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Talon Build Guide by Vapora Dark

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Not Updated For Current Season

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Vapora Dark

Vapora's Guide To Talon

Vapora Dark Last updated on June 23, 2013

Ability Sequence

4
8
10
12
13
Ability Key Q
1
3
5
7
9
Ability Key W
2
14
15
17
18
Ability Key E
6
11
16
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.



Masteries

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1/
Executioner
 
 

Offense: 21

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Honor Guard
 
 

Defense: 9

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Pickpocket
Intelligence
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Nimble
 
 

Utility: 0


Guide Top

Guide Needs Updating

My guide is slightly out of date at the moment. Most of the information is still valid, but some things regarding item choices and such may be incorrect. The cheat sheet IS up to date however, so if anything with the cheat sheet conflicts with anything in the guide, always listen to the cheat sheet.


Guide Top

Introduction

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Hey guys, I'm Vapora Dark, and welcome to Vapora's Guide To Talon.

Presumably you're here because you want to learn to play Talon, but you have no clue as to what his playstyle is, how his skills work, how to build him etc. Be patient and bare with me.

This is a very long guide, and not something you can read in a few minutes, but hopefully when you're done reading it, you won't regret it and you'll leave with a deeper understanding of how Talon functions.

To start off with, I want to plant you one question:

Who is Talon?



That, my friends, is a very easy question to answer. He's an AD burst assassin. He's what AP mids have nightmares about. He's what makes AD carries **** themselves during a team-fight. He's what keeps every enemy looking over their shoulder every 5 seconds, praying he isn't there. And he's also pretty ****ing cool if you ask me.

But, the only thing you need to stick with is the term "AD burst assassin". He's not a sustained fighter, he doesn't lay out constant damage like an AD carry, he doesn't sit on the front line tanking damage for his team. He's an assassin. His role, therefore, is to assassinate. Logicly.

To assassinate his targets, he has what we call a "burst". Burst is the opposite of sustained damage, which is to constantly deal damage over time. It means to lay out a massive amount of damage, in very little time. Talon's burst is extremely strong, and as soon as he hits level 6 he is a terror to his opponent, as there is a very high chance of him killing them in under 2 seconds without leaving them any chance to retaliate.

In team-fights, his ideal target is generally the AD carry. AD carries are the largest influence over how a team-fight can go, generally, as their damage is higher than anyone else on their team's. They lay out sustained damage throughout the entire team-fight, so unlike burst damage, it won't be devastating straight away. It takes time to pile up and become an extremely large amount of damage, and you want to kill him before his damage reaches that stage.

This guide will teach you why playing and building him as an assassin is the best way to play him, and why, contrary to popular belief, he doesn't fall off late-game.

I will also talk about the relevant season 3 changes, and how they affect Talon. A lot changed in season 3, and at the beginning I was confused as to whether they would be beneficial or detrimental, and to what I should be building with all the new items that were made, but after playing a month or so since the patch of almost exclusively Talon, I've learnt what the changes mean for him, and how the new items have affected his possible builds.

To find out, read on. ;)

Also, please do note that this guide was created for the intent of being used from from the 1500 Elo range, downwards. I do not have any experience with any Elos higher than that, so I can't say I know for sure everything I advise here is best at higher Elos, other than the builds. This will also work in normal games.

Disclaimer: I'll go off-topic in a few chapters, but it's mostly small things that aren't worth creating chapters exclusively for. I like ranting. A lot of my chapters will also spend a lot of time explaining general tips and such, rather than things that are exclusive to Talon. But I felt they were worth mentioning.


Guide Top

Who am I?

I am Vapora Dark, a 1500 Elo player. You may wonder why I decided to write this guide, and whether you should even trust anything I say. After all, you know nothing about me. I could be the world's worst Talon player, right?

Well...



I am probably the most entitled person on Mobafire to write a guide on Talon. I have mained him for over a year now. I have played him in over 1000 games. I finish 99% of my games with stats along the lines of 9/2, 14/3, 21/7, and I win approximately 80% of those. And I carried my way to gold Elo almost playing exclusively Talon. I've played over 100 ranked games, and he's been played in over half of them.

I've also experimented with dozens of different ways of building Talon. Like you, I once too was in need of a guide to help me learn how to build and play Talon. I looked up a bunch of different guides, some of which conflicted with what others said.

I had to experiment with all of these builds and try and figure out for myself which was the best way to itemize him. Every guide here on mobafire, every guide on solomid, I have used builds similar to them in more than 1 occasion. And now I have no use for reading other guides, because I know exactly what I need to know about itemizing Talon. I know what works, what doesn't, what's viable, what isn't viable, what's optimal and what's sub-optimal.

You don't have to worry about whether or not I'm good enough / skilled enough / knowledgeable enough to teach you how to play Talon. Rest assured, I am.


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Pros / Cons

Pros
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  • Very good ganker.
  • Counters most AP carries.
  • Very mobile champion.
  • Great burst.
  • Strong auto-attack damage.
  • He's an AD Kassadin. :D
Cons
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  • Can be mana hungry.
  • Weak early-game vs AD.
  • Weak early-game vs bruisers.
  • Dependant on itemization.
  • Requires skill to play.
  • Liable to camping.


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Talon's Abilities


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Mercy (Passive)

Talon deals 10% additional damage with his auto-attacks to any target that is slowed, stunned, immobilized or suppressed.

Tips:
  • Contrary to what some people think, Mercy only affects your auto-attacks, not your spells.
  • In-lane, a Mercy'd Noxian Diplomacy does an unbelievable amount of damage, so W E Q is a pretty scary combo.
  • When ganking, wait for someone of your team to CC your target before bursting them if possible. That way you'll get the small damage bonus from Mercy.

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Noxian Diplomacy (Q)

Talon's next auto attack will deal additional damage, and will make the target bleed over 6 seconds, dealing more damage over time and revealing their location to Talon for the duration.

Tips:
  • Its damage is amplified by Cutthroat, so use it as the second spell in your burst.
  • Activating this will reset your attack timer. Remember this while you play for the best results.
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    Max this second.

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Rake (W)

Talon throws a volley of blades in a cone ahead of him, which then quickly return back to him. These blades deal damage each time they pass through an enemy, and slow them for 2 seconds.

Tips:
  • During the first 2 levels Rake harassment barely seems to tickle, but as you put more points into it it starts to hurt a lot more.
  • Wait until they run backwards during your burst before casting this, as they can't dodge it while running backwards at the same time. This is the easiest way to get it to hit them both ways.
  • After using this your enemy will be slowed, which will allow you to proc Mercy. After bursting your lane-opponent, harass them with as many auto-attacks as you can before the slow ends. Be wary of jungler ganks though.
  • After you have a B. F. Sword, a maxed Rake will one-shot the enemy caster minions, and leave the meelee minions only one auto-attack away from death. Very useful for farming and pushing your lane.
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Max this first.

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Cutthroat (E)

Talon instantly appears behind his target, silencing them for 1 second and amplifying his damage against that target for 3 seconds.

Tips:
  • Late-game, always initiate your burst with this spell to get the damage amplification on Noxian Diplomacy and Rake, the highest sources of damage you have.
  • When someone's escaping on low HP and you can't reach them, you don't always have to Flash towards them to get in reach. Sometimes all you need to do is use Cutthroat on a nearby enemy minion and you'll be in range to finish them off with Rake.
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Max this last.

