Top Lane: Iron --> Diamond Champion and Lane Guide
My name, and in game name, is Connnor and I've been playing since the end of season 2 on the NA server and then the OCE server when it released.
I am primarily a 5-man, flex queue, Top lane player, maxing at Diamond in flex and high Platinum in solo queue. I'm not sure where I could get to if I tried, so my max is Diamond, and I'm not going to pretend to be a high elo challenger player. Those players aren't reading this anyway.
Why should you read a guide from a player who still is what "higher elo" players consider to be "low elo?"
It's because the game at "high elo" is a completely different one to "low elo." The game is primarily balanced around the "higher elo" though, so while improving your macro and micro skills with this guide, it's also worth improving your knowledge of the entire in game economy of champion balance. I have personally been placed in every single rank below Master, so I understand what it takes to get you out. Surprisingly, it's often the little reasons that snowball into the big reasons.
Before we begin, I know this is quite an extensive and long read to get through, and not everyone is going to get through all of it. Feel free to skim and and find anything you're interested in learning about or having difficulty with.
NOTE: This guide won't be as polished with formal language and professional formatting as some you may see. I'll be using common league terminology and typing as I would be interacting with you in person. Hopefully you can bear with and interpret any new phrases and, on rare occasions, fabricated words.
In Platinum and below, no one but smurfs have the mechanics or game sense to take advantage of bad picks or counter match up properly to absolutely stomp the game single handily, and really all it takes is a bit of team work, leadership on the part of the player who wants to climb and mentality of the team.
Before champion choices and counter picks come in, having the right mentality is essential. If you're yelling at your team constantly, being overly toxic, or you're just not letting one simple mistake go, you could be costing your team the game while reassuring yourself that it's their fault. There is one simple rule for Solo Queue ranked, and that's the simple fact that you're not going to convince the other person that they're wrong. It just won't happen. So arguing about awkward decisions and failed plays isn't going to change their mind. Keeping your mouth shut and allowing the egotistical man child to think he's pulled one over on you in the conversation puts him in a better mood and you'll have a higher chance at winning. Yeah it sucks, but if you're trying to climb that's the way to go. It's less tilting to remember that you're likely never going to see them again, so their opinion, if unhelpful and toxic, does not matter. It's also a lot easier to just mute them as soon as you sense the toxicity in them, but I digress.
As a little extra side note on the topic of mentality in games in general, there will always be someone who is better than you. It may not happen often, or it may happen a lot, but don't let it lower your confidence in your chosen champion. It's absolutely fine to lose lane, as long as you have confidence in your team fight capabilities or split push, there is no reason to give up. Surrendering is a last resort only if the entire enemy team is winning every matchup and has the late game advantage on you. Other than that, there is always hope you out scale, or they make vital errors in the mid and late game. Especially with the installation of the bounty system on objectives, they've given the losing team a ridiculous amount of income options to get back into the game. There will always be those people in Solo Queue that type "gg ff15" after your team hands over first blood or the odd team fight goes bad etc. Don't let that be you. The amount of successful games I've experienced while massively behind, or unfortunately lost while so far ahead is staggering. It is worth the extra 15mins to stick it out. Even if it doesn't work out, learning how to play while behind is a very useful skill for your future games. For example you can use leagueofgraphs.com to help in understanding your patterns relating to your average win rate while behind or ahead in kills at 10 minutes, or how often you surrender compared to players your own rank. It's important to try and visualise to be better than your current rank, otherwise you won't climb.
This guide will be useful for answering the age old question of "I win my lanes but my teammates suck and that's why I'm low elo", and in some cases this is probably true, but in many others, there was a lot more you could have done with your lead even with all other ally's losing their matchups. Top laners are unique; we have a completely different mentality when it comes to our playstyles, and this isn't our fault. This was instilled in us over years of constantly being abandoned in the deserted island we know as top lane.
