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Talon Build Guide by FlavoRTowN

Time with Talon - Classic Talon

By FlavoRTowN | Updated on December 11, 2011
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Choose Champion Build:

  • LoL Champion: Talon
  • LoL Champion: Talon
  • LoL Champion: Talon


LoL Summoner Spell: Flash


LoL Summoner Spell: Ignite


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Middle Lane
Ranked #17 in
Middle Lane
Win 53%
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Solo top/generic build
The generic build. Generic items and skill sequence is suitable for most occasions; famring, decent harrass.


Solo mid/gank machine (babysit lane)
Generic items however its ingle target burst capability will devastate squishy AP heroes. Utilise the staple Q-E-W combo for either amazing zoning or kills.


For those with no MP5 runes, not yet level 30, newer players, defensive players.
implements philosopher's stone into early game items for increased sustainability and mana regeneration for those who need it. Promotes more defensive play early game, but laning and getting creep kills will be significantly easier.
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Time with Talon - Classic Talon By FlavoRTowN

Talon is a extraordinary burst champion excelling at counter acting squishy AP heroes during the early game phase. Subsequently his ability to eat hp is second to none. But to utilise his skills, a deep knowledge is required in both item synergies as well as playstyle.

Recently, Talon took some hard nerfs in the mana department since he was an incredibly spammy hero. Talon could no longer sustain himself within lane without either not having high creep kills or just being outlaned in general. This guide hopefully rectifies that problem not. So sit back and spend some quality time with talon
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+Good early-mid game
+Good chaser; can "stick" to enemies
+CD efficient abilities



-Susceptible to focus fire
-Mana inefficient hero whom requires spamming of abilities.
-Scaling into lategame depends wholly on itemization

Laning prowess

Solo top - 7/10 Great
Solo mid - 9/10 Outstanding
Duo Bot - 5/10 Decent (there are more suitable champions)
Jungling - 2/10 Mediocre
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+10% damage if target is under CC, decent passive
A decent passive, nothing too great but better than alot. A mistake that people do, is to build specifically to utilise this passive. Its not worth it, 10% is chump. Think of it as a nice bonus, nothing more.

Noxian Diplomacy
Nuke and applies bleed. Good nuke, use after initiate.
An incredibly nice nuke since it resets the attack timer which is core in this crit based build. The bleed is a nice bonus, but the revealing of the enemy champion can enable another ally to cut the retreat path of fleeing enemy to finish him off. Very nice.
* Resets attack timer so time an auto attack before using this.
* Bread and butter skill late game, main source of burst.
* Use this before cutthroating to an enemy for maximum burst.
* High cooldown so its usage is fairly limited. Use this to initiate along with a charged Noxian diplomacy for maximum burst.

AOE slow and damage. Bread and butter skill early, use to prevent fleeing
Similar to Sivir’s throw, though does significantly less damage and range. Generally the bread and butter skill, since it provides a nuke but also most importantly, a slow enabling you to get close to unleash more crits and abilities (most notably Noxian Diplomacy)
* The main ability to slow enemies. Immediately use this after initiating to prevent fleeing.
* A staple ability to efficiently farm, especially against a tough lane enemy
* Post nerf talon is unable to spam this without running out of mana. Use sparingly and only to ensure creep kills or harass.

click image to enlarge

Blink towards enemy causing silence and amping subsequent attacks/ability. Initiate with this
Good skill to initiate with because of its silence which prevents immediate reactions; meaning a very short time to land some pot shots. You can also use this defensively. For example blinking to an enemy creep behind you, or using neutrals to juke and jive around shrubs.
* Standard blink towards enemy
* The ability does no damage itself however does briefly silence the target.
* Also resets attack timer.
* Use this ability creatively. When an enemy chamption comes to gank, cutthroat to them which silences them and puts you in a favorable position to escape.

click image to enlarge

Shadow Assault
Ultimate, on low CD, sick damage and speed boost. Use this as the killing blow.
Self explanatory, though the stealth does offer some utility in escaping messy situations. It also does do AOE damage, so if you place yourself correctly you can get some sick damage. The cooldown is rather low, so don’t be afraid to use it to clear creep waves to save a tower for example.
* Positioning is very important, deactivate when you are in front of fleeing target to ensure the blades will hit
* Be careful of popping ultimate since the blades do fan out resulting in the potential loss of surprise
* Generally, use this ability as the killing blow so that you have the choice of either diving or fleeing; its a good escape tool
* If you get CC'ed while stealthed, the blades will not come back to you. Essentially it will only do half damage so be weary of oracles or wards during team fights.

click image to enlarge

Phreak can explain the general concept of Talon's abilities quite well. Also gives good insight about the basics of how to use each spell

Ability Sequence

Solo top
Shadow Assault > Rake > Noxian Diplomacy > Cutthroat
As always the ultimate is leveled first whenever possible.
Rake takes precedence over noxian diplomacy because if offers farming ability needed in solo top. It also offers decent harassment potential. Noxian Diplomacy takes thrid precedence because it is the main source of single targeted damage. Cutthroat takes the lowest priority, however is taken at level 2 for its utility.

