Op-Ed

League of Legends Preseason 10: Why Can't I Hold All These Dragons?

Season 9 has finally ended in League of Legends, and it’s almost time for a new season to begin! Riot often shows big changes to the preseason around this time of year, and these adjustments do not disappoint. The gameplay changes have been titled The Rise of the Elements, a name that hints at one of the largest changes that Riot has ever introduced with the preseason. Let’s dive into all of the major changes and additions to League for season 10!

Dragon Changes

The dragon has always been one of two major neutral objectives, and it’s seen many changes since its introduction. Season 10 is no exception: the dragons will be seeing even more adjustments this season. For the past few seasons, there have been four types of dragons that could spawn in a match. Riot has kept these four dragons and their types, but some of their effects have been tweaked.

Cloud Dragon

Old effect: Increased movement speed

New effect: Ultimate cooldown reduction

Infernal Dragon

Old effect: Percent increase of both AD and AP

New effect: Slight percentage adjustments

Mountain Dragon

Old effect: Bonus true damage to epic monsters and turrets

New effect: Percent increase of armor and magic resistance

Ocean Dragon

Old effect: Restoration of missing health and missing mana while out of combat

New effect: Restoration of missing health in and out of combat

Riot’s goal with these changes is to make all of the dragon buffs feel more equal. In the past, some of the dragons were much better than the others, most notably the infernal dragon and its damage increase, which was more valuable than the cloud dragon’s movement speed increase. So far, it seems to have been quite effective, and all of the new dragon effects have been received fairly well. 

In addition to changes to the dragons’ effects, the way dragons spawn has also been adjusted. The first two dragons that spawn will remain random; however, from the third dragon on, all of the dragons that spawn will be of the same type. The type of dragon that spawns will also cause big changes, called elemental rifts, to the map.

Elemental Rifts

Depending on the type of elemental dragon that spawns, the map will undergo changes for the rest of the game. Here are all of the rifts caused by the dragons.

Infernal Rift

The infernal dragon has always been the damage dragon, and the resulting rift stays true to this. The crumbling down of walls and the removal of many brushes leads to more explosive and frequent fights as the map opens up. The goal of the infernal rift is to create a more action-packed game that focuses on fights.

Ocean Rift

The ocean rift is almost the polar opposite of the infernal dragon. This makes sense, considering that the ocean dragon has traditionally been the safety dragon. The creation of many new brushes in the jungle means there will be a lot more fog of war and plentiful areas of zero vision, which are perfect for a sneaky assassin to hide in and bide their time.

Cloud Rift

In an homage to the old cloud dragon, the cloud rift spawns patches of currents on the ground that grant the passer a large increase in movement speed.

Mountainous Rift

The mountain rift creates new land around the dragon pit and in the jungle quadrants. This rift can lead to some big, wombo-combo teamfights as teams become more compressed.

Permanent Map Changes

In addition to the elemental rifts’ game-to-game changes, Riot has added in a few permanent map changes that start from the beginning of the game. In both the top and bottom lanes, they have added alcoves, or small little openings that slightly extend the lane vertically. They really aren’t that impactful, but they do add a bit of flavor to the lanes. Additionally, there are two new patches of brush that have been added to the opposite of the Baron and Dragon pits, near the blue side’s red buff and the red side’s blue buff.

Dragon Souls

The dragon that spawns the elemental rift also grants access to its dragon soul. To obtain the dragon soul, a team must kill four elemental dragons. Upon killing their fourth dragon, all members will gain the soul buff relative to the elemental dragon that spawned the rift change. Here are all of the possible dragon souls:

Infernal Dragon Soul: Every 3 seconds, your next attack or spell creates a small AOE explosion, dealing damage.

Ocean Dragon Soul: Dealing any damage triggers strong health and resource regeneration for 3 seconds.

Cloud Dragon Soul: Hitting enemies with abilities or attacks lowers the cooldowns of your base abilities.

Mountain Dragon Soul: After not taking damage for 5 seconds, gain a shield that lasts until destroyed.

Once one team has claimed the dragon soul, the elder dragon will spawn to defend the dragon pit. Only one team can have a dragon soul per match, meaning that getting and/or denying the dragon soul is a massive and important task. It cannot be overstated how powerful these dragon soul buffs are, meaning a team should do everything in their power to prevent the other team from getting them first.

Elder Dragon Changes

The elder dragon also got some small changes. The elder dragon buff still grants the team who kills it a powerful, short-term combat buff, but instead of having the buff scale with the number of dragons slain, it has been replaced with an execution component. Basically, if the elder’s burn damage affects a low health enemy, they will be killed instantly. Yes, it is as drastic and punishing as it sounds! The elder dragon provides a team without the dragon soul a way back into the game, and the team with the dragon soul buff yet another instant-win objective.

New Champions

Although not directly tied to the preseason, Riot has taken this offseason to add in a ton of champions at a much faster rate than usual. Two are currently in the game, and another is on the PBE with a release date rumored to be sometime next month. 

Senna: The Redeemer (champion page)

Senna is an immobile ADC/support character. She can be played in either role with a lot of success. One of the most unique aspects of Senna is her ability to collect souls from enemy champions she attacks or from wraiths that drop from dead enemies, similar to Thresh’s soul mechanics. The collection of these souls increases Senna’s range, attack damage, and Crit change indefinitely. She is the first combination marksman and support character ever to be released, and although she was quite overturned upon release, she has fallen into line after some nerfs, particularly in the ADC role.

Aphelios: The Weapon of the Faithful (champion page)

Arguably the most difficult character in League of Legends, Aphelios has 5 weapons with 50 bullets each that swap after he has used up all the ammo. He has a main hand and an off hand that he can switch between. This champion is way too complicated to describe with words, so I would highly recommend going to the champion preview linked above to learn more about him. Although hard in theory, Aphelios plays just like any marksman should: he auto-attacks and tries to DPS as much as possible. Although there are some nasty combos out there, Aphelios currently has some pretty overturned numbers and is slated for a nerf very soon. Once his numbers are in line, we will truly see how difficult this champion is.

Sett: The Boss (champion biography)

Sett currently does not have a champion preview, as he has not yet been released on live servers. However, he is fully playable on the PBE. Sett is much different from the two “edgy” ADCs that have already been released. His tagline sums him up best: he is “the boss”! Sett plays like a juggernaut/wrestler character. He is a melee bruiser who deals quite a bit of damage if he is able to get in range. I don’t want to get too in depth in case something changes about him, but in the meantime, Sett looks to be a fairly simple but very fun bruiser for the top lane.

Conclusion

For completion purposes, here are a few other minor changes that should be mentioned, but don’t deserve a full section.

That about sums up the preseason. There are quite a lot of changes, but that’s not uncommon for Riot around this time. Overall, I personally am a big fan of all of these changes! I think the elemental rifts add a unique aspect to every game that makes the game more interesting while not altering it too much, even though it introduces more RNG. The addition of two new ADCs is also amazing, especially as I’m an ADC player myself. But don’t take it from me - I highly recommend jumping in and playing around with the new champions and map changes!

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