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Nocturne Build Guide by PaladinPM

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League of Legends Build Guide Author PaladinPM

Do I Scare You Summoner? (4.21) [Work in Progress]

PaladinPM Last updated on January 23, 2015
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Jungle Role
Ranked #97 in
Jungle Role
Win 48%
Get More Stats

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

Legendary Guardian

Defense: 9


Utility: 0

Threats to Nocturne with this build

Show all
Threat Champion Notes
Lee Sin Depends on skill. Sometimes he can bully you and sometimes you will bully him.
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Hi I'm NocturnalPK and I have been playing on and off since Season 1 and Nocturne was actually the newest champion when I started. I have the majority of my season 4 ranked games on him and and currently Gold 3. Overall, he is probably my most played champion and is easily my favorite. I wanted to share this in a guide back in Season 2 but I stopped midway because I found a popular guide that was very similar to what I had been working on. Nocturne is an ad melee champion and is viable in the jungle or mid lane. I haven't tried much top lane but don't recommend it for ranked games. Even thought he has currently fallen out of favor, Nocturne is still definitely worth a try. Enjoy the guide and please let me know what you think.

Taken directly from on 01/05/15

Italics are notes to myself.
The guide is being visually updating but the core of the guide is mostly ready

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Basically, playing a Champion well comes down to Game Knowledge + Champion Proficiency.

This guide is meant to help improve your proficiency with Nocturne. While there is some content that may increase your game knowledge as well, a lot of this guide is specific to improving at Nocturne. In order to successful with Nocturne in game, you need have solid Game Knowledge and Mechanics certainly don't hurt.

I would be better with Nocturne than a Master tier player who doesn't play much of the champion. However, that player might play better than I would simply because of their better decision making, map awareness or positioning.

This seems very obvious but in order to truly become a great Nocturne, you must also improve as a league player. Reading this guide is only one step of the process.

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Pros / Cons

+Decent damage
+Stong Ganks, especially with ult
+Spell Shield and AS Steriod
+AD on Q
+Presence from Ultimate

-Mana reliant
-Somewhat Squishy
-Only cc is unreliable

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When to Pick Nocturne

With the rise of other junglers, Nocturne isn't seen as often as he used to be, but he is still versatile decent in most cases. The exception is if your team already has a lot of damage and needs a tank, you are better off with someone else. However, if you already have a designated tank or your team is already generally tanky, Nocturne is a great choice. He's also one of the best picks against cc.

Midlane: Lane matchup is the biggest factor in this decision.

Advanced Details

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Summoner Spells

Recommended Jungle:

Alternative Jungle:

Recommended Midlane:

Altnerative Midlane:

(Need to reconsider new Heal for Mid)
(Fairly self-explanatory but should still explain later)

Other spells

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Greater Quintessence of Armor

Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage

Greater Mark of Attack Speed

Greater Seal of Armor

Greater Seal of Scaling Health

Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist

Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction



Greater Quintessence of Armor

Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage

Greater Mark of Critical Chance

Greater Mark of Attack Damage

Greater Seal of Scaling Health

Greater Glyph of Magic Resist

Fairly solid setup but still a few things to tinker with. Will explain choices once finalized. Need to do the math eventually to make sure it is optimal

Jungle: changed to 6 cdr glyphs to get 10% base cdr (including masteries). Early game mr is low so went back to flat mr on last 3 glyphs. Get mr items if you need more mr later on.(Might change %hp to armor)

Mid: hp/lvl is stronger than armor at midlane. (flat hp vs hp/lvl?)

(Need to do math to consider adding ArPen runes back in for Mid and More AS on JG. Might also be using too much armor. hp/lvl does seem better than before. scaling cdr might be better than flat.)

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21/9/0 is Standard for assassins/ad carries(not talking about marksman)
21/9/0 is the Standard Set Up for AD Junglers with decent damage. Since we aren't building bruiser/tank 9/21/0 isn't as good.

Fairly solid setup but still a few things to tinker with. Will explain choices once finalized.
(Blade Weaving?)
(Need to do math for Double edged sword vs 4th point in Fury)

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Skill Leveling Order

Almost Always

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

Rare, specific cases

(I'll add explanation later)
Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

> > >

Paranoia Range feels less pathetic, Lower CD, more damage each level. Put a point into Ultimate whenever possible.

Duskbringer More Damage, bonus AD, MS. Get at Level 1 and Max First

Shroud of Darkness Increased Passive AS, Lower CD, but spell shield duration doesn't change. Get it at level 2 but Max Last.

Unspeakable Horror Longer Fear, Lower CD, More Damage. Get at Level 3 most cases but sometimes at Level 4 and Max Second.

