Shen Build Guide by throatslasher

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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.

League of Legends Build Guide Author throatslasher

How to get diamond playing only one OTHER champion; SHEN!

throatslasher Last updated on May 19, 2014
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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

Legendary Guardian

Defense: 21


Utility: 0

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Hallo. Short guide #2! I've been meaning to make a Shen guide for a while since he has been my main ever since Ryze got nerfed. Shen is an AMAZING champion right now. He's rarely played for whatever reason and he's NEVER BANNED. I have invented (yes, I did it, didn't take it from NOBODY) a build that just DUMPSTERS everyone. I'll go into more detail in the runes section. Shen top has very few bad matchups and lots of amazing matchups. Shen is godly and fun to play. I'll very brief in the matchups section but I'll highlight some notable matchups.

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Summoner Spells

Flash and Ignite. If I see anyone taking Teleport or Ghost, I'll slash your throat.

Ignite is mandatory because you have ZERO kill potential in lane without it.
Flash is mandatory to get off game-winning taunts. I can't count the amount of times I've ulted in, flashed into position, and stunned 4 people. With ghost, I wouldn't have been able to get off nearly as big taunts. Flash wins games, at least on shen.

Teleport sucks *** because you already have plenty of global pressure because of Stand United. When you ult in, your job is to turn a gank around and then secure an objective. It's totally acceptable to lose top tower if you ult as long as you secure bot tower and/or dragon. I've ulted in, secured 2 kills and saved my adc, then gotten bot tower and dragon. That sounds totally worth my top tower. I then took HIS top tower 4 minutes later so... Teleport SUCKS.

However, if you ult in and accomplish nothing, that sucks, and you may lose your top tower on top of it. That just means you need to practice and identify situations where ulting will actually help.

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I dunno. These look good.

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Skill order

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Ok! This is where I have a slightly different opinion.

I feel a maxed Feint is critical for successful late-lane trading. Getting jumped on by a level 13 riven will be a lot less dangerous with a 220 damage shield on a 4-5 second cooldown. Maxing taunt reduces the cooldown significantly, but you won't need two taunts in teamfights for the most part, and two taunts are most effective late game anyways. For the entirety of mid game, the only participation you'll have in teamfights is ult in, flash+taunt as many people as possible.

Take Vorpal Blade and your ultimate every chance you get because those are you bread and buttah.

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Greater Seal of Armor

Greater Glyph of Magic Penetration

Greater Quintessence of Health

Greater Quintessence of Magic Penetration

Greater Mark of Hybrid Penetration

MUY IMPORTANTE: Build 2 rune pages for shen, identical except for the marks. Have one page dual pen, the other flat magic pen. If you're against ranged, take the flat magic pen and vice-versa for melee.

Finally! I invented this rune setup for shen and I've been using it to **** on people for 6 months. These runes spawned from my failed attempts at Elise support.

If you skill Shen for pure defense, you have already conceded the lane. However, seals and quints are awful for offense, so you can maximize your offense/defense by mixing the two in your runes.
-The marks seem odd at first, but shen POURS out split damage. If you play correctly, you'll be trading smart and often with your auto attacks and vorpal blade. Split pen maximizes your split damage.
-The seals are standard. Most of your opponents will deal physical damage, and armor seals are super good and efficient.
-I chose MPEN glyphs because Shen can itemize vs magic damage opponents, or he can avoid trading with them all together. I strongly recommend you don't sub these out for magic resist because the whole point of this build is to do as much damage as humanly possible at levels 3 and 5.
-The quints are split because I feel that 50ish HP works great to supplement your level 1 hp and the magic pen quint rounds your mpen out to a nice number.

I don't want to go too much into it, but this rune setup makes Shen a surprising early game sustained dps tanky cc'ing painful monster.

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This is pretty easy. Shen needs two items: Sunfire Cape and Spirit Visage. That's all. It gives him good stats, good split push, and strong sustain. Every single game I want to see you guys build these two items. The order you build them in is up to you, but 99.9% of the time I COMPLETE sunfire first, but I may purchase a negatron cloak or throw in a dorans blade somewhere early.

After these two items, it's completely up to you. I've picked up shiv next, or bork, or randuins, or even twin shadows. You really have to itemize for the situation you're in and knowing what to build next is important for any skilled player.

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Laning with Shen is hella simple. Matchup experience takes time to understand, but with Shen, it's all a war of attrition. You are resourceless (except for health) and your job is to deplete their resources while you still have some. Thankfully, your vorpal will allow you to sustain and stay topped off after trades.

Your should NOT be cs'ing with vorpal blade if you can help it. You should be looking to throw your vorpal at your opponent EVERY CHANCE YOU GET. With all your magic pen, they do hurt a bit more. Very few people can outtrade shen at level 1 when you just throw a vorpal at them, since they'll probably aggro your minions if they try and you will not.

The basic harass combo vs melee is; they go in to cs, you throw a melee range Vorpal Blade at them and cancel it with your passive-empowered auto attack, and then your back off quickly. If they try to trade with you, activate your W, back up into your creeps, and start auto'ing. If they are skillshot reliant like lee sin, continue moving while putting your allied creeps in between you and him.

