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Nocturne Build Guide by StrangeRune

Jungle Official /r/Nocturnemains guide to Darkness

Jungle Official /r/Nocturnemains guide to Darkness

Updated on August 10, 2021
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League of Legends Build Guide Author StrangeRune Build Guide By StrangeRune 116 9 166,162 Views 3 Comments
116 9 166,162 Views 3 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author StrangeRune Nocturne Build Guide By StrangeRune Updated on August 10, 2021
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Runes: Skirmishing Playstyle

1 2 3 4
Lethal Tempo
Legend: Alacrity
Last Stand

Cheap Shot
Ultimate Hunter

+10% Attack Speed
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+6 Armor


1 2
LoL Summoner Spell: Flash


LoL Summoner Spell: Smite


Threats & Synergies

Threats Synergies
Extreme Major Even Minor Tiny
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None Low Ok Strong Ideal
Extreme Threats
Ideal Synergies
Ideal Strong Ok Low None

Champion Build Guide

Official /r/Nocturnemains guide to Darkness

By StrangeRune
Playing as Nocturne
So, you wanna play Nocturne? Well, sit down and let me teach you all about how life got flipp-*Ahem* Wait wrong intro.

The first question to picking Nocturne is, why? And this applies to all champions in League. You're either trying them out, enjoy their theme and want to one-trick them, or for some strategic advantage.

To answer all of the above, Nocturne has a great theme packaged in a champion made in 2011. Many champions since have been released that live closer to their theme, but Nocturne was exceptional for his time. The answer to when and why you'd pick him is the same for one-tricking and strategic advantages. He's a bit generic. You can play him in to nearly any composition and find success or failure in equal measure. For this reason you can one-trick him because you enjoy his gameplay loop, but if you're thinking about how to best exploit the enemy composition, it's better to look at other champions.

While he can be a "safe" first pick, he also has some rough counter picks. It is not impossible to one trick Nocturne to your desired rank. If you were already Challenger, you can still get Challenger with Nocturne, but he is rough to rank up with exclusively. Have you ever seen someone one-trick him to Masters? Didn't think so.

Nocturne's mechanics have a problem with a lack of reward and instead an enormous amount of punishment if you misstep with them. However, Nocturne has always been a solid pick in most metas, due to the fact that any abusive champion is usually due to having some gimmicky spell that Nocturne can block as well as being an impeccable duelist and if all else fails, just assassinate the ADC from screens away!

While picking up Nocturne, if you're new to the game, his fundamentals require macro knowledge. Patience is Nocturne's greatest virtue and by necessity he will teach you this. His play style requires that you pay more attention to the map and where things are and what is going on. He cannot force a gank or a dive like some champions nor can he scale terrain (crossing walls) at will ad nauseum. His time-to-kill is longer than any other assassin role, thankfully because of this he has more than one playstyle and many build options. He is not safe and he doesn't clear the fastest or the healthiest (but fairly top tier clear, at that).

You cannot dive the ADC always even if they look alone in a sidelane. If you haven't seen their Support, they can still peel you easily, even with proper Shroud of Darkness usage. You may have unparalleled backline access with Paranoia, but it isolates you from your team who cannot help you or absorb pressure. If you take a risky fight and don't breathe and be aware of what options your enemy has, you could blow spells that were better off being held on to for the right moment such as Shroud of Darkness or Unspeakable Horror. I like to call the usage of Shroud of Darkness immediately off using Paranoia a "Panic Spellshield." It is the quintessential marker of the inexperienced Nocturne player; a player who has not learned the required patience to play this champion. It might work sometimes, but League is about whether you take the low percentage plays, or the high ones. Aftershock Nocturne has won games before too, but you won't see us recommending it.



In terms of how to play this champion mechanically. Duskbringer is okay for gap closing but the Movement Speed isn't great and you'll time out some of your steroid if you do. It's also only okay for poking. However, Duskbringer's movement speed IS multiplicative, so it is more powerful when paired with other % Movement Speed sources. You can use it's ghost collision passive to move through enemies who use cone abilities like Sett and Mordekaiser, as well as through minion waves and jungle camps to get an Umbra Blades strike on all targets. Lastly, Duskbringer is an extremely powerful steroid and the justification for Nocturne's lower base stats. If you miss it, be advised you are much weaker off your trail than the average champion.


Always try and time your Shroud of Darkness for the enemies' biggest impact spell and that varies from champion to champion. While usually their ultimate, many times their ult is either something unblockable ( Alistar Unbreakable Will) or would never land if you blocked their basic crowd control instead (See: Lux). As well, in any duel, sometimes it's better to go for what's easy instead of hard if you're not experienced. Like blocking the Q2 of Lee Sin's Resonating Strike instead of his Dragon's Rage, which is more impactful, but harder to predict. Many spells are impossible to react to, given your nature as a melee champion. Projectile spells have no travel time if you're on top of the enemy.

For a list of Shroud of Darkness interactions with every spell in the game (as well as other small sub-interactions), please check out our Nocturne Spell Shield Spreadsheet!


Your Unspeakable Horror will generally be used against your main target, however if you're confident in their assured demise, it may be best to hold it and use it instead on an assisting enemy or even a potential enemy in the fog of war who may come after you're finished with their ally. Of course, if they are alone, it is safe to use on anyone you encounter. While it is a simple spell, it is not entirely one-dimensional. You can use it to kite someone out when you can't afford to commit and use it to escape pursuers.


As far as your Paranoia goes, you can cast anything during it's flight and though it will ignore crowd control to keep you moving, it still applies to you. You can use your flight time to mask your Duskbringer cast time and fire it as you arrive if you think they can't dodge. You can also press Shroud of Darkness which will refresh it's duration during flight, though we don't recommend this. You can also press any item or even summoner spell you want while in flight. Flash will cancel Paranoia if you think the situation looks bad. But perhaps think more on why you chose to use Paranoia in a bad or unknown situation. Forcing you to blow two huge cooldowns for no gain.

