Nocturne General Guide by FuriousNoodle
Not Updated For Current Season
Noc Your Socks Off
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.
My name is FuriousNoodle. I finished Season 3 in Gold 1 (NA). I am a jungler trying to go for Diamond this season and I have been getting used to all the jungle changes in Season 4. I feel like most guides I have read don't address all the information I have been finding to be important, so thus I am making one of my own. This is my first guide, and my first time being interactive in the Mobafire Community. So if you have any feedback, I would greatly appreciate it. Enjoy!
Before I go into Nocturne's Runes, on every jungle I use a mix between flat MR and MR per level blues, and armor yellows. I feel like these blues and yellows are a MUST on any jungle to give you some armor for your clear and the armor and MR to not make you a glass cannon when banking (before you have any tank items). That being said the only runes that switch between my junglers are my reds and quints.
I have tried a bunch of combinations between attack speed, move speed and damage on Noc. I haven't tried life steal quints because I have had 0 problem with sustain in the jungle, and therefore it would be a waste in my opinion.
I used to run attack speed red, move speed quints. It is also somewhat viable, however i felt much weaker when ganking. Since a lot of times in ganks you are not sitting there auto attacking as fast as possible… there is a lot of kitting and positioning involved which makes your damage more sporadic, therefore making any amount of burst you can provide that much better. You also gain a large amount of attack speed from your "W", making attack speed less needed early.
After is shifted off of the attack speed reds it was really between the move speed or AD quints. My reason for going with the AD is because you gain a lot of move speed with you Q, and the increased speed is not noticeable once you are in your Q's puddle (which should be any time you are fighting really). The flat AD quints also increases the amount your passive will life steal for, and increase the damage of your ult and Q early on. This combination with a few levels in your Q, and a Lizard and/or phage, gives you a lot of damage that most people won't expect from Nocturne.
As you can see, I run 21/9/0. A lot of pros run this set up on all the meta junglers now. For example, if any of you watch Nightblue3 stream, he uses a 21/9/0 build between like 3-4 of his main junglers (vi, wu, khaz). I have changed to doing this now in season 4 as well. Season 3, most junglers I would play would be 9/21/0, to give you that tanky bruiser type play style. However, like I will mention later, it is more about your dueling ability early on… and I now will rely on tanky ITEMS to give my that tankiness instead of my masteries.
It is also important to mention that going 21/9/0 on any jungle is slightly less forgiving in early fights. It makes you much more vulnerable if you get focused, and can be the cause of death in a lot of early ganks if you have poor positioning or choice of engaging. I would maybe recommend for any newer junglers to go 9/21/0, which will buy you a little more time/life to react and get used to Nocturne's kit.
Why Nocturne over the OP Current Meta???
So as some of you might be aware, many people consider Nocturne "bad" due to the changes that have been made to fear. This alone has completely changed Nocturne's amount of play in Solo Queue.
The strong junglers that are worth mentioning (currently in 3.12.14)
-Eevelyn - She is not seen much in lower elo, and I personally haven't had the time to experiment a lot with her yet in season 4. With the changes to pink wards, she is currently very strong though.
There are other decent junglers, but this seems to be the current strong ones. Khaz is not on here due to the serious nerfs he got last patch. He is still viable, but I would argue he is not as strong as the champs mentioned above.
After playing a lot of games with Noc this season, I am a little surprised he is not in this line up as well. All of the above junglers are extremely strong right now, each with their own specialties, but all of them are great at farming the jungle which seems to be a necessity to compete this season. I personally get a little bored of playing meta just because seeing the same kits over and over again gets old in my opinion, which is all the more reason to pick up Nocturne for your arsenal.
Why in Solo Queue???
Solo Queue has a different set of priorities for champion select/banning than ranked 5v5, or even normal games you play with your friends. If your team is coordinated, it allows you to play a much larger pool of champions that don't have to basically fend for themselves, or try and carry the game by yourself. Season 3 had a much different meta which made it hard to carry games as a jungler in my opinion due to how you were supposed to build.
