Top has always been the lane for melee fighters and bruisers. These types of champions are usually based on AD and not AP. They deal physical damage and often build like off tanks. However, the top lane meta has changed over the last couple of years. One of the most recommended picks for the role is Lucian, a marksman and not a fighter. But AP champions are also a great option. They usually have more burst damage and more utility when it comes to team fights than their AD counterparts. So who are the top 5 best AP top laners in season 12?
There are many champions that aren’t primarily top laners, but they work well in the role. You can usually pick them to surprise or confuse your opponents. But you can also use them to counter the traditional AD top lane picks. One of the most famous examples here is Teemo, who works fantastically against all champions who deal damage through auto-attacks. He has his Q to stop their damage and his R to deal massive damage in return. But are there more like him?
If you want to have an easy time in the top lane, then Malphite is your best choice. Yes, technically, he is a tank, but nothing stops you from going for a pure ability power build. All of Malphite’s abilities scale with AP and deal an insane amount of damage, especially his ultimate. More specifically, an AP Malphite has one of the strongest bursts in the entire League of Legends!
But why else should you choose Malphite?
Easy – Malphite is an incredibly safe champion too. Even if you don’t have any experience in playing the top lane role, you can totally carry with Malph. Any matchup can be won by simply poking your opponent with your Q – Seismic Shard and staying out of his range. Not only does this ability deal tons of damage (especially with the Arcane Comet rune), but it also slows your target and speeds you up. So you never have to fight when you don’t want to!
Level 6 is your big power spike. Usually, you want to call your jungler around this time because it’s simply way too easy to score a kill. And unless you are several levels behind, Unstoppable Force will kill anyone on the map.
Most players like to build Malphite like a tank. So items like Frostfire Gauntlet, Thornmail, and Frozen Heart are your natural choice. However, if you simply want to deal as much AP damage as possible, then you should go for Luden’s Tempest, Void Staff, and Zhonya’s Hourglass!
The advantages of the AP Malphite build?
You can one-shot anyone! This is often a better strategy for this champion because rather than absorbing the opponent’s damage, you nullify it by slaying them instantly!
Also read: Top 5 Safest Jungle Picks
Kennen is another traditional AP top lane pick. He works extremely well as a counter pick to many late-game champions, such as Nasus or Jax. The reason for this is that Kennen can continually harass and bully all the melee top lane picks. His damage is good throughout the game, no matter what he does.
One advantage that Kennen has over many other AP champions is the fact that he doesn’t use mana. The energy resource is a much more flexible tool, especially in the early game. Because of it, Kennen can start each match with Doran’s Blade and give more power to his auto-attacks.
The next step is to always build the Hextech Rocketbelt mythic first. This is a fantastic item for any champion that lacks a gap closer but desperately needs one. Besides the stat bonuses, Kenen can use Hextech Rocketbelt to quickly enter a team fight and obliterate his opponents with Slicing Maelstrom. This is useful both in the lane and 1v1 duels.
Before the item changes in season 12, Kennen needed more time to scale. This also meant that he didn’t deal that much damage right away. But things are different now. Kennen is an absolute blast to play in the top lane since he is powerful all around. All the items in his build directly help his damage and survivability, and his playstyle is exceptionally safe. So give him a try!
Sylas may not be a traditional top lane pick, but he is one of the most broken pocket picks you can have for this role. First of all, let’s just say that not all top-lane players know how to deal with Sylas. And second, Sylas can be way too tricky for many top champions if the players do know Sylas pretty well.
For example, if you’re running Sylas into Malphite, reaching level 6 before him means a free kill. How? Well, Sylas, thanks to his Hijack mechanic, can steal his opponent’s ultimate. And Hijack is not affected by the opponent’s level. So Sylas on level 6 can steal Malphite’s ultimate, even if Malph is level 5. This is a massive advantage, primarily because Sylas builds fully AP and the stolen ultimates generally do more damage when he’s using them.
And this works against many other champions. Sylas can steal Kayle’s ultimate to outplay her, and Garen’s ultimate is a pure, true damage boost.
One thing that players struggle the most here is adapting to Sylas’s playstyle in the top lane. You see, Sylas works brilliantly against mages in the mid lane. And there, he can be as aggressive as he wants. But in the top lane, you can’t simply duel Darius as Sylas because you’re always going to lose. Instead, you must find ways to poke him and trade with him only when the situation allows. For example, you can draw him on your tower, so he gets an extra turret shot.
Sometimes it’s much worth stealing the jungler’s ulti than your top lane opponent. Jungle champions often have crowd control ultimates, so you can use them to set up kills with your own jungler.
Also read: Top 5 Best Late Game ADCs
Many people don’t consider Cassiopeia a good top lane pick, but they’re very wrong. Cass is a counter to many melee champions, especially the top laners. This is because top lane champions generally fight face to face. And Cassiopeia’s R is the ultimate weapon to use against such picks.
Petrifying Gaze stuns all targets that face Cassiopeia for several seconds. This isn’t the easiest ability to hit since most players expect it, so they turn away. However, top laners have no other choice but to face Cassiopeia. That’s because they have no other way to reach her. Take some like Jax, for example. He either gets stunned by Cassiopeia, or he doesn’t fight at all!
And that goes for the rest of the top lane champions. But Cass has other advantages too.
Many players aren’t aware of it, but Cassiopeia’s Miasma is one of the most broken abilities in League of Legends. This is the purple poison that she throws on the ground. And any enemy inside of the poison is slowed and cannot use movement abilities such as dash or jump. And this also includes Flash! So, Jax and the rest of the lot are always at a disadvantage when trying to fight Cassiopeia.
But we didn’t even mention Cassiopeia’s damage. Many of you know that Cass is usually the strongest in the tank meta when she can safely scale to late game. However, season 12 gave us new items, and Cass can carry the game from the 10th minute on. Items like Liandry’s Anguish, Demonic Embrace, and Rylai’s Scepter are fantastic additions to her power, and she can defeat everyone!
And if you’re looking to climb, then Cassiopeia is probably among the best AP top laners in season 12!
Also read: Top 3 Best Supports for Lucian
Heimerdinger is not a meme. This is one of the least understood champions in LoL but one of the most powerful too. This is especially true in the top lane. Why? Because Heimerdinger doesn’t play by the top lane rules at all!
First of all, Heimerdinger is a ranged champion, which is already an advantage in the top lane. Second, Heimerdinger has both damage and crowd control. And third, no one can’t fight Heimderdinger in a 1v1 duel.
Heimer’s tool kit is simply made to counter the top lane role. By placing his turrets in the lane, he ensures that he can’t lose. How? Well, the turrets actually deal a lot of damage. And if you’re someone like Sett or Fiora, you can’t really kill them from range. And every time you either try to take a CS or destroy a turret, you’ll get blasted back to back.
Now, this wouldn’t be too much of a problem if the jungler could help you, right? But as we all know, Heimerdinger can easily fight a 1v2 battle and even without even moving away from the minion wave. His turrets are especially powerful after level 6 when he can craft the monster turret and bring out the big guns.
Heimerdinger’s build in season 12 is full AP. Items like Luden’s Tempest, Void Staff, and Morellonomicon are parts of his core build. This boosts his burst damage, which is all the meta is at the moment.
So if you like untraditional playstyles in the top lane, then Heimerdinger is one of the best AP champions to try out!
Those are the top 5 best AP top laners in season 12!