Nocturne Build Guide by PsiGuard

League of Legends Build Guide Author PsiGuard

Haunt the Jungle

PsiGuard Last updated on July 22, 2016
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Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R


Natural Talent
Bounty Hunter
Battering Blows
Piercing Thoughts

Ferocity: 12

Dangerous Game

Cunning: 18

Tough Skin
Runic Armor
Veteran's Scars
Legendary Guardian

Resolve: 0

Threats to Nocturne with this build

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Threat Champion Notes
Kayle Block her Q and all-in her and you win. Her ult is annoying in team fights but she's pretty awful unless she makes it to late game.
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Thanks to jhoijhoi for the awesome banner!

About the Author

Hi, I'm PsiGuard and welcome to my Nocturne guide. I've been playing League of Legends since November 2010 in Season 1 and have been maining jungle since the start of Season 3. My top rank is Diamond III in soloqueue. I have experience against Diamond, Master and Challenger players through solo queue, ranked teams and tournament games.

Nocturne has been my favorite champion from the moment he was released. I fell in love with his lore, his art style and his gameplay mechanics. I bought him shortly after his first free-week when he was still incredibly broken. Despite repeated nerfs, I kept an eye on his strength compared to other junglers and was delighted to see him remain a viable pick. He is still my favorite champion and I've played him frequently since season 3.

About Nocturne

Nocturne is an assassin jungler with high clear speed and sticking power. He is also a pretty strong duelist, able to go toe-to-toe with strong early game junglers. He brings a unique global presence once he has his ultimate, Paranoia. His high early game sustain and damage against jungle monsters allow him to remain on the map for long periods of time to amass a gold and experience advantage as well as being available for gank opportunities.

Nocturne excels at ganks and picks after level 6, creating advantages for his team by killing isolated targets and then using a numbers advantage to take objectives. In team fights, Nocturne can use his ultimate to dive onto the enemy backline to help his mid or top laner kill enemy carries.

Nocturne's biggest weakness is his lack of crowd control. Having only one relatively unreliable single-target CC spell, Unspeakable Horror makes his ganking and team fighting abilities less consistent than other junglers with heavy stuns and knockups. His poor utility makes him a mediocre tank, so he depends a little more on having a few offensive items to remain a damage threat throughout the game.

LoL Terminology (for any abbreviations you don't understand)

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Divers are mobile champions with enough burst or durability to get into the enemy backline and threaten their carries. You can use Paranoia to dive with them and work together to demolish enemy damage threats.

Burst champions can quickly eliminate isolated enemies and work well in pick-oriented compositions. You can dash in with Paranoia to add to their burst, guaranteeing a kill, or target one carry while your ally kills another in a team fight.

Crowd Control
Champions with crowd control make up for Nocturne's weak CC and can set up easy kills their lane opponents. In team fights, these champions can help you get picks or initiations that create good opportunities for you to dive enemy carries.

Champions with global (or semi-global) ultimates can add their post-6 presence to yours to easily create heavy numbers advantages at a moment's notice. They can help you gank bottom lane to secure early dragons, out-rotate the enemy team and create picks later in the game.

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Attack Speed Slows
Attack Speed slows really cut down on your DPS, plus a lot of them are paired with movement speed slows which can leave you a sitting duck. It's really hard to kill a champion with an attack speed slow and if they're grouped with their carries, you'll have a trouble killing anyone in the backline too.

Defensive Spells
Champions with really strong peeling spells like Wild Growth or Intervention can make it really difficult to kill a specific target. You can combat this a bit by catching people when they're alone, but if they're grouped it makes team fighting really tough.

Disengage champions will stop anyone on your team from helping you dive the backline and can even shut down your dive attempts once you ult in. Shroud of Darkness can sometimes help but you can still be overwhelmed in group fights.

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12/18/0 with Thunderlord's Decree is going to give you the best burst damage for maximizing your kill potential against squishy targets. This setup works well with more aggressive builds that include 3 or more damage items. The keystone also tends to help you snowball harder as you can reach the point where you can instantly kill carries if you get ahead.

High clear speed means less heslth lost and more uptime on the map.

High kill potential and no CC make this stronger than Oppressor on Nocturne.

Works not only on red and blue buff, but baron and elder dragon buffs too! Assassin is decent but is inactive in many fights.

While CDR is nice, armor penetration is much more valuable. Also gives you some magic pen for Unspeakable Horror and Thunderlord's Decree .

This is a staple keystone for junglers and very reliable. Several masteries in the Resolve tree help your early sustain in your first clear and the keystone nets you up to 300 HP -- a strong survivability bonus that's always valuable no matter which champion you play. Jungle champions can stack the mastery safely and steadily by clearing camps. This mastery tends to perform better in team fights where you're likely to be focused and take a lot of damage while your carries attack the enemy frontline. Works well with tankier builds, especially since the keystone offers sustain which you probably won't have in a more defensive build.
Jungle sustain is more valuable than the alternatives.

Lots of early healing from items and passive give more than 50 HP over the course of your first clear.

