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Nocturne Build Guide by PsiGuard

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League of Legends Build Guide Author PsiGuard

Haunt the Jungle

PsiGuard Last updated on April 27, 2016
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Ability Sequence

1
4
5
7
9
Ability Key Q
2
14
15
17
18
Ability Key W
3
8
10
12
13
Ability Key E
6
11
16
Ability Key R

Masteries

5/
Fury
 
 
Sorcery
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
5/
Vampirism
 
 
Natural Talent
 
 
 
 
 
1/
Bounty Hunter
Oppressor
 
 
 
 
 
Battering Blows
 
 
Piercing Thoughts
 
 
 
 

Ferocity: 12

Wanderer
 
 
5/
Savagery
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
5/
Merciless
 
 
Meditation
 
 
 
 
 
Bandit
1/
Dangerous Game
 
 
 
 
 
5/
Precision
 
 
Intelligence
 
 
 
 

Cunning: 18

Recovery
 
 
Unyielding
 
 
 
 
 
Explorer
Tough Skin
 
 
 
 
 
Runic Armor
 
 
Veteran's Scars
 
 
 
 
 
Insight
Perseverance
 
 
 
 
 
Swiftness
 
 
Legendary Guardian
 
 
 
 

Resolve: 0



Threats to Nocturne with this build

Threat
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Threat Champion Notes
1
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.
Guide Top

Introduction

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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Synergies


Dive
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
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.


Globals
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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Counters


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
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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Masteries

Recommended

This is the strongest keystone for high burst damage. The idea with the (standard) build is usually to ult onto the most vulnerable target and kill them as quickly as possible. Especially since typically the only attack speed in this build is from Youmuu's Ghostblade, Thunderlord's is the safest option.
Double-Edged Sword is better on junglers because increased damage ends up saving you health on your clear. Also as an assassin it's important to have kill potential than to be able to take more damage.

Bounty Hunter is a bit of an investment since it does nothing early game, but with no slows until late in the build, the only way you have to proc Oppressor is allied CC or red buff. Unspeakable Horror doesn't count as "impaired movement" unfortunately.

Runic Affinity is the ideal mastery for junglers since it increases the duration of buffs from all jungle monsters, including the buffs you get from Smiting camps.


Alternative
Fervor is the best DPS mastery and Nocturne can stack it up to 8 stacks pretty fast. This mastery double-procs with Sated Devourer, making it really strong in slower, scaling attack speed builds with Enchantment: Devourer and Blade of the Ruined King. If you're building Devourer, get this keystone for sure.

Keep in mind the loss of Precision hurts your ability to quickly dispatch squishy champions. Against tankier targets you'll still be okay.

Remember that you will want more attack speed in your build if you run this setup in order to proc Fervor of Battle more often.

This setup (along with DPS items) is effective at taking out fighters that split-push side lanes alone.


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Runes

Armor Penetration Marks are very close in power to AD marks in the early levels (they're basically equal unless the target is building armor items early) and they scale much better the later the game goes and the more damage you deal.
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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Abilities


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


1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
Q W Q E Q R Q W Q W R W W E E R E E


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


Hunter's Machete gives you a significant boost to your clear speed and sustain due to its on-hit damage and lifesteal against monsters. It's a superior start to Hunter's Talisman since you'll be autoattacking a lot and you don't rely on mana sustain. You must start with a jungle item to keep up in experience.
Start with three Health Potions for early ganks or Refillable Potion for farming. Refillable potion is my standard start since I often recall once before ganking and it can keep you topped up throughout the early game. Starting with three health potions is still viable if you have a plan to gank a lane at level 3.
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 can hold onto this trinket for a while, then swap it for Oracle Alteration or Farsight Alteration after level 9.


Offense
Skirmisher's Sabre offers the best damage and dueling power. After only one autoattack, Challenging Smite already outdamages Chilling Smite. Using Nocturne's mobility spells, you can guarantee that you get several autoattacks off on any priority target. Stalker's Blade and Tracker's Knife are still solid choices, but they weaken your damage and dueling power, which are essential traits for Nocturne.
Warrior gives the strongest early game and scales well with armor penetration. Its only competition is Enchantment: Devourer, which is only effective in combination with an on-hit effect like Blade of the Ruined King. Since I consider BotRK to be a luxury item due to its heavy price tag, Warrior is the safest and strongest enchantment.
Youmuu's Ghostblade greatly improves your DPS and dueling capabilities. This is your primary damage item along with Skirmisher's Sabre - Warrior and you should be able to build it most games. Additional offensive items are optional if you're ahead, but often you can remain a relevant damage threat throughout the game with just these two items.


