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Talon Build Guide by Shadowfap

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Shadowfap

Talon, Tried and Tested. Detailed Guide.

Shadowfap Last updated on October 18, 2011
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Middle Lane
Ranked #6 in
Middle Lane
Win 52%
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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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Talon is a relatively new champion to the League of Legends. He is a burst damage assassin with lots of mobility, a gap closer, high burst damage (if built correctly) and great escape mechanics for those sticky situations.

He is best placed in the top lane as a solo champion as he has great harass, farming capabilities and can easily escape ganks. His damage scales with items very well so it is best that he gets lots of CS (Creeps Slain). However Talon can do rather well in mid lane and at the bottom along with a support, it all depends on who you think you will be laning against.

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Pro's and Con's

Here is brief overview of Talon's Strengths and Weaknesses.


+ High burst damage.
+ Powerful harass at low levels.
+ A reliable gap closer.
+ Great duking/escaping ability with Cutthroat and Shadow Assault
+ A ranged slow to escape champions chasing you with Rake
+ A short cooldown stealth with Shadow Assault.
+ Strong farming capabilities using Rake.
+ Scales very well with items and therefor strong late game.
+ Can interrupt channeled abilities like Nunu & Willump's Absolute Zero and Karthus's Requiem


- Can be easily countered by champions with CC like Annie and Renekton
- Rather squishy unless building tanky items.
- Team fighting and escaping capabilities can be shut down with an Oracle's Elixir
- Relies heavily on Shadow Assault being off cooldown before fighting.

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Talon's autoattacks deal 10% additional damage to any target that is slowed, stunned, immobilized or suppressed.

You won't really notice this passive. Most of your damage will come from your abilities but this 10% increase in auto-attack damage will help add a little bit more damage output.

Noxian Diplomacy
Talon's next autoattack, within the next 6 seconds, deals additional physical damage. If the target is a champion, they will bleed for 6 seconds, taking additional physical damage each second and revealing their location for the duration.

This move can deal some serious damage. Always remember that using it will reset your attack timer so make sure to get an auto attack in before using it. The bleed effect is some nice extra damage over time and the reveal can be nice if they flash away into a bush.

Talon sends out a volley of daggers in a cone that then quickly return back to him. This attack deals physical damage every time it passes through an enemy. Additionally, the enemy is slowed for 2 seconds.

You will use this to harass, farm and finish off people who managed to escape your initial burst. The damage on this move is pretty insane considering it doesn't reduce damage if it hits more targets. It also applies a slow effect which has nice synergy with your passive. It has a slightly longer range then is displayed so it is something you will have to get used too. I will talk more about using this skill correctly later on in the guide.

Talon instantly appears behind his target, silencing them for 1 second and amplifying his damage against that target for 3 seconds.

This is your gap closer and channel interrupter. 1 Second doesn't seem like a long time but it is long enough to effectively use your burst combo before they have a chance to flash away. The 3 seconds of damage increase to the target is also amazing, 15% at top level for 3 seconds!!! However, use this move with caution if your ultimate is on cooldown, you could end up blinking onto an enemy and finding out he wasn't alone.

Shadow Assault
Talon disperses a ring of blades outwards and gains stealth for up to 2.5 seconds while gaining 40% movement speed. When Talon emerges from stealth, the blades converge on his location. Each time a blade passes through an enemy, they receive physical damage.

Ok so, this is the move that makes Talon the great burst assassin he is. It is simply one of the best Ultimate's an assassin could have. Instant stealth + damage + movement speed! This move does a crazy amount of damage and can be used in a variety of ways.
Been caught with your pants down? Hit this move and run!
Want to clear a creep wave very fast? Hit this and watch the gold fly in.
Want to surprise someone with some huge damage? Pop this from a bush and blink onto them.
However, the real beauty of this is the pure damage output. We will talk about Talon's burst damage combo's later on in this guide.

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Skill Sequence

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

First of all I level Rake, this is easily talon's most useful move with high damage and a built in slow that has great synergy with his passive ( mercy).

I get 1 point in Cutthroat at level 2 so that I have a gap closer. This can be used to help harass and will give a small increase in damage for a few seconds when used.

However I level Noxian Diplomacy over cutthroat because it does more flat damage per level.

Of course I throw a point into Shadow Assault every level it becomes available (6,11,16).

Skill Priority

I priorities my skill ordering as follows:


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Summoner Spells

Optimal Summoner Spells:

These are the best Summoner spells to pick as talon in my opinion. I have tried many different combinations out but this seems to be the most effective.

This summoner spell is just amazing. Not only will it work along with Talon's passive Mercy but it will mean that you can 1v1 anyone by shutting down their damage output with this spell.

I would never enter a match as talon without this. It can mean getting away when your ultimate isn't enough by simply flashing over a wall. It can get you that kill when you aren't quite in range for cutthroat.

Replacement Summoner Spells

These are Summoner spells that you could use instead of Exhaust.

