Team Guide by Haedrix
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Lee Sin Build
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These are not "the best" Solo Top champions, just examples of strong picks in the current meta. I didn't want to include champions that I don't have the best insight on even if they are stronger picks. I wanted to make sure that anything I give advice on is something I have experience with and knowledge about.
This is a repository page, meaning I don't go into full detail regarding each champion and their respective play styles, mechanics, etc.
About the Author
My IGN on NA is Phaetox. I am currently Gold III w/ 2300+ Normal wins.
I'm a content provider for a few online gaming communities but the main project that I'm involved with is Diatomic Gaming.
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If you are interested check out any of the following links to seek more information:
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Options Not Included / General Strategy
I wanted to make sure I covered strong picks that are not included. I also hope that I can give some insight into when to pick what type of Solo Top champion.
Junglers that can 1v1 other junglers and bring high damage with their ganks are strong in the current meta. This often encourages teams to pick a Solo Top champion that has strong CC or tanking ability.
Other than Shen and Zac, other choices are:
They all bring CC and buff up a team's front line. The only problem with these picks is that it is important when forming your team composition to note that although they bring a lot of CC to your team they will likely not be joining in skirmishes and early game team fights. You should make sure to have CC elsewhere in your picks as well to improve your invading power and your skirmish strength when contesting Dragon.
Running a multiple assassin team composition creates a high pressure game for the enemy team. Most less experienced premade groups will cave under the pressure of a multi-assassin comp. This strategy works especially well when the enemy team picks an ADC without an escape mechanic early on in Champion Select. It can still work well even if the enemy team has an ADC with a repositioning tool as long as their peeling potential is generally weak. When aiming for a multi-assassin comp, your primary assassin will usually be your Mid Laner and the secondary assassin will need to come from the Jungle or Top Lane.
Lee Sin and Rengar fill this role well while still bringing utility but other alternatives are:
The best conventional picks for strategies involving split pushing is Shen and Nidalee.
Noteworthy mechanics for this strategy involve the ability to clear minions quickly, decent damage to towers, and high mobility so that you can escape easily if the enemy attempts to defend your split push. Shen lacks mobility but has the ability to rejoin his team via Stand United so if someone comes to defend his split push, he can tell his team to engage the 4v4 and will rejoin his team faster than the opponent who came to defend.
Other viable options include:
Teemo can be very annoying to lane against Top Lane, has various viable builds, is incredibly hard to gank after he hits Level 6, has very high mobility along with slows to escape easily, and has very high base attack speed to help with pushing. Basically just place mushrooms all around your split pushing area to keep map vision up as well and use Move Quick whenever you need to scurry away.
Tryndamere had a brief spout of popularity with his AP build but he has actually seen quite a bit of play in high Elo Solo Queue as an AD Split Pusher. He doesn't have the greatest laning phase but his kit does have a high skill cap which can be abused by veteran players. He clears waves quickly, does huge damage to towers, and has Spinning Slash to go over walls as well as Undying Rage to keep him alive long enough to hopefully escape if he does get himself caught. Ravenous Hydra and Statikk Shiv can also be built in order to help him clear minions more quickly.
AD Master Yi is certainly not a conventional Solo Top choice but it can work well with some practice and coordination. He has always been a very strong split push / backdoor champion. Meditate can help him survive laning phase as a sustain steroid and he has the ability to farm with Alpha Strike if he gets zoned from melee farming. He has an AD steroid on Wuju Style which can also help him win trades against various conventional Solo Top picks. His Highlander makes him immune to slows and gives him a movement speed buff, allowing him to easily escape if anyone defends his split push.
Quinn has seen growing popularity since her set of buffs. Heightened Senses can be used to sniff out ganks and people coming to defend towers. Tag Team makes her incredibly hard to pursue. Her ranged kit in general also helps her in farming and taking towers. People seem to still be experimenting with builds and strategies with her as a Solo Lane champion but she has the option of being played when your team is looking for a split pusher.
Both Jayce and AP Nidalee excel in poke compositions.
Kha'Zix, Gragas, and Elise all have strong poke / siege potential as well.
Something to keep in mind though is that just because your team is running a poke comp, doesn't mean YOU have to play a champion with strong poke.
Any of the above split pushing champions work well with a poke comp too. This is because poke comps in general try to avoid full engages. In this scenario, your team can siege a tower / harass enemies down while you split push.
You could also pick Solo Top champions that have strong disengage capabilities to help your team.
