Shen Build Guide by Siveo
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Not Updated For Current Season
This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.
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.
This is my first build I've published so if you have any doubts, questions, ... feel free to leave a comment. I will try to answer and update my build as soon as I know better ways to build my Shen.
Shen is my favorite tank in the whole game. He has very useful skills that can help you in every phase of the game. At first, Shen wasn't my favorite champion because he isn't that powerful, his damage output is quite low.
This build is made on my personal likings and my play style. There are many other ways to build and use Shen so you're always free to try out my build and if it suits your play style, I would be very happy to know that I've helped someone out.
This is mainly a tank guide of Shen with some damage that can be played as solo-top or even as supportive bot-tank.
If you want an AP tank, I suggest reading Roronoa Evris' guide: AP Tank Shen - Ninja Gaiden in LoL!
Credits to jhoijhoi for the template, which you can find here.
So sit back and enjoy the build.
What brings the future?
These are the chapters/improvements I will be working on in the future when I have the time for them.
[*] Update mastery tree
[*] Nautilus patch rework
[*] Shadow Dashing Walls
Red: Still coming
Green: Busy investigating
Pros / Cons
+ Very good in ganking
+ Has very usefull skills to support allies
+ Fully master taunt = Victory
+ Amazing survivability
+ Can pop up everywhere on the map fast and easy
- Low damage output
- The shield doesn't absorb as much damage as the AP Shen
- You will die a lot (you're the tank)
- Try to avoid killstealing
For the summoner spells, I recommend the following 3 summoner spells! All 3 are good, it's the way you want to play with Shen! For example: Will you use Teleport to be able to move like a ninja over the field or Exhaust to catch up with fleeing enemies or do you want to use Flash to catch up enemies, position yourself better to land a perfect shadow dash?
Exhaust: Having this summoner skill gives you the opportunity to slow down the enemy that is fleeing or gives you the chance to escape your death. It can also be used in teamfights to lower the damage of a carry.
Flash: It can be used to position you use your Shadow Dash on multiple champions instead of just 1. It is also a great spell for escaping and ganking the enemy team.
Teleport: This is the best summoner spell you can have when you are doing a solo top! Ulti to save an ally and teleport back to your lane to be able to sustain even more!
Optional summoner spells
: If you like to be fast to run to gank the enemy team, to chase fleeing enemies or just to get fast back in lane, take Ghost.
: Can save the life of your teammates in team fights. You are the tank and if you do your job right, you should've die first. So by reviving, you can harass and help your teammates even more when you die.
- : Since you don't do that much damage as Shen, this can help out a little bit to send the enemy back to their base.
- Greater Mark of Magic Penetration - You need to do some damage to help you out early in game and to hold your lane.
- Greater Seal of Armor - You are a tank/support so you want to have quite a lot armor to take less physical damage.
- Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist - Since you're a tank/support, you want to have some magic resistance to take less magic damage.
- Greater Quintessence of Health - You're still a tank so health is needed.
- Greater Mark of Attack Damage - Giving you that extra AD will make you more painfull
- Greater Seal of Health - What can I say? You're a tank, you need health.
- Greater Glyph of Scaling Cooldown Reduction - CDR can come quite in handy to be able to use your ulti more often, taunt your targets faster and pop up your shield faster.
- Greater Quintessence of Regeneration - Some more hp regen can help you out very nicely since you will be jumping from one battle to another to help out your allies so you will harass or get harassed constantly. Getting health back faster can be handy at times like that.
Ki Strike Your free extra damage every 9 secs Fun little passive that deals out some extra damage every 8 seconds. This is good in early games to get the last hit on minions and maybe harassing your enemies.
Vorpal Blade Hit and heal This will be your main attack (you only have 1). This attack is very useful in the laning phase to help your teammates heal and harass your enemies (ranged attack). The heal is not that great since you will be having quite high health but it's very useful in the laning phase so you can heal up a little to stay longer in your lane. You want to spam this ability since the energy will be back when the CD is over.
Feint Your shield This ability can be very useful because you're a tank and want to take as much as damage on you as you can. A lot of summoners forget to use the ability but it can be very good to block towers, some abilities of enemies, ...
Since you will be a tank/support, the shield won't be so high as AP Shen but it will still block some.
When Feint doesn't break, it will reduce the CD of [Ki Strike]
Shadow Dash Escape or taunt your enemies This ability is really useful in every situation. You can use this ability to run away if you're almost about to get killed but, it can really be a lifesaver for your teammates thanks to the taunt. If you use it right your teammate can escape from champions. You want to use this ability also to catch up running champions and try to hit them when they run away, they will be taunted and have to attack you.
