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Talon Build Guide by Celebreth

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Celebreth

Talon - The knife in your back

Celebreth Last updated on September 17, 2011
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Ability Sequence

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

Not Updated For Current Season

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


Brute Force
Improved Rally

Offense: 21

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 0

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

Utility: 9

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Latest Edits:

9/17/11 - added an endgame section to the item guide, added more to the Summoner Skills, and changed up the mastery build slightly (Only more point in CDR in the Offense tree, taken from the Attack Speed)

Hey guys! I've been playing Talon since the day he came out, and I figured that I've played him enough to finally go ahead and write a guide on him. Now, this is my first guide, so be gentle - but feel free to leave any comments or criticism below! Tell me how you do, please rate the guide accordingly, and feel free to drop off any suggestions or commentary or whatever.

Talon is the newest AD assassin character in LoL, and is VERY good at his job. The amount of damage he can pump out without even really trying is rather absurd, but he's balanced around the fact that he is rather squishy. The way to protect yourself while playing Talon the best is simple - Don't get caught like a deer in the headlights. If you're in the open, you will be the primary target. People will not like you for what you've been doing to them all game. Remember to just play it safe, and you'll tear anything else to shreds.

The shorthand terms that I'll be using in this guide:
AD - Attack Damage
AS - Attack Speed
CRC/Crit - Critical Chance
AP - Ability Power
HP - Hit Points
CC - Crowd Control (silence, stun, slow, snare, etc)

Now, before we get started, let's look at Talon's abilities!
Mercy Hee. Mercy. Well. I suppose in that they're dying faster... This passive is one of the big reasons I like getting my Rake leveled up ASAP. I mean - 10% more damage? Nothing to sneeze at.
Talon's butter to his Rake bread. This is what you use after you slow em down. It's a second nuke on TOP of your Rake nuke, on top of the previous autoattack. Use it right after an attack to proc another attack (it resets your attack timer), and just watch their health bar vanish. Use it on towers right after an attack to wreck them twice as fast. Just be sure to USE it.
This is Talon's stable ability. The bread to all his moves. The foundation to all things Talon. The cake to the icing of the- well, you get the picture. Anyways, the point is, this ability will do it all. It's your CC (slow), it's your nuke (Hits harder than a truck - really), scales very well with your AD, procs your passive, clears out those minion waves, harasses enemies, etc. All in all - you want this. You want this like tweens want Justin Bieber. This ability has top priority on your list of things to get.
Cutthroat Another nice ability that cleans Talon right up! It gives him another avenue for escape (blink to that hero that's closest to your stuff, press R, run away), it gives him bonus damage (that stacks with his passive, letting you get those yummy numbers), it's a gap closer (letting him gank), it's more CC that lets you kill the Annie before she Tibberses you in the face (Yay silence!) and it has a cool graphic. What more could you want?
This is the bottle of wine that goes with your feast of moves. It's the reason everything else goes well together. It ties in everything that he does and lets him just go nuts. Short cooldown, movement speed, very nice chunk of damage, stealth, AOE, getaway ties everything Talon does together perfectly. It will let you roam to gank those pushed lanes, it will let you get away from that bush you shouldn't have facechecked, it will let you facecheck that bush that you shouldn't be facechecking, it will let you become a god. Ok, maybe that's an exaggeration. But it's a fantastic ability nonetheless!

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A couple of examples...

These are just the ones on record for today - yes there are many other wins, no I don't have them all on record :P I'll record gameplay as Talon as soon as I bite the bullet and buy Fraps.

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Pros / Cons


    Massive Damage
    Plentiful ganks
    Massive Damage
    Easy farming
    Massive damage
    Good in teamfights
    VERY good at 1v1 or even 1v2.
    VERY good at getting away from a potential gank
    More massive damage!
    Awesome dance that shows what blade he uses best!

    Rather squishy if caught in the open
    Takes longer to build up if you can't get kills
    Weak vs. armour stacking (Taaanks D: )

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My rune build is rather straightforward.