Solo Mid
Shadow Assault > Noxian Diplomacy > Rake > Cutthroat
Again the ultimate is taken whenever possible however, noxian diplomacy takes seconds precedence due to its exorbitant single damage output. Rake takes thrid precedence and cutthroat again takes last priority, however one rank is taken early on due to its utility.

Basic Combos


Recommended harassment combo for AD champions
Charge Q before initiation then E to the enemy so that the auto attack timer does instant burst. Also Q's effect stacks with E for maximum burst.
W to slow and keep in melee range whereby Q should be close for another use. Otherwise make the choice whether to use R to secure a kill or to keep it for the potential need to escape.
The rake slows the AD enemy to minimise damage by getting away ASAP after harassment.


Recommended harassment combo for AP champions
Works in a similar fashion. Instead of jumping immediately, a rake is used as the initiator and the Q-E combo is used for burst. The silence offers escape from offensive spells during harassment.
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Fleet Footwork
Phase Rush

Greater Mark of Desolation
Armour penetration emphasises Talon's prowess early-mid game. Gives him a much needed damage boost against champions especially tanky ones.

Greater Seal of Replenishment
Additional mana regeneration is taken to assist Talon's early game

Greater Glyph of Replenishment
Additional mana regeneration is taken to assist Talon's early game

Greater Quintessence of Desolation
Armour penetration emphasises Talon's prowess early-mid game. Gives him a much needed damage boost against champions especially tanky ones.


Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
If mana is not a problem, then take these if you know you are laning mid against an AP carry.

Greater Seal of Armor
If mana is not a problem, then take these if you know you are laning top/bottom against an AD based champion.
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Summoner Spells

Highly recommended
Gets you in good position or gets you out of tough situations. Definitely a good summoner spell, especially when you flash over a wall and deny enemies a kill muhahaha. Highly recommended.

Highly Recommended
good for getting kills you might otherwise won't. General usage in a standard game is pretty often so this is immensely useful. If playing draft pick try to predict who you will be laning with. Generally its quite easy to tell.

Highly recommended; situational
If you don't like getting mercury's treads or find that the enemy team is stacking CC, this is the spell to get. It literally is a free quicksilver sash, so its great.

The ultimate chasing spell but sacrificing survivability. Also makes use of your passive. Not bad

Decent - aimed at survivability
The opposite of exhaust. Good for escaping, but offensively its not as great as exhaust. Recommended.

If you have a Teemo/ward *****
This is great if you have a good Teemo or a ward *****. Nonetheless, using this defensively is not great, but if in the event that you can use this offensively, its great
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Core items

If you’ve noticed, I didn’t really specify what boots to get. However in the cheat sheet above I did opt for the Ionian boots purely for the CD reduction. However, that’s not to say other boots are complete rubbish, but rather quite the contrary. I’ll go further into this in the next section.
But in a nutshell, boots provide mobility…Duh obviously.

B. F. Sword
BF sword gives Talon that extra AD boost when the brutalizer stops cutting it. The reason this item is within the core items is that its preps the build to deviate in a number of items depending on personal playstyle. Either opt to rush bloodthirster or infinity’s edge. Must item for increase in damage boost.

Optional Items

The Brutalizer
An important item in Talon’s repertoire early game. Provides AD, armour penetration, and cooldown reduction. This item simply excels for early game Talon which depends heavily on his spells rather than straight AD. Eventually, the item will build into a Youmuu’s Ghostblade, which is a great item on Talon mid game.

Doran’s Blade x2
Provides health and damage. Unlike the BF Sword which is pretty expensive during the early game, Doran's blade provides a quick fix of damage along with some life steal and health. A good alternative if you find yourself underfarmed or struggling in lane.

Wriggle's Lantern
Another alternate, where not only does it provide a ward for the laning phase (especially those in solo top) it gives decent AD as well as the coveted life steal which adds to Talon's sustainability in lane. Also it adds armour that Talon lacks especially those who do opt for mana regeneration runes instead of armour runes. This item is geared for sustainability, survivability and team utility.

Philosopher's StonePhilosopher's Stone
For those who either are not yet level 30, not runed for increased MP5 or just want to play more defensively. This item allows for a much easier (and newb friendly) laning phase. Instead of going 21/2/7 mastery, go 21/6/3.
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Get the type of boots according to your playstyle and enemy team.

