Shen Build Guide by Bonifatius94
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.
Hello everybody. My name is Bonifatius94 and today I wanna tell you more about how to play " Shen, the Eye of Twilight". The reason why I created this guide is I love playing Shen so much because he is actually one of the best picks on the whole metagame. If he is not banned he will usually get picked immediately because of the huge tactical advantage he will give to his team. The split push potential while still being able to contest global objectives makes him really strong.
Please don't downvote this guide only because I am no native speaker and I didn't use pictures etc.
Shen's passive is Ki Strike, an empowered auto attack that deals 10 percent of your additional health as magic damage. Hitting a living target with an auto attack will reduce the cooldown of Ki Strike by 1 second. When Feint is active the cooldown is reduced by 2 seconds. This passive allows Shen to stack high amounts of health while at the same time dealing a very big hit every 9 seconds. Also you can play Shen on attack speed to have more Ki Strikes available as the cooldown of Ki Strike is reduced by every hit on a living target.
Tipp: Using this attack to last hit at the very beginning will help you a lot as your auto attacks don't deal that much demage. If you have one Ki Strike left you can also go for a litte harass on your opponent. While trading with your opponent always land a taunt and after it switch on Feint to have more Ki Strikes available in order to trade successful.
q: Vorpal Blade is a single target short ranged attack that deals magic damage. In addition you and your allies heal up by hitting this target the next few seconds. As this skill is your only source of damage besides the litte damage of your Shadow Dash try to take 2 or 3 points early in it and max it first.
Tipp: Althogh Shen has no great damage tools for bursting down enemies quickly you can harass really good if you keep on throwing Vorpal Blades onto your opponent.
w: Feint is a shield that scales with 60 percent of our AP, but as we don't build any items granting us massive amounts of AP we only use the amount we get without scaling. If you are jungling Shen take a point early in it (usually at level 2 or 4) and max it second.
Tipp: If you are fast enough to activate this skill in time you will tank every poke away. As already mentioned use it to trade effectively with your opponent.
e: Shadow Dash is a dash taunting all enemy champions it hits while dashing foreward for 1.5 seconds. In addition they are dealt a little amount of magic damage. This skill is one of the reasons why Shen is that strong. If you land a nice Shadow Dash taunting multiple targets your carries can do their job and you will win the team fight without any problem. But you can also use this skill for chasing or fleeing (especially taunting through walls helps a lot).
Tipp: Use this skill wisely; it can decide whether you or your team mates go out of the fight dead or alive. If you can manage to hit multipe targets your energy will be regenerated really fast and you will be able to go on spamming your other abilities.
r: Stand United is your ultimate allowing you to give an allign a big shield and then after a short channelling time of 3 seconds teleporting behind him if he is still alive.
Tipp: Always have a look at the other lanes not being too late or making a fail gank if you have been waiting for too long. When you decide to channel your ultimate go somewhere you can't be interrupted in order to join your team mates. Also put this shield if possible on high valuable targets like the AD or AP carry. Many Shen players go for Teleport as summoner spell to be back on their own lane as fast as possible after such a teleport gank.
I take a tanky 1/22/7 masteries in order to fullfill Shen's role as a support tank.
In the offense tree I take Summoner's Wrath to improve Ignite.
In the defense tree I pick Hardiness and / or Resistance to have some nice resistances and follow it up with Durability , Veteran's Scars , Perseverance, Unyielding , Block , Juggernaut and Honor Guard for a better lane sustain and health pool. Good Hands , Safeguard and Tenacious will give Shen everything a real tank needs.
In the utility tree I take Summoner's Insight for the Flash upgrade. In addition I get Wanderer for the extra movement speed and Mastermind in order to improve my summoner spells again.
As runes I use 3x Greater Mark of Magic Penetration and 6x Greater Mark of Attack Speed, 9x Greater Seal of Armor, 9x Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist and 3x Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed. You will see that this works quite well on Shen as all of those runes help you putting out a lot of magic demage while still being tanky.