Stand United Help your allies with a shield and a teleport gank The ultimate of Shen can be used for multiple purposes. At first looks, it's a quite powerful shield for your teammates but it can also be a way to teleport yourself to a champion you want to help! Using this ability can suddenly make 1 vs 1 lost fight into a winning one since you shield your mate and you just teleport in to help him out.
- Stand United This skill is really awesome for helping out your fellow champions and for teleporting fast to champions that need your help.
- Vorpal Blade This is your only attack and this will help you also with some regaining health.
- Shadow Dash This skill is one off your best skills. Helps you with escaping but also helps out other people since it takes the aggro of the enemy champion to you.
So you want to take this skill as fast as possible (at lvl 2) because it has a 1.5s taunt over all 5 lvls so you have a strong taunt early game. You want to max out this as last since it will only increase your damage with it and you still are a tank.
- Feint This skill is useful but doesn't have so much health since you don't have much AP. Thanks to the reworks, this skill will be maxed out before shadow dash.
Early game discussion
One of the biggest discussion points for Shen is whether to take Feint or Shadow Dash at lvl 2.
The answer is actually quite simple, if you're up against pokers you have to take your Feint as fast as possible to make sure they don't lower you too much.
If you have a fast jungler that can gank before lvl 4 (Example: Shaco, ...) or you have to lane somehow with a carry that can easy get a kill before lvl 4.
Another good thing about Feint why you should take it at lvl 2 is because it will reduce the CD of Ki Strike!
And then we have a second discussion: Taking Shadow Dash at lvl 1. I only recommend this if you're going to invade their jungle or when you go for first blood (example with Ashe). Try to wait as long as possible with choosing your first skill so you don't lvl the wrong skill. (example: Invading their jungle while they invade your jungle (waste of taking Shadow Dash as first skill)).
I suggest using 0/21/9. This mastery tree is based on tank and some survivability. The main needs of a good tank.
(1 point): The extra 15% will make Heal a powerfull summoner spell, use it wisely.
(3 points): The magic resist is a must for a tank.
(3 points): You're a tank and you need armor.
(4 points): The extra health will come very in handy to be that unkillable tank in teamfights.
(1 point): You need health as a tank.
(2 points): You need to be able to take hits and this will help you take more hits from enemy's.
(3 points): Reducing the CD on your ulti is very handy to be able to shield your allies more in the game.
(3 points): You're a tank, you need the damage reduction.
(1 point): Health and anti-CC, must-have for every tank.
(1 point): Gives you a CD on your Flash, since you will be able to use it in a lot of situations, you need to lower its CD.
(3 points): Lower the time you're dead is critical in a game, your team needs you to tank and initiate teamfights, so being dead for a long time is no option.
(3 points): Giving you that extra 10 energy, this mastery will make it you even easier to spam your abilities.
(1 point): This will save you some extra precious time to help out your allies or to get back in lane.
(1 point): You are the assist/tank so warding is mostly your job.
Tips and Tricks
Tips and Tricks with Vorpal Blade
- Use Vorpal Blade as a way to mark the target you're attacking. This will result in a faster kill and your allies will gain a little health.
- Using Vorpal Blade in combination with Ki Strike is the best way to harass enemies.
- Shadow Dash is the best to use on the most troublesome enemy since they will probably try to take out your carries first.
- Shadow Dash can be used to break channels such as Nunu's Absolute Zero.
- Positioning yourself with Flash before using Shadow Dash can help you to taunt multiple champions instead of 1.
- Shadow Dash can bring enemies such as Evelynn, Teemo, Shaco, and Twitch, out of stealth and will also work on wards.
- Shadow Dash is a great skill to use if you need to flee away since it can teleport you over walls, brushes, ... like Flash.
- Don't forget to tell your allies who you're going to use it on so the shielded ally can take advantage of it.
- Can be very usefull for protecting a teammate who's attacking a tower and joining in the fight.
- By using Stand United you won't reveil a stealthed ally so you can teleport easy to him/her for a more succesful gank.
- People often forget about your ulti so by using that info, you can try to push a lane while your team is in another lane. The other team will see a 5 vs 4 and they will try to take advantage of that or try to gank you. That way you can push a lane AND save/jump in the fight at any time and turn the chances.
- Feint is the perfect skill to block tower hits.
