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TALON BUILD GUIDE: [S3]The Grape Assassin by Slagithorn

by Slagithorn (last updated over a year ago)

58,975 Views 7 Comments
9
Greater Mark of Armor Penetration(+11.52 armor penetration)
9
Greater Seal of Armor( +12.69 armor)
9
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist( +12.06 magic resist)
3
Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage( +6.75 attack damage)
View Rune Details
Summoner Spells
View Summoner Details
21
0
9
mastery 1 mastery 1 1/1
mastery 2 mastery 2 0/4
mastery 3 mastery 3 4/4
mastery 4 mastery 4 2/2
mastery 2 mastery 2 4/4
mastery 3 mastery 3 0/4
mastery 4 mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 mastery 1 3/3
mastery 2 mastery 2 1/1
mastery 3 mastery 3 0/1
mastery 1 mastery 1 0/2
mastery 2 mastery 2 2/2
mastery 3 mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 mastery 2 3/3
mastery 3 mastery 3 0/4
mastery 2 mastery 2 1/1
21 Offense
mastery 1 mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 mastery 2 0/3
mastery 3 mastery 3 0/4
mastery 4 mastery 4 0/2
mastery 1 mastery 1 0/3
mastery 2 mastery 2 0/3
mastery 4 mastery 4 0/1
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mastery 1 mastery 1 0/1
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mastery 4 mastery 4 0/1
mastery 2 mastery 2 0/1
0 Defense
mastery 1 mastery 1 1/1
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mastery 4 mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 mastery 2 1/3
mastery 3 mastery 3 3/3
mastery 4 mastery 4 0/2
mastery 1 mastery 1 0/4
mastery 2 mastery 2 1/1
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mastery 1 mastery 1 0/2
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mastery 2 mastery 2 0/1
9 Utility
View Mastery Details
Player Level 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Mercy
QNoxian Diplomacy
WRake
ECutthroat
RShadow Assault
View Skill Order Details

Runes

Masteries

mastery 1 mastery 1 1/1
mastery 2 mastery 2 0/4
mastery 3 mastery 3 4/4
mastery 4 mastery 4 2/2
mastery 2 mastery 2 4/4
mastery 3 mastery 3 0/4
mastery 4 mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 mastery 1 3/3
mastery 2 mastery 2 1/1
mastery 3 mastery 3 0/1
mastery 1 mastery 1 0/2
mastery 2 mastery 2 2/2
mastery 3 mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 mastery 2 3/3
mastery 3 mastery 3 0/4
mastery 2 mastery 2 1/1
21 Offense
mastery 1 mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 mastery 2 0/3
mastery 3 mastery 3 0/4
mastery 4 mastery 4 0/2
mastery 1 mastery 1 0/3
mastery 2 mastery 2 0/3
mastery 4 mastery 4 0/1
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mastery 2 mastery 2 0/2
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mastery 1 mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 mastery 2 0/3
mastery 3 mastery 3 0/3
mastery 1 mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 mastery 2 0/3
mastery 3 mastery 3 0/1
mastery 4 mastery 4 0/1
mastery 2 mastery 2 0/1
0 Defense
mastery 1 mastery 1 1/1
mastery 2 mastery 2 3/3
mastery 3 mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 mastery 2 1/3
mastery 3 mastery 3 3/3
mastery 4 mastery 4 0/2
mastery 1 mastery 1 0/4
mastery 2 mastery 2 1/1
mastery 3 mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 mastery 1 0/2
mastery 2 mastery 2 0/4
mastery 3 mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 mastery 2 0/3
mastery 2 mastery 2 0/1
9 Utility

Skill Order

Player Level 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Mercy
QNoxian Diplomacy
WRake
ECutthroat
RShadow Assault

Champion Matchups

About the Author and the Guide

The Guide
I intend this guide for new Talon players, and those Summoners who are already familiar with Talon who want to improve their game in the low elo range. The guide focuses mainly on mid-lane Talon, but I do mention solo top Talon here and there. Over the course of the guide, I'll explain my thought processes on his playstyle, his role in the game, how to build him, optimal runes for him, which masteries you should take, and how to lane effectively with him.

About the Author
I'm writing this guide because Talon is one of my favorite champions in the game. I'm not the world's best player by any means, but I have several hundred games played with him, and a few thousand played in general. I've played since late 2010, and have primarily played bruisers/ad casters such as Talon (of course), Renekton, Pantheon, and Yorick. I spent a great deal of time learning each role in the game, playing different champs, and just testing out different builds and strategies.

Season 3 Talon Stats so far
[http://tinyurl.com/abdca32]

About Talon in Season 3

[http://tinyurl.com/ammt325]



Talon is an assassin class champion that excels at burst damage, priority targeting, and pushing lanes. Most players choose to play Talon in the mid lane, as he counters the vast majority of typical mid lane champions. Talon is strongest in mid-game, where with the proper items and set-up, he can quickly kill an opponent.

What happened to Talon?
When Talon was released, we saw a lot of him. He's a visually appealing character to the average video game player, and his skill set is very fun to play. However, towards the middle to end of Season 2, he fell out of favor with the masses, because he simply wasn't meeting the needs of most teams. (We'll discuss why later.)

So why bother playing him?
The new items have revitalized Talon and his fellow assassins in Season 3. His place in most team compositions is still somewhat ambiguous, but he can play an important role in the right set-ups. Talon quickly becomes a major threat with decent farm and a few kills under his belt, and can carry a team through mid games, until the attack damage carry can pick up the slack in end game. Think of Talon as an attack damage mage, and you will understand a bit more how he works.

