Not Updated For Current Season
I have been playing League of Legends for a long time, and I have played almost all the heroes they have to offer. The reason I really enjoy Shaco is because he is one of the few heroes in the game who can guarantee a kill without any help from his teammates. I have been playing AP shaco for a while now, and in every game I play there is at least one person who complains about me not jungling, or that I am AP Shaco. That just really makes me sad that people do not understand the power of AP Shaco. The fact that 3/4 spells are AP based spells make Shaco much more effective building Magic Damage.
Also there is nothing better than seeing a full tank die almost immediately to my "nests"
*DISCLAIMER* I am going to go really in depth into this guide down to the nitty gritty detail. If you don't want to read it, THEN DON'T. (but its good so you should)
Also, I'm sorry I didn't add any cool picture or anything to make the reading lighter for you kiddies.
The Runes I get for Shaco are Magic Penetration quintessences and Magic Penetration marks. These are pretty self explanatory, as AP shaco you want to be able to do as much damage as possible.
For seals, I get flat mana regen. The reason I get flat mana regen is because at lvl 1, is because with the mana regen from the runes, masteries and starting double faerie charms you are able to spam boxes the entire time while being pretty close to max mana. You will be floating with about 230/250 mana constantly.
The glyphs I get for shaco are flat cooldown reduction, this actually a very crucial part of shacos build. In order to stack as many boxes in the 90 second life span, you want to be getting as much cd reduction as you can.
The Masteries I use are basic spell casters masteries with 9 into offense, picking up exhaust for the extra debuff of 10 mag res is a pretty helpful tool when people are walking into a stack of your traps. The remaining 21 skill points go into utility to get max cool down, and also picking up the extra 1 gold every 10 seconds might be a helpful part seeing the item build I have early game(2 philosopher stones, and kage's pick)
Getting ignite buffed in the masteries may be useful, seeing how when you ignite someone your jack in the boxes end up doing 2.5 more mag dmg per shot, and if you are getting about 5 boxes on a stack that is roughly an extra 12.5 per shot from all boxes and if the boxes shoot about 5-6 times thats is an extra 100 dmg that may be able to turn the gank into an easier kill. However, in my opinion if you have the enemy walking into 5 or more boxes they are dead. So ignite buff isnt necessary.
The items I purchase, are in a specific order for a reason.
Starting Items : 2 faerie charms 3 health pots
It took me a long time to find good starting items for shaco in lane. The new doran items no longer give an option to grab a health pot (which another ap shaco build reccomends).
But with 2 faerie charms you will be getting enough mana to speam ur boxes whenever on cooldown without running out of mana.
Also the 2 faerie charms allow for enough left over money to get 3 health pots which is always handy to have in a lane (considering you have under 500 hp lvl 1).
1st time back to town items: 2 Philosopher's stone 1 basic boot (and a ward if you can)
At this point in the game you roughly need 1500 gold to get those 3 items. I would not recommend going back to town unless you can atleast purchase your two philosopher's stone. Boots are not essential to shaco (I would say they are pretty ****ing important on every other hero, besides shaco) because he can deceive into a bush, deceive through walls or behind a jack in the box for the get away(my favorite type) But with two philosopher's stone you will be able to regen your full hp and mana if you wait patiently, which you will be doing any way since you will be busy setting traps in a "nest" most the time.
2nd time back to town: Kage's pick, Fiendish codex, and an elixir of brilliance. (and at this point if you can continue your item build feel free)
The reason I prioritize kage's pick and Fiendish codex, without turning it into Deathfire Grasp is because around this time you will be able to kill people with just stacked lvl 5 jack in the boxes.
