Greater Quintessence of Attack Speed(+10.2% attack speed)
Greater Mark of Attack Damage(+8.55 attack damage)
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist(+27 at champion level 18)
View Rune Details
View Summoner Details
Full Item Build
View Item Details
View Mastery Details
WShroud of Darkness
Who Am I?
Hello I am sGvDaemon and this will be my first serious guide here on Solomid on jungle Nocturne, this guide will be focused not only on the ins and outs of Nocturne but how to be a better jungler and hopefully a better player. The reason behind making this guide is feel like all of the featured Nocturne guides are quite outdated and no longer completely relevant (no longer true, damn you Oddone). Nocturne was by far my most anticipated champion release in league of legends, I bought him on release day and have played him consistently ever since. Besides having an awesome champion model/lore and a strong global assassin ultimate Nocturne is reminiscent of Spectre from Dota which used to be one of my favorite champions.
Why should I listen to you?
I have been playing LoL for almost two years now on and off, I've been through several meta changes (Philo Ashe mid amirite?) and have a very sound understanding of jungle mechanics. I was a 1600 elo player in Season 2 but I have been rapidly learning and improving since the start of Season 3 and have recently made platinum division and still working towards diamond. While I've always jungled I used to play a lot of mid and top but ever since picking it up for my ranked 5 team its pretty much all I play anymore.
I managed to reach my goal of diamond by the end of Season 3, as a matter of fact it was so fun I did it twice (Elo decay op). So now I have a nice new shiny border and with it some merit that I might actually know what I'm talking about.
- Snowball/carry potential
- Strong early game dueler
- Crazy strong early damage
- Fast clears, strong counter-jungling
- Clutch spellshield plays
- Incredibly strong counter-ganker
- Amazing gank/pressure on all lanes with ult up
- Effective carry assassin in all stages of the game
- Very snowbally, great early and mid game
- Great synergy with global champions (Twisted fate, Pantheon, Shen)
- Total badass
- Can be difficult to recover from a bad start
- Is squishier than most junglers early/mid-game
- Somewhat mana reliant Q is required for fast clears and completely useless in fights without it
- Mediocre ganks pre-6
- Champions with a dash/jump can easily break fear (Think ezreal, lee sin, jax ect.)
When to pick Nocturne
Nocturne is a farm-based jungler, much like Shyvana or Dr. Mundo he relies on being able to out-farm the enemy jungler while still providing ganks when your ultimate is up to create a large gold/exp gap and abuse it. Nocturne also provides more damage than most junglers at the expense of tankiness. The following are examples of when Nocturne would be a good pick:
- Your team already has a strong front-line tank (Malphite, Leona, Cho'gath, Shen ect.)
- Your team is beefy but requires damage
- Your team has a strong initiator
- The enemy team has a late-game ADC (Kog maw, Tristana) and you want to shut them down in lane
- The enemy carries have weak escape mechanisms (Brand, Ashe, Kog, ect.)
- They have a weak jungler that can easily duel and win/trade with (Amumu, maokai, most gp/10 junglers)
- The enemy team has strong global/long range ults like lux or karthus just be sure not to mess up the spellshield
- There are other global ultimates on your team (Shen, Pantheon, Twisted fate)
- You are running a split-push composition
Protip: Nocturne's ultimate will override twisted fates ultimate vision as well as prevent Shen from being able to use his ultimate effectively (he must use his ult on portraits)
WARNING: The guide is very long and hard for me to keep 100% relevant all the time and naturally some of the thing I write will become wrong/outdated. If there is ever a conflict in my guide just consider what is listed in the actual item build as the most up to date information.
Attack Speed Quints[highlight]
You will be taking attack speed quints. The recent buffs to them have made them much more viable in that slot and with a higher emphasis on jungle farming due to the feral flare I think these are the best in slot options.
[highlight]Attack speed/Flat AD marks
These allow for a quicker jungle and higher dps, faster attack speed combined with your AD steroid will provide a decent boost to your damage as well as proc your passive more often.
There is a lot of variation here you can run, play around here with your attack speed to flat AD ratio. You can run only attack speed reds for much better farming and higher dps with FF/Botrk completed or go full flat AD for higher early game damage. I think 6 Flat AD and 3 attack speed is a nice combination. Alternately you can run armor pen in place of flat AD for more damage to champions and better scaling. With the current farm/feral flare meta I believe flat AD to be the better choice, although this could be subject to change in later patches.
These will help you stay healthy in the jungle, these are an absolute must on almost any jungler.
Cooldown reduction glyphs
I personally started running CDR blues on top of the 5 % cdr mastery in the offense tree for a combined base CDR of 12.5%. Nocturne's paranoia cooldown at rank 1 is a whopping 180 seconds and that raw chunk of CDR will lower it by approximately 22 seconds (40 seconds with blue buff) everytime it is used which is HUGE early game. The same saved by this cdr will allow for 2 possibly even 3 more paranoia ganks before laning phase is done which are easily converted into kills and potentially objectives in the hands of good players.
However in the event of a heavy enemy AP composition such as a dual or even triple AP comp I will opt to switch to MR glyph as they are simply too effective not to use vs AP stacked teams.I prefer to run scaling over flat MR since once you pass level 9 the benefits on scaling will outweigh that of the flats. You likely wont be getting hit by much ap damage in the jungle so its usually better to take the scaling for late game AoE damage. Besides you always have your spellshield to block any scary ap spells early game.
This is preference though, flat MR blues can be much safer for Elise/Eve matchups
No warlord due to the lack of actual AD stacking on nocturne (mostly AS stacking).
Feast is nice ever since its small buff, it's early sustain allows you to hit 6 and wriggles gold before backing easier.
If you are jungling take smite, it is essential for securing buffs and objectives. If you run no smite in exchange for something gimmicky like exhaust or ignite you instantly forfeit all objective control to the enemy jungler. Smite is a high power nuke that can steal any buff/dragon/baron when used correctly, therefore it is essential. Be sure to use smite carefully or you can potentially lose the objective to high damage ranged ultimate abilities that champions such as Ezreal and Lux possess.
Flash is an extremely strong summoner skill, it can allow you to completely disengage from any fight or jump jungle walls if you find yourself in trouble. It can be used offensively to secure kills as well as allow for riskier plays as you know you have an escape mechanism if you fail.
Standard, machete is good for jungle sustain and clear speed. Not much else to say.
Standard Final Items
Season 5: Trailblazer - Devourer is best. It replaces feral flame and doesn't need to be stacked to do damage meaning higher impact after building Trailblazer is also really good, the others just dont stack up. I'll probably write a section about it later.
The new Feral flare + BotRk damage output will allow you to duel carries easily if ahead until late game, the active on ruined king is extremely good for 1v1 potential and anti-kite through peel in teamfights. Feral flare + BotRk have incredible synergy with Nocturne's kit as well as your rune setup, you will not however be able to survive very long in teamfights without extremely cautious positioning. A lot of the time you will be expect to be a primary or secondary initiator so it's not always an option to just sit back and wait for the carries to become isolated.
For that reason my next item is generally randuins as it provides excellent tank stats against AD and the flat HP is still decent against AP burst (which is extremely meta right now). Randuins is probably the best tank-item in the game right now, the passive/active is also very good at shutting down AD autoattackers like Jax/ADCs/FF junglers and in some cases even AP champions like Kayle or Diana.
Banshees Veil is an extremely solid MR option right now, the passives are very good at absorbing poke damage due to the spell block and passive regen as well as synergizing well with your natural spellshield to block a lot of incoming spells when diving.
If the game reaches super late-game your damage will begin to fall off slightly, for that reason I like to throw in a last whisper as basically every ADC will have a GA and every APC an hourglass. Just in general its likely every member of the enemy team will have over 100 armor by end game and BotRk's damage becomes heavily mitigated without a LW for penetration. If there is a lack of armor on the enemy team it is better to throw in a ghostblade for additional anti-kite or trinity force for just better all-around bruiser goodness.
[OUTDATED] - Just use the build found at the top of the guide
Here I will break down my method for itemizing Nocturne. After many games played as Nocturne I think I have boiled it down to a pretty exact science. To make it easier I will break it down into stages. The golden rule of thumb for building Nocturne is to build as much damage as possible while still being able to survive. It's a very fine line and as you gain more experience you will learn how much you can get away with. Pay attention to how much gold you have Vs. that of your enemies when factoring what items to build.
1. Early game/Lane phase:
Start by building your spirit stone upgrade, you want the gold generation passive as well as the butcher passive as fast as possible to start farming for the late game. Now I will start building two of the three following core offensive items: brutalizer, bilgewater, phage. Obviously only build the item if you intend to finish them eventually into ghostblade, Botrk and phage respectively. Here is an analysis on all the items:
Brutalizer -> Ghostblade: Brutalizer will amplify your damage by a decent margin early on and the CDR will mean more ult ganks, not a bad choice. Offers no sustain or survivability however and as such carries a bit more risk.
Phage -> Trinity Force: Phage offers a very nice mix of damage, health and utility. The best bruiser item you can build. The passive works very well with smite, simply smite a minion as your ganking for an instant speed boost to help you close in on your target.
Bilgewater -> BoTrk: Bilge offers sustain, damage and a great ganking active. Using bilgewater as you start your E tether will all but guarantee the fear and subsequent kill. Even if the target flashes the slow should be enough to stop the tether from breaking until you catch back up. It's also a nice item for afk farming the jungle as you will never need to back as long as you have this.
My personal choice: The bilgewater + phage combo is amazing when sticking to targets and gives decent damage and your survivability should be fine with just these two items in small skirmish (teamfights are another story) . I build the bilgewater first for the sustain when farming and to make your ganks more powerful before you have much access to more damage.
Note: If you are falling behind or for whatever reason laning phase has ended extremely quick only build bilgewater or cutlass, if you aren't getting kills or farming enough you can't afford to get two items before teamfights start and you need some sort of tankiness to survive.
What you build in the mid-game will depend greatly on how fed you got in the early game. It's also important to consider how fed the enemies got, no point building damage if that riven/syndra has 7 kills and will easily one shot you. Typically this is how I proceed at this step:
Fed - > Finish building one of the damage items you started, below is a quick overview of my thoughts on them:
Ghostblade: If you finish this item before 20 minutes your damage will simply put be amazing. You will delete any un-armored target you reach with Paranoia in seconds unless they have some serious peel ready for you or you. It's pretty ridiculous how easy you can kill over-extended lanes with this item in the mid-game, any champion without an extremely strong escape or kite potential will be a guaranteed kill if you catch them even one screen away from a tower or teammates. That being said the cons of this item are that it quickly becomes obsolete as enemies start to build armor and begin to group resulting in carries being much harder to reach and kill and rarely go alone over-extended. As an added bonus the active can be used defensively to run away from enemies, providing a pretty strong speed boost if used on your dusk trail. All in all a very solid, under-rated item but a bit of a gamble due to its effectiveness being limited to the early and mid-game.
Trinity Force: My current favorite choice as far as items go, it's expensive that's for sure but champions capable of utilizing the wide variety of stats it gives will have a huge power spike after completing this item. Nocturne's sustained damage once completing this item is immense, you will beat soft targets down very quickly with a trinity if you are on your dusktrail and have your W buff proc'd. You will find your sustained damage against lightly armored bruisers and even dedicated tanks to still be quite decent with this item and as such I dub this item the best over-all item in the sense it gives you strong dueling potential against any type of champion in the game. You can effectively duel fed bruisers where a ghostblade or ruined king would not allow you to do so as easily and the damage is still more than enough for squishies. The item however is extremely expensive and the components eat up a lot of very limited inventory space so never build this if you begin to fall behind.
BotRk: My former go-to item for carrying with Nocturne has slightly fallen out of favor with me lately. It seems to me like It's early game power is a little bit lacking and I tend to find myself choosing trinity more and more over it, the attack speed is nice and synergies well with Nocturne however and it is definitely still a strong item just a bit more situational. This item obvious is very good at killing hp stacking enemies and champions that are typically difficult to catch/stick to. It provides a really nice active that can be used both offensively and defensively and provides a lot of dueling power. Due to the hp shredding nature of this item it is typically a bit weaker early on and scales much better into the late game (basically this item is the inverse of ghostblade).
My personal opinion: Trinity > Botrk > Ghostblade
Under-fed/behind -> If you find yourself behind as Nocturne you pretty much have to abandon all hopes of completing damage items and rush tankiness so you don't just get crushed in teamfights and lose the game outright. It's likely if your behind you've died in counter-ganks, died in ganks or given up objectives, this means its very likely your team as a whole isn't very farmed and won't have many huge damage threats to draw attention away from yourself. It's important to itemize what you need the most to survive:
Randuins omen: The best armor item in the game, gives a nice chunk of armor and HP giving it the highest possible EHP against AD oriented damage and the flat HP doesn't hurt against mages either. For this reason I dub it superior for basically any champion to frozen heart as the main armor item. Warden's mail first is good against fed ADC's or AA based top laners/junglers otherwise I would probably get the giant's belt first as it helps you against all sources of damage rather than just one.
Spectre's Cowl/Banshee's Veil: The go-to MR item for every bruiser, cowl gives decent stats with a nice passive that is excellent vs. AP harass and poke damage. I typically find Randuins too important of a buy to actually fully complete spectre's cowl to Banshee's veil early on. Dumping that much money into MR early on will leave you extremely vulnerable to AD damage, which is much more prevalent than AP. Only in rare cases would I fully complete banshee's veil as my 2nd or 3rd item. I typically leave it for a 4th or 5th while sometimes building an early cowl if the enemy mid laner is fed and playing a bursty champion or the enemy has multiple sources of strong AP damage (eve jungle for example).
Aegis of the legion/Locket of the iron Solari: I honestly do not like this item one bit. Aegis of the legion was hurt a great deal by the nerfs and as a result I really don't feel that much tankier after completing it, Iron solari is a bit better but I still feel like selfish tank items are much better for you. This item however is obviously a situational good pickup against teams with a lot of AoE.
You're doing average -> If you find yourself not really getting kills or snowballing objectives but managing not to die and farming the jungle at a decent rate then it is usually up to your discretion to build more damage or get tankier. Your team composition is the most important factor in making this decision, it's up to you to decide what your team needs more. I will usually alternate between completing offensive and defensive items so I'm always a damage threat but still capable of soaking damage.
You're really fed -> In this rare situation I would consider finishing both your damage items before building any tank items. If you're rolling the enemy team they are most likely desperating trying to farm/turtle and get back into the game meaning the enemies will take longer to group up and force teamfights or be much weaker and unable to kill you quick enough if you do. Once you finish two damage items you will absolutely wreck people in small skirmishes and be a terror in teamfights as your ultimate allows you to engage and destroy whoever you deem the most dangerous on the enemy team. I would never recommend buying three offensive items in a row, it's simply too greedy and an extremely easy way to throw a game. Definitely build at least one tank item such as Randuins after completing your second major damage item, pick up a second if you start to cool off or the enemy is catching up otherwise feel free to build a third and final offensive item like last whisper.