Boots on Talon are very subjective to personal preference. Although all boots vary in their properties, they are actually all very useful for Talon. Here is a brief low down.

Ionian Boots of lucidity

Highly recommended
The boots offers 15% CD reduction which is my personal choice, since I personally play using Talon’s spells extensively. These are boots to buy where you find you are in a upper hand, or find yourself with a decent start. Buy these boots if you need more cooldown reduction (where you lack shurelia's reverie or Ghostblade tandem)

Boots of Swiftness

Highly recommended
Boots of speed offers an additional point of speed sacrificing other stats. These boots are great if you’re a early to mid game roamer. Great for roaming since the speed is amazing and you can switch lanes for ganks fast before enemies’ notice you are missing. These boots are the way to go IF you have the Ghostblade and Shurelia's reverie combo for the source of Cooldown reduction.

Boots of Mobility

Good for positioning one's self for battle or just plain roaming. Psycho synergy with Shurelya's+Ghostblade combo
THE boots if you play Talon as a roamer. Its passive gives you some amazing gank/roaming power hence potentially giving your team map control and to an extent awareness. Downside is that the passive turns off after combat, so not great at running away nor chasing, however you can initiate a lot of potential ganks in the early to mid game in hopes that you can indeed snowball to victory. Great map presence on these boots.

Mercury's Treads

Good for ELO matches or coordinated enemy team
The most expensive boots, but offers the sought after stat, tenacity. I find that these boots are very situational but if you’re in a situation where every enemy champion pimps a heavy CC then these boots is the way to go. The thing with Talon is that he is an assassin hero which inadvertently means that he is squishy. When the enemy team sees you, they will nuke you. It’s important that you’re a phantom; get in and get out. These boots will help you get out alive. These boots will prove to be the best boots in ELO games, or games against coordinated players, since they will decide to stun your *** first. Focus fire is Talon’s weakness, hence these boots will go a long way.
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Items are generally subjective to your personal play style and you position within the game. Although this guide does provide a cheat sheet, you should always build according to the enemy. Getting your *** under CC? Get some tenacity and so on. Remember, the cheat sheet provides the best scenario, contoured to my personal play style. Look to it as a guideline of which items to get in which in rough order, then buy according to the enemy.

Situational Items - Defensive

Yes we’ve all been in these situations before and yes, it’s frustrating. But what do you buy with your limited gold?

Doran’s Blade
Stack these bad boys
This is the fallback item to go if you are struggling. Why? It offers health, life steal and extra damage. Usually, when you are struggling you should buy two of these then continue with your regular build.
_________ iThis item gives you a buffer and scales nicely all the way into mid to early late game phase. Great item for what its worth.

Mercury’s Treads
Tenacity is good
If you’re getting owned you need to limit your loses; in other words stop dying. These boots will give you much needed tenacity for extra survivability. Good for high ELO or late game, where enemies will nuke the largest threat; either you or the hard carry.

Banshee’s Veil/Quicksilver Sash
F**K you malzahar, ammumu and everything that stuns
Find yourself getting focused with CC? These items will help you get out of stick situations. Personally, I prefer quicksilver sash purely because you determine when to pop the active and counter’s DoTs and channelled spells (malz anyone).

Guardian Angel
Good all round survivability item. Personal thumbs up
Affordable, great active, and great stats. This is actually a great item on Talon and given Talon's low CD's he can either escape with cutthroat or unleash a can of whoop *** after the active procs. Nice.

Got AP nuker's?
Pretty self explanatory, it gives a shield upon taking an AP spell that brings you under 30% of maximum health. This is really good especially with heavy AP nukers like Annie and LeBlanc. On top of that it gives attack damage and is relatively cheap.
_________ iA must if versing AP heavy teams.

Cloak and Dagger
Wooooo T-E-N-A-C-I-T-Y
Yes thats right. Tenacity item that has relevant stats for talon. Really cheap, gives attack damage and crit. A really nice item during the early and mid game phase however is mediocre during the late game. Sell it then

Philosopher's StonePhilosopher's Stone
Defensive item that has MP5, HP5
A potentially useful item for getting back into the game after an abysmal lane phase. It allows for increased HP5 which allows you to take harrasment and MP5 for more spamming especailly those who don't have/run MP5 runes. Also builds into shurelya's reverie.

Key Items

Then you have the items that you will come to see every other match. Generally, the items I have listed will be useful in most match ups one way or another.

