Shaco Build Guide by Maurodin
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
Now I didn't put one of these in at first, and across the first few days of me posting this guide I have been constantly tweaking and adding things to it, and I intend to continue to do that in the future. As I'm nearing a point where I am happy with the guide, I decided to create this section where I shall point out any Major changes I make in the future, though small fixes such as spell or grammar mistakes most likely will not get posted.
> Change Log added.
> Early game, Mid Game, Late Game, and Ganking Sections all added.
>Added "Fundamentals" to the "Items" section.
>Added more to the game phases sections.
>Added more to "Tricks of the Trade".
>Included a glitches section.
>Added more detail as to when to take which runes.
>Riot fixed alot of the glitches! Glitch section updated.
>Did some alterations to the item section thanks to feedback
>Finally got around to updating the masteries, didn't expect it to hurt my rating so much for having out dated masteries.
Many of you may know Shaco as the Demon Jester that puts the laughter in the word slaughter. You may also come in with the impression that AP Shaco is fail, or that Shaco in general is useless. Now I have played Shaco for a long time. Mostly I have played him as AD, but lately I have fallen in love with AP, and I find the results are much more consistent, and overall much more useful. Now at request from a few of my friends, I am here to help show how I feel you can maximize his potential and become a great asset to your team.
>>Please read the guide from beginning to end as I tried to not repeat myself often on the different tactics.
So why AP?
Shaco is honestly a hybrid champion, though no one seems to see him that way.
grants the next auto attack that breaks the stealth to have a guarenteed critical strike making it his only pure AD move.
scales purely off of AP
is a hybrid ability scaling off of both AP and AD.
creates a clone, while the explosion of the clone scales purely off of AP, AD does slightly boost the clones damage autoattacking,though a little known fact that on-hit items such as Sword of the Divine, and Wit's End would boost the clones autoattacks much better.
Now when i realised that Shaco could be built anywhich way I decided he should be built to fit my play style. I feel that the best way to counter Shaco's natural squishy-ness is to adopt a hit and run play style. Which is best maximized by burst damage. And as almost anyone can tell you, AP is always the way to go for burst. With this build, your 2 shiv poison makes an excellent harrassing tool and is what will lead you to victory as it has an amazing ratio.
To be honest, the runes I have listed above are what I just recently started using on Shaco. Though I love the results which is why I recommend them, I also have had amazing success with Movement Speed Quins, and AP per level glyphs.
The Marks are pretty self explanatory, AP requires magic pen, not much else I can suggest for this.
Mana regen seals are again, fairly self explanatory, I prefer flat mana regen here because your fiendish codex typically adds enough mana regen that its no longer an issue. I wouldn't recommend any other runes for AP Shaco at least because the last thing you ever want is to be out of mana when you need to use Decieve and placing Jack In The Boxs eats your mana pool
Now the glyphs are where you have some leeway. I have used flat AP, AP per level, Cooldown Reduction. It all comes down to preference. I prefer Cooldown reduction to help later with building box nests. But I feel you should pick these runes to help address your problem areas. If your having a hard time getting early game kills, then use flat AP. If you just want more damage in general. Use AP per level, as these grant more ap then flats by level 5.
Now here is the only part of the rune section I expect to be questioned on, and before you say anything, remember runes are always preference they offer very little actual bonuses. But Shaco has a hard time farming, AP Shaco especially because you don't get the boost to your auto attacks to speed it up. With these runes and the Greed mastery, you start the game with 4 gold per 10, that's only 1 less then having an actual gold per 10 item, and seeing as how I buy a Kage's Lucky Pick anyways, it leads to some great gold income. My second choice here is Movement Speed Quins, this is help with closing the gap between you and your opponent when you use Deceive. Especially because if they see you use it, they most likely will run away from you.
Now I realize most people don't have many utility runes so feel free to use health quins or magic pen quins or even some form of AP quins, any thing such as these can only help you.
Now I prefer 21/0/9 with the ignite mastery. The extra cooldown from deep in utility isn't necessary because this build already brings us right around cap, and I feel as an assassin, every little bit of damage helps. Also the armor pen keeps your Deceive hitting hard. As well as the extra critical strike damage. This is mostly to help your early game, as if you get fed early, your runes and masteries hardly matter later in the game.
Shaco is a great champion to carry one of these, with your amazing escapes you can hold onto it and help find your opponents pesky wards. Which if your doing your job well, your enemy is sure to be placing a bunch of these around their own jungle. The earlier you get one of these the better, but be sure not to spend to much gold on them as the 400g price tag adds up quick.
Examining Shacos abilities shows great ratios with ap. 1:1 ap increase on 2 shiv, 1:1 on hallucinate. But the box ratios aren't nearly as spectacular. Because of this you would get more damage out of having more boxes then amassing AP CDR becomes more benificial to your traps. So being near to 40% is key as much as possible. With Ionian Boots, flat cd runes, and Deathfire grasp, I believe it brings you to cap, or at least very close to it. But prior to full build it is always a good idea to try and get blue buff or keep a blue elixir active.
Doran's Ring Now this is my favorite starting item, I love doran items. They're the most cost effective items, even though they don't build into anything. If your not a fan I suggest a Meki Pendant with Health pots as that builds into your Fiendish Codex
Deathfire Grasp Now this is a great item that makes your burst absolutely insane and allows you to start taking on tanks instead of just squishies. Use this as early into the fight as you can because it is percentage of current health. If your not a fan of actives then this should be replaced with Morello's Evil Tome
Ionian Boots of Lucidity The Cooldown Reduction here is great for setting up box nests, more about that later. But other options are ofcourse Sorcerer's Shoes for more magic pen, or Mercury's Treads if your enemy is CC heavy
Lich Bane Movement speed, magic resist, AP, and an amazing proc effect that makes your only pure AD move practically scale off AP as well. Nothing not to love here.
Well that's it for what I consider core to AP Shaco the remainder are all situational
Listed with my personal favorites first
Rabadon's Deathcap I take this after my "core" items so as to have near CDR cap as soon as possible so I don't have to spend so much on elixers or be buff dependent. It actuattly totals to more damage this way due to your boxes output and fear capabilities.
Zhonya's Hourglass With a nice amount of ap and a great "get out of jail free" ability on its active, its just the best thing you could have to wait out the cd on your deceive before you high tail it to safety. If your not a fan of actives then Guardian Angel would be my next choice.
--Thanks to phit for the suggestion of Zhonya's--
Rylai's Crystal Scepter This item is mostly for the slow, but the AP and the Health are always welcome, your 2 shiv poison applys a nice slow, and with this they will slow to a crawl, but its really for the box nests, though any decent sized box nest will drop a target before they ever leave fear, the slow here is prevent the rare occasion that the fear works in their favor and makes them run away from the boxes. If you haven't quite gotten down how to be effective with your nests or you don't find this an issue feel free to skip it, I personally rarely build it myself, favoring to just skip right to pure damage items like Rabadon's Deathcap.
Guardian Angel Now everyone should have at least 1 defensive item, and Shaco is no exception, Now if your playing correctly you can get by without one because, well you are an assassin, you should be in the back of the enemy team, picking off their squishies who got separated from their team, or coming in late to clean up and catch the runners to give your team the ace. But when you have to dive in the enemy team, they will all focus you, guardian angel will allow you to get back up, just make sure to hit Deceive immediately upon resurrection.
Other options are up to your discretion, if your opponents have alot of magic resist, well get a Void Staff, if for some reason your always getting targeted, pick up some more defensive items to counter what your primary threats damage output is. But honestly you want as much damage as possible due to how your roll on the team works and most other items seem a tad lack luster in comparison to what these items offer. Aura items also aren't too effective because you will most likely rarely be along side your team mates to help them.
Now when most people hear AP Shaco they think Jack In The Boxs. Now box nests are still fearsome, but I honestly find them almost useless early game, They devour your mana, and any smart opponents wont wander into your bushes knowing you are AP. I take 1 point in them at lvl 4 so as to use them sparingly for the crowd control, but mostly act as wards to prevent my lane from getting ganked. So this leaves 2 shiv poison. Now with AP, 2 shiv nukes. And it nukes hard. I like to constantly poke my opponents with its amazing range to keep their health low as well as to help me know about how much damage I can inflict.
I'm not going to repeat the skill order because it's at the top of the page in the cheat sheet.
But its fairly simple, Max E first, Followed by W, and always getting R when available.
NEW! / throw back
Thanks to the recent bug fixes with the jack in the boxes, its once again possible to easily solo blue buff with just a few boxes without the aide of smite. This really should only be done though when your team doesn't have a jungler, or you intend to be going to the lane closest to your enemies blue buff. If this is your intention then I suggest taking Jack in the Box at lvl 1 and lvl 4, Deceive at lvl 2, and two-shiv poison at 3, 5, 7 and when ever available after that.
Other options is to act as a counter jungler, since most junglers follow fairly predictible paths, its simple to set up a nest for them and wait to collect those buffs they worked so hard to bring to you. Do not get caught up in this though as time spent making nests is time spent not getting experience or creep kills
Afterwards I would head to your lane, deceive from the bush in river into the bush closet your tower, and start on a small nest. If done well, and with the assistance of your lane mate, you can often surprise your opponent with a decently sized nest fairly early on and possibly get first blood.
Ghost My favorite Summoner spell, it has so many uses it should never be underestimated
Ignite Great early kill securer as well as countering pesky regen based enemies. Though the mastery for this isn't amazing, every bit of AP helps.
Other spells to consider
Flash Now with a built in blink I find having flash is a bit redundant, you can never have too many escapes though
Teleport Don't forget you can teleport to boxes, this can help with sneaky positioning or maintaining box nests if for some reason you decide you need to recall while setting one up.
Clarity Like I've mentioned a few times now, Box nests eat mana, but this spell loses usefulness as the game goes on so it's not one of my top picks
Heal Because using your self with low life as bait is a common tactic to lure people into nests, this spell can be life saving in the event they don't die before the fear breaks or a friend of theirs follows as well
Rally Ok I know no one takes this, and it grants ad, but with the offense mastery (of course move a point into it) it also gives a sizable amount of AP. Now I do not suggest this spell due to the really long cooldown, but its nice for first blood. Or that extra little bit of juice just before you throw the last 2 shiv as someone is running away
Exhaust Really only useful for when you like to pick a target and really ensure they die
Cleanse We all hate pesky CC's
Spells you're better off without
Fortify This should be on a tank or support honestly
Clairvoyance Again more of a support oriented spell
Revive You shouldn't be dying much, and even if you are, your not that useful to be alive after your team gets aced
Smite Not jungling
Intro to DEM BOXES!
O my lovely Jack in the Boxes, how you annoy my enemies so well. I don't think there is a better feeling in this game then watching an opponent wander into a nest and immediately dying afterwards, all without you ever having to be there. And when you get a kill such as this, make sure to ALWAYS taunt your opponent. Now I am NOT, I repeat, NOT encouraging you to trash talk, that is just poor sportsmanship. But say something funny, or at least you find funny. It will most likely piss them off, and that is a good thing for you. So long as you don't argue back to them when they call you a noob or something. The goal here is to get in their head and make them hate you. If they want you dead. They are more likely to hunt you down or chase you farther then they should. And its your job to make sure they follow you into another nest. And O how the cycle will continue. And if they decide to buy oracles..Well..So what. If your boxes are in bushes the oracle still wont save them. And if your anything like me, you make it into a contest to see who on your team can kill them first. When I play with my friends, I always will put a hit out on anyone who buys a oracle, usually I offer to buy lunch for who ever gets the kill xD.
Now when I first started playing AP Shaco, I was unsure of where to put my boxes, and that is what truly inspired me to create this guide, because I couldn't find a guide anywhere that gave me more then 1 idea or 2. Also I will give you some rules to live by that will help you be more effective.
The Demon's Commandments
1) Be patient
2) Do not spend to much time making a nest
3) Do not only spend your time making nests
4) If a team fight breaks out, abandon your current nest and go clean up
5) Make sure your team knowns where your nest is
6) Do not use a nest location twice in a row
7) Avoid using the same tactic more than once or twice a game.
8) BE PATIENT!
9) Above all else, be CREATIVE!
10) Do NOT become predictable
Tricks of the Trade
Always plan ahead! Know what path you intend to take to escape after a gank, and try to set up at least one box there so if someone tries to follow you, you have the fear to help you get away. Or if you put down 4 or more boxes, you just might net yourself another kill.
Increase your range, if you are not already aware, when you use an ability that does not require a target, and you target a location such as inside a wall, any characters or item spawns will get pushed to the nearest usable path spot. i.e. If you use Deceive into a wall, you should pop out on the other side and thus get extra range on your jump, or you can place Jack In The Boxs at a slightly larger range. During the lanning phase this can allow you to quickly put boxes in river by only having to slightly enter your jungle from your tower, and your enemy will never have a chance to miss you to know what your doing.
Use yourself as bait! Now the common use of this rarely works, it might get 1 or 2 people. But never more than once in a game. Following an AP Shaco requires the same stupidity as following a Teemo or Singed. But if you are low on life, people often get greedy and just might allow their stupidity to get the best of them. If this works a few times in a game, you can often fake an opponent out because they fear you are using yourself as bait, and thus won't follow you, even though you might not actually have a trap set.
Now here is my favorite way of using myself as bait, I always do it at least once in a game, and it almost always works. Set up a nest on the path someone might take to come gank you. And then go push a tower. Best case scenario you net yourself both a tower and a kill with minimal effort, worst case scenario you got a early warning and some easy damage on them allowing you to get busy on your disappearing act.
USE YOUR FRIENDS AS BAIT! People know not to follow Shaco, but there is no built in mentality about not following ashe, or trist, or any other squishy that just might be on your team. That's why its important that your team knows the location of any nests you set up that number in the 4-9 box range
Use your clone! Now as AP your clone is much more useful then you realise, its a walking bomb, that will explode with amazing damage. Fooling your opponent with it takes some creativity, but there are a few things you can do to help fool them.
1) Never allow your enemy to see you use your ult
2) Use your clone to last hit creeps, if they think your just farming, they will never expect that it isnt really you.
3) If they start attacking your clone, have your clone try to run away, not just stand there and fight. They will get tiped off if they think that the kill is to easy.
4) Ult when you are already at low life, That way as soon as they attack it they get an explosion of knives in thier face
5) Remember that after 30 seconds the clone explodes anyways, use this to your advantage
Now one of my faviorte tricks with my clone is to activate my ult from the safety of the fog of war and send it in to attack my enemy, as it is getting close I activate ghost and Deceive and rush to the target. Often they will blow thier first CC on your ult, allowing you to backstab them from behind, now surprising them that there is 2 of you, though they now know which one is defiantly you, the timer on your clone is getting close to running out, Throw a 2 shiv and most opponents will be left looking at the death recap dumb founded at what just happened.
Your Clone is just as good as a Banshee's Veil, though requires much more skill to use. When you activate it you are temporarily off the map for about half a second, during this time, any damage that would have been inflicted would be avoided. It takes alot of practice to get this down, but once you get it, it will be the most powerful tool in your arsenal. I use this most often to dodge Karthus's Requiem or the final tower shot as I escape from a dive. All you have to do is activate your clone just before the shot would hit you, or karthus finishes channeling his ult.
Do not ever underestimate the power of even just 1 Jack In The Box You should always put 1 down when you gank, as well place them on common jungle paths as if they are teemo shrooms. But remember the duration is only 90 seconds, so you can't hope to have the same map control. You have to know where your opponents are going to be soon, place them on paths near where team fights are most likely going to break out soon, you might catch a lucky kill, or fear a runner allowing your team to catch them.
>Currently, the smoke particles from all of Shaco's abilities aside from 2-shiv can be seen through the fog of war, including bushes.
>Sometimes placing a box reveals you from a bush. This isn't 100% of the time, but there have been multiple instances where while setting up a nest, I aggro'd passing minions into the bush.
>If you are in a bush with your boxes, and they are triggered, when you leave the bush, the boxes may no longer grant sight of enemies still within it.
>Boxes won't target enemies that are concealed by the fog of war (as you can guess these last 2 glitches interact in annoying ways.)
>When you activate your ult, you do not get placed in the exact same spot as where you were standing originally. This means if you ult from within a small bush, you may reappear outside the bush
Your Role on the team
You need to be a stalker, yes, a stalker. Everyone on your team should be placing wards, but your wards should not be for dragon or baron, these locations should always be warded, but that should be someone elses job. You should be making sure to ward the locations that are lower on everyone elses list. Such as Blue and Red buff, or the high traffic bushes. You should be aware of your enemies whereabouts as much as possible, and gank anyone wandering off alone. And when the enemy team is grouping up, you should group up with them. Of course not where they can see you, but just off to the side of them, running through the jungle following them, waiting for someone to get caught on their own. This is also the best time to start making multiple mini nests between you and them. Or one nest near the tower they are about to attack or defend, increasing the chances of SOMEONE of running by it if you have their whole team near it. Sometimes even your team will call you a kill stealer because you always show up late to fights and just clean up after they did all the work, but frankly, that's their job. And yours is to make sure that no one escapes. You are a Kill SECURER, not a STEALER. Now obviously don't secure kills that are defiantly not going to get away, use your own discretion. Its often best to play with people that know that, or you can just not care. Because if you are in the fight at the beginning, you will most likely die before you do any damage. And you are useless dead.
Now one thing I have only attempted a few times, and luckily so far with great success, is Shaco mid. Now Shaco is by no means a great mid. You have nearly no push, so if going against an opponent that can push fairly hard, you will most likely lose the tower. As well as with always having your opponents attention, your boxes become almost entirely useless as a weapon as the only time you can slyly place boxes is after you force them to recall. Also note you will have to be very careful prior to level 3 as your two-shiv damage isn't much to brag about yet, and you have to get close to do any damage making you easy to harass. All these warnings aside, the easier farm as well as the extra experience gain will greatly help you when you start venturing out of lane to gank.
Now this is where Shaco should almost always be with this build. The bush cover allows you to duck in and out of enemy sight, always keeping them on their toes. Now at this stage of the game, I strongly discourage the use of box nests. How ever you should try to always have 2 boxes in river if mana allows. 1 of them in the bush, the other on the other wall, this way any jungler that tries to gank from river is guaranteed to spring at least 1 of your traps and provide you with time to retreat to safety. What you should be doing is focusing on last hits with your auto attacks, and zoning your opponents out of experiance with your Two-Shiv Poison. The mana cost of 2-shiv is fairly low allowing you to constantly spam it, provided you aren't using your other spells to much. This early in the game I prefer to reserve Deceive for escapes and going in for a kill. I typically time my kills around ignites cooldown, getting my opponent about to the point where maybe 2 or 3 more 2-shivs will do it. Deceive in for the backstab, Ignite, and then Two-Shiv Poison. Make sure to ignite second so as to grant the extra 10 AP to your 2-shiv just before you use it. Always remember to ping your target as well so that your lane mate can assist you and guarantee the kill.
Now that ganks are becoming much more frequent, this is when I typically start using the tower push bait trick. Go to a lane no one is in but the enemy still has the first tower and place a nice sized nest in the middle of the mouth to river, and then try to take the tower. If the enemy tries to gank you they most defiantly will wander right into that nest. Now during this stage of the game you can not focus on making boxes, though this is when you should be making most of the nests you will make throughout the game, if a nest attempt fails to gain you anything. DO NOT just move location. Go farm some, try ganking some people, you should always be moving around the map ganking if your opponents are remaining visible on your minimap. Nests are more effective the more MIAs there are as your goal is to catch a stray opponent as they are trying to gank your team mates, aid their allies, or farm their own jungle.
