Nocturne, the Eternal Nightmare Guide

Alright, this is my guide and way that I play Nocturne. Nocturne has been out for almost about 2 weeks now and I have played quite a few games with him when I am able to pick him.  I have the most experience with him playing as a jungler instead of a laner.  Nocturne can do well both in the lane and in the jungle.  He is capable of clearing the jungle in under 4 minutes depending on your route and whether you get a leash or not from someone.  So first things first with this guide, what are his skills, then I will move onto the runes and masteries set up I have for him.


  • Duskbringer: Nocturne throws a shadow blade which deals damage, leaves a Dusk Trail, and causes champions to leave a Dusk Trail. While on the trail, Nocturne ignores unit collision and has increased Movement Speed and Attack Damage.
  • Shroud of Darkness: Nocturne empowers his blades, passively gaining attack speed. Activating Shroud of Darkness allows Nocturne to fade into the shadows, creating a magical barrier which blocks a single enemy spell and doubles his passive attack speed if successful.
  • Unspeakable Horror: Nocturne plants a nightmare into his target’s mind, dealing damage each second and fearing the target if they do not get out of range by the end of the duration.
  • Paranoia (Ultimate): Nocturne reduces the sight radius of all enemy champions and removes their ally vision in the process. He can then launch himself at a nearby enemy champion.
  • Umbra Blades (Passive): Every 10 seconds, Nocturne’s next attack strikes surrounding enemies for physical damage and heals himself for each target hit. Nocturne’s physical attacks reduce this cooldown by 1 second.

Cost: 60 / 65 / 70 / 75 / 80 mana
Physical Damage: 60 / 110 / 160 / 210 / 260 (+0.75 per bonus attack damage)
Movement Speed Bonus: 15 / 20 / 25 / 30 / 35%
Attack Damage Bonus: 20 / 30 / 40 / 50 / 60
Cooldown: 10 seconds

Shroud of Darnkess
Cost: 50 mana
Cooldown: 20 / 18 / 16 / 14 / 12 seconds
Passive Attack Speed Bonus: 20 / 25 / 30 / 35 / 40%

Unspeakable Horror
Cost: 60 / 65 / 70 / 75 / 80 mana
Cooldown: 15 / 14 / 13 / 12 / 11 seconds
Total Magic Damage: 50 / 100 / 150 / 200 / 250 (+1.0 per ability power)

Cost: 100 mana
Cooldown: 160 / 130 / 100 seconds
Physical Damage: 150 / 300 / 450 (+1.2 per bonus attack damage)
Range: 2500 / 3250 / 4000


Reasoning behind runes:

These are the runes that I use when I play Nocturne, whether I am laning or jungling.  If you are laning I would definitely suggest swapping out the armor seals for mana per 5 per level seal runes instead.  The mana per 5 per level will let you regen mana quicker and allow you to stay in the lane longer to harass with your Q.  Otherwise this rune setup will be fine for laning and jungling.  The armor will give you some survivability against physical damage dealers as well as the jungle minions so you can jungle a bit more efficiently without taking tons of damage.  Nocturne is an overall fragile champion since he is more of an all out damage dealer assassin type champion.  Armor penetration marks and quintessences will allow you to deal more absolute true damage to not only the jungle minions/minions in general but also to the champions you are attacking.  Not to mention Nocturne is a physical DPS with only one ability that benefits from an AP ratio for magic damage.  Attack speed glyphs will help speed up your passive for the AOE life steal gains, but will speed up your jungling speed when coupled with your W ability.


Jungle Masteries:

