Shen Build Guide by Paladin045

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Paladin045

Rise of the Immortal: A Guide for Advanced Shen Players [upd

Paladin045 Last updated on December 27, 2012
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Thanks to everyone who read, voted, and/or commented on this build! Especially for my first build, it's been really encouraging to see so much feedback, and so much of it positive.

Unfortunately, with the Season 3 item changes, this build is now effectively obsolete, as well as the playstyle I designed around it. I'll leave this guide up, but I don't think it's salvageable for the current season. If I figure out another good build and style I'll update, but in the meantime this page is essentially worthless.

Again, thank you for your time and help, and I hope to see you on the Fields of Justice.

Hello world! Yes, I just made a programming joke. ...I should probably stop commenting on my own article, or we'll never get anywhere.

Welcome to my first guide! Shen is the champion I have spent the absolute most time playing in the last year. I'm not here to tell you that this guide will solve all your problems. You will likely die a few times, you won't get many kills, and this build can be challenging to work with early-game. It's recommended that you already be familiar with Shen when trying this guide. But once you learn all the quirks of this build, you will be almost invulnerable. I Garentee it.

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Pros / Cons

So why should you pick Shen, when there are so many other tanks out there? Simply put, because nobody else ever picks him. I'm not asking you to feel sorry for him, or to indulge your inner hipster, or anything like that. Shen is like an obscure fighting style that nobody ever runs into, and thus, never practices against. He can be countered, and he does have weaknesses, but in the heat of battle, if you and your team are doing your job well, the enemy won't be thinking about how to counter you. He'll just be focused on staying alive. (Note: this advantage is partially negated in Draft Pick, when the enemy can see your choice and adjust their team comp accordingly. Only partially negated, though, because they don't know you'll be stacking health, and they won't always be paying attention in the first place)

Edit: While very few know how to play Shen really well, he's still on perma-ban status after the buffs he got however many months ago. Eventually a series of slow nerfs (or maybe the dreaded ult range reduction) will drop him back into obscurity, but in the meantime, good luck picking him in Ranked.

Now that you know why you should pick Shen, below are the reasons you should pick this build.


  • High early-game HP and armor/MR: lets you outlast enemy champs while still tanking effectively
  • Ki Strike: high HP translates into high damage from Shen's passive
  • High armor: lets you survive the enemy team's onslaught when you taunt them

  • Comparatively low damage output. If you like nukes or DPS champs, this build isn't for you
  • Susceptible to counters that function against HP stacking (i.e. Kog'Maw, Madred's Bloodrazor)
  • If you can't keep up early-game, you can quickly transform from a meat shield into bait for a feeding frenzy

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Masteries (OBSOLETE)

As you can see above, I went 0/22/8 with this build.
Offensive Tree

  • I already said there were no offensive masteries, why are you looking here? What you want is in the next list.

Defensive Tree
  • Resistance and Hardiness give you that extra bit of early-game protection.
  • Durability doesn't help much (+108 HP at the end of the game is practically worthless where this build is concerned), but Veteran's Scars gives you an extra 30 HP at the beginning of the game. 30 HP can be the difference between life and death when running from an auto-attacking enemy, and it's saved my hide from minion aggro more than once.
  • Indomitable , Evasion , and Honor Guard give you a bit more survivability. -2 damage taken, -1% damage from AoE spells and 1.5% reduced damage overall don't seem like much individually, but it all adds up over time.
  • Siege Commander works in your best interests. Lower tower armor means minions and allied champs do more damage. When you're tanking the turret late-game for your team, you don't want to stand there in the line of fire any longer than necessary.
  • Enlightenment : CDR. Shen relies on his abilities to keep him and his teammates safe, and the more you can spam them, the safer everyone will be (everyone you care about, anyway).
  • Juggernaut : I cannot stress this enough in this guide: more health is better. A 3% increase in max health is nothing to turn your nose up at, and neither is the Tenacity that comes with it.

