- Quick Guide
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- Strategy and Tactics
Strategy and Tactics
General insight to early game decision making
Early game for Shaco is all about making the right decision. Shaco is a unique jungler in the fact that he can start at any buff and lose little to no HP. Also, both buffs are great on him. Red amplifies your killing potential when ganking and blue buff helps you to gank more often.
Where I start usually depends on what I want to do. Again, a very good Shaco player will take into consideration multiple scenarios and choose what he wants to do before he's placed his boxes. If the enemy team has a weak jungler ( Amumu, Fiddlesticks, Lee Sin, Maokai, etc ) I might consider starting blue and invading their red; or if they have say Lee Sin who generally starts Red, I may start red and invade his blue. Take into account how low the enemy jungler gets, what buffs they usually start, and whether or not you can kill them / force them to back. Even if you don't kill them, forcing a jungler to back early is a HUGE advantage. Not only do you gain control of his buff timers / jungle, but now you're going to be ahead in levels.
Remember, decision making early game is crucial. If my mid / top laner does a lot of damage early, or has some sort of early game CC, I may just take red and gank his/her lane level two. It really all depends on both your team and the enemy team's champions. Keep in mind with the recent jungle changes, you get a lot more gold from picking up your Stalker's Blade early, so you might want to consider backing after your first clear / gank.
Another thing to take into account is your lane match up. Some lanes might be at a major disadvantage (counter picked) and require babysitting. The cool thing about Shaco is that his ganks are very potent and if you didn't score a kill, you most likely forced them to use a summoner. Any time you force the opponent to use a summoner, your gank is considered to be a success. Unless, of course, something goes wrong and someone on your team dies in the process.
Something I like to play by when jungling Shaco is that your time must be micromanaged very well. He's such a strong ganker and just because you're counter jungling well doesn't mean you should neglect ganking lanes. Something to live by when playing Shaco is 70% gank, 30% jungle. A key to being a good Shaco is to also know when you need to farm and to not let yourself fall behind. Shaco is a very difficult champion to come back with, and you don't bring much to a team if you fall behind.
You should be concerned about your box placement and whether or not the enemy team will be invading. Most of the time your team won't be invading when you play Shaco, so it's a good idea to have your team spread out and defend / give vision to all the major entryways to your jungle.
A generic start to your jungle is to place boxes one minute prior to the camp's spawn time. Make sure you position your boxes to where they will attack the golem / lizard and not the smaller minions. When the buff spawns, step back so your boxes take aggro. Once they do, head back in and hit your objective in the back. Your boxes should melt your target and you should finish the buff in a few seconds. Be careful and mindful of when blue/red spawns, because if you're too close and your boxes fear the golem/lizard into you, you'll take a lot of unnecessary damage.
From there, it's up to you to decide whether you want to continue to another buff, counter jungle, or gank.
Transitioning from early game into mid game should be all about map / dragon control. If you're playing Shaco, there should be no reason that you don't have Dragon on lock down. The second you get level 6, it's a good idea to keep a pink ward on you and keep vision of dragon while it's spawned. With your clone + stalker's blade, you should be able to take dragon with ease.
Other than objective control, you want to keep in mind that Shaco isn't all that great in team fights. If you're slightly fed, then you can make somewhat of an impact. If not, you job is mostly comprised of assassinating the enemy AD or AP. One good idea is to wait a few seconds after the team fight starts and a few of the enemies crowd control abilities have been used before deceiving in and dishing out some serious damage to squishies.
Shaco is also really good at catching / securing kills. All 4 of your abilities can be used either offensively or defensively. If you time it right, Shaco can be one of the extremely few champions that can catch a Lux/Janna. Using deceive ( Q ) to catch up to them and your ultimate ( R ) to dodge their snare / tornado then Two Shiv ( E ) keep them slowed while you beat on them. I can't begin to express how rewarding it is to clutch and use your ultimate to dodge abilities. Karthus ulti, Lux ulti, Jarvan knock up, blitz grab, and even a Skarner ultimate. It takes a lot of practice and experience, but once you get it down, the amount of stunts you can pull off will leave your enemy a raging mess.
Late game is where a lot of Shaco players tend to make the most mistakes. Many people think Shaco 'falls off' late game. That's really not the case at all. Instead of having a strong teamfight presence, you retain your map control and become a split pushing monster. It doesn't matter which item path you go, you're going to be able to melt towers with or without your ultimate and can't be 1vs1'ed.
When split pushing, it's always a good idea to both ward where the enemy may be coming from and have secured an escape path preferably with planted JiTBs. A lot of the times, if the enemy really commits to chasing you, chances are they're going to be wasting a lot of time.
