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Nocturne Build Guide by KingEmonerd

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League of Legends Build Guide Author KingEmonerd

Nocturne, the Eternal Nightmare

KingEmonerd Last updated on December 12, 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.



Offense: 9

Honor Guard

Defense: 21

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 0

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Hello ladies and gentlemen, EmoN here, trying to keep you reading this guide after you've seen Nocturne being build more tanky than you'd like to see him... it's difficult. If you've got no tank in your team, Nocturne is a good surrogate for a tank. He's more fun to play as a tank than building him with a Phantom Dancer and The Bloodthirster. So, in this build-guide, I'll try to explain to you why Nocturne, the Eternal Nightmare, makes a good tank.

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Yeah, I know, Nocturne is an assassin, not a tank, but still, just stick with me. I've been told to think outside the box, so here goes:

A line nuke, dealing physical damage. It leaves a buffing trail for Noc to walk on, and enemy units hit leave the same trail. The trail gives bonus AD, a small bit of movespeed and he ignores unit collision. This ability makes for catching up. What you do, is use it to mark them, and use the trail to catch up.

Passively gives you bonus attack speed, which is very much a welcome stat, looking at his passive. Actively, it blocks a single enemy spell, and if it does, you double the bonus attack speed for a duration. It's good, but not great. For Noc, it's key to predict your enemies' spell casts, and use your Shroud accordingly. On the other hand, if you fight a guy like Master Yi, there's no use in it blocking a spell, since most of Yi's spells affect himself. Use it only as a passive bonus if you can, since it does cost quite some mana. Don't spam it if you feel threatened.

Tethering to a target enemy always involves sticking to them. You deal magic damage over a duration, and if the duration is full, you fear the target for a duration. It's good, in that it helps you deal amounts of damage. The downside is that the CC is a fear. This might also make the enemy take a hike instead of walking towards you. That is the goal with a fear...

This is one of the coolest ults I've ever seen. First, you destroy all allied vision your enemies have. They only see a smaller bit of what they can see for themselves. Next, you can dash to a single enemy champion, dealing some cool physical damage when you get there. It's all about catching up with enemies, or making a cool engage on them. The downside is though, that you have to have vision of them when you wish to dash to them. If you do, and you cast it, you'll have insta-win. If you lose vision while you're in the air, it's no problem. If you lose vision BEFORE you dash, however, you'll have wasted your ult.

It's the only reason Noc makes a good jungler. Once every 10 seconds, you deal 120% of your AD to surrounding units, and leech life from each of those hits. This effect is rushed by a second by each of Noc's basic attacks. That's why Shroud of Darkness is such a good spell on Noc (the passive, that is).

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Skill Usage


  • Since this is your bread and butter, it's mad powerful. Clearing creep waves is a breeze with some bonus AD. Bring Dusk to all minions, then walk up to any minion, and slap it. The entire wave will probably die thanks to Umbra Blades, and you'll have gained a truckload of money.
  • It does not reveal stealthed units if it hits them, but it does make them leave the Trail. Follow this trail to keep up with your enemies if you wish.

Shroud of Darkness
  • It has a long cooldown, so make sure not to waste it. Use it if you can clearly see a slow-moving skillshot or something like it. Don't use it because you think that Taric is going to stun you. Activate it if the Dazzle is in mid-air.
  • Your Shroud is a good tool to aid your team. Knowing where the enemy Teemo placed his Mushrooms is a great asset. Use your shield and pop the shroom, it won't touch you.

Unspeakable Horror
  • If you go into the jungle to get your buffs working, the fear from Unspeakable Horror will have you take a bit less damage. In the early levels, this can really work out in your favor.
  • If you need a good escape tool, this is your baby. Juking an enemy into a brush and then using Unspeakable Horror is a great way to get you some extra CC to get that safe escape.

  • Not only does this do mad damage, it also reduces sight vision of your enemies. This part of the ult makes it great for juking. Popping it just before you enter brush is a great way to make a safe escape.
  • If you need your enemies to back off your turrets while you're not around (or if you need this for an ally's lane), disappear from the map for a bit and then pop Paranoia. The global "darknesssss..." is so scaring, it forces enemies back to their turrets in fear.