Basically you should be near full build by this point if you've been getting kills and only two item choices remain to you:
Last whisper: The tank killer, this item will allow you to do sustained damage to even full tanks and make you scary to anyone on the enemy team no matter how tanky they are. Build this item if the enemy team has a lot of tanky, low damage threats and you are confident that you can soak a decent amount of damage. If you build a GA you will likely just do no damage to tanks/bruisers and be mobbed and killed by them then achieve absolutely nothing when you resurrect.
Guardian angel: This item isn't cost-effective by any means but provides a modest amount of armor and magic resist and grants you a potentially game-changing passive. This item effectively gives you another chance to enter the fight and turn the battle in your favor. This item is essential against teams with multiple high-damage low tankiness threats, you likely won't need the last whisper to kill them easily anyways.
Standard, machete is good for jungle sustain and clear speed. Not much else to say.
Standard Final Items
Semi-troll. Split push and blow fools up. It is nearly impossible to lose a 1v1 with this build.
Swap out guardian angel for Randuins - Maw of malmortus - Trinity force or Mercurial Scimitar based on your preference if you are feeling manly
Be forewarned that this build isn't anywhere near as viable as the standard bruiser build BUT it has near tryndamere/master yi levels of split push potential and anyone who falls within your ultimate range will die and turrets will do nothing to save them (granted you are farmed).
You can exchange the IE for a hydra or statikk shiv for stronger splitpushing but I think IE is the best option for just straight blowing people up. You can get a guardian angel for an extra life instead too if your some sort of pussy (probably the most viable option).
A decent alternative to Randuins if you find the passive isn't really worth it or your team needs more damage rather than tankiness but you can't afford or risk getting a damage item. The perfect bruiser item but the passive is a little costly, don't build it if you're behind.
Only build this on full tank Nocturne, not worth it on bruiser
Overlooked by just about everyone these days, this item can serve as a nice replacement for banshees veil as flat hp does a decent job at mitigating AP damage and can boost your EHP against flat AD as well. Do not replace randuins or sunfire for this item, flat HP is not effective without armor to back it up, you can only get away with replacing MR with hp in some cases because it is more bursty and less sustained by nature.
It's also possible to replace trinity or a different damage item with this if you need a balance between tankiness and damage from one item. Passive is insanely good at sticking to enemies as well as peeling for your carries.
Same case as frozen mallet, brings a lot of flat HP to the table to substitute for MR and/or bolster your EHP against AD. People stopped spamming this item on every jungler after BotRk was introduced but since that item has since stopped being built as much it is safe to bust out this item again if your team needs a dedicated tank.
Hydra Nocturne is a real thing, I'm just trying to determine the most practical time to build it. It offers a lot of damage and allows you to blaze through jungle camps. This item gives a surprising amount of AoE damage as it synergizes with your passive to instantly dish out a lot of AoE damage upon landing with R- > Q -> Auto ( passive) - > Hydra. Just replace one of your core offensive items with this, if you are building it at all I would probably rush it and compliment it with trinity or ruined king later.
Edit: a lot less viable in newer patches.
A very good jungling passive, the 20% damage boost is AoE and allows you to shred camps while providing a small amount of sustain. Despite being recently nerfed it still plays a big role in keeping you healthy early. The passive also provides some good upfront burst when ganking early on. Combined with Q is also makes great farming tool later on as you can quickly clear waves by casting Q through them then attacking a minion in the middle of the wave.
The staple skill of Nocturne, this skill grants a huge AD steroid, movespeed buff and can even provide neat utility like tracking an invisible target like Shaco or Akali. That being said being able to lead and land Q when ganking or in teamfights is extremely important as it provides a large chunk of your dps and chasing potential. If you are having a hard time landing it from a distance it can be better to get extremely close first or even wait until the fear activation on your E to cast it just to ensure that it hits your enemy. As an added bonus it removes unit collision meaning you are free to run through any champions or minions while on it.
Worth noting that Q is also your main escape mechanism, simply cast Q in the direction you are running to increase your movement speed and be able to outrun most champions
It can also be used very effectively against champions with skillshots by abusing the unit collision, see the tricks and tips section for a video on this.
Shroud of Darkness
This skill will end up securing kills and saving your life countless times. A spellshield is an extremely powerful spell and a great counter to champions like Karthus or lux. This skill has a high skill cap and how it is used separates the good players from the great. A well timed spellshield can open up kill opportunities that would otherwise be impossible for other junglers, it can block any form of cc even the knockback from Janna's Monsoon making nocturne an extremely potent tower diver and bot lane ganker. You can even block extremely powerful ults from the likes of Karthus, Lux, Malzahar, Oriana, Warwick, Skarner, Darius ect. successfully blocking ultimates can negate huge amounts of damage during early/mid ganks and have a huge impact later on in big fights.
As a sidenote, anytime W is used to block a spell it will trigger a sinister laugh from Nocturne, this is one of the coolest skill emotes out of any champion and is very fitting to his character.
Nocturne's only hard CC, it increases in duration as it is leveled up making it worthwhile to max second. Other than that it's magic damage is practically negligible, when ganking if possible try to keep a small distance ahead of them that way if they use flash or any form of jump/dash the fear tether will not be broken, this is especially important when dealing with champions with built in dashes or mobility skills.
Like Q, this skill can also be used defensively, if you are being chased down quickly cast fear on your pursuer and continue to run away, once the fear kicks in you should be able to easily escape (unless multiple people are chasing you of course)
This is the skill that will make or break you as Nocturne.
In the right hands Paranoia is one of the strongest ultimates in the game, correct use of this skill almost always guarantees at least one kill for you or your teammates and its range allows you to easily gank warded lanes from the fog of war. If possible try to avoid using your ultimate to initiate a gank, if you can lane gank or the river is unwarded it is best to start without it and use it to stick to a target after a dash or flash is used however don't be afraid to use it to initiate if your lanes are covered by wards just make sure your teammates are aware and ready to go in when you do. This skill has a very long cooldown at early levels however and you lose a lot of your pressure on the lanes when it's down so don't just throw it away, if you're using your ultimate you should be securing at least a kill and possibly another objective like a tower or dragon.
In the mid-game this ultimate can be devastating in turning small skirmishes in your team's favor or catching out supports warding or carries over-extended farming side-lanes and easily snowball your team to victory if used properly. Misuse can easily bait you to your death so its essentially to learn when to use this ultimate.
Even in teamfights Paranoia has its uses, ulting when fighting in bushes will completely negate most of their team vision and make them unable to use their skills optimally. It can also be used as a strong re-engage or clean-up skill midway or after a fight.
Maybe one day..
State of Nocturne (Meta analysis)
This section will look at the current state of the jungle and how Nocturne fits (or doesn't) into it.
With a barrage of nerfs to the most relevant junglers (Lee, Eve, Elise, Maokai) the jungle meta is in a weird place with most people not really sure whats strong or who to pick, many continue to pick the the top three junglers despite their nerfs probably just because they are comfortable playing them and nothing else as they honestly aren't stronger than most other junglers at this point. These nerfs create a sort of power creep that allows Nocturne to slide up the rankings due to his match-up consistency and strong farming ability especially since the nerfs mainly effected early game junglers where Nocturne's presence isn't as high.
The removal of Lee sin's cripple attack speed debuff is huge as it allows you to easily duel him where in the past it was a lot more of a toss-up. Lee sin gets enough play that a nerf like this actually adds a lot more viability to Nocturne.
My build for patch 4.14 is something like Wriggles - boots - botrk - boots2 - randuins - banshees - last whisper.
I will sometimes go for zerkers greaves if neither mercs or tabis seem like great options. I also like to take an early hex drinker against a DFG mage just to survive being targeted while in the process of building randuins. If hex seems necessary then I would opt for a last whisper last for the damage spike.
The changes to botrk in 4.10 I believe actually resulted in some reasonably strong indirect buffs for Nocturne. I experimented a bit with SoteL+GhostBlade item pathing but have since determined that Feral flare is still the right way to go, especially with changes to Botrk heavily favoring attack speed (the on hit effect has been given much greater damage compared to past patches). Stacking a ghostblade on top of feral and botrk means you absolutely destroy carries in terms of damage and sticking power but also have reasonable in-combat sustain circumventing some of your squishiness AND most importantly when you build tanky later in the game you will be able to stay in teamfights and put out damage much longer.
My build for patch 4.12 is something like Wriggles - boots - botrk - boots2 - ghostblade - randuins - banshees - last whisper
The ghostblade is optional, I personally like it a lot, you have to play much more careful with it though. I would opt to skip ghostblade or just leave it at brutalizer if you ever find yourself behind in a game though. Also worth noting that ghostblade and even botrk is much riskier if your team has no tank to initiate or frontline for your carries.
I would say Nocturne is climbing again in terms of viability. Noc is a very strong pick in a game where the enemy laners are very hard to gank top and mid and farming is going to win the game . Good situations to pick Nocturne is when they have a very tanky top (Malph, Renekton, Nasus), very mobile mid (Leblanc, Fizz) or a passive heal running farm mid (Ziggs, Ori, Lux). I would say Nocturne is becoming a much stronger pick due to the aforementioned champions being very popular in this meta and finding good ganks can be hard without playing an early game champion like Lee/Elise/Eve.
Nocturne is also a good pick when the enemy laners are squishy and immobile as your ultimate allows you to bypass wards and jump directly on them. Some great examples of champions you can punish: Ryze, Syndra.
Also I believe Nocturne is a Niche counter-pick to all in high mobility champs like kassadin, Fizz, Riven. Normally it is extremely tiresome trying to gank these champions but with Nocturne if they have a very predictable window of aggression (when they just hit level 6 for example) you can just stand waiting behind your laner and ult in as soon as they commit to a fight dive in for the free kill once they have burned their mobility to engage.
My ranking for Nocturne this patch is high tier 2 as early game junglers can outpressure you and lose the game before you have a chance to impact the game BUT he rises to near godlike tier in farm games or low-skirmish early games.
Patch 4.7 - Inevitable FF nerfs
The nerfs to the feral flare line were fairly heavy. Pretty typical knee-jerk reaction from riot, the nerfs were justified but so many aspects of the feral flare was hit:
-Lose 25 dmg on minions
-No longer gain bonus 3 AD and 5% AtkSP on transformation
-Auto attack Heal no longer scales on stacks
The minor loss of stats and damage to minions hurts the clear a little but the most noticeable nerf is by far the scaling health leech, which was honestly probably the most broken aspect as near-full-tank junglers could regain insane amounts of EHP through the AA heal. The fact that stacks can now be earned through kills/assists is a nice plus though. I think feral was slightly overnerfed and returning it to 25 stacks to transform would balance it out a bit better than its current state but it still should be perfectly viable in the jungle especially now that you actually get stacks by helping your team. It also prevents you from getting locked out of your jungle and unable to complete feral due to constant teamfighting which is a nice plus.
I would say Nocturne is somewhat unphased by the nerfs as he is one of the best gankers of the conventional feral flare junglers behind only perhaps Xin Zhao and can become an extremely dominant ganker post-6. You will still be a big damage threat with feral and should have no problem with the slightly reduced clear time. I would put Nocturne at low tier 1 as far as junglers are concerned.
Previous patch metas
Patch 4.5 - Feral Flare Hype
Feral flare introduces a vastly expanded viable jungle pool. Early game aggressive junglers are still very effective and can snowball games but in an elder lizard vs farm jungler match-up as long as the farmer doesn't waste too much time and the laners doesnt fall too far behind from enemy jungle pressure it's essentially an automatic win for the feral flamer. In higher leagues like plat and diamond expect a team with a sizable early game lead to get extremely aggressive taking towers, securing dragons and constantly invading your jungle and completely shut down your ability to farm through pressure. It's very possible to lose a game straight up before even transforming wriggles into feral flare. In lower leagues though where the enemy teams will most likely just opt to farm when ahead and just in general not really know how to close out a game, feral flare is grossly overpowered.
I think the feral changes have been great for boosting other less prominent autoattackers back into top tier, currently I think the god tier of jungling is a healthy mix of both elder lizard and FF junglers. Kha'zix, Pantheon and VI still have extreme dominance in SoloQ but junglers like Nocturne, Master yi, Tryndamere, Shyvana ect. have begun to replace some of the former top tier lizard junglers like Wukong and Lee sin.
Overall honestly Feral flare is simply safer, requires less timing and less skill to succeed which is probably why many (especially non-junglers) dislike Feral Flare, but you can't win with just farming alone at higher divisions. Nocturne jungle is all about optimizing your time. It's easy to just farm feral flare but if you truly want to hard carry you have to optimize everything you do, you have to utilize your ultimate to out pressure the enemy jungler, save failing lanes and secure kills and objectives all while powerfarming.
Bordering on the verge of unviability in recent patches, feral flare has single-handedly allowed Nocturne to ascend back into the god tier of junglers. None of the spirit stone items ever felt that efficient on Nocturne, the early game power spike it provided was still noticeable but it just didn't offer him nearly as much as it did other top junglers such as Kha, lee, Vi, Pantheon ect.
As far as elder lizard was concerned Nocturne has poor AD scaling, poor utilization of the lizard passive and most importantly a lack of late game scaling. Conversely ancient golem really hampered his ability to farm (what Nocturne is supposed to do best) and experienced the same lack of late game scaling.
The new wriggles on the other hand does exactly everything Nocturne wants; it provides a nice attack speed and slight AD boost early on that actually provides decent combat stats early on and becomes essentially a free wits end with life steal once it hits its upgraded form Feral Flare. Nocturne's traditionally poor late-game scaling is almost completely alleviated by the fact that the passive effects of Feral flare can scale infinitely with jungle mobs killed.
Nocturne enjoys fairly diverse build pathways allowing him to slot into basically any team composition. Once completing wriggles Nocturne can go anything from full-tank team fight initiator to glass cannon split-push terror with great success depending on your playstyle. I personally think the best way of playing Nocturne is as a bruiser-secondary-initiator-carry diver but he can definitely excel in other roles due to the power of feral flare.
Nocturne farms faster almost than anyone, he can powerlevel to level 6 and grab wriggles before his second buffs even come back up then use his ultimate for free kills around the map. Junglers who gank heavily pre-6 can still be a pain as they can get fed early and start snowballing lanes. Worst case scenario being they start counter-ganking your ult usually leading to your death since their laner and jungle will have more gold on them. Overall extremely strong now and has many viable build paths to fit into nearly any team composition.
Nocturne Ranking: High Tier 1
Patch 4.3 - Early game dominance
The current jungle meta is basically all about having as much damage as is necessary to take down carries while still being very tanky. Many of these current champions revolve around snowball potential coupled with strong dueling capabilities and potential for aggression early game. Currently the god tier junglers of patch 4.3 are the likes of Pantheon, Wukong, Kha'zix (R evolve first), Eve, Vi and Lee Sin.
