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Build Guide by Xaon

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Xaon

Nocturne - Nightmare in the Jungle

Xaon Last updated on March 19, 2011
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Ability Sequence

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

Not Updated For Current Season

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


Brute Force
Improved Rally

Offense: 0

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 20

Expanded Mind
Blink of an Eye
Mystical Vision
Presence of the Master

Utility: 10

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Hey guys, my name is Xaon and I picked up Nocturne when he was released and have been playing him for the past few days. I am by no means an expert on how to play him yet because you can't really get really good at a champ until you've had sufficient time playing him and I'm not there yet. I have however learned some helpful things about him and the subtleties to playing him both with jungling tips and when and how to use his abilities. This is really my second guide here on Mobafire, haven't published my Ezreal guide yet, still tweaking it, but I hope to learn from the feedback I get on how to tweak my guide. Please read my build, try it out, and let me know any critiques that you have. I'll constantly be adding more pictures of how I am fairing with my scores as much as I can. Thanks everyone - Xaon.

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Greater Mark of Desolation Greater Mark of Desolation - standard marks for physical carries and ArmPen is great.
Greater Seal of Resilience - Noc lacks in survivability and having extra Armor early is great
Greater Glyph of Warding - Keeps you protected from early damage from mages, and always helpful to have extra MR
Greater Quintessence of Fortitude - Nocturne is squishy so I choose to go for the extra health with my Quintessence.

Total stats from Runes:
+ 78 HP
+ 15 Armor Penetration
+ 13 Armor
+ 13 Magic Resist

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Summoner Spells

Smite - Necessary to jungle with Nocturne.

Ghost - This helps Nocturne in so many ways, chasing as well as fleeing from enemies because Noc relys on being faster than everyone in order to chase effectively as well as fleeing.

Other useful Spells

Flash - Helps in escaping & to get that much closer to fleeing enemies when you don't have your ult or it's on cooldown.

Ignite - Always helps when you get any champ close to death & he manages to make it to his tower and helps getting first blood but I'd rather use my summoner spells for escaping/chasing.

Exhaust - Great vs physical carries on the other team or for slowing a fleeing enemy but I rely on simply moving faster than my opponents instead of slowing them to get kills.

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My mastery build is 0-20-10.

So after seeing that I was always cutting it very close at Lizard buff I decided to try out running a 0-20-10 Mastery build to better complement my MR/AR Runes and give me some more survivability since Nocturne already puts out a large amount of damage and it has worked fairly well.

In the defensive tree I take more MR and Armor, the upgrade for taking less damage from minions, blocking physical damage, more HP and two points to improve my AS.

In the utility tree I take improved Ghost as well as lowering my death timer, improving my EXP, and taking two points in Utility Master to increase the time my buffs last.

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Passive - Umbra Blades
Every 10 seconds, Nocturne's next attack strikes surrounding enemies for physical damage and heals himself by 15 / 20 / 25 for each target hit. Nocturne's physical attacks reduce this cooldown by 1 second.

This passive is what makes Nocturne a great jungler/farmer a lets him last in team fights. The more often you attack the more life you steal which is why attack speed is more important to me then life steal and why I only buy one life steal item (Wriggles Latern)

Q - Duskbringer
Nocturne throws a shadow blade which deals damage, leaves a Dusk Trail, and causes champions who are hit to also leave a Dusk Trail. While on the trail, Nocturne ignores unit collision and has increased Movement Speed and Attack Damage.
Cooldown: 10 seconds.
Range: 1200.
Physical Damage: 60 / 110 / 160 / 210 / 260 (+0.75 per bonus attack damage).
Movement Speed Bonus: 15 / 20 / 25 / 30 / 35 %.
Attack Damage Bonus: 20 / 30 / 40 / 50 / 60 .

This ability is key to using Nocturne to his full potential. When ganking, especially without his ult, you MUST hit with it in order to be successful. If you miss with it & don't get the bonus attack speed and movement speed from the trail the enemy champ leaves you probably won't get that kill and will have to pull back. It is also great for pushing towers since minions come down the lane in a line so you can hit them all then get in the middle of them and attack all of them with an Umbra Blades killing them all mid to late game. At towers throwing down a Duskbringer helps you bring down the tower that much faster.