Utility Tree
  • Summoner's Insight buffs the summoner spells I recommended. It reduces the cast time on Teleport, and increases the defensive stats of minions you Promote by 15%.
  • Good Hands reduces the time spent dead by 10%. Less time spent dead, more time getting back to the fight. Hopefully you'll never actually see the effects of this mastery because you never die, but if you do, you'll be glad you had it.
  • Expanded Mind : +10 energy. It's not much, but it's still better than a lot of other things in the first two tiers of the Utility Tree.
  • Improved Recall : Combined with the improved Teleport times and the CDR on Stand United, the extra second from your Recall will contribute to a drastic reduction in the time spent moving to and from the base.

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Apparently MOBAFire hasn't updated their complement of runes since the last patch, some of them are missing (notably the flat MR runes). Ignore what it says up top, use this setup. I'll fix it once the site has it's runes fixed.

This rune page was made with the intent of balancing early-game armor and MR, while also putting in as much CDR as was reasonably possible. MR has been nerfed in the last patch, so this is a bit outdated, but it still works. I'll update it once I recalculate everything.

Greater Mark of Magic Resist x9
Greater Seal of Armor x9
Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction x5
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist x4
Greater Quintessence of Cooldown Reduction x2
Greater Quintessence of Armor x1

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Summoner Spells (OBSOLETE)

My Preferred Spells

Teleport is a staple spell for me. One of Shen's strongest traits is his ability to be anywhere on the map at anytime. This doubles that ability. You've heard of Schrodinger's Garen, waiting in every bush until you enter one? Schrodinger's Shen turns every 2v1 gank into a 2v2 brawl.

Promote will really help you earn gold. Shen attacks relatively slowly, so last-hitting can be a bit of a pain. This will get you all the gold from your cannon creep's kills. It's not bad for pushing towers, either.

Other Useful Spells

Ghost can actually be very useful for Shen in teamfights. If the enemy team is escaping, you can skirt through the minion wave they are likely using for cover and taunt a few of them to re-initiate. It's not bad for actual initiations, either; you can run through their team and taunt their squishies so the rest of your team can rush in unhindered.

There are certainly more useful spells than Heal, but that doesn't mean it's useless. If your team has no support champ to take it, it's not always a bad idea. Taking Heal can help you and your lane partner (or just you, if you've got solo top) stay longer while the enemy wears itself out on your defenses.

If Revive is a useful spell for you, you may want to rethink your Shen strategy. =P Nevertheless, it can be useful in the early stages when learning him. When paired with Teleport, you might as well be immortal because the second you go down, you pop back up.

If the enemy team is CC heavy and might keep you from initiating well, you might consider Cleanse. I don't normally recommend it, but I'd be a fool if I didn't admit that it occasionally has value. If you really want Cleanse, though, see about working a Quicksilver Sash into your build instead.

Again, if you don't have a support champ in your team, Clairvoyance may be useful. MAY be useful. I've never had much success with it myself, but it doesn't really hurt anything. If nothing else, it saves you having to buy a few wards.

Flash is borderline useless in my mind, but if you want to surprise someone with a taunt, I can't think of a better way (other than hiding in the bushes). Flash isn't really a bad spell for any champion, but in this case, I do think other spells would be better.

Useless Spells

Exhaust is a spell that really only belongs in the hands of an offensive champion. If you're chasing someone and have time to target them with Exhaust, your time and cooldowns would have been better spent waiting that extra second for Shadow Dash to come back up.

Smite is essential for jungling champions. Problem is, this isn't a jungle build. End of story.

Surge, like Exhaust, should only be used by heavy hitters. DPS heavy hitters, at that. This build has neither the speed nor the power to utilize that spell.

Clarity: Do I even need to say it? Shen doesn't use mana. This is quite literally a waste of space for him.

Ignite: See Smite and Surge.

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Ability Explanations

Ki Strike (Passive): Every 8 seconds, Shen's next attack deals bonus magic damage equal to 4 + [6 x level] + [10% bonus health]. When Shen auto-attacks an enemy, the cooldown is reduced by 1.5 seconds. The cooldown is reduced by 3 seconds per hit if Feint is active and unbroken. When Ki Strike activates, 10/20/30 (1/13/17) energy is returned.