If nobody else on your team has taken ignite then it is worth while grabbing it. It can sometimes be needed to shut down that dr.mundo or Sion and even to stop a support being able to heal your main target.

This spell can be useful for defending towers, going back to buy quickly and returning to lane or even split pushing and back-dooring. I personally don't take this spell as I feel that Talon's strength is in fighting, not back-dooring.

This summoner spell can be useful, however I don't really see how it fits in with anything. I wouldn't advise using this but feel free to experiment with it.

This can be a useful summoner spell. You will often be focused with CC and this can get you out of a sticky situation. I still find Exhaust more useful as if I am being CCed very hard I am probably rushing into the fight too quickly.

Bad Summoner Spells

I won't explain why all of these spells are bad on Talon but they are not worth taking and I would advise sticking to the ones above. Of course you are welcome to experiment and let me know if you find out another useful spell.
  • Heal will not save your life!
  • Revive will rarely be useful as you shouldn't be dying much.
  • Smite is for junglers, talon is not a strong jungler.
  • Fortify is for tanks who have no use of other summoners.
  • Clarity wont be useful, you shouldn't be running out of mana all the time.
  • Rally is barely effective enough to be useful.
  • Clairvoyance is a support summoner spell... Not for you!!!

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Greater Mark of Lethality

Greater Seal of Scaling Mana Regeneration

Greater Glyph of Scaling Cooldown Reduction

Greater Quintessence of Lethality

Greater Mark of DesolationGreater Mark of Desolation
Armor penetration will give you the most extra damage possible at the start of a game. It is also only available on a few items so these marks are a no-brainer for me. I would not recommend any other marks.

Greater Seal of Clarity
These Seals are a personal preference of mine. I find this helps farming through the early-mid game and less returning to base. These runes can be replaced with Greater Seal of Critical Chance for some extra damage or Greater Seal of Armor.

Greater Glyph of Celerity
Cooldown reduction is extremely important to Talon and these runes give a total of 9% extra cooldown reduction at level 18. However you may replace these with Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction if you prefer Flat Cooldown reduction. I just love the extra cooldown reduction at level 18.

Greater Quintessence of DesolationGreater Mark of Desolation
No arguing here. These will give you incredible early game damage and scale well into the late game. You could replace one or two of them with Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage however I prefer to stick with the armour penetration. You can always get more Attack Damage from items later on.

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j j j

The Offensive Tree
This is the tree that we focus on because it provides great extra damage. The most important talents in my opinion are:

The Defensive Tree
In this build I don't put any points into this tree. However there are a few talents here which can be useful to Talon players. I just prefer to put my remaining points into the Utility Tree but feel free to try these ones out.
  • Resistance can give +6 Magic Resistance. Not bad if laning against a caster.
  • Hardiness can give +6 Armor. Adds some good survivability and will mitigate a little minion damage.
  • Evasion can give 2% dodge chance, which can be nice added to Ninja Tabi and...
  • Nimbleness for a speed boost when you dodge.

The Utility Tree
This tree has a lot to offer in my opinion. However I only put 9 points in here as I need the other 21 points in the Offensive tree to get 4% more damage from Havoc . Unfortunately that means I cannot get the Quickness talent but I can at least get:
  • Good Hands is so useful and scales amazingly into the late game.
  • Awareness means you can out-level any opponent who lacks this talent.
  • Utility Mastery means you can keep Lizard/Baron buff for 15% longer.

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Talon can be built in a variety of different ways. However I feel that he is best built up as a true burst assassin. I see other people building a Warmog's Armor and Atma's Impaler and I have tried it myself. For the amount of farming required to buy those expensive items you do become much more durable, however your damage output is pathetic. If your team needs a Tank or Offtank that I wouldn't advise picking Talon to fill that role in the first place.

Talon is a Burst DPS Assassin and in this section I will give a step by step description of the items I buy in a game and how I change my build depends in on the circumstances. At the end of this section I will show all the items that are viable on Talon.

Early Game

I begin almost every game with Boots of Speed and 3x Health Potions. This gives me great movement speed (to help with last hitting) and lane sustain.
Doran's Blade is another item you can start with, this will mean you deal a little more damage and get an extra 100 hp, however you lose the movement speed and this item lacks sustain in my opinion. Only get a Doran's Blade if you know you can dominate your lane.

On your first trip back, it is quite important which items you buy. You need to react depending on how your lane is going. Generally I go back and pick up The Brutalizer, a few Health Potions and a sight ward or 2. This will give you some awesome early-game burst damage and some much needed cooldown reduction on your Shadow Assault.
Another option when you first return to base is to pick up 2x Doran's Blade's along with some Health Potions and sight wards. This will give you a lot of early lane dominance but will delay your final build a little. I usually only get the double Doran's Blade if I get a very early kill so that I can stay on-top of my lane.