While Mid laners want to 1-shot each other and ADC's want to safely farm and scale, us top laners have goals of crushing our lane opponents in 1v1's, wave management, and team play. We just want to be better than our counterpart. This mentality has been 'double-downed' on with the teleport early game nerfs to force top laners to stay in their designated islands till at least 14 mins, and ignite being as powerful and snowball starting that it is.
It entirely depends on the champions we play with what our sort of playstyle mentality is. For example,
My aim with this guide is to bring it to your attention that while your champion choice is a numbers game with win rates, the meta, and statistics, your playstyle might be losing you games you should have won.
Patch 12.3 had some interesting changes to shake up the top lane meta, mostly to the fighters and juggernauts.
A variety of adjustments were given to many fighter/bruiser items that included a decrease in health stats and sometimes a price increase. These negatives were substituted with either more damage, ability haste, price reduction or unique passive changes. For some these changes were rather large nerfs, while for others they were large buffs, warranted or not. The official reasoning was to make fighter's less tank and promoting a higher damage reliant build instead of fighter's imitating tank's while also being able to dominate tanks. Most notable changes would be a squishier
The patch before this one also reintroduced
Each lane has numerous classes and sub-classes of champions that, in the meta, make it what it is. It's common that you've heard the terms fighter, juggernaut, or diver in relation to your favourite Top lane champions, or Mid lane with it's mages and assassins. By using playstyle orientated classifications of champions, it's a lot easier for lower ranked players to understand playstyle differences between champions who share the same class.
A brief run down of the following categories below will be discussed, which explains the playstyles that the champions with in it excel at. The champions that fit into multiple classes would inherently be more consistent and flexible picks, which would provide better carrying potential.
Though a champion may not be classified under a certain heading, it does not mean they are unable to fulfil a specific role if either forced upon them, or if the player is mechanically skilful. Champions who excel at split pushing, as seen below, will very rarely be more effective at grouping with their team then champions who excel at team fighting and vice versa. Duelists will win the majority of 1v1 match ups in the early-mid game against Scalers, while Scalers will be a potent destructive force late game.
* S+ Tier Rating
Key: AD | AP | Tank | Support
- The champions I've categorised as Duelists have a large amount of kill pressure against their laner, and their abilities are often used offensively and have damage scaling's.
- A common example of this is, who has damage ratios on all his abilities and only a small amount of utility.Renekton
- A large majority are lane bullies that rely on either consistent or burst damage to dominate the.
- There are few carries in this class that have both burst and consistent damage, but they are weak in other parts of their kit.
- An example of this is. His consistent and burst damage is countered by removing his turrets early in the fight and baiting out his ultimate, but this may be a tough challenge for melee champions with no ranged abilities.Heimerdinger
- A large amount of their wins will be due to snowballing from early game kills, so starting out the game with a mindset of playing safe and farming in a match up that doesn't favour you is more important that attempting risky plays to get ahead.
- This is portrayed well with's ability to burst aRiveneven when behind in lane, due to having access to a higher amount of damage early even with less gold than the opposition.Gangplank
- Duelists in the top lane capitalise on mistakes extraordinarily well because of their access to high damage and utility, and the lack of escape mechanisms in many of the champions.
- With the buff to, higher amount of damage and lower amount of health on many top lane items, many duelists may seem quite oppressive in the early and mid game, but more susceptible to damage as well.Blade of The Ruined King
- Duelists are usually predominately damage based, excluding aggressive Tanks, so building any amount of tank items, armour or magic resist (only purchasing health will not usually help), will negative a high percentage of their damage.
- Lower ranked players would consider many of these picks overpowered due to their high amount of damage, but within their kits there is counter play to be found in itemisation and your own champions abilities.
- In some cases though your champions mechanics may just be countered.
- Scalers are often quite safe laners that focus on farming and wave management to come out as strong as possible at the end of laning phase.
- Their kit's are focussed around either high amounts of damage, tankiness or both in the late game, more than the average champion, but weaker in the early game.
