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Nocturne Build Guide by RedPandaBear

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League of Legends Build Guide Author RedPandaBear

Darkness is coming

RedPandaBear Last updated on June 11, 2012
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Ability Sequence

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

Not Updated For Current Season

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



Offense: 21

Honor Guard

Defense: 9

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 0

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This is the way I build and play Nocturne. First, feel free to disagree and tell me why, that's the best way to improve both of us.
And please don't mind if I make some mistakes : English isn't my native tongue, so I'll try my best, but ... Best would be some comments, so I can correct it :)
I'll give here some items that I like with Nocturne, but that'll be a lot about the way to play him : how to gank, and when; because so far I have seen a lot of people who just doesn't know how to jungle efficiently.
Hope this guide will help some of you, and it's also my first one, so let's start it !

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Pros / Cons

  • Fast jungler
  • Aggressive ganks at all levels, and awesome ganks at lvl 6.
  • Can pass through the wards
  • Carry destroyer
  • Can block any spell (really useful to gank)
  • Awesome voice
  • Die easily if full focused (especially early game)
  • Relie on teamwork
  • Lack of CC (only a fear, which is hard to place in a fight)

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For runes I use usual jungle runes :


Greater Mark of Attack Speed

Greater Mark of Lethality

Greater Seal of Armor

Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist

Greater Quintessence of Attack Speed
  • greater mark of desolation : Allows to deal almost true damages to minions. More efficient than Greater Mark of Attack Damage.
  • : More attack speed to kill camps faster. The faster you clean that, the sooner you can gank. Besides, your passive resets sooner by each hit you land, and it helps a lot to jungle.
  • : Usual jungle runes, you really need those to take less damages from minions.
  • : best cost efficient glyphs in my opinion, since it's cost efficient at level 9, compared with Greater Glyph of Magic Resist. Sometimes, a mix of both runes can be great, if you want to take less damages when ganking the midlane.
  • : once again, more attack speed for the camps.

Those runes are the one used by pro junglers, it seems to be the best ratio between Attack speed and Armor penetration. I have chosen to believe junglers which are really better than me, and not to try every possibility (and I don't have enough IP to make all the tests ^^)

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I use two different mastery pages, it depends on the team compositions.

The aggressive one, with 21/9/0:


And the tanky one, 9/21/0 :

Let's say that I prefer the aggressive one, because Nocturne has to be aggressive (like most junglers by the way) in his early ganks. And the additionnal points in defense aren't that useful in my opinion.

I rather take the health given in the defensive tree with and veteran's scar, than the , because I don't really need it. It can be great if that kills the minions instead of having to land a last hit for each (like with , you're losing time for each last hit), but Nocturne doesn't need it. And the health you don't have in runes, you gain it there.

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Skill Sequence

This passive makes you a great jungler : every 10 seconds, you damage all the minions in a camp, and gain health for each target you hit. The cooldown duration is reduced by a second each time you attack something.
That's why you'll want to keep sometimes the 3 little wraiths alive, so you can gain more health when Umbra Blades procs.
That's also why you take Greater Mark of Attack Speed and Greater Quintessence of Attack Speed, that scales really nicely with this passive.
If your farming on a lane, just throw Duskbringer in the whole lane, and attack right in the middle of the creeps, to damage them all : you'll clean that wave really fast, and regain your health really quickly.

This is your bread and butter spell. You need to max it first, because it's your main source of damages. If you hit anything, that will damage it. If it's an ennemy champion, the smoke will follow him for 5 seconds. And when you're in the smoke, your damages and movement speed are much higher! There is no way that your prey can escape you.
Feel free to harass opponents with it, if you have enough mana, or the blue buff : it deals some really decent damages.
Also remember that, while in the smoke, you can pass THROUGH creeps ! Awesome for both ganking, and escaping.
Last thing : when Paranoia is active, ennemy team still can see your Duskbringer. So they can know where you are by that. Usually it's too late, but you never know.