Nocturne's Paranoia is powerful... except it's not. It's just as likely to get you in to trouble. So use it wisely. It is supremely unforgiving for bad mistakes and is far too telegraphed to be used at will.
Thank you for reading this far, now, on to the guide!
Flash or Ghost?


This is your standard "safe" spell. If you are just starting to learn this champion or role, Flash will usually be your best option.

Flash can:
  • Help you follow people over walls more easily (although this can be done with proper timing on Paranoia
  • Allow you to quickly close the gap to:
This is an underrated spell considering the fact there are no flash mechanics that Nocturne can abuse and because Duskbringer is a multiplicative move speed boost making Ghost better than it's base value. Ghost shines even more due to the fact that you get 335 MS towards feared targets.

Ghost can also help you:
  • Keep the tether on Unspeakable Horror
  • Get to the edge of Paranoia range
  • Chasing enemies through their escapees as long as it is not over a wall.
  • Leaving a fight (due to ghost lasting for so long--flash can be used once and ghost can be used over time during a fight).
But if you you are comfortable with using flash (as this generally works the same on most other champions), start with flash.
[RUNES] Lethal Tempo - Skirmish Playstyle

Lethal Tempo is a great DPS multiplier and the activation times up with Unspeakable Horror and/or when you would arrive at your enemy after landing a Duskbringer This can be a "go to" rune in many situations, but is essentially great for dueling. Lethal Tempo also helps you win early duels/skirmishes as the added attack speed allows you to access Umbra Blades meaning more healing, more damage, and winning early trades. If you are ever unsure of what to take, Lethal Tempo is a good rune utilize in most situations. With that said, Conqueror has found a more solidified position this season and can be taken if you are against an enemy team that would also be utilizing Conqueror. While you will not get the initial early game benefits like you would from Lethal Tempo, Conqueror will give you the opportunity to handle other champions that abuse Conqueror(more on this later).

Feel free to take Presence of Mind instead of Triumph as this comes down to personal preference. Triumph can give you some extra survivability in messy/extended team fights with some additional gold and Presence of Mind will help navigate Nocturne's mana issues.
Legend: Alacrity is a great "default" rune here as it is good for clear speed and when paired with your Shroud of Darkness, the extra attack speed can help win duels against targets with minimal crowd control. Otherwise take Legend: Tenacity as it can VERY OFTEN be the actual decider on whether you or your target live.
With Stridebreaker/ Sterak's Gage being a core build at the moment, Last Stand will likely be the best rune of choice as it synergizes very well with Sterak's Gage. However, Coup de Grace still is another good rune that allows you finish lower HP targets more quickly and give you more dueling potential against lower HP target/non-resistance stacking targets (They lose their HP faster, therefore, Coup de Grace gives you more damage to finish them off). You can take Cut Down for the Anti-Tank/Juggernaut/Bruiser build.

Secondary Rune Options

Take Ultimate Hunter for the CDR on your ultimate and take either Sudden Impact or Cheap Shot. Eyeball Collection also has it's place and feel free to take it, but in the current Stridebreaker meta, you can proc Cheap Shot effectively. There really is no "wrong" answer here.
Note that if you take Sudden Impact, this rune will not be active until you are level 6.

Take Nullifying Orb vs AP heavy teams especially vs Elise. No seriously take it versus Elise, this is not a drill. Since you're in Sorcery now take Transcendence. Celerity looks nice but don't. Absolute Focus may seem like a nice choice but you're trapping yourself if you take it.

You can take Bone Plating vs AD assassins like Rengar, Kha'Zix, and Talon—it actually works really well. You can take Demolish if you feel you may need to split a lot or Revitalize as your second minor rune. Combine Revitalize with Sterak's Gage Gargoyle Stoneplate or Death's Dance and (probably Plated Steelcaps) and you will be very hard for them to kill. You don't "trade" as a Jungler, you all-in or they do. Bone Plating is also insanely effective here as well.
[RUNES] Electrocute - Assassin Playstyle

Ever since Lethal Tempo became meta Electrocute has been underappreciated, but make no mistake, it's still a very solid assassination keystone. However, only try and take it against squishy enemy compositions. Lethal Tempo became meta because of it's level 3 river skirmish power. It was/is still a solid choice, but all of Lethal Tempo's power is in it's dueling capability. If you don't duel, don't take Lethal Tempo. In the majority of games you will, however, usually be dueling.
Cheap Shot and Sudden Impact do comparable damage, but Cheap Shot doesn't require you use your Paranoia or a dash item like Prowler's Claw. All you need is a slow, (like from red buff) or Duskblade of Draktharr or anyone else on your team providing crowd control to proc Cheap Shot. This comes down to personal preference, but overall, Cheap Shot is less reliant on having your ult/dash items available.
Eyeball Collection stacks faster than the others. While Ghost Poro and Zombie Wardhave better usage once fully stacked, it's not that great and not enough to offset the mid-game power Eyeball Collection would wield.
If you're going Electrocute, you're trying to assassinate, not duel. Therefore, there is no reason for Ravenous Hunter. Take Ultimate Hunter always.

Secondary Rune Options

Triumph is interchangeable with Presence of Mind as stated before.
You can take Coup de Grace for squishy killing power, Legend: Alacrity for very slightly enhanced clear speed, or Legend: Tenacity for if they have crowd control options you can't reliably block with Shroud of Darkness.
[RUNES] Conqueror - Anti-Tank Playstyle

We want to preface this by saying if you see the enemy stacking tanks, pick a different champion. That said, Nocturne is definitely workable in a tank environment. This part of the guide is here to serve you for when you want to one-trick Nocturne or you first picked him. Fights against tanks will always go longer than the average skirmish. They will outlast your tempo and your mana. For this reason, you should take Conqueror. Please note, if you are used to playing with Lethal Tempo, this will take some getting used to as you have use spells/autos to acquire stacks as opposed to waiting a short period to Lethal Tempo to activate.
As we stated before, tanks will likely outlast your mana pool, however Presence of Mind is a great option as early takedowns will give you a boost to your mana and make dealing with tanks more manageable (to an extent).
Legend: Alacrity is shown, but Legend: Tenacity is also serviceable. Just weigh how much crowd control the enemy has. Not all Tanks are crowd control-laden, but keep in mind some tanks do not have crowd control that can be reduced (think knock ups),or that can be blocked by your Shroud of Darkness, or have terribly short duration ( Nautilus's Staggering Blow passive, Udyr's Blazing Stampede). Even if their support isn't a tank, if they're heavy on crowd control ( Morgana) you should consider Legend: Tenacity.
Cut Down is the anti-tank Rune, so obviously, take it. Just be mindful to not buy too much HP.

