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Talon Build Guide by Vapora Dark

Assassin Vapora's Guide To Talon

Assassin Vapora's Guide To Talon

Updated on April 13, 2017
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League of Legends Build Guide Author Vapora Dark Build Guide By Vapora Dark 823 101 3,881,361 Views 927 Comments
823 101 3,881,361 Views 927 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author Vapora Dark Talon Build Guide By Vapora Dark Updated on April 13, 2017
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Hey guys, my name is Vapora Dark. I play on the EUW server on the account Vapora Dark, and have played at high Elo for multiple seasons now, ending at Diamond 1 in season 4, and Master tier in season 5. I've been playing League of Legends since late season 1. Talon has been my main champion since a little after season 2 started, and since then I've collected ~2,000 games on him.

I play Talon on every role, but this guide is going to be based on mid lane, which is the only role really worth playing him in.

If you want any additional help learning to play Talon other than this guide, feel free to follow my Twitch channel so you can watch me play him any time I'm streaming.

1. An Evaluation of Talon
2. Runes
3. Masteries
4. Summoner Spells
5. Abilities
6. Items
7. Early Game
8. Mid Game
9. Late Game
10. Conclusion

A while ago, Talon was one of the most underrated champions in the game. Then out of the blue, Curse's mid laner Voyboy brought him out in an LCS game, and had a lot of success with him. Shortly after that Talon's play rate (and soon after ban rate) shot up and he got played in more LCS games. He even got played at Worlds for the first time, and in more than one game. After so much exposure, it became obvious to everyone that Talon had a serious design flaw; he could silence you for 1 second, and he could kill you in under a second. He had no counterplay other than staying the hell away from him. As an ADC, all you could do if Talon jumped on you, no matter how fed you were, was pray that someone would Exhaust him fast enough to save you.

cutthroat And so, Riot nerfed him by removing his silence completely. In return, they gave him a 0.25 second 99% slow. After that everyone who'd jumped on the Talon hype train hopped off and considered him nerfed out of viability. He's back in the exact same spot he was in pre-Voyboy. And he's still pretty underrated.

The 1 second silence was never broken. What was broken was the 1 second silence coupled with the rest of Talon's kit. The silence is gone, but what made it broken is still there; huge damage dealt almost faster than the other person can react. In some cases since the nerf, I've killed an enemy in under 0.3 seconds, from full HP. Talon's nerf cut down on his oppressive power, but there's still not much counterplay against him when he gets ahead.

So, Talon's strengths:
He doesn't snowball. He avalanches. Give him an item advantage and he'll repeatedly blow up his enemy laner every time his ult comes off cooldown, and be a huge threat around the map if he roams.
Great roaming in laning phase. Rake ends up being a pretty decent slow as you level it, giving Talon some CC to bring into ganks. This, coupled with the huge, quick burst he brings to ganks, makes his ganks deadly against the right enemies.
Great at catching out individual enemies. Being able to approach unsuspecting enemies from stealth, or simply running up to them with Youmuu's Ghostblade and Mobility Boots, and blowing them up the second he touches them, Talon's ability to swiftly remove an enemy from the map before a fight is possibly unmatched.
Can be a great duelist as well as assassin. He isn't limited to just being able to beat squishy enemies. His huge instant burst will take a big chunk out of bruisers too, and with Youmuu's and Noxian Diplomacy, he can keep up a steady stream of DPS after his initial burst, meaning the champions that can withstand Talon's attacks for long are few.

He has his fair share of weaknesses too though:
He's weak before he has items. As mentioned before, Talon has high ratios but low base damages, so before you get your build going, he's going to be weak against most enemies. If you can get through the early levels more or less even with your opposing laner, you should be fine as soon as you get items and hit level 6, but if you fall behind, you may have a tough time catching up again without any jungle help.
No clear escape. He can use cutthroat to go in on an enemy, but he can't use it to get away from one (unless there are some really conveniently positioned minions nearby). Shadow Assault can serve as an escape, but it's also essential as a damage tool in lane, so you're significantly weaker if a jungle gank forces you to use it to escape. It's also obviously unavailable as an escape if you just used it for damage. And in addition to these points, pink wards, Oracle's Lens or stealth reveal (hello Lee Sin) will make the stealth component of Shadow Assault useless, leaving you with just a small burst of movement speed to get away.
It's hard not to die in teamfights. If the enemy team plays their cards right, teamfights should follow a pattern of you killing the enemy ADC, only to proceed to die to the rest of his team. Unless you have Flash up there's not really anything you can do about it. This means it's very easy to get shut down gold from Talon, and it's hard to carry teamfights unless you get a chance to do a lot of AoE damage.

My dear friend Talon is far from perfect, but at the same time, I feel like his strengths outweigh his weaknesses by far.

greater mark of armor penetration

greater mark of armor penetration Marks: Armour pen is the most optimal mark for Talon. Talon does 100% physical damage, aside from Ignite, and when you get items, the amount of damage you do is huge. Armour pen will reduce the amount of damage mitigated by the enemy's armour.
alternative option

Seals: Mostly you'll be playing against AP matchups, and these seals will protect you the most in these matchups. They scale so well into late-game that they're a better option than flat HP seals.
alternative option

Glyphs: Magic resist glyphs are the most optimal choice when playing against AP matchups, due to how much damage they will mitigate, and most AP mid laners will be able to bully you early-game, so this will help you survive while you're at your weakest.
alternative options

Quints: The optimal choice here is AD, as it'll help you last-hit and increase your damage against enemies greatly.
alternative option

