Nocturne Build Guide by PsiGuard
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Runes: Tempo + Ultimate Hunter
+10% Attack Speed
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
Threats & Synergies
You can win at even strength as long as you block Cocoon. She has no reliable escape so keep killing her once you have a lead. Most Elise's will build damage, so make sure you buy magic resistance to maintain kill threat on her. Maw of Malmortius is a good option.
You can win fights pre-6 as long as you shield his Q. Watch out for level 2 invades on your 2nd camp; you might want to save your ward to spot that. He's stronger once he's 6 but usually can't kill you because of the spell shield unless he's already ahead in items.
Hecarim can be hard to kill because of his movement speed, but he takes a while to get going and his early clear is pretty weak. If you can deny blue buff he'll have to recall more often as well. Just go after his team or kill him if he's low. He's also vulnerable while his Devastating Charge is on cooldown.
He has the sticking power to kill you and his Q is really low cooldown so your shield won't save you 1v1. Try to fight near allies or at least jungle monsters to avoid isolation (avoid fights in river). He's squishy so you can kill him if you get a lead and he's still low on AD. Don't ult him unless his Leap is on cooldown.
Most Shaco players will invade you early and often and they can be very creative. Plan out where and when to place your early ward to protect your jungle and remember he can jump walls with stealth. Try and get past the early game safely and then you can start playing more aggressively. He's squishy and worse in team fights so you can definitely win if you don't get crushed by early invades or counterganks.
Least favorite support to pick into. Makes it almost impossible to kill anyone near her if she has ult up. Avoid picking Nocturne into Lulu. If you aren't able to snowball like crazy early, you might actually be better off building somewhat tanky since you won't be able to one-shot people through Wild Growth.
3 dashes, a flash and charm makes it really difficult to kill Ahri unless she's already blown everything or is super low. She won't lose you the game by herself but when combined with other anti-Nocturne champs like Lulu you might quickly find yourself with no targets you can kill.
Her ult nullifies your ult dmg and makes her super difficult to kill. Avoid picking into her.
Ezreal is arguably the safest ADC. Sometimes he builds Iceborn Gauntlet too, making him pretty tanky. Avoid picking into him unless he has very poor peel.
Hypercarries with no escapes are perfect targets for Nocturne. Just remember that their teammates might make up for their weaknesses, so keep an eye on the rest of their comp as well.
This guy's a sitting duck whether he's jungle or bottom. Camouflage doesn't save him as long as you target him with your ult before he stealths.
Same as Jinx. People like to pick Lulu with this champion though so be careful if she isn't banned and the enemy hasn't picked a support yet.
Draven is a lot like other hypercarry ADCs, but he can come online much earlier if he wins his lane. Be careful about trying to kill him if he's already gotten several kills. Dravens sometimes build an early Death's Dance or The Bloodthirster, which can make him hard to kill without help. Focus on coordinating with your teammates to shut him down early and you should be able to push him out of the game.
TF is one of the more vulnerable mids and his only defensive mechanism is his Gold Card. If you block the stun, he should be easy pickings. Worth noting that if you have a spell shield up and he ults, he won't reveal you. He also loses his ult vision while your ult is active.
Not quite as bad as Lulu but still really annoying to play into. Zilean can be mid or support; either way his ultimate completely counters your single-target burst. Focusing him first and then his carry can be a viable strategy.
Not only is Tahm basically impossible to kill he also makes any nearby ally impossible to kill. Recipe for disaster. Avoid picking into him, but if you have no choice, kill his teammates when he's not nearby. He has to be right next to his ally in order to save them. If you gank his lane you probably just have to focus him instead of his carry.
This guy's pretty easy as he can't get tanky enough to survive your all-in. Smart Fiddle players will cast their silence before their Fear so you can't block it with your shield. If this becomes a problem, buy Edge of Night to block the E and then use W to block the Q. Mercury's Treads help in this matchup as well though they aren't strictly necessary.
Kind of a pain because her R - Last Caress makes her untargetable AND moves her out of range of your E tether. You can block her charm with your W (look for her to Q or just E onto you to proc it). Try not to blow your ult on her unless her ult is on CD. Pre-6 she's a weak duelist so you should be able to win 1v1s.
Not unwinnable but he can trash you in 1v1s before you have items. Warwicks will also build pretty tanky so it'll be tough to kill him later. If you build an early lead you can still definitely win though. Don't dive into his team if he has his ult up or you'll be locked down and killed. Fight when he's absent or wait for your teammates to draw attention away from you before you do anything too risky.
Pretty favorable matchup for Nocturne. Don't tank any free spears and she shouldn't be able to fight you. You'll probably need your ult and/or Flash to secure a kill on her. Remember she can hop over walls so choose your ult timing carefully. It's easier to kill her if you fight her and use ult to gapclose after she runs away.
Gragas players these days are building him pretty squishy, and his R is really obvious and easy to block. You should have a major 1v1 advantage throughout the game. Watch for Stopwatch / Zhonya's so you aren't surprised when he picks one up.
You should have 1v1 pressure throughout the game. Don't ult him until he's used his slingshot. Use ult to countergank him and you'll often win 2v2. Zac players often like ganking mid.
Great synergy whether he's top lane or support. If you can coordinate so Shen ults you as you dash in with your ult, you'll get a shield to help you survive and Shen gets a free gap-close and can taunt your target as soon as you get close. He also helps offset your low CC and durability.
Not quite as ideal synergy as Shen but still pretty good. He can ult you when you jump in to back up your plays with his semi-global ult range. Paranoia's vision denial makes it hard to react to your combined roaming potential. He also has a ton of CC that helps in team fights.
Globals are always good when stacked. If Karthus ults when you go in, you're almost guaranteed to kill your target. Karthus doesn't even have to leave lane to help out. He also offers a ton of magic damage to your team so the enemy won't be able to stack armor against you.
Lulu can bail you out if you overextend for a kill and keep you alive in fights where you'd otherwise be focused and killed. A lulu on your team also means the enemy team won't have one, which is a big plus.
Similar to Lulu, Zilean can help you survive, and by having one on your team the enemy won't be able to pick him to counter your burst.
