When does the "laning phase" end?

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Does it go by character level?

Does it end when one team starts pushing?

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I'll just quote myself from the thread below you O.o

Originally Posted by SomniumProxy View Post

I'll try to explain a bit why the laning phase exists and why it ends:

Your goal is to kill the nexus. For this, your secondary objective is to take down inhibitors, which requires you to kill towers first. So, even tho killing towers may not always be directly your main priority (as you your direct priority is to create an advantage over the enemy team), it indirectly is your primary goal and your strategies must be build around taking towers, inhibitors and ultimately the nexus.

However: there is a difference between champion strenght and tower strenght and it changes with every level. At level 1 champions are very weak compared to tower - meaning a single champion next to a tower can defend against 5 champions with relatively low efforts. As champions level up, this changes, and between levels 5-8 (depeinding on the champion) tower dives are possible, meaning a tower is no longer a safe spot.

This is generally the end of the laning phase. The moment when 3 champions are able to tower dive 1 or 2 enemies and get away with it, you are no longer safe in your lane. If a team chooses to stay in lanes, the other team will just pick a lane, kill the champions there and whipe out not just one, but most likely two towers, as organized champions push very fast.

Still, at levels 7-9 a laning phase is still somewhat possible, as there are champions that can defend. Not everyone can, but some can (like Rammus, Shen, or mages who can clear creep waves). Especially if you have Fortify. But if you don't, you really should change your strategy.

An other thing you need to know is that level 12+ pushes are very dangerous. I'm well aware that when people are new, they tend to not notice what's going on and stay in their lane. It's like that. But know this: a gorup of 3-4 champions level 12+ will most likely go straight for the inhib, and It won't take them long to do so. If the other team doesn't react, even if the respective champions are pushing towers in the empty lanes, the organized group will push much faster and an inhibitor can't be compared to the outer towers.

In conclusion, a bit of insight on something that may be a bit too far ahead, but you'll see it nearly every game in ranked: Jungle control. Once people hit level 6-7, your main priorities switch to dragon, golem and lizard. Controling these means winning the next team fight, which means having a 20-30 sec of free push. Even if the first tower mid is still standing, for 30 sec they'd probably take the first, second and half the health of the third tower. One more reason laning phase ends quicker - everyone is busy placing wards, controlling neutral buffs and preventing enemy team from getting dragon.

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There's no hard and fast rule about what level. Maybe around 15-20+ minutes, which IIRC your solos should be around 11+ and dual laners 8+ at least. But it doesn't have much to do with level directly. This is just more to do with the fact that yes, one team will almost definitely start pushing as a group by this time. By 15-20 minutes it's fairly common for at least one tower in a lane to be down, which makes farming it more dangerous and you'll see people naturally congregate in a lane (usually middle) to first gank and then push the tower after. (or to defend against such)

Just help your team out whenever possible. If you see a bunch of enemies in one spot, you'll probably do more good helping your team out in that lane than farming by yourself, unless you're sure you can take out that tower and live.

edit: just read som's post, much more detailed and explains why better :P