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Talon Build Guide by RCIX

The Renegade's Guide to Talon

The Renegade's Guide to Talon

Updated on June 24, 2012
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30 13 62,552 Views 49 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author RCIX Talon Build Guide By RCIX Updated on June 24, 2012
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Hello, my name is RogueCommanderIX and I decided to put together as comprehensive a Talon guide as I could. I'm not the best Talon player in the world (far from it) but I do love his playstyle and feel that I can contribute my own unique twist on how to build and use him.

Please leave a comment stating what you do and/or don't like so I can improve it! This is the first Mobafire guide I've written though, so please don't be too harsh :)

A note: If there's one or two things you don't like from the cheat sheet, please don't downvote because of it. I'm offering alternate choices on everything for a reason. It's also not helping the impression that all anyone does anymore is read the cheat sheet.
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Where, When, And Why?


Talon is not exactly easy to fit on a team. He doesn't have the sustain you'd want to put him top or in the jungle (wouldn't even be that great of a ganker), he is most definitely NOT a support, and he doesn't have the kind of long-term DPS output to fit as an AD carry. Think about his properties for a minute:
* He's squishy
* Has high burst
* Has a silence

These attributes mean he is ideal for one thing: Stomping mages mid. After a few levels, he can QEW onto one of them, walk away while juking a bit, and get more-or-less free harass any time he wants. He also doesn't push the lane that well if he doesn't want to, which means he can be reasonably safe from ganks.


You really want to pick him when the enemy selects a farm-heavy mid like Veigar or Brand, one you can win at harass and zone out well. Higher burst champs like LeBlanc or Annie are riskier, since they have the power to come down on you like a sledgehammer by the time you can start hurting.

Make sure your team comp can handle having an AD character mid, perhaps by sending an AP top like Rumble or running Amumu jungle or such. No point in picking Talon if your team ends up understaffed for AP characters...


  • Epic voice acting/lines/story
  • Strong nuker
  • Good at farming
  • Very hard to catch when played right
  • Decent pusher (especially lategame)

  • Low sustain in lane and early
  • Mana bound if he needs to clear waves
  • CC can quickly reduce him to a pile of ashes
  • Useless if enemy has lots of armor
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What Talon is NOT

As I've gotten feeedback, several people have asked why I don't include information for solotop or Talon jungle. The short of it is that Talon is simply a poor fit for these roles. Talon doesn't have any really good jungling properties, and he has so many poor matchups top that it's borderline stupid to send him there. What follows is a more detailed comparison for those two roles:


So I'll start by comparing Talon to a nice, solid gank-oriented jungler: Nocturne. Nocturne is a great reference, since he is a jungler which excels in the role Talon would be playing (gank-oriented, tanky dps).

................................ ................................ ......

  • Low CC for ganks
  • no self-steroids
  • Slow clears
  • CC and speed buff for ganks
  • Multiple self-steroids (Q/E)
  • Fast clears (passive/Q)

These properties all flow into each other a bit, but:
  • Talon has merely acceptable ganks, since all he can really do is cutthroat into Rake for a very small slowdown of his target's retreat
  • Despite Rake, Talon cannot clear jungle camps effectively
  • Talon cannot counter-jungler well due to next-to-no dueling ability, and is prone to being counter-jungled for the same reason
  • Talon has no sustain in the jungle, so he needs a hard leash and jungling is still slow until he gets on his feet
  • Talon doesn't get much better at ganking once he hits level 6
So basically, he gets medium to poor marks on every single property that is required to be a good jungler. He's also outclassed in his role by other gank junglers (since they have the CC, the sustain, and the innate steroids to be good gankers and scale throughout the game).


It's also not hard to do a comparison to a regular solotop/bruiser:

................................ ................................ ......

  • Low disruption
  • Naturally squishy
  • Very good scaling
  • Very bursty
  • No sustain
  • Mana user
  • On-hit stun
  • Naturally tanky (ult)
  • Non-targeted dash
  • Damage is spread out
  • Decent sustain (Q)
  • No use of mana

A more detailed explanation:
  • Talon has minimal disruption abilities (small slow, 1 second silence)
  • Talon has low innate tankiness
  • Talon isn't very sticky (no double gap closer or stun like renekton)
  • Talon uses mana, and a lot of it
So you can be cute and blink to their AD carry, then poke away at them while they heal back all the damage you're doing from lifesteal and kill you in 3 seconds once your team is gone. Plus, Talon has excellent scaling with AD, so you're really wasting that by not maximizing your damage.

