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League of Legends: Preseason 2020 guide - All Rise of the Elements changes explained

Here's a roundup of all the changes.

The League of Legends Preseason has arrived, and with it, an absolute bucket-load of changes which are sure to shake up the Summoner’s Rift. It’s officially titled “Rise of the Elements”, and for good reason too, as the map morphs depending on which Dragon’s swooped down into the pit.

Of course, there are plenty of balance tweaks to items, runes and more. Below we’ll run you through all the key aspects of the Preseason patch and continue to update this page as the changes evolve over time.

All Preseason Changes

Here’s a roundup of all the changes hitting League of Legends in Season 10:

Riot’s official Pre-Season breakdown contains all of this info too, so keep an eye on their page for all the latest updates as well.

Cover image for YouTube videoPreseason 2020 Spotlight | Gameplay - League of Legends

Elemental Drakes will change the landscape of the map

  • Infernal Drake - Sunders the Rift, creating new pathways through buff camps and burning away their brush. The walls at the mouth of the pit will also crumble away, opening up greater opportunities for quicksteps, flanks and fights.
  • Ocean Drake - Causes existing brush to expand, fresh patches of brush to grow around the dragon pit and the environment to flood with pools of water. Honeyfruit will also sprout up in each jungle quadrant.
  • Cloud Drake - Spawns air currents which flow through the jungle and the dragon pit, speeding up champions in the vicinity.
  • Mountain Drake - Triggers a seismic shift throughout the Rift. Rock erupts out of the earth and create chokepoints and ambush locations.

Riot’s message about these changes:

”We wanted to make sure the Elemental Rifts are fair to both teams regardless of whether one team is ahead on drakes. Keeping your head in the game if you fall behind early can be hard enough as-is; we didn't want to make it feel like the map itself was trying to make you lose, too. When creating new layouts for the Rifts, we wanted to make sure each of them would be as exciting and fair as the base SR map. Both teams have the opportunity to exploit and master the new terrain equally, so the outcomes are still in players' hands regardless of which Elemental Rift takes shape.”

”Additionally, we wanted to ensure the Rifts feel intuitive, even in your first game. We avoided creating new gameplay mechanics in favor of expanding the SR elements you're already familiar with. We also made sure the changes always occur in the jungle near buff camps and dragon pit so that no matter which element you get, you'll interact with the layout changes around the same areas.”

Elemental Buffs & Dragon Souls

First up, the Elemental Drakes themselves will still grant permanent stacking buffs, but some of them are now a little different:

  • Infernal Might - Gain a percentage increase of Attack Damage and Ability Power.
  • Oceanic Will - Regenerate a percentage of missing health every second.
  • Cloudbringer’s Grace - Gain cooldown reduction for your Ultimate ability.
  • Mountainous Vigor - Gain a percentage increase of Armor and Magic Resistance.

Now, when a team kills their fourth Elemental Drake, instead of stacking the elemental buff, they’ll earn a special Dragon Soul from the dominant dragon. These persist through death and last the remainder of the game.

  • Infernal Dragon Soul - Every 3 seconds, your next attack or damaging spell creates a small AoE explosion, dealing adaptive damage that scales with bonus attack damage, ability power, and bonus health.
  • Ocean Dragon Soul - Dealing any damage triggers strong health and resource regeneration for 3 seconds. Damage to minions provides less regeneration.
  • Cloud Dragon Soul - Hitting enemies with abilities or attacks lowers the cooldowns of your base abilities.
  • Mountain Dragon Soul - After not taking damage for 5 seconds, gain a shield that lasts until destroyed. The shield’s magnitude scales with bonus attack damage, ability power, and bonus health.

Elder Dragon’s buff is now even bigger

Once a team has claimed a Dragon Souls, the Elder Dragon enters the pit. This then means only one team can have a Dragon Soul.

It still grants a short-term combat buff, but it’s been retooled a little to offer teams who failed to claim a Dragon Soul a hope of getting back into the game. With this in mind, Riot has removed the Elder Dragon’s scaling with Elemental Drake buffs and replaced it with a new execution move.

Cover image for YouTube videoElder Immolation

Now, if Elder’s burn damage affects a low-health enemy champion, they’ll be consumed by an Elder Immolation which kills them instantly. Those affected by the Elder Burn will have a small marker on their health bar which indicates the execution threshold. As the execution has a brief wind-up period, those with dashes or abilities/items which render invulnerability can dodge execute at the lost second.

