Shen Build Guide by Ss95
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Not Updated For Current Season
The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.
Hello and welcome to my Shen guide. I have put a lot of effort into this guide so I would be very happy if you would leave a comment about how my guide is. If you disagree with something, feel free to tell me, and i will gladly explain my reasons behind my choices and we can discuss it :) If you want something included in the guide, tell me and I will consider it. If i forgot to mention someone in my credits please tell me. I didn't want to forget anyone and i want to give credit where it is due! And please tell me of any mistakes I have made. I am not from an english speaking country so there might be several spelling mistakes :)
So please, sit down and relax, grab a drink and get ready to learn the ancient secrets of the Eye of Twillight!
Please vote and comment :)
Some relaxing music while you read my guide :)
There exists an ancient order originating in the Ionian Isles dedicated to the preservation of balance. Order, chaos, light, darkness -- all things must exist in perfect harmony for such is the way of the universe. This order is known as the Kinkou and it employs a triumvirate of shadow warriors to uphold its causes in the world. Shen is one of these shadow warriors, entrusted with the sacred duty of Watching the Stars - exercising judgment untainted by prejudice.
Born to a clan whose members have decorated the ranks of the Kinkou for generations, Shen was trained his entire life to become the Eye of Twilight, and thereupon to dispassionately determine what must be done in the interests of equilibrium. As his final trial to ascend to this position, he was made to attend the Takanu, a ceremony in which his father was tortured before his eyes to test his resolve. Any reaction whatsoever would have resulted in his immediate disqualification, but he never averted his gaze and never blinked, not once. As the Eye of Twilight, Shen must make decisions that would buckle the wills of ordinary men, removing all emotion from the equation. He now works with his fellows Akali and Kennen to enforce the balance of Valoran. This hallowed pursuit has unsurprisingly led the triumvirate to the Fields of Justice.
The Eye of Twilight sees not the despair of its victims, only the elegance of equilibrium.
For more lore watch this video about the order which Shen is a part of: Lore: Akali and Shen
If you care for Shens lore you should also read Zeds lore:
If you don't want to read it you can hear it here
Zed is the first ninja in 200 years to unlock the ancient, forbidden ways. He defied his clan and master, casting off the balance and discipline that had shackled him all his life. Zed now offers power to those who embrace knowledge of the shadows, and slays those who cling to ignorance.
An orphan, Zed was taken in and trained by a great ninja master. Only one other student appeared to be Zed's equal - the master's son, Shen. It seemed Zed could never win the favor of the master, as every match between the rivals ended in a draw. Frustrated and jealous, he sought an advantage. The young ninja ventured into a sealed part of the clan's temple, where he found an ornate, foreboding box. Sensing the dark knowledge within, Zed knew he should not open it, but he peered inside nonetheless. In an instant, shadows touched his mind, revealing techniques that had long been hidden. Now armed with a secret edge, he challenged Shen, and this time he defeated the master's son. He expected praise and recognition in his moment of victory, but somehow the master knew Zed had used forbidden ways, and banished him.
Humiliated, the young ninja wandered for years. His bitterness turned to ambition, and he began to train others in the style of the shadows. As his power grew, so did his circle of followers, but he knew that without the box, his technique would never be perfect. One day, Zed looked at his followers and saw that his students were now an army. He led them back to the temple to claim his prize. At the gates, he was surprised to find the old master waiting, receiving Zed and his disciples as if they were welcome guests. The old man laid his sword at Zed's feet, declaring that he had failed Zed as his master. By banishing his former student, the master had doomed Zed to the shadows, instead of leading him to the balanced path. The old man implored Zed to enter the temple, destroy the box, and lead his followers to balance. The dark ninja followed the master inside. Moments later, the assembled ninjas heard Zed cry out in pain. Mysteriously, he emerged unscathed, and threw the severed head of the master at Shen's feet. Screaming in rage, Zed commanded his followers to slaughter the master's students and seize the box.
