Shen Build Guide by Rajner
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.
Facts about latest Shen rework
Quick facts, just to be aware of some things:
+ More health regeneration - it's easier to stay on lane (and to jungle, but not with this guide),
+ More damage - now it's much easier to kill carries, even with this full tank build they are just a small fries for us,
+ Little easier to time our Feint,
+ With Shadow Dash we have to invest more energy (so we must have prepared at least 120 energy), but it's much easier to regain it),
+ With this build our Shadow Dash will have around 6 seconds cooldown - it means now we can probably use this second time in a teamfight (and we can regain energy, if taunting enough enemies),
+ Life tap lasts longer and now we can regenerate our team really nice (for example it's a huge buff when you life tap Volibear and your ad carry or offtank starts hitting him),
+ Generally stronger early-mid game.
- Taunt is shorter now to 1.5 seconds - keep this in mind,
- It takes more time to channel our Stand United - on level 1 (and often 2) you won't even get a chance to teleport to ally, cause the shield will be crushed. Try to cast it little earlier now then before at these levels.
Is Shen better now? He can be more aggresive, got more damage, but his abillity to save allies is little bit lower.
I only changed skill sequence and this build is still VIABLE and kicking. Good luck, rock the Fields of Justice with new ninja. :))
I should introduce myself first - I started playing League of Legends about a year ago. I'm not a pro player, rather regular. My highest rank in Season 1 was 1500 ELO, in Season 2 1400 (I'm not playing many rankeds at the moment).
I decided to write this guide mainly because I want YOU to criticise my gameplay and build (of course I'm talking about constructive criticism). I want you to rate my style and provide some feedback, so I can become a better player. Of course feel free to just read this guide and use it in an actual game - I don't mind it. I would be honored to know that someone likes my gamestyle and plays in the same way. :)
This guide is about Shen - my favorite champion. I like the fact that he is a ninja-tank, cause it's quite an interesting composition. Besides he is a great protector and requires much skill, to be played properly. I also think that he is actually the best tank - don't get angry if you are Rammus, Amumu or other tank fan - just my opinion. :)
Last but not least - this guide is looooooooong and contains alot of text. If you want only to check masteries, items, runes and summoner spells - okay, do it. But I think it's not enough - Shen is hard champion to master (although Riot tells us it's an "easy" champ - it isn't). Please don't downvote my guide without reading it - I'm trying to explain all aspects of my build below.
P.S. I know English pretty well, but still I can make some gramatical errors - please inform me immediately if text contains bugs. :)
I said earlier that Shen is a hard champion to play - I will explain why.
He doesn't deal much dmg (at least not with this build), but still you must be useful to your team. If you will use your skill in a wrong way - you will be useless, completely useless. That's why you must be very careful.
His ultimate Stand United requires really great map awareness. Taunt ( Shadow Dash) is a skillshot with semi-long cooldown (still, you won't get a second chance to use it again in a teamfight, so you must use it WISELY). Moreover his shield ( Feint) demands nice timing.
His farming ability is HORRIBLE. The only thing you can do, is last-hitting - you must master this skill perfectly.
Finally - you will be the leader late game. Your team should follow you, as their main tank. Make your decisions carefully, before and in the actual teamfight.
I'm not telling you this to scare you. I want you to understand that mastering Shen is a great challenge. Now please, accept the challenge. :)
Your role in a team
Don't be shocked but you are a... TANK!
Sorry that I'm talking about things that can be obvious for many people - I just want to make sure, that we understand each other perfectly.
Why Shen is a great tank? Many reasons:
1) Great survivability (but remember - this one aspect doesn't make some champion a tank),
2) He has a strong Crowd Control - he can taunt multiple enemies for 1.5 seconds with Shadow Dash (and CC is extremely important for a tank),
3) Has one of the best protecting abilities in the game - he can shield his ally with Stand United and make him deal damage longer.
4) C'mon - he is a ninja! This is sooooooooo cool!
Okay, looks like I convinced you that Shen is a great tank (I did, right?). So you must do typical tank job:
- initiating teamfights,
- protecting your carries,
- tanking turrets,
- protecting carries again,
- tanking baron,
- guees what - protecting carries,
- crowd controlling enemy carries,
- making your teammates say "thx Shen for saving my ***",
- making your opponents say "f*** you Shen".
Trust me - this job gives alot of satisfaction. :)
In my opinion this is a must-have on Shen. Many times you will have to use your Stand United on the other side of the map and will have to come back to your lane immediately (otherwise turret will be destroyed). Besides you are playing solo top - teleport will help you to gain more experience, farm and will make holding a lane easier.
I don't even have to tell you how annoying you will be to the enemy team with your teleport-ulti combo. For example you see that your bottom tower is being pushed by a large wave of creeps - you teleport there and save the tower. Meanwhile enemies are attacking your team - no problem. You use your ultimate and get back to them. Sounds fun?
I also like to do a trick - I call it "Tele-Triangle". You are laning at the top alone and you spot, that your teammate at the bottom lane will be killed. You use your Stand United and save him. Then you recall to the base, do some shopping. After that, Teleport to the top. If you will paint it on a map, you will see that it's a triangle - that's why I call it like that. :)
In a few seconds you can save your ally, buy items and still hold your lane - if this is not awesome, I don't know what can be. ;)
NOTE: You can teleport not only to your minions and turrets. Wards, Teemo mushrooms and Shaco jacks-in-the-box are also viable targets.
NOTE2: Don't use teleport if your lane (or other) is not in danger. Don't use this everytime you got this, when you just want to get faster on lane. Trust me, it's better to save Teleport in such situation for a rainy day, just in case. If you don't have to hurry, use your legs. ;)
Another must-have. Shen is a tank so he must initiate a teamfight, but... He doesn't have an epic initiation! Amumu throws a bandage, Rammus use powerball, Jarvan IV jumps in, shouting "Demaciaaaa!!!", but Shen... just can't do it. :D
That's why you must use Ghost - it helps you to start a teamfight and take a good position to use your Shadow Dash next. Generally, speed is very important on a tank - if you want to save your allies or catch enemy carries with your CC, you must be fast.