Last Whisper
Got amour stackers?
This item counteracts their armour. Also it adds 40 damage so it’s a rather worthwhile item. Only use this item when at least 3 enemies are super armour heavy. Remember that this item offers a percentage buff, not straight armour penetration. Implement this during the mid-lategame.

Best damage item in game, that is all
A great item on Talon since it offers straight damage and lifesteal. Also, Talon is quite good at farming creeps, so bloodthirster should be easily stacked. Bloodthirster also offers the most straight damage of any item meaning that your abilities will benefit greatly from this item.

Shurelya's Reverie
Great active and CD reduction
CD reduction, MP5 and HP5. WHOA. Talon got hit with the nerf stick in the mana department so grabbing a philospher's stone was necessary for lane sustainability. Unfortunately, that hunger for mana is still there late game so this good item builds from a philo stone.
_________ iIt also adds health and a great team active. What this item does is that it does insane synergy with Ghostblade and boots of mobility since you are a chasing machine and the ultimate roamer.

Youmuu’s Ghostblade
Great active and CD reduction
Sick item on talon once you get the core items done. Offers +dmg, crit, CD reduction and amour penetration. Builds from brutalizer and does its active does sick damage in conjunction with the BF sword.

Trinity Force
Start building it ONLY in the lategame
A very expensive item but can offer a lot of utility to Talon. This was a very tough item to justify a serious thought about buying since it’s ridiculously expensive while offering very average stats for Talon. That being said, it offers everything that would be very beneficial for Talon.
_________ iGenerally, the best part of this item is its 150% buff on auto attack after using an ability. Is it really worth it? Well to be honest, this should be the last item you should get, but then again, you could get another stacked bloodthirster. Your choice.

Overrated Items - Don't use them

*Flame Shield on*
There’s always items that people use because they think its good on Talon, but in hindsight its actually a waste of gold. Although they are okay, they are just not worth the gold in the early to mid game. By the lategame however they are completely viable, but this section here encourages that there are much better items for the gold.

Infinity Edge
You cannot rely on crits as burst AD champion.
Talon's damage output relies on casting his abilities not auto attacking. Infinity edge is useful for those who are auto attack champions (i.e. AD carries). Despite this, many Talon's like to buy this because the number look big. If you must have another damage item, then opt for another
_________ ibloodthirster.

The only other viable item of similar cost is Trinity Force.
So lets assume 100 base damage. Damage is added up, whilst damage from critical hits is multiplied by its chance for a more realistic scenario.
____________ Trinity Force
+30 Attack Damage
+150% Attack Damage
+14% Critical Chance

= 100+30+195(260*0.14)
= 361 average
_______ Infinity Edge
+80 Attack Damage
+25% Critical Chance
+250% Critical Damage

= 292.5 average

So on average the trinity force does slightly more burst damage, however factor in its scaling with Noxian Diplomacy and Rake then the infinity edge will overall do more sustained damage. But Trinity Force also offers other bonuses including increased movement speed, chance to slow among others bonuses.
By creating an ideal scenario where there is a guaranteed critical strike. (doesn't include passive proc)
____________ Trinity Force
= 100+30+195+260
= 585 maximum
_______ Infinity Edge
= 630 maximum

Here the infinity edge does 45 more damage not including the additional +40AD advantage it has over the trinity force for ability scaling. The minimum damage each item will do can also be calculated.
____________ Trinity Force
= 100+30+195
= 325 minimum
_______ Infinity Edge
= 180 minimum

With no critical strikes, the trinity force will do an additional 145 extra damage. So for an extra 240 gold the trinity force offers a better reliable burst damage, movement speed, chance to slow, HP and mana whilst only sacrificing a potential extra 40 damage.

Phage/Frozen Mallet
+10% damage is chump, trust me. Still viable but buy it in one go
Many will jump to the conclusion that by buying a Phage or Frozen Mallet, you utilise your passive which would result in a great item. Let me reiterate this for you. +10% damage is chump, go use the money to by a bloodthirster.
_________ iTo utilise the passive, you need the opponent to be under CC effects, whether that may be slowed etc. Phage only procs 35% but since Talon at the early game mark is a spell spammer, his attack speed is non existent. So there’s no guarantee that the slow will proc.
The frozen mallet however is a 100% chance to slow the enemy. Yes, that’s great but you have to buy a phage beforehand to get a frozen mallet. Yeah, not so wise.
Yeah but it offers health to give Talon survivability
If you need health to stay alive, you’re not playing Talon as an assassin. Talon relies on his abilities and summoner spells to get out of sticky situations. Not health. Health would be justified under circumstances where you find yourself to be under heavy CC.
If you believe you must get this, then attain it as a luxury item and grab it in one go. Having a phage taking up an inventory slot is somewhat wasteful.