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Shadow Assault (R)

Talon disperses a ring of blades outwards and gains stealth for up to 2.5 seconds while gaining 40% movement speed. When Talon emerges from stealth, the blades converge on his location. Each time a blade passes through an enemy, they take damage. Each enemy can only be damaged once at the start of the ability and once at the end.

Tips:
  • When you're using this spell just for damage to kill someone, double tap R. One will send the blades out, and the other will bring them back. It will damage enemies both ways.
  • During teamfights, after bursting someone with E > Q > W, activate this spell to stop the enemies focusing you while you get away. Late-game, either the burst on its own or the first click of R will kill the person you're attacking, but early-game it might not, so get away from the enemy team as quick as you can, then when you're out of their range, immediately click R to try and get the blades to hit the person you attacked before they get away and recall.
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    Put a point in this whenever you can.


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Masteries

Masteries
1/1
4/4
2/1
4/1
3/1
1/1
2/3
3/1
1/3
4/2
2/1
2/3
1/3

21 points in offense is obvious; we're an assassin, so we want to kill things, not get more survivability.

Fury is a bad mastery for Talon. He doesn't benefit at all from attack speed, so I choose not to take any. 4% cooldown reduction isn't much, but it helps more than the attack speed would, so I take that. Summoner's Wrath helps with last-hitting and your damage in general, and I take Butcher just for the last-hitting help. Deadliness provides a small boost to our level 18 AD and is necessary to take for Weapon Expertise . Havoc isn't a terribly good mastery still, but it's been buffed since season 2 and is now more viable, and now you pretty much HAVE to take it to advance the mastery tree as an AD caster, so I put points into that too. Brute Force , Sunder and Executioner are all obvious choices; more damage, while Brute Force and Executioner are both great help with last-hitting too.

In the utility tree, I take Meditation to help with Rake harassment. Wanderer isn't as good as the season 2 equivalent Swiftness was, but it can still help you at times, especially during ganks. Summoner's Insight could very well save your life with a reduced cooldown flash; it's unlikely, but the only other option is Improved Recall , which is even less likely to save your life. Mastermind will decrease your Flash's cooldown by another 12 seconds and your Ignite's cooldown by 8 seconds. Not terribly good either, but the only alternative is Expanded Mind , which only gives you 4 extra mana each level... Yeah, I'd rather have a lower cooldown on my summoners, thanks. Next you have two choices; Runic Affinity , or Biscuiteer . I leave this down to personal preference, and personally, I prefer Runic Affinity . My reasoning is that Biscuiteer is a small boost to your very very early-game, which may or may not be necessary. If it doesn't end up being necessary, you just wasted a mastery point. Whereas Runic Affinity is useful throughout the whole game, and you should usually be getting all the blue buffs.



That's the more orthodox of two mastery pages I recommend, but it's not the one I use. I personally use this one:



The offense tree is the same as before, but I choose to put 6 points in defense and 3 in utility. The reason behind this is that Wanderer isn't as good as its season 2 equivalent was and isn't as necessary to take, while Meditation , which was a good mastery to take on Talon in season 2, no longer needs you to commit to the utility tree to reach it. It's gone from the second branch to the first branch, so you can just put 3 points in it, then move on to the defense tree, which offers you a bigger advantage during laning phase than what the utility tree can offer. Durability for survivability and Perseverance for sustain.


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Runes

Runes

Greater Mark of Attack Damage
9

Greater Seal of Armor
9

Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
9

Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed
3
  • Greater Mark of Armor Penetration. By far the best marks you can take on Talon. ArPen deals more damage than flat AD both early-game and late-game, and the fact that they now synergize with Last Whisper makes them even better now than they were in season 2. The only down-side to these marks is you will have weak last-hitting, which I make up for with Butcher .
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  • Greater Seal of Armor. To an inexperienced player, these may seem like a weird choice to bring into mid lane, but more experienced players will recognize why I recommend these. Any good ranged opponent will constantly harass you with auto-attacks. 1 auto-attack may not seem like much, but I've seen meelees with no armor in mid lane get brought to 60% HP in 10 seconds with nothing but auto-attack harass. Armor is necessary on any champion who is susceptible to receiving auto-attack harass.
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  • Greater Glyph of Magic Resist. The enemy mid is most probably going to be a magic damage based champion, so it makes sense to bring more magic resist to help dominate the lane. CDR glyphs are also viable, but these are the most optimal choice.
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  • Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed. These are godlike on Talon. Along with boots, these bring you to 392 movement speed at level 1, 399 if you take Wanderer . It makes harassment with Rake and initiation with Cutthroat much easier, and also scale best into late-game than any other quintessence. However, if you know you're going mid against a meelee champ, for example, Diana, then mobility becomes less important, and winning trades becomes more important than ever, due to her tankiness. In this match-up I personally prefer to take ArPen quintessences, for crushing the lane extremely early on. Another viable option are flat AD quintessences. They don't deal as much damage as ArPen, and don't scale as well as movement speed, but it helps with last-hitting. I personally make up for this with Butcher , but for beginners who need more help than that these aren't a bad choice.


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Core Build


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Along with your Quintessences, these will give you 392 starting movement speed. It helps you dodge skillshots to avoid early-harassment while farming, and it allows you to take 3 HP pots to help against harassment.
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You can look at every Talon build on Mobafire, and you will notice one thing. Every Talon build takes The Brutalizer. The AD is pretty nice, the ArPen is super good and helps you punch through the remaining armor of low armor targets, and the CDR is sweet. Also builds into the new The Black Cleaver.
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This item offers you two things: First of all, a great amount of sustain which, if somehow you're still in the laning phase, can be quite useful, and second of all, the most AD any item can give you. All of Talon's damage scales with AD, so this is the best item a Talon can get.
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Welcome to the League of Cleavers? Not since the nerf, but that sure was a fun time to play Talon. :') It's still a great item for him though, giving him 10 ArPen, 10% CDR, a bit of HP, a big chunk of AD, and a looooot of armor reduction.
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Awesome item to follow your Black Cleaver up with. Lowers their armor by an unbelievable amount, which makes your damage high on any target, not just squishies.
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Guide Top

