Offensive Items (1 or 2)
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.|
Hi everyone, patch 4.20 brought a lot of sweeping changes to the jungle both in terms of camps/objectives and itemization. It's a lot of new information to process and I need to take some time to learn some things for myself too. I'll be updating the main body of this guide as soon as I can, but for now I've provided a build above for you to use.
Small camps now respawn every 100 seconds (1:40) while buffs are 5 minutes, dragon is 6 and baron is 7 just like before. Baron now spawns at 20 minutes instead of 15.
- Gromp (formerly Wight) - Apply a poison DoT to any enemy that autoattacks you.
- Blue Sentinel (formerly Ancient Golem) - Restores a large amount of mana
- Greater Murk Wolf (big wolf) - Spawns a spirit that gives vision of your blue side jungle for a short while and seeks out enemy champions.
- Crimson Raptor (formerly big wraith) - Gives you true vision for a few seconds the next time you are spotted by an enemy ward.
- Red Brambleback (formerly Elder Lizard) - Restores 20% max health
- Ancient Krug (formerly big golem) - Causes your autoattacks to stun jungle monsters every first and fifth attack. Mark can be consumed to deal a small amount of true damage if you attack a turret.
The Rift Scuttler spawns at 2:30 and respawns every 3:00. There's one in each river. Make sure you hit it with Duskbringer because it'll run away from you. Don't bother Smiting this (unless it's contested) because it gives little gold/xp and has no Smite bonus. It becomes really tanky later in the game so kill it with your team. Don't bother with the one in top river too often since it doesn't give vision of standard gank paths.
The dragon doesn't give gold anymore and gives little XP. Make sure you get the first dragon if you can, because it gives your whole team 8% more AP and AD. Controlling dragon after that is still important if you can deny the enemy team their first dragon. If you can get 5 of them it gives your team on-hit true damage for the next 3 minutes, which can win you the game if it comes down to one team fight.
Baron doesn't give any regen any more but now it gives an aura that applies to your minions as well as a super fast Recall. Recall quickly with your team after you baron and buy items / elixirs, then go push down 1 or 2 lanes (or even 3 if you have a 1-3-1 comp). Use the minions to overwhelm your opponents in a siege. Protect your cannon minions since they outrange towers and are hard for the enemy to clear. You can get a massive lead in map pressure off of one baron, so make sure to coordinate your team so you are recalled and grouped as quickly as possible so you can start pushing down inhibitor towers. If you are behind but managed to get a baron, try to fight near your minion waves so your empowered minions can help kill enemy champions.
I'm still experimenting with jungle routes, but Nocturne can clear both buffs and a small camp pretty easily if you get a leash from your bot lane. Nightblue has been saying to start on bot side at either Krugs or Gromp and then do your buffs, so that might be better (I'm not sure yet, will find out and update you guys on this).
When clearing red, make sure you take ~140 damage before you Smite so you can get the full healing value. For some camps, Riot changed the positions of the smaller monsters so you may have to position differently to hit everything with Duskbringer. Do your best to hit everything in the camp with your Q and Umbra Blades. This may require you to move slightly between your Q and your passive-empowered auto attack.
Smite can be upgraded with Poacher's Knife, Stalker's Blade, Skirmisher's Sabre or Ranger's Trailblazer. Poacher's Knife is for counter-jungling and is pretty useless on Nocturne since it doesn't play to his strengths. Stalker's Blade seems pretty good but you have to have your Smite available when you gank (remember it has a 60s cooldown). Skirmisher's Sabre has some dueling potential but doesn't let you actually catch people if they're running (not sure about this one yet). Ranger's Trailblazer is good for farming and sustain if you're not ganking much. It doesn't seem necessary on Nocturne since his clear speed and sustain is above average but it will help you stack your devourer.
Each Smite upgrade can be enchanted with one of the following:
Stalker's Blade - Devourer
Stalker's Blade - Warrior
Stalker's Blade - Juggernaut
Stalker's Blade - Magus
Obviously Magus is out of the question. Juggernaut is decent but you can get survivability from other later items like Randuin's Omen. Warrior and Devourer are both strong choices, but I'm recommending Devourer because you can farm and stack it up very quickly as Nocturne and he's a good champion to proc on-hits with since you mostly autoattack.
