As we progress through preseason into the launch of League of Legends Season 12, we’ve gotten several game-changing updates. The most significant in terms of game impact is obvious — the addition of two new dragons is a major addition that can drastically change the game, especially the end game when the dragon soul enters play.

In this article, we’re going to look at the two new dragons in League of Legends, as well as changes to the already-existing ones. We’ll also go into detail about how to play with and around the new dragons. 

Let’s get started!

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Hextech Dragon

Hextech Dragon
Image: Riot Games via HGG

**Note: all stats below are current as of patch 11.24

Here’s what Riot has to say about the Hextech Dragon: “Hextech Drake is all about controlling the map, flanking your foes, and trapping the enemy team for a wombo combo. The Hextech Dragon Soul grants a unique lightning that slows down enemies, allowing you to control teamfights and chase down stragglers.”

What you need to be most aware of here is the “controlling the map” part. When a Hextech Soul is in play, little portals appear on the map that allow you to teleport a significant distance. These can be used to steal objectives and jungle camps, flank enemies, and generally get around faster, so it’s important to know where they are and how to use them.

Here’s an image of the mini-map that shows where they spawn.

Image from Riot Games

Hextech Dragon Stats:

  • Hextech Dragon Buff: Gives 6 Ability Haste and 6% Attack Speed per stack (stacks up to four times)
  • Hextech Dragon Soul: Gives a Chain Lightning slow on the next basic attack or ability. This deals 25-75 true damage, bounces to three additional targets, and slows units hit by 45/35% (melee/ranged) (+5% per 1000 health, +1% per 100 AP, +3% per 100 AD) for 2 seconds.

Dragon Buff: 6 Ability Haste and 6% Attack Speed is certainly not a bad buff to get. Mages and spell-slingers will benefit from the Ability Haste, and brawlers and marksmen will benefit from the Attack Speed. Overall this buff is certainly worth getting, but it probably won’t become an instant priority for junglers. 

Dragon Soul: After several weeks of playing with this Soul, we can already see how strong it is. In teamfights, this might even be the strongest one. It isn’t as strong in pure damage output as the Infernal Soul, but the combination of true damage and the Chain Lightning effect makes it insane. A Hextech Soul on the map is certain to start a massive fight over the dragon.

Chemtech Dragon

Chemtech Dragon
Image: Riot Games via HGG

Riot has this to say about the Chemtech Dragon: “Chemtech Drake is all about playing on the edge, taking calculated risks, and fighting for every scrap. The Chemtech Dragon Soul encourages you to go big or go home, and trade your life for high value plays.”

In general, the Chemtech Dragon is all about explosive damage potential. Its map effect puts a fog on many parts of the map that allows those within it to become invisible, so it’s a great asset for assassins and high-burst type champions. Its other effects line up with this idea, granting more potential to burst enemies down.

Here’s an image that shows where the fog spawns:

Image from Riot Games

Chemtech Dragon Stats:

  • Chemtech Dragon Buff: Grants up to 6% bonus damage per stack against enemies with 340–1020 (scales with level) more current health than you.
  • Chemtech Dragon Soul: Grants a brief second life upon next death. Champions revive with 80% of their base health +50% of their bonus health and gain 75/30% (melee/ranged) decaying movement speed. Their health will decay during this period, and they deal and take less damage than usual.

Dragon Buff: This bonus damage against high-HP champions is extremely good for assassins and marksmen-type champions. It allows its user to shred through tanks, and it also allows for easier fights against a champion that has already done a lot of damage to the user. 

Dragon Soul: This Soul has the potential to be one of the best in the game. It grants an effect similar to Sion’s death passive, but allows the use of items and abilities. If used correctly, it can make for incredibly easy teamfights.

How to Utilize Each New Dragon

Each new dragon will require different strategies to utilize them well. 

Hextech: To use Hextech Dragon’s buff well, all you need is to be conscious of the bonuses to your Ability Haste and Attack Speed. That won’t be too hard, so no need to overthink it. For using the Soul well, you just need to make sure you’re getting the maximum Chain Reaction. After that, the rest will be easy. The map effect will be the hardest to use well. You need a great understanding of map positioning and map awareness, which many players struggle with. Positioning is one of the hardest elements of League, so you’ll want to practice a lot with this. 

Chemtech: Using the Chemtech buff is a bit complicated, but not too bad. Just make sure you’re aware of when an enemy is within the right threshold of excess health. If they’re a tank or you’re low on health, this will be simple. Using the Chemtech Soul well is pretty easy. When you die, just sprint at enemies and do as much damage as possible before you die. The map effect will be a little harder to utilize, but as long as you understand Camouflage, you should be able to do well. Just make sure they don’t see you until it’s too late for them. 

Hextech Dragon vs. Chemtech Dragon

So, which new dragon is better? That’s going to be a hard choice, especially to make this early on. Let’s take a look at each element of these dragons to get an idea of how this decision might go.

Hextech vs Chemtech Dragon
Image: Riot Games via HGG

Buffs: The individual Dragon buffs are one of the most important aspects here since they come into play early. Hextech gives Ability Haste and Attack Speed, while Chemtech gives bonus damage against enemies with higher HP than the user. Hextech is less situational, so it will likely be more useful more often. I will say, however, that Chemtech’s buff has higher potential. I’ll call it a draw for now. 

Souls: The Dragon Souls are one of the most crucial elements of the late game since they stay permanently. Hextech gives a Chain Lightning effect that does true damage, while Chemtech gives each user a decaying second life. I think both are very strong, but Chemtech Soul feels more powerful (but only by a little). 

Map Effect: Map effects in the past hadn’t been as relevant as the ones for these two new dragons are. Hextech gives portals on the map that can allow for better positioning, while Chemtech gives a camouflage fog. Again, I’m gonna have to call this one a draw. I think both are very good, but we’ll just have to see how it plays out in the long term.

So overall, it’s a draw. Both of these dragons are incredible, and the game in general feels much more fresh thanks to them. This has been one of the best preseason updates since the rune changes several years ago.

Other Dragon and Jungle Changes

While the new dragons have certainly taken the spotlight in Dragon Pit, don’t forget about the old ones we still have just yet. In addition to the new dragons, Riot also updated Cloud Dragon. Cloud Dragon has been in desperate need of an update throughout the last season, so it makes sense to change it. Let’s take a look at what its new buff does.

Cloud Dragon Changes
Image: Riot Games

Cloud Dragon Buff: +3.5% out-of-combat movement speed, +3.5% slow resistance. Cloud Dragon buff no longer grants Ultimate Ability Haste.

So, while many things have changed in regard to dragons, Cloud Dragon remains the worst one. Out-of-combat movement speed and slow resistance simply can’t compare to the buffs granted by other dragons. It’ll still be worth getting, but I doubt we’ll see many teamfights over a Cloud Dragon. 

Also while we’re talking about changes within the jungle, I feel it’s worth noting that Rift Scuttler has also received an update. The first one that spawns will now have 35% less health, gives 80% less XP, and will be smaller in size. This will make Scuttle’s impact on the early game less significant and allow junglers to not have to race straight to it after their first camp. Scuttle has certainly been an important prize for junglers in the very early game, so it will be interesting to see how this changes the jungle camp pathing.

Join the High Ground

So that’s all for the new dragon changes this preseason! The new season starts on January 4, 2022, so get ready for it. And be sure to come back here where we’ll have plenty of content about the new season! 

Happy gaming!