Note 1: All content in this guide is based on my individual feelings towards the champion and in no way is the ultimate way to play Shaco. Feel free to vary your play style in anyway you feel. Think of this guide more as guidelines for safe Shaco consistency rather than attempting to snowball every game.
Note 2: This is not a guide on jungling, this covers general tips related to Shaco, no where do I talk about rotation, deep warding, tower pushing as they are relative to all junglers and should be found elsewhere. This is a Shaco specific tip guideline on Summoners Rift, not Twisted Treeline, ARAM or Crystal Scar.
Note 3: Every section will be started with a bold title for what that section may cover, for example Note 2 was the title for this section. Following the title the section will talk about why understanding this idea is crucial to understanding Shaco as a champion. Additionally that section may include but are not limited to theory, math, analysis.
Note 4: To those who want to copy paste my stuff and take it as their own, I highly advise against it as I cannot insure your protection when it comes to legal matters. Nonetheless be free to share and quote me just as you would take stuff from other guides. If however you do publish your own material and do not cite this material just be aware of what you’re opening yourself up to. This includes translations.
#0 TABLE OF CONTENTS
#4 Assassin Stereotypes
#8 W-Jack in the Box
#9 E-Poisonous Shiv
#10 R-Hallucination/Special-Ult Maxing
#11 Skill Order
#12 When in Solo Queue
#13 Timer and Scaling Comps
#14 Lanes and Team Comps
#15 Split Pushing
#18 Machete/Long Sword Start
#19 Jungle Item Skip
#20 Theory-Spirit Stone/Madred Only
#21 Jungle Items
#22 CDR Build
#24 Hydra vs Botrk Math
#25 Tiamat Cutlass
#26 Youmuu’s vs Statik Math
#27 Guardian Angel
#28 Pots, Wards and Consumables
#29 Mobility and Boots
#30 Special-My Build To Challenger
#31 Prominent Builds
#32 Hail Diamondprox
#35 Summoner Spells
#36 Game Openings/Reacting to Invades
#37 Ganking and Moving Around The Map
#38 The 3 Wraith Trick
#39 Buff Clear Starts
#40 Where Did They Start
#41 Avoiding Invasion Wards
#42 Killing Camps
#44 Matchup Specifics
#47 Common Questions
#48 Social Media
#1 Credibility: My name is Justin Lee and my IGN (in game name) is “Chinese Jester” while my smurf is “Best Shaco”. I play on the NA server and live on the east coast with 130~ping. I began playing towards the end of season 2 and during season 3 I achieved diamond 1 70 LP elo (2700 mmr). Since then I have achieved 600 LP in Challenger playing Shaco exclusively when I can jungle and filling when needing to play other roles or if Shaco is banned.
#2 Preface: The reason this guide is being constructed is because it seems there are many misconceptions about Shaco at every tier of play. Higher tiered players even at challenger do not seem to understand how Shaco operates and there are common ideas at each elo that split pushing and early game is the only way to play Shaco. I am here to debunk those theories and that is the ultimate goal of the guide. However, in accomplishing this task the reader (you) will also learn to play Shaco to understand the different levels he can operate to win a game. I hope you enjoy whatever comes of this guide and take something away (such as learning Shaco) but mostly understand that Shaco may not be top tier, but definitely doesn’t live within the constraints that most people assume he is in.
#3 Reliability: Theres a common idea that only champions played in LCS, LPL, OGN or competitive play can and should be played in solo queue. Adapting this type of mindset will lead you to have an untapped amount of information because you did/didn’t recognize less popular and un-meta champions. The notion that a champion should not be played because its uncommon should not deter you from playing Shaco or any other champion for that matter. (Look at what happened to AP Tryndamere, one person played it and it showed up in LCS cause it was good). I strongly feel that any champion at any ELO can climb to the top. (This section is purely to entertain those that think Shaco or any champion should not be played because of x y and z reason.
Role: In the current meta Shaco is played as a jungler (not top lane, not mid lane, not support and definitely not ADC). This guide will only cover builds and strategies used in my experience of jungling Shaco, any other type of role where you insert Shaco into should not reference this guide as a source.
#4 AD Assassin Stereotypes: Let me begin by talking about the state of AD assassins and how many can categorize Shaco into such a role alongside other melee assassins. The goal of an AD assassin is to delete at least one member of the opposing team (usually a carry such as a mid laner or ADC) to at least trade kills and allow the team to clean up due to trading a burst assassin champion for a consistent dps champion.
Analogy: A larger country, lets say country A must compete against country B (for some apparent reason) however country A has less resources and will lose a war of attrition to country B. Thus, country A must go on the offense to win by striking the heart of country B (lets say their headquarters/nuclear weapons/important area). By doing this country A has a chance to win the war because this will even the playing field for the remainder of the war. However, in doing this maneuver the strike team sent into the heart of country B will fall.
In this analogy take country A as blue team with an AD assassin (lets say Shaco) and lets take country B to be red team. Red team has more consistent dps, (consistent late game ADC, good midlane dps). Therefore, in the scenario Shaco would suicide to assassinate the opposing teams consistent dps because he is inconsistent dps (ie. he can only burst 1 person because he is an AD assassin). So Shaco will trade his life for another and hope his team can win the remaining 4v4.
Misconception: AD assassins must operate in such a “suicide bomber-ish” manner. The notion that the only way a champion can operate is by trading 1 for 1 is preposterous and is the determining factor in the hate for Shaco.
Understanding: The sole reason why Shaco has adopted this misconception is infact due to build path. For example, if Darius has the following 6 items: Triforce, Hydra, Youmuu’s, Black Cleaver, Last Whisper, Mobo Boots, then to teamfight he must in fact dive deep for a valuable target to one shot them and probably will die to the remainder of the enemy team because of his squishy build. If he trades with a front line tank then Darius’s team will probably lose the fight because the tank will out tank Darius’s dps based on how the game operates (tanks beat full dps in 1v1s). Similarly, throughout early history, players would build full burst Shaco and trade 1 for 1 AT BEST where AT WORST the opposing member could flash away or kill Shaco with a pink ward, ultimately making Shaco, what most solo queue players call Shaco “useless”.