Other Choices





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These are debatably the best boots for Talon. Getting CC'd in a bad position can get you killed, but these will help you survive. I usually don't upgrade my boots until late-game, after I've finished my entire build before-hand, but I can understand that not everyone thinks this is smart, and so take them whenever you feel the need to.
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These are what I always used to buy before I discovered how useful Mercury's Treads could be. Talon is a burst champion who relies on his spells, so naturally, the sooner his spells are back up, the sooner he can continue to deal damage. It's up to you to decide whether you want these or Mercs, and depends on the enemy team's composition.
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If you get these boots, you better spend 70% of your time off-lane, and ganking instead. Otherwise there's just no point in these. Once teamfights get started you should sell these and get a better pair anyway. But they're amazing for early-game roaming.
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After you have The Bloodthirster, The Black Cleaver and Last Whisper, your damage will be off the charts, and unless you're super behind, you'll be 1-shotting the enemy carry. Your AoE will also make you a strong factor in team-fights, which may cause the enemy team to try and take you out as soon as possible. Which is where Guardian Angel comes in. The mere knowledge that you have a Guardian Angel and its active is up, is enough to stop an enemy team from attacking you. It's instinctive, they'd rather attack people they can kill. There have been so many games where I had 5 deaths or something, bought a GA, and didn't die or come near to dying a single time after that. It's also extremely demotivating to the enemy team if you're carrying, and you suddenly come back from a B with this. They might even surrender on the spot.
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THIS is one of the new season 3 items that makes Talon so much stronger than he was in season 2. At first it may not seem like much. In fact, why would you want it, it gives 25 less AD than a Bloodthirster and its passive only benefits champions who auto-attack a lot, not Talon. So why take it? The answer is the ACTIVE. Look at that baby! "Deals physical damage up to 100% of your Attack Damage to enemies around you". In case you don't know what that means, I'll tell you what that means. It adds another point of AD ratio to your burst! 6.5 AD ratio on Talon's natural kit, and when you get Ravenous Hydra, it becomes a 7.5 AD ratio! Not counting the amplification from Cutthroat of course.
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But I already have a Bloodthirster? WHO CARES. 100 AD is good. But 200 AD is better. A 2nd Bloodthirster isn't in my core build anymore because of the introduction of both Ravenous Hydra and The Black Cleaver, but in season 2 I usually took 3 Bloodthirsters in 1 game. They're super stronk. But now, it's out-classed by Ravenous Hydra... IF, you remember to use Hydra's active. If you're not level 30, or a low level player, are just playing for fun, or you're just plain bad at remembering to use item actives, then you can replace Hydra with this. Heck, I still do it some times! It reminds me of the good ol' days. :') Also, it's 500 gold cheaper than Hydra, so if you B with 3k gold and you think the next team-fight will decide the out-come of the game, you should get it instead.
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This is a great item to replace Hydra with, but only in the situation that the enemy team has either a ****load of CC, one particularly super strong CC that you're likely to be hit by ( Curse of the Sad Mummy ), or the enemy team is just plain focusing all their CC on you. Outside of these situations, its damage is insuperior to quite a lot of other items, and therefore it's not worth getting, because it would only come in handy if you get caught, and if you get caught you deserve to die anyway. ( Offense intended >:[ )
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This could replace Ravenous Hydra, but I personally don't recommend it. The crits you get with Noxian Diplomacy and your super large AD are hilarious, but that's really the only reason I'd ever take it. If I was playing seriously I wouldn't even consider it. You can already 1 shot enemy carries whether you crit or not, so you benefit more from getting an item with more AD to do more AoE damage with your ult.
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Not gonna lie to you here. I've NEVER taken Maw on Talon. And now that there's Mercurial Scimitar in season 3, I'm even less likely to take it. Its damage is vastly insuperior to the damage of other items, and the magic resistance is barely even worth mentioning really. However, I will still list it as a VIABLE item, due to the fact that the spell shield can really save your *** if you're against a LeBlanc or something.
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Again, I don't recommend this over a Ravenous Hydra, but it could replace it. It doesn't give nearly as much burst damage, but it makes up for that in DPS. And that is the only reason you should want Trinity Force: DPS. It is vastly insuperior to a lot of other items in terms of burst damage, and if in team-fights you burst the enemy carry, do your super large AoE nuke ult, get away, and the fight is already won, then you don't need Trinity Force. Exposing yourself early to try and get some DPS in before the fight is over can lead to you just dying before you can get much damage in. And I want to make this as clear to you as I can, because I see a lot of Talon's taking Trinity Force for seemingly no reason: In general, it's a **** item for Talon. This is NOT an item you build 90% of the time, 60% of the time, or even 30% of the time. I've played over 50 ranked games with Talon in season 3 ( at the time I wrote this ), and I have yet to think "I could do with a Trinity Force right about now". Think about whether you need DPS, or if you need more AoE. Trinity Force for DPS, which generally you shouldn't be able to make much use of, and a Bloodthirster or Ravenous Hydra for more AoE damage.
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The Holy Trinity

When you play Talon, you want to snowball. HARD. You kill your enemy mid every time he's on the lane, and you roam. Roaming means, ganking. You gank bot, you gank top, heck, you gank the JUNGLE. ( Good ward coverage recommended ) You want the enemy team to be low on gold and XP and yours ahead, but most of all, you want to get fed out of your mind, to become the monster your enemies will fear for the rest of the game. You want to get fed as soon as possible so you can come in possession of what I like to call...
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The Holy Trinity

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The Bloodthirster, The Black Cleaver, and Last Whisper. The combination of items to end all others. 60% of the time I get Bloodthirster and Black Cleaver 20 minutes in, but sometimes I manage to complete the entire Trinity 20 minutes in. If you get them that early, it's basically GG. Your damage is INSANE, no matter how much armor the enemy has. You will 1 shot the enemy AD carry, which immediately gets rid of their highest source of damage, and your AoE damage will cripple the remaining enemy team. Not only will it do a stupid amount of damage, but most of them will have two Black Cleaver procs from it, which leaves them more vulnerable to future damage from your team!

I'm not lying about how strong this is. I call it the Holy Trinity for a reason. It's a massive amount of AD and a ton of armor penetration, on the guy with the highest AD ratio in the game, and a 1.9 AD ratio ON AN AOE ULTIMATE. If the game is going well, 20 minutes in you'll be 1 item away from completing the Holy Trinity. If you're doing GREAT, and snowballing like Talon SHOULD snowball, then you've ALREADY got the entire Trinity and are ready to instantly melt the enemy team in EVERY team-fight!

And YES, I DO have to type random words in caps like this, because otherwise you simply don't understand how serious I am about how effing STRONG this is!

You were wondering whether the season 3 changes were good or bad for Talon. The answer? They were, most definitely, GREAT. Flat ArPen now synergizes with Last Whisper, a super strong flat ArPen item was introduced, AND that item now reduces armor even further! Talon went from an under-played assassin with a bad reputation, to an under-played assassin with the highest win ratio so far in season 3. And I don't mind the highest win ratio compared to other assassins, I mean the highest win ratio in the game.

Win rate prior to Season 3: 49.4%
Win rate after Season 3: 58.2%

( Statistics taken from www.lolking.com )

The season 3 changes were a MASSIVE help to Talon, and he was probably the champion who benefitted the most from the changes!


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Trinity Force vs The Bloodthirster

There are lots of people out there in the League of Legends, that think Trinity Force is the item for Talon. They think it was simply made for him, and that no other item can come near to supplying as much damage as it does. Right here, right now, I'm about to show you why The Bloodthirster, an item that costs 1070 gold less, dominates Trinity Force in damage output. Let's do the maths:
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Trinity Force proc = 150% of base AD
Base AD at lvl 18 = 105.8
150% of 105.8 = 158.7
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So the Trinity Force Proc adds 158.7 damage into your burst. Seems like a lot, right? Now, a fully farmed The Bloodthirster has 100 AD in it. Let's do the maths of how that much AD scales with all your abilities:
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Damage from attack 0.3 per bonus AD + damage from bleed 0.2 per bonus AD per second for 6 seconds = 1.5 damage per bonus AD
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100 x 1.5 = 150 damage
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0.6 damage per bonus AD each strike ( strikes twice )
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100 x 0.6 = 60 damage
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60 x 2 = 120 damage
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0.9 damage per bonus AD each blade ( can strike twice )
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100 x 0.9 = 90 damage
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90 x 2 = 180 damage
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50 + 120 + 180 = 450 total damage
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So the oh-so-precious trinity proc, the biggest reason for buying Trinity Force, doesn't even supply as much damage as The Bloodthirster. Granted though, I didn't calculate the extra damage on your abilities from Trinity Force's 30 AD. I won't bore you with any more maths, but the full bonus damage on your abilities from it is 114. When you add up that with the trinity proc, The Bloodthirster's damage still comes out on top by 178. And, this is without taking into account the damage that each item's AD adds to your burst in the 2 auto attacks that you use in a standard burst. If you take that into account, then that adds 200 more damage onto The Bloodthirster's damage, and only 60 more damage to Trinity Force's damage. I hope you realize that not even Trinity Force's 15% crit chance is enough to compensate for the massive difference in damage between these 2 items. There is no doubt in my mind about which item deals more damage, and I hope you can see the same now.

