Nocturne Build Guide by SickMotion
Not Updated For Current Season
This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.
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.
Hi there, my name is SickMotion and I play jungle. I Also stream at www.twitch.tv/sickmotionlol so feel free to come check it out;). My stream is also featured right here on Mobafire in the live stream section! I have been playing league of legends since 2009 so I have been around to see many changes come in and out of the game. In my time playing I have picked up and learned many different characters. From this I learned that I particularly liked playing junglers.
I have also recently started a Facebook page and twitter for myself at SickMotion on Facebook and @Sick_Motion. Please feel free to like/follow me on each for information about upcoming guides, updates when I am online streaming or if you or anyone you know is interested in personal lessons from myself :).
So why Nocturne? Lately i have been playing quite a bit of nocturne and i guess i kind of forgot how good he really is. He has a strong early gank with a speed up and a fear as well as the ability to block a stun with his spell shield when ganking. His abilities also synergize nicely together giving him extreme early game damage without many items. He also transitions nicely into end game and if he is a bit fed he will literally be a "nightmare" for the enemy carries;). Feel free to take what you need from it and skip parts that you don't feel you need to work on. And so begins the jungle nocturne guide :D.
Be sure to also check out and up vote my other guides!
Other Jungle Guides By Myself:
Jungle AD Sion
Greater Mark of Lethality
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
Greater Quintessence of Attack Speed
Armor penetration runes in the red slot paired with the bonus AD from your Duskbringer trail will make you do more damage to jungle monsters as well as champions alike.
Flat armor yellows make you much more durable in the jungle as the jungle monsters attacks are based physical. Since armor scales best from low amounts, they provide a surprising amount of damage reduction. They will also make you more tanky on ganks and in team fights.
Flat Magic Resist
Flat magic resist blues are for the same reasons as flat armor yellows, minus the reduction in jungle damage. Once again defenses scale better early so you will be much more durable when ganking an AP champion as well as in team fights. The other substitute would be Attack speed but as the is not a primary stat of blue you would be left with a very low amount (5.76%). The magic resistance will help you much more in the long run.
Attack speed quints partnered with you armor pen reds and your bonus AD from Duskbringer will synergize together very well. Stacking too much of any stat is much less effective than balancing them all out. Attack speed from the quints rounds out all of you other damage stats and increases your raw damage both for clearing the jungle, and killing their team.
very minimal damage increase in the jungle but will be needed to achieve 4 points to get to the next tier. Substitute this with Summoner's Wrath if you are running Ghost, Ignite or Exhaust.
Brute Force 3/3
Flat damage is always nice.
Attack speed is helpful but this is more so to be able to get the next tier mastery.
Personal preference, your passive attack speed from Shroud of Darkness added to 10 damage on tower per hit = dead tower.
Recently changed from crit chance, flat ad is nice but once again its to get the next tier mastery.
Weapon Expertise 1/1
10% armor pen doesn't do all to much early on but end game it is a MUST.
hitting 10% harder on your crits will help, especially once you get a Zeal or Phantom Dancer.
The extra life steal if not really noticeable but anything extra will help.
6 armor pen is just pure awesome. Scales amazingly with your flat AD on your Duskbringer trail.
This not only helps killing champions but will increase your damage and clear time in the jungle as well. Does NOT increase the damage on Smite, ever.
Summoner's Resolve 1/1
10 extra gold on Smite will start to add up 20-30 minutes into the game ;).
A bit more flat magic resit to complement your runes.
Flat armor will further increase your survivability early on in the jungle.
Tough Skin 2/2
2 flat reduction on attacks really pays off when 3-4 minions hit you 6-8 times each.
Bladed Armor 1/1
Referring to the previous reason, when 3-4 minions are hitting you 6-8 times each, this is a ton of free AOE damage to speed up your clear time.
This is a must on all jungles in my opinion. Some may argue that it isn't needed to clear your jungle. This can be true in some cases but without a smite, a competent enemy jungler will just be able to smite steal all buffs from you at will, this includes dragon and baron. Take smite, your team will thank you. Smite does true damage (exact amount not affected by armor or magic resist) to neutral and enemy minions. It will also work on some summoned creatures such as Annie's Summon: Tibbers and Heimerdinger's H-28G Evolution Turrets. The amount of damage is 420 + (25 x your level).
