League of Legends Patch 9.23 breakdown: The preseason patch

League of Legends. Photo courtesy of Riot Games.
League of Legends. Photo courtesy of Riot Games. /
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Elemental Rifts

Transformation mechanics

"Transformation Trigger: After the second Elemental Drake dies and the third is announced. Rift Element: Same as the element of the third drake. Territorial: Once the map transforms, all future Elemental Drake spawns will be of that element only. Terrain Changes: Always occur in the four jungle quadrants, centered around the buff camps, as well as in dragon pit."

If you want a more in-depth look at how these elemental dragons will interact with Summoner’s Rift, check this guide out from earlier in the year when the elemental rifts were first announced.

It’s simple really, when the second dragon of the game is killed, Summoner’s Rift will transform in accordance with the third dragon of the game’s element. From then on, the only dragons to spawn will be of that element.

Here’s how each elemental dragon will affect the Rift:

Infernal Rift, Preseason, League of Legends.
League of Legends. Photo courtesy of Riot Games. /

Infernal Rift

"Jungle: The brush nearest to Blue and Red buffs burn away, and new pathways open up through the Blue and Red buff pits. Dragon Pit: The entrance to Dragon pit widens."

If the Infernal Dragon is the third drake of the game, terrain will be removed across the jungle and near the dragon pit.

By opening up space in key areas of the map, the team on the back foot will have an even more difficult time defending their base and jungle, potentially giving up more control to the enemy team. This is due to less time being required to travel from the river to the jungle, increasing chase potential, fewer walls to hide behind and Flash over, and fewer brushes to hide in.

If your team is in the lead, Infernal might be a great option to extend your advantage after the second dragon of the game.

Mountainous Rift, Preseason 2020, League of Legends.
League of Legends. Photo courtesy of Riot Games. /

Mountain Rift

"Jungle: Two new bluffs of rock emerge in each jungle quadrant. Dragon Pit: A rock formation rises in front of the Dragon pit."

In the Mountain Rift’s case, terrain will be added instead of removed when the Mountain Drake is the third of the game.

If you’re a Gnar, Poppy, Qiyana, or Vayne, you love Mountain Rift as it provides a tonne more stun potential across the jungle and dragon pit.

Generally speaking, these new bluffs of rock around the map can act as the perfect choke point or ambush area to kick off a fight and turn a small gold lead into a large gold lead with an advantageous skirmish.

Ocean Rift, Preseason 2020, League of Legends.
League of Legends. Photo courtesy of Riot Games. /

Ocean Rift

"Jungle: Most of the brush in the jungle grows larger and new Honeyfruit spawns near the buff camps. Water pools into puddles throughout the jungle, which is mostly aesthetic unless you’re the Empress of the Elements or running the Waterwalking rune. Dragon Pit: New brush patches sprout up around the Dragon pit."

Unlike the first two Elemental Rifts, the Ocean Rift neither adds or removes terrain. Instead, if Ocean is the third dragon of the game, brush areas will grow larger across the jungle and more Honeyfruits will spawn.

This adds more areas of darkness for either team to take advantage of by either hiding from an incoming enemy, or setting up an ambush as a team in a brush.

As for the Honeyfruits, they could act as obstacles to slow down a fleeing enemy champion or play havoc in a jungle team fight by increasing HP and slowing movement speeds across the board.

Cloud Dragon, Preseason, League of Legends.
League of Legends. Photo courtesy of Riot Games. /

Cloud Rift

"Jungle: Air currents flow throughout the area around Blue and Red buffs, granting speed boosts to everyone inside. Dragon Pit: Dragon Pit also becomes a speed boosting wind tunnel."

Finally, Cloud Dragon will spawn speed boosts across the jungle and Dragon Pit if it is the third dragon of the game.

This can help players both escape and chase either in a jungle skirmish or following a team fight. Ultimately, as both teams receive this buff, it probably won’t have much of an impact on general gameplay.

Side Lane Alcoves & River Entrance Brush

Riot Games
Riot Games /

"New alcoves have been carved into the outer corners of top and bot lanes. Bot Lane Brush: Two long patches ⇒ Three patches, mirroring top lane. New brush has been added by the river entrances in both Blue buff quadrants."

While we’re talking about map changes, we may as well mention the new alcoves and brushes added to the standard Summoner’s Rift experience (before the second dragon of the game is slain).

In both the top and bottom lane, there’s a new alcove that may encourage fighting or present different gank opportunities depending on how vision is set up in that area. It probably won’t have much of an impact on the game at all, but it’s a visual change and something to play around during preseason.

As for the added brushes, a single brush has been added near the Blue buff entrance in the north and south river. This is a nifty area to throw down a ward, or hide in before ganking either side lane.