For anyone that's curious, having a fully farmed The Bloodthirster gives your burst a total of 650 extra burst damage. Having a Trinity Force adds 332.7. That's without taking into account the damage increase from Cutthroat though. Cutthroat amplifies your damage by 15%, and because The Bloodthirster's burst does more damage than a Trinity Force, its damage gets amplified more than Trinity Force's damage does, giving The Bloodthirster another big lead over Trinity Force. So the REAL burst damage of The Bloodthirster is 747, whereas Trinity Force's full burst damage is 382.6. Honestly, which item do you think is better now?
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But getting full Bloodthirster stacks is hard! How much farm do I need to get before The Bloodthirster outdamages Trinity Force?
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Assuming you don't crit with Trinity Force, none. The full burst damage of a non-farmed The Bloodthirster is 390. Means that by buying The Bloodthirster, right off the bat you're dealing 7.4 damage more than you would with Trinity Force. Not much, granted, but it's still more damage. And every time you rake a minion wave, the damage increases. Something that doesn't happen with Trinity Force.

In season 3, The Bloodthirster now has 70 flat AD with no stacks rather than 60, so this section is now slightly inaccurate. Even so, it was a buff to Bloodhthirster, and now does even more damage with no stacks, making it even more dominant over Trinity Force.
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TL;DR Don't get Trinity Force every game. The only reason every other Talon takes it is because they don't realize just how massive his total AD scaling is, and calculating damages like I did is effort. Trinity Force promises what sounds like massive damage, but when you compare the numbers, it's nowhere near as strong as The Bloodthirster. It's only useful in certain situations, but in the 1500 Elo range, and over 50 ranked games, I have yet to enter that situation.


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If You're Playing An Assassin, Build Him Like An Assassin

A fair amount of people have mentioned to me before that I'm building Talon as a glass cannon with no HP items, and that that's a stupid thing to do. In this chapter, I'm going to clear up why I build him glass cannon, and why HP is a stupid thing to take on him. To do so, I'm going to quote something albableat said in the comments:

"Even if you take 1 Bloodthirster out, the damage suffers from it absolutely inevitably. That's a problem with Talon. If you want to keep dealing damage, YOU NEED TO keep stacking AD. Who said he's easy and safe to play? Ummm, no one did.

Building Frozen Mallet or Banshee's Veil Talon is deceptive. The point is, you get in, you kill the guy, you get out of there. With HP items you won't deal enough damage, thus won't kill with your burst, thus will get stuck there for longer auto-attacking AND get killed for nothing. And hell, 950 additional HP won't save the day because that's 2 auto-attacks in an AD carry's view on life...

This is why you build him pure damage. If you can't manage it, stop playing Talon, but don't start the stupid talk here. If you're playing an assassin, build him like an assassin."

This reminded me that I needed to explain in my guide why taking HP items for survivability with Talon is quite ineffective. You need to take massive amounts of AD with Talon, it's the only way you can kill a carry in one burst. If you don't kill them in one burst and you're stuck there having to auto-attack the rest of their HP away before disappearing with Shadow Assault, then guess what? The enemy has all that time to focus you to death. No matter how much HP you get, you'll always die before you kill the carry if you try to balance out AD and HP.

A person who's commented on my guide tries to do this by taking Trinity Force, Atma's Impaler and Frozen Mallet. The total AD given by this combination is 74. Calculate the scaling of the AD with his burst and then add damage from the Trinity Force proc, and it deals a grand total of 735 burst damage. How many carries have that little HP at level 18? Not many. Now, instead of those three items, try taking just one The Bloodthirster, and farm it up fully. Calculate the scaling of the AD with Talon's burst, and it deals a grand total of 747 damage. Notice how with just one item, for 6,675 gold less, I'm doing more damage than those 3 items. Now add on another 2 The Bloodthirsters, so the total is 3. Farm them all up, calculate the scaling of it with your burst, and it brings you to a grand total of 2242 burst damage. 1495 more damage than the mix of AD and HP, and the build still costs less. Now it's very likely that your burst will kill someone straight away.

You may say "But even if you can kill them straight away, it doesn't change the fact that you have 1970 HP at level 18. Aren't you going to die straight away too after killing them?". And I'll respond with, no, you won't. You'll be bursting their carry with this: E > Q > W > R. When you reach R, which is Shadow Assault, you'll immediately send out a ring of blades, which is usually the attack that finishes off the person you're bursting, and go into stealth at the same time. The whole thing will have lasted less than 2 seconds, and then they have almost no way of focusing you because of your stealth. When your burst is back up, you can burst the other carry, and the enemy team will already be retreating, by which point it'll be too late to focus you.

You may respond to that with something like "Well, maybe that's true, but any number of things could go wrong. Isn't it still risky to build completely glass cannon?". I'd respond with, yes, it is risky. But Talon's a risky champion to play, and if you want to play him then you've got to accept that. If you make a mistake and die, then guess what? You didn't die because you had no HP, you died because you made a mistake. That, my friends, is high rish-high reward. In albableat's words, "If you're playing an assassin, build him like an assassin."

loljk get 4k HP and take 20 seconds to kill someone.


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Early-game

At lvl 1, take a point in Rake so you can damage the blue / red buff for your jungler, then go back to your lane and farm. You can use Rake to harass your enemy, but it'll barely tickle at that level. You should also try not to over-extend, as moving slightly too far into your opponent's side of the lane could result in an angry asian with a spear charging at you to try and kill you. ( AKA, if you over-extend their jungler might gank ) So if you want to kill that caster minion that's dangerously far from the safety zone, you'll need to last-hit it with Rake. Try and hit it so that Rake hits as little minions as possible, so you don't push the lane.

At level 2, your 2nd skill depends on your opponent. Someone ranged like Ahri, who will rarely be near you? Cutthroat. Someone like Diana, who will constantly be right up in your face? Noxian Diplomacy. Against a meelee opponent you'll want to force trades as often as possible. They come too close to you to get a last-hit? W > AA > Q. WHAM, that's over 50% of their HP gone already. At this point, they'll resort to farming with whatever ranged spell they have.

At level 3, your next skill depends on how the lane is going. If your enemy's HP is low enough for a First-blood, take your 3rd spell and kill them. If their HP is 60% or higher, then using your full burst for harassment causes unnecessary over-extension, and could cost you your life, or flash, if the enemy jungler ganks. So take another point in Rake and continue harassing.

At level 6, it's simple: kill them. E > AA > Q > W > R > Ignite. If they had 60% HP or less, this just 1-shot them. If it didn't kill them, follow it up with as many auto-attacks as you can.

If at any level after you've got your 3 main spells you force your opponent off the lane, or you push to your enemy's tower, go gank another lane.

More on ganking further on in the guide


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Mid-game

At least 1 tower will have already gone down probably, and each team will be trying to win objectives such as the dragon, but at the same time, it's still laning phase... This is one of Talon's strongest points in the game, especially if his early-game went well.

You could have a Brutalizer and a B.F. Sword, by now, maybe you've even finished your Bloodthirster, and maybe you've even finished your Black Cleaver! It all depends on how well you're doing, but so long as you're snowballing, keep 1 thing in mind during mid-game:

You are God.

