Best top laners to climb with during the rest of season 12 as we reach the end of 2022 in patch 12.16.
The saying “top lane is an island” has never been truer than it has in season 12. With the change to the Teleport mechanic at the start of the season, and with the new Unleashed Teleport, the impact you can have on the rest of the map from the top lane has been reduced greatly. Of course, there were some changes that made the top side of the map more attractive to solo queue junglers like the local Herald gold buff, but still players still feel like they are not impacting their games.
But is that sentiment actually true? Can you not help your team more, or maybe do you not play the right champions that can do that? In this list, you can find the best top laners to climb with, whether by helping your carries or by dominating in the lane so that the enemy remains in a 4v5.
There is no better champion in League when it comes to impacting the map. If you cannot Teleport to bot lane before minute 14, why not just ulti down there with Shen’s Stand United? An offensive ultimate from Shen on a ganking jungler or on an engage support is a lot more effective than Teleporting to a ward and hoping the enemy doesn’t match. Plus, you can always TP back to your lane.
And during mid game, you can stay as a split push threat while also covering your allies on the other hand with the possibility of the biggest shield in the game. Not to mention, Shen’s dodge zone in his Feint (W) is one of the most advantageous abilities in a meta where teamfights are dominated by auto-attacking ADCs.
As an added benefit, there are many ways to play Shen, so you will never have to be bored doing the same thing. You can take Ignite and abuse one of the best level one/two in the top lane or you can take TP and play safe. You can go a supportive build involving items like Redemption or you can go all-out aggressive by opting into Demonic Embrace.
Even though she’s been flexed into her original position in the jungle, pro play in the Summer of 2022 has been dominated by Sejuani. If you feel like your role doesn’t give you the opportunity to carry games, why not opt in for a tanky supportive champion? Sejuani is one of the best tanks in the game and has a kit full of crowd control.
She is best paired with melee champions, due to her Permafrost (E) passive, and seeing melee champions in three roles (jungle/mid/support) is a common sight in solo queue. And while Sejuani excels in late teamfights or when she sets up ganks for her jungler, you should not underestimate her 1v1 all-ins, especially with Ignite.
Also keep in mind that she has been a meta champion in the pro leagues without being able to buy a Tear of the Goddess, due to a bug, even when Winter’s Approach is an item designed for her.
Enough with the tanks, let’s switch styles a bit because if we are honest, most solo queue players would rather play more aggressive picks. And if what you are looking for is aggressive, the answer for you is named Aatrox. The Darkin Lord of the top lane has been terrorizing the Rift even since the Grevious Wounds nerfs that accompanied the Durability Update.
Even with the nerfs to his Umbral Dash (E), his World Ender (R) and Goredrinker healing, it was not enough to compensate for it. With a new meta build consisting of Eclipse, Serylda’s Grudge and Black Cleaver you can duel anyone in a 1v1, and one-shot most squishies. His early gameplay pattern of pushing the wave and poking with his The Darkin Blade (Q) can be hard to deal with most top lane champions and he has good outplay potential in a 1v2. The only problem, if you are new to the champion, is that his Q is different from most abilities in the game and it can take some time for you to master how to pilot Aatrox the best.
During season 12, Darius has neither got too many nerf nor buffs, but he’s consistently been one of the best top laners to climb with in solo queue. In a lane as volatile as the top lane where your game can end after giving up one kill, why not play the best champion at getting that initial kill?
Darius has a famously strong early game with his Hemorrhage passive, his auto attack reset on his Crippling Strike and his healing on his Decimate (Q). Not many champions have the potential to gain 30 bonus AD at level one and a bleed that benefits from it. If you know or learn how to auto space, Darius is a pretty easy and straightforward champion. Not the mention on top of his great level one, he power spikes at level six, on his first item and when he hits 16.
For the last year or so, Mordekaiser has been struggling a lot after getting some unnecessary buffs to his Obliterate (Q) while his squishyness kept him out of the meta. But after he got buffed during the Durability Update and Demonic Embrace got reworked, the Iron Revenant has been clawing his way back to the top.
Constant nerfs to in-lane sustain also gave him a double advantage. His shield-head on his Indestructible (W) makes Mordekaiser not rely on Runes or Items for sustain, while his Q poke has been sticking on his opponent a lot better. This means Morde has more opportunities to get some health advantage during the early game so it is much harder to all-in him. But it is not like he is bad in all-ins, Morde has one a very good laning phase. With a strong three-hit passive, he is great into melee top laners, and with his Realm of Death (R), he is nigh-ungankable after level six.
Of course, he still has some trouble staying relevant in team fights or during the late game unless you get very ahead. But with his current power, it is a real possibility that you can find some advantages in most games. Even if you can’t, there is always the tried and true tactic of “ult the jungler during objective fights.”
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