Dragons have always been a part of the League of Legends multiverse. From spirit-controlling beings to intergalactic behemoths, there is nothing more fascinating than how these creatures manage to cement themselves as ‘absolute’ in Summoner’s Rift.
We have seen Draconians, Dragonborns, and even the feared chemtech species terrorizing the Rift in their due time. However, some of them have managed to stay in the League of Legends ecosystem as a part of the drake pit. Players tend to fight and slay them to get stronger.
While these so-called dragon buffs have been a part of the game since its early beginnings, their impact on the game has continued to evolve according to the meta. With that said, let’s take an in-depth look at how these dragons work in League of Legends.
Why Are Dragons Important in League of Legends?
League of Legends is a game that has constantly been evolving. The Summoners Rift environment has been altered so often that it’s almost unrecognizable from its past. Back in the day, there used to be a single dragon granting a stack of Dragon Slayer every time it was killed.
While that stack had been buffed a multitude of times, it was nowhere as strong as what the Baron Nashor on the other half of the map. Therefore, the dev team at Riot decided to introduce elemental drakes – with each one introducing its own set of buffs to the Summoners Rift.
The main idea of these buffs is to provide a lasting boost in strength that’s always worth going for – given you want to attain that edge against the enemy team. These Dragons are spawned at certain intervals on the map and grant strong buffs to the entirety of the team that takes them down.
There are only a limited number of dragons in a game. While that limit might increase or decrease depending on which team slays which Dragon, you would only end up with four dragon buffs at max. If you manage to claim all four without giving a single one to the enemy team – then that’s the end of permanent drakes; any more (permanent buff-granting ones) won’t be spawning.
Since the general premise in League of Legends is to strengthen yourself as much as possible to get ahead of your enemy, taking the Dragons can become pivotal in deciding your victory and loss. In fact, a certain Dragon-type was so tide-shifting that Riot games had to remove it from the game entirely.
What Do Dragons Do in League of Legends?
As mentioned, the Dragons in League of Legends are meant to provide buffs to the team that slays them. While every Dragon provides a strong buff in its own regard, you would only have a limited set of options in an actual map.
This is mainly because the first three Dragons are always different – no matter which team takes them. After that, you’d get the same kind as the third Dragon until a team is able to stack a soul.
Now, there are ways to control which team gets what Dragon. However, their premise in the long term remains the same. Since the buff lasts till the end of the game, you’d definitely need to make haste.
Having said that, there are a total of five unique Drakes on the Summoner’s Rift map. Therefore, you’d generally want to know what you’re getting before sacrificing your entire team for it:
What Does the Mountain Dragon Do in LoL?
The Mountain Dragon is a defensive type that grants a buff called Mountainous Vigor. It’s a stacking-based neutral buff. Therefore, you’d gain progressive stats depending on the number of Mountain Dragons you or your teammates slay.
Mountain Soul: Not taking damage for a total of 5 seconds grants you a 200 + (18% Total AD) + (13.5% Total AP) + (13.5% Bonus Health) Shield that lasts indefinitely until depleted by taking sufficient damage. The shield will re-appear based on the mentioned criteria.
The Mountainous Vigor essentially increases a percentage-based portion of your Armour and Magic Resistance. Upon successfully collecting any four stacks (with the last one being Mountain), your team will be granted a Mountain Soul buff that essentially grants a shield to everyone on your team.
The main idea here is to increase the resistance to a level where it’s really hard to one-shot targets – even if they’re squishy ADCs. Having said that, here’s a stat chart to get an accurate idea:
|1||6% increase in Armor and Magic Resistance|
|2||12% increase in Armor and Magic Resistance|
|3||18% increase in Armor and Magic Resistance|
|4||24% increase in Armor and Magic Resistance|
Since this buff essentially allows you to partake in extended fights, you’d be good to go as long as it’s a war of attrition. Consequently, it not only protects your team’s squishy members but also acts as a buff for your team’s tanks – since every boost is percentage-based.
What Does the Cloud Dragon Do in LoL?
The Cloud Drake symbolizes the Wind and grants buffs relevant to its element. It’s generally considered one of the weaker Dragons of the game, unless and until your team comp is ultimate-reliant. Needless to say, its attacks are faster than most dragons and can be a pain to solo – especially in the early game.