Lower cooldowns on Smite and Flash are much more valuable than the meager health regen offered by Perseverance .

Sticking to your target is really important.

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Attack Damage Marks are the safest marks to run, offering the most reliable jungle clear damage and solid champion damage. Armor penetration marks are another option for higher champion damage, but they're a bit worse against jungle monsters.
Armor Seals give you the most early game defense against jungle monsters, turrets, minions and enemy champions. You'll be taking physical damage throughout the early game while you clear camps, so flat runes are essential.
Scaling CDR Glyphs offer you many more opportunities to cast Paranoia with its shorter cooldown. This build can get you to the 40% CDR cap with 6 of these runes. Scaling runes are superior to flat CDR on Nocturne because he does not make good use of early CDR with his basic abilities.
Magic Resist Glyphs are super helpful against mage junglers like Elise and Evelynn and otherwise are still solid. I favor flat over scaling glyphs because I feel that 4 MR is more meaningful early game than 9 MR late game.
Attack Speed Quints give very high amounts of stats compared to other quints and help your DPS and clear speed. Attack speed runes scale especially well with on-hit procs from the Krugs buff (Gift of Heavy Hands) in your early clear.

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Summoner Spells

This spell is essential for jungling. Smite enables you to secure or steal objectives, clear your jungle camps more quickly, gain monster camp bonuses and buy Hunter's Machete and its upgrades. You need Smite to jungle.
Flash is a core spell on most champions and Nocturne is no exception. It is indispensable as a mobility spell. You can use this spell for chasing, fleeing, initiating, ganking, juking, stealing objectives, and following another champion who uses Flash. You can also use Flash to maintain the tether of Unspeakable Horror if you Flash immediately after your target uses Flash or another movement ability to escape.

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Umbra Blades (passive): This is Nocturne's passive ability which sustains him in the jungle. Since it scales with AD, it is useful throughout the game and is effective at pushing waves of minions, healing up in the jungle or lane, and dealing AoE damage in team fights.

Tips and Tricks
  • Hit all the monsters in each camp with Umbra Blades to maximize your sustain.
  • Use Duskbringer before proccing Umbra Blades when possible in order to increase the amount of AoE damage using Duskbringer's steroid.
  • Umbra Blades only applies on-hit effects to the primary target.
Duskbringer (Q): This is your primary combat ability. The initial damage from the skillshot makes it effective at farming minions/monsters and harassing champions. The movespeed allows Nocturne to chase down enemies or quickly flee from pursuers. Duskbringer also gives Nocturne increased attack damage while he's on the trail, so it's great for pretty much any situation where you're autoattacking.

Tips and Tricks
  • Make sure you're on the trail when attacking so you get the AD bonus.
  • Duskbringer allows you to ignore unit collision, making it a useful tool for chasing or escaping through a minion wave.
  • The Duskbringer trail left by an enemy can be used to track them even if they've broken line-of-sight or entered stealth.
  • Duskbringer has a brief cast time and interrupts movement and attacks, so make sure you cast it before or between autoattacks so you don't lose damage.
Shroud of Darkness (W): This is your main defensive ability along with another autoattack steroid. The spell shield is most effective against big nukes and strong CCs, but it can also be used to negate poke or block a simple damage spell in a fight. The attack speed steroid doubles upon blocking a spell, so properly executing this ability is even more important.

Tips and Tricks
  • Dragon 's autoattacks are coded as spells and can be blocked for bonus attack speed. Baron Nashor will cast a spell every 6 attacks (tentacle knockup or AoE slime) that you can block with the shield.
  • Try to identify priority spells to block before using this on a minor spell, since it has a long cooldown.
  • Learning to recognize cast animations for major abilities will help you react in time to block them. Pay special attention to when an enemy champion turns around when you're chasing them, as they might be casting a CC ability.
  • Shroud of Darkness is a painless way to dispatch traps like Bushwhack and Yordle Snap Trap without being revealed.
  • Shroud of Darkness has no cast time and can be freely cast without interrupting movement, attacks or other spells.
Unspeakable Horror (E): This is Nocturne's only CC spell and it relies on maintaining a 465-range tether for 2 seconds. The Flee is easy to proc if your target is fighting you but can be easily broken by dashes or blink spells. Take into account your target's mobility before you start the tether to avoid it being broken.

Tips and Tricks
  • Fearing the big monster in a jungle camp with Unspeakable Horror will briefly stop their damage output, causing you to take less damage, but it's usually not worth the mana unless you have blue buff. Baron and dragon are not disabled by this spell.
  • Untargetability does not break tethers, so you can still fear Vladimir during his Sanguine Pool, for example.
  • Unspeakable Horror is easiest to proc when used during an allied CC spell. Try to coordinate with your teammates and have them use their CC to help you get your fear off.
  • If you suspect that your target will Flash to break the tether, move between them and their escape route to keep them in range of the tether. If you have quick reflexes, you can anticipate their Flash and use your own Flash immediately afterwards. It takes a split-second for the tether to break so if you close the distance immediately you'll still get the fear off.
  • Unspeakable Horror has no cast time and can be freely cast without interrupting movement, attacks or other spells.
Paranoia (R): Nocturne's ultimate is a two-part ability. The first cast disables enemy vision from minions, wards, towers, abilities and their allied champions for 4 seconds. Enemies will only be able to see a short distance around their champion for the duration. The second cast (during those 4 seconds) causes Nocturne to dash towards a target enemy champion (within range) and deal some physical damage on arrival. This is Nocturne's main ganking tool and allows him to reposition in team fights or keep up with enemies that use blink spells. Make sure to check the range on this ability before activating it by resting your cursor over the button. Note that this ability does not provide vision of enemy champions, so make sure your target is in sight.

