Nocturne Build Guide by EZYoDa
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.
|Nocturne is one of the strongest early game junglers at the moment. His skills all give him insane dueling power and decent ganks, and his ult lets him snowball any early lead into a victory. Nothing is scarier than playing against a fed nocturne then having your screen turn dark.||SPACE|
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- Duskbringer and Shroud of Darkness give awesome early stats, giving Nocturne an easy clear and strong dueling.
- Paranoia allows us to gank easily without being spotted by wards
- Paranoia gives good utility in team-fights, usually allowing your marksman to to damage uninhibited
- Good early game + snowbally ult is a really nice combination to carry your team through the early/mid game
- Lacks AoE CC
- No hard CC - Unspeakable Horror requires a leash time
- Missing Duskbringer usually spells failure in most ganks/fights
- Shroud of Darkness can be ineffective against some characters (see: Jarvan IV)
|...|| greater mark of armor penetration
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage
Nocturne has really high base damage from Duskbringer, so we don't need as much flat AD as usual from runes, meaning we can take armor pen marks. If the other team has no magic damage you can swap out your glyphs for attack speed, but that doesn't come up often and might not be worth investing a second rune page. We can take scaling magic resist over flat magic resist since Shroud of Darkness blocks most AP damage early.
We take 21 points in offense since we want to snowball the early game and we don't want kills getting away due to lack of damage. We're also electing havoc over the CDR since we are mostly about killing someone in the first round of spells than spamming throughout a fight. 1 point in summoner's resolve or 1 point in armor is really preference, I like the summoner's resolve.
Building Nocturne can be a tricky thing. The key is to have exactly enough tanky items to survive in teamfights, but not too many else your damage becomes irrelevant. Try to judge how the game is going and if you have extra gold (ex: you're 5-0 or so) then get an offensive item.
Machete/5 is the standard jungle start. I would never do anything different.
Your first 3 items are Crystalline Flask, Boots of Speed, and Spirit Stone. You can skip the Crystalline Flask and instead go for pots, but I find the flask pays off quickly, unless you're just farming (which you shouldn't be). From there, you should pick up Spirit of the Ancient Golem as you will inevitably want tankiness, and it is the most efficient tanky item for junglers.
After your core items, you need to gauge the game. If you're really far ahead, take Blade of the Ruined King. Winning but not be too much means Sunfire Cape. If you're losing / behind, build Locket of the Iron Solari. As you can see, the amount of tankiness basically progresses downward based on winning/losing.
After you finish your mid-game item, your next 3 items should be Randuin's Omen, Last Whisper, and Guardian Angel. These are just the 3 best items for an end-game Nocturne. Last Whisper keeps our damage relevant even against tanks, which we do end up hitting in the late-game, and Randuin's Omen and Guardian Angel are just the best tanking items in the game right now. Generally you'll want Guardian Angel before Randuin's Omen if the other team has a lot of magic damage, and Randuin's Omen first if not.
Smite is a necessity for all junglers. Helps you kill buffs, secure objectives, etc etc.
Flash is my summoner of choice for Nocturne. Making aggressive plays can put you in some sticky situations, so Flash is useful for getting you out. Also, it lets you keep your tether for Unspeakable Horror. You can consider replacing Flash with Exhaust if the enemy has a no-escape marksman, but they always have Flash so keep that in mind.
We max Duskbringer first since it offers the most damage, and Unspeakable Horror second for more damage / CC time. Shroud of Darkness comes last since it is mostly utility, and obviously get Paranoia whenever you can.