The enemy team will usually not have focused too much on building tanky this early on. Big mistake. A mistake they must be punished for. At this point, you want to be all over the map, wrecking havoc everywhere you go. Top, bot, enemy jungle, it doesn't matter. Anywhere you go, you want to kill. Your objective is to have as many of them as you can dead, for as long as possible. It's not that hard.

You should buy wards and place them in key areas so you can see more or less where the enemy team is at all times. The enemy jungler's doing wraiths at 50% HP? Kill him. Enemy top over-extended? Kill him. Enemy team trying to dragon? Ping your team to it and kill them, your large AoE in such a confined space will cripple them. Enemy mid, mid? RAPE HIM.

Kill as many as you can. Every moment they spend dead while your own team is doing an objective such as the dragon, or even just farming, puts them at a disadvantage. Put every one of them behind, and your team as ahead as possible. People in solo queue are very un-coordinated, which makes things such as invading the enemy jungle on your own, or ganking another lane by going through the enemy jungle to dodge the lanes' wards extremely easy, and usually, very rewarding.

Aside from killing though, do also remind your team to try and dragon whenever possible. If you gank bot lane and both their bot dies, then you have an uncontested dragon. Not only that, but their bot lane will most likely get flamed by their team for giving away the dragon. It's solo queue. Abuse it as much as you can, angry teams make more mistakes!

tl;dr roam roam roam kill kill kill


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Late-game

This is the most crucial point in the game. What happens here, will either win you or lose you the game. Obviously, you'd rather win, right?

So don't make any mistakes, as a single mistake here can cost you the game. You **** up and get caught? In solo queue, your team will quite possibly try and fight them anyway, and you'll end up losing because of it. Your team's fault, right? Wrong. You got caught, you had to deal with the consequences. The consequence was defeat, so too bad.

But the same can be said for the enemy team. One mistake, if taken full advantage of, can cause them to lose the game. What mistakes can be made? One of the most common ones in solo queue are mispositioning. Even if it's for just a second, if the enemy AD carry steps slightly too far from his team, and you're standing there, waiting for him to make a mistake...

Flash, Cutthroat, burst. You have slain an enemy!

Many things can happen here, but there's 1 that happens very commonly that you should hope happens: The enemy team could try to chase and kill you. I sometimes blow my stealth early to do just that, so they can see me and try and attack me rather than run away after the loss of their carry. You bait them into your team, and if your team reacts properly, a team-fight will occur. One that you already won the moment you killed the enemy AD carry.

Will they manage to kill you? Probably not, but it can happen if your team doesn't react in time. But assuming your team is competent, it will be a regular 5v4 team-fight. Logically, the 4 should lose. Heck, none of you may even die, they have a numerical disadvantage and their highest source of damage is dead...

So let's say you score an ace. You're left with 2 options. Baron, or get the inhibitor down. Which do you pick? You ALWAYS pick the inhibitor. Why, you ask? Because destroying the enemy inhibitor forces the enemy team to stay at their base and defend, during which time your team can baron.

But you also need to learn when you can straight-forward end the game. If you score an ace and the enemy team's death timers are all 60+, you can probably end it before they revive. Take down the tower and inhibitor as usual, and even if there aren't any minions left to tank the nexus towers for you, judge whether your tanks have enough HP to tank it for your team while you destroy the towers. If you think they do but your team is heading towards the baron because it hasn't occurred to them that you can end it, just spam pings on the towers and head towards them; your team will get the message. And just end it.

Even if the enemy team isn't baited into trying to engage on you after you kill their AD carry and none of the above happens, you still have 5 players on the map while they only have 4. Your team is at an advantage, and you can either force a fight, or take down towers or baron virtually uncontested.

Another common solo queue mistake is to farm bot. By that I mean, if all 5 of your team is mid and you suddenly see the enemy AD carry farming bot, guess what? You can baron and he won't reach it in time to contest it with his team. And with this baron, you could win the game.

Learn to identify these mistakes, learn not to make them, and learn to take full advantage of them when the enemy team does.

Leaving aside general late-game tactics though, onto team-fights; how to handle them, and how you influence their out-come.

You need to understand one thing: Late-game team-fights quite usually revolve around each team's AD carry. AD carries are the great source of damage of in a team, therefore both teams usually have two objectives; kill the other AD carry, and protect their own.

To do this, teams usually have champions who are well-suited for defending the AD carry, and some who are better at killing them. An AD carry could have the best positioning in the world, but there's nothing he can do against gap-closers. If he gets focused, he dies, plain and simple. To protect them, their team "peels" for them. Which means, they CC whoever's attacking their carry.

There may be times, late-game, where someone on your team might say "Everyone protect the carry". They weren't talking to you. And if they specifically said your name, just ignore them. Talon is not meant to peel for his carry. He can kill an enemy carry in under 2 seconds, faster than most people can CC him. He is instant-death for the enemy carry. This means the rest of your team can focus on protecting your carry while you single-handedly kill theirs. That is the single, most important thing for you to do in a team-fight.

However, this alone wouldn't always be enough to win a team-fight. But there's something else he can do at the same time as killing their AD carry. And that is drop a **** ton of AoE on their team.

Talon's ultimate has 520 base damage with a 1.9 AD ratio. If you hit everyone on their team with it, you will do nearly 2,000 damage in total.

My dear readers, that is why Talon has the highest win ratio so far in season 3! An assassin that instantly kills the enemy AD carry, as well as drops a huge amount of AoE on their team? Count me in!

Undoubtedly you'll have heard more than once the expression "Falls off late-game" while referring to Talon. BULL. SHlT. He's always been strong late-game, and in season 3, that's truer than ever. The changes to ArPen and the introduction of the Black Cleaver made a huge difference to his total damage out-put, and with so much armor shred in season 3, enemies don't really have an effective way of dealing with you. What can they do, kill you in the 1.6 seconds it takes you to do what you need to do? Not possible.

Talon has one of the strongest late-games right now, but he's very under-estimated due to how under-played he is. That's fine by me. I'll continue wrecking face with this sleeper OP I've been maining for over a year, smiling as all these people that've never even seen a good Talon say his late-game is lacking.

Also, I'm going to take this moment to remind you why I detest treating Trinity Force as core so much. Shadow Assault has a 1.9 AD ratio, so say, a The Bloodthirster, will do 190 extra damage per target with it. Trinity Force has 30 AD, adding 57 extra damage per target.

How can you even consider that better than an item which does both more single-target burst damage, and more AoE damage? Flat AD always has been, and always will be the most effective way of building Talon. Trinity Force can be useful in some situations, but honestly, you so very rarely need it, that you should just completely forget about it.


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Farming

Farming. One of the most important aspects of the game, but one which, at very low Elos, isn't treated as such. What you may not realize, is that in your average game, you will most probably have more gold from your farm than you will from your kills. And as such, it's important to keep up a good creep score, or "cs", throughout the whole game. Here I'm going to talk about how you should farm in each stage of the game.

At the start of the game, you have to last-hit each minion individually. Wait for its HP to drop low enough, then hit it with a single auto-attack. Don't auto-attack the minions until they're low unless you want to push the lane, just let them get low from the enemy minions.

While you should TRY and get every minion possible using this method, there may be minions you will need to sacrifice, because killing them would mean over-extending too much, or letting your enemy harass you with a ton of damage. Even in these cases though, you can use Rake to hit them from a distance. So long as you don't use Rake to farm too often, you shouldn't have many mana issues.

