Hi, I'm Vapora Dark, a veteran player that's been playing since season 1. During that time I've hit Master tier as a mid lane main in season 5, as an ADC main in season 7, again as a jungle main in season 8, and once more in season 9 playing a mix of all those roles. I can play every role to a very high level and have a very good understanding of the general aspects of the game on top of that.
I've been writing guides on MOBAFire since 2011, among which my achievements include winning the MOBAFire guide contest multiple times, achieving the highest score on the site multiple times with multiple guides, achieving the most comments on a single guide of all time by a very large amount which hasn't come even close to being surpassed in the 3 years that it's been archived, and having the most collective guide views on the site by a very hefty amount. I've also written some champion guides for Riot Games on the Lolesports site.
Talon is an assassin who excels at roaming and ganking over straight up assassinating. That being said, his burst remains considerably high after the rework, and he still has the power to 1-shot any squishy who gets too close.
In this chapter I'm going to be gathering a compilation of Kai'Sa footage ranging from full gameplays, VOD reviews of myself and more famous players, as well as short plays, to help you learn the champion even better if you're willing to put in the time to watch some extra content on top of the actual guide itself, as well as give you an idea of what the champion can achieve in the hands of a good player. Click here to sub for more educational content.
Sudden Impact: The increased lethality only lasts for 5 seconds, but since Talon is a burst champion who uses his dash at the start of his combo, this isn't much of a hindrance for Talon, especially as his Noxian Diplomacy goes on a lower cooldown later on. Not to mention it triggers from Shadow Assault as well.
Relentless Hunter: Talon is a largely roaming-based champion, and out of combat movement speed is something Talon loves. Ultimate hunter is also viable as you no longer get 40% CDR in most games. However this is a playstyle choice and for most players they should use Relentless Hunter.
Scorch: Talon pokes fairly often with his Rake and the cooldown almost matches up perfectly with Scorch. So even though the damage is fairly small the extra lane pressure you get from this rune is very potent.
Minion Dematerializer: If you're comfortable on talon you can opt to go Inspiration secondary instead of Sorcery. Minion Dematerializer alone makes it so you can completely forgo Tiamat giving you a large advatnage by rushing lethality items instead of sinking over 1300g on reliable waveclear.
Cosmic Insight: Talon likes CDR a lot and his build usually only gives him 20%. An extra 5% at all stages of the game that also works on his summoner spells and active items is very powerful. Especially so as you'll buy at least 2 active items a game.
Offense: 9 Adaptive Force
Flex: 9 Adaptive Force
Defense: 8 Magic Resistance
This is the best summoner spell in the game, almost every champion takes it and it's completely irreplaceable. It's the best defensive summoner and the best offensive summoner all at once. The fact that you see all 10 players take this in 99% of games just goes to show how strong it is. Talon is no exception.
This is the second best summoner spell for Talon. It'll add even more kill potential to him pre-6 and post-6, and increase the strength of his burst in team-fights.
Blade's End: Each ability that damages an enemy wounds them, stacking up to 3 times. At 3 stacks they will bleed. The bleed has decent base damage but a huge AD ratio, and will end up dealing massive damage. It's therefore important that your spell rotations apply 3 stacks before auto-attacking, for maximum efficiency.
Noxian Diplomacy: This spell generally acts as Talon's gap closer, but if you're already in melee range of your enemy it will instead act as a melee spell and crit for extra damage. When this spell kills an enemy (or when the enemy dies before it hits it) it will heal you and halve the CD.
Rake: This spell gives Talon waveclear to allow him to roam, and also gives him a way of harassing from a range. At level 9 it will one-shot caster minions, greatly decreasing the time it takes you to clear waves. It also hits twice and therefore applies 2 stacks of Blade's End, allowing you to proc it before level 6 if you can land both parts of Rake.
Assassin's Path: This spell allows Talon to jump over walls on a very short cooldown, though placing each wall jumped on a separate cooldown. This makes Talon the most mobile champion in the game when he's near walls he can jump, which is great for roaming, chasing and making escapes. When roaming it's easy to take unusual gank paths to avoid enemy wards since walls won't be slowing you down, and you can easily flank people.
