Build Guide by Vertical Dsb
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
Alright, I haven't touched this guide in a long time and I've decided it was time to revamp it and upgrade it a little bit so its easier to follow and better laid out.
Thank you to everyone that has voted or posted on this guide which has made it the #1 viewed Shen guide as well as the highest rated Shen guide on Mobafire. I appreciate you guys posting pictures of your results with Shen so please keep doing that because its great to know that you guys are having success with this guide.
Also new HoG and Randiuns Omen nerfs sorted out
A long time ago when I was a little level 20 I realized most people hated tanking and would always need a tank, so I figured I could get into pre made teams if I was willing to take the bum boy position (I just wanted to play with other people as I didn't like playing by myself). Please note, in this current meta game tanks win games, carries do the damage but tanks win the games by disrupting the other team and allowing your carries to do their work.
So I looked around at tanks and couldn't make my mind up, I asked a level 30 I added because I thought he was godly (I figured all level 30s must be amazing at this stage) and he said to try Shen, so I did.
I hated him at first, I thought it was so absurdly stupid how his skills worked and how he didn't do enough damage etc, oh how I was wrong, the Shen I started playing on was before he got nerfed about 5 times. He was so op, he was easily the best tank in the game right beside the un nerfed version of Amumu (both had their good qualities), so I played him all the way till I was level 30.
The Shen these days is a lot different than the old Shen that I first picked up, he is still a very viable tank but his role has changed a little bit from the old Shen, he is more of a utility tank instead of a hard tank like Allistar.
So anyway I don't plan on telling you every little thing about his abilities etc, how a bout you go play 2 or 3 games and figure those out then come back here with an understanding of how Shen works so you will pick up the guide a lot faster.
Summoners / Runes / Masteries
The summoner spells I choose to use on Shen are Ghost and Exhaust
In all honesty I used to use flash and ignite before I realized that wasn't the best way to play Shen after Laoching explained a few things to me (Laoching was the best Shen player in the game and was #1 on the solo queue ladder before he had to complete his mandatory army training).
Ghost offers you a fast way to escape or chase (ghost is probably the best summoner skill in the game) while Exhaust offers you another tank utility to slow down enemy champs or to completely **** over their carry in team fights.
Flash works but you already have a built in dash skill which does basically the same thing as flash.
Swiftness Quints - You can replace with hp if you want
Magic pen Marks - His ki strike and Vorpal blade skills are both magic damage which is why I take these, you can swap them for attack speed or armor pen if you want
Hp per level Seals - You can never have enough hp so why not, if you like you can change them to dodge or armor seals, it all works.
Magic Resist per Level Glyphs - This is basically to max out his magic resist late game, if you want you can use normal magic resist glyphs
Shen is very versatile, pretty much any tanky runes will work with him, Laoching advised me to use this rune set up and I've found it works great, others don't like it, their is no ideal rune set up for Shen its just what you feel is the best (trial and error).
1 point for improved exhaust
21 in the defense column (self explanatory I hope)
8 in utility for faster leveling and quicker re spawning times (you are the tank and you are going to die)
My item set above is simply just an example of how you could build Shen, there is no right or wrong way to build a tank and you will learn as you play Shen more often. You will come across different teams filled with ap champs or ad champs and you have to learn to build your items accordingly to how the other team is doing.
I always start with a dorans shield, you can take a cloth armor and hp potions or boots first if you want but I always go dorans shield.
Next I will build the normal boots, I won't upgrade them straight away as you already have movement quints and a dash skill so level 2 boots are not needed just yet.
At this point I will build an Aegis of Legion (not a great tank item but its a very good team item especially for your laning partner), if somebody else is going to build it don't worry and just move onto the next step.
At this point I will finish my boots into Mercury Treads for the magic resist and debuffs that it offers.
At this point their are two main Shen play styles, the randiun's omen or the sunfire cape, both are fine and work well, I personally got for the randiun's as it offers more utility than the sunfire cape. This means you need to decide if you want the heart of gold or the giants belt, HoG for Randiuns and Giants belt for Sunfire, test it out and see what works better for you.
Now you need to assess the opposite team, I do this way before this point but as you are learning its best to build the above items until you get a feel for how this works.
If their team is mainly AD you wouldn't really bother building anymore magic resist at this stage as long as that AP champion is not getting fed or well farmed etc.
You have to look at all these little things to decide what you are going to build on Shen, with practice you will learn.
For those of you who aren't to concerned with that continue on with the recommended build I have left you, its a great tank set up and will work for 80% of teams you will come across.
That is how I learned, I just stuck with a build and realized what worked against what kind of teams and what didn't and I changed up my items and build from there.