With Ghost Shen got even more mobility. So in combo with Stand United and Teleport you can really be almost everywhere and control the game.
NOTE: I said that Shen doesn't have a good initiation, because you shouldnt' just start teamfight aimlessly with your Shadow Dash - I explain it in "Teamfighting" section.
I think that these two summoner spells are working so great with Shen, that you shouldn't use any others. Still, it's not a very bad idea to grab Exhaust - cause you can use it on enemy AD carry and protect your own teammate from being killed. But remember - your map control will be damaged.
Summoner spells to AVOID at all cost:
Flash - many champions use it and it's probably the best spell in the game - but it's not designed for Shen. If you want to catch somebody, Ghost will be better. As an escape mechanism, your Shadow Dash will be enough.
Ignite - you don't want to accidentally take a frag, don't you, right? It's better to give frags to the carries. Get as many assists as you can, but leave the kills - this is the way of a good tank.
Of course you can help your team greatly by igniting Dr. Mundo or Warwick and reducing their incredible healing, but still, it's not as good as Teleport + Ghost. Leave this SS to carries (usually AP carry picks this ss).
Cleanse - if your enemies are using their debuffs on you (the tank!), you should thank them. No cleanse needed. Mercury treads will be enough.
Heal - trust me, you will be really hard to kill, even without this spell.
Clairvoyance - this spell is for supports. Not your role.
Revive - just forget about this spell...
Clarity - you don't use mana.
Smite - this spell is for junglers. I know - Shen can jungle. But I think that he shouldn't. If you want to jungle, use other guide.
First of all, I want you to know that nearly all runes I use are FLAT. Why? Cause we must buff our early game. There are many reasons to it:
- Shen isn't strong early game (but he is also not weak),
- we will solo top, sometimes against two enemies,
- we don't buy doran shield at start,
- we must absorb the harassment to backup our teammate, if we are playing duo lane.
Tank needs to be able at least to do the slightest damage. If you are not even a little annoying, enemy team will just ignore you completely. Greater Mark of Magic Penetration helps a little to deal some damage. Vorpal Blade and Ki Strike are dealing magic damage - that's why I pick magic penetration. It also helps to last-hit early game.
NOTE: I know that some players use Greater Mark of Health - I won't blame you if you use it, but i don't recommend it. Survivability is not everything.
Just flat armor. I prefer it over Greater Seal of Evasion, because dodge is a random thing. You can only increase your chance to make a dodge, but still - it's random. I feel much more safe with armor, cause I know what damage I should expect to get. Relying on dodges can make you miscalculate.
Magic resistance per level. Most likely you will face a bruiser on top, so your armor will be enough to face him.
Still, if you will face AP Offtank like Mordekaiser or duo lane with some AP carry, it's not a big deal. After Shen's rework, we are maxing Feint pretty fast, so absorbing nukes won't be a problem - just practice your timing. No more flat mres runes with this build. :)
Another flat buff to my survivability. Besides Shen's Ki Strike benefits from bonus health - that's why I use it.
I prefer 1-21-8 system, cause Shen is a main tank, and the utility tree offers him better possibilites, than offense tree.
Resistance and Hardiness - this is obvious why.
Durability , Vigor , Veteran's Scars - the same.
Initiator - very important! Like I say many times in this guide, speed is VITAL for the tank.
Enlightenment - CDR. Shen's basic skills doesnt require it much, but ultimate Stand United has horribly long cd. If you can shorten it - do it!
Juggernaut - obvious.
Summoner's Wrath - just to boost our Ghost summoner spell.
Expanded Mind - cheap, great boost for our energy supplies. I suggest always taking it with champions using energy. Must-have.
Good Hands - I pick it to open new possibilities in the tree. 1 point.
Swiftness - more speed.
Objectives of our item build are:
- Health (tanks need health - it's obvious, but also Shen's Ki Strike benefits from this),
- Magic Resist,
- Tenacity (we don't want to get slowed or stunned for too long),
- Gold per 10 seconds (we are not getting kills, we don't want them, we like assists),
- Increasing survivability of our allies,
- Mechanisms to annoy enemies,
- Movement speed.
Our first item is:
This is a solid injection of health - 180 hit points. And these are not "empty" hp, cause with our defensive masteries and runes, this makes us really tanky even at start. We got around 832 health.
We also buy Ruby Crystal at start, cause we want to rush our build as fast as we can - we need Heart of Gold as soon as possible, so we can benefit from the gold per 10 seconds bonus early.
Of course, our Ki Strike gets little stronger with this item - that helps to last-hit.
We are farming, farming and farming - we are recalling as soon as we get 700 gold. At spawn we turn our Ruby Crystal into:
I told you already why we want this item, and why we want this fast - more health, more gold and we can turn it into Randuin's Omen late game.
Another item we buy. Every champ needs boots.
NOTE: If you feel that you will be pushing your lane hard (although, there are small chances that you will do it with Shen and I don't recommend it), wait a little longer before recall and gain 775 gold - so you can buy Sight Ward. Wards are important, everybody knows that, but not everybody use them. Use it, if you will be endangered by enemy gank. Otherwise, don't buy (no need to ward when you will hug your own turret - save the gold for items).
Teleport back to top and farming again!
Now we need 1925 gold so at our next recall we can buy:
It provides for us little health, armor and magic resist - three in one. But most important is the aura - it makes our allies live longer. This item is the best early-mid game, that's why we want it even before we will complete our boots.
Often we use our Stand United to save an ally - so we want to provide him some armor and magic resist. Also in teamfights whole our team benefits from this. Really great item - cheap and for many players look weak - but it isn't. A team with Aegis of the Legion is better than team without it.
NOTE: Remember to inform your support that you will be the one to buy this item. It's very important, cause many supports buy this (and they do a good job - but this time you will get this as tank and a team doesn't need two of these).
I can't tell you how the game will run onward and when you will recall. It will depend on you, your teammates and your enemies. But here are items you need to be a superb tank and a great help for your team:
We need speed movement 2 of course. I buy this every game, because of the tenacity. These boots helps you to get in the right position in a teamfight - and this is very important if you want to use your Shadow Dash properly.