That day, the old ninja order fell. Though many students died, some escaped thanks to Shen's heroic efforts. Now the temple is a dark training ground for the Order of the Shadow. Zed rules as the Order's master, and his edict is simple: perfect one's technique, and kill all ninjas who refuse to embrace the shadows.
''Balance is a lie - we are the true ninjas.''
You should also read about Demacia, Noxus and The league of legends
Pros and cons
Can carry teams
Is badass ninja
Needs a lot of map awareness
Need a decent team
Not good with all combos
Loses hp if there are more ninjas on the team :(
Things to add
Shadow dashing through walls
Adding more pictures and videoes.
Talking about the new patch/season 3
Shens basic attack deals bonus magic damage equal to 4 + (4 × Shen's level) + (10% of Shens bonus health) and restores 10 / 20 / 30 energy to Shen. Cooldown reduction does not affect Ki Strike, but every basic attack restores 1.5 seconds of cooldown.
Cooldown: 9 seconds
Ki Strike is actually a very strong harass ability which people tends to forget. When you're level 1 you'll have around 450 hp. That means that with 1 auto-attack, you can deal 50+ damage on this passive alone. That is a lot early damage poke combined with your Vorpal Blade and an auto-attack.
Shen throws a blade at the target enemy, dealing damage and marking them for 5 seconds. Allied champions that damage a marked enemy heal over 3 seconds, with the duration refreshing upon subsequent damage.
If Vorpal Blade kills the target, Shen heals for 33% of the normal amount instantly.
Damage scaling: 60% of your ability power
Healing scaling: 1,5% of your max hit points
Cost: 60 energi
Vorpal Blade should be maxed first due to its sustain, early poke, and last hitting. 220 damage might not sound like much at level 9 (when Vorpal Blade is maxed) but 220 damage every 4 second isn't something which can just be ignored. If you want to push your lane, remember to use Vorpal Blade on the siege minion or the melee minion because you get hit points each time you hit a target affected by Vorpal Blade. But when you don't want to push make sure you last hit as many creeps as possible with you Vorpal Blade between damage exchanges. It gives amazing lane sustain.
Shen gains a shield that absorbs a certain amount of damage. The shield dissipates after 3 seconds if not already destroyed. While the shield persists, Shen's basic attacks reduce the cooldown of Ki Strike by 3 seconds.
Absorb scaling: 50% of your ability power
Cost: 50 energi
Feint is a strong damage exchange ability, because it soaks up a lot of early game poke. 70 damage is pretty much in the first few levels. Also, while you have your shield on, you reduce the cooldown on Vorpal Blade with each auto-attack. That is very strong, because you'll heal a lot in damage exchanges.
Shen dashes along target line, dealing damage to enemy champions he contacts and taunting them for 1.5 seconds. Enemies deal half damage to Shen while they are taunted. Shen gains 40 energy for each enemy champion he contacts.
Damange to champions: 50/80/110/140/190
Damage scaling: 50% of your ability power
Cost: 120 energi
Shadow Dash is Shens only skillshot, and it actually takes some skills to use. To be able to hit a target in team fights are easy. But often, you need to save it for the right moment, when you are in position to taunt several people. This ability is also the reason why I bring Flash. Flash --> Shadow Dash is very strong and effective in team fights, because it oftens catch your enemies off guard and you'll often be able to catch several key targets this way. Also, don't Shadow Dash unless you're sure you'll hit. If you miss you won't get the 40 energi back. This will makes you unable to do much the rest of the fight.
Target allied champion gains a shield that absorbs a certain amount of damage. The shield dissipates after 5 seconds if not already destroyed. After 3 seconds of channeling, Shen teleports to the allied champion.
Absorb scaling: 135% of your ability power
Stand United is what makes Shen such a strong champion. Especially with a team comp build around you. To use this ability effective you need to have some map awareness (or atleast in soloqueue) because people often forget to ping when they need you. In premade 5v5 your team should always call you when you are needed. The whole point of this ability is, that it makes you able to push a lane while your team pressure somewhere else. Ater some time they will be forced to send some one over to stop you. Then your team can force an obejctive or engage in a fight, and you can use your ultimate and join the fight. This ability can turn around the game, so remember to use it effectively and never waste it in a fight which is lost 100% already unless you can help some of your members get away. If it is lost, try to push and get advantage somewhere else.
