Shaco - Complete Guide to Attack Power Shaco - by Jonoo

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Intro
This is a guide to Shaco that focuses on an attack power build. Ability power is also viable with Shaco but this guide will focus on attack power. I have personally had a bit more success with attack power but each has its own strengths.
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I realize there are a few Shaco guides out there but I am publishing this for two reasons:
- I want to provide a detailed guide with plenty of tips for playing him.
- I want to provide a guide that is helpful for people relatively new to the game.
- My play style and items choices differ somewhat from the existing guides.

I have played over a hundred games. I have played as every champion. I am not an expert player but I am above average. I have played as Shaco about 10 times. I often have a lot (~20) of kills and very few (~2) deaths when I play as him. I don’t think it is particularly hard to have a few good games but I have posted a couple screen shots just to prove that I have had at least some success with my build. This guide is intended to be accessible by beginning players but there are plenty of ideas in that anyone wanting to learn more about Shaco might find useful. 

In a nutshell
For those of you who just want the build without all the explanation here it is:

Abilities: Hallucinate-> Deceive-> Two-Shiv Poison-> Jack in the Box
Items: Meki pendant + health potions, mercury treads, sheen, infinity edge, blood thirster.
Masteries: 9/0/21
Spells: Teleport, heal
Runes: Magic Regen, health Regen, critical strike damage. If you do quints in magic Regen don't get Meki.

Abilities
Shaco is a very fun champion to play as. His abilities allow for a lot of creative thinking. That is a great reason to use him in my opinion. If you need another reason he is also an effective champion at all levels of play. 


Deceive: Shaco stealths himself instantly and teleports to target location, his next attack auto-crits for bonus damage
Commentary: This is definitely one of my favorite abilities for any champion. It combines teleport, stealth and a guaranteed critical strike. It is a huge source of damage, will save your life countless times and allows you to pull off all sorts of tricks. Even more amazing is that you can cast Jack in the Box and Two-Shiv-Poison without breaking out of stealth. 5 seconds may seem short but it is really all you need after you get the hang of using this ability (more on that in the tactics section). 

Jack in the Box: Shaco creates an animated Jack-in-the-Box at target location, which will wait, stealthed, to fear nearby units and attack them when some come nearby.
Commentary: This ability is a great addition to Shaco’s toolkit. With this build I use it more for crowd control than I do for damage. I have seen ability power Shacos do some great damage to champions with this ability. In any case it won’t do much damage if the enemy champion is standing in a group with other champions or creeps. The multiple target fear effect is amazing. I tend to use this every chance I get in the mid to late game. I almost never use it early on when I am laning. 

Two-Shiv-Poison: Shaco's shivs passively poison targets on hit, giving them a miss chance and slowing them. He can throw his shivs to deal damage and poison the target.
Commentary: Yet another ability with multiple uses and a lot of versatility. Shaco is a great chaser with deceive and this is icing on the cake, Regular attacks will slow the enemy and if you can’t get close enough for a regular attack you can throw shivs that will slow the enemy and do damage. This ability is a huge help for team ganks just as any other champion’s slow would be. The difference is that often the enemy won’t even see it coming because you will use deceive just before entering their line of sight. 

Hallucinate: Shaco creates an illusion of himself near him, which can attack nearby enemies. Upon death, it explodes, dealing damage to nearby enemies.
Commentary: At the risk of sounding redundant, this ability is also great and has plenty of uses. It can be used as damage mitigation when you are able to confuse the enemy about which Shaco they should be attacking. It is a decent source of damage, especially early in the game. Later in the game as an attack power Shaco you will get less benefit from its explosion and more from its attacks. Be sure to alt-click to control it separately. Remember you are the red one and the double is the green one. 

Ability order:
I take abilities with the following priority. 
Hallucinate-> Deceive-> Two-Shiv Poison-> Jack in the Box

Hallucinate’s burst damage is great, especially early on. I take it as soon as it is available because the extra damage boost is great for getting kills. Early game kills translate into late game kills because you will be a higher level and have more gold for better items.
Deceive’s damage is also a great boost and it starts a bit low at just 50% extra damage. I think the damage increase from this outpaces damage from the next two abilities.

Two-Shiv Poison is your only ranged ability. I sometimes use it to harass the enemy in my lane early game when I don’t have any other good options (getting close to them would result in me losing too much life). If you are going for a kill early on this will almost certainly be something you hit the enemy champion with after you use deceive. More damage helps.

Jack in the Box is a great skill but with my play style I don’t use it much early on. You aren’t going ability power so it doesn’t do as much damage. The AOE fear is too unreliable with all the minions in your lane setting it off. Don’t get me wrong it does have its uses early game. For example you can put it in the bushes and get the champion to head in. It can get you kills. I just find it less useful early on than the extra guaranteed damage from the other abilities. I sometimes take one point in it early on at the expense of two-shiv poison just for the ability to use it to disorient my enemy in a gank. 

