IntroductionI am ChaiPod - a jungle main, S2 1800 elo player, top 100 NA ranked team jungler, and educational jungle blogger in League of Legends.
Personal Background: I have been playing semi-competitively on a team, and ranked solo queue since Season 2. I have been jungling since I hit 30 because I enjoyed the style of play. Before I played League of Legends, I played three years of Guild Wars competitively leading a team in the top 50s of the GvG ladder. I have always been competitive in gaming and looked at a practical and theoretical approach to competitive gaming; League of Legends is no exemption to my competitive gaming history.
This guide aims to inform players of all skill levels the proper method for playing Nocturne in the new Season 3 jungle as Nocturne has become one of the strongest junglers in Season 3.
If you find this guide informative and useful, feel free to check out my educational jungling blog at www.chaipodlol.blogspot.ca
Updates, Change Log, and UpcomingUpdates & Change Log
January 6, 2012 V1.0
- Guide was published for League of Legends patch V22.214.171.124
January 7, 2012 V1.1
- Edited Images for Masteries and Runes that were not working
- Early-game Section
- Mid-game Section
- Late-game Section
- Champion Introduction
Practical ConceptsPros of Nocturne
- Strong clear time and sustain in the jungle
- Strong early game duel potential
- Amazing ultimate that opens the amount of plays
- Has a high potential to snowball strongly following kills
- Scales well with items which can be farmed in the jungle
- Effective carry / assassin against the enemy AD carry
- Strong base damage and steroids
- Aggressively strong mid-game
Cons of Nocturne
- Does not fit an initiator role even with his ultimate without a proper team-comp
- Early deaths are difficult to overcome
- More squishy than other junglers in the current meta
- Has to build damage for damage late game
- Difficult to play in mid-late game if there was a bad laning phase
- Not as aggressive as other junglers early-game
When to Pick Nocturne
- Enemy team is playing a support jungler (i.e., Maokai, Amumu, Cho'Gath)
- Enemy team is playing players with multiple blinks / flashes
- Enemy team has picked champions with strong global presence
- Enemy team is playing an AD carry focused comp
- Your team has a dedicated initiator or strong catch potential
- Your team requires a bruiser with damage
- Your team can successfully let you farm till 6
When not to Pick Nocturne
- Enemy team has a strong counter-jungler (i.e., Nunu, Lee Sin)
- Enemy team has multiple methods of AOE initiation (i.e., Malphite, Galio)
- Your team needs a strong initiator who builds aura items
- Your team is picking passive lanes (i.e., Soraka support, Vlad top)
Why Nocturne is better in Season 3 than Season 2
- Jungle has more gold to farm for items which allows Nocturne to get items to be effective late game
- Jungle favours passive farming until a champion purchases boots or has a gank potential changing ultimate (i.e., Nocturne's Paranoia)
- Jungle emphasises on an importance on base damage and sustain; Nocturne has strong base damage, AOE clearing, and sustain through his Q and passive
MasteriesThere are two acceptable mastery pages for Nocturne: 21/9/0 and 9/21/0. Although 21/9/0 is an acceptable mastery page in certain game situations, I would recommend 9/21/0 for most cases.
Why 9/21/0 is better for early clear time?
9/21/0 yields similar clear time as the more aggressively oriented offense mastery specs. However, 9/21/0 yields more HP than other mastery specs.