Also when picking up a fiendish codex and elixir of brilliance(including your masteries and rune page) you will be almost at max cool down. I usually get to 39% cd when I have just fiendish codex and elixir of brilliance. The reason that cool down is important is because, (1) more boxes, (2) you will be able to deceive in short time intervals making mistakes less punishing, (3) shaco's ult will cool down to less than 50 seconds, which is incredibly short for an ultimate. I cannot mention how many times good control of my clone has gotten enemy heroes to whiff ults, blow summoners, even trick them into my "nest" of jack in the boxes.
Late Game Items: Void Staff, Deathfire Grasp, Abyssal Scepter, Zhonya's Hourglass
So at this point in the game your inventory should almost be full with 2 philosophers stones, 1 sorcerer boots, 1 kage's pick, 1 fiendish codex, leaving you with one free spot(which i reccomend for wards or holding your elixir of brilliance. By this time in the game you should have stacked so much gold from free kills in the jungle, and your passive gold per every 10 seconds. The passive gold for this build is roughly 16 gold every 10 seconds, which is 96 gold every 1 minute. Which means if you got 2 philosopher's stone, and 1 kage's pick at the 15 minute mark(which is being generous), you would have gotten an EXTRA 2000 gold at the 35 minute mark.
So with your extra gold every 10 seconds and free kills and maybe even some tower kills with your split pushing (which I will get into depth later on) you should have enough to atleast get a void staff and deathfire grasp. With these two items you are very deadly. Your boxes begin to do more pure dmg which is always nice to see a full tank get shredded to peices by walking into the wrong place. But this combo also give you deadly hero sniping abilities. Let me explain. If an enemy hero is running away with half life roughly, it is very easy to deceive near them and nuke them in this order, deathfire grasp, dagger, ignite. The deathfire grasp should always be first inorder to take full advantage of its abilities. With that 3 nuke dmg combo i guarantee that you will be sniping squishies left and right every team fight.
Abyssal Scepter is simply used to lower their mag resist, because the main way for you to kill is to use jack in the boxes in a huge cluster. However, the ap ratio for the JITB is pretty sad, its 1:.25, or in other words not worth spamming ap items like rabadon's cap or even mejais.
So this item is the last item in your inventory because I find that when being focused while deceive is on CD, you can activate zhonya's hourglass inorder to wait the cd time out so you can make a safe get away. Also this item is great for dodging Karthus's ultimate, which you will learn to hate if you play AP shaco.
The End Goal
The end goal of this Item build is to make your time worth it staying in their jungle for extended periods of time, and also letting you heal to full pretty quickly with two philosopher's stone. So if you are ever low, do not feel the need to go to town. I prefer to hide in their jungle giving the perception i was too low and had to go heal. Also while staying in their jungle, you are racking in the big bucks, and if your patience ended paying off, you get an extra 400 gold from "easy" hero kills. Then you can go back to town after they have found your "nest", implying you killed them.
Also because JITB's have low ap ratio I much rather go items that have magic penetration or lowers enemy mag resist than going mass AP items.
Side Note: When buying abyssal Scepter or Zhonya's I will always sell my Philosopher's stone if they extra gold helps me purchase any of those items, because end game you do not really need the extra gold or even health or mana regen.
The skills for shaco are pretty simple.
Jack in the box
Max out Jack in the box first because thats the only way you will get good kills and control your lane.
The way you place the JITBs is very very very very important, I cannot emphasize that enough.
I have let many kills get away because of bad JITB placements.
Bad JITB placement is something like placing them all on top of one another. This is the way I initially thought how to stack boxes, the problem with stacking them on top of one another is that, one aoe spell kills all of them(and they aren't very tanky). Another example of BAD jack in the box placement is having one JITB infront of the cluster, because if only one is activated and they get feared backwards, they will almost never die and almost never want to venture further into your nest
The best JITB placement I found was to make a concaved semi circle. Just slightly curved and have every JITB stacked in such a way that if they walk into the middle they will get shot by all of the JITB in your nest.
Also do not be afraid to spread your JITBs out, because multiple fear procs in a team fights can be huge for saving people or even killing people.
