The current meta in League of Legends seems to surround bruiser champions capable of dealing true damage or health percentage damage.
Champions like Gwen, Irelia, Fiora, and Camille would come to mind. Additionally, these champions happen to appear mostly in the top lane.
Top lane players or auto-filled players in the top lane may find themselves having a hard time countering them due to their overpowering kit, or their lack of skill. So you lost your lane and as a result, you have lost the game.
End of story, right? Not really. There are different ways to stay relevant in the game, one of which is to provide support to your allies.
Here, we list down our top seven (7) Support Top lane champions in League of Legends.
The first champion on the list is Shen, the Eye of Twilight. Shen is a champion that does not focus on winning lane, but rather holds it in a stalemate, and then supports his allies through his ultimate.
Shen’s main supporting abilities are the W ability – Spirit’s Refuge, and R ability – Stand United.
The ultimate ability Stand United is Shen’s main helping tool that allows him to grant a temporary shield and teleport to an ally anywhere on the map.
The skill can save allies in skirmishes granting them outplay potential or stronger engage with his teammate.
When Shen is with his teammates, using Spirit’s Refuge grants temporary evasion to all allies in an area around his blade.
This allows him to help teammates even from a distance as long as his blade is near his teammates and his W ability is activated.
Spirit’s Refuge is also versatile when combined with Shen’s abilities Q – Twilight Assault and E – Shadow Dash.
Shen recalls his sword to himself when Twilight Assault is used. This ability can be activated before using Spirit’s Refuge or while Spirit’s Refuge is active, allowing for more range and adaptability on Spirit’s Refuge depending on the situation.
Additionally, enemies hit by Shen’s blade when it is recalled are slowed when they walk away from Shen. Even if the effect pales in comparison to his other abilities, any small advantage such as a movement speed slow can still be significant in the heat of battle.
Shadow Dash allows him to dash in a direction, and taunts enemies hit along the way.
This way, Shen can redirect the enemies’ aggression and alleviate any punishment his teammates may take. When combined with Twilight Assault, the effective range of Spirit’s Refuge becomes theoretically bigger.
Shen also has a fairly strong early game with the empowered attacks from Twilight Assault, evasion from Spirit’s Refuge, taunt and mobility from Shadow Dash, as well as shielding from his passive Ki Barrier.
Playing to his strengths in the early game can make you go more than breakeven in the lane, and get your allies ahead in the lane or jungle.
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6. Tahm Kench
Another champion that brings trouble in the laning phase aside from his supporting potential is Tahm Kench.
While Shen’s basic abilities excel in the early stages of the laning phase, Tahm Kench’s skirmishing potential does not fall off at any game stage.
Tahm Kench in lane is a menace with the amount of crowd control and percent health damage he deals with from his passive and basic abilities.
What makes him more of a menace in lane is the durability he has both from his kit and his stat values.
Tahm Kench’s most obvious advantage is his large health pool and strong resistance in the game.
Combining these with his ability E – Thick Skin gives him a temporary shield and opportunity to regenerate recently lost health. All these used together makes him near immoveable in the lane.
His other basic abilities Q – Tongue Lash and W – Abyssal Dive allow him to inflict slow and knock up enemies. On one hand, Tongue Lash is a long-range poking ability that damages and slows an enemy hit.
On the other hand, Abyssal Dive is a repositioning ability that allows him to dive down and rise to another location. Enemies in the location where he reappears are knocked up in the process.
Another crowd control he can inflict is through the combination of his passive An Acquired Taste with Tongue Lash. Tahm Kench stuns an enemy when the passive stack is completed through Tongue Lash.
His ultimate Devour also allows him to swallow an enemy with a full stack of his passive, giving time for his abilities to finish their cooldown or his allies to follow up.
In a supportive role, his Devour can also be used to swallow an ally. This effectively keeps them safe from attacks while in his mouth and grants them a temporary shield when spat out.
All these together, Tahm Kench is a reliable champion capable of directly helping teammates with his ultimate or indirectly helping them through his crowd control.
Ornn is another champion that is flexible enough to be a menace in lane or focus on playing scaling for the late game. His passive ability allows him to grant a “buff” to his teammates.
While Ornn’s basic abilities and ultimate are mainly for crowd-controlling much like Tahm Kench’s, they are significant enough for enemies to be cautious of in team fights.
Ornn’s ability Q – Volcanic Rupture lets him send a rupture that slows enemies hit by it and then creates a pillar at the end for the rupture. The pillar serves as a terrain that can interrupt an enemy’s path or as a potential threat for a combination with Ornn’s ability E – Searing Charge.
Searing Charge lets Ornn dash towards a direction and damages enemies hit along the way. When Ornn hits a terrain with his dash, enemies around the collision area are knocked up and dealt extra damage.
Combined with the pillar from Volcanic Rupture, this ability becomes flexible enough to be used aside from the default terrain in-game.
Ornn also deals a small knockback with percent health damage when he attacks enemies after Brittle is afflicted on them by his Q – Bellow’s Breath.
The small knockback can be significant enough to interrupt skills that have cast time like Caitlyn’s ultimate or skills that are continuously cast like Xerath or Jhin’s ultimate.
Aside from this, his ultimate ability Call of the Forge God will knock up enemies hit by the second dash of the spirit. Enemies hit by the first dash are also slowed down, damaged, and marked by the Brittle affliction from his Bellows’ Breath passive.
