Ah, the humble top lane. Not a position in competitive play that’s the main focus of discussion, but an important role that many talented players have gone above and beyond with. Here, we rank the West’s top 10 top laners from the LCS and LEC combined.
1. Andrei "Odoamne" Pascu — Rogue
2. Martin "Wunder" Nordahl Hansen — G2 Esports
3. Barney "Alphari" Morris — Team Liquid
With a stellar performance in the Spring Split, top lane veteran Odoamne finds himself at the top. Though not the flashiest player, his reliability, macro knowledge, and leadership helped Rogue reach near the top of the LEC. He always was strong in lane and could navigate fights extremely well. His decision-making, both for the team and himself, was fantastic. He not only guided his team through multiple rough mid-late game encounters but posted a jaw-dropping 7.2 KDA — twice that of the next highest top laner in Europe.
Although he has all the talent and rapport to be regarded as the best top laner in the West, it’s difficult to imagine Wunder giving his all in the regular season. The closest thing LEC has to Shaquille O’Neal, Wunder consistently sleepwalks until playoffs. It’s hard to imagine him refraining from doing this again, but perhaps the competition heating up around him will offer more of an incentive to give his 100%, but until we see that, though, Odoamne stands above him.
It’s an awkward discussion, but we need to talk about it: Alphari is still one of the best top laners in the West. He led a large swath of the statistical categories for LCS top laners, and his aggressive and involved playstyle heavily contributed to Team Liquid’s success in Spring, making his benching all the odder. Whether this situation will be resolved and Alphari will play again is unknown, but his skill and value as a top laner are undeniable.
4. İrfan Berk "Armut" Tükek — MAD Lions
5. Sergen "Broken Blade" Çelik — Schalke 04
6. Ibrahim "Fudge" Allami — Cloud9
Armut can’t seem to hold it down in lane, and that’s okay. His impressive teamfighting and positive dynamics contribute more than enough to MAD Lions. Many of the top laners in the LEC will continue to give him trouble but be assured that Armut will find a way to inch back and be a powerful presence later in the game. Though he’s not someone brimming with untapped potential just waiting for their breakout split, his floor is incredibly high and is almost guaranteed to be a powerful force.
Although Schalke 04’s performance in the Spring wasn’t the poetic upset fans were looking for, Broken Blade was definitely one of the bright spots of the team. He was never afraid to attempt to make bold plays when it mattered and showed tremendous versatility — tying with Wunder for the most champions used by a western top laner at 12. If there’s an underdog in LEC in Europe, it’s Schalke 04, and Broken Blade will be a huge part of that.
Fudge is in an odd situation. The sophomore has shown enough solid play to where he’s easily one of the best North American top laners. With his first full LCS split and international tournament behind him, he was slated to be even better this time around but he's on a team that's been volatile in terms of roster and coaching staff changes.
7. Janik "Jenax" Bartels — SK Gaming
8. Kim "Ssumday" Chan-ho — 100 Thieves
There are a lot of hypotheticals regarding Jenax’s potential, but he seems primed for a strong showing this split. Already he was a vital contributor to SK’s mid-split run during Spring. Now, with the gifted Treatz in a far better position to carry playing jungle, Jenax could have a lot more tools to make his case as a top lane talent.
There was reason to worry that Ssumday might’ve lost all of his skill due to his residency changing to North America, but so far the Korean top laner has been having a great year. Strong experience and consistency make him nip-and-tuck with Impact — the difference is the position they're in. Ssumday already had a better lineup in spring and updated with a better coaching staff (Reapered) and stronger mid laner (Abbedagge) for summer.
9. Jeong "Impact" Eon-young — Evil Geniuses
10. Adam "Adam" Maanane — Fnatic
It’s hard to remember the last time Impact wasn’t thrown in the mix of the best top laners in the West. Though he was voted 2nd LCS All-Pro Team last split, several factors hold Impact back from being ranked higher. A number of North American top laners showed more promise at the Mid-Season Showdown and the first few games of the Summer Split; EG still looks like a mess; and from what we’ve seen of his play recently, the Impact of old appears to be slowly fading away and his almost-a-decade-long career may start wearing on him.
It may seem bananas to give the 10thy spot to a player that has played just a handful of LEC games. It kinda is. However, if you’ve seen Adam in action, you’d understand. Fnatic’s rookie (ex-KCorp) is an exceptional top laner. He has the fearlessness, the versatility, and the raw talent to push out other, more seasoned top laners out of the top 10. Like any rookie, the transition to LEC won’t be seamless, but he has his jungler and former top laner Bwipo to help guide him through the growing pains. Brimming with potential, Adam has shown so much we haven’t ever seen from his experienced counterparts.
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