Next max out Two -Shiv Poison because this is shaco's other main AP spell that you can spam constantly. This spell isn't very strong early, I don't recommend even shooting this at enemies in laning phase, I prefer to simply last hit with it. Because people usually do not let Shaco get in range to melee last hit an enemy creep
I would make deceive my last option to max because it does not get any stronger with AP and does not do any magic damage. I do get one point into deceive at lvl 4, sometimes at lvl 3 if my lane is doing really badly, which shouldnt be the case.
Ok I see alot of shacos use this spell terribly. Its fine to use it in a deceive, back stab, ultimate, dagger and chase for the kill IF YOUR AD SHACO. HOWEVER, thats not how you play AP shaco. I really only like to use my ult for certain situations:
1) simple lane harass: when i turn lvl 6 i immediately ult and follow my laning enemies with my clone making it pop on them when it explodes. Also, it isn't a bad idea trying to make them think it is the real you.
2) Baiting Spells: Alot of times in the game you will see the enemy team put a sight ward down, clairvoyance an area, or even ashe hawk a given bush. If I ever see something like this happen, I ult and put my clone on the ward, or w.e it is. Trust me some one will be coming to kill you thinking it is the real shaco just hiding in a bush(sometimes you will get ashe to ult the clone, or something similar). And at that point you let them kill your Clone and hopefully be able to lead them into a near by nest, or the may be even low enough to finish with dagger and deathfire grasp
3)Baiting someone to the lane
Many times I will be split pushing(which I will get into more depth later), and instead of being in the lane myself, I use my clone to last hit the minion(using alt +right click) or even try to make it pop on the mages giving you instant gold. While your clone is laning you should be building a nest in an obvious gank path that they would take to kill your clone. And when someone comes, the rest is history. If someone does not come, just push their tower down.
4)Baiting in team fights
In every single team fight, I will ult and try to put my clone in a position that seems natural to where i would really stand, probably near the back of my team. But as soon as my team fights they will focus your clone thinking it is the real you. And if they are close enough you can get a fat aoe dmg on the enemy team with just your ult, not having to even join the battle. Do not be obvious with your clone in team fights, do not just charge in head 1st with it, no one will think that is really you..........
5)Scouting their jungle
So you may be thinking, how do I nest in their jungle if I do not know where they are. My simple solution is to run my clone through the bushes about 1 screen ahead of me and leaving 1 JITB behind me as I proceed to where I want to camp. Many times you will bump into a jungler, a hero changing lanes. But that is fine because they are going to nuke the **** out of your clone and then they will take a nice chunk of damage = ]. And if you leave a JITB behind in every bush you are absolutely safe to deceive into a bush and run right pass your JITB buying you a full 2 seconds of get away time.
EXTRA TIP - When casting Shaco's Ultimate you get a brief period of invulnerability, so if you are in ever a life threatening situation (i.e. karthus ult) just ult and time that split second invincibility with the damage frames. Seems quite hard, it is.....
The summoner spells I chose to get are exhaust and ignite. The reason for these two, is that with the combination of both and your JITB nest you will kill anyone in the game. Seriously, I've killed rammus's with banshees, full life shens, anyone really. I play AP shaco for the sole purpose of getting free kills with your nest, and I will grab the summoners which guarantee that the best.
Some other summoners to consider are maybe:
teleport: you can teleport to a JITB and get back to laning without anyone realizing you are even there.
Flash: who doesnt like flash. Its just another deceive that doesnt cloak you. With flash and deceive you should really be unkillable unless you decide to fight and get CC'd down
Pros / Cons
Guaranteed kills if anyone walks into your traps.
