Half of the League of Legends players in the world would swear that top lane is the easiest role you can go for.

But the other half knows how difficult it is to succeed in the melee versus melee environment, especially on a champion that isn’t S-tier.

And it’s true, on every patch there are only a handful of top laners that make your job a bit easier. The rest require lots of knowledge as well as mastery.

Yet, there are also those champions that offer no particular strengths in the top lane, that either lack enough damage or defensiveness, and that are not really rewarding although they may be fun.

And so, if your goal is to smurf the ranked ladder in League of Legends, you definitely want to avoid certain champions, most of which shouldn’t even be in the top lane.

These are those champions.

1. Akali, ~45% Win Rate


Everybody will agree that Akali’s best role is mid lane, not top lane. And there’s a clear reason for that.

Akali is a squishy assassin, a champion that often gets bullied in lane.

Against ranged mages in the mid lane, she’s able to survive until level 6. But against most top laners, she struggles to farm a frequently ends up pushed under her turret.

In the top lane, Akali struggles to put her strengths to work.

For starters, her damage is not enough to assassinate the tanks and bruisers prevalent there, so she often depends on her jungler to help her and win the lane for her.

On the other hand, because Akali is an assassin champion, she usually leaves her team without a tank.

Most players in solo queue expect the top laner to be the frontline of the team. And when you have another squishy champion in that role, teamfights are usually not an option.

There’s a solution for this and it comes in the form of an AD bruiser build for Akali. This is a playstyle that makes Akali a bit tankier by giving her more health and self-healing but it also strips her away from the one-shot playstyle.

So, it’s not an ideal solution.

It’s not impossible to win with Akali top lane. If you happen to crush the opposing player and snowball your early leads, then that’s great. 

However, it’s really difficult to do that in elos higher than Platinum, so be aware of that.

2. Yasuo, ~46% Win Rate


Yasuo is in a similar position with Akali. The champion isn’t necessarily bad and it’s definitely not one of the worst mid laners in the game. However, playing Yasuo top almost always results in a lost lane and a fed enemy.

Let’s analyze things for a second.

The reason why Yasuo counters so many mid lane picks is that he’s a highly mobile champion that can dodge lots of spells and block many more with his Wind Wall.

His damage is extremely high in the late game, so he’s an excellent mid lane hyper-carry.

However, since Yasuo requires mechanical skill and lots of mastery, most players fail to even get to level 6 with him.

This is especially common in the top lane where champions like Darius and Sett could crash Yasuo on level 1 or 2.

Not to mention that they don’t even have skill shots that Yasuo could dodge or block.

And so, winning the early game and snowballing with Yasuo top is extremely difficult. It’s really uncommon to see an exceptional Yasuo player that could crush his enemy and carry from top lane.

And because of that, I’d recommend you to go for easier, beginner-friendly top laners that could do so much more with far less effort.

Read Also: The 6 Worst ADCs

3. Ryze, ~47% Win Rate


Ryze is the third mid lane champion on this list that I suggest you avoid playing in the top lane. He’s also on my list of the worst mid laners in the game, so let me explain to you why you shouldn’t play him in top lane either.

In the past, Ryze was an excellent AP top laner, a champion that was often picked first because people could play him in both mid and top lane.

But that was when Ryze’s scaling was extremely powerful, much more so than most champions at that time.

However, Ryze’s damage isn’t at all impressive in season 13. In fact, he’s one of the champions with the lowest damage numbers at the end of each game, even in high elo. 

This is due to him simply not having high enough ratios. But it’s also because Ryze is a short-range mage that often gets caught before he can even do anything.

In the top lane, Ryze is also prey for the enemy jungler because of his immobility.

Apart from his ultimate which he unlocks at level 6, he doesn’t have any way of escaping a gank. He does have a good movement speed but it doesn’t really help him that much.

All in all, I’d avoid playing Ryze while climbing as a top laner.

4. Udyr, ~47% Win Rate


With Udyr’s rework, many players saw an opportunity for the champion to become a decent top laner. And truthfully, Udyr is far from being one of the worst champions in the game.