Vorpal Blade: Shen throws a sword at the enemy, dealing 60/100/140/180/220 + [60% AP] magic damage. Allied champions that damage the affected enemy are healed for 6/10/14/18/22 + [1.5% Shen's max health] over the next 3 seconds. If Vorpal Blade kills the enemy, 33% of the normal amount is returned to Shen over the next second.
Cost: 60 energy
Cooldown: 6/5.5/5/4.5/4

Feint: Shen gains a temporary shield that blocks 70/115/160/205/250 + [60% AP] damage. If it is not broken, it dissipates after 3 seconds.
Cost: 50 energy
Cooldown: 9/8/7/6/5

Shadow Dash: Shen dashes in a straight line, dealing 50/85/120/155/190 + [50% AP] magic damage. For each enemy champion he hits, Shen regains 40 energy. Affected enemies are taunted for 1.5 seconds.
Cost: 120 energy
Cooldown: 10/9.5/9/8.5/8

Stand United: Shen shields an ally for 250/550/850 + [135% AP] damage. This shield dissipates after 5 seconds if not destroyed. After 3 seconds of channeling, Shen teleports to the ally's location.

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Ability Strategy

I take Vorpal Blade as my first ability. You want to synergize your strengths as much as possible, and the extra health from the Ruby Crystal you theoretically just bought will translate into extra health returned from life-tapped enemies.
Vorpal Blade can be used early on to harass enemy champions (especially squishy carries), and you can use it throughout the entire game to help farm minions. You can heal more over time with it if you can tap a minion and hit it more than once, but don't be afraid to make Vorpal Blade your last hit; that will still get you health, but you'll only heal for 1/3 of the normal amount over the next second. If you really need to heal, tap the enemy cannon creep and just hit it with auto-attacks, turning to attack something else when Ki Strike comes up.

My second ability goes to Feint. Typically by Level 2 neither team has been pushed back to a tower, so you don't need Shadow Dash just yet.
The ability to strategically use Feint separates the expert Shen players from the good ones. If you put yourself 'too far' forward, you can fake your opponent into wasting mana on an ability that will just hit your shield. By the time the cooldown for Feint wears off, you will have regained most of the energy you used casting it, so you can essentially do it all day, while your oppenent's mana pool keeps shrinking.
In addition to all of this, while Feint is active, every auto-attack you make reduces the cooldown on Ki Strike by 3 seconds instead of 1.5. When it goes off, the energy returned will let you spam your abilities even more.

My third level point goes to Shadow Dash. If you or your partner are backed against your tower, this can be a lifesaver. Taunting enemies in tower range will cause them to attack you, which in turn will cause the turret to attack them. You can actually get a few kills this way if you're careful and lucky. As an added perk, taunted enemies only do half damage to you. There's a reason this build gives you so much armor; it further reduces the damage caused by auto-attacks. Put Feint on top of that, and now you're beginning to see why good Shen players seem to be immortal.
My recommendation is to max Shadow Dash last. Your taunt will always be 1.5 seconds in duration; the only benefit to levelling is increased damage (which isn't that impressive no matter what level it's at) and decreased cooldown. The cooldown can be useful, but in general I've found that if a fight lasts long enough to taunt twice, it won't go anywhere in the extra second it takes Shadow Dash to come back up.

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Core Items (OBSOLETE)

This Shen build revolves around these four items: Warmog's Armor, Mercury's Treads, Sunfire Cape, and Force of Nature. Without these, your performance will suffer.

Warmog's Armor seems to have been designed to be difficult to purchase, with a top-tier single item ( Giant's Belt) and one of the highest recipe costs in the game. This is for good reason: it's one of the most powerful items in standard play ( Warmog's Armor is not available in Dominion). Armor can be pierced, Magic Resistance can be penetrated, but there are few counters to pure health. And few champions can utilize pure health as effectively as Shen. The item at the time of purchase gives you 920 HP and +30 HP Regen, both of which are extremely useful. It doesn't end there, however; as a Passive, you gain HP and HP Regen for kills, caping at +350 HP and +10 Regen. This puts you at +1270 HP and +40 Regen. By itself, that raises your Ki Strike damage by 127 and the healing done by Vorpal Blade by 19. That may not seem like much to a tank with 3,000 HP, but to a squishy that can be extremely helpful.

