PsiGuard's Jungle Nocturne
Threats to Nocturne with this build
|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. Any time she doesn't have teammates near her early game, you should be able to fight her.|
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 solo queue. 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.
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)
When to Pick Nocturne
Obviously if you want to play Nocturne every game, feel free! However, he isn't the most versatile jungler and tends to fit better in some situations compared to others. Use these generalizations as a guideline when you're in champion select to help you decide if Nocturne is a good pick for that game.
Low Mobility Carries|
|12/18/0 with Thunderlord's Decree is going to give you the best burst damage for maximizing your kill potential against squishy targets. The more damage you build, the better this keystone is going to be, especially because the Ferocity and Cunning trees include a lot of damage amplification masteries as well.|
A fast, sustained clear means more up-time on the map and a quicker level 6.|
I wouldn't sacrifice these masteries for their alternatives.
|You already get 10% lifesteal vs monsters from Hunter's Machete, so the lifesteal from Vampirism isn't going to have a huge impact on your sustain in the first clear. In any fights with champions, you're going to want the few points of AD more than the lifesteal as well, so basically Vampirism isn't a great mastery on junglers in general.|
|Gives you the most early power for your jungle clear and skirmishes. Maximizing your damage is important for keeping your kill potential high. Bounty Hunter is another good option, but I run DES since it's active early in the game and it takes a while for BH to start doing anything.|
|Nocturne tends to get more mileage out of this mastery compared to other junglers. Being able to kill someone 1v1 is pretty important so I favor this mastery slightly over the alternatives (which are still pretty decent).|
|Even though Greenfather's Gift does proc on jungle monsters, I'm convinced it doesn't have a big enough impact on the early game. You can only proc it maybe 1 time in most fights and the extra tiny bit of magic damage just isn't worth it compared to the potential life-saving heal from Dangerous Game or even the mana restoration giving you enough for one key spell.|
|Intelligence is a great mastery, but lethality is much more valuable. Also gives you some magic pen for Unspeakable Horror and Thunderlord's Decree . It's more likely that you need a little more damage to kill someone than you need your ultimate up a few seconds earlier.|
|Lethality Marks are decent against monsters and great against champions. Since we can also get lethality from Edge of Night, Youmuu's Ghostblade and Precision , we'll end up punching through a lot of armor on the squishy carries we're targeting.|
|Scaling Health Seals are arguably the most efficient rune in the game and they'll allow you to build a lot of damage (and a Guardian Angel without spending gold on health. The way the jungle is currently, you can easily get by without flat armor seals, though obviously they'll work fine as well if you don't own scaling health.|
|Cooldown Reduction Glyphs offer you many more opportunities to cast Paranoia with its shorter cooldown. I run 6 flat runes to get most of my CDR early in the game to maximize my map impact while the 3 scaling runes get me to the CDR cap by late game.|
|Attack Speed Quints are simply the best quints for any autoattacker as they offer really high stats per rune. These are the best quints you can get not only for your clear speed, but for your DPS in fights as well.|
|This spell is essential for jungling. Smite enables you to secure objectives, clear your jungle camps faster and purchase Hunter's Machete and its upgrades. With Skirmisher's Sabre, Smite is also a strong combat summoner, though it's good to save one charge in case you need to contest dragon or baron .|
|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.|
|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.
Always get a point in Paranoia when it is available at levels 6, 11 and 16. Max 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.
I'm experimenting with an alternative ability sequence that puts W above E in priority. With 40% CDR, this gives you almost full uptime on an 80% attack speed steroid, which is pretty strong considering there isn't any attack speed in the build from items. Feel free to try out this skill order and let me know what you think. Be sure to get to 40% CDR quickly to lower the cooldown on your Shroud of Darkness.
Red Buff Start
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. With a red start, you won't have enough mana to clear Wolves and Blue if you're using Unspeakable Horror, so save it for level 3. Once you have blue buff, you can use your fear on the big monster of each camp.