  • Sorcery: Most of your damage comes from spells and you don't auto-attack much, so while 5% attack speed would be helpful, 2% extra spell damage is better.
  • Feast: This mastery is very underrated by some, it's actually one of the strongest masteries in Ferocity since the sustain is really awesome.
  • Natural Talent : Late-game you don't need lifesteal, and early-game in most matchups you'll be zoned rather than spending much time auto-attacking minions, so the sustain you'd get from Vampirism isn't very good. Natural Talent may not seem like much, but late-game it's 60 extra damage per burst minimum.
  • Oppressor : Between cutthroat and Rake, you have plenty of ways to proc Oppressor , so while Bounty Hunter has more potential, Oppressor is very consistent and Talon is one of the better champions at utilizing it.
  • Savagery: Wanderer is viable too, but unless your last-hitting mechanics are literally flawless, you'll almost always benefit more from Savagery, especially given how much it helps you with last-hitting under tower.
  • Secret Stash : Despite how obvious it sounds to take Assassin on an assassin, Secret Stash is better since consuming your first 3 HP pots gives you an extra 90 HP, which is huge on your first back, and gives you 45 extra mana which may turn out to be crucial. And you keep getting these benefits for as long as you buy HP pots.
  • Merciless : Meditation doesn't give enough mana regen to consider it, whereas Merciless helps you kill people. Enough said?
  • Dangerous Game : Bandit is a support mastery. Dangerous Game will save your life a lot, especially from Ignite ticks in close duels.
  • Precision: At lvl 1 this'll give you 3.3 armor pen and 8.4 armor pen at lvl 18, in comparison to the 11.92 armor pen you get from marks. Intelligence is good but Precision is better.
  • Thunderlord's Decree : This mastery adds quite a bit of damage overall, and that's definitely more important than being able to escape better post-burst with Stormraider's Surge .

|| FLASH || 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 has no good escapes, so this is absolutely essential on him. Even its offensive use is very important for his teamfighting. Being able to Flash -> cutthroat the enemy ADC during teamfights gives them very little time to react when they weren't expecting you to be on them so fast. ||

|| IGNITE || This is the second best summoner spell for Talon as it adds more damage on top of his burst. It'll help you secure kills you wouldn't have otherwise had, and the healing reduction will counter any mid laners who decided to take Heal to survive against you in lane. And when your primary objective is to kill someone, more damage never hurts. ||

mercy MERCY Talon's autoattacks deal 10% additional damage to any target that is slowed, stunned, immobilized or suppressed.
Most people consider this passive weak, but it's not too bad. You can abuse your Rake slow to chase someone down while doing enhanced auto-attack damage. It synergizes with cutthroat's new slow too. Late-game when you have Youmuu's Ghostblade, while using the active and using Noxian Diplomacy's auto-attack reset properly, you can sneak in 2 auto-attacks within the 0.25 second slow, amplifying both by 10%.
Note that it doesn't just apply to any CC, only to the CC specified. Silences don't proc it, but most forms of movement impairment do. Knockups are an exception.
Remember that it only amplifies auto-attacks, not spells.

Talon's next autoattack within the next 6 seconds deals 30 / 60 / 90 / 120 / 150 (+ 30% bonus AD) bonus physical damage. If the target is a champion they will also bleed for 6 seconds, granting sight of their location to Talon and taking an additional 10 / 20 / 30 / 40 / 50 (+ 100% bonus AD) physical damage each second for the duration.
This spell is basically the most important spell in Talon's kit. It doesn't have as much base damage as Rake, but it does pack a 230% AD ratio, when you take the auto-attack into account. Late game this will pack a pretty strong punch, and the auto-attack reset feature is what makes it so important. What I mean by auto-attack reset is that when you auto-attack, because you have low attack speed, your auto-attack goes on "cooldown" and you can't auto-attack again for a certain period of time. Spells which act as auto-attack resets, such as Noxian Diplomacy, basically bring that auto-attack cooldown to zero, making you attack again. Noxian Diplomacy's animation is much faster than a normal auto-attack too, so if you auto-attack then use Q immediately afterwards, you'll land 2 auto-attacks almost in the time it would take anyone else to land 1.

You max this second as the base damage doesn't increase much per level, and as it's a melee spell.


If you learn to auto-attack reset properly, with Noxian Diplomacy's low cooldown you'll be able to do a lot of DPS by using the auto-attack reset to imitate having high attack speed, which makes Talon a great duelist. Even if you already have attack speed due to Youmuu's Ghostblade's active, resetting your auto-attacks even with high attack speed will just make you attack that much faster.

Bear in mind that Noxian Diplomacy's bleed, aside from revealing enemies, will do physical damage every second for 6 seconds. If you have a Black Cleaver, auto-attacking an enemy once will end up applying the full armor reduction stacks. So if you're ever in a situation where you can't fully commit to a fight yet, but you can safely auto-attack a tank just once, tag 'em with Noxian Diplomacy to get that armor shred for your team. Your bleed lasts 6 seconds and Black Cleaver's stacks last 6 seconds, so that'll be 12 seconds of that tank being significantly more vulnerable to physical damage from your team. Your Q's cooldown is short enough that it'll be back up by the time you need it for bursting anyway.

RAKE Talon sends out a volley of daggers in a cone that then quickly return back to him, dealing 30 / 55 / 80 / 105 / 130 (+ 60% bonus AD) physical damage both times to any enemies it passes through. Additionally the enemy is slowed by 20 / 25 / 30 / 35 / 40% for 2 seconds, refreshing the duration of the slow if they are hit twice.
Early game this is your most important spell as it's used for harassing enemies as well as safely taking CS without getting harassed too much. Late game it becomes the least important as it's your slowest spell, but it still does a lot of damage and has a ton of uses. Aside from cutthroat's new 0.25 second slow, this is the only spell you have which will cause mercy to proc for 2 seconds.

You max this first because its base damage increases by a solid 50 damage per level, is your main wave clearing tool, and acts as your ranged harass in lane.

