Much of what we do in solo queue is informed by we see the professionals do. This is both not unusual and, in most cases, not at all incorrect. In the past, however, we've talked about how the differences between professional League of Legends play and solo queue play mean that sometimes, doing what the pros do is actually a terrible idea.
Today, we're going to land somewhere in the middle. Today we're going to talk about a feature of the top lane that's to ingrained into everyone that plays the lane as to be something you now barely think about. Today we're going to talk about Teleport.
Teleport is one of the most powerful summoner spells in the game. It's capable of winning the game all on its own in much the same way a timely exhaust or a clutch flash can. However, unlike either of those summoner spells, Teleport requires prior setup in order to function properly. We've all seen LCS players pull off a super sick flank with teleport that catches the enemy team completely by surprise, but they weren't permitted to just Teleport to whatever locale pleased them. They needed a well-placed ward to teleport to.
If you've played solo queue anytime in the history of League of Legends, you know that asking for a well-placed ward is actually a rather big ask. Far too often Teleport just ends up being a tool that ensures you can't get completely shut down in lane, as it ensures you can often catch huge waves that you might otherwise miss due to travel time. While that's certainly valuable on some champions, in other matchups a more offensive summoner spell may be called for. Most duelist top laners make excellent use of a second combat summoner, and no team can ever have too many Exhausts on it. Others might be better off taking Ghost for more teamfight mobility. Darius, in particular, benefits from this second option, as the combination of Ghost and Stormraider's Surge gives him the ability to become a reasonable teamfighter, which is a stage of the game he's historically struggled in.
I'm not telling you to not take Teleport. In fact, if you're a tank player you should still be 100% be taking Teleport. Nautilus is unlikely to need a combat summoner in all but the worst lane matchups, while Maokai actually does need the lane sustain that Teleport grants. Other tanks are simply unlikely to benefit from a combat summoner as they tend to lack kill pressure, and the chance of turning a bot gank around is worth the risk of missing out on a kill that a random ignite might have gotten you. What you should be doing, however, is not taking Teleport as a given, as it's far from necessary in solo queue. Keep an open mind, and don't be afraid to take Exhaust to shut down the enemy Riven if you think it will help more than getting a free recall every five minutes.