Result: Because of these builds that have become popularized since the beginning of League of Legends burst kamikaze Shaco is in 99% of games with Shaco and thus team fighting became extremely hard with this build. Split pushing a lane as Shaco was the easiest way to not die while making use of the full Damage build. Players would use the easy escape mechanics that Shaco has with deceive, box placement and ulting to put pressure on the map while still enjoying the full damage build to take down towers and 1v1 enemies.
Conclusion 1: A full burst Shaco, Yasuo, Zed will generally only operate as a suicide bombing trade mechanic in teamfights AT BEST. Additionally, split pushing was used as a popular alternative to team fighting which created a stigma for Shaco. Therefore, to make Shaco more consistent for team fighting, defensive items should be built. (I am not advocating 6 defensive items, I’m just not advocating 6 offensive items).
Conclusion 2: People in solo queue or in life that tell you the following “Shacos bad because x y and z or Shaco can only split late game because so and so.” do not understand this concept and you should be prepared to emotionally encounter these people as well as play your role even though they tell you not to.
#5 Skillset: The following are the skill descriptions based on lol wiki.
#6 Passive-Backstab: Shaco’s backstab ability allows him to increase dps on monsters, minions and champions if Shaco is attacking them from the back by 20%. To be more detailed, the skill covers 179 degrees of the target being attacked. (180 degrees minus 2 points to create the degrees) (Some of you might say 179.99~ degrees, whatever floats your boat) Let me be more specific.
—-X—- In the image to the left imagine X is any target attempting to be hit by Shaco where the underline represents the direction that target is facing.
a b The horizontal line cutting through the X represents a direct cut through one side of the target and exiting the other side of the target, we will call the left side point a and the right side point b.
If Shaco hits the target in any of the angles between a, the front of the target to b then the target will not take backstab damage. (This is pretty common sense.)
If Shaco hits the target at points a or b then they will not take backstab damage.
If Shaco hits the target from any point above point a and around the top to point b then the target will sustain backstab damage.
Note: If using a hydra, whether the passive or active effects, the game mechanics will determine which is the closest point between you and the target and choose that at the origin for the backstab mechanic (whether there is or is not a backstab). Additionally statik shiv lightning will not proc backstab.
Note 2: Shaco’s clone will also benefit from the backstab passive in the same manner.
Note 3: Shaco’s E, the poisonous shiv also benefits from backstab passive. For example, if the shiv is thrown for 100 damage and hits the targets front then it will only do 100 damage. However, if the shiv hits the targets back then it will do 120 damage. This damage is based on when the shiv lands on the target, not the initial orientation of the target when the shiv was thrown.
#7 Q-Deceive : Deceive’s ability allows Shaco to blink over walls immediately and retain invisibility for 3.5 seconds at all levels. Additionally a “weaker” crit will be placed on Shaco’s next auto attack and will work with Shaco’s backstab passive. The ratios increase with level and the mana cost decreases at 10 mana per level starting at 90 mana. The blink range of Shaco is similar to that of a flash, but as with most spells that blink or shift the range can seem to increase when buffered over a larger wall such as Fiddlesticks Ultimate or Kassadin Ult.
Note: After Shaco Q’s the origin of his Q will leave a puff of smoke regardless of whether or not he was in fog or war or not. This includes all bushes as well as locations visible to the enemy.
Note 2: Shacos skin does determine the color of the puff of smoke. All skins except Masked Shaco including the original Shaco skin will reveal a orange tint of smoke for a second post deceive. The Masked Shaco skin will have half a second of a silver spark blink that covers less space than a puff of smoke. Certain arguments such as “orange is the color of life vests so its noticeable” leaves the Masked Shaco skin with a variable advantage over the other skins. However, I personally find it easier to see a split second silver blink rather than an orange poof. Nonetheless the difference will probably not manifest itself into a significant number in your winrate. (Note the Masked Shaco skin does not do the worm so minus swag points).
Note 3: Shacos Q does proc a crit which makes Statik Shiv a desirable item at times proccing the crit passive on the first hit. The math is simple, if Shaco’s Q will do a 120% crit on the first hit then a Statik Shiv hit will do 120 magic damage from the base 100 damage. Keep in mind the crit percentage increases with level.
Note 4: Shaco can buffer skills at the same time as he Qs to save frames. If Shaco Qs and Ws a location he is within range of at the exact same time both skills will go off then Shaco will have placed his box and retain invisibility for the full duration. This can be done with his E as well. For example, if I were to hover my cursor over an enemy champion and press Q and E over him at the exact same time then the resulting action would be a shiv hitting the intended target as well as Shaco having gone into his stealth. One final note about this skill is that if you ultimate while simultaneously Qing sometimes your ult will not form at the location you blinked to, rather it will appear halfway between the origin of the Q and the new location or even sometimes leaving the clone at the original location. For this reason I highly recommend waiting at least half a second before ulting after you Q.
Note 5: When in stealth Shacos next auto attack will reveal him and bring him out of stealth. However, while in stealth if you buffer cancel an auto, this means to say if you begin an auto attack animation and cancel your auto before it lands, you will still be revealed even though you have not auto’d anything. A common mistake that I too am guilty of is Qing over a wall to attempt to get away and then buffering an auto on a target I did not intend to attack revealing me and losing me my get away.
Note 6: Shaco has a unique cooldown with his Q as it goes on cooldown after Shaco is revealed (not revealed as in being seen but as in being out of stealth). This makes it similar to the original Leblanc W where the 2nd double would need to be used or expired to go on cooldown. However, by using the back animation and pressing b (or whatever you binded it to) then the cooldown will begin. This however will break your stealth and make you visible. A common method used with this is to cover distance (stay with me here). For example if you are attempting to get to top lane from base and want to get there as fast as possible then begin Qing up to top lane and pressing base to put it on cooldown and then repeat as the cooldown comes up. This abuses the blink and uses it to travel distances as it nets more distance than just walking. Keep in mind this is quite a large mana burn and should only be used when having a blue buff or a situation where getting to a location is paramount.