It's not that Talon can't use any health, it's that flat-out metagolem is just asking "please ignore me till my team is dead".
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Champion Profile

In this section, I provide a detailed sheet showing Talon's affinity to all the major speccable stats, as well as niche things like on-hits and various properties of the champion (such as dueling, pushing, escapes, etc.). Each stat/property is rated on a 9-point scale, like this:

Where being rated 0-3 means that Talon doesn't like this stat/isn't good at that task, 4-6 means that he's OK in that area, and 7-9 means this is one of his primary focuses. The purpose here is to give you an idea of the champion as a whole, and help guide your rune/item/mastery selection and tactics beyond what information I provide.

Stat Affinities






Champion Properties

Scaling with farm
Innate damage

Talon is an AD caster, and moreover one of the only pure AD casters. With a grand total of 4.5 AD ratios on his spells, he's designed to and dependent on stacking raw damage to be effective. Since he deals most of his damage through spells, crit/AS/onhits are wasted on him. He's a fairly solid pusher with Rake being able to make short work of most creeps once farmed and Noxian Diplomacy being an excellent tower killer spell. Build a lot of damage with a little bit of defenses, and toss in some sustain (ideally hp5/mp5) to help get through the lane phase.
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Itemization and Talon's Role

I'm not totally sure of this section's place in the guide, but here goes. This section reflects a bit on Talon's job/role in a team, and to that end what itemization I've chosen. The main things it covers is A: Why I build a Brutalizer on Talon but sell it later, and B: why I build a Shurelya's.


Ok so I've heard a couple things a bunch regarding my purchases: "Why do you build a Brutalizer when you plan to sell it later?" and "Why are you stacking a Brutalizer with a Last Whisper, you're wasting arpen!". I'll start with the former.

Ok, so let me evaluate the value of the AD on the brutalizer, which is simple. 25 AD is worth 975 gold (as per pickaxe price). 1337 - 975 = 362, so that means you're paying 362 gold for the extra stats. For a very simple mathcraft to figure out how much 15 arpen is worth, consider:

Target has 40 armor
You have 120 base autoattack damage

Armor multiplier for 40 armor = 100/140 = ~0.714
Armor multiplier for 25 armor = 100/125 = 0.8

Damage pre-penetration = 120 * 0.714 = 85.68
Damage post-penetration = 120 * 0.8 = 96

Let's also take a level 5 burst combo into account (l3 rake, l1 cutthroat/noxian diplomacy), with 80 base AD and 25 bonus AD:

30+72+160 = 262 (skill bases)
25 * (1.2+0.3+1.2) = 67.5
67.5 + 262 = 329.5
329.5 * 1.03 = 339.385

Damage pre-penetration = 339.385 * 0.714 = 242.32089
Damage post-penetration = 339.385 * 0.8 = 271.508

Equivalent amount of AD required to supply 29.18711 AD: ~10.81

Therefore, in your average rush brutalizer situation, the 15 arpen grants about 11 AD. 10 AD costs 415 gold, so if you ignore the CDR the Brutalizer becomes cost-efficient. Moreover, if one assumes that the CDR costs a mere 154.5 gold (far underestimating its value), the arpen remains cost-efficient up to targets with about 100 armor, as seen here (must subtract 100 from the positive x value, due to how the armor calculations work).

Therefore, Brutalizer is more than cost-efficient even if one sells it later on for more potent items.

Mixing Arpen

This is really easy. There seems to be an aversion to stacking different arpen types at all, since "OMGOMGOMG you're wasting arpen". In order to figure out how much armor you're losing, one does the following:

Take N armor
Calculate (N armor - flat penetration) * (1 - percentage of armor reduction)
Calculate N armor * (1 - percentage of armor reduction)
The amount of flat arpen you actually have is latter number - former number

An example using 100 armor, 15 flat arpen, 40% percentage:

(100 - 15) * (1 - 0.4) = 51
100 * (1 - 0.4) = 60

60 - 51 = 9

In general, the formula for the amount of arpen wasted is flat arpen * percentage of arpen (f.e. 15 * 0.4 = 6). Honestly? 6 arpen isn't worth freaking out over and if it is, then just sell the brutalizer before getting a last whisper.


I've also been getting flak for choosing Shurelya's as a regular item. People say "just have your support get it", "Talon doesn't need the chasing active", "Just buy a Youmuu's instead", and other similar things. Here are my reasons for buying it:
  • It builds from a philosopher's stone. Talon needs some HP5 and MP5 in his build, otherwise he's simply not strong enough in lane. Plus, he runs OOM fast naturally and this helps some.
  • It gives health. Talon can use some health, even though it's not a primary itemization goal.
  • It gives CDR. This is really the only offensive stat other than raw AD that Talon wants, so an item that gives this is good.
  • It gives a speed boost active. In specific, it's one that can help your entire team. This gives you some team utility.
  • The active doesn't have a team-wide cooldown, so you're not wasting your money on it if the support already has one.