Blue Buff Start
When you start blue you have some immediate mana to work with and you'll be taking on Gromp second, which is a single-target camp that does a lot of damage when you first aggro it. Taking Unspeakable Horror at level 2 can save you around 30-40 hp and only costs you around 2-3 seconds more by the time you finish Wolves.
|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.|
|Warding Totem is the strongest early game trinket and offers the most vision. Use the wards to protect your jungle in your first clear and then provide vision for your laners so they can avoid ganks. Sticking with this trinket gives you the most overall vision since the wards are hard for enemies to clear and they recharge more quickly than Farsight Alteration.|
|Farsight helps spot isolated targets for your ultimate and can also check objectives like Baron. 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, though often your team's ADC should be getting one for that purpose. The downside is these wards are slow to charge and easy to clear and therefore don't offer much actual vision control around objectives.|
|Oracle offers vision denial, but doesn't allow you to place any (non-pink) wards. You'd definitely get this if you built Tracker's Knife, but most of the time I don't get this item on Nocturne. It's a bit easier to get picks and control vision if you rely on Scrying Blooms, Control Wards and your support's sweeper while you continue to contribute wards to your team.|
|Skirmisher's Sabre offers the best dueling power and damage output. I build Skirmisher's in almost every game since it offers the best kill potential in the majority of scenarios. While Stalker's Blade can be more effective in pre-6 ganks, Skirmisher's does a better job when combined with Paranoia to gap-close and the damage reduction can help keep you alive in close duels or team fights against high-damage champions..|
|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 enable more frequent casts of Paranoia and Flash and help us reach the 40% cap. This is an early, cheap source of CDR to help you use your ultimate more often. Summoner spell CDR is helpful as well. Build these by default unless you need to resort to Mercury's Treads.|
|Youmuu's Ghostblade is a reliable damage item that offers increased sticking power. The 10% CDR will help you reach the cap along with your glyphs, Enchantment: Warrior and Ionian Boots of Lucidity. I build this item early most games, but sometimes I'll delay it to get an early Edge of Night or replace it entirely with Maw of Malmortius against heavy magic damage.|
|Edge of Night gives you a second spell shield to protect you against CC when you engage enemies. In early and mid game skirmishes and duels, having two spell shields makes Nocturne almost impossible to deal with for most champions. Activate the channel shortly before entering a fight (usually with Paranoia and make sure to save Shroud of Darkness until after your first shield breaks. Since this item also gives Lethality and good stats, I build it even if the shield isn't always guaranteed to block something crucial.|
|Duskblade gives the most late-game burst damage against squishy targets. Buying a third lethality item along with the Nightstalker passive gives you a ton of up-front burst. With Youmuu's Ghostblade and Edge of Night along with your runes and masteries, you'll end up with a whopping 65.4 lethality. There's no better item to delete single-targets late game than this. I get the other lethality items before this one because I feel they synergize more with Nocturne than Duskblade does. Also the Nightstalker scales with your current lethality, so it'll do more damage with items.|
|Maw of Malmortius keeps you alive against heavy magic damage, especially in team fights. With Edge of Night and Shroud of Darkness giving a lot of protection against mages in small fights, sometimes these shields can be overpowered in big 5v5s, especially against teams with a lot of magic damage (or any team with Syndra). If you need more MR and survivability, this is a good followup. Also note this will cap your CDR, so you'll want to sacrifice either Ionian Boots of Lucidity or Youmuu's Ghostblade if you buy it.|
|Ravenous Hydra gives you a mix of burst damage and lifesteal for the late game. You won't get quite as much burst damage as you would from Duskblade of Draktharr, but in exchange you'll get access to late game lifesteal which is pretty valuable. Apart from the in-fight sustain, the AoE damage and lifesteal will allow you to heal up off minion waves and jungle camps as well as helping you clear them more quickly. This means you can stay on the map longer to help your team. You'll also stay higher on HP should you be fighting baron or dragon .|
|Guardian Angel is a fantastic item for divers like Nocturne and can be built almost every game. The revive passive helps shore up some of Nocturne's weaknesses in team fights and can allow you to take a lot of enemy focus without giving up a kill. I generally build this as my 5th item, though you could consider building it 4th in tougher games or 6th in easier ones, depending on likely you are to die in a team fight.|
