Shaco Build Guide by DomesticDingo
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.
Hello! This is a guide on my most played jungler, Shaco. Shaco is a jungler that has top tier ganking ability. He is very strong in solo queue because of his ability to flash a good distance and stealth, as well as a guaranteed crit on your first hit on a gank. He can snowball himself or his laners very quickly with his ganking maneuver. In this guide, I will show you how to play Shaco and how to win games with him. Once you practice playing him, you will be a very good jungler in no time!
Shaco is a melee physical damage dealer with a gap closer, stealth, and a clone that benefits from his attacking stats. His abilities all work to help him deal more damage up close, so you want to set up with 21/0/9 masteries and strong physical runes.
For masteries, I take 21 in offense because he does well when able to do lots of damage, this should be obvious. What I want to talk about is why I go 9 in utility instead of defense. When jungling, you will be either letting Jack in the Box tank monster hits or you will be sustaining so well that monster damage is negligible. Therefore 9 points in defense is a bit of a waste. 9 points in utility however can be extremely useful. What you can get out of it is:
10% CDR on summoner spells (4 seconds off smite and 21 seconds off ignite)
15% increased cast range on trinket (375 or 525 more range on scrying orb)
10% increased potion duration (1.5 more seconds of red pots which translates to 15 more HP)
20% longer buff duration (30 more seconds of red/blue buff)
All of these things will help you a lot. I find these stats far superior to 9 in the defense tree.
Runes are also fairly obvious choices to help Shaco in his strong areas. 4.5% movespeed to go along with 1.5% from masteries is 20 flat movespeed right out the gate, which is like nearly having boots to start. 6 attack speed marks give 10% attack speed to help you clear, with 3 armor pen marks to give 5 armor pen helping add more damage in early ganks. I choose crit damage yellows because you are guaranteed to crit at least once every time, and my build is centered on a crit based burst gank. And finally scaling MR blues because blues don't generally have a big effect on physical stats, so some MR will help in not being killed as fast. Flat MR is just as viable if you prefer those.
How you build is essential on Shaco. Different players like to build differently to fit their style, and my style is a strong crit based burst of damage. I start Hunter's Machete, though you will often find people starting Doran's Blade on Shaco. This is not a bad idea, but the downside is that you must be EXTREMELY aggressive and successful often in early to avoid falling off. Two Doran's blades with a strong snowball is the superior path, but not as consistent so I would avoid it if you're not confident.
Spirit of the Elder Lizard offers the most to Shaco of the jungling items. It gives AD, true damage, and sustain in the jungle. It's not the best item in general on shaco because the true damage cannot crit, but itemizing for Shaco is tough and this is the best option. If someone suggests going Wriggle's Lantern to get to Feral Flare, then you'd be better off as a counterjungling Shaco. Before Wriggles becomes Feral, you will get very little in combat stats for ganks which doesn't bring out all of the potential Shaco has as a ganker. Kills/Assists do stack it, but the measly stats you have while waiting don't guarantee success as much. Ancient Golem and Spectral Wraith are also very bad options, because you're not building tanky and you're not going AP.
Once I have that, I get Statikk Shiv. This item is perfect for Shaco. Movespeed, sttack speed, crit chance are all great by themselves, but the passive is the selling point. It's 100 magic damage that will crit if your autoattack crits. Since your Q is guaranteed to crit, the magic damage is also guaranteed to crit giving you lots of damage. Entering on a gank and hitting them in the back will do lots of damage all at once. Shiv is a MUST HAVE item as soon as possible.
The next two items, Blade of the Ruined King and Infinity Edge can be grabbed in any order. If you're snowballing, I would take IE first. Both of these items are strong on carries, and since you want to hit often, hit hard, and critically strike as much as possible, these items are no-brainers. The active on BotRK is also very useful in catching up with anyone if they flash or surviving a duel.