However, Udyr struggles to win from the top lane, being a really predictable champion that most top laners can counter.

He doesn’t have anything to surprise the opponent with and everyone (even players in low elo) know how to play against him.

Udyr’s entire kit revolves around auto-attacking and switching between the stances depending on the situation. This makes him an easy champion to play but it also eliminates a lot of the depth that other top laners have.

Take K’Sante, for example. He’s both a tank and an assassin, a champion that can absorb huge amounts of damage while also having lots of damage himself.

He has more than enough mobility too, so he’ll always win against picks like Udyr.

So, be careful about picking Udyr in the top lane, especially against champions like K’Sante.

Read Also: 7 Worst Junglers

5. Sylas, ~48% Win Rate


Sylas has been one of the most influential champions on the global meta of League of Legends for the past several seasons. He’s a very powerful champion, a great carry for solo queue, but a very bad pick for the top lane.

Sylas is an AP bruiser, a category of champions that isn’t a rarity anymore. He’s quite effective at countering mages in the mid lane.

He has usually more mobility than them, more sustain, and can even steal their impactful ultimates.

But in the top lane, Sylas can’t win duels against auto-attacking champions that deal physical damage like Darius or Jax. He still relies on his abilities and under no circumstances he can win against decent top lane players.

Additionally, when you play Sylas top, you essentially face the same problem as with Akali top – you leave your team without a tanky frontline.

This wouldn’t be too big of a problem if you could close games early, but we all know that can’t happen always.

On the other hand, you have to be really careful about picking Sylas for top lane before you see what the enemy has picked.

In solo queue, most players will try to counter-pick Sylas by playing champions that don’t have “good” ultimates such as Fiora and her Grand Challenge.

So, avoid Sylas top as well.

Read Also: 5 Best Ways to Ward as a Top Laner

6. Pantheon, ~48% Win Rate


Pantheon hasn’t been in the most excellent state for a few years now. His win rate hasn’t been great in any role, and he’s certainly one of the worst supports for season 13 as well.

In any case, Pantheon top particularly struggles because his kit is designed more for mid lane.

Although Pantheon auto-attacks, he depends on his abilities for most of his damage. And as soon as he’s paired against someone like Jax, he loses all extended duels.

Much like Yasuo and Akali, Pantheon is far squishier than the average top lane champion, especially the tanks. His build leans more toward AD and armor penetration and way less on health, armor, and magic resist.

It’s not that Pantheon cannot be a successful top lane champion, it just involves a different way of playing the game. 

For example, you want to make use of his ultimate and gank other lanes as soon as you hit level 6.

Other than with Teleport (which is a 6-minute cooldown early on) most top laners can’t follow Pantheon when he ganks. So, do that instead.

Read Also: The 10 Worst League of Legends Champions

7. Volibear, ~49% Win Rate


I’m not sure how Volibear ended up in this situation. This is a champion that’s effective in multiple roles, has many different builds, and has a great ability kit that allows him to do so much…

Yet, it’s a fact Volibear is among the champion with the lowest win rates in the top lane. 

Part of the reason why is that there are so many people that first-try Volibear in lower elos and end up feeding. And another is that Volibear isn’t particularly strong in any area.

In other words, there are tankier champions than Volibear. Just take a look at Mundo or Cho’Gath, for example.

Also, top laners like Sett and Darius will always do more damage than Volibear, even if he’s ahead.

And so, you don’t really need to prioritize Volibear for any matchup. You can have the same effect with another champion that fairs better in many different situations. So, go for those!

Read Also: How to Carry as a Top Laner in League of Legends?


I wouldn’t necessarily say that win rates are the only metric you should look at when trying to find your top lane champion.

However, numbers don’t lie and there are clear reasons why these champions cannot seem to carry games from the top lane.

Personally, I don’t play any of these champions when I’m top.

Those spots are reserved for picks like Malphite, Maokai, and Camille – champions that provide me with utility as well as damage and tankiness. And I recommend them to you as well!

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Last Update: March 2, 2024