Not a fan of playing with Zed, though it can work. You and Zed have similar strengths and weaknesses (good burst and 1v1, poor team fighting) so your team will be very weak 5v5 and the enemy will likely be building armor to counter you both.
Twisted Fate is really good at splitting up the enemy team since he can pressure a lane and nearly instantly teleport away. Nocturne thrives more in split-push scenarios than team fights, so you and TF can use your ults to keep the enemy team off balance and keep rotating to pick off enemies with a numbers advantage.
Twitch can be pretty effective since he can use his camouflage to ambush targets and you can back him up with your ult. However, this requires your Twitch player to be competent and you can still get crushed in draft if the enemy has heavy dive champions, so don't assume the game's a free win just because you have a Twitch.
Sion can be pretty helpful since he provides a frontline and can function as a decent splitpusher or an engage tank. You don't have any exceptional synergy with him directly but he's a good champion to help round out your team comp.
Strong engage supports are great for setting up kills on the enemy bottom lane. Rakan is a pretty safe laner he should be able to hold his own until you can get your ult. In both ganks and team fights, his setup is really helpful for securing kills.
Alistar offers both frontline and engage, both of which Nocturne sorely lacks. The only downside here is you can't take advantage of his early gank reception as well as other junglers, but once you have your ult you should be able to pick up some easy kills in the bot lane. He can engage team fights later too which is great.
Leona has some good synergy with Nocturne for similar reasons to Alistar, but she's a more risky laner and often demands more early jungle attention. Nocturne's early ganks aren't as good as a lot of other junglers so this isn't always a great combo early game. If you can make it to level 6 without your bot lane losing, you should be happy with Leona for the rest of the game.
I'm not a fan of Bard since his ultimate is more likely to screw up your dive than it is to be helpful. The stasis mostly buys time to get closer to your enemies, but you can gap-close with your ultimate so it's not necessary and can even mess up your dive. You also can't take good advantage of his early Magical Journey ganks since you won't have a gap closer until level 6. If possible I'd look for a different support.
Talon (usually in mid) usually doesn't need your help to kill his targets and doesn't really offer much setup for you. His presence on your team often results in full physical damage compositions and he's not great at team fighting or waveclearing. You'll have trouble coming from behind if you have Talon and Nocturne on the same team and the enemies can build armor to counter both of you. Not an ideal pairing.
One of the best mids to have on your team. Lissandra offers engage, disruption and survivability that most mid laners can't match. Any time you both have your ults up, Lissandra can engage on an enemy and lock them down while you fly in with Paranoia and finish them off. In team fights she'll take some of the focus off of you with her R and Zhonya's. Plus she has solid waveclear which can buy you some time to farm in losing games.
Malzahar's has one of the best single-target lockdown spells in the game and basically forces every enemy to buy QSS or be helpless against your two ultimates. Whenever you both have ult, just press R on the same target and they'll be sitting there helpless while you kill them for free.
LeBlanc works a bit better with early game junglers but she's still a great asset for your team. She can engage on a target basically whenever you need her to, so you should be able to get enough damage down on any enemy in her vision range to get a kill with your ultimate. She has great gank reception early game as well, but you might need to burn Flash to actually kill the enemy mid laner without your ult.
Kassadin has some huge advantages but a couple big weaknesses. His waveclear is rather poor and he's often kinda helpless in the early game. Unfortunately, Nocturne isn't a great jungler for offsetting that early weakness. However, if Kassadin makes it to lvl 6, you two are a force to be reckoned with. Kassadin can engage on any enemy for guaranteed damage (usually 1/3 of the target's HP) and you can easily finish them off with your ultimate. Work together to get kills and feed your Kassadin enough and he'll take over the game by lvl 16 if it isn't over by then. A snowballing Kassadin deals a ton of magic damage and will force the enemy to build magic resist, so they won't have enough gold to counterbuild you both.
Kled offers good engage and he gets pretty tanky so he can serve as a frontline. The main downside is that you deal the same damage type so you can both become kinda useless against enemies with a lot of armor. His R's movement speed boost is also pretty useless if you're ulting in anyway.
Fizz's ultimate virtually guarantees a kill on any target it hits if you focus the same one. Once you get him rolling, he should be able to kill his target on his own and you can focus on another enemy. Fizz's ult also serves as a great team fight engage which Nocturne lacks, so he's not bad in a 5v5. The main weakness here is he doesn't have safe waveclear, so you might run into problems stalling games if you fall behind.
Kennen (usually top lane) has great synergy with Nocturne since he has a ton of up-front damage and crowd control for team fights. He provides so much disruption that he can serve as your team's primary engage and buy you some time to kill a priority target without being focused down. If he's your top laner you may be lacking a real tank, so it'd be helpful to get a tanky support on your team to tank baron later in the game.
Nocturne can't really frontline or peel well for his ADC friends, so it's helpful to have an ADC who can sit back and offer long range utility before endangering themselves. Jhin's W and R can CC enemies that you're focusing so it's harder for them to escape your fear. He's also less likely to die at the start of team fights and can reasonably survive on his own with his high movement speed.
Ashe's ultimate is a super great tool to have on your team since it can lock down a target long enough for you to kill them before they can retaliate or escape. However, she's a bit defenseless without her ult and you can't really peel or frontline for her. If your team has a good peel support like Janna, Lulu or Tahm Kench, this pick can work out really well.
Xerath doesn't have the amazing utility/engage as some of the higher synergy mids but he does have some uses. His high waveclear can buy you time in even or losing games where you need some time to farm before you lose all your towers. He can also ult and try to hit any target you're focusing. Even 1 or 2 hits on your target can be enough extra damage to get the kill.
Hi, I'm PsiGuard and welcome to my Nocturne guide. I've been playing League of Legends since November 2010 in Season 1 and have been maining jungle since the start of Season 3. My top rank is Diamond III in solo queue. I have experience against Diamond, Master and Challenger players through solo queue, ranked teams and tournament games.
Nocturne has been my favorite champion from the moment he was released. I fell in love with his lore, his art style and his gameplay mechanics. I bought him shortly after his first free-week when he was still incredibly broken. Despite repeated nerfs, I kept an eye on his strength compared to other junglers and was delighted to see him remain a viable pick. He is still my favorite champion and I've been playing him since season 3.
