Game Updates
Dragonlands Set Mechanics Overview

Read all about the new Treasure Dragon, Dragon trait, and updated (dragonized) Augments!

Game UpdatesAuthorRodger “MinionsRpeople2” Caudill
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Dragons.

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.

  • The Treasure Dragon replaces Raptors on stage 4-7 and lets you complete your item build through an offering of free items and other loot. Or, you can pay one gold to refresh your offerings. It’s a take all the Treasure Dragon has or refresh kind of offer, so don’t be picky!
  • The Dragons of the Dragonlands take on a new origin. They count as two units in your army, have a bunch of bonus health, are double the cost of other units in their rarity tier, count for triple their trait bonus, and are super powerful. Check out three of the seven Dragons sampled below: Shyvana, Ao Shin, and Aurelion Sol.
  • Augments stick around as our most beloved set mechanic to date. Augments provide a high amount of in game variance that keep things fresh and fun. But we’re adding a few changes to them along the way.
  • Augment rerolls can be used once per game. They allow you to thwart Augment options that don’t work with the build you are trying to play, or you can just use yours to look for your favorite Augment like I will!
  • We’re balancing the Augment scales across all tiers while making offerings more intuitive and deflating their power level slightly. Feels good Tactician.
  • Big brain Augments for a big brain you. Our new Augments are more dynamic and require you to alter your playstyle to truly take advantage of their power. You’re smart and capable, I believe you’ll make them work!
  • We’re making our trait enhancing Augments into decision enhancing Augments as well. Augments shouldn’t be a no-brainer pick, nor a no-brainer avoid. Each Augment should make you think about whether they work in your comp, or whether you can make them work in your comp.

Okay, let’s get to it! First up, the Treasure Dragon!

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!

The 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.

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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.

Shyvana: Dragon Ragewing Shapeshifter

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: Dragon Tempest

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.

Aurelion Sol: Astral Dragon Evoker

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!

Augments Stick Around as Draconic Augments

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.

Augment Rerolls

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?

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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.

Balancing the Augment Scales

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!

Big Brain Augments for a Big Brain You

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:

  • Cluttered Mind: If your bench is full at the end of a round, gain 5 experience points.
  • Gadget Expert: Items deal much more damage as true damage. Gain a Statikk Shiv.
  • Pandora’s Bench: At the start of every turn, champions in your 3 rightmost bench slots transform into random champions of the same cost. As a note, since Dragons have unique costs, they will always reroll to other Dragons.
  • Cruel Pact: Buying XP costs Health instead of gold.

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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?

Trait Enhancing and Decision Enhancing Augments

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:

  • Personal Trainer: If a unit starts combat next to a Bruiser then they permanently gain Health.

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  • Eye of the Storm: An enhanced hex appears at the center of your board. Units on the hex gain ability power. When Tempest lightning strikes, that bonus triples!
  • Party Favors: At the end of combat, gain 1 gold for every 6 firecrackers launched. Additionally, gain a special prize the first time 100 total firecrackers are launched.
  • Devastating Charge: Cavaliers deal damage equal to a portion of their Armor and Magic Resist when they charge!

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!

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