What Top Lane Champion Should You Main In Season 12?

What Top Lane Champion Should You Main In Season 12?

Top Lane has been adjusted a lot in recent months. From the Teleport changes to the Durability Patch, a lot has changed in terms of champion strength. In this situation, players might find themselves wondering what champion to main. If we had to name one champion that could be picked up by anyone and performs well in a lot of matchups, then the best answer would probably be Gwen.

Gwen is a fighter champion that excels at 1v1s and sidelaning. She is one of the best top laners in Season 12 because she can perform well enough in most lane matchups to scale into a late game monster. Gwen’s true damage combined with the healing she gets allows her to shred any target while mitigating a lot of damage with her W.

Gwen’s strength comes from the raw damage that comes from her passive. It applies on her auto attacks, her Q, and her R and can deal with tanky targets with ease. Let us take a look at her abilities and how to utilize them in the early, mid, and late game.

Passive – Thousand Cuts

Gwen deals 1% (+ 0.8% per 100 AP) of the target’s maximum health magic damage to any target that gets hit by her auto attack (on-hit), her R, and the center of her Q.

Gwen also heals for 50% of the post-mitigation damage she deals to a champion using this. This ability is what makes her such a strong dueling champion outside of the lane. It allows her to melt through tanks given enough time to land her abilities. The passive healing combined with Conqueror and Riftmaker allows her to out-sustain her opponent in an all-in fight.

Q – Snip Snip!

Cooldown – 6.5 / 5.75 / 5 / 4.25 / 3.5 seconds

Gwen’s auto attacks provide her a stack for 6 seconds, for a total of 4 stacks. Whenever Gwen presses Q, she snips twice in the target direction, dealing magic damage to any target present in the target area. The final snip deals additional damage. The center of each snip deals 75% true damage and applies her passive to the target. Each stack allows her to snip an additional time.

Outside of her auto attacks, this is Gwen’s primary source of damage. It executes minions below 20% HP and applies multiple instances of her passive. This ability allows her to gain 4 stacks by auto attacking minions and then using it to deal small bursts with her Q, letting her win short trades. This is an area ability and therefore can strike multiple targets. In teamfights, this becomes a great tool for finishing low HP targets.

W – Hallowed Mist

Cooldown – 22 / 21 / 20 / 19 / 18 seconds

Pressing W casts an area of mist around Gwen. When inside the mist, she gains bonus Armor and bonus Magic Resistance that scale with her AP. She becomes untargetable to all enemies present outside the mist. Gwen can either recast the mist to move it to her current position or simply move out of it once to reposition it. Gwen will still get hit by, and take damage from tower shots from outside the mist.

As you might have guessed already, this is the ability that makes Gwen so tanky. It allows her to face tank any damage or CC from a target outside the mist. This makes her immune to threatening CC like Blitzcrank hook, as she can not be pulled from outside the mist. This ability also allows her to counter damage from ranged champions.

If a champion manages to get inside the mist, they have to deal with a Gwen in melee range with a lot of bonus Armor and bonus Magic Resistance. This makes Gwen a really obnoxious champion to deal with if you can’t shut her down in melee range.

E – Skip ‘n Slash

Cooldown – 13 / 12.5 / 12 / 11.5 / 11 seconds

Gwen dashes a small distance in the target direction. E provides her increased on-hit magic damage, increased attack range, and increased attack speed. If Gwen auto attacks a target before Skip ‘n Slash expires, its cooldown is reduced. It also resets her auto attack timer.

While this ability sounds extremely simple at first look, it has a massive impact on how Gwen plays. This is the ability that provides Gwen mobility, allowing her to close the gap or escape by jumping over walls. It also gives her attack speed and attack range, letting her stack her Q very quickly. Finally, this ability can be combined with the rest of her abilities.

Gwen can stack her Q on the minions and then Q+E or E+Q towards her target for a quick chunk of damage. This is a very potent ability and allows her to keep up with her target. The cooldown reduction offered by the first auto attack makes it a very strong early game trading tool.

