Who is Talon, and why you should play him in season 10?
Talon Du Couteau is one of the deadliest assassins in all of Noxus. As one of the blade masters of Noxus, alongside his adopted sister Katarina, few could match Talon’s prowess and live to tell the tale. He’s an assassin in every meaning of the word. Quickly dispatches his targets, is extremely deadly, and is near impossible to catch. In League of Legends, Talon is just that, even in season 10. The stereotypical assassin. He has massive burst potential with his kit with the ability to decently team fight unlike a lot of other assassins.
But what makes him so dangerous is his ability to traverse the map with his Assassin’s Path. This allows him to have a near-unstoppable roam in the early game, and if playing him well, can lead to many kills for your team. It’s also because of this ability that catching a Talon is a difficult task to those that know how to play him, as he has the potential to jump on your backline and run away quite easily.
Talon is also an easy champion to pick up. Mechanically, he isn’t the most challenging with only a small amount of combos necessary to win a game. His strengths show their true colors to those that know how to roam correctly and get picks in fights.
Blade’s End (Passive)
Talon’s abilities mark enemy champions and monsters every time they deal damage. Once a target has three stacks of his passive, Talon’s next basic attack will proc it, causing them to bleed and over two seconds, dealing physical damage. Against monsters, the total damage dealt is increased by 20%.
This passive is what allows Talon to be a serious threat in the early game. At Talon’s level 2 power spike, he’s able to kill almost any lane opponent with ignite and this passive’s damage over time. It’s highly underrated and most people don’t expect the kill potential this passive has, especially since it’s a slow bleed.
Of course, this passive has its limitations. Firstly, its damage over time (DOT), meaning champions who build life steal or have healing in the later stages of the game won’t fall to these effects as easily. Since it’s also dealing physical damage, it naturally isn’t that strong against tanks that build armor as well. So while it is very strong in the early stages of the game, keep in mind that its relevance does fall off later on, and should not be relied on wholeheartedly.
Noxian Diplomacy (Q)
There are two different versions of Noxian Diplomacy, depending on the distance Talon is to his target. When outside of 170 units, Talon will dash towards the target and deal physical damage. If inside 170 units, Talon will stab the opponent and critically strike for 50% bonus physical damage, as well as resetting Talon’s auto-attack timer. If Noxian Diplomacy kills a target, Talon heals himself a bit and have 50% of its cooldown refunded.
Source: Riot Games
This ability is surprisingly flexible in its usage. First and foremost, it’s a very good trading tool in most matchups. Against melee champions, the guaranteed critical strike can easily turn an all-in fight in your favour. Outside of this, it can also be used as a gap closer to ranged champions, bringing you up and close to their face to proc your passive and to possibly kill. Its ability to heal of killing targets gives Talon the option to sustain better in the lane as well, making him a relatively safe pick in losing matchups as well.
Noxian Diplomacy also has a maximum range of 575, meaning that you outrange almost every single auto-attack in the game, letting you jump on those pesky AD (attack damage) carries without letting them kite you. The gap closer portion of Noxian Diplomacy also makes it easier to land or reposition your Rake, as you want to try and proc your passive for that extra bleed damage to ensure you kill the enemy.
When using Rake, Talon throws out three blades in front of him that deal physical damage to all enemies hit, before staying in place for 0.75 seconds and flying back to him. The blades on the way back slow targets for one second, and also deal more damage.
Source: Riot Games
This is by far, Talon’s best ability in the laning phase. It wave clears, it pokes, and it marks target’s twice with his passive if he can land both parts of Rake. Combo this with your Noxian Diplomacy, you can proc your passive instantly, killing squishy targets with ease.
The slow on the ability allows Talon to chase running target’s really well and is the only crowd control that Talon has in his kit. Rake itself has such a large area of effect that it pokes decently well in team fights, as well as pushing waves. Couple this with a Tiamat, Talon is near unmatched when it comes to clearing waves. This allows him to roam easily as he can just push in his wave under the enemy tower.
Keep in mind that while Talon himself has good burst damage with his abilities alone, his passive is almost guaranteed to be the deciding outcome in whether you live or your enemy does. Rake being able to proc two marks of his passive, means that you must land it if you want to effectively kill your target. The 0.75 second time frame allows counterplay, in which your enemy can move out of the second part of the ability, effectively screwing up your combo and ability to proc your passive.
