Build Guide by Primal
Not Updated For Current Season
This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.
Not Updated For Current Season
The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.
Nocturne is an assassin and an excellent ganker if played how I'm going to explain. I find him to be similar to an Attack Damage/Attack Speed built Master Yi or Warwick. Nocturne is one of the few champions that have their recommended items be a big part in his build. With this guide it makes Nocturne an excellent chaser as well as a great escapee.
Pros / Cons
-Excellent ganker and can scrummage up easy last hit on kills.
-Great chaser with his Duskbringer capability.
-Produces the element of surprise, especially with his ultimate.
-Allows his laning partner to get sufficient amount of exp while Nocturne gets his from ganks, casual jungling, etc.
-Exceptional at getaways.
-Mana starved in early game so quite dependent on Golem buff early.
-Squishier than soggy jello.
-Prone to counter junglers, so also dependent on map awareness/mia calls.
-Item build could be pricey.
This section is going to show you how to play Nocturne in certain areas and situations on the map.
How I play Nocturne as a ganker/roamer. As in, you'll be doing a lot of switching from whatever side lane you are to mid then back to your lane. I advise to pick whichever lane that has your blue buff at so you can get that early mana replenishment as early as possible without dying. In a lane, use Duskbringer a lot to farm quickly and get quick gold and exp. Similar to Nasus's AOE Spirit Fire in the aspect of farming. Duskbringer is also the first skill you want to put a point in to start off harassing from the beginning to set a tone. It's also help if you lane with a champion that has a snare or a stun. If ever possible, when you have two enemy champions lined up, launch Duskbringer at them to get double hit.
When taking down a turret, I advise to use both of your first skills. Although Duskbringer doesn't seem to have any initial damage affect on the turret, being on the trail that it leaves behind will increase your damage. Also use Shroud of Darkness. This skill will allow you to hit the turret faster, and if locked on, will block one turret shot.
When turret diving, you have to make sure that you are able to get away, especially at a low level when you can be taken down by a turret with a few shots. make sure you either have ghost activated or you set a trail from Duskbringer to getaway.
If in a lane with a bunch of minions either behind or in a crowd with the enemy champion, it's exceptional that you use Duskbringer first. With that, if allows you to pass through the minions and straight to your target while he/she may get stuck on their own minons, and give you your movement speed and damage you need for the take down.
If the champion is alone in the lane or somewhere in the jungle, use Unspeakable horror first, but click your auto attack first and this is why. Unlike some other champ's abilities such as Fiddlestick's drain or Le Blanc's leash thingy, they can't be moving or initiating another attack. Nocturne is able to follow it's target and attack in all duration of the ability. After a certain amount of time Unspeakable Horror is initiated and the chain isn't broken, Nocturne will fear the target. After this you will use Shroud of Darkness to get quick hits before the target decides to run. Then you hit them wit Duskbringer to follow and end the chase. I find this routine very effective, especially in jungles.
I cannot stress this enough, especially from how i used to play with Warwick. When Ganking, DO NOT just blast your ultimate in middle of a crowd of enemy champions. Only a few champs can do that (i.e. Nasus and Renekton). Because once you are in there they will concentrate on you. Also, being that Nocturne's ultimate kinda lets the enemy team know when you are about to strike, its advise to use either in team fights or single or double enemy ganks. I try to use Paranoia as a last hit on a fleeing champion or an unexpected attack on a champion that is recalling.
There is going to be quite a view buying and selling through out the game. I find this way easier to keep a steady edge with your stats without sacrificing time and pushes with waiting for a certain purchase.
I first start off with Doran's Blade. I find it to be best suitable because it has everything you will end up having at the end up this build. It gives you a little bit of lifesteal and health just so you stay steady on health, along with added damage. Next you going to get Vampiric Scepter for additional lifesteal and so you can start your build on Wriggle's Latern. After that you are going to get the Long Sword then upgrade that to a Madred's Razor as soon as you can. Normally when someone gets a Madred's Razor they assume they are building the Bloodrazor, but with the other purchases you won't need that item so much. Then after that you upgrade to the Wriggle's Lantern. Later on you will exchange this for a bloodthirster.
After you have your first set of attack based items you may either go ahead and buy the regular boots or wait for the Berserker Greaves. After this you will start building your Banshee's Veil with the Catalyst the Protector. With the Catalyst you shouldn't be as dependent on Golem anymore and can concentrate more on Lizard Buff.
Now, for what I find Nocturne's most flexible and multipurpose item in this build is the Youmuu's Ghostblade. We'll start building this with The Brutalizer.
After that you can finish your two main builds and get your Banshee's Veil first and then Youmuu's Ghostblade.
When funds are sufficient, sell your Doran's Blade and Wriggle's Lantern for ether starting your Blood Thrister by buying the B.F. Sword first or straight up buying the Blood Thirster itself. Either way you are going to be buying a B.F. Sword eventually.