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Skills Explanation

Passive: Umbra Blades Nocturne's basic attack does AOE damage and heals him. CD reduced for each basic attack dealt. Gives him the sustain needed to jungle and increases benefit of building AS.

Advanced Passive Details

Q: Duskbringer Linear skill-shot that goes through target with AD ratio. Skill shot creates a Dusk Trail, which gives Nocturne bonus AD, MS and lets him ignore unit collision. Champions hit extend Dusk Trail behind them when moving.

Advanced Q Details

W: Shroud of Darkness Passive: Permanent AS boost. Active: Spell shield that doubles the passive if broken. Timing is key when using this skill. Consider delays from casting and particle movement. Prioritize blocking hard cc or very high damage spells. A good shield is really satisfying.

Advanced W Details

E: Unspeakable Horror Nocturne deals a little magic damage (+AP Ratio!?) while he leashes on an enemy. If they stay in range for 2 seconds, they also get feared.
Passive: Nocturne gains MS when moving towards a feared enemy, even if he didn't fear the enemy)

Advanced E Details

R: Paranoia Enemies wet themselves lose all vision besides directly around the Champion. Nocturne can then chose to dash to an enemy within range of ult. Targeted enemy is hit with dmg (+AD ratio). Even though Nocturne can't be CC'd midair, he can die while dashing or get CC'd right after. Due to the series of nerfs, until late game it is more of a gap closer than a semi-global.

Advanced R Details

Add in interactions with onhits and procs...

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Items Build

I find that Nocturne is outclassed as a tank/bruiser by many junglers. He really shines when built assassin with some survivability. You should not be going pure damage every game and sometimes you will end up building bruiser/tank. If your team has a lot of damage, get more utility items.

Item choices change depend on many factors (whos fed, team comp...) This Chapter serves to help choose items, but in that end that is something you will learn with experience.

discuss CDR

Jungle Items

Chilling Smite is really strong. Only problem is you won't use smite much in the jungle to keep Chilling Smite available for ganks.

Weaker but still decent for sustain and slightly faster clears.

It just doesn't compare to the other two. Might be okay early on but fairly useless after first two clears.

Pretty bad overall because it telegraphs your intention to counter jungle and will get you caught often.


If they have a lot of cc/ap

If they have an ad heavy team

For lots of ganking/roam

For lots of Slows

If none of the others apply



Almost always the best choice.

The only other decent choice is Furor and that's only when fed.

Jungle Item

On Jungle item, Only take either Enchantment: Warrior or Enchantment: Devourer.

Gives a nice power spike and makes you threat early on.

Keeps scaling throughout the game. After recents nerfs, I tend towards Warrior.

If you do end up deciding to take Devourer, make it Ranger's Trailblazer - Devourer


Jungle items are core on junglers and are very cost efficient.

Hydra/BotRK should be taken every game. They are both excellent with Nocturne's kit. Sometimes its even worth grabbing both. Always take at least one of them.

Amazing item for Nocturne. Every part of this item is really good for him. The Passive is great against enemies stacking hp and the Active is great against squishy ones who try to kite you. This is the most common item on [Nocturne] for a good reason.

has crazy synergy with Umbra Blades and really increases damage dealt. I usually take BotRK over this but I definitely need to try this more often. Can be used to reset auto attacks and makes a wave clear monster.

Although Nocturne does benefit from all the base stats, Youmuu's Ghostblade is core because of the active. The active has great synergy with Duskbringer and is even better because of his already high attack speed from Shroud of Darkness. It may seem underwhelming based on the stats but the active really makes up for it. Good for chasing or escaping.


Solid stats, very helpful if there is a fed AP caster. Another spell shield means you will be able to save Shroud of Darkness. Don't use them at the same time or you will waste one.


Personally, I don't like Guardian Angel. Unless you are very far ahead you will usually just end up delaying your death by a few seconds and it has a 5 minute CD. Without the passive, it is very lackluster and 9/10 times something like Banshee's Veil is a better choice. It should only really be bought as a 5th or 6th item when you are very fed.

Locket of the Iron Solari will set you behind from getting other items and most of the time it is better for your support to get. If you are behind and want to atleast provide utility for your team it is a decent choice.

Will be testing Frozen Mallet and a few other items soonish.

(More Items and Discussion coming...)

Using Item Actives is really important, especially in this build. Forgetting to use Youmuu's Ghostblade in a crucial moment could lose you an entire team fight or even the game. I personally use 123T for item actives and 4 for the trinket, but bind items to keys you feel comfortable with.

