Shyvana Build Guide by SpikeThePike
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BEST OFF-TANK BUILD
HIT LIKE A TRUCK
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.
See also: main guide page
Shyvana's abilities, jungle routes, match-ups, and other tips, tricks and strategies are covered in detail in the main guide. This extra guide page covers Items, Runes, Masteries and other details and reasoning behind the builds. It's intended you should read both pages together for the complete guide.
Please make comments and give your votes on the main guide page, not here. It's better to keep all comments in one place. It's also not fair on other guides if two parts of what is basically the same guide both receive votes.
Why is the guide split across 2 pages? It's because Mobafire has a technical issue with guides longer than around 15 chapters, where they become non-updateable. (I have reported the issue in the Site Support forum.)
Comparison of the builds
The builds covered in depth in this guide are jungle builds based around Enchantment: Devourer for a large amount of total damage. The overall aim is to build a lot of damage with enough defences so that you can win fights and survive most situations.
As an alternative to the builds covered here, it is also possible to go full tank on Shyvana based around Enchantment: Cinderhulk. That can work with the right team composition - it works well with a high damage, high mobility, high CC, but squishy team, so allies like Fizz, Lux, Tristana, Yasuo, Ezreal, Azir, Ekko, Veigar, Cassiopeia - but you will have to read other guides for the details of that build. Although you can win games like that with the right team, in most games I don't like it because it's a 0 damage build. If you've played Shyvana full tank like that in the past, it's important to understand that the build covered here is different from that: it requires a different playstyle and a different approach to team-fighting.
A couple more features to note. The recommended runes give a good amount of scaling defences - it's almost like having half of a Spirit Visage already - this reduces your dependency on items for defence, which allows you to itemise more for offence. And although the recommended masteries have nothing in the defence tree, they more than make up for that with lifesteal - lifesteal is very strong on Shyvana, as covered in detail in the Masteries section below (but some players prefer 21-9-0 masteries which is also an OK choice of course).
How much is "enough" defence?
All the builds here start out the same way. At around 20 minutes in to the game you will need to decide on your boots and your fourth item: if in doubt take Mercury's Treads as boots and Dead Man's Plate as the fourth item because that works well in almost all the builds (it's also not too expensive).
Around 25-30 minutes in, you will need to start looking at what to buy as the 5th and 6th items. The best way to decide is to think about how many defensive items should you build? Of course it depends how you play, how fed you are, how fed the enemy are, how the rest of your team is doing, and whether your team absolutely has to have someone tanky. It's a sliding scale between more damage and more defence. Here are some example builds and general rules you can follow - for details of the specific items and when they are best, see the Items and Defensive Items sections of this guide.
It can be helpful to think in terms of whether you want to take: one, one and a half, two, two and a half, or three defensive items. Boots and hybrid items count as half a defensive item.
High damage builds
- The Best Off-Tank Build gives you a strong set of balanced defences and a high damage output so you are a very powerful threat. This is close to a 'three' defensive item build. Wit's End has the highest damage of any third item (see Shyvana Math section below), so that your total damage output can easily 1v1 most enemies. The build path is balanced, so that at all stages you have good protection against both physical and magic damage. It already has most of its advantages with only 5 items. Dead Man's Plate gives high movement speed out of combat, the Furor enchantment on the boots keeps you mobile in combat. The reason this build works is that if you complete Merc Treads early - which are often the best defensive boots on Shyvana, due to the tenacity - and you also took the recommended scaling MR runes and Wit's End, then you don't need more magic resistance against typical enemy team compositions. So you probably don't need Spirit Visage or Banshee's Veil, but you have take two heavy items against physical damage. That's good, because most enemy teams will do at least two thirds of their total damage as physical damage. Caution: an ADC with 5 completed items will be a threat until you have Randuin's Omen complete, in that case you can change the build order and build Wit's End last. (Alternatively, against a full AD team, take Titanic Hydra in place of Wit's End for higher health, less MR.)
- This build with 'two and a half' defensive items again has high movement speed, high damage, and balanced defences against mixed damage. The % physical damage reduction from both the Ninja Tabi and Randuin's Omen is strong if the enemy has crit strikes combined with Last Whisper or other armor penetration. Compared with the Best Off-Tank Build, this build provides similar damage, slightly less armor and health, but you gain: the 10% damage reduction on basic attacks from Ninja Tabi (good against AA-reliant ADCs), the spellshield from Banshee's and +10% cooldown reduction. This has the highest mobility out of the builds covered here.