Sword of the Occult
Not worth it, play safely imo.
As a general rule I dislike to get snowball items unless your LeBlanc or Annie since they steamroll **** like butter. Its does offer awesome damage once stacked, but its stacked passive is pretty mediocre. +15% movespeed? Really?
_________ iIt’s better to work on getting a bloodthirster or building other items quicker because if you screw up, this item is useless. Also, this item puts a very negative mindset teamwork wise;
“I shouldn’t get involved in that team fight because I’m scared to lose all my hard worked stacks”.

Warmog’s/Atma’s combo
Are you serious?
Why o’ why. You’re Talon, you are the master of kill stealing and GTFO outta’ there. Believe or not, but I’ve seen this predicament more times than you think. No, just no.
Hell, Atma’s a no go in general.
_________ iSeriously, I don’t understand why anyone would get this on an assassin or carry for that matter. *sigh*
/end rant

Item Sequence

Early game
Farm Phase, rush the core items
These starting items emphasises on Talons mobility and enables lane endurance provided you use the mobility to dodge the majority of attacks. Utilise the staple Q-E-W combo for harrasment. If you find yourself struggling use rake to last hit and harass without taking damage.

Mid game
Transition period. Focus on attaining straight AD items.
The longer the game goes, the less damage you are going to do when spamming spells (sustained dps that is). Try to maximise burst output with straight AD items.
The goal here is to get enough farm (through creep kills or ganking) to complete the core items. After the all important boots what do you build after? Aim to at least finish one items below (if all goes well; if you’re in deep **** then you’re going to have to build situational) and attempting to start working for another one by the end of the mid game.

the safe option, Talon’s ability scaling is sexy and with a fully ranked rake, you can stack this bad boy in no time. Reasonably priced sonsidering the BF sword is a core component

Maximises CD reduction hence really emphasises ability spam. Good active which makes up for Talon’s lack of attack speed and damage in between cooldown’s. Sacrifices pure damage for more spell spammage.

Late Game
Survival items and more straight AD items.
LoL is a game that rewards not dying, especially in the lategame. Get some survivability items and continue to pump some more damage.

Banshee's Viel
Good for AP heavy teams or just alot of hard CC in general.

Quicksilver Sash
If you don't opt for [cleanse] than this will do. Pesky suppresses, stuns and slows are essentially negated.

Guardian Angel
MR and Armour; good all round defense item and the active is really quite nice. Very affordable as well.

Another great item for AP heavy teams. Goodbye ryze, leblanc, annie and xerath.

Shurelya's Reverie
Again maximises CD reduction and provides the extra MP5 for ability spam as well as HP5 and health. A good item that builds off the philosopher's stone.

Straight damage output. Abilities will nuke quite hard. However forgoes extra crit chance which is important at this stage.

Last Whisper
Completely destroy armour stackers with this. Tanks beware.

Trinity Force
Offers a little bit of everything but the passive is of note. +150% extra damage on next auto attack after using an ability. Doesn't offer a lot of straight AD but if you know your job is just to completely annihilate a single target than the passive could prove useful especially with noxian diplomacy..

As always, purchase according to situation
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In the Game

"oh yeah I'm so boss" space

Way of the Assassin - Playstyle

You're a phantom, you're in and you're out. You're the guy that makes the enemy twitch rage.
This may be common ground for some, but I feel for the majority of players, many fail to define the difference between a carry and an assassin. Firstly, the play style is vastly different; hard carries sit in their lane getting farmed whilst occasionally helping in ganks. Their job is to get ready for the lategame teamfights. Assassins are folks who start running around in the early-mid game ganking straddlers and nuking the **** out of squishes in team fights. They are always in the early-mid game ganks and always running around the map for a potential kill.
Many also seem to mistake Talon as a brusier; a champion who has a lot of health but also deals significant damage (pretty much an offtank). Talon is not a brusier. Talon relies on his mobility and ability to burst to kill enemies, not endurance. Likewise, Talon doesn't charge in with the team. Hes the emo kid in the cafeteria loitering near the unlit hallway. He's that guy that pounces on you when you least suspect it. When he's done, he gets out like a phantom.
That is the way of the assassin. Not a bruiser, not a hard carry but a ninja; he's in and he's out.

You're a boss early-mid game. Abuse this, roam like Freddy Kreuger.
As an assassin, you are most prominent during the early and mid game. By the late game you're going to have to make room for the hard carries (Ashe, Miss Fortune, LeBlanc). However, assassins are not completely redundant in the late game; quite the contrary. By itemizing an assassin efficiently, an assassin can potentially serve the same role as a hard carry.
However with abilities like cutthroat and Shadow Assault, Talon has at his disposal a plethora of hard nuke abilities, all of which scale incredibly with AD. Although your goal is still to pounce the squishy, you must be ready for sustained 1v1 fights. The goal here is not only to catch enemies out of position, but to burst them down quick enough for you to get out unscathed.