- Many champions of this class have sustain in built in their kit to assist them through the early laning phase.
- Common examples are's 'W' heal/move speed buff,Kayle's 'W' heal/CC removal andGangplank's low cooldown 'Q' healing.Vladimir
- Scalers are also quite often the best lanes for ally Jungler's to camp as it helps scaling champions hit spikes and influence the game quicker.
- Once ais past the weak stage of her laning phase, it is not uncommon for her to become completely unstoppable.Kayle
- On the other hand, it's quite common for scaling champions to be absolutely shut down by the enemy team, so these power spikes are never brought to fruition.
- Scaler's primary counters are Duelists.
- Champions that have an insane amount of damage and pressure that can bully the scaling champions off farm and XP.
- This class has many champions in common with the Team Fighting category, due to by the late game teams have grouped up and fighting together for objectives.
- The Team Fighters are a broad class that is home to a wide array of champions. The most notable similarity in all of them is that they have the ability to do a large amounts of AOE damage or utility.
- They were hit the hardest by the recent Top lane teleport nerfs as they lost the ability to impact the map in the early game by teleporting Mid or Bot.
- Tanks are useful to frontline for their team, soaking up damage and cool downs, to make the team fight less dangerous for their squishy back line.
- Team Fighters are the most consistent class due to the large amount of AOE abilities impacting multiple champions at once in team fights.
- As a contrast between two tanks,will be more useful to a team with large amounts of AOE damage thenMalphite, asDr. Mundohas the potential to use his ultimate to AOE knock-up all five enemies, which in turn can then be combo'ed by his team without the enemy being able to fight back.Malphite
- So why would we ever pickthen? In the overall fight,Dr. Mundowill do more single-target damage and survive longer thanDr. Mundowill with heavy sustain healing and resistance to CC. It's up to you to decide which one your team needs in champion select, survivability and damage, or utility.Malphite
- Team Fighters and Scalers have many champions in common due to their high amount of late game AOE damage, utility and strength.
- Split Pushers have a playstyle that is the direct opposite of Team Fighters. Their kit is more efficient to push structures in a solo lane and be confident enough that they can either kill whoever comes to stop them, or easily escape to then return and do it again.
- To be able to effectively split push for the majority of the game, these champions must at least meet one of these requirements:
- A high amount of attack speed and/or consistent structure damage through abilities or sheen based items on auto-attack reset abilities.
- The champion must be more effective in their split pushing then in a team fight, otherwise you may as well group with your team and fight together.
- Some champions, such as, are both Team Fighters and Split Pushers. They will have to make a choice situationally which class they will lean towards that game. This choice will also effect whether someone playingUrgotwill buildUrgotor not.Hullbreaker
- Either enough consistent damage to be able to kill anyone who tries to stop them, or have the necessary survivability mechanisms to escape and having the option to return at a moments notice.
- A good example of this isbeing able to duel anyone with his ultimate, andMordekaiserwho can use your ultimate to gain a large amount of movement speed and escape being caught out.Quinn
- Split Pushers quite often have kill pressure on enemies while they're under their turrets.
- Examples of this isas his ultimate allows him to not be able to die for long period of time,Tryndamerefrom in built tankiness, CC, lifestyle and scaling damage; andNasusbeing able to go untargetable and lose turret aggro when he gets off his steed.Kled
- is built very rarely, but the only ones who can build it are those in the Split Pusher class. These champions also takeHullbreakerfor more structure damage and early turret plate pushing.Demolish
- The Split Pushers and the Duelists have the most champions in common, due to high damage and attack speed going hand in hand together.
- Roamers are a class designed around mobility, speed and utility. They're able to disappear out of Top lane for a short or long while and show up terrorising another lane.
- These champions are also very jungle active, looking to assist and having the priority in lane to arrive first.
- Many would rather take ignite for kill pressure or exhaust for utility, as they don't need teleport to influence other lanes, their abilities allow them to do that.