All these champions have certain factors in common:
1) High burst, strong scaling with damage
2) Strong dueling and presence early
3) Start off as pseudo-assassins early building 1 or 2 damage items before going full tanky and becoming bruiser late
4) An innate tankiness factor I.e. Panth/Vi/Wukong passives, lee/eve shields, Kha'zix damage reduction and stealth
5) Build elder lizard for fast clearing/snowballing early
Most if not all of these champs will build elder lizard as the damage will help snowball out of the jungle by giving you stronger bursts in ganks/skirmishes as well as allowing you to clear your jungle faster. The recent buffs to the durability of the jungle mobs have somewhat discouraged ancient golem as clear times can quickly ramp up without any damage items especially on certain champs with mediocre clear times. Many champions will then follow elder up with a component for another damage item such as a hex drinker, brutalizer, phage or cutlass before going into hard tank items like randuins and banshees. This style of item build is extremely effective right now because it generally allows for easy diving of carries for most of the game while still allowing you to soak a lot of punishment. The offensive component can be later upgraded after a defensive item or two to allow for a quicker/easier time killing carries if your tank is sufficient enough for your current enemies, consider what your team as a whole needs when thinking about itemizing more damage or tankiness.
Nocturne in 4.3
Nocturne unfortunately in my eyes is no longer a top tier pick, he isn't in a bad place, but he isn't in the best either. He was quite balanced up until the recent nerfs to fear which made his E much worse overall especially when ganking early. He is still completely viable but just finds himself slightly outclassed by the current high-pressure early game champs, I play him on occasion when other stronger junglers are banned out, so in that sense he makes for a good secondary as its very unlikely you will ever have to worry about him being banned on this patch. Farm junglers have become basically extinct in this patch and you're very likely to have your team raging at you before 10 minutes if the enemy jungler is applying more pressure than you. If the enemy jungler fails to have a significant impact early on though you will more than likely be far ahead of him and cs and can start using your ultimate to get kills and objectives across the map.
Now more than ever you have to utilize your ultimate to its fullest to stay ahead of the enemy jungler and snowball the game in your favor. Nocturne fits the meta in a sense that he still presents a very large threat to carries with only a few offensive items because of his natural steroids and damage potential built into his kit. My build mimics the current assassin-tank kha'zix and evelynn builds that is currently trending as Nocturne performs essentially the same role.
Nocturne ranking: Mid Tier 2
Nocturne - Assassin Vs. Bruiser
Which should I play?
- Team has a strong initiate, Malphite ult, leona ult, ashe ult ect
- Team is pretty beefy (at least 2 off-tanks) or there is a full-tank Ex. Malphite top, Maokai support
- Their carries have LOW mobility (Miss fortune, Ashe, Kog ect.)
- Requires much more caution/smarter play to be successful
- Not for those inexperienced with nocturne or assassins
- Superior 1v1/skirmish good for split-push comps
- Their team has low damage
- Can be easily focused and killed
- Your team LACKS initiate
- Your team is squishy
- They have tons of peel for their carry and diving them will be near impossible
- Their carries have HIGH mobility (Ez, Corki ect.)
- A safer option, being tanky means you can afford to make small mistakes and not die
- Can't snowball as hard as assassin
- More reliable in soloque
- Their team has high damage
It is very possible to play 10 games as nocturne and never end up with the same build, one of the cornerstones of learning to improve your game and climb ELO is evolving from using cookie-cutter builds and learning which items are best to take in certain situations. Before we start we will talk about basic itemization paths on Nocturne, optimally Nocturne is played as an assassin but can be built bruiser if the team needs more tankiness. In champion select you are generally going to have to decide based on allied and enemy team composition whether you should be playing Nocturne like a carry assassin or a front-line bruiser. I generally find playing him as an assassin more fun but you can't do it every game and expect to win you need to evaluate what your team needs the most to consistently win. Keep in mind that the assassin build is far more reliant on gold to be effective, if you are shut down early game and not doing well don't continue the assassin build instead switch over to a tankier variant.
Do not build assassin Nocturne if your team has no initiator. You will instead lurk in the background until the fight is already in full swing before jumping onto your carry, if you are the first in you will die instantly every time. Likewise if you have a Malphite building full-tank top lane then don't build like a tank also, look at your team and evaluate what mix of damage and defense your team needs and build accordingly.
Pretty simple, when a fight breaks out lurk around and wait for a good initiate and ultimate whatever carry is stronger and blow everything on them, this is a suicide mission at times but if you kill them it is worth it. Trading a carry for a jungle in a teamfight is almost always worth it. Your team will be much more suited to split-push style stratgies as you can easily single our a certain champion over-extending an destroy them before the enemy team can react.
You will be much tankier but remember your damage will be significantly lower as well, the longer the game goes on the less likely you will be capable of diving and killing the ADC. You will primarily be a frontliner, attacking other frontliners or anyone chasing your ADC. You should be using your ultimate for utility in teamfights or saving it for re-engaging half way through a fight, it makes it harder for them to focus your carry or orient themselves in fights. Make sure you use it for the damage near the end of its cast, even if the target is right beside you.
Ultimately I think bruiser is the safest/most viable, however it lacks the carry potential that assassin nocturne has if played in ideal match-ups
Protip: How to get free kills all game
When playing assassin or bruiser I highly recommend split-pushing bot lane or wherever the ADC likes to hang out. Leave a wave freezing right in front of their tower and lurk behind the wave (hug the lane wall to maximize chances of avoiding jungle wards), they will go to farm it thinking they are safe and thats when you jump on them and insta-gib them. If you are far enough ahead its likely the tower will no make difference at all as you will destroy them so fast.
How to itemize
Somewhat outdated by still fairly relevant
]Every guide on solomid will tell you what item to build, more in depth guides will tell you when to build it but I find very little guides tell you why to build it. Knowing how to rationalize what a good item build for each game is one of the main skills you need to be able to carry yourself to silver/gold league and beyond. If your going to become a better player you can't just rely on guides to tell you what builds are best, you need to be able to figure it out on your own. Guides can point you in the right direction and make suggestions but ultimately you need to know what the best item for the situation is in every game. Here are some basic things to consider when deciding on your build.
At the start of the game
Immediately look at the enemy team and determine the amount of damage and what source it will be early, mid and late-game. Look at what champions in particular are being played. Mentally prepare what item choices mid-game will be best.
-Heavy AoE teamfight Wombo combos: Anivia/Oriana/Karthus + Amumu/malphite = Fast locket
-Heavy autoattackers: Jax/irelia + Nocturne/Jax = Fast wardens mail
-Very balanced team: Darius, Anivia, Maokai + Generic botlane = Frozen Mallet
-True damage: Darius, Olaf, Cho'Gath = Warmogs (Flat hp)
-Extremely bursty champions like Leblanc or Veigar = Hexdrinker or Banshees veil
-Don't build locket if your support is
You are fed early
This varies greatly on whether your champion can snowball or not, generally bruisers (J4, Noc, Xin, Jax) are extremely capable of snowballing. Champions that assume tank or support roles (Maokai, Amumu, Malphite) generally not so much. Nocturne is capable of snowballing so use that to your advantage. If you get fed skip your first defensive item and finish a bigger offensive item. After that is done, if you are still snowballing continue to build another offensive/mixed item otherwise resume building defense items. It is important if you start dying a lot to resume building defensively and not get caught up trying to get massive damage as it is still easy to get focused even if the enemies are very weak.
-You get fed early, instead of building aegis like you planned from step 1 instead finish your brutalizer into a ghostblade
-If you keep getting fed after that, build frozen mallet
-Your snowballing stops or gets slowed down then build aegis or a different defensive item like you originally planned
You are shut down
Being shut-down is like being snowballed in reverse. Champions who snowball are generally more affected by this and tanky junglers are less affected. When this happens to you generally you have to stop building damage and start building tanky just to survive skirmishes or teamfights. If you continue to get shut down then build items that benefit your team: Locket, aegis/bulkwark, Randuins.
-You die 3 times before the 10 minute mark due to invades, bad ganks or counter-ganks. Instead of finishing ghostblade after aegis you just build another defensive item like Locket/Warden mail/Runic
- You're still getting killed and falling further behind, you don't build frozen mallet instead you go for a randuins to slow their divers and help your ADC out
-You keep dying and are basically feeding at this point (it happens to even the best of us), you build locket, randuins, runic bulkwark and basically just act as a secondary support, follow the ADC and peel for him.
-If you have a rough start but pull out of it, you can continue to build a little damage just don't go overboard.
An enemy carry gets fed
If an enemy carry/top and in some cases even the jungler (if he is snowball-y) get lots of kills early game you must adapt to his damage or he will just keep snowballing on you and your team. Build items that defend against the main source of damage in teamfights, even if the enemy team has 4 AD champions that one fed Oriana can do more damage than all of them combined mid-game.
-Fed leblanc or veigar = Hexdrinker
-Fed Irelia/Jax/Any ADC = Wardens mail/randuins
-Fed AP and AD = Probably fucked, Warmogs/Frozen mallet and hope for the best
Your carry is really fed
This is something many people overlook, as a jungler you have high potential to function as a secondary support for your fed carry. If your carry gets really far ahead just doing the best you can to give him auras and protecting him in teamfights can win the game in itself. If your carry does amazing botlane but they have a lot of dive potential or wombo combos in teamfights spending some gold to help keep him safe is often times well worth it.
- Locket of the solari can provide clutch shields against ignite/Karthus ect
-Aegis and Runic bulkwark can provide up to 30 magic resistance for your teammates to help survive AoE
-Randuins omen to slow down heavy auto-attack divers like Irelia or Jax
The jungle, the meta and you (Champion rankings)
If you want to excel and climb to the higher divisions you are going to have to eventually learn to fully adapt and understand the current meta. So what exactly is the current meta and why does it exist? Meta is basically what is currently considered the most optimal or efficient, specifically when choosing team compositions, item build paths and skill sets.
So what does this mean for you the jungler? Currently the jungler meta is all about cost-effeciency, early game pressure and teamfighting utility. As a result full-tank and support-junglers are in my opinion the strongest at the moment. Bruisers are also extremely good when matched with a high CC, tanky top laner such as Shen or Malphite. Despite the promises made that the new jungle would allow junglers to carry this is unfortunately not the case and carry junglers are still gimmicky and easy to shutdown without kills (which would probably be better on teammates anyways).
The following is a link to a page by Stonewall, a long time league player and jungling expert who has been putting out tier list and offering analysis of all jungle champions for a while now. All credit goes to him of course.
Here are an assortment of various common knowledge/advice for jungling any champion
I highly suggest watching this quicktip video
Camps will not start respawning until ALL minions in the camp are cleared
- Small camps spawn at 1:55 and take 0:50 to respawn
- Buffs (Red/blue) spawn at 1:55 and take 5:00 to respawn
- Dragon spawns at 2:30 and takes 6 minutes to respawn
- Baron spawns at 15:00 and takes 7 minutes to respawn
Take timers when objectives die so your team can be prepared to take them on respawn. At lower elos many dragons go for free to whatever team is waiting there when it spawns simply because they don't know its up and its very easy to snowball a lead by simply taking dragons.
Turn on timestamps in the options, this means whenever dragon or baron is slain it will leave a timer beside the event so it is easy to look back through chat and find when it was killed. Also hold Z to enlarge the chat, makes it easier to look back through it.
Don't give your position away without reason. Don't walk through mid lane because it will save 5 seconds, walk around. If the enemy has seen you then you are much easier to track, only reveal yourself when you absolutely have to.
Almost no one calls jungle in champ select, you never have to worry about not being able to play who you want.
Give all blue buffs after the first to your mid laner unless he is blatantly feeding, they will make much better use of it than you. Also it is just a common courtesy much like how they leash you, don't be a dick.
If the enemy jungler shows at a certain lane if you are close go assist and counter-gank, if you are at the other end of the map enter his jungle and take whatever you can (leave one minion behind on small camps and make sure to clear buffs completely so you know when it respawns).
When counter-jungling after holding or passing through a lane don't let minions get vision of you going towards the river or worse towards their jungle, by doing this you invite the enemy jungler/solo laners to collapse on you
When counter-jungling if lanes close to you go MIA, assume that you were seen by a ward and they are coming to kill you, immediately leave the jungle, it's not worth dying for 50 gold.
Listen to your team, if they ask for help/tell you a lane has no wards/summoners then listen. Often times a laner will not ask for your help unless they need it or they think securing a kill is easy. On the otherhand pay attention to your current lane match-ups, if someone is getting stomped (usually top or bottom) try to lend a hand.
If a lane is beyond helping abandon it. If top lane has fed 3 kills already solo and the odds of actually securing a kill if you gank are low then don't waste your time trying to save it, odds are it is lost no matter what you do so focus your efforts on other lanes or objectives around the map.
Always be prepared for objectives, if dragon is up in 30 seconds don't wander around with half-health and no mana clearing small camps, recall and be prepared to contest or take it for yourself.
When taking buffs always use smite as soon as the damage will instantly kill it, always assume there is a shaco in that bush behind you, it will save your buffs more than once and its a good habit to get into
When ganking if the river and tri are both warded try entering through lane and hiding in one of the lane brush (this is ideal when the lane is frozen in the middle). These ganks will often catch the enemy laners by surprise and allow you to get very close while initiating. Tell your laner to push if you are near the lane and want to attempt an in-lane gank but the creeps are pushed up to your tower
During a gank letting your lane partner take a secure kill can allow him to snowball his lane much better and is often an appreciated/friendly gesture, however don't take any chances if there is any chance he can escape take him down
Everytime you reach the fountain have a short term agenda, for example:
- My red buff is up, my blue buff is up and my ultimate cooldown is 60 seconds
1) Go take my red, clear wraiths
2) Give blue to my mid-lane
3) Clear wolves waiting for ultimate cooldown to finish
4) Gank bottom with ultimate
During ganks or small skirmishes if you know a kill is secured leave that target and peel off to the next one, getting two kills is better than trying to killsteal one
When ganking a lane against a champion who has a target gap-close (Kat, Akali) and esepcially gap-close + CC (Jax, Irelia) make sure to never gank from behind, they can simply jump to you and make an easy escape. Try to approach lanes from the side if possible so they can't abuse their mechanics for an easy escape.
When ganking a lane and they run into a brush it is often a good idea to drop a ward in it as soon as you are in range, this prevents you from being bush juked. If you have no ward make sure to split up a little from your top laner, this makes you you harder to juke or be hit by AoE abilities/CC.
