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Nocturne Build Guide by StrangeRune

Jungle Official /r/Nocturnemains guide to Darkness

By StrangeRune | Updated on July 7, 2020
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Runes: Skirmishing Playstyle

1 2 3 4
Precision
Lethal Tempo
Presence of Mind
Legend: Alacrity
Coup de Grace

Domination
Eyeball Collection
Ultimate Hunter
Bonus:

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

Spells:

1 2
Flash/Smite
LoL Summoner Spell: Flash

Flash

LoL Summoner Spell: Smite

Smite

Threats & Synergies

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

Champion Build Guide

Official /r/Nocturnemains guide to Darkness

By StrangeRune
Playing as Nocturne
PICKING 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 GUIDANCE
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!

NOCTURNE PLAYSTYLE
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.

HOW TO PLAY NOCTURNE

Q - DUSKBRINGER

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.

W - SHROUD OF DARKNESS

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.


E - UNSPEAKABLE HORROR

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.

R - PARANOIA

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? Back to Top

FLASH
VS

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.

Note: We wrote this guide prior to patch 10.12 being released. Since then, ghost has gotten even stronger. Take Ghost over Flash if you feel comfortable. If you don't feel comfortable with Ghost, practice utilizing it, as it is the better option by far right now.
[RUNES] Lethal Tempo - Skirmish Playstyle Back to Top

Precision
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.
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.
Coup de Grace is another good "default" rune that allows to 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 and Last Stand if you're taking Death's Dance/ Wit's End. Last Stand also pairs well with Maw of Malmortius and Nullifying Orb.

Secondary Rune Options

Ravenous Hunter is only to be taken in Stalker's Blade - Bloodrazor///// Skirmisher's Sabre - Bloodrazor builds. Take Ultimate Hunter all other times. Everything else in Domination is garbage.

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 or Revitalize as your second minor rune. Combine Revitalize with Death's Dance and (probably Ninja Tabi) 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 Back to Top

DOMINATION
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 is better than Sudden Impact because it does comparable damage, but doesn't require you use your Paranoia. 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. Sudden Impact is garbage, don't take it.
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 Back to Top

Precision
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 still 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 Bear Stance). 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 because everything else sucks.True damage from Cheap Shot sounds nice but it's not much and provides little extra and without red buff or Frozen Mallet you don't have consistent crowd control to apply Cheap Shot against Tanks. Eyeball Collection will help you farm faster and take objectives faster.

Ravenous Hunter because, what did we say above? If you're building Skirmisher's Sabre - Bloodrazor, take Ravenous Hunter.
[RUNES] Critical Playstyle Back to Top

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, lowing 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.


Presence of Mind is slightly less effective here, making Triumph a clear winner as you will eventually build Essence Reaver.
You can take Legend: Tenacity but Legend: Bloodline is quite good since you will be lacking lifesteal.
Blue or Red Smite? Back to Top

BLUE SMITE
VS

RED SMITE
Buy this if you are against a comp where you are going to get kited (Ezreal, Tristana, Lucian, Ashe, Jhin, Sivir).

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.

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, Stormrazor, Dead Man's Plate, or Duskblade of Draktharr (THERE IS NO Frozen Mallet 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.
Warrior or Bloodrazor? Back to Top

WARRIOR
VS

BLOODRAZOR
This item is useful if the enemy team is comprised of very squishy champions and your goal is to blow them up. Skirmisher's Sabre - Warrior can also be used against bruisers as they typically do not armor stack. Skirmisher's Sabre - Warrioris also the idea choice for the Critical playstyle.

Skirmisher's Sabre - Warrior has a stronger power spike than Skirmisher's Sabre - Bloodrazor (especially for your ganks using your Paranoia), however this item falls off sooner than most people think. This item starts to fall off around level 10 and although it falls off, hold on to Skirmisher's Sabre - Warrior and finish the rest of your items before you consider selling it for another item. If the enemy team is 5 squishy champions, keep Skirmisher's Sabre - Warrior for the entirety of the game.
Skirmisher's Sabre - Bloodrazor is a good anti-bruiser, tank, and juggernaut item and still decent against ADCs, supports, and Mages (especially health stacking Mages). The difference between Skirmisher's Sabre - Bloodrazor and Skirmisher's Sabre - Warrior is that Skirmisher's Sabre - Bloodrazor is not useless vs ADCs, but Skirmisher's Sabre - Warrior is fairly useless against most tanks, juggernauts, and champions that build armor.

This also gives you the fastest jungle clear speed and is best against Baron , Dragon , and Rift Herald (you can get her eye to open faster with Skirmisher's Sabre - Bloodrazor).

Keep in mind a lot of mages like to build HP items (think Vladimir, Swain, or any mage that would build Rod of Ages) so this item helps duel them, too!

Build this if their team comp is composed of mostly tanks, bruisers, and/or HP stackers ( Maokai, Sejuani, Cassiopeia, Braum, Any ADC)
[ITEMS] AD Staples Back to Top

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.

