In my experience of “Silver vs. Platinum” games, the post-laning phase is the point in time where distinctions can be drawn between different summoners of different elos (or whatever we call it these days). The post-laning phase is different for each lane, and lasts between the time the first T1 tower in a lane goes down and when the first T2 in a lane goes down. Obviously, other lanes can be drawn into this phase without having their T1s go down, so it will vary from match to match. Oftentimes Silvers will hold their own against Platinums until this point, sometimes even getting a slight lead. However, the power of an individual while laning is insignificant next to the power of a team once it groups (e.g. win lane, lose game).
After T1 towers start falling, it becomes largely impractical to continue laning, because the safety created by the tower no longer exists. If you’re in a lane where you push their tower, it’s almost always a bad idea to push past that point and try to keep laning, because ganking opportunities increase exponentially. Additionally, if you’re against someone like a Vayne or Akali, with excellent chasing capabilities, the extra distance to run gives them a huge advantage in securing a kill. If you are the one that lost the tower, don’t try to stay in the midpoint of the lane and continue laning as if nothing happened. Either freeze the lane near your T2, or join up with others and help them out- use your best judgement to determine which is better in each case.
Because of the change to the landscape, warding takes a new dimension at this stage. If you are laning you want to put wards around the area in your lane where creeps meet. This is because during early laning, creep waves are the most significant objective that is plausibly contestable, so people contest the wave, which draws in jungle pressure. As champions become more powerful, turrets become weaker in comparison, and thus contestable. In order to achieve best results for taking an objective, you want to have the most information you can about it, and warding around it you vital information. If you’re contesting/defending a T2, you want to have a ward in a jungle bush near the tower so you can see people coming to get you, and retreat in time. Buffs are both significant and contestable at this stage, so if a tower has gone down near a buff (on either team’s side) it’s a good idea to have a ward on it. Keep these principles in mind when thinking about warding Dragon/Baron.
Have you heard that there’s safety in numbers? Don’t leave the protection of your towers and go into enemy territory unless you have protection from teammates, or very good ward coverage. Once T1s go down you should begin functioning as a team anyway, but make it a rule for yourself to always have at least one buddy when you push past vision range (or vision on all threats on the map). If you do, you’ll find that you almost never get “caught out.”
Lane matchups are important factors when deciding whether you can even stay in lane after a T1 goes down. First off, you need to take into account who counters who (something you should’ve taken into account before coming to lane), and who is ahead. Next, the factor most often taken for granted in lane match-ups is the jungler. Consider how the enemy jungler and your lane opponent(s) synergize, as well as what happens when you bring your own jungler into the equation, and determine who will come out ahead in any given scenario (if there are global ults these also come into the equation). These are things you should do during the load screen, and become absolutely vital at this stage. The greater the amount of scenarios you will come out on top in, the higher the probability that you should stay in lane after a T1 in your lane goes down, the fewer the amount of scenarios you will come out on top in, the more likely it is that you should group with others. Unless you have a very definite edge in continuing to lane (e.g. a Singed that’s been whooping on a Tryndamere, and yearns for wide open stretches to frolic across) it’s usually better to group with the team.
Now, let’s look at specific plays at this stage that any member of the team can instigate that can be easily read and followed up by their team (if you haven’t read my article on Composition Analysis, I recommend you skim it now to have a frame of reference for the next section).
Dragon/Baron Bait: Because you thrive on hitting multiple targets, you want those targets to be as close together as possible. Using objectives as bait and getting the enemy to group to take them is a good way to force the kind of engages you want (plus you get free damage on them!). As long as there’s a ward on the objective, you can ambush the enemy team and easily lock up several targets, all you need is the foresight to craft such a devious plot. If you know they have it warded, starting it will draw them in, starting a Baron/Dragon dance. This forces them to either “lose” the ground near Dragon, or causes them to pile in to a nice clump that you can pounce on, even if you were somewhat damaged from the boss.
The jungle is a tight place, and if you can ward your/their buffs (depending on which team is winning), forcing a team fight there will cause targets to be bunched closer together, giving you the upper hand you need. As long as you can get team mates to work with you, the jungle is your ally when you are an AOE comp, so in general you will want to fight there as much as possible.
The Long Haul to Infinity: Poke comps thrive on having an infinite amount of time to dilly-dally, constantly chucking out poke until they can get an advantage from it. Dragon/Baron dances provide this opportunity, as long as they can control when the engage actually starts. The place they do best however, is in long tower sieges, particularly if they are the sieging team. Clearing endless waves and chucking endless poke allows them create fights they want, and indefinitely delay those they don’t, sometimes forcing a team off of an objective without even having a real fight (A Vayne left with 25% HP from poke can’t fight a full health enemy team ;). As such, objective sieges are probably going to be your main tactic when going for T2s as a poke comp.
These Boots were made for Walkin’: Dive comps have the mobility to get in a fight, and the raw power to muscle through it, coming out on top. Jungle creeps, Baron/Dragon, and towers are things that just get in their way. Dive comps work best when catching a team out of position, and as such, long lanes with towers destroyed, the river, and other areas where they can catch a person/team and brawl with them are their favorites. Therefore, a dive comp wants to move their pressure from one objective to another, fighting during the transition. Splitpushing as two groups, and converging at one point, or simply rotating as a team from one lane to another (or to a river objective), is how a dive comp can catch it’s prey. The important thing to remember is to keep moving, moving, moving.
Separated but United: Splitpushing is a self-explanatory, yet tricky, play. While the splitpushing team doesn’t group, they still have to coordinate. The team is divided into different units, which we’ll call parties, and needs to be assessing how the other party is doing, how the enemy team is dispersed, and how pressure is being applied in each area. As a rule, splitpushing is designed to create what we’ll call a “favorable imbalance of power.” In other words, by splitting the enemy up from being a 5-man group into parties of 1 and 4, one (or sometimes both) of those parties will be advantageous for the splitpushing team. Knowing whether your party has the advantage in a fight dictates whether you should push or defend. Communicating to the team what each party should be doing will help prevent disaster, and help the splitpush be successful. Without it, proper pressure won’t be applied globally, and too much of the enemy team will be able to shutdown the splitpusher, or the 4-man group will lose a party fight that costs more towers than the splitpusher will get.
The Safety Dance: Peel comps are excellent at…well…peeling. In other words, they are great at defending their bastion of mega-damage. If you’re running a peel composition, your proximity to the hypercarry, and how you move around them is the most important thing. Think of it as if the hypercarry is the president, and the other four members are secret service agents. For every step the hypercarry takes forward, you take a step forward, and for every step they take back, you take back. If you do so, you safely transport your “secret weapon,” and can defend/take objectives. Since your emphasis is defensive, the most important thing to do is to avoid places where the other team is strong. If they are an AOE comp, stay out of the jungle, if they are a Dive comp stay out of the river, etc.
The post-laning phase is where people overextend most without realizing it, and throw leads that they’ve worked hard to build up. Otherwise, most mistakes are made as a result of failing to coordinate with others on the team. Team compositions have little impact during laning, but become a dominant factor immediately afterwards. Simply put, the better your team is at teamfighting when compared to theirs, the more likely it is you should group. If you’re an AOE comp, it’s almost a guarantee that you should be grouping, or else you won’t be able to do a “Curse of the Sad Bullet Requiem” (or whatever it is that you have). Because of all the moving around and lack of towers, it’s essential to coordinate as a team according to your team composition. Because of the emphasis on teamwork, it’s important to know how your team works so that you can create situations where your team is favored, and avoid those where it is not.