The Most Terrifying Champion in Professional League of Legends
Who is the scariest champion in professional League of Legends? Is it Zoe with her annoying poke and ability to summon spells out of thin air? Or is it Aatrox, who has been broken before and after his rework? What about Kindred, who can come back after being killed and having their buffs stolen? These champions are all in the top 10 in presence on the pro stage for Patch 8.14, according to League stats site Games of Legends. However, there’s one champion who sits just outside the top 10 and might be the most terrifying of them all: Nocturne.
Nocturne went from being unpicked in any region, major or minor, on Patch 8.10 to becoming one of the strongest junglers. So, what happened and how are pro teams using the Eternal Nightmare?
Better Safe than Dead
In the chaos of League season eight, Patch 8.10 feels like a long time ago. This patch overhauled jungle experience, and one of Nocturne’s biggest weaknesses, especially on the pro stage, was his early clear. Therefore, last year at Worlds, GIGABYTE Marines had to play a funnel comp around their Nocturne to ensure his safety till level six.
With the boost to Rift Scuttler and other tweaks, Nocturne’s early clear became much safer, making him a viable pick against junglers who avoid early invades like Camille and Taliyah. This advantage still exists on Patch 8.14 against champions like Sejuani and Trundle. Smart teams who play Nocturne know how to protect him until he hits level six when everything changes.
Amongst the game-changing ultimates in League, few have an immediate visceral impact like Nocturne’s Paranoia. When he activates his ultimate, the entire map goes dark for his opponents, forcing them to scramble to safety. Nocturne’s ability to ult anywhere at level six completely changes the rules of the game. It’s no longer enough to have the river warded; you need vision deep into the enemy jungle to spot Nocturne before he goes on the warpath.
A well-executed Nocturne gank can have a devastating effect, particularly in controlling the mid lane. Sometimes, Nocturne’s mere presence can prevent the opponent mid laner from playing aggressively, creating more opportunities for him and his team to dominate the map and the game’s tempo.
A Word of Caution
With such strong map control at level six, it’s no wonder why Nocturne is so successful in pro play. However, he is not foolproof. There are ways to counter his powerful presence. One solution is an anti-dive composition with champions like Galio and Vladimir, who can survive Nocturne’s ultimate and protect their team. Additionally, protecting the mid laner by having multiple players visit, including the support and top laner, can help counter Nocturne’s threat.
In KINGZONE’s losses to Griffin a few weeks ago, their Nocturne repeatedly used his ultimate on non-priority targets in side lanes. Last week, Fnatic solved G2’s Nocturne by drafting a composition full of hard-to-kill champions and grouping up. To be successful with Nocturne, players need a keen sense of when to pick the champion and how to use his ultimate on high-priority, squishy targets. In this sense, he’s quite similar to Skarner; he can eliminate a single person but often requires assistance to do so.
Nocturne is a straightforward champion. You point, click, ult, and usually, somebody dies. However, the Nocturne player needs to think critically before making a play. He’s a situational pick that can completely disrupt an opponent’s strategy. When used correctly, he’s a nightmare to play against.