The Metagame and Understanding where Talon fits in it

Some thoughts
For a long time in Season 2, Talon and most assassins in general were shelved somewhat, in favor of tankier bruisers. They still had their place in the Meta, but it was usually unfavorable to have an assassin on the team. The reason for this (IMO) is that assassins are melee champions specializing in high damage, glass cannon builds. The problem that you would run into in Season 2 was that most bruisers could do nearly as much damage as asassins while being substantially beefier, meaning they could stay in teamfights for much longer while dishing out their damage.

I believe that that explanation is still mostly true; that bruisers are STILL going to be the preferred method of melee damage in most games. However, I feel like the inclusion of the new and revamped items has given assassins a much needed boost in playability as well as viability.

An explanation of the assassin vs bruiser scenario:


Understanding the Meta
Understanding the current metagame is important. In ranked matches, most of your teammates will have at least SOME working knowledge of what it is, so to be a benefit to your team even aside from playing Talon, you should too. I recommend reading this for starters: http://www.rtsguru.com/article/3022/...nd-Beyond.html

For those of you too lazy to click the link, here's a brief explanation from the webpage itself:

"More often than not, character selection and specs are the result of meticulous metagaming. In fighting games the act of counter-picking an enemy players choice of character or adjusting one’s playstyle to purposefully counteract an enemy’s playstyle is metagaming. Taking advantage of abilities or rules that the other player isn’t aware of is metagaming. Using advanced knowledge and adjusting to enemy play on the fly is metagaming. Having intimate knowledge about how other players play the game and exploiting that information for victory (this opponent prefers to use X strategy, so I pick Y to counter him) is metagaming.

Conversely, putting a bruiser top lane, an AP mid bottom lane, a carry and support bottom lane, and a supporting bruiser/tank in the jungle isn’t metagaming at all, it’s simply following the strategy that has been judged most efficient for pro-level gaming. On the other hand oRB attempting an extreme poke comp versus TSM earlier in the week is an example of (unsuccessful) metagaming.

Get the idea yet? Good."

Considering All Aspects
One thing I'd like to point out, is that most people consider metagaming as counter-picking, or filling a certain role in each lane. (AP mid, ranged ad and support bot, etc, etc.) While these are both somewhat true in the sense that you're considering a bigger picture, you also need to take into account various other aspects of your team composition, as well as the enemy's.

  • Are we lacking AP? If so, it may not be wise to play Talon mid.
  • Does Talon fit with the team's current strategy? Maybe your team is wanting to play a poke composition; which Talon doesn't fit in.
  • If top laning, can your team benefit from the loss of a bruiser? Who is your lane opponent? Will the enemy team have an advantage over yours now?

These are a few examples of what you should be thinking in champion select. Too often I see "I've played X champion and I've been dominating every game..." and then we end up losing because there were no considerations given to how picking that champ effects our team, or the enemy's.

Final Thoughts on Talon in the Meta
I believe Talon has his place in a wide range of team compositions, but always remember that League of Legends is a team game. Consider the needs of the team before your desire to play Talon, as he may not fit well.


*Safety caveat: Play the champs you're great with. In most cases at low elo (Which I'm assuming most of my readers are in the <1400 range, myself included. For now.) team composition isn't as important a factor as individual skill.

Understanding Counters

Since we just covered what Metagaming means briefly, I thought a chapter on counter-picking for Talon was merited. In this chapter I'll cover the popular champions he counters and does very well against, the champions that counter him and do very well against him, as well as the reasons why.

Picking Talon as a counter
Here we're going to cover popular champions that Talon is strong against, and briefly how to play against them.

Ahri
Talon is very strong against Ahri for several reasons. His high mobility and damage output means he can shut her down very quickly when he jumps in with Cutthroat. Dodge her and as they're usually telegraphed, then follow up with a . Once she's low enough, go in and land your combo to finish her off. Watch out once she turns 6 and gets , as she will do substantially more damage, and may turn your attempt to finish her off into an attack on you.

Kassadin
Kassadin is a champ similar to Talon in that he's a highly mobile counter pick in mid lane. However, you'll be countering him this game instead of the other way around. Grab Mercury's Treads against him, as his hurts a lot and silences you. An early Hexdrinker works wonders here if you can afford it. Pre level 6, your mobility is by far much higher than his, so use that to your advantage. Keep in mind also, that his only reliable source of damage is from his , and listen for the audible effect when his becomes available. If he roams at level 6, follow him for clean-up ganks.

Karthus
Once again, Talon's mobility shines here. Keep moving and Karthus will have a very difficult time landing his . Try not to jump in with while Karthus has up, but if you must, the damage at early levels is pretty low. In my opinion, one of the easiest champs to play against with Talon.

Morgana
Morgana is a bit more difficult than Karthus as she has natural sustain and is quite a bit beefier than him. However, her kit can't stand up to Talon's and is still an easy win. Harass with as usual, but try not to while is up. Also be aware that good Morgana players won't panic when you go in, and will attempt to combo and . Be prepared for this and juke to the sides of her quickly.

Evelynn
I want to talk about Evelynn here because she's seen a lot of play in mid lane lately. She's highly mobile with her , but she's also very soft. Her is quite annoying at times, but she has to expose herself to farm minions. When she does, land a or combo to keep the pressure up. Not a difficult lane for Talon.


Talon being countered
There are plenty of champions that counter Talon, making it very difficult for him to do well in lane. Here we'll discuss which champions you should avoid playing against, and if you are stuck laning against them, how to handle them.

