Talon Build Guide by kubthemaster
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.
I'm a confident Talon player and I'll try to share my knowledge with you through this guide. After reading it, you should have the ability to adapt to most situations with this character.
Talon really excels in the middle lane, but he can be a good solo top champion as well. He's capable of jungling, and I'll tell you a bit about that too. I've broken the guide into pre-game, itemization and gameplay chapters, to make it easier for you to find whatever you need.
If you find this guide helpful, vote it up and feel free to leave a comment. If you think it's missing something, let me know so I can improve it.
Lets get to it!
Why Talon ?
+ Great Mobility
+ Crushing Burst
+ Ok DPS
+ Reliable Anti-Carry
- Very gold/item dependent
- Glasscannon / Squishy
- Easily countered
- High risk champion
This lane is truly a paradise for this champion since most of the mages aren't any challenge for him. Except his very strong laning, he's also a very good side ganker because of his mobility, utility and burst.
Though usually this lane will be occupied by your own AP carry, which brings us to the next option.
I think it's safe to say that you'll find yourself in this lane most of the time, when playing Talon. It's still very viable, as he has the upper hand against most bruiser early on. If you can explore this yourself, or with an early gank, you can snowball very well.
There are some top lane champions though, which Talon just can't handle at all. And that's exactly why you probably shouldn't first pick him with no other option besides top lane. At least at rankings where people actually have a brain.
Yes, you can jungle Talon, but it's hard to judge if it's actually worth doing it. He's got good ganks because of his burst damage and the ability to cut off enemy's escape. But at the same time he's very squishy in the jungle and very item dependent. When doing this, it's all or nothing. I'll give this some more attention in the 'jungling' section.
For the list of the champions he does or does not counter, proceed to the 'gameplay' section.
Greater Mark of Armor Penetration
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage
Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage
Makes it easier to last hit, and might give you that extra edge over the opponent in the early levels.
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
Since you are supposed to do as much damage as fast as possible, you probably won't be stacking defensive items. Those runes can compensate for it to some extend.
Greater Seal of Armor
They're quite good. To be honest, I just don't see a better option here for this champion.
Greater Mark of Desolation
Well, he doesn't do any magic damage. So pretty self-explanatory.
I get 21/0/9 for masteries.
You take the right half of the offensive tree, and movement speed and buff duration increase from the utility tree. Works quite well.
If you don't like Vampirism , replace it with 3 points in Sorcery .
If you don't feel so confident. You might get bonus MR and Armor from the defense tree instead of going with the utility bonuses.
Flash: Lets you escape uncomfortable situations, jump over walls, or catch up to people when necessary. Overall, it's a great mobility increase.
Ignite: Gives you that little bit of extra damage you might need to finish someone off. Reduced healing effect also makes a difference.
Ghost: Great mobility increase on a short cooldown, but you have to run all the way and can't jump walls.
Teleport: Great for challenging dragon, joining team fights or split pushing or defending lanes.
Exhaust: Can be very surprising for the enemy if timed right.
Passive - Mercy
Very good passive that boosts your damage output. We'll talk more about how to take most advantage of it in the tips&tricks section.
(Q) - Noxian Diplomacy
I take this at level 2 or 3, depending on the situation, and max it by level 13.
This is the main nuke of Talon's arsenal. Make sure you use your W before triggering this, for maximum damage output.
(W) - Rake
I take it at level 1, and max it by level 9. It's a very good harass skill and farming skill. Next to these two, its utility can secure kills or let you escape from tricky situations. It also synergizes well with his passive because of the slow, allowing you to deal maximum damage.
(E) - Cutthroat
Depending on how the game looks, I take this at level 2 or 3. If you're getting an early gank from your jungler, or if you need a gap closer this early for whatever reason, take this at level 2. If things are looking steady, just wait till level 3. It's the last skill I max.
It's a very powerful spell, but you need good burst damage to back it up, and that's why I max other spells first. Even with one point in this spell and the others maxed, it's just perfect to take out casters because of the silence.
