Sigbog has been playing League of Legends since Season 1 and is currently a Grandmaster level jungler.
What Are Turret Plates?
Turret plating is a new addition to League of Legends tier 1 turrets as of the preseason for Season 9. There are 5 plates to each tier 1 turret, each consisting of 1000 health. They make tier 1 turrets tougher than before with armor/magic resistance bonuses as well as more health. They also grant gold to nearby players who break plates, with 160 gold per plate broken split to all nearby allies. However, after a plate is broken, the turret gains bonus armor/magic resistance per nearby enemy for awhile, so it is difficult to break multiple plates in a single push.
The tricky part is that these plates disappear at 14 minutes into the game, and all gold you could have gotten from them disappears along with them. This means that you want to rack in as much plate gold from tier 1 turrets as possible before 14 minutes pass in the game to give yourself the largest gold advantage possible while moving into the team phase.
How Turret Plates Affect the Game
Turret plates have a very dramatic impact on the way games unfold.
- Before 14 minutes, turrets are difficult to take down, making the first 14 minutes of the game much more likely to just be a strict laning phase. Rather than a large early rotation breaking a turret before 10 minutes, leading to a snowballing team fight phase and directly away from a laning phase, the laning phase is more strongly enforced until 14 minutes.
- This lets lanes have a longer laning phase but also accrue more gold in the process. Because breaking plates grants extra gold, and there's a lot of it, the laning phase has extra importance attached to it. Now you do want to stay in lane, chipping away at your turret for extra plate gold.
- This also prevents winning lanes from quickly bleeding that advantage over to losing lanes. Your bot lane can't go 6-0, take first turret, and rotate mid to do the same thing there. Instead, they have to sit around longer, taking out plates. This gives other lanes more time to play unaffected by the large swing in another lane.
Overall, this means fewer early team fights, more turret pushing, and a more strict laning phase duration.
However, when the plates fall at 14 minutes, their armor/magic resistance bonuses go away, and now turrets become easier to take. This officially kicks off a strong team fighting phase as you can now push on to turrets as a group.
How Turret Plates Affect the Meta
The meta is still unfolding, but you can expect to see a bunch of changes, such as:
- Fewer large-scale rotations to other lanes: I'm sure there will still be plenty of rotations, but probably fewer 4-man ganks bot lane to get first turret blood.
- Fewer teleports to other lanes: This now risks a bunch of plate gold even if the teleporting player can get back to their lane before a turret is destroyed.
- A lot more 'Demolish' runes: This is the rune that charges up and then deals extra damage to a turret. It had its damaged nerfed but charge time reduced. It is already being used a lot, and I expect it to continue.
- A lot more turret-pushing compositions: Such as Caitlyn, who is really good at pushing lane and poking down towers. This will also have other repercussions, such as supports good at protecting those types of champions, and mid laners good at killing them such your typical assassin Talons/Zeds.
- Some changes to jungling: Jungle presence will likely cause less of a snowball, given that they won't be able to take down turrets easily. But with the plate gold, you can expect no change in the amount of jungle attention that is given. If anything, you can expect junglers to push to towers more often rather than just getting a kill, some farm, and leaving.
Rift Herald vs. Turret Plates
The right time to use Rift Herald can be quite tricky. Using Rift Herald while plates are still up means locking in some plate gold that you would otherwise lose out on. However, you'd be using it to only partially damage a tier 1 turret, whereas you have a good chance at taking down a tier 2 turret if you wait until tier 1 is out of the way.
Similarly, Rift Herald does more damage based on the level of the user that uses it. This is because Rift Herald does true damage equal to 40% of its current HP (minimum 1500) and its HP scales by the level of the user when it is spawned (not when it is taken down). The true damage means the bonus armor/magic resistance that plates provide does nothing to stop the Rift Herald.
- Best Use: Using Rift Herald at level 9 will do 1983 damage to a turret, 17 damage short of 2 plates, but odds are it will likely actually take out 2 plates as long as it has some damage, you can attack it once, or rift gets to do at least 1 swing. That's 320 extra gold in your team's pocket that is otherwise lost after 14 minutes. If you used it earlier than level 9, be sure to do so only if you can secure 2 or more plates, also preferably if you can take a tower. Using Rift to get only 1 plate would be a waste unless you need first tower gold.
- Good Use: If you aren't going to take out plates anyway, try to save Rift Herald for a tier 2 turret. Removing these let's your team threaten their inhibitor turrets, removes a bunch of safe zones, let's you creep into their jungle, and overall take a massive amount of control over the map away from them.
- Okay Use: Breaking a tier 1 turret after plates have fallen is perhaps the worst use. Those turrets still have a lot of health so they're harder to take down with rift, and you won't get plate gold. However, if the game is pretty locked up, or you're behind, it's always good to take turrets to give yourself some breathing room.