The only other speed boost item is Youmuu's, which is cost-inefficient as an upgrade (mostly inferior MS boost and primarily gives stats Talon doesn't want).

In the end, if none of that convinced you, I urge you to try it sometime just to see that it works.
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Summoner Spells

Primary Picks:

............ Flash is useful for so many things. Initiating, escaping, getting over walls... Especially since Talon has no location-targeted blink.

............ The biggest thing Talon needs aside from a flash is extra damage. Ignite is incredibly handy vs characters with high lifesteal, spellvamp, healing spells, and ones you can't quiiiiite finish with what the rest of your kit provides you.

Viable Alternatives:

............ Teleport is quite handy for a number of things:
  • Getting back to your lane after you shop/heal
  • Quickly getting into position for a gank
  • Helping allies push a lane
  • Doing baron/dragon after a teamfight
Feel free to grab it over Flash or Ignite if you want.

............ Ghost is a strong contender to replace Flash, and it does have it's own use cases. It's mostly down to a matter of preference, so pick which you like more.

............ Cleanse is best picked when the enemy chooses a high CC team (like Alistar Blitzcrank Cho'Gath all together). Otherwise, it's not of much use and should be skipped.

Do Not Get:
(note that I'm skipping spells like Revive or Promote because it should be obvious why these are bad choices)

............ While you do use mana a lot in many cases, the early-game benefit of an extra mana refill is negligible compared to other spells' potential benefits. Teleport can serve not only as a mana refill, but a free health refill too (through teleport back out after recalling). Just skip it.

............ Your job is to get in, make a squishy asplode, and get out. Not win an extended duel.

............ Talon has no use for Ability Power, and next to no use for Attack Speed. Need I say more?

............ This is like Clarity -- you'd be better served by some other spell (particularly Teleport if you feel you need a heal). There are corner cases where this is useful, but as an assassin it's not really your job to grab it.

............ You're not a support, and you don't have the kind of long range skill that would benefit from remote vision.
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Fleet Footwork
Phase Rush
Relatively standard runes, grabbing flat AD marks and quints for the synergy with his scaling, armor seals to help handle harass early, and CDR blues to get to ~15% base CDR with masteries. The following are alternate rune choices for each category:

greater quintessence of vigor greater quintessence of desolation

Greater Quintessence of Fortitude
These are for early game survivability. If you feel Talon just can't quite take the harass, pick these.

greater quintessence of vigor
Greater Quintessence of Vigor
An alternate option for being tougher. A small note: If you go with these, one must spend about 48 seconds regenerating health to have recovered a health amount equivalent to the Greater Quintessence of Healths.
greater quintessence of vigor

Greater Quintessence of Swiftness
Grab these if you feel like you can't keep up with your targets instead. The bonus isn't huge (something like 13 extra movespeed at base, and an extra 18 at 400 MS), but it could make a difference.

greater quintessence of desolation
Greater Quintessence of Desolation
These are an alternative to the AD quints, select if you prefer arpen. IMO AD quints are better since they increase ability damage AND make it easier to last hit though.
greater quintessence of desolation
greater mark of desolation
greater mark of desolation
Greater Mark of Desolation
These are an alternative to the AD marks, select if you prefer arpen. IMO AD marks are better since they increase ability damage AND make it easier to last hit though.
greater mark of desolation

greater seal of vitality

greater seal of vitality
Greater Seal of Vitality
Cheap and a pretty solid option for more health across the entire game (~175 at 18).
greater seal of vitality


Greater Glyph of Warding
If you feel too fragile versus magic damage early game, get these instead. 13.4 MRes is nothing to scoff at (translates into ~80-100 extra effective health vs magic damage levels 1-6), but will fall off in benefit quickly as the game goes on.
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OK, so up until recently I had an 8/0/22 mastery setup as the cheat sheet setup. I still think this is the best option for Talon, but due to popular demand, the cheat sheet masteries have now been changed to 21/9/0.

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Items - Starting Purchases and Core

Starting Items

Since you're going mid, the standard is boots+3 pots. You can get four if you took Greed though.

I used to recommend mana potions, but honestly they're really not worth it now on SR. Dominion has a nice aura which means they regenerate a good chunk of your pool early on, but they only get you ~2 more spellcasts and so should be avoided.

...... Doran's Blade
I can see why people pick Dorans -- extra health, more damage to harass with, and a bit of lifesteal to stave off ambient minion damage you might take. IMO, not a good start for talon because of the lack of build options.