Last Whisper should be taken at this point. The enemy team is bound to all have at least one armor item at that point, and you cannot afford to be slowed down. This should be taken on ALL carries in every game at some point, it's too good to skip. By now the game should be over, but if it's not swap out the Spirit of the Elder Lizard for another item, like a Phantom Dancer or a Guardian Angel based on the situation. Your raw stats are enough to deal with any monsters, and the bonus gold isn't needed with a full build.
Shaco's spells all benefit his ability to gank and get picks.
Backstab gives you 20% more damage when hitting enemies in the back. When going in for a gank, always go for them from behind. Using this passive correctly can be the difference in letting them get away or killing them before they can even consider escape.
Deceive This is the ability that makes Shaco an insanely good ganker. It lets you blink for the same distance as flash, and upon arriving to the point you blink to, you have stealth for 3.5 seconds. That's already incredibly useful, but it has another bonus. Your first attack that you do when stealthed or just after the stealth ends is guaranteed to be a critical strike. In early levels of deceive, it will be less than a regular crit, but later on it will be a better crit than regular crits. Even with lower crit damage, the guaranteed crit makes the Statikk Shiv passive a guaranteed crit as well.
Jack In The Box This is Shaco's most unique skill. It lets him drop a box that goes stealth after 2 seconds. Enemies within close range of it will be feared and it will start shooting them, dealing magic damage. This is great to setup for picks or escapes, and using it to clear the jungle will allow you to not only not take damage, but using it behind the creep you hit will cause the creep to turn around and hit it, letting you take advantage of Backstab while jungling.
Two-Shiv Poison Passively, so long as it is not on cooldown, your autoattacks slow your target for 2 seconds. Any non-champion enemies that are attacked also have a chance to miss their attacks, effectively reducing damage output of the jungle. The active portion of this ability is a standard ranged target-based slow that deals magic damage. This scales 100% on your bonus AD (as well as AP but with this build you have zero anyway) and IS affected by backstab, potentially dealing 20% more damage. Hitting running enemies with this can mean their demise, and even if they flash you can still pick up kills using this + ignite if your Q is on cooldown.
Hallucinate This ability makes you disappear for 0.5 seconds, and when you return you will be paired with a clone of yourself. This clone deals less damage and takes more damage than you do, but to the enemy he looks exactly the same as you. This can cause lots of confusion in teamfights, as enemies may waste valuable spells such as single target ultimates, exhaust, or ignite on the clone. When backdooring, if you're in a time crunch and need to take an objective fast, you can pop out the clone and have him hit it alongside you. It deals even more reduced damage to towers, but that saved time could mean the difference between finishing off a tower and running or staying and dying without getting it.
The 0.5 seconds you disappear is also important. This time isn't spent stealth, you literally are removed from the game for this time. If you have very quick reflexes, you can use this to avoid abilities. If a Vi is ulting to you, activating it before she knocks you up cancels her ult. You can dodge a Lux ult if you time it JUST as the damage applies, or any ability you can think of where not existing for a short period will allow you to safely avoid it. This is highly useful and with practice can be the difference in winning or losing an encounter.
Shaco is able to easily solo the first buff by stacking his boxes, however to be able to maximize your ganking ability you should ask for a leash from your team. By starting E, you will have it on the first gank which offers more damage and a long range slow. If everything works out, you will have boxes to be able to clear jungle with after getting first blood.
Shaco is a strong ganker so you should be looking to start ganking right away. If you are the blue team, start at red and go to mid/bot right after, leveling your Q after clearing the red buff. If you are purple team, start at red and go top/mid. If you're blue team you would be better off ganking mid 80% of the time, but if the situation bottom lane looks ripe for the picking, don't ignore it.
Ideally when you gank, your laner will have some form of hard CC they can lay down as you enter. Since the enemy will have no idea you are coming so soon, you will be able to get the drop on them. Come in and be sure to hit the enemy in the back. This is very important, since you passively gain 20% more damage when hitting opponents from behind. The enemy will instantly be very low and bleeding from red buff. 9/10 times they will panic and flash away. As soon as you can, throw your E and ignite on them. If they flash after all that is put on them and you're able to get at least a second attack on them, they should go down and you'll have first blood.
