Daaaaarrrkkknessssss – A Jungler’s Guide to Nocturne

      Nocturne is a fearsome presence in the Jungle. If he can farm well in the early game and get to level six he becomes the most dreaded counter-ganker in the game. Read on to find out how you can turn the lights out on your solo queue opponents.


Nocturne Runes

      I use standard armor seals which are very helpful for your first clear. MR glyphs help with early skirmishes, and attack speed marks because attack speed scales so well on Nocturne while also allowing him to clear the jungle much faster and safer because of how his passive works. I use 2 quints of Attack Damage and 1 Attack Speed to help with his early ganking. You’re not going to benefit as much from attack speed during a gank because you’re only going to get a few slices off so some extra punch on those attacks helps in the early game as far as ganking is concerned.



      Most games I use 21/9/0. Nocturne is meant to be played aggressively, counter-ganking and slicing through camps and champions at a frightening pace. However, if there is a lot of damage already on your team you can sometimes be more helpful by going deeper in the tank mastery tree and using your ultimate and fear to peel for your carries in the late game.

Summoner Spells

League of Legends - Flash   smite

      You’re going to be using these in 99% of your games. The only time you wouldn’t is if there was no one on the enemy team with dashes. You could potentially take ghost to speed up your ganks, but Nocturne already gets movement speed and minion phase from his Q so ghost is redundant.


      In most games I’ll build the Skirmisher’s Sabre with the Devourer enchant, Berserker’s Greaves, and a Blade of the Ruined King, followed by a few defensive items depending on what kind of damage the other team is bringing. If your team is losing it’s much safer to simply go for a Warrior enchant and get your attack speed elsewhere because it’s very hard to farm up Sated if your team has lost control of your jungle. If you need to be tanky earlier you can go Cinderhulk enchant and a Locket of the Iron Solari for a more team-fight focused Nocturne. This can sometimes be effective if you grab a couple damage items later in the game after the other team has already labelled you a “tank”. You’ll surprise them with the amount of damage you can do with a BorK and Shiv for example. Usually a good balance of offensive and defensive items works well with a focus on attack speed and health with MR or armor prioritized depending on who’s fed on the other team, or who you plan on ulting.

Skill Order


Explanation: Always rank Paranoia when you can, it reduces the cooldown and increases the range. Next is Q because it gives you the best combination of farm proficiency and gank potency in the early game. E makes the fear last longer with every skill point; very effective in the late game when you have enough damage to burn down a carry while they’re feared, and finally W to stack on more attack speed.

R: Paranoia


      This is what makes Nocturne Nocturne. Your ultimate allows you to speed through the air at tremendous distance towards an enemy champion of your choice. On first cast Nocturne blocks all enemy vision for a few seconds and on the 2nd cast you’ll launch yourself at the targeted enemy champion. The only thing your enemies will be able to see if the immediate area around their own champion. This means that Paranoia blocks all ward, minion, tower, and allied champion vision. This is extremely important to understand how to use Paranoia properly.

      Through the mid-game you’ll primarily use this ability to gank and counter-gank. When ganking a lane it’s preferable to walk directly through the lane until you’re in range to ult them. This way, you have less of a chance of getting spotted by a ward before casting your ult.

      When counter-ganking it’s more about timing the ability properly. You want to use it after your opponents have used their escape abilities but before your teammates bite the dust. If you use it too early the other team can simply disengage with their dashes and you’ve wasted your ult. If you use it too late your teammates have already died or been chunked so low they can’t support you and you’ll probably give up a kill or at least waste your ult.

      In the late game you’re going to want to ult to assassinate a carry who is out of position. With Nocturne “out of position” means not in range of their allies. When slicing onto a carry you need to wait until your target is alone – farming a side lane for instance. When you ult, the enemy team won’t know where you’re going until their carry is dead. If you ult into the middle of their team when they’re grouped up you better have backup coming because you just shined a giant spotlight on yourself, and Nocturne doesn’t do too well in the light.