Rush your Smite upgrade item and get Devourer as soon as possible so you can start stacking it up. After that, Blade of the Ruined King is a good followup unless you fall very behind and need to build tanky (even so, you can probably just sit on Bilgewater Cutlass. If you're really fed and want more offense, Youmuu's Ghostblade is a good choice. After that, get defensive items to help you survive team fights, just like before.
Don't skimp out on Health Potions in your first few clears before you get Devourer because the new jungle hurts.
Be careful about filling up your inventory because Cloth Armor and Null-Magic Mantle are now a part of all armor and MR items respectively. They're not as slot-efficient as Chain Vest or Negatron Cloak (RIP) so you might be tempted to fill your last inventory slots. Make sure you leave enough room for consumables so you can help your team ward the map.
Hopefully this is enough information to help you get started in the new jungle. I'll update the full body of the guide as soon as I can, but it'll take some time, especially since I need to test the jungle for myself. Let me know if you have any questions and I'll do my best to answer them!
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 current rank is Diamond III in soloqueue and I 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 orders of magnitude stronger than anyone else in the game. 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 as a counter-ganking jungler with a pick-oriented mid game, 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)
|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 outrotate the enemy team for objectives and picks later in the game.|
Though 21/9/0 and 9/21/0 are both common setups on AD junglers, I believe that 21/9/0 is the best for Nocturne in particular for its kill potential and clear speed. You don't want to sit and scale nicely into team fights since you have low utility; you want to get an advantage over the other jungler and catch people out so your team is ahead by the time you group.
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. I find these more necessary compared to 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.
Attack Speed Marks offer the best DPS and jungle clear speed via Umbra Blades procs. Attack speed runes scale especially well with on-hit procs from Feral Flare and Blade of the Ruined King.
Armor Seals give you the most early game defense against jungle monsters, turrets, minions and enemy champions. While some players opt for scaling runes, I prefer the security of the early game stats since gaining an early lead (through better sustain and dueling) is more valuable than the extra mid-late game stats from scaling runes.
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.
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 Feral Flare and Blade of the Ruined King.
|This spell is absolutely necessary on every jungler. While performing a jungle route without Smite is certainly possible, it is invaluable for buff and objective control. If you jungle without this spell, not only will your jungle be more difficult, but you can be easily counter-jungled by any competent enemy with Smite.|
|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.|
I do not recommend any other summoner spells on jungle Nocturne. If you are under level 12 and cannot yet use Flash, take Exhaust instead to improve your dueling potential and early gank pressure.
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.
- Using Umbra Blades and Duskbringer effectively can allow you to push a lane very quickly, or deal heavy damage to a group of enemies.
- 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 ability has a variety of purposes. 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
- Using Duskbringer when retreating can save your life, just make sure you keep moving after you use the spell.
- 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): Much like Sivir's Spell Shield, this ability creates a momentary shield that will absorb one enemy spell. Use it to negate damage from enemy mages, block pokes like Nidalee's Javelin Toss, survive delayed spells like Requiem, and nullify any 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 while doing baron in order 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.
- When flanking, cast E on your target then hit them with Q once they're feared. When chasing, hit your target with Q, then cast E so you can keep up with them until the fear goes 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.
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 technique 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.
This is a pretty standard skill sequence for Nocturne, and shouldn't require any deviation. Take Duskbringer at level one to help you clear the jungle (it's also great in level one team fights). Usually you'll want Shroud of Darkness at level two for the attack speed boost to help you clear since the jungle became harder to clear this season. Get Unspeakable Horror at level 3 unless you gank or fight the enemy jungler at level 2. Don't wait to take it until level 4 because if you suddenly have a gank opportunity or you encounter the enemy jungler at level 3, having another point in Duskbringer isn't going to do squat if you don't have your fear yet. You can also just 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 (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. Do not max W before E ever. The longer CC 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 Spirit Stone or Madred's Razors on your first recall to allow you to clear jungle camps more quickly.|
|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 the lens early to deal with stealth champions or later in the game for better vision control.|
Spirit of the Elder Lizard gives the most early pressure and best sustain of the jungle items. Its 10% CDR allows you to cast Paranoia more frequently and the high damage offered by this item gives you the best ganking and dueling capabilities in the early game.|
I recommend building SotEL in the following situations:
Wriggle's Lantern has the best scaling of the jungle items, but with a weaker early game. It takes a lot of farming to stack up, but at 30 stacks it transforms into Feral Flare, which offers a lot of DPS and continues to build in damage throughout the game.