After you've reached B. F. Sword and are level 9, Rake will kill caster minions on its own, and meelee minions will only need 1 more hit to die. Farming at this point becomes a breeze, and you should never have any excuse to be low on CS 30 minutes in.


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Warding

Something you most probably ignore. I know most normal game players and 1400 players and below do. Sure, you probably ward when you're supporting, but do you ever ward when you're mid?

When I B, I get whatever items I want, when I can't afford what I want next, I get 2 HP pots, then I blow the rest of my gold on wards. That usually means I get 3 wards each B.

Where do you put your wards? The basic place to put them is on one side of your lane, and then you stick to that side of the lane during laning phase. That way if the enemy jungler comes through that side, your ward will see him early, and you can walk back to your tower before he reaches you. If he comes through the opposing side, you're on the opposite side of the lane, and he can't reach you before you get away.

Aside from that, if the dragon isn't warded, it would be smart of you to ward it. Keeping the dragon under ward coverage at all times is important, so you can know when the enemy team is trying to do it.

But my favourite spot to ward, is the enemy wraiths. If the enemy jungler is ever low on HP and decides to do them, you can simply slip away from your lane, kill him, then walk back to your lane with a free kill. 300 gold, for just the 75 gold the ward cost you. How is that not worth it?

Even past laning phase, late-game I keep wards in my inventory any time I have free space. Every ward on the map can make a huge difference, because it can show your team whenever anyone's going to do the wraiths, whenever someone's DOING the wraiths, whenever someone's solo anywhere in the jungle, etc. The more wards you have on the map, the better. And your support can't have the entire map warded on their own, so you should pitch in and help until your inventory's full.

I can't stress enough how important warding is, yet no one at lower Elos does it, except for the support. Then they blame the support for lack of vision if something goes wrong. Don't be that guy, help your team and ward, wards aren't that expensive. More importantly, you have more gold income than the support. You are more to blame than the support for no wards if you die due to lack of vision, he probably ran out of gold while buying wards.


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Match-ups

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She's usually a pretty easy match-up. Her harassment comes from Orb of Deception, which is pretty easy to predict. In a fight, you can potentially dodge both Orb of Deception and Charm just by using Cutthroat and attacking her. She's usually built pretty squishy, especially early on, so she shouldn't be much of a problem. The only annoying thing about her is she can quite often dodge your Rake or your second tap of Shadow Assault with her own ultimate.

DIFFICULTY - EASY
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Can potentially screw you over quite badly. Her Mark of the Assassin deals more total damage than Rake if she manages to trigger the mark. This means that to win trades against her, you need to stay away from her minions to stop her from triggering it, effectively getting zoned out. Against Akali you should take another point in Rake at level 3 instead of a point in Cutthroat, you'll need it just to be able to hold your own in trades. Part of what makes Akali so effective against you is that she doesn't have mana and therefore doesn't need to take mana regen in her seals, and can viably go for armor in seals instead. For this reason, I recommend you to take ArPen marks instead of flat AD if you know you're going to be fighting against her. The advantage you have is that she doesn't fully benefit from any Doran's items so she doesn't get early HP, and your spell rotation scales better on AD than her spells do on AP, so as long as you don't get TOO zoned out at the start while not dying either, by the time you have 2 Doran's Blades and a The Brutalizer she should be no problem for you. Either way, I recommend asking for an early jungler gank. You should also get a Vision Ward and place it on her Twilight Shroud every time she uses it. This spell is part of what makes her such a strong fighter. You could even place the ward in the middle of the lane while she's back at her base so she doesn't expect you to just keep on attacking her after she stealths.

DIFFICULTY: HARD
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I've never actually played against an AP Alistar as Talon before, so I'm not exactly sure if using Cutthroat on him while he's coming at you to use his Headbutt will post-pone it a second or not. I have played AP Alistar against other champions though, and I can tell you right now he is not to be underestimated. If he right-clicks on you then Headbutts, he will knock you backwards with Headbutt then auto-attack you from miles away. He can then just walk back, wait for his Headbutt to come off of CD, then repeat it to keep getting free hits on you until finally he finishes you off with Headbutt, Pulverize and Ignite. Once he's begun moving in to Headbutt you, you can't escape his combo. This makes him pretty deadly to any enemy. He can also heal himself against any harass you do manage to make. And as if that isn't bad enough, his ultimate at rank 1 will half any damage against him for the next 7 seconds, so he can just use it if you're ever anywhere near killing him. I don't know what your gameplay against him should be, I need to test this match-up, but hopefully what I've said will at least be useful if you encounter him.

DIFFICULTY: HARD ( ? )
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Generally an easy match-up. Very low armor, very low HP, and needs the blue buff to be effective. Assuming her jungler starts at blue, you have about 5-10 minutes to establish laning dominance. Her passive allows her to become an egg and revive after a few seconds whenever she dies, but her armor and magic resist become negative and she starts taking a lot of damage from auto-attacks. If you're lucky you might be able to kill her before she can revive again. Just make sure to dodge all her ice balls early on and you should do fine in this lane.

DIFFICULTY: EASY
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Not seen very much in ranked sadly, but she's pretty easy too. Early-game she needs to farm minions with her Q to get her stun up so she won't harass much, and she can find it pretty hard to farm without her Q so a lot of Annie's give up their stun to get a difficult last-hit early on if you don't get in their range any time soon. She also doesn't have much kill potential until lvl 6, but when she reaches lvl 6 she can stun you and burst you down before you can react, so careful about that. Whenever you jump onto her, always pay attention to how many spells she needs to use to get her passive up.

DIFFICULTY: EASY
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You'll find this match-up either super easy, or super hard. Which, depends on how good you are at dodging skillshots. If you can dodge Brand's Pillar of Flame, you'll find this match-up easy. If you get hit every time, you'll find it super hard. DEFINITELY start off with Boots of Speed, as you'll find it much easier to dodge Pillar of Flame. At the beginning just farm, and try and dodge any harassment he sends at you, which will mainly be Pillar of Flame. Once you hit level 3, bait out his Pillar of Flame, dodge it, then immediately Cutthroat and burst him. After you've used Rake on him, just keep on chasing him with auto-attacks for a little bit. Mercy is a ***** early-game, and trust me when I say it'll hurt like one. Eventually if you keep chasing him with your auto-attacks though, he's going to Conflagration and Sear you, so just bare that in mind so you can be ready to move to the side when he tries to stun you. Even if you don't manage to dodge it though you'll still have won the exchange. And you just repeat this until he's dead.

DIFFICULTY: EASY - HARD
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Cassiopeia can be a tough match-up for other champions, but for Talon it's a piece of cake. Early on you may have trouble getting last-hits because she can spam her spells without losing too much mana, so you have to spend a lot of time dodging. But when you hit level 3, if you've only taken a few hits then you've basically won your lane already. Casiopeia is an extremely squishy champion, and is always taken down in 2-3 bursts. The only way she could possibly survive you in lane is by having flash up, or having her ult and wasting it on you just so she can run. Her ult is something you have to watch out for though, because if you're facing away from her it will only slow you, but if when she casts it you just happen to be facing her, then it stuns you for something like 2-3 seconds, and she can throw everything she's got at you in those 3 seconds. 2 of her spells poison you, and if you're poisoned, then her E will have a cooldown of 0.5 seconds. Meaning she can do this: R > Q > E > E > E > Q > E, in the time you're stunned. If you're on about 60% HP it's a free-kill for her, so make sure you establish early lane dominance before she reaches lvl 6. Just so you know, your E does not out-range her ult.