The above masteries are the ones I use when I am jungling.  They are a typical 21/0/9 offensive jungling build.  Nocturne doesn’t need any points in Archmage’s Savvy in the Offense Tree because he has only one ability that uses an AP ratio and is a physical damage dealer.  Most of the talent points are self-explanatory for the more experienced players of League of Legends.  But for those not familiar I’ll break down the reasoning behind certain choices.  In the first tier of the Offensive talent tree Deadliness and Plentiful Bounty.  The reasoning behind this is because Plentiful Bounty adds extra gold to when you use the Summoner Spell Smite while you are jungling.  This allows one to get extra money in order to get one’s items quicker which is never a bad thing especially in the case here with Nocturne.  Deadliness allows you to start off with an extra 2% Critical Strike Chance so you have a chance to speed up your jungle quicker and do more damage when you go to gank to enemy champions with that little extra chance.  Nocturne’s abilities are on a fairly low cool down so you only really need one point in the Sorcery talent.  Alacrity is good to max out to help add to your attack speed for more sustained damage but to also speed up your jungling when coupled with your W, passive, and runes.  Not to mention the more attacks you put in the more chances for a lucky Critical Strike.  Sunder couples well with your runes for an extra 6 Armor Penetration for a grand total of 31 Armor Penetration at the start at level 1 and unless you have extra armor, in most cases you’re going to be hurting those champions on the other end of your blades pretty badly.  Offensive Mastery allows you to deal more damage to minions causing your jungle to be sped up, but also so you’re not taking that much more damage.  Brute Force for just extra damage since your starting item in most cases as a jungler is Cloth Armor and 5x Health Potions.  Lethality if good for extra damage when you get a Critical Strike and Havoc is just nice overall for extra damage. In the Utility tree, Perseverance so you got some health and mana regeneration so you have some sustainability.  Haste so you can catch up to people but also because Ghost will be your second Summoner Spell besides Smite.  Awareness so you can level quickly in the jungle and Utility Mastery so you have longer buff durations to aid you in your ganking and jungling.

Laning Masteries:

The only real difference here in the laning mastery build versus the jungling mastery build are 3 points in different talents.  There are now 2 more points in Sorcery because in laning it helps to have your cool downs on a bit shorter duration to help you lane mate if you have one.  Not to mention you don’t really need the extra damage in the lane as you would in the jungle since in most cases you’re not going to be farming with your auto attacks depending on the opposing lane’s champion(s).  The other swap is Archmage’s Savy getting one point instead of Plentiful Bounty because your Summoner Spells will consist of Ghost and Ignite instead of Ghost and Smite. The rest is as mentioned above for the reasoning.

Skill Order:

Levels 1-6

Jungle: W>Q>Q>E>Q>R

Priority Order – R>Q>E>W

Laning: Q>E>Q>W>Q>R

Priority Order – R>Q>E>W


Summoner Spells:

Jungling – Ghost, Smite

Laning – Ghost, Ignite



This is the quick and dirty complete item path you typically want if you are jungling.  Now if you’re laning you want to swap some items out and even if you’re not there are some items that fit certain situations better then others.  Let’s start off with if you are jungling.  This final item list here is what you should aim for by the end and is more of a glass canon damage build.  Your boots are your choice between Berserker’s Greaves for the extra attack speed or Mercury Treads for the extra magic resist and the Crowd Control Reduction.  Wriggle’s Lantern is also an item you can replace later for another survivability item or for an armor penetration item.  Youmuu’s Ghostblade is a good early item but can be swapped out for a Phantom Dancer on Nocturne since he benefits well from both damage/lifesteal items and attack speed items.  Phantom Dancer is a bit expensive but the movement speed, critical strike chance, and the attack speed make it a solid item on Nocturne as a replacement for Youmuu’s Ghostblade. If you go this route you’ll need to get a Last Whisper or some kind of Armor Penetration item.

Jungle Item Start Path and Order:

Starting Items you want to start off with a Cloth Armor and 5x Health Potions for your jungling route.  On your first trip back to shop you want to buy 3 Health Potions, a Vision Ward, and Boots.  This is because unless you gank or continue jungling you will not have enough to complete your Madred’s Razors.  You will normally end up with around 550g on first back and you need 700 to buy your Razors.  Afterwards head back out to gank or go back to jungling if you don’t see an opportunity like they are not on the map or the opposing team is tower hugging because your teammates pushed hard.  After some ganks or more jungle farming your second trip back to shop should net you, your Madred’s Razors and if your lucky Wriggle’s Lantern.  Afterwards continue back on the rinse and repeat of jungling and ganking.  Start building Youmuu’s Ghostblade by grabbing Brutalizer first if your income isn’t doing so great due to lack of getting kills from ganks.  Otherwise rush for a BF Sword.  On the third trip back or on the fourth you should upgrade your boots to what you need more for the opposing team.  By around the 20-30 minute mark if things have gone well you should have Youmuu’s Ghostblade built or Brutalizer coupled with a Bloodthirster and starting to decide what kind of survivability item you should go for.  If the team is extremely magic and CC heavy then I’d suggest going for Banshee’s Veil.  This item got nerfed by Riot recently and is on a 45 second cool down now for the spell shield but still a powerful item nonetheless coupled with your W as a spell shield as well.  If the team isn’t so burst and you just need some health, I’d grab a Giants Belt and either turn it into a Frozen Mallet or a Sunfire Cape for some armor tankiness to tower dive or absorb some of the damage from their physical damage dealers.  If the game hasn’t ended yet then I’d suggest building Infinity Edge or Madred’s Bloodrazor depending on the opposing team.  If the opposing team starts stacking armor then I’d suggest selling Wriggle’s Lantern for a Last Whisper or the Madred’s Bloodrazor depending on your items at this point.  Another good item on Nocturne as well is Trinity Force for the extra health, movement speed, attack speed, slow, and mini burst from the proc passive.