Secondary Rune Options

Eyeball Collection is always a solid choice as it will help you farm and take objectives faster.
With the addition of Stridebreaker (and the fact you might be building Blade of the Ruined King this game), Cheap Shot has become very valuable, even against tanky teams. You are able to consistently proc Cheap Shot more with Stridebreaker. Blade of the Ruined King, red buff, and Unspeakable Horror.

Ultimate Hunter is also fine here for the reduced CDR on Paranoia.
[RUNES] Critical Playstyle

All points mentioned for previous pages apply here except where noted.

Hail of Blades is your best option if you are going to play crit Nocturne, but feel free to use other main keystones to your liking or preference. Hail of Blades does not have a 1.5 second windup like Lethal Tempo, making it a more viable option, lowering your time to kill your opponents. Since your damage is coming from autos (and you only need a few), Conqueror or Lethal Tempo are not great options. This goes for Electrocute and Dark Harvest as well since you won't have as much AD or penetration. Be mindful of early river skirmishes because even though you do a surprising amount of damage, the effect does wear off--leaving you vulnerable. Be satisfied with a good early trade, as the enemy will just likely retreat.

When Essence Reaver used to give flat mana and mana restore on autos, Triumph was the clear option here. Now, it again, comes down to personal preference. If you are going crit, you are likely going to be relying more on your autos anyways, so mana may not be a huge concern to you, making Triumph the better option.

You can take Legend: Tenacity but Legend: Bloodline is quite good since you will be lacking lifesteal (useless you build Bloodthirster.
Blue or Red Smite?


Buy this if you are against a comp where you are going to get kited (Ezreal, Tristana, Lucian, Ashe, Jhin, Sivir) and you feel like Stridebreaker or Prowler's Claw will not be enough slow or it is not worth building that game.

Special scenarios:

Kassadin - You can take blue smite against Kassadin due to the fact you are able to keep your fear tether when he Riftwalk's away. However, once Kass hits 16, Red Smite is far superior as he will no longer run from you and try to kill you.

Janna - Her passive increases MS for allies when they run towards her. There may be some situations where blue smite will allow you to catch them even if they are sped up, but Edge of Night or Prowler's Claw can fix most of your issues against her.

Zilean -He can speed up himself or allies and this gives you the ability to chase him down or escape if needed.

Morgana - If you find her on the enemy team, just go Red Smite. She will negate the blue smite effect.
For certain supports ( Lulu, Karma, Braum, Nautilus?) consider WHO they are supporting as opposed to them just being present in the game. Think about if a Lulu or Karma is supporting a champion like Kog'Maw--Blue smite will do you no good, as Kog will simply kill you.

Keep in mind: if you are going to build Blade of the Ruined King, Dead Man's Plate, or Duskblade of Draktharr (THERE IS NO Frozen Mallet(RIP) TECH, K VOY?--We will speak on this later).
In every scenario that is not blue smite, take red. This is your default smite option--if your situation is not covered in the Blue Smite section or if you are unsure of what would be best, take this. As you can see, blue smite is typically dictated by the ADC (and Zilean) on the enemy team and ADC is only 1 role. Red smite will be the safer option and apply to more roles on the enemy team.
[ITEMS] Bruiser/Skirmisher AD Staples

Note: This section has items that are tailored to accentuate the other play styles. We do not recommend to build all of these items together, however these items can be sprinkled within various builds.


This is currently the most used/valuable item on Nocturne (for the bruiser build) even after the removal of the slash in 11.13. This gives you HP, attack speed, ability haste, and allows you to proc Cheap Shot. Stridebreaker gives Nocturne everything he needs with the exception of lifesteal As you can see, there are other mythic items you can buy, but for the most part, if you are playing Nocturne as a bruiser, you need to buy this item. Period.

Trinity Force
If you have followed me(StrangeCloud) in the Nocturne community, you will know how much it pains to me write this — Trinity Force is now viable on Nocturne. After the recent buffs, I have been testing it out in various builds and having major success. Something to keep in mind should you choose to build this item: do not rush it. The powerspike you get from this item is incredibly lackluster. Pairing this mythic with Blade of the Ruined King gives you pretty solid dueling potential. Building Sterak's Gage and Black Cleaver gives you more survivability and dueling potential as well. Like Stridebreaker, this item is a stat stick that gives Nocturne everything he needs except lifesteal (but you have Blade of the Ruined King so you're okay!)

Goredrinker is solid if you feel the slow/mobility from Stridebreaker is not necessary for the game you are in. This item is also great if your team lacks engage due to the active giving you more healing the more enemy champions you hit. This item pairs very well with Last Stand as well.

Kraken Slayer
This item is if their team is full of tanky champions that cannot be killed quickly with something like Stridebreaker or Trinity Force. Think Volibear, Malphite, Vladimir, Leona, and any ADC. This allows you to deal the damage you need in extended fights and take them down quicker than you think.
Pair this with Cut Down and watch tanks cry. Also, just because it has crit chance, this does not mean you have to pair it with crit items. Kraken Slayer, Sterak's Gage, and Gargoyle Stoneplate or other bruiser/tank items like Black Cleaver are great when paired together.


Sterak's gage
Build this item no matter what, seriously. This should be your second item in every build unless you are going Trinity Force, making Sterak's Gage your third item. It's grossly over tuned right now and gives you so much survivability as well as some extra AD. This also pairs well with Last Stand.

Ravenous Hydra
Generally, you do not rush this item, but this is a good sustain item after you have built a Tiamat (which is also used for quicker farming). This item also gives you more survivability due to having omni vamp.

