Threats to Nocturne with this build
|Amumu||His team fighting is great but if you catch him alone he will lose 1v1. Your gank pressure should be stronger both pre-6 and post-6. Try to shield his Q or ult, otherwise just block one of his Es for the attack speed. Avoid grouping your team together if your composition doesn't have strong team fighting because even a 0/5/0 Amumu can win a team fight with a 5-man ult.|
|Evelynn||She'll be trying to farm and gank while you're elsewhere. Ward her camps and get pinks on the map to counter-gank. Feel free to invade if her laners are pushed in; she can't 1v1 you unless she's fed. Don't let her sneak-steal your opposite buff -- ask your laners to ward your other buff at 1:55.|
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 was Diamond III and my current rank is Diamond IV in soloqueue. I also have a fair amount of experience against Diamond, Master and Challenger players through duo-queuing and ranked team games.
Since Nocturne's teaser, I wanted to buy him. I was 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 my most-played in ranked for two seasons.
|Nocturne is a versatile jungler with high clear speed, mobility and damage thanks to Duskbringer and 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 back line 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, which makes his ganking and team fighting abilities less consistent than other junglers with heavy stuns and knockups. This also makes him a rather mediocre tank, so he depends a little more on having one or two offensive items to maintain a damage threat throughout the game.
LoL Terminology (for any abbreviations you don't understand)
Synergies & Counters
|Divers are mobile champions with enough burst or durability to get into the enemy backline and threaten their carries. You can use Paranoia to dive with them and work together to demolish enemy damage threats.||Burst champions can quickly eliminate isolated enemies and work well in pick-oriented compositions. You can dash in with Paranoia to add to their burst, guaranteeing a kill, or target one carry while your ally kills another in a team fight.|
|Champions with crowd control make up for Nocturne's weak CC and can set up easy kills their lane opponents. In team fights, these champions can help you get picks or initiations that create good opportunities for you to dive enemy carries.||Champions with global (or semi-global) ultimates can add their post-6 presence to yours to easily create heavy numbers advantages at a moment's notice. You can use them to help you gank bottom lane to secure early dragons and out-rotate the enemy team for objectives and picks later in the game.|
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.||A lot of champions have crowd control, but when there's a ton of it on the enemy team, you can just get CC-locked and focused down before you have a chance to kill anyone. Nocturne isn't exceptionally tanky and doesn't have any fancy blink spells to get out of CC chains.|
|Champions with really strong peeling spells like Wild Growth or Intervention can make it really difficult to kill a specific target. You can combat this a bit by catching people when they're alone, but if they're grouped it makes team fighting really tough.||Disengage champions will stop anyone on your team from helping you dive the backline and can even shut down your dive attempts once you ult in. Shroud of Darkness can sometimes help but you can still be overwhelmed.|
21/9/0 is the best setup for AD junglers for its kill potential and clear speed. As Nocturne in particular, you don't want to just survive team fights since you have low utility; you want enough damage to be an early game threat and to be able to threaten the enemy backline in team fights.
Offensive masteries help you deal a lot of damage with a couple AD items to both champions and monsters. While most of the defensive masteries scale better into late game, damage can net you a lot more potential gold in the early stages of the game. Nocturne is a strong ganker and farmer throughout this period, so offensive masteries will amplify these strengths.
9 in defense gives some extra health and a bit of help in the jungle. These are more valuable than 9 points in utility as the early defense tree is stronger early game and Juggernaut scales well with your defensive items, while the utility tree basically just gives you a shorter Flash cooldown and extends your buff duration a little.
Blade Weaving does not interact with Unspeakable Horror at all for some weird reason. This makes it incredibly difficult to stack up the damage bonus and not worth the points.
Warlord is skipped due to the fact that it only scales off of bonus AD. You won't get much bonus AD with this build even if you build offensively, so it ends up not being very helpful.
Bladed Armor is skipped in favor of Unyielding because Nocturne's fast clear gives the bleed damage very little time to have any impact on the jungle camps.
6 Attack Speed & 3 Attack Damage Marks give you a lot of DPS and Krugs procs for your early clear while having just enough AD to kill the small minions at both buff camps in 2 Umbra Blades procs and two Duskbringers. If you run this setup (or one with more AD marks), you won't have to waste any autoattacks on the side minions in your first clear. Adding in 3 AD marks saves you about 5 seconds and 60 HP by the time you hit level 3.
Alternative: Armor Penetration
|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. It's also fairly difficult to fit CDR into your item build so it's helpful to pick up the 15% from runes. Scaling runes are superior to flat CDR on Nocturne because he does not make good use of early CDR with his basic abilities.