Provides a passive attack speed bonus. Quite useful in the jungle. When activated, you can block every single spell.
If it blocks a spell, the passive is doubled. But still, don't activate it before initiating. The cooldown is quite long, and you will need it for a more powerful spell, like an ultimate. Just try to be reactive, and block the best spell possible.
When playing against an Ashe, I often try to bait an arrow. That doesn't happen often, but sometimes, she land it ... right into your shield. The following laugh makes her rage even more ;-)
Also really useful against Karthus's Requiem.

This is your only crowd control. It's a single target fear, not that efficient, but really nice if your opponent walk back during a gank.
When you max it, the fear duration is longer. So we will max it for lvl 13.
It has a quite short range, while it has been activated. So try to stick with the ennemy you are focusing on, or the fear won't proc.

This is what makes Nocturne... Nosturne.
Use it to reach the ennemy carry, rather AD than AP by the way. Then just stick to him, and he should be dead. Remember not to jump all alone, be sure that someone else engage the fight for you, to be sure that the whole ennemy team won't just turn back on you.

Unlike Twisted Fate's Destiny, you need to see your target to jump on him ! If it is hidden in a bush, for example, you are screwed.

Sometimes, you'll need to keep it. Don't blow it at the beginning of every fight, if you don't really need it. It's best used to chase a guy escaping, in the middle of the battle, so you can also block ennemy's caster and support vision.

You can also use it to block all the vision, and save an ally getting followed.

Last tip : can be used to steal a drake, or a nashor : ult in, Smite it, and try to escape the best you can, often with a Flash over the wall. Don't use it if you're not sure of your smiting skill

So here's the skill sequence :

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

That skill sequence is for a lvl 2 gank : take Duskbringer to clean the 2 first camps, then rush with your fear Unspeakable Horror. Devastating.
If you're not ganking until level 4, then take a point in Shroud of Darkness either. I used to do that, but now i rather gank right at the beginning, for early lane domination.
I take a point in Shroud of Darkness at level 4, because the shield is awesome, and the attack speed bonus is great. But as I said before, by maxing Unspeakable Horror, you improve the fear's duration, so it's way better.

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Summoner Spells

Summoner Spells

You are a jungler. You need it. End of discussion. You can secure the buffs, drakes, baron, steal them, and you jungle way faster, so you can gank a lot more. A jungler without it is NOT a jungler.
If your target jumps away, you can allways jumps back on it. I rather use it as an escape tool, since all the ganks won't be that successful. Flash behind that wall, and flee as fast as you can.
With that spell, there is no way they can escape you. You'll be their worst nightmare, the one they fear the most. Be proud of that. Furthermore, you will slice down that poor AD carry in fights, before anyone can notice.
But you will lack some escape, that means that you might die a little more.

Here, feel free for both spells, they are really good either one or the other. But TAKE Smite !! :p

And no other summoner spell is viable with Nocturne :
  • You are already really fast with your Duskbringer for needing Ghost.
  • Everybody has already Ignite (and only the healing debuff is usefull lategame), while Exhaust and Flash are allways awesome.
  • Heal is only if you towerdive too much, and need that extra health to go away safely. Not that useful in my opinion.

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I start with a , and 5 Health Potion. Even if this might not be the best cost efficient start, it allows me to gank a lot, since I might lose some health during a gank.
You can also jungle with either Boots of Speed + 3 Health Potion, or a Vampiric Scepter.
The first one is really aggressive, and rely on ganks and counter jungling, since you are really mobile.
The second one is really passive, since you will stay low health during your whole jungle. You can finish it quite easily, but there is no way you can win for a early invasion, and you might die aswell during a gank. That can be a great start if you are planning to rush lvl 6, without losing too much money in pots.

When I back, I buy some boots of, and a (if I can), which I convert into a .
This is the best item to jungle in my opinion, because it provides all you need : armor, damages, life steal, and that 500 damage proc to clean the jungle sooo fast ! (Be careful with that when you're giving blue to your mid : the procs usually come when you really don't want them :p )

Then I finish my boots : , because there is allways some CC, and some magic damages, in the opponent team.
If not, well, feel free to buy Ninja Tabi.
But Berserker's Greaves... Nah, really don't need it : your job is to tank, since you're in the very middle of the fight, alone versus at least 2 people ! (I'll explain your job in the fights later).