Health, and later it turns into Sunfire Cape.
Your next step should be judged carefully. If you see that the enemy team got very strong AD carry, buy Chain Vest. If you are more afraid of their AP carry, buy Negatron Cloak - you can turn it later into Banshee's Veil or Force of Nature.
This item will allow you to do some spectacular turret dives - but remember that you must buy this in mid game, not later (this item is the best in this phase).
Besides it has a nice passive - magic damage per second to surrounding enemies. It helps you to farm and has useful mechanism to annoy - enemies will be less likely to ignore you, when you damage them.
For a long time I didn't like this item on Shen, but now I know that I was making a mistake (especially after Nautilus patch). I think that there is no need to explain - this item is just pure HP and HP-regen. I buy this cause Shen's Ki Strike and Vorpal Blade benefits greatly from maximum health. This item will boost both - our survivability and our magic damage.
Now we are left with only 2 items to buy. You should decide, what you need first, but because we got already enough armor, it is highly possible that you need:
Great magic resist, great health regeneration and... More movement speed! This is an item for us - and it's very strong late game. Besides, with our Warmog's Armor it will make our hp-regen CRAZY. We can just use Feint and regenerate most of the damage while shield is active.
Note: if you will buy this item before Randuin's Omen you will be still benefiting from the Heart of Gold - keep this in mind.
Another extremely powerful item late game. I think that this is the best tank item in game.
Armor, health and health regenaration - but that's NOT all.
5% Cooldown Reduction - we don't need cdr on our basic skills, but our ulti has really long cooldown. That's why even this slightest cdr makes a difference.
20% chance to slow movement speed and attack speed of our attacker for 3 seconds - don't underestimate this. If some farmed Ashe or Tryndamere will be stupid enough to just hit us a few times, just for fun, he may get slowed for 3 seconds - in terms of teamfight, this is like eternity.
Active - we can just slow movement speed and attack speed of surrounding enemies. With our build we will do it for 4 seconds (!). This is real anti-AD-carry item. And farmed AD carries are the most dangerous carries late game.
NOTE: Don't forget to use your active - it's very important. I know that it's hard in the beginning to remember that. But everytime you will forget it, after teamfight say loudly to yourself "f***, I forgot to use active AGAIN". Eventually you will start to use it. :) But remember to use it when you are around champions like Ashe, Tryndamere, Master Yi - autoattacking beasts, I mean.
It is really rare to buy all those items, but when it happen and you are in very late game, you must do some changes.
Sell your Sunfire Cape, because even without it your armor will be above 200. Besides this item (like I said before) is the best in mid game for turret diving and damaging. Late game it's just better to buy another Warmog's Armor.
Thank you Lenoil for this tip.
Other possible items
There are only few other items that you should use as tank Shen. Still, it won't be a fail, if you will switch your Mercury Treads with:
Every tank likes armor and like I said many times before, movement speed is important when you are playing this role.
NOTE: Remember that you can just sell your boots late game and buy the other, if situation changes.
NOTE2: After some time I realized that it is also a good idea to buy:
15% CDR - this will allow you to save your allies more often with Stand United. Serious item.
NOTE: After Shen's rework you can now also spam your Shadow Dash...
It's also not a bad idea to replace your Force of Nature with:
You will boost your Stand United, gain magic resistance and will lower magic resistance of your enemies. Good item, but I would say that it is situational (you are not endangered that much by enemies and your own team got strong AP carries - this is the right situation to buy it).
NOTE: It's also nice item to boost your Stand United late game, if you feel that your enemies are crushing the protection shield (+105 damage absorbtion).
Of course Shen can't benefit from the mana bonus, but it doesn't matter so much. Passive is also very useful - you won't get separated from your team that easily or thrown away from the enemy team. Besides, you get magic resistance and some health to boost your Ki Strike. I don't recommend this in the main build, but consider this item, when the enemy team is mainly AP (instead of Sunfire Cape).
I also recoommend buying this, if you're not using Mercury's Treads.
Sorry, but I simply don't know any other items that can go REALLY well with tank Shen. :)
Items to avoid
I won't write about obvious items you shouldn't use (for example Infinity Edge or Rabadon's Deathcap - I explain somewhere else why you shouldn't play AD Shen or AP Shen). Items below are items that look attractive for a tank, but they are in fact doing a BAD JOB. So, you should avoid:
I wanna cry, when I see in my team a tank with this item. You know how looks a tank with Guardian Angel aura? I hope you do - he looks like he wants to shout "DON'T ATTACK ME! NEVER-EVER!"
Of course, even when you don't use it, experienced enemies will do everything to ignore you in teamfight - but don't help them. Guardian Angel is an item for offtanks such as Warwick and sometimes carries - cause they deal damage and have to be focused as soon as possible. Tank Shen is not a massive damage dealer - you won't get focused in 90% of teamfights. And if you will get focused and die, say "thx" to your enemies - cause they are probably all dead by now.
I heard that some Shen players use this and even seen twice such player. Tell me, what you gonna do with this extremely expensive item? You want "empty" health (without armor and magic resist)? Or maybe you want to deal extra 20 attack damage? (Wow! You will scare your opponents to death!) You want to slow them? And who will run away from your low-dmg Shen? If you want to catch somebody, use Shadow Dash. Dont spend 3250 precious gold on such item. Again: this is another item for OFFTANKS, not tanks.
NOTE: I know that now Shen isn't low damage, but he still is a tank. Tanks don't nuke or kill in 2 crits - that's what I mean.
I must repeat myself... This item is for offtanks. And you are a tank. Of course you get some armor and 1,5% of your health will be converted into AD. But you don't need AD. You won't deal much damage, even with this.
It's not an extreme fail to use this, but I want you to understand one thing. This boots makes you extreme fast, but OUT OF COMBAT. And you must position yourself IN the teamfight. So you won't benefit from this speed boost. To control the map, you got Teleport, Ghost and Stand United - nothing more required.