Picking fights you can win
Destroy enemies prone to burst AD, do not pick 1v1 ganks you cannot win. Talon is exceptionally squishy.
It is important to pick fights that you know you will have a good chance of winning (i.e getting a kill/or at the very least securing a kill without dying). For example it is unwise to 1v1 brusiers whom can deal considerable damage whilst the ability to tank huge amounts of damage.
Examples include;
Generally, its also unwise to actively (meaning don't prioritize them) target tanks. One, because they take ten years to kill. Second, its nigh impossible to secure a tank kill unless they sacrifice themselves to keep a carry alive. Three, they can completely turn a battle around. Champions like Ammumu, Malphite and Rammus do ape**** damage and can set up a scenario where you could die.
I'm not saying don't kill them, all I am saying is don't prioritize them.

Then you have the support heroes and squishies. Squishies usually include AP/AD carries like; Prioritize killing these targets or at least harassing them. At early levels of the game, they are very vulnerable to burst damage so bait and take them out. Wait for an over extension and pounce. You do not have to necessarily kill them, just enough to do significant damage. However, by the time they hit level 6, they can be a problem. Take LeBlanc for example. Once she hits level 6, stay outta her range because seriously, she can two shot your ***.
Carries become harder and harder to kill as the game drags on (lifesteal is an ***). Therefore in the lategame period it is important to prioritize targeting squishes such as AP casters and supports.

The Element of Surprise (positioning)
Be the bogeyman, don't run through the front door, but creep in through the closet.
Its important to abuse this factor. You're the bogeyman, you run around the jungle like a boss and hide in bushes to scare the **** out of the enemy. Try to keep a consistent play style throughout the whole game. If you're laning, then make your ganks quick. If you're roaming, make your appearances in lanes as brief as possible. Don't make them all an MIA on you. Act natural

Talon's ulti, Shadow Assault is a tough cookie. If you want to initiate with it, then make sure the blades fanning out are not in vision of the enemy. Then Cutthroat to them to give them the wtf moment. Maximize the element of surprise. It gets you kills.

Survivability Versus Damage
Talon’s survivability lies within
Shadow Assault (which should be on low CD anyways)
Rather than having the ability to take hits, Talon excels at avoiding damage altogether.
In general follow this simple rule;Damage>survivability
Why? Okay let’s briefly analyse some numbers.
With Ionian Boots of Lucidity Youmuu's Ghostblade and Sorcery the cool down reduction on spells is approximately 35%.
With that, shadow assault is on a cool down of approximately 36 seconds. Along with flash and cleanse, Talon’s ability to escape is next to none.
To a lesser extent, cutthroat is a viable option for escape especially in the jungle where you can cutthroat a minion and flash away to guarantee escape.

However its wise nonetheless to build according to each situation. Any decently coordinated team can chain CC Talon completely nullifying him. It’s here where you’ll have to make the tough decisions.
Generally in high ELO matches its wiser to build with survivability in tact, however in most situations Flash, cleanse and shadow assault are more than enough.

Counters to Talon - How to overcome them

Targeted Hard CC =/= owns everything else
Champions like Renekton, Irelia, Ryze and to an extent Annie have hard CC that's not reliant on a skillshot. Hard CC is a gaping weakness in Talon. Since its impossible to avoid a targeted ability Talon is susceptible to champions with these abilities.
Champions with skillshot CC like Morgana for example will hardly hit a quickwitted Talon with boots and hp potions.
As such, Talon's prowess in lane depends on who he is up against. Top solo, mid or bot are all viable options for Talon granted favorable enemy champions. Talon is a great anti AP champion early game. Granted that you avoid skillshots, its free reign for harassing and potential first blood.

Armour =/= Armour penetration runes
Despite his prowess at dealing ridiculous amounts of damage, early armour stacking will negate alot of Talon's early harass. Although a Talon will opt to use a [Last whisperer]] this is quite far usually into the mid game. You're not farming anyways so stacking some armour early will be a massive help.
For Talon players, armour penetration is amazing. MOAR damage = fun times.

Wards =/= Counter ward
I apologise if this sounds straight forward but Talon is a great ganker and relies on positioning during team fights. With just a couple of well placed wards along the river, the danger of getting ganked especially by talon will drastically reduce.
Counter ward the river fool, and you're at an advantage.

