Shen Build Guide by marisi

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League of Legends Build Guide Author marisi

Shen. Way of the Kinkou (laning and jungling)

marisi Last updated on October 26, 2011
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Team 1

Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

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.


Brute Force
Improved Rally

Offense: 8

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 21

Expanded Mind
Blink of an Eye
Mystical Vision
Presence of the Master

Utility: 1

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Shen, way of the kinkou

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Hello, welcome to my second build on mobafire featuring Shen, the eye of twillight. This is a full tank build. The first one is for laning and the second one is for jungling. Please don't click this away because u see a shen jungling build. Although Shen is heavily nerfed since he was released, he is stil a viable jungler. I admit he is one of the slowest. Just keep on reading and I will explain why shen is a good jungler. Please comment below and don't downrate without trying my build.

Shen used to be banned or picked in every high elo ranked game but now he has been hit hard by Riot. But he still is an amazing champion. Almost nobody plays him anymore. I always smile when I finally see another shen player. Let's bring Shen back!

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Pros and cons


  • GREAT survivability
  • Can protect carries easily Shadow Dash
  • Good ganker
  • Can tank turrets
  • AoE cc
  • Can save a team mate by using his ult Stand United


  • Extremely low damage output (can be solved by Sunfire Cape and Atma's Impaler
  • Nerfed to the bone (used to do a lot more damage and Stand United shield used to be stronger)
  • His W Feint is almost useless with this build(early game) (simply not worth the energy cost in many cases)
  • SLOW jungler (one of the slowest junglers)
  • Almost impossible to gank before reaching lvl 4

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Since Shen is a full tank it's only logical he takes Greater Mark of Armorand Greater Seal of Armorfor extra armor. This is also extremely usefull for when u are jungling.
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist Is great for some early magic resist

NO explanation needed for this Greater Quintessence of Health

But if you feel like you need some extra damage Greater Mark of Magic Penetrationis also viable.
It will cause your Vorpal Blade to hit a bit higher early game

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The are a few mastery trees suitable for shen. U can use the standard 9/21/0 build taking a point in Archaic Knowledge or u can use the build I have set up. I think this build is the best because this build helps with jungling. Or u can go for a 0/21/9 build taking Awareness for extra xp and Utility Mastery for extra duration on the neutral monster buffs.

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Summoner spells

good spells:

Great for some extra mobility.
Great for mobility, escaping a gank, initiating and positioning. But I pick Ghost more often on Shen because Shadow Dash can do the same.
Tip: Great when u taunt an enemy under the turret and activate it for double the attack speed
This enables your team to catch up with someone or u can use it to protect your carry by disabling it's attacker.
Great for avoiding ganks and checking your or the enemy jungle for counter jungling.

plausible spells:

This is quite a good spell for tank's and support's. It's also good for FB. But I dont see anyone use it in high elo games.
U can take this but I prefer many spells like exhaust, ghost or fortify above this on shen.

bad spells:

Shen doesn't use mana...
Never seen before.
U already got ur ulti and many spells are a better choise
NO there are better spells. And shen rarely dies.
Nah not needed. It won't help a lot because it doesn't really matter if u get cc'd because of your damage output.

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Skill sequence


Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
First you should max out Vorpal Blade over Shadow Dash because it enables you to harras and stay in lane longer because of the heal on Vorpal Blade. Ofcourse you will place a point in your ultimate Stand United whenever it's possible. But remember that Shadow Dash is Shen's strongest ability. It makes him a tank. And Vorpal Blade isn't really that strong.
you can take an early point in Feint but max it last since it's fairly weak.


Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
The first few level's I level Vorpal Blade up to speed up my jungle speed and sustain myself in the jungle. After you got red buff you can go ganking. You have to gank since your a jungler. You might have noticed that I max out my Shadow Dash first in my jungle build. Well this is because when you gank your job as a tank is to keep your target pinned down, to enable your team mates to wreak havoc on the target.
Rank 3 Vorpal Blade is good enough to sustain you in jungle. After that you should max Shadow Dash to pin people down. It even enables you to drag them into your turret.

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laning build

ruby crystal is a great item to start with. It makes early game harrasing and First Blood a lot easier since your passive will be a lot more potent. Not to mention it's extra survivability. But some people prefer Doran's Shield, but I always take Ruby Crystal because it can be build in Heart of Gold and Warmog's Armor. But it's your choice. Doran's Shield is also viable.

+ The boots don't require any explanation.
The Heart of Gold is a great choise since shen isn't considered a great farmer(I disagree with this). This will prevent the enemy to have a gold advantage over u, and it's a step closer to Randuin's Omen.

mercury's treads are great for any tank since it's their job to soak up cc for their team. The MR helps too. But an alternative choice is Ninja Tabi. This is usefull agaisnt a AD heavy team or when you are jungling.

