I sometimes like to believe that Riot, when designing the Top Lane role, wanted to fit as many Lane Bullies into it as possible. It is a Lane where you will be at odds with the opponent, one versus one in a bloody duel to the death. You will only look at each other – who has the better farm, score, build, etc. You likely won’t give a damn about the other Lanes or what goes on around the map, save for a few of your jungler’s endeavors.
To get an edge over the opponent right of the bat in the Champion Select screen, you’re likely going to look for the strongest, most overpowered Champion in the Lane. This is where Lane Bullies come in – a sub-class of Champions that can annoy their enemies to the point of utter disgrace. These wild characters strive to destroy opponents within the Lane, isolating them from gold and items and keeping them underleveled and dominated throughout the Laning phase.
In this list, we will go over the best of the best in this regard. Keep in mind that many of these Champions can be played in just about any role/Lane, so the selection is based mostly on my own experience as a Top Lane Main.
So, without further boredom with introductory ramblings, let us dive into our list of 7 Best Top Lane Bullies in League of Legends.
Gnar would be placed a bit higher on this list if it weren’t for his acute gameplay difficulty. He isn’t a hard Champion to play, don’t get me wrong, he has certain issues with the timing of his Mega Gnar form, which can, at times, be very detrimental. I’d even go as far as to say that his Mega Gnar form is the worse one, especially when it comes to the Laning Phase. It slows him down, turns him into a melee, and rids him of his otherwise brutal passive ability.
Thankfully it doesn’t last too long, and it has some of its goodies like CC and increased base damage. Gnar can maintain his small form for most of the Laning Phase and pummel melee Champions like there was no tomorrow. His Q, the annoying and eye-poking boomerang, has a massive range that allows Gnar to poke the enemy from a distance safely.
His W is similar to Vayne’s W, meaning that he stacks it up to three times when it pops and deals massive magic damage. Gnar’s default range is brutal to deal with, and he is the natural counter for most of the melee Champions that you’ll encounter on this list.
Though he has all it takes, when he turns melee, all of the Champions he counters can easily counter him back and even kill him without too much effort, especially in the pre-6 period. When playing Gnar as a Lane Bully, manage your Mega Gnar timing as well as you can. While within the Mega Gnar form, keep your distance if you don’t have your Ultimate, which will tremendously increase your power against the enemy Laner, and even in 1v2 situations if a gank happens to roll in.
Grasp of the Undying is a good rune to take as the extra damage, though decreased when ranged, can be very annoying and will chunk your enemy’s health bar solidly when paired with your W.
Also read: Hardest Junglers in League of Legends
Conventionally an ADC, Vayne is one of the best ranged Top Laners in League of Legends, and I’ve even accredited her in a list of the same name, so make sure you read that one. The range itself gives her an edge over the mostly melee roster of Top Laners that often come from the Juggernaut/Bruiser class. As her strongest ability dealing damage based on max HP, you can already figure out how brutal Vayne can be when faced with immobile Tanks on the Top Lane.
Playing Vayne early on is fairly straightforward. You will mostly be doing the usual ADC stuff – farming, safely positioning, and poking from a distance. As Vayne has a solid range, you can even zone the enemy out of gold and XP, preventing them from progressing through the game naturally and hastening your snowballing process.
And Vayne snowballs hard. By the time you reach the closing parts of the mid-game and hit the early late game, you’ll find yourself dealing impressive damage quickly and efficiently to any enemy Champion. Tanks are your special target, and you should savor those moments as it can be satisfying to see HP chunks disappearing in True Damage glory.
Vayne’s kit also sports a lot of tools to use to create and close gaps. Her Q is a roll that, though short, can be vital at helping you escape/run down an opponent. It doesn’t go on cooldown before the bonus attack is used, so it can also be a great tool for kiting enemies. Her E pushes enemies away, and if they happen to hit a wall/structure, they’ll get stunned for a solid duration. Her Ultimate boosts her attacks and makes her invisible with her Q, and I don’t have to explain how powerful that can be.
With relatively low cooldowns, excellent base and bonus attack damage, and borderline insane True Damage, Vayne is one of the strongest Bullies and Champions overall in the game, especially in the Top Lane role.
Quinn, despite being a marksman, has never really embraced the ADC role. She did have a brief period of bottom Lane experience, but people quickly realized her potential in the Top Lane, and she’s remained there since. Quinn has a powerful and ranged kit that can pulverize opponents that, as I’ve said above, are usually melee and immobile.
Her kit revolves around speed and mobility, making her the literal antithesis of meathead Champions types. Her range and bonus damage from her passive are lethal and can chunk health bars during the early to mid-game. She can also blind her enemies, dash into them and use her passive to fly over huge distances in split seconds.
The movement speed she can garner with her passive is among the highest in the game, rivaled only by Rammus and rarely anyone else. This means her Base-to-Lane travel takes no time, and even if you do kill her, setting her back is a difficult thing to do.
Her early game is straightforward and similar to Vayne. But she can focus a lot more on the zoning part than Vayne can, which netted her the higher spot on the list. I can’t count how often Quinn zoned me to the point where I couldn’t get a single item until mid-game came. If you’re playing against her, you’ll mostly rely on the passive income that the game gives you.
Getting any actual farm will be difficult, as her all-in potential is big enough to eviscerate you as soon as she gets half an item. Ganks are necessary to help you remain in the game, and if she has a good jungler herself, I’m afraid you’re stuck with her for the duration of the Laning Phase.
Quinn is easy and fun to play with but very dreadful and annoying to play against. I recommend this Champion the most out of the marksmen I’ve gone over here, as she truly is a Top Laner like no other within that Champion class.