Greater Mark of Desolation Armour penetration red runes (aka marks). The staple for any AD champion, these runes let you do your damage without a chunk of that pesky armour in the way. This will let you get fed early on. If you don't have an AD rune set, these should be the first runes you go for.

Armour Yellow runes (aka Seals). These are another important piece to the puzzle of assassin characters/many characters in general. You might say "Oh, but Celebreth, isn't my job to kill them before they see me coming?" The answer to that is yes - but it's rarely going to be that perfect, and in early game, the survivability is paramount.

Magic Resist Blue runes (aka Glyphs). See the paragraph about the armour. Same thing, just magic resist instead. It will let you live. Use and abuse that.

Movement Speed Quintessences. These are some of the more expensive Quints, and you're going to cry when you realize you could have bought that 6300 champion instead of getting these three quints. I promise you, that 4.5% movement speed is INCREDIBLE. As Talon, keeping up with your target is rather helpful. The faster you are, the faster you can get somewhere to gank the squishy that's farming your top lane, the faster you can get to teamfights, the faster you can get away when you have half their team on your heels. This movement speed, plus your swiftness boots, will make you one of the fastest people on the field until people start stacking phantom dancers.

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Relatively standard AD mastery build - you aren't going to be using Ignite, so don't bother putting a point in there. Otherwise, go straight down the Offense mastery tree, snagging the physical damage stuff on the way. Going down the Utility tree- remember, Perseverence is bad. You do not want Perseverence , unless you're stacking health and mana regen. If you're doing that on Talon, you're doing something wrong. Take Good Hands . You're going to die (Yes, it happens), and when you do, you might as well spend less time there.

Moving farther down, it's pretty self explanatory - Greed is honestly a personal preference because I like a little trickle of gold coming in. If you don't want Greed, go for Meditation . Up to you.

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Here is where I see a lot of people getting things that Talon does not need. Don't make the mistakes they do!

Let's start this off with the early game items.

Doran's Blade. First item you get - no matter what. It'll give you survivability via health and lifesteal while giving you that bit of damage to give you an edge while harassing. If you're doing badly in lane, just get another to help with all of the above.

High movement speed for a character that's classified as an assassin. What's not to like? You're going to be roaming quite a bit (Well, you should!), and that movement will help you get there faster. I've seen Talons going for Berserker Greaves. Please don't do this. Talon, contrary to popular opinion, does NOT scale well with Attack Speed. He's based around his spells ripping someone apart with a couple of autoattacks to seal the deal. I've also seen Talons getting Mercury Treads (They're recommended for some reason.) I can see why you would want this, if you're constantly getting chain CC'd, and they have a ton of CC on their team. Nevertheless, unless you're doing badly, avoid these.

icon=Ionian Boots of Lucidity size=32 Pretty much the only viable alternative to Boots of Swiftness for Talon. If you're not sure how much you'll be roaming or you're very confident in how fast you're going anyways, go ahead and grab these. The CDR is fantastic all throughout the game in both ganking and teamfighting. So again - this is a viable choice.

You usually want to get this as soon as you can - if you can afford it before your Boots of Swiftness, it can be a good investment (i.e. if you're about level 4-5 and your lane is forcefeeding you kills.) It'll reduce the cooldowns of Talon's abilities (which can be rather annoying - the CDR is VERY helpful all throughout the game), it'll give you armour penetration - nuff said, you do tons more damage with everything you do, and it'll give you attack damage. Get this item.

This will be the next item you go for. Depending on when you have to go back after you get your The Brutalizer, you can get your Pickaxe or your B. F. Sword first. Get the other one next, then go ahead and finish off the Infinity Edge. The reason I go for this so quickly is because Talon's Q ( Noxian Diplomacy) CRITS. When you have this, it crits for big numbers. You want this item asap, for the AD and for the massive boost to damage you get. When you have this item, you can generally start killing anything that gets in your way 1v1.

