Nocturne Build Guide by Xorkal
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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.
This guide is directed at helping you play as Nocturne in Dominion. Nocturne is one of the more powerful champions in Dominion, let alone League of Legends as a whole. Where Jungling is Nocturne's strong point in Summoner's Rift, Assassinating is his strong point in Dominion. Flying halfway across the map in a second, landing on an unsuspecting victim, and laying them to waste is a very fun, and useful ability.
The most important thing to remember when playing Nocturne, is that you are a Glass Cannon. You can dish out an enormous amount of damage, which is your main defense, as you are generally trying to kill your opponent before they kill you. Your best use of Nocturne is in team-fights, as few people actually focus you, unless they know what you're capable of. I will touch on playing techniques with Nocturne in a later chapter.
Items amplify Nocturne's already powerful abilities, and item choices are very important. There are a couple base items that are a must, while others are conditional as the game progresses. I will touch on what gear you will want, and when in a later chapter.
Pros and Cons
- Great Mobility
- Phenomenal Assassinating Prowess
- Tons of Damage
- Shroud of Darkness, a Banshee's Veil on steroids
- Glass Cannon, can be squishy
- Not great at defending a node alone
- ****py Dance
First off, lets discuss the Rune choices.
Marks: Greater Mark of Desolation is a must as far as marks go, they offer a massive 15% Armor Penetration. Other Marks in place of these is unwise, and not recommended.
Seals: There are 2 runes I could see being used here. The first, and most recommended being Greater Seal of Evasion. The evasion seals combined with the maxed mastery from the defense tree gives Noc a near 10% dodge rate, which can be translated as 10% damage reductions, since 10% of the attacks made on him will be dodged. The only other rune I would consider for this champion is Greater Seal of Armor for straight armor. The armor is great and all, especially at lower levels, but the benefit of Evasion carries through every level up to 18, whereas the armor benefit trails off at higher levels.
Glyphs: The runes I chose here are purely up to personal preference, as the benefits of one rune over another is not substantial. There are 2 runes I would recommend here, but you can replace these runes with whatever you like as long as they fortify his defenses or increase his melee prowess. The rune I personally use in most every game is Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist. I choose shielding because ability power users are a huge threat to Noc, and stacking MR seems to help soften their damage. Another rune I would consider is Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction. Paranoia has a fairly long cooldown time, and it's usefulness is pivotal in every game, reducing it's recharge time and increasing the number of times you're able to use Paranoia gives you a huge benefit. But more often than not, I would choose magic resistance, since Paranoia is a purely opportunistic ability.
Quintessences: If this were a guide for Summoner's Rift, Greater Quintessence of Desolation would take up all 3 slots for quintessences. But in Dominion, mobility and moving quickly across the map is an important aspect of this game style. Therefore, I use 1 Greater Quintessence of Desolation, and 2 Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed to bolster my offensive side, as well as my mobility, and chasing effectiveness.
This combination of runes gives Nocturne a good boost on his offensive abilities, while providing a decent amount of protection for survivability to take down opponents quickly and efficiently.
For this build of Nocturne, I went with a 21/9/0 Mastery Build.
Offense: This tree is a given, since Nocturne is a melee AD fighter. The reason I took the Exhaust mastery is for the increased effect of the Exhaust spell, to decrease your victim's magic resistance and armor. Going all the way down this tree gives Noc a great deal of boosts to his damage output. Much better than splitting the trees up into a hybrid build.
Defense: I chose to put the remaining 9 points in this tree over the utility tree for several reasons. First off, more magic resistance, and a point in an additional 2 armor. Then, I max out Evasion for the additional 2% dodge. As explained in the Runes section, ~10% dodge is ~10% damage reduction. The final point is put into Nimbleness, I did this for the reason of mobility, which as we know, is important in Dominion. With 10% dodge, there is a good chance you will get the speed boost.
Utility: If you decide to go with 9 points in the utility tree instead of the defense tree, I will not hunt you down and slap you. To be honest, I find this a viable option for Nocturne, as long as you put the points in Perseverance and Awareness, for increased regeneration and experience gain. Perseverance is beneficial in that it allows you to defend nodes longer and more efficiently. Awareness allows you to level up faster, which is a given. Now, the reason I subverted the utility tree for the defense tree is that experience passively increases at an already quick pace, also, when defending a node, there's always a health pack nearby to refresh you a bit.