Note 7: If Shaco simultaneously presses Q and B (deceive and base) then Shaco will end up basing in his invisibility (similar to Twitch’s Q and base). This means if the base is an 8 second cooldown (7 with the recall mastery in the utility tree) then 3.5 seconds will be spent in invisibility because of this technique leaving 4.5 seconds or 3.5 seconds of basing while visible.
Note 8: Feel free to juke in a variety of directions, pretend to go over walls but don’t, walk one way and Q another. Additionally when ganking try to stay out of range when you Q even if you are in fog of war because of the puff of smoke. Lastly, be aware of the turret vision range. Turret reveals stealth in a larger radius than the attacks of the tower radius.
#8 W-Jack in the Box: Jack in the box is Shaco’s W which allows him to place down a box that will be visible for 2 seconds before activation, at which time it will either go invisible for 58 seconds until procced or proc immediately causing it to fear the targets within its radius and attack the nearest target in a radius for five autos (assuming it survives). The jack in the box has a 60 second life timer with a 5 second timer as soon as it has been procced and will die more easily when visible compared to being invisible. Additionally it has a 1.0 AP ratio and does magic damage.
Note: Shaco’s jack in the box allows him for an extremely quick clear because it may be stacked before the initial buff spawns causing multiple boxes to hit the buff and decrease its hp quickly. For a general clear, begin stacking boxes at your first buff at 55 seconds and continuously stack boxes until the box spawns. For more in depth descriptions refer to the chapter later that talks about the initial clear.
Note 2: The activation timer is completely different from the invisibility timer. This is to say that if the box has been placed and is 59 seconds into its timer. If it is procced at 60 seconds it will now have a 5 second life timer so in total it will have been on the map for 65 seconds (60 invisible and 5 visible attacking).
Note 3: The box will not prioritize any target regardless of whether or not it is a champion, tower, inhibitor or minion/monster. A few things to note is that the box proc range is relatively high while the attack range is similar. The box will however NOT proc for an inhibitor or the nexus, however if it is first procced by something else such as minions or another champion it may still attack the inhibitor or nexus given that it is the nearest target for the box.
Note 4: The box fear in the recent changes will cause the box to fear the targets from the opposite direction it is from the box. that is to say if a target is at point a and the box is at point b, then it will fear the target back in the direction from b to a (b->a). This makes it optimal to box behind the target when ganking or to force then in a situation where if they walk into the box it will just bring them back to the same original spot the target was in (probably towards you). More will be discussed in the ganking section.
Note 5: Boxes have a small vision radius so they may be used as limited wards that will disappear when activated. Use this to your advantage when in the opposing teams jungle and drop them off in various locations to scout or leave them in the tribushes/river bushes to scout for the jungler when you leave/come.
Note 6: Boxes when visible can be used to block skillshots. This means that for the 2 seconds before the box becomes invisible it can be placed immediately to block things like a Lee Sin Q or a Thresh hook. Note that the box takes about half a second to be put down thus you might have to predict or put it down as they cast the spell (its all about reaction time, although I play on 130 ping so i tend to have to predict).
Note 7: Some helpful tips in terms of the life survivability of the box is that, it will die to one lee sin Q, Thresh Q will not kill the box and will allow Thresh to follow up on his Q and Q to the box. Boxes will die to one tower shot, however this might be enough time to tank 1 shot for your if you put it in tower range before you enter it. For the initial clear of buffs and camps the boxes will take 3 hits to die, however on the second round of buffs it will only take 2. Baron will one shot the box while drag will take 2 shots to kill it. Boxes will die to smite.
Note 8: Versus those annoying Blitzcranks that like to grab your first buffs from you, you can just put a box at 1:54 over the wall where blitz would grab your buff and make him grab the box instead. Im looking at you Darshan.
Note 9: Boxes will not proc on targets it does not have vision on. This comes in two variations. First, if the box if for example outside of a brush, and the enemy champion is next to the brush in range of the box but not visible to it, the box will not proc (a common situation in the banana brush). Second, it will not proc on invisible champions until they become visible. Champions such as Evelynn would just walk through the box as well as Twitch until they become visible and within the box range. Keep in mind however they will not know it would be there unless they become visible or have a pink with them.
Note 10: The boxes give 5 gold to the person that kills them. Just thought you’d want to know the inflation you’re causing.
#9 E-Poisonous Shiv: Shaco’s E is a shiv that is thrown at one individual target causing them to be slowed by an amount based on level for 2 seconds. This increases 5% per level. Additionally, autoing a champion while the spell has not yet been used will cause the afflicted champion the slow as well, this stops after the shiv is thrown at which time auto attacks will no longer slow until the spell is back up. For monsters it will cause a RNG blind on the monsters attack for 2 seconds. The shiv has a 1.0 AD and 1.0 AP ratio and does magic damage.
Note: This is by far the most important rule for Shaco players. When ganking, never NEVER throw the shiv until it guarantees a kill or a summoner spell blown. Always start of the gank autoing them down and throw it at the point where you won’t be able to auto them anymore (when they get away by running or flashing or something). If in your gank you have to start out with a shiv because they are far away then do that.
Note 2: This is more of a preference but an important one. In keybindings there is a hotkey that when held down will only allow you to target champions. I bind this to the space bar but you can/should do it to any key you can hold down while attacking with autos and spells. By holding this down then autoing or throwing your shiv it guarantees it will only hit a champion. Sometimes when the opposing champions are hovered over a creep you might hit that by accident if you don’t use this command.
Note 3: When jungling with blue, its completely fine to throw the shiv instead of getting hp efficiency from the RNG blind passive. However, when low, it might be better to use it as the finisher to the camp and then base. The RNG blind will not affect lane creep, dragon, baron or champions.