...... Boots of Speed
Grab these when you need to VS a skillshot reliant champion like Morgana or Ahri. Otherwise, skip for the above.

...... Cloth Armor
Best purchased versus any heavy physical damage dealers (builds into a Ninja Tabi after a bit). Not really worth it otherwise, since it doesn't build into anything else Talon can use.

Remember to use the rest of your money on potions.


philosopher's stone
PLUS one set of boots

Brutalizer+Hexdrinker are cheap, cost efficient, and add to give you a solid amount of AD. They also offer CDR, arpen, Mres, and a spellshield.
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Items - Boots

Boots. Boots are a very important choice, and while they won't decide the fate of a game by themselves, they can and will make your life much easier (or harder). What follows are all the boots choices you could possibly use, and when/why you'd get them.

...... These are, for many, the default choice. It's not hard to see why, 15% CDR is powerful on any caster (and extra useful on such a potent ult). Grab these if you don't need one of the other boots choices for some reason.

...... Magic Resist plus Tenacity. This is ideal if the enemy team is magic heavy or if the have 2+ characters with strong CC. Without these, we'd have to grab Cloak and Dagger which gives us AS (and as I've said before, we don't care about AS).

...... Grab these if you feel like you're doing well and you want to gank a lot. They don't offer stats like the others though, so IMO this is the least attractive choice.

...... You want these if A: the enemy team's AD carry/bruiser solotop got really fed, or B: if said enemy team is composed primarily of heavy AD champs. Otherwise, it's just not good enough for you. At least it's the cheapest boot option...
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Items - Offensive

With the release of Maw of Malmortius, Talon finally has something vaguely resembling a normal build. He's tight on options, but it's there.

...... Last Whisper
This is a very solid item at +40 damage and 40% ArPen. It's not generally a good idea to grab this as a first damage item, since people's armor won't have gotten high enough by then (unless you're looking at some crazy armor stacking), but grab it later on and you won't regret it.

...... Bloodthirster
The only item that gives straight up damage without anything stupid like an on-hit effect ( Madred's Bloodrazor), attack speed ( Black Cleaver), or crit chance ( Infinity Edge). Lifesteal isn't 100% ideal (since it only procs off of Q's bonus AD), but it does help him stay in the field between fights. Don't be afraid to grab two or even 3 of these things; they're cost efficient, the passive stacks, and you really don't have any better options.

...... Shurelya's Reverie
Not a strictly offensive item in that it gives you damage, but it has a very handy speed boost active which can help you catch fleeing opponents or run from the 3 angry enemy champions because you just shredded their carry when he was freefarming. Plus, it gives CDR, HP5/MP5, health, and it builds from a philosopher's stone!

...... Brutalizer
This is a solid early game item, since it's cheap and offers every stat you could possibly want. As it's sole upgrade isn't worth the money for Talon, and it doesn't have late game stats, it's usually sold for the slot once you've bought everything else you need.

...... Hexdrinker
I really like this item now, since you run versus mids a lot and it helps a ton versus magic damage characters. It also upgrades into a very solid item choice for mid/lategame.

...... Maw of Malmortius
It's not the AD caster item morello originally said was coming in the Lulu patch, but Talon likes it all the same. Since your target is the squishies, and AP mids are generally one of those, this helps cover you from them. It also gives you an extra edge when you're low and trying to finish someone off.
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Items - Defensive



Magic Resist
These items you grab if/when you feel like you're too fragile and getting focused too much. Since Talon has so few viable offensive item options, then it's not really hard to consider grabbing one of these and making yourself a bit more resistant to death.

Note: You are an assassin, so be careful about considering defensive items. You don't really need more than one defensive item (if that), and if you do pick one, try and get one with offensive use as well ( Frozen Mallet, Shurelya's Battlesong, or maybe even a Randuin's Omen).


Are the burster blues gettin' ya down? Feel like you just can't quite survive in today's fast paced, high-damage world? Look no further than one of these premium health items!

...... Warmog's Armor
Um, yeah, this is a ton of health. It's almost more than you'd ever need, in fact. Grab this if it's more of a general "I can't quite survive" problem over any specific thing taking you down. If you want to be tougher, consider grabbing a Giant's Belt early when you need some health (then upgrading it later). After all, this is a huge bump in the road to having strong burst!

...... Guardian Angel
I like to get one of these if there's no clear strength to their enemy team (or maybe their AD is slightly stronger) and/or when I feel that I have enough health.

