Shaco Build Guide by muzair
Not Updated For Current Season
This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.
Not Updated For Current Season
The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.
Well...From the name, it suggests this is an in-depth guide of Shaco. After playing more than 200 games, I've learned quite much about shaco's play and if you ask me he's the best assassin in the game, and honestly when you play shaco its with a different type of thinking, you have to see things from a different point of view. Learning to play him is not very hard but playing him the right way is very hard just for the reason its so hard to teach through words you'll only perfect and start feeling shaco when you play him and face all there is against him. I'm not the best shaco but with how much I've played him I know very well what that character is capable of. There's too much to say and let me tell you this is gonna be a wall of text.
This picture below is just an example of what you can achieve with AD Shaco.(This is by far my best score, my penta was stolen by a friend, double ks actually.)
The runes i stated are just according my preference. In my opinion, runes are not made for a character but for the player; it really depends on your play-style, so I've stated the runes that I like on shaco. Armor penetration is quite obvious, I used to use flat attack damage marks before but after testing I've felt armor penetration is better. Attack damage seals are just a kind of preference, you can swap them for flat armor. Cooldown reduction is just because shaco uses so many abilities early game and his early jungling is really dependent on the cooldowns. Health quintessence, this is a choice of playstyle too, i prefer early health than over say 10 armor penetration, no specific reason for this just what i like and it works.
I don't think masteries need any explanation, a typical 21-0-9 build with improved smite and ghost.
Pros / Cons
Great ganks early game.
One of the best backdooring champions.
Can 1v1 almost anyone except jax, maybe now he can after the nerf to jax's ultimate.
Insane escaping abilities, can become invincible combined with some items.
Tears apart tanks.
Compared to most other champion, Ad shaco scales less into the mid game but gets his reputation back in late game.
Oracles destroy you.
Very squishy, you will die too much if you don't know how to handle squishy champions.
Low mana pool early game.
Smite is necessary not only because you need it for jungling but you are a good counter jungler too, and also shaco can easily steal baron or dragon with good timing of smite. Your second spell is just a choice of what you want, I recommend you to take Ghost if you're new to shaco it help you much but once you're experienced with him, I think one can sacrifice Ghost easily for Exhaust or Ignite.
Other Good Choices
Should be your first items after first level boots, believe me this is the heart of shaco's build. A free ward, lifesteal, the razor's proc what else do you want early game.
Boots of Mobility
A great choice because you will have to always move never stay at the same place you always want to surprise enemies and
movement speed 5 is perfect for it and remember early mobility is one of your greatest power, get boots as soon as possible.
This is considered a must to take item on shaco but I don't really feel its that important unless the enemies are very tanky. If you want to take it then don't take wriggles just change the razors into madred's after the boots.
If you're not going for madred's early then go for infinity after the boots and wriggle's.
If you took infinity then definitely for for phantom dancers.
After the attackspeed item your core build is complete now you want some defense and nothing is better than guardian for that even if the enemies are concentrated on ap, you will almost become invincible after taking this item. Just save deceive and run near a wall when you think you might die, let the guardian revive you and pop off to the other side of the wall and guess what you just survived a 5 man-gank. Honestly I've killed enemies 5v1 and just ran because i had guardian.Now if you were planning to get madred's late game then this is the time after guardian, just sell the wriggle's lantern and buy it, the lantern would have paid its price by all the free wards and procs.
This could be one of your last items, gives a heavy boost to your attack damage and thus critical strikes. An advice never ever buy more than 1 infinity edge its just useless, you already have the passive from 1 and it doesn't stack but you get more attack damage from the bloodthrister.
This is one of the most under-used item in the whole game, and in my opinion its OP because it ends suppression along with the cleanse ability. This means Malzahar and Warwick can't use their Ultimate on you. Definately take this if enemies have too much cc or if enemy Warwick or Malzahar are fed. This provided with Guardian angel means invincibility for Shaco.