I recommend building Wriggle's in the following situations:
Mercury's Treads are often essential for their tenacity to help you stick to enemy carries. Nocturne becomes less threatening and very vulnerable if you are CC'd, so it's important for your kill potential and survivability 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 offer a lot of protection 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 good sticking power and high damage scaling. You can use the early Bilgewater Cutlass to slow down targets during ganks and use the active slow to keep an enemy carry slowed long enough to proc Unspeakable Horror. BotRK also gives very strong objective control with its lifesteal and on-hit proc. This item synergizes best with Feral Flare by stacking high amounts of attack speed with on-hit procs, but can work in any situation where you need the late game damage to deal with enemy fighters and tanks.|
|Youmuu's Ghostblade offers high early game pressure and mobility. The CDR from The Brutalizer allows you to cast Paranoia more frequently and get more ganks off. The Ghostblade active gives you a 6 second burst of movement and attack speed that will help you stick to targets and quickly cut them down. Flat armor pen gives you a lot of extra damage against squishy targets. I recommend this item when focusing on early pressure along with Spirit of the Elder Lizard.|
|Trinity Force is a luxury item that's very strong when snowballing. It offers a plethora of stats, but most importantly it gives high burst and sticking power. When snowballing, you'll be able to afford the hefty price tag and you'll likely have a level advantage over your opponents, making your Sheen proc hit really hard. The passive and on-hit movement speed give you a lot of sticking power, much like Youmuu's Ghostblade without the restriction of an active. I usually don't buy this item because it takes so long to complete, but it can be strong if you can afford it.|
|Randuin's Omen is your best option for armor and general survivability. Its strong balance of health and armor along with its passive helps to reduce the amount of damage you take from the enemy Marksman and other physical damage dealers. You can use the active to keep an enemy in range of your fear tether or use it as a soft initiate by slowing multiple enemy champions after dashing into their team with Paranoia. I recommend building this item every game unless the enemy team has very little physical damage.|
|Banshee's Veil offers the best protection against magic damage and burst. Its strong balance of health and MR along with the spellshield make you very difficult to burst or CC. You can often nullify two enemy spells when you dash in by blocking with the veil and then using Shroud of Darkness afterwards. I recommend building this item every game unless the enemy team has very little magic damage.|
|Maw of Malmortius is strong against high magic team compositions and can replace or add to your offensive items. 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. This item does not compare with the defensive stats of Banshee's Veil, but it can be a valid option if you need several MR items or if you're too behind to afford one of the bigger offensive items.|
|Locket of the Iron Solari is sometimes necessary against AoE magic compositions if your support won't be building one. Allied aura effects aren't particularly effective on Nocturne since you're usually in the enemy backline in team fights, but Locket can be an essential item against double AP comps and sometimes your support just won't build it. Ideally you shouldn't have to buy one, but you can replace Banshee's Veil with Locket if you need to without too much trouble.|
|Thornmail can sometimes be appropriate against several autoattackers and/or high physical damage. Randuin's Omen is a far superior survivability item, but you might sometimes need to get a little extra armor in the late game against some team compositions. The damage reflection only works off of autoattacks so it's usually only effective against the enemy Marksman. In the late game, when their Marksman is critting for 1200+ damage, it can help you kill them very quickly if the two of you are left alone for a couple seconds. In general though, buy other items for survivability purposes since this item offers no health.|
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.
Jungle Spawn Timers
As you improve your jungling and become a better player, these spawn times are very important to know if you want to perfect your jungling and counter-jungling. Keep these spawn timers in mind when you play and get in the habit of typing out times when Baron or Dragon will respawn (you can eventually time blue and red buffs too). I recommend enabling chat time-stamps if you haven't already, especially if you're just learning to keep track of spawn timers. Any time your team witnesses the death of Dragon or Baron, you'll be able to note the time in the chat log down to the exact second.
(Wraiths, Wolves, Wight, Golems)
Spawn At: 2:05
Respawn Time: 0:50
Buffs (Golem, Lizard)
Spawn At: 1:55
Respawn Time: 5:00
Spawns At: 2:30
Respawn Time: 6:00
Spawns At: 15:00
Respawn Time: 7:00
Initial Jungle Route
Jungle routes are actually pretty simple this season compared to seasons 1-3. You'll always be starting at one of the buff camps, then clearing wraiths or wolves, then clearing another buff camp. If you can coordinate a jungle invade with your team, you might start at an enemy buff, but most of the time you'll probably be starting on your side of the map.