That being said, Season 4 opens up a handful of champions that can carry games much easier… Nocturne being one of them. The reality is that in solo queue you need to be able to turn team fights and set up objectives and global map pressure. This doesn't mean you need a global ult like Noc, but you need to be relatively fast inside the jungle with your farming, and apply a lot of pressure in all lanes and objectives. Sometimes you will get lucky and have a lane or two dominate without your help, but that is not the majority of the time. In my opinion, the jungle has the highest impact on the game due to how much of a lead you can set your team up with. If you waste minimal time in base and "wait" for ganks, you won't be as effective. The difference between good junglers and great junglers is how efficient you are with whatever champion you are playing. You need to be able to control drag/baron, know when you are getting invaded, set up SUCCESSFUL ganks, and secure as many objectives as you can (this includes towers). Jungle is the only role that has free rain to roam all over the map and cherry pick out the best situations to get ahead from the 1 minute mark. This makes your play calls detrimental to the success of the game. You will not win every game, no one does. You might go 15/2/10, and lose because your mid and top are on another planet. It happens, but as long as you improve and control as many objectives as possible, and take advantage of the enemy teams mistakes, you will climb that ladder.
Emphasizing my last sentence above, you need to take advantage of enemy teams mistakes. This is really the key to winning games when it comes down to it. The majority of late game losses are because someone gets caught out of position and gets killed. This is why Nocturne is great. If you catch an ADC late game and he has no peel for 5-6 seconds, he should be pretty screwed. Nocturne's kit is AMAZING for catching people.
I was watching a stream a while back (don't exactly remember who), but the streamer said "Solo Queue is all about making as few mistakes as possible, and capitalizing on the enemy teams mistakes whenever they make them." If someone over extends in lane, you need to take advantage of that mistake, and get a kill for either you or your laner. If mid roams and doesn't push the wave, you either counter his roam or push his tower. Force the enemy team to have repercussions for every action in the game. Due to Nocturne's high mobility and fast lane/camp clear you can apply a lot of pressure which most junglers can't keep up with. I will expand more on his abilities later on, but just know that his kit makes him highly mobile and capable of a lot of pressure.
Season 4 Jungle Overview
There are a handful of very important jungle changes that have taken place in the last few patches, which justifies Nocturne.
1: Fast farming junglers are very strong currently. Not only with jungle clear times, but also how quickly/easily you can push a creep wave. (I will touch more on this later)
2: Duelist. If you pick a jungler that is a weak duelist, you SHOULD get counter jungled a lot. Whether you do or not is dependent on the skill level of the enemy jungler. For example, if you play a Nautilus jungle vs a Khaz'ix, and he comes to your red to counter you… you are screwed. It is very different from Season 3 because the focus was more towards tanky/utility junglers who were gank heavy, and now it seems to be more about farming and picking specific times and situations to fight.
3: Early Gank Potential: If you are playing vs a jungler that has a stronger early presence than you do, it will be very tough help your lanes win and keep map control.
4: Jungle Control/Counter Jungling: It is very nice to be able to counter jungle in general, but this season more than ever. Though nocturne has a hard time soloing dragon/baron early, he is still pretty effective at controlling these objectives.(all the current meta junglers are decent at counter jungling and controlling objectives.)
5: Team Fight/Late Game: Hopefully you get so fed and carry so hard that it doesn't get to this point, but it is a point worth mentioning. Due to Nocturne's Ult, it gives you a lot utility and effectiveness late game with level 3 ult (increased range/dmg and reduced CD). Not to mention his fear!
Nocturne's Abilities (Scratching beneath the surface)
Passive: As everyone probably knows, this is what makes Noc a good jungler. The aoe dmg along with the built in life steal gives you incredibly fast clears as well as a lot of natural sustain (which is why I don't build any life steal on Noc).
Q: This is Nocturne's bread and butter, and there are a few pretty important things to note that I don't see touched on much.
This ability equates to the damage of a B.F. sword at max level (once you are level 9), which is HUGE. Not only do you get the increased damage, but you get a notable amount of movement speed while INSIDE the trail.
It is important to know that you DO NOT get increased speed or damage for landing/casting your Q. This is important to note for jungle clearing as well. A lot of players will throw their Q through the wall while running to the camp, then be standing outside the puddle while attacking creeps, which is fine but it is not optimal.
Another thing which I do not see a lot of Nocturne's do, is using Q while attacking a turret, ALWAYS. If it is late game and you need it to engage, understandable, however the increased AD effects yours auto attacks (obviously) which increases damage to turrets and allows you to take towers very fast… especially combined with Tri Force. I usually throw my Q towards safety and just stand in the puddle, that way if anyone comes in to try and stop me, I get the increased move speed to escape.
