Mid-season update: Explaining Elemental Dragons


Elemental Dragons are going to be a gigantic change to League of Legends once the mid-season update hits.

Changes to Dragon is something we have all known about for the mid-season update, but most people expected minor changes like tweaking its buffs or making it worth gold. Riot could have done that and made everyone happy, but they decided to go above our expectations and completely change how Dragon is used in League of Legends.

The way Dragon has currently worked is as a neutral objective that grants five different buffs that stack with each other. However, that’s not how things will work in the future. There is no longer a single dragon, but rather a set of dragons called Elemental Dragons. There are five types of Elemental Dragons: Fire Dragon, Earth Dragon, Water Dragon, Air Dragon and Elder Dragon.

The way the Elemental Dragons work is this: for the first 35 minutes of the game, any one of Fire, Earth, Water or Air will spawn. Once that dragon is slain, the minimap will display which dragon will spawn next. Every dragon will bring something different to the table. Fire Dragon increases champion killing power, Earth Dragon increases damage to turrets and epic monsters, Water Dragon increases health and mana regeneration and Air Dragon increases out of combat movement speed.

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It is possible for the same type of dragon buff to stack on each other, so killing two Air Dragons will increase your movement speed even more.

The Elder Dragon is a bit different. After 35 minutes, the four other dragons leave the game for good to make room for the Elder Dragon. The Elder Dragon will be harder to kill than the other dragons, and he gives a buff that grants a powerful burn-over-time on spells and attacks, and he also gives a buff that is stronger for each dragon stack you already have.

Andrei “Meddler” van Roon – League’s Lead Gameplay Designer – took to the League of Legends boards to give some more insight on the big change to Dragon.

Meddler mentioned on separate occasions that the biggest reasoning behind the addition of Elemental Dragons is to create more unique situations that call for players to adapt to things in-game. Everyone was calling for Dragon to be worth gold, but Meddler stated that was too boring of a route for Riot to take: “With a single line of buffs as a reward (or gold), we’re seeing that game states can become very linear, with both teams generally vying for the same objectives again and again.”

He also explained that they wanted to make all the dragon buffs good for everyone, even if it doesn’t seem like it would be best for your team composition. For example, Water Dragon is a strong buff to teams with a lot of poke, but it’s also a strong defense for teams against poke. Every dragon buff should be something enticing for everyone in the game.

It wasn’t in the original announcement, but Meddler also mentioned that each dragon encounter will be different. “The Water Dragon, for example, has attacks that slow movement speed , making it harder to disengage from a dragon attempt, while the Earth Dragon’s tougher than the others, so will be a longer fight,” Meddler said.

These are drastic changes that shouldn’t be taken lightly, and Riot deserves a lot of praise for them. The company recently said that their goal is to be relevant for generations, and making game-changing moves like this can help make that dream come true.

“With a single line of buffs as a reward (or gold), we’re seeing that game states can become very linear…”

Dragon has been essentially meaningless this season. Teams do not prioritize it like they have in the past, and taking down Dragon this season has given off a “I guess we have this buff now” type of vibe. That has been terrible for the state of the game, because neutral objects like Dragon have to be a top priority if League wants to be in the best state that it can be in.

Elemental Dragons are a huge step in the right direction and should have teams fighting for Dragon once again. Does your team consist of Twisted Fate, Master Yi and Tryndamere? If so, it sounds like you guys should be willing to do anything to take down the Earth Dragon if it spawns. Just imagine if that team gets the chance to go for two Earth Dragons…oh my.

League can get stale at times. It’s alright to admit that. Fortunately, Riot realizes that and is finding ways to drastically change the game to spice things up. These feel like preseason changes, but this is just a little ol’ mid-season update.

The Elemental Dragons will hit the Public Beta Environment in the next couple of days, and they are set to make their live debut on patch 6.9. Get ready for them, because they are going to change the game.

Visit our Patch Updates section to stay up-to-date on all the upcoming changes.