Usually, they are quite sturdy and capable of playing and farming on their own without much help from the rest of the team. However, the jungle can land them a hand occasionally.
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The role of top laners:
Top laners should be able to hold the lane on their own and not be a “burden” on the team, requiring more babysitting. At least until the junglers or mid laners can gank to give them an advantage. Overall, top laners have quite decent damage output, but it really depends on the champion. Some are great at team fights, others are better “left on an island” to split push and try to draw attention to themselves, thus relieving pressure off the other lanes.
– They can provide engages for their team since they can be some of the tankiest champions on the team (if they play tank or a bruiser with a lot of HP)
– They can help the jungler take Rift Herald after they pushed the lane
– They can secure top Rift Scuttler (Scuttle Crab roaming the river) when their jungler can’t, for additional EXP, Gold, and vision.
– They can teleport to other lanes for ganks, to get a further advantage
– They can split push, to create more pressure on the map. Of course, not all top laners can split push effectively, so I will give more details about this below.
– They can help in team fights for the team, providing both survivability and damage, depending on the champion.
How to split push as a top laner:
Split pushing is an art, which not many champions can do efficiently. Units like Jax, Tryndamere, and Fiora can split push very well because their kit lets them farm minions fast and survive in 1v1 situations exceptionally well. I will not go into too much detail about that, but here are the basics of split pushing:
In short, when you split push you want to kill minions fast, try to get enemy towers when possible, and position yourself in such a way that you draw the enemy team to yourself. That usually happens when the enemy tries to defend their lane, and requests help from other teammates. That will relieve pressure from your other lanes, and allow the team to take objectives.
Of course, you don’t want to split push all the time. After you’ve applied pressure in a lane, you should recall and go to another lane and do the same. Or, you can join up with the other teammates, force a team fight while the enemy is busy killing the minions and defending their base.
However, keep in mind: To split push doesn’t mean to abandon the team when they need to team fight.
How to position as a top laner:
You want to play aggressively and get an advantage because most top laners can carry games to an extent (mostly through split push and winning 1v2 situations). However, if you’re behind, you want to play safe, try to scale, and make up for the lost Gold/EXP.
In team fights, you can engage and position in the front line, if you have support to shield or heal you or a team with DPS heroes that can quickly kill the enemies.
If you already have a tankier jungler or support, you can wait for them to engage, then just follow up. If you play a carry top, you can simply let the rest of the team peel for you and lead them to victory. (although that might not always end up well)
What to build as a top laner:
The items you want to build are quite situational and heavily depend on the type of hero you play. If you’re a tank, you want to build a lot of HP, Armor, or Magic Resistance, depending on what the enemy plays.
If you’re a typical bruiser, you want to build items like Black Cleaver, Trinity Force, Death’s Dance, or similar items that can give you some burst and sustain. If your team has a tank, you can even build full damage (I see you Tryndamere IE players)!
A top laner should always have objectives in mind when playing. Even if you won’t get a lot of kills, you can more than makeup for it by split pushing and applying pressure on the map. Just don’t forget that you also have a team, and occasionally, you SHOULD join team fights!