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Shyvana Build Guide by SpikeThePike

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League of Legends Build Guide Author SpikeThePike

[5.20] Shyvana jungle total guide - PART 2: Strategy

SpikeThePike Last updated on October 18, 2015
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Ability Sequence

3
8
10
12
13
Ability Key Q
1
4
5
7
9
Ability Key W
2
14
15
17
18
Ability Key E
6
11
16
Ability Key R





Not Updated For Current Season

The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.



Masteries

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Havoc
 
 

Offense: 17

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Legendary Guardian
 
 

Defense: 0

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Bandit
Intelligence
 
 
 
 
 
 
Wanderer
 
 

Utility: 13


Guide Top

See also: Part 1

The build and alternatives are covered in detail in Part 1 of this guide. You should probably read that first.

(The guide is split into 2 parts, because it is long and because Mobafire has technical issues with guides containing more than 15 chapters.)


Guide Top

Abilities


Your passive Dragonborn gives you bonus armor and MR. +5 at levels 1-5, +10 at levels 6-10, +15 at levels 11-15, +20 at levels 16-18. The bonus doubles in dragon form so it's best to be a dragon when you know you will take a lot of damage, for example tower diving or fighting Baron Nashor.


Your Q, Twin Bite, is essentially two basic attacks at the same time (the second one fractionally de-buffed at ability levels 1-4), both attacks apply on-hit effects. It also works as an auto-attack timer reset, so you want to auto-attack then quickly press Q for a second+third attack - similar to activating Tiamat. Pressing Q makes the attack immediately, unless Shyvana was already doing the auto-attack animation for a prior attack - in which case there will be a delay. Therefore this reset only works efficiently if the prior auto-attack already hit.

In dragon form, Q damages all opponents in front of you - similar to Ravenous Hydra or Titanic Hydra - so make sure to face opponents when using it, if necessary walk around your target while fighting so you are facing in the best direction.

Tips and tricks:
  • Time your Q so that you activate it as soon as the prior auto-attack hits - you can tell by watching the enemy health bar. As you become more experienced, you can practise to get the timing right, you will also learn Shyvana's attack sounds which can help you time it subconsciously.
  • You should always be using the auto-attack + Q combo, including when taking jungle camps. Early game when your attack speed is low, do not activate Q immediately when it comes off cooldown (unless that's just after an auto-attack completed), instead wait for the next auto-attack and then activate Q.
  • Due to the attack animation, realistically it needs around 0.3 seconds to get off an auto-attack + Q combo.
  • The auto-attack + Q combo works well against towers, you can take down towers very quickly with this.
  • The auto-attack + Q combo allows you to kill any trinket ward or Stealth Ward when you see it being placed, you have 1 second to kill it which is enough time for Shyvana to do it even if your reactions are not the fastest.
  • You do not need to be watching your champion fighting on-screen to activate Q, because it is not a targeted ability: you can time Q just by listening, or if you like, just press it whenever it comes off cooldown. This allows you to look elsewhere on the map while taking large jungle monsters or Dragon.
  • In advance of a situation where you might only have time to get off one auto-attack on an enemy - for example tower-diving, or chasing an enemy who is about to cross the barrier into his base - and you really want that auto-attack to count, you can activate Q ahead of time. Then that first auto-attack on the target will be a double attack. (You might also want to use Attack Move in these situations so that that stronger attack happens automatically as soon as you are in range.) Shyvana in human form will have a fiery glow around her hands when Q is activated in this way, which lasts until the next attack.
Critical Strikes and Q: When you activate Q, the "first hit" part of it - an auto-attack - can critically strike like any other auto-attack. This also means the area of effect damage from Q in dragon form can crit. I am actually unsure whether the second hit from Q can critically strike or not, but my belief is it can. League Wiki on Shyvana's page says the second hit can crit, but on the Critical Strikes page it says only the first hit can crit. One other possibility here is that the second hit does not roll for crit chance but it can crit if the first hit did. If anyone has proven information about which is correct, please add a comment. Certainly, experience shows that building critical chance on Shyvana does dramatically increase the damage from your Q.


Your W, Burnout is an area of effect damage over time which can be used aggressively or defensively. It gives you a movement buff, especially when just activated. It also buffs your basic attacks for as long as it is proccing. A top-lane Shyvana uses this defensively for last hitting, so moves in to last hit minions with W running and moves back out again immediately, and the enemy melee champion will try to keep out of your range while W is proccing. A jungler uses this to clear camps fast.

In dragon form, Burnout adds a scorched earth effect where you move. Enemies who are in range of your Burnout will take damage twice - once from the active flames and once from the scorched earth. The scorched earth helps if you are being chased as any enemies who follow your path directly will take damage. If you get a kill after you already died, most likely it was because of the scorched earth still proccing.

Tips and tricks:
  • Against high health targets make sure to get off as many basic attacks as you can while W is proccing, for example when taking a jungle camp you should wait to activate W until you are within melee range of the camp and activate it just prior to your first attack (the basic attacks and Qs while W is proccing also extend the duration of Burnout significantly - up to 7 seconds).
  • When returning to your jungle after going back to base, or generally whenever you are crossing parts of the map where you do not expect to encounter enemies, use W to increase your movement speed: the boost only lasts for 3 seconds before going on cooldown (because you are not attacking), but that is still helpful.
  • Activating W does not interrupt you while moving or basic attacking so it is useful for a burst of movement speed just when coming in to gank: you want to move fast from the time you are first seen to the time you engage with the target, to give the target less chance to escape. It takes practice to time this correctly so that you can close with the target and have Burnout still proccing while you do your crucial first auto-attack + Q combo on the target.
  • W is not a targeted ability so while taking jungle camps you can activate it without watching your champion on-screen, allowing you to look around elsewhere on the map.
  • Although W does not directly damage turrets, it's still a good idea to activate W when you are taking down turrets, because as long as it is proccing it buffs your basic attacks against the turret with extra on-hit damage; it also does damage to any enemy minion wave which arrives while you are taking the turret, meaning your own minion wave can survive longer.
  • If you are about to ulti, activating Burnout just before you press R will leave a trail of flame over your whole flight path. This is nice.

Your E, Flame Breath is a skillshot which affects every enemy it passes through. The ability itself does not do much damage unless you built AP Shyvana, but it marks enemies it hits and your basic attacks against marked targets (including dragon and baron, but not towers) will do 2.5% max health bonus magic damage, which is huge. Every Q now deals 5% max health bonus magic damage on top of everything else.

In dragon form, Flame Breath has a cone of effect, but the range is shorter than when you are in human form so don't be caught out by that.

Tips and tricks:
  • I recommend you always smart-cast E, as you want to get it off quickly but it's not a disaster if your aim is not perfect.
  • E interrupts your other orders - it will pause you while moving, for the duration of the casting animation - so do not be tempted to use this if you are chasing down an opponent, using it will likely allow them to get away.
  • For the same reason it can be a bad idea to use E when coming in to gank, as it delays your attacking and it is more important to use the time to get off that first auto-attack + Q combo (which does way more damage than your E). Instead you can even save your E for some ranged damage on the enemy later if he tries to escape.
  • If you are expecting a long fight - for example against Dragon or a tanky opponent - you normally want to use E only when you are already within melee range and ready to fight, so that the bonus damage buff from E applies to as many of your basic attacks as possible.
  • When jungling, Shyvana can use E to 'activate' camps before she arrives and draw the creeps out a little, to save time. When counter-jungling as you approach a jungle camp it can be used through the wall to see whether the camp has spawned or not - listen for the sound of it striking an enemy.
  • In your first clear of the Raptors at level 2, you can hit all 3 small raptors with E as you approach, meaning they then die from the E damage and W without needing to be attacked, or you can hit 2 small raptors and the large one, but it's very hard to hit all four raptors at the same time: it's possible from some angles.
  • Be careful using E when ganking or fighting with team members, it can be tempting to use it to secure a kill but you might be accused of kill stealing...