Mordekaiser
The dreaded Mordekaiser. He is a very difficult opponent for you, as he can constantly keep your lane pushed and keep his refreshed. You can try to harass him with , but make sure you do it before he gains the shield from , or the effort and mana is wasted. Bear in mind the range on his is longer than , so any time you try to harass, he'll most likely trade with you and gain a shield. Rely heavily on your jungler to kill him early on, and maintain your early lead by constantly pressuring him with ganks and harassment. If you don't receive ganks regularly, chances are he's going to catch up in farm and eventually put you in a position where you don't want to be- Under your tower in constant fear of him.

Diana
Diana poses a problem if you give her an early advantage. Like Mordekaiser, lean on your jungler ealry on, and maintain pressure throughout the laning phase. Her has a low cooldown, but is fairly easy to dodge. Get used to doing it, because if she hits you with one you're going to regret it due to it's incredibly high damage. That being said, trading harass with her is a lot easier than that demon Mordekaiser since you can dodge her harass. Don't start a fight with her unless you have a substantial lead, or you feel like you can out damage the shield from her and kill her without dying yourself. Her will wreck whatever you had planned with , so try and bait it before you go in if you can.

Ryze
I personally don't have a problem with Ryze, but it seems many people do. A few things to remember about Ryze are that his cooldowns are very low, and he will build very beefy with tons of mana. What this means is: He will beat you in prolonged fights at later levels. The key to winning against Ryze is just to keep him from farming early, while denying him as much experience as possible. He won't win trades early on, your damage is greater than his, so use that to your advantage. At 6 he does become deceptively bursty, so watch out then. Save for when is on cooldown if possible, and you will win trades.

(If you have a request for a champion to be put on this list, please do so in the comments and I'll post it on here.)

Playstyle- Understanding your role

I feel like this is something we should get out of the way early on.

Talon is an assassin! Let's take a second and discuss what that means.

Assassin- a murderer, especially one who kills a politically prominent person for fanatical or monetary reasons.

So there's your basic definition of an assassin. You may be thinking, well that doesn't really apply to League of Legends, there are no political figures in it! You'd be right of course, but let's replace some stuff in that definition.

Assassin- a murderer, especially one who kills a soft, high damage target for his team's benefit and a large sum of gold.

Better, yeah?

By now, you should be getting the point that it's your job to murder their squishy targets, like the ad carry or mage. As Talon, you have the tools you need to do it, and do it well.

How to Play and What to Expect
  • During the laning phase, you want to harass your enemy with Rake, but try not to hit the creep wave. By level 6, they should be low enough that you can jump on them and murder them. (We'll discuss the how's of that a bit later.)
  • Expect to be very squishy and weak for the first 5 levels. Don't get overconfident here, things can quickly go sour for you.


  • Get in teamfights and dump your damage, then get out! Even if your target isn't dead, they soon will be.
  • Expect their team to attempt to peel you-- However, your combo is fast enough that most people won't have time to react, allowing you to escape with Shadow Assault.


  • DO NOT GET CAUGHT ALONE
  • Expect to die if you are caught. You may make it out if you use Shadow Assault, but now your team is at a disadvantage with you missing.

Masteries

Unlike your Rune page, your Mastery page for Talon won't focus on defense, but will be geared towards increasing his damage as much as possible.

[http://tinyurl.com/csde8uk]

Allocating your points properly
I consider this fairly self-explanatory, but for those of you new to the game or to Talon, I'll explain.

Offense Tree Tier 1
  • Summoner's Wrath (1)- Take this as it increases your attack damage by 5 when it's on cooldown. Any increase in damage is a good thing.
  • Sorcery (4)- Put 4 points in this, cooldown reduction is amazing for Talon; it allows him to cast spells more frequently.
  • Butchery (2)- Put points in this to make farming easier, as well as open up later tiers in this tree

Offense Tree Tier 2
  • Deadliness (4)- 4 points nets you 12 attack damage at level 18. Yes please.

Offense Tree Tier 3
  • Havoc (3)- Increases all of your damage done by 2%. This should be a no-brainer.
  • Weapon Expertise (1)- As an attack damage caster, 8% armor penetration increases Talon's damage output by a fair amount. Take this.

Offense Tree Tier 4
  • Brute Force (2)- Provides 2 extra attack damage.

Offense Tree Tier 5
  • Sunder (3)- Provides 5 flat armor penetration. See Weapon Expertise for why you should take this.

Offense Tree Final Tier
  • Executioner (1)- This skill increases your damage dealt by 5% to targets below 50% hp. You really want this, as it makes killing them that much easier with your combo.


Utility Tree Tier 1
  • Summoner's Insight (1)- Reduces the cooldown of Flash, which means it will be up when you need it.
  • Wanderer (3)- I love this skill. It grants you 2% increased movement speed while out of combat, making it much easier to get in range to attack someone, especially during the early game poke battle.

Utility Tree Tier 2
  • Mastermind (1)- I took a point in this because it offers shorter cooldowns on summoner spells, and the other options weren't appealing for Talon.
  • Expanded Mind (3)- Grants 180 mana at level 18 (10 per level smarty). Talon is very mana hungry throughout the game, so the increased mana is wonderful.

Utility Tree Tier 3
  • Runic Affinity (1)- Runic Affinity increases the duration of jungle camp buffs by 20%. This is especially handy for Talon, as he almost requires blue buff to sustain in lane.


