Nocturne Build Guide by Soronto

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Soronto

Nocturne Out Of Nowhere! (Lane and Jungling)

Soronto Last updated on August 11, 2011
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Team 1

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.


Brute Force
Improved Rally

Offense: 21

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 0

Expanded Mind
Blink of an Eye
Mystical Vision
Presence of the Master

Utility: 9

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Greetings Summoners!
Welcome to my first guide on MOBAfire, describing my play style of Nocturne, The Eternal Nightmare.

Ok guys, let me ask you some questions first:
- do you like to play champions that can both go to lane or jungle?
- do you like assassination as much as Pedobear likes children?
- are you a fan of badass looking ghosts?
- do you like pancakes?
- do you want to punch someone in the face right now?
- are you bored with all these stupid questions?

Well, if you answered "yes" to all, some or none of these questions, Nocturne is a champion just for you!!

In this guide I will describe his pros and cons, my runes choices, masteries, summoner spells, skill sequence/usage and items selection. I would like to show you some tactics during laning and jungling too, I hope you'll find them useful.
So, let's get this party started! :)

PS. Don't rate this build without trying it, please. Or at least taking everything I write here into consideration. I hope that normal LoL players will judge my guide only by it's contents and not weather conditions or colors I used. Thanks in advance! ;)

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Patch Notes

Here are some changes to Nocturne, sorry that I don't give information what patch it was, but I simply don't remember <sad face on>

* Duskbringer attack damage bonus reduced to 15/25/35/45/55 from 20/30/40/50/60
* Unspeakable Horror
o Cast range reduced to 475 from 500 and leash range reduced to 550 from 600
o Fixed a bug where breaking the leash near the end would still trigger the fear
o 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

* Duskbringer damage reduced to 60/105/150/195/240 from 60/110/160/210/260
* Paranoia
o Damage reduced to 150/250/350 from 150/300/450
o Fixed a bug where Paranoia caused a hitch the first time it was used

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Pros / Cons

- AWESOME ganker (best imo)
- Great farmer
- Great chaser
- All abilities can be used offensively and defensively
- Good jungler
- One of the most unique ult EVER
- He's an epic ghost with even more epic voice! What else do you need? :D

- Squishy
- Vulnerable to CC, pretty weak escape mechanisms ( Banshee's Veil helps a lot, trust me;) )
- Mana issues in mid game
- Players will flame you all the time because of your ult... maybe it's not a problem for you, but I just want to enjoy the game and not to read all the time that I'm a noob because I killed someone (OMG HOW COULD I?! -.-") etc.

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Honestly, on of the best passive abilities I have ever seen. It makes jungling much more easier (in my opinion it would be impossible to jungle with Nocturne without that passive). The more attack speed you get, the more frequently that passive procs. The more attack damage you have from items, the more damage that passive deals. And it heals you for a flat amount of health for every target in range!

First skill you will max. It deals nice damage based on your AD, it can be used to catch up to your target (because enemy champions hit by it leave a trail behind them) or run away from a gank. It can also help you to get back faster to your lane from base. It is a skill shot, so it's nice to practise it vs bots just to be sure that you won't miss in in real games. Did I mention that you get bonus AD if you are on the trail of Duskbringer? No? Ok, now you know it;)

Passively it gives you attack speed. But most important thing about the W skill is it's active! It blocks a single enemy spell and it's very similar to Sivir's Spell Shield, but it doubles the attack speed passive (if you will manage to block an enemy ability) instead of regaining mana. Imagine anger of Karthus who wants to kill you with his ultimate after a team fight. The only thing you need to do is to click W and laught at him.

The only Nocturne's ability that scales with AP. But you won't build any AP items on him. Even though the AP Ratio is 100%. Trust me, building any AP item is a waste of money. Also, damage of that spell is not the most important thing. So, what is it? Fear! Just be sure that your target won't get away from you before it gets feared. But hey, you have your Q ability, don't you? So staying close to your target won't be a problem;)

This is your bread and butter. This is what will make enemies rage quit (seriously, in one game after ganking enemy Kennen twice he simply rage quited). Just look at it's name... PARANOIA! It reduces enemy's sight radius and their ally vision (including minions, turrets and wards). The only thing enemy will see is something like 5 meters around him. But it's not the end. Nocturne can launch himself at enemy target in range and deal some nice damage. This is one of the best ganking ability ever made in this game.
This ability works extremely good when you are jungling. Why? Because enemies won't EVER know if you have your ultimate yet or if you don't. So they will be afraid of getting ganked by you all the time. It's also great when you want to kill someone who escaped team fight with low health. The enemy will never know from which side you will appear and even if his allies are coming to help or not.
Guess what! You can also escape a gank with it! For example: you want to do dragon and suddenly 3 enemies try to kill you. You can quickly use your ultimate and teleport yourself to the enemy at the bottom lane.