- If you are doing reasonably well and close to carrying, a 'two' defensive item build - actually as it is shown here one full item, two hybrid items and boots - gives high damage with a fair amount of defence. Titanic Hydra is especially strong on Shyvana when paired with high attack speed, you will hit like a truck.
Against mixed damage:
- As little as 'one and a half' defensive items may be enough if you are carrying hard, meaning one fully defensive item plus boots. This will be referred to in this guide as the "Carry Build". In this example Dead Man's Plate is shown as it lets you cross the map faster and it's good against mixed damage (it can also be Randuin's Omen if a crit striking enemy is the main threat). Choose defensive boots or a boots replacement according to the situation, you can also look at late game Elixirs to increase your health or tenacity. This is a very high damage build - you can one-shot most enemy carries and also quickly kill tanks - but you still have some defence and high mobility. This build is especially strong for split-pushing. (Alternatively: Wit's End in place of Infinity Edge can work surprisingly well, especially against heavily armored opponents: and it gives you +30 MR and costs less than Infinity Edge.)
- If you are doing astonishingly well, you don't need much defence at all early and mid-game, a single Giant's Belt may be enough, and 'one' full defensive item may be enough late game if there is nobody who can burst you down. Doing more damage is itself defensive, due to killing enemies faster and due to lifesteal. Sterak's Gage is a strong sole defensive item for a melee champion. Alternatively, taking The Bloodthirster in place of a defensive item would give even higher damage and lifesteal. If you are carrying hard enough to build like this, you are not likely to complete the build due to the enemy surrendering first.
More defensive builds
- For a safe late-game build you can take 'three and a half' defensive items, so only defensive items after completing BotRK. This example takes Dead Man's Plate first for its out-of-combat movement speed (useful mid game) and all-round defence. Then Randuin's Omen before Banshee's Veil, because the enemy ADC will be starting to do heavy crit damage by this stage. (Alternatively take Ninja Tabi against a full AD team, though you will be more vulnerable to CC.)
- If you are falling behind early game or your team needs you more tanky then follow a different build path: build up defence immediately after your basic boots and Bilgewater Cutlass, and finish your BotRK later. Here Randuin's Omen is taken as the first defensive item, because it is strong against fed AD opponents. For a second defensive item, Sterak's Gage is the least costly and is strong against all forms of damage, or look at Dead Man's Plate for out-of-combat movement speed. The 6th item for magic resist is shown incomplete here because you are behind: if gold allows this can later be built into Banshee's Veil, Spirit Visage or Wit's End.
- If you need even more defence than that - for example because you are the only tanky champion on your team - then you probably shouldn't be following an Enchantment: Devourer build at all, instead look at some tanky builds based around Enchantment: Cinderhulk
Pros playing Shyvana in jungle usually take the first two core items recommended here, but then follow a more defensive build path - for example starting to build defence before BotRK is completed - and defensive boots early, and a more defensive third damage item such as The Black Cleaver. See Meta/Off-meta section, next, for some example pro builds. I think that more defensive build path actually works better at high elo. At high elo:
- your ADC does high damage earlier in the game and so your team benefits from having tanky people to protect him
- the enemy ADC does high damage earlier in the game and will have strong mechanical skills, so is more of a threat to Shyvana
- both sides' teams are generally better positioned to collapse onto fights, and so Shyvana needs to have enough defence that she can join mid-game fights.
At lower elo and solo queue, which is how the majority of players reading this guide will be playing, your ADC and your other team-mates are not always dependable, and so sometimes you need to be able to carry games yourself: in that case, itemising for more damage is better. Opponents at lower elo are more likely to be out of position so that you can kill them. Neutralising the enemy jungler is also a good way to win games.
Meta / Off-meta
Some of the content you see in this guide is "meta" for Shyvana: that's most effective tactics available, or more realistically what the players at high elo do. Some of the build suggestions here are off-meta but recommended here as better than the meta for the reasons explained - at least better in solo queue lower elo games where most people will be playing.
