My previous article detailing important information necessary to understanding most of the blathering that goes on in this article can be found here: http://www.slashskill.com/league-of-legends-beginners-guide-to-midlane/
Hail Summoners! It's that time again! Yes yes it is! We all get to learn more about the wonderful place called Summoner's Rift! Are you all ready?
This time around, we're going to be talking all about the wonderful, majestic role of Top Lane. Keep in mind that by wonderful and majestic, I mean a one on one duel to the death. That's the key here kiddies. Top lane tends to be the most disconnected role in the game, this is because it's a solo lane that's on the opposite side of the map from the duo lane (Bottom lane) and the Dragon, which is where a lot of early game fights take place. This doesn't make it boring though however, because you've got the enemy laner to deal with, potential roams from mid lane and jungle ganks. Also, you've got all the delicious farm. Oooooh. Faaaaaaarrrm.
Now for the geography of the top lane. As you can see from the picture to the left, The top laners meet in the upper left corner of the map, This means that there is only one main entrance to the lane from other lanes, the river. While there are openings in the jungle to the lane, most often people will enter from the river. There's a small patch of brush right near the end of the river which is generally the best place to put your wards to watch for junglers. There's also three patches of brush lining the very upper corner of the lane, these will be useful in trying to avoid damage in trades and to run away when you're either being ganked or losing a fight. They're of course also useful for the usual brush shenanigans, like hiding in and ambushing your poor hapless opponent.
Now generally, top lane is kind of a farm-fest for the first little bit since most of the action in happening elsewhere and Toplaners are generally too far away to really participate in it, unless they have teleport (A summoner spell, which we'll get into in a later article) or a global ability. So often-times top laners tend to be tanks because they can just farm for a while to become an immovable wall. Originally this was all top lane was, but eventually people started to play Fighters and counter the Tanks before they get inherently tanky. To counter the rise of the Fighters, Mages and the occasional self-sufficient Marksmen started to appear at the top. It soon became a vicious cycle of what's popular and what counters it, and it goes on and on. Ultimately though, top lane is pretty open to whatever you want to play, but what tends to work best is high-mobility or at least slightly tanky champions. This is because it's a longer lane, and you're there by yourself most of the time, so you need to be able to reliably get back to your turret if all hell breaks loose.
As you move into the mid and late game, you're generally going to want to start helping your team like the rest of the roles, unless you are a Split Pushing champion. Certain champions, mostly top laners excel at this strategy. It's actually a very effective way to win games, or at the very least gain a big turret advantage.
Split pushing is when your team is keeping the enemy team busy and you just push a lane by yourself hopefully without the enemy noticing and take a turret (or two, maybe three, possibly an inhibitor, also likely their happiness.)
You can't always blindly do this, but some people are easily fooled by it. Most people will send somebody to sneak up behind you and beat your dirty, split-pushing, ass into the ground. Sometimes it's best to just be flexible and go where you're needed most.
As a tanky or durable-ish champion, (This is not for all toplane champions, just FYI) you're going to want to be the front-line in team fights so you can soak a bit of damage up for your squishier teammates. They can then safely kill targets quickly. You can also provide some damage and CC. You're going to want to prioritize the same targets as a team, those are generally the really high-damage champions on the other team.
Despite the ridiculous amounts of top-lane champions, many of them are difficult pick up and play, but luckily there are a few that are relatively beginner-friendly, which brings me to my next section of the article:
#1 - Garen
Ahhh yes, Garen. The quintessential starter. This is with good reason though, he's tanky and capable of some pretty decent damage if built with the right items. His abilities are simple, yet effective. He also screams the name of his Kingdom every two seconds, has a big sword, and spins like a ballerina on steroids.
- His passive ability is called Perseverance, which allows him to automatically gain a large increase in health regeneration when he goes ten seconds without being hit by an enemy champion. This means he has ridiculous healing if he's against a more passive laner.
- His first ability (Q) is called Decisive Strike, and upon activation, Garen breaks free of any slowing effects and gains a movement speed increase. This lasts for a few seconds or until he attacks something. His next auto-attack will also do bonus damage and silence the enemy, preventing any abilities from being used.