Before we begin, I'd like to give a big thank-you to Jovy for her awesome graphics and help with coding this guide (as well as my other guides). Be sure to check out some of her other work at her signature shop and her own guides!
When to Pick Nocturne /// Runes /// Spells
Abilities /// Ability Sequence /// Item Build
Jungle Monsters /// Plants /// Warding /// Jungle Routes
Ganking /// Invades & Counter Jungling
Wave Management /// Late Game /// Conclusion
Nocturne is an assassin jungler with high clear speed and sticking power. He is also a pretty strong duelist, able to go toe-to-toe with strong early game junglers. He brings a unique global presence once he has his ultimate, Paranoia. His high early game sustain and damage against jungle monsters allow him to remain on the map for long periods of time to amass a gold and experience advantage as well as being available for gank opportunities.|
Nocturne excels at ganks and picks after level 6, creating advantages for his team by killing isolated targets and then using a numbers advantage to take objectives. In team fights, Nocturne can use his ultimate to dive onto the enemy backline to help his mid or top laner kill enemy carries.
Nocturne's biggest weakness is his lack of crowd control. Having only one relatively unreliable single-target CC spell, Unspeakable Horror makes his ganking and team fighting abilities less consistent than other junglers with heavy stuns and knockups. His poor utility makes him a mediocre tank, so he depends a little more on having a few offensive items to remain a damage threat throughout the game.
LoL Terminology (for any abbreviations you don't understand)
Obviously if you want to play Nocturne every game, feel free! However, he isn't the most versatile jungler and tends to fit better in some situations compared to others. Use these generalizations as a guideline when you're in champion select to help you decide if Nocturne is a good pick for that game. Also check out the Threat Meter above for some common picks that are strong or weak against Nocturne.
Low Mobility Carries|
|Lethal Tempo is my recommended keystone for its dueling power and high DPS compared to other runes. Since my build includes a lot of damage but not much attack speed, this rune will help take care of any enemies that can survive long enough for Unspeakable Horror to go off.|
|A viable rune that increases your burst damage. Works a lot better against squishy targets than tanky ones. In most cases you won't need the burst damage to do your job, but it can help you get closer to actually one-shotting carries.|
|Presence of Mind sucks now after the preseason 10 rework (at least on Nocturne). Triumph is the only good option for this row.|
|Attack speed is a valuable stat that's hard to build in items for Nocturne. It's important to pick it up here, so I don't recommend substituting this rune for anything else.|
|This is definitely the best of the three options for this row. You're an assassin, so obviously you'll want the damage against low health targets.|
|This page is great for snowballing since both runes stack up to a lot of value if you're able to pick up kills. Lowering your ult cooldown is valuable in solo queue since it lets you get picks and join fights more often. I prefer Eyeball Collection over Sudden Impact since it provides a more consistent damage bonus (rather than relying on Paranoia's cooldown).|
|This spell is essential for jungling. Smite enables you to secure objectives, clear your jungle camps faster and purchase Hunter's Machete and its upgrades. With Skirmisher's Sabre, Smite is also a strong combat summoner, though it's good to save one charge in case you need to contest dragon or baron .|
|Flash is a core spell on most champions and Nocturne is no exception. It is indispensable as a mobility spell. You can use this spell for chasing, fleeing, initiating, ganking, juking, stealing objectives, and following another champion who uses Flash. You can also use Flash to maintain the tether of Unspeakable Horror if you Flash immediately after your target uses Flash or another movement ability to escape.|
|Umbra Blades (passive): This is Nocturne's passive ability which sustains him in the jungle. Since it scales with AD, it is useful throughout the game and is effective at pushing waves of minions, healing up in the jungle or lane, and dealing AoE damage in team fights.|
- Hit all the monsters in each camp with Umbra Blades to maximize your sustain.
- Use Duskbringer before proccing Umbra Blades when possible in order to increase the amount of AoE damage using Duskbringer's steroid.
- Umbra Blades only applies on-hit effects to the primary target.
|Duskbringer (Q): This is your primary combat ability. The initial damage from the skillshot makes it effective at farming minions/monsters and harassing champions. The movespeed allows Nocturne to chase down enemies or quickly flee from pursuers. Duskbringer also gives Nocturne increased attack damage while he's on the trail, so it's great for pretty much any situation where you're autoattacking.|
- Make sure you're on the trail when attacking so you get the AD bonus.
- Duskbringer allows you to ignore unit collision, making it a useful tool for chasing or escaping through a minion wave.
- The Duskbringer trail left by an enemy can be used to track them even if they've broken line-of-sight or entered stealth.
- Duskbringer has a brief cast time and interrupts movement and attacks, so make sure you cast it before or between autoattacks so you don't lose damage.
|Shroud of Darkness (W): This is your main defensive ability along with another autoattack steroid. The spell shield is most effective against big nukes and strong CCs, but it can also be used to negate poke or block a simple damage spell in a fight. The attack speed steroid doubles upon blocking a spell, so properly executing this ability is even more important.|
- Dragon 's autoattacks are coded as spells and can be blocked for bonus attack speed. Baron Nashor will cast a spell every 6 attacks (tentacle knockup or AoE slime) that you can block with the shield.
- Try to identify priority spells to block before using this on a minor spell, since it has a long cooldown.
- Shroud of Darkness is a painless way to dispatch traps like Bushwhack and Yordle Snap Trap without being revealed.
- Shroud of Darkness has no cast time and can be freely cast without interrupting movement, attacks or other spells.
- Learning to recognize cast animations for major abilities will help you react in time to block them. Pay special attention to when an enemy champion turns around when you're chasing them, as they might be casting a CC ability. In some cases, you may simply have to try and predict what will happen in a fight and when an enemy will use their most important ability, then time your shield for that moment. When it works, it looks pretty flashy.
I let Jayce hit me with Shock Blast and save my W to block his Thundering Blow once he switches to melee form (turn on sound if you have trouble seeing the shield timing).
|Unspeakable Horror (E): This is Nocturne's only CC spell and it relies on maintaining a 465-range tether for 2 seconds. The Flee is easy to proc if your target is fighting you but can be easily broken by dashes or blink spells. Take into account your target's mobility before you start the tether to avoid it being broken.|
- Fearing the big monster in a jungle camp with Unspeakable Horror will briefly stop their damage output, causing you to take less damage, but it's usually not worth the mana unless you have blue buff. Baron and dragon are not disabled by this spell.
