Nocturne Build Guide by Jimboom

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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.

League of Legends Build Guide Author Jimboom

Nocturne - Dat Nightmare

Jimboom Last updated on December 9, 2012
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Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

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.



Offense: 9

Honor Guard

Defense: 21


Utility: 0

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Welcome to my Nocturne Guide! I am Jimboom and Nocturne is my main Champion, since I started jungling. I have done a lot of matches with Nocturne and in my opinion he is one of the best junglers. This is not an In-depth guide but I will explain everything which is important like my very aggressive jungling route.

I think Nocturne is a very good Champion for those players, who jungle for the first time, because of his survivability and easy ganks. But he is also played a lot on tournaments.

This guide shows, how to play Nocturne as an Offtank, what I prefer. If you want to play him as a Glass cannon you have to read another guide. I only play Glass cannon if I went 10/0 very early and I know that the game is won. With my itembuild you won´t deal tons of damage (Sorry Phreak!), but you can help your team very good.

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Greater Mark of Armor Penetration

Greater Seal of Armor

Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist

Greater Quintessence of Attack Speed

The runes I´ve chosen are quite standard.

Greater Mark of Desolation: In my opinion these are the best (AD) Marks in the game. They raise your jungle speed and are even more useful in Lategame.

Greater Seal of Armor: These runes decrease the damage you get by jungle creeps a lot. I am using them on every jungler.

Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist: In order to fit into your role as an Offtank these runes are not to miss.

Greater Quintessence of Attack Speed: Nocturne is really lagging Attack Speed in Earlygame. These runes compensate it and give you a slice early game advantage. Greater Quintessence of Desolation would be an other viable choice.

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9/21/0 is the best setup for junglers in general. You get a lot of damage for faster jungle speed and also much defense for better sustain.

Glass cannon

This guide is not about playing him as a Glass cannon, but I would suggest 21/0/9 for it. Make sure you get Runic Affinity in the Utility tree.

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Summoner Spells

"Ohh you have chosen Flash and Smite, this is so common!"

Right! But it is the best choice for nearly every jungler, except Shaco or Lee Sin.

: This spell is absolutely necessary if you want to jungle. You think, you can jungle without it, because Nocturne is stronk? Great! But it speeds up your jungle clear time a lot. And how do you want to steal Buffs, Dragon or Baron?

: This is the most flexible spell. You can use it to start a fight or get out of a fight.

Other Viable choices

: Take this if you think you will not need an escape spell. It makes your ganks stronger in Earlygame and helps in teamfights.

: Take this if you don´t like Flash. I don´t recommend it, because Flash offers more variety in both chasing and escaping.

: This spell makes your ganks stronger, but it isn´t that useful as Exhaust. If there is a Dr. Mundo or another Champion with huge heals in the enemy team you, or someone else, could think of taking it. Otherwise not.

: It could be useful against heavy CC teams. But in most cases Flash is to prefer.

Non viable choices

: Supporter spell. You aren´t supporting, are you?

: You should take Blue Buff in Earlygame. Later you don´t have Mana problems. So it is absolutely useless.

: This guide is designed for players on level 30 with good masteries and runes. If you are on a lower level this could help you to sustain longer.

: Only viable in Dominion.

: I really like this summoner spell. But as a jungler you don´t need it.

: This isn´t a Dominion guide. I don´t know if it is useful, because I am not often playing Dominion.

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Skill Sequence

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

I usually max this skill first. I start by putting one skill point at level one for AoE and more Attack Damage. This skill is Nocturnes most important skill, because it tunes your jungle speed into a new level, lets you chase champions and escape.

At the start of the match this skill isn´t so important. The passive Attack Speed Bonus is nice, but one skillpoint at level 2 or 3 is enough. Remember: Jungle Creeps don´t use abilities ;-)

This is your main gank skill before level 6. I max it at level 13 to get a longer fear. If you want to do a level 2 gank, what I approve, (See Aggressive Route at Jungling) you will need to put one point at level 2 into it.

Nocturnes ultimate is very strong and as every ultimate I max it as fast as possible. This will be your main ressource for ganks and initiates.

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Hunter's Machete is a really great item in the new jungle. You can build it into tons of good items and it helps you a lot in early game. Another viable choice would be Cloth Armor and Health Potion for more sustain.

You should buy boots on your first trip back. You can travel faster from camp to camp and gank even stronger.

Best item for junglers. Attack Damage, Armor, bonus damage versus creeps and a free ward every 3 minutes. What do you want more?

Expensive, but the best counter against CC. It offers a nice amount of Magic Resistance, too. It is viable on every Champion.

Rush this item! You will need it later for The Black Cleaver and all the stats are great for Nocturne!

Other options

I buy this item, if i got a successful level 2 gank and want to be the early game nightmare or counterjungling hard.

