They’re all over the Dragonlands, so you best learn about how they’re shaking up the Convergence. Grab your fire resistant, lightning repellant, wind proof explorer’s outfit and let’s dive into the Treasure Dragon, Dragon origin, and updated (dragonized) Augments coming with Dragonlands in patch 12.11! But if you’re looking for what new units are taking flight click here, and if you want to learn more about the new Pass and cosmetics coming with Dragonlands, click here!
Look, this one’s a real banger, and by that, I mean it’s got a lot of words. So here’s a TL;DR because the back half gets into the nitty gritty game dev details.
Okay, let’s get to it! First up, the Treasure Dragon!
Raptors? Never heard of them.
Stage 4-7 brings players to our brand new mechanic, the Treasure Dragon. Once a fixture of the Dragonlands, the Treasure Dragon has departed the world of our new set, with intentions of distributing resources and wealth to those in need. But don’t worry, before they departed, they left behind part of their essence in the form of a generous totem. Check it out below!
With the Treasure Dragon, you have two options: Take all the offerings free of charge, or refresh all the options for 1 gold. It’s a take all or reroll deal, so ask yourself: are you the type of player who will keep rolling to perfect your comp, or take what you’re first offered to preserve your economy?
TFT is about trying to get your master plan to play out, and a large part of that master plan is itemization. With the old 4-7 Raptors round, this plan could go awry. You could have committed to an attack damage carry by 4-7, and then Raptors roll around and your last three components are a Needlessly Large Rod, a Tear of the Goddess, and a Negatron Cloak—tough luck. But with the Treasure Dragon if those components are offered to you alongside, say, 8 gold and a Magnetic Remover, you can spend 1 gold to try again—yikes averted! The exact offerings of the Treasure Dragon varies game to game, but expect all players to be playing with Treasure Dragon offerings that are around the same power level.
The Treasure Dragon gives increased agency over your final items to hit those big power spikes you’ve been setting up for. Being able to more consistently finalize your dream build adds a ton of power to TFT, so we’re going to keep a close eye on how the Treasure Dragon impacts the meta. If the benevolent Dragon grants your perfect items too consistently, we’ll raise their rates to refresh or adjust their offering odds, and if their 1 gold cost is too steep for your stingy pockets, we’ll increase the value of their offerings. Regardless, we’re excited to see how you take advantage of this new risk versus reward moment!
Okay, onto the real dragons of the Dragonlands!
Dragons are more than your average TFT unit. So much more that we’re including them here as a set mechanic! They’re our most powerful trait to date, and they’re here to wreak havoc on your foe’s board. Dragons require two unit slots, but they contribute three towards their Origin trait count. They’re also rather large, so they’ll have a good amount of bonus health. All that power comes from their trait, which only remains active so long as you have just one Dragon—but even that can change with the right Augment.
Of course, with all that power comes great (fiscal) responsibility. Dragons cost double the gold of their rarity tier. But don’t shed a tear, they’re far more powerful than the average unit of the same tier. You can also get lucky and receive a Dragon Orb during PvE rounds that will grant you an 8-cost Dragon! Let’s take a look at a couple of the dragons soaring into the Dragonlands.
As our only Dragon that starts in human form, Shyvana takes part of the combat to charge up and the other part to charge down upon your foes! Her divebomb deals massive magic damage and stuns enemy units. The ramping cadence of her spell brings high anticipation for you and your foe! But don’t hold your breath until she lands, cause then her spell becomes the tank melting Flame Breath! Be prepared to take an extra frontliner when running Shyvana, because once she flies up in preparation for her dive, the enemy team may aggro to your backline carries. Once she lands, she’ll take up aggro again, so give her a tank item to balance those damage items so she can keep flaming on!
Ao Shin makes it rain…lightning orbs, each dealing magic damage. No one is safe from the projectile storm this dragon cooks up, as Ao Shin targets the highest percent health enemy, regardless of where they are. Their spell takes a while to conjure, so give them a Spear of Shojin with some ability power, or the classic Infinity Edge/Jeweled Gauntlet combo. As a 10 gold Legendary unit, this dragon will have your foes feeling the pain of the elements; they’ll be saying more than just,“Ao! My Shin.”
And just like our other Dragons, just by running Ao Shin, you’ll have three of their Origin trait, in this case that’s enough to proc the Tempest trait, creating a lightning strike at nine seconds that stuns and deals damage to all enemies while boosting the attack speed of Tempest units.
Finding his new home in the Astral archipelago, Aurelion Sol is the 10 cost Dragon that your reroll Astral comp will revolve around. Aurelion Sol’s ability summons an unstable black hole for 2 seconds underneath a random enemy. The black hole then explodes, dealing magic damage to all enemies in its area and reducing their attack damage briefly. Every time Aurelion Sol casts his stellar ability, the size and damage of the black hole increases—talk about supermassive. Did you know that scientists estimate the smallest black hole to be the size of an atom? Well, Aurelion Sol’s is a few pixels bigger; and by stacking mana-generating items or Augments, it can quickly envelop the whole board!