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Summoner Spells

In my opinion, Ghost is a must for Nocturne. It works great with Duskbringer, both offensively and defensively. If you are a Flash fan, you're welcome, it will be helpful too. Personally I don't like Flash because of it's long cooldown.
I take Exhaust as second. You can always use Ignite (then you will have to change Cripple to 1 point in Archmage's Savvy in the offense tree) or Smite if you want to jungle (then change Cripple to Plentiful Bounty ).

My favourite combo for any dps champion is Ghost + Exhaust, but if you're not a fan of these, just change them, simple as that! ;)

If enemy team has like 10000 stuns, fears, exhausts etc., or you are simply focused all the time, you can take Cleanse. With Banshee's Veil and Shroud of Darkness you can block 3 enemy spells!

Other Summoner Spells you might use:

Clairvoyance - might be useful with your ult to show, for example, enemy jungler and jump on him, or someone who escaped gank and is recalling near his turret. It's also very useful for supporting your team, scouting Dragon/Baron Nashor or simply checking brushes if enemies are missing.
Teleport - can be useful to gank, for example by teleporting on a ward or Teemo's mushroom in brush.

What you should never take:
Heal - umm... you won't really need it due to your passive and life steal you will get from your items.
Clarity - No. Take blue buff.
Rally - No one is using it...
Fortify - No. Let tank or support take it.
Revive - Totally useless. You don't die, you're the killing machine here!

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Masteries and Runes

I use standard 21/0/9 dps masteries, including improved Exhaust, improved Ghost and 1 point in Utility Mastery in utility tree. Why Utility Mastery ? Mana! You will have mana issues, especially in mid game, when you use all your abilities. So take that blue buff, NOW!
Also, improved experience gained and improved buff duration is a MUST when you are jungling!

If you are asking yourself "Why did he take Good Hands instead of Perseverence in Utility Tree?!" check this link:

I take Greater Mark of Desolation, which are best Marks for most dps champions.
Greater Seal of Attack Speed work great with Umbra Blades. You can also take Greater Seal of Vitality is you want some more survivability. If you want Seals with HP, don't take Greater Seal of Health, Greater Seal of Vitality are better after you hit lvl 6. You can also consider Greater Seal of Armor if you are jungling. My favourite ones are Greater Seal of Vitality tho.
If you really feel that you have problems with mana and have to go back to base often, take Greater Seal of Scaling Mana Regeneration. This should solve the problem.
For Glyphs you can use Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction or Greater Glyph of Attack Speed. Focus, because cooldown on Paranoia is very big and you want to gank frequently. Alacrity will boost even more your healing from passive and damage output.
Quintessences... I prefer more survivability then destruction power here. This is why I pick Greater Quintessence of Health. But if you want to be a real killing machine, use Greater Quintessence of Desolation or Greater Quintessence of Attack Speed if you want that 2,5 attack per second so bad.
IMHO Greater Quintessence of Desolation > Greater Quintessence of Attack Speed.
But again, it is up to you, I'm just showing you possibilities ;)

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Skill Priority

Paranoia > Duskbringer > Unspeakable Horror > Shroud of Darkness

Ult is most important, that's simple. But why Q and not W or E? Because Q is your main nuking skill, it makes you move faster and hit stronger.
Take only 1 point in W and max E as second skill. You will get attack speed from items and active of W doesn't change with next levels. This is why you want to max E as soon as possible after (after Q of course), because it will do more damage and fear will last for longer time.

But always (ALWAYS!!) remember to have at least 1 point in W due to spell shield!

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Skill Combo

You can start to harrass at lvl 2, when you have 1 point in Duskbringer and Unspeakable Horror. Start with Q, run to your target, use E and auto attack like there is no tomorrow. Use Q again when available. But never miss it! If you'll miss your first Q, the whole combo goes to waste. If you have problems with skill shots, practise vs bots or your friends on custom games.
At lvl 4 combo looks like this: Q, W (to prevent any disables from enemy), E, auto attacks, Q and so on.
Enemies will be like "OMG I just used my stun, WTF?! OMG he is hitting even faster now, someone help me, please! :("

And now... yes... this is what you were waiting for... lvl 6 and Paranoia !
Find a good prey for yourself. Use your ult, then use your W (yes, before using R one more time!!), then dash to your target, Q, E, auto attacks, Q and KABOOM, KILLING SPREE!
And why W before dashing to your target? If enemy is wise enough, he will prepare his disable for you.
For example: enemy Veigar is pushing top lane. You wait in the brush to jump on him, use Paranoia and dash on him. OMG what happened?! Oh ****, Veigar used his stun before you reached him... damn it... And he used Flash to get away...
I forgot this several times and trust me... it can end up even worse than just with not having a kill...