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Runes, Masteries and Summoner Spells

For Runes, I like the following setup:
9 Greater Mark of Desolation
9 Greater Seal of Armor
9 Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
3 Greater Quintessence of Desolation

This rune setup is aimed at giving me the best possible damage output in early game with my Undertow, as well as make me a bit more... annoying to my lane enemies. They won't be able to deal as much damage to me as they'd like.

My masteries look something like this:

What I take here, is the bonus attack speed and Improved Exhaust in Offense, as well as the 10% Armor Pen. Good for taking out tanky characters. Then I take a full tank Defense Tree, which consists of Armor and MR, all of the Bonus Health I can get, the entire Fourth Row, and Juggernaut. A different viable option would be 21/6/3 or 21/9/0, but I like to be as sure as I can and build more defensive (as a 21 in Offense really emphasises the Offensive bit).

For Summoner Spells, I like the following:
Exhaust: Exhaust is a great spell on any and all physical damage dealers, or those who deal the majority of their damage in this fashion. Nocturne is no exception. Against other physical damage dealers, it can make a world of difference to have it or to lack it. I prefer this over any other Summoner Spell.
Flash: The only way Nocturne can escape, is through clever use of his ulti, or fearing enemies at the right time. The first is dependant of out-of-place enemies, and the other only works of you are being chased by a single target. Thus I take Flash. Flashing over the wall to Baron is a good juke, as is juking in a brush and then Flashing over them to safety.

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The Cloth Armor helps you stay a bit more safe against pesky AD champions with who you share lane. It also makes jungling for quick gold a bit easier. Together with the Health Potions your early game laning should be sustainable.

I've come to the conclusion that Wriggle's really is a good item. It provides allround decent stats, and it helps you get that quick gold from jungle or those minions just that bit faster. The fact that you get a free ward every 3 minutes is amazing too, as it increases your map awareness so much.

Boots make your lane much more... possible. Without Boots, you're a nobody (unless you run Double PD. Getting these early enough (or if possible, before your lane enemy does) makes your lane that much easier to handle.


A good item for every tanky character, as it provides Tenacity, a stat welcome in every build, and the MR is also very welcome, since we kinda lack it overall (items don't really cover it too much).

This baby makes sure we have enough output for our small amount of damage. Sure, we deal nice amounts of damage, but without some attack speed, the 60 Bonus AD is more or less useless, since we can't deal it.

This is a great tank-shredder. Don't look at the stats, you'll feel depressed about how they just steal 10 AD from you, but it does deal a significant amount of damage to any and all tanks.


This baby can help you survive so many fights. It's obvious that some enemies will get fed a bit, but this makes sure that they don't melt you immediately. The fact that we're going to run Force of Atmog's makes it obvious that this is the core.

This is an overall great item. It's absolutly amazing combined with Warmog's Armor, and it gives you all the survivability you need against mages, plus some well needed Health Regen, which is always nice to have after a team fight: you can just keep farming and healing up.

The item for your damage throughout the end of the game. Combined with your already more-than-decent health pool, and the Warmog's, this gives you a truckload of damage, and some very useful survivability against Udyrs and Vaynes.


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  • Be passive in lane, and only damage on bursts. Preparing a good combo, utilizing Duskbringer, Shroud of Darkness and Unspeakable Horror is a great way to get a lot of damage off.
  • Your Duskbringer is a good poke, as it has a long range. Make sure you can hit your enemy with it, and toss it out. It deals a decent poke damage, and it also buffs you.
  • Keep the buffs active on you at all times. You need to be prepared if you get ganked or threatened in any way, shape or form. Being able to dish out damage is necessary if you need to escape.
  • If you are uncontested in lane, try pushing a tower. Towers win games, not kills/deaths.
  • If a team fight ensues, take it back a notch and ulti in when an enemy is low. Then start dealing as much damage as you can, using your fear to save allies, and your Duskbringer
  • Don't be the tank. Let Amumu do that for you. You dive in and deal mad damage once the entire team is low on health..
  • Coordinate your team to go for a push. Tell them to wait, and make sure everyone's going to work together. Deal as much damage as you can, stay alive, and start pushing.

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Nocturne is mad powerful. I was afraid to have made a bad buy, but I'm more than glad that I bought him. Haven't played as many games with him as I'd like, but out of 7 games, only 1 loss. Rest of them, more than 10 kill each game, and a spree in all of them. At 6300, he's a bargain to get as soon as you can. Wait, 6300 a bargain? YAH! For a champ as awesome as Nocturne, it is.

EmoN signing off.