Nocturne 21/9 Armor Mastery Path
Nocturne 21/9 Bladed-Armor Mastery Path
Nocturne 21/9 No-HP Mastery Path
Nocturne 9/21 Mastery Path
Nocturne 19/11 Mastery Path
why 9/21/0 is better for mid-game
- Defense mastery makes Nocturne more tanky and allows him to make the most out of his base damage
- Although sacrificing offense mastery specs makes him do less damage; it allows Nocturne to stay alive
- Most bruisers do not face problems with mid-game damage because of base damage and game mechanics; however, they do face problems with being kited and not being able to get damage off on priority targets
Why 9/21/0 is better for late-game
- Everyone becomes damage soaks for AD carries or ADC divers late game
- 9/21/0 will allow a champion to be able to take more damage than 21/9/0 late-game against the farmed AD carry
- The offense tree is useless late-game outside of Executioner
Why 9/21/0 mastery points are chosen
- Offence 4/4 Fury: Attack speed is amazing on nocturne (more information in runes section)
- Offence 4/4 Deadliness: Only path remaining for an AD bruiser going 9 in offence
- Offence 1/1 Weapon Expertise: 8% armor penetration is amazing for 9 points in anything; the most worthy point in all of the offence tree
- Defence 1/1 Summoner's Resolve: Smite can grant up to an additional 300 gold a game with this point
- Defence 4/4 Durability: Required for Veteran's Scars; health never hurts
- Defence 1/1 Veteran's Scars: Probably the best mastery point in the game; was nerfed in S2 to S3 changes but still an amazing one point spent in the defence tree
- Defence 2/2 Tough Skin: Helps amazingly with early jungle clear granting more than 100 HP in difference when clearing when used along with Bladed Armor
- Defence 1/1 Bladed Armor: Similar to Tough Skin
- Defence 3/3 Hardiness: 5 base armor one of the stronger low-tier mastery specs to gain for overall effectiveness
- Defence 3/3 Tenacious: Tenacity is overpowered in this game; Tenacious is more useful than relentless because it effects every crowd control ability
- Defence 3/3 Juggernaut: Grants more effective stats when compared to other upper tier specs such as Legendary Armor and Unyielding + Block combo; also effective in the jungle and not just against champions compared to the Unyielding + Block combo
- Defence 1/1 Defender: Although not as cost effective, it grants up to 5 armor and magic resist for one point
- Defence 1/1 Reinforced Armor: Current AD carry meta revolves around crit spams with PD and IE combos; 10% damage reduction on crits for one point is extremely effective late-game
- Defence 1/1 Honor Guard: 3% base damage reduction is extremely strong in any stage of the game
Why other mastery paths are not as optimal
- 21/9/0: Points leading up to the 21st point in the offence tree are not useful when Nocturne has such amazing base damage and steriods; he is better off staying alive and using his good base damage than trying to burst more damage
- 19/11/0: The points from Weapon Expertise to Executioner are made for AD carries and not very effective on bruisers; Havoc and Lethality + Frenzy Combo is useless on bruisers, especially when they are not building any crit
- 11/19/0: The last two points for the defence tree are too good to pass in exchange for some flat AD and flat armor pentation which are covered in Nocturne's Q, runes, and % armor penetation items
- 9/12/9: Champions who do not have monster late game scaling (i.e., Singed or Irelia) really need the help of the 21st points in the defence or offence mastery trees. Choosing all early tier points is only viable on champions who only want the early game effectiveness of masteries
Why Attack Speed Marks?
- Nocturne scales well with attack speed extremely well
- Attack speed lets him spam his passive more
- Attack speed lets him auto attack more and use his base damage increase on his Q more
Why Armor Penetration Quints?
- Nocturne does well with Armor Penetration because he can do close to true damage on champions and minions early game
- Flat Armor Pentration, with % based Armor pentration masteries, and Black Cleaver item allows a great amount of shred for mid-game against bruisers and carries.
- Nocturne does not need the flat AD increase from runes
Why Armor Seals?
- Armor seals are the bread and butter of a jungler's rune page
- Armor seals, the most effective of the three lower tier armor runes, lets a champion tank more damage in the jungle
- Armor seals are good for keeping a champion healthy in the jungle and good against early game base damage from auto attacks and abilities
Why Mr/Level Glyphs?
- Magic resist is not required until mid-late game where team fights occur
- Magic resist is not helpful in the jungle
- Even when ganking mid lane, most champions won't be able to burst through early game full hp of junglers
Why not Flat AD Marks and Quints?
- Flat AD marks and Quints, while good on a lot of other junglers, is not as effective on Nocturne because his Q gives him a lot of base damage
Why not Move Speed Quints?
- Move speed quints not as useful on Nocturne because of his movement speed increase, and collision ignoring ability on his Q; also, his Ultimate lets him gap close extremely effective
Flash is a staple of League of Legends; it lets you escape death and secure kills. Flash can be used aggressively to counter enemy flashes or gap close and can be used defensively to escape death and dodge skill shots. Choose Flash for pretty much every situation.