You will spend your 475 gold to get this item, and you will gain your actual build much later. You will get Heart of Gold later, so you will gain less gold from it. You will buy Aegis of the Legion later, so it will be less useful. You will buy Sunfire Cape too late and again - it won't be that useful.
That's why you must AVOID this item. If you can't hold a lane with just Ruby Crystal LEARN to do it. You must do it, you must hold it. If things go really bad, recall earlier and use your Teleport to get back. But don't get used to Doran's Shield.
NOTE: Mylaur convinced me, that SOMETIMES it is a good idea to buy Doran's Shield first. If you will lane vs very annoying duo (for example Nidalee + Gangplank), uncle Rajner allows you to buy this. It's better to spend these 475 gold (and still you can sell it later) and don't get cut off from the minions. Thanks for the tip Mylaur!
This item provides massive armor and got some nice passives. But this is not designed for Shen - it got no health and provides too much mana. Don't have to tell you that Shen can't make a use of mana.
I think that this item would be better for a tank like Malphite or for supports, like Alistar (he can also play as tank of course).
Snowball item. Means that if you die, you lose the bonus. Many times you will have to sacrifice yourself, so your carry won't lose his killing spree and give away bonus gold to the enemies. Many times you will have to risk with Shen's life to rescue somebody. You can't think all the time before casting your Stand United "OMFG what if I will lose my stacks? OMFG OMFG". This will make you misjudge the situation and you won't cover your team properly. That's why I don't recommend this item.
Provides magic resist and removes debuffs. I believe that Banshee's Veil works alot better on a tank. When you are a carry, I think that this item can be even better in some situations - but for a tank, I don't recommend it.
"Empty" health again. Ability power that we don't need much. Again no need for the slow - similar situation with Frozen Mallet. Don't use it.
This item is simply too weak for a tank (although, it's cheap). We don't need cdr and boost to healing effects on ourselves that much. I would leave this for Warwick or Alistar. They will truly benefit from this.
I think that this item is overally situational. Personally, I buy this only when I'm playing Rammus and Galio - I think that they are born for this item. But I never build this on Shen or other tanks. Massive armor, returns 30% damage and it's cheap, but it can't be compared to Sunfire Cape or Randuin's Omen.
NOTE: I used this item today. Like I said, Thornmail is situational. In enemy team there was AD Sion, AD Xin Zhao and AD Master Yi. All had Infinity Edge and Phantom Dancer. I never use Thornmail on Shen, cause such fail teams are rare phenomenon (3 ad, lol...), but in such situation - BUY IT! You have my blessing. :)
And btw. - I bought it instead of Banshee's Veil.
This item is extremely expensive and we don't have gold to spare for it - this is the first defect of this item on a tank.
Second - it provides "everything and nothing". Don't get me wrong - I don't say this item is overally bad. It's bad for a tank, cause he is a specialized champion and needs specialized build. I would save Trinity Force rather for hybrids, offtanks, tanky dpses.
Shen doesn't need that much AP (if we assume that he needs any AP). Besides, in what situations will you activate your passive? In teamfight you want enemies to attack you. You can't just turn off yourself for 2 seconds and let your team die. Don't even think about this. :)
Besides it's another expensive item.
This is simple. In a standard team composition (at least in EU-style - I think it's better than US-style) support and AD carry takes the bottom lane, AP carry positions himself in the mid and top lane is left for solo (cause one champion is jungling). And this is your place - top lane.
First of all - you are able to HOLD a lane against two opponents and you use a Teleport for backup. You got big survivability and can regenerate your health with Vorpal Blade.
Second - you got mechanisms that helps you to last-hit and farm properly - Ki Strike and Vorpal Blade - the second one can do that even from a distance, so it's vital when you need to fight very defensively.
Third - you gain levels faster, so you will get your Stand United quickly. You will be able to help your teammate as soon as possible and will jump into the fight with a level advantage. Trust me - this ultimate can be a game-breaker and may decide who will feed on the lane - your allies or your enemies.
Good luck on solo-top lane then! ;)
Why Shen should NOT jungle?
Shen CAN jungle. But it doesn't mean he should. Why?
Jungling is taking too much time with Shen. As a jungler, you want to clear the neutrals as soon as possible, because you will get more experience and will be able to gank more often. Shen unfortunately sucks in this aspect, compared to Warwick, Fiddlesticks and especially Olaf - the fastest jungler.
Moreover you expect jungler to gank lanes - Shen got low ganking ability. The only skill he can use in a gank, is Shadow Dash - this taunt is shorter than Rammus Puncturing Taunt and he doesn't got anything else. That's why he is an average ganker.
Still, Shen as a jungler got some positive aspects. First, he doesn't use mana - it means he can give the blue buff to the AP carry. Second, he can regenerate health, so he can stay in the jungle longer, before recalling.
To sum up: Shen is a slow jungler and a average ganker. I don't recommend jungling with this champion.
"What if we have no jungler in the team and someone other can do solo-top? Should I jungle in these terms?"
Still, I think not. As a slow jungler, you may get underleveled and lose your defensive potential. If you want to hear my opinion - in such situation I would either go duo-lane top or switch my champion to Rammus or Amumu - they are tanks and much better junglers than Shen.
NOTE: If you jungle, you need Smite. If you have Smite, you can't have Teleport. This affects your combo.
NOTE2: Don't try to convince me that Shen can jungle without Smite - I never tried this, I don't know if it is possible. But as an experienced jungler I tell you: EVERY jungler needs Smite. If you don't know why, read guides about jungling.
Why not AP/AD Shen?
And why yes?
If all your skills shout "IMMA TANK!" why are you thinking of building AD or AP? Of course, people always do that and experiment. Including me. :)
AD Shen is good just for trolling in my opinion. Buy Infinity Edge, Phantom Dancer, The Bloodthirster, hit for 400 damage and be happy. But remember one thing - Tryndamere, Ashe, Master Yi, Caitlyn and other "born-to-autoattack" champs will do it better. So why losing your potential? None of your skills will benefit from AD.
AP Shen - here things are little more complicated, cause building AP looks reasonable. Vorpal Blade and Feint benefits from AP (60%). Stand United for 150% (!). But you won't be that tanky, you will have problems to fulfill your role properly as a tank.