I enjoy taking flash as a second summoner over all other summoners. I am a big fan of mobility summoners in the jungle. The reason for flash this is because it can be used both defensively and offensively in many different situations. Also if you are able to get the fear chain off on your enemy they my try to flash it, if you simply flash on top of them the chain will not break leaving them helpless. It also will save you if you make a bad ult or get caught out of position. I feel that without this spell against some match ups you may just end up being a sitting duck.
Provides the some of the same benefits of Flash on a lower cool down. It however fails to get you over walls to chase or run away and wont be fast enough to stop a fear chain from breaking if someone uses Flash on you.
If you get close enough for an Exhaust it will most likely be a definite kill. I still prefer mobility of the exhaust because exhaust is only good for 1 kill where as a Flash or Ghost can lead to many.
Also only single target for only 1 kill but with less utility than Exhaust, on nocturne at least. This is a spell that you may want to take only if the other team has many healers or your team is lacking ignites.
The heal on a gank can be very surprising as many people wont check the jungles summoners to start the game. Also good for baiting the enemy. It should never be used to sustain yourself in the jungle!
You have a build in spell shield and you are building tanky dps as it is. In a situation where you would need to cleanse you are probably going to be dead with out any mobility summoners anyway. If you feel you need this that much consider building a Quicksilver Sash.
This spell is almost unmentionable of why you shouldn't select it. It is much better for laneing and the cooldown is so long that you wont find much use for it. You are the jungler anyway, you show up to lanes all the time without teleport, so why should you need it now haha?
Any spells not listed in the poor choices were so poor they weren't even worth mentioning.
This is your passive. Not only does it heal you but it also does aoe damage which will increase your clear times as well as put out quite impressive aoe damage in team fights. It can also be used to push lanes super fast. When you are jungling try to make sure this hits all creeps in the camp, it will increase clear time and heal for more. Also, stand on your trail from Duskbringer when swinging with Umbra Blades, it will make your aoe damage higher.
This skill is your AD steroid, additional aoe damage to your passive and your chasing/escaping mechanic. You shoot out a trail in front of you that damages all enemies it comes in contact with. The cool part about it is that if it hits someone, even stealthed, it will leave the same trail behind them wherever they walk. Make sure you stand on this trail so you gain the passive AD and move speed bonus. It is also skillshot that can be used to pick up kills out of range. Take care when using it in the jungle cause it will give away your position if you shoot it over the wall and someone sees it on the ground. Take this at level 1 and max it first.
Shroud of Darkness
This skill has 2 parts to it. The first part gives you a passive attack speed buff just for leveling it, which is a very nice dps increase. The second part is a free Banshee's Veil shield that if timed properly can block a stun or snare to make sure you secure the kill, or save you from certain death. If you do block a spell with the shield your passive attack speed will be doubled for a short time after. If you are fighting when it is doubled, you will notice a massive dps increase especial if you are on the Duskbringer trail. Take this at level 2 and max it last, unless going for a level 2 gank in which you will then take this at level 3 and still max it last.
This skill is leash is similar to the mechanic of a Fiddlesticks Drain except you can move while channeling. It does damage over the duration of the cast and if the chain hasn't been broken by out ranging it when the channel is over, the opponent will be feared for a duration. Slowing the enemy with something such as a red buff, Phage or Frozen Mallet and keeping on your dusk trail for speed will help you stay in range till the fear goes off. A well timed Flash (or a safety Flash early on top of them if you think they will be Flashing) will allow you to stop the chain from breaking. You generally don't use this in the jungle on minions just because it is a waste of mana for the damage it causes. Take this at level 3 (2 if you are doing a immediate gank) and max it second because it will increase the fear duration.