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First Build - Durable Killer

First item... let's see...
Is the enemy team tough? 2 tanks, strong tanky/dps champions like Garen? Start with Doran's Shield. If enemy team is rather squishy, buy Boots of Speed and 3 Health Potion.

First trip to base
Upgrade your boots to Mercury's Treads. You could ask: why not Berserker's Greaves? This is due to fact, that like every AD carry, Nocturne is very easy to be focused and CCd and you will get attack speed from your W skill anyway. Take Berserker's Greaves if enemy team has 3 CC spells or less.
Second, as yourself a question: Are the enemies pushing hard? Having problems with being squishy? Buy Ruby Crystal (or even whole Catalyst the Protector if you have enough money) and Long Sword. If your lane is easy, you harras with no problems, buy The Brutalizer first. This will get you some nice attack dmg, armor pen and cdr and help to harrass even harder and maybe (maybe? Of course!) getting you some kills. Don't farm minions for too long, try to gank, you're an assassin after all.

At this point your build should look like this:
Catalyst the Protector

(I won't count in Doran's Shield, you will sell it anyway if game will be long enough.)

IF you are doing REALLY well, you can skip Catalyst the Protector and upgrade The Brutalizer to Youmuu's Ghostblade. If not, first The Brutalizer and Catalyst the Protector, then Youmuu's Ghostblade and Banshee's Veil. As 4th item I pick The Bloodthirster for big attack damage boost and life steal, which will work great with your passive.

This is our CORE BUILD

Last items - Two Paths of building Nocturne

Path of The Serial Killer
If enemy team is rather squishy, your two last items should be Phantom Dancer and Infinity Edge. These items will give you big boost in attack speed, 50% crit chance, movement speed (no one will escape you now!) and one of the greatest passives ever, 250% crit damage.

Path of The Tank Destroyer
If enemy team is stacking health, for example has 2 tanks and tough champions like Garen, or you just kill yourself only by attacking that Rammus with Thormail equiped, buy The Black Cleaver and Madred's Bloodrazor. With armor reduction from Cleaver and magic damage from Madred's you will literally chop enemy tanks into pieces without any problems.

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Second Build - Full DPS (READ NOTE FIRST)

NOTE: Use this build only if you have a strong, well organised team (with a good tank and support) and you are sure that tank will disable enemies that will focus you (because you're a squishy carry) and supports will keep you alive. Or you are simply playing with your friends and you know that they are good and you cooperate great with each other.
Why am I writing this? Because although this build provides very good dps it has absolutely NO defense: no HP, no magic res or armor. This is why I like to call this build "All Or Nothing". So you must be sure that your team won't let you die.

Summoner Spells: Same is my normal build (chapter "Summoner Spells").
Masteries: Exactly the same as in normal build (chapter "Masteries and Runes").
Runes: Greater Mark of Desolation and Greater Quintessence of Desolation for 25 armor penetration. Quints can be replaced with Greater Quintessence of Attack Speed, but you will get enormous attack speed from your items anyway, so IMO Greater Quintessence of Desolation are much better here.
In this build I use Greater Seal of Attack Speed and Greater Glyph of Attack Speed for additional 12.6% attack speed. I don't recommend other stats like crit chance from Greater Seal of Critical Chance, because Nocturne's main stat is attack speed.

Items: I don't want to describe precisely whole purchase order, because you can see it if you scroll up this guide to the very beginning. Instead, I would like to talk about some items from this build and their replacement possibilities.

First of all, boots: Berserker's Greaves and Boots of Swiftness are only options in "full dps" build. Berserker's for attack speed and Swiftness for better chasing abilities. Don't even look at other boots. Period.

Why The Black Cleaver and not Last Whisper?
Because LW is best against heavy armor teams and in 75% games there will be only one tank (sometimes none if enemy team will screw up champion selection). Also TBC is better of Nocturne because of attack speed, which works perfectly with his passive. Also it give you 15 more attack damage (your passive again). So TBC is a winner here!

