Have you ever sat down for a rousing night of League of Legends and pondered aloud, “Why doesn’t anyone ever play [preferred champion] as a [improper meta role]?” You queue up for the champ select and announce your intentions to your peers: “Hey guys, I’m gonna try out Lulu Top lane.” The response? Anger and slanderizations flow through your chat log like bubbling hot rage-lava. “Lulu is a support, not top” they state. “You just don’t play Lulu top.”
But has anyone ever explained why?
Now, I’ve been playing League for a while now and, for the most part, I get why champion A doesn’t belong in role Z. However, I thought it could be interesting (and potentially fun) to try out some odd ducks and catalogue my experiences for you, the Internet. And that’s how we came up with “That’s Why We Don’t Do That”, a weekly article where I’ll be playing some of our favorite League of Legends champions in their less-than-favorable roles.
And what better place to start than with the previously mentioned Lulu top? She happened to be free last week and I ended up playing as her a bit and while she was a highly entertaining support, I felt like her inherent aggression level and quality damage output could allow her to be viable elsewhere.
Now, before we go into matchups I feel like we should do a little bit of number crunching. First off, lets compare our little darling to the “top three” top laners. In my opinion (and I assume the opinions of others), those three champions would be Jayce, Darius and Rengar, arguably the three biggest a------s to ever plague the fields of justice.
Let’s start off by comparing stats. Special thanks to Leaguecraft.com for having all of this handy information readily available for our consumption!
Essentially Lulu is outclassed in every aspect. Her starting health is a paltry 415 while Darius and Reng soar into the mid 500s. Jayce, surprisingly, starts at 420 but he gains an additional 90/lvl while Lulu only grabs up 87. Her armor is also pathetic when comparing to the big boys, coming in with a single-digit 9 when compared to 24, 13, and 20 respectively. Her attack speed is .625 and her damage is 44 (plus 15 magic damage from her passive) while Darius is .679/54, Jayce is .658/47 and Rengar is .68/58. Oddly enough, it appears that our boy Jayce isn’t that far ahead of Lulu in base stats, although when you consider his skill set allows him to be a nonstop CCing douche-machine you can understand why such base stats would be necessary.
So her stats aren’t too favorable. That much is clear. Her kit, however, does hold promise. Like many of your standard tops, Lulu is strong on CC, shields, and game-changing steroids post-six. On top of that, her passive grants her a steady amount of on-hit magic damage (3+2xlevel) that should allow her to trade incredibly well in lane.
Now, before we get into the games I do want to mention a few things.
First off, I need to note that by simply trying things differently within the realm of normal games I am qualifying as a troll of sorts. With that in mind, I made the conscious decision to politely ask if people in my draft queue were alright with me playing Lulu top right from the get-go. This resulted in roughly a dozen player dodges until I finally met some kind and easygoing people who were willing to give me a chance.
Secondly, I am not very good at League of Legends. I make no attempts to convince you otherwise. As this small selection of games will let you know, I make blatant mistakes and try to at least catalogue them when apparent. I can only imagine you did not arrive at this article for top-level advice but if you somehow have, I regret to inform you that I am just another low-elo baby.
After a literal hour of people dodging queue we finally start our first game. From the champ select I assume that I’ll be going up against a Jayce and I feel moderately confident after reviewing those base stats from earlier. I start cloth 5pot because thats what Voyboy does and I love him.
As I slowly inch my way towards top (not starting boots can be a m----------r) I prepare for a CC battle against my overly handsome foe. Of course, whom do I find when I finally get to lane?
LANE: Going up against Teemo wasn’t too bad. The first real fight was a tie, which I found promising. The second fight probably would have gone in my favor but due to some odd spasm of excitement I misclicked almost every ability. An interesting thing to note that unlike other top laners such as Olaf or Irelia, with Lulu you need to physically click on your champion in order to use certain spells on yourself. This, of course, originates from her role as a support champion. It’s also interesting to note that in hindsight I did not use any of her defensive spells outside of my embiggening R. Not once did I use her shield; I instead optioned to go for burst on that poor little Teemo.