Note 4: This is definitely one of the most scaling spells for Shaco as it has a 1.0 ratio for both AD and AP. This means that having high AD and AP ratio items increase the burst damage, although keep in mind it is magic damage so red buff and other AD proccers will not come from it. Items with high AD ratios like Hydra or Last Whisper may come in handy in ratio with this spell as well as an item such as Triforce with 30 AD and 30 AP creating 60 effective damage for the shiv.
#10 R-Hallucination: Shaco’s ultimate is hallucination, a spell that activates after a second where Shaco shakes his body and creates a copy of himself. This copy will die in 18 seconds and do less damage than Shaco through auto attacks onto whoever he is commanded to do it upon. The clone will also take more damage and cannot use spells. When the clone dies or expires he will explode for a 1.0 AP ratio of magic damage.
Note: Shaco’s clone will be severely weaker in terms of auto attack damage and health. It will not take long for someone to identify which one is the real you. If an enemy pings the real Shaco before you ultimate, that ping will stay on your head and the clone will not have the ping making it easy for them to focus you. Additionally the Shaco clone has no items in his inventory so if they click on you they should realize whether or not you have items or not. Lastly, the clone cannot retain any buffs such as red or blue, meaning this is a dead giveaway and you should not attempt to trick them with a buff on. Shaco clones will retain a guardian angel animation even though it won’t go off. Shaco clone cannot have sheen procs but will have on hit effects such as wriggles.
Note 2: Knowing the leash range of your ultimate is important as you don’t want the clone moving to a location and then blinking back to you. Additionally, maybe you do want them to blink back to you depending. Figure out the leash range through practice.
Note 3: The duration of the clone is 18 seconds. If you mentally or even realistically count this timer you can use the full duration of the clone to your advantage and time out the explosion to your benefit.
Note 4: The clone is extremely annoying to control. Control with either alt clicks or pressing R to move it around. However, spam the spell to move the clone around because the AI acts rather poorly. When right clicked on a target it will only follow it within a certain range even if the enemy stays in vision. If vision is lost of the target the clone will begin walking back to you, so making commands into blind brushes is important for not letting your clone walk back like an idiot. You can make the clone leash and tank buffs and objectives such as dragon (like a support leash) as well as tanking turrets.
Note 5: Ultimates can be used to avoid skillshots/damage that comes in the form of burst. Shaco disappears for half a second when he is in his ultimate. This means that skillshots such as hooks and burst damage such as Syndra ultimate/Karthus ultimate can be avoided by timing his ultimate correctly. So if Karthus ultimate will happen in 3 seconds, Shaco should ultimate sometime between 1-.6 seconds remaining to have a dodge. It takes about half a second to go into the invulnerability mode and the stasis mode lasts for about .5 seconds, probably a little less.
Note 6: Shaco ultimate procs madred/wriggles therefore soloing dragon and baron is acceptable with certain builds such as tank/lifesteal builds. In those situations keeping both you and the clone alive will benefit the most in terms of dpsing down the objective.
Note 7: If Shaco ultimates under an enemy turret with nothing else in range of it then the tower will prioritize the closer target of the 2, the original or Shaco clone.
Note 8: If Shaco gains aggro under a turret with his own teams minions under it because he hit somebody under it then the tower will aggro the original Shaco. If he then ultimates then the turret will begin attacking minions because Shaco no longer existed on the map therefore he cannot be prioritized by the tower. If however there was some dot (damage over time) onto the target such as ignite or elder lizard burn the tower will target the original Shaco. Remember you can also dodge the turret shot with your ultimate.
Note 9: You can use your ultimate to push yourself over thin walls sometimes. This is because when Shaco ultimates near a wall, both the original and Shaco clone cannot be in them same space (unit). Therefore one must push the other one aside to create a location for the other. To shove a unit over the wall one must spam the unit that wants to go over in that direction and the other must remain in the original box with spam, this however is unreasonably difficult as you cannot simultaneously click the original spot and the spot over the wall at the same time. Thus, this trick only works sometimes at an unreasonably RNG rate, however does work about 40% of the time. If anyone has ideas about the consistency of this trick please let me know. Keep in mind it is also possible for both to go over the wall as one shoves the other one over but the clone has not yet “spawned” so it spawns with you over the wall.
Special: I do NOT max ultimate on Shaco, moreover I pick up the spell at level 6 and do not get level 11 or 16 ultimate until the latest possible time. The reasoning is two fold. First having the skill in another area such as Q or W will increase the rate of those affected spells. Second, maxing ultimate gains you two things, a slightly lower cooldown of about 10-20 seconds, which in my opinion is not extremely valuable. Additionally, clone explosion damage increases yet this is not a reliable source of damage for AD Shaco. Thus, I do not max ultimate.
#11 Skill Order: Always max E, no question about it. This is your ganking tool as consecutive levels allow you to slow at a greater rate and create more room to kite down the opponents in the lane. One might argue that maxing box may lead to better ganks as a higher duration fear could leave more openings for attacks however this is under the assumption your box goes off. More often than not your box will be avoided by flash or skillshot. Its a throw up on what is second to max so i vary it based on two situations. If you are building for more burst damage you will be maxing Q. This is for Hydra builds and especially Statik Shiv builds as the crit is important to that item. Higher AD ratio items and shiv/ie increase the value of Q maxing. If more defense or botrk is build W is probably better for more utility to kite and control area because of its lowered cooldown as well as escape routes for split pushing. Maxing W helps more in split to increase tower dps and escape while Q max does not give you a higher cd, just more damage and less mana cost.
Note: As stated earlier, backstab scales with Shaco’s shiv, meaning maxing E scales increasingly by 20% if backstabbing.
Note 2: Don’t commit to one max of Q or W. If you started building damage then tanky a little after its perfectly fine to have taken 3 points into Q then start maxing W. Similarly if you pick up a few kills going tanky and decide to pick up an offensive item, 4 in W then Q maxing is fine.
