Shen Build Guide by Origin#75424
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.
Welcome to my first guide on Mobafire! I'm here to show you guys the many ways I play Shen, and how to be effective with him. Many people find that Shen leaves a bit to be desired. This is mostly due to a few reasons. His early game damage is quite low now after the recent changes, but you can compensate for that in a few ways which I'll get into later.
Anyway, please leave comments (constructive please!) and check back often, I plan to work on this guide quite a bit.
The paths of Shen
In my experience with Shen, I have found four builds that work quite well with him.
For convenience, the builds outlined below are located from left to right above, meaning the first one here is on the far left, last one is on the far right.
The first and probably most popular way, is that of "pure tank" Shen. This build focuses exclusively on defense and survivability at the expense of damage output. This is designed to be your team's main tank and initiator.
Off-tank Shen is seen once in a while as well. This build utilizes a few aspects of Shen's mechanics. Off-tank Shen is built to be very durable, but sacrifices a bit of defense for two things. More damage, and a stronger Stand United. This Shen is not a main tank, but he can act as an initiator and a support.
AD Shen is rare these days, but he is a powerhouse to be sure. This build focuses on two things, health a bit of durability to be able to charge in and take out a squishy or two, and the damage needed to beat those people down in a timely fashion. This build is designed to be an anti-carry strategy. (By which I mean he is meant to kill carry champs, not to be the opposite of a carry as some seem to think it means.)
AP Shen is probably even more rare than AD Shen anymore. In my opinion this is the most fun way of playing him. In this build, much like Off-tank Shen, you are focused on damage from Vorpal Blade, boosting your Ki-Strike damage and making the most of your ultimate
Runes are a fairly simple affair with me when I play Shen. Basically I like using HP/level seals to help boost up the Ki-Strike damage as I level. MR/Level glyphs are my favorite runes in general, and I always use them on Shen. Every build will have at least 2 flat HP quints, and one quint, and your marks will vary based on the build you are using.
Summoner spells are generally up to the user to decide which ones they like, but I will point in the right direction with what I've found to be the most effective.
Ideal: Ghost and Teleport. Positioning is key when playing a tank. Simply put, the spells help you put yourself where you need to be when you need to be there. Ghost can help when chasing straglers, and teleport can save turrets from backdooring. Not to mention, with teleport and your ulti, you can split push without leaving your team a man short.
Good: Exhaust is always a decent pick up on a tank. If your team has plenty of teleports, grab this instead.
Fortify is a great one too. I recommend having at least one of these on a team. Combined with teleport and Shen's ulti, your enemy will be hard pressed to kill a turret. Also vital if you jungle as Shen, which, despite popular opinion, is quite effective when done properly. More on jungle Shen in the future.
Cleanse is a great spell if you see the enemy team is going with heavy CC. Wouldn't be my first choice of spells though.
Never:Heal, Clarity, Revive, Rally, Ignite and Flash. I would never take these on Shen.
Skill sequence is different almost every game. You will want to max out your Shadow Dash and your Vorpal Blade evenly. Keep in mind that you won't always skill the same each game. If you are being harassed hard, you will want more levels on your Feint and your Vorpal Blade, to mitigate that harassment, and the heal that lost health faster. If your lane mate is being harassed, level up your Shadow Dash more quickly in order to keep enemies off of him. Generally by the time I'm six in most games, my QWER will look like this: 2/1/2/1. Being harassed a lot, it will look more like: 2/2/1/1, and if your lane mate is being harassed, it will look like 1/2/2/1.
For AP and AD Shen you are going to want to max out Vorpal Blade first, then Feint, then Shadow Dash. The same concept from above also applies here to a lesser extent.
Pure Tank Item Build
As any experienced LoL player can tell you, a tank build is fluid and you won't build the same each game. I hold this to be true, and so should you. With that being said, I have actually found a solid core that I can rely on in 95% of games as pure tank Shen. That core looks like this:
Doran's Shield: I generally dislike Doran's items on most characters, but on Shen, it is a solid fit, and I would never recommend skipping it as pure tank Shen.
Boots: Next I grab basic boots, basic mobility stuff, always good.
Heart of Gold: Now that it doesn't give armor, its a bit less desirable, but the gold per 5 is nice, as is the early boost to HP. Generally you want to save up enough to buy your basic boots and HoG on the first return to base.
Aegis of the Legion: I love this item on just about any tank, good all around stats and a helpful aura.
Mercury Treads: These are my default boots for Shen. Helps to alleviate some CC, and most importantly when the MR on these boots is combined with the rest of the core build so far, you'll have all the durability you'll need for quite a while.
Sunfire Cape: This is the next core item in this build. Buy the Giant's Belt first, because by this point, you'll most likely still be in the laning phase, and the HP bonus will help you stay in lane longer, and will boost your Ki-Strike a good deal. Now the reason I almost invariably get this without question is because you'll have all the MR you'll need for a while thanks to your earlier purchases.
Force of Nature: Great MR item. Get this item in a timely fashion and you'll be unkillable by all but the most fed AP champs. Don't forget that tank builds are quite fluid, and you may need to adjust this core build in the event that an AP champ is being fed. In that case, buy a Negatron cloak, and then Giant's belt and proceed as usual.
That completes your core build for pure tank Shen. From here, your purchases will be entirely situational, however, I have two items that I recommend for most games. They are Frozen Mallet and Rylai's I love these items on Shen because he lacks a built in ability to peel attackers from allies outside of his taunt which has a long CD, high cost and a reasonably high failure rate. These items accomplish this by making it impossible for enemies to chase your allies, and will boost your damage enough to make you a desirable target for the enemy; a key aspect of playing a tank.
After your core build is complete, its time to decide what to do with your HoG. Need more durability against a fed AD carry? Build it into a Randuin's Omen. An AP champ kicking your ***? Sell the HoG for a quicksilver sash if they are CC based, or a banshee's veil if they are the straight up bursty type.
If you feel confident in you ability to stay alive in team fights, which you will in 90% of games where your team isn't feeding, then you should sell the HoG for a Frozen Mallet, and sell your Doran's for a Rylai's Crystal Scepter.
I've caught a bit of flak for building like this, simply because it looks different. It is original and it works. This build works on two levels: One, it is very durable, your armor and MR will be very high, and your ability to peel enemies off of carries will be unrivaled. Combining your Q with a slow, your melee attacks that slow, and an AOE taunt, it will become very difficult for enemies to get past you and get your squishies.
I apologize for the brevity of my guide at this point in time, but I assure you I will be back to work on it more as I get the time. Thanks for reading, and feel free to give me feedback on what I have so far. Also, please let me know what else you'd like to see from this guide, and I will take that into consideration. Please keep in mind while voting or commenting that this is a work in progress, and again I apologize for cutting this guide short for the time being.
7/12/11: Added more info on pure tank Shen.
Added skill sequence section
Added Summoner spells section
Added Changelog :D
Fixed some typos
Changed the layout so that all the item builds will have their own sections instead of being clumped into one Items section.