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League of Legends: How to Carry from Top Lane

Updated on February 24, 2016

Top Lane From a Solo Queue Perspective

League of Legends Top Lane Champions
League of Legends Top Lane Champions

Patch 6.3: Top Lane OP Champions

Update 6.3:

  • Malphite;
  • Trundle;
  • Quinn;
  • Fiora.

They are all very different in playstyle, still, they're all capable of giving you a free ride to Freelo Town. Malphite is an immortal team fighting machine, Trundle a sustain beast, Quinn a mind boggling lane bully with insane mobility around the map, and Fiora, oh well, Fiora is a goddess.


Top lane is arguably the hardest lane to play in League of Legends, especially in a solo queue scenario. For one thing, you can't count on anyone to help. On top of that, the team's morale is pretty fragile in solo queue. If you're a top laner, you need to be able to endure the 1v2 ganks when your jungler randomly decides to do raptors or golems instead of counter-ganking. You need to hang in there when the flame war begins as soon as the announcer shouts, "First Blood" for the enemy team. You need to keep your team from falling apart in the flame fest that is League of Legends.

Finding the Champion to Carry From Top Lane

I'm a top-laner myself, and this lane is really for solo players. We're too far away from the team to help them out in most cases. If you do decide to help, most often you will fall behind the enemy top-laner due to lack of team synergy.

Here is where you need to pick the champion that suits your team's needs. There are three viable ways to carry from top lane.

  • Domination In this type, the best options are Renekton, Quinn, Riven, Jax, or Darius.
  • Split Pushing The best-suited are Tryndamere, Riven, Kayle and Shen.
  • Team Fighting Super tanks such as Singed, Malphite, Shen, Nautilus or Sion.

After you decide what type of carrying play-style you want, think about the champion you're going to pick. Let's break this into more details.

Domination

My favorite champion for Domination back in the day: Lee Sin.
My favorite champion for Domination back in the day: Lee Sin.

No longer recommended since patch 6.1

Update: With the new teleport meta for top lane and the removal of red pot, this game style isn't optimal anymore. You can still dominate your enemy laner but it isn't as effective or safe. Most of the times if played correctly it was possible to 1v2 due to the red pot. Now, despite being viable it takes a lot more effort, skill and blunders from the enemy team.

Domination is the easiest way to carry, especially when going from bronze to platinum. You will, however, need to play the champions a lot to get a feel for their limits and best-kill opportunities. In this bracket, you should always start with red potion, plus three health point potions.

Always try to hide yourself in the river bush and cheese a free level-one combo. If you do that, half the job is done and you're way ahead. Then you just need to cheese level two. That means, push the lane a little bit—only one minion, two at the most.

When you hit level two, first pop the red pot and execute a combo to kill him. If he flashes, flash after him for the last hit and—bam—you get first blood. Leading up to the next kill, if you're still healthy (and by healthy I mean 30-40 percent hp), don't push the lane too much. Let the creeps push and stack. You'll have two to three waves of creeps against one of the enemy since you're last to hit. If you're low-hp (30-40 percent) the enemy jungler will try to kill you. With the creeps and the extra hp you're getting from the red pot and ad, he'll die and you'll get double buff.

This strategy works with any of "crusher" bracket from bronze to platinum five or four. After that, players won't let you cheese them like that. They'll counter-push the lane and the jungler won't be so unskilled. Still, it's important you're aware of this, to prevent it or carry in those divisions. In my smurf, I did this until platinum three with 80 percent success and it's a great start, because the team won't give up so fast after some deaths and they'll follow you since you're fed.

Best Champions for Domination

The best way to dominate within the new meta is to take champions able to bully hard making it near impossible to perform a successful gank due to their low hp. Most of the times, they end up dying if you are pushing the wave because they want the assist/kill badly and take heavy damage from creeps.

For this style, as of patch 6.3, the best champions are:

  • Quinn
  • Pantheon
  • Fiora
  • Wukong

Split Pushing

Top Lane Split Pusher King: Tryndamere!
Top Lane Split Pusher King: Tryndamere!

This strategy works best if you have no faith in your team and want to go full-solo mode. The biggest problem is that you're going to get flamed—a lot—especially in low divisions since they won't really understand what you're doing.

You are also acting as a decoy. While the enemy top-laner is in the mid-lane trying to fight or push, you're going to be pushing hard from your lane, leaving you open to a full-team gank. That's fine if you have the mobility and map-awareness to run away in time.

You're going to need a lot of warding, especially in their buffs and intersections. The other downside of this is when the enemy team is on the way to kill you, your team probably won't take advantage of it. I'm sure you can relate when you're three-man ganked and your jungler and mid-lamer are doing wraiths and wolves instead of getting a free tower or drake. It happens a lot on low-Elo games. On top of that, you'll get flamed. If you're going to use this strategy, you should probably press "ignore all" and just do your thing.

Split-pushing is truly a lonely path, but it's effective. If you're crushing the enemy laner, it gets even more effective because you're stacking gold for the team early on and drawing attention away from your team. This gives the team more room for error.

Best Champions for Split Pushing

  • Sion
  • Dr. Mundo
  • Tryndamere
  • Nasus
  • Singed (although he isn't much of a turret killer).

Split Pushing is easier to do now due to the Teleport meta. Might seem counter intuitive since they can teleport everywhere but bear with me. The main objective in this meta is to force Dragon fights a lot more and early team fights in the bot lane. Teleport forces the bot lane to be more careful and is able to unite the whole team early in the game. Looking back, the top laner would only show up in the game around the 20m mark. Now, he is going to gank/tp around level 6. This adds a new dynamic regarding Split Pushing, which is ignoring the fights in the lower part of the map. If your enemy laner teleports to team fight, you can easily grab a tower and more, that is, if you are playing with a split push champion. If you're playing Warwick top or something within that range, then you'll kill 5/6 creeps while your team dies. Super Ineffective.


