Shen Build Guide by IcyAuron
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Hello, all. This is my sixth guide on MOBAFire. My most common role is support, and I've tried numerous champions in the role: Anivia, Maokai, Thresh, Galio, Braum, and Nami are the ones I've played the most. I've always (since I began playing in season 2) thought that Shen would make a better support than a top laner, and after trying it out, I have to say that that is true. Top lane Shen has zero pressure on his lane, and focuses entirely on surviving the lane, only to become an on-demand shield with his ult. There's nothing wrong with this, but he really gets his chance to shine as a support. His kit is perfect for a support, and of course, Shen is manaless. Manaless support, best support. That's just science.
Strengths & Weaknesses
Naturally tanky, and two abilities scale with HP
Has a taunt
Can indirectly heal his allies through Vorpal Blade
Doesn't have the capacity for much damage
One trick pony in team fights aside from Shadow Dash
Communication is especially crucial with Shen! Let your team know when you're paying special attention to them for a Stand United so that they can adjust accordingly.
Runes & Masteries
Shen has four AP ratios, so I take the low-tier AP masteries, but you're mainly interested in tank stats. If you wanted to, it wouldn't even be a bad idea to go as deep as 25 into Defense, taking
in lieu of the AP masteries. I may well end up doing this myself.
For runes, I'll simply list all of the runes that work for a tank support, and I'll allow you to mix and match which ones work for you. I also encourage you to try anything that you think might work. Don't limit yourself solely based on the words of a stranger. My suggestions are for those looking for a starting point, not THE BEST, THE ONLY, LC$ BIG PLAYS.
That being said, there really isn't anything worth replacing Greater Mark of Armor for. They provide a lot, and there isn't really anything else that you'd want from your marks. You don't deal enough damage to justify any kind of penetration, and you don't need AD since Relic Shield's Spoils of War passive is based on the minion's HP, not your actual damage.
Greater Seal of Armor: For those who need their armor early.
Greater Seal of Scaling Armor: For those who can wait for superior stats.
Greater Seal of Health: For those who want more early HP. I don't recommend these since you get such a huge amount of HP from your items, and this quickly becomes irrelevant.
Greater Seal of Scaling Health: These seem very weak to me, but people like them. I'm including them since they're moderately popular.
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist: If you want early MR.
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist: If you want more magic defense rather than early, take these. Keep in mind that they take longer to surpass than their armor counterparts. They still end at the same point as scaling armor, but flat MR glyphs are stronger than flat armor seals.
Greater Quintessence of Armor: More armor!
Greater Quintessence of Magic Resist: More MR!
Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed: The reason I take these, aside from the fact that they're extremely powerful, is that Shen doesn't really need boots that badly, and with these, you can hold off even longer on getting boots.
Laning - Ally and Opponent Interactions
As soon as the first wave of minions meet, immediately execute two melee minions with both of your initial Spoils of War stacks. From that point on, try to save your stacks for cannon minions. The gold values of minions decrease: cannon > melee > caster. Note that that passive actually heals both you and your marksman, so sometimes it's worth getting less gold in favor of healing your squishy friend.
One thing that I try to do is mark an enemy with my Q ( Vorpal Blade), and attack that target to get some HP regen. Try not to kill the minion yourself without Spoils of War, and try to save the target with enough HP to allow your laning partner to get an attack in, and hopefully kill it. This grants both of you increased HP regen for a brief period, and ensures that your friend still gets his/her beloved CS while keeping you both healthy.
I usually only harass with Vorpal Blade, and save my shield for incoming attacks; Shen plays a very passive role early game. I only taunt when my marksman is in a good spot to bring the pain. You can also use your taunt to save your marksman if they get engaged on, briefly drawing attention away from them and onto your tanky self.
Stand United is what makes Shen such a powerful support after the laning phase. He can be anywhere he needs to be, and this is why you stockpile that CDR whenever you can. If you have a marksman with a global ult, you can coordinate your ults for some insane plays.
After Sightstone and Face of the Mountain, Shen's build is entirely situational. Your strongest options are generally Sunfire Cape and Locket of the Iron Solari. They provide excellent stats, and you impact fights just by being there.
Shen is a manaless tank who has three abilities catered to supporting allies, and shield for himself to make his job easier. Thanks to Stand United, he can be a support to anyone in need at a second's notice.