This is your ultimate and Nocturne's signature ability. Everyone in the game is aware when you use this as it changes the color of the screen for both teams at says "darkness" when you use it. This can make it awesome being in the spotlight or embarrassing when you screw it up;). Your enemies screens will black out everywhere except in a small radius around themselves. They will not be able to see allies by scrolling around or looking at the mini map for a short time unless they are in their small vision radius. It will also block out sight ward vision during the darkness duration. After casting the spell and the enemies are blinded, you will be able to dash to anyone you have vision on for a short time if in the range radius. This can be very helpful for catching enemies that flash away, ganking from a long way away or just a damage nuke to win a really close fight. Be careful not to rambo in with this ability thinking you will be able to pick someone off if your team is not with you. I have seen many nocturnes who just suicide ult every time, it is a very sad sight. If you find yourself pinned down and about to die to multiple enemies, always see if there are any enemies in range of your ult that you could jump to. If your epic escape attempt is successful, be sure to thank the enemy you jumped to in all chat for saving you;). Take this skill at 6, 11 and 16.
The items listed above are from build #1 of the 2 builds included at the top of the guide. The first of these builds is a tanky dps build with some utility from the Frozen Mallet slow. It focuses on more damage early on to hopefully net you a few kills to boost your build speed into end game. The second build is the typical "metagolem" build where you rush a Warmog's Armor followed by an Atma's Impaler. This will make you extremely hard to take down and lets you transition to further damage items end game rather than early. I feel that although this build is great, the real damage takes too long to achieve and most games often are over by the time you even get your Atma's Impaler. Try out both builds and stick with whatever build works best for you. As with all builds use your best discretion and free to switch it up depending on yours and the enemies team comp. The build order is a general outline of what you should be building, feel free to switch up the orders slightly depending on how your current game is unfolding.
I will only be cover the first of the 2 builds in depth. They basically end up in the same place the only difference is the early The Brutalizer and the substituting of Warmog's Armor for a Frozen Mallet. Both builds generally end in the same place and the situational items will apply to both.
Boots of Speed + 3 Health Pots
Cloth Armor + 5 Health Pots
For your starting item, it really comes down to preference. When you start Boots of Speed first, you will most likely have to back sooner as you will have less potions and take more damage without the Cloth Armor. You will however be less likely to die in you jungle if you get boots because enemies will not be able to keep up with you. Your very early ganks will be a lot more successful as well, especially if you are ganking a lane who does not yet have Boots of Speed. You will need to make sure your teammates leash your first buff for you whether you start red or blue in order to avoid blowing through all your potions early when you start with Boots of Speed. If you chose to start Boots of Speed, you should be looking to be able to at least buy Cloth Armor and some Health Potions on your first back
If you chose to start Cloth Armor instead, you will most likely be able to stay in the jungle longer. This is a suitable choice if you are not looking to gank early and would rather just farm the jungle for longer early on. This may be the case if the lanes are harder to gank, such as an enemy Morgana or Fizz. If you chose to start Cloth Armor, you should be looking to be able to at least buy Boots of Speed and some Health Potions on your first back.
The reason I don't recommend starting Vampiric Scepter is that if you have a bad start early, the time it will take you to get your full Madred's Razors as well as Boots of Speed will cripple you even more. If you take unexpected damage with the other builds, you will be able to keep going after letting a potion heal you, with this you cannot.
This will greatly increase your jungle clear times. When you are able to afford this you should be looking to back and get it asap. Be sure to always keep 1-2 Health Potions on you even with this item just in case as you still don't have any life steal.
Once you have this your jungle time will be further increase and with the 15% life steal you wont have to be purchasing Health Potions anymore. Be sure to be using the passive of the lantern and placing wards for your team in helpful locations.
The move speed from tier 2 boots is very important for nocturne. It will allow you to stay in range for your Unspeakable Horror on ganks and will greatly increase your ganking success rate. I like the attack speed as well because it works wonderfully with your passive AD from Duskbringer which will most likely be at least level 3 by now. If the enemy team has massive amounts of crowd control and magic damage, you may consider Mercury's Treads but keep in mind, if you try to build too tanky it will cripple your main purpose of dealing damage.