Berserker's Greaves are a good choice for early Attack Speed, faster jungling and stronger ganks.



These three items are good in Midgame. It is too expensive to upgrade them early so wait a bit. You will build them later to Frozen Mallet, Runic Bulwark and Maw of Malmortius. Buy them in any order you want, depending on your and the enemy team.

You are the initiator. With Captain people can follow up quickly.

Other options

Your Attack Speed is low with a tanky build, but this item can help you increasing it. The magic damage helps against armor heavy teams.



Frozen Mallet is the perfect item for Nocturne. You get a bit Attack Damage and much Health. This is the key item to become an Offtank. The passive slow is great, because you can chase people with your Duskbringer like a boss.

After the S3 Patch this item is really great! Exspecially if your team deals a lot of AD damage you can shred the enemy's armor. All stats are very useful. If your team does not deal tons of AD damage, you should consider Youmuu's Ghostblade.

I tried this item right after the release and I realized how great it is although not many players used it. Without this item Nocturne is missing Magic Resistance. 36 is not much, but the passive magic shield has saved me many times. Also this item gives 55 Attack Damage and even more, depending on your missing health. In a 1 on 1 this item gives you so much power to turn a fight lately.

Feel free to sell your Wriggle's Lantern and buy The Bloodthirster instead! It is a much better item in Lategame.

Other options

To finish off your build Youmuu's Ghostblade is a good item. Don´t forget to activate it if necessary.


If you are getting focussed too often and need more defense.

Good alternative for Atma's Impaler since it got nerfed.

I prefer Frozen Mallet. Your Attack Speed is low, so it will be hard to get the slow, but if you like it, take it!

It is very useful against Warwick's Infinite Duress and other similar skills, so take this instead of Maw of Malmortius.

The spellshield cooperates great with your Shroud of Darkness.

Take this against heavy AP teams.

I prefer Frozen Mallet because of the slow. But if you really need to go Tanky it is great, especially with your Atma's Impaler.

Best counter against heavy AD teams.

Useful against Armor stacking teams, otherwise not.

Another counter against heavy AD teams.

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Aggressive Route

This is the usual route I take (View of Blue Team).
Only do this route, if their jungler probably starts at their Blue Buff ( Skarner, Amumu, Nautilus, Fiddlesticks, Maokai and more).
At first you wait in the near of your Blue Buff. Make sure, your Botlane is covering your Red Buff. At approximately 1:30 run to their Wraiths (If they covered it then turn and do the normal Blue Buff route!) with your mid- and top-laner and clear them. Let your teammates get exp, it is more important, that you clear the camp fast. After that head over to red buff. Get a pull, send your team back to lanes and last-hit with smite. In most cases you aren´t detected, because the enemy jungler should kill Blue Buff while you are killing Red Buff. After finishing Red skill Unspeakable Horror and gank top (Coming through Tri-Bush). It´s helpful when your laner is a premade.

Why such an early gank?

I have performed this level 2 gank many times and often succeeded, because:
  • Laner is level 1, you level 2
  • He don´t anticipate that you come from behind so early
  • You have red buff
  • You already skilled your Unspeakable Horror
  • Most people don´t skill their escape spell at level 1, e.g Vladimir´s Sanguine Pool
But: Don´t tower dive! There is nothing more embarrasing than dying at a gank. Care for Champions like Singed ( Fling) and Volibear ( Rolling Thunder). If they throw you under their tower, you are as dead as a door-nail.
It´s ok, if you get one tower hit and secure a kill, but don´t overestimate yourself! After a successful gank Toplane is nearly won. If they get away with low life, the lane has also a big advantage. So don´t tower dive!

If you have enough health left, kill your Blue Buff and Wolves or go directly to your red, if you think, the enemy jungler tries to steal it. Then you can go back to base and buy Doran's Blade if you want. Now clear the rest of your jungle. Care at your Red Buff: It is possible, that the enemy jungler tries to steal your Red Buff, too. There are four possible options:
  • He has already stolen it
  • He is stealing it, when you arrive
  • He arrives, when you are doing it
  • He doens´t care
In the first case you can do nothing. But don´t commiserate about it. You got their´s. A fair trade, isn´t it? A way to prevent him from stealing it is placing a ward there at the start of the match. A nice supporter will do it.
In the second case don´t hesitate to attack him. You already went buying and with your Doran's Blade it should be easy to kill him.
In the third case there are two actions to note: Pull the Lizard into the brush and use your Smite to last hit, not at the start. When the enemy jungler arrives attack him instantly, and finish the Lizard later on. You have the advantage of the first attack, because you are in the brush.
In the fourth case: Be happy


With this route you can easily dominate the whole jungle. You and your Toplaner get an early advantage. The route is very risky, but that is the only disadvantage. You can´t fail if you perform it right.