When smiting big objectives always use your nuke in combination with your smite to do as much burst damage as possible. For example use Q + smite when taking objectives to make it harder for the enemy jungler to out-smite you
If you are being invaded a lot ward the entrances to your own jungle, if you catch this player entering your jungling immediately tell your lanes to converge on him and it should be an easy kill and will make him think twice about entering your jungle again
If the enemy mid is extremely mana intensive or you have a very mobile mid lane, it is often a good idea to invade their blue on its second respawn this is around 7:10-7:20. Also if you feel like you are much stronger than their jungling you can try to invade their red buff which spawns usually around 8:20-9:00
If top lane is ganked try to get your teammates to help you take dragon, the enemy team won't be able to take it without smite, which is currently at top lane. However beware doing so if the enemy has vision as some enemy mid lanes can absolutely crush small skirmishes level 6-11. If you are a bit ahead consider buying a pink ward to sweep dragon early and prepare it for taking later
When an allied laner dies or recalls make sure you get there to take any cs and soak exp that would otherwise go to waste, this is very important and should be done over clearing camps. Many inexperienced junglers don't realize how much exp and gold they are throwing away when they miss a wave at tower as opposed to finishing clearing wraiths. Also if the enemy jungler is holding a lane make sure to counter-jungle whatever you can from him
When holding a lane for a team-mate, If it is currently frozen towards the enemy side pushing the wave into the tower will cause the lane to reset back to middle or even towards his tower, this can be very helpful to your laner if he is behind and being bullied. On mid lane, if the enemy mid has gone back as well I will usually push the wave to the tower as this will cause the enemy mid to lose exp as well as reset the lane. Only do this if it is just after your laner has recalled and/or the enemy mid isn't there, you don't want to steal their farm or leave the lane in a bad position for your teammates
When counter-jungle minigolems be aware that passing minion waves can see you between x:15 to x:25 and x:45 to x:55 where x can be any minute in game other than 1. So if it's currently 11:20 and you are about to steal his golems simply wait until 11:25 to make a move on them so you won't be spotted by an observant enemy.
Try to buy at least one ward for every 10 minutes of gameplay. Of course no guide would be complete with an obligatory map of where you should be placing wards (courtesy of flatline-lol.net):
Jungling match-ups There are different types of roles when jungling that each have their own strengths and weaknesses
- These junglers are characterized by their ability to gank well and gank often even pre-6
- Rarely attempt counter-jungling unless it is directly in their path or they know for sure it is safe
- Will generally lose to you or go even at best in a 1v1
- Often buy 2 gp/10 items rather than wriggles or offensive items
- Most have slow clear times and are prone to counter-jungling
When playing against these types of junglers it is important to counter-gank/trade with as you will almost always come out on top if you are not behind. Nocturne is especially effective at counter-ganking post-6 as his ultimate can allow you to jump into fights from your own jungle. Use your ultimate to intervene on a 2v1 or 2v3 and turn the tides in your favor since you should be stronger than their jungler
Try to think as if you were your enemy, if playing against a Maokai and mid lane is pushed to the enemy turret you can bet that is where he is going to gank especially if it is at the time when both jungler have double buffs and are looking for ganks, go to mid lane and lie in ambush for him
Also if a jungler is showing extreme favoritism, ganking one lane, usually mid or top over and over again, you can counter camp and turn his gank against him. If you manage to get a kill on him make sure to safely take as much as his jungle as you can while he is respawing or recalling. If you notice the enemy jungler heading off into the jungle with low hp after a failed gank or holding a lane you can try to predict what camp he is heading too and lie in ambush for him there for an easy kill
Since these junglers gank a lot try to ward their jungle entrances, being able to track their movements will allow for much easier counter-ganking
Be careful 1v1'ing them if they manage to get a few successful ganks even if you have been counter-jungling them all-game, many of them can be hard to kill due to their cc and durability with a bit of assist/kill gold and can bait you into your death
Counter-junglers/Farm-junglers (You are this)
- These champions get ahead by outfarming their enemy junglers
- Favor combat items over Gp/10
- Have fast clear times
- Are usually great 1v1 duelers early
- Ganks are generally mediocre pre-6
- Tend to aggressively invade weaker junglers
This is what type of jungler you are, you powerfarm, gank when possible (as soon as possible when your ult is up) and try to outfarm the enemy jungler so you can use your exp/gold advantage to win 1v1s and continue to snowball while reverse snowballing the enemy jungler
These matchups will generally be pretty even, try to perform better ganks early on to earn a gold lead then you can try to flex your muscle a little by invading and trading with him
If you can try to instigate 2v2 fights with your mid and their jungle/mid if you know your mid is stronger. Do this by asking him to come with you to steal blue buff or red buff, generally this can be used to cause a fight, just be careful that you don't take too long and it turns into a 2v3 or even 2v4 as enemy reinforcements come
If the enemy gets ahead you will have to play defensively or counter his offense with offense. Ward your jungle entrances so you can see him entering your jungle and kill him with support from your laners. If you see him entering your jungle to take your wraiths or steal a buff then simply go take his to trade if you are nearby, of course always be careful about enemy laners picking up on this.
- These champions are weak early game
- They are very weak early game duelers
- Almost always take gp/10 items
- Pre-6 ganks are fairly weak (though can still secure kills if played right)
- Are played for their high teamfight/mid-game potential
These champions lack any sort of aggressive early game, if you ever run into them trying to counter-jungle you early game you can most likely kill them, their 1v1 is poor and they cant gank that well. However left unchecked these junglers will be extremely powerful in the mid-game due to their game-changing teamfight ultimates and tankiness once their gp 10's kick in or they get a few kills
It is important to slow them down as much as possible, counter-jungle and trade as much as you can. If you can kill them early you can likely kill them again and again. keep wards on their buffs when they are about to spawn and initiate with your ult or simply sneak up through the brushes. With some help from your laner it should be no problem killing them
If they survive to mid-game they will wreak havoc on your team and there isn't much you can do to stop it as they will usually have a considerable amount of armor by mid-game and become more or less immune to you.
-These champions often have slow/dangerous early jungle clears
-They have mediocre ganks and are not that strong early game
-Traditionally were risky in Season 2 as not securing kills on them would result in a bad late-game
-With the new gold income these champions can now scale into late game where they are most dangerous
These junglers were only but rarely seen in season 2 with borderline viability. The new jungle has changed that all now, the increased gold revenue can actually allow these champions to be jungled and successfully carry them into their late-game potential without having to rely on securing early kills and snowballing.
These junglers although very powerful with the potential to carry games late will still be quite weak early. You can abuse their slow/dangerous clears to counter-jungle them and slow down their early/mid-game progression and make it take longer before they reach a dangerous level.
Tracking their movements and counter-ganking them can be a very successful way to shut them down early, consider contesting their buffs if you are ahead, many of them won't be able to gank very well without red buff.
- The ultimate dueler
- Can counter-jungle you easily, extremely slippery
- Has extremely strong ganks
- Can outduel and outplay you with his kit
- Lots of early-game dragon damage
- Can use wards to jump walls for easy escapes when counter-jungling
There's not much else to say, lee sin is the best jungler out there if played correctly. Although his skill cap is extremely high and a player who can actually use lee sin to his full potential can be hard to come by his kit is still extremely strong in the hands of a decent player. Even if you can outplay or defend your jungle from lee sin his ability to repetitively gank and completely cripple your laners can easily snowball his team. Once he picks up a few kills you don't have much chance of trying to 1v1 him. All you can hope for is he either messes up or over-commits and gets himself killed or fails his ganks, his scaling falls way off as the game progresses so its just a matter of out-lasting him. Season 3 changes have slowed him down quite a bit in terms of sustainability and his ability to gank early but he is still a huge threat for all the reasons mentioned above and you should still fear him, just not as much as you used to.
Jungling - Knowing your role
Every role in a game of League of legends has a set of corresponding duties and responsibilities, jungling is obviously no exception. These go beyond the obvious of ganking lanes and giving buffs to your laners, in this section I will detail what exactly you should be doing as a jungler to ensure your team wins; a jungler can have a great score and still throw the game by not fufilling his role while likewise a jungler who has been playing from behind can easily catch by up by doing exactly what his team needs from him. Now just what are these roles?
Presence, also known as jungle pressure is only relevant in the early game. Simply put; how often you're ganking, how often these ganks are successful and how afraid the enemy laners are of you. Having lots of pressure on a lane means the enemy will play more passive and take less risks which is usually beneficial for your allied laners. It is your job as a jungler to apply lane pressure and help struggling lanes or poor match-ups recover or even get ahead in their lane. Securing kills by ganking is the best way to achieve this but if not possible blowing a flash for free or causing them to take a lot of damage also applies moderate pressure. If you're desperate just making quick likely-to-fail ganks as you pass by a lane will apply weak amounts of pressure even if you don't get their flash or do much damage. Do not waste your time in a lane where you know a kill is highly unlikely or they can 1v2. It is important to learn as a jungler when a lane is lost and should be abandoned to focus your efforts elsewhere.
Initiation, being the first in and starting fights for your team. Most times as the jungler you will be the damage soak and the balls of the team, most often it will be your call when to dive in and start off a teamfight or lead the counter-engage. It is important to be able to evaluate quickly whether a fight can be turned in your favor or initiating is probably a bad idea, overconfidence can lead to a lost teamfight while cowardice can lead to lost objectives. Most times this decision will fall in your hands and its an integral part of jungling to know which is the right call. When initiating you need to frontline and soak as much damage as possible and try to turn back and get out at the last second before dying, the closer you are to death the better job you did. Obviously champions with AoE CC are superior initiators.
Carry diving (Bruiser/Assassin)
Diving and killing the high priority targets in teamfights. This is crucial late-game if there is no one on your team who can get to the backlines and kill that fed ezreal it's very unlikely any team fights late into the game are going to go in your favor. Most often this job is done by the top laner and potentially jungle/mid laner, certain champions excel at killing soft targets in the backlines and need no help when fed while in a lot of cases you will need to assist them in taking down any fed carries. This is less relevant if your ADC is bigger but can still be important to do.
Carry peeling (Support)
Protecting your carry against enemies who want to dive in and kill them. Peeling is extremely effective at all points in the game (moreso late however) and doing a great job peeling makes teamfights a breeze for your carries. It's fairly simply to do, just CC and focus anyone trying to dive, if multiple people are then focus whoever your ADC is killing or the stickiest/highest damage target. Standing very close to him and absorbing CC/damage skillshots is also peeling more or less
When picking your jungler you should be evaluating what your team is missing or who would bring the most to your team composition. Don't play Nocturne if your team has no initiation.
Some quick tips on optimizing nocturne's jungle
-Line up your Q to hit everything in the camp
-Use Q before your passive, the AD boost will apply to it and increase your AoE damage/clear speed
-Never use E on minions unless you have blue buff
-Try to position yourself inbetween autoattacks so that your passive will hit all minions in the camp
-Even if you are counter-jungled your insane clear speeds should allow you to catch back up on small camps
-Be careful about using Q at wraith camps (especially when counter-jungling) as your dusktrail can travel into mid and give away your position
- I normally try to withhold on backing until 750 gold (This is the amount to buy boots + Madreds razor
-The new changes to the season 3 jungle have expanded the size of the jungle entrances, it is now easy to sneak to red buff without being seen by anyone clearing wraiths
-Use a potion whenever you fall below 60% hp, it is important to always be topped up in case you run into someone in the jungle
-When you use Q make sure you are actually standing on the trail to get the bonus AD (Its possible to not get it if you just stand still after casting)
Blue start/Standard route * indicates use smite
Jungle route: Wolves, Blue buff*, Wraiths, Wolves, Red buff*, Wraiths -> Level 4 double buff gank
Skill order: Q,W,Q,E,Q,R
It is possible to gank a lane after blue at level 2 if the lane looks extremely susceptible (No flash, low hp, low mobility ect) or you want to try to scare a flash however normally it's better just to power jungle to 4 then go try to attempt a gank with red buff
Alternatively you can go: Wolves, Blue buff*, Wraiths, Red buff -> Level 3 double buff gank if you feel a faster gank is needed or a lane is severely overextending and you couldn't get a smiteless blue (warning you will lose a lot of your potions taking this route)
Jungle route: Wraiths, Red buff*, Wolves, Wraiths, Blue buff* (if there otherwise mini-golems)
Skill order: Q,E,Q,W (Ganking) or Q,W,Q,E (Farming/blue stolen)
There are only two reasons I would ever start red on Nocturne:
1) Top lane is begging to die. If someone wants to go Silsol and run heal/ignite or exhaust/ignite top lane, by getting red immediately and rushing top you can get first blood 100 % of the time unless you are a big scrub or get seriously outplayed somehow (I'd say only maybe a riven has a chance of escaping level 1).
2) Your blue has been invaded and you don't trust your team enough/they have no interest in helping you take their blue
3) I sometimes start red against junglers who like to invade/camp buffs such as Shaco and Lee sin just to throw them off
You will have to ask for your laners to give you a smiteless leash, they simply damage it until near death and you finish it off without using smite. Afterwards you rush to red and clear it using smite granting you an extremely fast level 3 with double buff and full hp (it is possible you won't quite reach level 3 if too much exp is leached). This path is highly advantageous and gives the most versatility in your jungling early game, you should ask for it whenever possible.
Now after you are level 3 and double buffed you can do one of three things:
1) Inavde - I STRONGLY recommend doing this against a slow jungler you can rush to the enemy buff immediately after you finish yours, you will have to start on the opposite side of the map as the enemy jungler does meaning if they start blue you must also start blue and vice versa. Most junglers will start at blue buff so you will invade them at their red by sneaking around the red buff into the onlooking brush. If they dont spot you out or check the brush take this opportunity to secure an easy first blood or force him to burn his summoners and force him out of the jungle. The trick is to wait in the brush overlooking red buff and let them take as much damage as possible from the lizard and their skills should be on cooldown before initiating on them, don't wait too long though you want red buff to be approx 40% hp this way they can't just smite it and gain level 3 for more hp and base stats (as well as red buff), it might even bait them into staying around too long to try and finish it off. After a successful invade look for a gank opportunity top/mid or clear out any nearby camps (as long as it's still safe to).
Important note: If the enemy jungler got a really good leash as well it is possible he will already have cleared his red and invading is no longer a good idea, just back out or try a gank since enemies rarely suspect ganks from their own jungle.
Important note 2: This method rarely works anymore as nearly every jungler gets a smiteless leash nowadays
There is a video under the Nocturne clips chapter demonstrating a level 3 red buff invade
2) Gank - Go for an early gank if a lane looks easily gankable (refer to ganking match-ups) or is over-extending. You will be level 3 with double buff while they are level 2 and you can secure kills quite easily this way. I find a level 3 gank top to be very effective, just start at the buff furthest from top lane and make your way there to get there as fast as possible. I highly recommend this if top lane is very easy to gank for such as Jax, Jayce, Jarvan, anyone with a gap close or hard cc really or if the enemy champion has really weak escape capabilities.
3) Farm - If the enemy team has a strong jungler and none of the lanes look gankable then just use your buff advantage to powerfarm and wait for an opportunity to arise, you should be able to get boots+Madreds quite fast and then establish lane presence while clearing your jungle quickly as well.
