Talon Build Guide by Kazandu
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.
Forward - Read This First
Hello my name is Kazandu and this is my guide for people who are interested in learning how to play Talon. I have extensive experience with Talon, and have been playing him since the date of his release, before and after his nerfs. I feel that I have a good grasp on how to play the champion and am still learning many of his intricacies even now. I welcome any critics on this guide so long that it is done in a constructive way. Also, please do not down-vote this guide without at least trying this build first and reading some of the strategies. I have no problem with down-votes so long as you tell me specifically what went wrong, so I can look to improve this guide as a result.
Also keep in mind that what works for me may not work for you.I will try and incorporate as many builds as humanly possible into this guide to cover a vast variety of items combinations that may work for your play style. Try and experiment with this guide, and send me any feedback that you have, I would greatly appreciate it.
Ok, I think that's enough disclaimers and notes for now. Now read on for a more comprehensive guide for learning how to play this deadly assassin.
(P.S. I will be working over the next week or so to fix up the grammar in this guide as I am sure it is atrocious right now. Please be patient while I look it over, no one is perfect after all).
Introduction - Talon, The Blade's Shadow
Talon has a very unique set of skills within a game of League of Legends. Talon can easily be described as the quintessential burst assassin, which basically means that he does a stupid amount of damage in an incredibly short amount of time (generally he will kill someone within 2 seconds). However, the drawback for all of this is that once all of his abilities are on cool down, he is next to useless and is a sitting duck out on the Fields of Justice.
So the real trick to playing Talon is to provide yourself with the correct opportunities to destroy your opponents. While reading this guide I will discuss my choices on how to build talon, as well as going over several tricks on how to use him to his full potential within a game of League. If you are just looking for items please look at the cheat sheet above, but for those who wish to have a more in depth look at the assassin, read on.
Pros / Cons: What makes Talon a Beast/*****
-His Burst damage is over 9000
- Cutthroat is one of the best gap closers in the game
- Rake makes late game farming a breeze
-Is able to escape many situations thanks to his ultimate
-Able to kill a majority of the games champions within two seconds (this is not a joke!)
-Dragonblade Talon looks beyond bad-***
-Rather Squishy for the majority of the game
-will be focused if anyone ever sees you coming
-When his abilities are on cool down he becomes useless
-Ult will reveal his location when the blades retract
-Can not even remotely approach any tank class character without severe caution
Masteries - More Damage!!!!!
Basically I play Talon so that he will have the most damage output humanly possible. As a burst assassin, talon needs to nuke an opposing champion hard and fast, so the best way to do this is give him as many points in the offense mastery tree as possible. Listed below are the rationale for the points that I spent on Talon's mastery Trees
Offensive Mastery Tree
This ability gives Talon more physical damage, and since all of Talon's abilities scale of of physical attack damage, it would be a waste not to put three points into this.
This mastery is another essential grab on Talon. Whether you agree with playing ghost on Talon or not (keep in mind that [exhaust], [ignite], and [flash] are also completely viable options on talon), at least one of Talon's summoner spells will be an ability that is classified under the offensive mastery tree. It makes sense then to enhance these abilities by grabbing a point in [summoner's wrath]
I am a firm believer that Talon should never be built for attack speed. Talon's damage comes from burst so to me it seem s foolish to waste his potential by needlessly increasing his attack speed. This mastery, however, allows us access to the [weapon expertise] mastery, which is designed for champions like talon. And it's not like the attack speed hurts talon, but it doesn't tremendously help him either.
Talon's biggest problem is when all of his abilities are on cool down, the problem being that he becomes a sitting duck with a bulls-eye on his head. Now while it is very true that talon does have very short cool downs, as a result of being a burst assassin all of his abilities are normally on cool down together, thus making him momentarily useless. I would love to max out the [sorcery ability], but when combined with the runes listed above as well as the items in this build, at level 18 Talon will have exactly the maximum 40% cool down (meaning his ultimate will be up every 33 seconds). So in reality only two points are needed in this ability to make sure that Talon has the maximum amount of cool down that he can have.