Boots
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.
Alternatives
Vs lots of stuns Vs lots of slows Vs lots of AD


Mixed Defense
Sterak's is a strong option against burst and/or mixed damage. The health and shield effect are really good at keeping you alive no matter what kind of damage you're taking, so it's especially useful when counter-building one type of damage isn't as effective for mid game fights. It can still be better to skip this item and build resistances instead if the enemy team is weighted towards either physical or magic damage.


Armor
Dead Man's Plate is almost always a great buy for mid game defense. Most teams have at least one physical damage threat, so buying armor in mid game is pretty much always useful. It's also helpful to have these stats against Dragon, Baron and tower damage. The movement speed is somewhat of an offensive stat since it can help you position around the map and find opportunities to ult.
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.
Thornmail is a good late-game buy against full AD teams. While it's a pretty bad defensive item on its own, Thornmail makes a really strong 5th or 6th item against teams with very high physical damage and negligible magic damage. You can use Thornmail's damage output to help you kill enemy Marksmen even through lifesteal.


Magic Resist
Maw of Malmortius is a strong magic resist item if you can afford to build more damage. It doesn't provide as much protection as Banshee's Veil, but it's still enough to protect you against moderate magic damage or it can work with another MR item against heavy magic damage. Keep in mind that most of your gold still goes towards offense when you buy this item, so consider Banshee's Veil or Sterak's Gage if you need more survivability.
Banshee's Veil gives the best survivability of any magic resist item. If you're debating whether to buy this instead of Maw of Malmortius, consider whether you can afford to spend about 2000 gold on offense. If you can't afford to delay your defense that much, get this instead since it gives a big chunk of health as well as MR. The spell shield can also make it more attractive against combo mages like LeBlanc or nasty skillshots like Rocket Grab.


Situational / Late Game Damage
Ravenous Hydra gives great burst damage for diving squishies and AoE for team fighting. It doesn't give as much DPS as BotRK against tougher targets, but you can use the AD and active to push out a ton of damage at the start of your combo, before your target has a chance to get any peel or use Flash. Works best with Thunderlord's Decree .
Blade of the Ruined King gives the best late game DPS for extended fights and duels. Against any target with at least one health item, this is your best bet for winning 1v1. Great for soloing splitpushing fighters and tanks. The lack of any real defensive stats on this item make it more risky in team fights. This item has good synergy with Fervor of Battle and Enchantment: Devourer if you happened to be running those.
Mercurial Scimitar is a situational counter to certain CC and debuff spells. You can shrug off most traditional CCs with Shroud of Darkness, but some spells such as Infinite Duress or Nether Grasp are difficult to block and insanely effective when channeled. Buying a mid game Quicksilver Sash can allow you to kill targets that could CC you to death like Warwick, Malzahar and even Ashe. In terms of raw stats, this item is passable, but it doesn't measure up to Maw of Malmortius unless the active effect changes the outcome of a fight.


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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


Buffs
(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: 4:00
Respawn Time: 5:00
Despawns At: 19:45 (19:55 if in combat)
Dragon
Spawns At: 2:30
Respawn Time: 6:00
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.


Buffs

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 25 mana regeneration per 5 seconds and 0.5% of their maximum mana (or energy) per second, as well as 10% cooldown reduction. Lasts 2 minutes. 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 8 / 16 / 24% (5 / 10 / 15% for ranged attacks) for 3 seconds and a DoT that deals 8 + (2 × level) bonus true damage twice. Also heals buff holder by 1% of their maximum health per 5 seconds. Lasts 2 minutes. You can take this buff until your team groups, then hand it off to your Marksman to help them kite.
Dragon - Dragon Slayer: Slaying the Dragon your entire team various bonuses. The first 4 stacks of Dragon Slayer are permanent, while the 5th stack only lasts 180 seconds.
  1. Dragon's Might: +6% attack damage and ability power
  2. Dragon's Wrath: +15% damage to towers and buildings
  3. Dragon's Flight: +5% movement speed
  4. Dragon's Dominance: +15% damage to minions and monsters
  5. Aspect of the Dragon: Doubles all previous bonuses and your attacks reveal the target and burn for 150 true damage over 5 seconds. This stack only lasts 180 seconds.
Rift Herald - Doom's Eve: Gives the holder 10% increased damage, 40 movement speed, Empowered Recall (4 seconds faster, restores 50% of your champion's maximum health & mana and grants +50% movement speed for 8 seconds) and an aura that buffs nearby allied minions. The minions gain 40% attack speed and cannon minions gain 100 attack range. This buff is lost and not transferred upon death.
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 (on-hit slow and true damage burn) 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 (Mana regeneration and 10% CDR) buff that you get from 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