I buy Mercury's Treads mostly for the tenacity and the early-game MR. If you find yourself against a particularly annoying auto-attacker, you might consider swapping this out for Ninja Tabi.

I put Sunfire Cape before Force of Nature because if you're taunting a lot, armor will be a lot more useful to you than MR. If you're doing 35 damage per second to anything nearby, so much the better. Now some people would argue that Thornmail is a better mid-game choice than Sunfire Cape because it gives more armor and does more damage to individual targets. I would argue that these people are moronic scrubs who should uninstall the game before they hurt themselves. Not really, they do make some good points. More armor translates into better durability during your taunt, and if you hit multiple champs whilst wearing Thornmail, you're basically doing AoE burst damage while they attack you. That effect only lasts 1.5 seconds, though. After that, if the other team is smart at all, they'll focus someone else. Now you are forever alone, not dealing damage because nobody will attack you until you taunt them again.With Sunfire Cape, though, it's a somewhat different story. Yes, you have less armor, so you'll take a bit more damage. You also have 450 extra health (i.e. +45 Ki Strike damage and +6 Vorpal Blade healing), which should theoretically nullify the damage that would be prevented by wearing extra armor during your taunt duration. You also have the aforementioned bonus of 35 magic damage per second to everything in the vicinity. Even if they're ignoring you, you're still doing damage. Not much damage, true, but more than you would be otherwise. Sunfire Cape also helps when farming minions; they have much lower armor and MR than champions, so it'll do more damage to them.
NOTE: none of this is saying that you shouldn't buy Thornmail. It's still a fantastic item. And guess what? The core build only has four items in it! You have two slots to do whatever the heck you want with.

Force of Nature is a must-have for any tank, and Shen is no exception. The movement speed helps you initiate and chase, the MR is some of the highest in the game, and the HP Regen is fantastic (combined with the 40 from Warmog's Armor, you now have +80 HP Regen/5). Now throw the Unique Passive on top of that: you regain 0.35% of your maximum health per second. At the end of the game, with a fully charged Warmog's Armor, that should be close to 4,000 HP, which translates into about 14 HP/second. Now add that to the aforementioned 80/5, and you have 150 HP Regen/5 [(14 * 5) + 80], on top of his 17/5 that he naturally gets. For the sake of nice, round numbers, let's call that 175 HP Regen/5. Do the number crunching, and you realize that you can regenerate your entire HP bar in less than 2 minutes. 30 seconds of running through the woods from the entire enemy team will regenerate 1,000 HP. Congratulations: you now heal faster than Garen (assuming he doesn't also have Warmog's Armor and Force of Nature).

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Alternate Items (OBSOLETE)

Recommended Items

As noted above, this build has some flexibility in it. No build sequence will work in every game; you have to think on your feet to survive on the Fields of Justice. Below are my recommended items.

Ninja Tabi are a good pick if you're up against Xin Zhao, Tristana, Miss Fortune, Master Yi, or some other auto-attacker who won't respect your personal space. The early armor is helpful, and the 10% damage reduction from auto-attacks is even moreso.

Remember when I said Thornmail wasn't a bad idea? I meant it. I just don't think it should be built before Sunfire Cape. That being said, you now have the opportunity. 30% returned damage is obnoxious. 35 damage per second is annoying. Both at the same time is troll-tastic. Thornmail is also incredibly useful for negating lifesteal; if the enemy has a lot of it (or Warwick or Xin Zhao), then and only then would I say you might want to get Thornmail first. As always, it's up to you, but you came here to read my opinions, so I'm giving them to you.

Guardian Angel is just legitimate enough to keep it from being listed in the Troll section below. A Guardian Angel on a well-built Shen is just plain demoralizing; they know they'll never be able to keep you down without neglecting the rest of your team. It can save your bacon when leading the entire enemy team on a merry chase through the woods, too. Most of the time, by the time you revive your cooldowns will all have been refreshed (minus Stand United, of course).

