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LoL Shaco Guide – Builds, Strategy and Roles

Xan Hisam – Shaco; the demon jester, is the kind of champion who’d sneak up behind his enemy, stab them in the back and puncture them with his daggers enough times to make them look like a fountain of blood, all while having a maniacal grin on his face and cackling like an old hag, taking pleasure in their agony.

Alright, there aren’t any streams of blood spurting out of his victims since League of Legends is slightly comical and teen-friendly, but if the game was darker, Shaco would definitely be just as malevolent, or maybe even more. He does have that creepy grin and hysterical laugh though.

Shaco is capable of dealing tons of damage in short bursts every few seconds, and has an ability that teleports him a short distance towards a target location and renders him invisible for a small amount of time, granting him a decent bit of mobility and immense survivability.

He’s more suited for brief combat, moving in and out of a battlefield rapidly to avoid being targeted and sneaking up to and attacking his desired target without any interference from his team-mates. Shaco is classified as a stealthy melee fighter and assassin.

Shaco Abilities

Backstab (Innate Passive)
Shaco deals bonus damage when striking a unit from behind.

Deceive (Q)
Shaco instantly teleports to a target location and turns invisible. His next attack is guaranteed to critically strike.

Jack In The Box (W)
Shaco creates an animated Jack-in-the-Box at target location, which will wait, stealthed, to Fear nearby units and attack them when they move into close-proximity of the box.

Two-Shiv Poison (E)
(Passive) Shaco’s Shivs passively poison targets on hit, slowing them and applying a miss chance to minions. (Active) Shaco throws a Shiv at his target, dealing damage and slowing them.

Hallucinate (R)
Shaco creates an illusion of himself near him, which can attack nearby enemies. Upon death, it explodes, dealing damage to nearby enemies.

Your Guide To Shaco Abilities

Shaco’s illusion from Hallucinate takes additional damage, deals slightly less damage than Shaco to enemies and half damage to structures. The illusion from Hallucinate explodes after a certain amount of time, or if it runs out of health.

Shaco’s illusion deals any and all on hit effects that Shaco might have, such as Madred’s Bloodrazor, Frozen Mallet, etc. Holding ALT (default key) while clicking lets you control Shaco’s illusion. The spell effects for Deceive and Hallucinate are visible through fog of war.

The passive for Two-Shiv Poison is deactivated when the ability is on cooldown. The boxes planted using Jack In The Box expire after a certain amount of time while hidden. If an enemy moves into its radius, the box activates and fires for a few seconds before disappearing.

The critical bonus damage from Deceive is a special modifier and replaces normal critical strikes when active. However, it can be modified with other critical damage bonuses such as Infinity Edge’s UNIQUE Passive. Casting Jack In The Box breaks stealth.

Shaco is invulnerable for an extremely brief period while casting Hallucinate. If timed right, it can be used to evade abilities such as Karthus’ Requiem and Caitlyn’s Ace in the Hole. The critical strike bonus from Deceive stays until your next auto-attack or after its base timer expires, and is not affected by stealth.

The cooldown on Deceive only begins after you break out of stealth or it fades. All attacks and abilities (including item actives and Shaco’s illusion) benefit from Backstab except for Jack In The Box.

Casting Hallucinate while under effect from abilities such as ‘Exhaust’, ‘Ignite’ and Zilean’s ‘Time Bomb’, does not replicate spell effects and animations on to the illusion, giving away the real Shaco. All abilities apart from Deceive have ability power modifiers on their damage outputs.

The damage on Two-Shiv Poison’s active scales with damage as well as ability power, being the only ability that benefits from both stats. Deceive’s damage is directly proportional to your total attack damage, your critical damage modifiers, and the level Deceive is at.

Shaco’s a versatile champion and can be made in various ways, including (but not limited to) focusing on ability power, or all-out attack damage, or a hybrid, balancing both, attack damage and ability power. You can even try out a tanky-DPS build; it’s totally a viable option.

How To Play With Shaco in League of Legends

The versatility of Shaco’s ability set is his greatest strength. Creating illusions, blinking, and turning invisible let him deceive his enemies with ease and the confusion caused by these antics disrupts the formation of the enemy team. This opens up a number of opportunities for Shaco to pick his targets in fights.

Effectively using the abilities at your disposal, you can evade or trick enemy pursuers and escape even the most meticulously planned attempts to trap and kill Shaco. Cast Hallucinate mid-fights to make it difficult for enemies to discern who the real Shaco is and to avoid damage.

You can also cast it when out of visibility, and use the illusion as bait to either make the enemy follow it into a trap or make the enemy waste their abilities on it. Try to keep Deceive’s cooldown in mind when formulating escape plans.

Starter Build
The recommended loadout for Shaco is slightly different from the usual starter setup. We’ll still have a bit of defense, but we’ll focus more on offense and Shaco’s abilities by giving him reduced cooldowns allowing for more frequent use of Deceive to facilitate a hit-and-run play-style. Use the following runes, masteries and summoner spells:

Attack speed runes for all slots for Marks, flat armor runes for Seals and flat cooldown reduction runes in all Glyph slots. Equip armor penetration Quintessences in all 3 slots. Another Quintessence setup would be to fill the 3 slots with one rune of attack speed, flat armor and flat cooldown reduction each.