...... Frozen Mallet
This is a good/interesting item, not because of its passive, but because of the combination of stats it gives you.
  • You get a lot of health, most of an uncharged Warmog's
  • You get some AD, which is better than none
  • You get a passive which has the primary effect of making it much easier to stick to targets, and a secondary effect of granting a 10% damage amp to your autoattacks
Don't consider it as an offensive item though.


Ever had a semi-fed Caitlyn to deal with? How about a Gangplank who just won't stop Parrrleying you? You want armor then. Note that almost all armor items come with some very strong passives to help shut down AD characters.

...... Thornmail
I'm generally disinclined to pick this, because your goal as Talon is to spend as little time actually taking damage as possible. However, it is the cheapest of the 3 viable armor items I mention, and the passive isn't bad if you do end up getting stuck in a duel with someone.

...... Randuin's Omen
This is more for dealing with melee characters, since the slow active is only a medium AoE. Between the active and the passive though, this is a compelling choice if you keep getting hammered by an AD character. Consider picking up a Heart of Gold early if you plan on getting one of these, to help recoup a bit of the cost.

...... Frozen Heart
This is probably a better choice if you're dealing with a ranged AD character, since it gives a wide-AoE passive attack speed reduction. Mana and CDR are also handy stats on this item, since Talon can make pretty good use of both. Skip this though if you're dealing with a spell-heavy AD character like Riven since it does nothing to spell cooldowns.

Magic Resist

Magic damage is inherently more burst oriented, and since you're a squishy, you're often a target for quite a bit of it. These items will ensure you don't go down quite so easily to them.

...... Force of Nature
If your problem is being heavily poked by magic damage, then this is your item. Massive HP5, a regeneration passive, and 76 MRes are quite handy in that case.

...... Banshee's Veil
Banshee's is great vs characters like LeBlanc who really depend on dropping a full, uninterrupted skill combo to be most effective. Health and mana are also handy, so if you need those consider this as well. Consider avoiding it if they have characters with really spammy spells on their team such as Soraka, Gangplank, or Skarner (as they can easily pop the spell shield for their allies).

...... Quicksilver Sash
This is best purchased when you're having trouble dealing with long CCs, such as puncturing taunt or Idol of Durand. Do skip if they only have short time CCs and you have merc treads, and/or you have Cleanse.
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"Y U NO BUY GHOSTBLADE" -- Or, what not to buy

The above are items that I see frequently (or semi-frequently) picked, but are a bad idea on Talon for one reason or another. They may give stats Talon doesn't need, or they may just be ill suited for his style, but they don't belong either way.

...... Sheen
There's two parts to why I feel this is bad. Part one is that it gives AP, which is wasted on a character with a grand total of zero AP ratios, and part two is the passive. "But wait," you protest, " the passive is the whole reason to buy it!" Just read this bit:

Unique: On cast, for 10 seconds, your next standard attack deals additional physical damage equal to 100% of your base attack damage. 2 second cooldown.

Translation? It almost doesn't scale at all. Sure, it's an extra 70-80 damage (160 if you're lucky enough to get 2 procs in one gank), but I just don't feel that justifies spending money when you can get a bit more and grab a B. F. Sword which will easily grant you 180+ extra damage in a combo, and 45 more for each autoattack after that. Plus, a B. F. Sword builds into stuff you can use more than a Trinity Force.

...... Trinity Force
In addition to the passive not being all that good (see Sheen description above), 3 whole stats are wasted (crit, attack speed, AP). Trinity Force works best with characters who can use all of the stats that it gives, and Talon quite simply can't.

...... Infinity Edge
Ok so, I figure the best (and only way) to show Infinity Edge is a poor choice on Talon is to mathcraft it out.

I'll start with comparing just Infinity Edge to Bloodthirster plus two Long Swords.

We'll use Level 11 with L3 Noxian Diplomacy, L5 Rake, and L2 Shadow Assault (damage amp on cutthroat is ignored for the purposes of mathcrafting, as it has a constant effect across all damage application).

Talon ratios:
= 0.3 + 1.2, base damage is 144
= 0.6 + 0.6, base damage is 260
= 0.9 + 0.9, base damage is 380
for a total of 4.5 extra damage per bonus AD and a total base damage output of 784

Combo is cutthroat > autoattack > Noxian Diplomacy > Rake > both halves of Shadow Assault

Infinity Edge
No crits:
  • 80 * 4.5 = 360
  • 360 + 784 = 1144
  • 1144 + 2x AA (50+34.1+80) = 1472.2

1 crit:
  • 80 * 4.5 = 360
  • 360 + 784 = 1144
  • 1144 + 1x AA (50+34.1+80) + 1x crit ((50+34.1+80)*2.5) = 1714.35

2 crits:
  • 80 * 4.5 = 360
  • 360 + 784 = 1144
  • 1144 + 2x crit ((50+34.1+80)*2.5) = 1964.5
Estimated chance of 1 crit is ~25% and 2 crits is ~15% (guesstimation based on how crit chance works).

