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This is my preferred build direction for Nox in the Mid-lane, focusing on an early Chronos' Pendant to give her some mana sustain and high use of abilities.
It contains the damage basics (flat pen, % pen), and focuses on utility over pure damage (e.g. Charon's Coin instead of Obsidian Shard, Pythagorem's Piece instead of Rod of Tahuti).
Spear of the Magus is shown here for team damage, but if anti-heal is needed, pick up Divine Ruin in its place.
Upgrade Sands of Time to Pendulum of Ages once you reach level 20.
Replace Shoes late with Elixir of Speed and another item of your choice. Suggest one of Rod of Tahuti, Magi's Cloak, Ethereal Staff, Soul Reaver.
Divine Ruin (Anti-Heal): Consider anytime you face an enemy healer.
Spear of Desolation (Universal Offense): Provides power, CDR, and some pen, all of which are helpful for any mage. I do feel there are better options in most cases.
Pythagorem's Piece (Group Power / Lifesteal): Provides an aura of power and lifesteal to nearby teammates, which is great for teamfights and objective pushes. This is my preferred lifesteal item for Nox.
Soul Gem (Lifesteal Alternative): Different utility compared to Pythag's, this item can give some group healing and the potential for burst damage at full stacks.
Soul Reaver (Anti-Tank Burst): Provides bonus damage on ability hit, with higher damage potential against high health targets.
Rod of Tahuti (High Power): Useful for stronger offense in any build, this is an item you'll pick up late-game only for a significant increase in damage potential.
Staff of Myrrdin (Ult -> Ability Spam): Can be considered late-game, to get more CDR if needed, with added utility when you ult. Her ult is best used in the middle of a teamfight, and immediately after use, she can use her Lock or Silence twice in a row, providing great CC.
Charon's Coin (Penetration / Utility): Solid % penetration (preferred currently over Obsidian Shard) that provides an interesting passive mechanic, giving some health sustain and movement speed.
Obsidian Shard (Penetration Option #2): Provides a higher "burst" amount of penetration that can be helpful against tankier compositions. This is an alternate option to Charon's Coin with higher damage potential but less utility.
Choose these situationally when needed:
Mantle of Discord (High Protections): Helpful defensive item if you find the enemy is constantly diving you. The CDR is nice, but the passive stun can save your life.
Magi's Cloak (Anti-CC): If the enemy team has high CC and you're having major problems, this item should be considered to give you a free form of Purification Beads.
Purification Beads (Anti-CC): A core relic for most mages, used specifically to counter CC. Commonly picked up 1st.
Aegis Amulet (Anti-Burst): Common 2nd relic for most mages, helpful to prevent anticipated burst damage.
Magic Shell (Anti-Basic Attack): Another common 2nd relic, this is chosen for the upgrade, which provides 2 stacks of block which completely negate basic attacks.
Blink Rune (Initiation): Spicy pick to surprise enemies that think they're at a safe distance.
2021/2/16: Guide is current as of Patch 8.1 Bonus Update. Updated builds, starting processes, and early warding.
Nox's candles gather energy from all abilities she uses. For every ability Nox casts a candle is lit. For every candle lit Nox gains +3% magical power. When Nox takes damage from an enemy god, one of her candles is blown out. Stacks up to 4 times, for a total of 12% bonus magical power.|
Discussion: You won't really think about this passive. However, this is a good reason to spam abilities and avoid damage, and supports a high power build, especially late-game.
Tips: At the beginning of a match, cast abilities in base (other than Assault) to build up your passive stacks.
Nox extends her shadow, damaging enemies. If this shadow hits an enemy god it stops, rooting and crippling them in place and dealing damage over time instead. Nox must channel and stay within range to maintain hold on the target, but may cancel this ability early. Nox will continue to channel this ability even if she is hit by Crowd Control effects. While channeling this ability Nox suffers no directional movement penalty. CD 10 seconds.|
Leveling Priority: Prioritize this 2nd.
General Use: Damage / Peel / Control
Discussion: This is your main form of control, and most often will be paired as the follow-up combo ability to Siphon Darkness. A 2 second root is extremely powerful, allowing teammates to easily focus a single enemy.
Tips: Common practice sees this ability cast immediately after using Siphon Darkness, to catch enemies in its AOE and deal massive damage. However, in a teamfight, you may want to show some restraint, and wait for the enemy to react before casting. This allows you to better predict the direction they will head to escape. Even if they escape the Siphon's AOE, confirming the lock is arguably much more important; with the help of teammates, it can set up an easy kill.
Nox creates a void of darkness that silences all enemies within. After a short duration it explodes, dealing damage. CD 13 seconds.|
Leveling Priority: Prioritize this 1st.