Tips and Tricks
  • Sometimes it is better to approach a fight normally and save Paranoia until it's needed.
  • The global vision reduction can prevent the enemy team from coordinating when team fighting near multiple brushes. They will also lose all ward vision, including pink wards, so only enemy champions with stealth-detection abilities will be able to see invisible targets.
  • The dash cannot be interrupted by CC, but you may still be CCd upon arrival if the duration of the CC is long enough.
  • You can cast any spell during the Paranoia dash, including all of your basic abilities, items and summoner spells. Cast Q right before you hit your target to avoid the cast time.

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Ability Sequence


This skill sequence is standard with only one exception. Take Duskbringer at level one to help you clear the jungle (it's also great in level one fights). Take Shroud of Darkness at level 2 for the 20% attack speed. Get Unspeakable Horror at level 3 so that you're ready to take advantage of gank opportunities or in case you encounter the enemy jungler at level 3 and need to fight. You can use your fear on the big monster of each camp while you have blue buff to take a bit less damage.

Of course, always get a point in Paranoia when it is available at levels 6, 11 and 16. Prioritize Duskbringer for the damage on the skillshot as well as the AD steroid on the trail. Unspeakable Horror is next for a longer fear duration. Finish Shroud of Darkness last for a little more attack speed and a shorter cooldown on the spell shield. Always max E before W. The longer fear duration is much more valuable to you and your team than a little extra attack speed.

Exception: You may take a second point in Duskbringer at level 3 and then get Unspeakable Horror at level 4 if you are doing the 6 Minute Ultimate route with Refillable Potion. Since this route requires an early recall, you won't have an opportunity to gank at level 3 anyway and you probably won't have the mana to fight an invading jungler until after your recall.

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Item Build

Starting Items

] The most efficient start with a respectable first clear and great value as the game goes on. Hunter's Machete is always the strongest start for Nocturne since he makes excellent use of on-hit damage and lifesteal. Refillable Potion often outshines Health Potions and saves you a lot of money on potions, especially on farming junglers like Nocturne

Warding Totem is the strongest early game trinket. Use the wards to protect your jungle in your first clear and then provide vision for your laners so they can avoid ganks. You may opt to stick with this trinket later in the game to provide stealthed wards for your team, but most of the time I switch it out.
Farsight is my standard trinket upgrade and helps spot isolated targets for your ultimate. You can use the initial vision to ult to enemies in fog of war or plant blue wards in the enemy jungle to spot rotations. Also great for checking baron/dragon or dangerous bushes. The downside is these wards are easy to clear and therefore don't offer much actual vision control around objectives.
Sweeping lens can be used for higher early game pressure. Buying this early (after your first back) can help you punish laners who overextend and rely on ward coverage to play aggressive. It's an option, but I rarely buy it on Nocturne since I most often spend more time farming the jungle rather than waiting in bushes for ganks. Remember you can Smite the Raptor camp to gain the Razor Sharp buff to detect wards, plus you can buy a Vision Ward early.
Oracle is a strong tool for gaining vision control around objectives and is common on junglers. The main downside is that you won't be contributing to your team's vision other than your one Vision Ward, since Tracker's Knife and Sightstone are tough to justify on Nocturne. Still, it's often expected for the jungler to pick up an Oracle to clear vision around baron and dragon so you might want to get it late in the game when Farsight Alteration wards are quickly destroyed by grouped teams anyway.

Jungle Items
Skirmisher's Sabre offers better dueling and damage. Since Challenging Smite gives you not only a true damage burn, but a damage debuff on the target, it's really effective in situations where you need an extra edge to kill someone. True damage helps punch through tankier champions, but it can also be useful against squishies who will try to fight you rather than run away. This is the upgrade I favor in most of my games.
Stalker's Blade helps with early ganks and sticking power. This is an accessible source of CC, which is otherwise pretty scarce in Nocturne's kit and items. The slow and instant damage from Chilling Smite can help you chase down and secure kills on priority targets, but you will lose some dueling power and damage output against enemies that fight back.
Warrior gives CDR and burst damage to help you kill carries quickly and frequently. CDR means more uses of Paranoia in the early and mid-game while flat AD is also really strong early while enemy health pools are still low. I find this to be the best enchantment on Nocturne and build it every game.

