IntroductionA complete 180 from the last time I wrote this guide (months ago), Nocturne is now the greatest thing since release Xin! Naw just kidding but he's actually a very strong jungle when used properly and now that I'm more knowledgeable about how to play Nocturne, I believe he is one of the strongest picks in the game due to the current trend of fast clear opponents (Mundo,Shyvana,Udyr etc)
MasteriesI've completely revamped how I play Nocturne from the masteries up, I now run a 9-21-0 build. I've found that if you can properly land Q, you're able to do sufficient damage with a item such as Wits end and wriggles and thus Nocturne needs to be durable rather than squishy assassin like in order to get as many hits as he can before his shadow path ends.
The 9 in offense is fairly straightforward, it wants to make Nocturne's physical attacks stronger. The 21 defense is geared towards late game as shown by the lack of vigor (as Nocturne shouldn't get low in a proper clear) and benefits quite well from the later defensive masteries.
RunesThe page shown at the top of the guide which is :
2 greater marks of desolation
7 greater marks of alacrity
9 greater seals of resilience
9 greater glyph of shielding
3 greater quints of desolation
(13 armor pen, 13 armor, 12% attack speed, 24 MR at level 18)
I find that these runes allow ganking during the route and a full clear from wolves/blue buff area to the double golems if a suitable gank is not found. This setup is more concerned about early game speed and such to gank quickly and effectively as camps are falling faster due to the additional attack speed. Because of the runes and masteries, any excess armor pen would be only useful outside the jungle and thus allows Nocturne a faster jungle as they're replaced with attack speed.
Smite for the standard reasons in that it's a ranged powerhouse true damage skill that makes stealing/counterstealing your expensive minions/neutrals much harder. Off the top of my head the only spells that can effectively outdamage it to take your buff/dragon/baron not done in perfect combination are:
2.High Level Alpha Strike Proc
3. Feast and Consume
4. Extremely fed carry with a raw damage ultimate (think Ezreal or Lux etc)
Out of all of these, 1 relies on chance, 1 relies on the champion being melee range, 1 relies on being fed on a select champion and the 4th is a smite. Having smite effectively stops random enemies from harassing you all day in the jungle as their champion could have a spell that is higher damage than your highest damaging spell which means they could easily take every single minion of yours as their lasthits will occur earlier.
Smite also makes other camps easier as you have the ability to kill camps that you normally couldn't do without dying because you have a extra 600 damage nuke to finish it quicker.
Flash due to the fact it allows you to gank/escape/make plays far easier than most spells as you're able to exert more pressure to follow any enemy flashes or maintain your unspeakable horror until it goes off. Combined with his Duskbringer, it makes it very hard for opponents to escape from Nocturne without numerous CC or speed buffs.
Passive: 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.
Despite seeming weak, this skill is far more deadly than it seems. Having a flat 20% bonus damage is a huge boost and the fact that it's aoe means when in combination with Duskbringer, it'll shred minion waves or small camps. Add in the healing for some decent sustain in the jungle and you have one of the stronger passives of the game. Be sure to position Nocturne to hit as many minions/neutrals as possible in order to maximize damage and heal.
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
This skill is absolutely crucial in virtually every aspect of Nocturne. This ability allows Nocturne to deal heavy physical damage, clear waves as well as chase and escape. Landing this in a gank is critical as the movespeed difference between a Nocturne that is running on this path and one that isn't is huge due to the fact the stat bonus is insane. Not to mention that the path gives a huge damage boost to Nocturne which at early levels could be a 50% increase. Add in Umbra Blades and suddenly Nocturne is hitting for very high damage without many damage items.
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
A spell that helps Nocturne survive longer in fights or initiate a gank, this spell is useful to have even at level 1. Having this up during a gank can be the difference between getting cced and not being able to chase for the kill and getting the kill by blocking the cc. The attack speed bonus is nice as well, it helps even when it doesn't block anything. Note that this spell can block a baron physical attack because of the way his attacks work allowing for a quick attack speed boost when taking him down.
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 525 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
Another spell Nocturne relies on during his chases or ganks, this spell is the only disable he has. This is very useful in 1v1 duels as it can render the enemy useless for 2 seconds while you whack on them. In ganks this spell is useful due to it's range as most often it'll take a flash or more to get away from the chain as Nocturne tends to run faster than his opponents. This is maxed after Duskbringer.
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
One of the strongest ultimates in the game, once obtained at level 6 this puts Nocturne amongst the best gankers in the game. Unlike TF or Pantheon who require channeling for their ultimates, the only warning the enemy team gets is the loss of all allied vision. This spell is extremely deadly in fights with numerous brushes as the enemies will be forced to walk in melee range to check the contents of any brush when this ultimate is active. This spell is often a kill, an objective (to block vision when finishing it) or at the very least a few summoners blown for the enemy team.
Skill OrderThere is very little difference here from my previous guide on Nocturne aside from the early game choices.
If you're planning to gank early (pre 4):
Otherwise go W at level 2 but personally I think he gains very little in terms of speed by going W (despite it being faster) and you lose the flexibility of being able to gank and counter someone attacking you with a CC. Doing E at level 2 gives far more options and doesn't slow you down that much (unless your blue was stolen then you shouldn't be spamming it at camps ever).
Item BuildsBrief Summary of Item rationalization (from above):
I start boots/3pots due to Nocturne not getting that low with a proper leash during a full clear, it also speeds his clear up by allowing him to run very fast between camps. Thus making it a very good starting item combo.
I get vamp first out of the wriggles (unless I can get a full madreds) due to Nocturne not having that great sustain on camps unless he farms a ton of the monsters that give hp/mana. Wriggles helps Nocturne clear even faster, especially the large objectives like buffs and dragon.
Heart of gold is often gotten before 15 minutes, it's simply way too good to pass up because it naturally builds into a great item against ADs. If you can't get it early (too behind) or have enough money to straight up buy wits end or phage, I'd recommend doing that instead of going for a HoG.
Wits/Phage tend to be my power combo items as it gives great damage and effects for the price. Sometimes I'll skip phage to just get a different big defense item (say aegis or warmogs). Wits end is actually very nice on Nocturne as it gives him an additional damage source (magic) as well as attack speed which allows him to not only proc his passive more often but get more hits off on his duskbringer path before it ends. Also note that Nocturne's AD ratios are actually awful and itemizing AD on Nocturne doesn't give that much benefit due to his skillset not scaling on half his skills and being rather meh on the ones that do.
To finish up I just get the standard defensive items such as Randuins and Force of Nature depending on the opponents damage. Often I get a early Warden's Mail prior to finishing the phage or Wits End due to it probably being the most cost effective defensive item in the game. The ability to slow the attack and move speeds of a autoattacker is huge, not to mention having the 45 armor for just 1350.
PART 1 OF A UPDATED VID IS HERE :
(I couldn't get twitch tags working >.>, will fix this once I figure out how)
Warning this guide is outdated but still has some useful information on how to play Nocturne!
Final CommentsHope this guide helps you on jungling Nocturne as it is the current way I play him in high elo ranked as well as tournaments. I've found that I have been doing far better on Nocturne with this new build than before and he currently is my most powerful champion (even more than Maokai) as I tend to do very well in most of my games with him regardless of the setting (solo queue or tournament). Happy hunting with Nocturne!