Your R, Dragon's Descent, apart from the absolute coolness of turning you into a dragon, is a very useful ultimate, one of the best in the game.
- All your other abilities are enhanced in dragon form for a large amount of AoE damage
- Being in dragon form doubles the benefits from your passive, that's an extra +20 armor and +20 MR in the late game
- It's one of the longest gap closers and also allows you to jump most barriers - anything except the thickest part of the wall by dragon and baron pits
- You can use it to engage (including over walls) or to escape
- The knockback places enemies exactly where you need them to be to secure kills, i.e. you will be directly on top of them - also if you ulti them into a wall, you can probably body-block them from escaping
- It does some magic damage to all enemies in its path, around 450 damage late game if you bought Trinity Force
- With the recommended builds, if you are attacking a lot, R is on around a 30 second cooldown (at level 16 and higher). In more detail, the cooldown is maximum 50 seconds without attacks but attacks reduce the cooldown quickly: it can even be as low as 25 seconds if you are continuously attacking with maxed out attack speed and Q.

One thing to watch is that in dragon form, Shyvana is larger, meaning enemy skillshots can hit you more easily: it really becomes very hard to dodge them, even skillshots which are normally hard to hit like Blitzcrank's Rocket Grab. Of course in dragon form you can tank enemy damage better with your increased armor and MR, but you are not invulnerable: the increased defences only give you around a 8-10% damage reduction, it's not comparable to Garen's Courage or Alistar's ultimate. The increased size is one reason why you might not want to use your ultimate at the start of a fight, but instead wait until the enemies have fired off some of their skillshots first. But sometimes you actually want to be the person who tanks damage for your team.

Tips and tricks:
  • When casting (or smart-casting) your R you can control the range as well as the direction - pay attention to the range, generally you want to aim for a position slightly beyond your target, because the knockback will drag the target with you a short distance.
  • When in dragon form, you should keep attacking as long as possible (including minions or towers) to keep the dragon form active. (If you attack quickly after the ultimate activated and your attack speed is high, you might even notice that the Fury bar sometimes touches 100 again and turns red, but that does not mean you have a second activation of the ultimate.)
  • Cooldown reduction makes no difference at all to this ultimate as it depends only on your Fury bar. (For the same reason, URF mode makes no difference to it.)
  • If your ultimate is on cooldown, you can build up Fury quickly (assuming you followed the recommended builds with high attack speed) by attacking a minion wave or jungle camps using only auto-attacks and Q - do not use W or E because those will kill the minions too fast. Fury also builds when you attack priority targets like turrets, inhibitors and Udyrs...
  • Your opponents can easily see when your ultimate is available, from the red colour of your Fury bar. But they might not notice if your Fury bar is at 96 or 97 and about to become available, because generally opponents will just give a quick glance to see if it is red or not.
  • Your flight can be interrupted by knock-ups and other hard CC and barriers, for example Azir's wall of soldiers, Trundle's pillar. Interruption is most likely at higher elo where your opponents will be able to make a good guess on when you will use your ultimate, or can see it coming. If interrupted, you will stay in dragon form but you will not complete the dive to your destination and you will probably not knockback any enemies. Banshee's Veil can save your ultimate from being interrupted, therefore it can be a very good idea to wait for Banshee's Veil to be off cooldown before pressing R.
  • Your ultimate can even be interrupted by ground-based CC like Nidalee's and Caitlyn's traps. (This just seems wrong: if you can fly over walls and barriers, you shouldn't be affected by other things on the ground. Riot pls fix!) Therefore as Shyvana in human form I often deliberately trigger these traps (they don't do much harm) in case I need to use W or my ultimate through the area later: think of it like ward clearing.
  • Don't assume that your ultimate makes you invulnerable: you are targetable while in flight and a ranged champion can continue attacking you so you can die mid-flight.
  • The knockback from your ultimate will interrupt champions who are channeling, making this a powerful counter to Katarina (especially) and also Miss Fortune, Galio, Fiddlesticks, Karthus and a few others with dangerous ultimates: you need to dive towards the damage.
  • The knockback from your ultimate only works from the front of your dragon form model in flight - so if you ult an enemy who is right next to you (within melee range) probably there will be no knockback: it's like after you have done the initial leap to transform into dragon form, that enemy is already behind you.
Shyvana's Dragon's Descent has a fun synergy with Orianna's shield: if Orianna shields you by placing her ball on you, then you use your ultimate, the ball will strike all enemies in the path of your ultimate and do a lot of damage to them: the ball can hit all 5 enemies and maybe give you an immediate multi-kill.


Guide Top

Skill Sequence

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Max W first, then Q, then E. Obviously max R whenever you can.

Some Shyvana players like to max E earlier. That's also OK, but I think less good: it's better to max Q earlier to reduce its cooldown.

Detailed reasons


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Wardology

One of the most important tasks of the jungler is to ward and to clear enemy wards. You should not be leaving that to your support: really it is something all team members should be doing, but the jungler is specially well placed to do it because you are covering more of the map. Vision wins games. Vision helps you avoid unpleasant deaths.

In Season 5, clearing wards became a whole lot easier for a jungler because the Raptor's buff (called Razor Sharp) grants vision of wards. When the pink eye pops up, you know you came within vision range of a ward, even if you don't see it yet. To find it, continue a little more in the direction you were already headed (if it was behind you, the pink eye would have popped up sooner). The pink eye actually gives true sight for 10 seconds, so use that time to check other nearby brush as well: maybe you can find two wards. Note that the Rift Scuttler ward will also pop the pink eye (even though you can see the ward already); and likewise any pink ward will also pop the pink eye.

Use the basic attack+Q combo to clear a ward quickly with 3 hits. Shyvana can also use this combo to clear any trinket ward or Stealth Ward when you first see the ward being placed - when a ward is placed, you have 1 second to clear it in 3 hits, which is enough time if Shyvana uses Q. (Although a few other champions also have auto-attack resets, taking into account your reaction time Shyvana is about the only champion who can reliably get off 3 hits to clear a ward, because her Q counts as 2 hits on it.)

Razor Sharp may be enough for your ward-clearing needs, as you can have the buff up often if you are constantly smiting Raptors. For those crunch moments when you need to be more certain there are no enemy wards in an area (for example, when taking an early first dragon) use a pink ward.

As well as warding with stealth wards, you should also be taking the Rift Scuttlers whenever you see them up: they give a free ward in a perfect spot, the movement speed buff which can help anyone in your team who is fleeing or chasing through that area, 80 gold, some XP, and 2 Devourer stacks. Also importantly, if you don't take them then the enemy will: these are contested objectives.

Recommended warding items & trinkets


Guide Top

Ganking

Shyvana is known as a "bad" ganker before level 6. That's OK, as a Devourer jungler it's best for her to be mainly farming early game anyhow, your goal should be to get a Sated Devourer by 15 or 16 minutes unless something went wrong.

Shyvana's low level ganks are "bad" because although she has a lot of damage, the enemy can sometimes just run away:

- Shyvana has no CC (except Chilling Smite and Exhaust, but we'll get to that ...)
- she has no gap-closer before level 6
- she has no real ranged abilities
- her main damage comes from melee attacks and it's hard for her to do any melee attacks against an enemy who is running away
- although not squishy, she's also not all that tanky prior to level 6 and cannot safely tower dive
- she has no natural sustain so can be out-duelled at low levels if the enemies stay to fight (especially in bottom lane).