Now you're thinking "Wait a sec. Didn't he say DON'T go for Attack Speed?" Yes, as a matter of fact, I did. But the Attack speed here is like icing on a cupcake. It's delicious, and it helps, but the real reason I want that cupcake (Again, this is my opinion. My little sister LOVES icing more than any cake.) is because of the sweet stuff below the icing. The 55 AD that the Black Cleaver gets, coupled with tearing through their armour even more? This is a must have. Look at it this way. You blink to a target and hit it once. There's 15 armour gone (remember, you already have a LARGE chunk of armour penetration). Then you hit your W to slow, and another autoattack will happen right after. 30 armour gone. Your Q will cap it off at 45, which will allow you to continue whaling on them with virtually true damage. Good cupcake, no?

Here's the item that pretty much completes what you want as Talon. Yes, I know it's not the last one you can get. But I rarely get to the point where I can buy something else. They die too fast. Order of buying on this one: Sheen - doubles your damage after a spell? I think yes. Zeal - Movement speed and crit! Yum! And there's the proverbial icing of attack speed as well? Double yum! Then you go ahead and finish off the Trinity Force.

After this, go ahead and finish your Youmuu's Ghostblade and your The Bloodthirster in whatever order. If they've lasted that long, of course ;)

Generally, this is a solid build for Talon - the only issue is the rather obvious one of him being a bit glass-cannony. So, to remedy that, I've been trying out some fun stuff!

Modify your item build to look something like this, unless you're still able to do well with a glass cannon style.
Mercury Treads or or Here's my logic on this one. If all you're doing is teamfighting, then the mid and late game phases have transitioned to the endgame. If no one's ever walking around alone, there won't be any solo ganking because you'll just get yourself killed. If there's no solo ganking, then you might as well live longer. If you're a bit meh on both of those, then definitely look at the Ionian Boots for the cooldown reduction. We'll be getting rid of the Youmuu's Ghostblade, so that 15% will come in rather handy.

and Don't get rid of these two items. Ever. Sacrifice your firstborn son first.

OR + This all boils down to what you need the most at the moment. Do you need 600 extra health or 7 more AD and a 100% slow? If the former, pick the Warmog, if the latter, pick the Atma's. You won't have room for both unless you sell your boots though. Replace Youmuu's Ghostblade and The Bloodthirster with these.

icon=Last Whisper size=32 Generally, most of their team will have at least 100-150 armour by the end stages. This can help you with that. Replace your The Black Cleaver with this.

Now, look at your enemy team. Are they very heavy AP? What kind of AP? Are they very heavy with the CC? Nukers? Damage over time reliant? ( Swain) If none of the above are true and their AP is negligible, then they have either a Tryndamere carrying them or a Caitlyn. Most likely.
A well balanced item, good for use against heroes that aren't based around spamming abilities and just hit you with those NUKE BUTTONs. It'll even help your Atma's Impaler! ( Annie, Brand, etc)
For use against CC that gets you every time, such as Amumu, Malhazar, Taric, Fiddlesticks, Rammus, Nasus - just to name a few. Or it can be used to clean off damage over time effects (DoTs) such as Malzahar's, Mordekaiser's, Swain's, etc.
An item geared to taking heavier hits than the previous two, it synergizes well with high health builds. Plus it gives you movement! Yay movement!
Use against those pesky AD carries who faceroll you when they right click. Tryndamere Caitlyn Ashe or anything that says the word "Carry" in its description.
A solid armour item that helps both your passive and your Atma's Impaler without forgetting to keep you safe from AD champs. Very good all around.

If you don't need/want the defenses as much, then go ahead and get your The Bloodthirster for the extra AD. It gives you the most AD in the game, to go for that instead of fancy effects at this point.

The reason I opt for the Bloodthirster so late is because it's relatively useless on Talon. Unlike a hero like Tryndamere, most of your time is not spent autoattacking, and you don't get any healing from your spells. So the lifesteal is pretty much moot. The only reason I opt for it is because of the insane amount of AD that it will give you.

