It’s because top lane is basically won or lost in champ select. If I have to first pick top, I am at a huge disadvantage. There are very few champions you can pick top that don’t have any bad match-ups: Aatrox and Irelia basically turn everything into a skill-match up, Tahm and Morde are OP and have numbers that need to be toned down and any ranged top is pretty much safe and free to scale. Most top laners do not play a collection of these champions, at best one or two.
So what does that mean? As I stated, if you don’t pick one of these as first pick top then you basically lose at champ select. Top is a long lane, it’s easy to gank and it’s incredibly punishing to those champions in a disadvantaged match up: one mistake even with wave management can turn into a 30cs deficit. We have no control over this, it’s just the nature of the lane. It has pretty much always been like this (wasn’t always this oppressive but the overall theme remained true). It likely won’t change. We can argue about whether it should or shouldn’t be this way all we want, but the fact is that it is what it is.
So what does this have to do with junglers? Well to be totally honest, you are literally the only thing that can save us in bad match-ups. Seriously, in many of these match-ups if we don’t get help, we ARE GOING to feed. We don’t want to but that’s the nature of these match-ups. Do you think hugging that tower will save us? Lmao hell no. And honestly, we have to get experience. Farm would be lovely but many of us have learned that you’ll probably be stripped of that access, so at the least just be in range to get exp. But the problem is you can only really do that under tower. You can’t do it past the center of the lane, and if I’m in a bad match up pushed under tower, I am GOING to be dove - likely by their top and jungler.
Where do you come into this equation? Honestly it’s simple: just be there. I do not expect you to win my lane for me (that would be nice though). I understand you likely realize it’s a bad match-up and if we get caught in a 2v2, we may not win. I understand you might want to focus on more feasible lanes to gank. I totally get that and honestly, I support it: I don’t want to give top a double kill either. And if for whatever reason you and the jungler vertical jungle for the first clear, I’ll play safe and try to not get ganked. But here’s the thing: I need you to be here at times.
You don’t need to even gank necessarily. Just show pressure. Show the top laner you won’t let him 100% dictate the lane. Even if you can blow his flash that is huge. If he’s freezing against me, and i ask you to come top, I am basically asking you to help me break the freeze. I realize the situation probably isn’t gankable. If I’m getting dove and you’re in the area, just respond. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been dove while my jungler is literally right there doing frog or krugs. I know, you’re going to tell me about how I don’t protect you in an early invade: that’s because I usually CANT. If I don’t have lane pressure and I’m at a disadvantage early, I literally can not afford to miss those minions. Missing that exp alone could put me at such a huge deficit, I would lose the lane off of that. And I’ve already explained what top is like. If you’re karthus vs a lee sin, you should probably be trying to start top side anyway so you can get bot/mid lane protection because they can afford to roam and miss some exp the way top laners cannot afford. So it’s not the same thing, because you give up farming that you can come right back to in order to save an ally being dove and probably turning the dice to your favor. So it’s win-win.
Listen, I realize top laners are not perfect. But our lane depends so much on jungle pressure: you have no idea. It’s especially frustrating when their jungler pinches a tent in top lane and you don’t do anything at all. I get it if you don’t want to come top in that situation, but you HAVE to do something somewhere else because I’m literally going to feed at this point and you’ll be having a jungler and top laner on the enemy team fed. So even when we don’t get direct lane pressure from our jungler, our junglers lack of presence elsewhere still impacts us significantly.
It doesn’t excuse top laners for flaming you: that is totally unacceptable. And many of us top laners could do a much better job of asking for help clearly instead of spam pinging you in typical NA passive aggressiveness (btw that’s a great thing about LAN: they will straight up just say what they want even if they’re less skilled). And we also need to understand your circumstances better. But just understand, 90% of the time jungle influence literally decides our lane and if we are counter picked, we really don’t have a say in our lane and so we rely on you. In a sad twisted way, you are like our extended support. We wish it wasn’t like this baby-love, but it is. So help your local top laner out.