Talon Build Guide by 3clypse

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.

League of Legends Build Guide Author 3clypse

Talon - Solo Queue Master

3clypse Last updated on July 27, 2013
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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.



Offense: 21

Honor Guard

Defense: 0


Utility: 9

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Hello Mobafire community! I am 3clypse and this is my first guide that I have made on one of my favorite champions, Talon! This guide is not completed yet, but I will be finishing it soon, please give me constructive feedback on how I could improve this guide. I have played League of Legends for about one year now, and I enjoy it a lot, but I like theory crafting more than anything. I don't have many flashy ranked stats to show here, because I don't actually get to play ranked much, but I assure you that my build works. Please refer to my maths chapter to see how I came up with this build.

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Pros / Cons


  • He counters AP mids, which are the current meta
  • He does godly amounts of burst damage
  • He has superb ganks with the slow from Rake
  • He is easy to play
  • He has a good gap-closer with Cutthroat
  • He has a good escape with Shadow Assault

  • He is hard to master
  • He is a melee champion
  • He doesn't fit in with the current meta because he is AD
  • He is very fragile
  • Team fights can be hard

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Talon's Playstyle

Talon is a AD caster with insane burst, a blink with a decent range, a AA reset, and a good escape with Shadow Assault which is on a low CD for an ult. He also has superb ganking ability with his Rake and Cutthroat. His weaknesses are that he is Squishy, his blink Cutthroat is on a 18 second CD until you start to level it up.

Early Game

Early game Talon should be able to trade with most AP mids with some exceptions like Diana. Start with Rake to harass some, and help your jungler with a leash. If enemy mid laner will stay far away from you or if the silence will help you a lot while trading e.g. Ahri or Syndra get Cutthroat, but if the enemy mid will be up in your face like Diana get Noxian Diplomacy at level 2 and get Cutthroat at level 3 or 4. If you hit 6 before the other mid you should go for a kill because Talon get a huge power spike, and he can 100-0 pretty much any mid if you can hit Rake and Shadow Assault and then Ignite.

Mid Game

Mid game is where Talon shines. If he catches the other mid out he can just burst them down. If bot is pushed to their turret Talon can gank and will usually get a double kill. If their jungler is low Talon can burst them down and get their buffs. In teamfights Talon can just Cutthroat to the enemy ADC burst them down and get out with Shadow Assault, and then wait for his CDs and go in for another burst on the APC. Teamfights are hard for Talon though if he can't burst the ADC down in one burst or if he gets CC'd when he jumps on the ADC. Just play smart and wait for your tanks and bruisers to initiate, and then go for the kill.

Late Game

As I said Talon isn't the best at teamfights, so you would think that he would have a horrible late game right? Well no, Talon's job late game is to wait for the ADC or APC to make a mistake and then burst them down. You need to be patient and wait for the right time to strike and then Cutthroat on the enemy ADC or APC Rake them, AA, Noxian Diplomacy, Ignite, and Shadow Assault to get out. That is one of their main sources of damage gone. This makes it a 4v5 and your team can usually follow up and push to win.

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I use 21/0/9 masteries on Talon because this gives him the highest burst damage potential, and I take some points in utility to help with roaming and buff duration. There are different ways to build Talon like 21/9/0 for extra magic resist, armor, and health, however I prefer the roaming potential of the utility tree to the slight increase in defensive stats.

Offensive Tree

In the first tier of the offensive tree I take:

1 point in Summoner's Wrath because it increases AD by 5 while Ignite is down, which can be quite helpful.
4 points in Sorcery because I find that CDR is more beneficial on talon than Attack Speed.
2 points in Butcher to help with last hitting early game.
I pass on Fury because I think that Sorcery offers much more to Talon because he doesn't use AA much in his burst.

In the second tier of the offensive tree I take:

4 points in Deadliness because is better than Blast or Destruction on Talon
I don't take Blast because it gives you AP which Talon doesn't use.
I don't take Destruction because i think that the extra AD is more useful than the extra turret damage, Talon isn't made to push turrets.

