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Tactical Talon- Ranked Play
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Talon Champion Spotlight by Phreak
This is my first guide EVER, so if any part of this guide seems confusing, lacking enough information, or containing errors I would really appreciate your help and feedback! :)
Here are my current ranked stats with Talon:
Without further ado, onto the guide!
First of all, if you're deciding to play Talon ranked, be very weary of what the enemy top lane champion is before you lock in your champion selection. In fact, try to pick him after they pick their top champion. Talon can be a very hard counter to some champions, but can get completely face rolled by others.
Basically, any champion with a barbaric amount of sustain and harass is very very bad for Talon. I'm talking about that Irelia, Yorick, Tryndamere, etc. You get the picture. While it is still somewhat manageable, you WILL have a difficult time dominating the lane unless your jungler ganks frequently (or if your opponent simply sucks). Talon only excels against certain champions, and the ones stated above and others similar to them will give you a more difficult time than most. Talon is a counter pick. Don't pick him first and auto lock in if you're serious about winning ranked games. You have been warned.
Now on the other hand, Talon tends to do great against off tank-type champions who lack strong sustain (i.e. Wukong). But without a doubt Talon is the bane of mages (practically all of them). Here's the problem. Middle lane is usually reserved for the AP carry, so you will often be forced to go top and face a tankier, more durable foe. In most scenarios, this should be fine (unless you didn't listen to me and picked Talon against the champions I mentioned earlier >:O).
However, in some rare cases, where the enemy team has a glass cannon AP mid (such as Veigar), and your team has an AP top available (i.e. Rumble, Akali), go take mid and have fun. ;) That's hard counter picking. Talon is a very powerful anti-mage, with a blink/silence and a slow, but he IS a melee champion and lacks strong self sustain early game, so choose wisely.
Your bread and butter skill. Reliable slow and very respectable damage at range. Moderate cooldown. In the early stages of the game, use this conservatively until you purchase a Philosopher's Stone.
Perhaps one of Talon's weaker skills. Nonetheless, this is an amazing gap closer in chase scenarios, and the instant silence guarantees that you will have the opportunity to unleash your combo before your target can fully retaliate. This skill can also be used to jump onto enemy minions to aid in escaping. However, be mindful of the long cooldown, so use only when necessary.
Generic damaging skill. Hit the skill button right after an auto attack for maximum damage. The most notable feature of this skill is the small bleed DoT (damage over time) that it inflicts on your target. Great synergy with Ignite.
A very unique ultimate, although perhaps not the most game changing. Use this skill to escape ganks without a hitch, or tremendously buff your own ganking damage. Activating this ability a second time immediately after cutthroat will increase the damage by a good amount. As a bonus, your ultimate gives a small speed bonus which you may consider using to catch up to a fleeing enemy.
Works well with the secondary ability of Noxian Diplomacy and helps ensures kills. This is for a particularly aggressive playstyle that focuses on early kills. Dismiss this if you want more utility.
In my opinion, you simply must have this on Talon. Aside from the obvious uses, such as escaping over walls, this adds a lot of flexibility to Talon and allows him to do some tricks. For example, during a tower dive you can cutthroat to your enemy and burst them down, Shadow Assault to finish them off, and then Flash back out for a clean kill under the tower.
Very solid choice for top lane, and it's usefulness far exceeds that of Ignite as the game carries on. However, since it's casting range is similar to your Cutthroat and Rake, it may be redundant in some situations.
Nothing noteworthy for Talon. Indirectly saves towers in the early game. You also might be able to pull off some ninja ganks with this with some wards but... Well, if you like Teleport already, just take it, it's not a bad pick.
Viable, but barely. Talon doesn't really need a big sustained movement speed boost. He won't go running around in a teamfight auto attacking everyone like he's Tryndamere. With Youmuu's Ghostblade and the movement buff from Shadow Assault this isn't really necessary. However I admit that it does have it's uses, so go ahead and pick this up if you prefer.
greater mark of desolation Greater Mark of Desolation x9
Greater Seal of Resilience x9
Greater Glyph of Shielding x9
A very reliable and straightforward rune build. Armor penetration for damage, and armor and magic resist per level for survivability. I strongly recommend these runes.
However, , greater seal of replenishment, and are also very viable choices.