Cutthroat CUTTHROAT Talon blinks behind his target, slowing them for 99% for 0.25 seconds and amplifying his damage against that target by 3 / 6 / 9 / 12 / 15% for 3 seconds.
This is your primary way of closing the gap between you and your enemy. In lane it's a pretty risky spell to use. If you think about Zed's Living Shadow, that can be used either to start a fight, to run away, or just to increase the range of your harass. Talon doesn't have the luxury of such a multipurpose spell. All it can do is go in. Sometimes you can use it as an escape if there's minions nearby in a convenient position, but it's unreliable as an escape.

The most subtle part of this spell, which you might not even know if you don't play Talon, is the damage amplification. It starts off at just 3% at level 1, but increases by another 3% each level, ending up at 15% damage amplification. Late game this can end up doing 300+ damage, so it's definitely very impactful.

Talon disperses blades outwards in a 500-radius ring and gains stealth for up to 2.5 seconds while gaining 40% movement speed. When Talon emerges from stealth, the blades converge on his location. When the ring of blades expands and contracts, enemies hit receive 120 / 170 / 220 (+ 75% bonus AD) physical damage per blade hit.
This is really a pretty awesome spell. A lot of people think it's bad just because the stealth is countered by stealth reveal, but that's only one of the purposes of this spell. As an escape, just getting extra movement speed can be good enough. And as damage tool, it's amazing. The blades retract instantly if you perform an action such as cast another spell or auto-attack. If you burst properly by using either W or Tiamat's active to cancel the stealth as soon as it starts, the blades will immediately burst out and retract to do both chunks of damage almost simultaneously. This has a base damage of 240 at level 6 and 440 at level 16, with a huge 150% AD ratio.

One thing you should bear in mind is that this has a decent range and you can use it to execute enemies who are out of your auto-attack range if chasing them down is too risky. The cooldown is pretty low, so it'll likely be up by the time you need it again anyway.

It's also a pretty huge source of AoE, so you can use it in teamfights against squishy, grouped up enemies to ignore its defensive capabilities and just drop a load of damage against your enemies.

There's 2 viable options here; Corrupting Potion or Long Sword. At lower Elos, if you're good enough you can get away with starting Long Sword every single game and winning every lane no problem. If you're not as good, or if you're higher Elo where enemies are more able to punish you, there's a lot of matchups where you'll want to start Corrupting Potion instead. In the matchups part of the cheat sheet I wrote what item you're recommended to start with in each matchup, and I'll remind you again when I explain each matchup further down in the guide.

The general idea is that you start Corrupting Potion against lanes that either outsustain you if you don't start it, such as any champion who starts Cloth Armor like Akali or Katarina, or against high harass lanes where you'll spend the first half of laning phase farming up through enemy harass, such as Ziggs or Orianna.
You start Long Sword against any matchup which has high focus on melee trading; for example, Zed. While Zed does have ranged harass in the form of Razor Shuriken, it isn't overwhelming, and he'll need to get in melee range to farm a lot. You can force trades when he goes for a last hit to abuse your Long Sword damage, which isn't something you get to do against ranged champions.
In each of your first backs, you want to go for whichever items will give you the biggest power spike (AKA, whichever items will give you the most AD). Talon's lucky compared to most other champions in the sense that Long Sword is a component of almost every item he builds, meaning on each back, it's not a matter of what components he can afford, it's a question of how many Long Swords he can afford. Most champions have to keep saving up for items that cost ~880 or ~1600 gold if they don't have enough on one of their backs, whereas Talon can always find something he can afford on each back.

The first two items you'll be aiming for are Tiamat and Youmuu's Ghostblade. The order in which you build them depends on the game and how you want to play; Youmuu's Ghostblade is better for straight up killing enemies, but not too good if you're in a bad matchup where you can't play aggressively. Due to how it immensely aids your wave clear, you can instead opt for Tiamat if you either want to play more defensively, or if you want to roam more.

THE BLACK CLEAVER The 20% CDR makes this a really strong item for Talon, since he's extremely reliant on his cooldowns to be effective. The armor reduction is also nearly mandatory for dealing with high armor since Last Whisper now only works off bonus armor.

HEXDRINKER You can rush this/build it early in lane if you're afraid of dying in lane vs something like a LeBlanc or a Fizz. Otherwise you can build it anywhere past your 3rd item against high AP comps and upgrade it to Maw of Malmortius if there's nothing more important for you to build.

RAVENOUS HYDRA You don't want to upgrade Tiamat to Ravenous Hydra right away since all you really want Tiamat for is the active, and then you just go on with the rest of your build since you already have the active powerspike from the moment you complete Tiamat at 1200 gold. After that upgrading it to Ravenous Hydra only gives you 55 AD and some lifesteal for 2300 gold, whereas for example you could build B. F. Sword and 2 Long Swords for 60 AD for just 2100 gold, and then you'd also be so much closer to completing Duskblade of Draktharr. Upgrade Tiamat once you have nothing else left to build.

DUSKBLADE OF DRAKTHARR It's not as strong as it looks, but it's viable. Build it at any point after Youmuu's Ghostblade and Tiamat, if you can afford to build pure damage. I would build Black Cleaver first though.
MERCURIAL SCIMITAR Build this whenever there's 1 particular CC in a game that's constantly screwing you over. Whether it be Annie's passive, Warwick's Infinite Duress, Malzahar's Nether Grasp, or just Nasus's Wither.

STERAK'S GAGE Highly situational item, but it's one you can build for survivability when up against really strong, non-AP burst. Just don't build it any earlier than as your 6th item.

GUARDIAN ANGEL Never build this as a 5th item, only as a 6th, or your damage will fall off very quickly. You should generally build this when you're carrying and your team needs to do more than just kill 1 person before dying yourself.