Ionian Boots of Lucidity are cheap and enable more frequent casts of Paranoia. Currently the low price is what makes these boots so attractive. It's a very cheap source of CDR that can be built early, allowing you to use your ultimate more often during the early and mid game. Summoner CDR is a nice bonus as well.
To deal with lots of stuns/snares With and or

Early Damage
Youmuu's Ghostblade is the standard damage opening. The 10% CDR will help you reach the cap along with your runes, Enchantment: Warrior and Ionian Boots of Lucidity. Flat armor penetration and short-term attack speed makes this the perfect item for killing carries within a few seconds.
Maw of Malmortius is a powerful counter to magic damage burst. You can build this right after your boots and Warrior to protect yourself against multiple AP threats (or maybe one really fed AP carry). You still get armor pen, so it's worth delaying or replacing Ghostblade if you can get good value out of the MR and the shield.
Ravenous Hydra is a luxury extension item to boost your burst damage and snowball. When built after Youmuu's Ghostblade and/or Maw of Malmortius, the high AD from this item will pulverize squishy targets, and because of the AoE, sometimes groups of enemies. Lifesteal is a great snowball stat if you're fed enough to afford more damage rather than defense..

Staple Defense
Randuin's Omen is the strongest defense against physical damage threats. This item is especially good against autoattackers with critical strike (Marksmen, Yasuo, Tryndamere), but it's good against any physical damage dealers. Usually you'll build this late game to give the maximum protection against strong marksmen with several crit items.
Guardian Angel is a fantastic item for divers like Nocturne, but get at least one HP item first. The mix of armor and MR make it very flexible and can be completed whenever you need to. You can buy a quick Negatron Cloak if you need some extra MR and then finish Randuin's Omen before completing GA. I favor this item over Banshee's Veil as a source of additional MR because the passive effect is a lot more useful.

Late Game Damage
Phantom Dancer is the purest attack speed item you can buy when you have a lot of AD. Sometimes you might find that you have a lot of AD and armor pen, but really low attack speed. Generally this item becomes an option if you opted to skip Youmuu's Ghostblade and need some attack speed to boost your DPS against enemies with higher health pools. It can be built anywhere from mid to late game, but it can be hard to fit it in as defensive items are often higher priority.
Blade of the Ruined King gives the best late game DPS in tankier builds. If you don't have very much AD in your build (less than 3 items, usually), BotRK is probably your best option. You won't have enough burst to kill anyone instantly, so the sticking power and DPS from this item will help you take down your target over several seconds, even if they're tanky. Great for soloing splitpushing fighters and tanks later in the game. I sometimes buy this as a 6th or 7th item (selling Skirmisher's Sabre - Warrior for it) in the late game.
Infinity Edge is a niche late game item to maximize damage alongside Phantom Dancer It's pretty rare to have the gold and opportunity to buy so much damage, but if you already have a PD and are looking to crank up your damage and instantly kill unarmored targets, you can buy an IE and nuke people with your 50% crit chance. Keep in mind the price tag on this item and the opportunity cost of losing survivability makes this a very tough build to get away with, but it can be a tool for carrying when you have a ton of gold and need to press your advantage late game.
Trinity Force is an expensive damage item that can replace your Boots in the late game. Since it gives some movespeed (passively and with Phage procs), you can get by without boots in the ultra late game when you just want to have the most expensive and slot-efficient build possible. Some people buy this early or mid game but I feel that other early damage items are better suited for Nocturne and are a little more affordable. Still, it's a decent item that gives a mix of burst, DPS and some survivability. You also get 20% CDR so if you sold both Warrior and Ionian boots, you'll still be at the CDR cap.

Situational Items
The Black Cleaver is your best option against tanks and tanky fighters. The 20% CDR from this item means you can drop Youmuu's Ghostblade or your scaling CDR runes from your build. This is a pretty mediocre item against squishies, so I usually just build it if I'm looking for kill potential on an enemy split-pusher. If you're just team fighting and diving back-lines, get more burst damage or defense instead.
Sterak's HP and shield can be useful when resistances are less effective, but rarely finds a place in the build. Since it doesn't stack with Maw of Malmortius (which you'll be building a lot of the time), you'll only have opportunity to build this when the enemy team has heavy burst or true damage, but low magic damage. It's a pretty rare case, but sometimes this can be useful against champions like Darius, though it's usually best to build Randuin's Omen first.
Banshee's Veil is a decent MR item but is usually overshadowed by Maw and GA. Against moderate to high magic damage, you'll almost always buy a Maw of Malmortius early in the game. If you still need more MR, you could consider a Banshee's Veil afterwards, but your next item should give more HP (probalby Randuin's Omen. As a late game option this isn't very slot efficient so Guardian Angel is better.
Dead Man's Plate is a decent armor item, but it gives less survivability than Randuin's. This is a pretty safe buy if you're taking mostly physical damage and you already have Randuin's Omen. The movement speed is somewhat of an offensive stat since it can help you position around the map and find opportunities to ult. Some players favor this over Randuin's for the extra damage and speed, but I rarely go for this item.