W - Shroud of Darkness
(Passive): Nocturne empowers his blades, passively gaining attack speed.
(Active): Nocturne creates a magical barrier for 2 seconds which blocks the next enemy spell. If an ability is blocked by the shield, his passive attack speed is doubled for 5 seconds.
Cost: 50 mana.
Cooldown: 20 / 18 / 16 / 14 / 12 seconds.
Passive Attack Speed Bonus: 20 / 25 / 30 / 35 / 40 %.

The passive increase on attack speed is fantastic but what's even more awesome is the spell shield that it grants. This spell is very important timing wise because it only lasts for 2 seconds, & using it too early allows your enemy to wait it out & kill you. In team fights, when abilities are being shot around constantly you're definitely gonna get hit with an ability triggering the doubling of your passive attack speed. I have more than once blocked a Karthus ult when fleeing after a big team fight that would've killed me and even blocked a Garen ult when he tried to execute me near my tower.

E - Unspeakable Horror
(Active): Nocturne plants a nightmare into his target's mind, dealing magic damage over 2 seconds and fearing the target if they do not get out of 600 range of him for the full duration.
Range: 500.
Cost: 60 / 65 / 70 / 75 / 80 mana.
Cooldown: 15 / 14 / 13 / 12 / 11 seconds.
Total Magic Damage: 50 / 100 / 150 / 200 / 250 (+1.0 per ability power).
Fear Duration: 1 / 1.25 / 1.5 / 1.75 / 2 second(s).

The damage for this spell isn't what makes it so useful since I build Nocturne attack damage but it is the fear that is great. Fearing your target gives you up to 2 seconds of free attacking on your opponent & a chance for your teammates to catch up if you're ganking. It also can be a life saver when you're fleeing, by tagging the closest champ if they stay in range chasing you it will fear them and help you get away.

R - Paranoia (Ultimate)
(Active): Nocturne reduces the sight radius of all enemy champions and removes their ally vision for 4 seconds, this includes champions, minions, wards and towers. He can then launch himself at a enemy champion with a large range. Deals physical damage on arrival.
Cost: 100 mana.
Range: 2500 / 3250 / 4000
Cooldown: 160 / 130 / 100 seconds.
Physical Damage: 150 / 300 / 450 (+1.2 per bonus attack damage).

This ultimate is great but it can be very detrimental and can pretty much be suicide if used incorrectly. Never ever EVER use his ult to initiate in a 5v5 team fight because if you are the first one in there you'll get focused and blown up rather quickly. Instead you can initiate the loss of allied vision, have your tank initiate and then pick out who you are going to jump on. I still prefer to use it once the team fight has already begun to jump on the carry who tends to be at a safe distance from the rest of my team. I use Nocturne's ult in three ways: (1) to assassinate single targets (ganking), (2) after a team fight has begun like I described before, and (3) sometimes to simply cause confusion and hesitation in the enemy team. If your teammate is being ganked or the other team is pushing a tower, simply seeing their allied vision disappear can cause them to panic thinking you are going to be jumping in and might be enough to make them retreat or even make them not attack the tower and let you get there. Remember that Nocturne's ult is very dependent on being able to see your target. I've made the mistake of using my ult when a target is running and is barely on the edge of my allies vision of sight so I never get to use it when they duck into a brush. Last thing on his ult: don't use it to finish off a low HP champ that is fleeing into their team, when the enemy team loses their allied vision they know who you're trying to kill and although you may get that kill you will die, and the trade off isn't worth it, believe me it's happened to me.

Order of importance when leveling skills: R > W > Q > E

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So here is an explanation as to why I get the items I get and some optional items to substitute in:

Core Items

Wriggle's Lantern
I get Wriggle's for several reasons, the life steal it provides, it's a massive help in the jungle, and for the free ward, which has plenty of useful uses because map awareness wins games.

