With the LEC kicking off its 2021 split and the LCS going into the final stages of its new Lock In preseason tournament, fans and analysts alike have been nailing down their rankings and ratings as the season gets underway.
With that comes role rankings, and the most impactful role for this early meta seems to be the top laner. The champion pool for the role this year is very diverse and offers a wide range of styles and tactics. So along with the theme of early rankings and ratings, who are the best top laners in the LEC and LCS?
The pinnacle of performance is what fans and analysts expect from these types of top laners. These players are able to work well with their team on a variety of champions, or be put on an island and perform well without assistance.
Players in the LEC that are considered the best in their role are mainly veterans like Andrei “Odoamne” Pascu and Martin “Wunder” Nordahl. Also in the conversation is Fnatic’s Gabriël “Bwipo” Rau, who is not as tenured as his peers but has the versatility and the accolades to belong in this tier.
In the LCS, players like Jeong “Impact” Eon-young and Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho have been performing at this level for years and have recently put in some strong carry performances that have boosted them even further. Barney “Alphari” Morris also qualifies because of his recent performances but also because of his statistical prowess in lane last season on a last place team.
This tier is saved for the players that are at the top of their role, but have not shown the level of dominance that the players above have. Top laners here may have been to international tournaments, or have won entire games for their teams, but have not reached the heights others have.
Of the established top laners in each league, Eric “Licorice” Ritchie and Finn “Finn” Wiestål sit snugly in this box from their recent performances. Then, there are the young players that have a lot of promise and are starting their careers in this tier. These are players like Felix “Kryze” Hellström, Shin “HiRit” Tae-min and Ibrahim “Fudge” Allami.
Top laners who are near to this level of skill are still some of the top players in their role, but may not have as high a ceiling as others, but are serviceable and have shown decent form recently.
Many of the players in this ranking are rookies or players new to the league. Players like Aiden “Niles” Tidwell, Aaron “FakeGod” Lee and Mathias “Szygenda” Jensen fit this mold perfectly. Other more established professional players like İrfan Berk “Armut” Tükek and Janik “Jenax” Bartels who have a year or two on some of the aforementioned rookies also fall into this slot as well.
The final tier of top lane rankings is the least populated, mostly because the role is seemingly stacked with players who are at worst, serviceable to their teams. This tier is for players who do not have the same level of consistency as any of the other players in their league, and may be a liability in their role at certain times.
Two names that stand out in this rating are Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon and Mohamed “Revenge” Kaddoura. Both are considered 50/50 players that can either win you the game or potentially lose it, albeit with Huni being the more tenured and lauded player, and both are looking to rebound in the 2021 LCS. The final top laner in this tier is Matti “WhiteKnight” Sormunen. The Finnish pro has been in the scene for a long time, in many different roles, but top lane is not his strongest and he has struggled in his first appearance with Astralis.