This mastery gives out Talon a 10% chance to penetrate the opponents armor and deal a massive amount of damage straight into the heart of opposing champions. The more armor Talon can shred through the more damage that he can do, so to me this is a perfect mastery to bestow upon Talon
Everything that Talon does more damage? Including the already massive amount of burst damage that Talon is already capable of? A 1.5% increase may not sound like much, but when you hit as hard as Talon that 1.5% can add a tremendous amount of damage onto your abilities.
Again, Talon is a champion that scales off of attack damage only, and his Noxian Diplomacy is a basic attack with modified damage, so life steal works surprisingly well with his skill. It also provides him with more sustainability early game in his lane when combined with his Doran's Blade
Armor penetration is a must have on talon and is a rather hard skill to come by. This mastery allows Talon to start with (providing you have runes and quintessences for armor penetration as suggested in this guide) a whooping 31 armor penetration at level 1, which will give him a fighting chance against a smart opposing champion who decides to start building some defensive items against you.
This mastery was MADE for Talon. Talon can very quickly get his opponents health to under 40%, so the extra 6% damage you receive from this mastery becomes invaluable on this burst assassin, often getting you the kill that you might not otherwise have retrieved.
Utility mastery Tree
Talon is squishy. He will be focused when he starts to do very well. I can vouch that when I start going 6/1/3 my opponents start focusing me in a team fight. This mastery allows you to get up quicker and get back onto the field to deliver you Noxian style of justice (or lack thereof)
I find that a speed boost on Talon helps him catch those who think that they are about to get away when combined with [cutthroat]. This is something that I feel should always be on Talon just so that the other team will have a much harder time getting away from me.
Runes - Shank 'Em Straight through their Heart!
greater mark of desolation
greater quintessence of desolation
The runes on Talon are designed in a way for you to hit very hard early in the game as well as negate the bonus armor that opposing champions will start to get later in the game. It also allows talon to survive longer in lane with the bonus armor as well as providing him with enough cool down at level 18 to max out at 40%, which makes Talon able to spam all of his abilities with blinding speed (a Noxian Diplomacy every two seconds will hurt like hell, as well as having your ultimate Shadow Assault up every 33 seconds!)
Summoner Spells - Utility for the Kill
I personally find that Talon works well with just about every summoner spell in the game (with a couple exceptions that make absolutely no sense on him, but still the majority work very well on him). Listed below are some of the skills that I prefer to use as well as the order of skill choices that I would recommend playing on Talon.
Recommended Summoner Spells
Ghost allows you to do three very important things with Talon, and it is these reasons that I love playing ghost on him.
1) It allows Talon to catch people off guard. Once people get use to Talon's speed and how fast he moves they will try very hard to stay out of range of his cutthroat. Activating Ghost will allow you to catch them completely off guard and burst them straight back to the spawning pad.
2) It allows you to maintain a chase better than Flash. Over a long distance ghost will cover more ground than flash and allow you to catch up to other champions that you would otherwise have to let escape with flash. Ghost provides a consistent speed boost to chase with as well as letting you ignore collision with minions, which in turn allows you to get in range for a cutthroat more easily. If you blow your flash and you are still out of range on your cutthroat then you will never catch them and watch a potential kill just run away.
3) Ghost gets you the hell out of there. I think that you can outrun other champions trying to catch you with ghost and keep enough distance between you and the people on your *** to get the hell out of there. Also it is an excellent idea to head straight through minions while they will be forced to head around them, buying you even more valuable time for your escape.
I love this spell to death and play it on the vast majority of champions I use (I normally play very slow tanky champions that can use this to get back into a fight or where they are needed, thus teleport really, really helps). However, a Talon hopping around the map provides a large dose of fear into the enemy team. If you can quickly teleport to a nearby minion or tower (or even better, a [sight ward] that's lying in a bush (or one of Teemo's mushrooms or Shaco's jack in the box). Talon needs access to the entire map in order to effectively gank, and I find the most helpful and effective way to do this is by playing teleport.