Titanic Hydra
This item is great if you intend on going Stridebreaker or Goredrinker. Pairing this with either of those items and Sterak's Gage make you incredibly tanky and give you some good damage output, too. Consider this as a 3rd or 4th item.

Death's Dance
This is another good defensive item that gives you more AD and some tankiness when playing Nocturne in the front line. The new passive (extra MS and healing on enemy take down) allows you to get in and get out of a fight if you have made a pick or quickly chase down any stragglers that are trying to get away after a long skirmish. Due to the fact that Nocturne is a damage per second (DPS) champion, the delayed damage effect is more beneficial for him than it would be for an assassin. Keep in mind this should not be used against magic heavy teams as it is an anti-physical item.

Black Cleaver
Another very solid item. CDR, HP, armor pen; all the essentials to help Nocturne in many situations. This is your bread and butter pick when the enemy team has armor stackers.

Last Whisper
Similar to Black Cleaver, this item works well when the enemy team has champions that stack armor or have high healing (due to the fact that this can also be built into Mortal Reminder). If you are utilizing an assassin playstyle, this item will give you far more damage than another lethality or most AD and crit items in the late game.

Chempunk Chainsword
Ability haste, HP, AD, and grievous wounds. This item is great when Mortal Reminder or Lord Dominik's Regards is not needed. At 2600g, this is great value for the stats it gives.

Serpent's Fang
As a bruiser/skirmisher, you will definitely find yourself against plenty of enemies that like to build Immortal Shieldbow, Sterak's Gage or Gargoyle Stoneplate. This item if even more crucial if you are against enemies like Sett Yasuo, Orianna, Janna, or Lulu. This item takes care of all of those annoyances and allows you to handle what would normally be a harder fight.
[ITEMS] Assassin Options


Duskblade of Draktharr
If your goal is to assassinate softer targets/split pushers, this item is crucial for killing quickly. The change to this item (1.5s invisibility on takedowns) allows you the potential to get in and get out quickly as needed. Notice we said the potential, meaning, while this item makes you feel like you are Kha'Zix, you are still Nocturne. The slow also helps you secure kills on champions that will try to escape your fear tether as well as assisting your allies in closing the gap on the enemy target and can also proc Cheap Shot.

Prowler's Claw
The addition of Prowler's Claw gives Nocturne the ability to not only proc Sudden Impact without the use of Paranoia, but truly stay on slippery targets. How often have you tried to blow up Ezreal only for him to survive with a sliver of health? This item helps solve that issue, while giving you the AD and Lethality needed (mythic passive grants you more Lethality , too!) to blow your target up on sight due to the damage bonus you get after using the dash. The dash works similar to Warwick's Jaws of the Beast. Notice I said similar and not exactly as Warwick's Jaws of the Beast makes him immune to displacements and takes him behind the target, following their position anywhere on the map. Prowler's Claw is a dash through your enemy and just that.

Extra damage (% HP), omnivamp, and a shield after doing damage with a mythic passive that gives you % armor pen makes this item viable in many situations. The MS boost is great to help Nocturne navigate team fights as well. Eclipse is a nice dueling augment if that's your path and is not necessarily great vs anything in particular, but not bad either. While you probably can't go wrong picking it, it can easily be not the most optimal decision. That might seem like it's "safe and comfy" but we'd hesitate to call it such. Eclipse could also be incorporated into a bruiser build as well, due to the % armor pen mythic passive.


Serpent's Fang
This item is great for all of the reasons mentioned in the bruiser section as well as giving additional Lethality . If you are build assassin, you definitely want Lethality .

The Collector
A great item to help snowball as it grants you 25 extra gold per takedown. Pair this with Triumph and that's 45 extra gold per takedown. This mini execute you get to help secure kills it also nice. Feel free to rush this item if you are ahead as it will allow you to rack up gold at a high rate.

Youmuu's Ghostblade
Not only does this give you more burst due to the lethality built within, this item pairs nicely with Duskblade of Draktharr due to giving you increased movement speed with its active. Youmuu's Ghostblade also gives you more potential map pressure with the out of combat movement speed.

Edge of Night
This item is a solid item in most builds, not just lethality assassin, as long as it makes sense for the game you're in. This item is good for champions that have a built in panic button that is hard to predict and block with Shroud of Darkness ( Tristana Buster Shot, Quinn Vault, Ashe Enchanted Crystal Arrow, etc.). This is what you buy Edge of Night for, but the stats (HP, AD) are useful as well. This item can help keep you out of sticky situations (a Blitzcrank Rocket Grabfrom Fog of War) and allow you to preserve your spell shield to use at a later time. Edge of night is specifically good against Thresh, Rakan Janna, and Lulu due to their high-impact and/or instant spells ( Whimsy, Flay, The Quickness and Monsoon)

Guardian Angel
This is a standard item for this build due to the fact your goal is to "dive bomb" and assassinate. As the game progresses, your damage will not be as impressive and chances are you will die in your assassination attempt. This is still a great item to purchase because it can set up your team in a good position to follow up due to enemy spells being on cooldown. This item is specific to the assassin/lethality build and sub-optimal on other Nocturne builds. If you're in low-elo and you find yourself with a hefty bounty, consider buying this item if you don't trust yourself on knowing where you're supposed to be at all times and/or acute knowledge of your strengths and weaknesses. (e.g. This is a good item to have while learning and can be incorporated in to all builds but a good player doesn't need it.)

Umbral Glaive
This is a very niche item that is strong for vision control. It will not help you do much else other than clearing wards (but this can also be done with Sweeping Lens, which is FREE). The authors of this guide do not recommend this item due to it being "slot inefficient" (why build this when you could build Youmuu's Ghostblade, or even Serpent's Fang etc?).
[ITEMS] Critical Options


Immortal Shieldbow
Wanna go crit but are a little weary about being too squishy? This is your item. The mythic passive also beefs you up a little with more HP. This item really has everything Nocturne wants outside of ability haste and is a decent choice if you choose to go the crit route.
Kraken Slayer
Wanna go crit but find yourself against a beefy team? Build this item. This item is good against tankier/HP stacking enemies as already mentioned, but also grants you the crit chance you need as you are playing crit Nocturne.