I go Fury because it further enhances Shens splitpushing.
I go Blast and Arcane Knowledge because it enhances my poke in lane and my passive in lane.
I go Durability and Veteran's Scars because Shens passive scales with HP and HP is a very good stat for a tank
I go Hardiness , Resistance , Legendary Armor and Honor Guard for more tankyness.
I go relentess and Tenacious to reduce stun durations. If you can't move, you will lose your pressure in fights and if you lose your pressure you're not tanking for your team
I go Reinforced Armor because it really helps against AD carries late game. 10% is a lot when they 800-1000 each hit.
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed
I use magic resistance per level because i usually face AD top laners and then I only need the magic resistance for mid-late game.
I use flat armor because I almost face AD top laners, and this will negate some of their damage
I use magic penetration because it boosts my auto-attack and my Vorpal Blade.
I use movement speed because, as a tank, I need to be able to protect my carries and run down their carries. For that I need movement speed.
Warmog's Armor is pretty strong now. 1000 hp and 1,5% hp every 5 second is a lot. You will be very hard to kill.
Wit's End is good because it gives attack speed which is pretty good when you push and it also gives you tankyness. The faster you push, the more pressure you apply. This item also makes it easier to 1v1 someone when they come to stop you.
Sunfire Cape makes you able to push faster AND gives you very good resistance. The damage from it is also a lot through a team fight.
Randuin's Omen gives HP which boosts your passive and survivability, it gives you armor, which will help a lot in fights and the activate can be really annoying if used properly. All around it is a very solid item.
Ravenous Hydra makes you able to splitpush very very fast and 1v1 very good. It might seem strange that I use this item because it is AD and Shen scales on AP, but it is very good. Try it.
But always build against your enemies.
Here are some optional items (tell me if you want me to add anything):
Rylai's Crystal Scepter is a fine item, but not really worth it imo. The stats are alright, but the passive isn't that great on Shen and his scalings are really bad on most of his abilities.
Frozen Mallet a good item to stick on the AD carry, but I don't have that much experience with this item on Shen yet. But I think it is pretty good.
Aegis of the Legion get one if your jungler/support won't. It is a pretty good team item.
Ruby Sightstone gives you HP and free wards. A good item, but not really worth in on Shen imo. Just buy normal green wards.
Twin Shadows is pretty solid to check areas like baron for enemies. It is good and should be considered.
Flash is very strong because it allows you to Flash --> Shadow Dashsomeone who thinks he is safe.
Ghost could replace flash because it allows you to just run through the fight and catch the people you want to catch.
Teleport is very strong because it allows you to get back in lane after you have used your ultimate and if you are forced back to base.
Ignite could be used if your goal is to win the fights top lane. With Ignite you get some early power but loses some power later on when you could surprise Teleport bot lane and push the wave while your team is holding them off in top lane. But Ignite is viable, and I use it sometimes.
To be honest I am not sure how viable exhaust is anymore. Not after the nerf. Will have to test it first, but I still think it is viable on Shen. I might pick it in some matchups where my team needs an extra Exhaust.
Heal is a fine summoner spell in tough matchups or if you are 1v2. But you have pretty good sustain through your Vorpal Blade so I wouldn't pick it. Still viable though.
Never tested it, but i think it is fine in some hard matchups like 1v2.
In team fights, you want to use Stand United on whoever needs it. If your carries is under pressure, use it on them, or if your jungler dives for their carries, use it on him and try to take down one of the carries. Remember in fight you have 2 jobs. Makes sure your carry stay alive, and make sure to make the enemies carries life a living hell. But always keep an eye on your own carry. He is going to deal most of the damage, so make sure he lives.