A quick tip on building the Force of Nature, its an expensive item and the regrowth pendants take up a lot of space, I wouldn't build it immediately after buying the Negatron cloak, as it should give you enough magic resist combined with your boots and runes for awhile.
Now everybody always brings up the good old warmogs, the item that takes a **** load of time to farm, then to farm all the bonuses you get from it to gain a massive hp bonus. Now thats great as I've said before "you can never have enough hp" but while you are doing this you gain no armor and no magic resist so you are going to be hit very very easily. If you really like warmogs I'm not going to say don't get it but I personally don't like building warmogs on a tank.
Now the banshees veil, this is an interesting item for shen, asides from the magic resist and the bubble the other 1.5k gold you put into it is junk apart from the slight hp bonus. Its no good to get this early and mid game, if your seriously needing magic resistance buy it but the catalyst and mana crystals just take up far to much space, I would recommend buying the cape for it and finishing it later.
You are Shen a supporting tank, your main goal is to be a damage sponge for your team and to keep your team mates alive (mostly your squishy champions / carries). If your confused by what a carry is, its the generally the ranged dps character like Corki or Ashe or else your AP carry like Annie or Kassadin. You want to keep these champions alive as long as possible so they can keep putting damage output on the other teams champions.
For the laning phase you are generally going to end up going bottom lane if you are playing in level 30 games, if your team still doesn't incorporate a jungler then don't worry about it as you are going to be in the duo lane anyway.
Focus on last hitting minions with your Ki Strike and Vorpal Blade, you should be harassing your enemies with your vorpal blade at any chance you get so that if your jungler ganks you can get easier kills.
Mid game you want to start buying wards also, this will take pressure off your carries buying them so they can focus on getting their core items. You should also have your ultimate at this stage, check the mini map every 5 or so seconds to see if your team mates are getting ganked or if there is a fight that you could turn into a 2 v 1 etc. After you ultimate you should taunt into the enemy champions that are attacking your team mate so he can escape faster.
Later game is when team fights start happening and mid lane starts getting push as well as baron fights popping up from time to time, now remember you are the tank, you should be at the front of every team fight. Don't be afraid of dying, you dying is better than your carries dying, always remember that, never take a kill if you know the carry can get it and if you can sacrifice yourself instead of the carry do it.
In team fights make sure you are watching your carry champions in case they get attacked so you can save them, other than that you just simply want to be disrupting the enemy champions with taunts and being a **** to them.
At level 18 with most of your items and your shield skill you will be able to tank towers and the baron for your team, but be smart doing this.
1) The best initiating combo I've found on Shen, is Taunt into enemies, pop your W (shield) blow your randiuns active. So E! W! 1! (I always change randiuns to item slot #1 as its easy to click).
2) I won't generally upgrade my cloak to a force of nature immediately as cloak + merc treads + magic resist runes per level gives enough Magic resist for early and mid game unless they are really caster heavy. Force of nature is another 2k after the cloak and the regrowth pendants take up a lot of invent space so just watch building this item.
3) Shen is an amazing farmer, judge the minions hp and last hit with vorpal blades and your ki strike, ki strike will show up just above your spells on the bottom when its up.
4) You run off energy and not mana, when returning to a lane or somewhere dash there as it doesn't cost anything and you make up ground a lot easier so its a win win really.
5) You may be hard to kill but you most certainly will never be invincible, don't do anything stupid thinking your superman as you will die and it will hurt your team through reckless tower diving and initiating team fights.
6) Shen at level 18 or maxed feint can tank towers quite nicely for your team so use this wisely and you may find your team being sneaky little buggers and grabbing a tower without minions.
7) After using your vorpal blade on a creep you can auto attack it and it will heal you for a small amount of health each hit
8) Sometimes you will find yourself having to take a solo lane, when this happens I prioritize my feint skill a lot more than I normal would so I take less damage and I am a lot harder to harass.
9) Jungling Shen - I've been asked a lot about this, its not that effective and its a lot slower than most jungles but its definitely possible, I might look at making a guide on it in a couple weeks time.
Yes this guide has no fancy pictures and it may not look amazingly attractive but it will get the job done for you and when it comes down to it, that is all that really matters.
Have fun playing Shen hes an amazing Tank just remember to save some energy for taunts in team fights as its a great help.
An example of how I've built Shen for a game, don't expect many kills with him when you play him as tank as I have, some people won't like this Shen play style because of that but if your trying to be competitive its a great build.
Don't really play Shen as much as I used to but with same runes, masteries and build I still do ok.
Make sure you check out my other guides which can be front on the right hand side of the page
If you have questions please ask, I check on my mobafire guides a couple of times a week