Nocturne Build Guide by Wiktor1321
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.
Since release, Nocturne has been with the top tiers of champions and remains a extremely strong pick months after his release. The reason for this guide is that out of all of my guides, my Nocturne one became more dated as I learned better routes and builds for the current meta. Not to mention that Nocturne has received quite a few nerfs since the guide was released which meant that it was far more difficult to pull off my route (you had to wait 5 seconds after a certain camp to have your potion heal before you can move on) in order to do it. Therefore this guide will show how I currently play Nocturne.
Because of the damage nerfs on Nocturne, I've had to change up some masteries in order to compensate for the decreased damage and slowing of Nocturne's jungle route. I've found 16-0-14 to be one of the more optimal mastery settings as you don't lose much from not going all the way in utility or offense trees.
The points in offensive tree are to give Nocturne additional damage, especially early on where he needs to be quick to kill camps and do a full route with either rune page. The extra points to get to 21 tend to not help in this regard as you'd have to either spend them on crit damage or cooldown which both aren't very useful in early game jungling.
In utility we end at upgraded flash as we don't need the movespeed bonus due to duskbringer giving a significant amount and while the cooldown reduction and summoner spell cooldown reduction are good, we can't afford to remove points from the offense tree.
I use two pages, I tend to pick the pages on how I believe the early game will play out, either me ganking a fair bit prior to level 6 or farming a fast level 6.
The page shown at the top of the guide which is :
6 greater marks of desolation
3 greater marks of alacrity
9 greater seals of evasion
9 greater glyph of alacrity
3 greater quints of desolation
(20 armor pen, 13 armor, 11% attack speed)
I find that these runes allow ganking during the route and a full clear from wolves/blue buff area to the double golems if a suitable gank is not found. This setup is more concerned about early game speed and such to gank quickly and effectively as camps are falling faster due to the additional attack speed. Because of the runes and masteries, any excess armor pen would be only useful outside the jungle and thus allows Nocturne a faster jungle as they're replaced with attack speed.
The page which I use the jungle route to get a level 6 before the 7 minute mark is the page I used in my first Nocturne guide:
9 greater marks of desolation
9 greater seals of evasion/resilience (if you find your early jungle is difficult, use resilience)
9 greater glyph of warding
3 greater quints of desolation
(25 armor pen, 6.8% dodge/13 armor, 13 magic resistance)
These runes allow you to do my 2nd route effectively and are extremely strong throughout the game until you're literally facing 150+ armor targets. These runes also contain nice durability which is great for a bruiser. The reason for evasion if you're not having trouble early game is the fact evasion will scale more effectively later in the game as your total armor and hp increases while your evasion is a separate calculation which doesn't get gains via level ups.
Smite for the standard reasons in that it's a ranged powerhouse true damage skill that makes stealing/counterstealing your expensive minions/neutrals much harder. Off the top of my head the only spells that can effectively outdamage it to take your buff/dragon/baron not done in perfect combination are:
2.High Level Alpha Strike Proc
3. Feast and Consume
4. Extremely fed carry with a raw damage ultimate (think Ezreal or Lux etc)
Out of all of these, 1 relies on chance, 1 relies on the champion being melee range, 1 relies on being fed on a select champion and the 4th is a smite. Having smite effectively stops random enemies from harassing you all day in the jungle as their champion could have a spell that is higher damage than your highest damaging spell which means they could easily take every single minion of yours as their lasthits will occur earlier.
Smite also makes other camps easier as you have the ability to kill camps that you normally couldn't do without dying because you have a extra 600 damage nuke to finish it quicker.
Flash due to the fact it allows you to gank/escape/make plays far easier than most spells as you're able to exert more pressure to follow any enemy flashes or maintain your unspeakable horror until it goes off. Combined with his Duskbringer, it makes it very hard for opponents to escape from Nocturne without numerous CC or speed buffs.
Passive: Umbra Blades
Every 10 seconds, Nocturne's next attack strikes surrounding enemies for 120% physical damage and heals himself for 15/20/25 per target hit.
Nocturne's basic attacks reduce this cooldown by 1 second.
Despite seeming weak, this skill is far more deadly than it seems. Having a flat 20% bonus damage is a huge boost and the fact that it's aoe means when in combination with Duskbringer, it'll shred minion waves or small camps. Add in the healing for some decent sustain in the jungle and you have one of the stronger passives of the game. Be sure to position Nocturne to hit as many minions/neutrals as possible in order to maximize damage and heal.
Nocturne throws a shadow blade which deals 60/105/150/195/240 (+75% attack damage) physical damage and leaves a Dusk Trail for 5 seconds. Enemy champions hit also leave a Dusk Trail.
While on the trail, Nocturne ignores unit collision and gains 15/20/25/30/35% Movement Speed and 15/25/35/45/55 Attack Damage.
Cooldown 10 seconds
Cost 60/65/70/75/80 mana
This skill is absolutely crucial in virtually every aspect of Nocturne. This ability allows Nocturne to deal heavy physical damage, clear waves as well as chase and escape. Landing this in a gank is critical as the movespeed difference between a Nocturne that is running on this path and one that isn't is huge due to the fact the stat bonus is insane. Not to mention that the path gives a huge damage boost to Nocturne which at early levels could be a 50% increase. Add in Umbra Blades and suddenly Nocturne is hitting for very high damage without many damage items.
