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Talon Build Guide by Pauguster

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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.

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Pauguster

Call me TALON-ted

Pauguster Last updated on June 30, 2016
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Middle Lane
Ranked #15 in
Middle Lane
Win 50%
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Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

Not Updated For Current Season

The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.


Natural Talent
Bounty Hunter
Battering Blows
Piercing Thoughts

Ferocity: 12

Dangerous Game

Cunning: 18

Tough Skin
Runic Armor
Veteran's Scars
Legendary Guardian

Resolve: 0

Threats to Talon with this build

Show all
Threat Champion Notes
Ahri Easy to kill, and little kill potential. Good Ahri can be hard to kill post 6, but an evenly skilled Talon should always win by drawing out the Q and/or E early.
Karthus Very weak champion with no escape, something a Talon player should relish.
Kassadin With a passive and ability that only help him against AP champions, Talon can bypass his usual nuances and out-trade him.
Lux Bait the Q or E. You can use your Cutthroat (E) to dodge her Q as it's flying towards you.
Twisted Fate If he has a yellow card ready for you when you go in, just ult and catch up to him or get ahead of him. Only go in on him after he's used his Q to poke/farm.
Vel'Koz Has no escape, so he has to sit there and take your damage essentially. Also you're melee, which means if he ults while you're fighting post 6, you merely need to walk behind him and he'll miss most of the damage.
Xerath No escape. Bait the E or Cutthroat (E) to avoid it, much like a Lux Q. Avoid being poked down.
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I'm Pauguster, a gold 2 Talon main on the NA servers. I have been playing since season one, although it wasn't until season 4 that I found this monster of a champion in Talon. I was looking for a champion to counter a Kassadin I was about to face in a draft game and I discovered Talon would work perfectly. Little did I know that I was playing the champion that I would main for the nexet 3 seasons and counting. I was very attracted to his "all or nothing" playstyle, and they way he could kill so quickly. It almost became a stress reliever to simply play Talon and explode on enemy squishies. I'd never played a champion that could kill so efficiently and with so much style. If you follow my guide you will know how to play one of the most exciting and powerful champions on the rift. Here are my current stats for a quick reference: Talon is the definition of an assassin. He is the burstiest champion in the game bar none and he has extreme mobility in the form of his ultimate Shadow Assault and Cutthroat. He deals high AoE damage and has high armor penetration if you follow this guide.

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Pros and Cons of Talon

+ High Burst
+ Great Mobility
+ Can win any lane easily after 6
+ Amazing scaling
+ Good farming
- Weak Dueling
- Weak early game (pre 6)
- Only real escape is ult
Much like any other assassin, Talon is incredibly bursty and mobile. By using Youmuu's Ghostblade and Shadow Assault simultaneously, a fed Talon can kill you without even appearing until he's on top of you. Also, Rake allows for excellent farming after level 9, able to clear the caster minions and getting the melee ones low enough to die to a Tiamat swipe. Also, his Rake and Shadow Assault both scale well past 100% of bonus AD if you take into account that they both hit twice. Talon has no autoattack steroids save his passive, Mercy, which he can barely proc himself. Furthermore, he has no movement steroid unless you're willing to burn a 45 second cooldown for Shadow Assault (which sometimes is worth it). He also struggles against most mid laners before he gets his ult due to low base damage.

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Greater Glyph of Magic Resist

Greater Mark of Attack Damage

Greater Seal of Health

Greater Quintessence of Lethality

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Thunderlord's Decree is important to increase burst damage and it scales well with Talon's huge end-game attack damage stats. Assassin , Double Edged Sword , and Dangerous Game all help with the killing efficiency of Talon and are the obvious choices at their respective levels. Bounty Hunter has a slightly higher winrate than Oppressor , so I recommend taking Bounty Hunter even though Talon can use both effectively. Sorcery works because Talon is more ability-based than attack-based, which makes it more important than the attack speed we get from Fury . Vampirism is only slightly better than Natural Talent simply because Talon does not scale at all off of ability power and the extra lifesteal, although minuscule, is somewhat helpful in lane.

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Mercy Mercy
Autoattacks deal higher damage to CCed targets.
Mercy may seem like a pretty bad passive for a champion with only one way of utilizing it, but in team fights you'll find your targets at least slowed most of the time. This is how you will be able to fight champions like Zed head on, by slowing them with Rake first.

Noxian Diplomacy
Talon's next autoattack deals increased damage and applies a bleed.
This ability separates good Talon players from great ones. Before you use this ability make sure you have done two things: Use your Rake and Reset your autoattack with it. This will get the most damage out of it. Do note that this ability can crit and works with Mercy.