Shaco deals 25% extra bonus damage when striking a unit from behind. This passive is pretty much very underestimated and people don't even think about it but by a simple maths you can get the idea of how much it matters. Lets say you have 200 attack damage then if you strike from behind you get 50 extra damage every attack, that's more than a BF SWORD and not to mention this bonus increases as you get more attack damage.
Shaco instantly stealths for 3.5 seconds, and teleports to a nearby location. If he attacks, he losses stealth but is guaranteed to hit crit for 40/60/80/120% bonus damage.
This skill is what makes shaco, imo this is one of the most skills in the game. Its a combination of the flash spell and 3.5 seconds invisibility with a cooldown of just 10 seconds. And the range of deceive is a little more than flash, you can pretty much cross ALL the walls of the summoner's rift with it. Even if you click inside the wall you will get on the other side. And the crit bonus is amazing too, deceive(40% lvl 1) and and hit at the back(25%), thats makes the bonus damage 75% and believe me this is huge early game.With this skill you can almost escape all ganks if you use is wisely.
Jack In The Box
Shaco creates a Jack in the Box at the target location. It will stealth after 2 seconds, and pop out when an enemy comes near fearing enemies for 0.5/0.75/1/1.25/1.5 seconds and attacking them. It deals 35/55/75/95/115(+25% ability power) damage, and lasts 90 seconds while stealthed or 5 seconds while firing. Casting Jack in the Box doesn't break stealth.
I can't tell you how many uses this skills has, it has saved my life so many times. These are the uses of it:
As its duration is 90 seconds it could easily be used to temporarily ward different areas, the range of vision is less but it fears anyone who comes in that range and does pretty nice damage early game, not much late game unless you're buying ability power. When you have enough mana just keep spamming it at key locations i can't tell you how many times i escaped 5 man or 4 man ganks just because of spamming these. Even at level 1 of the skill, 0.5 secs are enough to deceive away.
You can understand it by the name it just fears enemies when they come near it. If you play ap, this does some real damage late game, and early game the base damage is enough for it to matter with the fear. If you haven't faced a good shaco, then you can't understand what kind of hell it is to face these boxes when when following a shaco at 50 hp. This is why you should spam them so you can just run through them while running but the enemy will be feared. Even when fighting an enemy 1v1 you should spam them the 1.5 seconds fear can get you some free hits on enemy.
This basically means just putting the boxes at one place and believe me the damage is devastating even especially in early game. 1 thing that i used to do at lower levels and still many shacos do if they lane is go fast to your lane and start stacking in the bush and stand there with your ally, when the enemies come to face check the bush, they get a 0.5 secs fear and roughly 450-500 magic damage into the face if you have 5 boxes which is not hard to stack. Here's the maths...the boxes deal 35 damage per strike at level 1 and if you stack 5 boxes then its a total of 175, now the boxes have almost 1.5 attack speed which means just in the fear duration they deal 175 damage and on average an enemy will usually take 1 second to get out of its range unless they have flash or similar ability, which means 2 more strikes per box totaling to 350. As a total in 1.5 seconds it is roughly 450 damage taking other things like magic resist into account. This clearly means first blood because you'll be running exhaust and ignite or atleast ignite and don't for get you and your ally is also standing there. This could get better if your ally has a stun. This obviously doesn't work at higher levels of gameplay because enemies are familiar with shaco enough to not to face check the bush when enemy team has laning shaco.
There are many more uses but you will get them yourself when you will try these things.
Passive: While Two-Shiv Poison is ready to cast, shaco's attacks poison the target, reducing their movement speed and chance to hit by 20/22.5/25/27.5/30% for 2 seconds.
Active: Deals half of attack damage + 40/80/120/160/200(+100% ability power) damage to the target enemy, and poisons them for 3 seconds.
This is your main harassment tool early game, max this as soon as possible. The description is pretty much explanatory...just 1 thing don't use the active if you're ale to hit enemy because that surely will apply the passive for 2 3 seconds but you will lose the passive until the cooldown ends which is a sold 13 seconds, use it only when enemy flashes or uses ghost or to finish off or get some extra damage form active.
