In the world of professional League of Legends, there are some players who can be considered as truly elite. These players have consistently performed at the highest level possible and achieved amazing results both domestically and internationally. Out of all these exceptional players, only a select few can be called the best top laners in history. In this article, we will take a look at 10 of these top laners and discuss why they are so good.
One of the most beloved top laners in all of LoL, even though he wasn’t considered one of the best players to ever play at his position. He was always praised for being an integral part of TSM’s success throughout their era of dominance, but it is important to note that only three members have been able to win a world championship while playing for TSM.
However, if one were to argue that Dyrus deserved to be on the world championship team in 2013 or 2015 it wouldn’t come as much surprise. Despite being low-key during his prime years, once upon a time Dyrus was considered one of North America’s finest top laners.
Nuguri is the team’s top laner, who assisted Damwon Gaming in winning the Worlds 2020 Championship. Because of their raw skill and coordination, many people believed that the 2020 Damwinning Gaming lineup was indestructible. Despite being a superteam, Nuguri distinguished himself as the member who could find unlikely flanks and simply turn teamfights from awful to amazing.
After joining FunPlus Phoenix, Nuguri was able to quickly show the world that he wasn’t simply riding on a superteam, as he was swiftly transitioned from a facilitative top laner to one with more carry possibilities.
He mostly played tanks, enchanters, and some hard-engage champions like Kennen in Damwon Gaming, although he had more freedom to play hard-carry champions like Irelia in FPX, where there were no longer any doubts that he was the finest top laner in his own right.
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Flame is another player who will always be remembered for his carry-oriented top lane playstyle. Unlike Dyrus, Flame had the unfortunate luck of competing at a time when Faker reigned supreme which meant could rarely showcase his full potential despite having an incredibly dominant laning phase.
Despite that, he was still able to find the motivation to make the most of his situation by becoming CJ Entus Blaze’s primary damage dealer as well as their main shot caller.
Flame will be remembered as one of the best top laners of all time for his ability to singlehandedly carry games with little jungle or support interference and is certainly one player who deserves more international success than what he achieved in his career.
Expession has always been a criminally underrated top lane talent and often times overshadowed by his teammates on Najin White Shield and NaJin Black Sword despite being just as good if not better than both MaRin and Duke. During SSW’s 2014 Worlds Final match against Star Horn Royal Club, Expession ended up winning the MVP of the series due to his monstrous play throughout.
Najin White Shield is an organization that has produced some of Korea’s finest talents but it isn’t often that their top laners are mentioned when people talk about them. This will most likely be attributed to their lack of international success as well as poorly performing bottom lanes, but Expession deserves recognition for being one of Korea’s best top lane players during his prime years.
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Smeb is currently one of the best top laners in Korea and even the entire world, but looking back it can’t be stressed enough how much potential Smeb had as a pro player. When KOO Tigers first started they were known for their poor play and lackadaisical attitudes, but thanks to Smeb’s leadership and uncanny decision-making abilities he was able to bring his team out of mediocrity into one of Korea’s finest teams at their respective positions.
It is incredibly ironic that Smeb ended up holding this achievement considering he used to be known as an extremely passive and uninspiring top laner during his ROX Tigers days, but now we know why his team trusted him as their main shot caller during their 2015 World Championship run.
Duke is one of the more memorable top lane players to have emerged from Korea during his prime due to a combination of impressive mechanics and exceptional teamfighting abilities.
During his prime years on Najin Black Sword he was considered one of the best 1v1 laners in Korea along with being able to take over entire games as well as being hailed as OGN’s first true split push king for his ability to singlehandedly turn games around with heavy split pushing.
In many ways, it can be argued that Duke had no true rival during his prime which makes him even more impressive considering how dominant he truly was from 2013-2015.
The hype surrounding Huni when he first joined Fnatic in 2015 was through the roof considering just how dominant he was in his previous region. Fnatic at the time were seen as one of Europe’s best teams and they didn’t disappoint when it came to Worlds that year but unfortunately the strength of their top laner wasn’t able to match up to Korea’s mighty carries.
Despite Fnatic finishing last place in their group, Huni still made a name for himself with exceptional carry performances on Gnar and Rumble despite his team underperforming around him which ended up propelling him into stardom in both NA and EU.
Many players have had trouble transitioning from one region to another due to cultural differences, language barriers, etc., but Huni seamlessly adapted to his new home and went from being a dependable carry to an unstoppable one no matter the champion he played.
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Impact might be one of the more underrated top laners to have ever played considering how he has been underwhelming in both NA and China during his career, but the fact remains that Impact was always one of Korea’s best top laners during his prime.
Impact has been one of the most important import players in North America for a long time, and he has always been able to make it to the global stage. Because he was able to easily execute solo kills in the lane, he became known as “Top Die” during his stay in the region.
Impact is no longer as aggressive as he was eight years ago, yet he has enough of a presence to keep up with the pack on the weak side of the top lane. It’s almost hard to get a kill on Impact without losing someone else in return.
Whether it was due to poor support staff, terrible rosters, etc., Impact has somehow always ended up struggling during international competitions no matter what region he competes in, but there is no doubt that Impact was one of Korea’s best top laners.
Wunder is recognized as a League of Legends prodigy due to his exceptionally high skill level and success in comparison to the amount of time he spends playing the game. Wunder’s accolades include four LEC Championship Titles, Mid-Season Invitational Champion, World Championship Finalist, and four 1st All-Pro Team nominations.
Wunder isn’t particularly remarkable when it comes to teamwork. This player has time and again outperformed new waves of top laners in the EU, even establishing himself as the king of the top lane.
When left alone, Wunder becomes a major threat and is capable of forcing any opponent back to their tower. Despite playing most of his time in World of Warcraft, he’s been able to retain his position as the best top laner in Europe.
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MaRin was an absolute monster during his prime years with SKT T1 in 2015, but we all know how disappointing he turned out to be when he moved on to China’s LPL region. Despite underperforming during his tenure in China, there is no doubt that MaRin was once one of the best top laners in League of Legends history behind Faker and Smeb which makes him stand out from the rest of this list.
With both MaRin and Impact being such powerful forces back in their prime years it’s hard to argue with them being on par with one another, but due to MaRin’s success in the international stage combined with Impact’s inconsistency during his prime years, it is hard to argue against him being a better top laner than Impact.
Although some of these top laners may no longer be at the top of their game, they all have had a significant impact on League of Legends as we know it today. The skills and experience that these players have accumulated over the years have helped shape the competitive landscape for future top lane players. Who knows, maybe one of these 10 players will make a return to compete in this year’s World Championship? Only time will tell.
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