Also, when you get relatively beefy with warmogs and/or another defensive item, you can two man baron. With either top lane or your ADC, you can kill Baron pretty easily if you alternate tanking with your clone.
The same thing applies here for teamfights. Choose the right target and go in at the right time. To be completely honest with you, a lot of the times you won't be deceiving into teamfights, and instead will be using your ultimate defensively and dishing out as much damage as you can before escaping with deceive when you're low / chasing down low targets if your team won the fight.
Being able to properly and effectively counter jungle is essential to not only a Shaco player, but to any jungler in general. Shaco is exceptionally good at this because he can slip by early game wards by deceiving over walls. He can also secure his escape with well placed JiTB.
Take advantage of the enemy team's weak jungler. Even though junglers like Lee Sin may counter Shaco, keep in mind that with the nerf to Lee Sin's W (No longer grants armor) he takes a LOT of damage in jungle and is usually below half HP his first clear. If you play it right and catch him in his jungle, you can pick up an easy kill. From there on out, it should be smooth sailing as you wreck him in his jungle and destroy all of his ganks.
Since you have the fastest clear time of your first buff (even without smite) you can slip over to the enemies buff and take it before they even get there. Doing this correctly will usually net you the first three buffs. If you play it right and keep your timers, it should be very hard for the enemy jungler to keep up in levels and take back his buffs.
It's also crucial that you communicate what you're doing with your team. If you counter jungle the enemies red at level two and the enemy team comes and your team does not, you could be left dying and that will put you really far back. Always let your team know what you're doing. It's especially important that you inform your mid / top laner when the enemies buff comes up so they can shove their lane and assist you in securing that objective.
Another trick that doesn't always work but is really rewarding when it does is to plant a nest of JiTB. 2 or 3 is usually enough, and if one of the enemy champions happens to cross paths with your nest, chances are they aren't coming out alive unless they use a summoner.
As mentioned in the first section, you want to try and predict where your enemy is going to start. The more you jungle, you'll learn to predict when and where the enemy will end up, and knowing this can really help you out when you're in the enemies jungle. You should also be very wary on where the enemy team's lanes are. If you're invading blue team's red and their bot lane suddenly disappears, the area you're in is probably warded and you should get out of there ASAP.
Having a good sense of map awareness is a big part of any jungler, and absolutely critical to playing Shaco. Make sure you're always accessing which lanes are pushed, which lanes are behind and may need assistance and where the enemy jungler is. Communicate with your team to find out where the enemy has warded to try and go around it for a gank. Also keep in mind the enemies summoner spells as well as your teammates. If the enemy mid laner doesn't have flash, chances are you can swing back around in one minute and kill him. This also applies to your lane as well. If your teammate is pushing, the enemy jungler will most likely try and gank him. Make sure you're there for the counter gank!
Synergies and Counters
Shaco ganks well with champions that have a stun or root because of the delay in the fear that Jack In The Boxes (W) have. When a champion like Anivia stuns a target, Shaco then has ample time to place a Jack In The Box (W) right behind the opponent. After Anivia's stun has worn off, the Jack In The Box (W) fear triggers, forcing the enemy to run away from his tower. Shaco also synergizes well with champions that can easily clear creep waves, allowing your allies to defend in situations where they are one man down. With champions such as Anivia, Twisted Fate, Gragas etc. your team can easily defend and buy you time as you push a different lane. If you like to play more of team fight type of Shaco, his deceive with Orianna ult is a deadly combination with a follow up Jack in the Box. Also going back to Anivia, she can wall off certain targets from priority targets, which will allow Shaco to be able to 1v1 the carries or obliterate out of positioned targets.
Shaco has a particularly hard time dealing with bruisers and burst casters early on. As the game progresses and you obtain items such as Hexdrinker or Giant's Belt, casters become more manageable, but bruisers still pose a huge problem for Shaco. Lee Sin has become a known counter to Shaco for a long time now. Due to multiple ways to reveal sight and slow Shaco in every way possible. Crippling Shaco by lowering his ATK SPD and MOVESPEED (both of Shaco's main stats) will make his useless. Irelia is also a hard target for Shaco; being that Irelia's passive procs off Shaco's clone, and she is good at surviving his burst and melting him in the process. Twisted Fate along with any other champion with a Global such as Shen can be a tough match-up for Shaco. Their ability to teleport in, making your 3v2 or 2v1 gank a 3v3 or 2v2 can be very punishing; especially if the enemy jungler is present too, making it 3v4 or 2v3.
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