Item Builds based on Team Composition
Because Shaco can operate in many different fashions such as a Split Pusher, Tank or Assassin, it is hard to say what is the correct and necessary to build. Thus, I will narrow it to these four situations and indicate what to look for to determine which category your game falls under. I will then follow with the item builds I find work best for that situation. First, let me state some firm beliefs about what I think should be built in solo queue.
#12 In Solo Queue it is ok to but not necessarily advised that you:
- Skip jungle item
- Build either elder/golem or wriggles (will discuss)
- Not build aoe items such as aegis/frozen heart when grouping
- Build full damage
- Skimp on wards
- Buy early mobility
- Take kills (Give kills most of the time if you can help it though, except to the support) (Basically giving kills helps the lane, taking kills helps you, if you’re a good player you should be able to give kills and still influence highly)
Two main factors indicate what type of build you should go in your game. The first is team composition, which team has the better late game and better teamfight. Though the the two may have a lot to do with each other, they are not analogous. One team might have a Tristana versus an Ezreal and the Tristana would arguably have the better late game, perhaps the Ezreal has a midlane Orianna and thus they might have a better team composition due to aoe.
The second factor to indicate what you should build is more variable and its which team is winning. Maybe the team with the Ezreal is winning earlier and thus you should build to capitalize and attempt to end the game earlier.
#13 Game Overview: Coming into a game you should have a set strategy for the times in the game to create consistency and not just move around the map for no particular reason. Thus, the general game plan should be established from champion select. Either you have a timer comp or you don’t. A timer comp necessitates movement around the map because you will lose late game, so prioritize plays over farming. Otherwise you have a late game comp that can scale into team fighting. If both teams are even in terms of comps you can choose to farm or gank.
Timer Comp Play: You’re pressed to move around the map and take objectives as quickly as possible. Control your initial clear and go for the invade/gank/counter gank. Next if you don’t need to base consider diving the same lane as they return/if they did not leave, but respect the other jungler. Otherwise rotate into/around their jungle and continuously gank into you need to base. See if you can look for their jungler if youre strong enough. After your first base swap out trinkets go for dorans/long swords/mobility boots and look for the following lanes. Either lanes you can dive because they are low, lanes that are pushed into your turret that you can gank, or lanes without summoner spells that you should attend to. Head towards that lane while you changed to a red trinket and gank while being aware of counter ganks. Continue this cycle until second round of buffs or level 6 where you may be able to solo dragon with a spirit stone and dorans or an elder. Prioritize dragon over your buffs by either walking around through cleared areas or Qing over the wall and dropping a pink/trinket. Get the dragon, get your buffs, now look for turrets. If their bot and mid are winning and you can’t sneak the dragon, instead you’ll have to go top and trade top pressure for dragon. Otherwise, look for invades, dives, but most importantly turrets, which comes as a result of dives. Systematically take the outer turrets by pressuring them when your lanes are winning or gank when they’re being pushed out. Get outers, get all dragons, look for buff steals, the whole 9 yards. Then at 2nd tier tell your team to group if you’re stronger and look for the fight, or split if you’re weaker and try and take turrets on your own. To close out the game repeat and perhaps sneak baron with good vision control. Make plays, you’re on a timer.
Scaling Comp Play: You’re a scaling team and this differentiates itself insofar as you have a few more options. You are allowed to go madred if you fall behind because you can scale back into the game and farm instead of pressuring. Youre not rushed to do dragon and can avoid big plays such as invading or diving. You dont need to sneak baron, you just have to steal and make sure they don’t get the objectives (you can suicide to steal dragon too). And you can build tanky because you’re teamfight is useful and better. Look to snowball if you have the possibility but dont think its your only course of action.
#14 Thus the following will outline the four possible scenarios:
Winning Lanes and Winning Team Comp (IE. Twitch vs Ezreal)
In this situation your lanes are winning, or at least 2/3 are winning and you have a better late game composition. Youre not under a timer to make moves, just slowly secure objectives such as dragon, outer towers, then go for baron vision control. Build more tanky to go for the teamfights you’ll win and eventually command your team to force down all the turrets in a rotation style.
Winning Lanes and Losing Team Comp (IE. Draven vs Jinx)
In this situation your lanes are winning, at least 2/3 but you have a worse late game team fighting composition. You are under constraint to end the game with your snowballing lead otherwise the other team will outscale you. While you still want to get all the objectives, you will spend less time farming your jungle and more time pressing the map. Moreover, you might want to skip jungle item because the gold it would give only matters in the late, in fact you might want mobo boots to snowball. You will want to build for split push because you will eventually lose teamfights and for earlier game fits you want more damage to snowball and to push turrets. You are also open to baron sneaks.
Losing Lanes and Winning Team Comp (IE. Jinx vs Draven)
In this situation you are losing 2/3 of your lanes but you have a better late game composition. Thus, you want to stall out the game. You want a jungle item and are willing to buy wards and gank to stop turret dives and get your lanes into the game. Warding dragon and baron as well as stopping dives is your priority and so is giving the carries farm. You want to build some damage perhaps like an assassin to gimp carries and stop their snowball. Go for steals on dragon/baron and maybe split to distract the enemy until your team gets into the game. When you guys are strong enough look for the teamfights and go for the final pushes.
Losing Lanes and Losing Team Comp (IE. Draven vs Jinx)
In this situation you are losing 2/3 of your lanes and have a worse late game. You chose a timer composition and got screwed over. Now you need to go all in to try and get into the game, go for jungle item skip, mobility, baron sneaks, dives, perma ganks, camping lanes, anything to get you into the game. Tell your team to group for picks into towers and hyper push lanes together or sneak baron. Pink wards are crucial to this game to get picks and try and get something to happen. Try 1-3-1 split pushes to play your team comp properly and make plays because you cannot afford to wait. Good luck with this one.
To generalize, when losing team comp build to split, when winning team comp, tank when ahead, assassinate when behind. Now lets go into depth about what these three categories entail.