DIFFICULTY: EASY
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Diana isn't quite as easy a match-up as other mages. She actually pretty much matches you in damage output, so there goes the major advantage you have against other mages. She's got a shield which blocks your damage and damages you if you get too close, which you will because you're Talon. She's also got an effective harass with Crescent Strike. She can be hard, but she is manageable, and once you get the hang of it she'll be just as easy to beat as any other mage. See, she suffers the same disadvantage Talon suffers against most mages: She's meelee. If you can dodge her Crescent Strike, then she won't be able to match you for damage until it comes back off of CD, so she has 2 choices: Be zoned out and receive no farm 'till it comes off of cooldown, or try and walk up to the minions to farm and take a burst to the face and potentially die right there. In both scenarios, you win. Just dodge her harass and you've won the lane, really, it's that simple.

DIFFICULTY: MEDIUM
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Assuming AP Ez here. Pretty easy match-up, he's just the stereo-typical squishy mage. Pre- Sheen his only effective harass is Essence Flux, and it isn't that hard to dodge or predict. Very very very very very easy match-up, the only annoying thing about him is that Arcane Shift can potentially mess up a kill or two. In case he does manage to get you on low HP via a jungler gank or something though, when recalling go recall in the jungle, not at your tower, or he might snipe you down with Trueshot Barrage.

DIFFICULTY: EASY
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Easy peasy. He only becomes a threat when he begins to max out his fear, and it won't be maxed until lvl 13, by which time you're already gonna be 8/2 or something. He won't give you much trouble because his standard combo is Terrify + Drain. Most enemies would be feared for 1-3 seconds depending at what rank his Terrify is on, be getting Drained throughout the whole fear, then have to run out of his Drain's range and no matter what his HP was on previously, it would now be full. But Talon's different. While feared, Talon takes the Drain like the man he is, then interrupts the drain when his fear is over by using Cutthroat, and kills Fiddlesticks in a single burst. What a fail. Fiddledawg, y u so squishy?

DIFFICULTY: EASY
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There's not much to say about this guy. If he's bad, you'll win, if he's good, it's entirely possible he'll win. He has a pretty large burst, but without his ultimate I don't think he'll match you in damage out-put. His auto-attacks hurt like hell because of his Seastone Trident, so don't fool yourself into thinking you'll win an early fight of auto-attacks against him when both of your skillsets are on CD. Playful / Trickster makes him untargetable, so careful not to blow Rake, or even worse, Shadow Assault, on thin air. And watch out for his ultimate Chum the Waters, dodging it is very important, if he hits you with it you're as good as dead.

DIFFICULTY: MEDIUM - HARD
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This is generally an AP carry that doesn't build very squishy. Galios usually build magic resist to take full advantage of his passive Runic Skin, which counters most AP carries and means he can afford to be tanky while still having lots of damage. Fortunately, his passive allows him to build tanky and counter AP casters while still having lots of damage, but not AD casters. Galio, above all, is still an AP carry, and if he thinks that while facing you he can counter you by stacking armor, then GG, you transformed their AP carry into just another tank. Stacking armor on Galio is as stupid as stacking armor on LeBlanc. He can afford to stack magic resist because it increases his damage at the same time, whereas armor does nothing for his damage. Galio is an AP carry first, and a bruiser second, and a few Galios seemingly forgot that when they stacked armor against me. You probably won't be able to kill him, but he won't be able to kill you either, and you'll still have the option to roam the map and get fed through ganks, whereas his roaming isn't as strong as yours, even less with no damage. And his armor isn't going to do anything to save his team. So with the option of building tanky viably gone, he becomes just another AP carry. Let the feeding begin.

DIFFICULTY: EASY
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In my opinion, one of the most annoying match-ups to face as Talon. His passive Happy Hour lends him sustain, and Drunken Rage makes it so mana regen in seals isn't a must, allowing him to use his seals to be more tanky, whether it be through more armor or more health ( which thanks to his passive, increases his sustain ). Drunken Rage also makes him more tanky for 20 seconds, is on a cooldown of 25 seconds, and costs no mana. This basically means there's only 5 seconds in between each Drunken Rage that you can attack him for maximum damage. Even then, waiting 5 seconds before continuing to farm won't kill him, so you won't be damaging him much at all if he's smart. Careful not to let his ultimate Explosive Cask knock you into the tower, and make sure to dodge all his Barrel Rolls if you want to stand a chance against him.

DIFFICULTY: MEDIUM - HARD
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Piece of cake. Talon counters Heimerdinger, but it's not just that. There are 0 good Heimerdingers in League of Legends because he's so hard to play correctly. Dodge his stuns / blinds, don't burst him near his turrets when he reaches lvl 6 and you've pretty much won the lane already. The only problem Heimerdinger could possibly give you is place both of his towers in the middle of the lane and just let them farm for him. It leaves you unable to kill him because he doesn't need to get close to farm, and it makes it impossible to push your lane to go gank. Heimerdinger can potentially just force you to passively farm if he wants to / is smart enough to do so. If he tries to do this try and get your jungler to gank, and if the gank fails, get him to help you destroy the turrets.

DIFFICULTY: EASY
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I feel like I've said this a thousand times already, but I'll say it again. Easy match-up. He's extremely squishy and for some reason every Karthus I see pushes the lane with Lay Waste just because he doesn't lose much mana from it. Against Talon at least, this is stupid to do because it means he can't hug the tower, which is pretty much the only thing protecting him. The match-up is pretty ridiculous because the only possible chance Karthus has of killing you is when you've already killed him. You already know Talon snowballs extremely hard, so this isn't a very good tactic for Karthus to use.

DIFFICULTY: EASY
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I like running this match-up. Kassadin is infamous for casting Null Sphere on his enemies and receiving no retaliation in response because they're silenced. It's this, and his passive Void Stone that makes him a hard-to-counter mid laner. But whenever I see a Kassadin in ranked I just pick Talon to go against him, as it's well-known that Talon counters Kassadin. Let's see why Kassadin counters most other mid laners: His Null Sphere has more base damage than most other spells in the game, and his passive reduces magic damage. This means that he wins all 1:1 trades and doesn't allow them to cast any other spells because they'll be silenced. He keeps doing this until they're on low enough HP for him to burst them down. Now let's look at how Talon does against Kassadin: Cutthroat is immediate and silences Kassadin before he can cast Null Sphere, can do the rest of his burst while Kassadin is silenced without having ANY of his damage reduced from Kassadin's passive because none of it is magic damage, and then after receiving the full brunt of Talon's burst, Kassadin will silence him. Talon EASILY won that trade, and it's impossible for anything different to happen because Cutthroat will ALWAYS silence Kassadin before he can cast his Null Sphere. I just tested it a few times with a friend, where I'd click E on him and he'd click Q on me, we'd run at each other, and each time, he'd be silenced before he could cast his Null Sphere. Easy match-up for Talon, and the perfect counter for the mage that counters all mages.

However, this is all assuming it's a standard Kassadin. Another Mobafire user called GrandmistressD builds Kassadin slightly different to the norm, and that actually counters Talon, as I had the mispleasure of experiencing first-hand. If you ever come across this Kassadin, bend over and pray that he goes easy on you. I rate this Kassadin super duper impossibly hard. ( HAPPY GMD? )

DIFFICULTY: EASY
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In recent times, this has been the hardest match-up I've ever had. She doesn't have mana so she can take armor in her seals, and while your burst does slightly out-damage hers, Bouncing Blades is a much more effective form of harassment than Rake, and if she uses Shunpo before you burst her she'll take reduced damage. You end up out-scaling her, but only if you win the lane, and on the assumption that you're targetting her specifically in team-fights, which you should. She should always be your primary target in any teamfight, more important than even the AD carry. Why? Because her ultimate can easily deal 1900 AoE damage to 3 people, and teams in solo queue aren't organized enough to set a specific person in charge of CC'ing her when she uses her ultimate. Therefore, seeing as your CC comes hand in hand with the death of the person you used it on if they're squishy, you should always jump on her as soon as she uses her ultimate and then kill her.