Feint lasts only 3 seconds. It's too short to make a real use from the big AP load.
And one thing - do you really think that your ally needs you to absorb 1600 damage with Stand United? No, 850 is all he needs to survive in most of teamfights. He needs a good tank - not a squishy one.
I know that players usually build ap-tanks (items with AP and survivability) - I'm aware of this. But still you will be lacking of health, armor and magic resistance. Besides AP-Tank build is much more expensive...
Mainly, this is our last-hit device. You can also use it to harass enemy champions or annoy them in teamfights (I'm explaining this in details in other sections). Personally, I think this is quite good passive - I've seen worse and better.
Another last-hitting device with harass ability.
NOTE: Don't forget that you can regenerate yourself or your teammate, by attacking a target marked by Vorpal Blade - it helps you to hold a lane.
This is your shield. Remember that this is not increasing your armor or magic resistance - this directly absorbs the damage. Yeah, this sounds cool, but shield lasts only for 3 seconds. This skill requires good timing. If you want to benefit from this, learn to use it. It really helps when you are laning against champions with strong harass. Practice, practice and once again: practice. Activate this when you see that you will receive damage - not earlier.
NOTE: With the new skill sequence (maxing Feint earlier) it's really easy now to ignore heavy harassers like Pantheon (who is solo-top dominator in most cases).
NOTE2: Remember to activate this skill while autoattacking turrets, cause this is reducing cooldown on your Ki Strike.
This is not your ultimate, but I would say that this skill is vital in a teamfight.
Remember one thing - this taunt is shorter than Rammus Puncturing Taunt. If you want this skill to be really deadly, you must taunt at least 2 enemies. If you taunt only one, it's like you admit "Rammus got better taunt". If you taunt two opponents, you say "My taunt is cooler, Rammus". And if you taunt three or more enemies, it just means you are a one badass ninja and don't even have to say a word. :)
NOTE: You can also use this skill as an escape/catching mechanism, to get trough thin walls. Just remember to use it wisely. It's a real catastrophe when your carry is being focused and your Shadow Dash is on cooldown (or you are out of energy).
This is what makes you a true Shen. Fortunately, this skill is FREE (not so long time ago it costed 50 energy - thanks Riot).
To use this skill, first of all you need map awareness. In teamfights you must pick your targets carefully - be sure to choose the focused ally. And don't try to rescue champions, that have absolutely no chances to survive (example: Annie is fighting against 5 enemies - you won't save her, you will only risk your life).
NOTE: At level 1 this skill is quite weak. That's why I recommend solo lane - to get 11 level as soon as possible and provide some real protection.
NOTE 2: If your team will feed badly enemies, this shield won't help. Sad but true. While ago I had a game where my opponents were so fat, that they were just crushing my lvl 3 Stand United in a second.
NOTE 3: When you feel that your protection shield will be too weak to hold, until you will be done with your channeling, cast it earlier - not when your teammate is almost dead. This way you will make it in time and will teleport. If they crush your friend before 3 seconds, you won't teleport. This is often on level 1 Stand United. There is also a possibility that your enemy will start running away immediately - but in the end you will save your ally.
NOTE 4: It's good to inform your team when your Stand United is ready to use, and when it's on cooldown. They will know when to attack, and when to fall back (if they got at least half of brain of course ^^').
At level 1 you pick Vorpal Blade - you will do it in every game, to start farming and harassing early.
Your next skill at level 2 depends on your enemies. If you are laning against strong harassers like Gragas, Brand, Maokai or Caitlyn (remember: these are just examples) I suggest you should pick Feint. Otherwise choose Shadow Dash - you can use it to do some quick harass and it helps greatly to defend turret.
On level 3 you should pick a skill you didn't take at level 2 (so it's either Feint or Shadow Dash again).
Level 4 - Vorpal Blade to make your last hit and harass more efective.
From now on, you pick Vorpal Blade and Feint equally. This is really the best idea to maximize those two skills in the same time. We are playing rather defensively on lane, and we need nice survi on our rescue missions.
At level 6, 11 and 16 take Stand United of course - no exceptions.
Shadow Dash is maxed as the LAST skill.
Tricks & Tactics
Tele-Triangle - I told about this already in "Summoner Spells" section. It's just a Stand United -
- Teleport combo.
Healing last-hit - if you feel that you are losing too much health on your lane, do something about it! Here's what you do: you wait for the enemy minion's health to drop to about little less than a half. After that you quickly hit him with Vorpal Blade first, and then with Ki Strike. This way you get the gold for last-hit and you are regenerating your health. You can also activate your Feint just to make sure you won't get additional harass while doing this combo.
NOTE: I recommend to do this only, when we are getting low on health (below 50%). Otherwise just use Ki Strike and Vorpal Blade separately, on two different minions (more easy last-hits).
Protecting turret - many times, if you are laning against 2 enemies, you will be pushed to your tower. In these terms your opponents will attack your turret - usually ranged champions does that (but sometimes they are insolent enough to melee it). Don't let them do it!
Here's what you do: just taunt the enemies attacking your turret (one or both) with Shadow Dash and your tower will start to hit them, instead of minions. They will have to fall back and will think twice next time, before harassing your precious turret. Taunt is the best way to defend it.
Removing Banshee's Veil passive from the enemy - when they got this aura, you can't taunt them. So don't waste your Shadow Dash. At first, strike with your Vorpal Blade to remove the passive. After that, taunt your target without mercy.
Invisible Stand United - it's just teleporting to a stealthed ally ( Twitch, Teemo, Evelynn, Shaco, Akali). Don't worry - your ultimate won't reveal them. Moreover, you will appear in their location REALLY out of nowhere, so the enemy won't be warned by 3 seconds time of channelling.
Rescue mission - your teammate is chased by multiple enemies and they are all behind him. Use your Stand United, immediately taunt all (or almost all) of them with Shadow Dash and start running away in the opposite to your ally direction. Enemies will have to follow you for 1.5 seconds, so chances for your teammate to escape are greatly increased.