W: This is an AMAZING ability, and probably the most skill intensive ability in Nocturne's kit in my opinion. It only lasts for 1.5 seconds, which makes it tough to utilize effectively. It is VERY important to absorb an ability when you are dueling in ganks or if you are fighting 1v1. Not only will it absorb the spell, but gives you a very noticeable attack speed increase, which combined with your Q puddle will allow you to do a lot more damage than the enemy will anticipate. I really like to stack a Banshee's Veil on Noc to double up on this effect so that you are very hard to peel off. Something worth noting is that if you have Banshee's up, and W up, it will take your W shield first and leave Banshees up until the next spell hits.
E: Nocturne's only form of CC and why most people think he is weak. I max this second because it will increase the duration. There are a few important things to make not of with this ability. With the recent changes to fear, the enemy will ALWAYS run away from you, but they are slowed by a significant amount. Though most people are complaining about the fear changes, I actually like the fact that you can anticipate exactly where the enemy will go, as opposed to the RnG that was involved with fear before.
This also means you can use this as a great escape tool. If you are being chased, and fear the target, once activated it will make them turn away from you and run (slowed). It is irrelevant which direction you are facing, it is simply opposite of where you are. Expanding on this idea a little bit, it can really set up ganks and team fights nicely. This also gives you another creative way to use flash.
-Let's use a bot lane gank example. You come in from river, and the enemy ADC and Support start running to their turret. You land your Q and catch up to the ADC. Once you get in range, you cast your E, and after a brief delay you flash over the ADC.
This does 2 things-
1: Makes it so that if the enemy flashes away, your fear will still go off.
2: If they do not flash, they will run AWAY from you, which is into your ADC and Support, which should more than secure a kill.
Another small note to mention on this ability is that it CAN be cast on minions, and does magic damage while tethered. I do use this while clearing if I know where the enemy jungler/lanes are and have no threat of getting counter jungled. If there is any chance that someone will invade you, DO NOT use this on a minion.
ULT: Last but certainly not least is your signature move: PARANOIA! This ability is one of my favorite ults in the game. Not only does it allow you to jump in on the carries from all kinds of positions, it provides a significant amount of utility with the vision denial. The majority of this ability is well known and understood but the vision denial is worth talking about. If you are worrying about the enemy jungler contesting a Dragon or Baron, it will eliminate ALL vision from wards. You can also use it to save lanes from dying to ganks in certain situations (not incredibly common, but it is worth knowing). You can cast your ult while they are running to deny vision for a few seconds until laners can get safely under the tower.
If you are able to keep track of your ult well enough to time it so that it's up around the time drag spawns, that is a huge benefit. Whenever you are contesting something like Baron or Drag, there is a lot of odd positioning (most of the time), with people being over a wall or on the other side of the pit… whatever it may be. Nocturne's ult denies vision from anyone in these odd positions, and if it is a carry, you can jump to assassinate them very easily. It is important to keep track of the objectives because you don't want to ult yourself out of a position to be able to secure or steal the objective. A lot of times during early and mid game, I will ult the enemy jungler (who tends to be tanking the objective) to add on extra damage to them. You will usually fluster the jungler, but just make sure you aren't going 1v4. You need to engage WITH your team.
Be aware of the range of his ult, especially later game. Just because you can engage doesn't mean your team is able/ready to. ALWAYS keep this in mind. You will almost always want to engage AS your team is going in, not way before. What will happen is you will get focused and killed almost instantly, and make it a 4v5 in the enemies favor… not good. So just be aware that everyone on your team will not have such an extreme gap closer.
Ganking should be a NIGHTMARE… hopefully not for you though.
There are a couple really important things to make note of with ganking in general this season.
1: It is very important to understand respawn times, as well as minion waves that are incoming. Let's use an example...In a perfect situation, you come in for a gank… making sure that there is not a minion wave coming in that is going to block you or give you away early, then successfully kill the enemy laner. Your laner is probably very low, and runs back to the tower to go back to base and buy. A lot of times there will be a new minion wave running in, or just about to. With Noc's Q and Passive, you can clear a wave VERY fast for a jungler. It is important to do this, but you need to make sure you kill the whole wave, otherwise you will slow push the wave and get your laner in a situation where they will be out of position once they get back to lane. If your laner JUST got back to lane and wants to stay in lane, then don't push them out of position. You need to either push the wave ASAP, and attack the turret with your laner, or leave them alone.
