Shaco New: AP Hybrid
Jungle Item + Mejai's
Almost Final Build
Max CDR Off-Tank Build
Welcome to my Shaco guide! I started playing Shaco about 6 months ago and he quickly became my favourite champion due to his uniqueness and outplay potential. I just remember going against him in the past and thinking "what the **** do i do against this guy?". So, i decided to try him out and have never looked back. I have over 200K mastery and got to platinum by mostly playing him. I only started playing ranked last year (start of S6), so i guess i've come a long way, but still have a long way to go.
I remember what it was like when i first picked Shaco up and having no idea how to gank properly & regularly whilst still maintaining decent farm. As this struggle is still fairly recent to me, I'll hopefully be able to offer relevant advice to any new Shaco players and maybe something for the veterans out there.
Smite: Must have as a jungler.
Ignite: The standard summoner for kill pressure and to deal with champs with annoying sustain.
Exhaust: Not seen as often, but the current meta has a lot of mobile champs with high damage (Olaf, Cassi, Talon, Rengar, Khazix etc). Due to the assassin rework and the new OP mastery (Courage of the Colossus) you'll be encountering either fast & bursty champs or high engage champs (Vi, Zac, Sejauni etc). In both instances, exhaust will deny the damage or ruin someone's engage (and potential escape).
Flash: I almost never take flash, but it can be useful if you think you need a another gap closer. If you're new to Shaco it might help to take flash, but if you really want to learn the champ properly I wouldn't reccomend it.
I've explained most of my reasoning at the top, but here's some more detail:
Greater Glyph of Ability Power
I take AP glyphs for increased early box damage, which serves two purposes: faster jungle clear & more damage in skirmishes. Due to Shaco's early damage being weakened, placing boxes is even more important than before and really help secure kills (especially if your team lacks CC).
You can opt for scaling MR glyphs (reasoning for scaling runes explained below) instead especially against AP heavy teams. However, I just prefer the early AP as it actually lets you clear your first two camps without smite, making it very possible to invade the enemy red (or blue).
Greater Seal of Scaling Armor
At level 6, scaling armor gives the same armor as flat armor seals. After this point you essentially get free armor without needing to itemise for it (unless they have a lot of AD).
Greater Mark of Attack Damage & Greater Quintessence of Attack Speed
Pretty standard, gives you early damage and clear speed. You can experiment with different combinations of each if you want.
I've seen people go for hybrid penetration (or precision), which would add damage late game. However, you'll never have enough AP for the magic penetration component to be efficient and you lose early damage, making your ganks even weaker. So, if you take any penetration runes, it'd only be worth taking flat armor pen, but i'm not a fan of these as I feel it's best to build armor pen when the enemy team actually starts building armor.
Fury vs Sorcery : Attack speed or ability damage. Both are viable, but sorcery adds damage to all of your abilities, whilst Fury just gives attack speed (which you will get anyway).
Double Edged Sword vs Bounty Hunter : This is a tough choice. Double-edge sword makes your early ganks more powerful, but makes you easily killable (especially if the enemy jungler counter ganks). Bounty hunter let's you maintain your lead by adding damage the more kills you get, which is also lets you snowball. I take bounty hunter because Shaco is already pretty squishy, so adding to that does a lot of harm.
Assassin vs Runic Affinity : I prefer assassin as it's kind of in the job description! Runic affinity helps early on, but you'll eventually start giving your mid laner & adc the buffs, rendering it useless.
Greenfather's Gift vs Dangerous Game : Greenfather's adds damage (and will normally proc as most of the time you'll go through brush to get to a target, or use brush to buy time for CDs). Dangerous gain has always been very powerful and will consistently save your life, however, I prefer the extra damage as this is what Shaco lacks early on.
Thunderlord's Decree vs Stormraider's Surge : Another difficult decision. I've always taken thunderlord's for extra damage, which really helps in early ganks (even more so now due to the early nerfs). However, Stormraider's lets you jump into a team, unload your burst, and escape before they can properly react. Couple this with Edge of Night and the enemy team will have a tough time killing you when you appear on top of their carries.