- Common examples are'sShen,Stand United'sPantheon,Grand Starfall'sSion,Unstoppable OnslaughtCamilleand the support roaming meta that is soon to be nerfed.Hookshot
- Once laning phase ends, roaming champions look for picks and use their mobility to take advantage of enemies caught in bad positions, though the support picks are doing this even in laning phase and giving up minions to do so.
- Roamers shift into either team fighting or split pushing as picks become harder and harder to find in the late game.
This is the context necessary to understand the different play styles of people, and the optimal playstyles of the champions they're playing, and champions you want to play.
In an example scenario you're playing
If we go from the opposite viewpoint and suppose in this example scenario you're playing
The reason for the Champion Lists is to see what champions associate with the most categories. These are the champions that will, in most cases, have more impact on games. I'm going to start with champions to avoid if your only aim is to gain LP. Keep in mind this is entirely dependent on your play style and skill level.
Firstly we're going to be looking at high-skill cap champs with low team fight capabilities that should be avoided in any elo lower than Diamond. These champions are quite high-skill cap and their should be mechanics should be mastered before they become reliable ways to make LP.
- has been a champion with heavy discussion since her rework. This is due to the amount of mechanics in her kit that allowed to have both an insane amount of damage in the early, mid and late game, while having wave clear, sustain and very little counter play.Akali
- She has had multiple nerfs and currently her early game is very sub par and is countered by any champion that builds any sort of tank items.
- Unlike most assassins, she is also not able to one shot a champion in a quick succession burst, as she is forced to E backwards, ultimate forwards and then ultimate backwards again. In that time she can be exhausted or CC locked down.
- Assassin top laners offer very little to a team. Truthfully any champion can play top lane if you put your mind to it, but by playing assassins top you're putting a class of champions not designed to fight the champions that you'll come up against, and you'll lose lane more times than you'll win.
- At best you'll be able to kill your squishy target, but after you're burst you're quite useless with not very good sustain fighting capabilities.
- is an S+ tier champion in the top lane at the moment, so it's reasonable to question why you should avoid him.Akshan
- He's an expert roaming Mid laner with a tonne of early-mid game damage while also being quite safe through mobility, range and shields.
- The problem is in Top lane you don't have access to the roaming capabilities that a Mid laneexcels at.Akshan
- Once it hits late game,is as squishy as every other ADC, and because of this it's inefficient to play him Top lane when you also have an ADC scaling in the Bot lane.Akshan
- To climb it is more efficient to use Top lane as a beefy engage or sustain damage that terrorises all the squishy champions on the enemy team.
- is also quite unsafe in a team fight. To get off a lot of his damage, he needs to swing himself into the enemy team, putting him into the line of fire and generally one shot.Akshan
- I think it's safe to play him if you're entire team is early-mid game reliant and you're attempting to finish it fast, but other then that it's not worth it and too highly mechanical to succeed consistently.
- is a mobile melee on-hit carry that excels at marking champions with her abilities and darting around a fight healing as she goes jumping from minion, to champion to minion.Irelia
- Her main issue is the amount of mechanical skill she needs to output to keep her relevant in a game.
- She is also heavily countered by grievous wounds, which is quite common in the Top lane, whether that be,Ignite, andExecutioner's Calling.Thornmail
- Currently with the fighter item nerfs, her core build consists of the buffedandBlade of The Ruined King. This makes her extremely glass cannon and easily able to be out tanked.Immortal Shieldbow
- Her team fights are also quite poor with the lack of minions to mobilise herself with and being blown up as soon as she enters a fight.
- Once she enters a fight, she attempts to hit multiple people with her E and R to mark them and allowing her to jump to them and getting off auto attacks.
- only succeeds through snowballing from her very good early game and pushing that advantage until the enemy laner catches up in gold and becomes more useful then her.Irelia
- is one of those rare champions that can build multiple different ways and still be useful. This is due to his machine gun turret-like W that once maxed at level 9 allows him to permanently have it toggled, and his executing ultimate with an AOE fear.Urgot
- He's ranged and does percentage damage allowing him to not only be a tanky damage dealer, but also able to kill tanks white easily.