Smiteless red invade
Jungle route: Wolves, Blue buff (smiteless), enemy red buff*
Skill order: Q, E, Q or W
Summary: This invade method has a high chance of stealing the enemy red or even killing the enemy jungler if you get into position undetected, however it only works on junglers who start at blue buff. This type of invade is advisable against low mobility or low sustain junglers, if you successfully execute this route it can severely cripple the enemy jungler and mitigate most if not all jungler pressure from your team. This route is fairly easy to execute but not without its risks, you must start blue buff with a smiteless leash making sure to pop potions to stay as healthy as possible. You must then sneak into the enemy jungle camp and wrap around the side of their red buff and into the bush overlooking red, you should get there before them so just wait patiently for him to arrive. The trick is to outsmite him on his red granting you level 3 and redbuff while he should be weak from tanking it and will only be level 2 without red. You should jump him while simultaneously smiting red and level up Q or W (Q for more damage, W if they have CC). You should be able to kill most champions by the time your fear ends, you may have to burn flash to chase down some tankier champions that escape however.
Some people may defend against this kind of invade by checking their bush or by pulling the red buff into the brush. It is possible to hide around the corner if he just pops in and out of the bush but most likely you will be discovered in which case you have a few options:
1) Flight - The simplest and safest option, using your Q movespeed buff it is incredibly easy to escape before you can be collapsed upon however you put yourself slightly behind due to the time wasted camping their red. Dying however will put you much further behind so be cautious about sticking around to fight.
2) Fight - High risk, high reward. Always a gamble when you stick around to fight in the enemy jungle but it can really pay off sometimes. If you do chose to fight make sure that if red buff is aggro'd to never be tanking it as well, also you should concentrate only on attacking the enemy jungler. If you are about to get collapsed on by the enemy laners and your teammates aren't in position to help you don't take any chances and just flash out through dragon pit.
3) Skirmish - You can cause a skirmish by pinching their midlaner between yourself and your allied mid laner as he comes into the jungle, this is a good option if your low level teamfighting is stronger than the enemies. Beware of fighting 1v2 though as you will die very quickly if your mid laner is too far away to assist you quick enough, high mobility/burst mid laners like Fizz or Leblanc are very good at this kind of thing.
Collasping on botlane is extremely risky however as you can die in seconds fighting 1v3 at such low levels, you could perhaps pull this off with a bot lane support like leona/blitz along with an adc with significant gapclose like Ezreal/Corki but it's still not ideal.
Jungle control, The sixth sense and Soloque mentality
Not only do you have to take into account who the enemy is jungling, you must take into account the enemy himself. Each jungler generally has a dominant playstyle in which they are most comfortable, disrupting their style of play can shake their confidence and cause them to make mistakes or play in ways they normally would not. While certain champions excel at certain styles of play, some players will still follow these play-styles regardless of who they are playing. Generally junglers will be primarily one of two styles:
High profile (Aggressive): These junglers will constantly try to take your wraiths/wolves and actively hunt you down in your jungle if they know you are weaker then them in a straight up fight. If you are unprepared for this it is easy to give up kill after kill even in your own jungle or be crippled by counterjungling.
Low profile (Passive): These junglers opt to farm or counter-gank by keeping low visibility around the map, these junglers can often bait more aggressive players into their death by lulling them into a bad invade or gank and suddenly without warning turn it on them. They also tend to counter-jungle the enemy quickly and leave without being seen.
There are however junglers who posses great jungle control, who will be aggressive when they know it is safe and be able to sense and avoid counter-ganks, baits and traps through great intuition and map awareness. These junglers essentially have no weakness. If you find yourself facing one of these junglers all you can do is make sure your own jungle is secure and try to cripple their laners, try to demoralize and cause strife within the team while snowballing your own.
At higher levels jungling can be extremely unforgiving, if you show weakness enemy junglers will dominate you and steal your buffs all game. Weak junglers don't know how to adapt to a situation if it doesn't go as planned or they are invaded, a large part of jungle control is knowing how to react and regaining control of your jungle after a disadvantage. To be a great jungler you need to always know things like which lane has summoners up, where was the enemy jungler was last seen, objective timers, map awareness and being able to spot quickly when lanes go missing. You need to be particularly observant of mid lane, as middle + jungler invades can kill you very easy if you aren't expecting it. Jungling takes experience, it may be a while before you really start to truly understand it's mechanics fully. In the meantime be prepared to be flamed everytime you die to invade, if you fail to gank every lane simultaneously or any enemies get fed. It's just part of the job, you get used to it.
The sixth sense
This is an often over-looked and under appreciated skill in junglers. In order to truly stand apart from the rest as a great jungler you need to not only be able to perform all the duties required of your role as a jungler but you need to be able to aware of your enemy junglers movements, plans and play-style. Essentially you need intuition, you need to know what lane you think is going to be ganked, or sense if an invade or trap is waiting in your jungle you need to be constantly trying to view the playing field from the perspective of your enemy. More often then not as you progress higher in elo you will either crush your enemy jungler or be crushed by him there is rarely middle ground between two experienced junglers. Knowing how to exploit and track the enemy jungler based on their champion and play style is no easy thing to do and comes with much experience. There's almost no greater example of jungle control and knowledge in the current pro line-up then Theoddone of Team Solomid, watching his streams can be very helpful as he often explains or rationalizes why he does things and makes it much easier to understand to newer players.
Soloque in a nut shell as a jungler. Soloque can be a vicious environment at any elo and everyone is looking for somewhere to place the blame. That being said I have a few rules when jungling in soloque:
-Try to break up any fighting within the team, you'd be surprised how many people will play poorly just to spite a raging teammate. If two team-mates are arguing interrupt them and say something positive or tell them to focus on the game
-Try to gauge who has the best odds of carrying/snowballing the game for your team and try to get them early kills, once you get a laner ahead leave him and try to snowball a different lane. Most importantly make sure you keep up your farm so you won't be useless later.
-Beware enemies who can easily snowball: Katarina, Jax/Irelia, late-game ADC's like Vayne/Kog/Draven. If an enemy champion is snowbally and in a favorable match-up such as Kat vs Karthus, try to camp to prevent them from getting out of control and maybe even have an easier time securing kills if they try to press their advantage too hard by over-extending/going all-in frequently.
-Pay less attention to champions that can't snowball well or perform their role well without a lot of gold (think Yorick/Warwick/Cho'Gath) and focus on laners that will make a bigger difference mid/late-game
-If multiple lanes are failing expect to receive a lot of blame for not ganking enough, Nocturne is not the type of champion that can go lane to lane ganking like Lee sin or Maokai; he is fairly mana intensive during ganks and requires his ultimate to actually perform good ganks. A lot of the time you will simply be farming, do not put yourself further behind performing ganks you know will not likely be successful.
-Always let your team know when Dragon/Baron is about to come up so everyone can be prepared for it. Telling your team to prepare for dragons in the early/mid game can make a huge difference in games where team communication is lacking
-Simply saying something encouraging can go a long way in a close game
Here you will find information specific to 1v1 duels early game against other junglers. Note: This is only applicable between levels 1-10 considering both enemies are relatively even in gold. The format will be as follows
Difficulty - Difficulty easy/medium/hard
Match-up: Basically who will win in a 1v1 fight and things worth noting about the enemy champion.
Buff Start: Which buff the champion usually starts at
Behavior: A brief look into the typical mindset of X champion
Spellshield: Spellshield can turn the tides on a lot of fights, this section is about when it is used optimally.
Invade: Some notes and whether I think invading this champion early game is a good idea or not
Ultimate: How his ultimate changes the match-up post-6.
Difficulty - Easy
Match-up: Not nearly as dangerous in the jungle as he used to be, the changes overall hurt jungle alistar a lot. His damage is minimal but he is a CC truck, careful about getting tossed and be especially careful if he isn't as he is probably saving them for when his lane arrives. Killing him 1v1 will be no problem.
Buff Start: Blue buff
Behavior: Alistair will be ganking all the time. His level 2 ganks are very strong especially mid and bottom lane where they are normally uncommon at level 2 or hard to pull off level 2. His ganking most likely won't relent, most will go for boots of mobility to ramp up his map presence, warding the jungle exits especially the one near mid can be very helpful for tracking him and counter-jungling.
Spellshield: Ideally you should be looking to block his knock-up. Blocking his pulverize can mess up his headbutt and cause him to knock you in a direction he didn't want, possibly even his escape route if you kept running past him after the block.
Invade: Safe - Ali has on okay clear time but his 1v1 dueling is atrocious, he also has low sustain in the jungle prior to getting his heal. If you go the smiteless red route you can invade him at his red, wait for him to take some damage from red and most importantly to burn the cooldowns on his headbut and pulverize they have very long 10+ second cooldowns and without them he is extremely easy to kill.
Ultimate: Not a big difference, just makes him annoying to kill. Be sure not to over-commit to trying to kill him with his ultimate active, the only real danger he possess is CC locking you while his team rapes you.
Difficulty - Easy-Medium
Match-up: You will win, but not as easily as you might think. Do not understimate Amumu's damage as it is quite strong and AP (important because your wriggles armor will be useless here). The new jungle changes have actually made him a better (faster/stronger) in the jungle in my opinion so don't be fooled, he is capable of killing you if misread the situation.
Buff start: Blue buff
Behavior: Amumu will typically just farm, his ganks are quite weak pre-6, he does have a bit of burst with low sustained damage afterwards but it relies on him being able to land Q. He will probably look for a gank at level 4 with doublebuff if any lanes are extended. He particularly excels at in-lane ganking bot lane once he is level 6 his ultimate is insanely strong at securing kills, especially if he lands Q.
Spellshield: Ideally you want to block his ultimate or his Q as they are his biggest source of damage as well as CC. His E and W are spammable and low damage so spellshield won't help much against them. Spellshield at the start of a fight for blocking his bandage toss and granting attack speed if he is pre-6. If he has ult however save your spellshield, Amumu's will save their ultimate to either CC you if you try to run away or to CC you if he wants to run away - always remember this. If the situation starts to look bad or his laner is coming to help, start to run away and pop the shield this will either buy you time or even block his ultimate completely, likewise if things are looking good for you and he starts to run then use it to try to predict his escape ultimate.
Note: Blocking Q with spellshield won't stun/damage you but Amumu will still fly over to you.
Invade: Questionable - Amumu while he can't go toe to toe with you early actually has pretty fast clear with the new machete making invading him a bit riskier, he might already be done red by the time you get there especially with a good leash. His tantrum also makes him slightly resiliant to autoattacks so it might take a little bit longer to kill him than most. It is definitely doable though.
Ultimate: His ultimate adds a lot of CC and burst damage esepcailly early on if you don't have any magic resist and he has already hit you once (his autos shred magic resist). He can actually burst you hard early with his ultimate. This match-up is closest to even and potentially even in his favor with ult when he is level 6-8 so be careful. Refer to spellshield on how to play the situation.
Difficulty - Easy
Match-up: Pretty easy match-up and a pretty easy kill, he has weak counter-jungling ability early and even weaker dueling. Invade him frequently, when dueling he is a one trick pony, his only hard CC is his rupture which you can see coming almost a full second in advance. Just stick to him with Q, fear him and block the rupture, you should kill him quick and easy. Once he gets some armor and a stack or two on feast he becomes much harder to kill so don't get baited.
Buff start: 75% Blue 25% Red
Behaviour: Cho is a ganker, with a knock-up/silence combo his ganks are very strong, mid in particular being a lane known for its difficulty to gank can be done so fairly easily by a skilled Cho'Gath. Expect him to get double-buffed at 3 with a smiteless or 4 without one and gank very often. Some will even attempt a level 2 mid-gank much like an Alistar would. Cho ruptures are quite easily dodged by a skilled player so there is room for your laner to outplay cho ganks if he is caught out. If rupture hits however a burnt flash or death is almost guaranteed.
Spellshield: Use it to block his W, if cho was really smart he would silence you first then use his knock-up but that kind of intelligence is usually not present in solo-que. Worth noting your W can block his ultimate if he tricks some sort of flash-ult onto you.
Ultimate: His ultimate actually makes his damage noticable, a full combo can hurt quite a bit but it's very hard for him to pull off especially against a spellshield. Still don't hang around with low hp if he has ult, a quick flash+ult can catch you by surprise. The main danger of his ultimate is the passive health it gives, he will be considerably tankier once he gets a few stacks going. The massive nuke against monsters also makes him very strong at counterjungling/securing buffs/objectives, he can easily outsmite you at baron or dragon so be careful when he is around.
Difficulty - Hard
Match-up: This is a match-up you don't want to fall behind in, Mundo can be a relentless counter-jungler if he has the advantage and he is a very strong duelist early too. That being said he does essentially kill himself while jungling so it's likely that you will have the health advantage if you ever cross paths in the jungle, don't underestimate him even at low health though as his E grants him a massive AD buff at low health and he is very hard to escape from once you commit to a fight. When fighting him try to move through him a lot and be right on top of him using your unit collision bypass on Q, this makes landing cleavers much more difficult for him in duels. If he misses a cleaver not only do you avoid damage/slow but he actually takes more by not regaining the HP on hit.
Buff start: 60% Red 40 % Blue
Behaviour: Mundo will most likely powerjungle while throwing in occasional ganks, Mundo ganks pre-6 aren't amazing but they aren't bad either. Farming/counterjungling will probably be his priority pre-6 but if any of your lanes are over-extended expect him to gank them quickly.
Counterjungling - In depth
What is counter-jungling?
Knowing how to properly counter-jungling is absolutely crucial to being a good jungler, especially as you climb higher in Elo. Counter-jungling effectively cripples your enemy jungler while pushing yourself further ahead. Taking red/blue buffs grant the most exp/gold and have the most effect on the enemy jungler. Certain junglers will be more hurt by losing a specific buff generally AD junglers with low CC such as Shyvana, Shaco, Jax will be more hurt by losing red buff while AP junglers like Diana, Amumu will be more hurt by losing blue so prioritize accordingly. It is also important to deny very mana hungry mid laners like Anivia, Karthus and Swain blue buff when you can. It's possible to keep even or even surpass the level of your solo laners with perfect counter-jungling.
While giving you a great advantage over your jungler no reward is without risk. Counter-jungling is all about weighing risk versus reward, poor awareness or decision making can easily result in a wasting time, a summoner skill or death. In this section I will detail the mentality around counter-jungling; thinking about your actions and not just doing them robotically.
If you are looking to improve your counter-jungling I would give Shaco a try, he is king and you can learn the basics much better on him than Nocturne
When should you counter-jungle?
Anytime it is safe to counter-jungle and there are no higher priorities such as defending your towers you should be counter-jungling. When it is safe to counter-jungle however is extremely subjective, it does not necessarily mean having flash up or having a lot of HP for example counter-jungling with 100 hp when you know the location of their laners and jungler can arguably be safer than full hp and having no clue where they are. There are a few times when counter-jungling can be "safe" ranked in order:
1) You have vision on the enemy jungler - This is the best time to counter-jungle, when you can literally see the enemy jungler on the map there is no chance they can catch you stealing their buffs or camps. Another good time to counter-jungle is during/immediately after a gank, whatever lane they gank the opposite side of their jungle will be wide open for a relatively brief period of time. Nocturne is especially good at this sort of reactionary counter-jungling as he can quickly clear camps and even buffs without smite with relative ease at any stage in the game.