Counter Champions - Laning
Any hero that has heavy sustain and is built or naturally tanky will have the upper hand against Talon.
Is generally built very tanky and his sustain is quite fearsome. Laning dominance for Renekton is quite scary for a Talon player.

His turtle stance will negate much of rake harass and has a targetable stun and is quick on his feet.

Is generally built with incredible sustain with starting items and has stun. Slightly weak early game but will eventually dominate later on.

Good sustain but his lane presence is amazing. Harassing him will generally have diminishing returns.

OP sustain on him. That is all. this guy is insane in lane.

How to beat these heroes
Utilise the brushes as much as possible. Also use mobility to abuse the slowness of enemy heroes since you start out with boots. If enemy counter heroes are indeed skilled then usually the best choice would be to stop trying to harass but try to farm yourself. Keep up with the enemy champion in terms of farm and your venture in solo top won't be deemed as a complete failure.


Its important to play the role of an assassin in a team fight. You are neither a hard carry or a tanky dps. In actual fact, you are sort of a glass cannon with unmatched escape tools. As such its important to play Talon accordingly.

1. Positioning
position to jump the most vulnerable enemy without the notice of the whole enemy team. You're in and you're out. Stay in the team fight you you know (or are sure) that you can secure more kills or can push back the enemy team.

Never initiate the fight. Let the tank do that. The best timing to come into the team fight is immediately after the tank does his AOE CC move (or equivalent). This is because your target has most likely has all their abilities on CD's.

3.Fight or flight
An important aspect of an assassin. If the team is noticeably losing the fight then flee after you have done your job or you are in imminent danger of getting killed. Continue to be within the fight if you are confident that your team is pulling ahead.
Knowing when or not to pull out takes time, but comes after much practice with Talon.

4.Pick your targets
Pick suitable targets to nuke down. Its always the best choice to eliminate the squishy supports. They don't do damage and most likely would have used their spells on their teammates. Champions include;
Soraka (although she kinda gets tanky sometimes)

Alternative targets would be AP casters like These champions have the potential to nuke HARD (Annie and Brand can destroy whole teams). You'll do the team and yourself a favour by silencing and taking out these mofo's.

5.Selective Silencing
cutthroat provides a brief silence but is invaluable as it is still a disrupt. Use it to disrupt major enemy abilities If you are facing enemies with similar abilities it could prove game changing to save cutthroat for these situations.
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Talon is definitely a good hero to play. He is definitely one of the more accessible champions but also having a decent skill ceiling to truly master him. By knowing what to build and when to use spells, Talon can be a truly scary champion. Good luck

In Summary

Master his skills, especially his ultimate. It has a steep learning curve to truly master.

Prioritize damage over survivability; in most circumstances, cutthroat, Flash and Shadow Assault are ample escape mechanisms. Additionally, if you choose to use them, Cleanse, Banshee's Veil and Quicksilver Sash offer more escape mechanisms.

Master the playstyle of an assassin; you're neither a tanky dps or a hard carry.

Follow the core items and try to build according to situation.

Master the role of Talon in a teamfight.

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Why so much emphasis on mana regeneration?
Mana regeneration provides sustainability in lane, including efficient farming, good harassing and having mana for ANY situation. As an assassin, you'll have to be ready to jump into the fight at all times, and mana regeneration allows this, even after harassing an enemy or simply clearing waves of creep.

Why not just get a Sheen, it offers mana and is an offensive item.
Good point, but sheen only provides straight mana rather than MP5. Sheen provides only +250 base mana. 250 additional base mana will provide about one and a half harassment spell rotations. Additionally, while the active is great, the sheen does not build into anything of use in the mid game. Trinity Force costs too much for how much damage it offers in the mid game where pure attack damage items will be far more beneficial. Also, sheen's active relies on the base attack damage, so without boosting the base attack damage beforehand, sheen's utility in the early and mid game has diminishing returns.

So MP5 is better than straight base mana?
Correct. in short, more sustainability and utility.

But i have no problems with Talon's mana.
Good for you. Although i suggest spamming his spells (as it provides lane presence and good farming) you can change out the runes for the alternatives i have already listed. Alternatively, you could rune for mana regen, and use a 21/8/1 mastery for more defensive play. This isn't a one stop shop guide. Its here to help you get accustomed with how to play Talon in general.

LOLOL you're noob, you don't need to spam spells, if you're pro you would use spells when nessesary.
Well...Talon usually lanes solo top or solo mid, whereby either/both harassment and farming is needed. Harassment and efficient farming come from constantly spamming spells. You're aim is to slowly wear down your opponent until you are ready for the killing blow or the enemy champion is forced back to base where you deny gold and experience.