SWEEPING LENS At level 1 you wanna start with Stealth Ward because you can't afford to buy any wards at level 1, so you need the yellow trinket to protect against invades early on and to avoid ganks. Most high elo mid laners tend to then switch to Sweeping Lens as soon as they back with enough gold for wards. At the latest, you should switch it at level 6, which is when you'll start roaming. When roaming, you'll want to use your lens in any spot which you think may be warded, while on your way to your gank. If there's a ward, clear it and go back to lane, shove it then gank again now that you know it isn't warded. If there's nothing there, then at least you know the enemy you're ganking doesn't know you're coming yet. Late-game you use it to clear vision, or to ensure that there's no vision, around objectives you're wanting to force, such as dragon or baron. This increases the chances of someone from the enemy team blindly walking into yours and getting caught. You can also use it in a brush you're intending to camp to wait for someone squishy to walk into you so you can catch them out. Another example of using it is that if I'm heading from mid to bot for a lane gank, then I'll use Sweeper in the river brush to ensure that they don't see me coming and guess what I'm trying to do.

If you're bad at using Sweeper, then you'll get more out of a Stealth Ward, but I'd suggest you just practice with Sweeper until you can use it properly, because it's better than the yellow trinket when used properly.

Before I begin to explain how to deal with certain types of champs, I'd like to explain this term which I feel is extremely important for new Talon players to learn and understand.

What is mana efficiency? It's not a popular term used by the LoL community, but when I say you need to apply mana efficiency, I mean that you need to learn how to use your mana the most efficiently possible, without wasting mana. For example, if your champion is level 7, and you use a spell which at this level does 200 damage, and costs 90 mana, this is mana efficient. If instead, you use a spell you haven't been maxing which does 70 damage, and costs 60 mana, this is mana inefficient. Why? Because for just 30 mana more, you would have done 130 more damage, by using the spell you're maxing. Yeah, you'll do more damage overall if you use both spells instead of just the maxed one, but if you spam both of them and your mana can't sustain it, you'll end up running out of mana before your enemy runs out of HP.

If you don't use your mana efficiently, you'll run out of mana. Which is why on most champions, it's better to ONLY harass with the spell you're maxing ( Talon is actually somewhat of an exception here, but keep reading), and only use the spells you're not maxing when you absolutely NEED to use them ( e.g., Glacial Path to escape a gank ), or when you're going for the kill and you need as much damage as possible done at that very moment, at which point, if you could look at your spell cast history, again, if you're Lissandra, it would look something like: Q Q Q Q Q Q Q E R Q W. You harass with the spell you're maxing then use the others when your enemies' HP is low enough to finish off.

If you use your mana efficiently, then usually you'll have enough mana to kill your enemy before going OOM. And I feel like this is important to make people understand, because I've had a lot of people ask me in the past how I deal with Talon's early mana issues, and my immediate reaction is โ€œWhat issues?โ€.

Talon can be mana efficient in many ways. For example, look at his level 1. Rake does ~75 damage, and costs 60 mana. The enemy's HP bar is ~550, your mana bar is ~200. Is harassing with Rake mana efficient? NO. Your mana bar runs out MUCH faster than their HP bar. If you have Corrupting Potion it isn't as noticeable, but the mana cost isn't worth the damage you're putting out.

That doesn't mean that level 1 Rake isn't mana efficient. You can use it in mana efficient ways, it just isn't mana efficient if all you're doing is harassing. For example, against ranged champions, using your W is mana inefficient in terms of how much damage it does to them. But if you're not casting it at all, then you're actually wasting your mana regen. It's there for a reason, right?

So you need to find some use of level 1 Rake that isn't just a complete waste, and that varies depending on whether the champion you're playing against is melee or ranged. If they're ranged, like most mid laners, then they'll harass you for every CS you take, if they're any good. Because auto-attacking a minion to last-hit it leaves you vulnerable to both auto-attacks and skillshots as you can't move while doing it. With melee minions, that's just something you have to accept is going to happen. You can try and dodge as much damage as you can, but to some extent you're going to be punished for CS'ing (though not so much at low Elo). But with ranged minions, most of the time, walking up to them to last-hit them is too big an overextension, and you'll take too much damage in the time it takes you to walk up to it, last-hit it, and then walk back to safety. Which is why you should try and last-hit most ranged minions with Rake, rather than with auto-attacks. That is an efficient use of Rake. If you can position yourself so that Rake hits both the minion, and damages your lane opponent, then that's even more efficient.

Against melee champions it's different. It's a lot safer to last-hit caster minions for the most part, and especially if you don't have Corrupting Potion, it's a waste of mana to last-hit caster minions. But, there is a way you can efficiently use level 1 Rake offensively. Rake on its own is not mana efficient, but if you can use Rake then follow it up with an auto-attack or two which are amplified by mercy, then you can do a decent chunk of their HP when they go to last-hit a minion. And this is a mana efficient offensive use of level 1 Rake.

At level 2, W -> Q is the obvious combo you can use against melee champions for harassment, which costs 90 mana and does some decent damage. You know what does more damage for the same amount of mana? W -> AA -> Q. When your enemy walks up to a minion for a last-hit, you cast Rake on them as soon as they reach the minion and get as close to them as you can while they're slowed, to make sure you have enough time to land both a normal auto-attack and Noxian Diplomacy while they're walking away.

cutthroat Vs ranged champs, at level 2 you'd have W and E. Great, you have a gap closer, a way of REACHING your enemy. So you can W E AA to be mana efficient? Wrong. E pretty much does 0 damage for 35 mana. And more than mana efficiency, the major issue is that when you have a spell that does no damage, you'll get out-traded hard if you go in on your enemy. At level 2 you should almost never use your E unless it's to escape a gank somehow.