The Summoner Spells
I usually use Flash + Ignite on Shen to be able to pick up some important kills.
Other viable spells on Shen instead of Ignite are Teleport for a better global presence, Heal for the extra hp boost in difficult situations or Ghost / Exhaust for better results while chasing or fleeing. But I really recommend Flash + Ignite because it provides the last bit of damage to take down your lane match-up.
If you have been playing League of Legends longer than the Season 3 patch you should know that there was a time when tanks stacked armour and magic restistance instead of health. This has changed with the Season 3 patch bringing new items and a different playstyle to the league. Especially the changes to The Black Cleaver, which is now also used on offtanks, made stacking health more viable. In addition the price of Warmog's Armor was reduced significantly so it became more and more common to use it even on AP and AD carries when they feared getting bursted away. The only thing I want you to learn about itemising an offtank such as Shen is that being just tanky wins not a single game. It is always important as an offtank to be a target your opponents can't ignore in order to help your team properly.
So why do I get items like shown in my cheat sheet?
The simple reason is that I wanted to itemise a Shen being able to split push while still being really tanky. For Shen it is not so important to pick up kills when you are able to help out your team mates getting them fed. Itemising Shen as a full tank will only be useful if you can manage to hit nice taunts. But then you will rely on your team mates' damage and when they have none you can't win the team fights and as a consequence also not the game.
Let's get started:
start: Boots of Speed + 3 Health Potions
Now if you look at my item kit you can see that I start up with Boots of Speed and three Health Potions. It may seem a bit old fashioned, but I don't know a better way of staying in lane for a longer time.
example for first time back: Boots of Speed + Health Potions + Giant's Belt + Sight Ward
After I farmed a bit I usually build a Giant's Belt because an early Sunfire Cape or a Warmog's Armor is just so strong on Shen especially against AD match-ups. If you are playing against an AP match-up go for a Giant's Belt as well and follow it up with an early Wit's End and Mercury's Treads. If you still get bursted away after having purchased a Wit's End maybe think of a Hexdrinker, a Spirit Visage or a Abyssal Scepter. As with every other champ always buy a Vision Ward if you can afford it in order to be safe in lane. I cannot stress enough that IT REALLY HELPS.
example for second / third time back: tier two boots upgrade + first core item + Sight Ward
Finish your first core item as quickly as possible in order to get a real beast. A tier two boots upgrade helps you now not falling behind in movement speed. (I really recommend to have the tenacity effect on a tank when there is hard cc on the enemy team. So either get Mercury's Treads or Ninja Tabi + Zephyr.) As enchantments I recommend Enchantment: Homeguard or Enchantment: Captain.
after several times back: tier two boots upgrade + Sunfire Cape + Warmog's Armor + Wit's End + Sight Wards
After finishing your core items you should be quite tanky to survive your opponent in lane without any problem. What is added to your build now is some attack speed by purchasing a Recurve Bow. This basically allows you to trigger your passive a couple more times for more damage. Although it seems not to be the strongest pick on Shen it is actually all you need to have in mid game because it allows you to trade effectively with your opponent, it keeps up the lane pressure and it also gives you the possibility of split pushing.
preparing for late game: tier two boots upgrade + Sunfire Cape + Warmog's Armor + Wit's End + a situational item of your choice + Sight Wards
When you have built that ones your items are nearly completed and the late game is about to begin. Get another item fitting your situation and purchase Sight Wards in order to pick the right fights and winning the game. The game is usually finished after your next big item so choose a nice one and gg.
example final build: Nanja Tabi + Warmog's Armor + Sunfire Cape + Wit's End + Zephyr + Runic Bulwark
Now I show some tricks. If you are used to Shen there should be nothing new to you.
First of all you have to practise farming with Shen. I tell you that because it is not as easy as with other solo top champions. If you farmed using only your auto attacks you should have recognised that Shen's auto attacks are not that strong especially early game.