What is meta on Shyvana?
Jungle is the meta role for Shyvana, she is regularly one of the top 10 junglers in League of Legends. In about 60-70% of Shyvana ranked games (covering all elos) she is played in jungle. She can also be played in top lane: this is more popular at high elo and in professional games.
Stalker's Blade - Devourer as her jungle item is meta ever since patch 5.13 introduced Sated Devourer. Full tank builds based around Enchantment: Cinderhulk can also work on her but are not covered in this guide.
Some example pro builds:
(please excuse any formatting issues here, these are due to temporary problems with Mobafire servers, not the guide)
You'll notice three items always feature: there are very few pros who do not take these two damage items and Randuin's Omen on Shyvana. Pros sometimes build Spirit Visage before Randuin's Omen. Pro level games very often end before full build and obviously in these cases Shyvana will not have all 6 items, but you can see the pro players heading towards this build, for example with 3 completed items and a Spectre's Cowl or a Giant's Belt. Except in the Thornmail build, the sixth item here is always giving health and damage; you can also occasionally see pros take Titanic Hydra for similar reasons.
Meta rune choices involve Attack Damage or Attack Speed marks and sometimes also quints. Seals are armor or scaling health. Glyphs are CDR or scaling magic resist. As an alternative to AD/AS quints, pros often take two or even three movement speed quints on Shyvana: you can tell by looking at the early game movement speed: 350 is with no quints, 361 is 2 MS quints, 367 is 3 MS quints.
Meta masteries are either 21-9-0 or sometimes 9-21-0 when combined with a fully tanky build.
Meta counter-jungling with Shyvana involves stealing enemy jungle camps more than hard early-game aggression on the enemy jungler. Pros do not usually gank much with Shyvana before level 6, instead concentrating on power farming and stacking the Devourer.
What is wrong in the meta?
In the meta, The Black Cleaver, Frozen Mallet, Sunfire Cape and Ravenous Hydra are not the strongest item choices: for each of these items there are better alternatives as explained in the guide.
Attack damage marks are not a bad pick on Shyvana, but attack speed runes are better for DPS (damage per second), for reducing cooldowns on her ultimate, and for early-game duelling (because in a close duel it can come down to who gets the final auto-attack off first, and you want that person to be you). As a side note, even though Shyvana's W scales with attack damage, the scaling is tiny: the attack damage runes add literally +1 DPS to her W.
What is off-meta in this guide?
The 'Carry Build' and 'Mobility Build' in this guide have much more damage and (slightly) less defence than the meta, for the reasons covered in detail in the guide. The 'Best Off-Tank Build' has more damage and more defence than the meta.
Wit's End is known as an item which has synergy with Shyvana (Elophant stats rate it as one of the most effective items), but even so it is seen as 'situational' and more often talked about than actually picked. This guide explains why it is a core item. It is especially strong against opponents who build defensive armor but not MR.
Zephyr or Phantom Dancer as alternative core items on Shyvana are not meta. (Check the Elophant stats, Phantom Dancer is never picked as an item on Shyvana at high elo, and I have not found any high elo videos where it is taken.) They are recommended here if you are carrying: they give attack speed which is very strong on Shyvana, and also movement speed. About the 'Carry Build', people have tried out a critical strike / full damage build on Shyvana before - "full damage Shyvana" is a thing, you can find people talking about it and there is a Brofresco video if you want to look for that - but it is seen as very niche. Here is a highly rated Season 4 guide taking Phantom Dancer as a core item.
The 17-0-13 masteries are introduced for the first time in this guide. In my opinion and testing they are the most powerful set of masteries to take on Shyvana. I have not seen any other guide recommending anything like this. If you take these masteries, you should also read the Jungle Routes section in the main guide.
The "Early Kill Cheese" guidance is similar to counter-jungling tactics used by strong early game junglers, most commonly Warwick and Shaco. I have tried and succeeded with these tactics in my own Shyvana games. I have not found very many high elo videos where these things are done with her: there are a few. If you are new to the champion, I suggest use that particular part of the guide with caution: try it out and see if it works for you.
On-hit effects and Attack Speed
Shyvana's kit has 7 on-hit effects or synergies.