- Unspeakable Horror is easiest to proc when used during an allied CC spell. Try to coordinate with your teammates and have them use their CC to help you get your fear off.
- If you suspect that your target will Flash to break the tether, move between them and their escape route to keep them in range of the tether. If you have quick reflexes, you can anticipate their Flash and use your own Flash immediately afterwards. It takes a split-second for the tether to break so if you close the distance immediately you'll still get the fear off.
- Unspeakable Horror has no cast time and can be freely cast without interrupting movement, attacks or other spells.
Untargetability does not break tethers, so you can still fear Vladimir during his Sanguine Pool, or Xayah during her Featherstorm. Also works on stasis effects like Stopwatch and Zhonya's Hourglass.
Be prepared to pre- Flash targets to guarantee your fear. This Annie's only way to escape is to Flash to break the tether, so I Flash early to get on top of her before she uses hers.
|Paranoia (R): Nocturne's ultimate is a two-part ability. The first cast disables enemy vision from minions, wards, towers, abilities and their allied champions for 6 seconds. Enemies will only be able to see a short distance around their champion for the duration. The second cast (during those 6 seconds) causes Nocturne to dash towards a target enemy champion (within range) and deal some physical damage on arrival. This is Nocturne's main ganking tool and allows him to reposition in team fights or keep up with enemies that use blink spells. Make sure to check the range on this ability before activating it by resting your cursor over the button. Note that this ability does not provide vision of enemy champions, so make sure your target is in sight.|
- Sometimes it is better to approach a fight normally and save Paranoia until it's needed.
- The global vision reduction can prevent the enemy team from coordinating when team fighting near multiple brushes. They will also lose all ward vision, including pink wards, so only enemy champions with stealth-detection abilities will be able to see invisible targets.
- The dash cannot be interrupted by CC, but you may still be CCd upon arrival if the duration of the CC is long enough.
- You can cast any spell during the Paranoia dash, including all of your basic abilities, items and summoner spells. Cast Q right before you hit your target to avoid the cast time.
One of the best uses of Paranoia is to shut down aggressive enemies. This Volibear burns a lot of his cooldowns to engage on Yasuo and isn't prepared to fight 1v2.
Paranoia deals a lot of burst damage, so you may need to use it to win close 1v1s. Here I burst Cho'Gath with R before he can kill me with Feast.
After the buff to Shroud of Darkness, it'll offer you a better clear on your first buff, especially if you get a weak leash (or no leash). You can still start Duskbringer if there's a level 1 fight.
Get your Q (or W if you didn't take it yet) at level 2 since these two abilities are necessary for optimal clear speed. If for some reason you happen to be fighting or ganking at level 2, take E instead.
Take E at level 3. There is a viable route with Q at level 3 but it's very difficult to pull off and requires that you clear all 6 of your camps to hit level 4 before you contest scuttle.
Paranoia and Duskbringer are your highest priority abilities and should be maxed as quickly as possible. Your R and Q are your mobility and damage tools, so they take priority over your utility spells.
Maxing W second and maxing E second are both viable. I currently max Unspeakable Horror second most of the time since I get a lot of attack speed from Lethal Tempo and the longer fear duration gives a pretty reliable benefit.
|The most efficient start with a respectable first clear and great value as the game goes on. Hunter's Machete is always the strongest start for Nocturne since he makes excellent use of on-hit damage and lifesteal. Refillable Potion often outshines Health Potions and saves you a lot of money on potions.|
|Warding Totem is the strongest early game trinket and offers the most vision. Use the wards to protect your jungle in your first clear and then provide vision for your laners so they can avoid ganks. Sticking with this trinket gives you the most overall vision since the wards are hard for enemies to clear and they recharge more quickly than Farsight Alteration.|
|Farsight helps spot isolated targets for your ultimate and can also check objectives like Baron. You can use the initial vision to ult to enemies in fog of war or plant blue wards in the enemy jungle to spot rotations. Also great for checking baron/dragon or dangerous bushes, though often your team's ADC should be getting one for that purpose. The downside is these wards are slow to charge and easy to clear and therefore don't offer much actual vision control around objectives.|
|Oracle offers vision denial, but doesn't allow you to place any wards besides Control Wards. If you keep Warding Totem or Farsight Alteration, you can continue to contribute to vision while relying on Duskblade of Draktharr, Scrying Blooms, Control Wards to help control vision around objectives. If your support doesn't have an Oracle Lens or you need an extra sweeper to control vision in the jungle or around objectives, feel free to swap to this as needed.|
|Skirmisher's Sabre versus Stalker's Blade is up to preference. I personally take Skirmisher's every game since I find the damage and dueling power more valuable than a 20% slow. I also find that Warrior tends to be the best enchantment because it's the strongest power spike at the time you buy it and always the best option for killing carries which are your primary targets.|
|Duskblade gives a ton of burst damage as well as vision control. This is definitely the strongest of the lethality items at the moment, especially considering Nocturne doesn't rely on Youmuu's Ghostblade much since he can easily reach his target with Paranoia. I recommend opening with this item every game after Warrior (or even before, if you're rich enough) as it offers the perfect mix of damage, CDR and vision control for early picks.|
|Guardian Angel lets you dive the backline in team fights and take more risks. Every time I skip this item for more damage, I end up regretting it. Guardian Angel is too good to give up and you can usually finish it just in time for team fights. You'll need some armor in every game and it offers a ton of AD, so you'll still be able to kill your targets. Buy the B. F. Sword and Stopwatch and use the active to buy you some time in team fights or skirmishes. If you finish the full GA before you find time to use the Stopwatch, you can buy another Stopwatch and sell it after using it.|