Alternative: Scaling Magic Resist
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), Enchantment: Devourer and Blade of the Ruined King.
Alternative: Attack Damage
|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.|
Tips and Tricks
- When Umbra Blades is ready, try to position Nocturne in the middle of a group of enemies for maximum damage and healing.
- Use Duskbringer before proccing Umbra Blades when possible in order to increase the amount of AoE damage using Duskbringer's steroid.
- If Umbra Blades is about the come off cooldown and you are clearing a jungle camp, leave the small monsters alive to increase the amount of health you gain from the proc. It also wastes less time when you allow your AoE to deal with the smaller monsters.
|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 that leave the trail 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
- Duskbringer has a short cast time, so feel free to use it when retreating for the movespeed boost.
- The attack damage increase from the trail on Duskbringer helps when killing champions, clearing creep camps, and even pushing down towers. Make sure you're on the trail when attacking.
- 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.
|Shroud of Darkness (W): This ability creates a momentary shield that will absorb one enemy spell. Use it to negate damage from enemy mages, block pokes like Javelin Toss, survive delayed spells like Requiem, and nullify crowd control spells that come your way. This ability gives bonus attack speed as well, doubling after a spell is blocked. Also, if you block a spell, you get to hear Nocturne's evil laugh, which makes it all the more satisfying.|
Tips and Tricks
- Blocking a spell with Shroud of Darkness doubles the passive attack speed bonus, allowing you to take down enemy champions or towers even more quickly. You can also proc the shield on Dragon 's autoattacks and Baron Nashor 's spells to increase your DPS.
- Shroud of Darkness has a long cooldown. Sometimes it is better to get hit by a weak spell so you can block a more dangerous one later. Try to identify priority spells to block before using it on a minor spell.
- It's easier to block abilities with slow missile speed, such as Morgana's Dark Binding or Taric's Dazzle. Some abilities have a brief cast animation before going off, allowing you to block spells that don't even fire projectiles like Petrifying Gaze.
- Shroud of Darkness is a painless way to dispatch traps like Bushwhack and Yordle Snap Trap without being revealed.
- Some delayed spells like Hemoplague and Death Mark can only be blocked by shielding the initial placement of the spell. If it's already on you, the detonation of the effect will go right through your shield.
- Some spells like Wall of Pain don't interact with spell shields.
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.
- Unspeakable Horror technically has no cast time since it doesn't interrupt your movement, but you can't autoattack during the animation. Use it during your Duskbringer animation (essentially using both spells at once) to maximize the time you have to autoattack.
- 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.
Tips and Tricks
- Sometimes it is better to approach a fight normally and save Paranoia for a chase.
- If you are chasing multiple weakened champions, use Paranoia, dash to the farthest champion, then fight your way backwards. This can net you double or triple kills.
- You can use Paranoia to quickly dash past towers towards retreating champions.
- 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 or Oracle's Lens active will be able to see invisible targets.
- The dash component of Paranoia cannot be interrupted by CC. If you are hit by a stun during the dash, you will be stunned for the remainder of the duration upon arrival at your target. For example, if you are hit by a 2 second stun and you spend 0.5 seconds dashing to your target, you will arrive at your target and be stunned for 1.5 seconds.
- You can cast any spell during the Paranoia dash, including all of your basic abilities, items and summoner spells. Cast Q and E right before you hit your target to save time (unless you anticipate a Flash, then save your E).
- If you Flash during your ultimate dash, the dash will be cancelled. If you just made a terrible mistake by dashing towards someone, you can blow your Flash cooldown to stop yourself. Or you could try to make some weird play by ulting towards a visible target then Flashing to interrupt the dash part way in order to reach a target that you didn't have vision of, but that's probably not going to happen very often.
This skill sequence shouldn't require any deviation. 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.