- Her Q applies on-hit effects a second time, as well as being an auto-attack timer reset - this means that an AA+Q combo applies on-hit effects three times (in around 0.3-0.4 seconds realistically, due to the time for the attack animation)
- Her W grants an on-hit bonus to every auto-attack while it is proccing
- Her E grants an on-hit bonus to every auto-attack against all opponents hit by the flame
- Every hit reduces her Q cooldown
- Every hit extends the duration of her W
- Every hit grants Fury, so either it reduces the cooldown of her ultimate, or it extends its duration
- In dragon form, her Q applies on-hit effects to all targets in the area of effect.
- applies 50 bonus magic damage as an on-hit effect
- every second hit, as an on-hit effect, "phantom hits" meaning it procs all on-hit effects a second time
Shyvana's second core item, Blade of the Ruined King:
- applies percentage health damage as an on-hit effect
That's a total of ten on-hit effects or synergies. Even more than ten if you count the stacking effects from the Spell Weaving mastery but that's fairly small.
Advantages of attack speed
The large number of on-hit effects and synergies means for a good Shyvana build, you should be prioritising attack speed. You want even more of those on-hit effects happening. The on-hit effects are powerful early and mid game when your raw attack damage is not so high, and also powerful late game when the single largest element of Shyvana's damage is %health damage from on-hit effects.
Attack speed is a good stat already for a jungler: on all champions it's good for DPS when clearing jungle camps and Dragon, duelling (maybe it means you get your final auto-attack in just prior to the opponent's attack which would have killed you), and taking down towers quickly. On Shyvana it's immense. Basically, Shyvana scales with attack speed.
As it so happens, the two core damage items, Stalker's Blade - Devourer and Blade of the Ruined King, already give a decent amount of attack speed. Shyvana also benefits hugely from attack speed runes and masteries, of course.
A third attack speed item is highly recommended. Wit's End is the best item if you are building only 3 damage items, as it adds an 11th and 12th on-hit effect, almost like having double Devourer: and it increases your magic damage which is good, as most opponents will have higher armor than MR. Alternatively look at Zephyr or Phantom Dancer.
Attack speed (or high DPS) is great against stationary or slow-moving objectives. It is not relevant in situations where you only have enough time to get off one basic attack (or basic attack + Q combo) on a target before it moves out of melee range. This means that against champions attack speed might only work if combined with movement speed or slows. But if you can get close to a champion - for example after a slow or using W or R - high attack speed means that the following combo:
Some Shyvana Math
The player's skill, decision making, positioning and overall knowledge of the game are the most important factors in winning League. Experience and testing produce the best builds. When it comes to the items, runes and masteries, some math can help to confirm which build is strongest, at least in relative terms.
Real damage calculation for various possible third items.
I made a spreadsheet which calculates real in-game damage for Shyvana taking account of everything including champion level, runes, masteries, other on-hit effects, ability sequence, auto-attack reset, cooldowns, and defensive stats of your opponent. Additional factors (for example your opponent's abilities, mechanics and crowd control) will affect actual outcomes in games, but the calculations here are still helpful to show in relative terms which items give Shyvana the most damage.
Single target average DPS (after resists):
|Third item||vs. squishy ___||vs. tanky|
|The Black Cleaver ___||741||725|
|- none -||621||628|
Note that Shyvana's real damage to a tanky champion, after resists, is not a lot less than her real damage to a squishy champion. The reason is that a good fraction of her damage to a high-health tank is from % health on-hit damage: so she deals much higher raw damage to tanks. Shyvana excels as a tank killer, and for the same reasons she excels against high hp armored targets like turrets, Dragon and Baron.
Conclusion: If taking only three damage items, Wit's End is the best third item. It also gives defensive MR which synergises with your more defensive build if you are only taking three damage items, and utility for your whole team thanks to the MR shredding.
Even though Wit's End is by a clear lead the best third item in terms of damage dealt, in many games I take Zephyr or Phantom Dancer over it, purely for the movement speed advantage. The movement speed from these two items helps you to actually apply all that damage to a real target. Notice that the primary statistic on Wit's End, Zephyr and Phantom Dancer is attack speed. In case you didn't figure it out yet, attack speed is the best statistic to build on Shyvana.