Throws blades in a cone, dealing damage on the way out and back in and slowing the target.
Talon's bread and butter, and an extremely stylish ability, lies in Rake. This ability is his poke, his waveclear, his main damage early game, and his CC. There are creative ways to use this, but used in tandem with Shadow Assault it can make the enemy die almost instantly.

Dashes behind a target, briefly slowing them and increasing Talon's damage to them for a short time.
This ability is really simple, but there are a few things you can do to maximize its effectiveness. Because the ability is instant and isn't a dash, it can be used to avoid abilities such as Ahri's Charm and get past Azir's Emperor's Divide.

Shadow Assault
Sends out blades in a ring that deal damage on going out and coming back. Also stealths Talon and increases his movement speed.
Talon's ultimate is honestly one of the best ultimates in the game. It has a low cooldown and can be used in a lot of different ways. Here are a few:
  • Use it to quickly advance on your enemies without them seeing you. You can make it through even the fog of war while stealthed with Boots of Mobility and Youmuu's Ghostblade.
  • Use it to get out of trouble. If you find yourself being chased by a fed Udyr you can use this to get away. Do this sparingly.
  • Use it for its damage. Shadow Assault deals a massive amount of physical damage. Also, with The Black Cleaver You can shred their entire team's armor. This is the highest damage alternative and probably how you will use it if you're not fed.


Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
As you can see I like max Rake first because it is the best for farming and the only way you can trade with most mid laners. I also like to double point it at level 3 simply because in most matchups you won't even need to go in on the opponent until level 6. Against melee opponents, you should get Noxian Diplomacy at level 2 instead.

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Boots of Mobility allow for more effective roaming and ganking. While they don't appear to help you in lane, they can actually really help you execute your Youmuu's Ghostblade and Shadow Assault combo to snowball even more off of your opponent.

With its active movement speed and attack speed and its fair attack damage and penetration, this item was okay for Talon. And then they changed it and took away the crit to replace it with damage. Now it's an amazing item on Talon. With one of the highest AD stats in the game and an active that makes Talon what he is, you would be crazy to not get this item. Prioritize this item if you are ahead because it helps Talon snowball.

Talon already does plenty of AoE damage, but with this item it goes off the charts. This item gives a high attack stat and the active adds to his burst. Usually a Rake added in with an autoattack can clear an entire wave with this item, which is very useful in a meta that requires waveclear of its mid laners. Use this if you are somewhat behind and need to CS to get back into the game.

This item provides the most flat armor pen in the game (with conflicting values depending on the target's armor compared to The Black Cleaver). It can build into two different items, Lord Dominik's Regards and Mortal Reminder. Both of these are viable options, depending on a few key things. If the enemy team has fed tanks, get Lord Dominik's Regards. This will allow you to help in killing them once their back line is dead. Mortal Reminder should be considered if the enemy team has either high regeneration or a fed ADC, to make sure that their lifesteal is less effective.

This is the closest you will come to utility on a standard Talon build. Eventually, if you're fed, teams will try their hardest to focus you. This item lets you both survive easier and makes them easier targets for your ADC. You will almost always purchase this item, but get it as a fourth item if you have a strong ADC or AD top laner/jungler and the enemy team has a lot of tanks.

I used to pick up Infinity Edge before this beautiful item came out. This should be the second or third item you pick up, as Youmuu's Ghostblade still helps you snowball better. This item is basically the icing on the cake with its astronomical base stats of armor pen. and attack damage. Perfect for Talon. Furthermore, the passive on this item, Nightfall, will help you secure kills that otherwise would be tough to get. Very useful against tanks who don't die initially to your burst. I've been able to 1v1 Sion once I got this item. Purchase this second if you went the Youmuu's Ghostblade rush path to further increase your snowballing ability.
Some Healthy Alternatives:
You may find yourself getting Maw of Malmortius if the enemy team has a lot of magic damage, or even one really fed mage. This item is really good on Talon currently. My above recommended items are for snowballing and carrying, but if you are not particularly fed then get this item.
This item is really good as well. I think it is outshined by its counterparts like Ravenous Hydra but it has high damage and grants other good stats like CDR and Lifesteal.
Banshee's Veil doesn't grant any offensive stats but it is very good against poke comps and champions like Nidalee or Blitzcrank. This is for late game only though.
The attack damage on this item is among the elites and its overheal passive is very useful. Consider this item if you need to split push a lot. I take infinity edge over this simply because crits help burst more.
With possibly one of the best actives in the game, this item also provides nice damage and protection. Get this against Zed or Ashe if you find yourself needing it.

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Gameplay & Mechanics

Although I've already gone over several of these things, I figured I'd lay them out in an easy to read manner to summarize my points.


