Preseason patch 9.23 changes the map, dragons, runes, and more

By Melany Moncada


Nov 20, 2019

Reading time: 5 min

Patch 9.23 is loaded and ready to go. Welcome to the preseason!

The ranked season is done and it’s time for a fresh start with a new map, new dragons, and new items. Patch 9.23 introduces a new set of mechanics that will change the game completely. The new mechanics change the priority in objectives, the experience and gold distribution, and the impact of individuals on the game.

Elemental Rift and new dragon interactions in Patch 9.23

The biggest changes in Patch 9.23 are the map modifications caused by the game’s dragons. The rift changes after the second elemental dragon dies, based on the third dragon of the game’s element. Once the map transforms, all future dragons will be of that same element.

  • Infernal Rift: The brush around the blue and red buff burn, new paths open, and the dragon pit entrance widens.
  • Mountain Rift: Rocks emerge in the jungle, creating new paths.
  • Cloud Rift: Air currents around the blue and red buff grant movement speed.
  • Ocean Rift: The brushes in the jungle enlarge, new brushes sprout up on the dragon’s pit, and more honeyfruit spawns.

Getting dragons triggers the map changes and also adds a new buff called dragon souls. When a team gets four dragons, that team gets a dragon soul, a permanent buff lasting throughout the game. The dragon soul will match the elemental rift and only one team can get it. After one team claims the dragon soul, the elder drake will spawn.

  • Infernal Soul: Every three seconds, the attack or ability triggers a small explosion that deals damage in a small area.
  • Mountain Soul: After not taking damage for five seconds, the champion gets a shield for 225.
  • Cloud Soul: Champions get 10% movement speed, using the R grants an additional 30% movement speed for three seconds.
  • Ocean Soul: Dealing damage to enemies and minions regenerates health and mana.

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On top of those interactions, the dragon buffs are also changing. Some are entirely different, while some have simply be retuned.

  • Infernal: +5/10/15/20% attack damage and ability power
  • Mountain: +8/16/24/32% armor and magic resist
  • Cloud: 10/20/30/40% ultimate CDR
  • Ocean: 5/10/15/20% missing health regen per 5 seconds

The first three dragons of the game will be different to guarantee a broader variety of buffs available to each team. The elder drake no longer is the late game insurance for teams that stack dragons, since it no longer increases previous dragon effects. The new mechanic is potentially the perfect tool to get back into a seemingly lost game, allowing players to execute their opponents by reducing their health down 20%.

  • Elder Drake: Enemies at 20% health or less are executed. The effect has no cooldown and can execute multiple enemies at once. The buff lasts for three minutes.

Jungle and solo lane changes in Patch 9.23

Due to the changes in Patch 9.23 the junglers might be tempted to play solely through bottom and mid lanes. To balance that, the game is changing the spawn timing of the rift herald. It will spawn for the first time at eight minutes and a second time six minutes after the first herald is killed. The rift herald will despawn at 19 minutes.

This means that with appropriate attention to the top side of the map, teams will be able to use two rift heralds in a single game, potentially building up massive gold advantages as tower plates are crushed.

Patch 9.23 also changes the experience granted by jungle camps and the spawning time of those camps. Now, junglers can get to level three if they do a full clear regardless of which side of the map they start on. These jungle camps will spawn faster and as a result will grant less gold, though they should provide more gold overall so long as junglers consistently clear them out as they respawn.

Solo laners will have a better time in Patch 9.23. The solo minion experience increased significantly, and top and mid laners will level up faster than the bottom laners. This is meant to balance out the natural priority that will exist towards the bottom lane with the renewed importance of dragons.

Item and rune changes in Patch 9.23

The most significant item change comes in the form of new support items. There will be four options available that grant either attack damage or ability power, depending on the item. Supports no longer have to buy item upgrades, as instead the items automatically upgrade when a champion completes the relevant quest.

The items upgrade for the first time after the champion gets 500 gold with that item, and a second time when they earn 1000 gold. Once the item gets to the third tier, it will stop granting gold to the champion.

Ancient Coin, Brawler’s Glove, Spear of Shojin, Zz’rot Portal, Ohmwrecker, and Raptor Cloak have been permanently removed from the game.

Kleptomancy, the preferred rune of Damwon Gaming’s top laner Jang “Nuguri” Ha-gwon and Ezreal mains around the world, has been removed from the game and will be replaced by Omnistone. The new prototype rune periodically grants a single use of another keystone. Glacial Augment, Hail of Blades, and Conqueror are some of the keystones that could be granted by the Omnistone.

New rewards delivered in Patch 9.23

With the end of the ranked season comes the rewards. Any player that finished the ranked season Gold or above will receive the Victorious Aatrox skin. Patch 9.23 will add the new Pulsefire Thresh skin and a prestige edition to go along with it.

Patch 9.23 marks the end of an era, as Twisted Treeline is officially retired from the game. Players with ten or more Twisted Treeline games will receive icons and emotes as rewards for their loyalty.

Last but not least, the Essence Emporium is returning. From November 25 to December 10, players can use the Blue Essence to purchase chromas, icons, and more.


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For the full Patch Notes, visit League of Legends’ website.


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