Use the 21/9/0 mastery setup. Take as many armor penetration and magic penetration masteries you can in the offense tree. Spend points on attack speed increase, cooldown reduction, and the ‘Executioner’ mastery.

For defense, get +6 armor, +2 magic resist and all the health related masteries you can get now. Choose ‘Flash’ and ‘Ignite’ as your summoner spells.

Having ‘Flash’ lets you use all your abilities offensively and then use ‘Flash’ to get out of a fight. ‘Ignite’ helps you finish up on kills most of the time. You can take ‘Exhaust’ or ‘Ghost’ in place of ‘Ignite’, if you prefer more survivability. Both spells are quite effective when used offensively as well.

Shaco Items, Abilities and Tips

Purchase a Doran’s Blade at the start of the match. Buy boots on your first trip back to the store and start working on Trinity Force, completing Sheen before the other components.

Once you’ve completed Trinity Force, make an Infinity Edge next and upgrade your boots to Mercury Treads. Follow it up with Guardian Angel, and rush a Bloodthirster next. When done with these two, begin working on Madred’s Bloodrazor as your last item.

Take Two-Shiv Poison as your first ability. Level Deceive on level 2. Max Deceive first, followed by Two-Shiv Poison. You could unlock Jack In The Box on level 4 or you could simply leave it alone until you’re done with Shaco’s other 2 abilities.

Unlock Hallucinate on level 6 and upgrade it on levels 11 and 16. Keep moving about and avoid taking any damage from your opponents. Get the last-hit on as many minions as you can. Throw a Shiv at enemy champions now and then using Two-Shiv Poison’s active to keep them below full health.

Don’t use it too much, otherwise you’ll run out of mana. When you’ve reached a decent level, you can attempt for kills. I would recommend playing passive until your first visit back to the store, and once you’ve made Sheen and shoes.

Initiate fights with Deceive, and try to attack from behind as much as you can for maximum damage. Cast Hallucinate to trick your enemies and avoid being focused. Try to give as many orders to your illusion and keep his movement as similar to yourself as you can to make it difficult for your opponents to determine who the real Shaco is.

Deceive should cooldown usually by the time you’re done killing your target and can be used again for an escape. If not, simply evade other enemies until it refreshes.

Go to next page for guide on advanced play-styles, builds and strategy.

Use ‘Flash’ as a last resort in most cases. Plan ahead and set-up escape routes preëmptively by planting Jack In The Boxes on your way out to make it difficult for enemies to chase you after your attempt to kill a champion.

You can also set up traps for your opponents by planting multiple Jack In The Boxes at the same spot and rush the enemy when they trigger them. They can also be used mid-fights to fear multiple enemies at the same time. Bear in mind that a Jack In The Box doesn’t activate immediately and is visible for a brief period right when planted.

Shaco Advanced Play-Styles, Builds and Strategy

All-out AP
Masteries: 21/9/0
Spend points on the standard magic related masteries in offense all the way down to the ‘Executioner’ mastery. Magic penetration, cooldown reduction and ability power masteries are extremely important. Take +6 armor, +2 magic resist and health related masteries in defense.

Runes: Flat ability power runes for every rune slot except Glyph slots. Equip cooldown reduction runes in Glyph slots.

Summoner Spells: ‘Flash’ and ‘Ignite’.

Abilities: Unlock Jack In The Box on level 1 and then Two-Shiv Poison on the following level. Spend one point on Deceive on level 3. Alternate between Jack In The Box and Two-Shiv Poison, leveling Deceive last. Get Hallucinate on levels 6, 11 and 16.

Items: Buy an Amplifying Tome as your first item. Make a visit to the store when you have enough money to upgrade Amplifying Tome into a Sheen and buy shoes. If for some reason you have to make an early return, buy shoes and go back to your lane.

Once done with Sheen, upgrade your shoes to Sorcerer’s Shoes. Rush Morello’s Evil Tome as your next item. Use the Sheen bought earlier to make Lich Bane after Morello’s Evil Tome. For your 4th item, purchase Banshee’s Veil to grant you some survivability.

Focus on creating Rabadon’s Deathcap as your 5th item. You can rush Rabadon’s Deathcap right after Lich Bane if a game is going well. You can choose from Rod of the Ages, Abyssal Scepter and Rylai’s Crystal Scepter as your last item. If you don’t need any survivability, making a Void Staff would help you more.

It’s a make or break play-style. Massive burst damage, weak at sustained fighting. Difficult to recover after a bad start, since a good score early on is crucial for your damage output to stay relevant. Good at quickly killing target and then disappearing again. Shaco should have low defense when made this way, but ends up having greater survivability.

Shaco can kill most squishy enemy champions in about 2 seconds with this build. The cooldown on Deceive is the same on all levels, hence upgrading it is pointless since we’re playing the demon jester as a mage. Don’t initiate with Deceive and just use it for escape.