Now onto the laning phase itself. Generally, you should play passively in lane for the most part, focusing on last hitting creeps. Your primary goal is to slowly whittle your opponent down while farming, and then jump in when you are capable of securing the kill (usually at level 6 or when your jungle ganks). Use Rake sparingly, only to ensure multiple creep kills from a distance. *The most optimal time to use Rake is when your opponent and several weak creeps are in range.* Maximize the effectiveness of Rake. If your opponent hangs around near his or her weakened minions, use rake to gain a decent amount of gold and deal moderate damage to the enemy champion. Don't use rake to just kill one creep. I'm not saying to keep spamming it on a wave of creeps, because that will waste your mana and slowly push your lane (which is bad early on). Use rake wisely. If your lane opponent is very aggressive, retaliate with Rake and Noxian Diplomacy. In most cases, though, they will choose to play more passively when they see your Regrowth Pendant and health potion.
How to Escape Jungle Ganks
As a solo top champion, you can expect to be ganked a couple of times during the laning phase, ESPECIALLY if you push too hard. However, Talon is quite capable of escaping ganks, and it almost becomes too easy when he hits level 6. Always pay attention to the map nonetheless. When you see a gank incoming from behind, immediately cutthroat onto the enemy ganker to silence them then Rake them to slow them down. Run away. Use Flash if needed. It's as simple as that. If the enemy jungler is particularly aggressive, be sure to grab a ward on your first trip back.
Speaking of that, you should make your first trip back around 750-900 gold. Make sure that your lane is slightly pushed or that your jungler is nearby so your tower doesn't take a beating while you are gone. Grab a Philosopher's Stone and Boots. Health Potions and wards are optional as you see fit. With a Philosopher's Stone, Talon will have all of the mana he needs to maintain constant pressure in lane, so go a little crazy with Rake. ;)
When you hit level 6, consider ganking middle lane sometimes. Talon's ganks are completely brutal to mages. (If only he could jungle fast =/.) Wait in the side brush and ping in the center of the map to alert your friendly ap carry. When your ally starts to move toward the enemy run in, cutthroat-> Rake-> auto attack-> Noxian Diplomacy-> Shadow Assault-> Ignite = profit. You can even use Flash as a jumpstart to virtually double the range of your cutthroat, but make sure you get that kill if you are going to use it.
Mid game is arguably Talon's strong point. By now, either your opponent's or your own tower is probably down, and you're free to roam around and gank. By around the 20 minute mark on an average game, you should have Youmuu's Ghostblade already. With this item you can go around and wreck the enemies' day by ganking and being the bad*** assassin you are. Refer to the last section for a mini-guide on a basic gank.
When teamfights occur, your job as the assassin is to burst the enemy caster or AD carry down before they can do major damage to your team. Typically, you will want to cutthroat onto the squishy when you see an opening and unleash your combo. Of course, all squishy carries know this, so they usually hang back behind their tanks and such. The key here is positioning and coordination with your team. Flanking usually works, and a strong initiate from your team can cause a nice distraction while you slip in for the kill. ;)
Although the squishy targets are always the top priority, Talon can still be an amazing asset in big teamfights if you simply can't reach your target. Shadow Assault has incredible synergy with many other champion's ultimates, such as Pyroclasm or Curse of the Sad Mummy. Throw in the AOE damage of Rake and you will be a great contributor in teamfights. The most important factor is to jump in AFTER you own team initiates. Don't jump in first and paint a big glowing red target on yourself. It won't be pretty. Trust me.
To be honest, Talon's late game performance depends ENTIRELY on how he performs in his early and mid game. You can either be a rampaging assassin that can easily burst down squishies with one combo, or a straggling beggar who is reduced to a utility bot T_T. Talon definitely falls out late game compared to many other champions, but if you play your cards right in the early stages of the game you should come out slightly ahead in terms of gold. Capitalize on your advantages in the early game, and late game will be a stroll in the park. Talon makes or breaks games; that is why he is such a daring pick.
In the RARE event that both teams are fairly even, and the games is still dragging past the 50 minute mark, you will have to change your role into a carry or an off tank. You won't be as efficient as other carries by any margin, so hang back in teamfights, throw down your crowd control spells, and jump in when you see a small opening. It's an ugly picture. Remember, kick a** early in the game.
philosopher's stone sight ward
Grab a Regrowth Pendant and a health potion to start off. So why a Regrowth Pendant, you may ask? Well, Talon's sustain is close to zero, and we need an item that will keep him in lane for a long time so he can increase his creep score (CS). This item also generally negates any light harassment from your lane opponent, which will keep you on your lane longer which = more gold. In addittion, you can upgrade this item into a Philosopher's Stone after your first trip back which will grant you increased gold income and valuable mana regen.