When you have your 3 main spells, there are various techniques that can be quite mana efficient. First of all, W on its own is pretty much never mana efficient until around level 7 when it does quite a lot of damage for the mana it costs, and you have more mana in general. E Q W is more mana efficient than just W. BUT, W E Q is more mana efficient than the last variation (if you can land it), because your E's damage amp is so tiny this early on that it's more valuable to have your passive amplify your E and Q's auto-attacks, rather than have your E amplify them. HOWEVER, even more mana efficient than this, is E Q W AA AA. E will do one AA, Q will reset your AA animation and attack again, W will slow them, and the slow will both keep them in your range to fit in 2 more auto-attacks, and amplify the damage of said auto-attacks. This is the only combo you should use for harassment in lane, the other 2 aren't worth it.

That's it about mana efficiency I think. HOPEFULLY this helped you, because I honestly don't really have that many mana problems when I'm not facing bruisers or high sustain/tanky enemies, and I think the reason some people do is because they don't know how to use their mana efficiently. But now they should, hopefully!

So tl;dr, use your mana efficiently, and your enemy's HP bar will drop faster than your mana bar. Use your mana inefficiently, and your mana bar will drop faster than their HP bar. Simple, right?

Unrelated to mana efficiency but to do with mana, by the way, this is how much mana your burst costs at each level, which can be quite useful to know:

Talon's levels 1 and 2 are extremely weak vs any ranged champ. Rake harass on its own is basically useless (it does 1 auto-attack worth of damage for 60 mana), it's pretty much impossible to hit Noxian Diplomacy on a ranged enemy without cutthroat, and cutthroat'ing onto an enemy is useless if you don't have Noxian Diplomacy.

In these match-ups, you just want to farm as much as you can, while taking the least possible damage. That doesn't mean to sit there auto-attacking minions or standing right in front of your enemy's minions until you can last-hit one, because both would mean the enemy can harass you with auto-attacks and spells as much as they want without even needing to over-extend. Just stand back out of their range, and when you see a minion is about to get low, go in to last-hit it, run back out of their range, and go back in when you see you can get another last-hit. You WILL get harassed to some extent, and that's inevitable. It's to be expected that you should seem to be losing this early on.

The important thing is just to get as much CS as you can, and use Rake to get the caster minions if you have to. 1 CS is never worth losing half of your HP. And if Rake is the only way to get a last-hit without over-extending, then just Rake it.

However, as soon as you enter the lane, take note of the enemy's armor. It won't matter much right then, but it will be useful to know later on.

Talon's levels 1 and 2 are quite decent vs meelee champs (assuming they're squishy, like, Yasuo, Zed, Katarina. Not Irelia, Darius, etc.), but people tend to underestimate it a lot. However, at level 1, Rake followed by 1 or 2 auto-attacks enhanced by your passive, hurts a lot more than you might think. And at level 2, more than once I've left a melee enemy on 50% HP straight away by using W AA Q.

You do of course, still need to last-hit and prioritize last-hitting above all else. But there's room to play aggressively vs melees. You're not quite as helpless vs them as you are vs ranged champs, and it's entirely possible to establish lane dominance at level 2. Most enemies simply cannot trade vs W AA Q. It takes under a second to do, and even AD champions such as Yasuo or Zed can't out-trade it because their attacks aren't amplified the same way yours are by W, and have no attack timer resets, whereas Noxian Diplomacy not only does, but the animation for Noxian Diplomacy is faster than a normal auto-attack. You can do W AA Q faster than whatever they would need to do to out-trade it, and then walk away.

Remember to harass them with an auto-attack every time they go for a last-hit, even if your Rake is on cooldown.

At level 2 vs ranged champs, you'd have had Rake and cutthroat, unless you were getting shoved into your tower, in which case you'd have Rake and Noxian Diplomacy. When you hit level 3, you can choose to either put a point in Noxian Diplomacy (or if you already have it, cutthroat), or a second point in Rake. Putting a point in Noxian Diplomacy means you're willing to start becoming very aggressive with your enemy, by jumping on them with E to go all in on them with whatever combo you consider adequate, having read my cost efficiency sub-chapter. Whereas putting another point in Rake just means you're going to continue the same way you have been playing, just last-hitting and occasionally using W to get a last-hit and harass.

Some people might think that taking Q or taking another point in W is simply personal preference, on how your own playstyle is, but I think it's actually situational. Using E on your enemy means you're going all in, willing to use all the damage you have, but also willing to take all the damage THEY have. Which means if you're going to E onto them, you better be SURE you'll be dealing more damage than you'll be taking.

And this is where their armor comes in. I usually base my decision of what to level on their armor. If they have 9 additional armor or more, it means the seals in their rune page are armor. They'll have a moderately good resistance to your all-in, and the risk of you losing the level 3 all-in is higher than you'd want it to be. Remember that whereas you're going to use your combo then walk away, they're going to use their combo in return and CONTINUE auto-attacking you while you walk away. Their combo itself might not do as much damage, but that doesn't mean they're going to lose the full trade.

When they have armor in their seals, I simply CANNOT be sure that I'll come out on top of the trade. I've been taking harass for the previous 2 levels whereas they've been relatively untouched save for the odd Rake, meaning that before I've even decided to all-in them, they're already winning. When they have the appropriate defences for me, I just can't be sure that I'll come out on top in a full trade against them. So, in these cases, I level my W again, and just continue to farm and harass.

On the other hand, if they have no extra armor, then I take Q because I know that my full combo will easily take off at least 50% of their max HP, even this early on. A second all-in either forces them off the lane, or kills them. In both cases, it's positive for you.

Aside from basing my decision off of their armor, there are 2 other situations in which I would take Noxian Diplomacy at level 3. The first, is if my jungler tells me he's going to gank, in which case I will want stronger all-in power rather than stronger poke power, because with my jungler there, the enemy mid won't be trying to retaliate on me, so I'll be getting free damage, or even a kill.

