There are a variety of top laners that counter each other. Some vary in strength based on metas, while others vary depending on matchups. For top laners, there are three archetypes of champions that fluctuate as the meta changes: hyper carries, support-style champions, and split pushers. 

Split pushers have weak laning presence and a weaker ability to trade damage until they get a few items. Once they get some items and can duel with their opponents, they just steamroll through the lane, taking turrets until the enemy team sends forces to stop them.

Support-style top laners, like Sion, Ornn, and Shen, are the beefiest tanks in the game. They can trade damage with their lane opponent reasonably well, but their main strength comes from surviving in their lane until they can build up enough tanky items to join their team in all-out teamfights. There are, however, a few intriguing support-style top laners, which are vastly different from others.

Finally, we have the top lane hypercarries. These champions put out insanely high damage in the blink of an eye, and can usually hit multiple targets at once with high cleave and AoE damage. 

This list of top-tier champions can change depending on a number of things. Sometimes the meta shifts for no apparent reason other than players’ tastes, but usually there’s some kind of balance adjustment behind it. It can be difficult to keep up on the flavor-of-the-month champs, so let us do that for you.

Here are our top five top laners for League’s Patch 12.3.

Janna

Image via Riot Games

Pros

  • Great support for the bot side of your team
  • Useful utility for the rest of the team
  • Additional protection for your carries

Cons

  • The enemy top laner is left unmatched
  • Reliant on communication and teamplay

Smite Janna top was introduced to the meta in Patch 12.2. And while many players expect this anomaly to be patched out sooner or later, in the current version of the game, she’s still powerful, boasting the highest win rate among top lane champions, according to u.gg.

Item build

Screengrab via Riot Games

By playing Janna in the top lane, you will be aiming to abandon your lane early and help your teammates in their skirmishes. Inspiration runes are the perfect choice for this. They provide you with the utility needed to not fall behind when roaming to other lanes.

With the Domination tree as your second option, you’ll provide extra vision and will be granted additional movement speed, which will help you to get from point A to point B at a faster pace.

Ability priority

As a Janna top, you should go R>E>W>Q. Eye of the Storm will allow your jungler and other players in your team to survive early dives and teamfights. Zephyr will boost your movement speed and slow the enemies you are trying to eliminate.

Game plan

Janna top lane is hugely distinctive from other picks in Summoner’s Rift. You want to stay in the lane to get your first three levels and abilities. From this point, you should join your jungler. This will benefit you in two ways. 

Firstly, your jungler will have priceless support in clearing camps and in potentially facing an enemy. They will be able to gank enemy laners more rapidly and with better results, which should give your team the control of the early game. 

You will need to build your advantages on the success of dives and teamfights. Once you win a skirmish, go for the dragon or Rift Herald. At the same time, due to the opponent’s top laner being left alone in the top lane, you will be able to claim the bonus objective bounty, so doing neutral objectives will be enormously valuable. 

In the late game, protect your carries, which should have the game on their shoulders. And with two supports behind them, they shouldn’t have any issues with surviving teamfights and leading your squad to victory. 

Tryndamere

Image via Riot Games

Pros

  • Huge one-vs-one potential
  • Enormous threat to enemy carries in teamfights
  • Powerful splitpush

Cons

  • Squishy in the earlier stages of the game
  • Not much CC
  • Easy to shut down

Tryndamere is making a comeback to the top lane. Even though he remains unchanged pretty much since he was released in 2009, he still wreaks havoc on the Summoner’s Rift. He has the potential to splitpush, teamfight, and one-vs-one, which are all crucial when it comes to the top lane.

Item build

Screengrab via Riot Games

Tryndamere is all about auto attacks. Therefore, you want to pick runes that maximize your potential while dealing attack damage. Lethal Tempo and the rest of the Precision tree allows you to get rid of rival squishy champs more effectively, which should be your main goal in the game. Some sustain is always needed, though. Second Wind and Unflinching are perfect for this.

Ability priority

As a Tryndamere, you want to go for R>Q>E>W. His Bloodlust (Q) and Undying Rage (R) abilities are his greatest tools. They will give you survivability in the lane early and maximize your damage in teamfights and one-vs-ones. Another damage dealing skill is Spinning Slash (E), and you should pick it as your second ability. It’s also strong when closing gaps or escaping, so lowering its cooldown should benefit you as well. 

Game plan

When playing Tryndamere, you won’t have much potential in the early stages of the game, so you should aim to farm and maintain a stable situation in the top lane. At the 20-minute-mark, though, the fun begins for the Barbarian King. 

Players should plan to be a pain in the neck by splitpushing. With Tryndamere’s kit, you should always trade objectives efficiently. In the teamfights during the later points of the game, try to get around the opponents’ lines and go for the carries. With your unique ultimate, you’ll have a couple of seconds to hack and slash through the enemy carries, and with Tryndamere’s tools and AD-oriented build, they should fall in the blink of an eye.

Akshan

Image via Riot Games

Pros

  • Mobile
  • Revival mechanic, useful in certain situations
  • Adaptable build options

Cons

  • Weak ultimate and Q damage
  • Tough wave clear

When Akshan was first released, many players claimed he was one of the most overpowered champions in the game. Those overreactions were quickly silenced, but it didn’t stop Akshan from cementing himself as one of the best top laners in season 12.

Item build

Screengrab via Riot Games

Press the Attack stands out as one of the best runes for Akshan. You want to hit your opponent in lane as many times as possible, and with relatively weak ability damage early, the rune will boost your chances of becoming a threat. The other three Precision runes grant you mana, lifesteal, and more damage against enemy carries, all of which should prove useful later on.