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Grab a few Health Potion and Mana Potion for the first few clears/ times going back to lane.

Don't get this if jungling. Crystalline Flask is the best start for almost all midlane match ups because of the sheer amount of sustain. Helps you avoid being poked out of lane early on. Sell later on


Can only use one at a time now.

Tenacity is a huge help against cc. Stacks with Mercury's Treads. Buff not as great since you shouldn't be initiating too often as an assassin. Probably the best choice in most cases.

More AD is always nice and buff is decent.

Very helpful if split pushing.

Stats won't really help you much and buff isn't the best.


Don't forget to buy and use them. 75 gold to prevent a death or get a kill is a steal. As a Jungler, you should be warding more than anyone besides a support.
A well placed Vision Ward (pink) can last all game while still giving good vision. That only costs 100g!

Add warding locations image

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Start with this. Helps minimize surprises for Mid and helps protect your buffs or take the enemy's as a jungler. Just keep in mind that trinkets do not replace wards

Mid should swap to Scrying Orb when Lane phase is ending or when you are close to getting your second point in Paranoia, whichever comes first.(~10 mins)

Jungle should swap trinkets after you have cleared both of your buffs the second time. (~8 mins)

I like Scrying Orb personally but this is generally preferred for the vision control. If you do take Scrying Orb ,you need to make really use of the raptors' smite buff to clear enemy wards. The higher elo you are, the better this is. If you know the enemy won't ward then this isn't as helpful.

One of the worst feelings for a Nocturne player is to lose vision of the target when you use Paranoia. This solves that problem and is also great for clutch Dragon or Baron steals.

Final Note: Don't forget to Upgrade Trinkets late game.

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Mid Lane

It is common to get a negative reaction when playing Nocturne Mid because it is unusual. Sometimes you will even get grief when jungling because you are building closer to assassin than the meta fighter build. Just focus on playing well and mute harassing players if necessary.

I would not recommend playing Nocturne Mid unless you are at least a somewhat experienced Noc or are in a easy lane match up. I didn't come up with the idea to play him Mid and I probably never would've tried it if I didn't stumble upon a Korean Montage of Mid Nocturne. It isn't op by any means but it can be strong if played right and in the right scenario. You need to be able to block spells like Charm and Death Mark consistently and dodge fairly well or you will probably struggle.

Nocturne tends to push because of Umbra Blades and Duskbringer so try to only last hit or you will be vulnerable to ganks. Last hitting creeps is fairly easy and you deal a surprising amount of damage. His kit also makes roaming pretty easy. Around a third of my ranked games with Nocturne this season have been at Mid.

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The new jungle creeps are much more punishing so I highly recommend getting the necessary runes if you want to jungle. Choosing jungle path depends on factors such as:

    (*) Who is their Jungler
    (*) Where is there Jungler starting
    (*) Possible Level 1 Invade
    (*) Bot Lane may want Gromp/Krugs
    (*) Which lane do you want to gank first

Common Routes:



If giving away a buff, press s to stop autos.

As of 4.21, Nocturne is good at getting early dragons. I don't recommend doing a level 2 or 3 dragon because of the risk involved. If seen, you are giving away dragon and a kill.

(Add more about dragon with video and put entire section in a spoiler labelled Enter the Dragon)

Rift Scuttler is not a primary objective but the vision and speed shrine can be really helpful, especially when dragon or baron will be contested.

Nocturne is considered a farm jungler and has a good clear, but you make sure you aren't afk farming. If you aren't making good use of Nocturne's great ganking, you are wasting his potential.

Relevant 4.21 Changes

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Counter Jungling

Counter Jungling is taking the monsters in the enemy jungle. On top of the buffs themselves, you set the enemy jungler behind by denying him his gold and xp. Nocturne typically won't counter jungle too much but if you see the enemy jungler is ganking top lane and know it is safe, then you can can take his blue buff or something. Keep risk vs. reward in mind. You don't want to be dying because you tried to steal their gromp and got caught.

(Add Dealing w/ Counter Jungle)

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Nocturne has strong ganks/roam, especially when his ultimate is up. The hardest part of ganking with Nocturne is probably staying in range for the tether of Unspeakable Horror to Fear the target. Duskbringer helps you keep up with the enemy and Shroud of Darkness can be used to avoid annoying cc skills like Solar Flare.

Don't feel bad if you take a few kills from ganks because you are a carry jungler, but don't take every kill. You have a better chance of winning if everyone on your team is ahead rather than just you. Your goals should be something like:

    (*) Get ahead
    (*) Get your team ahead
    (*) Take objectives with your lead
    (*) ????
    (*) PROFIT

Using Paranoia to gank allows you to often bypass wards or use unorthodox ganking paths. Each ult should be at least one kill.