This item will give you massive early to mid game damage. Every single component works wonderfully with Nocturne's skill set. The AD will obviously increase your damage, partnered with armor pen to further increase your damage. The cool down reduction also helps as it will take a noticeable amount of the cool down off of your ult and have you able to use it to gank more often. If your game goes extremely long, this item will end up being sold once you need the item slot for something else. Games rarely go long enough for you to be selling it and the mid game benefits are so huge that i still consider it a must buy. If you have had a terrible early game and are strapped for cash you should skip this buy and move straight to Phage. The extra damage will be nice but if you are already behind, you will need to get tanky faster because you wont be doing any damage if you are dead.
One of my favorite jungle items for all of its utility. It gives you tankyness, damage and a chance to slow the opponent. This slow can often mean the difference of a kill or a 3% Teemo escaping and trash talking you in all chat;(.
Once you manage to build this you will be extremely scary. Anyone you catch out of position will be slowed permanently and it will make the enemy think twice before farming lanes alone. The health pool from it will also allow you to stay in fights longer which will keep the pressure on the opponent.
After you have your massive health pool, this item will be an amazing buy for you. You will have over 2.5k health so the passive for this will give you over 50 flat damage extra. The armor from it combined with how much health you have will make you last forever against AD champs and the 18% crit chance on how much damage you have at this point will be criting for tons.
Sometimes I like to build this earlyer if you are really ahead, the attack speed works very well with your passive AD from Duskbringer. The crit adds a lot of burst to your sustained damage and the extra move speed is very handy.
The natural path from Zeal for Nocturne. This in addition to the crit chance with your Atma's Impaler you will be criting more than 50% of the time. The extra move speed combined with your Frozen Mallet and Duskbringer will make it impossible for your target to escape. If the team fight turns into a cluster battle, the attack speed will be refreshing your passive very often making you do massive aoe damage.
If the game makes it to this point I like to build an infinity edge. Chances are if you have the rest of the build to this point you are pretty strong and doing pretty well for yourself. The reason I choose to build an Infinity is because your main purpose is to assassinate their squishy carries. Using your ultimate you should be able to jump onto anyone you need to focus, stick to them with Frozen Mallet and your move speed and block the CC with Shroud of Darkness. With how much damage you have you should be able to dispatch them by the time the rest of their team can peel you off. Chances are however your game will not make it this long to buy your last item, and if it does, you might have to consider one of the situational items instead.
These items will be built based on your own discretion to counter something that the enemy team is doing. Also, if you game makes it to the point where you are full build, consider selling your The Brutalizer and buying one of these higher tier items.
The armpen with raw damage and attack speed all scale nicely with your skill set and passives. It is also a lot cheaper than Infinity Edge and a good alternative if you cannot seem to get the money.
This item will make you even more un-killable. 25% life steal fully stacked and all the raw damage will make you very hard to take down while also dealing a lot of damage. Also if you are fully built consider selling your Wriggle's Lantern and picking up one of these.
Very good if all the enemies are stacking lots of armor. Not always the best choice however because you should be focusing on their carries first so just raw damage is usually better.
Aegis of the Legion
If you fall behind and need to be more tanky this item provides health and both armor and magic resist. It is also very helpful for the passive team benefits and if your carries get fed, you may consider getting this to further help them out.
Force of Nature
MR, move speed, and super regen for your massive health pool. Very good item but only consider if they have 2 or more APs that are focusing you first.
This is another option if you find yourself being focus fired down first in fights. Just the fact that you have one will make you take less damage simply because the enemy wont want to bother trying to kill you knowing you will just come back to life. Keep in mind again that your best defense as nocturne is a strong offense and simply killing the opponent, so building massive defensive items will make you overall less effective in most situations.
Very situational as you already have your Shroud of Darkness. This should only be build if they have 2 or more extremely disabling CC's that are being focused on you every fight such as a Warwick or Skarner ultimate.
Once you reach max build and you no longer need money, make sure to always be running elixirs. If you are approaching a team fight that will probably decide the game and you have some extra gold but can't afford a full buy, buy some elixirs as well. The agility and fortitude elixir, in that order, will further the damage of you character. the brilliance elixir will offer minor cool down reduction but can still make the difference in the dire moments of a fight. If money isn't a factor or just no one else can afford, also keep an Oracle's Elixir running. It will give you map control by clearing wards and let you see stealth champions such as Twitch and Akali if they have any.