If, by any chance, your team knows how to work with you, then it's easy to make the enemy rage with this strategy. If they don't team fight while you're pushing, and if they push while three guys are chasing you top, eventually, you'll win and make the enemy team tilt. However, if they snowball while you only took a tower or two, it will mean trouble later on. It takes game knowledge, luck and decent team mates to properly carry out this strategy.

Team Fighting

Singed, The Troll's Prince!
Singed, The Troll's Prince!

I wouldn't recommend this approach in low-Elo games. This style is more suited in high-Elo games where players know how to team-fight and a good teleport can change the tides of a fight. Yes, you might keep your team from feeding much on low-Elo games, but they won't do much with it.

Since you're the team-fighting presence, you won't be able to pull off the crazy plays that carry low-Elo games. What's the point of having god-like intuition and crowd-control if your team— the damage—doesn't follow or is too afraid to actually do damage?

Best Champions for Team Fighting

  • Shen
  • Singed
  • Malphite
  • Nautilus
  • Fiora

Just farm and play it safe. Make life saving moves when needed on the rest of the map, farm and your job is done.

The only champion from this category actually good for hyper-carry would be Singed, the troll champion that can 1v5.

Update: As of patch 6.3, any of the ap based tanks are super strong if they buy ability power. If your jungler is a tank, you might want to buy one or two ap items and snowball hard. AP Nautilus or Malphite hurt and with a good ultimate, team fights are a breeze. Fiora, at the moment, excels at every role. Doesn't matter if you're split pushing, team fighting, dominating, Fiora does the trick with every style.

Play Style

What style do you prefer?

See results

How to Increase Your Win Rate

Elo Hell Is Real!
Elo Hell Is Real!

• Don't flame Many games are lost because everyone stops playing and just types until they're caught off-guard and feed.

• Ignore everyone This is especially true if you're doing badly. No one needs the extra pressure of failing your lane and still having to listen to the "x9 report."

• Don't count on your team mates You may know what needs to be done, or the limits of your champion, but others probably won't. You may go in thinking that you have back-up, but your team mates may in fact be doing golems or going to base.

Play aggressively on low-Elo games Often players try to bait too hard without knowing the damage they can do. It's a free kill before the enemy jungler even arrives. Don't be afraid to press your advantage. If you killed the enemy top-laner and you see their jungler bot, don't be afraid to stick around and poke the turret a bit or get an extra wave. Unless you're playing Singed, don't try to 1v5. You may be fed, but you probably can't kill them all.

Don't be cocky If your team is feeding and you're in god mode, just tell them what to do. If your team makes a stupid decision, follow them! It's better to get something out of it than to let them die for free and lose even more objectives. If you can see some kind of advantage by following, go for it.

Top Laner: The Forever Alone Solo Queue Player

Top lane has been a lonely lane for years now. At the moment, the only purpose that top laners have is to snowball other lanes with clutch teleports and feed/getting fed. It is such an easy lane to gank and make a player tilt that most junglers camp it night and day till you're useless.

If you enjoy a challenge and want to make some awesome plays, then top lane is for you. However, if you're looking for freelo and just want to climb the ladder, any other lane is best suited for that, even support!


Best of luck and may the odds be in your favor, fellow Summoners.

Keep calm and don't uninstall!

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    • cochitenz profile image
      Author

      cochitenz 2 years ago

      Fiora is pretty strong at the moment. It's easy to win the lane with her, but to carry the game is another story! With great decision making, you can improve the win ratio with Fiora... Takes practice though!

      Regarding the red pot, you can still do it i guess, but it's not as viable as before. Especially due to everyone buying doran shield now! I'll update this hub soon :D!

    • profile image

      Reborn 2 years ago

      is it still possible to start with a red pot for domination on top?

    • Phyllipe Lacroix profile image

      Phyllipe Lacroix 2 years ago from Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville, Quebec

      ok thanks. so basicaly farm lane = DEF and kill lane = ATT! Gotcha! Last question... what do you think of Fiora? I've had quite a lot of success with her recently and I was wondering if you taught it was ok to play her in order to carry! I win about 85% of my lanes but I only carry about 50% of the time!! Seems like I either suck to carry or Fiora isn't meant to carry! (Just so you know I'm gold level S3: g3, S4: S1 so far (since I left for 6 months))

    • cochitenz profile image
      Author

      cochitenz 2 years ago

      I'll go AD runes always with him. About the masteries, if it's a farm lane, meaning i can't kill him, i'll go defense mastery. If it's a squishy target like a riven, i'll go ATT mastery and try to profit!

    • Phyllipe Lacroix profile image

      Phyllipe Lacroix 2 years ago from Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville, Quebec

      I would like to know how you setup your masteries and runes! I always have trouble choosing from the various masteries and runes! Like... Renekton: there is a way to set him up ATT with masteries and rune, and DEF with masteries and rune. I tend to take the ATT setup since I'm an aggressive player! But sometimes... I get wrecked and I tell myself I should have went DEF this time... so how do you choose?

    • ilikegames profile image

      Sarah Forester 3 years ago from Australia

      Singed definitely takes the cake as a split pusher, Teemo is also really good as well with invisibility and free wards.

    • profile image

      ramenhair 3 years ago

      What about Jax as a split pusher? I hear with the new triforce and whatnot he can eat towers extremely quickly.