Assassin’s Path (E)
Talon dashes over structures or terrain. He cannot cast this ability on the same area of terrain for a set duration after.
Source: Riot Games
This is probably the ability that makes Talon tick. It enables him to jump on the enemy backline, it allows him to escape, but the most important use of this ability, is to traverse the map when he roams. Having such a strong early game, this means he can help either of his sidelines out very quickly, or even contest objectives and camps in the enemy’s jungle. There are a few champions that can actually beat Talon very early on in the game, so killing the enemy jungler when it’s safe to do so can reward your team later on in the match.
The only downside of this ability is it’s cooldown, obviously. Knowing and understanding which paths you have open to you can literally decide if you live or not.
Shadow Assault (R)
Talon disperses a ring of blades around him, dealing physical damage to all enemies hit. For 2.5 seconds, he is also invisible and gains bonus movement speed. After the invisibility duration is up, all blades will converge onto him, dealing the same amount of damage to all enemies they pass through. In addition to this, auto-attacking or using Noxian Diplomacy on a target will break the invisibility and make the blades converge on his target instead.
Source: Riot Games
This is the team fighting ability that changes fights for Talon. With the ability to go invisible, Talon can Assassin’s Path into the backline, cast Shadow Assault to go invisible, hitting everyone. Since this ability has two sources of damage output, he can essentially hit the whole enemy team with his ultimate twice.
Shadow Assault is honestly just a really good ultimate. It’s the only true form of team fighting that Talon is capable off, and it has a decent cooldown, meaning he isn’t just an assassin that can kill a priority target and then kill the whole enemy team. He has to choose fights carefully.
The utility it provides invisibility and improved movement speed, and allows for good chases and pick potential to runaway targets. It also procs two marks of his passive on everyone hit (if he hits both his ultimate casts), which coupled with his Rake, will be the only time he can proc his passive on multiple enemies in quick succession.
Talon has arguably one of the strongest early-game potential. At level one, he can beat a lot of matchups with just his Noxian Diplomacy. His level two power spike of Rake, Noxian Diplomacy, and passive is hard-hitting; enough to potentially get a cheese kill to start your snowballing. His Rake is also a very good ability to wave clear, so he can easily push up the wave and then roam.
Roaming is where Talon shines. He can enter the enemy jungle pretty much without being contested with Assassin’s Path and kill the enemy jungler. He can also roam to the side lanes easily and pick up some kills and get his team ahead as well. The amount of pressure Talon puts on the map due to his roaming ability alone, is threatening and devastating to the enemy team.
Dragon fights, tower sieges, jungle invades. Talon can roam to every single one of these easily, and having that extra team member (especially if you get an early kill from level 2) is crucial to objective control.
Talon is a decent split-pusher in terms of being able to 1v1 and his mobility. With his Assassin’s Path, he is capable of running away and even join team fights quite easily. Though, at this point in time, it’ll probably be better to stick with the majority of your team and to pick fights. If a Talon has done his job properly, he has gotten his team ahead of the enemies, and thus, picking team fights and clearing objectives with this lead is a must.
Talon’s ability to jump into the backline, especially in jungle fights, is devastating and hard to deal with, especially since he can go invisible and jump over any terrain. Continuing to do so can win you the game at around this point in time. Because Talon falls off quite a bit later in the game.
You almost don’t want to ever be a late-game Talon. In this situation, if the enemy team has caught up and is fully built, Talon might struggle in team fights. His burst potential might be enough to take out a vital member of their team, like the mage or the AD carry, but due to tanks probably already building armour, and life steal negating the effectiveness of your passive, your burst might not be enough to even one shot the AD carry in one go (especially if they have built Guardian Angel).
Talon’s relevance in the late game is just to try and take out the carry, or split push. While he’s decent and capable to do so, it is a lot weaker than when it was in the mid-game. You must pick your fights more carefully, and you want to try and just clean up for your team if you can.
Talon’s early game is all about getting around the map. The movement speed passive gives just that, amplifying Talon’s deadly roam to be so much stronger. The cooldown and damage it provides is a must for any AD assassin.
Even after the nerfs, mobility boots should still be a core item in Talon’s kit. You want the out of combat speed it provides to strengthen Talon’s roams. It also is a good item to just join your team when you need to, and to run away after split-pushing.
