Dragons of the Sovereign’s Rise12 min read
Everyone knows of the two dragons on the Rise. They are big, grumpy, and not easy to fight against. Dragons are the biggest objects on the map. They cannot be stunned, pulled, feared, or even pushed. Today we’ll be talking about when to capture these magnificent beasts, as well as the buffs they provide.
Disclaimer: This guide will not automatically update. The information within is as of update 3.10.2 of Vainglory. (Effort was given to make this as less update-specific as possible)
First, a quick rundown of what we’re going to be talking about today (below are also links: click each item to jump down to specific sections)
- Basic understanding of the duo, such as the buffs and gains they provide
- A closer look into the kits (as in tools, not small cats) of Ghostwing
- A closer look into the kits of Blackclaw
- Vision placement and control around the dragon pits
- Advanced tips and tricks for beginner and experienced players alike
|Spawn Time||- Earlier, at 6 mins|
- Respawn 3 mins after previous capture, or 90 secs after buff falls off
|- Later, at 12 mins
- Rspawn 3 mins after being driven away/killed
|General Buffs||- Regenerating barrier|
- Energy regeneration
- 15% moar damage to structures
- Gives gold to the team who captured it (125 gold for each player alive)
|- Pushes down mid, takes turrets, and can provide good distraction
- Gives 250 gold to each player in the enemy team
|Ease of Capture||Easier||Harder( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)|
*Both dragons give mortal wounds to heroes they damage while being captured.
At first glance, it seems Ghostwing is the better dragon, giving all sorts of buffs to your heroes, as well as giving, seemingly, nothing to your enemies, except a whole lot of pain. It’s even easier to take down. Blackclaw, on the other hand, takes a longer time to capture, pushes mid only, while even giving over some gold when killed. Hmm, you think, maybe Ghostwing is worth it every time. Don’t jump to conclusions that fast.
Let’s talk Ghostwing
This pale beast first spawns on the map at 6 minutes, providing the first team-wide objective to rally around. Although not very hard to capture, the damage it deals, especially to lower level heroes, can be detrimental in team fight scenarios. The base health of Ghostwing is 4300. It increases by 450 every two minutes. When it first spawns, think a level 12 Phinn with two Crucibles and a bit more. Add a Superscout 2000 every two minutes. It has mortal wounds built into its kit. Because of this, the hero tanking the brunt of the dragon damage will take much longer to recover should a team fight arise. In early game, normally around 6 to 12 minutes, you should at least have a 2-man advantage before challenging this draconic figure.
Ghostwing is much easier to steal than its counterpart, since he 1) has less health, which means that the same amount of damage can take a bigger percentage of his health, and 2) has a equally long ()health bar as Blackclaw, meaning that players can more easily see when an ability has enough damage to ensure the last hit.
In terms of buffs to your heroes, well… that’s all he gives. He gives energy regeneration, a regenerating barrier, and 15% extra damage to structures for a time span of 90 seconds. Capturing him provides 125 gold to your entire team, while providing no backlash whatsoever, meaning that there are no direct advantages the enemy can gain from you capturing Ghostwing.
- Energy management is crucial in all stages of the game. Capturing Ghostwing alleviates this problem, granting you the freedom to “spam” your abilities.
- The regenerating barrier works wonders in team fight scenarios, as it basically gives your team extra health heading into a skirmish. Use this to your advantage and perform coordinated attacks on objectives, such as turrets and camps close to the river. Speaking of which…
- The extra damage on structures may not seem like much, but it gives your team the courtesy of sieging turrets effectively, even without minion waves (juggle turret aggro to take unguarded turrets). The barrier is also a plus, giving you some extra health to trade with, letting you take just that tiny bit more poke before you have to back off.
Unfortunately, no lunch is ever free. Although capturing Ghostwing doesn’t give over any direct disadvantages (such as Blackclaw, who gives over 250 gold when driven away/killed), the beast still has some weak points that can be seized by the enemy.