|Hunter's Machete gives you a significant boost to your clear time and leaves some gold for Health Potions to sustain you through your first clear. You can upgrade it to Skirmisher's Sabre, Stalker's Blade or Ranger's Trailblazer on your first recall.|
|Warding Totem is the strongest of the three trinkets before level 9. This trinket gives you some free map vision throughout the early game. You can use your first ward to protect your jungle by placing it at one of the jungle entrances in the river. Later you can use the free minute of vision to give your laners some extra information about the movements of the enemy jungler. I generally hold onto this until around level 7-9, then swap it out for a Sweeping Lens. You can upgrade to Oracle's Lens any time you have 250g to spare past level 9.|
|Skirmisher's Sabre offers the most 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. This is a great pick for early dueling and kill potential throughout the game.||Stalker's Blade gives you strong early ganks. Before you can buy Bilgewater Cutlass, Nocturne offers very little CC to ganks. Chilling Smite will allow you to gank more effectively, especially before level 6. It also does a decent amount of damage so it's still helpful for dueling as well.||Ranger's Trailblazer gives a lot of sustain and keeps you on the map. If most of your Smites will be on monsters, this is the item to buy. The AoE stun + sustain effect will help you recover if you were set back early game and it'll keep your health high so you can stay on the map for longer periods of time before recalling.|
|Enchantment: Devourer has better DPS and farm-scaling Nocturne has a fast clear so he can stack the passive very quickly. Mediocre AD scalings and two autoattack steroids make this item an especially strong on Nocturne. Works well with Blade of the Ruined King but doesn't scale with armor pen at all.||Enchantment: Warrior gives more burst and item-scaling. 40 AD is less effective in terms of pure DPS but it adds a chunk of damage to your Duskbringer and Paranoia. The early AD is helpful for gank pressure and armor penetration scales with offensive items later in the build, making it scale well if you build more than just Blade of the Ruined King.|
|Mercury's Treads are often essential for their tenacity and help against magic damage. Nocturne becomes less threatening and very vulnerable if you are crowd controlled, so it's important for you to have tenacity in your build whenever the enemy team has a respectable amount of CC. These boots are also useful if the enemy team deals primarily magic damage.||Ninja Tabi protects against physical abilities and autoattacks. Against most team compositions, you will take a lot of damage from the enemy marksman and melee fighters which is largely mitigated by Ninja Tabi's passive. Buy these boots if the enemy team has high amounts of physical damage and little CC.|
|Blade of the Ruined King offers the best scaling DPS and good sticking power. You can use the early Bilgewater Cutlass to slow down targets during ganks long enough to proc Unspeakable Horror (and later do the same thing in team fights). BotRK also gives very strong objective control with its lifesteal and on-hit proc. This item synergizes best with Enchantment: Devourer by stacking high amounts of attack speed with on-hit procs, and works well in almost all games, unless you are very far behind and need to go straight for defensive items.|
|The Black Cleaver shreds tank armor and gives you high sticking power. The %armor shred is pretty easy to apply with Duskbringer, Paranoia, Umbra Blades and your autoattacks. Even if you're hitting pretty low-armor targets you'll still get some decent value out of the shred. The Phage proc, HP and AD are all universally useful, making it a strong offensive item regardless of enemy armor. 20% CDR also helps you ult more often late game. Make sure you don't overcap on CDR, so if you're building Enchantment: Warrior, take MR/lvl glyphs instead of CDR/lvl.|
|Maw of Malmortius is strong against high magic team compositions. Building an early Hexdrinker can be very effective against magical burst damage and it upgrades into a fairly effective defensive item later in the game. You can choose to buy this in addition to Banshee's Veil against heavy magic damage or replace Banshee's against mixed damage for more offense.|
|Randuin's Omen is your best option against physical damage threats. You can build this as a first defensive item against teams with only one or two magic damage threats, especially if you can block a lot of their damage with Shroud of Darkness. This is a really useful item to buy against heavy physical compositions or if the enemy Marksman is really strong by mid game. Use the active to keep an enemy in range of your fear tether or use it as a soft initiation by slowing multiple enemy champions after dashing into their team with Paranoia.|
|Banshee's Veil offers the best protection against magic damage and burst. Its strong balance of health and MR along with the spell shield make you very difficult to burst or CC. You can often nullify two enemy spells when you dash in by blocking one with the veil and then using Shroud of Darkness afterwards. The spell shield is also useful against some specific high-impact spells like Rocket Grab and Javelin Toss.|
|Warmog's Armor gives you the best survivability against mixed damage. A high HP pool guarantees that you'll be getting some decent effective health for your gold, no matter what kind of damage your facing. It's particularly effective against burst mages, which are rendered pretty useless if you have enough HP to survive their initial spells. The regen is just a bonus, though it does help keep you on the map early game so you don't have to recall as often.|
|Guardian Angel can have a big impact late game if the passive is used properly. Teams with high burst and long cooldowns can lose a team fight if they spend too many resources on killing you when you jump in. Especially if you manage to kill an enemy carry before going down, Guardian Angel can give you the opportunity to survive a close team fight and live to get objectives afterwards with your team. This is also a good item if you're building a lot of offense because the time you buy with the passive can be more effective than just a Warmog's Armor on its own.|
You can place up to three Stealth Wards and one Vision Ward on the map. Placing any additional wards will replace your oldest ward. What this means for you is that buying two Stealth Wards and using your Warding Totem provides your team with the maximum amount of vision possible. It's not a huge investment to buy a ward or two when you go back to base and it can save the lives of your teammates or open up opportunities for you to counter gank. Remember to buy extra wards when you swap out your Warding Totem for Sweeping Lens around level 9.
