As the fourth season of League of Legends draws to a close, there is one thing on everybody’s mind: “Gotta get that gold life.” Everyone wants to hit gold for end of season rewards, and who can blame them? You get a sweet champion skin, a ward skin and the shiny golden border! Unfortunately, because of this desire some players stoop to lower levels than are necessary to achieve their goals. In the last month of the competitive season of League, there is ALWAYS a rise in the number of ELO boosters who are in the lower brackets of play. I’m here to demonstrate that YOU can carry yourself out of the ranking you are in and into the position that you desire.
So how to start an article like this? Everybody plays the game differently (a point that is never lost on us in Solo Queue) so how can I try to help a collection of differently-minded people climb the ELO ladder? Simple: I will teach you an easy, solid way of climbing that WORKS if you put in the time and energy. I’ve decided to break this guide into a few separate sections, they are as follows:
- Champion Pool
- Managing the Minion Wave
- Vision Control
- Split Pushing
Rengar, the Pridestalker
One of the most important aspects of carrying top lane is your champion pool. This lane may not be for everybody, but personally I think that top lane has the most diverse and fun-to-play pool of champions in the game. There are full-on tanks (Maokai, Nasus), fighters (Lee Sin, Irelia), mages (Rumble, Vladimir), and assassins (Riven, Jayce, Rengar). With a selection this diverse, there are of course many ways to carry the lane, but I am going to focus on the more snowbally laners that can get a kill and snowball a game to victory.
So focusing on the champion pool, you should have at least two (but no more than three) champions that you are mechanically proficient at. In your end-of-the-season climb ONLY play these champions. In Bronze, Silver and Gold it is not important that you counter pick the summoners you are placed against, only that you are on a champion which you are confident in your play with. For your end of the season climb, these champs should be as snowbally as possible.
Managing the Minion Wave
One of the most important aspects of winning any lane (but top lane and mid in particular) is learning how to manage the minion waves. It’s not that hard of a concept to learn, and when you master it you will be able to snowball a single kill into winning lane and winning the game much more easily.
Push for level two. I don’t care if you miss two or three CS pushing for level two first. Hit level two, all-in your opponent and kill them or zone them.
Push minions to tower after kill. This will cause your opponent to lose one or two waves of farm and fall even father behind and cause the minion wave to reset (middle of lane) upon your return.
Prioritize farm over tower damage. If you have pushed the minion wave to tower and enemy top laner hasn’t returned, farm the next wave of minions instead of DPSing the tower. Your laner will lose even more farm and more than likely lose lane.
Freeze the wave. If you’re way ahead of your opponent feel free to freeze the lane on them. Kill them if they come to farm.
This point is not too important unless you are stomping lane. If you have taken the tier one top lane tower, then it is time to take control of the enemy top side jungle. This will help you avoid being collapsed on by multiple members of the enemy team and giving up your hard-earned lead, and it will allow you to farm their camps with impunity. If you’re on a carry top laner as I suggested, feel free to kill their jungler if you come across him. Here are some common warding spots for snowballing top after taking their tier 1 tower:
Playing on Blue Side:
“Banana bush” behind red buff
Smaller bush beside red buff (pink)
Bush under Red buff
Playing on Red Side:
River in front of entrance to blue jungle
Blue buff bush (pink)
In jungle below blue buff
If you are playing on red side, have taken your opponents’ tier one tower and want to continue pressuring your opponent in lane, invest the money in two green wards and a pink. Place them in the previously mentioned locations and you will see every path that could be used to gank you except for a lane gank through top.
I had to think for a little while before adding this topic as a section of its own. Split pushing is almost synonymous with vision control; that is to say you cannot properly have one without the other. If you’re pushed up in your lane without wards in at least SOME of the locations that I have described, you WILL be ganked and most likely killed. On the other hand if you aren’t pushed past your oponent’s tower then there is no reason for you to have wards that deep in the enemy jungle. To split push you NEED vision control. To have that depth of vision control you NEED to be split pushing. Here are the times that it would most benefit you to be splitting:
- You can 1v1 or 1v2 the opponent’s most fed carries.
- Your team loses teafights.
- If your team just CAN’T teafight cohesively or the enemy team composition is straight out better than yours, split push.
- You can push down towers faster than your opponents can respond.
- Contesting important objectives (only if your teleport is up).
As a final note, there are some times where it is NOT beneficial to your team to have you off in a side lane:
- Your team fights 4v5 without you.
- We’ve all had that team that doesn’t understand how NOT to fight while you split push. Just suck it up and group with them!
- You have died two or more times while splitting already.
- This could be due to several reasons, lack of vision control being one of them, but if you are split pushing and dying consistenty then you should probably stop and just group.
- There is an objective up.
- If your teleport is down, group for the objective with your team.
Well, that concludes my guide for how to carry top lane! Good luck in the last week or two of Season 4 summoners!