I think your choice will heavily depend on the enemy team. If they have a lot of CC or high burst (e.g. veigar ult) that will be tough to avoid, it's better to go Thunderlord's to maximise your chance of one shotting their highest priority target whilst using up a lot of their abilities (making it easier for your team to win a fight). Also, if you have GA ,it doesn't even matter if they kill you. On the other hand, if you feel you can outrun their CC and damage (whilst still being able to one shot a carry), Stormraider's is the way to go.
UPDATE: So there is a bug with with thunderlord's at the moment - it doesn't always proc. It seems the empowered auto after Q doesn't register as part of the 3 hits required to proc thunderlord's, which can be extremely annoying (especially early on when you need the extra damage). So, until that gets fixed i'd go for stormraider's.
Again, i've explained this above, but i'll elaborate a bit more now.
Deceive Max Pre-level 6, Two-Shiv Poison afterwards
I know what you're thinking, but trust me, this is the optimal way right now. Q got the biggest nerf out of all of Shaco's abilites, so you desperately need early points in it to make it effective. By level 6 I have 3 points in [[Deceive], giving you 3 seconds of invisibility, which makes your ganks strong again.
E's early damage isn't great, and basically gets exponentially stronger as the game goes on, so putting points into it later makes more sense. You HAVE to use E as an execute now, whereas before you could actually use it in the initial burst as it would be off CD quick enough to use it again to finish the enemy off. Now it only really makes sense to use it as late as possible (like Volibear's bite) to maximise damage. After level 6 I normally max E before i finish maxing Q, but sometimes i'll put an extra point in Q if I feel the extra invis time is necessary (e.g. if they have wards everywhere and you need to Q from further away).
Jungle Clear Routes + General Advice
Shaco can perform a variety of first clears depending on how you want to play the early game. You can start at either buff, invade the enenmy buffs and either kill the jungler or gank. Alternatively, you can quickly take your buffs and a small camp to get a fast level 3 and gank early. Finally, you can simply do a full clear if your lanes are difficult to gank. Bear in mind that you want to try and gank either top or mid early on as they are more guaranteed kills. The problem with bot lane is that there are too many summoners to fight through and a higher chance of the enemy simply focusing you for an easy kill. That isn't to say you shouldn't ever gank bot lane first - like i mentioned earlier if its your bot lane that is likely get pushed in the most compared to your other lanes, then you can try and gank. However, from experience i've always had more success ganking solo lanes early on. Before i go through the various clears, here's a few points to always consider at the start of every game: enemy jungler, vision, your lanes and leash.
1. Where is the enemy jungler starting?
This is the most valuable piece of information you can find out early for 2 reasons: It allows you to safely invade the buff they aren't starting on and also means you're able to have an idea as to where the enemy jungler might be (which helps your teammates decide whether to be aggressive or not). Make sure to watch out for missing enemy laners as they could know you're invading.
2. Get early vision!
Wards in river or at entry points to your jungle can be the difference between you getting first blood or or getting first blooded. You can never be too cautious. Just because you're Shaco and the onus is kind of on you to have early pressure and pester the enemy jungler, it doesn't mean the enemy jungler can't do the same to you. Ideally, you want the buff that you aren't starting on to get warded at 1:30 and if possible a ward on the opposite enemy buff. For example, if you're on blue side starting blue buff, you want top lane to ward your red and your bot lane to ward their red (or at least river to protect against an invade).
3. Look at your lanes!
This sounds obvious, but make sure you know the matchups and how they are likely to play out. If the enemy team has quite aggressive early champs (e.g. LeBlanc, Yasuo, or a Caitlyn & Zyra bot lane) you can expect that they will push to get level advantage and trade early. If this happens, ganking these lanes as soon as you can will relieve pressure and deny a potential first blood and snowball.
4. Always get a leash! This is a more minor thing, but I find that when you play Shaco everyone assumes you don't want a leash. Getting a leash ALWAYS helps. Your laners lose nothing by helping you out, even it's just a few auto's it can save you a few precious seconds (or hit points).
