Traditionally, the top lane in League of Legends is dominated mostly by bruisers who can go toe-to-toe or tanks that simply outlast their opponents. With top lane’s isolation from most of the map’s objectives, you’ll want a Champion that can handle a prolonged 1v1 fight and exert enough pressure to help your team keep map control elsewhere.

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However, sometimes you just want to mix things up a bit or hit the enemy with something completely unexpected. In this guide, we’ll be going over our picks for the best off-meta top laners in LoL.

Further Reading:

Best Off-Meta Top Laner in LoL: Top 4 Champions

Before we get started, remember that your success with these off-meta picks will still be dependent on how good you are with the Champion. No amount of theory-crafting and planning will secure victory unless you have the skills to back it up. Balance patches can also push a Champion into meta or drive them further into obscurity, so keep an eye out on them and stay up to date.

Alright, let’s get started!

1/4

Kled, The Cantankerous Cavalier

Image: Riot Games

First on our list is a Champion that typically appears in the top lane. If you’re all about leading the charge in a team fight and diving the enemy, then Kled is the perfect Champion for you.

Armed with his trusty bayonet rifle, bear trap, and not so trusty mount, Kled is ready to run down any fool who steps on his property. By the way, everything is his property.

What Makes Kled Good

With strong percent damage that scales incredibly well with AD and his unique mechanic of sharing HP with his mount, Kled becomes a surprisingly meaty and bursty bruiser.

Between his Q’s delayed yank and the double charge on his E, Kled has incredibly high sticking power as long as you can hit the enemy. This is perfect for him, as the bulk of his damage comes from getting the fourth empowered hit from his W off on the enemy.

Screenshot of Kled in action
Image: Riot Games via HGG / Jeffrey Hsu

Finally, his ultimate is one of the strongest engage tools in the game. Besides drastically ramping up in speed and damage the longer it goes on, it also provides a massive personal shield and speed buff to allies that follow in his wake.

Strategy

Kled’s playstyle is all about hitting the enemy with quick skirmishes to get them low enough before charging in for the kill.

Poke and prod at your enemy with the bear trap from his Q to slowly whittle away at their health. The delayed tether can be a great way to zone your enemies or to ensure you have enough time to get your W off. Always try to save the empowered hit from your W for enemy Champions.

Use your E to reposition and keep up pressure on the enemy when the opportunity presents itself. You can dodge some really nasty abilities this way by juking out your enemy when they least expect it.

Even being dismounted provides opportunities. Enemies are more likely to try and dive you to get the kill, but if you time the trade just right you can resummon your mount mid-fight and completely turn the tables.

Finally, use your ultimate to disrupt ongoing team fights to turn the tide or to force an engagement when the enemy is out of position.

Recommended Items and Runes

Doran’s Blade ➡️ Plated Steelcaps ➡️ Sunfire Aegis ➡️ Titanic Hydra ➡️ Black Cleaver ➡️ Sterak’s Gage ➡️ Gargoyle Stoneplate

Precision (Conqueror)

  • Triumph
  • Legend: Alacrity
  • Last Stand

Resolve (Secondary)

  • Bone Plating
  • Demolish

Side Runes:

  • Attack Speed, Adaptive Force, Armor

Our build revolves around turning Kled into an absolute meatball who can dive his enemies and just never die. With his engage tools and sticking power, Conqueror becomes an incredibly good keystone for him as it synergizes heavily with his W and playstyle.

Despite being a bruiser, Sunfire is the best core item on him for giving him innate survivability and team presence, as he has enough damage from other sources. While we wouldn’t suggest swapping out any of his damage items, you can swap out his boots and Gargoyle for more MR items if needed.

Due to Kled’s passive and our recommended build giving him a ton of health, Demolish will do massive damage to towers and you can easily escape with your E.

2/4

Jayce, The Defender of Tomorrow

Image: Riot Games

The charismatic inventor and defender of Piltover is an incredibly adaptive Champion. If you’re looking for someone who can switch between range and melee combat on the fly, then Jayce is well suited for you.

As Jayce’s ultimate simply swaps between his two weapon forms, he has access to it from the start of the game. To compensate for this, he can invest up to six skill points in his other abilities. Perfect for hitting your enemies harder than ever.

What Makes Jayce Good

With the ability to swap between melee and range on the fly, Jayce is capable of effectively fighting at any range while bursting down enemies with his combos and great AD scaling. As a plus, it’s also incredibly hard to counter-pick Jayce!