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Jungle Monsters

Spawn Timers

These spawn times are very important to know if you want to perfect your jungling and counter-jungling. The respawn times of buffs, dragon and baron can be seen at the top of your screen while holding Tab, but if you notice that one of these objectives has been taken by the enemy team, but you don't have direct vision, note the time in the chat log. I recommend enabling timestamps in the chat to help you keep track of timers. Noting the respawn time of objectives even when you don't have direct vision is part of what sets apart great junglers from average ones.

Small Camps
(Gromp, Wolves, Raptors, Krugs)

Spawn At: 1:40
Respawn Time: 1:40

(Blue Sentinel, Red Brambleback)

Spawn At: 1:40
Respawn Time: 5:00

Rift Scuttlers (in river)
Spawn At: 2:30
Respawn Time: 3:00

Rift Herald (in Baron pit)
Spawns At: 6:00
Despawns At: 19:45 (19:55 if in combat)
Dragon (Elemental & Elder)
Spawns At: 2:30
Respawn Time: 6:00
Elder Dragon Spawns: After 35:00
Elder Dragon Respawn: 10:00
Baron Nashor
Spawns At: 20:00
Respawn Time: 7:00

Rift Scuttler: These pacifist monsters patrol the river (one on each side) and will run away from aggressors rather than fight back. Killing this monster will create a speed shrine in front of the Dragon or Baron pit (depending on which side of the river you're on) that also grants vision for 75 seconds. The speed shrine will increase the movement speed of any allied champion that walks on it by 30%, decaying rapidly over a short duration. Using a CC that prevents the scuttler's movement will reduce its armor and MR by 50 until it dies (can only happen once per spawn). Crowd control effects last twice as long on the scuttler, including Unspeakable Horror.

Rift Herald: The Rift Herald is a large monster that occupies the Baron pit from 4:00 to 19:45 (19:55 if in combat). When engaged by two or more players, the eye on its back will open. Attacks against the eye deal 15% of Herald's maximum health as bonus true damage, causing the eye to close for ~3 seconds. If the empowered attack reduced the Rift Herald's health to below 15% of its maximum health, the eye will instead remain open - allowing the bonus damage to be triggered again instantly for the kill. The Rift Herald will de-spawn permanently at 19:45, or 19:55 if in combat, with Baron Nashor spawning in the same position at 20:00.


Killing one of these monsters grants you (or your entire team) a buff. These monsters are often referred to as "objectives" along with towers and inhibitors because the buffs they offer can greatly increase the power of you and your team and help you win the game. Killing a champion in possession of the blue or red buff will transfer that buff to you. Killing a champion in possession of the Baron or fifth Dragon buff will remove that buff from the champion.

Blue Sentinel - Crest of Insight: The wearer of this buff gains 5 flat mana (or energy) and 1% of maximum mana (or 0.5% of maximum energy) per second, has 10% cooldown reduction on their abilities and also receives 15% ability power. If the wearer is slain, the buff transfers to the killer with the duration refreshed. Lasts 2 minutes on the first clear and 90 seconds on subsequent clears. You'll want the first buff early game, but usually you will hand this off to your mid laner later on.
Red Brambleback - Crest of Cinders: The wearer's physical attacks apply a debuff that slows the target's movement speed by 10 / 15 / 25% for 3 seconds and a DoT that deals 4 - 38 (based on level) bonus true damage three times. Also heals buff holder by 1 / 3 / 9% of their maximum health per 5 seconds out of combat. If the wearer is slain, the buff transfers to the killer with the duration refreshed. Lasts 2 minutes on the first clear and 90 seconds on subsequent clears. You can take this buff until your team groups, then hand it off to your Marksman to help them kite.

Dragon Buffs: Slaying Elemental Dragons which spawn (random types) before 35 minutes will grant your team permanent buffs, depending on the type of dragon slain. After 35 minutes, all future dragons will be Elder Dragons, which have a 10:00 respawn time.
  1. Mountain Drake: Grants 10/20/30% additional damage (based on stacks) as true damage to epic monsters and turrets.
  2. Infernal Drake: Increases damage versus champions for 8/16/24% (based on stacks) increased Ability Power and Attack Damage.
  3. Ocean Drake: Restores 10% missing health and 10% missing mana every 18/12/6 seconds (based on stacks).
  4. Cloud Drake: Grants bonus 25/50/75 (based on stacks) additional movement speed while out of combat.
  5. Elder Dragon: Grants a 50% bonus to elemental drake buffs and 45 + (45 for every elemental dragon stack) true damage on all spells and basic attacks against non-turrets over 3 seconds. This buff lasts 120 seconds.
Rift Herald - Glimpse of the Void: Gives the holder 5% damage reduction while no allied champios near and Corruption.
Corruption: At 100 charges, your next basic attack discharges all stacks of Corruption, dealing 15-270 magic damage (at levels 1-18, damage halved for ranged champions).
This buff lasts for 20 minutes and is not lost on death. Best give to your top laner in most games, unless you have a mid laner that will be split-pushing instead (like Zed).
Baron Nashor - Hand of Baron: Each champion on your team gains up to 40 attack damage and ability power (scales with game time). Also grants Empowered Recall, which allows you to recall 4 seconds faster and restores 50% of your champion's maximum health & mana and grants +50% movement speed for 8 seconds. Each champion also gains an aura that empowers nearby allied minions with increased size, movement speed, attack damage and durability and causes cannon minions to deal AoE damage and out-range towers.

Smite Buffs

Each large monster (other than Dragon, Rift Herald, Baron and the Rift Scuttlers) grants a different bonus to your champion when you Smite it. This can only be obtained once per respawn of the camp, so if the enemy jungler Smites the monster, you won't get the buff if you Smite it as well.

Ancient Krug - Gift of Heavy Hands: Every 5th autoattack will stun minions and monsters (other than Dragon or Baron). It also applies to the first autoattack right after you Smite the Krug. Attacking a tower consumes the buff to deal bonus true damage (65 + 15 x level). Lasts 90 seconds.
Red Brambleback: Instantly restores 20% of your maximum HP. Keep in mind that this is separate from the Crest of Cinders buff you get for killing the monster.
Crimson Raptor - Razor Sharp: You gain true sight for 10 seconds the next time you are spotted by an enemy ward. This will proc off Vision Wards as well even though they aren't stealthed. The true sight can be used to reveal stealthed champions, though you will still have to be spotted by a ward in order for it to activate. The buff lasts 90 seconds or until the true sight is activated.
Greater Murk Wolf: Summons a nature spirit that grants sight over the nearby crossroads. Whenever an enemy champion comes in range of the nature spirit, it will chase them for a short duration. Lasts 75 seconds.
Blue Sentinel: Instantly restores 25% of your maximum mana. Keep in mind this is separate from the Crest of Insight buff that you get for killing the monster.
Gromp - Gift of the Toadstool: Poisons enemies who hit you with basic attacks dealing (10 + 10% of your bonus health) magic damage over 3 seconds. The buff lasts 90 seconds.

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Jungle Routes


These are the jungle routes I currently use, and though they aren't the only options available to you, they should be sufficient until you can make your own situational adjustments. For each side of the map you start your clear (near red or blue buff), there is a more efficient route and a safer route that can be used against likely invades. Also remember that you can interrupt a route any time after you are level 3 if you need to gank, though I recommend securing both buffs before ganking to ensure one of them isn't stolen.

Krugs Start

This route makes the best use of your early Smites, picking up the Krugs buff to constantly stun the big monster of each camp and getting the health from Smiting Red as well. This route will leave you with the most HP to safely take the rift scuttler, gank a nearby lane, or continue farming Gromp and Wolves.

Red Start

Starting Red is a little less efficient, but it secures your first buff much earlier. This can be useful against jungle invades or if you plan on doing an early invade at level 2 (in which case, you'd go to the enemy jungle right after finishing red buff). If you're on blue side, your bot lane can take Krugs or help you with red.

Gromp Start

Starting near your blue buff hurts your sustain (due to the lack of Krugs buff stuns), but it can be necessary if you want to end up on your red side at level 3, or if it's too dangerous to enter your red side jungle. You can clear this route solo, but it helps a lot to get a leash on Gromp. If you'd rather not enter the river after clearing red (since you'll be pretty low on health still), just clear your raptors and krugs and then recall.

Wolves Start

Starting wolves is easier on your HP bar and allows you to save Smite to secure your blue buff in case the enemy jungler invades. This is a route you can use if you won't be getting a leash and you're worried about an enemy invading to steal your blue, since you'll be healthier and have Smite to secure it. Don't use this route in other cases, as skipping Gromp is less efficient.

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Counter Jungling

Counter Jungling

Counter jungling is an great way to boost your effectiveness while weakening the enemy jungler. Some champions are more resistant to counter jungling than others, so you need to know your opponent before attempting any high-risk counter jungling. Knowing each jungler's likely paths and jungle speeds will allow you to predict their start location and movements, making it easier to steal monster camps or even buffs. Using wards or an allied ability that grants vision will make it possible to use Smite to last-hit enemy buffs or even gank their jungler outright.

A common occurrence of counter jungling often happens right at the start of the game. Experienced players and coordinated teams will often choose to roam the map early, before minions spawn, looking to pick off lone enemy champions and take control of one area of the jungle. If your team has a strong level one presence (usually some CC like Dark Binding and champions with a lot of early game damage), you might want to consider doing an "invasion" of the enemy jungle. Often times you will be able to catch someone off guard for an easy first blood or at least force the enemy team out of their territory, allowing you to steal their blue or red buff when it first spawns. Keep in mind that the enemy team can also try this strategy on you, so be sure to move carefully and stick together to avoid being caught alone. You can ask your teammates to use their warding totems to guard different parts of the river to spot any potential invaders.

Blitzcrank players will sometimes use Rocket Grab to pull your blue buff over the jungle wall into his team, so you'll usually want to invade theirs or group your team to your own blue and keep sight of the bush opposite your blue buff wall.