Smite is a requirement for junglers of League of Legends. Smite is most importantly used to secure buffs, dragons, or barons. Mastering the use of smite is a requirement for any high elo jungler.
Alternatives to Flash
Exhaust can be used to replace flash in games where there are champions with few escape abilities outside of flash and you have a very little chance of being counter jungled. Use exhaust to help in early ganks, stop high kill potential champions, or dive AD carries late game more effectively.
SkillsPassive: Umbra Blades
Every 10 seconds, Nocturne's next attack strikes surrounding enemies for 120% physical damage and heals himself for 15/20/25 per target hit.
Nocturne's basic attacks reduce this cooldown by 1 second.
Arguably one of the best passive for junglers in the game. Nocturne's passive gives him base damage, AoE damage, and sustain! Umbra Blades scales extremely well with attack speed as it's cooldown is reduced on auto-attack. Position yourself properly to use Umbra Blades on all the jungle creeps to maximize sustain and damage.
Nocturne throws a shadow blade which deals 60/105/150/195/240 (+75% attack damage) physical damage and leaves a Dusk Trail for 5 seconds. Enemy champions hit also leave a Dusk Trail.
While on the trail, Nocturne ignores unit collision and gains 15/20/25/30/35% Movement Speed and 15/25/35/45/55 Attack Damage.
Cooldown 10 seconds
Cost 60/65/70/75/80 mana
Duskbringer is the bread and butter of every Nocturne player. Max this ability first, every time. The Base damage on duskbringer is strong; however, the benefits of it lie in it's base AD increase, movement speed increase, and ignoring unit collission. Hitting duskbringer on champions during a gank is guaranteed to bring positive results. Furthermore, Duskbringer is the reason why Nocturne can spec into armor penetration, and attack speed instead of AD like other bruisers. Max this ability first, every time.
W: Shroud of Darkness
Passive: Nocturne has 20/25/30/35/40% bonus Attack Speed.
Active: Nocturne creates a magical barrier for 2 seconds, which blocks the next enemy ability.
If an ability is blocked by the shield, Nocturne's passive Attack Speed bonus doubles for 5 seconds.
Cost 50 mana
Although not as important as Nocturne's Duskbringer or Unspeakable Horror, Shroud of Darkness is, foremost, a steroid that allows Nocturne to be an extremely efficient carry assassin late-game. Giving him a 40% bonus attack speed at level 5, this skill gives him more attack speed than a recurve bow. In addition, it gives a helpful active that blocks abilities. The key to using the active is to block crucial spells for your team and yourself. Using the active of Shroud of Darkness against enemy stuns can help in a bank, against enemy globals (Karthus) can prevent kills, and against enemy initiation can help block save a friendly carry from getting caught. Get a point early in this ability to help with clearing then max it last.
E: Unspeakable Horror
Nocturne plants a nightmare into his target's mind, dealing 50/100/150/200/250 (+100% ability power) magic damage over 2 seconds. If Nocturne stays within 465 range of the target for the full duration, the target becomes feared for 1/1.25/1.5/1.75/2 second(s).
Cooldown 15/14/13/12/11 seconds
Cost 60/65/70/75/80 mana
Nocturne's only CC ability, Unspeakable Horror puts a fear on the enemy. Use it during ganks in combination with Duskbringer will help you run an enemy down. Although this ability doesn't scale with AD, it's base damage is quite high; however, the main purpose of this ability is for the CC. Always try to run (or attack cancel micro) In front of the enemy when the fear is leashing so that you are in a position to continue doing damage even if the enemy is running away from you. Keep in mind, fear moves an enemy champion randomly but will always slow the target. Max this ability second for more effective CC in ganks.
Nocturne reduces the sight radius of all enemy champions and removes their ally vision for 4 seconds.
While Paranoia is active, Nocturne can launch himself at an enemy champion, dealing 150/250/350 (+120% attack damage ) physical damage.