I'll now discuss the jungle clears in order of personal preference for each side of the map. I'll do Blue Side first and then Red Side. The clear itself is largely the same no matter which side of the map you're on, but the options after the initial farming are different.
Blue Side Red Invade - Blue, Gromp, Invade Red.
This is my favourite clear if i know the enemy jungler is starting on their blue buff. Get your bot lane to ward your red at around 1:30 and put your first box on blue at around 0:41 seconds and another box as soon as you can. Then put your next two boxes at gromp (far enough away not to aggro it). This means you have 2 boxes on blue and 2 boxes on gromp. Take blue and then gromp (remember to try and backstab as much as possible) without using smite as you should be pretty healthy. Go straight to the enemy red and place a ward by their raptors to see if the enemy jungler comes early. Kite red into brush to deny vision in case anyone comes and smite to get health back. At this point you'll be level 3, pretty healthy and hopefully in a position to gank either top or mid.
The video below shows this jungle clear. I know that Khazix will start blue, so the red invade is risk free. I actually put my box too close to the minions so it triggered early (I should have put it closer to the wall), but it didn't matter in the end:
Blue Side Fast Level 3 - Red, Raptors and Blue
The is my go to clear when i don't want to invade the enemy red. I put 2 boxes on red and 2 boxes at raptors (again, far enough away not to aggro the camp early) and clear them without smite. I then take blue buff and either look to gank top or mid, or take gromp & wolves (and scuttle). You can also swing back to bot to take kruggs and maybe gank whilst you have still have buffs.
Blue Side Blue Invade - Red and Invade Blue
This was probably the most common clear for Shaco for the first blood potential. However, I very rarely do this clear now for 2 reasons: if the enemy jungler starts blue it will be gone before you get there and even if they don't start blue the enemy bot lane has probably warded it pre-emptively. However, if you know that there are no wards on their blue (if your support warded their blue before they did, which would let you know if they warded it or not) then you can pretty safely take their blue.
Ask you top laner to ward your blue buff at around 1:30. Place 4 boxes on Red (starting at 0:40) and clear it fast (saving smite). Put a point in Q and go to their blue. Ward behind (the best spot if just to the right of wolves) to see if the enemy jungler is coming and keep an eye on bot/mid lane. Once you take blue, you might even be able to take gromp too to get level 3, which will help if you decide to gank mid or bot. The other option is to wait behind the wall next to blue or in the tri brush below gromp and kill the enemy jungler when they come.
Red Side Fast Level 3 - Blue, Gromp and Red
I don't like invading when i'm on red side because the easiest & safest option is to just take your buffs and gank top or mid. Get you bot lane to ward their red if they can and ask your top lane to ward your red. If you can't gank you can try and go to the enemy blue to get a free kill on the enemy jungler, or just clear the rest of your camps.
Red Side Blue Invade - Red, Invade Blue
This isn't a bad option if you know the enemy jungler is starting on their red (which is more likely as they can get a good leash from bot lane). It also means you can gank top or mid early (more ideal early on).
Red Side Red Invade - Blue, Gromp, Invade Red
My least favourite route as the enemy jungler will probably start on their red due to the bot lane leash or their bot lane would have warded it for protection. However, if you're certain the enemy jungler started on their blue then you can attempt this (be wary of protective wards or their bot/mid lane coming).
FULL CLEAR - Red, Raptors, Wolves, Blue, Gromp, Scuttle
If after taking raptors you know that you won't be able gank anyone soon, then just go to wolves, take blue & gromp and then scuttle if its still there. Essentially, this clear is what will happen if you don't gank early. Don't worry, you can't get first blood every game!
After First Clear
Buy Tiamat if you have the money, if not grab Skirmisher's (or Stalker's) and a longsword and keep farming, looking to gank any lanes pushing towards you. Make sure you get a 3rd point in Q at level 5 for better ganks. After level 6, you can start putting points into E for more kill potential. At this point you either upgrade boots or grab a BF sword if you have the money.