After the gank, you should look at their jungler and predict what they are doing. If they are a jungler that commonly starts at blue, use your Scrying Orb on their red. If they aren't doing it or haven't taken it, you have a chance to take their buff. Put a box in the brush so you can run if you have to. Smite should be back up, so you can refresh your red at their expense and then go for your blue, giving you a 3 buff start and leaving the enemy jungler with just one.
Keep a strong pattern of ganking and clearing, using boxes to tank so you have enough health when going into a lane. Putting boxes behind the camps very close to the monster will make them turn around to hit it, so your backstab will increase your clear by 20% while the box is up. You should look to gank mid or bot after your first back so that you can have your team grab dragon early. If you're able to get 2~3 kills and dragon very fast, you will be setting yourself and your teammates for success.
The mid game is defined by the time just after your laners break away from their lanes and start to move around the map. The primary goal of mid game is to pick off enemies and punish them by taking objectives such as towers and dragon. You should buy wards and place them in the river and wherever else you assume the enemy is moving. Stay close to where they might be but not too close to where you can be picked off yourself. If you see a carry solo clearing a camp, that is a good time to go in and pick them off. Your Q + E combo with an ignite if necessary will give your team room to siege.
Rotate between lanes so that you clear all the outer towers, then inner towers as safely and quickly as possible. If it seems difficult to siege a lane (i.e. they have a Ziggs clearing minions or a strong poke comp to force your team back) DON'T RUSH THEM UNDER TOWER. The only exception is if your entire team is insanely ahead. Otherwise, you should have the rest of your team siege a side lane while you push and get another lane. In solo queue this might be a harder strat to pull off because your team might just die 4v5, so judge your team and be very clear about your intentions. If you think they will be able to handle pushing without dying, go ahead and backdoor another lane. If you end up leading by a large amount of kills, towers, and dragons, then you will either force a surrender or have a very easy lategame.
Late game is about the time when a teamfight will cost the losing team lots of big objectives. Losing a teamfight could mean the enemy gets your inhibitor, or a baron, or nexus towers. If your game goes late, you need to be careful as Shaco transitions very poorly into the late game. If you must fight, either peel for your carry with boxes and two-shiv poison, or pick off squishies that are positioned badly. Do NOT Q into a whole team and just try to brawl them. This will get you killed quickly and even if you get one person could put your team in a bad position. You want to make it to the end of a fight alive.
If your team isn't capable of winning a 5v5 very easily, then you might want to try a backdoor strategy. If you shove up bottom lane, you can force one of their team to go bot and save a tower. You can then go ahead and grab baron while they're not grouped. If baron is gone, then focus on pressuring multiple lanes and taking whatever objectives they give you. If you are able to keep vision up, you WILL get a pick and end the game.
Your #1 priority should be avoiding getting picked off yourself. Typically, an even match will end by someone getting caught out alone. Making fewer mistakes in the lategame will be your path to victory.
For the most part, Shaco should be unaffected by the enemy jungler early. The difference in their jungler could mean you being able to counterjungle a bit or taking dragons if their jungler is a weak dragon killer early. The main matchup you should be worried about is Lee Sin Lee sin counters you in every way imaginable. He can reveal you even if you are stealthed, is more mobile, can execute you, and can countergank. NEVER, and I mean NEVER pick Shaco into a Lee Sin. Otherwise, you can always pick Shaco because your own ability with him should be higher than the enemies' ability with their champ.
I hope my insight was helpful to you. This is my first guide on here, so sorry if it isn't as appealing as other guides. I will update it if any items or Shaco himself are changed, and constructive feedback you leave in the comments will be addressed in an update.
Thank you so much for reading, good luck in solo queue, and have a wonderful day. *credits to Gbay99 for this outro line*