Yes, I did list Warmog's Armor in the Core Items section. It's also listed here. This is because getting it twice is one of my favorite ways to demoralize the other team. None of Warmog's Armor's Passives are Unique, so you could theoretically get two extras and solo their turrets with your 6,500 HP and your almost-800 damage Ki Strike. It stacks well with Atma's Impaler, too. Speaking of...

Atma's Impaler is the way to go if you want to do some damage. +45 armor, +18% crit, +1.5% max health as damage. For a 4,000 health Shen, that's 60 attack damage. That's about the same amount of damage you'd get from one and a half B. F. Swords. It's about the same price too, and a B. F. Sword won't give you armor and crit.

Spirit Visage is basically a poor man's Force of Nature. Much cheaper, lower HP Regen, lower MR, no movement speed. Pick one of these up if you need MR NOW, but sell it before you get Force of Nature; it's not a late-game item. The boosts it gives are pretty impressive, but in the end, other items will help more.

Other Options

There are some items I never quite got the hang of, or were useful so rarely that more often than not they did more harm than good. These are some of those items.

In general, I dislike snowball items, and Leviathan is no exception. It's true that it's cheaper and more cost-effective to get early-game than Warmog's Armor, but it depends on your ability to get kills and assists. That's something you can't count on with a tank and a lane partner that you don't know. Leviathan will also make you hesitant to die for your team because you'll lose your stacks. You're the tank, suck it up. It's your job to take the heat so the squishies can carry the team.

Locket of the Iron Solari seems like a good item on the surface, but I haven't experimented with it enough to really recommend it. Nonetheless, 300 HP and 35 armor is useful mid-game, and a shield that can block 50 [+10 * level] damage every 60 seconds ain't nothin', either. Doesn't really feel like a late-game item to me, though... I dunno. I need to work with it more. Feel free to mess with it.

If your team comp is too evenly matched, and your skill levels are the same, an Aegis of the Legion can give your team the slight edge it needs in team fights. +12 armor, +15 MR, and +8 AD can make a difference in early- to mid-game fights. Not as useful late-game, though; I'd ditch it for something more helpful.

Randuin's Omen is very much a situational item. It seems to have been made to torment DPS champions: HP, armor, and a 20% chance every time you're hit to slow the attacker's movement and attack speed by 35% for three seconds. On top of that, it's Active is an AoE slow that does the exact same thing to every enemy in the vicinity. Very useful for stopping a fleeing team. It's kind of a stand-alone item, though, whereas most everything else in this build works together.

Items I Do Not Recommend

Some of these seem like good ideas, but aren't. Some of these don't even seem like good ideas. Some of these don't even make sense to me, but I've seen enough Shens with them that I felt they were worth mentioning.

Banshee's Veil is only useful for Shen when there's a single enemy champion who has it out for you. If you're initiating, the enemy will throw every spell they have in your direction, and blocking just one won't do a whole lot of good. It's expensive, it works off of Catalyst the Protector (which doesn't fit well for Shen, given it's equal focus on HP and mana), and it doesn't help you with your job. I'm not seeing any reasons to buy this.

If I'm moving faster, I can initiate and taunt more effectively, right? Wrong. Thanks to Force of Nature, you're already moving faster than most of the enemy team, so more speed doesn't help. At that point, you'll want whatever the Passive on your boots is to function, ideally tenacity or damage reduction, and... what's that? Boots of Swiftness don't have a Passive? Well, so much for that idea.

Here's one of those ideas that seems like a good idea, but isn't really. Ionian Boots of Lucidity give you the standard Enhanced Movement 2, and 15% CDR to boot (no pun intended). Isn't more CDR good? Sort of. The CDR you already have from your runes and masteries has been tailored so that you get the lowest cooldowns you can without worrying about running out of energy. If you don't have any energy, it doesn't matter how fast your abilities recharge, you still can't use them. So not only does this Passive potentially hurt your performance, it comes at the exclusion of other, more helpful Passives. Thank you, but no.

Soul Shroud: early-game health and CDR. What could be wrong with this? Well, we already went over the bit about extra CDR. And if you had enough money to purchase a Soul Shroud in the first place, you should have just waited for the extra 800 gold and gotten a Warmog's Armor.

