Please Note: Dragons are placed in their tier, but their placement within the tier is alphabetacle. This does not reflect their power within the tier. All dragons in a similar tier are considered similarly useful.
This tier list can be seen as a guide to which dragons are the safest, most broadly useful investment. A higher tier dragon is going to be useful on more Adventurers and will be able to help you clear harder content. It is far safer to use Sunlight Stones on a tier 1 or 1.5 Dragon than it is on a tier 3 Dragon, but individual preferences and needs are still important.
Also note that the tier list is heavily segregated by element. As different elements have different access to dragons, their power levels can vary wildly.
Tier 1 - Meta
A Dragon in the top tier is one that sees heavy usage in end game content (Primarily Master or Expert Agito). It's widely considered to be the optimum dragon for a number of Adventurers in their element. They should also not require any specific team build, instead being generally useful to most of their elemental Roster. Generally, only DPS focused Dragons are found in this tier as the majority of Adventurers are DPS focused and most content calls for more DPS Adventurers than support or defensive ones.
Tier 1.5 - Near Meta
Placement in tier 1.5 indicates that a Dragon is very useful for progression, having a wide range of applicability on multiple Adventurers, as well as being powerful enough to clear the hardest content. Often the difference between these dragons and the very best is one of minor degrees, but in end game progression every little bit counts.
Tier 2 - Off Meta
These are older dragons that have simply been eclipsed by newer ones. They're still good enough to clear content, but it's going to be harder and sometimes pugs will start to avoid you for using a dragon that is simply no longer at the top of their game.
Tier 3 - Sub-optimal
These are dragons that are just not the best around. Lower rarity gatcha dragons like Juggernaught belong here, along with the better F2P dragons like High Mercury or Mini-mids. There are also some dragons, like Primed Dragons, that while higher rarity are just not good enough.
Tier 4 - Not for Progression
These dragons are simply not what you want to use to clear content. They are either F2P dragons or low rarity dragons and just don't cut it for serious content, or designed for farming resources.
Unlike Adventurers, some Dragons in Dragalia Lost are simply more effective than others. While you can debate the merits of Noelle vs DY!Xainfried as they both do different things, it's hard to argue that Stribog is in any world better that Garuda. Note that we assume the dragon is MUB and fully leveled. Obviously, a MUB Ifrit is superior to a 0UB Cerberus, even though Cerberus is ranked higher.
That said, individual Dragons have certain pairings that are better for them. You are encouraged to check out an Adventurers and a dragons page to see who they would go best with. Tier Lists are misleading when taken literally, so readers are encouraged to seek out guides to Void Battles, Imperial Onslaught, The Mercurial Gauntlet and Advanced Dragon Trials for more details on picking the right characters for specific content.
Factors included in the ranking are:
- The primary factor is how represented the character is in the games current "meta," or in other words how popular a Dragon and their paired Adventurers are for clearing end game content (primarily High Dragon Trials, Mercurial Gauntlet, and Agito)
- Damage based on theoretical simulation data.
- Synergy with a large number of Adventurers of the same element
- Attack combo effectiveness and active skills.
- Status Afflictions and Boss resistances where applicable. When opposite-element bosses are immune to a Dragon's skill's Affliction, that’s a poor matchup counting against that character.
February 5th, 2020
- Dreadking Rathalos placed in tier 1. DK Rath may be the most overpowered dragon ever released to this point. His drawback is virtually nonexistant, and he offers a 55% Strength boost AND a 60% Force Strike Boost. He's a monster, pure and simple.
- Cerberus, Agni, > Tier 2. DK Rath is so much better than these two it's astounding. They no longer have any place in the top end meta, so thoroughly have they been eclipsed. This is a trend that is likely to continue for older dragons. While Zephyr and Cupid still have a niche thanks to their special abilities, other older dragons will not be so fortunate.
February 2nd, 2020
- Rathalos placed in tier 2. Since Rathalos is a free mixed dragon with similar boosts to High Brunhilda, he gets a tier 2 placement for his ease of use and minimal investment for adequate results.
- Fatalis placed in tier 2. Despite his power, Fatalis has a huge drawback gimmick that really hurts how usable he is in a number of situations.
January 24th, 2020
- Garland placed in tier 1. Garland is a second generation dragon, offering an 80% Strength Boost with an easy to meet conditional, and provides a solid form of damage mitagation.
- Zephyr moved to tier 1.5. In a trend that is likely to continue, the first generation strength dragon no longer stacks up to the second generation dragon. Unlike Cupid, who has a useful active skill, Zephyr is simply inferior to Garland in most circumstances.
January 4th, 2020
- Ebisu placed in tier 2. An HP bonus in Shadow just isn't very good.
- Daikokuten placed in tier 1. The new optimum Light DPS dragon, though he doesn't completely outmode Cupid.
December 18th, 2019
- Tier List Dramatically Overhauled.
- Tier list now heavily favors dragons that see the most play across the most Adventures, specifically in HDT and MG 51+.
- Certain Dragons, such as Skill Haste Dragons, have risen dramatically given their usefulness.
- Other dragons, especially gatcha mixed dragons, have fallen as they simply are outmoded.
Thanks to her Skill Haste, Frejya is the top choice for Support Adventurers such as Noelle or Lowen. She might not have much in the way for DPS focused Adventurers, but for those more concerned with healing or buffing, she's easily the top wind pick.
Like Prometheus, Gilgamesh is a great value for players who can’t go for the MUB. His offense isn’t as high as Cupid, but 35% Strength and 15% Shadow Res will serve most all Adventurers.
While she provides an impressive amount of HP for healers, Garuda's kit is lacking in terms of support-- especially since her active Skill only heals the user. For firing off multiple heals and Energizing the team, Freyja is a better option. Lowen players will also pick Zephyr for High Mercury to increase damage, making Garuda's niche situational at best.
While being a 4★ Dragon means she doesn't boost HP as much as Garuda or Jeanne d'Arc, Phoenix makes a name for herself with her powerful active Skill, Regeneration Flame. Despite being of lower rarity, Phoenix does a lot for Flame Staff users and is easily upgraded using Moonlight Stones.
Being a split-bonus Dragon, Liger falls in the same category as fellow 5★ Nidhogg and Poseidon. He’s strong enough, but with full HP and full Strength Dragons available, he isn’t the best option for either DPS or healers.
Although Pele’s Strength boost is lower than Ifrit’s, she does have a good attack-- Blazing Pillars-- which hits the entire surrounding area and inflicts Burn damage. Her availability is limited to those who missed the Loyalty’s Requiem event, but those who got multiple copies can increase her Strength boost and power even further.
50% Critical Damage is a massive boon. Unfortunately, this comes without the means to improve Critical Rate, or the frequency of critical hits. Without a high probability to land Criticals, the benefits of high Critical Damage may never be seen.
In addition, the Light element lacks high-rarity Dagger and Blade users with Critical Rate bonuses outside their Co-Ability, so implementation of Shishimai’s massive power becomes tricky in practice. Assuming a 10-15% Critical Rate with Wyrmprints and Allied Co-Abilities, Shishimai’s damage increase is comparable to a 20-30% Strength buff.