Shen Build Guide by Zraxs

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Zraxs

Bousing in the top lane. A Solo top Shen guide

Zraxs Last updated on April 5, 2012
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Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
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.



Offense: 9

Honor Guard

Defense: 21

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 0

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Shen, The Eye of Twilight


There exists an ancient order originating in the Ionian Isles dedicated to the preservation of balance. Order, chaos, light, darkness -- all things must exist in perfect harmony, for such is the way of the universe. This order is known as the Kinkou and it employs a triumvirate of shadow warriors to uphold its causes in the world. Shen is one of these shadow warriors, entrusted with the sacred duty of Watching the Stars - exercising judgment untainted by prejudice.
Born to a clan whose members have decorated the ranks of the Kinkou for generations, Shen was trained his entire life to become the Eye of Twilight, and thereupon to dispassionately determine what must be done in the interests of equilibrium. As his final trial to ascend to this position, he was made to attend the Takanu, a ceremony in which his father was tortured before his eyes to test his resolve. Any reaction whatsoever would have resulted in his immediate disqualification, but he never averted his gaze and never blinked, not once. As the Eye of Twilight, Shen must make decisions which would buckle the wills of ordinary men, removing all emotion from the equation. He now works with his fellows Akali and Kennen to enforce the balance of Valoran. This hallowed pursuit has unsurprisingly led the triumvirate to the Fields of Justice.

"The Eye of Twilight sees not the despair of its victims, only the elegance of equilibrium."

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Ahoy there everybody. I'm Zraxs and this is my guide to playing a solo top Shen. This guide is mostly based on my thoughts and my own personal experience with items, abilities and so on.

I mostly play Shen because I enjoy the way he plays. I love how he is incredibly tanky, while also being able to harass incredibly well in a lane with Vorpal Blade

I like Shen, because of his AOE taunt ( Shadow Dash) which can enable your team to deal tons of damage while being safe at the same time, his ability to save an ally anywhere on the map with his Ultimate ( Stand United).

So I hope you enjoy the guide, as much as enjoyed writing it and I hope it is any good to you guys. Good luck!

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Pros & Cons

Pros / Cons


+ Very tanky throughout the entire game.
+ Got an AOE taunt in Shadow Dash.
+ Got great harass with Vorpal Blade.
+ Can save an ally everywhere.
+ Can do the teleport triangle (I'll explain later).
+ Really fun to play.
+ He's a flipping ninja! If that's not cool, I don't know what is.

- Doesn't do much damage late game.
- If Shadow Dash isn't used the right way, you'll be useless in team fights.
- Stand United can be used wrong, not only killing your ally, but also you.
- Hard to play decently.
- This build is easily countered by Vayne, Madred's Bloodrazor etc.
- Is pretty item dependant.
- Requires great map awareness to execute Stand United

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This is a pretty standard build 9/21/0 for the tanky solo toppers. They reason for me to go with , Brute Force instead of Mental Force is because I don't think that 3 extra AP makes any difference, while 3 extra AD can help you with the early game last hitting.

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Greater Mark of Magic Penetration

Greater Seal of Scaling Health

Greater Glyph of Magic Resist

Greater Quintessence of Health

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Summoner Spells

Summoner Spells

Exhaust: Can be used to escape an enemy or catch up to them.
Flash: It's amazing for lining up your Shadow Dash or just escaping from sticky situations.
Heal: Combined with Summoner's Resolve it can turn around those teamfights.

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Skill Explanation

Skill Explanation

Passive: Ki Strike

Description: Every 8 seconds, Shen's next attack will deal bonus magic damage equal to 4 + (6 × level) + (10% of his bonus health). Whenever Shen hits an enemy unit with a basic attack, the cooldown is reduced by 1.5 seconds. Shen restores 10 / 20 / 30 energy when he Ki Strikes.

Explanation: This ability will make last hits a dream to get. The extra damage is crazy. It's also great for harass. Shadow Dash in, hit the enemy with Vorpal Blade and this, and they will lost a huge portion of their health early game, and it will be all "Wham Bam, super slam".

Q: Vorpal Blade

Description: Damages target unit and life taps him, healing allies that attack the target.
Deals 60/100/140/180/220 (+0.6) magic damage to target unit and marks them for 5 seconds.
Allied spells and attacks against this target heal them for (6/10/14/18/22 + [1.5% of Shen's max Health]) over 3 seconds.
Killing an enemy with Vorpal Blade restores Health instantly instead.
Cost: 60 Energy
Range: 475

Explanation: Your primary harass and last hit ability. The range is pretty short, but the healing it gives adds quite a lot of sustain.

W: Feint

Description: Shen shields himself, absorbing incoming damage for a few seconds.
Shen shields himself, absorbing the next 70/115/160/205/250 (+0.6) damage. Lasts up to 3 seconds.
While Feint holds, his attacks reduce Ki Strike's cooldown by an additional 1.5 seconds.
Cost: 50 Energy

Explanation: This is what makes you pretty tanky. Combine with [wiki=shadow dash, and an enemy will be bashing at you, while doing no damage what so ever. You will be just as hard to kill, as breaking a brick wall with a silver spoon.


