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A Complete Guide to Dragons and Souls in League of Legends

Written by: April M. Reid

Dragons — aka the fire-breathing objectives that spawn in the botside pit — are a total gamechanger in League. Each one grants a unique, permanent buff that can improve a team’s chances of winning by tenfold; the Infernal dragon provides a hefty AD boost when slain, while the Hextech dragon speeds up the pace of the match with bonus ability haste and attack speed. Dragons can also affect the map itself and transform it into an entirely new battlefield. 

Knowing the ins and outs of dragons, and more importantly how to secure them, is thus one of the easiest ways to boost your rank. Our in-depth guide below covers it all, from the various dragon types and how they spawn, to effective strategies that’ll help you become a dragon slaying master.

What Are Elemental Dragons in League of Legends?

Elemental dragons, also known as drakes, are epic monsters that spawn periodically throughout the game. There are five different types of elemental dragons — Ocean, Cloud, Infernal, Mountain, and Hextech — with each granting a unique teamwide bonus when killed. The Summoner Rift map also undergoes terrain changes based on the element of the third dragon.

Dragons always spawn in the pit (or “alcove”) that’s located in the bottom side river. The first dragon spawns at 5.00, and whenever a dragon is slain a new one will take its place after 5 minutes. This continues up until a team has killed four elemental dragons and claimed soul (more on this later). 

The type of elemental dragon that spawns is randomized, for the most part. There will never be more than three different types of elemental dragons in a single game, and each elemental type can also only spawn up to three times. Plus, once the third drake’s element is determined, any dragons that spawn after that will share its element. 

Dragon Soul Explained

Soul is a permanent, powerful buff a team can gain after killing four elemental dragons. The exact bonuses depend on the element of the fourth dragon killed; if you slay Cloud, for example, you’ll receive a 15% bonus movement speed that increases to 60% for a few seconds after casting your ultimate.

Each soul is better suited to different team comps, champions, and fighting styles. We’ll cover them all in more detail below.

What Is the Elder Dragon and When Does It Spawn?

The Elder dragon is a large epic monster that’s essentially the “battle boss” of the dragons. It’s tankier, deals more damage, and grants “Aspect of the Dragon” when killed — one of the best temporary buffs in the whole entire game. 

The first Elder spawns in the botside pit 6 minutes after a team has secured soul, and it’ll then continue to respawn every 6 minutes after it has been slain.

The 5 Types of Elemental Dragons and Elder Drake: An In-Depth Look

Here, we’ll cover each dragon’s characteristics, including their buff, attack style, and the map changes they trigger. 

While each dragon is unique in their own way, they do have some shared features. Every dragon is immune to all forms of crowd control except stasis, and they deal additional damage against champions that have previously slain dragons (a trait that’s aptly called “Ancient Grudge”).

Each dragon buff can also stack; a single cloud drake provides 7% slow resistance and bonus movement speed, while two cloud drakes give you 14%, and three give you 21%.

Infernal Dragon — Infernal Might

The Infernal dragon is a neutral monster that deals AoE damage. It buffs damage stats when slain. 

  • Buff: Infernal Might; gain an additional 6 to 24% (depending on stack) attack damage and ability power. 
  • Soul: The player’s auto-attacks and abilities trigger an AOE explosion that deals adaptive damage. The effect has a 3 second cooldown. 
  • Attacks: The Infernal has a relatively fast attack speed and 70 base AD. It can hit multiple champions at once.
  • Terrain Changes: The Infernal sears the Rift, causing certain walls and bushes to burn down and disappear. Additional blast cones also spawn.  

The Infernal dragon’s buff is the most versatile and sought after in the whole game. After all, there’s literally no team comp or champion that isn’t going to benefit from extra damage. The Soul’s AOE explosion is particularly useful for assassins, as it empowers burst attacks and ensures enemies can’t escape on a single tick of health. 

The Infernal’s terrain destruction, which reduces blind spots and disengage potential, also makes it harder for opponents to attempt deep plays or overextend without being caught.

Cloud Dragon — Cloudbringer’s Grace

The Cloud dragon is a mobile neutral monster with a high attack speed. It grants movement speed and a slow resistance when slain. 

  • Buff: Cloudbringer’s Grace; gain 7% slow resistance and out-of-combat movement speed per stack. 
  • Soul: Grants 15% bonus movement speed, which increases to 60% for 6 seconds after a player uses ult. The ultimate speed boost has a 30 second cooldown.
  • Attacks: The Cloud dragon is the fastest attacker out of all the drakes, with an attack speed of 1.000, though it can only attack one target at a time. It has 35 base AD. 
  • Terrain Changes: The Cloud drake introduces “wind currents” to the jungle. Pathing through a current grants a 20% movement speed bonus, or 35% if the player is out of combat.