Shen doesn't really have any bad matchups. But of course some can be difficult.
Teemo, Jayce and Darius can be tricky. But you just need to poke them with Vorpal Blade and use Shadow Dash each time you get into trouble. Shen is pretty easy to go even against all top laners, so I don't really feel like explaining how to beat every matchups. However, if you have questions about a certain matchup, write it in the comments and I will explain it in details.
Generel top lane control
I know this is a lot of text but if you're new to top lane, try to read it anyways. It will help you :) I will include a video of me, playing top lane soon, and show you how I play it. To understand minions watch this video :) It might sound stupid, but understand as much about the game as possible. The more you understand, the better you get. Some of the facts about how much gold the minions give are outdated due to season 3.
Introduction to top lane
Top lane is, by no means, an easy lane. It is actually one of the hardest and most annoying lanes because junglers likes to gank top lane a lot. Top is the easiest lane to gank because, early game it is never warded and you can gank through lane AND from river. Mid is much harder to gank because the lane is so short so it is much easier to get to turret and bot will almost always be warded. So always play with this knowledge early game: I will be ganked soon.
Control of jungler
Now we take a look at their jungler. Who is it? How much cc do they have? If they gank, will I die or be able to escape? If the answer to this question is yes, then make sure to change the lane so you won't die if you get ganked. Also make sure you know where the jungler starts. If it is Lee Sin he will rush red and then gank top level 2. Even in the new jungle, and without the jungler starting with boots, this can be deadly. So always try to predict when the jungler will gank and where he is in his jungle. To know this you need to know the spawn times. Look under the section "objectives" for this information. To understand the enemy jungler try to take a look at this jungling
Enemy top laner
Now we know the jungler, now it is time to take a look at our opponent. Hopefully you have been able to counterpick or atleast your champ is equal to his. If not you need to play very safe, and don't go for minions you know you'll get punished for and just let the wave push to your side. If you're equal then there is a lot more you can do. Early game there are 2 things you can do:
You can push slightly to get a xp advantage. This means you will hit level 2 before your opponent and will be able to out damage/zone him. But you will also open yourself to ganks. So if you choose to push slightly, don't do this for long. Push till around 3-4 mins (ONLY if you know the enemy jungler started the buff which is on the other side of the map from your position) then you shove in the lane to the turret and go back. Make sure you push it in. Else your enemy will "freeze" it in front of the turret and you will be pretty screwed when you return. So make sure to push it in so the turret have enough range to hit all the minions. Then go back and get items. Your enemy will have to push the minions or lose a lot of gold and xp and when you get back you'll be ahead on items.
Let it push to your side
This is what you have to do when your opponent is stronger early game than you are. Just last hit as much as you can, and don't take too much punishment when you go for CS. This gives your jungler the opportunity to gank, so when you see him push, call your jungler top lane. When he is there, try to bait your enemy into fighting you so he overextends. Then your jungler should come in and hopefully you'll get a kill or atleast make him recall. This gives you the ability to push it to your opponents turret and then recall yourself. Now you will have an advantage on XP which is the most important thing in lane. Gold does a lot of course, but XP wins lane most of the time. The more XP you can deny by pushing into the enemies tower the better. The problem with this, that your enemy can poke you down under tower if you don't clear minions fast enough, so you will really have to rely on your jungler if you let it push to your turret.
Now we know when to push. Lets take a look at when and why you should freeze. And also how:
Freezing a lane is not difficult at all but to keep it frozen can be hard. You can both freeze when you're behind and when you are ahead. To freeze you have to wait for your opponents minion wave to get close to your tower. Make sure it is bigger than you own. Then you wait for it to kill you own wave, and tank the minions just outside of turret range, while waiting for your next wave. Then you just last hit the minions and make sure the lane stays frozen. Don't let the opponents wave get too big though. 5-6 minions more in your opponents wave than in your own wave is more than enough to keep a lane frozen. It is not possible to freeze against all champs. If you freeze against a ranged champion like Teemo or Jayce it will be really difficult for you because they will just harass you and force you back, and force the wave into your turret. But against most melee champions it is possible to freeze and you gain a lot from it. It forces your opponent out of his "safe zone". If you are behind and able to freeze when you're behind, do it. This will allow you to catch up. But it will also allow your enemy to roam. So make sure to ping your lane and call MIA the moment you can't see him. When you freeze you also give you enemy the opportunity to go dragon. To freeze when you are ahead, makes sure you deny your enemy even further. This will force him to roam, which might not be what you want. So it is not always a good idea to freeze when you're ahead.