Total average damage output with just Infinity Edge: 1606.5825

Bloodthirster + 2 Long Swords
  • 120*4.5 = 540
  • 540 + 784 = 1324
  • 1324 + 2x AA (50+34.1+120) = 1732.2

Total damage output with just Infinity Edge equivalent in raw damage: 1732.2

So, in a just IE case vs an equivalent amount in cost of raw AD, the raw AD gets you the same burst damage as the 1 crit IE case (which you only get 25% of the time). Average DPS is also higher, with the average DPS output from the IE being 1606.3 given the estimated percentage chances (drops lower if there's not as much chance for the 2 crit case).

Now, let's consider 2 fullish builds:


the infinity edge is ever so slightly more expensive, but both equal ~13k expenditure.

The 3x Bloodthirster setup grants 385 bonus damage, while the infinity edge setup grants 345 bonus damage. We'll use max level everything here including level.

Talon ratios:
= 0.3 + 1.2, base damage is 240
= 0.6 + 0.6, base damage is 260
= 0.9 + 0.9, base damage is 520
for a total of 4.5 extra damage per bonus AD and a total base damage output of 1020

Infinity Edge
No crits:
  • 345*4.5= 1552.5
  • 1552.5 + 1020 = 2572.5
  • 2572.5 + 2x AA (50+55.8+345) = 3474.1

1 crit:
  • 345*4.5 = 1552.5
  • 1552.5 + 1020 = 2572.5
  • 2572.5 + 1x AA (50+55.8+345) + 1x crit ((50+55.8+345) * 2.5) = 4150.3

2 crits:
  • 345*4.5 = 1552.5
  • 1552.5 + 1020 = 2572.5
  • 2572.5 + 2x crit ((50+55.8+345) * 2.5) = 4826.5
Estimated chance of 1 crit is ~25% and 2 crits is ~15% (guesstimation based on how crit chance works).

Total average damage output with the complete Infinity Edge build: 3846.01

  • 385*4.5 = 1732.5
  • 1732.5 + 1020 = 2752.5
  • 2752.5 + 2x AA (50+55.8+385) = 3733.6

Total average damage output with the complete Bloodthirster build: 3733.6

So basically, you do get more damage output late game, but it hinges on getting crits still. Average burst is also sliiightly higher (~100). You could itemize more heavily for crits (crc runes, Phantom Dancers, maybe a Youmuu's Ghostblade), but then the burst really drops off in favor of sustained damage. And do I really have to explain why an assassin shouldn't be itemizing for the AD carry role?

...... Phantom Dancer
The reason I dislike AS on Talon is for a similar reason. AS items only benefit his autoattack, when the key to a good Talon is squeezing every last drop out of your spells.

...... Youmuu's Ghostblade
From the above, you should easily be able to guess why I dislike this upgrade. What does it give primarily? Drumroll please... Crit and an active that gives AS. Honestly, the minimal damage, CDR, and arpen increases aren't worth the extra money spent. Please, for the love of all that is good, skip it! If you want more movement speed, grab a Shurelya's or something.

...... Atma's Impaler
Aside from the fact that it gives crit (covered that above) and armor (if you want armor there are much better dedicated items for that), the passive is highly inefficient for Talon. Consider: if you hit 3k health, you'll get 45 attack damage. Once you factor in the additional health purchases needed to get to 3k health, a Bloodthirster is A: cheaper, B: consumes less slots, and C: scales up to 100 AD easily.

I'd like to add a final note though, which is: Build what your team needs. If your team needs an AD carry and you're the only candidate, pick up an IE and phantom dancer at some point. If your team needs a bruiser, go Atmogs. You're of no use to the team if you're actively ignoring the role they need you to fill.
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Sample Builds

OK, so i've covered starting purchases. I've covered your core, and offensive and defensive situational items. However, the final thing to cover is how I would put this all together into a build, and I'll provide 3 samples and comprehensive explanations of each.

Standard Mid Build

You start a standard Boots and 3x Health Potions, and play careful/farm the first few levels. On your first base, you get philosopher's stone and Long Sword, and try and get your enemy low enough for a kill. Hexdrinker is prioritized for the combo of damage and anti-magic properties, then The Brutalizer makes a very potent midgame Talon.

Boots are finally upgraded, then a Bloodthirster to push up the damage even more and a Shurelya's Battlesong for utility and catching people. By now, it's rare that people don't have much armor, so I grab a Last Whisper then upgrade my Hexdrinker into Maw of Malmortius. Finally, finish with another Bloodthirster to complete your build.