Cooldown 160/130/100 seconds
Cost 100 mana
Paranoia is the main reason most junglers pick Nocturne. The ability and fear of a jungler to be able to gank any lane form any location regardless of wards is a pressure that is applied globally. Although it is not a true global, like Karthus' Requiem, the fear that it brings to intelligent enemy laners is enough to consider it a global ability. Using Paranoia on laners without flash is almost always a guaranteed kill. Also, keep in mind that Paranoia will follow enemies who are already flashing when you are in cast. Paranoia can be used most effectively as a way to counter-gank or force a kill on someone in preparation for an objective like Dragon. Always try to use Paranoia sparingly and efficiently to get the most out of one of the best abilities in the game with one of the longest cooldowns. Level this ability up at level 6, 11, and 16.
Skill OrderQ: Duskbringer
This is the primary ability of Nocturne. Always level Duskbringer, when starting the jungle in a normal situation, first and max it before any other ability. No exception.
W: Shroud of Darkness
This is a secondary ability of Nocturne. Level Shroud of Darkness second and max it after Duskbringer and Unspeakable Horror if you are ganking normally. If you are not ganking, max this after Duskbringer and before Unspeakable Horror to clear the jungle faster.
E: Unspeakable Horror
This is a secondary ability of Nocturne. Level Unspeakable Horror third and max it after Duskbringer and before Shroud of Darkness.
This is the ultimate ability of Nocturne. Max it as soon as possible at levels 6, 11, and 16. No exception.
Item BuildsCore Items
: Movement Speed is the best base state in the game and the most important stat to a jungler. Upgrade to Tier 2 boots after core items are completed.
: Life-steal, Armor, Damage, and a jungle clearing passive makes it a must-get item on any bruiser in the jungle.
: One of the most overpowered items in the game for a bruiser. Health, damage, and a slowing passive are all amazing on Nocturne.
Early-Game Build Path
+ -> -> -> ->
: Upgrade after core items completed. Good for fast clearing and more killing carries; however, do not get these boots if enemy has CC to peel you. Also, these boots are not ideal for objectives-phase where catching people ends most teams' ability to contest.
: Upgrade after core items completed. Mandatory purchase if you intend to dive the enemy fed AD carry.
: Upgrade after core items completed. My recommended boots upgrade for most situations. When in doubt get this item. Tenacity is over-powered.
: Upgrade during late-game to help you dive enemy carries more effectively.
/ : If you are not building carry and you are picking up assists instead of kills, Aegis / Runic Bulwark should be a mandatory item. This is the best item in the game.
: If the enemy team is heavily counter-jungling you or you have spare money, remember to pick up this item. This is one of the greatest items in Season 3. Mandatory on support junglers, also amazing on carry jungles.
: If you are going to be diving the enemy AD carry, you should always pick up Randuins.
: This is the item you should be getting if you are picking up kills early. Another one of the best season 3 items.
: Turn your phage into a Frozen Mallet as a sixth item. Otherwise, Frozen Mallet isn't really worth making mid-game as Nocturne already has great sticking power with Duskbringer and Phage.
: If you are building carry, this item should be on your list of items after Black Cleaver.
: If the enemy team has AP mid and AP top, you can build this item instead of Brutalizer. Although, this item is not very effective on junglers.
: Turn your phage into tons of damage with a Trinity Force. Do not buy unless you are very fed as a 6th item.
: Used to be a core item on Nocturne; however, for 800 gold more you can get a Black Cleaver which is a much better item.
: Only get this item in conjunction with a Black Cleaver if the enemy team is stacking armor.
: Not that great of an item on Nocturne; however, every team should buy one at one point or another. Buy this item only if no one in your team is getting it.
: Health is a better stat in Season 3 than it was in Season 2, buy this if you just want to become another meat shield for your vayne.
: This item is okay if you buy it with Warmogs / Health and you keep the avarice early on when you are afk farming jungle. Otherwise, I wouldn't recommend building this item.
