Posts Tagged ‘lane’

Garen-BannerThere is a scene at the end of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, where Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach and Lee Van Cleef (no relation to Edwin Van Cleef, notorious Deadmines end-boss) are stood in a cemetery and have what many regard as the greatest Mexican-stand-off of all time. While the graphical style of the characters leads us to Graves being the closest we get to this in League of Legends, this analogy best lends itself towards the top lane; just you, your opponent and the Jungler(s) in a battle of wits, with everything to lose. The top lane is arguably the most important in the early game; getting a head start on your opponent here will allow you to roam and gank mid and bot lanes, and if you lose your lane then you best pray to your god that your carries can win the game for you.

Today I’m going to introduce you to the top lane, and a handful of champions I feel anyone who is learning this role for the first time should get to grips with. The champions I’m about to talk about aren’t the best top lane champions in the game, but by no means are they bad; they are just simple yet effective champions that will help you learn how to handle the lane without worrying about mechanics. For anyone who is experienced in the top lane, this guide isn’t for you. However, if you are new to ranked games or are simply levelling up and wish to explore the top lane, read on.


SingedSquareSinged is by far one of the simplest top lane champions you can play. When played correctly, he can be very effective as a tank or a bruiser/tank. Singed’s kit consists of:

  • A poison trail
  • A slow on the enemy
  • A flip
  • A self buff

All of these abilities work in perfect harmony with each other. The simplest tactic for Singed is to activate your Poison Trail (Q), charge the enemy, use Mega Adhesive (W) when they run, then Fling (E) them backwards towards your poison trail. The best part? If they attack and continue to chase you, they’ll run right into your poison trail. Standard builds on Singed also make him a great safe pick, as you can build him as tanky or as damage-focused as you wish. Usual core items include Rod of Ages and Rylai’s Crystal Scepter, both of which offer nice AP damage for his Poison Trail and Fling, as well as a solid amount of health and mana. If things get a little hairy, or you’re just looking to secure a kill, activating his Insanity Potion (R) will give you improved movement speed, armour, magic resist, ability power, health AND mana regen. This means there should be no reason for you to die in a one-on-one situation.

Singed offers a simple yet very effective build for the top lane that allows for mistakes. He is a champion that will remain in your repertoire throughout your ranked and casual play, and is a must for anyone learning the Top Lane. For a full in depth guide to Singed, check out InvertedComposer’s build.


LikGarenSquaree Singed, Garen is one of the simplest champions in the game, so simple in fact that he has his own little phrase: “spin to win”. Garen offers the player a few simple tools that can be devastating in the early game, when used correctly. Decisive strike (Q) offers not only a solid amount of damage, but a gap closer that also silences the enemy, all in one attack. This means that it’s very easy for you to get close to the enemy, stop them attacking you and then activate your Judgement (E) to deal a second round of damage on the silenced enemy. If things get too much for you, Courage (W) is a handy little shield, and once you are out of combat for seven seconds your passive will give you 0.4% of your maximum health back every second.

Where Garen really comes in to his own, especially in the early game, is Demacian Justice (R). This ability, a clear predecessor to Darius’ Noxian Guillotine, offers a scaling amount of damage depending on how little health the enemy has; the less health they have, the more damage it will deal. Once the enemy reaches anything below 50% health, a quick Q>E>R combo will almost certainly secure a kill. Garen is designed around being powerful in the early game and winning his lane, leading to a swift victory before you reach the late game. The high base-damage stats from his Q and R mean that you can build him tanky and still offer your team a solid amount of damage in team fights. Garen’s kit is very simple and he works well as a top lane champion, with a respectable amount of damage, good sustain, great tankiness (and in the early game) frankly amazing lane presence. For a more in-depth guide on Garen, check out King Kroanin’s full guide, or WingsofDeathX’s build.