Most importantly, the “buff” that Ornn gives his allies is from the innate passive Living Forge that allows him to upgrade his allies’ Mythic items.
Upgraded Mythic items have better stats than their original form, and Ornn gets bonus resistances from each upgraded Mythic item in his team. This allows him to both make his teammates stronger, and himself sturdier.
Ornn essentially extends and strengthens the scaling potential of everyone in his team, including himself.
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With Poppy, the support she gives is not directly applied such as buffing her teammates like Ornn does or granting allies shielding like Shen or Tahm Kench. Rather, she helps teammates by creating space and inflicting crowd controls.
Poppy excels at stopping enemies in their tracks using her basic abilities.
She can slow enemies down with her hammer using the ability Q – Hammer Shock, stop enemy dashes in a wide area surrounding her with the ability W – Steadfast Presence, and push enemies back using E – Heroic Charge.
Hammer Shock lets Poppy slam her hammer into the ground, creating an area where enemies are slowed and damaged when hit.
Steadfast Presence will create a wall around her that follows her when moving. Enemies that try to dash in or out of this ability will instead hit the wall and get knocked back a little bit, creating a window of opportunity for her or her teammates to act.
Heroic Charge not only pushes an enemy back but also stuns an enemy when she hits a wall in the process.
Aside from slowing, stunning, and pushing them back, Poppy can use her ultimate ability Keeper’s Verdict to knock enemies far away.
The distance that enemies get sent away is about the gap between the outermost tower and the second outermost tower, this allows her teammates to be safe or separate enemies
Alternatively, Poppy can simply knock enemies up when she does not wind up her ultimate to quickly get off a crowd control on them.
In her way, Poppy creates a safe space much like Shen but through crowd controls or creating distance between her allies and enemies.
Photo taken from League of Legends official website
Another champion that excels at creating space is Maokai. Crowd controlling and zoning enemies is what Maokai does in the lane, and team fights.
Maokai throws a sapling with his ability E – Sapling Toss. When thrown in a bush, enemies that are hit by these saplings will be slowed and damaged over time. When thrown elsewhere, the sapling will not deal damage over time.
The saplings also stay in place for 30 seconds unless an enemy champion comes near which will active and follow them in response to their presence, effectively zoning them out of lanes.
Maokai’s ability Q – Bramble Smash will knock enemies back and can be done in combination with his ability W – Twisted Advance which lets him appear on an enemy and root them. The abilities can also be separately used on their own, depending on the situation.
Finally, the Maokai’s ultimate ability Nature’s Grasp will let him send out a wide wave of tree roots that will ensnare enemies hit by it. This can effectively be used to stop enemies from attacking or catching them for a fight.
While his abilities may lack firepower, Maokai is capable of staying even in lane due to his innate passive Sap Magic.
This allows him to heal from a basic attack and will have his innate passive cooldown reduced for every ability that hits an enemy.
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A champion that has primarily been seen in the bottom lane as a support but has now found his way more often in the top is Swain.
Swain boasts high amounts of area effect damage and effective healing.
Swain’s main strengths in as a support were his crowd control and damage through his abilities.
He retains this in the top lane with his abilities Q – Death’s Hand and W – Vision of Empire that allows him to successfully trade attacks with his enemy and clear minion waves in the top lane.
The crowd control abilities that Swain has remains the same with his slow from the ability Vision of Empire and the snare from his ability E – Nevermore.
His recent buffs have allowed him to be more successful in a solo lane while retaining his supportive capabilities of slowing and snaring enemies.
The durability update along with his innate passive Ravenous Flock and ultimate ability Demonic Ascension allows him to stay in fights for prolonged periods.
His team fighting capabilities are a lot stronger when his ultimate is active and he will also deal more damage with the buffs he recently received.
Swain is still the same as he was before his mini-rework and buff. The only change is that he is now more viable in solo lanes than he was before.
Other support champions are more obvious picks in the top lane such as Pantheon or Sett, a champion that truly embodies support that can be played in the top lane is Karma.
Karma’s strengths in the lane are obvious. Her mobility, area effect damage, and snare are great at maintaining wave control and applying pressure when needed.
Empowering abilities with the ultimate Mantra allows Karma to modify her abilities.
The poking ability Q – Inner Flame of Karma already applies slow and instant damage to the enemy, but empowering it will leave an area that explodes after some time besides the instant damage.
Enemies that are not initially hit but walk in the area are also slowed before the explosion.
Karma’s ability W – Focused Resolve allows her to tether and then snare an enemy after staying within range for a few seconds.
Empowering it with Mantra will also heal her once the snare activates. This ability also reveals enemies that go to camouflage or invisibility as long as they are still tethered to Karma.
Shielding herself and her ally is also possible with her ability E – Inspire. Shielded targets are also granted a movement speed bonus that helps them get away from enemies.
An empowered Inspire will grant shields and a movement speed bonus to all allies surrounding her.
Karma is extremely strong in lane but is also equally potent playing a support role outside it.
While the meta playstyle or champions are not in your favor, there are always ways to circumvent the shortcomings you may have.
Playing for advantages outside the lane can be just as important as beating your enemy laner.
The champions listed above may help you find your groove if you intend to choose this playstyle. With a little bit of patience and creativity, you may even win the game without winning the lane.