Other Completely Viable Summoner Spells
Great for getting the kill as the run away when you are in the early stages of the game. Also great for shutting down Soraka and Sona's heals, and will allow you to effectively nuke a champion without worry of the pitiful healing they shall receive.
If your slow from Rake was not enough to kill them this will be. I only find this spell useful in the early portion of the game just because it will prevent the opposing champions from running away. Late game you will cause enough damage to kill some of the lesser armored champions instantaneously, so i find this spell to not be very effective compared to ghost or flash. Speaking of....
A fantastic spell that is one of the best escape/chasing mechanisms in the game. I just prefer ghost, but you can easily exchange ghost for this, allowing yourself the ability for flashing quickly into dangers way or flashing over a wall to make a daring escape.
Any combination of Ghost, Flash, Exhaust, Ignite or Teleport are all completely viable on Talon, and depending on your preference and play style all of them suit the assassin equally well.
Viable but Not That Great
Talon is squishy early game and this will definitely help you stay alive longer. I personally don't recommend it because it becomes useless during the later portion of the game and serves as no real purpose late game.
Talon has mana problems early game (curse the nerf that made Rake unspammable!), so this is actually a perfectly viable option for Talon. I think it has more use late game (mostly because Talon still has mana problems late game, although they are very manageable at that point) but its use clearly diminishes over time , so its viable but not recommended.
Talon gets focused a lot. I find this spell just useful enough to be worth mentioning but not useful enough to say that I would find use for it in every game. basically if you are going up against a lot of people with suppression this might be the spell for you.
As for the Following...
Please do not disgrace Talon by playing these summoner spells. just don't do it. It's bad for your health (and win records)
Skill Abilities/Skill Sequence - Talon's Many Blades
At the top of this page I list the order in which I take my spells as talon. In this section I am going to describe what his skills do and the order in which I max them, as well as some helpful tips for using Talon's tools so that you may be rewarded with a kill.
Talon's passive grants him an extra 10% damage if his opponents are afflicted in some way (slowed, stunned, silenced, etc). If only there was a way to exploit this with an item...like say...oh I don't know... Frozen Mallet perhaps. This scales tremendously well with Talon's Q Noxian Diplomacy as well as his ultimate. Talon generally has a lot of ways to inflict massive amounts of pain onto an enemy, but the Frozen Mallet just makes sure that mercy hits all the harder (and talon already hits hard as hell).
Talon's single target nuke. It gives his next basic attack a huge attack bonus as ell as resetting his attack timer (so if you auto-attack and then activate Noxian Diplomacy you will essentially hitting them twice if timed right). It also has an ignite like effect that causes the target yo bleed their health away, as well as making them visible to the entire team for a few seconds (which is great because you will be able to see them as they run into a bush to try and escape you). A beast of a spell late game, and can be spammed to take down even the toughest of champions. I max this skill by level 13, or if I am fighting a very tanky champion in a solo lane then I will max this skill at level 9 (which is normally not the case because Talon does not fair well against the tanky)
Talon's bread and butter. This skill slows, farms, and does a hefty amount of damage too. Early game I would recommend not spamming this early game because it will suck the hell straight out of your mana. ONLY use if you have a VERY CLEAR SHOT on an enemy champion, then quickly back away. Late game this becomes a farm tool, taking out a group of minions in a single hit. I almost always max Rake first due to its excellent farm and harass, just be careful to keep an eye on you mana because rake does not come at a cheap price.
A flash and a silence all in one neat little skill. This skill terrifies the **** out of squishy casters, and it makes them into excellent Talon food. In the one second you silence them you can easily use all of your skill to take away their bar as they die a horrible death at the end of your large shank. This skill has a very good range allowing you to jump around the map at characters with easy, and makes a great ganking tool if they are not paying attention to the nearby bushes. I usually max this last because you just need one point at level 3 to use this as your jump, allowing you to burst down a foolish mage with ease.