2: Counter presence. Counter GANKING is kind of tough, and a lot of the time is a shot in the dark because you have to assume the mindset of the enemy jungler. What I mean by counter presence is that you show up to empty lanes when it doesnt hurt your team.
For example. Your mid just got ganked. You were at wolves, and couldn't get there in time to do anything but just show. So you finish wolves, and mid goes to base as well as the enemy mid. Run to mid, push ONE wave, and get a couple attacks off on the turret.
This will do a couple of things. First it will cause the enemy jungler to focus on Mid, thinking you will try and push a turret, usually causing him to stay around Mid or come to Mid lane… this gives your other lanes the security of not getting ganked for a short time. It is also harder to push a wave under your turret without missing CS which will get you slightly ahead of the enemy jungle if they do show, and most of the time they have missed a couple already because you're so quick! Second, this gives you some VERY important solo lane exp. This will keep you where you need to be at as for as gold and levels to carry the game. And as long as you push a single wave, once your wave dies to the turret, your mid laner will not be out of position (which is the most important part).
WHEN to use your Q: When you gank, or fight in general, it is CRUCIAL that you land your Q. You are not very strong without standing in this puddle, and you have a hard time sticking to your target. That being said, it is a skill shot. This means you need to know what times have the highest probability of landing it. Once you are good with this ability, you can throw it out early on when running into a lane, but if you are going against a highly mobile champion, it is helpful to try and close the gap and THEN throw your Q. If you are chasing in a straight line, it is a lot easier to land than if you are coming at your target it from a perpendicular angle. You can also throw it right after you tether fear so that you have a significant time to unload on the enemy target.
WHEN to use your ULT: Most of the time Nocturne players will use their ult to engage a gank. This is fine, and most of the time it is probably the best use of your ult. However, don't overlook the fact that this ability can close gaps and clean up fights well too. If a lane is out of position where you can gank without your ult, it might the better to save it and use it as a gap closer after they flash. It is also important to be aware of the lack of range on the first rank (second rank isn't too bad). Since the early range is short, it is possible that the enemy sees you with river wards or jungle wards (depending on where you are coming from). An example of this would be if you ult from dragon area down to bot lane. Bot might have drag warded early, and see you coming in… by the time you ult and get onto the target it is more than likely that YOUR bot lane is not there to follow up. This is basically a waste of an ult. Since Nocturne's ult is so amazing you want to ALWAYS get a kill or objective because of it, and you virtually want to use it EVERY time it is off CD for the first 25 minutes of the game. You want to think proactively about this as well. If your ult is up in 30 seconds, make sure you are communicating to bank a lane or take an objective once it is up. Also, with a semi global ult like Nocturne's, if you use it on cool down you will make the enemy think it is up a lot more than it really is. You will make them a lot more worried about your presence on the map, and trying to keep track of you… and if they don't then you should take advantage of that.
Nocturne's Item Build
I am going to go through each item and why I have decided on these items compared to other popular items, and why I think these are hands down the best for Nocturne currently.
I have found that these 5 core items are pretty amazing/full proof on Nocturne no mater who you are against. (Lizard, Tri, Randuins, Banshees and Merc Treds). The last item I usually base on a few factors,
-If they are heavy AD I go Sunfire, as it is an amazing item all around.
-If they are heavy AP I usually will go GA, just because spirit visage is meh on Noc, and GA makes you a time consuming first target if they decide to focus you.
-If you are really fed than I would recommend a damage item or GA. There are a few decent damage items on Nocturne, I would personally pick a Ghostblade or Cleaver. I am not a big fan of life steal on nocturne. Therefore I prefer damage/armor pen if you are going to get a 3rd damage item.
Jungle Item: I used to play Noc with Golem, but with the jungle changes I feel that Lizard is better. You get really tanky later on with your last 2 items, and you won't be all in the middle of a team fight before that point more than likely. Yes, the tenacity is amazing on Golem, but there aren't any other boots that I find all that great on Noc to justify that being the reason to take Golem. Not to mention that the extra damage makes you really scary when ganking.
Boots: Like I said above, I don't see any real alternative to the boots. There are a few games where I take Ninja Tabi instead, because the enemy team has lack of CC or has all knock ups (not effected by tenacity) and is AD heavy. However if the enemy team has 1 good/hard CC (fiddle fear, amumu ult, galio ult, nasus wither) I make sure I go Merc's. Since you go pretty much all in late game, a lot of their CC (if they have it) will get used on you. Not to mention that the little bit of MR helps against any ap, and with all the changes to support you almost always have a decent amount of magic damage coming in.
