Being a sneaky bastard, playing AP Shaco - by DT777

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Ok, so Shaco is probably my second favorite hero over all, and the only non-tank I can play really well. I don't play him very aggressively, but rather I focus on mind games, baiting, and picking off fleeing enemy heroes. You have to have a good bit of patience to play Shaco like this, but it can definitely pay off big time.

Spells
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Q: Deceive: Shaco stealths instantly and teleports to the target location. Deals critical damage on a physical attack that breaks stealth and he can cast abilities without breaking stealth. This ability is what your gameplay is going to center around. Oddly enough, you only need one level of it early for your purposes. The only thing that changes with level is the critical damage.

W: Jack in the Box: Shaco creates an animated Jack-In-The-Box at the target location which will soon stealth, then wait to fear near by enemies and attack them for five seconds. This is your bread and butter. You will use this. You will abuse this. People will hate you for this skill. I affectionately refer to them as jitbs.

And you will hate creeps for triggering them from WAY too far range than normal >.>

E: Two-Shiv Poison: Shaco's shivs poison his targets on hit. Slows and gives them a slight chance to miss for two seconds. Alternatively, throws a shiv at an enemy for damage. This will be your finishing move since it gets 1:1 AP. It will probably also be your harassing spell.

R: Hallucinate: Shaco creates an illusion of himself that deals a % of his damage and takes extra damage. Deals damage on death. Lasts 30 seconds. Good later, especially for taking out towers. With a dps build, this ability is slight better, but I find it a bit useless because shaco's far too squishy for the illusion to last long enough to deal any damage in a team fight. Makes for a decent AoE nuke if you're trying to tower dive a low hp hero. Just send the illusion after him, let it die and net you a kill.

Passive: Backstab: Shaco deals 25% extra damage when attacking from behind

Summoner Spells:

Teleport, Cleanse, Ignite, Clarity, and Flash are all good choices.

And why flash? Well... because double blink is gay.

Skill Build
1. jitb
2. deceive
3. jitb
4. two-shiv
5. jitb
6. two-shiv
7. jitb
8. two-shiv
9. jitb
10. two-shiv
11. two-shiv
12. deceive
13. deceive
14. hallucinate
15. hallucinate
16. hallucinate
17. deceive
18. deceive

As you can see, I delay in getting my ult. I like two-shiv better. But that's just me. But I have other reasons:

Shaco is far too squishy for his ult to be of use early. It will get a few hits off, then die. And it won't ever save you because it's ridiculously easy to tell which is which. Finally, his damage is going to be mediocre at best. But if you find it more useful to take it earlier, which I don't, you can.

Item Build

Starting
Maki Pendant
2x Health Potions.

End Game
1. Nashor's Tooth (I typically rush this item first).
2. AP boots.
3. Mejai's Soulstealer
4. Abyssal Scepter
5. Guardian Angels (Optional. But hilarious and it makes you nigh unkillable.)
6. (Optional) Archangel's Staff
7. (Optional) Zhonya's Ring
8. (Optional) Banshee's Veil
9. (Optional) Lich Bane

Alrighty, as you can see, this build is AP heavy and survival light. You might be asking yourself, why should I play shaco so squishy? He'll be useless in a team fight! Well, allow me to explain.

Gameplay

Early game as Shaco you're just going to want to lane. Try to keep from getting nuked out of your lane and try to farm up some. You're not going to be very useful for a couple of levels and you don't have the mana regeneration to be reckless. Farm up and get your Nashor's and AP boots as fast as possible. When you've got both, then the fun begins.

Jitb Nests

One thing most people don't seem know is that the jitbs hit very hard with an AP build. And they're not too afraid of the turrets because most people only ever plant one in a given location. You get feared, take a small amount of damage, then move on. If Shaco isn't around, it's not going to hurt you.

Wrong.

If you stack four or five of these little bad boys here, they can be hitting for 1k+ total per volley. Combine in the short fear, and you can kill non-tank heroes without even being there. I've done so so many times it isn't funny. Further more, if they just aren't wandering into your turret nest, because they do expire after all, then you can always bait someone into them.

You'd be surprised how many people will chase a low hp Shaco despite him having two escape abilities, one of which is a blink cloak.

Basically what you want to do is find a nice high traffic area, a choke point without much room to maneuver in, and plant 3-4 turrets when no one is looking. Then go out into the nearby lane, alone, and begin the baiting. Sit there and farm the creeps like you aren't really paying attention, that will usually draw one or two people to you like flies to picnic. 

Bait them into the turrets, but don't be obvious about it. Make it seem like you are genuinely trying to flee. This works best if they see you use deceive before you start running so they think it's on cd and you can't blink away. Of course, that also might get you killed, so be careful about burning your blink. 

When the fear hits them, immediately drop another jitb on them and start meleeing whoever's lowest. If they start to run, but aren't low enough for two-shiv to kill, blink on them and attack for a slight boost in damage. Kill one then get out of there, if you're low, or attempt to kill another if two came for you and you think you can take him. If they start growing wise to your ways, simply focus on using jitbs for controlling high traffic areas. Try to keep one by dragon or Nashor, going by every now and then to plant a new one down.

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Of course, the idea isn't always to kill them. Shaco isn't exactly a big team hero. Even as a physical DPS build, he'll still be squishier than Ashe but without the range. And if you go hp/armor to counter that, you won't have the mana or mana regen to make much use of his abilities, and you won't be putting out as much physical damage.

So what you want to do is keep one, preferably two, of their heroes preoccupied with you. You want to give your team a numbers advantage by pretending to be an easy target. And if you can't do that, you want to provide a minor aoe disable for those team fights, while cleaning up after with two-shiv and your ult. 

Wild Goose Chase

Like I said, Shaco is more about the mind games than team fights. If you can continually give your enemies the appearance of weakness and an easy kill, but lead them on a long chase, you can set up a gank or just plain preoccupy one of their heroes for a good long time. Use grass and Deceive to the best of your abilities. You always want to try to end the cloak in the grass, and you always want to have the golem buff so deceive cools down only a split second after the cloak ends. With both of those, you can lead a hero on a chase for a good thirty seconds while harassing them the entire time with two-shiv. Do "stupid" things to draw enemies after you, then give them the slip. Keep them tied up in the chase, and maybe even bait them into your allies or your jitb nests.

What to watch out for: The counters to Shaco

Because of his blink cloak, Shaco doesn't really have any hard counters in terms of heroes. He doesn't have a huge mana pool, so Veigar and Kassadin aren't really too big of a threat.

But there is one thing you should always fear: Oracles.

Oracles will shut you down. Hard. If you see it, call for a gank. Maybe multiple to teach the oracle carrying bastard a lesson. Wards aren't too much of a counter, since they can't move and Shaco is an incredibly mobile hero, but they can definitely be an annoyance.

Also be careful of silence. Chain silence can ruin your day, since you can't cleanse silence.
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