Build Guide by Exsedol
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Nocturne is an assassin/melee DPS champion whose role is to find a weak/squishy enemy champion, swoop down in darkness, and finish off the kill. As a result of Duskbringer/Paranoia/Unspeakable Horror/insane-movement-speed, Nocturne is also the Finisher; the teammate that won't allow any enemies to escape from team battles without dying. He is also very scary in a 1v1. In addition, Noc can push a lane faster than any champion thanks to Duskbringer/UmbraBlades. Furthermore, Noc is a great turret pusher because of his high AS/AD and blinding ultimate.
P.S. This is my first build on Mobafire. I hope you gain something from it and vote positive!
My Match History
As you can see, I played consistently well in all of these games. If you could scroll down, you'd see 4 more victories with similar scores. This is to show you that I can play this game (some credibility there), and that my builds do work really well.
I've played around 100 games with Nocturne since his release, and many of those games include experimenting with build orders. I main Assassin champions: Noc, Katarina, Irelia, Shaco, Xin Zhao. Nocturne fits in with what I'm used to playing.
AD = Attack Damage
AS = Attack Speed
LS = Life Steal
CS = Critical Strike
MR = Magic Resist
CDR = Cool Down Reduction
DPS = Damage Per Second
Summary of Nocturne's strengths and weaknesses:
- High DPS makes him useful for dealing massive damage to enemies
- Abilities are second to none
- Great chaser
- Fast jungler
- Good farmer in early game; AMAZING in mid/late game
- Strong map presence/control due to speed and ultimate
- CC can be a problem
- Somewhat squishy; ganks and focusing can bring Noc down fast
- Somewhat difficult to play well; requires some restraint and care
- Greater Mark of Desolation runes give good armor penetration which is important for Noc as an AD champion.
- Greater Seal of Evasion for its benefits in mid/late game.
- Greater Glyph of Warding for more durability against AP champions. I choose flat MR over per level because I like to gain an advantage in early game that extends throughout the rest of the game. The per level MR would become better starting at about level 10 (math: 1.49 * 9 = 13.41 MR; 13.41 / (0.15 * 9) = level 9.93
- Personally, I am using Greater Quintessence of Desolation. Another good choice is Greater Quintessence of Swiftness: increase base movement speed from 320 to 334 (Math: 1.5 * 3 = 4.5%; 320 * 0.045 = 14.4; 320 + 14.4 = 334. This extra boost helps in escaping as well as chasing, and it just adds to the fear enemies have of Nocturne; they know they can't escape!
I prefer 21/0/9 for Nocturne when jungling, and 21/8/1 when laning.
In offense, I like to get critical strike, cripple (exhaust upgrade), full cooldown reduction/AS increase, 6 armor penetration, 3 more AD, increased CS damage, and 5% increase in overall AD.
Why offensive masteries over defensive? Because the best defense is a good offense; kill the target quickly and get out (or move on to the next opponent). I usually receive only 15k-20k in damage each game, but I give out 150-300k in damage. The offensive runes are more useful for Nocturne.
When jungling, why 9 points in utility as opposed to in defensive? Well, 4 points in experience is essential to reach level 2 after killing small golems.
When laning, I choose 8 points in defense and 1 point in utility for ghost. This extra durability is nice early game.
For jungling, smite is a must. As my second spell, I prefer Ghost to even further make it impossible to run from Noc. Another alternative is Exhaust, which I'd argue is better for 3v3 than 5v5. Here's why: with exhaust, you prevent an opponent from escaping from both you AND a teammate. You also make it harder for them to reach their turret as a defense. However, if you're being chased by more than 1 opponent, then Exhausting one may not be a good escape mechanism compared to Ghost. Both exhaust and ghost are great summoner spells for Nocturne, and I use both when laning and usually smite/ghost when jungling and ganking.
Clairvoyance is a viable alternative, because all Nocturne needs when using his ultimate is vision of the opponent (and to be close enough to cast the ulti). Sometimes a weak opponent will narrowly escape, and a clairvoyance could assure the kill.
Flash is still good, I just prefer ghost/exhaust to it.