Wanna go crit but you are against mobile champs? Build this item.This gives you extra mobility (mythic passive grants extra MS along with having a dash) and AOE damage to help secure kills on low HP targets.


Essence Reaver
This is an okay damage item to continue on your crit path that also grants you cooldown reduction and can assist with Nocturne's mana problems to some degree (This item used to be better option when it gave flat mana and mana per auto attack). The passive from Sheen gives you some extra burst, too, although you cannot proc it as consistently as other champions.

Infinity Edge
This is your murder item. If you are going crit build, you must get this item as it is your damage per second multiplier.

This item gives you a slow that can proc Cheap Shot and the passive can be used on camps to increase your clear speed and the extra attack speed is good for dueling and taking turrets.

Crit, lifesteal, and a shield? We are so spoiled. Pair this with Immortal Shieldbow and Revitalize and you can start out a fight with a nice shield, heal more from your passive, and also gain another shield during an extended teamfight or skirmish. While Hail of Blades is recommended when building crit, Lethal Tempo is still a viable option and if you choose to go this route, pick up Last Stand to pump our more damage to pair with your shield from Immortal Shieldbow

Phantom Dancer
A great attack speed multiplier that also grants you move speed and more crit. This item used to feel a lot better with the life line passive, but is still a fair option for more crit and move/attack speed.

Mortal Reminder
A must have in the crit build especially if the enemy team has a lot of healing. Anti heal is so valuable right now so this is a must build in a lot of games if you are going crit.

Lord Dominik's Regards
This item is great for the similar reasons Mortal Reminder is, except this helps greatly against armor stacking enemy teams.

The Collector
This has crit, an execute, and gives extra gold on takedowns. What's not to like? The only weird thing about this item is the Lethality from Serrated Dirk, but honestly, if you rush this item you have the ability to snowball and then sell it later for an item like Bloodthirster. Something like The Collector>> Immortal Shieldbow>> Infinity Edge>>sell The Collector>> Bloodthirster could be a viable way to incorporate this item into your crit build.

Navori Quickblades
This is a "fun" attempt as recreating Spear of Shojin, but is just an okay item compared to all of your other crit choices. This item is best suited to round out your build if you find yourself needing more attack speed. This feels best to build after you have at least 60% crit.
[ITEMS] On-Hit Attack Speed

Note: This section is not necessarily for items that represent a full on-hit playstyle, but more so your attack speed options. This is more about dueling than stacking on-hit effects.


Blade of the ruined king
This a solid item that you can almost never go wrong building, however, it is more integral into any compositions where there are enemy health stackers. This item combines well with Black Cleaver. Blade of the Ruined King is a very safe choice to pick for an attack speed item due to the fact that Nocturne enjoys all of the stats it gives. The passive is very powerful when combined with your Duskbringer and Unspeakable Horror to help stick to enemies and ensure your fear.

Wit's End
This item's true strength is but a distant memory (extra life steal below 50% health) but is still an okay buy if you find yourself needing more MR as well as attack speed. RIP old Wit's End :(

Rageblade If you can find a reason(s) why this item is good, please fill me in. YOU CANNOT BUILD Infinity Edge, Kraken Slayer, or Navori Flickerblade with this item. And why would you build this for the attack speed when so many better options exist (hello Mortal Reminder). If you commit to Guinsoo's Rageblade, that's it. Simply put, just build Infinity Edge as it is, by far, the better item. Quite frankly, this item sucks.
[ITEMS] Tank Options

Dead Man's Plate
This item is solid if you need a slow (and you don't have other slows already) and roaming power while looking for armor.

Randuin's Omen
The best armor item in the game--great when you see crit on the enemy team and slowing multiple people when you engage. The Cold Steel passive is great against champions building attack speed. If you see a Kalista or Vayne in your game, BUILD THIS ITEM—this gives you dueling power against both of these champions who would generally kite you until they kill you.

Spirit Visage
A good item when you need an MR option and have other forms of healing (lifesteal).

This is your grievous wounds defensive item when Executioner's calling is not a good option. Thornmail works great into heavy AD comps that also have inherent healing and lifesteal.

Frozen Heart
There isn't much reason to buy this item due to all the other armor options in the game. There is probably some niche where you suddenly find yourself needing a huge chunk of armor, mana and CDR, but we have not found that situation yet. More than likely you will want to build other armor items. Also, the passive is based on per 1000 HP and Nocturne is typically not going to be stacking HP.

Force of Nature
Back from the grave and hopefully here to stay! This gives you a good amount of HP and magic resistance that can stack up to 80, while also granting you 40 bonus MS. This is a great item if the other MR choices do not make sense for the game you're in.
[ITEMS] Tank Playstyle

Note: The author's of this guide do not recommend a tank playstyle, however, this section is here for posterity.

Frozen Mallet
Rest in pieces, friend. You will be missed by few, but not the us :)


Frostfire Gauntlet
If you really feel the need to build Nocturne as a tank (why are you doing this?), consider Iceborn Gauntlet as an option. This grants you a slow, on hit magic damage, health, and size ;). This pairs well with other items like Sterak's Gage and Gargoyle Stoneplate.

Sunfire Aegis
Between this item and Iceborn Gauntlet, this is probably the better option. MR and Armor, extra tenacity and slow resist on the mythic passive, and some added AOE damage for teamfights you should be front lining in since you chose to go tank Nocturne.

Turbo Chemtank
This item is a good option for tank Nocturne(why are you playing tank noct???) due to the tanky stats you get as well as the active MS bonus and slow shockwave you can apply to help stick to your enemies.


Warmog's Armor
The reason why we are talking about this item is due to the fact that you need some form of regeneration and the fact that it synergizes well with Sterak's Gage. Always buy this item 3rd as you won't have enough HP to proc the passive before that point.