Laning Item Start Path:

If you are laning then I’d suggest starting off with a Doran’s Shield or a Doran’s Blade.  These items will give you some lane sustainability and survivability along with some damage if you go the blade route.  On your first trip back you want to start working on a Brutalizer so either grab that and boots or just a Long Sword and Boots.  From there the build for the most part turns the same as the jungling build but instead you lack the Wriggle’s Lantern in your build. So because of that I’m not going to go into that much detail here but just the start items and the first trip back since the trips back here are the same to the jungling one. No point in having you all read the same stuff again.

How to lane and jungle:

Jungle Order:

If you are jungling, then there are 2 paths you can take. The normal route and the soft route.  The soft route is slower by far since you save your buffs until the end and grab all the other jungle minions first instead.  I wish I had a mini map to of Summoner’s Rift to use but I don’t so I will go through each camp in order for soft and normal routes.

Normal Route: Blue Buff(Golemn)>Wolves>Wraiths>Red Buff(Lizard Elder)>Mini Golemns

If you take the normal route and you got a leash on Golemn then you should complete the jungle and be level 4 by around 3:30 to 3:40. You can gank after getting Mini Golemns if you want to depending on your health pool or go back to base and shop for boots and what not.

Soft Route:Mini Golemns>Wraiths>Wolves>Blue Buff>Red Buff

This should probably bring you in line with the normal junglers and you should end before 4:30.  Depending on whether you are able to do the buffs after the encampments.  When you are doing the mini golemns I’d suggest using your Smite on one of them to save yourself some damage and to help speed up the soft route a bit. It should be back up in time for Golemn anyways.

For laning you want to try to get as many last hits as possible with your Q skill shot but to also harass the enemy champions in the same process.  Try to get some practice in by trying to time your Q’s with the enemies farming and movement patterns to make the mana used for this ability be a wise choice instead of a mana drain.   Try to use your passive to the best that you can so that you can stay in the lane awhile.  This will be hard if there are ranged champions in your lane so don’t be too aggressive with the AOE farming capabilities of your passive.  Definitely harass and then jump on one of the opposing champions with your E fear ability and Q movement speed ability when the opportunity arises.  Nocturne is a good champion in the lane when paired with another superb DPS so you can get some kills with minimal losses but is also good with a support/baby sitter type champion.

How to use your Ultimate:

Nocturne’s ultimate Paranoia is a great ability that really makes him shine and known as a ganking assassin champion.  The ultimate when used first causes the enemy team to lose sight of everything around them except within a 300-400 radius around them on their screen for 4 seconds.  This is great for disabling help from teammates and to allow ganks to succeed.  The second time you press R on your ultimate it allows you within those 4 seconds to dash to a target you selected.  The range of this ability is about a screen to a screen and a half long.  So pretty big but not overwhelmingly overpowered far.  Your ultimate is best coupled with those champions with global ultimates for the best ganking opportunities.  Now your ultimate can be blocked by Banshee’s Veil but you can still dash you just will have to worry about the target getting help.

Now your ultimate has a couple of uses besides your own selfish needs of a dash to gank and get a kill.  But it also has some utility to help your teammates.  Your ultimate can save your teammates by blinding the opposing team so they can longer tell where your teammate is that they are chasing allowing him/her to have a chance to get away safely.  Another is to help your teammates with a solid gank whether they have global ultimates or just the standard method of ganking.

However, there are times when you shouldn’t use your ultimate.  These times are the following, to dive and initiate a team fight, tower dive a target with a CC ability under a tower, tower dive in general depending on the circumstances of your health, and the obvious oops ultimate by accident or not in range dash ultimate to finish someone off.  Never initiate a fight! You are a squishy target and that is why that is the first reason/time you should never use your ultimate.  The rest are kind of self-explanatory since it involves not tower diving since towers hurt, and you never know when you need your ultimate so accidentally using it in the wrong time/situation means you won’t have it when you need it.


About adrelion

League of Legends player, Minecrafter, overall gamer, music enthusiast, nerd, paintballer, anime watcher, manage reader, and overall nice guy. View all posts by adrelion

3 responses to “Nocturne, the Eternal Nightmare Guide

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