Ex 1: You are jungling against a lee sin, after finishing blue and are taking with wraiths you plan on going back to wolves then taking your red buff. As you are clearing wraiths however your top laner is ganked by lee sin with red buff, you are far too far to provide any help so you do the next best thing; rush straight for his blue buff. Since lee sin is top and won't be able to make his way back to blue buff for quite some time you know it is safe to take it without any retaliation.
Ex 2: Lee sin is holding mid lane after his mid lane backed, you can now safely take his wraiths or wolves since you know he is stuck holding the lane. Be careful about attempting a steal too late into a lane hold as if he leaves early his mid-laner will likely be half way back to lane and will be able to assist very quickly if you are discovered.
2) Using your intuition - Your intuition can be used to predict with relative safety when it is opportune to counter-jungle. Buff timers are a good example of this, if it's between 7:20 and 7:50 the enemy jungler is most likely giving their blue buff to their mid laner so you can safely steal from the other side of the jungle. Also knowing if an enemy jungler is low hp or likely gone back you can safely take what you can, for this reason avoid going back yourself when you know you are on a ward.
3) You are stronger than your enemy - This is not as safe as being unseen however having a dueling advantage over your enemy jungler means it's very unlikely you will lose in a 1v1 scenario, the only real threat here is being collapsed on by enemy laners
One of the biggest noob traps is to be counter-jungled and immediately go their jungle and try to counter-jungle them. Do not counter-jungle unless you know it is safe. One of the best ways to get back into the back after being counter-jungled are successful ganks
Counter-jungling is not all black and white, there are many different factors and variables to consider:
1) Size up your jungler - This should be fairly obvious but always be comparing the champion, gold and exp gap between you and your enemy jungler, even if you you have significant champion advantage over him if he has two early kills from ganks and a full level of experience on you from holding lanes early on he can easily go toe to toe with you or even kill you if you underestimate your enemy
2) Consider your mid laner - Mid lane can have a considerable impact on jungle duels and buff pressure, generally if one mid laner is considerably stronger or has much more mobility they can be a huge factor in deciding which side wins in a jungle duel. Champions like Leblanc, Ahri, Talon or Lee sin can assist either jungler extremely quickly if they have good awareness and can instantly turn the tide on a losing battle. Likewise a strong mid laner with strong sustained damage, multi-target spells or AoE like Diana, Akali, Swain, Anivia, Brand or Cassio can easily 1v2 a jungler and mid laner.
3) Always watch the map - It is extremely important to watch the mini-map and watch when a jungler ganks it will tell you two important things
A) His location - this one is obvious, if he ganks bottom then the entire upper jungle is free to steal from for a brief window of time. This also applies to if he is holding a lane.
B) His health - Knowing the enemy junglers current health is very important to consider when counter-jungling, a very threatening jungler can be invaded if you know his health is relatively low. Also more importantly if you are watching a gank and he takes a few tower shots or harass on his way out it is possible to guess his destination and head him off for an easy kill. Lets say after a failed tower dive on bot lane the enemy comes out with 200 hp and the ward shows him leaving towards his blue buff entrance, we can assume through intuition he will farm wolves quickly before recalling so you immediately beeline towards his wolves and sure enough you find him recalling at 150 hp and quickly burst him down for the easy kill. These kinds of opportunities present themselves all the time but most people are simply unaware that a free kill is waiting for them just across the river. I'm notorious for jungling at very low health after ganks or skirmishes but I very rarely get caught doing it.
4) Lane positions - Where the creep wave currently is can actually have a pretty significant impact on counter-jungling, mid lane especially. If your laner has his lane pushed to the turret then there is no way for the enemy to readily assist their jungler as your mid laner blocks the normal side entrances to the jungle effectively pinning them at their turret and can come to assist you more easily if the fight is going bad. The opposite is true as well, if your mid laner is being pushed on then it is much riskier for you to counter-jungle as the enemy mid can easily double back to assist them while your mid laner can't follow as easily out of fear of harass, minion damage, loss of cs or a bush ambush
Jungling is largely mind games that pits you head to head against the enemy jungler, I'll describe and define the different styles of jungling and what importance they play in counter-jungling and dueling using basic poker play-styles for reference.
Loose Aggressive - The Bully
These players are usually champions that are early game powerhouses and try to push their 1v1 advantage as much as possible. These players are hyper-aggressive and will invade frequently regardless of your actions or whether their location is known to you or not. This playstyle is essentially just walking straight into their jungle and taking any camp that's up chasing and attempting to kill any jungler they come across. These players can be a nightmare if they get an early lead on you and your team is not helpful in assisting you against his invades. If you can't secure your own jungle they will practically live in it and deny you extensively. If you can't straight up fight an enemy bully in your jungle and you know he is just roaming around looking for you, sometimes a smart decision is to simply ignore him and go to his jungle and start farming his camps, this is rarely the case with Nocturne however as he is a hard champion to bully without a decent lead. When playing as the bully it is extremely important to know your limits and to always be monitoring the enemy laners, this playstyle can be reckless and you can end up giving easy deaths if you aren't observant of your surroundings.
Tight Aggressive - The Predator
This is undoubtedly the more dangerous of the two high aggressive types and my favorite playstyle on Nocturne, the predator is highly controlled highly aggressive playstyle. It centers around tracking the movements of the enemy jungler and prioritizes killing him or forcing him out of the jungle over stealing camps. The predator will often lie in ambush at a buff they know is spawning soon and wait to jump and kill the enemy jungler as they clear it, keeping up on buff timers and knowing how the enemy jungler functions is key to being a predator. If the kill is unsuccessful then whatever camps are leftover are usually cleared out and they will return to farm their jungle. Once a lead is established the predator will continue to pressure and take buffs while attempting to kill the enemy jungler at even the small camps. A predator tends to be much more careful and stealthy than a bully so getting your team-mates to collapse on him can be more difficult, wards are really the only answer to this playstyle. A good practice against all players, this type particularly is to hit the buff once then pull it into the nearby brush so he can't sneak up on you. If you are playing as the predator make sure to make good use of the brush to ambush and offensive wards deep in his jungle such as the bush near red or the bush between the wraith camp and the tier 1 mid tower. The greatest danger of this playstyle is becoming careless or underestimating your enemy, in a game I recently played I killed an Amumu and stole his 1st red then later contested his 2nd blue, as I approached the brush near his soon to be spawned red buff I was insta-gibbed by him and his two solo laners. I should have noticed it was suspicious both his laners disappeared from lane for no real reason and carelessness lured me to my death.
Tight Passive - The Opportunist
This playstyle is often better suited but not limited to champions with low early game clear speed/dueling power such as Maokao, Malphite, Nautilius ect. These playerswill often avoid dueling or contact but can still invade just as much as the aggressive types, these players will counter jungle as much as possible when they know it is unlikely they will run into the enemy jungler. This is most likely when the enemy jungler is visible on the map or his general location is known, in a confrontation they will usually just slink away as fast as possible. It is not impossible for a weaker jungler to steal buffs, often times they will ward the buff and wait behind the wall or in a nearby bush and try to outsmite you once it gets low then retreat back to their jungle. If the opportunist starts to get a lead he can easily start becoming more openly aggressive and turn into a bully or predator. When playing against an opportunist it is extremely important not to gank when your buffs are up as they will likely know it to and steal everything from you without even being seen. When playing as the opportunist stealth is key and being aware of the map and looking for reactions from any laners when entering their jungle (a clear sign of the entrance being warded) is essential if you want to successfully invade a stronger opponent. This playstyle can also be adopted if you started off with a lead but have slowly squandered it and the enemy jungler is now stronger. The greatest threat to this playstyle are wards, since so much of it relies on stealth being seen entering the jungle can kill you very quickly if the enemy laners see and react quickly.
Loose Passive - The Amateur
Maybe this guy doesn't jungle very often or isn't yet comfortable counter-jungling, the amateur lacks any sort of game plan, he will mainly farm his own jungle and gank when he can but very rarely invade the enemy jungle even when it is safe to do so or he will just blindly invade when he doesn't have any info on the enemy jungler and die. Smart aggressive players will often thrash an amateur as he won't likely ward, check his bushes or have the intuition to expect an invade or counter-gank. The amateur is the least threatening player to play against, this doesn't mean however he can't just luck out and get a lead on you, the key is to keep your composure if this happens and play smart you will always get back ahead of him in the long run. Every player starts off at this stage, it is up to you to evolve your gameplay and become a more dangerous force in the jungle.
Miscellaneous - The Ganker
These junglers typically don't perform or respond to any counter-jungling, they just gank their lanes over and over generally only stopping occasionally to jungle when their buffs or up or there are no solid gank opportunities open. Even if you counter-jungle these guys all day as long as they are getting kills and assists and snowballing their lanes it won't matter how much of their jungle you take they will still keep up to you. Counter-jungling only really starts to hurt these kinds of players if their ganks are failing, therefore when playiing against these junglers it is important to ward their jungle exits so it's easy to track and counter-gank them, Nocturne is an excellent counter-ganker so try to do this as much as possible. Stealing their buffs is also important as it makes their ganks a lot weaker, many times they will leave their buffs up while they are ganking so they are free pickings; for this reason you should always be keeping timers on their buffs so you know when a free buff is up for grabs.
Lane-specific gank match-ups
Difficulty - 5/10
Normally a rather difficult champion with high juke potential and invisibility but Nocturne's duskbringer will give him an edge in this match-up. Save your q for just as or just before she uses her shroud, tagging her with it will cause her to leave a dusktrail making it nearly impossible to juke you using invisibility, just stay on top of the trail. At 6 she has slightly higher juke potential as she can ultimate to minions as a gap closer. Buying a pink ward before ganking Akali is a bit pricy but will significantly increase your odds of success when ganking.
Protip: Bring a vision ward with you and she can't juke you using her shroud. Most akali's won't expect you to do this and be caught off guard by it, it's a costly if she gets away though.
Difficulty - 4/10
A fairly easy gank if played right, being able to dodge his rupture will be key in this gank match-up. You can't always rely on your W to block rupture as a smart cho may silence you first then use it. A trick I use when ganking Cho is to try to move forward as much as possible after each auto-attack if you have red/phage proc try to even stay in front of him if you can, when he turns to use rupture stop attacking and continue running forward and it should be relatively easy to dodge. The most important reason for staying slightly ahead is that it makes it very hard for cho to hit both you and your laner with one rupture allowing the escape. It is important to note that you should gank cho as early as possible, or at least before level 8 as by this point he will most likely have strong armor items like glacial shroud and a few stacks in feast making him very hard to take down if left unchecked early.
The top lane terror and pubstomper, Darius is extremely powerful in lane, extremely easy to use and dominates almost every melee match-up. Darius has a crippling weakness though, if he is ever caught over-extended he has almost no escape mechanism and will likely attempt to take one of you down rather than flee. If you have a weak top laner try to camp his lane or else Darius will crush it solo. While ganking Darius is very easy be mindful of your hp when ganking him, if you attempt a gank while you and your laner are at low-mid hp it can easily result in a 1v2 turnaround for him. If you are at good health then use your W immediately to block his first Q for damage reduction and increased DPS but you might want to save it if your health is a bit low to avoid being dunked by his ultimate or to block his pull if you plan on running away.
Difficulty - 4/10
Not a terribly hard champion to gank, she does however have two target dashes so don't place yourself between her and your minions or she can easily escape. She does possess a small movespeed buff making her slightly harder to gank if it's up but your Duskbringer is able to match it just don't miss. Like Darius beware ganking low health post-6 as her ultimate is very very strong and can instantly change the fight in her favor. Do not underestimate her damage output in a duel there are very few who can beat her.
Difficulty - 7/10
A rather hard gank to successfully execute though not impossible, I wouldn't attempt without red/phage or hard cc from your allied laner. Gangplank can simply cure your fear with his oranges then run away with a speed buff or in extreme cases even use his ultimate to slow your pursuit. Having a laner with a hard CC such as jax, riven, ect. will be very handy in this situation just make sure you do not overlap your cc and you should be able to kill him.
Difficulty - 6/10
Not the easiest gank, garen is naturally very tanky and will take more damage than most top laners before going down. He has a decent movespeed buff that can make him hard to chase, if possible wait for it to go on cooldown before ganking. Garen can actually do some significant damage to you while fleeing with his spin, if he gets you low hp with his spin make sure to W after it finishes as he can potentially execute you with his ultimate if you are not careful. Try to gank before he stacks too much armor otherwise he might be too tanky to kill.
Difficulty - 5/10
Medium difficulty, the earlier the better as she does tend to get quite strong as she levels up. If she is at lower hp than you when initially ganking use your W as soon as you get into melee range as she will most likely try to quickly stun you here. Many Irelia's will try to juke to a minion using bladesurge so keep it in mind, be careful about both following her into the brush if there is a minion wave nearby as it can allow an easy escape for her. Be careful if she gets ahead of your laner especially into mid-game as she has the capability to easily 1v2 if she is fed.
Difficulty - 6.5/10
A fairly hard champion to gank, starting level 2 he has his E,Q combo which works as a cc and escape mechanism at the same time not to mention the range is quite great and can jump from bush to bush or over walls (even the big one on purple side). On top of that his W is a pseudo randuins that slows all in melee range as well as shielding him. If a J4 get's extremely desperate he can ultimate you then E,Q out trapped you and escaping without burning flash. Wait for his E to go on cooldown if possible, the cooldown itself is quite long and you might even catch him using his E,Q combo further away from his tower.
Difficulty - 7/10
Another sort of difficult champion to gank, if you want to successfully gank him you need to do two things correctly: 1) Gank right after a minion wave so he can't just jump away to allied creeps 2)Block his stun with your W. If you do both these correctly then the gank should be a success. It's worth noting that jax is usually played aggressively in lane and he can easily be baited into committing to a fight by your lane partner. Much like Irelia as the game progresses if Jax has a significant advantage over your lane partner then he will likely be able to 1v2 you quite easily.
Difficulty - 7.5/10
A hard lane to gank, his acceleration gate alone is usually enough to outrun your gank if he's not too far over-extended. While in hammer form he can also knock you back, it's possible to block it with W but since the animation is quick its very possible for him to hit you away before you can react or simply wait for your W to run out. Your best bet is to wait until he uses his acceleration gate to harass or to commit or try to trade using his hammer jump > knockback combo.
Difficulty - 4/10
Not a terribly hard gank, she has a small movespeed buff and a single target slow (very easy to block with W). Trying to tower-dive her is another story though, be cautious about being baited under tower or into a counter-gank if her ultimate is up. Kayle's tend to use their slow/nuke then follow up with her ranged harass, this is the best time to jump her.
Difficulty - 7/10
Pretty hard gank while his lightning rush is still up, it grants him a huge movespeed buff for a short duration and can be used to escape pretty much any conventional gank. He can stun but it's a bit more situational. Don't underestimate him either, Kennen can have a very high damage output and can potentially turn a 2v1 in his favor using his ultimate. When ganking never initiate until after his lightning rush is on cooldown or he has very low energy, if you really need him dead just wait for him to use it then jump on him with your ultimate and keep ahead of him so flash won't break your tether.
