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League of Legends: How to play Shaco

The terrifying, clown assassin pick can be a tricky Champion to master, but here’s our tips on how for the Demon Jester.

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2021 has been the year of resurging jungle picks. With Udyr and Rumble making waves in the meta, Shaco may be the next to follow. In his game against LGD, Seo “Kanavi” Jin-hyeok ended Shaco’s 2,567 day long competitive hiatus. The JGD jungler had an excellent game on the unorthodox pick, and has led many to wonder if Shaco will be making regular appearances in drafts across the globe. Either way, if you feel inspired by Kanavi’s performance, here’s our guide to the Demon Jester.

Shaco’s aggressive early game guide – Pathing and ganking

If played well, Shaco’s early game makes him one of the best early game junglers in League of Legends. In order to maximize your clear speed, you’ll to need focus on perfecting your Q (Deceive) and W (Jack In The Box). Essentially, Shaco is capable of clearing multiple camps at the same time. If you are starting your path with red buff, placing two Boxes by raptors will allow you to take both simultaneously. This strategy can can be applied to any jungle quadrant and will put you massively ahead of your jungle opponent.

From here, you can complete your full clear by moving to Krugs. Once you get them to low health, you can drop a Box and Q over the wall for your turret to finish the job. This almost immediately opens up the map for potential ganks in either solo lane or botlane. Once again, Q & W are your best tools, as any overextension from an opponent can easily be punished. Always be sure to place the box behind your target to give them little to no room for escape.

Shaco’s team fight potential – Disrupt and harass

Shaco’s early game is rather cut and dry, gank and harass your opponents while clearing camps and objectives. The later game team fights can be far more difficult to execute. As an assassin, your primary goal should still be to access the backline and neutralize carries. Your Q gives you ample opportunity to do this, though your R (Hallucinate) may be your best tool.

In the chaos of a team fight, it’s likely your double will get damaged down. The three boxes that drop can do some unexpectedly massive damage. Your E (Two-shiv Poison) can be used to take down stragglers, as the slow and bonus damage can finish off low health enemies.

Around objectives, do your best to harass enemies and lower their health bar to either give you an advantageous fight or force them off the neutral objective. Along with being a team fight tool, your Q also poses as an impressive peel, as it can take you over walls. Overall, Shaco is meant to disrupt and annoy.

Shaco’s duel builds – AP vs AD

Shaco has two major build paths, one that prioritizes AP and another that focuses on AD. These two different builds represent different strategies when it comes to the champion. The AP build emphasizes Shaco’s ‘trickster nature’ by strengthen his abilities. This could be seen as a more supportive role, proficient in setting up kills and finishing off opponents, however reliant on teammates. The AD build is far more self-sufficient, allowing players to take the game entirely into their own hands.

For the purposes of this guide, I would elect the AP build considering Shaco has incredible carry potential. Liandy’s Anguish and Cosmic Drive are two strong first items to rush. Both provide massive boosts to his AP and enable his burst damage, Liandry’s providing another source of ‘burn’ damage. Your fourth item (after including boots) could be used to diversify your damage portfolio with some amount of AD. The Collector or Essence Reaver can do just the job, similarly grants a burst of AD.

Personally, I elect to go with The Collector, since it’s passive execute is another way to ‘finish off’ opponents. Depending on the course of the game, you can either continue to pursue damage items with Infinity Edge or find more sustain with Guardian Angel.


Runes – The more types of damage, the better

Dark Harvest is the most common main rune for Shaco players. Considering that getting Champions below 50% is a relatively easy task for Shaco, the bonus adaptive damage can be the difference maker. Cheap Shot synergizes well with your abilities that provide slows, such as Two-Shiv Poison. Eyeball Collection and Ultimate Hunter help enable Shaco’s heavy gank favored jungling style.

Sorcery for AP builds is especially important. Transcendence helps your scaling ability as you go into the late game. Gathering Storm similarly provides greater damage diversity as the game goes on. Shaco’s gameplay may seem lopsided in favor of the early game, but smart itemization and runes can make him just as deadly throughout the entire match.

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Image Credit: Riot Games