Everything you need to know about LoL's dragons and drakes
League of Legends Season 10 introduced the elemental rift, a map that changes based on the dragons that spawn on the map. The third dragon spawn of the game determines the map for the remainder of the match. Halfway through Season 10, some players are still confused about the buffs granted by each dragon, the priority given to each soul, and when's the best time to go for them. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the basics so you’re ready the next time you jump into a game.
Buffs granted by dragons in LoL
Season 10 changed the spawning times for dragons and the dragon buff system. Dragons one and two are unique elements. Dragon three's element remains the same for the remainder of the game and respawns until a team gets four dragons and completes a dragon soul.
Cloud Dragon grants 10 / 20 / 30 / 40 percent ultimate cooldown reduction, ignoring the CDR cap. It means that, under the right conditions, a player could get up to 80% CDR on their ultimate ability.
Cloud Dragon Soul is probably the least valuable soul in the game. It grants 10% bonus movement speed, increased to 50% bonus MS for six seconds after casting one's ultimate. In a late-game situation, having additional MS might not change anything.
Infernal Dragon grants 4 / 8 / 12 / 16 percent AD and AP. With Infernal dragon things start getting interesting. Additional damage is good for everyone, regardless of what the composition is trying to accomplish.
Infernal Dragon Soul creates an explosion around the target when a champion deals damage with an ability or an auto attack. It deals 80 + 22.5% bonus AD, plus 13.5% AP, and adds 2.75% bonus health. Overall, Infernal soul is extremely useful and is a great tool to use in closing tight games.
Mountain dragon grants 6 / 12 / 18 / 24 percent armor and magic resistance. This is a defensive buff that benefits any type of composition, but can be particularly effective on champions that are already difficult to take down.
Mountain Dragon Soul grants a shield for 200 plus 18% bonus AD, 13% AP, 13% bonus health. Mountain is the best defensive option and makes champions harder to kill, especially late game when the tanks are at full build.
Ocean dragon restores 2.5 / 5 / 7.5 / 10 percent of missing health every five seconds. Ocean helps with sustain and is considered the strongest dragon in the game. It’s not necessarily a defensive buff like a mountain dragon's buff, but sometimes being able to survive for a couple of extra seconds is enough to make the difference.
Ocean Dragon Soul heals for 160 when a champion deals damage to enemies, it restores 80 mana, plus 36% bonus AD, 22.5 percent AP and 9% bonus health. Overall, ocean soul is the most valuable in the game and the one that every team wants the most.
Dragon priority in LoL
Because each dragon has something different to offer, priorities around them change according to the spawns.
The best dragon to start the game
Despite not being the best buff overall, cloud dragons are worth fighting for in the early stages of the game. Dragon one spawns just five minutes into the game, and at this point, no champion has any significant CDR complete. 10% CDR is way better early.
Dragon souls from best to worst
It was established that ocean soul is the best buff in the game. Ocean soul heals and restores mana by a significant amount. These numbers are hard to ignore and provide enough sustain to help survive extended team fights. The enemy team needs healing reduction and a crazy amount of burst damage to stop a team with the ocean dragon soul. No matter the state of the game, teams must fight for ocean dragons, especially if it’s an ocean rift.
Blowing up an enemy with just a couple of auto attacks might be satisfying, but it’s no better than surviving while your enemies throw everything at you. The second-best dragon soul is mountain because of the shield it grants. Marksmen and mages don’t tend to build defensive items, so any additional armor and magic resistance is more than welcome.
Second to last is infernal soul, as the additional damage is good, but it’s not as impactful as the previous souls. If the enemy secures this buff, it’s not the end of the game, as there are ways to work around it and get a win.
The worst soul is cloud, though it's still potentially useful. It will depend on how many cloud dragons a team can secure before grabbing the soul. 20 percent CDR plus two more dragons is a decent stack, but nothing outstanding that will change the game. Getting 40 percent CDR on the other hand is a good number. It doesn’t hurt to get this buff, but realistically, it may not do much for the team.
When is the right time to go for the dragon?
There are right and wrong times to go for the dragon, just as there are right and wrong ways to do it. Just because it’s available doesn’t mean that teams should instantly go for it. Losing a team fight in the dragon pit could seal the fate of a team.
Whenever the bottom lane has priority, it’s a good opening to go for a dragon. It means that both the ADC and support can move up the river and help. Whenever there’s mid lane priority might also be a good opportunity, but bottom lane priority is preferred.
Another time to go for dragon is whenever you spot the enemy jungler on the other side of the map. If the enemy jungler is committing to a gank in the top lane, or is just busy farming far away from the dragon pit, it’s a good time to start the dragon because they won’t be around to contest.
Setting up for a dragon
If the enemy jungler is nowhere close to the pit, junglers can go for it with minimal setup. As the game progresses and teams start fighting for neutral objectives, there’s some work required to set up for dragons, like placing vision in and around the pit. Placing vision at any entry to the river is also necessary. Red teams also need to place vision behind the pit to guarantee enemies won’t use a blast cone to steal it.
Killing the enemy jungler beforehand always helps. It should go without saying, but a jungler should not use its Smite just before a dragon is coming up. Junglers must always have it available in case there’s a chance for a steal, or to secure a contest dragon during a fight.
If you’re a mid laner or part of the bottom lane duo, keep track of the time and how long you have before the next dragon spawn, and be sure to ping the remaining time to your teammates. That way, the rest of the team can be similarly aware and prepare for a possible fight.
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