Champion Synergies for Duo Queuing as Top & Jungle in LoL
Tue 28th Jul 2020 - 7:55pm
Whether you are playing an early-game bully like Kled or a scaling late-game monster like Jax, top lane tends to be the most isolated role in the game. With much of the early-game being focused around securing Drakes, junglers and mid-laners tend to play around the bottom side of the map. While playing for the Soul as a jungler is crucial, it often leaves the top side of the map barren. Due to the lack of emphasis placed on the Rift Herald in lower elos, you can get more value than an early Drake, often without any contestation. With the help of your top laner, you can quickly take towers and snowball the lane out of the enemy team's control. However, with counter-picks often preventing your top laner from getting any lane priority, it can often be risky to counter-jungle and take Heralds. In this guide, I will explain three great top and jungle champion synergies that you and your duo partner can use to dominate the top side of the map.
Jax (Top) and Sejuani (Jungle)
Whether you have played Jax or played against him, we all know how powerful his mid-late game is. Once he gets his core items (Blade of the Ruined King and Trinity Force), there is almost no champion in the game that can 1v1 him. As the game goes longer, it becomes easier and easier for him to 1vX as well, with his tankiness, damage, and mobility. Like with most late-game champions, the time to put them behind is in the early game. You can either solo-kill them, or spam pinging your jungler for a gank. The case is no different when dealing with Jax. He is gated by his high cooldown on his main, albeit one of the best basic abilities in the game, defensive ability, Counter Strike. Combine that with his low base-damage without items, and he does not have a good time during the early-game into most matchups. To aid his early game weaknesses and increase Jax's teamfight presence, we have Sejuani. Before explaining why this duo is so potent, let's take a look at the important parts of their kit.
Sejuani's E, Permafrost, is one of the strongest supportive abilities in the game when paired with a melee auto-attacker, like Jax. When Sejuani is near an allied melee champion, her W, Winter's Wrath, and auto-attacks from her and the allied champion, add a stack of Frost to the enemy. Once the enemy reaches 4 stacks of frost, Sejuani can stun them for 1 second and deal magic damage.
Jax's Q, Leap Strike, is a very simple ability but allows him to gap-close effectively. It is a targeted ability with a range of 700. It allows him to jump to any target unit (including enemy/allied champions, Honeyfruit, allied minions, and Scryer's Bloom).
(Range of Jax's Q)
Lastly, Jax's flagship ability, his E. This ability allows Jax to dodge all incoming basic attacks as well as take 25% reduced AOE damage for up to 2 seconds. After dodging, he stuns all nearby enemies for 1 second, dealing increased damage based on how many attacks he dodged. This is an incredibly powerful ability that can be used defensively and offensively. However, it comes with a high cooldown in the early game so be careful with when you use it as you are very vulnerable without it.
So, what makes this duo allow Jax to be "activated" even earlier? It's a combination of tankiness, chain CC, and quick damage. When ganking as Sejuani, you are almost guaranteed to get a kill unless the enemy champion is under their tower.
The important thing to know is that you both have 1 second stuns, and that stuns don't stack. So ideally, you want to space the CC apart so that you don't "waste" any of the time. Coordinate with your jungler on who is going to use their CC. As Jax, once Sejuani is nearby and her E passive is on you, you can use your Q jump to get on the enemy. Then, you and Sejuani want to start auto-attacking the enemy champion to stack Frost as quickly as possible. Make sure you use your W, Empower, to reset your auto. Once the enemy champion has 4 stacks of Frost and Sejuani stuns them, Jax should auto them and start his E, Counter Strike. As soon as Sejuani's stun is done, Jax can reactivate his E to stun them. With 2 seconds of hard CC and auto attacks/abilities from Jax and Sejuani, there is no way the enemy champion should survive. If they flash, you can either flash if you think you can kill or just re-gank within 5 minutes.
Mid to Late Game
Once you have (hopefully) killed the enemy laner a few times, you should have control over the entire top side of the map. This means taking the rift herald quickly so you can push your top tower advantage. In team fights, Sejuani has access to her R, Glacial Prison, which provides even more hard CC for Jax to capitalize on. All while both champions are extremely tanky due to Jax's ultimate, and Sejuani's passive. Additionally, with Jax doing mostly AD and Sejuani doing AP, it makes it even harder for the enemy team to itemize.
Quinn (Top) and Nocturne (Jungle)
Unlike Jax and Sejuani which focuses on early ganks to get Jax snowballing, Quinn and Nocturne are about roaming together after they hit level 6. As anyone who plays top lane knows, Quinn bullies almost every matchup during the early game. As you become more and more proficient on Quinn, getting early solo kills should be a priority since you don't scale as well as many top laners. Since Quinn doesn't need much help early, Nocturne should focus on power farming to level 6, his big power spike. Quinn's ultimate in conjunction with Nocturne's ultimate allows for amazing map pressure and roams.