The final point cost should appear as 21/0/9

Runes

Runes for Talon
Talon should take attack damage marks, armor seals, magic resistance glyphs, and attack damage quintessences. This page focuses on increasing his early game damage output and durability, until he can get the items he needs to give him a safety net.

[http://tinyurl.com/cd65n3v]
Alternate Rune Page
You can swap the flat attack damage marks for armor penetration to suit your tastes. The damage is similar in the first few levels either way, so either of these pages is a matter of preference.

[http://tinyurl.com/b3pnv8o]

Your rune page shouldn't deviate from these two, as you will be an easy target without the proper set-up.

x9 Greater Mark of Armor Penetration
These are the marks you want if your're more confident in your last hitting ability. You will do more damage to enemy champions with these, and will push them out of lane more quickly. I prefer using these as Talon should be played as a bully in lane.

x9 Greater Mark of Attack Damage
You can use these to make it easier to last hit minions in your lane. You won't see as much damage against enemy champions, but the difference is small while in mid lane.

x9 Greater Seal of Armor
These will provide a decent amount of physical damage reduction early on, and can mean the difference between an escape or death in a gank. Particularly useful when roaming out of mid lane, where you're more likely to encounter physical damage.

x9 Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
Since you're most likely going to be in mid lane, these will mitigate a lot of the damage you would otherwise receive at the hands of your opponent. You must have these for mid laning Talon, or your enemy will kill you very quickly.

Summoner Spells


Escaping or securing kills, at it's finest. I prefer Flash on Talon because it's gotten me out of some pretty hairy situations, and it's also secured kills. A must have. Combined with Shadow Assault, Flash makes Talon very slippery.

Probably not the smartest play here, but a video to illustrate securing a kill with Flash:









Ignite! True damage DoT that reduces healing effects by half. Aside from strong self healing champs like , , or, try and save this for when they're really low. Get comfortable with Noxian Diplomacy's bleed, as often times the combo of Ignite and the bleed doesn't require a chase.

Why you and your team need Ignite:



Skills

Passive: Mercy
Talon's autoattacks deal 10% additional damage to any target that is slowed, stunned, immobilized or suppressed.
Explanation:

This is a small boost in damage early on that you may not even notice. As you progress through levels and items however, you'll be getting much more out of your 10% additional damage. Please note that this does apply to Noxian Diplomacy, in both up-front damage and bleed.

Make sure to use Rake first in your combos, as you're losing damage by not having the slow applied if you don't.

Q: Noxian Diplomacy
Talon's next autoattack within the next 6 seconds deals additional physical damage. If the target is a champion they will also bleed for 6 seconds, taking additional physical damage each second and revealing their location for the duration.
COOLDOWN: 8 / 7 / 6 / 5 / 4 COST: 40 / 45 / 50 / 55 / 60 Mana

Explanation:

An attack swing reset with additional up-front damage and a bleed afterwards. This will be your main source of damage if you make it to End Game.

I love this ability for many reasons- It hits like a truck every few seconds, applies a substantial DoT effect that can and will kill your enemies, and it grants vision of them for 6 seconds. This is an amazing ability all around, not just for the damage it does, but for the utility it provides Talon and his team. Enemies will find it much harder to escape through the jungle after using this ability in them.

Some additional information:
ADDITIONAL PHYSICAL DAMAGE: 30 / 60 / 90 / 120 / 150 (+ 30% Bonus AD)
TOTAL DOT DAMAGE: 18 / 36 / 54 / 72 / 90 (+ 120% Bonus AD)
TOTAL ADDITIONAL PHYSICAL DAMAGE WITH RANK 5 CUTTHROAT: 34.5 / 69 / 103.5 / 138 / 172.5 (+ 34.5% Bonus AD)

W: Rake
Talon sends out a volley of daggers in a cone that then quickly return back to him, dealing physical damage to any enemies it passes through. Each enemy can only be damaged once at the start of the ability and once at the end. Additionally the enemy is slowed for 2 seconds, refreshing the duration of the slow if they are hit twice.
RANGE: 600 COOLDOWN: 10 COST: 60 / 65 / 70 / 75 / 80 Mana

Explanation:

Rake is the ability you're going to be using most often until mid game. It's a potent mid range poke ability that fires in a wide cone in front of Talon. This ability has a few downsides for Talon, such as a high mana cost, and it's range is short enough to leave you vulnerable to counterattack by many champions.

Using Rake effectively is something you should strive to do. Try to dodge skill shots and follow up with a quick Rake. If you're out beyond the minion wave harassing, keep in mind you can Rake them and Cutthroat back to an enemy minion to avoid a counterattack. (Sort of like you would do with Katarina's Shunpo.)

Some additional information:
PHYSICAL DAMAGE PER HIT: 30 / 55 / 80 / 105 / 130 (+ 60% Bonus AD)
TOTAL PHYSICAL DAMAGE: 60 / 110 / 160 / 210 / 260 (+ 120% Bonus AD)
TOTAL PHYSICAL DAMAGE WITH RANK 5 CUTTHROAT: 69 / 126.5 / 184 / 241.5 / 299 (+ 138% Bonus AD)
SLOW: 20% / 25% / 30% / 35% / 40%



E: Cutthroat
Talon instantly appears behind his target, silencing them for 1 second and amplifying his damage against that target for 3 seconds.
RANGE: 700 COOLDOWN: 18 / 16 / 14 / 12 / 10 COST: 35 / 40 / 45 / 50 / 55 Mana

Explanation:

Cutthroat is the ability that makes Talon a terror in mid lane. A silence combined with a gap closer, COMBINED with damage amplification. Holy cow! As you can see in the 'Additional information' bits above, the damage increase on Talon's abilities is quite large. It doesn't do any damage on it's own, that true, but keep in mind that if it did, one of the utilities would have to be removed in order to keep it balanced. The way it works now (In my opinion) is much more compelling and downright fun.