I usually buy a , for the extra health, and most of all for the gold !! Most junglers, if not all, need some GP10 items, because thay can't farm as much as other lanes. So they need that extra gold, instead they might be really late in their build.
Then, I often take a , for the mixed stats : health, slow, and damages : what else ?

After that, well, it really depends of your start, and of where do damages come from :

  • If you're ruling, take a ] : CD reduction, damages, and that lovely armor pen.
  • If there is a lot of AP : take . Provides you some Attack speed, 40 additional damages, and a kinda nice Magic Resistance. And it's really not that expensive.
  • If there is a Darius, Olaf, or whoever deals a lot of true damages : grab some health, with the .
  • And if your botlane is feeding that scary Tristana, just pick a , which you can convert in whatever you please : , or .

I usually take because it scales so well with your job ! You jump and the AD carry, and then just stuck him with the active. If he hits you, his attack speed is slowed. Just too good item.

Once your build is all done, just sell your Wriggle's Lantern, for something like, : you will just lose some armor, and the procs on minions, which you really don't need anymore, and earn a lot of spell vamp and damages.

Just remember that items are really dependant of your game. You can't have an all made build. Just adapt yourself.

Examples :
  • Double AP composition ? Take to nullify their damages.
  • Enemy carry took some armor ? Take a , and you won't feel the difference.
  • You are in solo queue, and they all took squishy carries or assassins, so you have to tank everything ? Just take , and , and you will be unkillable.
  • You're doing your job, aka trying to put that ennemy Ashe in the graves, but that idiot Nunu kept feeding her, so she slice you down like an apple pie ? Buy , and she will kill herself better than a samoura├».

    But I would recommend you a bruiser build, with either damages and tankiness, because you have to resist when you'll jump in the whole ennemy team; and you have to deal some damages, since you can't CC the whole ennemy team.

    : Why I don't pick it ?
    Whell, let's see : we've bought a Phage, so we can either build it into a Trinity Force, or a Frozen Mallet.
    • Movement speed bonus
    • Proc each time you use an ability
    • Critical chances
    • More health
    • Price lower by 800 gold
    • Procs the slow for every hit you give
    • Your movement speed is already awesome in your Duskbringer, and you really don't have enough attack speed to rely on a 25% chance to slow, and a 15 critical strike chance.
    • Besides, the Sheen is useless, since you don't spam any ability, unlike Jax or Corki.
    • You need that tankiness, you need that permanent slow.
    • And last : 800 gold, for a jungler, take years to farm. You will need it for many other things.

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Creeping / Jungling

Start with the wolves (at 1:40), and ask your teammates to help you. They HAVE to do it, either you won't have time to kill the wolves before the blue spawns (at 1:55). Then, ask them to pull your blue, and damage it while it is running. Just be care of the reset, that's really annoying.
When your blue is done, you're ready for a lvl 2 gank : take your Unspeakable Horror, and gank a lane.
I often gank the top or bottom lane (depends of where do you start), since you can pass behind them really easily, and the mid lane is too close of his turret.
Remember NOT to tower dive ! Even if there is only 100 health on the guy ! You'll allways die for this, since you melt in 3 tower shots, and you still deal no damage. And you need your blue buff to be efficient, so don't lose it !

When you gank, be sure to not miss your Duskbringer : without landing it, your gank will mostly fail, since you don't have enough movement speed and damages to damage enough your target.

When the gank is done, there is 2 choices :

  • The ennemy jungler hasn't been seen, then just go back to your wraiths (or wolves, they might have respawn).
  • The ennemy jungler has ganked the opposite lane (like, top lane when you are bottom), feel free to steal some of his jungle ! Just be careful with the double golems : if creeps are passing by, you're seen by the ennemy team ! Just check on your own golem side if creeps are passing there, since it's symetrical.