Securing the Cloud dragon buff allows you to rotate around the map quickly, making it ideal for roam-oriented champions. It also helps increase your team’s priority when it comes to securing objectives; you can reach the spawn locations before your enemies can. 

The Cloud Soul’s ultimate MS boost is particularly great for ADC champions. It assists with kiting and makes it easier to chase down stragglers. 

Mountain Dragon — Mountainous Vigor

The Mountain dragon is a hard-hitting but slow neutral monster. It grants armor and magic resistance when slain.

  • Buff: Mountainous Vigor; grants 9 to 36% (depending on stack) armor and magic resistance.
  • Soul: When a player is out of combat for 5 seconds they gain a damage-absorbing shield.
  • Attacks: The Mountain drake attacks extremely slowly, with an attack speed of 0.250, but it deals the most damage out of all the dragons (105 base AD). It also has high defensive stats and can attack multiple opponents.
  • Terrain Changes: Causes rock, wall-like structures to spawn throughout the jungle, including one at the dragon pit’s entrance that denies vision.

The Mountain dragon’s buff isn’t as versatile as the others, but it’s beneficial for tank champions, split-pushing comps, and drawn out fights, where sustain is of utmost importance. The damage-absorbing shield also counters burst champions extremely well.

The Mountain’s terrain change is particularly useful for champions that interact with structures, such as Qiyana and Talon, and it also introduces new blind spots across the map, allowing for more engage and disengage opportunities.

Ocean Dragon — Oceanic Will

The Ocean dragon is a neutral monster that slows its enemies. It grants health regeneration when slain.

  • Buff: Oceanic Will; regenerate up to 12% (depending on stack) of missing health every 5 seconds.
  • Soul: The player heals and restores mana for 4 seconds whenever they damage an enemy.
  • Attacks: The Ocean dragon has the same defensive and offensive stats as the Infernal drake, though its attacks also slow targets by 30% for 2 seconds. It can only damage one champion at a time.
  • Terrain Changes: Causes additional bushes, honeyfruits, and water puddles to spawn throughout the Rift.

The Ocean Soul is ideal for mages, junglers, and enchanters that often lack the mana to keep up their harass in lane and drawn-out teamfights. The standard buff’s health regeneration can also help negate the effects of poke comps.

The Ocean’s terrain change is great for ganking — more bushes to “surprise”’ the enemy from — and champions that require a lack of vision (or bushes) to get the most out of their kit, like Kha’Zix and Rengar.

Hextech Dragon — Hextech Prowess

The Hextech dragon is a neutral monster that can empower its attacks to trigger a slow AoE. It grants ability haste and bonus attack speed when slain.

  • Buff: Hextech Prowess; gain 9% ability haste and bonus attack speed per stack.
  • Soul: Causes the player’s basic attacks and abilities to deal true damage and slow by 35% (ranged target) or 45% (melee target). The slow effect is also a chain AoE that can hit up to three other nearby enemies. It decays over 2 seconds.
  • Attacks: The Hextech drake’s standard attacks only damage a single target, but it can periodically empower its attack to trigger a slow AoE. The dragon has an attack speed of 0.75 and 47 base AD.
  • Terrain Changes: Causes pairs of Hex-gates (portals) to spawn throughout the map, allowing players to traverse vast distances in a short period of time.

The Hextech dragon’s buff is ideal for ADCs; it ensures they can pump out their damage quicker, which can make the difference between winning or losing a fight. The Soul’s AoE slow also makes it much easier to catch out overextended opponents.

The Hex-gates increase the pace of the overall match while giving a team more opportunities to set up ganks, play around objectives, and safely escape from unfavorable positions.

Elder Dragon — Aspect of the Dragon

The Elder Dragon — the strongest dragon in LoL — is as significant as the Baron in the later stages of the game. Its Aspect of the Dragon buff can quite literally change the course of the match, allowing a team that’s behind to gain the damage needed to fight back.

Aspect of the Dragon grants the following gamechanging benefits to all living players:

  • Causes attacks to inflict a true damage burn that spans over 2.25 seconds.
  • Attacking an enemy below a certain health threshold (20% of maximum health) executes them. It works on untargetable units.