With this mastery build, you will find that Nocturne's offensive abilities are borderline overpowered, while his defenses and mobility are increased.
There are few summoner spells I consider for use with Nocturne but here are my favorites, followed by competent alternates.
Exhaust: This spell is really good for chasing down your prey, with Phage in your possession, 25% slowing is not always dependable, and not built into Frozen Mallet until endgame, so Exhaust is a favorite of mine. Taking the Exhaust mastery will reduce your target's armor and magic resistance as well, increasing you and your teammates damage.
Ghost: This spell is a MUST. Like I've said before, in a game like Dominion, mobility is key, therefore, there is no ability that gives you more mobility than Ghost.
Ignite: This spell can help solidify your kills, and is a good alternate to exhaust if you're used to it.
Flash: This spell is very useful, and can be a decent alternate to Exhaust. This spell makes for great escapes when jumping terrain.
Garrison: This spell is not very good, but if you're really into pushing caps and always on the front line, it can be a good spell to reduce tower damage.
Promote: This spell is absolutely useless and you should immediately hang yourself if you use it in a game.
First 3 Items to buy-
Berserker's Greaves: Attack speed and enhanced movement speed to boot. (see what I did there? ;p ) For it's price, you can get these along with another damage item right away before you make your first attack.
Long Sword: Boosts your damage a decent amount for the initial fight, and will build into The Brutalizer right away.
Health Potion: Buying this will leave you with 5 gold leftover, and will give a small amount of survivability during the grand melee that unfolds at the top node.
The Brutalizer: This is the first damage item you should build, not only because it turns into ghostblade, but because at low levels, this item is absolutely amazing, tearing people apart. Get it.
Phage: Afterwards, build this item to get a bit of early game survivability along with damage and a 25% chance to slow your victims.
Youmuu's Ghostblade: Building this item right away gives you an incredible activated ability, it will increase your mobility and your attack speed immensely, eating through your opponents' health very quickly.
Kitae's Bloodrazor: Now you're into dealing some heavy damage, by the time you are making this item, or have made it, enemies are getting higher HP to survive battles, while tanks stack it, or champions like Olaf build it for more damage. This item is going to throw all of their team off balance because even as they are passively leveling up, your damage is increasing. Using their health as your damage, ingenious!
Last Whisper: By this time, some champions may be trying to counter your damage with armor, or tanks on their team are just getting too tough. This item not only helps you eat through squishy opponents, it will knock the enemy team's tanks down a notch, even if they try building Thornmail to counter you.
Force of Nature: Physical damage dealing champions are not usually a problem for Nocturne (save Ranged AD like Twitch), but AP mages are a big threat. I build this item later in game because usually earlier in game, I'm already killing the squishy mages, but by late game, they are getting pretty OP, and some defense is needed. This item will also help negate some of the damage as a result of Thornmail.
Frozen Mallet: This is usually the last item I build for a couple of reasons, the benefits over Phage are somewhat minimal in comparison to the other items, and also if the slow from Phage doesn't get them, my Exhaust definitely will. I build this last only to spend what gold I have coming in after my item slots are full. Also, by the time you are considering building this up, the game is already over, or will be soon.
Oracle's Extract: If your enemy team has a problematic stealth champion like Shaco, Evelynn or Teemo's Shrooms, this item is a very good consideration during the game. Balancing it's cost (however cheap) with your item progression is left up to you and when you feel it necessary.
Thornmail: If the enemy team is all physical damage, or if the enemy team's AP mage is complete trash, consider replacing Force of Nature with this to give you armor and also counter hard-hitting AD champions like Gangplank.
Ionic Spark: This is a fun item that is a great addition to your damage. As you attack fairly quickly, especially with Ghostblade's Active, you can deal a lot of extra damage. If the enemy team doesn't have much armor, or tanks for that matter, you can replace Last Whisper with this wonderfully fun item.
Entropy: Replace Frozen Mallet with this if you enjoy using Activated item abilities, and if your game goes that long.
Infinity Edge: Very powerful and can make you a maelstrom of damage when used. However, if the other team puts on Thornmail you better be ready to deal yourself a whole lot of damage as well. Also, I dislike relying on critical strikes for damage output. But if you are rolling the other team, get it, and have fun.
Sanguine Blade: I used to build this item a lot to deal a good amount of damage. While it can increase your damage by 95 when fully stacked, it doesn't offer armor penetration, which is very important for Nocturne.