Counter jungling prioritizes control over the enemy blue and red buff. Stealing the enemy blue buff later on will usually give your AP carry an edge in mid lane since they can lane with your blue buff while you deny the enemy mid their blue buff. Some junglers, like Shyvana, rely quite a bit on red buff to gank effectively, especially early game. Controlling the enemy red buff can often make the enemy jungler fall behind in experience and make it more difficult for them to gank effectively.

You can also steal small camps if you're in the area and it's safe to do so. If you do steal an enemy small camp, leave the smallest monster alive so the camp won't respawn until the enemy jungler comes by to clear it. Keep in mind that the biggest monster in the camp always holds the greatest amount of XP and gold, so you'll want to make sure you at least get that one.

The key to counter jungling is information. You have to know or at least suspect where the enemy jungler is and keep in mind how long it would take for nearby enemy laners to reach you. If you notice the enemy jungler ganked top lane at level 2 and started red buff for example, you know that they won't be at their blue buff and if you're close enough, you can probably steal it without them even knowing. Wards are also a great way to keep an eye on enemy buffs and attempt to steal them with Smite. This is usually easier to do at the enemy blue buff when their jungler allows his mid laner to last-hit blue. There is often a brief window for you to smite, just before the AP mid bursts the golem. Just make sure you can get out alive, since if you die, you'll just be giving the enemy team a free kill.

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Ganking Tips

The earliest level that you should gank with Nocturne is level three with a point in all three abilities and double buff. His ganks after level 6 are very difficult to escape, but can only be executed with Paranoia once every three minutes. Remember that the slow and damage from red buff will improve your ganks a lot.

Before level 6: When your teammates are ready, initiate a gank (unless your ally has a strong initiation spell) by pinging the target, then running at the enemy while your laner engages. If you are coming from behind, get close enough to cast Unspeakable Horror and tag your target with red buff by autoattacking them. If your laner has a strong CC, you can cast Duskbringer on your way to your target, otherwise it's usually best to use it after the target is feared. Remember to be ready to block enemy CC with Shroud of Darkness.

After level 6: You can gank using Paranoia as your initation, which allows you to completely bypass ward coverage since you don't have to use the standard gank paths which are usually warded. Walking up from your own tower and ulting into the lane is usually the safest way to avoid wards. Make sure your laner is in position to follow up on your gank because when you cast Paranoia, your target will likely retreat to his tower. Remember to check Paranoia's dash range by resting your mouse over the ability before initiating the gank. Use Duskbringer immediately after you connect with your target because it's almost impossible to dodge at point-blank range. If you think you can gank a lane through a standard gank path (or lane gank by hiding on one of the side bushes), save Paranoia to secure a kill if necessary. It has a long cooldown so try to pull off the gank without it if you can.

Tower dives: Be careful around towers, as Nocturne doesn't have a lot of health early game. If the enemy hugs his tower, judge for yourself if you can dive him or not. Just don't take any unnecessary risks and be wary for clutch heals (most Marksmen run Heal), shields and CC if they're tower hugging. If your minions have drawn tower aggro, close into melee range before attacking. If your enemy doesn't hug the tower and keeps running (usually if they're really low), you can wait until they're between their towers and then Paranoia dash to them to avoid tower aggro entirely.

For some lane matchups, initiating a gank yourself will be doomed to failure. If the enemy champion has a lot of mobility or a strong CC, try to get your laner to engage them in combat before revealing yourself. It's a lot easier to gank a target that over-commits and blows cooldowns before they know you're there. This strategy works best when your ally has some strong CC with which to pin the target, but it can also work if your target plays very aggressively and uses an escape spell to harass.

A gank does not have to net a kill to be successful. You may damage an enemy enough so that they have to play passively, or even recall to base. Forcing an enemy to use a summoner spell or ultimate can leave them without an escape mechanism, giving your teammate(s) the advantage in that lane.

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Pushing, Minion Tax and Holding Lanes

If you manage to kill your target in a successful gank, you'll usually want to help your laner push the wave to the enemy tower so that your minions are killed by the tower, denying the enemy laner gold and experience. The minion waves will also reset to the center of the lane, giving your teammate time to go back to base and buy items and return to a safe position.

After a successful gank, usually when pushing to the enemy tower, you may want to take a minion tax. This is when a jungler "taxes" a lane for their services by taking some of the gold and experience by killing minions. You'll generally want to tax more heavily if your laner gets the kill off a gank and tax lightly if you took the kill. Many low-ranked players (and occasionally some high-ranked ones too) are selfish or ignorant and think that taxing their lane is going to ruin their farm and cause them to lose the lane. They're wrong, as taxing in moderation keeps a jungler's gold and experience relevant throughout the game, but if your laner freaks out because you took a few minions (or pushed their lane, some people think this is a bad thing all the time), you may want to just leave so they don't feed or AFK or something.

Holding lanes is an often necessary duty of a jungler and is something you should be happy to do (since it gives you a lot of gold and XP). If your laner dies or needs to go back to base, you may need to "hold" or "cover" their lane by clearing out enemy minions before they hit your tower. If the enemy laner goes back to base or is dead, you may wish to push the wave to the enemy tower. Only do this if you can finish pushing before the enemy laner gets back to lane or they can freeze it in front of their tower, making it difficult for your laner to farm safely. Usually holding a lane consists of either clearing the current wave that is at your tower or pushing completely to the enemy tower. Don't just sit in a lane and last-hit because it's a waste of your time.

