The League of Legends World Championship play-in stage is coming to an end, providing a glimpse of what the metagame will look like going into the main stage. The top lane in particular is set up to have a higher impact on games than it has in previous patches. Champions that are strong at both split-pushing and teamfighting typically see the most competitive play. The following are some of the strongest top lane picks for Worlds.
Renekton has been a priority pick throughout the play-in stage of Worlds, and should continue to be contested in future games. His strong laning phase and even stronger mid-game make him a problematic champion to deal with. Possessing the ability to safely split-push with impressive dueling and outplay potential, while also dishing out massive AOE damage in teamfights is what sets Renekton apart from other melee top lane champions.
Gnar is a solid blind pick, because of his ability to safely farm from a distance in most match ups. He is also a strong pick into melee champions to poke them out of lane early. His mobility and inherent tankiness make him difficult to gank, and he can easily turn the fight in a counter-gank. The biggest pay-off for adding Gnar to a team composition is his ability to engage onto important targets with his ultimate, and lock them against a wall.
Kennen is an incredible champion in teamfights due to the AOE damage and stuns from his ultimate, Slicing Maelstrom. The movement speed steroid on his E, Lightning Rush, and his kiting potential make him a difficult champion to gank properly during the laning phase. Some players have been taking the Kleptomancy keystone to produce extra gold when laning against melee champions. This allows him to reach his item power spikes faster, and accelerate his teamfighting capabilities.
Gangplank is another safe pick that is difficult to pressure, because of the excellent wave clear and harass on his E, Powder Keg. The primary power of Gangplank is his ability to provide global pressure once he hits level six. All he has to do is use his ultimate on a fight to give his teammates an advantage. He is also a counter-pick to team compositions with heavy Crowd Control, because he can remove all debuffs with his W, Remove Scurvy.
Pantheon was recently reworked, and had fairly lackluster numbers upon the release. Recent buffs to his kit have shot him up to becoming a priority pick in almost every game. His ban rate during the play-in stage has been incredibly high and should remain high during the main stage. He has a long-range engage on his ultimate, Grand Skyfall, while also being able to soak up damage with the invulnerability on his E, Aegis Assault.
While these champions are the strongest top lane picks for Worlds, there are plenty of other champions, such as Mordekaiser and Kled, that will continue to see play. The top-lane is often considered an island where little attention is given. It’s interesting when teams like Clutch Gaming take a different approach and put a high priority on securing Rift Herald at ten minutes, and getting their top-laner, Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon, ahead so he can carry.
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Featured photo from Riot Games
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