The Life of a Top Laner

Apr 26, 2016

The Life of a Top Laner,

My favorite part about being a top laner is the first spawn onto fountain. I feel like the world is ahead of me – 1v1 outplays to be made, and carries to shut down. An entire buy menu of items awaits me, and the recommended list has both offensive and defensive options. How exciting!

But it’s all downhill from there.

Before I even step foot into my lane, my jungler is asking for help. Even better, he’s kiting the monster so that it’s attacking me. And… crap. I missed the first minion. I can’t control the early lane now since my opponent is going to get level 2 first and all-in me. But sometimes, I get to be that opponent, ready to press my early advantages.

And right when I do, at 3:30 on the clock, their jungler is there to gank me. Not mine, who is dilly-dallying by his raptors, finding new ways to be executed. But of course theirs, the freakish Pantheon jungle with point-and-click crowd control and no way for me to escape. I know I should back off, but if I do the lane becomes frozen forever. Either way, I’m snowballed into oblivion.

My first buy is usually sparse, but not very significant either. Whereas marksmen have Cull, supports have Sightstone, junglers can do whatever they want, and midlaners can stack Dorans, I’m stuck with just a lonely Ruby crystal and a pink ward that will soon be cleared by their jungler.

Building throughout the game couldn’t be more dry. Whereas the early interactions between my opponent and myself were volatile and meaningful, now we just watch each other burn to our respective Sunfire Capes and freeze again with a touch of an Iceborn Gauntlet. Everything else is basically sub-optimal now – besides playing a tank, building tank, and breathing tank.

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Every once in a while, I’ll bump into someone who’s decided to pick Teemo. I don’t know why Satan is in my game, but he’s made an appearance. I’m almost sure I’m going to win these games, but the first 10 minutes become a living hell for me.

The mid-late game is finally coming, and I’m ready to become an enigmatic split-pushing threat, making plays like HotshotGG’s old school Nidalee who would never leave the top lane. In reality, my carries are ready to take the empty lane farm as soon as it comes up, after all, they are the carry. I’m just a meat-shield to occupy my opponent for as long as I can.

We’re evaluated on our ability to take harassment from our opponents. Whoever can survive longer is doing a better job. I hope you have your 5th item Zz’rot Portal and 6th item Thornmail done!

But wait; there’s more!

The enemy marksman is starting to out lifesteal any damage I have, and their mages are melting through me with the help of Void Staff. I’m not even a good meatshield anymore. I’m just sent in now as a martyr to be sent in on behalf of my team before the exciting part of the fight starts. I’m much less Darshan, much more Dyrus. Top lane is trending that way; we’ve been that way since season 3.

That doesn’t need to be you. You can be the one to break free from this oppression, with your creativity and silly item builds that have “Attack Damage” and “Ability Power”, which I haven’t seen in so long. Don’t be swallowed by the abyss at the top of the rift.

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Jungroan Lin
Jungroan "Jezie" Lin is a Challenger League of Legends player, former top lane player for Complexity Gaming, and former jungler for Team Green Forest. He spent 6 months of his life playing only Renekton, Shyvana, and Dr. Mundo while failing to qualify for the LCS. Jungroan is currently pursuing his M.A. in Political Science at UBC.
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ayy lmao









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