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Late Game

As an assassin, Nocturne performs best when executing ganks and flanking enemies. He is also a good split-pusher, and can quickly push down a tower if your allies can occupy the enemy team. Though Nocturne isn't quite as strong in group fights as he is in small skirmishes, he can still perform well, especially with a more durable build. Here's how to do it.

Engage Compositions: Team Fight

If your team has strong engage champions like Malphite or Leona and big AoE team fighters like Rumble and Brand, you'll probably be looking to force fights on grouped enemies, even under tower. In these scenarios, what you'll be looking for is where your initiator's CC is going. If you see a Solar Flare or Unstoppable Force land on a carry, use Paranoia to close the gap and get down as much damage as possible. The key thing to remember is that Nocturne has great followup, but is not an initiator himself. Make sure you don't jump in by yourself or you'll just get focused before you can kill anyone.

If the opposing team has excellent waveclear, you might need the baron buff to break their inhibitor towers. Use Vision Wards to clear sight around the baron pit and make sure your team is grouped and ready to engage on enemies who try to contest the baron. If the other team isn't moving to contest, just kill the baron and use that advantage to kill the remaining towers, forcing fights when appropriate.

Team fight compositions shore up some of Nocturne's weaknesses (tank stats, hard engage, 5v5s) and can be effective if you use your mid-game strengths to put your teammates in a position to win group fights.

Poke/Peel Compositions: Siege

If your team isn't built to engage groups of enemies and dive towers, you might have a team better suited to poking and peeling. This type of team is really good at sieging towers and slowly chipping away at enemies from a safe distance. Champions like Tristana, Xerath and Janna are good in these kinds of compositions. In this case, you want to make sure you're close enough to your team that you can reach them with Paranoia, but you might not want to be directly with them.

Your team should win if you siege and force the enemy to engage on you, and since Nocturne is melee without meaningful poke, sometimes that means you need to splitpush or just take nearby jungle camps while being in range to ult to help your team. Keep in mind how effectively the enemy team can engage when you make the decision to leave your team to apply pressure to another lane. Make sure you help out by warding the flanks of your team when sieging a tower.

Poke/peel teams aren't very good at objective control, but you might still want baron buff against high waveclear teams. If so, you'll want to control vision of the area and use your team's poke and CC spells to weaken your opponents before they get close to the pit. Don't just start doing baron right in front of the enemy team or you could throw the game.

Siege and peel compositions work great with split-push pressure and can safely apply pressure to a lane without needing you to nearby, but like Nocturne, they aren't usually as effective when the enemy team is making all the aggressive moves. If you have a splitpusher, set them up for success in the early and mid game and use your ultimate to support them. If not, you might have to split-push yourself if your team can't take towers 5v5.

Pick/Burst Compositions: Vision Control

Another type of team uses high burst damage or chains of CC spells to pick off individual targets. These teams aren't great at big grouped fights or poking from a safe distance, so they look to create a numbers advantage by killing one enemy for free before the fight starts. These types of compositions usually include champions like Blitzcrank, Thresh, Syndra and Ashe.

Pick compositions work best when you have more vision and information than the enemy team. You want to force your opponents to walk through dark areas of the map and have you and your teammates pick them off while their team isn't grouped. It can even work when their team is grouped if your team can land a CC on a key target before the fight starts. In pick situations, you always want to try and kill your team's target as fast as possible and use your ultimate (if necessary) to deny vision to the rest of their team.

If you're forced to meet the enemy team out in the open, either by sieging a tower or responding to the enemy team at your own tower or a neutral objective, you'll be relying more on ranged CC from your allies to set up a good team fight. Don't jump in unless your team gains a noticeable advantage from a flank or by landing a CC on a squishy who's mispositioned. If you're defending a tower, you can help your team clear minion waves, otherwise try to stay in fog of war for the most part.

Nocturne shares his strength and weaknesses with pick compositions, as he thrives with vision advantages and can easily follow up on any picks his team creates, but both he and his team will have trouble fighting a fair fight. Make good use of pink wards and get other lanes pushing when the enemy team groups to avoid a straight-up 5v5 whenever possible.

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Thank you for reading my Nocturne guide! I hope I was able to help you become a better jungler and a smarter player. Feel free to leave me a comment if you have any questions, comments or criticism. I read all comments on my guides even if I don't respond to all of them. If you appreciated my guide or approve of my build, feel free to hit the green upvote button up top.

A special thank you to those who have supported my guide with votes, Scout points and advice that have been instrumental in bringing my guide to the level of quality it is today. I'd also like to specifically thank jhoijhoi, astrolia, Maintained and MissMaw for their insights into some coding techniques that I use in all my guides, and H4xDefender for his help with theorycrafting and testing Nocturne builds.

Thanks to jhoijhoi for the awesome banner!

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