Aggressive Route 2

Saintvicious doing this route with Nocturne:
This is another very aggressive route. You should only perform it if you know, that you are much stronger in an 1 vs. 1 / 2 vs. 1. Maokai is a good example for a weak 1 vs. 1 jungler.

At first your Supporter should ward the enemy wraiths, so that you know when their jungler is at the red buff.
Start at your wraiths. Let your Midlaner / Supporter pull the Lizard Elder. After you killed your Red Buff you should be level 2 and skill your Unspeakable Horror. Now comes the important part: Your Midlaner has to push his lane heavily. This has two reason: He can help you killing the enemy jungler at his red and the enemy Midlaner can´t leave his lane. So head over to the enemy jungle and try to kill the jungler at his red. If you don´t manage to kill him just grab his Lizard Elder. Worth it! Now you can continue jungling, ganking or you go back if you are on low health.


A very risky route. A whole premade team is recommened, or at least the Supporter and Midlaner. If you don´t manage to kill the enemy jungler the reward is relatively low.

Blue Buff Route

This is the most common route. I don´t think I have to explain a lot:

To do this route starting items like Vampiric Scepter or Cloth Armor and Health Potions are to suggest unless you plan an early gank.

Start at wolves. Let your teammates do damage, but they shouldn`t get experience, otherwise you wouldn´t be level 4 after the route. Don´t use smite!
Head over to Blue Golem at 1:55. Let midlane pull and, if possible deal some damage. Use Smite. After you cleared the whole camp put a skill point into Shroud of Darkness and go to wraiths. Kill them, do Double Golems. After them make sure, your smite is ready and do your Red Buff. Wraiths should be up a few seconds after you appear there for the second time. Kill them. You should be level 4 with >50% HP left, so put a skill point into Unspeakable Horror and watch out for ganks.


This route is very old but still ok. It is not risky at all, but you level very fast and are earlier on level 4 than solo lanes in most cases.

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This map shows roughly, where to place wards. Top priority: Dragon and Baron. They should be always pink warded. If the enemy is counterjungling you hard, then consider to place pink wards at your buffs, too.

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: Your Unspeakable Horror will not do much against him. With his Resonating Strike and Safeguard he can easily get out of range before the fear procs.

: Her Howling Gale and Monsoon can easily break your Unspeakable Horror. Her bonus movement speed counters Nocturne, too.

: So much movement speed and his Pillar of Filth make chasing with Duskbringer very difficult.

: CC. Really annoying.

: So many boxes! If he counterjungles you early just run away! But I think Shaco counters nearly every jungler in Earlygame, except Lee Sin. Shaco is one of the most annoying opponents.

In general: Champions with CC. This can stop your Unspeakable Horror and you can´t use the movement speed of your Duskbringer.

How to prevent: Just don´t focus these Champions or gank other lanes. The AD carry is the best target in most cases.


Armor. Nocturne is only doing physical damage, so armor counters him. Randuims Omen and Frozen Heart slow your movement speed, too.

In general: Armor

How to prevent: This shouldn´t be a problem, if your team has enough AP, too. If they begin stacking armor then you should consider buying Last Whisper.


: Or other Flash abilities like Shaco's Deceive. It stops your Unspeakable Horror from fearing.

How to prevent: If you really need to get the fear of Unspeakable Horror you should Flash, too, or use your Paranoia to close the gap. If they wasted Flash you can easily gank the next few minutes.

Champions that Nocturne counters

: Just block his Requiem with your Shroud of Darkness. Easy.

: He can´t cast his Stand United while your Paranoia is active.

: The priority of Paranoia is higher than Destiny. If you notice he is using his Ultimate, then counter him by using yours!

Counters taken from

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Ok, now you have learned a lot about Nocturne. You are really good, but you aren´t winning every game, because of your teammates? That is why I will mention Champions, that collaborate well with Nocturne. In the best case your premades are playing these Champions.

The first Champion to note is Shen. Yes, Shen! You don´t know why?
Stand United + Paranoia = Ultimate Wombo Combo!
And here is the explanation:
Nocturne activates Paranoia. This is the signal for Shen to cast his Stand United on him. Nocturne then has to jump into a crowd of enemies, exspecially the carrys. If performed right Shen will be teleported there, when Nocturne arrives. That is the moment for him to use Shadow Dash. Your other teammates have to follow up quickly. Whole enemy team taunted. Teamfight won.

In general good teammates for Nocturne need to have an ability to close gaps. If you initiate a teamfight with Paranoia and noone of your team can follow, you will simply be dead. Flash and Ghost should work, but an additional ability like Tryndamere's Spinning Slash would be perfect.

Nocturne has not much CC. So your team should contain Champions like Kennen or Alistar, otherwise winning teamfights will be hard.

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Kills - Lane or Jungler?