In the third tier I take:

3 points in Havoc because it is more useful than Lethality or Frenzy because I don't build crit chance on talon.
1 point in Weapon Expertise . This provides an extra 8% armor pen, which is an amazing. This can add a lot of damage to Talon's burst especially after you have build The Black Cleaver and Last Whisper.
I pass on Arcane Knowledge because I didn't take Blast (neither of them help Talon in anyway though)

In the forth tier I take:

2 points in Brute Force because it adds more AD, which you can never have enough of
I pass on Lethality because I am not using crit chance runes or items, so it is useless.
I pass on Mental Force because Talon does not use AP
I pass on Spellsword because I don't ever build any AP, which causes Talon's AA hurt a whopping 0 damage more.

In the fifth tier I take:

3 points in Sunder because it can make your abilities and AAs hurt a lot more early game
I pass on Frenzy because I didn't take Lethality
I pass on Archmage because Talon doesn't use AP
And I take Executioner to be more effective at finishing enemies who have low health.

Utility Tree

In the first tier of the Utility tree I take:

1 point in Summoner's Insight because it reduces the CD on Flash, which allows me to escape more often.
3 points in Wanderer to increase Talon's ganking and roaming potential
I pass on Meditation because I have enough mana regen with my runes.
I pass on Improved Recall because I don't think a one second reduction on recall is worth a point

In the second tier I take:

3 points in Mastermind because it increases the amount of times in a game that I can escape with Flash or finish an enemy off with Ignite.
I pass on Scout because a 25% increase in vision for 3 seconds after placing a ward is never that useful.
I pass on Expanded Mind because I think that reducing the CD on summoner spells is much more important that 10 extra mana per level.
I put 1 point into Artificer because it helps with my sustained damage on Ravenous Hydra

Finally I take Runic Affinity because I think that it is by far better than .5 GP10 or 1% lifesteal/spellvamp or a Total Biscuit of Rejuvenation.

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Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed

Greater Glyph of Magic Resist

Greater Mark of Attack Damage

Greater Mark of Armor Penetration

Greater Seal of Mana Regeneration


I use Greater Quintessence of Movement Speeds for better roaming, so that I can gank lanes faster and get back to my own lane.

Alternatively you could use Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage for more early burst and harass early with Rake.


I use Greater Mark of Armor Penetration X 4 and Greater Mark of Attack Damage X 5 because this makes the enemy's armor become negligible and gives [[rake] substantial harass early game
Alternatively you could use only Greater Mark of Attack Damage for better harass with your Rake


I use Greater Seal of Mana Regenerations because Talon has a lot of mana problems early, and I personally prefer the extra regen over any other seals.

Alternatively you could use Greater Seal of Armor for the slight boost to survivability that it gives during teamfights. Also always pick these over Greater Seal of Mana Regeneration if you are against another AD mid laner.


This is in my opinion the only choice for glyphs against an AP mid laner.
Only use these if they have an AD mid laner and you want the extra cdr and plan of not buying Ionian Boots of Lucidity.

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Summoner Spells

Summoner Spells are pretty subjective, but this is my two cents on what each of them do for Talon

Suggested Summoner Spells

Flash is a great summoner spell on Talon as with most other champions. It can allow you to get in range of an enemy champion to Cutthroat them and burst them down. It can be used with Shadow Assault to escape. I always pick flash when playing Talon.

Ignite is another good choice for Talon, because it can secure kills for you early, and it can increase the damaging potential of his burst, and make healing much less effective.

Exhaust is also a good choice for Talon, especially against another AD mid like Pantheon or Kha'Zix, it will can help you win trades, or help with your Jungler's ganks, but I don't find this useful enough to take over Ignite when I am against an AP mid like Ahri or Karthus.

Okay Summoner Spells

Ghost can be a good alternative to Flash, it can help you escape a bit better than Flash if you are being chased, but it doesn't provide the versatility offered by Flash. It all comes down to personal preference honestly. Ghost helps you with chasing/escaping better than Flash. I would definitely pick one or the other though for a method of escape.

Cleanse is a very situational summoner spell. It can be very effective against a heavy CC lane, or it can surprise the enemy Twisted Fate after he stuns you with his Pick A Card, the only reason that I don't use this that much is that if CC if a problem you can buy a Quicksilver Sash instead of using a summoner spell for it and also you should be buying Mercury's Treads if CC is really a problem.