The problem is... If you will somehow survive after that :) Here's a tip: just run away and last for about 10 seconds - it's possible when you are a tank (maybe your Ghost is ready?) After that time your Shadow Dash is ready again to use. Dash through the wall and save yourself. If you will make it, you will be the boss. :)
NOTE: You can use the bushes to unexpectedly change the course. It works well very often.
Wall-Dash - using Shadow Dash to jump through a thin wall. But remember two things: you will get blocked in thicker walls and using this skill as an escape mechanism costs much more energy (when you don't taunt enemy champion).
Bluffing/Split-Push - it's just showing yourself to enemy minions, when your team is at the other side of map. You pretend that you are pushing the lane to takedown the turret. The enemies will often take their chances to either attack your team 5v4, attack your team 4v4 (cause one of them will try to stop you from pushing) or gank you. In all these situations you can turn tables around by using Stand United. Really, it's incredible how enemies forget about Shen's ultimate.
Of course you don't have to just pretend pushing. Push for real! You can help your team and push in the same time - make a use of it. And I already told you how to escape, if enemies will gank you.
Revealing stealthed enemies - not many players are aware that Shadow Dash can actually be used to reveal stealthed champions. This method isn't perfect but if you have suspicion of where stealthed enemy might be hidden, use your Shadow Dash there. You will force them to attack you and in the end, reveal themselves. It is really good counter against Akali or Twitch and Evelynn, that are trying to run away safely.
Ulti-Breaker - Shen can stop ultimate's that requires channelling, such as Absolute Zero or that are taking time to deal full damage, like Death Lotus. All you have to do is taunt the enemy with Shadow Dash and you will force him to stop.
Death-Blocker - another simple trick. Sometimes you run away with low health and the enemy used Ignite on you. Or maybe Karthus is now trying to slay you with Requiem? Use Feint. Maybe still you won't survive but your chance greatly rose! Shen's shield is different that the one, that got Rammus or Leona - it is not increasing your armor or magic resistance. It lets you to absorb directly 250 damage, including your own survivability. Now you understand why it is so great? :)
Healing team - Texastoaster inspired me to use this trick. It's very simple. You must use Vorpal Blade on some heavy target - it can be super minion, catapult, enemy offtank or tank (but only if enemy carries are dead or not around), baron... Then your team must just autoattack the target over and over - it is a great mass healing device.
This skill is overally very important for every player. But when you are playing Shen, without map awareness you are pretty much useless - at least while laning phase, when you are not together with your teammates.
This is another aspect that needs practice. Here are some tips:
You can switch between your allies by pressing buttons F2-F5. Personally I don't use this method but maybe you will like it.
I just watch the mini-map, looking for some suspicious activities. When I see that an enemy and ally are very close to each other, I immediately click on the mini-map and check the situation. Probably they are fighting and your teammate may be in some sort of trouble.
Still, sometimes it's hard to tell whether your friend is getting killed or not. My method isn't perfect. For example Brand or Gragas can nuke your ally from a long distance - that's why you won't find anything suspicious on the mini-map. I had such problem in one game. Enemy Brand was nuking our Vladimir from distance - when I was looking at the mini-map, I thought they are just farming. And just after that I was informed that my teammate has been slain. And this repeated three times. Of course, it is much better to save your ally, but in such situations don't blame yourself - it's hard to tell that it is your fault.
P.S. In the end we won - they had no pure tank and that fat Brand was getting taunted by me all the time. :)
One more thing - remember to be in safe position, when you are checking your teammates. It's really stupid way to die, when you are killed by enemies while watching allies.
P.S. Yes, it happened to me once - such situation is really frustrating, you can trust me. :D
Many times I tried another strategy: I told players in my team to ping on themselves when they need my Stand United. Well... It didn't help. People just tend to forget that they got Shen in their team and he can save them out of nowhere. Besides they are thinking about something else in such situations than pinging. If you got a nice team and you play together often, you can use this strategy. With random people - it's pointless to even inform players about this. You must depend on your own map awareness.
NOTE: While playing Soraka, I discovered new tactic to guard your allies! "Discovered" - haha, nice joke. I laugh, cause this is so awfully obvious, that I'm ashamed I didn't find out this earlier. You can just observe health bars of your teammates, that are displayed on left side of the screen - if they drop dramatically, you're immediately aware of a problem. This technique is really helpful versus long distance killers (I refer to my Vladimir- Brand story from before).
Another skill that is important for every player and every champion.
As Shen you don't have skills that will make you able to farm 300 minions (or even 200 in most games). Usually your farm will be around 150 creeps - this is a good score for Shen.
But to kill even 150 creeps, you will have to master the forgotten ability of last-hit. This is just dealing the last blow to a minion, so you will gain gold. Otherwise creep will just die, in a non-profit way. Your job is to make them die increasing your MONEY!
Like I said before - Ki Strike and Vorpal Blade helps alot in last-hitting, but sometimes you will have to use just a standard attack. If you find this hard, practice this aspect in custom game, with bots (or alone). Don't let any creep die without gold for you - this is your objective.
Gold = items. Items = FORCE.
Now I want to tell you about the lane phase. Your job is to not risk and farm peacefully. It's hard for Shen to kill somebody, so it's pointless to jump into fight and start autoattacking. Of course, if you maximize your Vorpal Blade first and you got Exhaust+ Ignite combo you can do it - sure thing. But this is not the way of playing good TANK Shen. We play defensively.
I told already about last-hitting (be sure to check this section) - this is probably your most important skill on the lane.
Second one is absorbing harass - you must do it with Feint. Time this skill correctly, and you will absorb loads of damage. If you lane against a champion like Brand, Gragas or Caitlyn - mean guys (and girls :D) with strong harass, pick Feint on 2 level and USE IT.
Hide behind your minions and come closer only to do a last-hit.
Below I will tell you about three different situations:
1) Solo-Top against one enemy
2) Solo-Top against two enemies
1. Solo-Top against one enemy
In this case, we can feel pretty much comfortable. It's really hard to slay Shen just like that - if you won't help enemy with some stupid decision, you will survive and farm peacefully.
