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The blind monk returns to the meta just in time for the Mid-Season Invitational, but this time as a top laner.

The traditional jungler is out of place in the current jungle meta, as Lee Sin farms too slow and is weak in comparison to current meta picks like Udyr and Hecarim. However, the champion has received steady buffs in Season 10 and 11, which has improved his lane performance. As of now, the champions sits at a 52% win rate in the top lane according to op.gg.

Many of the professionals competing at MSI have taken the champion for a spin in the western European server in preparation for the Iceland-located event. Here is how pros are building and playing top lane Lee Sin ahead of MSI.

Top lane Lee Sin builds

Mateo Alejandro “Buggax” Aroztegui Zamora, top laner for the Latin American team Infinity Esports, may be putting in the most reps on Lee Sin top. With nine games on the champion in his two days in the server, he has a 44% win rate and a combined 1.76 Kill/Death/Assist ratio.

Buggax generally goes for two different mythic items: Goredrinker or Eclipse. Goredrinker is Lee Sin’s recommended item, the most built on op.gg and can be his second or first item built depending on the lane opponent. Buggax either goes for Ravenous Hydra for wave clear and then Goredrinker, or vice versa depending on his power level. He picks up Eclipse if he gains an early lead to snowball through the rest of the game.

Li “Xiaohu” Yuan-Hao, the top laner for Royal Never Give Up, took a different approach in the three games he has played with the champion. The Chinese solo laner builds Stridebreaker instead for the extra mobility and damage. He also builds Death’s Dance or Sterak’s Gage second for survivability. Other top laners that have put time into the champion, like Cloud9’s Ibrahim “Fudge” Allami and DWG KIA’s Kim “Khan” Dong-ha have similar build paths. They both take a more tank approach to the champion, building Black Cleaver and Sterak’s Gage consistently, regardless of their Mythic item choice.

So far, top lane Lee Sin looks similar to Renekton with more mobility. Pros have changed builds slightly for situational reasons, building Eclipse when ahead and against tanks for maximum value.

Top lane Lee Sin runes

Pro players have use mostly the same set of runes for Lee Sin so far. All go down the Precision tree and choose Conqueror as their main line rune. From there, the runes change based on the matchup. However, the general consensus is Triumph, Legend: Tenacity and Last Stand in the first tree. The champion’s secondary tree is either Resolve or Inspiration. For Inspiration, Khan generally runs Magical Footwear and Cosmic Insight. In Resolve, most players take Bone Plating and Revitalize.

top lane lee sin msi
Image provided by Riot Games

So far, pros have taken top lane Lee Sin and found marginal success. Many have positive (or almost positive) win rates, and generally good statistics against other pros in the EU West server. Lee Sin has the opportunity to take the MSI stage May 6 in the first slate of games.

Declan is an esports journalist and part-time editor for Upcomer. He is an avid gamer and League of Legends player. You can find him at the bottom of the leaderboard in most games or on Twitter.
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