As Shen you want to help your team with Stand United as much as possible. Therefore you want to stay at high HP at all times and make sure you aren't pushed to your turret. So make sure to last hit minions with Vorpal Blade, harass your opponent, and just scan the map all the time. You don't ever want to leave your game for objectives (unless you get called by your team) because you want to pressure your lane at all time. Again, I don't really know what more to explain, because Shen laning isn't that hard, but feel free to ask questions and I will try to explain in more details.
There are 6 main objectives in league of legends
Turret: When you destroy a turret you give 150 to all members of your team. You also give a lot of map control, because you now can roam the enemy jungle and escape much more easily. So try to take down turrets whenever possible mid game. It gives a lot of control. A tower won't respawn.
Inhibitors: Inhibitors only gives 50 gold when destroyed but you will spawn super minions which will push in a lane. This makes splitpushing much easier, because they will be forced to defend the lane with super minions. Inhibitors repsawn after 5 min.
Blue buff gives a mana/energy regen buff and a cooldown buff. Very strong to have and when possible you should try to steal the enemy blue buff. If you kill an enemy having this buff, you'll get the buff for its full duration. The duration of the buff is 2:30. The spawn time of the buff is 5 min.
Red buff gives a buff which slows and deals damage. This buff should also be stolen whenever possible and you'll recieve it yourself if you kill an enemy who has this buff. The spawn time is 5 min and the duration is 2:30.
Dragon gives 190 gold for your entire team. You should keep dragon warded at all times, and when your team is ready you should tell your top laner to push in the wave and then come down to dragon. This will give you a 5v4 advantage.
Baron Nashor gives the strongest buff in the game. You get a lot of regeneration and 40 AD and 40 AP. The first spawn time is 15 min and after that it spawns each 7 min. You get 300 gold for your whole team if you kill Baron. The duration for the buff is 4 min but if you kill an enemy with this buff you won't get the buff yourself
If you have to trade objectives:
In theory baron is worth the same as 1 inhibitor because both gives pushing power. Of course it depends on your situation but generally it's worth the same. You just have to remember that baron gives a lot of gold too so it's not always worth trading baron for inhibitor. Just don't try to team fight a team with baron. Instead just try to clear waves and let the super minions give pressure.
In my opinion blue buff is worth slightly more than red buff because of the huge cooldown reduction and the huge mana regeneration it gives which open up the possibility for more poke and faster push.
Dragon is worth slightly more than turrets. Turrets gives only 150 gold to each player and dragon gives 190 gold to each player. But turrets gives much more map control. So it is not always worth it to trade a dragon for a turret.
This is a very decent video showing where and why to ward. If you're not very interrested in why you should in these specific locations this picture shows it very well
To learn more about top lane watch pro league of legend top laners on stream. The one i learned the most from is wickd
Thanks to Team Targran on youtube for their lore video!
Thanks to jhoijhoi for her How to make a guide
Thanks to Imageshack for making me able to post pictures in my guide
Thanks to Wickd from CLG.EU for teaching me the top lane mechanics. Here is his stream
Thanks to Hahano for his guide about jungling
Thanks to TeamLolgasm for their Warding guide. All credit should go to TeamLoLgasm and should be directed to them and not me.
Thanks to IceCreamy for her guide how to make columns
Thanks to Ciderhelm for his minion guide
Thanks to TricoPaper on youtube for the Zed lore video