After that, just keep on jungling. Don't forget to gank, don't forget to jungle.
If you're ganking too much, you'll be late in levels.
If you're not ganking at all, your teammates will be pissed of.

Even if your team is pushing every lane, try to predict where will the ennemy jungler will gank, to counter gank him.
Example : I've seen that my Riven is pushing 24/7, and is under the opponent turret. I can be sure that the ennemy Lee Sin, not seen for a while, will gank her. So I try to stay not far from her, so I can jump to help her whenever he comes.

Another tip : if you have the blue buff, just Unspeakable Horror the Red Lizard, or the Ancient Golem : That's still some extra damages dealt, and some health you won't lose.

Last thing : you are Nocturne. That means that you can jump on the ennemy team really easily. So make sure that you're not seen ! And pass by the lanes, behind your mates. Don't go by the river or tribush, since there might be a ward there, and even if you can jump on them, you're seen way too early.
If you want to gank without your ult (and that's for every single jungler), buy some Vision Ward, or even an Oracle's Elixir, and screw up their map awareness. Be sure that your Oracle's Elixir will be fair : don't buy it if you know there's gonna be some huge fights for dragon, for example.

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Team Work

In team fights, some Nocturne would say : you have to initiate with your Paranoia. And I kinda disagree : you can't initiate a fight all alone.

Wait for someone to engage, and, when you see an opportunity, jump on. Just don't ult in the middle of the ennemy team, if your team is too far away : you'll be destroyed in a second. Wait until the battle begins, then Paranoia on the squishy carries. You should be able to totally zone them for a while, so they'll blow everything on you.
You might die as a result, but they should be also dead, or at least totally useless for the rest of the battle, while your team is doing the job.

Best thing you can do, is baiting for an ultimate, and block it with your Shroud of Darkness. Don't shield yourself just at the begining, you will block only a tiny spell. Try to be reactive, and block only the strongest spells, like Twisted Fate's gold card, or Amumu's Curse of the Sad Mummy.

Just remember : don't focus on the opponent Dr. Mundo, or whoever is the bruiser : he will crush you. He has more health, more sustain, and even may be more damages. Your job is to focus on the carry, noone else.

But anyway, Nocturne isn't that great in team fights; but he's pretty awesome to punish anyone out of position. Active Paranoia, and slice down that guy who's doing an healthy walk in the jungle. Once again, don't blow it he noone else of your team is around, unless you're sure that no other opponent is with him; and that you can beat the guy alone. Because often, IT'S A TRAP !

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When picking him ?

It depends of both your team, and the ennemy team composition :

Don't take him if :

  • Your solo top is not that tanky (example : Vladimir) : you will need a tank in fights, and Nocturne can't be built just tanky.
  • Ennemy AD carry can jump really easily : Tristana with her Rocket Jump, but also Caitlyn if you don't block the 90 Caliber Net. You'll jump on him/her, and by a single jump, you'll be like an idiot, in the middle of the fight, with no target anymore.

Take him against :
  • : you can avoid her Dark Binding with your Shroud of Darkness, and you are not that reliant of your CC to damage her, so you can pass through her Black Shield and still damage her a lot, and even kill her.
  • , it depends : if you can finish the guy you are ganking before the end of Paranoia, he won't be able to use his [stand united]] properly. If not, well, it's Shen, he can come and totally counter gank you.
  • Tanks which can zone and prevent anyone to reach the carries.
  • : he is behind the wall, blasting your team over and over ? Just jump on him, and slice him down !

    That section needs to be improved, please share with me your experiences in game, against which champs is he efficient, rather than others; and with who is he particulary efficient !
    But Nocturne is quite an useful tool in any game anyway.

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Nocturne isn't that easy to handle, especially with your Paranoia : sometimes you see a potential target, you immediately ult on him... And you are all alone in the middle of the ennemy team. Don't be too greedy, you still need your team. Ult only if you have teammates close behind.
But make sure that they'll remember their old fear of the dark, of the unknown... And most of all : have fun !

PS : I have to thank JhoiJhoi, her job is awesome, that really helps to make quickly a better looking guide, handable by anyone. So thanks a lot !