Your Role Early Game - Jungle Tips, Path and Ganking
For this section I am assuming a basic knowledge of jungling. This means I will be explaining possible starting paths and tactics rather than a tutorial on how to kill the monsters ;).
With nocturne there are 2 paths that I like to start with him. One is the basic wolves to blue buff then clear over to your red. The other path is starting and your wraiths, taking your red and then looking for an early gank. I will explain both of these paths in a little more detail.
The first path, starting wolves to golem, is the most basic path followed by almost every jungler. I feel that this path is the most beginner friendly and the easiest for starting out on a new jungler. Start with Duskbringer and at level 2 get Shroud of Darkness for the increased attack speed. After you get blue buff you should be looking to go clear your wraiths and then your red. At this point you will be level 3 and have one of every skill. From here you can choose to gank if you see a lane over extended or keep farming your jungle. Generally you will be wanting to clear your jungle camps whenever there is no where to gank. If all your lanes are pushing or winning and there is no gank opportunities for awhile, this is okay. Just keep on farming your jungle in this situation so when a fight does arise you will be farmed enough to hold your own.
Starting red is your other option. This is the path you might want to try if you are going for a super early gank, or you think their jungle might try to take your red. I like to start Boots of Speed especially if starting red because then if you gank right after you will be able to keep up with your opponents. If you are looking for the early gank be sure to level up Unspeakable Horror second.
Whatever buff you chose to start at, eventually you will end up at the same place. Your early game will consist of looking for gank opportunities and farming your jungle. Be sure not to focus too hard on ganking because unless they are all very successful, you will find yourself under farmed and under leveled. Try to help your lanes where you can and continue farming for your Wriggle's Lantern buy. Once you have your lantern, you should be focusing on ganking middle or bottom lane to either get a kill or send them back in order to secure the dragon.
Make sure you to be using your passive to as much as you can to keep your health up. This means hitting as many enemies as possible every time you passive has charged. Also as I said above, be careful not to give away your position in the jungle by shooting your Duskbringer though the wall. Try to shoot it from a little bit back so that just the tip hits the monsters. Remember to be staying on your trail as much as possible when jungling and fighting to maintain the damage and move speed boost.
By about 12-15 minutes into the game you should have your Wriggle's Lantern, Berserker's Greaves and hopefully the start of your next item, if not the full item. Anything more than this will mean you are doing quite well for yourself. If you don't have this yet, try to focus on farming more and being more efficient with your time between ganking and jungling.
Your Role Mid Game to End Game
With your passive AD, attack speed, move speed and assassin ult, Nocturne is a mid game all star. Once you start getting into fights more than just a lane gank this will becomes very apparent. When you thing a fight is about to break out, be sure to be within ulting distance of the location. It is rarely the best choice to open up a fight by diving in with Paranoia because the enemy will either just squish you 1v5 or disengage since you don't have any multi target cc. You should instead wait for someone on your team to engage or for them to engage on you and ult in when they are fully committed.
If you know your team is over extended and about to be ganked by the enemy jungle, you can use this to your advantage. Nocturnes Paranoia makes an amazing counter ganking skill. When the enemy thinks that they have an advantage in a gank situation such as a 3v2, they may play more careless and take un-needed damage in pursuit of the kill. After they commit to the gank, simply ult in to surprise them and turn the tables!
My favorite target for ulting is usually the enemy AP player. They are usually quite squishy with little armor. with your damage out put and fear from Unspeakable Horror you should be able to lock them down very quickly. Your ability to block a spell with Shroud of Darkness also makes it quite easy to avoid damage or CC from the ap shooting you back. Keep in mind, if you dive say a Brand, and he blows every single spell on you, even if you don't get him, their team just wasted all that AOE burst on a single target tanky dps. For this reason many APs wont want to attack you back when you dive them but by the team their team comes to help them they may already be dead or too low to fight. If you are able to zone out one of their carries from a fight, unless you are very far behind there is no reason your team shouldn't be able to walk all over the opponents.
Make sure you always continue farming even into the end game in between fights and objectives. One of the largest problems with junglers is that going into the end game they are forgetting to keep farming. As with any other character, you need gold to continue to scale into the end game, so keep up the farm!!