General Use: Damage / Minion Clear / Zoning / Ability Interruption
Discussion: This is Nox's strongest and most defining ability, providing your main minion clear function, and a level of utility matched by few others.
Anyone in the AOE is silenced. This means you can prevent enemies from casting any abilities, or interrupt enemies that are channeling abilities. Use this to cause massive disruption. When using this for wave clear, you can deploy this ahead to get an edge on the enemy mid-laner.
Tips: More important than using this for damage, your main focus should be to use this for control. Initiate a 1v1 engagement with this (followed by Shadow Lock), or hold onto it in a teamfight specifically for its silence function. You can also use this for zoning purposes. E.g. In a narrow jungle path, drop it in front of a retreating enemy to make them think twice about running through it.
Nox dashes forward, dealing damage to all enemies. If she hits an allied god, she leaps into their shadow, traveling with them. When Nox exits a shadow, she deals damage again in a radius around her. Nox may cancel this ability early to exit shadows. Nox can stay in an ally's shadow for up to 8 seconds. CD 15 seconds.|
Leveling Priority: Prioritize this last.
General Use: Escape / Initiation / Damage / (Situational) Global Mobility
Discussion: This is the most interesting and flexible ability in her kit. You'll generally hold onto this for use as an escape. However, when the situation is favorable / safe, you can:
Tips: The greatest (but most situational) utility is through your ability to leap into a teammate's shadow. Dash into them, and you will go where they go. For massive burst function, dash through an enemy into a nearby teammate, then immediately cancel and you'll hit them in the secondary AOE.
Situationally, you can use this to transport large distances, especially with global ults. Examples of Gods where Nox can hitch a ride: Apollo, Arachne, Athena, Chernobog, Jormungandr, Mercury, Ratatoskr, Thanatos, Thor.
In addition, you can use this offensively for huge gank potential, particularly with gods that have teleports or stealth (.e.g. Loki, Izanami, Ao Kuang, Da Ji, The Morrigan).
Nox unleashes a vortex of dark energy that explodes on contact with an enemy god, dealing damage to all enemies in range 20 and applying damage over time. Enemies hit are also weakened, dealing 40% less damage for the duration. CD 90/85/80/75/70 seconds.|
Leveling Priority: Level this whenever it becomes available.
General Use: Damage / Teamfights / 1v1 Kills / Kill Secure / CC Immunity
Discussion: This ability has incredible range, allowing you to target retreating / damaged enemies. Kill secure is arguably its most popular (and satisfying) use.
However, it provides arguably better utility (via the damage reduction) especially in teamfights, where the AOE burst can hit multiple enemies.
Remember that the short charging animation provides you with CC immunity, so you can ult in an emergency to prevent things like an Ares / Cerberus / Da Ji ult pull.
Tips: In teamfights, don't save this for kill secure. The 5 second damage reduction is incredibly useful, and can easily give your team the upper hand. When in the process of casting this, Nox can go through Janus' Portals.
This is your main combo. Initiate with Siphon Darkness to prevent enemy ability use. This will typically trigger 1 of 3 reactions:
Tips: In most cases, you will try for max damage, meaning you want to cast Shadow Lock immediately after Siphon Darkness, to trap them while they're still in the AOE. You need to pay attention to the direction the enemy is heading. It is easier to hit the Lock if you're very close to them, but if they're further away, you'll need to lead your aim a bit ahead of them.
However, you may decide a bit of patience is preferable, possibly allowing the enemy to escape the AOE but allowing for a higher probability of connecting with the Lock. Remember, Siphon Darkness is first and foremost a setup tool, and although it has higher burst damage potential, Lock is really your most important ability. If you have teammates with you, it will allow them to more easily connect on their damage.
This is your chase and 1v1 kill combo, without using your ult. Initiate and close distance with Shadow Step. If the enemy is retreating and has some distance on you, you'll likely only use this to get close enough to connect with Shadow Lock. However, if you're fighting a 1v1 and are confident in your ability to get a kill, you'll use this within closer range to connect with it for the damage.
Follow it up with the standard combo of Siphon Darkness and Shadow Lock. Since you're going for damage/kill, you'll pretty much always use Shadow Lock immediately after Siphon Darkness to keep them in the AOE...your close proximity to the enemy should help you confirm the Lock.
Remember that you're blowing your escape, so use this combo with discretion and awareness.
Teamfight Ability Use
This is your teamfight "combo," used when multiple enemies and teammates are likely present. Both Night Terror and Shadow Step are used situationally; your core is still Siphon Darkness to Shadow Lock.
Mid-Lane - Start & Early Game
Mid-Lane - Mid-Game
Mid-Lane - Late-Game
Mid-Lane - Early-Game Warding
Support - Start & Early Game
Support - Mid-Game
Support - Late-Game
Support - Early-Game Warding
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