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Shaco, The Niche Assassin (Jungle AP)

Last updated on January 10, 2012
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Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

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.



Offense: 10

Honor Guard

Defense: 0

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 20

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Welcome to an elaborate AP Shaco build.

I understand that AP Shaco has some serious flaws when compared to AD Shaco, especially at high elo. But this build is primarily aimed at <1500 elo, where most players are less familiar with how AP Shaco works this ignorance can be exploited.

I wrote this build to try to familiarize people who aren't afraid to take on a slightly more difficult champion build that has stayed in a niche, but if played well can carry any game.

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Why Will This Work?

There are several reasons, but lets explain the most important one that is quite intuitive and does not rely on this build in particular:

Champions and builds that people don't know, suprise them. They don't know what to expect, they don't know how to counter. Again, let me stress that I am talking about <1500 elo. In general these players are either new to the ranked scene or don't really know what's what yet. These are the kind of players you should fight with this build, and these are the kind of players that are surprised and beaten by it.

Don't underestimate the power of surprise. If people don't know exactly what to expect, it's likely they'll under- or overestimate you, and you can take advantage of both.

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I'll cover the item section first, since it's of less importance to success than the playstyle that will follow below (as always items < skill).

First of all you start with an Amplifying Tome and a Healing Potion. You are AP Shaco, the 5 additional AP is very useful compared to a Doran's Ring. Moreover, an Amplifying Tome quite cheaply builds to a Kage's Lucky Pick, which you will need to supply you with some additional gold.

Note: This startup assures you that you don't run dry no matter how your jungle goes. If you can't do an early gank, you should be able still get this free gold. If you got an early gank, you get free gold and boots. It snowballs tremendously at the start.

For boots you generally go to Boots of Mobility. Pretty general stuff for a Shaco.

As second minor item, rush Sheen. It'll be your main workhorse while your AP isn't that high yet. Moreover, it builds into Lichbane, which is the major reason this build can carry, but we'll come back to that later.

Third, finish the Fiendish Codex, you want the cooldown reduction. Don't build it into a Deathfire Grasp just yet, you still want to snowball on the [Kage's Lucky Pick].

Then just go Lichbane, Deathfire Grasp and Rabadon's Deathcap. Be sure to build Lichbane first as it will add about 500 more damage to each gank you attempt, if you know how to use it.

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Jungle Route

The jungle route I use doesn't use the double buff trick.

I start stacking at blue. Normally, with this setup of runes and masteries, I get blue and its minions instantly. Then you level Two-Shiv Poison and run towards the enemy wraiths. Stack boxes at the brush while you smite the big wraith and leave the small ones unharmed. Now wait for their jungler to appear and as soon as the fear kicks in you ignite and shiv. I have yet to encounter a single jungler that survived this gank.

Granted, not all junglers start at their blue and not all junglers just walk in there. Some ask for Clairvoyance and you'll get detected. That's not a problem. Do wraiths and gank mid from behind if you can. If not do the normal jungle route or gank bot/top. With your Kage's Lucky Pick it doesn't really matter.

From this point on, you go from gank to gank with the odd jungling.

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The Idea Of An AP Shaco Gank

... is easy.

You jump in with Deceive, dealing only 50 damage less with the crit than an AD Shaco would, and you throw your Two-Shiv Poison which does 50 damage more than an AD Shaco would. At level 2-3 Two-Shiv Poison you nearly do 300 damage with one throw. That's why you'll level it first. Sheen is built to compensate for Deceive's low crit.

Moreover, remember the surprise effect: they won't expect the huge low level damage of Two-Shiv Poison. When you chase during a gank, you'll be happy your major damage is ranged and youdon't have to dive.

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The Idea Of An AP Shaco Teamfight

... is often so misunderstood.

Sure, most AP Shaco's melt when focussed and they do nearly no damage to carry the team. Ignorant expressions like "AP Shaco useless" and "AP Shaco can't carry" are every day bussiness. But still ignorant.

A good AP Shaco knows his role. You know which enemies will try to focus you, and you know which enemies are weakest. You will kite and tease, but you will never be useless.

The main strategy is the following:

  1. Deceive towards your target.
  2. If you have Deathfire Grasp, use it on the target with most health but least defences. This isn't necessarily your target, but it could help.
  3. Now you crit with Deceive.
  4. Two-Shiv Poison
  5. Look at your enemies who will try to CC or focus you. Time that CC and focus. Hallucinate to make them miss that CC. This requires some training...
  6. Kite the enemy with your clone (1000 damage when killed) until you can repeat.

Most importantly, chose your target and timing well.

You want to catch them out of position, try to make them to split or force baron. Don't worry if you die. If you die, that means your clone probably died too and did the free 1000 dmage right next to your target(s).

Nearly as important, dominate the battlefield. If you think you might have a teamfight soon, it pays off to put boxes at several locations. Not for the damage, but for the fear. Being able to chase or flee with boxes around helps tremendously. Only stack boxes where you know they'll have to pass (for example baron, drake, their blue, etc...).