|Ninja Tabi are a cost efficient counter to heavy AD threats. Armor is a useful stat in every game and the enemy team will almost always have a Marksman, so Tabi are always a pretty safe bet if you're not sure what to buy. Keep in mind these boots are more effective against autoattackers than AD casters, though the armor is often still worth it.|
|Mercury's Treads are sometimes necessary against heavy CC. A stunned or snared Nocturne isn't very threatening. Against certain compositions, you're going to be useless in fights if you don't build tenacity. These boots are really good against CC that's guaranteed to hit you like Braum's Concussive Blows. Keep in mind these boots are useless against suppression, knockups, knockbacks and location-based slows like Pillar of Ice.|
|Youmuu's Ghostblade offers the most burst damage to squishies after Duskblade of Draktharr. Whether you get the full Ghostblade or just an extra Serrated Dirk, more lethality is going to be the most efficient way to kill squishies as quickly as possible. Keep in mind this will leave you squishy so you won't be able to take much punishment in team fights. I recommend getting Guardian Angel first so that's less of an issue.|
|Edge of Night can sometimes be useful against certain high-impact spells. Even though Nocturne already has Shroud of Darkness, in most cases, enemies will have at least two spells to throw at you. Against multiple important CCs or in the case of champions like Ashe who only have a couple offensive spells total, the extra spell shield can remove counterplay from your all-in. This is also another lethality item, so the stats are always going to feel good. I tend to build this only if the feel the spell shield will be particularly effective.|
|Mortal Reminder is occasionally necessary to threaten heavy healers. Ideally, Grievous Wounds should be picked up by one or more of your teammates, leaving you to prioritize more efficient items. However, sometimes you just need to get an Executioner's Calling to deal with an annoying Vladimir or something. If you're going to be hitting someone that can rapidly heal themselves and your team won't be applying Grievous Wounds to them, just get it yourself.|
|Wit's End is a cheap source of magic resist against non-bursty mages. It doesn't offer as much protection against burst as Maw of Malmortius, but it's still a solid MR option, especially if you already have Phantom Dancer (which also grants the unique passive Lifeline). You'll usually want to build this after Guardian Angel or as your final item.|
|Maw of Malmortius is a situational defense against heavy magic damage. You won't get as much damage as most other items in the build, but Maw is still a pretty solid option if you're facing heavy magic damage that threatens your survivability. This can also be necessary if the enemy mage is really strong (like a fed Syndra) and could kill you with their full combo. Build a Hexdrinker early on (after Duskblade of Draktharr usually) and finish the Maw after Guardian Angel.|
|Mercurial Scimitar is a niche defense against heavy CC spells. I buy Quicksilver Sash almost exclusively against suppression ( ) though it's also quite useful against heavy stuns and snares if you aren't able to spell shield them. It's quite costly and doesn't offer as much damage as other options, so make sure you're getting really good value out of the active if you buy this.|
Familiarize yourself with these spawn times and respawn timers so you know what to expect in-game.
Spawn At: 1:30
Respawn Time: 2:00
Spawn At: 1:42
Respawn Time: 2:00
(Blue Sentinel, Red Brambleback)
Spawn At: 1:30
Respawn Time: 5:00
Rift Scuttlers (in river)
Spawn At: 3:15
Respawn Time: 2:30
Rift Herald (in Baron pit)
Spawns At: 8:00
Respawn time: 6:00
Despawns At: 19:30 (19:50 if in combat)
Dragon (Elementals & Elder)|
Spawns At: 5:00
Respawn Time: 5:00
Elder Dragon Spawns: 6:00 after a team gets 4 Drakes
Elder Dragon Respawn: 6:00
Spawns At: 20:00
Respawn Time: 6:00
Plants are stationary, neutral units with 1 health. They can be destroyed with a basic attack to trigger an effect. Three different types of plants will spawn in the jungle and river. Their spawn timers and locations vary slightly but for the most part they are fairly predictable. The first spawn locations for all plants are predetermined.
First inner cone spawn: 1:15 - 1:25|
First outer cone spawn: 5:00 - 5:30
Inner cone respawn time: 5 - 7 minutes
Outer cone respawn time: 5.5 - 6.5 minutes
- Knocks away nearby units (including the attacker) when destroyed — even over walls.
- Blast Cones spawn in two spots per jungle quadrant, an inner point toward the center of the quadrant, and an outer point near Baron/Dragon.
First spawn: 3:00 - 3:30, always at each quadrant’s spawn point nearest to the side lanes|
Next spawn time: 5 - 6.5 minutes at either spawn point, starting once a given quadrant's Scryer's Bloom is destroyed
- When destroyed, releases vision-granting pollen in a large cone that flies in the direction the attacker was facing, revealing units and wards for 12 seconds (3 seconds on champions).
- Scryer's Bloom can spawn in two spots per jungle quadrant, close to river ramps.
- Only one Scryer's Bloom can be present per quadrant.
First spawn: 6:00 - 6:30 minutes|
Respawn time: 5.5 - 7 minutes
- Drops 5 fruits on the ground when killed.
- Each fruit heals for 3.5% of max health or 8 (+6 per level) flat health, whichever is higher.
- Eating a fruit slows you for 35% for 0.25 seconds.
- Honeyfruit spawn along river walls, starting near Dragon or Baron pits and slowly extending closer toward lanes over the course of the game.
- If a Honeyfruit isn't taken before its respawn timer completes, a second Honeyfruit may spawn. No more than two Honeyfruits can exist per half of the river.
As a jungler, you have the most agency when it comes to traversing the map to place down vision, especially in the enemy jungle. When it's safe to do so, try to place deep wards to keep track of the enemy jungler.
Placing a Control Ward near lane-dominant allies will help them avoid ganks from the enemy jungler and free up a path for future ganks from you. You can also use a Control Ward to check a bush you're waiting in to make sure it's clear (if you don't have an Oracle Lens).
As the game progresses, you may have to start placing wards nearer to your base if you're losing, or deeper into the enemy jungle if you are winning. Always remember to place a Control Ward inside the dragon or baron pit if your team is planning on taking that objective.
Below are some of the more valuable ward spots. Of course, warding is always situational, so don't feel restricted to only using these placements if the situation calls for something else.