Additional information:
DAMAGE AMPLIFICATION: 3% / 6% / 9% / 12% / 15%

R: Shadow Assault
Talon disperses a ring of blades outwards and gains stealth for up to 2.5 seconds while gaining 40% movement speed. When Talon emerges from stealth, the blades converge on his location. When the ring of blades expands and contracts, enemies hit receive physical damage. Each enemy can only be damaged once at the start of the ability and once at the end.
COOLDOWN: 75 / 65 / 55 COST: 80 / 90 / 100 Mana

Explanation:

Talon's ultimate, and probably one of the main reasons you decided to play him. Deals a large portion of damage PER BLADE HIT, which at rank 3 can deal upwards of 800 physical damage. An ultimate not to be trifled with.

This ability is another one of those multi-use or multi-function abilities, even though it may not appear like it at first glance. For starters, the diameter of the ring of blades (1000 units) is large. This means that while you're focusing down your target, you're still able to deal damage to the rest of the enemy team.
You can do a few things with Shadow Assault once you get comfortable with it.
  • Activate it twice rapidly for a quick bit of burst damage.
  • Reposition yourself behind a fleeing enemy to maximize damage output.
  • Run away from ganks or the enemy team.

Additional information:
PHYSICAL DAMAGE PER HIT: 120 / 190 / 260 (+ 90% Bonus AD)
TOTAL PHYSICAL DAMAGE: 240 / 380 / 520 (+ 180% Bonus AD)
TOTAL PHYSICAL DAMAGE WITH RANK 5 CUTTHROAT: 276 / 437 / 598 (+ 207% Bonus AD)
DIAMETER OF AOE: 1000

Tips
  • When trying to escape with Shadow Assault, always do what the enemy won't expect. For example, if your bush is 4 feet away from you, run the opposite direction. You'll buy enough time to get a nice lead and usually make it away.
  • If you're getting ganked, one thing to practice is using Cutthroat to jump to the jungler in certain situations. You will have a second or more before he can retaliate as he's probably not expecting you to rush him, so you can either walk away or use Flash, depending on how brave you are.
  • Attacking, using another ability, or using a summoner spell will cancel the stealth from Shadow Assault. Be careful with your clicks!

Skill Order

Levels 1-6 - - - - -

Then Prioritize - - -

Why pick skills in this order?
You want to max Rake first as it's your safest and easiest way of dealing damage. Take the point in Cutthroat at level 2 for the increase in mobility and the silence, then Noxian Diplomacy at 3 so you can start using a combo. After that, two points in Rake until level 6 so your harass is more potent. Once you get Shadow Assault, you will be in a position to kill them pretty easily if you've been harassing them with this skill order.

Why not put a point in Noxian Diplomacy first?
You take and max Rake first because your goal in lane is to harass safely until you can kill them. By taking Noxian Diplomacy first, you deny yourself the ability to harass from range, as well as losing the synergy between his passive and the slow from Rake.

Comboing Talon's Abilities

Explanation of How and Why to Combo

Talon is an ad caster, meaning he uses his abilities for the bulk of his damage. (Not autoattacks.) As such, you'll want to use his abilities in a way that maximizes his damage output. Harass with Rake until you feel you can kill, then follow up with:
,BEFORE Rake hits, autoattack, ,

Usually by the end of the combo they're dead, or very close to it.

DO NOT activate Noxian Diplomacy before Cutthroat. It makes landing the full combo a tiny bit easier, but you're losing out on a significant chunk of damage from the autoattack.

Remember and practice this combo, as it's your bread and butter. You typically don't want to go into a fight without Cutthroat up, as at level 18 you lose a significant portion of damage on all your abilities.

This video demonstrates what I'm telling you not to do, but it does serve an educational purpose for his other abilities:

Item Builds

I thought it would be wise to discuss the way I've built Talon here, so everyone has a better understanding of the how's and why's.


Explanation
As an ad caster, Talon is reliant on cooldown reduction so he can dump out damage faster. These boots are a strong pick for him early on, but you may want to grab...


Explanation
I'm finding that Mercury treads are becoming a more frequent buy when I play Talon. Most mages have some form of cc, so the tenacity helps alot. The magic resistance is quite nice for mid Talon as well.


Explanation
This is your bread and butter item. You WANT one of these. Why? For one, it applies it's passive on ability and autoattack use, meaning you'll shred armor very quickly. Having one of these gives you a significant boost in health, (Which was a weakness for Talon in Season 2) as well much needed attack damage AND cooldown reduction. This is the perfect item for Talon!


Explanation
You don't get more attack damage from any other item. 100 ad with a full Bloodthirster is huge for you, and the lifesteal will help sustain you during laning phase, as well as keep you alive in teamfights.

and
Explanation
Maw of Malmortius has become a bit better since it's been reworked. The magic damage shield it gives you is a real life saver, and the bonus attack damage per missing health may be enough to save your life in sticky situations. Mercurial Scimitar is also wonderful, it gives a large chunk of attack damage and magic resistance, and has the on-use effect of removing crowd control effects WHILE granting 100% bonus speed. I suggest picking up Mercurial Scimitar for cc heavy teams.