Sidelines, Alcoves & Brush

Riot’s added alcoves to the top and bottom lanes. Both of them feature three patches of brush on their outer edges and a small space in their center for champions to outplay their enemies, or hideaway.

There are also now two new patches of permanent brush opposite the Baron and Dragon pits. Both of these should open up some lovely new strategic options.

Krugs nerfed, Gromp buffed, Jungle timers added

Riot believed Krugs’ XP and gold gains were a little too strong, meaning junglers relied too heavily on them, and in turn, created one-dimensional pathing and a heavy blue-side advantage. Nerfing them should open up more opportunities for junglers.

Gromp will be worth more both in terms of XP and Gold. Now, junglers can hit level 3 off any combination of outer camp (Gromp or Krugs), buff camp, and any third camp.

Respawn timer icons will be added to the minimap for jungle camps, so that junglers can better plan their next moves.

Top Laners should feel more powerful

Base minion XP has been raised so solo laners should level a bit faster, and Riot has reduced the amount of bonus XO generated when allies share XP. This means bot lane should level a little slower. Jungle has also received the same treatment, meaning top lane won’t be left in the dust.

Rift Herald will also spawn earlier in the game which will allow her to respawn once if she is killed early.

Support Items should feel more satisfying

The revamped item quest system automatically upgrades items to their second and third tiers when milestones are reached, with the Warding passive baked into those upgrades.

This means supports won’t have to use 1500g on their first economy item, which should give them a little more leeway to build the way they want. As a compromise, these support items won’t carry as many stats as before, but considering you don’t have to pay for them, it’s not a bad deal at all.

The four starting support items are now:

  • High AD + Low HP + Spellthief’s passive
  • High AP + Low HP + Spellthief’s passive
  • Low AD + High HP + Targon's passive
  • Low AP + High HP + Targon's passive
  • (Coin removed)

Coin has been removed to simplify the support item system.

A new poaching rule has been added that significantly reduces the gold you get from minions if you’re farming them consistently. The penalty only kicks in if you’re stealing loads of farm like a non-support.

Lethality items should feel more attractive

Here’s a look at all the tweaks and new items:

  • Duskblade is mostly the same.
  • Ghostblade is also mostly the same.
  • Edge of Night's spellshield now works like Banshee's Veil, which is a more straightforward effect that avoids the learning curve of an active item while also allowing for clearer counterplay opportunities for opponents.
  • Sanguine Blade is a new Lethality item that enables split pushing. Its unique passive grants a huge attack speed buff when no allies are nearby.
  • ”We’re also exploring a few other potential lethality item options that you may see on PBE.”

A word from Riot on the Lethality changes:

”Doubling the number of attractive Lethality items significantly increases assassins' ability to tailor their early builds to their matchup or game state, but we don't want to kill their later build variety by letting full-Lethality become optimal in every game. Individual items grant fewer stats but now feature a one- and two-piece bonus which preserves the power spikes of assassins' first big purchases. Since this set bonus stops at two, assassins should generally branch into raw-AD items like Guardian Angel or Black Cleaver after their two-item spike. Full Lethality should still feel like a strong option against exceptionally squishy comps, though.”

Spear of the Shojin has been removed

Its unique passive when used by the most synergistic champions is lowering the downtime of some CC, mobility, and immunity spells beyond what’s ‘acceptable’ so to speak - there’s simply no room for counterplay.

More great League of Legends guides:

Keystone Rune changes

Conqueror has been too effective at allowing sustained damage fighters to deal with beefy tanks, who’ve then lost their lane as a result. Riot has toned down the anti-tank nature of the rune by removing the true damage conversion and increasing the power of stacking adaptive force.

Cover image for YouTube video

Kleptomancy has been used as a way of generating plenty of gold in an uneven matchup. With this in mind, Riot is pulling power out of the “farm gold off of my enemy” pattern and pushing more into the early game elixir drops.

Aftershock’s flat resistances have been lowered as squishy champions were simply garnering too much power from them. This should buff the power it gives to tankier champions.

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Ed Thorn avatar

Ed Thorn

Reviews Editor

When Ed's not cracking thugs with bicycles in Yakuza, he's likely swinging a badminton racket in real life. Any genre goes, but he's very into shooters and likes a weighty gun, particularly if they have a chainsaw attached to them. Adores orange and mango squash, unsure about olives.