W: Shroud of Darkness
Passive: Nocturne has 20/25/30/35/40% bonus Attack Speed.
Active: Nocturne creates a magical barrier for 2 seconds, which blocks the next enemy ability.
If an ability is blocked by the shield, Nocturne's passive Attack Speed bonus doubles for 5 seconds.
Cost 50 mana
A spell that helps Nocturne survive longer in fights or initiate a gank, this spell is useful to have even at level 1. Having this up during a gank can be the difference between getting cced and not being able to chase for the kill and getting the kill by blocking the cc. The attack speed bonus is nice as well, it helps even when it doesn't block anything. Note that this spell can block a baron physical attack because of the way his attacks work allowing for a quick attack speed boost when taking him down.
E: Unspeakable Horror
Nocturne plants a nightmare into his target's mind, dealing 50/100/150/200/250 (+100% ability power) magic damage over 2 seconds. If Nocturne stays within 525 range of the target for the full duration, the target becomes feared for 1/1.25/1.5/1.75/2 second(s).
Cooldown 15/14/13/12/11 seconds
Cost 60/65/70/75/80 mana
Another spell Nocturne relies on during his chases or ganks, this spell is the only disable he has. This is very useful in 1v1 duels as it can render the enemy useless for 2 seconds while you whack on them. In ganks this spell is useful due to it's range as most often it'll take a flash or more to get away from the chain as Nocturne tends to run faster than his opponents. This is maxed after Duskbringer.
Nocturne reduces the sight radius of all enemy champions and removes their ally vision for 4 seconds.
While Paranoia is active, Nocturne can launch himself at an enemy champion, dealing 150/250/350 (+120% attack damage ) physical damage.
Cooldown 160/130/100 seconds
Cost 100 mana
One of the strongest ultimates in the game, once obtained at level 6 this puts Nocturne amongst the best gankers in the game. Unlike TF or Pantheon who require channeling for their ultimates, the only warning the enemy team gets is the loss of all allied vision. This spell is extremely deadly in fights with numerous brushes as the enemies will be forced to walk in melee range to check the contents of any brush when this ultimate is active. This spell is often a kill, an objective (to block vision when finishing it) or at the very least a few summoners blown for the enemy team.
There is very little difference here from my previous guide on Nocturne aside from the early game choices.
If you're planning to gank early:
Q->E->Q->W (Level 2 gank path)
Q->W->E->Q (Level 3 gank path)
Q->W->Q->E (Level 4 gank path/standard leveling route)
The reasoning being is having that one second disable is more useful in a gank than the other skills, which means if you think you see a easy gank after you level at a certain camp, you'll have a easier time due to the fact you can disable them for a second if they don't flash out of it's reach.
Then depending on how fights going:
Atma's Impaler(if everything is fine or enemy ADs are dealing the most damage)
Or if they have powerful magic damage
Banshe's Veil Or Quicksilver sash (if QSS can negate something big like morg ult otherwise BV)
Randuin's Omen,Elixir of Fortitude,Elixir of Agility,Infinity Edge(sell Wriggles if needed)
Starting off with cloth/5 potions is how I open now due to the damage nerfs, I either attempt a full clear or a double golem start with this (potions carry on over to the 2nd runthrough) as a vamp scepter would leave me dead or forced to waste time for natural regen to kick in.
At the first buyback, boots are what I usually get due to the fact you want to be moving between camps fast to not lose time and ganking is easier with the additional movespeed. Since you'll be roaming between camps or lanes, it is more effective than straight up buying a madred's razor as you likely won't be high enough level to kill dragon quickly until you farmed enough money for both madred's and boots of speed. Ward occasionally to help out the team while finishing Wriggles which is very helpful for Nocturne as likely you'll be done buying potions from this point on and relying on lifestealing/healing from physical attacks.
After I get enough gold, I still do my old build of HoG, Avarice Blade and level 2 boots due to the fact with Wriggle's alone I can deal nice damage and those 2 gold per 10 items will be built into items I find extremely valuable on Nocturne anyway so it'll be a good subsidy towards the final product. Level 2 boots are gotten after so I can have as much time as possible with these two gold per 10 items and from there I get ghostblade in order to have heavy damage mid game before the enemy is able to deal sufficient damage to harm Nocturne past his spell block shield.
Later I usually build Warmog's now due to the fact it's durable against everything and I tend to farm a ton if there is no action on the map due to opponents playing cautious and stalling out games. In terms of stats, a full warmog's is among the best and because it is raw health rather than armor or magic resist, it's a great defensive item for all damage types including true damage. Usually I follow up with atma's impaler or a magic resist item as a Nocturne that can do huge dmg for 3 hits is worse than a tanky Nocturne that can live to hit 10 times for weaker damage. Often at the end game I'll get a final defensive item and sell Wriggle's if I farm enough gold and I'm out of room but often the game should end long before this happens and you can always buy elixirs to supplement your damage and durability.