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What is the difference between top and bottom lanes in LoL? More experienced players tell you during the game to switch the lane if you go to the "wrong" one. So I guess that certain champions are not good for playing top/bottom. Why and what kind of champions should be played bottom, and what type should be played top (I mean generaly, not exact champions)?

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The computer sends different AI-controlled champions to the different lanes and different champions fight better against other champions, so it's best to match the right people with the right bots. –  The gamer Jan 31 at 17:27
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up vote 36 down vote accepted

Generally, each team has one jungler, which means that there will be one lane of two, and two lanes of one. Since the middle lane will always be a solo lane, this means that top and bottom will have varying numbers of champions, depending on the lane.

Top is usually considered a solo lane because the bottom lane is closer to Dragon, an important mid-game objective. Dragon is hard to solo for most non-junglers, and by keeping 2 champions in the bottom lane, it becomes quite viable to 3-man Dragon after a successful gank (or simply a double-kill). While top lane is closer to Baron Nashor, it takes quite a bit more effort to kill him - more than 3 champions in the early game can probably afford to put out. By the time Baron becomes available, the game is usually nearing the end of the laning phase, after which the difference between top and bottom lane is moot (because all 5 champions are roaming).

With a top solo lane, the champion has a leveling advantage and the potential to farm more minions (simply because there is no allied champion to compete with). Additionally, one must consider that if the other team does not have a jungler, they need to be able to successfully last 2 vs. 1. Most often, this means champions with good sustainability are better suited to the lane, such as Cho'goth, Mordekaiser, Vladimir, or Nasus.

Conversely, there are some champions who do not do well in a solo lane - these tend to be support champions like Soraka, Sona, or Janna who perform much better with a partner to buff/shield/heal. These champions usually go to the bottom lane to ensure that they are in a 2 vs. 2 situation.

In instances where there is no jungler on either team, both top and bottom will have an even number of champions. In this case you may be asked to "switch lanes" not because one lane is "better suited" than the other, but because switching lanes means changing which enemy champions you're fighting (and presumably, have been dying to).

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I don't know why you got downvoted. It looks like you answered the question thoroughly and correctly. –  REDace0 Jun 25 '11 at 16:32
    
I don't know about downvotes, but I have seen Purple have their solo bottom (instead of top) before citation. While I agree that top is usually the solo lane, but there are definitely times when bottom appears to be the superior choice. –  tzenes Jun 25 '11 at 18:10
    
@Tzenes - the game you linked, purple team's Alistar was playing Roamer (there was also a jungler). This effectively gives them 3 solo lanes, rather than the 2 they would have with just a jungler. Alistar spent very little time top by the creep waves, so I don't think it's fair to say that top lane was 2 vs. 1. –  Raven Dreamer Jun 25 '11 at 18:52
    
@Raven go watch the game again. Alister roams some, but he spends most of early/mid game up top. –  tzenes Jun 25 '11 at 19:05
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I would also add to this that sometimes without a jungler, the 2 on top and 2 on bottom may simply be mismatched, and thus in the "wrong" lane. For instance, you don't want 2 tanks top and 2 squishies bot. Balancing the lanes is important in that situation, to give both lanes the best chance for success. –  Tux Jun 28 '11 at 15:07
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