(R) - Shadow Assault
This is Talon's ultimate ability. It can give you that extra burst when you need to take down someone fast, or it can save your life when you're trying to escape. It's also on a very low cooldown, which means you should always have it up when you need it.
!!! Auto-attacking or using an ability while your blades are dispersed, makes you loose your stealth and the blades collapse.
So with everything set up right, it's time to talk about the itemization.
As we all know, every game is different and may require a different set of tools to win. I'm going to try to give you some kind of a core build, and tell you how to customize it depending on your situation.
For starting items I like to take:
Boots of Speed
Health Potion x3
I think this is the safest build I've come up with. It gives you sustain and moderate damage early game, very good damage mid game, and huge damage late game. As for survivability, I rely on good mobility. Talon isn't a tanky-DPS, so building defense will make you miss out on burst, and you will still be easy to kill.
Now let's talk about those items, and how they contribute towards reaching your maximum potential.
- Ionian Boots of Lucidity
Talon's main source of damage are his abilities, which allow him to burst like a motherfuc*er. In a fight, an ability off cooldown can make the difference between getting killed and getting a kill. Some people would go for Berserker's Greaves, but 0,2 attack speed ain't gonna make much of a difference. Especially since the right use of your skills can make up for lower attack speed, which I will tell you about in the 'tips&tricks' section. If for whatever reason you need more defensive stats, consider these: SPACE
- Wriggle's Lantern
Talon doesn't have any sustain built in and you will need to compensate for it, in order to stay in the lane. Wriggle's Lantern is the safest choice, and it also makes farming much easier. Apart from that, you get a free ward which should keep you safe from ganks. I build this ASAP, even before upgrading boots.
- Trinity Force
It's a great item on most melee-AD-assassins in my opinion. It pretty much gives you all the stats you need in one single package. I'll split it up to explain.Phage gives you some more durability, damage and a passive which is great for chasing AND to keep your passive up! I recommend getting this as the first part of your TF.SPACE
Zeal boosts your mobility, attack speed, and critical chance. The extra movement speed and critical chance will definitely become very useful when assassinating enemy carries.
Sheen is the last item I get to finish TF. Talon doesn't have any AP scalings, but his Q stacks with Sheen's passive, making it worth the money.
- Infinity Edge
I'd get this right after Trinity Force, or even before if I was behind and needed more burst damage fast. I heard people say it's a bad item... it's not! I can't stress it enough how important and strong this item is on Talon, who is supposed to burst down carries before they even see him. The exact mechanics and math is in the tips&tricks section.
- Guardian Angel
I believe this is the best defensive item on carries, who are not supposed to stack defense. Banshee's Veil is overrated and overpriced. It only gives you magic resist and little HP, and the passive can become useless at those poking-fights. Guardian Angel gives you more overall durability, and can turn a death into even a pentakill. So if you're having trouble getting your damage out there, or escaping after assassinating their carries, buy this.
- The Bloodthirster
Why buy this item so late ? Well,... It's easier to stack then some people think. It boosts the damage output of your abilities, and gives you more sustain. I'd build it right after IE if I was very far ahead, or after Guardian Angel if it was a really long game. When you have this, you can sell the wrigglers to make space for bigger items.
- Last Whisper
An item you really should consider late game. A lot of people underestimate this, but it makes a huge difference... basically, you will be dealing twice as much damage when you get this, literally melting everything that's got 200 armor or less.
So the build above is what you usually can get away with. 'Usually' doesn't mean it's always going to work, and 'getting away with it' suggests there could be better options. So depending on your situation, you might want to take a look at the following suggestions:
- Early Brutalizer
If you need early Armor Penetration, that's the build I'd recommend. Wriggle's usually does the job good enough, but against some tanky champions it's simply not enough. It also really improves your burst against squishies later on. Since Talon relies on his spells for the most of his damage, the cooldown reduction also makes sense.