- If an enemy champion is killed with'sUrgotin a team fight, the AOE fear utility basically wins the fight alone.Fear Beyond Death
- Using his W auto attack cancel mechanics and buffering of his E and Ultimate to the utmost value, he offers an easy to play champion with skills to master that can dominate teams.
- lowered passives on ranged champions were removed, meaning it was quite a big buff forSterak's Gage, especially when you build health with every legendary item.Urgot
- This is a champion I usually dub as the "AP". His combo's and mechanics are very simple for how much damage, pressure and utility they give, but the difference being you can't escape theGarenultimate without assistance from an item (orMordekaiseroranges)Gangplank
- His W offers free sustain in small scale trading lanes, while also being very effective for high damage burst and long drawn out fights. The moment you cast your shield in a 1v1 is usually the moment the enemy knows they've lost it. It is quite an effective bait ability.
- His passive, Q and E all have AOE damage allowing for great team fighting even without your ultimate.
- With your ultimate, you're able to single out enemy carries to kill or problematic champions that allow your team to carry the team fight without needing to be cautious of them (high damage enemy front line).
- You're able to target enemy champions and drag them into your Realm of Death, forcing them to be cut off from attacking your ally team.
- This greatly effects champions with:
- Large scale AOE abilities such as'Fiddlesticks,Crowstorm'sKennen,Slicing Maelstrom'sOrnn,Call of the Forge God'sAniviaand many more.Glacial Storm
- Champions that use pets for damage such as'sHeimerdingers andH-28 G Evolution TurretIllaoitentacles. They are cut off from each other and the pets are unable to receive commands. The same goes forProphet of an Elder God'sAnnieandSummon: Tibbers'sIvern, though these pets are able to function without commands.Daisy!
- The most effective strategy is to wait for the objective such as Baron or Dragon to get low, use your ultimate on the enemy Jungler to allow your ally Jungler to smite with no competition. This is the peak ofperformance and this single ability will carry games.Mordekaiser
- The only downsides of theultimate is that it can be evaded through usingMordekaiseritems, and losing vision at the exact second you used it.Quicksilver Sash
- has had some trouble in the past finding his place in top lane but now it is cemented as the split push king.Yorick
- With his permanent petand ghouls, he offers high damage, sustain with Q, split push, percentage damage for tank killing, and high burst with ghouls against squishies that are consistently replenished through his Q and ultimate.Eulogy of the Isles
- His main counter is range, but by three items, it'll be hard to stop him even still as he runs you down with a thousand more health than a ranged champion. He has enough sustain in the early game to survive until he can't be 1v1'ed in the mid-late game.
- He has enough easy mechanics to stomp lane with little experience but there is a clear difference between a dominatingand a useless one.Yorick
- Having your push down the opposite side to your split push and picking up solo inner tower gold on both sides is a game changing gold lead.
- Lower cooldown on the new 'Unleashed'released in the pre-season was also a buff to split pushers, so make use of it,TeleportandHullbreakerto secure victories even when your other lanes might not have won.Demolish
- 's main weakness is the early game when he doesn't have ghouls available easily, but if you know when to be safe, it is easy to play around.Yorick
What these three champions have in common is that they can carry games single handed in their own way, whether it be Team Fighting capability or objective control in Split Pushing.
- Possibly the most difficult champion in the game with the highest skill ceiling, she's fun to learn and naturally highly mobile champions with consistent damage are quite popular in any elo, though less common in the lower ones.
- Though you may not have mastered her animation cancelling yet, a slight buff on nearly all of her core items leavesin just a plain overpowered state.Riven
- These buffs can also be utilised in lower elo games for easy wins, as many top laners below diamond have not much experience against her, and the only ones they've seen have possibly next no experience on her, or are smurfs making their lives hell.
