The top lane of Summoner’s Rift has some of the most diverse selection of meta champions. However, if you want something out-of-the-box, you may want to shake things up by picking an unconventional champ. This time, we’re taking a look at LoL’s best off-meta top laners.
Best Off-meta Top Laners – The Rundown
Do you want to go off-meta at the top lane right away? We have a quick rundown of five picks that we think will do relatively well.
Kai’Sa – She does so well in mid and bot lane that people forget how she also does well at the top lane.
Braum – Win trades and have easier ganks with your incredible durability and on-hit passive.
Blitzcrank – Blitzcrank does a decent job as a brawler, his true threat lies on his zoning potential and gank threat.
Kayn – His early game harass works well against certain melee meta picks. Later on, he can transform into what is considered the better of his two forms.
Taric – He is a tanky champ with good sustain and decent damage. He also helps make tower dives easier for you and your jungler.
These five unconventional top lane champs can catch the enemy off-guard, but what exactly makes them work? Let’s take a closer look at each of them to find out.
Shortly after her initial release, Kai’Sa quickly became a staple of competitive play as a versatile late-game marksman. Her Icathian Rain (Q) is a fairly spammable source of damage. On the other hand, her Void Seeker (W) and Supercharge (E) work exceptionally well at bursting down enemies. Her Killer Instinct ultimate is considered one of the best abilities for chasing down isolated or escaping enemies. Last but not least, she has two passives that boost her overall damage and a third one that enhances her first three abilities.
What makes her work?
Damage and Versatility: Kai’Sa’s versatility allows her to do well in almost any position, and it also shows in the top lane. In a meta where the top lane is dominated by tanky melee bruisers, a ranged pick will have the early game advantage. However, Kai’Sa also scales well into the late game, plus she has both AP and AD scaling damage. This means the enemy team has no choice but to check what items you’re buying before they choose to build armor or magic resistance just to shut you down.
While Kai’Sa has the range advantage, she doesn’t have much by way of disengages. You’d want to pick your fights away from the minion wave, where Icathian Rain’s projectiles are focused on only a few targets. Fortunately, you will almost always have an early lane advantage over anyone with no crowd control.
Braum is mostly played as a tanky support champion with a kit specially designed to protect more fragile teammates. Unlike other defensive champs that heal or shield teammates, he protects by being a physical wall against incoming enemy fire. Unbreakable (E) acts as a mobile shield that negates enemy projectiles and reduces any damage that manages to get through. Stand Behind Me (W) allows Braum to get to his allies faster while also increasing their armor and magic resistance. Winter’s Bite (Q) is a skill-shot slow. Moreover, it stacks with the on-hit passive of his Concussive Blow passive. This means the skill almost always ends up stunning his target with the help of another teammate. Last but not least, his Glacial Fissure ultimate is a versatile ability that can be used to initiate team fights or halt the advance of pursuing enemies.
What makes him work?
Trading and Ganking Synergy: Braun is a surprisingly good brawler in a role where most opponents have to stay within melee range for an extended amount of time. His Concussive Blows passive will guarantee a stun during trades, followed up by a deceptively good amount of extra magic damage. To make things even better for him, his passive also stacks with a teammate’s attacks, which means an isolated top laner will have a difficult time disengaging from a 2v1.
Braum top works best with an auto-attack-based jungler like Warwick, Master Yi, and Volibear. The extra damage from concussive blows (plus the initial stun), should be more than enough to secure kills, while the extra armor bonus from Stand Behind Me makes it easier to make risky tower dives. You should also consider getting items with on-hit effects such as Frozen Mallet and Black Cleaver.
Blitzcrank is a support champ that’s infamous for turning around games thru careful picks. His signature move is Rocket Grab (Q) which pulls an enemy close to him. Once within melee range, Blitzcrank can follow up with Power Fist (E) to stun his target in place. Overdrive is an offensive mobility tool that can be used for getting in range for a Rocket Grab. The same skill can also be used to temporarily increase your melee DPS. His Static Field ultimate deals excellent AOE burst damage, but its passive synergizes well with the extra DPS from Overdrive.
What makes him work?
Damage and Utility: He may not look like it at first, but Blitzcrank is actually a champ that can go toe-to-toe with melee brawlers. The magic damage from Static Field’s passive, the low cooldown of Power Fist, and the attack speed from Overdrive give Blitzcrank plenty of sustained damage. Even if he does lose trades, the shield from his Mana Barrier passive makes him hard to burst down. Rocket Grab can also be used to bring the enemy close to your tower, forcing them to take a few big hits.
Blitzcrank’s passive shield goes well with Maw of Malmortius’ Lifeline and Lifegrip effects, making him even deadlier (and more durable) once his health points go below 30%. Also, since you won’t have the damage coming from a marksman partner in the top lane, you have to pay attention to Static Field’s burst damage. If you can, hold on to the ability until the enemy’s health is just low enough that activating your ultimate can kill them.
Kayn is a melee hybrid assassin that can effectively change roles after some time in the match. He is mostly defined by the option to transform into Rhaast or the Shadow Assasin. While Kayn can transform into either form, it’s possible to pick one of the options faster depending on your targets. Targeting (dealing damage or taking down) melee champs lets you pick Rhaast sooner. On the other hand, going for ranged champions lets you pick Kayn’s Shadow Assassin form. Rhaast works more like a mobile bruiser, while Shadow Assassin is more of a burst-oriented class.
What makes him work?
Sustain and Utility: Kayn Top is all about one thing: transforming into Rhaast ASAP by killing melee top lane opponents. Rhaast provides a good balance of sustain, mobility, and damage. In this form, his passive lets him heal for a portion of the damage his abilities deal to enemy champs. Reaping Slash (Q), and his Umbral Trespass ultimate are upgraded to deal extra damage equal to the part of his target’s health. Because the damage is percentage-based, Kayn – or Rhaast at this point – remains a big threat to enemy tanks.
Suggestions – Pre-transformation Kayn doesn’t have much by way of good trades or solo engages, so you need to pick him along with a Jungler that can reliably lock down his lane opponent in a gank. In our list of off-meta top laners, Kayn relies the most on having frequent successful ganks early on.
Another support meta-pick, Taric’s kit heavily revolves around playing with a nearby teammate. This is because all his abilities also activate where a linked ally is. Starlight’s Touch (Q) provides decent lane sustain, while Dazzle (E) is a great AOE crowd control ability used for initiating team fights or to keep enemies away from your teammates. In terms of defense, Taric’s Bastion (W) provides a great source of physical damage reduction, while Cosmic Radiance is an ultimate that renders nearby teammates invincible.
What makes him work?
Damage and Utility: While Taric may seem better off in the bot lane where he will always have someone to link up with Bastion, he is actually an excellent brawler with a good amount of damage. The passive auto-attacks and extra magic damage from Bravado can deal a ton of sustained damage, especially when equipped with items that have on-hit effects. To make things even better, Taric's Bastion can also be used as soon as your teammate's jungler visits your lane for a gank. This means even a Jungler without crowd control such as Khazix or Hecarim now has the means to pin down your enemy and secure a kill.
Top lane Taric is one of the best off-meta top laners when paired with Junglers that do not have crowd control. Remember that most top lane opponents tend to be tanky, which means your burst junglers may not have the upfront damage needed to take your target down. You should also get used to activating Cosmic Radiance just in time for a tower dive.
Best Off-meta Top Laners - Conclusion
That wraps up our talk about off-meta top laners. Do you have other off-meta picks for this role that deserves a mention? Leave a comment here! For more info on going off-meta in other roles, feel free to check out our general guide to off-meta picks.