Pre-Season Preview: Drakes
Pre-season is on the horizon, and with it brings a slew of changes to the Rift; one of the biggest changes coming to League next season will be to the drakes, so let’s break these changes down.
Introducing the Chemtech and Hextech Drakes
Two new types of drake will be added to Summoner’s Rift, expanding the types from 4 to 6.
- Buff: Deal bonus damage to enemies with more current health than you
- Soul: After dying, you will respawn temporarily with rapidly decaying health
- Terrain: Gas zones will spawn in the jungle, camouflaging champions inside them. Champions will not be revealed by regular wards, but will be by Control Wards, Sweeper, Scryer’s Bloom, and other things that reveal invisible champions (such as Teemo shrooms)
Video Source: Vandiril on YouTube
- Buff: Grants Attack Speed and Ability Haste
- Soul: Basic attacks and abilities have an added lightning effect that deals bonus damage and slows enemies; the lightning chains to nearby enemies to repeat the effect, and has a moderate cooldown
- Terrain: Portal pairs will spawn in predetermined locations, which can be used to quickly travel to the corresponding portal. This requires a brief channel, which will be interrupted by stuns or damage
Effect on the Game
The addition of these new drakes will have a huge impact on the game. The buffs provided by the Chemtech Drake will make it easier to make a comeback in fights, particularly if paired with other effects that proc when you have low health (such as Sterak’s Gage, Tryndamere’s ultimate, or Last Stand).The gas zones will be very dangerous to traverse and having good vision control in the jungle will be essential, while the second life provided by the Soul can surprise enemies and help turn extremely close skirmishes.
The Hextech Drake’s Soul is fairly similar to the existing Infernal Soul, and its buff will be useful for every role. However, the most influential aspect of the Hextech Drake will be the portals it spawns. Though they are comparable to blast cones, their travel distance is much greater and will allow players to quickly navigate their way through the Rift. They will be particularly influential when Baron and Drakes are spawning and you want to reach the objectives quickly, or you are looking to catch the enemy off guard with a flank play around an objective. Considering the channel needed to use the portals can be interrupted with damage and CC, the portals could also bait players into vulnerable positions if the channel can be interrupted.
A secondary consequence of introducing these new drakes will be less Ocean, Infernal, Mountain and Cloud drakes, as there are now 6 potential drakes that can spawn instead of 4. Speaking of the Cloud Drake, it has also been changed as its buff now provides out of combat movement speed and slow resistance instead of ultimate ability haste.
The new drakes will be sure to have a huge impact on the game, but there is noticeable discrepancy between the terrain effects of the 4 elemental drakes compared to the 2 new drakes. It will be interesting to examine how these change over the course of the pre-season, and whether the elemental drakes will have their terrain effects altered to be more in-line with the new drakes.