This is a tentative rework for Nocturne, the Eternal Nightmare. Despite being an old champion, Nocturne brings a completely unique and game-changing contribution to the table, namely his vision denial through Paranoia. However, he's also weighed down by pretty typical design issues for a lot of earlier champions: despite being listed as an assassin, his kit doesn't fully work like an assassin's, and instead has a lot in common with fighter kits (sustain, autoattack-based DPS, steroids, hard crowd control, a lack of proper escapes...). On top of this, a lot of his power is placed into stat boosts, and the end result is a champion who's incredibly powerful early on (he has great clears and killer ganks, and is a phenomenal duelist), but who scales poorly into the late game, not just because of his power distribution, but also because the assassin/fighter blend of his kit ends up with him not doing too well at either role (building tanky means his damage falls off hard, and building damage means he dies far too quickly). More than anything, Nocturne needs to become either a full fighter, or a full assassin.
On top of this, I think Noc deserves to develop his theme more: he's meant to be a living nightmare, and he definitely delivers when activating his ult, but he's otherwise not too scary when he just walks over to hit people. The intent of the kit below is to try and get closer to the feel of a horror champion, with emphasis on him staying out of sight of his opponents and jumping out of the shadows to finish them off. I'd like to keep a lot of stuff from his kit, including his hard crowd control and autoattack dependence, while making him much more of an assassin.
This is mostly an expansion of the movement speed buff recently added to Nocturne, where he moves at super-speed towards feared targets, combined with the dash on his ultimate and the movement speed bonus on his Duskbringer trail (see below). While perhaps not a prominent part of Noc's basic ability set, one of the features that makes him scary is his ability to move extremely quickly from anywhere and go right up to a target when they least expect it. I think this can be developed further from Noc's current kit, and I think a lot of his power should hinge on his ability to exploit his enemy's blind spots and attack them when they least expect it. Initially, this would limit itself to Nocturne exploiting blind spots and brush in lane, and perhaps using his passive to counterjungle opponents or catch them in the jungle, but as the game progresses he would gain greater and greater reach, until he'd be able to zoom from massive distances towards unsuspecting targets.
Because this is such a huge movement speed buff, I feel there needs to be a better differentiation between Noc's mobility out of combat (or in the "run" phase of hit-and-run combat, which I think would work well on him) and in-combat mobility, and so I reduced his base movement speed to 335, down from 345. Additionally, because I removed Noc's stat steroids completely (he loses a B. F. Sword's worth of attack damage and either one or two Blade of the Ruined King's worth of attack speed), I feel he could do with beefier natural autoattacking power, as he would still rely heavily on autoattacks to deal damage, and buffed his AD per level to 4, up from 3.1, and his AS per level to 3.5%, up from 2.7%.
COST: 60 / 55 / 50 / 45 / 40 mana
Active:Nocturne sends out a shadow blade in a line that leaves a Dusk Trail on its path, granting sight of the area, dealing physical damage to all enemies it passes through and causing enemy champions hit to also leave a Dusk Trail behind their movements for 3 seconds.
Duskbringer is a visually awesome ability with several unique features, though I feel having most of its power placed into stat boosts feels like a bit of a waste. I think landing the ability on champions is extremely important, which is partly why I increased the ability's initial damage and scaling, but I also feel it should make more sense than just steroids, which is why I'm reducing the trail's duration a bit but making it grant Noc stealth and terrain collision: the terrain phase-through effect is one that's been suggested often for Duskbringer, especially since it's already similar to Spectre's Spectral Dagger from Dota 2, which has the same effect, and I feel it would give Nocturne the opportunity to attack his prey from unexpected locations, without necessarily giving him a dash.
The reason I added a cooldown refresh as well is because I think Nocturne needs a better means of escape as an assassin, especially since I'm removing his spell shield (it's not a bad ability, per se, but doesn't do much for Noc's gameplay or theme, and at worst just makes it impossible to deal with him when he's in the process of fearing you). Having him lay down stealth-granting Dusk Trails after landing kills or assists would let him make an escape towards another unseen portion of the map. It would still be somewhat more difficult for him to escape than to initiate, since he'd have huge movement speed getting into a fight, but no bonus when getting out, but the stealth would make it much easier for him to avoid damage, even if his invisibility would remain confined to a highly visible trail.