Wraith Camp: 50 Seconds
Wolf Camp: 1 Minute
Double Golem Camp: 1 Minute
Lizard Buff Camp: 5 Minutes
Golem Buff Camp: 5 Minutes
Dragon Boss: 6 Minutes
Baron Boss: 7 Minutes
- Line up the minions to hit them all with your Q
- Move to the middle of the camp to hit all the minions with your passive
- Be wary of your trail when clearing and counter-jungling as it may give away your position
- Do not use your E if you do not have blue buff when clearing
- Do not use your Q on small camps after you get wriggles with no blue buff
- Use Q before your proc your passive
- Pull the buffs to the brush and then use your Q so that you stay on Duskbringer when clearing
- Keep using potions and do not let yourself fall below 50% hp to prevent successful enemy counter jungling
First Clear Blue Start
Route with Smite: Wolves -> Blue Buff (Smite) -> Wraiths -> Wolves -> Red Buff (Smite) -> Wraiths
- This is the standard route that you will mostly start with under very normal circumstances
- Make sure you check your red buff when you finish the wraith camp before going to wolves in case of counter junglers
- Gets you to level 4, Double Buff very quickly
Route without Smite: Wolves -> Blue Buff -> Wraiths -> Red Buff (Smite) -> Golems or Wolves
- Similar to the standard route only with a smiteless leash
- Very, very fast clear times with this route
- Skipping Golems or Wolves after Red Buff lets you do a very early level 3 double buff gank
First Clear Red Start
Route with Smite: Golems -> Red Buff (Smite) -> Wraiths -> Wolves -> Blue Buff (Smite)
- Starting golems gives you a lot more XP and gold and is worthwhile if your team gives you the proper damage on it
- You can start wraiths too if your team doesn't want to give you damage
- This route is useful if you want predict an early gank top lane and you want to "mirror" the enemy blue buff starting jungler
- This route is useful if you predict an enemy late red buff steal
Route without Smite: Golems -> Red Buff -> Wraiths -> Blue Buff (Smite) -> Wolves -> Wraiths
- This route is similar to the one above except you get to save smite if your team gives you a smiteless leash
- There is a very useful variant of this route where instead of going to Blue Buff you can catch an enemy doing their Red Buff in their jungle. You will be level 3 with smite. This is very useful against slow clearing junglers
Vs. Counter Junglers Tips
- These Junglers are extremely strong, durable, and do significant damage in duels
- If they catch you at a buff, you will most likely die or lose the buff
- Always pull your buff into the brush against these junglers
- Always check around before you start your buff and notify your team to be ready against the counter-jungle
- Buy sightstone to ward your own jungle entrances to prevent the counter jungle
- Try doing a red buff start instead of a predictable blue buff start; the enemy jungler can't counter jungle you if they predict your location wrong
- Get your team to be ready to kill the counter jungler when they come into your jungle
Vs. Early Game Junglers Tips
- These junglers are picked to snowball the game early game and have very good early game potential
- Never look to duel these junglers unless their abilities are on cooldown
- Try to take away their buffs with invades
- Don't look to counter-gank these junglers unless you are certain you will win
- Try not to mirror these junglers
Vs. Late Game Junglers Tips
- These junglers look to farm and be a monster mid-late game with items
- Try to take away camps or buffs away from them, but these junglers usually have extremely fast clear times; don't sacrifice your own camps to try to take away theirs unless you know it will be there
- Stopping these junglers from snowballing is extremely important
- Try to create lots of pressure on lanes to force these junglers out of farming
Vs. Support Junglers Tips
- These junglers look to be mobile supports in the game by buying wards, aura items, and giving away farm to their own team
- Try to counter jungle these junglers so they are underleveled
- These junglers rely on levels significantly
- Try to mirror these junglers with a red buff start so that you can counter gank them
- Counter ganks are extremely powerful against these junglers
- These junglers get extremely tanky late game due to their champion mechanics; abusing them early is important
Team FightsHow to Dive the AD Carry
- Wait for your team to initiate a fight before you use your ultimate
- Wait for the enemy team to burn CC abilities on your team before you use dive the enemy AD carry
- Make sure you land your Q and E on them to be able to stick to them
- Use your W to block important CC abilities
- Build items like Randuins Omen (use the active), Ninja Tabi, and Furor Boots Upgrade
How to Protect the AD Carry
- Use your W to block initiation abilities on your AD Carry (i.e., Ashe's Ultimate)
- Use your E to peel enemy bruisers off your AD Carry
- Use your base damage to focus down bruisers with your AD Carry
- Use your ultimate to chase down enemies when the fight is being cleaned up
How to Initiate
- Use your ultimate in combination with an AOE CC ability on a group of enemy players
- Use your ultimate to begin the fight on top of an enemy carry
- Nocturne is not a great initator without support
- Make sure you build extremely tanky to initiate fights; build items like Randuins Omen and Runic Bulwark
- Make sure your team is near you to respond
How to Catch
- Use your ultimate on stray targets when the enemy team is not grouped up
- Use opportunities where you see someone is bottom to start a fight from a distance
- Use catches to start a new objective like taking towers, baron, or dragon.