(Add image/examples)

(Add when/who to gank/roam)

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When Behind

This guide is mostly written for cases when you aren't far behind. If you happen to fall behind and begin to reverse snowball, you need to play differently so you aren't useless. (Focus on xp/farm, build more defensively, don't blame others, let your team carry you, dont feed more...)


(Will Expand)

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Team Fight

You aren't tanky enough to initiate, so don't commit until the enemy carry pops in. As an assassin , You should typically aim to take out high priority targets.
Focus priority: AD Carry>= AP carry>Support>Off-tank>Tank
Sometimes it is better to protect your own carry rather than kill/zone theirs.

(Needs Update)

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"Before Nocturne, people believed that dreams were figments of their imagination, meaningless images that flashed through the mind when one slept. This belief was put to the test when a rash of sleep-related incidents started afflicting summoners of the League. Some would wake up screaming, terrified and beyond consolation. Some could not fall asleep, slowly going mad as the nights ticked by. Some simply never woke up. Physicians were baffled until a Field Architect happened to pass out next to a nexus on Twisted Treeline. Witnesses said he cried out once and then stopped breathing. Immediately after, magical energy arced out from the nexus, and Nocturne appeared.

Nocturne did not take his introduction to this world kindly. He slaughtered everything he could find before summoners were able to magically confine him. After a period of intense study, League experts divined that Nocturne hunted summoners in their sleep, attacking them in a place where their magic was useless. This seemed to be his only purpose. The families of the victims demanded justice, but League officials were concerned that death might only return Nocturne to the place from which he came. They bound him to a nexus fragment, trapping him in the physical world. As punishment for his crimes, they allowed summoners to call upon Nocturne in the League matches, bending his will to the summoners he hates and creating his own personal nightmare. League scholars don't know whether he truly came from the plane of dreams, or whether there are any more like him. Some theorize that the summoning act affected summoners' subconscious minds, luring Nocturne to them in their sleep. Perhaps the most disturbing theory is that Nocturne is a person's nightmare come to life. If this is true, they wonder, who is the dreamer?

''The darkness is closing's pitch black now...but I can still see him...''
- Kelvin Ma, patient #4236"

tl;dr Nocturne is scary and hates all of us. Still fun to play though :)

(Italicize lore?)

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(Turn this into a Misc and add Easter eggs?)
Just Remove??

Nocturne has a decent selection of skins. His default skin was changed to the Chinese artwork a few months back.

In the recent massive visual overhaul with the SR update, all the skins besides Eternum were changed. The Ravager skin had the most noticeable change.

The more noticeable Duskbringer on Frozen Terror and Haunting could be considered a very slight disadvantage.

Skins ordered Worst to Best(IMO):

    6. Void: Awful...just awful
    5. Ravager: Don't really like the changes. Older colors looked better and his head looks even worse now.
    4. Default: Solid Default skin but I liked the older one a little bit better.
    3. Frozen Terror: Effects look great and was the best skin until the other two came out.
    2. Haunting: The Q was changed to the greenish thing it is now because of some poll/forum post. Would have got it if I didn't have Eternum.
    1. Eternum: Was best skin in game when it came out imo. The model is not perfect but it is his only Legendary Skin and it has great visual and sound effects and unique taunts/quotes. Might just be me but his autos feel a little bit slower with this skin for some reason.

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Friends who encouraged me to write this (back in 2012) builds for idea to play mid
Mobafire for hosting

(Make this look better and add in constructive commenters)

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Guide Progress/Updates

07/24/12- Framework done but found another guide was very similar so set it aside.
12/27/14- Picked guide back up and began to update for Preseason 5.
12/28/14- Finished item builds and more updating.
12/31/14- Added Lore and some Mid Match ups. Simplified skill Descriptions because you can just hover over icon to read full descriptions. Added some specific notes to skills. Set up framework for other chapters.
01/02/15- Added Runes, Masteries, Trinkets and Skins Chapter, some Jungle Match ups, Finished Skill Sequence,About Author Chapter, Improved bbcodes and fixed typos. Published
01/03/15- Added When to Pick, improved match ups, made small general improvements and fixed mistakes.
01/04/15- Merged About the Author into Introduction and addressed tilt. Added screenshot of Nocturne ranked stats,
01/11/15- Improved Items chapter, separated Consumables from Items, added headers
in progress - Aesthetics
01/17/15- Got the Gold banner (thanks whoever fixed it) and improved Consumables chapter
?- Add Bruiser/Tank builds
?- Finally Finished!