COST: 60 mana
COOLDOWN: 7 / 6.5 / 6 / 5.5 / 5
Active:Nocturne's next basic attack deals bonus physical damage to his target and all surrounding enemies, increasing by 1% per 1% of main target's missing health.
Dread Slash is essentially a revised version of Umbra Blades. Whereas Noc's current passive doesn't really fit an assassin (it's a good jungle clearing and sustain tool, though), the core effect of an autoattack enhancer does have a lot of potential, especially as an execution ability. I removed the sustain component, and instead made this ability an execute, with the additional caveat that executing Noc's main target will also deal extra damage to secondary targets, which would allow him to clear the jungle faster (Noc could focus on the large monster in a camp and naturally take care of the smaller monsters).
COST: 40 mana
On-Target Cooldown:10 / 9 / 8 / 7 / 6
Passive:Nocturne's basic attacks against champions periodically cause them to flee from him if he was visible to them for 1 second or less. This effect cannot occur on the same target more than once every few seconds.
Flee Duration: 1 / 1.25 / 1.5 / 1.75 / 2
Active:Nocturne ignores unit collision for 1 second and deals physical damage to all enemies he passes through. Enemies can only be damaged once.
Spell shields will block the active's damage but not the passive flee effect.
Nocturne's current fear ability, Unspeakable Horror, doesn't feel especially good to play against: Noc has enough movement speed and defenses to resist most of what any single target can throw in self-defense, which makes the fear practically guaranteed in one-on-one encounters unless the target blows a gapcloser. Despite this, I feel Nocturne should keep the flee, as fear is a core part of his identity. I think the best way to improve on Nocturne's current DoT heal is to bring it even closer to his theme as a living nightmare: one Noc's greatest strengths is the element of surprise, which I also want to emphasize on his kit, and I think this is where his ability to instill fear comes from. The new passive here is, essentially, a means of literally jump-scaring your target as Nocturne.
Because the overall gameplay here is to have Noc emerge from the shadows to obliterate his target, I think he needs a means of reaching his opponent via a blind spot, such as brush or his Dusk Trail, which is why I made his active a Lightning Rush-like ability that lets him move through champions and damage them while doing so. Since Nocturne benefits from his passive movement speed for 1 second after entering an enemy's champion's vision, with proper timing he'd be able to zoom through with his E and reach his target pretty quickly.
COST: 100 mana
COOLDOWN: 110 / 85 / 60
Shadow in the Dark's bonus movement speed and range are increased.
Total Range: 2500 / 3250 / 4000
Total Bonus Movement Speed: 300 / 400 / 500
Active:Nocturne temporarily applies nearsight to all enemy champions.
Spell shields will block the sight reduction for the spell shielded unit only.
The new cooldown to this ability seems incredibly small, but this is in fact the cooldown Riot thinks Nocturne could have if his ult didn't have a dash attached to it. I sort of moved Noc's dash to his passive, and so this ability would be used strictly for reducing the enemy team's vision, with the passive kicking in full force for Noc to rush targets from far away. Because wards would be very important in both helping Noc spot his enemies and his targets prevent him from wandering around unhindered, the vision restriction would temporarily give him complete freedom of movement, allowing him to set up an assassination exactly as he'd want it.
There are a lot of reasons why I attached a lot of Noc's passive power to this: the biggest reason is that this ability is a pure utility move on an assassin, and I think Noc needs as many incentives as he can to level this up without necessarily resorting to steroids a la Rek'Sai. Another reason is that these huge spikes in utility and mobility would set clear milestones in Nocturne's power, allowing him to progress from decent short-ranged mobility to massive map-wide roaming and stalking capabilities. Paranoia would cement Nocturne's niche as a team utility assassin, with his vision denial letting him set up plays for both himself and his team, which would allow him to shine consistently throughout the game other than through tremendous raw early game power.
How do you like these changes? Are these appropriate to Nocturne's theme? What about his gameplay? Do you think Nocturne would work better as a pure fighter, or a pure assassin, and is this set of changes the right direction for him?