In terms of gold efficiency, Wit's End stands out even higher above anything else as being the best choice as third item, because it does more damage than alternatives, for less gold. Zephyr, Phantom Dancer and Last Whisper are also gold efficient, as is Titanic Hydra given all its benefits. Infinity Edge, not so much.
- more DPS than any other possible third item
- a higher fraction of your mixed damage will be magic damage, and that is good because it is hard to itemise against: opponents generally don't build both armor and MR at the same time, and generally opponents' MR is lower than their armor
- the Wit's End itself reduces opponents' MR thanks to MR shredding, this helps your own damage and your whole team (especially if you can proc it in an area of effect using your Q in dragon form)
- +30 bonus MR "for free" on an item which you are taking for damage reasons.
The tenacity passive on Zephyr is extremely important if there is any hard CC at all on the enemy team (not knock ups). I will always look to take Zephyr if not taking Mercury's Treads (you should never take both together, because the unique passives do not stack: in contrast, you can take Elixir of Iron alongside either of these to have 55% tenacity). For most games, a simple rule of thumb when choosing between builds is: either take Merc Treads + Wit's End, or take Ninja Tabi + Zephyr.
Zephyr can also be taken as a late game boots replacement, costing almost 900 gold less than Trinity Force.
- In a 1-on-1 fight, following your R or a slow it lets you melee from a position right on top of an enemy champion (basically standing inside their hitbox) so that you can get more attacks off on them before they can move away out of melee range.
- If you are on top of an enemy champion, you can sometimes block their movement in the direction they want to go, even though they don't block your movement, so it can work almost like a small root on them.
- In a team fight, it lets you reposition to the best places, even if a ton of other stuff is going on around you: this means you can by-pass tanks and are better able to attack your main target (their squishy), to apply your AoE damage to more targets, or to get out of trouble if you need to.
- If you are chasing an opponent through a lane, it means you are not minion-blocked.
If you took Boots of Mobility early, then at some point you should sell them for something more defensive. Selling these boots is OK, it's only around a 225 gold penalty for selling them. All of the final builds listed in this guide have defensive boots.
For the early game Boots of Mobility have the further attraction of being the cheapest Tier 2 boots, leaving more gold for your other items. Think of it this way, if taking these you can buy your full boots plus Cloth Armor or a Ruby Crystal towards a defensive item, for the same price as other Tier 2 boots. So these are actually a good option defensively because you will complete your Randuin's Omen / Dead Man's Plate sooner.
Note that these boots are not good against a kiting opponent, because taking any damage from an opponent will slow you down to the "in combat" speed for 5 seconds. If you are being kited a lot, take different boots.
- The Spellblade on Trinity Force is huge, it's +200% of base attack damage as bonus damage on hit. Shyvana's base attack damage is high, so that's around +240 bonus damage on hit. The on-hit effect applies once after each ability use, with a cooldown of 1.5 seconds. That's pretty much the way Shyvana fights anyhow, constantly mixing in her abilities (especially Q) with her basic attacks. Unless it's already on cooldown, the on-hit effect from Spellblade applies automatically when Shyvana uses her Q (because that's a spell activation followed by an on-hit effect).
- The Rage on Trinity Force can stop Shyvana from being kited in almost all cases - if you can get close enough to get off one basic attack, then you will gain enough bonus movement speed to stick to your target until the end of the fight. It's also pretty nice in other situations, for example tower dives.
Although Trinity Force is an excellent item on Shyvana, I would never take it as a third damage item due to the high cost: Wit's End, Zephyr or Phantom Dancer give more damage with almost 1000 gold left over to buy something defensive in addition.
If building only one defence item, after patch 5.16 I am still likely to make it a Randuin's Omen, because in most games the main damage threat is physical damage from a fed ADC; a typical Shyvana death is to get CC'd by the enemy mage/support and then killed by the ADC. Since patch 5.16, Randuin's Omen has been buffed to give extra protection against critical hits, so when you see that the enemy ADC has completed two crit items (e.g. Infinity Edge and Statikk Shiv) it's probably time to buy this. And if you are duelling the enemy jungler (for example a Warwick, a Rengar or a Xin Zhao) the armor helps against their physical damage, and the attack speed reduction helps in a duel - they will probably at the same time be reducing your attack speed with a Randuin's Omen of their own.