Cloud Soul: Increases your movement speed by 40% whenever you cast your Ultimate Ability both in and out of combat. Since the Soul has a 30 seconds worth of cooldown, you won’t be able to abuse the movement speed on low ult-cooldown champions like Zoe.
Just like any other Dragon in the game, this one also works on the principle of stacks and can grant a Soul once a team has successfully gathered any four stacks, with the last one being Cloud. These ‘stacks’ are officially dubbed Cloudbringer’s Grace and can be obtained once a Cloud Drake has met its demise.
The Cloudbringer’s Grace essentially grants you a percentage-based increase in your and your team’s movement speed and slow resistance, thereby making you faster on the Rift. In addition, the Could Soul adds a temporary burst in movement speed that activates whenever you cast your Ultimate.
|1||3.5% increase in Slow Resist and Movement Speed (Out of combat)|
|2||7.5% increase in Slow Resist and Movement Speed (Out of combat)|
|3||10.5% increase in Slow Resist and Movement Speed (Out of combat)|
|4||14% increase in Slow Resist and Movement Speed (Out of combat)|
More movement speed translates to better chances of catching up and escaping. Chasing your enemy becomes easier, moving to different parts of the map becomes easier – and relocating during teamfights is much easier.
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What Does the Infernal Dragon Do in LoL?
The Infernal Drake symbolizes fire – and to signify this symbolization, the Infernal stacks focus on boosting the offensive capabilities of all the champions in your arsenal. Since stacking them is generally extremely good on any kind of team, you should start it early.
Infernal Soul: Abilities that damage the enemy can trigger an explosion causing (22.5% of bonus AD) + (13.5% AP) + (2.75% of bonus health). This effect can only trigger once every three seconds. Therefore, it’s best used as a poke passive.
The stacks of Infernal Dragon are called Infernal Might. Each stack increases a bit of your base attack and magic damage, and since the buff is permanent, you will be able to shred through most targets in the late game. Upon stacking four dragons – with the last one being Infernal, you’d gain an Infernal soul.
Since the Dragon Soul deals AOE-bursts, you’d almost always win poke-based battles. Therefore, you should be able to siege pretty quickly even if you don’t have Baron power play activated. With that said, here is how the general Infernal stack distribution pans out:
|1||6% increase in Attack Damage and Ability Power|
|2||12% increase in Attack Damage and Ability Power|
|3||18% increase in Attack Damage and Ability Power|
|4||24% increase in Attack Damage and Ability Power|
Since the buff also relies on damage percentages, it’ll continuously get stronger the longer a game drags on. Therefore, you’d just need to last until your team over-scales the enemy with the help of this buff. The rest is mostly smooth sailing – given your teamfight execution is perfect.
What Does the Hextech Dragon Do in LoL?
The Hextech Drake symbolizes the runic power of magic and its elements. It’s generally linked to magical electricity that courses throughout the Summoners Rift. It was added much later to the game and is – therefore, much more unique in what it can and cannot do.
Hextech Soul: Upon damaging an enemy, a lightning effect will ensue that will jump onto the next three closest enemy units in the vicinity. If there are no targets, the ricochet effect will be limited. The affected targets will be dealt with 20-50 bonus True Damage along with a slow (calculated by multiple stats) that decays over a span of two seconds.
In terms of raw specs, the buff grants Ability Haste, which allows you to cast your abilities faster. Its stack is known as the Hextech Prowess, and much like any other buff – you will be getting a Hextech Soul if you manage to collect four dragons – with the final being Hextech.
The Hextech Dragon is generally meant to slow enemies and lower their resistance. It acts more of a debuff against the enemy team. However, it also aids champions that are reliant on cooldown reduction. Stacking Hextech Dragons is mouth-watering for champions like Vladimir and Kai’sa. But at the same time, something like a Mountain Dragon is much preferred on Malphite.
|1||6% increase in Ability Haste and Attack Speed|
|2||12% increase in Ability Haste and Attack Speed|
|3||18% increase in Ability Haste and Attack Speed|
|4||24% increase in Ability Haste and Attack Speed|
With the help of the Hextech Soul, you will not only be able to deal damage in a ricochet effect but will also be able to slow the targets down. Therefore, it’s not only perfect for chasing but can also help you escape from enemies chasing you. It’s essentially just a Statik Shiv – but on steroids.
