The Ultimate Guide to Improving your Top Lane
Tue 3rd Sep 2019 - 9:46am
Welcome to the island known as top lane. The sleeper lane, as it can get boring and has the least interaction on the map. With this common agreement of the lane being very isolated, it is very easy to look over the skill needed to master top lane. A lot of decision making goes into playing top lane. Should I Teleport back to lane? Should I shove this wave? Can I roam? There are so many questions you should ask yourself while playing top lane. Top lane isn’t just killing wave after wave, there are a lot of decisions you need to make.
Early Game Top Lane
Top lane in the early game can be a game of killing waves of creeps over and over. However, you can get ganked pre-level 6 by the enemy jungler. You will need to ward top lane brushes and river in the early game to avoid getting caught out by ganks. Below is a graphic of early game warding locations.
CSing is very important in top lane, so you need to know about wave manipulation. You will need to know how to freeze, slow push, and fast push your lane. I will go over the methods in a simple way, but if you would like more detail check out my guide on Wave Manipulation.
Freezing the Lane
Freezing a lane is a tool you apply in any lane. It is a wave manipulation tactic that can win you easy LP. To set a freeze in your lane, you need to manipulate the enemy wave. You need to even out the waves and last hit minions to keep the freeze going. If you do not last hit, you will constantly need to correct your freeze and you may break your own freeze. A freeze can be achieved by leaving 3 enemy caster minions alive.
If the enemy’s wave is pushing towards your tower, and approaching it, then you will need more ranged minions in lane. You will need more ranged minions as your minions will be coming to lane quicker. Freezing in the early game is hard and risky, but it can really pay off. Avoid tanking too much damage from the minions because your champion is weak early. Trimming the wave down will help you a lot. Below is a great video detailing how to freeze a lane.
Freezing can cause your enemy to lose out on a lot of cs and really put them behind. You can win your lane simply by freezing the enemy out of their cs. Freezing is hard to learn, but very beneficial in lane.
Trading in Lane
Trading is another important thing to do while in lane. You will only trade if you’re in a winning matchup or an even matchup. Trading can be done successfully if you have a minion advantage. If you start trading when you don’t have an advantage, then you will draw minion aggro and have increased chances of losing your trade and falling behind.
If you are behind your opponent, don’t try to trade unless you have jungle pressure. Your jungler can help you obtain a kill if you freeze near your tower. When a freeze is executed correctly near your tower, that opens up a window for your jungler to gank. When you’re behind, try to farm and set up a freeze. After the freeze is set, request some help from your jungler and then engage the enemy with their help.
When to Use Your Teleport in the Early Game
Teleport is the most common summoner spell for top laners. Teleport can no longer be canceled and has a high cooldown, so try to best to use it only when needed. Before level 6, you are free to use Teleport to get back to lane if you’ve been forced out or want to get back to lane quickly when you’re ahead.
Mid to Late Game Top Lane
Once you’ve hit the mid game, you will be doing more around the map, while also farming top lane. Your Teleport becomes even more important as the game goes on and so does your wave manipulation. Below I will be detailing the things you need to do to be successful in the mid game.
Split pushing is great as it will help you get objectives and keep the enemies constantly clearing waves. Split pushing is one of the core concepts of League of Legends, and every player should know how to do it. Top lane does the most split pushing out of any lane, so we will be taking a look at it.
Split pushing is when you move to a lane that is unmanned and/or weak, to apply pressure by pushing the wave and trying to take down the towers. Split pushing is usually done in the mid and late game stages as you can shove waves harder. This is because of the longer death timers and champions being higher levels.
Champions like Fiora and Jax live to split push, and they are very good at it. They both have escape abilities and waveclear. Champions that can clear waves fast like Rumble and Renekton are very successful in split pushing.
Make sure to ward before engaging in a split push as you can get caught out easily. Warding in the jungle brushes and along the river will help you spot out enemies and retreat to safety. You need to have a path to rotate towards your team if a teamfight breaks out. For additional help, i've linked an in-depth LoL esports video on split pushing.
When to Use Teleport
Teleport in the late game stages is a very useful and critical tool. Wasting your Teleport in the late game can sometimes cause you to lose the game. When you don’t have Teleport up, the enemy team gains the Teleport advantage.
If your team is grouping up in bot lane and you are top with no Teleport, your team can end up with a 4v5 teamfight with the enemy top laner using their teleport to join the fight. With no Teleport to use, you will be forced to watch the fight or just show up too late and end up losing.
Teleport advantage is huge in the late game as each fight and push is more and more important. Try to use your Teleport only if it ensures an objective such as a tower, baron, or dragon. Also, use it to join in teamfights and possibly flank the enemy. Teleport can win you those crucial fights.
Teamfighting as a Top Laner
In almost every teamfight, you will be a part of the frontline. The top laner has a duty to help protect the damage dealers. You, your jungle, or your support will usually engage the enemy using various types of crowd control abilities.
For example, if you are playing Kled top and your team is looking to fight, you will use your R to speed yourself and your team up and engage the enemy. Tank top laners have to protect the rest of the team in team fights. A tank top laner is useless if they aren’t participating in teamfights, as their job is to tank all of the damage.
Carry top laners also have the job to frontline, crowd control the enemy, and deal out damage. Irelia and Renekton are examples of carry top laners. Irelia should be looking to land a stun on the enemy team, engaging and using her crowd control ultimate when in a teamfight.
Top lane may seem like a very simple lane of just killing waves after waves, but there is so much more to it. Top laners must manipulate waves, constantly look at the map to find Teleport plays/roams, and frontline in teamfights. Top lane is an island, but on that island, they are playing a complex game.
Come watch Dignitas live on Caffeine.tv!