Is it better for me to lane top or mid?
Talon's best lane is solo mid against an AP carry. However if you have an AP carry in your team then its usually better for them to take mid, whereby you will take solo top. Talon's solo top is quite good although he does get countered by some champions solo top.

I have to duo a lane, is there anything special i should do?
Not really, in this case its situational. Level rake first if you are getting babysitted or level noxian diplomacy if you're hungry for first blood or prefer to roam/counter jungle.

Just a question why not build talon with more crits? Get a trinity force and infinity edge his burst would do more damage.
- cooper56
Talon doesn't have any real incentive to Auto Attack more than once. (Crits are RNG, and in order to make use of the stat, you really need to be a right click champion with an incentive to auto attack for damage.)
Talon is an AD caster, and should build like one, with AD items, Armor Pen items, and CDR items if he can afford them in his build.


Thanks for answering that,
but adding on to it, having a trinity force AND an infinity's edge would be unrealistically expensive. Of course it is better to prioritise trinity force over infinity's edge, but by the time you can build an infinity's edge in most cases the game will be over.
The reason I put infinity's edge in the overrated section is to discourage rushing it in the mid game and late game (there is an exception in the ultra late game, since it does synergise well with ghostblade). its usefulness in the mid game is mediocre to say the least, where a bloodthirster or a youmuu's ghostblade will benefit much more.
In short, its all about the cost vs performance ratio. In most circumstances, that ratio isn't crash hot

Thought about buying a Manamune? With this item you're able to spam sh*tloads of Rake, and you also gain a decent amount of AD. I think you can include it in build no. 3(for newbies like me ;p). Also, I don't like idea of getting Tri-force. Maybe it's fault of my playstyle, but in usual teamfight I use autoattack just three times(after Cutthroat, with Noxian Dyplomacy and after ult to finish somebody) and I'm able to use Tri-force bonus damage - in best case - just two times.
- OldBen

Trinity Force is a great item for Talon. If you don't benefit from it much then you're doing something wrong. This is how Talon's burst works: Cutthroat > Auto attack > Noxian Diplomacy > Rake > Auto attack. Assuming you've done this burst right, you've done three spells, with an auto attack after each one. The attack damage with this build is 265. Calculate the 150% of that damage, then triple that. That's the damage your attacks do JUST with the effect of Trinity Force. Then add on the damage your auto attacks do on their own, and the damage they do with the effect of your spells. That's a LOT of damage. Hence why Trinity Force is a great item to include in any Talon build.
-Vapora Dark

Thanks for clearing that up.
To answer your manamune question, its a decent item but not worthwhile on Talon for several reasons. Manamune comes at a reasonable price for what it offers. Like Atma's impaler, it scales bonus AD from a set percentage.

Granted i do cast abilities up to 250 times in a single game, the bonus i get from manamune alone is;
= 27 AD
Remember, thats from the item alone.

Now lets factor in another 1000 mana for Talon, so the bonus of manamune is at its fullest potential.
= 47

So the grand total of the bonus damage from manamune is +47AD. Yes, it does solve Talon's mana problem early game with the tear of the goddess but the philosopher's stone provides HP5 as well as building into a shurelya's reverie which offers utility for the whole team. Also the amount of time taken to achieve the full 1000 mana bonus would take some time since it does have a 3 seconds cooldown.

If you have any questions then post it in the comments in a form that i can make sense from (i.e. readable grammar, spelling). I'll try to answer your queries to the best of my ability.
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Recommended Sources - Further Reading

Colby Cheese
Good guide to learn the small nuances of Talon what is hard to convey through words. Still relevant even though some months old.
By Colby Cheese.

Talon Combos and Tactics
Very good video guide showcasing the spell rotation of Talon. Also shows nuances of laning mid for Talon. Extremely good. Be sure to support this youtube user with kind comments becuase lets face it, its a boss video.
By krhfirefly

If for some reason you need to refer to the old guide then here it is;
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JhoiJhoi's guide on making a guide. This guy is the man and i'd like to thank him and his fellow colaborators for letting me coon some templates. I cbf to learn bbcode seriously XD
JhoiJhoi's guide making

Also, searz's template found here

RunningWontHelp's great 3v3 shaco guide found here on MobaFire. A great guide that essentially plays the same as Talon
And the multiple great pantheon builds found here and abroad. Made my mind up about the core items.
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Hall of Fame

Original image here;

Original image here;

If you do post some solid results than please PM me an i will edit this post to include yours. Would be good if you could resize them to suitably fit the comments section. Thank you
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Pending updates/Changelog


Archived old guide, New guide online

Fixed formatting for Google Chrome, added pictures in abilities section, rearranged parts of guide, added FAQ section, improved infinity's edge's section

Added FAQ taken from comments
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