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What Does the Ocean Dragon Do in LoL?
The Ocean Dragon is responsible for bringing life to the Rift by reinvigorating everything in its wake. Fortunately, that includes the buff wielder and their team as well. The Buff of the Ocean Dragon is called the Oceanic Will, and it essentially allows you to heal with each ticking second.
Ocean Soul: Whenever you deal damage to the enemy champions, you will heal for 130 + (26% of Bonus AD) + (17% of AP) + (7% of Bonus Health). Consequently, your mana will also be restored for 80 + (3.5% of Max Mana) Mana points. This effect lasts for four seconds and is 30% effective against minions and monsters.
Fortunately, this heal isn’t limited to the individual stacks since the Soul only continues to boost the effect within combat. The Ocean Drake Soul is considered the strongest in the game since it essentially makes tanks and bruisers near-unkillable.
Having said that, the buff isn’t omnipotent, and your best bet is that the enemy will be stacking as much healing reduction as possible. However, with the changes to the overall health and durability of champions in League of Legends, the Ocean Dragon can still be a menace to deal with.
|1||2.5% regeneration based on Missing Health over 5 seconds|
|2||5% regeneration based on Missing Health over 5 seconds|
|3||7.5% regeneration based on Missing Health over 5 seconds|
|4||10% regeneration based on Missing Health over 5 seconds|
Since the buff is so strong, you’d generally want to fight and poke as much as possible. As long as you don’t get burst down, you – along with your team, will almost always will extended fights. Consequently, laning will become easier by the second, and you won’t have to worry about sustainability.
Dragon Spawn Timers & Order
There are no specific spawn timings for the Dragons except the first one. This is mainly because a second Dragon won’t be able to spawn until and unless the first one is killed. The first Dragon is set to spawn at the 5-minute mark within the game – so that the junglers on both sides have ample time to level up and be prepared.
Consequently, this time frame is also enough for the bot lanes of both sides to set up a vision and prepare for objective control. While this trend does not happen that often these days, the first Dragon is still given enough prio for the Junglers to be more than willing to trade it for a kill.
Once the first Dragon has been killed, you will have to wait a total of 5 minutes before the next one spawns. Since the Dragon type on both of these is entirely random. You’d have to manipulate the odds to a more favorable Drake.
Most teams often choose to leave these two open so they can stack a single kind of Drake – starting from the third one. While this is a bold and risky move, it often comes with a bigger payout. Once the third Dragon has made its way, the Rift will change its shape to accommodate.
After this point, all the remaining Drakes will be of the same type as the third one – until a Dragon Soul has been claimed by each team – after which, you will only be meeting Elder Dragon.
Buffs and Souls
This section covers a more holistic overview of how the buffs operate in League of Legends. If you’ve played League of Legends, then chances are that you press the tab button quite often to gauge the current state of the game. It not only shows the objective timers but also has these weird slots that house some sort of draconian insignia.
This draconian insignia is a stack that generally symbolizes the kind of Dragons you or your team have slain. Since each Drake features its own set of buffs and effects, you’d generally be good to go as long as you hover over those insignias in the Tab menu.
Once you stack 4 Dragons, a unique buff will be granted to your team. It not only grants you a distinct power but is often also the deciding factor in most of the games. A Dragon Soul buff is generally the be-all end-all of a game. However, it’s not always the case since matches are dynamic and can go either way, depending on the number of mistakes.
In general, terms, slaying a Dragon will grant you around 25 gold along with 25% of your exp to your nearby allies along with the buff stack. Now, if you’ve managed to secure the Ocean Buff, then you will gain a boost in regeneration and vice versa.
Consequently, every Dragon serves as a permanent increase to your power. Plus, having an advantage over your enemy will always be worth it for you and your team. This is mainly because the game’s pace is often dictated by the number of mistakes one makes.
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What Are The Differences Between The Dragons in League of Legends?
There used to be a single Dragon during the initial stages of League of Legends. However, the constant updates (mainly in v 6.9) introduced elemental Dragons, each having a distinct set of buff effects.