Explanation
Finally, Guardian Angel. This item isn't what it used to be, but it still provides a large amount of armor and magic resistance, and resurrects you upon death once every five minutes. Combine the resistances with the health from your Black Cleavers, and you're pretty beefy!

Starting Items
+
Flat out the only option for starting items as Talon mid. The mobility the boots provide, and the sustain from the health potions will make you a threat in lane until you recall for the first time. Never ever ever start with a . The health and ad are nice early on, but the sustain is abysmal compared to .

Core Items

Your core items are your early-mid game buys. You'll build these into other items late game, but for now we're focusing on three things.


This provides three things for Talon: Armor penetration, attack damage, and cooldown reduction. As we discussed above, you want all three of these stats, so this item is obviously great early on. I typically make this the first core item I buy, as it increases your damage drastically.

Another must-have early on. You'll get attack damage and magic resist from this item, which is invaluable in mid lane against mostly ability power champions. It will also provide a small magic absorbing shield when you drop below 30% health. This item has saved my life many times.

I usually buy vampiric scepter last, out of the three core items, but that's really just a preference thing. It provides you with 10 attack damage and 10% lifesteal, making it much easier to stay in lane if you're being harassed. One thing to note is that Noxian Diplomacy will proc the lifesteal from vampiric scepter, giving you a sizable increase in health over a regular autoattack.

Finished Build
Bear in mind that like all finished builds in these guides, it's situational.
- - - - -
In a lot of games, this is what your ending build will look like. It gives you a decent amount of health (for an assassin), resistances, and to quote Phreak, tons of damage. I feel like most of these items are fairly self-explanatory given what we've discussed already, so I'd like to move on to:

Alternate Items, or Being Flexible
So as I mentioned above, the final build isn't static. Every game is different, and some of them will require different items for you to remain relevant throughout. Let's talk about some of the popular choices for Talon, as well as some items you simply shouldn't get.

Alternates to the normal build


This item should replace your Hexdrinker if you choose to get it. Not only is the freedom from crowd control wonderful, the speed boost it provides can help close the gap between you and a carry if you get caught. I'd say I alternate between this item and Hexdrinker fairly often; it all depends on the amount of control the enemy team has. Take this when fighting against teams with Amumu, Sona, or Morgana. (To name a few.)


Keeping with our theme of the first planet, you may choose to substitute your ionian boots for these. The tenacity these boots provide will shorten the duration of cc against you, and the small magic resistance will help keep you alive early on. A safer choice than ionian boots if you're not feeling that confident.


A very good item for Talon, it provides attack damage and more armor penetration. That being said, I usually don't buy this for a few reasons: Most carries won't have much armor and your The Black Cleaver will take care of what little armor they DO have, and the attack damage it provides is somewhat low. (Comparatively. See Bloodthirster.) This item does have a few benefits however, so it's still a good choice. I'll explain: Since Riot nerfed The Black Cleaver, it's harder to shred armor as quickly. Against heavy armor stacking teams, this item will make it much easier for YOUR TEAM to do damage to the enemy team. Obviously you will as well, but the major draw (at least for me) is the increased damage your ad carry will be doing, specifically to their tanks and bruisers. The reduced armor this item can cause is not to be overlooked, and it remains a very solid item choice.


This item used to be a staple of my end game Talon build. Now that The Brutalizer builds into The Black Cleaver however, I haven't really built it much. It is of course, still a viable choice for Talon as it provides some of the stats he wants. The greatest benefit from this item is it's active ability, the increased attack speed will help burst down your target, and the movement speed will help you either chase them down, or run away. The drawback for me is it has crit chance as one of the stats, which I've completely avoided in this build. I wouldn't really recommend this item except situationally, as the crit is somewhat of a wasted stat.

Honorable Mentions

Ah, Tri Force. This is still a really popular item for Talon, but I personally haven't built it in almost 6 months. It provides a lot of stats that Talon can use, which seems like a great idea, but the damage output from this item is lacking. You won't be hitting as hard with this as you would if you had a Bloodthirster.

Arguments for it, and rebuffs
Argument for: "The spellblade effect makes Talon hit like a truck!"
Rebuff: Not really. A common misconception with items like Trinity Force, Sheen, and now Iceborn Gauntlet, is that it applies a bonus of your attack damage on hit after ability use. That statement is missing something. It applies a bonus of your BASE attack damage on hit after ability use. Talon's BASE attack damage is 50(+3.1), giving him 105.8 BASE attack damage at level 18. That means the spellblade effect will give him 158.7 extra damage on his next hit. That's a decent amount for sure, but the item cost (4200g) outweighs it's benefit to me. I'd rather have a second Bloodthirster for 3000g and have all my abilities do more damage.

Now I'm not saying this item is a bad choice, just that I think it's not a good idea to rush it, and that other items are more useful and cost-effective. The only time I would personally build this now, is if I'm attempting to backdoor a tower very quickly. (But then again, I would probably buy a Ghostblade instead and spend my leftover gold on something else.) Moving on!


I have yet to try this item on Talon, but for a week or so it was discussed a lot on the League forums for a variety of champions. At 2200g, this looks to me like huge on-demand burst early and mid games. You get 3 guaranteed critical strikes, and it increases your attack speed by 100% when you use it. (45% normally.) It's worth pointing out that you get no bonus from this item while the on-use ability is on cooldown. I'm not terribly attracted to this item, but coupled with an Infinity Edge it could be pretty nasty.


A must have if you're focusing on a crit build. 80 attack damage is a large amount, plus your crits doing 50% more damage makes this a solid choice. (250% crit damage total by the way.) I don't build crit on Talon, so I don't buy this item. I prefer just flat out attack damage, but experimentation is possible. (And once you get comfortable with Talon, I recommend it.)