- Now is the time to learn her if she's on your wish list of mastering.
- There are countless YouTube videos on the How-To of her animation cancelling, it'll take hours in practice tool and many many games against real people to be able to naturally pull it off, but once mastered, she'll be able to carry you much higher in elo than most other champions.
- The highest scaling tank in the game with probably the best team fight viability,only recently returned to the meta with the Pre-Season update with buffs and additions to tank items, and has since been an immortal scaling menace in the top lane.Ornn
- Tanks are stronger since the fighter items health nerfs not being able to handle the amount of damage, CC and scaling of his extra stat passive and upgraded items he builds for his team gives 5460 gold worth of stats on average split between five players at level 17.
- Tanks are known as a bit of a meme to do unreasonable damage, but it's true for. Able to 100-0 carries that are completely CC'd while also taking 0 damage, it's the tank dream come true.Ornn
- Tenacity also effects only one of's abilities as they're all knock ups or knock backs, minimally targeting the Q slow, making no difference to combos.Ornn
- His combo's are fun to learn and quite easy to pull off in real games after only a few practice runs, allowing for quick gratification from your effort to learn.
- got a huge buff with the teleport nerfs at the start of pre-season. Suddenly when he teleports to assist his team in the early game, his lane opponent isn't able to follow him with their own teleport.Shen
- is a tank that is able to build more aggressively, but his build focusses heavily around health.Shen
- He does percentage max HP magic damage with his Q's that have a rather low cooldown, and between those and your "Frostfire Embrace technology" (Credits to xPetugod check him out), that's where the majority of your damage will come from.Shen
- The health you build scales into your Demonic Embrace's AP passive, and both your max mealth and AP scale into your ultimate shield.
- may not have the skill ceiling ofShenorRiven, but his roaming capability and positioning, while also being a formidable lane opponent and Split Pusher makes him viable at any level of play.Ornn
- He excels atand Q trades, while having kill pressure withGrasp of the Undying.Ignite
- In the late game he counters auto-attack based champs with his W on top of being an actual tank.
- He will join a fight from split pushing, forcibly peel his teammates with his taunt, survive due to passive shields and tankiness and then dive the back line with AOE-AP slowing percentage max health damage.
- What these three champions have in common is that they excel in more than one category, but primarily focus on team fighting.
- - A Duelist that excels at Team Fighting with AOE damage and survivability.Riven
- - A Scaling, team fighting engage tank with an abundance of AOE and percentage max health damage from abilities and CC. Every team wants anOrnnon it. Even if you lose lane, you scale to the win.Ornn
- - A Split Pusher that can join a Team Fight at a moments notice or save team mates in small skirmishes,Shenis a one of a kind split pushing, damage dealing tank.Shen
Now with those three lists we know of a few champions to avoid, a few champions to try out and a few high-skill cap champions that you can consider learning and taking on as your main.
Now why is a champion's ability to team fight so important to winning games? The main reason is how consistently they can attack or CC multiple enemies at the same time.
If you win top lane, you're an absolute dominating menace to the rest of the enemy team. You have the gold and XP advantage to take over the game with either a large amount of AOE damage and CC to take out multiple opponents at the same time, or a large amount of dependability, peel and tank to walk over the team and not let the opposing back line do anything to your allies. A fed
If you lose top lane and you have a better team fight capable champion, the only option is to cower and farm safely until the mid and late game, then be more impactful in comparison to your lane opponent. Common examples of this would be
It's all well and good to pick up a champion or two that has been suggested earlier in this guide, but it's even more important to have multiple play styles under your belt. I currently have 739 total Mastery Score with 83 of the 158 total champions above level 5 mastery, and 14 level 7 mastery top laners. While this may look like a flex, (the opposite in the eyes of non-gamers) I'm using it to demonstrate that in any match up, I have a variety of champions that I have enough experience on to be confident in any match up.
