Off Meta: Talon Jungle

by theScore Staff Sep 1 2017
Thumbnail image courtesy of Riot Games

The jungle is boring right now. You know it, I know it, everybody knows it.

Junglers are mostly tanks in the current meta, ones looking to farm and become big balls of stats to protect their carries. But take heed, because Talon jungle can make jungling fun again in this drab meta.

The Blade's Shadow has extreme mobility and immense invade pressure that will completely throw off current jungle picks.

Why Talon?

Talon jungle is incredibly mobile and aggressive. Thanks to his recent rework, which evidently involved a few days of studying YouTube parkour montages, Talon has the ability to path creatively against opponents. He's also gained good escape paths if he wants to invade and punish the sluggishness of most tank junglers. His parkour through E also allows him to have quicker clears, since he can access camps a lot earlier and place vision in hard to reach spots.

Beyond his mobility, Talon’s clear is also relatively healthy. There are two reasons for that. First is the purchase of Hunter’s Talisman as a starting item. The heal over time can apply to Talon’s Rake, meaning that the area-of-effect damage heals him for an absurd amount over the course of five seconds (at least 150 hp on Raptors, or the equivalent of one health potion, to be exact). The second reason is his Q. Landing a killing blow with Talon’s Q ensures that he heals a certain amount based on that. Combined with the Feast mastery, Talon should never have issues clearing the jungle due to health.

Talon’s kill pressure is immense, as he has access to unique gank paths, two slows through W and Red buff, and a gap-closer if necessary through the use of his Q. In this sense, he plays like a more snowball-oriented Kayn, who can’t fall back on a tankier form-switch... like Kayn. But not to worry, because the damage Talon brings out makes snowballing more likely than you’d suspect.

This is for three reasons. First is the high experience pathways that the jungle provides. Constant access to Krugs can keep you in line with the level of your solo laners, meaning that Lethality items you purchase do more damage by virtue of your higher level. The second is that your ultimate and passive damage are incredibly devastating in the early game since Lethality applies to each tick of damage and armor is a lot less accessible early. It’s not unheard of to be a 2-3 kill Talon doing real damage to your enemies. You can also snowball on tanks very quickly due to their inability to duel others in the jungle in most circumstances.

In the mid and late game, Talon is an amazing pick to pressure individuals who think they are in a simple 1v1 in a splitpush situation. He can roam quickly to a sidelane, contribute massive damage against a splitpusher and create an advantage for your own splitpusher.

The Build

  1. Hunter's Talisman + Three health potions
  2. Boots of Mobility
  3. Tracker's Knife or Skirmisher's Sabre (Warrior Enchantment)
  4. Duskblade of Draktharr
  5. Death's Dance
  6. Maw of Malmortius or Edge of Night
  7. Mortal Reminder

Gabriel Zoltan-Johan is a news editor at theScore esports and the head analyst for the University of Toronto League of Legends team. His (public) musings can be found on his Twitter.