This is not to say ganking is impossible: Shyvana can do a lot of damage with her W if the enemy for some reason can't get away from it, for example if you position yourself between the enemy and his turret, or you slow him with Exhaust. An ideal gank involves using W or R to close the gap, preferably land exactly on top of the enemy, do a W-E-basic attack-Q full combo, at the same time apply Exhaust so the enemy can't run away and stays in W range for longer, and maybe use Chilling Smite to secure the kill. (Or smite as you approach, then Exhaust as the enemy runs away so that your ally can with some luck take the kill.)

You should be looking to gank lanes even before level 6 in these situations:
- if the enemy is over-extended so you have enough room between where they are now and their turret to apply a lot of W
- if you are able to come from behind, for example from the tri-bush, without being spotted on the way in (stealing and smiting the enemy's Raptor camp is a great thing to do just before this so you can check the bush isn't warded)
- if your ally has hard CC (for example a Morgana mid or a Ryze top or a Thresh or Blitzcrank bottom)
- if the enemy jungler is there, your laner might be able to bait them into a situation where they make a mistake and attack him and with your help your team can get 1 or 2 kills (counter-ganking)
- if the enemy laner already killed your laner, but stayed in lane with low health or low mana.
There's a lot of ifs and buts here and only a large amount of in-game experience can really tell you which are the good situations where a gank will work out and where it will not.

Apart from these good situations, it's best for Shyvana not to be ganking before level 6. Your laners will ask for help, just tell them you will come soon or you will come after. Don't gank when your laners say they need it, gank when you judge it's good based on knowing your own champion.

It might help to think of the enemy laners - especially slow-moving ones - as like another category of jungle monster you can 'farm'. You wouldn't farm a strong jungle camp or the Dragon when you are low on health and you have no smite, just because you see that it's up. Instead you will come to 'farm' it at a time when you have enough health, your smite is available, and you know that you can kill it (maybe with some help from your ally in lane).

Although it's not great for team morale if your team see the enemy jungler pulling off two or three early game ganks while you are not ganking, actually it's worse for team morale if you go to attempt a gank and fail: the enemy team stops seeing you as such a threat, and your own team also. You can be sure all 3 of your lanes will know about it if you attempted a gank and failed.

If you are going to gank, here are some things you want to ensure:
  1. You have Exhaust up
  2. You have Chilling Smite up
  3. Your ulti is up (post lvl 6)
  4. You have red buff
  5. You have a reasonable amount of health, at least 75%
  6. Your laner has some health and plenty of mana (if mana dependent)
  7. You know where the enemy jungler is
  8. You know where all the enemy laners are
  9. You use the Raptors buff (best) or a Sweeping Lens or pink ward to make sure you are not spotted on the way in
  10. You know whether the enemy has Flash up or not.
If all these things are good, you have a much higher chance of pulling off an effective gank. You want the odds to be in your favour, and it's within your control to make it so. Don't gank randomly. Gank strategically and with some preparation. And always, always ping to show your ally what you will do: do not assume your ally is watching the mini-map, he's probably not, so it's best to ping multiple times into his lane to show the path you plan to take.

You are ganking to get kills and assists for your team: not to help out an ally who is having a hard time in lane. Making the enemy use his Flash is also a reasonable outcome from an early gank. Making the enemy low health or low mana is also an OK outcome, maybe your laner will be able to get a kill later or the enemy will be forced to B. Either way, even if you don't get the assist, your team is still ahead.

A good strategy can be to figure out which of the lane opponents Shyvana can gank with most chance of success (due to the enemy having low mobility and no escapes: for example tanky / bruiser top laners) and gank only that lane. So you gank the same lane over and over, 3 or 4 times in the early game. This should be an easy way to secure some kills, and your lane ally will become so fed that he can then go and help the other lanes which you did not gank. See some of the videos at the end of this guide for examples.

In a typical Shyvana game, I will only attempt 1 or 2 ganks in the first 10 minutes, but in a carefully chosen way so that I would hope to have at least 1 kill or assist from that. You should also be looking to have at least 1 solo kill against the enemy jungler.


Helping your team without ganking

So what should you be doing instead of (or as well as) ganking? Six things, as Shyvana:

1. Take dragon - you can solo an early dragon, even at level 3 or level 4 if you want to, although personally I usually wait until I have built Devourer because the 5 Devourer stacks are just too good to miss, so I take drake immediately when Devourer is built (this makes a Devourer Shyvana a bit predictable, so make sure you know where the enemy jungler is if you are doing this). Your aim is take the first dragon uncontested and without being spotted, and 2 dragons for your team by 15 minutes into the game.

2. Farm - yes you will be accused of AFK farming, but if you can get an early dragon and a 15 minute Sated Devourer then you will bring a lot of power to the mid-game. Steal enemy jungle camps as much as possible, it helps your own farm, it's a good place for you to be anyhow for warding (3 below) and for attempting to kill the enemy jungler (4 below).

3. Ward - ward the enemy jungle and the river, your whole team needs to know where the enemy jungler is (also to see any enemies roaming or lane swapping). Take every Rift Scuttler, it's a free ward in a very useful place, 80 gold, and 2 Devourer stacks.

4. Kill the enemy jungler - hunt him down in his own jungle and kill him there. This will make your laners very happy, it's a kill for your team and removes the threat of them being ganked. It's also great for morale, it makes them think "our jungler better than their jungler". There are just a few opponent junglers who you can't easily kill in an early 1v1, usually that's Warwick, Udyr and Xin Zhao but obviously it depends on the situation, who is fed, etc. Of course use and abuse your Exhaust and Chilling Smite to help to secure the kill.

5. Counter-gank - if a gank is taking place and you are near enough to get there in time, you may be able to turn the fight around and win a 2v2 - but take into account your own health level and your ally champion's abilities and health and mana in your decision-making, you don't want to hand the enemy a free double kill. Counter-ganking with Shyvana is strong because she can do a lot of damage to two opponents - even before level 6 - and if your opponents already blew all their abilities and gap-closers on attacking your ally, then it will be hard for them to escape you.

6. Take down turrets - although you are not a laner, you are the fastest turret pusher on your team. Whenever an enemy laner is missing from lane, you should take the opportunity to push down the turret, it opens up the map for you as well as punishing the enemy for leaving lane. Especially you should help your mid lane in this way because most mid laners are weak against turrets: if that Outer Turret is still standing, it's down to you not your mid laner.


Guide Top

Jungle Routes

Efficient routes and play style can make a 1 or 2 minute difference to the time when you have first dragon, Sated Devourer, and other items. These crucial minutes all add up to make a big difference to your power in the game. One of Shyvana's advantages is she has the fastest clear. You can have a level and gold advantage on the enemy jungler. You can and should abuse that. It's a lot easier to get kills if you have 2 levels on him and 2 completed items to his one.


Best start

Safe route if you are new to the champion: Krugs (1st smite), Raptors (no smite), Red Buff (2nd smite). Smiting the Red Brambleback lets you take the camp quickly and also gives health back (20% of max health), so you will have higher health at level 3.

But on Shyvana that safe route is wasting time, you are wasting the time it takes to walk from Red Buff to Raptors and back again from Raptors to Red Buff, and you clear Raptors so fast that you probably also have to waste precious seconds waiting for cooldowns or 2nd smite before being ready to start the Red Buff camp. That's minimum 20 seconds wasted. You are also delaying the time when your Red Buff will re-spawn which you want to be around 7:30. You are also risking being counter-jungled: a popular "cheese" move, especially from Warwick or Shaco opponents in my experience, is for the enemy to take their Gromp and then come to try to kill you at your Red Buff at level 2. If you take your Red Buff quickly after Krugs, you will have it while they are still walking across the map, so they wasted all their time for nothing.

