As an ex jungle main (now top), I have a decent understanding of how to jungle and how it works etc. One of the junglers played less and less, especially higher up is Shaco. Seeing him being pulled out at Katowice got me thinking about him a little.
The general consensus about Shaco and most other assasins (such as Leblanc), is that he they fall off late game. Shaco is notorious for this. As a result, he's become one of those champions that dominates early on, but if the game gets past 30 minutes, then he ends up being pretty much useless. Though I disagree about Leblanc, I agree in regards to Shaco. In my thinking about Shaco, I wondered what I can do with him. First of all, I thought about why he ends up useless late. My conclusions are as follows:
- His kit isn't really late-game orientated. He has high base damages for rank 1 skills, but as they go up, they don't scale as well as other champions'.
- He is mostly single target in damage output. You can buy some aoe damage for him like Tiamat and Statikk Shiv, but other than his ult and his boxes changing targets, he is single target focussed.
- HE IS PLAYED ONLY IN THE JUNGLE
That last point is really important. Generally, the support role gets the least gold, and then the junglers get the next lowest, followed by the lanes. I ask you a simple question: "If a champion doesn't get much gold compared to other people, how can we expect them to do much in the late game?" I'm sure you have all experienced it. You get that one person on your team that sucks and end the game with 4k gold less than everyone else in the game. In the late game, that person is utterly useless. Ignoring them making bad calls, in straight up trades, and teamfights, do they ever accomplish much? If they are playinh AP and do hang in the back, do they do much damage? No. If someone is behind, we don't expect much from them at all. Though exaggerated, my point still stands. This is the result of putting Shaco in the jungle. He is someone that needs gold to do much. Assasins are prone to this. Like AD carries, they are reliant on items to be able to do their job. By putting an assasin like Shaco in the jungle, you are effectively putting a stranglehold on his income. It only naturally follows that he will be fairly useless in the late game. You're not letting him do his job. This is further enforced by the 'unspoken rule', though more of an ideal that the jungler lets the laner(s) take the kills when they gank. The rise of tanky support junglers (Naut, Hecarim, Udyr, Shyvana to name a few), has led to that. Shaco is fine getting assists, assists are better than nothing after all, but what he really needs to shine is kills. If you want kills, where do you go? In the lanes. Where is Shaco best played if played in lane? My answer was the top lane.
Some of you may be familiar with the idea that Fizz, Talon and Kassasdin are good counters to your usual AP champions. However, it is fairly well known that they are best not picked blind because they are easily countered. Instead, you are better off picking them as counterpicks once you know what the enemy mid will be. The exact same logic applies to Shaco, but in the top lane. "Who does Shaco top counter?" I hear you ask. The answer to that my friends and haters alike, is this:
"Shaco counters champions that utilise Brush"
Off the top of my head, I can think of 4 main offenders who do this. They are:
Rengar is the most obvious out of the four, and also the one this is most effective against. I put Teemo in that list because everyone loves killing Teemo and also because Teemo players have a habit of putting shrooms in the brush to use as wards against junglers and also to trade with. I suppose around now I should tell you how Shaco top works...
Ever had one of those moments (specifcally AP Shaco) where you stacked boxes on one spot and someone walked right into them and died pretty much instantly while you laughed youself to the point of suffocation? This lane revolves around this trick, though watered down. During the whole laning phase, you can just put a box or two, or three in the brushes. Your lane opponent (being someone that relies on brush) will walk in there to use it however they do. I can guarantee they will do it a few times until they catch on. It should go like this:
- Enemy laner walks into brush.
- Box(es) proc, fearing them and dealing damage.
- You throw a Shiv (use your E), they take damage and are slowed.
- Box dies, either by them killing it or duration running out.
- You won the trade, rinse and repeat.
Basically, every time they try to go into brush to use it in their way, they get punished for it. You should (in theory) totally ruin their lane phase. Shaco isn't the greatest farmer. All 4 of those above champions have some kind of aoe waveclear. Shaco has none. You are however, shutting them down. Rengar and Kha'Zix can't assasinate your team later on if you denied them kills and farm in the laning phase. Once they take some box hits and a few Shivs to the face, you can easily zone them out. They won't go into brush any more. If you killed them once or even twice, then you can zone them even easier. Also, as you are getting a hell of a lot more gold than in the jungle, your late game gets better. When jungling Shaco, the only real item I can usually afford is Statikk Shiv. It costs 2500 gold at the time of writing. 2500 gold is fairly cheap for a laner. Heck, Jax usually goes Trinity (4k-ish) AND Gunblade (3.2k-ish) and he's a top laner that gets lots of kills too. Because you have gold, you can now do more than (maybe) assasinate the support at best.
BUT WAIT! THERE'S MORE!
Shaco is also near-impossible to gank. Ward up your lane if you really feel you have to, butI prefer not to, just so I can waste the enemy jungler's time. Here's how things should proceed if you get ganked:
- Enemy jungler comes into your vision.
- Press Q.
- Gank averted! Flash not even burned!
I don't really have much else to say on this topic. So, I'll just leave you some tips and tricks below.
Tips and Tricks
- ONLY do this as a counterpick. You will fail horribly otherwise.
- ONLY stack boxes on the same spot in late-game when with your team or at level 1. Go into the brush closest to their turret and do it. Stack them in the corner closest to their turret, but also closest to the wall. This means they set them off as soon as they get close, but minions won't set them off coming to lane.
- Shaco is so slippery you don't need Flash. Especially in the lane phase. You could even run something like Ignite/Exhaust for maximum killing potential. I used to run Teleport so I clould port to boxes in brush. Then I found out that Teleport reveals boxes. Even ones in brush when the enemy has nothing in there.
- Muramana is ridiculous on this guy because of his single-target nature. If you do decide to get it, rush Tear, then either upgrade to Manamune straight away or get Statikk Shiv then upgrade to Manamune. This is because Shaco takes a while to stack Tear. It's worth it late-game though once you have SS + Mura + R.
- SS + Sheen/Trinity + IE hurts like hell. Expensive as hell, but try it if you ever get fed.
- I prefer to max E over W in lane. I can hurt more just throwing Shivs whenever I want while boxes rely on being procced. If you max boxes, only for them to stop being effective by level 6, it was a waste. Also, the increased slow on E makes it more likely for me to get a kill when my jungler comes to gank for me.
- Max W if the enemy laner falls for the "box in the brush" trick over, and over, and over again.
- Still max E, even if going AP. It has a 1.0 AP and bonus AD scaling, so it's better to max no matter what you build.
Well, that's just about it for me. See ya, thanks for reading this far and feel free to give me feedback.
TL;DR : You lazy bum. Get reading!