Focus on last-hitting with Ki Strike and Vorpal Blade. Remember NOT to push your lane. No autoattacking minions without getting gold. But still you should attack the minions when they push your turret. Overally pushing your lane is a bad idea, cause you may be ganked by enemy jungler - even Shen can get in troubles in such situation (although he's got great escape mechanism - Shadow Dash.
If you feel that you can spend some energy on harrasing your opponent - do it. Im talking about harassing in section below - check it.
2. Solo-Top against two enemies
Here the situation is a little bit more complicated. In these terms I don't recommend strong harassing, cause it's just too risky. It's better to just stay behind minions. Last-hit with Ki Strike creeps staying closer and use Vorpal Blade for the caster-minions.
There is a high possibility that you will get pushed and the enemies will start to hit your turret - don't let them do this and use Shadow Dash to taunt them. I'm writing about this trick in "Tricks & Tactics" section.
Like I said before - I don't recommend to play duo-lane with Shen. If you find such situation, I think you should pick Rammus and start jungling on your own. But okay - I understand you absolutely MUST play Shen, cause he is sucha great champion and he is a ninja - I understand this argument, it is reasonable. :)
Here's what you do: become a babysitter. Don't lane with support - do it with a carry (ranged carry the best). Your role will be to protect your partner, absorb the harass, harass enemies and... NOT farm. I know it sounds cruel, but it's better for you to leave the creeps for the carry - trust me, you will benefit from this later. The only item you must farm is Heart of Gold - then just kill these creeps, that your friend cannot hit in time. And farm when he is recalling.
I was laning like this with Ezrael once. I farmed only 80 minions in whole game, but... He farmed 250! And I wasn't sad when he was triple-killing enemies that I taunted.
NOTE: If you see that your carry SUCKS at last-hitting and farms horribly, stop babysitting. Farm on your own and get all the creeps. It's better to have farmed tank, than no-one.
Overally Shen harassment is poor, but still you can be really annoying.
I know two effective ways to harass with Shen - defensive and offensive.
a) Defensive - it's just throwing Vorpal Blade into enemy champion, from a save distance. When you are laning against 2 opponents, it's the only way to harass, that I would recommend. But remember to do this only, when there is no enemy creep to kill with this skill. And don't waste all energy on harassing - it recovers quite fast but always keep some for a rainy day.
b) Offensive - this is jumping with Shadow Dash, and then Ki Strike+ Vorpal Blade combo + few standard attacks.
It's a good way to harass when you're against one opponent or you are on a duo lane. Ranged champions are especially vulnerable to this kind of attacks. I recommend using bushes as the starting point for our Shadow Dash (grass is generally a friend of every melee champion - including Shen).
This is where the game starts getting serious.
Understand this: your job as tank is to keep your team alive and make them win the battle. Yes, it depends on you greatly! Although alone tank can't do alot, in teamfight you can decide who lives and who dies.
In 90% lost teamfights you will be the last survivor in your team - but it doesn't mean you are good. You are a tank, so it's just normal. It's easy for you to not die. But it's difficult to make right decisions and keep your squishy allies alive. Got it now? It's obvious that you will survive. Think about your teammates!
First of all, you need to gather your team. Yep, you must take the lead. Ping, chat, speak to the micro - I don't care, just gather them and keep together. Personally I just ping on myself and write "FOLLOW ME" (yes, caps lock rules).
After this, you can go to search enemies but keep your allies behind you. Only offtank can come little closer, but get some distance. Let it look that you're alone.
NOTE: Don't forget to tell them which enemy you focus (pick 2 of them - usually ap carry and ad carry).
NOTE2: Decide for yourself which of your teammates deals the biggest damage and may be focused.
When you encounter enemy team, use your Ghost and just run into them. If you got your spell on cd, do the same (but you will be slower of course). Start to annoy them, while your teammates will be getting closer.
Hit their carry with Ki Strike. If you see that someone got Banshee's Veil protection, remove it with Vorpal Blade. Annoy them with your Sunfire Cape. Usually they won't use strong nukes or attacks to slay you so don't panic. And even if they use - that's great, cause they won't use it anymore on your squishy carry.
Important - don't just use all your skills at start randomly. You must SAVE energy for the moment when your carries will join in. Use Vorpal Blade ONLY to remove Banshee's Veil protection and Feint ONLY when they start casting ultimate's at you. Use your skills ECONOMICALY. Otherwise you may catch yourself not able to use Shadow Dash in a crucial moment.
NOTE: Remember to start positioning yourself properly while doing all this annoying stuff. Your carries will come closer in about 2 seconds and you will need to use your skillshot taunt.
Okay, now your carries come to the fight and start damaging focused target. THIS is the moment when you use your Shadow Dash. Get it now? That's why you don't just initiate with this skill - you use it IN fight when the moment is right.
Remember to taunt at least two enemies and one of them has to be carry (taunt the strongest one). The best combo is taunting AP Carry + AD Carry. But a combination Carry+Tank is also good - cause enemy tank won't use his Crowd Controls on YOUR carries. Support+Carry - another great idea. In the end at least two enemies should have fun autoattacking you for 1.5 seconds, while your teammates will start to slay them.
Of course things doesn't go so smoothly normally. Enemy tanks and supports got their own CC's and the fight goes on. This is the moment when you use your ultimate - Stand United. Of course you can't cast it randomly - it must be a precise decision.
Probably you will have to cast it on your strongest carry - that's why I told you to think about YOUR carries before the teamfight. If your Ashe is equipped with Infinity Edge, Phantom Dancer, The Bloodthirster and Last Whisper, she will probably get focused. Keep an eye especially for her. And remember that (just example again) Brand can nuke her in 1 second - you need to be really fast.
But sometimes the other target is focused - then cast your ulti on that one. In problematic situations, you will have to decide which teammate will be more valuable at the moment. The highest priority has usually AD carry, cause it can deal big damage (late game of course) constantly, without any cooldowns - that's why I want to keep it alive especially. Second is AP carry - but after using skills, it's useless with cooldown. The lowest priority is for support.