E: Shadow Dash

Description: Shen dashes rapidly toward a target location, taunting enemy champions he encounters and dealing minor damage.
Shen dashes in a direction, dealing 50/85/120/155/190 (+0.5) magic damage to champions and taunting champions he collides with for 1.5 second(s).
Taunted enemies are forced to attack Shen and deal 50% reduced damage.
Restores 40 Energy per champion affected.
Cost: 120 Energy
Range: 575

Explanation: You will LOVE this ability to death. It taunts everybody iy hits, and gives you back some energy. This can nearly take out the entire enemy team for 1.5 seconds. Of course the AD carry will still deal somr damage, but nobody will be able to use their abilities. Only downside is that if you miss it in a team fight, you can kiss your team's lifes goodbye.

R: Stand United

Description: Shen shields target allied champion from incoming damage, and soon after teleports to their location.
Places a shield on target allied champion, absorbing 250/550/850 (+1.35) damage for 5 seconds. After channeling for seconds, Shen teleports to the target's location.
No Cost
Range: Global

Explanation: The possibilities with this thing! Can be used for ganks, to turn an enemy's gank into a gank of your own, and it can simply be used to save a teammate's life. It's a global ability, so the only limitation is the cooldown, which is really long at first, but it get's shorter.

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Skill Sequence

Ability Sequence Order

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

> > >
Reasoning behind my sequence
I choose Vorpal Blade first because it's a really great ability to have for the laning phase. I like to take an early point in Feint instead of Shadow Dash, because it allows me to harass them, and take no damage myself. If I'm up against a champion with very heavy harass like Mordekaiser, I take Vorpal Blade and Feint equally.

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Starting items

  • : Provides you with 10 bonus armor, an extra 8 health regen and 120 health for all that early game survivability.
  • : Alternative to the Doran's Shield if you want to build up quickly for your Heart of Gold.
  • 3x : No need to explain this one, really. It gives you movement speed to avoid those skillshots, and can be upgraded into either Ninja Tabi or Mercury's Treads.
Choosing your boots

  • : I usually take these, unless I find myself in a match against an AD heavy team. Gives a nice amount of magic resist, and the tenacity reduces all those CC's that you just hate to be hit by.
  • : I take these if I find myself in match against a very AD heavy team, where their only AP champion is their mid.

Core items

  • : It gives a nice amount of early game health and gives you some extra gold through most of the game.
  • : Gives some great health and some decent armor, and the passive is great. It adds a lot of damage to teamfights and it's great for pushing a lane.
  • : Adds a insane amount of health. It's the item which adds the most health in the entire game. While making you more tanky, it adds a lot of damage to your Ki Strike.

Situational items

  • : It adds plenty of armor, magic resist and health to yourself, and it has a nice aura that provides your entire team with extra survivability, which might turn the team fights in your favor, instead of in the opponents'.
  • : Randuin's Omen provides you with a whooping 75 extra armor and has a slow that triggers upon being hit. On top of this, it also has an AOE slow, some CDR, extra health (And we just loooove that extra health) and some extra health regen.
  • : I like to take this against an AP heavy team, because blocking that one spell might save your life, and allow you to tank some more. Sadly, it has some bonus mana on it, which is going to be wasted on you.
  • : Let's see... Plenty of armor and some pretty decent magic resist, and most importantly a revive every 5 minutes? Yes please! This is a great item for many champions, as the revival can turn most fights from bad to great.
  • : Combining this with all the health you'll get from this build, and your Ki Strike you'll be tanky AND able to bring down a tower pretty quickly.
  • : Personally I haven't tried to get this, but other people seem to think it's great, and I can see why it's attractive. It improves all your abilities, gives your Vorpal Blade a slow and adds a great amount of health.
  • : A great item to get early. Increases your healing by a reasonable amount. Adds greatly to your sustain.
  • : The optimal choice for any tank against an AD heavy team. Combine this with Randuin's Omen and Ninja Tabi and you'll get 200 additional armor. And the passive will tear through their team, as they try to tear through your insane health.
  • Decent item. Gives a constant AOE slow. Also gives you 99 armor against the AD heavy team. The mana is wasted is you, though.
  • Gives some magic resist and health regen. Watching your health regen go over 50 health per second is an amazing sight.
  • I NEVER EVER want to get any snowball items, and especially not as a tank, as you won't get a lot of kills, and you'll probably die quite a bit aswell.
    All this considered, I felt that it had a place in the guide, for the people who are in a great situation, and wants some CRAZY tankiness.

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Your role in any teamfight is to ensure the survival of your team. You're the captain of the team, and because of this you always have to be the first one to engage, and you have to take a lot of choices, that may, in the end, ensure your team's survival. This involves things like: "Should we engage?" "When should we engage?" "Is leaving this lane to push somewhere else a good idea?". Of course I'm not saying this to scare you, but to make you realize how important your role is.

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So this is all for now. This guide is not even close to being done, as I so far have only been working on it for a single night.

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Credits to jhoijhoi for the template, which you can find here