Nocturne is very good at diving in passed the enemy front line in fights but it may not always be the best choice. If they have highly mobile characters jumping into your team, it may be a better choice to try to help your team fend them off and peel them off of your squishy players. Once you have your Frozen Mallet, you can keep a slow on opponents you are trying to peel to make it even easier for your team to kite. Every game is going to differ based on how it plays out so always be aware of how you will be able to best help your team in fights.
Pros / Cons
-Not dependent on blue buff early.
-Great jungle sustain.
-Fast jungle clear.
-Strong early gank.
-Super strong ult gank.
-Strong counter ganking.
-Can carry end game (compared to tank/support jungles).
-Extreme pressure on the AP/AD carry in team fights.
-Your ult can help team mates escape.
-Decent poke with Duskbringer.
- Duskbringer can track enemy stealth champs when hit.
-The passive move speed from Duskbringer combined with the Phage or Frozen Mallet slow will make it hard to escape you once you have locked down a target.
-Must be in melee range to deal the most damage.
-With enough cc you may get kited to death even with your Shroud of Darkness and move speed.
-Not as tanky as other junglers unless fed.
-Having to build many defensive items will greatly lower your damage output.
-Ult very long cool down.
- Unspeakable Horror channel time makes it easy to escape.
- Unspeakable Horrors random fear direction can sometimes run enemies to safety.
-Improper ults will hurt you more than they help.
Here are some extra tips and hints I thought might be helpful:
-If you are about to die from damage over time such as Ignite and there are minions next to you, try hitting them for a little life steal if you have Wriggle's Lantern already. Sometimes 10-20 health stolen is the difference between living and feeding.
-Your passive Umbra Blades can also provide the life steal needed to live in situations described above. Try to make sure that you hit as many minions as possible when it is up. Every minion hit will provide even more bonus healing. This will often leave the enemy waiting for you to die than being very confused a few seconds later;).
- Unspeakable Horror fear channels though some things that might be expect to break it such as Vladimir's Sanguine Pool. This means that even tho he may Sanguine Pool away, as long as you stay in range he will still be fear at the end of the channel.
-When traveling to a location with Paranoia, you are immune to crowd control. If timed properly you can use this as an escape method as well as blocking skill shot stuns and snares off your team.
-Using Paranoia to block vision when dragon or baron is getting to be very low health will make it very hard for the enemy to flash in and steal as they will not be able to see its current health even on a ward unless right beside it. Your ult can also help your team mates juke and escape when they are in trouble.
-If you don't need to use Paranoia to initiate a gank, don't. If you can save it until the Flash or Ghost away, you will be able to dash back to them and still pick of the kill!
-As with all junglers, never Smite the buff, dragon, or baron that you are fighting until the health is low enough. Make sure that your Smite will be able to execute the monster and not leave it at very low health. If you fail to kill it, other junglers could smite steal your buff / objective monster and leave you looking like a rookie.
-For the above reason, always make sure you have a Smite ready when going for major objectives such as Dragon and Baron.
-Mousing over Smite in game will tell you exactly how much damage it will do. Keep in mind this damage will increase with every level you gain by 25.
-Help your team out by using your Wriggle's Lantern to ward for them. Try warding in high traffic areas or the entrance to major objectives (dragon/baron).
Summary and Conclusion
A properly played Nocturne can be a real terror on the battle field. His ability to dash at any target makes it so the enemy carries are always at risk. The vision cripple of Paranoia also will have the enemy team very confused of who is getting focused. Once you get the Frozen Mallet or have a red buff, They wont even be able to run from you or escape your Unspeakable Horror. If the try to stun/snare/slow you off of them, a properly timed Shroud of Darkness will not only foil their plan but also make you dispatch them even faster when your atsp passive is doubled. All of his skills used properly together will be extremely painful for the enemy to deal with.
Thank you for checking out my Jungle Nocturne Guide! I hope you picked up some useful information on how to better your play. Feel free to leave a comment and please thumbs up and tell your friends about my guide if you found it helpful:D! Thank you and look for more guides from me coming soon!
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