As most top laners are melee, Jayce can comfortably stay in his cannon form for the most part and just keep poking them down. If the enemy is trying to play safe and stay out of range, he can use his E-Q combo to snipe them and force them to back.

Screenshot of Jayce in action
Image: Riot Games via HGG / Jeffrey Hsu

If the enemy gets within melee range, he can swap to his hammer and choose to either extend the fight or knock them away to disengage. Most skirmishes last long enough that he can swap weapon forms twice and gain the benefits from both ability sets.

Strategy

Focus on softening up your enemies first with your cannon’s Q and W poke. If your enemy has no minions to hide behind, hit them with an enhanced E-Q combo to chunk their health.

As you build more AD, you’ll find that the combo is fantastic for chunking enemies even in the late game. Try to never start a team fight without weakening them first.

If you plan to fight with your hammer, hit the enemy with your Q first to slow them to maximize the damage from your W field. When you need some breathing room to disengage or to switch back to your cannon, hit them with an E.

Remember, your cannon’s E gate can also speed up your allies’ movement speed. This can be a great way to signal the start of a team fight by chunking them and charging into the fray as a team.

Recommended Items and Runes

Doran’s Blade ➡️ Tear of the Goddess ➡️ Eclipse ➡️ Boots of Lucidity ➡️ Manamune ➡️ Youmuu’s Ghostblade ➡️ Serylda’s Grudge ➡️ Edge of Night

Sorcery (Phase Rush)

  • Mana Flow Band
  • Absolute Focus
  • Gathering Storm

Inspiration (Secondary)

  • Biscuit Delivery
  • Magical Footwear

Side Runes:

  • 2x Adaptive Force, Armor

As Jayce is all about spamming his abilities, you can imagine his mana consumption to be quite high. Our build ensures that he’ll have sufficient mana regeneration to poke down enemies in lane and transition smoothly to team fights. Just make sure to get an early Tear to start gaining mana stacks!

Phase Rush is fantastic on Jayce for kiting enemies with his cannon form or to make a quick escape after going through your hammer form’s rotation. Most of the time you’ll be activating it with a W-Q combo in cannon form.

Since Jayce can safely output most of his damage from range, his build is all about ignoring armor and dealing as much raw damage as possible. If you need to use your hammer, you’ll probably have done enough damage already that one rotation will finish off the enemy.

3/4

Quinn, Demacia’s Wings

Image: Riot Games

Despite originally being intended as a dueling ADC, players have found the best success with Quinn in the top lane. Why? Because she renders most conventional top laners useless.

With her crossbow and faithful bird Valor, Quinn excels at keeping enemies constantly an arm’s reach away and unable to retaliate. If you want to be the absolute bane of top lane, Quinn is your go to pick.

What Makes Quinn Good

Quinn’s kit revolves around focusing down a single target and rendering her opponent unable to counterattack. This just so happens to be incredibly effective against most meta top laners who rely on closing the gap to do anything.

Every few seconds (or whenever Quinn hits an enemy with an ability), she marks an enemy. Auto attacking a marked enemy will deal bonus damage and grant Quinn extra attack/movement speed. With a fairly short cooldown on this passive, it means she’ll be constantly harrying her foe and driving them back.

What truly makes her so effective against most top laners is her Q and E. The first ability renders hit enemies near-sighted and unable to target anything that’s not immediately next to them. With Quinn being a ranged Champion, this effectively makes her un-targetable in most cases.

Screenshot of Quinn in action
Image: Riot Games via HGG / Jeffrey Hsu

Secondly, her E lets her knock back anyone who gets near her, slows them, and leaps away from them. As most melee Champions have to use an ability to get near her, this effectively keeps Quinn permanently safe.

Finally, her ultimate gives her a ridiculous amount of speed and mobility, allowing her to roam extremely effectively. If she has a lead, you can apply your advantage all over the map.

Strategy

Quinn is incredibly straight-forward in lane. Auto attack your marked target and throw a Q at them ocassionally to remark them. Save your E as an escape/disengage tool and use your W frequently to check if the enemy jungler is waiting to gank you. If you’re confident that you can get the kill, use your E to stagger your enemy and finish them off.

While your ultimate does do damage on the recast, it’s the mobility that you’re primarily interested in. You can effectively roam anywhere on the map and get back to your lane in time in most cases. Use your mobility to constantly help your team in other lanes and with jungle objectives.

