Nocturne Build Guide by AZTKE1728
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Not Updated For Current Season
The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.
Nocturne is pretty much a killing machine. I think that Jungle Nocturne is WAY better than Lane Nocturne, personally. Being a good jungler is not only a champion's ability to complete laps in the jungle, but the ability to gank. Nocturne is without a doubt one of the best jungles in the game for a variety of reasons. His passive and his skills allow him to go through the jungle very quickly and efficiently.
Since Nocturne is indeed a killing machine, teams will obviously be trying their best to take you out. This alone makes Nocturne a somewhat difficult character to use just because he takes a lot of judgement. While you have fantastic DPS, you can't just fly in with your ultimate and kill everybody because they will just focus you and kill you. Later in this guide I will go over when and when not to engage a fight.
Creeping / Jungling
Nocturne is very fast at jungling, and after his first complete lap, he is extremely fast at killing creeps. My jungling route is very linear. I start at Blue buff with a leash from middle. After I take out blue, I go to wolves, then wraiths, then red buff, then golems. If you are new to jungling or do not have the full rune build, it will be very difficult or impossible to complete a lap this way. If this is the case, skip red buff on your first lap and go to golems after the wraiths. On the first lap, I only use smite on blue buff and red buff.
I wouldn't try ganking lanes until you are level 6 with your ultimate, because people will generally run/flash in fear of you as they see you floating towards them. At most, cover the solo or middle lane if your teammates have to go back to base. When you are level 6, pick a lane that you think you can get a kill in. Getting kills is very important for Nocturne, and for the team. A fed Nocturne can be nearly unstoppable, especially when you complete your banshees veil. I will get into this later.
As far as dragon goes, don't even attempt to solo it until you have your Wriggles built as well as your berserker greaves, because you won't be able to do it. You should be around level 7 or 8 at this time; however, killing dragon whenever possible is always a huge part of the game. 190 gold per player on your team is very helpful. Taking out dragon 2-3 times in a row can tilt the game in your team's favor.
As the game progresses, just keep jungling in a linear path. If you're confident enough, even go into their jungle and steal their buffs and other creeps, with caution of course. I will go more into this in the ranked play section.
I'm going to cover all of the skills in terms of jungling, farming, and fighting champions.
Q - Starting with Nocturne's Q is a MUST. His Q mixed with his passive is why he's so amazing at jungling. When you fire off your Q, there is a black path in the ground (unless you're using his frozen skin). While you are on this path, you gain both a huge bonus in attack damage and a bonus in movement speed. This bonus in attack damage is an essential for jungling, and an incredibly useful tool for farming and killing champions.
On top of that, if you hit a champion with your Q, the black trail will follow wherever the champion moves. This is a HUGE ability for fighting and chasing enemy champions because of that attack damage bonus as well as the movement speed bonus, as it is pretty much a built in ghost.
You can also use this ability for a couple other things. Since it does make you move faster, it can easily be used as an escape ability. Just fire your Q in the direction you are running and you can get away from your opponents faster if they are chasing you. Lastly, you can throw this ability next to a tower when you are trying to push and it will add that nice attack bonus to help take the tower down faster.
W - Shroud of Darkness is also just awesome. For jungling, you need to get this ability at level 2 because it's passive gives you a very nice +20% attack speed bonus. As you level it up, the attack speed bonus increases.
His W also has an active. This is where Nocturne starts to require some skill. When you activate is W, he gets a spell shield that will last for a couple seconds. This spell shield will entirely block 1 spell of any kind. If you do happen to block a spell while this ability is active, it doubles the attack speed bonus from the passive.
This spell shield proves to be extremely useful for a whole bunch of things. If you jump into a battle, you can activate his W to block any of their CC and have a nice attack speed bonus for that battle. This also eliminates many champions' escapability, as it can basically nullify any of their slowing or stunning abilities. Without their stun or slow, you can easily outrun them if you hit your Q on them.
Shroud of Darkness also makes your survivablity fantastic. You can get away from so many chases if they can't stun or slow you. This can also nullify many global ultimates. If you have low health and you see an incoming Karthus/Lux/Ashe/Vlad, or any other ability along those lines, you can completely block it with this spell shield.
Knowing this, you might ask why you would even want Banshees Veil if you have an ability that blocks spells. My response is this: Why block 1 spell when you can block 2? Banshees Veil mixed with your Shroud make it incredibly difficult to get stunned or slowed in a chase. I think Banshees Veil is one of the most important items to get on Nocturne.
E - Unspeakable Horror makes Nocturne just that much more ridiculous when it comes to jungling, chasing, and escaping. I max this ability out second because it does more damage over time and has a longer fear duration. Getting this skill at level 3 is an essential for jungling. Without fear, there is just no way you could take out Red buff on your first lap. In fact, on the first lap I have to use fear twice to complete the Red buff.
Fearing champions is useful in many ways. Most definitely, fear is most useful for chasing. When you fly in with your ultimate and fear them right away, you can do a lot of damage, if not kill them, before they can even think about running away. Fear is also very useful when chasing champions because it stunts their movement, giving you many free hits on them.
What I don't see a lot with many Nocturne players besides myself, is using his fear to get away. Unspeakable horror is actually a fantastic skill for escapability. If your Q and W are on cooldown and someone is chasing you at low health. You can use your fear on them while you're going through bushes which can easily get someone off of your tail. Using fear to escape has saved my life countless times.