- The dragon normally requires several people to take down. At least one or, most of the time, two or even three lanes, will be left open. Recognizing this, a smart player will split push (normally the lane farthest away from the Ghostwing), and take up to two turrets.
- Ghostwing is easier to steal than Blackclaw. This results in the sad fact that even in a 5v4 or even 5v3 scenario, the capture rate is much closer to 50-50 than one might think. If it gets stolen, not only do you lose uncontested turrets, you also face the fear of losing a teamfight. This happens to the best of teams, as proven in the VPL Worlds Invitational. Good map awareness and objective secure is very important when capturing this dragon. And the other one. To reiterate my point, do not attempt to capture Ghostwing without either a man advantage or an out-rotation.
- Possibly the biggest weakness of Ghostwing is the fact that it requires good team coordination to make full use of its buff. If in solo queue, capturing Ghostwing might not result in any objectives taken, since coordination on which objective to take afterwards might be lacking.
It’s Blackclaw time
The fiercest dragon alive, and the storm queen’s prized pet on top of that, Blackclaw is quite a force to be reckoned with. In fact, he is so powerful that the river flowing through Sovereign’s Rise is named after him (Blackclaw Rush). He has 7600 health when he first spawns at 12 minutes. Every two minutes, his health increases by 550, making him harder to capture. To put that into perspective, he has more health when he first spawns than a level 12 Phinn with 6 Crucibles! When captured, he has 6500 health (before 14 minutes) and his health increases by a whopping 1600 every two minutes, making him even harder to kill for the enemy team. To add to this terrible monstrosity, he becomes enraged past 25 minutes, gaining 15% more damage, 0.4 movement speed, and takes 30% less damage.
Blackclaw has two forms of attack after he’s captured.
He blasts a column of flame at a turret. This is his most damaging attack, taking nearly a third of the turret’s HP down.
He swipes (as the name indicates) at the turret, dealing small bits of damage over time. As he only breathes fire once per turret, this is what he does most of the time. As it doesn’t deal much damage, leaving Blackclaw alone makes him a distraction rather than an actual threat.
Note that Blackclaw alone can take down 3 turrets before he dies to turret and minion damage (no damage from enemy heroes)
Sieging: Imagine a war where you have to break through a wall. Wouldn’t a tanky, fire-breathing beast on your side be quite nice? Blackclaw acts as a giant minion, tanking the brunt of the damage while your backline mages blast away at their leisure. The threat of an engagement from your team also forces the enemy back, making Blackclaw even harder to kill.
Distraction for split-pushing: While pushing down mid lane with Blackclaw can be deadly for the enemy; sometimes, especially when you’re behind or have a less coordinated team, split pushing down another lane while Blackclaw bears down on mid can grant more turrets with less risk. As the enemy team has to spread their resources across two lanes, or sometimes even three, it gives your team a great advantage in most scenarios, as you’ll always be at a man advantage.
IMO: I often see teams, especially in the t7 to t8 range, take Blackclaw to act as a distraction for taking Ghostwing. While this depends on the game; most of the time, you’ll just be wasting Blackclaw, which gifts the enemy free gold, while most likely gaining far less objectives than if you had just pushed with Blackclaw.
First and the most obvious, he gives over gold to the enemy team when killed. It is quite a large amount, so to make up for this, ensure that your team gains either objective control or take down a couple turrets (two is normally fine, and three is wonderful).
Blackclaw takes much longer to take than Ghostwing. In a dragon trade (which is where one team goes for a dragon, and the other team, recognizing this, goes to take the other), the team taking Ghostwing will have the inherent advantage, as there is still the threat for a contest at the Blackclaw pit even after they take Ghostwing. It does not provide your team with any buffs, other than regeneration to full health and energy after he is captured. If you take any damage from an enemy hero, then even that is taken away.
Blackclaw is a high-risk, high-reward objective that should be taken after absolute map control, gained either from a won teamfight or an abundance of vision and map control as the stronger team.
Vision control could NOT be more important around the dragon pits, as we call them. In this guide, Ghostwing on A side will be used as the example. Mirror the guide if on B side or when taking Blackclaw. Most people place their scout cams in the spaces below.
