It’s tough to stay safe in the top lane in season 12, isn’t it? There are so many champions that deal an insane amount of damage right from the early game. It seems like even a single mistake can set you so far behind that it’s almost impossible to come back. But whenever the meta becomes so punishing, we prefer to play safe champions to counter it. So, who are the safest top lane picks in season 12 of League of Legends?
Well, you got your regular tanks and your ranged champions. Picks such as Darius, Camille, or Aatrox, are not great candidates for this, simply because they’re fighters. You’ll likely be trading with your lane opponent much more on Irelia than you would on Poppy. So, it’s better to go a defensive champion or at least a champion that can farm from a distance if you want to stay safe in the top lane.
Now let’s check the top 5 safest top lane picks in season 12!
Shen is easily the safest top lane pick in the game. He is an extremely defensive champion right from level one, so he doesn’t struggle in the lane at all. And if you’re up against an experienced Shen player, there is nothing you can do to slay him, really.
Let’s analyze Shen for a moment. His passive Ki Barrier is a super useful effect that’s ideal for tanks. It grants Shen a shield every time he uses any of his active abilities. In other words, Shen is shielded pretty much all the time, no matter what.
On the other hand, Shen has his W, Spirit’s Refuge. This ability creates another shield around Shen that blocks all spells and attacks for nearly 2 seconds. It also doesn’t matter whether that’s Urgor’s R or Vayne’s auto-attacks – Spirit’S Refuge will block everything while it lasts!
But the best part about this ability is the fact that it’s an AoE effect too. This means that Shen can not only keep himself safe but also his teammates. Spirit’s Refuge is pretty useful in 2v2 skirmishes with his jungler, so it’s super-valuable too.
Additionally, Shen has his E, Shadow Dash. And Shadow Dash isn’t just a simple movement spell. It also taunts the enemy, making them unable to cast spells in return. Shen can use this ability anytime the enemy jungler comes, or his lane opponent is too aggressive. It almost guarantees the escape.
And lastly, we have Shen’s R, Stand United. You don’t often see Shen players casting this ability to get away from trouble simply because it requires them to stand still for a few seconds. It’s much more helpful for saving teammates around the map. But you can count it as a safety tool for Shen too, since it teleports him away from the top lane.
You never really see Ornn feed that hard in the top lane, right? Well, it’s because it’s really hard to fail on Ornn. He’s got everything he needs to succeed in the role and survive the laning phase with a breeze.
Let’s start with his passive. Ornn’s Living Forge effect makes him one of the most unique champions in League of Legends. He is currently the only pick who can purchase items without having to be in the base.
Once Ornn has enough gold for a certain item, whether that’s a part like Ruby Crystal or a completion like Sunfire Cape, he can simply buy it while in the lane. Of course, he can’t do it while fighting with enemy players, but he can as soon as he is out of combat.
Now, this may not seem like a safe tool but think about it. If you can always be an item up over your lane opponent, you lower your risks significantly. Ornn almost always has more HP, armor, or magic resist than his enemies, so he’s pretty safe when trading with them in the lane.
Additionally, Ornn has his W, Bellows Breath. This is a fantastic ability because it turns Ornn immune to ant crowd control spells. And he can use it to avoid any potential lockdown whenever the enemy jungler comes to gank.
Ornn’s E is a simple dash that launches him in the chosen direction. It’s a handy ability to have, especially against aggressive enemies, because you can use it to disengage at any time.
And finally, Ornn’s R can be used to stop any engagement from the enemy. It’s a knock-up that also applies a slow effect, allowing Ornn to quickly get away.
That’s why Ornn is one of the safest top lane picks in season 12!
Also read: Safest Mid Lane Picks
If you’ve seen even a few professional League of Legends games, then you’ve probably seen that Gnar is a highly contested pick there. This isn’t impacted by the current meta nor the matchup in the lane. Why so?
Well, Gnar is simply the best champion to never die in the top lane. Unlike most of the top laners, he is ranged, and he is pretty tanky. He alternates between two phases, from Mini Gnar to Mega Gnar and from Mega Gnar back to Mini Gnar. This lets him do pretty much everything in the lane while also being super safe.
And so, Gnar can play pretty aggressively while in his Mini Gnar form. He’s safe because the enemy top laner can’t really reach him. Gnar’s boomerang also applies slow, so he can keep any melee top laner away from him.
In Mega form, Gnar is almost unkillable. His HP doubles, and his damage is insane. He can stun people as well, so even if the jungler comes to gank him, it’s unlikely that he’ll succeed.
One of the things that’s really great about Gnar is that he has his jump in both forms. When he is Mini Gnar, he can double jump for double the distance if he lands on top of a target the first time. This is an incredible tool for escaping, especially ganks. For example, jumping on the enemy jungler will launch you at a great distance, allowing you to run away.
In any way, Gnar is a fantastic champion to main. It doesn’t require too much skill, and he’s a safe option against any pick in the top lane!
Garen is another champion that’s incredibly tough to shut down in the top lane. He doesn’t require a genius to understand how his passives work, so he is one of our recommended picks for learning the top lane role.
Alright, the biggest reason why Garen is such a safe pick is his passive, Perseverance. This is a fantastic effect to have if you’re struggling against aggressive opponents. Perseverance regenerates Garen’s lost health whenever he is out of combat.
So, any time the enemy top laner chunks your HP and leaves you vulnerable, you can simply distance yourself until you’re back to full HP. For example, you can stand near your ranged minions and give up on a bit of a farm. In return, you’ll be healthy enough to play safely again.
But that’s not all. Garen’s next great tool is his W, Courage. Many low elo players don’t know exactly how to use this ability, even though it’s really OP. Courage reduces up to 70% of the incoming damage when it’s activated. It lasts for a short duration, only a second, but it’s very effective.
Typically, you should use Courage when the enemy is blowing his strongest cooldowns. This will give you an advantage and keep you healthier than usual.
And lastly, we have Garen’s Q, Decisive Strike. Even though this ability isn’t technically a safety tool, you can use it to disable your enemies. While they’re silent, you can either Flash away or simply outrun them. Use it to stop their damage, and you’ll be pretty safe!
Also read: Safest Support Picks
We mentioned above that ranged champions are typically a safe option in the top lane. But the safest of them is Jayce! He’s got a fantastic ability kit for torturing enemy top laners, so he is definitely worth your time.
What makes Jayce an exceptional pick in the top lane is his versatility. Not only can he farm safely from a distance, but he can also change into melee form and burst the target down. Not too many top laners are willing to trade with Jayce early on, so he always has a safe laning phase.
Jayce doesn’t have any defensive ability. No shield, no heals, and no barriers. However, he’s got a lot of movement speed. Every time he switches his weapon, he also gets a burst of MS that he can use to get away from the enemy. His E in ranged form, Acceleration Gate, also grants movement speed, so he’s never really in trouble.
Additionally, Jayce’s E in melee form, Thundering Blow, knocks enemies back. He can use it to gain distance from his pursuer, so it’s another way to keep himself safe.
But the key here is Jayce’s range. You should definitely take advantage of it and never allow the enemy top laner to reach you unless you’re going for the kill.
And that’s pretty much it. Those are the top 5 safest top lane picks in season 12 of League of Legends!