The only consistent aspect of these Dragons lies in their combat mechanics. Since there’s a fundamental difference in what every Dragon is capable of, it’s better to have a look for yourself:
|Description||Health (Level and Rift Transformation-based)||Attack Damage||Attack Speed||Range||Armor||Magic Resist||Movement Speed|
|Infernal Dragon||The Infernal Dragon is rather timid when it comes to battle. His attack damage and speed aren’t that serious. Therefore, it’s possible to solo it at any point in the game – unless you’re seriously lagging behind.||4090 – 8670||100||0.50||500||21||30||330|
|Mountain Dragon||The Mountain Dragon is the tankiest in the game. With high base Armor and Magic Resistance, it’ll be challenging to snag this objective unless the enemy jungler is on the other quadrant of the map.||4090 – 8670||150||0.250||500||41||50||330|
|Cloud Dragon||Boasting a high attack speed ratio. The Cloud Dragon can be particularly hard to kill. Plus, if you’ve engaged in a battle with the enemy while the Cloud Dragon is actively hitting you, the chances of coming out unscathed are quite minuscule.||4090 – 8670||50||1||500||21||30||330|
|Ocean Dragon||This is also one of the easier Dragons to kill, especially after the Rift has transformed. The lush greenery and abundance of bushes makes sneaking it easier than ever.||4090 – 8670||100||0.50||500||21||30||330|
|Hextech Dragon||The Hextech Dragon attacks with a chained lightning current coursing through a limited number of members in the pit. While it might seem like a big threat, its low damage numbers neutralize it quite nicely.||4090 – 8670||66.7||0.75||500||21||30||330|
Are Dragon Buffs Permanent?
Yes, a Dragon Buff is a permanent buff within that single game. However, it only lasts one game, so you can’t expect your boosted stats to transfer to another. Needless to say, having a buff for an entirety of a game is a pretty strong buff in itself – especially when other buffs like the Baron Nashor, or Elder Dragon tend to last for a short while.
If you’ve managed to slay a Dragon, then from that point onwards, every team member will have the relevant buff. Dying or using any kind of debuff won’t change that effect. That’s the sole reason why there’s such a high priority on these Dragon Buffs.
In hindsight, a Caitlyn with an Infernal Dragon under her belt will outdamage a Caitlyn that doesn’t possess the buff. There are no ifs and buts in ideal scenarios. But since every champion has an in-game kit that allows them to outplay one another, it’s entirely possible for a regular Caitlyn to win the trade even without the buff intact.
As mentioned previously, these Buffs only last for a single game and are not present in any mode other than the Summoners Rift. Therefore, stacking them becomes the main priority in higher elo, since the concept of Dragon Soul also works the same.
A Dragon Soul will last from the moment you claim it – till the end of the game. In that period, you could die as many times as you want, but the buff will remain intact.
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Which Dragon Does The Most Damage?
When it comes to battling Drakes, every single one of them is tuned to output the same amount of damage. However, there are a few areas where one Drake could excel over the other. For example, fighting against a number of enemies will allow the Hextech Drake to output more damage, whereas a Cloud Dragon might be stronger in a 1v1 scenario.
It all depends on how you juggle the aggro of the said objective. Otherwise, it’d be safe to call every Dragon ‘equally dangerous’. Once you’ve claimed a buff, however, things start to change.
From the pit Dragons, the Elder Drake is known to deal the rawest damage since it not only applies true tick-based damage but also executes enemies below 20% health – no ifs and buts. However, the buff is only temporary, so while it does deal the most damage in a small interval, it’s still not the most potent Drake on the Rift.
Now, in comparison, an Infernal Dragon straight-up boosts your Attack Damage to the point where it becomes lethal for the enemy team to even breathe the same air as you. Now pair that with the short poke-based bursts coming out of the Infernal Souls, and deciding a victor becomes quite easy. Besides, the buff lasts for the entire game, so you’re good to go as long as you manage to obtain it.
All in all, the Elemental Drakes on the Summoners Rift are high-priority targets with unique traits and benefits. There are a total of five variations, with each one having a different effect on how the Rift works and how the buff translates to the team that decides to take it. But one thing is sure: giving these buffs to the enemy team is always bad news.