Quinn does start to fall off late game and in team fights, so push your early advantage hard to secure game-winning objectives and help your team get fed to end the game sooner.

Recommended Items and Runes

Doran’s Blade ➡️ Vampiric Scepter ➡️ Berserker’s Greaves ➡️ Immortal Shieldbow ➡️ Stormrazor ➡️ Infinity Edge ➡️ Lord Dominik’s Regards ➡️ Mortal Reminder/Guardian Angel

Precision (Press the Attack)

  • Overheal
  • Legend: Bloodline
  • Cutdown

Domination (Secondary)

  • Taste of Blood
  • Ravenous Hunter

Side Runes:

  • Attack Speed, Adaptive Force, Armor

Despite not fitting the traditional ADC role, you still build Quinn as a typical one. Auto attacking and critting your enemies to death is still your go to strategy. Overheal and the various life steal runes/items you obtain will give you a nice little shield to avoid the usual ADC problem of instantly dying.

To that end, Immortal Shieldbow is a must have if you’re doing well, as you will be focused. Thankfully, the life-steal and shields should give you enough time to E away to safety and heal up.

Depending on what the situation calls for, your last item can pretty flexible. If the enemy is actually able to reach you, go Guardian. If someone else on your team already has Grievous Wounds, look for another strong attack speed item.

4/4

Warwick, The Uncaged Wrath of Zaun

Image: Riot Games

The chem-tank infused wolfman is normally played in the jungle exclusively. However, he’s surprisingly effective as a top laner against most Champions with his incredibly high life-steal.

Most players won’t be expecting to see Warwick as a laner and severely underestimate how difficult it is to kill him. Being on the brink of death is just a tactic to lure your prey in closer.

What Makes Warwick Good

To start off, Warwick is exceedingly simple to play. Most of his damage comes from his auto attack passive and the occasional Q thrown in to deal percent damage. His ultimate is the only ability you have to aim, and given it has no wind up time and is incredibly quick, you’ll probably hit your target.

Secondly, he has a huge amount of life steal built in, with it drastically ramping up when you’re below 50% health and again when under 25%. Using a single Q while on the brink of death can restore a quarter of his health instantly. Enemies trying to out trade you will quickly realize that you’re simply just not dying.

Screenshot of Warwick in action
Image: Riot Games via HGG / Jeffrey Hsu

With his sustain, you should be able to stay in lane much longer than your opponent and gain a considerable CS lead. Plus, if you keep skirmishing with your lane opponent, you can take advantage of your W to run them down when your Jungler ganks.

Strategy

Focus on last hitting minions in lane and using your Q to heal off them or the enemy laner when they get too close. As long as you’re trading evenly, you can win once you both get low due to your sustain. Simply fully commit to the chase once they’re under 50% health.

If you’re fighting someone who is more burst oriented, pop your E just before they start acting to drastically mitigate all damage and take advantage of the fear afterwards to either disengage or get more damage in.

Come team fights, try to pin down their greatest threat with your ultimate and pop your fear afterwards to disorient their team. If you’ve been keeping up with your items, you should have more than enough bulk and life steal to deal devastating damage.

Recommended Items and Runes

Doran’s Blade ➡️ Divine Sunderer ➡️ Plated Steelcaps ➡️ Titanic Hydra ➡️ Sterak’s Gage/Thornmail ➡️ Spirit Visage ➡️ Guardian Angel

Resolve (Grasp of the Undying)

  • Demolish
  • Second Wind
  • Revitalize

Precisions (Secondary)

  • Presence of Mind
  • Last Stand

Side Runes:

  • Attack Speed, Adaptive Force, Armor

The build for Warwick revolves around staying healthy in lane, as he’s expected to constantly duel his opponent. Grasp of the Undying is incredibly easy to proc as Warwick’s Q provides a small lunge. Between Grasp and his remaining resolve runes, Warwick should stay healthy and come out ahead in trades.

As for his secondary runes, Presence of Mind provides just enough mana regeneration to not constantly be running. Last Stand is incredibly powerful in raw stats, and Warwick can stay alive at low health incredibly well just through his innate sustain.

Your items will turn you into an incredibly meaty bruiser, which is critical as you’ll often be hit by a large barrage of attacks while getting within auto attack range. Thankfully, everything is designed to make your self-healing even stronger and to allow you to run rampant.

Join the High Ground

That’s it for our list of the best off-meta top laners. If you think another Champion deserves to be on our list leave a comment below! Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on social.

Happy gaming!