Really strong at split pushing
Good control over Baron, Dragon, Enemy Jungle
Almost unkillable, assuming you deceive into bushes, over walls or generally just trick them (which is really easy, people are dumb)
Really forces enemy team to buy more sight wards, vision wards, and even oracle sometimes.(the funny part is, oracle hardly helps them against the nests of JITBS)
1 CC = Your dead
very weak in straight team fights
very weak 1v1 w.o JITBS to back you up
not alot of AOE dmg
Some weird bugs where if you put a JITB near an enemy sight ward, they can see the JITB even when it is cloaked
Ok now this may be the most important part of this guide. I'm going to go through all the little steps for every possible situation you could run into
If your team has a jungler and their team has a jungler.
I prefer to put my Jack in the Boxes in the enemy bush right above the wraith camp.
If you are counter jungling a jungler who starts at blue(mumu, ww, fiddlesticks,rammus, malphite, and the list goes on) they will almost always go to wolfs right after blue, then to the wraith camp. They will be level 2 and ready to give you their blue buff = D, and you will have about 8-9 boxes waiting for them with a juicy exhaust ignite combo.
If your team has no jungler
At this point if we have no jungler, your team has probably already yelled at you for not jungling shaco, but who cares what they think.
Right from the begining of the game you should stack JITBS in the deep part of your blue golem spawn. So when the golem spawns all the JITBS focus the golem only. Also it is helpful to get a couple of JITBs spread around inorder to proc the fear again and take less damage.
If their team has no jungler and your team has jungler
At this point I'm very sad because usually the enemy jungler will be the one to run into your nests almost all the time. However, it isn't the end of the world. At this point you just simple begin to stack the boxes at the end of your bush on your side of the lane. If you do it right, it should not get activated by any of the minions. Also you should try to keep your nest plentiful as possible because that is your main point of escape/killing.
During the laning phase with shaco, either you have gotten the blue buff from their jungler, or even start with you own blue buff if your team did not have a jungler. However if you did not get a blue buff you should already have a nest of JITBs in the lane before the minions even spawn, so thats not so bad. Whatever the situation was with the golem buff, the most important part is to place the JITBs away from the creeps, either at the entrance of river(which i personally prefer if they have a jungler) or in the the bush on your side of the lane. I do not reccomend nesting in their side of the bush. Because alot of times they will not let you stay in there long enough to get a proper amount of JITBs up in time.
The real goal in laning phase is to make them walk into your nest of traps somehow someway. Whether its a Blitzcrank pulling an enemy hero into it, or even an akali who is trying to proc her q on you. Either way the real key is to make them make a huge mistake of coming into your nest. And you really want to exhaust as soon as possible if you see them get feared because (1) it lowers their mag res, and (2) they stay in range of JITBs longer.
By mid game I'm assuming people are around lvl 9-11 where solo mids are lvl 11 and the side lanes are lvl 9.
At this point in the game, JITBs should be maxed out and you should have 35% cd reduction with the item build I mentioned (fiendish codex + elixir of brilliance + runes + masteries). Which means it is time to camp their jungle buffs. I personally prefer camping the blue buff because I find the bush there is easier to kill people in as opposed to camping the red buff. Usually if I am able to camp their blue golem long enough, I will use my ult to tank the golem and actually steal their jungle, while waiting for them to come get their buff.(ironic, the reason they went into the jungle and died is to get a buff that was already stolen LOL)
You won't be able to keep these shenanigans up for long, they will catch wind and eventually start to check bushed with aoe dmging spells(i.e. lux's vision spell, Maokai's sprite, or even something as lame as cho'gath spikes). Trust me, there is nothing sadder than seeing 8-9 boxes die to one spell. Sometimes people will even ward their entire jungle just because they are that annoyed of shaco. If I ever catch wind of them going excessive on the wards, I usually buy and oracle and begin to go ward hunting at baron, dragon and their jungle. The one down side to holding oracles, is that your clone does not have the pink eye over his head, so it is very obvious which one is the real shaco.
