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Hey guys, I'm MSF Vapora Dark, a guide-writer and streamer sponsored by Misfits Gaming. I've been an EUW D1-Master level player since season 4, and on RU I've peaked at rank 7 Challenger in season 7. I've been writing guides since 2011 and write guides for a variety of different champions, and would like to think that I'm pretty good at it. My guides total over 40 million views!
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.
I hope you enjoy reading the guide as much as I enjoyed writing it, and most importantly, that you take everything you can from it!
If you like Talon and would enjoy talking about him, come participate in /r/TalonMains on Reddit.
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.
Eyeball Collection: A little extra AD can actually go a long way towards helping you burst down an enemy.
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.
Youmuu's Ghostblade: This is your first core item as it gives you a lot of damage but more importantly the active will help you get in range of enemies to get your damage through in the first place. It won't do as much burst damage as rushing Duskblade of Draktharr would, but on average you'll do more damage just by more frequently being able to reach enemies to burst them.
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.
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.
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.
Dead Man's Plate
Dead Man's Plate: This can be a pretty good item if you need extra tankiness, or to replace Guardian Angel with when its passive is on CD. A reason why you might need to be tankier is if the enemies all have build that make them too tanky for you to 1-shot with just the standard burst combo ( Ninja Tabi The Black Cleaver Lucian for example), so you need to stick around in team-fights for longer than just the time it takes you to click for buttons; the extra tankiness will buy you time for your CDs to come up and to keep fighting for more than just 1 spell rotation. It's especially good when combined with Ninja Tabi against high AD comps, since it will make you much tankier than any assassin should be.
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.
Special thanks to Hopper for banners and coding. (Go check her shop out!)
If you ever want to see how I personally play Talon, make sure to follow me on Twitch. I'm currently streaming every day between 2 PM and 10 PM BST. I mostly play ADC, but Talon is my go-to mid laner if I ever get mid lane which is the secondary role I queue up with. If you want me to play Talon or any other champion, let me know in the chat and we'll see if it's possible!