Riot gives League of Legends’ top lane love in Season 13 overhaul

Aatrox in League of LegendsRiot Games

“Top lane has been languishing” in Riot’s words, so the League of Legends developers are finally sending the role some love in a big Season 13 overhaul. Changes to items, gold, and experience will make the long lane a focal point of Summoner’s Rift.

It’s become a meme in the League of Legends community ⁠— top lane’s place in the meta. Following a number of changes, including the tower defense bonus to stop lane swapping and the more recent Teleport changes, the role has become an island on Summoner’s Rift.

Riot has long promised changes to the role. Item updates have helped diversify the meta for both tanks and fighters, while champion updates try to inspire players to pick up top lane. Neither has really worked in the long term.

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That’s changing in League of Legends Season 13 with the top lane now becoming a focal point on the Rift. With targeted changes aimed at making the role more appealing to play ⁠— and have more of an impact in-game ⁠— top laners could be laughing their way to the proverbial bank.

Gangplank in TFT Set 6Riot Games
Top lane is getting a lot of attention in League of Legends Season 13.

Riot makes top lane highest-resourced position in League of Legends

The biggest change to top lane is making it the highest-resources position in League of Legends come Season 13. Instead of just being on an island for no benefit, Riot is adjusting the gold and experience of other lanes to make the top lane the dominant force in both.

It’s a two-fold change. The developers are once again nerfing duo and shared experience while buffing solo lane experience, changing the breakpoints for level ups across the game. To compensate the buff that gives mid lane, minions spawned in said lane will now be worth less before 14 minutes.

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“Top lane has been languishing a little bit and the role in particular has lost some of its unique identity, especially after the teleport changes,” lead designer Matthew Leung-Harrison said. “We think the teleport changes were good for the game overall but top lane paid more of a price for that.

“We wanted to find a unique angle for top laners to celebrate game design-wise, and this was making top lane the highest XP and highest gold champion on the map. The resulting changes of this are solo laners will receive more experience, and in order to balance mid versus top lane, we wanted to reduce the gold given to mid laners by a little bit.

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“Long term this will result in top laners feeling like they get a better reward for playing in the long lane as a solo player compared to playing as a solo in the mid lane which is significantly more safe.”

Gwen Space GrooveRiot Games
Scaling top laners like Gwen will benefit most from the gold and experience changes.

Item changes increase diversity for top lane tanks and fighters

The second update is to League of Legends’ item system, giving tanks and fighters in the top lane more options in Season 13.

New Mythic items including Icathia’s Endurance, Goliath’s Ascendiary, and Radiant Virtue will allow higher-resources champions ⁠— like top laners with their influx of gold and experience ⁠— to have more power in teamfights. Sunfire Aegis and Turbo Chemtank are being downgraded to Legendary items, but this is part of a philosophy change in how Riot sees build order.

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“In most cases we think you’ll want Sunfire or Frostfire [Gauntlet] as your first armor item, and if you wanted to go magic resist, you’d want Abyssal Mask or Spirit Visage,” Leung-Harrison said.

“We’re testing out to see if this first item ‘don’t buy your Mythic’ will work out on the tanks while having some amount of choice if you did want to go your mythic first.”

AP champions haven’t been left out: Rod of Ages is returning in a big way. The scaling AP item for battlemages is back with its old 10 minute passive, but now upon reaching maximum stacks players will gain a champion level. This makes it a great Mythic option on Ryze and Kayle who want to scale hard.

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Meowkai in League of LegendsRiot Games
New itemization should give top laners more effectiveness in team fights.

Finally fighters are also getting some more options with Spear of Shojin’s return as a “chase” Legendary item which significantly buffs Ability Haste and Movement Speed, while Ravenous Hydra now has an in-built stacking buff similar to the old Sword of the Occult, gaining Attack Damage and Omnivamp whenever you kill an enemy.

These changes all go live as part of League of Legends Season 13 in mid-November.