Faster route: Krugs (first smite) - Red Buff (no smite) - Raptors. The recommended runes and masteries give you barely enough protection for your first clear, so you will need to use 1 health pot early on to make sure you don't die at Red Buff, maybe even 2 health pots if you did not have a leash, but after that your health will quickly regenerate thanks to red buff.

Fastest start: Krugs (no smite, needs a good leash) - Red Buff (smite) - Raptors. This is the ideal start, if your ally understands what you need. It's easier on blue side where you will have a leash from the two bottom laners.


Options after your first 3 camps

After these first 3 camps, you should have 450 gold and four options.

Option 1: go back for your upgraded jungle item.

Option 2: an immediate level 3 mid-lane gank, do this if the setup is good but do not just do it randomly as you probably have less than 60% health, and you don't yet have Chilling Smite

Option 3: take 4 more jungle camps on your blue buff side of the map before going back (Rift Scuttler - Gromp (smite) - Blue Buff - Wolves is a good route as the Rift Scuttler gives you time to heal up while you have red buff; you can also for example use this time to place a ward near the enemy Raptor camp or in tri-bush to help out your laners and get sight on the enemy jungler).

Option 4: go steal an enemy jungle camp and try to get a first kill on the enemy jungler - see 'Cheese' section after this.

I would normally ignore the red buff side Rift Scuttler during the first clear, as it will take extra time to kill it and to walk there and back, and it's not really on the way to anywhere.

The advantage of going back immediately (Option 1) is you add +15 gold to all future large monster clears (realistically that's going to be +60 gold from the first Wolves - Gromp - Blue - Rift Scuttler) and fractionally faster clears, as well as restoring your health so maybe saving on using 1 or 2 health pots: around a +130 gold advantage. This also gives you a stronger level 3 if you are counter-jungled or if you decide to gank at level 3 or 4, because you will have full health and the upgraded smite. The disadvantage of going back immediately is that it slows down your level 4 and you might have to go back again after clearing Wolves - Gromp - Blue - Rift Scuttler because you will be low health and out of position (far from Krugs which is where you need to be next), so wasting a lot of time in the recall. For this reason, if you pick option 1 then you probably want to gank or counter jungle after you have level 4.

In my opinion for Shyvana it's best not to go back immediately. Option 3 is your safest bet for a reliable early game and 0 deaths, so Shyvana should do:
- 7 camps cleared and back for Stalker's Blade, Dagger and wards
- 6 more camps cleared (including 2 river crabs) and steal some enemy camps
- back for Stalker's Blade - Devourer
- take dragon.
If you can get an early kill or assist somewhere in there - maybe because you found the enemy jungler en route - then you won't need to clear so many camps before you have enough gold for your Devourer.


Minutes 9 to 15 in the game

After first dragon, for stacking Devourer you want a farming route that gives you the most efficiency, meaning least movement between camps and least time wasted. Wolves - Gromp - Blue (if it's up) - Rift Scuttler - enemy Raptor camp - gank mid is a good route. Take Rift Scuttlers whenever you see them up, and don't be afraid to steal the enemy's jungle: you actually want to encounter the enemy jungler there so you can get a kill (but check the enemy laners didn't come to help). Gank when there is a high chance of a kill or assist.


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Early Kill Cheese

Getting an early 1v1 kill on the enemy jungler - especially if it is First Blood - is an excellent move. It will put you ahead all game, it will give you gold allowing you to buy Enchantment: Devourer sooner meaning you will take first dragon sooner and reach Sated Devourer sooner, it puts the enemy jungler a long way behind, it helps your laners because they can't be ganked while the enemy jungler is dead or in base and they probably won't be ganked while the enemy jungler is behind in levels and AFK farming to catch up, and in general it is a massive psychological boost for your team. It is the best way of counter-jungling.

I don't know if anyone has ever done a data analysis on a large number of games to see what the win rate is for "games where the jungler took First Blood on the enemy jungler", but I bet it is well over 50%.

Although this is an excellent thing to achieve, it is not possible to do it every game, and some games you can try it and it just doesn't work out for whatever reason. So don't beat yourself up if you don't achieve it. Think of it like attempting an early gank which didn't work out: maybe you still had some positive benefit from the attempt, like burning the enemy jungler's Flash, or making him use his ward in a spot which he otherwise didn't need to ward.

I call it a "cheese" move because if things work out for you, it is an easy kill: you will have a 1v1 fight against the enemy jungler when you are much higher health than him and also his abilities are probably on cooldown.

Flash is a factor

Do not take unnecessary risks trying to score an early kill: so do not do it if your health is low or your Exhaust (alternatively Flash) is on cooldown, do not do it if one of your own laners is dead or backing (meaning the enemy laners are free to roam), and definitely do not do it if you don't have sight on all enemy laners. Do not even think of doing it against Warwick: he will always kill you at levels 1-5, because he has lifesteal. Likewise do not do it against Udyr.

If something goes wrong, you can normally use a combination of Exhaust on the enemy and your extra movement speed from W to escape.


How to find the enemy jungler

To succeed, you need to understand the enemy jungler, you need to be able to anticipate his preferred jungle routes for first clear and how much health he is likely to have at various points.

To learn all this, if you don't play all the different jungle champions yourself, it may be helpful to watch recorded games of other champions jungling and note what they do in the first 4 minutes. You can also record your own games (there are several free tools for doing that) and then play them back from the perspective of the other jungler, that can be a very good way to learn. You will see that most junglers get extremely low on health at times in their early jungle camp clears, so that they are very vulnerable if you can find them. At low level, the Red Buff camp especially, which is the strongest camp, will come close to killing a lot of junglers.

Most importantly, you need to know which side the enemy jungler started on. Generally speaking, mana-less junglers like Rengar or Rek'Sai or Lee Sin, or Shyvana herself, will be more likely to start at Krugs. Mana-dependent junglers will be more likely to start at Gromp so they can take blue buff at level 2. But it can be different as between purple side of the map and blue side of the map: even if a Krugs or Gromp start is preferred, the majority of players like to start on the bottom side of the map for the stronger leash they get from having both bottom laners present. So:
  • Purple side, mana-dependent junglers will always start at Gromp
  • Blue side, mana-less junglers will always start at Krugs
  • Purple side, mana-less junglers could start at either one (Krugs more likely for champions which do not need a leash)
  • Blue side, mana-dependent junglers could start at either one (Gromp more likely for champions like Shaco which do not need a leash)
To find out where the enemy jungler started, you can watch the behaviour of the enemy laners on the mini-map - if top lane is in sight all the time, but the bottom lane pair only showed up in lane after the minion waves already met in the middle, then it's a safe bet that the enemy jungler started on the bottom side of the map. Alternatively, ask your bot lane to go ward near Gromp / Krugs, or go and place an early ward there yourself.


Times to get an early kill

You can get an early kill at:

Level 1 - you can catch the enemy jungler around 02:15-02:30 near his second jungle camp (blue buff or red buff) at a time when he will, for sure, be very low on health, and after the team-mates who leashed for him already went to lane.

Detailed steps

Some opponents - for example Nidalee or Shaco - can escape you quite easily when they have their level 2 abilities (maybe depending on which order they took abilities), so in those cases the result you are looking for is not a kill (unless you are lucky), but simply to steal their blue buff and put them on such low health that they are forced to back.