Nocturne has decent ganks, and amazing dueling early game. That means, you should look for free ganks, but also look for chances to catch the enemy jungler in a facecheck. You should generally look to do the "standard" start, which is to start on the bottom side of the map (blue buff on purple side, red buff on blue side), get a smiteless leash from your support, then do the other buff, then look for a gank. So, to sum it up, "standard" is:
Wraith -> Red -> Blue -> Gank
Wolf -> Blue -> Red -> Gank
This puts you at lvl 3 when you first meet the enemy, so you have your optimal skill-set. What you're looking for here is an overextended lane - either yours or your opponents'. Check inventories for wards (you should be able to do some simple math to see if they have a ward). The three situations you're looking for are if you can sneak behind an enemy laner, or wait in a brush for the enemy jungler to facecheck, or a 2v2 fight - all of these are favorable scenarios for Nocturne. Try to predict the enemy jungler's path based on where he started or if he shows on the map and meet him, if you can't find an open gank.
Ganking with Nocturne
There are three gank types with Nocturne. Either you have a free Duskbringer, or you're leading with Paranoia, or you lead with Unspeakable Horror.
A) Free Duskbringer - You get these when your allied laner leads with a CC, and you can just aim it at the enemy when they can't juke. These are the easiest ganks, just land Duskbringer and walk up with Unspeakable Horror. If they have Flash, make sure you stay in melee range so it will keep the leash afterward. You also do this when you're getting facechecked.
B) Paranoia gank - These are pretty easy too. If your ult is up, just walk down the lane and wait out of vision range. When you're in range and your team is ready, just ult in then use Unspeakable Horror. Again, stick on them so if they Flash you keep the leash, then land Duskbringer while they are feared and chase down.
C) Unspeakable Horror lead - This type is when you're initiating the gank. Walk up and Unspeakable Horror, then just land Duskbringer while they are feared. You can't beat a Flash with this gank, so if they use it just walk away and say worth.
Mid-game is where Nocturne shines, along with the early game. Look for ganks with Paranoia on overextended targets, or targets without Flash. You also clear buffs pretty quickly, so you can go for steals as well if you see the enemy jungler out of position. Generally, try to stay away from mid lane if he has Flash up since Nocturne depends on chasing his enemies down with Duskbringer, and that's a lot less effective in mid lane due to the lane being shorter. Look to force objectives after getting kills, such as enemy buffs, towers, and dragons - this is really how you get ahead.
Nocturne isn't the best at team-fights since he lacks AoE CC, but you can still make do. There are two ways to play a teamfight - jump onto isolated squishies, or peel for your marksman. Look for isolated targets to initiate on, but be sure not to chase too far. If someone uses an escape spell towards his team, you should kite back to your marksman and protect him immediately, as chasing into 4-5 players is the easiest way to die for free.
Nocturne doesn't have too many awesome tricks, but there are important mechanics to understand.
1) Unspeakable Horror -> Duskbringer
This is an important combo to master. Wait for an opponent to be feared by your Unspeakable Horror, then land Duskbringer while they can't juke. They tend to move slowly during fear, but they do move randomly so be sure to hit it.
2) Paranoia -> Unspeakable Horror
This is your bread and butter initiating tool for ganks. If the enemy has Flash up, make sure you stand directly on top of them (firing off a Duskbringer can help) so that if they flash, the tether won't break. It has like 50 more range than Flash, so it's possible to make sure the tether stays on.
3) Unspeakable Horror -> Flash
This is the trickiest of Nocturne's techniques. Once you've landed Unspeakable Horror, if you know you won't be able to stand on top of the opponent, there is a good chance they will try to Flash away. If you predict it and Flash in that direction beforehand, you will retain your tether and they will probably die! Not to mention it looks really cool...
4) Blocking with Shroud of Darkness
This one is simple. Simply wait for the spell to be in the air, then cast Shroud of Darkness. If you're super pro, you can even dodge non-projectiles like Terrify and Whimsy.
Conclusion / About the Author
I hope you all have enjoyed my Nocturne guide! Nocturne is one of the best snowballing champions in the game, given that he has insane dueling, ganking, and an almost-global ultimate.
About me: I'm currently bouncing around some amateur teams, most recently on ZeBopSquad. I try to stream every night, so be sure to tune in!
Here's an embed of my stream! www.twitch.tv/yodatv