R – Needlework

Cooldown – 120 / 100 / 80 seconds

Gwen launches a needle in the target direction. This needle deals magic damage and slows any target it hits. Gwen can recast this ability twice, each time adding 2 more needles to the previous number, for a total of 3 and 5 needles on the second and third cast respectively.

These needles not only deal a massive amount of damage by themselves, but they also apply her passive to the target for each needle that connects. In addition, each subsequent needle beyond the first applies the slow again, albeit reduced. This ability is a very potent all-in tool and can be used to shred any champion’s HP bar in a few seconds.


  • Conqueror
  • Presence of Mind
  • Legend: Alacrity/Tenacity
  • Last Stand
  • Second Wind
  • Unflinching



  • Riftmaker
  • Nashor’s Tooth
  • Cosmic Drive
  • Rabadon’s Deathcap
  • Zhonya’s Hourglass
  • Void Staff

You can buy boots according to your needs. Plated Steelcaps, Mercury’s Treads, and Ionian Boots of Lucidity are preferred options in most games. Boots of Sorcery and Boots of Swiftness are situationally viable.

Summoner Spells


Teleport is a pretty standard summoner spell for top laners. It allows you to catch waves if you get dove under your turret or if you have to take a poor recall in a weakside situation. Teleport eventually lets you sidelane without worrying about your team as you can always join them when it is up.


Ignite is the most popular secondary spell for Gwen as it offers a lot of kill potential in the early game. Gwen can use her E to gap close so she can afford to take Ignite for the extra kill pressure.


Ghost is a very strong spell for champions that need the extra sticking power. Gwen will stat check most champions as long as she can keep up with them. Ghost extends upon takedowns so it can be very useful in teamfights.

Early Game

While Gwen is not an early game monster, she can trade back fairly well in even matchups. This is because her E+Q combo allows her to deal a small burst of damage and then walk away before getting punished. Make sure you only look for trades when your Q is fully stacked. This will let you get the most damage out so that you can win the trade even if you take damage in return.

Level 1 trading should be avoided in losing matchups. Level 2 unlocks your E+Q combo, allowing you to trade favorably with your lane opponent. At level 6, Gwen unlocks a massive power spike. Her ultimate is designed to win 1v1s, and it is an extremely potent tool to gain solo kills in the lane.

Your W is a very strong tool and should be used sparingly because of its long cooldown in the early game. This ability can be the deciding factor between life and death depending on how it is used. Use it to survive ganks, or deny damage from hard-hitting abilities.

Mid Game

As you approach the mid game, you will have put the maximum number of points in Q. This is your biggest weapon as it will allow you to win a lot of 1v1s at this point in the game. Gwen also unlocks another point in her ultimate at Level 11, which turns it into a much more potent burst tool.

In order to take advantage of this strength, you will most likely stick to the sidelanes. Collect minions and set up a slowpush whenever possible. You should be able to win against most champions that show up to defend against you in the sidelane, but never take a fight you can’t win (because of numbers advantage on the opponent’s side). Make sure you still play around your Q stacks and save your W for when you need it the most.

Late Game

This part of the game can be easy or hard depending on the enemy’s team composition. You will be sidelaning less at this point as you will be approaching a full item build. Death timers are also huge at this point so you can’t afford to get caught. Stick with your team as they try to take vision and secure objectives, so you are always prepared when a fight breaks out.

This is the point when teamfights matter the most, so using your abilities to their maximum potential will give you the maximum value. As always, save your W for important abilities. This can be the deciding factor between a dead and alive Gwen. Gwen scales reasonably well, so at this point your damage should prove very lethal for the enemy team.

Late Game

Hit whoever you can in the teamfight. Having Ghost helps a lot at this point. Having 3 points in your R will allow you to burst any target if you can close the game. The value increases even more if the enemies are clumped. You are not a tank so position carefully and use your E and W wisely.


  • Tryndamere
  • Akali
  • Kayle
  • Jax
  • Riven


Gwen is a very powerful champion right now. She performs well in most matchups and can always scale into a monster given enough time and resources. She does not require hard mechanical performance to play, and her skill floor is fairly low. Gwen is a great champion to pick in Season 12, and her kit will also remain viable in the upcoming seasons.

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