As with Banshee's Veil, Rod of Ages is built from Catalyst the Protector, which is a turn-off for me right off the bat. It gives you average increases in health, mana (just what you always wanted!), and AP just for existing, and you get healed when you level up. 630 HP and 80 AP just aren't worth it for this item, in my opinion.

Wit's End... I'm not even sure what Shen players see in this, but I've seen it often enough to decide it's worth mentioning here. You get attack speed, token MR, 42 bonus magic damage per hit, and attacking things raises your MR by 5 per hit (up to 20). Everything about this item screams "offense" to me, and yet Shen is a tank. It makes no sense to me.

They See Me Trollin'
They Hatin'

Self explanatory.

Ah, the Phantom Impaler... If you select Atma's Impaler and Phantom Dancer as the last two items in your build, you're in for some interesting times. Since Ki Strike, his main source of damage, works off of how many times you hit things, a bit of DPS makes sense. Add almost 50% crit chance and even more movespeed, and now the tank's main cannon has been loaded. Go unleash yourself on the enemy team.
Note: if you're going to try this variation, I recommend you test it on bots first. It can be easy to become overconfident.

Zhonya's Hourglass: 50 armor, 100 AP, and 2 seconds of invulnerability. What's not to like? The hourglass has a myriad of uses. You can save yourself from Karthus's Requiem, taunt the enemy team and then wait out the duration of the taunt in stasis, you can tank a turret at low health long enough for your team to arrive... the possibilities are endless. On top of all that, you gain 60 damage on Vorpal Blade, 60 more shield strength on Feint, 50 damage on Shadow Dash, and 135 shield strength on Stand United. Sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me.

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Gameplay (OBSOLETE)

And now, the moment you've all been waiting for!

Paladin045's Guide to How the Heck to Use This Shen Build

Early Game
Start out with a Ruby Crystal and a rank in Vorpal Blade. If you used your own set of Masteries and have any gold left over, pick up a Health Potion, it'll help you stay in lane longer. Regardless of what the team composition is, I'd recommend you go top (unless it's already full). This build works with a partner as well as solo, but for simplicity's sake, assume you have a partner until I tell you otherwise. Perform your usual pre-game ceremonies (ganks in the bushes, leash the buffs, dance-off in mid, etc.), and then start thwacking minions.
At this point, unless they really like harassing you, the minions will be more of a danger to you than the enemy champions. Always go for their cannon creep first, and Promote yours the moment it shows up. The bonus gold and attack will help turn the tables against your opponents. When Ki Strike comes up, see what you can do about landing it on a champion instead of a minion, but if you can't, don't let it go to waste by just sitting there with it.

By the time you back the first time, you should have at least enough money for Boots of Speed. If you did well, you can pick up a Null-Magic Mantle in addition to the boots, and if you did really well, pick up a Giant's Belt instead. Teleport back to your lane (use it on an almost-dead creep if you can) and continue the fight. Eventually either you will end up under their turret, or they will end up under yours.
If you end up under theirs, just kill their minions as fast as you can, and ignore the champions unless they can seriously harm you. Every time Ki Strike comes up, land it on their turret. Do this a few times and eventually, if everything goes according to plan (though does it, ever?), the turret will fall. By the time the first turret falls, whether it's yours or theirs, you can assume you've hit the mid-game.

Mid Game
At this point, you should have completed Warmog's Armor and Mercury's Treads. If so, congratulations! If not, you've got a bit of farming to do. Warmog's is essential to the early- and mid-game, and if you don't have it, you'll be in a much weaker position from which to protect your team. If you're behind, don't feel too bad about stealing a few minion kills from your carry, if he hasn't wandered off yet. This seems stupid and selfish, but his ability to own in the late-game will be contingent on your ability to tank for him. If you can't survive the enemy team long enough for him to do his thing, he won't survive either. Besides which, if Shen can steal minions from the carry, you might want to consider finding a different team member to feed and protect. If you don't have a jungler, don't be afraid to take the ghouls and mini-golems when you have the chance.
Team fights should have started breaking out by the time you finish your Sunfire Cape. If they start happening and you don't have your Cape yet, don't sweat it too much. Just go in there and pray for the best. A 5v5 with a dying tank is still better than a 4v5. Hopefully, the assists will get you back where you need to be. If you were already where you needed to be, then you've just started your slow climb towards victory. Even without kills, a well-played Shen can single-handedly turn a game around.