Gargoyle Stoneplate
Your core item as teamfighting is becoming relevant. Your goal is to initiate teamfights with this build and you will certainly be surrounded by multiple players. Buy this item

Sterak's Gage
If you are building Nocturne to play as a tank, you will definitely need Sterak's Gage as it synergizes well with Sunfire Aegis and Turbo Chemtank
[ITEMS] Alternative Defensive Options

Maw of Malmortius
This item is good against heavy magic damage teams. And by that I mean if you see an enemy team like Volibear(building AP) Sylas, Elise, Ezreal, Morganathen you will definitely want this item. For this item to be effective, you need to get value out of the MR shield in a way that Sterak's Gage cannot provide. That being said, Force of Nature is typically a better MR option overall.

Mercurial Scimitar The active is great--mostly useful for Quicksilver Sash, but overall, the item is not optimal for Nocturne. Your best bet is to get Quicksilver Sash and sit on it--you can finish the item later. Purchase Quicksilver Sash when the enemy has suppression or highly unavoidable crowd control( Lulu's Whimsy, Morgana's Soul Shackles).

Silvermere Dawn
This is better much under the same context as Mercurial Scimitar (you are really buying this for QSS) and the fact you get extra slow resist and tenacity instead of MS on the active. If you find yourself needing QSS and need extra HP, you can finish this item last.

Anathema's Chains
A solid "anti-carry" item that gives you more survivability which can allow you to take down the enemy team's biggest threat. This item has a mini exhaust woven into it along with the ability for your fear to last longer.

This item is pretty self explanatory. Plan on split pushing? Buy this item. Pair this with Anathema's Chains for a solid amount of HP and extra dueling potential as you split.
[ITEMS] Boots

Plated Steelcaps
98% of jungle damage is physical damage and the passive applies to every jungle monster except Dragon. Build these boots if you are unsure which to choose, due to most of the damage in the game being physical (monsters, minions, turrets, ADCs). If the enemy is not full of AP, build these. These are a safe boot to build in most situations.

Mercury's Treads
Generally not bought for the tenacity, except when being combined with Legend: Tenacity. This is bought when you need to magic resist stack. Whereas Ninja Tabi can suffice as your sole armor item, Mercury's Treads cannot suffice as your only magic resist item.

Berserker's Greaves
This may seem like a good item on Nocturne, but this item is only good on ranged champions. Consider that Master Yi does not even buy this item and he is the best attack speed scaling champion in the game. You won't even get style points for building this item.

Boots of Mobility
While we understand the appeal for this item you are going to hit the soft movement speed cap and Nocturne is more about chasing a target. You will actually end up slowing yourself with these boots due to only being 25 MS in combat. This item is solid in rotations, but if you are worried about rotations, you should have taken Relentless Hunter and/or Youmuu's Ghostblade. You sacrifice a decent amount of survivability from Ninja Tabi or Mercury's Treads.

Boots of Swiftness
These are a niche boot to build against the likes of a champion like Ashe or Rylai's Crystal Scepter users. Consider if Mercury's Treads would be better suited first.

Ionian Boots of Lucidity
This item has become incredibly viable on most champions in the game due to it's low gold cost (950) and ability haste paired with summoner spell haste. Buying these on your first or second back can yield you positive returns in a lot of cases, especially when ahead. You can build MR and Armor items later as needed.
Other Uncategorized Items
Serylda's Grudge
This is a funky item as it is not absolutely bad, but not amazingly good—it is more niche than anything. Build it when you feel like you may need a slow to help chase down and secure kills. Honestly, this item is best suited for making quick work of Singed.

When it comes to trinkets, you honestly cannot go wrong with picking any of the 3 choices. Your choice will come down to personal preference and/or the objective for the game you are currently in.

Warding totem
Stealth Ward is great for gaining vision control, keeping track of enemy jungle pathing, and creating picks and objective control. While Stealth Ward gives more vision and has a shorter cool down than Farsight Alteration, using this trinket to ward can be dangerous--as you may have to put yourself in harms way to place it.

If your goal is to get as much vision as possible for you and your team, take this trinket.

Oracle Lens
Oracle Lens is good for making sure you're not spotted as you're moving, maintaining vision, objective control and making sure a bush you're camping isn't warded. This trinket is also good for keeping Duskblade of Draktharr up for that reason (though Duskblade of Draktharr passive tells you if it's warded).

If your goal is to deny vision, safely camp bushes, and roam the map without being spotted, take this rune.

Farsight Alteration
Farsight Alteration is good for following people when they escape your vision as you're trying to use Paranoia or gaining vision of a high priority target that may be near the back line of a team fight ( Jhin using Curtain Call or Xerath using Rite of the Arcane). This trinket also works well to scout objectives from afar and helps gains vision of bushes from a safe distance (so you don't have to face check like you would with Stealth Ward). Experienced Nocturne players typically swap out Stealth Ward or Oracle Lens at level 9 for Farsight Alteration due to the mentioned strengths above.

If your goal is to safely ward, gain vision for Paranoia, and give yourself extra chasing potential, take this trinket.
Jungle Pathing - Beginner


This can make or break your game and success on this champion (and most jungle champions). Sure, you can do the same path every single game and have some success, but if you make an intentional decision to path with purpose, you have a far better level of success. I will cover some basic ideas for pathing at different levels (beginner, experienced, and advanced) and create a separate section for ganking and planning jungle routes.

Note: These jungle sections will only cover basic pathing at different levels. If you are completely new to the jungle and need information on camp timers, jungle plants, etc., please visit Psiguard's Nocturne Guide which provides far more basic detail about jungling as a whole. Starting from Jungle Spawn timers for basic until you get to more advanced ideas like vertical jungling and tracking the enemy jungler, which are crucial skills for ranking up in general as a jungler.

General Pathing

This section pertains to:
  • Beginners
  • Those looking to avoid the enemy jungler, due to unfamiliarity with the match up.
Please note this information can be used for most junglers and if you are new to the role and champion, this path might be your safest bet.

There are two ways basic to stay somewhat safe in the jungle if you are not looking for an early altercation.
  • The other path you can choose is to start on the opposite side of the map of your enemy jungler. Let’s assume you are blue side and you know your enemy is starting their blue. This means you will also start blue buff and then path from top to bottom. This is not fool proof, but it is mostly safe as this should allow you to end your clears on opposite sides of the map and allow you to secure one rift scuttler. I typically like to path this way against an Olaf because meeting him at the same rift scuttler can be painful.