Shield Bash works perfectly with your passive, so it seems logical to pick it on Akshan. And although you’re pretty mobile, Bone Plating is a smart choice to increase your chances of survival.

Ability priority

On Akshan, you should maximize your skills in R>Q>E>W order. While Avengerang doesn’t deal a great amount of damage, it’s still essential to your kit, especially when it comes to wave clearing. Later on, Heroic Swing is your go-to pick. Its cooldown is long in the earlier levels, so spending points on it will lower it, and thus impact your mobility, which is a key on Akshan. 

Game plan

Early on, use your range advantage to harass your enemy laners and keep the lane pushed. With your grappling hook, you have a great escape tool, so save that for early ganks, as the opponents will likely aim to take you down as fast as possible. 

Once the mid-game comes around, you should try to find angles to flank your enemies. Thanks to Going Rogue and Heroic Swing, you have two amazing tools to do this.

In the late game, Akshan can shine the most with his revival ability. You need to stay alive for it to work, though, so remember to stay behind in teamfights and focus on finishing enemy carries. With the revival skill, even when a direct fight is lost, your team should still have some fuel in the tank thanks to revive. 

Riven

Image via Riot Games

Pros

  • Extremely mobile
  • Huge skill ceiling
  • Massive damage in the late game

Cons

  • Hard to master
  • Low survivability in lane

When it comes to high-risk, high-reward champions in the top lane, Riven is a pick that instantly comes to mind. With her kit, it’s easy to pull off impressive plays and eliminate opponents as they come. This, however, also has its setbacks. The Exile is difficult to master, and trying to do so will almost certainly take you dozens of games. 

Item build

Screengrab via Riot Games

Conqueror is without a doubt the best rune on Riven. It maximizes your AD damage, so it’s pretty much essential on the champ. The same goes for Triumph and Last Stand, which should be picked 99 percent of the time. The only change you could make is swapping Legend: Tenacity for Legend: Alacrity for more attack speed. But tenacity is generally more useful on Riven, especially when teamfights begin. 

Ability haste is a stat that will be greatly appreciated on Riven. The champ already has short cooldowns, but making them even shorter with Transcendence will do you no harm. Players should aim to scale even better with Gathering Storm. 

Ability priority

On Riven, players should go for R>Q>W>E. It increases the possible AoE damage you deal in teamfights, as well as your one-vs-one potential in lane or while splitpushing. This path is the most common Riven, though in some instances you should consider maximizing E second instead of W. This will come in handy when you need some extra sustain in the game.  

Game plan

As Riven, you have the potential to one-vs-one your opponents. But be careful not to overcommit. The champion is tough to master, and once you fall behind,  it’s not that easy to get back into the game. Aim to trade efficiently in the top lane and look for openings and ganks from your jungler.

Once you find yourself in the driving seat, you can choose to create a threat on the sidelines or look to become an executor in teamfights. It’s not always the best to look for the enemy carries. Sometimes, you can peel for your teammates and get rid of the opponents diving your backline. Nevertheless, in fights, you will be a force to be reckoned with.

Fiora

Photo via Riot Games

Pros

  • True damage
  • Mobile
  • Crowd control (CC) denial as a basic ability

Cons

  • Mediocre teamfighter
  • Requires good awareness to make good use of W

Fiora is one of the best split-pushers in the game, which can easily net you wins if you have a good laning phase. She’s one of the highest skill-cap top laners in the game with which you can show off your mechanical prowess.

She rose in the meta as a result of Camille becoming more popular. Fiora is a great answer to Camille with the matchup being highly skill reliant between both parties.

Item build

Screengrab via Riot Games

As with many bruisers, Conqueror is the core keystone to take. It grants you additional AD that scales well alongside the healing component when fully stacked, which makes you a huge nuisance for the opposing team. Triumph is taken for the additional gold and health return for those risky plays. Some people like to go for Overheal due to the abundance of assassins in the meta, but Triumph is the better default choice.

Legend: Alacrity is taken for the additional attack speed but other options are viable as well. Legend: Tenacity is valuable against CC-focused compositions, while Legend: Bloodline can be taken against heavy tank compositions to keep you topped off. But Coup de Grace, on average, deals more damage, so it’s taken instead of the other two.

While there’s a lot of experimentation regarding the secondary tree, Resolve is one of the most picked due to Demolish, which can help you snowball early on. Bone Plating can also help you get favorable trades. You can try out Inspiration for the Biscuit and free Boots of Speed as well.

Ability priority

Fiora’s skill priority is R>Q>E>W. Q is maxed first to help you out with your wave clear and mobility. It’s the most valuable skill in your kit and should be used wisely early on to proc your passive. E is maxed second due to the effectiveness of having your attack speed steroid as often as possible. W is maxed last. Even though the utility from it is tremendous, if timed correctly, you can negate all incoming damage and CC.

Game plan

Fiora is one of the most snowbally top laners in the game. If you win your lane, most of the time you’ll be able to convert that lead and help out your teammates as well. During the laning phase, focus on using Q to proc the passive on your opponent for a huge amount of damage. Due to Conqueror and Bone Plating, you have a huge advantage early on and can take fights against most top laners without issues. If you’re having a rough time, try to farm for your core items such as Goredrinker or Ravenous Hydra.

Your main goal should be to split-push with your core items. The more time you spend teamfighting, the more opportunities you give the enemy team to come back.