- Try to catch an enemy carry; not a support or bruiser
- Try to catch enemies that you know do not have flash or a natural escape
- Make sure your team is near you to respond
Champion SyngeryTop Lane
- At level 6, Nocturne and Chogath can kill an enemy champion from 100% HP with a full combo of abilities from both champions
- Chogath can build aura items and fulfill the late-game initator role that the jungler would normally fill which Nocturne cannot
- Chogath brings a hard CC and silence allowing Nocturne to close the gap for early game ganks
- Shen, similar to Chogath, brings a hard CC for Nocturne ganks early game
- Shen can fulfill the late-game initator role that junglers would normally fill
- Shen can ultimate onto Nocturne to effectively bring two enemy champions to dive the enemy AD Carry in team fights
- Shen can initiate a fight with taunt when he uses his ultimate on Nocturne; essentially giving Shen a global gap closer
- Shen and Nocturne can counter gank a lane extremely effectively which can snowball a game excessively
- Singed brings a hard CC to ganks for early game
- Singed can tower dive with Nocturne after they both hit 6 extremely effectively
- Singed with teleport can have a global counter-gank effect similar to Shen and Nocturne
- Singed can initiate fights mid-late game allowing Nocturne to save his ultimate to dive the enemy AD carry
- Twisted Fate, Similarly to Shen, and Nocturne can put two man ganks on anywhere on the map allowing lanes to snowball
- Two globals force the enemy team to play extremely defensively
- Early game ganks on mid lane are effective due to Twisted Fate's easy to use stun
- Mid-Late game team fights can be initiated extremely effectively with Nocturne's Ultimate in combination with putting Orianna's ball on him for the ultimate
- One of the best combos in the game which can bring devastating results because people do not get a natural feel for Nocturne's Ultimate range due to a lack of vision making them group up more comfortably
- Karthus' ultimate along with Nocturne's ultimate makes one of the strongest ganks out there
- Using both Karthus and Nocturne's ultimates will almost always guarantee a kill
- Try to use Karthus-Nocturne Ultimate ganks on bot lane to force a kill for a free dragon or tower
Bottom Lane - AD Carry
- Ashe's ultimate allows for a hard initiate from distance which can be followed by Nocturne's long distance ultimate
- Enemy players do not expect to be killed when they are so far away from opposing players
- Varus, similar to Ashe, has an ultimate that can be a hard initiate for Nocturne to follow up on
- Varus has two CC abilities and a long range skill shot that can be used after enemy players flash away from Nocturne
Bottom Lane - Support
- Lulu's ulitmate when used on Nocturne who uses his ultimate to get right beside enemy AD carries can be used for a free knock up and slow
- Ganks on bot lane with both their ultimates are extremely effective
- Mid-late game initiates can be extremely effective with Lulu and Nocturne, similarly to Nocturne and Orianna
- Lulu's ultimate makes Nocturne extremely tanky, especially when he has been building resists
- Leona's Ultimate and initiation ability work extremely well with Nocturne
- Similarly to Nocturne with initiators, the hard CC works extremely well with the damage that Nocturne can bring
Final CommentsI hope you have enjoyed my guide to Nocturne for the Season 3 jungle. I have been playing Nocturne since the beginning of Season 2 and have always been an avid player of him. Nocturne was the first jungler I learned and played with; I feel in love with him due to his amazing and unique ultimate. I hope my guide has helped players out there understand the terror that Nocturne can be in the jungle and in ganks, and the amazing combinations you can do with other champions that work well with him.
If you have found my guide helpful and useful, please feel free to check out similarly formatted and styled posts on theoretical and educational jungling on my blog. Feel free to contact me with questions, inquiries, or opportunities!
Oscar "ChaiPod" Lee
LoL NA Server: ChaiPod
Twitch.tv Stream: twitch.tv/chaipod