Level 2 - if you started on the same side of the map as the enemy jungler (e.g. both started on bottom side) and if his early clears are slow, then you can clear your first camp quickly, achieve your level 2, and go to look for him just as he is finishing his second camp. Take Q Twin Bite as your level 2 spell, for high damage on the opponent if you can catch him. This video shows how: at 1 minute in to the video, the Shyvana kills Kha'Zix at his blue buff.

If you are purple side, you could even make a decision to start at Gromp and then go immediately to the enemy red buff at level 2 - in other words, if planning this you would not do your usual Krugs start.

Level 3 - You clear your first three camps faster than any other jungler, which gives you enough time to walk into the enemy side of the map and catch the enemy jungler while he is taking his second buff, which will likely be his third or fourth camp. Both junglers will be at level 3, but you should be at higher health than him because of your red buff proccing all the time you were walking across the map, and again you will have the advantage of surprise and of his abilities being on cooldown because he used them on the jungle camp.

In this case, your primary goal is not to steal the second buff with your Smite, it's to get a kill and 300 (or 400) gold. Best outcome is to kill the enemy while he is taking the second buff so you can also get the gold from the buff after, and he doesn't get the gold: that gives you a +130 gold lead on him even apart from the kill (or if you missed the kill because he flashed away). But a good outcome is to kill the enemy jungler right after he took the buff, so he lost his double buffs to you.

This Amumu is about to die and give me his double buffs.

Routes for a level 3 invade

Variations


Of course only attempt any of these things if you can win a 1-on-1 fight at level 2 or level 3, so it depends on the enemy champion. If you took Exhaust, you should definitely use it to help you win the fight. Don't forget the enemy will have either the poison buff from smiting Gromp, or the damage over time from red buff, but you should also have one of these things.

If the enemy warded his own jungle - especially if red buff is his second camp, this is likely at the river entrance near Raptors, or in the brush on the river side of the Red Brambleback pit, as he knows it can be contested - then you will be seen coming in. In this case you may still be able to secure a kill - just because the enemy jungler sees you, it doesn't mean he is smart enough to run under the nearest tower at the moment that you appear, a lot of players will try to finish their jungle camp first so that you can't steal it. The danger is more that one of the enemy laners, most likely mid, will come to kill you. You will definitely be seen after you start the fight with the enemy jungler. So whatever the outcome of that fight, you need to keep far away from mid lane on your route back to your own jungle afterwards.

If you have not tried these things ever as a jungler, you probably should: it seems "risky" because you are invading the enemy jungle at low level and not at full health, but actually the risk is small because your opponent will also be low level and low on health. The real risks are loss of time if you did not correctly predict where to find your opponent (but in that case at least you can steal a buff); and the risk that an alert enemy mid will come to help his jungler.

Now that you know about the early counter-jungling possibilities, you may want to ward your own jungle better against the chance that these things will be done to you!


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Dragon on Dragon

The Dragon is the most contested objective for a jungler. Jungler's reputations can be made by who Smites better.

The Dragon gives no gold, and less XP than any jungle camp, but it's a very important objective due to the permanent buffs it grants. There are strong reasons why you want your team to have the first Dragon.

  • Early game, the first Dragon Slayer buff does not seem like much (+6% AD, +6% AP, when champions' AD and AP will both still be low). But it's really a 12% difference. That's because one team or the other has to take first Dragon: so there will be 6 minutes in the game when either your team has the +6% buff, or the enemy team has the +6% buff (so it's like your team is -6%, until you can even things out by taking next Dragon). This 12% difference is important, especially at minutes 9 to 15 in the game which are perhaps the most crucial part of any game: that's the time when one team can start to build a real lead. I've often had games where my team have one or two early deaths, and are losing lanes in terms of CS, but the game turns around after we take first Dragon.
  • You can't get the second and third Dragon Slayer buffs until you have the first, so to have a chance of having those second and third buffs at 15-16 minutes and 21-22 minutes when they will give most benefit, you need first Dragon.
  • If you can get to 2-0, 3-0, or even 4-0 in Dragons, it's a big psychological boost for your team and the enemy team will by this stage be blaming their jungler. It shows who is boss in the jungle, and it would be hard for your team then not to win with the advantages these buffs give.
  • As Shyvana I make it a point of pride to take every Dragon. I don't like people killing dragons - obviously - but if anyone is going to do it, I want it to be me.
  • The 5 Devourer stacks from killing Dragon (note that you get them from either a kill or an assist on the Dragon) are your fastest way to reach Sated Devourer: to achieve a 15 or 16 minute Sated Devourer you really need to have two Dragons.

A contested Dragon fight is a situation where any jungler is at risk of dying: either because you start the Dragon, you take some damage from it, then the whole enemy team shows up when you are low on health; or because you're second at the Dragon and your team expects you to go in and try to steal it, even if you might die.

Because of this risk, I like to take the first Dragon early and uncontested, as Shyvana. If you take it early enough, it's less likely to be warded because the enemy junglers and bot lane will not be expecting you to go there so soon.
  • Most commonly, I take Dragon as soon as I have Enchantment: Devourer because the 5 Devourer stacks from Dragon are just so good. This makes a Shyvana's movements a bit predictable when she has the Devourer item. But if you farm jungle until you have gold for the item, then back, then walk directly to Dragon through the jungle, it's unlikely the enemy will have any sight of you en route (unless they warded your jungle) so they will not be able to see that you have the full Devourer item.
  • Shyvana can easily solo Dragon at levels 4, 5 and 6 with Devourer or at least two Daggers and some health pots: you do not need to wait until you have Vampiric Scepter (especially with this build with lifesteal masteries).
  • If you really want to, Shyvana can solo Dragon at level 3 with health pots and double smite (smite once at the start, again at the end after 15 seconds). But after the patch 5.9 changes which strengthened Dragon it's risky unless you have your ability sequence and auto-attack resets exactly perfect. It also takes longer to solo Dragon at low level (before you built attack speed), and that's time which you could be better spending reaching level 6 and earning gold to buy Devourer.
  • Waiting for level 6 before taking drake is safer because you can use your ultimate to jump the walls of the dragon pit if you need to escape (even if you are purple team you can do this and get away by hiding in jungle brush, because the enemy team will likely all be in the river).

Tips and tricks:
  • If taking an early Dragon it's generally best if your team-mates do not help. If bot or mid come to help, the enemy will see that and know you are attempting drake, and you are at great risk of being killed even if the enemy team does not manage to steal Dragon. If your team-mates do not leave lane and the opponents are not experienced playing against Shyvana then you can often take drake early without being detected.
  • For second Dragon it's good to have help, because the enemy team will likely contest it (their jungler will be watching the timer, because he's angry he didn't get the first Dragon), also you're not yet at full strength and the second Dragon is harder to kill - it has passives and de-buffs which make it tougher once you already have one Dragon Slayer buff.
  • If sneaking an early dragon use the Raptors buff or a pink ward to check Dragon pit is not warded. You can also tell whether you have been seen by watching the mini-map: if you start Dragon and there is no reaction at all from the enemy mid lane and bot lane - like they all stay in their lanes - then it's a safe bet you have not been seen.
  • Do not start first Dragon if you do not have sight of all enemy laners - and if you lose sight of enemy bot lane and jungler, go to ward Dragon in case they started it.
  • Always go away and come back later if the enemy team has an active Rift Scuttler ward there.
  • On blue side you do not need to take the Rift Scuttler before taking first Dragon, because you do not need this as an escape route: if you are level 6 you can escape out of the pit over the wall. Not taking Rift Scuttler reduces the chance that you will be detected, because an enemy jungler coming through the river will generally take Rift Scuttler first if he sees it's not taken, before checking / warding the Dragon pit. While he's taking the Rift Scuttler he actually can't see into the Dragon pit, if you stand between the Dragon and the wall. This can be hilarious if he's there in the river close to you and still doesn't see you taking drake, until it's too late to stop you.