What not to buy
, ,
Any attack speed based item, really. You don't autoattack with Talon, these items will do him no good. I cringe every time I see a Talon in game with any of these items, so don't be one of those guys. Just stick with ad, armor pen, and cdr.

Final Remarks on this Build
Why two Bloodthirsters?
To be blunt, the raw attack damage. The lifesteal is not as important by the time you get a second, so it's just the ad. Arguments have been made for other items over a second BT, and it's really up to you. Talon is very elusive, and as such it should be fairly easy to maintain your stacks. If you find you're getting focused hard, it might be wise to forgo the second BT and pick up another item.

You have a lot of options with Talon in Season 3. Remember to remain flexible with your build, and buy according to what your team needs as well as what the enemy team has. Shop smart. (Shop S-mart.)

Early Game

In the current meta, Talon fits best into mid lane. For the purposes of this guide, I'm going to assume that's where you're going. (I've alluded to playing him as a top lane, but he doesn't do as well there.)

Your immediate goal as Talon should be to farm minions. Last hit them so you don't push your lane, and by no circumstances use Rake solely on them. If you have an opening to use Rake on your opponent with few or no minions being hit, do so, but don't focus on pushing them out of lane until level 3 or 4. Practice dodging enemy skill shots and abilities, as you don't want to be forced back to your tower. When facing champs like Malzahar or Katarina, (champs with targeted abilities) it's best to keep the pressure up early, as you will have the damage advantage with the silence from Cutthroat.

By the time you reach level 4, one of two things will happen. You will have harassed them enough to force them to stay away from you, or you will need help shutting them down. If the first is true, great! Continue what you're doing. If the latter is true, ask your jungler to gank for you if he isn't already, and prepare to kill them. Try not to telegraph that your jungler is coming by suddenly being agressive if you've been playing passively, that's a tell-tale sign of an impending gank. Let the lane push to your tower and wait for your jungler to initiate a fight if you have low hp. Get in range and use your combo as we covered earlier, W-E-Auto-Q. With the extra damage your jungler and ignite will provide, they should be dead, and provided you feel safe enough, you can continue farming.

One thing you should do before recalling is to push your lane to the enemy tower. This provides a bit of safety to your tower while you're gone, and gives the minions a chance to reset on the way back. (Meaning they will be attacking each other in the middle of the lane.)


Shopping List
+
or
To protect yourself from ganks.

Mid Game

Mid game is your time to shine. Transitioning into mid game, you should have your Brutalizer and boots of choice, and a start on The Bloodthirster in Vampiric Scepter. Now is the time to consider pushing more aggressively, as you can open up several options for you and your team, whether it's pushing down the tower, doing dragon, or ganking other lanes. Continue to zone out your opponent in lane, killing him if possible. You want to do everything in your power to get as much of an advantage in mid game as you can, because end game Talon's usefulness decreases a lot. This is where you should step up and carry your team; direct where to go and which objectives to take.

If you're successful in ganking a lane, push down that lane's tower with them. Talon can demolish towers pretty quickly thanks to Noxian Diplomacy, and the global gold gain for your team will go a long way.

It's important to stay aggressive at this stage, as it's Talon's best point in the game. I can't stress enough to push lanes-- Force enemies to farm creeps underneath their towers if nothing else. Your goal here is to free up objectives for your team to keep the gold flowing in. It's also ok at this point to push minion waves with Rake. In fact, I recommend it. By the time you have your Bloodthirster, you can kill an entire wave with one Rake.

Be wary of you opponent mid lane roaming as well. If you get into the habit of leaving your lane to gank others, keep a wary eye on what he is doing, as oftentimes he will either attempt to clean up after your gank, or go after another lane entirely. Weigh the benefits of leaving lane versus the detractors of potentially losing objectives. Will he push your tower down? Will he gank bottom lane and open up a dragon kill for his team? Things to consider before roaming.

When to take Objectives
  • Towers- Try to take your tower when your lane opponent is dead or at base. Keep a close eye out for the jungler coming in for ganks, but you should be able to push down a tower within 10 seconds with Noxian Diplomacy.
  • Dragon- If you can do dragon every time it's up, great! Typically a good time to do it is when either the enemy bot lane or jungler is dead. As mid lane, you want to be there with your jungler and bot lane to ensure that they don't get killed attempting to take it.
  • Baron Nashor- You can sneak in an early Baron with your team if you're all comfortable with it and the enemy team is aced. If you do manage to take it, push own as many towers with your team as possible. At this stage in the game, the enemy team won't be in a position to stop you if you have the buff from Baron.

Shopping List
Finish this as quickly as you can, it's a significant boost in your damage.
Now might be a good time to build your Guardian Angel, especially if the enemy team starts focusing you.
or Depending on which item you're building into. (Maw of Malmortius or Mercury's Scimitar.)

Navigating Team Fights

Now that you're a bursty killing machine, you wanna run into team fights and pentakill in every single one right?

...It could happen, but probably not. Read on.

Your role in team fights is important, and you will need to execute it properly or your team will be at a huge disadvantage. Look, you're a glass cannon at this point. You have some health from your , but nil in the way of any extra resistances right now.

The idea behind team fighting with Talon is simple. You're not there until the enemy is committed to attacking someone other than you. You don't want to get caught in the initial opening burst, or you will most likely be dead, or focused down. Be patient and wait a second. Once the ults are out of the way, book it to the adc or mage and make them explode. (If possible hit multiple targets with Shadow Assault.)