Item Sequence

Health Potion 50
Health Potion 50
Health Potion 50
The Brutalizer 1337
Nomad's Medallion 850
Mercury's Treads 1100
Bloodthirster 3200
Hexdrinker 1300
You start out well, picking up first blood and farming enough to pick up a The Brutalizer on first back. You continue to pick up kills in lane and farm, ganking once or twice for the cash to get a philospher's stone and upgrade to Mercury's Treads. The game ends shortly after, but not after enough time to buy a Bloodthirster and Hexdrinker.
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This section will cover general usage and leveling order of your skills. Talon's kit has many, many applications, and you'll need to know every one to be the best Talon you can be. The following is everything I know about them:

This passive is... just, what? You're an AD caster, so you get a passive that only works with autoattacks? =/

It does help provide an argument for going some sort of beefy DPS build (get frozen mallet, load up on AD, profit), but it's a very weak one.

Noxian Diplomacy
Your best anti-champion skill. While early on, the bleed is only effective at suppressing the target's ambient health regeneration (a health pot can easily overcome it), it becomes a potent source of DoT later on once it starts doing 40-60 per tick.

  • It resets your attack timer. This means when you use it, you will immediately autoattack again even if you just did so. This is quite handy and makes the skill have several uses.
  • This could be me not noticing Talon's normal attack range, but I think i've been able to hit champions farther away than normal when this was active.

Use for:
  • Last hitting (autoattack creep then immediately Q, will hit creep twice)
  • Additional damage in a fight (same method as lasthitting)
  • Pushing a tower (does lots of extra damage in addition to letting you hit twice)

This here is your bread and butter. It's AoE, so it helps you farm. It has good damage numbers, so it's solid in a combo versus a champion. It slows, so it helps you catch fleeing enemies. Not much else to say though...

Use for:
  • Farming, especially when it can start one-shotting caster minions
  • Hitting several heroes
  • Slowing enemies that are chasing you
  • comboing a target

Your gap closer, your only hard CC, and a damage amp. It's solid, has it's uses, but it really feels like the weakest part of your kit (aside from your passive of course). The silence doesn't last long enough for you to full-combo your target, so there's a good chance you'll drop in on them, kick out half of your abilities, then watch them blink/dash away singing trololololol...

  • This skill works on minions as well as champions; I've caught several low-health fleeing enemies by Cutthroating to a target minion then quickly Raking them.
  • Like all silences, this interrupts channeling spells like Requiem, Infinite Duress, or the charge duration of Crowstorm. If an applicable enemy is on the enemy team, save it for then.
  • When you cast it, it makes a sound much like you attacking your target, but you do not actually autoattack them for ~0.5 seconds. This means you have to be careful if you're trying to get a Noxian Diplomacy attack-reset after using Cutthroat to catch them.

Use for:
  • Running, if there are any enemy minions along your escape route
  • Initiation on a target
  • Juking (I'll do a section on this when I have adequate pictures to show)

Shadow Assault
This is one of your signature skills. Not only does it deal tons of damage, it offers you temporary stealth AND +40% movespeed! It also looks cool to see a ring of blades pop out and right back in on your target when you're bringing them down :P

Use for:
  • Running/Juking (stealth and +40% MS for 2.5 seconds is fantastic for getting away)
  • Additional damage (520+1.8x your bonus AD is a *lot*)
  • Catching your target; use Shurelya's and then this, and you'll likely get to them before stealth ends. Be sure to use Shurelya's first, or it will deactivate ult and make casting it pointless :P
  • Farming (if you have lots of CDR, it's often quickest to pop this in a huge group of minions since it clears them all out so quickly)

Leveling Order

Basically, R>W>Q>E but grabbing all 3 spells in the first 3 levels. Why? Well, Q arguably has better scaling (same extra damage per level, has reduced cooldown, more damage bonus due to bleed scaling), but isn't AoE, so maxing this first would make it harder to farm. E's scaling is the worst (2 seconds of cooldown and 3% extra damage per level). Plus, ult is always maxed as required.
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Laning, Ganking, and Teamfights

Ok, items are down. Runes, masteries, and skills are down. Now for the meat of the guide: tactics. This section covers your main goals in the three above listed phases (also known as early/mid/lategame), as well as key skill combos and farming tricks.


Your first priority when laning is getting farm. You depend on having at least a couple of offensive items to be effective, and your harass at early levels isn't strong plus pushes the lane. Stay back if you have to, use Rake to scare off your laning opponent if you need to, and last hit with Noxian Diplomacy. Ideally, if you have to go back, do it around level 4 to recharge your mana and pick up a philosopher's stone plus Mana Potions if possible; that way you can sustain better and have more of a chance at winning a sudden lane fight.

