Gone are the days where top lane was an isolated island where tanky champions (urgh, and Lulu) farmed up until a teleport was needed in another lane to secure a fight or an objective. Quickly dubbed as ‘wet noodle fights’, the snooze-fest duels between unstoppable forces and immoveable objects have fortunately passed through the competitive League of Legends meta, unlocking the potential for the scene’s most talented top laners to crush their opponents with high-damage picks.
Season 6 has been the season of the top laner, with an increasing amount of priority being placed on the carry role. Where Riot destroyed the top lane competition for the 2015 World Championship with a questionable juggernaut patch – this season’s tournament will provide a platform for the best top laners in the world to crush their opponent in a fair fight.
Above all the rest, these five players are the top lane carries to look out for crushing their opponents at the 2016 World Championship:
5. H2K Odoamne
There are certainly other top laners on show at Worlds 2016 who are more mechanically gifted, have better map awareness and tactical nouse - but H2K's Odoamne above most other top lane talents, has no fear in taking risks.
With laneswaps eliminated and tanky champions not being the #1 priority, Odoamne has an ideal opportunity to destroy his rivals with his rugged, bruiser style. With Jayce and Fiora both being viable picks, Odo may be H2K Gaming's passage to the knock-out stages.
4. SSG Cuvee
Samsung Galaxy are the weakest Korean team heading to North America, but can still stake their claim to the fearsome legacy of Samsung White, with one world title sealed in the brand's trophy case. Whilst Cuvee is no Looper, he is still one of the most reliable and consistent top laners at the tournament.
Expect him to be pivotal in Samsung's winning performances - Cuvee brings a unique champion pool of pocket picks, constantly improving and innovating new champions into the meta such as the reemergence of Kennen top.
3. C9 Impact
Former World Champion with SKT, Impact clearly demonstrated the devastation he's capable of during the NA LCS Gauntlet - outclassing every top laner he faced. Cloud9 may not have the strongest roster, but if he is able to dominate the top lane single handedly, the enemy pressure he draws to his lane essentially frees the rest of his team to secure objectives elsewhere.
Impact has proven his ability to adapt to every meta, making it near impossible to suppress his carry potential: "Top die".
2. SKT Duke
It must be easy to look good when your mid laner is Faker and your bot lane is Wolf/Bang - but Duke doesn't simply gel into the SKT lineup however, rather he rivals his teammates for the limelight.
With a wide variety of champions in his arsenal, Duke can take leads alone without any influence from the other four members of the all-star roster.
Duke's superb mechanics and map awareness make him an integral member of the SKT lineup and one of the top laners most likely to crush lane during Worlds 2016.
1. ROX Smeb
Smeb is probably the most complete player in the world - making Faker look relatively weak in comparison to the Rox Tigers star's overall game awareness and understanding.
Smeb has the ability to take leads, 1v1 1v2 or 2v2... it really doesn't matter. Smeb knows his limits, he knows where and when to go in for the kill - he knows how to lead his team to victory.
If ROX Tigers can live up to the hype, Smeb may finally claim the long-contested title as the world's best player in competitive League of Legends.