Much of the countering options I have listed in the summary, but there are some general tips you need to know for laning as any melee champion, specifically Talon.
  • First, note that you will likely not win in farm early unless you want to take a lot of damage. Using Rake for harass is seldom efficient until around level 7, unless you are able to both get minions with it and snag your opponent. Do note that while your cs may suffer in early levels, you can usually catch up once you get your Tiamat, which, when combined with Rake, will keep them pushed and losing out on cs while you get the entire wave. Do this especially if your opponent is playing passively after one or two kills and your side lanes are struggling.
  • When facing ranged champions, you're usually going to double point Rake at levels 1 and 3, with a point in Cutthroat at level 2. The problem with Talon's early game is that without Noxian Diplomacy, his damage is negligible upon getting on top of them, but without Cutthroat you will never land Noxian Diplomacy. This is why we play conservatively early game and mostly stick to a harass/farm technique with Rake. It is also preferred to let your opponent push early game, because you are extremely susceptible to ganks.
  • This is something that most skilled players do naturally, but it may need to be spoken for newer players: Do not go in on the opponent unless you or your opponent has done one or more of these things:
    1. You have killed them and gone back, granting you an item advantage.
    2. You have out-farmed them by at least 20 farm and gone back, granting you an item advantage.
    3. They have burned an important ability for the purposes of farming, such as Ahri's Orb of Deception.
    4. They do not have Flash, and you have either Flash or Ignite.
    5. They do not have their ultimate.

General Mechanics:

  • Ganking is as important as you'd expect on Talon, but it's also important to note that Talon is extremely efficient at destroying turrets through his Noxian Diplomacy. If your lane is pushed, your opponent is in lane, and the opposing bot or top lanes are gankable (i.e. pushed and lacking correct warding) go ahead and gank as you're pretty much guaranteed a kill.
  • One of the scariest things about a good Talon player is their ability to snowball. But to do this you will need to be patient, because you will see a lot of cautious mid laners. Try to be aggressive after your first kill, coming from unexpected angles and initiating from the fog of war with your Shadow Assault. Once you have several kills and a Youmuu's Ghostblade paired with Boots of Mobility, you should almost think of mid lane as if you were a trap door spider. If somebody pushes too far into it, come from the side and take them out. Just be sure that you know where the rest of their team is before you do this, though.
  • Teamfighting is another strength of Talon's. He excels because of his ability to deal intense and unstoppable single-target damage while still being able to take chunks out of nearby opponents' health bars. You should consider it your sole duty to make sure that their highest damage-dealer is dead early in the team fights. If you die in the process, then it will still be a win for you because of the extra aoe damage you dealt while taking this target out.

Ability Combos:

I gave these names but you don't have to call them anything. Just be familiar with the several combos that Talon players find themselves using.
  • The "Out of Nowh-Oh, they're dead.":Study a squishy target's location. Make your way to them. Before you get near them, activate your Youmuu's Ghostblade and Shadow Assault. When you get close enough, Cutthroat, Rake in the direction they will be going, and AA + Noxian Diplomacy reset. It takes experience to know how far away you need to be to activate your Youmuu's Ghostblade and Shadow Assault and whether or not the target is squishy enough to die, but if you pull this off it's very easy to continue to snowball. Use this in teamfights as well.
  • The "Sure, Buy a Pink Ward.":This will almost always kill your opponent in lane unless they have their flash up. It's helpful to understand Input Buffering. For the sake of formatting I will not directly place the URL here but here is a link to a guide on Offensive Input Buffering: Input Buffering. Essentially, if you're ahead, just input buffer Cutthroat until you land it, AA + Noxian Diplomacy reset, Rake, and Shadow Assault all as fast as you can. Don't stay in Shadow Assault, just call it back immediately. Most champions will die instantly if you have even a slight advantage. This is hard to pull off in team fights but is your most practical way of dealing the highest amount of damage, if you can catch them by surprise. Most likely you will have to use the first combo listed, though.
  • The "Surprise Duelist": This is for facing melee champions, namely Yasuo, or possibly Zed if he's aggressive. Send out your Rake in their direction, AA + Noxian Diplomacy reset, and AA again. Don't continue autoattacking as the longer this goes on the worse the trade gets for you. Get your damage in and run back out while they're slowed. If you think you can secure the kill, Cutthroat to them. If you have Shadow Assault up, use it after your second autoattack to minimize trade potential.

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Going to start keeping this thing up to date and adding new stuff. Added updated champions and items, added lengthy "Gameplay & Mechanics" section. Also updated items and masteries to reflect current changes. Made changes to Pros and Cons section to make it more aesthetically appealing. Being very nit-picky.


Added more in-depth descriptions of build paths in terms of items.