Cleanse could be good against a high CC team, but I prefer offensive spells to defensive ones.
Teleport - Decent for turret defense and getting back into the fray ASAP
Ignite - Good, but it's not as essential on a DPS champion like Noc as opposed to a burst champ such as Katarina. It would also be great versus healing champs like Mundo and Swain. I still prefer Ghost/Exhaust over Exhaust/Ignite.
The other spells (Heal, Revive, Fortify, Clarity, and Rally) should not be used under normal circumstances.
Skill sequence is somewhat dependent on style and personal preference. I start the jungling level 1 skill with Shroud of Darkness because it is not only slightly faster than Duskbringer, but it also doesn't waste any mana. Then I continue to level up Duskbringer and put one point in the other skills. Increasing Shroud of Darkness provides only a 5% increase in passive speed for each point, so I focus on Duskbringer. I have also played a different style game where I try to fear the opponent for as long as possible when ganking, and in that style I put several points into Unspeakable Horror as opposed to Duskbringer. You could also try putting Unspeakable Horror points ahead of Shroud of Darkness upon level 7+; I do that a lot.
My jungle route is pretty safe and allows for ganking at level 4/5 and level 6.
Start at small golems with Shroud of Darnkness, use smite on one and start a health pot immediately. Use another health pot on the way to wraiths and level up Duskbringer to hit 3-4 wraiths with it. Use another health pot on the way to wolves, stand to the side of the 3 wolves and use duskbringer to start them. Use another health pot on the way to blue golem and start fighting it around 550-600 hp. Now you have 1 health pot left. Go back to base, buy a long sword and 1 more health pot. Now you can either gank or start again at small golems/wraiths, then gank or return to base for madred's razers. Then either gank or get red golem and gank. Do you hear the key word here? Gank if possible or if a lane is having difficulty.
Also, don't forget to kill dragon! Get at least one other teammate to help you.
How to Gank
I usually run secretly to the bushes in the river (don't go there if they have wards) and pop a ghost on my way in to gank, which is especially useful before I own boots. Then once I am within range I use Unspeakable Horror. If I'm against stun/snair champions, then I use Shroud of Darkness right before I think they'll try to stun me. Once the targeted champion is feared from Unspeakable Horror, I use Duskbringer (you can also use it before if you're SURE you will hit with it). Then use Exhaust on the champion you don't want to escape and collect 1-2 kills for that lane. I often get two kills out of a gank.
First let's discuss what is NOT worth getting on Noc:
- Atma's Impaler. Noc is not a tank and generally shouldn't have enough health to make 2% of max health added onto AD as anything significant. The 18% critical strike is nice, and 45 armor is good for survivability, but there are better items for Nocturne.
- Guinsoo's Rageblade. You're paying for the 45 Ability Power in this item, so why not spend your money more efficiently on items that directly benefit Nocturne?
- Hextech Gunblade. Again, with cost efficient and effective items like Youmuu's Ghostblade, this is overpriced and just not as good.
- Manamune. Noc isn't so mana starved to make this item viable. It's better for mages than Noc, an AD/AS/CS champion.
- Malady. You're not an AP champion, although the 50% increase in attack speed is nice.
- Nashor's Tooth. Again, the AP is not worth much for Noc (only his E can use it), and although the 50% attack speed, mana regen and 25% cooldown reduction are decent, it's not the best on Noc. Viable, but why buy anything but the best?
- Stinger. Builds into Nashor's, so same explanation.
Again, the items above aren't necessarily bad on Nocturne, they just aren't the best. The best items will add to AD/AS/CS/Lifesteal/MovementSpeed/Armor Penetration/CDR/Health/MagicResist/Armor. Here are the items I really like on Noc:
- Youmuu's Ghostblade. 30 AD, 15% critical chance, +20 armor penetration, 15% CDR. On activation, grants 50% increase in AS and 20% increase in movement speed. I've used this and done pretty well with it.