Blue side stealth ward locations
Blue side control ward locations
Red side stealth ward locations
Red side control ward locations
|Blue: Kite back every 2-3 attacks (don't leave your dusk trail though). Cast Duskbringer twice (use Unspeakable Horror if you're lvl 3+ and high on mana).|
|Gromp: Kite after every attack for the first 3 attacks (Gromp has higher AS for its initial attacks). Cast Duskbringer twice (add Unspeakable Horror with Blue buff).|
|Wolves: Cast Duskbringer, attack the large Wolf, then attack each of the smaller Wolves once ( Umbra Blades will take care of them after that). Cast Duskbringer only once (or twice with Blue buff).|
|Raptors: Cast Duskbringer, hit all Raptors with Umbra Blades, then attack the smaller raptors to weaken them (keep switching targets). Your second Umbra Blades should clear most of them out. Cast Duskbringer only once (or twice with Blue buff).|
|Red: Kite back every 3 attacks when possible (don't leave your dusk trail though). Cast Duskbringer twice (add Unspeakable Horror with Blue buff).|
|Krugs: Focus the biggest Krug first (use Smite if this is your second camp) while kiting around the smaller Krug. Use Duskbringer twice (add Unspeakable Horror with blue buff).|
Red, Krugs, Raptors, Wolves, Blue, Scuttle: This is an efficient route with good sustain if you clear properly. You can contest scuttle after 5 camps. Save your second charge of Smite for the scuttle.
Red, Krugs, Raptors, Gank Mid, Blue, Scuttle: A variation of the above route to take advantage of an overextended or low health mid laner. You can gank mid after gaining level 3 from raptors.
Blue, Gromp, Wolves, Raptors, Red, Scuttle: This is an option for a blue start, though you'll take more damage clearing this direction. I recommend getting a bot lane leash if you plan on starting blue.
Red, Raptors, Krugs, Gank Top, RECALL, Blue/Scuttle: This route is riskier than doing Krugs -> Raptors because it leaves you with fewer options. However, this route is ideal if you have a good opportunity for an early gank on the enemy top laner. If you spot the enemy jungler invading your blue side, steal his camps instead of recalling.
Vertical jungling is when both junglers are repeatedly clearing one half of the allied jungle and one half of the enemy jungle, favoring one side of the map. This splits the map into a "strong side" and "weak side" for each team. For example, if you're on blue team and are repeatedly clearing your red-side jungle (south) and the enemy blue-side jungle (east), your team's bottom side will be the strong side of the map. You'll be in a better position to gank bottom lane without fear of counterganks and you'll have better vision control and objective control. Likewise, the opposite side of the map will be dominated by the enemy jungler, making it your team's weak side.
Vertical jungling can be an active choice you make or a forced one due to a poor matchup. For example, you see Nunu & Willump invading to take your blue buff and other nearby camps, so you respond by stealing his blue buff and other nearby camps. This can force you to vertically jungle in the early game since you may not have the lane priority or vision control to ever contest your own blue buff. Likewise, you'll be able to place wards in the enemy blue-side jungle and you'll have more control on that side.
An example of an active choice would be if you and your team (this works better in arranged teams than it does in solo queue) decide to focus all of your team's pressure on one side lane at the expense of the other. Maybe you have a hypercarry bottom that your team will be camping and a Shen top who will just be playing safe. In this situation, vertical jungling may net your team an advantage, as long as you can set it up properly. Grouping with your teammates and pushing into the enemy jungle at level 1 can help you put down vision and possibly force the enemy jungler to start on the other side of the map. If your nearby laners have priority, it can be dangerous for the enemy jungler to enter their own jungle if you have vision of them and your laners can collapse on them to help you.
Vertical jungling is pretty complicated for new junglers and can be pretty messy outside of coordinated teams. Be open to the concepts and feel free to practice it, but for most players I recommend sticking to more standard routes or simple, quick invades while you're still learning to jungle.
Level 1 invades happen when the enemy team groups up and enters your jungle, placing down wards and potentially looking to pick up a free kills or summoner spells on your unsuspecting team. These invades have the advantage of gaining early deep vision, but the drawback is that you can't spot an invade from the enemy team on the other side of your jungle.
There are two good ways to counter level 1 invades. The standard counter is to spread your team out across the river, using their positioning and early wards to spot where the enemy team enters and exits your jungle. Another option is to group your team up into one bush and try to fight the enemy team as they enter your jungle. This can work well if you predict where the invade will happen and it's stronger if you have strong level 1 champions. Luckily, Nocturne's level 1 is quite good with Umbra Blades and Duskbringer, but your team will have to provide the CC.
I only recommend attempting level 1 invades yourself if you have the support of your team and you have allies with strong crowd control spells at level 1 (e.g. Blitzcrank, Braum, Morgana). Crowd control is how you pin down kills or force Flashes, and you won't be able to offer any at level 1. Remember to place a ward at the enemy red or blue buff to see where their jungler starts.
One slight variation of this strategy involves the top laner, jungler and maybe the mid laner invading the top-side jungle to sneakily start at an enemy camp, gain deep vision or maybe pick up a free kill. The easy way to stop this is to simply spread out your team and have someone covering every jungle entrance. This is relatively low-risk, especially in solo queue, so feel free to use this invade to get an early ward down at an enemy buff.
Instead of clearing several of their own camps at the start of the game, some junglers will choose to enter the enemy jungle and attempt to steal camps or kill the enemy jungler, often after completing their first camp for level 2. Early invades can be a product of an information advantage (from early wards in the enemy jungle) or sometimes just a strong level 2 jungle champion.
The best way to protect against early invades is to gain equal or superior information at level one. Ward the enemy jungle early when possible -- especially their blue or red buff. Knowing the starting location of the enemy jungler is the easiest way to predict their likely routes and avoid unpleasant things like being killed at your second buff or arriving to find half your jungle stolen.
You can also choose to invade early, but keep in mind that Nocturne has no natural escapes and can't jump walls without Flash or a blast cone, so make sure you have a good reason to invade. Again, information from early wards can allow you to invade safely if you know the enemy jungler's starting location. I rarely opt to invade for kills on Nocturne now that junglers almost always start at buff camps, but it's often pretty easy to get a cheeky steal off early and take three buffs in your first clear if your team has better early coordination and gains a vision advantage.
General invades is a catch-all term that encompasses the invades and counter jungling that happens in a game. After the early game, counter jungling and jungle invades are often opportunistic, allowing tactical junglers to invade when the enemy jungler shows on the map while aggressive junglers force blind invades knowing they have a 1v1 advantage against the other jungler and the support of nearby teammates. This is the hardest type of invade to pin down since so many things can happen past the early game, but I'll give you a few tips on how to execute smart invades and respond to enemy invades.