The second situation, is if the enemy mid is so low ( 50% HP or less ) that by taking Q I think I can finish them off for a kill. Usually, this only occurs when my jungler has ALREADY ganked previously and we've done a lot of free damage on the enemy to get them that low. And very very rarely, they'll be that low because they harassed me at my tower earlier on and accidentally received 1 or 2 tower hits in response. Other than this though, there's pretty much no other way your enemy would already be so low at level 2, without being melee.

At levels 1 and 2 vs melee champions you should have taken Rake and Noxian Diplomacy. At level 3, again, you can either take another point in Rake, or a point in cutthroat. When you take E at level 3 vs ranged champions, it's because you want to use it as a gap closer, but against melee champs, that's not always necessary, as it's extremely easy to reach melee champs without it. Sometimes vs melee champs, using E is just a waste of mana, as the damage amplification is tiny so early on. I like to take a second point in Rake if I intend to keep on harassing them.

cutthroat However, if when I hit level 3, they're already on 40% HP or less, then they'll probably be too scared of me to go for last-hits in melee range, and just resort to farming from a distance with a ranged spell of theirs. In this case, I put a point in my E to have a way of reaching them, and possibly kill them.

If they're not that low and you take another point in Rake, remember to keep on harassing them with an auto-attack every time they get a last-hit, even if your Rake is on cooldown.

Keep on applying whatever advice I've been giving you depending on whether your enemy is melee or ranged. At level 4, if you don't have cutthroat, you put a point in it. If you have E, put another point in Rake, and keep on playing as usual.

When you hit level 5, check your HP and your enemy's HP. If you think you can kill them, then obviously, kill them. If not, but they have lower HP than you, then you should auto-attack the minions non-stop. It may contradict what I've said earlier on, but the objective is for you to hit level 6 before your enemy. DON'T do this if you have less HP than your enemy, or just low HP in general, because by standing there auto-attacking minions non-stop you become very vulnerable to enemy harass, if they're ranged, and you don't want to suddenly become so low that you're losing the lane.

If you're losing at that moment, then just play as usual and settle for hitting 6 at more or less the same time as your enemy.

If you hit 6 before your enemy and you've been successfully harassing them, you're in an extremely strong position. Your full burst of E Q R W will kill pretty much anyone. If it doesn't kill them, they will be forced off the lane at least. Whether you killed them or forced them off the lane, push until your minions are at their tower to make them lose CS and XP and recall to get more items, or just stay if you're high on HP and mana and can't afford anything.

If you're actually losing the lane, but they're 70% HP or less, there's a way to turn it around. Burst your enemy with E Q W R, run away towards your tower in stealth, and click R again whenever you're out of their range to make your R hit them again. Voila, you just got a full free burst on them while taking barely any damage in return. Jump on them again when your E is off of cooldown, and you'll probably kill them.

If it doesn't seem like you're going to be able to kill them when you hit 6, just keep on laning as usual until you can either kill them or have to go back. Once you have enough gold, push the lane and recall.

Tiamat gives you an extremely large increase in both pushing and bursting power. When you're bursting your enemy for harassment, you'll want to start bursting with E Q W T(iamat), as well as however many auto-attacks you can fit in. When you're bursting for a kill, you want to burst with E I Q W R T. This is an extremely strong combo which not many enemies will be able to survive, especially not if they were at 50% HP before you started it.

As for pushing, past level 9, with enough AD your Rake single-handedly kills the caster minions you hit with it. But with a Tiamat as well, using W AA T will clear a whole wave with the exception of caster minions.

There are various situations in which you would want to instantly clear the wave like this. One of these situations is that you want to go gank a lane, and so you need to clear the enemy's minions so he can't destroy your tower while he's ganking, or so that he needs to lose CS and XP if he tries to counter-gank you.

Another is that your enemy is too tanky or has too much sustain to bother trying to kill (or is Anivia), so rather than waste your efforts in trying to kill them, you just instantly clear the wave to make sure you don't miss a single CS and force them to farm under their turret, then you go do either your wraiths/wolves or gank.

Another situation, is that your enemy has an extremely large advantage over you, and you're afraid of them killing you, so you just instantly clear the wave so you have no reason to stay on the lane with them. In which case, you'd again either farm your jungle or gank.

Mid-game is around the time that your team starts grouping up to take objectives together and teamfight. Usually, you should at LEAST have a Tiamat, Mobility Boots and Youmuu's Ghostblade.

Talon is extremely strong in Dragon fights. The dragon pit is quite tiny and Talon's AoE tends to be underestimated by the large majority of players, especially with a Tiamat. I once scored a quadrakill by bursting a single enemy, and accidentally killing the rest with the AoE involved in my burst.

Engaging on a full HP team near the dragon pit is a free team-fight in your team's favor if your team isn't too far behind. You can easily get to a squishy carry, burst them down, and just destroy anyone nearby with collateral damage. You might die, but your team will be able to clean up after you.

And the earlier on in the game it is, the better, because enemies are squishier earlier on than late-game, so the earlier it is, the larger the chunk you'll do to enemies' HP bars with your AoE.

The burst I use in these situations is usually this: E Q W T R. Once in stealth I've usually killed the target I was bursting, and I move around in stealth towards the lowest HP enemy and finish them off too.

Bot lane ganks are effective because they also make use of your large AoE. Not only that, but usually, the 2 bot lane enemies are BOTH quite squishy, and will instantly melt when you burst one of them.

To gank bot lane, you usually need your support to place a pink in the brush in-lane that's nearest your bot tower, so you can lane-gank. If however, your support is an incompetent idiot doesn't have a pink ward on them, you'll just have to lane gank with your ultimate. And pay attention here, because lane-ganking with my ultimate is something I continue to do even late-game, and it's one of the strongest plays you can make as Talon, as well as being one that's easy to consistently pull off more than once every game.