Also read: What Does Yasuo’s “Hasagi” Mean?
Moving on from ranged Bullies who get most of their potential just from being ranged, we have Jax. Jax is a Bruiser that can counter just about anyone in the game. A few examples can go face-to-face with him, and it is not a guarantee that they will succeed. With that overqualified praise, you might wonder – Well, why is he only number 4? Let me tell you.
Jax can take a while to get to his full potential. He is simple, basic, has no skillshots, etc. This means that he can usually be ganked into oblivion, despite having good countermeasures and escape ability. If you manage to pressure Jax for long enough, isolate him from XP and gold, you will render him obsolete until the very late parts of the game.
This liability that Jax holds is something that made me put him below the top 3. Jax is, next to Gangplank, my favorite Champion in the entire game, so I am not going to use my bias and ignore the facts that he can be prevented from snowballing.
Until level 6 he will mostly be focused on farming and low-end skirmishes that utilize his E. After he hits level 6 he becomes the real Lane Bully. Jax can hit a minion twice, jump on the enemy Champion with his Q and use his W to apply his Ultimate’s third-attack passive. Rinse and repeat until the enemy is dead. You can throw in your E in there as well if you sense that you can kill your opponent. Simple, fast, and efficient, Jax doesn’t need too much text to be understood. Play him. You won’t regret it.
Renekton is the only one with a very weak late game out of all the Champions on this list. And he’s still number 3. You can, therefore, understand how strong he is within the Lane itself and is literally tailored around the idea of torturing his opponent.
Due to his simplicity and weakness, I will refrain from explaining the measures preventing Renekton from snowballing, as he honestly has no snowball potential.
In the Lane, Renekton can be a menace and can render you defenseless. He has a lot of sustain that stems from his Q, and his CC is borderline mad if used properly. Renekton’s passive fills up as you attack and use spells. At 50 points filled, the passive amplifies Renekton’s next ability used. At level 3 he will have all 3 of his spells unlocked, and the one that he will emphasize is the W, the source of his CC. This spell is already strong on its own, but when buffed, it can slice and dice you into pieces while holding you stunlocked.
The order of business with his kit is E through minions to have a reset ready. Then, W-Q and E out. Having no mana, Renekton can repeat this combination of spells endlessly, and if he manages to catch you with the buffed version, you’re certainly dead in the early to mid-Laning Phase. If the sports Ignite, it will make facing him even more dreadful, and his Ultimate only makes him stronger.
It’s the same as the Nasus one, meaning that he grows large and has a lot more HP. It also slowly fills up his passive bar, giving him even more opportunities to use his buffed spells on you.
Surviving the Laning Phase against Renekton is everything, and you’ll easily defeat him once you reach the later points in the game. Use your jungler to help you isolate him further early on, so you can reach your potential faster.
I know I said we were moving on from ranged Champions, and we are, kind of. Jayce gets the best of both worlds. Think of him as Gnar but better in every way imaginable. Both of his forms are insanely powerful and can be switched on a whim, fitting every situation Jayce finds himself in. He can shoot from a distance and do a lot of damage safely, or all in an opponent and use all of his hammerings might to one-shot enemies like a true Assassin.
This duality of Assassin and Marksman is what makes Jayce a unique Champion in League of Legends. He has a solid Laning Phase that can keep him safe from any harm, the only downside being his relatively bullshit Mana cost, but even that can be mitigated as the game progresses.
I’ve already spoken in detail about Jayce in our aforementioned Best Ranged Top Laners list and crowned him King within it. Everything about him is good, and you will find yourself dealing with all sorts of enemies without too many issues in the Lane.
His snowball is also fairly good, though not the best. He can fall off during the very long games as everyone in the game picks up a full build, but he doesn’t get rendered obsolete like some other Champions in the game. He’s not that easy to play either, so you should take your time with him and try him out in normal before venturing into ranked matches.
Darius is the Lane Bully on the Top Lane and has been ever since the Juggernaut update was introduced. The sheer amount of damage this Champion can dish out, both instantly and over time, is astonishing. Every time you play him, you’ll see the /all chat (RIP) screaming “unbalanced” as you brutally slaughter them. Though not an executioner by trade, the Noxian Guillotine surely is a tool of executing people in bloody fashion.
During the Laning Phase, Darius can be matched by a small handful of Champions that are usually ranged – such as Teemo, who is his biggest rival. But even then, Darius is hard to counter, and one single mistake can make you go face to face with him, and trust me, that’s not a good time. He has sustain, armor penetration, a pull, one of the strongest over time passives in the game, etc.
Landing all of his attacks is not even necessary. He needs enough to make you bleed. And bleed you will, as the passive stacks up super fast, especially if he does manage to land everything he intended.
If the stacks hit 5, you’ll gush out HP, and blood will flow, and if he is at level 6, well, you know what comes next. His Ultimate does more damage the more stacks of passive he has on you, and at 5 it will rend through you, likely executing you on the spot. He can apply so much pressure and zone out players out of all their XP and gold that, honestly, it becomes ridiculous.
He is also one of the better 1v2 Champions in the Top Lane, making ganks not as efficient as they might be against other Champions. At any rate, he isn’t invincible, but he is so strong, especially in lower elo brackets, that he will be one of the best tools for climbing you can lay your hands on.
The Top Lane has a lot of different Champions to choose from, and the Lane Bullies are perhaps the largest of the bunch. Pick and choose from them; they are plentiful. Find one that suits you as the opponent will likely do so too, so don’t disadvantage yourself purposely.
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