Keep an eye on dragon and maintain vision of it and their blue side jungle if you have bot lane pressure. You should always try and clear your jungle as it's guaranteed gold and decide on your ganks whilst you clear. Many junglers go for ganks whilst their camps are up, which is not a good idea. Obviously you should be keeping an eye on lanes so that you react in time to skirmishes that you can affect, but prioritise farm as much as you can.
The reason you play Shaco! His kit allows for very interesting gank routes, but with the changes to his Q you can't really go for the almost guaranteed level 3 first blood. Instead, it's better to have at least 2 (preferably 3) points in Q before you try to gank. The only exception to this rule is if there is a low target that you know you can kill (or at least burn summoners).
Mental Checklist before EVERY Gank - J.S.M.
-Where is the ENEMY JUNGLER? This is the first thing you need to consider, as a counter gank can turn a simple kill into a double kill for the enemy team.
-What SUMMONERS does everybody have? The worst feeling is to jump onto someone, instantly ignite to maximise kill potential and watch the enemy flash away. If you know they have flash, you're basically trying to burn it without using your summoners (which nets an advantage). If you can kill them through flash, that's great, but if not at least you still have ignite for your next gank.
-MINIONS + MANA! Never fight if there are too many creeps. They do more damage than champs early on and can seriously block you off, making you look very stupid. Mana is something you must consider. Aside from the obvious point of you and your teammate's mana, if the enemy has low mana it makes them more vulnerable.
One thing i didn't put in the list is wards, but you should always think about vision at every moment in the game (not just when ganking). Place wards for your laners and clear enemy vision.
Pretty standard: Q in, try and place a box behind the enemy (or where you think your teammate's CC will land), backstab (+tiamat if you have it) and ignite if you feel its necessary. Then keep autoing, dodging any skillshots + CC that you can (using R when appropriate) and use E at the end for the execute (or if you really need the slow use it earlier).
When tower diving, send in your clone to tank tower hits whilst you (and your clone) shred the enemy. Remember that your boxes can tank 1 tower hit, so you can put one down purely for that reason (one tower shot can be the difference between life & death).
If the gank turns into a skirmish that turns sour, move towards brush and place a box to safely escape. This will also proc Greenfather's if it's been 9 seconds, which can add deceptive damage.
AP Shaco Hybrid!
Since the rework everyone (including myself) has wondered if AP Shaco is viable. After trying it out a few times i can conclude that it's pretty strong and lot's of fun! The biggest selling point is the crazy mobility you get from Skirmisher's Sabre - Runic Echoes, Boots of Mobility and Lich Bane. Not to mention it's high single burst and surprising team fight damage when your clone explodes in the middle of 3 of them doing loads of damage and leaving 3 boxes that do plenty of dps.
The Runes & Masteries are the same as the AD build (but you can take Greater Quintessence of Ability Power if you want). The item build can be found at the top next to the first build. It's pretty straightforward:
- Tiamat, Boots of Mobility, Skirmisher's Sabre - Runic Echoes, Hextech Gunblade, Lich Bane and Hextech Protobelt-01. This is the core of the build and gives you the most early game burst possible.
-Then you have a number of choices for the last two slots (you will eventually sell tiamat as protobelt provides enough wave clear). Rabadon's Deathcap, Zhonya's Hourglass, Abyssal Scepter, Void Staff and even Infinity Edge are all good options.
-Out of all of the final items Zhonya's Hourglass is particularly helpful to buy time for your team to come in. The extra CDR & armor don't hurt either.
-It's all very situational. I think a big reason i'm enjoying AP shaco is because AP items are simply more fun than AD items and allow for more interesting builds. You could try out Rylai's Crystal Scepter to stick to carries with more ease (although stormraider's is enough in most cases) or even opt for Titanic Hydra over Hextech Protobelt-01 for even more survivability and mixed damage.
I highly recommend trying this out as you get a nice mix of physical and magic damage, so if the enemy team focuses building either more armor or magic resist then you will still do lot's of damage.
I'll keep updating the guide based on game changes and any suggestions! Hope it helps you out and have fun!