Overview


These are the jungle routes I currently use. Keep in mind that slower routes are risky against strong counter-junglers and junglers with fast clears. If the enemy jungler is likely to invade and steal your second buff, you may want to secure it immediately. 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.


6 Minute Ultimate (Krugs Start)

Krugs
Raptors
Wolves
Gromp
Recall
Krugs
Red
Raptors
Wolves
Blue
Gromp
Recall
Krugs

Note: Take Refillable Potion for this route! Take a second point in Duskbringer at level 3 and then Unspeakable Horror at level 4.

This is the best route for hitting level 6 as quickly as possible and ganking the lane nearest Krugs (bot lane for blue side, top lane for red side). Skipping your buffs allows you to easily clear your first few camps and recall to get Hunter's Talisman. With both jungle components, you'll gain extra experience on your second clear, allowing you to almost hit level 6 by the time you finish your second Gromp. You'll need to recall and clear krugs again or pick up one camp's worth of experience elsewhere to hit level 6, then you can gank with your ultimate at about the 6 minute mark. Keep in mind this delays your second round of buffs and you're somewhat vulnerable to invades since you leave both buffs up on your first clear.



6 Minute Ultimate (Gromp Start)

Gromp
Wolves
Raptors
Krugs
Recall
Gromp
Blue
Wolves
Raptors
Red
Krugs
Recall
Gromp

Note: Take Refillable Potion for this route! Take a second point in Duskbringer at level 3 and then Unspeakable Horror at level 4.

Just like the route above, only with a Gromp start. This route is ideal for a fast ultimate gank on the lane nearest Gromp (top lane for blue side, bot lane for red side). Keep in mind that you'll be a little lower on health during your clear due to the lack of the early Smite on Krugs, and the Gromp start is more difficult for Nocturne. Still, it can be a useful route if you want to make sure you're at Gromp when you hit level 6 at 6 minutes.



Krugs
Raptors
Red
Wolves
Blue
Scuttler
Red Leashless

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 does not work if you get a leash on Krugs since your Smite won't be up in time for Red.


Krugs
Red
Raptors
Wolves
Blue
Scuttler
Red Farm

This route is pretty nice because of how strong the Krugs buff is in your early clear. The healthiest clear you can have is starting Krugs on blue side with a leash from your bottom lane.


Krugs
Red
Blue
Scuttler
Red Gank

This route gets you both buffs and level 3 as soon as possible, allowing you to play for early ganks, invades or vision control. You can invade the enemy red buff if their jungler chose a slower route in the same direction.

On blue side, this gives you fast access to the top river, which is ideal for ganking top or mid lane. On red side, this gives you fast access to the bottom river, which is ideal for ganking bot or mid lane.



Gromp
Blue
Red
Scuttler
Blue Gank

This route gets you both buffs and level 3 as soon as possible, allowing you to play for early ganks, invades or vision control. You can invade the enemy blue buff if their jungler chose a slower route in the same direction.

On blue side, this gives you fast access to the bottom river, which is ideal for ganking bot or mid lane. On red side, this gives you fast access to the top river, which is ideal for ganking top or mid lane.



Gromp
Blue
Wolves
Raptors
Red
Scuttler
Blue Farm

Just like the Red Farm Route, only in the other direction. This route has the worst sustain because Nocturne makes much better use of the Krugs buff and has a hard time killing Gromp because his AoE becomes useless. You might consider this route on red side since your bottom lane can leash Gromp for you, or if you'd just like to secure your blue buff early.


Wolves
Blue
Raptors
Red
Scuttler
Blue Leashless

Only use this route if for some reason you have to start near your blue buff and you won't get a leash. Starting wolves is a lot easier than soloing Gromp and level 1. You'll lose some efficiency by skipping Gromp but this route will still keep you fairly healthy even without a leash.


Demonstration (slightly outdated)


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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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Conclusion

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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