Quinn's ultimate, Behind Enemy Lines, is what defines her as a champion. Unlike most ultimates, it's not a combat ultimate, but a mobility one. After channeling for 2 seconds, she starts "flying", increasing her movement speed by (70/100/130%, depending on rank). It has an extremely short cooldown (3 seconds), but has a high mana cost at level 1, so it is important to use it sparingly during the mid-game.
Besides that, her other abilities and passive excel at dueling melee champions due to her kiting, high damage, attack and movement speed steroids, and CC.
Similar to Quinn, Nocturne is also defined by his ultimate, Paranoia. As a result, he wants to power farm the jungle and tax lanes so he can get level 6 as quickly as possible. In addition, he has decent CC in the form of his E, Unspeakable Horror, that Quinn can follow up on in 2v2s or ganks.
Early to Midgame Strategy
Once Quinn and Nocturne get 6, ideally Quinn wants to shove in waves and roam with Nocturne either into lanes or the enemy jungle. If you catch the enemy jungler in their jungle, it should be a free kill or flash because almost no top laner will be able to match your roam. If you don't find the jungler, placing deep vision can be just as beneficial.
One weak point of this duo is that neither champion scales as well as other top laners/junglers. While Quinn and Nocturne can still deal a lot of damage in the late game, they are extremely squishy and die almost instantly if CC'd. So, it is best to think of every game as if it was on a timer. You want to achieve as much as possible before the ~30-minute mark. What does this mean? For one, you should almost always be able to have priority on the Rift Herald, which accelerates how quickly you take towers and open up the top side jungle. Additionally, Quinn has the unique advantage of being able to participate in dragon fights without using TP, which can create advantageous scenarios in team fights.
Late Game Strategy
Hopefully, as you go into the late game (dragon soul fights, inhibs), you have created a sizeable advantage since it gets more difficult to kill enemies as they get tankier. Quinn can roam around lanes, shove a wave, rotate off, and only look for 1v1s if you are confident the enemy team isn't near you. Nocturne can look for picks on squishy enemy targets (preferable the ADC/mid laner), using Quinn's mobility to assist him in any extended fights.
Kled (Top) and Hecarim (Jungle)
Similar to Quinn and Nocturne, this duo focuses on insane roaming abilities and the synergy between Hecarim's passive and Kled's R. As a lane bully, Kled can often get early kills on his laner due to his Q, Bear Trap on a Rope, and W, Violent Tendencies. Once Kled and Hecarim get to level 6, they should either be looking to take top towers with the Rift Herald or roam to other lanes using Kled's ultimate. Let's take a look at Hecarim's passive and Kled to understand which this is such a lethal duo.
Hecarim's passive, Warpath, grants him bonus attack damage equal to 15-30% of his bonus movement speed (based on level). At level 6, that value is 20%. This works not only with his E, Devasting Charge, that gives him increasing movement speed over 4 seconds but also with other movement speed bonuses (runes, summoner spells, other abilities, etc).
Kled's ultimate, Chaaaaaaaarge!!!, grants Kled about 600 extra movement speed while he is charging. However, it also gives allied champions in the "draft" that Kled leaves behind, 650 total movement speed (about 275 more than normal). If you can't see the synergy now, while Hecarim is in Kled's draft, he can get about 55 extra AD, and that is without runes, his E, or ghost. This makes it incredibly difficult to duel these champions.
Early to Midgame Strategy
As described above, Kled wants to play aggressive (while staying safe from ganks), to pressure early kills or at least have priority for the Rift Herald. Hecarim can help other lanes or dive top with Kled due to Kled's amazing diving potential with his unmounting mechanic. Either way, once the top tower is taken/low, Kled and Hecarim should look to pressure other lanes by ganking with Kled's R. Drakes should also be fought because Kled can easily roam down with his R or teleport, while the other top laner often has to stay in lane. Placing deep vision in the enemy jungle can also help with picking off the enemy jungler as they clear their camps.
Late Game Strategy
As far as scaling goes, I would put this duo between Jax/Sejuani and Quinn/Nocturne. While Kled and Hecarim can get pretty tanky depending on what they build, they don't have the same 2v8 potential as Jax/Sejuani do. Kled is still a great split pusher in the late game and has good escape tools with TP and his ultimate. Getting the baron to help split push also accelerates the game. One thing that Hecarim can do is get behind the enemy ADC with his E, and then push the ADC into your team allowing you to kill them quickly, making the fight a 4v5. Also, once respawn timers get long and the enemy laner starts split pushing, Kled can use his ultimate offensively with other members of the team to quickly pick off the split pusher, creating another advantageous scenario.
While all of these duos are extremely strong when played correctly, they are not the easiest champions to play. Before trying them out in a ranked game, practice them in a normal draft or even in the practice tool to get a better feel for their combos, damage, limits, and matchups. There are many great guides for these champions that explain what runes to take, items to build, and matchup tips. Good luck!