|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. You can build this as a 5th item (replacing Guardian Angel) as a more effective defense against physical damage, or you can build it as a 6th item to make you tankier for late game team fights.|
|Hunter's Potion is an early sustain item that you can buy if you have around 250g on an early recall. It's not a necessary item to build every game, but with no real alternatives around the 250g point, it's a decent gold sink that'll help keep you on the map for longer periods, especially during early jungle clears. If you have enough for other items though (like a Long Sword), get the stats instead.|
|Boots of Swiftness can be built to keep up with more slippery champions and counter slows. While you'll lose the 10% CDR from Ionian Boots of Lucidity, Swiftness can sometimes be worth it if it can help you stick to your target. Watch for mages that build Rylai's Crystal Scepter and champions with strong slows in their kits like Pillar of Ice. These are also good into Ezreals with Iceborn Gauntlet. I build these boots by default if my build will already include 30% CDR from items.|
|Mercury's Treads are sometimes necessary against heavy CC. As much as it sucks to give up CDR, sometimes you're going to be useless in fights if you don't build tenacity. These boots are really good against guaranteed CC that's going to hit you like Braum's Concussive Blows. Keep in mind these boots are useless against knockups, knockbacks and location-based slows like Pillar of Ice.|
|Ninja Tabi are a cost efficient counter to heavy AD teams. Most of the time I would opt for CDR or Swiftness boots when I can, but sometimes the enemy team has so many physical damage champions that it'd be silly not to build Tabi. These boots can be finished fairly early and provide noticeable protection throughout the game due to the percentage damage reduction from autoattacks. Keep in mind these boots are less effective against physical spellcasters.|
|Blade of the Ruined King gives you the most bang for your buck in terms of late game DPS. Buying this after your other damage items means enemies will have higher HP pools (making the on-hit proc more valuable) and you'll have plenty of AD to back up the lifesteal. The active on this item is pretty nice for sticking power as well. Late game is also when dragon and baron are prioritized most heavily, so having the DPS to take those down quickly is always a plus.|
|The Black Cleaver doesn't really fit well with my usual build, but it can be useful as a source of CDR and armor shred. Since I usually have access to a lot of CDR from early items that also give burst damage, I rarely opt to build cleaver. If you are sacrificing Ionian Boots of Lucidity for other boots and you could use the mid-game armor shred against tankier threats like Irelia or Hecarim, you can consider this for a 4th item.|
|Trinity Force is an expensive damage item that can replace your Boots in the late game. Since it gives some movement speed (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.|
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.
Spawn At: 1:40
Respawn Time: 2:30
Spawn At: 1:52
Respawn Time: 2:30
(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: 10:00
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
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.
Rift Herald - Glimpse of the Void: Gives the holder 5% damage reduction while no allied champions 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. Usually this is given to the top laner (or a split-pushing mid laner) since they're alone for much of the game, but it's not bad to take yourself since as Nocturne you can easily go for solo-picks with your ultimate.
|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.|
Plants are stationary, neutral units with 1 health. They can be destroyed with a basic attack to trigger an effect. Three different types of plants will spawn in the jungle and river. Their spawn timers and locations vary slightly but for the most part they are fairly predictable. The first spawn locations for all plants are pre-determined.
First inner cone spawn: 1:15 - 1:25|
First outer cone spawn: 2:15 - 2:30
Inner cone respawn time: 5 - 7 minutes
Outer cone respawn time: 5.5 - 6.5 minutes
- Knocks away nearby units (including the attacker) when destroyed — even over walls.
- Blast Cones spawn in two spots per jungle quadrant, an inner point toward the center of the quadrant, and an outer point near Baron/Dragon.
First spawn: 3:00 - 3:30, always at each quadrant’s spawn point nearest to the side lanes|
Next spawn time: 5 - 6.5 minutes at either spawn point, starting once a given quadrant's Scryer's Bloom is destroyed
- When destroyed, releases vision-granting pollen in a large cone that flies in the direction the attacker was facing, revealing units and wards for 12 seconds (3 seconds on champions).
- Scryer's Bloom can spawn in two spots per jungle quadrant, close to river ramps.
- Only one Scryer's Bloom can be present per quadrant.
First spawn: 6:00 - 6:30 minutes|
Respawn time: 5.5 - 7 minutes
- Drops 5 fruits on the ground when killed.