Now usually at this time where you are at during the game with these items, you should be late in the game. So if you don't think you can handle damage well too well then I recommend buying any armor or magic resistance item that suits your fancy, but if you think you can suffice that, then start getting your last attack item, The Black Cleaver. Obviously firs start off by purchasing the B.F. Sword then upgrade to Black Cleaver. Or if you're getting a lot of gold, build the Infinity Edge, but only if you think you are or will be getting a lot of gold.
The last slot for an item is up to you. Like I said, if you are doing good with takedowns and such then get a Phantom Dancer just to say your that guy. If not then get a defensive item. It's really up to you. At the end of the game your items should look like this
REASON FOR THESE ITEMS
For any 1 on 1 fights, the point is to see who can get in hit for hit. A lot of times you may be matched up against tanky champions, especially if they have a jungling Warwick. I like to concentrate my fights with Nocturne's Duskbringer and Shroud of Darkness. With those two skills being used and the items being used there isn't any reason Nocturne can't go toe to toe with any champ.
Nocturne is very dependent on jungle buffs. Especially Golem Blue Buff in early game. But after getting Catalyst and then Banshee's Veil, there isn't any need for Golem Buff unless you are getting into a lot of fights where your skills are being used frequently.
One big question I'm sure you guys are wondering is why the Ghost Blade. Well with your Armor Penetration runes, and the Ghost Blade, it should make Nocturne a hard and fast hitting champion. Also since Nocturne's abilities are crucial in his game play, cool downs are essential. With the Ghost Blade it will decrease you're cool down by 15%. Youmuu's Ghost Blade's Unique Active is a big part in why I find this item useful. When activated, your movement speed is increase by 20% and attack speed by 50% for 4 seconds. With Duskbringer and Shroud of Darkness, Ghost Blade is can be one of the most useful and effective item you will buy from this build.
Blood Thirster, The Black Cleaver and the Infinity Edge have clear and obvious reasons why they are useful in an Assassin DPS build.
Duskbringer - Nocturne throws a shadow blade which deals damage, leaves a Dusk Trail, and causes champions to leave a Dusk Trail. While on the trail, Nocturne ignores unit collision and has increased Movement Speed and Attack Damage.
Nocturne throws a shadow blade which deals 60/110/160/210/260 (+) physical damage and leaves a Dusk Trail for a duration of 5 seconds. Enemy champions hit also leave a Dusk Trail.
While on the trail, Nocturne ignores unit collision and gains 15/20/25/30/35% Movement Speed and 20/30/40/50/60 Attack Damage.
Duskbringer should be the most used ability that Nocturne has equipped. It can be used for chases, get aways, and turret take downs. It is viable that in an confrontation with an enemy summoner that they should be hit with Duskbringer first. With them hit, you will gain added attack damage and movement speed which will help in chases. If taking down a turret, use Duskbringer to add some damage towards the turret. Duskbringer is also an excellent farming tool on minions and ending a chase with a last hit.
Shroud of Darkness - Nocturne empowers his blades, passively gaining attack speed. Activating Shroud of Darkness allows Nocturne fades into the shadows, creating a magical barrier which blocks a single enemy spell and doubles his passive attack speed if successful.
Passive: Nocturne has 20/25/30/35/40% bonus Attack Speed.
Active: Nocturne creates a magical barrier for 2 seconds, which blocks the next enemy ability. If an ability is blocked by the shield, Nocturne's passive Attack Speed bonus doubles for 5 seconds.
Normally I use this skill to take down an enemy summoner and/or turret quicker. Also could be used as a good defense mechanism, especially if you are in a situation of being chased and have low health.
Unspeakable Horror - Nocturne plants a nightmare into his target's mind, dealing damage each second and fearing the target if they do not get out of range by the end of the duration.
Nocturne plants a nightmare into his target's mind, dealing 50/100/150/200/250 (+1) magic damage over 2 seconds. If Nocturne stays within 600 range of the target for the full duration, the target becomes feared for 1/1.25/1.5/1.75/2 second(s).
Similar to Fiddlestick's terrify, unspeakable horror disorients the target and forces them to move to a random direction and unable to attack a target. Also can be used to get away if you have low health.
Paranoia - Nocturne reduces the sight radius of all enemy champions and removes their ally vision in the process. He can then launch himself at a nearby enemy champion.
Nocturne reduces the sight radius of all enemy champions and removes their ally vision for 4 seconds.
While Paranoia is active, Nocturne can launch himself at an enemy champion, dealing 150/300/450 (+) physical damage.
Smite - Since Nocturne depends on buffs, Smite is a vital key for Nocturne, especially in mid game. It makes it easier and faster for Nocturne to gain lizard and golem buff to make him more efficient and effective.
Ghost - Ghost allows Nocturne to tank turret and tower dive to get kills and escape to a bush for safety. Also with Ghost, Duskbringer, and the speed items you are equipped will limit the time chasing and enhance survivability.
If you think you will have more than enough speed to get away from turret fire or be able to chase down a target, other summoner spells that are handy are Exhaust and Flash.