Heal can be effective on Talon for a few things, like baiting a tower dive, or saving a team mate, but this isn't Talon's job. Talon is an assassin. He is meant to Cutthroat to the AD carry burst them down, and get out with Shadow Assault. Heal doesn't help you at all with any aspect of that.

Teleport can be very effective on Talon because of his good ganks. If you use this I would suggest that you know the people that you are playing with, so that you can communicate and say to put a ward down for you to Teleport to and then help gank their lane.

Bad Summoner Spells

Barrier is just a bad choice on Talon because Talon is not meant to be a tank, he is an assassin, so he needs to burst down the carry, and get out in team fights. Barrier does not help him with this at all, nor does it help him in the laning phase. There is just no practical reason to get this.

Talon can be mana hungry early game if he is harassing with Rake, but Clarity is not a good choice to combat this. I don't suggest taking this because even though it can help him some it the very early game it has absolutely no use after the early laning phase. If you are having mana problems I would suggest that you just focus on last hitting, and occasionally Cutthroat to the enemy and burst them to scare them off. Don't harass with Rake during the laning phase, it is a huge mana waste.

Clairvoyance is a support spell. It just does not work on Talon. If you really need vision of an area you can ping for a Clairvoyance from your support if he has it.

Revive is very very effective for trolling. Just don't use it, it really makes no sense. If you really want this ability then build a Guardian Angel.

Smite is a spell for junglers. This is a Talon mid guide. I don't like to jungle with Talon. Go look at another guide if you want a jungle guide.

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Skill Explanation

Rake is Talon's main form of damage throughout the game. This is because it has higher base damage than Noxian Diplomacy, and only a .1 worse AD ratio. However this is much harder to land than Noxian Diplomacy because to do it's full damage if it hits BOTH WAYS out and back. This also slows the target an amount based on the level of Rake.

This can be used to:

  • Harass in lane, but be careful it uses a lot of mana.
  • Catch up to fleeing enemies
  • Farm minions. Rake is Talon's only non ultimate ability that can deal damage to more than one target.
  • Trigger Talon's passive Mercy causing him to deal 10% more damage

Noxian Diplomacy is Talon's main single target damage dealing ability. When triggered it will cause an effect where the next AA that Talon uses causes more damage, and a bleed that has a 1:1 AD ratio. The bleed isn't that effective early game because it has a low base damage, but late game this causes the majority of the damage.

This can be used to:
  • AA twice. Activating Noxian Diplomacy right after a AA hit will cause you to attack twice
  • Preform a stronger attack right after Cutthroating to an enemy.

Cutthroat is Talon's blink ability. It silences the target for one second, and causes a damage amplification effect on the target, which can be used before a burst for to cause tons of damage *cough*

Uses for Cutthroat:
  • Escaping from an enemy. Though this ability can not target friendly units Talon can sometimes escape by using Cutthroat on an enemy minion.
  • Use in combination with Noxian Diplomacy and Rake to harass an enemy.
  • Use to get to AD carry to burst them down

Shadow Assault is Talon's ultimate. It consists of a ring of blades coming out of Talon followed up with 2.5 seconds of stealth. The blades deal damage on the way in and out. After you have used the initial ability you can press R again to pull the blades back in, I suggest doing this if you need to do some quick damage to the target, but if you don't reactivate it you can escape with the stealth.

Uses for Shadow Assault
  • In teamfights you can use this once the tank initiates to get to the AD carry, and deal damage on the way.
  • Shadow Assault can help you escape from a bad situation with extra movement speed and stealth

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If you are confused on what I buy and why it is explained in the section below which gives the maths behind why I pick these items.

Starting Items

The best overall start on Talon. This gives him some early sustain and damage, and the Long Sword builds into the first major item, Spirit of the Elder Lizard.

sight ward Use this start against skill shot lanes like Ahri and Karthus. If you want to try to out sustain your opponent get 4 Health Potions, but if you want to be aggressive early pick up a sight ward.