Difficulty - 9/10
One of the hardest top lane champions to gank. His extreme level of mobility offers him an escape from almost any situation. He can use his Q to jump to enemy units and W to jump to friendly (or wards). These two abilities combined can allow him to escape from virtually any situation if he plays it right. On top of all this once he hits 6 he gets a heavy knock-back/knock-up CC that he can use in addition to Q/W making him near impossible to gank. If you are going to try it, wait until the minion wave to come so he has no minions to jump to (although most good lee sin's will have a ward in case this happens), also try to wait until he is low or extremely over-extending otherwise you won't have a very good chance of successfully ganking him.
Difficulty - 4/10
Pretty easy to kill especially pre-6, just make sure to land Q and follow up with fear. Your W will be very helpful against malphite, if he is running try to block his rock so he can't steal your movespeed, if you are skirmishing try to block his groundslam as it will cause you to lose considerable DPS. After he is level 6 he can choose to use his ultimate to escape almost every time if it's up so be aware of this when ganking.
Difficulty - 1/10
Most likely the easiest champion in league of legends to gank top lane. None of his skills help him escape, he isn't that fast naturally, he has no gap closers and he lacks any form of cc. What makes matters even worse for him is he is very prone to pushing lanes and over-extending. If he has no flash or ghost it is almost a guaranteed kill, just be careful once he reaches level 6 especially if he gets ahead as much like Darius he can have monstrous 1v2 potential with his ultimate.
Difficulty - 4/10
You really shouldn't even need to gank top lane for a while, just about any top laner nowadays outclasses him and can easy bully him into irrelevance early. He can become terrifyingly powerful mid to late game if he starts snowballing though so beware. Nasus will be quite durable as most will get armor fairly early, his slow is immense and can practically stop you in your tracks when ganking, while not that threatening be weary of diving him as his ultimate combined with his passive can make him pretty hard to take down under a turret.
Difficulty - 5/10 and 9/10 (Pre-6, Post-6)
Nidalee is always a pain to gank. A good Nidalee will spam her traps all over the river and brush making it hard to even approach the lane before she has wards, most Nidalee's will rune movespeed quints and combined with her passive will make her run very fast in brush making her quite hard to catch even before cougar form. Once she hit's 6 though it's nearly impossible to gank her, every once and a while you will catch a lucky break and your fear will make her turn just before she jumps putting her further away from the tower but for the most part she becomes nearly unstoppable once she can go cougar. What's even worse is if Nidalee gets a big lead going she will just split-push top endlessly knowing it will take most of your team to even have a chance at taking her down. Try to gank her early if you can, avoid walking into the brush as it's almost always trapped.
Difficulty - 4/10 and 8/10 (Pre-6, Post-6)
Olaf is a fairly hard gank, his Q's slow by a considerable amount and have a pretty large hitbox, it's not terribly hard to block with W though just don't use it prematurely or he can wait it out. Since he is melee range and often relies on his E to do damage it is pretty easy to wait for him to go aggressive.
Difficulty - 3/10
A pretty easy lane to gank, pantheon basically has to spec at least 21 in the offensive and doesn't really have any escape or defensive skills early besides his shield, he is a squishy easy kill. Just beware of initiating on him if your lane partner is far away as he can just jump stun to you and potentially escape
Difficulty - 5/10
Can be tricky if the Renekton plays well, he has a stun and a short dash to assist him in escaping ganks. Renekton has one glaring weakness though, he is melee range and trades often using a very aggressive combo; by simply waiting for Renekton to use his dash+stun before initiating you increase your chances of successfully ganking him tenfold. Careful about fighting/diving this guy once he gets past 6, his ultimate is extremely powerful and grants additional health instantly so don't underestimate him.
Difficulty - 9/10
I hate Riven. She has a stun, shield and 4 mini-dashes on relatively low cooldowns. Unless you catch her at the perfect moment just after she has used all of her abilities she can simply skip away and never have to fear dying to your ganks. Whats more is at 6 her burst and sustained damage is incredibly high.
Difficulty - 6/10
Rumble is a pretty strong lane bully with great mid-game teamfight potential. His flamethrower does make him prone to pushing if he uses it to try to harass, ganking him is not terribly difficult his only escape mechanism is a small speed boost/shield, it is on a fairly low cooldown though. He also has two slowing projectiles with fairly large hitboxes he can fire at anyone chasing him to slow them down which makes him a bit tougher to gank, you can either juke the slows or just block with your shield; keep in mind being hit by both will slow you considerably. At 6 his ultimate can also be used for an AoE slow making him yet harder to gank again. If rumble uses too many abilities he will "overheat" making him unable to cast any abilities for a short period of time, this is the best time to jump him but just waiting for him to burn the cooldowns on his shield or slows should be good enough too.
Shen has only one escape mechanism but it's a fairly strong one, any sort of blink or dash is extremely effective at breaking your fear tether so when you go to gank shen you must make sure to place yourself between him and his tower when you initially engage so your tether can't be broken by his dash. Generally as soon as you start up your fear on him he will use his shadow dash so this is a good time to pop your spellshield. He is innately tanky so it might be hard to kill him even if you manage to proc your fear. Ganking while his dash is on cooldown is almost a guaranteed kill but it's rare that shen's will use it for harass as it's much safer to just Q spam.
Difficulty - 4/10 and 9/10
Pre-6 singed is nothing too challenging to gank, he can't do much except throw down a goo pool. For this reason try not to be too close to your top laner so the goo can't hit both of you with goo. Once he hits 6 however this champion is a nightmare to gank, his movement speed becomes immense, he regens tons of health and he deals a fair amount of damage as you chase him around. Most often I don't really bother ganking a singed post-6 unless I have a really strong top laner to help me kill him.
Difficulty 4/10 and 6/10
Swain is a unique champion that plays like a mage/offtank that can be seen both mid and top lane somewhat akin to Vladamir. Swain is pretty frail early on and he isn't terribly hard to kill but a cautious swain player is very hard to take down, his kit specializes in kiting melee champions (you), the laserbird will slow you and will remain active as you push towards him and makes it easy for him to land his snare on you. Luckily for you you have a spell shield to stop said snare, it's extremely easy to block as it flashes on the ground for half a second before activating like a Cho rupture. Once he hits 6 he acts as a singed/vlad hybrid, dealing damage to you as you chase him while healing himself back up, this makes him much tougher during ganks and can turn easy looking dives into doublekills. Don't bait yourself into diving if he still has mana and armor he can tank and kite very well under tower, however it's worth noting that Swain goes OOM quite easily and he basically rolls over and dies without mana even if you dive him full hp.
Difficulty 2.5/10 and 7/10
If your top laner has any form of CC I recommend ganking top level 3 double buffed almost everytime. While he has a small speed boost any sort of damage will cancel it and if your laner can CC him before you arrive allowing you to initiate your fear from behind him he is dead almost 100%, he arguably has the lowest gank survivability out of any champion pre-6, any sort of focus fire will burst him instantly. Worst case scenario he blinds you and he takes slightly longer to kill so block that if you can. Ganking him once he has mushrooms will be much trickier though, in-lane ganks will become very difficult and there's almost no way of approaching him without being spotted or tagged by mushrooms. Luckily for us paranoia will jump over all that nasty business and allow you to continue easily killing Teemo to your hearts content. If he lays a mushroom mid-gank run in front of him as to not hit it, or use your W to block it.
Difficulty 5/10 and 8/10
Tryndamere isn't seen very often these days but you never know. He has a slow with W and a small gapclose with E, nothing too difficult. Like always ganking when his abilities are down guarantee a successful gank, other than that just stick close to him with your fear and don't activate it until you are right on top of him otherwise he can simply break it with a spinning slash, the range is quite short on it though and he will have a hard time breaking it unless you fear him at max range basically. At level 6 he becomes more of a problem because he becomes essentially undivable and can fight 1v2 quite safely especially when flash is up. Don't underestimate his damage, a few lucky crits and you're pretty much dead. A Tryndamere+Adc alone is usually enough to warrant tabi's unless they have hours of stunlock.
Udyr's survivability is insanely deceptive, he can spam movespeed and shield buffs while constantly stunning you during ganks. His skills are on very short cooldown so it's hard to chose an optimal time to gank, without hard CC on your friendly laner it's unlikely you will be able to gank a good Udyr. Don't use your fear on him max range, land q and move in close and initiate it otherwise he will just turn bear and outrun it. His tiger stance does pretty strong damage as well don't underestimate it, Udyr is most dangerous during tower dives though; his skillset allows him huge outplay potentials if you dive him so don't do it unless you are extremely confident you can take him down fast and have plenty of Hp to get out.
League players at higher and lower elo alike have become increasing more knowledgeable about the importance and how to properly use wards. As a result ganking lanes, especially top and bot has never been more difficult. In-lane ganking is a powerful technique any good jungler should learn, it as a way of bypassing the normal ward coverage lanes have and put you into position for a surprise gank. While this skill is not as useful for Nocturne as he can simply use his ultimate, it is an essential skill to learn and doing it can result in better ganks than simply using your ultimate to jump in.
Simply put in-lane ganking is walking through the lane into one of the lane bushes top or bottom and ninja ganking the enemy when the moment is right. Here's a simple tutorial
1) Approach the lane, make sure to avoid the river, tri-bush or dragon. Basically anywhere the possibility exists there MIGHT be a ward, don't go near it if you can help it.
2) Sneak into the bush, make sure no champions or minions see you, otherwise this will be pointless. Also make sure the bush your sneaking into isn't warded as this also makes your gank pointless. The key is stealth if that somehow hasn't hit you yet.
3) Wait for the right moment to strike, this means you or one of your teammates initiate or you bait and counter-initiate.
A) Initiating - If you have someone like blitz or taric just pull/stun them then tag them with your duskbringer and chain stun them. Alternatively if they get too close to the bush you can just Q+E them and initiate the gank yourself. I find hard CC to be more effective then your fear though.
B) Baiting - Counter-initiating is the most ideal in a lane-gank because the enemy will likely blow their CC and gap closers before they even know that you are there making escape from you almost impossible. Your teammates can bait by playing dumb/bad, the ADC should let himself get stunned or CC'd or take some free damage/play risky to lure an enemy engage.
C) In-lane top - Same idea just wait for the enemy top laner to get aggressive or blow any gap-close/cc if possible. Otherwise just both initiate when he moves in for a last hit or is closer enough you can accurately hit Q and start E quickly.
Here is a small video tutorial by Cinderhelm:
Ganking with Paranoia
With Nocturne's ultimate paranoia, he becomes easily becomes one of the most fearsome jungler gankers. Only the likes of pantheon and twisted fate can match his ability to gank any lane regardless of how much ward coverage the enemy team has. Below will be descriptive instructions and pictures on where to use Nocturne's ultimate if the lane is ungankable under normal circumstances due to ward coverage.
Since this ultimate has a very long cooldown it is important that you make big plays with it early game as you won't have nearly as much lane pressure without it, you should be aiming to at least secure a kill every time you use it. Using it mid-lane in combination with high burst/CC can result in very very easy kills Ex: Annie, Malzahar, Veigar, Leblanc.
Due to the nerfed and now somewhat limited range on Nocturne's ult, these ganks can only be pulled if when either the enemy lane is pushed to your tower, or your laner is pushed to theirs. If you are attempting to gank a warded lane pushed mid-way, then refer to the "lane gank" section below.
IMPORTANT NOTE: When performing defensive ganks, there is no chance of being seen by wards, so just approach the spot from your jungle. Alternatively you can just walk up through lane and ult whenever you get close enough just remember if you are waiting for allies to prepare to be standing in the fog of war so they can't see you waiting.
PROTIP 1: Using Nocturne's ultimate to dive or gank top lane it is much more effective when used in tandem with a high burst/damage or high CC champion: Darius, Malphite, Riven for example.
PROTIP 2: If you are tower diving time your ultimate to land right after the tower has just fired, this will grant you more time to deal damage under the tower and can even potentially save your life in some instances
Legend - I have marked the minimap for further clarity in the pictures
Red dot - Possible ward location
Green arrow - How to approach gank location (to avoid wards)
Blue dot/arrow - Alternative gank route (If you know a ward blocks the normal route)
Note: This is from the blue side perspective, it can still be applied to purple by simply flipping the map (Blue bot lane gank = Top purple lane gank)
Bottom lane (Careful for wards mid/drag giving you away)
During the process of taking the above pictures I got to witness this impressive display of AI in action:
During early game you will be focusing on farming and powering your way to level 6. You should always attempt to counter-gank if you sense a gank or counter-jungle if the enemy jungler reveals himself. Use your fast clear speed to farm a lead and get level 6 quickly so you can start terrorizing enemy laners.
You should attempt a gank soon after taking red, I usually suggest top as the top laner shouldn't have wards yet. Try to keep a mental note of when buffs will be coming up or which laners have no flash, when ganking always prioritize laners without flash, even if you just killed him 30 seconds ago, if his flash is down go try to kill him again.
When ganking pre-6 wait for enemy laners to use any jump/mobility ability aggressively before initiating. Ex. wait for jax to use his leap strike before initiating so you know it cant be used to escape. If ganking lee sin, do so right after a minion wave arrives so he can't use them to escape. When ganking kat wait until shunpo is used to attempt the gank. A little patience is usually all that separates a successful gank from a failed one.
Nocturne has very strong early game damage, abuse this fact and counter-gank whenever you see the possibility as it can be easy to win a 2v2 or 3v3 if you outdamage the enemy jungler (you usually do).
Dragon kills early game are extremely valuable and Nocturne possesses immense power early game, if the enemy jungler ganks your top lane post level 6/7 get your teammates to take dragon since you know there will be no jungler around to outsmite you it can't possibly be stolen
Nocturne is one of the strongest counter-gankers due to his ultimate, if mid lane gets ganked and you are doing wraiths or wolves you can easy fly to his side in seconds for a 2v2. Not many junglers can match Nocturne's strength early and the enemies will have most likely already blown their dangerous skills trying to burst the mid-laner in the initial gank
Once you are 6 everything changes, any laner that has no flash can be killed with a near 100 % success rate. Using your ult to gank bot lane is especially effective as it's quite easy to secure double kills on nocturne. Simply wait a bit behind the creep wave out of sight and tell your bottom lane to bait some harass/trade then dive in on their ADC with Paranoia and follow up with Q,E,W. If they flash and break your tether you can offensive flash after them (if you have red or phage) to continually slow them and allow your teammates to catch and secure the easy kill. You then should be able to turn on the support and pick up another kill.
If you can avoid initiating with your ultimate and instead gank as you normally would, however now if the enemy laner uses flash to disengage simply use your ultimate to instantly re-engage and continue killing them.