As well as the excellent set of defensive stats, the slowing active on Randuin's Omen is very useful when chasing down enemies. Be careful, the area of effect of the slow is quite small, it's similar to the area of your W. A good trick when chasing can be to activate W (for a movement speed burst) and then activate Randuin's Omen when you see that the W flames are touching your opponent. You can also use it to escape if you are being chased, for example activate it when an enemy catches up to you while you are waiting for W to come off cooldown.
Compared with Spirit Visage, in my opinion Banshee's Veil is the better pick for heavy magic resist in most games as it blocks one ability. Blocking an ability can stop Shyvana being CC'd - this is because opponents will generally use CC on Shyvana first before any other abilities, because Shyvana is so mobile if they don't CC you. Banshee's Veil is especially strong in situations where you want to dive an enemy with your ultimate: it can stop your ultimate being interrupted in mid-flight. Even though opponents can see when your Banshee's Veil spellshield is active, it works as an effective deterrent: they won't want to waste their mana on trying to CC you, knowing that the spell will be blocked.
Banshee's Veil is an especially strong item against Teemo, Nidalee and Karthus, who can catch you out with a high amount of single ability magic damage at a time when you are not expecting it.
Alternatives: Frozen Mallet is a better item than Warmog's before level 16: it provides only 100 health less than Warmog's and it increases Shyvana's offence and utility. After level 16, for late game defence I recommend that you try out Sterak's Gage or Dead Man's Plate in situations where you would otherwise be looking at Warmog's Armor.
Note: this item also increases your attack damage by around +30, and there is a synergy between this and the Spellblade passive on Trinity Force. Overall it gives around a 5% damage buff, see Shyvana Math section.
In addition to defence, Dead Man's Plate gives out of combat movement speed. Therefore I will look at taking this item early in any game where I do not take Boots of Mobility. The movement bonus only procs when you are moving already and it disappears if you attack anything at all. I find this incredibly irritating on Shyvana - it's almost like an anti-Frozen Mallet - although it is useful in situations where you have to cross the whole map. If you take this item I suggest you ignore the movement stacks and just play as you normally would. There is a small attack buff on your first attack on a target after chasing - the buff increases at 100 stacks but it is small enough that it is semi-irrelevant on Shyvana, you will do more damage by ignoring the stacks and just moving and attacking in the way that Shyvana needs to. If you have gold to spare, Enchantment: Furor on your boots is an excellent pairing with this item as that perfectly counters the loss of momentum stacks when you attack: the two items together will give you on average around +50 movement speed all the time.
Shyvana has no natural sustain, but very high damage from her basic attacks, and naturally high armor and MR. That means that lifesteal has good synergy with her. Her high armor and MR means each point of hp recovered using lifesteal is worth more than it would be on a low armor, low MR champion.
Her core items give 10% lifesteal, and the recommended masteries add 3% for a total of 13% lifesteal. That's already enough to sustain you indefinitely in the jungle, and in the mid and late game you in fact heal from taking jungle camps. But additional lifesteal can be very strong on Shyvana against champions.
The Bloodthirster also gives a 350hp shield before you go into a fight, if you attacked minions or monsters first. Shyvana almost certainly attacked minions or jungle monsters (or other champions) before going into a fight.
Like Sterak's Gage, having high lifesteal gives you smart defence, meaning you have extra defence in a more challenging fight: the longer the fight lasts, the more it heals you.
If going the Bloodthirster route, you need to go for it 100% to make it properly effective: so you must build Phantom Dancer and Infinity Edge with it (and Trinity Force is also recommended in place of boots, or take Zephyr or Mercury's Treads - Furor for the tenacity), and you have to change your playstyle: attack harder, and 'believe'!
Goals from the runes: early game armor, late game MR, health and attack speed.
Glyphs: Get Scaling magic resist for late game MR. In many games Shyvana will not be building any other MR items, that's OK because these runes plus your passive already gives you plenty: so much that in many games you may not need to take any magic resist item, or only Mercury's Treads. Flat magic resist is less good than scaling as you will be unlikely to encounter magic damage below level 6. CDR is a luxury rather than a necessity on jungle Shyvana, if you think you need some go take a blue buff.
