives against AD-heavy teams thanks to his armor-stacking passive that allows him to become deceptively tanky. His powerful initiation and disruption from his ultimate make him a constant threat to the enemy backline.
The typical item build on Malphite revolves around stacking armor and ability haste to get his Unstoppable Force as often as possible in team fights. Core items include Sunfire Aegis to increase his trading power in side lanes, Thornmail against auto-attackers, and Frozen Heart to top off his cooldown reduction. His recommended rune page is Grasp of the Undying, Shield Bash, Conditioning, and Overgrowth. This complements his annoying poke pattern in lane with repeated Qs.
In team fights, a good Malphite will look for flank angles or fog of war to find the perfect ultimate onto the enemy carries. His combo of knock-up into slowed attack speed and burned health bars can completely decide a close match.
Malphite does struggle into AP matchups in top lane. Champions like Mordekaiser, Teemo, and Sylas give him issues since he can’t itemize magic resist as easily. Their sustained magic damage also beats out his reliance on burst trading patterns.
But overall, Malphite remains one of the best engage tanks in League of Legends that can change the tide of team fights with a well-placed Unstoppable Force. His lane phase is safe and consistent, and he scales incredibly well into the mid and late game. For top laners looking for a reliable frontliner, Malphite is a perfect addition to round out team compositions and set up picks.
Kled Charges On as a Strong Solo Queue Pick, sporting a 51.4% win rate. His high damage, sticking power, and Skaarl’s extra health bar make him a daunting laner to face. Kled thrives in scrappy 1v1s and 2v2s where he can fully utilize his abilities.
His core item build focuses on cooldown reduction to have W – Violent Tendencies available as much as possible. Black Cleaver and Ravenous Hydra give Kled wave clear and let him quickly take down towers. Death’s Dance synergizes with his Q – Bear Trap on a Rope heal to keep him alive in sticky situations. For runes, most Kled players take Conqueror for extended trades along with Bone Plating and Demolish for maximum lane bully potential.
In team fights, Kled needs to balance diving the backline with using his mobility to dodge incoming crowd control. Properly remounting Skaarl in a hectic fight takes precision but allows Kled to rejoin the fray at full strength. His innate ability to push side lanes quickly means he excels at pressuring the map.
He does have some bad top-lane counters though. Ranged harassers like Vayne, Malphite, and Kayle can kite him out and prevent remounts. Fiora outscales Kled in the 1v1 and blocks his Q – Bear Trap on a Rope damage. Careful play is required against these picks.
Overall though, Kled remains one of the strongest early-game lane bullies that can solo kill opponents once he hits level 3. His sticky potential combined with two health bars gives him an edge in many top-lane matchups. For an aggressive and oppressive champ that brings damage and initiation, Kled is a great choice to carry games from top lane.
Also read: The Ultimate Viego Guide in LoL (2023)
Tryndamere continues to be a dominant split-pushing threat in the top lane, maintaining a 51.4% win rate. His sustained damage, mobility, and five seconds of immortality from his ultimate make him a constant split-push threat if left unchecked.
Most Tryndamere players build towards a 40% crit chance and cooldown reduction to have more uptime on his spin. Core items include Hullbreaker, Kraken Slayer, and Navori Quickblades. This allows him to reach nearly permanent crits and spin mobility for duels. Lethal Tempo is his go-to keystone for deadly all-ins and tower-taking.
In team fights, Tryndamere is capable of diving straight through to the enemy backline if Flash is up. Properly using his Ultimate – Undying Rage to avoid death and sustain through the fight is crucial. When split pushing, Trynd must have strong vision control and map awareness to not get collapsed on.
His weaknesses come from champions who can slow his attack speed or kite him out. Malphite and Teemo give Tryndamere trouble, as does Nasus during the late game. Avoid fighting these champions in prolonged side lane duels.
At the end of the day though, a skilled Tryndamere remains extremely difficult to stop in a side lane once he has his core items. His tower-taking and constant pressure force enemies to send multiple members to deal with him. In a low-coordination solo queue, Tryndamere can eke out wins through split pushing alone. For top laners seeking a late-game hyper carry, Tryndamere is always a strong choice.
Olaf remains one of the strongest duelists and lane bullies in League of Legends, sporting a 51.2% win rate from top lane in recent patches. The Berserker thrives in scrappy 1v1 and 2v2 fights where he can throw axes from range before running down opponents with his true damage and healing.
A typical Olaf build maximizes cooldown reduction so he can constantly pick up and refresh axes during a fight. Core items like Black Cleaver, Death’s Dance, and Spirit Visage give Olaf all the stats he needs to stay on targets and sustain through trades. Conqueror is a must in his runes along with Triumph and Last Stand for winning extended all-ins. Some Olafs will also take Unflinching and Legend: Tenacity against high crowd control teams.
In team fights, Olaf shines as a backline diver and disruptor who can overwhelm the enemy carries before they have time to react. Proper positioning and intelligent use of his Ragnarok ultimate to negate crowd control are imperative in 5v5 skirmishes and objective fights. Well-timed ults can allow Olaf to reach the backline and wreak havoc unimpeded. Olaf also excels at split pushing side lanes, although he lacks real escape tools if collapsed upon.
Olaf struggles with poke compositions where he has trouble reaching the priority targets. Ranged top laners like Teemo, Vayne, and Jayce can also use their advantage to kite Olaf out during his ultimate. Avoid blindly running at these opponents in elongated 1v1s.
At the end of the day though, Olaf remains one of the scariest champions to face 1v1 in League of Legends. His constant threat of all-ins forces opponents to play safe and miss farm. In solo queue, a strong Olaf player can hard carry games from top lane with relentless aggression and in-your-face playmaking. Between his true damage, healing, and crowd control immunity, Olaf continues to be a top-tier menace ready to leave carnage in his wake. For those seeking a powerful lane bully that dominates the early game, Olaf is always a top choice ready to unleash his inner beast.
In conclusion, the top lane remains home to some of the most impactful champions in League of Legends. The current top-tier picks like Illaoi, Malphite, Kled, Tryndamere, and Olaf all excel in different ways, whether through raw damage, tankiness, utility, or split push power. Each brings a unique set of strengths to win lane, support their jungle, influence the map, and eventually carry team fights.
Mastering these five top-lane champions takes time, but the payoff is immense. Their ability to crush opponents in solo lanes, enable their team through teleports and roams, and scale into potent threats means these are premier picks to climb with right now. With the right matchup knowledge, trading patterns, and map awareness, any aspiring top laner can find success on these dominant champs. They represent the current pinnacle of top lane play in League.
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