It is often discussed, if the jungler has to give the kills to the laners or if he can take them for himself.
In my opinion it depends on the lane when to take the kill or not:
The Supporter does not need much gold. He has his Gold per second items ( Heart of Gold, Kage's Lucky Pick etc) and is not taking much benefit from kills.
The Top Lane is in the current Meta mostly tanky and has a supporting role e.g Cho'Gath or Singed. In those cases I would give them about 40% of the kills from ganks. It can be more or less, depending on their need of gold.
The Jungler. Yes, YOU! Early kills speed up your jungle clear time and give you an advantage on ganks. This helps all lanes. On your first trip back you can buy Wriggle's Lantern directly sometimes. Then you don't need further Health Potions. This is very useful. I think it is a great advantage if you get the first or second kill, otherwise you will fall behind in level.
The Mid Laner. The Midlaner / AP Carry needs gold to win the lane, so giving him about 70% of the kills seems suitable, but not all, because he benefits from you, too. But if the lane is already won I would take more kills myself.
The AD Carry is very farm dependend. You should give all kills to him, so that he can carry you in lategame.

Supporter - Top Laner - Jungler - Mid Laner - AD Carry
Nothing - Some - Average - Most - All


In most cases: Securing the kill has the top priority! If you aren't sure whether the ganked player has flash up or not then make sure to kill him.
In general underfarmed teammates should also get some kills more as well as snowballing Champions ( Master Yi, Olaf) or players with snowballing items ( Mejai's Soulstealer, Sword of the Occult).

This is my personal opinion. Every player has his own point of view.

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Nocturne Patch Notes

v1.0.0.143 - 2012-07-19

• Shroud of Darkness◦Shield duration reduced to 1.5 seconds from 2

• Paranoia◦Cooldown increased at earlier ranks to 180/140/100 seconds from 160/130/100
◦Updated Umbra Blades tooltip

v1.0.0.140b - 2012-06-05

•Umbra Blades healing amount per target hit adjusted to 10/18/26 from 15/20/25

v1.0.0.139 - 2012-05-01

-Fixed a bug with the Ravager skin where Unspeakable Horror was not visually applying the fear tether

v1.0.0.129 - 2011-11-15

-Unspeakable Horror
-Cast range reduced to 425 from 500
-Tether range reduced to 465 from 525

v1.0.0.125 - 2011-09-14

-Unspeakable Horror leash range reduced to 525 from 550

v1.0.0.123 - 2011-08-09

-Paranoia ◦Nocturne will now attempt to attack the target after using Paranoia
-Paranoia no longer grants assists for limiting enemy vision

v1.0.0.116 - 2011-04-25

-Fixed a bug where Paranoia would follow targets over variable amounts of distance depending on spell rank

v1.0.0.115 - 2011-04-11

-Duskbringer attack damage bonus reduced to 15/25/35/45/55 from 20/30/40/50/60
-Unspeakable Horror ◦Cast range reduced to 475 from 500 and leash range reduced to 550 from 600
-Fixed a bug where breaking the leash near the end would still trigger the fear
-Fixed a bug where adding a spell shield like Banshee's Veil while Unspeakable Horror was on you would block the fear effect

-Paranoia range reduced to 2000/2750/3500 from 2500/3250/4000

v1.0.0.114 - 2011-03-28

-Made Shroud of Darkness shield brighter and easier to see


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Do you think Nocturne is OP?

No. He is very strong, but not overpowered. I think they could nerf the passive Attack Speed Bonus of Shroud of Darkness from 20/25/30/35/40 to 15/22/30/35/40 to balance him perfectly. So he would be a bit weaker in early game.
Edit 6.5.2012 (Draven Patch): " Umbra Blades healing amount per target hit adjusted to 10/18/26 from 15/20/25." -> In my opinion he is balanced perfectly now.
Edit 19.7.2012: Another nerf... This sucks >.>

I am constantly loosing with Nocturne

You need to play Nocturne as much as possible to master him completely. Hitting an enemy with Duskbringer is very difficult in some cases. You need to practise this. After a few games you will not need to look up the range for Paranoia any more. Master yourself, master the enemy!

What champions are you playing beside Nocturne?
Will you create guides for playing them?

I am always jungling. Lee Sin and Nautilus are very nice champions. I won´t make a guide for Lee Sin, because I haven´t mastered him perfectly yet (In my opinion he is the most difficult champion in the game) and there are a lot of good guides already.

Who is the best jungler?

This was before the recent nerf of Umbra Blades. After that he was still good, but not the best jungler. One nerf later he is "Umm... ok".
At the moment there is no single dominationg jungler. Lee Sin, Skarner, Maokai and Dr. Mundo are the best right now, in my opinion.

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I hope you enjoyed my guide! Feel free to correct me, if I did anything wrong. Leave a comment and I will answer.