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Team Fights

Although she excels 1v1, Shyvana does not do so well in the tank role in 5v5 team fights. The only way she can do serious damage is to be in the center of the fight and if she's in the center of the fight she will be focused, and will probably die. She's not the best tank - there are at least 10 better tank champions in the game - and she has no hard CC and no escapes except for her ulti: but probably she used her ulti already if she's team fighting.

But ... Shyvana does AoE damage, so surely she should be really good in team fights, right? It's true that her AoE abilities can do some useful damage to closely grouped opponents. But (apart from her E in human form) her abilities only do damage to nearby opponents - it's like she does damage with her own body and its flames. This means she must always risk herself to do damage. In a straight up fight her AoE damage will not be enough to kill the opponents before they can kill her. It's the same however you build Shyvana: a tanky build can be a "damage soak" for your team but you won't be able to get many kills and can still be killed in a 5v5; a higher damage build (as recommended here) will make her even more likely to be focused in fights and she still will not be able to secure a kill before dying herself.

So tank-style team fighting, where you walk up to the enemies' faces or dive in as your team's initiator, is not a good idea. Even with a tanky build, Shyvana should not be played like a full tank champion: that is not her role.

If you play smarter, Shyvana can do well in 5v5 fights.

  • With allies who go all-in with her, at the exact same time, together you will do a lot of damage and should kill let's say 3 out of 5 opponents. Someone might die, but the enemy team can't focus all of you. (This works best when you play with people you know, it's hard to get the timing correct in solo queue unless your allies understand how Shyvana fights.)
  • With allies who do some good damage without you then Shyvana can wait on the side until she is late into the fight - maybe even the last person to commit to the fight. Then at a good moment she can ulti in and do a burst of AoE damage, and clean up multiple enemies, at a time when their abilities are probably mostly on cooldown so there's not that much they can do to you. This style of team-fighting works well for Shyvana, for the same reasons that she is strong in counter-ganks. It's kind of a selfish way to play, but it's effective in solo queue.
  • In a similar way Shyvana is good at using her mobility to approach the enemy team from the rear and kill those 1 or 2 opponents who are retreating from the fight at low health.
Tactics like this mean that Shyvana can sometimes carry games hard with a high number of kills, but it depends on your team. It's not always going to work out like this, and sometimes you will have to avoid all fights and earn your kills by operating alone.

Team fighting in more detail

Other approaches to team fighting


The power of split-pushing

Sometimes you will want to join your team and fight because your presence will strengthen the team and secure some kills, and sometimes you have to team-fight, because you're contesting Dragon, Baron or a turret, or similar situations.

But - especially if you are carrying hard - it's often best for Shyvana not to be team-fighting most of the time, but instead to split-push hard and roam. This split-pushing pressure helps your team more than if you are team-fighting.

If you are pushing a tower or inhibitor, while the opponents are grouped in mid lane attacking your team or a turret, the opponents now basically have 3 choices.
  • First choice is to ignore you, in which case great, you just took an inhib.
  • Second choice is to send one person (probably their strongest) to stop you, in which case that person will die.
  • Third choice is to send 2 or (safer) 3 people to deal with you, in which case they just pulled out of the team-fight.
Shyvana is well suited to split-pushing - definitely one of the top 3 champions in the game for this - for multiple reasons:
- she can wave-clear extremely quickly, so allowing allied minion waves to push up the map to help her
- she can take down turrets and inhibitors very fast (especially with the Carry Build...)
- she can tank a few turret shots if necessary (and can easily heal up in the jungle afterwards, thanks to lifesteal)
- she can 1v1 any enemy who comes to try to stop her, probably even 1v2 if it is not the strongest members of the enemy team
- she has the mobility to get to objectives quickly
- if the whole enemy team comes for her, she can probably still escape using R and W.

If you are playing as Shyvana in the jungle, after the game has gone beyond 20 minutes you really need to think of all enemy turrets which are still standing as being your primary responsibility to take down. There's no need to be polite and leave them for your allies in lane!


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Team Composition

Shyvana synergises well with most champions as she doesn't need anything special on her team to do well. If following this build, however, then in general you want at least one other person on your team to be building tanky.

Especially good pairings can be:

Kayle who can use her ulti to shield Shyvana so she can go all-in in teamfights and get multikills
Janna who can shield her
Lulu who can enlarge her and shield her
Morgana who can shield Shyvana from crowd control very effectively, and can lock down the enemy
Orianna who can shield her and the shield also has a wombo combo with Shyvana's ult (see above)
Blitzcrank who can pull in enemies to be killed by her.

More generally, Shyvana does well with any allies who have good CC, as that will improve the ganking possibilities in those lanes.

Shyvana also works well alongside a mobile ally who can quickly kill multiple enemies who are on low health - for example Master Yi, Yasuo or Riven. So when fighting let's say 3 opponents, Shyvana can do high amounts of damage to all 3 of them with her AoE damage, but not kill any of them completely before she is in danger of being killed herself. If you have an ally who can clean up and take the kills, you win that fight. (You will need to overcome your frustration with Shyvana havings assists and not kills: 3 assists still gives you plenty of gold.)

Shyvana needs to take more care with:
- slow-moving teammates, in that case mid-game and late-game you may have to be careful not to get too far ahead of your team and caught out of position
- full AD teams, although she deals mixed damage herself it's still 60-70% physical damage and you will have a harder time if the enemies all itemise against that, this can be a good time to buy a Wit's End to increase your magic damage output.

Some allies - most commonly Hecarims and Sions in top lane - will want to take a jungle camp at level 1 so that they can start their lane at level 2. This is an annoyance, especially if they take Raptors, as that will delay your level 3 and mess up your planned jungle route (it also means this guy obviously will not give you any leash). I think you have to let your ally do this if he asks. Your best response is either to start on the other side of the map (e.g. Gromp - Wolves - Red Buff - Krugs - back) or do a Krugs - Red Buff start followed by counter-jungling at the enemy jungler's second buff, see Early Kill Cheese section.

Overall, you want to have team-mates who can win lane or at least come out even without any direct help from you early game. (You are helping indirectly in the ways 1-5 listed under Ganking above.) In contrast, Shyvana will lose a lot of her advantages if she has to baby-sit lanes or attempt weak ganks or counter-ganks in the early game.

If one of your allies is countered hard by an opponent, then it may be best for you to help the other lanes instead - for example if you gank mid, mid can get a kill and then go and help top who is struggling. Alternatively if it's a close match-up, maybe your presence in the countered lane is all that your guy needs to turn the situation round. Each game is different in this way, as it also depends on the skill level of your ally and his lane opponent, and maybe a little bit on luck.


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Match-ups

Before level 6, Shyvana will have trouble fighting the following champions and can only realistically do it if she has some advantage over them (like Exhaust):


Shyvana can kill or draw against most other junglers, for example she has nothing to fear from a Rek'Sai, a Kha'Zix, a Nocturne, a Shaco, a Kayle, an Elise, a Master Yi or a low level Jax; and Rengar is surprisingly squishy if you attack him aggressively. Lee Sin is about an even match, but is fairly easy to deal with if he is low on energy or out of wards. Shyvana doesn't have much problem duelling a Skarner as long as she is away from his spires: near a spire, Skarner should be avoided. Shyvana should not be killed by a Nidalee - you have enough movement speed to dodge her spears easily - but Nidalees are generally hard to kill because they can leap to escape: your best strategy against a Nidalee is to steal her blue buffs, because a Nidalee without mana has trouble sustaining in the jungle (likewise against a Kayle).