The two scout cams inside the pit itself, marked with blue, are where teams normally place scout cams to keep basic vision of the pits. These should always be cleared out first before starting a Ghostwing capture.
The position on the river, shown as red, is normally placed by the laners on that side of the map, to watch out for ganks and rotations from the mid lane, while keeping an eye on the Ghostwing as a side note.
The position across the wall, marked with white, is placed by the aggressing, or capturing team. It is the optimal placement to look out for steals from across the wall, as the vision it provides encompasses the entire length of the half circle.
Personally, I like these more unconventional areas to really throw my opponents off guard and gain absolute vision control.
The position right on top of Ghostwing, shown in orange, can’t be cleared very easily from over the wall (it can’t, in fact). Also something to note, a well placed scout cam right on top of the Ghostwing’s hitbox can reveal almost all the positions apart from the ones across the wall. I like to place this as vision control, for it is nearly impossible to clear without accidentally clicking Ghostwing, which will trigger particle effects, which are much easier to see.
The positions in the brushes on the left and right, shown in green, give vision around the entire half circle. However, they can’t be cleared by the enemy team unless they 1) Place a scout cam inside the brush or 2) Go inside the brush itself (if they placed scout cam outside this brush). Both force out dangerous positioning from the enemy.
The position on the tip of the wall on the top left (shown in aqua/teal/cyan) is somewhat special. It maximizes vision of the river, while barely grazing Ghostwing, therefore providing vision on both. Also, a scout cam placed inside the pit cannot scout it out. It also gives very good vision on the enemy heroes when they are capturing the dragon.
Advanced Tips and Technicalities
Finally, here are some more tips to really bring up your game around these dragons.
To almost everyone, the dragons are the most game-changing objectives in the game. Everyone will feel the need to contest when knowing they are being taken. Due to this, engaging these dragons without a man advantage or knowing that the enemy team has vision can bait out a team fight. Do this in the early game, especially when the enemy team comp is late-game (scales well in the late) and is looking to turtle (drag the game to late game).
Stormcrown is a very good objective stealer and securer. This works especially well with heroes with bursty abilities, such as Ardan, Reza, and Taka. Junglers can also build this and look for steals.
There is a brush near the Crystal Treant. It is the closest to the pits other than the adjacent brushes, which, sadly, are in the enemy jungle. Use this to your advantage when going for a dragon steal.
The person taking the brunt of the damage should position away from the allies to prevent the fire from burning more than one target (and applying mortal wounds).
When taking the dragons, positioning is more important than you think. Below is my suggestion when taking Blackclaw, assuming the enemy is coming from the mid lane (Ignore the build… or don’t 😉)
- Blue: Squishy/Backline mage
- Red: WP carry or carries
- Green: Jungler and/or aggressive top laner
- White: Captain and/or utility top laner
Position the mage on the outskirts of the fight. The position on the far left might be a bit too far, but it is the safer option. Especially for heroes like Celeste and Samuel.
The WP carry should stay closer to the fight, especially if it is a melee bruiser. If it is a ranged kiting type hero, the position back towards the middle might be better. Although, putting them right in the fight with a couple of utility heroes to support might just create that 1v5 power play. Use your intuition.
The jungler should be close to both the dragon and the fight, either to secure, engage, or peel.
Utility heroes should also be in the thick of things, and should help maintain vision and zonal control. The position inside the pit also creates opportunities to engage team fights (GAUNTLET OVER THE WALL KYAAAAA).
Captains should stay near their carries, providing support and peel if need be. As the tankiest (usually) hero on the team, it is normal for them to be tanking the dragon damage as well.
*This is only one scenario. Situations and positioning can and should change.
Hopefully you know a bit more about these magnificent beasts. I’ll be seeing you on the Rise. Special thanks to GeniusAwesome, the best boss ever, for helping me with this article. Also check out the other part to this article, The Birth of the Death of the World, which shows how I think Ghostwing and Blackclaw were born. Bronchitis, signing out. Peace.