Note: At the end of both clears, rift scuttler should have spawned and you can look to take this if you choose. If you are unfamiliar with the matchup, low on HP, or are not comfortable with an early skirmish, forego the first rift scuttler and just try and get vision for your team before you back.
Jungle Pathing - Experienced

Experienced Pathing

This section pertains to those who:
  • Mostly understand the champion and role
  • Are comfortable with the enemy jungle match up
  • May look to counter jungle, invade, or push an early advantage.

If you are comfortable with invading and invite more potential confrontation, there are a few different ways you can path.

If you know you have a favorable match up and you can win a skirmish if you run into the enemy champion, there are two aggressive routes you can take that can get a lead via kills or taking the enemy camps without giving them room to retaliate.
  • Buff to enemy buff: Blue Side(and you have knowledge the enemy is starting their blue buff.
    • Start at your blue buff and take your gromp at the same time
    • go straight to the enemy red buff(as you path to their red buff, ward the entrance brush to raptors, or just outside their red buff).
    • Pull the red buff into the brush and finish taking the buff.(This is the more safe option, but you can also pull their red buff near their raptors and use your Duskbringer to aggro them and do both camps at once. Practice this before playing a live gain and proceed with caution. If you choose to do this, you must ward the brush near enemy raptors.
  • Buff to enemy buff: Red Side(and you have knowledge the enemy is starting their red buff.
    • Start your red buff and do your raptors at the same time.
    • go straight to the enemy blue buff(as you path to their blue buff, ward their murk wolf camp and take the blast cone over the wall).
    • Pull the blue buff near the river finish taking the buff (again, this is the more safe option, but you can also look to take their gromp at the same time, too). This comes with more risk, but you have enough vision to know if you will be able to secure both.

    Until you reach Diamond or higher, almost everyone you jungle against will not have an actual plan for pathing. They might go buff to buff every game or they might try and full clear. Since you have no idea, it is best to prepare for anything. That being said, you picked this route because you feel confident in the match up, so if you do run into them you should be fine, but there is nothing worse than not securing the enemy buff or dying because you chose to be careless. On blue side, after you have completed their red buff, you can look to do raptors(if you already did not take them at the same time as red hehe) or their krugs. Raptors is a bit more risky, but if your mid lane has priority (they have the enemy mid pushed under turret) go for it. If your mid does not have priority and you think it may be TOO big of a risk, go do their krugs, recall, and clear from bottom to top. This goes for red side starting your red buff and finishing their blue buff. Your ward should see them doing their murk wolf. If they do them, feel free to take their gromp. The rest is up to you (fight them at their blue, retreat, start rift scuttler, etc.

  • Blue Side - Buff, camp,mini camp, buff, invade(and you have knowledge the enemy is starting their blue buff:

    Nocturne has a strong level 3 and if you catch the enemy jungler off guard, it will almost always net you a kill, their Flash, or their camps. Path towards their red buff and use the bushes to your advantage. Check and see if red buff is up. If it is still up, drop a ward over the wall to see when the enemy is coming. You can choose to wait a few seconds and kill them, or start their red. Let’s assume they are finishing their red buff as you are coming to the buff. If this is the case, they might be fairly low; giving you an opportunity to kill them while potentially stealing their red buff. If the red buff is not there when you arrive, check raptors (this is where a lot of kills tend to occur). Sometimes junglers like to secure their buff before doing other camps (this is something we tend to do when their is potential for an invade from the enemy jungler).. Please note, this applies to starting red side as well, just in reverse/opposite).

Note: If you know you are in an unfavorable matchup, against an enemy jungler that can invade you, or know you will lose early skirmishes, see the section above as this will help you stay away from the enemy jungle.
Jungle Pathing - Advanced

Advanced Pathing

If you truly want to understand how to jungle at a fairly high level, you will need to:
  • Study your own replays
  • watch streams and videos of other high elo junglers.
I have recorded a few videos (listed here) that covers some advanced concepts (warding, where to start, what to do after your first clear, rift scuttler contesting, etc.) and if you truly want to master the role, you have to commit to studying the tape. Typing out every detail can get confusing and I hope these videos will be helpful as you begin to understand pathing and its importance.

(NOTE: some these videos are from previous patch notes, but can still be utilized for the time being. If (another) major jungle change happens, new videos will be linked and/or uploaded).

Jungle Pathing - Invading

Let this section serve as general information on when to invade with Nocturne.

If you have a support like Blitzcrank, Braum, Morgana, Thresh, or Nautilus and the rest of your team has a decent level 1, feel free to follow your team and invade the enemy (generally, late scaling champions Kassadin, Vayne, Kayle, etc. are not good for level 1 invades with the exception of Jinx).

Consider this as a general rule when debating on invading: if you would win the river fight you will win the jungle fight. This will help you when analyzing if you can or should invade. In addition to this rule, is considering if lanes are gankable. If not, look to invade.

Even if the invade does not net a camp or kill, getting information on where the enemy jungle is or isn't is usually always worth it. Keep in mind if you are on blue side and you are finishing your jungle route on the top side of the map, there is more value in checking the enemy raptors than if you have finished your jungle route bot side and looking to invade the enemy gromp. Gromp is far more risky than checking raptors as the escape route is more compromised due to enemy bot laners being nearby and having to path further into the enemy jungle than you would at raptors.


Master Yi, Evelynn, Kha'Zix, Jax, Ekko are all champions you should feel confident about invading as you will likely either kill your enemy or cause them to flee, allowing you to take their camps and control vision inside their jungle.


Keep in mind that although Nocturne has one of the best level 3s in the game and you do not really have a bad jungle match up in terms of fighting level 3 on an invade, champions like Olaf, Xin Zhao, Graves, Volibear, and Elise should not be taken lightly. They can kill you just as much as you can kill them.