Late Game
So you finished Warmog's and Merc Treads a while back, you finished your Sunfire Cape, and either just finished or are about to finish a Force of Nature. This is the point in the game where you start seriously considering what your last two items are going to be. You should have enough information in the Alternate Items section to figure out your plan of attack. Whatever you do, stay with your team. You may be unable to die, but that doesn't mean you can kill them, either. And if your squishies get eaten in the meantime, your team is in for a world of hurt. Stay with them.
One of the hardest things you will have to do as Shen is sacrifice yourself so that one of the idiots on your team can get away. Yes, he may deserve to die, but your job is to make sure that doesn't happen so the other team dies instead. Your carries are more likely to be on killing sprees than you are, so your death won't feed the enemy team any extra gold. You (theoretically) took Good Hands , so you stay down for a shorter period of time. And if they wore themselves down on you, your team might even be able to mount a counter-offensive... something they can't do if their damage dealers are pushing daisies. I'm not saying you should try to die (that's Karthus' and Kog'Maw's job), but if it's a choice between you surviving and a squishy, you are not the logical choice.

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Problematic Opponents

Some opponents Shen can eat for breakfast. Some opponents you can be effectively ambivalent towards. And some opponents you should exercise extreme caution around, because they want to eat you for breakfast. This section will identify these match-ups.

Easy enemies

Annie: Shen does well against burst champions, and Annie is no exception. If she can keep away from you she'll rain fire from a distance and make your existence miserable, but if you can withstand her burst and get in close, she's pretty fragile. If she stuns you and runs, just use Shadow Dash to catch up. Watch out for Tibbers, though; that demonic bear can do some real damage close-in.

Cassiopea: Cassie's short cooldowns can wreak havoc with your attack timing, but if you can dodge her abilities, you can do some real damage before she can chase you off again. Make sure you utilize Ki Strike whenever you can, even if it's just landing that one hit and then backing off again.

Heimerdinger: He can be an easy target, but make sure you take care of his turrets before you attack him. If you get aggro from both of them, even Shen can get hurt. If he still sticks around after you've destroyed his precious creations, make him regret it.

Karthus: Karthus is slow, and attacks slowly. However, caution is still required. If it looks like a close fight, back off before either of you dies, because he won't actually be gone once you get the KO. Only take him if you can do it without getting low enough to be vulnerable to Requiem. If you're careful about that (and avoid Wall of Pain), though, he should be easy prey.

Morgana: She's just as dangerous at range as she is up close. The only difference is that up close, you can be dangerous too. She's a mage, and she relies on combos. Disrupt her rhythm with Shadow Dash, and her health bar will be yours.

Nidalee: She's actually more dangerous at range than up close, so the closer you stay to her, the better. Just watch out for her traps, and get out when she pops her ult. That cat is annoying and dangerous.

Ryze has relatively low cooldowns, so rushing him can be dangerous. If you can time it right, though, you can lay on a good deal of hurt before he can counter-attack. There's no way to dodge Rune Prison, so just take it when you get hit with it and then dash to him once you're free.

Soraka: She's a bit more dangerous since the last patch, but she's not really a threat to much of anyone. If you can get her alone, as long as you don't get messed up by her silences you should be able to intimidate her. Back off earlier than you think you need to, Starcall has a good range.

Enemies to Avoid

Kog'Maw: I did the last list alphabetically, but Kog'Maw is possibly the single most dangerous champion Shen can face, so he gets top billing. Bio-Arcane Barrage does damage based on a percentage of your max health. Most Kog'Maw builds incorporate Madred's Bloodrazor, which does the same thing. If that does happen, stack MR (both of those effects are magic damage) and pray for the best.

Akali: There are more dangerous champions, but she can still hand you your butt if you don't know what you're doing. Unlike most enemies, she's not limited by mana, so she can spam her abilities in much the same way you do. And while your abilities focus on survival and utility, all of hers are focused on killing something. If she's chasing you, lead her into the woods and Shadow Dash through a wall; that's pretty much the only way you'll lose her. If she has Flash, wait another 8 seconds and dash again, and hope that she doesn't follow you this time.