Buy a Vision Ward if you're planning on doing a major objective such as dragon or baron in the near future. Don't just rely on a Sweeping Lens to clear vision as it has a very limited range and a pretty long cooldown. You can also buy a Vision Ward and place it in a bush in your own jungle. This gives you true sight of that area, often for a long time since it's risky for the enemy jungler to clear a ward that deep in your territory. It only costs you 100 gold to have a pink ward on the map and you might find that you'll have vision near your wraiths or wolves for much longer than 3 minutes.
If your team takes the outer layer of towers and pushes past river, place wards deeper in the enemy jungle. Always try to keep vision in front of and beside your team. If the enemy team gains map control, you may have to place some wards closer to your side of the map if it's too dangerous to get to the river.
It doesn't hurt to place a stealth ward in the lane itself if the enemy minion wave is going to push past it soon. Usually leaving a stealth ward near the rubble of a destroyed tower is useful if the enemy team is going to push the minion wave away from it soon. It can help you keep track of enemy rotations in mid and late game.
Your early Warding Totem (before level 9) places wards that last one minute, so it's not as useful for the priority long-term vision spots. You can use it to fill a hole in your team's river vision for one minute, but you should try to buy real wards for that. Try to use your totem ward in situations where the one minute of vision is especially crucial. For example, one minute of vision is enough time for the ward to guard a potential counter-gank route from the enemy jungler when you're about to gank a lane. The brief duration of vision can also be very useful for gaining vision in a bush in clutch situations, preparing to counter-jungle an enemy buff that just spawned, protecting yourself while stealing a camp, or gaining sight of a target so you can dash to them with Paranoia. Try to use your totem cooldown often enough that you get a good amount of vision out of it, but try to think about how you can use one minute of vision to its fullest potential.
Past level 9 you should be using a Sweeping Lens since the vision denial becomes more crucial in mid-game and it'll be on a short cooldown.
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.
|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.|
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.
|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.|
Each large monster (other than Dragon, 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 procced.|
|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: 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.|
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, 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.
Farm Route: Krugs - Raptors - Red - Wolves - Blue - Gromp
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. The weakness of this route is how long you leave your Blue buff up and it could be stolen. You'll also won't have your Red buff to gank.
Red Route: Krugs - Red - Blue - (Wolves - Raptors - Krugs)
On blue side, this route gets you level 3 with double buffs near the top lane. You can gank top or mid, clear the Rift Scuttler in the top-side river for vision, or keep farming.
On red side, this route gets you level 3 with double buffs near the bottom lane. You can gank bottom or mid, clear the Rift Scuttler in the bottom-side river for vision, or keep farming.
Blue Route: Wolves/Gromp - Blue - Red - (Krugs - Raptors - Wolves)
Just like the Red 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 can use this route if you prefer to gank the opposite side of the map or you want to start near Blue buff to make sure it doesn't get stolen by the enemy jungler at level 2.
Counter Jungling and Recovery
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.
Sometimes you'll find yourself against a strong counter jungler like Nunu or Shyvana or you'll get invaded and have one of your buffs stolen. Losing one of your first buffs is a huge blow to any jungler, but you can still cope with it even if your early game is set back. The first thing to look for if your buff is being stolen is to see if you can steal theirs at the same time. This will put you on even footing again with the enemy jungler and will allow you to continue your route normally. Often times this won't be possible, however, so you'll be set back and forced into a recovery state.
In the season 1 jungle, recovery routes were altered jungle routes that maximized your sustain in the absence of one of your early buffs. Since season 2, the small camps can be cleared more easily and spawn quickly, so specific routes are generally not necessary. If you lost control of your blue buff at level one, usually you should group your team to your red buff (unless you can take their blue) and start there instead. If you arrive at your red and find it's been stolen, simply move on to the next available camp and clear it. If you find yourself behind in gold or XP due to counter jungling, the best way to recover is usually to clear camps continuously and deny the enemy jungler any further opportunities. Note the respawn timers of your buff camps and be ready to clear them when they respawn. There's a good chance the enemy jungler noted the buff that they stole so you need to be punctual to prevent them from stealing it again.