- His second ability (W) is called Courage, this passively increases his armor and magic resistance. Upon activation it gives Garen a small shield that reduces incoming damage and the duration of enemy CC for a few seconds.
- His third ability (E) is called Judgment, which causes him to spin with his sword, dealing pulsing AoE damage around him for a few seconds.
- His ultimate ability (R) is called Demacian Justice, which is a targeted ability that deals damage to the enemy hit by it. Here's the fun thing though, it's an Execute ability, meaning the less health the enemy has, the more damage it deals.
Garen is a fairly easy to play champion with a lot of potential tankiness and damage in his kit. He's also very cheap to buy, which makes him easily accessible to new players.
#2 - Ryze
Oh Ryze, you silly, silly mage you. Ryze is a champion who has a fairly simple play style, despite what people might think when they see his kit. He's a ranged mage, and has quite a lot of quick burst damage. Add a little CC in there for good measure. What really separates him from other mages is the fact that the majority of his spells not only increase their damage when he builds ability power, but also when he builds mana, allowing some really interesting, unique and creative builds for him.
- His passive is called Arcane Mastery, which makes the cooldown of all his other spells decrease by one second each time he casts a spell, leading to him being able to fire off spells VERY quickly.
- His first ability (Q) is called Overload, this passively increases his cooldown reduction. Upon activation, it deals single target burst damage to the person hit by it.
- His second ability (W) is called Rune Prison, this ability is also a single target ability, it deals a little bit of damage and Snares the enemy, preventing them from moving.
- His third ability (E) is called Spell Flux, when activated this spell hits an enemy and bounces to up to five other enemies, this deals damage and reduces magic resist for a few seconds. It can also bounce off of Ryze, but doesn't damage him or lower his magic resist.
- His ultimate ability (R) is called Desperate Power, this ability increases his Spell Vamp, which allows him to heal based off a percentage of the damage he deals, and makes all of his spells area of effect spells.
Ryze is a very easy to play champion with simple mechanics, a forgiving play style, and increased burst damage. He's also cheap, allowing quick and easy access to him.
#3 - Nasus
Now for Nasus, that's another unique champion, despite his simple play style and inherent ridiculous tankiness, he's capable of HUGE damage if played correctly. Particularly early in the game. He is one of the select champions that has Infinite Scaling. This means he has a stat/ability (ability in Nasus's case) that can infinitely increase in power based on how he's played. He's also a dog.
- His passive is called Soul Eater, which gives him increased baseline Life Steal and works similarly to Spell Vamp. The difference being it heals him based on how much physical damage he does, and works with auto attacks as well as physical abilities.
- His first ability (Q) is called Siphoning Strike, which empowers his next auto-attack to deal bonus damage. If it kills a target (yes, minions and monsters count) it permanently increases the damage of Siphoning Strike by a slight amount. If you can deal killing blows with this on minions every time possible, this can amount to a ridiculous amount of damage. To the point where he can one-shot squishy champions without buying a single damage item, provided he's farmed enough.
- His second ability (W) is called Wither, which is an ability that slows movement speed and attack speed on the target it's cast on. This slow increases over time for a few seconds. At the beginning it's not so bad, but by the end of the spell duration the enemy is moving and attacking at a snail's pace.
- His third ability (E) is called Spirit Fire, which is an AoE ability that deals damage over time and reduces the armor of all who stand in it.
- His ultimate ability (R) is called Fury of the Sands, which when activated causes him to grow two feet in size, increases his maximum health, attack range, and deals AoE damage around him over time, giving him attack damage based on how much damage the AoE deals.
Nasus is indeed a very special doggy. He is a scary force to enemies if left unchecked for too long. He's also very easy to pick up and play. Bonus points for being relatively cheap to buy as well. You go Nasus.
That brings my toplane guide to a conclusion, but not to worry, I'll be back soon enough with another guide on the wonders of ADC! Ooooh... Fancy! We get to shoot people!
Anyway, adios my friends, and as always, thanks for reading and good luck on the Rift you Silly Summoners!