Why not Boots and health potions? Well, I used to start off these items when I first picked up Talon but I slowly favored the more dependable Regrowth Pendant. Talon needs lane presence. With a Regrowth Pendant, he can shrug off enemy harass for a long time.
In addition, Talon does not need increased movement speed in the very early stages of the game. He simply does not have the damage to capitalize on it. With Rake, he is essentially an AD ranged champion in the very early stages of the game. Movement speed isn't necessary early on. Grab a dependable Regrowth Pendant, though if you MUST have the mobility, it is still an acceptable choice to go boots first. Boots and health potions are highly advisable against a middle lane opponent.
Doran's Shield and Doran's Blade? Personally I don't like these items because the Doran's sword offers pathetic sustain and Doran's Shield is similar to Regrowth Pendant in it's defensive aspect... except that it won't turn into anything useful later on. Boots and health potions are preferable over these.
As for boots, I prefer Ionian Boots of Lucidity over the other boots for the increased cooldown reduction, because a large portion of Talon's damage comes from the damage and utility of his spells. Mercury's Treads are still a good pick against CC heavy teams, and Boots of Swiftness is great for an aggressive playstyle.
MID GAME/ CORE ITEMS
These two items, without a doubt, should be in every serious Talon's arsenal. By around the twenty minute mark you should have or almost have one of these items. Go Youmuu's Ghostblade first in an average (or bad) game, or Bloodthirster first if you are completely dominating your lane.
So now let me give you a quick run-through on why these items are so great on Talon. First of all, Youmuu's Ghostblade is clearly an item meant for Talon. Cooldown Reduction, armor penetration, an activated movement speed buff, and even an active ability that has a similar art style to Noxian Diplomacy!? Talon all the way! (It's purple too ^_^) The movement speed active simply adds more utility and options for Talon's gameplay. It can also be used as a soft option for an escape mechanic with the small speed buff, yet keep in mind that it's main intent is for chasing/ganking (no complaints there). As a plus, this item builds from The Brutalizer and the attack speed buff from the active and Noxian Diplomacy procs will give you the power to take down an undefended tower as fast as a Master Yi! You will learn to love this item with Talon. Never forsake this item in any game. Trust me.
As for Bloodthirster, well, it's your standard, generic AD item, really. Big damage boost plus nice sustain. A very solid item.
LATE GAME/ OPTIONAL ITEMS
Ah... late game Talon. Well, sadly, Talon shines most especially in the early mid-game, so fighting the long fight will leave diminishing returns... unless you get fed (trollololol game). However, if you win early-mid game (like you're supposed to) and have acquired the two core items above, feel free to buy any combination of the items above as you see fit, depending on the situation in the game. I am not forcing you to buy this and that, I am simply providing viable late game items that you can consider if you are doing well. Banshee's Veil and Trinity Force are notable items. I cannot stress this enough, Talon is an EARLY/MID game champion. Capitalize on that fact, and the late game items will come to you.
VIABLE LATE GAME BUILDS
Keep in mind that you should have Youmuu's Ghostblade and Bloodthirster already.
Keep in mind that you may be flexible with the late game build of Talon. Adapt to the team compositions and the situation in the game.
Always remember that Talon excels in the earlier stages of the game. Happy ganking. :]
Big thanks to jhoijhoi for the excellent Making a Guide guide!
I hope you found the information useful, and that it will lead you to many victories! :D
If you find errors, grammar mistakes, or disagree with anything in this guide, let me know. Let me know if you need more detailed sections and whatnot. If you completely hate this guide that's okay.... I guess. Thank you for the feedback nonetheless!
And before I send you off, here are a few quick tips I have:
- Again, be aware of who your opponent's champion pick is before locking in Talon
- A good Talon knows how to balance minion farming and ganking champions accordingly... practice and good map awareness will net you gold in no time
- If you are uncertain of your ability to secure the kill, DON'T JUMP IN! An assassin needs to be confident in his chances to complete the mission. If you've the accepted the mission, there's no turning back, right? Over time, you will get a good feel of Talon's damage capabilities and be able to factor in summoner spells in your head and other miscellaneous scenarios before you strike for the kill. Be calculated... But not too much.
- Have fun :)