League of Legends patch 11.18 brought huge changes to the jungle pool, as assassins like Qiyana, Talon, and Zed were all given bonus damage against monsters. Now able to keep up with the clear speeds of established picks, while being able to make use of an incredibly strong Goredrinker, the trio set up shop in the jungle.
Of the three, Talon has been the most popular so far, with The Blade’s Shadow rocketing in jungle presence since those initial buffs came in. However, now we have arrived at LoL patch 11.21, his viability has taken a bit of a dip following the soft-rework to Goredrinker. In fact, according to U.GG, his pick and ban rate have both dropped significantly in Platinum + – though he is still one of the most-banned junglers in the game right now. Fortunately for budding Talon jungle players, we have tapped the progenitor of Talon jungle, ‘Kaostanza’, also known as Kaos, for his thoughts on how to play Talon after these core changes.
Having first picked up Talon after his rework in Season 7, Kaos started running him in the top lane. However, he says that he knew he wouldn’t always be a good pick, so brought him into the jungle for the first time during Season 8.
Now, in Season 11, Kaos’s ‘Raiden Shogun C2’ account has peaked at Rank 1 on EU West multiple times throughout the year, and at the time of writing it rests at the top of the LoL ranks. So with the player’s impressive credentials established, here’s everything you need to know about playing Talon jungle after the Conqueror and Goredrinker nerfs.
When to pick Talon jungle and when to avoid him
So when should you be looking to pick Talon in the jungle? Well unfortunately, according to Kaos, “Talon jungle does not have the cleanest synergy with any champion, due to the clunky nature of his kit.” With that said, there are some general rules of thumb where he feels most at home.
“Any champion that provides good utility, can set him up, and essentially funnel him is really good for solo queue,” Kaos says. The most prominent example of this we’ve seen in pro play is the notorious Yuumi pocket. Of course, no one has been happy to see Yuumi on the Worlds stage this year, but she is certainly an option…
Petition to ban Yuumi & Talon from #Worlds2021
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— Cloud9 (@Cloud9) October 11, 2021
Additionally, Kaos states that non-resource-intensive champions (e.g. Twisted Fate, Galio, and Ashe), high-damage AP champions (e.g. Heimerdinger, Karthus, and Sylas), and champions that can “defend against a siege well so Talon can apply pressure elsewhere on the map” (eg. Ziggs) all fit nicely into a Talon composition.
On the flip side, you absolutely don’t want to pick Talon into comps filled with champions that can either lock him down or counter his stealth. The last thing a Talon wants to see is a Bard or Qiyana, which both have the ability to turn his terrain advantage against him.
Talon jungle build patch 11.21
Goredrinker has been a problem item for different reasons throughout Season 11. Most recently, Goredrinker was reworked back into a pure bruiser item on patch 11.21, having been the go-to Mythic for most melee champions regardless of their role.
As Kaos points out, Goredrinker was so strong on assassins “because it’s essentially an assassin item’s worth of damage, but with an absurd amount of survivability, especially during early and mid game.” The item gave assassins greater margins for error thanks to the health it provided alongside Spite. With these safety features now inaccessible to assassins once again, it’s time for a switch up.
The build which Kaos now recommends, and has continued to champion for much of the season despite the prevalence of Goredrinker because, and we quote, “I have too much pride and enjoy Talon this way more”, revolves around building Eclipse as the core Mythic – though only after first finishing Youmuu’s Ghostblade and tier-two boots. Here’s the core Talon jungle build for patch 11.21.
Talon jungle items patch 11.21
- Youmuu’s Ghostblade
- Ionian Boots of Lucidity
- Black Cleaver
- Serylda’s Grudge
“Eclipse is a very different playstyle that usually plays around picks using ranged Q and the follow-up auto to proc the item’s passive, giving you control at that moment,” Kaos says. “It has more front-loaded damage, scales quite well, and can help you proc your (P) Blade’s End in skirmishes.”
However, this build does come with a couple of warnings. “There is a lot of wit involved,” Kaos notes, “and from the moment you decide to go for the kill you already have to know how to play the chase or disengage.” Additionally, he says that picking up Serylda’s Grudge halves the value of Eclipse’s passive, though it’s still the optimal pick-up.
Kaos has also recently been making efficient use of Prowler’s Claw – another Mythic option utilised by the player at the beginning of the season. This looks to be an even riskier option, trading the shield and movement speed provided by Eclipse’s passive for more all-in potential. If you want to go full glass cannon, then check out Kaos’s combo tips in the thread below.
𝐓𝐇𝐑𝐄𝐀𝐃 – don't have recording software sowwy 😓
Talon – Prowler's Claw Combo – 1
W First –> Prowler –> Flower
CLIP: W – PrCl secondary target – Q + R aa
-PrCl is used to gap close to secure a full ranged combo from a longer distance
-Less damage than a melee combo pic.twitter.com/QFiMl1RIz3
— Kaostanza | Angel (@Kaostanza) January 15, 2021
As for runes, Kaos says “Dark Harvest, Electrocute, and Phase Rush are runes you may want to look out for” going forward. While Conqueror’s nerfs have been meaty, he says that it may still have a place. For the most part since the nerf, Kaos has been either running Dark Harvest, or dipping his talons into Conqueror. Below you can find an example page that Kaos has been using.
Talon jungle runes patch 11.21
- Dark Harvest (Keystone)
- Sudden Impact
- Eyeball Collector
- Ingenious Hunter
- Nimbus Cloak
- Adaptive Force
- Adaptive Force
Finally, for Summoner Spells you should always be going for Smite and Ignite – a combo which Kaos himself popularised back in Season 8. This has been standard on Talon for a while now, so shouldn’t come as a surprise to existing Talon jungle players.
Tips for playing Talon jungle
Kaos’s first piece of advice for climbing the LoL ranks on Talon jungle is simple: “play selfish and hope people draft decently.
“If every lane demands resources then it’s not going to be fun. If an opportunity arises where you can trade a teammate(s) death for kills, take it. There is no point in picking Talon if you play to prevent plays instead of raking on kills wherever you can.”
During the game, your mantra should be “farm, farm, farm,” Kaos says. “Talon’s (W) Rake buff is what made him more of a meta pick, so capitalise on it while it lasts. Talon now has the ability to sweep his own jungle as well as minion waves. Junglers that can do this are cheating XP and Gold, so don’t be afraid to help laners shove to gain lane priority, or collect waves if they’re not going to be able to anyway. However, I’d say at least 200 XP-worth of minions is the minimum to show up on the map for.”
As for the major pitfall to watch out for when learning the champion, Kaos says that a lot of players – even the best of the best – fail to play around the fact that Talon’s damage is back loaded on his passive. “I’ve literally seen a 1,000 LP+ pro throw (W) Rake and instantly (Q) Noxian Diplomacy from the start to end of a game,” he recalls. Indeed, weaving autos between abilities is crucial to quickly proccing (P) Blade’s End’s bleed.
The final piece of advice that Kaos has to offer is to try and play around your (R) Shadow Assault as much as possible. “People should generally avoid making a play without their ultimate up,” he warns.
And there you have it – everything you need to know about playing Talon jungle in the post-Goredrinker and Conqueror age. If you want to see the master in action, then you can check out Kaos’s Twitch channel here.