I didn't count offtanks cause they are rarely focused - but u can cast Stand United on them in some terms, no problem.
Cooperating with Shen's ultimate
This section is written for Shen's teammates. But of course as Shen you should also read it and tell your friends how to react correctly.
I'm not talking here about Stand United used in a teamfight - this situation is pretty obvious (for your teammates at least :)).
Generally, there are 2 situations when you are saving an ally:
1) Your friend will die without your intervention and has no chance to kill enemy.
2) Your friend will die without your intervention, but can kill enemy with it.
1 ---> In these terms your teammate has to do one thing - RUUUUN. And no turning back. It's frustrating when you waste your Stand United only because your ally don't know how to click at nexus and go there.
2 ---> In this situation your teammate shouldn't run away - he should fight back or even CHASE the enemy. When you will teleport to him, you will immediately taunt the opponent and your team will get a kill.
My teammates lost many kills because they were simply too frightened to rush with my ulti on - this is also a frustrating situation.
Typical failures with Shen
I've seen many players fail with this "easy" champion. Here are some most common failures with Shen:
1. Wrong timed Feint or not using this skill at all.
2. Not using your Stand United all the time, just to save it for a "better moment" - this is really stupid thinking. Rule is simple - when you have a chance to rescue your ally - you just use it. Don't be noob Shen or troll Shen. If you can't fulfill your role, you are extremely useless.
3. Initiating a teamfight with Shadow Dash, when your carries can't even reach the taunted enemies.
4. Kill-stealing (don't mix it with kill-securing).
5. Hiding behind your carries - this is a mistake of all noob-tanks.
6. Wasting all your energy on Vorpal Blade and Feint, making you unable to use Shadow Dash in the right moment.
I wrote this section not to laugh at noob-Shens. Its purpose is to educate. Remember this mistakes and don't fail like that.
Cooperating with jungler
As Shen we place ourselves on the top lane - solo. Now we must understand two things:
1) Most of the time our hp bar will be above 60-70%. That means we are ready to receive a gank from a jungler.
2) Shen is not a pushing machine. He can't farm with AoE skill. This is a con, but we must use this as our ADVANTAGE.
Because we are just last-hitting single targets, our lane will probably be pushed. For example Mordekaiser and Renekton are types of champions, that push like a Rambo. Let them come to our turret, invite them (but don't let the turret to last hit your minions). Now is the perfect time for the jungler to strike!
How to receive a gank? It's simple.
When you see jungler coming, the best option is to taunt your enemy at your own turret - he will get dmg by it (one or two shots). Then the jungler should finish him with your help. Sounds easy? Well it is in most situations. Just remember that they can't push for free - they must be punished by jungler. Ping and talk to jungler to gank the "rambo".
Not every jungler is good for this. Best junglers to cooperate with Shen are the ones, who can gank fast (before 6 lvl) and effectively. That's why Warwick or Nocturne are not the best partners (weak ganking ability before lvl 6).
Here are some junglers I recommend to cooperate with Shen:
All of them can gank effectively quite early and take advantage from your defensive attitude on the lane.
Still it doesn't mean that "lvl 6 gankers" will go bad with Shen - it's just that you will have to wait longer.
Best teammates for Shen
This is obviously a teamplay game - that's why mates are very important. We must cooperate with them and buff them - as a tank, and as a support.
First of all - we need BIG, aggresive damage dealers. As Shen (at least with this defensive build) we are dealing quite low damage (but we can hurt enemy carries, especially after Nautilus patch). We need 2 glass cannons, that will destroy taunted by us enemies as fast as possible, and will deal the biggest damage, while buffed by our Stand United.
- great AD carry to cooperate with Shen. She doesn't need Frozen Mallet, cause her spells slow the targets - means this champion can go almost full AD. Besides Enchanted Crystal Arrow is a perfect initiation skill to start a teamfight - and Shen lacks of such ability.
For an AP carry, the best are nukers with the biggest damage combos. I recommend:
The best thing is that they all got AoE spells - means they can nuke all taunted by Shen enemies at the same time. That's why I didn't count Malzahar here - his ultimate affects only one target.
As a support I recommend Soraka. I assure you, that Shen+ Soraka combo is devastating. Your enemies will be just blown away, because of frustration (you will be constatly negating their kills together). Two global ultimates makes your teammates safe. That's why I love this combo.
I hope you like my playstyle and will check it in an actual game, but I warn you - this build needs practice.
I know that many Shens are considered useless by their teammates (and I've seen many bad ninjas) - that's why I decided to write this guide. I hope that "my" Shen will be a true game-breaker and your team will benefit greatly.
And most important - I believe that now all of you see, that playing Shen means alot of fun. Best champion Riot ever made. :)
I will try to add some images and videos in the future, but I can't promise this. Check the guide sometimes. :)
Thank you for your time.
1. Where can I find you?
EU East & Nordic. Nickname: Rajner.
2. Which skin is your favorite?
Yellow Jacket Shen aka Scorpion of course. :) GET OVER HERE!!!
- added a note in "Skill Explanation" section about Stand United,
- added notes in "Other possible items" section,
- added new tricks in "Tricks and Tactics" section.
- added a note in "Skill Explanation" section about Stand United,
- added new tricks in "Tricks and Tactics section.
- added a note in "Items to avoid" to Doran's Shield.
- added "Masteries explanation" section.
- added new trick to "Tricks & Tactics" section - Healing team.
- added note about MRES runes.
- added new possible item - Ionian Boots of Lucidity.
- added note to Thornmail in "Items to avoid" section.
- added "Cooperating with jungler" section.
- added "Best teammates for Shen" section.
- some corrects that were required after Nautilus patch,
- added "Facts about latest Shen rework" section,
- added note to Teleport in "Summoner Spells" section,
- changed flat magic resist runes to mres/lvl,
- added note to Ionian Boots of Lucidity,
- added notes to "Why Shen should NOT jungle?" section,
- changed skill sequence,
- changes in "Skill sequence" section.
- fixed errors in the text,
- added note in "Map Awareness" section.
- changed items,
- added several notes,
- little change in masteries and skill sequence.