Shaco creates an illusion of himself nearby, which deals 75% of shaco's damage and recieves 150% increased damage.( Deals half damage to turrets.) On death, the illusion explodes to deal 300/450/600(+100% ability power) magic damage to nearby enemies. The illusion lasts for 30 seconds and auto-explodes after that.
This is one of the most amazing ultimates in the game, it has so many uses. You can use it to block skill shots like ashe's arrow, use it to tank tower while backdooring, when you tower dive, if you use ultimate the tower will lose focus on you and focus your clone, you can dodge ultimates like nunu's absolute zero and karthus's requim with this because when you use it, shaco kind of channels for 0.5 seconds in this time he's like doesn't exist so if you time your ulti you can dodge nunu's ultimate, this is what i've done once but i've heard karthus's ulti can also be dodged but ofcourse this required extreme timing. Also you can use this on against enemies not familiar with shaco to confuse them into attacking which one or while escaping ulti, send 1 clone in 1 direction and you in other direction, the enemy will have to choose 1 unless they know which 1 is the clone.Another use is to send your clone in the team fight when it starts and stay out yourself not only the enemies will waste ultimates on your clone but also it will burst to do a decent damage to all enemies in the area.But again everything depends on how your enemy is they might even ignore you in the team fight.
As you will be jungling, Jack in the box is the best choice for the first skill, in-fact you cannot jungle if you have taken some other skill. Second skill will be the two-shiv poison because the passive for it is nice while jungling and you don't need decieve to do damage, also you will this skill as soon as possible because this is only your ranged ability and it deals good damage. Your third skill will be deceive because its time to gank now...really gank at level 3?...yes because you are shaco! Believe me shaco has the strongest gank at level 3, mostly you will kill a champ or if he has flash or ghost he will have to burn both. You will max deceive after maxing two-shiv poison because the bonus damage from it is great, why you don't need to max jack in the boxes first it because they require too much positioning and stacking to deal effective damage, while playing ad you just need the fear from it. And obviously your ultimate when ever you can get it.
Early Game (level 1-8)
Early game is Shaco's fun time...try to gank as much as possible...like literally use every opportunity...
So you'll jungling for the reason that Shaco's so good at ganking...now when it comes to jungling there are mainly two routes both have their advantages...
This route starts with Blue buff and is much easier because you don't have to manage your mana once you get the blue buff. But the problem with it is that its hard for you to gank early if you didn't take exhaust and by early I mean level 3...and also this one is very unsafe because most people believe that Shaco always starts at Blue so they can come and mess up your boxes...which will basically destroy your jungling because the extra time that takes to stack them again will leave you far behind...but if you're just learning to play him i strongly suggest to go this route...so you start with cloth armor and 5 health potions...and go to the blue buff as soon as possible. If you reach early enough you should be able to place 5 boxes and the 6th one after the blue spawns. Just kill the golem and use an hp potion when it starts attacking you and remember don't use smite here if you want to jungle efficiently because if you use it here then you will be too low to gank after taking red. (killing blue without smite will not be possible without these runes and some practice so try it in custom first.)
The imagine below should give you the idea of where to place the boxes:Now move next to the wolves camp and kill them all, place a box and start attacking and use shiv whenever available because now you have blue buff, remember to use an hp potion at every camp to keep your hp at good amounts. Next go to the Wraiths and place box then smite the big one and kill others, the reason I use smite here rather than the blue is because this saves much time and keeps you hp high, otherwise you'll end up at like 30% hp which is dangerous. Next skip the red and go to the mini Golems and kill them the same way as wolves. After this you should have used 1 hp potions and around 50% or more hp, if somehow you are low then i recommend go recall rather than dieing. But if you had enough health then go to red, the smite timer should be about 20-25 secs so you need to stack two boxes just to wait for the timer and take less damage from it so you can gank...The image below should give an idea of where to place them:Once you've placed to boxes your timer should be almost over on smite, go ahead attack or shive the big lizard and bring her near the boxes so they agro her and then just kill it finishing with smite and you'll get level 4 with both buffs.