Shadow Assault: This is another spell that does its full damage in 2 hits. The first part throws out your blades and puts you into stealth, while the second half draws them in either on yourself or on your target while breaking your stealth. It does some decent burst on its own, but most important is that it offers you one of the Blade's End stacks need for your burst combo.
Fast Combo: W -> Q -> R (mid-Q) -> AA
This is the fastest way to 1-shot someone with Talon. The idea is that you throw Rake, then right after you use Noxian Diplomacy to dash to the enemy, while you're mid-dash you use Shadow Assault so it hits before you've even landed on the enemy, Q hits (at this point you have 3 Blade's End stacks and you've only just reached the target) and therefore commands Shadow Assault to close in on that enemy, and then you use auto-attack to proc Blade's End to finish off the combo. You just landed every instance of damage in Talon's kit in about 0.5 seconds if executed properly, save for the Blade's End bleed that'll finish them off if they survived everything else.
To do this combo you'll often have to precede it with Flash so you can get close enough to use Rake then still be in range for Noxian Diplomacy. It's best to use the Rake Flash technique to give your enemy even less time to react. Basically you just begin casting Rake, then before Rake has actually finished casting, you immediately Flash to cast rake from the spot you flashed to. Essentially this accomplishes the same thing as using Flash first, but it gives the enemy less time to react to it.
Extended combo: Q -> AA -> W -> AA -> R -> Q -> AA
Sometimes your target will be too tanky to die to the fast combo, which favors speed over damage. This is where the extended combo comes in; the idea is to fit in 2 more auto-attacks as well as one more Noxian Diplomacy, which will often even be a melee range crit.
The first 4 steps are pretty self explanatory. Then when you ult you'll want to chase your target around in stealth but not immediately break it; you're waiting for Noxian Diplomacy to come off cooldown (you're doing this in stealth so you can't be attacked by your target while you wait for your CDs). Once it does, if you're at a distance you Q dash -> AA them, or if you're melee you AA -> Q them to ensure you proc Blade's End. If they immediately Flash away afterwards you can always just Q dash back onto them if they don't just die to the bleed.
Long Sword + Refillable Potion: This start gets you started on your first core item while also giving you a little sustain through Refillable Potion that'll prove to be very cost efficient as you won't have to spend gold on pots for the entire game.
Tiamat: This will always be your rush item if you're new to talon or have sorcery secondary. The effect of your basic attacks being able to splash and the active effect of a more powerful cleave is incredibly powerful on Talon as your waveclear is mediocre. If you have Minion Dematerializer as your rune then you can skip this, otherwise this is core. You should also NEVER upgrade it, just sit on the Tiamat until late game.
Boots of Mobility
Boots of Mobility: One of many viable Boot upgrades for Talon, and my personal favourites as they'll immensely aid your roam speed. They fall off after laning phase however, so you won't want to purchase them too late.
Mercury's Treads: These Boots are great when the enemy team has a lot of CC they can target you with. Especially if your lane opponent has some threatening CC like LeBlanc or Syndra you should consider building them even in lane, whereas if you want it for teamfights you can afford to do it after laning phase.
Ninja Tabi: Ninja Tabi are very strong right now, and a solid choice when laning vs an AD laner, especially vs high AD comps.
Duskblade of Draktharr
Duskblade of Draktharr: This is your first core item as it gives you a lot of damage but more importantly the passive will help getting to and killing targets. The ability to ignore wards for several seconds or instantly clear them is incredibly potent. However the extra flat damage and massive slow makes this super useful for assassinations. The damage effect can also be reset when you cast Shadow Assault and wait a moment to become hidden and regain the buff.
Edge of Night: The third and final lethality item. This one is mostly defencive and is also the most expensive but it still offers attack damage and lethality so it is a must buy. The extra health is nice but the real power of this item comes from the active. Using it before you kill a target makes you infinitely more difficult to be peeled or kited by your target.
Guardian Angel: At this stage it's a good idea to pick up a defensive item like Guardian Angel so you're harder to kill; more damage at this stage is often overkill since you have the damage to 1-shot squishies with a proper spell rotation anyway.