Ashe is dangerous because of how much she slows you. Yes, she's fragile, and she's slow herself, but she's a DPS crit champion. On top of that, Madred's Bloodrazor is a common Ashe build item (thank you, jhoijhoi, for recommending that. You've made my life a lot harder =P). If you think you've got the upper hand, go for it (she's still fragile and slow), but in general, I do not recommend engaging her alone.

Caitlyn, Miss Fortune and Tristana all go in the same category for me: champions with guns that function at extreme range, with abilities that complement them a little too well, in my opinion. All of them can poke you from a good distance, making you pay a good bit for getting in close. I wouldn't recommend taking any of the above alone. If you get two in the same lane, find someone to switch with. If their team has all three... may God have mercy on your health bar.

Jax is probably one of the most frustrating types of champion for Shen: burst damage melee. He'll jump in, stun you, get in a few good thwacks, and then run off with his staff spinning over his head whilst doing his best Zoidberg impression. Repeat process until you kill him or he kills you. Your best bet is to keep your finger poised over the W key to minimize damage and hit back when he starts running.

Katarina is most ninja-esque champion without energy in LoL, in my opinion. Shunpo won't get her everywhere, but 80% of the time it'll be exactly where she wants to go... and that's never good news for you. If you're behind in your build, consider Katarina extremely dangerous.
(Note: When she uses Death Lotus, taunt her if you can. You won't always be able to, but it will interrupt her channeling and give your team enough time to get away and regroup)

As long as you can dodge his Thundering Shuriken, Kennen shouldn't give you too much trouble. If you're bad at dodging skill-shots, though, or if he's really good at landing them, keep your distance. When you're in a team, taunt him as much as possible. He relies on combos, and disrupting his rhythm will severely hamper his effectiveness.

Shen counters himself entirely too well. Like Jax, he does melee burst damage and then runs away before the enemy can counterattack. More than with most champions, a battle of two Shens will come down to skill and build. Stay completely out of tower range if he's guarding it; he'll do the exact same thing to you that you do to other champs. Just remember: he's as afraid of you as you are of him.

Udyr is a jungler/bruiser who just annoys everyone, Shen included. If he runs out of the bushes, just disengage and try to get back to your tower. He's tanky enough to hold his own in a teamfight, and his abilities let him 1v1 fairly well, too. Counter-gank him when you can; a weakened Udyr can only help your team.

Zilean's Time Bombs are damaging to anyone, but early-game against melee champions they can be devastating. When you Feint to try and absorb the damage, remember not to pop it as soon as the bomb appears over your head, or it'll be gone by the time the bomb goes off. Try to get help to take him down if you can. If not, just keep your distance and wait until the next team-fight to give him what he deserves.

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Props, Thanks, and Final Comments

Many much thanks to jhoijhoi for her Guide to Making a Guide. Without that, this wouldn't look nearly as good as it does now. jhoijhoi, if you ever read this, you have my thanks. [bows]

PTWookie and Naraug: I doubt you'll ever see this either, but know that if it wasn't for the two of you, I never would have made it this far.

Riot Games: STOP NERFING SHEN! That is all.

To my readers (all two of you): Thank you for taking the time to read this. I'll hopefully be posting more of these as I gain mastery over more champions. In the meantime, if you've got a build that works for you, I encourage you to write your own guide. I actually learned a good bit about the particulars of my build in the process of writing these entries, and this turned out somewhat differently than I anticipated when I first opened the article editor. You'll never know everything there is to know about your favorite champ, but if you know more than most of us, don't be afraid to share your wisdom.

Thank you all for reading, and I'll see you on the Fields of Justice.


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Change Log

June 9, 2012: Updated runes

April 25, 2012: Fixed links

April 22, 2012: Guide completed

April 22, 2012: Added the sections Ability Explanations, Ability Strategy, Core Items, Alternate Items, and Gameplay. Updated Masteries per jhoijhoi's recommendation (point transferred from Scout to Evasion ).

April 21, 2012: Guide published (incomplete)