If they're all stacking armour because you're being a terrorist and ripping them up all game and they have 2-3 people with 150 or so armour? Go ahead and get yourself a Last Whisper instead of a Bloodthirster.

Do they have a fed Annie? Go for a Banshee's Veil instead of your Youmuu's (or the Bloodthirster.) Fed Malzahar? Quicksilver Sash Do they have a fed Caitlyn or Tryndamere? Go ahead and get some Ninja Tabi and a Thornmail. Use your head when you play - otherwise you'll just be a squish target.

ALWAYS remember to adapt to your opponents' weaknesses. This is the key to winning games as ANY character - especially an assassin.

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Skill Sequence

Essentially, when you see a potential gank, and they're in a prime position (aka, away from a turret, away from lots of pesky allies, cc is down, etc), then you have a choice. You can either a) do more damage, with less element of surprise
b) do a bit less damage, only to appear out of nowhere to give that Annie a huge wedgie and yell SURPRISE!
c) fail the gank.

Now, I personally prefer options A or B.

For Option A
You're hiding in the bushes, your target walks by a bit past your position. Press R ( Shadow Assault), move out into range so that you can E ( Cutthroat) to them. W ( Rake) them so they can't get away and so you deal 10% more damage to them, then Q ( Noxian Diplomacy). If they're not dead, they'll be close to it and a couple of autoattacks should finish them. If not, your W or Q will be up in time to get that final hit in.

For Option B
Back to hiding in the bushes. I only do this ingame, promise! <.<
You see them pass, but you don't think you have quite enough burst to rip em apart. You are probably faster than them. Walk out of the bushes into E range. As soon as you E, hit them with your W. They'll be taking a large chunk of increased damage from everything you do now. Then hit your R and Q to finish their vanishing health bar.

Now for the inevitable question!
Why do I rank up my Rake so singlemindedly?
Well, the entire reason is that it generally does more damage than your Noxian Diplomacy would, while having the nice added bonus of keeping them in range FOR you to use your Noxian Diplomacy on them. Just make sure you don't miss. You also get the added bonus of having a faceroll time of farming creeps when this skill gets to level 3-4, plus the fact that it's his primary method of harrassment. Get this leveled ASAP.

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Summoner Spells

Honestly, I think these are the only two truly viable spells for Talon at the moment. If rumours are true and they're taking out Flash? Well, I'll have to edit this then, won't I?
Procs your passive, makes you kill things much more easily 1v1, and can even be used to get away. Take it.
Is another fantastic way to add to an epic getaway. It can also secure a kill or get out of that Nunu ulti.

Some potential alternatives on Talon:
If the enemy team is extremely CC oriented and you won't be able to gank unless you can get outta that stun? Take it instead of Flash.
Honestly very similar to Flash, if you want this instead just to prove yourself or give yourself some REALLY crazy stealthed runspeed, just remember to get Haste in your masteries instead of that one point in Perseverence .
I don't really like Ignite on Talon, but it CAN work. The only issue is that you really don't need it. Your burst should be sufficient to kill people without..but if you like it for that earlygame playstyle, then go for it.
I can see this, especially if you have a team that likes putting wards in bushes. More mobility, you can stay in lane better, and you can jump across the map to be a saviour. Not a bad move.

Some things you should NOT get.
Not a very good spell at all. The banner will get hard focused every time you try to use it.
Unnecessary. If you need this, then you're doing it wrong.
Don't make me come over there to smack you.
You're not jungling. You really don't want OR need this spell.
Let the support have it.
Let the support have it. Plus, you're not THAT mana hungry.
You could do much better. Let the tank have this one.

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Look for a lane getting pushed back to your end. Run there. Press W. Profit.

It's honestly that easy :)

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Considering all the food analogies in the guide, I swear that I must have been hungry when I wrote this. Either way, enjoy ripping people apart as the Crimson Assassin!