The difference here is that in a jungle invade, you might come across an enemy tanking a camp or using their mana/spells--leaving them more vulnerable. In a river skirmish, both you and the enemy jungle (should) both be fairly healthy and have your spells off cool down.

As stated before, Nocturne has a very good level 3 and has favorable match ups against most junglers with them exception of Xin Zhao, Graves, Olaf, Trundle, Volibear, and Elise (if you don't block Cocoon and do not have Nullifying Orb (we told you to take this vs Elise).

If you find yourself fighting in the river, remember that using Smite on Scuttle can give you instant HP that can (and will) help you win extended fights. Use this to bait the enemy jungler into committing to a fight they think they will win, only for you to gain a burst of HP and finish them off. This also applies in a jungle invade.

And probably the most important factor in river skirmishing is whether or not your mid laner has priority. A general rule to keep in mind is lane bullies will typically have priority and late scaling champions will not.
Upon entering the river:
  • Check to see you mid laner's HP and mana
  • Where the minions are in the lane
  • Check side lanes for their current state (wave, HP/mana, etc)
  • Ping your teammates to let them know if your intentions (simply being present is not enough)
Jungle Pathing - Ganking
Knowing which lane to gank and when to do it comes down to the game you're in and what is current state of the lane you are headed to. Although this will vary from game to game, there are some things to keep in mind as you leave the jungle. These are questions you can think about during the loading screen and create a general plan for how you want to path and gank. As always, this can and will probably change as the game progresses. Nocturne's best ganks are for lanes where your ally has a hard crowd control that is easy to apply and the enemy has little to no escapes.


Where is the minion wave?

Consider this when looking for a gank because depending on where the lane is, it may not be worth ganking.
If the lane is pushed up to your turret and there are 10+ minions crashing into your turret, unless you know the enemy jungler is setting up a dive, it is best to look elsewhere until the wave is in a better spot.

On the flip side, if the minion wave is crashing into the enemy turret, be mindful of the enemy jungler who may be attempting to protect their ally and counter gank as well as respecting turret damage (these hurt and Nocturne is not a tank).

Spells & Vitals

Summoner Spells? Mana? HP?

Once you have analyzed the lane and feel it is in a good spot for you to gank, take a look at both your ally's and enemy's current mana and HP and, if possible, ask your ally the state of the enemy's summoner spells.

More often than not, if your ally has more mana and HP than the enemy (by a substantial margin), this is a good time to gank. Even if you do not have information and the ally's summoner spells (mostly Flash) if the wave is in a good spot and your ally is winning trades, a gank is still worth it to blow the enemy's Flash (especially if it is their only escape tool) or Stopwatch if they have purchased one early or are utilizing the rune (take caution if committing to a turret dive and the enemy has an active Stopwatch).

If you see your ally is lower mana and HP than the enemy, this does not necessarily mean you cannot gank, but be careful because if the enemy jungler is nearby, this could cause your gank to turn into a 2v1 situation very quickly as your ally is more susceptible to dying more quickly.

If your ally has blown their Flash and you notice the enemy laner is starting to play more aggressive, this may be an opportunity to gank as well. Continue to keep an eye on the mini map to see how far up the enemy laner is deciding to play once your ally is Flashless.


Setup, Escape, and Anti-Dive Abilities

Nocturne (as well as many other junglers) enjoy ganking lanes that have good setup and least resistance. Gank for champions like Pantheon, Maokai, and Nautilus. These champions have easy to apply crowd control and are also great turret divers due to their durability.
Be cautious of champions with escape abilities like Ahri, LeBlanc and Ezreal and champions that are hard to dive like Alistar, Tryndamere, and Nautilus. Slippery champions are simply a pain to deal with. If you know their escape abilities are down, great, but if not, ganking these lanes will do nothing but frustrate you. Diving a champion like Alistar is just asking for trouble due to his ability to peel you and chain CC you while the turret is devouring your HP bar. And while Tryndamere lacks CC, his Undying Rage can make it hard to complete a dive.

Splitting Vs Teamfighting
The time you would want to split is when team fighting does not appear attractive. This can be for a multitude of reasons:
  • Your team composition is substantially weaker in team fights than the enemy's
  • You are behind in gold and levels
  • There is an objective coming up
  • The enemy split pusher does not have Teleport or global spells like Stand United or Destiny available(keep in mind sometimes it is a good idea to split push to force the enemy laner use their Teleport or global spell, allowing you to exert pressure elsewhere while it is on cool down.

If you are choosing to team fight, you will need to exercise your patience. Waiting for enemy's to use their abilities and commit to a fight against your allies will serve you well. This goes for using your Shroud of Darkness and Unspeakable Horror as well. The more spells expended, the easier it becomes to block more crucial spells (like a hard CC) and apply Unspeakable Horror. Also keep in mind it is not always in your best interest to use Unspeakable Horror on the target you used Paranoia on as you may kill your target before your Unspeakable Horror procs the fear.

In all cases when team fighting is appropriate, do not be the one to initiate (we mean this). Even if you are very strong, you put your team at a disadvantage by being the one to start the fight. Your one exception for starting a teamfight is if you have an active Guardian Angel. This can be served as a replaced engagement tool when your team has no engagement in the first place, but this is your only exception.

Generally speaking, team fighting is a good idea when split pushing isn't a good option because the:
  • Enemy split pusher may detour or even kill you (think Tryndamere)
  • Your teamcomp is stronger
  • Enemy team has late scaling and/or the enemy is not in a position to make in impact in a team fight.
  • Enemy team does not have abilities that can create havoc, despite the game state Malphite, Miss Fortune, Orianna, or a champion that can set up Yasuo's ult.
  • You are ahead in levels or exp
  • You build full lethality (and while full lethality does not do super well in teamfighting, too, it is better than split pushing because at the very least you can force a pick with your high burst damage).
Congratulations! You've made it to the end of the guide. We appreciate you reading everything here. We put a lot of work in to this summed up through thousands of Nocturne games. We shared the collective experience of the Nocturnemains subreddit with you, it might even be more than 200 years!

Thanks for coming to our TEDTalk

This guide made in collaboration with xStrangeCloudx and RuneKatashima.
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