What can you use instead of The Black Cleaver:
Zeke's Harbinger is a great item. Not only it gives you and nearby allies attack speed, life steal and health regen, but also reduces armor of nearby enemies. Pure epicness.
Madred's Bloodrazor can also be used instead of TBC, but only if enemy team has champions who stack high amounts of HP without any defensive stats like Vladimir.

Why would I replace The Black Cleaver and not Youmuu's Ghostblade?
Because Ghostblade gives you very similar stats to TBC: attack damage, armor penetration, attack speed (when activated), but ALSO 15% crit chance, 15% CDR and 20% movement speed while active.

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Third Build - Jungling Assassin

Nocturne can also be played as a jungler. It's a good idea, considering how easy it will be to gank with him.
Runes: I use the same runes as in my lane build, however you may consider using Greater Seal of Armor instead of Greater Seal of Vitality. Personally I prefer HP per lvl, because 9 Seals will give me almost 180HP at lvl 18, and that flat amount of armor will be useful only in very early game. But it is up to you.
Summoner Spells: Smite is a must for most junglers. IT IS POSSIBLE for Nocturne to jungle without Smite, but it will be very difficult and will cause you to level up much slower. As second SS I take Ghost, because it can be used offensively and defensively. Flash will also be very good choice. You might think about taking Exhaust, but I wouldn't recommend it. With Ghost or Flash you can escape more than one enemies and with Exhaust you'll be able to slow only one of them. So Ghost and Flash are best choices here.
Skill order: I tried to start my jungling with both with Q and W. Both options work, however I prefer to start with Q (yeah, I finally changed my mind:D).
I saw many Nocturnes trying to start from Golem (blue buff). It it possible, however it is really hard and you might die if you are starting from blue.

Items: After hitting lvl 6 (don't worry if you are suprised to read something like this, I will explain everything later, just read and be patient ^^) you should have enough money for Madred's Razors and Boots of Speed. After buying Mercury's Treads you have to decide what to make from Razors. It can be Wriggle's Lantern or Madred's Bloodrazor. First one is very cheap, gives you life steal and also has a nice active. That ward can help your team, remember: map awareness is very important in games like LoL! Second is pretty expensive, but it makes up for the price. That passive ability is just awesome! Also it gives you attack speed, which is very important for Nocturne. Personally I don't like Lantern, so I would buy Bloodrazor. But if you think that Lantern will be better, simply buy it and forget about Madred's.
The rest of the build is very similar to my normal lane build. Banshee's Veil as survivability item, The Bloodthirster and Infinity Edge for more attack damage and Phantom Dancer for attack speed. However, if enemy team is really tough and stacks health and armor, replace Phantom Dancer with The Black Cleaver and IE with one of the "Situational Items" from next chapter.

But hold on for a second. Did I just say "after hitting lvl 6"? Something is wrong here, isn't it?... First, you must kill some monsters in jungle of course! This is why I want to show you my jungling route:

Start with Cloth Armor, 5x Health Potion and take Duskbringer. Go to Little Golems (1).

Hit them with Duskbringer like I show you on the picture, use Smite on one of them, use potion and auto attack til they die, use Q again if available. You will lvl up, so take your first point in Shroud of Darkness.

Go to Wraiths (2).

Try to hit 3 of them like on the pic with Duskbinger and auto attack til they die. Remember to attack the big Wraith first, so your passive will affect the little ones too.

Next go to Wolves (3).

Use your Q to hit all three wolves like on the pic and kill them with your auto attacks. You can use a potion here, be sure to atempt Golem (4) with more than 50% HP so it won't kill you.

Take second point in Duskbringer and head to Golem (4).

Your Smite will be ready by that time. If you will come VERY close to your targets like on the pic you'll be able to hit 3 of them with Duskbringer. Use a potion here, auto attack and Smite Golem when it's low.
Port back to base and buy Long Sword and as much Health Potion as you can (it should be 2-3 in my opinion).
Go to Little Golems (5) again. You should kill them only with Q and auto attacks (after leveling up take first point in E), just like Wraiths (6) and Wolves (7) later (without potions). Drink a potion on your way to next camp, if you feel that your health won't be enough to kill Lizard (8), then kill it using your Q and E, another potion, auto attacks and Smite when it's low. Take third point in Duskbringer.
By this time there SHOULD BE a chance for a gank. If there is any chance of killing an enemy, leave steps 9-11 and help your team mates. However, if there is nothing interesting going on, procede to step 9.
Head to the enemy's wolves (9) and kill them without using potion, just Q and auto attacks. Use your last potion while doing purple team's Golem (10) (your Smite will still be on CD, so wait until it's cooldown will be about 10 seconds). You still won't hit lvl 6, so go to Wraiths (11), kill them and take your ult.
Of course this is jungling path for blue team. Path for purple team is exactly the same, but just on the other side of the map:P
After getting your ultimate ability mid game beggins. This should be the end of your jungling. Start looking for some ganks opportunities or simply help the soloist from your team to push his lane if there are none.