Lord Dominik's Regards
Lord Dominik's Regards: Even if the enemy ADC hasn't built any armor, it's still often a good idea to pick up a Last Whisper as no matter what your lethality will never fully remove armour. The percentage pen this item offers comes before the flat pen meaning you will often completely remove armour at level 18 against a target who has bought none. Ontop of that it helps kill targets who have bought armour as very often you'll see Ninja Tabi and Zhonya's Hourglass. If you need healing reduction then get a Mortal Reminder but you should default to Lord Dominik's Regards for the extra 10% pen.
The Black Cleaver
The Black Cleaver: This item is now very situational, in the current meta you don't need armour shred or extra survivability but instead the ability to kill a target as fast as possible. However in some games, notably those with very large front lines, the health CDR and shred will outweigh the extra damage or survivability Lord Dominik's Regards or Guardian Angel can provide.
Mortal Reminder: Simply taken instead of Lord Dominik's Regards if the enemy team has a lot of healing. Champions like Draven who buy a lot of lifesteal, Vladimir who has an entire kit based around healing and Soraka who has some of the highest healing output in the game come to mind as champions where the grevious wounds passive is far more useful than 10% pen.
Maw of Malmortius
Maw of Malmortius: This can be pretty good against high magic damage teams or burst. You would generally start off with a Hexdrinker which can be a pretty good item in lane if you're in a tough matchup where you want to survive burst.
At level 1 you'll be taking Rake to begin harassing your enemy and help you last-hit minions you can't move up far enough to auto-attack, such as ranged minions. The best time to cast this when harassing is when your enemy is going for a last-hit, as they'll have to stand still as they do it and will have to choose between getting the CS or dodging the second hit.
At level 2 you take Noxian Diplomacy. At this point if you manage to land 2 Rake hits you should follow up with Noxian Diplomacy and an auto-attack to proc Blade's End. Depending on how much HP the enemy has after that you should either disengage or keep going in for the kill.
At level 3 you'll usually want to put a point in Assassin's Path so you can escape ganks more easily, or even roam if you think you have a free kill either top or bot despite only being level 3.
After level 6 is when you're at your strongest as it unlocks your full burst combo. From this point onward you should be actively roaming as much as you can, or trying to kill your lane opponent when you're not roaming.
The most common lane you'll want to gank is bot lane, since both enemy bot laners will be 1-2 levels below you at all times, making them easy pray. However, never discard top lane if the enemy top laner is over-extended and is a champion that isn't too hard to kill; top lane tends to have far less wards than bot lane since it doesn't have a support with Sightstone to light up the top side of the map.
During ganks it may seem logical to open up with Noxian Diplomacy or Rake; don't fall for this bait. If you open up with Noxian Diplomacy they can Flash (or dash) from you and you have no way of catching up to them unless you use Flash yourself. If you throw Rake they again can just Flash it to avoid the slow on the 2nd hit, or depending on the angle they can just walk in a straight line and the second hit won't hit them. Instead you'll want to just walk up to them and auto-attack. Once they're running in a direction where their escape is walking in a straight line, you throw Rake down that line; you use Noxian Diplomacy either once you need the gap closer, or once you need it to proc Blade's End.
Out of Lane
Outside of laning phase, you'll either want to group with your team or split push. Split pushing works particularly well if you're ahead and can 1v1 either of the enemy solo laners that'll go to contest your push. However, it requires a lot of coordination with your team and so I honestly wouldn't advise doing it regularly in solo queue, except to shove waves then run mid to group with your team or flank the enemies.
In team-fights you'll want to flank the enemies and reach the enemy backline by jumping through walls. You'd have a much harder time trying to reach the backline if you were just running through an entire team all trying to peel for them. Once you've found a target you'll either want to hit them with the quick burst combo if they're squishy enough to die to it, or simply engage with Noxian Diplomacy and hit them with an extended burst combo if they're too tanky to burst with the quick combo.
Remember you don't always have to go for the ADC though. Any semi-squishy enemy that you can get your hands on is a prime target to unleash your load on, though this is usually the mid laner. But it can also be something such as a top lane Jayce, who won't build very tanky and will have truoble surviving being focused by both your team and your burst.
Hopper is Bae
That's it for my Talon guide. I hope you found this helpful and learn to play Talon as well as you want to.