Specifically for the early game as you won’t always want to be completing this item later. Instead, use it to push waves quickly and roam. The extra damage from it’s active is also very nice when cancelling its animation with your abilities.
Talon can actually go invisible with his ult, so it’s passive is that much stronger. It’s the best lethality item you’re going to get for killing in general, so it’s good to get this item early on.
The Umbral Glaive is a severely underrated item. Talon is very strong in the early game, and can easily snowball using his level two power spike. If you are ahead, consider rushing Umbral Glaive for vision control. You’re going to be invading and ganking a lot early on, so having this item (despite it’s slightly lesser stats) can provide better utility and map control at the cost of being slightly weaker.
If you ever get to late game, this item also helps with de-warding and getting vision for your team.
Mortal Reminder/Lord Dominik’s Regards
It’s mainly to use against tanks and healers. Zhonyas and Guardian Angel buyers will tremble in fear when you build this.
Talon will always want to go into Electrocute in the domination tree. It’s the best early game rune for him, and increases his burst a lot. His abilities easily proc the three-hit quota, making it synergize well.
Sudden Impact is your next best choice. Every time Talon uses Assassin’s Path he activates this rune and gets bonus lethality. You have no need for Taste of Blood as your Noxian Diplomacy already sustains enough. Cheap Shot’s true damage is nice, but you can only proc it with your Rake with its secondary damage on the way back.
Eyeball Collection or Zombie Ward are your next recommended runes. Eyeball collection if you can’t roam due to champion picks or are in low elo. The extra damage will help you scale. Zombie Ward is for vision control, as Talon roams a lot, taking enemy wards and replacing them with his own is a good tool to have.
The last rune on the domination tree is usually between Relentless Hunter and Ultimate Hunter. Relentless Hunter gives more movement speed outside of combat which makes it suitable for roams and mid-game rotations. Ultimate Hunter allows Talon to have his ultimate up more, allowing for killing in team fights.
Ravenous Hunter, while not the worst, isn’t exactly the best for Talon’s kit. His cooldowns are average, with a base cooldown of six seconds for his fastest ability, Noxian Diplomacy. Also coupled with the fact that his Assassin’s Path does not do any damage, Ravenous Hunter is not suitable for Talon.
Precision or Sorcery is the secondary tree you want to take on Talon. Precision offers Triumph and Coup de Grace, two very good runes on assassins that like to be in and out of fights. The healing from Triumph allows Talon to stay in fights longer, and Coup de Grace allows Talon to kill things better.
On the other hand, Sorcery has better utility. Water walking is good for roams in the early game, it’s also good for contesting Dragon and Baron later on in the game. Scorch and Gathering Storm are polar opposites in extra damage. Scorch provides extra early game burn with your bleed passive. Gathering Storm lessens the load of Talon’s late-game fall off by providing extra AD the longer the game goes on. Nullifying Orb is a must against heaving AP (ability power) team comps or if you know you’re going to be bullied in the lane by an Ekko or Diana.
For your stats, I would recommend bonus adaptive damage for slot one and two. And depending on your matchup, bonus armor or magic resist.
Talon is a very good champion for solo queue. His strength in the early game and his roaming potential is very dangerous in the right hands. If the enemy team can’t communicate or work well together, they’re easy pickings for Talon. He applies a lot of pressure to objectives and the jungle with his ability to traverse the map.
Talon can get his team ahead with his powerful roams, often leading to early won games if you play him correctly. His passive bleed is highly underrated and very good for early game kills, allowing himself to snowball as well. His abilities allow a lot of variety in poking, team fighting, and just overall getting picks. There’s almost no situation where Talon can’t provide something to the team.
That being said, he does fall off quite a bit late into the game. His passive becomes less relevant, and his damage potential might not be able to one-shot squishier targets fully. Due to his decently long abilities cooldowns, he is also easily punishable after using his abilities. When it gets to late game, he can only provide vision control, split push advantages and pressure, as well as cleaning up a fight (which is based solely on your team’s performance).
Overall, Talon is a safe and strong pick for solo queue, with clearly defined strengths and weaknesses. He’s straight forward and simple but can be a lot of fun when you parkour all over the map. For more information on how to play Talon, I recommend watching Yamikaze. He’s a Challenger one-trick Talon main that does YouTube.