Talon Build Guide by RazorEdge#113658
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Not Updated For Current Season
With the recent release of Talon, the Blade's Shadow, the League of Legends forums have seen a number of posts that argue one of two stances. One, Talon is underpowered and not viable because other assassins such as Akali outclass him. The other, Talon is overpowered and outclasses other assassins. This guide will allow you to at least come close to playing the way those who post the second type of thread perceive the Blade's Shadow.
Talon is, in my opinion, a mixture of AD Carry and Assassin. You will rely on his auto attacks to complement your skills in order to take someone down. Relying exclusively on spamming skills then running away will not net you kills. You need to use both, and this is why I consider Talon to be a mixture of AD Carry and Assassin.
As Talon, you cannot, however, carry your entire team to victory on your own by killing every other champion on the enemy team. You will not be able to, since you're too cool down dependent. However...
You will get kills. You will snowball. And if you play your cards right, you will contribute to your team by removing important enemy targets - especially mages - from the field.
Attack damage is key on Talon, and so runes and items are designed around this fact. For masteries, however, I use a 0/9/21 build on him, because I feel he needs the cooldown reduction, and benefits from every talent spent in the utility tree, whereas some masteries in the offense tree do not come into play until late game (namely when you have amassed much crit), and by late game, if you haven't netted yourself as many kills as you could have, your items will suffer.
Note: I'm sorry the guide isn't as pretty as others, with links and images, but I assure you that I know how to play Talon and that you will benefit from this guide.
Pros / Cons
Less squishy than other Talon builds.
Excellent burst, but the burst depends on critical hits with Noxian Diplomacy.
Great, reliable damage over time if you execute the skills properly (see below sections).
A safe, efficient way to contribute to team fights.
Good mid and late game.
A bit less reliable burst than other Talon builds (Tri-Force builds).
Can be difficult early game without a good lane partner (bottom).
Can be difficult early game if facing a tanky DPS (top).
Armor penetration reds are key.
Attack damage quintessences help exceptionally with early game harassment, last hitting, and getting you early kills. However, movement speed quintessences are just as viable, given that Talon is somewhat slow.
Armor yellows and magic resistance blues give you the most statistics for your influence points, and so they are recommended by this guide. If you're bottom lane with a good partner, you can get per level armor / magic resistances, since your partner can help keep you safe as you trek towards 6 with farm or go in for the kill beforehand. If you're solo top or mid, however, flat armor and magic resistance is recommended to help you trade blows with the enemy.
0 / 9 / 21
Armor, magic resistance, and health regeneration from the defensive tree will let you lane as long as possible and will complement the runes discussed above, making the squishy Talon much less squishy and more durable in lane.
Cooldown reduction helps you use your full skill combo more often.
Increased movement speed, reduced death duration, and increased experience points are all useful to any champion.
Mana regeneration will help you stay in lane longer and use your combo more often.
Utility mastery will increase the duration of the red buff, and this is important. The red buff is very helpful for getting kills with Talon. If you plan on having the red buff often, you don't need a mallet or phage to activate Talon's passive indefinitely. You can build straight damage. Even if you want a mallet or phage, you can still use the red buff for an extra slow.
In this order...
Speed Boots -> Berzerker Greaves
Avarice Blade (Hold on to it to make use of the gold per 5)
Sell the Doran's Blade for another Bloodthirster at the end of the game.
Your final list of items ought to then be...
You will have very impressive damage and critical strike chance. The latter is important and often ignored by new Talon players - but one of Talon's key sources of damage, his Q ability (Noxian Diplomacy) can critical hit, much like Gangplank's Parley.
Skill Sequence / Solo Fights / Harrassing
Your optimal skill sequence depends on what you want to do.
Dueling Someone Who Is At Full Health
You want to open with Cutthroat, which will increase your damage by a % on the target.
Follow up with Noxian Diplomacy after an auto attack to reset your attack timer and add to overall damage. Note that this ability can critical hit.
Hit them Rake to slow them and hurt them some more.
Then hit Shadow Assault, your ultimate, to hurt them and vanish into the shadows.
Stay in stealth while your cooldowns refresh. The slow from Rake should make it easy for you to reposition yourself at the end of Shadow Assault so that the blades hit the target when they return.
By now you should be able to repeat the skill sequence and auto attack the target until they die.
If you feel that you cannot kill the target with another burst (for example, if their health is above 50% after your combo), then use the ultimate to escape and engage them later when you are at an advantage.
If you're playing someone who can trade blows with you and hurt you more than you hurt them, just hit them with W, your Rake ability, from a safe distance, and pull back to whittle their health.
If the enemy has a gap closer, I would recommend saving your E, Cutthroat, for when they close the gap, so they have a hard time following their gap-close skill with a much more dangerous and harmful ability / spell. So, when they close the gap on you, quickly use Cutthroat to silence them, then use Rake to slow them, and try to get out of harm's way by pulling back. Pull back first, and then Rake them, if you feel it necessary. This is an excellent way to counter-harass as Talon.
If you're dominating the opponent, and can hurt them much more than they can hurt you, use your full combination to lay on the hurt as much as possible. Open with Cutthroat, follow up with Noxian Diplomacy, and wrap up with Rake. If they are killable after the combo, follow up with Shadow Assault and auto attacks for a kill. If not, pull back and wait for cool downs.
In team fights, you want to hang back, wait for the tank to initiate, and wait for the safe, ranged DPS characters to soften the enemy up a little bit before entering and using your full combination. The best way to enter a team fight is to target a high priority enemy and use the kill combination described above, beginning with Cutthroat, following through with Diplomacy and Rake (trying to hit others with Rake as well), and getting out with your ultimate.
It is very, very important that you wait for the enemy's crowd control abilities to be used on someone else before you engage, so that you survive your initial combo long enough for you to trigger Shadow Assault, your ultimate. The enemy will surely target you when you hop into the fray, but if they are unable to disable you, they will just damage you, and you will nevertheless be able to escape using Shadow Assault and get ready for a second full combo on another person as your cool downs refresh during stealth.
I run with Ghost and Ignite.
Ghost: I find Talon's speed mediocre. His ultimate has such a low cool down that it can be used to escape, making Flash less attractive. Ghost can be combined with his ultimate for a really speedy and safe escape, too. And it makes chasing easier.
Ignite: Oftentimes, you will use your full kill combo on an enemy, and find that they are about to escape with just a smidgen of health remaining. Ignite them and watch the gold flow into your coffers. This spell is nice and makes Talon's kill combo much more reliable.
Exhaust: Excellent for dueling. Used after an ultimate means that you have even more time to wait for your cool downs to refresh. An excellent spell to use with Talon. If I were to use it, I'd substitute it for Ignite.
Flash: Widely considered to be the most valuable spell in the game, I find that if you play your cards right, you don't need it. But, you can use it to get a better position on your ultimate, escape over walls, and get out of sticky situations in team fights. A good spell.
This guide presumes that you will be last hitting, farming, placing wards, and playing like a dutiful team member. It is by no means an easy way to victory if you do not. In general, this Talon guide will net you respectable damage and good survivability for the end game.