Early game goals - Prioritized
1) Defend/hold towers - Don't miss out on valuable gold/exp if your laner had to back and especially don't give the enemy free towers. Not giving the enemy team almost 1000 global gold is more important than your red buff. If it's being killed drop everything and get there.
2) Contest dragons - If the enemy team is preparing for dragon you need to be there asap. Having a smite is paramount to securing dragon, it is easily stolen without one. Like towers dragons give huge amounts of early exp/gold and securing them are crucial for snowballing or keeping your team in the game.
3) Secure your own buffs - They grant the most gold and experience in the jungle and have very important bonuses especially early game. If your buffs get stolen buy wards and have them in place before they spawn again so you can take them safely.
4) Gank over-extended lanes - If a lane is over-extending then punish them for it. Securing kills is huge for both you and your laner. However don't gank if your buffs are up unless you are very close and the chance is very high as failing a gank with your buffs still up is like a free invitation to get them stolen.
5) Farm your jungle - If no ganks look good then just farm up, clear your camps and await for an opportunity or for your ultimate to come off cooldown. Every time you gank is a small risk essentially, if you spend too much time on fail ganks you are going to start to fall behind making your ganks increasing ineffective and leaving yourself open to get counter jungled.
6) Counter-jungle - If your jungle is farmed and theres no good ganks then just poke around the enemy jungle as safely as you can. Wraiths/wolves are the easiest targets. This should prioritize over step 5 if you know the enemy jungler's location.
7) Make sure dragon is warded - Don't give up free dragons, they are too important early game to just be throwing away. If your support isn't warding it get a ward on there yourself.
Continue to farm, counter-jungling won't be as significant at this point in the game but still do it if a safe opportunity arises. Make sure to secure as many dragons, towers and buffs as possible to keep your team in the lead, and look to use your ult to shut down any enemy laners who are winning their lane. Nocturne will still be very strong in this phase of the game as long as you haven't been shut down. Just keep applying pressure by pushing and counter-ganking and catching people with your ultimate.
If your team is grouped don't sit around farming wolves while they are pushing middle, if they get caught mid-lane 4v5 and lose it's all on you. Bring the first team to group mid-game can result in huge and successful pushes just due to the disorganized nature of soloque.
Be wary of the enemy team grouping up and picking off members of your team then pushing with the man advantage, if all five enemies are missing and your team's ward coverage is poor then don't take any chances and just farm from safety and get some wards when you can.
Securing objectives will be key mid-game to keep your team ahead or in the game. Try to warn your team 1 minute to 30 seconds before dragon is up so your team can push out the lanes and prepare to take it. If you see that your top laner is much stronger, around level 7-9 it should be very easy to dive him for a free kill/tower then continue to snowball towers for an even greater early lead (just be careful doing this if the dragon is still up).
I've secured several kills when I spot the enemy support (squishier the better) clearing wards with oracles by just immediately jumping to them with Paranoia and killing them before their team can even react. Using W to block their cc is usually necessary to secure the kill quickly so make sure you block it. Also be careful not to bait yourself into the enemy team, if you can't pick them off immediately don't chase them back into their jungle.
If you are ahead take steps to end the game, do not waste your advantage. You should be aggressively warding, aggressively pushing, aggressively securing objectives. Just because you are playing aggressive does not mean you should be playing carelessly though, do not throw your lead on a bad decision to baron or tower dive.
If you are behind defend objectives and farm, wait for the enemy to make a mistake. Get defensive wards down on your jungle and baron/dragon as quickly and as safely as possible. The enemy team tends to get ballsy and make careless mistakes when ahead and it can be easy to capitalize on if you stay focused and disciplined.
Late-game you will fall off unfortunately as the carries get stronger and stronger and the focus on peeling for them is usually higher. It will become nearly impossible to 1v1 the ADC at this stage in the game unless you catch them out of position. During this time you have to decide whether to assist your top/mid in diving their carries or to protect your own against their divers, the best option varies from game to game, you must take several things into consideration when doing this. Certain champions like Kog'maw warrant more end-game focus as their kit is extremely dangerous whether it is killing him or protecting him, basically you want to kill/defend based on which ADC has more of an impact on teamfights.
Like in mid-game you can still ultimate someone alone out of position and try to burst them down, however you must be much more cautious as the enemy team is much more likely to be grouped at this point and it could be a huge bait with the enemy team sitting in the bush right beside them (especially if you have done this tactic earlier in the game). I generally don't do it unless most of the team can be accounted for on the mini-map and If I don't kill them almost immediately I fall back to my team as dying in this stage in the game can easily result in a loss.
Late game will consist of team roaming/fighting, pushing towers and baron dances. If you've had a good game you should be extremely dangerous to any carries and should focus on catching them out of position or assassinating carries when fights break out. If you're not doing so well, just do the best you can to keep your carry safe and hope they carry you.
Make sure baron is completely warded up and you know where the enemy team is as much as possible. Try to split push lanes so they will have to send someone to farm it, if it happens to the ADC or jungler, you can potentially force or bait a baron fight 4v5 and simply turn on them. If your team is far ahead you can also bait a baron and simply turn on them when they try to contest it.
Late game can be tense if two teams are close, getting caught, making bad calls for towers or baron can cost you the game in an instant. Stay with your team, try not to venture out alone and avoid facechecking bushes if you can. If bot lane starts pushing as the game transitions into late-game, never go clear it yourself as without smite pressure the enemy team can zimply zerg baron knowing they can
Lategame after a team-fight it is crucial if you have aced or won a teamfight favorably to use your man-advantage to accomplish some form of objective, whether it be baron, towers/inhib or both. Just be careful about who is left on the enemy team when pushing as a fed ADC can easily pick people off or straight up win uneven fights due to his late-game strength. After falling back from a push it is wise for your team to take as many buffs/camps as possible before heading back to base
IMPORTANT NOTE: After successfully taking down multiple towers or the inhibitor after a late-game teamfight don't hang around for long farming at low hp as the enemy can simply zerg baron knowing you are too low to contest it. Recall as soon as possible after taking objectives to ensure this doesn't happen late-game (If you are low).
I have decided to rewrite the teamfight section, it seemed outdated/inaccurate and disorganized. I will now be breaking it up into sections to make it easier to know what your role in teamfights is.
Early game will consist usually of 2-4 man skirmishes around dragon or in the jungle/river. Nocturne has incredibly high 1v1 potential early game and you should be able to duel either of the carries quite easily if you play it right. Your engage early game is quite decent, if you can get on a carry and fear them your team can likely sweep in for the kill and back you up before you die as they probably won't have enough damage to focus fire you before your team shows up to help. Just be careful when assessing if you can survive any dives where you will be isolated for a short period of time. Otherwise just play it safe, wait for someone else with cc to engage and once the carry is isolated or burnt their flash/escape ability jump in for the kill.
Early game summary
-You can chose to initiate small skirmishes if you have the durability to survive
-You will be using your ultimate exclusively for carries
-If your team has good engage you can save your ultimate for re-engaging mid fight
-Use your ultimate to follow carries who flash out of combat (wards can be used to reveal fog of war over walls)
-Destroy your target
Mid game will involve a lot of objective pressure, group pushing and full 5 on 5 teamfights. Your effectiveness in the mid game will be largely reliant on your performance early game, if you managed to secure a few kills and kept your jungle cleared you should be either very deadly or very tanky; both are very strong mid-game as enemy teams still lack the damage to burst you if you're building damage or kill you with focus fire if you're tanky. When teamfights start breaking out you should be waiting for a teammate to initiate then either join your top laner or mid in diving carries or go for the kill solo; be warned it won't be as easy to do in the mid game as it was early and a single exhaust or heavy CC coming out from an enemy support will likely be the death of you. If you had a bad early game I wouldn't suggest diving in unless you see another strong diver/assassin like Akali, Wukong, Malphite ect going in as well; wait for them to draw all the heat then jump in and cause chaos. Otherwise your role should be to just stick to the frontlines, cc any of their divers or tanks and help your ADC focus them down while keeping them as safe as possible and use your ult for utility or clean-up. Don't ever feel like you have to fight to the death weakening the ADC, often times just making him focus you for a while is a huge benefit to your team, if you start getting weak use Q to get out of there as quick as possible.
It is also extremely important to be on the lookout for anyone caught out of position, it is extremely easy to capitalize on this as Nocturne and one of his greatest strengths. Nocturne has a massive gap closer that also cuts vision to the enemy team meaning its very hard for the enemy team to react in time to save someone caught out of position if you jump to them. These situations often arise during that period where teams are grouped but then break up to go farm lanes or recall, you can catch people going through river or have your team jump on the few members that stayed in the original position.
Mid game summary
-Dive carries solo if you're big enough or wait for your teammates to dive and follow them in
-Your primary ult use should be to kill or zone the ADC from the fight
-Don't dive in solo if you are behind or know you can't handle their damage output
-If the ADC is slippery wait for an engage from your team then re-engage mid-fight
-If you are behind or your carry is just really far ahead you can chose to peel for your carries
-Always be on the lookout for someone out of position, it's very easy to catch a careless enemy
-Don't be a martyr, if you are dying get out of there
Late game Nocturne is ok at best, by now your diving effectiveness will be limited unless fed and you will probably be trash if you got shut down. Teamfights should be breaking out all over and pushing/baron dance is common, your goals in teamfights will not have differed much from mid-game but your relative strength will have significantly. By this point you need to be careful, without kills and farm YOU WILL NOT be able to 1v1 the carry and even then it's extremely unlikely you will be able to take him down with a support peeling for him, any ADC will be able to easily kill you while you are exhausted or stunned.
There are two solutions to this problem, the first being to simply wait until an ally (usually top lane) like Wukong, Jax, Irelia, Malphite ect. dives in on the carry then use your ultimate to follow them in, your combined strength should be able to take down the ADC no problem if he doesn't get tons of peel. The second option is to simply zone him from the fight, when the teamfight begins ult to him, this will almost always result in a panick maneuver like burning their jump (ezreal, corki, trist) or dash (Vayne, Graves). Instead of trying to chase them down just force them to back out of the fight and immediately double back and starting killing whoever your team is focusing or assist your ADC, forcing the enemy ADC out of the fight even for extremely short periods of time can be all it takes to turn a teamfight in your favor.
Of course it's also never a bad idea to just frontline and help out your ADC if he is being dived, you bring a decent amount of damage and peel to a fight if you have randuins completed and at least brutalizer/hexdrinker. You ultimately have to weigh which is more beneficial; dive their carry or protect your own. I'm not going to list late-game teamfight goals as they are essentially the same as mid game.
Most importantly know your limits, using your abilities offensively means you no longer have them for escaping; going too deep in teamfights is the main reason you will die.
Here are some various clips of tutorials, close calls and big plays
Nocturne Quadrakill - Teamfight Tutorial
Not a lot of skill involved, just a demonstration of how fast you can murder ADC's midlane and overall strength in teamfights.
Nocturne - Red buff Invade - Invade Tutorial
An extremely typical demonstration of a double buff red invade on a slower, weaker jungler in this case Vi. In the end I manage to burn flashes on their Mid, top and jungler as well as secure two kills and the red buff and wraith steal with a little help from my teammates.
Tips are tricks
Nocturne's ultimate can be used for more than a ganking/teamfight tool, it also provides great mobility.
Tip 1: When enemy team is taking dragon/baron that your team cannot contest, if you have vision on it you can ultimate into smite range, steal the objective then flash the wall to escape. If you do not have flash then it is always worth it to suicide-smite if the jungler isn't present (or your feeling ballsy and think you can outsmite him). Here is an example of this technique in action (I take no credit for the video):
Tip 2: Using your ultimate to escape, if you are dying in a teamfight/skirmish and know you won't be able to escape you can make a desperation ult by activating it then trying to jump to a low damage champion (ideally a support) or someone isolated from the main fight to try to escape. This doesn't always work but at the least you provide your team with some utility by blocking the enemy team's vision helping them turn the fight or have an easier team escaping/juking the enemy team
Tip 3: Ultimate escape Pt. 2, if you ever get caught farming a solo lane and have 2-4 members of the enemy team barreling at you from behind, immediately run using your Q AWAY from your base and towards enemy turrets, bait the enemy into thinking you are trying to suicide on tower and make them use any dashes or even flash to catch up to you. Then when they are right on you immediately pop your ult and target the enemy who is the furthest behind (Closest to your base now) and use Q and flash (if needed) to freedom. The enemies chasing you will have burnt all their mobility abilities in the initial chase and should have no way of catching back up to you
Tip 4: Nocturne's ultimate will over-ride Twsited fate's ultimate denying any and all vision that it would grant him. Similarly it makes it very hard for shen to predict ally hp and use his ultimate to save them (it is still possible he just has to use his ult on the allied portrait, I would only expect a play like this in pre-made teams).
Tip 5: Baron's first attack will apply a debuff that severely slows down AD attackers. Use your W just before attacking to block this debuff and get the attack speed increase.
Tip 6: When taking towers cast your Q back towards your base, this grants you the additional attack damage of being on your dusktrail plus sets up a quick getaway if you need to run
Tip 7: Never forget that Q can trace invisible enemies, if you manage just before or during their stealth it can effectively be used to track them. If they go invisible before you can hit them try to predict their movement and cast out a blind Q, if it hits you will see a trail start
Tip 8: If the enemy your chasing/ganking has no CC and you aren't at risk of dying just W as soon as possible to get the attack speed increase
Tip 9: It is possible to line-up and hit all 4 wraiths with one Q, the damage combined with your passive should kill the small wraiths instantly. The trick is to imagine the stone circle at wraith camp as a clock, cast Q from the 11:00 or 1:00 position (approximatly a 30 degree angle). Here is a video of Nocturne clearing the wraith camp in literally half a second using this trick combined with smite.
Tip 10: When fighting champions with skillshots always abuse the unit collision on your Q to make it difficult for them to land them by stutter-stepping (attacking and immediately moving) essentially on top of them and quickly juking behind them when they are about to use a skillshot, you can completely avoid skillshots this way. Below is a small montage of dodges I made using this technique.
Thanks for reading my jungle nocturne guide, hopefully it will help you better as not only a nocturne player but as a jungler over-all. If you're more interested in becoming a better jungler I highly recommend watching streams by TheOddOne as he is a very informative/entertaining during his streams and most of what I know know can be attributed to what I learned from watching them.
If you have any feedback please leave it in the comments and I'll be sure to address it.
This is pretty much the same exact build as TheOddOnes guide. Same items pretty much and runes.... Not sure who made it first... But it's the exact same only difference is you explained in your guide...
@albertdo: In general the feral flare was hit quite hard it, it's not nearly as good as it was post nerf and I would say eliminated a lot of feral flare junglers as top picks. I would say Nocturne clung on to a top spot still though as his natural clear is already blazing fast and he now gains stacks from ganking allowing him to get a reasonably fast FF while still applying lots of pressure.
I would say the nerf dropped Nocturne from rank 3-5 to rank 8-10 but he's still very viable if you know how to use him. I have tweaked my rune setup to better optimize Nocturne's early game pressure and clear.