September 27, 2023


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Dragon versus Rift Herald, which is better?

Is going for the Dragon or Rift Herald better in Wild Rift? (Image: Yahoo Gaming SEA, Riot Games)

Is going for the Dragon or Rift Herald better in Wild Rift? (Image: Yahoo Gaming SEA, Riot Games)

The “How to” series is aimed at players who enjoy competitive gaming and are looking to improve their experience, whether through gameplay tips or advice. The information is provided at the time of publishing, and does not account for changes to the game or meta over a longer period of time.

How many games have you had where your Jungler hasn’t gotten a single Dragon, whereas the enemy team has four?

Or when you ping to fight for the Dragon but your team decides to take the Rift Herald instead?

Is going for the Rift Herald or the Dragon better?

Ever since the change was made so that both objectives spawn four minutes into the game, many players have been confused or uncertain about what to prioritise.

I’m here to help you answer some of these questions, and put things into perspective about how you can look at these objectives and deduce which is more important for your team in your games.

Let’s start off with understanding Dragon. There are four elemental dragons, each with its own unique buff, that a majority of players would rather have than a Rift Herald.

There are also many people that have a different priority on each elemental dragon. But most people would agree that the Infernal Dragon is the most valuable one out of the four, followed by the Mountain Dragon, Cloud Dragon (which will soon be removed), and lastly the Ocean Dragon.

The Infernal and Mountain Dragon both give a % buff for relevant combat stats, one being damage and the other being HP respectively.

A Cloud Dragon’s movement speed is generally nice to have, but it might not be as useful on some champions. It is, however, situationally good on others (like Olaf and Darius).

The Ocean Dragon provides Omnivamp, which gives effective HP, meaning that it increases the amount of HP you have through the healing you get when in combat. Still, it is considered less valuable due to the amount of healing reduction that is generally bought in the game.

So you now understand that Dragons give extra combat stats that aid you in strengthening your champion. What about the Rift Herald?

Simply put, the Rift Herald spawns twice in a game and does a large amount of damage when it charges into an enemy tower, usually allowing you to destroy it.

Most players will usually equate that in most cases, one Rift Herald should allow you to take one tower. (1 Rift = 1 Tower)

So why would you ever decide to take Rift Herald and a single tower when you could get an Infernal Dragon’s % damage increase?

The answer is quite straightforward — the Rift Herald allows you to accelerate the pace of the game. Although you do not gain stats, you will gain gold from the towers that you’ve destroyed. A one to one trade of a Dragon for a Rift Herald could be generalised like this: 1 Rift + 1 Tower + Gold = Dragon

The gold is also usually funnelled to one or two people on the team, which allows for your carry champions to reach their item spikes earlier than the opponent’s carries would.

The Rift Herald also allows you to create an instant minion wave of sorts, and siege a tower despite there being heavy wave clear champions (Ziggs and Orianna etc).

Now that you understand both, when do you take Rift Herald and when do you take the Dragon?

Before we get to the answer, you must understand that you might not always be able to get the objective you want.

Knowing that you are weaker and trading an objective on the opposite side of the map from your opponents is called cross-mapping, a key concept and common macro play in modern professional League of Legends.

The conclusion is much simpler than you’d expect.

Take the Rift Herald when your team requires you to snowball and accelerate the game, and you may prioritise a good Dragon when the responsibility is on the enemy team to get ahead.

That said, it is fine to take either objective on the side that scales better into the late game.

You can define ‘responsibility’ when you’re playing champions that HAVE to get fed early to win the game, such as Draven and Lee Sin, who are inherently weaker without an excessive amount of gold from kills and towers early on.

Champions like Orianna and Tristana, on the other hand, are rewarded with insane amounts of damage in the later stages of the game if they get to their power spikes.

So now that you understand these objectives, have fun in Wild Rift!

Glaceox is a Singaporean Wild Rift coach with five years of coaching experience spanning across League of Legends PC as well. He also streams and makes community guides for Wild Rift.

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