DIFFICULTY: HARD
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Generally also an easy match-up. He can also take armor in his seals because he doesn't have mana, but his damage output isn't really enough to worry about him winning trades. Stay behind your minions as much as you can and he won't be able to harass you with Thundering Shuriken, then just burst him whenever you think is a suitable moment. Unfortunately he's a champion that can viably rush Zhonya's Hourglass and therefore a smart Kennen will always have a Chain Vest by 10 minutes into the game. If he does, consider rushing a Last Whisper in response. And try not to get stunned and killed by his ultimate, although mostly it will only be useful to stun you so he can escape alive.

DIFFICULTY: EASY
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Again an easy match-up. LeBlanc has extremely high burst damage, and generally beats other AP carries because she bursts first thanks to her silence and the speed at which her spells travel. But this isn't the case when against Talon. She has the same problem as Kassadin does: She gets silenced by Cutthroat before she can cast her own spells and can potentially die before she has time to retaliate. Her passive Mirror Image can also be useless, because Rake and Shadow Assault don't need you to be able to see your enemy to use them, they just need you to know where they are. Against Talon, her Distortion becomes more of a tool for surviving rather than killing, and aside from that, she also has an extremely hard time farming, so by 20 minutes in it's entirely possible for a LeBlanc to be 0/4/0 with 50 minion farm if she's against Talon.

DIFFICULTY: EASY
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This is a sorta meh match-up. If the Lux is bad, you'll get fed. If she's good, you'll outfarm her, but she won't be giving you any kills. She's extremely squishy and her skillshots aren't easy enough to land to be able to kill you, but the range of her spells is massive and you can't really reach her if she uses Lucent Singularity to farm. You can't precisely zone her out either because if you get close enough to her that she's too far away to throw her E on your minions, you'll also be too far away from her minions to be able to farm them. Zoning her out = Zoning yourself out. And if you play too offensively you WILL get hit by her spells and eventually will die. Just try and roam as much as you can and you'll do fine.

DIFFICULTY: EASY
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Easy-peasy-peasy-peasy-peasy. His entire laning phase revolves around casting Malefic Visions on your minions and letting it farm them up. Once you hit level 3, any time he tries to cast it over your minions just burst him, and if he runs, just keep on zoning him out like that. He's squishy as hell so you shouldn't have any problem killing him. Just careful not to get caught at low HP after he hits lvl 6 or you're as good as dead.

DIFFICULTY: EASY
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Assuming AP Yi here. ... I've never run this match-up before, but I've been maining AP Yi as my usual mid champ for ages now, and it's probably going to be the most ridiculous match-up you've ever played. Once he's got a little bit of AP, his heal will start healing him 100% of his HP. He can sit there farming and take your burst like a man, then just heal it straight back up as if nothing happened. Like I said, I've never run this match-up before so I don't really know who wins, but in my experience from playing AP Yi, he pretty much counters every mid in the game, so I'm gonna go ahead and rate him as hard.

DIFFICULTY: HARD
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Quite a hard lane. Early-game you can try and let him drop his HP down by himself by spamming his spells while trying not to get hit by his spells, but when he gets Hextech Revolver it's all over. Mordekaiser's passive is Iron Man. Every time he casts a spell, 35% of the damage is converted into a shield which will block damage from him. The opportune moment to burst him would be while his shield is down, because any attempts at bursting him while it's up will end in him taking a total of 100 damage or so, and you taking maybe 500. But his spells have such short cooldowns, it's practically impossible for shield to go down. You can't push him out and go gank either because he pushes a lot harder than you can early-game. All you can really do is ask for jungler ganks, because he'll have to push to keep his shield up, and try and gank while he's off the lane.

DIFFICULTY: HARD
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Easy-ish, but not terribly. She can afk farm by just placing Tormented Soil on your minions and watching it farm for her, so she pushes her minions to your tower where you'll find it hard to farm from, and she stays out of your range at the same time. To zone her out of using her Tormented Soil you'd need to be extremely over-extended and easy to gank. The bright side is, she only reaches this level of pushing power when she has 3 points in her Tormented Soil, in other words, when she reaches level 5. Until then her Tormented Soil will still push the lane slightly, but she'll need to physically last-hit the minions to get the gold from them, and her auto-attack range isn't terribly high. This means lvl 3 and lvl 4 are the weakest points in her laning phase which, woopdie-doo, are some of the strongest levels of your laning phase. At this point you are able to zone her out, and burst her if she tries to get a minion kill. Watch out for jungler ganks though.

DIFFICULTY: MEDIUM
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Possibly the easiest lane you could possibly have. He's squishy as hell and needs to spend his early-game farming up Baleful Strike rather than harassing with it, and it has such a short range that it's easy to get close enough to burst him at all times. His ultimate Primordial Burst, against AP carries, is absolutely devastating, but against Talon it's nothing more than a large nuke. Once he gets Deathfire Grasp he has the potential to kill you, but if he manages to stun you with Event Horizon there's no chance of him bursting you before you've already killed him.

DIFFICULTY: EASY


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Guide = Over

That was my guide, folks. I hope you liked it and you learnt something from it. Don't worry if you don't do too well with Talon straight away. It took me months to get good with him!


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Milestones

16/07/2012: Guide was released.

21/07/2012: Guide reached #2 Talon guide on Mobafire.

22/07/2012: I bought Dragonblade Talon. Sweet.

23/07/2012: Guide reached #1 Talon guide on Mobafire, a week after it's release. Sweeter.

13/08/2012: Reached 100,000 views.

2/11/2012: Reached 1,000,000 views.

20/02/2013: Reached 2,000,000 views.


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Chapter O' Scores

I think this section is long due for an update, and now that I have 100 games played as Talon in season 3, I guess this is the perfect time to do it. First of all, here's my current stats at the time I write this.



I honestly feel I should have more wins here, but 22 wins above losses isn't too bad for 100 games, I guess. Also, if I had killed a certain Tristana 1 second earlier, I would have 2 quadra's and 2 penta's, but alas, her Flash delayed my kill, and it remained an unofficial pentakill. :P

Anyway, following this message, I am going to post a screenshot of the majority of the Talon games I've played in season 3. The wins, the losses, the good and the bad. I'll post everything I have, all taken from my ranked journey thread which can be found here. I would have screenshot every single game I've ever played with Talon, but my client keeps bugging and not taking me to the stats screen, so I stopped. But I think I probably have the first 50 games down, at least.

Also, note that any games with more than 1 Black Cleaver were post-rework games, right before the ArPen and CDR got nerfed into Unique Passive. Back then, stacking them was pretty ****ing strong, but it got nerfed within a week.

Right, here we go:


Spoiler: Click to view



Well, this took me about 3 hours to write up. I don't know how many screen-shots it is, but it is a ****ing lot. :@ I'll post more when I get gold back.


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Credits

jhoijhoi for her guide on making a guide ( guideception ), her line dividers, and anything else I may have borrowed from her guide.

albableat for discussing about Talon with me when this guide was in the making.