Umbra Blades: A great passive for clearing minions when encroaching on your team's nodes, also in team fights. The fact that it heals you too is awesome. This is why some build like stacking attack speed.
Duskbringer: This is your first ability to max out. While it is a skill shot, it has good distance and it is incredible when you get good with it. Hitting a champion with it allows you to chase him down faster, and deal more damage.
Shroud of Darkness: In a game where Banshee's Veil was removed because the developer's thought it was very powerful, having this ability alone gives you an extreme edge over everyone else. It's even better than Banshee's Veil because it has a significantly lower cooldown, and you get to activate it whenever you want.
Unspeakable Horror: What would be better than to slow your opponents? Incapacitating them with a fear, so they can only sit there and die. Many people know how to dodge this ability nowaday, but when coupled with Exhaust, they're yours.
Paranoia: Whooosh! In for the kill! What an amazing and fun ultimate. You can jump halfway across the map in a second and aid your team in capping a node, or assassinate an enemy champion trying to take the middle relic. The uses are endless. I also find it fun to activate it, and watch the mini-map as enemies actually retreat back to nodes or head for cover.
Basically, max out Duskbringer first, then Unspeakable Horror second, while leveling Paranoia every time it comes up. Use the remaining levels on Shroud of Darkness.
Tips and Tricks
In this section I want to touch on some important techniques that Nocturne can do, and how to use certain abilities for maximum potential.
- Duskbringer is an awesome ability for poking at enemies on nodes. When defending against a cap, and the enemy tries to start capping, throw out a duskbringer at them, breaking the channel. Remember, you can do this over terrain as well.
- Use Paranoia to jump a node being attacked to catch enemies off guard and protect it. However, don't be hasty and jump into 3 enemies all by yourself.
- At 1:18, just a second before the game officially begins, throw out a Duskbringer down the ramp to give you a small speed boost.
When playing Nocturne, you are a top-side champion, you should never be the one left defending bottom. You should be in the charge for the top node when the game begins. And throughout the game, try to stay on the top half of the map, this is where you shine. Help bottom once in a while, especially if there's a quest to complete, but stay top side.
Also, when the opportunity presents itself, pick up the relic in the middle, and then use Paranoia to jump to the top node when your team is attacking it. This has gotten me many triple kills, and very close quadra kills.
If you hadn't read the tips page for Nocturne yet, here is the best tip they offer that actually applies a lot of the time, and you would be surprised how often it works. Upon using Paranoia to jump an enemy, immediately use Shroud of Darkness as you collide. Often, the enemy will panic and use a critical control or stun ability on you, but it will be absorbed by your shroud, buffing you. Immediately use Unspeakable Horror to fear them, then proceed to use Duskbringer to increase your damage and chase them down when they are no longer feared and begin to run.
Quick Example: I was playing against a skilled Ashe one game that could predict which champion I was going to use Paranoia on, or which direction I was headed. Ashe would fire her ultimate to intercept me and stop the attack, she was a good aim. However, I knew it was coming after the first one, and would use Shroud of Darkness as I was jumping, just absorbing the ultimate. Ashe was flabbergasted every time, QQ'ing about her ultimate not working right.
To expand on the uses of Shroud of Darkness, practice understanding and predicting opponent movements. When you see a yellow outline on their champion, they are going to use an ability on you. If you catch it, you can just absorb it with shroud. Some skilled players will wait until they want to use their ability to target you with it. You can sense this coming when you see their champion run towards you longer than normal (because they will likely be trying to lure you in or use your shroud early by juking in and out).
One last thing I want to say about the many uses of Shroud of Darkness is in games with champions who make good use of trap laying, like Teemo, Caitlyn, and Nidalee. If you see a trap laid down, and know where it is ( Oracle's Extract with Teemo's Shrooms), just run over it with Shroud of Darkness activated. You will simply eat it, and buff yourself. Trap clearing is hugely beneficial to your team, and yourself. Often opponents will get fed up and stop laying them.
This concludes my Dominion build guide for Nocturne. I hope you found this to be educational and inspiring to play a better Noc. The important thing to remember when playing as this seemingly overpowered champion, is that timing is everything. Take advantage of opportunities presented to you for assassinating enemies, and always be ready to use Shroud of Darkness, in my opinion the best champion ability in the game!
Have Fun! And I hope to see you on the battlefields!
My Nocturne Games: