Shaco General Guide by Sycrasis
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.
My name is Sycrasis and this is my first guide on Mobafire. This guide will mainly focus on the early game of Shaco added up with a section for his late game. I feel throughout my own experience with Shaco that he is misunderstood, even by quite some Shaco players themselves.
Let's first start with some basics, okay?
About Shaco in general (Season 4 changes)
Shaco is a squishy champion with a lot of utility to make up for it. He has the potential to make the enemy jungler run crying back to base, gank every lane so efficiently that they will rage in /all chat and make them want to surrender before they are even able to. Shaco has terrific early game damage, can escape almost every encounter and is a very good duelist.
However, Shaco is countered easier than other junglers. Shaco remains squishy throughout the whole game, having terrible survability. In addition to that, his damage doesn't scale all too good as well. That said, Shaco is simply nerfed in this meta and falls off late-game.
An extremely important thing to mention: Shaco is a champion you have to think carefully about when to pick. He doesn't fit in every team composition, especially when there is an initiating tank missing. For instance, it's a good moment to pick Shaco if you have a Malphite or Jarvan IV on the toplane.
Season 4 changes
It was predicted by many people that this would be the season of the bruisers. Shaco is no bruiser, unfortunately, but there is good news. Shaco in Season 4 is indirectly boosted pretty good. For people who mains Shaco, like me, this is truly an euphoria. The removal of oracle elixer and the limitation + nerf on vision wards creates so much more breathing space for Shaco. His early-game is even more dangerous now, and his late-game is more secured in this way. I have played Shaco in season 4 to test the new changes, and it works incredibly good. However, the jungle changes are not too good overal for Shaco, but I am still very happy with the way it goes now.
Extremely strong ganks
Good early-game damage
Falls off late-game
Easily countered by pink wards and oracle
Hard to recover from a bad start
Greater Mark of Attack Damage
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage
Pretty standard. Flat AD marks/quints and flat resistances from seals/glyphs. This will boost your early game even more than it already is. There are also Shaco players who use Attack Speed marks instead of flat AD, from which I think can also be very good. Experiment for yourself.
This is what I use standardly at the moment. The season 4 changes to the masteries are pretty straight forward. I've looked them over and inspected closely, and so far this seems to work the best. Full offense with a hince of defense. I am open to critics and advice on this topic, though.
Abilities and Skill Sequence
The skillset of Shaco is all about surprise and utility. It requires a lot of logical thinking, even more of it as the game progresses, to exploit this to the fullest. Shaco is full of surprises, and is incredibly hard to catch. However, it requires a lot of patience and experience to truly master Shaco's skillset.
Starting off with Shaco's passive:
Backstab is a wonderful passive, but often hard to fully utilize. It is obvious to say that you should always try to position yourself behind the enemy. And the very least you can do is when you Deceive in is to do your first basic attack from behind, as it critically hits.
Moving on to Shaco's QWE:
Deceive is generally Shaco's trademark. It allows you to 'flash' to a nearby location, becoming stealthed for 3.5 seconds. In addition, your next basic attack will critically strike. Keep in mind, even after your stealth ends, you still will have the guaranteed critical strike on your next basic attack for a brief moment. This ability is what makes Shaco an excellent ganker. One time you're peacefully farming minions, and the next moment Shaco pops behind you as the terrifying nightmare he is.
This ability is of course also used to make escapes. Obviously you can use this skill over walls, but it's also many times the stealth saving your hide.
Jack In The Box is both purely amazing and a bit hard to use. It's a very amazing one-minute ward/turret that remains invisible until an enemy comes across it. It then will pop out, fearing all nearby enemies, and damaging a single nearby target a few seconds. Sadly, it has a long cooldown and the damage becomes very bad as the game progresses, unless if you build AP. This skill is used to ward and create escape routes. During ganks, try to put a box behind the enemy where you think he will flee to, so he'll get feared while trying to get to safety. And the boxes are obviously also very useful to give you the first buff incredibly fast.
Also a very interesting fact about the boxes, is that it can block skillshots. For example, it can block Blitzcrank's Rocket Grab, Nidalee's Javelin Toss and Brand's Sear. So if an enemy team with a Blitz decides to invade your blue, they'll be pulling boxes, no blue buffs.
Two-Shiv Poison has both an active and a passive. When the skill is off cooldown and ready to be used, Shaco's basic attacks passively slow the enemy. When activated, Shaco throws his knife to the enemy target, dealing damage and slowing it. An ability perfect for ganks and securing kills from distance. Not much to say here, pretty much explains itself.
And then last but not least; Shaco's ultimate.
Hallucinate is a very unique ultimate. Shaco briefly vanishes, creating a clone of himself. The clone does deal a bit reduced damage and receives a bit more damage than normal, but it allows Shaco to duel other champions really well by making a 1v1 into a sudden 2v1. Keep in mind that Shaco's clone does benefit of on-hit items, like Wit's End and more. For the enemy team both Shaco's looks identical, but you still have to be careful if you have buffs, since they will reveal you. Controlling the clone furthermore is easy, just use 'R' on the ground to move around your clone. Experiment for yourself this ultimate, there are a lot of fun ways to trick your enemy with this skill!
In addition, you can use your ultimate to evade certain skills. Not only by using your clone as a so called 'meatshield', but also by taking advantage of your brief vanish. When you activate Hallucinate, you'll be untargetable for a VERY brief moment, allowing you to neglect abilities like Karthus' Requiem and Caitlyn's Ace in the Hole.
You start with your Jack In The Box since it gives you the fastest smiteless buff in the beginning. Then a point in Deceive for the utility. From there, you simply start maxing out your Two-Shiv Poison for better slow and damage. Naturally you take a point in Hallucinate everytime possible. After that you maxed your Two-Shiv Poison, you max out Deceive and then Jack In The Box.
Why maxing out Deceive over Jack In The Box?
I have noticed there is a lot of confusion and debate over what to max after Two-Shiv Poison. Should it be Deceive or Jack In The Box? What benefits you the most? There are people who claim that you should max out your boxes after your E, as it gives a longer fear duration and a damage boost to it. However, I can never justify maxing out Jack In The Box after your E, unless you are running AP Shaco. The fear duration is long enough at first rank to escape certain encounters, and the damage just doesn't scale well, even when maxed. Shaco is throughout the game quite mana-hungry, and there will never be a moment he won't have to use Deceive. Maxing out his Q simply gives you a more steady damage boost and a better utility.
I choose Smite because it's Smite. You need it, you just do. Not only for easier clearing time of buffs, but also for securing dragon and baron. And perhaps even stealing any of those. I pick up Ignite to highly increase my kill potential in early-game and kill securing throughout the rest of the game.
However, Shaco is also on this part versatile. There are very good alternatives for summoner spells. Keep in mind that you will never replace Smite, only Ignite.
Exhaust is a very decent spell. It can help you secure ganks, highly improved dueling, and disabling the ADC in teamfights. All around a good choice.
Other Shaco players like to improve their utility more with either Flash or Ghost. Flash is generally always a good spell to pick up for any champion. I and others may find it unnecessary as Shaco already has a built in flash: Deceive. Although I don't use it often, Ghost is incredibly useful on Shaco as it can be used both offensively and defensively. It enhances your survability quite a bit, and in ganks you can use it right before you Deceive in to highly increase your speed while stealthed. Overall a very good pick up for Shaco.
Here I will explain how your early-mid game jungling should go like.
Shaco in early game has terrific utility and good damage, but is dependant on his mana a lot. So obviously you want to immediately start with your blue buff. You can put a total of 4 Jack In The Box before the ancient golem spawns at 1:55. This will give you a smiteless blue buff without any help. However, it is always nice to get one quick poke from your teammates. Be careful with champions who has damage over time, like Twitch or a Teemo that started with Toxic Shot, as they accidentally can take your blue buff.
After your blue buff you can do 2 things.
- Going immediately to your elder lizard , getting your red buff quickly using Smite. From there, you have to clear one more camp in order to get level 3 and start your early ganks. The S4 changes made it so that you're not level 3 anymore after the red buff instantly, and that sets Shaco back a bit.
- Counter jungling. This depends highly on who your enemy jungler is. Counter jungling is going in to the enemy jungle and disabling the enemy jungler by either killing him or stealing buffs / jungle creeps. Shaco excels in this, thanks to his utility. Please read the section about matchups when it is appropriate to counter jungle.
Furthermore, as Shaco you should always look for oppertunities to gank. Always. I personally like to help out the botlane the most, as the botlane will mainly decide later in the game whether you win or not.
S4 Map changes
The jungle has been changed. Bushes are cut-off, jungle creeps are slightly harder to kill and a new camp has been added. Near the blue buff, at the wall near the top/bot lane is the new camp of a single jungle creep. It's a bit tough, and in my opinion so far a bit irrelevant.
I can't stress this subject enough. You're the jungler, so wards is part of your core build. You're basically a blind fool if you don't ward properly. Keep enemy buffs warded for highly improved counter jungling. Ward your own buffs for safety. Ward the dragon for securing objectives. Ward baron for the sake of the entire game. Wards are your friends.
Matchups in the Jungle
This is an important section. This will decide your early game hugely, if you decide to counter jungle. But is it always wise to counter jungle? At which junglers do I need to be careful? Shaco feeds on junglers who has a weak sustain, slow clearing time, no escape and generally are weak duelists. Precaution: when you counter jungle, be ALWAYS careful of the enemy laners. They could very possibly be coming to you as they might have warded. It doesn't always happen, but when it happens, you can get in a tough situation you could have prevented.
Aatrox is a nightmare. He has godlike sustain, good clearing speed and an escape. But that's by far not the worst part. Aatrox is an excellent duelist. He has basically everything that counters Shaco. I don't recommend counter jungling him at all. Stay in your own jungle and gank every lane frequently. Keep a good check of Aatrox whereabouts, and you will be okay.
You'll just love this match up. Amumu has zero sustain, no escape and absolutely no dueling skills. It's also quite easy most of the times to tell where Amumu will be. He's a mana-hungry jungler, so he needs blue in order to maintain his jungle. Chances on getting atleast one kill on the sad mummy are high. Abuse his bad early game as much as possible, because his lategame is extremely dangerous.
He can be easy to counter jungle, when played right. Cho'gath has a good sustain, but he suffers from no escape and medium dueling skills. Everything will be okay as long as you avoid his Rupture. You can try to save your Deceive for an easy dodge, only if he hasn't silenced you yet with Feral Scream. Be careful when Cho'Gath hits level 6 as he grows potentially more dangerous with his Feast, although it is sometimes a hilarious sight watching him nomnomnom my clone.
Although he has regeneration as a passive, all of his abilities cost health to maintain/use. In very early-game, he will be running low health as he jungles. It is possible to kill him, but it's not that easy. He has a good perma-slow if he hits his cleavers, granting him a decent escape. After level 6 as he gets Sadism, chances on killing him will be very low, even with Ignite. However, Dr. Mundo won't be a big problem for you furthermore.
Risky. She has a decent clearing time + sustain and an escape if she plays it right with Rappel. However, she is squishy and you can outdamage her if you manage to dodge her Cocoon. On the other hand, if she does hit her Cocoon, she can burst you down just as easily. This is a skill match up.
She has good dueling skills, just as Shaco, in early game. No sustain, decent clearing time. The problem here mainly is that she has a better element of surprise due to her passive. I don't recommend counter jungling her, as I wouldn't recommend an Evelynn to counter jungle a Shaco. It would basically be a game of hide and seek, one never being able to catch the other.
It is possible to kill him, only if you think carefully before engaging him. Fiddlesticks has a great sustain, no escape and pretty decent dueling skills. You MUST interrupt his Drain with a Jack In The Box. Then you win the duel hard. Otherwise you'll have to run Ignite to win this, or to atleast have a chance. Furthermore you must be careful for his counterganks with Crowstorm, it's incredibly strong.
A very strong jungler. He has sustain, one of the best clearing speeds and an escape once he has Devastating Charge. He's not a great duelist, but he does have decent to good damage. Your one chance to kill him is at his second buff, where he doesn't have his charge yet. Furthermore, Hecarim scales way more better into late-game than you, so be careful.
He has a slow clearing speed as he is quite mana-hungry in early-game, so he needs the blue buff in order to clear camps decently. He has no sustain, decent damage and a great escape. However, you outdamage him hard. You can make his jungle a nightmare, and I advice counter jungling him. Also your Deceive counters his Cataclysm very hard. Jarvan IV scales really good in to late-game, so be careful.
A tricky opponent. Pre-6 you can counter jungle him fairly good, but you'll have to watch out for a few things. He has a decent clearing speed, no sustain and only an escape if he buys wards early on, as he can Leap Strike to it. The only way of killing him in the jungle is saving your Deceive to dodge his Counter Strike's stun. After level 6, he will become way more dangerous with Grandmaster's Might, so I wouldn't recommend dueling him with it.
I mostly see him laning, but the times he was the enemy jungler I had a pretty easy time. Don't get careless though, he has high damage, sustain and an escape. The good thing is that he is fairly squishy and your damage in early game will match his. Kha'Zix will grow stronger as the game progresses due to his evolution, but dueling him won't get harder. After level 6, you directly counter his strongest dueling skill. He feeds on isolation, and Hallucinate prevents that. Use it to your advantage.
Considered as the biggest counter to Shaco, but not because of his stealth detection which is merely just a bonus for Lee Sin. He has great sustain with shielding, good clearing time, insane mobility which can be manipulated into clever escapes, and above all an excellent duelist. However, he requires a lot of skill to play, so you won't see that much a good Lee Sin. But of course, assuming it's a good player: He will make your jungling very hard. It's not the end of the world, though, as you also have your escapes. There's little reason to die to him. Luckily for you, he scales as well bad in to late-game. Focus on ganking lanes, objectives and helping out teammates in this setup.
Easy. He has no sustain, no escape, medium clearing speed when given the blue buff and to top it off a terrible duelist. You can easily counter jungle him in early-game, I recommend it highly. He scales good in to late-game, unfortunately, so be careful for his very strong teamfight potential.
Counter jungling him is very easy. He has decent sustain, medium clearing speed and no escape. He is incredibly mana-hungry and has zero dueling skills in early-game, so abuse it. You'll be able to outduel him throughout the game, but be careful for his strong CC's as he can set up kills easily for his teammates if they are present. He scales decently into-late game, but Shaco is overall a good pick against him.
A fast jungler with great dueling skills and medium sustain. I don't recommend counter jungling him, just play it safe, gank and secure objectives. Master Yi can snowball hard when given a few early kills, so be careful. Otherwise, he scales not too good in to late-game.
Pre-6 he is pretty weak, medium clearing speed, good sustain and not the best duelist in early levels as he needs his Siphoning Strike to be farmed up. You can abuse his bad early game, and I would recommend doing so. However, Nasus with farm is one of the best duelists in-game and direcly counters every AA (auto-attack) based champion, like Shaco.
He has a good clearing speed, very good shielding, and an escape once he has Dredge Line. It is possible to get an early kill on him, though, as he has medium dueling skills. Try to catch him at his red buff when he is level 2, otherwise the chances are quite slim.
He is a tough opponent. Very good clearing time, good sustain in the jungle and decent escapes. He is as well a very good duelist early on, so I don't recommend counter jungling him, only when you know you can catch him off-guard. Nocturne does not have the best late-game, but is still a very tough champion to be against.
I hate this guy. His Consume is a spammable Smite with huge sustain. It's impossible to kill him, as he will just Ice Blast you, buff himself with Blood Boil and run away. He is an incredibly efficient jungler, and is even able to counter jungle you. However, he has not the best late-game, since his only damage will come from Ice Blast or his ultimate Absolute Zero, which is incredibly hard to use correctly.
A ferocious opponent. I don't see him in the jungle anymore so often, and he hasn't really been a threat as well when I did see him. I never decide to counter jungle him as he is manaless, great sustain, good clearing speed and is one of the few champions that will outdamage you fairly hard. However, he doesn't have the utility to counter jungle efficiently, so just play your game safe, secure objectives and gank. Rengar falls off in late-game if he didn't had a few kills early game, so you'll be generally okay.
Before level 6 it can be easy to counter jungle her. She has decent clearing time, no sustain and a good escape. Her dueling skills are poor and has medium damage. You can counter jungle her, but chances on a kill are generally low. She is a great teamfighter, so be careful for her late-game as she can stun an entire team with Glacial Prison.
A good jungler, in my opinion. He has great sustain and shielding, but not the best clearing time. He has a good escape, and medium damage. Chances on killing him are really slim. Play safe, gank and secure objectives. Be careful for his counter ganks with Stand United.
In my opinion one of the biggest counters Shaco has. She has such an insane clearing speed she doesn't need sustain in the jungle. She has good mobility, but no instant escape. Hell, she doesn't need one against you. If you ever decide to backstab her, she can easily turn around and outdamage you hard. She is an excellent duelist, with incredible raw power. She scales pretty good in to late-game, despite her lack of CC aside from Dragon's Descent. Play safe, secure objectives and gank.
He is a strong jungler, don't underestimate him. He has a very good clearing speed, good sustain and shielding and a good mobility to get away. His damage is generally low but sustained. He lacks the damage to outdamage you, but be careful once he hits level 6. He can Impale you to places you don't want to be.
This troll is very strong on own terrain; literally. He has good sustain, decent clearing speed, and moderate mobility to escape with Frozen Domain and Pillar of Ice. He's also an excellent duelist, as he drains your AD while boosting his own. Once he fights on his Frozen Domain, he as well gets an attack speed boost. It's very tricky to counter jungle him, so I won't recommend it. Play safe, secure objectives and gank frequently.
A really strong mobile jungler. He has good clearing speed, good sustain and good mobility to escape. However, most Udyrs will not hesitate to take on the fight with you, as he is a strong duelist. Udyr himself is a strong counter jungler naturally, and his bruiser stats makes it tough for Shaco to do something about it. Play safe, secure objectives and gank frequently.
She can be considered a counter to Shaco, and for good reasons. Her excellent clearing speed with shielding combined with decent mobility makes it already tough for Shaco. She also can outdamage you fairly easily, and has great CC to offer for late-game. I don't recommend counter jungling her. Play safe, secure objectives and gank frequently.
Many people fear Volibear. However, the bear should fear you. He has slow clearing time, no sustain aside from Chosen of the Storm and not the best escape since his Rolling Thunder mainly is meant for chasing, not escaping. You can kill him in the early-game quite easily, but you must have Ignite with you to neglect most of his passive. Volibear will grow really tanky late-game and has naturally a good dueling ability, so don't get careless.
The classic wolf has an incredible sustain. Just to get that out of the way. He has decent clearing speed, but no escape. He excels in long-termed duels and has a good chasing ability, but a Shaco generally gets away anyway. You can kill him early on if you manage to outplay him, but be cautious as the game progresses as he will become quite dangerous with his Infinite Duress.
He can be quite a trouble as he also like Shaco has extremely strong early ganks. He has a pretty good clearing time, decent sustain, but no escape. He's a good duelist, however, and should not be taken lightly. It's possible to outplay and kill him, but it requires quite some skill. As the game progresses you can duel him pretty good with your Hallucinate, but still be cautious.
In my experience, this is a really frustrating opponent. While having very good sustain and clearing speed, he also has a great escape. His damage is medium, so in a straight up duel you will win. But due to his passive Cell Division it's generally really hard to get a kill on him. And sadly, Zac scales really good in to late-game, providing a lot of tankiness combined with extremely strong CC. Play safe, gank frequently and secure objectives.
Final Comments + Credits
I hope you enjoyed my first guide on Mobafire. Shaco is my main champion and I've thought everything through as much as possible. I am open to critics, questions and feedback. I might make some changes in the future.
Mainly I want to credit my friends for supporting me and giving me a good feeling about this guide. Secondly I want to credit JhoiJhoi's "Making a Guide" which helped me greatly while creating this guide. The link to the guide is below. Also the credits to the creators of the fanart of Shaco I used in the guide.
JhoiJhoi's "Making a Guide"
Creator of the fanart in the introduction chapter; Enu-kamesama
Creator of the fanart in the general chapter; IVbenjamin