This most recent patch brought with it the bane of Shaco players everywhere – nerfs that warrant pulling him off your ban list. Before we get into the nerfs, though, let’s take a look at some history.
For a long time, Shaco was one of the most feared champions at any tier of the game. If a player had invested IP in crit damage runes, you could bet he was going to two-shot the closest caster, thanks in part to strong fortitude elixirs and the bug that allowed his Deceive to hit as a crit plus a mountain of bonus damage.
Once that Shaco disappeared, we started to see the emergence of something a bit closer to today’s Shaco. It was usually Madred’s, though the occasional Sheen/Infinity Shaco still popped up. Players were relying on Shaco’s clone to provide a lot of their damage during a gank or teamfight, so Sunfire Shaco seemed to also do well. Much of Shaco’s strength lies in his ability to get behind players undetected, get a kill, and get out. Riot nerfed his Deceive several patches ago to help with this, but apparently it wasn’t enough.
Yesterday’s Shaco nerf was a nerf across the board. Deceive has a longer cooldown, doesn’t last as long, and breaks any time you cast anything, including Jack in the Box. Two Shiv Poison no longer puts a partial blind on the target, his passive bonus damage is down to 20 percent from 25, and his ultimate caught a massive nerf. Hallucinate now has a 33 percent longer cooldown at max rank and lasts 60 percent as long as it previously has. If it sounds like a lot, that’s because it is.
While some people might argue that he’s more in line with other melee, remember that position is the most important part of playing Shaco. Shaco has very poor base stats, so you need to make sure you’re behind your target with a box in place in order to do the best damage. The Deceive nerf makes this hard, but the Jack in the Box nerf makes it harder. It’s very easy to walk away from JitBs as they are placed, and almost laughable to avoid them mid fight. There’s also very little now to keep players from just blowing you up when you pop out. While I do think the partial blind on Shaco’s attacks was a bit much, why not leave it on the active. That would at least give him some damage mitigation after he’s visible.
The bright light in all of this is that Shaco will still be an excellent jungler. Despite the fat nerf, his JitBs still fear creeps, providing a nice damage buffer when you need to get lizard. When thinking about Shaco as a jungler, it does seem that he is being balanced around having both buffs at all times. While I understand the idea (because it is so easy for him to get buffs), it’s going to be very frustrating for Shaco players who fall behind or those whose team falls behind.