Shyvana preview includes Shaco buffs, Graves nerfs

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Riot posted the Shyvana patch preview, which includes a preview of the upcoming buffs and nerfs to League of Legends’ champions. The buffs seem to be targeted at bringing some of the melee fighters up to speed with other Tanky DPS and thankfully nerfing Graves.

I’m most excited for the changes to Shaco. I’ve been enjoying my games with Shaco recently and the upcoming buffs can only help that. Jack in the Box is getting a range increase and a decrease to the time before the trap is ‘armed.’ The range increase should allow Shaco players to utilize the crit bonus on Deceive while still making use of JitB for positioning opponents.

Olaf’s ultimate is getting a buff that makes him much more interesting. Now Olaf can use Ragnarok to break out of crowd control skills. This actually makes Olaf a lot more appealing to me. I had somewhat enjoyed him in the past, but his ultimate felt weak unless he was way ahead. Using it early was like putting up a beacon reminding people not to try to CC you, which is actually exactly what you want. You want the enemy to burn a couple CC spells on Olaf. With the buff he can take the spell and immediately break free, forcing the enemy to waste a stun or snare and allowing him to continue dealing damage. I might be giving Olaf a serious look after this patch.

Wukong is getting some usability buffs that are designed to bring him in line with other Tanky DPS. I’m not thrilled about this – good Wukong players are pretty hard to deal with as it is. More importantly, who needs another strong melee DPS? I don’t.

Lastly, we’re going to see some Graves nerfs. I think everyone saw this one coming. I’m a little worried it won’t quite be enough, but at least we’ll someone other than Caitlyn in our games. His passive is getting a slight resistance nerf and the damage on Buckshot’s multiple shell proc is getting reduced as well. I still think an 80% attack speed buff that can have 100% uptime is a little silly, and the fact that Buckshot can hit multiple times seems like overkill, but I’ll wait to pass judgement until the patch.

Are you looking forward to any of the champion changes? Thinking about picking up a new champ or two thanks to this patch? Let me know in the comments.

  

Revisiting Shaco

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In between my Talon matches over the past two weeks I’ve found myself playing a lot of Shaco. I’m not sure what brought me back to him – maybe the bug fixes, maybe that a friend was looking to learn him – but whatever the case, I’ve really been enjoying Shaco.

I think part of the turnaround is that I realized how similar Shaco is to Lee Sin. The real power of Lee Sin is that he can provide strong ganks incredibly early in the game. It’s entirely possible to hit level three before the enemy mid does. The same is true for Shaco. By setting up a box nest at lizard and the double golem camp, shaco can burn through one side of the jungle and hit level three long before the enemy mid. It’s just a simple matter of ganking.

That said, Shaco’s ganks aren’t particularly strong, especially early in the game. His slow is minimal and his early crit doesn’t deal much damage. For that reason, positioning is key to successful Shaco ganks. My ganks have a much higher success rate when I take the time to get behind my target. That extra 20% damage makes a big difference at every stage of the game.

Shaco still has the same old Shaco problems. He’s not survivable enough through the mid-late game to contribute to teamfights. He’s mana-starved in the early game. His jungle is heavily dependent on the level one nest. Despite those things, though, I still enjoy Shaco immensely. If you’re in need of a new jungler, he’s at least worth a shot.

  

Champ of the Week: Cleanup on aisle 7

One of the most frustrating parts of playing Shaco is that after a certain point he is just way too soft for his own good. Past level nine he basically can’t initiate a fight without expecting to die. He’s typically much better off waiting until the fight is mostly over and then cleaning up the stragglers. I wouldn’t call his durability a problem if it didn’t manifest so early in the game.

I just played a game that perfectly exemplified Shaco’s durability crisis. I started the game at my own lizard, taking it and the wraith camp to get level two before running to the enemy jungle. I was up against a Fiddle, so I quickly set up a nest of JitBs at his lizard, knowing that he would come to drain it for the massive lifesteal. Sure enough, he stumbled into the brush, giving me first blood and golem buff. I could have left, but I still had three health pots and his lizard was still up. Time for another nest – same spot, same story. He came stumbling along at level 2 and, now that I was level three from the kill and sporting both blue and red, I worked him. I ran to some nearby brush to hide from his teammates, but not before Irelia could dash in and slow me. I dropped a JitB at our feet and tried to fight through an exhaust, barely picking up the kill before a Resolute Smite from Galio dropped me. All told, I was 3-1 at the five minute mark. Hell yeah.

Not so much. By the time I hit level nine I couldn’t go anywhere near Irelia or even Fiddle, who I had counter jungled so hard that he didn’t see another buff in the first 20 minutes of the game. Either champion would utterly smash me in a fight, forcing my Flash or Deceive for the escape. It was maddening.

The problem, of course, is if he gets a serious survivability buff, he becomes way too easy to jungle with and he could snowball with the best of them. Despite my poor fortune with Irelia and Fiddle, Shaco does fare pretty well against many of the game’s softer toons, which makes that survivability buff a bit of an issue.

I still love Shaco, but the metagame has shifted in a way that leaves him looking a little weak. I’m sure I’ll have more thoughts later in the week.

  

Champ of the Week: Shaco

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After the mess that was the Executioner’s Calling Jungleplank, I wanted to get back into the jungle this week with someone I knew how to play. Shaco certainly isn’t the most reliable jungler in the world, but he has a nice kit for ganking and I can’t help but love the guy. I would bet he’s among my most played characters in normal games and certainly one of my favorites. Allow me to introduce this week’s Champ of the Week: Shaco, the Demon Jester.

Shaco has a bit of a troubled history in the League. He started as a character capable of nearly 1-shotting squishy mages at level one thanks to the old elixirs and crit damage runes. After that situation was nerfed, he transitioned into an aura champion, relying on his clone to deal massive damage thanks to stacking auras and a nasty Bloodrazor bug. That too was fixed, leaving him in what some would say is a relatively underpowered state. I actually think Shaco is in an okay place, so long as he can get a strong start.

Shaco’s early jungle is unique to the League in that it’s one of the most susceptible to disruption and yet most powerful at level one. Because Shaco relies on a Jack in the Box nest to take the buff camps, he’s not as flexible as other junglers. Most teams will try to gank him early, but with the right allies that JitB nest becomes a powerful level one damage source in a team fight. The success of that fight really depends on how well Shaco’s team can support his early jungle.

I think Shaco has some uncelebrated counter jungling potential. While his most common path is to take Lizard buff first, he can take Golem faster than just about anyone at level one, giving him plenty of time to set up at the enemy Lizard. Deceive gives him an unparalleled ability to jump in and out of the enemy jungle, which means he can effectively counter many of the game’s strongest junglers.

Unfortunately, Shaco is also vulnerable to counterjungling because of his reliance on Jack in the Box. The skill makes him a bit slower than other junglers, at least until he has his razor. It’s a problem that counters like Nunu can easily exploit.

I’ll be focusing on effective builds and survivability issues with Shaco. With the recent bug fix on his clone crits I think a straight physical build could trump the typical Bloodrazor rush. Check back later in the week for more impressions on Shaco’s relative jungle strength.

  

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