Firstly, don't forget that vision is key. Proper use of Warding Totems, Control Wards and Scryer's Blooms can give you the information you'll need to defend against invades and make wise decisions about when to enter the enemy jungle. Again, Nocturne has no natural way to jump walls or escape enemies easily, so you always want the vision to make smart decisions and predictions to avoid putting yourself in inescapable situations.
An information advantage doesn't always mean you have more (or better) wards on the map either. Sometimes you can open up opportunities to invade simply by spotting the enemy jungler at low health or on the opposite side of the map. At most times during the early and mid game if you have vision of the enemy jungler, you probably have vision of the entire enemy team. That's kind of like having the entire map warded! Don't waste opportunities to invade, take objectives or even dive enemies on the opposite side of the map when the jungler shows themselves.
Secondly, lane pressure is what determines the safety of an invade. If your mid laner is strong and can push to the enemy tower, chances are the enemy jungler won't be able to invade your jungle and get out alive. Conversely, if the enemy mid laner has lane pressure, they're going to be able to back up their jungler's invades and punish yours. Mid lane pressure is super important when it comes to jungle control, as well as side lane pressure when it comes to invades near that lane.
Let's take an example. Say you have a top laner that's bullying his opponent really hard. He already has a couple kills and can easily dominate 1v1 and is pushing to the enemy tower. If your mid lane is ahead or at least even, you should be able to invade the enemy top side jungle for vision, to steal camps or to fight the enemy jungler. Even if you can't crush the enemy jungler in a 1v1, the support of your allies will turn the tide of any fight in that area. Now let's say the enemy has a really strong bot lane and their jungler isn't weak either. This makes the enemy bot jungle very risky to enter, and it even makes your own more dangerous, especially if you don't have adequate vision coverage in the bottom lane river. Invades from the enemy jungler are likely to happen on the bottom side of the map and you're unlikely to have much control over the river or enemy jungler.
So what do you do when the map is weighted towards one of the side lanes? A good strategy is to stay on your safe side (allied and enemy top-side jungle in this example) and avoid the bottom side of the map. This allows you to attack mid and top lane from the enemy jungle (giving you easy flanks and dives) as well as potentially catching the enemy jungler if they don't respect your team's control over the top side. The downside is you'll give up control of the opposite side of the map and leave your bottom lane defenseless against dives. It's not always clear when it's best to stick with your strong teammates and when it's time to take a risk and try to help out a weaker lane, but you'll have to experiment with both strategies to train your own judgment for those scenarios.
I know that sometimes your teammates are going to be selfish or ignorant of what's happening and won't support your invades or defend you against the enemy jungler when they really should. There's not much you can do about that other than try your best to predict what might happen and ask for help ahead of time. Having wards to spot enemy invades early or pinging for assistance when you spot the enemy jungler entering your jungle can sometimes be enough to get your teammates to help. If you're playing with a duo partner or premade, make sure to communicate when them about when you might need help and ask them to keep you informed about when they have lane pressure so that you can make good decisions around invades.
The earliest level that you should gank with Nocturne is level three with a point in all three abilities and double buff. His ganks after level 6 are very difficult to escape, but can only be executed with Paranoia once every three minutes. Remember that the slow and damage from red buff will improve your ganks a lot.
Before level 6: When your teammates are ready, initiate a gank (unless your ally has a strong initiation spell) by pinging the target, then running at the enemy while your laner engages. If you are coming from behind, get close enough to cast Unspeakable Horror and tag your target with red buff by autoattacking them. If your laner has a strong CC, you can cast Duskbringer on your way to your target, otherwise it's usually best to use it after the target is feared. Remember to be ready to block enemy CC with Shroud of Darkness.
After level 6: You can gank using Paranoia as your initiation, which allows you to completely bypass ward coverage since you don't have to use the standard gank paths which are usually warded. Walking up from your own tower and ulting into the lane is usually the safest way to avoid wards. Make sure your laner is in position to follow up on your gank because when you cast Paranoia, your target will likely retreat to his tower. Remember to check Paranoia's dash range by resting your mouse over the ability before initiating the gank. Use Duskbringer immediately after you connect with your target because it's almost impossible to dodge at point-blank range. If you think you can gank a lane through a standard gank path (or lane gank by hiding on one of the side bushes), save Paranoia to secure a kill if necessary. It has a long cooldown so try to pull off the gank without it if you can.
A pretty basic gank on top lane from a flanking position in the enemy jungle.
I wait for Leona's engage before using R. I focus Jhin since my team can handle Thresh 2v1.
|Tower dives: Be careful around towers, as Nocturne doesn't have a lot of health early game. If the enemy hugs his tower, judge for yourself if you can dive him or not. Just don't take any unnecessary risks and be wary for clutch heals (most Marksmen run Heal), shields and CC if they're tower hugging. If your minions have drawn tower aggro, close into melee range before attacking. If your enemy doesn't hug the tower and keeps running (usually if they're really low), you can wait until they're between their towers and then Paranoia dash to them to avoid tower aggro entirely.|
For some lane matchups, initiating a gank yourself will be doomed to failure. If the enemy champion has a lot of mobility or a strong CC, try to get your laner to engage them in combat before revealing yourself. It's a lot easier to gank a target that over-commits and blows cooldowns before they know you're there. This strategy works best when your ally has some strong CC with which to pin the target, but it can also work if your target plays very aggressively and uses an escape spell to harass.
|A gank does not have to net a kill to be successful. You may damage an enemy enough so that they have to play passively, or even recall to base. Forcing an enemy to use a summoner spell or ultimate can leave them without an escape mechanism, giving your teammate(s) the advantage in that lane.|
If you manage to kill your target in a successful gank, you'll usually want to help your laner push the wave to the enemy tower so that your minions are killed by the tower, denying the enemy laner gold and experience. The minion waves will also reset to the center of the lane, giving your teammate time to go back to base and buy items and return to a safe position. One exception to the push-after-ganking rule is if you gank very early in the game against an enemy with Teleport (usually the top laner). If you kill someone very early, they'll respawn after only a few seconds and Teleport without missing much CS. If you push when that happens, your top laner will just lose a lot of XP since they're sharing with you and it can set them behind without denying the enemy top laner any farm.
