Top-lane has always been a volatile position and thus has been one of the most important roles in League of Legends.
This year sports many fresh faces but also many returning veterans who look to re-stake their claim as one of the best top-laners in the world with a solid performance on the biggest stage that League has to offer.
Variables such as region, individual skill and experience will be looked at. Although factors such as recent performance and impact on their team’s success will be favored highly.
10. Ki “Expect” Dae-Han – G2 eSports
— G2 Esports (@G2esports) May 17, 2017
Expect is ironically an unexpected addition to this list but with the likes of Smeb failing to qualify it starts to push a lot of people up. Expect is a beneficiary of this effect, although shouldn’t be slighted as he and G2 have had another great year of play. He plays a similar role of Hauntzer in TSM where he is capable of playing many styles from carries to engaging tanks and has three EU LCS titles under his belt.
9. Paul “sOAZ” Boyer – Fnatic
Another legendary top-laner in his own right, sOAZ has been able to re-emerge as a great pick for Fnatic. Often using veteran wiles and cheeky plays he manages to be a go-button for Fnatic and has shocked many with how high of a level he is still capable of playing at.
8. Barney “Alphari” Morris – Misfits Gaming
This is where it gets a bit tricky, Alphari has shown that he has all the skills needed to be a top-tier player but has absolutely no international experience. This will be a feeling-out process for many as they get to see if Alphari can live up to the hype that surrounds him. What he has done up until this point in EU and in Solo Queue alike are incredibly impressive and if he can translate that to the Worlds stage he will surely be higher on the list next year.
7. Ke “957” Chang-Yu – Team WE
Team WE are one of the oddest teams at this tournament. They nearly play every style imaginable and sport a lineup that reflects that. Both Condi and 957 are some of the most versatile players in the LPL and can often shock enemies with their adaptability from game to game. Expect 957’s performance to have a direct correlation with how the team does as a whole.
6. Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell – TSM
— lolesports (@lolesports) April 25, 2017
The second western player in the list, Hauntzer has had a great year in the NA LCS. Even with the likes of new competition like Flame and Ssumday joining the league, it has only seemed to further Hauntzers progression along. TSM has finally overcame the stigma of just leaving their top to rot – a stigma that has followed them for too long. Hauntzer has found the correct balance of aggression and passive play that has enabled him to become a perfect fit for this team.
5. Seung “Huni” Hoon-Hoo – SKT
'The Great Huni Escape' from Game 3 of the #LCK Finals! #HoloHolo #HuniHoudini
Posted by LOL Esports on Saturday, August 26, 2017
The past year has been a roller-coaster ride for Huni and for SKT alike. In the spring split Huni saw a lot of success and would go on to win MSI alongside his team. In the summer, however, a lot of holes would appear in his game and he would eventually be replaced by Untara. Even with these struggles SKT has decided to take him as the sole top-laner on their roster into the World Championship. This will be Huni’s chance to remove the “inconsistent” narrative that precedes him in many eyes and help lead SKT to their fourth World Championship.
4. Chen “Ziv” Yi – ahq-eSports Club
For years Ziv has been one of the standouts in ahq. Although he receives much less attention with the appearance of players like Karsa and Maple in the league, he still is the best top-laner in all of LMS. He provides a multitude of styles and can adjust to whatever is asked of him. He won’t be as talked about as many of the other players on this list but he surely deserves to be here.
3. Lee “Flame” Ho-Jong – Immortals
Flame has seen a resurgence in his career after coming to NA. His stints in LGD and Longzhu were so-so at best but over the past year he has thrived in the NA LCS. Now given a permanent chance to be a starter and build up synergy with a squad, Flame has started to once again look like a great top-laner. Coming into Worlds he will have his chance to show the entire world that he is still a top-tier player as he will get that chance when he plays against Khan in his group.
2. Lee “CuVee” Seong-jin – Samsung
Unlike many of the other mentions on this list, CuVee is not an attention drawing or flashy player much of the time. He often serves as a bulwark for his team and has been one of the most consistent players in the past split. He favors tanks but can easily pull out Renekton and see success all the same. Another one of the biggest reasons CuVee is ranked so highly is how he facilitates the rest of his team’s success. Him absorbing ganks and playing smart often results in first turret gold for his bot-lane and less pressure on his mid. Heading into a Worlds with many skilled bots and mids the impact he has on his team will be felt across the entire map, not just top.
1. Kim “Khan”” Dong-ha – Longzhu Gaming
— lolesports (@lolesports) August 26, 2017
A year ago, barely anyone had even heard of Khan, now he is one of the best top-laners in the world. He has been a core component to Longzhu’s sudden rise and decimated both SKT’s top-laners during the LCk Summer Finals. His Jayce and Fiora have been feared in Solo Queue for years but now he has cemented himself as a superstar in the professional scene. Khan will look to translate his finals MVP performance into another MVP worthy performance at this year’s World Championship.