I want to discuss this item. I think it's a great item but it's also very expensive. MOST of the times I play shen I don't pick this item since I got enough armor with my build. I don't pick it since I don't want to sacrifice too much damage for it's beefiness. I prefer Atma's Impaler and Sunfire Cape for it's damage so that the enemy team can't ignore you. But it's all up to you. You will notice you need more armor agaisnt a balanced team since the casters will save their spells for the carries. So I recommend u pick it a against a balanced team since AD's will attack u more often in team fights.

Many people under estimate this great item. I always get it early(after boots) for survivability against both AD and AP. It contributes to ur Ki Strike's damage and Atma's Impaler's passive.

negatron cloak grants a lot of MR for a low amount of gold. Randuin's Omen provides enough armor. After you finish either Atma's Impaler or Sunfire Cape you can build this into a Force of Nature

I know this is a weird item for Shen. But remember that Ki Strike forces u to build a lot of health(most games I have over 4k). So late game it gives around 80 AD for a relatively cheap item that grants armor and a bit of crit rating too! This item will almost double you damage output and make's it hard for the enemies team to ignore u. Together with Ki Strike your auto attack's will be small nukes.

Sunfire cape gives u some damage output and grants armor and health. Great item.

Overall a great item. Gives a huge amount of MR and it's passive sustain's u very well since u got a lot of health. DON'T EVEN HESITATE TO BUY THIS.

jungling build

Same as above but then start with 5 Health Potion and a Cloth Armor that can be build into a Randuin's Omen. Ninja Tabi is a great choice for jungle shen.

Optional items

thornmail is a great item for an AD heavy team. It grants 100 armor for only 2k gold, and returns 30% of the damage in magic damage.

abyssal scepter synergizes well with shen since Vorpal Blade, Feint and Stand United scales with AP. One of the few items with MR that works on shen.

I know this is a weird item for shen. But it's usefull to assist your team getting kills. This items make ur shield from Stand United and Feint a bit stronger. It also makes ur Vorpal Blade hit harder and slow the enemy. But I don't recomend this item. ONLY pick it if u are really fed.

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jungling route

Blue golem

The route I use most frequently is the blue golem buff. First you kill the blue golem and after that u head for the wolf camp. Another possibility is to first kill the big wolf in the wolf camp and then head for the blue golem. But this leaves u vunerable to counter jungling. When u start at blue ur team mates can defend you and pull it for u.
  • So first you kill blue golem(use smite right away)
  • Go for wolfs,
  • Smite large banshee and kill small ones
  • Go for twin golems.
  • Kill red lizard(smite to finish large lizard).

The blue buff should wear out then and helped u kill red lizard. After this u can go to wolfs again, take over a lane or go to base and gank with your red buff and Shadow Dash.

Red lizard

I recommend blue golem path because it's easier and u have red buff at the end to gank. It's a lot harder to gank with blue buff. Red buff deals dmg and slows. But one advantage of the red path is that it's slightly faster. So you can take over a lane when a team member needs to go b. But often your team mates wont be so stupid.
  • So first you kill red lizard (use smite right away)
  • Go for twin golems,
  • Smite large banshee and kill small ones,
  • Go for wolf camp,
  • Kill blue golem (smite to finish large golem).
And start over your path.

Twin golem

I don't recommend this to a shen jungler. This is a path for quicker(and less sustainable) junglers. As shen you can easily begin at Red or Blue camp. Besides he needs those buff to clear the jungler out quicker since he is slow. But if u want to go along this path here's the instructions.

I Start off at the twin golems (use smite right away one one of them)
II Go for banshees(focus the big one),
III Go for wolf camp(kill big one first),
IV Kill blue golem (smite large golem),
V Go for twin golems,
VI Kill red lizard (smite to finish).

After this you will see that you were way to slow clearing the jungle and all ur teammates got raped. NOES!!!

Nah, just joking :P. After this you should go to ur base, buy items and finally GO GANK.

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Match history

I want to prove that this build works. So I will show some of my recent matches.
(These were a few good ones, I also had some bad ones :P)
Sorry for the nocturne matches. I don't play shen all the time.

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Final tips

U need to keep a third eye on ur minimap and ALWAYS check u team mates. Use ur ulti to save an team mate or to gank.

U can use ur Shadow Dash as a great escape tool. U can jump through thin and thick walls. It has the same range as tryndamere's Spinning Slash. I use it a lot to escape through walls and steal dragon. BUT REMEMBER it cost's a HUGE amount of energy. So watch ur energy bar while planning such a move.

Try not to use ur Shadow Dash to initiate in teamfights. Just walk in and when u are close try to:
taunt as many enemies possible
taunt the carry
taunt the closest enemy for ur team to kill him first.

Try not to spam ur Vorpal Blade. I only use it after I used Shadow Dash and after that only to finish people off who are running away. I always have around 130 energy while the team fight continues so I can use Shadow Dash again right away when it's off cd. Let ur carries do the dmg.
I tend to buy Atma's Impaler and Sunfire Cape instead of Randuin's Omen to prevent the enemy from ignoring me and deal at least some dmg.

Plz comment and give feedback.