#15 Split Pushing: Split pushing is applying simultaneous pressure on another lane while your team also applies pressure in another lane. This can be done in 4-1, 3-1-1, 1-3-1 etc variations. The solo pusher should more often be in the side lanes and farthest away from the group. This can be identified by solos with TP or power pushers. This is done to take our turrets and control area not otherwise possible if grouped. When split pushing emphasize at least one lifesteal item, either Hydra or Botrk to sustain in these pushes and look to build vs what you re up against. VS AP? Get Hexdrinker or Wits End, VS AD? Maybe get a Sunfire or Randuins. When splitting attack speed boots are useful for pushing and taking towers however mobos if already built or mercs if necessary are also good. Place the boxes at entrances to the lane for good escape paths.
The Annoyance Build: Hydra Statik is the highest pushing power of two items and should be built in desperation to hyper push and pressure a lane. If you are ahead you can go for a variety of items however these two give massive amounts of pressure. Look to proxy when behind and split multiple lanes like mid top or mid bot to get your team into the game.
The Power Split: These items will give the fastest pushing power. Hydra and Statik aoe are very self explanatory. Youmuus gives movespeed and tower taking power to be very swift in a split. Sheen and Triforce gives high burst for taking towers every 2 seconds. Using ult and box gives 2 procs. Also Qing when safe and shiving a minion increases the push speed. Make sure to box in an area where the box will hit the tower and not the minions.
#16 Special: Blade of the Ruined King can operate as both a kiting and diving item. For example, slowing down and dpsing down the tanks trying to dive your backline or diving for a carry and slowing them down for your assassins. Thus, a common build would be jungle item into Botrk for team fighting.
#17 Tanking: Although the term tanking seems relatively easy to understand certain items on Shaco impact more greatly than others. Under tanking is the category of kiting and diving, one in which you would peek back for your backline carries and the other where you would attempt to distract or even kill their backline carries.
Kiting: When kiting look to place down as many boxes in optimal positions for your backline to run to for them to kite. Ultimate right away when they engage on you (cause your team is kiting) because your clone receives hp based on how much hp you have when you ultimate. Then begin to auto their frontline and shiv when they get too far past you to slow them as much as possible for your backline. Lastly, as their backline will be hitting you, look to Q away before you die but at a low enough hp such that you were useful in tanking shots.
Diving: When diving look to Q in out of range, preferably in a location that was pinked or sweeped and place your box in their carries escape path. Ultimate thereafter and if you’re tanking pop your Randuins to slow everyone in the aoe. Damage their carry and shiv to secure kills or slow for fellow divers. Diving is more risky as you use your Q to get in and thus cannot get out for 9 seconds until the cooldown returns. Keep in mind teammate abilities such as Lulu ultimate and shield to save you. Perhaps you are a high damage build and are looking to instagib one of their carries, in which case execute your combo, pray and burn everything.
#18 The Following are my Interpretations on Builds and certain Variations
Machete Start: Has been nerfed since 10% extra dmg from all sources meant 5 boxes before so its slightly worse than the earlier patch but necessary for jungle invasion play/safety. Definitely start this item 95% of the time.
Long Sword Start: For the other 5% of the time you may start long sword 3 pot for burst lvl 3 gank with the 3 wraith trick below. However, keep in mind if you do this you’re prone to your second buff being invaded which is why I only do this strat versus passive/weaker junglers.
#19 No Jungle Item: There are several ways to go about not getting a jungle item, however the main purpose is simple, higher damage output early on in the game while devaluing the stats or the jungle items by decreasing clear speed and gold earned for clearing camps. Basically its a tradeoff of gold and clear speed utility for earlier damage. I personally only recommend rushing Botrk or Hydra as they give lifesteal and Hydra gives quicker clear to get into the game by clearing camps quickly. The only other item rush I can recommend would be multiple dorans into Statik Shiv or Youmuus because of lifesteal from dorans. Each of these items gives their own utility and thus should be used in different situations to try and snowball the game. Hydra rush gives more burst than any other build immediately in the first few seconds, allows for faster split pushing and nice camp clear sustain. Botrk rush gives utility for ganks and peeling/diving later into the game. Statik gives the most movespeed at a stable 6% and some burst damage used to snowball the game. Youmuus gives more consecutive damage in ganks that last more than a few seconds and has a good mix of stats for damage and chasing to snowball. Some players such as Shaclone like to get the spirit stone but continue without the remaining jungle item for sustain, others like to get madred for earlier drag potential. Some start long sword and never touch a machete at all (I do this in one instance later in respecting the jungler section). The following is my assessment of getting the jungle items such as spirit stone or madred without upgrading them.
#20 Theory-Spirit Stone Only:
Assumption: The reason why you would get only spirit stone is for jungle sustain.
Arguement: Both Hydra and Botrk builds have a vamp scepter for sustain that can be built making it unnecessary for Spirit Stone to be built. Both Statik and Youmuu builds have lifesteal in dorans.
Conclusion: Why build Spirit Stone when you can get a vamp scepter or dorans.
Assumption: The reason why you would only get madred is to solo dragon early.
Argument: If you are snowballing the lanes then you should already have dragon control and can call your team over to help you dragon, thus you don’t need to solo.
Conclusion: Go for Madred only if you need to cheese a level 6 dragon.
#21 Golem: Golem is a great late game investment after you ve become tanky and can take advantage of the bonus HP stats. However, before that point its defensive stats don’t offer much in terms of ganks and the Quill Coat for tanking camps is counteracted on the fact that your box and RNG blind helps a lot to decrease camp damage anyway. Overall get this as a later game tank item after resistances.
Elder Lizard: Elder lizard is probably the most common build amongst Shacos of the world as it is a jungle item, gives immediate AD stats and power. This is a safe early game item that will do damage and operate as a pressure item to secure objectives.