The basic harass combo vs ranged is; walk up to them if their main cooldown is down (kennen Q, rumble Q, vlad Q, etc) and throw a vorpal. If they respond, W. If they don't, maybe go for a passive empowered auto attack. It just depends on the situation.

You NEVER want to dip below half health with shen if you can help it. You need to understand how much your vorpal does to your opponent and creeps at all levels. The goal is to know what hp the minion has to be for you to be able to hit it with a vorpal blade and then cancel it into an auto attack to get the last hit. This will give you a vorpal trigger and a cs, and it's an important skill to have with shen.

When you want to go for the kill (enemy has 300 hp or lower), wait for your passive to be up. E+ignite+Q+auto+auto will surprise your opponent with several hundred points of damage. Do this same combo when your jungler pops out for a dead opponent.

Laning with [[shen] isn't rocket science, but with this setup, an aggressive playstyle is rewarded. Trade smart and kill your opponent with 1000 cuts.

Your job is to take your opponents tower and out cs the **** out of him. Killing them is a bonus, but it should always be attempted in a smart way.

When you see a fight break out somewhere, start running to your tower and move your screen to the fight to see if you can do anything. If you just ult in your opponents face, they'll cancel it.

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Split Pushing

Shen functions as a split pusher. What that means is that excluding ulting in, you don't leave top. Your job is to make THEIR top stay while you ult into a fight making a 4v4 a 4v5. You can't function as a split pusher if you've lost your lane, but if you can 1v1 and win and also 1v2 and escape, you can split push. Once you've taken both of their towers, you can either group with your team or continue the push. It's not likely you'll take an inhibitor turret by yourself or much less their inhibitor, but the continued pressure can open up other objectives for your team.

Sunfire Cape allows you to split push. Without it, you can't. That's why it's core. Static shiv also speeds up your split push.

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Teamfighting is complex with shen. In early-mid fights, you ult in when someone important gets low, and taunt or flash+taunt several people. If you ult in and someone important on their team is low (<300 hp) you can flash+taunt+ignite+Q+auto and secure a kill. Then, turn around and help.

In late fights, your job is to keep your DPS alive and/or help your team secure kills. Taunt is everything. It entirely depends on each team's comp. If they have a poke, you can literally stand on your DPS and eat skillshots with your W. If they have dive, you can stand on your dps, they dive, you taunt through their team to allow your team to respond.

I recommend you find some VODs of Shen because no amount of description will accurately convey the nuances of positioning, dueling, etc. I suggest you use my build and practice in normals to find the limitations of this build and then learn to play around them.

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All matchups can be won, ESPECIALLY if you get a successful jungle gank (not hard with a 1.5 second disable). Most matchups will be LOST if THEY get a successful gank (that's hard with a free dash/flash and a free ward). Since we don't pack any MR, obviously ranged mages will give us trouble, but we can still outtrade some of them. I won't go into too much detail, but I'll mention some notables;

Jax - This matchup starts out laughably easy, but gets impossible. Once he gets scimitar and some levels, if he hasn't died yet, he will absolutely dumpster you. If you get a large lead on him, you can beat him up mid game. Ask for early ganks, leave his tower up and constantly push waves into it when he's back/dead. You'll get levels on him and you'll beat him.

Vladimir - Bad matchup. He can sustain all your damage back and you rely mostly on ganks to kill him. You CAN kill him if you sneak in Q's when his Q is on cooldown or if you can feint his W's. Your window is level 3-5. You can get an early null for mercs, but you need to finish sunfire asap. The lane will stalemate and he can't stop your ult, so that's nice.

Teemo - Awful matchup. He'll start zoning you at level 1. Once you get to level 3, you can trade with him with Q+W, but until then try not to take too much damage. Sit in the brush and pop out to last hit with Q or auto and run back in.

Rumble - Spammable shield keeps you from poking him down and he melts you. Nobody plays Rumble anymore, so this isn't a problem.

Aatrox - same as jax, he can get big and unduelable. You can dumpster him with a gank or two. Send him home, leave his tower up for a while and shove waves into it when he's back/dead

Singed - this is a good matchup for you. At level 1, come out swinging. harass him NONSTOP and he'll have to base constantly. Don't worry about picking up MR. He'll run out of resources extremely quickly because he has no innate sustain.

Cho'Gath - If you can zone him from creeps you win. He has 0 mobility so encourage your jungler to gank often. Cho can be killed if you can zone him from creeps, but his innate sustain can be troubling. Freeze lane on him and wait for your jungler. This is an easy matchup, but a couple mistakes can lose it.

Garen - Not so tough. W his Q and eat his E. This will push the lane in your favor. You can freeze on him. If he doesn't trade back with your Q's, you CAN slowly poke him down, but it will be difficult to get him low enough health for an all-in. Poke him down, and if he's starting to dip in HP, call for a gank.

Rengar / Riven - This is a skill matchup. If these champs kill you early, they will just snowball on your face. I'd say play with extreme caution until they demonstrate they don't have any skill or your jungler is setting up for a gank. Riven has no sustain, so if you can poke her inbetween her Valors, you can start to deplete her health. If she runs out of potions and you still have resources, you can start getting into her butt. Be wary of their level 6's and CALL MIA on Rengar.

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That's it

I promise that this works and I think I've provided adequate evidence. If you downvote, you'd better have a damn good reason. This build me diamond 1.