The dragon pit is one of the game's most unique jungle camps as its occupant varies throughout a match of League of Legends, with even the initial spawn be determined at random. These dragons serve as a neutral objective that rivals .
One of five monsters may occupy the pit at any one time:
Prior to V6.9, was the sole occupant of the dragon pit and there was generally no need to distinguish the camp from the monster in terms of gameplay. With the introduction of the elemental drakes, it became necessary to document the objective separately from the individual dragon units. The dragon system received a substantial overhaul in preseason ten, modifying the spawn mechanics, rewards and even the layout of the pit.
- Random Drakes: At 5:00 into the game, an elemental drake ( ) of a random type spawns in the dragon pit. When a drake is slain, the next drake will respawn after 5:00 elapse, spawning with a random new element not yet chosen from the pool.
- Rift Changes: After the second drake has been slain and the third drake has been determined, the map will transform into Elemental Rift based on the drake's element. From now on, the drake will not change elements between respawns.
- Elder Dragon: Once a team has killed their fourth drake, the camp will now instead spawn the with a 6:00 respawn timer.
The next dragon to spawn has their insignia noted in both the spawn timer and the wall of the alcove.
The third drake transforms the Rift before it spawns and after that, its element will be the only one to spawn for the remainder of the game. The transformation on the Rift occurs on the same areas, which are the dragon pit and the buff camps.
- Air currents flow throughout the area near the camps for 20% bonus movement speed, increased to 35% bonus movement speed while they are out of combat. 6 additional each spawn in front of both bases' gates and by the tri-brushes near the river. and , as well as the Dragon pit. These currents create speed zones that grant champions within
- Burns up the walls near the entrance of the Dragon pit and the patches of brush and sections of the walls surrounding the camps for Murk Wolves, and within the alcoves. and , opening up a pathway in their pits. 10 additional each spawn in front of both bases' gates, near the camps for and
- Triggers a seismic shift throughout the map, causing rock formations to emerge in each jungle quadrant as well as near the entrance of the Dragon pit.
- Sprouts life throughout the map, causing 6 patches of brush to grow larger and 12 puddles of water to form in the jungle. Two patches of brush grow near the Dragon pit. 4 additional
each spawn near the middle lane and the camps for .
- These puddles of water can be interacted with by and .
Slaying an elemental dragon will grant thebuff based on the element of the dragon slain. Slaying four elemental dragons will grant the of the dominating element after the rift changes. Slaying the grants the buff.
- Resistant Skin: Dragons are immune to all crowd control, except stasis. Additionally, Dragons' stats cannot be modified by any means.
- Ancient Grudge: Elemental Dragons gain 20% bonus damage and 7% damage reduction per stack against enemies with stacks, up to 80% bonus damage and 28% damage reduction.
- Dragon Breath: Dragons deal bonus physical damage equal to 7% of the target's current health with their basic attacks. Additionally, Dragons gain 30% armor penetration.
- Taking Flight: Dragons knock back all nearby enemies upon starting the fight.
- Dragons' basic attacks are considered spells - they're unaffected by any effect that would behave with basic attacks, and can be negated by spell shields.
- Dragons cannot damage other monsters.
- If the team that slays a dragon has a lower average level than that of their opponents, they receive 25% bonus experience per average level difference. The bonus experience is sharply increased for the lowest level members of the team, equal to 15% per number of levels behind the dragon squared, up to a maximum of 200%.
- Killing dragons is one of the main tasks of the Jungler. Junglers often require assistance from their team for this task, and the champions best positioned to provide this assistance are usually the mid laners and bottom laners.
- When a team attempts to kill a dragon it usually gets weakened during the fight. Given the nature of the dragon pit, the team attempting the kill has limited escape paths. For this reason it's usually a good idea to gank the enemy team when they're trying to kill a dragon. A good gank may score several kills, steal the dragon kill, or both.
- Dragons (and other epic monsters) should be finished with effects that instantly deal a high amount of damage (i.e. , , ) to prevent the enemy team from stealing the kill.
- When initially attacked, dragons will knock back every nearby champion, and begin attacking and chasing the closest champion. Attacking the dragon from a safe distance to get it to attack an unprepared enemy champion can be useful.
Tips to prepare dragon ganks
- Have a ward in the river close to the dragon camp entrance, providing complete vision of the pit. This will reveal enemies attempting to kill the dragon while also spotting enemies standing guard at the entrance. Killing the is a good way to provide vision in front of the dragon pit, but it does not provide vision inside the pit itself.
Tips to prevent dragon ganks
- Use a or to check for wards before attempting to kill a dragon, do not destroy wards unless you absolutely must eliminate their vision.
- Eliminate the bottom lane enemies and then attack the dragon with the help of your bottom lane teammates. The enemy middle lane and jungler are usually not strong enough to fight three champions at once.
- While on the red team, lure the dragon out of its pit. This makes the dragon chase you into the river, making it harder for the enemy team to steal it by engaging over the wall of the dragon pit.
Recommendations for each type of elemental drake
- The buff provided by is particularly useful for champions with either very long or very short ultimate cooldowns. For example, a single stack will shave 12 seconds off a 120 second cooldown ultimate (if there is no other source of ability haste), or allow Teemo to place more shrooms on the map. However, it is generally considered to be the weakest of the dragon buffs, since it will not give any advantage in a fight if everyone's ultimate is ready. Also, it is the toughest of the dragons to kill, so it is often not worth prioritizing early.
- The buff provided by is considered by many players the strongest, due to its raw power boost. If viable, contest the dragon at all costs. In the early game it doesn't make much difference, but its power in late game is massive.
- The buff provided by armor and magic resistance when you have multiple of this buff. allows teams more durability for extended fights, and its effectiveness increases the more resistances the team builds - it can be useful to build more
- The buff provided by is deceptively powerful during the laning phase: the healing during downtime allows less assertive laners to extend their presence. Another benefit is its ability to mitigate damage against poke teams, forcing the enemy team to spend more mana and delaying or even preventing potential flanks.
- Focus on killing the drakes with the buff that can benefit most your team. For example, focus on infernal drakes for team fighting, and on cloud drakes for roaming and split pushing.
- In League of Legends: Turret Defence, its old version featured as a wave enemy.
- In Teamfight Tactics Sets 1 and 2, a Dragon features as a PvE Round monster in Round 8–7.
- In Set 2, the Dragon's element is different depending on the game's element.
- In Sets 1 and 2, the Elder Dragon features as a monster in Round 10–7.
- Prior to V6.9, there was only one species of to fight, this retired dragon can still be seen flying at the west edge of Summoner's Rift as ambient wildlife.