My recommendation is having a main champion with Team Fighting or Split-Pushing capabilities (both if your choice is
NOTE: Try to consensually swap champions between your team in an attempt to give yourself the most advantageous lane possible. Many times this will not work and you will be counter picked and need to play around that. This is when your micro and macro skills shine brightest. If you have never won your lane, or a game, while being directly countered before, it may be a sign that you need more experience with your main champion.
In this example we'll use
The enemy first picks
You know you can't contend with
In the majority of instances,
This strategy also works for Baron and Dragon fights as well. It is far easier to contest the objective and poke the enemy out with proper preparation, than it is to attempt to start the objective and fight both it and the approaching enemy team. It can certainly be the case that your team still loses the fight and the objective, but all while this is happening you've just grabbed two turrets in bot lane (baron fight), inner turret extra solo gold and moving onto the inhibitor turrets. In the next fight, you either have map pressure of ending the game through bot lane, or you do the exact same thing to top lane causing just as much map pressure.
This is in comparison to an equally good Team Fighting counter to
In the next game they've taken your
With this method you have three picks for three different situations, and the variety will make a massive difference while you climb, and will keep you from mentally straining yourself by spamming one champion. Climbing can be tough mentally, so make sure you're picking champions you actually enjoy, otherwise it's just not worth it.
Choosing your top lane champions, unless you're a one-trick, should be based around the versatility of the champions under your belt.
If you have a jungle
If your team has a large amount of damage, it's okay to rely on them by picking an engage tank with decent damage of its own. There has been many games where I've personally maxed most damage on difficult wins as
That's right, tanks are well and truly back in the meta.
I'm going to start this section off with a hard truth. Unless you're playing a champion that is completely damage reliant while also being safe and scaling like
Mythic choices are a bit touch and go depending on the champion. On some you must take the same highest win rate option every game to be relevant, on other they can be substituted out. Using
There are some items that work so well together that it is essential to buy them one after the other every game, such as
Playing a tank champion with high base damage against an auto attack dependant top laner such as
Tank vs. Tank matchup's are quite simple, just build the optimal mythic and target your next legendary item's stats for whoever their carries are in bot, mid and jungle. The 1v1 between two tanks will be decided on whoever avoids the most damage, buffers the correct abilities for efficient timing's, and trades better with rune choices (not to mention jungle interferences).
Duo queuing with someone you trust to perform is the best way to climb the ladder. If you're looking for your largest advantage, you're not going to find it by duo'ing with an ADC or Support.
One of the best duo options are the classic Top and Jungle that often hovers top side to assist each other in getting ahead with jungle skirmishes, roaming and camping. The is the Top and Mid lane duo. I have found the Top and Mid duo to be more effective of the alternatives, due to both playing variety type damage carries and having the ability to both of you responding to early game jungle skirmishes. It is often the case when duo'ing with a Jungler that the random Mid lane player has no map awareness and the enemy will end up having priority in mid, but by having your duo be the Mid laner, you're both responding together to the Jungler, insuring an even or advantageous fight.
Going to be listing some match-ups in which your build should change to adapt to your opponent. This can include runes, items and rarely the differed maxing of certain abilities on champions. Won't be listing every top laner, just ones with specific weaknesses that doesn't just include "just build armour/magic resist". For the same weaknesses as a previous champion mentioned I'll just be entering the same reason.
I could probably continue on this subject for a few thousand more words, but most of what I haven't said you can find rather simply through U.GG and champion guides. This includes individual match ups, champions and counters, runes, wave management tutorials and tier lists. If you were to pick up a champion like
My honest recommendation is choosing a high health, high damage front liner that's able to greatly effect a team fight. That's it. That's how you will climb. There are so many ways to play and so many playstyles, but I think the overall best is working as a team.
The best I can ask for is everyone who reads this guide learns at least something by the end of it to help them in their climb. This information is purely personal opinion from thousands of hours of game time and statistics gathered from U.GG.