- Each fruit heals for 3.5% of max health or 8 (+6 per level) flat health, whichever is higher.
- Eating a fruit slows you for 35% for 0.25 seconds.
- Honeyfruit spawn along river walls, starting near Dragon or Baron pits and slowly extending closer toward lanes over the course of the game.
- If a Honeyfruit isn't taken before its respawn timer completes, a second Honeyfruit may spawn. No more than two Honeyfruits can exist per half of the river.
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. 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.
Also keep in mind that knowledge of the enemy jungler's starting location is extremely valuable in order to enable your jungle invades and prevent enemies from invading for free. Getting a trinket ward onto their blue or red buff after 0:40 is the simplest way to gain this information, since you'll see the enemy jungler early enough to make a decision about your route. Even if you don't get a ward down, keep an eye on the side lanes to see of one of them comes to lane late, since that indicates they stayed to leash the camp for their jungler.
I put a Rift Scuttler at the end of these routes to indicate that you should enter the river after completing the camps shown. Getting the scuttler is usually a good idea, but you can also choose to gank or invade the enemy jungler for a deep ward if appropriate.
This is a simple and efficient route, clearing your blue side jungle before picking up your red buff and hopefully the rift scuttler in the nearby river. Starting blue side ensures you secure your blue buff and affects whether you finish your route near top lane or bottom lane (depending on which side your team is on). This route is pretty common, so if the enemy jungler knows where you started, you can arrive at your red buff to find it gone. To counter a red invade, either start at your red buff instead or invade the enemy red buff while they take yours.
Since Krugs take a long time to clear (and are out of the way) and raptors hurt a lot early, it tends to be safer to skip the other red-side camps and go straight to wolves and then blue buff. This makes your route a bit less efficient in terms of XP and gold gain, but it also gets you on the map a bit earlier since you only clear 3 camps before entering the river with double buffs. Starting red side ensures you secure your red buff and affects whether you finish your route near top lane or bottom lane (depending on which side your team is on). If the enemy jungler knows where you started, they may invade your blue buff, so it can be worthwhile to check it before starting wolves. If you know for sure they're invading your blue, you can simply take their blue-side jungle instead.
Invades & Counter Jungling
Level 1 Invades
Level 1 invades happen when the enemy team groups up and enters your jungle, placing down wards and potentially looking to pick up a free kills or summoner spells on your unsuspecting team. These invades have the advantage of gaining early deep vision, but the drawback is that you can't spot an invade from the enemy team on the other side of your jungle.
There are two good ways to counter level 1 invades. The standard counter is to spread your team out across the river, using their positioning and early wards to spot where the enemy team enters and exits your jungle. Another option is to group your team up into one bush and try to fight the enemy team as they enter your jungle. This can work well if you predict where the invade will happen and it's stronger if you have strong level 1 champions. Luckily, Nocturne's level 1 is quite good with Umbra Blades and Duskbringer, but your team will have to provide the CC.
I only recommend attempting level 1 invades yourself if you have the support of your team and you have allies with strong crowd control spells at level 1 (e.g. Blitzcrank, Braum, Morgana). Crowd control is how you pin down kills or force Flashes, and you won't be able to offer any at level 1. Remember to place a ward at the enemy red or blue buff to see where their jungler starts.
One slight variation of this strategy involves the top laner, jungler and maybe the mid laner invading the top-side jungle to sneakily start at an enemy camp, gain deep vision or maybe pick up a free kill. The easy way to stop this is to simply spread out your team and have someone covering every jungle entrance. This is relatively low-risk, especially in soloqueue, so feel free to use this invade to get an early ward down at an enemy buff.
Instead of clearing several of their own camps at the start of the game, some junglers will choose to enter the enemy jungle and attempt to steal camps or kill the enemy jungler, often after completing their first camp for level 2. Early invades can be a product of an information advantage (from early wards in the enemy jungle) or sometimes just a strong level 2 jungle champion.
The best way to protect against early invades is to gain equal or superior information at level one. Ward the enemy jungle early when possible -- especially their blue or red buff. Knowing the starting location of the enemy jungler is the easiest way to predict their likely routes and avoid unpleasant things like being killed at your second buff or arriving to find half your jungle stolen.