This route is a little harder because you need to practice your timings and stuff and also hp quints are strictly necessary for this one but the good thing is it starts at red and you get level 3 before the mid lane means, when you get level 3 without messing anything up then you are the strongest thing on map at that time because of level advantage and the red buff, gank at this time will hardly fail if done right.
The starting items are the same but you will start at red and not stack boxes at the same place but create a setup, go to the mini golems asap and put two boxes at a place where they won't agro the golems. The picture below might give you an idea:
Next go to the red buff and stack 3 boxes something like this:After you stack 3 boxes go to the wraiths, it must have been spawned by now and smite the big one and run back to the mini golems try not to take any damage from the mini wraiths. At the mini golems hit one and drag it to the boxes then place a box behind it and use one hp potion and kill them.( Don't use anymore boxes here, you need to save mana)
Move next to the red buff without wasting any time and just hit it once and drag it to the boxes, prefer not to use shiv here but if you are getting low then use it and kill the red, you might get a little low but an hp potion after that will make you high again and now you need to decide what to do, I strongly recommend ganking any lane now mid is the best to get first blood on but gank and get something even if you can't get a kill make them burn their flash or ghost so the next time you gank they are dead for sure and you'll be ganking very often because you are Shaco. If you chose to gank then get deceive on level three, i.e. after getting red, level up deceive and go for the gank or in case you have no chance of ganking any lane don't waste time. Keep going with the route, kill the three wraiths left this will be very easy now and then kill the wolves, go for the blue after that, just place a box behind it and start attacking use an hp potion at each camp if you don't want to die. This is pretty much it, you don't need any strategy after this to jungle just get whatever you want and most importantly gank as much as you can like literally gank the hell out of enemies become a terror.
REMEMBER TO USE 1 HP POTION AT EACH CAMP!
Mid Game (level 9-13)
One of shaco's weak points is his mid game, he doesn't scale as good to mid game as most of other champions but gains his reputation back as he reaches the late game. So this basically means you are gonna die much more than other phases of game in mid game, so just try to avoid 1v1 fights or try to stay away from team fights too because you will get crushed badly.
But after a lots of games, I've actually found a good use of this time, just farm and backdoor thats the best thing to do mid game unless you are extremely fed early game which won't happen that often. So why not use this time to get that high CS and take out some turrets? once you start backdooring with shaco you will understand how even a single turret effects the enemy's mind. So this is the best you can do in mid game just backdoor like a mad man because you are shaco and if you ask me shaco is almost impossible to kill if he just focus on backdooring and doesn't take risk.
Just become a headache to the enemies just keep doing it, it really messes them up. So what do you need to backdoor? Just a little precautionary setup and just don't even engage with enemies your mission should be turrets and farming. The setup is not very difficult just need some wards usually 1 for 1 turret.The picture above explains the setup you need for backdooring safely, the red dots are the turrets, the green dots are the places to ward( you can usually use the ward from the wriggle's lantern, you won't need more than 1 for 1 turret), and the blue dots are the places to put your jack in the boxes and the while circles define what all you need for that turret. Then just push the minion wave and start attacking the turret, as you see some enemy coming, don't be greedy just leave it and run away or if you can finish it fast enough do it because he won't be able to catch you. Just when he comes to attack you run to the nearest bush and deceive away but don't go back just wait there or go jungle then when he's gone go back again and do the same.
I know it sounds boring but its fun to see enemies raging about backdooring, you're not losing anything you get minions kills and towers. Meanwhile tell your team to either defend or just push some other lane or anyway just keep the enemies busy or you might get 5 man-ganked and thats hard to escape. But remember you need [highlight]WARDS[/highlight].
Also if you see a turret too low just go without minions through jungle, use ultimate and send the clone first in the range and then go yourself and destroy it while the clone tanks. This is in my opinion the best AD shaco has to offer mid game.