In most trades it would end up that Teemo would simply outlive my burst and then, during the crucial “last few hits” of my poorly formed plan, he would blind me and keep me from taking away those last slivers of health. Luckily, in most of my fights my ignite would compensate for my lack of preparation.
Overall, however, I must say I lost top lane. As much as it pains me to say, I died all too often to the generic fiddle combo of ult+fear+drain. The worst thing about dying to a fiddle combo is that, in the back of your mind, you feel that you are better than that. It really just grinds my gears. I also died to some hilariously-timed Zigg ulties that were reminiscent of old episodes of Loony Toons.
LATE GAME/TEAMFIGHTS: Oh, did I mention Fiddlesticks was somehow running amok across the entire map? We lost 20/34. Teamfights were nearly nonexistent, so I can’t really comment on those. Although whenever we did end up within an orgy of chaos I tended to pick up a kill or two. With the ingredients of a deathcap and a hextec revolver Lulu can put out some pretty decent burst.
By surrender time I had a personal record of 8/8/4. Indeed it was a horrible score, but I do take solace that I was also dishing something out and not only receiving punishment. In hindsight I don’t think I was building Lulu properly for top lane. I think a portion of me felt at ease against the equally squishy Teemo. Perhaps if I went with more tankier items I could have been more formidable.
LANE: As we move from champion select I believe that I’m going to be going up against either Darius or Jayce, so whoopdy doo. Then, when the loading screen appears I come to a revelation. No one on their team has chosen smite. I’m going to be playing against Darius AND Jayce. F--k my life.
Around the five minute mark I have my lane frozen comfortably near my turret and a rather antsy Darius/Jayce combo stalking back and forth not unlike starved hyenas. Inevitably, the Darius gets bored and decides he would be of better use as jungle. I’m left alone with the Jayce.
Learning from last game I’m quick to pick up a ninja tabi and a giants belt (soon to become a scepter). Just as lane is about to end I’m near even CS with my foe and I’m actually up by one kill. All in all I think that Lulu has great poke ability and you can really whittle someone down if they aren’t very careful. Of course, the Jayce regularly refused to B and didn’t bother with any MR so who knows how my life would have been if he had built appropriately.
LATE GAME / TEAM FIGHTS: Once our team got our act together things went very smoothly. I saved my polymorph for the enemy katarina ult and I would either embiggen Karthus or Vayne. Either way, we put some hurt on the enemy team and after a slightly hectic baron grab we snowballed towards victory. I ended the game at 4/4/17, as well as obtaining a friend request and 5 honor points (one in each category, I might add).
This second game went almost well enough for me to consider Lulu, with proper build, to be a viable top choice. I should specify that I feel on her best day Lulu can survive in top lane, and she may only be able to thrive during very key matchups that benefit her abilities. Also, she may very well need to perform somewhere between “okay” and “great” to be of any use mid/late game.
The Teemo game had so many things wrong with it that I can barely count it as decent data. As far as the Jayce game goes, I can only attribute so much of my victory to myself. The Jayce had a strong tendency to allow me to whittle him down to anywhere from half to quarter health before any actual fight occurred. As it went on, I almost felt as if he were doing it on purpose (although perhaps he just didn’t know any better). If, at any point he were to meet me with full health I’m certain I would have been crushed.
So, did we learn why we didn’t do that? Eh, kinda, not really. In honesty so much of my time was spent trying to get into an actual game that I was left with a pathetic pool of information. From what I witnessed, I personally think that Lulu is just as viable top as Teemo. Her on hit magic damage allows you to trade decently without forcing you to build AD, and with tanky AP items (Zhonya’s, Abyssal, etc) you can end up rather tanky while still applying decent burst. Of course, as I stated earlier, the best way to win top lane as Lulu is to be playing against a Jayce who doesn’t know when to B.
Lulu Top: Go for it.
Next week I plan on at least doubling the amount of games played with the champ du jour so we can really get a sense of whether or not they can work in whatever role they don’t belong in. My only real problem is actually getting into legitimate games due to my blatant trollish behavior. Perhaps I should form some sort of A-team of open-minded individuals to queue up with for these adventures.
Team TWWDDT, anyone?