The buff is temporary and lasts for 150 seconds, or when the player dies. The Elder Dragon itself boasts high attack damage and health regen. It can damage multiple targets at once.

How to Secure Drakes and Souls in League of Legends

Knowing what the dragons are — and how they can benefit you and your allies — is meaningless if you don’t know how to secure them in the first place.

Establish Lane Priority

Establishing lane priority, especially if you’re the mid laner or bot laner, helps your jungler take the dragon. It puts the enemy in a position where they can’t set up vision or safely leave the lane to contest the objective.  There’s a few ways to gain lane priority in League, including:

  • Push out the wave so that the minions are under the enemy’s turret. Your opponent won’t be able to leave their lane without sacrificing CS and XP in the process, and even if they do attempt to rotate they won’t reach the dragon pit as quickly as you will. 
  • Poke the enemy down. If they lack health, they won’t be able to rotate with you and contest your actions. You can also bait your lane opponent into using up all their mana, rendering them useless if a fight does break out.
  • Kill pressure  aka being ahead in kills — understandably gives you priority as it puts you at a huge level and item advantage over your opponent. You can also have kill pressure if you reach a significant power spike, or your enemy’s ultimate and summoner spells are on cooldown. 

Ward the Dragon and Deny Enemy Vision

Setting up vision around the pit, while denying the enemy’s own view of it, ensures you won’t have to make any risky plays to secure the dragon. It also gives you time to react if the enemy team does decide to contest and engage. 

About 50 seconds before the drake is going to spawn, sweep the area to clear enemy vision and then place several wards throughout the river, ideally in the river bush and at the entrances where the enemy are likely to path through. 

You should also add a control ward inside the dragon pit; it will reveal hidden wards and prevent the enemy from gaining vision if they try to ward from over the pit’s wall. Other vision control tips include:

  • Secure the scuttle. The scuttle’s vision can’t be destroyed and it also provides a hefty movement speed — something that’ll be insanely useful if a fight breaks out or you need to disengage from the dragon. 
  • Don’t hit enemy wards if the pit is control warded. Doing so will grant the enemy team vision of the objective and its health, defeating the whole purpose of the control ward.

Track the Enemy Jungler

Trying to take dragon if the enemy jungler is nearby, especially if they’re fed or ahead in levels, is a recipe for LP loss; they can outsmite you and potentially steal the objective. 

Cheap the mini-map once every 5 seconds for the jungler’s position, place deep wards when you can, familiarize yourself with camp spawn timings, and also assess how the enemy laners’ are playing. For example, if the top laner has suddenly become more aggressive, it’s likely the jungler is top side. 

You should also note which side the enemy jungler started. The bot duo or top laner will usually help leash at the start of the game. So, if the bot duo arrives late to lane, it’s safe to assume the jungler started bot side. Obviously, certain jungler champions, like Shaco and Ivern, don’t require a leash. This method also isn’t reliable in high elo, where players often wait to enter their lanes to prevent the jungler’s location from being revealed. 

There’s plenty of other ways you can track the enemy jungler though, from keeping an eye on plants like Scryer’s Bloom to tracking the jungler’s CS. We can’t cover it all in detail here, but GameLeap has a helpful video guide on the topic.

More Dragonslaying Tips and Tricks

Here’s a few more tips and tricks to help you secure dragons (without it costing your life):

  • Pull the dragon: If you’re red side, make sure to pull the dragon out of the pit to prevent the enemy from dashing over and stealing it. 
  • Play around spawn timings: Never arrive late to an objective. Recall, spend your gold, and prepare vision around the pit at least 50 seconds before the drake actually spawns. 
  • Block incoming damage: Playing a tank? Always position in a way that blocks any incoming projectiles from the enemy team. This will stop them from stealing the drake with their damage if your jungler misses smite.

What Happened to the Chemtech Drake in LoL?

The Chemtech Drake was an elemental dragon introduced to League of Legends in Season 12. Killing the dragon gave players a buff that increased their damage against high-health targets, and its soul granted a Sion-like passive, where players could revive for a brief period after death.

When the Chemtech Dragon was the third drake, it triggered gas zones to emerge throughout the map, with each zone providing invisibility and increasing damage against healthier opponents. 

The Chemtech Drake was removed from the game in January 2022 because it was deemed too frustrating to play against; countless players, including professional esports players such as Doublelift and Treatz, complained about its unfair mechanics, especially the terrain changes. These invisibility zones were virtually impossible to play around as regular wards didn’t work.