Late game (level 14-18)
By late game I mean you should have atleast your core build otherwise you failed. Mostly you will get fed and have almost an infinity edge until level 18, this is the time for you to shine. You can 1v1 almost anyone in the game except JAX or maybe even him didn't really check that after the nerf to his ultimate. Late game for shaco is just farming champions, your can kill carries in a matter of seconds. One good tactic is to camp in their jungle, just take all the xp and plant your boxes or maybe stack them at key locations and wait for someone to come, they obviously will come to take buffs and they will be dead I assure you. The red dots in the picture are the possible places to stack boxes but remember again you should have good ward coverage.Even if you get ganked badly you have guardian angel(or should have before taking such risks), you're not gonna die even in a 5v1 gank. The trick is if you know you're gonna die just save deceive and get to the nearest wall and die, as soon as the guardian awakes you immediately deceive over wall and you will have enough speed form phantom dancer and boots of mobility to get out of the situation.
Team fight with Shaco is one of the tough jobs. So whats Shaco's job in team fights?
Your first priority should be to stay alive so don't come into the fight until major ultimates are over, also you need to deceive out of the fight if you are being focused. Your target in the team fights is to kill the carries behind the tanks (this is why I don't prefer to make madred's early), as soon as the AoE ultimates end, deceive in the go right onto their carry, even if you have to die to kill the carry, I think its worth it because this way, they basically lose most of their damage and you aren't carry so that's a good trade.
As soon as you kill him, you need to take out the focus from yourself, deceive should be up by now so get out of the fight and then come back again when you know the stuns, snares, slows etc are all used or if its the time to clean up because usually they will run if their carry dies. Thats pretty much it, you can contribute more by spamming boxes at the places your allies will run to when escaping.
Remember sometimes you just need to stay out and wait for the right moment to get in and its absolutely fine, your team shouldn't expect you to initiate or tank damage, just find the right time and destroy everything you find in there.
I haven't seen a single guide which talks about how to counter Shaco, so I'm gonna include it in mine.
So basically the first thing you want to know about him is if he's a good Shaco or a bad Shaco, in other words experienced or not. You need to know this because a good Shaco will never ever deceive in the same direction which he's runningon. So usually what Shacos will do is run to the nearest bush and then deceive backwards or sideways and the invisibility is provided is enough for him to even walk through you and get out to some safe place.
Second is about countering jack in the box, there is no really easy way except that you have wards and know where he placed it because even if you buy oracle's elixir, you need to come in the range of the box to see it and the moment you come into its range, it will fear you. One trick to use if you suspect Shaco is stacking boxes somewhere, go place a ward near it, the boxes will agro the ward and they will be then destroyed after 5 seconds.
About the ultimate, there are many ways to counter it, one is to constantly keep marking shaco when you're about to fight ( mark means like you ping, ping on shaco he will have a symbol on his head that he is marked) when he will use his ultimate, the clone will not have the symbol but the real shaco will have it. Also on the map, the clone will show as a dot like a minion while the real shaco will show up as a champion and the clone doesn't have auras.
Countering an Ap Shaco
If you find an AP Shaco against you, be extra precarious because he'll love to steal your blue. In lane try not to follow him into bushes or for of war, stay in lane near minions and push, he can't 1v1 you unless you jump into his boxes or he's massively fed, getting life steal or some kind of spell vamp might be good against him because when you won't follow him into bushes, he's gonna shiv you every 10 seconds.
And thats all he can do.
I wrote this guide after practicing and trying many other guide in the start when I first played Shaco so for some reason they all get the credit. And Ad Shaco is pretty strong in my opinion but he needs a team playing around his style, that is when you split push you need the team to compensate for you and not fight 5v4 and many other things like the mid should know that you will gank at level 3 so he should be prepared for it, although I didn't copy anything from a guide, all is what I've learned.
I hope it was as much fun for you reading as much I had writing it. Just remember that Shaco can totally turn over the games, you just need to wait for the right time and make the right choice.
If you have any questions or suggestions feel free to post. :)
17/08/2011 Published the guide
19/08/2011 Trimmed those walls of texts to make it less boring and straight to the point.