As the game continues, Shyvana will scale all game, especially with the recommended builds, until she gets to a position where as long as she can get into melee range, she can 1v1 anyone except maybe a fed Jax, Darius or Irelia.
  • If Jax uses his Counter Strike (E) he can outduel you, for 2 seconds he dodges all your basic attacks including their on-hit effects, and in fact the more you try to attack him the more damage he deals back to you (so you should stop attacking him completely when he uses his E, and come back in when it is on cooldown).
  • A fed Darius is a problem for any champion to deal with. Only approach him when you are on full health. You need to kill him as quickly as possible before he can apply full stacks on you, so use everything you have on him. If your attack speed is high, press Q in anticipation of the first hit on him (see Tips and Tricks in the Abilities section). Ignite is very effective when fighting him as it hinders him from healing, but you probably don't have that spell. If he is your main threat, then the highest damage builds (e.g. the Carry Build) are best: you need to kill him quickly because he will win any prolonged fight. Unless you have a long-ranged ally, it's best to approach him alone, because his Decimate heals him more if your allies are also near him. Stand close to him when fighting (right on top of him if you have Phantom Dancer): he does less damage if you are close to him than if you are at max melee range. If you are not sure of your ability to kill him, save your R so that you can use it for an escape.
  • Irelia's Equilibrium Strike (E) can stun you for 2 seconds (it stuns when you have more % health remaining than her, and you will have more than her after your initial burst) while she does a lot of damage to you at melee range, also self-healing while she does that. Your slows are less effective against Irelia so she's hard to catch if she decides to escape (and she can dash using minions if there are any around). Put together all these things make a duel against her very challenging. Her stun is the main problem: it's a targeted ability so it never misses, and a good Irelia will always use this on you defensively if you try to engage her. I would even say Irelia is the strongest counter to Shyvana: not that Irelias are generally found jungling, but if you have an Irelia in a lane, she is going to be a difficult opponent for you in the early and mid-game. Late game at a full build you can likely tank her damage for 2 seconds and kill her after the stun wore off, but she is still a dangerous threat to you. Buying tenacity is highly recommended if you have to deal with an Irelia, even though Mercury's Treads do not give you protection against her physical damage (or her true damage).
Obviously, in duels, any opponent with a strong escape or Flash can sometimes escape before you have the kill. Unless you also took Flash, there's nothing you can really do about that unless you have your ultimate available to dive after them.


When ganking early (especially before you have your ultimate) all opponents with high mobility, for example Yasuo or Riven, are a problem. You will simply be unable to catch them. Instead of wasting your summoner's spells and chasing them pointlessly until they are under their tower, the best is to bait them so they try to kill you, then turn on them and use your full burst (including Smite and Exhaust): if your laner does the same then he should get the kill and you should survive at low health. In solo queue it can be difficult to pull this off correctly - for example your laner may not know how much damage you can do - so if you judge it's not going to work out, it may be best not to gank that lane until later.

Against an enemy who can go into stealth / invisible - most notably, Shaco and Rengar junglers - it's a good idea to keep an unused pink ward in your inventory (or the pink ward upgraded trinket item), use it when you lose sight on them, this can help you get a kill which you would otherwise miss. Against Evelynn this doesn't work because she can leave the area and stay invisible, instead it's best to guess at her position and try to damage her with your W (especially in dragon form) as she then becomes visible to everyone.

ADCs with knock-back can cause some trouble, for example Vayne or Caitlyn, because they can kite you even when you have movement speed. The best is to be patient and wait for your Fury bar to reach 100% then you can close the gap and deal with them.

Throughout the game hard CC can be a problem (as it can be for anyone): it's especially bad for Shyvana as you will be intentionally coming into melee range of opponents when you try to kill them, so if you are CC'd and then taken by surprise by a second opponent arriving on the scene, you are in a vulnerable situation. You really need to make sure that you juke the skillshots from Morgana, Ryze, Lux and Blitzcrank. Do not engage Amumu or Nasus when they use their full combo, and move out of the area of effect of Ekko's and Viktor's abilities - if duelling any of these four, move out of the area of effect, wait for it to go on cooldown, then come back in and kill.

Generally if going in to risky situations and your ultimate is up, save it so that you can use it as an escape if you need to - your ultimate will be available if you are slowed or rooted but not if you are knocked-up, stunned or silenced. If you are against a Katarina (or other champions with very damaging channeled ults, for example Miss Fortune) it is a good idea to save your ultimate for when your opponent starts channeling their ult, because the knockback will interrupt them: so you want to actually dive towards the source of the damage.

If the enemy team composition has two or more CC which are dangerous for you in combination - for example a root from Lux and a knock-up from Yasuo or Wukong backed up by a fed Draven - then maybe look at a different build for more protection from CC, so buy tenacity, Banshee's Veil, and even a Quicksilver Sash.


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What to do if you are falling behind

Everyone has a losing game sometimes. Even the strongest players only have around a 60% win rate. Here are some ideas for what you can do about it.

1. If you personally are losing
2. If an ally is losing
3. Losing a long game
4. If an ally goes AFK


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General tips

1. ___Key tip: Most of Shyvana's damage comes from basic attacks enhanced by Q and on-hit effects. Her main damage is not from her W, and definitely not from her E. You must therefore position yourself to use basic attacks on your target. The Enchantment: Furor boots enchantment, Trinity Force and Phantom Dancer can all help with this: these items help you to be in, and stay in, a good melee position in fights or when chasing an opponent who is running away.

2. ___Built right, Shyvana does such a high amount of damage that it will surprise you and your opponents, she also heals from lifesteal as long as she can hit her basic attacks. If caught in a bad situation - for example two opponents jump you from a bush - instead of retreating, attack hard. You can kill a squishy opponent in 3 hits, and when you get the kill, you will heal somewhat from the Dangerous Game mastery.

3. ___Use attack move as well as regular right-click move in fights, similar to the way that a kiting enemy will use stutter-step (orb-walking): you want to be always moving around your enemy in fights, it helps you to be in the best position and it makes it harder for the enemy to land skill shots on you. Practice doing this on large monsters when you are taking jungle camps, it will also fractionally reduce the damage you take while jungling because when you move around the monster can sometimes take extra time before it attacks you (because it has to move before attacking or it gets itself minion blocked).

4. ___Attack move can also help you catch up to a fleeing enemy if you are coming in at a side angle (e.g. when ganking from river), so instead of right-clicking on the enemy which moves you directly towards where the enemy is now, you click attack move on the ground behind the enemy, on the place where you think the enemy is headed to - your champion will take a slightly speedier route (a better diagonal) and attack move will automatically do one basic attack if you come into melee range at all (you can also press Q to pre-charge it to be a Twin Bite - this is a rare situation where you might want to Q without auto-attacking first). Note: this tip doesn't work if there are enemy minions around, if there are minions then using attack move will cause you to stop and attack the nearest minions instead which you don't want.

5. ___Map awareness: As well as always keeping one eye on the mini-map, you need to be watching your lanes while you are taking jungle camps and en route between camps. You do not need to watch Shyvana on screen to activate your Q and W abilities: you can still activate those abilities just by button pressing when you see they are off cooldown. The F1 F2 F3 F4 F5 camera control buttons are a handy way to watch lanes, figure out each game which button is which of your laners, then hit F1 to bring the camera back to yourself. You do not need to toggle camera lock (Y) if you use F1 instead.