      You can also use your ultimate to hide a specific team maneuver. For example, if your team is about to attempt a risky baron, you can simply activate your ult without dashing as you burn down baron with your team. Even if they have vision of the pit, your ultimate will block it and they probably won’t have time to react as your team steals baron from under their noses. Speaking of stealing, Paranoia offers a great way to steal an important objective. You can fly in, smite, and flash out.

Bonus Tip: Don’t try this until you’re very comfortable on Nocturne. If an enemy is lined up on the other side of the baron / dragon pit you can ult them and smite the objective as you fly by. This is very hard to pull off but extremely flashy and rewarding if done correctly.

Bonus Tip #2: Keep in mind items like Banshee’s Veil and abilities like Sivir’s spell shield will block the vision denial aspect of Paranoia. If used after activation but before you reach the target it’ll block the damage from your ultimate but it won’t stop your dash. If you use Paranoia after Twisted Fate uses Destiny it will block the vision for his team. However, if he uses it after yours, his team will be able to see the champions on your team.

Q: Dusk Trail


      This ability is way more important than most people give it credit for. It makes your early game ganks very potent and does a number of things for Nocturne. It’s a line skill shot that sends out a trail of darkness. While floating on the trail Noc receives bonus AD, move speed, and minion phase. Any enemy champ hit by the Q will also leave a trail for a few seconds when they run. This allows you to stay in range during a gank to keep your fear (E) on the enemy. It’s very important to land this ability so you can stay on the trail longer. If you hit multiple enemies they will all leave dusk trails. You can also tell where an enemy is walking even if they go out of vision because you’ll still be able to see the trail on the map. The trail also persists through stealth so you’ll be able to see where that pesky Twitch is going by the trail he leaves.

Bonus Tip: It also does a small amount of damage which some people forget about since Noc is a melee champ. So if an enemy is low on health you can actually snipe them with this ability.

W: Shroud of Darkness


      Proper use of this ability is what separates the good Nocturnes from the great Nocturnes. The ability places a shield on you that blocks the next champion ability used against you. If an ability is blocked you get attack speed. You don’t want to give your opponent time ot react to your shield being up, so you’ll need to wait as long as possible before activating it so they don’t wait out the shield or use a less important ability to clear it. If you ult onto Tristana who has already Rocket Jumped and block her ultimate with this ability it almost guarantees your team wins that team fight. Situations like this can out-right win the game for your team by keeping you in range to slice their carry to ribbons.

Bonus Tip: You can use your ult or flash to jump in front of an ally and block an otherwise lethal skillshot.

E: Unspeakable Horror


      This ability is good for clearing but it really shines during a gank. At max rank the end of the tether fears for 2 seconds – that’s a really long time for a squishy to be in range of Nocturne. When ganking you should wait against an enemy with a dash to activate the tether until after they’ve used it. Enemies will frequently flash away right before the tether finishes so sometimes you can flash preemptively to make sure they get feared. If they don’t end up flashing you’ll now be in front of them so the fear will send them backwards.

      This is also good for disengaging if you get caught on low health you can activate this while using Q to speed away. You can also peel with it in late game team fights.

Bonus Tip: The tether also sticks if an enemy enters stealth so you can see precisely where they are and stay near them so the fear lands. Also duels against Master Yi are hilarious with this ability. If he activates his ultimate and you get the fear off he’s sprinting away in that fear and he’ll peel himself halfway across the map.

Passive: Umbra Blades


      Nocturne’s passive is why he scales so well with attack speed. More attack speed means more passive procs which means more healing and more aoe damage for a faster and safer jungle clear.

Bonus Tip: When leaving a lane after a gank attack the lane minions once to proc your passive for a heal as you return to your jungle.

Your First Clear


Note: The image above assumes there’s no counter jungle and no double jungle strategy.

      Your jungle route should be subject to change in every match depending on what happens but for the most part this is what your first clear should look like.

Blue Side: Krugs with Smite > Red Buff > Blue Buff with Smite > Gank Top or Mid

Red Side: Gromp with Smite > Blue Buff > Red Buff with Smite > Gank Top or Mid

Images courtesy of comicvine.com, League of Legends client, and lolking.net

Written by Qualk

Edited by Williaf



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