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). The active can potentially add a 1.0tAD(total AD) ratio to your engagement, allowing you to blow your target up! This item also gives you significant 1v2 power because not only does it damage the additional targets, it also applies half of your total life steal as well, including minions and monsters.

Death's Dance
BEST ITEM IN GAME, FIND WAYS TO INTEGRATE IT INTO ANY BUILD. This item has everything Nocturne wants--Attack Damange, lifesteal, Cooldown reduction(CDR), and tank stats. 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. This item synergizes well with other builds we cover below.

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-- Black Cleaver also has especially high synergy with with Skirmisher's Sabre - Bloodrazor.

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.

Sanguine Blade
This is another item that can fit in to most play styles since it is a nice stat stick--it packs AD, lethality, lifesteal, and some attack speed. It is a good idea to build this against other champions that build Sanguine Blade as you will lose to them if you do not have this item, too.
[ITEMS] Lethality Back to Top

Duskblade of Draktharr
This is your bread and butter squishy killer. If your goal is to assassinate softer targets/split pushers this item is crucial for killing quickly. Aside from being an item that gives you tons of burst, 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.

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 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 Death's Dance, Ravenous Hydra, etc?).
[ITEMS] Critical Back to Top

Stormrazor
Lets compare this item directly to Duskblade of Draktharr. The AD is similar-in terms of the passive effects, Stormrazor passive can be used on camps( Duskblade of Draktharr's cannot) and typically, enemies tend to have less magic resist than they do armor, even while considering Duskblade of Draktharr's lethality. Furthermore, Stormrazor starts with 120 magic damage, while Duskblade of Draktharr gets 121 physical damage at level 14. And finally, the slow for Duskblade of Draktharr is only superior when targets have greater than 442 current move speed. The addition of the attack speed also makes this item a superior farming and dueling item, which is also relevant for destroying turrets. The main component Duskblade of Draktharr has over Stormrazor is 10% cooldown reduction and is 300g cheaper. The extra 300g is worth the investment when you consider each aspect of both items. And lastly, this item is worth more in the long run due to the fact that it does not fall off like lethality does in the late game.

Essence Reaver
This is a solid damage item to continue on your crit path that also grants you cooldown reduction and assists with Nocturne's mana problems.

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

Statikk Shiv
The passive stacks with Stormrazor, allowing for more damage, however this item can be replaced with Phantom Dancer if you feel it necessary. This item is for rounding out a 100% crit build, but it is not always necessary. The passive is not needed to help one shot the wave due to already having immense AD from Skirmisher's Sabre - Warrior, Stormrazor, Infinity Edge, and Essence Reaver and your Duskbringer+ Umbra Blades.
[ITEMS] On-Hit Attack Speed Back to Top

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 active is very powerful when combined with your Duskbringer and Unspeakable Horror to help stick to enemies and ensure your fear.

Wit's End
This is an underrated item that not only benefits Nocturne, but synergizes well with items like Death's Dance and Phantom Dancer. Pick this item if you are against magic damage duelists like Warwick, or in general, mages.

Rageblade This is a very niche item where you might need to stack on-hit effects and you don't need other utility effects or tankiness. This is great for taking on immobile juggernauts, but even then, consider other options first. Weigh out how much defense you have as well as current damage items before purchasing Rage Blade. Consider this your "multiplier" not an item you rush--you're not Master Yi. While this item does work with Nocturne's Umbra Blades, it is not a significant enough boon to consider when buying this item.
[ITEMS] Defensive Options Back to Top

Maw of Malmortius
This item is specifically here to talk about how and why it is a trap item. Any time that you would consider buying this item, there is generally another magic resist item that can fulfill that purpose--better. Even against burst mages, you have items like Adaptive Helm for Syndra or Edge of Night for Veigar. Against sustained damage you have Adaptive Helm or Spirit Visage or Wit's End. If you feel the need to buy Adaptive Helm, Spirit Visage, Mercury's Treads, and Wit's End, your final item can be Maw of Malmortius :)

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).

Phantom Dancer
This is an under utilized item on Nocturne, but very strong in many situations. This synergizes well with low HP builds like Wit's End, Death's Dance, and Last Stand. This item helps you stay alive as a diver and the attack speed is also great multiplier for your offense. The Spectral Waltz passive is great for chasing your enemies, too!
[ITEMS] Tank Options Back to Top

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.

Adaptive Helm
A great item against magic damage DPS champions (Cass, Kayle, Teemo)

Spirit Visage
A good item when you need an MR option and have other forms of healing (lifesteal) and also when adaptive is not a good option.

Thornmail
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 and CDR, but we have not found that situation yet. More than likely you will want to build other armor items.
[ITEMS] Tank Playstyle Back to Top

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

Frozen Mallet
In non-tank, we have been asked if Frozen Mallet is a valid option and we replied to that by saying that Frozen Mallet does not solve any problems you would face better than another item. However, in a tank build, you need this item to be relevant as you have no realistic kill pattern. Slows from other items are too short to be meaningful in a tank build. Even though Frostfire Gauntlet is displayed, it is not to be combined--these are alternate options. It is worth noting this item is very good for bringing down Singed in a bruiser build.