Marks: Attack speed marks are the priority, as attack speed is the number one statistic on Shyvana, and the marks are more slot-efficient than the quints.
Seals: You need some flat armor runes to help you out at levels 1-5 when you are squishy. You need armor especially for jungling and counter-jungling. If not using armor quints, then you must get armor seals. However, armor quints give even more armor per slot than seals. (+4.26 armor from a quint versus +3.0 armor from 3 seals.) I recommend taking armor quints, leaving your seal slots free for the scaling health, this gives the best balance between armor and health for the whole game.
Quints: 2 armor quints; 1 attack speed quint
- The 2 armor quints give you fine early game armor for jungling as Shyvana, allowing you to take health seals (see above). The armor quint is one of the 'best value' quints in terms of slot efficiency.
- The attack speed quint is because attack speed is the best stat on Shyvana, and it is useful all game. This one is optional, you don't lose much attack speed without it and you can try other quints here instead.
I recommend players try out different options for the third quint like a movement speed quint, lifesteal, a 3rd armor quint, or attack damage, and see which you like best. (If you want attack damage, instead of buying an attack damage quint it's actually more efficient to keep the attack speed quint here and take 3 attack damage marks.)
Bengi sometimes takes one or two Health Regen quints on Shyvana, that's not necessary with this build if you take the recommended lifesteal masteries: but it's interesting because it shows he considers that early sustain is good to have on Shyvana.
A lot of readers will be surprised at the Utility tree choices - none of the other guides do this - but key Masteries in the Utility tree for Shyvana are:
- Vampirism for 3% lifesteal and spellvamp, this is important all game and more beneficial than +3% max health in the Defensive tree. Think about it like this, max health helps you if you go back, lifesteal helps you if you don't go back, now which would you rather be doing?
- Summoner's Insight which reduces the cooldown of your Smite and Exhaust by 10%, this is huge as Shyvana uses these summoners spells a lot when ganking and mid-game
- Runic Affinity extends the duration of red and blue buff by 20%, this is huge as Shyvana will often have these and will also be stealing the enemy buffs, so she can be close to having perma-buffs
- Fleet of Foot for +5 movement speed, not earth-shattering but needed to unlock other masteries in the Utility tree and movement speed is useful to have on any jungler.
- Wealth for a 3 health pot start. The third health pot gives +165 health during the first jungle clear. This is more benefit at that crucial early stage in the game than a full 30 points in the Defensive tree. The reason for the 3 health pot start is to give you more options at the end of your first half-clear or full clear, for example after the first 3 camps you could heal to almost full health and do a level 3 gank on mid lane, or you could go to counter-jungle, or maybe a level 4 gank on top lane. It also lets you complete the first jungle rotation even if something goes wrong (for example a level 1 invade, or you didn't get a leash, or your leash stayed too long and took some of your XP from the first camp, or you get counter-jungled).
In the offence tree, standard attack damage masteries are taken, plus:
- Sorcery : it's a tough choice between CDR and attack speed, but I have been persuaded in discussions with LyteChai and in testing that taking some CDR early helps as much as attack speed, and 4 points in the Sorcery masteries is the least costly way to have it.
- Expose Weakness : it's only a 1% damage buff for your allies, not for your own damage - but it's a contribution to your team's overall damage, your W, E and R can proc it on multiple enemies (your W especially), and if several allies have this mastery then the effects stack
- Spell Weaving and Blade Weaving , together these give +3% damage overall as Shyvana will always be weaving abilities and basic attacks
- Executioner , that's +5% damage to champions below 50% health, important all game
- Dangerous Game , the 5% health restore is potentially life-saving in a 1v2 situation, a tower dive, or a close team fight
- Devastating Strikes , 1 point in this is all you can afford, but it is a useful small overall buff to your damage, especially against turrets and late-game tanks.
Note that these masteries, together with the runes chosen, are designed to give you only "just enough" protection for your first jungle clear (especially at level 2 when you are most vulnerable), so if you follow this guide, do not be surprised if you are low health at that point. The extra third Health Potion at the start compensates for that. You can survive a first clear without taking that third potion (especially with a good leash and a smiteless first camp) but at dangerously low health at certain times and with fewer overall options.
Why not take 21-9-0 masteries?