After a successful gank, usually when pushing to the enemy tower, you may want to take a minion tax. This means you'll take some of the farm to help you keep up in gold since you had to spend time ganking rather than farming your jungle. You'll generally want to tax more heavily if your laner gets the kill off a gank and tax lightly if you took the kill. Many low-ranked players (and occasionally some high-ranked ones too) are selfish or ignorant and think that taxing their lane is going to ruin their farm and cause them to lose the lane. They're wrong, as taxing in moderation keeps a jungler's gold and experience relevant throughout the game, but if your laner freaks out because you took a few minions (or pushed their lane, some people think this is a bad thing all the time), you may want to just leave so they don't feed or AFK or something.
Holding lanes is an often necessary duty of a jungler and is something you should be happy to do (since it gives you a lot of gold and XP). If your laner dies or needs to go back to base, you may need to "hold" or "cover" their lane by clearing out enemy minions pushing to your tower. If the enemy laner goes back to base or is dead, you may wish to push the wave to the enemy tower. Only do this if you can finish pushing before the enemy laner gets back to lane or they can freeze it in front of their tower, making it difficult for your laner to farm safely. Usually holding a lane consists of either clearing the current wave that is at your tower or pushing completely to the enemy tower. Don't just sit in a lane and last-hit because it's a waste of your time.
As an assassin, Nocturne performs best when executing ganks and flanking enemies. He is also a decent split-pusher, and can quickly push down a tower if your allies can occupy the enemy team. Though Nocturne isn't quite as strong in group fights as he is in small skirmishes, he can still perform well, especially with a more durable build. Here's how to do it.
If your team has strong engage champions like Malphite or Leona and big AoE team fighters like Rumble and Brand, you'll probably be looking to force fights on grouped enemies, even under tower. In these scenarios, what you'll be looking for is where your initiator's CC is going. If you see a Solar Flare or Unstoppable Force land on a carry, use Paranoia to close the gap and get down as much damage as possible. The key thing to remember is that Nocturne has great followup, but is not an initiator himself. Make sure you don't jump in by yourself or you'll just get focused before you can kill anyone.
If the opposing team has excellent waveclear, you might need the baron buff to break their inhibitor towers. Use Control Wards to clear sight around the baron pit and make sure your team is grouped and ready to engage on enemies who try to contest the baron. If the other team isn't moving to contest, just kill the baron and use that advantage to kill the remaining towers, forcing fights when appropriate.
Team fight compositions shore up some of Nocturne's weaknesses (tank stats, hard engage, 5v5s) and can be effective if you use your mid-game strengths to put your teammates in a position to win group fights.
If your team isn't built to engage groups of enemies and dive towers, you might have a team better suited to poking and peeling. This type of team is really good at sieging towers and slowly chipping away at enemies from a safe distance. Champions like Caitlyn, Xerath and Janna are good in these kinds of compositions. In this case, you want to make sure you're close enough to your team that you can reach them with Paranoia, but you might not want to be directly with them.
Your team should win if you siege and force the enemy to engage on you, and since Nocturne is melee without meaningful poke, sometimes that means you need to splitpush or just take nearby jungle camps while being in range to ult to help your team. Keep in mind how effectively the enemy team can engage when you make the decision to leave your team to apply pressure to another lane. Make sure you help out by warding the flanks of your team when sieging a tower.
Poke/peel teams aren't very good at objective control, but you might still want baron buff against high waveclear teams. If so, you'll want to control vision of the area and use your team's poke and CC spells to weaken your opponents before they get close to the pit. Don't just start doing baron right in front of the enemy team or you could throw the game.
Siege and peel compositions work great with split-push pressure and can safely apply pressure to a lane without needing you to nearby, but like Nocturne, they aren't usually as effective when the enemy team is making all the aggressive moves. If you have a splitpusher, set them up for success in the early and mid game and use your ultimate to support them. If not, you might have to split-push yourself if your team can't take towers 5v5.
Another type of team uses high burst damage or chains of CC spells to pick off individual targets. These teams aren't great at big grouped fights or poking from a safe distance, so they look to create a numbers advantage by killing one enemy for free before the fight starts. These types of compositions usually include champions like Blitzcrank, Thresh, Syndra and Ashe.
Pick compositions work best when you have more vision and information than the enemy team. You want to force your opponents to walk through dark areas of the map and have you and your teammates pick them off while their team isn't grouped. It can even work when their team is grouped if your team can land a CC on a key target before the fight starts. In pick situations, you always want to try and kill your team's target as fast as possible and use your ultimate (if necessary) to deny vision to the rest of their team.
If you're forced to meet the enemy team out in the open, either by sieging a tower or responding to the enemy team at your own tower or a neutral objective, you'll be relying more on ranged CC from your allies to set up a good team fight. Don't jump in unless your team gains a noticeable advantage from a flank or by landing a CC on a squishy who's mispositioned. If you're defending a tower, you can help your team clear minion waves, otherwise try to stay in fog of war for the most part.
Nocturne shares his strength and weaknesses with pick compositions, as he thrives with vision advantages and can easily follow up on any picks his team creates, but both he and his team will have trouble fighting a fair fight. Make good use of pink wards and get other lanes pushing when the enemy team groups to avoid a straight-up 5v5 when possible.
Thank you for reading my Nocturne guide! I hope I was able to help you become a better jungler and a smarter player. Feel free to leave me a comment if you have any questions, comments or criticism. I read all comments on my guides even if I don't respond to all of them. If you appreciated my guide or approve of my build, feel free to hit the green upvote button up top.
Thank you to those who have supported my guide with votes, Scout points and advice that have been instrumental in bringing my guide to the level of quality it is today. I'd also like to specifically thank jhoijhoi, astrolia, Maintained and for their insights into some coding techniques that I use in all my guides, and H4xDefender for his help with theorycrafting and testing Nocturne builds.
|A very special thank you to Jovy for her wonderful graphics used in this guide as well as her help with coding all my guides. All the fancy headers, table of contents and most of the other graphics you see in my guides are from her. Be sure to check out some of her other work at her signature shop and her own guides!|
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