You can build your Vampiric Scepter straight into The Bloodthirster when the time comes. Sell The Brutalizer when you buy Last Whisper. Read what I wrote about getting ghostblade down below.
- Executioner's Calling
When facing champions with very heavy sustain, like Swain or Volibear for example, you should consider this item. It gives you good life steal and the active really helps. You also get critical chance which will be useful.
You buy this instead of Wriggle's, and replace it later with The Bloodthirster.
- Rushing IE
In case you're behind and need more burst fast, you can rush Infinity Edge. Trinity Force can be built afterwards or skipped completely as it's quite an expensive item. It's not completely necessary to have Trinity Force on Talon, but i really like it for the reasons explained in the main build.
- Atma's Impaler
It is viable, and not that bad to be honest. You'll have to sacrifice Trinity Force and Guardian Angel for this.
After you get Phage, buy Atma's Impaler. I don't know why people say you need health before buying Atma's. It's simple. You buy health first if you need more survivability. But if you want more damage, just go with Atma's. It's not like it's useless without that 200 - 500 HP extra.
Whenever you feel like you need more survivability, or are desperate for that passive, build your Phage into Frozen Mallet.
Why Frozen Mallet and not Warmog's ? Because you will loose some of your mobility together with the Tri-Force, so the slow will help you chase down enemies. Apart from that, it will make sure that your passive is always on!
- Madred's Bloodrazor
If the enemy team is very beefy, you can find yourself in need of Madred's Bloodrazor. I suggest skipping Trinity Force and building this after Infinity Edge. Infinity Edge has the priority because you still should be focusing the carry, and you shouldn't need a Bloodrazor for them.
It's very rarely that you have to get this item, but sometimes it can really save your ***.
- (NO!) Youmuu's Ghostblade
I put this here because a lot of people recommend this, but it really isn't worth it.
For 2,7k gold and giving up an item slot, you get 15$ armor penetration, some attack speed and critical chance. If you want more armor penetration, get Last Whisper. You certainly should not be focusing on attack speed or critical chance. As for the latter, you'll get more crit from the 'cheap' Cloak of Agility.
Talon is very item dependent, and therefore needs as much gold as you can get. Having a successful laning phase can give you a huge boost into the mid/late game.
You want to keep your farm good, as it's where the most gold comes from. Please remember that you don't have to kill your opponent 20 times to win the lane. It helps, but it's inefficient if it takes you too long. Just zone and don't worry, eventually he'll make a mistake or he'll get too far behind. You also might want to consider giving other lanes a gank once in a while. Now let's have a look how he performs against different champions in lane.
Basically, there are 3 things you should focus on in a team fight. You're an assassin so reaching and killing the carries is never really hard. Remember that.
Determine who's the most dangerous on their team damage wise, and kill that person. With Talon's set of skills it should be impossible to get caught up between enemy tanks.
If you're loosing, but the other team relies on one person to carry them, it's worth it to sacrifice yourself. If nobody initiates, just jump on them when you get the chance, and kill them with your combo. Guardian Angel is really helpful in those situations.
You don't only do damage, but can provide some utility through your abilities. Sometimes it's better to silence the AP carry as soon as possible, since he does his damage in the first second he can.
The slow from Rake is also very powerful and can make it hard for the enemies to move around the battlefield.
You need to be fast! Your abilities deal great damage and can turn a 5v5 fight into 5v3 or even 5v2 very quickly. Therefore, make the most out of your team's crowd control, as you'll probably be focused once you get in there.
Killing half of the enemies before they can lock you down obviously helps here.
Talon is capable of jungling, as is most of the champions nowadays. And sadly... it's not much more then that. He has good gank potential because of his gap closing ability and burst, but he needs items to back it up.
What I'm trying to say is that through jungling, you'll loose more then you'll gain. He's slow and squishy, which will make you fall behind quite easily, and it's very hard to get back up again. If for whatever reason you still want to jungle him, here are some things to keep in mind.