MalphiteMalphite is my third and final choice for beginner Top Lane champions. He’s tanky, he’s got great poke, good overall damage and has one of the best, if not the best, initiates or fight-resets in the game. He’s regarded by many as being overpowered; this leads to him being banned in most games at low to mid skilled levels. So although he is very effective and is a champion you should definitely have perfected, don’t be disappointed if you don’t get to play him right away. Like Singed and Garen, Malphite is very simple to pick up. His kit consists of Granite Shield (Passive) which gives him a shield equal to 10% of his health, making him tanky from the start, allowing you to trade very effectively. Seismic Shard (Q) is his primary method of poking the enemy as well as slowing them down and speeding him up. This helps you engage, chase down enemies or even escape- all of which are crucial to your survival. Brutal Strikes (W) is not a great laning ability, but offers some aid in farming and also some armour. When stacked with his passive, this offers you an even greater level of tankiness in the laning phase. Ground Slam (E) is an AoE attack that scales with armour, slowing enemy attack speed. This works very nicely in the late game, slowing ADC attack speed is a huge debuff to the enemy team.

Finally, the pièce de résistance, Unstoppable Force (R); it is the primary reason to play Malphite and the main reason why he’s banned. It is a charge with 1000 range which knocks up the enemies it hits for two seconds at rank 3. A truly unstoppable ability (Sona’s ult won’t stop it) and it deals a solid amount of damage in the early-to-mid game. This ability can be used to initiate, reset the fight, steal baron, escape, secure a kill or anything you wish. It is one of the most overpowered abilities in the game, and is a great final ability for Malphite. He is simple, with two tanking abilities (passive + W), three damage abilities (Q, E and R), two crowd control abilities (Q and R) and an ultimate that makes anyone ganking you think twice. Malphite’s kit works amazingly well, and the fact he gets banned in so many games is testament to just how powerful he is! LEARN HIM! For a full Malphite guide, check out MakNoon’s winning build, Dolphin Trainer’s Guide!

There are many top lane champions I haven’t talked about to today; like Jax, who is the next champion I suggest you play but didn’t make this list due to serious mana issues if you don’t know what you’re doing. Or Renekton who is very powerful right now. Also champions like Pantheon who will help you stomp soloqueue and Yorick who simply has no direct counter. I haven’t talked about these because they are more difficult to learn. They have more skillshots and modified abilities which require a higher skill level to be able to play successfully. Once you have used the three champions I have outlined, I suggest you move on to the other champions in this list and truly master the top lane.

Synergising your Support

January 9th, 2013


Picking a support champion that synergises with your ADC is one of the most important things you can do in team select.

A great team isn’t just a composition of five competent players controlling their five best champions; a great team is one that selects champions that work together, champions that synergise out in Summoners Rift through abilities that can work in harmony to provide results greater than the sum of their individual parts. This week’s article, my first for News of Legends, is about why the champion you pick to Support with is incredibly important for the outcome of your game. This piece is part of my new series of articles aimed at the relative beginner to ranked play, for those hoping to climb up the ELO ladder and maximise their League potential. When Xpecial is choosing his champion he isn’t going to simply pick the one he’s most competent with, but the one that works best to counter the enemy team and the one that works best with the rest of his team.

Why is synergy important?

Have you ever been in the situation where your team lacks the right initiation? Or perhaps once you’ve initiated you lack crowd control? Or maybe you simply don’t have enough sustain in fights? Or even that you’ve got no one peeling and your Carries are getting burst down leaving you to die in a horrible mess each team fight. This is caused by poor team synergy. In soloqueue it’s perfectly understandable that you can’t be responsible for your whole team and even if you’re first pick it puts you on the back foot for trying to synergise, as you don’t know what your team is going to pick or who you’re playing against. At this point discussing team composition in champion select is your best bet, along with choosing a champion you’re most competent with. However, in premade 5s or being last pick in soloqueue you are more than able to pick a champion to synergise and avoid the awful situations where your team just doesn’t gel because you’re missing one key component.