R - Paranoia is what makes Nocturne perhaps the best ganking jungler. Many junglers like Udyr or Xin Zhao have to rely on running in quickly and getting a stun on a champhion to get a kill. Nocturne can just fly in and do massive amounts of damage with his Q and fear. If you communicate with your allies, you can coordinate when you Ult in and kill them within seconds of fearing them by focusing on them.
In rare situations, your ult can also save you from death. If you are being chased, you can use your ultimate to kill your enemy's vision and minimap. In an even rarer situation, you could use an enemy champion to fly to in order to get away from a couple other champions that are chasing you.
Nothing about this guide honestly changes in ranked play besides the way I go about jungling. Generally, there is a jungler on both teams in ranked games. If this is the case, I like to start at the enemy's wraiths, then ghost over to blue buff quickly so I can still get a leash. Not only does this give you a nice little bit of gold, but it also it gives you more experience and their jungler less experience. Being a lower level can really mess with somebody's jungle, so this proves to be really effective.
With Wriggles Lantern, I like to ward the enemy's blue buff so I can anti jungle them by myself later in the game. Nocturne is generally a lot stronger than any other jungler and can easily handle the 1v1. The only champion that jungles I've struggled to 1v1 with is Udyr.
In ranked, people realize how important dragon is. That said, dragon is pretty much always warded. When dragon is warded, it's nearly impossible to get a solo off because it takes awhile. Most of the time, by the time you get close to killing dragon, there will be several enemy champions to prevent you from finishing the solo. This results in you dying most of the time, so be very careful about soloing dragon. In ranked, I also like to get oracles elixer -- depending on how well I am doing. If I am not doing so hot, I won't get it because I need to gold for more important items. Oracles can be a very nice thing to have, however, because you can kill a lot of enemy wards.
Judgement and Team Work
As I said before, Nocturne takes quite a bit of judgement. He can kill people just as fast as he can get killed if you make poor decisions. If you are ganking a non solo lane, think twice before you engage in a 2v1 situation, especially if you aren't fed. Nocturne also takes quite a bit of damage from towers, so do not tower dive unless the enemy is extremely low health and you can get in and out of tower range safely.
Communication with your team is vital with Nocturne and ganking, as it is with any other ganking character. As a jungler, it is your responsibility to offer cover for a teammate if they need to go back. If at all possible, you should try to milk a kill out of the lane your teammate needs you to cover for in a 2v1 situation. This allows for easy farming and potentially a turret push.
When it gets to be the time when team battles start, judgement is very important for your ability to survive and get kills. Always, never target a tank, and let your tank initiate. Not yourself. The best time to ult in with Nocturne is while your team is using their CC. If you enter the battle as their team is stunned, you can do massive amounts of damage without retaliation from the enemy team. Of course, do your best to take out their carry quickly, and then any other squishies. If possible, have your support focus on healing or shielding Nocturne if he is being focused, as he normally is.
Pros / Cons
Nocturne is a very efficient killing machine. His passive makes him very good at jungling and stopping massive minion pushes. Mixed with his Q, he can take out a horde of minions in just 1 auto attack. He is very powerful and can do a lot of damage in a short period of time, and he can close the distance or escape very easily.
Some may say Nocturne is a very easy character to use, but he really does take quite a bit of judgement. You need to know when it is the right time to engage in a fight and when it is just a stupid idea. If you play too conservatively, you won't get fed as much as you would like. But if you play too aggressive, you will die a lot.
I follow this exact item build for pretty much 99.9% of the games I play with Nocturne. The only time I will switch it up is if it gets to be a really really long game and my team is awful. If I reach max build and then have 5000 gold after that, sometimes I will get a Guardian Angel instead of the ghostblade, just because I need that extra survivability. Honestly though. I do extremely well consistently with this build.
I've seen people start with vampiric sceptre, but I don't like to. It makes it way harder to start at blue buff and pretty much impossible to do red buff on the first lap. I typically do laps so fast without going back with this build that sometimes I get to be a higher level than the mid or solo.
Smite is just an absolute must for many junglers, and Nocturne especially. Of course, pretty much all junglers can jungle without smite; however, smite makes jungling so much faster and easier. Jungling faster gets you levels and gold faster. Levels and gold make you stronger. This is hands down a must have in my opinion, and not at all a "waste of a summoner spell", as many say.
I personally use ghost because you can use it to get away faster or you can use it to close the gap. Yes, flash is an alright alternative, but I think ghost is just better for Nocturne. Ignite is good for finishing champions off, but I still think ghost is more applicable.
This is how I like to have my runes built for jungle nocturne. Many people have the Health quints and the armor seals and the attack damage marks for jungling, but I really just don't think you need them. I honestly am easily able to complete a full lap on the first lap with these runes and 5 potions every time. While my rune build definitely makes you squishier and more vulnerable at the start of the game, the runes I offer are way more useful for ganking and getting kills, especially mid-late game.
If you really want to have the other rune build for jungling, by all means, go ahead and use it. It will make your first couple laps way easier and boost your survivability. If you are more confident with your jungling and ganking skills, I strongly believe that my rune build works better.