There are two ways you can do it, time or gold efficient. They both have one thing in common though, you NEED Smite!
- Time efficiency
Start with Cloth Armor and 5x Health Potion, put a point into Rake. Start at blue, ask your teammates for a pull and preferably some damage. Smite it and get Noxian Diplomacy at level 2.
Proceed to wolves, whraits and start working on the red lizzard. Your smite should be off cooldown just in time. Get Cutthroat and you're ready to gank.
Use your HP pots whenever necessary, and leave one or two to heal up before ganking.
- Gold efficiency
Start with Cloth Armor and 3x [[Health Potion, take Rake at level 1. Start at blue and proceed with wolves and whraits. Use one potion for the blue/wolves and one for whraits.
After whraits go to double golems, smite the big one and use your last potion if you still have it. Put another point into Rake and back to base.
Buy Vampiric Scepter and a pot or two if you can. Do whraits, and red lizzard when your smite gets off cooldown. At level 4 get Cutthroat and you're ready to gank!
Don't attempt to do dragon alone! With only Wriggle's Lantern and level 2 shoes, you stand no chance. Even with another damage item, you might struggle.
Your best option is to successfully gank bot lane and ask your allies for help.
Ganking is fairly easy, if you have your items. Without them, you're kind of slow. Still, Talon can make the good stuff happen if you do it right.
Basically, you want to run up to them and use Cutthroat. Now is the best time for your ally to throw more disables at them. Follow up with an auto-attack and Noxian Diplomacy. Finally use Rake to get the slow on them to prevent them from running away easily.
It sounds long, but what I described here should take you about 1 - 1,5 second.
You will be under-farmed, and even if you get kills/assists, it isn't going to make up for it.
Definitely buy Wriggle's Lantern as you won't be able to jungle efficiently without it. If you want to improve your jungle speed and sustain a bit, consider Berserker's Greaves instead of Ionian Boots of Lucidity.
Infinity Edge and Trinity Force are worth 8000 gold, which is a huge amount when talking about junglers. Therefore, if you can manage not to die, you can skip them and stack The Bloodthirster. It will give you more damage on your skills, and that's the most important thing. If you don't want to be reliable on the stacks, go with Infinity Edge, though you won't have as much critical chance compared to when paired with a Trinity Force.
Opening with E silences the enemy for one second, which makes it very good against any kind of casters. It also increases your damage by 3-15% for 3 seconds.
Following up with W, will slow them and trigger your passive.
When you turn on your Q, and you do have Sheen/ Trinity Force and Infinity Edge, together with the extra damage from Mercy and Cutthroat, it can pretty much mean the end of someone.
If that burst wasn't quite enough, you can always use Shadow Assault for the final blow.
Both, Noxian Diplomacy and Cutthroat reset your auto attack timer. So try to lay down one auto hit before triggering your Q, as it will dramatically increase your burst.
In case someone is close, you can do the same with your E. Though in such situation, I'd keep it off cooldown just in case...
When trying to escape with all the enemies coming from one direction and catching up to you, use Rake. The slow is actually very powerful and it's range makes it safe to use when being chased.
If that isn't enough, or you're surrounded by enemies, pop Shadow Assault. It's duration is pretty short, so your best way of escape is to run to a long wall and flash over it.
Again, if you find yourself fighting against a cc-heavy team, consider Quicksilver Sash. As long as cc is the only problem of course.
Talon is a very fun and strong champion. Playing him might seem hard at first, especially if you don't get lucky at matchmaking. I've given you all my knowledge, but if you still have any questions, feel free to ask. Same goes for constructive feedback on this guide, I'll be very happy if I can improve it.
It won't hurt to give me an upvote if this guide helped you in any way ;)
I also want to thank JhoiJhoi, for his guide on making guides. It really helped me a lot when writing this, and you can find it here. The cool line dividers are also of his creation.
Wish you the best on The Fields of Justice,