It matters very little whether you start at red or blue buff as you'll be level 3 with double buffs pretty quickly regardless of which buff you start at. What does matter is the location of your starting camp, as it affects which opportunities are available to you and the enemy jungle. Most junglers start at the buff closest to bot lane since the support and marksman can give you a better leash than the top laner (most mid laners don't leash or can't help much). Starting near bot lane allows you to invade the buff directly across the river or clear your other buff and gank top or mid lane. Starting near top lane is usually better for invades since you can usually expect the enemy jungler to arrive at their top buff shortly after you get there. You can also opt to start near your top lane in order to gank bottom at level 3.
DON'T clear the wight camp (the lone wraith near blue buff) as one of your first three camps. It does a ton of damage and is very difficult to clear without Smite available. It's not quite as bad if you're level 3 with double buffs, but it still hurts if you don't have Smite up. You should use Smite on this camp whenever you don't need the spell for a buff camp or dragon or baron.
After completing your first buff, one small camp and then your second buff, you can choose to gank one of the nearby lanes immediately or continue farming the jungle. Opting to farm will cost you some health potions but ensures productive use of your time. If the other jungler ganks and fails, you'll pull ahead in levels and gold. Choosing to gank at level 3 can allow you to sometimes catch out laners who haven't yet used their Warding Totem and ensures you have a significant advantage over enemy laners as they will all be level 2 (lacking their third ability, sometimes their escape) while you're level 3 with double buffs. If you clear more camps before ganking, the level discrepancy pretty much disappears.
After your initial route you can simply clear whatever camps are nearby without worrying much about the order. Take advantage of the fact that there are two camps nearby each side lane, so if you're looking to gank a specific lane, clear the camps nearest that lane while you wait for a good opportunity. You can use Smite on small camps as long as there isn't an important objective that might be contested in the next 40 seconds.
How to Clear Camps
Since Smite is only on a 40 second cooldown, you can cast it on your first buff camp and it'll come off cooldown after you clear one small camp and reach your second buff camp. This allows you to save a lot of time and health by smiting both buff camps.
You should start off every camp by hitting as many targets as possible with Duskbringer, then autoattacking the biggest monster in the camp. Make sure you're on the Duskbringer trail so you get the bonus AD. Ignore the smaller minions in the camp as they'll usually get cleared by the AoE from your Q and Umbra Blades. Leaving the small monsters alive also increases the healing you receive from your passive. If there are any small monsters still alive after you finish off the big one, clean them up with autoattacks in order to get the camp to respawn later.
If you're clearing an enemy camp, you may choose to leave one of the small monsters alive in order to prevent the camp from respawning until the enemy jungler comes and clears the last monster. You usually want to fully clear buff camps though so you can know what time it'll respawn. Being aware of enemy buff timers allows you to predict the positioning of the enemy jungler and can allow you to steal enemy buffs if the enemy jungler isn't prepared.
When clearing the wraith camp, fire Duskbringer from the bush between wraiths and mid lane inner tower. Not only does this angle allow you to hit all 4 wraiths, but it also prevents your Duskbringer trail from going over the wall and giving away your position to the enemy mid laner.
If you have blue buff, you can use Unspeakable Horror on the big monster of each camp. It doesn't improve your speed much but it lessens the damage you receive as the monster will be briefly feared and unable to attack. I don't recommend doing this if you don't have blue buff as it costs a lot of mana for what you get out of it. Don't use Unspeakable Horror on dragon or baron either because they aren't affected by the fear. The damage isn't really worth it on its own.
When clearing baron, you can use Shroud of Darkness whenever it's available (as long as you don't need it to block an enemy spell). Baron applies a debuff to the targets it attacks which is blocked by the shield. It doesn't stop baron from re-applying the debuff, but it does let you proc the bonus attack speed as often as you want.
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 junglers likely paths and jungle speeds will allow you to predict their start location and movements, making it easier to steal creep 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 Dazzle 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 support to ward some areas if necessary since the enemy jungler will often try to steal your buff while you take theirs.
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 Nocturne can effectively gank is level two with Duskbringer and Unspeakable Horror. It's more common for your first gank to be at level three with a point in all three abilities and with 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, shields (most Marksmen run Barrier) 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.
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