Tri Force: This is my favorite part of the recent changes and how they effect Nocturne. A few months back they changed the Phage proc into a speed boost after attacking rather than a slow like Frozen mallet. This speed increase synergizes AMAZINGLY with Nocturne's Q. I feel like going all damage with Noc is not very good, as you have to be in the middle of everyone, and I personally find this item much better than brutalizer and ghost blade for assassinating carries. The other reason this item is amazing is because it allows you to take towers VERY fast. It is very important when taking towers (since noc can somewhat split push) that you space out your abilities to chain procs of Tri Force. So what I do is throw my Q, get a proc with increased auto damage, then wait for the 2 second CD on proc, and cast W which gives another proc. If enemy minions are around, then you can also use fear on a minion to gain another proc. It is important that you don't spam your abilities where it will cost you in a death, but there are a lot of times that you will be able to attack turrets without having anyone contest it, and making the most out of those times is very important.
Banshee's Veil: I talked about this a little bit in the "W - Ability" section, but this item is so awesome on Nocturne in my opinion. I get this item on most of my junglers just for the absorb and tankiness. I just find that it makes Nocturne so annoying to go against in combination with his W. It is a pretty self explanatory buy, and a very strong item currently.
Randuin's: I used to always get Sunfire over Randuin's but I have changed that with Nocturne. There are a couple reasons why this item is almost a necessity on Nocturne every game.
1: It provides a slow. This slow can be cast after you tether fear, and are waiting for the effect to go off. This allows you to hold the carry down for a long time (should be long enough to kill them).
2: You are generally the focus of the ADC since your ult can put you very far into their back line and he will be trying to either kill you off or run. This makes the passive effect on the attack speed slow even more vital.
3: Since your ult puts you right in the middle of everyone, you can easily hit 3-5 people with this in team fights once you get good with using it. This allows you to provide a very strong initiation for your team, which is very important in Solo Queue.
Last Item: Most of the time, for my last item I get a Sunfire Cape, or a Frozen Mallet. I don't feel that the slow on Mallet is that amazing since you are so freaking fast with your Q, but sometimes you just don't need the extra armor, and you want some extra HP. I also have been finding a lot of very AD heavy teams, which is why I mostly will have a Sunfire Cape if the game gets to this point. Not to mention the extra turret tanking you can do with both Randuin's and Sunfire. However I don't find any of the items being an essential 6th item on Nocturne. I would love to hear some feed back on what people find to be good on Nocturne as a 6th item besides these 2 or GA.
This is where Nocturne players really get separated from being "alright" or being "great". Due to the impact of Nocturne's ult, you can really dominate in a team fight. It is very dependent on the team comp that you have, and whether YOU are the tank or if someone else is initiating. I have found it to be the most successful to have at least one strong initiator to go in with you. For example, if you have a Renekton - He dives in, and you hit your ult, he ults. He will be the main focus, but due to the denial of vision and the enemy not knowing exactly who you are going to focus, they will get flustered and most of the time will not blow up Renekton. This also gives your carries a little breathing room. Depending on their positioning, your ult might deny their bruisers of seeing exactly where your carries are.
That being said I don't particularly like Nocturne's ability to peel. This is probably his biggest weakness in my opinion. You do have a fear, but it doesn't really allow for great peel compared to other cc's like vi or panth or even elise. Nocturne's kit is much more geared to sticking on their carry. What seems to work best is if you and your top can work on focusing their carries and having a support that can just peel. Most supports are situated better for peeling anyway, but just to clarify.
So to sum up Nocturne's team fight: Make sure you have back up when you ult, and try to make it 4v5 in your favor as soon as possible. If you Ult and hit a Q/E on their ADC, and time your W to avoid some big CC like a leona stun or Annie stun, you should be able to take the ADC out of the fight.
Overall, I have been having a blast with Nocturne and I hope some of you learned some interesting things about this champion from my guide. Nocturne can bring a lot to the table, and I find him very good at carrying Solo Queue, which is how I have been having to climb the ladder. His ability to initiate and assassinate their carry makes you control a lot of team fights and send the enemy running.
I also want to remind anyone reading this that this is my first guide and I would greatly appreciate and feedback :) Thanks so much if you stuck around this long!