Mid Game

The first thing you will have to decide on here is which boots to get. This can sometimes be a tough decision but you need to ask yourself the following questions:

Does their team have lots of Stuns, slows, fears and taunts?
You need to grab some Mercury's Treads! These are my personal favorite. In almost every game I have played the team have a few forms of CC which can shut Talon down. Also the magic resistance is a nice bonus.

Am I facing up against lots of auto-attack champions?
Maybe the Ninja Tabi would be the best option! I don't find myself using these alot, however they can be quite awesome when you put points into Nimbleness in the defensive mastery tree.

Not worried about being CCed? Don't need defensive items?
Grab some Ionian Boots of Lucidity. This will reduce the cooldown on your Shadow Assault. However with Greater Glyph of Scaling Cooldown Reduction and Youmuu's Ghostblade you will be over the CDR cap when you hit level 18. If you plan to buy these shoes it might be worth changing your glyphs to Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction.

The choice is up to you but in my experience I usually end up going for the Mercury's Treads. Rarely does a team lack any form of CC and I find that I am usually the main target when playing Talon.

The next few items are pretty mandatory for this build to work. They will offer some huge burst damage and mobility and you need to try and get at least one of them finished before entering the late game.

The Bloodthirster
This item is just awesome. You will need to make sure to stack it up before entering any fights and you will have an awesome 100 attack damage and 25% lifesteal. If you go back early and can't afford this item, just make sure to pick up a B. F. Sword. This item is just amazing for Talon's burst damage and cannot be skipped.

Youmuu's Ghostblade
You should have brought The Brutalizer earlier on unless you opted to go for the double Doran's Blade. This is why I generally prefer getting The Brutalizer early as it means getting this gem quicker. What is there not to love about this item? It gives 30 AD, 15% Crit Chance, 20% ArP and 15% Cooldown reduction. Along with an awesome active that will increase your Movespeed and Attackspeed. Always remember to use the active on this when killing someone or trying to kill a tower.

Infinity Edge
Even more Attack Damage and Critical Strike. This simply means tones more burst from your moves and you WILL notice that burst with this item. The passive means that your critical hits will deal 250% damage rather then 200%. Absolutely incredible item.

Late Game

Now you enter the late game and it is very likely you are being a focus target to the enemy team. This isn't too bad as you have the ability to enter and leave a fight while dealing tones of damage and not being touched. However, what if they have an oracles? What if they all have 150 Armour? This is the moment when you have to decide what final items to get. I will give you a helping hand and list all of the possible items and their benefits below:

The Bloodthirster
Want even more INSANE burst damage? Grab another one of these. I do this a lot of times when I am dominating the enemy team. If they aren't focusing you and you are able to sit there spamming your moves then another The Bloodthirster will just help them die faster.

Phantom Dancer
This item gives you even more burst damage thanks to the +30% Crit. The mobility provided by this item is also very useful and added with your Shadow Assault movement speed you will be able to move very quickly to their squishies in the back. This item scales well into the late game and the extra attack speed will help keep you sustained and in the fight.

Banshee's Veil
Getting focused alot? Well this is probably the best defensive item you could get. It will mean you can enter a fight and deal your damage without being stunned or killed instantly. All of the stats on this item are nice for you and it can really save your life.

Last Whisper
You should only build this if the enemy team has stacked up some armor. It gives a nice +40 AD but the +40% Armor Penetration is why you get this item. Don't buy this item just so you can kill the enemy tank, you shouldn't be focusing on him anyway! However if their AD carry has 100+ armor I would advise getting this item and watching their HP melt.

Madred's Bloodrazor
Personally I don't like this item. Talon isn't a great auto attacking champion like Tryndamere or Master Yi but I guess this item could help if the enemy team was stacking health items like Warmog's Armor and Frozen Mallet.

This is really an Early-Mid game item. I would only advise building this item if the enemy team has a Karthus or Lux who keep melting you with your utlimate when you get low. All the stats on this item compliment you against pesky casters and it is very cheap. It just falls of ALOT late game.

Typical Ranked Game Build:

Item Sequence

Youmuu's Ghostblade

The Bloodthirster

Infinity Edge

Last Whisper

Banshee's Veil
This is the build I tend to find myself using in typical games. Usually people will get some armor, they will have champions with hard CC such as Annie and Amumu. This build keeps up in high burst damage, whilst offering just enough surviveability if played correctly.

Alternative Ranked Game Build:

Item Sequence

Youmuu's Ghostblade

The Bloodthirster

Infinity Edge

Phantom Dancer

Banshee's Veil
If nobody is building Extra Armor then the Last Whisper is a pointless buy. This build simply replaces that with a Phantom Dancer for more damage output.

Pure Pwnage Build:

Item Sequence

Youmuu's Ghostblade

The Bloodthirster

The Bloodthirster

Phantom Dancer

Infinity Edge
This is the build I use when I notice that the enemy team isn't threatening at all. Sometimes when playing with lower-leveled friends I will use this build and melt faces. It offers maximum burst damage and zero survivability but it is hella fun. Use with caution.