So try to save your first hit because it will be a Ki Strike and make your first farm with it. When you are not able to reach a minion low on health throw a Vorpal Blade. If you have no Ki Strike or Vorpal Blade available switch on Feint and keep on attacking minions that have full life so your next Ki Strike will be off cooldown very sooner. Of course try to farm very low minions with auto attacks like with every other champion. You are doing well if you have at least 150 to 200 farms after 20 minutes.
2. Harassing / Trading
You will bully your lane match-up out of lane if you keep on throwing Vorpal Blades on him. This is quite a lot of damage because your magic runes and are doing their job quite well. Make your oppontent call in for ganks (and laugh at him because you are very hard to gank with Shadow Dash up) and back off a bit earlier as he wanted. After that you can outfarm your opponent or go teleport ganking. When you are trading start with a Vorpal Blade to put down your sustained damage with auto attacks. Use Feint to unleash as much Ki Strikes as possible and always save enough energy to taunt your opponent so he doesn't go anywhere. Of course this harass combo gets stronger and stronger the more health and attack speed you can stack.
3. Laning against two enemies
Hopefully you won't be in such a bad situation because your opponents will really make your life hard, especially in swoap lanes. My only advise for you is: fall back under beneath your tower and make your jungler camp your lane. You will be ok if you can manage not to end up feeding too hard.
4. Picking up kills during laning phase
If you have tried out playing Shen without harassing you will agree that ruling your lane and picking up kills with Shen is not that easy. So if you did harass your opponent and see he is about 20 to 30 percent on health you can try to make a go:
Land a taunt, put the ignite on your enemy and throw Vorpal Blades as much as you can (I advise you to use your Feint only if you hit your Shadow Dash because you otherwise will run out of energy too fast and then can't go for a second Shadow Dash or the decisive Vorpal Blade). Also manage not to tank the tower while taunting in. This should be a kill in your favour.
5. Gameplay during mid and late game
Recognising that the laning phase is almost over try to put on pressure onto the lanes. Split pushing can actually be a very big deal for your team because your opponents have to send one of their team mates as well in order not to lose several towers etc., but if he has no Teleport you will be able to fight 5 vs 4 coming into the team fight with Stand United. And this advantage will allow your team to pick the right fights and also putting a lot of pressure onto your opponets when they are willing to contest an objective such as dragon or baron.
When you feel confident make sure to get the advantage after a nice team action. Now split push or group up around an objective (tower, dragon or baron), start to deal damage to it or bait your opponents into a trap and wait for the enemies' reaction. As you see your opponents have grouped up, too, try to initiate a fight with a good taunt hitting multiple targets allowing your team mates to pick up the easy kills. As it is not so easy to land an awesome taunt it may help you to flash for getting into a better position allowing you to reach the carries in the back as well as the tanks in front.
While you are split pushing and your team mates start off a fight, obviously without you, immediately choose a squishy high valuable allign like the AD carry and join the fight. As soon as you arrive land a nice taunt turning around the tables in your favour. (Of course avoid interrupting your ultimate while channeling.)
6. Saving the lives of your team mates
If you see a carry has been caught by a trap and is now in serious trouble you should help him out as your job is to save lives. If you are in range for a Shadow Dash you will try to taunt every single enemy that is chasing your allign. Then run the other direction to drive your opponents out of position for a kill on your carry. While you are taunting your opponents your team mates could try to pick up some easy kills or simply run away into safety. Another possibility is to put your ultimate on your allign just in time and then turn the fight around. As your team mate sees that you are teleporting in he should make a go dealing as much demage as he can waiting for an immediate taunt after your arrival that saves his life and grants you some assists or even kills.
This was all of my guide for today. I hope you enjoied reading and now know how to turn around the tables with "Shen, the Eye of Twilight", one of my favourite champions.