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 Skirmisher's Sabre - Cinderhulk. 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.

Sterak's Gage
This item is good when paired with another HP item. Sterak's Gage synergizes well with Death's Dance due to the burn effect and is a good alternative when you feel like you need HP rather than attack speed ( Phantom Dancer specifically). Keep in mind that the AD passive portion of Sterak's Gage does not synergize well with Nocturne due to his low base AD.
[ITEMS] Boots Back to Top

Ninja Tabi
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
If you feel the need for cooldown reduction(CDR), pick a CDR item to build and you will be better off for it. While the summoner spell CDR is "neat" it is not enticing enough over the durability boots listed above.
Other Uncategorized Items Back to Top

Blood Thirster
Death's Dance has seemed to make this item irrelevant. This item seems like it could decent when paired with Overheal, but it is completely outclassed by Death's Dance and there are far superior runes than Overheal.

Trinity Force
This item is only worth building if you have an Ornn on your team. The stats are pretty attractive on this item, but Nocturne does not benefit from the spell blade passive due to his low base AD and inability to cycle spells. This item is also expensive and you can use other items that do this item's "job" far better.

Titanic Hydra
Solid item as an alternative to Ravenous Hydra if you want to be more of a health stacking bruiser. When you are attempting to engage with your Paranoia, do not start it off with your titanic activated because its power lies within the auto attack reset.

Righteous Glory
This item is an option for when you are going the tank play style when you need or want to run down enemies. This item allows you to hold on to your Duskbringer for a better angle with it's high additional movespeed and strong AoE slow. This is not to be used centered around Paranoia, use Frostfire Gauntlet for that.
Trinkets Back to Top

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 Back to Top

Pathing

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.
  • Starting on the same side as the enemy jungler(see below) and clear from top to bottom or bottom to top. In this instance, let’s assume you are blue side and you know the enemy jungler is starting blue. You can start red buff , do raptors , wolves , blue buff , and gromp . After you have finished wolves , you can look to ward defensively around your blue buff to ensure your safety. Either spot for the ward is fine, just make sure one of the entrances is covered.


  • 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 again and you know your enemy is starting blue. This means you will also start blue buff and can do a path like blue buff , wolves , raptors , red buff , krugs . After you have finished wolves , you can look to ward defensively around your red buff to ensure your safety. Typically, the brush on the back side of your red buff or the river ramp entrance is a good spot for your defensive ward.


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 Back to Top

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. Lets assume you are blue side and you know the enemy jungle is starting blue buff , you can start blue buff , too, and go straight to the enemy red buff . As you path to their red buff , ward the brush near their raptors . Over the wall closest to raptors ,the entrance brush to raptors , or just outside their red buff as you pull the red into the brush are fine places for wards. This will give you information on if/when they are coming. 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. After you have completed their red buff , you can look to do raptors 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.


  • Buff, camp,mini camp, buff, invade. If you are blue side and you know the enemy is starting blue buff , start your red buff and path from your red buff , to raptors ,to wolves (ONLY KILL THE BABY WOLVES--YOU NEED THE EXPERIENCE TO HIT 3 AFTER Blue buff ) to your blue buff , and invade. 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). A popular route is to go from buff to buff and then do raptors , rift scuttler or raptors , krugs . If the enemy has chosen to go from buff to buff, they will still be level 2 and tanking/finishing up raptors —giving you a huge advantage in the fight.


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. The one alternative path I would add here is starting red buff . From there, you can drop a ward on the river entrance near your red buff as you path and skip your raptors , go to blue buff (you can ward either river entrance near blue if you did not ward near your red buff ), gromp , wolves , check your raptors and look for bottom rift scuttler , and end at krugs .

If you warded near your red buff and the enemy jungler shows up while you are at blue buff , react accordingly and look to path to the enemy raptors and trade camps.

This path is advised against junglers that can invade you at your raptors level 2 (think Gravesor Lee Sin) Skipping raptors and going straight to your blue allows you to secure both buffs, possibly waste the enemy jungler's time, and keep you on the opposite side of the map during the first clear.
Jungle Pathing - Advanced Back to Top

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: 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 Back to Top

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


LEVEL 1 INVADING TEAM INVADE
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).

LEVEL 3 INVADING SOLO INVADE
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 .


SAFE MATCHUPS

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.

VUNERABLE MATCHUPS

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.

LEVEL 3 INVADING RIVER FIGHTS
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 Back to Top
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.


LANE STATE

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

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 Back to Top
SPLIT PUSHING
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.

TEAM FIGHTING
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).
Conclusion Back to Top
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!

We hope it is to your liking. As something special for you coming this far, we have an exclusive gift for you. A full list of all spellshield interactions: https://ethercalc.org/spellshields/view This document is updated every patch. This document is always posted in the sidebar of the Nocturnemains subreddit. Enjoy!

Thanks for coming to our TEDTalk

This guide made in collaboration with xStrangeCloudx and RuneKatashima.
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