Item build:

Meki pendant + health potions, mercury treads, sheen, infinity edge, blood thirster.

- Meki pendant + health potions – You need staying power early on to maximize time in lane and therefore experience. If you are level 30 with a good rune book use mana Regen runes instead and go straight to boots of speed + health potions. Meki turns into Nashor’s tooth later which is somewhat useful but I rarely get that far. 

- Mercury treads – Even with the ability to go invisible and teleport you need movement speed. Especially early on when you are defending/pushing a lane. It is universally important. So is magic resist and movement debuff reduction. I personally love mercury treads on nearly every champion because of how incredibly useful (and undervalued) these attributes are. Stuns/slows account for most of my deaths. The magic resist is slightly less important on Shaco because you rarely need to take lots of big hits. If you want to go with something else go with beserkers greaves.

- Sheen – Simply amazing on Shaco. This cannot be overstated. You have four abilities to spam a sheen proc from and three have short cooldowns. As attack power Shaco the proc will become very powerful. When you get this item it will be much easier to kill enemy champions. Very late game you can always upgrade this to Trinity Force. 

- Infinity edge – This is a great item on many attack power champions. What makes it even better on Shaco is that the extra 50% critical strike damage will add to the damage deceive does. Also it has very high attack power which benefits deceive, sheen procs, two-shiv poison and hallucinate. If you don’t buy it all at once buy the attack power components first. This item completes the core of this build. 

- Blood thirster – Really at this point it becomes difficult to suggest one thing to get and you should be tailoring it to the game you are in. I put this in here because as Shaco you tend to die infrequently so you get the full benefit, which is tons of attack damage that scales well with all your abilities. The life steal component means you will have to return to base less often. Go kill some creeps in the jungle to get your health back up and get back in the fight. 

- Late late game – Most games don’t get this far and it is hard to advise one thing to get. Consider last whisper if the enemy has tons of armor, banshee’s shield if nukes and disables are causing you problems, black cleaver for even more damage, brutalizer when you don’t have a lot of gold, Nashor’s tooth for cooldown reduction or trinity force for all around goodness. 

Summoner spells:

Teleport – allows you to stay in the action and get all important experience. As this is a guide geared towards beginners I would say you want this on almost every champion. Also as Shaco I almost always need to return to base early in the game. Missing out on experience early game can be a downward spiral.

Heal – this is a guide for beginners so I will stick with heal which is very useful. Be sure to heal your team too. This can also be used to bait enemy champions who see your low health and think they can kill you but aren’t accounting for your heal. 

Other ideas – Many of the spells can be useful. Ignite to finish off champions early game, cleanse to make you die even less (use deceive right after) and exhaust to help with kills or get away. Stick with teleport/heal until you get everything else down.

Masteries:

Offense: Deadliness (3/3), Archmages savvy (1/3), Sorcery (4/4), Archaic Knowledge (1/1)
Utility: Spatial accuracy (1/1), Perseverance (3/3), Awareness (4/4), Meditation (3/3), Greed (1/1), Utility Mastery (2/2), Quickness (3/3), Intelligence (3/3), Presence of the Master (1/1)


Even though this is an attack power build I spec into magic penetration on offense because it is one of the best points you can spend on any tree. Shaco already has plenty of killing power and doesn’t need defense so I put the rest in the utility tree to keep everything else running well. I could also see putting 21 points in offense and 9 on utility. You will be great either way.

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Runes

Most of my Shaco games have not been at level 30 or with a working rune book. So I can’t tell you much about the tried and true rune setup for Shaco. Still, I have my recommendations based on using runes with other champions. I tend to go all primary runes because I usually find the reduction in benefits from secondary runes makes them not worth it. 

Blue
Go all magic regeneration at level 18 runes. At level 4 they are equivalent to the flat magic regeneration runes and after that they just get better. You will be level 4 very early in the game. This allows you to skip magic regeneration items, which allows you to deal more damage earlier in the game.

Yellow
Go all health regeneration at level 18 runes. This further adds to your staying power. 

Red
Go either critical strike damage to increase deceive damage or go armor penetration to add to all around damage to attacks. Armor penetration is one of the most effective ways to use your red runes for an attack power champion. Every champion has innate armor and points in armor penetration have a relatively large effect on your damage output. Shaco isn’t really an auto-attack champion so he will get less benefit from them than Ashe or Yi. You can’t really go wrong either way.

Quintessence
Personally I use mana regeneration here too because then I truly don’t have to worry about spamming my abilities throughout the game. Also if you look at the relative benefit of quintessences versus regular runes, mana regeneration gets a high multiplier. There are plenty of good options though. Consider cooldown reduction, armor penetration, or critical strike damage.

