Saturday, April 23, 2011

Shaco - A bit in-depth guide (part 1)

I played more ranking games today with Shaco. Even though I was extremely unlucky during my regular jungling routine (first game I got crit twice by Lizard, second one our Ashe literally took my Red buff), I continued to dominate the entire map with Shaco. Against low-and-mid ELO uncoordinated teams, Shaco is simply too powerful and versatile. Although I won't be cocky and write an entire guide for playing Shaco, I will share my experiences playing with him, and what worked (very) well for me. 

First I would like to show my appreciation for Reginald, if I didn't watch his video guides, I would still be an average noob Shaco knowing only how to gank and backdoor without any overall strategies. I do not believe everyone else who watched his videos (probably not all of them like me) had a "brainblast" like I did. But before I talk about my Shaco enlightenment, here is the link to Reginald's Shaco guide:

I do not use the same Runes as Reginald (masteries and summoner spells are the same). The difference between Reginald's rune page and mine is that I use  dodge yellows, attack-speed blues, and 3 health quints. This is for maximum speed jungling while ensuring maximum health so I can gank/counter-jungle ASAP. If Shaco screws up early in the jungle, better pray your opponents are noobs.

Jungling Routes
So here is a common question, do I start with Blue Golem or Red Lizard? The answer is it depends. And by "depends", I mean it's usually different every single game. Even after the initial starting point, there are so many variation of routes for optimal speed I cannot simply list them all. But I will try. Here is a simple breakdown:

A word of advice, know who you can gank and who you cannot gank! Ganking a jungler that has Flash is very risky. Ganking a jungler that always have more health than you and can kill you is just stupid, unless you camp correctly. (e.g. I usually don't gank a jungling Nunu). These routes assume enemy start at Blue golem first, which is most of the time.

Starting at Red - Gank heavy
Steps: (assuming optimal time)
Skilling order: W-E-W-Q

  1. 2 box mini-golem
  2. 2 box Lizard
  3. Immediately Smite the Big Wraith, run back and place 1 more box at Lizard (total of 3 boxes at Lizard)
  4. Do the mini-golems, use 1 more box when fighting them
  5. Do lizard, pull using [E], 1 more box on lizard. If your Smite comes up while fighting them, then you are too slow!
  6. Finish the remaining wraiths, 1 box doing them
  7. Go to Blue golems, 1 box on Blue golem, use Smite here.
  8. Do the Wolves, and you will be level 4.
  • If someone pops your boxes, transition to Blue golem ASAP.
  • Now your jungling is slowed, instead of trying to jungle as fast as possible and fail, visit your friend on the other side of the map. 
  • Or, go to one of your lanes temporarily and get some exp. I highly discourage this because then you just fail harder at creating early game pressure, which is half of the game for Shaco. But, if you have to...
Mild Rushing counter-jungle/lane gank
Skilling order: W-Q-E
  1. Step 1-5 same as Classic, but skip the remaining Small Wraiths. If you can get your teammates to help you will Red, it would be awesome.
  2. Go to Blue golem, 2 box setup, then do Blue golem.
  3. Immediately go to enemy Red. Stay at the Lizard bush and camp. Setup boxes while you wait. Be patient! (and pray god...)

Fast Rushing counter-jungle/lane gank

Skilling order: W-Q
  1. This is for against junglers that might be faster than you. Get to level 2 with Red buff ASAP. Any means necessary.
  2. Immediately go to enemy Red. Stay at the Lizard bush and camp. Setup boxes while you wait. Be patient! 
Starting at Blue - Safer route (still optimal time)

Skilling order: W-Q-W-E
  1. 1 box in the center of wolf pit
  2. 3 box at Blue golem (at the bush), if you can't make it, 2 box and 1 more box after you've done wolves.
  3. Smite Big wolf, do the rest.
  4. Go to Blue golems, pull it SLOWLY with one autoattack to the bush. Drop a box behind it (total of 4 boxes on blue).
  5. One box at Lizard, then do Wraiths, after Wraiths another box at Lizard
  6. Do Lizard when your 3rd box cooldown is at 5-7 seconds, place 3rd box after pulling Lizard. Then Smite.
  7. Do mini-golems.
Fast Gank
Skilling order: W-Q-E
  1. After getting Blue buff, go to his Red buff and camp. Setup boxes.
  2. If it's really slow enemy jungler, do the enemies' mini-golems. Not the Wraiths, because then the enemy will know you are there.
Think this is confusing to memorize? Wait until part 2, the overall game strategy and variations.


  1. would armor runes work over dodge runes?

    in addition I run 20-0-10 masteries and I have a bit more difficulty killing lizard than Regi does - whether this is because of no Havoc or because of no AS runes, I don't know and I'll have to check.

    anyway i assume you'll be covering item builds last time

    one brief question: do you start cloth armor 5 pots or cloth armor 3 health pot, 1 mana pot?

  2. AS runes matter a lot. I was surprised too when i first used it.

    you never mana pot as shaco. if u screw up on mana, u screw up. with practice u dont screw up.

    dodge rune saves lives. i like it over armor runes, because combined with ur [e] passive ur dodge is decent.

    item builds same as regi.

    go 21-0-9

  3. actually, your guide on jungling with shaco has helped me more than watching reggie...
    thx man and continue being awesome :D

  4. A route I like is to 5 box red, smite the big wraith and then take the red camp. This will take you to level two. I then immediately rush to the mid bushes and if a gank opportunity exists, take a point in stealth and leap in (you need to warn your team mates that you might do this). You can often get a kill, if not force a return to base and their mid finds it EXTREMELY unsettling to be ganked at level 2 - hell, sometimes they're still level 1.

    If no gank opportunity exists, clear wraith camp and carry on with some route or other.

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