First Back

Buy Boots of Speed before The Brutalizer if you didn't start with them, and hopefully pick up a Faerie Charm for the mana regen.

sight ward Also Don't forget to buy wards!!


Buy Boots of Mobility if you are roaming a lot or plan on roaming a lot. I usually take these because Talon has very strong ganks, so I can gank lanes before an enemy even calls a mia.

I take Mercury's Treads if there is a lot of CC on the enemy team, if the team is mainly AP, or if the enemy mid if destroying me in lane and I need the MR.

I will pick up Ionian Boots of Lucidity if I don't need Boots of Mobility or Mercury's Treads because the CDR helps Talon get off more bursts in a shorter amount of time.

Core Items

This is the first core item that I buy because Talon uses all of the stats that it gives, and it is extremely gold efficient, and not very expensive. If you are wondering why I take this first over The Bloodthirster look at my maths section below this section.

I buy The Bloodthirster next because it adds a lot of damage to Talon's burst, and it is extremely gold efficient.


I will buy The Black Cleaver if the enemy has a good amount of armor.

I pick up Youmuu's Ghostblade of the enemy team has little or no armor because it gives more damage then The Black Cleaver if they have <100 armor. If you do pick up Youmuu's Ghostblade build Infinity Edge next.

Other Situationals

Ravenous Hydra is like another ability for Talon because it scales with AD. This is the best choice if you picked up The Black Cleaver and the enemy team has <125 armor.

Last Whisper is a very good item if the enemy team is stacking armor, and will deal more damage than Ravenous Hydra at around 150 armor.

Pick up an Infinity Edge if you got a Youmuu's Ghostblade before. This will give you better crit chance, and devastating crits.

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The Maths behind the Items

Why Spirit of the Elder Lizard over The Bloodthirster?
It is more cost efficient because Talon uses all of the stats from Spirit of the Elder Lizard.
Here is the math:
(Fully Stacked)

100 Attack Damage=4000g
18% Life Steal= 720g
Gold Efficiency= 4720/3200=1.475
So The Bloodthirster is worth 147.5% of what it cost fully stacked.

35 attack damage=1400g
14 health regen per 5=504g
7 mana regen per 5=420g
10% Cooldown Reduction=322g
Burn Passive=~500g
Total= 3146g
Gold Efficiency=3146/2000=1.573
So Spirit of the Elder Lizard is worth 157.3% of what you payed for it, not including the butcher passive.

The Black Cleaver and Last Whisper total armor pen on Talon is 73%+21.12
Youmuu's Ghostblade and Infinity Edge total armor pen = 8%+31.12
Runes + Masteries give 8%+11.12
Will be adding more on when to buy The Black Cleaver or Last Whisper over Ravenous Hydra or Youmuu's Ghostblade later

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Match Ups

Difficulty:3/10 Start:

Ahri's main damage comes from her Orb of Deception, but her Fox-Fire hurts also. Just dodge her Orb of Deception and Charm, then Cutthroat to her Rake, AA, then Noxian Diplomacy. Rinse and repeat until 6 then go for the kill with Shadow Assault and Ignite.

Difficulty:2/10 Start:

Brand is very similar to Ahri because they both have a skill shot as their main source of damage. Dodge Brand's Pillar of Flame and then Cutthroat to him and burst him down. Also be careful of the Conflagration into Sear combo.

Difficulty:4/10 Start:

Cassiopeia is dangerous because she can poison you with her Noxious Blast or Miasma and then Twin Fang you to death. Just dodge her Noxious Blast and Miasma and then Cutthroat to her and harass her. Once she is low burst her down Ignite her and then walk away. If you hit 6 before she does then 100-0 her with your Shadow Assault and Ignite.

Difficulty:8/10 Start: sight ward

Diana is a good counter to Talon. Early game she can harass you with Crescent Strike and if you Cutthroat to her she will probably pop her Pale Cascade a second before, soak up all of your damage, and then Moonfall you closer to her and then hit you with another Crescent Strike. She can also chase you with her Lunar Rush post 6, and you can't burst her down with your Shadow Assault because of her Pale Cascade. Just roam and try to get kills in other lanes, especially if she get a Seeker's Armguard