Boots of Swiftness
Why do I get these boots instead of Berserker Greaves? The reason is simple, I'd rather be able to move faster not on my Duskbringer as well as on it & I don't really need the extra attack speed because I have enough passively from Shroud of Darkness & my Black Cleaver later on.
Duskbringer: Movement Bonus (15/20/25/30/35 %) & Attack Speed Bonus (20/30/40/50/60 %)
Shroud of Darkness: Passive AS Bonus (20/25/30/35/40 %)

The Black Cleaver
Since Nocturne attacks so fast with the effects of his abilities as well as the chance of doubling Shroud's passive this is all the additional attack speed you need. The most important thing it grants you is the attack damage and the armor penetration.

Other Items

From here on the build becomes completely based on your enemy team, which is why both Thornmail and Force of Nature appear. Nocturne is very squishy so once I get my Cleaver I try to get some survivabilty. If the enemy team has a lot of AD then I go Thornmail -> Banshee's Veil, if they have more AP then I want to get MR which would be Force of Nature -> Banshee's Veil. I throw in an Infinity Edge at the end, which you'll probably never get to but the increase damage and having crit's hit for 250% makes you even more deadly.

Optional Substitutes

If the opposing team has lots of CC then you might want to grab Mercury's Treads instead of Boots of Swiftness to help cut down the durations, just make sure to hit with Duskbringer. If you want to get a Guardian Angel so you can have both some MR and AR as well as being able to revive you can substitute it in it but I prefer to go without it because most times you review the other team is waiting over you and kills you again. I've seen people use Phantom Dancer on Nocturne and it would help with the boosts of AS and movement speed but it doesn't give me AD which is why I prefer The Black Cleaver. The only situation I'd get a Madred's Bloodrazor is if the team has 3 tanky champs so that I could rip through them faster, so sell your Wriggle's if you want a Bloodrazor.

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Jungling & Playstyle

This is both the jungling route that I take as well as places that I like to place my Wriggle's Lantern ward with the circled ones the important ones, Dragon and Baron.

Early Game (levels 1-6)
I use Nocturne as a jungler, buying a Cloth Armor and 5 HPots, I start at the Ancient Golem camp and I ask one of my teammates to hit the Golem once so they can take the agro. Makes sure that they leave though before you smite the Golem so that you get all the EXP because if you don't get a level here it really cripples you from here on. Then I go to the wolves camp, wraiths camp, golems, and finally the Lizard camp. Now you should be at level 4, you can do two things now (1) gank a lane or (2) move into your opponents jungle if they have no jungler and take their golem camp then their wolf camp. If you didn't gank after Lizard camp you can gank now. When you have at least 1,100 gold recall and get Madred's Razor and Boots of Speed. Once you have your ult now the fun begins.

Mid Game (levels 7-13)
The laning phase is typically over or coming to an end soon so you have to up your ganks and help your team push towers. Make sure to grab the Dragon at every possible chance and as always go back into the jungle to grab the Golem and Lizard buffs whenever you can. Work with your team to coordinate attacks, because a enemy champ that is by himself and your ult is up is usually already dead.

Late Game (levels 14-18)
You should be hitting pretty hard by now and should have at least your Force of Nature/Thornmail. Your job in the team fights is now to kill their carry! Use your ultimate wisely, to take out single targets or after a team fight has started to jump in on top of the carry.

The important thing to remember when ganking is that you have to land your Q, having the enemy champ leave a trail is a must when you're chasing because they won't ever get out of your range when you have your Boots of Swiftness.

Without Ult
Without your ult you have to have the right timing and the order of skills is different. Lead with Q, hitting them so you can get in range. Once you're in range for an E tag them with Unspeakable Horrors so that they will be feared after the duration. They won't be able to get out of range of your fear if they are hit with your Q, that is why it is so important. This should both give you plenty of time to kill or time for your teammates time to catch up and assist you.

With Ult
Ganking with your ult is very fun, just remember that once you use your ult your enemy will start to retreat knowing you are coming and probably because they are scared. This is why timing is important because if you use it when they are too far from your teammates or close enough to their tower they might get to their tower before you can unleash your entire combo and get the kill. So once you jump on your target with your ult tag them with Unspeakable Horrors followed immediately by a Duskbringer. The fear will keep them in range of you and your teammates beating and you should be able to hit with Duskbringer from such a close range.

I hope that this guide is helpful, I'll constantly be adding and updating things as they arise. Thanks everyone.