 Play style by stage of the game:

Early game
You can lane solo or with a partner. As a beginner you should lane with a partner and play very defensively. Stay close enough to the enemy creeps to get experience but don’t get hit. If you are more daring you can use deceive to position yourself behind the enemy. Hit him a couple times, then throw your shivs and usually run back behind your creeps. Your damage at this point won’t be great. If you use your abilities frequently you will run out of mana.
If you are more experienced you can go for a gank early on with a good lane partner. As always someone with stuns and burst damage is great. If you are solo laning it will be very hard for you to push against ranged champions (especially 2). I usually play very defensively and let them push on my tower. They often get careless and take a few tower hits while trying to hurt me. Then either solo or with help from a teammate I’ll kill them near my tower. 
The bottom line is to stay in your lane and soak up experience. I find getting a lot of creep kills early on difficult with Shaco and a waste of his abilities. 

Mid game
Around level 6 you should be looking for gank opportunities within and outside of your lane. When you get sheen your ability to kill champions will increase dramatically. You still need to be careful and develop a sense of when you can kill without dying. It is always helpful to coordinate with your team. Ask for a gank in your lane and hopefully a teammate will go hide in the bushes. After you recall back to base to buy items & heal head to another lane to help someone else gank before teleporting back to your lane. Your role as an assassin is to kill champions. This is also a good source of gold because creep kills will be low.

Late game
By around level 10 your team should be grouping up and hopefully the enemy team is not. Then you can travel as a group and kill groups of 1-3 champions while pushing towers. At the beginner level I wouldn’t deviate from this formula too much. Your role in group fights is to hang back, let others initiate and then teleport in when you don’t think you will be focused and you can help score a kill. It is generally a good idea for everyone to attack the same, squishy, target. Remember to teleport back out before you are going to die. Your death means the enemy gets gold and experience while you sit in time out. That isn’t doing your team any favors. You will also be relied upon to help chase down fleeing champions. You are “fast” because you can teleport. You also have a slow in the form of your thrown shivs. I have seen plenty of games decided almost entirely by which team stayed together and which one had champions go off to “farm” by themselves. Hopefully you won’t die too many times learning this lesson.

Tactics

Standard rotation
There are a few good variations but here is the general idea. Get a “good” distance from an enemy champion, use deceive, then get behind them and hit them. Next if there is any chance they will hang around drop jack in the box and then hit them again. This will proc sheen for the second time. Then use your ultimate, which also procs sheen, and hit them a third time. If they stayed still your double is now hitting them too and they are running in circles getting hit by the jack in the box. Finally cast your two poison shiv daggers and hit them a fourth time. If they are squishy they should be dead. If they are a tank it might be time to back off and then if appropriate come back in a few seconds to finish them. They will be slowed and deceive will be off cooldown soon so you should have no problems retreating. If you used your ultimate feel free to get to safety while letting it hit them (use alt-click). If they are dumb they will kill it and take even more damage. 

Storming the castle
You can teleport through walls which means you can infiltrate the enemies stronghold without taking hits from a tower. You will also be stealthed when you arrive. This is dangerous and I don’t recommend you do it frequently but if an enemy champion is wounded and has retreated to safety but away from his tower then by all means go get a kill. You will need to get back out before other champions kill you. You will generally have to wait for your deceive cooldown to get back out so be careful with this.
Shako the unkillable
You shouldn’t have many deaths. Why? Well you essentially have a flash on a short cooldown that also make you stealthed. When you are getting focused you want to hit this as soon as possible and start running. Mercury treads give you valuable second off the time you are waiting for a stun to wear off so you can use deceive. You also have an aoe fear that you can drop to disable a large group of champions. This can be used to help others survive too. Just get in front of the fleeing friendly champion and drop the box then run to safety. Finally your attack slows and so do your shivs. So a single champion will find you impossible to chase. Remember even though this is an attack power build you are a hit and run character. You can always come right back in a few seconds when deceive is off cooldown. 

Chasing
If your teammates need help chasing down an enemy champion and you are near them you can just use deceive to get closer and then auto attack them to keep them slowed. Throw two-shiv if they somehow get away and deceive isn't up. If you are trying to intercept it helps to pop deceive before they see you. Then they won’t be trying to avoid you. You can also drop a jack in the box right in front of them while stealthed if you are in the right position. Keep chasing even if a champion is faster than you because when deceive comes up you may be able to get close enough to shiv them again. Be careful about chasing across the whole map because their teammates will eventually show up to kill you. 

Shako the assassin assassin
You can turn the tables on Evelyn or Twitch by buying an oracle’s elixir. Remember you don’t die much and someone on your team should have one. I usually do this late game and but buy a ward for my lane at level 6. Also if you are stealthed when you see them you can surprise them. If you are up against twitch and/or Evelyn and your team doesn’t buy any wards or an oracle’s elixir that is a huge mistake. They always pay for themselves in terms of gold you get from kills. Not to mention the drastic reduction in deaths for your team.


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