Jungle defense is also an important part of your response to being counter jungled. Defending your own jungle relies on a combination of map awareness and team coordination. The key to stopping an enemy from counter jungling is to know where the enemy jungler is ahead of time (usually with good ward placement) and coordination with nearby laners to group to whichever camp the enemy jungler is going for. Even the strongest junglers won't be able to handle 3 or 4 champions in the middle of enemy territory. Your laners will always be closer than the enemy laners and there will be no nearby tower for the enemy jungler to escape to. If you manage to catch and kill the enemy jungler in the act, you'll usually see yourself start to catch up very quickly. Ward the entrances to your jungle and the brush curving around your two buffs and you'll be able to prevent any further counter jungling.
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 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.
One or two champions on your team should be the designated initiator. Usually this initiation will take the form of a powerful CC spell, perhaps accompanied by a Flash. If your Malphite uses Unstoppable Force, or Ashe fires her Enchanted Crystal Arrow, you know the fight has begun. You can also act as your team's initiator by using Paranoia to enter the fray, but this is generally not as strong as other initiations because you'll have at most Randuin's Omen for your CC, so if you have an initiator on your team you should usually let them do it.
The other possibility is that the enemy team initiates on yours. Note that there is a difference between an enemy initiation and someone just getting caught and dying for free. If the enemy team initiates and you think your team can fight them, you should usually start by peeling for your carries. Initiations are usually focused on your back line and it takes a couple seconds for the enemy carries to get in range, so there isn't much point in immediately diving their back line.
Once your team has engaged the enemy, you have two options. The first is probably the most intuitive, that is to assassinate an enemy carry. Duskbringer and Paranoia are both good ways to reach your target quickly and you should use Unspeakable Horror and your Randuin's Omen to CC them while you focus them down. Keep in mind that this will usually put you in a very vulnerable position in the team fight, so you'll have to kill your target quickly or wait to jump in until the enemy team is split or CC'd by your allies. Hitting your Shroud of Darkness at the right time is especially key here since being hit by a CC while you're in the middle of the enemy tank line will probably get you killed. The extra AS is also nice for killing your target more quickly. It's usually a good idea to go for a kill along with one or two teammates because, as a jungler, you might not be able to kill a late game carry by yourself.
The second approach is to peel for your carries, which generally puts you in a safer spot, but doesn't make use of as much of your kit. Assassinating isn't always an option, especially if your team is reliant on damage output from one (or both) of your carries in order to win fights. When this is the case, peeling for your carries will be your main duty. Typically you'll see enemy bruisers and assassins close in on your squishy AP and AD carries. Your job is to keep your carries safe (especially your AD carry) and tank for them if possible. Activate Randuin's Omen to slow attacking enemies and use Unspeakable Horror on the most dangerous target. As long as you slow your enemies' approach and output some damage onto them, your marksman can usually focus them down pretty quickly. If your carries is completely safe, you can look to use Paranoia to quickly switch into an assassin role. This is usually the case when your team starts to win the fight because the bruisers are dying and you can use your excellent chasing abilities to hunt down low targets. If you have an option of whom to kill at the end of the fight, go for the most likely kill, the AD or AP carry, or whoever is the most fed on the enemy team. Generally all three of these will be the enemy AD carry, but it doesn't hurt to adjust your targeting priorities if they have a fed Riven or something who's almost dead.
If your team emerges victorious, try to take an objective as well. If you're close to a tower, push the wave and destroy it. If the fight takes place close to dragon, kill it if you have enough health to do so. If it's later in the game, look to take an inhibitor or kill baron during the long respawn timers. It takes some practice to make the best use of your time after a successful team fight so always ask yourself what you can accomplish in the brief period while your enemies are dead. Keep in mind that the enemy team will often spawn roughly around the same time, and all with full health and mana, so if you stick around too long at low health, they can rush out of their base and take an objective of their own.
If you lost the fight and you're still alive, you'll probably need to retreat to your base and get your health back. Work with whomever else is still alive on your team to defend your towers. Unless the enemy team is really strong or it's late game, they'll probably use their minions to push rather than tanking a tower directly. Use Duskbringer and Umbra Blades to quickly clear their minion wave and force them to tank your tower or back off, though only proc Umbra Blades if it's safe enough to do so. If the enemy team is clearing an objective like dragon or baron instead, you'll generally have to just leave them. You can try to steal dragon if it's safe or baron if you're desperate (and confident you can get it), but most of the time you'll just have to bide your time until your teammates respawn.
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 and astrolia for their insights into some coding techniques that I use in all my guides.
Follow me on Facebook and Twitter for stream updates and other League of Legends content.