If you are unadventurous then take the standard 21-9-0 masteries instead, see every other Shyvana guide. 21-9-0 will give you 4.5% more damage and 3% more max health, and will make your first jungle clear easier. But in my opinion, 3% lifesteal and spellvamp (it's a full 3% spellvamp on all your Smite damage, but effectively a 1% spellvamp on your spell damage because your W, E and R are area of effect abilities), 10% cooldown reduction on Smite and Exhaust, and extended duration of red buff, are better overall benefits to have as they increase your playmaking options all game, and options are good to have as a jungler.
3% lifesteal is more beneficial to have than +3% max health after you did damage equal to your health. Shyvana deals damage equal to her health every few seconds, so she does that much damage in a single jungle camp clear for example. This means that the lifesteal is by a long way more defensive than having those 9 points in your defensive tree. Because you are always dealing damage, prior to building your Vampiric Scepter I would estimate the lifesteal masteries are around 3 times more defensive than having 9 points in your defensive masteries. Lifesteal helps protect you in duels against the enemy jungler. Even when you have Vampiric Scepter, the lifesteal masteries are a helpful buff in the 1v2 or 2v3 type of mid-game fights where Shyvana excels.
TL;DR: with the mastery choices I recommend, compared with 21-9-0, you are giving up 4.5% raw damage, for the benefits of having more early game defence from lifesteal, reduced cooldowns on Smite and Exhaust (meaning you can apply them more often to champions), extended duration of buffs and an extra health potion at the start for a stronger level 3. (And don't forget the "free bonus" of +5 movement speed and -1 second duration on Recall, although points on those masteries are really only taken to unlock the rest.) Put together, this is a very powerful set of masteries for any jungler to have.
Smite always of course. I once had an ally try to jungle without this. It didn't work out well.
and one of following two:
Exhaust to help you when ganking (it also helps your ally, so it is good for teamwork, maybe this is what your ally needs to secure the kill), it also makes it easy for you to win 1v1 duels against most enemy junglers, which is an important part of Shyvana's early game, and to win 1v2 duels in the mid-game
Flash helps you when counter-jungling or ganking because Shyvana can use it aggressively, to counter an opponent's Flash or other escapes; in the mid and late game, Flash and your ulti together mean that you have a way in to situations and a way out again; occasionally Flash can also allow you to escape when you are caught out by surprise, for example 3 enemies are waiting for you in a bush in the enemy jungle, although your ulti may already be enough for that (if you are not silenced stunned or knocked up).
At Pro level, players take Flash around 3 times more often than they take Exhaust. Flash works well for pros because they have the skills to make some amazing plays with it, or simply to Flash after an enemy who flashes. At lower elo the choice is more closely balanced: Exhaust is easier to use, it is up more often, it lets you safely win duels against the enemy jungler, and is overall the more reliable pick.
For counter-jungling, if you know the enemy team composition before you pick your summoner's spells (e.g. in ranked or Draft Pick), Exhaust is a better choice against opponents like Warwick, Rengar, and Jax who will try to duel you, Flash is a better pick against an opponent like Nidalee who will try to poke you and then escape. For the mid and late game, Flash can be a better pick against an enemy team with a lot of CC, Exhaust is strong against tanks.
Other choices occasionally seen:
Ghost can be used to counter flashes and escapes, so helps you to gank, and can also be used defensively, this can work on Shyvana because it has a lower cooldown than Flash, and your ulti already gives you the ability to jump over barriers.
Cleanse deals with hard CC (and gives 6 seconds of tenacity to help against chained CC). It can be viable against specific enemy team compositions like Lux or Irelia, because generally speaking after you reach level 6 Shyvana is only likely to die in situations where she is CC'd.
Teleport lets you help out your team in trouble, or cross the map for backdooring, but it's not really necessary on a jungling Shyvana as you already have very high mobility; it can be a better pick on a top lane Shyvana.
Ignite might help you to secure a kill against the enemy jungler, or perhaps in pre-level 6 ganks if your laner has no ranged abilities. I don't think that gives enough utility to take this as your summoner's spell. After level 6 you have enough in your kit to secure kills without it. Exceptionally, it could be good against a Darius, a Warwick or an Irelia as it reduces their healing while you are fighting them.