Where do I start when choosing a rider?
First, it’s important to note that there are two different major divisions of riders: Offensive and Defensive. Defensive riders are meant to be assigned to dragons on perches and will boost things like food/lumber production, tower attack/defense, building time reductions, etc. Offensive riders come in a much greater variety and can often be trained in a variety of different ways: warrior, sorcerer, hunter, invoker, xp, and hp being the most common.
How do I know what rider is best for each dragon?
First you need to decide what you want for your dragon. Do you want a rage boost? An extra ammo shot? Extra HP? Once you decide what your dragon needs, you can narrow down the choices of riders. Riders can be pricey to reset skills on, so it’s definitely recommended you decide on your plan before you start training. An easy way to compare riders side by side or to play with ideas is by using the tools available at https://wd.neon-wonderland.com/rider.
Let's look at an example
Think of Faf’nyr who was a mythic sorcerer at the end of 2019. Faf’nyr is unique as he does not gain rage naturally like most dragons, instead he gains rage solely as he destroys towers. Now, many offensive atlas riders (including, but not limited to, Sophia, Anja, and Malus) can be trained for a sorcerer, however they all have a block that increases rage generation.
Normally this would be beneficial, but remember that Faf’nyr does not gain rage passively. By using Sophia, Faf’nyr is only gaining the +10% attack/hp, the rage modifier is essentially useless. Next let’s look at Ano.
While Ano does have a rage modifier block, it can be skipped to allow the rider to have more AP or DP instead. With this setup, Faf’nyr is now gaining +25.8% Hp and +12% Ap instead of the 10% Ap and Hp from Sophia.
What’s the best way to gain xp for my rider?
The fastest way to gain xp for a rider is to equip it to a dragon while doing castle guard swaps. If you don’t do castle guard swaps, then a good idea would be to get someone to back you on normal atlas runs on bases they can solo. If you get hit often you could also put the rider on your perch so they’ll gain xp from every attack against you.
How do I tell what element my rider is?
Your rider actually doesn’t have an element. Any rider can be put on any dragon. However, once you put gear on a rider, it can only be bonded to dragons whose elements match the gear. At any time you can remove or change the gear equipped on a rider to change what element your rider can be bonded to.
Can I train a rider to benefit more than one dragon?
Of course! Very few riders are “restricted” to a specific class. Some atlas riders can be trained for Warriors and Sorcerers or Hunters and Sorcerers. This makes it very easy to switch between different dragon classes without resetting your rider.
Other riders benefit a specific skill or set of skills that can be applied to a variety of different dragon classes. Think of Hugo who has a huge Hp boost, he can easily be used on any dragon who needs lots of Hp help.
What should I do if I just can’t decide?
When in doubt it’s always a good idea to fly the dragon without a rider to judge what you want more of and train your rider accordingly. However, if it’s still not making any sense, a general rule of thumb is that rage is always a good choice. For a hunter you’ll normally want to lean towards attack boosts and for warriors and sorcerers you’ll normally want to lean towards Hp boosts. Of course there are exceptions, but on most dragons the above will apply.