This will probably infuriate their team. They will try to peel you but they will fail, because you are invisible.

If you make it away and your cooldowns are up, do it again on the next squishy target. You want to be in and out of fights, don't stay in and autoattack unless their team has incredibly low hp; your adc can clean up.

Tips
  • Ignite the adc carry earlier if they are lifestealing a bunch of health back.
  • Play games with the enemy team; practice juking. You're a high priority target. Your team can clean them up if they're dumb and spend time chasing you.

An aid for all you visual learners: (Note how he waits to go in until the focus is elsewhere, and how he dips in and out of the fight.)

Late Game

End Game gets a little more difficult for you. By now the enemy has their resistances and health, so you have a much more difficult time bursting them down. Continue playing as if it were Mid Game. Keep your eye on the ball, and stay focused. Always keep vision of Baron Nashor at this stage of the game. You must help out with the ward load too! If the enemy takes Baron in late game, it's very difficult for your team to win, and vice-versa.

You should be finishing up your item build by now, buying your Maw of Malmortius or Mercurial Scimitar, and your second Bloodthirster. The extra resistance and lifesteal will help keep you alive while you're killing your target, and your damage output will be much higher with your second Bloodthirster.

The lack of great late game scaling may be a bit daunting to most new Talon players, but don't get discouraged! You still have an important role on the team, and you can still do your job very well. You may not get the instant kills on the ad carry anymore, but your teammates should recognize this and be able to clean up your targets quite easily.

One thing to note: By now, your Noxian Diplomacy absolutely demolishes any structure in the game. If you feel like you can get away with it, sneak in and take a tower or inhibitor quickly with it. I've won many games by simply walking through the jungle to an inhibitor and taking it while the enemies chased down my team.

Keep in mind that during end game, death timers have increased to quite a long time. Coordinate with your team to take as many objectives as possible while the enemy team is recovering. Conversely, play a bit more cautiously before fighting, getting killed will put you out for a long time.

When to take Objectives
  • Towers- You want to be a bit more cautious when taking towers at this stage of the game. Getting killed or aced will almost guarantee a victory for the enemy team. This is why it's important to maintain vision of the map, so you can see when it's safe to take towers.
  • Dragon- Taking Dragon is still important in end game, just practice as much caution as you do when taking towers.
  • Baron Nashor- If you can take Baron at an early point in end game, then do so. However, it may not be prudent to waste time taking it depending on how far the game has progressed. Once death timers reach 50 seconds, I'd say it's wiser to rush the Nexus in hopes of ending the game.

Shopping List
or
The additional damage and lifesteal will help keep you a major threat in fights.

Final Comments

If you read all of the above chapters, I'm willing to bet that you will be doing very well soon. Just remember at all times that Talon is an assassin, and you should play him like one!


Thanks for reading my guide! Talon is a great addition to any team, and I hope you've gained some knowledge of how to do well with him by reading this! Please 'Like' and comment!


I'd like to thank all of the various video owners for sharing them with us, and the various guide owners who I used for guidance in my own guide. Cheers.

CHANGELOG:
12/23: Updated Item Build chapter heavily.
12/16: Replaced the second Black Cleaver for a second Bloodthirster, as the armor pen on Black Cleaver is now UNIQUE. Sad day for Talon, but a much needed balance in general.

Comments

December 24, 2012 - 03:23 AM #1

Thanks for the input. I meant to touch on that when I was writing the guide actually, it being interchangeable if you're not great at last hitting creeps. I'll update it with an explanation. :)

December 24, 2012 - 02:21 AM #2

You should take the 5% additional tower damage point instead of a point in bonus minion damage for Talon's Q.

December 18, 2012 - 10:48 PM #3

They did change BC, made the penetration unique. They intended for it not to be uniqiue. The screw up was them not realizing how badly it would effect the game.



I also failed to mention, that you need to spend much more time on your item build chapter. Supply more item options, and give a basic walk through of your item purchases, explaining everything up until you basically have finished you core items. Keep in mind, core items are not finished items like trinity for, BT, GA, etc. your core items are items that are advanced, and are items you will always purchase as they can be built into an item you really need, or have multiple build paths. For example, for this, your core items appear to be Brutalizer, Vampiric scepter, and possibly Hexdrinker.

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[size=4][color=#008080]If you plan to write a guide, I suggest you first click the link below and read the Information contained within:[/color][/size]
[url="http://www.solomid.net/guide/view/35596"]http://www.solomid.net/guide/view/35596[/url]

December 9, 2012 - 02:55 AM #4

Will do, thankya. About BC, I seem to remember Riot saying it was working as intended. If they are changed however, I intend on removing the second from the build.

December 8, 2012 - 07:39 PM #5

Please rewrite your skills chapter, it has little or not information contained within it. Also spend more time writing your mid game and late game chapters as well.



On a side note, Keep in mind that BC's passive, is very likely, and honestly has to be, a screw up that it is not unique. So be midful that it should be getting changed, very soon.

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[size=4][color=#008080]If you plan to write a guide, I suggest you first click the link below and read the Information contained within:[/color][/size]
[url="http://www.solomid.net/guide/view/35596"]http://www.solomid.net/guide/view/35596[/url]

December 8, 2012 - 05:55 AM #6

Thanks man! I completely overlooked Butcher, much appreciated.

December 7, 2012 - 10:43 PM #7

good guide dude! but get your points of lethality into butcher since you have no crit chance ;) keep it up