Synergy is the concept of using two or more Champions abilities to provide an added bonus in combat, a key example being Leona’s Zenith Blade and Corki’s Valkyrie. Both Champions can go from nowhere to the midst of the battle in less than a second. Using Leona’s Zenith Blade then Shield of Daybreak (E -> Q, or Q -> E if you’re confident you can land the E so not to put Q on cooldown without hitting anything) to dash in and stun the enemy ADC or Support allowing Corki to Valkyrie in and clean up for kills works incredibly well in bottom lane. The same is true for Leona and Tristana. Every ADC and every support will have a champion that they synergise best with and that will give you the best chances of success. Finding this bottom lane combination is one key in a series to unlocking the door to dominating your bottom lane.

Leona Zenith Blade

So how do I synergise with my team?

Finding a support that synergises with your ADC and your team is something that after time you will come to know. You will come to know what support best counters the enemy kill lane, or which support you need to pick to help your team in the late game the most, but in the meantime there are several utilities available to anyone learning the support role. While it is not possible for me to cover every single Support and ADC I can hopefully point readers in the right direction for learning how to do this.

On the very basic level this page developed by Reddit user Nebu based on information provided by another Reddit user Spellsy allows a Support player to input allied ADC, as well as enemy ADC and Support which returns the optimal Support you should play, as well as providing some reasoning behind it. This is a great little web app for those learning the basics of Support Synergy however some champions like Teemo, often seen in the ADC role at lower elo brackets, are not featured, as well as uncommon but not unseen support champions like Zilean and Fiddlesticks. It is also very important to remember to take anything with a pinch of salt until you learn from experience.

ChampionSelect is also an incredibly useful tool to get the basics of counter picking and team synergy, listing full counters for ADCs as well as the Supports they work best with.

Graves champselect

Who Graves gets countered by, counters, and works well with, according to

To get a more detailed view on what Supports work best with certain ADCs we need to look at the professional levels, and what TSM bottom lane partners Xpecial and Chaox are doing. In this video by Xpecial he explains in detail during the loading screen why one would pick Janna to counter the very aggressive support of Leona on the opposite team. Janna is chosen due to her ability to use Howling Gale (Q, commonly known as Tornado) to knock back Leona after the engage effectively resetting the fight. While Leona and hopefully the enemy ADC are knocked up and unable to attack, his Ashe ADC will have 0.8-1.1 seconds (dependant on level) to free attack the enemy if all abilities are timed correctly. Xpecial provides a great example of why team synergy is important. It is also worth noting that Janna’s other abilities work well to counter Leona. Her Eye of the Storm (E) allows her to protect the ADC when Leona uses Zenith Blade as well as using Zephyr to slow the enemy ADC lowering the amount of time it has to attack your team. All of these factors would have been taken into consideration during champion select, and is something that any player aspiring to climb ELO must also think about.

To gain a clearer understanding of why Xpecial chose Janna to counter Leona and to better understand why who you pick is important, we can look at what the situation would have been like with a Support who does not synergise well in that team composition, most notably, Sona. If we take the team composition and situation as exactly the same but replace Janna with Sona, and have Leona use Zenith Blade on to either the ADC Ashe or Support Sona the situation is completely different. In that situation Sona’s only truly effective form of defense would have been to use her Ultimate ability Crescendo, which with a cooldown of 140/120/100 seconds compared to Zenith Blade’s 13/12/11/10/9 cooldown puts her on the back foot for a large chunk of the game. This would allow Leona to re-engage the fight very quickly, stun locking either the ADC or Support allowing Vayne to Tumble and Condemn one champion very easily, most likely securing a kill. Sona would have very little in the form of defense against Leona’s stun, as her Song of Celerity or Aria of Perseverance with a stacked Passive wouldn’t be enough to help her escape or heal through the damage respectively. In a situation with Leona and Vayne fighting a Sona and Ashe, the odds are ever in the favour of Leona and Vayne, for the reasons explained above.

Learning what support to pick to synergise best with your team, or even what champion to pick if you don’t play support is something all players need to learn. It will come with time and it will come with practice. It will also be hard, as you may have to reevaluate how to tackle champion select, and you may often have to move away from the champions you are most comfortable with and move towards ones that are better for your team. In the long run however, you will become a far better player and your team will thank you for it.