- After using Shadow Dash it's most wisely to use your Feint since you will pull the aggro and so taking the damage on you.
- If the enemy has Banshee's Veil, throw in a Vorpal Blade first before you use Shadow Dash.
- Don't just jump in fights. Know the location of all the enemies and allies and know their skills! Using a skill too early or too late can make a very big difference.
- First off all you want to buy Ruby Crystal, now you will probably ask me: 'Why not buy Doran's Shield as your first item?'. That's because the extra 10 armor and the little bit extra health regen are not worth buying it, you have quite some armor thanks to your runes and masteries and Vorpal Blade is your own way to get your health regen! With the crystal, you get a more health (+ masteries) at the start and you waste less money so you can buy your Heart of Gold faster what means that you get more money in the game.
- You want to buy your Boots of Speed as your second item that have the speed that you need to chase/flee/help.
- Now you want to buy a Heart of Gold. Since you're the tank, you don't do that much damage so getting kills will be harder and it's your job to let the carries farm! So this item will make it easier to get that much needed gold!
- For your first core item, you want to buy Mercury's Treads. Like most tanks builds you want this item because it gives you a nice speed bonus and will give you the ability to counter CC.
- If you don't have a support in your team, you want to buy Aegis of the Legion, it has a nice combo of health, armor and magic resist and does little damage to nearby allies.
Now comes the optional items:
A little reminder: These are the optional items, that means that you can use them because they are items that a tank/support can help to be a better tank/support. If you don't like the item, you just take another item.
You want to buy these items for more survivability:
- Force of Nature: Gives you a nice health regen, some magic resist and speed that you want to have to properly use Shen on the map (See map awareness).
- Randuin's Omen, Armor, health and health regen. You're still a tank and they need those things and the passive is a nice bonus for tanking. You can build this from your Heart of Gold. An alternative to this is Locket of the Iron Solari.
- Locket of the Iron Solari: This is the cheaper version of Randuin's Omen. Buy it when you're in a game where you have some problems helping your teammates and you don't have that much gold. Armor, health and health regen, always nice to have as a tank.
- Thornmail: If the enemy team is really heavy on AD, you want to take this item since the armor is always very welcome vs AD teams and the passive will make them kill themselves.
- Guardian Angel: Armor and Magic resist are always welcome for tanks and the passive can be quite useful if you die in team fights. You can resurrect to help out your teammates fast. Guardian Angel is mostly used when you're having some trouble with survivability.
- Banshee's Veil: It gives you much needed health, magic resist and a passive that will block 1 negative spell every 45 seconds. The passive has quite a long cooldown but it's still worth the buy since every minute, a teamfight will start. The mana is quite useless since you're an energy user but the other stats are good enough to buy.
- Warmog's Armor: If you are a health lover, I suggest you buy a warmogs quite early in the game (after your mercs or randuins) so that the warmogs will be fully charged at the endgame. This will make it even harder for you enemy's to kill you with that amount of health.
Important: Since the Shen boost Warmog's Armor became 1 of the best items to get thanks to the buff for Vorpal Blade and your Ki Strike making you tanky and more dangerous at the same time.
- Spirit Visage - Gives you health, some extra magic resist and the passive makes your health regen with Vorpal Blade a bit better. I recommend building this item early in game if you really want it since you will be needing the passive more often then.
The next items you want to buy when you're getting ignored by the enemy (Extra damage):
- Rylai's Crystal Scepter: You can use the health very well and the AP is very nice to add some more damage to your Vorpal Blade, it also increases your Feint and Stand United. The passive will help you out quite well when your enemy tries to flee when he's losing.
- Frozen Mallet: This is the attack-based counterpart of Rylai's Crystal Scepter. Gives you a little bit more health and a little stronger slow. The extra AD will make your auto-attacks a bit stronger so you deal more damage.
I recommend a Frozen Mallet instead of a rylai's because of the Nautilus patch rework for Shen. Giving you a little bit more health and your attack damage will be boosted with this item since you will be more auto-attacking thanks to the rework.
- Sunfire Cape: Gives you a nice bonus of health and armor. You're a tank so these stats are always welcome! The passive will be nice to help you out a little to kill enemies.
- Wit's End: Gives you some attack speed and some more magical resist. The real reason you should take this item is for the passive. Together with Ki Strike, this item can be really painfull for you enemies.
- Abyssal Scepter: The AP and the passive can help you out to get some more damage to kill enemy champions and increases your Feint and Stand United to help out your allies. The magic resist is always welcome since you're a tank.