- Madred's Bloodrazors. 30 AD, 40% AS, and 25 armor plus 4% of target's HP added on as magic damage. Good against tanks, and it builds up from Noc's jungle build, making it viable for build 1. I just build it each time, cause the armor really helps for survivability, and the 40% AS is very helpful. I used to put Phantom Dancer in every build instead of Bloodrazers, but now I prefer Bloodrazers because with it Noc can kill any champion very quickly.
- Infinity Edge. 75 increase in AD is highest in game. 20% CS makes Noc deadly, but here's the kicker: add 250% CS instead of 200% CS, combined with offensive mastery of Havoc with 5% increase in overall AD. Now Noc is getting really scary!
- Frozen Mallet. I'd say this is an essential item for Noc, and I tend to get this first or second every game now. The slow is really helpful both 1v1 and in team fights, the health is amazing, and there is 20 AD on top of everything!
- Banshee's Veil. 375 health/mana and 50 MR helps for survivability, and the passive spell block is a life saver.
- The BloodThirster. Gives 60 attack damage and 15% lifesteal, which is so nice on Noc. If you aren't dying much, then BloodThirster's passive makes Noc even more scary: up to 40 increased AD and 10% more Lifesteal. Wow! Lost on death, however.
- The Black Cleaver. Especially good against tanks. 55 AD and 30%AS are great for Noc.
- Phantom Dancer. 55% AS, 30% CS and 15% Movement Speed. Combine this with Infinity Edge, and Noc gets over 50% CS. Pretty good item.
- Trinity Force. The big drawback here is obviously price, but it has a bit of everything that Noc likes: 30 AD, 30% AS, 15% CS, 12% Movement Speed, 250Health/Mana, slow chance, and burst active AD to finish opponents off quickly.
- Guardian Angel. 68 armor/38MR and revive. Good if you keep getting focused in team fights.
- Last Whisper. 40 AD and 40% armor penetration are good against a tank heavy team.
- Sword of the Occult. This is like the Mejai's Soulstealer. It's great if you're having a good game and getting lots of kills; it's not cost effective otherwise. I don't really like this item on Noc because I think Youmuu's Ghostblade or Frozen Mallet are more reliable. Still, this item has a lot of potential on Noc. Make sure to buy it early to start your stacks ASAP.
In substitution for Madred's Bloodrazors:
- Wriggle's Lantern. If there aren't many tanks on the opposing team, or if the tanks aren't giving you any trouble, then buy a Wriggle's Lantern instead. It's 1675g cheaper, offers 5 more armor, and 14% lifesteal plus a free ward every 3 minutes. The only downside is you lose 40% attack speed and 4% of opponent's HP added on as magic damage. Actually, that's a pretty big downside, and that's why I usually just buy Bloodrazers every game :P
In substitution for Frozen Mallet: Sword of the Occult, Tiamat, Black Cleaver, Youmuu's Ghostblade. Tiamat is an underused item: it provides 50 AD, 15 health regen per 5, 5 mana regen per 5, and it adds 50% of attack damage to the area surrounding it. Plus, it's only 2070 gold, which is even less than Youmuu's Ghostblade. It's good for team fights that could swing either way, plus it offers 20 more AD than Youmuu's Ghostblade, and the health regen never hurts. Also, Noc sometimes gets low on mana, so a bit of mana regen is nice. It would also allow for some spamming of Noc's Duskbringer to get around the map even faster. Altogether, Tiamat is a decent substitute for Youmuu's Ghostblade or Frozen Mallet--particularly if you forget to use Youmuu's active.
In substitution for The BloodThirster: Trinity Force, The Black Cleaver, Banshee's Veil, Guardian Angel, Randuin's Omen. If you want to round out Nocturne a bit, then Trinity Force is great for that. The Black Cleaver is good for when the opposing team has lots of armor. Banshee's Veil is good against AP heavy teams and to help against CC. Guardian Angel adds survivability and decreases opponent's desire to focus Noc. Randuin's Omen provides 300 health, 80 armor (nice amount), 25 health regen per 5, 5% CDR, and a kickass active that slows all surrounding enemies. It's good for team fights and definitely a recommended item.
Overall though, I stick with my 2 builds above and win games that way :P