As I mentioned before you should always plan your escape route, placing 1 box before you leap out into a lane is a perfect escape route. Though its a good idea to wait out the cooldown before engaging. Its always a good idea to drop a box behind them at max range from you to hope to cut off their escape with a fear. But also a great idea is to predict your opponents escape route, and place 1 or 2 boxes that are spaced out prior in-case you don't get them on the first burst. This will provide you with the extra time needed to get 1 more 2-shiv off, or a tad bit of damage to finish an enemy who escaped with 5 hp.
Ganking is more or less the same as in the lane with the Backstab + Deathfire (if you have it already) + Ignite (if off cooldown ofcourse) + 2 -shiv combo for crazy burst. But then immediately get out of sight. Even if they survived. You want to wait out your cooldowns before you engage again, you are very squishy, never forget that. And right after the kill, head to the box you first put down if you believe that route is safe, anyone that might be chasing you will get feared thus making your getaway clean.
Now this is where every AP shaco can tell you, you start to drop off. Early and Mid game are where you truly shine. Since the enemy team will be remaining grouped up mostly, any nests you do attempt should be at key locations. A nest in front of baron at this point of the game just might turn the tide of war.
Now I have found that if your team is losing and you are defending your base, start placing boxes haphazardly around your base, but try to aim for the areas minions typically stay away from. They won't provide much damage, but the multiple random fears can really screw your opponents up and make a good defense tactic.
Abuse your 40% cdr cap. placing boxes where ever you go. No larger then 2 boxes in alot of the nests. And help by poking when your team pushes. This gives you a teemo style mine field of fears. If you can arrange one of theses behind your opponents towers or on the paths they would take to other towers for defense. You can force their routes and assist your team with more time to take additional towers after a push.
My Faviorte Nest Locations
Before I begin, NESTS ARE NOT YOUR PRIMARY FUNCTION, DO NOT NEGLECT YOUR TEAM OR TOWERS I average maybe at most 5 kills due to Jack In The Box Nests in a game, and nearly every nest I set up will be successful in some way. That having been said, if you are patient, you can get absolute satisfaction from destroying your opponents and their moral with a well place box nest and you just might end the game giggling with joy.
Now remember, anywhere can become a good nest location, and you might want to even make it a goal to use any location but these ones for your nests so as to keep your opponents unsuspecting. But these are my personal favorites as they are high traffic areas and you have a good chance of at least someone stumbling by. For a Kill Nest, you want a minimum of 4 boxes, the more the merrier.The BLUE dots are my most preferred locations to try and encourage a team fight to break out around, RED dots are slightly less traffic, but great gank prevention or anti jungler spots. These are just ideas and by no means the only places you should put boxes.
Types of Nest
You most likely are familiar with the most common nest type, Which I like to call the Kill Nest. That is when you place as many boxes as possible directly on top of each other. This maximizes the damage output when they are triggered and will most likely net a kill. This is also the kind you will most likely use.
But I enjoy experimenting and I have had some success with this second nest style, Which I like to call the Trap Nest. In this type you place the boxes in a crescent shape, similar to a " ( " The objective here is to increase the trigger radius as well as to not trigger all the boxes at once, Ideally someone will walk into the nest on the inside of curve. This way they will get feared by a box, and walk into another, and get chain feared. This increases the duration of the fear. These are best for merely trying to stop a target in their tracks. When I make these boxes I usually do it with only 4 boxes at first to establish the fear chain, and then reinforce 1 or 2 of the box points and evolve them into Kill Nests within your Trap Nest. These nests are best for killing a magic resist heavy tank that might be able to survive long enough to get out of the fear and flash to safety of a normal Kill Nest.
Here is a diagram of a typical Trap NestThe downfall with a nest such as this one, is anyone approaching from the bottom will most defiantly survive, unless they assume they caught you in the early stages of the nest and continue to push forward.
Well this is my guide on how I play Shaco, things to remember is that he is a bit more complicated of a champion then most give him credit for, especially if you are AP as you have to get in your opponents head and predict their actions in order to best utilize your ability to set up traps.
Please comment and rate the guide! Feedback is appreciated greatly! ^.^