After they have caught onto your games and no longer wander their jungle alone, I prefer to make nests at the dragon pre 20 minutes into the game. And if it is pass the 20 minute mark, I usually begin to camp Nashor Baron. The real nice part about that strategy is that, whenever you baron or dragon, you are essentially "forcing" team fights. IF their team wanders into your nest your JITBs will proc multiple fears and really begin to screw with their chasing ability even ability to escape if you end up popping behind them.
Split Pushing (mid-game strategy)
Now for one of the best mid-game strategies for any team. First let me define a split push, It is when 4 of your teammates go to one lane and another hero (shaco) pushes another lane decently far away(I prefer top and bot). The main idea of this strategy is not to push both towers down in both lanes. But to make them commit to things they don't want to, in order to push down just one of the towers in a safe guaranteed fashion. Many heroes can split push such as, teemo, shen, pantheon, twisted fate, master yi and SHACO. The reason these heroes are so good at split pushing is because they force the enemy team to split up. If they decide to 5v4 my team, my team simply backs up away from the tower while I take another lane's tower downing it with the help of my clone. If they decide to gank the shaco split pushing top, well then thats when its fun. You begin to get people trying to run at you from all angles. Hopefully you would have one escape path covered with a sight ward and another escape path covered with your nest of JITBs making escape a breeze. During this time if more than one hero decides to gank you, your 4 man team in another lane should force the fight at tower, dragon, or even baron with a 4v3 situation. The key for this strategy is to make sure your team is decent and does not suck balls without you. Also if they get a begin to fight a 5v4(which they should never do), that is usually their fault but will blame you for not helping team. The real strategy behind it, is to not commit to fights and always make them run around not knowing which way needs more help.
More often than not, if you are able to successfully live ganks and split push while killing the enemy heroes who try to chase you, most likely the enemy team will surrender in a heart beat.(most of how my games end)
This strategy works really well for:
teemo - shrooms makes get aways easy and swift
pant, shen, tf- are all able to globally teleport to team and help then out if they get ganked
But shaco is really the BEST for it IMO because he has the ability to easily take on a 1v2 with his jungle control.
Late game you really cannot wander off and split push because your team will need all the help they can get for baron, or defending towers, or even pushing towers.
During this phase, I'm assuming everyone in the game is lvl 16+
During this part of the game you really want to start making nests in lane. For instance if your team is pushing mid. Make a nest right behind your creep wave, so that way if any of the enemy heroes come from the back, or decide to dive a squishy team mate, multiple procs of fear should deter them, if not it should kill them.
And also try to bait with your Ultimate as always.
Also during this time, it is good practice to learn how to pick off any of their low life heroes who are getting away, I usually never initiate, or even show my face until every enemy hero's cc spells are on CD. What I usually do is deceive behind the enemy team and begin to throw to as many JITBS as I can. Your team should weaken some of their squishy carries. Try to use deathfire grasp, dagger and ignite to kill the squishies and try to save the JITBs for escape mechanisms incase they decide to focus you. Or try to get as many JITBs in one place as possible. Because if your team is smart they will know how to bait into the nests and even chase enemy heroes into preset JITBs all over the map. My reccomendation is whenever you are in their jungle and you don't have a set nest, begin throwing down JITBs whenever it is on CD, who knows when they will come in handy and save your life later.
When it comes down to playing shaco well, it is all about having good map awareness, never deceiving poorly, controling your cd's in a way where u can always escape and never initiate a fight with an auto attack. You will not win the fight unless there are JITBs backing you up.
The true power from shaco comes from baiting the enemy team into your boxes and even having a couple of boxes spread out in escape paths or even in the enemy escape paths make team fights very one-sided.
Make it your priority to have a large amount of JITBs near baron late game because that is almost always where team fights are going to happen. And if you manage to pick off a hero placing down a ward, then you just made the fight a 4v5 and alot easier.
Being able to camp baron, dragon, and their jungle in general makes the game turn strongly in your favor. If your team gets ahead on neutral creep camps (stealing their buffs, taking dragon/baron) makes shaco one of the best team players.