Lane-ganking with your ultimate means you'll run onto the lane and use your ultimate before going into your enemies' vision, so you can run right up to them without them even knowing you're there until you exit stealth. ( aka, are attacking them ) This is EXTREMELY hard / impossible to pull off with just Boots of Speed, but if you have Youmuu's Ghostblade, Mobility Boots, or both, it should be quite easy to pull off unless you're so unlucky that they randomly decide to move backwards just as you're getting near to them.

So, you pop Youmuu's Ghostblade if you have it, then R, and run up to the ADC, OR THE SUPPORT, if you don't think you'll be able to kill the ADC but will be able to kill the support. Burst your target with E Q W T. Try and position your W so that it will hit both enemies, but this isn't always possible. You should also Ignite, but only if you feel it's necessary.

When your main target is down, move on to the other enemy and auto-attack them as much as you can. You may or may not manage to kill them, but either way, they can't defend the tower 3v1. Destroy the tower to give your team some global gold, and then tell your team to do the dragon if you think it's a good time to do it. (Enemy jungler is in the middle of ganking top lane, both enemy bot laners are dead, etc.)

The majority of the LoL community think Talon's late-game sucks, but honestly, with this kind of build it's my favourite stage of the game as Talon, and I do think it's his strongest stage too.

I'll start off by saying that at this point, it's STILL possible to lane-gank, and it's pretty much impossible for the enemy ADC to survive your gank when you have so many items.

Most players will know that late-game, it's custom for ADC's to group up on mid lane like everyone else, but go farm bot lane whenever a large group of minions has pushed to their tower. This allows them to stop the tower from going down to minions, and lets them keep their CS high. Every ADC does this because it's extremely effective, and it would be stupid not to do so.

As Talon, I've learnt to use this tactic against them. I'm ALWAYS paying attention to my team's minions on bot lane. And whenever I see that the group of minions is extremely large, or that they've reached the enemy tower, I stop whatever I'm doing to go bot lane, avoiding stepping anywhere that's likely to be warded, I get onto the lane and go as close to the enemy minions as I can while staying in the enemy's fog of war, and I just wait. They have no idea I'm on the lane, and they enter bot lane to clear the wave. I make sure I'm far enough away that they won't see a single blade from my ultimate, and I pop Youmuu's Ghostblade and use my ultimate, and run up to them and burst them.

With high attack speed from Youmuu's Ghostblade, and the extra burst from Tiamat, they die straight away. My record burst time so far is 0.23 seconds. As you can imagine, that doesn't leave much time for the enemy to react when they're calmly farming a lane, then suddenly Talon appears out of thin air with no warning and they have 0.2 seconds to Flash away.


So the ADC is dead, there was nothing he could do about it and he had no way of seeing it coming, and you're near bot lane's tower with a massive minion wave. Do I need to spell it out? Fine. You destroy the tower. You split-push. They can't do anything about it, because if they send someone squishy bot for you, there's a good chance you'll kill them too, and if they send a tank for you, you can just run back mid with your speed from Mobility Boots and dive under tower 5v3 with your team, as the enemy team has no tank. Either that or you get a free tower. And they can't send 2 or more people after you because defending mid lane 2v4 or less would be IMPOSSIBLE.

When you're about to lane-gank the ADC, you can tell your team what you're about to do, and tell them to position themselves near the baron, but outside of the enemies' wards, so they don't know your team is near the baron. When you kill the enemy ADC, your team immediately moves into the baron pit and begins to baron. So the enemy team is left with 2 choices: Try and stop your team from baroning, or let you push bot lane as much as you want and possibly take an inhibitor. If they decide to stop your team from baroning, then easy, take the inhibitor. If they try to stop you taking the inhibitor, then easy, just run away and have a free baron! Whatever the enemy team decides, your team gains an extremely large advantage. All just because you ganked the enemy ADC!

There's a third variation of what you can do after killing the ADC, which is one I tend to do quite often. As frustrating as it is, your team may not always be smart enough to recognize what an extremely strong opportunity they have to push mid if you kill their ADC on bot lane, and just farm wraiths or something. In this case, you can't attack the bot lane tower without risking all 4 of the remaining enemy team coming to kill you. But this doesn't mean your play was useless for anything other than getting a kill for yourself. What I do if my team isn't pushing mid, is I go into the brush that's near the second bot lane tower, and just wait there.

They think I'm gone from the lane when I don't show up to destroy their tower, but there's still an extremely large minion wave attacking their tower. So they don't send 4 people to bot lane, but they do need to send SOMEONE to farm the wave.

If they do the "dumb" thing and send their tank to farm the wave, that means their ADC is dead and their tank is bot lane, so you should tell your team to go take the free baron. The tank realizes your team is trying to baron when they see your team through enemy wards, and goes towards the baron, so you run out of the brush and attack their tower. They either have to turn around to stop you and let your team take the baron, or they simply have to accept that the tower is going down if they want to try and defend the baron. If the enemy ADC respawns and tries to stop you from either destroying the last bot lane tower or inhibitor, you just walk away to pretend that you're leaving the lane, but then lane-gank him again, and take down the tower and inhibitor, if possible.

If they send either the support or the mid laner to farm the wave, you run out of the brush and just KILL that squishy son of a gun, tell your team to baron and begin to take down the tower. Baron is 4v3 if they try to contest it, bot lane is 1v0. Best case scenario, you destroy the inhibitor, your team aces them at the baron and takes the baron. Worst case scenario, you destroy the inhibitor, your team somehow loses the baron and but undoubtedly kills one or two of them to keep them from having the buffs, and you base-gank the enemy ADC while he's clearing the minions which are now attacking his nexus towers. By base-gank, I mean you use your ult and Youmuu's Ghostblade on bot lane, just outside of their base ( they can see you anywhere inside their base, so you need to do it outside ), run in under stealth and kill the ADC again, taking his baron buff. In the end, the enemy team has 2-3 baron buffs, but lost their inhibitor. It still comes out in your favour, even in the worst case scenario.