Once you hit level 5, start looking to erode your opponent's health with Noxian Diplomacy into cutthroat and a Rake as you back off. Don't do more than a couple of these, we want them at a significantly lower health than full but not enough to send them back to base.

At level 6, if you have the mana, go for the kill. Run up and Rake, then Noxian Diplomacy cutthroat Shadow Assault, and toss Ignite on them if needed. If you're lucky, your initial combo will outright take them down. If not, the combo of ignite and the Noxian Diplomacy bleed ought to finish them if they're around 50-100 health.

However, it's not uncommon that you'll be stuck versus a really annoying bruiser or something. In that case, don't bother with harassment except maybe to get them off your back if you need it, and just hammer that Rake button on the nearly-full waves that are surely coming in. Be sure to get sustain for both health and mana, and extract every last creep you can; you'll need it.

  • Stay back and farm before level 5, at level 5 start poking your opponent
  • Harass combo: >cutthroat>
  • After level 6, attempt to bring down your opponent (usually in combination with a gank). Don't blow your ult unless your kill is assured, or you need to escape.
  • Kill combo: >cutthroat> > >
  • Vs bruisers, just stay back and spam Rake to clear the waves you'll inevitably be dealing with.


So the laning phase is waning, people have their ults, and you want to roam some. Smart choice! First, push your lane some so you have time to get back after your gank without your tower imploding. Note that this is your most important phase; even if you do poorly laning, if you can pull off a bunch of kills here then you can make up for it and set yourself up for a good lategame.

Second, you need to pick your gank. Tell your team you're ganking and ask them to harass the enemy some so they aren't at full health. After you arrive at the targeted lane, park in the bush and wait for the right moment.

Sometimes the guy you want is just a little too far away from your bush for a straight initiation. This is exactly why we took Flash. The combo of flash and cutthroat has surprising range, and can get you onto so many targets it's not even funny. Try it a few times in a bot game first to get the feel though, just to make sure you don't blow flash for nothing :P

Kill combo is the same as laning. You have solid AoE potential so gank duo lanes if you can, helps spread your burst and can contribute significantly to a double kill.

  • Tell your team first, to let them prepare
  • Combo is the same as above
  • Flash> cutthroat gives you very long reach if you need it
  • Duo lanes are the best targets since you deal strong AoE


OK, at this point, hopefully you've done well, and have a solid kit of items. At this point, the main engagements will consist of >3 to 1 ganks or teamfights. The key to succeeding here is knowing your role and executing it well.

Let me be clear on this: you are NOT an initiator. If you initiate, the enemies go like this:

and proceed to chain-cc you to death. Don't get me wrong, if you build right you can take a couple of hits, but trying to tank is a baaaaad idea...

Anyway, what your job is in a teamfight is to nuke. Let the tank dive in, the rest of your team start softening them up, then strike from a bush or something. Your sudden appearance will likely A: cause mass confusion (mainly on the enemy team), B: kill their AD and/or AP carry, and C: cause the remaining enemies to run screaming for their life.

As far as target selection, a simple ranking of remaining health is plenty. No point in bursting a tank if they can take it all, but if they're crawling away with no health left, then finish them off to give your team an advantage should it come to another teamfight soon.

Consider saving Shadow Assault for last, so you can use it as cover if someone notices you and things start going wrong. In combo with Shurelya's Battlesong, you can stealth and be far from the battle before they even find you (as noted before, make sure to use shurelya's > ult).

In ganks, however, feel free to be the first one on the guy. Your silence can disrupt a target's escape, and if you burst him completely down the rest of your teammates can focus on pushing or something.

Whatever you do, don't be idle or just wandering around (outside of a pre-teamfight standoff, that is). Talon can get/use farm just like anybody else (better, in fact, than most assassins) and not keeping it up means you become too reliant on kills for income. Defend towers/push lanes, hit the jungle, whatever you need to keep that cash supply coming.

  • DO NOT INITIATE. Period.
  • Save Shadow Assault if you feel like you might need it after
  • Targets should be ranked in order of remaining health
  • Disregard the no initiation rule for ganks.
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  • Thanks to JhoiJhoi for the awesome meta-guide which covered everything I needed to know about the guide BBCode
  • Riot, for making such an awesome game and champion
  • You, for having the patience to read all this
  • Khazem for doing a fantastic review

Without further ado, I close my guide and leave you to ripping up games with Talon. Have fun!

League of Legends Champions:

Teamfight Tactics Guide