The priority for Dragon Soul is in all-time low in the 2020 World Championship, but the buff keeps proving to be the strongest win condition in the game.
Play-ins are over and we now have an idea of the meta heading to the World Championship main event. Marksmen in the mid lane, carry junglers, and roaming supports were some of the favorites in the first part of the tournament. Surprisingly enough, the objective priority went down, as the teams preferred to skirmish and go for turret rather than taking drakes.
The group stage consisted of 20 matches and only 45% of the games saw a team completing the Dragon Soul. In those nine matches, only one team lost while wearing the Dragon Soul, making for an 87.5% win-rate with the buff.
The low priority for dragons might have something to do with the jungle meta. Junglers have no time to waste, and they don’t want to farm and wait for level six. Ideally, junglers will be looking for ganking opportunities at level three, the latest. Junglers want to be near the lanes early and make things happen as soon as possible.
One kill can turn into a turret or an invasion into the enemy jungle at the 2020 World Championship. The meta is all about gaining terrain and control of the maps through kills. The jungle invasions are more aggressive, which requires a defense equally strong.
Considering this game plan, there are two scenarios. In one, teams point resources towards securing dragons. In the other, they completely ignore them.
Getting a dragon requires a setup, and that means such resources as vision. Ideally, players must have their summoner’s spells available and their ultimates ready to go. A team might invest all of this and still not get the dragon, and even if they do, it’s not necessarily a game-changer unless it’s the soul. A poor setup around the dragon could lead to a defeat, even if the team has the lead going into the fight. In the current state of the meta, drakes are a high-risk and low-reward, unless it’s the soul. And taking drakes is required to create opportunities for the Dragon Soul.
Dragons are being used mostly as a way to buy time in the game. A team might force the opponent into a fight for a dragon that doesn’t really matter for either squad. The fourth dragon and subsequent soul is a crucial point where one team can trick the other into an unfavorable situation.
For example, if one team is at soul point, the opposing might be tempted to fight to deny it. That fight means that the opponents will waste time and resources it might need later. Assuming that this opposing team has no dragons already accrued, denying the soul means getting a tier-one drake buff, which is of little use past the 20-minute mark. But if a team doesn’t try to deny it, the opponent gets the Soul and is most likely to win the game. It’s a tight situation to be in, and teams are still learning how best to navigate it.
The 2020 World Championship resumes on October 3.