These aren't the only possible situations that can arise when you lane-gank an ADC, but they're the most common I've seen. I can't explain every single possible situation and what you need to do in it, but you know what to do in the most common situations, and hopefully you have this wonderful thing called a brain and can figure out yourself what to do if a different situation arises after your lane-gank.

This has been an extremely large explanation on lane-ganking and the possible split pushing afterwards, but I hope you realize now just how strong a tactic this is. I've heard people say in the past that Talon is a horrible split-pusher, and I've just laughed. He's a horrible split-pusher if you treat him like an ordinary split-pusher, true, but there are ways explained above that can make him an extremely strong split-pusher, if played correctly.

You should also realize that this type of lane-ganking with Youmuu's Ghostblade and your ult isn't just limited to use on bot lane. I do it all game long whenever I see the enemy ADC on their own or just with a support. Late-game lane-ganking is probably the strongest play you can make on Talon, and it's not hard to pull off either. Just learn to do it without allowing a single ult blade being visible to your enemy, and that's it. You've mastered lane-ganking.

Also, lane-ganking is one of the reasons I don't sell Mobility Boots even late-game. It's possible to lane-gank without them, but it's much more effective with them.

People don't really seem to realize that there's 2 ways to play Talon in team-fights. As an assassin, or as an AoE bomb ( or both ). Vs squishy team-comps, rather than burst down their ADC, I actually just wait for their hardest CC's to go down, dive onto a random person in the middle of their team with cutthroat, AA + Q him, cast Shadow Assault, move behind their team to hit them all with Rake, then use Tiamat just to hit whoever it hits, and bam, tons of AoE damage done in about a second. Here's an example of what I mean.

The assassin way of handling a team-fight is just bursting their ADC or whoever you consider to be the most optimal target. The way I do this is I pop my Youmuu's Ghostblade active, run to their ADC, E Q W Tiamat R him, and he should be dead by then. If not, run behind him because he'll inevitably try to flash away, wait for your Q to come back off of cooldown, then AA Q him again, and by then he's definitely dead.


If he does die straight away after you use R, you can either abandon the team-fight until your E comes back off of cooldown, or if their team has become pretty low, you can run up to someone while in stealth and AA Q him. Make sure he's someone that will pretty much instantly die when you do this, even if it's the support. Then just try and clean up and hope you've won the team-fight.

Sometimes, though, simply running up to an ADC isn't enough.

This is an extremely risky form of assassinating an enemy/engaging a fight, which can either win you a team-fight for free, or just simply make you trade a kill for a kill.

So late-game, as you know, your burst with this build will be pretty insane. Something around ~0.5 seconds is actually a pretty realistic amount of time for you to burst down an ADC who isn't behind late-game, even while only using a single R hit. In other words, you can burst down an ADC so fast, it's almost impossible for anyone to react quickly enough to save him.

"In-your-face" assassinating, is carried out similarly to lane-ganking. The difference is that rather than exiting stealth to burst down a lone ADC, you're bursting him down right in front of his entire team.

Hmm... Maybe "extremely risky" was an under-statement. Anyway yes, the whole point of this is that despite the fact that you're bursting the enemy ADC right in front of every single member of his team, they won't have seen you coming because you cast your ult from too far away, and your burst will occur so fast that no one can react fast enough to save their ADC.

The only hard part about this, is making sure that rather than being a 1 for 1 trade, meaning, you burst down the ADC but also die yourself, you manage to burst down the ADC AND live. This is where Flash comes in. You burst the ADC down in 0.5 seconds, or however long it takes you, then Flash away back towards your team, and with your still active Youmuu's Ghostblade, you can close some good distance.

But the point of doing this is MORE than just killing the ADC for free. If I wanted to kill the ADC for free, I would just wait for him to go farm bot lane and gank him there. The point of this is that when the enemy team sees you suddenly un-stealth right among them and kill their ADC then Flash away, they're not just going to shake their fists in the air and say "We'll get you one day, Talon!". No, when they see a tremendously squishy enemy appear right in front of them then Flash away, they're going to try to CC and kill that guy. Even if it means accidentally chasing him right into his team which is now looking to engage a team-fight against an ADC'less team.

So in short, you want to instantly burst down the ADC, Flash away closer towards your team, and trick them into chasing you right into your team for both teams to fight, without giving them time to realize that if their ADC is already dead, they have no chance of winning the team-fight.


Risky? Yes. Worth the risk? Depends how confident you are of pulling it off. But you've got to remember that your burst is so fast that their ADC dying is a given. Worst case scenario is you die, but so does their ADC. That's BAD, because their entire team is taking part in a kill, whereas you're the only one getting gold from their ADC dying, but it's not as disastrous as dying while their ADC remains alive, which would probably mean their team getting a free tower or a free baron. Whereas BEST case scenario, you win a team-fight for free, possibly without having a single death on your team.

It can be hard to pull off, but it's pretty funny if you do manage it. And it IS possible to manage it. Because who the hell expects Talon to make such a seemingly suicidal move?

Yes, you can die even after Flashing away. But whether you live or not at that point isn't important. What's important is you just basically engaged a teamfight by killing their biggest damage dealer, and even if they kill you, those are cooldowns that could have been used against your team. As you had everything on cooldown, you weren't too important at that point anyway.

I hope this guide helped you learn to play Talon. I tried to make it as in-depth and exact as possible to make any reader feel like a Talon main by the end of it. If you have any further questions, you should drop a comment on my guide. I rarely answer questions right away after I see them, but I constantly check the comments to answer all the questions at a convenient time. If you send your question through PM I might forget about it and not answer, so you'll do better sticking to the comments section rather than PM'ing me.

If you want any additional help/sources to learn from, you can subscribe/follow to my youtube and Twitch channels, where I'll be uploading videos every now and again and streaming in 720p! whenever I feel like playing Talon.

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