Talon's ultimate is on a very short cool down timer, and is his greatest skill for escaping the midst of a hectic combat. It also does a massive amount of damage in a 1v1 situation. The whole key to using this ultimate properly is positioning. You have to place yourself in a position where most of your blades will pass through an enemy champion. This will deal maximum damage to them and allow you to Rake them as they try to escape, which will often provide you with the kill. Grab a point at level 6, 11 and 16 like you would with any other ultimate.
Recommended Items - Equipping Talon for the Kill
Talon's items are broken down into four sections in this guide: Early Game, Mid Game; Late Game; and End Game. This is my rationale behind the build order posted at the top of the page and hopefully will provide you with some insight on excellent items that have excellent synergy well with Talon.
I find that this is an essential starting item on Talon. It gives you enough of the basics such as extra damage, health, and life steal (which brings you up to 6% life steal if you took the three points in the Vampirism mastery). However if you do not like starting with a doran's item (I love the extra health and survivability it gives me, but that's just my preference) you can also start out with Boots of Speed and three health potions in order to compensate for the missing Doran's Blade.
Every Champ needs a pair of combat boots, and Talon is no exception. I get these second to make him more mobile in dodging opponent's skill shots, as well as moving faster in order to get in range for a cutthroat. Not much else to say other than that these boots are mandatory on every champ at one point or another during their game.
This is my favorite early game item on Talon that I usually rush as as soon as possible. It provides the three stats that Talon needs the most of: cool down, armor penetration, and attack damage. I love building a Youmuu's Ghostblade from this item, but normally let the The Brutalizer sit for a while as it does it's job just fine without urgently needing to be upgraded until later in the game.
These boots are my personal favorite boots for playing on Talon. They allow his cool downs to become extremely low when combined with his runes and The Brutalizer. However it should be noted that if the opposing team has a lot of crowd control then Mercury's Treads should replace the Ionian Boots of Lucidity, although I find that if you are smart with talon then you won't be getting caught by the opposing team any time soon. Everyone needs an better pair of boots, and in my experience I find that these boots have the best synergy with Talon
There is a lot of debate online about whether this item is good on a talon or not. I am in a mindset that this item does two things that other items (such as an earlier The Bloodthirster or Trinity Force would not help with:
1) It provides a slow that activates your passive and slows them, making them easier for you to kill. The extra damage as well as the slow provide you with enough to beat the **** out of any other champion while they are stuck in a pile of ice.
2) It gives you health, which improves your survivability. The sad reality is if a Talon is doing well, then he will get focused. Having the extra health helps. However, it is completely logical to skip over the frozen mallet and just build a Trinity Force or The Bloodthirster, although I strongly believe that the Frozen Mallet greatly improves Talon's survivability and abilities.
This item will eventually build into a Trinity Force, but until then I only use it for its on hit effect. If you use cutthroat, your next autoatack will hit for 150% of the damage it would have, and if you activate Noxian Diplomacy after that, then Sheen will trigger again and by the time it hits (since Noxian Diplomacy is considered a basic attack) it will deal 150% of the damage on that. This item has so much synergy with Talon it's stupid, and it is one of the best items with him (it also helps alleviate his mana problems)
I normally build two of these bad boys on Talon, one before and one after the Youmuu's Ghostblade. This item has scaling damage, and by the time you get one of these bad boys a single minion wave will fall to Rake making it very easy to get the stacks up on this item. It also provides a massive amount of life steal, which helps sustain talon in fights (his noxian dimplomacy restores a stupid amount of his health). Simply a must have on Talon if you ask me.
It is a more kick *** version of The Brutalizer, with an added bonus of an activated ability that Talon should totally take advantage of. Increasing your chasing speed and attack speed for a 12 second duration is pretty damn good, and now you have a chance to crit, and when your Q crits your enemies will sure as hell feel it.