When introducing a new mechanic we aim to achieve two things: high variance, and novelty. Each unique Augment we add adds a minor mechanic to the game, and by giving players three of them we open the door to an insane number of permutations, providing a ton of variance. But now that Augments are sticking around for another set, we’ve heard concerns that Dragonlands will lack the same novelty that previous sets have had with their mechanics. In response, we’ve added more set mechanics like the Treasure Dragon and the new Dragon trait discussed above, but we’ve significantly changed up our Draconic Augment roster, play styles, order of appearance, and power level as well.
Once per game you’ll have the opportunity to refresh your Draconic Augment selections, which now appear on stages 2-1, 3-2, and 4-2. This gives you an out for scenarios where you get three Augments that just don’t fit your preferred playstyle or the comp, but it also creates a tactical decision point as to when you should use that reroll. Do you use it early for a chance to get an Augment that compliments your opening team composition? Do you save it to look for a trait linked Augment when your composition is already built out a bit?
More than increasing tactical decision making and thwarting awkward Augment options, Augment rerolls also allow players to experience more of what they want from Dragonlands Augments. Some players want to experience new Augments every game, and with the reroll, they can do so more consistently. While other players just want to play what they know, and can reroll Augment options that are unfamiliar and potentially a bit scary when LP is on the line.
With the release of Dragonlands we’re taking a large-scale balance sweep on our Draconic Augments. We learned a ton from our first iteration of the Gizmos & Gadgets set mechanics. For instance, we started out with all trait-linked Augments at the same tier, but very quickly learned that an Innovator Heart was not at the same value as a Scrap Heart. We learned that some Augments didn’t make sense at certain stages in the game, or offered when players are already running certain team compositions. Could you imagine returning to a game where Built Different, which rewards you for not activating traits, is offered early only to get Bodyguard Soul or something similar in the next offering?
In short, we’ve gotten better at making Augment offerings and power levels make sense. But in balancing Augments, we’ve brought up the power base of Augments a bit too high. There’s been a small power inflation with Augments. For example, Rich get Richer, which allows you to earn up to 7 gold interest, used to give 10 gold, but now gives 14. We also believe Augments like are currently giving too much power. Some of our Augments are just a bit too impactful right now, so in addition to making sure each Augment tier feels relatively even in power, we are going to be giving Augments a minor power deflation.
This doesn’t mean that our Augments will be less dynamic, or have less of an impact on your play style—in fact, we want to slightly lower the power level of Augments while making their power more dependent on how you’re best able to utilize them. More on that, right now!
The new Augments we are introducing with Dragonlands are going to be more dynamic on average than our Gizmos & Gadgets Augments. There will be a few new simpler Augments, such as Urf’s Grab Bag, which gives you 1 Spatula and 1 random item component, but the bulk of our new Augments will require you to think and play differently.
Much of our feedback for Augments was around them feeling pretty similar. Many players felt that a lot of Augments just didn’t require you to augment your playstyle—and that’s just not true to the name. So with Dragonlands, we are focusing on Augments that pose big gameplay questions for you to answer. And after a whole set of practice with our first iteration of Augments, we think you’re ready for some of our new and dynamic Augments below:
Each of these Augments require you to answer new gameplay puzzles by altering your playstyle. With Gadget Expert I recommend finding a tanky carry who can stay in the frey proccing the three Stattik Shivs that you should prioritize building—but hey, maybe you have a better plan with this Augment. With Pandora’s Bench, will you commit to sitting on high value units in hopes that they transform to your desired one? With Cruel Pact, will you slam to Level 8 at stage one, only to be eliminated after one loss?
During Gizmos & Gadgets, many of the trait enhancing Augments were no brainer takes, or don’t takes, simply depending on whether or not you were running the trait they correlated with. For instance, if you are offered So Small, Shrug it Off, Sharpshooter, or Irresistible Charm, you would almost always take those Augments if you were running Yordles, Bruisers, Twinshot, or Debonair respectively. With our new trait enhancing Draconic Augments, you won’t just take them because you are running the trait, and when you do take them, you will have to adjust your play style around them. Check out some examples below:
Each of these Augments create strategic moments. Do you want to place your Bruisers in the backline next to your carries to increase their health at the cost of getting hit by AoE abilities? Do you want to put a carry in the center of your board instead of cornering them for protection? How can you build around firing as many firecrackers as possible in a fight? Can you prioritize getting defensive components to supercharge your Cavaliers?
Wow—that was a lot. There’s still our Pass and More as well as our Gameplay Overview articles for you to check out. Definitely do so when you get the chance, ‘cause I hear the author for those is just the best. Finally, I know it can be hard to keep all the dates for our release straight amidst your busy schedule, so we had an artist mock this up for you to help!