6. ___Do not tower dive before level 6. Unless you took Flash, you have no way to escape from under a tower quickly enough to avoid taking turret shots. Even if you secure a kill, it's not worth dying for that due to the loss of gold and XP during the time it takes to respawn and walk out onto the map again. After level 6, tower diving becomes viable for Shyvana, especially in dragon form.

7. ___You can solo Baron with the full Carry Build, or even much sooner than that if you buy an early The Bloodthirster - the fourth Dragon Slayer buff also helps. This isn't amazing, a lot of champions can solo Baron with Bloodthirster, it's much more impressive if you don't have Bloodthirster. When soloing Baron, use R to initiate on it, then you will be in dragon form for the whole Baron fight so you can tank its damage better. (In contrast, if taking Baron with your team, do not use R, save it in case opponents arrive to try to stop you.) After the nerf to Sated Devourer Shyvana in patch 5.18, if soloing Baron you will probably need to use double smite (smite once at the start of the fight, and again at the end: the second smite is available after 15 seconds) if you do not have a BloodThirster build.

8. __You can solo turrets when you have the Carry Build, you can literally walk up to an Inner Turret and take it down from 100-0 with no minions nearby, although it's best to retreat after tanking a few turret shots and come in again because each turret shot does increasing damage. Very few champions can do this. Remember to activate W when attacking turrets even if there are no enemy minions nearby, for the buff to your auto attacks.

9. __At game start with your W you can reach river before any other champion, this can be useful for checking which camp the enemy jungler starts on; using W again should allow you to retreat out of range towards mid lane even if spotted by the enemy team, though it's best to have a bit of backup nearby from your mid laner just in case. If you do a full invade (or if you get invaded) W combined with Exhaust and basic attacks can be enough to take a level 1 kill.

10. __If stealing enemy jungle camps, especially early game, you can try not to clear all the small monsters so that the camp does not respawn. This will reduce your opponent's gold and XP (and maybe also Devourer stacks) by the large monster amount when he next comes to that camp: at the cost of losing you the small monster amount of gold and XP. But it's hard sometimes for Shyvana not to kill the small raptors with her E and W, so don't worry too much if you accidentally kill them. It's best to make sure not to completely clear the enemy Blue Buff camp, because if you can prevent the enemy team from having blue buff for a long time, that helps your team. But personally I will usually clear the enemy Red Buff camp, because that gives me information, it means I know exactly when the camp will respawn, and red buff is such an important buff for Shyvana that I will probably be looking to go there and steal it again when it respawns.

11. __Always give up blue buff to any team-mate who asks for it, its only benefit on Shyvana is a bit of cooldown reduction. You can even give up your first blue buff (you still get XP from it if you are nearby, and you can still take the small minions).

12. __Early game, generally it is a mistake to try to "help out" laners unless you have a specific objective, like an enemy where you can score a probable kill. So do not come to the protection of a team-mate who is being killed in a 3v1 (you will probably also die: it is important to understand your relative strength at different stages in the game, you can do this type of thing and succeed late game but not early game). Do not hold a lane while your team-mate backs. Do not engage in "all mid" skirmishing unless there is a specific objective, like a tower which you can take down. All these things are a waste of your time as you can earn more gold and XP by farming the jungle, and more Devourer stacks, and you will help your team more later in the game if you make yourself strong as quickly as possible. Importantly, holding a lane or skirmishing in mid lane makes you visible to the enemy, so allows the enemy jungler to go do other things without fear of being interrupted, and makes your next move more predictable when they see you leave the lane (so the enemy might come to kill you in a 2v1).

13. __Late game, if using jungle camps or minions to heal up thanks to your lifesteal, do not use your W or your E. You will gain more from lifesteal if you use basic attacks and Q only, and at the same time your Fury bar will build faster - to put it another way, the camps die too quickly if you use W and E.

14. __In your earliest clears, use Smite on Krugs (for the Heavy Hands buff), Red Brambleback (for the 20% max health insta-heal) and Gromp (for the poison). After your earliest clears, try to save Smite only for the Raptors (for ward checking) and for enemy champions, and Dragon of course.

15. __Except when taking Dragon or Baron, use Smite early, at the start of taking a jungle camp. Four reasons:

(1) you gain the bonus from smiting the large monster sooner
(2) your Smite will be off cooldown sooner
(3) it avoids any 'overkill' from smiting the monster too late and so ensures your clear time is as fast as possible
(4) it means you don't have to watch the camp while you clear, but instead you can be looking around the map, see tip 5 above.
A fifth reason, if it's your first camp and you have a leash, is to make it easier for the leashers to see when they have done enough damage to be able to leave.

16. __To play Shyvana well, you need to know your strength against other champions at various different stages of the game. This is hard, as it is so different throughout the game: if you just won a game where you stomped all over a Zed or a Yasuo at level 12, that doesn't mean that you can take them next game at level 6. Especially you need to play cautiously before you have your Sated Devourer and completed Blade of the Ruined King. When both items are complete you have a huge power spike in terms of damage dealt. Before then you need to be somewhat patient. Early game you can kill opportunistically, and you can 1v1 most enemy junglers if nobody else comes, but you have to run from 2v1 situations and watch the map carefully in case of roams. Mid game and late game you can play more fearlessly.

17. __You have power spikes at:
  • Level 1 - because W does a lot of damage for an early spell, it's hard for enemies to run from it before they have their dash abilities, and you have Exhaust
  • Level 3 - because you have your full ability combo, red buff, and most other champions are becoming low on mana at this point
  • Level 6 - because you are tankier with +10 armor and MR, you have good health (helped by the runes), and you have your ulti available immediately
  • Levels 7-18 - because Shyvana.
18. __Out-psyching your opponents and improving the morale of your own team is very important in League of Legends. It's part of your overall role as jungler to deliver that. This type of thing makes your side play better as a team and help each other out, makes opponents go on tilt, and leads to their early surrender. Therefore you should be making an effort to:
  • get an early 1-on-1 kill on the enemy jungler, to show who is boss
  • take every dragon - if your team has 3 dragons and their team has none, they're going to be flaming at their jungler
  • when ganking, if you have the option of who gets the kill, give the kill to your laner: you don't need the gold so much (because you have such high gold income from farming jungle all game), it's better for your team if your laner has a positive score against his lane opponent, and the fact that you did this deliberately will be noted by your laner and his opponent: that's great psychology, it shows you are totally in control of the situation
  • counter-gank if you see something going down and you can get there in time, you don't want your team to feel you abandoned them to die
  • after you have 2 or 3 items, go to look for and kill the strongest enemy in a way that he can't do anything about it - so he's farming in lane at full health, you show up, he is dead with no escape. If the enemy Zed or Katarina is afraid to go roaming the map alone in case they find you, you just took away all their power and won the game already.


Guide Top

Videos

Here are some Shyvana videos which you can learn from.

Expand for videos


Guide Top

Credits

Thank you to the writers of other guides, I have learned a lot from you.

Thank you to the makers of the videos posted above, they are fine showcases for Shyvana play, and commentary from high elo and Pro players is always very much appreciated.

Thank you to Steven DeRose (Coronach) at Riot and his team who designed the Shyvana champion model, as well as several other great looking champions which came into the game in 2011-12, like Elise and Zyra. Shyvana still has the best animation in the game, and it looks even better with the 2015 re-work. I love the way this champion looks and moves, in human form and in dragon form. It makes it a pleasure to be watching your own champion on the screen.

This guide was created in September 2015, so it's still new. Please do ask questions or let me know in the comments if there is something you don't agree with. If something here helps you I would really appreciate your vote, I have put a lot of playing time and analysis into developing these ideas and recommendations for you guys!