Trundle is a prime example of this concept. His Pillar of Filth can zone out enemies attempting to engage.
Rumble, Gragas, and Xin Zhao can be played Top Lane and their Ultimates can be used as a disengage.
Cho'Gath brings ranged CC via Rupture to help siege towers and his AoE CC also helps to discourage enemy teams from engaging.
Dr. Mundo can spam cleavers for poke but the main reason he works well in poke comps is because his cleavers slow enemies, making it really hard for an opposing front line to chase down your team for an engage. Rumble works similarly since Electro-Harpoon is a spammable slow and The Equalizer has immense range and applies an AoE slow.
The obvious choice is Shen whenever he is available. It should be taken into account however that he is a relatively popular ban. Other viable options are:
These picks aren't as conventional but they are viable.
Gangplank farms well, brings buffs to team fights, has innate slow, good peels, and has a good balance of stats. He isn't OP or super strong but he might be what your team needs in certain situations.
Pantheon doesn't see much competitive play but he can be a really strong lane bully. He also brings a huge threat to Mid Game due to his ability to roam with Grand Skyfall.
The most popular Pantheon build involves maxing Heartseeker Strike and rushing The Black Cleaver in order to get quick AoE Armor Shred.
Another rising variation involves rushing a Tear of the Goddess and maxing Spear Shot first in order to spam Q harass all day and crush your lane. This can be followed up nicely with a Muramana and Iceborn Gauntlet. Of course, it is still a good idea to get The Black Cleaver at some point. Another noteworthy feature is that the armor shred from The Black Cleaver applies on physical damage from any source. This means that because Aegis of Zeonia is a single target spell, it applies bonus physical damage from Muramana and therefore an armor shred stack from The Black Cleaver. It also means your Spear Shot applies 2 stacks of The Black Cleaver, one for the ability's physical damage and one for the bonus physical damage applied on hit by Muramana. It is a less conventional build but the damage, sustain, utility, and durability that the item synergy provides is quite nice.
Solo Top Nocturne is probably the least conventional choice here. It isn't necessarily something I'd recommend in Solo Queue, but it can work out quite nicely in Premades.
A tricky mechanic is to run Teleport on Nocturne. Paranoia denies enemy vision. This means you can turn it on and then use your Teleport and the enemy team will not be able to see you teleporting in. As soon as you land from the teleport, you can activate the second function of Paranoia and fly in for a gank. I've played against this strategy a few times in Ranked Premades and it has given my teams trouble before.
Nocturne also just has a strong laning phase overall. He has strong damage steroids, innate sustain from Umbra Blades healing him, and does not get pushed out of lane easily if he runs Life Steal Quints.
Late Game Scaling
If you're worried about your team's late game strength there are champions that you can pick in order to guarantee having late game team fight strength.
Jax is just a late game hyper carry in general. Nasus and Sion have infinite scaling potential as the game drags on.
OP Engage Potential
Kennen and Wukong have some of the strongest team fight potential with AoE ults that have huge Damage and CC.
Other champions that you could utilize Top Lane to add initiate to your team include:
Vi is surprisingly strong in a Solo Lane. She has durability and damage steroids embedded within her kit alongside a very strong gap closer / single target CC with Assault and Battery. She is able to get a lot more gold from Solo Top than she is used to in the Jungle and this can make her unusual strength via items catch enemies off guard.
Hecarim is actually a great Solo Top champion. He has mobility, damage, sustain, initiate, and AoE. The reason that he isn't played Top Lane is because if for whatever reason he isn't banned he's almost always grabbed by a team's Jungler. However, if your team has a specific Jungle strategy they want to run (like a Nunu Jungle to solo Dragon at 3 minutes into the game) while wishing to avoid giving Hecarim to the enemy team, you can play him Top Lane.
Malphite is a great pick to strengthen your team's initiation prowess. He excels against AD focused opponents but can be a strong solo laner in general. Teleport is recommended in this situation.
AP / Heavy Magic Damage
With the rise of AD oriented Mid Laners, there seems to be a rise in the need for Solo Top players to have champions in their kit who can bring Magic Damage to the table. You don't necessarily have to play an "AP Carry" type of Top Lane though, as there are many bruisers / tanks that can balance out your team's damage output while still bringing CC and utility to a team composition.
In addition to Kennen, Nidalee, and Zac you could play:
General Strong Picks / No Direct Correlation to Team Compositions