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Situational Items

NOTE: DO NOT count defensive items in the "Full DPS" build! Don't you dare to do it! :P



Enemy team has 3 tanks? Grab Last Whisper.
Trinity Force gives you a little bit of everything: HP, mana, AD, AP (just to make your E a little stronger), crit chance, AS, 20% chance to slow enemy (with your attack speed effect will proc all the time) and 150% of AD in first auto attack after using an ability.
Hexdrinker is very interesting item. It saved me many times when I got out from a gank or a team fight with low hp and then, for example, enemy Karthus used his ult to kill me.
Frozen Mallet is also a great item for Nocturne. HP will make you less squishy and it's passive will make it literally impossible to escape you when used with Ghost and Duskbringer.
Zeke's Harbinger worked great for me, Nocturne and his team can really benefit from it because of that aura... attack speed, life steal, HP regen, armor reduction of nearby enemies... Just amazing.

Tryndamere seems to not like you at all? Buy Thormail and enjoy him killing himself just by attacking you. BUT I would prefer Randuin's Omen instead. Only 25 armor less, but it gives you HP regen and 300HP, something that Nocturne really needs. And it can slow your opponent's movement and attack speed;) And guess what else? 5% CDR ^^
I'm not a fan of Guardian Angel, I don't use it even on tanks... but it might be helpful in escaping team fights when you are focused all the time. And imagine the anger of someone who dueled you and lived with 100HP. "oh s*it, he's back..."
Last item that (imo) can be interesting is Spirit Visage. Improved healing would be great with your passive, some more cdr is always something nice and it gives you magic res.

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My games with Nocturne

Here are some stats I got with Nocturne, as you can see there are some defeats too, but I wanted to add them due to nice stats I had:) Also these are the only games where I managed to get all 6 items, because they were pretty damn long:P

Let me just say that in the last game, when I lost with stats 24/7/22 my team had 2 leavers, so we played 3vs5. And we managed to ace the enemy team twice, but in the end they were just too much to handle and we lost:P But the game itself was really epic:D

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Nocturne is for sure very fun to play. Not only a great ganker, he can be an escape artist if played properly. Remember, this is only a guide, you don't have to build him as I do. I hope that I helped you by making this guide.

If you have any suggestions, please, leave a comment:) I will be happy to see constructive critisism. I'm only a human after all, I might be wrong about something (and it's my first guide ever, so I guess I made a mistake or two and I just don't realize it:P)

Thank you for reading Soronto's guide for Nocturne, The Eternal Nightmare.
See you on The Fields of Justice!

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- Heal thrown out of "SS you might use"
- Guardian Angel and Randuin's Omen added to Situational Items.
- Skill Order changed a little bit (@Jebus McAzn: thanks man, I tried maxing E before W and it worked great for me)
- Greater Seal of Attack Speed changed to Greater Seal of Vitality and Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction replaced with Greater Glyph of Attack Speed
- Big change in item selection. I changed Berserker's Greaves into Mercury's Treads (I tried Mercury's and they really help in team fights if you are focused - and you will be as an AD carry!!)
- Also I added part with 2 paths of building last items, Path of The Serial Killer and Path of The Tank Destroyer
- New chapter added! I explain usage of all Nocturne's abilities in it.
- Here we go! Jungling guide added, enjoy!
- Masteries chapter changed a little bit
- 1 point from Sorcery (CDR) in offense tree taken and added to Brute Force (AD). Why? Because the difference on your cooldowns won't even be 0,5sec (about 1 second on your ultimate)! I know that it doesn't matter at all, but I prefer 1AD to help me jungling than 0,1sec on cooldowns... And how many times enemy escaped you with 1HP? Well, it happened to me... most annoying thing in the world...
14.04.11 - biggest update so far
- Chapters "Introduction" and "Skill Sequence" rewritten
- New build "Full DPS" added
- Builds names changed a little bit
- pictures in jungling chapter (at last, hooray!)
- new situational items added and I divided them into 2 groups: offensive and defensive
- chapters "Patch Notes" and "My games with Nocturne" added