Once again, I spent much of my Champ of the Week playtime early in the week, knocking out quite a few Nocturne games with very poor results. One of the problems with strong, popular champions, at least as it pertains to this feature, is that I can rarely get them in ranked. These champions will be banned often, which means reverting to normal games for testing. That’s not all bad, but if I can say one thing for ranked it’s that teams attempt to put together a decent comp at least 50 percent of the time. I can’t say the same for normal, which is why my early Nocturne games ended so poorly. Nocturne is definitely not the kind of champion that can just flat out carry anything. The bruisers are still too strong when played en masse, especially if Nocturne’s teammates are all as squishy as he is.
That said, it still happened. I still had a couple games with solid team composition and in those games I was dominant. I was particularly thrilled to have a game last night in which I was paired up with a Twisted Fate. Our combined ganking power was just too much for our opponents. Nocturne’s ult is a big part of what makes him strong. He doesn’t have to worry about positioning for teamfights. All he has to do is get within the general vicinity of a fight before ulting onto anyone in vision. I would often wait until fights were virtually over before heading in, making sure the enemy team had burned summoner spells and ultimates and cutting up low-hp targets.
That’s really where Nocturne excels; he absolutely trashes low health, low armor targets. He is slated to catch some nerfs tomorrow, but he will retain the damage steroid on Duskbringer, despite the nuke nerf. I’m not sure I need to say much more about the champion than what I’ve said in other posts – his kit is just too overwhelming for most champions to handle.
As for the one thing I would change, I think it would be his ultimate. It just needs to be changed, completely. The rest of his kit is strong enough on its own – he doesn’t need a global vision reduction along with a huge radius dash for positioning. Give him a weakness. Make the people playing him actually think about their positioning.
I realize it’s Wednesday, so this seems a little late, but I’ve been playing Nocturne a fair bit this week. Also, our discussion last week fueled me to make him this week’s Champ of the Week. To be fair the wraithy wonder, I haven’t spent many consecutive games with him. Unfortunately for the world that thinks Nocturne is balanced, that’s usually how I get proficient at champs, and I already feel like I can control games with him.
My basic design concerns are his rapid scaling, his ability to affect teamfights on a global scale (that ult is nasty even just as a blind), and the survivability offered by a short-cd spell shield.
I think it’s important to remember that balanced in the current meta does not necessarily mean balanced. I have played Nocturne against some very tanky teams and done poorly – it’s tough to be successful with any semi-soft champion against Malphite/Singed/Rumble +2. To me, balance in Nocturne’s case means when (if) the tanky meta gets a nerf, does he burn through squishy characters too quickly? Does he reach a godlike farm level too quickly? For now, I think the answer to both of those questions is yes.
I feel like this post is particularly appropriate following my Gangplank discussion because the two characters occupy relatively the same position on a team. Both are meant to eat up carries, it’s just that Nocturne actually has the tools to do that and Gangplank doesn’t.
I understand he isn’t seen a lot in ranked games right now, but that’s only because he’s getting banned. Every time I see him in a normal game I cringe, knowing that it’s just a matter of time before his farm is too much to handle. Often that’s somewhere around level nine, which is just too damn early. The big problem is his kit, which is utterly ludicrous compared to a lot of the characters out there. I know I’ve given the breakdown before, but it is just dumbfounding to me that he remains in the game as he was released. He still has a fear, a spell shield, an attack speed boost, an attack damage boost, a slow, a movespeed buff, a dot, two scaling physical nukes, a self heal, a global vision reduction, and a nearly global dash. All of that from four skills.
I’ve been traveling over the past couple days so I haven’t had much time to spend in League of Legends. Last night I finally had the time to sit down and give him some decent testing so here we are, back at another impression post.
Nocturne feels pretty good, on the whole. He’s a strong jungler, capable of staying healthy enough for a gank without returning to base. Duskbringer gives him a nice damage bump that makes for fast jungle clears, especially when coupled with the passive of Shroud of Darkness.
Nocturne’s ganking power before level 6 is actually a little bit underwhelming with all the dashes in the game. He gets much better at six, but unless you have the jump on an unsuspecting opponent, his slow isn’t overwhelming enough to stop someone (like Nunu’s Ice Blast, for instance) from running to tower. His fear is nice, but it’s short, and in most cases I was out of melee range when using it, so I wasn’t getting hits in, the fear would land and I would get a hit or two, and then the player was out of range again.
Like I said, that’s before level six. Once you’re level nine, things get much easier. Duskbringer starts to hit damn hard, especially if you’ve snagged a Wriggle’s or a Brutalizer. The slow is also at a point that you can hopefully sneak in a few more hits before your target Flashes or Ghosts away.
I think Nocturne might actually fall into the Xin Zhao category of junglers, though. He’s definitely strong in the jungle, but he can also be utterly devastating in lane. Without the help of a lanemate, he’s pretty tough to lane against. He regenerates health quickly with his passive, even if it is best used when pushing a lane. He also does big damage to single targets, and his spell shield gives him extra staying power against those pesky casters.
The big selling point for Nocturne is his ult, which is one of the most terrifying skills in the game. Vision is so important to the execution of a good teamfight that losing it can be crippling. I’m still not sure how I feel about the skill. It’s a great flavor skill, but I don’t like it when champion skills make it mechanically difficult for me to perform in the game. I would love to think that people will just get used to it, understand how to fight with it, but when that ult is up, everything around you is basically brush, and it becomes impossible to discern whether your team is winning or losing the fight. This is especially brutal in solo play, where you don’t have teammates able to call the fight out to you.
The only other issue I have with Nocturne is that tanky DPS still reigns supreme. Yes, it got a small nerf this patch, but for the most part you’ll be best served by building a Ghostblade or an Infinity (if things are going particularly well) and then stacking up some health so you can compete with the bruisers.
Last night IGN released the first gameplay footage of Nocturne. The footage is basically a champion spotlight, without all the detail devoted to showing the champion’s individual skills. It’s a nice look at what he can do. I really love the fear tether idea. It’s not entirely new – just a remake of Leblanc’s Ethereal Chains – but it adds nice flavor to the character. Check the video and, as always, let me know what you think about Nocturne in the comments.
Riot revealed Nocturne’s skill list today, just a few hours before players will have a chance to guide him on the Fields of Justice at PAX East. I’m bummed I wasn’t able to secure a media badge to the event this year, but hopefully I’ll get out to some other conferences in 2011 and meet up with the Riot crew. All that aside, let’s check out the Nocturne skill set.
Nocturne looks like he’ll play a lot like Mercurial Spectre from DotA. He has a very similar dagger effect and his ultimate offers the same teleportation skill, though with a more limited range. Here’s the official list:
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.
Shroud of Darkness: Nocturne empowers his blades, passively gaining attack speed. Activating Shroud of Darkness allows Nocturne fades 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.
He’s looking like a pretty cool assassin-style toon, something like Master Yi with some interesting mobility tools. It looks like he’ll also be a pretty solid jungler with that passive, although I said the same thing about Renekton and his jungling hasn’t been excellent.