- Atma's Impaler: The extra armor and crit chance can help Shen out quite well but the reason why you should pick this item is the passive. Since you are building quite a lot off health, this item will make your normal attacks quite painful. If you build this item, I recommend getting a Warmog's Armor for the health obviously.
- Trinity Force: Why tri force? Well it's quite expensive so I suggest you buy this if you don't have trouble in your lane and you got a good farm. It has an extra Ki Strike, gives you extra attacks speed, extra damage, a slow, some critchance, extra health and extra speed!
- Ionic Spark: Giving you a bit extra health, attack speed and a nice extra chain damage every 4 attacks!
How to be a good tank/support
In this chapter I will explain some aspects off how you should act/react in certain phases, fights, ... off the match.
The whole point of being a tank is that you will be engaging fights, you will be the one that will take the most hits and probably die the most if you do your job right! In the next few points I will explain some things that can help you to gain the attention of your enemies!
- Being a tank means that you need: high health, high armor and a lot of magic resist!
Why is this not true? Having too much health, too much armor and/or too much magic resist will make your enemies target the other members of your team since you are not a threat to them! Building enough of these factors to still being able to tank and do enough damage to be a threat to the enemy is the key of being a good tank.
- What if I lose the aggro of the enemies? I only have 1 answer to that: Shadow Dash. Using Shadow Dash will taunt your enemies so they need to attack you. If the enemy is ignoring you overall, try selling a tank item and buy a DPS but still tanky item like: Sunfire Cape or Rylai's Crystal Scepter.
- You have energy, meaning that you can spam all your abilities. Keep using that taunt, shield, healing over time and that ultimate as much as you can.
- Vorpal Blade is your way to mark the target. This will be the signal you give to your allies to attack that target. Not only will they all attack 1 target but they will all get a healing over time on themselves.
The laning phase of the tank is very important: You have to give your carry back-up by tanking your enemies and minions, giving them the priority for killing the minions and still being able to get your own gold to buy items.
- Do not take the middle lane. You are a tank, you don't do so much damage and you are melee. You will just be fed by a carry like Annie because they burst their damage from a distance.
You want to duo up with 1 of the carries, preferable a ranged carry to harass the enemy.
- Killing the minions is not up to you, let the carry kill them. Remember: A well fed carry can change a whole game.
Kill the minions that he isn't able to kill in time and farm in your own way.
- Keep harassing those enemies. Dominating the lane will give you more exp and gold than your enemies. This will make your team get stronger than the enemies and will most likely result in a victory.
The most important job of a tanking/supportive Shen is that you always know where your allies/enemies are. You will be the one that keeps going from group fight to group fight to jump in fights, help out your allies and take the champions down (try avoiding kill stealing with this).
Save your allies: You can save them easily by using Shadow Dash or your ultimate Stand United. This is also a very good skill for getting away. Remember that you are a tank and tanks are most likely the first ones to die since they will take all the damage on them.
In this chapter I will be explaining how you should play with Shen as a jungler. This chapter uses the second cheatsheet.
An introduction on jungling with Shen thanks to Hahano!
So Shen is not the best jungler and isn't really fast but is very good and handy in jungling thanks to your Shadow Dash.
So as a jungler, you will be needing Smite to help you jungle faster and get that little bit extra gold thanks to your mastery Summoner's Resolve .
I suggest taking Flash to be able to excape/succeed in ganking/counter-jungling.
- Ghost: Extra moving speed, same reasons as Flash.
- Exhaust: Slows down your target while ganking so they won't escape your gank. This can also be used to just slow down the other teams jungler.
- Surge: Can be used when you're getting ganked or when you go ganking to get that extra ap and attack speed to hurt a bit more.
- Clairvoyance: Gives you and your teammates a better view of the map if needed and can help you out great when counter-jungling.
- Look at my summoner section for other optional summoner spells. They can still be useful in mid/late-game but won't mean so much while jungling.
I suggest taking the same runes as you normally use when you're no jungling. You can find more info in my chapter about runes.
Stand United: Max out first, this skill helps you to gank fast and easy. Teleports you and shield your allies.
You want to take max Vorpal Blade as soon as you can to heal urself more during ganks and jungling.
Feint: Your extra survivability in jungling and ganking. Get it as fast as possible after maxing you vorpal blade.
- As a start, you want to take a Cloth Armor and 5x Health Potion.
- After that you want to buy your Madred's Razors as soon as possible since it will help you out really good.
- Then you want to buy a Boots of Speed to add some speed to your jungling.