Elder Lizard or Golem with Dorans In Between: In between building the jungle items there may be gold that is better spent on damage to snowball the game. For example, instead of a long sword I may prefer a dorans for more effective pressure. The order may be something like an 880 gold back where I’d buy 2 dorans. Or maybe I only have 720 gold so it would be 2 long swords instead. Or maybe I have 1240 gold so I’d get dorans dorans long sword. Or perhaps I have a full 1675 gold on base so I can finish the Elder Lizard. It all depends on gold value and how much pressure you want to put. Rule of thumb, if you’re even with the other jungler get at least 1 dorans up on them. When behind, don’t buy any dorans. Dorans allow you to keep an edge on the other jungler in small fights 1v1, 2v2 or 3v3.
Wriggles Lantern: Wriggles is a late game jungle item that scales more efficiently than elder lizard in terms of gold when farming more jungle (small wolves, wraiths, golem as well). It also scales in terms of attack speed which makes for a great late game dps item with Botrk. Eventually it will become a Feral Flare and outscale Elder Lizard in terms of jungle efficiency and damage over time. As this is primarily a late game item I don’t build dorans for early pressure.
#22 Cdr Offense: The cdr offense build consists of possible cdr from the runes/masteries and maxes out at 40% cdr with items such as Elder/Youmuus/Lucidity Boots. This type of playstyle allows for many moves around the map and looks to snowball from being able to consistently move around the map with a low deceive cooldown and control area with boxes. This playstyle is especially effective at lower elos and is extremely fun.
Cdr Defense: Defensive cdr builds take the kiting potential to a maximum by increasing the amount of boxes being able to be placed and more shivs for slows. Additionally this cdr is gotten through items such as Aegis, Frozen Heart and Zekes to buff up the team while being utlity for peeling. This peel style is rather exclusive to winning teamfights and should be played with an extremely strong backline on your team.
#23 HAIL HYDRA: Ok lemme tell you why Hydra is so good in detail. Tiamat and Hydra give an aoe proc of 60-100% of your AD. This means that the more AD you have the more damage your Hydra procs (aoe and active) will do. Meaning that Hydra creates a slight scaling when you build AD off with it. Thus, builds like Hydra into Youmuu/Last Whisper/AD Scaling items means that the Hydra indirectly takes those AD stats and uses them as well. All this AD also manifests itself into your shiv 1.0 AD ratio and creates a burst of damage when you throw your shiv because its still magic damage that scales off AD.
#24 Hydra vs Botrk: The math involved in deciding which is “better” only really tells us what is better in certain instances. For simplicity’s sake We’ll say they both cost the same amount at the end. Hydra gives 75 AD and an active and passive aoe with lifesteal. Botrk gives 25 AD with ATKSPD an active and passive hp shred and movespeed active with lifesteal. Thus I categorize the necessities into two situations, immediate burst and dps.
In immediate burst the Hydra combo is auto crit, Hydra active, auto, shiv. Note Hydra active is 60-100% of your AD so its essentially an auto attack. Thus the amount of damage done from base AD, lets call base AD X, lets call S shiv, so the dmg would be the following.
(Crit% * [75 + X]) + (75 + X) + (75 + X) + (S + 75) = (Crit% * [75 + X]) + 225 + 2X + S
Similarly the Botrk combo would be crit auto, botrk active, auto with the botrk passive, then shiv. Let Y be some variable Botrk auto passive damage.
(Crit% * [25 + X]) + (10% max health) + (25 + X) + S + Y =
(Crit% * [25 + X]) + (10% max health) + 25 + X + S + Y
Thus to figure out which does more damage, lets just set them equal to each other and do some theory to see which side of the equation has more damage.
(Crit% * [75 + X]) + 225 + 2X + S = (Crit% * [25 + X]) + (10% max health) + 25 + X + S + Y
Clearly the Hydra crit does more than the Botrk crit so lets cancel both and put some variable P to say Hydra has more damage, for simplicity.
P + 225 + 2X + S = (10% max health) + 25 + X + S + Y
Some simple canceling tells us the following.
P + 200 + X = (10% max health) + Y
So basically what it tells us is that for the Botrk to do more damage than the hydra, the variable damage of the 2 autos from the Botrk passive and 10% the target’s max health from the active must be greater than 200 + Shaco’s base AD.
If we then devalue P and Y to zero, because their damage doesn’t do that much it tells us the following.
For Botrk to be more with than Hydra in immediate burst
10% max health > 200 + X
And from lol wiki we see that X, Shaco’s base AD at level 1 is 52~ and at level 18 is 105~
10% max health > 252 and 10% max health > 305
Lets move the 10% over to the other side by making it .1, simplifying becomes
Max Health > 2520 and Max Health > 3050
So for general simplicity, Hydra rush is better but when the target has greater than 2520~ HP Botrk is better. Hence Botrk is better later on against tanks and squishy targets such as AP carries and ADCs won’t have 2520 HP.
#25 Tiamat Cutlass: Is a build strat based on gold value and some math. One might wonder why would you get these two items over a pure Hydra. First, let me say that the 1400g it costs to go to Hydra from Tiamat is the same as the 1400g to get the Cutlass, which makes the gold equal. Hydra gives 75 AD while Tiamat and Cutlass gives 40 + 25 =65 AD. Therefore, you are trading 10 AD for the 100 magic damage slow from the Cutlass which can later be built into Botrk if you so decide. The 10 AD will manifest itself 4 times in 2 autos, Tiamat proc and shiv, so effectively 40 AD burst damage which you trade for 100 magic damage. 100 > 40. However, the tradeoff is that Tiamat aoe does not give lifesteal compared to Hydra and consecutive autos will do more with Hydra over Cutlass.
#26 Youmuus vs Statik Rush: Similar to the above calculations, Dorans into either Youmuus or Statik is also viable, however in this instance the better choice is clearer. I’ll make the assumption that the 200g difference isn’t relevant.
Statik doesn’t get strong until you finish the Statik because its purely attack speed and crit stats which bodes well with madred, but if you decide to rush it and get it somehow then you have a 100 burst of magic damage with the crit modifier.
Youmuus is easier to build into for the brutalizer part because long swords simply give damage and Youmuus gives 30 AD and 20 armor pen which you can generalize to 50+~ effective AD and move speed burst.
This is to simply say that Youmuus damage is the following, crit auto, shiv, auto.
