Our 2018 guide to the best carry champions in League of Legends explains who to pick and how to carry with them in the solo queue.
Solo queue is perhaps the toughest challenge in all of League of Legends. You enter alone, are partnered up with four other teammates, and then you must all work together for perhaps 40 minutes in to secure victory.
As there are so many variables in the game, it can be either one of the most satisfying experiences in gaming, or a frustrating exercise in poor teamwork and communication. It’s a grind everyone goes through, though.
What is a carry?
To mitigate some of the potential issues you can pick a champion that will help you carry your team to the win. These are the characters that, when played well, can accelerate to an immense level of power and run riot through the enemy team with little assistance. You can then use this advantage to stretch even further into the lead and assert your dominance over a match.
Who can carry?
Some champions are much better positioned to fulfil this role, although it’s important to know that carrying is not an easy task. Many want to take up the mantle with the best intentions, but skill and ability are necessary to find success. You won’t find that simply picking a champion who can do the job will mean the wins start to roll in for you. Essentially, humility is key – there’s no room for hubris here!
If you do think you have the talent and the right mentality to play a carry though, then these are a few champions you might want to consider picking - in order of the easiest to the most challenging to play.
LoL: Best Carry Champions 2018 - Pantheon
While many carry champions come into their own as the game progresses, Pantheon is one who can press an advantage in the early-to-mid game instead.
First, he’s a significant threat during the laning phase. You’ll most likely find yourself in top lane, where his Spear Shot makes for excellent poke damage to whittle down your opponent, and Aegis of Zeonia is an easy to use stun.
Pantheon can make a few risky plays too, thanks to his ability to block incoming basic attacks and turret attacks. If you’re feeling confident and a little aggressive you can punish weaker players - even if they’re hiding under structures - using a well-time tower dive. That stun can prove incredibly handy here too.
Perhaps the most significant benefit of Pantheon, though, is that you can make plays anywhere on the map with his Grand Skyfall ultimate. This allows him to leap to a place of his choosing and pick off a target that’s overextended too far in lane, or help out allies in trouble by turning a fight in your favour.
That ability to be responsive, combined with Pantheon’s strengths elsewhere, allows players with high awareness to be responsive anywhere in the game and lead the team to victory.
LoL: Best Carry Champions 2018 - Darius
In terms of bruiser champions who pack insane kill potential, Darius is definitely near the top of the list. A lot of his strength lies in exploiting his passive ability, Hemorrhage, which adds a bleed effect to the attacks he makes on enemies.
When this hit the maximum five stacks you also greatly increase Darius’ damage, so it’s an important bonus to work towards. In the early laning phase, try to keep this refreshed on your opponent as much as possible to gain a health advantage in trades.
Much of his mid-game power, though, comes through Noxian Guillotine, which allows Darius to go on an absolute rampage through the enemy team. If timed perfectly to achieve a killing blow, the ability immediately resets, enabling you to cut through opponent after opponent - one after the other.
Take an early lead and pick up a few key items such as Black Cleaver and you’ll have an incredible amount of armour reduction to press your advantage even further.
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LoL: Best Carry Champions 2018 - Jax
Jax is the definition of a slow and steady carry, thanks to the way he scales as the game progresses. Sure, he might have a rough start, but once you hit the later levels and pick up some key core items – especially Trinity Force, which synergises so well with Jax – he’ll begin to excel in 1v1 duels and team fights.
He truly becomes a monster once his Relentless Assault trait begins to charge up attack speed. Fully powered you’ll be chewing through opponents in seconds, especially when combined with the extra damage you can gain from both Empower and Grandmaster’s Might.
Soon enough you’ll be merrily split-pushing a lane solo and taking down towers to give your entire team extra experience without a care in the world. Anyone who dares move in to contest you will find themselves quickly set upon, and chunked down in no time with repeated thwacks to the head from Jax’s lamppost.
LoL: Best Carry Champions 2018 - Nasus
Nasus can be a frightening champion in the right hands, but a lot of his potential is locked into how well you can empower his Siphoning Strike in the game’s early stages. If you use it to slay a target, even a minion, it increases in power with each subsequent kill. That means if you stack them up quickly enough, you’ll have access to some incredible damage potential against enemy champions.
This does put a lot of pressure on your laning phase, as you’ll need to make sure you’re landing Siphoning Strike on as many minion kills as possible to give you that big power boost. A smart opponent will be well aware this is where your strength lies, and will try to deny you or punish you every time you move in to attack. Just be aware of this.
Nevertheless, if you manage to build a solid number of stacks then enemies will find it nigh-on impossible to contend with you in a duel. You’ll even be able to press that advantage further with skills like Wither, which will prevent their escape, and Fury of the Sands, which will turn you into a terrifying beast on the battlefield.
LoL: Best Carry Champions 2018 - Katarina
Katarina has been a bit of a menace in League of Legends for a long time. She is a champion who can start to snowball in the early game and then happily assassinate squishy targets on the enemy team in the blink of an eye, or clean up any low health targets after a messy team fight.
One big strength is her mobility, which allows her to leap on and stick to targets. Shunpo allows you to blink right onto an enemy and begin striking them, while Preparation can give you the boost of speed to catch them or keep up with them if they try to flee.
It’s also important to squeeze out any extra damage you can by picking up the daggers she leaves behind after using skills. All together, this’ll allow you to build up many kills early and stack the match in your favour as you roam around the map, picking off any susceptible targets.
You can take this advantage into team fights too, where a lot of her power comes from her ability to significantly reduce the cooldown of her abilities. Any champions that die within three seconds of receiving damage from Katarina cut 15 seconds off the cooldown of her skills, meaning she can fling out more daggers or jump between more targets even faster.
If it comes down to it, she can simply stand in the middle of a team and turn them into pincushions with Death Lotus. That works pretty well too!
LoL: Best Carry Champions 2018 - Vayne
Vayne can pump out some immense damage with her crossbow and truly chew through enemies. She struggles in some matchups and – as with most attack damage champions – she starts off very slowly Once you’ve gained a few levels and purchased some key items though, she starts packing a serious punch that can see her wipe out an entire team if left unimpeded.
Weaker targets often don’t stand a chance, but even some of the game’s tankiest champions can suffer at the hands of the Night Hunter thanks to her Silver Bolts ability. This skill makes the third consecutive attack on a target deal a percentage of their maximum health as true damage. This term means that the damage can’t be reduced by armour or magic resistance, so it can have a significant effect on tanky, high-health champions.
Once fully powered up with massive attack damage and crazy attack speed you’ll be rinsing through any champion that dares stand in your way in a matter of seconds. You’ll be disappearing into your surroundings, tumbling forwards to capitalise on mistakes, and chasing down any stragglers who dare try to escape.
If left to freely do this Vayne can easily carry a team to victory time and time again.