Set up traps and plant a lot of Jack In The Boxes in groups. Jump up to enemies that trigger any of these traps. Use ‘Ignite’ and the active on Two-Shiv Poison. If done right, you should usually get a kill. You can start using Deceive offensively once you’ve got Lich Bane. Remember to use Jack In The Box as much as you can. A well placed Jack In The Box in the middle of a fight can make all the difference.

The illusion from Hallucinate is only good for the damage he deals upon exploding when focusing AP, and therefore, requires more effort to be used effectively than it otherwise would. To make sure you damage enemy champions with its explosion, cast Hallucinate mid-fight, and just order the illusion to rush towards an enemy champion.

He should usually die from the area of effect damage or turrets (if there is one nearby) even if the enemy team ignores him entirely. The number of enemy champions hit with the explosion decides how well you used Hallucinate when playing an AP Shaco.

‘Jungler’ Shaco
Masteries: 21/0/9
Take all attack damage related masteries along with percentage based armor penetration and magic penetration masteries and the one that augments summoner spells in offense. Max out the attack speed increase and cooldown reduction masteries as well, and take the ‘Lethality’ mastery.

Spend only one point on the ‘Sunder’ mastery and take the ‘Executioner’ mastery. Get the ‘Expanded Mind’, ‘Swiftness’ and ‘Runic Affinity’ masteries from the utility tree.

You can take either the mastery that improves recall or the one that reduces time spent dead after ‘Expanded Mind’ to make up for the 4 mastery requirement for ‘Swiftness’.

Runes: Attack speed increase runes for all Glyph and three for Marks. Equip armor penetration runes in the remaining six slots for Marks. Take flat armor runes for Seals and flat attack damage Quintessences for all three slots.

Summoner Spells: ‘Smite’ and ‘Ignite’.

Abilities: Start with Jack In The Box. Unlock Two-Shiv Poison on level 2 and then Deceive on the next. Keep upgrading Two-Shiv Poison, leveling Jack In The Box when Two-Shiv Poison is unavailable. Max out the other two abilities before leveling Deceive. Get Hallucinate on level 6 and improve it on levels 11 and 16.

Items: Purchase shoes and three health potions at the start of a match. Rush Wriggle’s Lantern and upgrade your shoes to Boots of Mobility next. After that, start working on a Trinity Force, making Sheen first, followed by Zeal and making Phage in the end.

Make an Infinity Edge next and follow it up with Guardian Angel. Once done with both, buy a Bloodthirster. You should have all 6 items slots filled by now. When you’re done with your build; and have enough gold, sell Wriggle’s Lantern and buy Madred’s Bloodrazor in its place.

Great at jungling with a lot of mobility right from the start. Jack In The Box and Two-Shiv Poison’s passive makes it easy to avoid being damaged much by neutrals in the jungle, allowing you to stay at high health even without lifesteal, making it possible to gank early. Jack In The Box acts like free vision wards. Deceive makes ganking easy.

You are however weak defensively (until you’ve made a Guardian Angel) and can die pretty quickly if focused. Apart from that, since you’re not in a lane, you don’t have direct control over how a lane plays out and bad team-mates can make things difficult quite easily.

A good jungling route for the first few minutes is crucial to the rest of the game for a jungler. For Shaco, begin by planting a Jack In The Box at the wraith spawn on your side of the jungle after the 40 second mark. Now start planting Jack In The Boxes at the lizard buff.

By the time you plant 3 Jack In The Boxes, it should almost be time for the wraiths to spawn. Move to the wraith spawn and start focusing the blue wraith. Kill the blue wraith and one of the lesser wraiths and get ready to move towards the lizard buff.

Attack it as soon as it spawns, and plant a Jack In The Box mid-fight. Don’t use ‘Smite’ just yet. Once you’ve killed it, run towards the golem buff on your side of the jungle.

Use basic attacks, ‘Smite’ and plant Jack In The Box. It should die pretty quickly. You should have both buffs in less than 3 minutes. Remember to use potions to stay at full health. You’re free to gank a lane by now or you can continue jungling.

For the rest of the game, jungle hard, and gank when an opportunity arises. Gank when you have the buffs mostly, and when a lane isn’t pushed much. Ganking a lane that’s pushed really hard would require a tower dive.

It’s a risky move, and I would suggest against doing so unless you know what you’re doing. Never forsake your team-mates just to get a buff. Evaluate situations, and try to make it to as many team-fights as you can. Ward key points such as Baron Nashor and the dragon using Wriggle’s Lantern, standard wards and Jack In The Box.

How To Counter Shaco

Shaco fights in small bursts, and relies on Deceive for escape and survivability. You can take him out usually when Deceive is on cooldown. It’s important to know who the real Shaco is when he uses Hallucinate.

If you’ve figured out the real one, use signals to tell your team-mates of the real Shaco. Rush Shaco when he uses Deceive to get into a fight since he can’t use it again to get out, and use burst damage usually. If a Shaco’s doing well in a game, spending money on Oracle’s Elixir or wards might be a wise choice.

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