(Crit% * [30 + X]) + (30 + X) + (S + 30) with armor pen unaccounted for.
Statik shiv is simply crit auto, shiv, auto with the passive 100 magic damage.
(Crit% * X) + X + S + (Crit% * 100)
To spare you the details it simplifies to (Crit% * 30) + 60 for Youmuu’s = Crit% * 100
Subtracting from both sides gives
60 = 70 * Crit% and as we all know Crit% is always above 1 so its above 60/70 or 6/7
Thus, Statik is better for immediate burst over Youmuus not counting the armor pen. However if you do the whole thing over again making the 30 AD into, lets say 50 AD accounting somewhat for the 20 armor pen then you get the ratio 100/70 or 10/7 which is about 143%, above the first level of Q for shaco making Youmuus more valuable than Statik.
In fact, Youmuu’s will almost always run ahead in dps over Statik because it has AD while ATKSPD doesn’t give actual damage increase per auto. So at the 3rd hit the Youmuu’s has already surpassed the Statik damage.
“So why would you ever get Statik?” The reason besides initial burst would be because of its 6% movespeed consistency over the 20% 6 second burst from Youmuu’s giving you more movement around the map and thusly, more snowball potential. How you value that is purely subjective to your view on snowballing, but if thats not your main interest in an item rush than Youmuu’s rush is better insofar as you’re going to be in the right places at the right times.
Note: Nowhere do i value the crit % chance RNG because incorporating RNG to figure out what’s the best build doesn’t seem intuitively correct to me unless its a high number like Yasuo.
#27 Guardian Angel: This item gets much praise from assassin players because of its potential to turn them into effective tanks. The same applies to Shaco, building full damage then following up with a GA allows for safety and time for your Q to come back up for an escape or a deeper dive. Note however that building GA after building damage means you are ahead enough that you don’t need anymore damage. Thus, GA is an item that secures advantages not one that gains you them. Note that if your GA gets procced and you have no more defensive stats, the armor and magic resist from the item isn’t that efficient without effective hp you would have with a giants belt or an elixir. Feel free to build this item when needing to dive when ahead to assassinate or just to be safe splitting, it may not be the optimal item but you can’t really go wrong with it. However, if you’re a split pusher transitioning into teamfights then this is a good assassin dive item.
#28 Pots and Wards: Consumables are a main part of any players early game phases. To start, I will say that when starting blue buff it is not necessary to start with a mana pot. However, if starting red buff you may optimize the time of your route if you take a mana pot, however it is not necessary (This will be discussed more in the initial clear). On backs attempt to always have at least 1 hp pot and 1 mana pot to stay safe. This is because popping these pots such as an hp pot in a fight and mana pot in escape can mean life or death. Otherwise, look to grab a pink ward and place it in a defensive manner for map control or green wards to ward their buffs, over around dragon, or to try and find the opposing jungle. Lastly, most underrate the power of elixirs. The Elixir of Fortitude allows for a burst of damage in a way that can turn the tide of a teamfight or gank/counter gank. Buy this when entering a situation where fighting is bound to occur and the result is uncertain. Some see this item as a gold sink but I personally like the timed spike it gives.
Trinkets: I start off every game with a ward trinket (although you may start with any of the trinkets you please). The reason for this is because Shaco is extremely weak against invades. Warding early in the game allows you to find out the enemies invasion route, ward your buffs defensively or drop the ward in their jungle in an offensive invade. However, for those of you that prefer a red trinket start, I would purely argue that sweeping the ward reveals your location and is not a thing you would prefer to do as when you play Shaco you can often bypass wards that you know exist. If you’re starting blue trinket you can use it on the enemy buff to see where they are starting and use some of that information to your advantage. Nonetheless the yellow trinket is the safest trinket. I like to swap to red trinket on my first back allowing for a sweep around dragon to solo sometimes or just put pressure on the map against a lane ward or protect my second round of buffs.
#29 Early Mobility: When I talk about early mobility I’m referring to mobo boots only. Early mobility entails getting mobo boots or regular boots in preference to damage. For example if you had 360 gold you might get boots and an hp pot over a long sword. Or maybe you have 800 gold and you would rather get mobility boots in place of a dorans and a long sword. There are a few conditions to do this in a safe manner. First, you can do it if the other jungler has died and thus you have double buffs to theirs, you want to snowball the game with your advantage. Second, you can do it versus very passive junglers such as Warwick because they will “outscale” you and you must take advantage of earlier parts of the game. I DO NOT RECOMMEND doing this versus aggressive junglers you are even with, for example Jarvan where he is even in score to you. The reason for this is because if you have mobility to gank, but you get counter ganked by him, you will lose the 2v2 or 3v3 because the other jungler built damage or tank while you only built mobility which isn’t directly an offensive stat. Thus be careful when you build early mobility.
Special: If I am snowballing the game but am still afraid of the other jungler I would finish my offensive item, either Elder Lizard or an item rush (Hydra, Botrk etc.) and then get mobo boots after. This puts the timer past the initial ganking phase and thus means that counter ganks are a less viable play by both junglers. Plus, after having an offensive item the mobility becomes more valuable to whoever has it.
General Boots Guide:
- Build mobo boots when snowballing
- Build zerker greaves when split pushing
- Build tabi when team fighting vs heavy AD
- Build mercs when team fighting vs heavy CC
- Build sorcs when you’re yolo diving to kill 1 person
#30 Special: This part of the guide describes what build I used to climb to challenger 600 LP, note that was the past and may not work as efficiently as back then. Having run mostly AP blues and the AP from the mastery page I found myself with about 20 AP and magic damage shivs with my E. Thus, I found it beneficial for the most possible burst damage in a combo to use Hydra Statik because Hydra clearly has the highest burst in a second while Statik was magic damage. This meant that I got Hydra then built sorc shoes to emphasize my e damage then build Statik Shiv which capitalized on the penetration as it was also magic damage for an insane amount of burst potential. Note other items such as Wits End, Sunfire Cape, T