You can also choose to invade early, but keep in mind that Nocturne has no natural escapes and can't jump walls without Flash or a blast cone, so make sure you have a good reason to invade. Again, information from early wards can allow you to invade safely if you know the enemy jungler's starting location. I rarely opt to invade for kills on Nocturne now that junglers almost always start at buff camps, but it's often pretty easy to get a cheeky steal off early and take three buffs in your first clear if your team has better early coordination and gains a vision advantage.
General invades is a catch-all term that encompasses the invades and counter jungling that happens in a game. After the early game, counter jungling and jungle invades are often opportunistic, allowing tactical junglers to invade when the enemy jungler shows on the map while aggressive junglers force blind invades knowing they have a 1v1 advantage against the other jungler and the support of nearby teammates. This is the hardest type of invade to pin down since so many things can happen past the early game, but I'll give you a few tips on how to execute smart invades and respond to enemy invades.
Firstly, don't forget that vision is key. Proper use of Warding Totems, Control Wards and Scryer's Blooms can give you the information you'll need to defend against invades and make wise decisions about when to enter the enemy jungle. Again, Nocturne has no natural way to jump walls or escape enemies easily, so you always want the vision to make smart decisions and predictions to avoid putting yourself in inescapable situations.
An information advantage doesn't always mean you have more (or better) wards on the map either. Sometimes you can open up opportunities to invade simply by spotting the enemy jungler at low health or on the opposite side of the map. At most times during the early and mid game if you have vision of the enemy jungler, you probably have vision of the entire enemy team. That's kind of like having the entire map warded! Don't waste opportunities to invade, take objectives or even dive enemies on the opposite side of the map when the jungler shows themselves.
Secondly, lane pressure is what determines the safety of an invade. If your mid laner is strong and can push to the enemy tower, chances are the enemy jungler won't be able to invade your jungle and get out alive. Conversely, if the enemy mid laner has lane pressure, they're going to be able to back up their jungler's invades and punish yours. Mid lane pressure is super important when it comes to jungle control, as well as side lane pressure when it comes to invades near that lane.
Let's take an example. Say you have a top laner that's bullying his opponent really hard. He already has a couple kills and can easily dominate 1v1 and is pushing to the enemy tower. If your mid lane is ahead or at least even, you should be able to invade the enemy top side jungle for vision, to steal camps or to fight the enemy jungler. Even if you can't crush the enemy jungler in a 1v1, the support of your allies will turn the tide of any fight in that area. Now let's say the enemy has a really strong bot lane and their jungler isn't weak either. This makes the enemy bot jungle very risky to enter, and it even makes your own more dangerous, especially if you don't have adequate vision coverage in the bottom lane river. Invades from the enemy jungler are likely to happen on the bottom side of the map and you're unlikely to have much control over the river or enemy jungler.
So what do you do when the map is weighted towards one of the side lanes? A good strategy is to stay on your safe side (allied and enemy top-side jungle in this example) and avoid the bottom side of the map. This allows you to attack mid and top lane from the enemy jungle (giving you easy flanks and dives) as well as potentially catching the enemy jungler if they don't respect your team's control over the top side. The downside is you'll give up control of the opposite side of the map and leave your bottom lane defenseless against dives. It's not always clear when it's best to stick with your strong teammates and when it's time to take a risk and try to help out a weaker lane, but you'll have to experiment with both strategies to train your own judgment for those scenarios.
I know that sometimes your teammates are going to be selfish or ignorant of what's happening and won't support your invades or defend you against the enemy jungler when they really should. There's not much you can do about that other than try your best to predict what might happen and ask for help ahead of time. Having wards to spot enemy invades early or pinging for assistance when you spot the enemy jungler entering your jungle can sometimes be enough to get your teammates to help. If you're playing with a duo partner or premade, make sure to communicate when them about when you might need help and ask them to keep you informed about when they have lane pressure so that you can make good decisions around invades.
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.|
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.
As an assassin, Nocturne performs best when executing ganks and flanking enemies. He is also a decent 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 Control 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 Caitlyn, 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 when possible.
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.
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