- After that you want to build your Madred's Razors into a Wriggle's Lantern to increase your jungling speed and for the ward.
- Then you want to buy your Heart of Gold to get some more gold to keep up with gold. Later you can build this out into a Randuin's Omen or a Locket of the Iron Solari.
- Your core items will be: Wriggle's Lantern Mercury's Treads Sunfire Cape.
- After these items come the situational/optional items. For more info, read my item section.
(1 point): Making your buffs duration longer is a must for a jungler to be able to clear jungle faster and be more effective in ganks.
There is almost no difference between the masteries used in laning Shen and jungle Shen so if you need some info about the summoner spells, check out my chapter about masteries.
Blue Golem Route
So with Shen you want to take the blue golem route to be able to jungle the best way and be able to gank quite fast.
So this will be your route:
- Wolves, you can opt to kill the big wolf and leave the 2 little adds to kill after Blue buff.
- Blue buff, kill little lizard adds first
- Wraiths, kill big on first
- Red buff
- Double golems
- Gank, keep jungling or counter-jungle
So here come the tips:
When to use Smite?
- Blue buff
- Red buff, your Smite should be off cooldown by then
You are energy-based. This means that you don't need to worry about mana. Keep spamming your Vorpal Blade and Feint.
You will be lvl 4 when you ended your jungle route. At that lvl you should have Shadow Dash and be able to gank. Gank if you see a good oportunity and/or your teammates need help. If not, continue your jungling.
I found this nice map to show you where to place your wards.
Place these wards at the entrances of your jungle, the jungle of your enemy's and middle ways between the jungles and lanes.
These wards can also be used to ward blue and red buff to see when they are respawned to get the buffs.
Don't forget to place your wards in the brushes.
Use these wards to guard dragon and baron, these wards will also be able to spot other wards and stealthed items.
This item will place a Sight Ward for 3 minutes and has a cooldown of 3 minutes.
So I've been doing some research and there's actually 1 big rule and it's the most obvious:
If you click Shadow Dash and see the arrow, it has to come OVER the wall to be able to dash over it!
Good Shadow Dash:
Clearly visible that you can Shadow Dash over this wall!
Bad Shadow Dash:
Clearly visible that you can't Shadow Dash over this wall!
Risky Shadow Dash:
This looks like you can dash over the wall but actually it is a bit too far for Shen to be able to dash over it!
In the whole map, I've only came across 1 wall where you can't dash over while you should and that is the wall at bottom at blue side of the jungle under dragon:
After reading the guide, you might be a bit tired of reading so I will show you some fun video's or video's that explain some tactics, ... Have fun.
The next video shows how you should harass with Shen. Always stay behind your minion line and only come in range for harassing with Vorpal Blade.
Shadow Dash can also be used as a very usefull escape mechanism because you can use it to dash over walls, brushes, ... Just make sure you do it right and not like the guy/girl in the next video.
The next video will show you that having a low amount of health doesn't mean that you're dead. (And it also proves that some people really have to start learning how to play with certain champions)
The bravest minion EVER.
ScreenshotsI don't think this needs much explaining.
In this game I had to go solo top and we were against an almost full AD tank team. So I decided to take a Guardian Angel instead of my Force of Nature since I needed more armor and staying alive longer was much more helpful because of my Shadow Dash.
This was a very fun game. It was quite even but still we managed to ace and they surrendered.
Thanks a lot every for reading my guide.
Don't forget that you are the tank and you will die a lot. You will have to rely on team members for your kills in late game but remember that doing your job well as tank/support will definitely make the way to a victory wide open for you and your team.
And don't forget to use Feint in battle. Since it's the shield doesn't absorb as much as AP Shen, a lot of players forget to use it in battle but this can save you from death or to get away.
I hope you all enjoyed the guide, if you have any questions, don't be afraid to ask them. Please leave a comment if you have one so I can keep updating this guide for other players that look at this guide.
As a last thing:
- I want to thank Searz for helping me out a little with the guide.
- And I want to thank jhoijhoi for her awesome guide about making a guide and her reviewing thread. Guide about making a guide, Reviewing Guide
- I want to thank Lugignaf for helping me out with grammar/vocabulary mistakes. Visit his proofread thread.
- I want to thank You of course for reading my guide and I hope you enjoyed it.
Don't forget to vote, comment and even +rep in the best case.
Ps. If you vote this guide down or up, please explain your choice to me.
Credits to jhoijhoi for the totaly awesome banner