An all around excellent item. Movement speed, health, mana, attack damage, and most importantly, Sheen's passive, are all tucked into this bad boy. I can say that I almost never get this far in my build (two bloodthirsters will generally end things by now) but when I have, this item has made so much difference. It hist hard as hell and makes Talon legendary. I strongly urge people to play this item on Talon because in my mind there is no other item I would rather have on him than a Trinity Force for that final push.
Alternative Items - Fixing Pesty Problems
Combos - Chaining Talon's Abilities for a Fatality
One of the most important things to remember about Talon is that in order to be effective you need to kill you opponents fast. The faster you kill them the faster they run away and the faster they will not want to mess with you. Talon needs speedily activated abilities to sow chaos into the enemy team as one of them dies and the others lose the majority of their health with a well placed Shadow Assault. Here are some basic combos that will allow you to burst down most enemy champions.
This is Talon's basic harass move. It takes a good chunk of health off opposing champions and will slow them down enough to either let you get away or get the kill. Early game it is your best tool for softening up enemy champions and letting them have it with your main damage combo (which will be explained down below). Use carefully because excessive use will cause a sever drain in your mana, and if you jump in without enough mana you WILL die.
Warning: THIS COMBO TAKES A HELL OF A LOT OF MANA FROM YOUR BAR EARLY GAME. YOU CAN ONLY DO IT TWO OR THREE TIMES BETWEEN LEVEL 3 AND 6 BEFORE YOU WILL BE FORCED TO RECALL FOR MANA. YOU MUST EITHER SECURE A KILL OR FORCE YOUR OPPONENT OUT OF LANE FOR THIS TO BE EFFECTIVE. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
Ok, this is your main form of damage. You cutthroat in, shank them with Noxian Diplomacy, then Rake to get away. Only chase them if they are about to die, otherwise you are better off just letting them go. Talon cannot chase them past a turret, and while all of your abilities are on cool down you are useless. It is better to get back to safety and keep harassing/farming then to get yourself killed in your own stupidity.
THIS IS ANOTHER MANA HEAVY COMBO. USE IT WISELY BECAUSE IF YOU DON'T GET A KILL THEY WILL GET AWAY.
This one hurts like hell. It will generally outright kill your average squishy character and maul anyone who does not have a decent amount of armor. With enough skill this combo can be elapsed in about 2 seconds and your opponent won't know what hit them (especially if you come out of a bush). Use with care and keep in mind at the earlier levels it should be used as a finishing move, and the damage taht will be done will cause seious harm. If nothing else they should be pushed out of lane. Use after a cutthroat -> Noxian Diplomacy -> Rake combo and it should be enough to kill them.
WARNING: ONLY USABLE AT LEVEL 18 WITH MAXIMUM COOLDOWNS
This is Talon's creme de le creme. If there is anyone stupid enough to be away from their team this is what you use to punish them. Unlike all of Talon's other combos, this one should be done slow, using Shadow Assault to its fullest time to allow your other cool downs to recover. This combo will kill anyone who is not a tank, and will kill them very quickly if all goes well. This combo is incredibly hard to pull off but when it works your opponents are completely helpless before your massive amount of damage.
Keep in mind that Talon should NEVER INITIATE COMBAT. Talon is an assassin, which means you target the wonderful squishy character at the rear of their party from a bush where no one will be able to see you as you cutthroat into the fray and use Shadow Assault to escape. You are not a tank and certainly not tanky to take the can of whoop *** the other team will open on you should they catch you. Take out the casters or support first, then worry about the healthy, beefy people after they are dead or distracted.
Summary - Guard Your Rear, Talon Appeared
Talon is my favorite character and my main on League of Legends. I love him to death and find that he is truly a character when played right to be feared. His damage is so brutal and his cool downs are so low that he is begging to be abused on the Fields of Justice. I will be adding more to this guide when I have time but until then please leave me comments below, I would really appreciate any feed back that people would give me (in a constructive manner please).